Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The singalong begins!

Have you weighed and measured yourself?
Have you written down a specific goal, given it a time frame, made sure it’s reasonable?
Do you have your food journal in front of you right now?
Okay, let’s take a look.

Do you eat three to five times a day? Five seems to be the favourite number, according to people like Pinki Sahota and the Mayo Clinic. Three meals and two snacks, spread out every two to four hours lets your stomach empty so you can relearn what hunger feels like, and done regularly (every single day!) also reassures your body that there will be more food coming.
When we skip meals regularly, we put our bodies in famine mode so everything gets stored for worse times ahead. “Stored” means fat.

Do you eat a lot of a certain food group? Like starches, for example: bread, potatoes, rice, granola…. As we all know, this is my downfall. When I cut them out of my day, my weight plummeted.
Some people consume more fats than they realize: butter or margarine, salad dressing, creamy pasta sauce, peanut butter….
Cutting back on these is a quick way to reduce calories because like starches, they’re very calorie dense.

Calorie dense versus nutrient dense
First of all, let me say that potatoes are good! Whole grains are good! Some fats are not only good, they’re essential!
The balance in starchy foods and in some fats is weighted toward calories over nutrients. So it’s important to make sure we’re getting the nutrition as well as the energy – and that means lots of fruits and vegetables, and lean protein with good fats like plain yogurt and low-fat cheese, nuts and seeds like almonds and ground flax meal, legumes (not much fat in these), and meat or seafood if you’re a carnivore.
The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody (probably available at your library: 613.25 MAY) has an excellent description of calorie-dense versus not calorie-dense.
The book also has a really good section with clear photos and tables to help us visualize and really understand serving sizes of different foods, the effect of different activities, and so on.

As you might know from my earlier posts, Fodder and I cut the starches completely at the beginning of our weight-loss trip. No bread, no pasta, no rice or potatoes…and to our surprise we survived quite nicely.
Doesn’t mean we’re never going to eat them again but I gave them up for long enough to break my addiction and to see what a difference a penne-free life can make in the closet.

Most of us probably agree that Albert Einstein was a smart guy and I certainly agree with him on this:
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

So tell us: what are you doing differently for the next seven days?


  1. Well Rachel, it's time I let you know. You've become MY guru. When I first saw the Peninsula News article on you, I thought I'd check out your blog (first one for me), and I found it so witty and inspiring that I thought I would give losing weight a try again, but a serious try this time.

    I was very inspired by your bum. I'm glad to see the "after" picture was not a touched up picture of you is some glamorous dress. No, it's a realistic achievable goal picture. I long for the feel of baggy pants once again!
    So, thank you for your inspiration.

    Since I started 11 days ago on the 3 meals, no snacks, no rice, no potatoes,...etc. and 8 glasses of water a day, I've lost 5 pounds. I'm sure I would have done better, but a late valentine's weekend celebration added more wine than water to the weekend! I'm back on track and still losing. I’m not great for logging everything I eat, but I know I’m eating too much of the wrong foods. Cutting them off completely saves me from having to write it all down!

    I think since my last child (seven years ago), I’ve started a diet each and every day after weighing myself! The problem is that once I get to the kitchen for breakfast I forget I’m on a diet and in go two slices of toast! Well, now I’ve posted the big NOs on the fridge along with spaces to tick off each glass of water. It’s worked great so far. The trips to the bathroom are quite frequent, but drinking that much water does curb my appetite. I’ve been unable to go to my boot camp class due to recent back pain – another reason I want to lose the 26 pounds I still have to reach my goal. Once I can start exercising again, I’m hoping the weight will come off more easily.

    I’ll be checking out the Mayo book you mention.

    Once again, thank you.

  2. MM, I am so proud of you! What a great accomplishment!
    As well as showing your determination and discipline (and setting a good example of healthy eating for your kids), you've proven that there's nothing wrong with having a little wine (or any other treat).
    I foresee baggy pants in your immediate future.

    Thanks for sharing some of your success strategies, too.
    The checklist for your daily water count is brilliant. Fodder might find it useful because he struggles with that more than anything else.
    Same with simply avoiding the foods you know are your downfall – works for me, too.

    I'm so very grateful you decided to write. Thank YOU – and please keep us posted!

  3. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks so much for doing this. I've set my goal for the year (ten pounds down) and am tracking my food on myfitnesspal.com. I just averaged my intake for the last week. Calories per day: 1594 (target - 1200 to lose 2 pounds a week); Avg. Carbs: 217 (target - 165); Avg. Fats: 51 (target - 40); Protein: 71 (target - 45)... so I'm over for sure. It would be okay to do this much if I was exercising more, I think. I usually jump around the house a bit after a day at the computer, but find it hard to exercise in the winter. What do you do?

    I have another question for you too... Is herbal tea okay instead of water? And if not, is hot water okay instead of cold?

  4. I'll be cheering for you to leave those 10 pounds in the dust, Angela!
    myfitnesspal.com is a great idea.
    I'm curious about your protein – was that the myfitnesspal suggested intake? I ask because I'm 50, 5'6" and considered active, and Vicki Waters pegged my protein requirement at 75-95 gm/day. I was surprised at how high it is, but since I feel good when I get it I'm going to stick with it.

    As for water, hot water is just as good as cold – but heads up! It goes through even faster :)
    Vicki Waters recommended the 8 glasses of water PLUS as much herbal tea as you like, so she sees a difference between the two. Maybe it depends on the herbs…I don't know.

    For exercise, I love walking so I walk to the library, grocery store and gym (for more weight-bearing exercise) several times a week and I ride my bike several times a week too. I prefer activities with a destination, so I'd rather cycle to meetings than go to an exercise class, but I have friends who think I'm insane and happily head for yoga every week.

    I love the image of you bouncing around the house after a hard day at the computer.
    Fodder lives downstairs – I wonder how supportive he'd be if I cranked the stereo and started dancing :)

  5. Thanks for your posts, Rachel. I only saw them this morning, as I'd bookmarked the Feb,17th one and couldn't figure out why you weren't continuing - now I have bookmarked the .com page and I will stay current! ;->

    Since having officially started last Friday (after meeting you Thursday,Rachel) I weighed myself this morning and have lost 4 lbs. I have taken my measurements and written them down in my journal. It has felt so incredibly empowering to get going on something that has been haunting me for the 5 years I've been in Victoria - the lack of control over my life due to my huge angst in the area of food and alcohol dependency.

    In the next 7 days I am going to be monitoring more closely the times that I am pulled to food during or after an emotional upset. Then writing about it, to clear it. I have started J. Cameron's _The Writing Diet_ and am finding the Morning Pages hard on the hand (don't do much handwriting much anymore!)but oh, so helpful.

    The most important element for me is the emotional triggers that prompt my eating. I know the right foods to eat and mostly why (I have the Mayo book on hold too!)but it has always been about portion size and eating unconsciously that does me in. (2 squares of chocolate? - the whole pkg please) Reading the book _French Women Don't Get Fat_ by Mireille Guiliano really inspired me several years ago. Then I promptly turned my back on her principles. Guess I wasn't ready.

    I'm ready now.
    Amen and Hallelujah! Thanks, Rachel.....

  6. That's so interesting about the higher Protien requirement. Yes, the 45 is a myfitnesspal recommendation. I don't feel guilty about going over on any of them though, not even calories, as long as it's below my holding-even calorie allowance (~1750, if I remember right). I'm looking at this as a lifetime change, and if it takes a year to lose the 10, I don't really care. I had the same goal last year and lost about 12, so I'm doing good.

    Your exercise habits sound awesome. I need to do something like that - starting on a different day than today though. I have to drive first to get somewhere safe and pleasant to walk, and I'm not driving anywhere in this snow!

    Thanks for the info on the water! I love tea, so hot water is just VERY weak tea, right?

  7. Madeline – I'm glad the morning pages are working for you and you've got a handle on what else you need to do for you. That bodes well! Congratulations on your four missing pounds.
    I'm so thrilled that you've taken back your power!

    Angela – you seem very sensible about your time frames. And congratulations on ditching those 12 last year!

    Love it! Hot water is simply weak tea :)