Category Archives: Random Perspective Thoughts

Losing Weight & Eating Anything I Want

Wow, sounds like one of those really annoying ads, doesn’t it?  This post is NOT intended as a weight loss promotion.  Yikes, what a horrid thought.  Nope, just sharing what my experience has been (and I get asked what I’m doing now and again so I’m sharing it here for anyone else who is curious).  Oh, and I just think it’s awesome that I’ve lost weight while still enjoying everything that taste has to offer.

While my actual number loss has slowed (I’ve increased my activity levels so I’m putting back on a bunch of that muscle that I lost, yeeeha!), the changes in my body have not.  I look different, I feel different….and I’m loving it.

But the really fun part is this lifestyle change I made (which at its heart is to be reasonably active and keep track of what I eat with an eye to try and keep the calories at a semi-reduced level to encourage weight loss) makes it possible for me to eat, GUILT FREE, any and all of:

  • chocolate bars
  • potatoe chips
  • fish and chips
  • black forest cake and all kinds of other desserts
  • wine, MEAD and all kinds of other drinks
  • regular starbucks trips
  • and snacking of all kinds of natures

I’ve been to potlucks, restaurants, bbq’s and NOT sat on the sideline eating something “healthy” while everyone else indulged.  Hell, no.  I indulged.

In moderation.

That’s been the key, well, one of three keys.  The first key is that I have stuck religiously to my one and only rule:  I will record everything I eat (I’m using the iPhone app for the My Fitness Pal program).  That’s it.  That’s my one and only MUST DO.

The rest is what I want to do.  I want to lose weight so I choose to keep my calories down.  I want to keep my calories under the 1500 mark so that I’m likely to lose weight. And to do this we come back to key number two:  moderation.

In order to not feel deprived, if something comes up in the moment, and I really want it, I have a small piece of it.  And record it.  And then adjust the rest of my day accordingly.

If I want to have a glass or two of wine in the evening.  I plan my eating for the day appropriately (mind you, I do eat healthy and strongly believe in eating REAL food, not just processed things, I just balance things so that I can sneak in that wine).

I have had anything and everything I’ve wanted.  Some things I got in the moment but in a reduced amount.  And some things I had in full, but just not in the moment I initially wanted it.

Because there is a third key.  And that is, once a month I get to eat whatever I want (though I still tend to track it, but that’s cuz I have compulsive tendencies) and it’s on a fixed day so no emotional picking of the day!  I think that’s very important, actually.  If you give yourself one day a month that you can pick at random and you decide on say Friday that that is going to be your eat anything day, you’ve most likely chosen it based upon emotions rather than reason.  By having it be a fixed day, I can look forward and plan it, but can’t fall into the bad habit of every time I’m emotional and want to eat everything in sight, that it is okay to do so.

So by using these three keys, eating whatever I want but in a planned time, I have lost over 14 pounds and feel far better about my body.  And I’m not stressing about where I want to get to.  I’ve got my pattern of behaviour going, it’s working for me and I’m just going to keep trundling along with it and see where I end up.

And now, I think it’s time for that glass of mead I’ve been planning for all day…

My Fitness Pal

A couple of weeks ago I joined the iPhone generation.  Or am I supposed to be generic and say smartphone generation?

Naturally, the immediate discovery I made was the wonder of apps.  There really is an app for everything.  Well, almost everything.  Of the ones I downloaded on that first day was My Fitness Pal.  (Yes, they have a website and no app is required to enjoy this product, it just makes it more convenient.)

My Fitness Pal is a fitness, food and goal tracker.  And I’m in love.  For the first time making a concerted effort to manage my food is easy.  About eight years ago I made a concerted effort to lose weight and I lose about 50 pounds.

I was not, however, at my ‘goal’ weight.  I’ve always wanted to lose more but could never seem to really move anywhere.  During my recent incarceration (stuck at home due to herniated disc), I lost several pounds since I ate very little for many weeks (making food was too difficult and I wasn’t hungry anyways, yay drugs?).  This inspired me to want to make another concerted effort to lose more weight.  (Sadly, the weight lost during my incarceration came right back when I was able to enjoy food again.  Ah, well.)

The effort wasn’t getting me very far.  And then came My Fitness Pal.

First, it has a huge database of foods, so when out for a bite to eat it’s easy to get at least an approximation of what I decide to eat.  I’ve done meals from Pho to sushi, fast food burgers to cafe sandwiches.  Just a few seconds typing the query into the phone and I’ve got a selection of meal options so I can decide on the best match to what I’m eating.

Second, I can type in my own recipes and it will calculate what that meal (or meals if I’m making a large batch of something) has in the way of calories, fats, proteins and carbs.

Third, well, for third there’s all the other great things.  I can put it exercise and it calculates calories used.  It bitches at me if I eat too little.  I can copy meals from one day to another.  It encourages me to pay attention to my water intake.

I think I finally have a method of managing food that I can actually work with.  I hate counting calories.  I hate anything that makes eating ‘work’.  And this app makes it easy.

Now this isn’t meant to be an ad for the program.  No, it’s a celebration of finding something that works for me.  A tool I enjoy using to take control of an aspect of my life that has always felt like it is just outside my reach.  So far I’ve lost 5 pounds.  Yeeha!

You may have noticed that I’ve not used the word ‘diet’.  This is deliberate.  I don’t believe in diets.  I believe in habits, healthy and otherwise.  I believe in life choices.  I believe that I want to eat in a way that is healthy for me and that is permanently sustainable.

In this case, I’m deliberately lowering my caloric intake to encourage weight loss.  But I’m still eating in a healthy manner that will continue after I’ve reached my goal weight (which is a whole other topic, because becoming fixated on a number can be very hazardous to your health, physical and mental).  Sure, this is probably dieting, but I hate the word and what it implies.

There’s no guarantee, of course, that this will all work to perfection, that I’ll never break this happy cycle I’ve got going on (daily tracking for 2.5 weeks now), that my body will slip down to my goal weight without argument.  But I doubt there will ever be an easier road to take towards this goal.

And the squirrel said…

Perspective shifting thought of the day:

Have you seen the movie Up from Disney/Pixar?  Not a requirement if you haven’t, just check out this you tube clip for a snapshot of what I’ll be talking about.  Okay, it’s just a weird jumping point for a random thought, but isn’t that what writers do?  Take some item in our world and then play with it, twist and turn and reshape it into something new, funky and hopefully entertaining.

Right, so the dogs in the movie have that classic distracted moment dogs have when something moves in the underbrush.  Squirrel?!  Is it a squirrel?  Is it something else?  I suppose in Up, if it really had been a squirrel the dogs wouldn’t have turned back to the conversation at hand.

But let’s presume for a moment that there is a squirrel there, irrespective of whether the dog confirms it and comes forward or doesn’t notice and turns away.

What would that moment be like from the perspective of the squirrel?

Would the squirrel pause with arrogant certainty that the dog is too stupid to realize it’s there if it just doesn’t move?

Would the squirrel panic?  Would it contemplate the existential reasons for what was happening?

And most a propos to the image that started this random thought, what would the squirrel say when it spotted the dog?