Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I think it's time for an update on the personal front

Back in February, I hit a number on the scale I hadn't seen since the year before my daughter was born. Embarrassingly, that would be 10 years ago this month.

What's frustrating is that I have not been able to move past 238 pounds. The scale goes up to 240 some days but will eventually slide back down and stay at 238. I even bought new batteries for that stupid scale. Still 238.

I routinely walk nearly 25 km a week but no longer walk 2 hours/11 km four times weekly in addition to daily walking.  My body has become very efficient at walking and walking as exercise no longer yields results.

I lost 80 pounds from walking and changing my lifestyle (I gave up a car) and eating habits (I quit sugar). As much as I love the results (I went from a size 26w to an 18w) I dislike what I need to do to keep the weight off and from coming back. It's the food. I miss, absolutely miss, sugar. I miss buffet style eating (I haven't been to Mandarin in over 2 years) I realize now I'm in mourning. And it's this food grief that is causing me to think it's okay to add a slice of very berry coffee cake (380 calories - all of them bad) with my morning Starbucks coffee.

I am tired of eating 90 grams of protein a day and the calculation and cost of achieving that number. Eating protein with every meal has proven to keep cravings away and keep the weight off but I am tired of tuna, eggs, chicken and protein bars. I have eaten every brand of protein bar out there. If you're just starting out on your own weight loss journey, I highly recommend the Detour bars sold at Costco but I'm sick of them. Fish is expensive. Although I can afford to eat it three times a week, my daughter has decided fish for dinner has got to stop. Especially white fish. She has quit on me. Her father isn't too far behind.

A few months ago I reintroduced red meat back into our diets. As my husband grilled three strip loin steaks I had marinated in a butter and garlic roux, my daughter stood at the screen door leading to the back deck, inhaling deeply, and professing her love for all things beef.  I'm pretty sure I saw a tear escape from my husband's eye as he turned the steaks to sear the other side.

It's been a rough 35 months for everyone in the Smith household.

Because of my husband's type 2 diabetes, sugar remains permanently banned from the home. I have perfected baking with Splenda and Stevia so it's not needed, but you can't make everything with artificial sweeteners (custard will give you the middle finger) and cakes just don't taste the same.  Don't get me started on ice cream.

So in an effort to shake shit up, I've taken up road cycling.  Living out in rural Clarington has its benefits with this sport as I have kilometers and kilometers of country roads at my disposal.  In my first go, I racked up 22 kilometers in an hour and 33 minutes.  I was very pleased with myself. I am now up to 28 km in two hours with 12 km of that being uphill, which slows me down, but raises the heart rate right into a prime fat burning zone.

The exercise isn't an issue, it's the diet. Because of this food exhaustion and boredom, I'm sliding back into bad habits and it's scary because I can't seem to control it. It's like putting a finger in the hole of a wall of a dam where you know eventually that hole will grow bigger and the dam will break.

I'm at a loss. I have no idea what to do here.


Jules said...

I can completely relate. A few years ago I decided to get healthy when my blood pressure spiked and my Dr was concerned about my health. I am a foody, love food and always have but my health was suffering so I got to it and joined WW and got to my goal weight and felt awesome. I loved the plan, it made sense but I also suffered food exhaustion and boredom and a trip to the CNE food building and an awesome funnel cake that summer started me off on the decline of my maintenance and here I am 2 years later with all the weight gained back and feeling horrible again. I wish I had advice, other than what you already know and I am sure you already follow which is don't give up everything, allow yourself some treats but all in moderation. Easier said than done. It's a struggle I know well. I wish you good luck, I have been inspired and impressed reading about your journey, I know all too well how difficult it is. I am determined to do this again.

Squiggles said...

You have done an amazing job! And I feel for you. The food exhaustion has always gotten to me, which is why I tend to maintain, opposed to trying to lose the weight I need to. I have cheat days, and that helps.

My sister went vegetarian and because of allergies, she is almost vegan. That actually did help her, although most of her weight gain came from the steroids that she needs to take for her asthma.

Heading into other cultural foods work as well, especially Indian and Mexican I find. Mind you, I like this food and find it easy to make and I almost have items as a staple in the house. But it is the spices that make the difference and keep my taste buds entertained.

A sweet potato and spinach curry, served with brown rice is really filling and easy to make.

Fajitas or burritos (I make this one with left over chili) and whole wheat wraps.

Otherwise, my cheat days is broccoli fritters (1-2 tbsp of flour for the whole batch of 9) and a slice of ham.

Carla said...

Hi there
Long time reader, first time writing a comment. Sounds like I might be the one who has to serve up some tough love here. You are "failing" and I put that in quotes because girl please don't think you are, you aren't, in the food department because we are a society of CONVENIENCE. Eating healthy with variety takes effort - HUGE effort. It takes time to prepare fresh food. I can see why you seized on protein bars - nothing more convenient than grab & go! Do you even eat a real sit down breakfast? Let me guess. Ain't nobody got time for that!
I get it.
This is why you need to prepare things ahead of time like healthy breakfast wraps that don't have to be eggy. I hate eggs. I hear you.
Red meat is okay - IN MODERATION. You were wise to ditch it from your diet but come on, it's summer - we gotta barbecue!!!
Fish is important. If not fish, head to scallops, shrimp and lobster. You mentioned money isn't an issue so spend what you were spending on protein bars on good quality seafood.
It's so easy to eat when it comes in a bag, can or box. When it can be microwaved especially but these are foods that make us unhealthy.
Sugar is a bonafide addiction.
Use smoothies to cut the cravings. Don't buy any of those 100 calorie snacks in a box that Kelloggs pedddles, loaded with sugar. It's 100 of bad calories and who just eats one?!!!
Ice cream? Try frozen yogurt and don't Menchie it where you take something somewhat healthy and make it bad by piling nanaimo bars on top. Why?!
You can do this, Cj. You have to get creative and prepare your meals with real food for brekkie and lunch the night before.
I will email you with some suggested recipes, k?

Michael Suddard said...

I think you are need of some changes. Some way to spice things up in your life. There are two ways I see you doing that already:

1. Cycling - seems different from your regular walking excercise. Sure the country roads of Clarington are awesome for that. I'm not sure if it is any help. But check out the Trans Canada Trail along the waterfront of Lake Ontario. That will provide some new scenery and, best of all, has the distance you require to go for a while without worrying about the trail stopping.

2. Eating - sounds like you and I are in the same boat, in a rut food wise. One of the best things I had happen in the past year was having my Mother-in-Law come over and shows us a few dishes to make that my brother and sister in law enjoy. So perhaps finding a few new recipes will help. Loblaws and Real Canadian Superstore as well as local recreation centres generally have cooking classes. Perhaps an inquiry there with a note on allergies might help.

You've done well so far and should be proud of your goals achieved so far!

C.J. Smith said...

Where I agree with everyone is variety and the time to achieve that.

I don't do the dinner cooking - that's Chad's job. Chad is home by 3pm. He has boat loads of time for dinner. Both Chad and I are certified Indian culinary artists and we would eat more of this food if our daughter would play along. Chad has no desire to cook two different dinners. I don't blame him. On the nights we eat Indian, our daughter enjoys Chef (yes, a can of Chef Boyardee). She would eat Chef every day if we let her. We don't. She gets it four times a month.

I look forward to weekends when I get to cook. The meals are elaborate and I get excited because finally - FOOD.

It is the day to day grind I am struggling with and breakfast is the biggest challenge so Carla nailed that one. I am looking forward to her email.

I have cheat days. They do help. Food rewards I call them. Usually it's something like pizza with anchovies or schwarma with extra tahini. Or Menchie's. I'm so guilty ...

Anonymous said...

thought you were a bitch with no feelings. wow. you actually are human. you should open up more. maybe people will judge you less. just sayin...... (singsong voice)

C.J. Smith said...

^ Yeee-ahhhh. I got nothing.

Dean said...

I think what anonymous is getting at is that it's almost voyeuristic to get a peek at the life of a person who writes a blog about a topic that doesn't include personal details. I never understand the blogs about being a mom or being gay or living as a single dad. I don't read them. Don't care. But this blog - right up my alley. It's a perfect mix of subjects perfect strangers can care about, including your weight loss struggle. Now if it was just about your weight loss, I'd doubt you'd have the following you have. Bor-ing! No offence. Seriously. I think you've done an amazing job. I enjoyed reading this personal snippet. I have no advice other than just keep exercising. The fact that you exercise way more than I do is impressive enough.

Jules said...

Dean I think Anon just wanted a cheap shot. I think anyone who reads CJ's blog know that she is a pretty balanced person with her blog, never have I ever once thought she was a bitch with no feelings.

DF said...

please stop eating processed foods (protein bars).
also, if you joined a gym and lifted weights you would start seeing faster results. weights mixed with cardio will do your body much more good that just cardio/diet. did you know that after you lift weights your body burns calories for 24 hours afterards (even by just sitting on your couch and doing nothing?) whereas your body only burns fat during cardio alone and not afterwards.
eating clean is difficult and means a LOT of work in the kitchen. no ifs ands or buts about that.

DF said...

I make a fabulous smoothie for breakfast in the mornings and it keeps me full for hours:

blend in a blender/Magic bullet: 1 cup of frozen strawberries; 1/4 cup greek yogurt; 1/3 c POM juice; 2 tbsp chia seeds; 2 tbsp hemp hearts; a scoopy of Progressive Veggie Greens.

you could add protein powder to this but personally I am not a fan.
Sometimes I even put in a tsp of coconut oil. it is a good oil that helps keep you full and fights off disease as well.

and PLEASE ditch the Chef too. that stuff is SO BAD for your kid. for anyone!!

C.J. Smith said...

That's tough one with the Chef. Because autism.

Anonymous said...

@JulieBean nope. not a shot. just a legit observation.

Squiggles said...

Before I forget, I sent a few recipes via email.

One is to make your own protein balls/bars with dried apples & raw cashews as the main ingredients.

The other is a breakfast that you can make ahead and warm up in the microwave with coconut milk, quinoa served with almonds and blueberries.

I agree with the others, it is a lot of kitchen prep work. But that is what weekends are for! I do my stuff on Sat & Sun, and am good for a week or more.

C.J. Smith said...

And my heart grew three times today.

Bicky said...

You've done an awesome job! I'm sure you'll to your target. You're very dedicated.

But because I'm a lazy cook, I've got no recipes to send. Only for bad (yummy!) things. ;)

Peter said...

To begin, take what Squiggles said to heart. You have done an amazing job! Stand up and take a bow. You deserve the applause! Now, FWIW …

A couple of new cookbooks were introduced to our kitchen last Christmas. One is The Oh She Glows Cookbook. We’re not vegan, but we absolutely love the recipes. I don’t have the name of other book, but I’ll get it to you. One of my sons and his girlfriend swear by these books. They are triathletes and have removed meat from their diets as much as possible. My son said his energy level increased after he did that. I’m not suggesting you follow their lead, but for some flavourful variety, you can’t go wrong here.

Every chef loves their kitchen gadgets. My wife acquired a “vegetable spiralizer” ( to speed up the prep work and increase presentation variety of vegetables. Be careful! The blades are very sharp.

Keep up the cycling. You’ll find the duration of your trips will increase. You’ll encounter cyclists training for their triathlons and Ironman competitions. Engage them in conversation. Pick their brains. They have a wealth of knowledge and are always willing to share it.

To augment the cardio exercise, have you ever tried weight training with kettle bells? Just another option to consider.

Keep up the great work, CJ, and best wishes!

Anonymous said...

My wife made me Kale and Cabbage the other day - I was sh**ing for a week! I might write a diet book, "S**t yourself Slim"

C.J. Smith said...

No word of a lie I have always wondered about the weight loss benefits of diarrhea.

Yummy recipes are ok - for cheating!!!

ChocLabLover said...

CJ-I hear your frustration-I also deal with the struggle every day. There are some great apps out there that will figure out what you need from calorie level per day. The basic 80/20 rule is true when it comes to losing weight-80% diet, 20% exercise. One of the things that you may find helpful is write down everything you eat and track it. I think you might be surprised on how many calories are in the protein bars-they are also high in carbs, which is another form of sugar.

Squiggles said...

Re: The scoots:

It doesn't work. Stay away. Full disclosure, I have a medical condition that when it acts up, either nothing happens or it is the scoots. It gets doubly bad when under stress or when I do not eat properly. All you end up is slightly dehydrated. And uncomfortable. And wishing you had installed those nice padded toilet seats. But, thankful for being able to work from home, because nothing is worse than having the scoots at work.

C.J. Smith said...

re: tracking

I use MapMyWalk and MapMyRide as well as the built in pedometer in my phone to track exercise.

I track food using MyNetDiary premium. I have found tracking food to be invaluable.

C.J. Smith said...

Ok! Scoots bad.

David said...

The only thing that remotely keeps me on the straight and narrow in terms of food is skipping from one culture to another. I find that sticking with the North American healthy eating plans of chicken and veg makes me crazier and when I crack I fall a lot harder (deep fried everything). Mix in some Korean pork stew, some sushi, some Ethiopian, etc with portion control in mind and suddenly I'm a lot more sane.

DF said...

oh I second the Kettelbell workout! and it's something you can do at home. just make sure use proper form. it's a full body workout!
as for the Chef I get it. it's tough and change is especially tough for your daughter Im sure. but trust me you'll be doing her such a big favour. seriously, that stuff will kill you. or give you cancer or both. such nastiness. same goes for all processed foods and sugar. why not try to make her a home made version instead?

Peter said...

The second cookbook I can recommend is Vegetarian Everyday: Healthy Recipes from Our Green Kitchen.

Bon appétit!