Weight Loss


SundayI read an article that talked about Saturday being the most dangerous day for weight management. Quite honestly, I’ve almost never had a problem with Saturday. I plan that day and it usually goes like clockwork. My problem is, Sunday. I don’t know what happens with that day. I can make it through Friday evening just fine and step on the scale quite elated Saturday morning. I use that feeling throughout Saturday and make sure I do as needed to have that same number or better on the scale for Sunday morning. Then, Sunday morning, I’m glad at how well I’ve done for the weekend. Somewhere around 4pm on Sunday, it just all goes out the window. I really don’t know what is wrong with Sunday. 

Maybe it’s because I’m anxious at the starting workweek. I suppose that would make me an emotional eater and I need to tune in to those feelings and figure out how to dial them back. 

Maybe it is residual joy from how I used to spend my Sunday’s before my weight loss journey. On Sunday, quite often, kit and caboodlemy husband and I ordered what we called the “Kit and Caboodle” which would be wings, breadsticks, a large pizza, and likely some dessert from a chosen pizza establishment. We might also get a sub or calzone. Most of the day we’d nosh on that food, watch movies, sleep off and on, have a drink or two, and then go to bed. Maybe that was how we dealt with the coming week. Again, making me think about eating as related to how I feel. 

Maybe it’s just because on Sunday, typically at 4ish, I finally have nothing to do. Dinner has been prepared for the week, my chores and errands are complete, and there isn’t anything pressing. I’m not really a person that knows what to do with “free time.” I generally go, go, go, except after 4pm on Sunday. I don’t know what this means. Am I eating out of boredom?

Frankly, I’m not sure what the problem is. I find it sad because I go up to bed about 7 or 8pm, so it’s only 3-4 hours of time during the entire weekend that makes me wake up Monday morning disappointed. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to figure out why I do this, how to stop this behavior, and make sure I wake up feeling better about myself on Monday for the workweek. I still don’t know why, but, the fact I’ve noticed this problem and am trying to deal with it, has helped me mitigate this destructive conduct. It’s my version of AA (Awareness and Acknowledgement). I’m aware there is a problem and I’ve acknowledged I need to find a resolution or stop the behavior. For now, this seems to be enough, as I watch my calories like a hawk on Sunday, eating low calorie foods, only eating if hunger and telling myself “no, stop, don’t” when I’m about to do something I will regret. For the month of August, I’ve been waking up, stepping on the scale, feeling happy about myself and starting my Monday’s off ready to tackle the world. As I enter another weekend, I feel confident that I’m on the right path and my positive journey continues.

 timefliesTime lately has been flying and I’ve been super-busy, though I know, that is no excuse. I’ve been slacking on my writing duties and even slacking on my weight-management a bit too. I had a birthday, we took a vacation, then my husband turned 40, which resulted in a party and vacation, and now, I’m ready to write and get my waistline back on track. I have put on a few pounds (13 to be exact), nothing anybody likely notices. My clothes still fit, they aren’t tight to the eye, but I know what the scale is supposed to say. I’d been neglecting my own rules as related to partying, anticipating extra food consumption and planning for my day or an event. It is amazing how quickly the body reacts to these thoughtless moments, as additional pounds come and just as easily, as I’d started implementing these in my rotation again, the pounds go. Below is a list of things that I became lax on but have reinstated: 

  • When drinking alcoholic beverages, do not just sit and drink. Stand, circulate around the room and talk to people. This burns more calories and the drink lasts longer, thus I consume fewer calories.
  • If I know about an event in which I’m going to allow myself to indulge, I need to do extra workouts a week before and possibly (depending on how much I indulged) a week after the event. For me this is typically adding a 30-minute bike ride and/or 2-mile walk to my day. Since normal workouts are in the morning, I do the extra workouts after work, which actually helps me wind down for the day.
  • Dance off extra calories when at a club or party with music, as this burns calories, keeps me from eating and is just fun!
  • Plan the day. Recently, I went to the state fair, planned what I was going to eat and actually ate less food. I did some extra workouts earlier that week to make sure I had the calories for my favorite foods. Once I got to the fair, I didn’t really want all that I’d planned. The result was a 1-pound loss for the week.
  • Even plan for snacks. I’ve gotten back in the bad habit of being at home and noshing. Now, I make sure to plan for any snacks, “extra curricula” food, or even a nightcap on those days I know I’ll have a lot of down time.
  • Write everything down. I started keeping a few things in my head and well, in my head or not, they did end up on the scale, as it is quite unforgetting. When I first started my journey, I put down 5-calorie gum and 2-calorie espresso beans. Then, I started thinking those were minimal calories so I didn’t need to do that. I started making allowances/excuses for 20-calorie items here open and paperr 30-calorie there. Over time, this really does add up. So now, back to, “if I eat it, I write it.” 

I’ve already started seeing the results of my restored roadmap for weight-loss and management. Soon, I will be back to my 172-175 pound self and this will be yet another closed chapter in this long and continued journey.

Over July 4th weekend, I was reminded of how “easy” it is to lose weight. As the conversation went on, we all know what the problem is. We either eat too much or don’t exercise enough, or both. I was asked what I did to lose weight and everyone already knew what the simple answer would be, “I eat less and workout.” Yup, so easy, so simple, and yet… not! That’s what we all laughed over as we contemplated health, wellness, weight-loss, and weight maintenance. 

In our conversation we realized that knowledge or know how might not be the problem. The problem for some is sticking to the plan. The problem for others is resisting the need for instant gratification. The problem for others is prioritizing exercise. My initial problem actually was expertise, as I wanted to know how much I should eat. I wanted to be accountable for the calories in and calories out. Once I gained that knowledge, came up with a plan, stuck to it mountainsand prioritized my workouts, I lost the weight. Perfection, right? Nope. Now of course, to maintain weight loss, there are other problems, which, as our conversation developed, we realized is likely always going to happen. It’s called “moving mountains” for a reason as it’s not just one mountain. Just as one is moved, another will appear. 

What I’ve learned recently is that once I recognize there is a problem, I don’t have to know why or define it. What I can do is create rituals or good habits to combat those problems. Hearing this made me feel like a lightbulb had gone off. The best example I was given for this behavior involves a person that might be a workaholic and doesn’t spend as much time at home as they’d like. Instead of trying to figure out why this happens, they should create a ritual and stick to it. Be home for dinner at 6pm at least 2 nights a week (to start). They can later change it to more days and over time, the problem is solved. There wasn’t time wasted on trying to figure out why the problem existed or complicated steps to fix the problems. Setting rituals and sticking to them became the new behavior.    

lightbulbA ritual I have created is to always order the small size, even if that means the kids size. I’m getting used to it as sometimes it is hard to remember but I have found the smaller size to be plenty. I now get kid scoops, small or kid size fries, a cup instead of a bowl, etc. It allows me to still eat what I want, get wonderful flavor and food, but without the guilt or as many calories. 

Another ritual I’ve started is to use the small plate, regardless of the food size or amount I think I’m going to get. This is for home, restaurants, the buffet, etc. Sometimes I think the food will not fit but it does. Sometimes I also think I would not get satisfied by what I put on the plate but I do. The truth is, if I had more on the plate, I likely would have eaten it. There is no harm in going back if I’m truly hunger but typically, that doesn’t happen. I don’t know why I sometimes overeat or don’t stop while there is still food on the plate but getting a smaller plate keeps me from caring so much and eating less. 

I plan to add a few rituals in my personal life that have nothing to do with food and exercise as well. I do ponder too much about the why, as opposed to coming up with action items to obliterate the bad behavior. Quite honestly, rituals is not something I think I would have come up with as a solution on my own, so I thought I’d share it as others might find it equally useful.

I was trying to figure out what I wanted to write about, as I had a couple of topics running around in my head. Therefore, I figured a short synopsis or a few quick tips might be useful to pass along. 

huge waistMore waste might equal less waist – I really don’t want to waste food or advocate it, but when served too much food, that’s what I have to do instead of eat it. If I eat it and know I’m no longer hunger or don’t have the calories for it, my waistline will not be happy. I’d rather waste the food than see the food on my waist. 

Volume speaks volumes on the scale – When I’m at happy hour, my preferred drink more often is wine. A glass of red wine has 125 calories for a 5-ounce pour. Sipping that glass throughout the evening goes a long way. I do love bourbon but with at least 140 calories per 2-ounce pour, if I’m going to be out for a long time and drinking, wine will keep the calories (and morning weigh in) down. I still drink my bourbon but usually more when I’d like a nightcap, am only going to have one drink, say for an hour-outing, or when I want that calming/soothing one-glass sip. I drink my slightly dirty martinis on rare occasions as they have way too many calories. Luckily, I don’t like beer and thus can avoid a beer gut.

Ask, and you shall receive – I customize my restaurant orders all the time and restaurants have no problem providing what I have asked. I can pick apart a menu like nobody’s business and look for ingredients that I might like. Then, I figure out how those ingredients can make a composed lower calorie, great tasting dish. With so many people having food allergies, chefs do not seem mind preparing food requested in the manner preferred. It’s almost as if the Burger King Slogan fits anywhere – Have it your way. 

Little changes can make a big difference – I used to drink a large white chocolate and caramel latte with skim milk every morning, for a whopping 530 calories. This is how my day started every weekday. Now, I drink a medium half-and-half shot of sugar-free white chocolate and sugar-free caramel latte with skim milk for only 130 calories. Honestly, the first couple of days it took getting used to but now, I love it. A new person made my coffee once (forgetting the sugar-free) and it was horrible… way too sweet. One sip and I knew it was wrong. My taste buds adjusted and that one change dropped 400 calories from my daily diet. I used to drink that coffee with a 400-calorie muffin and now I have a Vitatop, a Weight Watcher Muffin, a Granola Bar, etc. or something similar for less than 200 gbtasterscalories. Just a tweak here and there, still eating good food but saving myself tons of calories. The same is true about those shooter desserts in restaurants compared to their full-size counterparts. I still get the sweet flavor and indulgence without a bunch of regretful pounds.

I hope these few tips are helpful, as they sure have helped me continue to enjoy life while I eat wonderful tasting food, socialize with friends and maintain a healither weight.

INDDLast week I was surprised to find out there is a day dedicated to no dieting. This annual celebration, INDD, occurs every May 6. The day is not about eating whatever you want, as I initially thought when I saw no diet but it is about body acceptance, promoting a healthy lifestyle and raising the awareness of the dangers of dieting. I think these are important concepts to keep in mind, so I’m going to celebrate this day. 

I started my weight loss journey concerned about the number on the scale. I wanted to lose weight and see that number go down. As the pounds dropped, I then wanted to look good. I wasn’t not even sure what that meant but I knew it at least meant I needed to lose more weight, decrease the inches and get more body definition. Sure, we all want to look good but having 6-pack abs, 2-3% body fat and a bikini perfect body isn’t going to happen for most of us. I realized that inches, pounds, flab/fat, didn’t so much matter. What matters is that I am getting daily exercise, I eat more fruits and vegetables, my blood work always shows great results and overall, I am healthier; possibly the healthiest I’ve ever been. All of these things are what International No Diet Day are about as fat phobias, biases and body obsessions need to be shed more than the pounds. 

I still look in the mirror and wonder, if I’d not gained so much weight would I have this residual flab; however, I’m beginning to realize it makes no sense for me to ponder such things. I have to focus on the important aspect of my life now, which is that I am healthier and yeah, I might not be a perfect 10 but I do look pretty good. I achieved all of this with hard work and determination in changing my lifestyle, not dieting. 

Diets can be dangerous, unsuccessful and defeating. Not eating the right food groups or getting enough vitamins and minerals, working out too much, taking diet pills that increase heart rate, metabolism, fat burn, etc. and missing meals can wreak havoc on the body. Some diet methods can cause aggressive/mood altering behaviors, internal organ no dietdamage or failure, and respiratory problems. Some can even kill. Stepping on the scale to get a pleasing number and looking good aren’t worth the risk of any diet. Sometimes diets don’t work, sometimes the weight is gained back (10-fold even) and other times, an unrealistic expectation can bring about a defeated mentality, causing more damage to self-image than the initial need or want to lose weight. 

Today is about recognizing we are all different shapes and sizes and that is a good thing. Let’s applaud who we are, what we look like and strive to be better through healthy, realistic, lifestyle changes. Let’s not obsess over pounds, body shape or inches. Happy International No Diet Day and maybe the beginning of a new/better way to think and feel about beauty, self-image and size.

As a new year has once again started, I hear people talking about what diet they will start and when in order to lose their unwanted pounds. I have only one sage piece of advice in regards to dieting… DON’T. A diet is generally a temporary status and not a longtime goal or change. Sure, counting calories, cutting out carbs, sweets, drinks, or eating salads daily over a few months will lead to a lower number on the scale but once “normal eating” returns, so will those pounds. If someone stops biting their nails, surely those nails will grow but once they begin that old habit again, those nails return to their “no manicure needed” state. Dieting, quite similarly, will generally not lead to permanent weight loss. For most people, only a few lifestyle changes are needed for long-term weight loss and those changes should be explored as opposed to the newest fad diet or what can be done over the next 6 months to be ready for the beach at summer. Of the various magazines I’ve read, some of the lifestyle changes easiest to make include:

  1. Don’t be a member of the clean plate club. Always leave something behind.
  2. For restaurant eating, omit something from your usual order. If you usually have an appetizer, entrée and dessert, skip the app (or even better, skip the entrée or dessert).
  3. Count how many meals per week you eat your own food as opposed to eat out (i.e., pack lunch, fix dinner, etc.) and add 2 more home prepared meals.
  4. Swap junk food for a fruit or vegetable. Instead of potato chips with your sandwich, have an apple or celery sticks.
  5. Use butter substitutes or less butter and oil than usual.
  6. Instead of sauces or dressings try spices.
  7. If going down one floor, take the stairs.
  8. Always skip the first parking space you come to in the lot and park further away.
  9. Add 30 minutes of exercise to your week, even if it’s just 10 minutes, 3 days per week.

In order to ensure success, don’t make too many changes at once. Pick one or two and get used to those. As those changes become part of who you are, add a couple more and so on. I have a Dove Dark Promise that says, “Keep the Promises You Make to Yourself.” Starting with a few changes and promising to stick with those has helped me immensely. For example, instead of saying, I’m going to lose 40 pounds and never eat a cookie again, I promise to share my desserts when I go out to eat or guarantee that I leave half of it on the plate. Start gradually with promises and alterations you can keep, and eventually you’ll realize you’re a new person or at least a person with a healthier lifestyle based on HUJ changes.

My life has changed quite a bit in the last 6 months. As you know, I have a new job that keeps me quite busy. Assistant Director of Operations isn’t something I ever aspired to be and yet, here I am and I love it. I take more work home than I used to, which keeps me from writing my blog as much as I’d like. I think I’ve at least gotten enough of a handle on my job to start writing once a week, so that’s what I’m going to shoot for… Friday blogs. 

Other things have changed too, like working out in the morning. I never thought I’d get up every morning at 4am to early morningworkout and yet, I do. It actually is a great way to start my day. It also makes me feel calmer at work, as I’m not worried about my workload and trying to get home to workout. When I first took on this position, I would go through the day thinking I’d never get out of work on time, thus be late for my workout, or too tired to workout. Now, it doesn’t really matter much as my workout is complete and most days, I get out of here on time anyway. 

I have also had to ensure I have portable foods with me at all times. For example, my day yesterday included meetings from 10am through 3pm. I have many of these marathon meeting days. Luckily, some of those meetings are in my office, so I have just a few seconds to heat water for oatmeal or a can of soup, or even slice an apple or pear. I can also put something in the toaster like a Thomas’ bagel thin, a Vitatop, or some bread for peanut butter. A mix of those items along with my portal foods like Lance whole grain peanut butter crackers, or Kashi Go Lean or Honey Cheerios Bars, or Fiber One brownies come in quite handy. Add a banana, plum, apple, or other fruit and I’m set for a few hours. Also, for those times where a frig is available or I’m coming back to my office, cottage cheese, Babybel cheese, yogurt and milk for cereal are great fillers and a wonderful way to get some dairy for the day. I could go on and on about the existence of portable food, from crackers, fruit and nuts, to granola bars, plantain chips, and dry cereal. 

Another thing I’ve realized is it does not bother me to eat in front of people. I don’t care if I’m the only person eating at the meeting. I have to do what is right for my health goals and me. Plus, I think what would truly embarrass me would be if my stomach growled profusely during a meeting. The funny thing is that sometimes, the person I’m meeting with or someone next to me at a group meeting will say to me, “I wish I’d thought to bring something to eat.” 

Holiday happy hour, larger, 12.2012With all these changes, the one thing that hasn’t changed about me is my commitment to remaining a healthier me. I still exercise one hour a day, two hours on the weekends. I still count my calories and stay within my daily limits. I still prepare most of my dinners and do meal planning. And on the 4 year anniversary (December 12) of beginning my weight loss campaign and journey to a healthier me, I’m still half the me in pounds I used to be. It took me two years to lose it and now, it’s been 2 years that I’ve maintained it. The more things change, gladly, the more other things have stayed the same; including the fact that I write a (weekly) blog.

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