Monday, January 26, 2009


So, I’m still following the BDS. But I’ve been slipping. Yesterday was a bit of a gong show and then today I had two cookies.

I know that these are not horrific confessions of sin. But after almost two weeks of sticking faithfully to a moderate calorie, nutritionally balanced plan, I feel that two days of being off-kilter is worth noting, if for not other reason than I would like to prevent it from spreading to two weeks off-kilter.

I could spout some yadda-yadda about how the weekend had some stresses (a banquet that Nick’s ex was also attending, a woman who broke us up once before, and Nick’s sister and my dear friend had a terrible fight with her boyfriend and wound up staying with us and crying…), but I think that they were the catalysts for the reaction that was already set to go off (have I mentioned before that I’m a chemical engineer?)

I’m feeling blue because I’ve been working out 5 days a week, and have been sticking to my calories and avoiding all nutrient lacking foods, and I haven’t lost anything. In fact, I’ve gone up half a pound.

I know that this is not reason to throw in the towel, but I’ve never hit a plateau this early on, especially when I’m hitting all my targets. The only logical thing I can think of is that my muscles are retaining water because I’ve only just got back into my strength training program.

Reasons why I shouldn’t give up include that I’ve been feeling stronger, and that my stomach seems flatter. I am in fact wearing a pair of dress pants that I couldn’t fit into in November and in December I could only wear REALLY forgiving tops with. While I’m still not entirely muffin-free in these pants, it’s small enough that I can wear pretty much all but the tightest of tops.

I’m re-reading my reasons for wanting to lose weight (BDS Day 1) and am giving myself credit for ending this slide downwards right now, while the damage is essentially non-existent. I ate more than I should have yesterday, but the damage has been worse in the past. And today I had tow cookies in my otherwise healthy day. I’ll try to make choices tonight that reduce the impact, but I won’t deprive myself unreasonably because punishing myself will only foster resentment.
Tomorrow I'll continue posting about the Beck Diet Solution.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BDS - Day 6

#6 – Find a Coach

The role of a coach in this case to motivate, help solve problems, build self-confidence, and provide perspective and accountability.

I have people in my life who provide these things for me, providing in essence a coaching staff that provide support.

However, the BDS recommends asking someone to make a commitment to fill that role. And I haven’t done that.

The Good; I’m not hiding that I’m on a diet from people in my life, which is something I usually do. In fact, I told Nick for the first time that I’m not happy with my weight and that I’m trying to lose. This was helped by the recent purchase of the wii fit, which weighs you and puts your BMI on the screen, as well as how much you’ve lost (or gained) since your first weigh-in. I also participate in two different boot camps; one is for football conditioning specifically and has a 6-week challenge that started two days ago that I joined (winner gets to donate to charity of choice, plus the bragging rights), and the other is a women only early morning class and goes for 4-weeks with before and after measurements etc. tracked (I did the "before" last night). So both women who run these are tracking my weight and measurements. Plus, there’s always my super-supportive Mom.

So a solid support system, right?

The Bad; while all those listed will motivate blah blah blah, none will offer the constructive criticism that I know I need sometimes. And I’m not going to call up any of them when a chocolate cake is singing a siren song, which is suggested. Nor will I be having weekly meetings to sit down and talk about my weight one-on-one.

The only place where I’m completely honest about how I feel about weight loss is here on this anonymous blog. I would never, NEVER admit that I have moments where I lack confidence or don’t feel like I’m in control or any of the other things that I listed in Step #1. I just don’t. Or I will, but then will make light of it and immediately brush it off.

So, while I’ve fulfilled the criteria for a coach in word, I don’t think I really have addressed the ratoinale behind this step. That makes me nervous as it’s the only step that I’ve really flouted. But I’m almost two weeks in and am sticking to everything else, so we’ll see how it goes.

The back up plan I have, eDiets, does have a coach provided, so if I start to waiver too much than I’ll go to plan B.

BDS - Day 5

#5 – Eat Slowly and Mindfully

Um… I suck at this. No, really, I’m just terrible.

I understand the reason this is important; to allow you to fully appreciate and savor each bite, maximizing the eating experience and providing satiation. Eating slowly also allows you time to recognize that you’re full. Got it.

But I live in a household where my partner has no interest in sitting down to eat at the table. He even hates eating in a restaurant. And I get bored by myself, which almost makes me want to eat faster or more.

I also have an overfilled schedule. Today I left the house at 7:45am, and won’t be getting home till about 9:15pm. I don’t have much time for books or television or whatever, especially when I’m trying to increase my sleep by going to bed earlier. So I read or, less often, watch television with Nick while I eat. At work, I usually work through lunch so that I can leave on time.

I know! I’m a total dieting bad-girl!!!

Usually the suggestion techniques or the sabotaging thought/responses of the BDS are very effective, but none in this case speak to me at all, at least those that apply to mindful eating.

Here’s my compromise which works about 80% of the time now and I’m working on getting better. I eat while sitting down most of the time (the exception is when I’m driving to a workout and eating a healthy snack on route), but I still eat while doing something else like reading. But in between bites I put my fork down. And with every bite, I stop reading and try to focus on the food and how much I enjoy its taste and texture. I realize that it’s not perfect, but I feel that it fulfills the motivation behind this step in that I have slowed down my eating and I do enjoy the food more.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BDS - Day 4

#4 – Give Yourself Credit

This is to counteract the inner critic that can undermine your good intentions. (And given that this is very much me, I’m switching pronouns…) When I “fail” and eat something I didn’t intend to eat, I usually start berating myself. This can lead me to binge or at least continue to eat whatever I want for the rest of the day (cake for lunch? Sure! Better have a brownie chaser, in case I get hungry, and maybe some Mike & Ike’s…).

What the BDS advocates is to instead view it as a minor slip up, and to just think about how to deal with the problem the next time it arises. It further recommends giving credit for what I did right.

Example (based on one in the book, but adapted to me):
Someone brings in candy to work, and I have one;

Previous Loey: “Ugh, I have zero control. I’m so weak.” Etc. until I’ve convinced myself that I really have no self-control and I may as well take a walk down to the bakery in our office building.

New (and improved) Loey: “So I had a candy. At least I resisted the first couple of times I walked by. And I only had one, so I didn’t affect my plan for the day overall. Maybe next time I’ll make some tea or wait till everyone else finishes off the candy and that way I can avoid temptation.” By not being critical I don’t beat myself down, and can avoid further indulgences through the day.

It’s also recommended to congratulation oneself on an ongoing basis throughout the day. This sounds hokey, but I’ve been doing so every time I eat a healthy meal or snack, or when I’m walking or doing some sort of activity. And I really consciously think about how I’m doing positive things for my body and working toward my goal.

The final recommendation is one that I’ve been doing for a while; have a credit fund, where you drop a coin or a buck into a bank or whatever when you do a positive action.

My credit fund (which has been funded by my non-coffee habit, which used to cost about $3/day) includes;
$1 for every day I stick to my diet plan
$1 for every day I exercise in a planned activity (i.e. gym visit, jiu-jitsu)
$1 for every day my pedometer hits 10,000 (which accounts for my unplanned activity, like walks, or taking the stairs)

I don’t know what I'll spend my credit fund on, but I keep hoping for an opportunity to travel (my trip to L.A. fell through), and plan on spending it on something fancy while doing so (some clothes, a live show, a side trip that I'd normally consider too expensive...)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BDS - Day 3

#3 Eat only while sitting down.

This one is hard for me. I regularly shove food in my mouth while in transit, or eat while I’m getting ready to go out and face the day. I also, unfortunately grab a couple of crackers or a handful of nuts while I’m chatting with Nick in the kitchen, nibble as I’m preparing food, and I certainly never say no to a Sample Lady.

But all the tastes and nibbles don’t register with my tummy and so they’re on top of what I’m eating for meals and snacks. These little bites also tend to consist of foods that I normally wouldn’t eat because they don’t rate high enough on the Is-It-Worth-It scale (this where I evaluate the tastiness of a food versus its health value… chips which I’m so-so about? Not worth it. Brownies which I’d sell my first born for? Worth it…)

By sitting down each and every time I eat, I’m becoming more conscious of the fact that I am eating. This may seem ridiculous to some, but I’ve literally been unable to recall everything I’ve eaten over the course of an evening a couple of hours afterwards because I lack that consciousness.

I have to learn to stop grazing and, as my mother calls it, picking.

I still need to eat in my car sometimes (I leave jiu-jitsu and drive straight to a Boot Camp workout, and need to eat something), but given that I’ve never been prone to drive-through fast food eating, this isn’t too much of an issue. As long as my pre-workout snack is on plan, I think it’s okay to eat in the car.

Sabotaging thought: “I enjoy spontaneous munching.”
Response: “I need to sit down, otherwise I don’t seem to notice what I eat and tend to either overeat or eat off-plan.”

Sabotaging thought: “I’ll just write it down later.”
Response: “I’ve said that in the past and then just not bothered. If I want to succeed, then I must learn to sit down and enjoy my food.”


So like I mentionned, I'm already past this day, but have been practicing the technique. Overall, it's definitely helped me and I feel like I'm becoming more aware of what I'm eating. I do struggle when I'm in a rush, but am actively working towards sitting down everytime I eat.

Monday, January 19, 2009

BDS - Day 2

#2 Choose two sensible diets (i.e. ones that can be followed for the long term).

I actually spent considerable time thinking about this one.

I’ve tried MANY diets, and am pretty knowledgeable about the ones that don’t work for me. High protein and I’m going crazy craving any and all carbs, and I eventually succumb in an embarrassing binge. Weight Watchers I wind up eating unhealthy choices that just happen to be one or zero point foods. Plus I love eating nuts and nut butters and those foods are hard to fit in. Too low calorie and I wind up binging. Too low protein and I feel tired.

The Zone macro ratio (40-30-30) leaves me the most satiated. I’ve also recently read The Fat Loss Troubleshoot (FLTS), which breaks things down very specifically. The author, Leigh Peele, also advocates what is essentially the Zone breakdown (although she does vary some weeks), but also gives several formulae to determine how many calories you should be eating daily based on your activity through the day (plus there’s a test to help you avoid lying to yourself about your activity level). So I’m using these guidelines, but making my own choices right now. I’m tracking everything on The Daily Plate (TDP) to try and get my macronutrient ration and calories right. Calories, check. Macros, erg (but improving….)

Diet number two is the back-up plan. The idea is that people feel more security if they know a Plan B is in place, and I know that such is the case for me.

For number two, I used the same principle as to what kind of plan leaves me satisfied, but decided that I may have to look into what options exist that spell out a set meal plan for me. I had read about eDiets in several magazines, and checked it out. For weekly fee of up to $10 (less if I catch one of their often run specials), I get a weekly food plan emailed to me. I would choose the Eating For Life Plan (which is modeled after the Body For Life Plan).

So, to recap, current plan is FLTS (set calories, Zone ratios, choose my own food, no additional costs), and my back-up plan is eDiets Eating For Life (set calories, Zone-ish ratios, less food choice, $10/wk).

The final part of this day is determining my potential sabotaging thoughts and responses to quell them.

Sabotaging Thought: “I’ve got an event coming up. I’m going to go on fad diet X or take pill Y to drop some fast pounds.”
Response: “I want to be healthy, and neither of those promotes being healthy. I need something that works for the long term. Besides, none of the “quick fixes” have worked for me in the past.”

Sabotaging Thought: “I’m going to skip breakfast and save my calories for later in the day.”
Response: “I’ve been fighting this weight for almost TWO YEARS, and skipping breakfast most of the time. It’s obviously not helping so I should try something else.”
Edited to Add:
Cave Cooking in the comments mentioned the Paleo diet, and while I didn’t get into it, any diet that restricts certain foods make me crave those foods. I’ve successfully done anti-inflammatory diets for about two weeks, and I always feel great and want to stick to it, but in the end I always still feeling resentful and cave.

The Beck Diet Solution - Day 1

In other news, after reading rave recommendations from both Charlotte at The Great Fitness Experiment and from Crabby at Cranky Fitness, I decided to take a peek at The Beck Diet Solution (BDS) in an attempt to answer the question What the Hell???

You see, I’m pretty smart, with multiple degrees, and I’m a science geek that reads voraciously. Being a DINK (Duel-Income-No-Kids), I’m able to employ people to teach me even more about diet and physical activity. At this point, I consider myself VERY knowledgeable about fitness and nutrition. And yet, I struggle, particularly with my diet, and am constantly sabotaging myself.

The BDS works to break the cycle of sabotage, by providing you with strategies to deal with sabotaging thoughts. It also helps you break down the steps of preparing for the process of dieting into manageable pieces. In fact, it recommends that you don’t even start the diet until you have gone through two weeks of preparation, although if you were already in the process of eating differently, you don’t have to stop.

I had already tried to modify my eating habits, but am trying to follow the BDS day-by-day plan, and I just realized today that perhaps I should be recording here to help me with my accountability.

#1 Determine the reasons you want to lose weight and record them somewhere to read several times a day.

I wrote everything down. It included those vain and trivial reasons that I don’t like to admit, and I broke it down into all the little things that cross through my head.

Here’s a summary (as I seem to have repeated myself somewhat);
- to stop feeling inadequate,
- to feel more in control,
- to stop making getting dressed or going shopping a stressful experience, and to make it fun,
- to feel more confident and sexy (especially in the summer),
- to feel comfortable at the beach,
- to feel stronger, and have better muscle definition,
- to be able to more easily lift my own weight,
- to learn how to control my blood sugar.

Having written it all down, I read it through several times everyday and when I’m feeling tempted to abandon my goals. I’ve been finding now that I can almost picture the page in my little notebook (that I’ve been carrying with me everywhere) and even that’s been enough.

Like on Saturday night, we were at a pub. I was driving, so I could stick with diet soda and water, no problem, but the array of pub appetizers that everyone else was enjoying was dizzying. But every time I found myself wanting a nacho or a deep-fried potato skin I pictured my goal page in my head. And it worked!!!!

I’m already about 10 steps in (having rushed through a few days), so I’m going to be playing a bit of catch-up in upcoming posts.


The past couple of weeks have been crazy busy for me, but I haven’t forgotten about my goals for this year, and am currently pretty pleased with how I’m doing.

1. Check in on resolutions everyday.
Well, I’ve checked regularly, but not every day. However, I have fulfilled the intent of this resolution, which was to keep my goals in sight.

2. Eat breakfast everyday.
It’s a work in progress, but I’m eating breakfast almost everyday now.
(Almost) PASS

3. Track food.
So the weekend after I posted this list I fell off the wagon in a big way. It started insidiously enough, with some bulk snacks bought and eaten with a girlfriend Saturday afternoon, but they were healthy and I planned to track them later when I had a chance. But, before I got the chance, we two, her boyfriend and Nick went out to a sushi dinner and then just hung out for a while. During which time the boys wanted more snacks. Then Sunday was a snowstorm and my plan was off and I just abandoned ship for reasons that don’t really make sense to me anymore…
However, on Monday I attempted to track again, and while I didn’t do so for the evening, I did on Tuesday and everyday since.
So, FAIL, but with steady improvement.

4. Eat protein at every meal.
Getting better at doing this, but my macro-nutrient break down is still way too carb loaded.
FAIL, but improving.

5. Drop the daily coffee.
I have not had coffee on a weekday since the start of the new year. I’m having a cup or two a day on Saturday and Sunday, but I consider this a

6. Get 10 hours a week of activity.
My intention with this was to take the dog for much longer walks and perhaps walk during my lunch hour. However, it is FREEZING outside, and has been for the past couple of weeks. So, while the number has gone up, it’s still a

7. Push myself really hard at least once a week.

8. Work on pull-ups at least twice a week.
So far, still doing negatives, but I think my decent is becoming more controlled.

9. Weigh and record, at least once a week.
So far, no significant change, but I’m actually doing this, so

10. Make a list of chores and work on them slowly, but surely.
The list is still incomplete, but I’m happy with a work in progress, and I ticked off a couple of things the past two weekends.

Friday, January 9, 2009

It's that time....

Resolution time!!!!
Last year I had a crazy list of resolutions, most of which were not enacted. The same areas of my life leave me feel unsatisfied; my weight, the disorder of my home, my ambivalence and lack action about my job. I made that big list last year and then never looked back, which may be where I feel down.
So my very first resolution is to look at my resolutions every week, and access where I’m making progress. I don’t expect action every week on every point, but a general movement forward.
The List

1. Check in on resolutions every day.

2. Eat breakfast everyday – I’m one of those people that every magazine article and fitness consultant rants about, a breakfast skipper. I’m not hungry most mornings (which I’ll state publically), and I tend to follow the notion that a meal skipped is calories saved (which is an inside-head thing). And while every fitness guru out there says that it’s a counterproductive notion, I guess I just keep thinking that I’m the exception. Anyway, that’s going to change, and I’ve had brekkie every morning this week.

3. Track food – this one’s a no brainer, and while I would like to be around 1400-1600 cal a day, I would be happy if I could just track consistently at this point.

4. Eat protein at every meal, and try to have some at snack time – I’m hypoglycemic, and I can start riding the blood sugar roller coaster pretty easily. One of the fastest ways for that cycle to start is by having just a simple carb (a complex carb is a bit better).

5. Drop the daily coffee – I’m still going to drink coffee, but I was having several cups a day and between the cream, sweetener and caffeine, I don’t think it was a great daily habit. It’s moving into the “sometime” list.

6. Get 10 hours of activity a week – I know that sounds like a lot, but I walk my dog for about 20 to 30 minutes a day (at least). I’m not trying to be over the top, I expect at least half to be just walking, but I do want to increase my activity.

7. Push myself really hard once a week – while I don’t want to burn out, I don’t want to be lackadaisical about my fitness, so once a week do something that leaves me sweaty and gasping.

8. Work on pulls at least twice a week – I’ve wanted to be able to do pull-ups for several years. I got a bar for Christmas, so I no longer have the excuse of feeling uncomfortable doing the wussy versions at the gym.

9. Weigh and record, at least once a week – part of the reason that I gained so much is that I would go weeks without a check in. And then when I did, I would lie and say that it was a false high. I want to be able to track.

10. Develop a list for my housework and work on just one thing a week – I figure I’ve got break it down into bite sized pieces.

Okay, so it’s still a long list, but I believe all the goals are attainable. In fact, I’ve been doing several of these actions all week. I want to re-assess this whole list once a month and potentially add-on – I don’t want to make false promises about how I’m going to push my career onto the fast track, but it’s something I want. I’m scared of biting off too much at this point, so I’m reserving the right to expand as my confidence grows.

Ugly thoughts - 0, Loey - 1

For anyone who may actually read this, I defeated my inner demons and ate my healthy noshs. Just didn't want to keep anyone in suspense for too long. :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ugly thoughts

Ugh… I’m having one of those days where I want to throw the previous five days’ hard work out the window. And it’s for the stupidest reason too… you see I’ve gotten back into the habit of stepping on the scale every morning. I don’t know if I’ll keep this up, and I probably shouldn’t but right now I am. Okay, so I’ve been slowly dropping the holiday weight, but then this morning I had a gain. Not a huge one, and I had a fair bit of salty stuff last night, and blah blah blah…

The point is, I went up, and so today I want to everything that doesn’t have spikes.

I’ve had three good days or five decent ones. I’ve started to get myself organized. I have a kitchen full of healthy and tasty food. I had a good breakfast, and packed a good lunch.

But the bakery down stairs is calling to me.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Attempt # 2 - The wagon may be winning

Okay, so the first attempt to get back on the wagon was perhaps not entirely effective. There was a New Year’s celebration at my house (booze + Chinese take-away + on-going snacks = a very bloated Loey), and then yesterday we were snowed in and wound up picking and snacking and not moving too much (I tried to take my poor doggie, who’s about the size of a large cat, for a walk and he disappeared because the snow was too deep).

So, I gained another effing 1.5 pounds.

I know that it’s mostly water weight, I know. But it’s still so disheartening.

In any case, I’m newly inspired today.

I’ve actually entered in my data to the formulae provided by the Fat Loss Troubleshooting (FLTS) book, and determined for my current weight (sob), I should be eating about 1400 cal, which is what I typically need to eat to lose weight based on previous successes. I’m going to try and stick to that.

I went to the gym today and tracked my food choices.

Starting to feel back on track.