Published March 4, 2010

Losing Weight – Day 4: Famine

by Helen M. Ryan

Right about now - days four through seven or so - your body is getting a clue as to what's going on. You are eating less and moving more. In nature, that means one thing: The famine is coming!
Your body holds onto fat for one reason - to get you through periods of starvation. What it doesn't realize is that there really is no famine..that there is plenty of food to go around (at least in our nation of excess). All it cares about is that you are depleting your stores of the very thing it counts on to keep you alive: Fat. And now it's fighting back.

Today I am starving. Not literally starving, but the kind of starving where my body is sabotaging me. It's sending signals to my brain to trick me into eating. "She's tired." "She's hungry." "She needs cookies." It's one of those collaborations that are deadly to our weight loss efforts. Right now it would be soooo easy to grab that spoon again and dip into the frozen yogurt. It would be so easy to eat half a bag of Oreos (and I don't even like Oreos). It would be so easy to bake some warm, yummy cornbread and slather it with butter, feeling my tension melt away and quiet the "starving" voices in my head.

This is where I need to stay focused and ask myself. "Am I going to let my body win? Am I going to let my body's quest to keep the fat ruin my efforts?" No I will not.

And do you know why I won't give in? Because I have done this before.
I lost 82 pounds in 2003/2004. I know the drill. I know the feelings. I know the pitfalls. And I also know that I can give in today, but if I start again tomorrow, in 4-5 days I'll be faced with the  same situation: wanting to break down and eat a bunch of things that are physically not good for me (but mentally - mmm yes.) Just because my body said so.

My theory is this: Take pain now or take it later. I'll take it now. It won't be any easier tomorrow.

I was very tired this morning, but felt good during Spinning class. Afterward, I worked my upper body for about 30 minutes, this time at the gym so I could semi-goof off with my Spinning buds Alana and Alicia (two of the many "A names" in my life.) Usually I weight train at home because, teaching at the gym as I do, I tend to stop what I am doing and interact with our members. As my friend Heather once told me, I am "Helpy Helperton." And being a Helperton doesn't get your workout done.

A trick I used today to outsmart my body was to wear my smaller sweatpants around the house...the ones that used to be baggy on me. Feeling the fabric stretch over my, eh, assets and looking down at my less-than-attractive pooch helps keep me in line. It also reminds me that one of the reasons I am doing this is because I cannot afford a new, larger wardrobe. Necessity breeds action.

One of the things I have been craving the last two days are pickles. I like all kinds of pickles, but the pickles I bought were the crunchy sweet whole ones. I checked the back of the jar by accident and discovered that each of these little pickles has 35 calories and 8 grams of sugar. I just ate six. In essence, I consumed 210 calories and 48 grams of sugar. In pickles.
In contrast, my delicious frozen yogurt has 120 calories and 14 grams of sugar per half cup. Even if I had eaten 8 ounces of the smooth chocolately wonder, I would actually be no worse off (and far more satisfied) than I eating those measly six pickles.
So today's lesson? Never assume! I just blew my "fun" calories on cucumbers marinated in vinegar. How sad is that?
Onward and forward.
Until tomorrow.

How did you do today? Share your thoughts below.

7 hours of sleep.
Taught an hour Spinning class plus performed 40 minutes of upper body weight training at gym.
25 full push ups (yes!)
For food?

  • Plain oatmeal with flax seeds, nonfat milk, walnuts and chocolate chips (60% cocoa - a must) - breakfast.
  • Coffee with bad-for-my-heart creamer and vanilla powder (added calories).
  • Strawberries - snack.
  • One lean pocket cheese pizza - lunch.
  • Walnuts - snack.
  • Far too many pickles - snack.
  • Low fat string cheese - pre-dinner snack (he, he).
  • Boca Burger, green beans and black beans with a dash of reduced fat Mexican cheese blend - dinner.

[Click on the Weight Loss category to read earlier posts...from Day 1 and on.]

>Continue reading Day 5: One Pound Up