Sunday, July 31, 2011

When I finally made the commitment

As I mentioned before, I tried Biggest Loser style weight loss competitions and Weight Watchers.

The competitions never really went all that well. And I did ok on Weight Watchers, but I don't think I really learned anything that was helpful or useful in everyday eating. I would lose a couple pounds and plateau too early, and then never really get on track.

Last fall the opportunity arose in my office building to take part in a study being conducted by Tufts Medical School to see the effectiveness of The Instinct (or "I") Diet, particularly when they implement the diet along with a group program within the workplace. My workplace happened to be chosen as the control group, meaning that we would receive a 2 month "intervention" program rather than a six month.

So in the spring I started the "I Diet." I committed myself to two months of strictly following the "I Diet" and attending weekly group meetings to talk about my progress and recessions. I didn't put much stock in the program but figured it I was going to do it, I might as well fully commit.

Why was I able to commit to this and not to other programs? Simply put, as I get older and watch my family get older, I am beginning to understand the importance of living a healthier lifestyle; and eating well is a major part of that.

The diet itself gateway into learning how to control your hunger and learning appropriate portion sizes. And the group sessions, held 1 hour per week during lunch time, were really helpful because they gave me a sense of accountability. I reported back each week about how I'd done, and what challenges I faced, and what recipes I tried.

Going out was the hardest thing part for me since the vast majority of my social life is based around eating and drinking. But at the end of the two months I had lose about 12 pounds, bringing me back to what I weighed at the end of college.

I started eating breakfast regularly (usually FiberOne cereal with some granola and fruit), and added two snacks a day into my schedule (nuts, fruit, string cheese, cut-up veggies). I also became more conscious of my portion sizes; not that I ever ate obscene portions but I never ate enough vegetables before.

Now that the program is over, I have made it a goal to maintain my weight over the summer. I know I will be out and about a lot, and have a ton of commitments so rather than stressing about losing weight during it all, I figure it was better to be happy about maintaining. This is something I learned through the "I Diet" and is something I struggle to keep in mind: there is no "cheating" or "falling off the wagon," if I eat something that isn't part of my plan there's no feeling guilty, I just enjoy it and get back on track. One thing I always hated was feeling guilty for enjoying my food; and this diet allowed me to not feel guilty.

So half way through the summer, I have succeeded in maintaining my weight. And continued to be conscious of my portion sizes and what I am eating or drinking when. I still eat breakfast most morning, I choose water over soda, fill half my plate with vegetables, and eat at home (or bring my lunch to work) as often as possible. It's still a challenge. And will probably continue to be; but I'm doing it. And eventually it will just be my way of life.

I'm getting there. One day at a time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Perks of Farmer's Markets

One of the greatest things about my office's location is that during the summer I am only 1 block away from the Dewey Square farmers market on the Greenway, which happens to be a twice a week market. There's always a variety of farmers, with delicious looking fruit and produce, as well as cheese, eggs, meats, breads, and other tasty delights like hummus, cooking sauces, and pesto. Even if I don't plan to buy anything I love just walking through and checking things out. This week I bought a couple of tomatoes and some peaches to leave at my desk to eat as snacks or with my lunches. There is nothing like a fresh farm tomato cut up and eaten as is.

I had only planned my lunch for the first 3 days this week, so today I didn't bring anything. I was really craving pizza for some reason, but talked myself into walking through the market to see what I could find before I decided on pizza. Which, it turns out, was a good decision. I decided on a Greek Salad with chicken & hummus pita wrap from Seta's Mediterranean Foods. So good. Kind of pricey, but it was pretty big and filling. Inside the soft pita wrap was a near perfect balance of lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, marinated olives, feta, hummus, and grilled chicken.

Judging from the website, Seta's products are only available at farmer's markets around Boston (Copley, Davis, Dewey, and Union Sqs). She uses locally sourced ingredients, and her menu of items changes by the season ranging from hummus and babaganoush to salads with orzo or quinoa or lentils.

So, I'm proud of myself for deciding on a healthy sandwich rather than pizza and I can't wait to buy some of her other products to take home sometime in the hear future.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A little history

Over the last 10 years my body has changed at a more or less steady rate, my weight increasing by a few pounds each year. My lifestyle and eating habits have been the major contributors to this change (which is really no surprise to anyone). When I left high school for college I weighed a mere 100 lbs, my collar bones and hips protruded my body. I was short and thin, it was cute. I rarely ate healthy foods, and often finished off a night of drinking with Dominos pizza and breadsticks. I was a picky eater so much of what was served in the cafeteria was unappealing to me, I mostly chose pasta, pizza, grilled cheese and omelets on my trips to the dining hall.

By the time I left college 4 years later I had put on the much joked about "freshman 15." I didn't like this change, I started to be more uncomfortable and less secure in my body. But looking back, if that's where I'd stayed weight-wise it would have been fine.

In the following years my eating habits didn't get much better, I spent a couple years eating a lot of frozen chicken strips, pasta, and other easy to prepare meals, generally lacking any sort of vegetable from my meals. Over the next 6 years I slowly crept up to almost 140 lbs.

It was when I moved to Cambridge (about 5 years ago) that my eating changed, in some ways for the better but overall it just assisted in my weight gain. I started to realize how much I like food and how many different foods are out there that I haven't tried and might (probably will) like. I started trying things, the more I tried the more I liked, and the more I wanted to try other things. I love food. Somewhere along the way I developed an attitude where if I wanted something or craved something I would eat it. I had zero control and didn't really want to control it. Food made me feel good, made me happy. I didn't eat obscene amounts, but I didn't eat balanced meals and my portion sizes were often dictated my restaurants (meaning my portions were far bigger than necessary). I could eat most of these portions, and pretty much always felt hungry. I wasn't happy with my body, I knew I'd become less attractive to the men I wanted to meet. But that made me angry, mostly at myself, and didn't discourage me from eating unhealthy foods/portions. I tried at various points to get my weight under control; I joined gyms and tried weight watchers and biggest loser competitions. The truth was I wasn't ready to commit, I didn't believe in these things, and so they didn't work.

So that's where I was about a year ago. Not willing to change my eating habits, and not even really knowing where to start even if I did want to.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Blogs are weird. I like them. And I really want to have one, but have never quite been able to keep up with writing in one. Maybe it's because of what I choose a subject matter, or maybe I'm lazy, but either way I'm going to attempt to resurrect this blog.

I started by talking about meeting people and dating. And I may occasionally go back to that, but to be honest my dating life just isn't that exciting to necessitate a whole blog.

I was also contributing to a blog about restaurants in the Boston area with two of my friends from high school who were writing about restaurants in Philly and Chicago. I can't say yet if that will come back or not, but eating out will probably be something I'll touch on here too.

A few months ago I started a weight loss program at work and for the first time ever I committed myself to losing weight and trying to become more healthy, and thus far been happy with my progress. The thing is, I love food, I love beer, cocktails, and wine, and I love eating out. So my goal here is to continue to hold myself accountable for staying healthy, active, and social through this blog. And maybe share some interesting tidbits along the way.