Monday, March 26, 2012

Why I eat quinoa on Monday and Tuesday

I love the feeling of an upcoming bowel movement first thing in the morning. Especially on Wednesday, which is the day I step on the scale. I rise from bed at 5:10 and I hope for the evacuation process to begin no later than 6:00 am. Timing was a bit off this past Wednesday as I was fully clothed and about to leave the house with my kids in tow when the need finally came to pass.

So this Wednesday I weighed in crap and all. The scale did not move. Zero, zip, zilch.


Then the floodgates opened twenty minutes later and continued on the remainder of the day. But, it was too late. I recorded "0" in the progress report for March 21.

I must admit that I wasn't surprised by Wednesday's results. Nowadays I have a much better sense as to what the scale is going to do. Of course it is still unpredictable, but I can look back on my food choices, the amount of exercise I fit in, and I can feel it when I'm retaining water. However, the best indicator of weight loss (or not) seems to be the frequency of bowel movements. If you ain't pooin' the scale ain't movin'.

Last week, the regularity train ended heading into the work week. How do I say this delicately? I wasn't experiencing, you know, anything... well, satisfying. Upon reflection, I surmise that this state of semi-constipation occurred due a few instances of unusual weekend eating.

- All normal, however, lunch's selection wasn't as healthy as the rest of the day. We went to the Maple Syrup Festival at Bronte Creek Provincial Park. The little bears were delighted to look at the cows, pigs and peacocks, run on the top of a course of hay bales, and the tractor ride to the pancake house. So, lunch consisted of three pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.

- All normal, however lunch was not as healthy as the rest of the day. My friend and I went shopping in Buffalo. I knew the prospects of getting a decent salad at the food court was minimal, so I opted to eat lunch breakfast (salad, piece of gluten-free toast with hummus). For lunch, I settled on a grilled chicken souvlaki pita with a salad.

The meal was massive, and I forgot to tell the Mr. Souvlaki employee to take it easy with the salad dressing and toppings (must have been daydreaming). As he squeezed a massive amount of salad dressing on the salad and did the same with the tzatziki for the sandwich. A few hours later on the trek home, we stopped at McDonald's for a drink and a snack (small french fries).

This leads to another observation about the digestive system. Digestion appears to slow down whenever I choose to eat food prepared anywhere else besides at home. I suspect this happens due to a combination of factors from eating less vegetables and fibre, eating bigger portions etc. And it takes time (three days) for the everything to, you know, get back to normal.

In any case, to safeguard against this sort of issue, I implemented an informal eating guideline - one which I did not follow last week - I eat a side of quinoa for dinner on Monday and Tuesday nights. It just seems to get things, you know, moving.

So the next time your meal consists of processed/junk food, try to eat more fruits, vegetables and quinoa to get it moved through your system.

As for me, last Wednesday's result was zero; however, after the um, log jam cleared, the next morning I weighed in 1.4 pounds down. I'm telling you, if you ain't pooin', the scale ain't moving.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I only eat fruit in the morning

I just got back from the pool. It was a longer workout tonight from 9 to 10:30. The coach put me in a faster lane. It's a good challenge that will increase my stamina and speed faster.

Anyhow, I thought I'd write a quick post about a workplace conversation before I head to bed.

First a bit of background. On a daily basis, a neighbouring department participates in communal snacking on a daily basis; chips, cookies, baked goods, chocolates. On some occassions I see fruit or vegetables. Today they were eating Pirate cookies and multigrain nachos. Of course, they can eat whatever they want, but they do seem to be eating all this stuff out of habit. In any case, this particular conversation left me scratching my head.

Co-worker A: Hey would you like to have a pear?

Co-worker B: No, it's the afternoon, I only eat fruit in the morning.

I stop working and stand up.

Me: What? Why can't you eat fruit in the afternoon?

Co-worker B: I read that you should only eat fruit in the morning.

Me: But it's OK to eat multigrain nachos in the afternoon?

Co-worker B (with a bit of a laugh): Nachos aren't on the list...

From her laugh, I can tell that on some level even co-worker B realizes that her logic is ridiculous. It funny how she read a tip in a magazine/book/website and blindy follows this rule to the point where she actually believes that nachos is a better snack choice than a pear (or at least hasn't fully thought about this throughly).

She is actually doing herself a disservice on two fronts. She is eliminating fruit as a food choice for an afternoon/evening snack and is limiting the amount of fruit she eats since she can only eat fruit during a five-hour window each day.

Do you know anyone following a ridiculous dieting or healthy eating tip? Is your workplace a virtual food minefield? Are you having fun at your job?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Taking back accountability

I glance at the clock on my bedside table. It's 5:09. My kitty senses that I’m awake, meows as he saunters to my side for a cuddle, hoping to get me out of bed as soon as possible. It’s a weekday, so the little fur-ball is in luck. I shuffle out of bed quietly as to not to disturb hubby. In the kitchen, I turn on the coffee maker and head to the basement. I feed the kitty and his friend fishy, fix my hair and apply makeup. I hear that hubby is in the shower.

It is 5:47 when I emerge from the basement into the kitchen.

“Morning how was your sleep? Did anything interesting happen?” I ask a freshly showered hubby. He mumbles a “morning” and confirms that nothing interesting happened during his sleep. We continue the morning routine to assemble lunches, breakfast, coffee (him), peppermint tea (me) and snacks (little bears) for the car.

It is 6:03 when I return to the bedroom to get dressed. It’s Wednesday, so I strip down to my socks and hop on the scale. I’m down (yay) less than a pound, but that’s fine by me.

I’m amazed how much simpler it is to step on the scale at home than to do so TOPS, or at Weight Watchers. Why the heck did I put so much stock into accountability?

To lose weight, I always thought that I absolutely needed to be accountable to someone.  Typically, I went to Weight Watchers or made some sort of an arrangement with a friend. But, WW is expensive and checking in with a friend is inconvenient.

So in March 2010 and six months into therapy I still wanted/needed accountability. I decided that TOPS was a good place to get accountability. It’s inexpensive and local. I attended a meeting (LONG) and signed up. Most of the members of TOPS were women, and they were all lovely, positive and supportive. I can see why so many of them are long term members.

I planned to weigh in at TOPS each week, skip most, but attend some of the meetings and to follow my own eating program. I was in it for the long term (years), however long it would take to lose the weight.

The first weigh in was semi-shocking. Looking back, the results weren’t surprising, only ten pounds less than my last weigh in at the obstetrician’s office. Of course, my number lead to feelings of guilt and shame and I went into a short-lived funk. (My therapist wanted me to weigh myself so my weight wouldn’t be so shocking to me creating such a funk.)

For the second weigh in, I gained and the lady recording my weight expressed her concern by asking me about the foods I ate, did I drink enough water? Did I exercise? I explained to her that it’s fine that I gained, I’m here to weigh myself and I’m not actually following the TOPS program or lose weight.

 The third weigh in was another gain. With it, more questions that came from the heart, but left me a little freaked out. I was fine with the gain but I was beginning to worry about how to handle reactions from everyone else. So, I explained the situation again (I’m just here to use the scale, I’m not trying to lose weight, etc.) and I wondered if joining TOPS was such a great idea after all.

In therapy, I learned to not react to the scale – either way – not to get upset over a gain or overly excited over a loss. It’s just a number. Of course, handling everyone else’s reactions was another story altogether. It was impossible to avoid the standard question, “how did you do?” or the silent equivalent; thumbs up, big smile, head turned slightly and eye brows lifted. And the inevitable analyzing to figure out what went wrong and what I can do to make sure that I don’t gain the following week.

This improved after I spoke to the group about my journey and discoveries in therapy, but the stress was still there. In August I questioned why I needed third party accountability. That’s when I realized, never in my life had I been accountable to myself. I always thought that that I needed to give that responsibility to someone else; be it Weight Watchers, TOPS or a friend.

In October I took the responsibility of accountability back and I have been my own weight recorder since.
The bonus is that I can weigh myself for free when it works for me: on Wednesday mornings at 6 am, wearing nothing except for socks to keep my feet warm… 

NOTE: Blogger has flagged me as spammer. I noticed that comments that I make on blogger blogs disappear. Munchberry confirmed this and she is finding my comments in spam. So I've been making comments, they just may appear in your SPAM folder, please check. 

Funny: while testing the commenting widget on my blog, I noticed that I'm flagged as spam on my own blog when I'm not signed into blogger itself. That's when I discovered the "I'm not a robot" widget. Fellow Blogger bloggers, how do you turn off the "I'm not a robot" comment gatekeeper? It must be standard now as I don't remember adding this tool.