Monday, August 26, 2013

I think I can

This morning I was down almost two pounds from when I started blogging again back in July. At this rate I'll hit my goal weight in about four years. But I have faith that I can do it a little faster than that, if I just do the things I know I need to do. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of exercising every day. Drinking enough water is still an issue. I think I just need to schedule when and how I drink it, just like a prescription medication. And food? Well, it is zucchini season. At least part of zucchini bread is a vegetable, right? Upward (or downward) and onward.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hi! And Hiatal Hernias

A hiatal hernia is a condition where part of your stomach pops up into your esophagus. It can give you heartburn and it can make it really hard to eat. In some severe cases, people have surgery to push that puppy back down where it goes.

Well, I've had one over the course of the last month. I've been having heartburn, and I thought I was probably eating too many spices. But then I noticed that sometimes when I swallowed, the food would just sit in the center of the esophagus and would not go down. A few times I'd have to throw up to get it out of there because it was not budging, and there were a few days when I couldn't eat much at all because nothing would go down.

Thankfully, my awesome chiropractor was able to dig his pointy fingers into my abdomen and pop the stomach back down without the need for surgery. The tissues are still sore - when you've had something wrong for a while, there's a recovery period - but I'm doing a whole lot better now.

There's just one problem - this didn't help my weight loss at all.  The only thing I found I could eat, most of the time, was Rice Krispies. And sometimes those wouldn't go down either.

I know I've put back on those five pounds I was so happy to lose. I haven't weighed - I don't want to be all sad - but I can tell in the way I'm feeling. In order to lose weight, my body needs a high protein, low carb, lots of vegetable diet, and I haven't been able to do that much for the last few weeks. I'm disappointed on a number of levels.

But I'm not giving up.  :)

Another incentive for me was seeing some pictures of myself taken at a recent writers conference. One was taken from the side (which should be outlawed) and my stomach is definitely coming back. Nooooo!! Say it ain't so!!

I've asked fellow bloggers Marta and Shauna to be my accountability buddies several times a week while I get this nipped in the bud. The hernia wasn't my fault, but it's completely up to me now how I come out of it.

Monday, August 19, 2013


I've recovered from the all the trauma of a couple of weeks ago. My foot has only small scars left. My mother is on her way to healing, and my WONDERFUL niece is now her full-time caregiver. The cat is still with us and shows no signs of rabies. (But I do wonder if cats can suffer from dementia.) (Or maybe she found catnip growing somewhere in the neighborhood.)

It's time to drag myself back onto the treadmill again. Theoretically, I know exercise helps with weight loss. It helps relieve stress. I remember just a couple of weeks ago I was on a roll and I felt so much better, physically and emotionally, when I was exercising every day. But I am not enthused about pushing this particular wheelbarrow of rocks up the hill again. I'll get there.

So back to the basics we go. Exercise 6 days a week. Drink plenty of water. Write down everything I eat and analyze it to death.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Bump in the Road

Last week was not a good week. On Wednesday night my cat was sleeping by my foot. Something startled her and she bit me. By the next evening, my foot was becoming red and swollen, and I went to the ER. Just as I was coming out of the ER, my sister called to let me know my mother fell, hit her head and broke her shoulder. (She's 92.) I spent the night in a recliner in my mother's hospital room. So I was dealing with the nasty side effects of two powerful antibiotics, a swollen and painful foot, loss of sleep, and all kinds of worry and stress. All my healthy goals just flew right out the window. Oh, and I was also dealing with the hormone roller coaster and water retention. Yay!

Did I mention it was not a good week?

So by this morning when I weighed it, it was pretty bad. I'm almost back to where I was a few weeks ago. I'd like to say I'm in damage control mode now, but I'm not even doing that well. I'm still just trying to survive these stupid antibiotics. The side effects are fatigue and stomach pain. (And apparently major crankiness and whining.) I'm not especially hungry, but it's worse if I don't eat and better when I do.

My daughter challenged me a few weeks ago to start doing pushups and situps every day. That may be my exercise for the coming week, because it wouldn't involve using my foot.

So my goals for this week are:

1. See how many pushups and situps I can do. Maybe I'll add some arm curls with hand weights.

2. Heal.

3. Try not to eat everything in sight.

(Mom is home, all stitched up and braced, with many family members and friends lining up to take care of her around the clock. She is much more stoic than I.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Making Progress

Marta reminded me that's it's been a little while since I've posted. So true, so true. Life has just been crazy busy. I'm sure every one of you can relate.

Remember how I weighed in at 245 and I set the goal to hit 212 by November 1st? Well, I'm feeling pretty good right now - this morning I weighed in at 240. That's a right nice start.

I've been off sugar for a solid week now. I did it before - I can do it again. But let me tell you a secret - when you go off it and then get back on it, it's so much harder to get off the second time. Just get off and stay off and don't put yourself through this again. I'm ornery, I feel a little lost and scared, and right now I'm having to make a firm, conscious choice not to go buy some. I've had a rough day, and so I've got to focus even more on making healthy choices. We gain weight without trying - we have to put in effort to lose it.

I've learned that when I eat sugar, I gain weight. When I eat grain, I gain weight. By eliminating sugar and grain, I lose weight. It's that simple for me - on paper. Making the decision not to eat them is much, much harder. We're conditioned to eat them in our culture and they're absolutely everywhere. And have I mentioned that I'm a food addict and an emotional overeater? Yeah - I'm sure you picked up on that along the way.

So that's what I'm up to this week - dealing with stress, choosing not to head for the chocolate, and feeling good about five pounds down. That's five on my bathroom scale - we'll just have to see if my doctor's scale agrees next time I weigh in there. I swear, his scale hates me or something.  :)

Remember - conscious decisions. Doing things subconsciously leads to weight gain.

God Grant Me Patience . . . NOW!!

As of this morning, I've lost another 0.8 pounds. I'm torn. I want faster results, but I don't want to do the drastic things that give those fast results. I want to create habits, long-term habits. I keep telling myself if it comes off slow it's more likely to stay off. But I still want it to be faster.

I suppose I would have lost more if I hadn't made those brownies. Lunch Lady Brownies a la Pinterest. My son came home for the weekend and he has the opposite problem. He can't gain weight. He's tall and has the metabolism of a blast furnace. I know, I know. We should all have such problems. It's really hard for him to find jeans that are tall and skinny enough. So I felt it was my motherly duty to keep feeding him. I was sort of caught in the fallout and blew my diet and skipped my exercise on Saturday. But it was a calculated decision. My son doesn't get to come home very often.

I've decided I really don't want to eliminate chocolate. Some days you just need chocolate. At least I do. I'll just be a little more selective. (Oh, and I ate exactly three brownies: one Saturday, one Sunday, and one this morning. I sent some home with my son, and gave away a lot of them. They are no longer in my house.)

I'm back at it today. My goals for the coming week are:

1. Keep walking, 25 minutes a day, 6 days a week.

2. Drink 2 liters of water a day. (It's getting slightly easier. I'm almost there today.)

3. Eat a decent breakfast every day, hopefully before 9:00 a.m., including complex carbs and a lot of protein.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just keep walking, walking, walking . . .

I've never been really enthused about exercise, but I'm still walking, 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week. So I met my exercise goal again last week, but I'm really struggling with drinking enough water. The only day I made it to 2 liters was Friday, and I'm not sure how I did that. I'll keep trying.

As of this morning, I was down another 0.6 lbs. Not what I was hoping for, but at least it's in the right direction. I think it's time to do something about food.

I've been paying more attention to what I eat and drink lately. I've already (mostly) cut out sodas. The next biggest thing is chocolate, my drug of choice. If I could figure out how to do a pie chart of where my calories come from, chocolate would be a big slice of the pie—chocolate cream pie. I don't know if I can cut chocolate out permanently, but I'm pretty sure I can do it for at least one week. Then I'll see what the results are and reassess.

My goals for the coming week are:

1. Keep walking, and up it to 25 minutes a day, 6 days a week.

2. Chug that water, 2 liters a day.

3. No chocolate for one week.

See you next Monday.

Monday, July 15, 2013

"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

I saw that on Pinterest, and it's my new philosophy. I'm making one change at a time. Starting last Tuesday (because Monday was my birthday and I was eating zucchini brownies) I began walking on the treadmill every day, for at least 20 minutes a day. I logged my minuets every day and ended up with a total for the week of 115 minutes walking. While I walked, I watched last week's episode of "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," and I had to keep going on Saturday until I hit 33 minutes to see the final weigh in.

I've also been weighing myself daily and recording that in my log book. Some "experts" say not to weigh yourself so often, but I find it interesting to see the way how much I exercise and how much I eat affects my weight on a daily basis. It was a little bit of a roller coaster, but as of this morning, I am down 2 pounds, which is 4% of my goal.

My goals for the coming week are:

1. Keep walking every day.

2. Drink 2 liters of water every day.

I haven't set any hard and fast rules about food yet. But because I'm exercising and weighing daily, I'm more aware of what I'm eating and how it affects me. I find myself making better choices, like eating more fruits and vegetables. I've also made some bad choices, like buying a whole package of Double-Stuff Oreos. If those things are in the house, I WILL eat them. I'm not banishing the cookies just yet, but maybe next time I want something sweet I'll just run over to the convenience store and get one of those single serving packages instead.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


We all seem to be needing a reset or renewal button so I am going to add mine to the board.  I lost about 35 pounds and I looked and felt great.  Then my husband hurt my daughter, left us and then filed for divorce.  That was made final about 5 weeks ago and he is getting married next week. (don't you dare tell me he wasn't seeing her when he lived with us).  Anyway, this winter was just hard and I finally had the doctor prescribe an anti-depressant.  While it helped me stop crying uncontrollably, which is a necessity when you are a school counselor, it also caused me to gain 30 lbs.  After about 20 lbs I went in and told him "I would rather be sad and skinny than fat and numb". He changed the prescription.  The next pill made me not be able to sleep and I already have insomnia and one of the rare side effects is "an uncontrollable craving for sweets and carbs".

  Guess who always gets the rare side effects?  Always.  Guess who was found in the faculty room hoarding all the sweet cinnamon twists every Monday and Thursday?  Sigh.

I finally told him that I just couldn't take the weight gain and that I REFUSED to purchase bigger clothes again.  I just got some cute smaller ones.  So we tapered off that pill.  And the weight started coming off.  A heck of a lot slower than it went on.

The good news is I am only 10-12 pounds from my lowest weight last year and I am starting to feel physically better.  I actually slept for 5 hours last night.   Of course most of that weight loss is because I am not eating.  Anything.  Well, maybe a handful of grapes or a bowl of beans, but truly I forget to eat because I am so sad I just sit and stare or wander the house waiting to hear keys in the door or his step on the floor.

No more!  I started doing Yoga again and it feels so good and my body slipped back into the routine quickly and the strength and flexibility didn't take as long as when I first started years ago.  I ate 2 actual meals yesterday and they were healthy and when the girls brought some donuts in the house a while ago I just looked at them and said Yummy and walked away because I didn't really want one.

Baby steps, baby steps.

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's been about three years since I last blogged here. I think I weigh about the same as I did when I started blogging here, meaning I've regained the weight that I lost. Actually, I've done that a couple of times in that three years. But I've noticed something lately. I've always had kind of an hourglass figure, sometimes a larger or smaller hourglass, depending on my weight, but I always had a defined waistline. (Except when I was pregnant, but that doesn't count.) But recently, I've changed. Now I'm more of a box shape--a busty box, but a box all the same. This is a picture of me at a writer's conference this spring. I hate it when I think I look pretty good, and then I see the reality in a picture.
It's not just about how I look anymore, although I really would like to look good for my next class reunion. Gaining weight around the waist is a sign of high cortisol levels, that's the "stress hormone." It also increases my risk of a heart attack. Today is my 51st birthday. I would like to make it to my next class reunion alive AND looking cute. My goal is to lose 50 pounds. One way I'm going to do that is with my walking. I finally bought a treadmill. I've found that if I can read, or listen to an audio book, or stream a movie or TV show on my laptop, while I'm walking, I walk longer. It makes exercise a lot less boring. I also have incentive to use the treadmill more often if I can only watch my show while I'm walking. First I'll concentrate on the exercise. Then each week I plan to concentrate on another good habit, like drinking enough water, or eating enough veggies. I'll report my progress here. It's good to be back on the blogwagon.

Vacation Eating Mode

You know how you allow yourself to eat whatever you want while on vacation? Yes, that mode of popping into your mouth all of the junk food that's so innocently sitting there on the counter waiting to be consumed. What about all of the "food"/snacks you have in the car that you need to eat while driving to and from your destination? I realized something this past week while vacationing with my family. I've been in "Vacation Eating Mode" the past eight months. I have allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. I've eaten so much sugar, carbs, gluten, etc., that my weight has blossomed upwards once again. 

The first thing I have had to do is to identify what caused this to happen. No, these are not excuses, but the reality of why I eat like this.

  1. -I'm a busy, hardworking, single Mom. 
  2. -I'm too tired at the end of the day to cook healthy meals.
  3. -Work has been VERY stressful!
  4. -My personal life has been VERY stressful!
  5. -I'm still grieving over the loss of my dad two years ago. He was one of my biggest supporters and sounding boards.
  6. -It's just easier to be fat and eat this way. (I believe that this would qualify as an excuse!)

 It is time to flip the switch in my brain and get out of the Vacation Eating Mode. I know that mentally I have to change the way I think. I've dieted enough to know what foods are good for my body and which ones aren't. I know that exercise is an essential part of developing a healthy lifestyle. I know that I need more sleep,and that I need to drink more water. **sigh** I know all of this. 

Here is the reality...
-I'm a single mom and my kids need me around to raise them.
-I hurt everywhere. The aches and pains will lessen as the weight comes off.
-I'm putting myself at risk for heart attack and stroke keeping this weight on my body.
-It's not fair to my kids having a mom that doesn't feel like doing anything, except sit on the couch at night eating more and more food.
-My children need someone who is a good example of living a healthy lifestyle. I don't want my kids in the same unhealthy boat 20-30 years from now.
-I'm not happy! 

I'm excited to join Tristi, and others here, in taking this weight off again. I vow to leave my Vacation Eating Mode behind. I'm ready to embrace a healthy eating lifestyle. I'm ready to start loving myself enough to truly make this change and stick with it. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Hey, folks!

This week, I've been doing a lot of thinking and realizing. I'd like to share those thoughts and realizations with you.

As I mentioned last week, I have realized that I have the bad habit of forgetting to eat until the afternoon and then having to hit a fast-food drive-through before I pass out. I've made myself two rules which I've kept all week long, and they are:

1. I can't get online until I've had something to eat.
2. I can't leave the house until I've had something to eat.

By following these two rules, my blood sugar has stayed a lot more stable this week. Granted, the things I've eaten haven't always been the best choice - I'm still not getting enough protein - but compared to where I was a week ago, I'm feeling pretty good about things.

I was also sugar-free from Monday to Friday. Then I realized I was weirding out because I was cleansing it out too fast, so I had some. I will continue to reduce, but not as cold turkey. I had to go cold turkey off caffeine when I went off it two years ago because weaning off slowly wasn't working for me. Sugar, on the other hand, for me, needs to be weaned.

Okay, so those were the three rules I set for myself this week, and I think I did pretty well.

A realization, though, is that I justify myself. A lot.

If I'm out running errands and the blood sugar drops, I'll grab a sandwich. And it's not necessarily the healthiest one on the menu, because I'm justifying that I need to eat something fast. I could grab a salad and leave off half the dressing, but I don't do that because I'm justifying. I've got to get out of that mindset.

I have also allowed myself to become oblivious to the situation.

See, my bathroom scale broke a while back (read: my seven-year-old decided it was the funnest thing ever) and so I haven't had a way to check my weight here at home. I was only weighing at my doctor's office, and he left it to me to weigh and report. So I would sort of forget to weigh, because I didn't want to know. Without that wake-up call every so often, the weight started to come back on. I started this journey at 300, got down to 212, lost my bloomin' mind, and now I'm at 245.  I didn't know I was at 245 until this last week when I bought a scale.

Which makes my next realization the fact that I need a scale in my home. I need to be able to see, fairly regularly, what my choices are doing to me. If I have a good week, I need to see that my weight responded favorably. If I have a bad week, I need to see that on the scale as well. We are so busy in our current society, running here and there, spending long hours at a desk, that we can easily let things like our weight fly under the radar.I need the radar on it turned on so I'm not oblivious anymore.

I'm rambling now - sorry. :)

All right - goals for this next week. They are refinements on last week's goals.

1. Eat something with protein before I get on the computer in the morning.
2. Eat a vegetable and a protein before I leave the house.
3. Continue to reduce sugar.

In addition, I'm setting some weight-loss goals. I was at 212 and am now at 245, meaning that I've regained 33 pounds. This is July 7th - I'm going to set the goal to lose 33 pounds by November 1st. I'm going to do it the same way I lost the original 88 - by eating protein and vegetables, nuts and seeds, no sugar, very little grain, and drinking a lot of water. I know this works for me - I just need to get the emotional side plugged back in.

So, there you have it. Goal: 212 on November 1st. Let's go get 'em!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Breaking It Down

So, I mentioned that I had family in town and as soon as they left, I was going to get real with this thing. They've been gone for about four hours - I think I'm running a little behind.  :)

Let me give just a super-fast recap of my journey, for those of you who might be new readers. I used to weigh 300 pounds. Then I finally found a doctor who was able to help me figure out what I needed to do for me - I needed to go off grains and increase my vegetable intake substantially. Oh, and going off sugar and caffeine didn't hurt either. I lost 88 pounds in less than a year. Then a whole bunch of stuff happened (read: drama) and I fell off my wagon. I'm working on not being too harsh with myself on that, but I do feel bad that I didn't handle my stress better. I've since gained back about thirty.

I want to break this down and look at the reasons why I gained back this weight. It's my hope that by doing this, I'll see it more clearly, and perhaps I can trigger something in you that will be helpful on your journey as well.

I think the #1 reason I fell off the wagon is that I simply became way too busy and I wasn't preparing meals. Then I'd dash out the door to run an errand, realize I hadn't eaten in hours and hours, and know that if I didn't do it right that minute, I was going to pass out. So I'd grab a sandwich at a drive-through.

Problem: Not preparing    Solution: Concentrating on preparing, making cooking a higher priority  Rule: I may not leave the house until I have eaten.

The #2 reason is pretty closely tied to the first. I run a freelance editing company and I have a very healthy number of clients. My business is entirely run online and on my laptop, and turning on my laptop is the second thing I do every day. (The first is to go potty.) I will often get on my laptop and stay there for a couple of hours as I answer my e-mails and lay the foundation for my workday. Then I get in the shower, etc. Food simply isn't on my radar at this point, and it usually takes feeling dizzy or sick for me to realize that I haven't eaten.

Problem: Forgetting to eat.  Solution: Establishing regular eating routines.  Rule: I may not turn on the computer until I've eaten some breakfast. 

Just as a quick note, when I was living my diet, I was eating really regularly, and losing sometimes six pounds a week. Eating regularly is a very good thing.

The #3 reason is that I'm an emotional eater. Whenever I start to get stressed, I automatically start thinking about food. The last three years of my life have been so full of stress, I can't even begin to explain it. We're talking, ugly. I was chugging along, doing all right, and lost the 88 pounds, but then it's like my coping mechanisms got broken and I didn't have a backup plan. So I turned to food again.

Problem: Using food as a crutch. Solution: Find things that really do help, like taking proactive measures and giving myself time off and delegating. Rule: As of right now, I'm back off sugar. 

There are other issues at play here, like working out loss of self-esteem and so forth, but these are the major reasons I've gained back some weight, and so I'll start by addressing these. I think this is a great starting point for me.

I'll update you on how I do, and I will also share what I'm eating, etc. I'm going total accountability here starting tomorrow morning, so be prepared because I'm probably going to do some whining and stuff.

In the meantime, we're going to be joined by some new bloggers soon, and it will be fun to get to know them.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Well, Now ...

Have you ever looked at someone and been super-frustrated because you know they have all the tools they need for success and yet they won't pick them up and use them? Today I am frustrated with myself in a major way.

In my last post, I said that I've gained back eighteen pounds. We're going to have to increase that number to about thirty.

Something extremely emotional happened in my life the first week of April. To all outward appearances, I was handling it really well, but I did go off the deep end as far as my eating went. That's how I coped with the stress. I grabbed fast food on the go, snacked on chocolate to keep myself going, and decided that until the stress ended, I was giving myself a free pass. The stress ended, and somehow I forgot to rescind the free pass.

I saw a picture of myself taken this last week, and I look awful. I've got rolls where I didn't have rolls a year ago. When I finally lost 88 pounds, I told myself I was never going to weigh that much again, and yet, I'm creeping back up the scale. That makes me very disappointed in myself.

So, listen. I'm going to start getting super personal because I need to work some stuff out, and I think it might be helpful to you if I share what I'm thinking and feeling. I've got family in town and more coming tomorrow, but as soon as they've all left, I'm going to get real about this thing, really real this time, and we're going to reverse this before I put all 88 pounds back on. This just can't continue.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Getting Back to Real

I haven't posted here for a long time. A very long time. And so you'll most likely be shocked to see me here now.  :) But it's not fair of me to ask you to join me on my weight-loss journey and then not include every chapter. So, I have a story to tell you.

Last March, so yes, a year ago, I broke my foot and was in a cast for a month. It was super hard for me to get around, so people were having to wait on me hand and ... foot ... get it?  :)  Anyway, my kids just weren't feeding me very well, even though they tried. And my husband was dousing all my food in lemon pepper, which is good every so often, but not on every single meal and snack. I expressed my frustration, and my husband went out and got me some frozen burritos. I could use my walker to hop into the kitchen, warm them up, put them in a Ziplock bag which I would hold between my teeth, and then I would hop back into my bedroom to eat them. That's how I got through that portion of my life.

I was still doing well and still losing weight and so I decided that cheating must not be as bad as everyone says it is. Before long, I was cheating quite a lot.

Now, keep in mind, I'm an emotional eater. Food and I are very emotionally connected. That's a key component here.

Then I came face-to-face with some really super hard problems in my life. Things that I didn't expect, hadn't planned for, didn't know how to cope with, and because I didn't have tools to deal with them, I started eating sugar again too.

I'm still off caffeine - I didn't go totally off the deep end.  :)

In the course of all this, I gained back about eighteen pounds in the last year.

Now, I'm still showing a loss of 70, and I look amazing considering where I was two years ago. But I know that I'm eighteen pounds heavier than I was one year ago, and that makes me feel like a failure, like I know better and I was doing better and now I've let myself down.

What this has done is really emphasized to me how important it is to get the emotional side of ourselves in gear whenever we try to take care of our bodies. They are interlinked. You can do all the right things, like I did for so long, and you can enjoy the benefits, but when something happens that overwhelms you, you can go right back to your previous habits.

I'll clarify and state that I didn't totally revert to everything I was doing before, but I certainly was doing enough harmful things to myself that I wasn't honoring everything I'd accomplished.

But now it's time to face some music and get back on track.

I've had some really good talks with the Lord over this last week and asked for His help in getting through this. Trying to work through my trials without food as my comfort ... that scares me. I'll be completely honest about that. We're talking, terrified. We're not just talking little trials - we're talking, drive-me-into-the-dirt trials. But I'm going to try it. I'm going to give myself the chance to see how strong I can be, and give God the chance to do what He said He'd do in my life.

So! Today, March 2nd, I'm back off sugar. I'm going to give myself about two weeks to acclimate and then get back off grain. Deep breath ... deep breath ... I've done this before, and I know I can do it again.

And I will keep you updated better. :)