Friday, February 2, 2007

Recap of my week . . . and month

This has been a good week. As I posted about earlier, I spent last weekend getting nervous that I didn't know what I was doing by choosing not to count calories, fat grams, carbs, or anything else. But this week has been good; I've mostly relaxed into my routine again. I can do this.

Someone emailed me recently and is curious what I am eating to lose weight without counting anything. I will be happy to share what I eat on a day-to-day, meal-to-meal basis unless I feel at some point like I am starting to obsess over what I am eating. That's the last thing I want!

One thing to note is that even though I am not counting anything, I still pay attention to calories, fat, sugar, fiber, and ingredients on the labels of pre-packaged foods. The fact is, if you are making a food yourself and you have been into this diet/nutrition/whatever stuff for a long time, you probably know all about the calories and serving sizes in the different ingredients you are using. However, when you are not making a food yourself, it can be difficult to know what is in that food. Is that a healthy broccoli potato soup, or did they use lots of heavy cream in it? Is that "wheat bread" actually whole-wheat? Etc. When I am making foods myself, I aim for foods that have mostly vegetables (and sometimes fruit) in them, and I mostly avoid foods that contain high amounts of cream and cheese. Whenever possible, I do not eat anything that contains high-fructose corn syrup, as I think it makes my blood sugar and energy levels go haywire.

I should also note that, for me, intuitive eating does not mean eating whatever I feel like eating whenever I feel like eating it. I find that much of my rather random food cravings are not about food at all, so I ask myself whether I am really hungry when I have a craving, and then I speak to myself very empathetically about the fact that I am actually just ______ (tired, cranky, lonely, stressed) instead of being hungry. Then, if I am just having a craving unrelated to hunger, I remind myself (as I've mentioned before) that I can eat ____ food any time of day or night if I really want it. I do listen to my body--I'm learning to. But if by 'listening' to my body, I ate the first thing I thought of, a month ago, that would have meant eating large quantities of chocolate every day. Instead, when I'm planning meals now, I try to think, "What can I eat that will satisfy my mouth but also help my body be as healthy as possible?" Moreover, I try to eat only until I first begin to feel some satisfaction in my stomach, because I know that I will continue to feel increasingly full for the next twenty minutes.

Also, if I know I am going to be having a big dinner that has a lot of cheese or nuts or whatever in it, I eat enough to satisfy myself at lunch, but I am careful to be avoid high-calorie snacking or eating dessert before the nice dinner.

Even if I haven't lost more weight this week, I can feel a difference in my body. You know how with weight loss, sometimes you're going along losing weight--but you really can't tell--and then suddenly you can feel or see it? I can. My waist--which is normally very thin for my size--is getting smaller, so that there is more of a curve between my boobs and hips. I can feel it more than I can see it. My face is a little more pronounced. My legs are feeling a little stronger, though I find myself missing the thigh and oblique muscles I had when I worked out nearly daily last year.

Speaking of that, my husband and I agreed that when we sold my car, I would be able to start doing personal training at his college's gym, where I can get the unbelievable deal of 10 sessions for $150. (It's because the trainers are students at the university, but still--they're all certified, so they could charge a lot more elsewhere.) Well, we may have a serious buyer for my car this afternoon, so it's time to think about the training. I have read the profiles of the different trainers and want to see if I can utilize a guy who talked, in his profile, about disease prevention through good health. I thought, "Yes, that's what I want! Not a body for clubbing--a body for good health." What I don't want is to start using a trainer, flip back into perfectionist mode, and quit doing the exercises if I don't go all out. Then again, I think a trainer will be good for setting me up with a healthy routine, and now that I'm back into the routine of getting some exercise, I would like some structure for going back to weight training. So we'll see!

One change that I have made is that I am turning into one of those people who snack on fruit. A little hungry? How about half of a sweet, delicious, organic apple? I always wondered how those healthier, thinner girls got themselves to do that, but I've evolved into making some of those choices as well. It might not be my idea of a decadent snack, but I really don't need a decadent snack all that often. I bring myself back to, "What will make me healthier if I eat it?" (What will not give me a sugar high, or a high-carb crash, or a load of saturated fat?)

I ordered a pair of size-16 pants that were on clearance last week, fully expecting them to fit well, as the 16's I have now are getting loose on me. I got the pants in, and boy, I can tell you why they are on clearance. I couldn't even zip the 16's. My best friend had thought they sounded cute and had me order her a pair of 14's. We have very different body types (she gains weight mainly in her belly, face, and arms; I gain weight mainly in my hips, thighs, and then all over) , but she couldn't zip hers, either. Then she tried on the ones I had ordered; they zipped, but they were not flattering. I hate when that happens! I wish sizes were more uniform. I'm glad she was there to try some on as well so that I could see it wasn't just me.

One thing that has happened in the last month, that has really surprised me, is that my cravings for sweet things have become greatly diminished. I guess reminding myself that I can eat them any time I want has actually started to have an impact. Before, I didn't go a single day without feeling ravenous for something sweet, usually chocolate. To give you an idea of what I mean, before we got married, I told my husband, only half-jokingly, "I'm going to have to add something to our vows, because when I say I will share everything with you, I don't mean chocolate. You need to know that." Now, I might think about chocolate for a few seconds every other day, but it's not the obsession it was.

Tuesday night, we went to my husband's drinks-and-appetizers function for his second job. I had two delicious mojitos and partook of nearly every type of appetizer--tempura asparagus with mayonnaise sauce, olives with cheese, hummus on pita, etc. But I didn't eat too much of anything, so my total intake wasn't huge. Towards the end of the event, I started eyeing the chocolateria across the street, and when we left, I told my husband I wanted a couple of bites of chocolate to finish the evening. In the chocolateria, there weren't many items I could buy in small quantities, but I managed to pick a little package of two chocolate-covered graham crackers. My husband asked me to give him one, and I looked at him like, "Get your own damn chocolate!", but then I thought, "There really is no reason for me not to share with him." I gave him one of them, and we walked out of the store. After two bites, I realized that I didn't want any more of it, and at my husband's urging to follow my instinct, I threw the rest away. It was a bit of a watershed moment for me. Today, in a similar fashion, I turned down M&M's (which really aren't good chocolate, anyway) without a second thought. Who is this girl inside me?

One mild frustration this week is that I had a walk that was aborted halfway one day this week (with a sick friend), and I had one day when I couldn't walk due to all the rain we've been getting. I'm really looking forward to a long walk this afternoon.

What I keep coming back to in little snatches, because of how this all seems so easy, is, Can I sustain this? I feel like I am getting healthier not only in body but in mind and spirit as well. Can it last? Is something going to knock me off this path? But all I can really do is trust, do my part, and see how it goes . . . kinda like a good marriage, really.

As for what I've eaten today, back to the original question, for breakfast every morning (there's a post early in this blog with a photo), I have a piece of whole-grain toast on high-quality bread, spread with 1 T or so of natural (only almonds and salt) almond butter, covered by half of an apple, sliced up, on top, and then a little drizzle of honey on that. Then I snack on the rest of the apple at odd points. The breakfast idea came from Bob Greene, and it's the most satisfying thing I've eaten day after day for breakfast in my life, I think.

For lunch, I had an Amy's Kitchen organic frozen meal of Indian food; they are the best frozen meals evuh, and this one was mattar tofu and peas with basmati rice. Yum. I also heated up four bite-size samosas (a serving), filled with peas and potatoes. They were crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and delicious.

Tonight, my husband and I may eat out, or I may make us dinner. I can't remember all of what I planned for dinner tonight (we can eat it tonight or tomorrow night), but I remember part of it is a new recipe for curry orange-flavor carrots. I've been looking forward to those all week.

I'm excited to weigh in tomorrow!


Alanna said...

What a journey you're on ... the 'intuition' should serve you well, one you reach that goal.

M said...

While I'm so happy for your success I have to admit that I'm really envious of your weight loss. It took me at least 6 months or more to lose what you've lost in a month, and even then, I had to do so much just to be able to lose the same amount over a much longer time period.

I love reading about how the changes you're making come about, how you're changing your mindset and habits, and the success you're having, but I noticed that I also find myself frustrated that my weight loss is so slow, or more like stagnant currently, in comparison. Instead of feeling encouraged by your success, I feel bad about my lack of it.

I am truly so happy for you because it seems you are making real changes in your approach to eating and that is what leads to real, sustained weight control and good health, in my opinion. But seeing real concrete numbers and a time line here has really highlighted for me how small and slow and sometimes nonexistent my own weight loss is in comparison.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way at all, because I love this site and the changes you're making. I wasn't sure if I should even write this comment, and I hope it wasn't the wrong choice and wasn't hurtful to you in any way, because it certainly is not meant to be. I think this blog is awesome and so much of what I've read has resonated with me.

I just think I need to take some time to focus on my own weight loss/maintenance and not put myself in a position where I might feel compelled to compare myself with another person. I'm wishing you continued success on this journey!

Best wishes,


the veggie paparazzo said...

Alanna, thanks.

M, that's understandable--I've had times when I felt very envious of friends' weight loss and wanted them to stop losing weight! It's a natural type of emotion.

You have medical issues that impact when you lose weight (does insulin resistance affect you like it affects my PCOS friends?), and I understand that all too well, though I am glad right now to be mostly outside of those impacts. You should do whatever makes you feel empowered and happy. I don't want to lose you as a reader, but I also don't want you to make yourself unhappy. The last thing I want to do with this blog is make anyone feel bad about herself!

Krista said...

I just love reading how open and honest (in detail) you are--it really helps me that your take the time to write this all out! Thanks.