February 16, 2015

How to Make the Scale Your Friend

I often see on posts on the Trim, Healthy Mama facebook main board  about avoiding the scale.  Some ladies have made pacts where they go without weighing for months so that they don't become fixated with a number.  Some have a fear of the numbers on the scale or a fear of failure and a lifetime of being bound by a number.

I'm not against avoiding the scale if you feel that seeing a number is bringing you down, but I have to admit that I love weighing in.  Just like food isn't good or bad in the THM mindset, I don't choose to see a scale as good or bad.  I see it as the tool that it should be.

I am a numbers obsessed person, but I like to think that it is because I prefer to stick with things that are known and concrete.  I have a page to help you determine your percentage of body fat and establish a realistic weight goal.  You see, I find these numbers helpful.  I like to have a real set point of where I'm going and how far till I get there.  It is like having a map on a long car trip to me.  Each pound lost is like checking the mileposts to see how far I've come on my journey and direction to my final destination.

I will admit that I weigh each morning and each early evening.  I actually have documented my morning weights for almost 10 years and can track highs and lows.  I keep them along with a log of my exercise.  My meal types for each day on THM before I started a lifestyle of freestyling are also there so that I can see what worked for me in the past.

This morning weight shows me my progress.  It keeps me accountable.  I can look at that number and evaluate what I've eaten over the last few days and see if it is causing bloat, distention, or if I've just over-done it in general.  I find that the last 2 days tend to make up my weights, and not just the last meal I've had.  It helps me to see the big picture of diet, exercise, and lifestyle overall.
I make sure to maintain consistency in my time and attire on the scale so that the numbers I am trending are relevant to each other.

The early evening number helps me to see where I've been for most of the day.  I usually notice an increase of 2-3 pounds in the evening number from my morning one.
Water weighs 2.2 pounds per liter.  Food also has a mass.  If I am not up from my morning weight, I start to question if I have drank enough water or if I have eaten enough for my day.  Did I overdo exercise without compensating with food and fluids?  Has the weather changed and am I sweating off more?  Have I taken my body's needs for the day into real consideration?
If I am above 3-4 pounds, then I start to look at my food choices and see if they were on plan or if I crossed over too often.
I personally find I don't do well with heavy evening meals and need to start decreasing my food amounts in the afternoon.  This evening weigh-in helps me with this.
I use this number as a tool to help decide if and what my evening snack will be, and I still have time to get the extra fluids in as well.

The scale can show you so much and help you to learn about how your body specifically processes the different food choices that you have made.
Did that on-plan bread cause you bloat?  Did eating out on plan lead to swelling and gains?
Was there GI inflammation or hidden salt that your body reacted to?  Are you having too many S meals or a hidden crossover that you missed?
I've found that as my body has healed and I've grown and changed, my tolerance for some foods has changed.  I can see the reaction in the number on the scale often times.
The scale can be used, along with how you feel and your measurements, to determine if you are finding the right formula specific for you needs on THM.

I have mentioned that how I do THM looks very different now than it did when I started.  Using the scale helped me to determine what meals were working for me and what wasn't and needed re-evaluation.  It helps me to see if my combination of meals is working for me.   If the number is starting to slowly trend upwards, I know that I need to maybe look at how much I'm eating, if I'm getting enough non-starchies, or fewer Crossovers.
We often talk about making THM your own and finding what works best for you, and the scale is just one of the tools that I use to know that I'm on track.

The point is, that the scale isn't a villain to be avoided.  The scale is a tool.  Just like you monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol or other labs, use your weight as a tool for improvement.
If it is truly a hindrance to you, then limit it (but do not completely avoid it).  If not, embrace it for what it is.
To me, having information and facts in an empowering thing.  I don't want to live life anymore thinking that my weight will never change and I'm cursed to being overweight.
The scale is a tool for success, don't allow it to rule your life, but use it for what it is.

February 8, 2015

Traveling with THM

I always say that Trim, Healthy Mama isn't a diet, right?  It is called a PLAN and considered a lifestyle.
No deprivation?  No hunger?  Lose and maintain weight while becoming healthier?
Yes! but how does that translate to real living?

I have been travelling more the last few months, and it has been the fun kind of travel.... vacations!
Cruises even.

One statistic I've recently heard on board, and repeated by those who have been on cruises, is that the normal weight gain is 2 pounds per day.
That really isn't acceptable to me.  I don't want to come home 10 pounds heavier.
I know how badly my body will feel with all that bloat and inflammation.  Being armed with THM principles has helped me to make smarter choices though that will still allow me to enjoy my food while not abusing my body.

Before the first trip a few months ago, I was a bit nervous and scared to eat off plan.  I've always been one to think that cheating isn't a part of what THM looks like for me, but THM is about choices and about not giving food power over me,   I don't care to see off-plan foods as good or bad, but just food.  For me, it is about realizing that I can choose to fuel my body with things that will encourage health and well-being, but the rare non-positive food won't completely negate my good choices at this point.  The key word here is *rare*.
After coming to terms with this, my second trip this last week  involved no fear at all.
I know that THM and its principles work, and work well, for me.
I've been at goal weight for quite a while and THM's principles are just a part of my life at this time.

I've had 2 vacations in the last 3 months, and while I did definitely indulge in some off-plan items, I can gladly say that I didn't gain even one pound.  THM isn't just a diet and weightloss plan; it is a lifestyle that can be adapted to your life and needs.  It is customizable and changeable to fit who you are and where you are in your life.
None of my 'hints' are earth shattering, and there are no new S/E combo's that will help you drop 10 pounds while eating anything you want.  They are pretty much common sense things, and I hope you find something useful.

*It's really not a treat if it makes you feel bad!
Remember that before you binge or overeat on any food or drink.  Think about how you will be feeling in the next few hours.  Is that bite really worth what it will do to your body?  Will how you feel affect your ability to live and do what you want later?

*If it isn't on plan, and if it isn't absolutely wonderful, then don't eat any more!
Happy birthday to me!  The kids got the dessert though.
If the dessert is not absolutely the tastiest, or as wonderful as you thought it would be, then don't eat even one more bite!  Your taste for foods might have changed and what you remembered as great might not have that same sensation to you anymore.  Don't just eat something because you are expecting an emotional reaction from it.
Being wasteful isn't a good thing, but don't use the excuse that your kids didn't eat it and you didn't want to throw it out as an excuse.  Don't use your body as a trash can.

*Don't drink your calories!
This one is from the book in Ch 15.  If you want to enjoy a refreshing, off-plan beverage try to pair it with some protein and make sure you consider carbs and calories.
Sodas are appealing and easy but should be a rare treat.  I'm not talking about on plan sodas, but diet sodas.
Look for coffee and herb teas.  I found quite a few choices of tea with hot water dispensers on the ship , in coffee bars and even in a few gas stations.  Remember you can always pack your own tea bags and use the hot water many places offer or resort to tap water heated in the microwave.
I personally love Good Girl Moonshine and carried a case of water along with bottles of Bragg's apple cider vinegar, ginger and some stevia on both occasions.
When flying, I made sure the ACV was in my checked luggage.  I tend to order mine online and it is delivered in bubble wrap and bagged securely.  I keep a few bottles wrapped so that they are ready to travel.
I keep my ginger in a ziplock bag and get a small liquid stevia as I've found the powders don't travel as well.  I make sure they are all in checked luggage, not in carry-ons when flying.  I carried them onto the ship without any issues in security or customs.
Which leads me to.....

*Drink water! Drink water! Drink water!
I can't say that one enough.

*Beware the bread!
I like sweets, but I am really all about the bread.  I make sure I know how much bread I'll let myself have before heading to a meal.  I tend to eat it only at one meal each day and know that there is a trade off usually.
For me, the trade off is usually eating only a bite of dessert or having one of the sugar-free versions made with Spenda (not on plan, but ok for an occasional treat).  This way I'm not loading up on carbs, but keeping the overall amount lower.  Yes, they are white flour and not on plan, but for me, this treat is about experiencing something I love in moderation.

*Eat fancy!
Roasted duck with red cabbage, sweet potatoes and peas.
Very S-helper of them!
I'm pretty down home in my food tastes.  I don't eat out often, but when I do, I like to eat well and have things I probably couldn't make myself easily.  Even though my kids think I can clean a squid or cook a duck perfectly, I really don't have the time or inclination to do so even if Alton Brown says it isn't that hard.  These are the types of things that I like to take advantage of when I do go out.  Often these 'fancy' foods are great CrossOver meals.  Start with a great appetizer.  I'm not talking fried onions or cheese, but buttered scallops or soup.  For the main course get a great S protein and add a great sauce with veggies with a small amount of on plan carbs.
The amount of food in an entree, at least on cruises, are usually smaller than many Americans are used to seeing on a plate, but this is a good thing.  It reminds you not to overeat and what normal amounts look like while still offering you a satisfying meal.  I find that this perspective helps me to realize it really is about quality and not quantity.

*Think in terms of CrossOvers
Often on vacation, you can be bombarded with buffets.  These can be dangerous when you heap pasta, sauce-laden meats, breads and sugar-laden desserts on your plate.
I look for leaner proteins, like fish or chicken breast, and add a crossover amount of brown rice.  Add in some salad and veggies and you have a great, most likely, CrossOver meal.

*Seek out those non-starchies!
Yes, even when on vacation you need to make sure you maximize your nutrition and help your body feel more full with the addition of the goodness of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.  Think of all the peppers and greens you can have added to your omelet.  Have that side spinach salad and add some mushrooms.  Max out your sides of zucchini and green beans.

*Eat big for breakfast!
I had to include this as I could eat breakfast about 20 times a day.   Fill up on eggs, bacon, sausages, coffee and cream.  Feel like you are indulging when you are really staying completely on plan with a satisfying S meal!

*Move it!
I love to exercise almost as much as I love to catch up on sleep.  This is usually my goal for vacation time... be active but find time to rest.
Take advantage of the stairs and gyms.  Find out if exercise classes are offered and try something new.
Find ways to take advantage of sight-seeing without taking a taxi or bus.  Walk when you can.
Energy to carry a tired boy!
I find that vacation provides me the time to challenge myself when it comes to exercise.  I look to increase my running times or better my pace.  Having that time to recover inspires me to really push myself.

*Remember that 3 hrs and the next meal is all it takes to get back on plan with THM!
Did you totally blow it?  Don't dwell, but learn from it and spend the next few meals back in S, E or even FP territory.  It really is that easy.

Enjoy your vacation!