Sunday, April 25, 2010

A week off helped get my head back on straight

I took last week off...from everything weight loss related. I didn't post anything, I didn't track or weigh and measure any of my food. I read very few weight loss blogs and commented on even fewer. I worked out three times last week instead of my normal six, and they were light workouts.

After a fitful night of sleep last Monday (I'm sleeping the sleep of the damned again), I woke up up exhausted. My first thought that day was "I'm so tired I just can't do it today." Normally I ignore these thoughts. Exercise has become a habit after two years. That morning I decided maybe it was time to take a break.

I got up and looked at my exercise calendar and realized I hadn't had a day off from exercise since Easter. Fourteen straight days of exercise. My body was sore and tired. My left elbow and shoulder had been aching for days. An old injury that happened about six months ago when I was trying to lift 25-pound dumbbells when I wasn't ready to move up on weights.

My previous week's workouts had been pathetic. Each day was a struggle. Each day I'd written in my exercise journal something negative. "Too hard today!" or "Just not into it." or "Worst workout ever!" I was going through the motions but my heart wasn't in it.

I decided last Monday maybe it was time to ease up on myself a little. In the NRWL4W it says you should take a recovery week between stages. It talks about the necessity of letting the body recover, the connective tissues, nervous system and bones need a week off every once and a while. I've ignored this advice for over two years for fear of falling into another one of my long term bouts of not exercising at all and gaining back weight like it was my job (history repeating itself).

The previous week I lost four pounds and was down to 164.8. If you want to lose one pound you need a 3500 calorie deificit. Multipy that by four and that means I had a 14,000 calorie deficit the previous week. No wonder each workout had been tortuous and miserable. I was starving. I wasn't tracking my food, just eating a lot less.

Last week I was in the mood of "to hell with all of it". The one thing I continued was my ban on sugar. I ate good, healthy food. The cravings are still non-existent, the night-time binges are a thing of the past. I still get hungry, but nothing like when I was hooked on Weight Watcher ice cream bars and other "healthy" junk foods that are full of sugar.

My weigh in yesterday showed I was up 1.4 pounds. I'm not upset or worried about it, I'm not freaking out over the small gain. I needed the added calories. I needed to eat and take a break. I'm finally learning to listen to my body.

Yesterday my workout was probably one of the best workouts of my life. During my hour and forty-five minutes of cardio and strength, I was energized. I felt much stronger than the last several weeks. Taking a week off was probably the best thing I could have done for myself.

Yesterday I was back to tracking my food, making sure I eat enough, but not eating too much. It's a fine line I walk these days between not starving myself and making sure I'm getting in the calories I need, yet still lose weight. It feels good to be back, back in control, back to exercising. Back to being me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My weigh-in and my best weight loss advice

First the weigh-in:

Weight April 10:  168.8

Weight April 17:  164.8

Loss for the week:  -4.0

Total loss:  -74.6

I credit the success of last week to one thing:: NO ADDED SUGAR

It's been six weeks since I've eaten a Weight Watcher ice cream bar or anything with added sugar. Removing sugar from my diet has completely changed my life.

I know this won't work for everyone because:

a.) not everyone is addicted to sugar.

b.) for those people that are truly addicted to sugar, you might not be willing to give it up.

If you have a problem with binging and eating massive amounts of food at one sitting, if you love sweets, and candy, cookies, cake and ice cream are your trigger foods, then you probably have a problem with sugar.

If you want to become normal and live a life free of that insatiable desire for more sugar and more food, then I strongly suggest you start right now and ban added sugar from your life. It's in everything so it takes a little work to eliminate it from your diet, but it's not that difficult.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The 'do' and the Ambien experience

The 'do'
I promise I'll post a picture of the new hair later. Although I'm not sure I like it. I have --- layers! I wondered what took her so long to cut it. Apparently she added layers under the pretense of "cleaning" up the ends.

I thought it looked good when she styled it yesterday. This morning I was very frustrated trying to flat iron many different lengths of hair. My normal five minute process took about twenty minutes.

It's funny, when I was fat if I got a haircut I didn't like, even a half inch shorter than I expected, I would cry. Seriously, I'd actually shed tears over my hair. It was like it was the only part of me that I had any control over. If I hated my hair, I felt 100% ugly because I already hated my body.

Even though I'm not loving this haircut right now, it doesn't bother me. I feel like, oh well, it'll grow back. No big deal. Anyone that knew me before would be completely shocked over this attitude about my hair. Perhaps it's because I don't totally hate my body these days. Even though it's not perfect, I'm loving it a lot more than I did at 240 pounds. :)

The Ambien experience

I've stopped taking Ambien, the prescription sleeping aid. It's dangerous! This morning I woke up and had red stuff all over my hands. It looked liked I'd murdered someone in my sleep.

My fingers were literally "beet red". OMG! I ate the roasted beet dip! I headed into the kitchen and found the container in the refrigerator, with only a couple tablespoons of dip remaining. There was about 3/4 cup in the container when I went to bed. This meant I'd eaten almost the entire 3/4 cup of dip. Considering three tablespoons was 4.5 Points, this isn't a good thing.

Weekend update

Just a quick post before I head out to the gym. cut! Yeah! Two inches off and very blond. I have a new stylist and colorist after ten years with my old ones. The previous stylist refused to cut my hair more than two inches. I finally made the brave move to someone new. If you're a guy, I know you don't understand how difficult this is to to do. If you're a woman, you probably get it. It's like breaking up with a girlfriend. Terribly difficult, and I even felt guilt ridden about it. Glad that's over!

Yesterday I made Roxie's recipe she recommended for Roasted Beet Dip. This is a little piece of heaven on earth. It came out to one Point per tablespoon. The second one was 2.5 Points, the third was 4.5 Points. It's because of the high fat content (oil, walnuts), the Points grew exponentially. Totally worth it though and very healthy. Delicious! I had two tablespoons on a cup of spaghetti squash with a few ounces of turkey. Loved it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Too many words tonight

Each time I go a few days without posting, my mind starts to overflow with topics I want to write about. The more days that pass, the more cluttered my mind. I start a debate with myself, what shall I write about?

1. Should I tell you about the miracle of living a sugar free diet? I know I've already talked about it, but it's so amazing I keep wanting to talk about it more. I feel like I've found the cure for my sickness

2. Or tell you how I went from hating exercise with a passion two years ago to loving it to the point where it's almost another obsession now?

3. Should I share the conversation I had with my husband this morning? The conversation where he basically where he actually said I was selfish since I've lost weight. I don't pay any attention to him now. He said I focus on myself too much. It's a long story, and it was an unpleasant conversation. I'm still a little angry about it, but I'm trying to let it go.

4. My bike ride into a strong headwind this morning. An extremely difficult ride going east, but clear sailing coming back home riding west. Sort of like losing weight, sometimes easy, sometimes so hard I think I'm going to die.

5. My Ambien blackout I had last night where I ate 1/4 of a loaf of Dave's Killer bread but didn't remember a thing (about 500 calories). This morning I wanted to make breakfast and found the empty bread bag. I asked my husband if he ate bread in the middle of the night and why couldn't he have left me just one slice. He said of course he didn't eat bread in the middle of the night (like I was insane). Plus there was a full glass of milk, untouched, on the counter next to the empty bread bag. I don't remember what happened. Scary!

6. My weigh in at Weight Watchers today where I lost 2.2 pounds, down to 168.8 (imagine if I hadn't eaten that bread last night!).

7. The guy at Weight Watchers that made goal today, after six freaking years. He was funny, said remember the Tommy Turtle and Brer Rabbit. Well, he was Tommy Turtle. Plus after investing $2200 in Weight Watchers he decided it was time to get to goal. Cracked me up!

8. The fact that I've only lost 11.6 pounds since January 9, 2010 (after a re-gain of 25 pounds last fall).

9. The weird fact that I'm hooked on that Parenthood show. I'm not a parent. The show comes on too late for me so I watch it on On Demand. So strange that I love this show. Go figure.

10. The miracle of sleep, right up there with a sugar-free diet.

11. I haven't been counting Points. Just eating super healthy, smaller meals, more often. I'm not hungry, no cravings (except I guess I had a bread craving while under the influence of Ambien last night).

It's freaking me out just a little that I don't dream or think about food every waking moment. This is a new experience for me. This week it's back to tracking every single Point, just because that's what I'm suppose to do.

Those were a few of the things I wanted to write about today. There were more, but this post is already too long. Too many words. Time for me to shut up. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Living SF

Yesterday MizFit left me a comment that she couldn't say much about bread because she was GF. I was puzzled. What did GF mean? GirlFriend? GoFer? Oh, I get it! Bread, Gluten-Free. I know several people that have a problem with gluten and are GF.

Saying I'm SF should be acceptable, meaning I'm sugar-free. I've started telling this to my coworkers as they offer me candy, cookies, and other sweet treats on an almost daily basis.

I've always refused them in the past by saying I'm trying to lose weight, but they'd push me and say you can have just one. Come on, just one. I'd still say no, but we'd always have this same stupid conversation. Now I'm telling them I "can't" eat sugar.

When they start questioning me (they're all very thin and healthy), I tell them it's kind of like my peanut allergy. They understand the peanut allergy, how I break out in hives and can't breathe, but they can't grasp my problem with sugar. They can eat 1/4 of a Krispy Kreme maple bar and be fine with it. One of them did that last week, I mean, who eats 1/4 of of a doughnut? None of them actually eat a whole doughnut.

I do eat fruit, even though it has fructose, a natural sugar, it's a slower release into the bloodstream because of the fiber in the fruit. It also has a lot of vitamins and nutrients. I've limited my fruit intake to two or three servings a day. I was eating five or six servings a day. That was definitely too much of a good thing, and I think it contributed to my cravings.

Letting go of sugar has been a miracle for me. The food cravings are gone. I've noticed the biggest changes in the evenings. I don't go on a food scavenger hunt every night in the kitchen, looking for something to feed my cravings. I eat dinner, and then I'm done.

If I'd only known about this forty years ago I think my life would have been a lot calmer, I wouldn't have lost and gained hundreds of pounds over the years. I wouldn't have lived in a constant frantic state of "I've got to lose weight!". I would have been "normal".

If you suffer from cravings and night binging, you should try going completely sugar free. Just for one week to see if you notice any changes. I noticed big changes in just a few days, although those first few days were hell. It gets better as more time passes being SF.

Be sure to read the labels on everything, especially Weight Watcher products. Their snack bars are the worst, the ones that taste like little cookies. The main ingredient is sugar, the second ingredient is corn syrup. Seriously Weight Watchers, what are you thinking selling these products to people trying to lose weight? Shame on you!

If you're telling yourself this would be impossible, you can't live without sugar, think again. I had the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I know.

I could eat an entire cake or an entire batch of chocolate chip cookie dough in one sitting. I know all about not being able to live without sugar. I know it's draw, it's attraction, it's soothing sweetness. I also know the insane, out-of-control cravings it causes. The wanting more and more sugar. For me, it's a serious addiction.

You can do anything you set your mind to, and you can live without added sugar in your diet. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can live sugar free.

Great article
I haven't read the entire article yet, but it looks really good. It's about re-gaining weight, something we can all relate to. Check it out - When Fat Comes Back, March 2010 Women's Health.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Getting control

It's been eight days since I've posted anything. I don't have an explanation as to why I've been so silent. I didn't fall into a vat of Easter chocolate, or have some sort of out-of-control eight crazy day binge.

Actually, it's been the opposite. I'm finally figuring out how to do this, after forty years of trying to eat healthy, the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place.

Weighin 4/3/2010:  170.4

Weekly loss:  0.6 pounds

Total loss:  -69.0

My goal for the week was 169.6. I didn't make it, but that's okay. Considering I was 181.2 four weeks ago on March 6, that's an eleven-pound loss for the month of March. Not too bad for someone that's been going the wrong direction with her weight for the past several months.

I finally feel at peace with my new way of eating. There are a few new things I'm doing that has really helped with my food cravings and binges. I haven't had a binge since I made these changes four weeks ago. It's been a miracle.

1. No added sugar
2. Seven to eight hours of sleep a night
3. Less processed foods
4. Mini-meals and eat more often

Avoiding added sugar has been the easiest for me. The first few days without my beloved Weight Watchers ice cream bars was hell. Even after the first week of being sugar free, I almost bought a box. I'll always be addicted to sugar, but as long as avoid it as much as possible, it's losing it's hold on me.

Getting enough sleep is difficult. Mainly because it really cuts into my free time. Between working full time, working out for at least an hour a day (usually an hour and a half), and preparing healthy food, plus sleeping eight hours, there really isn't much time left during a normal week day.

I've finally realized the importance of sleep. Maybe I miss out on a TV show I wanted to see, or I can't read as many blogs or even post on my own blog, but it's made a huge difference in my binging and weight loss to actually get enough sleep every night.

Processed foods
I still eating processed foods, but I'm a lot more conscious about what's in the processed foods I'm eating. Not all processed food is created equal.

About four weeks ago I was making my favorite Weight Watcher recipe for chicken fajitas. I was crunched for time, trying to get to bed by 8:30pm after getting home at 7pm. I had purchased frozen fajita vegetables. Normally I use fresh bell peppers and onions, but I keep a frozen fajita vegetable mix on hand when I'm in a hurry.

As I was stir frying the vegetables I was reading the label. I wondered why there was 35 calories a serving and each serving was only 1/2 cup. Bell peppers and onions are extremely low in calories.

I read the label: Red peppers, yellow peppers, green peppers, onions, corn syrup. CORN SYRUP! What the hell was corn syrup doing in my vegetables?! The rest of the ingredients (and there were several) were mostly unpronounceable. Now I understood the 35 calories per 1/2 cup.

There are frozen bell peppers and onions without added corn syrup. I'd just been picking up a package without actually reading the ingredients. It's all processed food, some of it is healthier.

Mainly I'm paying more attention to what I'm eating. For example, I traded out my Oroweat Sandwich thins for a slice of Dave's Killer bread. The calories are almost the same, but Dave's bread is a much better choice (see ingredients list for both at the end of this post).

I'm not talking "clean eating". I've read the book on clean eating, and if I had all the free time in the world, I doubt I would spend that much time shopping for and preparing my food. I'm talking about "cleaner" eating. Cutting out as many of the chemicals and additives as possible without making preparing our meals my full-time job.

Six Mini-meals a day
We've heard this for years, eating smaller meals more often. I've been following Lyn's blog about eating six smaller meals a day on her MediFast plan. I decided to give this a try on my Weight Watcher plan.

It's not easy because it seems like I'm eating all the time. Sometimes meetings at work get in the way, or something comes up, but it's my goal to eat about every three hours.

My lunch and dinner are smaller these days, but my snacks are more significant. I try to always eat a carb and a protein together. I'm making sure I get 65 grams of protein a day. These complete snacks/meals with the carb and protein really help me feel satisfied.

None of this is new information. I've known all these things most of my life and you probably have too. The only thing that's new is that I'm actually making it part of my life.

It's been four weeks since I incorporated these changes and it's made a huge difference. The craving for sugar that was once uncontrollable is gone. The starving-to-death hunger I felt on a daily basis is mostly gone too. Sometimes a meal will be delayed, then I'll feel that old familiar hunger that makes me feel crazy. Fortunately it happens a lot less often now.

I'm pretty sure someone will comment, asking how can I live without ever having a cookie again or a piece of candy? The same way a recovering alcoholic can never have a drink again. I'll probably slip, but my intent is to give up sugar completely. I know this won't work for everyone, but it works for me.

I feel like I'm in control these days. This is something I can do for the rest of my life. It turns out it's not about total deprivation; it's about eating healthy food, eating it more often, but in reasonable amounts. Totally do-able.


Which do you think is the better choice?

Oroweat Sandwich Thins ingredient list (also called Arnold's depending where you live):

Dave's Killer Bread ingredient list (Powerseed, my personal favorite):
INGREDIENTS: Organic whole wheat flour, organic cracked whole wheat, water, seed mix (organic flax, organic ground flaxseed, organic sunflower, organic unhulled sesame, organic pumpkin, and organic black sesame seeds), organic fruit juices (organic pear, organic pineapple, organic peach), organic oat fiber, organic vital wheat gluten, organic oats, sea salt, organic cultured wheat, yeast , organic rice bran extract