Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 17: Are my days numbered?

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This post could easily be a paragraphs long diatribe about all that I think is wrong about what I'm doing these days. It's wrong that I'm following some time-limited challenge, it's wrong that I'm eliminating certain foods from my "diet", it's wrong, all wrong. Why haven't you stood up and screamed at me? "Michelle, what the hell are you doing?!"

Well, truth be told, some of you have. And I know the rest just wish me well. And then there's this:
This is day 3 for me . Day 2 my husband brought my son a birthday cake it . Yes a birthday cake who does that . Day 3 came along and I did a detox water. It happens but you can do it . I have just started I have 150 pounds to lose . I hope to one day lose it . 
A comment left on yesterday's post. And it got me to thinking...What the hell am I doing? Is this what I'm inspiring? Am I on a diet? Holy cow, Am I on a diet?!! Somebody tell me the truth, I can handle it.

Ok then, you have an idea of where my head is. I don't actually think I'm on a diet. Can I call it a phase? An experiment? Diets are done to lose weight. I'm not doing this to lose weight. Ok, I had that idea in the beginning, but I quickly saw the error of my ways and dropped that as a reason for doing this. To go back to my purpose, it was twofold.
  1. To check out the gluten free thing
  2. To break some of the "bad" habits that had crept back into my world
I'm pretty sure I don't have an issue with gluten. I haven't noticed any changes in my digestion, etc, by not eating it (can I get a thank God?). Anyway, no gluten issue. Purpose #1 met. Purpose #2 was going well, I was breaking those habits. And then I think I took it a bit too far and had a little food-meltdown. I've always tried to avoid the on/off thinking when it comes to eating. There's no "on plan" or "off program" or any of that. There just is what happens.

There is, though, such a thing as being off-the-wagon (for me anyway), which is when I'm not paying any attention to my food or exercise stuffs. But that's a different animal, and nowhere near the case now.

As far as food today...

Breakie: Oatmeal with brown sugar and maple syrup
Snack: 3 rice cakes, one with a cheese wedge spread on it
Lunch: Chipotle salad bowl with grilled chicken, black beans, salsa, guacamole
Snack: Banana
Snack: Trail mix (more than a serving, to keep it real)
Dinner: Steak salad with oil/vinegar dressing, sauteed zucchini and onion, bread, butter, olive oil
Snack: Orange

Oh, and exercise. The day got away from me. Or I got away from it. Either way I ended up with only about 20 minutes at the gym. I almost bailed altogether but Laura and Cori inspired me today. If you talk the talk, then walk that walk! So I hit the gym for a solid 20 minutes on the treadmill. I wished I had more time because I was feeling groovy.

Ok, back to my non-diet challenge. What's the point of all this introspection? I'll tell ya. Take what works, leave the rest. What's working is no caffeine, no alcohol, focus on whole foods, avoid the crap. What's working is what's always worked. Oh, and logging my food has helped. The question is, do I continue counting days? If I'm saying ok to dairy, ok to gluten, ok to most anything and everything I want in moderation (save caffeine and alcohol), well, doesn't that look mostly like what I've always done? Should I keep counting the days? Or should I call the whole thing off, acknowledge the dissonance, and move on?


  1. I think you are answering your own question, which is the purpose of a little 4-week experiment. There is the attraction of a miracle cure, a quick fix, a new insight that you've previously overlooked...however, the rational mind starts to question: "can I really do this forever?" What is the point of severely restricting food groups based on what - someone's enthusiasm? The amount of contradictory advice is astounding. In the end, and for me, it comes down to: sensible but consistent good nutrition, reasonable portion sizes, and rejection of ongoing tolerance of "oops" of candy, junk food and binge eating. Michelle - it's not sexy, but go back to what brought you success over the long haul - a commitment to watching your food intake and working in exercise as a priority. Don't mess with the formula that has brought you success so far!

  2. I have recent experience with an elimination diet, and I think it was only useful as a tool as a SHORT-TERM detox from my prior high-sugar, high-fat diet, identify the effects of certain foods on my system (I have an issue with some emulsifiers, sugar alcohols, and leafy greens - who knew?), and to completely relearn how to eat in a healthy way.

    It wasn't a liquid diet for 10 days, it wasn't gluten free for a month; it was a structured stage-based program designed by a team of researchers and overseen by my nutritionist who I connected with multiple times per week and made changes according to my particular needs. Week 1 was mostly protein - shakes and chicken with berries, etc. It sucked, and they told me it would. But it was only 7 days and they explained exactly what the purpose was. Then they re-introduced non-starchy veggies. Then they introduced low-glycemic fruits, then beans and legumes, then whole grains and starchy veggies, then all fruits... each was a step towards a balanced regular (though low calorie, for the desired weight loss component) diet.

    For me, restriction for restriction's sake just doesn't make sense. Restriction just to "see if I can do it" is an unnecessary exercise. But as a structured learning experience? Sure, I can tolerate that. And it has been enlightening and, shockingly, my tastes HAVE changed. I used to have the taste buds of an 8-yr-old kid raised on sugar, and now I'm drinking tea with no sweeteners. And enjoying whole foods with alarming regularity. But in most of these restrictive fad diets, they're promised as a quick fix detoxification and reset, with no expectation of long-term habit changes. And is that worth it? I don't think so. But that's just my opinion.

    Michelle, I think you've been so inspiring, and I think a lot of your success is founded in your commitment to your extra-curricular physical activity (you inspired me to buy a bike!!), so all I can say to you is: I think the best thing you can do for yourself is just to keep tracking what you eat. Tracking really is half the battle. Honor yourself by being honest with your tracking and the reality of what you're eating when and why will set you off on making whatever changes should be made. Whoops my battery's dying!! Thanks for reading!!

  3. Well I say A Big fat yes to the last question :) however you gotta do what you feel is best for you. You learned from your challenge and found it helpful in ways....yes? so in its own way it was a success for you. Is it still helpful in anyway or is it in itself causing a little bit of stress? If you find yourself stre3ssing over it....kick it to the curb and find a new challenge!

  4. Move on. I think you figured out exactly what works. Keep it up.

  5. It sounds like you've accomplished your goals with this process. What would continuing to count the days do to support your goals/mission/focus?

  6. Thank you for sharing this! I just gave myself permission last night to throw in the towel on my own 30-day challenge to track all of my calories. Much like you, I was just hoping to learn from observation and maybe make some positive changes. It seemed like a good way to kick off the new year. But you know what? It was driving me insane and getting me nowhere! I found myself way too preoccupied with what I was eating, when I was eating next, and it felt like a diet. Of course I didn't wake up this morning magically 5 pounds lighter, but I did feel a lot more free. Food for thought. :)

  7. I commented on your last post before I read this one. But honestly I think we all go through these phases. We get lost, skip the exercise and our eating goes a little haywire and so we do these things to refocus ourselves. I think it's a normal pattern that we repeat every now and again just to keep ourselves in check. But I think you have to do what's best for you and listen to your body! And I definitely wouldn't call it a diet, 'challenge' is a much more positive term for what you are doing :D

  8. Stop counting the days. It helped you be more mindful of what you are putting in your body so that was helped refocus you on your eating habits (really I'm sure most of us could use a bit of that after the holidays). ;)

  9. i agree, stop counting the days. you achieved goal #1 of experimenting with gluten and hooray you don't have an intolerance to it! and you've gotten your eating back on track the way you like it to be. maybe continue tracking what you eat for another week, but yes, stop counting the days. i'd call this experiment a success and done.

  10. During December I went gluten free and grain free for the first 2 weeks and then gluten free for the rest of the month. I also eliminated all refined grains and almost all added sugar.

    I learned a lot from it. I found out that I wasn't sensitive gluten and that was useful to know. I found out that when I do those things I eat a lot less calories. I got out of the habit of eating some junky snacks. And, when I added back in grains I didn't add those junky snacks back to the grocery cart. So, it was a useful exercise and it helped me break some bad habits.

  11. As a fellow Weight Watcher at goal for almost 3 years (having lost 93 lbs) and still following the WW program like you did to get to goal, I do wonder why you're doing this diet. Yes, I call it a diet because it eliminates so many things from your diet. It's restrictive. And to me eliminating whole food groups and having a list of restrictions is a diet. Portion control of what else is left is what could cause weight loss (or gain). And if you're like me, if I'm told there are things I can't have? Well then I just want it all that much more and well, failure! I personally think, since you asked :), that you're restricting yourself too much. And that caused your derailment from your plan with your burger. Moderation and being "allowed" to have anything you want is what's so great about WW. Anything as long as you track it or count the points for it. I don't see how you can go wrong with that. Have you thought of going back to tracking to help you change what you call "bad habits"? Another idea is to do the WW Simply Filing technique. As you may know, it's eating all powers foods and you only track what isn't a power food. Maybe focusing in on eating only/mostly power foods will help you eliminate your "bad habits"? Just my thoughts. I love reading about how you think about what you're eating and why. It's really helped me too. And this journey at goal is to something we can just "do". It requires planning and thought. And that's what you're doing. I just personally think you're making it harder on yourself with this "diet".

    Kelly H

  12. Thanks for the shout out! I have been so inspired by you that I'm grateful to have returned the favor in some small way.

    In terms of your challenge, I think "experiment" is a good thing to call it. You're not looking for it to be a lifestyle change. You're learning that maybe it doesn't align much with your true goals. And yet maybe you will have a couple nuggets of wisdom from it in the end. I think it's also great you haven't been rigid with yourself about following it, you've kept it real and keep moving forward.

  13. Thanks for the shout out! I have been so inspired by you that I'm grateful to have returned the favor in some small way.

    In terms of your challenge, I think "experiment" is a good thing to call it. You're not looking for it to be a lifestyle change. You're learning that maybe it doesn't align much with your true goals. And yet maybe you will have a couple nuggets of wisdom from it in the end. I think it's also great you haven't been rigid with yourself about following it, you've kept it real and keep moving forward.

  14. Michelle, what the hell are you doing? There, I said! haha
    Anyway, diets don't work. The end.

  15. Customizing my food template was the key to my 40 year weight yo-yo ing, emotional eating and long term weight maintenance. I learned the most on 2 elimination diets ( one in Jan 2013 and one in May 2013). Two months to solve a 40 year struggle. Very short time.

    Good luck and the answers will reveal. There is no one way, but finding what works is pure gold. Safe travels.

  16. I gotta admit that I was a little concerned when I read you started up this "challenge". I only recently found your blog, I think the same time I started Weight Watchers on new years day. I'm really inspired by your story, I've got about 80 pounds to lose and so far in 3 weeks I've done great. I previously failed an attempt with another program strictly counting calories eaten and calories burned with exercise but it really got me no-where. I lost that quick 15 and got discouraged with the loss slowed and I gained it all back. Weight Watchers is awesome because it doesn't require me to track stupid things like calories or focus on a specific diet or any set of rules. Just do what I gotta do and slowly embrace a healthier life style. I for one super love grains, pasta, and carby things. No matter how "good" for me it'd be to give up these things, I never will, because that's not me. I don't think that doing some crazy restrictive diet is you. It was a fun experiment, but don't beat yourself up for not being the poster child of this program. Time to move on and find some other cool thing to do! :) Thanks for being awesome, Michelle!


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