No Sugar “Sweets” aren’t so sweet

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Week of May 20, 2011:

Well, I have already had about 1/2 of my daily calories and it is only 6:45 a.m. I would call that emotional eating. The more I eat the more I want to eat too. I slept 1 hour before getting up to take some additional Tylenol PM. I had a cup of milk to wash that down with, one serving of sugar free chocolate chip cookies and 2 cold hot dogs. Then, I started to feeling somewhat hungry so I had 2 servings of cold cereal with some lite soy milk. Soon after that I made some toast with natural peanut butter. Now, all of these foods are healthy (the hot dogs might be the only questionable one due to fat -although this is a lower fat one-and the high sodium) but I am eating and I would continue to eat if it weren’t for the fact that I know that I shouldn’t. I’ve stopped for now but I know if I allowed myself I could continue eating until I had eaten several more hundred calories. Why am I doing this?

For all the reasons that I shouldn’t be. Maybe, the cup of skim milk could be “justified” because I take that with my sleep/ pain medicine and coating my stomach isn’t all that bad of an idea but the rest is partially because the food is readily available, my guard is down (I’m sleepy but not yet that sleepy) and because I have “allowed” myself to do so. It just goes to show you that I have my work cut out for me when it comes to eating when I am not hungry. This habit alone will keep me obese, if I allow it to. In fact, right now, I feel like going into the kitchen and eating a lot more until I am very full. That is the set up for a binge so that tells you I am feeling emotional right now even if my eyes are getting sleepy and I really couldn’t tell you what I am feeling emotional about.

I would not have labeled this “emotional eating” until I read the Day devoted to that in the BDS pink book. I began calling it “distracted eating” but Dr. Beck labels that as “emotional eating” so I guess it is. Actually, any reason you are eating other than hunger could/should be labeled “emotional eating”. Well, I will return to bed shortly and I will probably sleep through the time I would normally eat lunch so when I get up I will probably eat either an early supper or, if I can, hold off and eat a later dinner. However, this sets up long stretches where I am not eating as a result. It is not the healthiest way to eat, that’s for sure.

Well, at least, I am detached enough about this that I can observe my behavior as it is happening and see how the dots are connecting with each other. As she states so emphatically, stop at that moment and then proceed with your next OP meal when it is scheduled to happen. Well, time to give myself credit. I managed to go through several nights this past week without “emotional eating” so I have to acknowledge I have done it so I am capable of doing it again. Right now, I am going to return to bed. When I get up I am going to take a shower and maybe what might be a good thing to do is put on a Richard Simmons STTO dvd and that might help me sweat off some of the sodium-induced weight I gained over night and also maybe help drop  1/2-1 lbs besides.

I am very grateful that we can “afford” to buy the food that will “support” my food plan and healthier way of eating. I hope that I will be able to continue to do this “moving forward” and not have to cut back so I’m not able to try new recipes and foods. I just love to look into our cupboards and refrigerator and see all of the healthy choices I have available. Since we do not have health insurance nor can we afford to be self-insured, I have often “drilled” P about how eating healthy is our “assurance” in avoiding seeing the doctor.

I received my sugar free food I ordered online. It came within 48 hours. I was hoping that the assorted snack pack were of everything they offer. Instead, it was two of the things I had bought on Monday and a third one: pecan walnut brownies. I gave one to Paul to sample. He didn’t think they were half bad. I didn’t either. What I like even more is that I can truly stop at one package without feeling like I have to eat more and more. That is another advantage of eating no sugar and an important one: I have better control over how much I eat when I do eat it. However, the main disadvantage is that I have been quickly substituting eating sugar free cookies, brownies or a Klondike bar for healthier alternatives like raw vegetables or fresh fruit as my snacks.

I began reading the “Biggest Loser” Fitness book. According to this book, this is the workout that they put the contestants through while they are on the ranch. Or it is implied anyway. Essentially, it is a combination of circuit training followed by cardio. So, that is exactly what I am going to do. They have several different levels even within Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. I think I could follow up with doing a RS dvd afterwards. That should make a person good and tired after doing that! You’re supposed to do it in such a way that you are moving very rapidly through the different “core” exercises so I would say that by the time you get to the cardio you are well warmed up and ready to hit the ground running when it comes time for the cardio. All of this is supposed to be done at 80-85% of your target heart rate.

Well, we have a heart rate monitor on our treadmill and I could take my heart rate with my fingers like the way everyone “used to do in the old days” but now everything is electronic so I decided to go ahead and order a heart rate monitor. With an extended one year warranty and taxes, I paid $65. In order to deflect the cost of the extended warranty, I decided to have it shipped to the Dunwoody Wal-mart. I was going to wait on this until I had lost 50 lbs or more but I really do want to get the full benefit out of these workouts. It did have some medical questions that it asked beforehand: have I had chest pains when working out (I have some very mild ones when I start up the first time after a long absence but they go away within a few minutes and don’t return the second time I work out), do I have any joint problems (yes!), etc. but I can take it slow and work my way up too. I really want to do this. I know that it will help me sleep better, feel better emotionally and it will definitely help me burn up calories and I won’t be so worried if I stray a little bit from my food plan. After this past weekend, where I just really felt like I couldn’t face another strict day of dieting, I knew it was time to bring this part of my plan back into full force. I logged what I ate late last night but when I do that it “cheats” me of the calories I need for “today” and now here I am right before bed, snacking on cereal and sugar free cookies.

I continued to read through the Biggest Loser Fitness Program. As soon as I have become more acquainted with it I am going to start it. I am sure that I won’t be going at 80% of my target heart rate at the beginning anyway but I might have worked up to that by the time the heart rate monitor comes. I think it will help me burn enough calories where I can eat about the same amount of calories that I am eating now and lose weight. At least, that was the case last summer. I do not look forward to eating any less than what I am eating now. There is an overview of their food plan and the calories are really low. Which surprises me because they have me at such a high calorie range right now. Well, time will tell how much I need to cut to see a consistent weight lose. As I mentioned to P, if their calories are that low on the ranch how do they manage to do the workouts? When I was going at my peak a few months ago I was so wiped out I had to take a nap shortly afterwards.

5/24/11:

Before I went to bed I finished off an open bag of the sugar free cookies. They don’t have a lot of taste–remind me of vanilla wafers–but they were hard and had that “crunch factor” that I like when I want to eat indefinitely. I knew while I was eating them that I could end up with a lot of intestinal gas because of the sugar alcohols. By the time I finished it off I really had an off after taste in my mouth. I slept for awhile but I was quite restless the past hour so I finally got up. I still feel full to my stomach from those cookies. I’ll take some more Tylenol PM and go back to bed shortly after. I hate to log those cookies but I will. I think I had around 20 cookies, which is around 475 calories. No sugar but still calories. Well, it feels like they are just sitting in my stomach so I am not feeling hungry right now so I guess that will be considered my breakfast calories!  I am hoping that once I begin exercising daily and actually work off some of this free floating anxiety some of this “emotional eating” will cease.

I got that book “Treat Your Own Knees” yesterday in the mail. It is a very small book written by a physical therapist. I hope it has some good tips in it. What awoke me an hour ago was the muscles in my thighs were hurting along with my knees. If I could both get my pain subsided before I go to bed and then while I am sleeping I am sure I would be able to move forward on all of this. Well, I will do all I can to try different home remedies. I would love it if I could get to a place where I could walk without the cane and have strong enough legs to carry me through a level ground walk.

I’m still waiting on the green book for Beck Diet Solution. According to the time frame, the latest expected delivery would be May 31st. I think this is the longest that I have ever had to wait for a shipment. Wal-mart’s “site to store” can also be lengthy but I got the extended warranty so I figured that I would have to cut back on shipping costs. I think I am doing the right things to move towards a healthier life. I just have to be patient with the process.

Well, another thing I have to be patient with is my sleep patterns. I felt that I was only up less than two hours.  I ended up sleeping from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. I awoke rested but still I feel “weird” that I am not sleeping throughout the night but it seems like I can sleep in the later morning and through the mid-afternoon. Last night I slept lightly and awoke a couple of times because of the muscles in my upper legs bothering me and then, of course, my knees.

Well, after eating the rest of the opened package of sugar free cookies I waited expecting to have diarrhea and a lot of gas. I did have gas and I felt like I had a rock in my stomach for several hours! I didn’t eat anything until around 4 p.m. and even then I wasn’t very hungry. Does this sound very sane? No, but I did log it and I did share it with the others in my Beck group, especially when someone asked if it were okay to eat intuitively. My answer was yes since Beck Diet Solution does not endorse any particular diet as long as it is healthy. I think you can eat intuitively and eat healthy. I told her that I felt that to some extent I do eat intuitively since I don’t plan my meals the day before. I just don’t like to. However, I do log what I eat as the day goes on. I am very good about doing that. I also make sure that I am not straying far from my food plan and I do try my best to eat within the recommended calorie range. I keep what is known as a “clean kitchen”. In other words, I don’t have anything that is considered not healthy in either my cupboards or refrigerator.

However, my biggest obstacle to losing weight is the fact that I am not only a couch potato, I am fast going to seed. Well, I plan on doing something about that very soon. I am almost finished reading the Biggest Loser Fitness book. The last time that I worked out that hard I got so tired I got in the habit of needing to take a nap afterwards. My appetite also increased. However, the biggest benefit I know that I will gain from exercising is that weight will come off plus I will also be able to eat more without regaining what I lost. That is very good news!

Tonight was the finale show of “Biggest Loser Season 11-Couples”. One of the two sisters won the grand prize. Both looked amazing! Probably the best looking of all the final contestants on any of these shows. In fact, one of them got down to 120 lbs which I think is almost unheard of on that show. I think what was to their advantage is each other so their motivation remained high throughout the entire program. They also managed to hang in there and not get eliminated like a lot of the other contestants. Also, one used to play volleyball so she had some muscles underneath all of that extra fat. The other one was an opera singer and I am certain that she knew how to be disciplined in order to succeed in that field.

I also noticed that a lot of the people, including one person(C) that I really thought would return home and blow the rest of the people away, didn’t do as well once she got home. There were some exceptions though. One woman, aged 59, won the $100K at home prize, and I think she lost half of her body weight. One guy who was at the ranch almost to the last couple weeks also did remarkably well. Then, there was one who left almost 4-6 weeks ago that lost a significant amount of weight. I could tell by the reaction of Bob and Jillian that they were both surprised and very pleased with those at home “losers”. So, I would say that the “at home” losers were a divided group. Half did really well and then there were some who probably struggled more once they got home. My guess is that they couldn’t find enough motivation on their own to keep it going.

Well, inspired by that show, I decided that, in spite of 1 hour of sleep during the night, I would push P and I out the door today. He didn’t have any work and rather than he sit around all day and I sleep all day that is what I did. We did find the D Green Market. It was amazing that we even found it at all because there were more twists and turns to the road than you can imagine. We got fresh Swiss chard and arugula. I think we paid too much for them ($4 a bag) but these types of market do have a tendency to run kind of high. Then, we found (also another twist and turn) the D Nature Preserve. I did something I haven’t attempted in quite a long time. I got out and I walked (with my cane). I knew P wouldn’t be all that interested if I sat on a bench and he “explored” on his own (we’ve tried that before).

Anyway, we ended up our “running around” by eating lunch at GC. I have a good handle on eating there. I am able to find what works on my food plan and then I eat it. I don’t even consider going over to the bakery area. I did pose the question to the Beck support group about pre-planning meals. I am not so sure that I am really deviating all that much from what they do. However, one person made a note that they really ramped up their exercising which is what I am going to do from now on. I did tip over 3000 mg sodium today and my calories were at the top of my calorie range but I also moved, even if it felt laborious at times. My knees felt swollen after I laid down for a brief light sleep nap. I also noted that I was breathless just moving around and I felt my heart although I wouldn’t say it was chest pains. It made me feel sad a little because it really shows how inactive I have been and what a toll it has taken on my “heart health”.  The “good news” is that with persistence I should be able to strengthen my heart muscle as well as the rest of my body. Once I get that heart rate monitor I will know how much I am working my heart but also how many calories I will be burning. Both were be important pieces of information in helping me to know how I am using the calories I am taking in but also what I need to do to lower those calories taken in so that I am losing on a steady basis.

So, for under $20 I have two dvds on the way here. They are scheduled to come within a couple of weeks. I’m not in any hurry really since I doubt whether I am in good enough shape to even crack them and I want to get my heart rate monitor first so I can see how “unfit” I am so I won’t push myself too fast too soon, I am more than okay with that.

What I am hoping I will be able to do is have all of this come together at about the time that I am able to really put it to practice. In the meantime, I also hope that I can slowly get back to being more mobile around here and in general. So, any kind of working out that I can do in the next couple of weeks will only help me prepare for the more rigorous working out that I am sure these two dvds will be. The 30 Day Shred (Jillian Michael) is really hard on the knees so I also hope that I will have finished reading that book I got recently and whatever it says to do to “treat my own knees” I will be doing that as well. Although I feel a little sheepish about ordering all of this stuff, given our present financial circumstances and the fact that we are living on one income, I do know that I will use this all and it can only help me move beyond my inactivity and how that impacts not only my joints but also my weight lose too.

Speaking of which, I am still hanging around 267-269 lbs. Again, I think that once I start working out more diligently I will begin to burn up some of those extra calories that I am finding so hard to “resist”. I am not sure if the “falling off the wagon” this past weekend was hormonal-driven or emotion-driven or both. It seemed to correct itself yesterday and I found myself being able to stay OP(on plan) relatively easy. I wasn’t tempted at all when we ate at GC although because of the amount of food I ate, I did end up being at the top of my calorie range and over my sodium range. Still, I felt it was a more “sane” day of eating overall.

We are also well aware of how precarious our financial situation is. I think, on one level we are in denial. I think it helps to get through what has been a very long and protracted period of  financial hardship. We have gone from the frying pan into the fire and we’ve been walking on hot coals, especially for the past 7-8 months since my unemployment ended. Looking back on it, I think I did the right thing for me but that also points out how stressful being so strapped can be for people and how that in itself becomes a struggle besides the rest of  the things you are dealing with. I will say though that at times I am “proud” of how well I/we have done in spite of the formidable challenges we have faced. It certainly does bring out your resourcefulness. We try to do the best with what we have.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Erratic Sleep and Eating Out Continues..

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Week of May 13, 2011:

Well, I have been awake for almost 24 hours straight. Thanks to me sleeping 12 hours yesterday during most of the morning and part of the afternoon then making the mistake of having Coke Zero when we came home last night. I’ll learn one of these days! Well, I was starting to feel drowsy around 4:30 a.m. but when I went to bed I started thinking about a lot of things that were not important enough to be keeping me awake but I was and as it got closer to 6:00 a.m. I knew that the technician would be here sometime between 9-11 a.m. so I figured I might as well just get up and stay up, no matter how tired I was. So, that is what I did. The technician was here for 3 hours. He rewired all the phone jacks and then installed the new modem including a wireless router and then the cable box. I called Dtv right after the technician left and cancelled our service with them. The csr was less than cordial but it is over with. Now, we are “bundled”; the latest in their technology. Here is hoping that there are no “surprises” in our bill except that it will be less.

5/14/11:

I went to bed at midnight and awoke at 2 a.m. with both knees really bothering me so I got up and I have taken a double dosage of EX Tylenol. I will try to go to bed in the next half hour. I feel a lot better that the installation of the new “bundle” service is over with. I really hate having to adhere to one of these open-ended service calls because it invariably will fall a day when either I didn’t sleep well the night before or the apartment is a “mess”. Well, I hit jackpot on both accounts. Not only did I feel like a “scrub” (I need to both color my hair and wash it) but all I could see looking around was things I “should have” done before this technician came. I am going to have to keep the computer in this room because of how he wired the phone jacks. It’s a lot more limiting than having DSL but I should see quite a difference in processing speed with my computer.

I weigh every day and have been for a couple of months after joining a daily weigh in thread on 3fatchicks but I will say that I haven’t been paying much attention the past couple of days. However, the Beck book has us weigh once a week as we move through the daily exercises. I have had such horrible sleep this past week coupled with the fact that  I have been eating some of my daily calories during the middle of night so when I do weigh in it is mid-afternoon and I am not sure if that is an accurate measurement of my present weight.

So, it appears that I have either not lost any weight this past week or I may have even gained a couple of pounds! One day’s lesson was devoted on how to view the number on the scale. I have come a long way regarding that although I still don’t heed the “warning” if the numbers creep up until 5+ lbs have been regained. Looking back at my food log, I feel I did very well. There was more consistency in staying within my recommended calorie range, from day to day there wasn’t much difference and the only added sugar food item I had was a small reduced fat vanilla ice cream cone earlier in the week. In other words, this has been one of my better weeks in a very long time. It is possible that because my sleeping/awakening pattern has really been off I could be producing cortisol- a stress-related hormone to be believed in inducing weight gain. It is also possible that because I have been sleeping a lot more during the day I have been even more inactive than I was before (if that is possible). Plus, it is getting closer to the time when I get a monthly period so this could also be PMS bloat. I have been craving chocolate and sugar the past couple of days.

Well, I am going to resume daily exercising. I will do my best to do something every single day this coming week and let’s see how that impacts my weight lose. I have also been drinking a lot more diet soda than water although I really think the bottom line is always less calories = weight lose. So, that is what I have to aim for always. This last assignment where we have to put our sabotaging thoughts up against 7 Questions really opened my eyes to some of the ways that I have been holding myself back. I think of all the cards that I have made up thus far those have had the most impact on how I see my own role in remaining obese. I am still full of self-doubts but there is also a Day coming up that will address that as well so I am looking forward to seeing what exactly I will need to do to overcome that hurdle.

Right now, the main thing is to just get on with all of this. Once again, it seems like I have had a reoccurring pattern of RA flare-up. This has been at least the second year in a row where I have a predictable period, usually 4-5 weeks, where my RA goes from being tolerable achy to acute pain. Ironically, it is at the two times of the year, Advent and Lent, when we as Catholics become more involved in openly practicing our faith. This has been the second year that I missed Easter. I honestly thought I could make it Easter morning so I waived going during the Easter Vigil. I am really going to have to rethink that “strategy” because it backed fired on me twice two years in a row.

Well, I need to do a couple of things that might actually help me get through those two periods easier. One is pain management. Two is use the plateau time to get a lot more things done so that when I do have one of those periods of acute flare-ups, if I ease back on my activities, I won’t feel doubly discouraged that I have all this stuff, particularly around, that needs to get done. I am still learning how to effectively manage the acute pain. One thing that will be beneficial is getting back into shape, particularly my flexibility and to strengthen the muscles that support my affected joints. The second is to just move more quickly on some of these unfinished projects. That way I will have cleared my “to do” list of things that trouble me because they are not done. Then, when the flare-ups return, those things will be done and all I have to focus on is getting through the acute flare-ups and not be preoccupied with the other stuff. I have also decided that when I am having better days/weeks/months that I will ceize the opportunity to take in a lot of social activities so that it will balance off the times when all I can do is be home, either in bed or on the loveseat watching tv.

So, moving forward, this is going to my plan on how to handle my RA.

Today, we went to Wal-mart and  I was able to walk around the whole store well. My knees were only bothering me a little towards the end. When we got home, I was even able to put away what we bought without sitting down and then after briefly sitting down I was able to stand to make our supper. All of this used to be a “big deal” for me. It thoroughly convinces me that I really need to try and get as much weight off of my joints as I possibly can asap. The less weight I am carrying on my weight bearing joints the easier it will be for me to do more “sustained” exercise, which is what I really need to do to see those numbers go down.

Case in point: T,one of the women I’ve met on the BLC site has been training for several different walking fundraisers. I am not sure why she decided to start that but she has been very determined to finish these “5, 10 and 13K” walks and, by the sound of it, she has but what a price she is paying: after one such walk, she went home and took an ice bath! I used to walk 15 miles a week. I could walk 3 miles in 45 minutes. I was going up and down hills as well. I was 245 lb at the time. By the sound of it, T is doing what I used to do: being  physically active but not dieting. I didn’t like reducing calories then. Who does? I shudder when I think of the kind of food choices I used to make though. A lot of fast food for one thing. When I was home, I ate very little fresh food either. It was all processed, frozen or canned. So, I was eating a lot of high fat/sodium/sugar and calories. No wonder I never budged an ounce.

My guess is that she is eating the way she usually does. I know that is what I did. I got really toned but I was still obese. Now, I have been working more on my food plan. I eat more healthy today than I ever have. As I have mentioned about me losing weight and using the Beck diet techniques, she hasn’t written me as often. I hope I don’t lose her as a diet buddy because she is a really nice person and I think that we have “connected”. However, as I lose more weight, she might begin to pull back. It happens. I value my friendships and I would really hate to lose her as a new friend but I also understand how these things work. I think that a lot of people when faced with the overwhelming task of losing a lot of weight just give up. I know that I have many times before.

Well, now that the acute RA flare-ups have subsided and, hopefully, won’t be returning for another 6-6 1/2 months, I want to really kick my activity level into high gear. However, my food plan is equally important and I now recognize that. I can’t have one without the other. I am becoming a much better shopper too. I love to try new things and if I felt that I could, I would go ahead and fill our cart with all kinds of new “organic” food items. Instead, I try a couple of new things here and there, see if I like them and, if I do, then I buy them more often. I am really proud of myself that I have managed to really pursue healthy eating with such purpose and determination. I am still tweaking the calorie part of my food plan though.

I do see that when BLC recommends eating PB, for example, they only list 1 TB rather than 2 TB. It is 80-100 calories difference. I also have a tendency to add margarine before I put on PB and that adds another 80 calories. By following their example, I could eliminate 180 calories and really not miss it either. So, that is what I need to do “moving forward”. Another big change I have made recently is to just eliminate all empty calories from my food plan. I was really surprised how easy that was to do. I have missed the taste of sugar but other than 2 reduced fat small vanilla cones that I have had at McD’s this past week, I have done remarkably well. I have really come down from a “sugar high”, so to speak.

I am really proud that I have made some really good choices in places you wouldn’t think you could. McD’s is a perfect example. I had a grilled chicken wrap today for lunch. I had a small french fries which was just the right amount of fat and salt for my meal. I usually get a diet soda anyway so those two and the small vanilla cone was 620 calories. The small cone was just enough to satisfy my “sweet tooth”.  I left feeling satisfied. The past couple of times that we have gone to A’s I have ordered off either the WW’s selections or the “Under 550 calories” selections. So far, everything has really tasted good. It is having experiences like this that help me relax when I am eating out since I know that I can find something I like and isn’t a “diet buster”.

What I am really most proud of though is getting in the habit of eating more vegetables each day. I think for most people that is one of the more difficult parts of changing your diet. I stumbled onto a small section in the produce area of P that has smaller bagged cut up vegetables. I was originally thinking that I would use these in either salads or raw but when we were getting low on vegetables this past week I decided I would have to cook up one bag. They were amazingly much better than frozen! It made me want to eat my vegetables!

Tonight was a good example of a relatively simple meal but done in a way that both of us went away feeling satisfied. I made sloppy Joes. I have seen others load up on the condiments so I decided I would add dill pickles, yellow mustard and sliced onions. Wow, what a difference that made. It really made the burgers come to life. Then, I cooked some of those vegetables mentioned above. I added some cold fresh sliced tomatoes. We each had a light beer.  I had a sugar free chocolate mint mousse for dessert. I think what this proved to me was that I didn’t need high fat chips or french fries to make this meal delicious. I think that it will help me figure out a way to have cook outs without the usual high fat, high calorie foods and, yet, still enjoy the occasion. I was struck though by how fortunate I am right now that I can buy the kinds of foods I need to eat to both lose weight and be healthy. I only hope that I can continue doing this “moving forward”.

Well, hopefully, in a few months, we will be enjoying a lot of fresh produce from our own garden. I especially look forward to having fresh tomatoes, strawberries and cantalope. My strawberries might take a few years of growth before I am really going to see an appreciable amount of fruit. I picked up a small book on “Square Foot Gardening” that emphasizes growing large amount of food in a small space. It uses raised beds that are rich in soil mixture with soil no deeper than 6″! I am really excited to see how this is done. I just planted ours the most efficient way I knew how but, after reading this book, I will make sure that my winter garden follows this format. Again, like so much else, garden smarter not harder!

Well, I have decided that I am just going to stay up until I begin to feel tired. So far, it is 2:30 a.m. and I am still holding my own. I am drinking lots of diet root beer and chewing lots of ice. It makes me feel cold but, so far, I haven’t felt hungry either, which is another nocturnal habit I would like to break: eating late at night when I am usually not hungry but restless or bored. If I can nip that recently developed habit in the bud I will be able to eat more throughout the rest of the day and I won’t be scrambling to try and eat a lot less. Right now, these two habits plus not being very active during the day are what is slowing down my weight lose. I want to try and work on countering my sabotaging thoughts and/or habits so I can expedite my weight lose or, at least, not slow it down by my own unintentional actions.

I don’t know how long it will take to lose this weight. I feel really optimistic when I see a lot of weight go and then I am left wondering when I don’t have any weight lose or even a slight weight gain. I agree with Dr. Beck that you can’t let your feelings about your progress or yourself overall be affected by the rise and fall of that number. Instead, it does pay to be more objective and see it as an opportunity to learn from it. I really have to shake my head when I think about eating all of those candy bars, chocolate chip cookies and V-day cupcakes. It is like my head wasn’t making the connection between doing that and not losing any weight. The distorted thinking I was under was overly positive fortune telling: believing that having those, even though I was including them in my food plan, was okay and wasn’t going to impact my weight lose at all. Now, looking back, I feel really foolish; like what was I thinking?

I may be in for some more reality checks before this is all said and done. I’m not even sure what that will mean either. I think about my diet blog and how that has evolved a lot differently than I thought it would. Well, I am still going to continue to contribute to that as I move through this process. Then, I can look back and see what I did, what worked and what didn’t, and the end results. That was the whole purpose of me starting the diet blog. I wanted a record of what I was doing while I was losing the weight. I plan on including some of these diary entries as well since they are from the “foxhole”, so to speak.  I just hope they don’t sound too rambling.

I have about 7 books from the “Biggest Loser” and I haven’t read any of them except the calorie counter! I think it is time I start delving into those and see what “gems” I can find among those pages. In fact, I was leafing through one of the first ones published and a lot of the stuff that I have discovered on my own, they had in that. OY! Talk about reinventing the wheel. Had I taken the time to sit down and read these books from the start I might have avoided a lot of unnecessary trial and error. Another thing to help me feel “foolish”. I could be thin right now if I had begun reading these books last summer! That sucks, just thinking about it!

5/15/11:

I will give myself credit though with not eating at all during the night and that allowed me to realize a 1.6 lb lose. I drank a lot of diet soda and chewed a lot of ice cubes. I can now say that I have lost 10 lbs since I rejoined BLC. My fasting blood glucose was 107 mg/dl. In order for me to see that kind of number I have to go without any food for about 12 hours! I really have to fast. If I wanted to really get some lower numbers for a medical testing I would probably have to fast 15 hours or more to get down to where they would consider it “normal”. Or possibly not have any carbs a day or two before I take the test. Something to think about if/when I would need to take a test which would show up on my medical records for “all to see”, including the insurance companies I have term life insurance with. In the meantime, I really need to keep working on losing weight and getting some exercise in as well.

I am getting better about not straying way off my calorie range. Now, as I approach 2100 calories, I can sense it. Tonight, I felt a lot of free floating anxiety and I could feel like I wanted to eat “just because”. I didn’t but it made me wonder how long it will take for me to get over this particular behavior. It has certainly done a lot of damage to what would have otherwise been really good days when I was dieting in the past. So, I need to give myself credit for being able to both recognize the cause and source of this desire but also not to act on it either. I was able to distract myself. I got a small book about “Square Foot Gardening”. Between reading that and learning where our favorite networks are on this new channel system I soon forgot about the desire to eat.

This is something noteworthy to share with my Beck group. Just think: I am going to have to face this kind of challenge and many more for many months ahead!  I don’t want to think about how many times I will be journaling about this very thing. It is too discouraging. I just want to get through today. I can’t even imagine what tomorrow will be like. I was surprised that I would be dealing with this because I had a decent sized supper with a lot of crunchy foods, salty and sweet tastes and it was both eye appealing and filling. I wasn’t tempted to snack except for a banana. Well, obviously, Dr. Beck knows how we dieters are going to react better than we do ourselves.

Once again, we seem to end up eating out somewhere when we are out doing our “errands”. This is a pattern we have had for several years. It hasn’t stopped yet. Although I wasn’t familiar with R’s menu, I knew walking in what my “strategy” would be. I did well except I had a small dish of ice cream and a delicious seasoned dinner roll with 3 pats of sweet creamery butter. I think I could have easily changed my “game plan”, had another one of those rolls and foregone the potato and rice that I had. I think, if we ever go there again, I would probably stick with the rotessiere chicken since that really looked juicy then have a couple of those rolls along with vegetables. According to their online menu, they offer reduced sugar desserts but I didn’t even go over there. I think, I owe it to myself to do so. Still, I feel satisfied that I made some good choices in spite of not knowing exactly what they had on their buffet. That was today’s “lesson” in Beck Diet Solution.

Much like the expansion of plus size clothing, I am also finding that now restaurants are trying to respond to people’s desire for healthier foods within the framework of what their menus offer. Back in the early 1980’s, it was really difficult to find plus size clothing that was attractive. Now, the choice is endless. Well, the same thing is happening with a lot of restaurants’ menus including McD’s. (although food purists may argue with me on that point of what is healthy there-so suffice to say, I will say, “healthier”) What I wear now for clothing style I will most likely wear when I am a “normal” weight. The only difference is that I will be in a smaller size and I will feel more attractive. If I would really commit myself to doing some toning exercises I won’t even have to wait until I am in the single digit sizes to look nice(r) in my clothes. I could look better in the clothes that I wear now if I would do more situps, butt lifts, hip reducers, and toned arm exercises. The same with restaurants. I will probably still be eating at the same restaurants that I do now so I might as well develop a strategy that will carry me all the way down the scales and “then some”.

I could wear a body slimmer, which are quite popular now, but I don’t want to get in the habit of having to reconstruct my figure just because I am not working out or toning my muscles. Granted, I could use them now so I can get that effect but when I think of how constricting they are and probably not all at that comfortable (especially in hot humid weather) I think it is better to just work out my core muscles and gain the sense of pride that would come with doing that instead of trying to make like a girdle is really how my body is and would look naked. I want to look good with or without my clothes one. I’ve got my work cut out for me though! That is for sure.

As for my food plan, I need the practice of eating in the real world so I feel that every time I eat out I can developing the necessary skills to do so. All the major chains have a website where they have their menus and nutrition listed so you can essentially plan what you are going to eat before you even sit down in their restaurant. In fact, you can skip getting the menu and order immediately so you aren’t tempted to eat something else. I am finding it easier and easier to do. Once I have these skills in place, I can really enjoy the dining experience without feeling tense about compromising my pre-planned decision. I’m not perfect at this but I have achieved quite a bit of finesse in this area and I feel more confident as a result.

I am also supplementing some sugar free “dessert” type foods simply because I know that if I don’t allow myself some type of “treat” within the framework of my food plan, I will start craving the sugar alternatives of those food items and that is not good for either my blood glucose or my weight lose plans. I am approaching my weight lose as also a means to lower and keep my blood glucose lowered as well. And, it has been widely accepted that diabetics do use artificial sweetners as part of their food plan. I have recently learned that agave nectar does not raise your blood glucose like other sweetners so I am going to try and substitute that in some recipes and see how I come out with both the taste and whether I end up wanting more or can settle for just one serving size. All this is a “work in progress”. I don’t know how long I will do this or where I will end up with the sugar issue.

Right now, I am thinking that I won’t have traditional sugar desserts –ever. Instead, I will tweak the best recipes I can find until they are palatable and then that is what I will do “moving forward”. Why resume eating sugary foods indiscriminately if I can cut the habit and stay away from that kind of food? It is like returning to smoking a cigarette here and there rather than giving it up for good. Having said that, I am sure that there will be times when I acquiescene but I would rather that be the exception than the rule. I just simply don’t think my body will be all that forgiving. I am treating my food plan as I should: I have elevated blood glucose and that is a strong factor in what choices I make from now on.

I went online and took the RealAge quiz. This is quite “well known” for determining what your real age vs your chronological age. Even Biggest Loser has used this to help the morbidly obese contestants realize just how unhealthy they are. RealAge had me at 63.0 years old. I fudged a little on the activity portion.  I did put slow walking but whether or not any of it could be considered aerobic would be a “stretch”. I do move around the apartment during each day, with some days being more than others. Lately, I have begun to go into the grocery store or Wal-mart and walk around. I do try to seek out more movement since this latest RA flare-up has subsided.

The main detriment to my RealAge is being obese. I do have quite a bit going in my favor. I have improved my eating habits significantly and in a relatively short period of time. I am eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. I am drinking more water. I am taking my vitamins and supplements, including trying to find products that have omega-3 added to it since fish is so expensive and I don’t eat it as often as I would like. Surprisingly, they recommend eating fish only once a week. I wonder if that is because most fish has traces of mercury in them and now the new recommendation is to not eat fish more than 3x a week.

I do eat ground chuck once a week. Both P and I usually order steak when we go out to eat especially at A’s since that is really good there. I don’t mind the soy burgers on the market although those frozen products usually come with higher sodium. I am eating a much healthier diet overall than I have been in a long time. I just need to keep it up. Recently, I have decided that I am going the “no sugar” route. It is a far cry from my earliest entries on my diet blog but right now it makes sense to me and that is all that matters. If it looks like I am doing a 180 degree turn then maybe I am. I just feel a lot better and I find dieting is a lot easier when I am not eating sugar. Now, I do have some lightly sweetened oat cereal and some organic Greek yogurt with organic cane sugar (sugar is sugar!) but if sugar is not the second or third ingredient, I am going to let it go by. It does help if yogurt has a little sweetener in it because it is pretty bland without some added flavor to it. The kind of sugar that I am talking about is all the empty calories except fat and sugar that is in a lot of junk food or processed sweets. I have been weening myself away from my sweet tooth by eating a lot of fresh fruit. It works but I was starting to miss having a dessert once in awhile. That is where I am at right now.

So, yesterday, I bought some sugar free cookies and they weren’t half bad. In fact, they tasted just like their sugary counterparts, as far as I can remember. I bought the chocolate chip and the pecan shortbread ones. Tonight, I went on the company’s website and I ordered: sugar free maple syrup, sugar free creamy peanut butter and a 20 pack of “snack size” assorted cookie flavors. I sent two messages to one of the women I have talked with on a daily basis: one regarding what I just wrote above and also quite an impassioned plea for her to seriously consider her health first and foremost when making decisions regarding her food choices. I realize that may have no discernable affect on her but I felt compelled to tell her that she needed to start putting herself first. I woke up and continue to wake up regarding how I am eating and how it is affecting me.

I do believe that this Beck Diet Solution is a no nonsense way of saying “just do it”. I’ve been playing at dieting. Now, I am doing it. Not saying I’m dieting but eating pizza and drinking regular Coca-Cola then finishing off with candy bars. What diet is that? Now, my food plan looks and feels like a restricted calorie, healthy eating plan. I can and I hope to eat this way for the majority of my meals from now until “forever”. So, it is important that I have the right frame of mind, I practice good behavior, I eat foods that are both varied and healthy, I learn to prepare them in a way that makes me want to continue to eat them, and eventually I get back to moving again. That is the next step in this process.

Lately, when we are out, I am walking into the grocery store with P and walking the store along with him. I am holding onto the cart and I am able to make it through the store without needing to run out to the car and immediately sit down. That was something that I was doing last fall. I could do even better than that if I could 1) lose 10-20 more lbs as soon as possible 2) strengthen my leg muscles so they could take off some of the pressure my joints are “taking” as a result of being out of shape. So, what that means is that I really get diligent with how many calories I am eating and watching the sodium as well. Then, I really need to get doing as many strength exercises as I can particularly for the lower body.

Then, we had a good dinner: baked chicken, steamed asparagus and potatoes. I made a potato salad recipe from one of the diabetic cookbooks I got off of Amazon.com. I could tell it was lower fat but other than that, it tasted quite good. I tried the asparagus and I had some leftover cabbage and a slice of tomato. I am finding it easier to get my vegetables in.  After dinner, I decided to catch up on some of the t.v. programs I’ve recorded in the past several days while catching up on my reading in the “Beck Diet Solution” book. I am almost done with this first printing of the book. I should be receiving the second printing in the next couple of weeks. I ordered a book on how to self-treat your knees. Again, I bought a gently used book on Amazon.com. I used the little bit of credit that I have on my credit card. A few of the people on these website groups think that some of my problems with my joints will be resolved once I get back exercising and lose the weight. I agree with that up to a point. One thing that I can not do is walk on the treadmill very fast nor for very long. That is when my knees really start to bother me. However, I will admit that having lost the amount of weight that I have lost has made it easier for me to move around when my RA isn’t flaring up. I also have to make sure that I am taking the recommended dosage for the Aleve. If I drop the ball on that then I really do feel pain when I am moving period.

5/19/11:

I ended up going to bed later than I had planned on. I read my e-mails at the last minute and I saw that D, a woman I have met and converse with from BLC, seemed like she could use my help with figuring out a menu for diabetes. As an example, I gave her what I ate yesterday, breaking it down into macronutrients as well. I also made some notations on what I could have done to have less carbs at a particular meal. I said I was satisfied with how it turned out since I was at my lowest end of my calorie range and I was within the range for each of the macronutrients. It doesn’t always work out that way but that is the daily goal I try for anyway. I also ended up having another pound lost! So, I know what I need to do. Try to eat between 1700-1800 calories per day.
Now, just to do that.

I decided that I am going to shoot for 135 lbs instead of 140 lbs. The idea came to me last night as I was writing up my response cards from “Beck Diet Solution”. All during high school and my early 20s I seemed to hover between 135-138 lbs easily. I did diet back then, at times quite stringently, to lose additional weight and if I remember, it was a lot harder to maintain a lower weight than that. I think that with that weight and what we now know about burning fat/building muscle, etc. I could be both very fit and lean at that weight and also be healthy as well.

So, I think the way that I am finally going about losing weight now will get me there. How long that takes will depend on how willing I am to really tow the line and do what I need to do to get there. As I just said, I noticed that without exercising I need to reduce my calories to at least 1750 calories per day. It wasn’t all that bad yesterday but it can easily be blown by making the wrong choice when I am eating out, especially if I make an impulsive decision to eat a dessert that I hadn’t planned on. I would like to say that I could also gain the same advantage by exercising but right now it is all I can do to get the sleep that I need. In fact, although I managed to stay in bed between 3:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. I have been fighting the urge to go back to bed and get some more zzzzs for the past couple of hours. So, in a few minutes that is what I am going to do. However, resuming exercise is definitely something that I plan on doing asap. I know that I can make progress in both how I look but also strong I can become if I will only do what it takes. I used to be able to but right now fatigue has been the main reason why I haven’t done so.

Already, I have had comments from different ones on how well I am doing. That is nice to hear. I realize that in order to pull away from the pack you need to do all of the things we all have either not tried to do more diligently or have refused to do. I know that I was resistant to doing some of these things before. I really did want to “have my cake and eat it too”. I still can but I choose not to have the sugar version right now since I know that it triggers overeating, craving and even binging when I do. I have discovered that metabolically, chemically or whatever you want to ascribe it to; that is how my body processes sugar and, to some extent, high glycemic foods. I could fight this and refuse to believe it but I have seen evidence in how it changes my behavior around food. It is almost like I am an addict craving heroin. I am not joking! So, although it may sound drastic to do what I am doing, I believe that I have finally found the key to opening up the possibility of me finally shedding the rest of this weight. Since I have seen both the before and after of just how much calmer I feel around food in general after removing as much sugar as I can from my diet; I’m sold. I don’t need any more evidence. So, now that I have realized this in a more deep and profound way, I am more willing to accept this as” my reality”.

5/20/11:

It is almost 1 a.m. Yesterday was an emotional day. I knew that as I worked through the Day designated for Emotional Eating that it would be. For as long as Nicole has been alive, I have struggled with first my weight and then food issues. That is a very very long time. It started out losing the weight I had gained from pregnancy. I was unaccustomed to being so large. I was used to being a size 7-8 and here I was leaving the hospital wearing M:18 tops and they were tight. Granted, I still had breasts full of milk which diminished by the time she was 3 months old but I was not prepared for my body to be so large. I lost the extra 68 lbs I had gained during pregnancy and then I quickly went back up to 140 lbs. However, it was the first time that I had to face that my naturally thin figure was not going to cooperate in a way that it had previously. I wasn’t overweight by any means but my perception of my body image had changed and I began to feel uneasy about my weight.

Unfortunately, the struggle with my weight began then. I managed to stay around 165 lbs which is still considered the top of my normal weight range but it was anything but normal for me. I was accustomed to being 130-138 lbs up to that point. I stayed around 165 lbs for about 5 years until I met Chet when all of my former insecurities and anxieties seemed to surface strongly. He enjoyed eating out. I wasn’t used to that up to that point and, suddenly I found that it was something I would enjoy too. I think, I wrongly assumed that we were building intimacy every time we ate out. I believed that for a very long time. It took me years later to realize that he simply had a penchant for restaurant-prepared food and I was a “tag along”. I remember towards the end of our marriage constantly urging him to go out to eat because that was when I most felt like we were a couple. However, those meals were not intimate or memorable other than the fact we were both gaining weight; me more than him. Towards the end of our marriage, I was eating alone often and I was also compulsively binging and overeating probably 5000 calories or more at times. I was also desperately unhappy in that marriage.

So, now, fast forward to today. I have done so much work in individual and group therapy. I have joined and followed the 12 Step program, which I have embraced wholeheartedly, and I have joined and dropped out of a lot of diet programs over the years. Now, three decades later, I am working yet another program to help me lose the weight. So, what is different about this? I am almost finished with this book and I have about 3 dozen recipe cards filled with statements on how to overcome most of the “typical” hurdles most dieters, including myself, need to overcome to successfully lose weight. Maybe, this will work simply because I am ready to “draw a line” and not cross over it; at least, intentionally. My conviction is stronger right now after having worked through this book than I have felt since last summer when I had it for about five weeks.

I think that this CT will help keep me motivated and focused on what I want to accomplish until I have accomplished it. That is what I think this will do for me. It will be making a conscious decision over and over again so that I make choices that will support me losing weight until I am the goal weight I want to be. If anything, this book provided with a motivational kind of “you can do it” push that I needed to get back on track. I don’t want to keep falling off the wagon and getting back on. The longer and more often I do that the more demoralized I become. What I think this book will do for me from now is give me specific strategies that I can use when I am confronted by some of the common “obstacles” that most dieters face. It will help me work a better and more effective food plan. I am not saying that I will diet “perfectly” but I think I will have more hits than misses.

For example, in the past three weeks, I have had three unplanned “desserts”; all ice cream but I chose the smallest cone and I included it in my daily food log. I decided about two weeks ago that I was going to go with minimal amount of added sugar to my food plan. It just evolved one day and I realized that it would help me deal with a lot of the extra hunger, cravings and impulsiveness I had surrounding food. I now believe that most if not all of those difficulties that I was experiencing before were because of my addiction to high glycemic/sugar foods.

However, the challenge is not over yet. I have one other hurdle to overcome: eating less so that I can see, at least, a two pound weight lose every week. I began three weeks ago today so this is my “official” weigh in day for BPD but I had D’s for dinner and my sodium was over 3000 mg. If it looks like I have gained from yesterday’s weigh in, I will take yesterday’s weigh in as my weekly weigh in. What it will mean for me is becoming more active and to really watch my portions when I am eating throughout the day. I’m not overeating but I am also eating more than I am burning off. Then, the next challenge will be doing this over and over again for the next 15-16 months, or possibly longer through whatever life throws at me! I would have been intimidated before reading this book but after going through what I have gone through, I do believe I will be able to do it.

I am wondering if this woman I have befriended from BLC will be able to pull herself together and get back on track. I have been as encouraging and helpful as I can be but she hasn’t mentioned reading the book after the initial first three chapters or even whether she is going to follow its premise. It sounds like she is really grasping at straws at this point. Since we have been conversing back and forth, she has bought several books and just as quickly as she buys them she drops following them. I am wondering if she will do the same with BDS. Well, I need to step back and allow her to find her own way, even if it is not what I am doing or feel works for me.

The only thing I am wondering is since our relationship began on a mutual desire to support the other person I am now wondering how we will make the shift if one of us is really struggling and the other seems like they “are on their way”. Well, I thought that I had a diet buddy when I met A and then I am afraid I might have scared her off. She was already struggling just to start her food plan and I was charging right out of the gate. However, I wonder how she would have been had I been able to re-connect with her when I was struggling as well. It all began when I wanted to “celebrate” my birthday and it ended up being a three day overeating which derailed me from then on. I was really on a roll. I felt so bad about that because it is really nice when you have someone whom you can talk unending with about all of the nuances of dieting. It would probably get boring to anyone else but when you are both dealing with the same struggles, it forms an instant bond.

Well, I am going to do my best to give her some “breathing space”. I have inundated her with a lot of information and she might feel overwhelmed at this point. She did seem to be confused about what she should do next. And, I need to remember that is how I felt before I actually cracked open this book and really began to do the work the author suggested. Had I skimmed through it like I did several years ago and how I hear some people do, I am sure I would be writing something entirely different.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Why I Don’t Have Seconds

Filed Under Keeping It Real | 4 Comments

I see a reoccurant theme in the support groups that I am a part of: dealing with stress, food and social eatings we have limited control over. I used to avoid social eatings a few years ago because I felt so much stress from “the unknown”. Now, that I look back and think of the extent that I went to avoid dealing with the “should I or shouldn’t I” of buffet tables only to end up overeating at home because I also felt left out and alone in making that decision: I think to myself—what was I thinking was going to come as a result of that “plan of action”?  For me, it was increased social anxiety (after all I wasn’t honing my skills due to lack of practice) and yet another reason for stress-induced overeating.

 Then, there was the next stage of evolution in my attempt to eat “normally” at social events. A few years ago I went to a Christmas party where there was several hundred people present. It was loud with the live music playing, the buffet tables were amazingly well-presented with an equally amazing array of foods from cold shrimp cocktail to every kind of cake and pastry under the sun.  I decided to take a risk and accept the invitation, feeling very brave about that decision alone. I also decide that I am going to “practice”eating a little of everything and call it quits. That particular evening I was so tense about the “whole choice thing” and trying to figure out the calories in each little food item as I was standing over it in the buffet line that I really wasn’t very hungry. I mean, who would be? So, I underate.  However, when I got home and I went “whew, TG that’s over!” I relaxed and, guess what, my natural appetite returns. I realize that “gosh, I guess I really am hungry”. So, I ended up making a sandwich or something because I had undereaten. Sometimes, more often than not, the sandwich turns into a bag of microwave popcorn followed by a bowl of cereal followed by…you get the picture. How did this all end up turning into a binge. I had a plan. I followed it. Where and how did it end up being a “failed” plan? While I am eating the third or fourth helping of whatever, I also muse back on the evening and I remember seeing a very wisp of a young woman who picked at her entree until  she returns to her place with 5 different pieces of cakes and pastries. Not smidgens. Regular sized pieces. So, what is wrong with this picture? I never forgot that “picture” in my mind. Skinny chick sitting on her fiance’s lap snarfing down huge amounts of gooey desserts, licking her fingers and then when she catches my eye, she gives me a sheepish smile. How virtuous can I feel at that point with my two sugar cookies on my dessert plate? Or, the fact that I went home and ate 1000 calories on food that I half-enjoyed while thinking about “gee, if only..” I had eaten what I really wanted to eat while I was at the party.

Fast forward to a few weekends ago. Another party. Some of the same people as the first couple of parties. I know what kind of food is going to be there. I am poised and ready to conquer. Still, I am not entirely satisfied with how I dealt with this recent social event. As many of you know the “experts” tell someone who either has food issues or wishes to show some level of control over social eating is to first have a plan. So, I had my plan. I decided I was going to focus more on the people, the music and the overall ambience of the “party”.  I met some friends, met some new acquaintances and began conversing. Party is starting out promising. The music and the live entertainment is engaging. I have a regular, not lite, beer. I am feeling warm and rosy inside and out. Next, there are some appetizers by strolling waiters. I was actually enjoying them and limiting myself to a few since I could tell they were highly salted. Then, suddenly, like a mass exodus everyone is in the buffet line. Oy! What’s a fat person to do?  Although I was still feeling “in control” of myself (I could have walked a straight line), I was distinctly feeling hungry too.

To digress for a moment, I have been working really hard for some time on the “fat head”  that I have developed along with my fat body. What’s a “fat head”? The mindset of a fat person. The behaviors that fat people develop along with the jiggly thighs and roll (or two) around the middle. That night, my “game plan” was to treat this just like any other “normal” person would treat this kind of situation. The problem with this kind of thinking is that not every person treats these situations the same or even the same each time confronted by this. The young woman that I mentioned above for example. That might be the only time she ever ate with such abandonment. She could be bulimic. She could have starved herself all day so she could have those “goodies”. She could have gone home and ran 10 miles to work out the calories. OR; she could have just had one of those kind of days where it looked good, it tasted good and she “allowed” herself the unadulterated pleasure of enjoying them.

Well, I wanted to do what she did. Sometimes, I do —in private, when I am alone or sometimes, if I really feel brave, when I am with my husband but rarely do I enjoy my food when I eat out. The only time that I do is when I am eating what “others” would consider healthy or “normal” sized portions. Boy, I can ravage a chef salad but I delicately pick at a piece of cheesecake. I will honestly say that I really don’t enjoy eating out as much as I like to eat out. Does that make sense? I just wish every restaurant that I like would deliver so that I could tear into the food with abandonment like I wish I could in public. I can’t. At least, not yet. In spite of my pre-planned strategy to do so including this particular evening.

Back to this recent party I attended. I also got in the buffet line along with everyone else. Where I could serve myself, one table wasn’t “manned”, I got the servings that I desired.  Unfortunately, it was the plates, dinnerware and napkins table. Where the food was being served, the waiters served each of us “government regulated serving sizes”. You know, 1/2 cup of starch, 1 medium size roll, etc. Someone had educated these waiters prior to serving. All I could think of was ” quit being so stingy and fork it over!” Again, I had undereaten and I really was hungry. I had the alloted calories saved up so “dish it up”.

The food actually tasted good (done to my liking) but since it did taste so good I wanted more! My white plate underneath was visible between the food items. I had undereaten earlier in the day so I could eat with enjoyment instead of anxiety. However, it didn’t quite pan out that way. You know what stopped me? I told my DH later that had I gone back for seconds I would have felt that “people” would think, “Oh, yeah, we know why she has a weight issue” but when I watched thin, “normal-size” people snarf down huge portions with abandonment I thought who would really think that and if others do, how much do I care enough about what they think to prevent me from otherwise enjoying a well-prepared meal? A friend next to me returned for seconds and she did give me a guilty look but as she said, “It just tastes so good!” The thing is I didn’t go back for seconds. I wanted to. I could have fit the calories into my food plan that day. I felt that I had “earned” the right to do so but I didn’t. I stopped and I suffered silently.

All of this “food policing” is a direct result of what I perceive that you “normal” eaters think of me and “my kind”.  It’s both self-discrimination and incrimination. Frankly, I am ashamed of my weight. I didn’t grow up expecting dessert at the end of every meal. I didn’t have ready access to a lot of food like I do today. I wish I could write out my life story on a card and hand it to people immediately so they would know that what they see today is not who I always was. God, I just want to be accepted and understood like every other person on this planet. The problem is that being fat and overweight is just not something we embrace as “acceptable”. After all, you can do something about it, right? We are told this over and over again. So, what’s wrong with you? So, don’t expect any sympathy from those of us who know how to control what we put in our mouths. Now, I understand why some overweight people become closet eaters and why we are also people-pleasers. I am and have been both. Add to the fact that now I also have a “fat head” that has it all figured out.  Or so I think.

So, in conclusion, this is also something that I will be struggling with as I lose all of this extra weight: losing the “fat head”. This young woman I mentioned earlier was just enjoying one of life’s pleasures: really good tasting food. She doesn’t have a “fat head”. She might get a pimple out of the meal (that’s a myth, you know but we’d like to believe she got something out of it, right?) but I am sure that tomorrow she may undereat and just shrug it off, not even seeing the connection. Instead, if it were me, and it has been, I would be wailing to one of my fat friends about how unfair life is and why can’t I have my cake and eat it too?

Does all of this sound conflicted? If it does, that’s because it is. According to the “rules”, I will have to control and “police” my desire for pleasurable experiences when it comes to eating food so that,  and ironically, supposedly when I am thin I now have the freedom, or at least the perceived “blessing”, to indulge because I may or may not have earned the right to do so. I didn’t make the “rules” but I know that if I want to be “accepted” I will have to follow them to one degree or another.

Side note: Back during the Civil War (recall “Gone With The Wind”), women of “delicacy” (read: refinement) would lightly snack before a ball so the courters would think these women could control this “base desire”: to eat with enjoyment (read: abandonment). After all, who would want a young miss for a Mrs. if she ate like a lumberjack. I mean, it would be embarassing for one thing and a real fiscal concern on another. The young courter might be thinking, “I don’t know if I can make enough grits to fill this belle up!”.

Historically, we have run hot and cold about body size. Right now, thin in still in. It shows self-control. It shows “success” in controling our basic desires. It shows collar bones and hollows above our hips.  I am beginning to think that we admire people who are thin because we know just how difficult it is to exhibit that self-control day in and day out. I am sure that you may not believe that young thin woman ate what she ate that night but the truth is a lot stranger sometimes than the fiction we believe…about ourselves, about what a “normal” eater is and what a “fat head” thinks of all of this. Something tells me there is a Matrix out there when it comes to what we think “normal eaters” are and those of us who want so badly to be “one”. I’ll let you when I am there.  It might surprise us all. I hope so. I still want to have seconds.

My Story..as I promised (Part 1)

Filed Under Keeping It Real | 1 Comment

Which Diet Should I/You Follow…Questions to Ask

 

I mentioned before that I would someday digress and share with you, the reader, some of the diets that I have been on since I began my own personal weight lose journey. This seemed like that time so here I go. It all started when I was in junior high and I wanted to look like the “Model of the Day”. It doesn’t matter her name because the premise is the same: to have a “clothes hanger” for a body, no matter what your personal body frame might be. I had a growth spurt when I was eleven years old. I was my full adult height and I towered over the other six graders at the time. However, my seventh grade and entering junior high, many of the other girls had followed my lead. Although, I was slender and some might even say “thin”, I still had a discerable female figure. I had a bust line and hips which most of these rail-thin models do not.

So, my first diet was simply avoiding eating. I would typically not eat until dinner. I was so tired from lack of nutrients during the day that after my evening meal with my family I would go upstairs to my room to do my nightly homework and end up falling asleep out of fatigue. It helped me lose a few pounds but it was even more disastrous for the outcome of my grades. I managed to do this on and off throughout high school although once I began going to weekend dances with both girlfriends and boyfriends weight maintenance was not an issue. It took me decades later to make the connection with movement and weight maintenance. How ignorant I/we were back then!

Fast forward to my first and only pregnancy. I was twenty-two at the time, recently married and I had access to an abundance of food and a desire to learn to cook for the first time in my life. I went from 119 lbs (5′7″) to 198 lbs the day my child was born. This was shocking to everyone and I was numb! I had never weighed this much in my entire life. About three months after my child’s birth, I decided I needed to do something about my weight; something that I had never had to deal with to this extent before. At the time, one of the popular diets was the “Scarsdale” diet. It was developed by a physician in Scarsdale, NY for, I am assuming, suburban moms who needed and wanted to regain their lost figures. It was a bestseller, as most of these diets are, initially. It promised losing 14 lbs in 2 weeks, which has since become the “mantra” of any “diet of the day”.

Well, it did that by, of course, restricting one food group, which I don’t remember which one. The main premise of all of these diets is that by restricting one food group you will eat less and, of course, lose weight. No one tells you that any kind of calorie restriction on any diet; whether it is low carb, low protein, etc. you will lose water weight primarily because most diets are low sodium to begin with. If the “authors” would only say up front that reducing the sodium in your diet will have you lose 8-12 lbs quickly they would save us a lot of trouble of running around getting all of these specific food items (some of which have natural diuretic properties) when all we would have needed to do was “hide” the salt shaker!

Again, as my child aged (and I as well), I became more active. I began putting my infant in a stroller and walking to a nearby park. I took a part time job. I enrolled as a student. Within nine months I went from a very pregnant expectant mother with swollen ankles to a very busy, and slimming down, mom who was juggling her time between parenting, classes and a part time job. Guess what? I also didn’t have to make all those luscious made-from-scratch chocolate frosted chocolate cakes I was making when I was pregnant. Instead, I was grabbing a bite here and there at the food court in the Mall I was working in, having a salad at the school cafeteria and besides all this I had to take two physical education classes as part of a college degree I was working towards. The weight came off almost effortlessly. By the time my child turned one years old, I weighed 124 lbs and I was wearing a size 6. Unfortunately, this was not to last. I had averaged 135-140 lbs throughtout high school and I now believe that was my “natural” weight for my medium build and height. So, the artificially low 124 lbs became more difficult to maintain than I had expected. I was completely unprepared for actual weight management. In fact, you might even say that the weight lose was a fluke and I got “lucky”. I certainly wasn’t aware of how to maintain any weight on my own.

However, a new “element” in maintaining my weight lose became apparent. I was very unhappily married. For the first time in memory, I began to overeat to “sooth” my feelings. I can’t say I recall the exact moment or even food item. It just became a new habit that I had developed. Frustrated by my inability to maintain my weight lose, I overate. Now, that is not what most people would do, at least, not initially but that was what I did, mostly because I didn’t know why my body was behaving in the way that it was. I had never really had a weight “problem” but I obviously did now and I didn’t know what to do about it. To further exasperate the situation my also unhappily married spouse told me that he didn’t find me attractive. At the time he said this to me I was 160 lbs. It’s the high end of “normal” weight for me! However, in his defense, if that is possible to defend, he was accustomed to me being in the 120s so I probably did look fat to him.

Within a few years, we were separated and then divorced. I was now a single mom with a kindergardener. Feeling rejected by my former spouse and out on the “dating scene” again, I willingly returned to another relationship quickly. While a full time student by now, I met and fell in love with another student, my soon to be second husband. I will admit that I was unprepared for the added stresses of a new marriage. I had not learned to be truly independent or assertive of my needs. I felt guilt about my failure as a wife and failure to be the “thin” person I had been. Now, I had a new kind of eating to contend with; “guilt” eating. I think this is the worst kind because you feel others are already judging you on what you eat or don’t eat, how you look or don’t look and you internalize it all….the whole d**n mess! I had a new determination: to prove to myself and to others that I could “succeed” both in marriage and at weight lose.

This began the period that I would like to call the “beginning of the end”. I spent a lot of money back in “those days” on diet programs; you know, the kind where you go to an office suite in a high rise building where everyone talks in a hush that is both stern and aseptic. It makes you feel like you are in a doctor’s office although I am sure most of these people are primarily very good sales people. I won’t go as far to say that they “took advantage of me”. I was there on my own free will but I was emotionally vulnerable; at least, during those days I was. If you haven’t been to one of these programs this is basically how the “drill” works. They ask you how you heard about them then they begin to tell you about all the success stories while they usher you into a private room to weigh you. Of course, since you are feeling about as low as you can get, you are quietly brushing away some tears and feeling very “ashamed” that you “allowed” yourself to “get this way”. The person on the other side of the desk speaks in such a soothing way you certainly feel they understand “exactly” how you feel. Before you know it, you have your checkbook or credit card out while you signing some papers. A brief recap is spoken before you walk out the door feeling temporarily triumphant that you have “finally” found “The Answer” to your extra weight.

I could share names of these diet programs; you would recognize some and some you probably never heard of. That is not the point. The “concerns” that I have is that many of them are dangerously low calorie food plans which are often “supervised” by a non-medical person. Not to mention, they are really expensive and require the bulk if not the entire cost of the program up front. For someone who is 100 lbs overweight, that is in excess of $1000 for the program not to mention their own line of food products. Well, I barely had the money back then but I did have a second husband who was more than willing to put the money out there for me to join so I did. Again, I had problems asserting myself back then. I “figured” (wrongly) that if someone else was unhappy with my weight then I should be as well.

One food program, which is still actively on the market now, was going through litigation because the quick weight lose that it both promoted and which happened, caused some people to develop gall bladder disease. I was one of them. Within nine months after joining the program,and quitting (although all paid up, of course!) within four months, forty pounds and several thousand dollars lighter; I had my gall bladder out. After another program that was dangerously low in calories and again an initial weight lose of 40 lbs, I developed hypothyroidism (low thyroid output). My symptoms were hair loss everywhere ( I looked like a plucked chicken), sensitivity to cold, halted menstrual cycle, growing facial hair, developing adult acne and depression (gee, no wonder!). Essentially, it triggered early perimenopause. So, not only was I still overweight, and now considered clinically morbidly obese, I was also having “crazy hormones” to deal with. It took me years though to trace back my hormonal problems and I now truly believe it was because of how these diets impacted my body. Even though I began replacement thyroid and hormonal therapy, my metabolism nor my reproductive systems never returned to “normal” until decades later. Unfortunately, my “window” to have more biological children closed. I was starting true menopause by the time my endocrine system became “normal”. I think it was a high price to pay for something that not only didn’t work but also created additional health problems for me to contend with.

 

What You Won’t Find Here on My Blog

Filed Under Keeping It Real | 69 Comments

First of all, I want to make it very clear that I don’t have the answers to how you can lose weight. Secondly, I also am only an “expert” with one person: ME! Finally, I am writing this as much for me as I am for anyone who wishes to read this. As I said in the beginning this is my personal journey from being morbidly obese to a normal BMI (Body Mass Index–one marker of optimal health) of 22%. The charts have that as 140 lbs. for a person of my height and build. For me that will mean an eventual weight lose of over 160 lbs or half of my weight. I have been 140 lbs and the last time that I was I was 27 years old. Fast forward, thirty years later. I am 57 years old now. Do I think that is a realistic goal for me? I honestly don’t know but since that is considered an ideal BMI for me, that is the end goal I have right now. I may change that down the road but for now that is the “gold standard” I am reaching for.

I could write volumes on what hasn’t worked for me in the past and I might digress at some point and do just that to show why that didn’t work and what I am doing now is. For the time being, suffice to say, this is about the here and now, what is working and even what isn’t because I also have plenty to say about that as well. What I do hope you, the reader, will gain out of my diet blog is to be encouraged to probe deeper into your own tool chest and see what works for you and what doesn’t.

I have sat at the knees of many people on this website and I can tell you firsthand that there is a lot of wisdom here at 3FC so I would strongly encourage you to read what others have done for themselves to bring this sometimes elusive goal of optimal health and wellness through weight management. Having said that, I would like to share what the first six weeks have been for me “this time”.

I belong to several online “diet” support groups both on this site and on others. I am fast seeing what each has to offer me. I really make it a “professional courtesy” to not drag one into the other and not to do any kind of “comparisons” as well. Each has something valuable to give me (and I hope I do so likewise).  I belong to one here on 3FC that is using Cognitive Therapy espoused by Dr. Beck (of the Beck Diet Solution). I can tell you that if you are a person who has lost weight, regained it and then are back down the scale again, this might be one tool you get a hold of. This approach helps you develop the skills to maintain a weight lose, among other things.

I really believe that the reason why most people regain the weight they have lost is that they didn’t prepare themselves for life after “The Diet“. This is one reason why unsustainable diets do not work. If you can’t maintain your food plan or lifestyle, then neither are the right ones for you. This is the proverbial fork in the road where a lot of people don’t realize there is a third choice: find a new level that is sustainable. If all that matters to you is fitting in the “Skinny Jeans” and you are willing to eat rabbit food for the remainder of your life, go for it. I am not! I don’t want to judge those people who want that goal but it is also sad when they don’t consider other options as well.

I have listened to some people who are really impressive in their dieting efforts. A few of them are in one of my support groups. One of the leaders has a real “Bootcamp” Mentality. I used to follow that route and sometimes in my “once upon a time” OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) mode I would suddenly throw myself into exercising or stringent dieting only to boomerang shortly thereafter. I just did this two weeks ago. I had been increasing my exercising and I was really feeling “macho” (even though I am of the female persuasion) and, of course, what happened? I got the flu and everything came to an abrupt halt.

 Long ago, I remember working out once when I was sick. I went to a health club and thought I could beat those d**n germs to death. I now think about how unhealthy both that behavior and thinking is not to mention the potential of infecting a lot of innocent people who were just there to get their workout in. People, if you never learn anything about life in general: have some common sense. If you start feeling run down, stop and rest, take a nap, hit the snooze alarm, whatever but don’t keep doing what you have been doing that got you in that “space” to begin with.

So, if you are the competitive type (and I still am up to a point) then that approach may actually be exactly what you need. If you like to set goals and compete within a group or like the competition to push yourself further then that might actually work for you. However, my caveat, is to first examine your life. Can your life support this rigorous effort in the long run? Long ago, I used to get up four hours early, bring my gym bag along with me as I transfered several city buses to my fitness center to work out before I went to work in a downtown metropolitan office. I did this faithfully for a long time. It worked for me then. I was newly separated from a horrible marriage, I was in my early 40s and still had the “fire in my belly” approach to almost everything in my life. Well, today I don’t have any of that and if you don’t, then don’t feel like you can never lose weight and feel better. That way is not for everyone. “For every season….” I am in the late fall of my life. I need a kinder and gentler approach.

I have also discovered that moderation is the golden key to everything in life! Losing weight and getting fit is no different. That is one difference that I hope I will develop “this time around”. As I said I was following an 80/20 healthy eating plan. However, I will say that my 20% has been starting to look rather suspiciously like really bad eating, empty calories and a whole lot of additional sodium that I certainly didn’t see sneak up on me. However, my initial premise still stands. I believe that if I am going to not regain this weight, which I have every intention of not doing, then I need to adapt to the world out there, imperfect as it is, and not live in a “diet bubble” here.

 So, after having several “a-ha” moments late last night, I went through my food log, did a “comparative analysis” (some pen and paper figuring) and decided that the only foods that were going to remain on my “Favorites” food log (I keep an online food log—there are many sites where you can do this: Livestrong.com; Sparkpeople.com, are two sites that come to mind) and I decided to make an (arbitrary) rule of only listing foods that the sodium per serving was 600 milligrams or less. Now, even that seems high but since I don’t have high blood pressure I can tolerate a little more sodium than some people. Just a few weeks ago, I decided that I was only going to list 1 serving portions since I struggle with that. [I eat like a lumberjack but I am primarily an office "pencil pusher".] I’m still struggling with that at times. I love to eat good food and, at times, a lot of it!

So, I have decided that I am now going to add a second “rule of thumb”: eat foods with less than 600 mg of sodium per suggested serving. Why is this a big deal for me? I love to eat out. My husband does too. I am a good cook too so it’s not that I can’t fix it at home but for me; dining out, trying new and different foods and cuisines besides “new” restaurants is a very pleasurable pastime. Restaurants, some more than others, really spike the food during the cooking process with lots of sodium. Well, I don’t want to stop this enjoyable activity. Again, this gets back to living in the “real world” and enjoying life along the way. So, I did what any nutrition nerd would do. I went online and began researching as many of my favorite restaurants as I could to just see what I could have. I spent hours doing this. That’s the way my mind works. I love working with numbers, figures, etc. And, I was pleasantly surprised at what I “discovered”.

Here are some interesting things that I “found out”. At one of my favorite restaurants, one cup of black-eyed peas (which I just love) is the same amount of calories as this restaurant’s carrot cake (they cut smaller pieces there) but, now get this, the carrot cake has far less sodium! I love both( of course) but I just think that before I was feeling rather virtuous that I was eating the legumes and getting the added fiber but then there is some fiber in the carrot cake (especially if it is made with real carrots, nuts and raisins-all whole foods). Hmm, it does make one pause and re-think what is “diet worthy” foods.

 I am not necessarily advocating that everyone eats carrot cake over black-eyed peas. In fact, have both if you have an empty stomach and have enough calories left in your food plan for that day. I am saying though that there is room for carrot cake in my food plan and not to be scared away by it. Knowledge is power. Get to know food, what is in it, and just how “harmful” it may or may not be. I think, there has been a trend (and it is beginning to seem quite disturbing I feel) that if you eat “off plan” meaning “eat white anything, artificial anything, non-organic anything” you are going to shrivel up into a toad and hop away. Okay, this gets back to what I was saying before: get some common sense!

However, to my credit, I am not a good dieter in “that sense”. And, you know what is interesting and which I am now paying more attention to than I did in the past. I am a really good maintainer. I hate to cut down and out anything, especially foods that I love. It is like cutting out sex because you have a bad back. Hey, if bed rest is good for my back, I’ll lay back and you can “do me”. So, I would like to say that there might be a third group out there among the diet world. Those who are starting to integrate maintenance skills as they are going down the scales. I sure hope I am one of them because right now I am thinking that I just might be.

Jennifer Hudson, a phemonemally talented singer and actress, recently lost 80 lbs. I loved what she said, (I will paraphrase here)” After all, who can eat chicken breasts and brown rice forever?” Well, unless you really really love that, I doubt that you can. I know that I can’t and I like both of those…on occasion. So, here I am in the midst of all this information, more diet plans than you can shake at stick at and I am still trying to have my “cake and eat it too”.  I am either crazy or I am onto something. Stick with me and we’ll find out.

So, what you won’t find here on my blog is telling you that I am doing anything that can not be sustained once I have lost what will amount to a significant weight lose. I am not the only one who has “seen the light”. I am just so d***n glad that we are all wising up about what it takes to lose weight but also what it takes to keep it off because losing is great but not so great if you can’t sustain that weight lose. In fact, it is tragic. Losing weight takes a lot of perserverance, patience and just plain hard work.

 It is not about exercising to the point of falling down, avoiding “white stuff”, drinking water vs drinking diet soda, etc. We all know the “rules” and yet it is so refreshing when someone has the “guts” to admit that it could be something that we often overlook like a good night’s sleep. Can we really do anything worthwhile without a good night’s sleep?

I discovered that losing “just” 25 lbs opened up new possibilities in my life: being able to sleep better  since I have HUGE breasts and they were in my face literally. That was the first place that I lost weight—my midriff and bust. I could actually stand longer than 10 minutes which then opened up new possibilities of being able to walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes.

I started drinking water because I wanted to fit in with another diet support group but after I drink 64 oz each day I switch back over to my diet soda. There I said it. I will admit that I do like the water when it is ice cold but it also makes the taste of the diet soda taste even better. LOL I got chewed out by that leader of that group for God forbid drinking diet soda. She sent me an article (how many more studies are these experts going to do?) that really didn’t say diet soda per se was bad for you, only regular soda. Duh! So, now I am closet diet soda drinker. It’s human nature, what we feel is going to be judged we take it underground. Silly, silly, silly!

I say that anyone who can figure out what works for them and then proceed instead of the “pack mentality” that exists even in this “world”, I say BRAVO! I am a lone wolf so what you won’t find here on my blog is do this or do that and you too will “magically” lose all the weight you want. I will however promise to tell you what I am doing along the way that gets “results”, even if they are imperfect by some people’s standards. I will hopefully not “preach” to you because I don’t like it either. I also will document as closely as I can when I make changes or abandon what may have worked at first and may not work later. I am truly a “work in progress”. If you can tolerate the ambiguity in all of this then I welcome your readership.

Again, I want to state my “mission statement”: I want to document and chronicle my weight lose journey so I can have a road map of where I came from, where I went, including the detours, and where I ended up. I will include photos along the way, measurements (for those who like numbers) and what it took for me to lose half of my physical self.  As long as I don’t lose more than half my sanity, I’ll do fine. Thanks for checking reader(s). Someday, I may wonder why I invited you all into my private self but for now I am good.

After all, when it is said and done, we won’t applaud the fact that you drank 64 oz of water every day , or whatever else worked for you, during your journey, we will celebrate that you did what we all want to do and will do, once we listen to our own “still voice”, and that is reach a personal goal of health and a new lease on life. That is what it is all about, my friend! Finding our own way, the way that works for us.

Now, where is that calorie counter book of mine…..

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