Weighty Wednesday -- Food Obsession or Knowledge

My Weight Watchers' Lifetime status is going strong. I weighed exactly the same as I did last week-- 129.6. Remember my goal is 132, but my mental goal is 130, since it's easier to deal with round numbers, and I'm exactly where I want to be.  Though I'm LT (lifetime), I would like to see if my body will drop some more weight. I'm not actively striving in that direction, but I'm just curious to see if I would have to work at it or not.

My goal is to NOT have to work at staying a particular weight--what fun is there in that??

Onward to today's topic: Food Obsession.

Marilyn asked me a question on Facebook, "Question about your nf book and weight-loss journey: do you ever feel obsessed with food, like it's the focus of your entire day?"

And I truthfully answered, "YES" and proceeded to blather on about how it's different now.

She responded--I've condensed her response-- that the point counting in Weight Watchers drove her crazy.

And in my response, I 'fessed up that I actually stopped counting points last NOVEMBER.

Yes, my friends, I stopped counting points and managed to lose weight, albeit at a far slower rate.

So what was my 'trick'?

First, I'll give you a little background as to why you need to be obsessed with tracking and counting the WW program when you join.

If you don't have a digital kitchen scale, go buy one. You will need it to be successful. Yes, WW plugs their scale where you can weigh the food and it automatically calculates the points and you can save it, blah, blah, blah. The only thing that scale doesn't do is give you a back massage when your standing around cooking all day!

I have a Salter scale from Williams-Sonoma that I got one Christmas to help me when I make candy. All it has is ounces and grams, and that's all you really need. Sometimes too high tech can deter your education.

When you first join the program I HIGHLY recommend you measure stuff out, but then WEIGH it on a scale. This will be called an obsession by your friends and family--ignore them. You are doing this for YOU, and they can stuff it. Don't look at the ounces of the food, but look at the GRAMS count, both on your scale and on the WW calculations.

This can and will be an eye-opening education.
For example:

I bought Planters Sweet- n- salty mixed nuts for my daughter to take to a swim meet, but personal experience has allowed me to observe that if I gave her the entire container, she would EAT the entire container. Yes, they are that good! I wanted to measure them out and place them in single serving ziploc bags.

The container said one serving size was 1/4 cup, which equaled one ounce, which equaled 42 grams.
--on a side note: one ounce can weigh between 37-42 grams, so check you gram amounts, not ounces!
When I poured my 1/4 cup of nuts on the scale, it was over one ounce. After the removal of a nut or two . . . erm, don't ask me HOW I REMOVED them! Let's just say the big black maw of my bottomless pit was begging for nummies! The sample weighed one ounce.

I changed the setting to grams.

It was overweight. With the magical disappearance of another nut or two, I decided to measure the remaining amount in a cup. Believe it or not, when serving size is talking about 1/4 cup, it doesn't mean HEAPING! Go figure!

This little experiment opened my eyes to a new world. I weighed EVERYTHING! Weighing everything made me understand portion control. If I didn't know how much food weighed, then how would I keep track of how much I ate? Shoot, I even weighed my glass of wine--118 grams for a 4 point glass of red wine, roughly 4 ounces. Yes, weigh your wine, with each additional glass of wine you drink the glass starts to get fuller and fuller. Weird, huh?

So now that I know what portions I was supposed to be eating, I didn't have to be so hard-core about measuring. But if I stopped counting points in November, how did I manage to lose weight and keep sane?

During weigh-in one day, Jackie told me where to find the secret elixir in this game. But if I hadn't gone through all my trials, I wouldn't have been ready to find the elixir. Now it all made sense.

On the WW trackers, there is a section that offers check boxes: water, dairy, fruits & veg, oil, multi-vitamin and activity. The online etools gives you a smiley face when you've had the correct amount for the day.

I like getting smiley's.

The answer was simple: Fill in your checkboxes.

But we all know it isn't that easy. You do have to be aware of goes into your mouth and how much. If I eat breakfast out (even if I don't go nuts and eat pancakes until I hurl), I know I have to eat fruits and veg for my other meals. If I have any wheat products, I know I'll bloat so I have to limit them--SEVERELY. I also follow the WW Simply Filling plan--which I think I've talked about, so check the archives.

When you start a weight-loss journey, you have to be willing to do the hard work to become aware of what you eat and how much, which is why WW is so good. They give you the tools to be successful--knowledge. Oh, other weight-loss programs claim the same thing, but when you stop buying their products, what have you really learned?

That you have to keep buying their products to be successful.

I know that I only touched the tip of this particular iceberg, which is why Marilyn is pushing me to work on my NF book.

But the answer to her original question about food obsession is still, "yes" but it's an educated obsession. Knowledge is everything. I know my trigger foods. I know what wheat products do to me. I know I need to walk daily. I know that most restaurants serve 2-3 servings in each 'serving'. I know that I can only eat one 'meal' a day, but then I need to fill up on fruits/veg/FF dairy the other meals.

Before I started this journey, I was obsessed with simply eating until I was stuffed. Now, I'm stuffed with the knowledge to make an educated choice about what I put in my gaping maw. Some days, I'm totally aware that I'm eating a food that is chocked full of evil goodness. It's the knowledge that's the difference.

Hope this helps a little, Peeps!


Marilyn said...

And there you've pointed out exactly why WW didn't work for me. My last try with them was about 20 years ago, but I realize now I wasn't looking to be educated. I wanted the magic formula to eat less + exercise a little = lose a lot of weight without having to think about it too much.

What finally worked for me was eat less and exercise a lot. For the first few years I severely limited fats and sugars, but I added them back in over time, just in far smaller amounts. (And I found out that after so long without them, I couldn't tolerate them the way I used to.)

My goal this time was to eat little bits of everything I liked and stay active. I never quite reached my dream goal. My body wanted to be heavier than I did. I'd lose those last pounds and immediately gain them back over and over. But when I gained, I never went over where I am now.

So I think my body's happy at this weight, and I don't try the serious work to get shed of another ten or fifteen pounds because I'm satisfied where I am for the first time since I was a teenager.

Susan sent me a before picture a while back. I look like I've just finished off a nice human for dinner. Can we say huge? :)

M. A. Golla said...

Marilyn--WW has totally changed in the last few years. I know because I starved myself on the program back then to get ready for my wedding.

Now, they have tons of research behind their findings, plus the FDA has finally gotten real with what the food groups should really be--and it ain't a pyramid!

For me, if I'm within my healthy weight range and I don't have to work hard at it, then I'm good. I know that I'll never have the perkiness of my youth without plastic surgery and I'm okay with that.

If you're healthy and happy, then that's all that matters . . . and I do think you found the magic elixir. :-)

Cynthia D'Alba said...

I've tried WW at least three times, although the last time was eons ago. I got tired to THINKING about food. I didn't want to stay in the kitchen cooking, etc.

But I'm thrilled it worked for you~

M. A. Golla said...

Cyndi--I think I've mentioned this in one of my blogs, but when you do WW, you really have to be ready to give it 100% and be willing to learn. It's through that knowledge that you can lose the weight.

They do have another program called Simply Filling where you DON'T count points, but again you have to be aware of what you are putting in your mouth.

*I wrote a LONG answer, but realized it was better saved for my book* ;-)

Marilyn said...

Aw, when you write your book, you can lift entire portions off your blog. :)