Friday, 23 June 2017

Pep Talk For The Donkey

I may have said a time or two that I'm trying to get to a lower and healthier weight. So far I have lost and re-gained the same pounds several times, but have managed not to put on any additional weight in the last two years. Consider that the scale used to go in only one direction--up--for the previous twenty years, and you will understand why I am counting that as a partial win. I'm still learning and still trying, and I hope that recording the things that have worked for me in the past will help me get going again.

You can skip the blah blah blah and go straight to the lolcat at the bottom of the post if you wish!

1.  Exercise doesn't just burn off calories, it also works for me as an appetite-reducer. It's quite astonishing how moving around makes me less hungry, not more so.

2.  Distraction works wonders. If I'm reading a good book, I don't eat. If I'm talking, I don't eat. If I'm sorting things to donate or brushing the cats or typing on the computer or sewing or doing a craft, I don't eat. Etc., etc., etc.

3.  Writing down everything I eat and keeping a running total of the calories has been critical for me. I use the labels on prepackaged food, an inexpensive calorie counter book, and the internet to figure out the calories. I also use the internet to find the calories in chain restaurant meals, the few times we eat out. The numbers make my hair stand on end, but better that than making my backside too big for my slacks. Knowledge is power.

4.  I eat my food as plain as possible most of the time. Because I have excess stomach acidity (controlled by medication if I avoid trigger foods) and sensitive teeth, I have to forego acidic foods (most fruits), fat, fried food, sauces, gravy, and most salad dressings. This seems rigid at times, and can be boring if I'm not careful to eat a variety of vegetables (vegetables are low-calorie stars!) but it works well for weight loss, which makes me happy.

5.  Eating something very sweet or very high in carbohydrates sets up a vicious cycle of craving for me. Recently I caved in and bought two bags of a snack product because it was cheaper per bag than buying one. The little voice in my head told me I could set one aside for later in the summer. The little voice lied. And I somehow went from not planning to buy any, to buying two and eating them in three days, constantly hungry the whole time despite overall higher calorie counts for those days. That was 1750 calories' worth of bad decision and I didn't even actually save any money because I paid for two bags, not one ... my brain is such a sucker sometimes.

7.  The hardest part of going for a walk is just getting out the door.

8.  Taking the long view is very important. I want instant results, and it's hard to do something that I have to keep up ... well, forever. But I keep reminding myself it took me years to put on the weight, and it's going to take awhile to take it off, too. I slip now and then, but I get back up and keep going.



Now I'm off to read a book, to keep my mind busy and my cats happy (they like to join me on the couch).

Have a good weekend, all! And if you have a favourite weight loss or weight control tip, feel free to leave it in the comments :)



Me, in the grocery store the next time the snacks call my name ... okay, other people may look at me funny, but I have to drown out the little voice ... the little LYING voice ...

Photo courtesy of icanhascheezburger.com




30 comments:

  1. Oh so familiar.
    If my height were to match my weight I would be a Redwood.
    I am working at it. And whittling it down. Slowly. At the moment the five/two eating plan works for me. Two days (non consecutive) days of eating a severely restricted diet (500-600 calories) and the rest of the week free. As a rule, after a restricted day I am less hungry. Weird, but true.

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    1. Well done on your progress. I think slowly is the way to go as it is more apt to be a result of real changes in mindset and habits. I have heard of the five/two plan and it works very well for many people. I am reluctant to try it because I tend to get nauseated if I get too hungry. It's been that way ever since I had gestational diabetes in my first pregnancy. I'm glad it's working for you.

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  2. Best of luck.......it's not easy but so worth it.

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    1. Thanks, and I agree - it's even been worth it just managing to maintain instead of adding.

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  3. Hi Jenny, I have had that same struggle.My son introduced me to a diet a couple weeks ago that has changed everything for me. I've lost 6 LB in less than three weeks without struggling, feeling deprived, buying expensive, gross tasting "shakes" or anything else out of the ordinary. The diet has medical research and many doctors' support. Here is more info in case you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNZsfluh0Uo&t=7s It might not be for everyone but it has been a God send for me.

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    1. I'll check it out, Chicken! Thank you.

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  4. I do just about everything you do, except for counting calories. I stopped doing that a long time ago because it was driving me nuts. Instead, I took some time to educate myself on what is good for me and what isn't, how to read nutritional information and ingredient labels, how to order healthier food in a restaurant, and on and on it goes. Now it's second nature and eating out isn't as stressful as it used to be. And if the plate comes with too much food on it, I either share it with my husband or take half home. Very rarely, I allow myself a really-shitty-for-me treat and get it out of my system. It's a struggle, isn't it? There's so much crap out there and it takes discipline and lots of education to navigate through it all.

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    1. Why do we even call some of the stuff that's made FOOD?!

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  5. Interesting observations! Especially the one about getting out the door -- that is SO true.

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    1. I've only regretted going for a walk once that I can remember. It was a very hot day and I don't do hot weather well. I was glad to get home and it took awhile before I felt well again! But generally, yeah, once I get going I really enjoy it.

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  6. Weight control is a big challenge. I wish you the best.

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    1. Thanks, Red. It's probably the hardest thing I've ever done and I know many other people struggle with it, too.

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  7. Keep up the hard work, jenny_o. You will be so happy with yourself once you reach your goal. Of course, there are going to be slips like the pudding incident but just keep moving forward and you will get there. Take care and I can't wait to read about the day you get to where you want to be.

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    1. You should be a motivational expert, Mr. S! I've never thought about the day I reach my goal. It has seemed so out of reach. This helps, it truly does - thank you.

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  8. You've figured this out pretty well. I have almost exactly the same issues and the consistent behaviour modifications are the most difficult. We know WHAT to do, but damn, it's hard. My saving grace was an old dog that could keep me motivated long enough to actually get results.

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    1. Getting results in the beginning is hard, but it creates its own momentum, which motivates further. The trick is to keep going!

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  9. When they weighed me at the doctor's office a couple weeks ago, I had gained six pounds since last year. Dr. Nelson said he still wasn't too concerned, as he knows I am living a much different life this year than last, and it is overall much healthier. He did order up a blood draw to make sure my metabolism is doing what he thinks it is, and advised me to keep up the walking I do.
    I'm sort of doubtful that their scale weighed me correctly this time, though, as they had me try to stand on the little one in the exam room, which I can only do with one foot, rather than the larger walk-up scale down the hall.
    Either way, I'm still ten pounds lighter than when I was in the hospital in 2008, though I'm afraid some of that is lost muscle mass on my left side.
    In fact, I do curls and presses with a small barbell every day to keep from losing more muscle mass from my left shoulder and arm.
    I should probably pay closer attention to my diet, now that I have a kitchen to cook things in, and I have actually improved it in many areas, like eating more salads and fresh vegetables, but I could definitely do better, and if I find my weight isn't stabilized, I will get serious about it. I was a cook for my living for ten years, so I have no excuse for not doing the right thing.
    Have a good weekend if you can.

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. You're doing a good job looking out for your health, Doug. I could be doing light weights daily too ... and now that I realize that, I'll add it in. Thanks for that prompt.

      If I could go back and give my thin self one single piece of advice, it would be to keep on top of my weight from the start. It's not that hard to lose five pounds, but when it gets to fifteen (and more and more) the job seems so much harder.

      Enjoy your weekend too.

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  10. You rock! I wish you well with this...keep going!

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    1. Thanks, e. I don't feel like I rock ... more like trundle ...:)

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  11. I was very thin for most of my life (when I was in high school I was probably almost anorexic). When my marriage went from bad to worse, my doctor put me on an antidepressant that made me crave carbs. I gained one hundred pounds. I absolutely could not stop eating. A few years ago, I lost forty and then gained most of it back. Now I'm trying again. I eat less and no longer keep diet soda around the house. Instead I drink a lot of fruit-infused water, which my son also likes. Our favorites are strawberry-blueberry water and apples with cinnamon water. I make the waters myself so we're not spending a lot of money on them, and we're not putting a bunch of plastic bottles in the recycling bin. My weight is a real sore point with me. I have even been asked when my baby is due and called fat ass.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Ugh. People. People who don't think. And who don't realize there's a story behind every person's weight. Ugh. Every single one of us has a story of how we got here, don't we? I started out as a skinny kid, too. I was skinny until after I had our first child. When both kids were pre-schoolers I had a lot of stress in my life. That's when I found the chocolate chips in the baking cupboard and realized there was no one to raise their eyebrows at me if I ate them as a snack. It was the beginning of the end. I am an emotional eater now. Sigh. Good luck to us both, Janie.

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    2. The world is full of comfort food.

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  12. Hi Jenny,
    There's not much point in me keeping a regime going. My weight always stays the same.
    If I have any tips to losing weight I'd say cutout the bread. That seems to work quite well.
    Good luck.

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    1. That is a bit of good luck, Terry. Many people gain when they are sitting a lot. And yes, a lot of people seem to have success with cutting out bread. Thanks for the good wishes.

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  13. I feel for you! I ended up carrying an extra 25 pounds about a decade ago, and I gradually pared it off by a pound or two a week. I absolutely CAN'T diet because I have zero willpower: the instant I resolve never to eat (fill in the blank), I'll crave it. The harder I try, the worse it gets. You've already got a great diet plan in place, so here are a few additional things that work for me:

    I've always eaten a healthy diet; but my portion sizes tend to creep up. So I eat off a luncheon plate or a saucer instead of a dinner plate. Then even if I'm not thinking about portion control, I do it naturally because when the plate is full, I stop loading it up. (Plus it looks like more food, which makes me happy!)

    Another really useful piece of knowledge was that our bodies tend to confuse thirst with hunger. If I feel hungry, I drink a glass of water or a cup of tea. If I'm still hungry fifteen minutes later I know I need to eat; but usually by then I don't need to - I was actually thirsty, not hungry.

    And my last and best strategy is to eat a small dessert every day. If I don't, I crave a sweet treat and end up binging later; and if I eat a larger dessert or eat more than one a day, it spirals into that ugly sugar craving that gets worse the more sweets I eat.

    I wish I could remember where I found it, but some great advice I once read was "Don't swim away from the boat". The logic was this: If you're out in a boat and you fall overboard, you swim back to the boat and get back on. You don't swim farther away. So when you eat more than you intended, instead of beating yourself up and eating everything in sight because you've failed, you just accept that you fell off the boat, say "oops", and get right back on again.

    Good luck - it's a tough struggle, but you'll make it!

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    1. Thanks, Diane - all good tips. I think the one about a small plate is something I need to re-visit. I use a smaller plate than I used to, but I could try going to something even smaller. And I like the boat analogy! Congratulations on your weight loss and maintenance. And I think the maintenance is every bit as hard as the losing.

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    2. It is - I think our bodies get used to being a certain weight and even after we change it, they keep trying to get back to what they're used to. If only they'd get used to the lower weight... ;-)

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    3. At least we are not alone, and that's good to know :)

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