weight gain

Diet Update #1

I’m about 2 weeks in to the low carb diet reboot. I wanted to do an update, but first, wanted to thank everyone who left comments and facebook messages about the diet. It was nice to hear what worked for other people!

When I started this blog, it wasn’t a weight loss blog. I just wanted to share my story of how I lost 110 pounds and kept it off. There aren’t a lot of maintenance blogs out there. A lot of the healthy living blogs I used to read diligently either don’t really blog anymore, or I’ve seen them kind of spiral into very disordered practices, or regaining all the weight back. I don’t dismiss the fact that maintenance is hard–you have to work at it every day–but for me, maintenance has been easier than losing this time around.

Quick recap: when I tried this lower carb diet back in the Spring, I lost 7 or 8 pounds right away. It was very encouraging. Then it stalled and I kept gaining and losing the same 2 pounds for the next few months.

So when I started this diet again a few weeks ago, I was around 170. I lost 2 pounds the first week! That was awesome!

I weighed in on 10/18 and was really happy to see another loss! I was down another 2 pounds! 166.6 pounds (does that number mean something?!?! LOL), which is the lowest I’ve been since I got pregnant! That means I have 9 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight!

 

What I’ve Been Doing

  1. I cut out sugar snacks and treats. Not 100% but close. I’ve had a few things here and there but I’m really happy that I’ve been staying strong and either skipping dessert most nights or having fruit or yogurt instead.
  2. I’m logging everything. I’m pretty good at tracking–I’ve done it for 15+ years and it’s just second nature now. But I am recommitted to being accurate–that means tracking the snacks and nibbles, too!
  3. No bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc. The carbs I am eating are from fruit and my Greek yogurt and coffee creamer (never cutting the creamer out!).
  4. Trying to drink more water. I am okay at this during the week at work but at home on the weekends and in the evenings I am NOT good at it. 🙁
  5. No alcohol Monday-Thursday nights. I wasn’t really in a habit of drinking during the week but some weeks I’d find myself having a glass of wine on a Tuesday when I didn’t really need to. I don’t necessarily see that as a larger problem but I do think it was a waste of calories. So I am limited my 2 glasses of wine to weekends.
  6. Trying to eat smart. Eating a lot of protein and veggies and trying to eat more healthy fats.

 

Challenges

It’s definitely felt easier this time around to try low carb. Maybe because I knew what to expect, maybe because I was seeing immediate progress, not sure. Other than feeling like total shit that first week, it’s been pretty easy this time. I don’t feel deprived. I don’t crave bread too much.

  1. I am getting sick of salads for lunch. I have been trying to come up with other ideas but I need something that’s fast and easy to prep and often times that’s just a protein and a salad.
  2. It’s been a challenge to get more fiber in my diet since I’m limiting fruit (I used to eat an apple every day and that’s pretty high in fiber, for example) and eating only certain types of veggies.
  3. I do miss bread. I am not craving it like mad, but I do miss it.
  4. I HATE that soup is so high in carbs!!! Why?!??! Even a vegetable beef stew is high in carbs! I live on soup in the colder months and I’m bummed I can’t seem to find any options. 🙁 If you have ideas, tell me!
  5. I miss buying stuff at Trader Joe’s! There were a ton of things I’d buy every time I’d go but they are not on the diet now so…

The biggest challenge so far? Running on a low carb diet freakin’ sucks. 🙁 I have no energy, it feels like a slog, I sometimes feel light headed, I totally crash from hunger afterwards…I need to figure out an alternative on days I run. Maybe I try carb cycling and eat more carbs before I run. I don’t know…

I am doing a cheat day/meal once a week or so. I think this is important so that I don’t feel 100% deprived, which can lead to a binge.

Week 1 cheat meal was our taco and beer date. 😀

Week 2 cheat meal was pizza!

How Much Food Do I Really Need?

Trying to lose weight post-partum has definitely been a struggle (as I’ve written about many times here). The fitness aspect hasn’t been the struggle for me. The food has.

I feel like part of the problem is that for nearly 10 years I was on a “plan” that worked. After losing 110 pounds, I kept the weight off by working out consistently and by counting my calories. I logged my food pretty diligently for almost a decade. With a few blips here and there, I kept the weight off. I could splurge on treats or go out to dinner and still maintain my weight with about a 5 pounds fluctuation up and down.

When I got pregnant I did not eat for two. I increased my daily calories per my doctor and I still worked out. And then after Logan was born, (after taking about a month off from counting calories) I was back to logging my food but I was still eating a lot of calories. Every time I tried to lower that daily number my milk supply was effected.

I am pretty proud of myself for staying “on track” while pregnant. But I admit, I did give in to foods I didn’t really eat. I had managed to mostly kick my candy habit while losing and maintaining my weight loss. Sure I had treats and dessert (homemade cookies or ice cream, or chocolate) but I stayed away from the candy bar type stuff that was always a trigger for me.

While I was pregnant I craved two things: orange juice–which I started drinking a glass of with breakfast every day (probably 150 calories worth–and I COULD have drank several glasses of juice, but controlled myself) AND Reese’s Pieces candies. I have NO idea why those were the two cravings I had while pregnant with Logan but they were. Once he arrived, I cut out the juice.

The candy? Not so much. I am still eating candy on occasion and I absolutely hate that it’s so hard for me to kick that habit. It’s no secret I’ve always struggled with sugar but…dammit, why is it so hard this time around to STOP the sugar??

Let’s get back to that.

So I am still hovering around the 13-pounds-left-to-lose-mark. Ideally I’d like to lose 20 but 13 is my goal. I talked to my doctor recently and she suggested I reduce my daily calorie base to 1400. (She also suggested I try going vegetarian, but that’s a whole other conversation. 🙁 )

I decided to give it a try and went from around 1600 calories a day to 1400. Sometimes I eat back some of the calories I burn in the gym but I am trying really hard not to eat all of it and try to stay around 1500 or 1600 total on work out days.

Reducing my calories to 1400 was a bit of an adjustment at first. The first week it felt really stressful because if you break it down, 1400 calories is NOT that much food. So 400 calories for breakfast, maybe 100 for a snack, 400 for lunch and 500 for dinner. Yikes! I’d see my number of left over calories getting smaller and smaller…and I’d feel discouraged and sometimes I’d beat myself up. But after the initial hunger and getting used to that number, it wasn’t that bad. And sometimes I even found that I’d bring snacks to work and I didn’t really need them.

Since going back to work full time, I’ve started working out a few days a week during my lunch break. The gym at work can be kind of crowded, especially on bad weather days and Mondays. So I’ve adjusted my lunch hour around in order to work out earlier. In the past I would have a snack before working out –fruit or Greek yogurt or a low carb protein shake–and then work out, shower, and eat lunch at the normal time. But shifting to an earlier lunch hour to workout, I noticed that I didn’t need my morning pre-workout snack anymore.

So I wondered, How much food do I really need?

I decided I could probably skip my morning snack on workout days and just workout. Then eat lunch later. And I’d be fine. And it helped me stay at my lower calorie range.

I have no idea how many calories are the “right” number. I mean, I workout a lot and pretty intensely. So how do you find the proper balance between how many calories you need to not completely crash and still get your good workout in? I pose that question because I honestly don’t know the answer.

Recently I decided to give it another shot. First, I decided to try doing the lower-carb diet again. I kind of gave up on it this summer. I lost about 7 or 8 pounds on it when I first tried it in the spring but I stalled out and just felt like I was torturing myself and not seeing any results–so I stopped and just counted my calories every day and didn’t care about limiting carbs.

Second, I decided to try and cut out the candy. Recently at the store I did not buy ANY treats! None. I am going to try going cold turkey on the dessert/candy/treats and see if that also helps.

UPDATE

Last week in addition to cutting out candy and sweets (other than fruit and my coffee creamer), I decided to give the lower-carb diet a try again. So last week I went back on the bandwagon.

I stopped buying sweets and desserts and was surprisingly able to give up the candy without noticing too much of a hardship or craving. The carbs? I was somewhere between 50-75 grams of carbs for each day. I felt like crap all week, honestly. I felt run down and like I had the flu–but I didn’t. I just felt exhausted and burned out and my workouts suffered and my mood suffered….I’m sure it was cutting out carbs.

So no bread, pasta, rice, etc. No potatoes, reducing the fruit I eat (I had raspberries for dessert two nights). I’m eating more protein and fat. I’m hoping this second week will be better–and that I will feel less run down. I know that’s pretty common in the beginning when you go low carb….UGH.

The good news? I weighed myself over the weekend and was pretty happy to see a 2 pound loss. I have no idea if that’s the low carb diet or cutting out sugar or both. But if this trend continues, hopefully I can relax and just be in maintenance mode in a few months! I do not believe a low carb lifestyle is the right choice for my body type…but I’m willing to give it another try.