Monday, February 28, 2011

Annie: Weigh-in week 20

Well, I hope that's the last of the plateau for the next little while - that was mentally exhausting.

There are a few reasons I might have finally broken through this week:
  1. I cut out all eating after 8pm, and focused on getting my PP in earlier in the day. As a likely consequence, I felt even hungrier than usual, which may have led to...
  2. I ate almost half my "weekly points allowance" over and above my daily allotment; this may have jump-started the metabolism after weeks of barely eating any of them?
  3. I was in America for 2 days, during which time I ate in restaurants; while I didn't eat as much volume as I normally do (because of the PP), I figure what I was eating was likely higher in fat than I normally eat - which could have had the same effect as #2, above.
  4. I may have finally outlasted the impact of the abandoned diuretic; maybe my water stores are back in balance. Or,
  5. Maybe I had just done my time, and the plateau would have ended without any of the above.
Either way, I don't care.

Oh, and it sure feels good to see the "still remaining" number smaller than the "lost so far" number, regardless of how big the "still remaining" number is!

Loss this week: 4
Lost so far: 52.6
Still remaining: 47.4
Activity points earned this week: 20
Weeks to go: 32

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Annie: Pictures

If this morning's sneak peek at the scale is any indication, I will have a big milestone to report on Monday. :o)

And, given that Husband is actually home this weekend, and the sun is shining, and it's not 50 below, I figured this was as good a time as any to do the long-promised photo comparison of then vs. now.

I have to begin with a disclaimer: I know the looseness of my clothes, especially my tops, is very unhelpful when it comes to before and after weight-loss pictures. But I don't wear spandex unless I'm alone, or it's just Husband and Child or perhaps the Faithful Mo around... so this is just what it's going to have to be!  :o)

With that said, I can still see a difference - I hope you can too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mae: Week 19 weigh-in

As expected, I did gain slightly over my vacay, but less than I had initially thought. I weighed as soon as I got home, but I'm usually pretty bloaty after flying. In any case, I thought I was up around three pounds at the time, but it turns out to be about half that. So - yay? I don't really regret it, as it was a pretty fabulous vacation. But I got to thinking - maybe I'm just sloooooow in general?

It seems that my body is as 'reluctant' (right now, as this certainly, ahem, hasn't always been the case given my current predicament) to put on weight as it is to lose it. This may be a silly theory, but I couldn't help but wonder. I did eat my fair share of guacamole and brie, I'm not gonna lie. I went to the gym a few times, but it was nothing crazy. Maybe I'm just stuck? There are supposedly all sorts of psychological aspects to weight loss (i.e. depressed people lose weight at a rate much slower than those who are not, and this is not entirely due to medication).  I'm not saying that is the case here, but maybe I have some sort of mental block? Hmmmmm.

One change that I have made recently is cutting caffeine down to almost nil. I am more run-down than I have ever been, and came to the realization that I was ingesting WAY too much of it in order to chemically  extend the boundaries of my days. I think it's a much better idea to lose the caffeine and let my body decide on its own when it's time to call it quits for the day.

The other missing piece in addition to sleep is exercise. I'm so damned tired in the morning that I have actually not remembered some of my Wii workouts. It must be quite the sight: me flailing around in the basement with gadgety and glowing things on my appendages like a half-sedated donkey. I can't imagine that this is as effective as when I'm actually awake?

So, a few things to improve for next time ; )

Weigh-in: +1.6
Loss to date: 18.2
Pounds to go: 63.8

Monday, February 21, 2011

Annie: weigh-in week 19

Oy, this is getting long. But I think I've figured out why I've stalled like this (beyond the regular I-had-a-good-plateau-coming thing).

I have to set the scene by stating that I haven't been cheating, haven't stopped measuring portions, haven't reduced the intensity of my exercise. I have been following this program to the letter throughout this business of barely losing any weight.

I have, I have to admit, been consuming the majority of my points after 7pm, though, so that will be the next thing I address in the hopes of breaking up this dam.

But there's another factor I think is having an impact: medicine.

When I started this program, I was on a combination of two blood pressure medications -- one a beta blocker, the other, a diuretic.

I blogged a few weeks back about how happy I was that my Dr. had cut one of my meds in half -- that was the beta blocker. But a couple of weeks ago, I started feeling a bit light-headed, and my blood pressure readings were fairly low, for me anyway (102/68, for instance). So my Dr. took me off the diuretic.

See where I'm going?

That happened to take place during my water week - so my weigh-in had reflected some water loss that likely wasn't real weight loss (which would have shown back up on the scale a couple of days later). Then, I stopped taking a diuretic that had been a normal part of my routine for years before that -- so it stands to reason that I'd be retaining more water now, right?

I'm telling myself that my weight is stuck like this because my body is re-configuring the water stores; it makes me feel better about how long it's taking me to get to this freaking 50-pound mark!

This morning, Husband, Child and I are off to America for a couple of days. Those shopping trips used to be all about 2-point packages of snacks, but since new program, they're not worth the PP anymore.

So this week's shopping list includes a new bathroom scale, and a pretty outfit to wear to a fancy evening event I'll be attending in late April. I'm going to gamble and buy one that's a bit tight, in the hopes I can break through this dam and have it fit nicely by then!

Loss this week: 0.4
Lost so far: 48.6
Still remaining: 51.4
Activity points earned this week: 20
Weeks to go: 33

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mae: I'm back

Hellooooo people! I'm back to my native and frigid surroundings after what turned out to be a pretty fan-frickin-tastic vacation. I'll wait to report on my real weigh-in on Tuesday, but I did weigh within 5 minutes of getting home yesterday, and looks like I'm up about 3 or so pounds. I'm surprisingly ok with that, and in the end allowed myself to have a pretty good time (thank you Annie and Mo!).

I had two cupcakes from the exclusive 'Cupcake Cupboard.' I would normally want two a day!

I made a trip to the very well-equipped 'Ship-Shape Center' (ha!) on the first afternoon to hear about the programs offered. Yoga and spin classes, for example, were offered for a fee, but I chose to take my 'cruise vacation nickle-and-diming' at the bar. I took advantage of the freely-available cardio and free weight equipment instead. I chose to go between 7:45 - 8:00 a.m. and could barely get into the place! It was packed. ALWAYS. This is the first time I've ever made my way to the gym on a cruise, and didn't realize that so many people actually go there. During the gym orientation, the head beefcake told everyone that most people average between one to two pounds of weight gain a day. Ok, so there was some additional motivation.

While there, I made an interesting observation. I noticed that the 'Ship-Shape Center' was full of fit people; people who were likely fit precisely because of their dedication to personal wellness despite a pretty decadent vacation. Hmmmm. It's easy for the snarky me to be fooled into thinking that all those skinny people around the pool are just blessed with good genes, when in fact, many of them were simply working their asses off in the morning before the hung-over masses even stumbled into the greasy breakfast buffet. I ended up going three times for an hour each time.

Royal Caribbean offers an alternative 'vitality' menu in the evenings, which includes healthier choices complete with caloric information. I ate from this menu on most evenings and the food was still great. I didn't feel disgustingly full like I have on previous trips, and on some occasions we shared dessert instead of getting one each. I only ate three times a day, and not all day and night long. We did order room service late one night (because you can, and it's free), and it was waaaaaay too much bad food. I didn't eat any of the dessert, left my greasy artichoke/spinach dip appetizer on the plate, and ended up eating just a bit of chicken and drinking tea. Most of it went back out into the hall, and I didn't care in this instance about wastage. Better out there than on my arse.

Now I obviously wasn't a saint because I did gain weight, and I drink a lot of colourful and delicious cocktails. However, I'm back on program today and looking forward to my Wednesday-evening debrief with Annie tonight.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Annie: weigh-in week 18

And The Faithful Mo waits...

Still haven't hit the big 5-0. Annoyed. Partially because the slow rate of loss is frustrating, and partially because now my Wii scale is giving inconsistent weights, too.

Monday morning, I must have weighed myself a half-dozen times in the span of 10 minutes, without ever leaving the area - just stepped on, stepped off, stepped on again, etc... and each time I dropped another few portions of a pound. The weight I'm reporting here is actually 2.3 lbs lower than the first weight I got yesterday morning - and I suspect it could have been even lower had I had all morning to keep weighing myself.

As I say, annoying. It's not a huge deal because healthy eating habits are the goal blah blah blah... but I want my 50 pound mark!!

Hopefully next week.

Loss this week: 0.5
Lost so far: 48.2
Still remaining: 51.8
Activity points earned this week: 20
Weeks to go: 34

Monday, February 7, 2011

Annie: weigh-in week 17

The Faithful Mo was wondering whether I might hit the 50 lb mark this week - not yet...

Officially, anyway!

I say it's not "official" because, in fact, my starting weight on this program wasn't my all-time high: my all-time high was about a month earlier, when I weighed 2.7 lbs more than I did on Thanksgiving.

It was likely water weight, but whatever: from that date, I have lost exactly 50 lbs.


I'm looking forward to making it "official," too - hopefully in the next couple of weeks!

Loss this week: 2.2
Lost so far: 47.7
Still remaining: 52.3
Activity points earned this week: 20
Weeks to go: 35

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Annie: Hidden trap of new Program

I've discovered a "trap" in the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program that's really just common sense when you think about it, but which could really slow your loss if you don't. Which I hadn't, before this week.

On the new PointsPlus program, all fruit and most vegetables are PointsPlus free - so you can eat them (in reasonable portions) without any impact on your daily PointsPlus allotment.

The idea behind this apparently arose when Weight Watchers members (like me, I have to admit) tended to choose a two-point bag of cookies over a two-point banana in keeping to their points allotments. If you only had so many points to use, and fruit cost points, you were less likely to choose fruit than other things you felt you were missing out on.

The result was that Weight Watchers members did lose weight, but they weren't developing the healthy eating habits the program was striving for. So they changed the entire way food values are calculated, and made fruits and most veggies (exceptions: starchy things like potatoes, peas, corn, some beans, etc.) "free."

The warning

When they rolled this out, we were warned that we should still be mindful of serving sizes when it came to fruits and veggies - don't think you can eat a bushel of apples a day and lose weight as quickly as you would only eating one or two (they still do have calories, after all). Choose a piece of fruit for a snack, increase the proportion of vegetables in your meals, and you'll have more success -- but don't "abuse" the new rules about fruits and veggies.

The trap

A friend of mine gave me a recipe a while back for a spaghetti squash stuffed with ground beef, rice, carrots/celery and some low-fat mushroom soup -- it's baked, with reduced-fat cheese on top. By her calculation, it should have been around 10 PointsPlus (for the meat, rice, soup and cheese - the squash should be zero). 

Mae's Mister christened the dish "Meat Boat," as your serving is half the squash with all that stuff baked in the middle.

Because I am a stickler (spelled O-C-D) about the points, I ran it through the Weight Watchers "Recipe Builder" on the eTools section of the members-only site, and was shocked by the result: 15 PointsPlus!
PP value in the list: 45. At bottom: 59.

I thought, there must be some mistake - if you look at the PointsPlus values of the ingredients listed, they don't add up to that much.

So I ran another recipe through: a yummy soup from the Podleski sisters' Eat, Shrink & Be Merry cookbook (thanks Mo!) called "Gourdian Angel." On the face of it, it should be about 1 PP per bowl (it's all fruit and veggies, except for fat-free chicken broth, a bit of oil, and some evaporated low-fat milk). But when I ran it: 3 PP ber bowl.

PP value in the list: 7. At bottom: 21.
Again, the total number of PP per recipe was significantly higher than the counted PP in the list.

It's disappointing, but it makes sense

It only makes sense that a meal largely composed of vegetables and fruit would have to be counted like other food, even if they tell us fruits and veggies are points-free.

If you filled up on fruits and veggies at every meal, and then used all your alloted PointsPlus on top of that, and ate all 49 of your Weekly PointsPlus Allowance, it makes sense that your loss would be slower than it might otherwise... or that you might even gain.  But in your mind, you'd have been following the program.

I don't know why this surprised me, but I'm glad I figured it out before I wasted too many weeks' progress over a misunderstanding of how this program works.

I'm going to bring it up at the meeting on Wednesday, because many if not most of the meetings members don't use the eTools, so they may have no way of knowing the difference.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Annie: When you just can't believe it

I took Child to Kelsey's for supper tonight - we had to be out and about running errands.

Kelsey's, while not fancy, serves good food, is very friendly to children, and provides nutritional info on its website for all its menu items: so was exactly what I needed on this Friday evening.

I have been there once before since starting this project with Mae, and decided on the "sizzling chicken fajitas." According to my PointsPlus counter and the nutritional information I found on Kelsey's website, it came out to 16 PP including both the fajita skillet and the "fajita setup" with sour cream and salsa. (The "setup" plate also includes some shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and sliced jalapenos.)

The nutritional info chart did say "see below for rice and tortillas" right below the fajitas entry, but since the "fajita setup" entry was immediately below the fajitas entry, I assumed the tortillas and rice were included in the setup.

What's that they say about "assume"?  Yeah yeah.

Fast forward to tonight, as I look critically at the fabulous sizzling fajita dinner before me... and realize there's no way on Earth all this is only 16PP.  I mean, there must be 2 breasts' worth of chicken, oil in the onion/pepper skillet, there's the cheese, there's about 1/4 cup sour cream (which I don't use, but which they would have had to count), and there's at least a cup of southwestern rice (looked more like two). PLUS the four tortillas.

So on arriving home, I head back to the nutritional info guide, and sure enough, way down at the bottom with the side dishes like french fries (even though you can't order tortillas as a side dish), are additional counts for the tortillas and the rice.

The tortillas alone are 6 -- I didn't bother to count the rice because I don't eat it, but I figure it would be in the neighbourhood of 12.

As it turns out I had enough PP today to be able to "afford" everything I'd eaten, but that could have been a heartbreaker!

Lesson learned for next time. Read the whole nutritional info document, just in case!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mae: Week 16 weigh-in & away for a while . . .

I am down ever so slightly this week, but I'll take it. It's actually been a pretty hectic and stress-filled week because I leave for vacation in two days. Vacation = stress? Wait a minute . . .

In my case, yes, and for two main reasons. The first in the hustle and bustle associated with pre-vacation planning and organizing (not to mention all of the deadlines at work). My vacation will be in a place far from the arctic hell in which I currently find myself, so I'm having to find or buy things that are completely out of season. And things that do not cover as much as winter clothing does. Ugh.

Second, I'm not just going on any old vacation: I'm going on a cruise. Cruise = heaps and heaps and heaps of nonstop delicious food. There is a freaking CUPCAKE BAR for god's sake! There really could not be a more deadly form of vacation for a dieter/food addict. I have been fretting and worrying about this since before christmas, and it's now to the point where it's in danger of ruining my holiday. I've actually had dreams about coming back and having put on the same amount of weight that I've lost to date.

But I think that this stems from a greater mental block that has grown over the last couple of weeks. If I'm really honest, I guess I would have to admit that I don't currently picture myself ever being much smaller. The goal is scary, and this is absolutely fuelled by my own intense fear of failure, and the current (extremely slow) pace of loss. I don't have the confidence to talk about 'when' I'll be this size or that, because I don't think I really believe it is possible myself. I'll have to reconsider all of this when I get back.

On a positive note, I just got an IM from the Mister. He weighed this morning and is down 24 pounds! He hasn't been counting strictly like I have, but has been insisting that he's keeping track. And it's working!

Weigh-in: -0.8
Loss to date: 19.8
Activity Points: 4
Pounds to go: 62.2