Plan B, six months later

by DaniGirl on February 23, 2009 · 20 comments

in It IS all about me, Me, only better

Wow, it’s hard to believe that it’s been just over six months since I started my “Plan B” weight-loss plan. (And, for goodness sake, did none of you think to mention at the time that “Plan B” is a morning after pill as well? It took me months to figure out the google traffic!) Anyway, at the time of my last update back at the beginning of December, I’d just reached my goal weight of 170 lbs and hoped to be down to 160 lbs by the time I went back to work. Well, it took a little bit longer than that, but can you believe that for the first time since Beloved and I met back in 1995, I’m below 160 lbs?

In six months, I’ve lost almost 35 lbs (!!) and 6 inches off each of my waist, my hips and my bust, plus another inch or two off my thighs and even my arms. Woot! And to be totally honest with you, I’m not really even trying anymore but the weight keeps trickling off. Remember all those clothes I bought for back-to-work on Boxing Day? The pants and skirts are all too loose on me now! (Which begs the question: is it worthwhile to bring them in to be altered? Or do I have to re-buy in the next size down? And can you please just tolerate me bragging for one more second while I tell you that for the first time in my adult life I’m now wearing a size TEN in jeans?!? That’s down from a very snug 16 just six months ago!)

So because a few of you have asked me, here’s the six-month overview of how I lost 35 lbs without losing my mind!

  1. Sugar is evil. I think the number one most important thing I did in the active weight-loss part of this diet is cutting out as much sugar as possible. That means not only no cake and (whimper) cookies and chocolate bars, but really reading labels and trying not to eat anything that has fructose, glucose, maltose, honey, molasses or any other sugar derivative in the first five ingredients. In the first couple of months, I ate so little sugar that when I did eat a doughnut, my stomach actually ached. Now that I’m in maintenance mode, I’m a little more liberal with the sugar, but if my weight starts to creep back up, it’s going to be the first thing to go.
  2. Cut way, way down on refined carbohydrates and starches: bread, cereal, rice, pasta, crackers, pitas, oatmeal, tortillas, all that wonderful stuff. I tried to eliminate white flour products entirely and choose whole grains whever possible. (Whole grains are absorbed into your bloodstream much more slowly, leaving you feeling satisfied longer, and are altogether more healthy for you. And remember: multrigrain does NOT mean whole grain.) This was the hardest one for me. I’d eat one serving of organic heritage whole grain cereal for breakfast, and two other choices with dinner. Now it’s just routine, but a low-carb lunch was nearly impossible for a sandwich-lover like me at the beginning!
  3. Fat is not the enemy. (Sugar is the enemy.) I’ve kept a lot of full-fat foods in my diet, and I think they’re the reason I feel like I’m eating like a real person instead of eating rabbit food all day long. In the last six months I’ve eaten enough nuts, avocados and cheese to sink a ship. Seriously, not a day goes by that I don’t eat cheese of some sort. It’s so satisfying! And I’m not afraid to fry up some mushrooms in a little butter and oil for dinner, or drizzle a little oil on my veggies, or skimp on the salad dressing. Now, I’m not saying you should deep fry everything, but the official doctor-prescribed diet I was on called for five servings of fats per day, and I actually had to step up my fat consumption to meet it.
  4. Think whole: whole grains, and whole foods. Whole as in “not processed” or processed as little as possible. Real foods, as they come from nature, are better for your body than any chemically-altered pseudo-food advertised as low-cal or low-fat. Rather than eating a frozen entrée for lunch – which, by the way, is nearly impossible to find without some sort of pasta or rice or other enriched-grain product! – I’d cut a whole red pepper into slices, eat it with hummus (protien) and a couple of pieces of cheese (protien) and a glass of vegetable cocktail. My favourite lunch is either one of those mini-cans of spicy Thai chili tuna or a couple of ounces of sliced smoked salmon with a couple of ounces of cheese and a big handful of cherry tomatoes. In other words, the fewer ingredients the better.
  5. Don’t let yourself get hungry. In the beginning, I’d eat first thing in the morning (my 2/3 cup of cereal – and because it’s whole grain and full of fibre, there’s no sugar crash and I feel full for most of the morning), then around 10:30 (usually either a hard-boiled egg or a banana), then lunch, then another snack around 3:00 (often 10 almonds – surprisingly satisfying!), and dinner around 5:30.
  6. Dinner is for “normal” eating. Because I’d been careful most of the day, dinner did not really change much over what I used to eat. Hamburgers (home-made, of course!), fajitas or tacos, chicken parmasean with spaghetti, chili, pot-roast and veggies, hearty soup with crusty bread, even pizza… these are a few of the staples in our dinner rotation. Again, the key is moderation and portion control. And loading up on the veggies!
  7. Speaking of fruits and veggies, the last thing I’ll say is that it was a lot easier to load up on veggies when I started this back in August in the midst of harvest season than it is now in the dark heart of winter. I’m really trying to stick with organic produce wherever possible while also respecting a 100-mile rule, but there’s only so much you can do in Canada in February when you’re addicted to tomatoes and red peppers!

I really hope this doesn’t come across with the evangelical zeal of the recently converted reduced, but I am still rather shocked by my own success and am more than happy to share it. So far, even three weeks of sedentary cubicle life hasn’t had the detrimental effect I’d feared, and I’m the same weight today that I was back in 1995 when Beloved and I first met. Not bad, being on the cusp of 40 with the body I last saw at 25 — and three giant babies later, to boot! I guess I’ve earned the right to brag just a little bit. *grin*


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Loukia February 23, 2009 at 9:29 am

Congratulations, Dani – that’s the best feeling ever! Your diet sounds so healthy. And being a size 10 again is amazing!
I did a variation of your diet, but without the whole grains, and I think that is why for me I fall off the wagon so often. So you eat cereal for breakfast, but not much carbs at lunch and a normal dinner? That’s great. I’m thinking of starting weight watchers again. Anyway congrats on your weight loss success, and thanks for sharing your healthy food tips to us!

2 Cath February 23, 2009 at 9:57 am

I’m really happy for you (and taking notes as I realize that I’m going to have to be much more proactive trying to lose the weight this time round). One thing you might want to think of on the organic produce side is a box – we get ours from Bryson Farms but there are lots of others. I’ve found really helps us actually eat more veggies.

One thing I’m curious about – did you have to cut out caffeine?!

3 Annika February 23, 2009 at 10:06 am

Congratulations!!! You must feel wonderful. You have TOTALLY earned those bragging rights, Dani.

I have to tell you that, when you started this six months ago, you really inspired me. I have since lost 26 pounds (12 pounds to go!) and am almost my pre-prego size six again. I lost my weight the old fashioned way. No gimmicks or special programs…just good clean eating and regular exercise. I feel incredible! Thanks for inspiring me! I hope that when I am 40, I will still be in good shape too. You rock!

4 DaniGirl February 23, 2009 at 10:22 am

26 lbs Annika? Good for you!! Yes, just like you said it — good eating and regular exercise. I’m so glad to hear my endless blathering was helpful to someone else, too!

And Cathy, give up caffiene? Ugh, not in this lifetime!! I’d be face down on the floor without it. As a matter of fact, at three cups a day with three milks per cup, a good chunk of my daily dairy alotment comes from coffee!! And one thing I didn’t mention today but I’ve mentioned before is that I was drinking a cup per day of (caffienated) green tea, which is supposed to accelerate your metabolism by 100 or so calories per day… and one cup a day with no other changes translates to a weight loss of 10 lbs per year, according to what I’ve read.

Am thinking of trying the local farmer veggie box this summer, but I’m afraid too much of it would go to waste. I’m slowly dragging the menfolk in the house along with me, but it’s a stretch to get them eating even the most traditional vegetables regularly — not sure what I’d do with a box full of kale and kohlrabi!

5 Lee February 23, 2009 at 10:23 am

That’s fantastic! Good work Dani!

Brag, brag, brag, brag and brag — you’ve earned it!

6 Mom on the Go February 23, 2009 at 10:48 am

Brag can be an ugly word. Celebrate, share, inspire – those are better and also true. I’ve been watching more of what I eat but haven’t seen the change you have. I think it’s the sugar that will have to go. A question for you: When you were counting your calories (I imagine you mostly know, now), did you count all of your veggies, even peppers, cauliflower, etc.?

7 Chantal February 23, 2009 at 11:05 am

I love hearing about this Dani. As I was reading my stomach was calling and I had already dipped into my left over valentine bag for 2 chocolates (that a kind co-worker gave me). Then I remembered I have a container of almonds in my drawer. I pulled out 10 and ate that. I will try to remember to do that instead of the chocolate. Which I will give away, after I eat all the good ones 🙂

8 Valerie February 23, 2009 at 11:31 am

That’s so awesome, Dani! I’ve been trying and going nowhere – I’m guessing it’s the sugar that is my problem. Good for you giving it up!

9 Karen at Virtually There February 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

You have totally earned the right to brag a lot!

10 Brenda February 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

DANI WAY TO GO!!!!!!
What an accomplishment! You should feel proud and brag away!
To answer your clothes question, because you got them at such a great deal, I say alter them! I can think of someone we know who sews. And, she is not far from you!

11 cait February 23, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Thank you Dani! I’ve fallen off the wagon completely, and have gotten back into the habit of disliking myself and not doing anything about it. Thanks for reminding me how to get back on!
Keep it up, hot stuff!

12 Lasha February 23, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Congratulations! I’ve been going the Weight Watchers route myself, and it is amazing to find something that acutally works and is sustainable. My downfall is the processed foods, especially at lunch. Since I can figure out the points so easily, I’m overlooking the sodium (gulp) for now. So amazing job for doing so well with this part!

13 alison February 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Congrats Dani! It’s such a wonderful feeling when the pants get looser. I’m down 12 pounds since October on WW, and it sure feels good. You’ve earned your bragging!

14 Shannon February 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Congrats!!! That is AWESOME. I still have a few pounds of baby weight to lose, but I’m not very motivated in the middle of the winter!! Your approach sounds fantastic – reasonable, healthy and moderate. You should be so proud of yourself. I totally agree on the sugar too – whenever I am moody, bloated and gaining weight I always cut back on the sugar.

We have organic produce delivered weekly by lifeorganic.ca – great company and we have been very happy with them over the past year. It’s not all kale – you can sub out 3-4 foods a week that you don’t want for something else 🙂 We’ve never had anything we didn’t eat, and have even tried a few new things that we wouldn’t have tried otherwise. Of course it is better in the summer, and more local, but they do CDN as much as possible and the quality has been awesome. Check them out!!

15 colleen February 23, 2009 at 5:08 pm

You are frickin’ AWESOME. Took me 7 years to lose the baby weight after K. By then it wasn’t all baby weight!

16 Fawn February 23, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Way to go, Dani! That’s fantastic! I can’t wait to see a picture with some of the new duds. 😀

I haven’t been in a size 10 since I got married… maybe I’ll get there again someday. Food is such a stress in our lives at the moment because of Jade’s special diet, so most nights we’re eating meals that kind friends and neighbours have donated. I’m about to hire some help, so hopefully I can get our own food back on track soon, too!

However, I *could* do something about my sugar consumption which is pretty darned high these days. (Hot chocolate EVERY DAY, I ask you!) Thank God I’m breastfeeding, or I’m sure I’d have gained back a lot of the weight I lost from giving birth to Halia! I’ve gone no sugar for a week or two at a time before, and even though I never thought I ate tons of sugar (until now) it’s amazing how many “every day” foods contain it and how much of a difference it makes.

I’ll have to research green tea again. I know I found out that one shouldn’t drink it too often while pregnant because it competes with, um, I think it was iron absorption. But maybe it’s okay now. I do love it! 🙂

For the organic food box — when we did that we got a “half share”, which was still a lot of veggies for us, but we loved it. If you can’t get a half box, maybe you could find a friend, co-worker, or neighbour to share with.

Congratulations again — I’m so excited for you!

17 Batman February 24, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Congrats!!!!

18 Jody February 25, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Well done. It’s not easy to make such big changes and to stick with them. You deserve to give yourself credit!

19 Roz February 25, 2009 at 4:00 pm

wow, that’s so awesome!!

good for you 🙂

it’s so nice to hear of someone stick to something and see it through to the end!

20 DaniGirl February 26, 2009 at 7:52 am

Thanks again, everyone – for your encouragement and support, but especially for letting me brag with impunity!

Fawn, it’s folate that the green tea interferes with. That’s what I heard, anyway. And you have a lot on your metaphysical “plate” right now — cut yourself some slack and worry about this kind of thing later, when you’ve got some balance in your life. Tomorrow is my favourite day to start a new project!

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