Monday, March 23, 2009

Assignments & Accountability

I had my appointment with the nutritionist tonight... wow. This is a much bigger deal than I thought going in, but it's all good. I had really just planned to ask her how to get past my IBS problems to be able to eat more fruits and veggies as part of my overall approach... turns out she really takes a holistic view and instead is advising me on improving my entire diet and nutrition. It makes sense, and I need it, but this is going to be a much bigger effort and investment than I first intended.

We went over my usual daily routine combined with my own medical issues, and then she talked me through all the changes she'd like me to make. This is the first step, which we both hope will work - she said she waits to see how clients do on his before moving to a more structured approach (which would be similar to the old, old, old WW approach of different carb, protein, grain, etc. exchanges at each meal).

Some of her recommendations? NO STARBUCKS. At least nothing other than herbal teas. And I pretty much need to cut out all the processed, packaged food I have remaining - and I'd already cut out a lot. I need to start bringing my lunch, cuz that's really my downfall. Even when I think I'm buying a healthier lunch, it's still loaded with sodium. I need better snacks (fruit, raisins, unsalted nuts, yogurt, lowfat cheese sticks) and I need a bigger breakfast so I can keep up a better energy/blood sugar level in the morning and not be starving by lunchtime. I've already cut out table salt, but I need to go a step further and stop getting salty snacks and salty restaurant or deli meals.

All of this is very common sense stuff, which I'd done some of during the WW days, but the switch to really trying to cook almost everything is going to be a major change. She reminded me that this is all about planning - which makes me think of Scotte and his AWESOME spreadsheet - and buying and cooking for several meals at a time.

After our appointment, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a whole lot of produce, some of those healthy snacks, and an imitation spray butter for my toast in the morning. She also recommended I get an air popper, cuz air-popped popcorn is a great snack. Thank you,

My assignment? Start making these changes and keep a daily food journal. For the next 5 days, I have to keep the journal on specific sheets and fax them to her, then she'll call to go over it all. Since I mentioned visiting my parents in a few weeks will be full of all kinds of food pitfalls, I'm faxing her those days, too. Then I go back again in a month to see how I did. And she says I should definitely stick with the acidophilus to help me with my IBS.

Here's the thing that I'm hoping makes this work: for once, I am now accountable to someone other than myself. I'm accountable to someone I'm paying a large amount of money to (!!!!) and who can pretty easily see through my crap rationalizations. I usually have no problem justifying things to myself, but now I have a very friendly and supportive drill sergeant watching over me and evaluating what I do. Ouch. This is a totally different approach than anything I've tried before, but I hope that's the trick right there.

Tomorrow morning I start those journals and fax them in to her in 5 days, then I see her again in 3 weeks. I'll need support and encouragement to get over my own tummy and verbal grumblings over these changes. For all of her talk, as well, about how this is a lifestyle and not a diet, it's sure gonna feel like a diet. Wish me luck!!!


Laura P said...

Hey Stef --

Good for you! I bet this is just what you need and I expect awesome things for you in the future. Accountability is HUGE! Just yesterday I told Sean he needs to look at my nutrition journal when I go to the gym because, well, I haven't written in it in a month (which probably explains my horrible backslide of late). So, kudos, my friend! Maybe I'll follow in your footsteps and get a nutritionist too if I don't start seeing results again soon...

Have a wonderful day!

Onyah said...

Wow - faxing your journal to her every day is accountability like I've never seen! That's awesome! It's funny that her first advice to you was the same as my therapist's first advice to me - start with Starbucks! The notion of making a huge, sweeping life overhaul can be pretty intimidating, but the notion of just eliminating one thing at first was easier to take. One can easily live without Starbucks!

Stef said...

Onyah - I wish Starbucks was the ONLY change... no, her advice to me is feeling a bit overwhelming at the moment, in that I really do have to cut out a lot of stuff and change my breakfast and lunch behavior. I can already tell that I'm going to need to plan about 20 minutes more in the mornings to be cooking every day and packing my lunch. I've been doing some things right, which is good, but now I've basically got to cut out EVERYTHING I was doing wrong. Harrumph.

Laura - Thanks for the encouragement!

DC Food Blog said...

I'm finding the journaling part REALLY helps. I think you are having the same relationship with your nutritionist as I am with my nutritionist/diabetes counselor. She sounds great although, I am concerned about the wholesale nature of the changes she is asking from you. I think the breakfast thing is really important. I find that eating a real food at breakfast (including berries with cereal or plain yogurt sweetened with Splenda) is important.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stef,

You know I'm SO not a morning person--which is why I pack lunch and breakfast the night before. I've even been picking out my clothes the night before and it's been making the mornings so much easier. Not sure if your meals will be as conducive to being packed those extra hours ahead, but it sure makes things simpler for me.

Good luck!

Stef said...

Faye - thanks for the advice! I think a big part of the changes I can make is really in planning ahead more for everything, and thinking soem more the night before could make a real difference.

T - I'm going back and forth emotionally and intellectually on all of this today. Yes, she is asking for a lot of wholesale changes, and I know those are the kinds that don't really work over the long term if they're hard to keep up. So I'm thinking a lot about ways to take all of her good recommendations and make it livable for me. There is a lot of stuff she recommended that I CAN do relatively easy, with more planning, cooking, and thought put into things. And I'll still allow myself dinner out with friends or the occasional lunch pickup as long as I make the healthiest choices I can. She can't fault me for that, right? And I ahve to repeat, she was very nice, and she's on my side. So I'll figure out ways to make this really work.

PS - I'm eating my leftover pork chop and steamed snow peas right now. Moving on to my yogurt and cheese stick snacks soon. But I had a good breakfast (egg beaters omelet with a little cheese, 1 piece wheat toast with Smart Balance, NO STARBUCKS) and I wasn't hungry at all during the morning.

Michashell said...

Good luck Stef. I'm really interested in her advice on dealing with the IBS. I think journaling and making all your food will help you pinpoint your trigger foods. I'm all about the pressure cooker. It's a great gadget to quickly cook meats, beans, root veggies, etc. You can do it!