Early 20’s vs Late 20’s: Dieting

I never want to talk much about my attempts to lose a little weight on here, but as it’s on my project list and currently on my mind, I have come to the recent realization that I am not as young as I once was.

In the beginning of 2008, I was 23 and fresh out of college.  My last year of college had been rough – getting too little sleep, having too much stress, and eating far too much fast food in the middle of the night/early morning.  I finally gained my “Freshman 15” as a senior.  So I decided to do something about the 15 pounds I had gained + the 15 vanity pounds I wanted to lose on top of that; I joined Weight Watchers.

Now, 5 ½ years later, I am back in the same position, having gained back, over the last few years, that 30 pounds I lost in 2008.  I want to lose it again.  And again, I am trying Weight Watchers.

At 29, it’s different this time.  Maybe it’s unfair to just pinpoint the age difference, as several things have changed, such as my marital status, my social life, and my will-power. But age definitely has something to do with the change of my metabolism, eating habits, and “wisdom”.

When I was 23, the weight seemed to magically fall off.  It wasn’t quick, but it was steady.  Week after week, I’d see a smaller number on the scale  – 4 pounds lost, 2 pounds lost, 1 pound lost.  I wanted to lose the weight and that was enough then.  I took up running; I started tracking what I ate; I went to the weekly Weight Watchers meetings.  It worked.  From February to May, I lost 30 pounds, and I made Lifetime membership by staying at my goal weight for 6 weeks.

If it was so easy then, why is it so hard now?  Have I just suppressed the memories of wanting to shovel chocolate in my mouth or did I really not have that trouble then?

The good thing about WW is that you do track your food, and the good thing about being a pseudo-hoarder is that you keep those food journals.  I was looking over my old journal yesterday, and here’s one of the main differences:  I lived off of Progresso Soup and SmartOnes frozen dinners; now I cook.  I’m pretty sure my husband would have thrown an intervention for my former single self back in 2008 if he had known me; frozen dinners, full of who knows what, and canned soup, full of the same plus loads of sodium, are not healthy.  But they worked.

So I guess I’m labeling that one as with growing older comes wisdom disipline the desire to fuel my body with truly healthy food, not just low calories.  And that makes it a little more work for me and the will power.  Cursed by cooking?  Get ready for some new diet-friendly recipes.

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Current Thoughts on Menu Planning

Menu planning is one of those things that I have a love/hate relationship with right now.  The organization junkie inside of me loves making a list of meals for the week ahead, developing a grocery list from that, and knowing what I’m going to cook when I come home from work every day.  It helps keeps us on budget – our goal being to spend no more than $100 a week on groceries. Having a plan for the week and for grocery shopping is a necessity to stay within that; you can’t just walk around the store, randomly tossing items into the cart.

 

In the 5 ½ months that we’ve been married (plus probably a year before when I started trying this), I feel like I’ve developed a knack for menu planning.  No more nights of staring down the pantry, wondering what I could make from what’s inside, ultimately deciding to order Chinese food.

 

But like I said, it’s a love/hate relationship – and the hate comes from the fact that it has gotten complex.  The planning was relatively easy until last December; I would just pick things that I knew how to make, ask the husband for requests, maybe add a new recipe in once and a while, and make sure there was enough variety so that we didn’t eat the same meals week after week.  Then, at the start of December, we decided to try The Zone Diet (which you can read about that on the blog I started to keep up with that, though since we derailed, I haven’t kept up with it).   We keep it up for three weeks, were derailed by the holidays and life, but we are planning to get back on track Saturday (and I plan to keep up with that on the other blog again – two blogs? This could get crazy!).

 

So today, I started planning for next week.  Planning has become like another job.  If I didn’t work, I think I’d spend all day researching recipes and planning…but I do work, and I don’t have time for that.  It’s complex because you have to learn to speak the Zone’s “block” language (blocks are how to measure food); either convert current recipes you use to blocks and find balance or look for new recipes that are already block friendly; and then you have to make sure the proportions are correct – for two people who get very different portions.  I rant more about that here, so I’ll spare you and say the moral of the story:  I can understand why people don’t stick with diets – they’re too complex!

 

I’ll be glad when Zone menu planning is as easy as menu planning was before, but until then, it’s staying in that love/hate category.