When I think back to the time I signed up for eDiets when I was not too far out of college, disgusted with myself for hitting the weight of 221 pounds, I am amazed that I have gained over 50 pounds in the time since then. Of course, 35 pounds of that was packed on during those years of nursing school, when dinner often involved Burger King or Wendy's, and I used sugary candies and regular soda to get through class. If I weighed 221 pounds right now, I would think I was one hot chicky! Unfortunately, I am not.
It's now the middle of April. I have been consistently "dieting" (I put that in quotes because I know it is a lifestyle change and NOT a diet, but I lack another word for it.) for over three months. I have lost, as of this morning 23.2 pounds. I have not lost that much weight with any amount of success since belonging to Weight Watchers, which I believe was about three years ago.
So how am I doing this? Being the fan of technology that I am, I finally got a BlackBerry this year. And one of the first apps I loaded on to this BB is the app that goes along with the website FatSecret.com. It's a nice website, I think, but it's the app that I really like. It has a considerable number of foods in its calorie counter, along with the ability to input custom foods. It prompts you to weigh in each week. It tracks whatever you want it to track (including WW Points, if that is your plan). And best of all, when I put in that awful, high weight, it told me that I could eat 2500 calories per day and lose a pound each week.
If eating 2500 calories would lead to weight loss like that, what HAD I been eating? On January 3, the day before I started my "diet," I decided to find out. I will preface this by saying this was my third day of 12-hour shifts in a row. I ate two breakfasts (a small one at home and then one in the cafeteria at work), a lunch from the cafeteria, and a fast food dinner. This was not an unusual occurrence in my pre-"diet" days. Three days in a row of working as a nurse for 12-hour shifts is EXHAUSTING. My food intake often looked like this on such occasions.
On that day, I ate 3500 CALORIES. I was shocked and appalled. What a wake-up moment. So THIS is why I was fat! I understood! That was a LOT of food!
I still didn't believe that 2500 calories each day would lead to weight loss. But I also didn't think I needed to cut it back to 1200 calories each day. I didn't want to set myself up to fail. I decided to aim for 1600-1800 calories per day. But the nice thing about having that 2500 calorie number in the back of my mind has been that, when I do overindulge, I don't hate myself. I don't use it as an excuse to begin the descent into gluttony. I have successfully been able to get back on the horse and try again.
Here are some things I am doing:
- I am taking Fridays, for the most part, off. My mom and I bowl in a league on Fridays, and we eat fast food on those days. If I eat "too much" that day and journal it on my BB, I know I will feel bad about myself. Therefore, I don't do it.
- Sometimes, I get derailed on the weekends, probably because of that day off on Friday. However, even when I am not eating the "right" foods, I am still paying attention to portion sizes.
- I have bought some new clothes in smaller sizes. I was heading into a size 22 in jeans. Actually, I was wearing a size 22 in jeans. I am back in 20s. And I have bought some shirts that are not plus-sized, although they are still XL and XXL. My Old Navy bill is creeping up, but it's nice to wear clothes that fit my new size.
- I eat a small bit of chocolate almost every day. Right now, it is Hershey's chocolate eggs I got half off at CVS after easter. I eat 2 or 3 or 4 of these over the course of the day. I am satisfied by this. I don't journal them.
- I drink very little plain water. I love the Wild Strawberry Crystal Lite individual serving packets, and I add them to bottled water. I but bottled water because I like drinking out of the little bottles. I know it's not environmentally friendly, and the BPA in the bottles might screw with my hormones. The alternative is that I drink no water at all, and I don't want to have kids anyway. Bottled water works for me. I also drink a liter bottle of the Spleda-sweetened flavored sparkling water sold by most grocery chains. It's like soda, but it's not soda. I still have one diet soda most days, but it's not every day. And it's not the 40 to 60 ounces of regular soda that I used to drink on a daily basis.
- I really pay the most attention to calories. Sometimes the calories come from salad and fruit and veggies and whole grains and lean meats. Sometimes the calories come from a large Tots with Cheese from the Sonic drive thru. If I have the calories for it, and it fits in with my calorie goals for the day, I let myself have it. I would rather eat that "unhealthy" food and put it behind me than skip the unhealthy food and then binge on something else because I didn't eat what I really wanted.
In the coming weeks, some exciting stuff is planned out in my head. First of all, I am joining a Biggest Loser-inspired on-line weight loss challenge. It costs $15, and it is a ten-week challenge. I heard about it on Facebook from a friend-of-a-friend (although we have known each other for over ten years now, so I guess she really is my friend too). It has five weeks of team challenges, followed by five weeks of individual challenges. I have a long history of (A) being competitive and (B) being motivated by money. I expect this will be a nice way to build on the momentum I have gained. I am also going to ONCE AGAIN take on the Couch-to-5K (C25K) challenge. This is a nine-week program designed to get you off the couch and able to run a 5K. I am planning to lengthen the duration of the program as needed to deal with the fact that I last ran for exercise sometime around 1999. But I am going to lace up some running shoes and hit both the treadmill at my gym and the fitness trail that is run by my county's rec. department. I plan to do the first couple of weeks outside on the fitness trail (it appears to be a cinder or stone trail, and it is nice and flat), and once I am able to run for more than 90 seconds at a time, I will be bringing it indoors. This should coincide with the coming of summer here in the Poconos, and I will probably be ready for the air conditioning.
My goal through all this is to use this blog to keep me going. Even if no one ever reads this, I will have this place to talk about what's working and what isn't working, how I feel, what I am doing, and how I am doing it. I really feel that this could be the time that it works.
Please let this be the time that it works...