Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Big Surprise

Remember me saying something about being vigilant and good this past weekend at the Bar Mitzvah? Guess how well that went?

I can't say it was horrible, but it could have been better. When we arrived in Kingston, we got checked in at the hotel and went to Swiss Chalet for dinner figuring it was quick and easy and relatively decent compared to what we could have ordered. I had this chicken wrap thing with fries and we got an appetizer, which is something I don't usually do, these chicken stuffed spring rolls. They were quite good but obviously deep fried. Probably could have avoided that. Afterwards, we hit my mother's place for a visit and threw back a few beers, I managed to not snack which was nice for a change. But Red was having a chocolate craving and we agreed to hit the local Timmys for a donut and some cookies, which I had been wanting for a while now. On the way out, I looked at the bag and said to Red, "What the hell are we doing?" She reasoned that we weren't going to eat all the cookies that night and while she was technically correct, we could have done without any of it. For the record, I did have 2 or 3 cookies and finished them up Saturday night on the way home. Oy vey!

Saturday was the Bar Mitvah, a long (2 hours) and painful event which I thought was never going to end followed by a Kiddash lunch. The lunch was basically bread, something called Kugel which at first glance looked like a nice pasta dish, but was a gross mix of noodles and raisins and whatever else, various desserts, what I think was tuna salad, and some green salads. Not having the expanded pallet of my better half, I chose to ignore the Kugel, which Red did try and disliked, and ate bread and desserts. I know, not a good way to go but I was hungry and dinner wasn't going to be until after 6pm. I did enjoy these things that looked like toast points which I believe was for the tuna salad, if that's what it was, but they were greasy as if basted in butter or something so they probably weren't the best thing to eat either. I almost tried the tuna, but to be honest, if they could turn something that looked good at first glance like the Kugel into something grotesque, I didn't want to know what they'd do with the tuna, and I wasn't even sure it was tuna!

Dinner was good, chicken with veggies, dessert was sorbet and there were lots of other desserts available which I didn't take part in, instead spying some cheese pizza slices that were set out, probably for the kids. Add in a few more beers and another day that didn't go exactly as hoped.

Sunday we were basically back to normal and I made italian meatballs in mushroom soup with egg noodles for dinner. It was good and filling but we still ended up hitting the Baskin Robbins for a treat that night, another hurdle in the road. Monday I wasn't feeling great, not sick really, just no gas in the tank, so i chose to skip work and stay home. This is always bad as I'm a compulsive eater when sitting around the house and I managed to snack most of the day. For dinner, neither of us felt like cooking and both were wanting pizza, so guess what happened? Long story short, the past 3 days weren't an example of good choices but like I said, it could have been worse.

Today, I'm still feeling empty, my morning cardio was long and hard, my legs just felt like they were in cement. Tonight is Cardio Attack at the gym and we're going so hopefully the class atmosphere will pick me up. Mentally I'm down. I'm stressed about my job, unsure of my future, and feeling like I just want to roll over and die. I was feeling so good Friday after stepping on the scale and seeing 213lb, a full 7 down from almost 2 weeks before, but the weekend got the better of me and I still feel like I'd like to indulge in something. Thing is, I don't have anything in mind. I don't really want anything, I think its just my state of mind and old habits die hard.

Its Red's birthday Monday and we're busy this weekend. Friday we're visiting one of her aunts for the evening, normally an enjoyable experience as these people are fun and nice, but right now, I'm not in the mood. Saturday is the day I chose to celebrate her birthday by taking her out zip lining and for dinner at a restaurant she's been wanting to visit for a while now. But the weather looks like its going to be rainy and zip lining is probably going to suck if its coming down with any force. We had hoped that after dinner, we might hit the market for a couple of drinks but even that is up in the air now. So my enthusiasm for this event is being dimmed thanks to Mother Nature. Maybe we'll get lucky and it won't be too bad. Sunday her family is throwing her a party, so much for taking it easy and relaxing at all.

I thought I'd miss my grapes after not having them the last couple of weeks but I don't. Keeping busier in the evenings with these cardio classes has been helpful as by the time we're done and home ready to eat, there's not really any time to munch afterwards before its bedtime. I do find myself haunting the kitchen looking for something to munch on more than I'd like, but its been slim pickings and I prefer it that way. I just wish I felt better, makes keeping myself motivated a lot easier.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

RIP triple triple

I had a rude awakening the other day when Red and I were discussing calories and the problems with losing weight. I have a habit of not counting my coffee or tea in my daily calories because I thought coffee and tea were basically free with the exception of the sugar and cream or milk used in them. Since I don't use sugar in my hot beverage and the amount of cream I would use is what I considered negligible, I figured it wasn't hurting me. Boy was i wrong!

Half and half cream is a killer in the calories department, approximately 20 calories per tablespoon. And I know I use more than that in a cup of coffee or tea, probably the equivalent of 3 or 4 anyway raising the calorie count to 60 or 80 in addition to the few calories already existing in the beverage itself. So imagine my shock, and Reds, when we googled the calorie count of an extra large triple triple from Tim Hortons, God of all that is coffee in Canada, and realized it comes in at about 420! That's way more than 3 tablespoons of sugar and cream each in one cup. Go figure that a fast food place would find a way to increase the calorie count of something as simple as a cup of coffee. I guess if McDonalds and the like can make a salad upwards of a thousand calories then anything is possible.

Thinking about it, it makes sense. Replace the cream with milk and the coffee takes on a whole different taste, same when you cut or replace the sugar. Tim Hortons coffee is highly addictive and people who drink it love it. No wonder when it basically tastes like dessert, so sweet and rich. People are always saying they put something in the coffee to make it addictive, to me its just all the cream and sugar that makes it so good. I've had Timmys with Splenda and milk and its quite a different experience.

While i was sick a couple of years ago, I lost my taste for coffee and switched to tea with sweetener and milk. At work, I'd use cream in my tea because I do love the richness of it, but when I'd order a tea, I'd get milk. It has only been recently that i rediscovered my love of the triple triple and thankfully after only a couple of weeks, I've realized the truth about its calorie content. This would help explain some of Red's problems losing weight and mine for that matter. I was enjoying about 2 of these drinks a day so that's an additional 800 calories I wasn't accounting for! That's more than a pound a week! Now at work, I've switched to 1% milk in my tea, I'd prefer 2% at least, but the cafeteria doesn't seem to offer any middle ground here, its either half and half, 1% or skim.

So this change should yield results in the coming days. I stepped on the scale this morning just for a look and it read 215, the same as last Friday. I'm not concerned really, as I did drop 5lb last week and until Tuesday was still enjoying those 400 calorie coffees. I'm still in the gym first thing in the mornings and taking a cardio class roughly 4x a week in the evenings so things have to keep going down I'd think. I did screw up a bit last night at dinner, we had a couple pieces of steak leftover from the weekend that needed to be eaten so I enjoyed those which wasn't a problem except that Red cooked up some Kraft dinner for her dinner as she's sick and wanted something soft and easy, so I shared in that too. Add in some roasted veggies and it was a bit more than I required. Of course I did drink one of my banana smoothies later on which I certainly didn't need, so while the day wasn't a write off by any means, it probably didn't help my weight loss goals.

Tonight I am taking a cardio attack class at the gym and I'll be enjoying some roasted veggies for dinner in addition to some leftover roast chicken so today will be good. This weekend we are heading home for a Bar Mitzvah and they're serving both lunch and dinner in addition to a dance so we'll have to remain vigilant and not blow the good work we've accomplished. I, for one, plan on being good.

Friday, June 5, 2009

So I got on the scale this morning and got some great news: 215lb. That's awesome considering I was 220 on Monday morning when I re-dedicated myself. I know most of it is probably just bloat and water, but its a good start. After not seeing any downward motion on the scale the past few months, its a relief. Goes to show how much munching I was doing because that's the only thing that has changed this week in my routine.

While I'm very happy with this weeks results, I'm also hungrier. I woke up last night feeling hungry, something I don't usually do. And I've felt hungry all day today as well despite having eaten my 4 apples, bag of salad and chunky soup. With the nice weather finally upon us, all I really want to do is hit a patio and drink some beer and enjoy some nachos with cheese! But alas, that isn't going to happen. I might have a couple of beers tonight but there will be no nachos, or anything else to snack on. We're having chicken and roasted veggies tonight for dinner so that should leave me with some room for the beer calories. But God, I'd love some pizza.

We're going to try and hit the gym this weekend for a change. Goodlife has a couple of morning classes available that we like so hopefully we'll make it. We planned to take the bodypump class followed by the bodyattack class last night as they were back to back, but after the pump class, we both ran out of gas. It wasn't that pump was that draining, normally we could follow it up with a cardio class, but for some reason last night, we were both trashed afterward. The intention is to do this back to back regime on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This past Tuesday, instead of hitting them, we opted to take the attack class followed by something called Newbody which was just a low impact aerobics with weights workout. I didn't care for the Newbody class as it was boring and seemed erratic, Red didn't mind it but its not something I care to do again. So my plan is to take the pump/attack classes on those days and get the most out of it. This in addition to the pump class on Mondays, possibly the bodyvive or bodycombat class on Wednesday, attack on either Saturday or Sunday AND hitting the gym in the mornings.....I must be out of my ever loving mind!

But the goal is to look good for the wedding and I've only got 3 months as of today. That's 13 weeks to peel off about 15lb. Hopefully since that's only little more than a pound a week, I can pull off 20 but we'll see. There will be indulgences, might as well admit them now, but if I balance things out, something I failed to do before, I should be okay. With all the extra munching out, and the extra time in the gym, I should be able to survive these indulgences, after all, you can't deny yourself everything you love. So that pizza we love will happen maybe once a month, the odd ice cream cone when we've really felt we've earned it, maybe even nachos! Just have to be smart about it.

I wish I wasn't so preoccupied with what I eat, like a normal person. But when you don't practice portion control and have a tendency to feed your indulgences, especially when emotionally vulnerable, you can't help but be consumed by it. I think about food all the time, I'm always counting calories, feeling guilty about what I did eat, thinking about how often I need to hit the gym and how hard I worked while there and feeling guilty when I miss. Its maddening. Sometimes I wonder if the payoff is worth it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A(nother) New Start!

I restarted the whole diet/exercise thing Monday. I don't know if "restarted" is the right term, but I use it because it feels like I'm recommitting myself to the process. What, you ask, happened to my previous commitment? The one I've been blogging about for the past year? The commitment I made in September of 2007 to change my lifestyle to a more healthier one and lose some weight? The commitment i originally made in January of 2000 to lose the weight I had been dragging around all my life and find some happiness? Nothing. Nothing happened to it. I just realized a few things that were blocking me from reaching my goals. Things I knew were blocking me. Things that stopped me from losing weight and gaining back weight I had already lost.......and lost.....and lost. So maybe "realized" isn't the correct term either. But its partially true.

While I haven't been perfect in my eating, I thought I wasn't doing too badly considering most of my snacking consisted of fruit, mainly grapes, apples and pineapple. Yes, I would hit Subway or the cafeteria at work here and there for a sandwich at lunch, sometimes I would even grab a couple slices of pizza, but overall I didn't think I was doing that much damage. I was hitting the gym pretty much every morning, playing in a sports league and taking dance lessons, so I wasn't just sitting. Yet my weight slowly crept back up.

In November, I was 207lb, a full 10lb heavier than i had been in August. Then I started lifting weights at the gym to try and grow some muscle in addition to the cardio. My weight immediately jumped 5lb. It never came back off. I was 213 when I went to Cuba in late February and I had stopped lifting weights due to back and shoulder issues. In mid April, I started participating in cardio type classes at the gym to give me an average of 8 gym visits a week. Since mid May, the average number of visits to the gym is 9. I now weigh as of this morning, 218lb. That's right, 218.

How can this be? Believe me, I've been asking myself this question for months now. How can I be gaining weight when most days I'm eating well, drinking tons of water, and visiting the gym regularly? Well, this is where the realization sets in. Among other things which I'll get to in a moment, I eat a shitload of grapes. When we buy groceries, we buy a lot of grapes. The grocery store has those plastic bags on the roller in the fruit and vegetable section and I fill up 2 of them, 1 with green seedless, the other with red seedless. This fills up a large size tupperware bowl at home and most of the shelf it sits on in the refridgerator. We also pick up about 3 pineapples and have them chopped and ready to eat. This is in addtion to the apples, a bag of Royal Gala and a bag of Golden Delicious usually. And don't forget the bananas. Sounds like a good healthy plan doesn't it? Well it is, in moderation.

See, I bring 4 apples to work every day and munch on them throughout the day as snacks. My lunch usually consists of a bag of that Dole Salad mix with low calorie Italian dressing and Chunky soup. So far, so good. Well, maybe I could cut back on one or two of the apples, but they're apples for chrissakes! And I workout in the mornings, I'm hungry! Sometimes, Instead of the soup and maybe even instead of the salad, I'll grab a sandwich if I'm feeling particularly hungry. No harm in that I would think. So by my measure, I'm ingesting probably anywhere from 500-900 calories during the workday depending on whether I have the sandwich or not. And more if I do Subway or slices of pizza, which I don't do very often.

But then here's where I think the problem is: the night time. We usually cook dinner and we try to be good about what we eat but I admittedly don't follow what dieticians and the like would consider a normal portion. I don't eat a 3oz. piece of meat, my portion is probably double that, sometimes more depending on what it is. And if its something like spaghetti or shepherds pie, I don't measure out a portion using a scale or anything, I just scoop myself out a nice sized plate that's probably 3 or 4 times the recommended portion and enjoy. But that's not all. Now we're into sitting in front of the TV time. And what does that mean? Grapes! Pineapple! Maybe even a banana smoothie! I think this is a lot of where I'm going wrong.

Yes, I should be more moderate in my dinner portions but most days, its the only solid meal I eat so I'd like it to be filling. But despite snacking on fruits to satiate my desire to eat, I'm mindlessly ingesting way more calories than I thought. I don't measure my food and so I can only guess as to how many grapes I eat in a sitting. But lets put it this way: those 2 bags of grapes we bought on say a Saturday are gone by Wednesday usually, maybe Thursday. And the pineapple? It usually lasts the week but not always. And the aforementioned banana smoothie? Well its not a regular thing, but maybe twice a week, sometimes more. Its usually 2 bananas, 1 and a half to 2 cups of 1% milk, ice and Splenda for a caloric total of about 400. Totalled up, how many calories is all of that?

Now add that to the indiscretions on the weekend. Pizza, while not as frequent as before, does happen. So does M&Ms or some other candy at the movies. And don't forget the beer, something I rarely drank before, now a regular part of my Friday and Saturday evenings. Also, it isn't uncommon for me to enjoy a big bowl of cereal in the mornings on the weekend, by big I mean at least 2 cups (maybe a bit more) of the cereal and probably a cup of milk. The cereal may be Corn Flakes, Special K or Rice Krispies, but its still a big bowl of cereal. See the pattern?

Overeating. No portion control. Mindless snacking. No wonder I'm failing. I may have changed the types of foods I'm eating but I'm still overeating. A doctor at the Brookhaven Obesity Clinic said once in response to one of his obese patients lamenting his weight gain despite eating only oranges ( a dubious claim if you ask me), "You may be eating only oranges, but you're eating 45 oranges! You eat 45 of anything and you're going to gain weight!" I've learned this for there is no difference between me and my incessant snacking on grapes and pineapple and this patient's snacking on oranges. At least I'm admitting I eat other things during the day too!

It comes down to my constant eating. If I'm not eating I'm drinking something. At work, I'll drink 3 or 4 coffees/teas over the course of the day in addition to the 3 24oz. containers of water I sip on. I always have some food or drink item at hand, I'm rarely without. I do this at home too, if I'm not eating, I'm sipping on something or I'm doing both. I eat when I'm not hungry, I just want something. Thankfully it's usually fruit, but it adds up. I used to think I would eat maybe 3 cups of grapes in an evening, now i think its more. Since I don't measure them and lets face it, a cup is not very big, I must be easily downing 5 or 6 cups, maybe more. At 62 calories a cup, that's roughly 300-400, probably more. And that doesn't include the pineapple, which I might add I stopped eating about a month ago, just lost my taste for it.

And here's another problem: when Red and I started taking these cardio classes in the evenings, I thought I could get away with eating more because I was working out more. So I would have that sandwich at lunch more often, or that slice of pizza in addition to my lunch of fruits, salad and maybe the soup. And I didn't think much of the beer on the weekends, again I was working out more so I had room to play. Same went for the candy at the movies, the ice cream cone we'd treat ourselves to, the cookies we'd bake, or the chocolate bar I'd ravage. Where was my head?!? I knew this was wrong! I knew I was already having problems losing weight the last few months and these classes were perfect for helping me get over that hump! So why did I do it? Why did I throw away all those months of hardwork and sacrifice? I'll tell you why. I was never hugged as a child.

That's right, never hugged, never kissed, never told I was loved. I wasn't abused or anything, Christmas was fine, we had stuff, I just lacked emotional attachment. And I guess I turned to food to fill that need. And its something I still do despite being with a woman who loves me to death. But you can't change what's hard wired in you overnight. And I haven't tried to change it. During this whole time, I changed what I ate for the most part, but not when I ate and how much I ate. Its like I'm filling some need deep inside of me although the whole thing doesn't make me happy. I mean here I am bitching about my weight and i'm still eating. All the time. Filling that need. If I doing such a good job of filling that need, shouldn't I be feeling better? Is this a circular argument?

So, how to fix. There's the million dollar question. How do you turn off the eating when you don't know how to? I notice I don't eat when I'm busy, so there's a start. We're hitting the gym roughly 4 nights a week after work, 2 of those nights we're doing a double class so that eats up part of the evening. I stopped buying grapes, didn't think I would resort to that, but I did. I'm very much an all or nothing person and if something isn't there, I won't eat it. If we don't keep snacks around, I can't eat. Won't I substitute the grapes with something that is in the house? Hopefully not. I can't say I won't because it would be easy to grab a sleeve of Ritz crackers or a couple of apples to munch on. All I can do is try. Same with my lunches. Just keep to the salad, fruit and soup. Stay away from the cafeteria and don't make a trip to Subway or the pizza shop.

I had another reminder of how much I've regained in the past few months. In September of 07, I bought a new suit to go to a wedding. At the time, I weighed 227lb and it was just before I started the regimen. Last September, we attended another wedding and I weighed about 203lb so you can imagine how ill-fitting the suit was. I was practically swimming in it. We have a family event to attend in a couple of weeks and I figured I'd get the suit altered so it fit again. I brought it to work today to take to a tailor at lunch and when i tried it on at the shop, it basically fit again! I was so disappointed. It really brought all of this home for me. I feel terrible. But I did it to myself. I was on the right path, doing great and I let it slip away. I've been at the gym more than ever the last 6 weeks and I blew a golden opportunity to drop some weight for the summer. Now I face dieting and working out hard just to get ready for my wedding in September.

There's no way I want to look like this when I get married. I'm disgusting. In late April, Red and I took our weight and measurements to help keep track of our progress and we started this busier regimen with high hopes of dropping excess weight and looking good for our big day. As of today, i'm about 4lb heavier than I was that day and we haven't done any followup. I just can't. But I made the decision over the weekend to fix things. No more grapes, at least not for now. Light lunches. Reasonably portioned meals at dinner. No more night time snacking. Exercise some god damned will power, I've done it before, I can do it again. Its only 3 months till the wedding, that's enough time to drop 15lb. That'll put me around 200 and I can live with that even though my original goal was to be about 190.

I'd like to think I'll pull this off. I know I can do it, i have in the recent past. With Red going to the gym now and being enthusiastic about it, I can get more time in there which can only benefit me. This is my best shot at succeeding, i need to take advantage of it. I'm getting older, the weight doesn't just come off like it used to. But am I still young enough to forge a new, healthier relationship with food? I don't know. Maybe this is my life, to be forever at war with my eating behaviours, my weight and my self loathing. I come from a heavy set family so I have the history. Thing is, despite my weariness with the whole thing, I can't give up. I would love to but I know what that would mean and that is not an option. So I'll trudge ahead with renewed vigor, how many times have I said that in the past? God, read my posts! They're full of the same never say die attitude, its laughable. That and the whining.