Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Checks and Balances - Maintaining it.
You may have heard this before but it bears repeating: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Recently, I'd been growing a little tired of what felt like saying the same things over and over again. Tracy Anderson is great. The Method works. I love the Method. You have to watch what you eat. You can get there. Fitness is a journey. While all that is true, it can sometimes just sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown, waa waa waa waa waa waa. Or blah blah blah.
I could just feel some of you shouting at the computer. But I still have fifteen more pounds to lose! I still can't fit into my skinny jeans and all I want right now is a fucking cupcake. Tracy Anderson isn't real. Or maybe those are just the voices in my head? Either way, I wanted to shake things up a little bit.
My girl Alma, who has a very special place in my heart as she was one of my very first ever food sponsors, has asked me to write a little something about what I eat, since I have seemed to reach that somewhat elusive place of weight maintenance. So Alma, my love, this post is for you.
I wish it were as simple as me telling you that I eat this for breakfast, that for lunch and dinner consists of the other, then promising you that if you too eat just like me, all your body dreams will come true. Sorry, it doesn't quite work like that.
Let's go back to the definition of insanity.
If you have had the same ten or twenty or fifty or five pounds to lose for a year or two or ten, but you haven't made any lasting changes to your lifestyle, you are a living example of that definition. Am I calling you crazy? Maybe a little, but I am calling you that because I love you and I want to see you reach your goals. Jumping onto the next fad diet or doing what your BFF or all your co-workers or doing what I am doing isn't going to solve the problem because eventually you are going to go back to your old habits without ever having made any lasting changes. Bitter pill to swallow, I know. I am sorry.
But here it is, honest and up front. You have got to get real about what goes into your mouth because let's face it... we can all exercise. We can pick any activity and do it with consistency and regularity but if we don't pay attention to what is going onto our plates it will end up on our hips and waists no matter how many miles we log on the track each week. It's important and you cannot ignore it.
Trust me I am the living proof. When I started Metamorphosis I followed the diet and I lost 19 pounds, weight I'd been carrying for about 4 or 5 years that I never thought I'd see come off. Much of it I attributed to the Method, but the stone cold truth is that the second I came off that Dynamic Eating plan and ate on my own, I very quickly put half that weight back on. Grrrr. I hated that and if it's ever happened to you, I know you hated it too.
So what did I have to do? And more importantly what can you do? Get honest about what you're eating. Sounds simple but it's not. You have got to keep track for the love of God. You must.
For me, Lose It was my savior and continues to be so. I put my goals into that little app and it told me how many calories I needed to eat in order to get there safely. Once I'd reached my goal (you keep track of what you weigh) it adjusted my calorie intake for me. So now if I go up or down in weight it will adjust accordingly. I have to be diligent and if I stay within a reasonable range of what they tell me, I'm good. That and I gave up sugar. But what I do has way more going on than simply counting calories. I looked at my lifestyle. I started asking questions. Questions you can ask yourself too.
Be honest. Are you snacking a lot? If so what is your Achilles heel? What's the thing that you cannot stop yourself from binging on? Potato chips? Cookies? Mashed potatoes? Melted cheese of everything? Maybe it's time to take a break from that vice and give yourself the much needed break from the obsession. Not an easy thing to do and it always remains up to you. But see the sign above. You might want those cheese doodles now, but you want to look smoking in a bikini in July most. Think about it. Do things differently. That's a start.
As for how I eat personally? It's pretty simple. I have ripped off ideas from Dr. Junger's book Clean, Kimberly Snyder's book The Beauty Detox Solution and Bethenny Frankel's book Naturally Thin. None of those books alone held the solution for me. Because none of them solved every one of my problems.
For example, Bethenny says you can have it all, but not all at once and not the whole thing. For her, she was able to have just half a cookie once or twice a week. Me? I make Cookie Monster look like he's in AA for sugar. I am a binger, whole bagger and then some. There is no such thing as half a cookie. Half a cookie? Who does that? Kimberly says we should eliminate dairy from our diets entirely. Bitch is out of her mind if she thinks I am giving up cheese. I already had to give up cookies, okay? So just forget it Kim.
But some of you, now there's a different story. Perhaps you can have just one brownie and walk away, but as I said, you melt cheese on your oatmeal in the morning. Maybe dairy is a problem for you and you need to make a clean break. Only you can know the answer.
Here are the main guidelines that have carried me comfortably and safely to a number on the scale that I can live with (most of the time). (That and I do some form of exercise every day)
1) Junger says you must allow 12 hours without eating anything, at least once a day, for optimal digestion. Whaaaat? It is possible and for me, so worth it.
There are some specifics that I cannot quite recall, but it's something like... it takes 4 hours for your body's digestion to kick in and another 4 to 8 hours to fully get in there and do its job. Clear out waste, extract nutrients, etc etc. So if I have dinner at 7pm, I automatically know that nothing is going into my mouth before 7am. Nothing, Period. That's how I get my 12 hour cleaning and digesting crew to work best.
2) Snyder says don't cause a traffic jam. If you have cheese on toast first thing in the morning, it is going to just sit there while you pile more and more food on top throughout the rest of the day. Some stuff will digest faster thereby causing noxious gasses to be produced, bloating, farting, everything gets backed up, no nutrition is being absorbed it's a mess. So eat light to heavy. This works for me. I am never terribly hungry in the morning so I stick with her Glowing Green Smoothie or some other smoothie, or I'll have some fruit with yogurt. On occasion if I know lunch will be ages away, I'll even sprinkle some homemade granola on there.
Kim says never combine fruit with any other food. What can I say, I'm a rebel.
I just try to remember the sports car needs to be first on the freeway, followed by the SUV, then the big 18-wheeler. Easiest to digest gets eaten earlier in the day followed by heavier then heaviest. Make sense?
Lunch will usually be a salad with some fat like half an avocado or protein, like a boiled egg or a bit of cottage cheese.
My dinners are as wild and free as I want to make them while trying to stay within my calorie budget for the day.... which leads me to...
3) Frankel says you should have a food budget like you have a money budget but that you do not have to balance it perfectly every day. You may choose to balance it over a few days or the week. Here's how I play that game.
Let's say it's he who shall not be named's turn to make dinner. I know he is going to want to order pizza. No problem. I'll eat super light throughout the day to make room for a heavy carb dinner, and I won't worry because I am going to give myself 12 whole hours to let all that gluey bread and cheese to work its way through my system before I bombard it with anything else.
But what happens if I've had an off day? Say I've had granola for breakfast and maybe I had PMS so I had noodles for lunch and HWSNBN comes in with said pizza, then what? Do I freak out and say I am not eating that? Um, have you ever smelled warm pizza, who can say no?! If you can you are a better woman than me. I will eat that pizza, I will savor every bite, I will enjoy it fully knowing that tomorrow I am going to be having a smoothie for breakfast, a salad at lunch and some steamed veggies with quinoa for dinner.
See what I've done there? I balanced the food budget over two days instead of one.
These are three simple rules that I have been able to easily accommodate into my everyday life that have become a lifestyle rather than a phase or a "diet". Yuck, who wants to be on a diet.
And when I am feeling sad about not having chocolate covered almonds or M&M's stacked high in my popcorn at the movies, I look at the sign above and consider what I want most... a life free of worry and obsession over having to buy fat pants...again.
I hope that at least some of that was helpful to you. I say you need to consume as much information about diets, health and nutrition, until you feel satisfied that you're armed with tools that will help keep you on track without creating a prison of shoulds and should nots.
Finally, one other thing I tend to do -- and if you're naturally obsessive about this I'd suggest you NOT do it -- I weigh in once a week. I try to do it on the same day each week at the same time -- first thing in the morning. I do this not to fuss over it. I do it because I find if I haven't been keeping great track of calories or what I've been eating and two or three pounds creep on, those two or three pounds are easier to get off and are less likely to awaken my hateful meanie, than five or ten pounds. A pound or two is no biggie. I put that new number into my tracker and it will automatically tell my how much to cut back and generally within a week or two I am right back on track. That is what maintenance is for me. A continual check and balance.
Have fun creating your own plan and once you've got it, I want to hear about it. I feel like we can all benefit from having a few new tools in our maintenance tool box to fall back on when things go squirrelly.
All my best,