Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Proof is in the Pudding

Since my last post, I've lost 3 more lbs. (6 total now) and have been feeling really good. The headaches are finally gone and I'm beginning to feel the results a tiny bit with the reward of looser pants and more energy. I just wanted to clear the air here and say that I am no longer doing the cleanse diet - I only lasted 3 days on it and felt horrible. Besides, this is a marathon, not a why should I feel crappy...even for 7 days? If you have been following and reading my previous posts, you know that I have been eating balanced meals of protein, veggies and fruit. And that's about it.

As I said in my last post, I've been really bad about writing things down recently but I'll try to recap my diet these past few days. Monday I skipped breakfast, not intentionally, but because I was busy and preoccupied. I'm sure I had coffee although I seriously can't recall at this point. Monday for lunch I ate a half of a turkey sandwich with a schmear of mayo and a slice of Swiss cheese and a tangerine. That night for dinner I had a salad with a chicken breast, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, a small amount of shredded cheddar and light Italian dressing. After dinner my sweet tooth was really aching (even more than usual). I desperately wanted a bite of my son's dessert - Snack Pack chocolate pudding. I may even be guilty of licking the lid when I opened it for him. Yes, I'm aware that people everywhere do this but they are not in my unfortunate, non-dessert-eating shoes. When he didn't finish it, I was sooooo tempted to take the last three bites...but I did not. Not sure where my strength came from...probably knowing that I'd have to confess my sin here.

Tuesday I had a pear and a banana for breakfast, along with my coffee (and coffee mate), and a whole wheat turkey pita with a slice of Swiss cheese for lunch. I also had a La Croix sparkling water with natural lemon flavor. It's no diet coke but I'm missing that less and less every day. For a snack I had string cheese. Last night when I got home I was starving. I fell ever-so-slightly off the wagon. As I was searching for something to feed my kiddo for dinner, I caught sight of several off-limit items in my pantry ~ a box of Triscuits, a box of Kraft mac and cheese, a month-old Hershey bar...I knew that I had to eat something healthy right then or I'd make a bad decision. I was not in the mood for lettuce (yet again) and the chicken breasts my husband grilled especially for me the night before did not look appealing at all. This is where my best laid plans went slightly awry. I ate about 10 Pepperidge Farm BAKED Parmesan crackers (the serving size was 20 if that makes you feel any better - it certainly does me) and 2 frozen chicken taquitos (not THAT bad...we were out of light sour cream and salsa). Like I said, it could've been worse. I could've eaten that Hershey bar.

Today I had half a plum for breakfast (it wasn't great) and a cup of coffee with coffee mate and Splenda. I gave up Splenda a couple of months before I even started this diet in lieu of real sugar, which I heard is healthier. I'm back on it least for the time being. You see, coffee is like my dessert at this point and I need it sweet, thus the CM and Splenda. It's the only thing keeping me sane. I had a chicken breast for lunch today with a bunch of cherry tomatoes and some red peppers (raw). I topped the veggies with light Italian dressing. I also had a club soda from downstairs. Although I'm not satisfied (one of my friends just came over and was talking about having a piece of chocolate out of some random co-worker's drawer), I'm full. I think this is an important distinction, especially for a dieter. Sometimes you just WANT to eat. It's a complicated tug of war between the brain and the stomach. I don't pretend to understand all the physiological nuances of why we want certain foods when, but I do know that changing your way of thinking about food is critical. Food is fuel...nothing more. In many cultures, and America is no exception, food is made and eaten for enjoyment. And for all the people around the world who cook healthy foods, there are three times as many who cook with cream and butter. Maybe this is where our big problem (pun intended) with obesity stems from. When we can start thinking more about food as sustainment and not as a hobby or entertainment, we will go a long way towards eliminating obesity in this country and all the health problems associated with it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Make Cookies, Not War...

Okay, so as I mentioned, we took the kids to the zoo yesterday. When we sat down for lunch, someone I was with mentioned that she had seen an extremely obese woman during our visit to the petting zoo, who wore a t-shirt that read "Make Cookies, Not War". She then went on to ask "why on earth" anyone that large would want to draw attention to herself with a t-shirt that basically mocked her size. I thought about that for a few seconds and offered this..."maybe she wears it to show people that she can laugh at herself. She probably uses it as a diversion and as a way of denying how she really feels about herself, which I'm sure is very negaitve". She does this by saying to everyone 'yes, I am big...but pay no attention...I have a great sense of humor'. S shrugged, "yeah, maybe".

I thought more about miss T later that evening and I couldn't help but think about all the times that I too, had made jokes about my cellulite or pointed out my bat wing arms to friends with a snicker. And in looking back, I'm sure I did it to show them that these imperfections had not escaped my attention...I was fully aware of them. Furthermore, I think I intended to convey that not only was I comfortable with my jingling arms, I had somehow made the decision to have them...or at least to not care enough to not have them. Why would I do that you ask? Because I felt really poorly about myself and I didn't want to believe that I didn't have any power over my weight/body, which is how I've felt, most of the time (I was in denial, just like miss T). Strange I know, but it seems like something such as one's diet should be easy for her to control. I guess I'm trying to say that the lack of self-control I've felt has sometimes been more embarrassing than the weight itself...and I'm sure miss T felt that way too, at times. She knew that people would perceive her large size as a lack of self-control...and her t-shirt was her way of letting people know that this was a conscious choice she had made, even if it was not. So although I find myself incredibly sad for miss T, because I know deep down she probably loathes herself...or at least her size, I am tempted to give her props...for poking fun at herself (at least on the surface), and for not just giving up and holing up in her family room and eating an entire bucket of fried chicken...especially on such a beautiful day.

Since I'm here writing, I may as well relay my (excellent) food choices today...a little bit of guilt sure goes a long way. I had a piece of toast (whole grain white again) for breakfast with a tsp. of peanut butter and a cup of coffee with fat-free vanilla coffee mate (another weakness for sure, and one I intend to address in the near future). For lunch I had a grilled chicken salad (from Sonic) with a minimal amount of their ranch dressing...which turned out not to be light despite the fact that it was listed on the menu as such. My sister had something infinitely better....I won't go into the greasy, cheesy details, and I remarked that I "hated her" as I munched on my iceberg lettuce. I skipped my favorite drink (next to D.C.), a diet cherry limeade, in favor of Perrier with lemon at home. I had no afternoon snack today (that salad actually filled me up...go figure) and had a chicken fajita for dinner with a small amount of light sour cream. I really, really wanted a D.C. during dinner but somehow resisted even though one of my family members asked why I didn't "just have one?" The reason is easy. If I have ONE, I will have another one tomorrow and one the next day and so on and so forth. All in all ~ a terrific day of healthy eating for me. I do have one small confession though...something that just slipped my mind. Luckily when my sister read my blog from this morning, she was kind enough to remind me about the spoonful of fried ice cream I ate the other night while we were out for Mexican. Sisters are so helpful like that. Thanks sis!

Headed the right direction...albeit slowly

This past week has been filled with highs and lows. I have been both proud and ashamed of myself. I have however, managed to stay inspired this week most of the time (despite my non-perfect dieting) thanks to my outside support system. I can't believe how many notes I've gotten from people. I've gotten emails, FB notes and comments from people I talk to all the time as well as from people I haven't heard from in years. Most of these notes offered encouragement, many people relayed their own weight-loss/gain stories and many of them said I had inspired them, which in turn, inspired me. Funny how that works. It's comforting to know that while weight-loss is such a personal thing (for most people anyway), so many of us have the same stories and share the same struggles.

I finally weighed myself this morning on my new scale and the (not-so) magic number was 171. If I'm going by my original weigh-in (on what may or may not have been a "broken" scale...I think it's pretty close either way)...I have lost 3 lbs. this week. I am trying to take that in stride. I worked hard most days last week however I did have some slip-ups as well. I don't have a personal chef and I don't have eight hours a day to spend with a personal trainer (e.g. Janet Jackson, who dropped 60 lbs. in 4 months!). I do, however, plan to start working out in the next couple of weeks. Besides, everyone knows you're only supposed to lose 1.5-2 lbs. per week when you lose it the "healthy" way. Another thing that has been working against me this week is the fact that I've had family in town which has meant more extravagant-than-usual meals and more meals out.

I should be writing down everything I eat and I did really well with this during the week but have been distracted these past few days while hanging out with the family. I'll give a brief synopsis here of my diet these past few days though - Thursday night we ate at mom and dad's again. I had a small hamburger (no bun), 3 or 4 tomato slices and about 5 potato chips with dip (I won't even try to justify this). On Friday we took the kids to the zoo. I had a pear and a tangerine for breakfast that day and a turkey sandwich on whole wheat for lunch (this was a proud moment - there is pizza and other unhealthy fare there everywhere you turn). That night we went out for Mexican food. I did have about 12-15 chips with salsa and I ordered the chicken fajitas. I ate most of the meat and veggies without tortillas (I had 1 and a half with about a tsp. of sour cream) and water. I did skip the margarita I REALLY wanted and I was also able to say no to all the menu items dripping in cheese (enchiladas are one of my favorite foods so this was no small feat). Saturday I had a piece of toast (whole grain white - not great...but it's all I had) with a tsp. of peanut butter and a tangerine for breakfast. Yesterday for lunch I had a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with a light layer of mayo on one slice of the bread (note: I would normally slather both pieces - love the stuff). I did break down and have a Bud Light in a moment of weakness during a heated game of Mexican Train in the afternoon. It was hot, we were by the pool, you do the math. For a snack yesterday I had a about a cup of Kettle Corn (which reminds me, I had another handful at the zoo where we bought it...), a piece of cheese and a banana. I also had a glass of Perrier with lemon. Last night was my "worst" meal this week and I'm still feeling ultra-guilty about it today (I'm going to use this guilt to my advantage though and really buckle down this week). I had a small slice of beef tenderloin, a salad with a small amount (1 TBSP) of Russian dressing (it had less calories and sugar than my other choice - regular Ranch) but here's the kicker...I had two helpings of my mom's mushroom casserole. Think mushrooms, cheese and A LOT of butter. What can I say? I had really good intentions to skip this side (the salad was actually my idea when my mom was asking what we should have with the tenderloin) but in the end, I was so hungry, I gave in. True to form, I rationalized that our company would soon be gone and I wouldn't be faced with this many temptations once they left, so I could enjoy this now. Very badly done.

I would like to point out that I have not had ONE diet coke in over a week and the only thing I've had to drink is water, club soda and coffee (well, and that one beer I mentioned previously). This is a really big thing for me - and it's also the thing I'm most proud of this week.

I do have a story from the zoo to share (about an obese woman and her t-shirt) but don't have the time right this second to write about it. And besides, I'm still processing my feelings about it. I just wanted to get something up here so that all of you following could stop wondering how much weight I've lost and when my next post would finally come. I'll try to post again tonight or first thing tomorrow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's just a gut feeling...

Day 6 of my diet and still plugging along. Tuesday I ate a banana for breakfast with my cup of coffee (will never give THAT up), a pear for a morning snack and veggies with 2 TBSP. Light Hidden Valley Ranch for lunch. That night I was pretty hungry, as you can imagine, and had a cup of whole wheat macaroni for dinner with half a cup of spaghetti sauce (from the jar) and a pinch (or 3) of parmesan. Went to bed satisfied and let's face it, it's nice not to be awoken in the night by stomach grumblings.

Yesterday I had a hard-boiled egg, a handful of blueberries and a small turkey sausage patty for breakfast (thanks to another dieting co-worker who's much more organized than I am). Oh, and coffee of course. For lunch I ate a small whole wheat pita with some lean turkey and a slice of melted swiss cheese plus a small bowl of veggies (peppers and cherry tomatoes again - that's kind of my thing).

Now up until this point I haven't really gone into detail about what I'm cutting out. I have cut out all processed foods (with the exception of that spaghetti sauce on Tuesday night), all sugars that aren't natural and booze. Some of you are saying to yourselves "booze...really"? Well...yes. For the the time being at least, I plan on cutting it out. It's not all that difficult for me. I'm not a big drinker unless it's social and even then, I can usually take it or leave it. Don't get me wrong, there are exceptions to this rule (e.g. last December when I drank a vodka drink every night for a month). What has been the most difficult thing to cut out (right after chocolate, that is) is diet Coke. I miss the fizz...I miss the beautiful shiny can, I miss the caffeine (at least the daily headaches have finally stopped). So yesterday I was having serious d.c. withdrawls. Light bulb! I suddenly remembered one of my friends who used to drink club soda with a twist at her desk (she sat right next to me). At this point, even that sounded good to least I'd get my fizz fix! So I went and got a huge fountain club soda from the cafe downstairs and put a lemon slice in it and after drinking about half, my carbonation craving was sated. I threw the rest in the trash. Now if that had been d.c., I would've drank the entire thing, thirsty or not, because it's laced with aspertame and boy is that good stuff!

Yesterday afternoon I had a pear and a piece of string cheese for a snack. I still have family in town and went to my mom and dad's for dinner again last night. My mom had made a homemade (pre-bought crust) pizza that was piled high with like 4 different types of meat. For the side, she made an awesome salad with feta and all the good fixings. I wasn't all that hungry at dinner (go figure) but took a piece of pizza and a big helping of salad. Well...bigger than I would've normally taken. I felt guilty right away taking the slice of pizza but I rationalized (yet again) that I had barely ingested any calories during the day so why not? I ate the salad first. I ate a bite of pizza here and there and by the half way point, I was done. I was full and actually listened to my gut and stopped eating. It took a conscious effort to stop but I did (it also helped that the pizza wasn't fabulous...thanks mom!).

I'm reading this book right now called The Principal of the Path. It's about listening to your gut, not when it comes to food (although I think this may somehow apply) but when it comes to everyday decisions. What to eat or not eat is a decision we're faced with every day. And although it may not seem as important as other life-changing decisions, such as how much to spend on a house or whether or not you should buy that $400 purse, it's the same voice telling us not to do something (like eat that cupcake). Which brings me to my point. Stopping eating when I'm full has always been a huge challenge for me. My eyes are often bigger than my stomach so I tend to take/order large portions. Rather than stopping when I'm full, sometimes even when I'm stuffed, I usually finish what's on my plate...particularly if it's something really good. Now I know full well that I'll be miserable in an hour or two but I do it anyway, ignoring that inner voice. Why? I wish I knew. It's not like there's a shortage of food in this country (at least not for most people thankfully). It's not as if I don't know where my next meal's coming from. If I only ate half and got hungry again in an hour, I could just walk over to the fridge and get something else.

I promise I will talk about how much weight I've (hopefully) lost in the next post. My scale has been in storage since we put our house on the market last November but I finally bought a new one on my lunch break today. At this point I can't even be sure 174 lbs. was my starting weight as I was recently informed that my parents' scale (the one I did my initial weigh-in on) is "broken". God, if it's higher than that, I'm gonna have to make another batch of soup.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Sorry it has taken me a few days to get another post up. I have been busy sitting on the couch with a blank stare due to the lack energy I've had since beginning this diet. Ok, I'll be honest...I didn't have much energy beforehand.

I started the Sacred Heart diet on Saturday...which is basically fruit, vegetables and this disgusting soup that you make from chicken broth, veggies and a few potatoes. There really is no broth to speak of's pretty gross. I only ate it three times and couldn't bring myself to do it again. Let me just stop right here and say that this is a cleanse diet and is only meant to be followed for 7 days. I know full well that this type of diet is not sustainable (even if you have some sick desire for it to be) therefore I only planned to do it for a week or two to jump start my weight loss. Now...back to the're supposed to get a baked potato - with BUTTER - for dinner that first night. Thank God. That's the only thing keeping me from eating an entire watermelon, which I would've paid for dearly later on (bananas are not allowed the first few days. Of course - the only fruit that can make you feel semi-full, if only for 20 minutes). I read the diet plan over quickly - mainly just to get a list for the grocery store. That first day I ate fruit and soup (that's all you get)...I had a pear, an apple, 3 tangerines and some of that soup. I was so looking forward to my baked potato all day! I was out that afternoon so I called home and had my husband put the potato in the oven so it would be ready for attack upon my arrival home. So I get home and quickly glance at the diet plan again (just to see if a piece of bread has somehow magically appeared beneath the baked potato) only to see that you don't get a potato until DAY 2! I was so starved, I ate the thing anyway...peels and all.

Sunday I had veggies - cut up peppers, cherry tomatoes and some more soup. I also had another (leftover) baked potato for lunch. Oh and a piece of pizza. I knew it was wrong but true to my past dieting indiscretions, I bad can one little piece of pizza be? It only has two slices of pepperoni for crying out loud. More on this later. Now, I know since I technically ate my potato on day 1 that I shouldn't have had another on day 2 but at this point I've already modified the diet slightly in my head (because that's what dieters do). Sunday night I had more veggies - more peppers and cherry tomatoes on a bed of spring mix and a chicken breast. Oh..and two or maybe four bites of my son's hamburger.

Monday I eat a banana, 3 tangerines and a pear in the morning. For lunch I have more cut up raw red, green and yellow peppers and cherry tomatoes with 3 TBSPs. of Light Hidden Valley Ranch to dip them in. I have an apple for a snack in the afternoon. Last night family was in town so we ate at my parents' house. I ate 5 pieces of asparagus, a pork chop and a small baked potato with a couple TBSPs of light sour cream (no butter). I did not eat the skins this time though as I was full.

Okay - this may not be all that interesting...hearing about what I've consumed the past three days but let me get to something that might be. Let me just say first that there aren't that many women at my office but all of the women there are perpetually on a diet of some sort. We talk about food often...about what we're eating or NOT eating, about how much we're exercising or NOT exercising, etc.

So yesterday morning a friend of mine at work comes up to my cube and is relaying a story about an acquaintance of hers (who she cannot stand) who claims to be dieting but cheats "all the time." I'm thinking right away....she doesn't sound like all THAT bad of a's not a crime to it? She says that she was at a mutual friend's child's birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese last weekend and this "acquaintance" was there. My friend goes on to tell me that when she went to A's wedding several years ago, she was about a size 10-12. Now three kids and some odd years later, she's about a 16-18. Hey, it happens. She says that A claims to be on a diet but proceeds to eat an ENTIRE SLICE of pizza, which gets me thinking about the piece of pizza I cheated with last weekend. I feel the need to defend A. I say, "I don't see how eating one piece of pizza is that detrimental to a diet. Better to cheat with ONE piece of pizza now that to eat an entire pizza a month from now when you snap." My friend semi-agrees with a shrug but says that A then proceeded to wash down the pizza with a cupcake. Okay - I can't really think of a defense for this, at least at the time of our conversation I couldn't. Of course I confessed that I too had eaten a piece of pizza last weekend despite my own diet...and only one day in, I might add. I'm telling you - complete honesty is my goal here. *sigh* I guess this is where I confess to taking that tiny little bite of SUGAR FREE dark chocolate almond bark on Saturday afternoon. Don't worry - my head hangs low as I write this.

But I've had some time to think about it. And though I may not be able to defend poor A's decision to eat a cupcake on her diet (after all that's just pure sugar and empty least pizza has cheese...which is good for you, calcium and all), I can understand how she may have concluded that it was all right. See, when you're on a perpetual diet, you play mind games with yourself. You can argue (to yourself) that one cupcake is okay on a special occasion (e.g. a friend's child's party). You can justify eating this or that just once is perfectly fine. And it is, when you're not actively trying to lose weight. You're just sabotaging yourself when you reach for something like a cupcake. But you do it anyway...common sense be damned. This in itself is what makes dieting so difficult. It's not just the physical addiction to food, it's all the mental b.s. that goes with it. Until you fix your head, you won't be able to fix your body. Now if only there was a "For Dummies" book for THAT....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A little background, please....

This isn't going to start out like your regular weight-gain story. Contrary to most dieting profiles I've read, I was not overweight until well into adulthood. I started out as a skinny kid. I ate Oreos, Doritos, pizza...whatever I wanted and was naturally thin. I credit this to my youth and all the time we spent playing outside - riding bike, kick the can, sledding, you name it. I ate poorly (maybe not so much poorly as just not "clean". We ate meat and potatoes every night, pancakes for breakfast, ordered a lot of take-out...) but I maintained my slender body until sometime after college (I wore a size 2 when I graduated).

At some point in my early 20's, I started taking Depo Provera (the birth control shot) and this was what was, in my mind at least, the beginning of the end. Weight gain is a common side effect of DP and although my doctor warned me I might gain 5 or 10 lbs., which I probably could've lived with, I gained 30. In 3 months. When I went back in, he said, "in a small number of women, weight gain can be substantial. I guess you're just lucky enough to fit into that category." And then, and I remember this distinctly, he smiled. Nice. Well, needless to say, I never got another shot but by then substantial damage had been done.

A year or two after the DP debacle, I got a desk job, ate many late dinners out (what single, 20-something doesn't right?) and the rest is history. Which brings us to now. Nearly 15 years later, I am happily married, have a two-year-old son and still have that desk job. And here it is - something so ugly I can barely admit it to myself...but in the name of cleansing and liberation I'm going to say it here - I weigh 174 lbs. Gulp. I have never told anyone except my husband that number - not my sister, not my best friends. Yes, I'm on the verge of tears typing this but I'm sure I'll feel relieved to have gotten that off my chest soon....hopefully in the very near future.

I have attempted many half-a$$ed diets in the past and I won't go into the boring details (but among them are Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and many attempts at "just eating right") but suffice it to say, I have never lost more than 15 or 20 lbs. and I always gained it back eventually. I have gone through all the emotions - self-loathing, denial, telling myself I am happy at this weight....all of them. And you know what, sometimes I have been happy overweight. I met my husband weighing about 10 lbs. more than I weigh now, I married him, I had an awesome pregnancy which resulted in an awesome child and generally, I do feel pretty. But deep down I have wanted to be thin for a long time. I want to wear a bathing suit without seeing all my rolls reflected in the sliding door...I want to wear designer jeans....I want more energy and less weight on my poor knees.

Why chronicle all this you ask...for the world to see?? Because I hope that by doing so I will increase my chances of achieving my weight-loss goal (44 lbs.) and if I can help or inspire people along the way....(or even make them laugh) it will have all been worth it. Plus I love to write so this is strangely cathartic for me on many levels.

Stay tuned to hear about the "cleanse" diet I started yesterday in the name of jump-starting my weight loss. I am way too emotional (just had an breakdown, with tears and everything, when my husband came in and asked "why are you doing this blog?") just now to fill you in. Plus I have low blood sugar.