Celebrating Independence

In the last couple of weeks, some major events worthy of celebration hit the news.

  1. The US marked its 235th birthday. Many thanks to the small group of wig-wearing white guys who adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. I’m glad we eventually lost the wigs, but I wish we’d kept the Brits’ accent.
  2. Notorious Boston gangster, James “Whitey” Bulger, and his loyal girlfriend,  Catherine Greig, were captured in sunny California. Whitey eluded capture for 16 years. He spent 12 of those years on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, but now he’s back in Beantown facing numerous serious criminal charges. So, Whitey lost his independence.
  3. I, on the other hand, declared my independence from unhealthy eating. My daily diet underwent an incredible transformation.

Of the three events, I believe my healthy lifestyle change is the most miraculous.

Think Before You Eat

All my life, I’ve been an incredibly thoughtless eater. Don’t get me wrong. I thought about food all the time…

What can I eat now? When is the next meal? What do I have to look forward to in tomorrow’s meals? And the next day’s?

On and on it went – a vicious cycle of me obsessing about food. It continued until June 17th. 2011.

On that sunny June day, Dr. Piotrowski gave me a basic food plan for an 1,800 calorie per day diet. I scanned the plan and saw MANY fruits and vegetables of the list of daily foods. I mentioned that it looked like a lot of food.

Stupid of me. What was I thinking? It’s not like she was going to reduce the fruit and vegetable quota, so I could eat more of what I really wanted. Instead, she provided a 1,500-calorie per day food plan. Fewer calories. Same proportion of fruits and veggies. [sigh]

She told me to start with the 1,800 cal plan and suggested I migrate to the 1,500 version if 1,800 proved too much.

On June 20th, I became a fanatically thoughtful eater.  Now, I plan all my meals. I weigh. I measure. I read every nutrition label. Every single morsel that passes through my mouth is logged.

Vegetables. Fruit. And More Vegetables.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I ate more produce in the first two weeks than I have in the last two years.

Meals seemed endless. Eating the protein was easy, but then I would slog through 2-3 servings of vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruit. That’s 3-5 servings of fruit and veggies in one meal!

I was exhausted…staring vacantly into space as I dutifully ate more tomatoes, cauliflower, apples, etc. to meet my goal of 9 servings per day. You read that right. Nine per day!

It’s not that I don’t like fruit and vegetables. I do. I really do. I just never ate as much as you’re supposed to.

It was shock to my system…literally! My digestive system took about a week to adjust. In the first week, my stomach was a little unruly. I think my body wondered what the hell was going on. My grumpy stomach was complaining (“Yuck! What I am I supposed to do with all this foreign stuff?”), but my brain helped me remain strong and on track.

Fortunately, week two was easier. I mastered the food plan, got into a bit of a routine with eating the fields of veggies and fruits, and was a much more efficient meal planner/logger. Physically, I also felt much better.

I puttered along until my next appointment with the doc on June 30.

Baby Steps = Progress

I won’t bury the lede on how my check-in appointment with Dr. Piotrowski went. Here are the highlights:

Good News:

  • Weight Lost: 9 pounds (not bad for 9 days on the plan)
  • Happy Doctor: Doc was very pleased with my progress on both the eating and weight loss fronts. The results met her expectations.

Not As Good News:

  • Calories Lost: My daily calorie intake was closer to 1,500 than 1,800 and I didn’t appear to be starving. This prompted the doc to change my daily calorie range from 1,500-1,800 to 1,400-1,700.  [harumph]
  • Carbs Stolen: The doc decided my daily carb range was too high. She reduced it to 120-200grams. This was momentarily distressing. I wasn’t overindulging. I stayed on target with the original goals. Now, I have much fewer to play with. It has been a rough adjustment, cuz I love me some carbs. Doubly tough because fruits and vegetables have carbs. I’m still recovering from the trauma of discovering that celery has carbs (WTH!?! I can’t get a break.).
  • Protein Increased: Really? More protein? 100-200 grams of protein seems like a lot, especially since I have to avoid proteins with carbs. Challenging…very challenging.
  • ID Borrowing: I was amused that Dr. Piotrowski asked for my log in and password to my SparkPeople account to change all my nutrient goal ranges herself. Kinda cheeky, if ya ask me…like she didn’t believe I would drop my carb numbers. On second thought, it was probably pretty smart of her. Shouldn’t trust a food addict who’s always looking for her next carb fix! Guess I’ll chalk this up to her being extra efficient. Or, providing above and beyond technical assistance with my food logging mechanism. [grin]

Ongoing Challenges:

  • Eat Breakfast: I know. I know. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. My brain understands that. However, my body doesn’t. I don’t usually deal with food until I’ve been up for a while. I ate breakfast a couple of times. Here’s  photographic evidence of one breakfast. 

Even Clancy thinks I should eat breakfast, especially if it means she can “help”.

Frankly, I’m pretty sure I’m still sleep walking for approx. 90 mins after I stumble out of bed. Turns out, this isn’t good for my metabolism. Apparently, even if my brain isn’t fully functional, my body still needs fuel (aka protein). New Rule => Eat some protein w/in 1 hr of waking up.

  • Get Active: I focused on getting my food under control the first couple of weeks, but now I increase my activity level. I have to move. Get up. Put one foot in front of the other. Walk around. Skip around. Wave my arms in the air. New Rule => Stand up and move! Start with a little bit of time – even 5 mins. Then, increase to 6, 7, 8, etc…until I’m achieving the goal of 10K steps per day (approx 5 miles) or 20-30 mins of activity.
  • Eat More Frequently: Interval eating is key to helping my metabolism operate more efficiently. New Rule => Eat smaller meals more frequently.

Follow the Rules of the Weight Loss Road!

Over the last few days, I focused on adjusting my eating habits to comply with my new daily nutrient goals. I was pretty frustrated for the first day or so, but I got over it.

I was also a little tired and busy, so was much later getting this thing posted than I planned. I promise to be more diligent/prompt going forward (another goal to meet!).

Ever Forward, My Friends! On to the Next Challenge!

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About Barbara

Married to Greg, the nicest Greek man in the world. No kids - just two hyperactive Maine Coon cats - Griffin and Harper. Independent consultant. News and political junkie. Diehard social progressive. Movie lover. Book reader. Blog writer. Overweight. Underpaid. Open-minded about everything except closed-minded folks. Occasionally witty. Sometimes wise. Always wise-ass.
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2 Responses to Celebrating Independence

  1. Nicole says:

    So, how have you been preparing the fruit and veg? That’s always a big challenge for me. I like it and mean to eat it, but after a while, don’t feel like I can face another plain piece of fruit with equanimity.

    • Barbara says:

      Nicole – I have a little blog post I’m putting together that shares some simple ways I’m eating all those veggies and fruits without getting too bored. Stay tuned!

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