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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Always Something

I'm going through a life crisis.  I deal with that by eating.  Breakfast cereal.  Chocolate.  Chips and queso.  It doesn't matter.  I just sooth myself with food.  I think most people are like that.  At least those of us who have battled obesity.  Food is a comfort.  Temporarily anyway.  But, the last thing I need right now is to gain weight.  That would just add to my woes.  So I definitely need to reign it in.  Am I going to be able to do that?  Am I going to be able to maintain my good eating habits?  When everything in my life is falling apart and my emotional state is bouncing around like a ping pong ball, am I going to be able to eat right?

The answer is YES.  I am going to be able to maintain my good habits.  I am going to be able to eat right.  Are you wondering how I can be so sure?  Well, I am faking my confidence for sure.  My bravado is an act.  But I do know that I've been through some rough times before and I was able to maintain.  Every time I've made it through a crisis and the scale stayed the same, my confidence increases.  So even though I'm nervous, I can do it.  I've done it before.  I HAVE to do it.  My health and my sanity are at stake.
This brings me around to my title.  It's always something.  There is always a reason to over indulge.  Good, bad, or ugly...you can always find an excuse if you want one.  There is the good...birthdays, holidays, celebrations, Tuesdays :)  There is the bad...divorce, job loss, death of a loved one.  The ugly....depression, foreclosure, moving.  Take your pick.  There are a million reasons to choose from if you want to blow your diet.  But these excuses, they're called life.  And life keeps on coming.  What I'm trying to say is if we let every little thing get in the way of our good choices, we'll never reach our goal weight...or stay there for that matter.
So tomorrow I am going to eat right, drink water, exercise, and sleep.  I am going to take care of me.  No excuses.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lessons From a Former Fat Girl

Having been a fat girl, I know all too well how hard it is to lose the weight and keep it off.  I am not a "natural skinny."  I have to think about my food choices every day.  Every meal, in fact.  Is it worth all that work?  Absolutely.  I feel better.  I think better.  I sleep better.  I look better.  The list could go on... No, it doesn't come naturally to me but it has gotten easier as the years pass.  It has been almost 7 years since I hit my goal weight.  Sometimes I even surprise myself that I'm STILL at my goal weight.  Oprah said on her show when she gained her weight back, "I got cocky.  I thought I had it mastered."  I learned a lesson from Oprah...you have to keep on working.  You never have it mastered.  There are lesson that I have to keep on learning, every day!

1.  Not every meal has to be a sumptuous buffet of deliciousness for all the senses!  I am a food lover.  Aren't we all?  My fat self had to have it all.  The perfect meal...appetizers, perfect entree with yummy sauces, desert, drinks and all the trimmings at every meal!  I have to continue to learn that most meals are just about refueling.  Nothing more than that.  Going all out is just for special occasions.

2.  One cheat doesn't give me license to binge.  I know you've heard me say this before, but having one cookie doesn't mean I need to keep on going with the junk food for the rest of the day.  Every meal is a new opportunity to make good choices.  I get back on the wagon immediately.

3.  Find your moderate button.  I've heard it a million times, "Everything in moderation."  Well, I am not equiped with a moderate button.  I had to create one and learn how to use it.  I'm a go all out type of girl.  That's why I was fat.  I have to  remind myself regularly that a few bites is enough.

You would think after 7 years I wouldn't have to keep learning, not just learning but re learning.  But I do.  And it's worth it. 


Thursday, August 18, 2011

I need a drink!

I'm cheap.  I said it.  I'm always looking for a bargain.  I love things on sale.  I hate to waste money.  This personality trait of mine translates into my eating habits too.  I hate to waste calories.  So it's easy for me to say no to beer, wine, and cocktails.  Because I'm cheap, I just can't justify wasting my precious calories on alcohol.  I would much rather have something I can chew!  And now that I'm getting older, I actually think about nutrients!  Crazy, I know.  I do realize that I'm in the minority on this one.  Most of our patients ask me at one time or another..."When can I have a drink?"

I will only stay on my soapbox only  for a moment here.  Why do you want to use up 100, 200, 300 calories on a drink that's going to give you no nutritional value and a headache to boot?  OK! OK!  Enough!   How can you incorporate a drink or two into your plan and still lose weight?  It can be done.  First you need to know the trade offs.  Calorie wise, a glass of wine or a beer has about 100 calories.  So does one small serving of fruit.  If you're following your plan, trade one serving of fruit for one drink.  Easy enough, right?

Not really.  Obviously, we don't want to do this every day.  By skipping a fruit serving, you're giving up vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you are not going to get from alcohol.  So this is a once and a while option.  Sure, even the best apple is not going to give you a buzz but we do care about our health, right?  Alcohol also interferes with our bodies ability to burn fat stores.  So drinking will slow you down.  And I know we are all in a hurry to get to our goal weight.

So while you are actively trying to lose weight.  Keep the drinking to a minimum.  Let's say once a month.  Save it for special occasions.  Once you are at your goal weight, a drink or two once a week is fine and shouldn't interfere with you maintenance as long as you accommodate the calories.  OR, you could be cheap like me and spend those calories on a spinach salad :)  Hey, they don't call me the food Nazi for nothing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to school

I can't wait for the kids to go back to school.  I need routine!  I need order!  I need some peace and quiet!  Four of my five kids go back to school next week and as happy as I am about that, I am up to my armpits in school forms, school supplies, orientation schedules and the like.  When things get crazy like this at home, the drive thru starts  looking really good to me!  The drive thru, pizza delivery, and Chinese takeout...all of the things that make my life easier but my butt bigger!

Let me just say that I am a big advocate for eating at home.  It saves money, it saves calories, it gives you family time, and it gives you control.  Control over what you're eating.  BUT, when you don't even have two minutes to rub together fast food becomes a necessary evil.  I can say this,  if I'm on my game and planning right, I don't do the fast food thing.  Being prepared is 50% of the battle for me.  If I have a healthy option staring at me from my fridge, I'll pick it up.  But if I've blown off the grocery store for 3 days running I will succumb to the drive thru.

Here are my fast food rules:

1.  Kid size portions only...super size fries equals super size gut!
2.  Drink only water...gotta dilute all that fat and sodium!
3.  No buns...there is ALWAYS a salad available!
4.  Eat slowly...let your brain register the food you are taking in!
4.  Resist the urge to eat every last bite...stop when you are 70% full!

The last one is a tough one.  We live in a value driven society.  Believe me, I know the feeling of wanting to "get my money's worth" when I'm eating out.  I tell myself that I'll pay more just to be fit and trim.  THAT is worth the money.  Not the extra french fries. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Good Enough

The birthday dinner was a hit without taking a hit on my waistline.  I am happy to report I was able to navigate the meal with good choices AND I felt satisfied.  When the cake was being passed around I did take a small piece and had a few bites.  The next day, the scale was in my favor.  I didn't lose BUT I didn't gain.  I got right back on my plan.  I did everything about 90% right. 

This is not a diet of perfection.  It doesn't have to be 100%.  In fact, it can't be.  Who can do it perfectly 100% of the time, every day, day after day?  This is a diet of 90% right.  This is a diet of not perfect, but just good enough.  Having been fat before and tried to lose weight countless times, one of the biggest roadblocks for me in changing my lifestyle was my need for perfection.  I find this with many of our patients.

We dieters start our morning with all kinds of resolve.  "I'm going to do it!  Today is the day!"  Then someone brings brownies to the office and we can't resist.  Failure.  We say to ourselves, "I blew it.  I'm getting a cheeseburger for lunch and having pizza for dinner and then I'm going to break open a package of Oreo cookies!  I'll try again tomorrow."  Or in my case, I'll start again Monday.  Because we all know you have to start your diet on Monday!?  Then I would proceed to binge on whatever I wanted because I didn't do it right.  I wasn't perfect so I wasn't even going to try.  This faulty way of thinking had me starting diets endlessly.  And failing diets endlessly.

I've noticed that thin people don't think like this.  These "naturally skinnies," I like to call them, don't expect perfection.  And they don't beat themselves up for taking that brownie.  They just get right back on the good choice wagon the very next meal.  It's not all or nothing.  It's not perfection.  It's  about making good choices 90% of the time. Was it easy to change my way of thinking?  No.  I have been maintaining my healthy weight for over six years and I still have to remind myself. 

So if you're like me, hard wired to want things just so, a perfectionist, you are going to have to let that go.  Especially where food and eating are concerned.  We live in a culture that revolves around food and there is just no way to do it perfectly.  We just have to do it good enough.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Birthday Dilemma

Oh my gosh, my daughter's birthday dinner is tonight.  Did I mention that I have five daughters?  Yes, five!  This sweet one in particular is turning 15 and weighs 90 pounds soaking wet.  So it goes without saying that her dream menu is NOT on my diet plan.  But, trying to be the good mom, I am making the dinner of her choice for her birthday.  Are you ready?  Potato and Cheddar pierogies with kielbasa, garlic and cheese bread and ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.  A dieters worst nightmare, right?

Well, it doesn't have to be.  First, I'm buying turkey kielbasa from Hillshire Farms.  My family won't even notice the difference and I will be able to cut some calories and fat.  I'm going to saute my kielbasa medallions with pepper and onions and just a touch of olive oil.  I want to get some good quality fat in there!  After that is cooked I will add my frozen pierogies.  Garlic and cheese bread goes in the oven.  What's in it for me?  A little bit of sacrifice and will power that's for sure.

On my plate I will have a big salad dressed with oil and vinegar and a bit of the kielbasa with peppers and onions.  My plate will be full of veggies and I'll have about 1/3 cup on kielbasa.  I have a plan.  I'm totally sticking to my plan!  Now whether I do or not remains to be seen.  I'll let you know tomorrow.  But I can tell you this, half of the battle is going in prepared.  I'm prepared to do it right.  If a fall off a little bit I'll still be ahead of the game.  If I went in without a plan, forget it!  I'd be toast.

I'm sure you're asking, "What kind of Birthday meal is that?"  Well, I'll tell you.  It is the kind that is going to get me to my goal.  I spent many birthdays stuffing myself full of bread and cake.  Do you know where it got me?  FAT CITY!  It's time for paybacks.  And that's not always pretty.

So wish me luck tonight.  I'm going to drink lots of water before hand.  I'm going to eat slowly and enjoy the conversation.  I'm gonna sing happy birthday at the top of my lungs ( I'll probably shed a tear or two cuz I'm like that.)  When I roll out that cake I'm gonna have a cup of coffee with splenda so I have something in my hands and I'm gonna pull out my skinny girl mantra..."I'm more powerful than that ice cream cake."
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