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Monday, January 31, 2011

Slip Sliding Away (Non Scale Victory!)

Short and Sweet:

Today I noticed the pants I wear most often were looser yet again.  I acted on a feeling, and without having to unbutton or unzip I was easily able to just pull them down right on over and around anything that would ordinarily stop that from happening.

That has nothing to do with the number on the scale and everything to do with how things are shifting around.

YAY ME!

P.S. My trainer came back today and we started back with crunches and lunges and other exercises guaranteed to rip muscle from bone!  Awwwww I missed ya, Nina!  ♥♥♥

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feeding The Wolves

You may have heard this many times over the years; but it never seems to lose its relevancy for my life:




Last night I took my son to our favorite diner.  I ordered the egg beaters veggie omelet, with a fruit salad, and no potatoes.  I was rockin' the health!  My son ordered nachos and they brought him a gargantuan-sized plate with gobs of chili and cheese and sour cream.  After I finished my own meal, my son asked if I wanted to try a bite.  I thought "one taste won't hurt" (I really thought that) and it was so good I had another.  And another.  And another.  With a little extra sour cream.  And an extra little scoop of the cheese. Here and there.  A few more times.

Before you know it, the waitress came back and asked if she could get us dessert, I thought, "I've already blown it, I may as well have pie" and so I got some apple pie.  Which of course isn't all that great without being heated up and having a dollop of vanilla ice cream on it.

I was feeding the greedy, can-never-be-filled-up glutton inside of me who didn't care about next right choices or how I'd feel afterwards.  I just did what I wanted to do in the moment.  That's not even really right.  I just followed a compulsion and didn't stop it. I wasn't emotional.  I wasn't feeling lonely.  I wasn't trying to fill a big gaping hole of emotional need.  I was just on automatic freaking pilot.

I don't think it's possible to always make 'the next right choice.'  Do you?  We're human.  We're imperfect.  We're fallible. I think this battle of the wolves isn't going to be won by "which one you feed."  I think this battle is going to be won by "which one you feed the MOST."

Sometimes, the 'next right choice' is acknowledging a misstep, a mistake, a sin, a faux pas, a weakness, a momentary lapse of sanity.....and imprinting the memory of how that felt so as to reduce the likelihood of repeating it.  And then forgiving yourself and letting it go.

It's not "all or nothing."  It's not "black and white."  It's not "good wolf, bad wolf."  In my world, it's step by step, choice by choice, try to do my best and accept that sometimes I will forget to even try.  And That's OKAY.

Fortunately, I'm going to get another meal a few hours later to try again and I get to choose better and turn everything back around again.  So this morning I had a bowl of oatmeal, an organic yogurt and an awesome honeycrisp apple.

Fortunately, there's a do-over button every time we make a bad choice......

(Lyrics to the song are below)


There is no guilt here, there is no shame.
No pointing fingers, there is no blame.
What happened yesterday has disappeared.
The dirt has washed away and now it's clear.

(Chorus)
There's only grace.  There's only LOVE.
There's only mercy, and believe me, it's enough.
Your sins are gone without a trace.
There's nothing left now..there's only grace.

You're starting over now under the sun.
You're stepping forward now, a new life has begun.
Your new life has begun.

Chorus

And if you should fall again, get back up, get back up!
Reach out and take my hand. Get back up, just get back up again!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Honeycrisp Heaven

Have you ever experienced a Honeycrisp apple?  If you have, you are likely already addicted to their deliciously sweet flavor and the snapping crispness as you take a bite.  If you have not, you may have missed your window for this season and will have to wait until next fall.

Honeycrisp apples are a hybrid developed by the University of Minnesota. They state:

"Honeycrisp fruit is characterized by an exceptionally crisp and juicy texture. Its flesh is cream colored and coarse. The flavor is sub-acid and ranges from mild and well-balanced to strongly aromatic, depending on the degree of maturity. It has consistently ranked as one of the highest quality apples in the University of Minnesota sensory evaluations."

I was introduced two years ago to Honeycrisps because a gal on the Weight Watchers boards was raving about them.  You have to really look at the grocery store to find them as they tend to disappear quickly!  Once you purchase them, bring them home and keep them in a cool place and they will last a long time! (several weeks! really!)

I thought the season was over for me this year and this morning I found some at my local grocery store.  They must have been stashing some just for me.  (Thank you, Super Fresh!)

If you love tart apples, this is definitely not the apple for you.  But if you like 'em sweet and crispy, they just don't get any better than the Honeycrisp. 

LOL Diet Commercials

These are funny and disturbing. :-)


Friday, January 28, 2011

The View


I've rearranged my house in such a way that I have one room nearly dedicated to this fitness quest - an addition that was being used as my dining room / music room.  I still have the piano in there, and my table, but they are off to the side to make room for the treadmill, exercise bike, ab lounger, plenty of floor space for working out and my mat.  This is the view from standing on the treadmill.

I have FIOS and an HD TV with built in DVD player so I can entertain myself while walking.  I have also purchased yoga, walking away the pounds and sweating to the oldies dvd's.  Of course, buying them and setting them near the TV is as far as I've gotten with that.  Progress, not perfection, I say!

I am SUCH an all or nothing kinda gal though.  I want to find a place for my table and piano, clear them out, put mirrors on the walls like a real gym, get some music piped in from the laptop to a sound system hooked up to the tv and make this the room I most want to be in.  Anything worth doing is worth doing obsessive-compulsively, right?

I don't want to waste a lot of time on this, but I was given an elliptical from work and I'd rather bring it home sooner than later, which means I need to make the room.  On days like today I wish money was no object and I could just buy a bigger house.  Then again, if money was no object I'd have a personal chef, a gourmet kitchen, and much cuter workout clothes.  :-)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pigging Out Sure Ain't What It Used To Be!

I remember, back in the day, (1980's) when going on a binge involved a half gallon of heavenly hash ice cream for a General Hospital marathon.  Or a dozen butterscotch pecan chip cookies atthe Publick House Bake Shoppe where I worked in Sturbridge, MA.  Or hot from the fryer chocolate donuts from Kristine's Bake Shop where I also worked after high school.  Those?  Those were epic binges.  Legendary, really.

A little while ago I found myself s.t.a.r.v.i.n.g.  (Remember my HALT blog?  Never let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?  oops) and I went frantically into the kitchen looking for fast food that might do the trick.  I assembled some stuff, gobbled it down and it didn't quite do the trick so I followed it with chocolate.  It all sounds so sordid and horrible.

Until I step back and really look at the wreckage.  Let's see:

  • Whole wheat pita pocket split into 2 
  • about 2 tsp mayo, 1 tbps max
  • 1 whole big fat juicy tomato stuffed into both sides
Followed by:

4 small squares of 85% dark chocolate

So that's a whopping 3 weight watchers points for the chocolate and 5 for the tomato stuff pita, for a total of 8 points which is LESS than the activity points I have already earned and need to "eat" anyway.  Which means, not only didn't I go over anything, I'm still under for the week and will have my dinner as usual in a little while, no harm, no foul.

A little side note:  After 3 tiny squares of the chocolate I was actually more than satisfied.  I had a hard time finishing the 4th - no really.  I think quality ingredients and the fact that it's dark, not milk chocolate really makes a huge difference.  It's amazing.

I'm tellin' ya....when you purchase good, healthy food to keep at home, it really limits the damage you can do when you're on a rampage! Nope.  Pigging out sure ain't what it used to be.  THANK GOD!

Unplugged


Somewhere in the early 90's I discovered the Internet (back when it was text and DOS based!) I don't mean I invented it; we all know Al Gore did that!  The night I popped in that free AOL CD I ended up staying online until 4:00 a.m. researching a disorder with which a family member had been diagnosed.  I was blown away by the copious amount of  information I found at my fingertips.  I became instantly addicted.  

I have a good friend who calls herself (and me) an "Information Ho" and I'd say that's about right.  I have lived on the Internet ever since to some degree.  I haven't watched tv with any regularity (except American Idol the year David Cook won) for many years.  I have never watched a single episode of Lost, 24, NCIS, Sex in the City, Dexter, 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, or The Sopranos.   I'm okay with that.

I'm a techno geekette and I'm "plugged in" pretty much 24/7/365.  I carry my HTC Evo everywhere with me and that means instant access to the Interwebs, my email, chat programs, weather, news, sports---even my weight watchers points values are calculated on the fly thanks to a 'droid app.  I'm tuned into that little alert and flashing green light on the EVO that tells me something happened (a new email, a chat request, etc.)

The past few days, however, I've been missing in action.  Dealing with an onslaught of life's zingers, I have been unable to keep up with my normal geek stuff.  And when the flu hit, one of my friends suggested I "unplug" for a while and just rest, watch TV and relax.  It dawned on me then that I NEVER unplug.  I can't think of the last time I just sat and watched a TV show and even when I did, I'm sure I had the EVO in my hand in case it beeped.

As much as the 'Net is a great escape for me, and a place where I feel I thrive, I think I need to remember life is lived in the 3D world where real hugs happen, where treadmills spin and memories are made.  I didn't make this a goal at the beginning of the year, but it occurs to me that in order to meet all of my aggressive goals for 2011, I'm going to have to add one more:  limit computer and EVO time!  Part of this "whole life" makeover is that I want to reach out and have more "real life" contact with people.  That's kind of hard to do from behind a computer screen.

How much time do you spend online?  On the computer?  Do you have an iPhone or Droid and do you find yourself "plugged in" all the time?  Are you okay with that?  Inquiring minds want to know.....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Randy Lay There Like A Slug......

During the past several days life has thrown me a few curve balls that temporarily derailed my momentum.  I"m reminded of A Christmas Story and my favorite line:  "Randy lay there like a slug.  It was his only defense."

On Saturday, my son woke me up in the wee hours with the full blown stomach flu (gastroenteritis).  Poor baby was the sickest I have ever seen him.  It was Pedialyte only the first day and partway into Sunday he was able to have some chicken noodle soup my sweet neighbor made for him.  I had to change his bedding several times and wash a lot of clothing as he was going through them every hour. After cleaning and disinfecting everything I went to bed exhausted Sunday night.

After
Before
Then Monday morning I heard screams coming out of the bathroom.  "Mom, there are bugs in my hair!"  This is not something an exhausted mother wants to hear.  I snapped a picture, Googled, and realized this was a story "Of Lice and Men...."  Egads!  

The pediatrician outlined what needed to be done (as well as the school nurse who I called) and I began the process of delousing.  It was a lousy job.  (teehee)  
Ummmmm
Rather than deal with getting the lice out of  ALL the hair, I decided to chop off his hair first and then just deal with what little was left.  My son is a comedian and when I turned around to grab the camera for the "after" pic this is what he did. After the haircut there was a shampoo procedure followed by some gel and a fine tooth comb and a lot of meticulous picking.  I felt like a gorilla mom.

The rest of the delousing involved washing everything we own basically. Rewash the bedding, sofa and loveseat cushions, coats, hats, clothing, stuffed animals.  Spray down anything that couldn't be washed. Zip things in plastic.  Put things outside.  Spray things.  Unfortunately, with him having the flu he had laid everywhere for two days!  The sofa, loveseat, his bed, my bed, even the ab lounger!

The pediatrician told me it was possible (though not likely) that I could have the lice too (not likely because we don't share combs or hats etc.) but as a precaution she recommended I put mayonnaise on my hair with a shower cap overnight which would suffocate them if I had any.  Mayo.  In my hair.  Overnight.  YUCK.  I chose one with olive oil.  I figured if I had to do this, I'd make it nourishing for my hair!  

After slathering it all over my hair down to the scalp, I put my hair in a shower cap and then put a tower wrapped like a turban over the whole mess.  I cannot convey how disgusting this was.  It was greasy and slimy and I smelled like a salad bar that sat out in the sun for 8 hours.

But that wasn't the worst of it.  I was to keep this contraption on until morning.  I fell to my bed at 11:30 p.m. in total exhaustion from dealing with 2 days of flu and one day of lice, only to be woken up at 2:30 a.m. with horrific stomach cramps.  Yes, I now had the stomach flu also.  On the up side, with the whole hair-in-the-shower-cap process going on, I didn't have to pull my hair back while puking.

Yesterday I didn't eat a thing.  I just couldn't.  I also didn't have coffee.  Imagine the headache I had from caffeine withdrawal.  I don't think, as I sit here and write this, that I ever did finish the laundry and I think I have stuff in both the washer and dryer.  I did get some good tips on how to get the mayo out of my hair (fun times doing this while in the midst of the stomach flu) and a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water helped tremendously.  That, and washing it three times.  The silver lining is that my hair feels so soft and it's pretty darned shiny.

So today I was able to get back to work, have a pretty productive day there, and I was able to eat both a banana and some yogurt and keep it down.  WOOHOO!  Tonight's dinner was amazing roasted chicken and a small sweet potato.  I think I could have eaten the entire chicken, but I had to remind myself we can't make up for missed meals of the past.  :-)

Through all of this, there was no way I could possibly work out.  I did, in fact, lay there like a slug and it was my only defense.  But I'm on the other side of it now and in a few more days should have my strength back and be ready to get back in the game.  I'm going to start doing the treadmill again tomorrow, even if it's just 15 minutes.  And my trainer returns Monday which gives me several days to make sure we're completely lice-free and I'm refocused on the big goal - December 31, 2011.   As a single mom, this was a pretty major onslaught of crud to deal with alone.  But as a woman on a fitness mission?  This wasn't even a blip on the radar.  

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Flu Strikes

My son had a terrible gastrointestinal bug over the weekend and I got it late last night.  I have thought about putting thoughts together today but I just cannot muster anything intelligent.  Hopefully this will pass sooner than later...I have a couple of pretty funny things to tell you about.  :-)

For sure this has had to be good for the weight loss at least in the short term.  Also going to refrain from formal training for the rest of the week.  I am so weak I can't even hold my own head up (not exaggerating) so working with Nina just won't work.

As I feel better, though, I want to at least do the treadmill.  I have lost momentum and it's really bothering me.  Nina and I are starting again on Monday.  Just a tiny setback....darn flu!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Zig Zagging Forward to Goals

This is the way I most normally get from point A to point B in my life.  It's a big zig zag of 5 steps forward, two steps back, 4 steps forward, 3 steps back, etc.  


I sometimes have to take a few backwards steps to get a good running head start to make a giant forward leap.  And That's OKAY!

What I have noticed is that if I keep my eye on the prize, that longer term goal, no matter how many obstacles or setbacks, I will end up making that goal.

After I left my ex, I went to counseling from June 2005 to December 2006.  I remember in one session toward the end the counselor asked me to make three lists:


  1. Where would I like to be in ONE year?
  2. Where would I like to be in FIVE years?
  3. What would I like people to say about me, and my life, at my funeral decades from now?
It was a truly difficult task to complete.  I had spent years living out someone else's plans and goals and being a "non person."  But I really thought hard about it and came up with my lists.  The 5 year list included things like:
  • Have more education/certifications for my career
  • Make more money
  • Get some savings together
  • Fix my credit (My FICO was at 411 post-divorce!)
  • Buy my own house
  • Quit smoking
  • Be fit/healthy/lose weight
I think the act of writing these things down was POWERFUL.  I thought them, I wrote them, I saw them.  It imprinted into me and gave me some focus and direction.  Later, as the days and weeks went by, one baby step at a time, I was able to look at my choices and ask, "is this in line with my goals?  Does this choice get me closer to those goals?" and then choose wisely with purpose.

Here I am 4 years later and....

  • I have achieved 5 major industry certifications (IT) and enrolled and started taking classes at University of Maryland University College (UMUC)
  • I make more money.
  • I have a little savings.
  • My FICO is up at or over 700.
  • I purchased my own home.
  • I have quit smoking.
The only thing not done from the 5 year plan is the fit/healthy/weight.  Which I am doing and should be done by Dec 2011.  EXACTLY 5 YEARS FROM WHEN I MADE THE LIST!  

What I am learning is you don't have to do anything perfectly.  You don't have to always be moving forward,  Sometimes you need to rest.  Sometimes you need to coast.  Sometimes you need to back up and regroup.  But if you make your small, daily choices with an eye on the bigger picture, you WILL end up where you wanted to go, or someplace even better!

I had no concept of writing a blog or owning a website ( My Discussion Forums ) - these are things that came up along the path I was already on toward my goals and I just kind of went with them.

Anyway, my point is this:  Set your goals.  Write them down.  Then just worry about the baby steps that may not feel like much progress, but when you look back 5 years from now you'll be amazed at how they added up!!!

And as far as what folks will say at my funeral?  I think I want them to say "she loved us and gave her all." ♥♥♥

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Before and Now PIX

December 1, 2008 versus Jan 18, 2011 (30 lbs. lost and 2 years older!)
If I Can Do It, ANYONE (Including YOU) Can Do It!

So this is a good time to pause and do a quick "before and now" comparison.  It's certainly not a "before and after" because frankly, I have a LONG way to go.  Still, I think there are some noteworthy differences to talk about.

For instance, my eyes.  When I am eating processed/refined junk, I get puffy and look so unhealthy.  One of the first things to be affected are my eyes.  Look on the left how you can't even see them!  That has everything to do with what I eat, not so much how much I weigh.  Really.  It's like two different people and I assure you, I'm not Sybil.  :-)

The second thing is the skin tone.  I have a kind of dingy tone on the left and a healthier glow on the right.  My body likes the food it's being fed and it enjoys the cardio and weight training!

But to me, what I notice most is the smile.  I have one on my face a LOT more these days.

I have a long way to go and of course, you're not seeing the whole body shots yet.  I want to wait until I have a better difference to show you.  For now, if you scroll down on the right you'll see a slideshow of "Before and Now" pics which I will keep updating with more current photos.

I'd like to say I'm only doing this for the health benefits, for being able to get around better, for doing more with my son, etc.  While those are all true, I'd be lying if I didn't say there was some vanity thrown into the mix.  I have felt unattractive physically most of my life.  Imagine becoming my prettiest at the age of 45?  Heh.  I can not only imagine it, I'm doing it!  ♥

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grocery Shopping Part 1

"You can't eat healthy food at home if you don't buy any"  ~Carly

If I want to keep making healthy eating choices, then I need to have healthy options around me from which to choose!  One of the quickest ways to sabotage my motivation and momentum is to blow off going to the grocery store, then foraging around for something "quick" and "easy" when I'm hungry.  I'll gravitate to cereal, ramen noodles, junk - or Dominos pizza or Chinese food delivery.

Conversely, when I have a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks like string cheese, lowfat cottage cheese, organic yogurt or Kashi chewy granola bars (honey almond flax, trail mix, peanut butter), it is EASY to eat right.  It's all right there and ready for me.

Additionally, I have to think through meals well in advance.  I'm a single, working mom with a very active son.  That translates to days where I leave the house at 7:30 a.m. and don't return until 8:30 p.m.  Or I leave and come back for a 45 minute window before rushing back out for a basketball game or school activity.  If I don't plan, I need to think quickly in the moment and usually while hungry.  Not a great combination.

Instead, I am trying to think the day before:

  • "Where I am going to be tomorrow?"
  • "What activities does my son have on the agenda?"
  • "What's in the fridge or freezer and does it need to be taken out?"
  • "What time will I be eating?"
  • "What will I plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner?"
  • "Do I have healthy snacks handy at all locations?"
  • "Do I have enough veggies and fruits?"
  • "Am I planning for a healthy/essential oil?" (important to have every day!)
  • etc.

The more I do it, the more natural and less awkward it feels (the planning part.)  But the healthy grocery shopping part hasn't become second nature yet.  I need a routine.  I need to go maybe every Saturday morning to keep some structure to it.  And I need to grasp better what IS and what IS NOT healthy.  Read the labels, make notes, etc.

ColorNote Android App
I also need to for my own sanity keep a list of "staples" and as I run out, tick them off the list!  I found a great Android cell phone app called "ColorNote" which has a very simple interface for jotting down notes or creating shopping lists and as you buy the things it crosses them out.  Super handy and helpful. I also can use it for my to-do lists but I think I need to take some time and input all my staples in there.  Then at the grocery store I'll have some direction instead of walking around aimlessly trying to find what looks "good" at the moment!

I made this blog post Grocery Shopping Part 1.  I suspect this topic will get revisited a few times along the way - a lot of your success or failure can be predetermined at the grocery store!!!







Friday, January 21, 2011

Overcoming Pain and Fear with Action

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to thier hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.  ~James Baldwin

I read that quote the other day and immediately thought of this 'blanket' or shielding of weight that surrounds me.  And I guess I was in a safe enough place to let my mind go there, because I drilled down until I hit what has been, I believe, a deeply ingrained core fear or self limiting belief.  

I think there have been times I have clung to the weight because it has been a ready excuse to not be my best self and a great thing to blame for all my failures and bad choices.  It would be pretty painful to step back and realize that under all the weight (and removing it completely from me) there is just me...and maybe I've been the problem all these years...not the weight.  Ouch.

Examples:

  • Of course I attracted an abusive husband....who else would want someone my size?  (That was a good one.  Which of course discredits any woman of a normal or slight size who has ever been abused.  I tell ya, I look at beautiful women, slender women, and am in shock/amazement sometimes that they could end up with an abusive man.  My distorted mind has always believe the "pretty people" get all the good stuff in life without the pain.  Gack...my mind is chock full of total crap I've used to ease the pain of living!)
  • I'd have gone further at that job if I was cute like (so and so)...the cute petite women always get preferential treatment (which sometimes can be true, but which totally ignores the fact that at some point I stopped putting forth my own best efforts and slacked off....I almost always went from accolades of an overachiever to average through my own lack of balance and consistency which has nothing to do with how anyone looks.  But that's kind of painful to accept, so let's blame the fat, shall we?)
I have been on a path for a few years now where I am taking out these core doubts/fears and limiting beliefs and figuring out how to get rid of them so they stop hurting me.  So that *I* stop hurting me.  Lies told over and over and over again may sound like the truth, but they are still lies!  So my job is to take them out, look at them, and counteract them with truth!

There are many ways to do that (affirmations, meditation, exercises, talking to a friend and getting rid of skeletons and dark thoughts which can't live when you shed light on them, etc.)

But another way I found is by making good, solid, next right choices.  It really is that simple to me sometimes. If I take a moment and reflect before taking a step, to make sure that step is in line with who I am and what I TRULY want (what is right for me), I am squashing out the limiting beliefs and overcoming the fear through ACTION.  

I am a Christian.  I pray.  I ask for help and guidance.  I ask for strength.  But if I don't get off my derrière and take action, nothing ever changes!  It reminds me of an interview during the "Hour of Power" with Robert A. Schuller several years ago after writing one of his books and he was asked about the link between body, mind and spirit.  He said:

"I like to quote St. Augustine who said: "Pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you." So, we can’t sit there and pray and pray and pray, and say God, why don’t you help me?
 It’s like the joke about the man who has been notified that his house is going to be flooded and he needs to get out of the house. He says no I don’t have to, God is going to take care of me. Then the flood starts to rise and a sheriff comes along and tells him to get out. The man says no, God is going to save me. So, the floods continue to rise, and he climbs on top of the house. A boat comes along and he’s told to climb into the boat. He says, no, no , God is going to save me. Finally, a helicopter comes along and they lower the net to rescue him. The man says, no, no, God is going to save me! Well, the man drowns and goes to heaven. When he gets to heaven he says to God, "why didn’t you save me?" God says, "I sent the sheriff, I sent a boat, I sent a helicopter, what more did you want me to do?" 
There is a point at which we have to take responsibility for our faith. When God sends a helicopter, you have to climb in. So, action is a part of faith and prayer as well."

Maybe this blog and the attention it is getting is my helicopter out of the fear and the pain and into the life I was born to live.  I'm climbing in and am pretty excited to see where it's heading!!!  ♥

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Diet Tip #382 - It's Not Just About What You Eat


A friend posted this pic from Demitri Martin on Facebook today and I loved it.  I thought if I ate all my meals using these implements I'd probably lose a few pounds.  :-)

Then I got thinking about how I eat.  I wasn't really all that aware about how I eat until I was recently watching my son eat.  As he was very rapidly shoveling food into his mouth I became increasingly agitated and maybe even angry.  I told him to slow down.  To set the fork down in between bites.  Close his mouth.  Stop making noises. To chew properly (crunch, crunch, swallow isn't good enough....at least chew 20 times or more, son!)

And while I was saying all these things I became even more frustrated and uncomfortable as I realized I was echoing my parents' words to me when I was younger.  Then I really stopped and tried to pay attention to  how *I* was eating and it was probably almost as vociferously and my heart sank.  What on earth have I been teaching this child?  Then I thought, well, maybe there's still time to save him from a lifetime of doom - and it has to start with my being the example, being the role model.

So henceforth and hitherto (blah blah blah) I declare I am going to think about my food while I eat it.  I am going to think about how I am eating the food.  Am I putting the fork down in between bites?  Am I enjoying it or shoveling it?  Am I taking time to see, smell, taste, enjoy the textures and colors?  Am I distracted by the TV or lost in my own thoughts and not really enjoying the meal?

I also feel the panic of time slipping away.  My son is 11 and it won't be long before he won't want to sit around and eat with Mom anymore.  So I want to really make mealtime more special.  I want to focus on him, our conversation and leisurely enjoying the time rather than rushing through.

It really isn't just about what you eat.  And I'm going to try to really be mindful of that going forward.  ♥

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Grinch Returns....

I do not know what happened this morning.  I felt all discombobulated.  I couldn't seem to do an exercise right.  Kept losing my balance.  Didn't feel the pull in the right places.  Was a bit snappy, I'm sure.  Nothing made sense in a single exercise I did!  The arm lifts and leg lifts all felt foreign, even though I've been doing them for 2 weeks!

What the heck is that?

I'm hoping it was because I had two days off (though I did ice skate and treadmill).  I also think I may have been off since I didn't get up as early as usual and felt very overtired.

I don't know...going to try to get my act together.  It's WAYYYYYY too soon to get frustrated already! lol

Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

If It Doesn't Help, DON'T DO IT!

Sometimes I wonder what the heck my problem really is.  Why do I occasionally sit here and watch myself walk right into the oncoming train?  I know something isn't good for me.  I know it doesn't feel good.  I know it won't get me closer to my next goal.  AND I DO IT ANYWAY.

It could be anything - like walking into the kitchen for an apple and coming out with a bag of chips (that sounds almost cute.  I should rephrase it.  It's like walking into the kitchen for an apple and coming out with a bag of chips, a hunk of cheese, a soda and some chocolate and thinking "I'm going to regret this.")  Then going ahead and eating it anyway.

Or watching the Christmas decorations sit there while I piddle around online.  The day is going to be over and I'm going to be thinking, in a pseudo-panic, "Oh my God, where did the weekend go?" I'm typing this now and, of course, they will still be sitting there, waiting to make the trip to the attic, at 7:00 pm.  Still.

When I quit smoking one of my quit buddies from Quitnet.com used to say to get rid of any unhelpful thoughts.  If unhelpful thoughts enter your head, just, well, get rid of them.  The same logic SHOULD apply everywhere.  If you are doing something unhelpful, STOP DOING IT.  Or if you start getting into some "stinking thinking" that could derail you, just stop it!  It sounds so simple, and it is.  It's simple to grasp, harder to implement.

For all the troubles I have overcome in my life (and there have been many), I think those I create for myself may be the hardest to overcome and deal with. Why do I take a perfectly good, normal day, and waste half of it and then get myself all in a tizzy over what I didn't do?  I don't know.  I don't really feel like exploring it today.  I kinda just feel like going to hang out on Facebook.  While I finish off these cheese and crackers.  Dammit.

Ice Skating and More

During the Thanksgiving break, while my parents were visiting from Maine, we took my son to the local town center ice skating rink.  He wanted me to skate with him, but I felt completely incapable, and had no interest in even trying.  I sat and watched him, completely disappointed in myself. That wasn't even two months ago.

1/15/11
Last night I took him ice skating with the intention of getting on the ice with him!  And I did it!  I wasn't all that graceful starting out.  I'm quite certain the teens and twenty somethings were looking at me sideways like "what the heck's this old lady doing on the ice?" And I spent the first 3 times going around nearly hugging the side.  You can almost feel my knees buckling in this photo!

But after a couple of times around I started to get the hang of it.  And there came a point where I wasn't focusing on balance and just started moving to the music.  At that point I started thinking about the difference between Thanksgiving and now.  And it's not really a physical one.  I've only been dieting/working out for two weeks.  That's not enough to make a big physical difference.  What's different is all in my head.

I know today I am making good 'next right choices' in my life.  I know today that I am doing all I can do to turn things around.  I have no shame about it.  I don't CARE what Jane Doe or John Q. Public think about my weight or size or shape because I am proud of myself and so I don't need that external approval.  In fact, when I looked at the healthy looking parents sitting on the sidelines I could see a lot about each of them in their faces.  Some were smiling and even said things like "you're braver than I am!"  But some looked at me almost with a scowl.  I wonder if it's because they are secretly jealous that someone so out of shape like me dared to get up there and they wished they could have?  Or maybe it's because they are unhappy about themselves in some way and they feel better scowling? lol  Regardless, last night I knew down to my bone marrow that it wasn't about me.  This is what happens to my self esteem when I make good choices!!!!!!

I'm going to go tubing this winter, too.  And start putting together a list of fun physical activities I want to do or try in 2011, many of which I have never done before.  I want to hike.  Camp.  Bike.  Maybe sign up for a 5k run/walk for the heck of it.  I want to set activity goals which I think is almost MORE important than weight/scale goals.  The scale will tell one thing.  How much I weigh.  The activity goals will tell how much LIVING I am doing!!!  And THAT is why I'm doing this!!!!  ♥

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dead Weight

dead weight or dead·weight (dĕdˈwātˈ)
noun
  1. The unrelieved weight of a heavy, motionless mass.
  2. An oppressive burden or difficulty.
  3. Abbr. DW The fixed weight of a structure or piece of equipment, such as a bridge on its supports. Also called dead load.
--------------------------------------------------------------

I believe I have spent a lifetime carrying around many different types of dead weight.  I believe I have been shedding bits and pieces of it over the past 5 or 6 years, and it is possible that this leg of my journey is about losing a lot more than the weight of fat cells.  In fact, I am sure of it.


For years I carried around the weight of shame.  To me, "guilt" is a feeling we have that is a direct result of something we have done, and there's nothing wrong with feeling guilt when you are actually guilty of something!  But shame?  To me, shame is the sense that who we are is not good, or not good enough, at our core.  The belief that there is something inherently wrong or bad or ugly deep inside that is always lurking, on the verge of being "found out."  Shame is a heavy burden and one that none of us should carry.  But the world can conspire to make us feel so ugly inside and out from a very young age and no matter how we try to pretend otherwise, it can overpower us.  


A friend sent me this recently and I cried.  It is so beautiful and speaks to this very thing (note: it is a Christian song)


I feel like while I am currently shedding the physical weight, I have done a lot of work previously to rid myself of other dead weight that's held me down.  There is more than just "shame"; there are other forms of dead weight and baggage that some of us carry around.  I've gotten rid of a lot recently and plan on letting some more go as well.  I'll share as we go along.  For now, I just want to say I feel lighter on the inside as those burdens, like "shame," lift....which makes it so much easier to tackle the outside stuff. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chocolate Is A Health Food


My friend Joan has been extolling the virtues of 70% dark chocolate for years.  I have never really been a big fan of chocolate (no, really.)  But on a recent trip to Nashville, Joan brought a few types of Green and Black's Organic Chocolate (like that pictured below) and it was GOOD! I did a little research on the subject and here's what I found:





Why is Dark Chocolate Healthy?:
Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body.

Heart Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate is good for your heart. A small bar of it everyday can help keep your heart and cardiovascular system running well. Two heart health benefits of dark chocolate are:

Lower Blood Pressure: 
Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.

Lower Cholesterol: 
Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.

Other Benefits of Dark Chocolate:
Chocolate also holds benefits apart from protecting your heart:

  • it tastes good
  • it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure
  • it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
  • it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants
  • Doesn't Chocolate Have a lot of Fat?:
  • Here is some more good news -- some of the fats in chocolate do not impact your cholesterol. The fats in chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid:

Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.

Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.

Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.

That means only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you.

----------------------------------------------------

So there you have it, folks.  Eat chocolate, reap the benefits, and live guilt free.  I bought this at the corner deli and have made 3 squares a day my afternoon treat with coffee.  Mmmmmmmm.  Life is good!


Got Chocolate?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What's In The Mirror?

I woke up feeling different today.  It started with my new morning wakeup routine (stretching in bed) and followed me through picking out my clothes and accessories.  I think I knew right then that something good was happening today, because I normally just grab any clean clothes and possibly a pair of earrings and call it a day.  Today I spent time thinking about what I wanted to wear and how I was going to accessorize.  I actually smiled and thought, "oooooo I'm accessorizing today!"  I applied makeup.  I don't mean "I slapped some lip gloss on."  I mean, I carefully spent 5 minutes doing it well.

And I felt cute all day.  Yes.  I said it.  I felt cute.  You know, nothing's really changed on the outside yet, so why I felt cute today and not a month ago is worth talking about.  I know why and it's not magic!  It's repeatable!

It's those Next Right Choices I keep making!

When I am not taking care of myself, not eating well, not exercising, not performing to potential at work, not keeping my house up.....when any of those things start falling away I start a downward trend into not feeling very good about myself.  And that in turn results in projecting that negative self image outward.  It's a very real pattern.  And once one area goes (like say, eating), it does trickle into the next area (keeping the house clean) and then next (my parenting skills) and the next (depression) and the next (my job.)


BUT...


When I AM taking care of myself, am eating well, am exercising, am performing to potential at work, am keeping my house up....when those things are in place (by just making one next right choice after the other, one at a time, until they build up to a lot of good stuff), I maintain a positive attitude and THAT gets projected to the outside where even *I* can see it in the mirror!  




I have lots of ideas/opinions/tips/tricks about baby steps, making small next right choices, etc. and will delve into my recent history to share some of what I've learned.  But I'll save that for another blog on another day.  For now, I'm going to take myself to bed early because that's a really good next right choice for today! 


And that seems to be really working for me right now!!!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Choose Wisely, Grasshopper

The office went out to lunch to celebrate a coworker's birthday.  I love lunch!  And I love that I can always find something 'point friendly', or healthy, on the menu.  I was a little dejected to discover the birthday boy chose Macaroni Grill today.  Of all the restaurants in America, that one just seemed like the worst possible place to find something manageable.

Boy, was I wrong!

They have 9 items under 560 calories and lots of salads.  I chose the Pollo Caprese with a nice fresh greens salad. 

Fresh greens salad w/house dressing
cal: 160 
fat: 3 
carb: 10

Pollo Caprese
cal: 550
fat: 5
carb: 45

When they brought the bread and olive oil I made sure it was set across the table from me and out of reach.  When the salad arrived it had croutons so I gave those to a coworker. That may sound kind of high for lunch, but I had a small breakfast and a plain and simple grilled chicken salad for dinner, so all in all it was a pretty good day, considering I navigated Macaroni Grill!  

A person could get kind of used to feeling good like this!  I think I'm going to keep going!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baked Apple Goodness

Before my electricity went out this evening, I concocted a yummy baked apple dessert worth 6 weight watchers points.  I don't know about calories or nutritional value, but it's wholesome and yummy.  Most of the points are from the ice cream so you can reduce that greatly by using Lite Cool Whip or something instead of Edy's Slow Churned Vanilla Bean.


Baked Apples For Two
2 apples, cored
2 tsp. organic brown sugar
1 small single serve container Edy's Slow Churned Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


Put 1 tsp. brown sugar into the core of each apple.  
Nuke each separately for 4 minutes. 
 Put half of the ice cream into or ontop of each baked apple.  Eat enthusiastically.

What I really loved about this is that it really is a whole fruit, for one thing.  The brown sugar only adds 10 calories.  It feels decadent and like comfort food.  And it does make for a fantastic dessert.  It shows that you can be creative to get foods similar to those you are used to, only in a healthier way.  It also shows that healthier eating doesn't mean spinach and celery only.  You can eat desserts sometimes and ice cream sometimes and it's just all part of the weekly budget.

I love this saying and don't know who to credit.  I think it was a girl on weightwatchers.com a few years ago:

"With Weight Watchers you can eat anything you want.  You just can't eat everything you want."

Apologies to Nina, My Trainer

First, I'd like to apologize, deeply, for telling you yesterday that I wanted to punch you. Of course you realize I don't really want to punch you. Not now, anyway. Yesterday was a different story. (I am so glad you have a sense of humor!!!)

Secondly, I want to show you that I made a full 30 minutes on the treadmill this morning.  What I lacked in desire this morning (all I really wanted to do was sleep in), I made up for in commitment.   Therefore, I will have a little more energy to meet you head on tomorrow.  BRING IT!!!!

Hugs,
Carly <--- gluton for punishment


I can't believe that 30 minutes on a speed setting of 3.0 only burned 120 calories.  That only covers the apple I ate this morning.  I'm going to stop looking at the calorie part and just focus on the miles and time.  My goal is going to be 30 minutes per day, no matter what.  No matter what comes up and even if I have to do it at 11:00 p.m., I want to get that 30 minutes in.  I can't say I like it yet.  I can't say I'm looking forward to it or that it feels amazing.  But I can say I'm going to do it anyway, and hope that at some point I'll get excited about it.  :-)

On the upside, I watched an old "I Love Lucy" episode while treading and it's one I hadn't seen before.  So that was good.  On the downside, I left the flipping remote on the other side of the room so I couldn't turn it up loud enough to hear it.  I was afraid to stop the treadmill and get back off - afraid I wouldn't get back on.  lol

My black mat came in via Amazon yesterday and I have it sitting in my "workout room" now and it looks good in there!  I think taking it out of the box and setting it down counts as part of a workout.  I may want to step that up a bit though.  Let's see if this evening I can do some donkey kicks or hydrants or something.  Yesterday Nina had me do something that worked the glutes and I had a glimmer of hope that I might end up with a shapely derrière.  But I can't remember what we did.  I think I'm going to Google it.  Let's call that a secondary goal!  Buns of Steel!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Breathe!

The last time Cruella DeVille my personal trainer was here I got what you could call an education by experience.

She was forcing me to lift my body in such a way that I was pretty certain all of the muscles in my torso were ripping right off the bone, permanently detaching.  When I pleaded with her and explained the agony I was experiencing, she did not tell me to stop.  Instead, she said, "It's because you're not breathing right."

Two words flashed immediately across my mind, and they were not "thank you."  I was angry.  Did this woman not hear me?  Did she not understand my pain?  Was her ultimate goal to send me to the emergency room?  In my anger I gulped in a huge breath of air and on the lift I exhaled it all, all at once.  AND THE LIFT DID NOT HURT AND IT ACTUALLY FELT GOOD.

That will become, I believe, a vital part of my training going forward.  When things get tough, breathe it out.  I have always been a person who holds my breath when things get rough.  When I go for a shot, I close my eyes and hold my breath until it's over.  When taking a sliver out of my finger, I hold my breath.  Going forward, I am going to really focus on my breathing and make it a key part of my activities.  It's also going to help strengthen my lungs since prior to 11/1/2009 I had smoked for 3 decades.  This really is becoming a complete health overhaul from head to toe, and I'm loving it!

------------------

Since it's related to breathing...... my son was born a 30 week preemie.  A little GI Joe, he was.  I know in my heart he was a preemie in part because I smoked while pregnant.  There is no "do over" button, and I thank God he is a healthy awesome boy, but it could have ended very, very badly.  I made this video as a bit of a public service announcement against smoking while pregnant, hoping it might help at least one mom and her unborn baby.  My son and I are sprinkled in there....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Food is a Drug of Choice for Many

It's almost laughable to me how far a divide there seems to be between the medical community and real people like me.  They go on and on about BMI and exercise and food choices so very matter of factly.

It's really quite simple, no?  Expend more energy (calories) than you consume and you will lose weight.  Voila. Problem solved.

And of course, those of us who don't follow that very simple guideline are [insert negative adjective here.]  Weak?  No will power?  Lazy?  Unwilling?  Those are probably the kind words right there.  They certainly get worse.

But that's not all there is to it.  Not at all.  Not for some of us.  For those of us who have used food as a drug for years there becomes a strong physiological bond made within us.  In order for our bodies and minds to function "normally" (in a way we have become used to), and the neurotransmitters do what we expect (make us feel better), there is a certain necessary critical mass of certain food types at certain times which are as predictable, in my opinion, as the smoker's need for nicotine or an alcoholic's need for that next drink.

Rip that medicine away from us without replacing it with something else and you leave us with gaping holes that we do not know how to fill and we find we cannot cope with daily life.  Of course, I'm talking about myself here.  Your mileage may vary.

I started overeating very young.  (I also started smoking regularly at age 11.)  Coincidentally, this was not long after being molested by an adult I had regular contact with.  I can see now that I did not have the tools or the resources to deal with the emotions around those events, but that I gravitated to two substances that numbed me and gave me a sensation of "wellness."  Food and nicotine.  I used both my entire life for that same purpose.

And the reality is that food really did work as a powerful drug for me.  After consuming certain foods I would feel a calmness wash over me followed by a numbness and a desire to just sleep or veg out a little.  It calmed my racing mind.  It calmed my body noticeably.

The problem is that this mechanism started out serving an important purpose that was helpful and has become incredibly unhelpful.  I am unhappy about my weight, about my use of food as a drug, about hiding behind this "Wall Of Me" that hangs out there.  And I do that, you know.  I always have.  I hide right out there in full view and draw very little attention to myself unless I want the attention.  When you are overweight men for sure don't notice you and most people in general don't have much to say to you.  It's true.  Having lost great amounts of weight and gained it back I have experienced life both ways.  When you are fat, you are invisible to a great portion of society.

Anyhow......

On November 1, 2009, I ripped off one of life's big bandaids and quit smoking.  I faced some hard times, a deep clinical depression, and came out on the other side stronger and better able to deal with life.  Well, now I am beginning to rip off another big bandaid, one day at a time.

 I need to learn how to self soothe rather than run to food to do it.  I was terribly sad yesterday and, twice that I am aware of went into the kitchen to find something to eat, not out of hunger, but out of wanting to not feel those feelings.  I think just being aware of this is a HUGE step in the right direction.

I had a passing thought to reach out and call someone, but decided not to do that.  I had a passing thought of getting on the treadmill and didn't do that either. Nope, I went for a colossal bowl of Rice Chex. So it seems like healthier options are starting to come into my consciousness, which is great.  Acting on them isn't coming so naturally yet, but I'm working on it.

I have a feeling I'll be coming back to this topic often.  It's pretty big and needs a lot of sorting, kind of like peeling an onion...there are many layers under there.

But for today I'll accept:


  • I am aware that I don't want to feel the feelings that are hiding under all this fat and food, that they may be fairly powerful since some have been buried for decades.
  • I will turn to counseling to go ahead and face the stuff.  The only way to the other side is through.
  • I need to do things differently because what I've been doing no longer works for me and I really REALLY want to get on that other side.
  • I will work on forgiving myself for what feels sometimes like an entire wasted life.  Of course, it's not been...but it feels like that.  I feel that way about smoking, too, now that I quit.  Like, wow, why did I do that?  I want to feel that way about the food.

For today, I will just try to make some good next right choices.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

HALT!


In 12-step programs, (specifically Food Addicts Anonymous that I once attended), there is an acronym folks are told to be mindful of when going through their day:  HALT.  It means in order to maintain your (sobriety, abstinence, etc.) you should not let yourself get too:
  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired
I can attest that in my own life, these can be a fast track to sabotaging a good eating plan.

Hungry
If I am too hungry, I can eat ravenously and not even pause long enough to see if I'm getting full yet.  Or I will eat the wrong choices because I just don't care..I'm hungry, after all!  To keep hunger at bay, I know I need to keep healthy snacks nearby and try to not skip meals (or wait too long between them.)

Angry
Growing up, I was taught by society that anger was a bad emotion.  "Good girls don't get angry" was the message.  We must not get angry, just forgive people and make nice.  Blah blah blah.  This is  a dangerous message in my opinion, because anger can be very healthy and help move us to positive action.  But I digress.  Since I learned I shouldn't get angry, when I do get angry, I don't have great tools to deal with it.  I need to "stuff" it down, which can lead to overeating. It's better for me to avoid conflict or confrontation or seek a peaceful place quickly, than to stay in and around anger.  (Note: some conflict is healthy, too.  I'm talking about the kind leading me to anger.)

Lonely
Loneliness is probably my biggest trigger for overeating.  And why shouldn't it be?  I have spent the better part of my life living alone inside of myself.  Just me, my thoughts, and some good bread, cereal or other refined carbs to keep me company.  Just today I found myself in a deeply "alone" place and I walked right into the kitchen and self medicated.  I need to cut it out.  I need to have a better game plan.  Maybe taking out the deep loneliness on the treadmill would have been better.  Or being around people.  There's a thought. Remember one of my goals this year is spending time with people.  I have to figure out how to make that happen.  What I'm currently doing is not working for me and could be the undoing of this whole thing.  I'll make this a topic in future blogisodes.  (is that a word or did I just coin one?)

Tired
When we are tired we tend to not feel like chopping, dicing, measuring, cooking etc. and so we go for the quick and easy (and oftentimes unhealthy) choices.  I think when we're tired, we should rest.  And as we plan our days, make sure we aren't burning the candles at both ends.  Build in some down time and a good 8 hours of sleep at night.

Next time you find yourself running to the kitchen in a bit of a frenzy remember HALT.  Are you REALLY hungry or is there another trigger sending you in there?  For me, just identifying that can be enough to preempt a binge!


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