My Daily Caloric Intake Plan

Now that I’ve reached my goal weight, how has my daily routine and daily intake changed from early transition?

Not much, it turns out. Well, on most weekdays not much. I still aim to keep my calories around 1300-1400 each day. This is below what my Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) is for my age and weight (around 1625, if you’re curious) but I’ll tell you why: I know that there are times, particularly on the weekends, when my food environment gets more challenging. Instead of putting myself in a situation where I have to “work off” damage I’ve done over the weekend, I prefer to plan ahead by deficiting most of the week so that when I need to have some flexibility in my eating, I can. Also, this means that at the end of the day if I feel like having a glass of wine, I can.

The easiest way for me to accomplish this is to eat the same thing (or very similar things) every day. I have no problem with establishing a routine and sticking to it, boredom is less important to me than the certainty of knowing where I stand calorie-wise throughout the day. Most weekdays look like this:

  • Breakfast 9am: Oatmeal with a little honey, ~200 calories
  • Snack 11am: bar or shake, ~160 calories
  • Lunch 1pm: Salad with a little lean protein and lots of veggies, ~200
  • Snack 3pm: piece of fruit and 8 oz of non-fat milk, ~160
  • Dinner 6pm: 4-6 oz lean protein, lots of steamed/baked/raw veggies, ~350
  • Snack 8pm: piece of fruit, and/or some yogurt or homemade chocolate pudding with splenda, ~160

That comes in around 1250, give or take a few. I can vary things a little either direction and not do any real damage during the week. I can add in a glass of wine or even a cocktail with dinner if I want without too much trouble, either.

On the weekends I can be a little more relaxed and flexible, and since my weeks are very structured and I’m running a deficit I don’t do too much damage with the occasional indulgence.

This is working for me right now.

A Weekend of Food Challenges

I had a really fun weekend full of non-stop eating opportunities! Friday night my husband and I went to the restaurant of a friend of ours, who is an amazing charcutier. That means there weren’t a lot of veggie options, and honestly that’s not her forte anyway, so I went for it and ordered the lamb shanks, and also split a charcuterie plate with my husband. I ate about a quarter of the lamb dish and had the rest boxed up.

My stomach has shrunk over the last 6 months as I’ve been losing weight, and I’m going to protect that as long as I can. When I eat now I focus on being mindful about how much food I eat, and how full I’m getting. I aim to stop eating when I’m satisfied, not full. I don’t need to be completely full to feel satisfied, particularly if I’m eating high-density foods like lamb or sausage, so I have been having a lot of restaurant meals boxed up lately. I don’t know if my stomach has physically shrunk, or if my sense of portion sizes has just adjusted down, or what is exactly going on, but I know that I am able to be happy eating smaller portions than ever before in my life, and I’m doing what I can to keep that going as long as I can!

Saturday we had TWO parties to attend (after a morning run), starting with a birthday celebration at a seafood restaurant. I have a default when I’m at a seafood restaurant. Yes, going with a baked, poached, or broiled fillet of fish will work fine, particularly if I can replace whatever starch usually comes with it with extra steamed veggies, but that’s not my default order at a fancy fish place. I almost always order cioppino. It’s a very tasty, low-calorie option!bluedress

After the birthday party we headed to a house party, where staying on target was relatively easy, for two reasons: 1) I wasn’t drinking at all because I’ve recently had a spate of migraines and cutting out alcohol reduces the obvious triggers and 2) the party was laid out on two floors, and the food was only on the second floor – it was really easy to avoid the snack table. Perfect! Here’s a pic of the outfit I whipped up by putting together a dress I love love love but often feels too short for my comfort (hence it doesn’t get worn often enough), paired with my $7 thrift shop jeans.

Sunday was yet another birthday party. And it was a food-focused one – my friend Andrew makes an amazing spread of Russian food when he throws a party, and Sunday was no different. I was very careful about my choices, but was able to easily limit my calories by sticking to vegetarian Borscht, grilled marinated mushrooms (I ate a LOT of mushrooms!), and marinated cucumbers. And I split a small piece of birthday cake with my husband, because I’m not a total killjoy!

Overall I’m very pleased with my successful navigation of the weekend food challenges!

Week…whatever.

I’m down another pound this week, making this round’s total 47. I’m still sad that I had to do this again at all, but at some point in maintaining a significant weight loss a readjustment is likely to become necessary. I didn’t think, when I was 5 or 8 years in that it ever would, I was sure I was completely on top of my weight forever and ever. Then I spent a year going through chemically-induced depression. But I fought back, and here I am. Here’s a picture of me last week going out with my husband on Valentine’s Day to see our favorite band, The Red Elvises!ValetimesLaina

We have a new instructor for our class, tonight was the first night I’ve encountered him as last week I stayed home with a migraine. In an attempt to establish his cred he informed us that he’d lost 70 pounds and kept it off for 3 whole years! I’m sure you know what I thought.

That’s adorable.

Allow me my moment, I’ll get it out of my system soon. Anyway, he proceeded to spend the entire hour adding absolutely zero value to my life in any way, shape, or form. And doing it in an extremely slow and laborious fashion, filled with specious half-truths and typical diet industry BS. I may be done going to the classes now. I know several of you are doing Optifast now, but my experience with the program has been that it is a very poor, extremely weak program that teaches little of the skills one will need for a lifetime of maintaining a weight loss. I wish I felt differently because I very much wanted it to be a valuable program. Especially considering how much I paid for it. *grump*

My Body Is Trolling Me

Last night my husband and I wanted to see people and get out of the house, so we organized a last-minute impromptu dinner with friends at a restaurant we like. I knew I’d be taking a hit, I knew I’d probably bounce up a couple-three-four pounds on the scale today for my extravagances, but I was willing to take the short-term gain – it was a worthwhile trade for me for an evening of enjoyment, and I had a mitigation plan before I left the house.

Enjoy myself I did, too. I had 2 fruity cocktails to start, I had several pieces of bread from the breadbasket, a glass of prosecco. I ordered blackened fish for my dinner which was a good choice, and no dessert, but I still expected Repercussions this morning, and planned to go for a run as part of my mitigation effort.

Down 2.5 pounds this morning to a new low. My body is trolling me. This is my body trying to trick me into thinking I can do this anytime. I won’t let it fool me. I’m still going for a run this morning. Time to go lace up my shoes.

The Continual, Slight Disappointment of Maintaining

I’m maintaining my weight. Here’s my daily weigh in for the last several days:

  • 188
  • 187.5
  • 189
  • 188
  • 192
  • 189.5
  • 188
  • 188

And on and on. Every day, a little up a little down. But after losing a couple of hundred pounds, or a quarter of that, whatever, after spending most of a life desiring only one thing – to lose weight – to see a daily maintained weight that I’m happy with should be fantastic, right?

But…if you’ve spent your entire life defining success as a loss, seeing NO LOSS seems a little bit like a failure, even though it’s not. When I see a number that’s not less (or has even ticked up a pound or 3) I feel a slight sense of failure, even though I’m not trying to lose! My mind, completely unbidden, does a knee-jerk reaction with things like, “But I ran yesterday! I should be seeing a loss!” or, “But I’m working so hard! I should have lost!”

Even though I’m not trying to lose! Logically I can remind myself and settle my brain into contentment, but the instinctual, immediate response is to be disappointed that I haven’t lost. Even though I’m not trying to lose! Yet another of the many, many head games that go along with maintaining a large weight loss (for me). Am I alone in this?

It’s Been a Food Obstacle Course

I was up a half pound last night. This is not a cause for alarm for me as I was planning to level off anyway, and I’ve been dealing with some very trying food situations all week. Instead of being in my office like usual, I’m attending all-day meetings in a hotel conference room with catered meals and snacks. I’ve been dealing pretty well, but generally eating more fruit than I probably need calorie-wise. Lunches prior to today were pretty good – I could usually make a big salad with a bit of protein from the offerings. Today it was pizza and pasta, and the salad was a very perfunctory iceberg-lettuce-with-bland-dressing option. And they’d been doing so good! I had no option other than to eat a small portion of pasta and two tiny slices of pizza along with my salad lest I spend all afternoon famished. The portions were very small but there’s really no room in my program for eating either of those things.

I will, for the record, mention that every single day there were pastries, bagels and breads in the morning which I never took a single bite of at all. And in the afternoons there have been cookies, brownies, cheesecake, and yesterday even chocolate birthday cake (one of the participants had a birthday and the organizer had one brought in, which was nice). None of which have I touched. Sometimes I feel like I ought to get credit for the things I DON’T eat! There’s also always been fruit, for which I am very grateful! It’s the only thing that’s kept me out of the baked goods.

I tacked an extra mile onto my run this evening to try to mitigate some of the slight damage I know I’ve done this week with all the extra fruit and today’s lunch, and the general laxity I’ve been operating under. I’m happy that tomorrow is the last day of the all-day hotel-conference-room meetings for now. I can get back to my regular schedule of food and no temptations!