This might be kind of long and maybe boring?, grab a snack.
Also I talk freely about my weight (in numbers) because NOT ASHAMED.
I ‘m going into my fourth week of My Fitness Pal. When I first started out, I had no idea what I weighed. The last place I lived with a scale was my parents’ house. I can sit here and toot my own horn about body acceptance, but it was basically that A) I didn’t want to pay money for one, and B) I didn’t want to know what it said. So I occasionally weighed myself at my parents’ when I remembered. At my heaviest in the past few years, I have weighed around 160. It’s funny because I remember being 135 at some point in high school and thinking to myself, ‘That’s not great, but you can keep yourself from getting any higher than 140’. And now this.
But when I started MFP, my most recent weight (taken a month earlier) had been somewhere around 154. I think my week of pure nausea from the hive meds and surviving solely on crackers and water funked with my weight a little bit. Anyway, my first week of MFP was mostly trying not to freak out over how much I used to eat (and couldn’t eat now) and getting used to tracking my calories. The Friday of my first week was the first test: we had a gift card for TGIFriday’s and decided to use it (HEY — we ate no meat the day before).
I was very nervous about eating out, because I knew there was probably nothing I could eat with my leftover calories for the day. Usually when we go to TGIFriday’s (rarely, but still) I would get a Jack Daniel’s burger because YUM! But I just knew that was probably an entire day’s worth in one bite, ha. So I scanned the menu for an ‘eating lightly’ section, but there wasn’t (thanks). So I started punching in a couple of things I was thinking about into the MFP and it helped me figure out that a cobb salad without dressing was my best bet. Was it a Jack Daniel’s burger? No, but it was delicious (I don’t think it needed dressing, I used the avocado) and I didn’t feel like I was going to explode from stuffing myself when I was done.
Is it always that easy? No. I feel like there are days where I’m hovering between ‘EAT EVERYTHING, FUCK COUNTING!’ and ‘Oh, this is enough.’ I have days where I just stand in the kitchen, looking at all the food, and wanting to just stuff my face with delicious food. I had a few days where I went over and once was actually a mistake — I grossly miscalculated White Castle’s nutrition menu and ended up 200 over. We also went out Good Friday for dinner because accreditation (and my boss) was stressing me out majorly and I just needed a drink. I saved the burger and went no meat for Friday, but totally blew my Saturday count because I underestimated that a burger with one slice of cheese and one slice of avocado was over 1,000 calories.
But IT’S OKAY. Because as I said in my last post, I’m not calorie counting stressing. I’m aware, but I’m not like, ‘Only celery because of the calories!!’
Here’s how I keep myself full but good on calories. I have a fiber bar every morning that’s 130 calories, and usually on the weekends I go beyond that, but I’m working with trial and error on how I can scale back on the weekends. Lunch I try to stay between 350 and 500 calories. I must have a good amount of calories because it has to last me from 11 to 5:30 or 6. I have had everything from leftovers to a variety of snack items for lunch. I try to mix it up for lunch because breakfast is standard. For dinner, I use up most of the leftover calories. The measuring cup is my new friend, keeping me on track because my estimation skills are abysmal. I also love how MFP has a barcode scan feature, so I can scan items as I’m prepping instead of trying to search for/add everything up at the end (which I was doing at first and it was annoying).
There are days where it’s beautiful out and I want to grab Husband and say, ‘Let’s go out to eat! Let’s go sit out on a patio and eat greasy burgers!’ It’s an effort, but I have to remind myself that, for right now, there is nothing on those menus for me. I basically have this conversation with myself over and over the entire walk home.
Here’s how I add some semblance of exercise to my tracker. I am blessed to not have a car and so am forced into walking twice a day, five days a week. There really is no greater motivation to start walking than the fact that it’s the only way you’ll get to work/home. It’s only 20 minutes each way for the buses (I tracked it using a pedometer, $10 at Target), so 40 minutes a day isn’t too crazy. But now that the weather is (slowly) warming, I like to skip my second bus in the afternoon and it adds another 20 minutes. I’ve done it twice this week and it works. On the weekends I try to get some sort of walking in, either from going somewhere (mall, zoo) or talking a walk around the neighborhood. If it doesn’t fit in, fine, I just watch my intake. I keep thinking that I want to add more exercise in there somehow, but I’m not pushing myself because this is all very low key, low stress.
What I do not do in regards to calorie counting is skip a meal. First of all, I really cannot do that with my job. It makes me super cranky and it’s very hard to function, especially because my body is used to food at certain times of the day. Also, part of the reason I started this was because I knew I was eating too much and I wanted to track so I could learn about portion sizes. Skipping meals so I can binge later is something I used to do about four or so years ago, and I never felt good about it, plus I didn’t think it helped me at all. If I do skip a meal, it’s usually on the weekends where I’m not as active and not as hungry, but I’m trying not to make that a habit either.
What about holidays? First of all, let me state that I don’t know how long I’m going to do this program. I’m not limiting my time, but I’m not committing myself to a lifetime membership either. So as I go on with the program, I’ll take each holiday as they come. Easter was a fairly easy decision for me. We were going to brunch, just the two of us, at an excellent local restaurant by us, and then for dinner we were going to my grandma’s and my aunt’s for dessert. I didn’t know until I woke up that morning how I was going to ‘handle’ calorie counting for the day, until I just decided, you know what? I don’t really feel like tabulating a million things and pulling out my phone at other people’s houses. Plus we were paying GOOD MONEY for this brunch buffet! So I ate what I wanted, within reason. I ate lots of fruit at brunch, and I made sure half my plate was a salad at my grandma’s. But I had two desserts at my aunt’s, hee! We also went to Lincoln Park Zoo and so I got in some exercise there. I didn’t stuff myself, and I felt comfortable with my choices, and it was fine. I recommend no guilt, it is nice.
What else? Well, how public am I about MFP? Not very much at all. Only three people know that I’m on it — Husband, my one sister, and the cook at work. I tend to put insane amounts of pressure on myself the more ‘HEY, LOOK AT ME!’ I am about things, so I’m keeping my mouth shut. Plus I already have way too many people on Facebook who enjoy excessively screaming ‘I AM AMAZING BECAUSE I WENT TO THE GYM TODAY!’, so I don’t want to be one of those obnoxious people. It was actually kind of funny because my one cousin is on MFP with me, and when I saw her on Easter I thought she’d say something to me about it, because she’s very encouraging to me on the site, but she didn’t say anything, so I kind of felt like we were in fight club together. Ha ha.
How about some results? Can I just say something first? My daily calorie goal is 1200 calories. I think I used to eat over half that in one lunch sitting. I think about when I dating Husband, working at the daycare, eating the school food plus Wendy’s for lunch plus a variety of fast food (Taco Bell/Burger King/Jimmy John’s) for dinner, two 24 oz Mountain Dews during the day, and thinking to myself ‘Well I had a salad instead of fries so it’s okay’. I am really extremely lucky that my metabolism was in good shape because I feel like that diet should’ve equaled me weighing 200 lbs. And maybe dead of a heart attack. I also don’t know how I was that rich to afford all that every day. My point is that my greatest gain from MFP is that I can eat 500 calories and everything will be all right. In fact, it will be surprisingly satisfying and I won’t want any more food (just maybe one Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg, which I am almost out of, and it makes me sad).
That’s very sweet. Results? Okay so I started off MFP with a shaky guess of 152 on March 18th. Then on March 25th I was down to 145.4. I call faulty estimation on my part, plus water weight loss. So that’s a down of 6.6 lbs. When I weighed myself on April 1st, I was still 145.4, which is fine, because White Castle, the shifty avocado burger, and Easter threw things off a little. I weigh myself whenever I want, FYI, just to see a number in the 140s, which hasn’t happened since maybe college, if I’m generous with myself. I weigh myself in boredom, after bathroom business, before/after showers, and to jump start my mornings. I think it’s a ‘new cute zebra scale’ phase. But I don’t count it ‘official’ unless it’s a Monday. Today, April 8th, I weigh 143.2. So I’m about 3 pounds away from my first goal. Not bad for a month, I think!
I write candidly and honestly about this because I believe eating should be candid. It should not be a fearful and depressing activity, nor should it be a stuff to the brim activity. I will never be ashamed of putting mayo on a sandwich, I will never be ashamed of my weight, I will never be ashamed that I have to track numbers to get myself to eat correct portions. I participate in MFP for help on portion control. So far it is helping me understand the problem was not always what I was eating so much as how much of it I was eating. As long as I am doing MFP, I will update every couple of weeks, but probably not in much detail as this.