Sunday, April 29, 2007

giving another Beck a try

It took a confusing conversation with Lori ("How many bickled beppers did Martha/Judith Beck bick?") to make me realize that The Four Day Win and The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person were not written by the same author. I'm sure that confusion is common and causes no end of annoyance to both Judith Beck and . Although in Martha's case, she got her share of the $19.95 or so I spent on her book because of that confusion, so maybe she's OK with it.

I read a favorable advance review in the April 2007 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine about Judith Beck's The Beck Diet Solution but, when I realized it wasn't on shelves yet, bought Martha Beck's The Four-Day Win because I thought it was an earlier book by the same author. Though there were some interesting elements to The Four Day Win, after I read through it I knew I'd never complete the seventy bazillion homework assignments in it and put it back on my shelf.

I think what confused me most is that in The Four Day Win, Martha Beck talks about "The Beck Diet" (which she refers to as "eating whatever the hell you want." So actually, when I started reading Judith Beck's The Beck Diet Solution, I thought, "wow, you really changed your tune." There are some similarities in the ideas between the two, which contributed to my confusion, I think. For example, both claim to use cognitive therapy techniques and to work with "any sensible diet." This sounded promising to me, which is why I picked the first one (and now the second one) up.

The nice thing about The Beck Diet Solution is that there is really one task per day, with a couple of teeny, tiny, writing assignments (think index cards). This is something I could actually do. I already read through the book and I think the whole program looks practical, useful, and doable. It even provides strategies to deal with the "I don't care" lie that got me into trouble the other day.

I am going to start today -- six weeks, one task per day. My first task is to write an index card with all the advantages to losing weight, so I can look at it if I have an urge to eat 20 Ritz crackers and move on to the rest of the contents of my kitchen cupboards. After six weeks of little reminders about why I want to reach my goal, maybe I'll be back at my Lifetime weight and actually be able to stay there.

P.S. If you want to learn more about The Beck Diet Solution, I recommend moseying over to Southern Fried Fatty's Blog. She's following the plan and her blog is also a lot of fun -- it has pictures. So go check it out.


Has this happened to you? Toward the end of the day yesterday, I was in good shape -- had eaten a nice balance of foods and had just enough points left to have some popcorn while I watched a movie on DVD. I had the popcorn and still didn't feel satisfied. I wanted more.

I thought, "OK, I can go over my points a little bit, I'll just get one little snack." Even as I made that decision, I knew it was a bad one. Once I'm over, after all, there's no reason not to go over more. My first trip to the kitchen turned into three trips.

My movie snacking ended up being: 1/2 c. popcorn kernels, air-popped and spritzed with a little canola oil and Kernel Seasons, 20 Ritz crackers and 2 slices of cheese, and about a cup of pistachio nuts in the shell. So I had about 16 points while watching the movie, putting me over for the day by 14, or more than half my total daily allowance.

I get frustrated with myself when I do things like this. I woke up this morning still feeling a little full, a sure sign I ate too much. It's funny, too, that I just started reading The Beck Diet today, which talks about the importance of sticking to your food plan and remembering the reasons you want to lose weight when you're tempted to stray. I even thought about it as I was putting together my second plate of cheese and crackers. And do you know what I thought? "I don't care."

So far, Beck Diet 0, Jen's Inner Fat Girl 1. Bummer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

so close and yet so far

Weight Chart

The scale moved down again. I'm still just a hair over my lowest weight since starting this blog, and tantalizingly close to being in the 150s. I know that I can get there, I just need to track, to stay under my points, and to get out and move. My old Weight Watchers journal was depressing because it had too many blank pages in it, so I got myself a cute spiral notebook instead. So far today I'm doing well, though yesterday I went over about 6 points from what I planned. I begin my weeks on Monday so that if Sunday is a rough day, I still have a chance for a fresh start.

We talked about maintaining today and it really helped me see the finish line, which is really not that far away -- just a little more than 5 pounds to go. This time around I am going to do maintenance completely by the book so I know how to do it right. Last time, I think my attitude was, "Hooray, I'm finished! Bring on the cake!"

Monday, April 23, 2007

getting out more

photo by daisyk

Part of the reason for yesterday's crabby post, I think, is that I've been sick. I had not been able to do much in the way of activity, and as a result I was feeling cooped up and fat and generally crabby.

I'm feeling less tired and I actually got out this morning and took a nice long walk. It was a gorgeous morning and we had rough weather predicted for the afternoon, so I put the dissertation work on the back burner in favor of getting out and getting some fresh air and improving my outlook on life. I did do a little bit of reading to keep the guilt at bay, but mostly I was interested in clearing my mind and recharging my batteries.

It seems to have worked. It's so easy for me to forget that a little activity, sunshine, and fresh air can go a long way toward making me feel like a human being instead of a troll. I didn't see a lot of people out in the early morning, just birds and flowers.

I have yoga class tonight and that usually also helps calm my nerves and make me a more pleasant person to be around. People think that yoga is about bending like a pretzel -- to me, the challenging positions are more of a means to an end. If the position is tough enough, I can't worry about my job prospects or my chances of finishing my dissertation on schedule. It also helps work out some of the kinks caused by being at a computer for my job, my schoolwork, and a good chunk of my leisure time.

Weigh-in is tomorrow, my final one of this Weight Watchers @ Work session. I'm not sure it will be a good one -- my food hasn't been really good and I've been housebound most of the week -- but I'll hope for the best.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

time's up

It was late in coming, but spring is finally here, and with it comes all my yearly ambivalence about it. All the things I meant to do over the winter but didn't come crashing down on my head. For one thing, I had planned to be done writing my first draft of the dissertation by now and I'm still analyzing my data. I personally claimed responsibility for each freak spring snowfall because they let me feel less panicky about my slow progress.

Worse yet, oddly enough, is missing my weight-goal deadlines. It's easy to brush away any urgency about weight loss as you're scanning the menu and thinking about how good the artichoke dip (which is more cheese than artichoke) sounds. It's less easy when you have the first day in the 70s and realize that shorts-and-sundresses weather is on its way. Or, when other women start wearing less clothes and you start playing "Compare and Despair." I know, rationally, that there is nothing constructive in eyeing every midriff-baring twentysomething and thinking, wistfully, about my own inability to ever achieve a figure like that even when I was younger. The women I'm most envious of have bodies smaller than mine was when I was a normal-sized 12-year-old, and, unless I somehow learn witchcraft, I don't think I'll ever become a slim-hipped blonde with skinny legs.

I could come up with a happy, philosophical way to wrap up this post if I tried hard enough, but in reality, this stuff is hard and frustrating and makes me feel like the troll under the bridge, annoyed with the little trip-trap of those cute little goats.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

hotels, a love story

I have to admit that one of my little pleasures is staying in hotels. I don't sleep very well in hotels, but I really like them. I guess the thing I enjoy most is that they're clean and uncluttered without any intervention on my part. I love the free ice and the cute little shampoo bottles. When I stay alone, there's also the luxury of having a whole big bed to myself without having to maneuver around someone else's elbows or a cat that decides that she, a small furry 11-pound creature, requires at least half of my side of the bed, not to mention the late-night fights she sometimes gets into with our other, grumpier cat. Last night I slept in a Hampton Inn, and they really do have comfortable beds, just like in the ads.

I slept better than usual, because last week I figured out that I had an ear infection and some other issues and was given three meds, including one that "may cause drowsiness...this effect is intensified by alcohol." So after a glass of wine last night, I slept a nice 5 hours without waking up. This is probably a record for a strange place, which is why I don't like taking long trips.

I am enjoying my conference but I will definitely be happy to be home. It's hard being "on" so much. I haven't been tracking my food very well, so I am also missing the ability to have some control over what I eat. I especially miss my husband's elbows (and the rest of him) and my fat little kitty who takes up my side of the bed (and the stripy little mean one too). I'll be headed home late tonight.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

a small gain, 4/17/2007

Weight Chart

I was not surprised to have a gain this week, especially considering my candy-coated frenzy after Easter. I am sure that if you carved out that 0.8 pound, it would look exactly like a peanut butter egg.

I've been struggling lately, no doubt about it. Not only because of the candy, but also because of some injury problems that make my usual strategy -- exercise a lot to make up for my snacking habit -- impractical. I'm still doing some yoga, some weight lifting, walking, and my Aquafit class, so I'm not totally inactive. But I really miss running and the ability to not only burn lots of calories, but calm my crazed mind. Now that the weather's nicer, I'll have to try taking out the bike and see how that works.

I guess that I need to shift from "Eat to Live" instead of "Live to Eat." I don't know why that has to be so hard for me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

candy, candy, candy, I can't let you go!

photo found on flickr in photostream.

I apologize to those who now have an earworm, but the title was too perfect for me to pass up.

Even though I'm 36 years old, the Easter Bunny still leaves a basket for me and my husband at my parents' house. This year it had lots of goodies. I'll spare you the food porn recital of the whole list of stuff, but all of my favorites were represented. My husband and I normally keep no candy in the house, except maybe some Dove dark chocolates once in a while. Because the candy is a rare treat (I almost never buy candy bars either), I've found myself fascintated by it. I know what you're all thinking, "throw away the stupid candy already," but I can't. Or at least don't want to.

For the first few days I was eating a lot of candy. Luckily my husband (who is thin) is eating more of it than me, and he likes the same things that I do. Now that I'm down to some M&Ms and jellybeans, it's usually just a handful of M&Ms and a few jellybeans each day. I am going to be both happy to have it out of the house and a little sad when it's all gone. I know how sad this is as I'm typing it. I even felt a little sorry when I knew I had the last of some particular type of treat for the year.

I went to my parents' house again today, and though I was relatively restrained at lunch itself (I wasn't as hungry as usual when we got there), I was pathetically excited to see that they still had peanut butter eggs and helped myself to one (that, hopefully, was the last peanut butter egg of the year for me). It really is a nostalgia thing for me -- certain candies I only ever had around Easter and they still have some sort of connection to my childhood. Sure, Reese's has peanut butter pumpkins and trees and hearts, but these aren't tempting to me. I only want the eggs, and only around Easter. Weird but true. And of course, even ordinary candy is much more exciting in pastel wrappers.

So hopefully, in the next few days, the last of the jellybeans and pastel M&Ms will be out of my life for another year. It's funny, Halloween and Christmas don't trigger the same candy frenzy in me that Easter does. At Christmastime, it's really all about the cookies and pie, plus things like my pizza made from my late grandmother's recipe.

Maybe it's time to start finding another way to connect with happy memories of my childhood besides eating. All I know is that I am glad that Easter was early this year so I have more time to lose the "bunny weight" before I have to get into a bathing suit.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

weigh-in report, 4/10/2007

Weight Chart

This week I lost 1.2 of the 2 pounds I gained last week. I am guessing that if I hadn't had my big oops with Easter and its aftermath, I might have lost a little more.

Still, I'm happy, especially since my friend M. commented on how much thinner I was looking. I doubt that I've lost more than a pound or two since she last saw me, but it's nice to hear all the same.

We had a substitute Weight Watchers leader today, a real True Believer. She was nice but not quite my style -- she did the meeting like it was a stand-up comedy routine. But I appreciate her enthusiasm, and the program seems to have been fairly life-changing for her. She was more than 100 pounds heavier when she started Weight Watchers, and her doctor was able to take her off all of her medications when she reached her 10% goal.

It's amazing, really, that all the leaders in my town seem to have lost at least 100 pounds. It has to take a lot of patience and dedication to lose that much on Weight Watchers, which is designed to be a moderate, slow-but-steady kind of program. I only have 6 more pounds to goal and it seems like I'll never get there. I weighed 172.2 when I rejoined almost a year ago, so I've lost just a little more than 10 pounds.

My Weight Watchers anniversary is coming up in May. You know what I'd like as a gift? To be at goal (or at least within 2 pounds) and not to have to pay for my meetings anymore.

Monday, April 09, 2007


OK, my last post jinxed me. Pride before a fall, and all that...

My food yesterday was a mess, and even though I'm 36 years old, the Easter Bunny still brings me candy to my parents' house. Luckily, my husband will eat most of it. Still, I've been into it some today, not a binge but enough that I am officially sick of sugar. It makes my teeth feel fuzzy and gives me a bad taste in my mouth.

I weigh in tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

focusing on the positive

Recently, I saw an episode of "The Diet Doctor" on FitTV focusing on the Weight Watchers plan. It was interesting to see the plan from the point of view of an informed outsider.

One of Dr. Melina's criticisms of the plan was that the Flex Plan would allow you to eat unhealthy foods as long as you stayed within your points. I think the example she used is that you could eat seven cupcakes and be within your points.

At first I yelled back at the TV with my my well-conditioned responses from years of WW meetings. "What about the Good Health Guidelines?" The guidelines, for those of you who are not brainwashed like me, require that members eat certain kinds of foods, like five servings of fruits and vegetables, in addition to staying under their points. But I know that I've had days where I have eaten, if not seven cupcakes, a combination of various questionable choices that were under my points. Those guidelines are easy to ignore.

I liked the answer that the Weight Watchers leader gave Dr. Melina better than my own response. To paraphrase, she said that Weight Watchers understands that a dieter might do something like eat seven cupcakes one day. But she'd also see that maybe seven cupcakes wasn't the most satisfying way to use her points. The program was designed to help people learn through experience and the discussions in meetings how to make better choices.

Imagine that, letting dieters learn for themselves and figure out how to make better choices. Putting people in a position of power and teaching them how to take care of themselves.

Sure, some of the meetings that I've attended have focused on low-points junk food. People like to make concoctions out of fat-free Cool Whip, sugar-free Jello, and Fiber One where you can eat a huge bowl of something sweet for a tiny number of points. And lately, people are talking a lot about the 100-calorie packs of every conceivable type of junk food. Weight Watchers gets a lot of money to advertise this stuff in their publications, which I find a to be a little bit of a conflict of interest. But I think that, overall, the message is more about finding ways to deal with your feelings without food, and to make healthier meals. The recipes in Weight Watchers Magazine are really good ones with real ingredients, not a bunch of fat-free, sugar-free junk.

Even on the days I go way over my points, I eat a lot better foods than I used to. I guess that I have learned over the years, exactly like that leader said, how to choose foods that help satisfy me. I recently found an Oreo wrapper in my yard and it was funny to think that I knew that it had blown in from a neighbor's yard because I never buy Oreos. I don't even go to the aisle in the store where they sell Oreos.

My local grocery store has a sort of mini health-foods store built in. Right before you get to the produce aisle, there is a section with organic frozen foods and dairy, and packaged foods like cereal and crackers. Most of the processed foods I do buy lately are from that section. I like the Food for Life sprouted grain breads, especially toasted. I'm a big fan of Kashi products: the crackers, granola bars, and frozen waffles are a staple in my diet, maybe a little too much of one. I'm sure I could improve my diet even more by cutting back on them. Other than those splurges, and a brand of blue corn tortilla chips I really like, most of my groceries are from the meat and produce aisles. And soon, the farmer's markets will be open and I'll be getting good local produce again instead of having to buy veggies that were flown in from California or Chile.

The biggest change is that I eat vegetables now. I never knew how to cook them right until I started watching Kathleen Daelemans on her show "Cooking Thin" (which is, sadly, no longer on the air, but I'm hoping she'll have a new show soon) and tried some of her recipes. Now I even take recipes like this one for Pad Thai and add in more vegetables (in this case, red peppers and broccoli instead of the bean sprouts) to make them more satisfying.

So, for those of you who have been wondering, after reading so many posts where I complain that I've gone over my points, how I lose weight at all, now you have your answer. Even when I overdo, I'm still conscious of what I'm eating and try to make better choices than I did during my all-starch-all-the-time days. I can't tell you the last time I pulled through a drive-thru. I think my bad days might be better than my normal days used to be. Though I still have room for improvement, maybe I should focus on the positive a little more -- that through trial and error, I have figured out a recipe for satisfaction that works for me 90% of the time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

weird week

I feel like a lot of things in my life have taken a 40-degree turn to the left. I was feeling like I was never going to have a job opportunity, and I'm suddenly getting some nibbles. I feel like the exercise, which used to be the only thing I ever did right, has been out the window lately because of some injury issues. I am still trying to keep active, but it's harder to factor in these limitations and not be frustrated.

Still struggling with Weight Watchers, though. There are actually people in my meeting who say they have trouble eating all of their points... while I struggle to stay within 10 of my range. I need to plan better and I need to stop using every wacky situation as an excuse to throw the whole plan out the window.

Right now everything feels so weird that I am just trying to get through each day as it comes. I am trying to remain calm as everything else around me seems a little mixed up. I'm just going to do the best I can for now. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

a big gain

Weight Chart
I can't really complain, I went a little overboard with food this last week and I knew that a gain was probably coming. I had a good day yesterday, and maybe I'll remember that losing makes me happier than gaining when I am confronted with things like homemade pizza and my aunt's pasta....

But then again, that stuff is really good.

It looks like I'll have to wait a little longer to see the 150s. This Weight Watchers @ Work session ends on April 24. If I really work hard, maybe I could get within two pounds of goal before the next one starts and not have to pay.
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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07