Sunday, August 29, 2010

Food Glorious Food

     I am writing this blog a little later than usual. For one thing, it has been busy at work and home. For another thing, I will fill you in shortly. First, let's check out this week's meeting topic. It's call Yes, You Can Eat That. Folks, this is the reason that I have chosen to join Weight Watchers. I have been on many diets through out my life. The Stewardess diet, the Scarsdale diet, the Grapefruit diet, the Cabbage Soup diet and the ultimate Atkins diet. I must start by saying that if you need to lose small amounts of wieght in a hurry for an event, then these diets may be for you. I lost weight on them, but I could not eat like that forever. When the diet stopped, so did the weight loss. Eventually it turned to weight gain. I felt betrayed by my own lousy body . Why couldn't my body act like everyone else's and lose weight forever and stay thin? What was the matter with me? Didn't the model on the box, book or informercial say that these diets saved her life? Was my life not worth saving too? Then came the eating of all the wonderful comfort foods or as I like to joke, "the medication". I only recognize it as medication now. I avoided Weight Watchers like the plague. I did not want to pay weekly dues. I did not want to talk to a group of people about the amount of food I ate. I did not want to measure food.
        After another gain back the weight cycle, and my gynocologist asking me if I ever thought of surgery, I decided to try Weight Watchers. I never want to have surgery because I have heard of some sad endings. I also knew a co-worker who had the surgery and had to get up and throw up in the middle of luncheons. She also had to change her habits. She had to work out regulary and eat so little. I was happy for her body transformation, but then I thought about it.  If I have to eat less and exercise more after being cut open, why don't I just do those things without being cut open and see what happens? I realized that I did not know how to do everything so I joined Weight Watchers. Do you know what I found out? I can still eat some of the foods that I enjoy within reason. In measuring, I realized that when I eat much more than a normal portion, I put myself in jeopardy of gaining weight. Do I still eat more than I am supposed to? At times I pig out or have that extra portion but with Weight Watchers I realized that is not the worst thing in the world.
        For every action, there is a reaction. If there is an upcoming event or just because I wanted to, I have to plan. For example, Thanksgiving. A main dish that must be present at every family function is a giant cassarole dish of macaroni and cheese. I love it and so does my son. It comes with a high calorie count. I modified my recipe to ease up a little bit. I choose fat free and 2% ingredients. To my surprise it still tasted the same. To prove it, I served it to my mom without telling her the change in ingredients. She never knew the difference and I told her about it later.
         Spaghetti is my gateway drug. When I found out that it was not off limits, I was happy as I could be. The problem was it used a lot of points. I refused to let it go. I did my WW research and found out that if I made a few changes it would be okay. I use 99% fat free ground turkey meat and whole wheat spaghetti. I also have a big tossed salad before I start eating my pasta. I serve the pasta in a small plate or bowl so that it looks like a lot. There are some diets that would say you can never have pasta again. But Weight Watchers is a way of life.
         Another way to eat some of things you like is to exercise. You should exercise to keep your body healthy but you can also exercise to earn a few extra activity points to off set the extra point in your favorite dish.I do not want anyone to feel deprived. When you feel deprived, you will not be able to maintain . This is a lifestyle, not a diet.
          And now for the other reason my blog is so late. This week I had a weight gain. I gained 4.2lbs. I am not happy about it. although I always remain apprehensive about weigh in day, sometimes I can agonize over a weight gain. I just had two great weeks in a row of losing . My weight gain could be for almost anything.
-It could be the act that it rained four days in a row and I am addicted to outdoor activity right now.
-It could be because I ate two fried foods for dinner this week when I usually don't fry at all.
-It could be the fact that I was taking sinus medication .
-It could be that I was retaining water from muscle repair.
-It could be that my metabolism was affected by my anxiety over work.
It could be all of those things put together. I am not feeling as devastated as I used to get.  I know for a fact that I will pay closer attention what I am cooking and eating. I will figure out a way to keep up my activity indoors again. And if I get stuck, my fellow meeting members will help me and I will lose the weight again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do It Til' Your Satisfied

           This week's meeting topic was satisfaction. This is in regards to being on the Weight Watchers plan. Before WW, satisfaction meant eating until I passed out. Okay so I did not always pass out but we think of satisfied as being full. Full does not always feel good. When over eating poorly, FULL can feel really bad.When you change your eating habits ( or for lack of a good word DIET), you may start feeling deprived because suddenly you are not eating until you cannot eat anymore. So how do you chane these eating habits?
1) Plan, plan plan
2) Research
3) Analyze
           Unless you regulary laugh in the face of danger, plan what you are going to eat. I plan everyday. Not only do I plan to eat things that I enjoy, but I plan to eat things that will sustain me until the next meal or snack. Here is an example;
Weekday breakfast: 2 egg whites, one slice of cheese, on english muffin or bagel thin and two oranges.
The english muffin /bagel thin satisfies the bread eater in me.
The slice of cheese is the fun side and provides some dairy.
The oranges are my fruit plus they help balance out my blood pressure medication.
The two eggs whites are the true hero of this breakfast because they provide the PROTEIN element that will hold me over until lunch.

Weekday lunch: Creative salad.
Two cups of tossed salad is a filling food (plus it's 0 points)
3/4 of granny smith apple or 4oz of raspberries is also a filling food and lends a hint of sweet.
Salad dressing- you don't have to have it but I enjoy two tablespoons of a light dressing like Ken's sweet vidalia onion
The meat from one chicken drumstick. There are always leftovers in my house but you may substitute a hard boiled egg or beans. Sometimes I add a 1/4 cup of black beans even if I have the chicken. This element in again, PROTEIN.
Also, this sounds like a lot of food and it is. And I am happy after I have eaten it because I added the elements that would make it colorful and yummy. The combination of all these flavors is satisfying.

Dinner: usually chicken , pork or fish , a side like rice or baked potato and veggies. I like all kinds of veggies. I try to make sure that I have a bigger serving of veggies than the side. One of my "gateway" foods is spaghetti and meat sauce. I love spaghetti and it took me a long, long, long time to come to grips with one or one and a half cup serving size. One of my deal breakers is to have a big salad with it. I eat the whole salad first in the hope that it will trick my stomach into thinking it has eaten enough spaghetti. 98% ot the time this works.

Snacks: I actually eat fruit first for most of my snacks. Fruit has fiber in it and it takes your stomach all while to digest it. Another good snack is the fat free kettle korn. That like having someting naughty in abundance. And popcorn is a great filling snack.

These are my examples of both plan and research. I plan what I am going to eat so that I am not too tempted to make a bad decision and I research the amount of points that I am going to use on each item so that I can add more, like in the case of the salad.
   The last part of satisfaction is to analyze. If you find yourself unsatisfied after eating or you want to eat too much of an occasional food, try to figure out what is going on inside of you. Are you upset? Are you tired?Are you really hungry ? If you are not satisfied about something, try to resolve it. If resolving is impossible, do something that boosts your adreniline like walking or running, Wii boxing, BAM( bitching and moaning) with someone who listens.
             I had a surprising week. I lost 1.6lbs. Last week I lost a whopping 6.4lbs. Usually when I lose a large amount, I stabilize ( and sometimes gain) the next week. My current weight is 237.4lbs. My total loss so far is 40.2lbs. I am really excited about this because it is another 10lbs gone. Now my next goal is the 50lb loss goal. I was able to get back to my weekend warrior workout of jogging so on both Saturday and Sunday I jogged three and a half miles straight each day. I rode my bike three nights last week as well. This week I am going to keep walking my two plus miles to work in the morning and try to ride my bike a few nights for about four miles. I also plan to do my weekend warrior thing by jogging.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dealing With Perfection

      This week's Weight Watchers meeting topic is about perfection. The definition of perfection is 1)the act of being perfect as freedom from default or defect 2)Flawlessness, 3) the act of being saintly 4) the exemplification of supreme excellence, 4)an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence.  Now I don't know about you, but that sure is not me. There are times however during my struggle with weight that I tried to be perfect. About fifteen years ago, I dieted and exercised my body down to 202 pounds. I was happy and I looked nice. I wanted to be thinner but I had no idea what so ever how to get past that plateau. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know it was a plateau.  The real problem was because I had not become the skinny girl I thought I was becoming and that I could not be perfect, I fell back into the same patterns that helped me gain the weight in the first place.
  Now years later in Weight Watchers I have learned that this is a very long process; something that I could have learned at 24 years old and saved my body from wear and tear. Perfection can be hard on people who are trying to lose weight. We are trying to get to the holy grail - I mean holy goal. We want to be weight losing saints. Holier than all the minions below us. We want to tell people who tsk tsk us in our previous size that we are better than you. But we are very human. We have flaws. And no matter how much we try to stick with the plan, sometimes we fall down and slip on a piece of cake that accidentally falls into our mouth. Or we go to the party where one of our favorite cooks makes our favorite dish in which one serving is worth all of your points for the day. Or maybe you sprained your ankle and have to stay off your feet for a length of time, taking you away from your favorite workout. These tragedies are no reason to throw all of your hard work away.
      Three years ago when I first joined WW, I was going to my meetings every week and following my plan. Although I was losing weight, I knew that I needed to do more. So I started to workout, something my body had not done in a long time. The weight started pouring off. I was so proud of myself that I worked even harder and that was when it happened. I sprained my knee. I assumed all of my progress would stop and I would not lose weight. I stopped going to my meetings waiting for my knee to get better. But my knee did not get better right away. While hobbling around New York with my bad knee I fell down injuring the opposite leg. Now I am hobbling around New York with two bad legs when suddenly my podiatrist tells me I have an ingrown toenail that needs to be removed. In a few months I went from dropping fifteen pounds and walking in place as a workout to nothing at all. Then I started falling back into all of my bad food choice habits . Little by little until I was no longer counting points or working out. before my accident I was down 19 pounds. I gained them right back because 1) I was no longer losing weight faster than fast ( it would have slowed down eventually via a plateau), 2) I was ashamed that even my fellow meeting attendees would see me not losing weight anymore and I would be an outcast. Does anyone else hear how foolish this all sounds? How defeated I was? How ashamed I was all because I was trying to do things perfectly? Through going back to WW meetings almost a year later, I was able to realize that I was hurting myself.
        The problem with Perfection is that we're not perfect. We're human beings. We fall down, make mistakes but you can start all over again.One of the members at my meeting says that when he turns the page in the journal that the slate is clean and it is a brand new day. Every morning, when you wake up, it is a brand new day. Be glad that you're still alive. Stay positive and find positive things about your life.Look back at your old journal and see if there was a time when you were blasting through a plateau. Try someone's suggestion from a meeting and see if you get a good result.  I believe that all of life is a lesson and if you stop learning, it's no longer fun.
           This week was our group's 4th 5K. My sons went along again. If you ever want to walk around the city and exercise too, this is the way to do it. My friend Tamra plans our route and we take pictures and talk to other members about whatever. Then we go to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. This time I had the cup of asparagus soup( to die for) and the half morroccan grilled chicken salad( without date and almonds- just don't like them). This salad had grilled chicken, beets, butternut squash, boiled egg, avocado, romaine lettuce and an exquisite champagne vineagrette dressing. YUM!!! You're a little tired the next day but you feel so accomplished.
            This week I also went to my niece's wedding. I ate plenty but I danced plenty too. I used up quite a few of my bonus points because I wanted to drink bourbon and eat the food and cake. Our group came up with a trippy term for a free for all eating and drinking fest that will only happen once. The word is FEASTIVUS(my own spelling).  Feastivus is what some folks do on weigh-in day after they are weighed because it does not count and it gives your body a chance to recover before the next weigh in. I don't always practice Feastivus. But sometimes on weight in day I will order or cook a heavier meal like burgers or steaks or order chinese food. It was worth it.
           Last week leading to the wedding I had a cold. Although I kept up my weekday morning routine of walking two miles to work, after work I went home and crashed . After gaining weight two weeks in a row (+1.8lbs & then 4.8lbs) , I was sure this week's weigh in was not going to be pretty . And it wasn't. It was super fantastic. I lost 6.4lbs this week. For the first time since joining Weight Watchers I ate all but two of my bonus points.  My current weight is 239.0lbs. I managed to have 34 activity points this week as well.
            Next week I plan to turn the page and greet the new day. Keep working out. Keep journaling every little thing I eat.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Out of control eating

        This is probably a topic that I could write about forever. This week's topic is OUTOF CONTROL EATING. Out of control eating is about the type of eating that you do in secret.There is no secret that I love to eat and I have done my fair share of eating in public. By there is a behind the scenes eating as well. For example, I bought a bag of honey wheat pretzels. Why oh  why Delilah did I do that? I started out with the best of intentions. I found out that the serving size was eight pretzels and counted them into a ziplock bag. That serving is worth three points. Then I had another eight pretzels. The next day I figured I should try a different snack, so I popped some fat free kettle korn. On Sunday, I was feeling bad because I have a head cold. I decided to relax in bed for most of the day.Nothing goes with a cup of tea like guess what? some more pretzels. This time I did not count them out. I took the whole bag to bed with me. I thought I might be able to control myself. I lost control the moment I took the bag into the bedroom. In less than an hour, the whole bag was gone. I had stopped counting at ten and I no longer cared how many I ate. My kids were not in the room with me. I probably told myself that if no one saw me eat it,then it didn't count. But my old man came to check on me and made the mistake of attempting to help himself to a pretzel. I think I may have growled at him.
     I say all this because it needs to be said. Sometimes when we are confused about why we are not losing weight, we need to sit back and observe ourselves. Even though I go to weekly WW meetings, I still occasionally have an out of control binge. Picture this. I am watching television and I want something sweet. I will go get a piece of fruit. But after I ate the fruit, I am not satisfied. So I go get another piece on fruit. But when I am done, I still want more. So then I go pop some fat free kettle korn. I eat the whole bag by myself. But still I want more. So then I will eat two WW peanut butter bliss bars. Now I have no choice but to survey the damage;
-two fruit pits
-empty giant bowl
-two WW wrappers
    Oh the horror!! I must now consolidate this mess so that no one can tell that I had anything but popcorn. I would deny the popcorn, butthere's no point. The apartment reeks of it. Did you notice something about the wording of this story? Did you ever see the words "I WAS HUNGRY"??? It's because I probably was not hungry. When I am in control, I tell myself to wait a while and see if I am still hungry or I plan to have a specific snack and stick with that plan.
        I have a very dear girlfriend who came to visit from North Carolina. We acted like teenage girls, telling stories all into the night. And then when I would normally pass out she said "let's get something to eat". I mean literally get out of the bed and fix something like bagels and cream cheese and then go back to bed. I did it, but I was astonished. It happened almost every night until she went back home. Once she was gone, I never did it again. But then I went to visit her in NC and we did it almost every night. Sometimes heating up full plates of leftovers. One night we even cooked hot food. When I went home, I did not continue the night time eating. My friend was overweight. Sh hated the fact that she was overweight. She did all kinds of diets. When we would talk about losing weight she would say " I don't eat big portions of food like you do. I can't eat that much at once. It makes my stomach hurt". We would be on the phone talking about life's problems and suddenly, I could not understand what she was saying. It was because her mouth was full. Or suddenly I would hear the sound of chip wrappers opening. I would say " girl, what are you eating?" "Oh some chips. Oh a chicken wing. Oh some cereal. Oh some shrimp.Oh just some salad. Oh I don't know why I'm eating these cookies. " It would go on and on.  one day I told her that she should stop eating late at night. But she would say "I don't eat much". I told her that most people don't go back into the kitchen after ten and eleven o'clock at night and have mini meals. I told her that I had a feeling that since her portion sizes were small, that her overeating was coming from eating late at night. But she would not listen. Recently she lost a lot of weight. I was happy for her because I know how unhappy she was from her weight. Do you  know what she said? "I stopped eating late at night".
       This week was not a good one for me. I gained 4.6lbs. It was not just the pretzels. I had a cold and I did not do my weekend warrior workouts. I did not eat salads for lunch. I grabbed leftover spaghetti. I ate my feelings of illness and sadness. I MEDICATED myself with food and medication and  the scale told the truth. So after last night's WW meeting, I fixed my salad for lunch. I am  going to try to get back on track although the cough drops- sugar free or not- are not my friend, This week I am going to;
1) track in my journal
2) keep doing my morning two miles
3)Tomorrow evening in our monthly  5K planned by the wonderful Tamra.
4)I am off Friday morning, so I planning an extra workout
5) Saturday is my niece's wedding. OOOOH. ELECTRIC SLIDE!!
6)Try to get back to bike riding as often as possible
        Hopefully I will get rid of the pounds that I gained and get back on track.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

   We often hear my title on sports programs describing how when one sports team wins the game the other team has to lose. It works the same in the Weight Watchers program. Every single meeting, someone wins and someone loses.As a matter of fact, most of the time someone loses because that is the aim in WW. At the meeting last Tuesday my friend  made it to her goal weight. For her this was no easy feat. She struggled for years with learning about her body, finding out what works and what does not work, changing her lifestyle for the purpose of controling her battle with weight. The fact that she hit this goal hit her with an overwhelming punch. She is a weight that she had not been since childhood. She made it to the finish line and she is still standing. That's a testimony to everyone out there trying to make this thing work.
    And now for the defeat. I gained 1.8lbs this week at my weight in on Tuesday. Now that is not a lot of weight to gain. After two weeks in a row of big losses of 3+lbs, I knew that there was a chance I would gain. Sometimes that is just the way it is. Just like my friend, I am still learning about my body. So even though I was defeated by the scale, look what I did accomplish the week leading up to Tuesday;
-Monday through Friday I still walked the two miles to work in the morning.
-Monday, Wednesday ,Thursday & Friday, I rode my bike for four miles after work.
-Saturday and Sunnday I did my walk/jog combination and surprised myself by jogging almost 3 miles straight.
      That is a lot for someone like me who would not even think about the importance of exercise. There was a time when I thought I did not have the time to exercise. Now, I find ways to squeeze it in when I can.So maybe I got spanked by the scale this week but I am going to keep on trying no matter how long it takes to get to my finish line to feel the thrill of victory.
         This weeks meeting topic was snacks. I would like to say that I am a champion of snacks. Let us take a look at the definition of snack a small portion of food or drink, or a light meal, especially one eaten between meals. I almost could not type that with a straight face. A snack to to me was more than a meal.I could eat a large bag of chips, a quart of ice cream, bags of candy and the motherlode, a whole package of cookies.  I found out the hard way that those were not snacks. For me, they were drugs. A way of soothing myself from being angry, sad or just plain bored. Now I do try to approach snacks with a different attitude. For starters, I try to keep an extra piece of fruit in my desk drawer at work just in case I need a little snack. Fruit is your friend because ;
1) it has a sweetness that you are craving
2) it takes a litlle longer to eat...chew chew chew, that's what we like to do
3)it provides the fiber you need in your system
4) it provides natural vitamins and minerals that your body uses
   The fruit is not my only snack. I still crave candy and chips from time to time. As much as I desire the usual suspects, I use some WW products . This does not mean that you cannot read the label on your regular snacks and counts out the precise serving size. Just keep in mind that THERE IS A SERVING SIZE. I use to think that the serving size was I eat until I am done. It did not work very well for me.Once and a while I will have a brownie that I baked for the boys or  a cupcake. I even succumbed to a blueberry pie craving . But I make sure to write it down.