March 22, 2010

Revisiting my own beliefs about weight loss...

I must be the worst blogger in the world. I don't own a cell phone, I don't believe in Facebook, and I tried Twitter but lost interest quickly. I thought a would be better and blogging, but I guess I'm just not cut out for the techno stuff. At any rate, I did want to blog about what I have been up to lately.

In January I revisited my own beliefs and attitudes about weight loss. Having purchased a scale for the first time since my early twenties and getting on it...I realized I was a victim of "creeping obesity". Well...maybe not a victim, I'm sure my love for red wine and chocolate had something to do with it. Yes, I had gained 20 pounds somehow over the course of a few years.

The challenge came because I know that carrying excess fat on you is not unhealthy if you are active and eat well. I believe I was eating too well. So it was through total and complete vanity that I decided enough was enough. I was going to learn how to eat healthfully without overexercising or under eating. I was (and am) tired of the weight loss/gain thing - as I am sure anyone is. It has been almost 2 months now and I am loving my new "diet" (I use that term loosely as it is a long term change). I started at 176 lbs and this morning I weighed in at 164.4. I have developed a passion for whole foods cooking and have started collecting and re-writing recipes. I look forward to cooking for my boyfriend when he comes over and will spend hours planning and healthy and delicious three course meal. I never would have believed I could make such a change.

Realistically, however, I know change takes longer than 1.5 months so I remain conscious of renewing my motivations and commitments. My goal is to get down to 150 lbs and remain at that weight (give or take) for the rest of my life. I believe so much in how I am doing this, that I have incorporated my practices into the courses I teach in weight "wellness". I have also included these steps below. Many of my points come from the "Food Rules" outlined by Michael Pollan in "In Defense of Food" and his new "Food Rules" book. See my reading list for more information.

Step 1: I purged my kitchen cupboard and fridge of its impurities. I acknowledged one of my biggest weaknesses. If it is in the house, I will eat it. There is no question. AND, not only that, I can't stop at the appropriate serving size. I will eat the entire thing no matter how big. I'm not proud of this fact, but it is the truth. Therefore, to eat well, I had to rid the house of anything relating to junk or processed food. Everything in my house rots in less than 7 days now (minus the grains and pastas).

Step 2: I added a new vegetable to my diet regularly. I now suggest this to my clients that hate veggies. I started with eggplant and learned all I could about its nutritional value and how to cook it so I don't choke. Turns out it is a fine veggie. Then I moved to Bok Choy and cannot get enough of it now. I now have a spaghetti squash in my fridge waiting to be experimented on.

Step 3: This rule comes straight out of Michael Pollan's books I started eating predominantly plants. My focus was/is on whole foods. I have even experimented with veggies in the morning in the form of omelets. I have gotten rid of my dry soups and have added veggie wraps to the lunch menu. Dinner is easy..vegetables are the main dish combined with quinoa ( you HAVE to try this super food if you haven't already) pastas, and maybe rice if I'm in the mood.

Step 4: I am more dedicated now to avoid all processed foods and only eat food with less than 5 ingredients and ingredients I can pronounce. I have read more and more books on this subject and I am convinced that the food industry is the evil behind many chronic disease (if not all) and not about the lifestyle choices of the individual...but that's another topic for another day.

Step 5: I continued to enjoy wine and the fun foods on the weekends, but in moderate amounts. I made a rule to only have wine with my boyfriend and never alone. I make "junk" food out of whole ingredients. I have made a few apple crisps lately, make caramel corn, and have the odd coke. I believe in the real stuff and never reaching for the sugar free or fat free options. You gotta know that if the sugar and fat have been removed and it still tastes great that it is loaded with chemicals. The real deal is the best for you...but in small amounts.

Step 6: I chose to step on the scale from Monday to Friday but not on the weekends. Because I come from a history of eating disorders, I had to be careful not to let the scale rule my life. I find I can be 2 pounds less one day and the next gain 3, but overall, at the end of the month I have lost slowly and safely. Do not let the scale determine your mood for the day if you choose to use one. The benefits of the scale, in my opinion, is you can learn very quickly that reverting to your old eating behaviours leads to weight gain. It is a great learning my opinion.

Step 7: I had to pay attention to portion sizes. When I come home from work, especially if I have had a long workout, I want to eat and eat big. I learned to portion out dinner and immediate store the rest in a container for work the next day. That was one of the hardest things to do. But I found that if I focused on something else (besides watching TV) I soon forgot about and felt full.

Step 8: I sit with a journal every Sunday and plan my exercise and menu for the week. I found/find that I am able to create short term goals that I can check off. If I don't exercise or eat the way I had planned, I sit and figure out why. Why did I revert back to old behaviours and how can I avoid this in the future. In the beginning, I learned a lot from this. I learned that I have to shop every Sunday or else I will eat crap due to the lack of groceries in the house.

Step 9: I am exercising faithfully and doing things I love. I don't overexercise anymore and put more of a focus on flexibility training now. I focus on strength building for health and not for weight loss. And that leads me to my most important point...

Step 10: Everything I am doing I am doing for health. Yes, I am loosing weight and that is great. However, on the days / weeks that I don't loose that much or when I feel I will never get down to 150lbs, I shrug it off in two seconds because I wouldn't change what I'm doing for anything. I am doing this for energy, for illness prevention, for stress management, and to be able to enjoy a long life without the pains and illnesses that come with sedentary living and crappy eating. I am constantly thinking of five years from now, ten years from am I going to look and feel living this way vs. living my old way. AND..let's face it..the aging process slows down living a healthy life. Health is stress management, healthy communication skills, addictions free living, physical activity, social connection, and eating wholesome foods that do not originate from a factory.

I'll keep you posted on as I continue. At this point, I feel I'm on the right track, but who the hell knows what could happen. I do know I feel good and look at the diet I had with disbelief. I'll write more later.

If you are looking for more information on the food industry I have suggested a few books on this blog. I am reading one now called "The End of Food"..very scary stuff but motivational for sure!



  1. I have a comment. Good for you! I get on the scale once a month after my cycle and I am glad I do. I also log in everyday to a free website that counts my calories and I do that "before" I eat it. I have alos done something similar to you, cut out many foods I can't pronounce, eat whole foods, eat 5 times p/day and I do a fitness routine daily. Today, I decided to talk the 11KM to my hair appointment and my husband picked me up. Each day I add something to the day either run/walk/gym/swim or bootcamp. However, a plateau for almost 7 weeks now has set me in a twirl! I am trying but maybe my body just wants to stay this weight? I eat right, good fruit, veg's snack, cut out read meat and count my calories. Maybe I should do all this while standing on my head???

  2. Hey Anon;
    Thanks for the comment. Great job with the healthy changes. The plateau thing is hard and this is why I suggest we don't focus on the scale's feedback. It can ruin our mood for sure. Try your best to not let it influence you and keep up the great work. This is for health and not for weight loss. The weight will decrease slowly..the health will increase for life!