Do not despair, Sarah!!! I have a possible solution for you, which I have stumbled upon TOTALLY BY ACCIDENT...
So, by now you suspect that the desperation diet is miserable. I agree. I did a couple days of under 1000 calories, and by 9:00 p.m. I was delirious with hunger and cravings. I fell into bed three nights in a row hoping it would somehow morph into a vat of apple pie. Of course, it didn't.
That was Wednesday, April 18th. I was trying to lose a few pounds for my visit with Sarah (Head) Brown in Eden Prairie on Saturday the 21st. This was my first time away from the 3 1/2-year-old since she was born. And also, my first trip alone in...forever. ?!
So I wanted to look and feel good. I didn't. I got down there, and there was Sarah, and she has just lost 20+ pounds! She looked FABULOUS. Of course, I asked her how she did it. LOW CARBS. Duh.
So, this much I know: Carbs are the devil, and sugar specifically is the devil's employer. I returned home on Sunday with a renewed purpose and determination and decided that after seeing Sarah, I needed to dig deep and finally find the missing link to my success, as well as my missing motivation.
You will never guess where I found it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I found it at 6:00 a.m.
Yep, you read that right. Why didn't anyone ever tell me that 6:00 a.m. would be the fucking key to my weight-loss success?! Or, did someone tell me this at some random point during my last TWELVE YEARS OF YO-YO DIETING, and I just decided not to listen?!
Whichever it is, I'm listening now.
Here's what happened: I came home from visiting Sarah. I sat down with pen and paper. I started to brainstorm. I wrote down everything I felt I was doing right, as well as wrong, in my efforts to lose weight. (This is the former-teacher-Virgo-instinct in me; I like to make lists and feel I've been organized in my approach to whatever it is that...I'm approaching.)
So I ended up with this long list - the good, the bad, and the blatantly ugly. Written out that way, it wasn't hard to see what was missing. EXERCISE. As hard as I've tried to fit it into my life, I haven't been able to do any type of exercise consistently. So I looked at my calendar, my daily schedule, my life in general - to try once again to find the time. Do you know where I found it???
Now, before you say, "FUCKING HELL NO!", do know that I have NEVER DONE a single early morning work out - of any kind - not a walk, not a machine, NOTHING - in my ENTIRE LIFE. This is not an exaggeration. I haven't.
But the reality hit me that most days, I am too damn tired when I get home from work and grocery-shopping and being the teen's taxi and everything else to drag my ass onto a machine or throw in a work out tape. Most days, the thought doesn't even enter my mind. I get home, sometimes I make some little dinner for the husband and kids, and I fall asleep putting the toddler to bed at 9:30. Sound familiar? I feel the same. Dog-ass-tired, mentally exhausted, unmotivated, and nowhere near interested in breaking a sweat at the end of a long day.
So, if I can't work out after work, when can I?
There is only one other possible time for me, and it was not something I have ever considered before... 6:00 a.m. But I'm also already awake at that time every week-day morning, getting the teenager up and on the bus by 7:15. What do I usually do from 6:00 a.m. (when the teen's alarm goes off) until 7:15??? I lie on the couch, sometimes reading my Nook, sometimes fiddling with Facebook on my phone, sometimes sipping a cup of tea, and sometimes too tired to do anything but stare at the wall. But.......I never fall back asleep, since I must make sure the teen gets out the door.
I couldn't deny the obvious any longer. 6:00 a.m. was my only chance to workout. So, last Monday, April 23rd, I started. That was 10 days ago. And in the past 10 days, I have done SEVEN hour-long workouts (alternating between treadmill and elliptical machine), and TWO ninety-minute ones!!! I need to emphasize something very important here: I HATE WORKING OUT and I HATE SWEATING.
But after only TEN days, I can honestly say that I now LOVE exercising at 6:00 a.m. Here's why:
* I get quiet time to myself! The hubby and toddler are still asleep, until 7:30. By then, I'm done working out and I feel weirdly empowered and energized!
* I get to watch t.v.! I have so far watched several True Blood episodes, and am now in the middle of the Twilight movies again. Next will be tons of Netflix t.v. series shows! Do you know what happens when you get to zone out to great t.v. while you exercise? Yep, you don't even realize you're doing it!!!
* When I get done, I have more energy than I know what to do with! The best part is, THIS BUZZ NEVER LEAVES ME, all day! It's part increased metabolism, part adrenaline high, and part feeling great and proud of myself for getting my workout over and done with before my day even begins!
* Every hour - or even half hour of exercise - burns hundreds of calories! And because of this, I don't have to deal with the starvation plan any more. I can eat my 1200 calories, and still drop the weight. As proof, I have lost FIVE POUNDS in the past 10 days - simply my adding in the 6:00 a.m. cardio-burn.
* The MOST EARTH-SHATTERING effect of the early morning exercise has been this: My hunger has disappeared. ALL OF IT. I have no cravings for carbs. Have not craved sugar - not even a little bit. I HAVE NOT HAD A CAN OF POP - real OR diet - IN 10 DAYS!!! I have not been able to manage this in TWELVE YEARS!
Yes, I've also been conscious of my food choices, but not obsessively so. Yes, I've been trying to plan my meals and snacks ahead of time, and surround myself at home and at work with only healthy options. I have fresh veggies and fruits and wheat-free crackers (LOVE rice crackers!) and low-fat cheese (LOVE Laughing Cow Bleu Cheese!) and venison and fish and chicken available at all times. NO white flour products anywhere - but with the exercise, I haven't even missed it! THIS IS CRAZY!!! The exercise - but specifically the early-morning exercise - has KILLED my appetite, and it carries me through my entire day, and never leaves me! At 10:00 p.m. last night, I ate four huge strawberries (for a whopping 68 calories), and I was so full I couldn't eat another bite. My calorie total for yesterday was 808 calories. I WASN'T HUNGRY for anything more than that! WTF?!
I'm drinking nothing but ice water (LOTS of it, with lemon slices!), cold-brewed ice tea, hot tea (black, white, and green!), a little 1% milk here and there, a cup of coffee once every few days, and no alcohol. If I crave a drink, I'll have a glass of my favorite sangria. Flavonoids, right?
I have more energy than I know what to do with. Ten days after starting, I have no desire to stop now. It's 5:45 p.m. right now, and I am LOOKING FORWARD to my elliptical time tomorrow at 6:00 a.m.! What kind of freak does that?!
My best advice at this point is:
1. Ditch the 700 calorie plan. Still count calories - I believe wholeheartedly that it's impossible to lose weight and be accountable without counting calories, measuring portions, and knowing the numbers involved. The difference between 1200 and 2400 sometimes can be no more than a few BITES, right?
2. If you can, exercise in the early morning to jump-start your day. Just to give it a fair chance (because what do you have to lose, other than pounds???), I challenge you to commit to doing it for just ONE WEEK, and do it EVERY DAY. If you don't have a machine at home, just go outside and WALK. Walk walk walk; you don't need anything but shoes. One hour at a swift pace - NOT jogging - burns between 600 and 700 calories! I swear to you - you will feel BETTER physically (and the mental high is the bonus!), and you won't want to stop! If you feel crappy after a week, I will eat my shorts, sweat and all.
3. Make your "favorite foods" list to help you with grocery shopping. This is the single-most important reason why my house is not full of crap food as I type this. I made a list. I brainstormed all my favorite fresh and frozen fruits, fresh veggies, lean meats (tilapia - salmon - venison - baked chicken breasts - shrimp stir-fry - tuna flaked on a big salad...), beans and legumes, dairy products like Greek yogurt (twice the protein!), light string cheese (60-70 calories each!), low-fat cottage cheese (but SO expensive now!), beverages, wheat-free grains, snacks (Light microwave popcorn! Rice cakes!), and condiments (HUMMUS!). I make my own veggie dip with Light Sour Cream and Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix, and when raw veggies aren't doing it for me, I toss them in a bowl with two tablespoons of my light dip. (It's only 30 calories, and delish!) I have a cupboard full of soups under 250 calories per can, and a few frozen Indian meals for when I'm lazy or uninspired. Make your list, and surround yourself with as much healthy stuff to eat - to give yourself the OPTIONS that will prevent you from getting bored - and don't buy any crap. You don't have to eat mostly protein to succeed, either. Don't buy the chips, snack crackers, pop, whatever. The kids don't need it any more than we do, right? I have started cooking with Lauren, and teaching her how to count calories and make better food choices, and you know what she went and did?! She lost 15 pounds! FAST.
If you find you're at a loss and need ideas for your food list, my list is at the end of the following post from my blog, from last October:
Final note: By far, the biggest change I have noticed in the past 10 days has been mental and emotional. I am EXCITED about this! (Can you tell?!) I feel like I have found a Magic Formula. I don't feel utterly clueless for the first time in TWENTY MONTHS. Exactly 20 months ago, I weighed 159. Today, I weigh 147. Only twelve measly pounds lost, after 20 months of pain, disappointment, depression, starving myself, desperation, lack of motivation, and misery - and FIVE of those twelve pounds were lost in the past 10 days!!!!!!!
There had to be a missing piece of the puzzle. I know I have found it. Now, when I work out in the morning, I am mentally and physically energized and charged up to start my day by 7:30. I have no problem ignoring little cravings during the day now, because I tell myself "don't screw up the good you did by getting on the machine at the ass-crack of dawn, you idiot!" So it has become very easy to walk away from the carbs! I never could have predicted this, EVER. But I'm walking proof that it's true!
I have to lose 2.8 pounds every week to hit my pre-pregnancy weight by my husband's class reunion on June 30th. After discovering this early-morning missing link, I'm not worried any more about not reaching this goal.
I KNOW I will do it!