Friday, August 16, 2013
Five years ago was the last time I saw any number below 160 on the scale. It has been reading 156.5 – 157 during the past week. 157 has been my goal weight and here it is. I should be ecstatic, bursting with pride, or at least doing a happy dance. Instead I went out to lunch and ate a fattening entrée, the whole thing, disregarding the high calorie count. Then a coffee get together at my house with a few of my friends in the neighborhood was an excuse to buy a large package of mini-scones, and proceed to eat quite a few of them. At least I recognized that I would eat all of the left overs and threw them in the trash.
I can see that maintaining a particular weight is all about VIGILANCE EVERY DAY. I have been reading some of the articles on maintenance and there is a lot of helpful advice but it really comes down to getting up each and every morning with the thought that VIGILANCE is the only way to keep the weight off. Losing weight and keeping it off is a time consuming life- long project.
Several things I read outside of Spark People really made me see that without VIGILANCE the weight will come back.
First important fact is …“And it gets harder to keep the pounds off as the years roll by…” Life gets busier, you add more activities, the stresses get harder to manage, many social occasions include eating, hard to find time to make healthy meals, and fat, sweet, salty foods taste really good. Broccoli is not as interesting. The life issues and aging process are not going to go away and the weight maintenance issue needs VIGILANCE.
Second idea I recognized was that the maintenance articles are all about the choices and plans that you need to make and do to keep the weight off. But I found that there are reasons why it may be difficult to keep off weight I’ve already lost and I really need to be VIGILANT in watching my choices. There are weight gaining traps. In just a few days of seeing that 157 number on my scale I am already taking action to nudge the scale number back up.
Trap 1: Eating Larger Portions
For the last year I have been being careful when I go out to eat in restaurants. Then I get to a target weight and I pig out on a large, heavily sauced plate of spaghetti. It wasn’t even a great choice at that restaurant, something inside snapped when I was looking at the menu. Then instead of buying the right amount of food for the number of people at the coffee get together, I bought way too much for all of us to eat. That gave me the excuse to eat 8 little scones.
Trap 2: Consuming Too Many Calories
“Your weight loss management includes watching your calorie intake. Eat only lean protein, fish, vegetables and fruits for meals. Avoid sugary cakes, cookies and high-calorie sodas. Also resist the urge to add butter and other condiments to your food.” You can see where I totally fell into this trap by using a coffee get together to justify buying scones. I never have anything like that in the house or even eat it outside of the house anymore. The day before I made a vegetable stew for dinner and used full-fat mascarpone cheese instead of low fat sour cream. At least there is no butter in the house to add to sauces I like to make.
Trap 3: Exercising Less Often
I HATE to exercise and can find any excuse to avoid it. You can see where this is going. Yesterday I canceled the morning walk because of the coffee get together. Later in the afternoon, I was cleaning out cupboards, moving boxes and clearing out some items from the garage. I justified not doing a video or taking a walk because I was being active. Although I was very active it wasn’t the same as doing a fitness video and it is easy to find excuses to avoid doing the exercise.
Trap 4: Not Drinking Enough Water
This is not a problem, although sometimes when I get busy I don’t drink as much as I should.
Trap 5: Too Busy
This is always an excuse I use to avoid exercising. It takes time to eat healthy and exercise every day. Sometimes it is hard to incorporate them when the demands pile up. It is easy to get off track one day and then find that it is weeks later and you haven’t been making great food choices and your walking shoes haven’t been outside in quite a while. Somehow I have to motivate myself to work in the exercise. This will be a big struggle but I find that if I don’t exercise my eating choices deteriorate rapidly.
Trap 6: Buying Unhealthy Food
Oh this is so easy to do. Walking in the grocery store is an exercise in will power especially if you don't have a plan before you go in. Obviously choosing sugary, fat foods is one of my problems since I succumbed to the mini-scones. I generally make my list but this time I did not have a thoughtful plan before I went to the store. This is something I can avoid by not being Hungary when I shop and writing down what I am going to buy before I go in. I am beginning to worry about the holidays that begin in October and all of the social gatherings involving food. Bringing hummus and celery gets old.
Trap 7: Not Getting Enough Sleep
This is not usually a problem, although I am more aware of nibbling if I wake up in the middle of the night. I have a few go to small low calorie choices which help me resist the urge to eat half of a peanut butter jar (something I have done in the past).
VIGILANCE is going to be my mantra. Also, over the next few months I am going to watch my motivations and feelings as I continue on the journey. Breaking bad habits and making new ones that will stick is going to take a lot of time.
Friday, August 09, 2013
There are foods that I do not eat because they cause me physical pain, such as thick steaks and cheesecakes. It is easy not to choose them under any circumstances because I suffer the next day. I believe that they are too high in saturated fats for me. Then there are foods I love and have a hard time doing any portion control such as pasta, brownies, chocolate or cookies.
In any form --cold, hot, red sauce, white sauce, no sauce, with vegetables, with meatâ€”pasta is my favorite food to eat and portion control goes out the window. So I donâ€™t make it and donâ€™t order it very often at restaurants. I have eaten a whole pan of brownies by myself out of the freezer. So I avoid brownies by never making them. Most brownies you buy in bakeries or stores donâ€™t taste really good to me, often too sweet so I can resist them.
The Spark program advocates moderation and figuring out how to bring in â€śproblem foodsâ€ť into your life. They say the studies show if you ban foods from your life the foods will cause problems and that you will not avoid them indefinitely. If there are no new strategies, then it may result in bingeing on all the foods youâ€™ve been denying yourself, undoing all your hard work in a single day. then those foods could cause you to over indulge and then gain weight back.
The Spark People also say â€śyou won't have to give up your favorite treats if you find ways to work them into your meal plans so they donâ€™t interfere with your health goals. Without the guilt and deprivation, youâ€™ll be able to break the pattern of cravings, emotional swings, and binges that defeats so many diets.â€ť The idea is that you develop new habits, make different choices, and trust your instinct to make better food decisions.
My cholesterol numbers have been rising over the past year so I have been attempting to follow the cholesterol food plan. I have lost weight but it stalled so I did a two week Focus and brought my weight down. This week I have been following the plan but I notice that I am slipping again. I realized that I eat too many foods with high fat calorie counts. Peanut butter, feta cheese, low fat cheese, olive oil, low fat sour cream and skim milk are good but not all of them all in one day. I had been holding the fat calories to around 40-45 the low end of my range. This week I have been eating about 60-70, the high end of my range.
For the next 4 days, I am going to go back to 40 calories of fat each day and meanwhile try to think how to make better decisions. Because I can see that I will need to do this for all my problem foods, the ones that I have a hard time saying no and have difficulty with portion control.
Saturday, August 03, 2013
I am a couple of days away from my two weeks Spark Diet Focus. I may or may not reach this 4 pound goal but I will be close. But I plan to check my weight at the end of the two weeks and reset my goal. Maybe a little less ambitious. During this focused two weeks I have figured out some problems that were keeping my weight plateaued. A good summary of the issues is an article written by Nicole Nichols " 8 Reasons Why You're Not Losing Weight "
When I read the article it really struck home. So I wrote down what I was doing BEFORE and then put down what I am doing NOW. Focusing this way has taken a lot of time to plan and reflect. It has been a lot of work to schedule exercise time every day for at least an hour and up to 90 minutes, planning and cooking meals, keeping good snacks around and in reminding myself of my goals almost hourly.
"You're eating back all the calories you burn."
BEFORE: Didn’t burn enough calories when working out to counter amount eaten.
NOW: I have been very conscientious about tracking food and watching how many fat grams I eat. It really has helped weight to come off.
"You're relying on exercise alone to do the trick."
BEFORE: Didn’t rely on exercise enough
NOW: Definitely not!! I am doing exercise every day but it is not excessively aerobic. I am walking longer and faster but I can see that it is still not really enough. Better though.
"You're not eating as healthfully as you think."
BEFORE: Too true. Tricked myself into thinking a small piece wouldn’t hurt. Ate too much at parties and social events.
NOW: I have not been cheating. I think before I put food in my mouth and I have been saying no to high calorie treats. Head for the refrigerator and eat some fruit.
"You're doing the wrong kinds of exercise."
BEFORE: Not doing exercise at all. A few slow strolls in the morning with the dog.
NOW: Probably not doing enough of the right kind of exercise. I have been doing more strength training but I need to increase the number of minutes. As for walking, I need to increase the amount of distance and time I walk. But it is much better.
"You're not being consistent enough."
BEFORE: Didn’t track consistently and snacked more than I admitted Didn't exercise every day.
NOW: Have been very consistent. Set up specific goals, review them each day and then track how well I did each night.
"You're not measuring the right things."
BEFORE: Not measuring at all estimating amounts of food, estimating amount of exercise
NOW: Following the program, measure everything and watch how many calories I burn each day
"You don't need to lose weight."
Wishful thinking and not my issue
"You have an underlying issue."
No thank goodness I a very lucky to be very healthy just some pounds overweight. This is big if you have a medical problem.
Here are a few other common reasons you may not be losing weight despite doing everything right:
• You're skimping on sleep.
Actually getting enough sleep.
• You don't fit the standard formulas for calorie estimation.
Wishful thinking but does not apply
• Your "cheat days" are cheating you.
BEFORE: Every day could be a cheat day
NOW: Have been staying very close to program and not doing any cheating.
• You're battling chronic stress.
No actually this is a good time, just general stress issues.
• You're eating too many or too little carbs, protein or fat.
BEFORE: Not watching exactly what I was eating, probably too much fat
NOW: following the program very closely and looking at the daily totals, reviewing the report
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