Saturday, October 22, 2016

Inching towards the end of October

My "test weekend" is coming up (first weekend in November is always a conference that trips me up). But, it has gotten easier to steer away from the carbs. When I'm hungry I eat and when I get hungry enough to eat, I keep it lowish carbs by grabbing a cheese stick or some nuts.

And, it's working. I am NOT counting calories. I am NOT trying to limit how much I eat to a degree. When I say that I "AM" controlling what I eat, I am. I am not just eating whatever, but I'm making sure to only eat when I'm hungry, not getting too hungry, but I don't stuff myself. I enjoy my food and stop when I know I've had enough. If I am still hungry 30 minutes later, I eat more. I tell myself that it's better to eat that extra slice of cheese or protein bar than it is to give into the donuts or the chips. THAT is what is helping me - I'm realizing I need something and if I don't eat something, I know that means I will eventually grab something that starts a downward spiral. It's much better to eat an extra 200-300 calories in a low carb, satisfying snack than it is for me to deny my hunger and then eat 1000 calories or more in Oreos later.

My need for carbs, for now, is diminished too. I have been dealing with those temptations much more easily. Could change tomorrow, but for now, it's true.

And to see "how much damage" eating low carb and for hunger has caused - meaning... I'm not restricting and eating more than I would if I were restricting to X calories, I realize my hunch is right (so far)... I am losing weight - which isn't even a goal. My goal is to just get through this tough time of year and not gain MUCH over the fall/winter.... But, the scale is down 6 pounds for the last 3 weeks. And, no that is not "it's a new diet loss" either. I started eating lower carb the beginning of July... who knows how much I lost between then and the end of September - My clothes are fitting better and I can wear some things I couldn't "again", but it's not feeling like WORK because I'm not restricting... I had just gotten so carbed up that my caloric intake had gotten out of balance with my hunger.

Who knows where I'll stabilize, but if this keeps up, I'll believe that perhaps I found my secret to success (I barely dare to believe it)... don't worry so much about calories - just where those calories come from and if I do that, the damage done will be FAR, FAR less than just giving in to the carb monster. Still 20 pounds over where I was last end of October though, but I it's a snail's race... a lifelong race.

Just how to deal with times I can't control my food for longer periods of time. The next few days my younger son and I will go on a trip to Philadelphia. Then... in the beginning of November I go to a conference where I have even less control over my food... Thanksgiving is fairly easy as I make a LOT of delicious low-ish carb dishes I adore. Christmas is fairly easy too if I don't do much baking (and I haven't done much the last few years)... New Year's we've adjusted by making it a cheese fondue with veggies... It's these "trips" that derail me more than ANYTHING... while fall is hard and that compounds problems, each time I've fallen off the wagon with limiting carbs has been while on a trip or at a conference in the fall. Heck... even our vacation to Croatia 5 years ago did me in... but it was still summer, so I was able to get it back together at least temporarily before I got derailed in the fall (after going to a conference).

The good news - more and more places are picking up on the "low carb" lifestyle, so getting a satisfying meal that is low carb is easier, but quick/cheap meals that are low carb is still difficult.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

And still chugging - test will come in November

I am definitely feeling the desire for more food and more sleep as the summer closed out and fall began. My heart last Sunday sank when it realized that waking at 6:15 am now meant waking in blackness too. The seasons fly by me even faster as my life is fuller and busier. I feel like summer foods and eating just started and yet, we are having to go back to our fall standbys of brussels sprouts and store tomatoes already as the apples and pumpkin spice everything roll in.

The last two years where I had lots of good losses on the scale in summer, I tried to keep up with the same pattern of eating and loss... which lead to 30 pound weight gains both winters as I couldn't keep it up. I would get too hungrier and sleepy and that makes me want sugars and eventually and gradually I would go from allowing one sweet a day, to 1500-2000 calories a day of sugar (or more).

As I stated last time, my goal is not to try to keep up with the same level of restriction, because I've learned I can't manage that. My goal is to keep my carb level low. So, if I want to eat more, I choose low carb foods for that "extra". The hope, is that perhaps I'll see no weight loss, but maybe also no weight gain or minimal weight gain. When you eat low carb foods you don't get the insulin spike which then makes you want to eat even more. Carbs start that vicious cycle for me of ramping up more and more sugar highs that are really hard for me to  "come off" carbs in spring/summer. This year it took until July. The year before that it was late May.

How am I doing so far? So far so good. I did step on the scale the other day out of curiosity and my guess of my weight was correct. I've gone up and down so many times and no what clothes fit when so well, that it's easy to know.  I've lost some weight as some clothes are significantly looser and some that were too tight are fitting now... which is great as I feel better, but I'm not going to get stuck on looking at numbers. Goal is STRICTLY to keep low carb and not worry about weight and see where it leads me - while adding in more movement to my days too.

The movement part was going great with daily walks, until I sprained my foot and "slightly" sprained my ankle almost 2 weeks ago. I had to stay completely off my feet for 5 days and ice it, but after that I started moving around a bit and after 10 days took a walk... I'm about back to normal. I even did some jump rope with the kids in Sunday School this past Sunday.

I created a "junk drawer" of low carb snacks too - roasted almonds, roasted peanuts, 3 different kinds of low carb protein bars and a low carb shake mix and in the fridge apples, cheese sticks and in the pantry, peanut butter. At dinners I skip the starch or don't even serve it. I'll eat a protein and veggies. My treat for the night is one square of dark chocolate.

I really have no idea of what my caloric intake is... It varies from day to day. Yesterday was around 1500 I think, day before was about 1300, probably the day before that was around 1900.

The real test for keeping it low carb will be the beginning of November - THREE TIMES now I've gotten derailed the first weekend of November and it started the downward spiral. So, that I'm seeing success now is great, but that isn't new for me... I was able to keep it low carb (though more difficulty)... November is the trick.

I've also considered have one day every 2-3 week "carb day" as staring at all the yummies and never having them is REALLY hard, but I don't know if I can handle it or not. So, for now. I'm not going that route. For when I do want a treat/snack, I'll try a few things I've discovered that have a hint of sweet, but are low carb enough to not spike me. Like rolled oats with almonds or pecans and a bit of brown sugar and butter baked over sliced apples (with skins on) and topped with a bit of slightly sweetened whipped cream. Kind of like this:

Monday, September 5, 2016

Way too long - but I still try to plug along

I am here. You are probably are not! So... what's the deal with me?

Well, last year when I got back into this (some time in May) I started great. I was doing great. Fall hit... I started to slip. Winter hit, really slipped. Slipped all through spring getting worse and worse... and then when it was FINALLY full swing summer, I finally got my act together.

This season fluctuation for me is either worse, or my life is such that I handle it worse - I think it's the latter.

So... I decided I needed to try something different as I couldn't have half a year of doing great and half a year of doing horribly.  (and last year it was more than half a year of doing horribly!) I had to really find what are the big issues I have and find better ways of dealing with them as what I was doing - being near perfect and being healthy to falling completely off the wagon and falling back on all terrible habits was horrible for my health. And to figure out WHY I was failing so much....

What I know about myself - without a doubt:

  1. I am a carb addict.
  2. Carbs are terrible for my blood pressure, mood, and make we gain weight AND make me congested so I snore and therefore get worse sleep, which then leads me to wanting to eat more carbs.
  3. My ability to cope with good habits are extremely seasonally influenced. I can and do eat well and move well in late spring, summer, and early fall. I feel horrible, eat horrible, and give up in late fall, all winter, and early/mid spring.
  4. I am more tired in Fall and winter (I must have been an animal who hibernated in a former life).
  5. I am more hunger in fall and winter (you know... have to bulk up to survive the winter hibernation!)

And this is what I have tried to do in the past:
  1. Get really good habits going by limiting carbs.
  2. Move more to dull the depressive state of fall/winter with SADD.
  3. Daily weighing in to keep motivated and stay on target (as that has been a good motivator - for when I'm doing well).
  4. Try to stay in the "losing" column as I am overweight and I don't like being overweight and it's not healthy for my body.
  5. Exercising in some way to keep the nibble "bug" out of my head.
Well, obviously, something I was doing (repeatedly) wasn't working if I couldn't keep it up. I needed to figure out a new plan. Plans needed to be more forgiving and more accepting of my tendencies... fall/winter is hard... I want to eat more. I am more tired. I am wanting to give up more easily and quite literally say, "fuck it" to myself.

Now, fortunately, I haven't COMPLETELY given up since I started out with trying to live healthier 6 years ago. While I keep yo-yoing tremendously, I still feel I can do this (need to do this) and I haven't come to getting back to my top weight. I "think" I didn't get close to my last year's top weight either because clothes I wore last year fit with more "ease" this year than when I bought them last year. So, as much as I struggle.... I am, overall, in a better place than I was 6 years ago. It's just finding a better way.

So, my plan has shifted. I have no idea if it will work, but I hope it does as I learn more about myself. Here's what I'm doing.
  1. I am trying to steer mostly clear from sugars/carbs. And if I eat them, I try to make them potatoes as for some reason, my blood sugar doesn't spike with potatoes.
  2. I am not weighing myself. I haven't stepped on a scale in 3/4s of a year.
  3. I try to eat for hunger and try to make choices that will fill me long term- fat and protein, not carbs.
  4. When I want a snack... even though I "probably" have had enough calories for the day to break even, I allow myself a protein/fat snack, not a carb snack. 
  5. I am admitting to myself right now that I should concentrate on staying away from carbs more than anything else. I should not be concentrating on losing weight to "get back into those cute clothes". Restricting in spring and summer has worked for me, fall and winter leads to carb craving and caving... which then leads to weight gain - lethargy, snoring, etc.

My hope is that if I can stay away from the carbs, even if it means in eating a bit too much in fall winter in fats/proteins, that they weight gain would be modest in winter (if at all) and that it would be easy to get and stay in better eating modes in spring and summer if I don't have to detox my body of carbs over and over again. That, the overall trend would be to lose weight, but at a slower pace. Like, Lose 10-15 in spring summer, gain 5-7 in winter, lose 10-15 in spring/summer, etc... That is much better than what I had been doing - losing 30 in summer, gaining 30 in winter, etc.

If it were just about the weight, I would be annoyed with these HUGE swings year to year, but it's not just the weight. The weight is the least of it. It's that I get so sad... and lethargic... and my blood pressure goes up and my blood sugars go out of balance and I start to snore which not only disturbs my husband, but disturbs my sleep too and it is 100% related to eating too many carbs. I MUST keep that carb count low for my health - mental and physical.

It's only September, but I have been doing this plan for the last 2 months. I know I've lost weight as I can see it in my face and see it in my clothes, but I have no idea with the weight loss is. I don't want to know, actually as I don't want to see that I'm "failing" at more weight loss as winter approaches. I am concentrating on moving more and eating few carbs PERIOD.

Like yesterday, I have had a very stressful week. I had little sleep (due to a stressful week) and I wanted to EAT. I really wanted to have carbs... instead, I stopped and got a chicken sandwich and fries for lunch (taking off the bread). It was good... satisfied my "fuel" need and it was so filling that I didn't need dinner last night - except for some salted tomatoes (yum!)... in the end, I probably broke even with calories yesterday, but more, I didn't eat the insulin boosting carbs my body REALLY wanted and therefore, ate FAR few calories than I would have for the day and didn't start that carb roller coaster I cannot manage.

I hope this approach will work. I need it to work as I'm tired of feeling tired... and worn out... and beaten up half the year and I blame the carb monster telling my brain that all I need to fix that lethargy is CARBS... it is such a temporary fix... but in fall/winter/early spring, my brain believes it! And once I start, the addiction is renewed and fiercer than ever.