Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I have a work friend who is trying to eat healthier, and he occasionally shadows what I'm eating when we go to lunch because he likes the results I'm getting. I don't mind that at all - I'm always happy to share what has worked for me so far.
But my friend isn't seeing results, and I've lately observed that he often finds himself with a high-fat lunch despite his best intentions. I think what's been happening is he forgets about all the extras that add up to a lot of calories and fat - the french fries, cheese with his chicken sandwich, mayonnaise instead of mustard, high-fat salad dressing.
We all have a compulsion to clean our plates; either because we hear our mother's voice about all the starving children, or we feel guilty about wasting food. So my friend, when his food is delivered, invariably finishes everything, and instantly regrets that he ate too much.
When I go out to lunch, which happens a lot because I travel often, I plan the entire meal before I order. I check the side dishes to see if the restaurant offers fruit or steamed vegetables instead of french fries, I look for the sandwiches that don't have cheese, or I ask for the condiments or salad dressing on the side. By the time I've ordered, I have a good idea of how much I will be eating and an estimate of the calories and fat in my meal.
In some restaurants, a side salad or a couple side dishes are my only option. I am comfortable ordering two side dishes, or the house salad and a side dish. Many restaurants only offer huge portions anyway, so it's very difficult to stick to a light meal.
My friend's struggles have reinforced for me that I need to do a lot of planning before I eat so that I don't inadvertently get more than I want and succumb to temptation. I also have to feel comfortable throwing food away. I don't NEED to clean my plate, so if I find myself in a situation where I'm served more than I want, I eat a little bit and throw the rest away. I rarely take leftovers because I'm traveling, and even when I'm at home I try not to bring the extra food home.
It's important for me to be aware of everything I eat, and that requires me to pay attention at every meal. I'm rarely tempted into something fattening, because I didn't plan for them in advance.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
One of the hardest things about this journey is that the hard work that occurs every day is not automatically matched to success. I sure do know how much work I do every day to eat right and get exercise, but the progress only becomes visible over time.
Progress is noticed when I suddenly become aware that my clothes are looser, or I'm able to do something at the gym that I couldn't do before. Today I noticed that two love handles over my hips are gone. I've had those for decades, and now they're gone. I'm leaner, and my profile looks better. I had noticed my hips getting smaller, but all of a sudden, today, they are much different. Who knows when it happened.
What I've learned from this is that I have to persevere even when I think nothing is happening. The daily efforts DO pay off, even though I can't pinpoint when it occurs.
That and the Lean Cuisine Hunan Beef is quite tasty, with only 5 g Fat and 290 Calories!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I do not weigh myself weekly because I know that week-to-week fluctuations are normal and I don't want to get discouraged when my progress is not as fast as I would like. So I set other goals and weigh myself when I achieve that goal.
My first goal was to get to a size 16, and recently I achieved that goal. I set that goal because I figured I would have to get new clothes once I dropped three sizes. In addition, I had been a size 22 for years, and the last time I was able to wear size 16 was high school.
Upon weighing myself I found I had lost 80 pounds and I'm halfway to my goal. I was very glad that my progress was so measurable. I was worried that all my hard work so far would only cause me to drop 50 or so pounds, but 80 pounds is a substantial loss in just eight months.
My closet is almost empty because few of my old clothes fit me anymore and I have had to buy new clothes, especially for work. I can't be working with clients in baggy pants that I have to cinch with a belt and blouses that fall down my shoulder. At the same time, I don't want to overspend on new clothes that have to be replaced as I continue losing weight. So I've been shopping at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls, and outlets like Nordstrom Rack. I'm also working with a bare minimum wardrobe - 4 pairs of nice pants for work, 6 or 7 different blouses or knit tops and 2-3 blazers. I'm mixing and matching a lot.
My next goal for weigh-in is size 14. At that point, I will no longer have to shop the Women's or Plus Size racks for new clothes. Right now, I shop both the Plus Size and normal Misses racks since size 16 is right in between those two. I'm hoping to be under 200 pounds at my next weigh-in.
I started this plan at 310 pounds and my goal is 150. I was hoping to reach 150 by Christmas 2010, but I might fall a little short. I'm currently losing on average 10 pounds per month, but with 80 pounds to go and only six months left, I probably won't get there. I also realize that the last 20-30 pounds will be hard to lose. But I'm confident that by this time next year, I'll have achieved my goal.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I'm starting to see real progress. Many of my clothes no longer fit, and this week my elastic stretch pants are gapping. Even the stretch fabric clothes are almost too big!
I am clearly down two sizes, and when I get to the next size down I'll be out of the plus size range and can start thinking about more "normal" woman's sizes. I'm not quite there yet, but now that I'm firmly settled in my plan I know it's just a matter of time.
Before, I didn't always celebrate milestones with food. It does happen, but I'm just as likely to get a new book, a piece of jewelry or a pretty scarf. For today's milestone, I think I'm getting a book.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Today I visited my friends at the gourmet take-out. I've been avoiding their wonderful store because it is filled with food I'm not eating right now. Not only do I want to avoid temptation, I would feel bad if I walked into the store and left without purchasing anything.
They noticed I've been "working hard" and I explained that the reason I've been walking by without entering the store for the last months is because they have too many excellent foods that I'm not eating right now, and one of the benefits of working hard now is that one day I'll be able to eat there again. It is good that my hard work is starting to get noticed.
I don't think of my eating plan as denying myself food. Instead I think of it as the current plan I'm following and one day I'll be able to modify the plan and eat different foods. It took me about six weeks to get accustomed to a 1,200 calorie diet, and I've developed a very good sense of what I need to eat to stay within 1,200 calories. When I'm able to switch to a 2,000 calorie plan, I'll have a period of adjustment while I gain a good sense of the meaning of 2,000 calories.
I've learned to embrace my hunger. I think of it as my body trying to get me to take the easy route - to satisfy my hunger by eating. Instead, I'm forcing my body into the harder route of using up my stored calories. I do have some low-calorie snacks in the house - applesauce, fruit, yogurt or pretzels - and I do have a snack every afternoon, but I don't automatically respond to hunger with food.
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