Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

Soul Searching

I went to lunch with a friend yesterday. It was my last day of vacation and it was a nice close to a couple of days off from work.  I’ve gotten over my crazy binge-y days (well, sort of) and for lunch yesterday had a nice Caesar Salad with grilled chicken, dressing on the side. It was yummy and filling. And the whole way home, I wanted ice cream. Cold, creamy and sweet. I got home and had a bottle of water, thinking maybe that was just thirst. But about 15 minutes later, I went for the ice cream… (in a controlled fashion this time, light ice cream, 1/2 cup.) But I wanted that sweet. And I realized, I always need want something sweet after a meal.

Bear with me as I digress…

Last night I was talking with my sister who had gone to a past life regression session. She’s been sick on and off for a number of years now and she’s trying different therapies to get to the root of it. Traditional medicine can’t figure out what the heck is going on and she’s been told on a number of occasions it’s all in her head. Actually it’s just about everywhere but her head. She’s been diagnosed with Sarcoidosis (oh wait, that’s not what it is…even though the telltale nodules in her lungs were there) Lupus (oops, sorry, not that either), Hypo Thyroid (nodules there too but well, no, that’s not causing the other issues…), perimenopausal epilepsy (huh? ok a stretch, but more or less impossible to diagnose or dispute, and most likely not that either.)

She is now going for allergy testing, and through the program she is in, NAET, is trying to understand her emotions and how they may play into whatever she is dealing with, and how that might be affecting her relationship with certain foods.

From there, she decided to try past life regression therapy. She’s been told she’s an old soul…

Her regression therapy didn’t take her back to previous lives really. It did take her back, however, to when she was a baby and had pneumonia. She was 6 months old and in an oxygen tent in the hospital. Visiting hours were over and they made my mother leave. My sister put her arms up to be picked up for the very first time in her life, and my mother was not allowed to hold her. It broke my mother’s heart, and she told this story on more than one occasion.

Apparently it broke my sister’s heart too. What was so interesting is that she remembered not just that my mother left her in the hospital (she would have known that because she’d heard the story), but how she felt at that moment. Scared, abandoned and confused. It was a tough for her last night to dredge that up. But maybe, just maybe, it will also release some locked away emotion or fear that has had an effect on her health. Who knows?

Ok, so that was the long way around to a food story. Her story last night made me think about my relationship with food too. Where did it start? Where did it go so horribly wrong? I don’t have a normal relationship with food. I don’t think any obese or formerly obese person does. Obviously these things start in our childhoods. I had a therapist once tell me that everything we do, situations we put ourselves in, are attempts to re-create how we felt as children, because that is where we are most comfortable. For example, I grew up with four brothers, a sister and one bathroom. 🙂 My childhood consisted of ordered chaos and I’ve chosen jobs along the path of my life that are chaotic. I am also the oldest and have always had a strong sense of responsibility. So in my chaotic jobs, I’ve always had roles where I am the one who cleans up and makes sure everything gets done.

Growing up with four brothers and a sister and not a lot of money also meant that when dinner was put on the table, if it was something good, you had to eat fast if you wanted more. Not to mention, there was always a loaf of Wonder White Bread and Parkay margarine there with dinner. It was the ’60s okay? White bread was good for you, and it was ok to smoke during pregnancy.

My mother was a wonderful cook and she believed in balanced nutrition. We got our veggies, even if we didn’t like them.  Her specialty, however,  was desserts. So when she made us eat something we didn’t like, like liver and stewed tomatoes (my Dad’s favorite) or succotash (lima beans anyone?) or Pork Butt and Cabbage (actually that last one wasn’t too bad), it was always followed by some yummy dessert.

It was how they would bribe us to finish our dinners. Finish your lima beans and you get sugar! That wasn’t bad for you then either. Sorry, at eight years old, it’s tough to comprehend the starving children in other countries thing.

Desserts would be creamy homemade puddings, cakes, brownies or cookies and even, yes–I went for one of these last weekend–Whoopie Pies. My mother made those from scratch. Sometimes the desserts would be from the store…Ring Dings (does anyone remember them in the foil packaging? We’d eat the Ring Dings and then spend hours ironing out the foil. I’m not sure why.)

I was so conditioned as a child to expect dessert after a meal that it is what I look for still to this day. And I don’t know if it’s possible to change that conditioning. I don’t know that I will ever not want something sweet after something savory.

What I can change though is how I handle it. I want something sweet. It doesn’t have to be a gazillion calories and laden with fat and sugar, although that’s the most fun. There are so many portioned snacks that subdue that sweet urge just as well as a Whoopie Pie (470 calories folks, almost all fat). And fruit, that’s sweet too! Who knew?

For this food quirk at least, while maybe I can’t control the urge, I’ve learned to manage it more or less. Maybe it means I still eat a little too much sugar from time to time, but I’m eating far less of it than I would have in the past. And I’ve learned to savor it too. Somehow when I take my time and enjoy my food (another behavior that is taking some work), the calories just don’t seem to hang on as long.

Can you pinpoint any childhood habits, pleasures, behaviors that are affecting your adult eating? What are you doing about them?

Weight Watchers Relationship Update

So after much soul searching yesterday and a long conversation with my Weight Watchers online point tracker last night….we cried, we laughed, we reminisced about the good times and tried to figure out where things started going wrong…I decided that, overall, the relationship has been good for me and deserves another chance. Besides, just once, I’d like to get to lifetime member at Weight Watchers. That would be cool.

However, I am taking a little vacation. We need some time away from each other to sort out the issues and recommit to the long-term goals. I’ve gotten too caught up in the day-to-day details and it’s making things difficult.

So after weighing in this morning— I lost the same .8 pounds I gained last week so I’m back to my weight of two weeks ago— I’m not weighing in again for two weeks. The home scale is going in the closet (or I may have hubby hide it where I can’t find it) and I’m not checking my weight until August 27 at Weight Watchers.

I’m also taking a break from points again. I’ll continue to track my food, but I’m going to focus more on the quality of the food I eat (I’ve gotten much better about this in the past month or so) than on the points.

Still, however, when I have two points left and it’s a choice between a WW chocolate chip cookie or a yogurt, the cookie always wins. When I take the points away, I’ll eat the yogurt because that’s what I really want and I know I can have the cookie if I want it later. Then I don’t always even eat the cookie. It’s surprising to me that even though I know this, I slip back into this behavior all the time. And that’s the thing that I really need to change.

So we’re on hiatus, me and Weight Watchers. Just for two weeks to see how it goes. I know on my part, there’ll be lots of yearning (to track those points and step on that scale), but for Weight Watchers, well it has so many others to tend to, I’m sure I won’t be missed too much.

These next two weeks, I’ll be focusing on my triathlon training, feeling good about how far I’ve come, finding some balance and being happy with me again as I am right now. I’ve let the struggles with the scale get in the way of that. I may even finally get to that Pilates class.

After all, when I started this journey this time, I promised myself it wasn’t going to be about the numbers. It was about getting healthy. I’ve accomplished that and that needs to remain the focus.

Thank you to all my twitter and blogging friends for your input and insight. It really helped so much!

Exercise Won’t Help You Lose Weight…Or Will It?

There was an article this week on the Time magazine site that was titled Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. The article got my, and everyone else’s, attention.

It also left me scratching my head? HUH?  Remind me again why I’m working so hard then? Running, biking, swimming, abs, and all the other stuff I’ve been doing? Now granted, the article does talk about the health benefits of exercise. It just proposes that exercise increases hunger and therefore, may not be the best path to losing weight.

Now I don’t know about the guy in the article, but exercise for me has been essential to losing weight. I don’t eat more on the days that I exercise because I’ve worked so hard to sweat some of the calories off. It’s days like today where I didn’t exercise that I don’t resist the Oreo cookies. Exercise backlash, perhaps?

I don’t know. This article makes the cardio vs. strength training argument sound almost reasonable. Why would you give anyone one more reason not to exercise?

I also read today: potatoes are not the evil white carbs we were once told they were. Water only really helps to curb your appetite if it’s in your foods (think soup).

Now I never thought potatoes were evil food. I like potatoes; technically they are vegetables and good for you. French fried? Maybe not so much, but don’t blame that on the potato.

And water? Drinking lots of it, all by itself,  has done wonders for my weight loss (I’m not a big fan of soup), not to mention how great my skin looks.

Carbs are bad. Well, not all carbs. Sugar…stay away from it! Fats, those are bad for you, carbs are good. Carbs are essential to healthy weight. Eat protein. No wait, don’t. Only eat melons, hot dogs and rice on every other Tuesday and Thursday….

There are so many conflicting diet rules, exercise agendas and secrets to this getting healthy thing, it’s no wonder we’re all overweight. Jeez, I mean, you start a diet, it’s working for you and then someone comes along and tells you that in the long run, you’ll still be fat. Why bother?

The bottom line is it comes down to common sense. There was an article a while back that said weight loss is about calories in vs. calories out. If you expend more calories than you take in, Voila! you lose weight. Now that’s something I can wrap my head around.

The key is finding the way that does this best for you. If limiting carbs keeps you away from your trigger foods, try that. Clean eating? If you can stay on that eating plan, good for you…healthy and lean. Me? Couldn’t do it. If I had to give up sugar, carbs or fat altogether, I might just die.

However, I’ve learned portion control (most of the time); I follow guidelines finally for getting enough fruits, whole grains, veggies and protein; I try to gauge whether I’m hungry or just stressed (for example, today’s Oreo binge was not because I was hungry). I treat myself now and again so I don’t feel deprived, but for the most part, I try to stick with healthier foods.

I eat well 90% of the time. The other 10%? I’m still learning. Some things work for me. Some don’t. This weight loss thing is not an exact science and I figure I’ll be experimenting forever.

As for exercise, do it. Even if it’s just a walk around the block. You’ll feel stronger, more confident, clearer and happier. I’ve lost weight before without exercise. That didn’t alter my life nearly as much as the weight loss has this time. I attribute that to the exercise, not the weight loss.

However you decide to get healthy, be realistic. Small changes, slow progress, those are the things that stick. Remember, these are changes for a lifetime.

So how are you making the healthy changes in your life?

The Key to Lasting Weight Loss

Let’s face it. If we are overweight, obese or even morbidly obese (I was, even though my family would cringe when I said it), we know what we need to do to lose weight. We need to eat less and move more. Period. Less calories in, more calories out. Anybody disagree?

And then as our bodies become smaller and more efficient, we need to eat even less and move even more, which is kind of unfair. But as we get healthier, our bodies get more efficient and come to expect us to keep treating them right. And just think of all the cool things you can do with a lean, healthy body. Not to mention you look hot and get to buy new clothes.

Different plans work for different people, but those are the basics, and anyone trying to lose weight or get fit, whether on low-fat, low-carb, diet pills, a healthy balanced eating plan and exercise (i choose this one), will still need to take in less calories than they expend to reach their goals.

There is a great article by @BodyForWife (I just love Twitter and all the cool people and information I can find there) busting metabolism myths. The article is designed for men, but so much of this information is about metabolism and weight loss in general, it works for women too. And it just makes sense. Common sense. Go figure.

Bottom line is it’s impossible to lose 20 pounds a month, month after month, and be healthy. Oh and those nasty little plateaus? We can thank our own efforts for that. Those are our bodies’ way of rewarding us for working hard for them. To get to the next level, we just have to work a little harder. And be patient. But if we want it, we can do it. I’m off to the gym!

“Lose 7 Pounds a Week Eating This Miracle Fruit!”

Enough already! That is the cover headline of a recent Woman’s World magazine. And sorry to call out Woman’s World because so many of the magazines do this. I love this magazine because it’s a super quick, easy skim through and sometimes there is really valuable information, even for weight loss.

But every issue, there is some diet on the cover that’s going to help you lose extraordinary amounts of weight with little or no effort. In this case, the miracle fruit is bananas. I suppose if you eat a banana for breakfast and then nothing else for the rest of the day, you could drop 7 pounds each week, but you won’t feel too great and I doubt that’s a plan you can stick with. Usually, when you get inside the magazine, there’s a perfectly reasonable eating and sometimes exercise plan, along with supplements that are good for you. But 7 pounds a week? C’mon.

I’ve been on Weight Watchers for six months. I’ve lost 41 pounds, an average of 6 pounds a MONTH. I eat healthy and I exercise… a lot. For 6 pounds a MONTH. But this is a plan that is doable for me.  I still eat dessert and pizza. I go out for breakfast or dinner with family and friends. I really enjoy the holidays.

Sure, I’ve made adjustments to what I eat, but they are adjustments I can live with, and I don’t feel deprived. I eat more fruits and veggies and lean protein and fiber. But I also eat chocolate when I really want it.

I’m losing steadily, and I feel I can stick to this as a lifetime plan, which is what it needs to be. It doesn’t help to lose 7 pounds a week if you can only stick to the plan for a week. Not when you have 80 (now 39)  pounds to lose.

I remember in earlier diet attempts, thinking I could lose 20 pounds a month (probably related to claims in magazines that you can lose that fast). Now I realize even that’s insanely unrealistic and unhealthy. When I started WW this time around, I wanted to lose weight, but more than that, I wanted to get healthy. So I didn’t put unattainable goals in place. And that’s helped me  stick to this program this time.

So buy all the magazines, diet plans, weight loss supplements and exercise equipment you want. Anything you do to become healthier is a good thing. But be realistic. Unless you are on The Biggest Loser (and they don’t always have consistent losses either), you’re not going to lose 7 pounds a week. Plan for 1 to 2 pounds a week and you’ll be satisfied with what you’re eating and with your results, even elated when the scale sometimes shows that occasional 3-pound loss!

PS. Losing slowly also keeps saggy skin at bay. Why get fit only to have all that loose skin hanging around the middle!

Juicy Juice

v8fusionI struggle to get my veggies and fruits in most days. I get close, but sometimes five is tricky. I’ve always been a fan of V8 Splash and Fusion juices but they are on the high side calorie and sugar-wise.

Recently though, I discovered V8 Fusion Light Strawberry Banana–50 calories and 10 grams of sugar in an 8-oz serving and only 1 point on Weight Watchers. Plus, it’s a full serving of fruit and a full serving of veggies.

And it’s yummy to boot. I think I can snake a point from somewhere else in my day to drink up and get those fruits and veggies in. Even though I just lost another point.

At weigh-in this morning, I was down 1.8 for a total of 41 pounds, which puts me into the next lower point range. Thank goodness for exercise, which gives me some activity points back.

Staying on Weight Watchers and Gaining… :(

The enemy?

The enemy?

Thursday night is my Weight Watchers weigh-in night. And this week, I was not a happy camper. I was up .6 lbs. I know, all you veteran weight watchers out there are saying “Big deal.” But for me it was a big deal. I had a tough Saturday (lobster bake thing) but the rest of the week I was a model Weight Watcher. Stayed in points; some days I even gave points back to make up for the Saturday, and made sure I ate healthy, stayed away from too much salt, etc. I went walking a couple of times this week too.

Still a gain. Intellectually I know this happens, and I should be ok with it. “That time of the month…” “Water weight gain…” etc. But emotionally, it made me want to throw in the towel and eat a brownie sundae. I didn’t though.

Instead, I thought about all of things that have already changed because I have been on Weight Watchers for a month.

  • My clothes are just a little bit looser.
  • I don’t need as much Zantac anymore because my acid reflux has virtually disappeared.
  • I have more energy
  • I’m more focused
  • I’m proud of myself that I have gained control over my eating
  • I got a compliment from a coworker the other day and that felt really good.

So, I’m staying on program again this week (no big food events this weekend thank goodness) and I’m hoping for the best next week. In the meantime, I’ll continue to be grateful for the good things I’ve gained from being a Weight Watcher and I’ll let go of the .6 pound gain. After all, I’m still 7.6 pounds lighter than I was when I started.

Weight Watcher’s Weekend Challenges and Triumphs

I feel like I’m fixated on weekends in this blog… but for me those seem to be the toughest days to stay on track. Through the week, I’m at work and I’m on a schedule and have pretty much settled into a food schedule as well. But the weekends….

Last weekend I spent 30 hours in a car over four days…kinda tricky to stay on track, and while I didn’t have perfect days, I did better than expected.

This weekend….yikes….was even tougher. I went to a bar/concert on Friday night (the sister I went to see the weekend before was in town and we went out with another brother (I have four brothers and a sister). There was lots of alcohol and six-foot sandwiches (one of my favorites). But I did ok. I stayed away from the sandwich and had a couple of drinks, which I planned for and kept in points.

Last minute though on Saturday, I was invited to a lobster bake down at my brother’s beach club. This is where the real challenge was. I LOVE lobster, but I love it with butter. And corn on the cob, yum.

And even worse, my sister-in-law put noshes on the table to start the festivities. Cashews,  pretzels, cheesy dip and grapes. All in all, more or less healthy foods, but foods that are easy to abuse. I learned something about myself on Saturday.

I can’t get started on the noshes. I can’t stop, no matter how focused I am on my WW goals. I tried to stick to grapes…but those cashews and were calling to me (good fat, right?) and the pretzels with cheesy dip. Another weight watcher I know calls these abuse foods (the ones you just can’t control).

So I ate…. noshes, lobster with butter, lobster bisque (but only a half cup), corn on the cob…

There were successes too. One  was a really, really big one. Knowing I had gone way over points already, I didn’t have dessert and there was homemade cake. And three people asked me if I’d like a piece. I said “no thank you” three times and I really wanted to say “oh yes please….I’ll take the whole thing!” I rewarded myself when I got home that night with a 1-point weight watcher’s fudge bar. Along with my 3-point sandwich, these are a lifesaver for me.

And then I tracked my points and figured out what damage I’d done (and I chose to err on the side of caution, assuming I ate more), and it still wasn’t as horrible as I first thought. On Sunday, I got right back on program.

Fingers crossed, staying on plan all week, I’ll still show a loss. And if not, I won’t be disappointed because I know I’m still doing better by my body than I was before. I’ll be 50 in May. I have a big goal to achieve by then.

Now, I just have to get on the exercise schedule!

Managing A Travel Fast Food Weekend On Weight Watchers – Update

I lost 2 pounds this week! Woo hoo! Better than I expected and a total of 8.2 pounds in 3 weeks. I’m loving this….

And if you read my post last week, you know I was nervous about this week. I drove from NY to Virginia on Friday, picked up my sister and went to North Carolina on Saturday to see my brother in an opera Saturday night, drove back to Virginia on Sunday and back to NY on Monday.

Friday was a breeze. I brought a cooler and packed all of my healthy choice food. It also took me 9.5 hours to get there so it was late when I got in and we had Chinese food (chicken and broccoli for me…the healthiest choice I could think of) and a light beer. Needed that after sitting in traffic. I stayed in points.

Saturday wasn’t too bad, until we got to North Carolina. I was proud of myself. I stayed away from junk food at the rest stops. Dinner was a little tougher. We didn’t have much time before the show so we went to a sandwich place, had paninis and potato chips. But even here, I tried to make a healthy choice (although I did eat the chips) and when I was full, I gave my brother the second half of my sandwich. And of course, after the show, we celebrated with him with a few drinks.

Sunday was a little tougher. McDonald’s for breakfast, Wendy’s for lunch and the rest stops were more tempting… Still I made better choices than I would have if I hadn’t been on Weight Watchers. I had just an Egg McMuffin for breakfast (and a banana that I had snagged at the hotel), a junior cheeseburger for lunch (no fries, no Frosty), and at the rest stop, I opted for a Musketeer bar, which I’d been jonesing for since we left the morning before. A normal dinner, another after-travel drink….

Monday I was able to stay in points again on the way back to NY.

So I used most of my weekly points in addition to my daily points. But, on the advice of my sister, who is a lifelong Weight Watcher, I skimmed some points from Tuesday and Wednesday (not too many) to try to make up some of the extra I ate on the weekend.

And voila! Success. With 30 hours in a car.

Daughter update: She’s lost 6 pounds. And she’ll reach goal way before I do.

Staying on Weight Watchers on a weekend away….

My daughter and I just finished our second week of Weight Watcher’s and we were both pleasantly surprised tonight at our weigh-ins. We knew we had done well this week, making sure we tracked everything and stayed within points….for the most part. The scale was not as generous as it was last week, and that of course is the way it goes. Takes a while to adjust and start listening to the body’s cues. Like this week I just felt thinner and wasn’t as hungry as last week.

I’m now down 6.2 pounds–way cool. As long as I’m tracking, it so far seems pretty easy. But I have a challenge coming up this weekend.

Tomorrow, I’m driving to Virginia to visit my sister (8 hours in the car). Saturday we are driving to North Carolina to see our brother perform (he’s an opera guy) and then back to Virginia on Sunday and back to NY on Monday. Lots of driving….very little walking I’m sure, and lots of temptations along the way. I’m planning now what I’ll bring to eat on my ride. No M&Ms or Doritos this trip. In the past, road trip has always meant junk food fiesta!

I’m braced for the challenge. And I’m sure I will be proud of myself on Monday. In the meantime, any suggestions will be welcome!