Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How's that "diet thing" going for you?

When I last checked in, I'd had a less than stellar week of eating.  I'd cheated, more than once, more than twice, and had gained a little weight instead of losing.

I am happy to report that last week I was back on track.  156.6
And with today's weigh-in, I was at 155.5

We all fall; it's how long it takes for us to get back up that matters.

My weight is still going down, which is in the direction that I'm wanting it to go.  I"m still working the program, cheating occasionally.  That's right, I cheat.  But now, when I cheat it's a small cheat in the range of 100-150 calories rather than the 500+ calories at least that I would have cheated with a couple of months ago.  Further, I've added some stress reduction to my habit profile.

But is it a "diet thing" that I'm doing?  No.  People gain weight back from "diets."  This is why I have spoken out against diets for YEARS.  Diets don't work long term!  You (general "you") must address the underlying reasons for overeating.  Figure out what is triggering the bad habits.  Build new habits.  Without that step, no amount of pre-packaged low calorie meal replacements is going to help long term.

Here is what is working for me.  None of these are official TSFL approved methods.  This is just one client, one future health coach, on a journey towards improved health.  So please don't quote TSFL on this, quote Nancy K.

1)  I make my "cheats" count.  If I'm going to cheat, it's going to be on something I really, really want, that really tastes great to me.  To me, it's not worth the calories or sugar to cheat by eating something that I don't think is truly yummy.

2)  I keep my "cheats" within reason.  When under stress, I've been known to make chocolate chip cookies with my kids.  3-4 big scoops of dough.  And then after that, I won't count how many cookies I eat.  It could be 6-7 cookies, plus dough, in a day and a half.  Would I eat a stick of butter by itself?  No, but I've eaten the equivalent of a stick of butter wrapped in sugar and rolled in white flour, over a one-day period, many times.  Now, if I'm going to make cookies with my kids, I eat one tablespoon of dough and 2 cookies on day 1.  On day 2, I get 2 cookies.  Ideally, I wouldn't eat either dough or cookies, and I wouldn't feed cookies to my kids.  However, we're not there yet.  We're improving, but we're not doing it cold turkey.

3)  I keep Medifast snacks in my car.  

4)  I've started blending vegetables into things.  Bwah ha ha!  Stealth health that even my little veggie-averse child can't avoid.

5)  The Vitamix is my friend.  The Medifast soups are, for the most part, decent tasting, especially when spiced up with a few herbs.  Soup has become a common lunch food for me.  When I have "taste fatigue" and I feel like a Medifast soup will be boring, I'll make my own soup with the Vitamix.  Steamed broccoli, a bouillion cube, water, 1/4 a small steamed onion, and a tiny amount of extra-sharp cheese.  Tasty!  Cheese is a bit of a TSFL sin, so I make sure that I use extra-sharp so I can get great flavor without eating much of it.

6)  Chocolate chips.  Chocolate is my absolute weakness.  It's my favorite food on earth, and I'm pretty sure that's never going to change.  So when I'm going to cheat with chocolate, I'll have 10 chocolate chips, a maximum of twice a day.

Again, some of these cheats are probably going to make my health coach smack her head against the monitor if she reads my blog (Hi, Candy!!!  Are you out there?), so please don't quote that they're TSFL approved.  

See you next week, approximately.  :D

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ant Poison and Shiny Red Boots

When Connor was four, he had a pair of shiny red rubber boots.  We played out in the back yard frequently, searching for bugs, climbing the play structure, kicking balls.  One day outside, I told Connor, "Stay away from the powder on the side of the house.  Daddy sprayed ant poison and it will make you sick if you touch it."  His reply, "OK, mom!"  Five minutes later, he comes to me and I can see the dust on his boots, grinning proudly.

"Mom!  I stepped in the poison and I didn't die."

This is what it's like to be the mom of a kid with ADHD and ODD, and was an aha moment for me, even though he was as yet undiagnosed.  Defiance.  Built-in.  If I told him not to do something, that pretty much guaranteed he was going to do it.

I don't have ADHD, but I have a streak of ODD.  I'm defiant.  I don't like to follow rules.  People telling me what to do annoy me.  When I need to, I play well with others, but the overall idea of authority doesn't sit super-well with me.

Like son, like mother.  This last week, I stepped in the ant poison.

I'm supposed to be changing habits.  I'm supposed to be eating low glycemic.  Sugar is not my friend.  So, what did I do last week?

I had 2 chocolate chip cookies
I had a piece of pita bread at a Lebanese restaurant.  Home made, heavenly-smelling, worth every calorie.
I had at least a dozen Hershey's chocolate hearts.
I ate a few slices of cheddar cheese and snacked on mozarella while making a lasagna
Ghiardelli milk chocolate chips.  I won't tell you how many
A pat of butter on my salmon before steaming it
Whipped cream on my TSFL cocoa

I didn't just step in the ant poison, I stomped in it.  Part of it is basic behavioral psychology - a painful experience makes you change, you change just enough to stop feeling pain, then you stop changing.  So a big part of it is that I was successful for a month and I got lazy and started coasting.  Another part of it was that I'm starting to get weary, rebellious, sick of those little boxes.

I could have done any ONE of those cheats above and probably still been OK.  However, I should not have done all of them.  They were all conscious choices; no one pressured me or forced.  Lazy?  Self sabotage?  Boredom?  Depression?  Lots of reasons, probably all of the above.  It wasn't my best week of the program, but it was a learning week, and a week I intend not to repeat.

No excuses.  No whining.  I've adhered 100% to the program today.  It works for a reason.  I'll probably stomp in the ant poison a few more times along the way.  But that's just me.  A rebel.  A perfectly imperfect, defiant, rebellious person.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Little boxes, little boxes - 4 weeks on TSFL

The one-sentence summary is this.  I started in the 170's and a month later I'm in the 150's.  Read on for more info.

On Wednesday 1/6/13, a big box arrived on my front doorstep.  Inside that box were 20 or so little boxes.  Reminds me of an old Jack In The Box commercial where they sang, "Little boxes, little boxes, there's a blue one and a pink one and a yellow one and they all look just the same."  A fast food parody of Janice Joplin, I believe.

Anyway, the boxes came, and I had the "intro" call with my health coach, Candy.  We went through the highlights of the getting started booklet - 5 of the little boxed meals (shakes, bars, pancakes, eggs, soups, puddings, chili, faux cheese puffs) per day and one "lean and green" meal.  OK, I can do this.

On Thursday, I ate my first bar.  Chocolate mint.  So far, so good.  And I got on the scale for my starting weight.  Ahem.  Apparently the Christmas season was more merry than I thought.  171.4.  I hadn't weighed this much since pregnant.

The good news.

1)  The weight loss happens, quickly.
Week one weigh-in - 166.4 - down 5 pounds
Week two weigh-in - 164.2 - down 2.2 pounds, 7.2 total
Week three weigh-in - 161.6 - down 2.6 pounds, 9.8 total
Week four weigh-in - 159.2 - down 2.4 pounds, 12.2 total
Week five weigh-in - ???? tomorrow!  But I did cheat a little this week, so we'll see how it goes!  When I weight in midweek I was down 13 total, so we will see what the Valentine hearts did to me.  They say you don't have to be perfect, so tomorrow morning I will find out!

Woo hoo!  12.2 pounds!

2)  The weight lost has been primarily fat, not muscle.  This was one of my biggest problems with fad diets, and it hasn't been a problem with this eating plan.  A lot of crazy diets will produce quick weight loss at the expense of lean muscle tissue and the water it stores.  But I've been pinched, Bod Podded and tape-measured.  I'm losing fat.  Part of this is because I'm eating low glycemic and healthy.  Part of this is because I'm weight training and have been drinking a booster of amino acids right after working out (by Dot Fit, ask me for more info) to recover quickly and repair muscle.

3)  The coaching process has been good.  Helpful, available, but not overly intrusive or micromanaging.  No one solves my problems but me.  Candy is more the person who bounces questions at me, "So, how are you going to handle that?  What could you do to make that taste better?  What will you do next time that happens?"  Treating me respectfully as if I'm intelligent enough to make my own decisions, which I am, and trusting that I can over-ride the emotional component to my eating, which I'm doing so far.

It's not been easy.

First, I had to plan better.  Eating every 2 hours to keep my blood sugar steady took a little planning ahead so I would have something in my purse or my car or a clean shaker jar and a package of shake mix for meals away from home not involving a microwave or stove.  I'm getting a lot better at that.

Second, the first week SUCKED.  I'm caffeine free for the most part, but getting sugar-free was rough.  Day 2, I had NO energy.  None.  And I had to teach 3 fitness classes.  22 years of experience and the sheer force of my stubborn will got me through that day.  Days 4 and 5, something was still rebalancing hormonally because I was a raving b*tch.  Seriously cranky.  Just ask one of my best friends, Amy A.  She is still talking to me, thank God.  I figured out that the TSFL oatmeal gives me the most energy and I eat that first thing in the morning; sometimes I also eat 2 boiled eggwhites with that if I'm teaching back to back classes (Monday morning, Friday morning).

Third, although I'm not physically hungry hardly ever, there are psychological cravings.  They're still there.  I don't care how pretty the TSFL brownie on the little box looks, it ain't no Dessert Tray chocolate fudge torte.  Not even close!  And the "healthy" snacks, dill pickle spears, celery stalks, sugar-free jello, and 10 almonds, they're all well and good but they're not exactly what the old sugar-crazed me has in mind.  I don't know if this is normal or not (Candy has been very diplomatic about not telling me I'm abnormal - thanks Candy!) but I would have nightmares about eating huge portions of sugary, chocolaty, rich, tasty foods.  They seemed so real, I'd have to count pillows to make sure I hadn't eaten one.

Fourth, the jury is still out on whether the habits will change.  The underlying habits - depression and stress related eating - have to be retrained in order for the weight loss to stay off.

Fifth - my family isn't totally in line with this yet.  Emotional support, yes.  Ready to clean the kitchen of potato chips, ice cream, and other tasty treats, not so much.  But when I'm cooking, they're eating what I fix or fixing it themselves.  At this point, that's all I can ask of anyone except the five year old.  :D

So at this point, I would give TSFL a good review.  I will consider becoming a coach.  I would recommend that the skeptical ask questions of a coach they trust, whether that's me or someone else.  I can point you to some.

See less of me later!