Monday, March 19, 2012

Everything in Moderation vs. A More Restrictive Plan

...In other words, Weight Watchers vs. Eat to Live.

I have been warned by some that what I'm doing now is probably not sustainable, and that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is slow and steady and everything in moderation. 

These are exactly the kinds of things that I was advising folks to do a year ago.  You know, when Weight Watchers was WORKING for me, and I was about to reach yet another new low weight by breaking out of the 150's.  Yes, life was good.  Yes, Weight Watchers worked for me.

...but did it really?  I'm not writing this post to ditch Weight Watchers (NOT AT ALL) because I really do love it.  Weight Watchers works.  And for some people, it works for a lifetime. 

I'm not one of them.  For me, "everything in moderation" worked short term, and didn't actually help me to heal from my food addiction.  Instead, I used the Weight Watchers plan as an excuse to binge weekly. 

"These are my WEEKLY points, and YES I am allowed to eat them all at once if I want to, so that's why I'm allowed to binge!!!!" 
"I haven't eaten ANY of my activity points, so that's why I'm allowed to binge!"
I gave myself permission to have these "controlled" binges every week on Weight Watchers.  And yes, by eating that way one can still lose about a pound a week as long as you are following the plan and exercising plenty. 

But it just wasn't sustainable for me, and eventually I needed a break to try to get over my bingeing problem.  I wasn't learning how to give up my binge-eating habit altogether while under the WeWa plan.  So I tried other plans, including Intuitive Eating... but my binges would still continue. 

I decided that perhaps a more restrictive plan could help me to overcome my obsession with certain trigger foods that for whatever reason I could not let go of, even though I knew that eating them would result in a binge. 

My list of trigger foods, FYI:
1) chips and crackers (except salt-less ones like Wasa, I seem to be able to control myself around those)
2) cookies (usually oreos, but any vegan cookie will do)
3) pizza (Amy's roasted vegetable pizza or Pizza Hut no-cheese-crispy-crust-extra-veggies... I would ALWAYS eat the entire thing in one sitting.)
4) sugary cereal, or plain cereal with syrup added to it
5) bread or tortillas (entire package in one day is NOT unusual if it's in the house)

6) peanut butter (this is usually a last resort, if all other above foods were gone)
7) vegan ice cream (ditto what I said about peanut butter)

I'm sure that I'm missing some, but those are the biggies that helped me to regain half of the weight. 

Oh yeah, here it is, my confession about how much weight I gained between September and February, up and down, but eventually up to: 183.  That was my big, scary number on February 27th that I was too scared to tell you about. 

I'm down to 172.6 (-10.4) in three weeks.  During those weeks, I have only been officially following Eat to Live for two of them.  The first week was me just trying to incorporate more ETL meals into my life while preparing for the new way of eating. 

I'm on week 2 day 7 of ETL now.  The first 6 weeks are the most restrictive, then it becomes a 90/10 plan, with 90% of the eating being the same as the first 6 weeks, and 10% being other foods.  Dr. Fuhrman also mentions that it's okay to have a "cheat" as long as it doesn't happen more often than weekly.

I don't know how long I will go without my trigger foods, but I'm pretty sure it will be longer than the 6 weeks.  I need to break the addiction to these foods. 

So that, in a nutshell, is why I'm doing this restrictive plan instead of going back on Weight Watchers.  At this point in my life, restriction is what I need. 

Plus, I'm eating healthier than I've ever eaten before. 

I'm considering trying another vegan diet after a couple of months on ETL, just to compare and to review.  Maybe either the Ornish plan or the McDouggal plan? 

I will continue to keep you all updated on how Eat to Live is going.  For now, I'm pretty happy.

Look forward to another Tasty Tuesday tomorrow!  Hopefully I'll have some new and exciting ETL recipe to share.  :-)


Rae said...
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Rae said...

I can relate to your comments about weight watchers. Worked for me for about 5 years and then I went off the deep end and gained back over half of what I had lost in a matter of months. I also used to be super good all week and then went crazy with weeklies on the weekends. For me that was feeding old patterns and I didn't see that until later. My gains also related to going back to binge/emotional eating behaviors I have had on and off.

Now I track on myfitnesspal and am doing much better. I think switching around plans from time to time is better for some people including me and possibly yourself. I will not rule out doing Weight Watchers again someday, it is a great plan that worked for me and I still like it.
However, one plan does not fit everyone.

There are a few healthy plans out there to lose weight and be healthy. Sorry to go on so long. I can understand why you are doing this and it seems that this is right for you at least for now. Congrats on your loss so far, that is terrific success while eating very healthy!

Katy said...

Leah-I completely understand what you are talking about. Sometimes that little bit of wiggle room can send you into binge mode. I think WW is a great plan for many people. I feel like it works best for those people just needed to become healthier eaters and less about food addiction. I will admit that I have issues with food addiction. I never really thought of it that way until I started getting healthier and then I realized it. Eat to Live is great because it gets a lot of the processed foods, sugars, oils, etc. out of your system. Once your body "detoxes," it's much easier to stay on track. After I did my 6 weeks on E2L, I decided to go back to WW and, once again, I went into binge mode at night and on weekends (and sometimes at other times). I have been counting calories again through Spark People but I have had to put some rules and regulations on myself. I don't eat chocolate during the week (only on the weekends) and I have also started a "No Dessert Challenge" during the week. Last night, I had frozen grapes instead of dessert after dinner. That worked fine for me. It's these kind of things that I have to do to stay on track. I will be honest, it's a battle everyday. But my health is worth it. I just try to stay focused on the bigger picture and also think about the hard work I've put it. A piece of chocolate or extra dessert (when I'm not even hungry) is not worth it to me and I will do my best to keep that in mind. You are doing great, Leah! I love reading your thoughts because so often I can completely relate! :)

Megan said...

Everyone has their own plan that works. WW worked for me for a little bit, and then My Fitness Pal helped with the rest. Once I have the baby though, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. But no judgement here, everyone is individual and needs something different to work.

Jennifer said...

You're making me curious about Eat to Live--I might have to give it a try! :)