diet

Reflections on Losing Weight

Recently a reader asked why I wasn’t trying to lose weight this time like I did the first time. I wanted to address that.

When I lost weight the first time, it was definitely “easier” (weight loss isn’t really easy, but looking back, it was definitely easier then than now). I was younger, I was living alone and in complete control of my diet. I cut out trigger foods entirely–no pizza or ice cream. I counted my calories and was somewhere between 1600-1800 calories during the duration of my weight loss journey.

I ate the same things every day. I had a fake egg McMuffin for breakfast (an English muffin, egg beaters microwaved and a slice of cheese) or oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch was a turkey and cheese sandwich on low calorie bread with a serving of Wheat Thins. A snack was an apple. Dinner was a Lean Cuisine with a salad. And dessert was sometimes a rice krispie treat (90 calories) or a chocolate Fiber bar (150 calories) and a glass of milk.

I didn’t drink my calories. I drank a lot of diet soda. Then eventually I cut out diet soda and switched to sparkling flavored water.

That was pretty much my diet for 16-ish months. Small variations here and there. Sometimes for dinner I’d cook a chicken breast on my George Forman grill and have a salad and some cooked vegetables. Sometimes I’d splurge and have a cheat meal in a restaurant.

Once I reached my goal weight and maintained it for a little while, I changed my diet. Eating so much processed food was not great. Yes it helped me lose weight because I could accurately count my calories and I had built-in portion control, but really it wasn’t something that was a lifelong thing. Eating processed foods like that helped teach me portion control and realize how I should  be eating.

When I moved in with Michael (a million years ago), I started eating REAL FOOD. I’d have Lean Cuisines at work for lunch because they were easy and portion controlled. But other than that, I wasn’t eating a lot of processed foods. And that has pretty much been my life for the last 8 years–eating real food.

I maintained my weight loss for 10 years–give or take a 5-10 pounds.

Then I got pregnant.

I did really well when I was pregnant. I didn’t go nuts and say “I’m pregnant! I can eat anything!” I wasn’t “eating for two”. I gained 33 pounds while pregnant. I lost about 18 of that right away, I’m sure part of that was just baby. LOL

But then I struggled. Breastfeeding became my focus and my goal and whenever I tried to lose weight my supply would tank. So I decided to just wait until I was done breastfeeding to actively try and lose the weight.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been trying a few different things in order to lose those last 15 pounds. The reason I haven’t done “what I did before” is because I don’t really want to do a highly processed food diet in order to lose the weight. Sure it worked last time, but I don’t necessarily feel like it would be the healthiest option for me now. I am not sure what to do or why what I’m currently doing isn’t working.

Part of me wants to just be ok with being 15 pounds overweight. I want to be one of those people that loves my body no matter what size. But I really struggle with that. It’s weird to feel like I did when I was 250+ pounds. I KNOW I am not back to where I was, but psychologically I feel stuck in a weird place in my head where I am overly critical of my body, I hate that none of my clothes really fit properly — even though I’m not really in a much bigger size — and I hate having my photo taken.

Then I think, is this the message I want to pass on to Logan? Do I want him to grow up and be critical of his body, self-conscious, or have food issues like I always had? No. I don’t. I don’t want to look at certain foods and thing “these are bad” and I don’t want Logan to feel that way.

I realized recently that my brain had changed into that “Bad food, Good food” frame of mind. Doing this diet recently that’s limiting carbs–I am now looking at foods that are high in carbs and thinking “I can’t eat that, there’s too many carbs in it.” It’s very weird–especially since 6 months ago I would have eaten that rice or English muffin and not even thought twice about it.

I’ve seen it creep into my brain in regards to everything. “Bad Food.” Logan is exploring eating “real food” and I’m trying different things. I caught myself the other day when I was making him breakfast of a frozen whole wheat waffle with peanut butter on it (one of his favorites) and I thought “carbs are bad.” Um, he’s 16 months! He doesn’t need to limit his carbs. Absolutely ridiculous. But that’s where my brain is these days–being critical of “Bad Food.” I don’t like it.

Since March I was doing the lower carb diet thing and lost about 7/8 pounds (gaining and losing the same 2 pounds since the initial loss) and lately I’ve kind of stopped for a few reasons. First, I stopped losing. Second, I was tired all the time. Third, I was feeling frustrated that I was restricting and not seeing results. Lastly, I didn’t like how much I was focusing on “Bad Foods.”

I’m not going crazy eating carbs now, but I am eating more of them on occasion. I’m still trying to keep it to a minimum but I’m not being super restrictive. I’m staying the same in weight. Several of my pants are loose and baggy, but I’m not seeing results on the scale.

I emailed my doctor and spelled out exactly what I eat in a day and what my exercise looks like in a week. I was honest and told her exactly what I was doing and said it wasn’t working. Her response? “Wow, you’re already doing everything I would suggest.” GREAT. 🙁 Except she said eat whole foods, drink more water, and reduce my calories to 1400 a day (instead of the 1500-1600 I was eating). Okey dokey! Reducing my calories it is.

So that is where I am at currently. I’m considering tracking my macros on Cronometer instead of tracking calories (a friend suggested tracking macros instead of calories because it is working well for her). I am also considering turning off the calories I burn exercising in MyFitnessPal so that I am not eating back those calories I burn. I will keep you posted on what I decide.

 

Diet This Week

I know I haven’t posted an update on the diet in a few weeks. I think I left off a month ago where I had lost 6 pounds, then stalled out. I kept gaining and losing the same 1-2 pounds back and forth, back and forth…for weeks nothing worked.

I was really frustrated and felt discouraged, especially considering I was doing this restrictive carb diet–to restrict and not see progress SUCKS.

Just a reminder– I wasn’t doing a true low carb diet, but I was trying my hardest to keep the carbs down. On workout days I was somewhere around 85-100 grams of carbs for the day (no bread, rice or pasta products at all) and on rest days I was somewhere around 50-75 grams for the day.

I tried many times to get that number down but let’s be honest here. If I am going to REALLY try and do a low carb diet, I need to cut out all fruit (don’t want to do that) and a lot of other stuff…I mean, I hit 15 grams of carbs with just my coffee creamer in the morning. 🙁 Not going to cut that out!

We had an awesome cheat meal last weekend: breakfast for dinner!

I’d been craving pancakes lately so for dinner last Sunday night Michael made us pancakes and bacon. I used light syrup which cut the carbs in the syrup by half. This was also the first time Logan tried pancakes. He loved them! 😉

My lunches last week were really good. I was kind of sick of my meat and cheese rollups and needed to change things up. I also needed a break from the high sodium diet that comes with eating meat like that. It’s not the best choice, honestly.

So for lunches this time I did salads. I cooked up some ground turkey with low sodium taco seasoning and I had big green salads topped with veggies and the taco meat.

I had a hard boiled egg and some Greek yogurt with fruit for snacks. I also supplemented some snacks with low-carb protein shakes. It was nice to change things up and eat something different.

Weight Loss

Now for the weight loss aspect…A month ago I was staying about the same and just couldn’t get over that hump. We went on vacation to Bend and I was afraid to weigh myself. 🙁 I hadn’t worked out much in Bend, or when we got home (I was sick), and my diet hadn’t been great. We ate pizza and sushi and drank beer in Bend…but I got on the scale anyways and surprise surprise! I finally lost the weight that I’d been gaining and losing over and over again.

That was a nice surprise. So I am back in the upper 160’s and feeling a bit more motivation. It also kind of motivated me to maybe try doing a true low carb diet to see if that jump starts things further. I have 12 pounds to go to get back to pre-baby weight, but ideally 15 pounds to go total.

I also emailed my doctor. I spelled out my typical diet, calories and weekly exercises. She responded with “um wow! You’re kinda already doing everything right…” SIGH. I know! And it’s not working!! Her only suggestion (besides the usual, drink more water, eat real food not from a package) was to cut my calories from 1600 to 1400. So for the last week I’ve been at 1450 calories. We’ll see what happens when I weigh in next week!