Thursday, July 10, 2008

I’m a size: Happy – well most of the time.

You’ve seen the commercials for Jenny Craig, right? Queen Latiffa is walking on the treadmill, smiling and saying, “I’m a size active.” And then there’s Valarie B, hiking the Himalayas or something saying, “I’m a size energetic.” She’s smiling, too.

See, that’s where the trouble begins. Who smiles on a treadmill? Well, a masochist, maybe, but I’m fairly certain the rest of us are grim with fatigue and possibly pain and just counting the minutes until we can get off.

With the possible exception of our lovely, thin-mint Lois, I think most of us have played the diet game once or ten in our lifetime. Me – it’s been a never ending battle. Not a day goes by that I’m not watching what I eat, wishing I were eating something else, wishing I hadn’t eaten that or hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. When it comes to diets I’ve been successful, I’ve been a failure, I’ve been ambivalent.

I’m kind of at the ambivalent stage now. I’ve actually dropped 25 pounds in the past several months. Of course, since I powered through the first book on my current contract on chocolate, I still have ##$@#%% to lose. BUT, I’ve finally learned some things along the way that have really helped me become a ‘Size Happy’ and yes, I’m going to share them with you.

1) Eat less. You’ll lose weight. Simple concept, but it works.

2) Eat when you’re hungry BUT stop when you’re full – and you may have to relearn what full is because if you’re like me, you often eat until you want to quit eating instead of when you’re full

3) Eat slowly. Think about the food, how it tastes, the texture and you’ll enjoy it so much more. Let’s face it – often times we eat merely because it tastes good so why rush through it?

4) Eat what you want. Me – I couldn’t live without Pizza so I eat it. I just eat less of it. I also love sweets so I keep a package of Hersheys caramel kisses in the freezer and pop one once or twice a day. Yum. I also satisfy my sweet tooth with Marshmallow cream. Only 20 calories a Tablespoon and it tastes like Divinity. Double yum

5) Keep a food diary and forget about counting carbs and fats and just count calories. Get yourself a little pocket book that lists calories in everything. Less calories = less weight. Period. I try to stick to around 1200 to 1300 calories a day. The weight goes off slowly this way but it does go off AND I can eat the things I love in moderation

6) Eat healthy – fruits, veggies, lean protein, dairy.


7) Drink 6 – 8 glasses of water.

8) Exercise – even if it’s just walking the dog. Move at least 30 minutes 6 days a week.

That’s it. Plain, simple, effective. Quite agonizing about what you can’t have and eat it. Just don’t go overboard.

How about you all? Any tried and true tips you’ve learned over the years? And if you haven’t had to fight your weight, what do you think you attribute this wonderful anomaly to?


Playground Monitor said...

I joined Curves about 2 months ago. I really need to firm up all these flabby muscles. I eat pretty well, but I know I don't drink enough water. I do drink juice and unsweetened tea and they've changed the rules to say those can count for half your 8 glasses.

I just know I don't ever want to do South Beach diet again. The first two weeks are pure carb deprivation and I felt like heck. Plus now I'm so sick of turkey bacon and eggs. I nearly gag just smelling bacon cooking (and that's what the DH cooks every weekend -- bacon and eggs). Ugh.


Keri Ford said...

Eat BEFORE you get hungry. You know about the times of day you eat, so eat before you get hungry, therefore you satisfy your hunger before you become ravinous.

There's those days you just want to eat all day long. part of that woman cycle. I keep gum on hand for these days and it makes a HUGE difference.

A tip for eating slow: Eat while you're doing something else. I've started fixing one plate--for my son. while I help him, I steal a few bites and eat waaaayyyy less but still get completely full. I'm so busy working with him that I don't have time but to stuff about a saucer full of food in me mouth.

When I've got a sweet tooth, I'll reach for a cup of hot chocolate. Sure, there's chocolate in it, haven't really looked at the nutrition, but mine advertises that it has the same amout of calcium as an 8oz. glass of milk.

Liza said...

I've read if you eat a handful of almonds about 20 minutes before a meal, the antioxidants will help block the bad fats from your meal. Of course, this would be the natural almonds and not the ones covered in salt. They help fill me up so I don't eat as much too.

Helen Brenna said...

Cindy, I love everything you've said. It's so common sense.

I'd add a couple things.

Figure out what changes you can make a part of your life.

And don't beat yourself up if you have a bad day, bad week, bad month. We have a tendency to defeat ourselves. We need to be kind and encouraging if we're going to get right back on that treadmill.

Helen Brenna said...

On, I love raw almonds Liza!

Playground Monitor said...

Raw almonds, huh? I love them too. Must add them to my grocery list. Way better for me than Oreos. LOL!

BousMama said...

I love the tips you shared. My issue is knowing when I'm full. I love food so much I have a hard time stopping, even when I know I should. Lack of willpower I guess. Any suggestions????

lois greiman said...

Cindy, my dearest, thanks for the thin mint comment, but I thought maybe I should let folks know that I've had a few bad...well years. In my twenties a spent some time in anorexia/bulimia hell, playing the 'maybe today wouldn't be a bad day to die,' game. (I know this is a little heavy for a morning blog, sorry.)

I actually credit pregnancy and an anonymous program for saving my life. Once there was a little being growing inside me I figured I had the perfect excuse to eat. I HAD to eat. It gave me enough motivation to quit starving myself, and even enough to quit binge-eating. Hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

After Trav was born, I was happier, mentally healthier, found out the exercise I had become obsessed with during anorexia was quite enjoyable. Cleared my head. I used to carry him for hours on my walks. Or pull him in a sled. Or...anyway, the boy still can't sit still. (Hence the impending Mt. Whitney climb coming up in a couple weeks.)

And's not so bad. (Although I know it will never be simple for me. I'm just not built that way.)I count calories when my weight creeps above my acceptable zone, and I exercise every day. It's one of the few constants in my life. I try for 5-7 hours a week. Oh, and I went vegetarian about a year ago (Thanks to Helen's son.:) and that has actually made things a little easier. I mean, I kind of eat vegies now in self defense...what else is there?

Okay, nuf of that. Sorry for the whiny windiness.

Tips? Oh yeah, I have one, but it's the same as yours, Cindy; Eat happy. Why eat a bushel of lettuce when a slice of pizza will make your life worth living?

Anna And Sean said...

Weight has been a struggle since I had kids- not to mention medical problems. However, I will admit that 75% of my problem is Pepsi. I love my Pepsi!!!! I am doing alot better and only have about 50 lbs left to go. I started out needing to lose 100 so I guess I get to be halfway now.
The key for me is to set attainable goals. I'm not going to say that I will exercise every single day because I honestly hate the treadmill and would rather beat my head against the wall. So my goal is 4 days a week right now. I can manage that and not hate it as much. I limit my Pepsi because I know that quitting entirely would make me pissy. The big goal right now is quitting smoking. Saturday is the big day and I might strangle someone but at least I will be healthier, not to mention around for my kids. The cool part about quitting is that I get to read more as a reward to myself! Back to the goals- if I did all these things at once I would fail out of misery. One at a time is slower but more effective for me.

Lois- Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are a brave women! How are you liking the vegetarian diet?

Bousmama- I heard that sipping water during a meal helps trick the body into thinking its full. Dr. Oz also said to eat a piece of 100% whole grain bread with EVOO on it before a meal. Saw that on Oprah. I actually bought smaller oval plates and that way I feel like I am getting a lot of food because the plate looks so full. I am actually eating way less at each meal.

lois greiman said...

Anna, congrats on your weight loss. Wow!!

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- Between you and Lois we're going to have rename the blog to "9 Chicks On A Get Health Mission."

I'm currently depressed because if I'd started my exercise plan two months ago like I should have, I'd be able to get into the clothes I need to get into for RWA SF. Do I own a cocktail dress or evening wear I can get my flabby rump into? No. Well, not that I'd be seen in public wearing.

So, I need the nudges for healthy outlooks and obtainable goals.

Cindy Gerard said...

Wow! What great comments.
Lois - sweetie pie those of us on the plus side of the weight issue do have a tendency to discount the flip side which you have obviously struggled with and have emerged beautifully, I must say! Yeah for you. And you ALWAYS look fabulous so whatever you're doing, it's working.

Anna and Sean - as to the tricking your body into thinking it's full: here's the deal. For me anyway, I have a tendency to eat way beyond when I'm full just because it tastes so good. Since I've slowed way down while I'm eating and I've been eating consciously - as in I think about the food in my mouth, how it tastes, the texture and I chew chew chew, I have come to realize I'm actually full when before I thought I wasn't. It really, truly helps. Then, if I do get hungry again later, I eat. But not nearly as much as I would have. I don't know about the rest of you but the more I eat, the hungrier I get later. Anyone else experience that?

Liza - Almonds are a great idea. They are so good and so good for you.

Cindy Gerard said...

Marilyn - Curves - what a woman. I wish we had one near by I'd go. In the meantime, it's me and Margaret (our Brittany). She keeps me honest and won't let up on me until I walk her every morning.

Keri - I hear you on the chocolate thing. I keep a container of International Coffee French Vanilla sugar free on hand. I mix it with a cup of skim milk - total 130 of the most delicious calories ever. It's what I drink in the morning instead of coffee.

Helen - You are so smart. And so right. Have a bad day? Okay fine. It's over. Don't let it knock you off course.

Bousmama - I think I addressed your question in my previous response. Seriously - try the eating slower thing and eating very consciously. I mean - why rush through that bowl of buttered popcorn? Enjoy each piece. You become so much more satisfied and fuller faster.

Deb - you always look fabulous so don't beat yourself up. I can't wait to see you in SF

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Just wow. I'm impressed with the collective wisdom here. And it's interesting that I've had to learn and re-learn some of this stuff again and again. sigh.

But right now I'm in a good place--lost 13 pounds in the last 2 1/2 months and am exercising and feeling tons better. I just got back from shopping with my sister and I'm DOWN A SIZE!!! Okay, bring on the wet noodles-- I'm so happy, I won't feel a thing.

And Bousmama. . . I used to think I had no will power (my mom always told me so!) but some years back I discovered that I DO have it. . . I just have some built-in challenges to overcome. . . like deciding when I'm full. I don't have the "satiety switch" most people have, so I'll just keep on munching as long as I can-- because it just tastes good. (I hear ya Cindy!) so I have to do this by rational habit: measuring, weighing, and planning my intake so I don't overdo. Knowing what I know now about myself and eating, I can't really blame my mom; she was naturally thin and didn't have to think about anything but what tasted good. I couldn't have learned the habits I need from her, because she didn't have them to share.

Just goes to prove the old saw: we all need mothering, but not necessarily from our own mothers.

Cindy Gerard said...

Betina - measure and weigh and record. So true. I do that too and I can't believe I didn't mention it. Guess that means it's become ingrained in my little ole psyche :o)

Christie Ridgway said...

WTG, everyone, on their health plans. I exercise a lot, but I also eat a lot. And drink wine. And sometimes light beer. And margaritas too. Ice cream a few times a week. I'm currently on a pretzel kick which aren't too bad for me. ::sigh:: But why is this so hard?

Anna: Yay you on the weight loss. Can you read while on your treadmill? I have one at home and I'm managing to walk on it at a fairly fast pace and read at the same time. Can't read and run, though.

Estella said...

Congrats on being able to lose 25 lbs.!

Liza said...

Putting your food on a smaller plate sometimes helps you eat less.

I do much better with watching what I eat if I keep a food diary. I tend to eat better foods and smaller portions if I'm logging all my calories and all my exercise.

Cindy Gerard said...

Okay - Christie = you're probably one of the few who might actually smile on the treadmill because you always smile :o) And you always look fabulous.

Estella - thanks. It was a long, slow process but darn, I'm glad that much is off. Would still like to lose another 10 - 15 so I'm still working on it.

And Anna and Sean - I forgot to congratulate you on your amazing 50# of weight loss. You go girl!!

Barbara Samuel said...

Lots of "big losers" here. Hooray for all of of you!

I'm always struggling with this issue, too, and as my brother says, I come from a predominantly fat family. I'm a passionate hiker and walker, and am very active but I also like to eat, and as Christine mentioned, my pleasure is in wine. I also really love to cook, and find a lot of joy in gourmet geek stuff, so that's always a challenge.

I keep a food diary, too, and travel quite a lot. The diary helps me be reasonable in all things, stick with good habits.

And one thing I'll say is that it is quite, quite possible to be overweight and still be very fit. Exercise makes you healthy, even if you are not thin. Walk, ride a bike, roller blade, swim....whatever is fun.