Peeling the Onion

  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Entries in this blog


A Bit of a Vent

Let me say first of all that I have been a strong proponent of Jenny Craig. I get creative with the meals, I love adding in fresh veggies, and I've lost a lot of weight and felt great. 


But lately I am getting really annoyed with Jenny Craig, as a corporation. 


First, they cancelled the app with no warning, promised they would roll out something new, solicited feedback (which I took the time to provide) and then decided that they weren't going to replace the app in the end. Well, can we have back the old app at least? No. Why?????


Second, I figured even though I didn't have the app, I could at least plan out my meals online to make sure that they were balanced and then print off my schedule for the week and check things off that way instead of via the app. So I went back to the website to do that and I was having difficulty finding the menu-planner feature. Upon chatting with a representative online, I found out that it will be discontinued. The reason? They don't think it is necessary. Again, what is the point of CANCELLING features that you had as selling points when people joined the program? Total bait-and-switch. 


Then I talked to my consultant about it this week and she told me that the reason they are doing all of this is that they aren't allowing people to make their own menu plans anymore. They've always discouraged it, but now they won't allow you to sign up at all unless you agree to sticked to the menu plans as they are written. 


It's annoying because I REALLY don't like the menu plans. I've tried following individual weeks, I've tried picking individual days. I just can't. I end up with foods that I hate, that then sit in my freezer while I make excuses for reasons to stop for fast food. Its bad. 


It would be so easy for them to make a program that required participatnts to only order food that fits within a particular set of weekly guidelines. If they can't figure it out themselves (or don't want to take the time), then they can do a planned menu. If they can and want to, then they get to customize their menu and eat what they like. This isn't rocket science, it's just computer programming. 


I love Jenny, but I can't recommend it to people anymore now that they don't offer customization. It's annoying to see a company take something that is simple and make it needlessly regulated. 


I Gained

I gained this week. It's the first time that has happened since I have been on JC. I have been eating off-plan and giving in to temptations a lot. I have had a lot of other anxieties and things on my mind and food has been my comfort. I thought I could get away with it, but clearly that is not the case. I had gone up 1.4 lbs. 


What do you do when this happens? My consultant reminded me of how excited I was on the first day that I came in, how successful I have been until now, and how well the plan had been working for me when I was staying on track. 


But why is it so difficult to actually stay on track? This is a pretty tasty plan. I don't dislike it. It's actually easy to stay on-plan with all the's the snacking that is getting me off. I forget my fruits and Anytime Bars at home and instead "substitute" them with other foods -- like a cinnamon roll from my favorite bakery. Ugh. 


Part of me thinks I need to go more rigid -- follow the meal plans to the letter and just stick to it. 


Another part of me thinks I need to be more mindful about being flexible. Like, I need to allow myself to eat off-plan so that it will feel sustainable, but be more diligent about tracking the calories of all the foods I do eat. 


Any advice? 


In which I discover the wonders of Splenda

I am the type of person who likes my coffee to taste like candy. Not crazy-style -- most mochas at Caribou or Starbucks are too much for me and I ask for them to cut the flavorings in half. Nevertheless, I always thought I couldn't handle a plain latte. When I calorie-counted in the past, I sacrificed an extra 130 calories per day so that I could add Monin coconut syrup and Ghiradelli sweet ground chocolate to my espresso and milk every morning. To me, it was totally worth it. In my mind, I couldn't drink coffee any other way. And hey, I could stay within my calorie goals even with this treat every morning, so why not? 


When I joined Jenny Craig, I realized I had to give that up. Jenny Craig has no "limited free food" option for Monin syrup and Ghiradelli chocolate. It's not on the plan. Period. 


I am a teacher and I had recently received a Christmas gift of Grey Duck Chai. Unlike some of the other brands that have a ton of sugar, one ounce of the chai mix had only 22 calories. So I decided to wean myself onto making a "Dirty Chai" in the morning. I did 1 spoon of Splenda, 1 oz of the Chai mix, and then added my espresso and 1 c of milk. Chai mix still isn't on the Jenny Craig plan, but at 22 calories, I counted it as a limited free food and didn't stress about it. 


Then I ran out of Grey Duck Chai mix. 


I figured it was working for me, so I'd just order some more. But in the meantime, I would try just adding an extra spoonful of Splenda as a substitute and see if that made it palatable. 


Indeed, it did make it palatable! In fact, after a few days I decided not to even order the Chai mix. My new morning drink was espresso, milk, and Splenda. That's it. Sweet, flavorful, and 100% Jenny-approved! 


Yesterday, I did a coconut mocha again. I had run out of coffee beans and couldn't make my espresso at home, so I decided to go to my favorite coffee shop and get my favorite drink. 


It wasn't bad. But definitely not worth the calories. I have grown accustomed to my new beverage and I guess I just don't miss my old coffee drink. Yay for progress! 




Impulse Control

Today I came up against several situations that tested (and vanquished) my impulse control. First, I was at a meeting this morning and there were bagels and cream cheese. After initially resisting, I decided to have half a bagel. I wasn't even particularly hungry, but they smelled so good. 


Then my boss, who was sitting next to me, kept complaining about her jalepeno bagel being too spicy and declared that she wasn't going to finish it. I asked if I could try a bite and loved it. Since she wasn't going to finish it it was going to go to waste . . . 


Then on my way out the door to the next location, I decided that what would REALLY taste good with this jalepeno bagel was a mocha -- the sweet and spicy would taste so good together. And I had a half-off coupon for my favorite coffee place . . . so I ducked in there and got it. 


Then at the field trip that I was on (I am a teacher), they had a concession stand and several of the other staff members were having pizza, fries, burgers, and cheese curds. I tasted one of my boss's french fries. And then I asked a friend if I could have just one of her cheese curds. I had another one a little while later and then later she declared that she wasn't going to have anymore and asked if anyone wanted them. I said, "Sure!" and reached for them. 


At that, one of my colleagues -- said "No!" and pushed them away from me. She scolded my friend for tempting me when they all know that I am on Jenny Craig. She said I was doing so well and that I shouldn't waste it all. 


It was the kind of intervention that would previously have annoyed me  -- an obese colleague telling me to be better at dieting. But I recognized it for what it was -- she was proud of me for my success so far and knew that I was excited about Jenny Craig. I actually appreciated it. I got up from my spot and went to the concession stand, where I got an overpriced veggie snack pack of baby carrots and celery sticks with a small packet of dressing. As soon as I started snacking on something healthy, I was no longer tempted by all the food that was around me. I thanked my colleague for helping me resist the temptations. 


And for the rest of the day I stayed on track. 


I think a big problem for me in my impulse control is the fear of missing out. It's difficult for me to see a spread of free food (or an appetizer that the rest of the table is sharing) and not participate. Even worse is when I know that the food will go to waste if not eaten. When I was growing up, my parents often said, "There are starving people in the world!" if I didn't finish my dinner. Their own parents had lived through the Depression and any food waste was definitely seen as a moral failure. I think that this message still rings in the back of my mind, even though I cognitively know that me eating food that I don't need doesn't actually have any positive impact on the nutrition of someone else. 


Anyway, I'm glad I got back on track for the second half of the day. I hope tomorrow is better from start to finish.  



This week was a bit of a disappointment. I only lost 1.6 lbs. I suspect that perhaps my reading of 6.6 lbs the previous week was a bit inaccurate -- perhaps I was dehydrated or something? So maybe if the water imbalance were corrected it was more like 4.1 lbs each week rather than 6.6 lbs one week and 1.6 lbs the next. I don't know. I'm glad I didn't lose an extreme amount again, but a little concerned that I fell short of my goal this week. 


My goal, by the way, is to lose 1% of my body weight per week. So since I was about 229, I was hoping to lose about 2.3 lbs this past week. But of course having a goal that is based on the scale -- instead of being based on healthy habits -- can be a recipe for disappointment. 


So this evening I came up with a more-defined goal-setting plan. I made an old-fashioned incentive chart for myself. The daily categories are: 


Morning Exercise (this is just a 10 min routine that I do)

Weighing and Record (I'm trying to get in the habit of weighing myself everyday)

Exfoliating (I just started this yesteday and it feels SO good!) 

Lotion (I HATE lotion, but I am so itchy and I know it will help my skin stay healthy during weight loss)

Multivitamin (I barely was able to remember to take my vitamins while pregnant....)

8 glasses of water (I am SO bad about drinking water)

7,000 steps (this is my "realistic" goal -- I feel like I had a good day if I meet this goal) 

10,000 steps (this is my "real" goal, but I only get to it maybe 2 or 3 times a week) 

Evening Exercise (I'm liking my 10 min routine and so I thought it would be good to try to do it in the evening to get in 20 minutes a day)

Honest Tracking (I REALLY need to get in the habit of tracking everything I eat....not just planning it out, but actually recording it when I eat it and making sure the record is accurate at the end of the evening.) 


So, with 10 goals and 7 days a week, that means I have 70 "opportunities to earn a gold star" on my chart. 


So what do I do with this now? I think it will be good to have the record, to remind myself to do the things I am supposed to do and have the satisfaction of checking them off my list.....but I think I will be more successful if I treat myself for meeting a weekly goal. Like, let's say I get 50 stars, then I . . . what? My instinct is to reward myself with a treat. But the only treats I can think of are edible treats. What would be a good incentive?  These are all things that I want to make into habits -- not rare achievements. Therefore, whatever the incentive is has to be something I could actually afford to do if I won it every week. 


Anyone out there have suggestions? ~$5 per week in non-edible rewards? 


But speaking of less frequent rewards, I am thinking I will start another chart so that I can recognize myself for each week that I do meet my 1% weight loss goal on the scale. And I'm thinking that after I get to 10 weeks of meeting the goal, I will get a massage. I think I can make that work. According to my calculations, if I lose 1% of my bodyweight every week, I would reach my goal weight in about 45 weeks. So that means a maximum of 4 massages over the next year. It's definitely more massages than I would normally get in a year..... but it's not every year that I attempt to lose nearly 100 lbs. 





My last couple posts have been about the "cheating" that I did this week -- and the anxiety that I felt as a result. I am hopeful that my future posts will be a little more forgiving of myself because my weigh-in today was very positive. 


I lost 6.6 lbs this past week. 


6.6 lbs in one week. And not my first week either. It's actually more than I'd lost in the previous 2 weeks combined. I had been quite happy with my 3 lb losses the last couple weeks, but I am stunned that I lost 6.6 lbs the week that I had been kicking myself for eating off-plan a few times. 


It helps, I suppose, that I was sick over New Years and didn't end up going to our friend's annual New Years Day brunch. But even if I had gone, I think I could have made good choices and still been okay. 


But 6.6 lbs is better than okay. I'm still in shock and I certainly don't expect it to happen again. But it's nice to know that I can go a little easier on myself.



So today was very active. I was on a roll with work and had 10,000 steps by the early afternoon. I had eaten a Jenny breakfast and a Jenny lunch and my Anytime bar and I still had more errands to do. I was already feeling shaky and hungry. I knew that my snack and veggies wasn't going to last me until dinner. 


I stopped at a Jimmy John's and got an "unwich" (lettuce wrap) with no mayo. Basically just meat and tomato and lettuce. It calmed my jitters a bit, but I felt hungry again almost immediately. I wanted carbs. 


I stopped again at a Chinese restaurant and got a "kids size" meal of fried rice, chicken, and 2 potstickers. Definitely not Jenny-approved. But it did the trick. I felt normal again -- not stuffed but not jittery either. 


I haven't eaten anything else since then. I didn't have my Jenny dinner or snack. I logged the calories from all the food I ate -- including the food I ate out -- and it came to 1,537. I am on a 1,500 calorie plan, so this is only 37 calories over. And according to my Fitbit I could still eat another 397 calories and still make it to my net goal. 


So on the whole, I know I went off plan and that I could have made a healthier choice, but I don't think I made a categorically bad decision. 


So why do I feel so guilty? A few years ago when I was losing weight via calorie-counting alone, I would have been thrilled to have 400 net calories left in my "bank" for the day. But because the food I ate wasn't part of my Jenny Craig "plan" for the week I feel like I did something very wrong. 


I guess I just don't really know what I'm supposed to do if my body is needing something more than what I'm "allowed." It's fine to eat lots of veggies and drink lots of water in order to feel full. But when you are active and your body really needs calories, not just volume, what do you do? 



I am ridiculously sick. It got especially bad and so I went in to the doctor today. Fingers crossed it's not pertussis.


I also cheated on Jenny Craig. Not just "Oh, I am out at a family dinner and so I will skip my Jenny Craig entree but still follow the guidelines for exchanges and portion control." No, this was a total, 100% cheat. It was after my doctor's appointment, which had gone quite long and I was still waiting on prescriptions. It had been 7 hours since I'd eaten my Jenny Craig lunch. I knew I needed to eat something and I could have found some healthy options, but for some reason I got the most unhealthy thing I could find at a Target cafe. I justified it to myself -- I'm sick, I need comfort food, I should get something I can't get on the Jenny Craig menu, and since my center is always out of the pizza....


And I felt awful afterwards. The food was tasty, but definitely not worth the calories it cost me. And I had really been looking forward to my Jenny Craig meal that I was supposed to have this evening. So now I'm mad at myself for eating off-plan and I'm mad that I can't eat the food that would have made me feel good and good about myself. 


Tomorrow is another day. And now that I'm armed with a z-pack, an inhaler, and prescription cough medicine, it might be a better one all around. 



Struggling with Control

I had my appointment today to complete my second week on Jenny Craig. It went well and I lost another 3.2 lbs despite Christmas....but I am not handling the "out of control" feeling that comes with this weight loss program. 


I am on pre-planned menus. This saves me 10% on my Jenny Craig food. As a result, I am at the mercy of the pre-planned menus. This week I have Menu 3, but it is now different than the Menu 3 that I was given to look at a couple weeks ago.  I knew that there were some new foods coming, but I hadn't realized that it would mean that I would have a totally different menu plan than I had been expecting. 


Somehow I am just really struggling with that. I thought I had thoroughly planned out the next few weeks -- which substitutions I would make and which ones I would keep, etc. I had carefully created a spreadsheet detailing how many times each food was offered on the planned menus so that I could make good choices about when it was worth it to substitute something else. For example, on the menus I was given previously, I noted that the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich would be offered in both Week 1 and Week 4. So I marked it down as being a food that I should not substitute in for weeks 2 or 3 because then I would be having it 3 weeks in a row. All that planning is wasted now. 


The worst part is that I was most excited for Week 4 -- and now because they changed menus before I entered my third week of the program, I won't ever get to try it. I know I will get to eat some/most/all of those foods at some point, but I was just really looking forward to that week as being a good week for me. 


I guess I just need to be okay with relinqueshing control. I just feel sad that I can't plan my own weeks. Yes, I know I could give up the discount and get whatever food I want....but I just don't feel like I can leave money on the table right now. 


An Intro

I am excited to take on my weight loss journey and log it here along the way. 


By way of introduction....


I am 32 years old and the mother of two young children. I am a middle school teacher. I don't know that I would describe myself as a chubby or even overweight child, but I wasn't very active. Starting around the time I hit puberty in late elementary school, my weight just kept creeping up. Throughout high school. Throughout college. I was overweight on my wedding day. I was overweight when I got pregnant with my first child. 


I lost a few pounds just before getting pregnant. That stopped as soon as I got pregnant and I gained very little weight throughout my pregnancy. After giving birth, I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight within days. But throughout that first year of motherhood, I gained about 20 lbs and was the heaviest I had ever been. I started counting calories and wearing a Fitbit and lost about 20 lbs....


And then I got pregnant again. I had intended to keep logging calories during pregnancy, but I just . . .  couldn't. I didn't gain a ton of weight, but I certainly gained back all that I had lost. 


After my second baby was born, I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight soon and I tried to count calories again so that I could lose the weight I was sick of carrying around. But I found it too difficult -- I was constantly getting up in the middle of the night and needing to eat. I was nursing and hungry all the time. I felt like I just didn't have the willpower to focus on that aspect of my life. 


I gained back all of my pregnancy weight -- plus another 20 lbs. 


A few weeks ago, my sister carefully broached the topic of Jenny Craig. My sister, who has always been slim and healthy, is a nurse and so even though I know she has no idea what it is to live in my skin, I take her guidance seriously. She said that Jenny Craig was award-winning and seemed like a healthy choice. She offered to pay my membership fee as a Christmas present. 


So here I am. I am in week 2. At my initial weigh-in, I was 241.6 lbs, I think. Last week I was down 3 lbs to 238.6. The holidays are an awful time to start a new diet, but I figure if I can make it through them this year, next year will be a piece of cake. 


At my second meeting, my consultant asked me what my motivation was. It seems like a strange question to me -- doesn't everyone want to be a healthy weight? To look better? To fit into clothes better? To prevent obesity-related health problems? It seems odd to ask someone what their motivation is for losing weight when they are 100 lbs overweight. But I told her the truth -- which is that I am mostly just curious as to what I will look like when I strip away all the excess weight. Having never seen my adult body at a healthy weight, I truly have no idea what it will be like. This first part will be boring, since I know (and remember clearly) what it was like to be 20 lbs lighter, 30 lbs lighter....but once I lose about 65 lbs....that's pretty much uncharted territory for me. This is an entirely new adventure.