Cindy Lou Who

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I'm in the process of adding calories back in to stop weight loss and to find my "new normal" calories per day. I have to confess that most of the added calories going into MFP are wine, chips, and just eating more at my meals. What are some healthy way to add calories without stretching my pouch? The other night I had over a cup of dinner and it scared me. And I've tried adding avocado or nuts as healthy calorie-dense foods, but they are mostly fat. (Is that good?) 

I've called my NUT with this question, but when she hears my weight she tells me not to worry, that I'm not underweight according to BMI charts. So no help there. 

On another note, I am inwardly struggling with myself on this whole topic. My husband is saying I'm too thin (about 5 pounds ago). I look a bit scrawny without clothes on. I'm pretty muscly so it makes sense that I shouldn't necessarily be at the low end of the BMI chart. But it's also thrilling to keep losing, and I like how I look in most clothes. It's fun to keep losing and it's hard to turn off the habits of over a year! And I'm still in the "healthy BMI" range. So every day I can feel an angel on one shoulder telling me to add calories and another one on the other shoulder wants to toy with losing more. Which one is right? :confused:

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1 hour ago, Cindy Lou Who said:

And I've tried adding avocado or nuts as healthy calorie-dense foods, but they are mostly fat. (Is that good?) 

Yes, that is good.  These are good fats with some heart-protective benefits as well as the satiety benefits.  Far better than chips which by the way are also almost all fat but not good fat, which of course you know :)

You likely look scrawny without clothes on because you have loose skin.  Your husband and others think you're too thin looking because they've only got obese you for comparison, plus when you lose quickly it's almost as difficult for other people's brain to catch up with as it is our own.  How do you feel physically?  Not emotionally because we really can't rely on that when it comes to weight loss at this point; most of us are way too proficient at misusing the food/weight/emotion connection.

If after evaluating all of those things honestly you believe it is time to stop losing weight, add in healthy calories and stick to the general rules.  You'll do great!  I do think for me the most difficult part of maintenance has been not having the "high" of losing weight.  The honeymoon is over, the thrill is gone, now its time to settle in with the one you love (YOU!) and create a mature, long-lasting relationship :)

 

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5 hours ago, Cindy Lou Who said:

I'm in the process of adding calories back in to stop weight loss and to find my "new normal" calories per day. I have to confess that most of the added calories going into MFP are wine, chips, and just eating more at my meals. .....Which one is right? :confused:

Hmmm. I could be accused of looking scrawny now too, my wife has said as much, and I have a few muscles here and there too. 

There is a lot of data that suggests nuts, fish oils and olive oil are good for you. I try to eat walnuts or almonds, and olive oil every day. I also eat salmon pretty frequently. If you do an internet search on the Mediterranean diet and the studies done in Spain ~ 10 years ago you'll find quite a trove. I'm with @msmarymac on this one. I love chips but they have to stay out of my house as the fats that are used are not the best. If they are salty and crunchy, I am doomed to snack on them. I recently bought some sunflower seeds to put into my sourdough bread and I have probably eaten 1/3rd of the bag so far, without any getting into the bread. Sigh. The only upside is that at least there is something good in the sunflower seed oils and the seeds have some protein too. Pick your poisons carefully. 

On the topic of fats in general: in the Lancet a leading medical journal there were some very large studies published in 2017: there was no relationship between fat intake and death rates in people at risk of cardiovascular events (like heart attacks and strokes). In contrast, the more carbohydrates you ate -> the higher the death rates. (I feel like everything I learned over the last 40 years about eating a carbohydrate-rich diet was wrong). These studies had hundreds of thousands of people in them and were conducted across many countries. My take is that fats are fine, go for the ones identified in the Mediterranean diet studies, and be happy. My read is that we should be eating high protein high fat and low carbo diets, and the fats should be the Med diet ones. 

Although the 'normal' BMI range is 20-25, there are some studies that show a BMI 24 is better (lower risk) than 25, 23 is better than 24, and 22 better than 23.... but you do not see much if any benefits going lower than 22 for many things including hypertension.  Your "real" BMI might be 21 or 20.5 now, not 22, since you've got the extra skin. (I have read others here who say their BMI of 30 is really 25 because of their extra skin, but really that would mean their extra skin is a sixth of their weight, which would be uncommon. My surgeon says the extra skin is only about 5-6 lbs on most people).

I think you could give the weight loss a bit of a rest now and see what happens as you head into Maintenance. You can always dial up or down a bit since you are now a WLS Master. I mean, really, you weight half of what you used to weigh!! Talk about mastery!

As the proud possessor of one of the stupidest names on this Forum that does in fact mention Wine, would just say that my observation is that a glass or two of wine can kill my resistance to Eating Bad Things. So I do make more high satiety, fiber-filled foods in the evening (think farro and beans, or farro and lentils, in the Instant Pot). If I do decide to snack later on, it's on these relatively safe foods, not chips. Which I would eat after a couple glasses of wine if they were in the house. 

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A treasure trove of ideas already from @msmarymac and @BurgundyBoy

As for knowing when to stop, someone, I think @Stephtay, told me to look at pictures of myself. That was the right call for me. I would catch myself looking in the mirror and seeing FatJen or looking down at my thighs and seeing FatJen, but looking at photos, particularly candid ones, was really enlightening. I looked thin. At one point, I looked a little too thin, so that was time to stop. My hubs would prefer me to stay about 10 pounds up from my fighting weight - I'm a little curvier at that point, and have edged that direction over the holidays. I prefer the lighter weight just because I feel sort of sleeker there, and being athletic is a bit easier there. After my 5 pound holiday gains, I can see that being up 10 would not be the end of the world (I am OK with being a bit curvier in the right places - my GW has me down in the sort of skinny no-butt-no-boobs range), but I'm going to go back down to my GW because running and hiking are easier for me at that weight.

Your NUT is possibly thinking about the rebound that many WLS post-ops have, and might be worried that if you don't get as low as you can, you will rebound up out of the healthy range. I think there are enough examples here on the forum of people who haven't experienced that to see that it's possible to dodge the rebound if you are careful (and perhaps lucky). However, the people in your life who think you're too thin may just being seeing the loose skin and the big change you've gone through without really being able to process where you are now very accurately. I vote that you take a bunch of photos. Not for them, but for you, so you can see yourself a little more objectively.

I found myself in your position when I was nearing the end of my loss phase and then sort of magically decided where my stopping point was. I was still very on-point with the eating and exercise, so I was mostly worried I couldn't get it to stop (no chips for me at that point, and wine maybe once a week). To stop the losses, I started adding more cheese and nuts to my diet. I also increased the quantity of small meals I eat. I generally eat about 7 or 8 times per day now(!) for a total of around 1800-2000 calories. One really quick and easy way for me to up my calories was peanut butter protein balls: peanut butter (the less sugar the better, preferably natural) with protein powder of your flavor choice (vanilla or chocolate for me) creamed into it with a fork until it's workable into ball shapes. I make each with as much "dough" as fits in my fist with all of my fingers closed, none hanging out the edges (pretty scientific portion control there!) and roll them in a coating of powdered nuts of some type or, lately, in unsweetened cocoa powder as a treat. I eat two per day, generally, and they're about 150 calories each. That sounds like a crazy amount, and I may nudge them out of my diet for a while until I'm back at my fighting weight here post-holiday season, but it was necessary to stop my losses. 

I also eat more protein bars now, partly for convenience, partly because they're tasty (the right brands, anyway), and partly to keep calories up. I sort of consider them my junk food - not quite healthy, but not too bad. One Bars are good, when I can get them. Oh, One Bars, I miss you :( See you in America next summer. Ah, the things we miss when we're far from home...

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Cindy Lou Who-how many calories have you been eating to continue losing?

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Wow, thank you so much to all you caring responders! I've been away from my computer for a few days, and your care and advice feel like little gifts, and I want to open each one carefully and consider each. It helps SO much having your advice because you are all my heroes! :wub:

I envision that I'll have a quick take away from your gifts of advice, and then also other ones that I'll learn more in time. My first reactions: 

One common theme is that good fats are a good way to go. Thank you. I'm old enough to remember the days of doctors pushing low fat diets, and it's hard to let go of that. I like the idea of adding nuts, nut butters, fish oils and olive oils and researching Mediterranean diet suggestions. I've been craving sardines lately, and have been eating them at least once a week, so it almost feels like I'm craving that fish oil. And I've avoided nut butters for many years because they are high calorie,  but I used to love them. More good fats are definitely on the menu!:) 

@msmarymac - Thank you. I do think the loose skin adds alot to the scrawny appearance. It definitely makes me look like I don't belong in my skin. :( And I do feel good physically. Aerobically I feel great. I'd like to get a little stronger, but that's about working out, not eating. I like they way you're asking me to shift to how do I feel instead of how I look, which can be deceived by emotions. 

@BurgundyBoy - Thank you for all the good fat data. Very insightful! Also, I had forgotten about the weight of loose skin. Even if it's only 5 pounds, that would put me at 20.7 BMI this morning. It's helpful to know the data that under 22 doesn't really add to heart health. And stopping now to see how it goes knowing I can "dial it up or down a bit later"?????? What a concept! Do we really stay in control of our weight forever, and not just the first honeymoon year?? I can lose more later if I want? What a fantastic revelation! Are you certain you aren't putting me on? That would be too good to be true! 

@Jen581791 - Thank you. Pictures! Good idea, and definitely a challenge. I still really don't like pictures of myself. But it seems like a really great way to see myself more objectively than in the mirror. I will definitely take this on. And I am right there with you on curvy versus athletic ability! My husband is objecting to the "no butt" look. ( I still have boobs because my extra skin fills out a DD cup! :lol: We've been together since college and he says I had a butt then, but I looked healthy and fit. But in September I'll be doing a major hike for 2 weeks, so I appreciate the idea of going from curvy to easier athletically. Again, your post is suggesting that I will have control of this after my honeymoon period???? Are you and @BurgundyBoy in cahoots in your trickery? Can this really be true?? If so it's a shocking revelation from the "Maintenance Crew"!! That's a HUGE benefit that never dawned on me! I thought WLS gave you one shot at losing, then you'd gain ten pounds, and then struggle (albeit it's doable) to stay at that weight for the rest of your life. Now you guys are telling me I can adjust later?? WOAH!!! Still don't believe it! 

@Anita62 - I'm averaging about 1500 calories per day, and still losing a little over a pound per week. I'm not hungry for more food, and I just assumed my body would stop at a good place without any effort on my part. I was very willing to stop at whatever new setpoint my surgery had created, even if that were heavier than ideal. (My surgeon said people lose an average of 60% of their excess weight). I had never considered that the setpoint might be lower than ideal? Is that a thing or impossible? Am I just settling for being bigger than I need to be?

To all of you - Thank you again so much. SO helpful for a newbie. I'm hoping it may be helpful for others too. Such great advice from you guys. 

FINAL NOTE - NOT a thank you. Many of you agree that chips are bad, dang it! :PI was hoping to sneak by with that one! :lol: ......... OKAY..... I'll switch to nice yummy pots of whole grains to have on hand instead. Can't sneak anything by this Maintenance Crew! :D

 

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@Cindy Lou WhoWell that is awesome you can eat 1500 and still lose.  The lowest I got was 167 a few weeks ago (had the flu).  I thought I might try to stay at that weight but my body had other plans..  I don't want to fight my body for lower weight, not to mention my fiancé says I am starting to look like an old lady, lol.  I have started exercising to build up muscle, so we will see how that goes.   1400-1500 calories is about what I need to maintain.  I quit tracking a little over a month ago and am down a few lbs so that has been nice.  Hope you find a weight that you are happy with.

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2 hours ago, tracyringo said:

Well that is awesome you can eat 1500 and still lose.  The lowest I got was 167 a few weeks ago (had the flu).  I thought I might try to stay at that weight but my body had other plans..  I don't want to fight my body for lower weight, not to mention my fiancé says I am starting to look like an old lady, lol.  I have started exercising to build up muscle, so we will see how that goes.   1400-1500 calories is about what I need to maintain.  I quit tracking a little over a month ago and am down a few lbs so that has been nice.  Hope you find a weight that you are happy with.

I totally agree with not fighting our bodies anymore. They have been through enough over the years! I'm so looking forward to finding the right weight spot setpoint and right calorie intake. Great on you for building up muscle. I need to do that too. How are you doing it? I hate strength training! :rolleyes: Might be the only way though? 

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2 hours ago, Cindy Lou Who said:

I totally agree with not fighting our bodies anymore. They have been through enough over the years! I'm so looking forward to finding the right weight spot setpoint and right calorie intake. Great on you for building up muscle. I need to do that too. How are you doing it? I hate strength training! :rolleyes: Might be the only way though? 

I got online and found some exercises to build muscle.  I don't have to go to gym and all that, which I wouldn't anyways.  I lost my butt and I use to have a big one !!!:mad:  I have been told you can build those muscles back up and I also want to say my skin on my legs is getting better , which surprises me happily .

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Great idea, thanks! Congratulations on legs getting more toned! I definitely need some of that. You've inspired me to get cracking on the muscle rebuild. 

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1 hour ago, Cindy Lou Who said:

Great idea, thanks! Congratulations on legs getting more toned! I definitely need some of that. You've inspired me to get cracking on the muscle rebuild. 

Cindy, from the HEALTH angle - not the strictly WEIGHT LOSS angle - we should all be doing some exercise focused on cardiovascular health, and some on muscle building. No question it reduces cardiovascular death rates and extends life. One suspects it will also provide you with a bit more latitude when it comes to maintenance dietary intake. On the days I exercise I probably expend 300-450 calories ... and am sure some of that translates into a modestly higher metabolic rate.  

And yes, to reply to your earlier question, of course you have the tools to dial up or down. You have just lost half your weight and are eating 1500 calories a day and still losing. What success! Such mastery! What control! How many bad habits have you walked away from or changed to positive ones? Be confident but avoid hubris. 

In my view, in maintenance, it's 90% the mental game and only 10% the physical game. Being mindful, being self-aware, and separating eating because of true (physiological) hunger from eating as a social experience or from head (hedonistic) hunger. 

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3 hours ago, BurgundyBoy said:

Cindy, from the HEALTH angle - not the strictly WEIGHT LOSS angle - we should all be doing some exercise focused on cardiovascular health, and some on muscle building. No question it reduces cardiovascular death rates and extends life. One suspects it will also provide you with a bit more latitude when it comes to maintenance dietary intake. On the days I exercise I probably expend 300-450 calories ... and am sure some of that translates into a modestly higher metabolic rate.  

And yes, to reply to your earlier question, of course you have the tools to dial up or down. You have just lost half your weight and are eating 1500 calories a day and still losing. What success! Such mastery! What control! How many bad habits have you walked away from or changed to positive ones? Be confident but avoid hubris. 

In my view, in maintenance, it's 90% the mental game and only 10% the physical game. Being mindful, being self-aware, and separating eating because of true (physiological) hunger from eating as a social experience or from head (hedonistic) hunger.

I hear you on the exercise angle. I'm good on the cardio exercise at about 5 days per week, but have been avoiding muscle building (because I don't care for it.) I like cardio because it also helps with stress and my overall outlook on life. I also think exercise has gone a long way in the revving up of my metabolism. I used to have to get down to 1000 per day to lose anything.  But I know muscle building is important too, especially whenever I get old, somewhere in the far distant future! :lol:

I'm still so amazed that we can dial up or down the weight loss later. I'm so dumb, I guess, but I thought we had one chance to lose during the "honeymoon" first year, and then the rest was as difficult as it used to be. It was enlightening that you posted that you had gone up a bit, and were able to dial it back down. Thanks so much for sharing that!

Thanks for the nice words as well. To be honest, I have ditched ALOT of bad habits, and I had alot, believe me!  And I'm ready  now for the 90% mental game/challenge. The surgery gave me such an opportunity at a healthy life, and I want to do it right. I'm ready to fight on! :P

 

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1 hour ago, Cindy Lou Who said:

I hear you on the exercise angle. I'm good on the cardio exercise at about 5 days per week, but have been avoiding muscle building (because I don't care for it.) I like cardio because it also helps with stress and my overall outlook on life. I also think exercise has gone a long way in the revving up of my metabolism. I used to have to get down to 1000 per day to lose anything.  But I know muscle building is important too, especially whenever I get old, somewhere in the far distant future! :lol:

I'm still so amazed that we can dial up or down the weight loss later. I'm so dumb, I guess, but I thought we had one chance to lose during the "honeymoon" first year, and then the rest was as difficult as it used to be. It was enlightening that you posted that you had gone up a bit, and were able to dial it back down. Thanks so much for sharing that!

Thanks for the nice words as well. To be honest, I have ditched ALOT of bad habits, and I had alot, believe me!  And I'm ready  now for the 90% mental game/challenge. The surgery gave me such an opportunity at a healthy life, and I want to do it right. I'm ready to fight on! :P

 

Well, I don't want to minimize the struggle ... and of course with a 90% mental game, and if one is only 20% mentally engaged, then bad things can happen! Just saying that with the new skills I have, plus having a sleeved stomach, I find it is easier to put a lid on my overeating. As has been said here before, when we overeat now it tends to be a few hundred calories, not 3,000 calories, and so the recovery from eating too much is easier.  Yes, now am about halfway back to my low weight. It may have been put back a few weeks as I think I pulled a collarbone tendon rowing and I have to rest that, so I'll walk in my neighborhood after dinner, or  maybe cycle in the gym... but I'm going the right way and know The Path. There are lots of individual trails that make up The Path.

I'm not sure I have actually ditched all my bad habits ... What I may have done is transmogrified them. Sometimes you can't ditch the bad habit, so you have to change the reward cycle and be happy with a related but different reward that you can still look forward to. If you used to eat a sugary chocolate bar in the afternoon, you can eat half a chocolate flavored protein bar with minimal carbos instead. Still tastes chocolaty, and it's some good protein calories, but you can use it with a cup of coffee as a late afternoon pick-you-up snack and still scratch that nasty junk food habit that you had. While feeling good about yourself. And feeling good about yourself makes it a lot easier to be mentally engaged. A virtuous circle!

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