The Great Sugar Experiment

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As you can see in my previous post about coffee, I have some food hang ups. Many of these share a common theme: sugar. Because I want to get to a point where I no longer feel controlled by such things, I decided to try something. I have friends who have given up sugar before, but that would last somewhere around 10 minutes for me on a good day. Instead, I was kind to myself and just tracked my added sugar intake for three days. Not restrict, not remove, just track. It’s a good thing, because I can’t imagine what would have happened if I did try those things. Here are my results:

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Day 1:¬†Look at that self-control! ūüôā

Day 2:¬†“Sugar! Give me sugar now!”

Day 3: Coming out of sugar coma and leveling off at a normal place for me.

It’s funny how out of control I felt on day 2, when I look back at the last time I tracked my food on MyFitnessPal. Compared with those, day 2 was average for me. According to the numbers, I was just being myself. I’m done tracking sugar, but since then I’ve had a couple of small victories.

  1. Last night, I said “I need chocolate” and then paused and reminded myself out loud that “I really just want chocolate” and that’s okay (it was also delicious).
  2. Without really thinking about it, the only sweet things I had today were some coffee creamer and a 100 calorie pumpkin pie Greek yogurt (I love Fall!).

One thing I¬†learned from all of this is that what might seem like failure in the moment, might just be getting you ready for something better. I’ve been hovering around 245 pounds for a couple of weeks. In the past, I would have been discouraged. Now, I remember where I’ve been and I know it’s just a matter of time before the weight comes off. All I need to do is wait it out and be consistent and progress will come with it. And, sometimes, it just comes naturally.

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My Six-Week Check-In

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As I have been losing weight, I’ve been using a weight loss tracking tool¬†from the Half Size Me website. I made a chart from my nine six-week check-ins to get a visual, and it’s a beauty! If I made a chart of every time I stepped on the scale, it would look more like this:

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Taking a step back and seeing the overall trend is so encouraging. It’s so easy to get trapped in a comparison game, since there were a lot of people who started around the same time I did and have lost a lot more weight. Ultimately,¬†I don’t want¬†my journey to be about me anyway, even though that’s the message I get from everyone everywhere. What matters is where my heart is and what my priorities are as I follow Jesus. When I make anything about me, things fall¬†apart. I just have to remind myself to compare myself with where I was back around the end of December and where I was six weeks ago, and where I was yesterday.

To Track or Not to Track…

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I love lists: pro and con lists, grocery lists, top ten lists, to do lists…any list really. So, for a¬†significant portion of my life, I applied this to my weight loss strategy. I had my lists of food rules, of course, but I also did a lot of food tracking. Long before the days of MyFitnessPal, I wrote down the food I ate, sometimes with calories and sometimes not.

So, the question is whether to embrace my strengths (eccentricities) and track all the way into maintenance (i.e., the rest of my life) or try something different. When I started¬†right before the beginning of 2015, I decided I was willing to track forever if that’s what it would take. After a few months, I changed my mind. I would rather not have to, so I slowly and intentionally transitioned away from tracking. I still do so on occasion if I’m having a rough time or if I was to spot check what I’ve been eating, but that’s it.

Since this is a post about lists, here’s one for you:

A few pros to tracking your food

  • Gives you a¬†record to look back on to see what works better.
  • Helps you plan around special meals and treats.
  • Provides a built-in method to stay mindful about your eating.
  • Keeps you accountable to put everything you put into your mouth.

And now a few cons

  • Tedious.
  • Can lead to obsessive eating patterns (for me).
  • It’s just a lot of work.
  • Did I mention tedious?

The con list can apply to about a million other things related to weight loss. Losing weight is just hard. Being fat is also hard. The trick is finding what you’re okay with doing long-term. As I’ve heard many times, choose your hard.

30 Less Than 30

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30 – 30 = 245

Okay, so that probably didn’t make sense. Let’s try that again.

My weight at age 30 (275 pounds) – 30 pounds (the amount of weight I’ve lost) = 245 pounds (my current weight)

That’s right, folks. I’ve hit the big 3-0 just a few days after my 31st birthday. That’s twice the weight of the kettlebell I used during my strength training workout today (see above). For another frame of reference, that’s the same weight at the giant burrito mentioned here. It’s also around the same weight as several of the dog breeds mentioned here.

It took me longer than I hoped (I missed my goal twice). It took a lot of work. I still have a long way to go. Yada, yada, yada. Who cares?! I lost 30 pounds!

Like Water for Coffee

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Coffee has gotten me through at least 5 mornings a week for the past year. I used to drink it¬†as a special treat. Now that we have a kiddo in the house, though, it’s purely for survival. Based on the numbers (and memes) I’ve seen, chances are you can relate if you have a job, go to school, have kids, or breathe and live in the United States.

At one point in my weight loss journey, I attempted to cut back on my daily sweet, creamy, flavor-filled habit. It totally backfired, per usual. Instead of wanting less coffee, it was nearly all I could think about until I had a cup. In my defense, my “coffee problem” (actually a flavored creamer problem) only ever made it to two cups a day, and that was on a really tough day. However, I clearly had developed way too much dependence on the stuff.

Fast forward to this week. I came into work the other day with a nasty cold and decided to swap my coffee for an herbal tea to soothe my throat (a bold move, I know). When I went to get my hot water, there was a pool of coffee on the counter that was pouring onto the floor. The coffee maker was out of order…begin widespread panic. ūüôā For some reason, it didn’t bother me like it would have before. Possibly, I was just too sick to care at the time. The next day, I brought in an instant pumpkin spice coffee mix to get me through, but that was my last cup of morning coffee for the work week. Instead, I drank a bunch of water.

And…drum roll…I didn’t die. Or even feel like I was dying. In fact, I turned down a cup at a friend’s house one night because I really just wanted sugar and was satisfied by the delicious chocolate chip cookie I had instead.¬†It’s nice to know that if there is a zombie apocalypse and I don’t have access to coffee that it won’t be my undoing. Now, if I could only tackle that sugar dependency…

My Own Little Food World – Part 5

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By the end of my college years, I had tried several different diets. South Beach gave me some good results initially, but it was impossible to stick to and had me drinking Vanilla Coke Zero when all I really wanted was a piece of fruit. Messed up. Along the way, I picked up several tidbits of knowledge about what works best for me. While I continued to gain the weight back, I was preparing myself by learning habits that would help me in the future. For instance, I learned that protein would help me control hunger and that small meals throughout the day work well for me (not for everyone, but definitely for me).

In 2010, I started dating a really cute guy who I ended up marrying a year later. While we were dating, I lost 30-40 pounds by going to the gym and controlling my portions. I didn’t track my calories, but I also didn’t always feel like eating since I was dealing with some health issues. When we got married in November 2011, I weighed 180 pounds and felt pretty good.

My gym was being annoying (not applying credits to my account from referrals and not being open when I went even though they claimed to be 24 hours), so I decided to cancel my membership. That, along with life changes and having two amazing cooks under the same roof, was the beginning of three years of steady weight gain. I would go on for a while without a care in the world, then something would snap me out of my food coma, I would weigh myself, be in utter shock at the number, work on things for a bit, and then I was on my merry way gaining more than I would lost. This repeated so many times I couldn’t count. That is, until one day I woke up at the end of 2014 at 275 pounds (see picture below).

A picture of me at 275 pounds that helped motivate me to lose weight.

A picture of me at 275 pounds that helped motivate me to start losing weight.

You are probably not surprised to hear that I felt miserable. I had trouble moving and I just felt kind of sick most of the time. At that point, I knew it was time to make a change. And this time, I needed it to be for the rest of my life.I wanted to have fun with the 5-year-old who had just moved into our home. I wanted to be healthy and beautiful for my husband. I wanted to be free from grasp food had on me for such a long time. And so, it began.