Friday, February 1, 2013

It's those gentle reminders we love so well.

Here I am eight months after the last post, and I had to re-learn what I had already learned there. I knew from the feel of my clothes and from having to buy a new pair of jeans that I was near or at my highest weight ever, which is the same weight as full term pregnancy but without a baby. I decided it was time to not do that anymore, and I started food journaling at Sparkpeople. It worked, it worked great. But my calories were low enough that I was, in effect, cutting out most breads and other carbs of that nature, and eating mostly veg and [vegetarian] protein—which is good, but two days ago after my morning shower I was so depleted of energy I couldn't even lift my arms to blow dry my hair. Really truly.

So again I remembered EET, and yesterday I ate a much more substantial and carb-heavy lunch, and the day went so much better. Sparkpeople is going to be an important tool in making sure that my intake is very balanced between fats and proteins and carbs, but I am going to incorporate the "treat meal" concept that belongs to Jon Pearlstone, along with many other things I learned back when I was actively EETing, especially delaying the first meal a few hours after waking and exercising. I [re-]learned that planning my meals is especially important these last couple of weeks: if I have a plan in place I don't really deviate from it, but if I don't have a plan I scramble all day long eating whatever I want and trying to make the calories (but not the nutrients or essentials) fit into the mold. Planning is important, and I'll keep doing it.

I've decided to weigh on the first day of each month. So I lost 4.4 pounds in the last two weeks of January. :) I'll take it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In praise of EET

The story so far:

1. Once upon a time, I birthed my seventh baby a year and a half before my 20-year high school reunion. Knowing how long it can take to lose baby weight, I started right in on the efforts. Mainly used calorie counting at Benefitted from breastfeeding: was able to eat plenty of food every day and still create a calorie deficit. Succeeded. Weighed my pre-seven-babies weight six months before that reunion. Maintained it for well over a year. (See all posts having to do with my experiences with here.)

2. Gained a little weight. Counting calories didn't work quite as well for me when I didn't have those extra breastfeeding calories. Tried a different method, Eat Stop Eat with periodic fasts. The first few fasts were difficult, but once my body was used to going without food for a period, I didn't even feel hunger pangs on fasting days. Could lose up to 4 pounds in a single fast, but once I resumed eating I'd have two-and-a-half or so of those back. Was maintainable because I could eat the foods I loved, in portions. Lost 2 or a little more pounds a week. Got back to pre-seven-babies weight. Maintained it for probably 4-5 months. (See all posts having to do with my experiences with Eat Stop Eat here, and there are a lot since this blog was started to chronicle my progress through it.)

3. Hub got laid off. Stress. Gained a little weight, then more. Tried fasting, but the emotions and stress were too high so my fasts were shorter and my eats were bigger. Didn't really lose.

4. Didn't want to count calories or fast; didn't see any real results when I was counting calories or fasting. Nearly a year had passed, hub's work was steady, stress was much lower. Tried something new: EET, which is all about the timing of meals. I did have limited success, even though I insisted that the program conform to me rather than me conforming to the program. I absolutely insisted that I must be able to eat the same foods that I made for the family for dinner in the evenings. Wanted to be an example for those beautiful seven children. Mr. EET Jon Pearlstone worked with me, trying to tweak the plan, and we did see slow and small progress. I never reached my goal weight because I had to drop out when finances became tight. (See one more post on my prior EET experience here.)

5. Floundered on my own, trying parts and entireties of everything I'd done before. Lost a little, gained. Gained a bit more, lost a little. Worked out faithfully for a bit, took a while off. Ended up, nine months after dropping out of EET, at my highest adult weight ever, exactly equivalent to my full-term pregnant weight.

6. Beloved sister began losing weight. Fast. Taking names and kicking it to the curb. And I thought, I have to do this now, so that I can get small while she gets small. Pride wouldn't let me be the bigger sister. So I started exercising, eating less carbs. Cut out virtually all sugar, thanks to a challenge from a friend who had begun the Paleo diet. (See my prior struggles with sugar here.) Ate very healthy meals, lots of veggies and protein for breakfast and lunch, family meal for dinner, fasting 2 meals 2-3 times per week. I was dropping a pound a week or so. Sister was losing 4-5/week. Lost about 12 pounds of the 30 I wanted to lose. After months of watching sister and Paleo diet friend shed pounds very quickly while I went slow as a snail, I decided: there is something about this eating dinner with my family that isn't working. Something about my carb intake that isn't working. I borrowed my sister's book, The 17-Day Diet.

(Thanks for sticking with me! We're almost to present day!)

7. Began the first 17 days of very low (for me) carb diet. Did I lose weight? Yes. Multiple pounds per week, which felt like a miracle because my loss had been so slow and full of stalls and tiny fractional regains. Also, I was hungry all the time—hungrier by far than when I fasted and ate nothing. (True story.) I lost all energy in the afternoon—after about 2 p.m. I was all wrung out and exhausted and had nothing left to give, and even food didn't recharge me. Cooking dinner for the fam felt like a monumental energy expenditure. In the first 10 days I lost another 6 pounds, though, so the loss made the low energy and the hollowed-out hunger doable. But then I ran out of steam. I had to add in some carbs.

The first two days of eating carbs were like a free-for-all. I was just downing everything I could get my hands on. Of course the number on the scale crept up a couple of pounds, both from actual intake of too many calories and from retained water. I went back to the very low carbs for another 5 or so days. Then I realized several things:
  • I was not eating what my family ate for dinner, and the kids were surviving. Most often they didn't even notice what I had on my plate.
  • Not eating carbs at night was working, in terms of losing weight.
  • Not eating carbs ever was NOT working for me, and would not be sustainable in the long term. Or even really in the short term—it took all my willpower and a few cheat days to get through the first 17-day cycle.
  • All my objections to the EET program had been done away with. I could, in fact, eat something different than the fam at night. I could, in fact, eat very low carbs at some meals. If I could eat carbs for lunch and maintain my energy through the day and still lose, I could do EET. Long-term.

So for my second 17-day cycle, I decided to skip right over the info in the book and try EET again.

And you know what?


I have energy now, all day long.

I am not hollowly hungry, ever. One step further, I am satisfied! Because I am eating the foods that I love at lunchtime. I no longer look at food and think, "Looks delicious. Can't ever have it."

If something crosses my path that I shouldn't eat, I can resist it fairly easily. Because I can eat it tomorrow at lunchtime. No deprivation, just timing.

I am literally just three days into this. This isn't my final check-in or anything. But this morning I had my lowest weigh-in since item #2 up there, and that's after having eating literally the most calorie-laden food I cook for lunch yesterday.

Suddenly eating is fun again. And whereas my upcoming anniversary weekend (married 20 years on Monday 11 June! yeah!) was going to be a drag without any of the foods I loved, now I look forward to having a couple of special meals.

Will report back on how it goes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I spent a lot of weeks this month at pretty much the same weight. I was glad not to see any gains, and this week I finally lost a bit again. Still plugging toward my goal. Have lost 12 pounds total, and the clothes do fit just a bit differently. :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Having a bit of success, so...

How many different things have I tried and documented in this space? How many times have I cleared out that sidebar with week-by-week weight progress, and started anew?

I'm experiencing moderate, measurable weight loss, so I guess it's time to clock in again. What am I doing?

(1) One of my very good friends, who is following a paleo diet, challenged me to cut out sugar. Like, all sugar. Unbelievably, I did it; it took a few days or a week to reprogram myself, but the sugar cravings finally went away. However, even 15 or 18 days into my no-sugar streak I was still making the decision individually, every time sugar was in front of me. Am I going to eat this? Or not? I knew that plain old no sugar was not an answer for me. I purposely chose to eat and savor a Krispy Kreme doughnut over spring break with my children (and honestly, though it was very good, it wasn't as good as my brain told me it would be, and that tought me a lesson). And then I went right back to sugar-free without problems. So I've decided on a long-term plan, I think. Once a week I will either make or purchase the sugary treat I'm wanting most, and I will eat a single serving of it and I will feel it dissolve in my mouth and I will enjoy the heck out of it. And this will give me the strength to avoid other sugary things just because they're in front of me, I hope. This decision has relieved me of the decision making process, at least; I no longer have to decide with each and ever treat whether I'm still sugar-free or not, because I know my treat is coming on Saturday and it's going to be fabulous. However, I can't argue with the results. Not eating sugar has helped me.

(2) I've gone back to food combining for most of the day. For all meals and snacks before dinnertime, I eat only foods that digest well together. This means fruits absolutely alone, grains alone or with veggies, proteins alone or with veggies. I've tried to cut down my carbs during this period, and increase my proteins. I think this has helped a lot, too.

(3) Most importantly, I still eat the dinner I prepare, exactly as I prepare it, with my children. I think it is important, essential even, for me to set an example for my kids. Why would I make them something so unhealthy that I can't eat it? Why would I teach them that our diet is not a diet I can healthily loose weight on? So this is my stickiest point, and I'm very dedicated to it: I eat dinner with my family, and I eat what they're eating. (So during this meal, I often do combine proteins and grains, veggies and fruits, etc.)

(4) I am also fasting twice per week, breakfast and lunch only.

My goal is to lose about 5 pounds per month. I have 30 pounds to lose, and this will let me be goal weight by the end of the summer. Start of the summer would be better for swimsuit wearing, obviously, but I don't think it's realistic.

Happily, I exceeded my goal for March. I lost about 8.2 pounds. And I feel like I'm on a roll, like things will only improve from here. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Counting calories

I've spoken here before about SparkPeople. Counting calories was never manageable for me until I discovered SparkPeople, but now it couldn't be easier.

Here's a truth about me, and maybe about many other people as well: if I eat something sweet or unplanned, I mentally tend to say, "I've screwed up now, I may as well eat anything I want." I feel bad about eating it, and my guilt and feelings of failure push me toward emotional eating as a band-aid for the unplanned eating. It can be vicious.

Here's a truth about calorie counting: when I own up to eating those two lemon cookies (as I did yesterday at lunch, unplanned) and factor them into my calories, it's so much better than my mind made it out to be. An extra 220 calories? This is manageable. It means I have to eat a little less at my following meal, and it means I might go over my daily calories by 100, but it is so much less a catastrophe than my mind tried to convince me it was.

Counting calories and being honest on my food log helped me to avoid going overboard on food yesterday due to guilt. Writing it down, looking at it, and honestly assessing the damage is a great tool. No wonder food journaling has been such an important weight loss tool to so many people for so long!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back and forth. Up and down.

I'll start by saying this: I'm at peace with me. I bore seven babies, I love food, I move my body, I am what I am.

I have gained and lost 10 pounds quite a few times now. I start, I think I'm on a roll, I level off, I maintain, eventually I gain. I probably have more starting over posts in this sad little blog than I have anything else.

I have a goal, an actual goal. I've never set one of those before, to lose X by date Y. I went to a number of BMR calculators to see how many calories I should (theoretically) eat in a day to accomplish it. But I made my goal reasonable, 1.5 pounds per week, and it's going to be a long haul to get where I'm going. Anything worth doing is worth doing over the long haul; but though it may be simple, that doesn't mean it is easy.

I've removed exercise from the equation. That doesn't mean that I don't do it—on the contrary, I love exercise. It just means that I don't expect it to affect the scale. A good exercise week will not equate to a bigger loss, a specific kind of exercise will not be more magical than other exercise. So I do what I feel like doing every day. I move, I watch the sun inch up over the mountains, I saunter around my neighborhood, I do push ups and lift weights. However much, whenever I want, without the compulsion that this will contribute to a big loss on the scale. As long as it contributes to my feeling of well-being, that's all I want.

And I do feel well. I feel happy, healthy, and balanced.