This blog is an accounting of my personal journey to find fitness. All the content on this blog should be read as a biographical piece of literature, not a medical resource. I am a physician, but I am in no way giving medical advice or establishing doctor patient relationships with my readers. I am simply keeping a diary. If you are starting a diet or exercise program or require medical evaluation or advice, please see your own family physician.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Newbie Runner Here, Help me!

Ok, so catchy title for a relatively boring post. Weighed this am and I'm back down to where I was before "THE GAIN". Whatever. I think the scale is testing me to see if I'll crack.

I did well this week on food overall. Yesterday, I ate my breakfast wrap sandwich with the Flat Out bread, egg substitute and a table spoon of picante. The Flat Out bread is very yummy and high in fiber. Only 100 cals. If you haven't tried it, you totally should. For lunch I ate fruit with some smoked turkey I pulled off a sandwich they brought in at work along with some of my tomato basil salad left over from the other night.

At dinner, the kids had spaghetti and meat balls, but I didn't want the pasta so instead I ate a grilled pork chop we had left in the fridge w/ a yummy salad and steamed veggies. The salad I made with romaine lettuce, purple onion, yellow bell pepper, cranberry goat cheese and walnuts. For fun, I tossed in some fresh black cherries we needed to eat. Served with balsamic dressing it was every bit as tasty as any restaurant. I get tired of the same old salads so I try to shake it up mixing and matching things until I find something that works and this definitely did.

I didn't work out yesterday, I was just too busy at work and I decided it would help my mental health to catch up there instead. This am I got up and had planned on working out, but the weeds were mocking me in the backyard, so instead I spent an hour and a half weeding. I definietly feel it in my gluts and legs from squats. Burned some cals and got something done. That's really rewarding. I'm heading out here at lunch and I'll work out.

Date night tonight with hubbie. It's a rare, rare treat. We'll probably see a movie and I'm trying to convince him to go to the fancy one with the good food. We'll see. This weekend I have a lot of yard work and mulching that got behind due to vacation and recent house guests, but I am going to go running on either Sat or Sunday am.

I received a very nice gift this morning from a nurse practitioner student I've been teaching this summer. She and I have been sharing about doing c25K. She just finished and had started the 10K version. She got me a Nike+ chip to sync w/ my iphone. I can't wait to try it out! Gotta gotta remember to start taking more pics to share on here. I've been looking for some before pics to post and I'm actually finding it hard to locate any that don't have me hiding behind children or other various objects. So, I am posting this one of me running last weekend after I finished my 3.6mile run.

I was so proud and excited to be able to do it. I can't wait to do it again! A friend at work has invited me to do a 5K here in town next weekend. I just don't know if I'm ready and it's kind of stressing me out. She's a runner. I mean really a runner. Went to college on a scholarship type runner. Next week is my daughter's birthday party and I just don't know if I want to feel stressed about my first race. I want to enjoy it. PLUS. I'm still so incredibly slow. The race starts at 8:45 and awards are at 9:45. I'll be lucky to be finishing then. I don't want to feel like the loser fat girl last one to finish. It takes me about 15-16min to do a mile right now. I just want my first race to be a positive experience. BUT, the other voice in my head says I'm making an excuse to put it off. I don't know. I'm torn about what to do.

Also, what do you do about water when you run. Do you carry it? And if so with what? I haven't been on the shorter runs I do. I just drink a lot before and after. Just wondering since I see some of the runners around here with various gadgets and I wonder if any of them are better than others, etc.

Soooo...Those of you who've been at this longer than me tell me what you think. There is a 1 mile run which I could do and maybe feel like less of a loser. It's not one of the more well known runs so it'll probably be smaller. I don't know. But, I gotta go work out so I can get back to work later.

Thanks for all your comments. It helps so much!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Believing is NOT Wishing

I made it through my day without binging yesterday. I made it through my day without having a Coke. I made it through my day without the ice cream I wanted. I made it through my day without the cookies offered to me at work and waiting on the counter when I got home. Some days are just like that. You just have to get through them.

I've had a lot of stress at work. More than usual. It's been this way for the last few months. I can't believe I've made it through without giving up on my healthy changes. Always before it's been, "I can't deal with all this right now." Or, "when I get through this, I'll get right back on track."

But there's always another thing, project, problem. There's always a holiday, a birthday, a vacation. There's always a promotion, graduation, celebration. There's always losing a loved one, a disappointment, a loss of a job, or a GAIN on that scale. There's always being tired, being busy, too much to do. There's always kids needing baths, taken to tae kwon do or football games or school. There's always a lawn to mow, flower beds to weed, dog to feed. There's always board games to play, splashing in the pool, tickling fights in the floor. There's always, always life.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Whenever a patient says to me, "It's hell getting old." or "I don't know how I'll make it." My response is always, "There's only one alternative."

And so, my puny little gain of 1.8 pounds seemed like a silly thing to be that upset about. Just. Plain. Silly. There are so many things I have to be thankful for. The changes I am making will make that list just that much longer. That is all that matters really. I am moving more. I am eating less. I am achieving things I never thought I would. So I made it through my day and ate well, rode my bike and last night when I thought about eating a bunch of cookies (not one, a bunch), I stopped. I ended up eating 8 vanilla wafers (140 cals) and 8 0z of milk (100 cal). I still came in under budget on my calories.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit guilty about it. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I wish I hadn't wanted ANY cookies. I wish I didn't like them. I wish they didn't exist. I wish I wasn't weak. I wish. I wish. As a kid I used to wish I was skinny. As a teenager I would wish I was pretty and had a boyfriend. As a grown up I wish I'd win the lottery.

"Believing is not wishing." I read that in a book I'm reading. It's not a self help book or a diet book or anything. It's a fiction book by Dean Koontz. It just struck me. I mean I was reading on the elliptical and I literally stopped for a second. "Believing is not wishing." Think about it.

I believe I can be healthy. I believe I can lose weight. I believe I can exercise. I believe I can do a 5K even if it takes me all day. I believe I can eat right. I believe I'll be fine without those cookies. I believe I am capable. I believe I am strong. I believe.

I believe.

What about you? Are you guilty when you eat some things? How do you handle that guilt? But most of all, ARE YOU BELIEVING OR WISHING?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weigh-in F@#(*!&!-ing Wednesday

I weighed in this morning. I didn't really want to knowing that the scale was on a trend to show a gain. And, yep. There was a gain. I'm up 1.8 pounds. It is so hard not to get angry and disheartened. But, I'm gong to take a deep breath and move on.

As I look back over the last week, I see that I was under budget for calories by nearly 4,000 calories. I spent 545 minutes exercising. This does not include any house cleaning calories, yardwork, etc. This is working out time. That's a little over 9 hours in the last 7 days. I ate a few things I shouldn't have. I had chocolate twice and I had Mike's Hard Lemonade. But, dammit, I'm not going my whole life without occasionally having these things. I guess that means that some weeks I'll lose slower or gain. I guess I have to come to terms with it somehow.

Of course, I did lose 4 pounds last week and there's that whole, "correction" BS. When I look back at my food, I ate less than 30% from fat. I eat about 25-30% from protein, and around 50% carb. Maybe it's too much carb. But, nearly all my carbs are fruit. Then I wonder, maybe I'm not eating enough. I don't eat back all my exercise calories. I don't freakin know and I'm a doctor.

What I do know is that overall when I look at the trends, what I've been doing is working overall. After I weighed, I made myself measure because I do it once a month. There was some brighter news here. I've lost another 2.5 inches in my hips. I knew my pants were getting looser. I've lost a total of 15.5 inches since the beginning of June when I measured. I can't find my old measurements from 2 years ago when I joined the gym. It makes me mad, but when I moved last summer stuff got lost. I remember what my hips were then, but not the rest. That would be 8 inches off my hips since then.

In other news, I worked out with my trainer yesterday and my BFF who is in town for a few days. It was a lot of fun. Hard, but fun. We've had a great time the last few days talking about food, exercise, challenges-- all that. She asked me the question about eating after 6pm at night. This is something I get asked a lot.

Should I not eat after 6 or 8 or some other time since my body can't burn it off while I'm sleeping? My answer is that your body burns fuel as long as you are breathing. If you have calories in your budget and you are hungry, there's nothing wrong with having a snack. Will it cause short term variability in your weight, i.e. the next am? Probably. But, long term it all evens out. Your body doesn't run on a 9-5 schedule. It is a machine, constantly humming away. Do you burn more calories when you are up and active? Of course. But your body needs fuel all day and all night. If you are a night owl, it might affect when you have your snacks, etc.

I'm so happy that she's tracking her food and exercising. She's down 3.6 pounds and she is on her way.

Also yesterday I had a situation with a patient. One of those where I have to take a deep breath and be empathetic. Try not to laugh. Try not to get angry. Just smile and remember the patient needs a doctor to relate to them where they are and in a way that makes sense to them. Sometimes it is really hard. The patient was in for a physical. I see this patient every year for a physical and he is in his 40s. So he says to me, "Doc, I know last year there were some things you said I needed to change, but I just can't remember what you said I needed to do differently." Really? Really, you have no idea what I might have said considering you weigh almost 400lbs? This is a patient I've been seeing for 10 years. Every year we have the same conversation.

I can understand knowing you need to lose weight and not being able to. I can understand knowing you need to exercise and not doing it. I've done all those things. But, to tell me you can't remember what you needed to do to be healthy and you are that over weight. That is denial in the purest form. It's just sad and infuriating at the same time.

Wrapping up: I am UP in weight. DOWN because my "I've lost 30 pounds" isn't really true anymore. UP because I've lost over 15 inches. DOWN because I get tired of working so hard. UP because I CAN work so hard now. I mean, I bench pressed 70 pounds yesterday and did 100 reps. Wow. DOWN because I'm feeling frustrated. UP because I'm not letting "one of those weigh-ins" stop me.

Sometimes I can't believe all the emotions I have and all the thoughts that go through my head now. Is that because I'm not stuffing them with food anymore? I don't know. But, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing for now. I. Will. Not. Stop....Ever.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog. That is the question

No. Really, it's not a question at all. I am finding that this blog thing is great for me. Seeing others succeed and sometimes struggle is helping me immensely. I know I need to blog and frankly, I like it. I enjoy seeing comments when I get them. And, I do learn from them. Plus it's cool to think I have followers who are checking in on me. Keeps me accountable.

I guess my big question right now is when to share my blog w/ my close friends and family, mainly my husband. Just like the exercise and diet business, I've kept it just for me so far. At first, I didn't tell anyone I was dieting or exercising. Really that is partially because I really wasn't looking at it as a diet and partially because I didn't want to face my old nemesis FAILURE. But, now that I'm more comfortable with where I am in this process, I think I'm ready to let them in on my secret.

It's just how to do it and I don't want them to feel like I've been hiding it from them. I just needed some time to 1) see if I liked doing it and 2) see if I could figure it out. There are times when I feel really intimidated for no good reason. I had that same, "what if they laugh at me" feeling my first time in the gym. I just didn't want the people I care about most to think I was doing something foolish. Now I realize that if it makes me happy, I'm sure they'll understand because they love me.

On the subject of telling people what you're doing, my BFF and I had a conversation about that just last night. We were talking about using the Facebook links w/ our LoseIT app. We both decided we didn't want to turn ours on. She told me that usually she gets all excited about a new diet and motivated and she tells everyone she knows she's doing it. Which is good at first, but then she starts to feel pressure because they are expecting to see results and keep asking her how it's going. Sounds like that would be a good thing, but I can definitely understand what she means. That same thing has happened to me.

That's partially why I started out doing this alone and not really sharing it with people. I realize I have to find motivation within myself. There isn't any amount of encouraging words or suggestions or nice comments on my blog that will get me to eat right and exercise. I'm the only one that can do it.

So here I am. Doing it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday. Stupid Scale.

This weekend was good. I had a nice visit with family. But, It was not so good on the food front. I ate chocolate. Twice. I just needed some. I counted it and I didn't go over my calories, but I did feel a bit guilty. Partially because I knew I was emotional eating and I am really trying to put a hold on that. Alas, we are not perfect. Well, I guess I shouldn't speak for you. Maybe you are, but I haven't achieved perfection. (Please do not inform my husband of this horror.Wink Wink.)

The best part of the weekend by far was that I ....Drum Roll.....finished week 5 of C25K. Yes. I finished it. I ran for 20 minutes. TWENTY. I really didn't think I'd be able to complete it. But just when I thought I couldn't go on anymore, the guy's voice says, "You are halfway through." "Oh HELL Yeah! I got this!" So I finished. I ran at the park, the path there is 1.2 miles. I was able to complete 3 laps and I felt like I could have walked/jogged more, but had to get home to the kiddos. This is the second time I've done it and now I know I'll be able to do the 5K. I'm going to start deciding on which one to do. I find it hard to believe that I jogged and walked 3.6 miles. I've never done that in my life!

I am extremely slow. But, I am focusing on stamina and completing my runs. I'll work on speed later. The good news is that my time was better. I did 16 min miles. Which I really hate even typing that it because it seems so slow, but a few months ago, it took me 20min to do a mile. So I've actually come a long way. I didn't work out yesterday except some swimming and crunches. My legs needed a break.

I didn't drink as much water as I should have. Sometimes I just don't drink like I should on the weekend. As a result, at least that's the theory I'm going with, the scale says I gained 3 pounds. There is no way. No. Way. I've actually gained 3 pounds, so I call BS on you Mr. Scale. My official weigh in is Wednesday and we'll see where I'm at then. Of course, I lost 4 pounds last week. Who knows.

I don't know why I even got on the dang thing this morning. I knew I felt puffy and bloated, but it was just calling my name. And mocking me. And laughing at me for my chocolate and other weaknesses this weekend. I gave in and I was sorry. But, then I wasn't that upset. I actually laughed at it. You see, Mr. Scale and I have an intimate and long term relationship. I wouldn't call it a friendship, more of a working relationship. He does his job to let me know when I'm screwing up or doing well and I do mine by getting on it from time to time. Days like today when I laugh in his face, he gives me the standard, "Just doing my job, Lady."

When I say, "That can't be right. I didn't eat that much." He says, "Look, Lady. It is what it is. What'm I posed to do 'bout it?" Ok. So my scale has a strange New Jersey construction worker accent. But, the point is...isn't it weird how this internal dialogue goes on in your head with the scale? Or am I the only one that has these silly conversations in my head? There are times I dread the scale. Not so much anymore. I know what I'm doing is healthy and the numbers are going to change. They have to. There are times when I can't wait to weigh in and see how well I've done. But, even then, I'm still plagued by that childhood nervous flutter that I get when I first step on.

Will that nervous feeling ever go away? Will I ever be able to weigh in public, like at the gym? I still can't weigh there. The scale has this ginormous readout thingy on the wall that I'm pretty sure they can see in space. I suppose it will get better. I mean, I have worn my workout running pants and shirts, which I had previous deemed too clingy, to run at the park and to the gym. So I guess your attitudes about previously prohibited behaviors do change over time.

But, I'd like to get to the point where I feel like the scale is working FOR me, not the other way around. After all, I paid for the damn thing and if he doesn't watch it, I can trade it in for a new one. The only problem is I don't think that would change the voices in my head.

What about you? Do you feel nervous when you get on the scale? Do you weigh in public? Have you done anything lately that you thought you'd never be able to do?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday and the lesson that SIZE matters (sorry guys)

This week has gone pretty well, despite incredible stress at work. Being a business owner is one of the best and worst experiences of my life. It is a daily lesson in stress management.

I had planned on getting up this morning and exercising before work as usual, but my body said, "Please. Can I just rest this morning?" Usually, I tell my body to shut up and go on, but I have been working hard and I am very sore. I decided to go to the gym at lunch and relax as a special treat this morning. So, here I am blogging in precious silence and listening to the birds.

Last night I had a tasty dinner of marinated flank steak, green beans, mashed potatoes and salad with goat cheese and granny smith apples. The total calories was 635, but I was still under for the day with my workout.

So I've been thinking a lot about size. And I've decided that size does, in fact, matter. It matters in many aspects of life, but I've found that in my new healthy lifestyle it is critical. It occurred to me the other day that about a year ago, I started using one of my kids plastic plates to eat on, nearly all the time. I don't know now why I started the habit. I think it's because they aren't as heavy and have this little rim to keep stuff from dripping off the sides. This comes in very handy when eating meals on the sofa in front of the TV.

......Ok. Look. I know that's not a great habit. And, we are having at least 1-2 meals at the table now. But, I like watching TV. Probably too much. But, now that I'm exercising I indulge myself with my shows at times........ I know. Defensive. Sorry. Still struggling with that little thing called guilt.

Anyhoo---I realized the other day how much this helps me limit what I'm eating and still feel satisfied afterward. Like pasta for example. I love it. A lot. But, when I eat it I gain weight. Every. Single. Time. I have to be careful with how much and how often. It is one of those foods I eat and have trouble stopping before I'm overstuffed. The last time I made spaghetti I used my favorite plate. I measured out 1 cup and realized that it was just too much for my little Pooh Bear plate. So I ended up putting 1/2 cup. By the time I added veggies my plate was full. After, I was still a little hungry and I had plenty of calories left for the day, so I had seconds. Yes. Seconds. BUT, even with that I only had 1 cup of the pasta. AND, the best part is I was full. Not unbutton the pants full, but comfortable, my brain says stop full.

I realized that I have made a habit of doing something I've heard on many diets I've been on without even knowing it or doing it for diet reasons. How many times has a WW leader said, "eat on a smaller plate" and I've thought, "Yeah right Lady, that will make that 4 points fill me up so much faster"? I guess I was wrong. It does really help. My plate always looks full and attractive. AND, I eat less. AND, if I really want more, I can generally have some without as much guilt.

I've found that I'm pretty good at "eye-balling" amounts. I measure new foods or things I'm unsure of, but the stuff I eat all the time, I generally don't. I know how much is 1/2 cup or 1 tbsp. I'm pretty good at weight for meats as well. (I guess I should be since I've been dieting and measuring and weighing food since I was about 9 yrs old. I don't know whether to be proud about it or incredibly sad. But, I digress again.) Sometimes I play a game where I put the amount I think is 1/2 cup on my plate and THEN measure to see if I was right. I generally am. They really should have a sport for this. I'm pretty sure I'd MEASURE up to the competition. Ha! (Sorry I live with a punster.)

My question today is, how do you handle portion control? Do you measure or eyeball? Do you check yourself like I do to be sure your eyeballs are correct? Or maybe you have some handy tips. I love free advice. Hee hee.

Well, it's time to shower and get ready for work. For some reason people expect their doctor to be bathed and dressed when they arrive for appointments. Bummer. Have a great Friday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Secret Club. Is there a handshake?

So, yesterday my Aunt and my cousin arrived for the weekend. They brought her granddaughter who is about the same age as my middle daughter. The girls always have a blast and it's always good to see family. However, isn't it funny how family can react to your new lifestyle?

My Aunt is overweight. Well, obese. She always has been. She and several other family members had the stomach stapling procedure done in the 80s. All of them lost weight. All of them gained it back. She is a Coke addict. I mean...Coca Cola addict. She drinks several a day. Today I went home for lunch and she told me, "Well, I told your son that you're fired." I was confused. "There's no Coke in this house." And I laughed. Didn't mean to, but it struck me as funny. I told her I was sorry, but it didn't even occur to me, which it didn't. I don't drink the stuff anymore. I honestly don't really crave it. That is until someone reminds me about it. Thanks.

The kids were hanging out and swimming with our Nanny, while she and her son were watching a soap opera. I fixed my yummy lunch of a sliced tomato, 1/2 cup tuna salad, carrot sticks with ranch dressing and water. It was tasty. We started to talk about what to fix for dinner. I think I have previously mentioned how much I hate this conversation. It usually goes like this.... Them: I don't care. Me: How about chicken? Them: Nah. Chicken doesn't sound good. And it goes on like this until they finally say what they wanted in the first place. Ack.

This time I asked and she actually suggested chicken or steak. I peered into the freezer and found we didn't have enough chicken for the whole crew, but I did have some lean flank steak. I don't know about you, but I have a plethora (note interesting word choice, ha ha) of cook books. Many of them from previous diet plans. I did South Beach for a long time. Never lost much, but I like the overall idea of this diet, at least from a health standpoint and for cardiovascular health.

Some of my favorite healthy recipes are South Beach, so I pulled out the book and started on the marinade for the steak. I used some of our fresh herbs from out back, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, garlic and red onion. My Aunt comes in to the kitchen and says, "Oh, so you're doing South Beach again." My first inclination was to be irritated, but I just grinned while chopping my onion and said, "No. I'm not really following any diet. I'm just eating healthy foods and working out." The look on her face was truly priceless. She really looked confused. Poor thing. Her mom was queen of WW and died weighing probably 600 pounds.

She said, "Oh well, it's good you're trying to be healthy." But I could tell she really had no idea what I meant. To her, you're on a diet or your not. You're counting points or calories or eating some weird vegetable soup and cottage cheese. The idea that you wouldn't be ON a diet is confusing to her.

Maybe it will spark her to think about what that means. She knows I've lost weight. She knows I was swimming laps in the pool at 6:20 this am. Maybe she'll make a connection. But, in that moment I felt kinda sorry for her. And at the same time kinda special. Like I'm in on some kind of secret.

Which leads me to my question? Is this what thin people feel like when they look at me? Not the naturally thin ones who "can't gain weight", but the ones who watch what they eat and work out everyday. Is this how they've felt when I see them looking at me at the next table in a restaurant and I've just been delivered a brownie fudge sundae? Do they pity me? Do I irritate them for not figuring out THEIR secret? I know some of them feel superior. You can see it on their faces. I've never had this feeling before in my personal life. I've felt irritated or sympathetic to a patient when I know they're destroying their health by smoking or eating Twinkies when they're diabetic and just won't get it. Just won't stop.

But, I've never felt this feeling of being welcomed into a secret society. Where I know all these things that others don't. I don't know if I like it, or not. I've never felt judgmental of obese people because I know what it's like. But, now that I know you CAN change, I'm struggling with those feelings. I love that I'm changing in so many ways, but it feels weird sometimes. It's something I need to sort out. Have you ever felt this way? How do your family members react to your new life?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Weigh In

Well I am really happy with my results this week. I have worked really hard and it did pay off. Drum roll please.......I LOST 4.2 POUNDS!! Even better, I now weigh 219.8 Which means I'm no longer in my 220s AND I'm only 7.8 pounds from achieving my first goal of 212 lbs. (the lowest weight I've been in the last 10 years.)

Speaking of goals. I see a lot of bloggers writing about goals and rewards. A lot of them do these challenges or set goals each week, like "I'm going to exercise 4 times or eat at least 4 veggies each day." This morning as I was trying to ignore the pain in my left hamstring while running my second 8 min interval in C25K W 5 D2, I thought about these goals and rewards. I'd weighed in yesterday and knew I'd hit that 30 pound mark. Maybe I should be rewarding myself? Maybe I should come up with a list of rewards for different milestones and post them on my blog? Then I realized that this is old thinking.... Maybe I should do what all the cool kids are doing?

Let me first say that I'm not criticizing anyone for having a list of goals or doing these challenges. If it works for you and you like it, you should do it. But, today I realized that on every unsuccessful diet I've ever done, I've had some reward in mind for the end. The last one was that when I get to "goal weight" (whatever the hell that is) I would get my eyeballs fixed and finally get up the nerve to have LASIK. A lot of times in the past I've used food as a reward. "Since I ate so well all week, I deserve that cookie or piece of pie or french fries." Or more likely all three. That's obviously not the point of goals and rewards.

Then, the new part of me spoke up and said, "What are you talking about? Every time you complete a day on C25K, that's a reward. You hiked in the mountains and never had an asthma attack. You're reward is how you feel" Wow. That's a big one for me. Basing my rewards as inwardly motivated rather than an external motivation. That's totally new thinking.

I've wanted to lose weight to look like the cool kids, to get a boyfriend, to wear cool jeans, to shop in the "normal" stores, to avoid ridicule, to please my family or friends, to motivate my spouse to lose weight, to be a good example for my kids. This time is different. I'm eating healthy and exercising because I want to. Because it feels good. Because I'm proud of being able to do all those cool things in the gym. I proud of being able to do an hour on the elliptical. But NOT because I'm getting external praise or rewards, because I want to for me. My reward is how I feel.

Will there be external and tangible rewards? Yes. But that comes as a result of what I'm doing. I'm not doing this to get the reward. Do you see the difference? Losing weight will broaden my possibilities. My choices in life. If I want to go to Costa Rico and zip line, I can. If I want to buy a new outfit, I will. I'm not losing weight so I can zip line or get new clothes. In the past this has led to disappointment. You see, I never got to "goal weight" and I never got any of those reward dreams I had. To me, all that just played into my belief that everything would be better if I were thin.

So I feel happy and rewarded today. Because I went to the gym yesterday with my son and we worked out with my trainer. (Of course I went back to work afterward and he slept on my sofa in my office. Hee hee) Because I got on the treadmill this am and got through that C25K, even though my legs were sore from yesterday. Because I am wearing a size 18/20 skirt that I haven't worn in 3 years. But mostly because I set out to change my lifestyle and the way I think and feel about diet and exercise and I'm doing it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Calling all menu planners....

Well, yesterday wrapped up nicely. I worked out in the am, 7 miles on the stationery bike. Then did my core training with hand weights for upper body and ab work on the ball thingy(why can I not remember the official name for that thing?) I was super sweaty when I got done.

I had my nifty oat muffins for breakfast with yogurt and a fresh peach. I love these muffins. I happened upon them on the top of the Dannon Light and Fit yogurt and they are so tasty. We changed the recipe to wheat flour and splenda brown sugar. Sometimes we use the raisins, sometimes blueberries, craisins, walnuts, banana. We also cut the oil down when we're using fruit that is moist. Here's the recipe. For lunch, I had yogurt, and a new family favorite, BLACK VELVET APRICOT. We picked them up at Sam's and the kids burned through almost the entire pack in one day! I also had another muffin and a small banana. I generally eat a pretty light lunch, esp when it's so dang hot.

Since we got back from vacation last week, my cooking and eating at home has been all disrupted. Last night when the inevitable and deeply hated question, "What's for dinner?" arrived, I had nothing planned. So, it was off to Wendy's. I hate that. I really, really hate the thought of fast food. For me or my family. But, that's what we did. I had a baked potato with the Parkay spray and light sour cream and a small chili. It was 460 calories and I was super full afterward. It actually tasted pretty good.


It was fast food. Bummer. AND, that meant my kids didn't eat great. AND, there's that whole weirdo CARB thing that goes on in my head. Potatoes are good for you, have vitamins and are low calories. Why do I get a guilty feeling when I eat one? AS IF eating too many baked potatoes is what made me fat. I used to have the same sinking feeling at first when I ate carrots or corn. WHAT? You say. Oh yes. I guess it's the Anti-CARB programming I've undergone over time. Like if I ate a full cup of corn I was doing something bad. Puh-leease!

Then one day I realized that I have to deprogram my whole GOOD FOOD/BAD FOOD thinking. It is not working for me. Before I started on this way of life (I refuse to call it diet or program. Still searching for the right term), I hadn't eaten white potatoes in forever except when I was cheating and eating french fries. But, I realized I really like potatoes. I crave them occasionally. There is nothing wrong with a having a baked potato.

Anyway, I am wondering how all of you handle planning meals for the week. Do you plan in advance? Do you cook in advance? I did that cooking for a month thing a couple of times and it is exhausting.It literally took me from Friday night until Sunday night. Then you still have to remember to get it out of the freezer and warm it up.

Between kids and work and kids activities, and laundry, and housework, and yard work, and the gym and...oh yeah, sleep occasionally, my life is hectic, but I sure would like to come up with some way to organize my cooking. I love to cook, but I don't get home until 6 most days and by then I'm starving, kids are starving, husband is starving. A whole house full of starving people = one irritated Mommy. I'd love any tips or ideas you all might have.

On another note, I would like to thank my 6 (COUNT THEM!!) SIX awesome followers who I appreciate greatly and all the people who have been commenting on my blog. I feel like I've learned so much from all of you. And,frankly it feels so good to know someone who knows EXACTLY what you mean when you say, "I have to weigh today." or "Oh God, He bought Ice cream!" I'm still figuring out this blog thing. I sometimes wonder where is the balance between writing pertinent things, sharing about myself and just rambling on and on..... Like now. Sorry.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Musings

Welcome to a wonderful new week!

Ok, so I'm trying a little too hard. Anyway, the weekend didn't turn out like I'd planned. My youngest was sick Friday and running a high temperature. That meant Mommy was up all night Friday with the sick kiddo. Luckily it seems to have been a transient virus and she's fine now, but it threw a wrench in my previously ambitious weekend schedule.

I had planned on going to the gym on Friday at lunch. But, I got the call about my 4 year old, so I had to go home to check on her instead. I had planned on getting up early Saturday morning and going to the park to do my C25K Week 5 Day2. Since, I restarted Week 5 after vacation and I really do want to get back on track with that. (Sorry for the pun.) The track there is 1.2 miles. I planned to do the program and then walk or jog until I'd done 3 laps. This all in preparation for a 5K (which I am still doing no matter what) in the fall.

However, no sleep combined with sick kiddo led to no exercise on Saturday. Same story for Sunday although I could probably have squeezed in a workout at home. I was frankly too tired and so I did not work out all weekend. I do not feel overly guilty for this because I am learning that there is no perfect diet or workout program any more than there is a perfect life. Some days go as planned, some don't.

I did well on the eating part all weekend and stayed in my calorie budget. I tried the Italian Sliders recipe from this blog. If you haven't checked out Biz's blog, you really should. She has so many great food ideas and the pictures are awesome. I, of course, added onion because there is no meal in my house with out one.(Biz hates onions) I ate mine without the bun and had an extra mini ear of corn cause they are sooooo tasty.

Last night I made wheat spaghetti with a marinara sauce I made with fresh yellow, red and green bell peppers and slices of the Italian sausages left from the above recipe. It was so tasty. And, I am so glad that my family has completely forgotten what pasta that isn't whole wheat tastes like. I didn't take any pictures as I am still getting used to the idea of that. I love blogs where people post a lot of pics so It's my goal to start doing that soon

On another note, I got a phone call from my Aunt letting me know that she'd like to come visit this week, which is great. Then the question, "Do you want me to bring some of those brownies you like with me." My response, "No!" I hope it didn't hurt her feelings, but I cannot pass up those brownies. They are from a bakery in my hometown and they are really good. I have trouble eating only one and having house guests sometimes makes it hard enough to make healthy choices. I told her thanks so much for thinking to ask, but that I was trying to avoid sweets. Like the rest of my family, she is overweight and knows that we all are always off and on diets. This didn't surprise her. At least she asked first, right?

I also got a call this weekend from my BFF. You may remember that I wrote about her after vacation last week. Well, she has joined a gym, (yeah!) has gotten the Lose it app for her iPhone (yeah!), and is following through. She is just starting out and I'm really proud of her for taking those first steps. I've sent her links to all my favorite blogs and I hope that helps her also.

In summary, I didn't get to do everything I wanted this weekend for workouts, but I didn't let it derail me completely. In the past, it probably would have. I don't know what it is that leaves me wanting everything to be perfect. But, it just never is. The house is never perfectly clean, something I learned after the birth of my first child. My work at the office is never totally done, but somehow I just come to work and do what I can each day. I've learned all I can do is my best everyday. Why can't I apply that same idea to my eating and exercise? After all, this is lifestyle change I am looking for not completing some perfect diet program. There just isn't any such thing.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I LOVE you! I HATE you!

All my life food has been front and center. I spent some time this am as I was sweating away on my stationary bike thinking about how my relationship with food has changed over the years.

As a kid, I never really thought much about food beyond whether I liked it or not. I knew there were somethings that were "bad" because I wasn't allowed to have them when I asked for them when we were shopping. Things like cookies and cupcakes and candy bars. My Mom would say,"You don't need those. They're bad for you." But, there were times when she would decide she wanted donuts or ice cream or some of those things she'd said no to earlier. Then, she'd give me money to walk to the store to get some, usually on the weekends. We would watch movies and eat all kinds of junk food. It was lots of fun. Looking back, I realize my Mom was teaching me to binge. Not on purpose mind you, but she is overweight and that's what she did.

Even my Dad who was on my case constantly about my weight (topic for a WHOLE other blog) would give us kids $10 and send us to the corner convenience store to get us out of his hair if we got on his nerves. We'd come back with root beer and pixie sticks and donuts. And, that's when my love affair with food started.

I'm lucky I guess since I really love healthy food. I enjoy pretty much any kind of fruit with only rare exceptions. I love most veggies as well. I love baked chicken and broiled salmon. But, I do love my snacky foods-crackers, chips, cookies. I love pasta. LOVE IT. And bread, oh how I love you. Rolls and breads of all kinds warm and drippy with butter. And I'm a sweets addict. We used to joke about how high, literally buzzed, I can get off a brownie fudge sundae. Doesn't seem so funny anymore

As a teenager, my increased freedom led to increased bad eating. If I wanted Mickey Ds, I'd drive and get it. And yes, I have been known to order 2 combo meals or extra drinks just so the person in drive thru wouldn't know all that food was for me. Food has been my buddy. Some days if I felt sad, I'd drive thru and sit in the car happily eating my junk food and escaping into one of my novels.

But, then it became my enemy. I hated the fact that foods I loved made me fat. There were times when I was on one of the plethora of diets I've been on since age 9 when I hated even talking about food because it meant talking about all the stuff I couldn't have.

The only time I've felt really at peace with food was when I was pregnant. I LOVED being pregnant. Yes, for all the usual: can't wait to see the baby, what will it be like, smell like, feel like, dreamy new mommy stuff. But, being pregnant was the only time in my life I didn't have to struggle with food. We could go out to eat, I'd get what I wanted. I didn't feel like people were staring at me whether I ordered the healthy baked chicken or the greasy burger and fries. I just ate. When I was full I stopped. I wasn't the fat girl in the room anymore, I was the pregnant girl.

I always lost weight when I was pregnant. In fact the lowest weight I've been in the last 7 years was after the birth of my 3rd, 212. (This also happens to be my first weight goal and I'm over half way there. Yeah!) At one sicko point this was actually a consideration in whether to have a fourth. (I know. I realized that was crazy thinking and not best or me or my family. I'm not completely off my rocker.)

Before today I always thought it was the pregnancy that caused the weight loss. Being sick, increased metabolism, that cute little parasite growing inside me were the reasons, or so I thought.

Now I'm not sure. Maybe it was my peace treaty with food. Maybe it was eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was full, no matter which food I chose. Maybe it was letting go of all the guilt and resentment I had and still have about food. And maybe that's why for the first time in my life, I lost weight ON A VACATION? I relaxed about the food. I ate chocolate and pizza and chips and even, oh... garlic cheese bread, sigh. But, I didn't stuff myself until I was sick. And I didn't feel any guilt afterward. None. Not really. I just moved on to the the next meal, the next workout, the next choice and made it a healthier one.

So maybe my relationship with food is evolving into a more adult one. One where we can respect each other. Realize that the success or failure of a relationship never really rests with just one of the parties involved. One where I can say no and not feel deprived and say yes sometimes without feeling horribly guilt ridden. One where we're not constantly at odds with each other.

What are your feelings about food? Do you sometimes get sick of the entire subject? There are days I dread the, "what's for dinner" discussion. Have you thought about your relationship with food? This is a WHOLE new and interesting insight for me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Love 'em where they're at.

Over the last 12 days, I was on vacation and I spent a lot of time with my favorite people in the world-my husband, kids, best friend and her kids. We vacation together every year and it is always fun and relaxing. Nothing better than spending time just enjoying the people you love.

During the trip, I got the inevitable question about what I was doing for weight loss. Weight is something that has been an issue for me and my BFF forever. We were the 2 funny fat girls in high school everyone liked, but nobody wanted to date. We were included in many circles and had a lot of friends. We bonded because of our size, but grew to have a wonderful, close friendship through college and now beyond. Weight is something we're always talking about, fretting about, and struggling with.

She knows I've been exercising and tracking my food. She knows I've been doing C25K. She knows I've been working out at the gym and with a trainer. She knows I've been reading weight loss blogs, but I haven't told her or my husband I have been writing one of my own. (Subject for a later post?? Maybe I need to figure out why I haven't shared this yet??)

Over the summer she has started watching what she's eating more and doing some extra exercise and she's lost a few pounds.(yay!) Of the 2 of us she's the one who has had "success" in weight loss. In high school she lost a lot of weight. Mainly by not eating anything for days on end. But, it worked and she was thin for a time. Of course she gained it all back over the years.She, like me, has tried every diet in the book. Always looking for what will work. But, never getting it off and keeping it off, also like me.

When she asked me about what "diet" I'm doing. I explained, or tried to, about what I'm eating, what I'm exercising. I showed her the Lose It program on my iphone and how it works. I told her about C25K and working out everyday. I tried to explain that this feels different this time. That I know I have to do this everyday and I have to do it now.

She started to get all "gung-ho". She talked about wanting watch her diet, but logging it all seemed complicated. She knew she'd be busy when she got home, but in a week or 2, she planned on signing up for a gym. She couldn't start on vacation to track all her stuff. She wanted to relax and not have to worry about it then.

I told her I'd given up cokes and pepsi. She said she knows she needs to, but can't just stop all the sudden. She has to "wean" off. We didn't buy any at the condo, but we did have to get diet DPs and she drank soda every time we were out. She also went to buy snacks for her and the kids and bought candy bars and cookies and donuts. We had jerky, granola bars, cheese sticks and fruit already. She did keep that stuff in her car so I only saw it by chance. She was too tired to get up early to work out with me when I did.

At first, I felt myself get irritated. Didn't she realize that I don't WANT to "worry about it" on vacation either. I don't want to have to worry about it anytime. I don't WANT to exercise a lot of days. I'd rather be able to eat all the crap and enjoy it. But I know I can't. I won't ever be able to. Not eat it without thinking about how many calories or how much time in the gym it means. Not anymore.

I got frustrated with what I recognize now as rationalizations and excuses I've used all my life and seen on the blogs I've been reading. I was frustrated hearing these from my BFF, things I'd been reading about on Jack Sh*t and the AntiJared. I wanted her to be where I was, be ready to do it with me so I wouldn't be alone. We could help each other, right?

Then, I realized that I can't make her "switch" go on any more than she can do it for me. If it was that easy, we wouldn't be overweight right now. I have to do this alone, in my own way, in my own time. I have to figure this out for myself. There is no book, no program, no diet buddy, no MAGIC PILL. How many times have I said that to patients???

Once I had this realization, I knew the same was true for her. She'll either figure it out or she won't. She can do it if she wants to- just like I can. When she's ready, I'll be there and I'll help however I can. But. I. Can. Not. Fix. Her. The only person I can fix is....ME!! And that's hard enough as it is.

So, I will not be irritated when I hear these things from her. I won't get mad when my husband orders the DOUBLE cheeseburger or spends time on the computer instead of exercising. I will love them and help them if asked. And when the "switch" goes on for them, I will celebrate their victories as they have celebrated mine so far.

Until then, I will be loving myself and making the choices I need to for me- alone, in my own way, in my own time.

What do you think when people ask you how you're losing weight? How do you feel when they use excuses and rationalize why they aren't making healthy choices? Do you share your "blog self" with others in your life? Why or Why not??

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm BaaaAAAaaack! and Weigh-In Wednesday

My vacation was absolutely awesome. We had such a good time and did so many wonderful things. We were busy, busy but not overly, so I still feel like I got a bit of rest. I admit I was nervous about juggling the weight loss issues with my usual vacation binge-fest, but I did really well overall. I weighed this am and I am down to 224, for a loss of 1.2# and 26 total!

I learned a couple of things on this trip. First, there is absolutely no reason why I can't make healthy food choices in nearly every situation. Second, that exercise thingy every one talks about is for REAL.

I managed to log my food everyday, except maybe twice. I am very proud about this as in the past it wouldn't have even entered my mind. I usually go into my vacation with a feeling of entitlement to the binge eating. After all, "I work hard and deserve to eat what I want", right? That kind of attitude and thinking is what has kept me in the land of the obese my whole life.

I used to say, "I'll start my diet after vacation" and never did. I used to say "One week of eating badly won't hurt". This would be true if I was eating right the rest of the time, which I never was, so I don't know where I got off having that little delusion. Just the fact that I realized that there is no vacation from being healthy is a huge victory for me. You are either making healthy choices or not. The machine that is your body doesn't know if you're on vacation or really depressed or celebrating. It just knows: fuel in, burn what you need, store the rest.

I logged everything. Even the stuff I shouldn't have eaten like the Hershey chocolate and the Doritos and the garlic bread, etc, etc. Overall, I did pretty well at first and by day 10 or 11, I was slipping into old habits. I had my first Pepsi/Coke in 3 months. It. Tasted. So. Good. But, I realized the next day how bad that crap makes me feel. Water really is the only thing that makes my body run properly.

Even though I ate a lot of things I know I should avoid, I did way better than I usually would have on a trip. Mainly because I actually thought about everything I put in my mouth. I did not mindlessly eat out of boredom or for fun. When I wanted chocolate or Pepsi or chips, I thought about it and made a conscious decision to eat it. Then, I logged it. Even with eating out a lot (sometimes in the drive through. Boo hiss!), I was mainly able to make good choices. Even when I didn't, I made sure we did something active and that helped to balance it all out most days.

It is freakish for me to admit, but I really missed working out and going to the gym. I did lots and lots of exercise on this trip, but I realized how much I like and need that "me time". Twice we stayed in a hotel with a gym and each time I went in the morning and worked out. It's amazing to me how focused you are on your diet when you work out in the am. The rest of the days, we spent doing all sorts of fun stuff.

We hiked up and down into a volcano in New Mexico. We hiked at Garden of the Gods. We walked all over Boulder. We hiked up to a mountain waterfall and had a picnic. We fished and hiked around a mountain lake-twice. We went rafting. It was really too much fun. The kids had a blast.

My only regret is I didn't stick to my goal of doing the C25K week 5 day 3. A lot of it was schedule, but some was the altitude and not knowing any good route to run. So, I hadn't run in nearly 2 weeks before this am. I restarted week 5 today as I thought it would be setting myself up to fail to try that 25 minute run when I haven't done any running in 2 weeks.

It was really, really hard. I didn't think I could finish and my pace was worse than before. BUT. I. DID. Finish. I jogged all my intervals without walking. I felt extremely tired afterward. I didn't necessarily feel triumphant or more energetic. I do however feel proud that I was able to muddle through. I guess there are just days that are easier than others. Isn't that true about everything?

The best part of all is that I got up yesterday morning to return to the real world without my usual post-vacation food-binge hangover. I did not feel guilty or particularly bloated. I did not have to swear to myself to never do that again. I did not regret the Hershey bar or ice cream or Doritos or even the Pepsi. Why? Because I was in control of my food. Food didn't control me.

Progress to TouchDown and GOALLLL!!