The Countdown

Just a few more days until I can eat real food again – in a limited fashion, but real food nonetheless. I’m ambivalent about it because on the one hand, I would like to drop a few more pounds, although I realize that I will likely continue to drop a few more through the transition period. I’m worried about the maintenance of what I’ve lost and that I’ll be too easily tempted off the path of righteousness – I always worry, it’s what I do best, I think. And on the other hand, boy it will be nice to have a less constrained social life. I really miss deciding on the spur of the moment to go out to dinner with my husband, or to mix up a cocktail after a hard day. Or having brunch with friends on a weekend.

What I won’t miss, though, is the crankiness. It’s easy to only write about the great stuff – to document the success and the progress, but you know what else? My husband and I have been a bit more short-tempered than usual these last few months. We’ve been snapping at each other more, bickering over stupid little things more. My husband’s impatience behind the wheel has been epic because being hungry all the time? It’s hard. Seeing him short-tempered and easily angered has been especially hard because it’s not at all his nature. He’s usually the most patient, considerate, thoughtful person I know. Feeling myself lose my cool much more often than is normal has left me feeling ashamed more than I would like to admit.

As apprehensive as I may be about the end of the program and the beginning of the rest of our lives watching our waistlines, I’m happy that this hard few months is almost over.

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Systems vs Goals

A friend just posted this article:

Forget Setting Goals. Focus on Your System Instead.

This really resonates with me because for most of my weight-management life (over 10 years now) I’ve only very reluctantly set goals. They feel like a distraction for me, in fact when I first joined the HMR program over 10 years ago I was hesitant to set a goal weight and only after they insisted did I pick one that was extremely modest (I decided that since I’d never been able to lose more than 10 pounds, I’d put 30 pounds – I ended up losing 100). A goal has just never been as important to me as the tools, skills, plans, and execution of that system. Once I have all of those working, the goal will come. And sometimes, I find that the goal can change once all the moving pieces are firing (just like my experience with HMR) – sometimes once the system is in place you learn something new about yourself that can re-frame your former goals and allow you to reach new ones!

So check it out, and tell me – do you prefer to set goals, or focus on working your system?

Christmas Without Food

Well I did it. I made it through Christmas without cheating on my program. It was harder than I thought it would be, and yet it made Christmas easier on my psyche than it’s ever been. In truth, I’ve never before done what I did this year – make it though the entire holiday season while on a meal-replacement program.

I’ve said for a long time that when I’m on this sort of program food doesn’t really tempt me, and I may have finally been able to put words together to describe why. Food is kind of a minefield for me mentally – every time I’m confronted by it I have to make the mental calculations to figure out if it’s something I can eat, something I should not eat, or something I can eat if I do X (x being some extra bit of exercise or later meal I can skip/pare down). Every single time. Every time a coworker brings in candy, every birthday cake, every dinner out at a restaurant, every spur-of-the-moment snack, I have to do a fairly extensive calculation to figure out approximately how big a hit it will be calorically. Then and only then can I decide whether to eat it or not.

Except when I’m on a meal replacement program. When I’m doing this, food is just…a decision I don’t have to make. It loses its power because I don’t need to do anything to figure out if I can eat it or not – I already know that I won’t. Easy!

So I enjoyed yesterday visiting with friends without any of the constant calculations I would normally have to make. And I left feeling no guilt, no exercise debt, no heartburn from overeating, nothing but happy and content.

I did an unofficial weigh in this morning with my home scale and I appear to be down another 1/2 pound this week. Excellent.

Transition Info

We got information last week about what the transition will look like. It starts on January 1st (good time to start a new phase!), and lasts around 6 weeks.

Week 1 we will reduce meal replacements by 1 so that we consume 5 per day, and then add in 4 ounces of lean protein and 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables. I have a list of what qualifies for each category. So that’s pretty easy to follow.  I do find it interesting, though, that the transition off of HMR started with a cooked potato (no skin) being the very first non-program thing you eat, and the Optifast transition does NOT include potatoes at all as they are starchy and therefore could cause “intestinal distress.” Makes me think there’s a lot less science than guesswork behind some of this stuff.

The hard part, for me, is portion sizes. I don’t own a food scale to figure out what 4 ounces is, so I’ll have to approximate, or buy one. Or hope that somebody I know has one they aren’t using and don’t want anymore.

On the one hand, it will be nice to eat real food again. On the other, it’s kind of a hassle. Because despite being able to eat real food again, it’s not like I can go out to a restaurant or to a friend’s house for dinner yet – I have to be very specific about how the food is cooked and the means doing it ourselves and packing it along wherever we go. So it’ll be at least until mid-February until our social life can return to a semblance of normal. *sigh*

Still, having the transition on the horizon feels nice. A little anxiety-inducing, but nice.

Week 13 Results – Feeling Optimistic Tonight

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again: every number on the scale looks much better when you’re coming at it from above than when you’re coming at it from below. The last time I was at this weight, I felt like a total failure who couldn’t get control of the situation because I reached it via weight gain. This time I feel like a success and also that I look amazing at this weight, why was I so hard on myself before? I totally rock this 196.5 pounds!

Ahh the human mind…not particularly consistent.

  • Change this period: -2.5 pounds
  • Total change so far: -38 pounds

I’m growing optimistic I may eventually reach the 50 pounds goal I had originally created for myself. I will be perfectly happy with 40 though, and that will definitely be easier to maintain. Anyway…two more weeks of all meal replacements and then we start transitioning to real food – on Jan. 1st. Who would have thought my New Year’s resolution would ever be to eat more food?

I ran 3.4 miles today, which is my new farthest distance since I started running again in September. I plan to walk to work tomorrow, so that’ll be a good 40-50 minutes of walking getting there and back.

Stay on Target…

I’m really in a holding pattern right now. I don’t have much to report – I exercise, I consume my 6 meal replacements each day, I wait to weigh in. However, in 2 1/2 more weeks things will start to change – we will start the “Transition” phase of the program. Each day for the first week of transition instead of having 6 meal replacements, I’ll have 5 plus one portion of…something. Then a week of 4 meal replacements a day plus 2 portions of…something. They haven’t told us what yet. And there’s no class for 2 weeks after Wednesday, so I hope they can clear up just exactly we’re supposed to start eating once we start transitioning before the end of class this week! Because we’ll be on our own after that.

I’ve mentioned before that this program is NOT value for the money, and this is yet another example. We have a class this Wednesday night, then none for 2 weeks, which means 3 full weeks without any support, and we go into transition phase with little more than a hearty  2-week-old “good luck out there!” from the program staff. Really poor planning and execution, in my opinion.

*ahem*

I heard a strategy recently that stuck in my mind as something I will try after I’ve transitioned to real food again. The idea is that when presented with treats, like for example pie at a holiday celebration, or cookies or candy, whatever, pick the  one thing you want to try the most, and have 3 bites. That way you get to taste it, without consuming more calories than needed. It makes sense to me – I’m not depriving myself if I get to have 3 bites, and do I really need to eat a full piece of pie to enjoy the pie? No. I don’t need to eat the whole piece to enjoy it – 3 bites would be enough and then I would definitely be sure to savor every bite. So I think I will implement this plan.

Like you needed another reason

I know, you all exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Good news, everyone – it’s going to pay off!

Why a healthy lifestyle could save your sanity.

Four out of five ain’t bad, so go ahead and have a drink, just don’t sacrifice your workout! Science!