Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Mr's thoughts on our new plan of action



The Mrs. and I have been working out some of the details, slowly but surely, of our plan of action. It has led to some very helpful heartfelt talks, some moments of frustration and, in the end, a general sense of hope. We've still got some kinks to work out as we try things and see what works in any given week here, but I think we’re on the right track.

The biggest thing is we've finally taken a good, hard, honest look at our portion sizes. We both agree that it’s one of those things that we've kind of known in the back of our minds but either didn’t want to admit out loud or just plain didn't want to change.

I made the comment that everything that every human being knows how to do is the result of someone else’s trial and error. We all have to learn from our mistakes. I think the Mrs. and I have finally learned from this one. The fact is that when I was 455 lbs, my portions were out of control big time. I found the right amount to pretty much maintain my weight but I was never going to lose any weight that way.

Losing almost 200 lbs was the result of 2 main things. 1) Exercising consistently. 2) Cutting our portions in (more than) half. Technically there is a 3rd reason and that is 3) Cheat Meals.  I know there are some people out there who are against that but I know what worked for me and that was what kept me sane and kept me on track the rest of the week.  However, for some reason we both have been rather stubborn when it comes to admitting that our portions now, you know, the ones that have helped us achieve 200 lbs of weight loss each, are now the problem for us again.  It sure seemed like we were both doing fine during the week so maybe it was our cheat meals. We tweaked those, almost to the point where it felt like a completely soul-less diet at times. That wasn't going to work, not for us anyway. If that works for some of you out there, have fun!

Because we were eating healthy food all week and exercising daily it was not something that stood out honestly. Plus the fact that every time I would calculate the calories in and out I was already eating at least 200 cals below what the recommendations were. So what gives?

Well for a long time I’ve thought about this person I used to work with. She was my manager for about a year and she was this petite little thing. Every day she ate what looked, to me, like 3 carrots and a small, we’re talking barely a cup, of soup. I only really asked her once if she was eating that way to stay so thin or if that was just what she is used to. I figured she was just one of those naturally thin people but the truth is she was not at all. She would just eat, every day, the amount of food that she knows she needs. She is just a person in tune with her hunger.

I know and I don’t know what that is like. Does that make sense? I’ve experienced it at times. I think of it as some magical equilibrium that all of us can only hope to achieve. Well it turns out that, for the most part, I actually have achieved it. By mostly maintaining my weight for 3 years (let’s not count the vacations and the weight I’ve put on and lost from those during this time, for the sake of argument anyway) I really have figured out what my body needs to maintain its weight.

The only problem with that, for me, is that I am still obese. Do I want to maintain obesity? No. That was never my goal. Do I want to be rail thin? No! I just want to be able to do all those awesome activities like ziplining, riding roller coasters, etc.

So. What do I have to admit to myself if I really want to ever meet that goal? Well, the answer was staring me in the face all along. I need to cut down on the portions that are otherwise keeping me the same weight. Seems silly that something so simple could have held me back this long but it’s a really tough thing to accept because for years I had eaten those portions and lost weight like it was nothing. But it makes sense when I really sit and think about it. My body has gotten smaller. Heck when I was in high school and weighed 240 lbs. I maintained that weight by eating about the same amount of food that I am essentially going to be eating now. 

Bingo! That was when it really hit me that this really was staring me in the face all along.

Now that the realization of this is there, the tough part begins. Execution. Sure the plan sounds great and on paper it should work. But can I keep this up the way I did this before? Will I be hungry all the time? Miserable?

Only time is going to tell, of course. But I can tell you that this week we’ve done a very good job at tweaking the portions down to levels we can accept. There will likely be further tweaking until we find the sweet spots. The goal will be to eat enough to feel completely satiated while keeping portions to minimal levels. Right now it’s been great. My willpower is through the roof and I am extremely hopeful that this is going to be exactly the plan we needed to finally get out of this loooong plateau.

Of course I wish I could bottle that feeling of newness. It’s really easy for me to state all of this with this newfound positive attitude but the real work begins when that elated feeling goes away and the Mrs. and I have only ourselves to keep us on track.

Given our past success, however, I know we can do it. I’d still like a bottle of that motivation though!

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5 comments:

  1. For me the hardest part is plugging in numbers into a weight loss website of how many times you workout each week, what you'd like to weigh by when and they give you a calorie range to stick with and you don't lose crap. Of course most of them come back with a calorie range so high despite putting "sedentary" as my activity level, it's like "for real?" I've never gone that high and went with what I thought my body needed and then sit at the same numbers.

    Honestly, for a long time I thought because we were eating less than those sites were telling us we should be eating, then what was the problem. Yes Saturdays can be out of control but the calories we consume that day don't scientifically add up to more than a pound and a half gain on our worst day. It didn't really dawn on me that having two servings of quinoa duo or three servings of fruit with lunch over two would have much of an impact. I guess we'll see Saturday!

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  2. I will be first in line to buy that "bottle of motivation," when you find the formula and start marketing it! Lately I've been working hard to get that 'full' feeling. It's been so long since I was actually satiated, over five years now since my journey began, and I guess I've just grown weary of always being hungry. Unfortunately I've been looking for satisfaction in the wrong place--lots of carbs--that leads to weight gain. So once again, I've got 20-30 pounds to get back off to return to my happy weight. Frustrating. I'm along for this ride with you and the Mrs. and it will be interesting to hear of your successes/failures/motivations, and as always, I hope I can get find my mojo once again as I read about your journey.

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  3. I'll definitely be in line for a bottle of that motivation juice. Cutting portions can be so tough. Being hungry all the time is miserable, but most of us could get by with less. The challenge, like you said, is finding the line between satiety and too much.

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  4. Listening to my hunger cues (REALLY listening) is a big thing I'm working on right now, too. A lot of the time I find I'm eating when I'm not truly hungry just because it's meal time (by the clock). I'm slowly learning to eat only when I'm actively hungry (my term for it, it's when you really are hungry not "I could eat" or "I have the munchies" hungry) and to STOP the minute I'm no longer hungry. NOT when I'm full. If that means leaving two or three bites of food on the plate (not enough to save) so be it. I'll prepare less next time.

    I'm also experimenting with higher protein. I load up on the protein for breakfast and won't feel actively hungry until late in the afternoon. Does it matter that I didn't have lunch at lunchtime (by the clock)? No. My body has no clue what the clock is about.

    (I'm also trying to have 12 hours of not eating a day--there's no reason to eat from, say, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. That cuts down on snacking just to snack and helps me learn what active hunger really is)

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  5. I so hear you about the portion sizes! That has been a focus of mine this year because I know I am eating at least double of what a "true" portion size is. It's interesting though when I have followed portions to what they should be, I actually feel ok. I don't feel stuffed (which used to be my signal that I was full *enough*), and there is a little sense of deprivation, but it's a good feeling because I'm not falling asleep on the couch after eating a meal. Now why I don't do this consistently is beyond my brain to figure out! But it's about progress, not perfection, so onward I'll keep going.

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