Thursday, March 1, 2012

Back to Basics

When it was time for the Mr and I to get our butts in gear on this weight loss thing, I swear it was some kind of divine intervention.  The Mr wasn't feeling well and had a fever.  He said "I need to go to urgent care" and for him to say that meant he was bad off.  They asked for tests to be run and on a Thursday we got a frantic call saying they "found a spot" on his liver and get to the hospital for an emergency MRI the next morning.  He did and then we waited.  I have never been so scared in my life.  We spent a lot of time crying that weekend, lamenting that all of the years we skated by health wise were catching up to us and what if it was too late?

That night there was this show on TLC called "I Can Make You Thin" with Paul McKenna.  (Affiliate link)  Some of you may know him as a leading hypnotist in England.  Some of you may think he's a fake.  I have absolutely no opinion of his current methods but that night, in our terror of facing something truly horrible, his simple instructions were like a message from something bigger than us.  (No pun intended)  His instructions were when you're hungry, eat slowly, eat what you like and stop when you're full.  It was no magic bullet.  There was nothing to sell, it was just what we already knew to some degree but spelled out so simply for us at a time we were ready to hear it.  Oh how I wish I had taped that or someone had it on YouTube.  He has since released DVD's of I Can Make You Thin but it was a different format that didn't touch us in the same way as that TLC special.  It still has a load of good techniques but in the end those 4 principles are what helped us lose the first 100 lbs so easily.  We got good news from the doctor.  The spot was "fatty liver", something that could turn into an issue but not if he lost weight.  That, along with the simple techniques we'd seen on that show, were the kick in the ass we needed to start our journey.

When you get comfortable in your routine it can be easy to neglect the simple things.  We have portion control down to a tee but we both could eat a lot slower.  We're working on that again.  We're going back to those things that brought us so much success in the beginning (not that 200 lbs off isn't successful but I've still got another 100 to go so...)  We feel like this is particularly important before we vacation because we have a tendency to inhale when we have loosened reins instead of savoring every bite.  I want to get back to that place.  I want to get back to the "food critic" game I used to play when eating every meal.  I used to pretend I was being paid to write food reviews for Bon Appetit. I would savor each bite noting the taste, texture and smells paying attention to every note from the initial taste to the lingering heat or sweetness.  Doing that allowed us to go to Hawaii in 2008 and gain 1 lb over 2 1/2 weeks.  I am going back to basics.  Back to what worked so I can improve what I already know works for us and I'm looking forward to it.

What are some tricks that help/helped you lose weight the most?  Do you still apply them or need to revisit them?

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  1. I'd really need to slow down when eating - some days I wish I could unhinge my jaw to swallow everything at once. Stupid, eh? But so true.

    I still frequently confuse hunger and thirst, so whenever I feel "hungry! I drink a glass of water first. Yeah, I know, that is old advice, but it actually helps. (Today I also replaced half of the pasta in my favorite pasta dish with green beans, tasted great.)

  2. I do revisit the simplicities. I really like Bethenny Frankle's book because it's all really simple advice. My favorite is: you can have it all, just not all at once.

    So, she says you can have a cheeseburger or a milkshake, just not both at the same time. Which is so simple, but that really resonated with me.

  3. I love how simple McKenna's words are. For me it's never been the fancy gimmicks that have resonated with me, but just ... things that make sense.

    Eating slowly is something I struggle with too - but pretending you're a food critic feels like a good strategy, and would definitely make it more fun!

  4. I definitely need to slow down. It's something I really struggle with. At work I have 27 minutes for lunch so by the time I heat up my meal, go to the bathroom, and take care of whatever always seems to crop up that has to be done "right now" it leaves me about 10 minutes or less to actually eat. That's fine since I pack lunch so I can't overeat. The problem is that it teaches me to inhale my food so when I am home it's hard to slow down my pace. The food critic game sounds fun - although with my cooking I'm not sure that it would be a good idea.

  5. I still struggle with eating slowly. This week I have done better at it and it is still amazing how full I get afterward. But it is something that I have to continue to work at. I wish I would have worked at it more while we were doing everything else or it would just be another good habit embedded in my usual routing but alas, not yet.

  6. I need to work on eating more slowly! No one is going to come take my plate away. Why do I act like they will?

    When I reached a plateau in my weight loss, I would always try calorie cycling for a week. I decided a couple days ago that I was going to try it again. It always worked for's hoping it will again!

  7. I don't eat slowly. I make a conscious effort to do so at restaurants, but not so much when I'm eating at home. It's hard to break all these ingrained habits. I love your food critic idea!

    I love hearing people's stories about when they decided to lose weight. For me, it was because the largest size belt at Kohl's didn't fit. So random, right? I'm glad that your husband's health issue was something that could be easily taken care of with weight loss--what a scare to have!

  8. I think that is a wonderful principle to live by. So many times we eat in front of something... TV, computer, driving... that we just don't savor our meals...

    I am going to make it a goal this month to not eat in front of anything. To savor every bite!

    Thanks for your help!!!

  9. Diandra- I had to laugh at the jaw comment because sometimes when the Mr is wolfin' it down I say "would you like a funnel so you don't have to bother chewing?" The water tip is an oldie but goodie!

    Lindsay- Great advice and pretty much what we live by. But man sometimes a milkshake and burger just taste too good together. (Harkening back to Pearl's Deluxe Burgers in San Fran and their cheeseburger and Nutella Milkshake. Swoon)

    WithPhyllis- Absolutely! Sometimes its the most simple concepts being heard when we're open to the message that change our lives! The food critic game rocks. I love it!

    Another Layer- There's nothing worse than timed lunches when they're under 30 minutes. Are you able to get to the bathroom before lunch so you can add a few minutes back in? Oh come on, your cooking can't be that bad! LOL

    Mr- Yes, we need to really help each other with this one. I know yours is a childhood thing and for me when it's less nutritional food I feel like I have to cram it in because I'm "entitled." We need to have each others backs on this! :)

    Jamie- I know, it does feel like if you don't get it down in a certain amount of time that it's going to walk off your plate or something! You'll have to let us know how calorie cycling goes for you!

    Ohkeeka- The food critic game is a good one and one I miss when I don't do it. It makes me remember that food should be savored and the sooner you eat it, the sooner its over. Who wants to be done with eating!? LOL Hey, belt or's all motivation! I'm just glad it didn't take a health scare to get you to look after yours.

    Liz- Yay! You'll have to report back and let us know how you do on that goal. I think you'll find yourself feeling fuller longer and really enjoying your food much more!

  10. Thanks for sharing this. I'm so happy that you both decided to do this together. I'm sure it has doubled your chances of success. I have noticed lately that I am eating g fast too. Thanks for the remindear to slow down!

  11. I Netflixed "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" and "Forks over Knives" recently. That was enough to jolt me into some sort of reality and give me the clue that WHAT I put in my mouth is important as HOW MUCH I put in there.

    Thanks for the thought provoking blog.

  12. You are AWESOME.. and thanks for the reminder... I think for me it's simply being always mindful of my food and engaging all of my senses from the beginning of the process (when buying igredients) all the way up until eating the meal... I have to take the time to sniff, enjoy the mechanics of cooking and the textures, appreciate the colours, and chew thoughtfully. Life continuously pushes too hard if I let it, so I always have to be consciously slowing down... I've never yet arrived at the point where I feel like I don't have to think about being mindful. ...But maybe that's the point?

    Sorry I'm not around as much... super busy week..

    {{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}

  13. I discovered your blog a few weeks ago and have been really loving it. You seem like such a fun and upbeat person (even when sick) and your blog is such a joy to read. Your weight loss is amazing, Congratulations!

    I lost about 75 pounds in the last two years. (I didn't have a scale when I started, so am unsure exactly). My turning point came when I realized I could no longer buy clothes as Wal-Mart. They didn't carry my size. I had always been thin and never struggled with weight. After having four kids, I thought they just made clothes smaller now. It didn't clue me in that I was wearing a size 22-24. I was wearing hand made jumper dresses because that is all that fit. I saw a picture of myself with my kids and I looked like a round blueberry. I was tired all the time, and I had thought it was because the baby never seemed to sleep. It never occured to me that I stuffed my face with food without giving it a second thought. I thought I would start excercising to see if it increased my energy level. My clothes fitting better was a pleasant surprise. Two years later, I am so happy. It is a joy to buy clothes again and so wonderful when my husband buys me something that he thinks will look cute on me.

    I need to work on my water. Some days are better than others (when I forget until I am truly thirsty.) Work in progress. I also need to work on not eating when I am not hungry. You know, just because something sounds good or it sounds like fun.

    Your daily food posts are inspiring to me and I look forward to them every day. Keep up the awesome work!

  14. Mamadwarf- You and me both. We spent a lot of time sabotaging each other so it's very nice to be on the same page! Now slow down and enjoy! :)

    Tiffanie- Food Inc did the same for us as far as focusing on more quality than convenience. I think movies like that are important to make us think about what we put in our mouthes instead of taking it for granted. It can be life changing!

    Ramona- Glad you are taking the time to savor it all from beginning to end! Hope things calm down for you! Miss ya!

    Homekeeper Mom- Yay! So glad to have you along for the ride! Congrats on the weight loss too. We should always be thankful for those moments that wake us up from the fog that denying our health can put us in. I'm glad it wasn't a health issue that did it for you. Water can be tough to get in some days. (Matter of fact, your comment reminded me it was time to chug! Thanks!) So glad that you're enjoying the food posts. I wasn't sure that people would care or not but they seem to be popular! :)

  15. Great blog, and some great new tips from your great readers! Thanks everybody!

    I hunker back to basics too, and like the water before eating thought.
    One thing I read recently is that we should always eat sitting down, and resist the temptation to eat as we prepare - even if it's planned food. The reason is there's something called 'visual satiety'. If we eat half our meal while we're pulling it together, by the time we sit down to eat we've got a small portion left and have that ripped off feeling. Spread out the food and let the brain take it all in!! I thought that was interesting.
    I really love your 'food critic' idea. You know, it will help you achieve all those things you mention and may have an added bonus when it comes to your food photography. Savoring the true taste may inspire you to capture that food in a new way to 'show' the taste, so to speak!

  16. My husband has the WORST time wolfing down his food. Take Subway for instance, he gets a foot long Sub with chips, and I get 6 inch. By the time I've eaten half of my sandwich he is done eating..all of it! Usually I just give him the other half of my works LOL! I have to constantly remind him when we are eating at a nice restaurant though "Hey Marc, where's the fire?" :)

  17. Good stuff right there!!! I know it's so simple, but it is always good to be reminded just exactly what the "basics" are. I tend to forget...

    As a mom of four, even though my children are mostly grown, I have been conditioned to eat as quickly as possible because you never have much time before some catastrophe or need arises. So I'm going to use your technique...from here on out at least one meal a day I am going to be a food critic! :-) Awesomeness!


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