Thursday, January 27, 2011
Yesterday I wrote that my weight had been sitting at around 168lbs since I've started my Eat Whatever I Want And Track It experiment, and I wrote that if I wanted to lose weight I was going to have to cut calories somehow.
Wellllll....today I got on the scale and saw 164.6. So now I've got my hopes up...hopefully not too much.
Is it possible that just simply tracking and trying to eat more high-volume low-calorie foods is enough for me to lose weight, without consciously cutting calories? That would be my DREAM SITUATION. I hate cutting calories!
I have a theory about my weight range. I think I am designed to weigh somewhere maybe plus or minus about 10 or 15 pounds from where I am right now. I think it wouldn't be too difficult to just kind of tighten the reins and get closer to the bottom of that range, just like it also wouldn't be too difficult to slack off and get to the top. But the further down my weight goes, the more susceptible I am to binges that will get my weight back closer to the center of my range, and at the other end of the spectrum, when my weight goes higher I'm more likely to gain some newfound motivation and find it easier to eat a lower-calorie diet that'll get me back down to the center of my range. So, I might as well just shoot for losing some, but not TOO much, because I'm not convinced I could ever maintain something too low.
I also think it's absolutely essential to have a plan that works with my lifestyle. I used to think I was only fully on track when I weighed/measured every little food item, down to the berries I put in my daily morning smoothies. Now, however, I feel that it's okay to estimate, especially with low-cal foods like fruit and vegetables, because even if I'm off I wouldn't be off by much. And I may overestimate one day, but underestimate the next, so it's all good. It's almost silly how much relief I feel when I just make my morning smoothies without feeling guilty that I'm not measuring out my ingredients! It's ridiculous that it took me this long to come to this conclusion!
Similarly, I used to feel that I was only on track when I had a basic eating template and stuck to it, even when I got particularly hungry in the late afternoon or evening and would have really enjoyed a little something extra but wouldn't allow it because I'd already met my calorie max. It is SUCH a relief that now I allow myself to have a little more if I'm hungry without guilt. I may not need it every time, but if I do, I'm going to allow it. I will no longer sacrifice feeling OK for weight loss.
Last night at the gym I did my usual 60 minutes on the elliptical plus five minutes cooldown, but for the 2nd time ever (first time was last week) I did the whole hour with miles that were slightly faster than nine minutes, and by the time I was done with the cooldown I'd gone 7.05 miles and burned 985 calories.
Knowing we were expecting yet another huge snowfall overnight last night, my husband and I both stayed at our own condos (we've been trying to move in together for a year and a half, but haven't been successful with the real estate market). I miss him!! But he worked late into the night and got up early to work this morning, whereas I went to bed at a normal time (1opm) and got the phone chain call at 5:30 A.M. that we were having a snow day (third snow day this month!) today so I went back to sleep until almost 10 a.m.!!! I really needed that sleep.
EDIT: I decided on a whim to go back and read my old blog entries...I have LOTS of them...and I discovered that it was EXACTLY four years ago today that I first used my nutrition tracker to track a day's worth of food! (I even went back and looked - I ate some bizarre stuff that day - red wine for breakfast? Chef Boyardee for snack? WTF??)
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I forgot to mention in my last post that I've started taking fish oil supplements. This decision came after I read an article that suggested fish oil can actually REVERSE heart damage. If it's powerful enough to do that, imagine what it can do for a heart that's already healthy. Plus, one of the people who commented on this article is someone I respect (I don't know her personally, but I agree with her comments on lots of articles) and she said that she just keeps reading more and more reasons why fish oil supplements are a good idea. I always thought that just eating fish would be enough, but when I really think about it, how often do I REALLY eat fish? Not THAT often. The other supplement that seems pretty trendy right now is Vitamin D, but I haven't jumped on that bandwagon yet. I've gone through phases where I took lots of supplements (usually after reading a book that recommended them) and they get expensive, plus I never feel any difference.
So...what's your take on dietary supplements? What do you take and why? And just as importantly, why DON'T you take what you don't take?
My weight is still hovering around 168. I'm still just considering my current Eat Whatever I Want And Track It experiment to be temporary - just long enough to learn about myself and help me come up with a plan. I know that if I want to lose weight I'm going to have to cut calories somehow. I'm just hoping to make the cuts as small and painless as possible. I've been jotting notes on my Nutrition Tracker page (and I know for a fact that TERRIANGEL's been reading them because she comments to me on them! hehe) that might help me come up with a plan. Yesterday, for example, I was feeling hungrier than normal, so I ate about 2,600 calories, but I jotted down a thought that if I'd eaten just one bag of almonds (1.2oz) instead of two, and instead eaten more "freggies," my daily calorie total would have most likely been lower. So today in my cooler I packed only one bag of almonds, but I also packed a container of grape tomatoes and a yellow pepper.
Last night I roasted my broccoli and cauliflower, along with a few baby carrots and garlic cloves. I roasted them in sesame oil (thank you VIDABELA for that idea!) with some Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. I should have probably covered them - the broccoli florets got very dried out - but other than that everything came out delicious and satisfying. I also attempted to make Chef Meg's Nutty Noodles, which was not quite as successful. I couldn't really get the ingredients to mix well.
So at my brand new gym the main studio flooded yesterday, and Body Pump was held in the yoga studio instead. It was sooooo crowded and stuffy, but I survived. I still miss my old gym.
We're probably having yet another snow day or delay tomorrow. It's just past noon and snowing already, and supposed to keep going until tomorrow morning. Some teachers are complaining that we've been having too many days off, but I am a classic procrastinator - I'm loving the free days!
Monday, January 24, 2011
I've now been Eating Whatever I Want and Tracking It for over a week, and it's going better than I ever could have expected. I'm not sure if it's just the act of tracking what I eat, changes with my cycle, or something else, but suddenly something kicked in and my appetite isn't as big as it was before.
Here's a quick summary (rounded to the nearest hundred calories):
Sat. 1/15: 2,700 cals (Day 1)
Sun. 1/16: 3,600 cals
Mon. 1/17: 3,100 cals
Tues. 1/18: 3,000 cals
Wed. 1/19: 2,700 cals
Thurs. 1/20: 2,500 cals
Fri. 1/21: 1,800 cals (snow day! I was home by myself all day and didn't binge!)
Sat. 1/22: 2,600 cals
Sun. 1/23: 1,700 cals!
So as you can see, my daily calorie totals have been shrinking without any intervening. The only change I've made is that I'm trying to eat more freggies. Fruits and vegetables have SO MANY FEWER CALORIES than fatty and processed carby foods! It's kind of like discovering a store with significantly lower prices than other stores. You can buy (eat) so much more!
At the grocery store this weekend I didn't have my shopping list planned out exactly like I normally do - I did have the ingredients I needed for my recipes (two of Chef Meg's recipes from sparkrecipes.com) but I also had a line for "freggies." I figured I'd see what the store had to offer! Here's what I ended up with:
*a bag of fresh broccoli and cauliflower for roasting
*a bag with one yellow, one red, and one orange pepper
I think that's it, in addition to my normal apples and clementines. I didn't want to get TOO much because I don't want my fresh produce to go bad before I eat it all. There is still a learning curve here - I'll figure out how much I can buy with practice.
With all of this, plus keeping up my workouts, plus TOM, plus a little stomach issue yesterday, you'd think my weight would have dropped more but I've been stuck at 168 for the past several days. At least I'm not at 171 like I was at the beginning of this experiment.
It was negative five degrees (F) this morning as I was driving to work - holy coldness!!!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
First, a huge thank you to those who took the time after reading my last post to write me some really thoughtful advice tailored just to me. The bulk (pun intended) of the advice seemed to be pointing me toward one direction: eating high-volume/low-calorie foods, especially vegetables.
Of course I already knew that I should be eating vegetables, but if that common-sense concept was already working for me, I wouldn't be struggling with my eating, now, would I! Here are my thoughts about this:
*If I eat high-volume/low-calorie (I'll call them HVLC) foods, I will feel full on fewer calories.
*If I eat HVLC foods, I might get hungry again sooner than I would if I ate something rich....but that's OK - I can just eat MORE HVLC foods! Eating veggies all day long likely yields a lower total daily calorie intake than having a few big processed-food snacks.
*I need to make HVLC foods more appealing so that I'll choose them over whatever processed snacks I happen to find.
How to Make High-Volume/Low Calorie Foods More Appealing so I'll Choose Them Over Whatever Processed Snacks I Happen to Find:
*First and foremost I have to realize that a healthy lifestyle involves making choices and that sometimes I am going to have to choose the less immediately gratifying but healthier item. In other words, suck it up and do it.
*Having said that, however, there definitely are things I can do to make HVLC foods more appealing. As Terri pointed out on my last post, I don't have to stick to just clementines and apples (she knows my menu so well!). I've been buying those because they're easy single-serving snacks to carry around and track, and they last pretty well in the fridge, but how appealing is your fourth apple in one day, anyway, especially in January when apples are far from their peak quality?
*I will start looking for a variety of really appealing HVLC foods at the grocery store. For example, I've recently discovered baby bell peppers, which are adorable and delicious, but so far I've only used them in recipes. I'm sure they'd make great snacks. Other suggestions are definitely welcome.
*The way vegetables are prepared makes a difference in how much I want to eat them. I'd gobble up roasted vegetables, for example, so I need to become a good vegetable roaster and start doing that more often!
*One of my big hangups in the past when it came to getting creative in eating a variety of "freggies" (to borrow a term I've seen other Sparkers use) was that it was more difficult to track than just, say, an apple. But since I'm talking about crafting a long-term healthy lifestyle that works, I need to let go of that worry because here the benefit (loving "freggies") clearly outweighs the negative (tracking imprecisely). A lot of people consider vegetables a "free food" when it comes to tracking. I could just guesstimate my veggie tracking, knowing that being a little off with something HVLC is still going to most likely be more accurate than being a little off with something processed and calorie-dense.
Sooo...I guess my mission needs to be finding High-Volume/Low-Calorie foods and preparation methods that really appeal to me, and to combine those with a touch of self-control (because let's face it, there are still going to be times when I really would rather eat the processed junk - there's that tough love thing) and a balanced approach, using my Spark nutrition tracker as a guide to make sure my balance is pretty good. And it's progress, not perfection.
A few other random comments:
Anyone else use "Spark" as a verb? I've even got my husband doing it, as in, "Are you going to Spark that ice cream you're eating?" (He means, of course, entering a food into my nutrition tracker.)
Yesterday after school I drove through the slippery slush to the eye doctor's office. My eyes are fine and my prescription hasn't changed, but I really wanted new frames just to update my style. I ended up choosing a pair of tortoise shell Calvin Kleins and I can't wait 'til they're ready! :) Imagine WANTING to wear your glasses!
After Body Pump last night I figured I'd do an easy elliptical workout. I ended up doing 6.4 miles in 65 minutes, and was super proud of myself for getting to the point where THAT is an easy workout. Yay.
Just as I'd suspected, my daily nutrition goals (especially sodium, calcium, and fiber) seem easier met on weekdays than weekends, mostly because I prepare most 0f my own food during the week. But I'm still coming in at the high 2,000s to low 3,000s for daily calorie totals.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Hi, I'm into Day 4 now of my experimental Eating Whatever I Want And Tracking It. Here's what I've found so far:
*Just as I'd suspected, I'm having to guess at amounts so I could be really off in my tracking.
*So far my daily totals have ranged from the high 2,000s to the mid 3,000s. This is lower than I'd guessed, especially given that most of these days have been non-work days. However, I could have majorly underestimated - who knows.
*My macronutrient percentages have been showing too much fat and not enough carbs or protein.
*Compared to where Spark says I should be, I've been above range for calories, fat, carbs, and sodium. Yesterday, when I had an omelette for lunch and stuffed shells for dinner I was also majorly above for cholesterol.
*I've been within range for fiber, but this is an area in which I'm normally off the charts when I'm controling my eating.
*I've been feeling really good physically - plenty of energy for high-powered workouts and mostly good moods.
*I get a little bit hungry sometimes, though of course not as often or as urgently as when I'm controling my calories. I get a little bit stuffed after some meals, though sometimes I feel like I could eat again very soon after a meal. Other times I don't want to eat after a meal.
*I haven't wanted to get on the scale much. I don't want to see my weight going up and up and I'm suspecting that's what's happening.
*I'm glad I finally bought myself pants that fit me at my current size so I'm not constantly squeezing myself into something uncomfortable and unflattering.
*I haven't lost my desire to look thinner.
Areas in which I could improve:
*Stuffed shells for dinner last night? NOT a smart choice. I'm usually good about picking something relatively healthy off a menu, though I'm not always good at having some wrapped for later after I've eaten enough!
*I could drink more water.
*I could eat fewer junk food snacks and commit more to fruits and vegetables.
*I need to be extra cautious when it comes to situations in which I usually overdo it: eating at my parents' house, eating at home (often in bed/in front of the computer!) when my husband isn't home, and eating at restaurants.
More to come!
In other news, yesterday my mom and I took a yoga class! There is a new studio that specializes in yoga for seniors/people with mobility limitations near my parents' house, so I offered to keep my mom company while she tried it out. I was hopeful that this would become a "thing" for her. Unfortunately she gave up after the first few poses though, and chose to just watch. She said that her limitations with her new knee (she had a knee replacement in August '10) and her arthritis were bothering her. I wish I knew how much of it was just her not being used to pushing herself. I think both my mom and the instructor could have done a better job at modifying the moves so my mom could have participated more.
Now I'm off to my eye appointment. I hate eye appointments! I can never sit still when they get up close with that big scary machine.
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