Polishing up the skills

There are two behaviors that this recent weight loss program has helped me with improving, that I hadn’t realized needed it. Or at least hadn’t realized it to the point of doing anything about it:

  1. Gotten me back on a schedule. Just prior to starting this program, I had drifted into a fairly disordered way of eating, where I would kind of munch all through the day, whenever I was bored or food was available. This is no way to maintain a healthy weight for me, and being limited to six small meals a day made me militant about sticking to a schedule and not eating whenever I felt like it. If I know I will have to wait even longer for my next meal, or spend hours at the end of the day hungry, it’s easier to wait until the right time to eat. The “right time” being the time that best spaces out the meals so that I have the most consistent levels of energy and lowest amount of time spent feeling outright hunger. I’ve continued following this schedule as I’ve transitioned and it’s very helpful to reduce the amount of snacking between meals I was doing before, which can really add up!
  2. Strengthened my ability to resist non-planned foods. For a while there before I started this recent round of weight loss, I’d kind of given up and couldn’t really remember why I shouldn’t just have a bit of whatever was offered – candy in the break room, cake at a friend’s house, cookies because Girl Scouts, etc. Being so narrowly restricted for 4 months has made the healthy, supportive foods I have already planned to eat each day now seem pretty darned special all on their own – my regular food is a treat, so it’s easy to decline other foods which are less supportive and which I hadn’t planned for. Also I’m back in the habit of doing it again, so double bonus.

So those are the good things I’ve noticed recently now that I’m “back in the world of food.”

Also WordPress just informed me that this is my 300th post on this blog. Woohoo!

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Week 20 Results

We are bad people. Tonight we went in to weigh in and pick up our food, but then saw that instead of our class we were having the personal trainer guy who came in before actually run people through exercises tonight, instead of a class. I got so very little out of it last time he came in, the level was set so very basic for people who have never experienced exercise before, that I just couldn’t do it. I’d already gone for a run earlier in the afternoon, I was hungry, and the last time this guy was in it was a total waste of time, so we ducked out. Bad, bad people. I know.

  • Change this period: -1.5 pound
  • Total change so far: -46.5 pounds
  • Current weight: 188 pounds

I’m very pleased with my results. I added in oatmeal for breakfast the last two days and my body has shown me in no uncertain terms that it likes this change. I’ve been less hungry, more satisfied all day long, and overall much happier now that I’ve decided to throw their exchange dictates out the window and go with what I know works. And hey – my body seems to like it much better too.

My husband is having a harder time. He has a killer commute now to his new(ish) job, which doesn’t leave much time for exercise, or for food planning. So tonight we’re working on changes he can make that are more supportive. He’s going to start by making up some overnight oatmeal to take with him in the morning, being more diligent about writing down his intake throughout the day on the check-list I whipped up, and we’ll look for opportunities for more walks and sneaking runs in during the week for him. More exercise, more food planning, and journaling – these are the tools that I know work.

Strip out the useful parts, leave the rest

Yesterday I went for a run in the afternoon when it was warm, and the hair on my legs tickled gently in the breeze and felt so nice! So I guess it’s been about 2 months since I shaved my legs. I better get on that!

In other news, today I’ve decided to trade one of my dairy units for a starch one so I could have an actual bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. The starch exchange allows you a half cup of cooked oatmeal, and let me tell you a half cup of cooked oatmeal ain’t much. But yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, and almost every day prior to that since a second unit of dairy has been mandated, I didn’t use the second dairy unit I was supposed to have. So today in an effort to actually make this program work for me, I changed things around to something I would actually consume and enjoy – a decent breakfast, made up of 2 starch units – probably around a cup of cooked oatmeal. I already feel better, satisfied, more energetic.

I am remembering that for 8 years I successfully managed my weight via the ol’ calories in/calories out equation. It’s not going to stop working just because the program I’m doing now demands a different approach which minimizes that equation. My goal is to meld whatever useful or valuable parts of this program may exist into what I already know works, to come up with something better, stronger, faster.

My weight has been stable the last few days. I like that.

I’m a checker-offer. I just am.

In the past I’ve usually used the journaling method of writing down what I eat when I eat it. This has always worked really well for me, because the targets I was aiming for were very simple – lots and lots of fruits and veggies, limit other calories.

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My checklist so far today.

But with the current system I’m trying to conform to, things aren’t so simple. It’s not just “eat a lot of veggies” it’s a system of exchanges of various types of foods in various levels and it’s got a lot of moving parts. Just writing down what I ate wasn’t working for me because it didn’t tell me if I was eating the RIGHT things that I was supposed to be eating, and it didn’t tell me what I had left that I could eat as I progressed through the day. Inside my head I was having to try and calculate what I’d eaten already against what I could eat, and figure out what was left and it just wasn’t working and it was stressing me out and I was starting to worry if this THIS would be the program that finally flipped me over into having an eating disorder (yes, it was stressing me out that much).

So yesterday I was at work in my office, working through my tasks that I had to do this week, checking off the ones I’d done as I’m wont to do and my solution smacked me in the face. I made up a checklist of everything I need to eat every day for my program and printed out a bunch of copies. Now I just check off what I’ve eaten as I eat it, and write the approximate calories next to it as I go. And there’s even some space at the bottom to note my exercise. This has made a huge difference in my comfort level with the current eating regimen!

Week 18 Results

We’re well into transition now. This past week we were down to 3 meal replacements per day, starting tomorrow it’ll be 2 per day. That means we have to replace those with real food. Normally this would be great but the Optifast system of exchanges is so complicated and non-intuitive that I find it quite intimidating. I was just about able to keep things straight this past week, but the upcoming week…I just don’t know. I may have to staple the list of exchange units I’m supposed to eat each day to my forehead or something just to get through the day.

  • Change this period: -1 pound
  • Total change so far: -45 pounds
  • Current weight: 189.5 pounds

I didn’t expect or intend to lose another pound this week. I expected that with the added food (and the glass of wine I had Saturday night and Monday night) I’d be maintaining this week. The only thing I can put this loss down to is that there may have been a couple of days where the math and complexity of the system eluded me and I just threw up my hands and gave up and went hungry. I probably missed a couple of units of dairy here and there because I just don’t like skim milk and non-fat yogurt enough to have a cup of it each day. (Bad news: this week we’re supposed to add another exchange unit of dairy. Ugh.)

So I’m a little bit worried about the upcoming week. I think that maintenance programs that people are meant to follow for the rest of their lives should be SIMPLE and INTUITIVE. This is the opposite of that and I’m struggling to see how anybody could do this forever. I’m very much looking forward to being done here so I can go back to what I used to do when I was maintaining with HMR: 7-9 servings of fruits and veggies every day, writing down my calories, and burning at least 2000 calories in exercise each week. Hard to get simpler than that.

Before and After Pics

All right, here we go! About once a month my husband and I would take progress pictures after our class. We always made sure to wear the same thing every time. What I learned is that a month of weight loss doesn’t really show much of a change, but 4 months does. Also that straight-on shots aren’t flattering for anyone. ANYONE. So, without futher ado, here’s what a 44 pound difference looks like on me:

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And here’s proof that the “Red Carpet Pose” exists for a reason:

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Ahh, that’s refreshing after months of unflattering straight-on and side shots!

And my husband. Here’s what 52 pounds difference looks like on him:

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And the male version of the “Red Carpet Pose”:

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So there’s the results in visual form. Worth 5 months of not eating? It was for me. Everything fits better and I’m happier in my own skin. My scars don’t hurt constantly from the strain and stress being put on them, and my joints are happier. I know my husband feels better in his skin and in his joints as well. I will post later about the pros and cons of the particular program we used (mostly cons).

WARNING, RANT AHEAD: For the record, I DESPISE the WordPress photo handling functionality. Jeez they make it hard to format with images! Grr. I just know it’s going to come out all wonky in the emails. If you receive this by email and the images are all misaligned, I urge you to click on the link to check it out on a web browser. There’s a slight possibility the alignment is better there. Not great, but slight. Stupid WordPress and their stupid RichText “helpfulness”. I swear to god LiveJournal does this shit tons better.

Week 17 Results

It’s been four weeks since I did a weekly results post! Because we were off for three weeks, and last week I stayed home from class due to having a cold. This week is a 4-week total.

  • Change this period: -6 pounds
  • Total change so far: -44 pounds
  • Current weight: 190.5 pounds

Husband is also down 6 pounds, putting him at a total of 52. I’m happy with the progress we’ve both made, and I personally don’t feel a need to lose any further. It’s been so rare in my life that I could say that, so I’m really enjoying the feeling of being content about my weight. It’s very liberating!

This is also the end of the medically monitored portion of the program. As a side note, I will mention that it took me about 4 years to put those 44 pounds on, and 4 months to take them off. That’s a lot of fours!