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!

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.

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