Results … Month #8

Results … Month #8 (Down 40 lbs) results-month-8

I can’t believe it! I dodged a bullet. Again!

I’m down 4.2 lbs for the month. I could pitch that as another success story for this amazing dietary philosophy I’m practicing. But it just doesn’t feel like that. I blamed December’s lackluster results on the holidays, January’s on work travel, & I’ve been mentally preparing to talk about the winter blues & blahs as my excuse for February. While all those excuses are true, the really huge news in this month’s story is that I haven’t abandoned the diet. I’m hanging in there. Falling off the wagon, & that has happened several times, hasn’t resulted in some huge rebound.

I started this program by practicing for failure. Let’s be real here, most of us yo-yo dieters know that we start a diet on Monday. We enthusiastically make our way through Wednesday. By Thursday, we feel like we deserve a treat. The wheels come off on Friday. And we binge ourselves to a new high on the weekend. Just a little reward before we start a new diet the following Monday!

That’s why I needed to learn how to fail … first. And I’m not talking carrots & celery sticks here! You’ve seen pics of some of my failure foods along the way. When times are bad, I’m eating more failure foods, more often. During those times, I’m eating as I might expect to eat when the diet is “over”. It’s pretty good. I can live happily on a diet that includes French fries & ice cream. Though, even by my rules for failure, I’ll admit to overdoing it on the chocolate!

My big fear now is that things are tapering off. The downward slope of my weight-loss graph isn’t as steep as it was during the first four or five months. Is this the end? Is this as good as it gets? Or will the warmer spring weather, when it finally deigns to arrive, bring along some fresh enthusiasm for the program?

At this point, I am grateful that I haven’t done the rebound thing. But I’m not sure what happens next. I alternate between being cautiously optimistic and then, despairingly melancholic about ever getting to a safer, healthier weight.

The next couple or three months will be very interesting. I’m writing the story, but I have no idea how it turns out.

Welcome to March … here’s hoping it’s a good month for all of us.

Surviving a Bad Diet Week

Surviving a Bad Diet Week

Lobster Poutine

Lobster Poutine!

I was travelling all last week. I’m usually better prepared for eating well on the road but the stress overload on this particular trip was way above & beyond anything I would consider normal. I won’t dwell on the details now, for fear that I’ll bring on another panic attack! But believe me, this was a heavy-duty week. When I tell you that the healthiest meal I had all week was a lobster poutine, you might get some idea of just how poorly my diet fared.

Don’t know what poutine is? Get ready to have your mind blown!

It’s a dish that originated in the province of Quebec. The basic version consists of French fries, loaded up with a big fistful of cheese curds. And all of that gets slathered in gravy. Gravy so hot that the curds melt into the matrix of fries! You can nuance the dish by adding all sorts of other ingredients. I like chunks of German or Hungarian sausage myself. But you can add pepperoni, perhaps with a dash of Parmesan cheese & some chili flakes, to give it a little Italian pizza-like flair. The lobster poutine I’d never had before though. And, despondent though I felt about how I was eating all week, I just couldn’t resist the temptation. Once again, I was so enamored of the dish before me, that I attacked it before remembering to grab of a shot of it. Apologies!

I didn’t get home ’til almost midnight on Saturday. I was so exhausted on Sunday that I was couch-bound all day. The scale mocked me that morning, I was up 5.6 lbs after my week of debauchery. Horror! I stuck with a low-carb regimen through the day, on Sunday. Though I did have some baked beans. And some mustard pickle. And that cherry ice cream. With dark chocolate thrown in for good measure. Please … cut me some slack, I was hurting!

Monday showed a drop of 4 lbs. Phew! The big gain was likely water retention from all that starchy eating the previous week. In any case, I’m not quite back on track yet. And I’m looking at a pretty daunting schedule between now & Christmas. I’m really not sure if I’m telling you all this in anticipation of failure over the coming weeks. Or maybe I’m preparing to test myself, and the robustness of the program, during such trying times. Whichever it might be, it’s going to be an interesting time. Please send me a word of encouragement here and there. I could use the help!

And if you’ve never had poutine before … give it a try!

Results … Month #4

Results … Month #4

This is big. No … it’s huge. Results Month 4

And I’m now a little less huge after 4 months of this DIY hybrid diet!

Only avid students of diet might understand how big this is but let me see if I can explain.

This past month, the 4th month of my weight loss attempt, probably qualifies as one of my top 10 more stressful months. The physiological response to stress inhibits weight loss. And as most overweight people can attest, one of our typical responses to stress is to seek comfort in food. And I did that. I lost weight while under a burden of stress, and I was stress-eating. But I still lost some weight. If I wasn’t so stressed, this would be cause for great jubilation and celebration. Instead, this morning, I am simply grateful.

The other big thing about this is that I lost weight in the 4th month of a diet. Many of my previous weight loss efforts resulted in a plateau far earlier in the attempt. More often than not, the first plateau hits after about two months. Many times, this is justification for bailing on the diet. On those fewer occasions where I successfully made it past the 2 month mark, there is less doubt that a stall would have occurred in the 3rd month. And it was pretty much guaranteed to have happened by the 4th month. But not this time. And I’m not being cocky here, quite the contrary, I’m now stressed about when that stall will finally happen!

My regular reader might attribute this month’s loss to that 4 day fast I did during the 2nd week of the month, but that’s not the case. Whether it was stress, or a reaction to the extended fast, I pretty much binged ’til I regained almost all the losses resulting from that fast. And I then spent the rest of the month getting to this morning’s weight. Which is still slightly above my post-fast weight. I’m not discounting the value of an extended fast for weight loss. But I think I’ll wait for a more serene month before attempting another!

I should also disclose that I didn’t eat particularly well this month. There were more French fry days than I would have liked. I was adding more chocolate, much of it not the dark stuff, to my home made ice cream. And there were more ice cream days than a better planned month might have had. My body was screaming out for something green and I think I had my first salad of the month yesterday! Looking for the positives in all this chaos, the program seems pretty robust. If I can lose weight during times like this, while eating that poorly, this might be a good diet for me. Real life carries on, regardless of our weight loss goals. And we need a diet that can handle real life.

I’m not taking it to the bank yet though, who knows what pitfalls lie ahead. I’m expecting November to match the past month for having to worry about things. Hopefully, some solutions will fall into to place and all will turn out well. But if not, I hope the diet continues to do its thing for the next month regardless.

Wish me luck!

Speaking of luck & diet … I don’t think I’ll go Trick-or-Treating tonight! 🙂

And a Happy Halloween to all!

Stress & Weight Gain

Stress & Weight Gain

Hunt & Gather

Hunt & Gather!

I seem to need a little stress in my life to overcome procrastination. I loudly proclaim how much I detest deadlines. They are never far enough out to allow me to get things done, perfectly, before the due date pops up on my calendar. But the reality is that I seem to need deadlines to get stuff done. Maybe hard deadlines aren’t the best choice when it comes to diet and weight loss.

A little stress may have some motivational value. But too much stress is not constructive. And it doesn’t look like it helps me much, when it comes to hitting a goal on the scale. Quite the contrary, it can promote weight gain. My recent adventure with fasting illustrates the point well. I’ll save the actual numbers for the month-end review (one of those deadlines I like so much!) but I can tell you that I lost a big chunk of weight during my four-day fast. Yes, of course there was water loss. But I know there was fat loss too. By some twist of fate, I found myself under some heavy-duty stress during the fast. And it increased immediately following the fast. It was nothing to do with the fast, it was just a perfectly timed little stress-storm, coming from both the work and home fronts.

Among other things, stress produces a hormonal cascade of cortisol and adrenaline to help us do what our ancestors had to do in times of stress. Back in our caveman days, some might have grabbed a spear and went out to do battle with the saber-toothed tiger. While others made the choice to run away, hoping they weren’t the slowest runner in the group! It’s the fight or flight response. The hormonal rush gives us a big sugar boost, to meet that high energy demand, in times of stress.

Today, in times of stress, we tend to grab the tub of ice cream and plonk ourselves on the couch for comfort. And no, I didn’t totally lose it after the fast … I only ate my homemade, no-added-sugar ice cream! I actually ate almost-kinda-somewhat reasonably well in those days following the fast. But I tried to handle my stress by stuffing my face, while lying on the couch. This isn’t the best way to handle stress. I got away with it for the first couple of post-fast days, but the scale punished me badly for a few days after that.

I really do know better. But the stress burden somehow prevented me getting out. And I didn’t even have to worry about battling any saber-toothed tigers. Just a leisurely little walk by the water would have done wonders.  That’s not what I did, of course. And as I indulged in my awful, modern, couch-based, stress-handling technique, I restored about 75% of the fasting losses.

I’m just going to make believe that it’s mostly water gain! And that doesn’t count, right!?!?

Do as I say. Not as I do! 🙂

A Lifetime Achievement Award

A Lifetime Achievement Award

Greek Salad Fast Breaker

Was so looking forward to eating that I forgot to take the pic before diving in! Oops!

I gave myself a lifetime achievement award yesterday … and the reward was one of my childhood favourites: egg ‘n’ chips for dinner, three fried eggs and the entire basket of French fries. All for me! This was followed by an utterly decadent blueberry ice-cream, with chocolate. Then I ate the rest of the chocolate bar!

Why this self-bestowed award?

Because I did my longest fast ever. At 89 hours, I was mere hours short of having not eating anything … zero, nada, nothing … for 4 full days. I had absolutely nothing but water, carbonated water and coffee the entire time. This all came about from doing the one day fast I spoke of in the last post. I’m not sure what came over me but, having done the one day, I just felt compelled to go for the second. Somehow, that managed to turn into this four-day thing.

So how did it feel?

Day 1 was, as you might expect, a day of thinking about not eating. Which meant I was only thinking about eating! The first half of Day 2 was about the same. But by the afternoon of the second day, there were no hunger pangs. No desire to eat. Not even when smelling and seeing the curry fried rice, the pulled pork sandwiches, and who know what else I had to watch everyone else eat during that time. Once my body started supplying its energy needs from my very ample storage depots, the feeling was … one of almost ecstasy, freedom, liberation, I don’t know. But it was something that left me feeling unshackled. And I was bright, alert and doing everything I had to do. And no, I wasn’t irritable and grumpy. Though you might need to get some external corroboration on that last one!

Due to the attendant water and electrolyte losses, I was adding pink Himalayan salt to my coffee on the 2nd and subsequent days. This will sound crazy but you should try your favourite coffee with a little salt and some heavy cream, it’s really good! Or maybe not if you’re already eating the high-salt diet that comes along with eating processed foods. Though perfect for the first two days, I was sneaking in a little cream by the 3rd day. By mid-morning on the 4th day, I was feeling a little light-headed. I did a couple of salted coffees but it wasn’t working. I decided to break the fast and have lunch. I had intended to have bacon and eggs at a local diner, though I hadn’t quite decided on whether or not to have the home fried potato too. But as we took our seats, a ginormous Greek salad was delivered to an adjacent table and I switched to that. The bacon was still on my mind though, so I added a side order of bacon to be crumbled atop it! The dinner and dessert we spoke of earlier followed later.

So what was the outcome?

From a weight standpoint, you’ll have to wait and see … I only log numbers at the end of each month! But I feel I have opened a new door with this longer fast. One not only with weight-loss potential, but with other potential health benefits too. Perhaps for the body and the mind.