Retrofit Feed

tweak, tweak, tweak ...

Miley tweak twerk

... that's the sound of my Retrofit advisor and me tweaking my eating plan.

While a few weeks ago, I took a flying leap off my stubborn plateau, my weight has, ahem, stabilized again lately and we're looking for ways to get the fat loss going again.

Sometimes I feel like I'm chipping away at a concrete wall with a shrimp fork.

But chip away I will.

The calorie level is fine -- 400 at each meal with two 200-calorie snacks. But she suggested that since I'm hypothyroid we limit starches to the daylight hours -- breakfast only if I'm feeling especially virtuous.

Apparently, people who are hypothyroid can have issues with grains. It's more complicated than metabolizing them or utilizing them. To get ridiculously scientific on y'all, it's impaired glycogenolysis from the skeletal muscle, or something like that. (Once again, I'm not a doctor, just a nerd with a journalism degree.)

So, yay, big salads! 

Don't get me wrong -- these are great salads, full of lean protein and healthy fats. I jokingly call them my "fatty, fat, fat salads" because I can add an avocado half, some kalamata olives and a can of olive oil-packed tuna to the pile of leafy greens and other nonstarchy vegetables and barely get over 350 calories.

I don't miss the starches at all as long as I have avocados!

(I loooove avocados.)

I use the Florida variety for smoothies and the California one for everything else. Florida avocados are just too watery and sweet for things like guacamole but they're aces in smoothies. I keep a bag of frozen Florida avocado chunks in a bag in the freezer to plop into smoothies. 

Remember back in the day when avocados were "OMG-so-fattening"? We'd avoid them while stuffing our faces with nacho cheese rice cakes. So glad we've straightened that misconception out. Fat does not make you fat (unless it's caressing a french fry).

In addition to healthy fats, avocados are also loaded with fiber and even have some protein.

I haven't weighed myself yet, but my ab area is feeling smaller, despite the lingering PMS (TMI? This is a blog, so deal...), so I'm sorta kinda looking forward to getting on the scale this week.

Crazy, huh?

A surefire way to stall your weight loss!

It's very easy to take your eating plan from that of losing weight to that of not losing weight. Here are a couple of ways. Do this every night and you'll see your weight loss stagnate -- I guarantee it!

A few fingerfuls of these:

Fingerful of peanut butter

And a few handfuls of these:

Handful of cereal

Voila! Your scale will go nowhere.

And that's what I had been doing every time I'd have a modicum of success on the scale. I'd throw a peanut butter and cereal bomb into the works and shut the whole thing down. That snowball of success, stuck on a gooey, wheaty speedbump.

Notice I said had been doing.

When I got on the scale last week and found that my totally awesome weight loss from the week before disappeared, I took stock of my eating. Sure, I was journaling my meals and snacks, but these things? They just happened to launch themselves into my piehole. 

I figured the combo was about 300 calories -- enough to take me from weight-loss mode to maintenance mode. It really doesn't take much.

So my Retrofit advisors and I worked on a way to end the habit. I now have a totally awesome 1,600-calorie eating plan with a few favorite meals, chosen by me, so that I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything or eating someone else's favorites. We made a plan of a couple different choices for my meals and snacks and they're everything I love.  It comes out to three 400-calorie meals and two 200-calorie snacks. 

That amount of calories used to seem sooo hiiiigh, but really, it's not. I used to think I couldn't lose weight on that many calories but I can. I'm also a lot more active than I was a few years ago, especially in the strength-training department and I need the extra calories or else I am highly cranky. When I plug my day into My Fitness Pal, I shoot for the macros to be about equal. When I do that, I really get into weight-loss mode.

I haven't yet weighed myself (that comes on Wednesday) but my jeans are really loose and my wedding ring is barely holding onto my finger. (It's got the spins.)

As for the nighttime eating, I've been "front-loading" the day with my meals and snacks and pushing dinner closer to 7:30 or even 8. (Hey, it works for me; call me cosmopolitan) That way, I'm really not hungry at night, and if I really, really am, I'll grab an apple. 

Brought to you by the letter S: Synthroid, snacks and structure

SynthrodI think I may have cleared up one reason my weight crept back up over the past few weeks and it all has to do with a tiny lilac pill.

Right at the time I reached my all-time low on the scale, I switched to a generic version of Synthroid. At first everything seemed OK but then I started to noticed the old (like pre-1988) symptoms: extreme lethargy, fuzzy hair, really, really, REALLY dry skin.

After taking the real deal for the past three days, I can feel the difference already. My workout didn't feel like the Bataan Death March, I'm not walking around with a giant tube of heavy-duty Bliss hand cream and when I wake up in the morning I'm awake. 

I also thought I was having an all-day hot flash today but then realized I was just "heating up" again after being cold and tired for the past month.

Weird how such a tiny pill can do so much.

 Second on our list of "S'es" -- too much snacking. When you work from home, it's easy to mosey over to the kitchen and I've been doing that too often. 

Now that I'm not counting calories, I realize I have to do things differently. I could, in theory, eat every 20 minutes and as long as I'm within my calorie range I'm OK. But since I'm not counting, I have to be much more aware of what's going into my mouth. Which brings me to the third "S" -- structure.

I can sometimes be a little loosey-goosey with my meals and snacks. Sometimes I get up, have a giant mug of coffee, don't get around to eating breakfast until nearly noon, feel like I need to get "caught up" on my meals and end up in a whirl of maxi meals, mini meals and off-schedule snacks.

So my Retrofit advisor and I came up with a plan for me to be more structured in my meal times. I came up with windows: Breakfast is an hour after I get up (gotta wait for the Synthroid), lunch is 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., afternoon snack is 3 to 4 p.m. and dinner is 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Publix greenwise ice creamIf and only if I need a nighttime snack, I can have one and my plan is for that nighttime snack to be fresh fruit because it'll satisfy that sweet craving and it'll add in water and fiber. And once a week I can indulge in something -- tonight, for example, I had a serving of Publix Greenwise organic chocolate ice cream.

Hey, if you're going to splurge, make it good.

Breaking out of 'Calorie Prison'

This past week was my first full week of not obsessively counting calories and making sure my macronutrients were compartmentalized into a perfect pie.

I lost 2 pounds and my head felt free, for lack of a better descriptor.

I'm still journaling what I eat, on the Retrofit dashboard, but only the food gets logged, not the calories or the fat or the protein or the fiber.

Interesting thing is there are very few parameters but what parameters there are make me strive to eat a better diet. 

Every meal has a few boxes labeled Fruit, Vegetable, Both, or None. (Do you really want to tick that None box?) You also mark whether the meal was planned or spontaneous, seated with the food on a plate or on the go.

And the between-meal foods are either marked Snack or Treat.

This all makes me think extra hard about what I'm eating. So instead of adding granola to my yogurt this morning, I added fresh fruit. 

When I made a smoothie for lunch, I added a half a banana and a big handful of baby spinach. 

Instead of an afternoon "treat" I had a salad with turkey and miso dressing.

It's a much more holistic way of looking at my food, and since I really don't know exactly how many calories I'm eating in the course of a day, there's no late-night surge to eat all the calories left in my allowance.

It really feels less "crazy making."

And if you want to read about "crazy making," check out this article, titled "I'm Finally Thin -- But Is Living in a Crazymaking Food Prison Really Worth It?"

Even though I'm not at goal weight, I can totally relate to this writer's plight.