Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't save the best for last

I have a lot of habits that need breaking. One of which I didn't really even realize I had until today. I learned as a kid that eating my vegetables first (along with any other required, yet undesired, parts of a meal) was the best plan of attack. At lunch today I was eating a chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A. I was paying attention to my body, eating mindfully, etc. I felt full, decided I should stop, then looked at the remains of my sandwich. I had already eaten the thin, crusty part of the chicken breast, and what was left was the thickest, juiciest part. Well, dang. I can't just throw away the best part of the sandwich! So, I ate it, of course. Lesson: don't save the best parts of the meal for last. If there's something you really, really want, eat that part first! Then, when you're full, you can throw the rest out without regret.

By the way, thank you for your kind, and encouraging comments on the last post. I have decided to stick with Weight Watchers, for now. We'll see what the new year brings!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Having a Bit of Trouble

I have reached a sort of cross-roads in my quest for health. I'm at my goal weight, and maintaining (within about five pounds). But I find myself slipping back into old habits. I must have eaten half a bag of cherry cordial Hershey's kisses yesterday. I haven't exercised in several weeks. I know I'm still doing better than I used to- before I would have eaten the whole bag of kisses. But I'm not satisfied with where I am right now. I have reached lifetime status at Weight Watchers- except that I have to keep my weight no more than two pounds above my goal. Right now I'm about four pounds above my goal. Major dilemma. Do I struggle to get those four pounds off so I can keep going for free? Do I decide that WW has given me all it really has to offer and we part ways? Parting ways is a little frightening for me. What if I forget all I have learned and end up undoing all the good I have done? If I keep going to WW, I can try new different things- like trying to learn to be an intuitive eater- and still have the safety net of WW to fall back on.

You want to know a secret? Wherever you go, there you are. I love this saying. Not only is it funny, but it has deep, subtle intelligence. You can't get away from yourself. You can change a little bit here, and a little bit there, but you're still you. My life will keep moving forward no matter what I decide to try to do for my health. I will still have kiddos to feed, a hubby to love, and bathrooms to clean. How I eat is just a small part of who I am. I want to be able to stop obsessing over numbers on the scale, but I still need to be vigilant.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Other Side of The Twinkie Diet

I sincerely hope everyone reading this understands that my posts are random thought processes- not, I repeat NOT, the end-all-be-all of diet advice. I do not advocate going on an all junk food diet.

I just finished reading this article, one person's professional opinion of the long-term effects of a junk food diet:

I agree with the vast majority of the article. If you don't want to read it (you should, it's got some great points), then here's a brief summary:

She basically says that junk food is not food- it's chemicals and sugar and colorings- and that consuming such a diet on a long term basis will wreck havoc on your poor body. She agrees with the basic point the professor was trying to make- that losing weight is all about reducing calories. But, she (and I) want to make sure that people understand that being healthy is not just about "losing weight". It's about creating sustainable habits that will help you live a long, full, happy life. As I mentioned in the last post, how many of us could truly live on just twinkies? Bleah. And, if we could, how long would it take our bodies to start reacting to the fake non-food chemicals we're pouring into it?

The main point I want to hammer home is that we should be smart. Oh, be wise, what can I say more? Don't be afraid of junk food. If you truly want a Twinkie, then by all means, eat a Twinkie. Enjoy it, love it, then move on. Teach yourself to love healthy, wholesome food. The more you truly enjoy eating something, the less of it you will need to feel satisfied. And that's what it's all about- eating less, enjoying more. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Twinkie Diet

I promise I don't get all my facts and opinions from Calorie I do, however, get their daily newsletter, and most of the main articles I find very interesting and thought provoking. Here is a link to their featured article for today:

The article features the latest diet craze- the junk food diet. There have been professors and professional people who have lost weight and inches eating only junk food. I find much hope in this kind of research. Not because I want to justify eating nothing but junk, but because it proves that the main component of losing weight is cutting caloric intake. Yes, these guys ate only junk, but they ate reasonable portions of junk. They didn't have a whole box of doughnuts, they had one. Now, I personally, think the idea of eating only junk sounds revolting. Yes, I love junk food. But, have you ever eaten nothing but junk for a while? It makes me feel horribly yucky. After Halloween and Christmas (big candy and sweets time of year) I find myself craving a good, hearty, warm bowl of soup, or maybe a salad. I actually hate the idea of eating nothing but... anything. I crave moderation and variety.

My point is- you can eat anything you want and lose weight, you just have to focus on portion size.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Food for Thought

There was a very interesting article on Calorie Count today. It's all about how food affects our brain, and how our brain controls our food cravings.
What I found the most thought-provoking is the idea that what is "good" for our brains isn't always good for our bodies. The doctor featured in the article believes that we should learn to think of all food as drugs. Some foods give our brains better stimulation than others. So our brain "asks" for those foods, by way of cravings. Which makes me think of my brain as a very young child- no, I don't want carrots, I want candy! I guess then that I can teach my brain that the sugars in carrots will give it the happy feelings it's looking for, it just takes a bit longer than candy.
I don't know, maybe I read it completely wrong. Read the article, decide for yourselves and then tell me what you think. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fleur rants

I think I can. I think I can. We all know the story of the little train, hauling a heavy load up a big mountain. He made it, even though there were some who doubted him. And why was he successful? Because he thought positive.
Our society tends toward negativity. We even go so far as to make fun of people trying to be positive. ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like me") It's not cool to think nice things about yourself. If you're cool enough, others will think nice things about you, and you can coolly acknowledge them. Do you see what's wrong with this picture?
So, here's my soapbox: You can't take good care of yourself if you don't like yourself. You can't like yourself if you're not nice to yourself. Do you like other people who are mean to you? I thought not.
How does a person learn to like themselves? Start by being grateful. Even if you hate your body, even if looking in the mirror makes you cringe, you can still find something to be grateful for. This is a good time of year to practice, but keep it up all year long. Can you walk? See? Hear? Taste? Smell? Do you have pretty skin? Do you have nice hair? Everyday tell yourself at least one thing about your body that you are grateful for. If it feels too prideful to tell yourself, tell your Heavenly Father. He gave you this body after all. It was a tremendous gift. Ever heard the saying about looking a gift horse in the mouth? Even if you don't believe in God, believe that your body is a gift. You didn't make it, you don't get to slander it.

Once you find that gratitude, it will make it easier to quit saying mean things about yourself. I very much believe in the need to laugh at ourselves. But, don't say ANYTHING about your body that you wouldn't say about your best friend's body. You might laugh about your best friend accidentally dyeing her hair orange, but you would never bad mouth her skin problems. Would you?

Get out of the habit of putting yourself down. When people give you compliments, learn to say "thank you" instead of arguing with them. It may feel totally insincere, and prideful, at first. But, you will get used to it, and then you may just start to believe their compliments. I know that if I build up my courage enough to say something nice to someone, I would much rather hear "thank you" than "oh, you're wrong and here's why".

Losing weight is not going to make you suddenly like your body. Well, maybe for a little while. :) But, then life goes on, and you will start noticing flaws again. It goes back to Forrest Gump- losing weight is just "one less thing". Conversely, if you like your body, it actually makes it easier to lose weight. Go figure.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Living in the moment

Yesterday two of my kids were home sick with fevers. So, of course, we had to have McDonald's for lunch. They don't get McD's very often, so sick days are kind of special.

I was sitting there eating my chicken nuggets and fries and had a realization. I realized I was paying attention to what I was eating, BUT, I was paying more attention to the food that was coming rather than the food that was already in my mouth. It seemed like such a small thing. But, it had a huge impact on me at the moment. If I'm constantly paying more attention to what is coming, rather than what I already have, how much satisfaction can I really get out of life? I was chewing and swallowing quickly so that I could get more in, sooner. I believe that's commonly referred to as "wolfing it down". Didn't satisfy. Go figure.

Not every meal has to be a totally zen, enlightened experience. But, I do need to focus more on what is happening right now. Anticipation can be a wonderful thing. However, the present is all we really have.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I realize I haven't said a whole lot about exercise on here, yet. My relationship with exercise is rather rocky, dysfunctional at best. We bought an exercise bike back in 2008, when I started this journey. I would use it religiously for several weeks, then it would sit and gather dust for several more. I also own a treadmill, a fitness ball, several different sizes of weights, running shoes, a handful of workout DVDs. You get the picture. I try really hard to get into a routine. I do great for a little while, maybe a week or two. Then, I get burnt out, get tired, get bored, and so on.

But, I figured something out. I may never get into a set "routine". That's okay. As long as I'm doing something most days of the week, my body will get stronger and healthier. I honestly don't think there's a thing wrong with running some one week, riding the bike the next, using weights a little bit here and there. I'm not trying to become an athlete. I don't want to be a body builder. I just want to be healthy. If that's your only fitness goal, then don't worry about learning to stick to a routine. Heck, all the experts say you have to change your routine up periodically anyway; otherwise your body will get used to it and it won't be as effective.

So, here are the things I like to do. Keep in mind I don't do all these things regularly.

Zumba- My Mom bought me the Zumba DVDs for my birthday and I love them! I look like a totally dorky white girl trying to do latino moves, but it's so much fun. I especially love it when my three little kids do the dances with me. They like to exercise with me, and the dance DVDs are their favorite.

Fitness Ball- This thing is awesome. Mine came with a DVD with several different workouts on it. I also bought a book detailing some different exercises you can do. My kids also love to get out their toy balls and sit on them and do the workouts with me. It makes it all the more fun when somebody falls off theirs. :)

Stationary Bike- Great for watching TV or movies with my hubby.

Treadmill- I haven't quite gotten the hang of this one yet. We bought it at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago. I am trying, but I have a hard time finding the right speed. I keep feeling like I'm going to fall off the thing. I'll keep working on it.

Running- I discovered that I can run. Who knew? I ran my first mile without stopping just this morning. It felt great. I am working my way, slowly, up to a 5K (which is 3.1 miles).

Weights- I use the weights by themselves, and with the fitness ball. They're just good, general tools to have around.

I do not believe you absolutely must exercise in order to lose weight, at least not in the beginning. Weight loss happens in the kitchen. Exercise is wonderful. It lifts your mood, it makes your body work better and look better. But, if you don't learn to eat healthy, all the exercise in the world isn't going to give you the body you want. So, start with your eating habits. Then start in on exercise. Take it slow. Work in some activity here and there. Try different things. You never know, you may find a form of exercise that you really love!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Food Pushers

It's been a fact of life since Eve pulled that first locust and honey casserole out of the fire: Food=Love. Women, especially, are programmed to want to feed the world. We put our hearts and souls into dinner for our family and feel so gratified when they clean their plates and ask for more. Historically, it makes sense. People out working the farms all day felt loved and cared for when they came home to a warm fire and a hot meal. Food is magical. It can warm, comfort and cheer.

In modern times, we have an abundance of food. It's every where! Yet, we still think of it, and use it, the way people did in ancient times. We are gradually learning that there are other things that can warm, comfort and cheer. And we are learning that food really isn't the magical ingredient anyway. The magical ingredient is (and has always been) home, love and safety.

Having realized that, now we are trying to develop a more appropriate relationship with food. So, what do we do with the people around us who still have "old-fashioned" ideas of the magic of food? What do you do when someone insists you try this, that, or the other? Well, for me it kind of depends.

If the pusher is someone in your family, or someone you will encounter frequently, it may be worth it to take them aside and talk to them. Tell them that you are trying to eat healthier and would really appreciate their support. Ask them point blank if they will please stop insisting you try things. If it's someone you don't really know, or will never see again, then stand firm, be as polite as possible and don't worry too much about whether they choose to get offended.

Whatever the situation you can try some phrases like:
"Oh, it looks delicious, but I'm so full from that wonderful (insert food) that I couldn't eat another bite!"
"I would love to, but I've already had your (insert food) and I promised myself I would keep it to one treat tonight!"
"Do you mind if I take it home instead?"

Trying just a little bitty bit and then being very vocal about how great it is often satisfies the pusher. If it's something you know you can't just eat a little bitty bit of, you might have to get a little rude. If they keep insisting, stand your ground. Look them in the eye, say "No, thank you" and go find someone else to talk to. I find that looking people in the eye tends to have the most impact. Then, they know you're serious. If it's someone you really can't afford to offend- like your boss's wife or whatever- you may just have to try some of whatever they're offering. Then, go home and do an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill. Asking to take some home is often the best method for getting out of sticky situations. They are usually thrilled to send some home with you, and you don't actually have to eat it. If it's something you really want, but know you shouldn't eat, it would be best to drive by a dumpster on the way home.

Isn't that terrible? Why do we sometimes have to stoop to deceiving people in order to stay healthy? I honestly think it is rude to insist someone eats something when they have said no. If someone truly cares about you, they should respect what you are trying to do for your body.

People do tend to be more respectful of medical-sounding reasons. "I really shouldn't have that cake, my blood sugar was a little high this morning." or "My blood pressure has been worrying my doctor, I think I'll pass on the chips" etc. I don't advocate lying, but a little creative stretching of the truth is sometimes necessary for getting out of pushy situations. Find out if anything runs in your family. High blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and so on. Use those as reasons for passing on unhealthy food. (side note: you really should find out if you are at risk for any of those things anyway)

What do you think? Anybody have any suggestions or tricks that have worked for them?

Yay Mom!

This post is a shout out to my Mom.
I love my Mom. She's awesome! She's the mother of three grown children, and the grandma of seven little children. She loves to take her grandkids camping, to amusement parks, to Chuck E Cheese (for some of us, that one is a sacrifice, for Nana, it's actually fun!) She and my Dad built a house after all the kids had moved out, and they designed their basement specifically for the grandkids. The entire back room is set up like a dormitory for sleep-overs. The front room of the basement has a farm theme- kitchen in one corner, barn mural in the other, and a corn field mural in the middle. The corn field is my favorite, each grandkid has their own cornstalk and that is where Dadder (my Dad) records everyone's height every year. Kid paradise.

So, my Mom likes to be active and get out there and play. Several months into my journey, she decided to join Weight Watchers as well. Yesterday she hit her 25 pound mark! Wow! 25 pounds gone! She's doing so well, and she's almost to her goal!
This picture is from a couple of years ago. I'm hoping she will send me some current pictures to post, and maybe share some of her story herself. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tricks for Treats

I love the calorie count website at It's where I got most of my nutrition education. Their featured article today teaches some tricks to keep from binging on Halloween candy. My favorite of those tricks is to mindfully eat a few bites of the candy you love.

I would like to add, also, some of my planned tricks for this year. My kiddos will be going to a church trunk or treat on Thursday, then we all will be going to a family party Friday night, then we will host a party on Sunday (Halloween). I plan to let the kids eat a few pieces of their candy at each function, then put all the rest in the pot to give out to trick-or-treaters who come to our house on Halloween. My kids love giving things away, so they get to share in the door-duty that night. I plan to buy a few extra bags of candy to give away, but I will not be buying anything that will be too tempting for me. No chocolate. Maybe Nerds and dum dums. I also plan to bake some fantastic desserts for our party Halloween night. I will save up so I can eat those. Next to homemade cinnamon bun caramel popcorn and toffee chocolate chip cookies, those old hershey's kisses don't look quite so tempting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The after-glow, or lack thereof

Successful weight loss really boils down to being as self-aware as possible. Meaning: thinking about yourself and your habits. Planning ahead. Thinking before you eat something. Making yourself exercise or say "no" to food. Etc.

There are lots of ways to learn to do all these things, and every person must find what works for them. For me, one of the most effective habits I've developed is the ability to ask myself "how will I feel after eating this?" My instinct has always been to focus on how I will feel while eating this. -Ahh, that smells so good, it will make me feel warm and happy, I need to eat it now!- When I started becoming more self-aware, I realized that no matter how I felt while eating a food, that feeling always went away soon after. The taste of the food was gone, the good, warm feeling became a memory. I am not one to feel guilty for eating something I shouldn't have. But, even if there's no guilt, there is still a feeling of let down. And, when I was overweight, there was usually a feeling of frustration. -I ate it, I want more, I'm not happy enough yet-

I had to learn to ask myself "will this be worth it?" Sometimes the answer is "yes". Well, then, I go ahead and eat it. But, no matter how good the food tastes while I'm eating it, the euphoria goes away quickly. A better feeling, or at least a more wholesome one, is the feeling of not eating something that I didn't need. I find that I didn't really miss the food all that much, and I'm proud of myself and feel in control.

The way to learn this habit is practice, practice, practice. Don't expect perfection. People who expect perfection of themselves are setting up for failure. If you thoughtlessly inhaled something you shouldn't have (yeah, I still do that all the time), shrug it off and try again the next time. You get a do-over every single time you encounter food.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's an eat-a-thon day

Do you ever have days where it seems all you can think about is food? I'm having one of those today. Doesn't seem to matter whether I'm happy or sad, busy or bored, these days just happen every once in a while. I have noticed they happen a lot less now that I'm learning some new habits, but they haven't gone away.

So, today I woke up starving. I found some leftover apple pancakes in the freezer. Had those. Still starving. I rationalized that maybe caffeine would help, so I went to grab a Diet Dr. Pepper from my neighborhood fast food establishment. I ended up getting a breakfast meal with the drink. AHH! Why did I do that? I don't know, but it didn't stop the cravings. I did manage to only eat half the meal and throw the rest away. That's slightly better. The main problem I see is that I'm not craving anything particular. If that was the case, I would simply eat some of what I was craving. Then maybe I could get on with my day. But, I'm just craving food in general. If someone sat me down in front of a Thanksgiving buffet complete with desserts, I would want all of it.

I have had hundreds of these kinds of days. I used to spend days like this eating, literally, all day long. Then, when I started being successful at losing weight I started really thinking about cravings like this. I noticed that no matter what I eat on an eat-a-thon day it's never enough! I realized that I can eat everything in sight, and the cravings will not go away. So, I can eat, feel guilty, and still want more. Or, I can not eat, feel better about my choice, and still want more. Huh.

It takes a ton of will power to fight these cravings all day, but the day will pass no matter what I choose to do with it. Really, the same goes for any kind of craving, be it an all-day one or not.

This, too, shall pass.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Learning healthy portions

I my post "epic portions" I gave an example of how I used to eat. I had planned to give you an example of how I eat now, then I realized I first need to tell you how I got from there to here. It's kind of hard to explain, but I'll do my best.

I gained most of my excess weight after getting married, ten years ago. I never liked being overweight. I would try something every once in a while, like SlimFast, then I would give up and go back to my regular life. A little over two years ago I decided enough was enough. I was at my heaviest weight ever, a weight that I had never expected to be. I realized that change wasn't going to just happen, I had to make it happen. The diet pill Alli was all the rage at the time. I decided I would try it. I did all the research, read all the books and info on it. I liked the idea of going low fat. I knew I would never be able to give up carbs. I also decided it was time to alter the Dr. Pepper habit. I had tried giving up soft drinks cold turkey before. Never worked for me. So, Diet Dr. Pepper was my saving grace. I made low-fat selections at restaurants, used Smart Balance instead of butter, snacked on Twizzlers instead of brownies, and took my pill at every meal. From June 2008 to about October 2008 I lost 23 pounds. I realize now the majority of that was probably not from the Alli, but from the switch from regular to Diet Dr. Pepper. I look back and realize my calorie intake from food probably didn't change that much, I just swapped fat for carbs. I could eat about a pound, literally, of Twizzlers a day. But, I was no longer in the habit of eating an entire bag of Dove Chocolates in one sitting. So I did make some positive changes in that time, changes that I know helped me get closer to where I am now.

October to December is my absolute favorite time of year. I love to bake, and make candy. I always get in the mood to bake when the weather starts getting colder. So my weight loss stopped in October of 2008. But, here's the thing: I wasn't giving up. Let me explain. To me, giving up would have meant that I decided I can't do this, I'm never going to get this weight off, I'm not going to try anymore. I never thought that. I knew that I could and would get the weight off, it was just a matter of finding the right motivation again. I wasn't trying as hard, but I was still trying. When I made pumpkin scones I would have two or three instead of five or six. I never did go back to regular Dr. Pepper. I would rejoice on the rare occasions when I made home from a trip to Target without a treat. I was still very frustrated. I still wanted to kick myself when I would step on the scale. But, I knew that I was still making better choices than I had been. The proof of that was on the scale. I couldn't get it together enough to lose any more, but I didn't gain any back either.

From October 2008 to April 2010 I tried almost everything. I tried South Beach. I tried Slim Fast (again). I tried Alli (again). I tried calorie counting. I tried running. I wanted to stay away from diets that I knew were unhealthy. Besides the few unhealthy means I tried didn't work. :) It's worth pointing out that I learned something from every single thing I tried. I gradually learned a few healthier habits, running taught me that I like to exerciese, I learned how many calories my body needs, etc. I knew how to lose weight. I just couldn't make myself do it. I tried being accountable to my grandma, my husband, my mother and my cousin. They were all too nice and understanding. I am a very rules-oriented person. But, it doesn't work if I'm the one making up the rules. I needed some kind of "authority figure" to be accountable to. In April I finally joined Weight Watchers.

Even while sustaining my 23 pound weight loss, my lifestyle really hadn't changed much. I was just barely treading water- keeping the weight off. So when I started WW I was ready to change my lifestyle. The thing that struck me the most, and still helps me now, is the idea that you can make anything a habit if you keep doing it long enough. My eating habits changed overnight. The first day on WW I stuck to my points limit like glue. The first week was great. I was in the honeymoon phase. I still ate the kinds of foods I was used to, I just ate less of them. Which, by the way, is a great way to start out. Then, the honeymoon phase wore off and life started creeping back in. But, I remembered my epiphany about habit-building. I knew that if I told myself "no" enough times, eventually I wouldn't even have to ask the question. I had bad days. I had good days. I stuck with it. I went to the meetings, I weighed in every week. I had found my "authority figure". The funny thing is, the only people who ever know my weight each week are myself and the receptionist. And the only person who really cares is me. (Not that the receptionist doesn't care, she just doesn't have as much of a stake in the information) So, I guess I'm the "authority figure". I love the motivation I get from meetings. I love the proud, cheesy feeling I get when we all clap for each others' accomplishments.

The key to learning portion control is learning how to measure portions. There's a lot about this all over the internet, so I'm not going to go into detail here. I measure almost everything now. It's kind of a pain, especially at first, but it works. And, you do get used to it.

I started out WW eating less of the foods I was used to. I have gradually learned to add in fruits and veggies. I am drinking about half the Diet Dr. Pepper that I used to. I have learned that cold water usually is just as satisfying. It's all about perception. We talk ourselves into wanting things. Once we realize that, then we can gradually learn to talk ourselves out of wanting things. I am still learning to tell myself "no" to that little something sweet after every meal. If I don't want to tell myself "no", I sometimes can be satisfied with one square of dark chocolate. I love Lindt 50 % dark. I'm still having trouble with weekends. There are a lot of habits I'm still looking to change.

I know this is already a long post, but here is a sample of what my diet looks like now:
Breakfast: 1/2 cup Quaker oatmeal cereal squares, dry. Bottle of water.
Lunch: Ham and Cheese sandwich- with light bread, low-fat cheese, and lettuce. Baby carrots. Bottle of water. 1 square Lindt dark chocolate
Snack: 1 cup canned peaches, or 1 cup light yogurt
Dinner: Beef and Broccoli stir fry on brown rice. Diet Dr. Pepper.
Snack: 1 Weight Watchers peanut butter cup sundae

This is on a good day. At the end of a day like this I feel very pleased with myself, I don't feel deprived, I'm not starving and I know the news on the scale next time will be good.

Changes in a nutshell:
I write down everything I eat, even if I shouldn't have eaten it.
I measure out portions.
I tell myself "no".
I don't keep trigger foods in the house at all. ie: cookies, cakes, ice cream, pretty much all sweets except for dark chocolate.
If I do slip up and bring something home from the store that I shouldn't have, I let my kids eat most of it, or I throw it away.
I try to add in more fruits and vegetables.
I try new things.
I plan for events like parties where I know there will be food I won't be able to resist.
I am teaching myself to resist more often.

Friday, October 8, 2010

selfish intentions

This weight loss thingy has been such an incredible experience for me. I am not an attention-seeker. In school I always sat as far back as I could, and didn't volunteer to answer questions, even when I knew the answer. I have never been motivated to lose weight for anyone but myself. My hubby was supportive and encouraging, but he always made sure that I knew he loved me, and thought I was beautiful, just the way I was. So, when I started out it was a very personal thing. Just me, losing my weight. Then, people started to notice. My mom was very impressed. When I was about half-way through, she decided to join me. She now has lost 22 pounds, and is teaching herself how to run. Her sister joined us a few weeks after Mom did. She has lost about 15 pounds. I have people at church come and sit beside me and ask me questions. They ask for tips, share their frustrations and just generally look for hope and motivation. And, lots of these are people I don't really know. Now, I love the idea that maybe I have something that can help people. I understand perfectly how it feels to be out of control. To know you need to change, but can't convince yourself that it's possible. I want to share my story in the hopes that perhaps someone will find something in it that they can use.

I would advise anyone trying to lose weight to look carefully at their intentions. Are you losing weight for you, or for others? There's not really any right or wrong answers. It is perfectly acceptable to want to lose weight so you can be there for your kids- you're doing this for them. But, make sure that whatever your reasons, you are the one who wants you to lose weight. Don't go on a diet because someone else thinks you need to. Even if that person is your doctor. They may be right. But, it's not going to work until you decide you need and want to lose weight. Nobody can pull the weight off your body for you. It's your body, and you alone decide what happens to it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Epic portions

I obsess over things. When I want to try something new, I first have to learn everything I can about it. I google, I read, I think, I tell my poor husband everything I learn. Weight loss was no different.

I didn't worry too much about my weight for the longest time. I had this secret belief that when I was ready the weight would just fall off. I decided I was ready. I tried a few things, and the weight didn't just fall off. Dang. So I started doing research. I read many peoples' success stories. The first thing I noticed is that people like to write about their success after they have achieved it. Myself included. It was very frustrating for me to read how wonderful their lives are now, without getting to see all the bumps in the road getting there. I wish that I had had enough confidence in my ability to lose weight to start blogging about it from the beginning. But, I didn't. I was embarrassed by the choices I was making.

I am not embarrassed anymore. So, I am going to give you some small snapshots into my life as an overweight person. Everyone who has lost weight started out at very similar points. We all were not satisfied with our bodies. We all had habits that needed to change if we were to become satisfied with our weight.
(Side note: I am not going to tell you how much I weighed. Not because I am embarrassed. I am not going to tell you because I don't want you comparing yourself with me. We all have different body types, heights, bone structure. Just because you are heavier or lighter than I am/was doesn't mean we can't share many experiences. Don't get caught up in the numbers or sizes.)

This first snapshot is an example of my eating habits.
I had spent my life eating what I wanted, as much as I wanted. Whatever sounded good at the time. I stayed home with my kids, so I spent much of the day sitting around watching Dora. A typical day's diet, before trying to lose weight, went something like this:
Breakfast: Bowl of cereal (kid cereal like frosted flakes) or maybe a McDonald's bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with hashbrown and large Dr. Pepper
Snack: By 10:00 or so I would be munchy again, so I would bake some blueberry muffins- and eat at least four or have another bowl of cereal. With at least one Dr. Pepper.
Lunch: If we were eating at home I liked to have a can of ravioli smothered in cheddar cheese. If we ate out, I would have a cheeseburger, fries and Dr. Pepper. (If you can't tell by now, Dr. Pepper was a big part of my life. I may as well have had an IV inserted.)
Snack: I would always crave something sweet after lunch. Often my afternoon snacking started immediately after lunch and continued for several hours. I liked to have chocolate candy bars, cookies, the rest of the blueberry muffins, maybe bake some brownies, etc. I wouldn't necessarily eat all of that in one afternoon, but an entire pan of brownies was never out of the question. All with several Dr. Peppers.
Dinner: I tried to make relatively healthy dinners. We like to have chicken pot pie, beef stroganoff, minestrone, chili mac, etc. I'm a big comfort food type person.
Snack: I tried to stave off evening snacking until after the kids went to bed. Not for health reasons, but so I wouldn't have to share with the kids. I would sometimes run to the store and pick up a half gallon of ice cream. I would typically have one or two heaping bowls of it.

Wow. That's a lot of food. Honestly, I knew I was eating too much, but because I didn't write it down it didn't seem all that bad. It's amazing what happens when you start writing your food down.

More snapshots to come.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lessons learned from Forrest Gump

One of my all time favorite movie lines is from Forrest Gump. Forrest gets word from "some kinda fruit company" that they don't have to worry about money no more. His response is "That's good. One less thing."

I love the wisdom of this simple line. People laugh because the commonly held view is that not having to worry about money any more would solve many other worries as well. But, I say that getting rid of even a major worry, like money, really is just one less thing. The same holds true for weight loss. Losing weight is not going to magically make life perfect. It doesn't fix life's other problems. Now, don't get me wrong, losing weight is a wonderful thing. It can fix some medical problems, and definitely improves quality of life all around. But, it's not going to make you like your hair, or your job, or yourself. Don't wait until you are the ideal size to start living your life. Learning to be happy with yourself and your life actually makes it easier to lose weight.