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Nuts & Bolts of My Weight Loss "Plan"

Monday, January 18, 2016

I know that at some point people ask "What are you doing to lose weight?" so I thought that I would have a separate blog entry on that alone.

I track everything (that literally means everything) that I eat on the Nutrition Tracker. In the past 18 months I was following the Weight Watchers "Simply Filling" food plan (evolved from their Core plan of years ago). The foundation of that food plan is to eat "Power Foods" (a
WW coined phrase) only. Basically, those "Power Foods" are: fat free dairy, low fat and lean meats, fruits and vegetables with no added sugar or salt, whole wheat grains and healthy oils like canola or olive oil. IF a food item is not on that list then it is 'not on plan'. Obviously very healthy food choices but some people may view that as being restrictive. It is NOT the "Points system' that is associated with WW and sadly it is also one that is not given a lot of 'press' either.

I did find it restrictive (as do many people) in its 'purest form' but I also found it something that is a good foundation to 'spring off of' nonetheless. I consistently return to the "Power Foods' List when I go grocery shopping. Since fruits and vegetables are considered 'free foods' (meaning they are not counted if eaten) and the fact that sodium is not something that is specifically addressed within the framework of Weight Watchers and left to the individual's own efforts to monitor; these two factors were what prompted me to return to the Diabetes Meal Plan at Sparkpeople. I am NOT criticizing the WW plan at all. I want to make that perfectly clear. I learned a lot about nutrition but my needs were different and what I am doing now is better suited to my own personal needs.

The Diabetes Meal plan (which I will refer in future blog entries as DMP) is such: 3 meals per day with 2 snacks. This is a recommendation and my understanding is that you can tweat this according to your liking but I am doing my best at this point to adapt to this model.

Again, after learning and practicing the points system returning to counting calories and then eventually carbs, fats and proteins is going to take some time and presents a learning curve. It is widely accepted that diabetes is a disease which is about self-management. Those people, and I have known a few, who live healthy productive lives as diabetics are those who has mastered self-management particularly with their food intake. I understand this in a way that many people may not so I have accepted the kind of tracking and monitoring that it does involve. It is a disciplined way of living but it is a superior way of living vs. allowing the disease to destroy your health and eventually be one cause of your death. Enough said.

So: in a nutshell, I am using the "Power Food" list of foods (see above) as the basis of my food choices. I am then using the DMP as the 'model' of how to eat those same foods throughout my day for maximum health, eventual control of my blood sugar and eventual weight loss. IF you reader are interested in knowing how I deal with cravings or comfort foods see my separate blog entry "Hunger vs Cravings".

Now, for the second half of the weight loss equation: exercise. I did like the fact that WW chose to use the word, "activity" vs. "working out". [Note: as of fall 2015 they have shifted their emphasis of encouraging actual specific exercises vs movement in general] As someone who is both legally disabled (RA/OA among other physical limitations) and aging I really welcomed the idea of 'activity'. It is less intimidating. I can move whereas I can not always 'work out'. I used to be very active for a very long time but due to age and disabilities that has decreased significantly.

So, I am now resuming specific working out after an absence of one year. I was quite active two years ago so resuming specific 'working out' (meaning a specific series of movements usually in a set work out or program) has been a reawakening of sleeping muscles including my heart. Having a heart murmur as well as high blood pressure means that I need to take it slower and ease back into more vigorous movements. I am now following the recommendations on the Diabetes Weight Loss challenge and I did 3 10 minute chair cardio workouts and 3 15 minute toning workouts last week. I will increase both by 5-10 minutes this coming week and add one additional day if I feel like I can do it. Nothing makes me feel more alive than being active so I am actually looking forward to this.

So, as of today, this is the nuts and bolts of my weight loss plan. I have lost 5.4 lbs. following this in the first two weeks. I will update and keep posting the changes I will make as this all unfolds.

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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.