Monday, January 11, 2016

It shows!

My neighbor was polishing his wife's new car -- now that's love for you!  -- and I went out because we have different schedules and hardly ever talk.
Almost the first words out of his mouth were "You've lost weight."
I was stupefied.   "It  shows???"
Well, I had realized it before that but it hadn't occurred to me that other people could tell.
I could tell because my reference jeans, which needed lots of strength to zip 12 months ago, now zip with no trouble.
I can even tuck both a tee shirt and an Oxford button-down shirt into them.
And I can sit in them comfortably.
Was it drugs?
Was it Weight-Watchers?
Was it surgery?

1.  Sleep.  I have been sleeping through the night for at least 6 hours and if I wake, I roll over for another couple.  As a result, my body has been making the appetite suppressing hormone leptin, not the appetite causing hormone ghrelin.  I'm more alert and better able to control how much I eat.

2.  Breakfast.  I eat 3 eggs, or a meat-based stew with vegetables and often beans or lentils.  Then I eat a vegetable lunch.   Then an afternoon snack of nuts or fruit.  Then a bedtime snack of a couple of ounces of cheese on bread.  YMMV if you are dealing with Crohn's, celiac, allergies, lactose intolerance, etc.  Also see below on cravings.

3.  Less alcohol.  One serving right before bed.  Sometimes more on Shabbat.  A little extra in champagne on New Year's Eve.  Alcohol is almost the highest-calorie (per gram) thing you can put in your stomach.  Alcohol also interferes with sleeping properly and with metabolizing food, and it lowers your self-control so you're more likely to pig out.

4.  Exercise.  At almost 60, I'm doing exercises to reverse osteoporosis and alleviate osteoarthritis.  Tai Ji Quan; wall pushups; basic Tae Bo; heavy housework which includes moving my bed for cleaning.  I do all my own yard work with hand tools.  YMMV.  Lots of communities have free or inexpensive exercise classes, or maybe your neighborhood is walkable or you have a mall you can get to on the bus so you can exercise when the weather is bad.  Do a web search on bikes or treadmills that generate power you can feed into your tablet.

5.  Fidget.  It used to be that when I sat down to work on a project, I sat there for hours at a time.  Not any more.  I get up on purpose about once an hour.  Most times I do a little cleaning -- dusting, floors, hand washing hankies or hand-knit clothes or dishes.  My house is cleaner, which is a psychological boost, and my BP is under better control.  Getting up is good for my arthritis, and I burn a few calories.

6.  Cravings.  Learn to deal with them.  I wrote about this before.  Buy your cookies, chips, or candy.  Keep them some place where you can't see them.  Make a bargain with yourself that you can eat them on a specific schedule, such as one cookie in the middle of the afternoon or one candy bar on your favorite day of the weekend.  My bargain was I could buy chips on Federal holidays, not every week.  8 times a year, not 52.  NEVER MISS THE SCHEDULE.  That makes a chore out of your cravings and eventually you'll feel about it just like you do about any other chore. 

If this doesn't work, try a different strategy.  If your cravings return before the scheduled time, try to control them for, say, one hour or day more and then eat only the scheduled amount.  After one month, try going back to the original timetable.  You'll slowly get control of your cravings without giving up what you love best.

7.  DIY.  One recent idea about why we are having obesity problems is, somebody else makes our food.  We eat too much that is pre-packaged.  It burns calories to prepare food -- some foods more than others -- so we lose out on a form of exercise. 

Bread is a perfect DIY: kneading is great upper body exercise; you have to get up off your, uh, chair to punch it down or shape the loaves; then you have to get up again to put it in the oven and take it out.  Pasta, noodles, and soba are also great, especially if you stick with the recommended serving size when you eat them.  Make your cookies from scratch by hand.  Find a basic quick bread recipe and throw in cranberries or raisins, dried blueberries or cherries, chopped up dried apricots or peaches or prunes, diced granny smith apples, and different nuts (assuming you don't bump into an allergy).  Make your pie crust and fillings from scratch by hand, and don't forget to try squash-and-grated-carrot filling as well as pumpkin.

NOTICE that all of these tactics are cheaper than pills, special pre-packaged food, or surgery -- except the money you would spend on the power-generating exercise equipment.  Some DIY solutions are going to save you money compared to how you eat now -- and eventually, that will pay for the power-bike or treadmill.

Along with all the money you save on gimmicks, drugs and other chemicals, and surgery, and all the extra pay you make because you live longer.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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