Tag Archives: nutrition

Once More. With Feeling!

When I first lost 94 pounds three years ago, my lifelong friend Rebecca was one of the people who encouraged me to write this blog to share how I lost the weight and how I was successfully keeping it off. It was a little difficult to write all of that because I’d already lost the weight and really couldn’t remember the struggle step-by-step; so, I wrote most posts from memory, sharing some of the technical information, but omitting a great deal of the feelings because, frankly, I couldn’t remember them at that point. It was kind of like trying to describe child-birth a few months afterwards. You can’t really remember just how ridiculous the pain actually was or maybe you just refuse to believe that that level of pain actually exists. Anyway, guess what! That’s all about to change!!

And here’s why: today I went to my new general practitioner. I haven’t had a regular doctor in a few years and thought I should find one for regular check-ups and that sort of thing. So, I went doctor shopping. Of course, they did the height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen saturation stuff. Everything was just lovely…everything except the weight.

Friends, in the last twelve months I have gained 57 pounds. I can tell you’re not picking yourself up off the floor like I did, but I’m sure you can feel at least a little of my pain, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, and just plain old irritation. How did I let that happen?! How did I put that much weight back on?!

The same way I took it off – one ounce at a time, one bite at a time, one decision at a time. Taking the weight off, I made good decisions about what went into my body and how active I was. This year, however, I made poor decisions by eating carelessly and mindlessly, and by lying to myself about my level of activity.

Since I’ve been to that facility before, Dr. Allie could see where my weight was once 225 (although not my highest of 236), then went down to 165 (although not my lowest of 144), then came up again to today’s weight of 201*. He commented that, clearly, I could make it happen and asked what I wanted his role in this process to be. He liked that I didn’t want any meds to help me and that I wanted him to help monitor my progress and my blood numbers. He’s a whirlwind who, before I knew what was happening, had given me a list of his weight loss strategies (which I’ll share tomorrow) and who challenged me to start running again. He invited me to bring my dog Ellie and to join him and many of his other patients in a 5K on March 19. I really enjoy running; so, I’m in.

In the last year, I’ve talked a few times about starting over and getting back on track; but, you and I both know that I didn’t do it. That was all noise and I was not walking the walk, even though I know that I feel so much better with better fuel in my body, with stronger muscles and with a lower body weight. This time, though, I have someone local to help keep me honest and to whom I am accountable – I even have my follow-up appointment scheduled already to check my progress.

As for the blog, for those of you not on LoseIt! I’ll be sharing my food and exercise journal, which was key to my success before. And this time, Rebecca, I’ll be chronicling the struggle as it happens.

So, here we go again. Let’s do it once more. This time with feeling!

 

 

* I have hesitated (okay, refused) to share my actual weight before on account of I’m a woman and I didn’t want that gawdawful number actually out there. After all, we live in a world of 110 pound, 5’11” perfection and, honey, I ain’t even close – not in any plane of the multiverse. But, here’s the thing, what I hear most from readers that I know and from readers I haven’t yet met is that you value my honesty. If I hide my actual weight from you, then I’m not being as honest as I think we all need to be about our weight and body image struggles. At 144 pounds, I am thin enough. I’m in a size 6 and I feel great. If I were thinner, I would look sick. In truth, there were those who said I didn’t look too healthy as a size 6. (I respectfully disagreed.) Anyway, the ugly truth is that on this day, I weighed in at 201 and unless I grow another foot taller (and at 48, I’m pretty sure that my days of vertical growth spurts are over), that weight is just too high. So, whatever your weight, know it, own it, and either love it or join me and change it.

Lamentations of a Hasty Shopper

Remember how on just Monday I told you that I was avoiding wheat because it made me feel “bloated, gassy, and achy?” Yeah, well, when I was shopping on Sunday, apparently, I forgot.

Actually, I didn’t forget. I was careless.

One of my favorite breakfasts is a bowl of hot cereal with mashed banana, milled flax seed, chia seeds and cinnamon. Most of the time, that hot cereal is steel cut oats; however, when my sister visited in June, she left a bag of Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Wheatless cereal and I really like it. I like it and I’m out of it. The logical thing, then, is to buy some more when I’m shopping on Sunday, right? And that’s what I thought I did.

Except I didn’t.

wheat2808I mistakenly picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli. Guess what the first ingredient is. Whole grain wheat. Guess what the eighth ingredient is. Whole grain triticale (wheat). And because I’m just that pig-headed, I made a big bowl and ate it anyway.

To quote Pretty Woman Vivian Ward: “Big mistake. Huge!”

A couple of hours later, I almost felt like I was having a heart attack. I’ve heard that one symptom of a heart attack is that if feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest. Well, I didn’t have an elephant on my chest, I had a rapidly expanding balloon in my chest. I’m completely serious when I tell you that it hurt to breathe and that I could not take a deep breath. With the Macy’s Day parade float filling in my thorax, there was just no room for my lungs to expand. The discomfort and occasional twinges of acute pain where so disruptive that I actually had to leave work.

Yes, you read that right. I had to take sick time because of cereal.

Now, as I told you some time ago, my sister discovered last year that her knees hurt more when she eats wheat. Then, a couple of months ago, I told you that I had found that I suffer similar (though less severe) symptoms when I eat wheat myself. My hands and feet swell. My knees and feet hurt, and I feel bloated. I’ve done a little experimenting here and there to see if those symptoms hold true anytime I eat wheat and they do. However, I have never had a reaction like I did yesterday.

And I won’t have it again.

I’m pig-headed about a lot of things, I’ll admit that freely. However, I’m no so pig-headed that I’m going to put myself in that kind of pain again. I don’t buy a lot of processed food; however, from this point forward, I will read the labels of the processed food I do buy far more carefully. Shop in haste, repent in leisure. And, honey! Do I ever repent?!

So. Now I have this nearly full bag of Bob’s Muesli. Any takers?

From The Black Knight to Varuca Salt

What a weekend!  I had planned to be at a family gathering; however, about five hours after lunch on Friday, I became violently ill.  The abrupt and violent onset of symptoms, as well as the timing, lead me to believe that I might have had some kind of microscopic hitchhiker on my lunch of salad greens, raspberries and slivered almonds.  Whatever the cause, I was effectively down for the count until yesterday, at which point, my appetite became Varuca Salt.

This happened a couple of times during my first big reduction.  I would have these cravings that made me feel almost panicky.  And what did I crave?  Red meat, the greasier, the better.  Bratwurst cured the cravings both times.  Yesterday, a small burger made from ground chicken and feta did the trick.

Our bodies will often tell us what they need, I think.  Sometimes we call it “having a taste for” something.  Sometimes we call it a craving.  Whatever we call it, I believe it is direct communication from our bodies addressing some deficiency. The communication I got yesterday was urgent – cellular Varuca Salt screaming, “I want it now!”

While we can’t be at the mercy of cravings, we certainly have to address them because they just don’t go away.  From time to time, my body will tell me that it needs Cheetos.  I’m pretty sure it’s lying to me. Still, I have to address the craving before it becomes a monster.  More often than not, some salted nuts will do the trick.  My body just wanted something salty and it asked for what it prefers: Cheetos – the puffy kind.  But, in a pinch, it will take the mixed nuts.

Ice cream cravings can be addressed with a container of yogurt put into the freezer or even a frozen banana.  Chocolate cravings can be annihilated with a small piece of dark chocolate or even an apple.  It depends on if my body wants the chocolate or the sugar.

veruca-salt-2On occasion, though, cravings have fangs.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  I try all the healthful alternatives, but my body just giggles and says, “Nice try, chica. Now, hustle on down to the store and get me some M & Ms.  Chop! Chop!”  So, I hustle on down to the store.

Here’s where the individual servings come in REALLY handy.  I can get a small bag of M & Ms and that will quiet the craving.  I don’t have to get the King Size or the Front End Loader Size.  The regular one is good.  A single serving of a quality ice cream works.  I find that those tiny Haagen Dazs work better than the same size of some other brands since the ice cream is both richer and denser.  Once I enjoy the single serving, I’m good to go.

The body wants what it wants.  I just don’t always know exactly what it’s asking for when it makes its demands. Still, I can address the needs without becoming a slave to the cravings, creating further ones with sugar crashes or eating myself into bigger pants.

Let’s Eat – 1

I apologize.  I meant to publish this yesterday, but awoke with an elephant sitting on my sinuses.  That kind of blew the whole day.  I’m hoping I got you before you did your shopping for the week.

This week, I’m listing seven breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. I am also listing seven mid-morning, mid-afternoon and evening snacks.  I am not going to break it down into meals on any given day at this point and I’m not listing calorie values.  My goal this week is to just get the menu put in.  As we move along, I’ll add calorie counts to the meals.  You can then mix and match to get close to your calorie requirement.

This is extremely important: your calorie requirement may differ from mine.  You must meet or get close to your requirement.  As I discovered, if you eat too few calories, you do not lose weight.  You get tired, cold and grumpy.  Nobody likes that.  Eat what you need.  Adjust amounts of ingredients in these meals to ensure that you are eating enough.

Now, here are some ideas for food for your week.

Breakfast:

  • 1 medium egg, whole 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup yellow sweet pepper, 1/4 cup white onion, 2 slices of thin bacon, 1 mini bagel
  • 1 cup of cooked old fashioned oatmeal, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp flax meal, 1 small mashed banana
  • 3/4 cup Cheerios, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cantaloupe, 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 2 whole eggs, 1 slice of thin bacon
  • 1 cup of cooked old fashioned oatmeal, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp flax meal, 1 diced apple
  • 2 square waffles, 1/2 cup of diced strawberries

Morning Snack:

  • 1 serving mango Noosa yogurt
  • 1 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 medium apple, 1 piece Baby Bel cheese
  • 1 cup grapes, 1 piece light string cheese
  • 1 navel orange, 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 medium apple, 10 almonds
  • 1/2 cantaloupe, 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
Vary your food choices to keep meals interesting
Vary your food choices to keep meals interesting

Lunch:

  • 4 oz baked chicken leg quarter, 2 cups steamed kale, 1 cup steamed zucchini, 1 cup steamed yellow squash
  • 3 cups salad greens, 1 cup seedless red grapes, 1 oz brie, 5 crushed almonds, 2 tbsp raspberry vinaigrette
  • 2 cups salad greens, 2 boiled eggs, 2 tbsp shredded carrots, 1/4 cup chopped yellow sweet pepper, 10 grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup cucumbers
  • 10 grape tomates, 3 oz mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, 1 piece Wasa bread
  • 2 cups salad greens, 1/4 cup red bell peppers, 1/4 cup yellow bell peppers, 1/4 cup onion, 1/2 cup black beans, 1 oz shredded cheese, 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 can chicken noodle soup, 1 slice Wasa bread, 1 piece Baby Bel cheese
  • 2 tablespoons hummus, 1 cup sliced red bell peppers, 10 baby carrots, 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers

Afternoon Snack:

  • 1 serving mango Noosa yogurt
  • 1 piece Wasa bread, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1 tbsp sugar-free jelly
  • 1 medium apple, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 5 dried dates, 10 almonds
  • 10 baby carrots, 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1 piece Wasa bread, 1 piece Baby Bel cheese
  • 1 cup dark chocolate almond milk

Dinner:

  • 2 cups spaghetti squash, 1/2 cup Paul Newman’s Sockarooni sauce
  • 4 oz lean beef hamburger patty, raw baby spinach, 1 slice tomato, 1 slice onion
  • 1 cup chopped chicken, 2 cups salad greens, 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, 1/4 onion, 1/4 cup salsa, 1 oz tortilla chips
  • 4 oz baked swai, 1/2 cup tropical fruit salsa, 1 cup steamed asparagus
  • 1 sliced eggplant, 2 tbsp lutenica, 2 oz shredded mozzarella, 1 sliced sweet onion
  • baked chicken breast, 1 cup glazed carrots, 1 cup steamed collards, 1/2 slice bacon, 1 tbsp barbeque sauce
  • 4 oz steak, 1 cup steamed green beans, 1 cup steamed yellow squash

Evening snack:

  • small apple, cinnamon
  • sliced, baked sweet potato, cinnamon
  • 1 cup blueberry Kefir
  • 1 cup grapes, 1 piece light string cheese
  • low-fat microwave popcorn
  • 1 serving Oikos caramel yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 serving Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich

Nutrition and the Forty Hour Work Week

Until last week, I was unemployed for a few months.  During that time, I was shocked to discover how quickly I fell out of rhythm with the rest of the world.  It was so simple to go to bed a little later, sleep a little longer, take a quick nap after I got all caught up on Castle, NCIS, Property Brothers and  The Mentalist.  I was sedentary.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and how much I wanted.  I gained weight.

Last week, I started not only a new job, but also a new career.  I’ve gone from aviation to financial services and I am loving it.  I’m working with a tremendous group of professionals who are constantly training and helping me.

Clock made wih food

I have also gone from spending most of my time alone to spending at least nine hours a day with other people.  I’ve gone from an industry I knew a great deal about to one that is full of new concepts, new laws, new products and new opportunities.  At the end of a full day of interacting and learning, I’ve got to admit, I’m exhausted.

I take my lunch and my morning and afternoon snacks to work with me.  Those meals are well thought-out and balanced.  It’s the others that are falling between the cracks.

I have eaten an embarrassing volume of Cheerios this week.  More often than not, both breakfast and dinner have been cereal with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  Evening snack is a stick of string cheese.  While I’m not killing my calorie count with this, I’m not helping my body.  I’m not giving it the fuel it needs to operate efficiently and healthfully.  And, isn’t that what this is about?  Getting healthy?  Giving my body what it needs so that I can live a longer, healthier life?  Yep.  The last time I checked, that was the ultimate mission.

To help me resolve this nutritional short-fall and to pluck out a bad habit before it takes root, I have been working on a menu for next week.  I will share that with you on Saturday.  For this menu, I’ll be breaking it down to seven breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as 21 snacks.  I’m not going to plan them out day by day this time.  To get it all really balanced, I’ll have to do that in the future, but if I wait to do anything until I can do that, it’ll be weeks.  So, since even baby steps in the right direction are progress, this will be my first baby step: a week’s worth of mix and match meals.

I know that the planning will be very helpful for me and I hope it will be helpful for you, as well.  Will it be?

Who Is That Fat Woman?

Me and my dad on Memorial Day 2011
Me and my dad on Memorial Day 2011

I’ve had a weight problem almost all of my life; however, when I saw photos from a family Memorial Day event in 2011, I was surprised to see how big I had gotten.  In my mind, I was around a size 14.  In the real world, I was a size 20 and still going up.  Surprised as I was, I was not motivated to make any kind of real change.

Oh, sure.  I told myself I was dieting and cut out my daily Snickers bar, but that was really it.  You see, that was kind of my life-long pattern.  The Big Diet Lie, as it were.  Don’t look at me like that.  You know you’ve done it, too.  “Oh, no more lasagne for me.  I’m on a diet.”  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you scarf an entire box of low-fat cookies.  Hey, but they’re low fat.  Stop it. You know you don’t even believe that.

I had lost significant amounts of weight using both The Diet Center program and Nutrisystem when I was in my twenties.  With the Diet Center program, I cooked my own food.  Nutrisystem was just like it is now – super, super easy. I just wasn’t commited enough to myself to keep the weight off with either program.

When I made the decision this time to actually lose weight, I remembered the food list from the Diet Center program. Unfortunately, their store fronts have long gone out of business and the books are no longer in print.  So, I went to abebooks.com (my most favoritest book site) to get a copy of the cookbook and of the program guide.  The books are written by Sybil Ferguson who devised the program for her own health.  I also bought a book called Your Body Knows Best about eating for your blood type, metabolism and heritage.  I combined those two programs and came up with a group of foods that work for me.

The short description of the list is this: lots of fresh fruits & vegetables, no canned foods or premade sauces (they hide all kinds of sugar, sodium and preservatives in canned and jarred food – read the labels, they”ll scare you to death), meat-free Mondays (or just some day of the week), fish one day a week, no more than one diet soft drink a day (down from 6 or 7 cans a day!), and absurd amounts of water.  A daily multi-vitamin ensured that my vitamins and minerals weren’t all flushed out by the copious amounts of water I drank.  I also took flax seed and fish oil supplements to help curb cravings.  My body craves red meat; so, I eat it.  My dad had a calf slaughtered before it got into the meat processing system.  The cuts are leaner from this grass-fed calf (which also hadn’t been treated with all those antibiotics necessary for cattle in stockyards); however, even with fattier cuts, I just counted the calories.  A good piece of roast beef from time to time isn’t going to kill me and if it keeps me from craving worse things, then, in the balance, it’s the best move for me.

I ate three meals and three snacks a day, keeping my mealtimes as routine as possible.  For me, this regular intake of calories kept my blood sugar steady which kept me alert and hunger pang free.   I’ve read that the body often signals the need for fluid by making you feel hungry; so, if I found myself feeling peckish outside of routine meal times, I drank a large glass of water or a cup of hot herbal tea.   If the water trick didn’t work, I brushed my teeth.  That minty feeling often cut off hunger at the pass.

I do not buy sugar free cookies or candies since they actually contain sugar alcohol which, I have discovered, makes me hungry.  For 110 calories, I can have two pieces of sugar free candy and be hungry enough to gnaw off my own fist in 30 minutes, or I can have a large banana and be satisfied for two hours.  For the same reason, I rarely ate pasta or white breads.  Any bread that I ate came from the store bakery, from the farmers’ market or from my own oven.  Since the stuff sold on the shelves takes so long to mold, it scares me.  I’d rather buy from a local baker, pay a little more, put some in the freezer to keep it fresh and know that I’m reducing the preservatives in my diet.

I would estimate that the first 40 to 50 pounds were lost basically to changing food choices and habits.  It was phenomenal!  But, did you notice how an awful lot of those habit descriptions involved the past tense?  Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why.