Friday, August 19, 2005

Stopped Watching, Started Loosing

In the 10 days since I quit Weight Watchers Online, I have lost 1.6lb, breaking a 5 month plateau, granted the plateau also involved my wedding, and all the preceeding planning and running about like a headless chicken, not to mention the celebratory eating and drinking.

I think it's pretty apparant that WW was not doing it for me any more, it worked great when I first started, re-reminding me of portion sizes and mental strategies etc. I also started out on their "core" "no-counting" plan which involves eating lots of veg, fruit and wholegrains, and only using the anal retentive tracking on starchy and/or processed foods. That was perfect because I was also trying to move towards a less processed diet anyway, but it didn't work out long term because I use bread a lot in my diet, wholegrain bread, but bread nonetheless, and that's not a "free" food on the core plan, so I'd run out of points and feel pressured and stressed. So I switched to the count everything plan, which felt good for a couple of weeks because of the flexibility to pick whatever food, but I still didn't loose weight. Even when I was "OP", or on plan to anyone who hasn't been initiated into the cult.

That's another thing that was starting to bug me: all the jargon, the insiderspeak. It made me feel more on a diet that I wanted to, I don't want to be on a system or a plan, because then you can be off plan too.

Last week I realized that I was obsessing far too much over numbers: my points balance for the day, for the week, the fact my weight wasn't budging. I was feeling too strictly limited and that made me want to rebel and eat restricted items like icecream and french fries. I think part of it was that the simplified counting scheme, though easy to use and a great idea, made the points system too abstract and arbitrary for my brain. Calories I get, I have a real life handle on what they mean, fat calories, protein calories, carbohydrate calories, fiber, sodium content...blah blah blah. The points system is easier to pick up because it's simplified, but in the end it's too simplified for me, it wasn't giving me a sense of understanding and control of my diet, just a feeling that these arbitrary numbers were making me feel bad for going "over" this day or that.

So I quit. I bought the $20 FitDay Software for my home computer, pulled some new recipes to try, and recomitted to health over and above weightloss.

Whaddya know, I made salads for my lunches through the week, pigged out on the fruit plate at a lunchtime meeting but completely ignored the cookies (I knew I was allowed one, I just plain didn't fancy one, and they're good cookies too!), went to the bellydancing class on Monday and lost 1.6lb! Just taking the pressure off by removing my daily and weekly limits led me to make better choices anyway. Miraculous!

So I'm still tracking, because it will make me stay accountable, and I honestly want to know how many calories I have to eat (or not eat) in a week to loose weight. This way I still have graphs of my weight progressing and now I get pie charts of my calorie sources for the day and everything. As Dietgirl said: Geekgasm!

Just wait though, in a few months I'll probably feel the need to set limits for a while to kick me off another plateau. It seems to be periodic re-asessing and change of approach that really helps keep things going when you're reinventing yourself bit by bit.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Harvard loves me as I am

I'm playing around with a bunch of calculators on the website of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, and am generally pleased by the results: I'm low risk for every form of cancer they've got, except for melanoma because I'm a peelie-wallie pasty white Celt. The wierd thing is that, for the cancers where risk is affected by being overweight...the website is saying "well done, you are not overweight". I put in correct height/weight stats, and every other website I've asked has said "overweight" or even *gulp* "obese". I think I'm right on the borderline between those two categories if you go by the highly flawed BMI chart.

Meh. So Harvard think's I'm not overweight. I'm tempted to play with the weight data to see at what point they would consider me overweight.

HAH! OK, the CANCER risk calculators don't think I'm overweight, but the DIABETES risk calculator does. I guess cancer is linked to more extreme levels of overweight.

Now I'm going to go pull faces at the Diabetes Risk Calculator, cause it called me a fatty.

I'm sorry, I just don't undulate that way

Last night I went to a bellydancing class thinking I was well equipped for the style, being in posession of a fair bit of hip and a not invisible belly. Oh, I know it's not about jiggling the wobbly parts so much as it's about isolations of muscle groups in your abdomen. My abdominal muscles don't like being singled out it seems, or my spine isn't used to my ribcage bending one way while my hips bend the other, or something. I don't remember feeling so out of touch with my parts since I took ballet classes when I was 5 years old! I'm going back, it's precisely the unfamiliarity that makes me want to learn bellydancing, the challenge to try something different. When I took up karate it was new and different, but I took to it right away, it was easy for me, easier than I'd expected. Now I think it will be fun to try something that I don't take to right away, especially if it'll help my abdomen look anything like that of the lovely instructor Sabrina.

The other plus is that two friends of mine are going to the class, in fact Laura and Bonnie told me about it in the first place, and it's not that often that you get a chance to take up an activity with friends, usually nobody's free at the same time, or interested in the same things. As a surprise bonus on the friendly front, another woman I know appeared at the class last night too, it's a small world in San Diego when you start getting into obscure things like bellydancing, period clothing or martial arts. So far a lot of the people I've become friends with have turned out to know a lot of the other people I've become friends with too.