JANUARY 2019 FOCUS: THE MEAL PLAN

Meaningful change requires some planning.

Meaningful change requires some execution.

Meaningful change requires some compliance.

This month you are planning the execution you are going to comply with in your diet.

By diet I simply mean what you eat/drink and when you eat/drink it.

This will not restrict you from any food; your food and drink choices are your own, but:

• food choices are planned ahead of time,

• food choices on the plan become what your are accountable for.

We all will document our food choices, whatever they are, for each week the entire month of January. Our weekly weight will be a measure of our progress.

As simple as this process sounds it requires practice because we are not used to being so aware of what we are eating. Eating that contributes to our being overweight is mindless! Like eating when we are bored, always eating popcorn at  the movies, cleaning the kids plates of the last few bites before they go in the dishwasher, or tasting the meal as we make it.

The meal plan will reveal what we are doing in our daily diet.

Attached is a meal plan framework to plan your meals.

You will then use the meal plan to document your actual diet as the days go by or you can document on the YouAte app by just taking a picture of your food.

Your weight can be documented on the meal plan page or you can use the Happy Scale app. Weigh yourself daily to start as we will use this data point to fine tune your diet. An increase or decrease in weight can be a reflection of your diet or life that happened that week so we use this data point to be curious about what we are doing with our diet and what is happening in our life!

Meal planning is now added to your water, sleep, and hunger scale habits you started to work on in December!

Emotion+MealPlan

THE HUNGER SCALE

This week we are going to start becoming aware of:
• what hunger feels like in our bodies
• what being satisfied feels like

The hunger scale helps to understand when to eat (-2) and when you are satisfied (+2). You want to find your Sweet Spot:

                          Hangry         Sweet Spot                        Full
(Starving)-10——5—- -2—-0—+2-—-5——-+10 (Won the wing bowl)

Hunger is a physical sensation of emptiness, maybe slight growling, thinking about food more and concentrating on the task at hand less. Hunger comes and goes in gentle waves so if you ignore it for 15 minutes or so (drink a glass of water) it will lessen or go away entirely.

If you aren’t hungry at your break time or lunch then wait to eat.

Physical hunger is NOT when you walk into the lounge on Friday and Andy’s doughnuts are sitting on the table and you suddenly want to eat one! That is called EMOTIONAL HUNGER and is concocted entirely inside your head.

Most people can go just fine with 3-5 hours between meals and you will notice if you are busy doing something you enjoy you can go even longer.

On the other side, being satisfied with your meal is a more subtle feeling and this one has been more of a challenge for me to get a handle on. When I am satisfied I lose interest in the food, take a sigh, sometimes I burp, and start looking around for something else to do. I always leave at least two bites on my plate. I will wait for 10 to 15 minutes and see if I want those two bites or I’ll throw them away.

It usually takes me 10 minutes of eating to feel satisfied. I chew everything mindfully and don’t hork it down to get more in like I used to do ☺

Each time you wait till your hunger is at a -2 and stop eating when your hunger is at a +2 you are no longer overeating at that meal. You will give your body less food to turn into sugar and make your body go after the stored fat inside your body that you want to get rid of. We call this DINING IN☺

• So, keep hydrated all day till your pee is light yellow,
• don’t eat till you are feeling some physical hunger,
• stop eating when you feel satisfied, not full!

SLEEP

Hello on this last Friday of 2018!

We have talked about taking in water to stay hydrated, waiting to eat until we are hungry, and stopping eating when we are satisfied. Today we are going to talk about the importance of a good night’s sleep for weight loss.

A good night’s sleep is 7 hours long and helps to:

• reduce cravings

• burn fat

• the fat burned comes from our fat stores and not muscle

What happens when we sleep less than 7 hours:

• we overeat when we are tired due to an increase in GHRELIN hormone levels, a hormone made primarily in the stomach which stimulates appetite, making us eat more often and more at each meal!

• we feel less satisfaction after eating meals and therefore eat more!

• we produce more Cortisol which stimulates the reward center of the brain (amygdala) making us crave more food – usually our favorites like potato chips and cake, not necessarily kale and wheatgrass!

• we lack energy to exercise

• we think in old bad habits that lead to poor food choices

More studies show a good night’s sleep is vital to our overall health, not just helpful in losing and maintaining weight. It needs to be a daily habit like our water and using the hunger scale at each meal☺

The 4 Things You Need to do to Lose Weight

Honestly, here are the only 4 things we need to do to lose weight and maintain weight. We need to do them everyday and for every meal.

• Plan what you are going to eat for the whole day and write it down (It works best if you do it the night before).

• Don’t eat a meal/snack until you are hungry (tummy growl, thinking about eating).

• Stop eating your meal/snack when you are satisfied, not full. Throw the extra food away or save it for another meal.

• Drink enough water so your pee is pale yellow. For me it is 40-64oz a day. (decaf coffee and tea count, caffeinated stuff makes you pee more and get dehydrated).

• Sleep 6-8 hours every night.

The hunger scale helps to understand when to eat (-2) and when you are satisfied (+2):

Hangry                                       Sweet Spot                              Full
(Starving)-10——5——-2—-0—-2——-5——-+10 (Won the wing bowl)

If you aren’t hungry at your break time or lunch then wait to eat. Hunger comes and goes in gentle waves and if you feel hungry and cannot eat then just wait 15 minutes or so and the hunger will pass. Keeping hydrated helps reduce the hunger wave intensity and frequency.

Each time you wait till your hunger is at a -2 and stop eating when your hunger is at a +2 you are no longer overeating at that meal. You will give your body less food to turn into sugar and make your body go after the stored fat inside your body that you want to get rid of. We call this DINING IN☺

Eat whatever food you want right now. You don’t need to get special food. You don’t need to count calories. You just need to learn how to eat less and BE CONSCIOUS OF WHAT YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER EACH MEAL!

It takes about a month to get these actions into habits. They don’t happen by unicorn magic. We actually have to do them. I had never listened to my body telling when I was hungry but since I eat 3 meals a day I practiced it 3 times a day and by the end of the week I was so much more aware of what my body was telling me.

Changing My Thinking

Today’s topic is about when I realized my thinking and my beliefs were what led to my weight gain. I am a nurse for those who didn’t listen to my first post. I grew up learning about governmental nutrition recommendations in the diet pyramid and teaching diet information from the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Foundation on to my patients. These are just the strongest examples that I remembered; there were many more like minded foundations and organizations out there in support of the calories in=calories out and low-fat diet theories. They did it with such certainty and authority that I never questioned it for decades.

Along came the Internet, Google, and the flood of weight-loss gurus and marketing campaigns focused on diet foods. I now had all these people and products to help me lose weight but I still couldn’t keep it off for more than a month before the weight crept back on. In the spring of 2015 I lost 40 pounds in 3 months by eating only 850 calories a day. I then gained it all back by the end of the year because I went right back to my old way of eating which included 3 full meals a day and snacking in the evening when I was bored.

As I nurse I kept feeling like I should know better.

I had a huge wakeup moment in February of 2016. I had been feeling foggy in the head and thought it was due to age, fatigue, poor diet, and work stress. In mid-February I cut the tip of my left index finger with my rotary cutter while cutting fabric. I bled like a stuck pig and it severely limited what I could do in my work as an operating room nurse. Then, a week later, I rear-ended another driver at a stop sign because my brain thought he was moving forward through the intersection. Luckily the accident was very minor but I had to ask myself “What the F**** is wrong with my brain?”

One thing stuck out like a flashing neon light on a dark street. My healthcare plan had changed my cholesterol prescription over to the generic equivalent because of the cost savings. I had been taking it the whole month of February. A common side effect of the medication is mental fogginess which I developed after 10 years on the medication. I stopped taking it and within a week my mental fogginess had cleared!

This series of events got me thinking: what else in my life am I taking for granted?

The belief that I needed to keep my diet low in fat and count my calories is precisely why I gained and lost the same 40 pounds over a 30-year period. I always wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn’t keep the weight off, why I lacked the willpower to stick to any diet. Me, a nurse with an abundant understanding of anatomy and physiology inside my head and I still couldn’t do what everyone said I needed to do to lose my weight.

I now had to lower my cholesterol solely by diet and lifestyle and had to figure out a new diet. I researched vegan diets and started experimenting with vegan recipes. It was so funny telling people I was a vegan, may as well have said I was a Martian!

I also researched the nutrition information on processed foods and realized almost all the diet food products out there are highly processed, calorically dense, and constructed to increase my desire to eat more. I learned about the hormonal regulation of hunger and realized I was insulin resistant which made it harder for me to lose weight. I had believed in the low-fat diet for so long I shuddered to add fats back into my diet. I even learned about intermittent fasting so I could show myself that I could skip meals for two days without feeling hungry or losing energy. Crazy stuff I was learning about what was possible.

Bottom line. My outmoded beliefs about food were:

• I need to eat more now because I don’t know when my next meal will be,
• food tastes good and I should eat it,
• what I’m eating is really healthy,
• it is not good to waste food,
• a few more bites of food won’t make a difference because I was good yesterday,
• I already blew today so I’ll just start my diet tomorrow, or on Monday,
• food comforts me and keeps me from being bored,
• I had a stressful busy day and deserve a food treat,
• I’ve got nothing else to do but eat,
• I did great on my diet today and deserve a reward,

I was using food to handle all my emotions and meet none of my nutritional needs. All my beliefs had nothing to do with fulfilling my body’s physical sense of hunger because when I thought these thoughts I was thinking about a specific food like potato chips, cake, or anything else salty, sugary, and crunchy! For me that is my hallmark signal that I am experiencing emotional hunger.

WATER

Why Water and Water Habits? December 7, 2018 This is my first email I sent to a group of 14 nurses at my place of employment. We all wanted to get healthier. Despite being nurses for decades, we all struggle with our weight. We feel we should know what to do but we just don’t do it. This blog is our work in the year 2019 to figure this out. Let’s get started!

Water is to humans as oil is to car engines – both are completely essential to keep all the working parts lubricated and prevent breakdowns.

Water is the PRIME reagent for our bodies to perform all metabolic activity, especially when we are trying to burn our own fat.

Many times dehydration is expressed as hunger; if we drink some water the hunger pangs go away!

Water with lemon or cucumbers in it replaces higher calorie drinks and gives our body the hydration it needs without the sugar.

Water can make us feel less hungry by physically filling our stomachs.

Your pee will be pale yellow when your body is well hydrated. The amount is different for each person.

Yes you will need to pee more but we are talking about BASIC self-care for you and we can always make time for someone to go pee at work!

You can easily create a water drinking habit by “stacking” your new drinking water habit with a habit you already do every day. For example I’ll tell you what I have done every morning since May 2018.

I get up at 4:15 am, pee, wash my hands, brush my teeth, get dressed in gym clothes I put out the night before and go to the kitchen to turn on my Keurig coffee maker. While I am waiting for the thing to heat up I drink down a 16-ounce bottle of room temperature water I always put by the coffeemaker the day before.

By the time my coffee is done brewing, I’ve hydrated my body, filled up the bottle for the next day and am ready to head off to the gym and work. By hitching my new water habit onto my old coffee making habit I now feel wrong not drinking my water first thing in the morning. It took me about a week to feel OK about swigging all this water in the morning but I haven’t had a problem in the 8 months since then☺

This week look at your morning and mealtime habits and find one, two, or three of your existing daily habits that you can stack onto your new drinking water habit! And next week lets share what works for us and what doesn’t!

Starting a Year of Weight Loss Blogging

Ladies,

It is so brilliant that you are here and willing to listen to what I have to say.

I’m not blowing stuff out of my ear, I have studied the concepts I want to share with you for the past year in my search to lose weight as well as feel happier in my life. I have tried calorie restrictive diets, low-fat diets, keto diets, Shake diets, vegan diets, Jenny Craig diet, Nutrisystem diet, Atkins Diet, diet pills, South Beach Diet, low-carb diets, and soup diets! I learned I couldn’t stay on them as a lifestyle. These diets and their imbedded marketing systems just want our money; they don’t care about our health. None of these diets addressed our emotional eating patterns!

The focus of this class is weight loss. I have lost 30 pounds and have 10 more to go to get to my target weight. I will teach you how to lose any amount of weight you want to lose and how to keep it off. We are not counting calories, we are not weighing foods, and we are not going to use a specific diet. The tool we are going to use is the one between our ears. We carry it around with us everywhere and it is easily accessible in any situation.

This class will not cost you anything except your time and commitment. It will save you money because you will buy less food. It will save you time because you will get organized and not have to make food decisions when you are tired and stressed.

I plan on holding the classes until December 2019.

During our first month (December) we will talk about the basics to do everyday.

By the end of the year none of us will be afraid to try, fail, try, fail, try again and fail again. Because not doing anything is failing and nothing gets accomplished. By trying we learn.