Oh boy, I gained a pound or so!
Well, if you’re ever blessed to hear a doctor say “DON’T lose any more weight!” you know that it can be hard to change habits again and put the brakes on weight loss.
OK, that’s not something everyone can reach, I understand.
But having lost over 40 pounds since first putting a Fitbit Flex on my wrist – which now feels naked without it – one year ago today, I know it was just the right motivator (along with a $ motivator by my employer – a lower insurance premium!) at the right time to get me to a better place, diet-wise. My wonderful wife Deb has lost over twice that much in far less time, and it’s been a blast.
We haven’t starved ourselves, by ANY means. We still go out to east – Applebee’s, Olive Garden and some local spots have worked on lower-calorie still-tasty items – but the No. 1 thing I’ve eaten over the past year? The sumptuous Flax4Life chocolate brownies at our new favorite food store, Natural Grocers. They are SO tasty, and satisfying in that chewy chocolatey way. You don’t need more than one!
Many a time I’ve walked or driven right past Burger King (yeah, I’ve had enough French fries for two lifetimes) to the Subway near the TV station, and I’ve also learned that every meal doesn’t have to be washed down by pop. Water is actually satisfying! (And without getting gross, eat one of those great brownies and have some water with it and it becomes… chocolate-flavored water! If you catch my drift;-)
I can’t say processed foods never make it past my lips – that’s not realistic for me, maybe it is for you. But while trendy Wendies may go for kale and edamame, I love returning to good ol’ romaine lettuce, lil tomatoes, low-fat yogurt-made dressing and also my favorite fruits — so now, blueberries with that banana on the Cheerios, grapes green and red, apples (yes, sliced in packs like the ones in lunchboxes for schoolkids who can’t handle a knife eet – so sue me;-)
But while my wife has been on the Medifast Take Shape for Life program, dietician-overseen at Bend Memorial Clinic — and loves that food, which you eat five times a day, along with one “lean and green” meal — we grocery-shop differently now. Sure, we still read for the calories and sugar and fat and sodium, etc. – but the crucial thing is … carb-protein balance. Check that out on the labels of your favorite foods – so many are WAY higher in carbs, and we’ve learned that’s the wrong way to do. So alas, a lot less bread and pasta – but again, not swearing off anything.
Atkins (and now Safeway, for example) have great low-carb, balanced frozen foods. I also like plenty of protein bars, which can be high-calorie and taste like a candy bar but are mostly balanced in that crucial carb-protein element.
Oh, and twice a day, I take a walk down, then back up the block in my neighborhood. It may only be about 10 minutes each, and the overgrown weed-infested lot near me (grrrr) still grates, as do the barking dogs behind the half-height fence that jump up and say, um, ‘hi’ – but through a year of walking, sometimes accompanied by music via Spotify (I didn’t realize how many of my favorite songs are so fast-tempoed!) – not by earbuds but my phone in my shirt pocket, volume just right to not blast the neighborhood but envelop my ears — I know I’ve found a good break, a lovely sight, sound and smells respite for a racing brain of a lifelong reporter who rides the tide of the daily news, often feels chained to the keyboard and is never, ever caught up.
The rhythm of the seasons is nice – from warm to cold to warm then hot again, the Big Dipper and the smoke (!) and the threatening storm clouds – it’s not exactly a wilderness area, but just getting outside regularly helps. You probably already knew that.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention My Fitness Pal, the great free smartphone app we both use to track everything we at – food logs used to be such a chore, but these things have a huge database of recipes, prepared food and restaurant items. It syncs with the Fitbit, as many such apps do, and if you get more steps in, you can eat a bit more;-)I don’t hit 10,000 steps a day – the goal — all the time, but easily top 5,000 a day just doing typical stuff.
And if you don’t find a good match for your meal, you can always add the recipe’s or food item’s numbers in yourself. It has a bar-code scanner that lets you beep the box of the, say, frozen dinner, and if you have pretty much the same thing each day for breakfast, you can copy one day’s meal to the next and tweak it.
I have a feeling I’ll be logging my food for the rest of my life – if only to slow me down when eating and let the ol’ hypothalamus catch up with my mouth:-)
One of the most fun things for Deb and me has been “shopping in our closet” (okay, buying new clothes too) and fitting into smaller clothes – the smallest for me probably since high school. And to hear folks say we look great. And to feel better – sharper, more focused … (if not more caught up/less stressed:-)
And to have to buy a smaller belt!
I’m definitely thinner and somewhat fitter, but … we still have a ways to go in that regard. Nevertheless, I’m so glad my employer opened the door by providing us the Fitbits (and a financial incentive to use them), and that we’ve taken advantage of them to fix our “fuel mixture.” My doctor says all my numbers are better, and I sure can take the steps faster than I used to (there are benefits to a two-story house!;-)
You’ve probably heard many go “If I can do it, so can you!” And you can. It doesn’t take saying no to tasty food, or killing yourself with sit-ups — just adjusting the makeup of your food menu and finding new things to enjoy (tonight, a zucchini pizza casserole! Finding great recipes with more protein than carbs is fun!)
I often say there are 1,000s of ways to eat right, and 1,000s of ways to eat wrong – you just have to find what works for you on the right side of that line. And proof that God has a sense of humor is where I lost weight at first – the part of the body one sits on. So chairs aren’t as comfortable, as if to say “Get up! Get moving!”
I get the message…