Monday, July 26, 2010

267 (...and boy are my arms tired!)

Actually, my legs are more tired than my arms, but everything's pretty pooped.  The energy drain is still there, and for the most part I still feel rather run-down, but I know that it's doing so for a reason, and I can manage it for a while longer.  It will get better.

I have been really religious with the walking, and that is key.  Pretty much every day for the last two weeks, I've walked at least a mile and a half, and often more.  A regular thing now for me is to walk down to the Fred Meyer's on 39th (the Google says that's .8 miles, so a round trip is 1.6 miles).  Also helps that I live on a pretty significant hill (Mt. Tabor) so the last two or three blocks of the walk to my flat are a pretty decent burn.  I've only occasionally had to stop and rest, typically when I haven't fortified myself for a walk, and my blood sugar is really low.  I now carry a couple of energy bars in my back-pack for just such an occasion.  The Tiger's Milk bars are dense protein and pretty sweet, as are the Kind yogurt and fruit granola bars, and they do the trick.

In the food department, I've been eating a lot of Quorn chick'n tenders.  In a cup serving, it breaks down like this (left).  Aside from the fact that they actually taste really good, are damn versatile and are very gratisfying (my word, I know), each serving has 10g of protein while only having 9g of carbs.  Lately, I've been making some with peppers, mushrooms, onions and garlic and having it over refried black beans as a sort-of tortilla-less fajita bowl.  Damn tasty.  I've been missing the white rice, though, but I found what may be an interesting substitute: grated cauliflower!  I'm intrigued, and will try that tonight.  I think I'm gonna make a burrito with the fajita stuff and use that as rice.  Either way, I can't go wrong: I LOVE cauliflower.

The biggest negative besides the energy thing is that I'm now rather constipated.  Joi.  Very common.  I'm going to go for the obvious-as-a-fart-joke-in-a-bean-cannery line and say "This too shall pass," but it may take some help.  I add bulk fiber laxative into my smoothie as a fiber additive anyway, but it's obviously not enough, so I'm going to start doing a daily supplement with it alone.

Due to my disability, I have bowel control issues anyway, which is one of my big fears about walking.  Fortunately, my regular (hehehe, I said "regular") walk path has a few stores on it that I can duck into in the event that I'm desperate, and it's on the bus line, so I could get a lift if I need one.  But still, I try to go walking only after I know my bowel status.  If anything, it just gives me a bit more confidence, and I'll take all of that I can get.

My knees are starting to complain about all the walking.  No surprise, that, but it's something I have to be mindful of.  I screw up my knees, and I'll grind to a halt.  Can't do.  So today when one of my knees sort-of buckled as I was walking up the hill (just before the point when I start pushing myself to finish off the walk with a bit of energy), I took it easy.  Again, due to the disability, if I go down, a) it's ugly, and b) really hard to recover from.  I can't stand up from being down on my knees (or face) without something to either push or pull myself up with, so if I were to--say--biff it while crossing the street, it would be a huge issue, speaking nothing to the danger issue of that.  But when I got down into the 250's a few years ago, I was actually (for the first time since my spinal damage back in '83) able to stand up from my knees.  I'm looking forward to that again.  That and who knows what else?

Well, I know what else.  My first "goal" now seems within reach again.  Like the view of my flat half-way up on Tabor as I walk up tired and sweaty from blocks below, it's in sight, and I refuse to stop until I get there.  As my teacher Hogen often says "This is your birthright."  I look forward to seeing him again soon.  It's been a while, and I wonder if he'll notice I've lost weight?

Either way, I do.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

270-271 (Insert pithy phrase here...)

It's really starting to come off now.  That's typical.  My metabolism has finally flipped itself around after the first few weeks of my body saying "But you're gonna eat a burger soon, right?  Sandwiched between nommy fluffy empty carbs, right?  Soon, yeah?"


Now, I haven't cut out all simple carbs.  I had half a bagel a few days ago, and friggin' LOVED it.  A few pieces of white pita bread here and there.  Some chow mein noodles and croutons on salad, etc.  But I'll guess that my simple carbs have been reduced by >80%.  That is obviously helping.  But I'm pretty sure that the walking exercise is doing the bulk of it, followed closely by calorie restriction and nutrition balance.  My girlfriend gave me a giant wodge of Flat-Out wraps, which I really like, and I've been using them to make wraps and burritos, etc, and they really help.

I've been eating fish pretty regularly--maybe twice a week.  TJ's has Ahi tuna steaks for less than $2.50 a steak (two to a bag, frozen).  Really good.  Near sushimi quality.  Tasty and filling, and only 100 kCal a steak.  Solid protein, and Omega fatty acids.  I thank the fish every time I plate one, being mindful that this thing was killed (essentially) in my name, and I'm eating it.  As much as I'm on a vegan(-ish) diet, eating fish is very helpful, and I appreciate its life energy helping me get better.  Last night I made spicy tuna salad sushi wraps (tuna salad with vegan Sriracha mayo, bread & butter pickles, lettuce, and a light shmear of vegan cream cheese on Flat-Out wraps).  I had two, not because I was gorging, but because I was really very hungry, had just exercised (so I needed extra protein) and I'd left out the avocado anyway, so I felt that it was okay.  They were probably between 300-400kCal, so I I think I was in the right.  800kCal used to be a snack for me.

I didn't actually take note of my starting weight a few weeks ago, but I know that back in the winter, I'd gotten back up to the 290's again.  I think it's safe to say that on July 1st, I was at about 288 or thereabouts.  So if we start there, I've dropped about 16lbs in three weeks as of this blogging.  A little over 5lbs a week.  That's good.  I know it's not sustainable, but it's good.  If my last significant weight loss is any indication, I can expect to keep this pace up for about another 15lbs before I really plateau.  I got down to 253 back in 2007, and the last 5lbs of that was near-total starvation due to heavy-duty stress.  I missed a major goal there.  I still feel sorta bad about it.  Not too bad, but I wish I'd have hit it.

And yes, a fail on the food diary.  No excuses: I detest doing it.  I may or may not get better at that.  Don't hold your breath.  There's something so... niggly about doing that.  So many of my weight-conscious friends say it's really helpful, but to me it just seems like enslavement.

I've been doing some research of VLCD (or "Very Low Calorie Diets") which are diets between 450-800kCal a day.  Found a really good paper published in the journal Nature that says that while they're helpful as a tool for dealing with morbid obesity (read: "me") they apparently--in the long-haul--aren't much better than a regular LCD.  Right now, I'm pretty sure I'm only doing LCD, but I'm keeping the VLCD idea in my back pocket for plateaus.

Yeah, there are some things I have been missing lately.  My morning routine of a bagel, cream cheese and a mocha, pizza, burgers on buns, chips, etc.  But I know that I'll be able to eat them again in the future.  It's just that they'll need to be balanced out on the ledger more stringently.  I keep in mind that I was somehow able to be a fat vegetarian, and moreover, a fat vegan.  Just because an animal isn't involved doesn't mean it's lower calories, or that it alone will help me lose weight.  Only I can do that...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

274 fer real...

So I am actually down to a firm 274.  That feels good.  I need to go have lunch with a friend today, so I made sure to pick a place where I can get a humus plate.  Exercise for today will be to walk all the way to the tavern--a 2 mile walk.  My primary will be here tonight, and I think I'll make lentil soup of some kind...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This and fa, er, that...

I'd planned on trying to walk into downtown today (3.7 mi) to meet someone.  I had to bail on the plan due to a) time, b) wonky and sore knees and c) lack of energy.  The last bit is key.  I'm not good stamina-wise even at the best of times, but with this reduced calorie routien, I just have so little gas in the tank that it makes walking all the harder.  It'll come with more exercise and less weight, I know.  I have a goal that before the year is out, I'll be able to do a simple 5 mile hike into a campground and spend a few days.  That'll require me carrying a minimum of a 30lb pack, not counting water.  It's not some goal that if I can't make it before the weather gets crummy that I'll feel bad.  I just wanted to set a goal to work towards.  I have a few milestones set that I'll reward myself for.  250 is the key one, and I'm saving something extra special for that, but it's not the goal or the reward I'm after.  I just want to get better.  That's my goal.  Period.  Everything else is frosting.  Oh, wait.  No frosting.  Everything else is hummus, I suppose ;)

I may be burned-out from the diet, but I still feel better about myself.  I may be hungry pretty frequently, but it's not the "Damnit! I want something gratifying!!!" thing anymore.  Every time I put something in my mouth (that's food) I'm aware of it.  I think about it.  I say "no" a lot more than I used to, but it no longer feels like a deprivation.  It feels like I'm working on something.  Working towards something.  Achieving something.  That feels good, not bad.

I recently ended one of my poly relationships a few weeks ago.  It was REALLY hard to do, but it was the right thing for the both of us, and we're both happier for it.  But whereas the last time a relationship ended for me (about October of last year) I ate my way to comfort, this time I'm not.  As a matter of fact, this most recent relationship ended in part because of food and health issues.  I now see her posting all kinds of fatty fried restaurant food she's eating with her new partner or her hubby.  She is celebrating her happiness.  For her happiness, I'm deeply glad.  But she's doing exactly what I'm trying not to do.  Everything is about food.  Everything is about something external making her happy.  I really hope and pray that she eventually sees that that is a dead-end.  She's a wonderful person, and she deserves to be happy.  But I can't have someone in my life that doesn't understand that I need to fix this or I will die from it.  And she will, too.  The food thing is actually the minority reason why I ended that relationship, but to say it's an insignificant factor would be minimizing it too much.

My primary partner wants to lose a few pounds.  She's newly 50, lovely, and in my eyes, perfect in every way.  But I will support her in any way that I can to reach her goals.  She adores my cooking, and she loves me and completely supports what I'm trying to do.  That is so very important to me.

My other (new) sort-of partner is also very diet-conscious.  She's doing the whole no-carb thing, and is having good success.  I'm not much of a fan of the whole ketosis thing, but she eats very healthily, and is also supportive of me.

That is what I need.  As is the case with any addiction, who you surround yourself with and who you have as a support network is very important.  And make no mistake; I'm dealing with an addiction.  The biggest and oldest addiction my life has ever known.

I'm considering starting up a Zen eating group in my sangha.  My teacher wrote a book on mindful eating.  I think that could be a really good resource for me.

More later...

274 (and the beat goes on...)

Sorry I stepped away from the blog.  Been a bit of a week...

Although I hit a milestone this past Sunday.  I walked from the flat all the way to the New Season's store on SE 20th & Division.  Google says that's about 2.5 miles.  All said and done, that day I clocked what must have been just over 3 miles.  I was exhausted for the rest of the day, yes, but I attribute that to all that exercise on very little fuel.  But it's working.  Yesterday was also a good exercise day, having spent the afternoon busing around town running errands.  When I got back from them, I hopped on the scale and was down to 271 and change.  Now I know that wasn't a real number--you should never weigh yourself after strenuous exercise unless you're a boxer at a pre-fight weigh-in--but doing so allows me to know more accurately where I'm at.  Yesterday's 271 shows me that today's 274 is a real number.  Hopefully if I keep this up, by this time next week, I'll be kissing the 260's again for the first time in almost two years.

I have to admit that one of the things I like most about the dieting is the MONEY!  Since I've not been having the daily mocha, this month I've saved nearly $60!  Not buying anything at the store but fruit, veg, and soy-milk, I'm still in the black this month, at a time when I'm typically getting really tight.  Admittedly, I've had a bit of money come back to me this month as well, but all-in-all, I know it's helping the budget too.

Last night for dinner I made myself essentially a carb-less huevos burrito in a bowl.  Quorn chick'n, mushrooms, onions and 2 eggs done on the cast-iron skillet, then dumped into a bowl of re-fried black beans.  I initially thought of making some rice and using a low-carb FlatOut wrap, but just decided to skip them entirely.  Damn tasty regardless.  Thanks to Tapito for spicing it up!  I could have had half the eggs, leaving one for today, but I could tell that my body was rather protein-starved, so I decided to have a reasonable second helping.  Probably 600-800 kCal all said and done.  That would make my total for the day somewhere in the 1500-1600 for the day.  I still feel good about it.

I think once I get down to 270, I'll take a pic of myself and stick it up here.  No greater motivation than to see yourself as fat, but getting smaller.

Now I need to get a few things done before I go walking.  I hope one of those things is seeing a man about a horse.  That right there is one of the top three reasons why I don't like walking out in the wild all that much.  Suddenly needing to find a bathroom right. Damn. NOW is a real pain.  But I can't allow it to keep me from walking.

I can't.

Friday, July 9, 2010

277 (Don't believe it...)

I'm still feeling pretty weak due to the restrictive diet and lack of protein, but the pounds are starting to melt off. Last night before bed, I dipped below 280 for the first time since a false reading of 277 on 5 July. This time I know it's real, which is good and encouraging. Went out to coffee (w0ot!) with a friend to a place down the street. Ordered a small iced soy mocha with whip and nursed it pretty effectively. It was satisfying, and gratifying as a reward for a week plus of rather restrictive practice. I think I'm going to allow myself one or two a week as a treat, but I'll be mindful of how large and how often, so as to not slip back into the daily habit again, at least for now. I may allow it as a daily once I hit the 250-260's because the diuretic boost I get is helpful. I think I may just go back to making mocha smoothies. Best of both worlds there.

When I got back, I was swimming in sweat (it's about 94f) so I popped in the shower. Before I did, I weighed myself. 277.0. I immediately called "bullsh!t" and knew better. Getting out, I weighed again, and was 278.6. My body had absorbed 1.6lbs of water. So, the lesson is: Dehydration for quick results, Hydration for a quick reality check! ;) But none-the-less, I'm only about 4.6lbs from my pre-winter balloon-up weight. That makes me feel good.

I'm still hungry most of the time, but it's pretty manageable by eating a Clementine orange or two, and maybe a banana. Pro'lly eating a bit too much cheese popcorn, but I'll allow that for the moment, as it really satisfies the whole munch thing. Need to go get it and make it at home to save monies. I'll ping Freecycle for a used air-popper. I like it nearly as much with nutritional yeast as powdered cheese anyway. I want to make a Toby's clone soon too, probably tomorrow. Tofu, Nutri-Yeast, Veganaise, onions and celery. I found some awesome black-bean tortilla chips that are about 1/2 the carbs and more protein that regular, and that together sounds awesome. I really appreciate being able to figure out how to make lots of things (read: "products") I like myself at home. Saving money is always gratifying, but there's also something really nurturing about that. Sorta like food-based metta for myself.

Hunger. Yeah. Challenging practice. But I'm hungering for something different now, and I can feel it well up inside me. I want health again. Yes, part of it is to look better than I do (I accept myself as I am, but at the same time, I look back to when I was near 250, and I really miss looking like that, and moreover, FEELING like that) but I really am just doing this for it's own sake. For the sake of being more healthy. I missed 250 a few years ago by just three pounds. Three pounds!  I haven't weighed 250 since highschool.  Then everything changed.  My primary relationship changed, my daughter came back from Cali with a heroin addiction, and I asked my primary for a divorce.  Boom, boom, boom.  I nurtured myself and my daughter through that very hard time with food, as I always do.  But "nurture" with too much of anything will bloat you.  And once again, I took it too far.  I remember spending the new year of 2009 alone, ringing it in with a half a pound of brie.  By myself.  Sounds damn depressing, dunnit?  It sorta was.  But I needed to step off of the vegan thing for a bit.  I'm glad I did, but cheese is a very limited thing for me now.

Anyway, more as it happens.  Making myself a salad for dinner consisting of cold chicken curry, and curry flavored Yumm sauce and other assorted stuff.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

280, and it all begins again...

Wow, been a while, huh? Me too.

It's starting back up again. Down to 280 from a high of 292 or so. I'm not going to blather on about new-found motivation or insight-this or awareness-that. It's all the same, and you can see heart-felt insights of mine all throughout this blog. What I will say is this: it is very important to keep people in your life who care about what they eat. I've missed that. And I now appreciate its importance even more.

Interesting: as I type this, a person I recently ended a relationship with just replied to a question I posted on Facebook about whether or not to eat a deep-fried samosa at a dinner I'm going to tonight. Her reply: "mmmm samosa.....i am going to be worse....steak...." So I guess that's a taste of it (pardon the pun). It's hard to get better when people in your life don't really care about themselves. It's not the reason I stopped seeing her, but it probably contributed.

Anyways, I'm going to try and keep a food diary. Here's today (so far).


Breakfast: Black grapes and a banana.

Snack: 10-ish black-bean tortilla chips and 2 tbsp Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.

Lunch: 12oz MetRX-based banana/blueberry smoothie with added orange laxative fiber.

Dinner: 2 fried vegetarian samosa, 1 cup cooked Basmati rice, a fried papadum, some daal and 1/2 a naan.

Exercise: Walked to bus stop in 95+f heat (6 blocks). Walked to restaruant (2 blocks). After dinner (where I ate slightly more than intended), walked the entire way home (16 blocks).

Other snacks: A bit more smoothie, cheese popcorn, and a couppla oranges.