In 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: