Thursday, January 19, 2012

Status: Plateau

Update: 55lbs gone...many, many, many more to go, but this is a great start...averaging about 5lbs per week.  This will slow down for sure, but I have loved the progress thus far.  I'm wearing jeans that I have not worn for 5 years and shirts that are 4 years old, this alone is back flip worthy!

I survived the holidays with such satisfaction with myself... for a change this year.  It's not like I held back and ate yogurt, grapes and green beans this season.  I ate what was served, and I did it with so little guilt yet with so much less celebration attached to the food itself.  My mother makes holiday cookies.  She doesn't really hold back, they are creative and yummy and they are a part of our family holiday traditions.  The volume was down for the first time in recent memory and I made sure I had a sampling of each type each day.  But I had them.  After all of the hard work I've been doing since my journey began, this was the test for me, celebration within limits. This time of year is typically the holy grail of bad habits and overeating.  I was so much more cognisant of what was going in me and I was okay with my calorie tolerances.  They were higher than I have had since my release, but not criminal or over the top. I kept a mental check list of what was being put into my gullet and this made it okay for me to have those fantastic cookies that are such a part of our family.  For New Year's eve, I knew roughly what was to happen that night, so I was able to prepare in advance so that I could work in those extra calories into the plan.  Hitting the low side of prior meals leading up to the big ball of love drop in Times Square, hitting the gym a little harder before and after allowed me to relax and enjoy the moment and not feel like I sacrificed. 

An extremely wise man (Okay, it was Brian the Physiologist, yes the one that makes pain a reality with a smile), preparing myself and other 'Duke DFC class of Thursday' graduates for life in the jungle upon our release, made a point of saying to us that it's okay if you blow the work out routine here and again. It will happen. Truly, the body will not explode if you don't work out one day in which you had planned.  Stay active as best you can, and get back into your routine as soon as you biggie.  No need to go into a depressive couch coma tailspin of worry and guilt over a blown schedule.  He made the further point that nutritionally, you can do so much more damage to yourself in such a short amount of time, that this is almost the more important thing to watch.  Needless to say, I have this thought welded to the inside of my forehead most days.  It is so front of mind as I address food each day and every meal. But alas, I have a personal failing to relay.

Where I succeeded through Christmas and New Year's with weight loss throughout with such ease and aplomb (self delivered pats on the back and a celebratory massage), I was next confronted with my birthday.  The planets aligned, clouds and rivers parted, and by some miracle, I had Sunday and Monday off this year.  Not to beat around the bush, I went on a bender of mildly epic scale. Happy Birthday to me. This apparently is my own national holiday, and it was treated as such.  Saturday night began the melee.  There was booze and celebration to where my car was required to stay in one place for the night and I moved seemingly mysteriously about. (yes, I do remember who I needed to thank the next day)  But there were many, many calories that I lost track of in liquid form.  After a scant few hours of re-charge, I spent Sunday on an impromptu "Happy Birthday Bloody Mary Tour 2012".  Looking back, it was an awesome tour...I had a ton of fun from 11am to Midnight, all on Bloody's (and water). I think I was in a dozen venues this day.  Looking back a little bit further, it was hard to realize my failing, and regrets built as I realized I let my guard crash down for the first time since Halloween.  Its not like I ate badly, no pizza or burgers, wings or anything fried, but I took in some quality Bloody Marys lots of them. (I actually had dinner at a neat little vegetarian joint, so it couldn't have been so bad), but..there was impactful things going on that would do me a dis-service. I have not done the proper research to discover the damage I did to myself nutritionally. The sodium levels found in this nectar-like delight I am sure are scary, but I can tell that salt was there in force, no question.  The scale proved this like a giant exclamation point on my Monday morning... Regrets?  Yup, darn skippy, plenty for all of us.  And I am thankful that I have just one National Holiday to celebrate, and it is behind me. 

With that little piece of background information laid out for your scrutiny, I had a hard time recovering from a weight loss momentum standpoint.  I have no real knowledge of the damage I did on the 'Happy Birthday Bloody Mary Tour 2012' and how it scientifically affected my body, but I landed flat square on a plateau from hell.  I'm sure the water retention was huge. Truly, I was bouncing up and down one pound each day for like eleven days, fitfully trying to get back on track.  Nothing.  Now even though I got back up on the bus of nutritional correctness and 6 days at the gym virtually immediately, I can not help but think of the calories and sodium I ingested in Bloody's

Don't get me wrong.  I am fully to blame for the' Happy Birthday Bloody Mary Tour 2012'.  But in blocking out most of my new found healthful habits, I was not a happy camper in the end and it took a lot of mental fortitude to get through what may have been a very natural weight loss plateau, or a natural weight loss plateau that was enhanced and extended by my choices.  It's hard to say if there will be a HBBMT13 next year, I can almost guarantee it will be a milder event for sure.

On to other disturbing topics.  I've held off since the beginning, to discuss, or bring to life any locker room stories, visually, it is painful...suffice it to say, I've seen a lot things I never need to relate, much of which I want to set my brain on fire not to remember.  But this week I saw what I found was the funniest things in quite a while and I literally had to choke back a laugh.  I know there is vanity in many of us.  I am not usually critical of this as I have so little vanity concerns in this regard as I just don't care, and more power to those who do.  There was a sighting.  Have you ever seen a wookie? I mean in person.  I saw one. This guy is hairy.  Not just hair, hairy is kind of an under funded word to make the impact I'm looking for....I'd have to describe him as furry.  Use your worst imagination and then double it.  Now, wax that Wookie from the belt line up.  Smooth as silk on the top half, Wookie full on for the lower half.  I had to look twice.  I thought he was wearing furry work out pants...  He was on the way to the shower.  Just saying.  Enjoy the visual.

Thank you all for your continued emails of your own inspirations and thoughts.  Your input is invaluable.  I love that you share your stories, advice and feelings on what my journey has dusted up.  Continued success is wished for all of those working on similar things!  Keep it up!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Text Messages from the Weight Loss Study: Tips for success

I'll have a progress update shortly, but I had promised to publish the ideas coming from the nursing student who is trying to gauge the impact of technology on weight loss and seeing if there are ways to improve results.  These were some of the text messages I received as a part of a weight loss study from Duke. They were trying to determine if daily reminders and tips would help to increase weight loss efforts and also in maintaining that weight loss.  Many of you had asked me about tips and information that was coming out of my Duke experience.  These are good representations of what is rolling around inside my melon. Happy New Year!

Small diet changes add up.  Eat breakfast every day.  You will eat less during the day and it will help you reach your weight loss goals.

Weight yourself daily at the same time and on the same scale.  This is important.  Checking on you progress will help you control your weight.

Exercise regularly. Exercise will maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure and reduce problems with diabetes.

Sustain your weight loss.  Use the 'plate method'.  Fill up 1/2 your plate with vegetables, 1/4 with starch, 1/4 with protein.

Check your food intake.  Record everything you eat and portion sizes. Checking increases awareness of what you are eating.

Count steps to increase the amount you walk.  Use a pedometer.  Set a goal of adding 150 steps a day up to 5000 steps a day or 2.5 miles.

Use smaller plates. You will still clean you plate and feel satisfied and have better portion control.

Keep track of the things that lead to unplanned and overeating.

Activity burns calories and helps maintain weight.  Climbing stairs, parking further away, or walking to the office add up quickly to 30 minutes a day.

Eat slowly. Put fork down between bites. Check fullness level during meal. When full push your plate away.  Satisfaction takes 15-20 minutes.

Keep exercising! After 1 year dieters who exercise maintain most of their original weight loss.

Select healthy breakfast cereals.  Follow the "5 and 5" rule - 5 grams fiber & 5 or less of sugar.  Or try heart healthy oatmeal with honey.

Monitor your progress and how you are doing.  Schedule time to review your progress in your calendar.

Exercise helps more than just with weight loss.  It helps to decrease high blood pressure, improve diabetes and decrease cholesterol.

Reward yourself, It's OK to have a little sweet foods such as pie, cookies, and candy and alcohol.

Cross train.  Vary your exercise: walk, bike, elliptical, water aerobics, swimming, it will keep you motivated and have fun too.

Identify and change habits and foods that lead to binges, including risky foods kept in the house such as chips or watching TV while eating.

Stay on top of how you are doing.  Review your monitoring forms to check for patterns.  Monitor at least 2-3 times a week.

For general fitness exercise 30 minutes daily.  8-10 exercises, 8-15 repetitions, 1-3 sets, 30-90 second rest between sets.

Use a grocery list for grocery shopping and only buy planned for items.  This will help you buy good, healthy foods.

Limit size of portions at mealtimes by measuring planned servings. Keep measuring utensils readily available.

Weigh yourself daily. Place the weight on a graph to see trends over time.  It is natural to fluctuate daily due to things such as water.

There are more, but you get the idea... Cheers!