Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Adjusting to fewer calories

Nikki asked that I talk about the adjustment I went through when I lowered my calories a few weeks ago. I went from a consistent 1400 down to a strict 1000-1200 calories per day. Admittedly I was very comfortable at 1400. It was easier to plan meals without being so restricted and I was able to be more creative in what I ate. At a year post-op, my pouch could hold more food so eating more wasn't really a problem. It did take me some time and mental adjustment to be OK with 1400, but once I was there, it felt right. In fact, I believe I would comfortably live on 1400 calories for the rest of my life -- it was a good place for me. So dropping back down to 1100-ish was a big struggle. It made me feel somewhat deprived like I was "dieting" again. My pouch still wanted the same amount of food to keep me satisfied and feeling full... but I needed to be creative with the types of food I ate. I needed food that was filling and dense but very low in calories. So instead of a dense, calorie laden casserole for lunches .... I'm now doing salad loaded with veggies and lean protein. Very filling, but with about 1/3 the calories. Snacks rarely include a 200 calorie protein bar anymore. Instead I'll do fruit and cheese or PB2 yogurt with apple slices. And adding no-calorie foods have become important too. A crushed-ice slushie is filling and satisfying and doesn't cost me any calories. Hot drinks also hit the spot for very few calories -- hot tea, hot SF apple cider mix or SF hot cocoa. Planning my meals at the beginning of the day is key, I believe. Everything I plan to eat for the day gets put into FitDay in the morning and I'm able to play around with amounts and ideas before I actually eat anything. Once I'm satisfied with the numbers and the balance - I'm in a good mental position to just ride the wave throughout the day without obsessing about which food to eat next. Weekends are more lax for me. I've come to realize that I am a rebel. If I have to follow a strict plan for too long then I tend to get rebellious and go a bit crazy with breaking rules. So by planning to be more relaxed on the weekends, it helps me stay on track during the week without feeling restricted too much. It took me a long time to figure this out about myself, but now that I know it and have adjusted my life accordingly... I seem to be able to handle the strict diet plan most of the time. One day I'll be back up to 1400 calories (or more) every day as part of my maintenance diet plan. But for now I'm willing to sacrifice in order to get to my goal weight. As long as the scale continues to move, I'm happy to comply with whatever restrictions I put on myself. ~Pam

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