Struggling - New Challenges/Need Solutions

MsCzar
MsCzar Posts: 768 Member
That Oscar Wilde fella said it best: "I can resist everything except temptation."

For more than a year, I've been eating mostly in deficit, being prudent with deficit breaks, carefully logging my calories and exercising daily. After losing 5.7 stone/~ 80lbs I've landed woefully shy of the mark facing recent changes and challenges.

Challenge #1: Houseguests
Wishing to be a remarkably good hostess, I kept up a kitchen grazing station along with a well-stocked deli drawer in the fridge and abundant ice cream in the freezer. There were extravagant restaurant meals, delish cocktails and nightly glasses of wine. The guests have now departed and I will reclaim my kitchen, but I am going nowhere NEAR a scale for at least two weeks!

Challenge #2: Resuming Work
At work, there are catered meals, 24/7 craft services and very dangerous down time. And if ever you can't get to the food, food will magically come to you.

Challenge #3: Summer Schedule
I'm also struggling with rising much earlier (5-7AM) when at home during the summer months. Simply time shifting what I've been successfully doing (2 meals - no eating after 6PM) doesn't translate well since it would mean having dinner by 2PM and then not eating for the rest of the day.

Until recently, I was doing so well keeping calories under control. Clearly I need to amp up my resolve, adjust my mindset and come up concrete solutions. Not sure if I need a kick in the pants or a reassuring pep talk - but I know that this is the best place to ask for help when things go a bit sideways. 💗

Replies

  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,496 Member
    I would suggest making a few changes. As life evolves so must your WOE. You now have to find what works for you-fast, so you don't regain. Face it, it might be nice to change things up for the summer and then in the fall you can go back to your habits. Try new things. Work will probably be a challenge, but can be done. There is a solution for every problem, you just have to search for it.

    Wishing you well for the summer months. I, myself, quit logging and go to the beach. I've done this for 7 years. I just make sure to weigh everyday and since we eat out frequently, take home half. The hardest to resist is gelato. There is a place that makes fantastic creative gelato flavors. However, I only indulge for the summer.
  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,122 Member
    Houseguests: This sounds like a problem that has already solved itself. If you're working on "reclaiming your kitchen," as you delightfully put it, if you can't give the food away for practical or economic reasons, perhaps break up that grazing station (also delightful!) and deli drawer into pre-portioned snack packs. Or, if the grazing station has nonperishables like granola bar type things, put those away as emergency rations, if you're in an area prone to seasonal natural disasters like hurricanes. My favorite tip for bulk ice cream: eat it out of a teacup, ideally with a tiny spoon as well. I think part of it is psychological - if I weigh out a 90g serving into a regular-size cereal bowl it looks like a pittance, but it looks very generous in the teacup. The novelty of tiny bowl and tiny spoon also seems to help, somehow, and tiny spoon means smaller bites so it lasts longer.

    Work: Do you have access to a refrigerator and microwave, could you bring your own food and just practice saying no to the catering/craft services? If not, do you have or could you get access to catering/craft services' nutrition information for the food they magically bring you, so that you can at least make an informed choice about what to get from them?

    Schedule: If I'm understanding the problem correctly, you've been following an intermittent-fasting-style eating plan where you eat 2 meals during the day and stop eating after a certain time. Now that you're waking up earlier during the summer because Reasons, you're finding it hard to continue fasting until your eating window opens. Do I have that right? Assuming I do, you have basically two options:
    * Extend your eating window by a couple of hours and shave 100-150 calories off of your two main meals for a 200-300 calorie breakfast earlier in the day.
    * Figure out what you need to do to be able to fast for an extra 2-3 hours in the morning. Caffeine has an appetite-suppressant effect for many people, if you can do unsweetened black coffee or tea.
  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 768 Member
    Thanks all! Very good insights there.
    My favorite tip for bulk ice cream: eat it out of a teacup, ideally with a tiny spoon as well. I think part of it is psychological - if I weigh out a 90g serving into a regular-size cereal bowl it looks like a pittance, but it looks very generous in the teacup.

    Work: Do you have access to a refrigerator and microwave, could you bring your own food and just practice saying no to the catering/craft services?


    Schedule:
    * Extend your eating window by a couple of hours and shave 100-150 calories off of your two main meals for a 200-300 calorie breakfast earlier in the day.

    Umm - The ice cream issue is no longer an issue as of about seven minutes after houseguest taillights. I have ZERO resolve around ice cream and that is precisely why I canNOT have it in the house. Problem solved - albeit badly.

    No fridge or microwave at work. The 'Just Say No' option is really the only option and I will have to simply have to grow a better backbone. Maybe I will start by trying to limit myself to one treat rather than sampling several temptations.

    I don't much care about maintaining a fasting window, but that 11AM meal may get rather stingy.

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,852 Member
    It's a total platitude, but the only way you fail is by giving up. You haven't done that.

    The exceptional time period (the guest interval) won't matter much, as it gets smaller in the rear-view mirror. Spend a few minutes brainstorming about how to make the next guest interval a little easier on you and your goals, rehearse that script a few times in your head to groove it in, then apply it next time. Keep doing that after each future guest interval, until you find an approach that's the right approach/balance for you. It'll get solved, or at least reach "manageable". (I have some things I'm still trying to figure out how to handle really well, in year 5+ of maintenance. They're still not great, but things can work out OK in the overall context, even with a few loose ends.)

    On the other points, you've identified the problem. That's step 1. Start brainstorming and auditioning solutions. Something will stick.

    I like 88olds advice to keep logging: That's your journal of experimentation, on the way to finding what works. It's a good tool, looked at in that way (vs. starting to let it be some kind of melodrama about success, failure, shame, anxiety . . . nah. Neutral record of experiments.)

    Catering/craft services: Are you in the entertainment industry? If so, aren't there some healthy-weight people? What do they do? I'm not saying "do that", but rather that they may be a source of strategies to try out.

    You've come this far, you've developed lots of self-monitoring skills and self-awareness. You can navigate this for sure. Just keep chipping away at it.

    Best wishes!
  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 768 Member
    edited June 2021
    AnnPT77 wrote: »

    Catering/craft services: Are you in the entertainment industry? If so, aren't there some healthy-weight people? What do they do? I'm not saying "do that", but rather that they may be a source of strategies to try out.

    Yes, I'm in the entertainment industry and as you might imagine, even after losing a lot of weight I am often still the fattest person in the room. I do log every day - no matter what.

    Looking at my most recent work day, I had:
    Bacon, egg & cheese breakfast sandwich on a pretzel bun
    Oikos Yogurt
    Full sized pkg.M&Ms
    small pkg mixed nuts
    two large salted chocolate-covered caramels
    Tuscan chicken wrap
    Caesar salad
    cheese cake

    Guesstimated at around 2200 - 2500 calories. Houseguests aside, these are foods I would NEVER have in my home, so I am never tempted. Yes, it's very easy to look at that list see what I should have avoided and yes, there are many healthier options available. I need to practice making better choices, my Just Say No in the moment and grow the heck UP.

    I am so grateful to have this place with all of you to work through this.
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,607 Member
    This is going to be way outside the box and since you said you would never have those things in your house may not work for you, but.

    I have a problem turning down 'treat' or 'luxury' foods, sometimes. My husband buys them for me, my kids buy them for me, events often have them - etc.

    I am also really bad at saying 'no' and potentially hurting feelings, on top of a weird 'this is a limited resource and I might not ever get to have it again' psychology.


    When the food comes to me at home, I have taken to taking them and then putting them into a bag in the freezer. "Not now" works for me in a way that a hold no does not. Bonus: Once frozen it is then a special excursion to get to it and it now takes 900 years for me to manage to eat it.

    When food comes to me at events/out and about I take it and IMMEDIATELY hand it off to someone else or the trash can, depending. Which is not always easy but is still easier for me than dealing with people who are actively pushing food.

    (Also stop berating yourself. You don't need to grow up; your'e not immature. This stuff is hard)
  • candysashab88
    candysashab88 Posts: 71 Member
    I’m listening here. Cuz I seem to be at a plateau
  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 768 Member
    edited June 2021
    I haven't stopped thinking about AnnPT77's reminder: "The only way you fail is by giving up." Forgive me if I seem to go on and ON about what to all the world probably looks like a fairly trivial and/or temporary issue.

    Some solutions I've been pondering:

    Houseguests: (Thanks goal06082021!)
    Buy smaller quantities or individual packages of tempting foods, even if it means paying a bit more for the convenience packaging and hitting the shops more frequently. It's far too easy to dip into that filled cookie jar, canister of mixed nuts or cheese tray. Have pre-made low calorie, tasty and attractive alternatives to wine and cocktails at the ready so that I join my guests without feeling left out or off-putting.

    Work: < sigh > I really need to put on my Big Girl Pants and make better choices. It isn't as if I don't know any better. I also need to get over my "Hey! Free yummy food!" mindset and limit the endless grazing. I resolve to check out all the offerings without immediately grabbing something, walk away to think about my choices and try not show up to work hungry - even if it means chowing down on a bag of grated carrots during the commute. I'll just have to try not to show up with orange teeth. :) Then again, brushing my teeth upon arrival mightn't be a bad idea.

    Schedule: This morning, I switched my usual 400-500 calorie breakfast for coffee and an apple while I chopped veg for tonight's stir-fry with prawns. The prep kept my hands busy and my mind on Calories Future.

    Thank you all for letting me work through this here. Your insights and suggestions are extremely valuable. Please add any helpful suggestions or things that have worked for you.


  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,496 Member
    What you're facing isn't trivial at all and most of us face it sooner or later. As you're doing, trying new strategies is the way. You have to find the balance between living and enjoying life and keeping your weight stable. Most will tell you how difficult that is. See what works--throw out what doesn't.

    1. Are houseguests a frequent or rare happening?
    2. At work maybe pick one of the offerings (log it) and don't arrive starving. I would suggest something a bit more filling than carrots, but you do what works.
    3. Prepping for your evening meals so you don't eat everything in sight when you get home.

    I'm confident that you'll ace this. Good luck.
  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 768 Member
    Are houseguests a frequent or rare happening?

    About thrice a year. Next visit: Maybe late September.
  • DD265
    DD265 Posts: 468 Member
    I'm really big on being a 'good host' too, but I'm coming to realise that actually people don't care as much about having the option of three types of biscuit as I do about providing it. I may have an advantage in that I know the people who stay with us well, but I try to get just one kind of biscuit that I know is their favourite or whatever.

    An alternative, is to get exercise calories in before the guests arrive/after they leave so you have more to play with if it's a one night stay. Or to look at a weekly, rather than daily deficit. I didn't like the weekly deficit so much because I hated being 'in the red' for a day, but it was only one day, at least - it helps that these were short stays.
  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,496 Member
    MsCzar wrote: »
    Are houseguests a frequent or rare happening?

    About thrice a year. Next visit: Maybe late September.

    OK. Then that isn't a huge problem. You can relax and just change things up a bit the next time they arrive. It's important to enjoy your guests. I live in Rome, Italy and have always had lots of guests.
  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 768 Member
    I live in Rome, Italy and have always had lots of guests.

    Two of my guests are next off to Santerino by way of Portugal. I may avail myself of their U.S. digs while they are off soaking up Italian sun.

  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 768 Member
    Oops - make that Santorini. I'm total rot at geography. 🙃
  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,496 Member
    MsCzar wrote: »
    Oops - make that Santorini. I'm total rot at geography. 🙃

    I know---Santorini is in Greece.
  • 88olds
    88olds Posts: 4,150 Member
    MsCzar wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »

    Catering/craft services: Are you in the entertainment industry? If so, aren't there some healthy-weight people? What do they do? I'm not saying "do that", but rather that they may be a source of strategies to try out.

    Yes, I'm in the entertainment industry and as you might imagine, even after losing a lot of weight I am often still the fattest person in the room. I do log every day - no matter what.

    Looking at my most recent work day, I had:
    Bacon, egg & cheese breakfast sandwich on a pretzel bun
    Oikos Yogurt
    Full sized pkg.M&Ms
    small pkg mixed nuts
    two large salted chocolate-covered caramels
    Tuscan chicken wrap
    Caesar salad
    cheese cake

    Guesstimated at around 2200 - 2500 calories. Houseguests aside, these are foods I would NEVER have in my home, so I am never tempted. Yes, it's very easy to look at that list see what I should have avoided and yes, there are many healthier options available. I need to practice making better choices, my Just Say No in the moment and grow the heck UP.

    I am so grateful to have this place with all of you to work through this.

    You’re right, calories counting is for adults. Fact is we can’t weigh 150 lbs living a 200 lb life. First thing I’d do is knock that cheese off the breakfast sandwich and pitch half the bun. No, that’s the second thing I’d do. First thing I’d do is not leave the house without at least 2 apples and a plan. What I’m eating on your list is the modified breakfast sandwich, the yogurt, the chicken wrap, the Caesar with the dressing on the side and 1/2 of the M&Ms. Or maybe the caramels instead of 1/2 M&Ms. Depends on the numbers. I generally avoid nuts even though they can be nutritious as they are tiny calorie bombs.

    Another strategy regarding treats. Is it an urge or a craving? Urges should be resisted as they undermine my plan. I wasn’t planning on eating a donut today. Wasn’t even thinking about donuts. But here they are at the office. Now I want one. This is an urge. If I give into this I’m blowing up my plan because someone else decided that donuts was a thing to do. Who’s life is this, mine or theirs? Well, its mine. No room in todays plan for a donut. What about a half? Maybe but I have ice cream planned for later (I always have ice cream planned for later). If I do even half a donut, then no more treats today. Move on.

    Now its tomorrow. Maybe I want to pop into a donut shop on the way into the office. Good thing there’s no time for that. 2 days later- still thinking about those donuts. This is now officially a craving. The way to deal with a craving is to satisfy it. Going to have to get out my calculator and fit a donut into my plan. Not easy but possible. So eventually I’m going to get around to cheese cake. Not the easiest thing to work with but doable.

    One other thing that helped me was always knowing what I planned to eat next. I’m not very good at “Just say no,” but I’m pretty good at delay. I had my plan friendly after work snack waiting for me at home. But first I had to get past the vending machines on the way out. Knowing I had an appealing option at the house got me as far as the car. Stopping after that would have been a big pain in the neck. But I had to have good snacks planned at home. I wasn’t going to be able tp pass up chips to get home to carrot sticks.

    And sorry but that looks like more than 2500 calories to me.
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,607 Member
    edited June 2021
    I think there are a lot of pretty profound truths above.

    One of the big things I've noticed about myself on this particular journey is that I am MOST likely to fall off the 'wagon' not because I have a strong desire (craving) for high calorie treat foods, but because I have a strong desire to *not deal with food*. I don't want to go grocery shopping. I don't want to figure out dinner. I don't want to meal prep food. I sure as heck don't want to cook. I just want to eat something and be done with it.

    But I still have taste buds. The choice between a questionable looking gas station banana or the donuts right above the iffy fruit is... weighted toward the donut, in as much as it's a decision instead of impulse (it's an impulse). Also the donut doesn't leave me with a banana peel to deal with, just a piece of parchment paper.

    Best advice I can give you there is to make as sure as you can that you either take advantage of the willingness to deal with food when it's there, and/or otherwise make sure you're stocked with easy stuff you LIKE and that serves your weightloss goals.

    And also just examine if that's a pattern for you. In which case recognizing it can help.

    (I still hate grocery shopping ad pizza night is still most likely to happen when I'm procrastinating buying groceries. My solution is to keep a running order/open cart for click and collect online so when it's time I just check out. It... works well enough that pizza night procrastinating stops at one night instead of a week of fast food/take out while I AVOID JUST BUYING FOOD WHY IS THAT HARD?)





  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 768 Member
    I LOVE to both grocery shop and cook. Houseguest stays exempted, I keep a very healthy kitchen, plan and cook filling, low-cal, nutritious meals and measure and log every morsel that crosses my lips. I don't really get cravings and have no problem working a treat or two into my deficit/maintenance plan. For more than a year, it's been nothing but smooth sailing.

    What I am struggling to overcome is the recent introduction of unplanned food opportunities suddenly emerging post-pandemic and urges of the moment. I WILL figure it out. It'll take some effort and thought adjustment - hence, this thread. Honestly, I don't stress about a once-in-a-while calorie indulgence as long as that remains an anomalous event. But when the temptations of higher calorie days present repeatedly, I need to have solid strategies in place.

    There have been so many valuable suggestions and insights here. Thank you all! 💗