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Meal Plan - Three Options

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm not sure what my plan should be this weekend, food-wise, so I am hoping that writing will help me figure it out. (And if that doesn't work, I'm sure someone reading will steer me in the right direction.)

I'm leaving tomorrow in the late afternoon for Cape Cod. I have planned, prepared, and packed a "regular" healthy menu for tomorrow. We're coming back on Sunday, and I have planned and prepared another healthy menu for Monday.

That leaves Friday, Saturday, and Sunday up in the air. I can think of three options:

1. Bring all my own food. It wouldn't be nearly as hard as it sounds since I already have my batch-cooked dinners in single-serving containers, as well as most of my other foods, like my yogurt, cereal, and walnuts, all ready to go in single-serving containers. It would actually be simple.

Pros: I'd know I was eating healthy amounts of healthy foods.

Cons: I know I will want to eat at least a few meals out.

2. Bring stuff to make my breakfast smoothies only, and eat lunches and dinners with food from the cottage or at restaurants.

Pros: I love my healthy filling smoothies that keep me going until lunchtime.

Cons: It would be a bit of a hassle to bring all that stuff. But I could always go to a grocery store on the Cape for the fruit.

3. Don't bring anything; eat all meals with food from the cottage or at restaurants.

Pros: No planning hassles, no embarrassment stemming from eating "different" in front of my boyfriend's family.

Cons: I'd be dependent on eating whatever's available.

Okay, I still haven't decided after writing all that out and I'm even realizing there's a fourth option of bringing my own breakfasts and lunches and leaving just dinners open. I will think about it - I have until tomorrow afternoon to decide what to do.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRUIN2 7/30/2008 8:34PM

    I like option four!

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DRAGONFLY180 7/30/2008 8:26PM

    i would bring stuff for earlier, eat out at night but choose healthy stuff (salad or veggies) for all but one meal. i say splurge on one meal, but if you go over that, you risk losing your resolve and giving into temptation all weekend. this happened to me about a week ago, and i really regretted it. good luck!

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Restaurant Calorie Information

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I just came across this article about New York City's new law forcing chain restaurants to post calorie information about their menu items. It was fascinating because ever since becoming a SP calorie counter, I have always wondered (and feared the worst) about the calorie count for restaurant foods. I would LOVE to have all nutrition info for restaurant foods readily available, right there on the menu. I was kind of angry reading the article because so many people were against the idea. If people don't want to know that a Friday's dish has almost 2,000 calories, it's because they know how bad it is and would rather stay ignorant. I see it a different way. I could go to a restaurant with a calorie "budget" and make an informed decision. I'm not sure if people realize how simple it could be - if a dish has 1,600 calories and you split it with someone else, all of a sudden you have an 800-calorie dish instead!

PS - I am seriously considering signing up for the Tufts 10K again this year. I'm not 10K ready at this point - I have about 2.5 months to get ready!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HRZ2UMZROBINSON 7/30/2008 7:18PM

    Yay, do the 10K!! I just signed up and I feel more motivated already :-)

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BRUIN2 7/30/2008 4:49PM

    Two and a half months is a *perfect* amount of time to train for a 10k... Your motto could be "10 weeks to a 10k". hehehe.....

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PAMELA984 7/30/2008 4:45PM

    I would love to have calorie content from restaurants too - just think that most people would be so freaked by seeing that what they think is "healthy" is loaded with fat and calories and the restaurant industry is worried that no one would eat out anymore! Our society has to get away from looking at food the way we do now - we need to quit seeing huge plates filled with fat

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Excitement - Why I Shouldn't Depend on it

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yesterday I was dealing with a bit of a weight gain after a weekend of less-than-perfect eating. It occurred to me that it wasn't going to be particularly fun to step on the scale in the morning because of the higher-than-previous number I knew I'd inevitably see. When I'm on the wagon I weigh myself every day, and I thrive on the reward of seeing smaller numbers on the scale. When I go off the plan even just a little bit, I subconsciously know that my daily weigh-in won't give me that reward anymore, and so getting back on track isn't going to be exciting. So where can I get that excitement from instead? I'm now realizing that I've used those types of moments as excuses to binge eat.

Binge eating can be exciting for me at first. There's the thrill of doing something naughty, deciding what to buy and prepare, the initial taste of a food that was designed to be instantly gratifying rather than healthy. Of course this just leads to even less of a desire to get on the scale, and a vicious cycle begins. I feel shame rather than pride in my body, so I look for positive feelings from food rather than from making healthy choices. I tend to continue on cycles like these for days or weeks until something inside me suddenly sparks a new motivation to go all-out and improve my shape fast.

By using SparkPeople I have become ever-more aware of my own physical and psychological patterns that work for and against my overall well-being. I need to use this awareness to continually refine my plan. I've always known that the answer is long-term good choices for eating right and exercising. What I need to work on is a system where I do these things all the time, even when they are not the most exciting option, or the most comfortable. I need to actively say NO to the part of my brain that gets a high from binge eating. If eating right and exercise are a steady stream rather than small bursts, and deviations from my plan are small and I stay mindful of what I am doing, then I can always be working toward a healthier body.

Just keep in mind this story: I was on a really good path from mid-April to early June 2008. During that time I brought my weight down from the upper 160s to the lower 150s while working hard on a mindset of slow, consistent, permanent healthy choices. In early June, unfortunately, I threw myself off track while on a family trip to Maine. What started with a couple poor choices that could have easily been remedied snowballed into a full-blown long-term binge that lasted over a month and resulted in me quickly regaining all the weight I'd lost. I believe that the "excitement" theory had a lot to do with this stretch of poor choices, just like so many in the past. Since I knew I wasn't going to get my excitement from the scale, I got it instead from ice cream, big home-cooked casseroles, and huge restaurant meals. I knew exercise and healthy eating were better choices, but I also knew they'd be boring. I wasn't going to drop the extra weight right away, so why bother when food was so much more fun?

However, now it is late July, almost two months after the binge began, and I am doing a bit of math. Let's pretend for a moment that history can be rewritten and I go back to the trip to Maine that started with me at 151 pounds. Let's say I had my meal of fun with the malted balls, the lobsters, the wine, the popovers, the coleslaw, the desserts, all of it. Let's even say that the next day I still didn't make choices that would put me in the book of diet saints, since I was still in Maine and off my usual routine. Let's even say I came home weighing 158 pounds, which, at a theoretical gain of 7 pounds in two days, is a conservative yet sadly realistic estimate based on my own experience of what can happen when I throw everything I know about portion sizing out the window.

But now let's imagine that when I'd gotten home I didn't care that it was late and I was tired and had to get to work the next morning. I didn't care that it was going to be miserable to step on the scale or try on my suddenly tighter pants. Let's just imagine that I'd dutifully planned out a healthy menu on my SP nutrition tracker and followed through on Monday. Let's say I went right back to good old eating right and excercising every day. My weight would have likely stayed higher than pre-vacation for a couple weeks, but eventually I would have gotten back down to 151 and started dropping some more. And right now, instead of having a weight that bounces around in the slightly overweight range, I would be somewhere in the 140s.

And if I made those choices not just after my trip to Maine but every single Monday, and every week, and if I even threw in a bit of mindfulness on the weekends, I'd eventually be able to hit any healthy goal I'd like and keep it off. I'd look great not just for one special event but for every vacation big and small, every photo op, even every plain old day when I get up, get dressed, go to work, follow my eating plan, and go to the gym. I could be maintaining my goal weight, and deep down I know that is better than any short-term excitement I can get either from a drop on the scale, or by going off my plan and getting instant gratification from food.

So my new mantra has to be this: Make the right choices every time, and especially after falling off the plan. It may not be exciting, but it is the only way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VIDABELA 7/30/2008 12:44AM

    WOW its like you wrote down my own thoughts and experiences into words. i've been having these exact thoughts lately - about how its so fun to get on the scale everyday when u know uve been good. but when that high is gone b/c of being "bad," i resort to the other high that comes from comfort foods. i so needed to read this!

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BRUIN2 7/29/2008 7:22PM

    I think it is an exciting mantra - you know why?? Because it's perfect for YOU - you can make the right choices, and you will!! emoticon

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HRZ2UMZROBINSON 7/29/2008 6:07PM

    This blog is very well worded. It's sad when you do the math and it takes weeks to drop a few pounds and days to pile them back on. I know because I just spent the last week and half eating everything in sight and hardly working out. The damage isn't undoable, but it's definitely a little frustrating. Binging is exciting in a way. It's definitely about being naughty and having instant gratification. I'm starting to accept that this is something I'll have to battle forever, but I'm still hoping it gets easier with time.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

I went to two parties this weekend and I gained about 2.5 pounds in two days. But I'm not disappointed. First of all, I didn't totally blow it. At the first party, I drank red wine and ate a tiny smores (would you call just one a "smore"??), and then had some chips, a bit of bread with cheese, and a taste of pie. I could have done better sure, but I know that in the past I've done much worse. At the second party, I had little tastes of everything rather than one big plate, stuck with diet soda, but again probably had a few too many chips. I also should mention that I didn't eat very much the rest of the day for either party, so I had room in my calorie budget. If you are going to live a healthy lifestyle, you have to live your life. No need to starve at parties. Try to make better choices, eat a little bit, less than you would have pre-healty lifestyle, and most importantly, get right back on track the next day.

I dropped my bike off for a tune-up at the place I bought it so it'll be in good form for the Cape this weekend. There is an incredibly cute guy who works there. I had forgotten how cute he was so it was a nice surprise for the eyes. Heehee. He told me there's going to be a huge bike race ending on the Cape on I will have to do my biking on Friday and Saturday and avoid traffic coming home on Sunday by leaving either really early or really late (really late the more likely option!).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMELA984 7/28/2008 6:42PM

    Good job on the parties - we are not designed to give everything up - just learn to manage it so it doesn't manage us!

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BRUIN2 7/28/2008 5:29PM

    Hahahaha. Isn't it nice to be surprised by hotties standing behind the counter? teehee.

Sounds like you deserve a gold star for the parties!

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Weekend Blast

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm already down to 155.8 - sticking to around 1,200 calories a day and exercising, the weight I've recently gained is just sliding back off. I will definitely increase my calories soon, but I'm hoping to stay strict until I go to the beach next weekend. So far I've been handling my hardcore routine just fine, but if I get too hungry I will increase by a few hundred.

My new breakfast is a smoothie. It is so incredibly filling that I can't drink it all in one sitting, so I finish it later instead of having a snack. I make it with unsweetened soymilk, a banana, frozen mixed unsweetened fruit/berries, and a small fat-free vanilla yogurt.

On Thursday night I went to the gym and found three good magazines. The elliptical machines I like were all taken, so I got on the escalator-like stair climber machine and set it for a half hour. Well that wasn't nearly enough to read my magazines, and I was actually annoyed when it stopped - I ended up restarting over and over until I'd read my magazines and climbed stairs for over 80 minutes!

Yesterday my brother and I biked the Minuteman Bike Path, which starts near his place and goes about 12 miles (one way) through woods, suburbs, and historical sites where Revolutionary War battles were fought. It's paved and flat and it was so fun. The way back is very very slightly downhill, so you go really fast with hardly any effort, and when you're done you've biked 24 miles!

Then last night my boyfriend and I went to the gym and since I'd already done all that cardio, I did strength training for the first time in a while - a half hour of chest and back exercises.

Just for fun, we looked up the calorie info for his Quiznos sub that he had for dinner (I had something I'd made myself from a SP recipe). We couldn't find his exact sub but we did get something very similar. He'd guessed it had a thousand calories but it actually had 1,290! 30 WW points! And he had a bottle of iced green tea that had 62 grams of sugar. I know I could have all that and still want more.... I still don't understand why I have totally opposite behaviors from when I'm "good" and when I'm "bad." I'm motivated right now but there seems to be no predicting when my motivation will disappear and I'll sit down with a full container of ice cream and the TV remote. :( Please, motivation, stay for good this time!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIMISCA 7/28/2008 2:00PM

    wow 80 minutes! i don't think i could do that if my life depended on it. ok maybe if my life depended on it...but i would be stepping really slowly- ha.

great job with the weekend!

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BRUIN2 7/27/2008 3:14PM

    What a great weekend!! The bike ride sounds sooo fun!!

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