Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Enemy of the Good

“Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire
This quote has become my mantra in area after area of my life. It started with all those phone calls and thank you notes I was supposed to write, but only managed to finish half or send a quick email instead. Then it was when I was having people over for dinner or a get together, and I just tidied up the messiest areas and put everything else in our pit of a back room. These days, I find myself saying it every day. About almost everything.
Once upon a time I was a perfectionist – and then life just caught up with me. I realized that if everything I did had to be just so, I wouldn’t get anything done. And whatever I did get “done” would never really be completed – I’d just keep picking at it until it made me insane. I’d like to have the luxury of perfection, and I do reserve it for some things, but mostly it’s just too much. It’s like there’s a time in all our young lives when we have all the time in the world to make everything just so. Then time swarms up behind us and pushes us forward until we’re moving so fast that we only have brief moments to recapture that feeling of when we think we have all the time in the world to make everything just the way we want it. I don’t know about you, but I use those brief moments to play computer solitaire.
I don’t really want to talk about weight loss that much. Let’s just say that this week was spent in overindulgence. Tracking food? Working out? Uh, well…. Don’t worry – I’ll be back to it tomorrow full time. That’s when I’m headed back to reality and home. A big part of me is really eager to get back on schedule. But another part of me is so happy to have had some time to waste. Yes, waste. Time that wasn’t scheduled, or tracked, or missed, or stressed about, or spent doing something I didn’t want to do. I just luxuriated in being able to not think about it. I may regret it tomorrow or the next time I get on the scale, but for the moment it was worth it. I just stopped thinking about perfection entirely. It felt really, really good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Abstainers vs Moderators

Some very interesting comments on my last post! I guess I didn't realize that others might feel the same way about intuitive eating.

What a couple of weeks! By late November I knew December was going to be really tough. I've had some big deadlines coming up at work, and it just seemed like it was all of them at once! This last weekend was a big meeting that I had to be at work for, and that's what seems to have done me in. I'm pooped! But now I feel like the end is in sight!

Eating wise I did okay - no, I actually did better than that. It wasn't great, but all things considered I made the best choices I could, and that is a triumph! When we have these big meetings at work, there's garbage galore. I didn't eat a single crappy dessert or processed junk. Okay, maybe I didn't make the VERY best choices - if I had I would've brought my own food every day - but I did bring fruit for snacks and stuck to it. And when faced with the food options at work, I actually did really well. Seriously, this is one of those situations with unlimited opportunities to eat crap, and I didn't give in. I'm really happy about that.

So all this in addition to the plethora of crappy food for the holidays. I'm doing pretty well there too. I was reading someone's blog, and they talked about the idea of moderators vs abstainers. Abstainers are those who recognize that something is too much of a temptation for them, so they abstain from it completely. For them, avoiding something entirely is easier than trying to have only a moderate amount. Moderators are those who can have a little bit of something, and it's enough to satisfy them. For them, abstaining from something completely makes it unbearably tempting, so it's better that they just have a little bit to satisfy them. I fall FIRMLY into the abstainers category. I like to think I could be a moderator, but I can't. So in the end I'm happier when I just completely avoid foods I know aren't good for me. So that's what I've been doing with holiday treats. It's working and I'm just going to stick with it.

However, you'd think I'd recognize that this should also apply to alcohol for me. So far it doesn't, but I think it's where I'm headed. It just causes too much trouble with my eating! I'm just not there yet. But I think after the holidays it will be something I'm ready to commit to fully. I know it's lame that I'm not doing it now, but this is my journey, and I get to choose my priorities. So I'll give up sweets, but not my martinis. Not yet.

Anyway, hoping you're all successfully getting through these last few holiday weeks!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just A Little Bit More...

Here's a story of American portion sizes for you! Hubby and I went out to dinner tonight at one of our favorite restaurants. It's a local pub type place, but here in Seattle, even pubs cater to foodies. They have amazing burgers, and you have the option of the usual side of fries, or you can sub soup or salad for a dollar more. The waitress seemed pretty excited about the soup of the day and fries are definitely out for me, so I went with soup. It was a pork stew, really like a posole, but with some veggie additions. They brought it out and I was expecting a cup of soup, but this was a big bowl! All I kept thinking was that it was the same size as what I eat for lunch - and next to it my burger just kept sitting patiently. And the soup was soooo good! So in the end I just ate my soup, took one nibble of my burger, stole a couple of Hubby's fries, and now I have my entree sitting in the fridge.

It just seems crazy that I got so much food. And what's even crazier is that a year ago I would've eaten the whole thing. It's amazing how you train your body to consume more and more. If you just get used to eating what is a normal amount for a human to actually live on, it FEELS like enough. But most of us have never really had that - we've always had way too much.

I'm not talking about trying intuitive eating - I don't think that's actually possible in our society. I really don't. It's human biology to eat more - we're built to consume more when there's food available for when there are times of famine. When we're served huge portions of food, we eat more. Period. We're very visual. It takes concious effort and a concious choice to say, "I'm only going to eat this much. That's it." Intuitive eating seems too risky for those of us who have a tendency to just eat a little more, and a little more, oh - and maybe just a little bit more. I know that my body takes longer to recognize that it's full. Other people who are thinner than myself seem to have a better handle on the fullness cue - I just don't. I'll keep eating until I'm sick if I let myself. My BIG problem is alcohol - it lowers my inhibitions and helps me to think that it's okay if I just have a little more, and before I know it, I've eaten it all!

I think making most of my food at home has been the biggest step forward for me. Now when I go out, I just can't get over the amount of food! It seems like so much. So the challenge now is not to let myself slide into that mindset of just having a little bit more, and a little bit more, and... you get the idea.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Dreaded P-word?

Hmmm, so is it the p-word this week? I think it's still my body sorting things out from the weekend. I've been just fine since then. We'll see how things look next week.

But on what I guess is a NSV, my trainer did my measurements and fat % testing yesterday for the halfway point of the challenge I'm doing with her. My body fat has dropped 4% from 35% to 31% since the middle of October! I must be building some muscle so that's good news! And I lost 2" in my waist and 1-1/2" in my hips. Everywhere else it was around or below 1/2" except my neck and ONE of my biceps which both stayed the same. Isn't that hysterical? My arms are lopsided now and I didn't even know it. As a disclaimer, they are doing fat testing with the handheld devices which are notoriously inaccurate, but just looking at myself I can tell I've lost fat and built muscle, so I'll take it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Immediate Consequences

Thanks for the advice on the last post guys! You're absolutely right - no point in worrying about what may or may not happen. But I'm sure you all know that sometimes it's easier said than done.

So if I needed further proof that my eating habits have changed how my body operates, I got it this weekend. Saturday was the Civil War (Go Beavs! Sad, but unsurprising outcome) and the Apple Cup. We headed over to a friend's house where I proceeded to have more beer than I've had in months, and then we went to another friend's holiday party that night where I had champagne on top of that. Oh, and some soft cheeses and snacky things. I wasn't intoxicated thanks to the gallons of water I drank in between drinks, but even that didn't save me. Let's just say that going from salads, veggies, and lean meats to a bunch of alcohol and crapola didn't sit even remotely well with the system. Didn't have a bad weigh in this morning because yesterday my body was having none of it - out it went. Gross I know, but almost impressive. I was so sorry I did it. The reality is that I'm feeling the affects of when I eat poorly right away now. It catches up with me immediately and it's just not worth it.

I get to work this morning, and no joke there's an entire cake and entire pie sitting in the kitchen. Didn't even get close to them. It was back to fruit, veggies, and soup for this wayward girl.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Other Shoe

Things are going so well right now. It actually seems like I know what I'm doing. But I have to say that in the back of my mind, I'm waiting for that other shoe to drop. Right now I'm seriously in the weight loss zone. I haven't had a binge in what feels like forever - probably 4 or 5 months. I'm eating my salads, fruit, lean protein. Skipping the cupcakes, cookies, ice cream. But I worry about what might set me off.
I've thought off and on about what's going to happen when I have a big life change in the future. Specifically if I change jobs or if we decide to have a baby. The last few times I put on weight were the result of big life changes - going to college and moving in with my boyfriend (now husband). I realize I'm getting ahead of myself, but I'm still worried about it. Changing jobs leads to big stress for me, which leads to pounds over time. Having a baby is a no brainer on weight gain. My worry isn't enough to prevent me from doing either of these things, but it's a concern. Having my eating and exercise habits down when life is easy doesn't seem like enough to keep me from gaining later. I'm still taking of the last pounds, but my mind is turning more and more to my maintinence plans. I really want to keep it ALL off.
Anyway, I'm one of those worry about the future types, and I need to focus on right now. It's the only moment that matters! Have a wonderful Saturday!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lunch and Mental Prep

Happy December! Hard to believe it's here already.

Just under a half pound loss and I will definitely take it! I chose to have some of those Thanksgiving day extras, but I really tried to be careful the rest of the time and also worked out hard at the gym. Guess it worked out okay in the end.

Here's some pics of my secret weapon! Sunday night lunch prep. I'm shocked at what a difference pre-planned meal preparation has made for me, especially with my lunches. And saving some money has been a great side benefit too since I'm not going out to lunch all the time.

I'm a huge fan of soups and salads at lunch, but lately I've been sticking to salads because they're easy to pull together on weekends and I usually feel more satisfied. Here's what goes in:

Costco is my friend with their 6 heads of romaine for under $5. I use 2 or 3 heads for a weeks worth of lunches.

I love my food scale. Besides my trainer, this was pretty much my only weight loss "investment." I think it was under $20, but worth so much more! I have to have some kind of protein on my salad - here's my leftover Thanksgiving turkey! It actually tasted even better on a healthy salad with some avocado and honeycrisp apple. Soooo yum!

Finally, here's the end result. Five days worth of healthy, satisfying lunches. Some of them look a little empty, but I'll add things later so they don't get yucky from sitting together. Any of you Costco fans might also notice familiar storage containers. My husband and I eat at the Costco food court before we shop, and I always get the chicken caesar salad and save my container. My tupperware obsession might be getting the best of me these days, but they're so sturdy and perfectly reusable. I feel guilty throwing them away, and they're perfect for my lunches.

So, on a totally separate note, looking back at my last post I feel a little silly. It makes me seem like someone who only needed to lose twenty or so pounds to start with, but I wasn't. I also realize this isn't a competition to lose the most weight, but I don't want anyone to think that I don't know what it is to be obese. That I'm just someone who lost a few pounds and has declared herself an expert on weight loss.

The thing is that I know my weight loss history already, and I think I'm having a hard time talking about it because I don't really want revisit the really bad parts. I already lost a lot of weight - not the before picture in the last post, but tack on another 50-ish pounds to that. I've pulled out my "before-before" pictures and it's like looking at someone else. It's such a strange feeling. I think I'm having a hard time even identifying with who that person is - I'm a stranger to myself. Most of the pictures are from the late 90's when I was in my late teens and early twenties. All I can think is, "Who IS that person? How did she even happen?" It's kind of painful to me that I don't even want to aknowledge the person I was then. Isn't that sad? Everyone wants other people to be compassionate towards them, and I don't even feel compassionate to my old self! I just wonder how I let it happen. How could I just let it get worse and worse, and just not notice! Or notice, and ignore it. I probably topped out around 215-220 - I'd stopped weighing myself of course. I just look like someone else. And it freaks me out to have to go back and look at those pictures. I've moved on with my life and I'm to a place where I don't want to spend a lot of time looking back. It's part of who I am, but it's not who I am now. If that makes any sense at all.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I've been on the hunt for "before" pictures so here's one for you:

I think I was around 170-175 in this pic. It was right before I got engaged in 2007. I wan't huge, but I'd put on around 15 to 20 pounds when I met my husband and I wasn't feeling my best.

I also have one from before-before when I was really big. I just need to get it scanned in. It's my scary picture. The one that just broke my heart and opened my eyes. The one above isn't nearly so bad. I hide the really old one in my jewelry box because I'm still so embarassed by it. I think I'm working up the nerve to post it, so bear with me. All of you who put up so many pics are so brave. I'm really trying.

And here's me at Halloween. We dressed up Mad Men style at work so I look much more groomed than usual, but it's my blog so it's okay if I want to show myself looking my best, right?

Anywhoo - that's me! Hi!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Home Front

I'm always curious about the effect of people's spouses on their weight loss. My husband has had a big impact on my weight, both for good and bad. For example, right now I have pumpkin pie in my refrigerator that would already be in the garbage if not for my husband. He loves it, and we have it once a year. I had some Thursday and yesterday, and the rest is going to be for him.

I'm realizing that it's all a balancing act. Hubby knows not to bring home crap that I'm going to eat. If he wants chips and cookies and snacks, he keeps them at work or hides them if he really has to have them around. He's way taller than me, so he has lots of great hiding spots that I can't reach. I'm an out of sight, out of mind type of person so I don't feel the need to drag out a step stool to start hunting for snacks, but he also very rarely brings them home.

Today we headed to downtown Seattle to do a bit of shopping and general sightseeing. We hit the Pike's Place market and looked at all the different foods out there. In the past, hubby would've wanted some organic donuts and a sandwich from this Italian shop. But today we actually skipped it all, and came home to eat. I've become more and more resistant to eating out, and he's actually been okay with it.

It's not always this easy. Sometimes I feel really guilty because I know that he just really wants to go out for Chinese food or BBQ the way we've always done. I try to go and just make healthy choices, but I struggle. I'd rather not have it at all than have a healthy option. They're just not that great. If I go out for chinese, I don't want stir fried veggies. I can make them at home. Since I hardly ever eat out anymore, I usually feel okay letting myself indulge a bit when we do go. I just worry because once I have a little bit, I want more and more and more.

I've also tried to get him to work out with me more with very mixed results. I got him a membership to my gym that required a year commitment. He went once. ONE TIME. I was so pissed about that. It was just a big marriage learning experience period - leading the horse to water and all that. Now we go for a run together every so often, but I mostly work out on my own. Again, it's a balance.

So I think we're still figuring it out. Overall, I do feel supported. He eats the healthy meals I cook and enjoys them. If he wants to go out, he'll go with his friends. In fact, the biggest issue with my weight loss is the one that makes me feel the most loved - he just doesn't understand why I'm doing it. He loves me no matter what size I am. But he also respects that it's something I'm doing for me. I can't ask for much more than that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How I Learned To Love the Kettlebell

Apparently my thai food indiscretion didn't do lasting damage. Careful eating in the week before balanced it out. Now let's see if I can make it through the Thanksgiving weekend the same way.

I also realized I haven't mentioned much about my personal training since I posted about having hired her in the first place. Just to preface, I realize I'm lucky in that I'm able to afford to hire her. Not everyone has the time or money to do it, but if you do, I think it can be a really worthwhile investment. Especially for women. Even just for a month or two. Of you ladies out there who workout at a gym, who hasn't felt intimidated when wandering around in the weight training area? Yes, you can use the weight machines with relatively little embarassment or explanation, but what about the freeweights? Or kettlebells? Or cable machines? All of these make for a much better workout than the machines IF you know how to use them properly. And without instruction, who does? I had hired a trainer a few years ago, and prior to that, I had no clue. My new trainer has refreshed my memory and given me a whole new workout using kettlebells, which are absolutely awesome! She's very focused on making each move work several different areas on the body - perfect for efficiency. Who wants to be at the gym all day? With the right training, I've got a 30-45 minute workout that does wonders. It's ended up being more than worth the cost, which is how I felt the last time too. It definitely is worth it to invest in your body every so often and spend the time and money to learn how to best use the equipment at the gym. I meet with her once a week, and she gives me homework to do the other days. Like with everything else in weight loss, you get out what you put in. But sometimes you need just a little help.

On a side note, I also have a pet peeve about "women's sections" at the gym. Not women's gyms, but special sections at a coed gym that are reserved for women. One of mine has this, and I HATE it. I understand that there are women out there who feel intimidated. I do. But my feeling is, get a good explanation about how to properly use equipment, and then get out there and own it! The thing is that if we continue to behave as though we're too intimidated and should be separate, then men will treat us like we should be separate and should stop taking up "their" space in the weight training areas at the gym, which are inevitably stocked with better equipment than the "women's sections" with their pastel rubber covered freeweights. Trust me, I feel the pain of being intimidated sometimes. I'm in Seattle where men don't actually hit on you, but they have no problem coming over just to be "helpful" and give you instruction on properly using equipment. It's condecending and obnoxious. I don't care if my form is off - that's no business of yours unless you're one of the trainers at the gym. Otherwise, don't talk to me. I'm working out. But hiding ourselves away just makes these guys worse! If they got used to seeing women out there sweating and grunting while doing their weight routines they'd realize that we're just there to work out too. And let's be honest - no one's being hit on so much that they can't get their workout done. It's not about that - it's about fear of looking stupid in front of men. We get scared and nervous. I've seen it a million times and sometimes it's me! Wandering around the gym, not sure what to do or how to use something. Just ask! No shame in it at all. When you learn how to do it right, weight training is so empowering. The shame is in hiding. And we've all done enough of that.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bad, Naughty Zoot

Last night we went out with friends to celebrate my husband's birthday. I did fine at dinner, kept myself in check. We were at a really great Thai restaurant and I kept my portions small and the food was totally worth it. I didn't eat out all week, and I've been keeping my calories lower in anticipation. After dinner we went bowling, and I had 2 beers. I wasn't tipsy or drunk at all. But we got home and busted into the leftovers from dinner at around midnight.

When I have alcohol, I just want to eat. I hardly have it anymore, just on special occasions on weekends, but I'm starting to think that alcohol for me is just a signal to cut loose with my eating. Any amount of it at all. For so long I ate more when I drank, I think that the connection is just still there. It's a bummer, because I love a glass of wine here and there, but I think that for now I have to keep my consumption - and the temptation - very low.

I'm not beating myself up over it. There's no point in that and it was one meal in a sterling week. But it's more that I let it happen. That's frustrating. I think I expect perfection, but that's not how I'm built. I just do the best I can and move on. So, off to the gym!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

That's What I'm Talking About

A much better weigh in today. I think last week was all about sodium and hormones. Can't blame everything on hormones, but without a doubt they cause a bit of a weight jump every month.

I found out yesterday that I'm going to be having some big deadlines coming up at work during the holidays, which I knew about, but they're all moved up a week or two earlier than I'd anticipated. Gotta love a challenge. But this is real life, and weight loss has to just work around it, right? It'll mean some early morning workouts, which are definitely not my forte. I'm an after work-workout kind of girl. First thing in the morning always seems like a good idea until I don't want to get out of bed. And then I do it and I'm perky afterwards until around 2 or 3 in the afternoon when I just want to take a big ol' nap from getting up so early. I also love evening workouts because I'm a nighttime eater - I used to binge like crazy from the moment I'd get home until when I went to bed. Heading to the gym before I go home helps tame my appetite and shortens the evening so it's just dinner, time with hubby, and bed. Works well for me! Anyway, needless to say that I will survive the next month and a half, it just might get a little bumpy. Nothing new around the holidays!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chill Sunday

The weather here in Seattle is pretty crummy so it was a great day to stay in and be cozy. Got some cleaning done, made a big pot of homemade spagetti sauce, and hit the gym in the late afternoon. Looking forward to some pasta tonight - it's a big treat for me these days! I really try to limit those carbs. They don't tend to do me any favors, but once in awhile is just fine.

Later I'm going to get the lunches and dinners for the week all set up, and then watch a little Walking Dead while hiding behind hubby on the couch. I equally love and am terrified by zombies so I'm really enjoying the show. AMC. Mad Men AND zombies - I love it!

I also spent part of the morning watching/fast forwarding through all the Biggest Loser episodes available On Demand. As with zombies, I'm equally facinated and repelled. I can see why people find it so inspiring, but I hate the ridiculous focus on dropping huge amounts of weight. It just seems so unrealistic and it gives people at home this inflated expectation of weight loss. Not to mention the fact that if these contestants didn't have the eyes of the nation on them, would they actually be able to keep the weight off when they get back home? I sincerely doubt it. I don't know, I'm torn about it. Anything that can be done to help with obesity is good, but like everything else in this country of ours, it's about instant gratification and putting all the responsibility on the individual. I just don't see it as a receipe for success in the end.

What do you guys think? Any of you huge BL fans?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crunching The Numbers

One of the bloggers that I'm watching out there is struggling. Seriously struggling. Actually, struggling might not even be the right word because it implies that she's trying to fight back, and even that seems inaccurate. Backsliding might be a better word. Although I do aknowledge that we only see a slice of any given blogger's life, so she may be working like crazy but we just don't get to see it. Anyway, this blogger did it. She made it to goal. And now she's slipping and sliding, and what's truly interesting are her follower's reactions to it. People feel betrayed and angry. They want to feel like people can lose weight and then life is perfect. Calories in, calories out. The math is simple and basic and if you follow it, life gets better - no, life will be perfect.

Sadly, it ISN'T just about the numbers. Yep, the numbers will get you there. No doubt. And there are those out there who can live by the numbers - every day, for years. But there are those who can't. And even when you can, life sneaks up on you. You get arrogant. You get smug. You get happy with the status quo. I know it. I've been there. There's days when I am there. It's not the worst thing. But when it gets out of control - when you lose the balance and start to slide and don't pick yourself up right away - that's when it happens.

When I'm losing weight, it's like I get into a zone. I'm focused and on plan and I have it all figured out. Until the day that I don't. A few too many poor choices, a few skipped workouts, and it sneaks up and bites me.

It's hard to watch others slide. I'm not really afraid for myself. I just feel really sad for her, but I also know that it's a necessary part of her journey. We all have our own path through this, and no one can do it for us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Owning Up

Yep, that's a gain. It's deserved. So depressing that it would be a gain my second week of weigh in, but there it is. I was thinking today how I'd explain myself, but I'm just not going to bother. It happens and I know exactly what I did and how to undo it.

To be totally honest, thinking today about how to explain myself to you all brought up the "why bother" voice. I think there's probably some of you out there who've heard this same voice, and maybe you're like me where you're really getting close to the goal of your journey. It's the voice that says, "Why bother? You're close enough. You've pretty much got all the things you wanted from weight loss. You don't need to finish and get to goal. You're married, you're happy, your clothes fit. Just think of all the things you're going to have to give up to get there. How much of a hassle it is to go out to eat. And giving up alcohol! You love a martini or two during happy hour. Happy hour! The best thing about a Friday afternoon! Besides, it's not like your husband cares. He loves you no matter what. And if you lose that weight you'll have to go out and get all new clothes. You finally have a closet full of clothes that all fit you, and now they won't. It'll be expensive! And, and, and, AND!"

I started this blog because I need to keep moving forward. I've been really struggling to find those reasons to keep losing weight. They're starting to become more subtle and that's not as motivating as when you feel like you're going to have a heart attack or you realize you can't fit into a single pair of pants that you own or you're sick and tired of being too scared to talk to someone you find attractive for fear that they'll laugh at you. Those reasons feel so much more urgent. Now it's more about feeding my body the best foods I can so that I have a great workout or performance in a race. It just doesn't feel as urgent and I'm frustrated with myself. Without a doubt, I feel so much better physically and mentally, but there's a temptation to just stop. To just say that this is good enough. I struggle with it all the time. I sometimes wonder if I'm just continuing to try to lose weight because it's all I know. It's my comfort zone now that I've been doing it for so long.

So how do those of you out there who are so close to goal or have made goal keep pushing it? What gets you all the way there?

Monday, November 8, 2010


Hopped on the scale this morning and there is some serious weekend sodium bloat. Part of this is related to hormonal stuff, but I can't blame it all on that. This has been something that's happenend to me quite a bit in the past when I'm eating out a lot, but I have to say that I really managed to make better choices this weekend. I did eat out quite a bit while my parents were here, but I stuck with really healthy options. And I'm not doing the DDD Challenge but between listening to you all talk about your water and my personal trainer reminding me about it every week, it kept me paying attention to my intake. And still!

Ah well, I'll be a crazy water drinker at work today. I think the tough part of all this is that when you go out, even if you think you're getting something healthy, they're still loading up the food with too much salt to give it flavor. Just goes to show yet again that eating in is the way to go.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Family Time

My parents are in town this weekend! It's so great to see them. They live a plane ride away, so I only see them a couple of times a year. I'm very lucky - we have an awesome relationship and really get to enjoy spending time together.

The four of us went out to dinner last night. I have to say that I can kind of see why I was so heavy as a kid. And I do worry in particular about my dad. He just eats too much. He's prediabetic, and his dad actually had diabetes as well, so there's that genetic component added to the mix. Which is another reason I'm trying to lose more weight - both of my grandfathers had diabetes. Pretty scary.

Anyway, as a family we've always enjoyed eating, and my dad is Italian. Food has been a big focus his whole life. I just worry because I can tell that he often eats just to eat. Last night at dinner I could tell he was getting past the point of really enjoying his food, but he just continued to eat just to clean his plate. It makes me worry, but trust me, there's nothing I can really do. Any comment that gets made he either ignores, or he'll just keep eating to prove me wrong or something. He's not huge, but he does have a rather big belly. He's tried WW with my mom but nothing sticks. I keep hoping he'll wake up and make some changes, but I don't know what's going to do it. He's already had some health scares and it just doesn't seem to get through to him. He insists that he's very healthy - and he actually is for a 65 year old - but he could be healthier if he just reined in his eating a bit. I just worry, you know?

So those of you who are parents and are doing this for your kids - good for you! It really saves them some worry and heartache in the long run. They want you around as long as possible! Even if it doesn't always seem like it :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

What's Past is Past?

Finally Friday! I'm so glad to be home!

I’ve been working on my post about my weight history and it’s been dredging up some negative old memories that I’d almost forgotten all about. One that really seems to stand out was when I was in the third grade. our gym teacher had taken my class back to our classroom after gym class, and we were waiting for our usual teacher to come back. While we were waiting, our gym teacher asked for a show of hands for who would want to play in the teachers vs students basketball game, a tradition they had every year. I’d been playing quite a bit with some kids in my neighborhood over the summer, so I raised my hand. Our gym teacher seemed a bit surprised and asked if I really knew how to play. I didn’t know all the rules, but I could shoot pretty decently, and I said so. One of the boys in my class turned to me and asked, loudly to be sure everyone heard him, if I was going to dribble the ball with my big fat stomach. Most everyone laughed and I just stood there in shock. I remember looking up at my gym teacher, expecting her to at least tell this boy to knock it off, and she was smirking! Laughing at me right along with everyone else. I was crushed. At that point I was used to hearing that type of thing from kids, but having an adult join in was a new and painful development. Even now just writing this I can feel that visceral sense of utter and total humiliation and shame.

Looking back on this now, I do go over it and wonder if there was some sort of explanation for this, if somehow I’m misremembering. But I know I'm not. I could also see that these things just don’t sound like that huge of a deal to someone who never experienced it, so maybe she just had no idea of the impact of what she did. There’s this magnification of feeling in childhood that we lose appreciation for as adults. It’s shaping who you become and how you view yourself. It’s more intense than you think. You'd certainly think a teacher would understand that. And as a phys ed teacher, don't you think it was her job to encourage someone like me to be more physical? Instead it reinforced my avoidance of activity. That as much as anything else makes what she did pretty shameful.

Anyway, I hope I didn’t drag anyone down with that story. I can imagine some of you can relate to it. It’s certainly not as bad as quite a few of the childhood experiences I’ve read on these blogs, but it’s something that's stuck with me. Most of my childhood was very happy, but sometimes these types of incidents just overshadowed the good stuff, and it feels very cathartic to share. So thanks for listening!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First Blog Weigh-In

Ta-da! Seriously, I'm so low tech that I'm amazingly proud of anything I add to this blog.

Anyway, first weigh in posted over there on the right! 156.6. Around a year ago I was at 175, and the beginning of October I was around 163, so I'm feeling pretty darn good about this.

I'm actually a bit nervous about putting my weight out there. Makes me feel some pressure for next week. But I guess that's the whole point, right? Accountability. Gotta love it.

Have a lovely Wednesday! Don't eat the leftover Halloween candy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Grind

I learned a very interesting tidbit at the dentist today. I’ve been a chronic tooth grinder for awhile. My dentist noticed it about 2 or 3 years ago, but I suspect it was going on for awhile before that. I was talking to my dental hygienist at my cleaning this morning, and she said that grinding cases have shot up in the last 30 years. It was very rare in the 80’s, but now its commonplace. It had been attributed to more stressful jobs and work environments, but apparently there have been some recent studies that show that it is also affected by the amount of sugar and starch in people’s diets. All that added sugar and starch raises the acidity level in the blood which affects the ability of the muscles in the body to relax properly. So our muscles are constantly tense, even when we sleep. I’m not a doctor, and I in no way claim to be an expert on any of this, but common sense tells me that any huge shifts in diet like we’ve had in the last 50 or so years are going to affect our bodies in unforeseen ways. I just couldn't get over it. You really are what you eat and it's so important to eat real wholesome foods so you don't get some random health issue like tooth grinding. Who knew?!

On a totally different topic, I'm going to start posting weight this week. I actually weigh in 3 times a week - Monday, Wednesday, Friday - but I'll just share one of them a week. I think I'll go with Wednesday and see how it goes. I'm not a huge fan of focusing on my weight, but for the purpose of a blog it makes sense. You all need to see some tangible evidence that I'm actually doing something, and I'm not completely comfortable posting pictures quite yet.

Here's a very short background of my weight gain (I've been trying to put together a post about my history, but my weight has been an issue my whole life, so I'm trying to condense it down for you. Nice of me, right?). I started really trying to lose weight when I was 22 years old and 205 pounds. I think I was down from a high around 215 or so (I had stopped weighing myself completely). I had put most of it on in college with beer and horrible food, but I managed to get my eating under control when I lived by myself after college ended. I actually lost the vast majority of weight around 6 years ago (50lbs), met a boy, got married, and gained around 20lbs back. I've almost taken that 20lbs off, and from there I would like to lose another 20lbs to be at 135. I seriously can't get over that number, especially now that it seems so close. 20lbs is a ways to go for me. I tend to lose quite slowly with the intention of keeping it off forever, and I've been pretty successful with it. But 135. I can't wrap my head around what I would even look like - I think I was in the 4th or 5th grade when I weighed that much. Maybe.

So I hope you'll all help me out for the last 23-ish pounds (we'll know tomorrow). I think sometimes that getting so close to the end is the hardest part. You can almost taste it (ha, ironic) but it seems to hover just out of reach. I want to get there and I want it to last.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And So It Begins

Boy, now that someone's actually looking at this thing, I feel like I should really spruce up the place. Give it a little glam. At least some accessories.

I work in an office, as lots of you out there do. I actually have a really creative job that I enjoy and am lucky to have in this economy. But there are some serious drawbacks in terms of weight loss. Not only do I have to deal with the usual sitting at a computer for 6-8 hours a day, but I'm on a team with big time bakers. I'm talking cookies, scones, pies, cakes, brownies, you name it. Three to four days a week at least. Not to mention the team potlucks and parties. And now it's here - The Holiday Season.

I didn't take pictures but the desserts for Halloween on Friday were insane. I'm happy to say that I did not partake. But the white chocolate dipped Nutter Butters were awfully tempting.

How do people eat this stuff? My coworkers are almost all normal weight. Some are ridiculously small. I seriously don't get it. Most of them seem to eat nothing but total garbage. They eat out all the time. They snack on processed carbs and tons of sugar. Almost every day I put together my salad for lunch in the kitchen at work, and they all walk by with their takeout and tv dinners and wistfully mention how they wish they had time to make their lunches the way I do. I may be the one trying to lose weight, but pretty much everyone I know could stand to be healthier.

In the past I've found myself thinking "I'm going to a party, a friend's house, it's a holiday, etc. - I'll eat better after that." This time around more than any other weight loss attempt, I've truly realized that there's ALWAYS a reason to dodge eating right if you want to. It's not those huge shifts in thinking or eating. It's not the South Beach diet, Atkins, or going vegan. It's those moment to moment choices of skipping a slice of chocolate cake that your coworker brings in, cutting your entree in half when you go out, sharing your meal instead of eating it all yourself. All these things over and over, choice by choice. When you think too far into the future, it seems daunting. So breaking it down into manageable pieces makes all the difference. We all make some bad choices, but by making the very next one the best choice, you're always moving in the right direction. I just want to keep moving in the right direction, and not let this holiday season cause me to backtrack. I WON'T let it.

10K Weekend

Wow, COMMENTS! Thanks guys! I've been slacking about posting because I've been trying to comment elsewhere and get some traction. Knowing that someone's paying attention will keep me in line and actually posting. Thanks for the help, Allen!

Hubby and I finished our 10k this weekend! I was feeling pretty unenthused overall just because I had originally intended to do a half marathon (I got injured in training) so this just felt like a consolation prize, but I had a really good time. I certainly didn’t PR, but I wasn’t too far off either.

Unfortunately I did myself in eating-wise, which I really think contributed to my disappointing time. It’s tough when we go to Portland because I have a lot of friends that I want to see, and oftentimes meeting somewhere for a meal is the easiest thing to do. I say that, but truthfully I’ve never really spent time thinking of other options. Our time together has changed dramatically over recent years because so many people have kids now. Maybe in the future it’d be better to just take the kids to the park or some easy activity like that. Might be a nice change for everyone.

It was really dinner that was the problem – spicy thai food. Lots of calories, and as I’ve gotten older, I can’t take the spiciness. We ate every meal out on Saturday which I hated and I think all the meals just built up to an overall feeling of misery. I thought I did okay at breakfast, but looking back at it, I had a biscuit and some cheese grits (Bob’s Red Mill – delicious!) and those are just things I don’t really eat anymore. For good reason. They’re high calorie and pretty much a waste nutrition-wise.

I was reading Refuse to Regain last week and Barbara was discussing the feedback from the maintenance group that met. Specifically they were discussing how the short term maintainers really try to incorporate starches and sugars into their diet in some small way, whereas long term maintainers have long since realized that these items simply need to be eliminated. I feel like I’m at a similar crossroads. Not only are these foods keeping me from losing weight, but they make me feel like garbage. I’m realizing that I simply can’t eat that way anymore. It’s not even worth it to have these things as a “treat” because it’s NOT a treat. They make me feel terrible! Recovering from them takes a day or two. In the meantime, I start getting random cravings for things I really don’t need – and never really eat anymore. Chips and candy and bread. It’s like when I give in once it makes it harder not to give in the next time and the cravings suddenly appear. So it's going to be an ongoing challenge, but right now I'm really trying to stay off sugar and crappy carbs. They're just not doing me any favors.

Friday, October 22, 2010

"There Are No Fresh Starts..."

“…Life just goes on.” – Mad Men

I keep thinking of this quote as I’m reading other peoples blogs lately. People love the idea of a fresh start. Throwing off all of the bad decisions, wrong assumptions, and poor choices. Just letting them all wash away and thinking they’ll find perfection this time. But what they aren’t thinking about are what they learned from those things that they’ve done in the past. Why would you want to get rid of the wisdom learned from all those mistakes you’ve made? I think we all forget about that. I totally get that we can be weighed down by these things – very literally in most of our cases – but the truth is that they happened and the best thing you can do for yourself is LEARN and do better going forward. The times we can make changes are every moment of every day – we just have to do it. That’s the key to all of this weight loss stuff.

I can’t say that I’m thrilled about having grown up overweight – I was a chunky little kid and it caused some of the worst moments of my life. But looking back on it now, I realize how much I’ve learned from it:

Compassion and empathy – yes, I’m not always perfect towards others without a doubt, but I’m able to put myself in others shoes and understand that I don’t know what they’re dealing with so it’s not my place to judge (even though sometimes I do. Hey, I’m human!)

Gratefulness – There’s really too many things to mention, but suffice it to say, that I wouldn’t want to be anyone other than myself. For all my trials and tribulations, I have an amazing life, and wishing to be someone else because they’re thinner or prettier is just flat out stupid. Those people have just as many issues, just different ones, and no guarantee that they’ll never be fat

Healthy skills – This is the big one in terms of this blog. Being fat for what feels like forever has given me mad skillz in terms of health stuff. I’m still overweight, but significantly less than I used to be. In fact I’m actually below average in weight for an American woman (that’s still overweight tho, but I take the good stuff where I can). I know the keys to taking good care of myself, getting to a normal weight, and staying there – and I know how to put them to good use.

Now think about it – if I hadn’t been forced to learn to eat more healthfully and exercise when I was younger, to have to repeat those behaviors over and over until I got them right, I could have ended up like so many people who have a great metabolism when they’re young. They eat garbage and play videogames, but then blow up like a balloon when they get older. This is kind of a bizarro way of looking at it – yes, it would be nice if I had been naturally slim, but I wasn’t, and I got something out of it. I made a choice to learn from it and move forward in a better way.

Seeing people repeatedly want that fresh start is really frustrating because to me that says that they don’t want to have to learn from their mistakes. They just want those mistakes to disappear. To never have happened in the first place. But they did. So the real question is - what are you going to do next?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Plugging Along

Just got home from a run with my hubby. I love that it can be something we do together. And truthfully I feel safer out running when he's there - not that our neighborhood is a hotbed of crime by any means, but I just don't feel like I have to think about it as much.

Chicken, brussel sprouts, and broccoli for dinner. Nothing too exciting but it tastes so good. Amazing how much better real food tastes.

Personal training in the morning - early. I can't remember the last time I worked out at 6am. I'm an evening workout kind of girl, so this'll be interesting.

Okay, that's pretty much it. No bolts of lightening or inspirational speeches. Just doing it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Matching the Inside to the Outside

Personal training is so far so good. The lady is all about efficiency in workouts, and I'm feeling it. Every exercise is planned to work more than one major muscle group and pretty much always works abs. Awesome. I feel like I work hard, but not in an overwhelming or time comsuming way. It's only about 6-8 different exercises and I feel it everywhere.

She's also suggested I drink more water - a glass before every meal. She pegged my achilles heel immediately so at least I know she's paying attention. It's so sad that others are able to see the obvious things about us so easily, while we struggle to figure ourselves out. Forest for the trees, I guess.

She also suggest I could fiber instead of calories. We'll see about that - I'll try for both. I hate to give up calorie counting - it really does give me perspective on what my body really needs.

We also did measurements and weight for the start of the fitness challenge I'm signed on for at the gym. I weighed in at 162.8. She asked me my highest and lowest weights as an adult, and seemed honestly shocked when I told her my highest - I guess around 210-215 because at the time I stopped bothering to weigh myself. It's funny, because I feel like that number is still written on my forehead. Like everyone knows, when of course they don't. They have no idea - to most people I've always looked how I do now. I carry it around with me though.

I signed up for Facebook recently and put up a few pictures. People who I haven't talked to in years and knew me way back when all commented on how good I look now. And here I am STILL trying to lose weight. Puts it in perspective. And it kills me how the effects of weight loss on others never seems to end. I'm always me, but people see you differently depending on the size. It makes you kind of paranoid - wondering what people REALLY think when they look at you. I really think the key is to not give a sh*t - it's about what I think about how I look. Sometimes hard to remember, but absolutely worth those moments when you make it happen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Never Did Mind The Little Things

Monday weigh in - 165.6

I had a great weekend, but sometimes having a great time is not conducive to eating well. I worked out a lot though, and I enjoyed the food I ate.

I'm mostly on the wagon these days. I've had 2 drinks on one weekend night for the past 2 weeks, and that's it. I'd like to eliminate those too, but I'm getting there. I don't want to waste the time that I have with the personal trainer. I want to make sure that I use that time wisely, and to do that I feel like I have to be sure I'm doing everything I can to eat better and make good choices.

Hubby and I have also started eating every meal at the dining room table. This seems like such a little thing, but I'm shocked at the difference it's making. Things certainly aren't perfect, but it's impressive how staying focused on my food can help me to eat significantly less. The whole thing started as a big fight about the TV. I have a total love/hate relationship with television, and in recent years it's really leaning closer to hate. It just doesn't hold my interest anymore. I can't really think of any shows I'm all that excited to watch. Okay, maybe Mad Men. That's pretty much it. Even my beloved SATC has been on hiatus around here. Hubby however, LOVES TV. So the whole thing is a bit of a tug of war, but we're working on it. One of the biggest issues for me in the past was just vegetating in front of the TV and mindlessly eating. It seems to really set off binges too. TV helps me ignore how I'm feeling so I can just eat and eat without even noticing. Very dangerous.

So I'm adding up all these useful behaviors and hoping that it shows up on the scale. It really does end up being about all those little things...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hired Gun

I've hired a personal trainer. I think it'll be great for getting a jump start on my workouts. Things have been pretty blah with them lately. It seems to be a good idea just for getting refamiliarized with weight training. I've been doing a ton of running, but I haven't done serious weight training for years. YEARS! You forget how tough it is to actually build yourself a workout, not to mention look at your own form.

She also wants to review my food log. I've been keeping a food log on and off for years, so I already have one of those, but the thought of someone else looking at it is a bit unnerving. It requires real honesty about some of my behaviors that I'm not sure I want to give her. I guess I'm wondering too if having someone looking over my shoulder will actually make some things worse. I have some binging behaviors that continue to be a problem (no purge, just binge) and I often think they're related to being an only child. I have them mostly under control, and they've never been as bad as what I hear from some people on their blogs, but I do get that same weird feeling that they get. I can do a full explanation of that another time, but I've noticed that when I feel like others are watching what I eat, the binging tends to be worse.

Being an only child of two parents, someone is almost always paying attention to what you do. This is not generally a bad thing at all. Parental involvement makes for a very high achieving child. However, I think it sometimes manifests itself in a feeling of almost paranoia at times. Someone is always watching you. For me, it seemed to focus on food. The binging is linked to this feeling of "oh, I can eat whatever I want, and no one needs to know!" A sneaking feeling. Getting away with something. It's a feeling of both being powerful and powerless. I'm in control, I'm doing what I want to do, but in the end I'm really not in control. Food isn't the answer to that problem.

The thing I have to remember is that food is just food. It fuels the body. My body. If I want to eat something, I can. It's really just up to me. When I was able to make that realization was when I was able to lose weight the first time. It seems so simple, but it is really, shockingly hard to get.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to what I can learn from the personal training sessions. I'm going to see her once a week for 12 weeks, and do other workouts on my own for the rest of the time. I think it'll be a great launching point.

Friday, September 24, 2010

T is for Trigger (and 'Tini)

I'm a huge fan of happy hour. I love all the elements - the friends, the food, the cocktails. What I don't love is just after happy hour when I realize I drank about 500 calories and ate another 1000. This being a kind estimate. Chicken wings and sliders are not low cal, especially when paired with a couple of pints of Guiness or a martini. Then I feel bloated and disappointed. Or going to a friend's place for dinner where you grill up some great burgers, share a bottle of wine, and finish it all off with a slice of cheesecake or some pie with ice cream. Then heading home to fall into a food coma on the couch.

I started writing this post a few days ago about how alcohol is a "trigger food" for me, but that I'm not willing to give it up completely. Just to clarify, I don't have a problem with alcohol, I have a problem with overeating. Alcohol lets down your inhibitions which for me tends towards feeling like it's perfectly fine for me to enjoy the 4th meal, as Taco Bell so nicely puts it, whenever I feel like it. I'll just go right ahead and eat today's calories, and tomorrow's too. Not to mention the face that alcohol has a ton of empty calories. So, yeah, it's a big issue in terms of my weight loss. During the week I do really well with tracking and watching what I eat. But come Friday I throw it all to the wind and cut loose! No tracking for me! Exercise? Sometimes, but not when it interferes with couch surfing and catching up on the shows I DVRd during the week and haven't had time to watch yet. And every weekend includes socializing which is going out for dinner and drinks at which I consume about two to four days worth of calories. Ugh.

As I'm looking for the reasons for my extra 30 pounds, it's become very, very obvious. So blatant, in fact, that as much as I may try to talk my way around it and avoid the real issue, I just can't do it and say that I really made a commitment to losing weight. So I'm giving up alcohol for a month to force myself to be conscience of my consumption on weekends (and on a few weeknights here and there). The worst part of this being that I already know I'm going to have to put in a caveat for next Saturday night because Husband and I are scheduled for an Octoberfest fundraiser. But I'm volunteering to be DD and keeping myself to 1 beer. I hate that I'm already putting an astrick next to this 30 days, but there it is. Either way I think it'll be a very interesting learning experience.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Navel Gazing

I've been thinking about how I'm going to start blogging away that last 30 pounds. I have this fantasy where I start, and it all just melts away. I have had far too many fantasies about losing weight. The truth is that weight loss is connected to everything else in my life. I can will away that weight, but it won't stay away unless I work at the parts of my life that contribute to it.

I've been at war with my weight for what feels like forever. Actual time: about 25 years. Since I was 6 or so. 25 years. God, what a waste of time. It's exhausting, isn't it? Just think about the amount of time that you spend worrying about losing weight, or how good you'd look if you just lost a little weight, or how you'd get that job you wanted, or that guy you wanted. But in the end, thinking about it constantly does absolutely nothing. DOING something does something. So why is it so hard to do something? Anything, in fact. Just taking one small step towards making it happen.

I read somewhere that happiness is setting goals and achieving them. I don't really know if that's the whole truth, but it's a pretty accurate statement for where I am. Right now I'm at the setting goals stage. Committing to it. Once I make up my mind that I want something, I can usually get it. It's just deciding once and for all that this is what I want. Not that achieving it is a piece of cake, but I think we all know how to get what we want. It's just saying that THIS is the time, THIS is the moment that I'm going to make it happen. So I'm saying it - I'm going to lose the extra 30 pounds I carry around and I'm going to keep it off. I actually feel nervous writing that. It's a big statement because I know what it means. And I just realized that I'm sort of contradicting myself - I said that thinking about something doesn't make it happen. It doesn't, but it is a step in the process of getting there. Well, I've thought about it long enough, and I'm going to take steps to do it.