Telling the Truth

000to tell the truthI won’t lie, sometimes this weight loss journey I’m on frustrates me.

Some days its tedious.

Some days I get depressed with my slow progress.

I know I need to step it up.

I know I need to do better.

I know I need to journal, count calories, eat less carbs, be more attentive to exercise, push myself a lil harder.

I know all that, and I do some of it some of the time, but I am not a machine.

Is it okay to say that?

I’m not a machine.

Is this diet fatigue I’m feeling, or just a need to get away?

What I know is that I’m a human woman.

I work full-time.

I have projects to attend to outside of work, too.

I have people depending on me.

I have deadlines and relationships, and cooking, baking, cleaning, and shopping to do.

I have weight to lose. I carry it around all day every day and I’m tired of it!

I’m in a chair, on my bum, five days a week from 8am to 4pm. Not many calories being burned during those hours. I do get up and walk around, sometimes I even take an exercise break, but basically the work I do ties me to a chair.

It is what it is, for now.

While I’m whining, can I say that the aging process is no fun.

It’s not.

Today, I’m tired, and I’m frustrated and I got out of bed on the wrong side, and toyed with not getting up at all.

Seriously, I did!

But then, I got up.

I got dressed.

I got in the car and made the commute I make every week day.

I’m at the desk.

I’m upright.

I’m here, but I’m also far away from here.

I think I’m ready for vacation.

Truth be told, I was ready weeks ago!!!

Just being honest…

Where will you go for vacation this year? Are you ready now?

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I have decided…Weight loss tips

When you begin to venture into the weight loss arena, particularly long-term weight loss, you have to make a few decisions.

You have to set up some boundaries.

You may have to realign relationships.

You have to do some self-examination.

You have to be decisive!

When I first began my journey to health, it was with the tiniest bit of determination.  I really only began as a support for a family member who wanted to lose weight. I had given up that fight long before, and worst of all, I blamed my overweight on God. After all, if He wanted me thin, I’d be thin, right?

That seriously was my reasoning about issues of weight.

I was a long ways down the river of denial at that time, and if it had not been for that family member and the program I belong to these many years later, I never would have lost 100 lbs. Never!  Like I said, I had already resigned myself to being overweight and sick for the rest of my life.

What I needed was a change.

I needed to decide that I wasn’t giving up on me.

I needed to make some decisions and stick to them.

What did I decide? Just this:

I would no longer eat three helpings of food at every meal.

I would no longer clean my plate in obedience to some weird concept of world hunger.  I was eating for three or four people, but how was that helping any one?

I would no longer listen to the advice of people who yoyo’d or talked a lot about weight, but didn’t lose weight.

I would try each day to define for myself what “normal” meant with regards to eating.

There were other decisions that I made along the way to losing 100 lbs, but these were what got me started in the process.

Today, if you’re trying again to lose weight, whether a little or a lot, make up your mind that you are going to have to make some decision and stick to them in order to be successful.  Find some folks who will support you in those decisions and make a hard copy of what you have decided.  That hard copy will become a map to the treasure you seek, and you’ll add to it almost daily in the beginning.

Refusing to make a decision while trying to lose weight is like doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different conclusion.

Insane!  It won’t work.

If you’re like me and you suffer with an indecisive nature, I would make a suggestion I think will help you a lot. Ask God to reveal to you the name of one person you can ask for help along the way. One person who you respect because of their ability to be decisive. One person who has shown you by their behavior that they know when and how to make a course correction.  Then go to that person and ask them to teach you what you need to know to do “this thing”.

A huge part of changing anything about one’s self is the development of a teachable spirit.  A good mentor and a teachable spirit will get you farther than you ever thought it might.  It did me!

Don’t delay, make that decision today!

Who has helped you most in your efforts to lose weight and get healthy?  What one thing did your weight loss mentor share with you that you still use as you move closer to goal?

Checking out my reflection

000water

Every day, I get on that scale and intellectually accept the number I see reflected back at me.  I weigh this today.

Every day, I record that number on a board I have hanging in my bath room.

Every day, I choose to eat a breakfast that I hope will fuel my body and provide the right amount of calories, nutrients, and fiber to keep me going another day.

Every day, I try to do a little better at taking care of myself than I did the day before.

Every day, I seek joy in the journey.

Every day, I hope for success.

Every day, I show up, stand up, make an attempt.

How is my self-care?

I get distracted easily.

I am affected by community.

I believe it takes a village, but sometimes I listen to the village voices with greater scrutiny than the Voice within.

I am a reflection on the water, a reflection of the village, a reflection of my desires…a reflection of my choices.

I am.

Struggling with ANOTHER Weight Loss Plateau

000weight

I know I am not the first person to say that I’m baffled by a plateau.

Wait, let me rephrase.

I’m not baffled by my current weight loss plateau, but I am confused about why my weight isn’t going down right now.

That sounds dumb, even to me, even as I’m typing it.

Of course, my weight is not going down because I’m either…

1. Eating too much

or

2.  Not burning enough calories

I accept that, but what I cannot seem to grasp is why what I’m doing isn’t working now, when it did two years previously.

Is it simply because I’m two years older?

Is it the stage of life I’m in, making two years more of an impact than I anticipated for my weight loss program?

Is it that I’ve let little things back into my diet that were once not there?

Lil things like adding creamer to my coffee, eating less veggies at lunch, eating more bread at dinner???

I WANT a QUICK and EASY solution to this problem, and there are NONE!

Ugh. Frustration. Fear. Worry. Redoubled efforts. Regrouping. Redressing.

Trying to find the key to this maze of confusion.

I hate this!!!

I HATE this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do you hate about weight plateaus and the constant self-examination that it takes to stay on track?  What tracking programs do you use?

5 things I did that helped me lose 100 lbs.

Monday nights are accountability and encouragement exercises for me.

Between 7:30 and 8:30pm most Mondays you will find me sitting around the table and discussing my progress or problems with health and controlling my food obsessions. I do this with a group of compulsives. It works for me.

Before

Before

I liked food in those days. A lot!

Now. I still like food.

Now. I still like food.

I have always enjoyed the companionship and settled comfort that comes from eating, and I adore the aroma of freshly baked buns in the oven. I am not too shabby a cook and baker, either, which only makes handling yummy stuff more problematic for me. Food isn’t inherently bad and I don’t want to imply that it is, but lots of foods have lots of calories in them, and those calories quickly turn to fat deposits in this gal’s body. Realizing this, I need a plan in place to jog my memory, so that I don’t forget that I sometimes like food too much.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with foods, food combinations, meal planning, and healthy habits that keep me moving in the right direction, which in case you are wondering, is down the scale. In all these experiments I’ve found a couple of things to be true for me.

1. I must weigh myself every day, because five pounds gained happens overnight, but five pounds lost takes months.

2. I must not worry about how quickly the change takes place in my life. I didn’t gain the excess weight overnight, and I won’t be losing it that weigh either (pun intended).

3. While weight loss is a one-day-at-a-time proposition, it is apt to be a lifelong practice for me. The sooner I realized that, the easier things got. As a creative person (I think I am creative, anyway), I’ve always been a great starter, but I had to learn to be a good finisher. It wasn’t easy. Keeping motivated isn’t easy. Doing anything after the shine is off the apple is difficult, but we keep doing the same thing over and over again when results are good. Doing this for the long haul is called behavior modification and it can produce great results. Doing this for the short-haul is called dieting. I don’t do diets. They don’t work for me. What I’ve had to remember on this journey is that nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels. I need my Monday meetings to remind me of that. I forget easily.

4. Food amnesia takes hold in my life pretty quickly, so that I forget that bread packs on the pounds for me, or that my throat absolutely will not tolerate soda anymore. I forget to plan my meals ahead of time, and in forgetting, I fail to stay on top of things. What I’ve needed to learn–there’s that word again–is that routine is good, support is necessary, and we truly are what we eat, so we need to remember to eat wisely.

5. I can’t eat processed white flour in the form of bread, rolls, buns, pizza, french toast, or bagels and still stay healthy. Maybe others can. I cannot. When I do, I gain weight, but worse than that, my body experiences this pain that makes me ache all over. When I eat bread, my feet hurt in the morning, my back aches all day, and every joint in my body screams, “Give us a break, will ya, for crying out load?!!!!!”

My body, like my mind, likes to use lots of exclamation points to make its point.

Tomorrow, I will share a little bit more of my adventure into weight loss. I hope it helps you to get started or keep going with your own weight loss program.

Remember: Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels!

The Experiment–7 Days Done

For the last week I have been conducting an experiment, The Experiment.  During The Experiment, I’ve been avoiding comfort foods, in an attempt to give myself a clearer understanding of how much I use food to sooth myself and what I would do if I had all those foods I consider comfort foods removed from my diet.  I know that my comfort foods are not the same as those others might identify, but I thought for the purpose of this post it would be good for me to list the kinds of foods I decided to avoid this week.

Defining The Experiment

During The Experiment I avoided the following comfort foods, and monitored my reaction to not having them as a part of my diet:

Coffee

Dairy Creamer, usually half and half

Chewing gum

Dark Chocolate, I don’t eat milk chocolate

Popcorn after dinner

Fast foods, including, but not limited to salads

You might look at this list and say, “Well, there you go, that’s her problem,” and it might be you’re right.  If there wasn’t anything that needed changing in my food plan, I probably wouldn’t have embarked upon The Experiment in the first place.  I assure you, though, that I do not eat fast food on a regular basis.  I eat almost no fast food, but included this category because I do eat out, probably more than I should, and some of the choices I make in restaurants could be classified as fast food, ie: grilled chicken salads at Wendy’s.

But I digress.

About The Experiment:

I had an epiphany when I was driving alone last week.  It had to do with my eating. It also had to do with my choice of foods. It had to do with how much I rely on food to sooth my ruffled feathers.  Yes, ladies and gents, it had to do with emotional eating.  It had to do with why I’m at a plateau with my weight AGAIN, and what I might do to figure out a different way to get to my goal weight.  My thought during this epiphany was that I use food in the wrong ways and to the wrong effect many times. I’ve known this piece of the puzzle was true of me for a while, but it became more apparent during my time in the car.  If I could just identify why I crave certain foods at certain times, I conjectured, I could make a plan and change a habit, and finally get the weight moving down again.

I also wanted to quit bowing down to my appetite.

As of today I have been doing this conscious comfort food monitoring for one week–seven days–and I have discovered a few things about myself in the process.

What I’ve discovered

1.  Foods that sooth remain a powerful presence in my life.

2.  I want to get to my goal weight and quit relying on foods to sooth me, but not enough to eliminate them from my diet completely.

3.  I cannot find a gentler, easier way to let go of foods that sooth other than the hard disciplines of self-sacrifice.

4.  I can quit eating foods that sooth for a time, but it takes real determination and focus to do it.

5.  My greatest struggle in resisting foods that sooth happens between the hours of 5:00 and 7:00pm, while I’m fixing dinner.

How it all shook out

I was able to abstain from coffee, half and half, artificial sugars, and chewing gum for 7 days.   That’s huge for me.

I ate noticably less foods that sooth, even when I did not completely abstain from eating them.

I was not able to abstain from eating dark chocolate, popcorn, or fast food salads during this time.  I ate grilled chicken salads at Wendy’s several times this week.

What I’ve discovered

Monitoring the foods in my diet that have a soothing affect on me has been profitable.  Just identifying them was a real lesson in self-awareness.  When I craved something, I would ask myself why, then make note of the answer.  I slept better the first few days I was off the coffee, but after that no discernible difference was observed in my sleep patterns.  I had one day when I didn’t ache as much, but I’m not sure if that was due to the food change, or to temperature and bariatric pressure changes in NEPA.  I ate less chocolate (dark chocolate is my go-to snack in the late afternoon, and holds me over until supper; one square does the trick), mostly because I was being mindful of cravings and noting them when they occurred.

I asked myself this question a number of times during the week:  Why do I feel I need to have that right now?  

I only had popcorn after dinner once.

All in all, I think The Experiment was a success.  I ate less, was more conscious of the things I did eat and why I ate them, and made it through a week I knew would be challenging before I began.  I feel stronger for having done that, and when tempted to chew a piece of gum yesterday (I’m a big gum chewer and definitely use it to sooth my appetite during the day), I passed on the offer.

I did not lose weight during The Experiment.

I think that if I were to employ The Experiment several times each month, I might, just through habit, begin to feel like I could exclude some of the foods in my life that sooth on a more permanent basis, and that would be a good, good thing.  For now, I’m happy to have experimented with food and cravings for one week, and I would be willing to do it again in the future.  I have journaled about it during the week, and feel that recording my thoughts here will help me, and might help someone else to give their own experiment a try.  That is my hope, anyway.

Have you ever experimented with removing certain foods from your diet for a period of time?  What was your reaction to not eating those foods?  Did you go back to them, or did you leave them out of your diet forever?

Aside

Trader Joe’s Weekend

Last weekend I visited a Trader Joe’s for the first time. We were in the Rochester area, visiting the kiddos, and wanted to pick up a few things for lunch the next day so my daughter-in-law suggested TJ’s.

000Trader Joes

I was surprised when I stepped into the store space. I had no idea that the interior of the store was going to look so different from the stores in our area, and the place was packed out.

While inside TJ’s, I felt a few folks were moving down the aisles a little faster than was safe.  It was seriously very busy, and this at about 4:00pm in the afternoon.  I felt a little overwhelmed while I was in the store, but I think my husband was seriously overwhelmed. He wanted to get out of there as quickly as he could.

My hubs doesn’t trust big city folk.

I felt like I found a few good buys at TJ’s, and if I were to shop there on a regular basis (I won’t, we live in the boondocks), I would make Trader Joe’s a part of my regular buying  routine.  The chicken was a bit pricey the day we were there, and I could not, no matter how many trips I made up and down the aisles, find seasoned bread crumbs for the recipe we wanted to try, but no matter.  We left there and headed over to Wegman’s, where I finally got my coffee and the rest of the items we needed for the next day’s lunch.  My daughter-in-law already had Saturday’s dinner in the crock pot; a combo of chicken, spices, and some kind of tasty rice.  We paired that with the red bell peppers and pears I had brought from home, and some carrots she already had, to make a yummy, nutritious, and I-would-definitely-eat-that-again meal that we thankfully consumed after a long day of shopping, walking, lingering, and waiting for each other at various commercial outlets.

I was a little worried about my trip to Rochester this weekend, because I’m still sore after the fall I took a week ago Sunday.  The practice of sitting cross-legged on the floor at my son’s house carried with it some pain.  My tailbone and my neck still hurt. I think I’m going to contact my doctor and see about having an MRI.  Maybe its just soreness and swelling, but I want to be proactive with this injury.

I felt like the food went just okay on the weekend. I’m at a plateau again, which really sucks, so I’m trying to figure out why I’m unwilling to do what it takes to get the weight moving down again.  I’ve had a few people comment on my weight lately. Just yesterday, I ran into a gal I had not seen for a while and she said, “Wow, you’re skinny.  You’ve lost a lot of weight, haven’t you?”  I’m thankful for these occurrences when I am stuck on a plateau for this long, but believe me, what I am right now could in no way be described as skinny.  Still, when I went to have my hair done tonight I was amazed at how average sized I looked in the bathroom mirror at the salon.  Must be the bike riding is firming things up, even though the scales says no weight has been lost.  I know I have to get things moving again, regardless, so I’m planning on doing some journaling to see if I can figure out where to go from here and cannot wait for spring to finally arrive.  It was 26 degrees in NE PA today.  Burrr.