Monday, March 8, 2010

The changes I have

Food, my least favorite topic of all. But the one that everyone wants to talk to me about. As soon as people learn I have lost upwards of 60 pounds the first question is what diet are you on (to which I usually roll my eyes and sigh, as the word diet is something I am trying so hard to avoid).

I have tried very hard through all this not to look at it as a "diet" or even a short term way of life, I am trying very hard to change my approach to food and what I eat and when I eat, because I have no desire to reach my goal and then backslide. I think that is the hardest thing for people around me to understand. I hear on a daily basis, but just think when you get there you can start having dessert again, or that this is just for the short term. I can't let myself think that way, now or in the future. This has to be a genuine lifestyle change or this is all a waste of time, effort and a lot of money. So what have I tried to change...

The amount I eat - this is still my biggest challenge. I have already admitted multiple times, I don't like having to eat. I am never hungry and it is work for me. I was also raised believing the math less weigh less. Let's be honest, most everyone who sees a fat person makes the assumption they are that way from over eating. That we are all fat slobs who sit around the table gorging ourselves to no end. And even though that wasn't my style at all, I still bought into the mindset.

But I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew better all along. I have never eaten enough to weigh what I do/did and certainly not enough to gain the weight I was. One of the facts Gui reminds me of regularly (when I am stressing gaining a pound or two) is that to truly gain fat you have to eat 3500 calories extra. So there is no way when I was eating 800 - 1000 max a day all the weight I gained was fat from what I was eating. There had to be more to it.

What I have learned over the last few months, is that you can gain weight from eating too little as easily as from too much. That when the body is given less than it needs it changes how food is metabolized, how it is stored, and how the body protects itself and converts calories that a normal person would burn into fat to store up for perceived starvation.

As ironic as it sounds, I started losing weight when I started eating!!!!!

When I eat - Another myth that has been pushed on us by groups like weight watchers and Richard Simmons is that we have an allotted number of calories (or points) in a day and that as long as when we go to bed at night we have crossed everything off that list (or given away all the cards in the deck) and no more it has been a good day. That the sum at the end is the important part. It's not the case, and it took me a while to get that.

I was always a night eater. I hate breakfast, I am usually working during the day so I don't think about meals, and then I would have a huge dinner and snacks afterwards. Even after I started with Gui, I was not going over the calorie number we set (if anything I was under) but I was having nearly all of it in one meal and I couldn't get why that was a problem. It took him putting it in terms I use at work (budgeting and working to the task level) before I truly got it. Looking back now, I realize that how I was doing it before was as stupid as planning a 2000 mile car trip, but not getting gas until 1800 miles in. It doesn't work! Your body uses an even amount of fuel all day and needs it provided that way to work properly.

I now work very hard to eat more evenly throughout the day, 3 meals and 2-3 snacks of even calorie proportions. And I also do not play "catch up". If  I didn't have breakfast those calories are gone for the day. The body can't go back and burn what you were supposed to eat at another time. Personally I think this is the change overall that has made the most difference in my weight loss.

What I eat - I am not any "diet". I am not avoiding carbs, I am not doing cleanses or only eating a certain color food. Those are all fads and can not be maintained long term and be healthy. I am just trying to learn to eat better, to eat more balanced and to make smarter choices.

My first smarter choice was giving up soda and fruit juices. I used to go through 2 six packs of soda a day, first coke, then I moved to gingerale. After giving up the soda I was living on cranapple juice. The first 20 lbs I lost came off just by giving up those empty calories and switching to water.

My second vice I have tried to let go of is desserts. I love ice cream, I love pudding, I love cheesecake and I Iived for chocolate - OMG how I lived for chocolate. But the reality is again, they have no redeeming values. They have empty calories, and for my body even beyond the calories they cause problems. I am very prone to high insulin and low blood sugar (most carb cravers are) and that combination means everything high in sugar and carbs has a tendency to be stored as fat. Even fruits, which we all grew up thinking were the perfect food, can be a problem in excess or if not paired with some kind of protein or fat to slow down how they are processed.

I now try for balance  - particularly with the percentages of protein, fat and carbs. I journal everything I eat using a website I was shown in my first meeting with Gui ( and no matter how bad the day is going I am honest and put it down, there is no point in lying about it. I will admit I have skipped one day in 3 months because I ate so little I was ashamed to journal it, but otherwise I have stuck to the journal and it has been a great help to me. I do not use it to beat up on myself for what I did wrong, but to help me try to get better about it. It lets me see where I am off balance or missing the marks.

Acceptance of my battle with food - the part of all this I am slowly coming to terms with is that this is never going to be easier for me. Food is always going to be a challenge that I have to manage. My body while it is getting healthier, is what it is and those things that are just genetic or emotional or whatever, like my hatred for eating, are probably with me for life. I am probably never going to be a fan of breakfast, I am probably never going to be hungry when I should be. But part of the solution is realizing these things, and being ready to cope with them. That is where I am trying to get now, seeing these changes as just part of changing me, not a temporary diet, not something to hide, just me!


  1. I'm going to try that my plate site.. I've put in today and it seems pretty good..

  2. chocolate may be empty calories...but like I always say..all things in moderation..means I get a serving of empty calories once in

  3. That's helpful Gui....I need you tempting me too *huge smile*

  4. I always have to remember that "diet" is one of those 4 l4eeter words that you really have to avoidfrom time to time. It is a new lifestyle that we have to adopt. Our bodies have been biologically designed to fight starvation, that is why we love to store fat!
    What I was told, and what works for me, is that proteins are what fills me up faster, and that it is not necessary to give up the foods we love as long as we keep them in balance. I no longer need to eat a one pound bag of Hershey's Kisses to enjoy them, one is more than enough.
    However, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and unfortunately, American breakfasts are either high in fat and carbs or ignored. Just look at the commercials for cereal that the kids are bombarded with on TV-it is healthier to eat the box they come in than what is inside!
    People forget that while we are asleep our bodies are still working. I have come to love a small bit of tuna in the morning for protein, some salad for roughage and perhaps, a small orange or other fruit. Maybe one scrambled egg and a slice of whole grain bread or a small bowl of oatmeal instead of a huge omelet, a bagel or 2, and more donuts!
    But all this change takes time, struggle and a lot of temptation. Sometimes it reminds me of the Abbott and costello routine where Abbott tells costello that when he goes into a bar, the devil goes in with him and Lous says that that is okay as long as the devil buys his own drinks! Believe me, I still ache for a good bakery extravaganza orgy of danishes and fresh bread! It's normal to have cravings. Sometimes you want to hold that donut up in front of your face and say, "I'm stronger than you are!" like smokers wantinf to quit will carry a cigarette in their pockets. But donuts crumble and you can still eat them! LOL!
    Keep up the good work while you get those pounds off Pam!
    I'll see you soon!