Friday, September 21, 2012

Talk about a pendulum!

As far as I sink, I will rise again later.

This is always the case. I'm trying to learn to stay off the Internet when I'm down - because I get angry and say awful things.

I'm torn between wanting to hide my failures, but wanting to document my struggle. I think I'll continue to document when I'm able.

That said, I feel like I'm beginning to get a grip on what I'm eating.

I've returned to calorie counting - and I've been on a streak for the past two weeks of really having a handle on it. I think I've found a few little tricks that are working for me.

For starters, I know myself. I know well enough that sometimes, convenience wins over health. This is especially true for breakfast, so I had to find something that was healthy - yet convenient. By convenient, it means I have to be able to get work, open it and eat it, or heat it in the microwave. Instant oatmeal works really well for this. I found some flavors that I really like, and I had to make sure I eat one packet in the morning. One packet of the Wal-Mart brand is 120 calories.

At first, this wasn't enough. I had a hard time making it to the 10 AM snack. I really did. So I forced myself to drink water. I grabbed a big 64 ounce jug and I marked every 8 ounces on it with a time. So by 10 AM, I make myself drink 16 oz. At first this made me almost want to vomit with how much I was drinking - but it also kept my belly full.

I keep my desk free of food. No candy, no snacks. If it's in reach - since I'm chained to the desk - I'll eat it. So I keep only a glass of water.

Second trick was that I get bored with water. So I picked up the Mio water additives. They're not a perfect solution and I don't want to debate that there are things in them - but they're 0 calories and 0 sugar, and give me just enough flavor that I'm fine with my water again. I'll take these guys over soda.

Third trick was to let myself have some liberties. Coffee is okay in the morning, and so is tea. But not the southern sweet tea that I'm used to - no I now drink usually Earl Grey or English/Scottish Breakfast Teas. They don't take much more than a dash of sugar or honey and a splash of milk, and they have the benefit of calming me down when I'm stressing. I've also started keeping it at home for the evening wind down process now. It really helps to have a warm beverage. This coffee and tea I think keeps me from freaking out over caffeine withdrawal. It's just enough to get by.

I also have to let myself eat more regularly. I changed my schedule to be breakfast at 8,snack at 10, lunch at 1130, snack at 3, and dinner after work around 5, with a small snack around 7. This keeps me with food in my belly at all times.

I am working on eating consistent amounts of food. There's no benefit to eating a 100 calorie snack so I can eat a 500 calorie lunch - so I'm trying to eat about 300 calories per meal/snack. This keeps everything about the same. Again, it doesn't matter WHAT it is as long as I watch the calories. Trying to keep the calories low really impacts what food choices I make though.

Which brings me to my last point - eating out. I eat out for lunch kind of often. I don't mean to, but at work we don't have a break room. My only option is to eat at my desk, or go use the table in the smoker's section outside.. which is gross and covered with cigarette smoke and possibly smokers. So, my friend and I opt to go out. This used to mean very bad choices - so I found a trick for myself.

Anytime we decide to go out, I look up the menu and nutritional facts before I go. I decide what I'm going to eat based on how many calories are in it, rather than what I suddenly crave by seeing it. When I get there, I don't need to look at the menu. I know what I want. I order a glass of water, drink one full glass before food arrives. I skip all appetizers - chips at a Mexican place, bread at Olive Garden, etc. I order my pre-selected item, and I make sure that I drink one more full glass of water with my food, and one after. I do not get any desert.

By doing this, I have survived Outback, Applebees, Olive Garden and Panera bread - always around 500 calories or less. It's still a little heavier than my normal lunch, but no where near what I used to do - which would put me somewhere between 800-1000 for a single meal.

This lets me enjoy going out, enjoy a restaurant and ensures that I don't overeat. Additionally, throughout the day, if I find myself getting hungry I first drink a full glass of water. If I'm still hungry, I'll opt for a few almonds, or a cheese stick.

I'm only two weeks in, but I feel like this fits into my schedule and lifestyle without any major changes, so it's easy to maintain. I haven't seen any changes to the scale yet - except that I've not gained anything at all in the last two weeks. It may take some time to see it dip down again, but I'll keep trying.

The journey goes onward, and so must I.

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