Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taking control of my weight loss efforts.

     I have been very public with my struggle with my weight.  Over the last year I have been back on Weight Watchers.  I have struggled with the same 5lbs over and over in that whole time.  STOP- before you think "gee- Weight Watchers must not work!" it must be taken into account that I have been on Prednisone- which is notorious for causing weight gain- the entire time.  When you go to the doctor as often as we do, and when we are sitting there side by side with infusions pumping into our bodies- we tend to talk about our medications and side effects and there is a young lady who started Prednisone the same time as I did and by Thanksgiving (7mos in) she was up 54lbs.  I credit WW with me not having a gain period, much less over 50lbs.

One thing that I love about Weight Watchers is that there is nothing- absolutely nothing- that is off limits.  The school of thought is - everything in moderation and if you are going to have something that would traditionally be considered "bad"- plan for it.  Their guiding principle is the basic for any weight loss- Eat Less, Move More.  It's that simple.   Of course- that's easier said than done in many cases. 

When we are faced with a chronic illness- especially one that is centered around chronic pain (Hello RA and Fibro in my body!)  the Move More part of that principle is particularly challenging.  Not only does traditional exercise just plain hurt, but one of the "side effects" of chronic pain is chronic fatigue.  It's just plain exhausting to hurt all the time.  When I get home after a long day- I am wiped out and don't want to even think about driving to the gym, working out for 30-60 minutes, driving home, starting dinner, cleaning up and all the rest of the evening "stuff".  If I did that, I wouldn't get to bed until goodness knows when.  When you consider that I get up no later than 4:30 so I can be "unkinked" in time to go to work and be productive- it makes me shudder.  Well, I am trying a new (to me) solution for that.  There is a relatively new school of thought that you don't have to do 30-60 minutes all at once to have an effect.  You can do non-traditional exercise and spread it out in short bursts over the day and it still counts.  That seems far more managable to me. 

My plan?  I am starting by doubling my stairs.  When I went up this morning to get dressed, I went up, came right back down and went right back up.  I am also putting my downstairs half-bath off limits except for hair and makeup.  I keep them there so hubby and I can get ready at the same time.  If I use the upstairs bathroom- and do the up-down-up thing, I will exponentially increase my stair climbing.  At work we are in a heavy web order time.  Rather than filling all the order that need to be shipped and then wheeling them all back to the UPS pick up area, I will fill an order then walk it back immediately.  That adds steps to my day.  Then there are commercials.  In this day of the DVR/Tivo, most of us fast forward through those annoying ads.  Well, I am thinking why not use those to my advantage?  If I get up and walk in place (during boring commercials) or dance (to the ones with catchy tunes) or just do a few yoga poses every single time- that's 17 minutes per hour show.  Two tv shows a day won't even dent my DVR but it will give me over 30 minutes of exercise!  Hubby works almost every Saturday so I can take that time to "give" myself a trip to the Y on the weekends.    We pay for the membership but I have found that it's very hard for me to work that in during the week.  On the other hand, it's very good for me to spend time in the therapy pool so I need to give myself the gift of the time to do it.  If I go to my folks, I can give myself (and at least one of the puppies) a nice long walk.  Goodness knows I get up early enough that I should be able to get my rear end out there and take the walk before my parents get up. 

As for the Eat Less portion- that can be a challenge too when you are a "volume eater" like I am.  What I have learned with WW is that I can eat as many fruits and (most) veggies as I like, and treat everything else like a side dish.  I use the small (10") plates for my meals while Hubby uses the "normal" plates.  I also eat my veggies first. If I want seconds- I wait at least 20 minutes to see if I am REALLY hungry or if I just want more because I ate without paying attention.  I have stocked up on high volume/low "points" foods like light popcorn, grapes, baby carrots and other snacky items.  I also have a heavy sweets thing in the evening.  Over the year that I have been with WW I have learned portion control and that I can make a pint of Ben and Jerry's last for 4 servings if I make ice cream cones rather than putting it into a bowl (where it looks SO small) or eating right out of a carton.  I have learned to split my higher "points" sweets and snacks into serving sizes immediately after bringing them home so that I don't have a whole bag or box in front of me.  It only takes a minute or two to take scones or muffins or whatever into freezer quality ziploc bags and toss them into the freezer.  If they are just sitting on the table- I will do the "I have to eat these now because I don't want them to go bad" thing.  Another advantage to breaking up the snacks is that I can grab them and go.  I do it with PopChips (if you haven't tried these- you are SO missing out), almonds,  pretzels- anything I buy to snack on- and put them in my "snack drawer" so they aren't in sight all of the time but easy to grab on my way out the door in the morning.  The most important thing is that I don't deny myself anything.  If I want a plate of spaghetti with sauce- I have it.  I just plan ahead for it by either having very low points things all day or by earning extra points through activity. 

There are two very important things that I have learned by sitting in my meetings almost every week.  The first is to stop beating myself up when I go off plan for a meal.  Just because I went over my allotted "points" for dinner tonight or dessert or even a whole day- it doesn't mean I have completely derailed my efforts.  The message is much like that of AA.  It's that we must take our efforts one meal at a time.  If we get off track, get back on track the very next meal.  The second thing I have learned is that I must make this lifestyle change about me.  I deserve good foods. I deserve to feel better. I deserve the time it takes to do the extra movement.  I deserve the benefits that losing the weight will give to my body in terms of lessening the stress on my already under attack joints.  I may have to work harder for this because of the challenges of the side effects of the medications and the pain associated with traditional exercise- but I am worth the extra effort. 

Tomorrow- how I intend to reward myself to keep my motivation. 

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