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Monday, August 30, 2010

Tip: Join or Create a Community of Like-Minded People

First let me say that several people have complained they were unable to leave their comments on this blog. That’s okay. Folks have been reaching me through Facebook and by e-mail, and I want your comments, experiences, and feedback. I’m ecstatic that we have become a community of weight-conscious people supporting each other. Together, we will rock!

Let’s all weigh in on Mondays. Let me know how you’re doing, up, down, or the same. You don’t have to give your actual weight, even though I do, to spur myself on. By putting that original ugly number (245 pounds) out in front of the public, I finally had to face the ugly truth myself. Facing the truth and going public with it has motivated me to stay on track. I also feel extra pride as the weight disappears. You can choose to reveal your weight or not. Either way, I'll support you and your goal.

Okay, so today is Monday, weigh-in day, and I stepped timidly on the scale. Yesterday I had gone to my favorite restaurant and eaten my favorite dish there, eggplant parmesan. I can only guess at the caloric enormity of that dish. Three large eggplant slices arrive breaded, fried, and covered in cheese and sauce, and if that’s not bad enough, the plate includes a “side dish” of pasta that’s enough by itself to make another entire meal. In addition, it includes a choice of a Caesar salad or house salad. I can’t make a good Caesar salad at home, so I always go for the Caesar.

Restaurants want to make customers happy, and they know that large portions please customers and high-fat foods please the palate. My sister and her hubby and I ordered the same dish, but as a couple, the two of them wisely split and shared one order. I didn’t have a partner, so I chomped down my entire Caesar salad, but skipped the croutons (every corner cut is a calorie unconsumed!). I then ate one of the eggplant slices and about three or four small forkfuls of spaghetti. I pushed the plate away and asked for a takeaway box. I now have two more meals in my fridge, once I add salads. As a result I pleased my palate, my stomach, my wallet, and my mind. I consumed plenty of food and felt thoroughly satisfied, plus I felt proud to have resisted the urge to eat more, simply because it tasted good.

Still, that breading, frying, and pasta weighed heavily on my mind this morning, and I felt a little trepidation when I stepped on the scale. Voila! My weight is down three pounds from last week. It proves that conscious eating—not dieting, but eating consciously—and a little exercise combine to give me the results I want.

Why do I harp on the “Don’t Call It a Diet” theme? Because diets dictate what you can and can’t eat, and for me, if I’m told I can’t eat something, I’ll soon crave it. If I cave and eat what I craved, I lose confidence and stop following the diet. In addition, if I am told I have to eat something, after a while, I don’t want to eat it. I know, because I’m a veteran of diets.

I tried the Scarsdale Diet years ago. It required that I eat some sort of bread that I had never tasted, and I was not pleased with it. Still, the diet plan called for a slice of that bread toasted and eaten every morning, and within the course of eating a loaf of that junk, I was done. No more Scarsdale for me, and very little weight lost. Another diet called for cooking and eating large quantities of cabbage, onion, and tomato soup. I actually liked the taste of it at first, but it gave me tremendous amounts of gas, which set me up for quite a few embarrassing moments at work. Having to eat that concoction every day, though, I soon lost my taste for it and quit. A few times I’ve told myself I won’t eat popcorn or desserts, and depriving myself of those things would be my diet plan. Oh, heavens, the next thing I knew, I was wolfing down ice cream, followed by large bowls of popcorn.

My food plan, though, is not a diet. The only restriction, if you can call it that, is to be fully conscious of what I eat. I know I don’t need the full amount of food I used to eat. The quantities I used to eat resulted in an overweight body. I now want a more height-weight-proportionate body, which means I have to reduce the volume of food I eat. To do so, I must be conscious of every mouthful of food I consume. It’s the easiest thing in the world! I don’t have to buy special foods, order special prepared foods, pay a consultant, attend meetings, buy and read any more diet books, or undergo surgery. All I have to do is put less food into my body than my body needs for that day. One day at a time. One meal at a time.

Exercise builds my strength and uses up some of that food I like to eat. In addition to my dog strolls, my preferred exercise is swimming and water aerobics, a series of calisthenics performed in the water. Water resistance adds to the workout, plus the water adds buoyancy that reduces the impact on my body. It’s all good.

One water aerobics exercise, though, has been my nemesis for years. In it I’m supposed to make a fist, bend my elbows, lift my left knee, touch it to my right elbow, and then alternate, again and again. It’s a good body crunch, provided a person can actually get her knees high enough to touch her elbows. My fat legs have long limited my flexibility, plus my fat stomach gets in the way. I haven’t touched elbow to knee in years. I always made the attempt, but all that happened was that I got winded and frustrated. Guess what, friends. Today my knees and elbows touched. I did it! It was a huge milestone for me. Oh, this losing-weight thing is so much fun, I wonder why I resisted it so long.

Now for today’s weigh-in information.

Starting weight: 245
Goal weight for this week: 223
Actual weight this week: 220
Goal weight for next week: 219
Total weight lost: 25
Overall goal weight: 150

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