So my weight loss has stalled because I’ve become very frustrated with counting calories. I *always* feel hungry. If I exercise, I feel even more hungry. I don’t want to, and can’t exercise everyday – but that would probably be the only way to “buy back” some extra calories so I can eat more than a sliver of what is already a healthy meal. I also can see that any time I eat bread or pasta, it screws things up. I had some success on South Beach and Atkins in the past. I know the theory behind those and it makes sense – but the rigidity of those plans is also daunting. This is a “lifestyle change” after all – and if that change means “You can never eat another piece of chocolate again” – or you can only have it once a month – well, that’s going to make that change really difficult to stick to. Additionally, on the weekends we’ll often get together with family for big dinners and trying to be on a “diet” when I’m with everyone – it’s not a lot of fun. Our get togethers always seems to revolve around food – there’s no escaping it. For example: We’ll get together with my brother for dinner – and he loves high quality wine and cheese – and he’s an AMAZING cook and makes gourmet-style AMAZING food. Seriously? You want me to eat some celery sticks while I watch everyone eat everything else? Not gonna work!!
Christine has been raving about the “4-Hour Body” plan she’s been on, and sounds like she’s lost a decent amount of weight. About double what I’ve lost in half the time. Granted – if I had been able to STICK with my plan more precisely, we would have been closer to being even – but that’s the problem with my plan. Eating only 1200 calories a day, and not giving into hunger… it’s not sustainable. It’s how I ended up gaining all my weight back in the first place. I initially figured the Four Hour Body was just another Atkins or South Beach – but the one thing that drew my attention was the “Cheat Day”! The general idea here is that you follow the plan (which does not let you go hungry – but does restrict what your options are) 6 days a week. Then 1 day a week you reset your metabolism by having a cheat day. I know people are losing weight on this, but I have my doubts. If it does work, this would be awesome and would totally fit my lifestyle perfectly. The plan encourages eating the same meals repetitively – which would also work for me. I usually have the same breakfast every day and I could easily rotate the same 2 or 3 lunches every day too. For dinner I like to add variety – but that’s doable here too. And then for “cheat day” – that’s family day.
Since the calorie counting has just about run it’s course this time around, I’m ready to try something new – so we’ll see how it goes. So far my plan for breakfast is 2 hard-boiled (organic) eggs, with black beans and (no sugar added) salsa. (FYI – Green Mountain Gringo Salsa is my absolute favorite!! Not only does it not have sugar added – it tastes AWESOME!!!! I may also add Canadian or standard bacon every now and then.) Lunch for now is bean salad – This recipe in particular was really good: 5 Bean Salad – I added some canned mushrooms to that recipe. I’m also thinking that hearts of palm and/or artichoke hearts might be good in there too! (I believe both should be good on this plan) I’ll probably also vary it to by adding either some cooked turkey breast or tuna fish on occasion.
For dinner last night I made this Chicken Fried Faux-Rice. OMG. I loved loved loved it. (I even got Zach to eat a small bowl of it – with only a minor battle! Probably the most fiber he’s had all year!) Tonight – I’ll be making this recipe: Egg Foo Young. Wednesday will be this recipe: Black Bean Salsa and Chicken
The one thing I’m a little disappointed with is that on this plan, going completely vegetarian isn’t really possible. (Or at least it makes it really really difficult!!) Oh, that and Quinoa is on the “no” list. I did love Quinoa! I’m still trying to work in more beans and vegetables (and eggs) as the primary, reoccurring food so we’re not eating STEAK every night – and when we have meat – focus more on fish and chicken. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes….
My husband and I have caught glimpses of some recent news about the debate of Qnexa – which is a combination of Topiramate and Phentermine. I’m sure just the mention of these two drugs will bring all kinds of interesting traffic. But I thought I would post about my experiences with Topiramate specifically – because what happened to me was real and wasn’t some bizarre side effect that doesn’t really happen to most people. I can’t speak for Phentermine, as I have never taken that before.
I’ve taken Topiramate twice before. The first time was a few years ago for the treatment of migraines. I was getting them a few times a month, and my doctor was concerned that my taking “normal” migraine medication like Imitrex several times a month wasn’t a great idea. So we gave Topiramate a try (Also known as Topamax) It did a great job for my headaches. Little did I know, it also did a great job for my waistline. I was, at the time, trying to lose weight. Watching calories, exercising. During that time I was able to get my weight down to an incredible low. A number I hadn’t seen since High School! I thought it was all the exercise I was doing, and my appetite was under amazing control. But I did have some weird side effects. One I noticed was that (aside from the appetite reduction) I couldn’t taste carbonation. All carbonated beverages tasted flat to me and I stopped drinking them. Not really a bad thing – but just kind of weird. It makes you wonder what the heck is going on with the drug that makes you unable to taste carbonation! I wasn’t really aware of the biggest side effect the first time because most of my work was being sent to me by one single client, and I didn’t need to interact with anyone. Everything was done via email and Skype – so speaking wasn’t really an issue.
I stopped taking Topiramate because my doctor said there was a problem with taking it when you also use Mirena – it reduces its effectiveness. (DOH!!!) After I stopped taking it – all the weight slowly crept back on. My appetite kicked back into full swing. I had originally lost 30lbs – and before I knew it – all 30lbs came back on.
I started to take it again almost a year ago. A new doctor I was seeing didn’t think the Topiramate and Mirena together was a problem (at least initially). The side-effects came on instantly. And this time, they caused some serious problems for me. My work had shifted and I was doing a lot more client interaction. I was on the phone with clients discussing projects, explaining to them what my skills were and how I could help them, etc. But the Topiramate gave me terrible terrible brain fog. I didn’t realize what was happening at first. I thought I was going crazy. I was on the phone with a client, and I couldn’t for the life of me, gather my thoughts to explain what I did EVERY DAY. Words, ALL WORDS, were totally elusive. When I started doing some research online, I found some forums where people talked about experiencing “brain fog” while on Topirmate, and then it hit me that’s exactly what I was going through. That was it. I tossed the pills in the trash! My livelihood depended on my ability to interact with clients, and if I sounded like a moron – then my business was going to suffer.
Shortly after, my doctor contacted me and told me to stop taking Topiramate because she finally did confirm that it did reduce the effectiveness of Mirena. So that sealed the deal.
I’m sure under certain circumstances this new drug Qnexa will be the wonder-weight-loss drug some people have been waiting for. Given that the weight started coming back almost immediately after I stopped taking it (And the drug isn’t intended to be a permanent course of action) I question if it will really make a difference long term for people. I see it as kind of a temporary fix. In the same league as Jenny Craig. Once every meal isn’t specifically planned out for you, or in the case of this drug, once your appetite comes back to normal – that’s when you realize, despite all the weight your already lost – keeping it off will be probably be just as hard as it was losing in the first place. (In fact, it will probably be harder!)
I’m back to trying to lose that weight again and it’s going along, but a lot slower and more difficult than last time. I’m hoping this time once I get down to where I want to be, that I’ll be able to maintain it better than I did last time. I’m still also hoping that one day they’ll figure out a more permanent “fix” (or help) for weight troubles. (and don’t give me a story about how you just need to eat less twinkies. I’m eating very healthy and exercise for an hour 4x a week. I’m certainly living a healthy lifestyle – but the food that is made the most accessible to us is more often than not, unhealthy – and for someone like me – the “daily calorie allowance” is so low it’s practically a joke. It’s VERY DIFFICULT to stay in that calorie range and not feel hungry.)
So many things are up in the air right now. I don’t believe in a god – so I have to put my faith in invisible unknown forces – karma – or whatever – that everything will somehow work out. I’m on the cusp to some big changes (which of course I can’t talk about in specific until something has finalized). There’s a few different options/directions that may work out – or maybe none of it will, and I’ll have to figure something else out. So hard to plow ahead like normal when you don’t know where “ahead” might be tomorrow or the next day. I’m going through the daily motions – waiting for an answer. Once you get an idea in your head – don’t you want it immediately? I’ve heard of people completely changing the course of their lives when they were so close to finishing something – and always thought that was a bit crazy… but at this moment it makes perfect sense. I want my new direction.. now. I want to know where I’m going right now. I don’t want to wait a few more days or weeks or months to know… Is it any wonder that anyone who proclaims themselves to be a psychic can make a decent living? It’s because of impatient, obsessive people like me! (But I’m not hiring any psychics. LOL)
Since I can’t talk about that – and really, at the moment there’s nothing to talk about anyway, yet – here’s weight-loss status update. My body took a two week hiatus from losing weight. Not me. My body. I continued to exercise, watch calories – and during these two weeks, I gained three pounds. Seriously? I have no idea what that was about. I was so frustrated I was ready to call my doctor to have them start running tests. And don’t say it was muscle – it wasn’t. I might agree that I could have been bloated from too much sodium. I was having those gazpacho soups daily for lunch. But according to my calorie log – that’s a lot of sodium. When I stopped having that soup every day – my body started behaving again and I’m back to slowly losing some weight. I started this journey – well technically at 158lbs – but shortly after beginning it went up to 159! (Grrr) – but I am now down to 151lbs. So either a 7 or 8lb loss in 2 months depending on how you look at it. 😉 That’s pretty close to 1lb a week which is the max I can loose at 1200 calories a day. Still doing Zumba – at least 2x a week, 3x week when I can. I’m now able to make it through the whole class without having to “tone it down” towards the end to make it to the end of class. I can go full steam ahead for the full hour. 😀
Ok, I’m back on track after the holidays. I fully expected xmas and new years to be flops diet wise – I wasn’t going to try and fight it and really just wanted to have fun. My plan was to just get back on track as quickly as possible which I have done. Zumba is back on track. The gym is nuts at the moment though. Everyone’s there for their New Year’s resolution. =sigh= So the class ends up being super crowded with people who don’t understand the whole personal-space thing. I think the worst offenders are the ones who don’t even do it on purpose – and especially those same ones that have no grace at all and flail like a crazy person in the class – always missing the cue when the entire class moves to the right or left… It’s dangerous! LOL!
In any case – I found a GREAT vegetarian recipe. I made it for dinner tonight and it was really yummy and filling and just awesome. The recipe is Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili. Sometimes I have to modify the recipe, short of just using more zucchini than the recipe probably called for, I followed the directions almost exactly. I had some extra calories to spare today so I threw 1/3 of a cup of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Yum!
One thing I’m on the hunt for some good lentil recipes. I tried a curried lentils and paneer recipe a few nights ago but it was a big flop. I really like lentils – they’re healthy and filling, but I need some flavorful recipes! I’ll keep hunting.
I ran out of calories yesterday and went to the grocery store after dinner to find some veggies to snack on. I know veggies are not calorie free – but I think their benefit both health-wise and snacking-need-satisfaction-wise outweigh the calorie cost. So if I have to snack – I’ll snack on raw celery and green beans. (Another good one is cauliflower, sprayed with “butter flavored PAM” and then roasted in the oven for when I’m craving buttery popcorn.)
In any case, I started browsing the aisles – looking for anything low-calorie that would make a good snack or meal… I’d been craving chocolate – but it’s hard to get around the calories for that one. Then while in the tea aisle I found this:
Chocolate… Tea…?? Not really sure that sounds appetizing. I pictured something like hot cocoa – but really runny/watery. I put it down… I picked it back up. Really?? Chocolate tea? I put it down… I picked it back up… I bought it. Actually it’s really really good. It’s NOT hot cocoa – but that’s probably a good thing. (re: runny/watery hot cocoa = yuck) But it has enough of a chocolate taste to make it feel like a dessert. And under 5 calories for something that resembles chocolate… I’m happy. They also had other flavors too. Red Velvet. Strawberry Chocolate… I’ll be going back soon to try them all!
In other news, I’m down another pound this morning. (again, I’m sure this is going to slow soon – my guess is it’s just bloat weight I’m losing right now) I planned out the food for the day – with my Zumba class planned for tonight, my calorie count is REALLY low. I may be able to sneak in chocolate of the real-kind variety tonight!! So feeling pretty good about things at the moment. I can still see the fat on me – but I’m also feeling better – healthier – just a wee bit skinnier. Success is the biggest motivator.
I‘m going to do Zumba 3x a week (after the holidays, because one of the classes won’t start again until January) – I’ll do it this week though – I went Monday morning, last night, and I’m on the schedule to go again tomorrow night. Wednesday and Friday nights are the classes at 24 Hour Fitness. The Monday morning class is one that another mom in Rachel and Zach’s school goes to. I was telling her how frustrated I am to have to be starting over like this – she too lost a bunch of weight and put some of it back on – but I’m trying to take on her attitude. When I started complaining – she said “Well, the thing is I lost it once – so I know it’s possible. I know how to do it again – it’s not like I can say ‘I can’t ever lose the weight’. I did. I’ll do it again. So will you!” (I love her attitude! She is very cool!)
I’ve been trying to keep those words in my head. I’ve been pre-logging my food in MyFoodDiary.com so I know precisely how many calories I have for the day – I’ll leave snacks open for what I feel like in the moment – but checking the calories first before I eat it.
I have lost a few pounds this week – probably mostly water bloat from eating more than I should previously… (although I won’t complain if I continue to lose 3 or more lbs a week from now on) LOL! I’d also like to take a before picture. That’s one thing I didn’t do the last time and that would have been nice to be able to compare to.