Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Premeditated pig-out

I wouldn't be writing this blog if I didn't have issues with food. I like to eat. I have to be extremely unwell to not eat or god forbid forget to eat. I never forget to eat. My husband does it all the time. He'll come home and say, "I am so hungry!" as he rummages through the fridge looking for a snack. I say, "What did you have for lunch?" thinking it obviously wasn't filling enough. There will be a pause, then: "Lunch?"

But I digress. Suffice to say - I like to eat. I enjoy it - much, much more than your average 'slim' person. From the outside I look like just another slim person walking around. But on the inside, food is still a struggle for me. Even though I follow this nutrition programme, and I have kept my weight pretty much at a 20+ loss, there are still plenty of times when I am feeling tired or stressed and I pig out.

While the pig-out is still the same (I can consume quite a few calories in one sitting!), the thought process around pig-outs is different. I actually think about what I am going to do before I start instead of just mindlessly or defiantly raiding the cupboard and stuffing my face. This is what goes through my mind:

"Hmmm, I really feel like eating potato chips (or chocolate or ice cream or cake). So, if I eat this today that means on Saturday (my regular free meal day) I won't be having my free meal. Hmmm. Do I want still want to do this?" I have to say, 95% of the time when I am feeling like this the answer is YES! There are the times when that upcoming Saturday might be a party or event that I am looking forward to and there will be delicious food involved. I can actually reel myself in and think - no, I can wait and really enjoy my free meal then.

It is clear to me that this is emotional eating. I am trying to solve how I feel with food because it brings me enjoyment. It lifts my mood. I don't think it is a great solution - at all! But it is where I am at right now.

Thankfully, I understand the principles of my nutrition programme to know that one pig-out every so often is not going to saddle me with an extra five pounds. In the past, I would have pigged-out and got depressed about what a failure I was at sticking to a healthy diet. Then I would think, "Well, what the heck. I've wrecked it now, I might as well eat all the stuff I've been wanting." It was the slippery slope of packing on pounds. The premeditated pig-out is definitely an improvement!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How I enjoy holiday eating - and not gain weight

I love Christmas and New Year's and all the delicious treats that go with the holidays. Bring on the mince tarts, Christmas cakes, chocolate, turkey with stuffing, potatoes and gravy, pavlova and cream! The holidays are times for treats, special occasions with special food - lovingly prepared and thoroughly enjoyed.

In the past, Christmas and the ensuing weeks of being in holiday mode meant weight gain for me. When the first Christmas goodies started arriving - usually in the form of end-of-year parties, morning teas, and gift hampers - I would indulge. It's Christmas, after-all! Well, technically Christmas was probably at least two weeks away, but by golly, I was not going to miss out on all the delicious foods on offer. So, I would be munching my way through thousands of calories for days on end (but who was counting? Not me!). Christmas day would come, and I would still be feasting. Then there were all the leftovers and more foodie gifts to keep me going well into New Year's.

By the middle of January all my clothes would be tight and uncomfortable. I would have put on 10 pounds! The New Year's resolution was always: lose 20 pounds.

I am so glad those days are behind me. I don't gain weight over the holidays any more. But I still enjoy my holiday treat foods. Here's how I do it - and surprisingly it doesn't take much willpower to make it work:

I choose one day of the two holiday weeks - it's usually Christmas Day and New Year's Eve - and during the one day I thoroughly enjoy a sumptious array of holiday foods. I eat, drink and am very merry!

The next day, I am back on my regular nutrition programme, eating my normal healthy food. I don't pick at the leftovers in the fridge, I don't nibble at scorched almonds and I don't have 'just a little piece' of fruit cake after my lunch. It's like turning off a switch for me. I can see all the treat foods there but (amazingly) I've trained myself to just see them as being completely off-limits. I will admit sometimes I get annoyed that I can't have them, but really it's just an annoyance because I feel so much better being back on a clean, healthy programme; and I also love having my clothes fit!

My best wishes to everyone for a safe, happy and treat-filled Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eat Fat Lose Fat ... maybe not

I haven't posted in quite some time (as I was reminded by a friend: "Posts for November. Zero!"). It has everything to do with this book: Eat Fat Lose Fat. It is co-written by one of the same authors as Nourishing Traditions which I have found to be an extremely informative and useful book.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Eat Fat Lose Fat. But first, this post isn't intended as a book review. Not at all. What happened was this ... I read Nourishing Traditions and thought it was great. I found that Sally Fallon co-authored EFLF and was very excited about the prospect of getting to eat LOTS OF FAT!!! Butter on toast? Ya, babeee! Cream on my porridge? Bring it on! Fat with breakfast, lunch and dinner? Yes, please! To some people that probably sounds disgusting, but to me it sounds delicious.

So, here's what happened. I read the book. I drooled. I couldn't wait to get started. But I was scared. Here was a book saying (with heaps of testimonials I read on different websites) you could add a lot of fat (mainly butter, coconut oil, cream, and olive oil) into your diet and actually have fat loss. This was a direct contradiction to my nutrition programme - I had to cut out fat to lose fat. It would be remiss of me not to mention that the EFLF nutrition guidelines are all about eating real foods - wholesome, organic foods that humans are designed to eat - get rid of the white flour, sugar and processed foods. This is my philosophy too.

Despite my fear of eating loads of fat ... I had a go at the programme anyway. (Even as I type this I am thinking: why, why, why did I ever think this was going to work for me when I have been successfully maintaining my weight on a low-fat diet for the past 5 years? Calories in/calories out - eat more than you burn and you're gonna gain weight. I'm either stupid or a chow hound. I'm a stupid chow-hound. Ha!)

However, my first stumbling block with EFLF is they recommend only eating 3 meals per day (I eat every 3 hours!). The idea is that your meals are loaded with enough fat to satiate you until the next meal and you actually eat less calories (than what, I don't know) by not having snacks in between meals. On the first morning I drank a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of coconut oil dissolved in it. The coconut oil is known to initiate fat loss. My first meal on EFLF consisted of oatmeal porridge with low fat yogurt and about one tablespoon of butter. It was tasty, I enjoyed it and felt full - like really full. I was feeling quite smug. Here it was 8am, I'm really, really full and I won't need to eat again for hours - realistically I needed to last until 1pm. By 11am I was starving. Hmmm, that's not how it's supposed to work. The fear set in again. I went back to eating my normal low-fat fare for the rest of the day.

On day two, had the coconut water again then breakfast which was oatmeal porridge, FULL fat yogurt and three tablespoons of butter. That should do it - I figured my problem the previous day was I had low-fat yogurt and not enough butter - just not enough fat to satiate me. Three hours later I was hungry. Nooooooo! This was so not working for me. How was I ever going to manage on just three meals per day when I was hungry every three hours?? I'd be having dinner by 2pm!

On day three I repeated the breakfast regime of day two with sinking hopes. Maybe something would be different on this day. Nope. Three hours later - hungry. My husband said perhaps it is because my body is just too well-trained with my three-hourly eating. Or perhaps this programme just doesn't work for every body.

In reality, I didn't give EFLF a true trial - I couldn't even stick to it past breakfast. But that sums up the fact it just wasn't working for me. I wasn't even trying to lose weight, I was just hoping to maintain my weight - and get to eat lots of fat in the process.

So, after this bizarre diversion from my successful nutrition programme and some soul-searching questions such as: 'what was I thinking???', I'm truly convinced I'm on the right track with my nutrition programme and keeping my fat rolls in check.