Friday, December 11, 2009
To the unskilled observer, I should not be losing weight. They might be thinking I can eat anything and not gain.
I eat 'normal' food. I don't avoid carbs or fat. I am seen eating a fast food burger or taco on occasion. I drink a glass of wine or beer with dinner most nights. I eat a seemingly enormous amount of food. I eat between 1,200-1,800 calories per day.
The skilled observer knows why. I cannot eat just any *size* food and lose weight. However, I can eat what I want in the right proportion. I eat small portions of protein and starch. I eat an enormous amount of vegetables. I balance my carb/protein/fat to approximately 50/30/20. My desk always has an apple, banana or pear sitting on it. My fast food burger is small and plain with no cheese or mayonnaise. I exercise 4-5 days per week.
My coworkers didn't know me when I was obese. I've changed jobs since then. I have been continuing to lose weight so slowly, most people can't tell by looking. I don't make a big deal of it. I shout it out at Spark!
When we were on vacation, they did notice a few strange things that were not 'normal'. My salad plates at the buffet were huge with a small dollop of dressing. Stereotypical dieters eat the salad plate and nothing else, right? I still ate a plate of yummy stews or roasts, and potatoes or rice. If I was still hungry, I went back for seconds on veggies. When we went to a restaurant, I stopped eating when I no longer wanted any more.
So many of us are conditioned to clear our plates, even when we are served too much. They said I barely touched it. The skilled observer would notice that I stopped eating when I ate about 4 oz of chicken and 1 cup of rice. I've been doing this for years, I can estimate this pretty well. If I had been eating at home, I would have asked for a box so there would have been no waste. On vacation, I had no choice but to leave it. Overeating is no longer within my values anymore.
I did some sort of 'exercise' everyday, whether it was snorkeling, swimming or walking on the beach. I constantly moved around. It wasn't exercise. It was fun. It was play time to me, just like when I was little. When did exercise stop being play time?
I didn't feel guilty about anything I ate. I didn't say, "I wish I hadn't ate that". I seemed to be able to eat (or drink) anything I wanted without guilt or consequences.
But you all know better, you skilled Spark observers.
Before I left, my goal was to maintain my weight loss at 131.6 pounds. I was only gone 6 days, but with endless buffets and drinks, we all know that could be enough bullets in the gun. I kept track of my food to enter into Spark later to see how I did.
Here's how it roughly came out:
Date : Calories
Wednesday 12/2/09 : 1,376
Thursday 12/3/09 : 1,365
Friday 12/4/09 : 1,652
Saturday 12/5/09 : 2,520 (wedding day)
Sunday 12/6/09 : 1,886
Monday 12/7/09 : 1,954
Starting weight 12/2/09: 131.6
Ending weight 12/9/09: 131.6
I must admit, I am actually surprised. To be honest, I expected a slight gain. However, it makes sense. 1,800-2,200 calories is maintenance level for me on days when I am very active.
What's your take, skilled observer? Go ahead and look at my food log for those days. You will see it is less than 'perfect'.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
After coming back from the private beach, it was time to get ready for the wedding. We didn't plan it, but three of us had matching dresses! Totally coincidental! It was the most efficient sharing of one bathroom for three girls I've ever seen. We rotated out of the shower to the makeup and hair counter in record time. Excellent team work!
We setup at the wedding site and took a few pictures before the ceremony. Next time I wear this dress, I want chiseled arms!
My friends were married under this lovely gazebo with the perfect backdrop of the Caribbean and blue sky. I teared up.
After the wedding, we enjoyed a fantastic catered appetizer buffet with salmon cream cheese or cucumber cream cheese on toast, an assortment of cheese and salami, and chicken wings. I nibbled on a bite of each. I had to try them all!
Dinner was crab cakes appetizer; casear salad; filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables; chocolate cake and wedding cake. Everything was perfectly portioned. Some thought the servings were a bit small, but us Spark pros know that a 4oz steak is the right size. I cleaned off my plates and enjoyed guilt free.
We listened to Christmas music played on steel drums, and enjoyed champagne while we reminisced about the couple and their perfect day.
Cheers to the new couple!
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
We took a red-eye flight from Seattle to the Bahamas. I napped on the plane, but didn't get much restful sleep. During our plane change in Charlotte, we had breakfast. Then we got on the last leg to the Bahamas!
We arrived at about 2pm and the hotel let us check in early. First thing we did was unpack then take a shower! We explored the grounds a bit, then went to the buffet. We were starved! I loaded up on veggies, and a small side of Caribbean pork loin, lamb stew and roast potatoes. I was still hungry. So I got another plate of salad with about a tablespoon of french dressing and a small plate of fruit. That did the trick.
After lunch, I got into my swimsuit and jumped into the water! It was too late in the evening to do any meaningful snorkeling, so I just swam around and scoped out snorkeling spots for the morning. There were a group of rocks on a neighboring beach where I suspected fish would be hanging out. I would hit there first thing in the morning.
My friend and I closed out the evening with a Bahama Mama and a Dirty Banana. That wiped us out! We were exhausted from all the traveling and zonked out.
I woke up bright and early, though! I was so excited for snorkeling! I got into my swimsuit and grabbed my snorkel gear in record time. I went straight for the beach and group of rocks I saw the night before.
As I suspected, the rocks were teaming with fish and coral. There were all kinds of fish, some fairly large ones too! Including a fairly large barracuda! I still need to practice more with my new underwater camera, and I didn't get too many good shots of fish. The visibility was slightly murky also.
I did get a picture of curious Sargent Majors who swam up to me.
I spent the *entire* day snorkeling, exploring and swimming.
Around 4pm, I finally got out of the water and sat by the pool. By that time, my roommate came back from shopping and told me she got a phone call from the rest of the gang that they were going to a fish fry. We showered, changed and met up for dinner.
The next day was the wedding. Absolutely gorgeous, warm day for a Caribbean wedding! It was perfect! We had a day pass at Sandals where my friends' wedding was held. We showed up promptly for breakfast. We took a boat to Sandals' private island, where the girls lounged on the beach for a couple of hours before getting ready for the wedding.
Next up, the wedding - finally here!
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
I'm back from the Bahamas! My gorgeous friends got married with the most gorgeous backdrop. Everyone had a fabulous time! I will write a more descriptive narrative tomorrow. I just want to write about my observations about the diet and food while on vacation.
First, I am amazed at how far I have come. While I still have a number of things to improve, I am definitely a changed person. I didn't completely flip off the switch that 'vacation' means I can eat anything I want. I ate what I wanted, but I know there will be cost. It's very different than the old me that believed weight gain from eating 12oz steaks and a half pound of mashed potatoes was because of 'slow metabolism'. It was due to inactivity and overeating. I am well aware of this.
So saying that, I definitely overate. I was not, however, inactive.
In the areas where I overate, I was aware of it. It probably prevented me from going really insane. Strangely, I found I had the *most* success picking good food choices at buffets rather than set plate dinners. This is a remarkable difference. So how I was I more successful at buffets? Because I piled on the veggies. Not just any veggies, but the steamed or raw veggies without any oil. I enjoyed a small scoop of veggies with oil. I enjoyed small portions of meat and starches. I ate fruit for dessert instead of cakes. Because the buffets had so many choices, I had a wide variety to pick the foods I wanted to eat.
When I got a set plate, I was stuck with what they gave me. This was usually a huge serving of meat and starches, and a small portion of veggies. Exactly the opposite of what I pick for myself. I pretty much cleaned off my plate. If you've been following my story, this is my Achilles heel. Put it in front of me, and I am compelled to eat it.
There was one night when I had good success with avoiding clearing the plate. I ordered jerk chicken with caribbean rice. Oh man, so good! But, there was enough food for 2 or 3 people. I ate a little less than half. There was mounting peer pressure that I had to finish it. When I was served the plate, a friend said, "You have to finish that." When I didn't eat all of it, they said, "You barely touched it." I did not succumb to peer pressure. I was full, there was no reason to stuff myself. Not eating all my food is not wasteful. Being served too much food is.
One morning, I went to get coffee and debated pretty heavily on which breakfast pastry I wanted. Mentally, I wondered which had the least calories. Someone (a stranger) picked up on this and said, "There aren't any calories if you eat it standing up" and laughed. I chuckled with her. Then picked the smallest one I could.
I said that I wasn't going to count calories, however, I did. When I ate things, I made a mental note and estimated. I wrote my dinners in my journal to enter into Spark's food diary later. The reason why I did this? Curiosity. I'm curious to see how I did without a calorie calculator. I'm a math geek, and I'm curious about collecting statistics on my vacation average versus my daily life. Next time when I go on vacation, I know how I can do better. I can't do this unless I collect the data.
I did not do this in front of everyone. I didn't want to make a big deal of it, or have to explain why I was doing it. I just made a mental note and wrote it in my notebook later. I'll enter it into Spark later.
Before the vacation, us girls made a pact we were going to lose weight. Most had the mindset that they were going to eat the tiniest amount of food possible. They saw losing weight as eating a tiny amount of food until you reach your goal weight, then go back to normal eating. I'm the only one who lost any weight, about 4 pounds.
Snorkeling, swimming, and diving are a reminder of all the things that I used to not be able to do, that I can do now because of the way I chose to eat and be active. I no longer care if people ridicule me for eating small plates, or big plates of veggies, or tiny breakfast pastries. I love the things I can do with my healthy weight more. I think back to my sedentary life, and I don't ever want to go back.
My friend who got married was 20 pounds overweight about a year ago. She lost it the way I did - counted calories and exercised. She's kept it off by doing the same. Let me tell you what, she looked FABULOUS in a bikini! Like a swimsuit model! Was I jealous of her? No way! I was so happy for her! She is an inspiration for me.
I haven't weighed myself post vacation yet. I'm going to give it a couple of days for my system to get back into it's normal rhythm, then see where I need to resume where I left off. I've already gone back to my 'new' normal eating habits - small breakfast, big salad plate and small protein/starch for lunch, and a sensible dinner. This is not a diet. This is my life.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Just a brief entry to say - snorkeling and swimming in the Caribbean Sea is way better 'exercise' than peddling for hours on the elliptical at the gym! I'll take it any day!
Having tons of fun in the sun and activities. My friends' wedding is tomorrow, then we have a sailboat cruise on Sunday. Still plenty of adventure left before I come home! Collecting pics that I'll share soon.
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