Monday, March 21, 2011

32 Pounds to Lose in the Next 71 Days: 3/21/11

So today I forced myself to do the math (I HATE math...), and I have 71 Days until June 1st, which is the day I picked to be "All Done Dieting," or firmly at my goal weight of 125 pounds.  I still have 32 pounds to lose, as I weighed 157.0 pounds at today's Monday morning weigh-in.  What does this mean?  It means that I have to somehow figure out how to lose a little less than a half pound EVERY DAY between now and June 1st, or slightly more than 3 pounds per week.

This is still actually do-able, by my calculations.

However, it's going to take some serious hard work, determination, diligence, effort, etc. etc. etc.  If I'm going to hit that goal, I'm going to need to employ a more effective way to combat cravings and the urge to cheat/fail when those impulses hit me.  The past several weeks, I've been seeing both success and failure.  I've been wildly successful on those days that I stick like glue to my 1100-calorie goal, especially when I add an hour of exercise on top of it.  On those days, I'm dropping pounds like crazy!!!

BUT...  I've had just as many days where I blew it.  I've eaten WAY too much restaurant food, including THREE trips to India Palace  in the past 10 days alone!!!  Tack on chips and salsa and a margarita at Hacienda del Sol, AND chips and salsa and a margarita at Guadalajara, both this past week, and what I'm left with is 11.5 pounds lost... and then 3 of it gained back.

Now it's time to quit the "yo-yo-ing" once and for all.

My goal from this day forward is to NOT RE-GAIN any pounds I lose.  I want the scale to continue to go DOWN...and to NOT go back up.  The only way this will happen is if I DON'T have entire days where I just eat whatever I want, in whatever quantities I want.  (I can almost hear the, "WELL, DUH!" somewhere in the distance...)

That's all I'm changing this week.  I'm still sticking with the 1100-calories per day - IT WORKS.  

I'm still trying to get on the elliptical, the treadmill, and fit in a Tae Bo workout, a Zumba workout, or a Yoga workout as many days each week as possible.  (This could end up being 4 times in a week... or 7 times!  I want to do at LEAST 4 days of exercise every week, but if I feel like more, I won't hold myself back.)

I'm still trying to get enough sleep, eat the right foods, and avoid junk food - and ALL fast food.  I'm weighing myself every morning and spreading out my first 600 calories of the day between waking up and dinnertime, and then eating a 500-calorie dinner - BEFORE 7:00 p.m.

Today has been perfect so far.  It's almost 6:00 p.m. now, and I've only consumed 450 calories so far today!!!  It sounds insane - but it has been a breeze.  I'm not even hungry right now, and I get my frozen mattar paneer meal in 30 minutes!  Here's what my day today looks like, start to finish:

Coffee with milk & sugar - 60 calories
Fage-brand Greek yogurt with honey - 180 calories
Diet Dew - 0 calories
Teriyaki beef steak - 130 calories
Vanilla Coke Zero - 0 calories
15 fresh raspberries - 15 calories
Hot black tea with milk & sugar - 60 calories

Amy's Kitchen frozen Mattar Paneer - 370 calories
Fage-brand Greek yogurt with cherry - 130 calories
More black tea with milk & sugar - 60 calories
I've always been a very visual person, which is probably why I love looking at pictures of food so much.  When I lay out a day's worth of eating like this, it doesn't look so bad - it looks like lots of food, actually - lots of color, lots of flavors, lots of texture, and it looks like more than enough to fill me up for the 12 hours that it spanned.  The above list actually only totals 1010 calories, and that's because I was so successful today at spreading out my protein and controlling my cravings that I managed to eat even less than the 600 calories I normally allow myself before dinnertime.  I figure this puts me in an even better position, over-all.  I tend to ask myself, "Should I eat another 90 calories right now, before dinner, even though dinner is in 12 minutes, and even though I'm not famished right now...just because I'm under my calorie limit for today?"

WHY would I do that???

I know a lot of people who would do that.  I used to BE one of those people.  Well, I think it's silly - I'm not doing it.  I can wait 11 more minutes for my lovely mattar paneer, and I will follow the "Second Rule of Dieting" while I'm eating it, which is:  "Eat deliberately."  I will savor every bite, enjoy every bit of flavor, and eat without watching a movie, reading my Nook, or checking my email at the same time.  I will stretch out the experience over a half hour, so that I'm not only full at 7:00 p.m., but satisfied and proud of myself for completing a successful day of eating without feeling hungry once all day.  This is a huge accomplishment for me!  But it's also one that I know I can do any day, just like I did today, and as long as I tally every calorie and stay on top of my cravings the way I did today, I won't fail.  

The way I see it, the only real threat to my June 1st goal is restaurant food.  
I will do whatever I have to now to reign in my cravings when presented with a chance to eat out in a restaurant.  Those binges have derailed me, big-time.  

From now on - I will allow myself TWO "Free Meals" per week - and NO MORE.  
I will plan them carefully, and if they end up taking place in a restaurant, I won't feel guilty.  BUT - I will not eat more than two uncounted meals weekly.

No offense, guys.


“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.” ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox, American poet and writer, 1850-1919 


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Curse of the Gulab Jamun: 3/14/11

Ah, another week.  This week's blog entry, which is always "supposed" to be typed on Monday evenings (I have a little free time on Monday least sometimes...), is happening six days later.  Yep, it's Saturday, and I'm hanging out with the hubby and the baby and sipping cold coffee while lamenting the mountain of calories I've consumed in the past 46 hours.

I had a really, really decent week, up until Thursday's dinner.  I ate only 1100 calories both Monday and Tuesday (EXACTLY!), and I did 50 minutes on the elliptical machine both Monday and Wednesday.  PSYCH!  I weighed 157.0 pounds at my Monday morning weigh-in, and by Thursday morning, after only three days of diligence, I was at 154.0!!!  This is the lightest I've been since before September 20th!  I was thrilled and pumped up by my success. 

And then, as it so often happens... I experienced a FAIL of epic proportions.  I never cheat a little.  When I cheat on my diet, it's always to the EXTREME.  (Why do something half-assed, right?)  

I had a perfect day Thursday right up until dinnertime.  I had eaten only 530 calories by 6:45 p.m.... right on track for another 1100-calorie day.  

Then I went to India Palace with the teenager for dinner.  

I'll never pass up a chance to go to India Palace in Duluth.  It's my favorite Duluth Restaurant, and has been since it opened in 1998.  It's also the teenager's favorite spot.  We go there together whenever we find ourselves with an hour of free time at the same time, which really isn't often enough.  We've been trying to make this happen more often recently, though.  And when we are able, this is where we love to go.  The food is, in a word, perfect - every time - and we always order the exact same things.  Here's the spread we had on our table Thursday evening:

Veggie samosas are a flaky, pie-type crust stuffed with potatoes, peas, and spices.  HEAVENLY.
Tamarind chutney gets drizzled (poured...!) over everything.

One order of naan is two HUGE halves of a circular piece - similar to pita, but much lighter and flakier. 
Basmati rice is delicious!  My all-time favorite.
Kheer is Indian rice pudding, seasoned with pistachios.  Lauren's fave dessert!
I always have two cups of hot chai with my food.  Mmmmmmm!
So that was our spread.  My stomach is twisting with hunger right now, as I'm typing this and drooling over these pictures.  I wish I had the time (energy?) to shop for the necessary special ingredients (most are at the Whole Foods Co-op, rather at our grocery store), drag out our Indian cookbook (or look up great recipes online; they're all there...) and cook this food at home.  I should make the time, but so far, I haven't.  But it's probably just as well; all the carbs and rice and sauces and cream would probably have me weighing 300 pounds in no time, because I cannot eat this food in small portions.  I have tried.  It's impossible for me, and I don't say this flippantly.  It. Is. Simply. Impossible.

So our meal progressed; we stuffed our faces and barely bothered to visit, we were so blissed-out by the perfection of the flavors and the scents around us.  The crazy thing is, it was really just a few appetizers - I was trying to be good by not ordering a larger entree.  If I'd wanted to be REALLY decadent, I would have ordered a vat of my favorite dinner:
Navratan korma has nine main ingredients - all scrumptious!!!
So our fabulous appetizer extravaganza was winding down, we were both stuffed, and out of the corner of my eye I caught the dessert menu on a little cardboard thingie.  At the bottom was a picture with the following description:  "Milk Balls in Sweet Syrup."  Now I ask you:  What person would NOT want to try something that sounds so interesting?!  I had to know what constituted a "milk ball."  So I ordered it.

Gulab Jamun, in the preparatory stages...
Enter:   the Curse of the Gulab Jamun.  Oh my GOD, these were some sweet milk balls.  I managed to get Lauren to try a teeny bite, even though she was already bursting from her pot of kheer... she turned green and looked like she was going to lose it all.  She whispered, "TOO SWEET!" while holding her hand over her mouth.  I ate the remaining 3 3/4 balls.  Yes, it was very, VERY sweet.  They were delicious, seriously.  Kind of like a donut hole (same type of carby-licious "material...") and the syrup was just that - a watery, sugary goo that they were swimming in.  I finished it.  And those milk balls were kind of the straw that broke my stomach's volume limit on Thursday.  I was so absolutely, uncomfortably full when I got home, and all through that night, that I barely slept.  I would order Gulab Jamun again, but ONLY if I hadn't eaten a full day's worth of calories in the 45 minutes leading up to it!!!  NOT wise.  Bloated, flaccid misery.  And the next morning...I was UP THREE POUNDS on my TRAITOROUS scale!!!

Now, if anyone else had done what I just described, they would most likely have a nice, LIGHT eating day on Friday.  This was my plan as well.  Morning coffee, CHECK!  Eat nothing for hours after that, CHECK!  In fact, by 1:15 Friday afternoon, I had only consumed a total of 200 calories.  I was on-track to have a great calorie-counting day.  Then all holy hell broke loose.  It was like something snapped in my brain; I ate one of baby's forgotten Ritz crackers, and POW - handfuls of carbs followed, shoved in my gaping mouth and swallowed whole, without even tasting them.  Sesame sticks, dry roasted peanuts, dried mango, yogurt-covered raisins, pretzel sticks, cheesy-Goldfish-type crackers.  All within about 7 minutes.

I drove to my dermatologist's appointment at 1:45, feeling disgusted and remorseful.  I was doing SO GREAT!  I was still stinging from the three India Palace pounds, and could have - SHOULD have - driven back to work after my appointment, instead of drowning my misery at Hacienda del Sol.  Yeah, that's right.  I drive right past my old stomping grounds (I waitressed there for two years...) on my drive back from the clinic.  I decided that aside from my carb-inhaling offense, I really hadn't eaten much all day.  So I told myself that IF there was a parking space nearby when I drove past, I would stop ONLY for an appetizer - NOT a meal.  Just my luck; there was a space right in front.  BAH!  I went in.  I got my complimentary basket of homemade chips and dish of mild salsa, and I ordered a half order of homemade guacamole - my old manager, Kevin, makes THE BEST guac.  Lots of lime, lots of tomatoes, fresh avocado.  YUM!!!  THEN, as I started to order my diet Mountain Dew, it came out sounding more like, "margarita."  I have no idea how this happened!!!  But whatever; I thoroughly enjoyed my little chip-and-alcohol fiesta at 2:20 p.m. on a Friday afternoon.  How often do I do this???  Never, THAT'S how often!!!
Homemade chips and salsa - DELICIOUS!!!
Homemade Guacamole - AMAZING!
Hacienda's margaritas are mixed by hand and ON TAP - they look exactly like this.  PERFECTION!!!
It was, in a word, BLISS.

Up another pound this morning.  Am refusing to eat anything so far today.  It's 1:30 p.m. now.  Tonight is a long-overdue date night with my hubby.  This means Guadalajara and a movie, or in other words, roughly 2000 calories.  I guess it's fasting until 5:30 for me!!!


There's always Sunday, right?

Monday, March 14, 2011

OMG... It WORKS!!!: 3/7/11

I wouldn't believe it if I wasn't seeing it with my own eyes.

This goofy plan works.  It's so stupidly simple, I am just flabbergasted that I never put these little individual pieces together before.  I'm seeing steady results, very s-l-o-w-l-y, but for once the scale is going continuously DOWN, rather than UP and DOWN.  This is HUGE, people!!!  I've been yo-yo-ing for so many months now that I'm in a fair amount of shock that the yo-yo has all but stopped "yo-ing" now.

It's been a month since my "re-vamp / re-boot," but really only about 3 weeks since a measure of consistency kicked in for me.  The most earth-shattering, life-changing part in all of this is that 99% of my hunger pangs have disappeared.  Prior to February 7th, my biggest gripe and lament was that I was hungry to the point of pain, 24-7.  A minute didn't go by in my day that I wasn't hungry, thinking about when I'd get my next bite of whatever.  It completely consumed my mind and my life.

Enter - my "New Plan."  February 7th will forever be known as "Turnaround Day" for me.  On that day, I switched it up and something just clicked.  I combined a whole bunch of little tips and strategies from a bunch of different diets and plans - and for whatever goofy reason, it ended up being My Magic Formula.  It's a weird formula.  I've already droned on about it at length, so I'll give the quickie re-cap here:

1.  I eat 1100 calories per day - AND NOT A SINGLE CALORIE MORE!!!

How do I manage this?  By spreading out my calories between the time I get up, which is usually around 6:30 a.m., until suppertime, which by my rule must occur BEFORE 7:00 p.m. for optimum success.  How do I do this???  I count EVERY CALORIE.  That includes sugarless gum, Tums, a single almond (7 calories), a single Dorito (14 calories), or a single fresh cherry (5 calories).  Obsessive?  Most definitely.  Producing the desired results?  YEP.

2.  I ONLY eat when I'm TRULY HUNGRY!!!

Again, how do I make this happen?  I spread everything out, and change it up.  I start my day with a cup of coffee or tea, and then WAIT until I'm good and hungry before deciding what to put in my mouth next.  Then, I'll eat a serving of a protein - often Greek yogurt or smoked almonds - and then I WAIT again, until I'm hungry again.  next, I'll have a low-calorie beverage, like a cup of tea, a cup of chicken broth, or a can of diet 7-up.  Then - I WAIT AGAIN, until I'm hungry again.  Next, I'll eat a food, and since I had protein first, I'll often pick a fruit (apple, banana, etc.) or a serving of veggies (pile of carrots - NO DIP! - or a can of French Onion or low-sodium vegetable soup).  Then...  I WAIT AGAIN!  A beverage will be next, etc. etc. etc.  I simply alternate foods and beverages, and in this way, I always have volume in my stomach, I don't get dehydrated, and I'm not eating a single speck of white flour carbs or sweets or grease or fast foods or basically anything bad for my diet.

3.  I am trying to fit exercise in whenever possible.  Right now, I'm alternating the following, for variety, to keep it interesting: 

*  60-minute walk on the treadmill
*  60-minutes on the elliptical machine
*  20-minute Tae Bo "Basic" routine
*  Wii Zumba workouts  (haven't tried this yet)
*  "Yoga for Weight-Loss" DVD  (haven't tried this yet, either)
*  Agility Ball ab workouts / crunches  (still have to buy the ball...LOL)

So in other words, I've been alternating the top three choices the past few weeks.  I don't hate them.  They're fine.  The elliptical and treadmill are totally tolerable when I pop in an episode of True Blood; FUN!  I actually enjoy it when I can zone out to something visual.
I've decided I want to look like Liz Hurley in a swimsuit this summer.  She'll be 46 in June!
That's it.  That's all I'm doing, so far.  And so far, I'm seeing results... 
S-L-O-W-L-Y.  I know if I figured in even MORE exercise, or figured out a way to get a tighter handle on my weekend eating, I'd see even faster results.  The weekends are my weak point right now.  They ALWAYS kill me.  My willpower, which is so much better now during the week and at work, dissolves on Saturday and Sunday.  THIS SUCKS. 

I'd be OK with Aishwarya Rai's figure, too, but I'd settle for her eyeballs.
I'd kill to have eyes this color.
I post from time to time on another dieting blog, called "The Chunkersons."  It's a riot.  If anyone is reading this, check it out!  My latest post on there is all about my awful weekend dilemma.  It looked like this:

How Can My Diet & My Week-end Co-exist?

Hey ladies, Kristin here.    :o)

I used to LOVE Fridays.  (That was before I decided to get rid of my F-A-T.)  Now, weekends SUCK ASS.  It has taken about a month of fine-tuning, but I finally have the calorie-counting and carb-avoidance and little bits of exercising here and there falling into place Monday through Thursday.  I'm so proud of myself, I could eat a half dozen Cadbury Creme Eggs just thinking about this shaky accomplishment.  (I didn't say that I've figured out how to not think about my favorite treats every waking moment; that will never happen.  I accept this.)

My gripe is about Friday through Sunday.  At the office, it's easier.  I can leave the food at home; just not bring it to work with me.  I can plan my meals at home, pack only the necessary stuff into a bag for eating at work, and then if I'm starving while working, all I have to avoid is picking up the phone and calling Erberts & Gerberts or Zhong Hua.

But at HOME... it's a very different story.  My oven is there.  My baking cupboard is there.  I can SMELL the muffin mixes and chocolate-peanut butter chip cookie ingredients waiting to be mixed and baked.  There are over-ripe bananas waiting to be molded into gooey loaves of banana bread.  There is a fridge chock-full of not only my diet-friendly foods, but real, hard cheddar cheese(!), whole milk(!), butter(!), real bread(!), and Top the Tater(!!!)!  (Paige, may Mommy steal a 4-serving-sized "bite" of your cheese for breakfast?  Hmmm?  PLEASE, Paige???)  There are frozen waffles, adorable little packets of "fruit" snacks, and the teenager's after-school granola bars.  There are frozen pizzas and boxes of movie candy and corn chips and picante sauce.  (6 Doritos dipped in a little picante is 150 calories?!  Are you friggin' KIDDING ME?!)

You see my boggle.  I used to LOVE Fridays, and I used to so look forward to being home on the weekend...  I couldn't wait!  Now, Friday evening approaches and I feel nauseous.  I do OK at the office - the temptations aren't available, plain and simple.  But even though I've cleared out as much as I feel I possibly can from the fridge and cupboards at home to keep myself on-track, it's still not enough.  Friday night is often "movie night" with the family.  My other three family members will be sitting inches from me, scarfing my favorite food (buttered, salted popcorn...), and chomping boxes of movie candy (one treat we've always looked forward to at the end of a busy week...), and I'm supposed to sip a diet pop and nibble my RyKrisp???

I pride myself on having developed a bit of self-restraint of late, and I feel better-equipped to deal with cravings in general now, but even I - newly crowned Queen of Restriction - cannot resist when those next to me are reveling in their popcorn and other treats.  I. Just. Can't.

So, the week-end is here.  Most definitely a movie night for us tonight, as we are coming off the Week From Utter Hell.  Saturday & Sunday will be the usual torture; trying (usually in vain) NOT to bake, NOT to cook something too diet-unfriendly, and trying to find time to exercise in between loads of laundry, sinks of dishes, house cleaning, house projects, bathing the toddler, getting the teenager caught up on school projects, entertaining out-of-town guests, and the list goes on.  

I SO want to love my weekends again.
Any suggestions out there?  (Other than the painfully obvious, that is...  "Don't buy the treats if you don't want to be tempted by them, etc., etc. etc.") 

Yep, got that memo.  If I was single and lived alone, it would be a DONE DEAL!!!
Soldier on, chicas!!!

P.S.  I've been holding steady at 9 pounds lost.  I want to hit the 10-pound mark SO BADLY I can TASTE IT.  And right now, it tastes like a humongous glass of sangria.

Kristin Gross said...
YAY, the dreaded weekend is over. Got my sangria, homemade cookies, chocolate cake, popcorn, and movie candy. A typical weekend at our house. And yes, my scale says I gained 2 pounds. I know it could have been worse, but... it could have also been a LOT BETTER!!! BLAH. :oP

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My New-And-Improved Magic Formula: 2/28/11

At last, the beginnings of a breakthrough.

After 162 days, my tables seem to be turning (or tipping?) slightly in my favor.  My last two posts went into graphic detail about my "new plan," and this week I'm happy to be able to report some positive initial results.  The plan works.  It's ridiculously simple, really:

1.  Rid the house of ALL crap/non-diet food (and thus all temptation to cheat).
2.  Avoid ALL fast-food. 
3.  Eat 1100 calories daily (by sticking to my picture list of diet-friendly, low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb, low-fun foods), and not deviating.  Ever.  Ha ha ha.
(...or at least starve to death, since Mommy never cooks anymore.)
4.  Exercise as much as possible (preferably 4-5 times weekly, choosing from several different options:  Tae Bo, treadmill, elliptical, Wii Zumba, Yoga for Weight-loss DVD, ab exercises with an agility ball, etc.)  Love them all.
Yep.  Pretty much.

That's it.  That's the plan.  And it works - at least for me.

I'm starting to notice subtle changes in how I look and feel.  Today I weighed 160.5, which is technically 1.5 pounds HEAVIER than I was when I first started my diet journey, and this blog, on September 20th of last year.  Then, between that day and February 7th of this year, I gained a total of 6.5 pounds.  Whether it happened during Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or during my very apathetic entire month of January, it's irrelevant.  All it really means to me is that it brought my total "pounds I need to lose" up to 40.5.

If I can somehow stick to such a low-calorie plan as this, I will lose the weight.  I don't really care how long it takes me, because I know there will be times - what I like to call "food events" or "special eating occasions" - that slow down or even stop my progress for a day or two.  (i.e., Dinner out with the hubby, birthdays or other get-togethers with the extended family, movie nights, etc.)  As long as I don't allow myself to take part in TOO MANY food events, I know I'll be OK.  I have no illusions that sticking to 1100 calories per day will be easy.  I already hate it.  I'm hungry all the time.  But when I DO stick to it, I see the results on my scale.  And that, after all, is the reason I'm torturing myself this way in the first place.  Right?

I did great last week, sticking religiously to my 1100-calorie goal, (with the only exception being a nice Guadalajara meal with my hubby on Saturday night... though I was good and skipped the Sinful Liquid Cheese chip dip!)  I had even managed THREE nights of exercise - Tae Bo on Monday, treadmill on Tuesday, and elliptical on Saturday - which I think was an amazing accomplishment for me, considering I've barely moved in 2 1/2 years.  I felt diligent, motivated and strong.

Right up until yesterday afternoon, just before the Oscars.

Around 3:00 p.m., I had what can only be described as an Epic Diet FAIL.  First, I drank a 20-oz. bottle of Coke Classic.  Then, I ate a lemon-poppy seed muffin, though without any butter.  Then, I moved on to movie candy; cherry-jelly hearts and 450 calories worth (an entire movie-sized bag) of Skittles.  Then, it was ripple potato chips and Top-the-Tater dip.  Then, an entire bag of "Orville Redenbacher" Tender White microwave popcorn.  Then, two cans of A & W root beer.  Then, more movie candy - about half a movie-sized bag of Twizzler cherry bites.   I finally stopped after that, bloated and feeling pretty disgusting and remorseful.  

Sometimes binges like these happen.  I get that.  But they don't have to happen OFTEN.  For me, up until now, I've allowed it to happen anytime I had the tiniest craving.  I'd eat one little treat, and then feel like such a dieting failure that I'd just think, "Now I've blown the whole day" and I'd eat whatever I felt like for the rest of that entire day.  This is something I think many people do.  But for me, if I can just figure out a way to look at a single instance of cheating (even if it lasts a couple of hours, LOL) for what it truly is - ONE slip-up - then I'll have it made.

I'm trying to re-program my brain, to look at food in a completely new way.  I know the whole theory that "food should be thought of as sustenance, and nothing more."  Easy to say, damn-near impossible to do.  But if I could only get myself to think that way a LITTLE bit...  I think it would help me.  There are so so SO many times that I know I eat when I'm not really hungry.  I've never really thought of myself as a big "emotional eater," but to some extent, I must be.  I LOVE food.  Food makes me HAPPY.  I'm never more deliriously ecstatic than when I have a big bowl of air-popped white popcorn on my lap, drizzled with real butter and liberally salted, and an ice-cold can of Coke in my hand.  This is literally a "heaven-on-earth" scenario for me.  
True love.
Oh, how I miss thee.
My goal is to weigh 125 by June 1st.
I honestly believe I can do this.