By George, I think she’s got it! Maintenance, Week Four

This past week has definitely been the best so far and I’m not just saying that because I was down 1.2 pounds at my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday. Well, maybe a little! It is nice to be getting back to where I was last month.

Plus, I’m starting to really feel the balance that I have to apply to stay on track. Once again it all comes down to course correction. I’ve got a goal and I keep looking at where I want to go and if I’m not on track, then I have to analyze the course and make small changes until I get back on track. Big changes will just be overcompensation and I’ll veer off course in the other direction. So small changes – tweaks to the system.

That system is the one that I have been building, one brick at a time, for over three years. Healthy habits, good routines or mindless rut? Call it what you will, it is the foundation that my current health is built on and that foundation is strong!

Here’s what I “mindlessly” did every day this week:

Got up, drank water, ate oatmeal, blogged and worked out. Got dressed, packed up my lunch and vitamins, went to work, had vitamins, water, light therapy, morning snack, water, lunch, water, vitamins, water, walked, afternoon snack, water, went home. Drank water, had dinner with my family, watched tv, evening snack, read, went to bed.

Yes, there were off track moments: I had two afternoon snack attacks this week: 1 bag of Sun Chips (original) and 1/2 a bag Frito corn chips. I had one evening of mindless snacking where I went through a lot of healthy snacks and ate more than I should have because I was eating in front of the television. NO EATING IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION.

Still something I have to work on but it wasn’t every night AND I was aware of it because I’ve been journaling and tracking my food this week.  I saw my Nutritionist this week and I committed to daily tracking for three months. Me, three months? I haven’t had very many WEEKS where I tracked every day, so this will be challenging.

But I’ve read the studies, the books and the blogs. EVERYONE agrees on this one point: people who track what they eat are more successful than those who don’t. Period. That one criteria keeps coming up again and again in the research. Track and win. Track and win. Track and win.

I want to win. So I’m going to track. Simply, huh? Well, that and I lost 1.2 pounds. A couple more weeks of maintenance like that and I’ll be back to my lowest weight from last month. Not that I’m doing this expecting to lose. But to me, this is adjustment weight, not weight loss. Does that make sense? I had already lost this weight when I was on plan to lose. But I got off track and gained it back and now I’m back on track, so that re-gain is coming off. Once that is gone, I don’t think I’ll lose any more until I crank up the exercise and cut back on the calories starting January 9th.

Of course, I’ve been thinking about my first goal for 2011. I’ve already decided that I’ll follow the Weight Watcher recommendations and focus on the next 5%.  5% of my current weight of 174 is 8.7 pounds. Which makes me want to round that up to 10, but maybe I should just resist that urge and lose the 5%? Over-achieving, perfectionist tendencies are some of the things that got me to 321 pounds in the first place.  So on January 9th I’m going to weigh myself and whatever that weight is, I’ll set a goal of losing exactly 5%. Then I’ll go on maintenance again for a month. Then I’ll set another 5% goal.

This will keep me from getting too thin, which is unbelievably, a concern once you’ve had gastric bypass. Because you have not only reduced capacity for eating, you also have reduced absorption. So no matter what I eat, I absorb fewer calories, fat and sugar, but also fewer vitamins, minerals, fiber and the calories I need for energy.  I’ve seen and heard too many stories about what can happen.  I don’t think I’m in any danger there, but staging the remaining weight loss over time will make sure my body adjusts and that I’m not pushing myself to some unreasonable, chart-based goal. My nutritionist’s recommendation that I shoot for a waist size of 1/2 my height for a measurement of health sounds like a good goal to me.

Well, I’ve got a workout with the trainer this morning, then a reward of jacuzzi and steam before I take my favorite instructor’s yoga class. I’m so excited about that – can’t wait!

Think about what you are doing mindlessly that is good for you. And watch out for the mindless behavior that is not good for you. Have a great Saturday!

Welcome to the Circus! Maintenance – Week Three

Last week was a bit of a roller coaster ride as far as my weight was concerned: I was up one day, down the next. But when the ride was over, I was back to where I started and maintained my weight for another week, including a teeny tiny .2 lb loss – so negligible it might have been my earrings or a different shirt!.

I’m feeling good about that because it was NOT an easy week. For two weeks in a row I’ve worked with no days off and long hours to support a software release and design tasks for new projects. I’m tired, but apparently I didn’t rely too much on snacking to keep me going – something I would have done in my morbidly obese days. Instead I made sure I got in some exercise every day and I tried to eat healthy meals and snacks. I went off plan a few times, but I tried to balance that with lean protein and veggies at the following meals, walking the tight rope between loss and gain.

There were some days this week where I felt like the fat lady at the circus. Cutting back on exercise has had a pretty quick impact on how toned I was, so there’s a lot more flab than I had at the end of the last boot camp. Initially I freaked out about that, but logic and reason have returned and I am trying to focus on the 145 pounds I lost and how big a difference that is. A pound of flab may feel huge and disgusting but in reality, I’m the only one who noticed. (Or at least the only one who said anything! LOL)

I have to keep remembering that the difference is dramatic. Did I mention my neighbor who didn’t recognize me? I was going into the gym yesterday and held the door for a lady who lives just down the street from me. I said hello and she nodded politely and I realized she didn’t know who I was. Initially I thought it was because she’s older, but when I introduced myself, she immediately knew who I was, but was so floored by the change that she kept me talking for 10 minutes!  That felt good – I can see going around and looking up a lot of people I haven’t seen in a year or more to relive that feeling. Just kidding. I think.

Getting a late, lazy start this morning. I’ve just been enjoying the sunshine and the first fall colors in my front yard. The boys and I are going on a bike ride tomorrow, so I hope we see a lot more of that. I can’t wait! We’ll take a picnic and bike out to the lake on the silver comet trail and eat our lunch, then come back. Or maybe we’ll find a new section to ride. We like the Rambo to Coot’s Lake section so much, that we tend to go every time. But it’s good to try new things.

Well, I’m off to yoga, then my son’s final baseball game of the season. Then I have to choose between a Weight Watcher’s event or lunch out with the boys at the farmer’s market. Maybe we could do both? Hmmm….

Have a great weekend and enjoy the fall weather. Before we know it, winter will be here (already is for a lot of my friends!) and we’ll be pining for sunshine and blue skies, so get some sun while it shines.

Maintenace – Week Two

Starting Stats: Weight: 175, Waist: 34 inches, Hips (really belly button): 37 inches, Pants size: 12 (some 10’s); Tops: size 10/Medium
Week Two Stats: Weight 176, Waist: 34 inches, Hips(really belly button: 39, Hips: 41, Pants size: 12 (no 10’s); Tops: size 10/Medium

Am I doing the math right? A year of “maintenance” like last week will put me at 52 pounds higher and 104 inches bigger on my stomach! Okay, maybe not that bad, but bad enough. Here’s what I did and didn’t do last week, on my plan:


MOVE PLAN: 30-45 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week. Long hike or bike ride, start riding my bike to work, swimming once, weight lifting twice a week

Actual: I made it to the gym twice for weight lifting – check! 1 swim – check! Several walks, 1 easy run, 1 short bike ride. 5 days – check! On the other hand – I don’t think it was intense enough. I feel a bit flabbier and my belly measurement supports that. Need to crank it up a bit. M/W: Weight lifting; T.Th: Running; Fri: Swimming; Sat: yoga or kickboxing class; Sunday – long bike ride.  Walk at lunchtime every day. Bike to work at least once this week.

EAT PLAN: Concentrate on the Weight Watchers’ Simply Filling technique. Stick lean protein, and add as many veggies as I can eat until I feel SATISFIED.

Actual: I feel as if I was constantly eating, stuffing something into my mouth. I ate mindlessly, I ate poorly, I did all the things I said I would not do.  This week has to be different. Period.

LIVE PLAN: Starting to explore my dream job. Spend as much fun, active time as I can with my son and husband. See my girl friends more frequently and have people over more. We need to socialize as a family.

Actual: Did more with Fred and Jacob: bowling, baseball, more evenings at home, dinner together, time in the mornings. Did a little research on the dream job. Didn’t see any girlfriends, but talked to them. No friends over.  Still needs work.

THINK PLAN: Working on my book – finish the first draft by December 10th.

Actual: Not a word. I did blog a bit, that was all. Put in 10 extra hours at work, I think that is where my time went.

With that down in black and white, I’m going to the gym to work out and focus on getting more exercise into my life this week. The sun is up and the sky is filled with pink and blue streaks. It’s a good day to ride my bike to work, but I need to finish the weight lifting.

Maintenance – Day Three

Yesterday was so busy that I forgot to publish my blog. First the insurance exam, and then work was nuts. It is a pre-release week for my software project and the usual scramble to get everything finished and into the release. It’s my first truly Agile project and I find that I love the energy and the flexibility.  Except that I tried to leave a little early to go bowling with my family.  Nuts, right? In the middle of all that was going on, and I was trying to get out at 4:30. I actually made it at 5:00 and it appears from checking my email that nothing catastrophic occurred because I left. Ha ha! Good reminder for me to keep my life balanced and that I am not indispensable.  With the unexpected hours I put in this weekend, I was 4 hours above plan, so I’m glad I took the extra couple of hours yesterday and today. Keeping promises to my son is so important and I didn’t get to spend much time with him this weekend.

I was working with someone yesterday whose signature line says “I do what I can, as well as I can, when I can”. I think that is so sensible an attitude. Not my old mantra, which was “I will do everything perfect and as soon as I can no matter what”. The result of my mantra was missed promises to my family, my friends and my job, since NO ONE can do everything, do it perfectly and keep up the pace I was trying to keep. No wonder I was hard to work with at my old job – my standards were impossible to meet, so I was always disappointed and critically judgemental.

I like the new attitude. I like my new schedule where I get my exercise and health stuff done and then I go into the office. Works out well, since I work with a Seattle-based team. I shoot for 9:30, but if I get in at 10, I can just work until 6 and get my hours in and be there during critical hours. A lot of the time that slips to 7 or later, so I don’t have any guilt about coming in at 10:30 or a couple of times at 11 because I was running behind or pushed my workout a little extra.

All this is good reminders because I didn’t work out yesterday – didn’t even get a walk in. I was planning to ride my bike and didn’t do that. So I’m up at 6 this morning to finish my writing and get to the gym for a solid workout and some good cardio. I’ve got my glass of water and my oatmeal is waiting as soon as I get rehydrated.

I realized yesterday that one of the reasons I’ve been overeating at my desk is that I have a huge bag of almonds at my desk. It makes it easy to grab a handful when I’m hungry, and that’s a great snack for me. But it also makes it too easy to overeat. So I’m going to go back to measuring out and packing my almonds for the day and keep the big bags at home, out of sight in the pantry. I think I had 3 servings yesterday. On a day with no exercise, that’s not good. Okay, part of that was that I went to get my greek yogurt and fruit and while trying to pour off a little extra liquid, I accidentally tipped the entire container of yogurt into the trash. So I had the almonds with the blueberries. But still! The extra handful was pure mindless snacking because I got caught up in a problem solving frenzy. Frankly, if it isn’t there, I can’t eat it. And I think I’ve gotten control of myself enough that I’m not going to go down to the cafe and buy something crappy, I’ll have a protein drink or something I’ve brought from home or fallback on the emergency Rock n Roll protein bar.  It’s a big part of the Weight Watchers program success: you have to prepare your environment for success.

One thing I still have to think about is what I did after bowling last night. Yesterday morning my husband commented that in my current collection of clothes there were a lot of black and white – not as much color as I’d had. So I took that as permission to go to the Goodwill last night – despite my self-imposed and budget-imposed moratorium on shopping. On the one hand, I found 1 jacket, two sweaters and a blouse all in gorgeous colors that look good on me. On the other hand, I spent $30. I have worked a lot of overtime this week, so the budget was more flush than usual, but we’re still in the red, so I really didn’t NEED to do it. I have to admit, I felt a litttle of the same mental feeling I used to get on a binge. It would have been easy to race up and down, grabbing anything that looked good and piling it into the cart and then recklessly ringing it all up, no matter how much it was.

But I didn’t. I piled my cart up and then went to try on everything, then picked the four best pieces. Then my son insisted I add a really gorgeous blue sweater, so I ended up with five. Part of me is thinking that if I’d bought those things new, I would have been lucky to find one of the sweaters on sale for $30. The jacket would have put me out at least $100 and all five pieces would have been more than $300 – easily.

The OTHER part of my brain is thinking, you said you wouldn’t shop. You don’t really need those clothes. You have enough clothes. And here’s the part that’s hard to admit: the reason that my husband saw only black and white in my closet is that all my more colorful clothes, that I like to wear every day, are in the laundry. I just didn’t do laundry this weekend because I worked all weekend. So really, truly, I was lying to him and to myself when I said I NEEDED them. So I made it only eleven days without shopping. Sigh. Two steps forward, one step back. 

So, I start again! Hello, my name is Karen and it’s been one day since I shopped.

Well, it’s getting late and I want to be at the gym by 7, so I’m wrapping up for the day. Have a really special day today – do something you’ve been putting off – you’ll feel better for it!

Maintenance – Day One

Today was officially Day One of maintenance for me. I got up, made my protein drink, went to the gym where I did a 16 minute/4 mile warm up on the stationary bike. Then I hit the weight lifting room to do the workout that Cathy created for me. This is the first time I’ve been able to do the whole thing since I got sick and it felt good to be back to full capacity. The last few reps of each set were REALLY hard and I had to breath and push through, but that’s the way it is supposed to be if you are going to build muscle.

As soon as I get a few words down on paper, I’ll get my shower and then have my protein power oatmeal while I finish straining my greek yogurt. Then I’ll pack up one of my mini meatloaves and some yogurt and veggies in my lunch bag and get to work.  I’ll get in a walk at lunchtime and then, because my husband is still feeling under the weather, we’ll have leftover beef stew and veggies from the freezer for dinner.

Sounds like every other day, doesn’t it?  I think that’s the point of life style change over dieting. You don’t stop. I guess the difference is that I didn’t start my day standing on the scale, feeling either good or bad based on what it said. And yes, I stood on it and yes it was down a tiny bit, but that’s just because I’m addicted to the scale and I didn’t remember to move it out of the bathroom. Automatic pilot took over and I was standing on it before I thought about it.  I moved it to my husband’s bathroom, which I try not to enter unless I’m brave enough to clean it.  I will go to Weight Watchers on Friday and get my official weekly weight then. It would be nice if it was the same as last week, since that is my goal. But whatever it is, is good data that I can use to look at what I’m doing (must journal this week to make that work) and tweak it if necessary to maintain the status quo.

I also felt a little different at the gym. The walls are all mirrored of course, and usually I spend my time ignoring the progress I’ve made and focusing on that belly or those bat wings or the sagging boobs. Today I focused on how that woman in the mirror really looked. She looks healthy. Strong.  She looks relaxed and happy. No one who sees her would ever think of her as weighing 321 pounds.  She looks good. And she feels good.

She is – I mean I am – going to ride my bike to work this morning – cool fall day, with the sun shining bright and the sky bluer than blue. I can already feel the cool air flowing past my face and the sun shining on my helmet.

Life is good. Enjoy it!