Between raging hormones, the holidays, the inability to exercise like I normally would, and stress eating, I gained an unsightly ELEVEN POUNDS between my miscarriage in September and the end of the year. While it may not seem like all that much in the great scheme of things, I'm normally quite a petite person. At 4'11" a gain of two pounds is noticeable - 10 is almost two pants sizes. Not good. Not good at all.
In the past, I've been a bit of a yoyo dieter, and I suspect that's what I can thank for my snail's-pace metabolism. Since 30, fighting fat, especially around my midsection, has been a nearly impossible task. Given my height, my calorie target for weight loss is in the 1200 vicinity. I don't know about you, but I'm HUNGRY when I try to live on 1200 calories. What's more, despite the fact that I make veggie-rich family dinners most nights, I'm notorious for trying to get away with starchy, salty, cheesy lunches and skimpy breakfasts, which I know are sabotaging my efforts. My "dieting" M.O. usually goes something like:
Breakfast - 100 calories
Lunch - 150 calories
Dinner - 500 calories
After-dinner snacks - 400 calories
Intellectually, I understand that, with habits like that, I can get 60 minutes of cardio six days a week (which I usually do) and still be chunky. Something's gotta give if I want to make a real, lasting change.
Last weekend after a particularly appalling (but I won't lie - delicious) dinner out with my husband, I resolved to change my approach. So, because I believe accountability is key when it comes to goal-setting and personal growth, let me tell you what I plan to do differently this time around.
1. Eat three balanced and filling meals each day, taking care to meet those good old food pyramid recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
2. NOT count calories, but rather focus on identifying low-fat, filling, nutritious foods that will keep me satisfied from one meal to the next.
3. Establish a realistic fitness goal and focus on achieving it rather than clocking a certain number of minutes each week. This summer I conquered the Couch to 5K plan which was awesome. This time I plan to go for 10K and beyond.
4. Decide on one or two low calorie, low fat after-dinner snack options that I will enjoy, but that don't encourage binging (goodbye, pita chips and hummus...).
5. Rid my home of "diet foods" like fat-free chips and sugar-free candy. They are not helping me to make healthy choices and do nothing to nourish my body.
6. Ultimately, within reason, let my body decide what size it will be. If, in three months, I can run for an hour at a time and can say at the end of each day that I've given my body the fuel it needs to be lean, healthy and strong, I can't complain if there's still a little pudge around my belly. After all, I'm a mom. It happens.
What do you think? Solid plan? I promise to keep you posted. Since last Friday, I'm down 2.5 pounds (mostly water, I'm sure - but so what?). Sweet. To be comfortably back within the healthy range for my height, I really need to lose about 10 more. To be at my pre-girlie weight, I need to lose 13.
Here's to doing it right!
Also, on a loosely related note, I feel strongly that every thirty-something woman I know should read Laurie Notaro's The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death. I laughed so hard I cried - several times. The chapter on the broken treadmill was a serious kick in the tush for me (all wrapped up in a sassy, hilarious package). Read it!