Thursday, March 12, 2009

Update, Planned Menus, and Sugar

Yesterday was interesting. I woke up with a sick, feverish, coughing kidlet. I'd planned a day of errands, cleaning, exercising, and food prep for cooking while she was away at playgroup, but obviously I wasn't sending her sick. A leisurely day snuggling at home, right? Wrong...

Called the doctor and got an order for a sinus film for her. Bundled her up and went to get that done. She was an angel, sitting there so still, trying not to cough, while they did her xray. She really is a precious girl. Anyway, then I had to drop off the papers for her pre-K registration for fall. Got home and the doctor called... she has a severe sinus infection. She's been on several antibiotics already, had an allergic reaction, had major diarrhea, yet hasn't gotten over the infection. So the doctor called in another couple of meds.

Meanwhile, I had gotten home and was comforting my girl and making her a lunch of her toast, bananas, and hummus. Got a phone call from the high school because my boy was trying to go to on the school computer and they thought is was some kind of gaming or porn site because it was banned by the school so he got sent to the office, I got a call, and if he ever does it again he loses school computer privileges permanently. Ridiculous IMO but I told him to knock it off and play by their rules.

I also baked a small (8 by 8) low fat whole wheat applesauce cake with my daughter, and it turned out SO moist and good. If you've never tried using plain, unsweetened applesauce to substitute for oil in cake recipes, it works very nicely.

Between loads of laundry and other necessary chores, I managed to plan some more dinner meals, make a shopping list, get my youngest son to his speech therapy appointment, pick up my daughter's new meds and mix in the flavorings myself (saves $), medicate her, bathe her, and get her to bed. Then one of my boys showed me his assignment to write a report... by tomorrow. He struggles with this kind of writing... a lot... so it took me about 45 minutes to sit with him while he wrote, give him writing tips, and help him stay calm. It did get done, but my kitchen looks a wreck because I never got it cleaned up last night. Oh well, priorities....

My eating yesterday:
Breakfast: Chai tea, a whole grain Kashi waffle with 1T natural almond butter and 1/3 c. fresh blueberries on top
Lunch: Omelet, made from Egg Beaters, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, and light mozzarella cheese, with a piece of wheat toast and some fresh strawberries and green tea
Snacks: a few peanuts, 1/2 serving of wheat thins, and an ounce of cheese
Later snack: 1 slice of wheat bread with PB&J and low fat milk with Ovaltine in it
Later snack: almond granola bar
Dinner: 1/2 slice of leftover cheese pizza, strawberries, and applesauce cake

Pre-cake, I was at 1623 calories. So with the cake I was close to my 1750-1800 cal/day goal.

Cake for dinner? Yeah, that's right. I knew I wanted it, and I knew it wouldn't break the calorie bank unless I had a full dinner and THEN cake afterwards. I was pretty burned out by dinnertime so the kids just had soup and sandwiches. And I didn't exercise, either. I sat on the couch in a lump after I helped my boy get his report done. And then I went to bed early.

I've been thinking about the planning thing. I think part of why I don't like planning EVERY BITE is because then it leads to counter-intuitive eating. I've worked on intuitive eating (listening to my body) for the past year and a half... stopping before I make lunch and asking myself, what do I REALLY want/need? Some days I can sense I need more protein, while other days I want something light. Sometimes I totally crave certain vegetables. I want to listen to those GOOD feelings. If I have a vegetable soup planned for lunch, but at lunchtime I am really craving a big spinach salad with oranges and chicken breast, then I do not see the point of telling myself NO I cannot have a salad and I have to eat soup instead. I mean, I already have to tell myself NO to unhealthy stuff. I am not going to deny myself the pleasure of a good salad when I crave one. Discipline is a great thing to have, but I think *making* myself eat something I do not want and will not enjoy is counterproductive. I am going to do this for the rest of my life. I want to at least enjoy the healthy foods I am eating. I don't want to be angry at my food, which is what would have happened yesterday if I had forced my cold, hungry self to eat a planned salad instead of going with the omelet I really wanted (which was a perfectly healthy option). For me, "diet" discipline is reserved for things like saying no to unhealthy foods, stopping at a reasonable amount of calories, or making myself exercise.

That said, I want to still plan dinners. I've seen how this helps me stay focused and I think it'll be good for the kids to know what's going on, and I can still listen to my body by adding in side dishes I want. I've gotten some great ideas from your comments. I'm going to put homemade pizza on the dinner schedule, and I found a great recipe for chicken curry that I can make healthy. Today I am going to brown a bunch of lean ground turkey and lean ground beef together, drain it well, mix it half and half and freeze it in one-pound portions so I can easily use it for quick dinners in the future. Tonight, spaghetti. An easy one... because I have a spaghetti squash to make alongside the pasta, and everyone can have what they like!

I also decided to cut back some more on sugar. I know I am a sugar addict. I could eat cake for breakfast every day, happily (and, in fact, used to do just that). I already eat far less sugar than I ever have: no sodas, no sugary drinks, no white sugar in the house. But I can do better... I know this. I'm gonna try to pay closer attention to my sugar intake this coming week and see what I learn and how it goes.

I am well rested today, feeling good, and weighed in with a 6-pound loss since Sunday. I'm off to clean the kitchen!


venusenvy23 said...

I don't know if it's any good or something the kids would eat but I have a diabetic cookbook and there is a recipe for veggie meatloaf. Its ground turkey rolled around chopped veggies and topped with liqified jelly, just 2 tablspoons after it's cooked. It sounds interesting but I want someone else to try it first lol. I have been struggling with getting my veggies in, hell, been struggling with just eating right period. I will do so well for weeks or months and then I hit a rough patch and everything I've learned an worked for goes out the window. I have faith we can get where we want. All of us. I just keep tellingm myself it took a long time to get to 278 pounds. I've lost 38 and kept it off, but some reason I won't allow myself to get to 239. I'm studying philosophy in school right now and this morning had this thought. I am human which seperates me from the other animals in that I am a thinking and reasoning animal. When I give in to my base animal desires, (eating whatever I want, not working toawrds goals I set for myself) and don't use my reasoning and thinking abilities, I am an unhappy human. This is what I'm working on today. I'm proud of you for recognizing what you need and what you're good with. Keep it up!

Kaitlin said...

I feel similarly to you with regards to planning: but what if at that time, I don't want that food? What has helped me tremendously is trying to plan in approximate number of calories and/or types of food I want at each meal. For example, instead of planning dinner, I might say "I want to use approximately 600 calories and want to make sure I get a lot of vegetables in." When dinner actually roles around, that might be salad, or soup, or pasta - who knows. But, knowing I budgeted about that many calories makes my choices easier, and let's me plan the rest of my day.

This is my first time commenting here - but I read often. Great blog!

skinnyhollie said...

I am also trying to go with intuitive eating. I have found that I never let myself get hungry, and that sometimes when I go with my "planned" meals, I'm stuffed. I have to stop stuffing myself.

I'm so glad you are doing well and the scale is moving in the right direction! We can do this!

Tony said...

I've been doing the whole intuitive eating thing for the past week or two. It's very liberating and makes me feel like a human being. Counting calories was a good start, but I felt like this transition was necessary, and a good choice.

Amber said...

Hi Lyn,

I just wanted to let you know that you have helped me so much by writing this blog- I am constantly inspired, empathetic, and cheering you on! Thank you so much for being open and putting yourself out there for people like me.

One thing I've learned about meal planning is that it can be flexible, and that's the only way it works for me. I have a list of meals that we enjoy and food ideas that I keep in a notebook (it has grown considerably over the years) and I always refer to it when making the grocery list for the week. I will make a list of 6 dinner options and make sure to buy everything I need for them, and also be sure to keep stocked on staples so we can wing it for breakfast and lunch, and usually a couple of dinners too. That way I can do as you said- listen to the "good" things my body is telling me and eat accordingly. If nothing on the official "meal list" for the week sounds good that night, I can usually make something else that does, and is also healthy.

Planning is good, but there has to be a lot of wiggle room for me!

Amber said...

oh, I forgot to say how sorry I am that your poor little girl is so sick, and I hope she gets better soon!

Sheila said...

Six pounds since Sunday...amazing!

Anonymous said...

For me, planning has been a critical part of weight loss, but not everything works for everyone. For me, the problem with not planning is that it leaves too much flexibility, which leaves room for opening the door to "just one bite" of something sweet, and for me that can quickly evolve into overeating or even binging. For me, having the guideline of "that's not on my plan so I'm not eating that" doesn't feel rigid or give me the feeling of being at all boxed in. Instead, it makes me feel free and in control -- no more of that person who seems to have taken control over your legs and is walking you into the kitchen for snacks. Ultimately, after you put days and then weeks and then months together, it begins to feel like it is just a habit. Just like you would feel weird going to bed without brushing your teeth, it feels weird to eat off plan. That said, I often plan general categories like "fruit" or "soup" and I have basically three breakfasts (yogurt smoothie oatmeal, and (occasionally) eggs) that I alternate between and don't "plan out" the night before. Anyway, I think that some level of planning is helpful -- whether it is planning each bite that goes in your mouth, whether it is planning in more general categories (e.g., having three or four general options for meals and snacks that you can mix and match), or whether it is a points system like WW uses (which I have to say does NOT rock my boat!). This is certainly not easy stuff to figure out. I think you are on the right path though, by thinking through these things.

♥ Dee ♥ said...

My planning consists of eating my breakfast in front of the computer, plugging into NutriMirror and deciding what glorious foods I'm going to eat today. I sit and listen to my body and decide then what I'm going to have. If I try and plan a day or two out, I resent my perceived forced choices, too.

Except dinner. Planning dinner is actually helpful to me, because it allows me to plan the rest of my day around my caloric budget AND when I grocery shop I only shop for the planned meals, not just throwing stuff in the cart willynilly thinking "I can make that one night" and buying all sorts of stuff I don't need for that week. Saves me tons on money.

antgirl said...

I had to do that for sodium. I'm a salt addict. :)

It's amazing what we learn when we start paying attention. I have never cared for a lot of sugar and often find a lot of sweet foods, too sweet. I seem to keep cutting back though.

Now, it's like some foods are nothing but sugar. It's amazing how our tastebuds adjust.

Kate said...

Like you, I think I could eat cake for breakfast every day. Actually, I could eat cake for 3 meals ever day, provided I could also stuff my face with pizza and breadsticks during those meals. I am always jealous of those people who don't really want or crave sweets the way I do. It is as if my body is broken, because I constantly want sweets.

In such cases, I agree that lessening the amount of them you eat is a good idea. When OP, I eat none and my cravings go away within a week.

Anonymous said...

I'm too lazy (or have learned by now) to really plan very carefully, as I may change my mind. I plan lunches, because I have to bring them into work, otherwise go out and get something, which is NEVER the healthier option. If I'm indifferent to what I'm eating (common unless I'm in pms or just having a hard time) then I can just eat whatever is going bad in the fridge while making future meals.

I love sugar, but could not eat cake for breakfast. My mom (thin, of course) used to do that, and at that time I was just jealous, but now I'm happy with my daily (or 2-3 times weekly) Girl Scout cookie (trans-fats-BOO!), the occasional glass of chocolate soy milk, and as much fruit as won't upset my stomach. Too much sugar makes me feel weird, not that it'll stop me from eating it, but it has to be really good for me to bother.

Karyn said...

YAY on the loss!!! so sorry your little one is so sick. :( I've said it're such a good mom, Lyn.

On the planning....I lived off a menu plan for years when my kids were still living at home - it helped me to save money by having a specific list for shopping and it saved my sanity because I hate making quick decisions. That being said, I was never married to the plan.....if the plan said hamburger casserole tonight but I didn't feel like cooking/eating that, I'd just switch tonight's planned meal with another planned meal. And I did not normally plan lunches or breakfasts - even though my kids were home for all meals. If I did plan them, it was for the kids, not me.

I totally hear you on the intuitive eating thoughts....and I agree with you that you need to have freedom in your meal planning!

You will find what works best for you, I know've done great so far!

bbubblyb said...

Sorry to hear the girl is sick. I'm one for just eating what I'm in the mood for too. You talked about eating cake for breakfast everyday. Have you tried my protein bar recipe? It's very much like cake and one time I left out the Splenda (think you don't eat that stuff) and it still tasted pretty good without it. Just an idea. But I love having that every work day with my hot tea. Hope the girl gets well quick.

T'Lai said...

6 pounds is outstanding!! you should be estatic.

I loved your no judging discussion. Here in China, no such social norm exists, so as I walk down the street, you would think I have breast (I am a man) the way people lock onto my belly, you hear them talking (in Chinese of course) and saying to each other, "what do you think that fat foreigner weighs?"

Just to make em feel bad, I tell them.

mary said...

I love me some sugar but it does get me GOING so I have my sweet treat at night ONLY so Dont go insane binging. I bought some adkins dark chocolate coconut bars that are great. I am not doing adkins, just low cal but I will look at any label. I also got some of those mini delight microwave cake mixes, they are 150 calories and pretty good. I cover them in cool whip free and tell the family they are high in protein and no one wants any. lol.
So what I am sayin is; if you are having sugar save it for last! LOL

Joan said...

"If I have a vegetable soup planned for lunch, but at lunchtime I am really craving a big spinach salad with oranges and chicken breast, then I do not see the point of telling myself NO I cannot have a salad and I have to eat soup instead."

A menu plan should be just that-- a plan, so that you don't end up just grabbing something on the spur of the moment which might not be the best choice for your long-term goal of losing weight. Why shouldn't you substitute a salad if that's what you'd rather eat? It's perfectly compatible with your eating philosophy. The important thing is not to end up with "no plan". You'll be much happier if you exercise your free will in a rational manner. Do you want cake? Balance it out with some lean protein and lots of vegetable so you won't get hungry before your next meal. As much as we hate to admit it, "when we fail to plan, we plan to fail".