Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Weight, Food, Calories and Such

For every food theory, for every dieting style, for every exercise plan, there is most certainly a counter to each.  I feel like in my lifetime of eating, dieting and exercising, I have tried everything and tried every which way but loose.

Over the past 12 years since my thyroid diagnosis, though I've stayed fairly consistent with exercise, I've struggled to figure out what was going to "work" food and eating-wise. Honestly, a lot of the new things I've tried have come in these last 12 years.  Prior to that, I really had only been on one major "diet"  and that was weight watchers in the 1990's after I had gained 60 lbs. following quitting smoking.  Other than that, if I wanted to take off a few lbs. I'd just cut back or if I wanted to do something drastic, I'd do the cabbage soup or 2 shakes and a meal for 3  or so days. As I look back through my thyroid fog, I now see those as the good old days.

When my thyroid went wonky and nothing worked (long term anyway, several things have worked very short term before my weight inexplicably goes back up), I sort of settled into this eating plan of 1500 calories a day.  I've done that for so many years that I pretty much don't even need to track food and can keep a semi-conscious running tally in my head. Meaning that pretty much, for the last 10+ years I've eaten 1500 calories a day 90% of the time - without losing weight.

The owner of the training facility I joined, and who is working with me to see if we can get my metabolism going, has a theory that because I've eaten that same amount for so long, my body has adapted and now thinks it's in maintenance, even though according to my current body weight combined with calories in and calories out, I should be losing.

He wants to try some regulated calorie cycling, along with setting the macros, i.e. protein/carbohydrates/fats at certain levels.  We have sort of been experimenting with this the last few weeks just to see if I could handle it as I really, REALLY, don't like tracking my food.  Much to my surprise, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be on most days.  So I know it's doable.

Where I'm having trouble though is due to Mr. Helen's retirement, believe it or not.  It's the craziest thing because we've waited nearly 30 years for him to have weekends off and now that he does, it's proving a challenge - at least to my eating plan.  Most of the issues are coming because he keeps wanting to go away for long weekends, which means I'm totally out of my comfort zone in terms of food since that usually requires a bit of eating out.  The other thing is that he's daring to cook!  Which I love because it frees some time up for me, but that can also be challenging, especially when I don't want to come across as controlling and I just want to let him participate in the life of our household.

When I sort of mentioned this to the nutritionist at the gym she said, "When you find yourself at various social events, eating out. traveling, etc. you  can't go wrong if you always choose a protein and vegetables."  Ummmmm, okay.  Except that's not realistic, what's always going to happen, and certainly not living life in my opinion.  Perfect example:  last night I got home and Mr. Helen had made steak sandwiches for dinner.  I suppose I could have just piled the shaved steak on my plate and eaten the salad, but in reality, I wanted the roll.  (It so happens having the roll worked perfectly with my macros but that's not always the case either.)

In any case, I have been feeling like I can't get a good roll (haha) going with just doing the food plan with the macros and so I've rescheduled my followup with my trainer a couple times. Last night, I got caught.

I was literally laying on the floor, weights in hand doing single arm presses when I felt like someone was staring at me.  I glanced over and there was my trainer.  He told me to finish my set and then we chatted for a few minutes.  He wanted to know why I had changed our appointment twice so I explained. He looked right at me and said, "You've got to be kidding.  Helen, what I want for you is to find the groove that lets you enjoy your life.  You've happened to move into a different stage of life and start this new attempt at health and fitness at the same time.  What that means is we work together to figure out what is best for you."  (Let me preface this my saying he makes me laugh!) "You know, I've gained 1% of body fat this summer because I've been eating more burgers and drinking more beer.  It happens, it's called LIFE."  (1% body fat?  Hysterical, but I had to keep my face straight!) "This is what I want you do do: don't go crazy and stuff yourself with cake, just try to eat as healthy as possible most of the time, enjoy your weekends away with your husband and we are going to revisit this in September. Don't even track your food until after Labor Day if you don't want to.  Just do your best - you know what that is."

Besides the fact that he hunted me down when he didn't have to, that attitude right there is why I know I have found the right place for me as I move into this next stage of my life.  Maybe this new theory is more sustainable than what I have put myself through in the past.  I hope so!


  1. No joke, I was literally laughing out loud as I was reading the "gained 1% body fat" when I got to your side note about that! I don't ever want to be the person who tracks fluctuations THAT closely, but I do love your trainer's attitude. Life is so worth living, even if you're not 100% or hell, even 80% compliant with the perfect meal plan.

    Also, I do love that Mr. Helen is enjoying his newly-found weekends and it's great that you guys are doing more...I'm sure eventually things will settle down a bit, but heck - it's summertime, go out and have fun!

  2. LOL at 1% body fat. If I have burgers and beer, that would be 5% body fat :D

    There is a book you might want to check out. It's by Yanni Freedhoff. He doesn't really suggest a specific eating plan since he thinks different strokes for different folks, but the other advice he has on living the best life you can being happy with what you are doing is spot on. It's called The Diet Fix. I don't like the title that much, but he just makes a lot of sense in what he says and maybe it might help your mindset with where you are right now.

  3. Ha! I gain gain 1% of bodyfat in a day! Had to laugh that he hunted you down, but I agree, it's not about deprivation or restricting, just working the best you can.

    Having had wine five days in a row on vacation, I know I can't keep that up, so I haven't had alcohol in 7 days, and my new mantra is to only have wine or beer when appropriate - meeting friends after work, or dinner out - and then only enjoying ONE cocktail and moving on to water. My niece is getting married in November, so I've got goals! :D

  4. I love you that he tracked you down and that he called you out!!! That is absolutely awesome!!!!!!!!!

  5. Yeah! Meat and veg- totally gets me through all social situations- for sure. 20 years on my thyroid Dx this week. 5.5 years long term weight maintenance after 40 of obesity. When I eat out, meat and veg keep me full and it's very realistic for me.

    Onward. Your body will respond accordingly.