Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Fear

Things are going well with the Beck Diet. I am finding that just having to read each day's exercise in the book keeps me on track. It keeps me thinking about my goals, how I feel being at this weight and what I need to do to change things.

Technically, this has been the first week of actual dieting. It's been going well. But that's not unusual. It seems that there is always a bit of a honeymoon phase when just starting out, where it seems easy to stick to my menu plans.

Thing is, I've been down this road before. And I have come to the conclusion that in order for me to actually lose fat, I am going to have to be very strict. I am going to have to make more drastic changes than I have tried in the past. To be honest, I am still at a tiny bit of a loss as to how to do this. So far, I have cut out the snack that I normally have during the afternoon. I'm trying to be careful with my other meals as well, and not eat in the evenings after dinner, but none of that is new. So I'm questioning whether this is enough. What other changes will I need to make?

I'm feeling The Fear that I won't see the pounds coming off and I will get discouraged and start letting extra calories creep in.

Of course, that's the point of the Beck Solution - to keep you from sabotaging yourself. I am supposed to be learning how to stick to a diet, even when it's tough.

But there is still The Fear. Still that question in my mind: What if it's not enough?

Day 21, fittingly is about preparing for the first Weigh In. It gives some good advice about having the right attitude when it comes to stepping on the scale. If I have followed my diet, I should see a loss. If not, this is a signal to reflect on whether I have stuck to my diet. Did I follow my food plan and get in my workouts? If I have been doing everything I should do, this could just be a normal weight fluctuation. Or it could be a signal that I need to change what I am doing. Whatever the reason, if I don't see the number I want, that is not an excuse to stop trying or to go on a binge.

It's really quite a good section, one that I will refer to again when it comes to stepping on the scale.

And with that, I am off. I'm gone for the weekend. I will try to update my weight tomorrow morning if I can, but if not I'll get to it by the end of the weekend.

Have a great weekend everyone!



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Tomato

I went out to my little garden today and spent some time contemplating The Tomato. This is the tomato that I have been watching. The very first little green tomato to appear, the first tomato to show signs of ripening. I have been keeping a close eye on The Tomato, wondering when it would be ready.


I have to admit, I spent some time debating it, but in the end I decided that today was the day. When I showed Husband he said "That's one big tomato." So far it is the largest to show up on the Scotia Tomato plants, the rest of them are all smaller, but starting to get ripe. I can only speculate that it is so large because it was the earliest to start forming. Off topic: notice the row of dwarf sunflowers in the background...What did I tell you?


I also snipped some Lime Basil, as one of my plants was starting to flower. When I had the sprig of basil in my hand, I noticed the the flowers were actually quite pretty.


Following the precedent I set with my first green beans, I couldn't bring myself to just slice this tomato up and throw it on the burgers we were barbecuing for supper. So I made us a little appetizer, using the basil along with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I have to say, it's quite fun to bring things in from the garden and think about how best to showcase them; really makes me appreciate what I am eating.



That being said, I have to say that this particular tomato was somewhat disappointing. It was good, but not as good as I know tomatoes can be. It remains to be seen, as the rest of them get ripe, whether it was just this tomato or perhaps this is a variety that is not as flavourful. I'll have to wait and see.

I went out after supper to water my Tomatillo and Cupid tomatoes; it was a hot sunny day and I noticed they were looking wilt-y. While I was out there I spotted this little guy:


As I stood there, inside my enclosure, camera lens pointed through a hole in the mesh, it occurred to me that it was a little like being at a zoo, except that I was the one on the inside of the fence.


Beck Diet
Day 20 - Get Back on Track.
Dealing with those occasions where you do go off your plan and eat something you ought not. This could lead to the defeatist attitude where one decides they've gone and blown their diet, so they might as well just going ahead and eat more.

The thing is, eating one thing off your plan is not going to do much damage. But if you go all out of control with your eating for the rest of the day, that could do quite a bit of damage. Not to mention making you feel awful.

Exercise of the day - create a response card for this situation, to remind myself that if I do go off track with one unplanned food item, I can immediately get back on track for the rest of the day.

Also, going to take a bit of time here to Give Myself Credit. My eating has been perfect so far this week. We will be away for the weekend, leaving on Friday morning so I have been hoping to get in 4 workouts (Mon - Thur), since I very likely won't have time for exercise on the weekend. Monday & Tuesday went great. Tonight I was on my way to talking myself out of it...I've been trying to get things done to get ready for the weekend, and was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed...So I've decided on some yoga before bedtime. I'm giving myself credit for switching to a different workout than what I had planned, rather than just skipping it altogether.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Another meal made with ingredients from my garden, this one inspired by the colour green.


I harvested my first green beans on the weekend. It wasn't a large amount, but somehow just steaming this handful of Kentucky Blue Beans didn't seem to be a fitting tribute for these fruits of my labour.


I decided, that along with some cilantro from my garden, the green beans would go into a Thai Green Curry.


The dish was rounded out with shrimp, red bell pepper and a jalapeno I had in the fridge (mainly because it was green and I was really enjoying my theme).


And speaking of green, I served it up in these green pottery bowls, over Jasmine rice.


Lovely bowls aren't they? An anniversary gift from Husband's parents. If you ever find yourself in Middleton, Nova Scotia, you should stop by Apple Pie Pottery (I looked for a link, but apparently they don't have a website).

Beck Diet
Day 19 - Stop fooling yourself.
This was an excellent section for me. I always do well for the first week or two or three of trying to lose weight. But eventually it starts to feel extremely unfair, restricting myself all the time. Then, I will be confronted with something that I want to eat, that I know I should not eat, but I manage to make an excuse...I'll just allow myself this one treat...This won't make that much of a difference...I'll make up for it tomorrow...It doesn't matter anyway...

But of course it does matter. Which is not to say that treats are never, ever allowed. But if I want to lose the excess weight, I'm going to have to say no more often than yes. Those extra calories matter. They make a difference - maybe they wouldn't if I was maintaining...but I'm not there yet, I need to lose first.

So the exercise of the day is to make myself another little index card to remind me of all these things. To remind me that it's not okay to give in, just this one time.

Also, going back to Day 17's exercise which was deliberately serving myself too much food so that I could learn to stop eating when I am full. MizFit asked in the comments whether this was a stressful exercise.

The section in the book includes a transcript from a patient session discussing this exercise. The patient found it to be extremely stressful, which surprised me. If you know there is extra food that you are not going to eat, why should it be stressful? On Friday night at the restaurant, I ordered my meal knowing that it would be too much, that I would only eat half of it and I was not bothered at all.

Last night, we had our curry & rice. I had one serving, Husband had two. After eating, I went to pack up the leftovers. I thought there wasn't that much there at first, so I started putting it in a container for my lunch the next day. As I was filling the container, I realized there was way more there than I would normally eat for lunch. And at this point I did get stressed out. It was as if, by planning to take the leftovers for lunch, I was obligated to eat all of it, even though I knew I couldn't.

Since I did have it packed in one container, I took it to work for lunch anyway. When lunch time rolled around, I ate all of the shrimp & vegetables and part of the rice. Then I realized I was full and didn't want any more. So I stopped eating. Which is not an unusual thing for me, so obviously there was no need to get stressed about it. But I find it interesting that my reaction was so different in the two different cases. I guess I get stressed when the reality I am presented with is not in line with my expectation. I need to realize that I can adapt to unexpected situations, that I can handle it, and there is no need for stress.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Sunflower

I've got sunshine


on a cloudy day.


When it's cold outside


I've got the month of....

Well. August. Since that's when my sunflowers are in bloom.

Specifically, this would be the first of my Dwarf Sunflowers to bloom. The photos were taken 3 days in a row - Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Most of the others look to be not far behind; soon I should have a row of sunshine!

In Other News
Heading home to the valley next weekend, for a wedding. So on Saturday I was trying to figure out what I was going to wear. Tried on a couple of outfits and took pictures. My camera is not forgiving.

Then this morning I get a facebook email saying I have been tagged in a photo. So I go have a look. It's a photo from a few weeks ago at a friend's house. She was walking around snapping pictures while people weren't paying attention. Her camera? Also not forgiving.

Perhaps this is what I need for motivation. Take pictures of myself on a weekly basis to remind myself of how I look at this weight.

As much as I tell myself that I want to lose weight to be healthy - which I do - I'd also like to be able to see photos of myself and not cringe.

Beck Diet
Day 17 - End Overeating
The exercise is to put more food on my plate than I plan to eat, so that I can practice leaving food on my plate. I read this at the end of the day (Sunday) with all my meals behind me, however I already know that I can do this. Husband and I went out to dinner on Friday night. I had fajitas. I knew it was going to be too much food, but I also knew I wouldn't eat it all. I ate half, then had the rest of the meal packed up to take home. So I am going to count this exercise as completed.

Day 18 - Change Your Definition of Fullness
Basically to learn when to stop eating. The suggested guage is: After your meal, could you take a moderately brisk walk? Finding that kind of funny, since that's what I've been doing in the evenings for the past month or so; finish supper, go for a walk.

I actually don't enjoy the sensation of being overly full. I don't tend to eat a large amount at one time. My problem is I like to eat often.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Who loves a sunny Saturday?

I do! I do!
This week didn't start off great, weather wise, but since Wednesday it has been absolutely beautiful. Today I mostly puttered around home, which was nice.

And look at this...



Aside from the veggie garden, things are pretty much winding down garden-wise. Next year I really need to think about finding some autumn blooming plants. There is not a whole lot left at the moment.

These things have amazed me though:


These plants are called Fan Dancer. I had one last year growing in the flower bed by the driveway and I thought it was pretty, so this year I picked up 3 of them. I ran out of room in the bed by the driveway, so brought them inside the fence area and they have grown like crazy. I guess last year they were getting periodically 'trimmed' by the deer. Inside the fence they can just grow.


The Lobelia and Lavender are still providing some colour.


The Holly berries are turning red.


And I still have one variety of sedum left to bloom.


Often on my evening walks I see things that make me wish I was carrying my camera. So this week I've been taking it with me, and tonight I saw this little fella.





I know that most people would consider them to be pests, but I think they are so cute. This guy went about halfway down the rock wall, took a headfirst dive and disappeared. He must have an entrance to his burrow in the rock wall. I have seen him there before. Hopefully, with his entrance being in the rocks and not someone's lawn, he is not bothering anyone and will be left in peace.

Beck Diet
Day 15 - Monitor Your Eating.
Dieting officially starts on Day 15 and the exercise is to monitor your eating. There should be a plan - written out - for what I will eat every day. Then, at each meal/snack, I make note of it - check off planned items, note any unplanned items.

I have bought a smaller notebook, that can fit in my purse, for this purpose. The weekend is a hard time to be starting this, as weekends are generally unscheduled and spontaneous. But for that reason, it may also be a good time to start. I do plan during the week, but I think weekends are often where I lose control. Obviously that needs to change.

Day 16 - Prevent Unplanned Eating.
I really liked this section. The gist: Often when we are restricting our eating to lose pounds, and we want to eat something that we shouldn't, we argue with ourselves about it. This creates tension. The tension disappears as soon as we make a decision. So if we decide to go ahead and eat whatever it is, the tension is gone and we feel better - before we even eat the food item in question. If we just automatically tell ourselves that we are not going to eat this, because it is not on our plan & not in line with our goals, we will be eliminating the tension.

Now, I'm thinking this is one of those things that is easier said than done, but I think it could get easier with practice...And it is a strategy that should work well with planning daily menus ahead of time. You plan your menu, something is offered that is not on the plan, you don't give yourself a choice because the decision is already made.

The past few days - menu planning, monitoring (journalling) your eating and preventing unplanned eating seem to be common sense, important ideas that should make dieting easier...but at the same time I can see difficulties. It's not always possible to avoid a change in plans. Sometimes we have to be spontaneous and/or flexible. How we react to unexpected events is important. But hopefully these lessons, which should keep me focused, will also help when the unexpected arises.

Okay, I was having a hard time putting my thoughts into words there, but hopefully that made some sort of sense.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tomato Watch 2008, Vol II

Still anxiously watching, and things are coming along. We're having a good stretch of hot, sunny days at the moment so that should help.





My faithful Cupids are still yielding a small but steady supply.


They pretty much get eaten as soon as they come off the plant.


And I am still getting the odd handful of sugar snap peas.


Today was quite hot and when I went out after work, I noticed my Tomatillo and Cupid Tomatoes were all wilted. Being in pots, they need regular watering during hot weather. As I was watering my Cupids, I noticed that the branches that had grown up against/through the fence were chewed off.



I went for a walk after supper, and when I came back saw the cats at the fence, looking up the hill.


And there were the culprits behind my chewed tomato plants.



Which is one of the reasons we have a fence. If we had no fence, there would be no tomato growing. So a few nibbles are not seeming like that big of a deal.

Beck Diet
Day 14 Task - Plan for Tomorrow.

Because tomorrow I am to officially start dieting. So the exericse of the day is to sit down and write down everything I plan to eat. Then tomorrow, I am to check things off the list as I eat them and write in any other things that I eat.

Most days I do actually plan out what I'm going to eat - I may enter it all into my Daily Plate calorie tracker, or I may just have it in my head, but I usually do plan. Except for Fridays. Fridays are the day when I usually give myself a little break. I still usually have a general idea, but I may plan to buy my lunch, for example, just to give myself a bit of a change. Funny how that timing worked out.

What does work out well though, is that tomorrow is supposed to be my first official weigh-in. Since Fridays were already my weigh-in day, that fits in nicely.

Daily Record
Weight: 145.2

BF: 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, 2 peaches, 1/4 cup Alpen cereal, Coffee w/cream
Lunch: Salad, Kashi Granola Bar
Snack: Yogurt
Supper: BBQ Chicken Breast, Veggies roasted in foil on BBQ: Yellow Bell Peppers, Red Onion, Strawberry tomatoes with Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil. Also a Margarita - Husband's idea, and hot, sunny day that it was, I was easy to convince.

Workout: 40 minute walk, Yoga Shakti Basic Flow


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beck Diet - Day 13

Day 13 on the Beck plan deals with cravings - learning to resist them.

Dr. Beck points out that if we actually resist our cravings for a period of time, they will diminish. I agree with this because I have experienced it. The trick being that you must have the will power to resist those cravings in the beginning, in order to get to the point where the cravings are not such a big deal. So you need strategies to build up your "resistance muscle."

This chapter contains exercises and suggestions to be put to use; the next time I experience a craving I need to Measure it. How long did the craving last? How much discomfort did it cause me? What techniques did I try to fight off the craving and how did they work? It also list some suggestions for distracting yourself from cravings.

So that is an exercise for the next time I am hit by a killer craving.

On another topic, there was an interesting discussion over at Our Wicked Weighs about a proposed Fast Food Ban in Southern LA. It led to an interesting discussion in the comments about whether or not eating a healthy diet is too expensive. I have my own thoughts on that, but I wanted to throw it out there for any other takers...What do you think?

And lastly, today's photos inspired by the dill growing in my garden.

I am actually surprised that the plants are not bigger than they are. Not sure if it is because they were planted late? Or because there was not enough rain early in the season?


But I don't need a lot, only small bunches at a time to be tossed in salads.


The dill went into my salad bowl, on top of: Romaine lettuce, red bell pepper, cucumber, red onion and Minneola tangerine.


I do love a colourful salad! Isn't it pretty?


The salad was finished off with some feta & Kalamata olives, lemon juice, olive oil and a bit of salt & pepper. We had it with BBQ'd chicken.


Daily Record
Weight: 144.2

BF: Muffin, coffee
Lunch: Salad, 1/2 cup yogurt with 2 peaches & 1/4 cup Alpen cereal
Supper: Salad, BBQ chicken
Dessert: small serving of ice cream

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beck Diet - Day 12

The task for Day 12 is to Practice Hunger Tolerance. I am supposed to pick a day where I skip lunch and don't eat again until supper. I don't think I really want to do that on a work day - experience tells me that I don't want to end up cranky and headache-y at work; makes for a very long day. So this will probably have to be a weekend thing.

I get the point though. Just because I am hungry does not mean I must eat right this instant. I can survive until my next meal. Hunger is not an emergency. I do get that.

I am of two minds about this though. I have skipped meals before - not deliberately, but because I've been so busy that I forgot or just didn't have time until it was late enough that I decided I might as well wait for dinner. Sometimes it's ok. Sometimes I have ended up with a headache and the shakes. Either way, I certainly survived. The down side to this is, if I am that hungry, I don't necessarily make the best food choices. Theoretically, if I've got a meal plan for the day, I should be fine. Experience tells me that is not always the case.

Still, I can see that it is a good lesson. If I've had my breakfast, lunch, snack that I have packed for the day, but end up feeling hungry, it will do me no harm to wait for dinner to be ready.

NOTE: I am not saying that I expect to habitually starve myself. If I do get to the point where my head aches and I am shaky, I do think it's time to eat. But just feeling a bit hungry is not the end of the world.

And speaking of food...

Today, in lieu of cat/garden/deer photos (because it was a rainy soggy wet day out there today), I present: Dinner!



Daily Record
---------------------------------------------------- ----------

BF: 2 peaches with 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, coffee with cream (10%)
Lunch: Lemon Chickpea and Lentil Soup (from the freezer, of course) with 1/2 cup cottage cheese.
Snack: Yogurt & Fibre 1 bar
Supper: Tomato/Bell Pepper/Shrimp over pasta

Workout: Yogini Workout

Monday, August 18, 2008

I had a busy weekend, mainly around the house. Cleaned the basement (among other things) which is always the last area to get attention. I can actually see my desk now! It's amazing!

Last night I went out to do some much needed weeding in the gardens. I didn't quite finish - it was getting late and I was getting tired of fending off mosquitos.

Things are still growing though. I swear, every time I look at these plants they are bigger...


But the exciting bit here...If you look a little closer at the Tomatillo....


Aren't they neat looking? Seriously, I think that's why I grow them. They're just so pretty!


And also: Is this not the cutest thing? Well...besides my cats of course...




Beck Diet Progress
Friday, I did read the Day 10 task - Setting reasonable goals. Dr. Beck recommends concentrating on 5 lbs at a time, and celebrating each 5 lb loss. No argument from me. If I can actually lose 5 lbs, I will be thrilled.

Then the weekend got away from me as usual.

Back on track today, with Day 11 which involves monitoring your hunger. This task is designed to help you learn to recognize the difference between actual hunger, a desire to eat, and cravings. Unfortunately, I do tend to read these things at the end of the day when I am all finished with eating. So, I will have to work through this exercise tomorrow.