Intuitive Eating For The Win

Well, a week into the Naturally Slim Program, I am delighted to report a loss.

Last week: 191

This Week: 186.7

Those of us who have modified our eating behaviors in the past know that the first week is always the best, so while I’m very excited, I’m trying to temper my expectations for this week’s weigh in on Thursday. I’ll be happy with a pound. Even half a pound. A loss, after all, is still a loss.

I also started working out again. Actually, I’ve been at it for three weeks, and I’m still going strong. So I’ll definitely call that a non-scale victory. I am once again attempting to follow the workout regimen outlined in “The New Rules of Lifting for Women.” It is much easier now that the book’s web site provides sheets you can print off and take to the gym. (You have to own a copy of the book to access them.) I always liked the program, particularly since it gave me a reason to wander over into the barbell part of the gym and also gave me a little direction so I wouldn’t feel completely lost. It’s almost impossible to spend 20-25 minutes lifting weights and not feel a little proud of yourself. I highly recommend it.

But back to the mindful eating. What I’m learning about myself is that I rely heavily on non-hunger related triggers to determine when I should eat. Oh, it’s Noon? Well, obviously I should have some lunch. What’s that? I just rolled out of bed? Breakfast! I must eat something! Regardless of whether or not my body is telling me it needs to be nourished, I give it food because it seems like the right time of day to do so, which, when you think about it, doesn’t even  make sense. If I’m not hungry, why am I eating? These are the kinds of things I’m learning to ask of myself.

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A Collision of Diets

…or lifestyle changes. Whatever you want to call them in the name of political correctness.

After watching some documentaries on Netflix (Forks Over Knives, The Engine 2 Diet), my sister and I decided to give the Engine 2 Diet a try. The whole premise is that a plant-based diet is really good for you. No big surprise there, and after going to a couple classes at Whole Foods to learn some Engine 2 recipes, getting into the groove was pretty easy. I have a couple go-to plant strong meals that I can whip up pretty fast, and overall I’m enjoying the plant-based way of life. Am I perfect on it? No. Not even close. And the jury is still out for me on whether I want to give up meat.

Ok, so here I am, merrily rowing my vegetable and fruit laden boat gently down the stream, when along comes my place of employment with this amazing offer… pick three health and wellness incentives to participate in this year, and we’ll reward you with an extra $150 in your paycheck at the end of the year. Well, ok, obviously I’m interested. And one of the offers? Participate – for free, all costs covered by the company – in this program called “Naturally Slim.”

“Naturally Slim” is a program that boasts it can teach you to eat anything you want and still lose weight. No counting calories. No measuring. No weighing your food. Ok, I’ll bite… wouldn’t you?

The program had some immediate appeals to me. For one thing, eating plant-strong can be a challenge anytime you aren’t preparing your meal at home. When you go out with friends, go on vacation,  go to a dinner party, your options are really limited. Also, the plant strong plan doesn’t seem  geared toward weight loss as much as just healthy living, and I’ve definitely got pounds to drop. So if I could learn to eat plant strong most of the time, and still lose weight while eating what I want the rest of the time, I’m thinking this could be good.

Well, week 1 was pretty cool.  You get a series of videos that you have to watch each week, and then a quiz at the end. After watching the videos and learning about how to actually eat food and enjoy it instead of wolfing it down, I was kind of excited about Naturally Slim.

The real test of the program came when I went skiing with my girlfriends this weekend. We went out for pizza one night, and Mexican food the other. And both nights I let myself eat without feeling guilty about what I ordered. It was amazing. Honestly, it really was. And I had food left on my plate (like, kind of a lot of food) both nights.

Thursday is my weigh in day, so I’m really excited to find out what the scale says. Either the program is working, or I’m a fool and it isn’t… but I feel good about this, and I’m hopeful for a loss.

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I’m On A Boat… er, Will Be

With nearly a week of hard work under my belt, I’m finally moving past the initial funk that comes with starting the journey to healthiness. You know what I mean, the constant thoughts about giving in and giving up, the cravings, the bummer of realizing you aren’t going to wake up after a few days of “being good” and suddenly be at your goal weight.

After my run tonight, I was so thankful when I felt a twinge of pleasure at the pain in my calves and lungs and trickles of sweat running down my neck. How is that I manage to convince myself that I detest working out, when the truth is that it actually makes me feel so good about myself? If anything, it boosts my self-confidence and sets my imagination in motion. I start to daydream about all the things I think I could be, and all the things I think I could do. 5k? Sure! Little black dress? Watch me!

My college roommate and best friend, Ashley, called me last week with an offer I couldn’t refuse. Her Dad offered to include me on their family cruise to Alaska in June. Of course I said yes. Immediately, my thoughts went to my weight. What would I wear? Would I bring a bathing suit? And I don’t dare think about meeting somebody. It would be the most natural thing in the world to think of a cruise as a great opportunity to meet fun people, but it’s second nature for me to assume that’s a ballgame I’m just not able to play.

But you know what? That doesn’t have to be my destiny. I’m as capable as anybody of losing a little weight before this cruise, and while I’m committed to not putting myself on an unrealistic timeline, I do think it’s reasonable to set a goal of 30 pounds by June. One day at a time. One decision at a time.

Elle

35 Minutes

That’s how long I went out and ran today. Ok, let’s be real. Walked pretty fast, with some running sprinkled throughout. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. After that, I came home and did a leg work out. I was supposed to three sets of 15 reps of each exercise. I did 2 sets of 10 reps. And I took a pretty substantial break in between the two.

For the first time in… oh, I don’t know, forever, I’m giving myself permission to not put a time limit on this thing. It takes me how long it takes me. I certainly plan on hitting my goal before I turn 30 on December 1st, but I’m not going to calculate some unattainable plan to lose eight pounds a week and be a size 4 by March. Once upon a time, my brain worked like that, but not so much anymore. It’s a welcome change.

My sister challenged me to eat “plant strong” with her starting in February. We both watched a documentary called “Forks over Knives” and the sort-of sequel “The Engine 2 Diet” on Netflix. Have you heard of it? It’s worth checking out. It’s one of those shows that makes you believe in the power of eating right. And at least for me, it got me thinking about how I’d like to still be lucid and functional when I get older, and it starts with the decisions I’m making now. Right after this chocolate chip cookie. Kidding.

Side note – American Idol is on in the background. Can we all just take a moment to acknowledge that Harry Connick Jr is like whoa? I mean, really. And even with a name like Harry — which doesn’t exactly conjure images of a dreamy man. Well done, sir.

Anyway, I’ve eaten a lot of plants in the last few days. Here’s picture proof:

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dinner1

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I’m actually feeling really good. It’s always rough in the beginning (can you still call it that when you’ve been at it for 20 years or so?), but I knew it would be. And there is some truth in that saying that’s been going around “being fat is hard, getting in shape is hard. Pick your hard.” I’m as fed up with being fat as ever. Don’t want to be that way anymore.

Are you on the bandwagon? That’s what January is for.

Elle