Reflections on My “Pointless” Week

blossoms-and-monument2In honor of the kickoff of the cherry blossom festival, I thought I’d share a photo from a couple of years ago. I hope you like it! This isn’t my usual Friday post, and I haven’t had a typical week. For the record, I wouldn’t recommend snacking on the Washington Monument. It is not a featured snack. Before I get to my week, I want to say thanks for all of the creative suggestions as to what to do with my rejected Jocalat bar. Composting it is my favorite suggestion by far! I’ll let you know if I find a good use for it or end up chucking it in the trash.

Happy Friday, by the way. I’m so glad that the weekend is here, and I have a pretty busy one planned. Tonight, I’m going to dinner with a new friend, and I haven’t been told where we’re going so I’m in for a surprise. Fun! Tomorrow, I’m going out to brunch with some lovely friends, and I think our plan is to try out Rock Creek Restaurant, which is a local restaurant that has healthy eats and provides the nutritional information to go along with them. I’ve heard that the food is amazing! On Sunday, I’m going to a cookout to get caught up with some friends that I haven’t seen in awhile. I’m bringing the baked beans so stay tuned for that project! My fingers are crossed for good cookout weather.

If you’ve been checking out my posts this week, you know that I decided to have a week of “pointless eating.” After being a devoted WW point counter for over four years, and having recently found myself in both weight loss and mindset ruts, I decided to change things up and see what happened. This is a long post. Warning: Lots of words ahead!

First of all, in case you haven’t guessed already based on my posts this week, I’m planning to stick with calorie counting for awhile and see how it goes. I’ve felt much more freedom in my food choices, and I’ve tried so many things I had avoided because they weren’t the lowest point yogurt or cereal or bread or whatever. It’s been a fun week of trying new things, and I’ve found some foods that I absolutely love.

I also said that I was going to focus on feeding my body a healthy number of calories and healthy food and just see what happened with the weight loss. I’m tired of trying to decide whether its time to switch to maintenance, so I thought I’d let my body decide for itself. At the end of this week, after enjoying my fair share of treats and healthy food, I’ve lost 5.8 pounds. I weighed in today at 154. Shaking things up and getting out of the rut seems to have done the trick in a big way.

I’m so grateful to WW. While following the program, I learned to eat healthy foods, to really watch my portion sizes, and to understand the relationship between my activity level and my food intake. As I said before, I just think our relationship has grown a bit stale, and I feel like it’s time for a change. I know that the plan works, and it’s in my back pocket in case I need to go back to it. I won’t hesitate to do that if the need arises. I take comfort in knowing that I have a safety plan.

A great habit from WW that I do plan to keep up is tracking my food on-line. I decided on day one of the “pointless” week that I wanted to continue tracking, and the free tracker at Sparkpeople.com seemed like the perfect choice. I like this tracker because I can track certain things like protein, calcium and iron, in addition to keeping count of the number of calories I’ve eaten and burned. I discovered that I was eating much more than the recommended daily amount of fiber and not nearly enough fat. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was never diligent about eating my servings of healthy oils on WW, and that would certainly have helped with that problem. On the plus side, I discovered that I was getting enough protein. I had been worried about my protein intake as I had been eating less meat. It’s nice to see that I’ve been doing pretty well. My trainer will be proud!

As far as my calorie target goes, I used Sparkpeople’s tools to come up with a range. I said that I’d like to lose 15 pounds by December 31st. I also provided my current weight, height and the approximate number of calories I burn each week through exercise. Those exercise calories are divided and added in to my daily allowance. I estimated my exercise calories at 2850, which is really on the low end of my usual range, but I thought that would leave me a bit of breathing room with regard to my workout schedule. The numbers were crunched and my daily target for achieving my 15 pound goal was determined to be around 2,000 calories a day, give or take a couple hundred.

Without giving you a day to day breakdown, I will say that I’ve eaten between 1,944 and 2,148 calories each day of this last week, and, according to my heart rate monitor, I’ve burned 2940 calories following my usual workout schedule. I’m eating at the high end of the range each day because I seem to be hungrier, and because I like sampling cookies. :-)

I realized that I’ve been trying hard to listen to my body’s hunger signals for awhile now, but that my eating was very much focused on hunger avoidance. It’s hard to listen to signals when they aren’t being transmitted. I’m wondering if I’ve been consuming more calories than I realized in the form of zero point foods. I’m always quick to grab some celery or broccoli to fill myself up if I even start to think about getting hungry. It’s a switch to realize that those foods have calories. By never really allowing myself to feel hungry, I wasn’t allowing my body to communicate. It was much easier to listen this week since there was actually a two way conversation going on. When I’m hungry, I eat. Sometimes I eat when I’m not hungry, but I know that’s ok too.

Am I planning to officially go on maintenance now rather than try to lose? Yes and no. I’ve decided to leave my target set with my small and long term weight loss goal in mind, but I’m going to try my darnedest not to beat myself up if I go over my calories on any given day. I expect to go over a bit this weekend, and I’m already counseling myself that it’s ok for that to happen. My goal is to make reasonable choices and to enjoy myself! What’s reasonable? I guess that will depend on the situation, but my basic idea is this:

  • I’m not going to eat something just because it’s there.
  • I won’t eat everything on my plate unless I really want it or am truly hungry.
  • I will try to make healthy choices when dining out, but, if there is something that I really want, I will get it and just try to eat a reasonable portion.
  • I will try to avoid chewing mindlessly while watching the television or sitting at the computer, and I’ll make sure to really taste and enjoy my food. I’ve learned that it helps to actually look at the food I’m eating. I’ll also use my dining table more often for eating rather than just for collecting stray scarves and the day’s mail.
  • I won’t let one meal with friends spill out into a whole day of overeating. I’m already pretty good at this one, but it’s still good to remind myself that it’s important.
  • I will remind myself that it’s ok if I don’t lose any weight this month. By far, I expect for this to be the hardest part. I’m going to focus on the fact that I’m pretty happy at this size and, as I said before, a few more pounds of loss aren’t worth a truckload of frustration and stress. If I can lose a few more pounds by following my new plan 90% of the time, I will happily let those pounds go! If not, well, I just bought some new pants that fit pretty well, and as long as I can keep wearing them, I’ll save money on clothing expenses. I can’t really imagine why I’d feel more content in size 4 pants than I do in these size 6 ones. Given that I was a size 26/28 for a very long time, I can barely fathom the fact that I can wear a size 6 to begin with!

If you pay close attention to the last bullet, I mentioned losing weight over the course of the month. While I’m planning to continue weighing myself on a daily basis, I’m not planning to make such a big deal out of it. I will keep tabs on things for sure, but I think that the only way for me to complete this change in mindset is to move away from the idea of HUGE FRIDAY WEIGH-IN AHEAD! I see it as a bright orange caution sign. It’s kind of like “Beware of Falling Rocks” or “Slippery When Wet.” I need to use the scale as a way to monitor where I am so that I can make necessary adjustments, but it should not play a larger role than that. It’s just a tool. It isn’t the be all and end all. I’m going to post about my weight again, but not until April 24th– four weeks from now. I hope you understand why it’s important for me to make that change.

I know that this is a long post, and I appreciate your patience with all of my words. I wanted to give you a full account of my “pointless week” experience. Please feel free to ask if there’s something I didn’t mention and you are left feeling curious. The thing that I hope anyone reading this will take away is that change can be a very good thing. It isn’t the idea that one plan is better than another. It’s the idea that getting out of a rut and trying something new can be good for the body and the mind.

So, you know what I’m up to this weekend. What are your plans? I hope you’re up to something fun!! Have a great weekend! :-)

Maybe I’ll see some of these:

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21 Comments

Filed under diet, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

21 responses to “Reflections on My “Pointless” Week

  1. Beautiful pics of the cherry blossoms! I am so excited that we are living here this time of year so that I can see them too!!! I am hoping to get our Christmas Card pic done early and have it be in the cherry blossoms :)

    • That would make such a cool Christmas card. Good idea! I really look forward to the cherry blossoms every year. It’s definitely an exciting time to live in this area! :-)

  2. Erin

    I LOVE this post! You rock.
    This is great info. Congrats on being so successful this week. Its wonderful you’re learning to listen to your body. I struggle with this so much and its amazing that you’re adjusting to it so fast.
    Good luck on your journey and I love hearing about it.

  3. KensingtonMom

    You are the best. What a great post. It’s giving me new ideas for not only shaking things up but also enjoying life. Have a great weekend!

  4. Rachel

    Congratulations!!!!!! Have you read French Women Don’t Get Fat? Some of your guidelines read like her approach. Come to think of it, I need to check that one out again at the library. If you haven’t seen it, you may like it.

  5. Congrats on the 5.8lb loss, that is great!! It sounds like you have a really good plan and I am excited to come along with you on the ride!!

  6. The photos are gorgeous. I would love to see it in person.

    I’m glad you have found what works for you. That’s a great weight loss for the week!

  7. Really great post, and thus far, you have been doing great! Awesome success!

  8. what a great reflection post and congrats on the week!

    i think all your plans and ideas sound great and liveable, and I like that you talked about always having WW in your back pocket if needed. maybe that’s how i should view it, too, when i try my hand at a pointless week :)

    I am so excited that you did this and that you enjoyed it, and i can’t wait to see what happens for you next!

  9. AmyJoGo

    Congratulations on your loss! I’m most impressed with how you listened to your body and were able to figure out what you needed. To me, that’s the ultimate goal.

  10. EnglishGarden

    Yea for your skinny, little self and a successful adventure.
    Love the cherry blossoms.

  11. maggieapril

    Sounds like a great weekend and I hope you are enjoying every minute of it.

    Agree with Erin, really great info. I love that your change of pace worked so well for you, mentally and physically.

  12. I think your reflections and plans seem focused and reasonable. I’m very excited about seeing the cherry blossoms in Michigan, but there is still some time til ours start. I hope you get to see a lot of flowers!

  13. Congrats on the weight loss. I have only began the long journey for the umteenth time with WW on-line so I need to stick with it awhile. I have a goal–not WW–and then I probably will try your approach. WW, nor I, have have successful conquered maintenance and that is the real secret for a life time.

  14. i LOVE cherry blossums.

    great reflections on pointless week! it sounds like you’ve really learned a lot. when i stopped ww, i switched to sparkpeople for a while and found it super-helpful, too — esp since they also have the recipe box function which i still use from time to time when i’m curious about something i’ve made. this whole process is something that just keeps evolving and evolving, and you seem to have set new goals that are realistic and that allow for flexibility. you’re going to do great!

  15. What a great post! I’m so happy that this new outlook on counting calories has been working for you. Losing 5.8 lbs in a week is huge! Also, I am so happy that you feel more freedom and that you’re getting out of the “rut” you were in. I know that feeling well, and sometimes a small change really makes a big difference.

    I can’t wait to read more about what you discover on this journey.

    Oh, and lastly, congrats on the size 6 pants!!! That’s amazing. I was wearing 26/28 pants at the beginning of my weight loss journey, and I’m looking forward to just having a 1 in front of the size (as in 18). I can’t imagine what it will feel like to be in a single digit! That has to be amazing!!!

  16. Beautiful cherry blossoms!

    5.8 pounds – that’s great. Sounds like you needed to shake things up a bit. I think our bodies definitely need a good shake every once in a while. :) I know often get stuck in food and exercise ruts, and even small changes will make me feel a lot better.

    Good to know you’re getting good amounts of nutrients. Don’t fear the fat my friend as so many people do. Our bodies need it. I recommend almond butter. :)

    Great post – keep up the good work. I think a 15 pound loss by December is a great goal!

  17. M

    What a terrific post!! Yea, for you shakin’ things up AND seeing fantastic results.
    You’re such an inspiration!
    Enjoy this beautiful weather we’re having. :)

  18. Wow! A 5.8 lb weight loss is HUGE (ha! ha! Pun-ny!). Either a sign that you were loading up on “free” food that wasn’t really free or a sign that your body needed the extra calories to kick start your metabolism again. Regardless, your food looked decadent, enjoyable AND healthy. No easy feat! Congratulations :)

  19. chickie

    You never cease to amaze me. What an inspiration you are to us all. I pray your every dream comes true as you make this remarkable journey into a new life. Thank you for stopping along the way to help others.

  20. I’m impressed!! Losing 5.8 pounds after this week! Fantastic!! I’ve decided that this monday I have to get serious about losing weight or I will feel quite unhappy during the summer months, so I might turn to you for some inspiration and advice if you don’t mind? You have the perfect attitude.. :)

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