Friday, December 16, 2011

Thoughts on a Long Term Plan

I've been doing a lot of thinking the past couple of days, about where I want to be in a year and how I want to get there. I've gotten a lot of good input from your comments, so thank you for that.

A couple of sure things:

I need to exercise. I need to move more. I have known this all along, but for some reason have been resistant. I keep hurting myself when I exercise. I think doing my PT exercises for my legs will help with that, but I am still not sure what's going on with my feet. I find myself having foot pain when I walk too far or bike too long. I may need to see a specialist about that if it continues. But regular exercise is part of improving my health long term... not just weight loss. Strength training is going to have to make a comeback, as well.

I need to eat lots of vegetables. Lots and lots of fresh, local, organic (when possible) vegetables, including leafy greens like kale and spinach. I found a lot of joy and success from weekly visits to the Farmer's Market. Learning how to prepare new vegetables was a source of pleasure for me as well. I want this to be a regular part of my life, always.

I want to include fruits, too, in moderation. I am not exactly sure how much fruit I can eat without having some kind of sugar-trigger, but I do not think cutting it out completely would be a good idea. Fresh fruits in season, in place of other sweets, is another source of joy for me.

I need to get enough protein. I think having some protein with every meal is a good idea. I want to base this around lean protein sources, local and free range when possible. I can get free range eggs and beef year-round for a reasonable price; wild salmon is another healthy thing I enjoy. I want to have fish once or twice a week, red meat no more than once a week, and a few vegetarian meals as well. I love cooking with beans, lentils, and split peas.

I need to cut out artificial sweeteners entirely. I just don't feel good about them. My long term plan does not include them. I have not bought any in quite some time and I won't be buying anymore at all. I do plan to use raw local honey in strict moderation. My allergist said 1 teaspoon per day helps control seasonal allergies and I do think that works.

I am going to have to count something. Probably calories, maybe carbs. I'm not sure. I also am not sure whether/how much whole grains to include; lots of conflicting information about that. Not sure about dairy either.

Low carb eating, whether South Beach or Medifast, has been the only thing that turns off the binge monster for me. If I eat under a certain number of carbs per day, food loses its massive draw and it is a lot easier to stay in control. It takes about a week of low carbs to get to that point, but it does happen. I think that is the answer to the binge eating issue.

Right now, my only focus is to NOT go off the deep end, eat tons of Christmas cookies, and gain weight by January 1. That is really my only focus. I am just trying to hang on through the holidays, and enjoy them without making food the focal point.


Taryl said...

I think that is a solid plan, Lyn! As for fruit, I am good with the lower sugar fruits like berries, apples, and grapefruit, to the tune of about one serving per meal (thus 2-3 per day). They don't trigger cravings and I get plenty of sweetness and vitamin C without adding in a starchy nightmare of a dessert.

I personally do low carb now, pretty much Paleo, and it has been a wonderful god-send to get the wheat, beans, processed sugar and the like out of my diet. I feel immensely better like this and the cravings have halted. Low carb with low to no dairy works very well for me, as it seems to do for you, too. I think there is enough food science backing up why this is so for me to be confident recommending it to others and sticking to it, myself, for life. I keep going back to starches and sugar and it keeps biting me in the butt. I'm DONE. Finished. No more idiocy from me on that point.

I think we just have to get fed p with the cycle to finally refuse to participate in it. When it comes to carbs, I cannot let in bread with any regularity (maybe more than a serving per week) before I start battling the same cravings again. That's my clue it ain't working for me.

Princess Dieter said...

Honestly, you just described the Paleo eating plan. hahahahah. TRY IT. Just fricken TRY IT. Why not? Use your version--the veggies/protein you like--and count calories. Start maybe at 1300-1400 and see how you feel.

Fresh veggies, lots of greens, some fruit, protein, some honey, no artificial sweeteners. THAT IS PALEO/PRIMAL eating (well, although they ditch grains/sugars/most dairy).

Fuit is my dessert. Has been for over a year. Works for me. :D Fruit and sugar-free chocolate. Gives me that treat feeling without binge=triggers. No binge in 18+ months. :D


Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn
I read your blog a couple of times a week. I feel for you when you have a sick kid, dog, the washing machine dies - all of that! I know how hard that makes just everyday living. I too have always had more success with a low carb, high protein diet - Atkins mostly. But lately I have been watching the sugar too. I read every label now and I'm amazed at how much sugar is in stuff! I've also decided that artificial sweeteners are not good for me either. Sounds like we are both smart girls. Good luck with your plan!

CatherineMarie said...

This sounds GREAT! If there is anything we can do, just ask.

Kyle Gershman said...

Sounds like a wonderful plan...if you are food addicted, like I am, you need to have a new addiction and sometimes that looks like a "diet" to most people when in fact it is just a new lifestyle of being focused on your eating. Sure, it'd be great to fix the underlying addiction response, but like giving a dog a toy to chew on instead of your couch, it may be that exchanging one healthy addiction for something else is the best that can be done.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good, very similar to how i personally eat. :) I don't really limit fruit much (but i don't eat it in wild amounts either), seeing as how for me it really doesn't lead to cravings. However, I have to be careful with BERRIES, especially raspberries and blueberries, because i love them so much that i can easily eat a huge container in one sitting :x buying frozen berries helps with that, haha. but yeah..serious weakness for all berries. mmm.

i always buying those BIG bags of apples. that way i always have a solid snack or add-on to a meal, and they last a pretty long time.

Sandra said...

llLyn - my nephew is a nutritionist and PT, and his answer to the fruit vs sugar question is he's never seen someone gain weight because they ate too many pieces of fruit...he'd rather we ate two bananas a day than two mars bars ;-)

Rachel said...

A couple of thoughts on low carb...

This method is effective if you find you just cannot seem to control your binges. You find yourself overindulging on cookies, pies, cakes, breads, pasta, and candy. Calorie counting still might work for you, but low carb could be easier. There are many low carb plans... personally try to stay between 80 and 100 g of carbs per day...

And a couple of first-person thoughts on exercising...

I started moving. This was HARD. I was in a lot of pain. My knees were killing me and I had no stamina. I started out by just walking out the door and about 30 seconds down the sidewalk, then back. I did that every day. Each week I walked a little further. I got up to about 2 blocks (yeah my knees were SO BAD). Then I added a recumbent exercise bike at the advice of my orthopedic doctor. (I have severe degenerative arthritis, bone spurs in my knees, and a torn meniscus). I started out riding the bike for 5 minutes on no resistance. It was so hard. I did that 3x a week. Every week I added 2 minutes and when possible I upped the resistance a bit. Now I ride for 30 minutes, 6x a week and am up to level 4/5 resistance. I do over 7 miles a day. I also started lifting weights at home. I started by looking up basic exercises online, with a set of 5 lb dumbbells. Now I use 10-12 pound dumbbells and strength train 20 minutes, 3x a week (still at home). One of my goals is to be able to do push ups (normal ones). I started with wall push ups, worked up to 2 sets of 30, and now I am doing them off the kitchen counter. Soon I will be doing bent-knee push ups on the floor and from there, regular ones. I always HATED exercise, but I hate being fat more. And you will get to like it, eventually, as the weight comes off.

There are no magic pills, potions, or recipes that will make you lose the weight... It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort. I have five kids. I had to MAKE time for this to happen. You can do it too. Anyone can. If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen. If not, you'll make excuses... Don't wait til tomorrow, or Monday, or January 1. Do it NOW. And don't quit. You can reach your goal. Believe it.


Now there's a solid plan that works if you work it! Sound familiar?

LHA said...

I love your last sentence about the holidays..."enjoy them without making food the focal point". What a great goal!

You have described a great, healthy way of eating here. Good luck with it, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

timothy said...

if you're doin carbs i suggest getting the ketostrips so you KNOW when you're losing. for me i had to keep carbs below 20 grams to work so it was induction level. whatever you do just stick to it and give it 100% and you'll be sure to succeed! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Karin said...

Please please PLEASE consider going paleo/primal and in doing so ditching the's been shown that they trigger cravings and inflammation. I think you're on a great start though and wish you well. Please also don't fear the fat, and the red will help satiate and curb those cravings... My thoughts are with you and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Lyn.

You've pretty much described the plan that's on my sidebar, under the HEALTH Dog picture. (You read that post a loonngg time ago.)

It is the BEST plan for me. Sometimes I count, sometimes I don't. When I wrote the post that actually ended up under the dog, I was burnt out on counting and had decided to just control my eating by watching portions and only eating 3 meals a day.

It works for me--->when I work it. It is EASY--->sometimes. I've been thinking today...just asking myself, HOW does it go from smooth sailing to disaster?

I really have NO clue why I can do this plan almost effortlessly for weeks, then blammo. Over the edge of the cliff. Then I have days on, days off. No progress there. Often a regain.

If you find the secret to consistently doing something that is healthy, works and is easy...most of the time...let me know. sighhhhh.

Best wishes, girlfriend.


Diandra said...

That sounds like a good plan - well, of course I have to say that, it is what I have been doing (in versions) for the last 17 months.

If you know that low-carb works for you (it does not for everybody), stick with it. Try if you want to cut out dairy (I would not recommend it, since women are at great risk for osteoporosis and need the calcium, but that is something you should discuss with your physician). Try if you want to cut out wheat, or beans, or anything. People's metabolisms work differently, so what works for one person may be completely wrong for the next.

You could also try and see whether it helps or hinders you to do all the "mental food work" (i.e. working through emotional issues and trying to connect them to food) - research suggests that emotional "navel-gazing" may not always be a good thing to do, since it keeps you from ignoring something until it goes away. Some people have an easier time if they know why they do the things they do, others start obsessing about these things - it is all one great "trial and error" project.

But I am sure you can do this. You are a wonderful person and a true inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Apart from eating well and getting exercise you forgot to add: make contact with some people and make some friends!

Bzybee said...

"I am going to have to count something. Probably calories, maybe carbs."

You can do both. Most of the sites that you can use to record calories, also record protein, fats, fiber, sugars, sodium, carbs etc.

I am not an expert at 'plans'.. but having been a yo-yo weight lose/gain person I became convinced that the only way to sustain my weight loss for the rest of my life is a lifestyle change. There is no end date and no injury is going to set me back.

Lyn said...

Very good suggestions, thank you.

Okay, so I did a little reading on Paleo and here is the part I don't think would work for me:

Most of it I agree with and am planning to do anyway, EXCEPT the part about avoiding all dairy and grains (which I actually would consider, over time, if cutting them out seemed to help me) and the biggie? NO beans, lentils, or other legumes. I admit THAT is the one thing I don't think I could live with. I love beans and lentils, I think they are healthy for me and I cannot imagine life without them. Heck, I like them as much as I like cake. I use them as I try to eat more vegetarian meals. So cutting those is not on the table for me at this time.

Exercise plan is in the works. When the kids all go back to school in 2 weeks I will have a structured exercise plan for the day that includes walking, indoor biking, and lifting. Those are all free, easily accessible and within my abilities. When I get down to about 185 I can also do a bit of careful skating.

I think at first I will count calories AND carbs as was suggested and keep an eye on how this affects my weight.

Cathy said...

Lyn, I know you have conditions I do not, but I found that my foot pain from walking/running "magically" disappeared when I lost weight. What I thought was a problem of bad shoes, was just a problem of my big butt asking too much of my poor feet.

Anonymous said...

I've had success for the last year on a low-carb plan to jump start a weight loss of 45 pounds (15 to go). I plan to segue into the 40/30/30 plan eventually, slowly working in fruit and limited whole grains back into my diet. Still lower-carb, but most definitely sustainable for life. Best of luck to you. Can't wait to keep reading and see you succeed. - Tiffany

N.R.E. said...

Congrats, it sounds like you have a great plan in place. It sounds similar to what I've been doing -- low carb, lots of veggies, lean meats, moderate fruits and low-fat dairy. Have you considered also paying attention to the glycemic index for foods?

Anonymous said...

Looks like everyone here is an expert, but no one can agree. What to do, then? Is there an absolute right way? Some here seem to think so...

I don't.

Honestly, there is no "best" diet, plan, or type of lifestyle change. The most important thing is to find something you can do, and stick to it so that you build some stability back into your life. Even if some people don't think it's perfect.

Lyn, do what's best (and by that I mean easiest, least anxiety-provoking, and most sustainable) for you. If it's paleo, do paleo. If it's low carb, do low carb. If it's vegetarian, do vegetarian. If it's Medifast, do Medifast.

Whatever will give you peace of mindand stability so you're not feeling overwhelmed with weight loss...

Anonymous said...


One category you left out was fats - I know you are a big fan of omega-3s. Perhaps a good idea to layer that into your weekly plan (obviously beans are a good source of fats, as well as fiber and protein) - will hopefully help with feeling full or satisfied. (I have omega-3 enriched pb snacks with apples or celery, for example). If I feel a craving for some of my most beloved triggers, eating something like this makes the cravings fade away in a very short timeframe. May not work for everyone, but perhaps something along these lines?

I haven't been doing this lately because it's not always sustainable when my job gets really busy/stressful, but one thing I've found to help me kickstart my metabolism is to eat smaller meals every few hours - each balanced with protein and carbs (the kind with lots of fiber). Sounds like Medifast has this built in. Perhaps once you get comfortable with your long term plan, you could occasionally consider breaking your meals into smaller portions throughout the day? (For me, I think exercise has an even better effect on my metabolism, but smaller meals several times a day helps when I really want to focus on weight loss).

Good luck on refining these plans!

Karen said...

I highly recommend reading "Refuse to Regain" by Barbara Berkeley, MD. Her whole medical practice is weight loss/maintenance.

Great book. She recommends a modified Paleo diet, no grains, but some dairy.

She also has a blog, active twitter and facebook accounts. Great reading for maintenance plans.

Rachel said...

I hope you noticed that my "suggestion" was using your own words!

There is no perfect plan. Of course it's a good idea to have guidelines and structure, and I understand that's what you're seeking out too, but your issues with eating and weight are clearly not about the food itself. A good plan will help you cope with the symptoms of the issues, but not the cause.

Lyn said...


oh yes, the fats! I hope to get my fats from salmon, fish oil, ground flax, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, and yummy avocados!


I love her blog. I will see about getting the book from the library.


yes, I noticed :) Thanks.