Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Plan Works?

A long time ago, when I was morbidly obese and desperate for answers, I used to sit down at the computer and look for the magic solution. I felt so miserable about my weight and how impossible weight loss seemed; but I knew people *did* lose weight so there HAD to be a magic answer. I would Google things like "lose weight fast" or "easy weight loss." I would spend hours reading about every pill, potion, and diet plan out there. And I tried many different things, with frustrating results. I stumbled and staggered around trying to get something, anything to work. If I managed to lose some weight, it would still pile back on after awhile because I just couldn't seem to stick with a plan. Why wasn't the fat melting off? What was wrong with me? Isn't there *some plan* out there that works for everyone?

Short answer: any reasonable, healthy plan will work IF YOU WORK IT. I don't claim to be a diet guru... I often post what I am learning, and sometimes it's stuff I am still working on embracing. The thing is, for some people, Weight Watchers is their salvation. But not for everyone. I watched my mother Weight Watcher herself into morbid obesity for 20 years. For others, they find their answer on some other plan: low fat, or low carb, or raw food diets. And it doesn't really matter.

I tried so many different approaches but the problem was, I never found something that I *wanted* to do, that I *enjoyed* doing and could do for the rest of my life. I think that's the key to finding *your* plan.

1) Do I want to do it? (at least, most of the time)
2) Do I enjoy doing it?
3) Can I do this for the rest of my life?

If your plan feels like a burden, deprivation, or a jail sentence, it won't work for you.

I can say this, for sure: I have finally found what works for me. My new habits have truly changed my life. For the first time, I really enjoy what I am eating, I want to do it, and I know this is what I will do for the rest of my life.

My plan is simple. Eat a lot of vegetables, enjoy fruits, get enough lean protein, enjoy whole grains. Cut most of the processed foods, white flour, and sugar. Eat to satisfaction. Count calories. Drink water. Exercise. Be active.

Simple! It makes me very happy. Before I discovered this way of life, I used to go for weeks... sometimes months... where the only vegetable I ate was a french fry or mushrooms on my pizza. I thought I hated vegetables and exercise. But I don't! I love them. I love how they make me feel. I am so much happier when I follow my plan. And when I stick to it, I lose weight. Every time.

I've never lost this much weight before in my life. And even with the partial regain, I've never kept weight off for this long. And most importantly, I have never been so happy with my eating... and so nourished by it. I am starting to truly love my body. Yeah, I have issues to work out. I struggle *a lot* with the whole binge eating/sugar craving thing, so I often tweak my plan here and there to try and make it better. I plan on seeing a counselor, and I also plan to learn to meditate. I am learning new ways of coping. And finally, I am being completely honest with myself about my eating, my weight, and what goes on in my head. The support I get here is so helpful. Thank you all for that!

Today is the third day of being 100% back on track. Yesterday looked like this:

Breakfast: Chai tea with skim milk & agave, Egg Beaters with spinach, turkey sausage, and light cheese in a Carb Balance tortilla, with a Clementine and green tea.

Lunch: big salad of organic baby spinach, romaine, cucumbers, yellow peppers, apple chunks, feta cheese, pine nuts, walnuts, dried cranberries, chicken breast, with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette and 2 strawberries on the side.

Snack: a whole grain bar, lots of water, half an apple, and a huge dish of roasted fresh kale.

Dinner: 1 slice cheese pizza, large pile of steamed fresh butternut squash with an ounce of 2% low fat cheddar and 3 Ritz crumbled on top, baked til bubbly.

Total calories: 1791. Drank 10 cups of water. Strength trained 20 minutes, and spent an hour scrubbing every floor in the house. Boy was I sweating when I got done!

I feel fantastic when I eat like this. I have energy, focus, and my mood is better. I am such a different person than I was 2 years ago! And of course the scale is going down again.

Preplan for today:
Breakfast: chai tea, whole grain waffle with natural almond butter and fresh blueberries, a few strawberries, and green tea
Lunch: big salad, pretty much like yesterday's
Dinner: 4 oz flat iron steak, mashed potatoes (1/3 c made with skim milk), and a ton of roasted broccoli
Snacks: fruit, roasted kale, almonds

Plan to walk a mile, weather permitting, and bike 30 minutes. Have a great day!


anastasia said...

it's amazing how you feel when you find something that really works. i think part of it is seeing the results but the biggest thing, for me anyway, is finding that you actually enjoy doing the exercise or the stuff you used to really hate.

well done for being back on plan. i'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that you'll lose this week!

Anonymous said...

You are so right! It has to be long-term and enjoyable in order for it to work. You have the right idea! I didn't go on a "diet" to lose the weight I did, I just changed my eating habits to be healthier and exercised more. I too did weight watchers several times and it never worked; south beach diet and stuff like that too. All short-term. Good for you, hope your good feelings carry you through for many more days ahead :)

Forthright Fattie said...

You're so right. Food is amazing--and healthy food is even more amazing than greasy food, believe it or not! This is something that I know, but I forget sometimes because people talk about how hard weight loss is and how tempting crappy food is. But you can eat well and be satisfied and enjoy your meals.

I know someone who has decided that eating chicken noodle soup and yogurt is the magical way to lose weight. Maybe it will work for him, but I just want to walk him through the produce section of the grocery store and make him taste everything!

Madame said...

It's rewarding to find a plan that has the potential to be "doable" throughout life... sensible, safe, effective habits turning into a healthy lifestyle ... is the best ways to go ... in this journey! :)

Danielle said...

It sounds like you're in a great mindset today, Lyn!
Keep up the great work and positive atttude!
I love your blog.
I liked your Food Amnesia post!
I suffer from it often!
And just a quick note on gaining weight because of muscle (I only mention this now because it seems to have come up quite a bit in your blog and viewer comments lately). Women would have to go on a body-builder's regime of weight lifting heavy weights and eating more calories over a longer period of time in order to gain enough weight to come from muscle mass. It's just hard for women to do, period. Sometimes we gain small amounts of temporary weight from exercise due to water retention, since muscles can retain water to help repair themselves. This can be seen often after an increase in exercise intensity, or starting a new workout routine.

bbubblyb said...

It really is all about a special plan all our own that we can live with for life. For me, the problem was always sweets. Now I set rules for myself that I seldom break (one candy a week at work, 1/2 a bagel on thursdays, only have dessert out, etc). I know for me it's been the exercise too. It makes me feel empowered plus it really helps regulate my stress and anxiety. Of course therapy has done a lot for me in the past 2 yrs too. I think it's so many different things that all have to come together and work hand in hand. It's definitely not easy. You are doing great and you are so aware of yourself which I think is huge. You should give yourself a big pat on the back. It really is about self love. Glad you're here, love your posts *hugs*.

spunkysuzi said...

It's so true that you have to find something that you can live with and you enjoy!!

moonduster said...

I'm glad you are doing so well and feeling good about it!

Sherre said...

I used to go for weeks... sometimes months... where the only vegetable I ate was a french fry or mushrooms on my pizza. I thought I hated vegetables and exercise. But I don't! I love them. I love how they make me feel. <--------- OMG. I could have written this. NOW I just need to remember it and NOT fall back into the french fry/mushroom pizza diet! Thank you.

BTW, I totally agree with you that any plan will work if you work it!

Carol said...

Eat less, move more. It's a simple plan that works for everyone. Oprah once said if there was an easy way, she would know about it because she has enough money for any plan. And she continues to struggle. Yep, eat less, move more.

KK @ Running Through Life said...

Love your post! Right on the money. And guess what? Our lifestyle plans are very similar!

new*me said...

I used to chase every plan out there thinking it would help me lose the weight overnight! I was an A student so why was I so dumb when it came to losing?

3 days .........keep going!! I'm so glad the scale is showing you some love!

Vickie said...


Vickie said...

also loved:
1) Do I want to do it?
(at least, most of the time)
2) Do I enjoy doing it?
3) Can I do this for the rest of my life?

Mine are:
What do I mean to be doing?
What am I actually doing?
Is it working?

Stacy said...

I chanced upon your blog and, after reading several of your posts, oh my goodness how I can relate!

I've struggled with binge eating (and the obesity that came with it) on and off for many years. A few months ago I lost enough weight to finally get back to a healthy BMI, but these last few weeks have been a major bummer. I've gained 16 lbs. (Why is it easy to gain and so darn hard to lose? Aah!)

Your post is giving me the encouragement I need to eat moderately again (and stop buying those innocent little Hershey Kisses that seem to multiply in my mouth without warning). Way to go on getting back on track!

Chubby Chick said...

It really is amazing how much better a person feels when they eat right! And you hit on something that I've noticed with myself and that even surprises me: My mood totally improves when I eat right. That in itself is worth every effort it takes to stay on track!

Foodie McBody said...

Hey, I just wrote virtually the same post (what works/what doesn't) and came to pretty much the same conclusions! You are sounding great today.

Spring Girl said...

Your thinking sounds spot on. I have spent so much time looking online looking at other peoples prescriptions for losing weight, when I already knew what I needed for me. Good on you!

antgirl said...

I absolutely agree with you, you have to like what you're doing. Then it's not so hard.

I came up with my own plan to. The key is being honest with yourself as to what is and isn't going to work for you. Sounds like you've figured that out. Yaaaay!

skinny latte said...

Lyn, I cannot agree more with you - unless you're doing it in a way you enjoy and can sustain long term, it won't work!

Glad to hear you're doing so well :)

Kristen said...

Ha. I did the same thing - always looking for that quick weight loss scheme that was going to change my life.

I finally tried the old-fashioned "eat less, move more" method...and Voila! I started out with small changes to my diet and started walking a little. After a while, I added some more changes.

I finally realized it had to be something I could do for the rest of my life...and I had to give up the notion of trying to lose 20 lbs in a month. My goal was 20 lbs in a year, and I ended up losing 60 by then.