Changing Tracks

August 28, 2004

So, one week down on Core.

I am eating, as we speak — er, write — one of my best discoveries of the week. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not claiming that I invented this. People have been doing this since forever. But this is a great example of how this new program has turned my head around in a really good way.

The thing is, I used to be a snacker on stuff like reduced fat Cheez-Its and baked tortilla chips and stuff. It’s munchie-seeming, and low in points, but there’s basically no food in it. Again, don’t misunderstand — I’m not dissing the salty or sweet snack. However, it’s not going to make you less hungry, usually. I can buzz through a pack of little lowfat cookies, and while I will have satisfied the desire for a sweet, and the desire for a snack on a psychological level, I’m just as hungry.

See, I think a lot of people sell themselves short and assume that they can’t stop eating when they’re full, when in fact what they’re doing is eating such that they’re never full. Maybe of calories they are, but not of, you know, food.

So what am I eating? A bowl made of cans. You take a can of petite-cut diced tomatoes, a can of black beans (rinsed), and a can of corn. Dump in bowl. Drizzle with bottled lime juice (not Core, but far from enough to add up to a point). Drizzle with small amount of olive oil (which the Core plan wants you to eat anyway). Eat.

That’s it. So now, in my fridge, there’s a big plastic tub of that stuff. Hell, if I threw some cilantro in with it, that would be a bona fide recipe. And it’s basically Core (like I said, not enough lime juice to worry over), so I can eat it “until I’m satisfied.” So after I had lunch — which consisted of a real hamburger, made of real extra-lean meat on a light wheat roll for 1 point — and I was still hungry, I had a bowl of Linda’s First Core Week Stuff From A Can Bean-Corn Salad Thingy. It doesn’t take five minutes to make that, and as I said, you can then throw it into a container, save it (I save it without the dressing and I drizzle on the juice and oil a bowl at a time), and spoon some into a bowl whenever you want. And it’s really very tasty. Yesterday, I mixed it with a little lunch-sized can of chicken, and that was my lunch.

And there’s FOOD in it. You can’t compare what you give your body to run on when you feed it tomatoes, beans, and corn, as opposed to when you feed it reduced-fat Cheez-Its. You just can’t. And I feel like I ate some real food, as opposed to that “I just ate a snack, why am I just as hungry as I was before?” feeling.

So how was the week generally? It was good. My biggest struggle was making sure I ate enough. Core-type food — real food — takes a little longer to make than some of the quick stuff I had gotten used to. So this week, sometimes, when I didn’t feel like cooking, I would respond by not eating at all, and that’s not a great idea, because then I would wind up having lunch at 3:00 in the afternoon and dinner really late and kind of be thrown off by the end of the day. I wasn’t skipping, I was just being slow to get down to eating a meal sometimes.

Was I hungry? Only when I got busy. Trying to find some quick Core meals was how I happened on the Bean-Corn Salad Thingy in the first place. Like I said, it takes longer than a Lean Cuisine, the whole-food eating.

Did I feel restricted? No. I ate ice cream, drank beers and a margarita, had a couple of light mocha frappucinos (best way EVER to spend three points), and had a serving of potatoes every day for about the first five days I was doing it.

BUT. I would also point out that I earned about 35 activity points this week that I counted, and I counted conservatively. I became — as I’ve said — totally infatuated with the Precor, and spent four and a half hours on it between last weigh-in and this one. The day I had to quit after thirty minutes, I’m almost sure it was because I did it at about 1:00 and I hadn’t had lunch yet. Breakfast had been oatmeal and berries, so not much protein there. I think if I had eaten some protein before I went, I wouldn’t have punked out at the half-hour mark. But yeah, I worked out five days this week, which is very unusual. As I’ve said, Core is very motivating for exercise, because not only can you spend your points on treats like my beloved light mocha frapp, but you can spend them on things that are really good for you but not Core, like whole wheat bread and nuts and things.

I ate a steak this week. A STEAK. Not a big steak, not a huge steak, not a “run for the hills, she’s renaming the blog Eating The Cow” kind of steak, but a steak. Only once, but I ate it. I ate real eggs — not a lot, because I still am happy with southwestern Egg Beaters for breakfast much of the time — but a couple. I ate shrimp and beans and carrots and raspberry-banana smoothies and mandarin oranges and chili and cornbread and improvised hash browns, and I drank milk and coffee and lattes and a giant margarita.

Did I miss bread? Well . . . I missed bread as a habit. I missed being able to go for bread out of familiarity. Bread, or crackers, or a bagel, or whatever. But this morning, when I actually spent a couple of points on real whole wheat bread at breakfast, I realized that I have been eating mostly light wheat bread (2 slices for 1 point) that has, basically, no taste whatsoever. I had practically forgotten what good bread tasted like. I would much rather do this — spend a couple of points on bread and have really good bread — than be in points-hoarding mode, where I’m constantly afraid to eat anything in case I’m even hungrier later, which is kind of what Mo and I were talking about yesterday. I don’t really miss the kind of bread or crackers that I was eating most of the time. Especially if I can have fruit or something instead. I know that sounds like hippy-dippy happy talk, but it’s true.

So yes, I felt restricted at first just in the sense that I was being restricted from eating some of the things I normally would. But in the long run, do I believe the plan is more restrictive? No. It’s just different. I don’t want to talk down the Flex plan, because it’s worked awesome for a lot of people, and I had a lot of success with it myself. But I’m eating a whole lot better this way, and I’m more inclined to exercise, and I think I’m more well-prepared to exercise (in other words, better fueled).

Is it perfect? No. As I’ve said, if I were designing this plan, I’d have left one serving per day of whole-grain bread as Core. And they didn’t. And I still am not eating fat-free cheese, I don’t think. It doesn’t totally make sense to me that 1% milk isn’t Core, because it’s reportedly better for you, and the fat and calories aren’t that different. And I really am still bitter about lowfat deli turkey and ham not being included. That’s grumping me out.

But I’m digging the whole thing. I feel like I’m eating by feel a lot more than I was before — eating what I’m hungry for, rather than by what’s lowest in points. I’m not really eating more, I’m just eating differently.

And I don’t usually do stats, just because I kind of don’t think it’s the point, but for the purpose of providing complete information, I lost 4.2 pounds this week. Which is partly the exercise, but the program certainly didn’t result in my eating a lot more than I was before.

14 Responses to “Changing Tracks”

  1. Melissa Says:

    Good job on your 4.2lbs this week, love reading your entries, you tell it how it is and give a true idea to what it is(CORE) program.


  2. Joelle Says:

    So, I’ve been thinking about quitting WW. *gasp* But, I’m terrified to do it because I WANT to “reach goal” by their standards. I feel like if I quit WW, that means I’ve quit everything. I’m a quitter. I’ve quit.

    But that’s not it at all. I’m just tired of using the stupid points. I’m tired of not eating FOOD food. I’ve not been counting points bcause I get so annoyed by it lately. I’m tired of NOT having that apple or that bowl of sorbet or that whole grain bread because I’m squirreling away my points just in case I don’t shit before weigh-in. Does that make sense??

    So, I’ve considered doing Core, but I’m still trying to figure out if it’s going to be different than me just eating healthy on my own.

    Sorry, I’m just venting. 🙂 I’m glad you’re finding great ways to make it work for you. And congrats on the 4.2! 🙂

  3. Katrina Says:

    I am really scared of Core so far…for the same reasons you mentioned being unhappy with Core about…I love milk, but 1% is all I can do…I just can’t chug down a glass of skim. I also can’t imagine having a lunch without a sandwich…that is why I left the South Beach diet, I needed my bread. Anyway, congratulations on your first successful week on Core, you are much braver than I!

  4. deb Says:

    I’ve been on Core since Wednesday and, man oh man, I miss my low-fat deli meat and 1 pt. bread. With that and the frozen dinners not being on the Core list, I’m having kind of a tough time figuring out what to do for lunch. I take my lunch every day to work. I’ve gone back to canned chicken, canned tuna and even the Hormel canned lean ham. Not sure about the ham being Core…

    Anyway, it’s good to read about how you’ve come along this week. Congrats on the loss! 4 lbs. is fantastic!

    One thing’s for sure, Core is going to force me to be more creative in the kitchen. Fun, fun ;~)

  5. trish Says:

    4.2 lbs! Woot!
    While I’m not familiar with CORE, from what I’ve read here it sounds alot like Dr Phil’s plan. It sounds like his list of acceptable foods is very similar. All of which is neither here nor there except to say you all might want to check out his recipe book if you haven’t already. Lots of really good recipes to help combine the acceptable foods into you know meals and snacks and stuff. It’s taken up permanent residence on my countertop.

    Also I may have been reading a little too quickly because I read “improvised hashbrowns” as “impoverished hashbrowns” which makes no sense at all but made me giggle anyway.

  6. ladymisstree Says:

    Congratulations on the great loss!

    Don’t know if they are rolling Core out here in Australia, but it’s interesting to read people’s responses to it.

    Personally, anything that encourages people to eat whole foods is a good thing. I’m all about keeping whole foods in the house because it’s much harder to snack and eat thoughtlessly. You have to put in some effort to eat.

    Well done, and I look forward to hearing more about it!

  7. DeAnn Says:

    You had me at Core.

    But this elaboration is very welcome. I love this recipe and I will try it (although maybe without the tomatoes, since I’m not a fan).

  8. Libby Says:

    I’ve talked to a few people who go to meetings, and they said that their leaders told them that deli turkey (and other lean deli meats) bought from the deli counter is okay, but not the prepackaged processed stuff.

  9. Kimmy Says:

    Strangely enough, this has made me even more convinced that Core is not for me and I should stick with the Flex points (which I love for the sheer variety possible if for nothing else). If I can’t take a quick “grab it and go” breakfast to work with me, if I can’t pop a frozen lunch in the microwave, then I’m just going to end up skipping meals. I’m not the “go in the kitchen and throw something together” type. I’m the “go in the kitchen and walk out thirty seconds later with food” type. But I think it’s great that they’ve got something for all the different types now.

  10. Amanda Page Says:

    Thanks for the Bowl of Cans tip! I used the three cans you suggested, and added a load of coriander (=cilantro in the US), chopped red onions, sliced spring onions (green onions), garlic and fresh chopped chilli. Adding a little bit of lime juice and some extra virgin olive oil, and I had a lovely filling meal.

    I ate it with vege crudites and a small handful of low salt organic corn chips, and felt very full.

    I do like that the core recommends less packaged food. I was disturbed to be offered as a snack in one of my points meal plans; baby carrots dipped in sugar-free Crystal Light. That’s just not a healthy snack. It’s low in points, but it’s not really food. The carrots are OK, but they’re cut down larger ones, so there’s less nutrients there than in a full sized carrot.

    I’m not convinced that weight loss achieved using a lot of non-fat and sugar free chemically boosted food products is the healthiest. All those chemicals make me highly suspicious.

  11. Nicole Says:

    Glad you’re enjoying eating whole foods. I love eating whole foods. Yes, it does take more work, but it satisfies hunger and tastes better. Oh and congrats on the loss for this week.

  12. Theresa Says:

    The corn-bean salad thingy is very similar to a Black Bean salsa recipe that I make. Just add the cilantro you talked about and a jalapeno pepper and voila! I know you can’t or shouldn’t eat chips but if you are going to a get together and need to bring something you can bring this which you can eat and others will enjoy as well. Just an idea.

    Congrats on 4.2 pounds.

  13. JudyZ Says:

    I asked this week at WW. Apparently Lime Juice is Core if used as a condiment. So is lemon Juce. Apparently it ceases being Core when we’re talking enough to drink (so that probably affects the magaritas…)

  14. Kate Says:

    I’d like to share a recipe for Chicken Chili from Cans–I don’t do WW myself, but from what you’ve been describing I suspect this is fairly Core-friendly. Cube about a pound of chicken breasts, brown with some diced onion and a couple cloves of garlic, drain. Add one can each of corn, beans, and tomatoes, one small can of diced green chiles, one or two small cans of tomato sauce depending on how much liquid you want, and half a teaspoon of cumin. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, and you have tasty chili.

    The corn bean salad-thingy is great! I just had a bowl of it with chicken for my lunch.

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