Friday, 27 April 2007

The CRON Tipping Point

Welcome to my CRON blog! :)

I've been reading about CRON for about a month now and slowly adopting some of its general practices. It seems to me that it's the most useful and sensible method for me to lose weight, eat a healthier diet and feel better about myself. I don't fully believe in the longevity argument for CRON because I haven't read enough of the evidence but I do think it will enable me to live longer by helping me avoid the risks associated with being overweight or malnourished. I've begun to improve how I measure the basic number of calories in food but haven't started using the CRON-O-Meter yet.

Like a lot of women, my primary goal is to lose weight, but in a healthy way - by losing body fat, not muscle. I need to retain a fairly good muscle mass for my martial arts training. My body fat percentage is around 19% at the moment. I'm reasonably active - I do an hour's aerobic cardio work out twice a week at my taekwondo class and will be extending this to 4 hours per week starting this week. I don't own a car so I walk nearly everywhere. I really love exercising and sports but my body doesn't react as well as I would like due to the excess weight I am carrying. I also want to look cute in my clothes!

Over the past 18 months I have lost approximately 20 lbs. I'm 5'2" and a year and half ago I was verging on 10 stone (140lbs). I got this back down to 133 lbs fairly rapidly then spent a year getting down to 119 lbs which is rougly where I am now. Since January I've been trying to stay at 112 lbs consistently. The lowest I've got this year is 111 lbs but my ideal weight is somewhere around 105 lbs.

I tend to yo-yo between periods of fairly good nutrition and periods of quite bad nutrition where I adopt a 'no cares' attitude, gain weight and feel depressed about my health. I really love food and my weakness is chocolate, ice cream and sweet things. I'm quite lucky in that I rarely drink anything other than water, so wine and coffee hold no temptation for me. Cakes, chocolate and the like are another matter though!

I do better at both calorie restriction and good nutrition (I'm nowhere near optimal yet!) when I eat by myself and cook for myself. My biggest problems are:
  1. Eating out. I love going to restaurants with my friends and my boyfriend. There's something so enjoyable for me in engaging in conversation over good food. It's one of my most favourite things. There are so many good restaurants in London and so little time to try them all! My problem is that I tend to adopt this mindset that I must have the yummiest thing on the menu because otherwise I will be missing out. I feel really annoyed when I make myself compromise and choose something healthier. It's almost as though it's a wasted opportunity to try something extra specially tasty.
  2. Turning down Free Food. This is the big one! I very rarely buy chocolate or sweet things for myself. In fact, I don't keep any sweet food in the house besides splenda and fresh fruit. However, when food is Free I will binge like there's no tomorrow. Even when I'm in a period of healthy eating, I find it impossible to turn down Free Food, even when it's extraordinarily unhealthy. In fact, this morning's binge on Free doughnuts and cookies is what inspired this blog entry. Although it felt amazing to consume the sugar and chocolate, the period of self-loathing following the walk back to my desk made me think: "this is enough!" I was seriously considering throwing up the whole lot in the bathroom but then I thought, no! I want something good to come out of something bad. I want to develop the will power to turn down gak without feeling angry or deprived. Starting now I am going on April's "not one bite" rule and officially committing myself to CRON. No turning back! I guess I should feel grateful to those doughnuts for finally giving me the push I needed. :)
  3. Interruption of my food routine. For example, when I stay over at my boyfriend's house on a week night I usually eat breakfast at the work canteen which is a higher calorie breakfast than I would have had at home. I also have no way to be sure of the content of what I am eating.

The good news is that I have (what I think is) a pretty good breakfast routine going on at the moment. I weigh myself using Tanita scales every morning after using the bathroom but I don't record this anywhere - I'll start doing that. Then for breakfast I have:

  • 1 boiled egg - ~ 50 grams - 77.5 calories
  • Tim's Dairy Spring Dew Very low fat yoghurt - 125 grams - 50 calories
  • Wheat bran - 6 grams (1.5 tbl spoons) - 12.96 calories
  • Fresh strawberries - 30 grams - 9.6 calories
  • Fresh blackberries - 25 grams - 10.75 calories
  • Sunflower seeds - 2 grams - 11.4 calories
  • Pumpkin seeds - 2 grams - 10.82 calories

This works out to about 183 calories with 16.2 grams of protein - nowhere near the 25 grams April recommends! The Zone ratios are 38:42:20. I'm normally quite ready for lunch around 11.30 with this breakfast. I'll try plugging my breakfast into CoM tonight.

I'd like to get the same sort of stability with my lunches and dinners too. At the moment I'm aiming for 1000-1100 calorie diet every day.

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