Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Calorie is not a Calorie?

I thought this was an interesting article on calories.

I don't totally understand what it all means. It also seems like we usually OVERESTIMATE calories which is not really a big problem in the great scheme of things. Considering so many Americans are overweight anyway if they WERE trying to calculate calories isn't it better to overestimate. 

I don't know.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Scared of Skinny

So I'm doing Weight Watchers, yes? Presumably to lose weight, yes?

I have been a little lax-er this week with my diet. Actually consuming some of my Flex points of whatever they call them these days. WW gives you an extra 49 points a week to use (or not) at will.

Step on the scale this morning and see the lowest weight I've seen in recent memory. And instead of feeling happy about it, I sort of panicked. I don't really know why. Maybe I'm used to being this weight by now? Maybe I didn't think it would actually happen and now that it's happening I am not sure how to process it?

But... just keep chugging right? I guess I'm still trying to understand and I think I'm still a little un-clearly panicky.

Weird, right?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Anna Watches Her Weight

Yesterday I went back to Weight Watchers with my father. He lost 3.8lbs and I lost 3.2. Quite a lot for one week. I have an unfair advantage though as I was just about to get my time-of-the-month last week. But nothing like a little extra boost. I stepped on my scale this morning and saw a weight I haven't seen since March. Nice to feel like the changes I'm making are working.

What's the difference? Honestly, portion control. I have trained myself to eat in a very healthy manner. I go gaga at the farmer's market. I broil fish and eat peaches like it's my job. And I seriously enjoy doing it. Of course, I have a penchant for unhealthy foods. I love chocolate. I can eat a jar of peanut butter in a couple days. I like fried things. I like greasy things. But I'm fairly comfortable repressing all that at this point and keeping the unhealthy choices as SOMETIMES. There does seem to be just plain eating too much and I think that's what Weight Watchers is helping me reassess. A cup of pasta... 1/5 of my daily intake is NOT a lot of pasta. Also Weight Watchers puts an incredible emphasis on fruit and vegetables. So now, if I want to snack, I'm grabbing a grapefruit or orange instead of a Luna Bar (5 points). 

I'm shocked how quickly I can burn through points. I'm also shocked that I'm allowed unlimited fruits and vegetables (more or less). 

I first joined Weight Watchers in the seventh grade. They had a branch a couple blocks from my apartment. I remember my mom calling and seeing if a 12 year old was allowed to join. I was (I wonder if that's still true). Crazy that that's half my life ago now. What a long struggle this has been. I actually really enjoyed going to meetings. I was kind of the mascot of the group. I think the ladies liked having a kid around. My mom would accompany me to meetings. Sometimes I'd bring random friends from school to sit in with me. Weight Watchers was a social event. 

I don't quite remember when I stopped. Probably got busy with school. Went to summer camp. Was in a play. Didn't have time for it. Didn't have the focus for it. 

I joined again in high school. This time without my mother. This time with a growing despair; a growing unhappiness towards my body. It didn't stick. I'd lose weight and be really into the program but the SECOND I reached a hiccup it would be Armageddon. I'd grow resentful, unhappy, unfocused and lose energy and motivation. 

I joined a second time in high school. This time with a friend of mine. Same story. Initial interest, eventual dissipation. Every time I'd swear this was it. This was the time I was going to lose all the weight. My friend would put olive oil on her chicken to grill it and I'd insist she count the points for the oil. She got annoyed with me, I got annoyed with her. We stopped going.

I joined a third time in high school. This time with my father. My dad is like me except has a longer attention span. My dad when he sets his mind to something follows through 100%. It's insane. I don't think at this point I was ready to be back. It was pressure from home. An over involvement of my family and my desire to appease everyone. I stopped going. My dad kept going. Unintentionally shaming me. My dad lost around 30lbs, looked svelte. I was still fat. Still unsuccessful. 

Off to college.

True to form, I gained my freshman 15. I tried a different diet, lost 40lbs. Gained 40lbs somewhere in my junior year. Senior year I decided I would try to lose weight again. I signed up for Weight Watchers online. And guiltily kept paying for it far longer than I was using it. I'm not even sure I really did much toward it. I remember my boyfriend at the time was on my computer when I got an email update from them and I felt so humiliated. How could he know I was trying to lose weight? I'm sure he didn't think twice about it. But, years later, I remember that horrific moment.

After graduating I started an incredibly emotionally taxing and stressful job where I gained another 15 pounds. My "before" picture to the right is a pretty solid example of that time. I was big. I felt big. Not unattractive, but a large person. My BMI was close to 38 (keep in mind "obese" is a BMI of 30, "healthy" is below 25 -- I was farther away from "overweight" than a borderline "obese" person was from "healthy"). I joined Weight Watchers again, encouraged by a wonderful coworker. I went to a few meetings. I halfheartedly kept open on my browser. I tracked sometimes. Eventually, again, I stopped. Weight Watchers was not for me, I ultimately concluded. Clearly I was no good at this. No attention for this. And this would NOT be where I would lose my weight.

Finally found a new job. An incredibly boring job. A three person office for a job that one efficient person could do part-time. Around the same time I got a call from my internist (who I had tried to forcibly remove from my weight) with Christine's name and phone number. 

Christine is amazing. Simply amazing. I'm not totally sure how she got through to me but considering we're approaching our two year anniversary, she's done incredibly well. I've dropped (from her last calculation) 69lbs. I try to be a healthy person. I am trying to renegotiate all the relationships in my life (both with myself, food and inter-personally). And then I hit a bump. I don't know if it's fair to call it a plateau because I think I was eating to sustain my weight. I was eating to maintain and I really had trouble imagining cutting out food. So I sit within 10lbs for a year. I honestly don't think I was significantly heavier than I am right now a year ago. maybe 6-8lbs? 

And so finally, it's time to try something new. My Google Reader is FILLED with blogs of people trying to be healthy and/or lose weight. Chock full of them. A really resonant strand is Weight Watchers. So many of the people I follow use Weight Watchers to help them achieve their goal. And I have focus now. It's taken a lot to get me down to this weight. I have a degree of motivation (my stronger motivation will always be to not feel deprived/hungry). And I finally thought that maybe this was it. Maybe Weight Watchers could help me now. Maybe it was not right in the past but it is now.

My father needs to lose weight. He's getting older, it's putting stress on his body. He'll be healthier thinner. That's fact. He just needs a push in the right direction. A roll down the hill to get him on the band wagon again. I figured even if I decided Weight Watcher wasn't for me, at least it would be a good thing to get my dad on the program.

A while back I found the weigh in book from the first time I ever went to Weight Watchers. My starting weight was somewhere around 127 pounds. I continue to be depressed that I saw myself as needing to change my body. That I managed to gain almost 100lbs since the first time I conceived of myself as overweight. 127 isn't even my GOAL weight at this point. I don't think I'll ever be 127lbs again and that is just peachy. I just wish my 12 year old self had a clue.

I'm feeling really happy and comfortable in Weight Watchers (for the one week I've been on it --- stay tuned as always). My boyfriend helps me tally points at the end of the night. I reach out to friends/coworkers for support. It's not a humiliating act. It's not a negative act. I feel REALLY good about where my body is at this point in time and I also feel really good about the changes and mindfulness that are accompanying it. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weight Watchers

So I did it.

For the BILLIONTH time in my life, I joined Weight Watchers. Went to my first meeting on Wednesday were a buff middle-aged gay man named Roger lectured us on which alcoholic beverages were points-friendly and where to get the most bang for your buck. I've long since given up heavy drinking (except on my birthday -- so sue me!). But it was still nice to feel like there were other people surviving on light beer and vodka sodas. I don't usually like meetings (this is from the 10000000 times I've joined Weight Watchers), but it's probably good for accountability.

And so far, I'm liking the plan. I have the minimum number of points they assign which at first I was thrilled about. CHECK IT OUT WORLD, I'M SO SKINNY! But the following day was a harsh reality check. WTF!? 4 points in a fat free YOGURT? I can't eat ANYTHING! Though now I've figured out a sort of balance. Basically they give you all fruit and most veggies for 0 points. SO... anytime I get hungry, I snack on that. Christine used to warn me about overdoing it on fruit but I'm putting that out of my head now since I feel like my eating/portions have been severely restricted.

One of my coworkers who used to be on Weight Watchers said to just think of it as a game. Think of the math and points etc as fun. Now I would not go so far as to say I'm having a BLAST here but there is something satisfying about having a concrete goal. I also am not ashamed about it? Is that weird? I feel like formerly I was embarrassed for needing to/trying to lose weight. It would be my secret. Now that I'm thinner I find it easier to be open about my weight loss goals. I'm not sure why that is exactly.

It's also really nice to do it with my dad. He's so anal that it lets me do a little less work because if I get dinner with him, he calculates everything. (It got to the point where he was looking up points values for Pam... I was like... Dad that's nothing. Don't worry!) I feel thinner already though most of that is probably taking off the little bit I put on over the past few weeks. Though that's nothing to scoff at either. I see Christine tomorrow so I'll get a better sense of how this is all going for me then.

But I'm feeling happy and balanced. Usually when I diet TOO seriously I get fed up and eat a ton. Weight Watchers is nice in that nothing is severely off limits. And any diet where I'm allowed unlimited fruit (within reason) is probably a good match for me. I even managed to cook a baby-versary dinner for my boyfriend (9 months... but why not celebrate?) consisting of pesto and chocolate covered strawberries and only went 2 points into my reserve bank. I think he's sort of sickly fascinated by Weight Watchers too and laughs trying to calculate the amount of points he eats in a day (like... double mine... at least... stupid young male metabolism).

So here's to Weight Watchers and taking off the last 10-15lbs. Still working on it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pull Back Dieting

I'm sorry. It's been close to a month.

I've started countless entries but I either get interrupted midway or I just can't find the words to express where I'm at right now.

Last Monday I saw Christine and had somewhat of a rude awakening. I'd gained weight. Nothing drastic, but still an awakening. I was up about 5lbs from my lowest weight (keeping in mind I never maintained my lowest weight) and 3lbs up from where I was maintaining pretty consistently. I know I'd been lazy and lax but honestly, after two years of dieting (well... almost anyway... I started seeing Christine in October of 2010), I'm kind of sick of it. I want to go out and get drinks and have some fries and a burger sometimes. I just DO.

I sat in Christine's office and I said that I forgot what I was doing. I forgot I was trying to get healthy. I allowed myself to be an emotional eater -- something that when I was heavier I used to brag about not being. "I don't soothe my soul with food... I just like eating!" but somehow my relationship with food has changed. Somehow now, food is a comfort, when I never saw it as such before. It could be that I overate so consistently that I just didn't connect overeating with comfort. It wasn't particularly different from my 'normal' eating patterns.

Christine said, "Let's try something. For 7 days I tell you what to eat for a change." Usually Christine gives you guidelines and suggestions/hints but at the end of the day I'm telling her what I ate. Time to flip it.

She gave me something called the Pull Back Dieting Plan. Looking at it feels kind of atrocious, honestly. But today, as I'm into day 4, I'm actually finding it pretty reasonable. I'll outline it for you here (pick one food from each line).

  • 1 egg; 2 eggwhites; 1 oz cheese; 2/3 cup cottage cheese; 2 slices fat free cheese
  • 1 apple; 1 orange; 1/2 grapefruit; cup of berries; peach
Snack (optional)
  • 1/2 cup FiberOne original
  • 1 can water-packed tuna; 1 cup cottage cheese; 6oz broiled fish; 4oz roast beef; 6 shrimp; turkey burger; veggie burger
  • Salad with 2T fat free dressing with any veggies except peas, corn, beans or beets
  • Fruit
  •  2 pineapple rings; 4 prunes; apple; small banana; Luna bar; fat free yogurt
  • 6oz hamburger; 6oz fillet mignon; 8 shrimp; 8 medium scallops; 6oz fish; 1 chicken breast; 1 chicken leg/thigh (no skin)
  • 1 small baked potato; 1 cob of corn; 1 cup of peas; 2/3 cup rice; small dinner roll; English muffin
  • Salad (see above)
  • Broccoli; cauliflower; asparagus
Bedtime (optional)
  • 1 diet hot cocoa; 1 fat free yogurt; 1 cup skim milk; 1 WW fudge bar; fruit; 100 calorie popcorn; VitaMuffin Top 
And there it is. Does that seem difficult to anyone but me? You're actually eating pretty frequently throughout the day. Most of it is pretty natural/fresh which I like. I think this would be hard to do in the winter because I NEVER want to eat salad in the winter. The great thing about doing this though is I don't have to stress about choices. I can say no easier because I can tell everybody in my life that I'm on a strict diet this week... and no one pushes me. It also allows me to not think about food. I can only pick and choose from this list. No exceptions. And it's so short lived that I feel like I can do this.

I've added a coffee in the morning because it helps me feel full (and I have it on good authority it will only make me as fat as the milk I put in it).

I'm feeling more focused and centered about my diet than I have before. I had a party at the farmer's market yesterday and I just sauteed up some tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash for lunch with some broiled fish. Delightful.

The troubling part of this all though is the SECOND I left Christine's office on Monday I started STUFFING MY FACE. In a real and seemingly destructive way. I remember even thinking that "Look at you sabotaging yourself..." but did not want to adjust my behavior. I bought a muffin and ate the whole thing even though I wasn't hungry. I got yogurt (full fat) with granola and fruit and honey. I got a sandwich with PESTO and CHEESE (LORD HAVE MERCY), I got a salad with a creamy dressing, I got a brownie, I got Ethiopian food and ate more than my share of it. All in one day. Probably pick any one of these by itself and it's not so bad (not so great either). I got on my scale that night and saw a number I had not seen in... a year?

I will not beat myself up about it. Instead, I will pull back. I will remember that there are more important things and that my body, health and well being should always top that list.