Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sugar In My Coffee

This morning, instead of having my usual cup of coffee with just cream or sugar free caramel creamer, I'm sitting here sipping on a big mug of coffee with half and half and a nice sized spoonful of sugar. I haven't had sugar in coffee in ages, since my "lower carb" way of eating means I generally steer clear of sugar (especially when there's an easy, sugar-free alternative). But there's a reason today, and maybe you'll relate. Or maybe not.

Have you ever done a low carb, restricted eating plan like keto, South Beach, or Medifast, where you are super restrictive of every carb, get yourself into ketosis or a milder carb-restricted state, and then if you happen to "go off plan" (i.e., go on a sugar binge, lose your mind and eat a bunch of Pizza Rolls, or just say the heck with it and have the lasagna and garlic bread you've been craving) you get kicked out of ketosis/"fat burning" and overnight, gain 5 pounds of water, feel like utter crap, and wake up with a carb hangover? I have. Many times. Then it is *so hard* to get back into ketosis. Sometimes it takes days or weeks of trying, and when you attempt to restrict carbs again you get a massive headache and feel totally run down and awful. I always hated that, and it was part of the reason I so often *stayed* off plan if I went off plan for just one meal. Have you been there?

I don't do that anymore. Since I am not trying to get into actual ketosis, I don't get as hard of a "carb flu" effect when I happen to eat higher carbs for a meal. Even on Medifast, though, I struggled so much with getting back on plan if I went off for even one day. My carb level these days is similar, I think, to what it was on Medifast: under 100g/day and ideally, under 80. That meant *all* carbs, not "net" with fiber subtracted. I don't count carbs now like I did on Medifast but I do know that about 5 days out of 7, I eat under 100 grams of carbs... net. I do look at labels now and subtract sugar alcohols and fiber when I decide whether a serving of that food is in my comfort zone or not (usually I aim for the under 15g/serving that was my goal on Medifast). But you know, there are days I want a good piece of homemade bread or a piece of special birthday cake or whatever and I just go ahead and have it. And on that day I just don't eat a lot of carbs at my other meals and I shrug and figure having a high carb day here and there might even help my body not get too used to never having a lot of carbs. It's not off plan. It is a *part* of my plan.

Last night, my daughter had her friends over for a sleepover. I ordered pizza and wings (and wow, can a group of tween girls put down some pizza!!) and had my usual: 4 garlic Parmesan wings and the toppings off a slice of supreme pizza (with a bite or two of crust). I had a diet Coke with it, too. But later, I kept passing the snack bowls and the chips and candy on the counter and just wanted to have some. I ended up grabbing a couple of Golden Oreos a few times through the evening, a handful or two of gummy bears, and even fixed myself a bowl of Doritos to have while watching TV.

Bad behavior? Or normalizing food?

I think if I play the mental game of "I ruined it" or "oh no, I am a failure" then I am doomed to sit here all day continuing to eat chips and candy. But by just being glad that we had a fun evening, and accepting that Oreos really don't have the power to ruin my life, I can be happy. I can tune in to how my body feels (a little sore, and a little sugar loaded) and do things to make it easier on myself today. I *do* have sugar withdrawals if I eat more than I am used to. I had a very mild headache this morning. I put a spoonful of sugar in my coffee, and now my headache is gone. It's an easy fix for me. I'll drink a lot of water and maybe take an Advil if my joints hurt, and that's that. Although no guarantees that I won't have a few chips with my lunch later today! Peace, and calm, no matter what I am eating.

We've been super busy this month and it's not going to let up for another 2 or 3 weeks. I have in mind that I really want to finish my Virtual Mission of biking across America, and I may start getting on the bike here and there this month. But next month I want to make it a regular part of my day again and finish what I started. My body is getting a bit mushy with the weight loss, and the remaining skin and fat is nowhere near firm. It's all jiggly and squishy and I'd love to have my body, especially my legs, firm up and feel better. I am finally, for the first time, realizing that getting to 175 pounds is not going to put me in a healthy state. HealthiER, yes. Good enough, yes. Ideal? No. Before, I always saw my 175 as thin and fit and healthy (because after getting to over 280, this weight sure is a dream!!) but this time, since I have done it very slowly with no white knuckling, I am free to see that I really would be better off losing some more weight. I don't *have* to, but I can. I think I could take off another 20 pounds, at least, and then see what state I am in. I am *not* making a weight loss goal, pushing myself to lose, feeling bad if I maintain, etc. I am just saying, I accept and understand this now, that it would be best to continue to lose. However, if losing becomes any kind of emotional struggle (with either restricting, weight numbers, or loose skin) or gives me stress then I am fine with staying right here where I feel good.

Scale says 182.


Unknown said...

Wow. I don’t know what to say. Thank you for sharing. I hate the cycle of what food obsession brings. Is it that how we are wired? I am at that state of mind when it comes to food. I lose weight when I don’t obsess about food but when I do, I gain. Food is my drug of choice. I will not give up. Keep on keeping on!!

Anonymous said...

Good for you Lyn! I have a very bad habit of putting foods in "good" or "bad" categories (ie: pizza, chips, wings, oreos = bad) and even when I have something within my plan (for me that's points) if it is still a food in the "bad" category in my mind I still feel badly about it. I think you normalizing those other foods is very healthy and I know I need to start doing the same. I had a very small - probably less than 2 inch by 2 inch square of a toffee bar yesterday. It's ok - I counted it and moved on. It's a constant struggle! Excited to see you reach the 170s :) --Beth

Anonymous said...

hi lyn,

sounds like things are going well. I would just caution that while you can afford to eat in the margins occasionally like last night, it will be harder to do once you stop using phentermine.

good luck!

Anonymous said...

Well hello there Almost-in-the-170s-Lyn! I've been traveling a lot this summer and just caught up on your blog after not having a chance to read it for a while. I thought you'd just be maintaining all summer but - No! You are speeding down the scale like a boss! Congratulations!!!

Can't wait to see you back at 100 pounds lost from your original blog weight! Looks like you will get there for sure during August at the pace you are currently losing at. That might be a great time to "bare all" -- by which, of course, I mean show us your face, too! LOL

Thanks for posting on Instagram more the past few days (just caught up there, too, but there wasn't at much content as I was hoping for). I think I'm going to duplicate your diet for a week or two to blast off the pounds I gained while vacationing. I don't regret the weight loss, actually - I had SO much fun with my extended family this summer! And time with them is so precious (and never promised, so it's always a gift).

Anyway, enjoy those tween years with your sweet daughter. They'll be gone in a flash, I hate to tell you. My two daughters are both 20-somethings now, with great jobs (proud momma!) :) ~Lenora

Janet said...

Boy! Do I love your post! I'm currently reading "Fat is a Feminist Issue (the anti-diet guide)" by Susie Orbach and what you just described, normalizing food, is IT!!

I highly recommend this book to anyone longing to just be one of those "normal" people that can eat whatever they want and not spend the rest of the day, week, month or year hating themselves for it.


Anonymous said...

Ditto to Janet's comment about what you described = normalizing food. I mean, if you can't even have a few snacks at a party at your own house life would be pretty dull. ~Lenora

Anonymous said...

For me this would be an alarm. Wondering if you used the phentermine on the afternoon, that might have helped. I recall that when you are taking it, food is not interesting!

Anonymous said...

I so admire what you have done and are doing, Lyn. You are living proof that we don't have to be perfect or live the popular, cultural diet lifestyle devoid of any food pleasure in order to lose weight. I have spent a lifetime restricting and am still fat. I feel aggravated all the time because of what people around me are eating. Then I binge. I want your peace. Thank you for talking about this here. There is hope for me yet.

Anonymous said...

freaking weight loss eating all that stuff, how? I have done phentermine and I sure couldn't eat that way on it and lose. I had to eat fish and salads. The pill just helped me be able to do it and not overeat.

Lyn said...

I really enjoyed all the great comments! Thanks!

I feel amazing, free, and un-obsessed and I do think that is in large part from normalizing food and not having a ton of negative emotions attached to things like, say, Oreos. Or French fries. I have to be realistic and know I can't eat them often, and can't eat large portions of those kinds of foods, but I feel fine eating them. I am still a good person. I used to feel like such a loser if I ate something "junky." Not anymore.

I do wonder sometimes if I will be able to keep doing this long term when I am off phentermine. I have been off it for a month before and did fine, but what will it be like being off it for 2 months, 6 months? Will I start craving? Will I start to regain? I surely hope not and I refuse to *worry* about that now, but I am aware and know that this time I will have to really be on guard against bad habits and regain.

Anonymous said...

I am on the fence. Partly because I am 57 and have been dieting (unsuccessfully) for my entire life. On the one hand, I cannot believe anyone can lose weight and keep it off while eating the kinds of foods you are eating and not even exercising. I have a firm belief that weight loss requires a gym, running, aerobics (that type of exercise) and also calorie counting or another strict kind of eating. On the other hand, you are living my dream. I have always wished for an ability to eat cake once in a while (or lasagna) and take it easy and not become huge as a result. If it is true what you are saying can work, I am both elated and bitterly angry, both in hope and in disgust at my wasted efforts all my life.

Anonymous said...

Looking at your ig, I would have the craziest, most weird and difficult bowel movements if I ate what you ate, even just for a day, lol!!. But good and glad for you that it works for you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above... I lost from 261 down to a low of 176 (5'7" ,age at that time 38, female here) via low carb, reduced calorie eating back in 2013. I did not exercise at all. I have maintained that weight loss for the last five years without any exercise. For ME, exercise comes with a HUGE increase in appetite. I am unable to exercise without drastically increasing my portion sizes. For me, weight loss and keeping it off has to a large extent, been about being aware of what things really trigger hunger and overeating. I have identified foods that (for MYSELF) I am not able to eat in moderation and basically eliminated them from my diet (wheat, potatoes, corn products, rice products, savory junk foods). I have been able to retain the ability to some extent to eat sugar in small quantities without engaging in binge behavior and cravings. It's a fine balance between having half a slice of toast with a meat and veggies omelette for example and being fine, and having 3 slices of whole wheat toast without protein and vegetables to slow down the rise in insulin and becoming an eating machine for the day. I've found that for me, it's all about keeping my insulin as low as I can for as long as I can as much as I can, with deviations for enjoying life occasionally. But being aware that any time I eat a candy bar, cake, or hoagie sandwich(for example), I am going to have a subsequent increase in insulin that makes me want to eat a lot more. I also have become really aware of increased hunger and food cravings during the second half of the month after ovulation and specifically during the one week before my period. I have huge cravings and a large increase in food intake during that week that seems almost unmanageable. I now know and expect that increase in cravings and intake each month and try to do as well as I can in my first two weeks of my cycle.

Anonymous said...

Oops on what you ate but many pats on the back for realizing that the 170s are actually not a healthy weight for you. I am a long-time reader of your blog and I was surprised when 175 became your goal weight. Back when you started, you talked about being 130 pounds overweight, so I always thought you had a goal of 148 or so, which would be fine. Though still not thin or slender, it would give you a normal BMI and it seemed maintainable.

For reference, I am 5'6" and lost from a high of 208 to reach 120 pounds in the spring of 2008. I have weighed every day since and the highest I have seen in all those years is 126 (partially dressed on a cruise liner scale, not in my birthday suit on my home scale, which is my favorite point of reference). I knew I had to get the excess tonnage off before menopause, when it would become much harder (and which I am now almost a year into -- so thankful I did that!)

This is controversial but you may be better off staying on phentermine (under doctor's supervision of course) indefinitely if your heart and blood pressure measures continue to look good. I am a PA and I can tell you with absolute certainty that obesity is a KILLER. Phentermine has been safely prescribed for decades.

Good luck, Lyn! I think you have a fabulous bestseller to write once you lose to your ideal weight and show that you can maintain. The stories you can share about how you used social media (and withstood all the criticism) would be very timely in addition to the base subject matter of weight loss/maintenance.