Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Scale's going down!

I FINALLY lost 6 pounds, not a lot of weight but I am not complaining.

But -- and it's a big but -- I have begun to make peace with food, definitely a first for me. I also know that soon the scale will plateau, which is when I usually give up and go back to my old eating habits. How to keep motivated is key.

What follows are my reasons for losing weight, which are now posted on a sticky on my home screen. Constant reinforcement.

Here are my goals, which I am calling the big picture:
1. I want to get healthy.
2. I want my blood pressure to go down.
3. I want to exercise daily, because on days when I do exercise, it is easier to stay on an eating plan.
4. I want to eat a huge salad of greens and veggies before lunch and dinner, which will make me full.
5. I want to pay attention to my body. When it tells me I am full, I must stop eating. Just to make sure I am listening, I printed this visual button out -- three times. One for my wallet, one for my fridge, one for my pantry.

Five goals is a start, and together should be enough to keep me going. Notice that I did not include the number of pounds I want to lose, because I honestly don't know. When I get there, I know my body will tell me enough.

And although it is seductive to lose weight quickly, that is not my goal. Five pounds a month is fine with me. Add it up: By my birthday in April, that would be 30 pounds gone, plus the 6 pounds I just lost. I'll drink to that.

I have also decided that each day I will set one goal, which I consider my baby-step goal. For example, today I plan on drinking half my weight in water, which is easy to do in warm weather, not so easy now that the days have gotten damp, rainy and cold.

Tomorrow I am traveling, which means no time for the gym. But when I get to my destination, I will either convince my daughter to take a walk or hit her treadmill. I need to get my 10K steps in tomorrow.

Big-picture goals and the day's mini goal. It's a plan. And I always work  best if I make a to-do list.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Clean out time

They are billing today as our last warm day until spring. So instead of spending it outdoors enjoying the weather, I decided it was a great day to turn over my closet and clean out my files.

It was all going great until I came across a file marked "recipes." It almost made me cry. This is not an old file, probably started about six months ago. But there in the file was the recipe detritus of all the "eating plans" I have recently tried.

South Beach. Paleo -- actually four different versions. Beyond Diet. DASH. 7-Day Slim Down. Really sad.

I know I need structure, because without it I will eat inappropriately. But I also know that I need to make peace with food and stop following a diet with rigid rules that I do not like, or in some cases, know is unhealthy.

Starting this week, I am dividing my quest to lose weight into a three-prong attack:
1. Exercise. I actually am very pleased with what I am doing. I look at my daily exercise not as a hardship, but an enjoyable experience. I am making new friends at the gym, which is a totally new experience. And since I meet my friend Ann there daily, we keep each other going. No excuses. Our motto: Friends don't let friends not exercise.
2. Diet. Or eating plan. My nutritionist has signed off on Dr. Furhman's almost vegetarian diet, and I have to admit I am loving it.The food is filling, and the last two days, I have actually reached the full feeling and STOPPED EATING. Again, a totally new experience. Is it doable for life? Nothing I have ever tried has been doable. Which brings me to the third and most important prong.
3. Mind. I am working on this, which actually might be the key to everything I am doing. The book, "Intuitive Eating," is a start. I need to figure out a way to make the philosophy of the book my way of life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hard to swallow

My friends think I am nuts because I hate taking my blood pressure pill. To know that I have joined the ranks of people tied to their daily meds is not where I ever wanted to be.

I was proud that I took no medications. It's not that it is a bad thing. In fact, I am thankful that there is a pill that can lower my blood pressure to the point that I will not stroke out.

But that does not make my new little pill any easier to swallow. To me, it's a daily affirmation that I have eaten too much junk and had one too many glasses of wine. To me, it's a daily dose of failure.

My determination: In the next 18 months, I plan on getting off that pill. I'll do it through exercise and diet, although I am not supposed to be using that four-letter word.

My nutritionist suggested the DASH plan (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) to prevent and control hypertension.

I bought lots of DASH books, determined to embrace this eating plan. I gave it a week, and it gave me such dietary distress I threw the books away. I know my body was rebelling against the combo of so much fiber-rich whole grains and dairy, two food groups I eat little of -- for reasons that became all too obvious.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Oz had Dr. Joel Fuhrman on his show, and I liked his approach to eating. It's all about filling up on the foods I love, what he calls G-BOMBS: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds. You eat these daily. You fill the rest of your plate with small amounts of whole grains, and unlike DASH, there is no dairy. As I have always known, I can get all the calcium I need from the leafy greens I eat daily.

This is the way I have always liked to eat. I view meat as an occasional treat, although my husband would like to see it in every meal.

I am halfway through "Eat to Live," and although it is a restrictive eating plan, Dr. Furhman says that if I eat this way, I will eventually kiss my blood pressure medicine good-bye. Now all I need to do is keep  my eye on that goal.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Eat like a thin person!

I have been dieting all my life. It really is a compulsion, the essence of my being, which is so sad.

But the past few weeks I have been reading "Intuitive Eating" on the recommendation of my nutritionist, andreally thought I was beginning to buy into the no-dieting philosophy. Until Friday morning.
I was getting dressed for a luncheon, and of course nothing fit. In a moment of weakness I found a new diet site that I thought sounded great, and before my mind could yell at my fingers typing in my credit card number, I joined.
As I was hitting send, my brain screamed STOP! Too late. 
Since I was a member, I glanced at the diet, but much to my surprise I sent an email to the Help desk canceling my membership.
That started a rush of emails between me and the site's founder, who wanted to give me a one-on-one counseling session to convince me that his is not a diet but an eating plan that really works
Have I heard this before? Since diet became a bad four-letter word, everything is now an eating plan. I wouldn't budge, because no matter what persuasive words he was using to tempt me back, I remember looking at his diet and seeing breakfast for a week was a piece of fruit and three almonds.
Three almonds? Is he serious? Thirty minutes after ingesting that breakfast I would be back in the kitchen searching for something to stuff in my mouth.

So what did cancelling the contract really mean? For the first time in my life I think I am on the road to recovery. Saying no was a step in the right direction. I'll win this battle if my forward steps outpace my backward ones.