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.

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.

Not Derailed

I love my Weight Watcher meetings. I love my leader Bonnie. She inspires me. She helps me be accountable for my actions. Her meetings are always informative. Especially the meeting before Thanksgiving. She shared with us all the ways we could stay on our Weight Watcher program and not derail all of our hard work.

But during the meeting, my mind started to wander. I was thinking about how I was going to prepare my turkey and stuffing. I love stuffing. But this year I would make it without butter. That would be more Weight Watcher friendly. I was going to fix that delicious green bean casserole with those crunchy french fried onions. I did not have to eat them – did I? Gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussell sprouts. I figured I could save some points and make the cranberry sauce with Stevia and not sugar. I would bake 2 kinds of pies – pumpkin pie with real whipped cream and fresh home made apple pie, complete with ice cream.

The pre dinner snacks would be provided by my kids. And I figured we would forgo the rolls. Rolls would be too many carbs with the stuffing and potatoes. I was really going to enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner.

Back to the meeting. I left so pumped and believing that Thanksgiving would be a Weight Watcher day. But it did not totally turn out that way.

After all Thanksgiving is only one day. How can one meal derail your whole Weight Watcher program? I did gain 1.4 pounds this week but I did do some things right. And my weight gain was not totally because of one day or one meal. I had out of town guests and ate some things I normally don’t eat and I did consumed a lot of wine.

Even though I gained this week, I made a lot of healthy choices at my Thanksgiving meal. I made 4 pies (2 pumpkin and 2 apple). I had one slice of the apple pie and sent the uneaten pies home with the kids. I will admit I was very sad to see the pies leave my house. But I new it was the best thing to do. I had a lot of stuffing left over that went right down the garbage disposal. I threw out the leftover gravy. And I made a turkey vegetable soup with the leftover turkey. I will admit, I enjoyed the green bean casserole. I did have a small serving. I will not see that dish again until next Thanksgiving. I figured Thanksgiving is only one meal. It should be enjoyed – for that one meal.

I had a huge week of exercise. I ran 6 miles on two days, 4 miles on one day and 3 miles on one day. I walked 3 miles the other day and took one day of rest.

So my Weight Watcher plan was not derailed. I made choices this week. Most of them were good choices. And yes, tomorrow is another day.