Monday, January 31, 2011

W4, Day 7; Shrimp+pasta= yum

Tonight we made spaghetti carbonara with ham.  Not exactly real Italian or anything, but it was good tasting and it would be a pretty decent substitute for fettucine alfredo.  We paired this with some shimp sauteed in a little oil and garlic, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and my favorite, cayenne pepper.  The shrimp turned out deliciously.  Add in some steamed cauliflower and *poof* the cooking fairy delivered a tasty, filling dinner.

Spaghetti Carbonara (Cooking Light)

On another note, tomorrow is weigh-day.  Last week I felt that I did well with my food plan, but struggled to lose anything at all.  This week I feel that I did about the same as last week, though I did use a few more of the weekly allowance points than last week though, so I'm sweating just a bit.  Too bad it's not exercise sweating since I didn't do much of that this last week.....  *Fingers crossed*

Sunday, January 30, 2011

W4, Day 6; Bagel Gnomes

One of the things I love to eat is a hearty weekend breakfast:  pancakes, or waffles, or eggs, toast, and get the idea.  Yet I have a very hard time on the WW plan indulging in a breakfast knowing that I'll have fewer food points for the remainder of the day.  For this reason, I usually eat a small breakfast or lunch and follow up with a large dinner (and toss in a couple snacks for good measure).  I've heard many people say that it's better to eat larger breakfasts and lunches so your body has fuel to burn during the day, followed by a very modest dinner.  But I guess I've sort of developed the way I do it based on my hunger patterns throughout the day.  I'm not hungry when I wake up.  I'm hungry at lunch, but even if I eat a large meal, I'm starving again by dinner time.  So, I might as well keep lunch small too.  But, I do miss a hearty breakfast.

So, tonight that's what we had.  I had boiled egg whites (I love the whites, but I've never liked the yolks so I give them to my husband), turkey sausage links, bagel thins with cream cheese, and oranges off the tree on the side of our house.  I'd never tried these sausage links before (Jenny-O brand), but they were pretty good. Not quite like real pork sausage--a bit too heavily spiced--but a decent substitute and much better than soy links.  It was also the first time I'd tried the bagel thins.  They were fine in that they taste like bagel, since that's what they are, but I couldn't help but wonder who had hijacked the middle of my bagel.  I play a math game with elementary kids called "Where's my bagel?" and that's what I found myself wondering tonight.  But, it had half the points of a full bagel--I guess the bagel gnomes make off with quite a few of the carbs--so I guess I should be grateful that I can enjoy it at all.  All in all, it was a good meal and helped me to feel like I wasn't missing out of some of my favorite breakfast foods.  Now I need to find a low carb, high fiber pancake recipe!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

W4, Day 5; Shoppercise

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with clothes shopping.  I love going to the mall.  I love looking at clothes and imagining what I might look like in it--in a perfect world.  I hate looking at sizes.  I hate finding nothing that fits me in either "regular" women's clothes OR plus size clothes.  I mean, c'mon!  I've noticed that there is a gap between the two sets of sizes and I usually seem to fall right in between.  Regular women's clothes are too small, plus size clothes are too baggy and long, especially long.  I'm in, I'm short in both legs and torso, so sometimes finding shirts can be hard because they are so long on me.  I'm assuming just about every woman, plus size or not, has some difficulty in finding the clothes that look perfect on her.

And then there's the number.  Why does a number make so much of a difference?  Does a number make me a worse person?  Less intelligent? Less worthy?  Not really....yet it means so much somehow.  Currently I wear a 18-20 size pant.  Somehow it's extremely difficult for me to post that, as if it's my dirty little secret upon which my value will be judged.  Who cares?  At my heaviest several years ago, I wore a 22 and I remember the day I realized that I had to go up to that size--I sat down in the mall like a crazy person and sobbed.  I truly hated myself in that moment.  And why?  Because of a number.  In a way, it was a good thing in that it forced to start to take charge of my life, to take control, to join WW for the first time.

And yet, despite this, I love walking the mall.  My husband calls it my "shoppercise" and it's true.  I rarely buy much of anything, but, especially when I am losing weight, I like to see how the clothes are fitting on me.  I sort of gauge my progress as much on how clothes are looking and fitting as by my actual scale weight.  It's entirely shallow, I'm not saying it's not.  But it's sort of like standing in front of that dressing room mirror and asking, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, am I any fairer than before?"  See?  Modest, right?  Lastly, there are always treats to enjoy at the mall.  An iced-tea at Starbucks (Starbucks is a sort of special treat for my husband and me), a sugar-free lemonade, or a Hot Dog on a Stick...(Hey, it's only 7 points!).  And with that, we're off.  Happy shoppercise!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

W4, Day 3; Hungry!

Today was an average food day....I ate the same things I've been eating for weeks, but the difference was that I was hungry.  Really hungry.  Hungry before lunch.  Hungry after lunch (I had a granola bar).  Hungry waiting for dinner (I ate an apple). I have been pushing myself to eat dinner later than we used to.  Our routine was to eat around 5 p.m., but now we're shooting for 6-7 p.m., so it was a long hour before dinner.  Since I was hungry, I decided to boost the volume of my dinner by adding some baked butternut squash, a free food.  A very free food--I used the WW online tools calculator to see what the point value of one cup would be (0), 2 cups (0), 70 cups (0).  Seventy cups!!  It actually goes up to 999 cups, and yup, still free.  Which is just silly, obviously, because no one could eat that much squash in one day, but it gave me comfort too to know that if I ever got really hungry, well, there are always squash options.  I also enjoyed the squash simply because I couldn't help notice that it looked a bit naughty....but maybe that's just me.  :)

I also had some of the leftover macaroni and cheese, which I really like (see recipe posted on the Week 3, Day 7 post).  It doesn't taste exactly like the bright orange boxed stuff or the way Grandma used to make it, but it's still good.  And perhaps it tastes even better knowing that it's much better for me.

Lastly, I'll admit to you all that I did end my day with a piece of cake.  Well, half a piece of cake--I shared it with my husband because it was a huge piece.  Cake, you say?!  Cake?!  What about WW?!  What about your weight loss?!  What about the children?!  No, but seriously, sometimes I just need to have something I enjoy.  I have been craving cake, just plain ol' cake for three weeks.  The craving hasn't let up, in fact it's getting worse, so I decided to indulge it--in moderation.  That's the key, right? is good.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

W4, Day 1; Disgruntled

Weigh day today.  The results though were not as I might hope--222.2, down 0.6 since last week.  *Sigh* Not even a full pound.  I stuck with my food plan, though I did use some of my bonus points, I also still had quite an allowance leftover.  I exercised most of the days last week.  In other words, I feel as though I'd earned my full pound and will admit to feeling rather put out on not achieving it.  So, time to regroup and reflect.  What happened?

I honestly don't think the new Weight Watchers program works as well for me as the old one.  Some of that sentiment comes from me not feeling comfortable yet with it's differences, but honestly, I've worked hard the last couple weeks and not seen much progress.  With the old program, provided I did my part of following my food plan, I was pretty much guaranteed 1-2 pounds of loss a week, or 0.2-0.4 lbs a day.  It was progress that was steady and visible.  It kept me going because I knew that if I did what I was supposed to, I would get the outcome I expected.  This new program seems to keep me vacillating up and down between the same two pounds.  Ugh!  I want to see progress!  I want cake!  (Okay, seriously, I'm going to need to just give in to that cake craving one of these days and have a piece because it is NOT going away....)

So, what can I do?  Well, I'll keep it going.  I'll pledge to keep up the physical activity.  I'm going to try to cut out some of the fruit in my day--maybe there's too much sugar? I'll try to drink more water.  I'll weigh in next week.  I'll admit to being rather disgruntled too though.  Meh.

Monday, January 24, 2011

W3, Day 7; Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Tonight I'm eating some roasted brussel sprouts, laced with garlic and a little olive oil, sprinkled with salt, cayenne, and pepper.  It's actually very yummy.  I always like brussel sprouts, but especially sauteed with some butter...and why stop at just a little butter, eh?  Most veggis I prefer plain, without sauces or butter or anything, but there's just something about brussel sprouts that they need a little something.  So anyway, we had the roasted brussel sprouts with some rockin' low calorie, low fat (relatively) macaroni and cheese.  The portion was 1 and 1/2 cups of mac cheese for 252 calories and 30g carbs.  Honestly, I was a little dubious, but it was pretty tasty.  Some of the recipes in my new cookbook seem a bit hit or miss, but I think we can add this one to the keeper box.

In other news, weigh day is tomorrow.  I can't help but feel a little nervous.  I've worked hard this week, especially in regards to physical activity.  I feel like I'm not making a lot of progress these last couple weeks, but we'll see at the official weigh-in.  

Saturday, January 22, 2011

W3, Day 5: Gardening

Today dawned beautifully, sunny and warm.  I opened up our whole house to let the air in and felt it swirl around me.  Somehow, the brightness lead me outside to work in the front yard for a few hours.  I raked, pulled weeks, planted, swept, swept, swept, power washed, and scrubbed.  It was so very pleasant, which is weird because I've never been much of a yard person.  After I came in, I was just exhausted, but I felt good too because not only did the yard look good, but I felt like I worked my body pretty well.  Like gardening, I'm not much of an exercise person, but it does feel good to be active during the day.

Later, I made a healthy dinner and we watched some t.v.  As we sat down, I felt my head start spinning.  Random. I was so very dizzy for several hours.  Maybe I was dehydrated.  I didn't really drink anything all day, especially with all that time out in the warm sun.  Or maybe my body was just tired from all the yard work.  I don't know.  But it sure felt pretty funky.  I spent the evening drinking cup after cup of water in case it is dehydration, so I'm in anticipation of a long night.  And it must be noted, as soon as my body felt ill, I wanted to turn to food.  Food just feels like a cure-all to me and I turn to it to cure illness, create happiness, and it would probably save the whales too.  However, tonight I didn't eat anything more, so I still don't feel well.  It's either a dose of self-medicating ice-cream or an early bedtime....  G'night!

Friday, January 21, 2011

W3, Day 4: Friday Treats

Ah Friday, 'Treats' day at work.  Generally I just try to avoid the staffroom until lunchtime, but I really need to get to the copy machine at break today, so I picked up my (mushy) apple as a talisman and headed off.  As I walked over there, I told myself I'd just walk right through to the workroom.  Then I told myself, okay, you can just walk over to the treats table, look, but not take anything.  Yeah right, like that's going to work, right?  I felt like I had to take something, but I hoped that there might be some fruit since fruit is a free food and I can eat those freely.  Unfortunately, no fruit.  So, I stood there, eying the breadth and scope of the small delicious items abounding on the table.  I selected two chocolate almonds, two slices of salami, and a small piece of cheese.  When I returned at lunch, I added two more chocolate almonds, and 3 mini Quaker rice cakes.  So, not bad I guess.  My goal had been to take nothing at all--maybe that's unrealistic?  I think I would have felt better about myself if I had resisted taking anything, but on the whole, I feel pretty positive about today's treats.  I think I can handle it--provided there's no cake!

Since it was Friday night, my husband and I went out to dinner tonight.  We picked Japanese since we've both been having a craving for a bowl of udon, our favorite dish.  So, we had chicken udon from Little MadFish (so good!) and we shared a few pieces of tempura.  I know the latter is terribly unhealthy and I had to dig into a few weekly bonus points, but I think it was worth it for the nice date meal we had.  I felt that I was not a dieter, but just a normal person enjoying a nice meal out.  Just this evening, I feel that perhaps this could be sustainable in the long term.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

W3, Day 3: Nutrition

Mmmmm, chocolate.  So I'll admit to munching on a chocolate Santa as I write this.  No, I'm not cheating on my diet.  And oh yes, it tastes so good.  I think that I need to restructure my day in some way, but I'm very reluctant to do so.  The problem is that I am ending up with way too many food points to spend at the end of the day.  To this end, I'm eating little for most of the day.  Now that my body has adjusted to the much smaller quantity of food, I'm not nearly so hungry all the time--so basically, I just don't eat much until dinner. Then at dinner, I have more calories than I need, so I end up eating some things that don't have much nutritional value.  I'm not sure if the food points I don't eat carry over to the next day, so I haven't been banking them.

At least, however, I did start taking a multi-vitamin at my husband's insistence.  I've noticed that every time I start dieting that my hair starts falling out and my finger nails become soft.  Weird, huh?  I'm really not sure why this is, but the hair loss is quite noticeable when I am showering or brushing my hair.  I wonder if that just happens to everyone?  I know I'm getting a ton of different fruits and veggis, so I don't think it's because I'm not getting enough vitamins (though I'm not sure about protein because I'm not eating much meat).  But, I guess I'll try to be consistent with the multi-vitamin, just in case.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Week 3, Day 1; Splurges, pt. 2

Weighed in today at 222.8, which puts me at -6.2 pounds, despite the splurge yesterday.  Interestingly, today's Weight Watchers meeting was about using those additional weekly food points.  The members seem divided into two camps when it comes to using them.  Some people use some or all of them every single week, other people never touch them.  The problem with not using them is that, especially for people who have a lot way to go--and we all do, in that everyone has to maintain the loss once achieved--it's easy to feel deprived.  Feeling deprived leads to frustration, frustration leads to out of control behaviors, binging, and an imbalance in the force.  In order to avoid crossing over to the dark side, or worse, regaining the weight that one has worked so hard to lose, there has to be some flexibility.

I also noted today that the hunger is mostly gone, except for key times before meals, but the wanting remains.  Avoiding sweets is my most major pitfall.  Today someone at work came up to me at break and said, "Here, I made a cookie for you," and thrust it in my hand before I had a chance to respond.  First I thought, I'll throw it away when I'm back in my room. (Mean? Perhaps, but oh well.)  But then I thought, it's such a waste of a homemade cookie, I'll just have a bite and then throw the rest away.  Well, you can probably guess what happened.  Obviously, I'm far from perfect.  I think I need a sweets shield--maybe a force field that I can activate with a flick of my hand...I'll be a cookie Jedi.

Monday, January 17, 2011

W2, Day 7; Splurges

Two weeks completed, today.  Whew!  Two weeks down, at least a year to go.  That's very daunting, looking at the long run.  I try not to think about it very often because it's too easy to get psyched out and loose hope, loose strength of mind.  Instead, I focus on each day.  Day by day.  Week by week.  But I realized that I have been missing some of the joy that food gives me.  A couple of days ago, I told my husband I felt sad.  It's stupid to feel sadness simply because you're not eating as much as you once were, or because you're not eating foods with much fat or sugar.  But that's just how I felt.

I started to consider the longevity of this lifestyle change and realized that I need to incorporate just a little of the foods I love, that I can't deprive myself forever, because I won't be able to stick with it for the long term. If I feel empty in body and mind after just two weeks, then what will it feel like in two months?  Eight?  So, I decided to reward myself.  Weight Watchers allots you a certain allowance of extra food points per week and it is your choice whether you allow yourself to eat them, or you skip them for greater weight loss.  Last week I didn't touch them, despite being hungry.  This week I decided to think about what one food I would really, really like and to have that one thing.  A lot of foods went through my mind--cake, ice-cream, tempura, hot chocolate, cupcakes.....and I picked: a cinnamon roll from Panera.  The calories were above and beyond my daily plan, but I enjoyed every_last_bite.  I feel warm and happy (it's terrible that food causes such a reaction for me) and I feel ready to carry on with my food plan.  Maybe a splurge is okay....every once in a while.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

W2, Day 6; Food Experiments

Today was a day of cooking exploration.  Somehow it's always easier to cook for fun on the weekends.  On the weeknights, I'm so tired after work (and so hungry!) that cooking is simply a chore.  I'm sure many other people can relate.  Anyway, today I tried out three new foods.  The first one doesn't really count as cooking. When I first joined Weight Watchers years ago, I used to drink Slim Fasts as a quick breakfast.  I'm not really a breakfast person (especially at 6 a.m.), but it's easy and high in calcium, protein, and fiber.  The problem is, it doesn't really stick with me.  A couple of hours later, I'm hungry all over again.  This time, however, since all fruits are free foods, I decided to try and turn it into a smoothie.  I blended the Slim Fast with a banana, a bit of orange, and a few pieces of canned peaches and pears.  It was....great.  It was thicker and it really tasted good--and even better, it held back the hunger for about four hours.  Excellent.  I can tell this is going to be a regular breakfast.

For lunch, I made a recipe from my new cookbook.  So good!  It was polenta cooked with corn and mixed with parmesan cheese, topped with an egg poached in ramekins, and garnished with crumbled bacon, tomato, basil, salt, and pepper.  Yum!  I altered the recipe a bit to add an extra egg and a second slice of bacon, but the whole dish fit right in my food plan, so I was happy with the meal.  I think I'll have it for lunch tomorrow.  :)

Here's the recipe if you're interested:

For dinner, I made another new recipe.  It was a sort of ground beef and vegetable casserole with a breaded crust on top.  I picked this recipe because it's full of vegetables--in fact, I added extra zucchini and carrots to make it a bit more filling.  While it's not my all-time favorite pot pie, my husband and I both liked the flavor of this recipe and I liked how there are several servings so we'll have dinner for a couple more nights. Woo hoo!  Next time, I think I'll add a little chopped spinach to the dish too.

Tomorrow, I have one more recipe for corn and leek chowder that I want to try.  I feel that the more I cook on the weekend for the week ahead, the less tempted I'll be to eat out.  We'll see!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

W2, Day 5; Miss America

Okay, so here's a guilty pleasure--I like watching the Miss America pageant.  Yes, I know, the expectation for these women's bodies is completely unrealistic.  Yes, I know, it objectifies women and is demeaning to women who are being stared at like meat.  Okay, sure, I'm a bad person for enjoying watching.  But it's fascinating at the same time.  The dresses, the glamor, the bling.  These women are beautiful.

But so are everyday women.  I find it fascinating too that so many women I know have mentioned feeling bad about their bodies, and yet they are so beautiful.  I see my struggle to accept myself echoed in other women and vice versa.  Why is this?  Over the years as I have seen my weight vacillate up and down and I have received so many words of encouragement, full of positivity.  I have greatly appreciated it because I have a hard time seeing myself in a positive light.  It's crazy.  My body is not who I am.  Not really.  But even if it was, who cares?  Who set the ideal?  Why do we buy into it?

Sometimes others reinforce this negative perception of ourselves though, and the results seem to carry on forever.  I remember being at a mall a few years ago.  Stepping into an elevator with my husband, two young women stepped in after us.  Turning around, one woman looked me up and down.  She turned to her friend and said, "I hope the elevator doesn't break.  Fat cow."  I was shocked.  Stunned.  Instantly mortified.  Tearful.  I have never forgotten that moment.  What I wouldn't give to have a time machine to take me back to that moment to confront her.  To let her know how hurtful and unnecessary her words were.  But the point is, I felt so hurt because I believed what that woman said; I agreed.  I just knew I was horrible.  But why?  Why does being thin equate with being worthy?  So....this time around, I am shooting for healthy.  I don't need thin, just healthy.  And I don't need to be thin to be beautiful or to have people love me.  I am a worthy person just as I am---and if I say it a few thousand more times, maybe I'll believe it.

Ladies out there, you are beautiful.  I truly believe that.  You are amazing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

W2, Day 4; But I Wanna Donut!

Holy crap!  Well, not exactly holy.  I've been following the new food plan for the last two days, which means I've had about eight servings of fruits and vegetables each day.  The big difference between the two plans for me seems to be replacing fruits with the few snacks I would have eaten like a few crackers or a piece of bread with a little bit of peanut butter.  I won't lie, I miss my carb snacks.  I miss my sweets.  I miss the greater freedom I felt to choose the type of calories I want to consume.  And most of all, I miss the time that I could be spending on the couch that I am now spending in the bathroom.  T.M.I., you say?  My apologies.  But I feel compelled to note that this new food plan doesn't seem to be agreeing with my least that's the message I'm getting from having to drop everything and run to the restroom all evening.  I sure hope that my stomach adjusts pretty soon!

I also note that tonight, especially, I'm feeling the food blues.  I'm really, really missing some of my old favorite foods.  I keep seeing a piece of cake floating in a blissful halo in the back of my mind.  I want a piece of cake so badly.  I did pass up donuts today...woo hoo for me...though I admit that I went and stood over the box, pathetically staring down at the glistening sugary treasures within at least twice today.  But, I picked a tangerine instead and moved away.  It was tough.  But I did it.  But I still want a piece of cake.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

W2, Day 3; Keeping it Going?

Made it through the day without feeling too hungry, but I'm feeling pretty tired tonight so it'll be a short entry. After work, I went walking with a good friend, which was fun.  I'm not really much of an exercise person--(obviously??)--but I've enjoyed meeting a couple times this week to walk for an hour or so.  We discovered a creek path through town and it's sort of lovely to walk along it in a gloomy, wintery sort of way.  I was very excited about finding this because I was missing the greenbelt paths of the town we used to live in.  I've been thinking about exercise lately and the role it plays in the whole lifestyle change thing, but to be honest, I'm not ready to face it quite yet.  I know that it is necessary and I don't want to add a "but" here, but, I'm still adjusting to the whole way-less-food/feeling-empty-all-the-time thing and I just don't feel ready.  So, a compromise.  I am going to let the formal exercise plan go for the time being, continue with my exercise buddy a couple times a week, and re-address this topic in a couple of weeks.  I'm not giving it up, but it's overwhelming right now.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

W2, Day 2; Wantings

So today I began trying out the new plan.  Since fruit is now a free food, I took advantage of that and ate several more servings than I normally do in the day.  I realized that whether because of the new plan, or more likely because my body has adjusted to eating a lot less food, but my hunger levels were the lowest they've been since I started.  Hunger hits me around 10 a.m. and quietly rests upon my being, a gentle shadow trailing me lightly through the day.  It's bearable.  By 7 p.m., the hunger was still held at bay--just--but my body, or mind, was craving meat.  It didn't care what type of meat, I just wanted meat.  This is odd because I'm not really a huge meat eater.  Yes, I like it.  But of all the foods that I cut down on, meat has always been one of the first things on the chopping block rather than my carbs.  But I guess after 8 servings of fruits and veggis, 2 servings of carbs, and one yogurt today, my body just really wanted some protein.  Fortunately, we had baked chicken in the oven.  This was one of the recipes from my new cook book.  I really didn't want to cook dinner tonight, but seeing as not making dinner often leads to eating out, I decided to suck it up and cook the darn chicken.  Now, I'm glad I did because it looked pretty, tasted pretty good, and there's enough for tomorrow night's dinner.  Win!

Slightly ominous though is that while I noticed that true hunger has quieted down, my mind is picking up the wanting for other things, especially sugar.  My mind is beginning to turn around the thought of inappropriate foods like a vulture circling it's prey.  I know from prior experience that these sensations will only increase as time goes on.  My body is satisfied, if not full, from healthful foods.  It doesn't need anything else.  But my mind wants it.  I finally gave in to a small piece of dark chocolate since I still had some food points left at the end of the day, but this is going to be an ongoing challenge for me, I can tell.

And speaking of challenges, I went to the doctor today to on a routine visit to keep my blood pressure in check--another good reason to lose weight--and she reminded me that I need to cut down on salt.  I couldn't help but inwardly sigh a bit.  Take away the sugar, the fat, AND the salt--what's left??? And yes, I know, there's herbs, horseradish, salsa, chile sauce, and mustard to season food, but I think I need to develop new taste buds!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week 2, Day 1; New Program, New Leader, New Start?

Let's start with the positive here.  Weighed in today at 225.0  Woo hoo!  Four pounds down, seventy-one to go.  I have to say I'm feeling pretty positive about the four pounds--yes, I know, I know, it's probably water, a flushing of the system, etc., and after the first week or two everything slows down, but it's still exciting nonetheless.  So, that's the good.

Now for the so-so.  Well, I had to drag myself to the Weight Watchers meeting this evening, I'll admit.  The facility and welcoming staff seemed nice, though I was confused about why the leader was asking me why I was there, couldn't I get all the information online?  No, I couldn't....that's why I was there.  To be entirely honest, I was not impressed with the leader.  She reminded me of a tiny cheerleader, but was lacking in substance and I felt very disengaged in the whole "lesson" (a reminder to consume calcium).  She was very perky and cutesy, but lacked adult charisma.  I think part of the problem is that she hasn't had to lose enough weight to understand the real workings of the process.  She said in 1985 she lost 12 pounds.  Regaining it in the 1990's, she then lost 14 pounds.  I need to lose at least 70 pounds.  There is a different mindset going on here, different motivations and roadblocks.  My last leader in our old town had been very obese before losing (and maintaining) 100 pounds. He had a strong understanding of some of the mental and emotional issues--complusion, addiction, self-esteem and confidence--that can be associated most strongly with obesity.  While talking about how eating yogurt is nice, it doesn't provide any real strategies to dealing with food or how to stay in control.  It'd be great to say that I can do this on my own without the meetings, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about this portion of the program--I need the group support to stay on track.  We'll see how it goes next week.

I also received the usual booklets and beginners info. that explained the new program.  Apparently the body doesn't process calories in the same way, all calories are not created equal.  I often wondered this on the old program when I'd have a week where I stuck to the calorie limits perfectly but didn't lose weight.  They argue the type of calories you ingest matter, as foods high in fiber and protein are more difficult for the body to process, burning more calories as they are digested.  As carbs and fat (my two favorite food groups) are easily processed and stored in the body, the new program requires cutting down specifically on these foods.  The leader wanted to hammer in the idea that one must not confused the old and new programs because they are completely different.  Do not mix the plans--reminds me of a sort of Ghostbusters/Weight Watchers crossover with cosmic consequences for mixing the plans.  While I still feel anxious about starting the new plan, I'm ready to give it a go tomorrow.  Andale!

Monday, January 10, 2011

W1, Day 7; Food Obstacle Courses at Work

Today I went back to work after a three-week vacation.  I had been wondering how it would be re-adjusting to a different schedule.  Being at work has distinct advantages and disadvantages.  On the one hand, at work there is a rigid schedule that prevents eating at any time except lunch and a brief break in the morning.  This is excellent for keeping me from snacking during the day because there simply fewer minutes when I have access to food.  On the other hand, work can be an unexpected danger zone because people often bring in snacks to share, and Fridays are our official "Treats" days when each team is supposed to rotate the duty of bringing food to share.  On these mornings I make a point of avoiding the staff room until lunchtime when (hopefully!) most of the tempting things are gone.  While Friday treats comes from a generous place in everyone's heart, it is an obstacle course for me.

I feel real frustration and even anger with myself because I lack control with confronted with my favorite treats like muffins, donuts, cookies, etc.  I have to rehearse and role-play my reaction again and again in advance, "Keep walking past the table, take nothing.  Keep walking past the table, keep walking..."  Weight Watchers calls some foods 'trigger foods,' which are personal for each individual and are basically foods that one must simply avoid because that person can't handle eating them in small quantities.  I'm not sure they meant the term to apply to a whole situation rather than individual foods, but Friday treats hits one of my food triggers.  It's one of the most difficult food days of the week.  Seeing the food causes a compulsion to eat it that is incredibly difficult to resist.  My mind pulls into overdrive, arguing, cajoling, withstanding, pushing me towards it all--it's a wonder people can't see the struggle written on my face!  Friday treats isn't really going anywhere and I really need some new strategies to get through it without blowing all my calories for the day or ending up mentally exhausted.

On another note, tomorrow is the day of the Weight Watchers meeting AND weigh day.  I feel good heading to the scale tomorrow so we'll see how it goes.  I'm excited!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

W1, Day 6; Green Soup

Today we went to the grocery store and I stocked our fridge with all the basic necessities and a whole lot of produce as well.  I've found it's always easier to stay on track when there are several options in the fridge than when it is empty.  An empty fridge pretty much equals eating out for us.  I picked four recipes to try this week, the first one being a vegetable soup for lunch.  It was.....interesting.  It looked like every school child's worst cafeteria nightmare.  It looked like I had taken the Jolly Green Giant and run him through the food processor.  It looked bright green with lumps and bumps.  Yum, eh?  I can tell you're just salivating in envy at the thought.  But, it tasted all right--pretty okay, actually, and while texturally it was a bit different, I might actually try making it again.  Here's a picture, though it doesn't actually do the color justice since it looks bright green in person.

Tomorrow is the last day of this week and on Tuesday I'm going to my first Weight Watchers meeting here in town (we moved this autumn).  I'm actually quite nervous, scared even.  It's ridiculous.  One might be afraid of charging lions, car accidents, earthquakes, global warming--and I'm scared to go to a simple meeting.  I've attended Weight Watchers off and on for the last three years so I know the meetings are valuable and help you to stay on track.  It's not the discussing weight issues with other people, it's that it means change.  Eeeeeek!  Change!  Oh heavens!

A couple of months ago Weight Watchers drastically changed their points program around, moving the focus away from calories (which I was a pro at counting) to carbohydrates and protein.  Under the old set up, I could pick up pretty much any item at the grocery store, glance at it's nutrition label, and know how it fit in (or didn't) in my daily/weekly plan.  Now you have to use a calculator to input the components to figure it out.  The foods that I like to eat (in moderation) like rice, potatoes, yogurt, granola bars all cost more daily points than they used to, in some cases by a lot.  Balancing this, fruits are now free foods (foods that don't cost points), which is wonderful since it encourages me to eat more fruit, but it also means I have to let go of some carbs during the day too.  Huh.  I realize that someone might be out there scratching their head at this point in a confused, "So what?" so I can sum it up this way:  I know a certain system very well and it has worked for me in the past.  Learning a new and different system of eating sounds simple to most people, but it is intimidating to me.  It means relearning what I know and a period of transition.  But hey, I am looking for ways and reasons why this time things are going to be different.  I have to break away from the loss and gain train--maybe this is my stop?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

W1, Day 5; Food is Fuel, Food is Life

Today I moseyed on home to rejoin my husband and kitties.  In celebration (and because I didn't want to go to the grocery store and cook--okay, not great I know, but who hasn't been there?) we decided to eat out for dinner at one of my favorite places, Panera.  I ordered my favorite salad and for the same amount of calories as my disastrous (and tiny) sandwich yesterday, I got a very large, tasty, and filling salad with lean chicken, pecans, and gorgonzola cheese.  I got at least twice as much food for the same amount of calories and felt satisfied after the meal rather than empty.

After dinner, we headed over to Borders.  When I headed in the store, I really had no intention of looking at anything in particular or buying any books, but on a whim I headed over to the cook books and perused the Cooking Light recipe books.  Soon I was seated in a chair with a pile of cook books in my lap, flipping through the pages with newfound glee.  I purchased a book and I plan to end the evening picking out some recipes to try this week and making a shopping list for ingredients.  I'm really excited to try some new things like apple and horseradish grilled salmon, baked "fried" chicken, or winter potage (a food processed blend of several veggis, rice, and seasonings).

As the first week of this lifestyle change (not diet) comes to a close, I've been reflecting on the reasons why I haven't stuck with it in the past.  I know it's critical to my health.  I know I look and feel better about myself.  I know it's the right thing to do.  If I know all of this, why do I lose sight of my goals?  I've come up with several reasons, but the one that's related to my cookbook is simple food boredom.  I select foods that are low calorie and healthful and I eat them again and again (and again!) for months until, to be honest, if I never saw another spinach salad in my life, I'd be just fine with that.  While these simple, low-fat foods and meals get results, they feel lackluster and dull over time.  First, I lose interest in food altogether (which sounds like a good thing, right?) and then my taste buds rebel and I dearly crave all the things that put me here in the first place.  My will shaken, everything falls apart.  I've repeated this cycle over and over.  Now clearly, there are other reasons why my lifestyle change collapses, but I truly believe a lack of variety plays a role in the cycle.  This time one of the key things I want to do differently is to be more creative about my food choices.  To experiment more and find things that really taste good.  The only way I can do this forever--eat healthfully--is to truly enjoy the tastes and sensations that I experience. I know that food is fuel, but food is also life.  Life should be enjoyable.

Week 1, Day 4; Eating Out: Treats, and Temptations, and Tasties--Oh My!

Made it through last night without hunger pains and felt better this morning than I have all week.  This seems to be the pattern for me: the first few days are the worst in terms of hunger.  Yesterday the hunger inside me felt like a throbbing pain deep inside; today it was a quiet, gentle ache.  I have been trying to load up on veggis to satisfy my body and have been drinking more milk than I usually do to help fill myself up (and a bit of extra calcium can't hurt either).

So today presented a new challenge:  Eating Out.  I captialize this because this is a huge pitfall for me.  I love eating out, but I feel hard pressed to find places that fit my plan.  Today was not exactly a disaster--I mean, I didn't hit up any local bakeries or go off the deep end and dive into a pool of ice-cream or anything), but I ended up going over daily plan by about 200 calories.  Bummer.  So here's what happened:  I ate light breakfast of yogurt and fruit knowing that my family wanted to go out to lunch.  They let me know that it was a sandwich shop they wanted to go to and I suitably envisioned a nice turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with some veggis, no mayo, and maybe a bit of cheese if I was feeling daring.  I usually pull up a restaurant's menu online before I go and pick out my healthy option beforehand, but armed with this virtuous image in mind, I headed off confident that I could make good choices.

The deli was bustling--extremely bustling--and you ordered off menus on the wall while the lunch crowd behind you politely and firmly pushed you forward.  Looking at the menu, I realized I was in deep trouble.  I expected a light and harmless (mostly) little sandwich, but this was something completely different.  They were all hot sandwiches, filled with sauces and meats--and the calories!  The staff had helpfully posted the calories and they danced a horrific waltz before my eyes:  910, 850, 780, 1000, etc. for a sandwich!  I felt completely bewildered and before I knew what I was going to do, everyone had ordered and they were waiting for me.  I couldn't leave the cashier just standing there, staring, so I just blurted out the lowest calorie numbered item I could see, a pork sandwich with a whopping 530 calories.  Yikes!  In retrospect, I should have asked them if they could put together something that wasn't on the menu for me, something without any sauces, but in front of my family, I just felt so embarrassed.  It was a nice lunch and it was meant to be a fun family time, but I was privately frustrated with myself AND still hungry since the sandwich wasn't all that filling, despite it's high calorie count.  By the time dinner came around, I was starving and I made the choice to go over by a few points (Weight Watchers translates food into points).  I know that's not the end of the world, but I sure wish I could have kept inside of my goal.  But, I'm going to forgive myself and let it go.  Tomorrow is a fresh day and a fresh page in my food journal.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Week 1, Day 3; Goals!

Woke up in the middle of the night hungry...really hungry...but eventually sleepy won out and I stayed put in bed.  I'm staying for a few days with family and I don't think they'd really understand me digging in their fridge for carrots at 4 a.m.  Felt nauseated during the morning, probably from hunger, so I had a heartier breakfast.  Today we went as a family to the movie theater, which was quite an experience to take in the sights, the smells--of the popcorn that is--and still worse than that buttered temptation was a change in routine that placed the movie squarely during lunchtime.  A postponed lunch by two hours when my stomach was already aching was daunting indeed.  But, I made it though the movie, cushioned by gum, confusion about the plot line, and a growing need to use the restroom that kept me from focusing on my empty tummy.  I felt proud to make it though the quick trip to the grocery store afterwards, silently repeating the mantra, "This is fuel, this is just fuel, fuel, fuel, fuel," as I ogled the bagels and Chinese food.  Back at home, I enjoyed some fruit salad, yogurt, and a piece of bread.  One thing I have to say about starting to diet, I think I may be appreciating the food I eat more.  I savored each and every bite, savored the texture of the bread, enjoyed it to the extreme. 

But, moving right along and switching topics, today I wanted to set forth some goals for myself.  Weight Watchers says that you should focus on losing one to two pounds a week and I do feel that's very doable.  If I average one pound a week, then in a year I would be 50 pounds lighter (giving myself a couple of weeks there where I don't lose anything).  The first number that comes to mind about where I want to be is 199 pounds. I've stood on that brink, between being on the two hundred pound side and the one hundred pound side and promised myself to never step over again--and here I am again.  The times I've reached that number I've felt proud and in control of myself and I want to regain that.  After that, 175 is the next critical number that comes to mind because for my body, that's the line in b.m.i. that divides 'overweight' from 'obese,' a label that has cut into my heart since it was placed there in a 10th grade P.E. class.  Not that I haven't earned the label, I'm certainly not denying that responsibility, but it's just that I've spent half my life longing to be "normal," (Long discussions could ensue here, but I'll save them for another day).  I've spent almost half my life being obese and I just feel ready for change.  Ultimately, I'm shooting for somewhere around 150 pounds or 150-175 pounds.  I have been asked, isn't that selling myself short? Shouldn't I shoot for thinner?  In truth, I don't envision myself as a slim person.  Is that wrong?  I'll never be slender or tiny or all the other descriptions that we mark as beautiful, and I don't feel I need to be.  I'm okay with having some hips and curves....just maybe a bit less.  If I follow the plan faithfully I should be able to be close to my goal of 175 pounds by this time next year.  I feel ready for the challenge.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Week 1 Day 2

*Growl* That's the sound of my stomach trying to jump out of my body in search of nourishment.  Despite this, day 2 is progressing on target and I'm starting to feel the positive effects of this food detox.  Okay, well, I'll admit there was a moment this afternoon when I thought, "Woo, it's almost dinner time--thank goodness!" only to realize that it was 1:43 and we'd had lunch only an hour before.  Ah well.

But otherwise, as I wear the one pair of jeans that still fits me, I'm feeling positive about the day and the 'd' word (that's 'diet,' not 'damn') and I was able to eat dinner like a normal person in front of my family rather than scarf it in a hungry furor like yesterday evening.  It strikes me that it's always like this in the beginning--easy to withstand the emptiness, deny the temptations, stay on the plan--because I'm brimming over with fortitude.  It's later on that the real struggles begin.

In the back of my mind, that's what really scares me.  Sure I can drop 20 or 30 pounds...I've done it several times, but it doesn't really change what is going on in my mind.  The mind is the key.  And it's about addiction.  Addiction to food.  I am addicted to food, truly and completely.  Yes, I can follow the plans and nutritional guidelines and do all that I am supposed to do, but like a dark shadow in my brain, I am constantly thinking and obsessing about food all day long.  I am thinking about what I just ate;  what I'm going to eat later on;  what I want to eat, but can't---food, food, food! I become so frustrated at times because my mind is fighting a compulsion all day long.  Sometimes I think that folks who are healthy really just don't understand.  I've heard people say, "Well, if you want to change, just do it," and I WANT to do it beyond measure, so why is it so difficult?  I've even had dreams of looking at food and telling myself, "No, no, no, you can't do that."  I am at war with myself and I'm thinking that the only way I can solve this struggle is to heal the mind. That's part of the purpose of this blog.  I'm brimming over with it all and my brain is full to bursting (though not my tummy this evening).  I guess I also hope to know that I am not alone in feeling this way.  So with that, I'm going to go record my foods for today.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week 1, Day 1; In The Beginning....

Well, to introduce myself, I am a 29 year old woman--somehow it's hard to say 'woman' as it sounds so very adult-who has struggled with weight her whole life.  As a child I was overweight, though not obese.  I remember so clearly the concern from seemingly everyone about my weight.  It's amazing to me how much those experiences have shaped my perspective.

I grew up thinking that no one could ever love me because of my body.  Luckily for me, I have a wonderful and dear husband and he is happy with my body, even if I am not.  Through high school and college I gained weight steadily and traveled into the obese category on the doctors' charts.  My sense of sense plummeted further.  It's terrible just how much of one's self worth can come from other's perceived perceptions.  I have worked hard to be funny, loving, and bubbly around others, but I am distant and fearful of people's criticisms.  At some point, I decided to get real and be the person I want to be and I joined Weight Watchers and lost 50 pounds.  I felt so wonderful and energetic and control of my body...and then I gained most of it back.  I have spent the past three years yo-yo'ing back and forth and I am about to set forth again on this journey.  For the sake of my family and friends, I decided to start this blog so that they don't have to hear every single thought, every high and low, the agony and the ecstasy that is the whole process.

Here's where I start.  Week 1, day 1.  My weight is 229.0 pounds, not an all time high, but far from where I am comfortable and happy.  The first day is passed and I have stayed within my goals. I felt hungry, dizzy, shaky, but I know from previous experience that these sensations fade within the first week.  I am hopeful and determined.  Onwards!