Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where are my Dieting Divas?

I know some of you have wonderfully slim silhouettes, but there must be a few of you watching those calories/carbs/fat/sugar/etc. I count myself as one of those counters. I took the holiday season off and paid for it with 8 not so glorious pounds. I've laid out a whole plan for weight loss, and with each 5-10 lb chunk of weight loss adding a new healthy habit I want to learn.

My first goal is to lose those 8 lbs I gained from Thanksgiving-New Years. The habits I've paired with that are a reduction of the diet (and especially non-diet) sodas I drink daily, as well as staying away from sweets. Instead of stocking sweet "treats" in the house, I've included only one sweet item - a bar of 80% dark chocolate for the week. The chocolate is SO rich, there is no way I'd ever gorge on that and it gives me the sweet fix I need to keep going. Since the Pantry Cleanout of 08', I don't keep more than a weeks worth of groceries around, so weeding out the sweets wasn't hard.

The sodas are almost gone now, I've reduced my 6 soda habit down to 1-3 depending on the day. Now we're down to the last 2 liter of diet coke. Once that's gone, I don't plan on buying anymore. You can't drink what's not there.

I've already chosen my "habits" for the rest of my weight loss journey, but I'll talk about those when I get there. Which, accordingly to my calculations, should be sometime in February!

I've also been food journaling - which, let me tell you, is AMAZING. Having to think back over my day and remember everything I ate, and then analyze what I could have done differently. I look for where I went wrong, or what I could have done differently. Did I go too long without eating and then gorge and overeat later? Was my lunch not filling enough? Do I need more protein? Did I have too much sugar or carbs? How did I feel? Etc. It's been a great tool to help me see what works and what doesn't.

For instance, I've found that cereal for breakfast doesn't work for me - I usually want more than one bowl and am not left feeling very full. I have found that oatmeal works great, leaves me full, and I don't feel as hungry later. But cereal works as a great afternoon snack that really curbs cravings. Tea and coffee also work well to help with cravings, I notice when I don't have any I usually end up overeating that day or trolling the cabinets looking for snacks.

This has been week one and I did lose my 2 lbs. So now I'm on to the second week. I'm kind of looking at this as a very long uphill battle, not a short sprint. No crash diets, low-carbin, drastic calorie reduction, or eliminating whole food groups. Just eating healthier, going more organic, and eliminating some bad habits and throwing in some good.

For those on the dieting journey, what are your methods?


Gail said...

I bought a new cookbook today:
Weight Watchers 5 Ingredient 15 minute meals.

Merae said...

Ohhh... Ugggh... Did you really have to talk about WEIGHT? He HE. Like you, I am limiting sodas to 1-2 per day....Use a small dinner plate and reduced portions....incorporating yogurt into my diet for calcium...making exercise a priority in my schedule.....thinking about eating something before putting it in my mouth... I refuse to get a gym membership so I have really done good with resistance bands and exercise videos and just good ole fashioned long walks at the park. I seriously started in Sept., have lost 22 pounds and hope to have reached my weight loss goal in May. I have also set fitness goals along the way on my calendar which I am actually having fun meeting. The scale frustrates the heck out of me, but I find I am a slave to it.

Shelley said...

Lori and I decided to be really efficient. As two singles who were used to buying our own food and sharing some, we sure were wasting a good bit. We've come to the conclusion that the best way to be both savvy with the resources God gave us AND be smart about the food we eat is to make a menu and shop together, splitting the bill. We're already at our respective gyms getting our exercise in. Each of us have races as goals. Lori's more long distance, mine more 5K/10K races. SO...this week is "fridge/pantry cleanout 2009"! Saturday will be our big shopping day so that we can achieve our God Bods! whoooo-hoooo! (the food journal sounds great, too).

Robyn said...

I don't have a weight-loss goal, but definitely trying to eat healthy! In the last year or so I've really cut back on fast food and snack food (and the funny thing is, I rarely crave it anymore), and most of our home-cooked meals are pretty healthy since I started making up a weekly menu. I buy sodas every now and again, but I've been off caffeine since 2007 and I don't miss it! We drink lots of water around here.

Andy and Claire Harvey said...

I am so right there with you! After all I am in two of four weddings I already have this year. And I know of about three other friends that are close to engagements!
Andy and I are doing a modified weight watchers and I am trying to work out with my girls.
Food Journally is by far the best thing for me to do!

LeftyMama said...

Sounds like you already have a great system going, Mel. Keep it up & you'll get where you want to be!!!

Before I had Samson, I realized that the lbs had been creeping up for a couple of years & I was 25 lbs heavier than I wanted to be. I had read that the research supports daily food journaling as the most reliable success-producing strategy, so I signed up online for a service that helped me calculate how many calories (& other nutritional variables) I could consume each day in order to reach my weight loss goal (factoring in my size, body type, & activity level) over time. I my case, I wanted to lose slowly ( 1-2 lbs/wk) so that I'd be more likely to maintain the lifestyle changes I was making and keep the weight off for good.

I have to second what you said -- a daily food journal (no cheating!) makes it pretty easy to quickly see where simple changes can affect your overall calorie intake. I started to realize that eating more fresh veggies, whole grains, high fiber foods, high protein, and low glycemic index foods would allow me to feel satisfied while consuming fewer calories. I began to learn what a reasonable portion size actually is (and it's much smaller than what we are served in restaurants or by our Southern mamas). I could also see how much an increase in activity (like 40 minutes of walking or 30 minutes of raking leaves) could increase my allowable calories for the day, and I could decide whether to take a reward treat like a glass of wine or portion of cookies.

I, too, gave up most empty calories like sodas, alcohol, chips, other junk food, and starting eating snacks like nuts, dark chocolate, etc. Because I love carbonated drinks, I began drinking flavored sparkling waters (the HEB brand next to the LaCroix is usually $1-2 cheaper per 12 pack; these aren't sweetened, just have a hint of citrus or berry flavor) and various teas (no sweetener added).

One of my big strategies when eating out is to always leave food behind on my plate (something that goes against my "clean your plate / it's a sin to waste" upbringing). Often, that means having a nice doggy bag to eat for lunch the next day. Otherwise, I might order a la carte to get a single whatever instead of the 3 whatevers plus two side items that comes on a platter. Similarly at home, I purposefully use smaller plates to serve meals so that the food fills up the space & tricks my eyes into thinking I have a large portion.

Three years & one baby later, I have mostly maintained the goal weight, +/- 5 lbs. I'm not very sporty, so when I notice that my clothes are getting tighter again, I just get strict again with the reduced portion sizes and cutting down on junk food.

That isn't to say that I don't eat junk -- I need my Cheetos every now & then ;o) It just means that I try to keep it a rare event, and when I do, I still eat a small portion compared to what my old habits would allow.

Oh, and I always get a kid's meal when I succumb to a drive thru for a fastfood run!