Saturday, January 3, 2009


I am not generally a person that does the New Years Resolution thing, but this year I have tons! This one I have been wanting to write about for AGES, but I thought I'd wait until after the holidays. The resolution is:

- To discipline my eating habits. For life.

As you may or may not have noticed from little comments here and there, I was becoming very dissatisfied with my appearance. My clothes all felt tight and my weight was creeping to a level that reminded me of unhappy times. After all, Americans gain something like 1 1/2-2 lbs per year or something like that and it usually doesn't come off.

I was inspired by some dramatic weight loss by a co-worker and also my sister-in-law. Both of them basically did it the same way: by cutting down on the amount of food they ate and taking more exercise. (What a revelation huh?) Another co-worker kept mentioning to me that weight is a math equation: calories in-calories out. And then I started thinking about my grandmother.

My paternal grandmother, the whole time I can remember her, was a very tiny woman. Tiny in height and tiny in weight. It wasn't till much later that I found out that for most of her life she had been on the plump side. For some reason I started remembering her eating habits. Every day for lunch she ate an enormous green salad. Snack was an apple and black coffee. I don't remember breakfast but I'm pretty sure it was similarly disciplined and probably her dinners were too when I wasn't visiting! This is not to say that she never indulged or enjoyed food- because she surely did on a regular basis. (impossible not to in my family- in case you hadn't noticed!) But it was not an every day thing.

So after we returned from our cruise I resolved to diet down to my target weight (my high-school weight, which I have been at off and on and I feel is a reasonable goal. I have been less, but I was very unhealthy.) and then after reaching the target, living a lifestyle that enables me to maintain that weight.

As of today, even with letting myself go on the holidays, I have lost 7 lbs! (That's in about 7 weeks) At this rate I should reach my target weight way before my original goal date of my birthday which is very encouraging!

So this is how I'm doing it: I took my coworker's advice about calories in vs. calories out, and I keep it tight in some areas and give myself some leeway in others. I went to a site that you can punch in your weight and exercise level and it will tell you the amount of calories you need to consume in order to lose weight or maintain weight. This is a good one.

To lose weight, if I keep to a moderate exercise level, (30 mins, 3 times a week) I need to consume about 1400 calories a day.

Here's the tight part. I keep myself on a fairly rigid eating schedule. I found this helps, because when I get hungry, I know when I will be able to eat again and it is not as hard to hold out until that time. I had to play with the schedule to get to a good place for my own eating habits and natural eating patterns so if you want to give this a try i suggest you do the same. My coworker with the dramatic weight loss (he had a lot to lose!) eats 100 calories every two hours and then has a larger calorie meal for dinner. (According to him this also boosts your metabolism) I tried this at first but found that I was eating in the mornings when I wasn't hungry and then I would be starving later in the day and the 100 calorie snacks would never make me feel satisfied. So I broke my day up into larger calorie chunks as follows(I eat the meals sometime within the timeframe shown):

10Am-11Am: 200 calorie snack
1Pm-2Pm: 400 calorie lunch
3:30Pm-4:30Pm: 200 calorie snack
6:00Pm-7:30Pm: 400 calorie dinner
9:00Pm-9:30Pm: 200 calorie snack

It's probably not good for me to eat late, but I can't handle going to bed hungry!

Here's the loose part. I am not super rigid about the calorie counting. There are a million websites that will let you plug in foods and find out their calorie count and of course lots of foods have the calories right on there. So there are certain foods that I am sure about the calories (a yogurt snack is 190 calories, 2 small homemade chocolate-chip cookies are 160 calories!) and other meals (usually dinners) that I sort of guesstimate the calories. This is generally because I cook and I don't want to sit there and plug all the ingredients in to get to what is essentially a guesstimate any way. I regulate my portion size and hope for the best! ;) So I am probably averging between 1300-1500 calories a day give or take. With some days being higher and some being lower. Sometimes my 200 calorie snack is under, sometimes it is a little bit over. I feel this gives me flexibility and so if I do want to eat some of those homemade chocolate chip cookies that I made yesterday- I can!

Here's the thing. I thought that eventually my body would get used to this intake and it would be come easier. Which it has to an extent. I definitely can listen better to my body's signals about when I am full. But. I still get really hungry, especially in the afternoons. Keeping hydrated helps. Water is good but hot beverages are even better for quelling hunger. (my "loose" calorie counting allows for a teaspoon of sugar in my tea) I am looking forward to when the weight loss portion of this resolution is over. I am guessing when i get to maintenance I can up my calorie intake slightly which may make all the difference.

3 Things:
- losing 7lbs! (OK that was an easy one)
- A Healthy Newborn baby born to good friends in difficult circumstances
- No snow (at the moment anyway!)


Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

Good for you!! I definitely need to check out that site. It's time for me to lose weight for softball season. BTW, I'm sure subconsciously you remembered my post from two years ago:

stef said...

too funny Joe! I must have channeled it...

Anonymous said...

Sometimes staying within a certain calorie intake can be really difficult and SUK! However, it seems your pulling it off, good for you!!


Dad said...

I think you are totally to be commended. And you've hit on an aspect of this that I think was a key to your grandmother's success - not feeling deprived.

I believe she genuinely enjoyed her base diet and as you have acknowledged was never afraid to go out and enjoy herself because she knew that she would go back to her basic diet when she was done.

Pulisha said...

Tim is just ticked b/c I've cleaned up our pantry and he says there's nothing to eat (even though the kitchen is full of food!).

Another good low-cal, very filling snack is a bowl of soup. Make it with lots of veggies and a broth base and it's usually under 200cal and makes you feel really full.

Mike said...

Nice post. It sounds like you're off to an awesome start. I'm trying to lose some weight myself, and your dad pointed me in your direction. Your blog was actually really helpful. I may have to try it. :)

alexis said...

ah dieting, one of our favorite topics in girl-land! Actually, I think it is a really great thing you are doing this especially a I just read on the Economist last year was a record high for Americans getting obesity-related chronic ailments.

In fact I was a very hard-core calorie counter in secret for many years. I've stopped now, in Europe it's much easier to avoid overeating.