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.