Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Nutritional Habits Checklist

I ran across this article on another blog and it got me thinking about the ways in which we measure success. I don’t know about you, but recently, I’ve been living (and dying) by the scale — weighing every day and judging my success entirely on whatever number appeared that morning. Don’t get me wrong… I haven’t stopped wanting and needing to lose weight. I’m just also coming to terms with the fact that there are other ways to measure my success. To that end, I think I need to set some non-weight related goals for myself and I think I need to start being equally proud of meeting them as I am when I take off a pound or two. After all, if I’m really being honest when I say that this is about more than losing weight, that it’s about making the whole me healthy, than I need to start placing a higher value on things other than the number on the scale.Anyway, the article provides a checklist of sorts: a list of nutritional habits that help contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Here they are and my own assessment of how well I think I am doing at achieving each:

  • Don’t skip meals; plan for three meals each day: Hmmmm. I give myself a C+/B- on this. I often find it difficult not to skip breakfast and, sometimes, if I feel really guilty about the day before, I find it very tempting to fast.
  • Start reading food labels so you’ll become more aware of what you’re putting into your body: I give myself an A- in this category. I’ve become really good about reading the labels and checking the nutritional facts of restaurants before I go out so that I enter armed with info to help me make good choices. Of course, that doesn’t always mean that I make them. :)
  • Plan for healthier snack choices at work: A+ here. I don’t snack much at work, but I make sure my lunch contains healthy finger type foods so if I *want* a snack, I can take it out of my own lunch and avoid the pitfalls of the vending machine. In fact, since I started this job in August, I haven’t had a single item out of the dreaded vending machine. Go me!
  • Between lunch and dinner each day, aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables: This is a category where I definitely need more work. I adore veggies, but I have to force myself to eat fruit. I have been getting at least an apple in each day, but I’m not doing well beyond that. I give myself a C in this category.
  • Stop adding salt to foods: A+ here. I never reach for the salt shaker anymore.
  • Eat nothing after 8 p.m. A- in this category. I usually do a pretty good job of eating early. I realized a long time ago that eating late had contributed to my downfall.
  • Try a new food each week, to help you introduce more variety into your diet: I’m tempted to give myself an F in this category. I really need to branch out.
  • Eat less meat to reduce your fat and cholesterol intake: I’m working on this, but I still have a ways to go. The meat isn’t that much of a problem. I’m eating a lot more fish and poultry and very little red meat, but I still take in more fat than I’d like. However, I’m learning the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats and trying to, at least, tip the scales so that I am taking in more of the former than the latter. There’s room for improvement here, however. B-
  • Make sure that your breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers are made with whole grains: I’m working on this too, but still have a ways to go. For me, this is one of the hardest ones. Frankly, I’m not eating a lot of starches right now, but I do when I do, I am not always good about making sure that they are made of whole grains. I definitely need to work on this. Grade C here.

The further along I travel on this journey the more I am reminded that this is not just about losing weight. This is about changing my whole life. When I set out to do this, I told myself, and meant it, that I would never, ever refer to this as a diet. I am not on a diet. I am turning my life around and living in a new way. By concentrating so solely on what the scale says recently I’ve done myself a disservice. I am more than just that number and the way I measure success must be based on more too. By looking at things like this nutritional checklist, I get a more complete look at the bigger picture. This coupled with keeping track of my progress not just as an eater, but as an exerciser, a thinker, a breather, a lover, a worker, a reader, a writer, a blogger, and all the other things that I am, can only help me as I attempt to make all aspects of my life better.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

272.3 and counting…

I had an extraordinary conversation today. It went like this:

Coworker: “J, have you lost weight??”
Me: silence
Coworker: silence
Me: “Well, I hope so.”

The thing is, I haven’t told *anyone* (except for my husband and two closest friends) that I’m trying to lose weight. The reason for my secrecy is simple. There’s no way that I could face owning up to yet another failure in this department.

The truth is, I don’t consider myself to be particularly vain. I don’t check myself out in mirrors or worry, in most cases, what people think about me. But this is different. Like most people who struggle with their weight, this isn’t my first attempt to shed the extra weight that I’m carrying around. God knows, I’ve tried so many times. You name the program… I’ve been on it. Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig… the list goes on an on. Of course, it’s been at least 10 years since I’ve been down any of those roads, and while I know some people who have been successful using those, and other, programs, for me, *if* they did work at all, it was always only a temporary solution. I’d lose a little weight (usually no more than 15-20lbs) and then balloon right back up to where I had been before, if not higher.

Right now, however, I’m very tempted to say that “this time is different” — but that’s only because this time really *feels* different. Here’s why:

  1. I’m not on a “diet” — I’ve changed my whole life. I not only eat less, but I eat *better* and I exercise regularly — something I *never* did before, on *any* program. But equally important I feel are the changes I’ve made to how I live. I get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, I only work 1 job (something that hasn’t been true in years) and that job is far less stressful than my previous career. Additionally, I do things that feed my mind as well as my body. I read constantly. I go to the theatre and even took in the symphony recently. All of these things contribute to my overall well-being which, I feel, has made it possible for me to be successful in taking off the weight which has been the symbol of my dysfunction for so long.
  2. My motivation is different this time too. Unlike my previous attempts to lose weight, this has nothing to do with looking good or pleasing other people. Sure, fitting into “normal” clothes, etc would be a nice fringe benefit. But what really concerns me this time around is my health. I’m almost 40 and up until now I’ve been on the fast track to a heart-attack and, frankly, I’m too young for that shit. Furthermore, I really don’t like the idea of having my options in life limited by my weight. I may never have children or go sky diving or run the Boston Marathon, but I want to *choose* not to do those things, not find myself unable to do them because I’m too fat.
  3. And finally, I can tell that this time is different because I’ve lost more weight this time than ever before. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m still fat alright, but as of this morning, I’m just 3lbs shy of having lost 50lbs. It doesn’t matter what I’ve tried or how much I thought I wanted it , I’ve never lost that kind of weight before and I know it’s because this time *is* different.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Even if I’m not quite ready to tell other people yet. :)

January 4, 2008 Posted by | health, motivation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment