Published March 21, 2010

Losing Weight: Days 19-21 - Looser Pants

by Helen M. Ryan

I have not been diligent about posting. This will be the last daily/every couple of day post. It's time to move to weekly. And I haven't not been posting because I haven't been doing well -  I've just been busy. You know, trying to make a living between writing, designing, training and teaching.
I've actually lost three pounds finally. Not a big deal I know, especially since I lost over 80 pounds before. But what's important to me is that my pants are a bit looser. How can they be looser after only a three pound weight loss? Well, as of yesterday it was 20 days (minus one binge) of eating better and being more focused with exercise. 20 days is three weeks - enough to start seeing a change in body composition if not so much on the scale. So yay me!

I still had some muffin top going on in yesterday's jeans, but I felt like I could move around in them better. I didn't feel like I was suffocating or unable to lift my legs..and I was able to dance in them, even after eating a sizable portion of Pad Thai.

What this does is motivate me to keep going because, gosh darn it, some day I will fit back into ALL my pants. That is my ultimate goal. Not some number of the scale.

The Difficulty with Being Tired

The subhead above  reminds me of the movie, "The Importance of Being Earnest." I haven't seen that particular movie; I have just always been fond of the title. Long, convoluted titles have always appealed to me, though they do not appeal to search engines, so I try to avoid them. Kind of takes the fun out of writing, doesn't it? But I digress...

I feel a very strong craving for carbs again today despite being motivated by fitting into my jeans (Levi's 515s, my favorite, though these are a size larger than my old ones. Ahem.) I was out very late last night with some friends - a pre-birthday celebration which included dinner and dancing. My body is yelling at me now because it doesn't like being up half the night. I am desperately wanting some warm, fluffy cornbread. There is something magical about cornbread. I coat it with honey before I bake it, and mix in real canned corn. Carb happiness happiness for the tummy.

This is often where the real trouble with weight loss lies: It's not so much in the how to's of losing weight (we all know how it works), but the fact that many of us eat too many of the wrong foods when we are tired. Carbs, sugars and related delights (accompanied by caffeine) provide us with instant energy and help us feel more alert to get over that "hump." The trouble is, when you are this tired the hump lasts...and lasts...and you are forced to constantly eat high-sugar foods to keep you from that inevitable crash. Sugar needs sugar to keep going.

The Sugar Trap

So how do we counteract the sugar trap? Maybe by eating smaller meals and snacking more frequently when we are fatigued. Possibly adding some protein to the carbs and sugars we do eat. (A spoonful of peanut butter on graham crackers with a bit of Nutella seems to do the trick.) If we really must have simple carbs and sugars to stay awake, we need to limit how much we take in with each serving and balance it out with a slower-digesting food to delay the crash.

Once again it really comes down to tricking ourselves. We may be very tired and we may want some refined carb-type foods, but we can eat less of them more often throughout the day, faking ourselves into thinking we are eating more sugar than we are. It's about surviving the moment without having too many future consequences. The food choices might not be the healthiest, but the total calories will still fall within our daily limits, and that - in the end - is what matters.*

The point that I am trying to make is that we all have to work within our own limitations and our own lives. What works for one person will not work for another. When you are exhausted, hearing, "well, just take a nap" when you have deadlines or five children isn't going to keep you from the cookie jar. We need to learn how to align our mental wants with our physical needs, even if it means thinking outside the box or making concessions.

Real life is not an encapsulated or controlled environment like the TV show "The Biggest Loser." We all have choices to make, and sometimes they may not be perfect but the best that we can do on any given day. Giving up our black-and-white, all-or-nothing attitudes is the only way to succeed in the weight loss game, because we live in the gray world.

Onward and forward.

Until tomorrow.

Share your thoughts. I'd like to hear from you. You can do so anonymously if you want.

How do YOU manage your eating when you are tired?

5 hours of sleep.

For food?
(Today was an off-schedule eating day. I was tired and confused, so I missed lunch.)

  • Oatmeal with flax seeds, walnut silvers and 60% cocoa chips - breakfast
  • Orange - snack
  • Fat free Fudgesickle - snack
  • Two low fat string cheeses - snack
  • Weight Watchers Veggie Mini Pizzas - dinner
  • Green beans - dinner
  • Apple - snack

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

*(Of course, if you are a diabetic or insulin-resistance, this is a whole different ballgame and professional help is required at that level).