Pride and Accountability

Okay, I’ve been thinking about this personal trainer thing all week.  How it seems to be working for me.  And how the accountability of it seems to be a big part of it for me.  Like when I’ve run out of calories at the end of the night, and I want a little more popcorn, and I think, no, I’m gonna see Vickie in a few days.  That’s just one little example.  Another part of the control on what I am eating is that when I am working harder at working out, I will think, I don’t want this work to go to waste, so control your eating.  But mostly, I think that for me, the accountability of a real live person is very important for me.  I’m not sure why the w.w. accountability stopped working for me, but maybe this is one step up–there is no one to hide behind, no crowd to get lost in.

But here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week, especially in regards to the large financial investment I was contemplating (hiring a P.T. for an extended period of time.)  Am I ALWAYS going to need to be accountable to someone?  Is that the only way I will be able to maintain my weight loss forever?  When I started W.W. I thought to myself, well it is like being an alcoholic.  Some alcoholics have to go to A.A. meetings every week for their whole lives to stay sober.  So be it, I thought to myself.  If I have to go to W.W. meetings for the rest of my life to keep on track, it is worth it.

I guess I don’t have any answer for this since I am not there yet.  In questioning Vicky, she didn’t have a pat answer, but she did say something that appealed to me.  She said that some people check in with her once a month or so, or check back in if they have a 5 pound gain.  That appeals to me, and sounds reasonable.

So, Da-da-da-dahhhh! (I don’t know how to spell out that trumpet blast)—I signed up for SIX MONTHS of Personal Training.  That is a bigger investment than the new TV I am refusing to buy!  But I am so excited about the prospects of everything it will do for me.  She works on your nutrition right along with the exercises, which I really like.  And she explains how and why certain exercises affect your muscles in different ways, which is really important to me.  And she definitely challenges me.  That is the part about pride that I was pondering today.  I mean, what makes me try one more pushup when my arms and legs are shaking, when she is right there?  It has to be pride.  I mean, when I was at home, I was pushing myself pretty hard on the pushups, but I don’t remember trying THAT hard.  Whatever it is, I feel well-worked out today!  

Oh yeah, AND I lost 0.6 pounds this week.  To some of you that may not seem like much, but it is two weeks in a row with a loss, and that is a big deal to me!

So I’m off to my healthy dinner of salmon and brussel sprouts, and saved enough calories to have a little piece of the dark chocolate Green & Black’s chocolate that I got to try, along with my strawberries and greek yogurt for dessert!  Have I mentioned lately how much I love food?

Cooking for an Army of One

Yeah, that’s what I did yesterday.  It was kinda fun.  I had a lot of veggies, and I had bought a family pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and some pork sirloin steaks (BTW, these seem like a very lean cut, are tasty and tender, and are cheaper than other cuts of pork.)

So yesterday, I fired up the grill, cut the meat into about 4 oz. portions, and put them all on to cook.  In the meantime, I started chopping veggies inside, put 3 servings of rice on to cook, and started stir-frying the veggies, to make my fried rice.  For a wee bit of time, there was a lot of running in and out of the house, but in the end, I had 3 big servings of fried rice, an extra serving of stir-fried veggies, and a LOT of barbequed chicken and pork.  I weighed out 3 oz. of pork to put in the fried rice.  Really, one ounce per serving seems like more than enough.  And then I put all the pork and chicken in ziplock bags, and lay flat in the freezer so it is easy to take out one serving at a time.  I have found that having pre-cooked meat really works well for me for the days when I am tired, or lazy, or don’t want to wash so many dishes.  Also its good to have on hand for work lunches.

That’s all for now.  I’m off to my weights workout.  Maybe I’ll post more this afternoon.

Reporting In

Had another excellent day.  Took a 3 mile hike with the dogs–the longest I’ve gone for quite a while.  At the end, I did 4 minutes of ‘intervals’ where I jogged for 20 seconds, walked for 10 seconds, and repeated X8.  It is harder than it sounds, but such a good challenge.  While I was out walking I thought about…what else, food.  I decided to have a chocolate banana smoothie for my post-exercise snack.  I adjusted the recipe on the side bar, and it was better than ever.  1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, 1 frozen banana, 2 egg whites, 2 Tbsp cocoa, and 4 ice cubes.  This is so excellent, and for only 180 calories, a pretty nutritional snack.  It was almost too chocolaty with the 2 Tbsp cocoa!

For lunch, I made ‘fried rice.’  I looked at this big platter of fried rice, and couldn’t believe I could eat this on a diet.  Fried rice has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.  As a young adult, my mom and I used to go out and just order fried rice between us.  But fried rice these days is usually disappointing–mostly rice with a few frozen veggies, and a bit of meat.  Well, to make this, I used onion, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, green onions, and frozen peas (all the other vegetables were fresh.)  Just sprayed the pan w/oil spray to start, and cooked the veggies for quite a while, then added 1 tsp. sesame oil, and some soy sauce.  I had 1 ounce of pre-cooked pork tenderloin that I had chopped into small pieces, and 1 cup of rice which I added to the veggies at the very end.  Unbelievable!

Then I did my upper body weight exercises, and one set of interval exercises.  I had a bowl of strawberries with a little fage for my snack.

Dinner was funny.  I had picked up some brocolli beef at Trader Joe’s.  The nutritionals sounded decent, and it just looked delicious.  After my success at lunch, I had had the thought that I could probably do the brocolli beef better than T.J.’s.  So when I fixed it, I added some tomato, which sounded good.  But when I tasted the beef I decided that it was not worthy (more chicken food.)  By now I was tired and hungry, and so I thawed out 2 ounces of my cooked turkey breast, and topped it with a bit of salsa, and avacado.  That was excellent, and only took a minute!  I had it with an ear of corn.

All in all, an excellent day both food and exercise wise.  I feel like the switch has been turned back on again!  I hope it stays on this time.  

I’m off to work for a couple of days.  Have a great weekend!

A Different Kind of Travel Day

Yesterday was another trip to the Bay Area to visit/help my dad.  This has become a huge problem for me over the past few months.  Stress, tired, no ‘me-time,’ however you want to put it, these travel/out of town days have been fraught with too much/wrong food choices.

Since doing the detox diet, and being accountable to Vicky (P.T.), I really did not want to go off track yesterday.  So I wrote out my food plan for the day–3 meals, 2 snacks- made it as nutritious and filling as possible, and was determined to stick by it!  I also tried to include some ‘treat’ type food, so I wouldn’t feel deprived.  And I stuck to it–YAY!

Here’s what I planned:

Before leaving house:  Yogurt, 100 cal.

Stop at Starbuck’s:  Coffee w/half and half,  40, Macadamia and white chocolate Clif bar,  240 

Snack:  Raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips (13, I count them out!)  200 calories

Lunch:  Pear, 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 Tbsp flax meal, 270 cal, steamed green beans, 25 cal

Snack:  Popcorn, 135 cal

Snack:  Frozen yogurt, toppings, 280 cal.

Dinner:  Turkey 4 oz., 160 cal, veggies, 25 cal.

1475 calories–my goal 1480!

Okay, I only veered off at the end.  Out here we have these little stands that open up each spring and sell strawberries picked at the peak of ripeness-really a different fruit than store strawberries!  So I picked some up on my way home, and I couldn’t resist a bowl of them with a little greek yogurt (Fage 0%) total calories: 80.  OMGoodness, people.  You have to try this yogurt.  I can’t believe it is so thick and creamy.  And low in calories and high in protein.

Another insight for me, and maybe you.  Since I am in my car so much, I really want to have snacks to eat in the car.  The green beans that I brought for lunch were those young ones that you can ‘steam in the bag.’  I brought them along, and steamed them in my dad’s microwave.  I was so full from lunch, I didn’t eat them.  So on the drive home, I found them to be excellent ‘finger food’ to snack on.  I might be replacing my popcorn obsession with veggies soon!

A Brief Word About Points

It seems like I’ve been bad-talking the Points system in my past few posts.  And I just want to say that that is not the case.  If it were not for the points system I don’t think I would have lost as much weight as I have.  But more than that, the points system taught me how to eat differently.  They rewarded me for making better food choices, specifically low-fat, high fiber foods.  I don’t think I ever would have tried whole wheat pasta, or whole wheat flour, or brown rice, were it not for the points system.  Just because I learned to misuse the system doesn’t make it a bad thing.  Just like my illustration of being in college and figuring out how well I needed to score on a final exam to pass the course–doesn’t mean the grading system is a bad thing.  Now don’t get me started–Weight Watchers and the Points system are not perfect, but they are one of the most well-rounded weight loss systems out there.  (And in case you’re not a regular reader, me and W.W. are divorced, but it was on friendly terms…)

So today I went for my weight training session with Vicky (You were right, Vickie!) and it was MOST EXCELLENT!  I am so enthused about this.  Today she worked mostly on upper body stuff, but also did a lot of core stuff, which I really need, and a LOT of work on balancing.  I am really happy about working on this, since I see my dad, and how off balance he gets, and I see the same tendency in myself already.  She had me do some of the arm exercises while standing on ‘balance pods.’  And then she had me do a few while standing on one foot on the pod!  The pod is kinda like half a ball.  Anyways, I loved the challenge of it.  And when you are working this hard at exercising, you think twice about going over your–oops, I almost said points–calories for the day.  She is really big on refueling your body after exercise with the right proportion of carbohydrates and protein.  Roni had an excellent guest post who seems like he thinks along the same line as Vicky.

The last thing I wanted to pass along was from my 100 Days of Weight Loss book.  She had a chapter about savoring the flavor of some food you really love.  She said to take a small square of chocolate, unwrap it slowly and smell it.  Then bite off one corner, and savor it.  Then do the same with each corner, and finally 2 more bites with the center that is left.  Enjoy the texture as well as the flavor.  I do try to do this, sometimes better than others.  But I think it is key to being satisfied with smaller portions of food.

It is really warm today.  Took the dogs out for a 2 mile walk this evening.  Spring is so wonderful this year.  There are some birds that sing right at twilight that I am really enjoying!

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More Insights

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Well, today I ate pretty well.  Stayed within my new calorie allotment.  Enjoyed some of my old favorites.  But learned some pretty significant things, I think.

First, coffee.  Aaah.  I love the routine of it almost as much as the taste.  I am  a person who is very happy when things stay the same.  And getting up and making my coffee first thing every morning is very comforting.  But I think that I have come to associate coffee with baked goods.  Now the baked goods I have are all ‘legal.’  But maybe not necessary every morning.  I don’t think this means I need to eliminate my coffee.  I just need to adjust my thinking about what goes with coffee.

Second, later in the morning, I was quite jittery.  Again, not certain it was from the coffee.  Maybe it was the phone call from someone I don’t always like talking to…but I don’t like feeling jittery.  Please, Lord, don’t make me give up my coffee yet!

Next thing was really funny.  I had planned to have more dairy (cottage cheese and fruit) for lunch but somehow, the leftover veggies sounded great with some rice and  a scrambled egg in it (almost like fried rice, an old favorite of mine!)  This is a good thing.  BTW, I bought some mixed rice that had 4 kinds of rice in it–looks pretty, and much more interesting to eat than plain brown rice.  

Here is the biggest insight, and I hope I will take it to heart and put it into practice.  I really liked the healthy snacks on the detox diet.  And, of course, I can think of all kinds of other healthy snacks to have.  So tonight when I had my old standby popcorn and a bit of chocolate, and I wrote down the calories for it (215) I realized there was quite a large variety of healthy snacks that I could eat and enjoy for that amount of calories.  I hate to blame the points system, but this is another holdover from that system.  (I should say it is a holdover from my use of the system. )  When  I started W.W., the amount of popcorn I ate was one point, and that seemed like such a good deal.  As time has gone on, however, it took more and more popcorn to satisfy me.  And the whole volume thing….I hope I can just get over that.  One of the snacks she suggested was 1/4 cup of natural sunflower seeds.  I substituted pine nuts because they are the same size and I like them.  Anyways, the trouble with a nut snack is that it looks SO SMALL!  But I noticed that it took a long time to eat all those little nuts.  That is a good thing in my book.  I think I will work on compiling a list of healthy and tasty 100 and 200 calorie snacks.

Tomorrow is my next session with my P.T. and I am so excited.  I am starting to feel like a real athlete again.  Today I worked my lower body and went to Curves for some cardio, and then Vickie will work with me on my upper body and teach me some new stuff.

Or is it just the new tennis shoes that make me feel like an athlete?!?

 

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C’est Fini!

I did it!  I stuck to the detox diet for four full days.  I was a little tempted to go off and ‘celebrate’ last night, but actually I was too full, and just finished with the snack she had listed (which is delicious and will become a regular part of my repertoire–applesauce and 1 Tbsp flax meal–YUMM!)  I lost 2 pounds, which is gratifying, since the scale has been stuck or going up for weeks, especially considering that I was not deprived or hungry.

And I have to say, I love my blogmies!  Nowhere else could I talk ad nauseam about what I am eating, when I am eating, and how I feel before, during, and after I eat!  And you even were interested, and said ‘tell me more!’

So what I learned from this was mainly, I hope, that I can control what I eat.  I don’t have to have my ‘favorites’ every day.  Simple food is great tasting (I kinda knew that, but it was a good reminder.)  Here’s what I woke up thinking this morning:  I didn’t feel fantastically better, brighter, more energetic, or healthier from eating this way.  And I think that is because I eat pretty darn healthily every day.  

And, the main reason certain foods were eliminated on this diet was because they were foods people were more prone to be allergic to (eggs, soy, wheat, corn, sugar, peanuts, milk) and it says limit oats, yeast, chocolate, tomatoes, potatoes, caffeine, artificial sugar, citrus, shrimp, alcohol, processed foods.  And since I chose to follow it exactly, all those things were eliminated as well.  All that to say, since I didn’t experience an amazing sense of well-being, I guess I can conclude that I am not allergic to any of those things.  Which is good, because I missed my dairy!

Of all the regular foods that I love that were not allowed for 4 days, what I discovered that I missed the most was dairy, specifically cottage cheese.  And secondly, I discovered that I was getting a far bigger energy boost from my morning coffee than I had realized.

What I hope to keep from this experiment?  

  • There’s nothing wrong with eating more veggies.  
  • I don’t have to have chocolate every day AT ALL.  
  • Continue on eliminating sugar from my diet ( I was already doing this.)  Life is more peaceful without sugar.  
  • Consider cutting back on my liberal use of splenda.  
  • And one bowl meals are okay.  That is one bad habit I picked up from the points system.  It is not the points system’s fault, it was my take on the points system.  I tend to want a ‘buffet’ type meal, with several (3-5 different food items at each meal.)  So eventually, if anything was over 3 points, it became too ‘costly’ in my book, and was eliminated from my diet. This thinking eliminated a lot of worthy meals.

Changing to counting calories has been a very good learning experience for me.  Mostly in regards to changing my way of thinking.  Right now I have in my mind that breakfast should be less than 500 calories, lunch less than 400 calories, and dinner less than 300 calories, and that opens up the possibilities of different food choices for me.

Well, all, thanks again for listening to a LOT of food talk!  Yesterday in Sunday School, they asked what was your favorite thing, kind of as an ice breaker.  And I said ‘FOOD!’  To which someone said, oh, I thought it would be your stitching.  And I said, ‘Nope, no contest.  I love food.’

Flavors

Just a really short post to say I made it through day 3 of the detox diet!  Through my 15 1/2 hour work day, no less!  I ate exactly what was ordered.  The only thing I changed was the order I ate the food in, so I could fit it into my breaks.  Well, I lie.  I tweaked the stuff the tiniest bit.  Today’s food was exactly the same as yesterday (again my choice because this worked out better on a work day.)  So, to the breakfast rice mixture, I added just a tiny bit of Unsweetened vanilla almond breeze–that made it MUCH better.  And for the ‘baked apple’ at the end of the day, I deleted the honey, and added a date.

Anyway, what I am learning and appreciating so much is the flavor of simple foods.  Of course, I always appreciate the flavor of food–I love food!  And I do try to eat mindfully, and enjoy what I am eating.  But I mean the flavor of SIMPLE food.  For example, the baked sweet potato.  Of course, in the distant past, I enjoyed a baked sweet potato swimming in melted butter.    Even now, I use my spray butter to ‘enhance’ the sweet potato.  But this little diet experiment–no dairy!  So I just ate the sweet potato plain.  The simple, subtle flavor became more noticable and enjoyable the more I ate the potato.  And an apple!  When all you get is one piece of fruit a day, a little bite of apple is truly delightful.

If for nothing else, this little diet-experiment has taught me to appreciate simple food in new and better ways.