Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Liar, Liar - How I Lost 4 Pounds in 3 Weeks
Screw that! No way was I going to accept all the B.S. about aging that I was being fed every day. I cleansed five or six times a year, I worked out like an Olympian, and was stronger and fitter than I was when I was 30. So why should I have to weigh more, especially if I was working harder, than I did 20 years ago? Sorry, I wasn't about to take this lying down.
I turned to my eating habits for a solution. And for the first time I was completely honest about them. I'd been kidding myself for a long time, convinced that I had my calorie count under control. But the truth is I was lying to myself. As I used up my daily calorie allotment, I'd let things slide. I wouldn't count the 1/4 avocado I put on my tofu burger. Or the oil-based giardiniera sauce I put on just about everything I put in my mouth. I didn't count the oil I used for cooking. Nor did I count the Veganaise or Earth Balance vegan butter I ate almost daily. And when I ate cashews I never stopped at seven - the accepted serving size - my serving size was more like 20.
And I conveniently forgot that just because tofu is healthier than meat, or vegan butter is better for me than real butter doesn't mean they're lower in calories. Even the healthy stuff can be fattening. The foods I just listed add up to about 500 calories - 500 calories I didn't count each day! And if I continued to ignore them, eventually they'd demand my attention - by making my pants tighter. It takes about 3500 calories to put on a pound and at my rate I was set up to GAIN a pound each week!
Lying to myself hadn't done me a bit of good. I'd been working out - hard. I had the muscle tone to show for it but it was hiding behind that last five pounds of insulation that I hadn't been able to shed. All my hard work was hidden behind my lies.
So I promised myself that I'd be honest about what I put in my mouth. I devised an eating plan that balanced my daily intake of protein, fiber, fats, carbs and calories. And I created a spreadsheet with a list of the foods I'd eat for breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner. Each day I'd check each food item off after I'd eaten it. I know it sounds a little - well, a lot - anal, but it's really been helping. After three weeks I've lost four pounds.
Now I can see where I am on my caloric timeline for the day and spread out the foods so they last throughout the day. And by referring to the list over the course of the day I can see that I'm not going to go hungry. And I'm not mindlessly (or sneakily) popping handfuls of cashews into my mouth or having an extra spoonful of brown rice as I clean up the kitchen. After I've eaten everything on my list I'm done. And I know my body has everything it needs.
Telling the truth about my eating habits wasn't easy, but once I did it, I was able to address - and solve - my problem. The truth is not an accusation - it's a statement of fact. And if you approach any problem from a factual basis you can be efficient and effective. You face the issue, come up with a solution, and then implement the action to reach that solution. I faced the fact that I was eating too many calories without accounting for them, I reassessed my caloric intake, and I began losing the weight I wanted to lose. How simple is that?!
It's never too late to learn a lesson. And I learned that the truth doesn't have to hurt - in fact, once you face it, it can be of invaluable help.