June 3, 2011

Roses and thorns

Long story short, I'm down four pounds this week, for a total of 145 pounds lost and bringing my current weight to an even 200.

Long story very long, I'm content with the loss but feeling a little challenged overall. In the end of March, I started tracking my food and my weight daily. I used to just eat and mentally take note of how I was doing, but knowing that I was about to hit a bit of emotional turbulence, I wanted an extra level of accountability. When I start to fixate on and obsess over numbers, though, I struggle, and I'm willing to say that even though that can't be blamed entirely for my recent overeating, it can't be helping it. I can't give up daily weighing right now, but I might stop tracking numerically - still writing down what I eat, but not breaking out a calculator every time I sit down for dinner.

I would say that the numbers have been the only tough thing about the plant-strong eating challenge. There's a bit of an odd mental component to this challenge for me. I know I am eating well - all plants and whole grains - but I never feel full. For example: I made gluten-free organic brown rice pasta the other day, and after eating a bowl of it, my stomach didn't feel heavy like it usually does after eating pasta. Maybe it's because I had one serving (as opposed to the past when four boxes of mac 'n' cheese were an afternoon snack), but still, it was weird. I didn't feel hungry anymore, but I also didn't have the feeling that I've used for so long to identify okay, you're done now, you're satisfied. I don't miss the taste of meat, I just miss the feeling of eating it, if that makes sense.

I really like the clean plant-based eating, and I'd like to continue to eat this way even after the end of the challenge, but it's going to take some planning on my part. It's hard for me to eat only three times a day, especially when I'm stressed. What I may end up doing is pre-making my day's bigger meals and having them in two servings - so instead of a 500 calorie dinner at 6pm, for example, I'd have 250 calories of it at 5 and the rest at 7. I don't know, I'll have to try a few things and figure out what works for me.

It's funny, though: before I started writing everything down, I had only one binge in six months - in mid-February when my dad had his second heart attack. I started tracking in the end of March, and since then, my eating has been on and off. This map includes my namecalling binge, my mom's visit, the end of the semester, and my first month of unemployment. Overall, I'm not really pleased with my eating. I defined my calorie goal as being between 1250 and 1350, and since some of those red days were 1450-1500 and others 2000+, judging with a gradient scale of only five possibilities is a little tough.

I've managed to lose weight still (and to stay on-plan while following the Engine 2 challenge guidelines), but not much, and only because I've had to work out extra hard to balance out the snacking. A small positive, though: I noticed that after serious overeating (2000+ calories), I am almost always under my calories for at least a day afterwards - balancing myself out, I guess. My stomach knows what's best for me a little better than my brain does.

As for the daily weigh-ins:

Lots of fluctuation. It reminds me of a readout from an EKG machine, somewhat appropriate considering that my heart has likely been racing more these past few months than ever before.

I'm an anxious mess, panicking about so many different things in my life right now. I never heard back from the school I interviewed with last week - nor have I heard back from any of the two dozen other jobs I have applied for, either. I look for jobs in other cities, then have trouble breathing because I realize I probably can't even afford to move. I'm smart, hard-working, motivated, organized ... so why doesn't anyone want to hire me? The problem intensifies when I start to take it all personally - in my panic, I forget that just because I'm not the right person doesn't mean I'm not a good person.

For jobs, I'm trying my best to believe that everything will work out like it is supposed to. As much as I dread the idea of asking for help, my parents offer it endlessly, so at the very least, I will not end up homeless. Becoming another statistic of the boomerang generation isn't ideal, but it's important to keep in mind that I'm lucky that it's even an option.

snotm dot com
For weight loss, I'm trying to focus on the bigger picture, the results of my official weekly weigh-ins instead of the daily ones, because I really am doing a good job in the grand scheme of things, even if it doesn't always feel like it on the micro level.

A few weeks of small losses, one one-pound gain, and overall steady loss for ten months - not to mention dozens of incredible non-scale victories that I can't overlook just because I've hit a rough patch. There will always be tough times in life whether I'm trying to lose weight or not, and the best I can do is to stay strong and keep moving forward, even if I'm going against the current.

What about you? Do you track your food intake? If so, what notes do you take - just the foods themselves, calories, fat, etc.? What's your go-to 150-calories-or-fewer food for when the urge to snack hits?


timothy said...

sounds like you're doing wonderfully, life is hills and valleys and it seem like you're getting it all figured out. having to ask for help is NOT failure, having help avaiable and ignoring it is ridunkulous! as an orphan i can tell you having people there who love and want the best for you is a blessing! i. sending bright blessings of prosperity your way! have a glorious weekend! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Ann said...

That weight-loss is GREAT! Look - you are totally headed in the right direction!! I know things have been a struggle, but you are doing SO WELL. Keep up the awesome work. :) I'm so proud of you.

Hyla said...

I did track my points with points plus when I started Weight Watchers the last week of December, but then I learned to recognize what an appropriate and nutritional amount of food was. I havent tracked in about 3 months but I am still losing.

You sound like you are really psyching yourself out and that is no good. Stop with the number, slow down when eating and give yourself 10-20 minutes to feel full.

3 large meals a day is no good, I thick your idea of breaking it up is better, 5-6 smaller meals is healthier. Eat when you are hungry not on a time schedule.

Meghan said...

You are almost to onederland!!! So happy for you! My favorite 150 calorie snack is two nutra-grain waffles (140) and 1/4 cup sugar free syrup (20). It’s 160 calories, close. I also love 100 calorie microwaveable popcorn and strawberries, a Mission 100% whole wheat tortilla shell (130 cals)-cut into strips, spray with a little Pam and sprinkle on cinnamon and bake until crispy! I also love egg whites with a slice of melted cheese, very filling.

Caron said...

I always track what I eat. Just a quick note of food and number of points. Nothing complicated. I know myself well enough to know that if I don't track, I'll go way over each day. For snacks, I usually eat no fat yogurt, a piece of fruit or a mini bag of Smart Pop popcorn. All of these are around 100 calories. :)

Christie Farrar said...

Mary are you calling these places back? Or are you waiting on them?

Every job I have not called back for, I have not gotten. The ones I was persistent with, well, I have gotten.

Plus, it makes you feel good knowing you are being pro active instead of re active no matter the outcome.

Krista said...

Congrats on the loss!! I've been majorly slacking lately..I really need to kick things into high gear! My go to snack is either Greek yogurt, a granola bar, or fruit!

Karen said...

I was tracking for a while a few months back after struggling to lose with no success. I tried several online trackers. Like you, seems that I had a lot of ups and downs when I did it. My chart looks similar... downward but with many spikes up. Someone once said to me that weight loss is not linear. Makes sense, much as we'd like it to be. My go-to snacks - baby bel light cheese and fruit or some grape tomatoes.

Amy said...

Eeee! One more pound!!! SO exciting!!!

Anonymous said...

You said in your name calling binge post that you might as well be your old weight. And maybe the 345 Mary would have not only really believed that, but took it to heart and ran with it never looking back. I bet you don't miss that about being 345 Mary.

I count calories. If I go over, I compensate the next day. I give myself a day of no counting every now and then - planned. So I won't use an off day as a failure and an excuse to give it all up. I am not as strong as you are... yet! I eat an egg a lot. 85 calories. Fruit alone makes me hungry.

Denise said...

This weekend I had a gigantic wake up call regarding my weight. In my head I thought I looked one way, but in the multiple pictures that were taken of me it is clear that I am far larger than my mind's eye paints me.

It kind of sucked. I suppose the good news is that I now have motivation to change, whereas before I never really knew how heavy I was because I didn't like my picture taken. There was no way for me to actually view how large I had gotten. Sure, I had stretch marks and sagginess and such, but I had an "out of sight, out of mind" kind of mentality when it came to my weight, which was "do not think about it, and you are thin!"

Clearly that was not the case.
The tracking beings. I don't actually have a system of tracking, and the ones I've used in the past were web-based (like thedailyplate) they typically track everything. Probably anything works, but in order to actually get something out of it it must be stuck to.
I'm saying that more for myself than for you. Clearly you are pretty good at sticking to things.