My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How I did the diet

It occurs to me that while I've been bitching and moaning about my dieting, I haven't actually given any details that might help someone else.

I am the anti-dieter.  I decided years ago that I'm happier being fat than I am being on a diet.  Seriously, other than not having kids, the whole trying to lose weight thing is the biggest source of misery in my life.  So this need to lose a lot of weight really fast has caused me a lot of tears and absolute terror that I would inevitably fail.  I haven't fully succeeded yet (my weight has popped up before and weigh-in is still 7 days away), but I'll give you a few of the things I've been doing.  Hopefully there's a tip here that might help someone else. 

Disclaimer - I do NOT recommend that anyone restrict their diet as rigidly as I have nor to lose weight as quickly as I have.  What I've done is drastic, but there's simply nothing I won't do for my kids so I did it.  Ok, so now I'll try to give tips without giving a how-to guide to doing things the unhealthy way.

First and foremost - have a supportive partner.  Poor K has had his diet restricted too so that he's not waving food under my nose and he's had to sit through a few sobbing nights where I screamed about my hungry stomach, how impossible my goal is, and how dare those bastards in white coats force this on me.  He's gone out of his way to figure out how to cook small meals (large snacks) with as few calories as possible and will look up the numbers for me before we eat so I don't accidentally eat more than I'm allotted for the day.  If I tell him I did a mile on the treadmill, he gives me footrubs.  Ok, he expects a backrub in return, but still!  Footrubs!

You know what?  That's my advice for all of this infertility bullshit.  Have the right partner.  No matter what gender combination you prefer, having the right person by your side is just about necessary for survival through all this.

Second - I'm already on metformin to prevent gestational diabetes and that really helps.  Last summer when I originally went on it, I lost 14lbs with no effort at all.  If you're really overweight, and your body is threatening diabetes, discuss this with your doctor.  So yeah, I'm kinda cheating in that I've got some medicinal help.

For the most part, I went old school.  Eat less, move more.  More calories going out than in.  According to calculations, it takes my body 2300 to run and maintain its current weight at my current lifestyle (of sitting on my ass doing practically nothing).  3500 calories = one pound whether that's going in or being worked off.

I signed up for Spark People.  No matter how obscure the food, someone has put in the calculations.  I have yet to find a food that wasn't already entered.  I plugged in my weight goal, the date of that goal, and it came up with my daily target range.  Tracking seriously helped and not having to enter every little bit of the nutrition label myself made tracking actually happen this time.  I've done Weight Watchers before, but this was SOOOOO much easier.

I bought some hydroxycut products and coincidentally had an appointment with my GP the next day.  I took those to him, had him read over the ingredient list, and he threw them away.  In their place, he gave me some samples of Alli.  Disclaimer again - this stuff won't do the work for you, but if you work to lose 5lbs, it will help take off an extra one or two for you.  I only took a pill when I ate something with fat in it and did NOT go over 3 pills a day.  I often only took 1 or 2 per day.  Apparently it grabs the fat you're eating and flushes it out of your body before it can be absorbed.

Protein, protein, protein.  This is the key.  It's filler, it's energy, and it's low calorie.  When we went diet grocery shopping, we stocked up on snackable proteins.  90 calorie packs of lunch meat that I just eat on it's own, one slice at a time.  Mush up some beans and put those on celery instead of peanut butter because they are lower in calories.  Cheese sticks.

Shellfish - great source of protein.  We got some precooked shrimp that we kept in the fridge.  I would snack on that when I just wanted one or two bites to tide me over for an hour.  The cocktail sauce for shrimp cocktail is also pretty low calorie.  Crab was on sale so we had a dinner of nothing more than a steamed dungeness crab and some melted butter.  Took forever to eat but even with the butter the whole meal was less than 200 calories and I felt stuffed.

I made lattes at home using this thing and an old espresso maker who's frother is broken.  Instead of my usual 16oz white chocolate mocha, I made a 12 ounce with sugar free vanilla syrup and 1% milk.  Sometimes I would use half a shot of regular sugared syrup and it only added a few calories.  Honestly, this is the best balance for me.  I tried a lot of other breakfasts, but as soon as I went back to a latte of some sort, I felt decent during the day.  The milk has the right amount of fat and protein, and the espresso gives you a little caffeine kick to help you get going.

Fatty spread substitutes - I love the texture of fatty foods like cream cheese.  But obviously, those were out.  Instead, quacamole, bean dip, cauliflower puree with some fat free cheese.  Sorry, but I couldn't find any kind of low calorie peanut butter.  I tried, as far as I can tell, it doesn't exist.  Oh, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray for popcorn and rice.

Thin out the fat so a little goes a long way.  I had a veggie lunch platter with ranch sauce.  I emptied out half the sauce and replaced it with a fat free ranch.  Mixing the two took away the bitter of the fat free stuff, and then I only ate a little bit of it on my veggies.  Yes, it's more calories than going with the fat free stuff alone, but much more satisfying for only a few calories.  A good trade off.

Veggies - the "well duh" of dieting.

Fruits - go for the filling fruits and eat them with a dash of protein so you don't get a sugar crash later.  The protien (like cheese) will carry that sugar energy in your body longer so you don't spike then crash.  Fruits have some calories to them, so make them count.  Melons are good.  Cherries are nice and dense but are also a diuretic, so be careful with those.

Water - I keep a plastic cup and straw with me at all times.  I like a lot of ice so it's hard to measure how much water I'm actually drinking.  So I put a 72oz jug of water in the fridge every morning, told my hubby to leave it for me, and then made it my goal to finish off that jug every day.  Didn't usually make that goal, but I got close.

Split servings in half.  Half a chicken breast.  Half the cocktail sauce.  Half the bread.  If you want the other half, you can go back for it, but you'll often find you don't need it.

Deconstruct what you usually eat and only eat certain components.  I like Reuben sandwiches.  Today, I put 2oz of deli corned beef on my plate, half a cup of sauerkraut, and indulged in a tablespoon (serving size is 2 tablespoons!) of thousand island dressing over the sauerkraut and ate it with a fork.  130 calories and the flavors I actually wanted.

Think a lot of snacks, not meals.  If you're hungry, eat 100-200 calories and make sure some of it is protein (again, I love the deli meat packs).   That will hold off hunger for an hour or two.  Then do it again.  If you satisfy yourself like this all day, if you're awake 16 hours per day and you eat something every 2 hours, that's about 1600 calories per day.  That will get you there and your body will know that you're going to keep feeding it and hopefully not go into starvation mode.

Exercise is my nemesis.  I tried a Krav Maga class and I wanted to die before we finished the warm up.  20 minutes in, I was in the bathroom trying to stave off the dry heaves.  But I knew I couldn't do this on diet alone.

The acupuncturist recommended that even if I could only exercise for 5 minutes, do it before eating anything in the morning to ensure that the body is burning up its own reserves and not what you just ate.  So every day, I've been on the treadmill at a slow speed for 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning, and then again later in the day for a total of around 30 minutes a day.  Thank you Mom and Dad for the hand-me-down treadmill!

We hooked up an old computer on a table next to the treadmill which also serves as a DVD player.  Nice screen, and you've got all of youtube and your dvd collection to keep you company.  Hubby got me The Kids in the Hall: Complete Series Megaset for Christmas last year and I've been working my way through those.  It's really good because it's only 2-5 minutes of commitment to watch through the next sketch.  Keeping yourself on the treadmill for just another 2-5 minutes, until the next sketch is over, it tacks on a lot of minutes when you otherwise would have gotten off the darned thing.  If you go to a gym, get the Netflix app for your phone and stream from that.

Ok, and I'll also say get a hobby that keeps your hands busy.  I have a new job doing pottery which in one way doesn't help matters.  I have to sit on my butt when I'm working.  On the other hand, it's really hard to eat when your hands are covered in clay!  Just decided that I don't care if my water cup is dirty on the outside and that's all I have in my studio with me.  If I want to eat, gotta make some effort to do it.

Hopefully something here can be integrated into what you're already doing for yourself.  I've been miserable, but I'm surviving.  And I'm succeeding at the one thing in life that I've failed at every single day for more than 30 years.  It's not fun.  Others aren't enjoying it.  But, when it's important enough, if I can do it, ANYONE, and I'm looking at YOU "but I'm the exception that will always fail" person out there, ANYONE can make progress.  I'm not going to claim that anyone can be thin, I certainly don't expect to ever be, but anyone can make some progress, turn that into the new status quo, and then make a little more progress again later.

My current weight is lower than it was at my wedding 6 years ago.  I'm still fat, but I'm in a range of numbers I never thought I'd see again in my lifetime.

PS - as soon as I'm done with this dieting bullshit, I'll post for you the recipes for Frango Pie and Chili-getti.  The two most anti-diet dishes ever dreamed up and put on a plate!


  1. This diet sounds a lot like the one I was on when pregnant with my twins :) Protein, protein, protein, add some veggies, and then more protein. The opposite, of course, being that when pregnant w twins you have to pile on the calories, they just can't ever be EMPTY calories, and avoiding as much as the processed stuff as possible. Your deconstructed Reuben is brilliant :)

    See, you are preparing yourself for a healthy pregnancy, not dieting ;)

  2. Wow, talk about will power. I have been finding out that protein is the key for me in losing weight. I tried Alli, but it just didn't work for me, it kind of had the opposite effect of what it was supposed to.

    Keep going strong!!!

  3. @Chickenpig
    I knew nothing about protein before my twins too and ever since then I'm obsessed with it. Maybe that's why I never gained my grief weight back! After losing the girls, my weight went down as far as I had seen it go in years (lower than when I conceived) and I've pretty much been holding that number ever since. It's only this last 2 weeks that the weight has changed again, and it's going down.

  4. Thanks for sharing what you have been doing. With my husband's issues we may be looking at IUI (at the least) down the line, and I know that my current BMI of about 45 is going to be frowned at.

    I have lost over 150 pounds before - and I know that I can get back on the healthy wagon again.

    I am cheering you on to reach your goals and get to do your FET in August.


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