Losing weight in spite of myself.

I began this blog in February 2011 as a way to help me not quit trying to lose weight, and to learn a few things. It's been an interesting and powerful experience. It certainly confirms what I've long suspected--that although I am a genuinely happy cheery person in the main, I am NOT a happy cheery dieter. I DETEST losing weight. I resent being overweight in the first place and I am a virtuoso in the art of self-sabotage. And YET--I'm doing it! I'm fighting and kicking and EATING all the way down, but the weight is finally going down. The plan I was following in February was a half-baked one largely based on wishful thinking. I gained a little weight and decided to get real. I knew I couldn't just join weightwatchers or count calories or do any one plan and expect to be successful. I decided if I was going to bother to make the effort to lose weight I was going to throw everything I could think of at the problem. And so I do. My real "Day One" for this blog is April 1, 2011. I joined weight watchers, I joined caloriecount.com (awesome website), I read the blog losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com religiously, I keep this blog faithfully, I joined the health programs sponsored by my insurance, I use the principles from overeater's anonymous, I use my church's 12 step program as well, I subscribe--and use--Healthy Cooking Magazine.

The result of all this? Painfully slow progress (About 20 lbs in 10 months). But it IS progress and like the little engine that could I keep on trying in my rebellious way. I have no intention of quitting. This is by far the longest sustained weight loss effort I've ever made in my life. Successful I think, because for the first in my life I've done this MY way--which I've discovered, involves a lot of pizza and restaraunt food. I'm convinced this is the only way to lose weight. For me it must be MY way. For you it MUST be YOUR way. Not weight watcher's way, not your doctor's way, but YOUR way. Any plan or idea I use is only a tool.

The latest plan to lose weight my way began on Oct 29, 2013. It really is my own crazy plan. As you'll see if you read that post. I've implemented the best ideas of all sorts of eating plans and thrown out the scale. A couple of months in and I'm definitely healthier. I'm actually enjoying myself. I won't weigh until April 1, 2014, so I'll see then if this works the way I hope it will.

There is no magic weight loss bullet. But there IS a great deal of magic in the discovery of what I can happily live with (very different from what weight watchers tells me I can happily live with) and still have the body and health I want.

Good luck to all of us on this journey. It's quite a trip!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Still sick!

WOW!  I have never had time in my life like this. Leg out--sick and sick again. I'm a lot better, but still sick. Appetite out of whack, exercise out of whack.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Another cold!!

Sheesh! Another cold? Seriously?? As always, I'm hoping I can shake it before it really goes bad. Food-wise this weekend has not been good. I took Valentine's day off. We went to Famous Dave's BBQ. Delicious. 5,000---6,000 cal? Sunday was supposed to be counted, but Catherine wanted rouladen and of course, I caved. Actually, I don't know that those are sooooo terrible. Sure, it's meat and bacon fried in butter. But the whole recipe was "only" 7 Tbls of butter, and bacon doesn't actually have that many cal. I tried hard not to totally pig out and my breakfast and lunch were ok. Yesterday, was "high fiber." Meh. Worst thing, we took C back to Provo and came back much to late to cook. So we picked up greek food. No saving that meal.

Fine---get back on track right? Right. I'm supposed to be counting today, but I'm not. I'm sick and I work till six and then have therapy with Lisa after that. I'm tired in advance and can't wait for the day to be over. I've brought healthy food. I made the Asian zero point soup--which will feel good going through the congestion. And also a light potato leek soup to eat on the way down to therapy after work so I'm not starving to death.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Soup next week

Must make the zero point soup next week. I didn't this week, because I threw out a huge batch of it. But this week has been tough without it. Still, I'm hanging in there, and the weather has been so nice--weird February! that I've been able to walk to work. Let me carry on with my very inconsistent food journal. Yesterday was 1600.

2 slices Ezekiel bread with 1 TBL of peanut butter, milk
Snack: 13 mini rice cakes
Lunch 2 ww tortillas with a little horseradish, 1/2 slice swiss cheese each and a lot of veggies. dill pickles and 5 olives.
Dinner: One slice cowboy pizza. Salad with Ken's dressing
Evening dessert: 1 reeses heart and 25 cal hot chocolate.

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to deal with today. The challenge is that I've been asked to go to the monthly international student meeting which always includes ethnic food. Today is China. No possible way to track the calories. It's at 1:30 so I don't dare wait lunch that long. These can vary from small snacks to full meals. Do I have the discipline to just eat a little? I don't know! It's Chinese food!!!  I don't get Chinese food very often. I really can't handle Chinese buffets and the calorie count at panda express is so horrific that I don't there very often. And don't tell me to eat the vegetables and chow mein. Why bother going if I'm going to do that?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Keeping the bad decisions?

Well, I really don't know what I would have done differently yesterday. I did GREAT all day long. But I forgot it was our date night--poor Dave, he's trying so hard. We went to Station Park, a very romantic shopping complex. We found a new dessert place--Cobblers--which serves cobblers with ice-cream and toppings. We could have skipped it (I was the one who urged him inside), we could have shared one. But we didn't. It was all I could do to not order the hot chocolate as well.

Was that a mistake? Calorie-wise, sure it was. Relationship-wise, no. And what about happiness-wise? It's one of life's great pleasures to be somewhere new and try a new food. I don't exactly want to just excuse this, certainly not just say it's ok to go everywhere and eat everything I want, but I don't want to lose weight at the cost of Wednesday date night. But does date night need to include fattening food? Well, yes. Most of the time I think it does. It's about connecting to one another even when we're busy and tired. And food is both unifying and easy.  Maybe I'm just rationalizing and making excuses. Or maybe I'm protecting certain boundaries and consciously establishing what I want my food-life to be.

Refusing the guilt, accept imperfection, and hope to lose weight anyway!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Comfort Food

I read an article yesterday about comfort food and that it's OKAY to use food as comfort. Just make sure that your comfort food really is comforting and not just food that is both empty of comfort as well as empty in calories. I like that. After all, food is used to comfort us literally from the day that we are born.

It was good timing on that reminder because I deliberately used food for comfort yesterday. The day went well, but it was still a high anxiety situation for me and I'm deeply grateful that it's over. Food-wise, it was good. It wasn't a day where I lost weight, but it was a day where I genuinely comfort much more than I needed to lose weight. I ate cheese, I had roast beef on homemade rolls with a side of cheese and chips and dip (light) for dinner. I was nice and full and then had cake and milk. I'm totally ok with that.

Today is a new and different day with different needs. It's a 1500 cal day. It could be 1600 if I use my wellness time to walk or something for one hour, but the stress lab is calling to me. I really think I'll go up to the gym and spend some time in the massage chair. I love that it's really my choice. I walked to work today, and that's very healthy, but it doesn't "count" as exercise. I really can choose to either eat a little less or work a little more and it really is ok to just eat a little less.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A ways to go

I've been doing so well and feeling so slim that it's a real shock to put on a shirt and look in the mirror and realize that it still doesn't fit very well. Not surprising!!! I'm hoping to lose 3 or 4 pounds in Feb for a total of 7 to 8 pounds. That's great and a big help, but not enough yet to make a drastic visual difference.

I still struggle with days when I "get" to eat what I want. Today is high protein day. I brought a protein bar for a snack. Fine, but I'm not really hungry, but I ate it anyway. Ditto the nuts. Actually, I'm just not all that hungry today. Today is the dread meeting with the therapist. I can't wait for it to be over. I deliberately brought comfort food and a comfort book. That means cheese. Tomorrow is a calorie count day, but that's fine. I'll get exercise and I can have whatever I want so I shouldn't need to eat today because I can't tomorrow. If it gets to be lunchtime and I don't want all the cheese I brought (a strange mental state!), will I be able not to eat it all?  It's so weird that that concept is so hard. I'm not talking about being good at all. I have license to eat 6 pounds of cheese today if I want it. All I'm trying to do is to not eat what I don't want. Kind of like not stepping on a tack. It shouldn't be hard, but it is!!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Still good

Things continue to go well. I'm rather proud of myself for yesterday--1600 cal. Saturday was 1800 but I only ate 1600. 1600 is usually difficult for me, but even though I made a great dessert, I didn't just switch to an 1800 cal day.

So why did I make a great dessert? Because it sounded so good was the real reason. Also, because it was a cake, I could cut a small piece which I did. I think it's important for me to fix real decadent food from time to time just to reassure myself that I can. But one thing I would love to point out to all diet cookbooks and chefs--if you have to cut a 9 x 9 pan into 16 pieces (which I did last night) you HAVEN'T MADE A DIET DESSERT!! It's fine cut cut something into 16 pieces because the calorie count is ridiculous and you know it to be so, but lets not have any nonsense that it's diet.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Re-writing Hungry Girl

A good day! Weird weather--it's Feb 7 and 70 degrees in Provo. So we went up and did a little apartment hunting with C and her roomies. She mentioned that she'd like to go to Zupas, which was perfect! I scouted out the calories in advance (Ouch!), but luckily my favorite mushroom soup wasn't bad (150 cal per cup), so I had a big bowl of that, plus the bread and strawberry. Later we went to Sodalicious which has all kinds of fun soda concoctions, but since my soda was diet, that wasn't a big deal. I had enough calories tonight to have a whole big sausage along with my sausage pasta dish ( a cooking light dish--not bad). I couldn't finish the main dish. There was still room for some dessert and C had given us some really good choc chip cookies (I know, because I had two). But I really wasn't in the least hungry and I'd already had plenty of sweets. For once I listened to my intuitive self and didn't bother. That's a major success!!

Later, as we were watching TV, I re-did my Hungry Girl days. Sorry Lisa, I'm just not loving that diet book. There is some evidence that if you eat the same thing a lot supposedly you eat less. I don't know if that's what she was going for, but there is a lot of repetition and although there is some good stuff, I think it's a far cry from the really delicious recipes that made her famous. I still want to do Hungry Girl days though. So I got out 28 index cards, and between the diet book, another of her cookbooks and a folder of HG recipes that I've printed out, I put together my own 28 days of an HG plan. Three meals, three snacks, and not a lot of repeats. I'm really looking forward to those days now, and although they probably aren't as perfectly nutritionally calibrated as the real diet book, they're still pretty darn healthy and low in cal, so I'm not too worried.

Friday, February 6, 2015

It has to be YOURS

This is a repeating theme---I guess after three years, everything is repeating--but I am 100% convinced that this is the real reason diets don't work, and how we can keep tweaking things until they DO work because we've changed our hearts. I'm not done tweaking yet by a long shot--alas, I don't know how many more wrinkles there are to iron out. All I know is that I'm doing well. My blue shirt is fitting much better today and I feel happy that I'm looking forward to pizza tonight and will still be on plan. Here's why I think what I'm doing is working at least somewhat.

What I'm doing is picking out seven random slips from an envelope that tell me what I'll be doing on that day. I arrange these slips according to what makes the most sense for what's going on that week.

I just want to eat what I want and be skinny
I have some days where I practice just that. These are "not counting but in control days" where I try to practice the principles of intuitive eating

But I really like to eat whatever I want, but if I do, I gain weight because I eat too much. 
For this reason I am willing to accept calorie counting as a crutch. That way, on days like today when I want a pop-tart for breakfast and pizza for dinner that's just fine. My calories vary from 1500-1800 per day on calorie count days.

But I want to pig out and still lose weight
No problem. I can earn and save up as many calories as I like. The first 1/2 hour of exercise is to maintain a healthy body. Any exercise after that earns me calories. Lame, slow exercise gives me 100 cal per 1/2 hour. Moderate 150, hard 200.

I hate counting calories at restaurants
I don't have to unless I want to. All fast food places (except Subway) count as 1,500 cal. All sit down places are 3,000.

Calorie counting is a pain in general
Yes. So I'm working on simplifying it as much as possible. I am working on a file of foods and combinations of foods that I eat all the time and writing their calorie value. That way I'm not constantly re-inventing the wheel. 1/4 of the pan of my meatloaf, or my lasagne or whatever, with a slice of garlic bread is X. I write the calories by each item and the total at the top. That way if I want to add another slice of bread it's easy to figure out. A few restaurants that we go to all the time---Papa Murphy's pizza for example, I have the counts for my favorites.

Just tell me what to eat already!
Sometimes it feels nice to be lazy mentally. The Flavor Point diet is both healthy and quirky. It spells out exactly what I should eat and is an interesting concept, "hey everybody, it's tomato day!" It also helps me learn that yes, I really can be full with little portions.

But Flavor Point has tiny lunches
Yes, so I also use the Hungry Girl diet for when I want to be told what to eat, but still want huge portions and weight loss at the same time.

But I'm still hungry
Weight watchers has some great zero point soup recipes. I'm surprised at how much they help--both by eating them and helping to keep me full, but also by NOT eating them, but having them around as a crutch.

I'm bored. I need new life in my plan
I haven't got this one worked out all the way, but Flavor Point and Hungry Girl Days are difficult enough that I genuinely look forward to counting calories but eating whatever I'm craving the next day.

I need a little break
Vegetarian, High Fiber and high protein days help by allowing me to eat pretty much what I want but still have an eye toward being healthy. The idea is to still follow intuitive eating principles, but if that doesn't happen I can still feel good about staying on plan.

I'm tired of being sensible
I have a few purely quack diets in the mix--the subway diet, the cookie diet, etc. I am always free to put back a quack slip, but for some reason sometimes it feels good to just be stupid for a day. This has the added bonus of making calorie count days feel bountiful.

Forget it. I'm going to the buffet
There are some FREE days in the mix which are just that. It's nice to know that if I want to try a new restaurant, or simply eat 10,000 calories that there are days when I can do that. It helps me not eat as much every day if I know a trip to my favorite Mexican restaurant with the all you can eat salsa bar is coming up.

Anyway---if this actually gets me all the way to where I want to go that will be amazing, but if not. I just need to look at what needs are NOT being filled by this plan and figure out how to meet them without self-destructing. There is also the even more important mental aspect to the whole weight loss game. This blog is an important part of that, also reading other blogs. Also developing myself as a whole person in ways that have nothing to do with weight.

I honestly think most overweight people who are really trying to lose weight need to do something like this. I'm greatly helped because I like to cook and I like to walk. For those who don't, they need to take that into consideration.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Still going

Still going more or less strongly. Survived a stressful Monday taking Christine to a therapist for the first time, but it went very well. Solidly dreading going to therapy with Lisa on Tuesday. But I have to admit even the thought of therapy has been beneficial. I've been thinking about why I'm so scared of it. Boundary problems mostly. But this morning I woke up feeling really angry with her--it's all purely imaginary--I think she's angry with me about what I think is a perfectly friendly update kind of email, but she hasn't answered which makes me nervous that I've offended her. Like I said, all in my head. But the useful thing about feeling mad this morning was that I began to realize that it's OKAY to be mad at her. Even though I carry a lot of guilt about her, I'm doing my best to make it right now. I can't change the past--and there's even a ghost of a chance that maybe I wasn't as horrible as I thought. So YES, I have the right to feel angry with her.

Happily, real distress causes me to want to eat less, not more. I'm lucky that way. I think boredom and celebration and task avoidance are the things that most make me want to chow down. Here's what I've been eating this week.

Tomato Day
Breakfast an omelete with tomatoes and a little feta
Snack: 12  grape tomatoes
Lunch: black bean salad--1/2 c black beans, a little feta, tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. with 1/2 WW pita.
Snack: A baby brie cheese (70 cal) and some corn chips.
Dinner: WW spaghetti with spaghetti sauce. Cabbage salad with a few olives, I slice Ezekiel bread.
Dessert: pears and blueberries.

Vegetarian Day Yesterday
Blew the vegetarian part of it.

Breakfast: 2 slices Ezekiel bread with peanut butter, chocolate milk, honey crisp apple cider
Lunch: Chicken tava (It was Major Fest Day and Margarita brought lunch), white pita bread, big cookie. random chocolates.
Snack--an hour later: a largish piece of cheese and the rest of the chicken in a biscuit crackers (about 10)
Dinner: Fancy french bread with cream cheese, eggs, 2 sausage links, milk
Dessert: a few chocolates

Today---Hungry Girl 4.6
Breakfast--big bowl of blueberry almond oatmeal. Milk
Snack--100 cal popcorn
Lunch--tofu stir fry---surprisingly good, a few of Shandel's crackers. A 30 cal wedge of trader joes salted carmel chocolate
Snack: a mini brie and 6 almonds
Dinner: HG chicken strips--basically chicken "breaded" with fiber one cereal. Probably a salad and/or potato.
Dessert: don't know yet. Fruit would best. I'll have to see what kind of self discipline I have.

Exercise--not happening much, but I will take a walk after work.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Five pounds

Okay!  Five pounds down in January! 202 I'll take it. Not sure if being sick helped or hindered--down on food, but also down on exercise. Whatever. Hopefully February will see better health.

I'm just thinking how relentless the negative voices are. Satan is real. Five pounds is great! It's the Christmas bloat gone and, more importantly, I'm moving and working in the right direction.  Satan would have it that it's "only" five pounds.That I've been here so many times before it's not even worth acknowledging, let alone feeling good about.

Oh yeah? It's about 1/4 of the way to the weight watchers all time low. It's where I was 25 years ago when we came back from Japan. It's 26 pounds down from my all-time high of 228. how easy it would have been to just have kept on going up and up and up and up from that! I could so easily be sitting here at 250 or worse.

No. Even though my weight is 50 pounds higher than I would like it to be, it's no small thing to win against middle-age spread, and it's a big deal to turn it around from Christmas. I'm encouraged to keep on working through February.