Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Fitness Project: Tuesday Update

This is Tuesday, which has become my weekly day to measure my progress in the weight loss part of my plan to get fit. Here's what I posted on my Facebook status update:

Lots of energy, knees thanking me, started strength training & I finally learned how to make some delicious marinated baked tofu. 1.4 lbs lost this week, grand total after week 5: 11.4 lbs.

I promised some details, so here goes.
I probably spent about a month thinking, planning, journaling in a serious way. The most important part of this time was building my commitment, coming to the point where I was able to make this project my number one priority. And not feel guilty for doing so.

I also created a vision of myself, limber, energetic...not thin, but...lean & focused, grounded and centered, comfortable in my clothes, in my skin.

As I go on, I'll try to write more about some of the things I've thought about fat, about how I came to be so overweight, about how hard it's been to think of myself, my physical self as a priority.

I chose what is generally considered a minimum for daily calories: 1200.
I eat something every 3 hours or so.
I take a multi-vitamin. (I also take other supplements for health reasons, ones recommended by my doctor.)

I religiously keep a fitness log, writing down everything that goes in my mouth, and adding up the calories for the day. This is a vital part of my plan. Many people would find this tedious, and some days I do. But I know that eventually this will pay off in my having a better sense of healthy eating, of portion size. I won't have to do this forever. I will just know. Finding how many calories in a food is blissfully easy with Google.

The log also helps me to balance my diet - I can see that one day I had too much fruit & not enough veggies, or that I need to get a little more protein. I'm not sure that I can get a perfect balance every day, but feel I can over a 2-day period.

I have made a set of measuring spoons & cups my best friend. I divide suggested serving sizes in half & have discovered that a little bit of the higher-calorie things can go a long way in complementing the lower-calorie foods.

As for what I'm eating, here's yesterday's log entry:

Tea: black, honey, milk (26)
Snack: 1/2 Luna bar (85)
Breakfast: scrambled eggs (1 whole, egg whites ) (115), 1/2c chopped onions, gr. peppers, zucchini (30), tomato slices (15) 3 carrot sticks (10) 1/2 tsp olive oil (20), 1 T 2% grated cheddar (20) (210)
Lunch: 1/2 pita (80) baked tofu (125) 1T hummus (25) spinach & cut veggies (30), 3 carrot sticks (10) (270)
fruit cup (melon, 5 rainier cherries, apple wedge, 1 prune) (100?)
4 oz red tea snapple (20)
Snack: cacao nibs (30) caramel rice cake (50) 1/3 small banana (25) (105)
Tea: black, honey, milk (extra) (31)
Supper: 3 oz. chicken baked bbq marinade (130) 1c broccoli (30) sliced tomatoes, onions (25), 3 carrot sticks (10) (195)
4 oz red tea snapple (20)
1 square dark chocolate 6 gr. (28)
Snack: 1/4c yochee (43), 3/4c mixed fresh fruit (peach, apple, blueberries) (50) 1T Special K cinnamon pecan (8) (101)


My biggest food problem has always been sweets. My basic diet preferences are pretty healthy, whole grains, lots of fruit & vegetables, yogurt, small amounts of meat. (I probably ate too much cheese, though. )

But once I'd eaten the healthy meal, it was as though it permitted me to have a big ol' sugary, fatty reward: the red velvet cupcakes w/ cream cheese icing at Bella Rossa, the tiramisu or Boston cream pie at Crossroads, a bag of cookies & brownies to take home. Newman-O's!

This remains somewhat of a mystery to me, but since May 19 when I began this journey, I have not had any of those treats, nor have I actually fought serious cravings for them. In fact, I have almost an aversion to them. There have been two exceptions: when friends got married ten days ago, I chose to enjoy their wedding cake (and it was lovely indeed - a strawberry cake, with a perfect rich icing/luscious cake ratio) and I had a small chocolate cherry nut cookie baked by my friend Marta who has recently opened a bakery. I put that one cookie on a blue plate, put milk in a little 2 oz glass, and took 6 mindful bites.

In any case, I am pleased to report that my sense of sweetness has become much more acute since I stopped bludgeoning my palette with refined sugary treats. I have even switched to 1/2tsp honey instead of a heaping tsp of sugar in my tea- something I thought I'd never be able to do. Another shocker to me was switching to nonfat, plain yogurt from lowfat vanilla yogurt.
I will occasionally add a bit of honey, but most of the time I'm quite content with how it tastes with fresh fruit.

("Yochee" on the last snack above is drained yogurt. It is a bit denser and therefore more calories in a cup than non-drained yogurt, but it has a wonderful rich creamy texture.)

So that's a little something about what I'm eating and what I'm not eating.
Next time I'll write about exercise.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Diet Clutter

For the past month, I've made fitness and losing weight my #1 priority. I have many thoughts about this effort and about women & weight issues, and I feel ready to start sharing this journey. Not because I think anyone should do exactly what I'm doing, but because maybe some of the things I'm doing might work for others, and because maybe it's just inspirational to share such things. Also because blogging & going "public" about this is part of my plan to help me stay focused, to keep this my #1 priority, to keep my eyes on the prize.

I was a little scared to blog about this from the beginning for a lot of reasons, probably some of the same ones that made me delay announcing to my family & friends that I was attempting to quit smoking 22 years ago, until I was certain I meant it. I was successful in that beyond my wildest dreams, so much that I feel as though I had a healing, not a battle.

In many ways, what is happening for me right now seems like a healing, too.

I think that it's appropriate to blog about weight loss in my decluttering blog. Over on Flylady (the organizing/decluttering site), she's even got a book about applying her system "...to your Body Clutter, the most personal clutter of all." I haven't read the book, so can't comment on her approach, but I'll bet she's got some great ideas.

So. Four weeks ago, after a month or so of journaling and planning, I got started on my own personal Fitness Project.
My starting weight: 176.4
My original goals: to lose 50 pounds over the course of a year
, to feel well & strong & limber & flexible. I had a mini-goal of losing 20 pounds by my September birthday.

I have since revised my weight loss goal to 40 lbs which would put me at 136. However, I reserve the right to revise again (up or down) as I go along. I am not going to let the scale be the sole measure of my fitness level, but also consider how I feel, how I move through the world, how my clothes fit me, and what my doctor has to say about my health issues.

My plan is the tried-and-true: reduce calories, increase exercise.
I am also adding a third component: to nourish my spirit and keep my resolve strong.

I'll add details of exactly what I'm doing in future posts. I'll end this one by saying - it's working for me!
I started feeling wonderful by Day 3. At the end of 4 weeks, I've lost 10 pounds.
Wooo hooo!