I had carbonara tonight for dinner. My carbonara is a huge pile of veggies (mostly broccoli) with a little whole wheat pasta (and an egg, parmesan, and 2 slices of bacon). It’s an easy, yummy, healthy, and highly satisfying meal for 400 calories. I ate around 5:30 and I won’t be hungry till after church tomorrow. It really sticks with me.
Last week I made a stir fry for dinner. It was mostly a huge pile of veggies (mostly broccoli) with about 4 ounces of raw turkey breast. It’s also about 400 calories and is about the same size meal. And yet I’m always hungry a few hours after I eat.
The carbonara is about twice the fat (13 v. 7) and about half the protein (26 v. 60). Fiber’s about the same. Carbs are 50 for the carbonana and 35 for the stir fry. The stir fry is twice the sodium too, because of the tamari.
So is it the fat that makes it stick with me? The bit of extra carbs? Whatever it is, I wish I understood it better.
First, the disclaimer: I don’t believe in horoscopes. That is, I don’t believe the stars predict if it’s a good time for a risky financial deal or that there’s a tall dark stranger in your near future. But I still enjoy the realastrology (http://freewillastrology.sparkns.com/) column in the local free weekly paper. It’s always semi-philosophical and funny.
Now, the horoscope:
In the early 20th century, many women at the beach covered most of their bodies with swimsuits made of wool. If they went in the water, they’d emerge 20 pounds heavier. Swimming was a challenge. Your current psychic state has resemblances to what you’d feel like if you were wearing drenched woolen underwear and a drenched woolen clown suit and a drenched woolen robe. My advice? Take it off; take it all off. The astrological omens are clear: Whatever your reasons were for being in this getup in the first place are no longer valid.
Well, I have been wearing a lot of wool… but that’s because we’re halfway through what has so far been an exceptionally cold and grey winter. It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist (or an astrologer) to guess my psyche sort of feels weighed down. I am having no problem being on plan, that part is good. Which is really excellent and I’m not complaining about that at all. At all. And I’m not depressed, which all things considering is pretty amazing. But I just feel off, all off.
I’ve been thinking ahead to Lent. And to maintenance. I know this is sort of “long range” planning, especially the maintenance part, but look at it this way: it took me nearly 2 years of thinking about healthy eating before I started for Lent last year. I sure hope it doesn’t take me 2 years to start maintaining my weight-loss so maybe I need to start thinking about it now. And since Lent was my springboard last year…
I was thinking about giving up sweet stuff again this year, after all, it sure did me a world of good last year. But to me, giving up things at Lent is not just about the challenge of giving something up, it’s about growth as well and I think I’ve learned what there is for me to learn from last year’s challenge. (Giving up swearing, like I did one year, is probably a challenge I could learn something new from every year but I think that would be a topic for a different blog…)
The thing about Lent, at least for me, is I find the strength to do things I can’t seem to manage the rest of the year. Of course, being a Christian, I believe this strength comes from God but perhaps it is the power of tradition or the finite timeline (March 9 to April 23 this year) or it’s just me messin’ with my own head. But I can do things during Lent I’m not really sure I can do.
So, this year for Lent I’m thinking of really committing to whole foods. I’ve given up most highly processed foods and I try to make healthy choices, but there are always compromises. Like Stonyfield Farm is pretty good yogurt but why does it have pectin in it? Homemade yogurt doesn’t have pectin. I have a similar caveat about the locally made bread I buy. And why, when I’m surrounded by excellent dairy farms, am I buying pasteurized milk? My compromises make my life easier but I think I can learn by pushing the boundaries out a bit. Lent takes things that are difficult and makes them doable. And then perhaps they will stay doable for maintenance for the rest of my life.
I’m not sure how to make my occasional meals out with friends fit in to this plan though - giving up chocolate or sugar or swearing are all much easier in that regard.
Lent doesn’t start for about six weeks yet, so I have time to think and pray on it.
I’m not talking when you are legitimately hungry and took too small a portion the first time. I’m talking primarily about treats - when you portion out three cookies or a small serving of chips knowing that is a reasonable and not totally unhealthy amount. But then you go back for more…
I know the easiest way is to just not buy these treats. This is the approach I tend to take. And even when treats are available elsewhere I am pretty good at just not taking one - because I know if I have one I’ll want more and, so far, I don’t have much willpower about the more part.
I can say “no” to cheap mass produced junk treats but some things just taste like more.
I can accept that my homemade chocolate chip cookies with all their buttery and sugary goodness are always going to taste like more. I can’t even write about them without wanting them and wanting lots of them. And no amount of practice or daily exposure will ever reduce their power. Being full, eating them very slowly or mindfully - all useless. That way lies madness.
But I think moderation can be learned for other foods. I know if I haven’t had a piece of Klinger’s parmesian black pepper bread for a while the first time I have it I want more right away. I can use mindfulness and willpower to defeat that urge and by the next day the bread is just as good but the novelty has worn off. The first fresh strawberries of the season are the same way.
As I slowly move closer to maintenance I hope to start to learn more about moderation and what makes food taste like more to me.
I bounced in to Onederland for a couple days in November but since starting menopause my weight loss has slowed and also my bounces are wilder so I didn’t expect to stay there. But my bounces were all heading in the right direction on the rebounds so I just kept on bouncing along.
A week ago I moved in to Onederland for real for sure and for certain and I am there to stay!
In January 1992 I weighed 203 so pretty much I weigh less now than I have for 2 decades. I feel great! I have a pair of 36 Levis hanging next to my current work jeans (2 pairs of 40’s and a 38 - one 40 is very loose and the other fits like the 38 - so much for quality control….) and I can put them on and zip them up. They’re still a bit tight but they don’t look like I’m a fat girl trying to squeeze in to my old jeans. I love love love those 36’s - they are the first jeans that look “normal” to me. The 38’s are unquestionably smaller than the 48’s of long ago but they still look “big” to me. The 36’s though, when I opened the package (I buy them used on eBay), I felt like I was looking at jeans I could never ever fit in to, they looked so normal.
As of today I’m 90 pounds down, so two thirds of the way home to 150. I can’t even imagine what size Levi’s I’ll be wearing 45 pounds from now. But I’m excited to find out!!!
There have been so many times the last couple months where I wanted to come record something here but life just got a bit ahead of me and updating this blog was pretty far down on the list.
But I’m pleased to report that despite too much to do and too little time I’ve done pretty good staying the course with the healthy eating. I’m not losing like I was but I’m still losing a little very slowly. I weighed in today at 200.2! I have been in Onederland a couple times last month but they felt more like flukes, whereas recent weigh-ins feel more like the real deal.
The big thing I really wanted to post about was my annual blood work in October. It was great! I went from a TC:HDL of 4.8 last year (you want something under 4.5) to 2.8 this year. So losing weight has been good for more than just my jeans size. Which was kinda the whole point, really. Dr. Norris was very pleased with my weight loss and that I was doing it sensibly with healthy eating and exercise and not setting unrealistic time lines and expectations.
Speaking of jeans - I’m currently wearing a very comfortable 38 (I started with some not terribly tight 48’s). I have a pair of 36’s hanging there to inspire me. I can put them on and even button them but I sure wouldn’t be comfortable wearing them yet. But soon, soon. And they look so small to me. They are the first pair of jeans I’ve bought that haven’t looked big to me. They look normal sized. Even at the slow rate I’m losing now I should be wearing them by my birthday!
Menopause has been a bit of a challenge for me. Not only has the weight loss slowed but the mood swings are wider and the cravings stronger. It’s like living thought puberty again only this time I know it’s all hormones. Instead of gaining a pound for no apparent reason like I might have during my cycle before now I gain 4 or 6 pounds. I still bounce back down again but in general I’m just bouncing around a lot more and with bigger bounces. At first this really threw me - “life is so unfair!”, “I’ve been eating right!”, “Noooooooo!” - and I did have a mini “oh screw it all!” right around Halloween. But, like I said, I know now it’s all hormones, including the inclination to say “oh screw it all!” so I got hold of myself again pretty quickly.
I tried to sign up for Sarah’s “No Gain Holidays Pledge” but seem to have lost the ability to post to her blog. Still, I’m there in spirit. My goal is to be in Onederland at the end of the holidays. And then just keep on going!
Flash! I’ve already lost 5 pounds this month.
I chalk it up to having gotten at least 4 hours of sleep a day, sometimes even 6. I’m still working beaucoup overtime but I’ve switched my main shcedule around so I’m working four 10 hour nights instead of three 12 hour ones and that makes a HUGE difference. For the last three or so years I’ve done the 12 hours nights and my body has just never adjusted. It was better for my employer but it was totally kicking my butt and I just couldn’t do it any more. I could never figure out when to sleep so that I routinely got more than three hours of sleep. And then I would sleep 12 hours straight my first night off and wake up loopy and jet lagged. My weight loss slows to a crawl or even reverses during my nights “on” and then kicks back in once I’ve gotten some sleep. I blamed this on not getting enough calories, and that’s part of it - if I get at least 1200, 1300 calories my weightloss stalls but doesn’t reverse on my sleepless days. But it takes enough calories and sleep to keep the weight loss steady. So, this month, where I got good food and sleep has got things really going nicely.
Flash! I’m in my last decade of the 200’s. I don’t expect to see Onederland this month (although I might I suppose) but I will in October for sure. Onederland! I am so excited. Or I would be if I wasn’t at the end of a 12 hour shift and was too exhausted to be excited.
Flash! Flash! Flash! I had my first hot flashes on Wednesday. I am 52 years old and have had no signs at all of menopause (other than some loss of memory and mental dexterity but that might well be totally caused by the chronic sleep deprivation - hard to tease that one out for sure…). However, the hot flashes pretty much seal the deal. So I’ve made an appointment to see my doctor. I haven’t had a physical in years and this seems like a good time to get some baselines.
By the time I see Dr. Norris in October I should be in Onederland! I sure as Hell hope she is suitably impressed!
I weighed in Monday afternoon at exactly 215.0! Seventy pounds and two BMI categories down; 65 pounds and two more categories to go.
Afterwards I went to the Fair with my girlfriends. This is the 25th anniversary of our first “Grils Night Out”. Every year we eat Fair food and get our picture taken in an “Olde Tyme Foto” booth. A little annual documentation of my embiggenment. It really shows in my face even when you can’t see my waistline - up till 1993 I have one face and then from ‘94 on it’s much broader, squarer, and jowlier. This year’s photo is a bit washed out but I’m definitely less sqaure headed. Right now I probably weigh about what I did in 1993. Next year I’ll be down around what I was the first yeaar we went to the Fair!
Oh, and I totally stayed on plan yesterday, even at the Fair!
My flights home from Montana were blissfully uneventful and since then I’ve just been working working working. When I work my regular shifts I get tired but when I add extra nights I end up exhausted. I’m too tired to exercise, too tired to think, too tired to even eat. I save all my energy for when the kids get up in the morning and that’s all the energy I have. I have three nights off and then I have a seven night run. After that maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel of work.
But even when I am very very tired I have been plugging away on plan. I don’t always eat enough calories when I’m really tired but I try to make healthy choices. My weight loss tends to stall after a few overnights but then it picks up again when I’m back to days and eating a bit more. I’ve learned to not worry about the daily weights and look for the long term downward trend. It’s been slower than when I wasn’t working so much overtime but it’s still going down.
And yesterday morning when I got on the scale it was 216.8 - past the halfway to goal point! It’s taken me six months to get here. I expect it’ll take me more than six months to get the rest of the way but I’ll get there!
Right about the time I started nodding off and the plane reached cruising altitude out of JFK it lost pressurization. We had to drop down to under 10,000 feet and eventually to about 1500. The plane wasn’t in danger of falling out of the sky but it wasn’t working properly so they diverted us to Detroit. We had to cruise around till th eplane had dumped enough fuel to land safely. It was a long and turbulent flight. The crew for Delta Flight 5735 were really great. I wish I could say the rest of the Delta employees I got to deal with and observe. What a magnificent combination of rudeness, laziness, and incompetence - truly, they hit the utter indifference trifecta. After a couple hours of this we were put right back on the same broken plane and continued our flight to Minneapolis. I should get in to Billings by midnight tonight, but won’t make my final destination, Red Lodge, till sometime tomorrow morning.
But I have been strong and have not resorted to chocolate! Honestly though, if ever I have earned chocolate today is one of the days.