A Year of Maintenance

This has been quite a year. I have maintained a 50 pound weight loss within 5 pounds. And a 70 pound weight loss since my very highest. Exactly one year ago, I weighed 149.6.  That lasted for a nano second and I think it was a fluke.   I decided that I wanted to maintain that weight for one year and see how I would feel. It is one year later and I am up 5 pounds.  Maintenance is a bitch.

In my past years I would have been devastated by a 5 pound “gain”. I would have thrown in the towel. I would have gone back to my old ways of eating. I would have said “this is just not working for me” and dove into a pizza – and it would be an Imo’s Supreme.  I would have avoided being around people in fear that they would look at me and say “she’s putting her weight back on.” “I knew she couldn’t do it”. “Once a fatty, always a fatty”.  “Fatty, fatty, two by four.” And the list of sayings goes on.

But today, I have a new outlook on “maintenance”. I have allowed myself to have a window of 5 pounds to play with. It gives me a sense of freedom without a fear of gaining everything back. I will admit when I hit my goal weight, I was scared. My main thought was how can I maintain this weight? How can I go through life without eating some of my favorite foods? Do I have to give up bread forever? What about popcorn – I love popcorn. Wine – oh – wine. How can I give you up? Ice cream – Ted Drews – Abbaca Mocha concrete will I ever see you again? Pasta, cookies, sweets, baked potatoes loaded with butter and the list goes on.

So one year ago, I made the decision that I wanted to stay “thin” forever. Ok not thin – just normal and slightly on the higher BMI side. According to the weight chart, I am still above normal. Maybe even fat.  I decided that if I lost more weight that would be great but maintaining was more important to me. So to stay “thin” I needed to make a decision what foods would keep me the healthiest and would serve my body the best.  But first, I needed to decide what foods were non-negotiable.

Here are my non-negotiable items. I love popcorn. But I have found that I cannot eat popcorn everyday. When I eat popcorn I can not eat just two cups for 110 calories. That is like eating two handfuls. I love to eat a bowl of popcorn. And a large bowl.  That makes eating popcorn worthwhile. So I eat popcorn on an average of once a month.    And my beloved wine.  This is definitely non-negotiable. I love my wine and I enjoy coming home from work and sitting down before dinner and having one or two glasses of this delectable nectar.  I have become an amateur wine maker which makes drinking wine even more pleasurable.

Pasta has been replaced by spaghetti squash.  Pizza crust has been replaced with cauliflower crust – delicious!.  Wheat is pretty much a thing of the past.  Sugar is a definite no, no.  Snacks have been replaced with Sugar Snap Peas, which I could eat all day long.   My go to snack every day is plain Greek Yogurt sprinkled with a bit of Crystal Light.  And sometimes I will add some berries.  And I do end most days with a 30 calorie no sugar popsicle.  It is such a treat.

Let’s talk bread.  I don’t eat bread.  I decided that this was very easy to give up.  However, on occasions I will indulge in a 6″ Subway Club.  That sandwich is delicious but I choose not to eat it all the time.  But here is the dilemma.  My son has become a bread maker and his pics on Instagram and Facebook have been making my mouth water.  He has perfected his breads to the point he could sell them commercially.  And shouldn’t I support him in his new endeavor?  So I have decided that one day soon I will have a slice of his bread.  I may even put butter on it.  And this is ok.  Because I will only have it on special occasions.  Thank God he lives an hour away.

My outlook one year into maintenance is not what I had to give up to stabilize my weight.  It is more about what foods will empower my body. It is more about making a choice to eat foods that make me healthy.  I am off of my cholesterol and high blood pressure medicine.   I feel great.  I look a whole lot better.  I like fitting into smaller off the rack clothes.  Yes I have “gained” five pounds, thank you very much to my beloved scale.  But that is ok because I know those five pounds will eventually leave me.  I am confident that I will be “thin” (ok not thin – just smaller), for the rest of my life.

Maintenance is really not a bitch.  It is just a life long journey.

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.

 

 

I’ve Reached My Goal Weight

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Weight – 149 pounds

So what is a goal weight?  For me it was the highest weight I could get by with so I could quit paying for meetings at Weight Watchers.  Weight Watchers set my goal at 141.  At the rate I was going with my slow weight loss, I knew that I would be paying for meetings for at least another year.  So with a doctor’s note I set my own goal weight.  I chose 150 pounds.  I thought that a loss of 50 pounds sounded better than 48 or 49.  I like round numbers.

I can now go to my Weight Watcher meetings for free.  It is a very liberating feeling.  However, you need to be within 2 pounds of your goal weight to go for free.  Ok.  That keeps one accountable.  But then I got to thinking about – what if I have a bad week and I gain weight ?  Then I will need to pay again.  And with E-Tools (Weight Watchers on-line tools) you have to pay over $40 per month.  I really wanted to keep my E-Tools so I got another doctor’s note for 155 pounds – just in case.  I have not needed to use that note.  And I hope I will not have to.

Now you might be thinking I am a cheap skate.  Maybe.  But $40 plus dollars a month every month does add up.  I am at a point in my weight loss journey that Weight Watchers is no longer doing it for me.  I am looking for better and healthier ways of eating.  Blasphemy!  Yes I said it.  I am not 100% sold any more on Weight Watchers.  The program was great for me.  It taught me how to eat again.  I learned nutrition.  I learned portion control.  And I had a great support group.

I will continue to go to the meetings.  I really like my group leader Bonnie.  She is a great speaker.  And there are so many great topics that are talked about.  I still have bad behaviors that I know I will have to be in control of for the rest of my life.  Like diving head first into an appetizer and dessert tray.  I have only done that a few times but that is one behavior that needs to be kept in check.   I do like the support of the group.  It is comforting to know that I am not the only person with uncontrollable behaviors.  And I do learn from everyone there.

What I have quit doing is counting calories and counting points.  Those tasks did keep my accountable during my journey.  But for now it is not serving any purpose.  I no longer journal what I am eating.  I am very aware of the good foods and the bad foods I am eating.  For right now I am concentrating on eating lean meats, fish, a ton of vegetables (I have fallen in love with spinach and kale), limited fruits and healthy fats.  I have taken sugar and grains totally out of my diet.  I eat as much as I want and do eat when I am hungry.  I decided I am not a 3 meal a day person.  I am more of a 5 times a day kind of gal.

I am loving my new look.  And I feel great.  But this is definitely not the end of my journey.  Maintaining one’s weight is extremely difficult.  I have seen so many people reach their goal to only gain all their weight back.  I am determined that I will not be one of those statistics.

So my journey has not ended.  It is just the beginning.  I am just not continuing my journey as an obese person but a normal person.  Being at my goal weight is a great feeling.  But my life long journey will continue.

 

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.

All or Nothing

I am an all or nothing kind of gal.  I tend to not to do things half way.  I do it all or I don’t do it.  A good example is in my cooking.  In my past posts you all know by now that I am not the best cook.  But when I do cook, I cook a lot.  Christmas Eve dinner was a success with my family’s Italian Dish, Rovalini.  But why did I have to make enough to feed an army?  And a hungry army at that.  And now I have several Rovalini meals frozen in the freezer.

When the grandkids came over to bake cookies.  Why could I not be happy with just baking one batch of cookies.  I had to bake dozens and dozens of cookies.  The grandkids left me in the dust to finish baking by myself.  I should have taken their cue and stopped when they got bored.  But I was on a mission.  I was intent on making A LOT of cookies.  I never asked the question, what am I going to do with all the cookies?  I gave away a lot.  I ate a few.  And the rest of the cookies made it to the freezer.  Have you ever tasted a frozen cookie?  They are absolutely delicious.  So they will find their new place – in the trash.

All or nothing.  I am never satisfied.   More is better.  When I buy clothes I always buy two of the same thing – in different colors.  When I go for a walk – why only go for one mile when three miles is better.  Why buy the smallest Christmas tree on the lot when a bigger and taller one is better.  And the list goes on.

So I have been thinking about my all or nothing attitude and I have started to feel bad.  Because what it is doing is making me feel guilty when I can not complete something.  Like working out.  I always thought an hour workout was the best.  And two hours would even be better.  But two hours out of my day working out is an impossibility.  I can do one hour.  And I definitely can fit 1/2 hour in.

So I leave a thought for anyone that is starting a weight loss journey for the new year.  Baby Steps.  If you feel you can not walk 3 miles I bet you could walk for one block.  And then tomorrow you might be able to walk two blocks.  If you are a soda drinker, what if you replaced one of those sodas with water.  Just once.  And tomorrow you might be able to give up two of your sodas for water.  What if just for today you had grilled chicken instead of fried chicken? Baked or sauteed fish instead of fried fish.  What if you replaced your full fat salad dressing with a light dressing?  Or olive oil and vinegar.  Just for today.  

A weight loss journey does not have to be all or nothing.  It is a way of life.  I know I will not lose these last 18 pounds overnight.  But I can and will be diligent with my journey.  I will continue my weight loss journey into 2014 with baby steps.  And just for today I am giving up my all or nothing attitude.