Monday, July 11, 2011

Eating strategies

I've gone back and forth about posting something on this, in fact I did a post and deleted it before.   I wanted to put down a little bit on my diet.  I've found that it's really easy for me to lose control and overeat.  When you're a 5'3" woman in her late (OK, VERY late) 30's, you don't have a lot of leeway with your eating.  One normal restaurant meal a week can easily add up to a pound gained a month.  On Sundays I don't exercise, which also makes a big difference in my calorie burn (on Saturdays I'm usually near 3000, on Sundays near 1800).

You can see I have a pretty good idea of what I burn.  This is from my Bodymedia fit armband. I don't know what I'd do without it at this point, although I'm hoping to break myself of it eventually.  It records my burn automatically, and I enter my food in.  I started weighing stuff too, to get a better idea of how accurate I am.  Putting butter or honey on toast?  How do you know how much you're really putting on?  Anywhere from 3-7 grams of butter looks the same to me.  Anyway, I track calories and weigh food.  I know this sounds OCD, but it's really freeing because I then pick whatever food I want to eat and eat it.  Pretty much anyway.  I don't bring things like chips and cookies and most kinds of crackers in the door because I don't look good wearing them (on my butt).  I don't do juice usually or drinks besides water or herb tea, because who wants to track calories that don't make me in the least bit full?  I let my kids make cookies when I go out on a date with Jeff. Perfect time because I'm not there :).   Sometimes I let them make some for the neighbors, but usually that ends up with me eating 1-2 cookies worth of dough, so flowers are a better choice for gifts.

Here's my plan:

For breakfast I shoot for around 400 calories including a protein, greens, and a whole grain.  With the protein and grain together I stay full.  Sometimes I do the grain first, work out, then do the protein after.   For lunch, I do some sort of  grain (usually bread or tortilla), a protein, and then fill in with fruit or veggies up to around 550 calories.  In the afternoon I shoot for a 350 calorie snack, usually a protein shake and a fruit, or a piece of toast with nut butter.  Dinner is around 600, with a big salad being part of it.  I try not to eat after dinner.  I do at least two quarts of water in the evenings to rehydrate for the rest of the day, so that's how I think about it: my time to get in the rest of my water.  At least half is a big ol' thing of herb tea.  It's wonderful sitting on the couch with Jeff watching a show if we've got a free evening.

So you see I get in around 1900 on most days. I go a little lower on Sundays to make up for the no exercise thing, and Friday nights when I go out with Jeff, I plan on going about 1500 calories over maintenance. On Saturdays when I burn a lot with long training runs and yard work I usually have a 1000 calorie deficit easy so that helps to make up for those Friday night treats. When all goes well I lose 1/2 pound to 1 pound a week.  Why haven't I lost a ton of weight then?  Well... when I go off of my plan I REALLY go off.

I went on vacation early in the month to a camp for kids with cochlear implants (my second daughter has one), and they had a cafeteria with a big long buffet for every meal.  I kept thinking I was doing OK, and then I sat down with twice as much food as I needed.  They also had treats a few nights there, and I stayed with my in-laws for a night on the way there and the way back and they know my weaknesses in ice cream.  Since I couldn't plug in my arm band, and had no good way to track calories (I'm very dependent on the computer), I fell off of the wagon with a thump.  All of those disadvantages might have been nullified by exercise, but when I get discouraged or extra tired I just start eating like a crazy person.  I get a book or a movie, and just eat and eat as an escape.  That happened a couple of times while I was gone.  I've been working on spiritual solutions to this, since I feel like it's an emotional/spiritual problem.  I'm feeling really good again now, but it was discouraging that I fell into the trap again there for a while. 

I've looked around in my psyche, and I don't think there are any deep seated issues I'm ignoring, except that I've been deficit eating for a long time --probably too long --, so my body rebels when I let my guard down.  Overall, over the past 5 years, I've dropped my maintenance weight down 6-7 pounds.  Not a huge difference, but I'm still pleased with it most of the time. I hate to say it, because everyone does, but if I could just lose 5-10 more pounds..... anyway, I'm still lifting, which makes me a lot happier with how I look than I used to --even at a higher weight.  If I didn't lose any more but dropped bodyfat I'd probably be happy, but I'm not willing to give up more carbohydrates and replace them with protein powder or engineered vegan "meats" (I try to do mostly vegan), so I doubt that's going to happen.  I got really close to hiring a bodybuilding specialist dietitian until I realized I finally have found a plan I can feel truly satisfied on (except on vacation!), so I hate to change anything.


Deja said...

Vacations are rude, at least when it comes to meal plans. Sounds to me like you're doing great, and I think you're lovely.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya on the vacations!
I used a GoWearFit for a year. I really learned a lot about my burn (which is a lot lower than yours!)

There is a great forum at
you might be interested in.

Jacobson Five said...

I think the reason you can't lose any more weight is that you don't have any weight to lose. You have to get to a point where you can just be happy with yourself. So be happy you look fantastic.