Knowledge is Power

books wheat belly  chris powell

Ask my husband.  He will tell you how many “diet” books I have on my I-Pad and Kindle.  I am reading a “diet” book ALL THE TIME.  I wake up and head down stairs to my favorite spot on the couch with a cup of coffee and read.  I go to bed reading my latest “diet” book download.   I am a true believer that knowledge is power.

I am amazed as to how many good books are out there about weight loss and healthy living.  And it is so easy with my I-Pad and Kindle to browse the “store”, download a sample and if I like the book – purchase it.  It is so much easier to download a book than go to the library (which I never do) or go to the book store to find out that the book I wanted is either not in stock or sold out.

I love my “diet” books.  I refer to them all the time.  Every book has a slightly different outlook on “dieting”.  A lot of the books all say the same thing – but just in a slightly different way.  It can get confusing.  Should I carb cycle with Chris Powell or eat nothing but lean meats and vegetables like the cave men with “The Paleo Coach”?  “150 Pound Gone Forever” is a delightful book of a women’s weight loss journey based on Fat Percentage.  She lost her weight by measuring her fat intake which was no more than 30% of her total calories.  Then there is “The Calorie Myth” that swears fat is good for you and quit counting calories.  It is grains that are bad for you.  “Wheat Belly”  also states that grains will make you sick and give you a fat stomach.  Stop – let me get off the spinning wheel.  Who am I to believe?  Which plan am I to follow?

With every book I read, I learn something new.  Yes it can and does get confusing.  But I get bored very easily.  So it is actually pleasurable for me to see what theories are out there for weight loss.  I do try new things.  I am really tired of not eating fat.  And limiting my fat intake to 2 teaspoons of olive oil a day with Weight Watchers is getting quite boring.  I hate fat free cheese.  It tastes like cardboard.  So when I read Jonathan Bailor’s book “The Calorie Myth”, I was elated to learn that fats are good for you.  And fats are not the culprit for making us fat.  But you just have to learn what are good fats and what are bad fats.

My weight loss is a lifetime journey.  I will be doing this for the rest of my life.  I don’t think I will ever be someone who just never thinks about her weight or never thinks about what she eats.  I think about my weight and what goes in my mouth ALL DAY LONG.   And if I am going to keep the 64 pounds off that has taken me years to lose, I have to be in control of my mind and my behaviors.  And the knowledge that I have learned from my beloved books will always help me do this.

 

 

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Sustainability

I just looked up the word sustain in the dictionary and the meaning is “to keep up or keep going, as an action or process”.  My big question of the day is what weight loss program can one sustain for the rest of one’s life?   I have come to the conclusion several months ago that my weight loss journey is not to reach just a number on a scale.   I have lost and gained enough weight during my lifetime trying to reach that number on the scale.  My weight loss goal now is to reach my goal weight (7 more pounds) and be able to sustain my weight loss and maintain my loss for the rest of my life.

I have just completed 2 1/2 weeks on the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge.  I will say I have done some good things.  I now look at all nutrition labels.  I have done so in the past but was more concerned about the calorie count and Weight Watcher points than the additives in the product.  But now I am concerned about the additives in the product.  They say if you can’t pronounce what’s in a product  than don’t eat it.  I have eaten mostly clean for these 2 1/2 weeks.  I drink at least 64 ounces of water with a touch of lemon per day.    My diet these past weeks has been lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, olive oil and nuts.  I have limited my use of Stevia. I have limited my drinking of Diet Sodas.  I drink my lemon water instead of Diet Light Lemonade (my absolute favorite drink).  The good thing is that  I am full most of the time.   But the bad thing is that I have just not been satisfied.

If a person is not satisfied with the food on a weight loss program, how can one sustain that way of eating for life?  I know I can’t.  I am throwing in the towel with the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge.  Does that make me weak?  Does that make me a quitter?  Absolutely not!  They say on the program “anyone can do anything for 30 days”.  Not so.  I need to know that I can sustain a lifestyle if I am going to do something for the rest of my life.   I need to go back to my Weight Watcher way of life.  I know I can sustain that way of eating for the rest of my life.  I realized early on, the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge would not be sustainable.  To me, it is a 30 day program that when you reach day 30, you go back to your old way of eating.   And that to me is yo-yo dieting.

While on the Whole 30, I found that I a craved foods that I had never craved before.  I guess it was because so many foods are forbidden.   No dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, white potatoes, and definitely no alcohol.  On Weight Watchers, I very rarely ever have a craving because you can eat anything.  When a food is forbidden doesn’t it make you want it even more?    I very rarely crave sweets.  But every afternoon on the Whole 30, I was craving sweets.   Whole 30 says not to eat any sugar or sugar substitutes.  So what was I suppose to do with my cravings?  Go out for a walk?  Drink more water?  Eat another piece of fruit (which on the Whole 30 is limited)?  On Weight Watchers when I am craving a sweet I grab a sugarless piece of gum or a fruit smoothie (both no-no’s on Whole 30).   And that would sustain me for the rest of the afternoon.

When I got home, when on Weight Watchers, instead of grabbing a glass of wine (trying to limit the sugar in my diet), I would grab a Diet Tonic Water.  I would fill a glass full of ice, pour my Diet Tonic Water, and add a slice of lime.  It is so delicious.  I soon forgot that I wanted a glass of wine.  On Whole 30,  Diet Sodas are a definite no, no.  They do encourage you to drink lots of water.  But after drinking a gallon of water with lemon all day long, water just was not going to satisfy me.  The other evening while preparing dinner, I found myself pacing the kitchen .  I was drinking my lemon water and it was not getting rid of my craving for a glass of wine or a sweet drink.  I soon caved and grabbed a glass of Diet Tonic Water with ice and lime. It tasted delicious.   And I felt horribly guilty!

So what can I do to sustain a healthy eating plan for the rest of my life?  Weight Watchers.  This program has been a slow but steady weight loss program for me.  I have lost weight very slowly but steadily.  Yes, I do get frustrated with the slow weight loss but I know that I can sustain this way of life for the rest of my life.  I have tried so many weight loss programs in my lifetime and have failed so many times.  And it was because those programs were great to lose weight but they were not sustainable.

I am very thankful for the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge.  It taught me a lot.  Clean eating is the biggest thing I will continue.  Chemically induced products will definitely be limited in my diet.  Added sugars in my “diet” will be limited.  But the biggest thing Whole 30 has taught me is that Weight Watchers is the program for me.  I know I can keep it up and keep it going.  That is sustainability.

Cheating vs. Choosing

I hate the word cheating.  I am not fond of people who cheat.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I have done my fair share of cheating in my life.  In grade school during a test (I was not the brightest student), I would continually look at my neighbors paper to see what answers they put down on their paper.  Certainly their answers were better than mine.  And then my neighbor would catch on to me, straining my neck to catch an answer from their paper and they would then put their arm over their work so I could not see.  Bummer.  I did the same thing in high school – copied homework, and stole answers from my neighbors paper.  I am sure I plagiarized on occasion.  That is cheating.

In college,  I had an art history class that was in a very dark auditorium.  I loved that class.  I still remember and can name the artists of the Impressionist Era.  But it was so easy to cheat on tests.  It was so dark in the room and I could go in with my cheat sheets and easily ace a test.  And I did get an A in that class.  My biggest cheat in college was going into a World History final with several small pieces of paper shoved up my sleeve with a ton of information.  I passed that test with flying colors.  Yes that was definitely cheating.

People cheat on their taxes, people cheat on their spouses.  People cheat when playing games.  Cheating, cheating, cheating .  Cheating not only hurts yourself (I am sure I could have done better in school if I tried harder and studied more) but most of all it hurts other people.  A spouse cheating on his wife is devastating to all involved.  A person cheating on his taxes hurts the rest of society.  But me eating a piece of chocolate is not cheating.  Am I really hurting myself?  Am I hurting someone else?  No.  Absolutely not.  So my question is, why on a weight loss program when one slips does one say “I cheated”.  Or on many weight loss programs they say “You can have a cheat meal”.  The word cheating to me is a bad word.  In the dictionary the word cheat Is defined “as a fraud, a deceiver, to take an examination or test in a dishonest way, as by improper access to answers” (that was me).  So how and why do some weight loss programs say you can cheat on occasion.  The word cheat in a weight loss world makes no sense to me.

Now the word choosing is a much better word.  If I want a piece of chocolate I will choose to eat one.  If I want a glass of wine or two I will choose to do so.  If I want to eat more than my 26 points on Weight Watchers I will choose to do so.  I am choosing, not cheating.   But there are still consequences to my behavior.  I may not lose the weight or I might even gain.  But that is ok.  Because I have made a conscious decision to do so.  I am still in control of my situation.

Now on other weight loss programs they say you can have a cheat meal.  Oh my gosh – let me at it.  I can do some damage on a cheat meal.   Just the word cheat in my mind opens up the flood gates.  Remember I was a great cheater in school.  So cheating on a meal would mean I would eat things that I have totally taken out of my diet.  Chips, fried foods, ice cream, cookies, white bread, cereal, candy, and the list goes on.  We are talking major damage here.

So for 30 days I decided to shake things up and do the Paleo Whole 30 program.  I am trying desperately to get all of the additives out of my diet.  No more sweeteners.  No more diet sodas, eating whole foods – meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats.  But giving up my non-fat greek yogurt is a challenge.  So I had greek yogurt as one of my meals with fruit this week.  I was told with the Paleo Whole 30 I could count that as a cheat meal.  Are you serious????  Greek yogurt as a cheat meal??  That does not make any sense to me when others are “cheating” on pizza, ice cream, cake and wine and calling it their “cheat meal”.

I chose to have Greek yogurt.  This is not cheating.  Greek yogurt may not be part of the Whole 30 program but it is definitely not cheating.   Me eating this food did not hurt anyone and it definitely did not hurt me.  I just chose to not follow the Whole 30 for one meal.

The word cheating is an inflammatory word.  Guilt goes along with the word cheat.  Yes I did feel some remorse for cheating on those tests.  I would hope a spouse has some guilt when cheating on his partner.  When I call someone a cheater I am hoping they will feel bad and change their behavior.  If I cheat on my “diet” my mind says “cheat with gusto”.  And then once I cheated I feel bad.   But eating greek yogurt does not make me feel guilty.

So I am not going to cheat.  I don’t have to cheat to succeed in life.  On my weight loss journey, I am choosing.  I am choosing what goes in my mouth.  Yes there will be days that I may not make the best choices.  But I am choosing to do so.  I am doing it with a full conscious knowing what and if any consequences will follow.  My cheating days are over.

Clean Eating

So Maria called me before the first of the year and proposed another challenge for me.  “Let’s do the 30 day Paleo challenge.”  Great – another challenge by my beloved daughter.  Do I really want to do this?  I have been very successful with Weight Watchers.  But then I thought it would be a great idea to start the new year off with a new challenge.  I am always up for a challenge and was interested in  what was involved.  Here is the link to the Whole 30 program. I read the program and saw what was good to eat and what I had to avoid.  And I new I could implement this with Weight Watchers new Simple Start.

Mostly the Whole 30  is eating lean meats, fish, vegetables, nuts and fruits and healthy fats.  Here is the kicker.  NO WINE!  Ok, I can give up wine for 30 days.  I have given up my wine before and it actually has been hindering my weight loss. So no problem.   Also on the Whole 30 there are no grains, legumes, dairy or additives.  No sugar substitutes.  So that means not only do I have to give up my wine, I can’t have sugar free gum, sugar free popsicles, diet tonic water and my Greek Yogurt (which I absolutely love).  I am ok giving up legumes and grains.    They have not been a big part in my diet anyhow.  But I will admit giving up my Greek yogurt, sugarless gum and sugar free popsicles and diet tonic water will be a challenge.

Before I go any further I want to clarify my few diet products that I enjoy.  I chew maybe one piece of sugar free gum a day.  I usually will pop a piece in my mouth early in the afternoon when I get a sweet craving.  My sugar free popsicle is a treat for after dinner.  And my one glass of diet tonic water was only drunk before dinner to replace a glass of wine.  Greek yogurt was my go to breakfast with strawberries.  Oh and I usually would sweeten it with one packet of Stevia Raw (which is also a no no).

My go to drink is now water, water and more water.  I fill a gallon jug of water, cut up limes and lemons and put them in the jug.  I love it.  It tastes fresh and is very refreshing.  Did you know that you are suppose to drink 1/2 your body weight in water?  That is in ounces not pounds.  So If I weigh 154 pounds, I have to drink around 77 ounces of water a day.  That is a lot of water.  But I have been easily drinking that amount daily and enjoying it.

Now I am not a perfect human being and I did choose to have a few items on the no no list.  I did have my Greek yogurt three times in ten days.  There are just so many eggs I can eat for breakfast.  I also don’t like meat or fish every morning for breakfast.  So that is a challenge.  We went to the movies yesterday and I didn’t even think about having popcorn.  Which is an absolute no no.  But I really was craving a diet coke which I very rarely drink.   After a few sips, I was noticing a horrible after taste.  I never have an after taste with my lemon water.  So I don’t think I will be having any more diet soda.    I finished my last sugar free popsicle last night and I will not buy any more.  I won’t even talk about me loving light lemonade.  I have totally given that up.  Now my sugarless gum might just have to stay in my program.

I think more than anything on this challenge is to not add any additives to your food. So here is what I am trying to do.  In my smoothies, (a great treat mid morning snack with one cup of almond milk and a cup of blueberries) instead of my Stevia Raw  I could add 1/2 of a very ripe banana.   How sweet it is.  I could also cook down some very sweet apples and add that and that would be a very natural sweetener.

I am now 10 days into this challenge and here is what I have learned.  Paleo Whole 30  is very easy to stick to.  It is a very healthy way of eating.  I am never hungry.  I LOVE NOT BEING HUNGRY!  I have not weighed or measured or tracked any food for 10 days and I am loving it.  And this definitely goes along with Weight Watcher Simple Start program.  I feel absolutely FREE.  I just eat my lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and my olive oil.  It is so simple.  I don’t think about food 24-7.  I do take time to make sure my refrigerator and freezer are well stocked with great wholesome foods.  I have enjoyed eating new foods.  My absolute favorite is Butternut Squash chips.  Which is a great snack when I come home from work.

I am enjoying my Clean Eating.  I feel great.  I am sleeping better.  I feel like I have a bit more energy.  The best thing is that Whole 30 is VERY EASY.  Weight Watchers Simple Start is also very easy. In my world of chaos and confusion, very easy is my favorite place to be.

I am a Horrible Dieter

Dieting.  I hate it.  I am really bad at it.  When I hear the word diet, I think immediately restraint-limiting-confined-restricting-no fun-and the list goes on.  In my pre Weight Watcher days I would always start my diet on Monday.  Now that was after a lot of reading over the weekend of what diet I was going to attempt.  I have a full library of diet books.  If you need one – don’t bother going to the library.  Just come over to my house and borrow one.  I am sure my collection is much better than the libraries.  And my Kindle is chalk full of dieting and weight loss books.  Do you know how many books are out there on weight loss?  And I think I have them all.

But back to my point.  The word diet to me means staying on a limited way of eating and taking out food groups.  So pre-Weight Watcher’s – on Monday, I would start with (I will pick Paleo just to start out with) great intentions.  I had my meats (very lean), vegetables and berries all lined up.  No dairy, no legumes, no bread, no nothing.  And I did great.  Until Wednesday when I started to dream of all the foods I could not eat or drink (let me have  a glass of wine!)  And then the downward spiral started.  A little bread – a little pasta – cheese – maybe a taste of ice cream.  Cheez-Its.  My favorite food.  You can’t have those on Paleo.  But you can have almonds.  I love almonds.  But I do prefer the salted smokehouse ones to the plain no taste natural one.  And I give up on my diet and I will start again on Monday.

I do more reading over the weekend and try another approach.  Let’s try South Beach. Lean meats, vegetables, limited fruits (no fruits for the first week) and no carbs.  Again, I do great until Wednesday when I start to think about all the foods I can not eat.  And I start eating foods I never eat. Chips – I love chips.  Why would I eat chips?  They are not on this diet plan or any other diet.   I just blew it again.  I will start again on Monday.

My point being, that when whole food groups are taken out of a weight loss plan I freak out.  When I bemoan the fact that I had a small weight loss at my weekly weigh in to my daughter, she yells at me (not really yelling – just talking sternly) “Mom – have you been eating bread???”  Yes for crying out load.  I had a Subway Club sandwich – which has 320 calories and 8 points.  I figured it into my points.  Give me a break!  Can I never eat bread again?

But here is what I have done.  I eat all food groups.  Weight Watchers has taught me to limit certain foods – like bread – by giving it a high point value.  So I do limit my intake of bread.  Fruit has no points.  But I have found that if I eat all the fruit I want in one day, I will not lose weight.  And even though wine is made from grapes, my favorite sweet nectar does not count as fruit.  I eat lean meats, lots of vegetables, fruit, dairy – non-fat Greek yogurt is my favorite, cheese on a limited basis, olive oil, and some breads.  My snacks include pistachios and almonds (the plain ones),   I love popcorn but limit that to once or twice a week.  I do not feel deprived.  Because on Weight Watchers, I can eat anything I want.  I just have to count the points.  I get to eat 26 points per day.  And if I need to, I can tap into the 49 point weekly extra allowance.

I have come to the conclusion that I can not stay on a strict, food restricting diet.  Some people do very well on those.  And I commend them.  Yes, I do get frustrated with my slow weight loss, but I am consistently losing.  I wish I had the self control to stay on a quick weight loss diet.  But I do not.  This horrible dieter will finally meet her goal weight.  I just have to remember, slow and steady wins the race.

WEEKLY ROUNDUP:  Weight loss – 0.2 lbs

Tuesday – 25 points  • Exercise – ran 3 miles

Wednesday – 26 points • Exercise – ran 3 miles

Thursday – 38 points • Exercise – walk/ran 3 miles – Halloween – no candy but I did have chips and of course – wine.

Friday – 25 points • Exercise – Day of rest

Saturday – 26 points • Exercise – ran 3 miles

Sunday – 29 points • Exercise – ran 4 miles – Hiked for 45 minutes