Friday, September 25, 2015

Weigh In and I Got My Cheese Back

Weight first:

Currently at 176.6, which is six pounds down from my August 21st weight of 182.6 and one pound down of my last weigh in, two weeks ago. Not sure of body or muscle fat.

Last week I intended to continue on my no carb/sugar/legumes/dairy plan for the rest of the month. But the idea of that was so, I don’t know, icky, that I realized just how much I wanted to stop doing it. I missed beans on my salad, and milk in my coffee, and nothing in the world will convince me that those things are bad for weight loss. What also happened is that I thought of a better plan for me, one that felt more fitting. Also, how can a blog with this title not have dairy?

My highest weight was 200 pounds, during the first half of college. I’ve written a little about how my parents sat me down, told me they were terrified for my health and that I needed to lose weight. That was a wake-up call that still gets to me, and I think it’s part of why I never got back to 200 pounds again. (Though, full disclosure, I got to 190.)

Back at sophomore year, I lost those first twenty pounds quite easily. I took the number of calories I wanted to eat - in that case, 1200-1400 - and split them into 200-250 calorie mini meals. Six or seven snack/meals a day, and I lost twenty pounds that semester without feeling hungry or deprived. I aimed to have at least five of those “meals” be healthier and nutrient rich food, and then one or two could be whatever I wanted.

A day might have consisted of a Larabar, a slice of toast with 1 tbsp peanut butter, a cup of homemade black bean soup, a turkey burger patty on a salad, a whole milk latte, and a Milky Way. I didn’t eat enough vegetables back then, but overall I felt great. I’m pretty sure I ate a candy bar every day that semester, and that was a big reason I stuck to it. No need to go off plan to eat something sweet, it was already part of the plan.

I liked how it broke down the 70 pounds I needed to lose into this little 200-250 calorie slots. It really worked for me. Sometimes I’d end up eating 7 or 8 or these mini-meals, but in that context it didn’t seem like a disaster.

So I’m trying that again now. Sunday was my first day, and so far it’s going pretty well! I’ve been keeping track of everything on the Notes app on my phone, though trying to think of a better system. Six or seven meals a day, ideally maximum only one of junk food, and lots of veggies.

This is definitely working better for me than the previous diet, but I think I still needed it for those 2-3 weeks to get out of the “eat everything and then feel like shit” pattern I had been on.

So, this is it, right? I’ll just lose a perfect pound per week until I hit my goal weight, then I’ll be featured in a few magazines for my new hotness, and life will be perfect? No? Dammit.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Most Perfect Diet That Ever Was

Whoa, that’s some pretty bleak stuff down below. Thankfully, I’ve been feeling better. Not “I’m so gonna nail this thing” awesome, but not hopeless like I was. Last night there was a happy hour to send off a departing colleague in style. After a bit of internal debate, I decided not to go. I’m not that close to this person so don’t think she’d care (or possibly notice) if I didn’t show, and I was feeling like the absolute last thing I needed was to be surrounded by tons of drinking and free, fried deliciousness. I definitely don’t want to avoid living and being social for fear of overeating, but last night it just didn’t seem worth it.

My “plan” right now is to keep with what I’ve been doing a little extra, another two weeks or so - the almost Whole30. For after that, I’m still not sure. I have really loved not counting calories, but now I’m wondering if not tracking is a sort of trigger for me. I have an idea of a semi-tracking, to allow myself unlimited veggies, lean meats, legumes, oil, and eggs, and then have limited dairy and starch that I can use how I want throughout the day. Limit sweets, and maybe up the workouts.

I do know that whatever plan I use or try - Weight Watchers, or low carb, or calorie counting - would work. Any reasonable eating plan works if you follow it, I know that. It’s not a matter of finding the “perfect” diet, but of just sticking to SOMETHING. So I need to find that something that will maybe make this a little more doable. Trying to find a plan that is the right combination of flexibility and guidelines that will maybe help me to repair my relationship with food a little.

I’m also trying really hard to get out of the “just let me lose ten pounds quickly even if not sustainably then I’ll do something more regular.” I really hate these ten pounds. They made such a difference in how I looked and felt when I lost them, even more than the first twenty did, so of course gaining them back made a big difference. But I can do this, I can take them off.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Perpetual Dieters

Who are these people, the Monica Gellers of real life, who have some kind of rock bottom, aha moment, or whatever we’re calling it these days, and then just go on a diet and live happily ever after? They realize that they weigh more than a baby whale, or more than an adult whale, or something, and then just - do it, somehow?

I don’t think these people exist. It seems like weight loss is more like 10,000 of those moments. If all it took were one of those moments, then nobody would ever gain any weight back. But based on the real numbers, it seems like, instead, there are millions and millions of people who spend their lives in a perpetual state of trying to lose weight without ever getting closer than 30 pounds to their goals. The thought of that scares me more, frankly, than just accepting my extra weight. To spend my life trying for something that’s totally doable, and actually pretty simple, and constantly failing.

The first and only GIF I've ever made.

In case it wasn’t completely obvious, I’m… not great. Not going off the rails like a month ago, but really just having zero confidence in myself. Confidence that I’ll lose this weight, that I can have a normal and healthy relationship with food, and the mindset that I deserve any of these things. I mean, I can’t even follow a simple eating plan for a month. One that I made up, no less.

We were at my parent’s for the weekend, and there’s just so much food, so many activities centered around food. The entire Jewish New Year holiday consists of prayers, eating, and napping. Since then, I’ve been kind of plodding along, neither here nor there. I ordered some “my eating plan”-friendly groceries that will arrive tomorrow night. It sucks. I wish I could just get out of my own head, or go to some little room where I receive nutrients via pills and lose twenty pounds in a month.

I am trying to be more positive, maybe whine less. Yup, the above WAS me whining less. Scary, I know.

I can try focusing on what I didn’t eat - the things that I would have, without a doubt, eaten if I wasn’t trying to be better. The whole “yes, this isn’t great, but it could/would have been so much worse.”

I’m going to start trying to jot down a couple of these every week. I want to remind myself - or anyone reading this - that even when I’m annoyed with my eating slip-ups, I should give myself credit for what I did accomplish. Because usually there is something. Sometimes it seems like a pretty small accomplishment, something that makes you think “Well this isn’t really something to be proud of, this is something that people do all the time without thinking about it.” But what’s hard is different for everybody, therefore there’s nothing wrong with giving credit when you do something that’s hard for you. When I was depressed, I felt like a boss when I woke up before noon on a Sunday. And now, when I sometimes feel like a failure, but then I walk past the candy bowl at work and don’t have any, I think “Wow, I’m fucking amazing. Seriously Leah, this is probably the greatest accomplishment in the history of America.”

John and I have been watching Parks & Rec. Yes, the show is over and we’re super late to the party. If you haven’t seen it (no spoilers here), one of the many great characters is Chris Traeger, played by the stunningly beautiful man-god Rob Lowe. He’s a super-de-dooper optimistic person, and manages to be the only person on Earth who misuses the word “literally” and isn’t irritating about it. When someone greets him, he’ll say, “Ah, Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope. You are, literally, my two favorite people in Pawnee.” Or, “That is literally the best idea I’ve ever heard.” 

Why isn’t it annoying? I think it’s because he really means it. Chris is so positive, optimistic, and full of life and joy that every new idea really is the best idea to him, every person, at that moment, is truly his favorite person, and when he says that his heart “literally” broke, he probably thinks that it did.

I know it’s just a TV character.. but still, what an amazing attitude to have. I don’t see why I can’t have the same approach to eating well. So when I bypass the cake at a farewell, and I tell myself, “Look at me, not having cake, how amazing am I?” that’s perfectly fine. I hope that turning down treats won’t always be a cause for my celebrating, and that it will come more naturally. But for now, I will give myself all the positive reinforcement I can get.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Results & The Things Everyone Can Agree About

  1. Water is good
  2. Vegetables are good
  3. Refined sugar is not great
  4. Oxygen is important

Those seem to be the only four things that the nutrition community can agree upon. And that’s with the third one being debatable and that fourth one being a joke. So really, there’s only two things we can agree on. Are eggs good? Does butter raise the good kind of cholesterol? Do we need carbs for energy? What minion of Satan marketing executive made up the terms ‘superfood’ and ‘foodie’? Whoever you are, you superfood-curating foodie, I hate you.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I found myself back at the lowest and worst junction of weight loss. This is where I’ve completely faced the consequences and results of my recent bout of not caring and subsequent weight gain, and want to do something about it, but haven’t yet started.

This is the worst part because before this, I was eating terribly and had gained weight, but didn’t care and/or was in denial, so it was okay in a way. Past this point, I might still feel like crap about the gain, but will have lost a couple of pounds and feel like I’ve really started to do something. But the in-between of these two things? When you’re on the bottom between the twin peaks of weight gain and accomplishment? They suck.

I tried to figure out where to start. I’ve been at this point, even written about it here. Last time, I decided that I needed a slap in the face, to cut out the food groups that I couldn’t control myself around, so that hopefully, eventually, I could come to a middle ground of sustainable weight loss and maintenance. I’ve written about going to the other extreme to find moderation. God, that’s depressing to think how I’ve been on this exact pathway.

In the end, I decided to try a modified kind of Whole30. Why Whole30, a “cleansing health food plan” that I genuinely think is mostly fear-mongering pseudo-science? I’m… not quite sure. It was something that cut out carbs and sweets, the areas where I have the most trouble. It’s really similar to Atkins, except Atkins is a diet and Whole30 is some kind of “reset” that most people end up losing weight on.

On Whole30, you can eat: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables (including potatoes), nuts, oils, and fruits
That means you’re supposed to cut out: Dairy, legumes (so peanuts too), grains, soy, sugar in any form except fruit, and alcohol. I might be missing some stuff for the 30-day plan, but that’s the gist of it.

I’m not following it perfectly - I’m still having a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, and haven’t cut out soy sauce. But other than that, it's been good. I'm eating a lot of meat and vegetables, mostly. The hardest part has been breakfast. I don't think I'll ever be able to face meat for breakfast, so it's either eggs in some form, or a banana with almond butter. I miss my yogurt.

How they see my sugar consumption, I assume.

This weekend wasn't great though. I had some sweets at a wedding and then some more crap at a BBQ we went to yesterday. I was angry at myself, trying to remember that guilt is useless, and focus on 1) how I’ve been doing pretty great otherwise and 2) It would have been 10x worse. So far it's mostly working.

I have just under two weeks left, and I’ve really been digging this whole not-tracking thing. I’ve know I’ve spouted tracking as my personal good path to weight loss, but at this point I like cutting out some foods more than tracking all of them.

Weight update:

Start2 WeeksChange
Lbs. Fat70.9682.9
Lbs. Muscle Unsure63.8

A cool five pounds in two weeks! I’m really pleased with that, which is a weird feeling since it’s overlaid with enormous annoyance that I’m back in the 170s. But moving on, and down.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

NBD, Just On a Classic Blogger Weight Gaincation

Hi. How does this usually work? Do I explain that I’ve been just so busy with my super duper busy life, gained between three and forty-three pounds, but now I’m back on day three of “The New You Diet”TM and totesOMG ready to do this again this time it will stick I’m so motivated?

The truth is, I’m not even sure what happened. I ate like it was going out of style through July and most of August. It wasn’t like freshman year of college, when I got to 200 pounds by eating unhealthy foods at mealtimes and just refusing to think how many calories I was consuming or how my clothes weren’t fitting. It was more like, “What have I eaten today that’s at least 90% empty calories? A cookie? That’s not enough, I need half a pizza!”

On June 25, the last time I posted here, I weighed just under 170 pounds. That was already a couple of pounds gained. In general, I was frustrated and struggling to eat well.

On July 20, I weighed 172.2. A couple of pounds up from June, but not too terrible. But on August 20th I weighed 182.6. I gained ten pounds in a month. The “in one month” scares me a lot more than the “ten pounds” part. It terrifies me. To have gained that much weight in a month, I would have had to eat an extra 1100 calories per day. That’s scary. And impressive in a horrible kind of way.

On the other hand, it was actually pretty easy. A piece of cake and a muffin together have about 1000 calories. So do two slices of pizza, or a proper burrito. A couple of calorie-bomb snacks or a couple extra slices turns an okay maintenance day into a ⅓ pound gain. It’s so, so easy to gain weight. Lesson for maintenance. 

 I keep thinking about the few people I know, or know of, who’ve lost weight and kept it off for at least a few years. There’s a girl I went to camp with, who lost something like 75 pounds when she was 22. She maintains her weight by only eating carbohydrates or sugar on her birthday, having a healthy living focused job about which she constantly updates on all available forms of social media, and by posting at least three weight/food related articles per week on facebook. I’m assuming that last part is required by her diet, but who knows. There’s my old college roommate, who averaged a pound or two lost per month… for all four years of school. He graduated two years ago, and still looks great. There’s my sister, who lost about 20-25 pounds a few years ago and has since been paranoid about gaining it back, watching her food intake with a diligence I thought was reserved for middle-aged Hollywood actresses trying to stay fuckable. (Please watch Amy Schumer’s amazing sketch on this.) 

And as much as I’m mocking some of them them, the truth is that I’m jealous. Jealous that they’ve gotten to a place that seems impossible for me. I’m also wondering if it’s possible to maintain weight loss without being crazy diligent or restrictive forever. Can I ever have a normal relationship with food? I know, technically, it’s not impossible. My body can go down in fat just like anybody elses. And it HAS. I have. Lately though, I’ve felt doomed to the same shitty pattern. It’s not good for my body, my heart, or my health. Maybe I’m finally starting to face what every weight loser, dietician, and lose-now-book-of-the-month laments: You need to fix your relationship with food, how you see it and how you relate to it, in order to make any real or lasting changes. I think - I hope - I can do that.

I feel like I should mention, in the end of a post whining about how eating less is hard, that my grandfather died on July 30. My father’s father, my genius, stubborn, witty, generous, insisting on buying peanuts for the squirrels, showing me the mint that grew by their house, WWII veteran Grandpa, who worked at his business until the age of 81 (ten years ago), and only stopped because he had a stroke. He and my grandmother were part of every Memorial Day, Labor Day, July Fourth, Thanksgiving, graduation, and Jewish holiday. My family is tiny - I don’t actually have any first cousins or aunts - and his death has left a shitty void where an awesome, sarcastic old man used to be.

I don’t know if this belongs here, and I draw the line at these paragraphs because, in the end, this is a weight loss blog and I prefer to mourn with the people who knew him. However, I miss him so tremendously and it feels wrong to not mention him when writing anything about the last couple of months.

I’m in a much better place than I was a few weeks ago, which is good. This time I’m turning it around at 180 pounds. Last year I had to get to 190 before I woke up. I’ll come back soon with what I’m doing to undo this damage, but for now I wanted to check in and say hi.