The Diet Mentality

The short explanation for this post:  The Fast Metabolism Diet is NOT for me.

The long explanation follows.

This latest experiment highlighted for me that I still battle the diet mentality, or the diet trap.  Obsessing about what to eat, when, as if there’s some magical formula that will help me transform my life.  I can eat this… but not that.  I can eat 2 of this, but never more than that.  Or the whole diet is ruined.  If you fall into that all-or-nothing mentality, then it’s a). impossible to stay 100% on plan all the time and b). it’s difficult to recover from slippage.  It’s not a LIFESTYLE.  It’s a DIET.  Aka temporary.

That’s one reason I’m so sensitive/worried about That Man’s salad diet, because I’ve been there.  I’ve starved myself.  I lost weight…for awhile.  And then ended up right back beyond in my worst nightmare.

That vicious diet trap started to rear its ugly head this week, but thankfully I’ve nipped it in the bud before it could cause too much damage.

As I posted, the first week of comparison went well.  I had planned to do another 7-day cycle while still counting my points this week.  However, Middle missed a day of school last week sick, and while I had both Monday and Tuesday off…. I didn’t plan to lay around the house with no energy myself, nor to have Littlest home with me.  So needless to say, NaNoWriMo is not going well right now.

The first two days of the new cycle I did fine.  Then I entered the high protein, low fat, low carb days yesterday.  This is like the WORST of Atkins…without at least the bacon to help you get through all the protein.  I can eat eggs for breakfast, no problem.  I can even do egg whites, although I really hate throwing that glorious farm egg yolk down the drain.  But does it really make that much of a difference if I use 1 tsp of healthy oil to cook the egg?  Taste wise, it’s a huge difference.  I even made egg white “muffins” with sautéed veggies and could barely gag them down.  A little turkey bacon helped but even with 4 egg whites and 2 slices of bacon I was still starving.

Not a good sign.

I soldiered on, even though I just felt like crap.  Littlest wanted soup.  I didn’t have any whole food soup on hand and I sure didn’t feel like making any from scratch.  I SURELY didn’t have phase 2 appropriate soup on hand with no carb or fat of any kind.  Then she wanted mac and cheese.  A traditional comfort food.

I still did okay.  I had my lunch (tuna, a little Dijon, celery).  It wasn’t horrid.  But I was still hungry!  Worse, I had to run some errands to WalMart to stock up on stuff for the sick kiddies, and I missed my snack of cold deli meat.  Ugh.  I did not want cold turkey meat even if it was nitrate free.  No, heating it up wasn’t enough.  I wanted something… good.  Soothing.  Nutritious.  Or at least soothing and good.

You can see where this is going, right?

Yeah, the last bit of mac and cheese met its maker in my belly.

But I got back on track for dinner with a huge plate of plain ground beef and cabbage.  I sautéed the cabbage in a little coconut oil in my iron skillet to caramelize it (a slight cheat).  I even put salsa on it.  And siracha.  And I still couldn’t get it all down.  It just didn’t taste right and it sure didn’t feel GOOD.

Obviously some of that’s the cold speaking.  When you’re sick, you want a comfort food.  So I fought off the cravings, put the leftover cabbage/beef in the fridge, and went to bed.

This morning I was supposed to have the egg whites again.  I tried.  I really did.  But all I could think about was some nice warm delicious steel cut oats with sunbutter, like I’d had Sat.  I wanted it bad.  I started rationalizing in my head about how it probably wouldn’t matter if I ate it today instead of tomorrow.  Or would it?  Back and forth.  I ate the egg whites but I was still hungry.

Still starving.  I’m not kidding – this wasn’t emotional hunger.  My stomach was growling.  I started to get that HUNGER MUST EAT NOW feeling.  Like I’m going to stab someone with a fork hungry.  Maybe part of it was mental, driven by deprivation, but it was physical too.  I needed food.  Good food.

And I suddenly realized I had stepped into the diet trap.  I was excluding perfectly healthy whole foods–not because I have an allergy or real need to avoid certain foods–but because some book guru said to.  I was eating a formula instead of listening to my body and fueling my energy.

Dumb.  I’m sick.  I’m traveling to MN next week and Thanksgiving is the following week (we host, so I have a lot of prep to do).  The last thing I need to do is starve myself with some diet and make myself sicker, maybe even end up with pneumonia again.  DUMB. DUMB. DUMB.

So I made my oats and tracked it all.  And here’s the funny thing:  I didn’t even need a midmorning snack.  I was perfectly satisfied to wait for lunch, and I even ate later than usual because I was working on a production issue.

Whole foods = good.  Clean eating to minimize chemicals, processed foods, artificial sweeteners = good.  I’m not lactose intolerant or gluten sensitive to my knowledge, so there’s really no need for me to avoid dairy or whole grains unless they affect my weight loss.  Whole grains do sometimes make me ravenous unless I have protein or fat with them, so I do try to minimize them for that reason.

I like many paleo recipes and do incorporate many of those beliefs into my eating… but I don’t currently feel the need to give up all dairy and grains.

I’ll continue to use Weight Watchers to help me keep my portions manageable, but I don’t have to be so regimented in staying beneath my daily points.  It’s not a test that I have to pass every single day!  I’m also hoping that as I eat more whole foods and less of everything else that eventually I won’t need WW to tell me how much/little to eat any longer.  But for now, at least with WW no food is ever off limits.  I just have to be faithful in my tracking and measuring, which does get old really fast.

If it’s whole food, I’m not going to put some silly restriction on what day of the week I can eat it.

In summary, I’m grateful to the Fast Metabolism Diet for a few things.

  • introduced me to sunbutter, which I’ve decided I love.
  • reminded me that I love Ezekiel sprouted breads.  (I hadn’t had them since the stint with Atkins many years ago.)
  • if I’m more liberal with the coconut oil, things don’t stick in my iron skillet.  And taste really good.  Duh!
  • I finally found a way I really like sweet potatoes:  diced, cooked in coconut oil until crispy, sprinkled with salt, cumin, and a little cinnamon
  • I can eat well beyond my points a few days a week and still see really nice losses on the scale.

Diet Comparison: WW and The Fast Metabolism Diet

I’m always interested in what the current diet trends are, so when Middle’s best friend’s Mom (an ex-Weight Watcher) said she was doing The Fast Metabolism Diet, I was intrigued.  I’d never heard of it before, and she was highly recommending it.  She was loving the food plan and seeing good results.  So I thought, hey, I’ll check it out.  I bought the book and scanned through it quickly.

A lot of its premises were really fascinating and I totally bought.  Yes, my metabolism is wretchedly slow after a lifetime of dieting.  My set point is low.  I can eat within my Daily Points (DPs) for weeks and the scale won’t budge–even if I’m exercising hard.  But oddly enough, if I have a controlled splurge of one thing–say we go to Quiznos Subs and I get a sandwich instead of a salad–I can suddenly see a huge loss the next day.  So I like the idea of “shaking things up.”

(Old time WWs will automatically think of the “Wendie Plan” – where you deliberately eat a low and high range of points throughout the week to do a similar trick.)

The basic premise of TFMD is that you keep your body confused with various high and low days carefully fine tuned to get your hormones balanced, your adrenals working again, and more importantly, your body actually burning your own fat stores.  There are phases — don’t groan, I know we’ve all heard all the phases of Atkins and South Beach, etc.  What makes this interesting is you only do the phases a few days (2-3) at a time, so you’re constantly changing things up.  I like that too.  There’s nothing worse than eating something nasty for weeks on end to the point where if you have to gag down one more dish you’re going to hurl.

Even better… everything is WHOLE FOODS.  Organic, sprouted, wholesome foods.  I find that highly appealing too.  No artificial sweeteners, no chemicals, even nitrate-free deli meats.  It does get pretty restrictive though with no wheat, no corn, no soy (unless you’re vegetarian), no dairy as well.  There’s also a relatively complicated list of eat this on this day, but don’t eat this on the other day.  I’m not a fan of such restrictions.

But the idea, the premise, is definitely intriguing. It’s like you’re deliberately fooling your body with high whole-food carbs like steel-cut oats and fruit for a few days.  Then you go strict Atkins/paleo-style high protein — only it’s extremely low fat too.  No fat-laden cream or cheese dishes here, or as many bacon and eggs as you can eat.  Then the last three days of the week, you go high natural fats with avocados, sunbutter, coconut and olive oils, seeds and nuts.

I could totally see how swinging through those cycles could fool your body into working harder and get a sluggish metabolism working again.  I had been back to tracking faithfully on WW for the past 3 weeks, eating within my points every single day, and the scale had not budged.  Okay, I lost 1 lb, gained two, then lost 1.  See?  Sluggish metabolism!

So last week, I decided to give it a try, with a few caveats.

  • I’m still tracking all my food in WW and trying to get my points in (more on that in a minute).
  • I’m not going to rush out and buy a bunch of diet crap.
  • I’m not going to have a cow if I eat something that’s not on the “okay” list on a certain day.  Whole food = good even if it’s not the “right” day.
  • I’m still keeping my coffee and half and half.

I was far from perfect that first week.  Right away, I had a coffee drink at church that had some sugar and dairy in it.  (That Man ordered a plain cappuccino but that’s not what I got.)  I made Chocolate Chili which had tomatoes in it — which weren’t approved on that certain day.  I also used whole grain wheat products a couple of times instead of sprouted because I wasn’t going to waste what we already had (and yum, I love whole grain).  I didn’t have any sunbutter, so I had natural peanut butter instead. I cheated a tiny bit on my oils too and had coconut oil a few times on the “low fat” days.  I didn’t really even exercise much — just a little.

I tracked on WW the entire week.  The first two days of high carb and fruit I was pretty close to getting my points in… but didn’t meat the healthy oil requirement.  The next two days of high protein, low fat, I was extremely low on points (like 10 pts short) and I ate a TON of food.  Those days, almost every single thing I ate were Power Foods — lean meats and veggies — so I knew I was getting a lot of nutrition.  If I was hungry, I ate, but I tried to stick to the plan.

Then the last three days…

Whoa.  WAY over points.  It was a shock.  For breakfast, I was supposed to eat 4 1/2 T of fat.  Yes.  4 1/2 T!!!  I couldn’t stomach it … let alone actually track that much fat.  I did a T of coconut oil in my oats and about passed out in fear logging it.  I went way over on points that day, and you know what?  The very next morning I was down another pound.

Hmmm, I thought to myself.  What the heck?  So I tried to be a little more generous on the healthy fats.  I ate the avocado AND the healthy olive oil on my salad.  I went ahead and used the full 3 T of natural peanut butter on my 1/2 bagel the next day — so much peanut butter I could hardly swallow it without my mouth gluing shut (man was it good!!).  And the scale went down AGAIN.

I ended up using almost all of my weeklies — something I hardly ever do.  And I lost 2.8 lbs, after staying in my dailies for 3 weeks and not losing a thing.

It was an eye opener for me.  I know you’re SUPPOSED to eat your weekly points.  They’re there for a reason.  But I always hoarded them for a special occasion….that never really came.  Sure, sometimes I’d have pizza or something and try to track it, but I never deliberately set out to eat those points.  Even when doing Power 90 faithfully, I only ate 4-6 pts extra a day and still felt guilty!  It’s crazy, I know.

If nothing else, giving this plan a shot is helping me get over that reluctance to use all of my points as WW intended.  I ate a TON — enough healthy fats to make the long-term dieter in me cringe — and I still lost a huge chunk of weight (for me).  I ate tons of Power Foods.  All healthy, organic as possible, whole grain, whole foods.  No “diet” foods with fillers and chemicals.

I’m still not a fan of being so restrictive on the first four days of the plan.  I mean, does it really make that much of a difference if I use 1 tsp of olive oil to cook my egg in?  Or 1 yolk?  The high protein days, I’m supposed to have 4 egg whites only for breakfast, which is hard to cook without any fat at all in the pan, even if it’s non stick.  There’s only so much all meat dishes I can get down too — I’m just not a fan of so much meat after my months of Atkins years ago.

However, it’s only two days.  And the very next morning I know I’m going to sit down to a delicious bowl of steel cut oats rich with coconut oil, sunbutter, and an apple (although apple wasn’t listed on the phase 3 fruits I ate it anyway).  It was SO GOOD and stuck with me for hours and hours.  I ate that on Saturday morning before the girls had two basketball games and I was so stuffed I really didn’t even need the snack 3 hours later.

I definitely saw enough results that I’m going to run through the phases again this week.  I’m continuing to track on WW again and get as near as I can to my points on the early phases.  You’re supposed to give a whole 28 days to allow your metabolism to recover.  With the upcoming MN trip next week, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to keep up with the restrictive plan, but I’ll at least continue to track my foods on WW and see what happens.

I strongly believe that we can heal our bodies with food.  I’m hoping that I can actually heal my metabolism a little after wrecking it all my life with one crazy diet after another.

P.S. I also ordered Well Fed 2 since I’m loving the first cookbook so much.  The high protein and high natural fat days are very paleo friendly with a few modifications.  (e.g. paleo doesn’t allow beans but TFMD does on phase 1 and phase 3)  I’m hoping to find some new inspiration!

Battling the Bulge, Round 399

Okay, maybe not exactly that many rounds/attempts, but this is an endless battle I wage.  Since RT in May, I’ve had a super hard time getting back to consistent WW tracking.  I’d start out well and track through lunch, but then fall off the tracks at dinner.  Or I’d totally forget to track for a few days at all.  Stop and start.  It’s annoying and unfortunate, because if I’m not tracking… I’m gaining.

Then I don’t want to know how bad it really is.  I’m an avoider.  Which doesn’t help the issue either.

Plus my knee has been giving me trouble off and on this year.  It’s never completely recovered from getting hyperextended, though most days it’s feeling better now.  I need to get it stronger…by exercising!

Stress at the Evil Day Job has been off the charts all year.  If it’s not a project deadline, it’s dealing with support calls or new bosses.  I’m a stress eater (chips, popcorn, pizza because I’m working late), so that’s been something that really hurt me this year.

But where I’ve failed 398 other times (or more), this time, I stopped the slide.

How?  As I lost, I got rid of ALL of my clothes that no longer fit.  So when my favorite looser jeans got uncomfortably tight…I had no choice but to suck it up, step on the scale and get busy doing what I know I need to do.  I didn’t have any “fat” pants to pull out of the drawer and I sure as hell wasn’t going to go buy something new in a larger size.

The damage:  30 lbs.  *dies*  Normal people do not lose and gain 30 lbs in a year. They just don’t.  It’s going to take me forever to lose again.  I don’t know why I can’t get it together every day, all year, and keep it off.  It scares me that even if I get to goal, it’ll be a constant struggle to STAY there.

But on the bright side, I’ve stopped the slide THIS TIME. I’ve put together 2 solid weeks of tracking.  I’m concentrating on whole foods and eating sensibly.  So while it might take a while to undo the damage, I’m not damaging my metabolism or heath by going on some crazy crash plan that I can’t stick with.

(That Man’s doing a weight loss challenge at work, and his current diet is an apple, two plums, and a salad for dinner with about 500 calories of bottled dressing.  Yeah.)

Slow and steady and healthy.  I know what I need to do.  I just have to do it.

The battle continues.

Weekend Roundup

First, the Weight Watcher update.  As I said last week, I made a deliberate effort to eat more of my weekly points (22 of 49) and continued Power 90 through Wed.  Thursday I took a break because I was really achy.  Not exactly sore but just deep down joint achy.  Friday I had to finish our taxes.  Sat and Sun I lost to business.  :-(  So I have to get back on track TODAY.

On the bright side, I’m down 2.4 this week.  Slowly inching back down to my all-time low!

Two of the monsters had school activities this past Sat.  Yeah, I know.  They were so thrilled.  Littlest spent the night with a friend and we had an hour or so where everyone was gone. That rare moment of quiet must have addled my brain because I decided to try and make a petticoat out of tulle to wear beneath my RT costume. 

I can cross stitch.  I can crochet.  I can embroider.  But I am NOT a seamstress.  I haven’t used my sewing machine since we moved here almost 3 years ago, and of course, I couldn’t find my manual (so I downloaded one off the internet).  It took me half an hour to remember how to fill the bobbin.  Another half hour to get everything threaded correctly.  Then I started making this monstrosity of a petticoat.

I made so. Many. Errors.  ARGH.  I was trying to sew 10 layers together and I got to the end and held it up, only to realize that I’d “dropped” two random layers as I was sewing it.  I also trimmed each piece of tulle with satin ribbon.  About 2/3 of the way through, I ran out.  It took me 3 attempts to finally get everything attached to the wasitband of 2″ black satin ribbon, or I would have ripped it out and done it again, because my underneath bobbin thread balled up in a couple of places and looks terrible.  Of course no one will see it but me (assuming I can even wear the blasted thing), but it really bothers me that it’s so messy.

I finally got it all sewn onto the ribbon and closed it with room to thread the elastic through, but I don’t have a safety pin.  It’s just narrow enough — with too much tulle poking up inside — to get the elastic through by hand.  I really need a big safety pin and I’m probably still going to be sweaty and cursing before it’s done.  I had to take a break, though, because I worked on it ALL DAY.

Sunday I made a trip up to Granny’s with the tardy black taffeta for the skirt.  I was supposed to go alone, but Mom can’t go to the bathroom without company, let alone a trip.  I ended up with Princess and Littlest making the 1 hour 45 min car ride with me.  I was afraid they’d be bored.  This wasn’t a fun trip, but a working trip.  I intended to help Mom with whatever menial tasks she could give me (after reading the tulle adventure I’m sure you understand why she couldn’t get me much to do).  The girls were pretty good, though, helped out by Mac taking them with him on a shopping trip.

My beloved sister Molly made the drive up too so we could chat and laugh at how many times I had to take the hook and eye off and redo it. 

I did help cut out a few pieces.  By that, I mean I helped pin and listened while Mom explained grain and fold and how to read the stupid patterns.  She did the cutting!  Other than that, I stuffed the bustle pillow with Sis and then did the hook and eye.  Oh and I made coffee several times and stuffed Granny with turtle cheesecake.  It was the least I could do.

We ended the day with most everything cut out except for a lining for other bustle.  Mom had the sleeves done for the first bolero and I tried on the other piece of the bolero to make sure it was fitting.  I got the wrong kind of interfacing (boo) so she’s going to have to hit the store today.  Meanwhile I have 5 yards of some crap none of us can use.

All in all, it was a work-filled fun day.  We had fun and hopefully I helped at least a little.  I had to leave and head home before it got dark (I’m not a very good driver either.  I sure didn’t want to brave the interstate turnoffs in the dark), but Sis said they got quite a bit more done after we left.  I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

When we got home last night, I started some prep work for a promo thing I thought of.  I have pens to give out, but I wanted something unique and special.  Something that wouldn’t cost me a lot — but also was less likely to get thrown away to make room in the suitcases because it was just too cool to toss.  I finally had a neat idea, but it required some printing of little cards with my book cover.  I didn’t have business cards anyway, so I designed two last night, one with Yours to Take and the other with Her Grace’s Stable.  Now I just have to hit a PartyCity store and buy a glue gun.  *cryptic*  And feathers.  Lots of feathers.

I’m also going to make a steampunk hat.

*buys more feathers, beads, buttons, and trinkets*

Two weeks and counting for RT in KC!

Unusual Stir Fry

In my effort to continue eating mostly protein and veggies for dinner, I decided to try a new-to-us recipe.  It’s actually based on a recipe from Jane Brody that I remember Mom making, only she used ground beef.  I say unusual because I don’t often think of ground meat in stir fry, but man, I hate cutting up nasty slimy chicken breasts or trimming all the fat off round steak.  This was quick and easy!

Ground Turkey Stir Fry

2 pkgs of 99% lean ground turkey breast (each was around 20-22 oz)
1 T coconut oil
1 t dark sesame oil
1 pkg green beans (I used frozen)
1 pkg sugar snap peas
1 c. chicken broth
2 T cider or rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1″ fresh ginger, peeled and chopped small
lots of fresh garlic
green onions chopped into 1″ pieces (I can’t use many because the monsters hate them)
2 T corn starch or arrowroot

Heat a large 12″ iron skillet on med-high heat for 3 mins. Add 1 t sesame oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Throw in the green beans, peas, and onions, cooking until they start to char a little on the sides. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add 1 T coconut oil and the ground turkey. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook through.

Meanwhile, mix the chicken broth, vinegar, soy, ginger, garlic and corn starch in a small bowl.

Once the meat is cooked, add the liquid and stir until thickened. Returned the cooked veggies, mix and heat through.

When I made this the other night, I used a separate small pan for the veggies and I ended up using a bit more oil to get my healthy oils in. This made a huge pot, easily 8 reasonable sized portions, at 6 P+ each if you use more like a T of oil for the veggies. I used lots of meat — more than we really needed — because I needed to use it up (I bought it on sale) and I could use the protein.  (Plus I like having leftovers for lunch.) You could easily trim some points there if you need to.

I was afraid the monsters wouldn’t like it: white meat and lots of green veggies. But they all really enjoyed it and asked for it again!  If you’re not watching carbs, serve over rice or noodles, but it’s really good alone.

 

Why Dieting is So Hard

I had my first really good, solid week last week.

  • I stayed within my daily points for the most part, only going over a total of 3 points all week.
  • I earned 38 activity points.
  • I completed 5 days of Power 90.
  • I hit the elliptical 3 days.
  • I ate whole foods all week until the weekend, and then limited carbs and processed foods as much as was in my power.

And guess how the scale rewarded me this morning? 

Zero.  Nadda.  Zilch.

I’m exactly the same weight as I was last Monday.

Theoretically, I should have seen a huge loss this week, something like 5-6 pounds.  It’s my first solid week back to tracking and I deliberately ate really good foods all week.  I also worked my butt off.  (Well, I tried.  Literally.)  How can I lose NOTHING?

It happens and it happens a lot.  I really think that’s one of the main reasons I’ve failed to diet in the past.  Disappointing results at the scale that were nowhere close to meeting my expectations.

But I’ve been down this road before.  I remember the last time I did Power 90 really hard that I lost hardly anything from the beginning.  Until I started eating more.

So I’ve had my week of detox.  I’ve gotten back into the habit of tracking food.  Now I need to go one step further and trust myself to eat more than my daily points and still stay in control.

Sadly, that’s easier said than done.  I’ve only just begun getting back into the swing of things.  Now I have to deliberately eat more, and not get off track again?  But I know that if I don’t fuel up a little, I’m not going to lose.  Not with the kind of exercise I’m doing.  I need plenty of protein to recover from the workouts and build lean muscle tissue.  Power 90 isn’t exactly a “weight loss” exercise.  It’s a toning, firming, reshape your body exercise.  Yes, I know I can and will lose weight on it, but it’s more than the number on the scale.

It’s how strong I feel.  How tight my body gets.  I can literally feel my body getting thinner and tighter and harder, no matter what the scale says.  I’ll fit into smaller sizes no matter what the scale says.

But I really think 90% of the battle is mental.  Instead of just throwing a few points in willy nilly, I changed my thinking a little.  I’m doing WW online, so I changed my settings to pull overages from my weekly points instead of exercise points.  (In the past, I felt better going over if I’d “earned” them.)  Everyone gets 49 extra weekly points to use, and honestly, I rarely used them in the past.  That may be part of my struggle for keeping on track though.  We need those extra points, especially once we get down to 26 daily.

This time, I’m going to deliberately and with great forethought dip into those points.  I’ve written up a schedule where I eat an additional 28 points per week, tightening up as much as possible on the weekend (since my WI is Monday morning).  That leaves me some extras if I have a special event, and of course I could always dip into the activity points if I need to.  I’m also varying the number I eat each day, with one larger spike of 10 points on Friday to keep things interesting.  Hopefully.   :lol:

Otherwise, my plan is more of the same this week.  Power 90 (shooting for 6 days this week), plus a few extra elliptical trips, as often as I can drag the monsters to the gym.  Food wise I intend to continue concentrating on whole foods and limiting carbs, especially at dinner.  If I do eat carbs, they’ll be whole grain as much as possible.

I’ll report back in next week with the results!

WW Revelations

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’ve been struggling the last few months…and why I’m finally *knocks on wood* back on track.

One of the things that I realized is that before the slippage (November), I was having a hard time staying in my daily point range.  If you’re not familiar with how Weight Watchers works, when you start out, you have a daily point value based on your age, current weight, and activity level.  Then as you lose, those points slowly evaporate.

It’s great to lose weight, don’t get me wrong.  But as those daily points whittle away, it can get…scary.

I was down to 30 points a day (I believe the least recommended daily value is 26).  Every day I was going over 3-4 points.  No matter my best intentions, I just couldn’t get UNDER.  I was eating relatively healthy foods, but I started to get discouraged.

If I can’t eat at 30 points…how am I going to live on 26 for the rest of my life?

Sure, I have the extra weeklies to use.  But I liked to use those for special occasions, dinner out, or special treats.  Not day to day living.

It’s dumb, I know, but I got so discouraged that I quit tracking all together.  That helps a lot.  *rolls eyes*  It’s like oh, I’m on fire.  Let’s dump some gasoline on me!!!

So I’m back to tracking this week.  That Man’s diabetes is flaring up, so I recommitted to cutting out processed foods as much as possible.  No pasta, no rice, etc.  (At least at home.  What he chooses to eat for his breakfast/lunch is on him.)  In fact, I’m doing more of a paleo dinner plan this week – mostly meats and veggies.  I’m not cutting dairy out or anything drastic, but in general, I’ve given up most wheat, sugar, and processed foods so far this week.

The only exceptions so far have been granola (I haven’t had time to make my homemade batch yet) and a little honey or maple syrup for my yogurt.  That’s it.  Other than a tiny bit of dark chocolate yesterday.

And you know what?  All the sudden I have LOTS of points left over!  I didn’t realize I was spending that many daily points on things like bread, rice and pasta.  Granted, most of the time I ate whole grain products, but still, it adds up.

I don’t think I’ll be this strict forever, but it’s nice to get control back.  I’m detoxing a little from all the slippage and hopefully losing some water weight.  When I do introduce more carbs, I’ll choose healthy whole grains.  Other than my protein shake, I haven’t had any artificial sweeteners either.  I’ve been trying to find a good tasty all natural shake, but so far, no luck.   (At least ones that I can gag down.)

So I’ve got a little damage control to work through, but I think I’m back on track.  I’ve even been doing Power 90 this week!  Of course the ticking bomb of RT just around the corner might have something to do with that…

WW Update: NSV

NSV = Non Scale Victories.

Let’s face it – we can do everything right all week.  Track our food.  Stay in our points.  Exercise.  And the scale doesn’t cooperate.  It’s especially important to have other victories to celebrate that have absolutely nothing to do with the scale.

I admit the NSVs have been pretty few and far between lately.  I’m not losing quickly enough to jet down into a new clothes size.  I’ve been hard at Power 90 for a good 30 days now, but I haven’t seen any huge changes in measurements.  (In the last round, I saw the most changes in the 60-90 day range.)

I’ve been playing the up and down game since RT in April, with very little consistently downward trends.  Today, I’m up a total of 3 pounds.  I’m not sure why.  It could be because I missed a few days of exercise last week.  I hurt my foot a little, so I was scared to work out too hard for fear plantar fasciitis would come back.  (It didn’t.)  We had lots of errands this weekend preparing for school to start, so we ate out more than usual.  Plus I was under the gun at the Evil Day Job on a late project, while I’ve got a business trip next week AND a release.

When I’m stressed out, I don’t typically see good numbers on the scale, even if I’m within my points.

Plus I’m having a problem sticking to my new daily points.  I typically eat 4-6 points over each day.  I have weeklies and activity points to use, so I’m still technically “within my points”, but I don’t always lose well when I eat over, especially when I’m missing a few days of exercise.

But in the end, the whys don’t really matter.  It is what it is.  I’m in this for the long haul, and I can’t lose every week.  I can’t concentrate on the number.  It’s just a number, after all.

Instead, I’m going to celebrate a victory that I’m still pretty pumped up about.  Many years ago when I was on Atkins for the first time (about 8 years ago I’m guessing), I was working out fairly regularly (for me) at a local fitness place.  I got tired of the treadmill, so I tried an elliptical machine.  Imagine my shame when I could only make it 5 minutes.

Yep.  5 minutes.  I thought, wow, how sad that I’m THAT out of shape!

Because it was so physically hard, I only rarely did it.  Much better to plod on that hateful treadmill than face my inability daily.  Then of course I quit going all together.

A few weeks ago, That Man started a workout routine at our local community center.  The kids swim, while he works out.  Now usually I’d leap at the chance to stay home and get some writing done, but I need to keep working out and I was curious.  I wanted to see if my fitness level was any better now that I’ve been doing Power 90, not to mention that I’m down 80+ pounds.

The ellipticals were all taken, so I tried a cross trainer machine that was more like a stair climber.  I was shocked at how hard it was.  My legs were burning in 5 minutes.  The intensity was much harder than I anticipated, and I was like, uh oh.  No good.  I haven’t improved at all.  Sigh.  Pretty bummed, it took me a few more days to decide to go back.

This time, an elliptical was free.  Filled with trepidation, I hopped on.  I took it easy the first 5 minutes, afraid the intensity would get too much too quickly, but hey, I made it.  Then I made it 10.  15.  I was sweating and definitely feeling the workout, but it wasn’t the same killer thigh intensity that the other machine had been.  That first time, I made it 25 minutes.  I was pretty proud of that!

Yesterday, we went again and I jumped on that elliptical.  I’m getting the hang of it, trusting my body and the rhythm.  I pushed a little harder this time.  And I realized I LOVED IT.

It feels like I’m running like I always wished I could, but couldn’t.  I’ve never been a runner, even in high school at much lower weights.  I tried.  But the pounding was too hard on my knees even then.  I hated that sick feeling I’d get from pushing too hard.  (I once threatened to throw up on the coach’s shoes.)

The elliptical gives me that flying freedom of a fast run that my body can’t really physically pull off.  It cushions my knees wonderfully.  My calves and achilles do begin to tighten up, but even after two times, the tightness is much better/bearable (plus I concentrated on arching my foot more, stretching that area out when it starts to ache).

Last night, I made it 40 minutes.  AFTER I’d already done Power 90 strength over my lunch.  I was dripping sweat but the closest to “pumped up” I’ve ever been from exercising.  Now THAT is a NSV!  Me, Queen Couch Potato, pumped up from exercise!

Starting next month, I’m participating in an exercise competition at the Evil Day Job, where my team gets points for exercising.  I figured I’d need the help to stay on track with the business trip next week.  Now I have no excuse whatsoever not to take my Power 90 cd.  I just hope the hotel also has an elliptical!

Who knows.  I might even look at buying one for the house.  I liked it that much.

Weight Watcher Update

I had a HUGE weigh in today:  -4.6!  On paper that looks great.  In reality, I’m only down .4 from my last low.  I’m hugely thankful though — those two weeks of gains are off much quicker than I expected.

The key has been Power 90.  I made it 4 times the first week, 5 times last week, and I’m on track to make it 6 times this week (assuming I make it every weekday).  Power 90 saved my sanity on Friday.  I was stressed out to the max and I had a KILLER workout.  I think it was the hardest, most exhilerating workout to date.

I’m also trying a new protein mix (Syntha 6) that I’m finding very satisfying, recommended to me on Twitter by Isabelle.  I’m not 100% happy with the ingredients (it contains Splenda) but it tastes great and I don’t feel ravenous an hour after drinking it like with BioChem + Weight Watcher Smoothie (my concoction before).  It’s pointy – 6 if I make it with 1 c. of unsweetened almond milk – but it really does a nice job of making me feel like my gas tank is pleasantly replenished after a hard workout.

What I learned this time around is to keep trying things until I find what works for me.  That Man ordered a drink mix a few months ago.  I tried it one time and felt shaky afterward, like I was having a sugar crash.  BioChem didn’t make me feel bad, but it tasted so terrible that I had to mix it with WW smoothie mixes to gag it down.  Then I still needed to eat a small meal within an hour.

No gagging at all with Syntha.  Mixed with 1 c. fresh spinach and 1 c. frozen fruit, it makes an incredibly rich and tasty drink that sticks with me for 2-3 hours.

Princess has decided she wants to be a vegetarian, so we’ve been trying a few new dishes.  I’m happy to eat the same dishes with her, and then add a chicken breast, etc. if I need a little more protein.  If you have a favorite vegetarian recipe, we’d love to have it!  She’s going to get real tired of Boca burgers pretty fast.

She did Power 90 Sweat with me today and it was so much fun.  She kept saying there was something wrong with Tony for making us work so hard, and then swore there was no way he could be 42 (at the time Power 90 was taped).  He definitely worked us both out hard today!  I had to take some pauses and catch my breath.  I think I was working out harder with company.  Or maybe that was just from laughing as she tried to pick up all the moves with her hilarious commentary.  Anyway, I was pretty darned proud that I was able to hang with my 13 year old daughter and even out-do her at times (I ought to, I’ve been doing Power 90 a lot longer!).  A year ago, I would have keeled over dead at the thought of working out that hard!

Weight Watchers: When Points Don’t Matter

I knew this all along, but it really came home to me this past weekend.  Sometimes, you can eat within your points and smugly think you’re doing so well….and gain.

It’s not just the weird and frustrating way the scale can lie sometimes when my body retains fluid for whatever reason.  The FOOD I choose to eat does MATTER.  Points — or calories — are not created equal.  Those choices affect my weigh in.

I chose to go back to Weight Watchers because I was tired of having a near-panic attack because I ate something that wasn’t on the “allowed” list.  Struggling all the time.  Making two separate meals everytime I had to cook.  I’ve been on diets that involved no salt.  No carbs.  No meat.  No sugar.  No fat.  You name it.  I didn’t want to be that exclusive.  I wanted to eat with my family on a normal basis and not have to worry that I’d just blown it.

In that regard, Weight Watchers is perfect.  Most of the time, we all eat the same thing.  I just choose parts of the main meal to replace with something slightly healthier.  More and more, the family is also joining me.  Tonight, Middle ate sauteed cabbage and loved it.  That’s 4 out of 5!  Just one more monster to convert…

But I blew it this weekend.  The stress of That Man’s job situation got to me, combined with travel to the in laws and frustration because I didn’t have time to get my workout in before heading out.  I ate my healthy brunch at home while the family ate fast food in the car on the way over.  I made the mistake of not taking some healthy snacks to tie me over… and dinner couldn’t come quickly enough.  I was starving.

And out came the chips and dip.  Sigh.  My old nemesis.

I resisted for at least an hour, but I just got hungrier and hungrier.  One taste of that evil salty goodness and the old addiction kicked in.  I wanted more salt.  More fat.  It was soooo good.  I made myself leave the area and managed to avoid it the rest of the night, but the damage was done.

I indulged in chips again on Sunday while watching movies with the family.  Then we ordered in pizza.  Sigh.

I counted EVERYTHING.  I had to guessimate on a few things, but I did the best I could.  I had the activity points to cover everything, limited myself to only two pieces of pizza, and thought I was okay.  I didn’t even touch my weeklies.  People eat all their APs and weeklies all the time, right?

Yeah, but not with a SALT fest.

(Top that off with a trip to see Brave last night.  That Man couldn’t pass on the popcorn.  I had to listen to that endless munching and resist.  I did it, but man, it was hell after all that salty evil deliciousness I’d allowed back onto my tastebuds.)

So this was week #2 that I saw a 2 lb gain.  That’s right, I’m up 4 pounds in two weeks.  Do you know how long it’ll take me to lose 4 pounds again?  Probably 4-6 weeks.  I’m so mad at myself I could cry.  I know it’s just fluid retention.  I know it’s not really 4 pounds of fat.  But it’ll still take me weeks to get it off again.

On the bright side, I am still managing to do Power 90.  I only made 4 days in a row (instead of 6 as the program specifies) but as sore as I was, I needed the weekend to recover.  I’ve made it 2 days this week.  Even if I can only manage 5 days a week and skip the weekends, that’ll still be a really good goal until life settles down.

I know what the stressor was.  Looking back, I can see the signs.  I don’t know what I could have done to prevent it, but I know working out would have helped.  Next time, if we have to be late for an event, then we’ll just have to be late.  If nothing else, I have to get my workout in!

There are still chips in the house, but hopefully I’ve got the lid clamped back down and my willpower is fully in place.  It’s so funny–the family can indulge in ice cream all the time and it doesn’t tempt me.  Birthday cake.  Even donuts.  Very little temptation.  But oh man the chips.  It doesn’t matter what kind.  Plain.  Cheetos.  Fritos.  I can sometimes handle them in small measured amounts, but when the stress is too high, I can’t.  I can’t even see the open bag on the counter (a huge no no but the monsters continue to forget), I have to really physically rein myself in and get that evil bag shut and put in the cupboard.

Out of sight.  Out of mind.  The points may fit in my plan, but the salt is crack for me.  I just can’t risk it.