Thursday, August 23, 2012

Small, Sustained Changes

This month I've focused on cutting portions and eating a reasonable amount of calories each day. Way back in 2000 I got into an eating mindfulness regimen. I ate reasonable portions. If I wanted something sweet, I'd have just a little bit. I was, for lack of a better word, restrained. I was the epitome of eating restraint for about a year and a half, and then I just gave up. I went back to a more limited version of my old ways (i.e., way less eating out but still doing plenty of baking). That basically means I went to a weight that I have been at for the last 10 years. A little higher than I would like, but a perfectly maintainable weight by watching what I eat for a couple of days per week and then eating whatever I want for the other days of the week.

This month's priority is trying to stay at 1,500 calories per day. Let me not even count how many calories I ate before this month. 2,000 on a good day, probably 2,500 on average with some 3,000 days. But I exercised. So I maintained my weight for the most part. I might gain 5 pounds over Christmas, but in January I kicked my butt in gear and would be back to normal by the end of January or early February.

August has been interesting since it's been so long since I've concentrated on calories for such an extended amount of time. Sure, I might be interested in calorie counting for a day or a week, but I soon realize that I eat all of what I'm supposed to by 3pm, and then I just scrap counting for the rest of the day.

This time is a little different. I've done it for 3 weeks now, and I'm getting into a rhythm. It's not as hard as it was for the first week anymore. I'm not "starving" anymore. I think they say it takes 3 weeks for a habit to develop, and I think that's true.

What's weird is that my diet hasn't changed much. I still pack my lunch for work every day. I'm still packing similar food (fruit, veggies, protein). The big difference is that when I get home, I try not to graze for snack-type foods. My problem time is when I used to get home from work and was ravenous. I would mindlessly eat cookies/tortilla chips/chocolate chips.Instead, now I suck on my brown rice syrup lollipops or veggies.  That saves at least 500 calories a day. Then I limit my dessert to a couple of those lollipops or a tiny bowl of ice cream (if I have the calories remaining). That probably saves another 200-300 calories. If I don't have the calories remaining, then I won't allow myself to even go to the kitchen.

And I'm trying to eat more soup because it tends to be more filling (and trying to make it homemade so there's less salt).

And I'm upping my exercise. It's a bit more than I sometimes am in the mood for (7-10 hours a week), but I'm sticking with it.

After 3 weeks, I'd love to say I've lost 20 pounds and am exactly where I want to be. I am jealous of those people who can do that. Or on Biggest Loser, people who lose 20 pounds in one freaking week.

Alas, it is slow-going for me. My weight's been very erratic. My body is trying to figure out this new normal, I think. One day it's down 3 pounds, up 2 pounds the next, up another 3 pounds the next. I can safely say that the scale hasn't budged, if at all (there's no overall trend in the numbers). In my old mindset, I'd get frustrated by this. I'm the type that would need positive feedback within 2 weeks or I'd say, "Screw it!"

This time I have to admit that the little voice in my head is a tad frustrated because it thinks there should be some results by this point. That voice will never completely go away. But I'm not changing anything or even close to giving up. I'm plodding along with my, let's be honest, small changes. Staying away from the Oreos should be something that I should be doing already. Upping exercise never hurt anyone either. All in all, they ARE small changes that I can sustain.

I was thinking of doing a food log for next week. Maybe I'll show improvement over the last time I did such a log where my diet was popsicle, candy, okay food, popsicle, popsicle.  


Wendy said...

My scale hasn't budged in months. I keep to 1700 caloies a day. I exercise 7-8 hours a week consistently. Clothes fit better, that's the best gauge.

B said...

You're not being particularly encouraging that I'm going to miraculously lose 10-20 pounds.


Wendy said...

I've concluded that weight is not a measure of fitness. That said, I DID lose 12 lbs over the span of a year. Just not losing any more pounds, though still getting tighter and more toned.

B said...

Slow and steady is the best way, right?