Phase 2 Day 5, continued

Weight: 153.5 lbs (69 kg)

I had my usual apples for breakfast and was so upset over the number on the scale being so high that I spent the morning contemplating going out in search of more apples and doing a stall day after all, but I finally had my packed lunch of a burger and cucumbers at close to three in the afternoon. I’m hoping that thinking I’m eating the things I’m eating for the purposes of weight loss may finally get me to combat my long-held habit of skipping as many meals as I can get away with.

Despite writing an entire article about the pitfalls of frequent fasting and learning from experience that deprivation inevitably leads to overindulgence, I still haven’t gotten it entirely through my head that at least three meals a day is the way to go.

I left work a little later than usual since there was no point in going home before the improv show I planned on attending at 7:30 and I didn’t have any urgent personal writing projects to work on in between. I found myself reaching for my snack of melba toast, tomato, and onion by a little after 5, though I’m not sure whether I was that hungry or just tired, jittery, and bored. Soon, another walk to and from the Tri-rail commenced.

If I had arrived at the improv show’s venue energized, optimistic, and in good spirits, I think I may have been able to stick to the diet despite the fact that I was heading into a situation in which I might usually drink—for example, at a show on the Friday before my loading days, I had been so excited about the prospect of losing weight that I decided to skip the glass of wine I’d been planning on.

But today, I was exhausted from walking so much, thinking so much, not having had my packed dinner before the show since I’d eaten lunch so late, and exerting so much willpower throughout the week for practically no results. So I cracked and had a glass of wine before the show, which quite predictably lead to another at intermission and one more between the end of the show and the mixer.

Oddly enough, I don’t actually feel as guilty when I decide to break my diet on alcohol as I do when I decide to break it with food, I suppose since I put the indulgence in a different mental category. The problem is that tipsy me has precious little guilt or inhibitions regarding anything, food very much included.

When I got home at around 11, I finally had my packed dinner of chicken and spinach, plus 2 slices of muenster cheese. I probably would have found the meal totally satisfying without the odd additions, but since I was already off the wagon, I figured I may as well really cheat…

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Total Food Consumed:

2 apples (Breakfast)

100 g burger with 2 cups cucumber, spices, and apple cider vinegar- no salt this time! (Lunch)

1 tomato, 1 onion, and 5 melba toasts (Afternoon snack)

3 glasses of wine (1 white, 2 red)

100 g chicken with spices, 2 slices of muenster cheese, and 2 cups spinach (Dinner)

Total Exercise:

About an hour and a half walking

Phase 2 Day 6

Weight: 150.4

I was pretty relieved to be down from my high weight on Friday despite my indulgences that evening; guess I was right about it being mostly water weight! I had two apples on my way to the gym. There, I picked cycling again over strength training, partially because I wanted to get my energy up for the day and partially because I wanted the higher calorie burn to offset my idiotic drinking and cheese.

Since I had the time, I did stay for yoga afterwards, which may have been a miscalculation. I was so drained by the end of class that I actually briefly started crying. Still, I pushed myself to finish the class. It doesn't seem to be my willpower that's in the way of dieting properly...maybe I'm just crazy?

Then home, a quick shower, one more apple, and off to my audition! I packed a burger and some kale and onions to eat for lunch, figuring I’d stop at a grocery store and pick up some hard-boiled eggs or something for dinner at some point. I was so busy at the audition that I didn’t actually have time to eat until around 3, by which time I was so hungry that I added my mini toasts to the meal and then had my tomato almost right afterward, though not technically with it...

My next outing was supposed to be to the arcade with my cousins, but after they came inside the theatre pick me up, we were shocked to find that their car had been broken into! My mom met us to help them get back home and get everything taken care of, and then my mom and I headed out to the next thing on my agenda, a play in Boca.

My mom hadn’t planned on staying with me for the play—I was supposed to get dropped off there by my cousins after the arcade trip that didn’t happen—but I got annoyed with her for not wanting to stay and make life a little more convenient for me when she had already come this far, and our mutual dissatisfaction soon led to a no-holds barred fight.

I spent most of the ride to the theater crying, and after our fight resumed on the way to show number 2, I caved again and had 2 espresso martinis. I was also just trying to keep my energy up after such a long and stressful day.

Note that this was an entirely emotional craving; even though it had by then been a good six hours since my burger, I didn’t feel very physically hungry at all. My pattern seems to be being not too hungry in the morning (it usually takes me until at least 9 to be in the mood for my fruit, and I'm usually up between 6 and 7), being fricking starving by lunchtime (I’ve made it a personal rule not to eat lunch before 12 because I don’t want to waste my allowed fruit hours on non-fruit), and then feeling relatively stable the rest of the day.

Of course, my hunger always goes way up once I start drinking, and I downed a popcorn so quickly once I got to my seat at Rocky Horror that the friends I was sitting with probably thought I was deranged. At least it didn’t taste as if it had much added butter, so the calorie damage wasn’t too bad… Popcorn is a kind of a vegetable, right? Maybe? Almost?

I had another glass of wine at intermission, and then when I finally got home, even later than I had the day prior, I had a meal of another burger, which was the first time I broke the “different proteins for lunch and dinner” rule.

Then, instead of any actual vegetables, I had 2 whole packets of konjac noodles. Only 40 calories, but definitely against the rules, and I definitely felt out of control while eating them. At least being virtually accountable seems to have decreased the damage from my overeating, if not yet eliminated it… a 40-calorie binge at the end of the day certainly beats a day of overeating from start to finish!

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Total Food Consumed:

2 apples (Breakfast)

100 g burger with onion and 2 cups kale (Lunch)

1 tomato and 5 melba toasts (Afternoon snack)

2 espresso martinis and one glass wine

One small popcorn, 100 g burger w/ cooked onions and 2 packs konjac noodles (Dinner)

Exercise:

1 hour cycling

1 hour yoga

Phase 2, Day 7

Weight: 150.6 (68 kg)

Again, I had pretty much maintained despite more cheating, so I was still ahead of myself compared to a typical weekend, which may well have caused me to yo-yo right back to 153! I managed to get my Sunday yoga in after all, thanks to a special benefit class at a coffee shop close to my morning improv drop-in, and I was sure in the mood to start purifying myself and getting back on track! As with the day before, I had 2 apples before my workout and 1 afterward, this despite having to stare at the coffee shop’s delicious-looking peanut butter pie…

I had lunch of 2 eggs and spinach between my improv drop-in and my matinee. Afterwards, I walked to the Tri-rail to start heading to play 2 of the day. I had my snack of tomato, onion, and grissini sticks while waiting for the train. Then, once I got off, I walked to a Panera Bread, bought an iced unsweetened black tea (why does the iced coffee there have 10 calories?) and tried to get some writing done.

However, I wasn’t feeling that inspired, so I decided that it was a good idea to walk to the theatre for that evening’s show instead of ubering there as I’d planned. This despite the fact that the walk there was over an hour, turned out to take me through a a route without sidewalks, and I was wearing sandals.

I just made it to the show by 7:30, but I had no time to stop and eat the dinner I’d packed. I thought about eating it at intermission, but the break wouldn’t have been long enough to take my drops, wait the 15 minutes, and eat. The play was also a little cheesier and schmaltzier than I expected, and I felt a little awkward being alone there and one of the youngest people in the audience. So I instead spent my intermission, indulging in… you guessed it: more wine, one large glass downed during intermission and another sipped throughout the second act.

I definitely enjoyed act two more than act one, I will tell you that much. Of course, by the time I got home, I was tipsy and starving again. I skipped the drops completely for the first time, then had the meal I was supposed to have of spinach and chicken with a few spoonfuls of butter and some low fat cheese added to it. I then finished the package of low fat cheese, then had a sugar free pudding cup. As with the day prior, it wasn’t too high-calorie compared to my worst binges, but I definitely still need to fricking get it together.

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Total Food Consumed:

3 apples (Breakfast)

100 g eggs and 2 cups spinach (Lunch)

1 tomato, onion and grissini sticks, 1 lemon and a few more lemon pieces (Snacks)

2 glasses of red wine, 100 g chicken, 2 cups spinach, few spoonfuls of butter, small bag of low-fat mozzarella cheese (seven 45 calorie servings), one sugar free pudding cup (Dinner)

Total Exercise:

1 hour yoga

Approximately 2 hours walking

Phase 2, Day 8

Weight: 150.6 the first time I woke up, 152 after having some water, going back to sleep and then weighing again (68 kg)

While I’d been having my adventures over the weekend, my mom had managed to get a flat tire. She’d had the tire temporarily replaced with a “donut tire” that she wasn’t allowed to drive on highways, and thus couldn’t drive me to work as usual. Honestly, I could’ve taken an Uber in, or taken one to the Tri-rail and then walked the rest of the way, and I probably would have if I’d been in a better frame of mind.

But between my exhaustion from running myself ragged and drinking so much over the weekend and the fact that I was having a minor mental breakdown about being such a terrible dieter, I was just so done that I eventually decided to take the day off. I am somewhat ashamed of what I did next: I went to the gym.

What kind of lunatic skips work and then goes to the gym?

This was partially a desperate attempt to burn calories, and partially because I tend to get very jittery when I'm anxious and just needed to freaking calm down. I stayed for two classes, total sculpt and cycling, but doubling up today was a lot less excruciating than it had been on Saturday, even pretty fun. It was also cool to have different instructors than I would have had in the evening!

I didn’t have my apples until after I got back home at around 11 am. For lunch a little later, I almost stayed on program with a burger-and-kale salad, but at the last second I decided to throw a little light Caesar dressing on it. Then, I figured that if I was doing that I might as well add a few more spoonfuls of Caesar dressing so the bottle would be finished and I wouldn’t have to worry about it. It’s much easier to not cheat in this manner at work, where I have brought no Caesar dressing…

After I finished my ridiculously oily salad, I spent most of the rest of the day getting some preliminary drafts done for my theatre blog posts and lying in bed playing candy crush. I had the melba toast and tomato at 3ish to wake myself up a little after a short nap.

I thought about skipping dinner to make up for all that Caesar, but ended up having some fish and asparagus at around 11, less because I was hungry than because I couldn’t sleep and was tired of wondering whether or not I should eat it.

On the bright side, I did get a phone call letting me know that I’d gotten a part in not one but two of the short plays I’d auditioned for on Saturday.

First thought: Yay!

Second thought: I wonder how much weight I can lose before the show

Third thought: I wonder if I’ll have to have another cheat day if we have a cast party…..

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Total Food Consumed:

3 apples (Breakfast)

100 grams beef with 2 cups kale and a few spoonfuls Caesar dressing (Lunch)

Melba toast with tomato (Afternoon snack)

100 grams fish with about 2 cups asparagus (Dinner)

Exercise:

1 hr strength training

1 hr cycling

Phase 2, Day 9

Weight: 148.8

Looks like my weekend sins were now at least mostly atoned for! I may still only be treading water, but maybe I need to spend some time re-learning how to do that much diet-wise before I start actually trying to swim somewhere….

By this morning, my routine of fruit for breakfast was beginning to feel pretty normal to me. Even though I’ve been pretty on and off as far as following the 123Diet, I have noticed some improvements in my attitude towards food and the kinds of food that I eat. For example, on a typical pre-diet day of work, I would either just not eat at all or have only a protein bar, some candy, or some hard boiled eggs, along with a ton of 0-calorie energy drinks.

So I’ve really enjoyed being “allowed” to grab fruit all morning. I actually rarely ate fruit at all pre-123, despite the fact that I’ve always liked it. If I craved sweets, I would either go for a more “exciting” and “forbidden” dessert if I was in an off-diet mode or  have a diet soda if I was in a restrictive mode, which was obviously better than the fruit because it had less calories.

As opposed to chocolate chips, it’s damn near impossible to binge on apples. I can’t even eat one too quickly without feeling overly full and getting the hiccups, which is why I tend to have my morning fruits one at a time, just grabbing one whenever I feel like it. That kind of sugar intake could still add up throughout the day if I had as many apples and oranges as I used to have diet sodas, which is what makes the 12 o clock cutoff so helpful!

I also probably burn off a lot of my fruit sugar with my daily lunch walk, which has lately somehow escalated to more of a 40-50 minute walk than a 30 minute one. It’s not as I really need my lunch hour for, you know, eating lunch, which I can perfectly well do at my desk, thank you!

By the end of the day, I felt satisfied, optimistic and more or less back in the zone, and probably would have had no issues having only my allowed snacks and dinner the rest of the day…had I not had plans.

I was attending a gathering for theatre fans called The Green Room, and in remembering how awkward and terrible I’d felt at book club when I’d denied myself alcohol, had given myself advance permission to have one or two drinks and then order something maybe not totally 123-compliant but still relatively healthy so that I didn't feel completely deprived.

This, of course, did not happen. Instead, I had 4 drinks (over a 4-hour period, since I’d gotten to the shop a little early to work on some writing), ordered nothing, and then stopped on the way home (more accurately, told my mom to stop: I’m a drunk eater, not a drunk driver!) to buy some off-diet food once I was good and smashed enough that I knew I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. Now that I think about it, the last drink I ordered, towards the end of the night, was probably purely because I was intent on bingeing afterwards.

Luckily, my pre-evening intake was pretty low, and I did get an hour and a half of walking in throughout the day, so I’d say I probably had a not-totally-catastrophic calorie intake for the day as a whole… but I’m not aiming for “not totally catastrophic,” I’m aiming to lose weight!

Of course, it’s also possible that I’m being too hard on myself. As I've said, I decided to go on this diet pretty impulsively, and after a long period where I was so fed up with diets and diet culture that I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to diet again!

As someone who has an admittedly terrible relationship with food, my situation might simply be a lot more complicated than the situation of someone whose issues with weight come mostly from eating unhealthy food out of ignorance or habit. Though I’m certainly not alone in experiencing these sorts of complications…

I also think that a huge part of my problem is motivation. I’m not giddy and excited about losing weight because I’ve already done it plenty of times, only to be devastated when I inevitably fell off the wagon. It may take some time for me to believe that achieving and maintaining my goal weight is a realistic goal and that the crazy cycle I’m in could really and truly end...

I’d also like to note that pretty much every time I’ve cheated thus far has been due to a social or emotional trigger rather than a physical one. It’s not so much that I’ve been hungry but that I have a hard time not relying on my mental crutches of food and alcohol and that I resent feeling constrained, (even though I chose those constraints), and that my eating has been largely governed by factors entirely unrelated to hunger for a very long time.

The drops have also definitely been helpful as far as suppressing my physical cravings for food. I’m not one of those who has issues remembering to take them; it’s motivating myself to eat the meal in a timely manner after the drops are consumed and I'm not hungry anymore! Though I know it's best to stay within a 15 minute to half hour window, sometimes that can be difficult....

My point is, don’t take my inability to stick to a set of sensible rules and thus me not necessarily losing a lot of weight right away as the norm. People who have a less distorted relationship with food and alcohol than I do who are able to follow the diet properly will most likely lose weight a lot more quickly than I’ve been managing to! Do as I say, my friends, not as I do. Oh, so, not as I do.

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Total Food Consumed:

3 apples, one orange (Breakfast)

2 eggs with cucumbers, salt, and chili peppers (Lunch)

2 beers, 2 glasses red wine (Idiocy)

A few handfuls or assorted candy and a haphazard buffet line “salad” that contained chickpeas, seeds, a ton of dressing, some turkey, some mushrooms, probably some sort of cheese, and whatever else my dumb drunk self felt like eating (Dinner)

Total Exercise:

An hour and a half walking

Phase 2, Day 10

Weight: 150.2 when I first woke up in the middle of the night, 151 after I had some water and then went back to sleep and woke up again. (68 kg)

As with my last major cheating incident, I considered doing a stall day, but then figured I should save those for when I hit an actual plateau and am not just trying to compensate for my sins. Also, knowing me, once I do one stall day, I might be tempted to try to subsist on only apples and eggs for the entire rest of the diet.

Even if I do seem to be mostly maintaining, I’m maintaining on more food and much healthier food than I was before, which is a start. I guess it’s possible that damage control is the best I can do at the moment. I do feel guilty for “wasting” the drops and not doing the diet full out, but at least I’m trying….

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful, besides the fact that I ate my dinner of chicken and spinach drenched in apple cider vinegar while waiting for the Tri-rail on my way to another drop-in improv class, finished it right as the train was coming, rushed to throw away the bag I had packed it in before I got on the train, and proceeded to get vinegar down my nose while hastily trying to down the last bite.

PSA: It is very unpleasant to get vinegar down one’s nose.

My period, which has always been pretty irregular, also started tonight, despite the fact that it wasn’t supposed to according to the schedule my birth control would predict. This might explain some percentage of all my crying and wine drinking over the weekend, and some percentage of how much my weight has been fluctuating. Oh, well. Can't control that. Onwards, onwards, onwards....

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Total Food Consumed:

3 apples (Breakfast/midmorning snack)

100 g eggs and 2 cups cucumbers (Lunch)

Tomato and melba toast (snack)

Dinner (100 g chicken and 2 cups spinach)

Total Exercise:

An hour and a half of walking

Phase 2, Day 11

Weight: 149.4 (67 kg)

So the weight from my dalliance on Tuesday was not all gone, but at least it was mostly gone, and I’ve probably had more apples, oranges, and lemons in the past few weeks than I’ve had in months! Here's to avoiding scurvy!

I was STARVING by the time I got back from my usual lunchtime walk, and devoured my burger and cucumbers like a freaking wild animal. I noticed mid-feast that the portion of the burger may have been a little off, and became briefly worried that I’d eaten two whole servings rather than one, but later figured out that it had been an 100 g serving plus a small extra piece. Whatever, I probably need the iron.

I felt pretty spacy and tired all day and didn’t get nearly as much work done as usual, but I think that was probably more period-related than diet-related. I had tentatively planned on attending another improv show in Delray that night, so didn’t go straight home to the gym in time for my usual Thursday exercise slot.

However, once I found out that the show was actually sold out, I decided I could at least make it to yoga at 8, which was probably more what I was in the mood for anyway, since I was also feeling a little run down from a cold.

I had my melba toasts and tomato on the way home from work at 5:30ish, a serving of fresh kale after my mom picked me up from the train at 6:40ish, and another unsweetened Starbucks green tea before yoga. I didn’t end up having my delicious dinner of cooked asparagus, onions, 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt, and 2 hard-boiled eggs until after yoga at around 9:30.

Total Food Consumed:

2 apples, 1 orange, 1 lemon (Breakfast)

100 g-ish of a burger and 2 cups cucumber (Lunch)

Tomatos and melba toast (Snack)

1 serving kale (Snack)

100 g eggs w/ asparagus, onions, a pinch of Bragg's, a tablespoon of greek yogurt (dairy allowance), and lots of spices (Dinner)

Total Exercise:

1 hour and 15 minutes walking

1 hour yoga

Phase 2, Day 12

Weight: 149.2

Slightly disappointed not to see a bigger loss after 2 days in a row of compliance, but all the more motivation to make this weekend count! I’ve also noticed that I’m far less hungry and more focused this morning than I was yesterday morning, which I surmise is because I had my dinner so late last night that there’s still some protein in my system (on Wednesday, dinner had been before 6)… maybe eating later in the evening isn’t as bad a strategy as I assumed?

I’m planning on apples for breakfast, fish and veggies for lunch, hard boiled eggs and veggies for dinner, and snacks of melba toast, a tomato, and more veggies if and when I need them. Depending on how I’m feeling tonight, I may go to another improv show, may go to the gym, or may just go straight home and work on some writing.

I think that I’ve learned a lot from last weekend’s debacle, (for instance, how humiliating it is to have to publicly confess to eating a whole packet of low-fat mozzarella…), so I’ve scheduled this weekend slightly more responsibly, though I’m still in full busy-bee mode. It’s an ADHD thing; idle time makes us anxious!!

The plan is: strength training and possibly more yoga tomorrow morning (maybe I won’t be as overwhelmed by a double class since I worked out less during the week…), rehearsal for short play number 1 at 12, possibly a salsa class at 2, rehearsal for short play 2 at 5, performance of another local play at 7, and hopefully home by 10 or 11 (rather than after 1 am as happened last Saturday)… though I’d been considering going to a more party-ish gathering late on Saturday night, I actually decided to forgo it because it would be too big a drinking trigger and too detrimental to my sleep schedule.

Sunday should be yoga at 11, a different area play at 1:30, a drop in acting class at 5:30, and home by 9. Though I haven’t yet come up with a cohesive meal prep strategy, at least I should be home in time to get adequate sleep both nights and avoid any more Monday morning madness…

So far, I’ve only spent an embarrassing 4 days totally compliant on the diet, but the cheat days in which I stuck mostly to the diet were far better for me than what I would have managed if I were left to my own devices. I have a feeling that once I begin to believe in myself and see more actual progress, I’ll get more motivated… I've still managed to lose 4.6 lbs total, which is not bad at all for less than 2 weeks of a diet I've barely even been following properly!!

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