Thursday, April 21, 2011
CMB2048 posted a recent blog asking "How do I get this weight loss moving?" It was a heartfelt plea from a person who's really struggling and who is making huge progress with regular strength workouts, but time pressed at work and having trouble with the nutrition piece.
Here's the link:
And: here's my reply, for whatever it's worth:
" Try eating the "same" thing every day -- I do. Have never used the SP menu planners; don't cook really either, and almost never bake.
Breakfast: microwave oatmeal (2 minutes); or microwave omelette (3 minutes: Omega3 Natureggs and Simply Egg White). I change these up with different seasonings: flaxseed and raisins and cinnamon or cocoa and walnuts in the oatmeal. Maybe Kashi Go Lean for a change; always low fat milk with the cereal. Or low fat feta and spinach with Greek seasoning or maybe asparagus and a little parmesan and Italian seasoning in the omelettes. And salsa. There are lots of varieties!!
Lunch: huge leafy green salad of arugula or spinach or mesclun plus huge range of bright veggies (carrots, sugar snap peas, raw beet, radish, brussels sprouts or broccoli, cucumber, red pepper, tomatoes) plus lean protein (chicken/shrimp/chickpeas) plus small amount low fat salad dressing. NO croutons, no highfat cheese or meats, no creamy rich dressings. Maybe half an avocado once in a while. And afterwards, chopped mixed fruit -- huge range of bright choices: kiwi, pineapple, frozen mixed berries, frozen mango chunks, cherries, grapes, clementine. Rarely pear, banana. Different every day, but it's always salad and fruit. Make the salads and fruits the night before and it takes me 10 minutes tops. All ready to take to work in the morning.
Supper: every Saturday morning I make a huge pot of veggie soup using up all the left over veggies plus chicken broth, canned tomatoes, whole grain (brown rice/wholewheat pasta/barley) plus canned lentils/chickpeas/kidney beans) plus a different "ethnic" style seasoning -- curry or Thai or Italian or Greek or Mexican: no two pots of soup are ever the same. The soup simmers while I run through the laundry and read the newspaper -- takes maybe 20 minutes prep time.
When I get home from work, I nuke a bowl of soup fast before I eat something else-- and follow up with fat free sugar free yogourt and fresh berries: raspberries/strawberries/blueberries/black
berries -- I really love these. (Then I make my salads). Last treat before leaving the kitchen: low fat hot chocolate, with extra cocoa stirred in for extra chocolaty-ness.
If it's a social occasion "company dinner" then I'm going to have grilled chicken or fish, lots and lots of veggies, maybe a small baked potato -- I can almost always order something like that in a restaurant. And coffee. And a bite of my husband's dessert!!
That's about it. Sounds boring maybe -- but it isn't to me. I never get tired of it.
Beck taught me to pre-track my nutrition in the SP nutrition tracker the day before -- SP makes it easy because I'm using the food groupings I've developed and "editing out" what I haven't used for the next day's meals. No pear? then delete. No broccoli? I axe that one too. Takes maybe 3 minutes.
Snacks are generally fat free sugar free yogourt. If I'm going to have a glass of wine, I pre-track it.
So with pre-tracking, I don't have to decide what to eat 200 times a day (that's apparently the average number of times people make food "decisions" every 24 hours): I've already decided the day before -- there's NO CHOICE. Beck taught me this one too and it's become key for me. If I didn't pre-track it, I'm not eating it. Easy.
Beck has also taught me: sit down to eat everything, never eat standing up (it was all those spoonfuls of peanut butter and big chunks of cheese while my soup was heating that were sabotaging me). Tolerate hunger, it's not an emergency, it's perfectly normal and thin people feel hungry every day: in fact, if I'm hungry I'm going to enjoy my next meal more. Then when I'm finished, wait to feel full: it's going to take 20 minutes or so. That's OK. A good time to play Scrabble!
I've been eating the same breakfasts, lunches and dinners pretty consistently for a long time. It actually feels quite luxurious and self-indulgent to treat myself to all of those (not inexpensive) fresh fruits and giant shrimps and first quality veggies.
Plus: 85% cocoa Lindt chocolate squares in my locker at the gym for after my workout: bribery is so effective!
Hope this helps. "
I've been eating pretty much the same old same old every day for a decade since I lost 80 pounds. But have also recently fine tuned my plan based upon recent "Beck lessons" which have helped me take off about 10 more pounds . . . and which I hope will significantly reduce the yo-yoing of that final 10 pounds -- off and on and off and on again. We'll see: I'm still Becksperimenting to determine my "lowest sustainable weight".
And all that coffee? It's my only remaining sin (or that's my story). Without the coffee, I'd be impossibly self-righteous, right? Gotta guard against that self-righteousness vigorously and at all costs!!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
There is nothing like it.
I do know that being "up two" is not the end of the world. It's minor stuff -- true even if it turns out to be a "real" gain. Still minor.
But -- absolutely not minor-- the kindness, the great suggestions, the sturdy realism of response here.
What an amazingly supportive community of Spark Friends!
Monday, April 18, 2011
How I hate changing my weight tracker but -- there it is, 144.5!! WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!
Gotta keep it real.
And -- no, I don't think it's "permanent" because it can't be: I simply have not eaten enough or slacked off from exercise to generate a 2 pound gain.
Oh, well. Oh, well. Oh, well. Information only: that's all that scales are for.
Keep on keeping on, and the weight will budge down again.
My blog on "lowest sustainable weight" did NOT trigger a hubristic weight gain: no, it did not!!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
My weight is at 142.5 right now. It may not "stick" there as my ultimate "lowest sustainable weight" (that's the concept from Judith S. Beck's "Diet Solution" I'm experimenting to discover) but my weight has been hovering at about 142 for several weeks. Without yo-yoing. Everything in my closet fits and feels comfortable, including the size 6s.
When I was 230 pounds size 18 in 2001, I could burn 500 calories in well under 30 minutes at level 2 or 3 and RPMs 50 or so on the elliptical cross trainer at the gym. I was using Susan Estrich's "Making the Case for Yourself" approach (which I still think is terrific!). Burning 500 calories per 30 minute session was then my self-imposed "double requirement"; so I had to keep my legs moving until the elliptical screens told me I'd completed not less than 30 minutes AND not less than 500 calories. And I kept that up for quite a while during my initial acute weight-loss phase, generally getting to the gym 5-6 days a week until I reached 150-155 pounds size 8. Where I more or less stayed (with a little yo-yoing of 10 pounds or so) until the cancer dx in 2009. Bumping up then a full 22 pounds to about 172. Pity party pounds. (OK, so I was scared.)
And then in May 2009 I joined Spark to peel off those pesky 22 pounds. At 170, I realized that my calorie burn had dropped to about 400 calories in 30 minutes. In other words, I had to work harder to burn fewer calories. Which was fine. I took off those 22 pounds post surgery and during radiation, inspired by the knowledge that the chance of recurrence of the estrogen-positive cancer tumour I had battled was significantly elevated with even moderate weight gain. But during the later radiation treatments and for months afterwards, I was also dealing with extreme fatigue. So I cut back to 3 weekly gym sessions. Which meant weight loss maintenance had to be about portion and calorie control primarily.
Eternal vigilance. That's what I told myself I was doing. But continued yo-yoing 10 pounds up, then back down. And up. And down. Really.
Until my weight had crept back up to 163 or so in January 2011. I really hadn't been weighing myself regularly, and I really wasn't moving my tracker to reflect the weight I actually was; I was thinking "maintenance weight range" of 5 pounds, but it was 10+ pounds, and not going back down: staying at the high end.
And that's when Dr. Beck's Diet Solution came to my rescue with her 42 day program for learning to think like a thin person. Yes, it works: it even continued to work for me in March 2011 through a significant 3 week "cancer recurrence" scare while I waited for an MRI (which turned out, thankfully, to be negative). But even though Beck works -- yes there are some permanent drawbacks . . . which I'm having to face.
Now at 142 pounds, I notice that it's taking me about 34 minutes or more to burn the same ol' 400 calories, even working away on the elliptical cross trainer at level 8 and revving it up to RPMs 60 or so. To keep up that pace, I'm using the Podrunner gateway to 8 km downloads (from my ill-fated return to running experiment) and today chose the the week 9 segment: it's pretty demanding!!(And the cardio was followed up, of course, with one of my pretty tough upper body strength training routines, plus some abs plus some stretching to sustain flexibility. . . about 30 more minutes, maybe another 100 calories or so).
OK, so what does this all tell me?
That it takes significantly fewer calories to maintain my body at this leaner shape which I prefer.
So I can either eat waaaay less than I used to or I can exercise waaaaay faster/harder than I used to.
I can take in fewer calories, or I can burn up more calories. Or some combination thereof.
But I've known for a very long time that I can never exercise enough to eat whatever I want, or anything remotely close. And it seems to me that my resting metabolic rate may also be changing as I get (sob) older!! And by changing I do mean . . . going lower!!!
How to cope? I can read my Beck cards to reinforce the techniques I've learned, based upon her extensive research in cognitive psychology.
Hunger is not an emergency. Hunger actually helps me anticipate and enjoy my next meal more. Thin people welcome hunger and experience hunger without panic. Don't eat anything standing up. Sit down and savour every bite. Wait 20 minutes after every meal for satiety to kick in.
Preplan nutrition a day in advance. Preplan exercise a day in advance. Then there is NO CHOICE about what I'm going to eat, or whether I'm going to exercise. Or, to think about it differently, it's absolutely still MY CHOICE. But it's a choice I already made. Yesterday.
So for now, I'm acknowledging that my gross calorie intake to maintain 142 is only about 1600-1700 calories a day. But that's providing I burn 400-500 calories at least 3 times a week.
If my "lowest sustainable weight" is to be 142 or so, then I've got to commit myself to continued light eating.
Consistent lighter eating than I was permitting myself when my weight was yo-yoing 10-15 pounds (while I was pretending not to notice!!). Or not actually yo-yoing so much as staying stuck at the high end of a too-generous "maintenance range"!!
Which means I can't waste calories. That pretty much every calorie I eat has to count, nutrition-wise, to ensure I'm eating an optimum fat/protein/carb balance.
Which also means that I need to continue deciding in advance what I'm going to eat day by day, and putting it in my SP nutrition tracker a day in advance to check that I'm eating optimally. And putting into my SP fitness tracker when I'm going to the gym, and what I'm going to do when I get there. (I'm missing my cross-country skiing: but golf will be possible soon! And I'm also thinking of getting my very very old bike tuned up to take some spins on that -- like the skiing, another form of outdoor cardio without the stress on the knees/hips of the beloved running!!)
Which means fighting that very familiar sabotaging thought: this is all taking too much time! (No it's not -- it takes about the same time to pre-track OR to post-track).
And fighting the other very familiar sabotaging thought: this is totally anal-retentive!! I want to be more spontaneous! (And you can be -- about exercise. Go ahead and spontaneously park at the far end of the parking lot!! And get that bike tuned up! And run up and down the stairs three times!! And try a few jive steps while the i-Pod's still running after your workout!! There you go! All kinds of spontaneity -- just not about eating!!)
Yay SP trackers! Yay Judith S. Beck pre-planning!
I'm liking 142.5. I'm thinking that this is a comfortable weight for me now.
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