Monthly Archives: March 2013

Maintenance = Constant Vigilance

126.6 this morning. Yay!

It’s strange to be somewhat happy about the scale going up… I’ve never had that happen in my life until today.

What is frightening to me, though, is how quickly the weight came back. It took only a few days of unrestricted eating to gain 3 pounds. It was definitely necessary; my jeans fit well again, and I’m pleased with that. But a “normal person” probably wouldn’t have seen such a large jump on the scale.

But it was a good reminder of just how much attention this weight maintenance thing takes for someone who used to be morbidly obese.

I read somewhere that maintaining a significant weight loss is basically like having a part-time job. You need to put a lot more effort into meal planning, thinking about food, exercise, and cooking than “normal people” generally do.

I don’t think it’s quite like that, but it does take a LOT of effort and forethought. I need to have a snack with me at all times so I don’t get caught hangry (hungry + angry) and without access to something healthy. I spend a lot of time cooking (but it’s something I enjoy – you could certainly do weight maintenance without as much cooking as I do.) I prefer to know what’s going in my food and what’s in my body.

Weight maintenance requires constant vigilance. Period, the end. I can’t “splurge” on ice cream (nor do I want to do so at this point). I can’t say “oh, it’s one bad day, I’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow.” No. That’s not how it works for me.

But it’s okay and it’s worth it, and the efforts I’ve put in to nourishing my body with good food and exercise have paid off tenfold.


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Dealing with Loose Skin

I’ve had some friends who know about my substantial weight loss (~135-7 pounds, depending on the day) ask about my loose skin. The Internet has some pretty crazy pictures of folks with tremendous amounts of loose skin, so I thought I would write a post to clear up general misconceptions.

Here is what I have said: If you are getting started with weight loss and worried about loose skin – DON’T be afraid of it. Yes, your skin will have lost some elasticity. But I promise that it is not that bad. You can likely predict where you’ll get loose skin just based on how your weight is distributed. I have a fair amount on my lower stomach and quite a bit on my thighs.

And in clothes – it looks just fine. You can’t tell at all. I have a bit on my arms but it’s not enough to keep me from wearing short sleeves (although I do prefer half sleeves to cover the stretch marks on my upper arms.) Even with the loose skin I have, there isn’t a single day where I wake up and see the loose skin on my thighs and think, “Darn, I wish I’d kept the weight on.”

I have read that losing weight slowly keeps loose skin away, and I’m not sure if that’s true. I lost all my weight in about 19 months, with the first hundred pounds taking about 10 or 11 months. From what I understand, that’s pretty fast, and I don’t regret it. Interestingly, the loose skin didn’t get to be a problem until I was about 140 pounds – that’s when I really started noticing it. But I seem to have less loose skin now at 124ish than I did at 140… I have no idea why that is.

In the end, everyone is different and everyone has different priorities. And that’s fine. But in general, the prospect of loose skin isn’t much to fear, at least in my experience.

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123.6 this morning.

What the heck?! I am thinking I might need to up my calories a bit. MFP gives me 1790 calories per day but I’ve been eating closer to 1900. I want my clothes to fit… I’m now squarely in a size 26 and so my $200 size 27 jeans don’t fit.

I guess the lesson here is… don’t buy $200 jeans.

And I never do. But I always said that, when I hit my goal weight of 135, I would get a pair of designer jeans. And so I did! … and then I lost 12 more pounds, apparently. I might try to consign them if they don’t fit in six months. A size 26 looks good on me. It’s comfortable for me and seems to work well with my frame. So we’ll see how it works. I wouldn’t mind staying this size, but I would mind gaining a few pounds either.

Had a spinach shake with chocolate PB2 this morning for breakfast & two hard-boiled eggs for a snack. It’s looking like a good day!

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Maintenance Days

124.8 this morning. Unexpected because my eating has been a little bit off due to long workdays this week – but I’ll take it and gladly hop back on the clean eats train.

I keep seeing posts on “healthy living” blogs that allege that one can fit in *anything* – even fast food and huge binges – into a well-balanced diet. I tend to disagree. Perhaps those folks have figured out something that I haven’t, but if I have a splurge day or cheat meal, it always spirals into something bad. This isn’t a diet – it’s my life – and I would rather treat my body well by nourishing it with good, real foods. We don’t strive for moderation with things that are toxic – and as so many of these fast food items are indeed toxic, I don’t think that it’s wise to try to fit them into a weight loss or weight maintenance plan.

Just my opinion. Off my soapbox now. 🙂

Breakfasts have been green smoothies (no surprise there), followed by a mid-morning snack of 2 hard-boiled eggs or a banana.

Lunches have been the same as always: 5 cups of baby greens (I am loving arugula), 1/2 – 3/4 cup of chickpeas, 1 oz blue cheese, some shelled edamame, and 1/2 an oz of walnuts (about 7 halves, chopped up.) I top this delicious feast with 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing. It’s about 500 calories and is a great combination of carbs, protein, and fat.

Maintenance is a strange beast. It’s odd to transition from wanting the scale to go down to wanting it to stay the same or within a range. My first reaction when I get on the scale and see it’s the same as the day before is always “oh, darn, I wish I’d lost” – and then I remember that I’m not supposed to be losing any more. Given that this is the first time in my life I’m truly happy with my weight, I bet it will take a little while to get used to the feeling of being happy when the scale stays the same.

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Too Much, Too Soon

125.6 today, 124.6 yesterday. Not bad, but I definitely don’t need to go lower than 125, so I’ll start adding a few extra calories in and see how that works out. 128 feels too high, but 124 feels too low. I wish I could be one of those people who judges things by how my clothes fit, but that’s never worked for me in the past. Even if the numbers aren’t wholly accurate, counting calories and food-journaling works for me.

Tried walking a little bit two days ago – it was only 1/2 a mile and it really made the fracture hurt. Ouch. But – I was released for swimming – so I can hopefully get back to some cardio soon. This means, though, that I’ll be inflicting my pasty loose skin on the world – yikes! Maybe I’ll go really early in the morning…

I’m increasingly convinced that a green smoothie a day perks me up better than anything else. There’s no better breakfast, and there’s something extremely satisfying in getting in all of my recommended veggie servings for the day before 8 am! (Of course, I eat more vegetables throughout the day… that goes without saying.)

Hope everyone is having a great week!

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Vegetables, Eggs, and Back to 126

Haven’t updated for a few days – life’s been busy, but I haven’t fallen off the wagon or anything like that. The small gain earlier this week proved a “real” one, so I focused on getting that weight off. Success.

Veggies & eggs awesome, and the best things ever to eat for weight loss/maintenance. After two days of being really intentional about consuming vegetables, I feel so refreshed and ready to take on the world. Green smoothies generally have that effect on me. 🙂

In the past week… I’ve swapped out my protein powder for PB2 in my green smoothies. It saves me 100 calories & actually tastes much better. The flavor is stronger (and it’s one that I like.) I also decided to try hard-boiling eggs for the first time ever. They turned out great! 2 hard-boiled eggs have as much protein as a store-bought “protein bar” that’s chock-full of all kinds of icky stuff, and they keep me full for much longer. I may or may not have eaten seven yesterday…. (three for breakfast, two for a mid-afternoon snack, and two to hold me over before dinner.)

Weighed in today at 126.6, down from 128.2. It feels good to be back in the middle of my maintenance zone rather than at the high end. My husband was telling me that 128 is fine – yes, of course, but I don’t want 2 lbs to turn into 20. And I know from experience how quickly it can. 126 looks and feels much better on me than 128.

Hope everyone is having a great Friday!


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“Real” food.

Scale was up a bit this morning to 128. I’ll give it a day to see if it was a “real” gain or a water weight fluctuation; I tend to think it was the latter because it was kind of random and didn’t comport with my calories. We’ll see.

I’ve been thinking lately about real food: what it is and why it’s better than “fake” food. When I started losing weight, I was the queen of Lean Cuisines, Lean Pockets, and Smart Ones. Convenience foods ruled the day. And that worked – for a while. But at what cost? In retrospect, I so regret putting all those chemicals and preservatives into my body. Moreover, microwave meals are often very heavy on simple carbs. A Lean Cuisine, for example, might have a few bites of chicken, a smattering of veggies, and a cup of white rice. For someone like me, who’s prone to blood sugar issues and insulin resistance, that’s not a good combination!

I now believe that Smart Ones aren’t so smart in the long term. Microwave meals are fine in a pinch, but they don’t teach you anything about how to prepare good, nourishing food.

It was really when I hit around 155 pounds that I started to look hard at the sources of my food and what I was putting into my body. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: I lost weight because I love my body and I want to feed it well. This means cutting down on processed food (or, ideally, cutting it out altogether), opting for the cage-free eggs, choosing local, humanely-raised meats, and picking berries over 100-calorie packs. It means spending a few extra minutes to prepare meals, thinking ahead, and getting creative about using what’s in our pantry.

We got carry-out on Friday and it reminded me of why I prefer to avoid eating out if possible. It’s not a treat – 95% of the time, I just get irritated because I could make a better, much healthier version of whatever we’re eating at home, for 1/4 of the cost. And I LOVE to cook, so I enjoy spending time in the kitchen. Sure, the food tasted OK, but I have no idea where the meat came from or what was in the sauces. The cooks had obviously used copious amounts of high-sodium seasoning; although I didn’t even eat that much, I felt bloated and pretty gross.

So yesterday, I got back to basics. I got a chicken out of the freezer, cleaned it out (yuck…), and put it in the crockpot with some light seasoning. I cooked it on low for about 6 hours. When it was done, I stuck it under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up the skin. The carcass went back in the crockpot overnight with water and carrots for broth, which I’ll use later this week to cook quinoa. And I felt good about serving my family dinner that night.

The lesson here, for me, is a simple one: real food nourishes, body and soul.

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