Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I am three meals away from finishing the South Beach Phase 1 Diet. The plan is straightforward and does not have complicated rules, but it takes discipline to be consistent over two weeks. During this time, I lost an astounding 7 pounds.
Here's what I learned:
1. It's motivating to lose this much weight so quickly. Granted, much of it is water, but after months of little to no weight loss, it's a welcome change.
2. Sometimes a diet within a diet really works. In other words, I have my a regular food plan, which is 1,500 to 1,7000 calories a day and includes moderate portions with no forbidden foods. Then, there's short-term jump start diets like SB Phase 1, which is about 1,000 to 1,200 calories. I think that if I have a really wild food day, following this diet for a day or two will help me get back on track.
3. Crash diets make you cranky. Around day 9 or 10, I started resenting this diet and was ready to throw in the towel. It's crystallized for me how unsustainable crash diets are, but I do concede they have their place every once in awhile--especially after two weeks of overeating during the holidays!
4. Being 12 pounds from my goal weight feels amazing! Some of my size 12 pants are getting baggy. There's even one pair I can't wear without a belt. Once I lose more chub around my middle, I'll be a solid size 10 pants. I'm still a size 14 on top, thanks to the boobage, dang it.
5. Workouts are tougher while crash dieting. I've been doing okay with the exercise in the last week, but I noticed while lifting weights that my muscles were getting tired faster.
6. This diet forced me to be vigilant about what I was eating. After a year, the daily tracking of my food, etc. was turning into a grind and I was slacking off on my food choices, eating more calories, etc. I'm sure that's why I plateaued so much in late 2012.
7. I didn't plan to take a two-week break from everything during the holidays, but I think it shocked my system and revved up my metabolism. I was probably eating 2,500 calories+ a day while visiting my folks during the last week. Then, when I suddenly cut my calories to the bone, it restarted my weight loss. I think this is similar to what's called "refeeding" but I'm not sure. It's the logic behind why fitness experts are now recommending cheat meals every week or so.
Well, after breakfast tomorrow, I'll be back on my regular eating plan, but I'm going to work hard to keep the calories between 1,200 and 1,500 a day and incorporate healthier whole grains. I do have a cheat meal of BBQ ribs planned for Saturday, which I'm looking forward to.
Onward and downward!
Monday, January 14, 2013
Today, I learned that the woman who babysat my daughter from aged 6 months to 5 years died from cancer. Since I have moved, I had no idea she had even been sick. She was only 54 years old. My daughter is almost 21.
She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a business woman, a talented decorator with a knack for turning cheap and ordinary things into fabulous works of art. She was extremely intelligent with a boatload of common sense; kind, warm, funny and a great cook.
I had seen her in the store when I was visiting from out of town last spring. She had lost about 100 pounds, but her face had looked so drawn and weary, I withheld commenting. Instinctively, I must have known, but did not feel it was my business to ask how she had lost the weight.
Right now, I feel depressed, but am managing to keep a stiff upper lip, since I'm at work. I'm monitoring myself carefully to refrain from eating my emotions. Regardless, it's a rough day, I'm tired and I have a headache.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
How much should I weigh? I'm 13 pounds from my current goal, which is 155 and a BMI of 24. Although I'm close to goal, my waist is still 36", dang it. I'm a classic apple shape, so I'm not surprised that my belly is still with me.
There are numerous guidelines for how much a 5'7" woman should weigh based on age, frame size and activity level. I want a weight that won't be too difficult to maintain with moderate activity and eating habits. I also want to lose 4" to 6" from my waist, which will be better for my health, since I'm prediabetic.
A healthy BMI in general is 118 to 159. I have a medium frame, so although 159 is "healthy" it's not going to be low enough to lose the belly fat. When I weigh 155, I am "not fat and not skinny." It's a weight I maintained for many years. The problem is, I will still have belly fat.
One time, at 18, I dropped from 155 to 140. At 140, I was slim but not skinny and had no fat around my middle. Today, I'm older and 140 seems so unattainable. I remember struggling for years in early adulthood to get back to that weight and never could.
Today, though I had an epiphany; what exactly was I doing back then to lose those 15 pounds? I realized I was using fad diets, crash diets and other attempts that would last 2-3 weeks before I gave up. Then, I'd return to a diet of junk food and an inactive lifestyle. Now, I am better educated and understand that weight loss doesn't happen overnight and that healthy habits must be sustained over months--not weeks before you can see results.
I have a thick psychological mindset that believes that I can't get under 150. I don't know whether or not this is really true. Even if it is, I look pretty doggone good at 150. So right now, I think my ideal weight is somewhere between 145 and 155. This range is about a 23 or 24 BMI and accounts for this belly I still need to lose. I will also be happy and satisfied with my appearance in this range. Anything above 155 I still perceive as overweight, so I may use 155 as my "flashing dashboard light" weight that indicates it's time to start eating less and moving more.
We will see!
Onward and downward.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Like an episode of Jerry Seinfeld, today's blog is about nothing.
1) After weeks of thought, I joined a new gym. My current gym membership expires on Valentine's day and it's going to cost me $160 for three months or $450 for a year. The membership includes towel service, but not any classes. I like the facility, but its slightly out of my way, now that I've moved. My new gym is walking distance from my home. I'm not much of a negotiator, but I took advantage of the January specials and a corporate discount. My monthly rate is $25 for access to a huge facility with lots of cardio machines, free weights, weight machines and free classes. No towel service, though--dang it.
2) It's day nine of South Beach Phase 1 and it's starting to get to me. I feel tired and somewhat cranky and resenting that I still have five freaking days left on this plan. Still, I've lasted this long, so hopefully I can make it to Tuesday without abandoning this plan in favor of a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
3) My stomach is still flabby, although my goal weight is 13 pounds away. The rule of thumb for setting a goal weight is to identify a weight you maintained for over a year as a young adult. Okay, from ages 15 to 27 I weighed between 155 and 170. I weigh 168 now and want to return to 155. Trouble is, when I weighed 155 as a teen, I just KNEW my ideal weight was 140. I reached it for five minutes when I was 18 and looked fabulous. That's a BMI of 22, which sounds like a pipe dream to me. At 5'7" I think I will be happiest between 145 and 155. We will see where my weight settles in the next six months.
4) I have been working on my weight since January 2, 2012. I'm proud of myself for toughing it out for over a year. When I consider that, I feel confident that I've learned some new, healthier habits that will help me maintain my weight. During Xmas, I missed a week of exercising and felt terrible about myself. The only way to cure the guilt was to go work out. This week, I made it to the gym 3x, so I've gotten my 150 minutes in. If I workout on Saturday, I'll make my goal of working out at least 4x a week.
5) I've been so focused on the cosmetic aspects of my weight loss, I almost forgot that I'm prediabetic, which is the main reason I lost the weight to begin with. I can't lose sight of that, so on the days when I'm draggin' I need to remind myself why I'm eating clean(er) and exercising regularly.
6) When I finish South Beach phase 1, I'm going to re-introduce oatmeal to my breakfasts and find a good tortilla wrap recipe for lunch. Next weekend, I'm going to get my monthly barbecue fix--something that keeps me from feeling deprived.
7) Today I ate: eggs, turkey bacon, coffee with cream and stevia, pistachio nuts (30), 3 oz chicken breast, green beans, celery & laughing cow cheese, tilapia, collard greens, diet coke and a fudgesickle. Pretty dang good!
8) Today I did: 30 minutes of weight training on my legs, 15 minutes on the elliptical machine and 15 minutes on the recumbent bike. Yay for me!
9) I plan to weigh in tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect.
10) It's really late and I'm delirious. Time for bed.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
I lost 6 pounds during my first week on the South Beach Phase 1 diet! I chose this diet because my weight had been plateaued for months and I had gained two pounds over the holidays. I was 19 pounds from my goal weight and wanted to jumpstart my weight loss plus reignite my motivation. Phase 1 is tough; for the last week my diet has consisted of lean meats, vegetables, cheese, nuts and 100 calorie desserts. No fruit, bread, or processed foods.
Needless to say, I am very pleased with these results but already concerned about how I will transition from this diet back to my regular eating plan after I finish week 2. I think if I follow the general principles of South Beach Phase 2 which reintroduces complex carbohydrates and whole grains, I will be okay. The only thing about South Beach I don’t like is feeling discouraged from eating certain fruits and vegetables because of their glycemic index. For example, I like carrots. Why feel bad about eating carrots? Are the morning fruit smoothies that I enjoyed in the warmer months a problem? They helped me lose more than 20 pounds last year.
So after my two weeks are up, I’m going to focus on the general principles found on the Harvard School of Public Health’s Nutrition Source at www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource. It’s based on the federal government’s my plate guidelines, with a few tweaks. Here’s the plan in a nutshell:
• Use healthy oils like olive and canola for cooking, on salad and at the table. Limit butter. Avoid trans-fat.
• The more veggies—and the greater variety—the better. Potatoes and French fries don’t count.
• Eat plenty of fruits of all colors.
• Drink water, tea, or coffee with little or no sugar). Limit milk/dairy (1-2 servings/day) and juice (1 small glass/day). Avoid sugary drinks.
• Eat whole grains (like brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole grain pasta). Limit refined grains (like white rice and white bread).
• Choose fish, poultry, beans and nuts; limit red meat; avoid bacon, cold cuts and other processed meats.
• STAY ACTIVE!
Stick to this plan 90% of the time. Since there are 21 meals and 14 snacks a week, this means that each week, I can have two “junky” meals and one “junky” snack. I can save them for the weekend or disperse throughout the week. This will help me avoid feeling deprived.
I am now 13 pounds from goal. If I can stick to this plan, I should be able to get to goal in about 90-100 days.
Onward and downward!
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