Progress: One Foot in Front of the Other

Friday weigh-in:  255.8.  Got to give Weight Watchers props for helping point out where I pick up a lot of calories; carbs, even though I have cut my carb intake bigtime in the last year, and fats – too much cheese.

Now I am eating 1 oz of cheese a day, a real cheese, where I was eating 4 or more ounces.  I was vegan for a year or so, but going back to dairy is really easy for me because I LOVE cheese.  I am weighing and measuring and last night really struggled not to engage in recreational eating.  I love to have that sweet nightly treat.  Choices, choices.  Just have to make one at a time.

Doing the Kinect workout thing with Your Shape:  Fitness Evolved plus trying to get back to the gym regularly.  I feel like I have a lot of pieces I need for creating the kind of healthy lifestyle that I want and I am figuring out how to put them together.

Crossing Over: 249 lbs

Summer was great! Kudos to myself for all my awesome accomplishments particularly improved food choices and increased activity levels. (Queue smiles and lots of back patting)

I have lost almost 10% of my body weight.  Yeah! I am right on the BMI border between Morbidly Obese and Obese. Yeah! I am now going to the gym 3 to 4 times per week primarily focusing on cardio; 30 minutes of treadmill and currently, as many minutes of the elliptical machine as I can stand (6 at the moment), which kicks my butt (actually my legs). Yeah! I feel so awesome after I work out and I sleep better and my reflux situation is so much better (off meds except when I went on two super-fun trips this summer). Yeah! I have lots of energy and my knees no longer hurt and I was able to do lots of walking on my trips without injuring myself or getting too worn out. I was also able to stand for long periods of time at work without discomfort Yeah!

I have discovered some things about myself like the fact that many of my shoes were too small. I guess it doesn’t matter if your shoes don’t fit well if you don’t use your feet. It’s when you get moving that you realize, “Hey! These shoes are not working.” Lots of blister issues with the second toe on my left foot for some reason. Probably has something to do with it being squished into shoes that were too small for too long. I also discovered that working out makes me feel high and sleep better. No insomnia post workout is a very good thing!

My diet has naturally evolved into a mostly organic and/or natural food, protein rich-reduced carb pattern of eating that has really been great because I feel satisfied, I am losing weight, my reflux is in check, and I feel so much better physically. I was just starting to eat this way and I serendipitously happened to read an article by Dr. Oz saying that it is best to eat some protein every time that you eat (as opposed filling up on carb-y snacks and foods like chips, pasta, and stuff) because it will help you retain muscle mass and lose weight.

The downside is that I am eating meat (not so kind or green, wah, cause I really like being a vegetarian/vegan wannabe) and maybe I could do what I am doing by eating beans instead of sliced Boars Head low-sodium roast beef and Ovengold turkey (my primary meats) and sliced Kerrygold swiss (it’s from Ireland and awesome) but what I am doing is working and it tastes good to me so I am going to just go with it.

I now use low carb wraps and Arnold flat rounds instead of sliced bread and I have pretty much quit eating pasta, rice, and potatoes which seems to be very helpful for weight loss. I also eat about a quarter cup of cashews often with a banana as a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack now instead of resorting to a more carbish alternative.

I have a huge sweet tooth which I now keep in check with 1 Luna bar a day with my lunch and ice cream once or twice a week (lately once a week). When I do indulge in my drug of choice (cake) I now try to make sure that I eat only the really good stuff.

My birthday is coming up and I have been mad jonesing for cake the last couple of weeks. Yesterday morning I went to a wonderful bakery which makes real honest-to-God baked goods from scratch and ate a piece of red velvet cake and got a cupcake and a lemon bar for later. I ate the cupcake in the afternoon and the lemon bar at night. I was/am totally sugared out and have gotten my fix so no need for birthday cake and I will probably not go back to the bakery for at least a month. My previous trip there was about 6 weeks ago.

I really got too much stuff this time.  Since I enjoyed the cupcake the most, I will probably fore go the cake slice next time or at least limit myself to two items.   The fact that the quality of the stuff from this bakery is so high makes it easy to decline or pass over the more readily available, store-bought, ready-mix, low quality treats or even the less desirable, made-from-scratch ones at the health food store. My health food store’s baked goods do not even come close to the quality of this bakery’s treats. I have found I would rather hold out till I get a chance to go to the bakery. I am now a connoisseur of cake. I have come a long way from the Twinkie eating days of my past!

Another part of my carb-reduction, high-quality diet plan is that I am trying to cut all corn syrup (high fructose and otherwise) from my diet which really limits the sweets (and other foods) I eat. I was getting vanilla cones at Dairy Queen for my ice cream fix but have quit because of the corn syrup. Instead I get a Haagen Daz 5 and share it with my son (around 350 calories for half a 14 oz container which is less than the large vanilla DQ cone I was getting).

I guess I would say my new strategy is to only eat simple carbs if they are a high quality sweet treat. When I did Weight Watchers I would save my points and eat crap like chocolate graham crackers frosted with Cool Whip. The food I am eating this time is so much healthier, less processed, and better quality.

Other Dietary Changes

Eating most of my daily food intake by mid-day and having an early (ideally around 4:30 PM), small “supper” with an evening snack (Kashi cereal with soy milk).  This inverted pyramid of food intake seems to really help my reflux.

Eating more fruit – I am packing grapes with my lunch and getting a couple of organic fruits like plums and nectarines when I shop and putting them out on a plate on my counter and eating then within two days rather than sticking them in the fridge where they go bad. A lot of fruit tastes better and sweeter when it is room temp. Fruit also tastes better when you don’t eat sweets very often.

Adding romaine lettuce to sandwiches and wraps. I am also adding tomatoes on a regular basis providing I can find some decent organic ones at my regular grocery store or make it to the health food store to get them.

Making batches of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots) sauted in a little olive oil and with herbs (thyme, oregano, and marjoram plus garlic and a little black pepper is one of my fave combos) so I can have convenient servings of veggies on hand.

Eating Kashi cereal with soymilk for an evening dinner/snack and as part of breakfast (often topped with a sliced, ripe banana)

Not adding salt to food plus cutting out high sodium foods and ingredients (still trying to get off high blood pressure meds).

Except for when I was on vacation (I did eat some burgers and fries and Mex food), I have almost completely quit eating out.  Having no control over what is in the food, portions that tend to be too large, and quality that is crappy unless you pay beaucoup bucks makes dining out a poor choice IMHO.  Now I eat out only about 2 times a month instead of 2 or more times a week. Not eating out (or going to Starbucks except when on vacation) also helps save money which helps pay the higher cost of the better quality food that I am now eating.

Future plans and goals
Attend my gym’s water aerobics class weekly. Will have to wait till October for that because of my work schedule. I have never taken an exercise class and I want to start that because I believe it will really take me to another level of commitment to my goal of personal fitness and health.

Continue to reduce portion sizes and move beyond feeling like I have to eat it all now. I am not a garbage disposal. I only need to eat enough to feel satisfied, not stuffed. I am now eating one egg for breakfast (when I fix eggs) instead of two.  This is a major step for me.  I used to feel like if I didn’t eat 2 eggs I would not be satisfied.  One scrambled egg, with a slice of Swiss, on a flat round is plenty and is a fabulous breakfast.

Step out of the gym and begin to engage in more outside exercise like simply taking walks and riding my bike. The gym is a really efficient place to exercise. You go in and get it done. I need to make exercise more a part of my life so that I am still active even if I don’t go to the gym.

It’s Complicated – 258 lbs

Wishing it was that easy….

So, I went off my reflux meds and relapsed and got back on them but it turns out that my insurance company would only let me have half the strength I had been taking.  I figured this out a week after going back on the pills when they were working intermittently and I finally checked the dosage and discovered it was for 20mgs instead of the 40 I had been taking.  Turns out my insurance company is not going to pay unless I go through a lengthy appeals process and win.  My doc wrote me a script for the name brand, Nexium, but it was fifty frickin’ dollars a pop and it turns out my insurance company will ixnay that after 90 days. All things considered, I figure it would be easier to just quit taking the drugs and make MAJOR diet/lifestyle changes to compensate for their loss than deal with the hassle of trying to get them paid for when I really don’t want to take them anyway.

I have come up with a plan of action which involves careful food choices and not eating past 5ish in the PM.  I have been trying this out for a week and it seems to be working.  I was feeling pretty ill when I started (ate something spicy and cheesy which prompted me to investigate the dosage info on my prescription after I got sick).  A diet to control reflux is a lot more restricted than a diet for someone taking the meds.  No chocolate, caffeine, or mint which relax the LES.  No greasy or spicy foods which ramp up production of stomach acid.

I think I am going to be better off in the long run and it has really helped me manage my eating in general since I am not eating at night.  I actually finish eating for the day before I get home on most days.  I am taking 2 vegan Boca burger sandwiches and that is my basic food when eating away from home.  I have also been eating bananas and had some green beans tonight.  I need to cook some stuff ahead to take but haven’t gotten around to it.

I am eating two scrambled eggs and 2 oz of cheese on two slices of toast for breakfast each day.  My food intake is basically and inverted pyramid and I eat the Boca sandwiches and other stuff in small mini-meals throughout the day.  By the night, I am satisfied and have not felt hungry yet.

Weightwise, my weight shot back up to 262 and then down to 255.5 and back to 258.  Overall, my reflux diet plan is lower in calories and more structured than the way I was eating and I am hoping to get more good results.

I am learning to research food and other stuff that I put into my body carefully.  Did you know that eucalyptus oil and menthol aggravate reflux and so most cold lozenges are off limits.  Halls makes a non-mentholated lozenge (Breezers)  which do the trick.    I am working hard to make lemonade out of this situation… just can’t drink it.  Citrus fruits and juice are a reflux no-no!

On the Eighth Day

I have had a good week mainly focusing on journaling what I eat and watching my daily calorie count come down as the week went on.  It is helping me be more mindful about things like, “If I have this, then I can have more or less of that depending on what “this” is.

I am trying get it down under 2000 cals per day.  That sounds high compared to diets I used to do, but I think it is low enough and not too much of a shock to the system.  I have eaten more vegies and high quality carbs this week.  Feels like I am on the right track.

Much thanks to decemberkitty for the comment on my last post.  I saw it while on on my lunch break just before eating and it was really a nice mood booster.  : )

The journey continues…