Day 2 of… the rest of my life?
I’m not big on diets. I’ve been on two in my life. One was when, in early 2000, my husband and I did a Body for Life challenge. That was successful, but very shortly after its completion, I got pregnant, and the whole thing went out the window. I didn’t know how to pull off diet + pregnancy.
Ironically, the other diet upon which I embarked was two years ago, when I was pregnant with Fiala. For three or so reasons, my doctor thought it would be wise if I did not gain any weight during my third trimester. He put me on phase 2 of the South Beach Diet for gestational weeks 28-40, and guess what? I didn’t gain any weight. In fact, I had to allow myself to eat more, because following his recommendations caused me to initially lose weight. For that entire pregnancy, I gained 17 lbs, which was the fewest of my five, by far. I felt SO GOOD after she was born, too — not bloated and huge, and I recovered, in every way, so much more quickly.
Then, when I was nursing Fiala, and she had (has, still) major food allergy problems, I put myself on a Total Elimination Diet to make my breastmilk safe for her to drink. During that time, I dropped to 135 lbs, which is what I weighed when I got married, nearly 16 years ago. I weaned Fiala and went off of the TED in January of this year. I expected to go back up to 155 lbs or so, because that’s pretty much where my body settled, post-pregnancy, after babies #3 & 4 were born. It took a number of months, but yes, I got back up to 155.
A couple of weeks ago, when I hit 165 — which is the heaviest, un-pregnant, I’ve ever been, I decided that I had to do something. Gaining 30 pounds in nine months just is not healthy. Also, having to buy clothes because you’re smaller? Feels fabulous. Buying clothes because your chub won’t fit inside of your favorite jeans any longer? Not so much.
The part of me that doesn’t like diets is the part which rationalizes, “Diets aren’t sustainable.” And, I still wrestle with that. I eat healthy — very healthy, in fact, if you don’t count my penchant for dark chocolate chips and 2-3 servings of ice cream per month. But, apparently, I’m just eating too much of it, whatever “it” is. Even though I cannot see measuring my food and counting my carbs to really be a sustainable plan for the rest of my life, I can’t simply do nothing. And, since I know that a modified South Beach Diet is effective for me, that’s what I’m going with.
Speaking of sustainable, right now, I would say that, on average, I have ONE day per week where I have some sort of extended form of exercise. Ideally, I’d like that to be three or four days. But, if I tell myself, “I am going to work out four days a week,” and I don’t reach that goal, I know I’ll be discouraged. But… I do need to step it up. So, part two of my plan is to double my strenuous activity to 2x/week.
The reasons I like South Beach (which I’m not trying to sell — they have a book, which I’ve never read, and they have a $5/week online program, to which I’m NOT subscribing) is because it fits in so well with what my food aims are, anyways:
- Nutrient-dense, fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains;
- Lean sources of protein;
- Low-fat dairy products;
- Good fats from foods such as omega-3-rich fish, healthy oils (like extra-virgin olive and canola oils), and nuts
I don’t know what they do in the “real” South Beach Diet, but in my modified version, I don’t count calories. I don’t count fat grams (though I do minimize unhealthy fats). I do count carbohydrates. Fiber carbs, though, don’t count against the daily total. So, say, three ounces of carrots would only count as 6 net grams (8 total, minus the 2 grams of fiber). My “goal” for fiber is a minimum of 20 grams daily. I say “goal” because I hit that — and soar past — every day. I’ve read that most Americans consume less than 10 grams of fiber each day, and that’s nearly incomprehensible to me. It would be hard for me to NOT eat 20+ grams per day.
For now, I am going to stick with 150 grams of net carbs per day, and see what the results are in two weeks. If I’m not losing any weight, I’ll drop it down to 125 g daily.
A lot of people who do South Beach use liberal amounts of artificial sweeteners. Um, not me. I do supplement my coffee’s teaspoon of honey with a bit of stevia each morning, but I’m not going to eat — ever — a cupful of sugar-free Jell-O, just because it has no carbs. Chemicals, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors… Yuck. Can’t do it. I want to be HEALTHY, not just carb-less.
Oh. I do allow myself one soda every afternoon, almost always Hansen’s. It is sweetened with Splenda, but it is all-natural besides that. I’m iffy on Splenda. But, I figure if my one vice is a daily can of diet Hansen’s, I’m gonna be OK.
OH! And, I do need to find some sort of better dessert option. After the kids go to bed, I like to settle down with my husband’s company, a book (or a TV show), and a container of frozen yogurt. I mean, regular yogurt that I freeze, then let thaw for about 15 minutes before eating. I’d really like one that is around 20 carbs per serving, with no artificial anything and inexpensive enough for me to buy 4-6 each week without messing up my family’s grocery budget. Hm. Maybe I’ll look at Trader Joe’s. Currently, I’m eating Yoplait light, but those have aspartame.
I just looked up Breyer’s Mint Chip, and each 1/2 cup serving has 18 carbs! A 1/2 cup serving is really, really small. But, when I’m accountable to my tally sheet, I think I could do it. A little bit of ice cream? Or no ice cream? Little bit, it’ll have to be. 😀
So… it’s my hope that I’ll learn to make better little choices that will be sustainable. Long term do-able. For instance, raw almonds are one of my very favorite snacks. But, instead of just keeping the bag open in my pantry and grabbing a handful whenever, I now put 2 oz (1/3 cup – 6 regular carbs, 6 fiber carbs) in a little bowl, and be happy with that. And, last night, with our grilled chicken, I chose not to use barbecue sauce, which I love.
I figure the least I alter what I currently do — yet, alter it, indeed! — the more likely it is to stick.
I promise this won’t turn into Karen’s Diet Blog — there are enough diet blogs out there already. But, I figure that blogging about this adds one more layer of accountability, which will help me stay on target.
Anyone wanna join me??