Skinny Saturday

Hi friends!

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done a Skinny Saturday post… I suppose it’s because technically it really has been a while. I skipped the “official” Skinny Saturday posts in December, because I knew I’d be posting “Fight Fat Talk” posts as part of a campaign for Special K. Did you read those? You should! You can find them here: Post #1 and Post #2. I really enjoyed the opportunity I had to write those posts and vocalize my feelings on self-image issues.

And now we’re in a shiny brand new year, with new perspectives, new goals, and new ideas. I am SUPER excited for 2014. Especially in regards to my eating and weight. I have one official goal for myself this year:

I want to RELAX about eating and weight loss and free myself from emotional eating and emotional dieting.

Of course, I have no intentions of stopping my weight loss efforts! But I am so, so, so sick of riding the feast or famine roller coaster. I am just plain over obsessing about the numbers– both in my calorie/points trackers and on the scale. I’m tired of calculating. And hoarding calories/points so I can binge later. I’m tired of food controlling my mood, my plans, my comfort level, my attention span.

I need a balance. I need structure without deprivation and freedom without gluttony. So I came up with a plan that began on New Years day: I could eat sweets/treats only twice a week (Thursdays and Sundays), and on the other days I could eat what I wanted to eat outside of sweets and treats (with a concerted effort to make healthy choices).

The center piece of this plan was that I would NOT feel guilty when I ate treats on my specified days, and I would NOT feel guilty when I ate something that was higher in calories on a non-treats day. It’s only a baby step towards better eating (simply limiting sweets), and I know that. But it’s a BIG step towards freeing myself from the emotions that have come with restrictive eating. And I feel good about that part.

About 9 or 10 days into this (I’d had 3 treat days by this point), my resolve was already starting to weaken, and I found myself wanting to start a “real” diet again. I’ve always been on friendly terms with the Weight Watchers program (no matter how tiring counting points is), so I meandered over to the website. I’d seen a few Jessica Simpson ads for the “new” Simple Start WW program. I was highly dubious that WW was presenting something that was actually NEW (after all,  if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?). I figured it was just a New Years marketing ploy… and to their credit, I found it highly successful. Because, despite my doubts, Jessica’s trim waist (showcased by a tucked-in shirt, just like I’ve always wanted to wear) gave me hope that maybe WW had a new weight loss answer waiting for me this year…

And to my sheer delight, they did! Not only did they have something new, but I found a plan that was basically right in line with the plan I had already set out for myself, only with a little bit more structure (exactly what I needed).

The idea behind their Simply Filling plan is that there is MINIMAL points counting (or no counting, depending on how you work it). Seriously… you could NOT COUNT POINTS!! They provide you with a (HUGE) list of Power Foods, and you can eat any of those foods (in an portion size you like) without tracking what you eat. And it’s not a list of weird, obscure diet foods. You can eat certain meats, eggs, dairy (milk! cheese! yogurt!), vegetables, fruits, beans, some breads, rice, and even plenty of condiments. Plus, the normal zero points foods are still zero points. Which means you can also eat cocoa powder, cinnamon, 0 calorie sweeteners, jello, fat free whipped cream, etc…

Aside from these foods, you get 49 points each week to use on non-list foods, anything that you want. You can use this on desserts or burgers– anything! I decided to apply the 49 points to my Thursday and Sunday treat days, and only eat off the list on the other days.

However, I quickly ran into all the trouble that counting give me– a sense of failure when I go over, a number that I feel like I have to hit (so even if I’m full or sick on sweets, I’ll keep eating ’till I get to 49 simply because I can), and the extreme difficulty of counting the points of bites and nibbles from when I’m working on recipes for the blog.

I decided not to count those 49 points at all (a suggestion from my brother who is getting his Masters in nutrition at Columbia)… but, instead, to live a combination of my original eating plan with the Simply Filling plan. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday I only eat off the Power Foods list. And on Thursdays and Sundays I also eat the treats that I want, and I don’t feel any guilt about them. I don’t feel the need to binge, because I know that I’ll have another opportunity to eat treats again in just a few days. And that in the days in between, I’m not feeling deprived anyway, because “the list” gives me so many eating options.

After only a week of this revised system, I’m down 3 lbs, feeling super happy, and feeling great physically. An added bonus that I’ve noticed: I’m more energized in my daily workouts (a MUST on the recumbent bike, otherwise it’s not much of a workout at all!). And maybe more significant than anything else: I feel totally in control.

At the moment, I’m just in heaven. And I don’t know the last time I could have said that in regards to the eating/weight arena of my life. Ultimately, I have about 30 pounds I need to lose. Maybe I’ll lose them this year.

Or maybe I’ll get pregnant… or have to put my foot in a cast and stay on the couch all day… And maybe it’ll be years before I lose that 30 pounds. Because life is crazy, and things change all the time.

But I’m feeling okay with that. Because no matter what happens this year, this is a plan I can stick to. It’s sustainable long-term and in all sorts of situations. There’s room for improvement but it also allows plenty of room for indulgences too. And I really think it’s going to work for me. Because at this point, I’m not differentiating between “losing weight” and cutting the ties between my emotions and eating/dieting. To me, it’s all one and the same goal. I suspect that if I can rid myself of emotional eating and dieting, the weight will naturally come off. But if I find that that’s not the case, I’ll still consider 2014 a huge triumph if I end the year at the same weight but no longer attaching emotion to my food.

So that’s my plan. More or less.

And now… you’ll have to excuse me. A fun-sized bag of M&Ms is calling my name, and it’s Sunday :)

 

This post was not at all sponsored by Weight Watchers. I know there is a current blogger Weight Watchers campaign, but this post is NOT part of it.

 

 

 

 

Ashton Swank

Ashton is the owner and author of Something Swanky. Although first and foremost a wife and mother, she considers herself an online entrepreneur, freelance writer and photographer, and brand ambassador. Her focus is in food styling, food photography and recipe development.