November 16, 2013

What a DIfference a Year Can Make, Part 2

I gave a history of where I have been in the past and where I am now in my last post.   I know some people like to know more specifically how things were done.
I don't necessarily have the menus I followed when I started THM, but I actually kept a diary of my weight each day and what type of meals I used.  I will also add that the whole plan was a process.  I am looking more at where I have ended up and what I have learned along the way, not just where I was at each step.
I am currently at my goal weight with over 40 pounds gone for good.  My body fat percentage started at 35% and is now 25% and I've lost inches all over.

I also am speaking in THM jargon here.  Please go to the Facebook group or to Gwen's Nest for more specifics on the plan.  I really am wanting to focus on what worked for me.

How did I make THM work for me? 
Initially I stuck to a weekly plan of  3 S days, 2 E days, 1 S and 1 E  the first few weeks till I knew I had them down and that they were second-nature almost.  .
I enjoyed S meals more, and found that after a while, everyday was turning into an S day, or one high in fat and lower carb.  I had to remember to make the conscious choice to have either whole E days, or learn to change my day around to where I was 'freestyling' as the authors put it.  I also learned that S-helpers were sometimes a part of normal life and that my metabolism was loving getting the extra carbs.
I continued with 1-2 pounds a week in weight loss for about 3 months when I had lost about 25 pounds and started to plateau.
When I plateaued, I was exercising, but I was doing my own thing in a very random way.  If I had the time or felt like it, I'd exercise.  I used the Bob Harper Inside Out dvd's with a short and long workout.  I always did the shorter one or I'd run-walk a few miles.  I am not the kind of person who likes a lot of structure and schedule to my day.  
It was then the I realized I might need to think about things differently.  I realized that I was slacking off on keeping my meals on plan or I'd wait too long to eat.  I was skipping meals and just bouncing through the day with no real purpose.
I consciously added more E meals in.  I added a FP meal in here and there as well.  I made sure I had a snack everyday.  The S meals I adored, well I still enjoyed them, but maybe I cut back just a bit on the amount of fat to lighten it up.
The next 5 pounds were soooo slow, and I thought if I could get them off, then I might just be done despite not reaching my goal.  I figured maybe my body just needed to be around 30% body fat and that I was destined to carry a bit more pudge?  Or maybe it was because I was still nursing my baby..  (That whole mindset of not being able to get to my ideal bodyfat was something I had stuck in my mind, and I felt that age was going to work against me.)
But then I discovered a new exercise program.  I had a baby with some sleep issues so I'd be up very early in the day and turn on the morning news.  One day my tv was on an infomercial for HipHopAbs.  Only $20 wasn't bad, and it looked fun and like something different (you know I ordered it).  Then I saw FocusT25 was coming out from the same people.  It fit the THM perspective perfectly as it is short and intense.  Each workout is only 25 minutes.  You are at a sprint for the entire time and my body loved it.  Between exercise and staying on plan I was able to finally shed those last pounds.
T25 is not a beginner workout, and was a good challenge for me.  I've tried most every workout there is, and I know that my body needs a certain level of movement and sweat to get my heart pumping.  We are all different and it is a workout that has thrilled me.

I do NOT believe that you have to exercise for THM to be successful.  I know my body and that it helps me do the things I want to do in life and cuts down on my stress, but I believe that you have to find the right fit for you.  What you eat is so much more important than just adding in exercise though.
What I think the exercise plan did for me was to help me with my focus and in being more deliberate in my schedule and what I ate.  If I am pushing my body, I know that I need to make sure I'm feeding it regularly and the right thing, if that makes sense?  I hate schedules, but needed a firm plan with regular meals and I will admit that I was dropping lunch here and there many days.  Or I'd go 5 or 6 hours between meals instead of 3-5 hours.
With a set schedule, I was eating when I needed and wasn't binging from hunger.  I was taking an intentional look and making sure I ate a good meal, usually S, a 2 hours before exercise and after would have plenty of water and a FP snack or meal.

I will also add that I have never done a fuel cycle.  I almost did at one time with my plateau, but  I was concerned that it would put me back in an unhealthy mindset.  It represented deprivation to me, and I just felt that would be the last resort.  Happily I didn't have to go there.

So... what do I actually eat?
The key is to think about what you like, things you already eat.  Don't  plan out the first few days and have a bunch of new things you've never tried before planned for every meal.  Chances are it will be too much change too soon and you'll get frustrated.

I am not naturally drawn to vegetables.  Really. For that reason I have to really push to make them a priority and have them at every meal if possible.  I'm about efficiency and green smoothies are a great way to get a lot at one time.
I also focus on water.  Your body needs a certain amount to keep things moving and hydrated.  You really can't lose weight without it.  I like the 1/2 oz for every pound you actually weigh rule and add more to balance out sweat.

Many of the newer meals I've eaten  I have posted on my blog.  I tend to eat mostly simple, traditional American/Southern meals, lots of comfort food.
When I plan meals, first I think about what meat/protein I'll be having and go from there.  Lean meat like turkey or chicken could go with any meal, but if I wanted an E meal then I'd add some rice and make a stir fry or a Mexican style meal based on how we feel that day.  I used to live on beans and rice and on THM I limit carbs so I don't have them together.  I will say that every now and then I miss a pot of them, but it isn't often.
If I have red meat to cook, then it goes with S.  That means I need to find some veggies and saute them or put some cheese on them and call it a meal.
I eat salads daily.  Either have them with a meal as a side or as the main dish.  They will fill you up and are relatively light and healthy.  They don't have to be fancy, but just things you like to eat.

I also like fish, and could eat fish 3 times a day everyday (actually, those who know me realize that is quite true).  But fish is pricey so I usually stick to canned salmon which is so not the same, but is good (my Alaskan husband thinks it is dog food, but he still likes it) for salmon patties.
I eat salmon patties with cauliflower mash and green peas.  I then hide the patty leftovers to eat after a workout the next morning cold.
I will also admit that it took a few weeks before I tried the cauliflower mash and would have a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes instead.  I discovered that the mash is tasty, and I don't miss potatoes like I thought I would.
Burgers without the bun and a side of cabbage are tasty and filling.   Add some roasted potatoes for your kids if you won't be too tempted (but I won't tell if you eat a bite or two).
I get whole chickens on clearance and roast them.  Again, cauliflower mash or a broccoli salad and a salad are sides because i'm having dark meat.
Pizza is always good, use one of the alternative crusts in the book.  I like the Fooled Ya' version.
Often our menu is dictated by what is on sale or mark-down at the grocery.  I have a list of quick, go-to meals for things I can pull quickly out of the freezer and combine with things, like beans I've sprouted and canned, from my pantry.  Things like my Lighter Side Chili-E or Chicken Alfredo with Veggies-S are staples.
If I'm feeling like bread, I'll probably whip up a quick flax bread in a mug to hit that craving.  I also keep some of the Joseph's pita's in the fridge and will briefly warm them and have a pat of butter if I am really wanting bread.
I will also add that I am not a dessert person.  I do enjoy an evening snack at times, and will pick some of the puddings, cheesecake berry crunch or the ice cream, but overall, I don't make dessert and it isn't something that my family has or expects with a meal.

I don't count calories or grams....
I use the food lists from the book, that are also graciously provided in the THM group on Facebook in the files.
The main place you need to watch is with E meals.  There is a ceiling on what is within parameters.  How I take care of this is knowing, or looking up, amounts if I want to combine higher carb foods on the lists in the book.  I know I can have oatmeal and I can have apple for an E meal, but if I want both I need to know the amounts, and then just cut each in half.  Or if I want a sweet potato with my meal with beans and acorn squash (not really, but it's an example) I'd have 1/3 of the amounts mentioned on the lists.
I don't worry about the natural fat in foods if it is on the list for an E meal.  Many foods will have small amounts of fat and the authors know that and I know it too.  When you start counting and wanting to make a tally of each gram it can start to turn into a full-time job.  I just want to eat and enjoy it.
I also don't worry about the protein amount so much either.  I lived on a specific, self-prescribed protein amount for years.  I have learned that there is protein in many foods and my body does quite well with the natural protein in oatmeal without adding protein powder.  I don't shoot for a certain amount with each meal, but look at the overall menu for the day to make sure it is balanced.  I am not concerned if I get 10 grams of protein with one meal and 25 or more with the next.  I exercise hard and my body will let me know quickly if I'm not getting enough.  I would encourage you to educate yourself on what the different grams of protein look like in the foods you eat.  Make a daily menu and make sure there is some at every meal and that your daily amount is what is right for you, your size and your activity.

I have found snacks to be a necessity despite the fact that I really dislike having to have them. I avoided them for quite a while, but found that they do help with weight loss.
 I do usually space my meals out, but with exercise and nursing a baby, if I am really hungry, I'll grab a quick bite.
I eat breakfast around 8, lunch at 12, snack at 3pm and dinner at 6pm.  I like to have a night time snack around 8 or 9 too.
And just writing all that sounds like so much food!
I will say that I do like to start the day with heavier meals.  We have our main meal for lunch as my husband works 2nd shift and dinner is generally lighter for just me and the kids.
I found that adding in a snack of some sort at 3pm was key for me in losing. I hate to have a schedule, but I was starting to skip meals and go longer in between and found I started to gain.

What about the weird foods?
I didn't start eating anything really different?  I use the Dreamfields pasta once a week.  I weigh out how much one serving is and have that, but my family still gets traditional pasta.  I guess I didn't consider this to be too strange and it feels decadent to know I can eat pasta and lose weight.  No, I didn't grind the semolina and crack the egg from a chicken I know to make it, but it tastes just like the Barilla I've used for years (and I wasn't making my own pasta to begin with.).

I actually still have the initial jar of Glucomannan that I bought last December, and it has quite a bit in it.  I just don't use it?  I've found that my sweet tooth is gone, and I appreciate a different type of flavor now so puddings and tummy-tucking ice cream aren't something that I often use.
I get most current use from the Glucomannan with making gravy.  

Stevia.  I use it in coffee and muffins.  A small amount daily of the NuNaturals has been a good choice for me. 

I already used low-carb tortillas and am thankful that they exist as they take me to a happy place.

I have never considered protein powder an odd thing as I've used it when vegan.  I am more careful about the brand I use currently and find the THM recommendations to be good ones.

How did I handle the holidays?
I like dip.  I made crackers from the book and then looked through Paula Deen recipes on the Food Network site.  She has a lovely Three Cheese Hot Artichoke dip and I also made my standby of spinach dip from the Knorr box.
I focused on meats.  I enjoyed the Savory Protein muffins (like a meat quiche?) from the book and even made some skinny chocolate in christmas molds.
Spiced nuts are always tasty too.  Then there are cheeses to try.  And a glass of wine too if you like.
The key is to find what you like and go with it.  I'm just the kind of girl that if you give me a good cracker with some toppings then I don't need the sweets.

I think much of the issues lie with sugar addictions.  Once you get it out of your system you can see where your tastes really lead?
I will also add that instead of baking and focusing on sweets, I decided to learn new skills in savory cooking, like brining my first turkey.

Do I cheat?
Generally?  No.  I'm not one to cheat myself, and I don't feel like I'm on a diet that would require cheating.  I feel like I now know a way to get my metabolism going and one bite of a banana or wheat bread or potato won't set me back  I don't consider them cheats?.  But often one bite will lead to another and then another and that is the part you have to watch.
I've made it through the holidays of last year and birthdays for all of us in my house.  I didn't make a cake with stevia, though I have heard they are wonderful.
I just don't feel that goes with the spirit of what THM is for me?  I had a traditional birthday cake for my kids with sugar.  I didn't eat much at all, bites only.
My philosophy has always been that any food is really allowed on THM, it's just that some won't help you lose or maintain weight loss.  I still feel that way pretty much?  For me it is about being able to eat anything I want in life, but knowing that there are consequences.
(I might irritate some with this but) THM is a life plan and into each life a little sugar or non-soured wheat or potatoes might fall.  I can also say that until I got close to my goal (the last 10 pounds) I didn't really eat off plan at all.
I also enjoy coffee in the morning.  I like half and half, but almond milk in coffee is not so good to me.  After week one and giving it a try for E days, I decided that I would always drink half and half and not almond milk, no matter what with coffee.   For me, this was something that I wasn't going to move past.  It was one small thing and it might be the thing that brings one person down, but it has helped to keep me in a happy place.

So, what did I forget?  Feel free to leave me a comment if you have questions.  If I get any, then I'll do a 3rd post with my answers.  I also don't post any comments that I don't first approve so if you want, mention it is private and I won't post it, but I will still see it.  If you have a question, give me a way to contact you  either here or thru facebook and I'll do the best I can to answer it or find someone else who knows.

This post is shared at Trim, Healthy Tuesday at Gwen's Nest.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to share all these details! Very helpful!!

Polly said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to blog this. Very helpful. I like the way you "use" this program. Especially in light of what's been going on on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed reading about your journey! I am a detail person, so thanks for sharing. Blessings to you! Mandy from TN

Anonymous said...

I'm really bad about eating snacks so I end up with a big gap between lunch and dinner. Can you give us some ideas of the snacks you ate? Thanks!

Charlotte Parker said...

Loved your post! I like to hear details on how other THMs are doing the plan day by day.

Helen Sullivan said...

Thank you for this you have inspired me to stick to the plan :)

Helen Sullivan said...

Thank you for this blog you have inspired me to stick to the plan.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to write all this out. I received the book right after Christmas and have been overwhelmed by what I'm reading. You've encouraged me to move forward and give THM a try.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what FocusT25 workout you got? The whole package or just individual workouts. They are expensive but I found a few on ebay. There is one called Gamma but I dont know anything about it. Thanks, Michelle

See the Blue Sky said...

I have the alpha and beta package of T25. It is 11 workouts and is something that me and my whole family will be using for years to come.