Thursday, January 10, 2013
I had a doctor appointment on Tuesday morning.
I am so, so annoying. Dear that nurse: I am sorry. But hee hee hee.
So I came in, and the first thing they do is double check everything on your chart. Do they have your address, and insurance, and allergies and stuff correct. And I'm all "What did I weigh last time? Does it say? What was it? I think I know but check." "OK hold on..." "Just when you get there, I want to know what I weighed last time."
Hahaha. Poor nurse.
Anyway. "You were 296. That was in June."
Me, in a sing songy annoying voice: "You're notttt gonna see that todaaaaaaay!!!" hahahahahaha. LA LA LA LA!
I was a little higher on their scale, I was up at the beginning of the week, so she weighed me at 260. (I'm back down to 257 on my home scale, woooooooooooo)
Anyway, I was all annoying and dancing around, but I did sit down to get my blood pressure read.
It's usually 120/80 which is fine. I have actually had nurses in the past seem kind of surprised that my blood pressure was fine, probably because I was morbidly obese, but it was always fine.
Tuesday it was 114/70. LA LA LA, DANCEY DANCE DANCE. And my pulse was 70-something, which is also lower.
Working out FOR THE WIN!!!!!!!! HEEEEE.
So that was fun. Then my awesome doctor I am kind of in love with (for her awesomely doctory ways, not in a romantic way) came in. "What are you up to? Any new medical developments?" "Nothing much, just LOST FORTY POUNDS LA LA LA LA LAAAAAAA!"
I am. SO. Annoying.
Seriously. If ever have the great misfortune to meet me in person you will understand. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Anyway. She was happy and proud and said to keep doin what I'm doin. YES MA'AM I WILL.
So that was fun. I can't WAIT to see her next year, muahahahahahaaa.
Physical therapy is also going well. He added a new exercise PLUS a more difficult band for the accursed "clams" on Friday. Me on Tuesday: "I may have been cursing your name on Saturday. Limping, and cursing your name." Him: "I don't know what you're talking about." HEEEE. He's funny. I told him today that I'm going to conquer the green band (the harder one) and then work up to TWO BANDS because I'm hardcore. And, I'm sure, So annoying. But we have fun.
I'm all out of whack because my work schedule is so weird this week, I almost forgot about PT this morning. I was all ready to put on my suit and go swim (OMG MY NEW SUIT CAME YAY) when I remembered, so I had to change and run out the door. I'm tired and I was cranky all morning, but I'm going swimming as soon as I get home tonight (YAY!) and hopefully tomorrow, too. So I'll probably give an English Channel mileage update this weekend.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
BROOKLYN BORN's blog got me thinking about GMOs, again.
I have done a lot of reading about this over the years, because I'm a science minded person and I like to know things.
Full disclosure: I am not an agricultural scientist or a food scientist or anything. But I did double major in biology and chemistry, and I did take botany, I did take cellular biology, and I did go to graduate school and spend many years training on 1) how to do a well controlled scientific study and 2) how to read scientific papers and evaluate their methods and conclusions. So I feel pretty confident about this.
Also, if you have met me you don't really need this warning, but I'll say it anyway. This is probably going to be LONG.
Okay, so GMOs. That stands for Genetically Modified Organism. I am not being sarcastic, just making sure everyone knows that, so you know what we are talking about in case all you knew before was that it stands for Scary Food Things.
What does this mean?
Using the science of genetics to change the genes and/or characteristics of an organism.
Genetics deals with the structure of genes (how they are arranged, what they are made of) and their function (what they do in a living organism).
Let's do a Zoom In:
First we have you. You have a body. It is made of different organs, which are made of different kinds of tissue, which are each made of lots of cells.
For example, you have muscles, which are made of muscle cells, and you have red blood cells in your bloodstream, and both muscle cells and other types of cells, like the ones that secrete acid, in your stomach.
Each of your cells has a nucleus, like a little baggie full of DNA in the middle. Your DNA is divided into multiple little blobs, called chromosomes, and each chromosome is a long strand all balled up. The strand is made up of a bunch of genes. A gene is basically a piece of DNA that has a specific job, which we know what it does. Seriously. You have a lot of DNA that ISN'T part of a gene that currently is defined and has a name, but science doesn't know what those parts for.
So somewhere, on one of my chromosomes, is a piece of DNA. When the cells in the hair follicles in my scalp unwind that clump of DNA, and attach an enzyme to it, that enzyme gets "turned on", like a switch turning on a little machine. That enzyme will attach to some other molecules, somewhere, and when all the little chemicals inside the cell that have been activated by that gene have done their job, they will have included a bunch of melanin (pigment) in with the keratin that makes my hair. Which makes my hair brown. That's how genes work. Other chemicals in the cell "read" them, and they do a job. This gene's job is to make my hair brown. If you have blonde or red hair, you have a slightly different gene in that spot on YOUR chromosome, so your little cellular machinery puts less pigment, or different pigment, into your hair as it grows.
Other genes do other things, obviously, and some are much more complicated.
But let's extend this example to plants: Red Delicious apple trees must have a gene somewhere that puts red pigments in the skin of the apple as it grows and ripens. Golden Delicious either 1) have a different gene, either one for "put yellow" or one for "don't put red" or 2) their copy of that gene for "put red in the skin" doesn't work. Human beings created these varieties of apples by hybridizing plants - we found a tree with yellow apples, and said "cool, yellow apples!", so we used the pollen from that tree to fertilize the flowers of a tree with sweet apples, and tried this a bunch of times, and eventually grew trees with sweet yellow apples.
If you ever bred dogs or known anyone who has, this is also similar. Dalmatians were "genetically modified" from dogs that weren't white or didn't have spots, by only letting dogs who were white and had spots have babies together, for decades, until you could always breed a dalmatian and a dalmatian and get more dalmatians.
In the modern, in-a-lab kind of genetic modification, there are different ways of mixing genes besides taking two parents and creating offspring and crossing your fingers HOPING the babies have the characteristics you want.
But here's the thing: It doesn't really matter HOW the new genes got in there. The result is the same.
What if we genetically modified a seed from a red delicious apple so that it was the same except we took out or changed the "put red in the skin" gene? Once you plant the seed, and tree grows, and produces sweet yellow apples, the result is the same as the "natural" golden delicious apple: an apple with a gene for "don't put red in the skin."
What happens in your stomach when you eat a red delicious apple? I mean, specifically, what happens to the red delicious apple's GENES?
Remember, genes are pieces of DNA. DNA looks like this:
The dark blue parts represent sugar molecules. The light blue parts are another kind of molecule, a phosphate. And the parts that look like puzzle pieces represent nucleotide bases - adenosine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. For shorthand we usually just call them A, C, G, and T.
These bases are key. They are how DNA tells all the little chemicals in the cell what to do. When that enzyme that is helping to build my hair is sliding along the DNA, it can only "stick" or connect with a certain shape that matches its shape. A, C, G, and T are shaped differently! so, in the same way, a strand that has AAA in a row, and one that has ATT in a row, are going to be shaped differently. "Put brown in the hair" will only happen if the right sequence of letters for the "put brown in" enzyme is there on the DNA for it to stick to and get switched on.
When we "read" a molecule of DNA, we usually just "read" one side, so let's look at the upper right piece there.
See the key that tells which puzzle color is which letter? That piece, from the top down, is T G T C C.
What does your digestive system and body do with that?
It will break open the cells of the apple. It will break up all the sugars and protein in the apple into smaller sugar molecules, and amino acids (what protein is made of) and send those molecules wherever it needs them.
The DNA will be unwound and then broken up. So you'll have dark blue, light blue, red, pink, green, and yellow bits. All those pieces. Like puzzle pieces! And your body will use them to make new DNA wherever it needs it. Let's say you have a cut that's healing. Your skin cells are dividing to make more skin cells. When your cell divides to make 2, it has to copy its DNA. So your body will use those A C T and G puzzle pieces to make a copy of YOUR DNA to keep in the new cell.
Do you think your body "remembers" or cares where those puzzle pieces came from?
It doesn't. It doesn't matter if that T came from a gene in an apple, or a random non gene end piece of DNA from a bit of chicken you ate for lunch with the apple.
What about our GMO yellow apple?
Let's say T G T C C on the upper right there represents the "put red in the skin" gene. (Genes are MUCH longer than five bases, but let's pretend for simplicity's sake) How did we make our GMO apple? We change that gene so instead of telling the cells "put red in the skin" it tells them "don't put red in the skin." Let's say I changed it to T A T G G.
What happens when you eat THAT apple?
Same thing, your body breaks it up and uses all the puzzle pieces. I know, you're thinking "WELL NOW I DON'T HAVE ANY Cs, GREAT!" but remember this gene would actually be thousands of pieces long. You'd have hundreds of each of A C T G, and once they're broken up the body does not "remember" what order they started out in, it just uses the puzzle pieces where it needs them.
I am going into so much detail on this because the point I want to make is this:
**********There is nothing in genetically modified DNA that is NOT in "regular" DNA.**********
ALL DNA is made of sugars, phosphates, A C G and Ts. THAT'S IT. They're made of the same ingredients, and your body breaks it down and uses the ingredients.
I'm not saying we shouldn't label GMOs or all GMOs are good; I'm just saying just because something has genetically modified genes in it does not mean it's going to hurt you.
Not only is it physiologically impossible, but they have done medical studies to make sure. They actually have done studies where they feed genetically modified corn to farm animals (I think chickens mostly) and test the food, food removed from the digestive tract at different points in digestion, and samples of the animal's body tissue and blood to see if any of the modified DNA survives and gets incorporated into their bodies. The most important points are:
1) "Feed-derived DNA is progressively degraded along the digestive tract." So, like I said, it gets digested! Both GMO and regular genes.
2) In a second study they actually continued to test the bird poop for genetically modified DNA. As of 4 days after the last feeding of GM feed, there was no trace of the DNA in their poop. So same thing, gets digested, doesn't stay in your body.
There was no difference in growth, development, or health between birds fed GM feed and birds fed regular feed in any of the studies I read.
Personally, I feel the main issues with GMO crops are environmental and socioeconomic issues. Planting and growing the crops can harm the environment, and also harms farmers.
It doesn't physically hurt you to eat them, like I said above. It all gets broken down into sugars, phosphates, and nucleotides. People get all freaked out about the "fish genes in tomatoes" thing... I mean, why? So what? What if you ate fish with tomato sauce on it? There would be fish genes and tomato genes in your stomach at the same time. They would just all get broken down. It makes ZERO difference if an adenosine molecule came from a fish gene that was in a piece of tuna or a fish gene in a GMO tomato. It physically CANNOT HARM YOUR BODY.
What COULD possibly harm you? One good example would be "roundup ready" crops. They aren't killed by weed killer, which means farmers can spray WAY MORE WEED KILLER than usual on the fields. It's not the GM crop that hurts you, it's the extra pesticide!!!
So, wash your produce well and avoid the "dirty dozen."
(the dirty dozen are the types of produce that have been tested and found to have the highest pesticide residues. It is recommended that if you can only afford some organic foods, you buy these fruits and veggies organic and save your money by buying conventional foods for other food items. www.organic.org/articles/showarticle
But really, all the extra weed killer is probably doing WAY more harm to the environment than it is to you, assuming you wash your produce.
Another GMO you may have heard of is Bt corn, the corn that makes its own pestidicide. Bt corn cannot hurt you. That's one of the better GMO crops, I think. Bt stands for a kind of bacteria that acts as a natural pesticide. When caterpillars try to eat it, they die. Sounds dangerous! It isn't. The bacteria have been collected from the soil and sprayed on crops for hundreds of years; the only difference is now the corn makes its own alkaloid (the compound that does the killing) instead of needing the bacteria to make it. It only harms the caterpillars of approximately THREE species of moths.
They have alkaline digestive systems; the toxin opens pores in the digestive tract, which makes them more susceptible to infection by bacteria in the environment, like E. coli. Are you an insect? Nope. Do you have an alkaline digestive tract? Nope! Ours is acidic. Bt alkaloids can't hurt you. They have also done multiple studies to show that it doesn't hurt other insects, like bees and butterflies, either. It literally only works on a couple of species, but since one of those is the "corn borer" it's a pretty handy little molecule!
However, it harms farmers to have to pay for patented seeds every year. Saving seeds saves money, as well as brings hardier crops. In the old days, farmers would save the seeds from their best plants, and over time a farmer in Iowa was growing plants best suited to his climate and soil, while a farmer in Oklahoma had slowly bred a very different plant best suited to Oklahoma. Now everyone buying Monsanto corn seeds is grown the SAME corn, across thousands of miles, which is ridiculous.
I also hate the idea of farmers being sued when GMO genes accidentally end up in their crops... Corn is a WIND POLLINATED plant, possibly the STUPIDEST place for "proprietary" genes you could possibly think of. It's impossible to keep them from spreading, and ridiculous that farmers can be sued for "stealing" genes the wind brings into their corn whether they want them or not.
Bananas, on the other hand, are a perfect crop for GMO. If you've ever eaten a banana you know they have no seeds. They can't spread any genes engineered into them to other varieties because even if you cross pollinate plants, they don't form any seeds! No hybrids!
Bananas are propagated by cuttings; a portion of a plant is cut and planted to make a new plant. All bananas are genetically identical! This is neat-o, but not good for the health of bananas. Why? There is no such thing as a banana plant that is more resistant to disease than others (because they're all identical!).
The bananas we eat are not the bananas our grandparents ate; that was a variety called the Gros Michel, and it is more or less extinct, driven out by fungal plant diseases that couldn't be stopped with pesticides (fungicides) anymore. Our bananas are a variety called the Cavendish, and they are threatened by similar diseases. TONS of stuff has to be sprayed on bananas to protect them from the multiple diseases they're susceptible to. We aren't at QUITE as high a risk of eating chemicals, because bananas have a thick peel we remove before eating. It IS dangerous for the farm workers to be around all those chemicals though.
What about organic bananas? They have to be grown on land that has never been infected with the most common banana diseases. So what happens when banana plants on an organic farm start showing signs of disease? Well, they can start using fungicides and become a conventional banana farm. But usually they don't. Burn it to the ground. Move on a few hundred kilometers, cut down some rainforest, and start over.
Neither solution (tons of chemicals; clear cutting rainforest) is great for the environment. A GMO banana that tastes as good and travels as well as the Cavendish, but has higher disease resistance engineered in, would be a wonderful development. I will go ahead and go on the record. I am fully in favor of GMO bananas.
I'm all for labeling. I want to be clear about that, at least. I am 100% for labeling what's in our food and where it comes from. I think we need MORE transparency in our food system, not less.
I think there should be labeling, and people should be able to make their own choices, but I wish I saw far LESS of this idea that eating food from a GMO plant is going to somehow make you ill or harm your body.
I keep harping on this but I can't help it... Genetically modified DNA doesn't have anything in it that "regular" DNA doesn't have! The only difference between the DNA that makes you, you, and and a tomato plant's DNA is what ORDER the ACGT molecules are in down the strand, and how long the strand is. It doesn't matter what gene or strand of DNA or whatever you eat; your body digests it and uses the component molecules it needs. It really, truly, honestly, does NOT know the difference.
So if you don't want to eat GMOs, don't eat them. That's fine. In fact it's a vote with your dollars, for a healthier environment and better options for farmers. Push for labeling and more transparency in our food system.
But please don't be afraid of them, or try to convince other people to be afraid of them, because they're "frankenfood" that's going to make you sick. Try to remember it's all made out of the same puzzle pieces.
Monday, January 07, 2013
First of all, Dear self:
Stop being a crankypants!
My weight has popped back up a little, ~2 pounds or so, which is normal for me. Lose a bunch, bounce back a little, plateau, drop, repeat. But of course I'm being a mental crybaby about it the last few days.
So anyway DEAR ME: I went back and counted. Starting SP on June 23, it has been 28 weeks. There were at least 4 weeks you weren't really "doing it" - not really putting full effort into all the food & fitness stuff. So let's count "effort" weeks only:
43 lbs/ 24 weeks = 1.79 pounds per week lost.
This is SENSATIONAL. Remember being on WW and struggling and failing to barely lose 0.5 pounds in a week? QUIT YOUR WHINING, ME.
Even if you count "bounced back up" weight, 40/24 = 1.67 pounds per week. EVEN if you count all 28 weeks, it's still near or over a pound and a half a week lost.
So Oh boo hoo, crybaby. Poor you. You lost an almost-not-measurable amount less than the maximum possible 2 pounds per week. Wow your life is hard. Wait, let me get the world's smallest violin and play My Heart Pumps Purple Pee For You.
Cram it and eat your salad.
ANYWAY, now that THAT is out of the way....
Clearly I need a new challenge to focus on and get my mind off the scale and my wretched impatience.
So here I go, throwing down with myself again.
Check it out: Thanks to the generosity of gorgeous and intelligent people who love me, I am able to do the challenge I MOST want to do, while it may not be the challenge I most NEED to do. Let me 'splain.
I thought of two challenges, back in December, that I could do for January. One was a strength training challenge, which needs rules and a fun quirky name and me not to be like BORRRINNGGGG, and let's face it I DO need to do more strength training, but the other one is just SO MUCH MORE FUNNNNN.
My loving husband bought me a shiny new toy for Christmas: a lap counter. It looks like a baby stopwatch on a ring, with only one button, which you click to count. I will use this to count laps when I swim! Because as I learned this morning, trying to remember what lap I'm on while swimming takes way more brain power than I have at 6am. I would probably drown without this thing.
My awesome MIL gave me some pool monies for Christmas! THANK YOU!
And my awesome mom gave me some of her inheritance from her cousin (RIP Bob, your mad guitar stylings will be missed.) also for Pool Monies. And I have a bit of savings as well, because I have been Very Good lately.
So I am now the proud owner of a lap counter AND a gym membership to a place that HAS A POOL.
In a half hour or so, thanks to online shopping I will be the proud owner of a Smaller Bathing Suit as well.
Did you know if you lose over 40 pounds, you will look great in your bathing suit? You will. While it is dry. And when it gets wet and you are moving forward quickly it will come right off. HEE. Thankfully I am also the proud owner of a now-also- kind-of-too- big swim bra so when the front of my suit peels down I'm not at all indecent. But still. HEE!!
(If you are wondering, a swim bra is just what it sounds like: an underwire bra made of bathing suit material with plastic instead of metal clasps. If you are well endowed and love swimming, you NEED to invest in one of these for summer! It is the best $50 I have EVER spent, EVER. I got the matching "parts" too, but mostly I just wear it under any regular old tank suit.)
Whatever do you suppose I shall DOOOO WITH ALL THESE SWIMMING RELATED RICHES???
That's right. I'm going to Swim The English Channel!!!
Don't be insane, I'm not going to REALLY swim the ACTUAL channel.... I'm not THAT good.
Did you know more people have climbed Mount Everest than have swum the English Channel???
Sounds challenging to me!
My goal is to swim a total of 21 miles (distance across the Strait of Dover, and the distance typically swum in attempts, from what I've found online) by March 1, 2013.
My pool (MY POOL!) is 49' long, so a lap is 98'. That means I need to swim:
21*5280/98 = 1132 laps, between this morning and March 1, 2013.
I was originally going to do it in a month, but HAHAHAHAHAHA, no. I decided to be fun it should be challenging but achievable, and 4 weeks = insane.
So I will take 8 weeks, -ish, and swim the English Channel by March 1.
The channel water was 11.2 C, 52.1 F this morning (thank you Met Office website, hee hee.) Not sure of the pool temperature but I bet a lot warmer!
This morning I did 30 laps; just over half a mile. Only 20.5 to go!
At the very least I'll do weekly mileage updates.
In other news, I reset my calories burned to reflect all this swimming I'm going to be doing, and moved my goal date out another 10 days (November 2013) because my weight is still above/not meeting the "goal" line.
Now as expected SP is telling me to eat more; I'm going to see how this week goes with food and weight loss and hopefully that will be good. I've been consistent with my calories eaten, except for holiday blips, but slowly burning more and more, so I'm wondering if that made my body go "WHAT THE HECK???" We shall see. The important thing will be to get my new additional calories from healthy stuff, NOT ice cream and cookies. haha.
Off to have lunch!
Saturday, January 05, 2013
That would be LisaN0415, who said WHY DON'T YOU POST SOME PICTURES ALREADY???
Okay, she didn't say it like THAT. But she did get me thinking!
But I was thinking, well, I don't really look THAT different, and I never took a "before" photo, so how can I really and blah blah blah...
So I was checking myself out in my size 18 pants on Thursday and thought, hey, I could take a picture with my cell phone. So I took some photos in the work bathroom (ha! It's the closest I can get to a full-length photo...).
Then I was flipping through pictures on my phone yesterday and found this one:
That's me, riding a carousel giraffe at the Indianapolis Children's Museum, April 1 2012. I am about 300 pounds here. Upper 290s at the lowest. Size 22 jeans. This was before I started my halfhearted attempt at Weight Watchers again in late spring/early summer, and before I started SparkPeople June 23rd.
Here I am on Thursday, at ~256, 44 pounds lost. (In my size 18 pants. Have I mentioned that I have some size 18 jeans? That fit? I feel like I should let everyone know about that. I have a pair of size 18 jeans. That fit. Rather nicely I happen to think...)
HOLY FREAKING CRAP WHAT
Side by side:
Thursday, January 03, 2013
I’ve made big changes to how I eat since June of 2012. That plus adding regular exercise, and I’ve lost 44 pounds and 2 pants sizes. I wanted to go back and see how this happened.
If you look at the difference between what I ate “then” and what I eat “now,” it sounds like a lot!
But here’s the thing: I don’t do all or nothing anymore, because that ALWAYS led me to fail. I didn’t even take my weight loss efforts “one day at a time.” More like, 1/3 of a half of a baby step at a time.
In order to change my eating habits, here are the things I needed to change/deal with:
Lunch - Buying lunch at work. Usually pizza or chicken fingers and fries.
Breakfast - Portion sizes too big. Coffee with LOTS of sugar and milk.
Eating out - I always ordered what sounds best and cleaned my plate.
Takeout/Dinner at home – Portion size. And too much takeout from the deli/grill around the corner, Chinese, or pizza. This was getting to be multiple dinners per week.
Snacks - Too many trips to the work vending machine for Cheez-its or chips.
Candy at work - My coworker has a communal candy box. It is 2 cubicles away from me. Plus the vending machine, or worse they sell cups of M&Ms that are about 2 bagfuls at the cafeteria.
Weekends - I’d sleep late, and then be really hungry and unable to decide if I wanted breakfast or lunch. Plus it being the weekend and wanting to relax, I interpreted “relax” to mean “treat yourself to whatever you want.” I’d eat takeout in even bigger or fattier portions than weeknights, plus sweets sweets sweets.
Trigger foods - Things I eat too often, have a horrible time with portion control on, or can’t seem to resist when they are around. The burger and fries definitely falls under “too often”, things like ice cream (I pretty much always ate the whole pint), pasta and especially mac and cheese = big portions (I once made two boxes of Kraft mac and cheese and hid the second empty box in the trash instead of the recycling before my husband got home. That way when he went to dish some, he wouldn’t be able to tell I’d eaten close to an entire box.) Having chips or snacky foods and candy around I’d eat them “just because they’re there.”
What was I eating before, at my heaviest? Probably ~2c of cereal for breakfast (or Dunkin Donuts drive through!), pizza or something with fries for lunch, and double or triple portions of pasta or mac and cheese or the ever present single serving chicken pot pie, or a big fast food meal for dinner. Ice cream or cookies whenever I wanted, bit servings. Multiple pieces of candy (2-3 “fun size” bars and such) every day.
What do I eat now? Plain greek yogurt and a baked sweet potato for breakfast, black coffee or tea. Leftovers from dinner, soup (lentil or split pea usually), or chicken salad for lunch, with leftover veggies or salad, and usually a piece of fruit, and for dinner, soup, stew, turkey burgers, steak, fish… something pre-checked in the tracker, portion decided on and measured, with veggies on the side. When I get takeout I get grilled chicken. On the much rarer occasions I have a cheeseburger, I usually don’t get fries. Fruit, veggies, and nuts or seeds for snacks (sometimes a fiber bar) and I stay out of the vending machine and candy box.
Oh those big changes!! How did they happen?? I started tracking my food on Spark People on Saturday, June 23, 2012. Here is my breakfast:
Instead of pouring a big bowl of cereal like always (probably 2c), I measured and ate just the 3/4c serving called for on the box. Food I already had, measuring cups I already owned. This was free and took approximately 46 seconds.
Did I eat perfectly healthy meals that would make a dietician cry and kiss me from there on out? HAH. Let’s look at my lunch:
475 calories for lunch is not THAT bad, for the calorie range SP gave me at the time.
But. It’s a huge bowl of pudding with whipped cream. PUDDING FOR LUNCH.
But I tracked it!!
What did I have for dinner? Takeout. But I got a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a cheeseburger.
Then I ate a big bowl of buttered popcorn, and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
BUT. I TRACKED IT.
This is what I mean about baby steps. I measured my cereal. I got chicken instead of cheeseburger. I tracked what I ate.
This is where I began. It’s not fancy. It’s not perfection. But it’s a TINY BIT BETTER than the day before. Eventually all the tinies add up to the big deal.
Sometimes I struggled with even that, but I kept going. Just track it. Whatever it is, sure, eat it. But 1) measure it, and 2) track it.
On June 24, I ate a mere ONE serving of vegetables – a cup of salad greens at a family party. “Lunch” that day was potato chips and beer.
BUT I TRACKED IT.
That last week of June got better, as I got into the routine of the work week. I packed leftovers for lunch. My next lunch fix was to stop at the grocery store on the way to work and buy soup and frozen veggies. (Thank you, Tabatchnick and Green Giant.)
I bought frozen burritos or frozen “for two” meals for nights I was too busy to cook (I read the labels to pick the best ones.).
When we did get takeout, I started getting chips instead of fries.
Then I got smartfood cheddar popcorn instead of chips. Then I got just the sandwich.
I had days “on the road.” I went on vacation.
Not perfection, better choices. One at a time.
The first week of July I basically was figuring out how to track my grandmother’s cooking (and constant availability of snacks!) and eating out. I went over my calories, most days. I kept. On. Tracking.
Looking through my tracker is eye-opening to the changes over time. And the incredibly WEIRD habits I have had to break in order to get here!!
On July 5th, I had cheese, chocolate chip cookies, popcorn, and diet Dr. Pepper for lunch.
On July 6th, I had ice cream and a Hershey bar. For LUNCH.
This was me, at my parents’ house, falling into old habits of indulging in cravings, secretly eating “treats” if no one else was home.
July 9 I started getting the egg white veggie flatbread from Dunkin Donuts, instead of egg and cheese on a biscuit if I was out of “breakfast food” at home. July 10 I had 2 slices of pizza for dinner instead of 4.
July 20 I started getting a small DD coffee instead of a medium.
(One night in July I had a leftover enchilada, a bowl of cereal, and ice cream for dinner. That’s not so much relevant to my point, as just plain hilarious. )
Black coffee first appears on August 1!
I also ate a lot of Oreos in early August… (trigger food) Clearly I bought a package and then once they were in the house I had trouble staying out of them.
I was ALSO having trouble wanting to snack on chocolate at work (oh that candy box) so I bought ginger candy and ate that instead, slowly savoring one piece whenever I felt like snacking. It is sweet, but also spicy so I can’t eat it fast and I can’t gorge on it. I forgot about that until I saw ginger chews in the tracker every day.
I experimented with smoothies for breakfast a lot in August. With and without protein powder, fruit, fruit and veggie, etc.
And hey, just to show that everybody falls down on this road, here’s August 17th:
The day after that, I had peach pie for breakfast. August was one of my “best” months on Spark People, up until my December challenge! You can see how “perfect” I was…
The beginning of September was rough – I had trouble getting back on track after Labor Day weekend which included a wedding, staying with family, and my husband’s birthday. I can see I was trying different things to get into a routine – protein shakes for breakfast, soup or stir fry for lunch, often falling into take out/burgers for dinner, and candy from the candy box most days. Also at some point I made brownies, and I ate them with breakfast more often than I remembered… hahaha.
But this is where I start to see, along with the more questionable dinners, I added a serving or two of frozen veggies, and if I bought lunch at work I added salad.
I fixed my lunch issues, not buying from the cafeteria, first. Then breakfast got better. Then my choices at restaurants. I’d look things up in the tracker app on my phone before ordering, and make sure to stop after half, then drink water and see if I am actually hungry or not before eating more.
Snacks, candy, weekends took longer to fix.
The greek yogurt for breakfast, frozen soup for lunch habit seems to have fully kicked in around the second week of September.
I started adding chicken to things for more protein, and having nuts and seeds for snacks.
Weekends were still a challenge through September. I would eat well for 1 or 2 meals and poorly for another. One great day from late September: scrambled egg with cheese and spinach for breakfast; frozen microwave veggie risotto with added chicken for dinner. Sounds good! What about lunch? A chocolate chip cookie, a piece of cake, and a butterscotch pudding cup. Heh heh.
I started tracking right away after vacation on Monday, October 8.
The greek yogurt breakfast established firmly in October. Meals got better through early October, but I still struggled with snacking.
For reasons I don’t remember, at all, I stopped tracking October 17, for three days. Tracked the 20th, stopped the 21st. Tracked 22nd, not 23rd – 27th! I started again on the 28th, only to stop again on the 30th. I didn’t track all through Sandy, the power outage at home, or the much longer power outage at work. Started again on the 5th of November.
I did pretty well through that first week of November tracking, but struggled with the weekend again.
My first breakfast sweet potato appeared on November 10!
Wednesday, November 14: Trigger foods; the first time I made boxed mac and cheese and actually measured and ate a SINGLE serving.
In November I finally stayed out of the candy box for an entire week.
The week of Thanksgiving, up to Saturday, was practically perfect!
Saturday I skipped breakfast (slept in), had a cheeseburger, fries, and oreos for lunch, and pie, cookies, and beer for dinner. WEEKENDS. Are a problem.
Sunday I ate my usual weekday breakfast, which was a step in the right direction. But then in the afternoon I learned a valuable lesson about mug brownies. (That lesson being “Holy crap they are almost 700 calories”)
In late November I made from scratch macaroni and cheese, and successfully ate it in moderation. Small servings as a side dish to healthier foods, and it took a while to eat up the batch.
Thursday, November 29 I wanted a cheeseburger – and I bought ingredients and made a healthier one from scratch, instead of getting takeout. I did the same for grilled cheese the next day. Both trigger/comfort foods!
December was Kick August, and I think my biggest issue was sweets and treats around, from a party early in the month and then holidays later. Beyond that when I struggled it was due to running out of go-to foods (like yogurt for breakfast, chicken salad or soup for lunch) or not packing snacks to bring to work.
Up until December I was doing pretty well at cleaning up my breakfast, lunch, dinner, eating out, and snacks. Kick August helped me dust off and really solidify those habits, plus finally kick the candy box, start to clean up my weekends, and have trigger foods without bingeing.
Weekends started to look more like weekdays! On December 8, I had my usual breakfast, leftovers for lunch and dinner, and fruit, veggies, and plain popcorn for a snack. Getting out of bed before 2pm & having a normal routine is a huge help…
Dec 14: trigger foods – I made *half* a grilled cheese to have with lentil soup
January - I’ve been having ice cream all week, in half or even quarter cup servings. I don’t eat the whole pint anymore; in fact I don’t even have to remind myself to put it in a bowl and not eat out of the container. It’s automatic now.
If you’re just starting, you might feel like you can’t take all the steps you need to change your habits That’s okay! Take *baby* steps. If you can’t take baby steps, take part of a baby step. One tiny thing at a time.
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