Traveling through life with a timer and sneakers

Archive for March, 2014

Losing *only* two pounds … A 19-week reflection on the HMR Diet

Last night was my 133rd day staying “in the box” on the HMR Decision Free diet.

On my first night of class, my health educator showed us a graph. It showed data that the longer a person stayed “in the box” (eating only HMR food), the higher the likelihood they would stick with the program and the average amount of weight lost. The data included everything from the probability of success if you “cheated” the first week all the way up to 19 weeks.

So I bought a small white board and decorated it with permanent marker after calculating how many days were in 19 weeks. I then used a white board marker to update the number of the board. And then I set that board where I would see it every time I entered the kitchen. I also kept some helpful tools within reach, as you can see in the photo.

HMR Diet "In The Box" Board

 

The first few weeks, it was struggle each day to stay in the box. But knowing I would have to reset that number was motivation to keep going. And changing the board felt like a triumphant win!

Eventually, I stopped updating each day and would change it every couple of days. However on a difficult day, the visual was a good reminder of how far I have come and how I didn’t want to reset the board after so much work.

Today is my 134th day on the diet. I still plan on keeping the board alive, but I am in the process of setting new goals. Goals to keep me going.

Because I can’t rely on the scale for motivation.

When I get on the scale at the clinic, I try to imagine what the new number will be. In the beginning there were huge jumps most weeks. Some were two or three pounds but many were four to six. And I knew logically that it would slow down as I had less to lose and my body adjusted to a lower-calorie diet.

The last three weeks I have lost one pound, four pounds, and then two pounds. In the real world, losing seven pounds in three weeks is a big deal. And I know I would have been so happy on previous diets with that loss. Yet last night, with a two pound loss on the scale, I felt disappointment.

Practical me knows that this process is going to be an ultra-marathon. That it’s a lifestyle change. That it won’t happen over night. And that I have works for 19 weeks but I knew going in that it would be a much longer process. Finally, I know that I have gotten stronger and have had so many non-scale victories that I should dance with joy.

Today I begin the process of setting new long-term non-scale goals. From fitness goals I am currently working on, to food based goals I need to figure out. I am determined to succeed one day at a time.


Traveling on the HMR Diet

I have been on the HMR Decision Free Diet for almost 16 full weeks. During those 16 weeks, I have flown away for weekend work (and one personal trip) for 8 weekends and spent another 4 weekends at regional competitions. With 12 weekends away from the comfort and safety of my home environment, I have quickly learned some skills for traveling on the HMR DF Diet and I am looking forward to sharing some of them now!

First, let’s dispel some rumors. I have carried entrees and shakes through airport security every trip and have never been stopped. However, I would always recommend carrying some documentation of your medically supervised diet just in case you get a TSA agent with his britches in a bunch claiming HMR chili is a liquid.

Second, the majority of hotels I have encountered have been amenable to placing a mini-fridge and in most cases a microwave in my hotel room free of charge provided I show the medical necessity (same documentation). Many never needed to see it, I just needed to ask and explain.

Third, if you haven’t already figured it out, many of the entrees can be eaten cold. I will be honest… I am NOT a fan of most of them at room temperature. My stand-by is Five Bean Casserole (add a packet of salt and a packet of pepper and maybe a squeeze of mustard from an airport food court and you’re golden). I will also do the chicken parm and the ravioli and the lasagna. It’s up to personal preference.

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Two great on-the-go shaker bottles… liquid included!

When I am checking a bag for a longer trip, I like to travel light with the carry-on. This means packing as compactly as possible. First, I fold up two of the 800 packets and one 70 packet into my standard Blender Bottle along with a plastic spoon. This prevents the wire ball from bouncing around, saves space, and gives me an easy pudding and two shakes!

I also pack at least one Mio or Crystal Light squeeze bottle for easy to-go flavoring in my liquids bag. Great for making shakes different flavors and perfect to add to a club soda on a plane for a “fancy” drink!

However, I hate cleaning when traveling and thus when I get through airport security, I am often on the hunt for one of the stand-by beverages pictured above. It makes a perfect disposable shake container. Just swirl your shake powder before shaking or the powder may all end up in the lid!

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This was my HMR meal at the San Diego Zoo. Just drink half the bottle, add shake mix, swirl and shake to your desired consistency! Mmmmm Chocolate Lemon Goodness!

I am also a big fan of mixing up the flavors of my entrees and having other savory options available to me is a big way I have managed to stay “In the Box” while “On the Road.” I always have a couple of bouillon cubes in a snack bag (to keep the smell contained) as well as a couple of tea bags for on-the-go hot beverage choices. I also carry a travel milk frother (mine has a cute carrying case!) which I use to whisk hot liquids for soup and hot chocolate shakes.

Additionally, I carry a menagerie of seasonings in a travel pill case (pictured below) which I place in a sandwich bag (because I am paranoid about spills but haven’t had one yet!). You can put all of your favorites in here! These are just some of my standards.

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Turn your pill case into a travel condiment container!

Another way to make travel easier and make you feel included when others are eating carby goodness, is to make some HMR muffins (I make these without the frosting) ahead of time. I don’t do this often because I want to avoid over-relying on low-volume foods. However I have found packing these can save me in a pinch when everyone else is noshing on trigger foods plus these don’t require preparation. This is one I save for super high stress weekends (I also make these using a mini-donut pan that fits in my toaster oven which makes them smaller – I get more and they are easier to pack!).

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Make muffins ahead of time for packable meals.

Traveling can be difficult on the HMR diet, or any diet, because of the temptations that lie in the Gap and all of the fabulous looking foods that abound. It is much harder to control your environment and at some point in the future I will talk more about how I prepare mentally for travel. However in the meantime, I hope these travel tips are helpful for those who have travel in their future!