Monday, November 30, 2009

Eating 3 pounds a day

Holy buckets! Michael Phelps eats 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day! I wish I could get away with half of that!

Deliciously stuffed

Remember all those things I said about responsible eating during Thanksgiving? You can ignore them. Thanksgiving was great; the weekend after Thanksgiving was deliciously stuffed.

My mom made homemade popcorn, beer cheese soup, more stuffing (my favorite), and turkey sandwiches. I also discovered non-chocolate oreos, which I love. I didn't go completely crazy, but I definitely felt like I should be rolling rather than walking to my bed.

I love my family to death and feel so blessed to be able to spend this Thanksgiving with them. One trip down, and three more holiday trips to go: Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years. I'm excited to spend so much time with my family, despite the "diet" setbacks. My family is well worth the potential slip-ups, and it gives me an opportunity to see how much I have changed, and look at what I still need to work on.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Valley of cheese and love

It's the land of food here at my parents' house. The cupboards are packed full of canned goods, the two fridges of cheeses and other delicious dairy products, and the two freezers of rice, ice cream, and bread. My brother, then six, gave my mother a card one year that said, "Valley of cheese", and it's a fairly accurate description - the cheese drawer is packed so full of different types of cheeses, that there could easily have an additional shelf in the fridge dedicated to brie, havarti, and all of the specialties you'll find in the kitchen.

Despite the valley of cheese, finding breakfast in the house is fairly difficult. My family rarely eats breakfast, and when they do it's generally eggs and potatoes. I'm not a cook, and can't make the delicious family potato recipe, and I'm sick and tired of eggs. So this morning I chose of the four kinds of veggie burgers we have in the freezers.

It's odd being back at home with a different food consciousness. My parents - all three of them - are very accommodating. Despite my favorite peppermint ice cream in the freezer, cheese in the fridge, and delicious food I won't buy or can't afford everywhere else, I am feeling healthy at home. I just put smaller portions on my plate, and supplement what I eat with a box of clementines I brought.

The only problem is the sheer number of parents I have, all of whom want to feed me. My Jewish father and my adoring mothers both show love through food. The only food choice I haven't been happy with is eating dinner twice yesterday. It's hard to say no to food as love, but I just ate some homemade challah, a bit of rice, and a small serving of fish. Smaller portions have just as much love as big ones.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The day after

I generally feel terrible about my eating mistakes just hours after the experience. Sometimes the frustration creeps up the next day. But here I am, morning after Thanksgiving, feeling wonderful!

I'm not counting calories this weekend because I've become obsessive about eating 450 calorie meals for breakfast and lunch, and then pretending calories don't exist after 3 p.m. Instead, I'm trying to be very conscious about eating what's good for me and limiting portion size. With health as a motivator, it keeps me from over indulging on Chinese food at night.

I did not feel stuffed after Thanksgiving dinner, which was my goal of the night. I had been thinking about this evening for awhile, and how I would properly "handle" it, and I think I followed all of my expectations for myself, which were:
  1. Small portions of everything. This way I don't feel deprived (which contributes to binging), but also am eating healthy. I had a little stuffing, a little mashed potatoes, a little turkey, and half my plate was green beans.
  2. Don't take seconds. Or thirds. Or fourths. In my "former life", I wouldn't have stopped on plate one. I would have likely gotten up from the table many times to fill up on thousands of calories of stuff (which is easy to do at 300 calories per half cup). The only thing I took seconds of was steamed green beans - I figured that was okay.
  3. Prepare for the meal by eating. I had both breakfast (bagel & lox - delicious!) and lunch (gnocci, apple, and jerky) so that when I arrived at dinner I wouldn't be starved and eat everything in sight. I also had an unplanned snack of humus and wheat thins, and brie and crackers, but I had conservative portions and - most importantly of all - enjoyed myself!
  4. Don't sit by the snack table. I ate a bit more brie and crackers than I would have wanted during appetizers (not SO much, but enough), so next year my new rule is don't put myself in a place where I can stuff my face so easily.
  5. Enjoy myself. The more I concentrate on who is in the room, and enjoy their company, the less I eat. Enthralled by a great story, singing along to lesbian guitar solos, or just laughing until my sides hurt keeps me from taking another chip.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My blessings this year are too numerous to recount, but I'd like to share one with you: I am grateful to have this great body that lets me move and shake and lose 50 pounds, and have a great community that supports me along the way. Thank you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

DRESSing for work

Fat girls have their own sense of style. They accent their curves, and draw most attention to their tops. As someone who has never been able to fill out shirts in the bust, fat shopping was always one more frustrating thing on my list of Things I Will Not Miss When I Am No Longer Overweight.

Since slimming down I’ve been exploring fashion. Not only can I purchase clothing more easily, but things are also more comfortable to wear. My thighs don’t rub nearly as much, my tights don’t rip as quickly, and with less weight on the soles of my feet, heels aren’t as painful.

In the past year, I have only once before gone to work in a dress. But now I find it more comfortable, freeing, stylish, and SUPER FUN! I look forward to the new clothing I will be able to buy and try on when I drop one more size and am able to shop at practically any store!

This is what I wore to work today. The dress and small wedge heels (I know, not a very good pic) are both super cheap finds from Marshalls. And I finally fit into tights!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Taco weight loss system

My friend just started the Nutrisystem, which sends people pre-packaged meals that they add fruits and veggies to. You order for 28 days at a time, and the program follows a low-calorie meal plan. Despite the fact that I restrict my calories, I know that this plan would never work for me.

I like flexibility. Even when I plan out what I’m going to eat, I don’t necessarily eat it. I like substituting things and mixing it all around. I’ll eat lunch for breakfast and breakfast for lunch.

I also am amazed by how much I’ve learned on this journey. I am currently enjoying what tastes like deep-friend tacos from my good friend Trader Joe, and after 8 of them I still have calories left in my daily budget. I would have written these tacos off before, and assumed that the enchiladas in the freezer would be better for me. I would have been wrong. (I also would have eaten a whole BIG bag of potato chips, among other fat things.)

I now know about fiber, portion size, fat, calories, and protein – and that’s just a sampling! I know what full feels like! Before I only knew what being stuffed felt like. If I wasn’t hurting from the food I just had, I would be going back for seconds, or thirds, or fourths. I don’t think I could have learned that from NS.

Yet, I feel like you could learn those things from NS, and more importantly, I think the system begins a journey that someone is taking. I can see the advantages of the program: you know everything they give you is "safe", taking out the stress of figuring out what is "okay" and what is not. It is so important to take those first steps and just deciding to make a change. I am really proud of my friend for taking charge of her health by riding her bike to the grocery store and trying to eat properly. Hopefully the food doesn’t taste half bad and she too is enjoying her dinner as much as I am.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You gotta move it, move it

Tonight is the first time this week that I’ve been home before 10 p.m., and this is not at all unusual. My professional and social obligations keep me out late at night, yet I almost always manage to wake up in time for the gym. Almost.

I work out in the morning to avoid possible scheduling conflicts. The later in the day it gets, the easier it is to simply not go to the gym. Opportunities, dates, work comes up, and I stay away from the elliptical machine.

Despite my 6:30 a.m. wake up time, I am not a morning person. My alarm is set a whole hour before I must roll out of bed so that the multiple times I hit the snooze don’t keep me from exercising.

Yet, I really do enjoy working out in the evening. I feel more energized after my work out, and more coherent during the day. I am considering changing my work out schedule, but I’m afraid that if I exercise during the evening it will become more of a suggestion and less of a routine.

I think that once I move from my apartment and blow all of my money on that project, I am going to sign myself up for dance classes. The problem – as always – is that I don’t know what type of classes I want to take. Salsa? Bhangra Indian dancing? Samba? Belly dancing? Hip hop? Ballroom? Swing? I love all forms of dance, and each one appeals to me in a unique way. I have been paralyzed by choice, just as I often am paralyzed by choice in the toothpaste aisle. I just need to go ahead and close my eyes and just dance.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Breaking through my plateau

I really wish I could say that for the past two weeks I've hit a plateau, but that's simply not true. I've been gaining weight. The first few days were entirely my fault - I wasn't eating anywhere near my calorie goal - but then my body just kept gaining after I reigned in my eating. This was really hard for me. I easily resort to self-depreciating "fat thinking", which often motivates me to quit. Despite this, I worked through it, ate and exercised correctly and ... gained weight.

It was so disheartening to see my weight climbing above 180 the morning after I should have seen a half a pound drop (according to calories in-calories out calculation). But I kept on keeping on.

This morning my weight was suddenly back! I am now under 180, again. But I feel as if my body is playing tricks on me.

Yesterday I ate nothing but crap. I had chocolate, cookies, brie (delicious), blue cheese (oh goodness yummy!), some huge burger wrap thing, among others. And this morning is when I saw the loss.

It makes some sort of evil sense, though. As SparkPeople says, when you hit a plateau you can jump start your weight loss by: nutrition, rest, and variation. Maybe the chocolate yesterday was the variation I needed. Plus, I let my body rest and didn't work out, which I've been doing religiously since the gain.

SparkPeople has a lot of great information on their site about fitness in their "Pitfalls and Plateaus Section" other than the plateau 3-part article I mentioned. A few I picked at random: 4 signs It's Time to Change Your Workout, and Are You Cheating Yourself At the Gym?