Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Food Rules

As promised in yesterday’s blog post, here are my comments on Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (Penguin Books, 2009).

First I should say that as part of my weight loss journey, as well as separate from it, I have wanted to eat a healthier diet. But just as weight-loss programs differ, so do opinions on what constitutes a healthy diet, among both scientists and lay people. When last I participated in WW, I had a habit of eating a lot of their TV dinners (and others, like Lean Cuisine), snacks, desserts, and so on. I’ll admit that I’m basically lazy when it comes to food, and having it done for me is pretty much nirvana in my book.

But I’m also a chemist and biologist by training, and while all those 4 point TV dinners and 100 calorie pack snacks are sure convenient, I knew in my scientific little heart that although I was eating *better* I still wasn’t really eating healthfully. At least not as healthfully as I could.

And then I was laid off from my job last April. Suddenly having the money at hand to indulge in expensive pre-made foods just wasn’t as readily available. But there’s a conundrum there as well: many healthful foods aren’t exactly cheap either. So what to do?

(You may have noticed that Laura and I have given estimates* on the cost per serving of the recipes we’ve posted so far. We’ll continue to do so. As you can see from the two recipes posted, eating healthfully doesn’t have to be expensive. (*Okay, I’ll post estimates; Laura will probably break out the spreadsheets and post actual costs!))

Anyway, back to healthy eating and Food Rules. This is a neat little nearly pocket-sized book that is packed full of healthy eating wisdom. Much of it is also common sense. But as the old chestnut goes, “Common sense isn’t very common,” so it’s helpful to have it spelled out in print for easy reference.

What Pollan did with this book was try to distill the real eating wisdom out from all the latest scientific nutritional advances and cultural norms. As Pollan notes in his introduction, “Most of us have come to rely on experts of one kind or another to tell us how to eat—doctors and diet books, media accounts of the latest findings in nutritional science, government advisories and food pyramids, the proliferating health claims on food packages.” Pollan offers a set of rules that enable one to practice healthy eating on a daily basis. His rules come from science and from our ancestors, and he tries to present them in a way that is based in culture and can be lived as philosophy.

Pollan goes on to say, “It’s gotten to the point where we don’t see foods anymore but instead look right through them to the nutrients (good and bad) they contain, and of course to the calories—all these invisible qualities in our food that, properly understood, supposedly hold the secret to eating well.”

Pollan’s premise is that there are two basic truths to healthful eating:
“Fact 1: Populations that eat a so-called Western diet—generally defined as a diet consisting of lots of processed food and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains—invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

“Fact 2: Populations eating a remarkably wide range of traditional diets generally don’t suffer from these chronic diseases.”

The book is divided into three parts, which incorporate the seven words Pollan feels are the key to healthy eating (those seven words are in the parenthetical phrase that follow): What Should I Eat? (Eat Food), What Kind of Food Should I Eat? (Mostly Plants), and How Should I Eat? (Not Too Much).

It’s a good little book, full of wisdom and common sense. Where explanations are needed for a rule, they are provided. Other rules are pretty self- explanatory. Some of the rules link to one another. If you want to eat more healthfully, it’s a good resource to have. And the rules are pretty simple and easy to remember. If you’re like me, you’ll pick a few key favorites that will be the foundation for your move to more healthful eating.

And now, for the best part. Some of my favorite rules from Food Rules:

• Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
• Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.
• Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
• If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
• It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car (LOVE this one!)
• Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.
• Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
• Pay more, eat less.
• Treat treats as treats.

And so on.

Food Rules is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It’s an inexpensive little book that is an absolute gold mine of simple rules for healthy eating. Get a copy; you'll be glad you did (and no, I am not on Pollan's payroll, lol!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If It's Tuesday... must be weigh-in day. So ladies, how did we do this week?

Me, FG#2: Down an additional 3 pounds, for a total of 4.6 pounds. I still haven't managed to get a tape to do measurements, so I have no idea where I stand there, but nearly 5 pounds has made a difference in what I see in the mirror!

I'll admit that sometimes I think I'm overly hungry, but I've found that if I eat a healthy snack and then am still hungry, it's okay to eat a little something more. I've also come to realize that when I try to lose weight, aside from the sensible things like cutting out most sweets, I often don't get enough protein, which is why the hunger kicks in. So I've been working on really listening to my body and making smart choices about what to do about those signals.

One thing that has helped me is a book by Michael Pollan (he of The Omnivore's Dilemma fame) called Food Rules. A friend heard Pollan on "Good Morning America" and told me about it, and so I ordered. I ordered copies for FGs #1 & 3 as well. It's common sense, but having the wisdom distilled into simple rules right in front of me has been a tremendous help for my food eating decisionmaking. I will write a complete blog entry about the book in the next day or so.

So that's where I am. What about you, FG #1 and FG #3?
#3 here. You beat me to it, i had my post all formulated in my head! :-) Somehow i managed to go up .3 pounds even with sticking to the plan very well and not even using my flex points. But, i did lose half an inch in my waist, so good news there. I'm not too concerned really. I had a pretty big loss that first week so didn't expect much movement this week. A third of a pound could even be from moving my scale. Or perhaps it's a reflection of the restaurant meal i had sunday afternoon. So, i'll stick with my plan and see how it looks next week. I feel good and my clothes are feeling more comfortable so i may even have a "whoosh" day tomorrow with a nice drop.

The book sounds really interesting, thanks! On a motivational note, i was thinking about the challenges life has been throwing our ways, and how easy it would be to take comfort in food. But challenges are really just life and we can't always control the good and the bad. But we CAN control what we eat! Love you guys, be strong!!


FG#1 here. I'm down another 2.4 pounds, for a total of 7. I had 32 APs this week, and I ate them all (which is my usual MO) - plus all 35 of my flexies (also my usual MO). I'm feeling rather like one of the few things within my control at the moment IS what I eat. I'll admit to feeling a bit like the heck with it briefly yesterday, but I came to the conclusion that all that would come from that is feeling even worse than I already do. It's just not worth it. So I'm grateful to have two very solid weeks under my belt. I need to measure my waist, but my britches (I love that word... britches) are much looser. I think I'll even be back into a regular size 14 in the next week or two.

Love you girlz too. I'd probably even give real life hugs this week, followed by snivelling on your shoulders and blowing snot bubbles (yes, really). Challenges. We've gotz them. But we're much bigger than the challenges in our lives. Remind me of that in a few days.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Philosophy

In her "Indulge Me" post Julie talked some about her philosophy of weight loss/control, and Robin has mentioned trying things a little differently this go-round also. I also have a slightly different bend on things than Julie and Robin do.

My philosophy? I do the plan by the book. I guess that's not so much a philosophy but moreso just the way I am. The rules are the rules, and I follow them. I do give myself flexibility to have the things that I want - insofar as I can fit them into my points. It's like a puzzle that I work out every day. I want bacon cheese fries? I have bacon cheese fries. I go help someone trim hooves or put up hay, and save up some flexies, and I'm good to go. It means a bit more planning in my life, but I'm good with that. This type of thing works out nicely for me because I am a scheduler... a list maker... a keeper tracker of all kinds of stupid things.

It's rather strange actually. I lose my cell phone, misplace my sunglasses, lose the Small Dog's coat, and things like that on a regular basis. However, I can tell you exactly how many points different foods are, how many points I've used for the day, how many AP's I have accrued, how many I have left, how many Flexies I have left, and I can tell you what I'll be eating today and give you a rough idea of the rest of the week while I am at it. I can tell you what I've got scheduled for every minute over the next month, and I can often tell you what YOU have scheduled too.

For that matter, I have a massive list of points values *stuck in my head*. My friends and coworkers even often call me to ask points values of this and that. That list is stored up in there with the phone numbers of all sorts of places and people that won't seem to go away. It is stored up in there with portion sizes, recipes, and driving directions to all kinds of places. This is the reason I track online. I have to get some of it out of my head, and once I plug this stuff into my tracker online I can at least let it go for a while. Sounds strange, I know, but if I do it on paper I mess with it constantly.

All of that being said when I hit maintenance the first time Julie's comment to me was that I needed to be less rigid. That I couldn't live the rest of my life that way - and it's true that she doesn't want that for herself. So I tried it. It didn't work for me and basically resulted in a free-for-all struggle that took me almost two years to grab hold of (understand that I'm not blaming Julie for that - I CHOSE to try to be less rigid). Countless piles of guilt accumulated, and THAT is no way for me to live either. What I have learned from my experiment with trying to just loosely self-monitor myself is that working the plan by the rules is the ONLY way I can keep my weight under control. Anything less results in a runaway freight train screaming down the track of ruin. Ok, so that's a little dramatic. Anything less than doing the plan and I am fat. Again.

Evidently I don't have the modifier that says, "Ok, I've eaten pizza this week so I shouldn't eat fried fish too." I don't seem to have a middle ground - it's either in control our completely out of control. In some ways actually tracking and plotting how I'm going to eat what I want and either maintain or lose weight gives me a strange sort of freedom. Freedom from the guilt and stress that accompanies feeding frenzies without accountability. I'm going to embrace it instead of feel guilty about it.

What to take away from this? We all work our weight loss or weight control or lifestyle plans differently. That is OK. I think that's one of the ways that we'll make it work - doing what works for us without apology.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Indulge Me!

Hello, FG#2 here with a recipe I tried this evening and liked a lot and with a little of my ongoing weight loss philosophy. First, the recipe, which came out of the same magazine/book Laura mentioned in the preceding post. This one was the Chicken Sausage and Apples. The recipe called for McIntosh apples, but I had Granny Smiths (I love a tart apple!), so that's what I used. It would certainly be a bit more colorful with a red apple, or even a combination of apples if you wanted to get really creative! Anyway, a 1 cup serving of this recipe is 3 points. The recipe said I'd get six servings and I did, so I ate one for dinner and froze the rest in one-serving sizes in freezer bags.

It doesn't look like a whole lot, but that's kind of a big bowl, and that and a 1/2 cup serving of couscous (okay I pair weird stuff, and leftover couscous is what I had in the fridge, though the recipe suggested a mashed sweet potato) was certainly filling enough.

I didn't do a complete cost analysis, but I bought the apples and onions by the bag, so they weren't expensive. The cost for the 1/4 cup of apple juice was negligible as well. The costly part was the sausage, and I figured that out to be 93 cents per serving. I'd estimate that the apples (three), onion (one), juice, and thyme (I used 1 tsp dried thyme) cost around a dollar or less, so this entree cost approximately $2, and was easily prepared in 15-20 minutes. That's good, since the magazine promised 90-some 15-minute meals (the other day I made a chicken posole chili from the same magazine, and although the actual chili took maybe 15 minutes, that didn't take into account the time needed to cook and shred the chicken, but even so, we're talking meals you can make pretty quickly).

So, what about my philosophy? Laura has certainly heard me whine enough about how I hate keeping track of points for food, activity, etc. I don't know why my psyche resists this. It's akin to the way my brain shuts down when someone starts talking about taxes and other stuff involving numbers. Sometimes I think it's just that for so many years I lived a very regimented life (due to long commutes, etc.) that I rebel against that sort of thing now, or maybe it's just that my aging brain doesn't want to work that hard. Maybe it's a little of both. Who knows?

I certainly understand the purpose of tracking points, but what to do if one doesn't want to track points? Well, I'm about to find out. I'm a scientist by training, so I am not averse to a little experimentation. I know the Weight Watchers system works, so the question is whether I can modify it to indulge my internal resistance to tracking numbers. Why points? I think for a lot of folks, it's just easier than thinking about and tracking calories, fat, fiber, etc. WW has taken that work out of things by assigning the points values to various foods based on those factors. Laura has a mind that's more than a decade younger than mine and she has no trouble keeping track of the points values for a huge number of foods. I, on the other hand, seem to be experiencing the sort of brain fade so eloquently (and scarily) discussed in the book Carved in Sand by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin--I, who memorized my way through the classifications of species in college, had no trouble learning hundreds of chemical reactions (and their names) in chemistry, and who could tell you on what page of a textbook specific information would be found, can't remember my own name half the time (okay, slight exaggeration, but not by much), let alone the points values on a gazillion different foods. I know, I know, there are booklets with all that information listed (I have them) and gadgets that let you calculate all that (I have them too), and yet I don't want to drag those things out every time I want to eat something. And so, even though in my heyday I was the Queen of Memorizing All Sorts of Stuff, I find myself struggling with this whole thing. I don't know if there are other folks out there who have this same problem, but the fact is that my brain is just plain resisting this stuff! So I am going to work around that, hence my experiment.

In my mind WW has really turned portion control, calorie (etc.) counting, and all that into a series of numbers (points) that makes it easy for people to keep track of what they're putting in and what they're taking out (in the form of activity). The whole program is really about teaching people how to recognize healthy foods (or cook in a more healthy way) and normal portions, in a way that's easy for most people (except the brain resisters like me) to use on a daily basis. Make it easy and people will stick with it. And it works. It's worked for me, so I'm not saying all this from some sort of sour grapes perspective, either.

So for the time being, my experiment is this: I will pay attention to points for the stuff whose points I remember and for the recipes I try and so on, but I am not going to be a slave to points (in other words, I will have a fairly close daily idea of the number of points I've ingested, but I'm not going to keep an exact count--for example I already know how many points my normal breakfast is and it's pretty much unchanging). Instead I am going to try to be a little more free form, while exercising portion control and simply increasing my intake of the things that I know are low points or no points and severely limiting the stuff that I know would be high-point-value items (you know, cookies, fudge, bacon cheese fries, most fast food, butter, cheese--oh dear, that one is going to be hard!). When I want something sugary, I will reach for an apple or banana or other piece of fruit. I'm not a big salty snack fan, so that's really an issue for me. Really my biggest problem is sweets. I stopped eating most sweets, and especially chocolate, before Thanksgiving and lost 10 pounds very quickly. Note that I didn't stop eating all sweets, just most. I will indulge in the occasional plate of bacon cheese fries with Laura.

I'm already pretty active with life here on the farm, but I can increase that activity by adding in regular "programmed" exercise. Let's face it, my body is used to lifting and carrying bales of hay, bags of feed, full buckets of water and so on. So in the greater picture, even though I'm already active, I need to find ways to increase my activity, and that pretty much means regimented exercise. I stopped jogging during hunting season, but it's safe (relatively speaking) to go back in the woods (well, the nursery where I like to jog), so I'll be heading back out with the dogs in the mornings. I can also spend some time on toning exercises. Heck, I'm unemployed--I ought to have all the time in the world to exercise, right?

Anyway, this post has already gotten quite long, but this is the way I want to try to lose weight. I'm going to give it a couple of months and if it's not working, then I'll cry my mea culpa and get religious about strictly following the WW way. But for now, I'm going to experiment with this slightly more lax version and see what happens. (I'm certainly not recommending that the rest of the world do this, because it will be very easy to slip into old habits and the like, but weight loss is really about lifestyle change and I really don't plan to spend the rest of my life counting points even if I had to do so in the short term, so I figure why not jump straight to the part where I just try to live the lifestyle change and see if it works for me? I mean, really, I know what I should be eating, and I need to just do it.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cost Analysis on a Recipe

One of the things that Julie, Robin and I have talked about is how eating healthy and fresh foods can be much more expensive than going with unhealthy and packaged foods. One of my goals is to find ways to stretch my food budget while losing weight, but yet keep it healthy and fresh. This can be a rather daunting task.

Julie and I both bought a Weight Watchers 5 Ingredients 15 Minutes cookbook last week. It’s one of the “Time” issues that looks like a magazine. Anyway, I’ve not been through it with a fine-toothed comb but one of the things I like is that it uses time saving techniques. However, it also relies on a good bit of pre-made or packaged foods that are usually expensive. But by and large the recipes look good and healthy, but it will take some tweaking to make it cost effective. I’ve always been a firm believer in stocking a good pantry, and in choosing to make things that will make the MOST use of the items as well, so that's part of the strategy to keeping costs down in general.

While there are some recipes in the book that don't make good financial sense to me (or just didn't appeal to my taste buds) I tried a recipe from my new cookbook this week that turned out quite inexpensive, and very tasty. It’s a Sausage and White Bean Soup, and I did tweak it slightly. I doubled the recipe, changed out a few comparable ingredients and so on. Based on doubling the recipe according to the book it should have made 10 servings. However, my practical experiment yielded 8. I suppose one could make up the slack with two adding in two more cups of water, but I really liked it as it was. The point count listed is 2 per 1 cup serving, but my yield was 3 per 1 cup serving based on 2 fewer total servings (I plugged it in to my WW online recipe builder). Here is what I spent:

Notes: The original cost is the amount paid for the total item, such as the bag of potatoes, or the package of sausage. The cost used is the cost figured for how much of the item I used. Also note that technically I should have used TWO green peppers - but that seemed to be overkill to me. I don't love peppers enough to want two in there.
Also for dinner I had:

1 baked potato at $1.99/bag and $0.25 / one serving
2 Tbsp Light Sour Cream a $0.89 / carton and $0.06 / serving
1 skinny cow ice cream at $2.99 / carton and $0.50 / serving
ton o salt on baked potato / negligible

Dinner total: $1.35
Points total: 9 (would have been 7 without the ice cream)
The soup includes 1 serving of vegetables

Other cost information: Total money spent on ingredients is $11.88 but the total of what was used from the ingredients is $5.19. Ingredients were bought on sale, or at Aldi.

In my book any time I can spend $0.56 on a serving of soup I'm happy. A 1 cup serving of a similar soup at the grocery store will cost a person approximately $1.25.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ode to My Love

Reprinted by permission of the author at (photo removed)

Ode to My Love (aka Ode to Bacon Cheese Fries)

O' my dearest love, how I've treasured thee in such sweet moments of gluttony
Thou hast given me great delight in thy goldeny goodness
The crisp, the salt, oh the gooey potatoey delight shall forever be with me
When we shall again meet I do not know
All I know is that in this parting sorrow I have truly loved thee with unwavering depths
Goodbye for now, my greatest love, as tonight will be our last commune for a while
My dreams will forever be filled with your crunchiness
My thighs will forever carry the marks of my devotion
I am bereft at our parting, but I know that we shall be together again
I cannot long be without you, but for now I must
My buttocks depend on it


Editors Note:

Here is the nutritional value on a regular plate of bacon cheese fries from the Outback Steakhouse, retrieved from . We typically, and by we I mean Julie and I (aka FG#2 and FG#1), go to Ham's Restaurants for our BCFs. However, I would think this nutritional data would be in the ballpark. I am fortunately able to lose weight while eating BCFs once a month. Once a week? Not so much.

Total Meal - Aussie Cheese Fries - Regular
Serves 6

Calories per serving: 327.9 For the whole thing? 1967.5

Fat per serving: 24.0 For the whole thing? 144.2

Fiber per serving: 2.2 g For the whole thing? 13.1

Never mind the sodium and the rest. How does this work out for WW points? Per serving 8. Per the total plate? 51 pts. I usually figure it based on 2/3 of the plate, which is what I typically consume, so I normally put in about 35 pts when I track them.

I figure once I have a good 3-4 weeks on track under my belt it will be time for a monthly BCF excursion. Not until then though - I have to get a good bit of self-control under my belt and build up some activity points. So, for the next 3-4 weeks it's"So long my love".

Monday, January 11, 2010

Standing on the Edge, and Some Cons to Being a Fat Girl

So I'm standing on the edge of the cliff - waiting to jump off tomorrow. Yikes. Had I not run my yak on this blog about tomorrow being my first weigh-in I probably would have already pushed it back a week or two... just as I've been doing for the last year. I gots all kinds of excuses... my life is too stressful, I'm just not ready, I need this fat to insulate me from the cold (isn't that what leg hair is for?), eating healthy isn't cheap and I has no moneys, blah blah blah and so on.

Yeah, it's true that I'm undertaking this on one income vs. two. Yeah, I'm under some stress, and sure I'm not as cold this winter. But in some respects I'm just as cold - because now I cannot fit the mutinous booty into the overalls. So. I suppose that's one con to being overweight.

I'm a list maker. I like to make lists... shopping lists, packing lists, book lists, all kinds of lists. It seems fair that a list for cons to being a fat girl would be a good list to make. So here's my list while I am standing on the edge of doing something about it:

Some Cons to Being a Fat Girl:

-feet hurt
-knees pop
-body aches when I wake in the morning
-mutinous booty eeks into other seats
-mutinous booty makes me not fit so well in the CrazyMobile
-cannot wear my overalls, and cannot zip my coat - thus negating the insulation argument
-blood pressure has GOT to be up
-feel bad about my body, and to a degree about myself in general
-don't want to even look in the mirror
-feel bloated
-it is harder for a fat girl to get a job (yeah, I know it shouldn't be but IS)
-if I had to run up a field I couldn't
-the bladder doesn't *quite* seal as it ought to
-tire easier
-people look at me strangely when I order dessert at a restaurant
-dude in the drive thru at Wendy's gives me the hairy eyeball when I order a diet coke to go with my Baconator (double)
-cannot sit on my balance ball without bursting it
-cannot lay on my back on the hard floor because the booty tips me over
-steps are hard to manage
-boy short panties look stupid on a fat girl (why oh why do they even sell them?)
-just a few changes would make a HUGE difference in my overall health

That's not an exhaustive list - far from it. But sometimes I need to remind myself why doing something to positively impact my health and well-being outweighs (ha ha ha) the lure of bacon cheese fries.

So tomorrow morning is weigh-in #1. I already have a good idea of what the scale will say, but having it official is part of the process. I think stopping stepping on the scale is one of the predominant factors in starting this slippery slide. So here I am, standing on the edge. It's a long drop I think but I have to do it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


My behind is trying to overthrow the government. To hear it in your head as is southernly appropriate think “BEE-hind”. Anyway, yes, my behind is threatening mutiny. Just the other night it tried to throw me out of the bed. I hit the ground and barely managed to get my feet under me when I had to take a few steps just to keep from taking a face plant right into the dogs’ water bowl. I keep talking about Nick crowding me in the bed when in fact it’s my arse that’s the main culprit I think. That’s not to say that Nick doesn’t crowd me (Nick is one of my many dogs) but lets just be honest and face the fact that if my behind were smaller in general there would be much more bed available.

Just over the holidays my behind tried to encroach on Julie’s seat at the movie theater. I found myself squished up against a wall at one point just hoping that my saddlebags wouldn’t eek under the cup holders and accidentally touch her. To make matters worse I couldn’t comfortably fit between two of the cup holders. Not pretty this eeking. So I think to myself that maybe if I take very shallow breaths it will mitigate the eeking. Nope. All that did was almost make me pass out, which was further enhanced by the fact that I had a gut full of popcorn, which was pressing on my diaphragm.

Then yesterday my behind tried to smoosh me up against the steering wheel in my own mini-van. Oh yes. This behind is devious and unrelenting in its pursuit of control. It’s making my knees hit the steering column, and I look even more like somebody’s granny with my head practically touching the windshield.

The crowning glory of my arse’s mission to overthrow the government was when it managed to wedge me in between my boss and my keyboard day before yesterday. I was standing next to my computer, which has a keyboard that swings up and out – and subsequently locks into place. My boss sat in my chair to do something and I found myself firmly wedged between the two. I was pretty humiliated to have to ask him to move a few feet over so I could dislodge the booty and get out of there.

It’s a conspiracy! This thing is practically it's own continent, and it's getting too big for its britches. But that’s OK – I’m on to it. I’m taking control of the government back. After all, there are a lot of things in my life right now that are completely out of my control. This mutinous booty problem does not have to be one of them. May God give me the strength.

Friday, January 8, 2010

True Confessions, Accountability,and Some Surprising (or Not So Surprising) Data

It's the same old, same old. Yep, those same 25 pounds I always need to lose. The sad part this time? Before Thanksgiving, I had actually dropped 10 pounds, simply by giving up most sweets, only to eat it all right back on (in fewer than two months!). Sadly, a pretty common story. I got on the scale this morning, fully clothed, but basically I'm right back to the weight I always start from (at least since I passed the age of 35). No surprise there. I could tell by the way my clothes fit, by my lack of stamina, by looking in the mirror. Ugh.

So why this blog? Accountability. If I'm telling the whole world (or all two people who are reading this) how I'm doing on my weight loss journey, then perhaps the shame factor will have a positive effect and I'll do it and stick with it. In theory, anyway! Basically this is like taking a Weight Watchers meeting out into the blogosphere. Lots of folks follow Laura's Crooks and Crazies blog, and no doubt some of them will find their way here. Instead of just being accountable to my closest friends (who are very forgiving, and sometimes enabling <--that goes both ways; no blame laying here!), I will now be accountable to people I don't even know, some of whom may be going through the same perennial weight struggles those of us on this blog go through.

In the spirit of the typical 12-step program I'll go a step further than Laura and say we've started this journey with a Ham's bacon cheese fries extravaganza on Wednesday, followed by, ahem, a trip to Dunkin' Donuts (where of course, we didn't stop with just one doughnut). Last night was dinner and knitting at Mary's--spaghetti, biscuits (with real butter and honey or apple butter), wine, and my slightly failed chocolate chess pie, which recipe I got from the Angus Barn after an evening of gluttony there this past Sunday with my sister and BIL. Tonight, it's girls' night out for burgers and all the extra calories and fat that entails. Gee, even I am disgusted by our recent excesses! But it really is a last hurrah, and although it may not sound like it, we actually do know how to make healthy choices. In fact, the knowledge isn't what's lacking at all--it's the will and the follow through, and that's where this blog is going to help rememdy the situation.

And since it just happened to be a little feature on the Early Show this morning, I wrote down the following statistics regarding popular weight-loss programs. It's a real eye opener for sure, and if you're following one of these programs, the take away is this: If you're making this sort of financial commitment (essentially $10,000 to lose 50 pounds), stick to it.

Weight Watchers
Average weight loss: up to 8 lbs/month
Cost per pound: $90
Average cost/month: $716

Average weight loss: up to 8 lbs/month
Cost per pound: $66
Average cost/month: $529

Atkins and South Beach
Average weight loss: up to 21 lbs/first month; up to 12 lbs/month after that
Cost per pound: <$50/lb for the first month
Cost per pound (after first month): $79 (Atkins); $102 (SB)
Average cost/month: $948
Note: These diets are cheaper in the first month because that's when the greatest weight loss (per month) occurs.

I'm currently unemployed, so I am not forking over money to any of these plans, though I will basically use Weight Watchers, since that has worked well for me over the years (yes, I said years--my first encounter with WW was back in the 80s, and I have to admit that back then I didn't have nearly the problem I do now).

So, there it is. I'm fat, and I'm going to do something about it. And I know that means I really do have to quit the weekly bacon cheese fries fun and get back out of the habit of consuming excess sugar and fat (i.e., chocolate and other sweets). Wish us luck--it should be an interesting, and very public, ride.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Laura's Song

Low Fat, Protein Power, Atkins, Weight Watchers... even the M&M diet... I've done them all.  My last stint was Weight Watchers and I was wildly successful at losing weight.  I took off right at 97 lbs, going from a size 22 jeans (and on the verge of needing a 24 - this at the "Fat Girl Store") to a size 6.  However, I found myself to be sorely lacking in the maintaining department, and that's how I find myself here today.  My friend Sandy told me that maintaining would be the hardest part, and she was right.  So now I'm facing this demon again.

I've gained back about 77 of those 97 lbs (although not nearly the jeans sizes - I'm resting at a 16 in the regular store, a 14 at the "Fat Girl Store").  I really don't want to be one of those stories... you know, the ones where the person gains it all back and then some?  The and then some would be very bad.

So in the past my WW weigh-in date has been Tuesdays.  I'm going to keep with that because I'm a creature of habit as I'm sure will become evident over time.  I'm also going to keep with the WW format utilizing WW online as I know that works for me.  I'm setting a Tuesday Do-Or-Die Deadline.  Tuesday will be my first weigh in date in almost two years.  I'll admit I got on the scale this morning and almost had a coronary.  I picked Linc up and weighed us together as a reminder of what I could be facing if I wasn't careful.  I was rather surprised that the scale didn't bleed.  Then this afternoon I confessed my weight to Julie.  It hurt, but I did it.  Julie and I might ride each other mercilessly about a lot of things, but about this she was amazing - compassionate, kind, and assured me that my arse didn't look as big as my weight might suggest.  Good friends do that.

Speaking of Julie, she and I have been preparing for our first weigh-in quite enthusiastically.  We prepared last night, are preparing tonight, and then again tomorrow night with a few girlfriends.  We might, in fact, gain an extra few pounds from our preparations.  But we're going to do it, and we hope that keeping ourselves accountable in a big way will help. So, here we go!

I wonder if we can fit one more plate of bacon cheese fries in there before Tuesday.

Three Very Different Women Tell It

Three very different women. Three different takes on the same struggle. One main focus - weight loss, and all of the things tied up in that. Body image. Self worth. Self-esteem. Self-confidence.

We've been here before. We're not weight loss virgins - we're multiple offenders. Times are hard, and we cannot really justify the money to go to meetings, or follow plans that require financial outlay. This time we're on a mission to not only lose weight but to change our lives in a way that will last. We hope that our struggles - our victories, our disappointments, and everything in between will inspire us and others to do the same.