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Moderate, don't eliminate

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I mentioned this in another blog, but I felt it deserved its own blog: weight loss shouldn't be about eliminating the foods you think are fattening (that's a diet mentality), it should be about figuring out ways to eat the foods you love -- that are fattening -- in moderation.

Or, IOW, rather than focusing on what we can't have, we need to focus on the foods that bring us joy, and enjoy them in moderation.

I've always been all over that when trying to lose weight, which is probably why I'm a lifetime WW member. I won't give up my favorite foods! And when we do absolutely ban a food, it usually comes back to bite us (or we bite it, I suppose): it becomes the only thing you can think about, and when you do "lose" control, you tend to binge on it.

Here are a few tips to working in the foods you love:

1. As Coach Nicole likes to say, earn it to spend it. You want that dessert? Then move a little more. That doesn't mean you have to spend hours a day exercising, but if you're going to a party or planning a meal at a nice restaurant, you might want to squeeze in an extra 10-15 minutes of exercise for a few days.

2. If they will truly satisfy you, consider lower fat alternatives. Love chocolate? How about chocolate pudding, a fudgesicle, hot chocolate? Is salt your thing? How about popcorn or baked tortilla chips?

3. Sometimes you are actually better off going with the full fat food. This is a personal preference. I don't generally go for low fat cheeses, for instance. If it satisfies you, go for it. But I do limit the amount of cheese I eat, and I love fuller-flavored, but less caloric goat cheeses and feta cheeses, so I use them a lot.

4. Portion size! In my chocolate peanut butter banana wrap ( judysworld.net/cookbook/2008/12/choc
olate-banana-peanut-butter-wrap/
), I use only one teaspoon of chocolate -- but that's enough. I might have just an ounce of chocolate as a dessert sometimes. I won't live without my chocolate -- or my peanut butter, for that fact.

5. Go for your favorite treat every day -- again, in moderation. Knowing you have that treat coming every day takes the cravings away, because you know you can have it any time you want.

Sometimes, I know, foods become trigger foods, and we need to ban them altogether for a while. But nothing should be off your menu forever. Think about ways you can still enjoy your favorite foods, in moderation.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMA_GRIZZ 1/10/2009 12:48PM

    So true - it's is about moderation and finding healthier alternatives to the foods that we use to love. There are so many out there. I use to be a chip addict but now I eat 100 cal popcorn with chipolte powder (amazingly similar to bar-b-q chips)......

On Friday we celebrated a girl's birthday at work and we gave her a Dairy Queen Icecream cake. She loves these cakes so we have them once a year. I had a very small piece and it was heaven! My take on it is, if it's a '10' and you can work it into your plan, then eat it. If it's not a '10' or you can't work it into your plan, then don't eat it. This cake was definitely a '10' for me so I enjoyed my piece. This healthy lifestyle is not about dieting at all - there is no way I would survive without my treats every once in a while.

Good post JLitt62! Thanks for sharing.

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OMG! My knees!

Friday, January 09, 2009

No, they're not hurt, don't worry.

But I happened to catch a glimpse of them in the mirror the other day . . . I was pretty surprised by the difference! Yes, there's still a little knee fat -- I wouldn't be surprised if there always is -- but it's much, much less.

I don't see my knees all that often; we don't have any full length mirrors in the house, and I'm short. So it had been a while.

Then this morning I decided it was time to put my "fat" jeans on again -- the ones I was wearing when I began this journey. Whenever I get a bit frustrated, I try them on -- and they always make me feel much better, because they're so large. I'll have to get my husband to take a photo the next time he's home. I've "only" lost 20 lbs, but boy, when you look at those jeans, it seems I've lost so much more.

I know it's hard to believe if you're just starting your journey, but hang in there if you're frustrated or you're hungry -- the payoff is so worth it. Explore sparkteams for support & suggestions. Don't only go by the number on the scale, notice the little things -- because non-scale victories often crop up before that number moves a lot.

Even my WW leader commented on how well I was doing today, and since few people even seem to notice my weight loss, I'll take compliments anywhere I can get them! She didn't mean I was losing weight fast, either, but that I'm consistent, I come to the meetings every week, and I don't let not losing every week get me down.

What have your non-scale victories been?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARBIE18 1/10/2009 10:23AM

    So glad to hear your knees don't hurt! And glad to hear yours are slimming down. I've always disliked my chubby knees, but I forgot to put that on my success list. Thanks!

Yesterday I noticed my hip bones for the first time in 25 years. Suddenly, there they were!

You ARE doing such a great job. Slow and consistent - nothing wrong with that!

Keep it up!
Karen

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MTER67 1/10/2009 2:59AM

    "Only 20 lbs" is STILL a lot of pounds, but I agree that non scale victories are probably more important. You have lost a lot of inches, haven't you? Your knees are reflecting all the toning up you've been doing. Keep up your consistency; you are an inspiration to so many people!

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BGGARDEN 1/9/2009 11:43PM

    Baby Steps... Baby Steps... it takes time. It is better to take your time andget the weight off rather then rushing and doing it wrong only to gain it all back. :-(

WE CAN DO THIS..... Keep with your dieting goals and workout plan. Lets make it fun!!!!

With love and support!
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MOMMA_GRIZZ 1/9/2009 9:38PM

    I love NSV's - they usually come by surprise and are the BEST! Like today, I saw someone at work that I hadn't seen in six months or so. He had heard I had lost weight and commented on how well I looked. He congratulated me on all the work I put into my healthy lifestyle and that he had heard through the grapevine (I work with well over 2000 people) that I was an inspiration to a lot of people at work who had taken on that same lifestyle. That totally made my day.

Glad you have a pair of 'trophy' pants - I still have mine too. I try them on when I'm feeling kind of tired and blue. They always make me feel better.

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Your thoughts can change your life

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I had to take my cats to the vet a few days ago. This is always a stressful event. I am lucky that I began clicker training my cats when they were very young, and I still train them almost every night before feeding them. At least several times a week, this involves going into and out of their crates.

They love their crates. They often nap in them. In addition to the training, when they were younger, I would put treats and toys in the crates. They never knew what they would find in there (thankfully, this was before we had dogs). So getting them into their crates is never a problem, even when we're going to the vet. In fact, I trained them as usual that night, and they still willingly got into their crates, even after the evil vet visit.

However, they hate the car. I tried working on them with that, too, slowly desensitizing, but it never took. Simba yowls the entire way -- great big loud angry yowls. He'd be fine, actually, if I could sit next to him and feed him treats the whole way. But he has to go in the back seat, so I can keep Gizmo near me in the front -- and help prevent him from battering his nose against the crate door. Nothing will console Giz; he is terrified when taken out of his element. I have tried many, many different things, but it's always the same.

But one thing was different this time: I changed my mindset. I remained positive. Things didn't actually turn out any differently from any other vet visit, but the way I felt about it was different: I wasn't as stressed, and I wasn't totally drained (only a little) by the time I got home.

If you've actually read this far, you deserve a spark goodie! But you can apply this lesson to your own life: things aren't good or bad, but thinking makes them so (I think that was Shakespeare). And it's true. What you tell yourself makes all the difference in the world. If you tell yourself you're a big, fat loser, you will be. If you tell yourself you can change your life forever, you will. You'll still have to do the work, but it won't seem as hard.

I've got to go through all this again in a few months. The cats will need health certificates to fly. AND somehow we will have to get through actually flying them up there. I keep telling myself that they adjust to change easily, because this is one whopper of a change. I know we'll get through it, though, because we have to.

And this quote just begged to be shared:

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

I think I've got to put that one someplace where I will see it all the time!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BGGARDEN 1/9/2009 8:40AM

    I totally believe this! Great thoughts to share on sparkpeople.
Happy Thoughts make you Healthy!
Bren

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STARTSPARKING 1/9/2009 4:38AM

    We had the mindset that it was the holidays, the season of indulgence. When I think back, most of my poor food choices weren't holiday specialties. It was mostly everyday junk food. Now that it's the new year, we get into the mindset that it's a time of new beginnings. That's why I didn't even get TOM food cravings this month. I'm starting to be getting back on track because I'm thinking differently.

Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

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JUDITH1654 1/9/2009 2:02AM

    That was a great blog! Thanks for sharing!!!!

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MOMMA_GRIZZ 1/8/2009 8:46PM

    You are absolutey right - being positive and making the most of it (especially on this journey) is the key. Actually in any journey in life. Good post. Thanks for sharing.

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MTER67 1/8/2009 5:07PM

    Very thought provoking blog! I have told you before that I feel like sometimes I am ruled by my hormones and my attitude corresponds to where I am in my cycle. There are some days when I breeze through difficult situations and other days when some small hurdle seems insurmountable!

Through it all, we need to stay positive. When I have low expectations for myself, I will lower myself to meet them. It's as though I give myself permission to "underwhelm!"

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SHOOTIN4STARS 1/8/2009 8:22AM

    I have a cat named Gizmo too! That sounds like quite an adventure you went on. My cats are okay with going to the vet, but fortunately I don't have to take them often. They are all in good health. Where are you and the cats flying? I don't know how mine would take a plane trip.

Have a great day. I love the Fitzgerald quote.

Lisa

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Stop when you're full

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It seems like such a simple concept, doesn't it? Such a no-brainer. So why is it so hard to do?

Because much as we love to eat, we're not eating because we love food! Ironic, isn't it? We're eating for different reasons: because we feel unloved or unloveable, because we're tired, because we're stressed, because we're angry; the list goes on and on, and it's different for everyone.

If you truly begin to pay attention to your food, however, eventually you'll also begin to pay attention to how that food makes you feel. Not every day, but most days. We'll always have hungry days, but one hungry day won't sabotage you.

That means:

1. No eating while doing anything else. ANYTHING else. Not reading, not watching tv, not staring at a computer screen.

2. Slowing down. That may mean actually chewing your food, putting your fork down between bites, sipping more water while eating.

3. Using smaller plates. Half the battle is psychological. If your plate is full, you'll feel fuller.

4. Letting yourself actually get hungry, so you know what hunger feels like.

5. Noting how you feel when you've eaten too much, so you can remember how bad it actually makes you feel.

I made myself some home made mac n cheese on Monday. It was a great day for it, blustery and cold. I filled a salad bowl with it, but when I got about 2/3 through it, I realized I was full. I must say I was surprised: I like me a big bowl of mac n cheese every once in a while; who doesn't? But I put the rest away for another day. This mac n cheese has a little butternut squash puree in it, btw, which may help you feel fuller a little faster.

The old me, eating while watching tv for company, probaly would have downed that entire bowl without even thinking about it -- and probably would have wanted more.

I experienced the same thing yesterday, btw. I'd planned to have some popcorn -- buttered popcorn -- as a snack after dinner. Only when I finished dinner, I realized that I wasn't very hungry. I'd had quite a few veggies yesterday; I'm sure that made a difference.

I was still feeling a little psychological hunger, so I had a small chocolate bar, which ironically has less calories than the popcorn, but also less fiber to fill you up. But since I wasn't hungry to begin with, it was the perfect treat to end my day with.

None of this happens overnight. Just keep practicing, and you will get there.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 1/9/2009 4:43AM

    How often do we devour an entire bowl of popcorn without tasting one kernel because we were so involved with the movie? The same goes for a bowl of cereal while reading the newspaper. Thanks for this important reminder to eat more mindfully, my friend.

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KANSASWOMAN 1/7/2009 2:40PM

    Thanks for the tips you left on my basketball record blog :) It does make sense to make other goals rather than focusing on a weight number.

One thing that I like about eating healthier now is that I actually feel hungry sometimes! For a while, I was eating without my body telling me that it was hungry. I'm definitely an emotional eater, too. I work alone most of the time, and my husband doesn't get home until 8pm, so I have plenty of alone time to be bored and take in the calories. Exercising takes up some of my alone time, and I keep unhealthy food out of my office. Sparkpeople also gives me something more productive to focus on when I'm thinking of food. All those smaller sized clothes in my closet definitely give me something to think about! Best wishes.
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BABY_GIRL69 1/7/2009 11:48AM

    I had such a bad habit of biting my nails & I would write words in cursive with my tongue on the inside of my jaws. Weird, huh? But when I gave up those nervous habits, I got into eating more. So I guess its true, you stop sucking your thumb or whatever quirk you have & you start another habit. Trying to escape the boredom in 2009! Thanks for sharing!

Happy New "YOU" & blessings,

Dee
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ASTARB1 1/7/2009 8:09AM

    Ahhh....such wise tips!

I'm actually a very slow eater (I shudder to think how much I could eat if I ate fast), but I've struggled with letting myself get hungry.

My Dad used to always tease my Mom and me. He'd say that we planned lunch while eating breakfast because we loved to eat so much! She and I definitely lived to eat, while he ate to live.

And, of course, as many people have noted before, unlike something like alcohol or smoking, you can't quit eating altogether. We must always deal with temptation.

Keep up the great work!!!

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Benefits of a healthy lifestyle

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

So TOM did start this morning. It's interesting to note, though, that my cravings around TOM are much, much less than they used to be. I used to want to just take chocolate intraveneously before TOM. I had my hungry day on Saturday, where I really didn't do too bad, and was fine on Sunday & Monday and then it struck early this morning. I attribute my reduced cravings to less weight on my body, healthier eating overall, and a concentrated effort to eat less (but still some!) sweets.

There are other benefits, like sleeping better. I used to really suffer with insommnia on a regular basis when I was younger. I rarely have trouble getting to sleep these days, as long as the bedroom is cool enough, although sometimes I wake up earlier than I'd like to. I attribute falling asleep easier to the exercise I get on a regular basis. Wish I could pass on that habit to my husband.

There are other benefits in the bedroom, too. I'm still very self conscious, much to my husband's chagrin. But I enjoy things more. I truly think for me, personally, it can just be somewhat uncomfortable when I'm heavy. I'm not quite sure why that is.

Another key element of a healthy lifestyle is to take compliments well. While he was home, my husband commented that one of my form fitting running tops (okay, I don't run; I jog a bit, but I need the layers when I'm out walking the dogs when it's cooler) was sexy. That it showed off all the hard work I'd done. Time was I'd probably shrug my shoulders and say -- or growl -- that I still have at least 20 pounds to lose. This time I simply thanked him for the compliment.

It's interesting the conversation going on on my WW team about Oprah's show yesterday. For those who haven't watched or don't watch, it was about her continuing struggle with her weight. One person was sick of it, wondering what her problem was, since she can afford the best help.

Of course having a personal trainer and a chef would make our lives easier. But don't fool yourself: if you're going to overeat, it isn't truly because you lack the time to make yourself healthy meals. That's an element, but that's not the driving reason. There's something emotional going on. There always is. It isn't always easy to figure out what that is, but until we do, we could hire all the personal trainers and chefs in the world, but we'll still struggle. It's never truly about the food.

It isn't easy, and there will always be setbacks -- sometimes when we least expect them -- but the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are worth the work.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUDITH1654 1/6/2009 5:35PM

    Amen! You articulated it beautifully!!!

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