I thought I would share the day to day top 5 weight loss tools that I use to keep me on track. They are not in order of importance because I consider them all equally critical to my success. These tools are created with my own personal needs in mind.
1. Water: Yes, A Major Tool.
When I went on the pre and post op liquids only diet, I realized that on liquids alone my body could not only be sustained, but satisfied. It was surprising to me. I was actually sad about having to transition to soft foods! That knowledge taught me that I need to rely on water primarily and use food to get some nutrients in between. I typically have 64 - 96 ozs of 0 calorie drinks per day, 48-64 ounces of that is water and the rest is a 0 calorie drink like Vitamin water (love the acai berry flavor) and Sobe 0 Calorie water (love the pear apple and the kiwi cherimoya, yumberry and well, all of the flavors are good). If I have one of those days where i'm feeling ravenous, I make sure that I drink more water than usual. This helps me to feel full. I also drink a protein drink when i'm feeling ravenous because a protein drink (I use nectar, 25 calories 25g protein) makes me feel full, and chase it with 16 ounces of water. Also, being thirsty and needing water induces a thirst pang that the body can not differentiate from hunger pangs, so if you find your stomach is growling, it could be craving water if you have not taken in enough, not food. For me, I feel like transitioning to liquids only post procedure was a valuable moment in my life because it taught me that liquids are enough, vital, nourishing, and body necessary. Rely heavily on water.
2. Journal: A Fantastic tool!
I have kept a journal since the first week I went on soft foods. Every single thing I eat every single day is counted in calories and written down in this journal. At first, I kept the journal just as a means of trying to track, but then weeks into it I found that it was keeping me honest! No Cheating. I record everything. If I cheated, who would I be cheating but ME? And now, 4 months post plication, I love my journal. I rely on it. It let's me see my patterns, what can cause weight increase or decrease. I can see on average how many calories I consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What this does for me is if I know i'm used to having 300 calories for lunch, and I pick something up i'm thinking of having for lunch that's say 150 calories, like yogurt but i'm feeling hungrier for lunch this day and the yogurt is not enough food for the calorie amount then that tells me to look for something more satisfying,like a sweet potato and broccoli and I keep myself on caloric track while feeling satisfied. It goes the opposite way too. If i'm just not feeling hungry for lunch I may have a piece of fruit and yogurt. This way I don't have to make myself eat too much and get the calories in. The journal also helps me understand the flow and rhythm of my body and it is a record of my final journey to weight loss. My journal looks like this, an example from the first day:
Friday Day 1 8/10
B- (stands for breakfast, takes up 1 line) 7 tsp oatmeal, 1/4 toast = # of calories
(i typically write the amount of calories for each item above the food item so i.e. above 7 tsp oatmeal I would write 50 and over the 1/4 of toast I would write 10)
L- (lunch, 1 line)
same as above, i itemize what I ate, write calories for each over the food and total
D- (same as B and L)
TF: (total calories from food)
TLIQ: (total calories from liquid)
Calories: total intake for the day
I leave 3 lines after the Calorie total and here is where I write things like: feeling sick, constipated, feeling low, head and body aching, etc, things that I notice are departures from the norm. I use these notes to just be aware of my body's reactions and to post updates to my blog on what influenced my outcome for the week. Now you may not need to keep a journal or one as detailed as this, but I do it because I know me. This is the last time I will have been obese and I am serious about that and part of that means understanding what my body feels through paying absolute total attention to it and so for me, this journal is a total blessing!
3. Calorie Counting App. Must have!
I have an iphone and found this app called MyfitnessPal. The icon on the app is a very fit person leaping in the air with arms raised out. The background color is blue. What I use this app for is to find the amount of calories in a food. This is what I use to guesstimate what I am eating when I am away from the comforts of my calorie tracked kitchen. It is great because it allows me to keep calories counted. If you don't have an iphone and this app isn't available on android another fantastic tool is the weight watchers calorie counter book. And I am sure that there are other calorie counting books in the shops that you can pick up. It just helps to know what I eat. Post plication I have NEVER eaten something that I can not track calorically. I just can not do it. Things like salad dressing and cheese are so fattening in such tiny amounts that I find I just have to make smart choices and anyone following my progress can see what happens when I do not.
I have been ill prepared twice now since my procedure in July. Each time this happens it just results in bad decisions and weight gain which means set back and no weight loss. I end up eating high fat things: something quick like GF (gluten free) cheese pizza or a cheese quesadilla (grease and high fat cheese...) and even though at the end of the day following my journal they are still within the OCC caloric recommendations, they still make me gain because that is a lot of fat and cheese and fat and cheese is not healthy or body friendly. So even if it is within my calories, it is not smart choice eating. I am in the process of finding out a way to pre prepare for trips etc, putting together an emergency way to get by. I will update that in this blog when I get it down.
5. Know Your Weakness(es)
This is a critical tool also. Everything I have listed here is what is necessary for me. My weakness is sugar. Sugar sugar sugar. NOTHING will throw me back into my old fat hell quicker than sugar. Nothing will plummet my health like sugar. Nothing will make me get alarmingly close to diabetes, stroke and heart trouble like SUGAR. And I know that. I knew that before plication but I always welcomed it and caved in to it as though I did not know it thereby allowing it to keep me under its will. Can you imagine? Being under the power of sugar?? An inanimate object?? I guess I did not want to know it. But I know it now. When I decided to have my surgery, before the actual procedure, I got real with myself. I acknowledged the destructive role sugar played in my life and I began to look at it for the ugly thing it was. Post plication I have not eaten candy. THAT was a HUGE weakness. I have stayed away from sweets wherever I go and when I do want something sweet I have a mango, strawberries, apple, or banana. That is the only sugar I take in now. It was hard. It was such a weakness but I prepared for the fact that I needed to abstain from it before surgery. I said, when you have surgery, it will remove the need for sugar. If you have sugar it will undue your stitches and your health. I talked my brain into believing these things because if I didn't, I might not have made it. SO. Know your weakness and do whatever you have to do to get it under control. Now I have control over sugar. It does not control me. And when I pass candy or cake or sweets counters, I look at them in disdain and turn my nose up at it and think, yea, ... right. I don't think so. And I walk away and smile knowing I control this now. I do. Not sugar.
Hope this helps. As I said, these are necessary tools for me. They may work for you they may not. What is most important is getting your own personal routine going. Something you use daily that changes your life from what it was prior to surgery. We all invested so much to have surgery, financially, physically, mentally, so it only seems right we get the spiritual in line and make life changes to bring us up to where we belong from here on out.
Happy Weight Loss