Friday, August 28, 2009

the skinny on the chubby

I thought I'd share some practical information about losing the weight.

As I mentioned before, it all started with prayer. Lots of prayer.

Then a group of girlfriends joined together to form a team for a community weight loss challenge. We earned points for daily exercise. We also earned points if we ate at least three vegetables and two fruits a day.

What I've found about myself, is that it doesn't matter one iota how much I work out. (As far as weight loss goes.) It is ALL about what I do or do not consume.

For breakfast everyday, I would have a gigantic cup of coffee. I usually have creamer in it, and limit my creamer use to the morning only. (Unless I'm at a girlfriend's house for coffee---then all bets are off.) Mornings are also the time of day where I can pretty much eat, sometimes I would eat a cookie for breakfast. Or left overs from the night before. (I'll get to that.)

Lunch was all about avocados. I would cut an avocado in half, and then cut it up and smear it on a toasted bagel with slices of red onion, tomatoes and cucumbers. The avocado kept well in the fridge, in a container - with the pit left in...which keeps it from turning brown and gross looking. It was helpful for me to cut up all the veggies before-hand and keep them in the fridge. I get lazy in a big hurry, so if it's always a lot of work, I lose interest and quit.

For an afternoon snack, I'd eat either a banana or an apple.

Dinnertime is tricky for me. I had to use what I knew about myself to my advantage. Things I know about myself:

I really like lasagna. If I make lasagna, I have no "off" button. I never get full.
I really like pizza. If I make pizza, I have no "off" button. I never get full.
I really like pasta. If I make pasta, I have no "off" button. I never get full.

Do you see a pattern?

So did I.

I knew I would save myself a lot (in the way of self control) if I didn't make any of those things. To make things easier on myself, I got out my Tupperware That's A Bowl. I'd buy a head of ice burg (nearly no nutritional value) lettuce, a head of romaine lettuce, and a bag of spinach. I would cut them all up and toss them in the bowl to eat for the next several days. When the bowl would empty, I would fill it again. Sometimes, to mix things up, I'd toss in a bag of broccoli slaw. Or shredded carrots. Or shredded cabbage.

The dangerous thing about salad is the dressing. You can totally ruin yourself, calorie wise, with too much dressing. I found that I liked my salad just fine without dressing, if I gave the lettuces a quick rinse under water and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I topped the whole thing with the other half of my avocado from lunch, a few cubes of pepper jack cheese, some small bits of red onion, and sometimes jalapeno peppers from a pickle-type-jar. As long as the lettuce was still a little damp from the rinsing, it didn't matter that it wasn't smothered in dressing.

Each night, I would make something else for my family, but nothing from my list of loves. It wasn't a hassle, since I'd have to fix them something any way...and mine was really easy to throw together since everything was already ready to go. If what they were eating looked really good, I'd tell myself if I still wanted some, I could eat it for breakfast. (When my system has a better handle on that "off" switch.)

For a snack before bed, I would eat either a banana or an apple. (Which ever one I didn't eat as a snack between lunch an dinner.)

Another thing I know about myself is that I'm a snacker. I'm not always hungry, but I'm always fidgety. And need "something." I found, that if I had a delicious decaf coffee to drink, it took away my urge for "something." So, I'd put on a pot of coffee after lunch and sip at it all afternoon and into the night if I needed.

At least once a week, I'd go out to Applebee's for a late night appetizer. Those nights, I'd order what ever I wanted. (Boneless Buffalo Wings, with classic sauce and blue cheese dressing to dip it in.) So, while I was pretty strict with myself at meal times, I allowed myself to have fun and be normal.....knowing that if this was a new lifestyle, my lifestyle needed to allow for mom's night outs.

Those are all the practical things.


A huge component for me was my mind set. I'm mental.


I had to get my game face on. I knew that night would be rough. That the first night would be bad. I knew this because every night for the last 9 nears was the night before I was going to start. Do you do that? Have a good day, and then night comes, and the wheels fall off and you think, "Tomorrow is going to be The. Day." Every tomorrow. But! Tomorrow never comes. NEVER. It had to be TODAY. Today is The. Day.

So I made up my mind. I would tell myself that I knew it would be tricky. But I had to get over it. (Jesus comes in very handy here.) I'd give myself things to do at night. I'd fold laundry. While watching "The Biggest Loser." Do you know how hard it is to eat a snack while watching "The Biggest Loser"? It is very hard. I'd do laundry or take a bath, and sometimes I'd put myself to bed early.

The first night was hard. HARD. (I felt pathetic.) But I got through it. (It feels pathetic to write that.) And you know what? I felt SO POWERFUL the next morning. The second night was hard. And I got through that as well. And I felt even more powerful.

Every morning I would step on the scale, and it only took a few days before the numbers started creeping down. Each week, a few more pounds would come off, and talk about motivation! After a month, I was able to fit into clothes that I hadn't worn in a long time. After two months, I needed new clothes. After three months, I tapered off the salads at dinner. My stomach had reset. I've been maintaining a slower weight loss now for a few months, and haven't really had to think too much about it.

I'm trying not to lose my head. I know how easily I can fall into old habits. But even then, I recognize what I'm doing, and get my act together for a few days, and find that rhythm again.

What I know now, is that this needs to be a lifestyle. I can either enjoy everything in moderation and feel good. Or, I can enjoy everything in a gluttonous binge and feel yucky. And I know how easy it would be to slide down that slippery slope, and be right back where I was. But! The good news is, that if that were to happen, all it would take is a few good weeks of self control to get back on track.

And honestly, all it really takes is one day. One moment, making that decision to change.


Visty said...

Tahnk you for writing this out of my brain so I didn't have to. I particularly appreciated the bit about your lack of an off button. I have that. And I still, STILL, continue to make my tomato-basil pasta dish with olives and lemon juice and garlic all the freaking time.

We are just back from a trip and I have to restock the refrigerator. I am going to try your advice with the giant bowl of salad.

Visty said...

Here I am, back at this post almost 2 months later. Dang. I need to get in gear.