Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How I Lost The Weight: Part II

Before I begin this post, I'd just like to say that Brandon has made LIFETIME! That's right folks, he maintained his goal weight for Six Weeks and is now a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers!! What does that mean? Well, it means he can go to as many meetings as he wants, weigh in every week, use the online tools, etc. and not pay a dime. He only has to stay within 2 pounds of his goal weight (for the rest of his life) and weigh in once a month to keep this Lifetime membership. I think that's a fab incentive, don't you?

So, the desire is there. You are fat, or unhealthy, or fat and unhealthy, and you know you need to do something! Like some of you said on Part I, getting the desire takes time! And sometimes, you know you are serious about it, but it still takes a couple of months before you can psyche yourself up for the plunge. Believe you me --I know this. It always took me months (or years) before I just did it. And this is the second time I got serious about it. And I have no doubt I may have to get serious about it for the rest of my life. Because you know where I end up when I'm not serious about it? Here. In the Before picture. Obviously, because if I could look like the After picture without any effort, then why would I need to be serious about it?

Okay, Desire is done. Now, how in the world do you start? Most people would tell you that exercise is the place to start. I would disagree with them.

[We Interrupt this blog post to warn you that everything Cheryl says is her own opinion and should never, ever, ever take the place of your own personal physician-person. This is because if you do what she says, fail, and then want to sue her, she will have all her bases covered. Thank you. Now back to the previously scheduled blog post...]

I would disagree with them because exercise is the easy part. No! Seriously! Stop laughing! It is! Exercising is the easy part! I promise you that it is...It's the eating that is hard. Think about it for a minute. Let's say you start walking with a friend each day for 30 minutes. How hard is it to walk with a good friend each day? Don't you look forward to the conversation? The fresh air? Okay, now let's think about that plate of brownies. Or cookies. Or loaf of homemade bread with butter. How hard is it to say no to a second slice? Or cookie? Or brownie? Huh???

Exercise, my friend, is the easy part.
But we don't start with easy with Cheryl. We start the hard way, because once the hard way becomes easy, then it's no longer hard, and how in the world can anyone argue with that amazingly intelligent logic?! I know, I know. You can be amazed now.

Okay, but seriously, let's talk food. Because food is important. We already established that our bodies have to have food to survive. We need food to be alive, right? But our bodies don't need too much food, nor too little food. They need the right amounts of food. They need calories, carbs, fats, salts, sugars, vitamins, minerals, and lots of water. The trick is to give our bodies the correct amounts of all of those things. And besides majoring in dietetics, or calculus (to count all those calories), or English (to read the food labels), how does one figure out what to eat?? It's so confusing! So much food! So little time to read, count, and major in Dietetics (good for you, Julie, btw, for doing so!).

How did I do it? I joined Weight Watchers. Honest, I know, you're gonna be sick of hearing about WW before you're done reading these weight loss posts. But that's what I did, and you asked me what I did, did you not? You did. Anyway, I joined WW and they taught me how to figure out what was good for me. Without infringing on any copyright laws, here's the gist of what I learned:
Each day, your body needs 6 glasses of water. You need 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. You need 2 dairy servings (unless you are nursing, then make it 3!), and you need 2 servings of oil (1). Please notice no mention of meat, although it's obvious you need proteins of a varying kid. You also need to keep to the limit of what your body needs, food-wise. You've all heard of the points, right? Yeah, well, the points rock. Why do they rock? Because they take out the guess-work and calculus. For example, while I was nursing #4, I got to eat around 38 points a day. This was because I was nursing, I was a woman, I was on my feet a lot of the day (being a mom), and I was fat. Now, however, I only get 24 points a day. This is because I no longer nurse and I'm no longer fat. The happy news, though, is that you get 35 extra points for the entire week! So, if you have one big meal out on Friday? Use the 35 points for that and you'll still lose weight. Or, distribute them throughout the week (giving me 28 points a day), and you'll still lose weight. I like these points because it's easy to figure out what to eat. Of course, if you don't like to count anything, you could just do the WW Core program. That is just a huge list of food you can eat; but you have to teach yourself to understand your hunger signals and be careful of portions. Some people rock at this. I am not one of those people. If I wasn't limited as to number, I would eat the whole plate. And the table. I need me some points!

Some of you (like bythelbs) wanted details. Like, what do I eat? How does it work? What do I actually do each day? Well, dear reader people, you're gonna have to wait for the next post. I know! I'm so mean! But we have to get some housecleaning out of the way first. Remember what I said about education? Well, consider this the prep course. You can't skip the prep course and go straight to advanced! I know you're smart, but sheesh! You're not that smart. (Cue the nervous laughter).

Okay, so to begin thinking about food, you need to replace what you have with good stuff. See, here's the kicker: You cannot have crap in your house. My main mantra during these last nine months was this:
"If it's not in your house, then it won't go in your mouth."
So true! Let's say you have potato chips in your home. And cookies. And crackers. And fruit snacks. "They're for the kids!" you justify to yourself. But who eats them when the kids aren't looking? Who eats the rest of the brownies? The cookies? The cake? Who sneaks the candy? The chips? The crackers? Yeah, you know who --YOU! So, stop fooling yourself! Here's what I did to stop eating all that junk food:
I threw it away.
I'm not kidding. Throw. It. Away. If you feel really bad for wasting it, take it to a local food bank. Or give it to the neighbors. Or the dog. I don't care who, but just get rid of it!! And then here's the next step:
Don't buy any more.
I'm still not kidding. Don't buy it. Don't even look at it. If you buy it, you will eat it. If YOU BUY IT, YOU WILL EAT IT! And who's gonna be happy about that? Hmmm? Your thighs? I don't think so. It's gonna be Joe Schmoe down at Corporate Food Place laughing with glee that America keeps getting fatter and spending money on his products. Honest-to-goodness, you don't have to buy junk. You may think you need to, but you don't. And your budget will actually thank you for it, too!
"But, Cheryl!" you whine, "what did you replace the junk with? What am I supposed to buy? How do I do this?!" It's actually not as hard as it sounds. Here's what I did:

I began by replacing all breads and pastas with 100% whole wheat products. Whole wheat tortillas. Whole wheat bread. Whole wheat pastas. And no, not the "whole grain" kind --100% whole wheat. My kids didn't react well at first, but they soon developed a taste for them, since they didn't have a choice! (cue the evil laughter). In fact, they don't really remember the white stuff. I think.
I also started buying more fruit and veggies. Fresh, frozen, and canned. Mostly fresh and frozen, though. Apples, bananas, and mandarin oranges are always in our home. On the counter. Carrots, broccoli, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, bagged salad, and onions are always in our fridge, and we use them almost daily. I refuse to let them go bad (like we all do, right? Yeah, I know we do!) and think of ways to incorporate them. Frozen peas, beans, and a variety of vegetable blends grace my freezer. Frozen fruit, too, for smoothies (which happen rarely around here, unfortunately) and baking (yeah, so the fruit stays frozen a lot. I'm no Martha!). I've also switched all our dairies. Skim or 1% milk for all of us (except #4 gets whole milk), light cheeses (sometimes regular shredded for the kids), fat free sour cream, fat free dressings, fat free cream cheese (when I use it), and light or fat free yogurts. Okay, yeah, I get go-gurt for the kiddies. But I don't really like those, so it's not a big deal.
Our snacks have changed a lot, too. I refuse to buy fruit snacks now. It's just sugar that looks like fruit. Even if it has fruit juice in it, it's still sugar. My kids snack on these things (what I have in the pantry right now): graham crackers, ritz crackers (those are mostly for #4), Quaker chewy granola bars, Crisps dehydrated fruit, Goldfish crackers (I'm a sucker, still!), and Craisins. If the kids want a snack, they can choose any of these things, apples, bananas, oranges, or string cheese.
Brandon hates to just drink water for the sake of drinking water, so the one area we do splurge on is Crystal Lite. It's 0 points and still gives us our water! And tastes yummers.
For desserts? We don't really have many. In fact, if a cookie, brownie, or cake enters our home it's because A. someone had a birthday, or B. someone else gave them to us. Seriously, we don't eat the sweets. Why? Because I will inhale them. Why? Hello?! Didn't you listen? I have no self-control! And if it's in the's in my mouth! But we do have fat free ice-cream or fat free frozen yogurt with fat free whipped topping every night. Every. Night. And we still lost weight, you know. Obviously. :)

That's all for now. I will get into more details about what I eat each day (specifics) in the next weight loss post. Also, look for one about Exercising! And learning to say No!

Okay, your turn. What small changes have you made in your grocery purchases to help you on your way to successful weight loss?


Amanda said...

I haven't had success in weight loss (yet!) but I have made small changes that I think make a difference. I buy (or make) whole-wheat bread, fiber + pasta, and Protein Plus Special K for my breakfast (100cal, 3 fat, 5 fiber - and it's good!)

For me though, I am just in the habit of eating. I'm in the habit of once the kids are in bed breaking out the snacks and eating. I've got to break this habit. Like you said, I am just getting myself ready to jump in and get it done.

Julie said...

Some of our habits: all whole wheat breads. Period. My kids hardly even know about white bread. And the pasta pretty much tastes the same.
Never ever fruit snacks (except Stake Conference -- 2 hours? You bet they're getting fruit snacks!). It helps that dad's a pediatric dentist and tells them fruit snacks are the devil.
Fruits and vegetables at every meal/snack.
No sugar added peanut butter. My kids love it and it makes for a healthy lunch when spread on whole-wheat bread with low-sugar jam. A true indulgence of the healthy variety.

Julie said...

Oh, and just because I majored in Nutrition doesn't mean I graduated! I didn't! So hold the applause, I'm just a drop-out who still has a love for the subject.

Anonymous said...

I now only buy Cheetos when my daughter asks me to. Does that count?

The Wiz said...

"But we do have fat free ice-cream or fat free frozen yogurt with fat free whipped topping every night. Every. Night."

I can't think of anything less appealing. Those taste just so disgusting to me.

Congrats on the weight loss, and I'm glad SOMEBODY can stand the fat free stuff.

Lizzie said...

Hey Cheryl, some people LOVE calorie counting, like me! But that's just how I am, I have to be super uber-obsessed with a project or I don't do it at all. Checking labels and calculating portion sizes and adding up calories and fat intake gave me the sense of extreme-control that I thrive on. Plus, after a while you start to memorize the numbers and you can instantly calculate your meal in your head without checking or adding up the numbers. But I'm sure that happened with points as well.

I stopped buying so many processed and prepackaged items. It was easier because I already didn't feed them to Lexi, I made sure she was super nutritious. It was ME who had the bad diet. Like you said, it's all about fresh fruits and veggies and non-fat dairy. Plus, the other HUGE thing for us became brown rice. It was our side dish at every meal. It took a little bit of time to get used to the blah taste, especially when you're used to packaged rice and pasta that's full of fat and sodium, but once we did, we found it was delicious if you added the tiniest bit of cajun seasoning, or lemon, or parmesean cheese, etc. It's SOOOOO low in calories, it's not even funny, and because it's whole grain, a small amount fills you up and keeps you full for a long time. Uncle Ben's Quick Brown Rice was the best brand. Cooks in 15 minutes, perfect for every meal.

Cheryl said...

Ah, Wiz, but you just stumbled upon what I'm gonna talk about next: The change in palate. Too many people give up after the first or second try, but I promise you (and I'll elaborate later) that your palate will change. I know this because I was quite the fat-free hater. Now I'm the opposite!

Nope. Doesn't count. :)

Jolene said...

I only buy treats and chips etc.. that I don't like. The water drinking is so key to weight loss. For every 12 oz. of water that you drink your body burns off an additional 25 calories. When I am vigilant about my water - the weight comes off.

Cheryl said...

Plus you're running to the bathroom so much, you don't have time to eat! :)

Ann said...

I also have to concur that it takes a while for your palate to change. But believe me, it will. And not only that, but your body's reaction to the crappy food will change too. The sugar and grease and preservatives and JUNK will all start making you feel sick once you've rid them from your body in the first place. And that becomes a great incentive to not eat the crap...if you know you're going to feel like puking or have major heartburn later, you'll be less likely to dive into that triple cheeseburger!

Had to add one more thing about the rice that Lizzie mentioned. We started out just eating regular brown rice too, but then found out there are a lot more rices out there that actually have flavor....good flavor! I can't stomach that Uncle Ben's instant stuff...yuck! (No offense!) Jasmine and Basmati are 2 white rices that, while not quite as good as brown, are still better for you than plain white. And our huge favorite (and the rice that is actually the best for you, that we've found) is Brown Basmati. It makes your house smell like popcorn when you cook it and it tastes oh-so-yummy! Good Earth has it in bulk.

Sorry, didn't mean to write a novel!

Jennifer Miller said...

So Cheryl, you have inspired me. I am going to give Weight Watchers a try. I have like 20 pounds to lose so we will see...

The day is what you make of it!! said...

I love weightwatchers :) If anything it teaches how to eat in Moderation!! Congrats Cheryl and Brandon!! You two are motivation to all of us!!