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.

Break Ups Are Hard

I have broken up with Weight Watchers.  I hate break ups. They make me sad.   But it is time for me to move on.  Weight Watchers was a great tool for me for 22 months.  It helped me learn portion control, good foods/bad foods.  The bad thing is that I was always hungry and always thinking about food.

I am a firm believer that if something is not working for you – or even if you feel like something is not working for you – than it may be worth trying something new.  So in my weight loss journey I mainly stuck with Weight Watchers.  I diligently recorded everything I ate.  I counted my points and recorded them on the Weight Watcher on-line e-tools.  I soon realized  that the Weight Watcher e-tools was not user friendly.  And everything that you recorded was deleted after 2 months.  Through my frustration with Weight Watcher e-tools I found a very friendly ap that is FREE.  My Fitness Pal.  I plug my foods in that I eat and it records my calories.  My activities are also recorded through my Map My Run ap.   And I can look back months ago as to what I ate and all the information is still there.  And again did I mention that this ap is FREE!!!

In the past several months I have tried to include other “diets” into my weight loss journey.  Back in January I attempted  the 30 day Paleo Challenge.  I found that it was extremely restrictive.  I couldn’t sustain that restrictive eating.  So back to Weight Watcher’s I went.  Keep in mind that every time I did something other than Weight Watcher’s, I never missed a Weight Watcher meeting.  I liked the group of people and definitely loved my group leader.

And the closer I got to my goal weight, the slower the weight loss became.  I started to get discouraged.  So I decided to try South Beach for a couple of weeks.  I got closer to my goal weight with that program.  I loved the low carbs but still was not convinced that this was the path I wanted to continue on.

Then came Chris Powell and carb cycling.  I bought the Vemma Bode supplement products that Chris Powell endorses.  I loved the Chris Powell protein powder.  I tolerated the protein drink  for my afternoon protein snack.  I definitely did not like the colon cleanse (which I definitely will never attempt again).  And it did not do the cleansing it was suppose to do.    After several weeks of doing this program the carb cycling got confusing.  One day you eat low carbs and then on another day you eat high carbs.  It got confusing when I tried to plan my meals.  I would have a nice dinner planned out that would include a carb such as a sweet potato and then realized it was a low carb day and had to readjust the menu. I lost a couple of more pounds which got me very close to my goal weight but decided that carb cycling was not a sustainable lifestyle.

By trying all of these different “diets” I finally reached my goal weight and then I started to get very nervous.  How was I going to eat now?  How was I going to live the rest of my life and not gain any weight back.  I could continue counting calories but I wanted to be a normal person.  Normal thin people don’t count calories.  I could continue with Weight Watcher’s but tired of the meetings and the feared weekly weigh ins.  And honestly while on Weight Watchers, I felt hungry all the time.  So I have chosen a different path.

I got the book, The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor.  It has changed my life and the way I look at food.  It is definitely a low carb way of eating but I am eating the foods that I love.  The basis of the book is eating Non Starchy Vegetables, protein which includes a wide variety of meats and fish. Whole fats that include REAL BUTTER, nuts, avocado’s and whole cream. Dairy includes non-fat Greek yogurt that I absolutely love.  Fruits are also included.  I got to tell you that for the past several weeks I have been loving this way of eating.

What I have found through my weight loss journey is what foods I love to eat and foods that I can live without.   I love all the foods recommended on The Calorie Myth.  I am never hungry.  I eat three meals a day that include a protein and vegetables.  I eat non-fat Greek Yogurt with a fruit for my snack.  I have found that the foods that are not included in my new way of eating, I can live without.  I can live without sugar, starch and wheat.  I love all the protein and vegetable and fats that I am eating.  I feel great and am actually starting to look pretty good.

So Weight Watchers I am sorry, I will no longer be having you in my life.  I am breaking up with you.  Thanks for all that you have given me but I am moving on to a healthier more sustainable lifestyle.

The Glorious Scale

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The scale.  It can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  I have my scale right next to my kitchen, sitting in all its glory. I see it every morning.  And every morning, I look at it, say a little prayer and hop on it.  And then whatever number I see on the scale sets the tone for the rest of the day.  Some days I am happy, some days I am sad and on most days I am just frustrated.

When I hop on my Withings scale, the number climbs until it hits your actual weight.  The first number is pretty cool.  It is several pounds lower than your actual weight but just looking at that number is glorious.  And then the number starts to climb, slowly, slowly, “please, oh please stop” and then it stops.  Sometimes it stops on a number I am pleased with.  And then I know my day will be great.  But when it stops on a number I am not so happy about, my mood is set for the day.  Sad, confused and frustrated.

Our weight fluctuates on a daily basis.  It goes up, goes down, and sometimes stays the same.  Our bodies are mysterious.  Some days our bodies may retain water causing weight gain.  Sometimes our bodies just want to play with our minds and the weight just stays the same.  NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO!  And some days one may have eaten the biggest, fattest, greasiest, sweetest, hugest meal – and several of them – and your body will show a weight loss.  Go figure.

This week at my Weight Watcher meeting, my leader Bonnie, gave us a challenge.  Stay off the scale.  She explained how the scale is a good indicator but when weighing every day it can be a detriment to our weight loss.  Weighing yourself every day can play with your mind.  She said that weighing just once a week was best while trying to lose weight.  We should just weigh in at our Weight Watcher meeting.  She asked who wanted to take the challenge to stay off the scale for one week.

So Bonnie, was looking directly at me.  “Lisa, do you think you can stay off the scale for one week?”  I looked her straight in the eye.  I am always up for a challenge.  For crying out loud, I ran a 6 mile race as a challenge, I attempted the 30 Whole Paleo Challenge, I gave up wine for 3 and a half weeks – not quite making it to four weeks – which was a real challenge.  So I looked Bonnie and said “yes”.  Piece of cake.  “I will stay off the scale for one week.”

And I will be honest, this has been one of my hardest challenges.  Yesterday was the first day of the challenge.  I woke up at my regular time, went to the kitchen to make my coffee and there it was.  I turned the corner and saw my scale.  I thought about the challenge.  I stood frozen looking at that glorious piece of equipment.  I have been so good with my eating.  Basically, perfect.  “Ok, I will hop on the scale just this once and I will start the challenge tomorrow.”  But I am so good at challenges.  Once I make my mind up to do something, I usually succeed – no matter how hard it is.  I will stay off the scale.  I will succeed at this challenge.

But my scale in all its glory was calling me to it.  It was like the bottle of wine that calls my name every evening.  “Drink me, drink me.”  And I say to the bottle of wine.  “I will drink you – just not right now.”  And then I grab a glass of Diet Tonic Water.  The scale is like a drug to me.  I have never used drugs so I am really not quite sure what drug addicts feel but the scale is so powerful.  I am so drawn to it.  It has a power over me.

I suggested to my husband that I put it away.  I wanted to hide it.  But he said “just don’t get on it”.  That is like telling me while he is pouring a glass of wine for himself, just don’t be tempted while I am enjoying this glass of sweet nectar in front of you.  Or when he asks me to get him cookies every evening after dinner never thinking that I would be tempted to eat one.  But actually those things really don’t bother me.  When I am on a mission, I can really walk away from temptation. But for some reason I am really having difficulty walking away from the scale.

So, yesterday was the first day of the challenge.  And the devil was calling my name.  It was saying  “just hop on, just this once.  You will feel so much better.”  I succumbed.  I was weak.  I got on the scale saying “just for today and tomorrow I will put it away.”  So I hopped on the scale, in all my weakness, praying for the ultimate weight loss.  The number started out wonderful and I had that high, the feeling was glorious for that one moment.  And then the  number started climbing, climbing and then it stopped.  The high immediately left.  The number was the same number it has been for a month.  I stepped off the scale and immediately  was depressed.  My quick high left me very low.

Enough!  I am tired of the highs and lows.  I am tired of being addicted to this scale.  I am tired of the devil.  I am putting the scale away.  I am going to put it in a place where it will be difficult to reach and put out again.   I will succeed at this challenge – one day late – but I will succeed.  So glorious scale I bid you adieu – I will see you again – but for today, I am walking away.

Happy Birthday To You

Today, my mother would have been 101 years old.  I remember her birthday every year and on her birthday I always say a short prayer thanking her for being my mom.  I still miss her and think about her all the time.  She was a great person and my best friend.  She died in 1988.  I can’t believe she has been gone for over 26 years.

I do not want this post to be sad.  Because I am not sad.  Yes, I do miss her.  She was my best friend.  I talked to her or was with her every day, especially the last 5 years of her life.  So when she died, there was a big void in my life.  But life marches on.  The hurt and pain have lessened and today I want to share some fond memories of her.

Since this is my weight loss blog, my memories  are going to evolve around food and exercise.

My mom was very small and lean.  She was 5 foot 2 and maintained her weight at 114 pounds for most of her life.   I think she was at one time 5 foot 3 but as she aged her body shrank.  She was definitely not a curvy woman.  More of a  straight up and down kind of person.  A boyish figure.

We lived in Evanston, Illinois – home to Northwestern University.  Our house was three blocks from the University and Lake Michigan.  We had a great downtown filled with stores for shopping such as Marshall Fields, Lyttons, Weiboldts, Rothschilds, Wally Reids and the 5 and Dime.  Those were great stores back in the day.  My mom and I spent many hours together, shopping for that special item at many of those stores.  My mom loved to shop.  I would always tire of it because of all the walking.  But my mom was like the Eveready Bunny.  She never slowed down.

So how did my mom stay so thin?  She never dieted.  NEVER!   Now looking back on it she never snacked, ate very little and was extremely active.  My mom loved her lawn. She cut the grass, watered the grass, raked and weeded.  She cleaned the house and did the laundry.  She was moving constantly.  Looking back on it now, there were only a few times during the day that I actually saw my mom sit.

And my mom ate very little.  For breakfast she would have one slice of bread with butter and a cup of coffee.  She would also have orange juice.  A VERY, VERY SMALL GLASS.  I am sure it was no more than 4 ounces.  On Sunday’s, she would treat herself with a very small piece of coffee cake. For lunch, it was usually a half a sandwich.  Before her dinner, my parents would snack on a very small bowl of nuts or a very small bowl of potato chips.  AND THEY NEVER REFILLED THE BOWL!  Her drink of choice was a vodka martini.   Only one.  For dinner she would have whatever my dad cooked which was always a meat, vegetable and a salad.  Sometimes a potato or a piece of French Bread were included.    My mom also loved chocolate.  She would have ONE chocolate as a treat in the evening.

So that is why my mom was thin.  She ate little and moved a lot.  Don’t we as children learn from example?  Obviously not.  I sure missed that example.  My mom very rarely splurged.  And when she did splurge, her splurge was definitely different than my splurge.  She was a great baker.  I loved her chocolate chip cookies.   My mom would splurge and eat one. I would splurge and eat several.   I remember her fudge during the holidays.  My mom would splurge and eat one.  I would splurge and eat – let’s just say – definitely more than one.  Her pies and cakes were to die for.  Again, she would  splurge on a very small slice of that pie or cake and my splurge would be a huge piece that filled and overflowed my plate.

Evanston had a great transportation system.  There was the “L” and the bus.  Both were within a block from our house.  My family had one car so we all got very familiar with public transportation.  I used the public transportation.  I did not like walking.  My mom very rarely used the car or public transportation.  She walked.  She walked downtown,  walked to work, walked to church and walked to the movies.  She walked everywhere and sometimes for miles.  The only time I remember her in the car is when she was driving me somewhere.

My mom loved to dance.  She and my dad danced beautifully together.  Again, a trait I did not pick up on.  She would dance the Charelston to make us laugh.  And laugh we did.  She played with us.  I remember our baseball games in the back yard.  She was so quick and athletic.  She was a swimmer in her youth.  But for some reason I never picked up on her athleticism.  It just was not for me.  My mom tried to encourage me to be active.  But I just was not into sports or activity.

My mom was very supportive of me throughout my life.  She never criticized me for being overweight.  She supported me with every diet I tried.  When I was dieting in high school she always provided me with wholesome food.  Fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  She always made sure I would have a Weight Watcher breakfast ready for me to eat in high school.  And she always made my lunch.  When I was in college, she was my biggest weight loss cheerleader.  Again,  she always encouraged me.   

She never saw me at my heaviest but I know she would not have said anything.  She only would have been supportive of me.  My mom always loved me for who I was.  Not who I would become.  My mom was always proud of me – fat or thin.  She did not let my weight define me.  She always let me know that I had a lot of great qualities.  I always felt loved by her.  I have wonderful memories of my mother and will forever be grateful for them.    I am thankful for all that she gave me.

Happy Birthday Mom.

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.

New Habits

I decided it was time for me to start some new habits.  And it is not even the start of the new year yet. The next few weeks will be extremely stressful and I want to be prepared.  First off – it is frigging cold outside.  I hate being cold.  My hands and feet are always cold.  So I have not gone outside to walk or run.  But what I have done is work out at home.

I wanted to share my favorite work out app and it is free.  LOLO.  I love the LOLO 7.  It is a seven minute workout and it shows you on the app how to do the exercise.  You plug in equipment that you have on the app settings and it will create a workout for you.  You can do just seven minutes or choose as many different workouts for your time limit.  I like to intersperse it with a run on my treadmill.

Another one I love is the Arm Workout and it is also free.  I have 2 eight pound weights at work and I can do a quick arm workout any time of the day.  At work if I am not photographing, I am sitting in front of a computer.  So what helps me when my eyes start to cross from looking at that computer screen is at the top of the hour take just 5 minutes and lift weights.  If I do that a few times a day, I should be buff in no time.

The other site I have been to and like is Chris and Heidi Powell’s Choose To Lose.  I set up my lap top and follow along their work out instructions.  I feel like I have my own personal trainer next to me.  You can sign up for a seven day trial and then there is a monthly fee.  Choose to Lose is a food and exercise program based  on carb cycling.  I love Chris and Heidi Powell.  They seem so real.  I never miss their TV show Extreme Weight Loss.

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So to start my habit, it helps me to have my work out clothes right by my bed.  So I can get up have  my coffee, wake up for a few minutes and then get into my workout clothes.  If those clothes are staring at me, I am much more likely to put them on. Let’s be honest.  It is so much easier to get my coffee, grab my lap top, check out my face book and e-mails and sit.  Mornings are my favorite me time.  I also love sitting in front of my fireplace.  It is sooooo warm.

I am into my third day of my habit.  I think it takes fourteen days to create a habit.  I will let you know how this goes.  My goal is fourteen days.

So now it is time for my weekly roundup.  I lost 3. 6 pounds this week.  So the weight I gained the past two weeks, I lost plus a bit more.  My total weight loss is 40.7 pounds.   I hunkered down this week, stuck to my 26 points, exercised and put a cork on the wine bottle.  I will admit, I had 3 glasses of wine on Saturday.  And on Saturday, I did go into my 49 extra points.  But for the rest of the week, the wine stayed in the bottle.  And that wine story will be continued at a later time.

Weekly Roundup

Discouraged, discouraged, discouraged.  That is all I have to say about this weeks weigh in.  The 1.4 pounds I lost last week, found me this week.  And the worst part is I can’t quite figure out why.  If I had eaten McDonalds (my usual in my fat days was a Quarter Pounder With Cheese and extra large french fries) I would understand why I gained.  If I ate a bowlful of spaghetti with meat sauce, laden with olive oil and several pieces of Italian Bread I would understand.  If I ate a large Ted Drews concrete (abaca mocha-my favorite) I would understand.  If I ate a Deluxe Pizza from Imo’s I would understand.  If I ate my favorite fat meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and a biscuit with butter and jelly I would understand.  And my fat food list can continue.  But I had none of those.  Actually, I have not eaten any of these mouth watering meals in well over a year.  So why the weight gain?

I even worked my butt off literally.  I logged in 1 day of walking 3 miles, 2 days running 4 miles, and 2 days running 3 miles.   That is a lot of activity in my eyes.  Running is a hard activity for me.  It makes me sweat.  I love sweating.  I am in training for my big 6 mile Webster/Kirkwood Turkey Day run tomorrow.  I was not a slacker this week.  So why the weight gain?

Weight Watchers allows you to eat 26 points a day.  My daily points  include lean protein, nuts, fruits, vegetables, greek yogurt, and some times a healthy 3 point Weight Watcher protein bar.   I always include my olive oil as my fat.  I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables which have a point value 0.   My daughter says I eat way too much fruit.  I eat three fruits a day.  On some days I may have a fourth fruit.  But fruits have a 0 point value.  Weight Watchers allows you to eat an additional 49 points if needed.  You can also eat into your exercise points (which I never do).  Last week I earned 29 exercise points.  I ate my daily 26 points and on two days I ate an additional 6 points.  (Actually I drank wine for those extra points).  Weight Watchers claims that you can eat anything.  You can drink anything.  Just as long as you stay within your allotted points.    So according to Weight Watchers plan, I should have lost weight this week.  But I didn’t. I gained.

Now a 1.5 weight gain is not the end of the world.  But my world is much better when I lose weight.  Or at least know why I gained weight.  Yes I am a bit discouraged.  But I will continue on my journey.  I have to understand that the body just sometimes wants to take a break.  And I think this week my body said “Lisa slow down.  No weight loss for you!”

And yes my darling daughter, Maria, I will cut back on my fruit consumption.

Learning How to Eat

Being inspired is very important to me. My Weight Watcher journey has been a long one.  And I need to stay inspired beyond my weekly meetings – which I never miss.   But where do we find the inspiration?  As I told you in one of my last blogs, the internet is filled with all kinds of inspiration.   When I started my blog, Pants Fallin Down,  I did some research.  I googled –  BLOGS FOR LOSING WEIGHT.  There were several, several sites that came up in the search.  But one that caught my eye was 20 Best Weight Loss Blogs of 2013.  I went through and read all 20 blogs.  But the one I kept coming back to and receive daily e-mails is Ronis Weigh.  Roni is a  mom with 3 young children who has gone through a transformation with her weight loss.  I could write a whole blog just on her, but check Roni out for yourself.

A blog site Roni created is BLOG TO LOSE.  This is a site for people who are on their weight loss journey, thinking about losing weight, losing weight  and maintaining their weight.  You can start your own blog, you can share your feelings in one of the forums or just be a lurker and see what everyone else is doing.  You can join for free.

The other day while lurking the Blog to Lose site, I came across another blog  site, Half Size Me.  The creator of this site is another mom with four young children.  She lost 170 pounds.  And she lost it through Weight Watchers.  Please take the time to check out her site.  You will be blown away.  The coolest thing on her site are her podcasts.  AND THEY ARE FREE!!!!  She interviews people who have gone through the weight loss journey.  I started to listen to them.  AND TALK ABOUT INSPIRATION!!!  Most of these women are Weight Watchers.  And some are calorie counters.  The interesting thing  I heard over and over again in these podcasts was that Weight Watchers taught them how to eat.  Anyone can lose weight.  And everyone has to eat.  But the real challenge lies in learning how to eat.

In this past year, I have learned how to eat.  When I heard about “learning how to eat”, I thought to myself – “Well, I certainly know how to eat.”  And eat I did.  Prior to Weight Watchers, I would eat in the car, I would eat standing up.  I would eat my dinner and then sneak back to the kitchen (saying I was going to get something to drink) and pick at the leftovers.  I still eat my lunch at my computer – but that story will be for another day.  I would grab a diet soda and a bag of chips for breakfast (breakfast of champions) and my favorite breakfast was a loaf of asiago bread from Panera Bread Company – or if your from St. Louis it is called St. Louis Bread Company.  I would pick at the bread on the way to work, thinking I would share it with my fellow employees.  And by the time I got to my studio, the loaf was gone.  But no worries.  I had also purchased a loaf of a delicious cranberry nut bread to share with everyone.

Yes, Weight Watchers has been a long journey.  But I am very grateful for it.   Weight Watchers is about eating real food.  It is about portion control.  It is about nutrition.  And it is about moving your body.  It is about eating from all the food groups.  It is about being accountable.  I food journal every day.  I know exactly what and how much goes in my mouth.  And yes – my darling daughter Maria – I do eat a lot of fruit.  But Weight Watchers has worked in five fruits a day into the program.   I love fruit!  Some days I go over my allotted 26 points.  But there is that magical additional 49 points you can tap into.  And some days I just have to eat more than my 26 points.

I will eventually reach my goal weight.   But for some reason this week my goal weight was not that important to me.  What was important to me this week was realizing that in this past year, I am learning how to eat.  I know there will be times when I fall back into my old habits.  And I did on Saturday evening.  I made a wonderful dinner – my favorite – roasted chicken, with my favorite ingredients – salt, pepper and garlic.  And I got creative and added rosemary and thyme.  It was delicious.  I added carrots and onions to the roasting pan.  And as a side dish I made baked sweet potato fries.  After dinner, I snuck back to the kitchen – telling John I was going to get something more to drink – A BIG LIE!  I went back to do what I love to do.  To pick at the leftovers of my favorite meal.  Ok-ok- that is one big problem I am going to work on.  I know that picking at the leftovers is a big flaw of mine.  And I will correct it.

Learning how to eat is a forever challenge.  Yes, I will slip back into some old habits.  But the important thing is that I have all my tools in place.  With my tools, if I slip, I will pick myself back up and get back on track.  I actually slipped just for 5 minutes this week.   And compared to my past life of loaves of asiago bread, cranberry nut bread, chips and soda, a 5 minute picking of vegetables and chicken does not seem so bad.

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

Just Finish

Just Finish is going to be my new mantra.  I have been thinking a lot about my weight loss journey and how I am like the turtle shuffling to the finish line.  I have never been fast.  I am not a fast learner.  I struggled in school.  I remember back in grade school, I would day dream.  I would always be looking out the window.  The teacher would try reeling my wandering mind back in.  And when she did, I would have no idea what was just taught.  I just don’t get jokes right away.  After a joke is told in a group, I find that everyone around me is laughing and I am still trying to figure out the punch line.  But I am fast at one thing.  And that is eating.  I love to eat fast!

I have one college friend who lost over 100 pounds in one year.  100 pounds!!!!!  One year!!!!! That is a lot of weight.  I have another friend that has lost over 200 pounds in one and half years!    Can you believe that?  200 plus pounds????  And I think it has been around 250 pounds.   And that was fast!  They both have tremendous will power to stick to a program for such a long time.  I can’t tell you how much I admire both of them.

And then there is me.  Lose a pound.  Gain a pound.  Lose 1/4 of a pound.  Gain 1/2 a pound.  I still am hovering at 38 1/2 pound weight loss.  But I admit I have consistently lost weight over the past 13 months.  My losses are not great.  And they will never be huge.  But I am doing it!

When I was running this week, I kept saying to myself.  Just Finish.  It does not matter how fast you are going.  Just put one foot in front of the other.  Slow down if you need to.  Just don’t stop!   I have also been doing a lot of reading about running.  According to these books, It is ok to walk during your run.  I always thought I would be weak if I took a walking break.  But according to these books walking during a run IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS.

So no matter how long this journey takes me, I will finish.  When I get to the finish line it does not mean that I will quit or end.  It will just mean that I have reached the goal line.  I will be able to take a deep breath, drink a little more wine and enjoy my new found freedom.

So what I would like to get is a bracelet that says JUST FINISH.   If anyone knows where I could get one, please let me know.

THIS WEEKS WEIGHT WATCHER SUMMARY

Lost 1.2 pounds

Tuesday – 28 points – Exercise – Running 3.2 miles

Wednesday – 23 points – Exercise – Day of rest

Thursday – 33 points – Exercise – Running 3.2 miles

Friday – 26 points – Exercise – Day of rest

Saturday – 23 points – Exercise – Walked 2 miles

Sunday – 30 points – Exercise – Ran (without stopping) 6 miles

Monday – 26 points – Exercise  – Lifted weights and squats