After a lifetime of battling my weight, I'm determined to win. This blog chronicles my journey. Stay tuned for the downs and ups of the scale, dieting, exercise, and life.

I cannot eat standing up - and other lessons from this week

This week has been a combination of the Special K diet and the first week of the Beck Diet Solution.

I'm doing the Special K diet as a jump start. And so far have lost about a pound. I know it's probably water weight. Which is fine. I really just needed a week of focus. And that's what I got. I got a week where I learned what a real serving of cereal looks like. I also learned the difference between the 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup measuring cups (and that knowing the difference can really change what a serving of cereal looks like - after 2 days of eating 1/2 a serving because I was using the wrong spoon.

This focus really helped with my work on the Beck Diet Solution. Judith Beck is the daughter of a proponent of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), a technique of treating depression and other disorders that seeks to retrain the way that you think - thus changing your behaviors. It's kinda a chicken and egg thing - you change some thoughts and some behaviors at the same time...then other ones kinda get on the train. I'd used CBT for treatment of depression with great success. When I was evaluating the Beck system - the fact that it was based on CBT and that CBT has helped me prevent a serious depressive relapse in years was a big plus.

Now, Judith Beck would probably hate to see her name anywhere near the Special K diet. She'd probably also hate that I read ahead in the book rather than following the day-by-day method. And that I combined things that I read in her Beck Diet for Life book with things that were in the Beck Diet Solution book. So everything is all comingled. But the thing that has resonated the most and has made the biggest difference in my eating this week is that I can only eat when I'm sitting down. She makes the point that for many of us, calories that we eat when standing - the bite here and there, the "tastes" of food as it cooks, the handful of this or that - tend to not satisfy and are quickly forgotten rather than being integrated into our calorie counts.


Yeah - bells went off. All this week, with the exception of dinner last night because I was at a party and I can't really insist that I MUST SIT, I've sat. And wow - I've really liked my food. Nothing makes exactly 1 cup of cereal and 1/2 cup of milk more satisfying than sitting down at the table and reading a magazine while eating it slowly. Same with Tuesday - I had a work event and had very strongly resisted all of the lovely nibbles that were being passed - arrancini, cheeseburger sliders, beef shortrib bites, shrimp - and got home VERY hungry. First thing, I threw together a quick salad (lettuce, tomato, sprouts, peppers, onion, radishes). I munched on that, while sitting of course, to take away the hunger. Then I made my veggie burger with swiss and lettuce and sauteed onions and mushrooms. Most times, I would have made LOTS more mushrooms and onions because I would have eaten a good bit of it as it cooked - not this time. And wow - it was good.

And,most importantly, it felt good to have a goal, do it, and succeed. So I'm going to be sticking with the Beck. Get prepared to hear more about it.

My butt is kicked

Comcast has rearranged a lot of the on-demand exercise options, so I've gone back to my old standby -- magazines. When I last lost a lot of weight, Self and Shape were my companions. Filled with recipes, motivation, and sometimes great workout plans to do with little space and less equipment, these magazines were my go-to guide.

Overtime, they've fallen from favor. I got tired of hearing the same thing over and over. Often the exercises weren't reasonable and Shape now mostly has at-gym workouts that can only be adapted for home with more equipment than I'm willing to purchase (like Bosu balls or a collection of resistance bands). There's also a lot more magazines out there: Women's Health, Health - and fitness sections to other magazines (Glamour, etc) - whew...that's a lot.

But thankfully - there's also the internet. So rather than rooting around stacks of magazines for that one workout I once saw, I can spend 30-60 minutes finding great workouts.

Which is what I did last night when I found 2 awesome workouts at Women's Health's website

I did these two workouts, supersetting the moves (so all of the lunges together...etc). They fit together well, you just have to do the plie squat jumps with the squat and crunch. I also cranked up the tunes and danced a little bit in between sets to make it a little more fun and get some cardio in there.

No Gear Here

Tone Zone

Taking the Challenge

I'm all stocked up to take the Special K Challenge starting next week.

Yeah, I know.

I know.

REALLY, I know. If you know me, you know my special hatred for lose weight quick schemes. I have a tremendous and fundamental hatred for fad diets. But here's the deal: It was down to the Special K diet and the Master Clense. But....1)I have a lot of events coming up where food will be there and I just can't not eat. 2) I need to lose weight to fit into my Fall/Winter clothes. I have about 2 weeks before it's officially going to be fall in the Bay Area and it would be great to be able to wear 4 pairs of jeans instead of 2. 3) It's been around forever and it's not so much a fad any more.

There you have it. I've given in. I went online and they help you to plan out different meals. I'm all stocked up on cereal, crackers, bars, and shakes. Dinner will be something yummy and healthy. They have a great planner online and LOTS of coupons. I ended up with 2 boxes of cereal, 2 boxes of crackers, a box of bars and a box of shakes. The shakes are pricey ($5.99 for a box of 4 at target), but for lunch, that's just $1.25 each - not bad.

I'll keep you posted. And never fear - I'll be back to a sensible diet in 2 weeks. In fact, I'm starting the first stage of the Beck Diet for Life this week as well. More to come on that later.

Starting Over (Again)

I'm back. Defeated. Dejected. Depressed. And still weighing 235 pounds. I'd hoped that by now I'd weigh...200 - maybe 190. I expected to be back to at least a real size 16, maybe even a (large) 14.

But no.

Just like every other time, I crashed and burned. Life got in the way. I started wearing my hair straight. Work got busy. Everything else became a priority. And well, ice cream tastes good, and working out is hard.

So now I'm back. And not so gung ho. I'm actually pretty apathetic. Because although I want to lose weight. I NEED to lose weight. I don't know if I have it in me. I was in a tele-seminar yesterday and the facilitator asked: What can you commit to? And I don't know what I can commit to. I hate working out...well I do now that I'm huge and out of shape and am so far away from the exciting place of lifting so much the guys at the gym are impressed. I love food. I love everything about it - watching it being cooked, cookign it, talking about it, learning about it, reading about it. How could I possibly become one of those boring no oil, no butter, no salt, everything held on the side people?

So I'm back. Not sure what that means. Yet.

Not a good week at all

Well - accurately, I could say WEEKS. Because the last two weeks have not been "good." The first week, I cast aside as a learning opportunity - a chance to see how I could fit my new journey of healthful living into my "real life" This week showed me that it absolutely doesn't naturally fit.

Nope. This is going to be hard.

Very hard.

My natural tendancy is to eat. everything. in. sight. And then eat some more. I'm realizing what a conscious decision this is going to have to be. That I will have to say no. That it's not a matter of "moderation." It's a matter of saying yes to the right things and no to the wrong. Not maybe. Not a little bit. Not some today and nothing tomorrow - because tomorrow I will say the same thing.

So I don't know where that leaves me. I just want to whine and give up. But I'm going to keep trucking. Meal plan posted tomorrow, as usual. I guess that's just how it's gotta be. Maybe one day there will be balance and moderation - but no day soon.

A Mistake, A Set Back, Or Just Reality?

So The Boyfriend asked me, during the first week of this adventure, how it was going to be possible to maintain weightloss. He wasn't trying to be mean - it's just that well...I love food. We love food. We live in the Bay Area which is filled with food. Good food. Everywhere. So during that week, when I was on that strict 1200 calorie diet, the reality of being able to do that forever, seemed questionable.

And now, 2 weeks into this adventure, I'm having the same questions.

Really. Am I never supposed to have a scone from Arizmendi again? Or Chocolatine from La Farine? Or snacks at a party? Cause - well...I had all of the above this weekend. And I know - I had been so "good," but is it really about being "good," or is there space to be good and bad? And where's the line?

I guess I'll be figuring that out for a while. I still worked out this weekend (well today - I didn't yesterday or Friday). I still ate my fruits and veggies. Somewhere out there, there's balance. I just need to find it.

Meal Plan - Week of June 15-19

I'm back to the 1200 Calorie plan as a base - I want to continue really kick starting the weight loss. I'm revisiting some of my favorite meals from the last time I followed this plan and trying a new one. This should be a pretty easy week for me to keep up with the plan. I have a work event Tuesday, so I'm going to add in a Clif Bar to keep me from snacking during the event. Again, I'm going to try to not plan out my weekend. It didn't work too well this week - but I'm trying it again.

Here's the plan

Favorite Recipe: Pecan-Crusted Oven "fried" Chicken

Finding quick, easy, non-messy, good tasting, healthy food is hard sometimes. Seriously. I have about 5 million copies of Shape, Self, Cooking Light, and Eating Well, and half the time I look at the recipes and move past them because they require 20 different pots and pans and 40 different ingredients, and they're STILL bland.

Well here's an easy recipe for a tasty, crunchy, "fried" chicken piece that you can eat with some veggies, or on a salad, or in a wrap AND it requires only 1 pan and a ziplock bag. The chicken comes in just under 300 calories, leaving plenty of room in a 400 calorie lunch or dinner for the sides. I had it with a baked sweet potato (topped with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice) and a mixed green salad with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Pecan-Crusted Oven "fried" Chicken
Serves One

  • 3 tablespoons crushed pecans (I used about 8 Trader Joes Spiced Pecans for a little more flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons panko
  • fresh or dried rosemary, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken thigh (or breast - I detest boneless skinless chicken breast, and they only save you a few calories and 2 grams of fat and have less iron. But it's your choice)

Preheat oven to 400. Place the pecans in a quart-sized ziplock bag; crush using a mallet (or hammer, or the bottom of a glass...your choice). Add the panko, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken in the bag and shake to coat evenly. Place the chicken on a baking pan and cook till done (I think it was about 15, maybe 20 minutes). Enjoy!

Oops! I forgot to take a picture - I'll definitely make it a habit. Gotta get used to this blogging thing

Diet Plan Review: Health Magazine's Lose 5 Pounds in 7 Days

Last week, I decided to give this plan a try in order to kick start my efforts and to get me reaquainted with what real serving sizes and meals look like. Here's what I thought of it:

Pros: Meals taste good and are interesting. If you follow the plan exactly as they prescribe, you won't get bored because it's something different every meal. Also, every meal is pretty simple and easy to cook.

Cons: Every meal is different. While they make an effort to reuse ingredients throughout the week, it's not completely realistic. The good thing is, since all of the calorie counts are the same, you can repeat meals if you want or take leftovers for lunch. Also, the plan is only 1200 calories - which will definitely help you lose weight, but I was starving.

Overall grade: A-. I really liked some of the meals, especially the steak salad and grilled veggie sandwich, but I was starving all week. Well not all week, by Wednesday, I realized that it was WAY too few calories and I started adding another 100-200 each day. It works, I lost 4 pounds, but I wouldn't recommend this plan for long term or for anything other than wanting to kickstart your diet or lose a few pounds for a special occasion.

Lose 5 pounds in 7 days

This Week's Meal and Exercise Plan

So now that I've gone through the getting started phase, I'm working to lose 2 pounds a week. I'm using, as a starting point, Health Magazine's Feel Great Weight plan. This plan is 1500-1600 calories, plus an extra 50 calories a day for every inch over 5'4" you are. This gives me 1650-1750 calories a day to play with.

No, I haven't planned Saturday and Sunday, and yes (GASP!) I'm having 2 dinners out this week. I'll let you know how that goes.

Meal and Exercise Plan - Week of June 8-14

My goals

My new best friend.

My goal is to lose 85 pounds by December 2010. Why 85? Because I recently read this article from Health Magazine talking about a woman who lost 85 pounds doing it herself - no trainer, no plans, no programs. The thing is she started out at exactly my size and is now a size 8. A size 8! I have long believed that if I was a size 8, the whole world would be better, but I never believed that the size was attainable. And yes, I know that the world won't change much if I was a size 8...but I would have better clothes.

So my goal - in the near term, is to get back to my weight from last summer - about 215 - as soon as possible. I'm already 3 pounds closer thanks to Health Magazine's Lose 5 Pounds in 7 Days plan. So there's 17 pounds to go, hopefully by the end of this summer. I'd like to lose the next 15 by the end of 2009. Then there's just 50 to go. Easy, right?


I'm Gracie. I'm 26, live in the Bay Area, and I'm fat. I've been some degree of fat for most of my life. Seriously. I was 10 pounds, 1 ounce at birth, and it's grown from there to my current weight of 232. Actually, I was 235 last Monday, but I've already lost 3 pounds (yay!) this week when I started this latest and (hopefully) last journey to weight loss.

What to expect from this blog
A little bit of my day to day struggles, a few posts referring to articles I like, my weekly meal and exercise plan, and a lot of rambling. Because I tend to ramble. This blog will largely serve as a mind dump for all of my obsessive diet and exercise talk so that my friends and family don't have to hear me talk about what I ate, what I will eat, and what I hate that I can't. I invite you to comment, commiserate, celebrate, and cheerlead. Please, do not ask if I've tried X, Y, or Z - if it's a legitimate health tip (like eating less and working out more), I have. If it's a crash diet, I probably have. If it's some random thing that someone told you that helped them lose 40 pounds in a month, I'm not going to believe you, and I might be annoyed.