Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life is like a bike ride - up a very steep hill

Yesterday I went for a bike ride in a nearby neighborhood that I've never been to before. I ended up on an extremely steep street as it wound down to the waterfront. Halfway down the hill I decided to stop and take a video (which didn't turn out).

When I was ready to take off again, I looked at how steep the hill was going down, I decided there was no way I could do it. I had a fear of flipping over head first. I'm use to hills, but this one was a suicide hill. I decided to turn around and head back up the hill. The problem, the hill was just as steep going up it as it was going down.

There were houses on one side and the waterfront on the other side. I kept thinking maybe there were people inside the houses watching me. My pride wouldn't let me push my bike up the hill. I thought I'm strong and powerful, I can do it.

After six failed attempts at getting my bike started back up the hill, after coming close to falling over and crashing to the pavement, I finally realized I couldn't do it. I couldn't bike up this hill starting at the mid-point. I swallowed my pride and pushed my bike up the hill. It was humiliating, but I had no other choice.

On my way home I starting thinking my bike ride is exactly how my weight loss has been for my entire life. Sometimes I just fly up the hills, sometimes I just can't do it and I fall, over and over I'll fall. My pride gets hurt, I'm humiliated with weight gains, and I finally, I just give up.

Right now I'm practically coasting downhill with my weight loss. I'm going through one of those "this is so damn easy, why was I struggling" phases. I'm smart enough to know the easy button won't last forever. It never does.

So why is my weight loss different this time? Why is this ride different than the other hundred plus times I've done this?

Number one is you. Yes, the you that is reading this right now. I feel like I owe you something, that I want you to know this can be done.

I'm just like you, I have a major problem with food. I love food a little too much, and it's been too big of a focus in my life. I use it for comfort and I use it for joy. I've struggled my entire life trying to get to a healthy weight and stay there. I want to prove to you it can be done by eating healthy, regular foods. I want to give you hope.

I know how hard it is to lose weight, I've been doing it since I was fourteen. I'm fifty-four. That's forty years of trying to lose weight. You would think with all that practice I  would have figured it out. The fact is I'm great at losing weight. I've lost hundreds of pounds over the years. My problem is that I've never kept the weight off for more than a year. I bet you're sitting there nodding your head yes, and thinking "me too!".

I want to show you this is possible. Believe me when I say this...if I can lose weight and keep it off, anyone can do it. Since I'm someone that's failed at this numerous times, it's logical that I'll fail at it again. Yet, I have confidence this time is different from all the other times. I'm not being cocky, and I'm not feeling like I'm superior or I have secret knowledge on how to do this. Or that I'm stronger or more disciplined than anyone else. In fact, just the opposite is true. I'm kind of lazy, I have no discipline, and my follow through on most things suck. Yet I truly believe I can do this, and I believe you can too.

There are some other things that are different this time around. It has a to do with my eating, how and what I'm eating. I have a post started which I'll publish later this week. I don't know if it'll help anyone else but it's working for me. Again, it's not secret information or any new revelation. It's just something I've been trying for the last three weeks that has kind of changed my life.

Speaking of bike rides, I think I'll go for one while the sun is still shining.

My weighin Saturday, March 28, 2010
I set the goal of 170 six weeks ago. I didn't quite make it, but close enough. I'm also losing a little faster than desired these last two weeks. The week before last I lost 3.2 pounds and then this week 2.8 pounds. That's a total of six pounds in two weeks. I was "talked to" by the weighin gal and then the Weight Watchers online weight tracker gave me a warning that I'm losing too fast.

I eat all the time (every three hours when I'm awake), but my night binges are under control. Plus I'm sleeping more these days, seven to eight hours a night.

Goal for next week, April 3, is 169.6.

My most favorite store
Of course it's a grocery store, what else would be my favorite store?! It's not just any store, it's HMart. I'm in love with this place. It's like a super store of Asian markets. It's huge.

It's a Korean store, but they carry all different kinds of Asian food and some American food too. The best part is their fresh produce section. It's unbelievable. For example, they have six different types of bok choy. The produce guys, who are all Korean, speak perfect English. The produce section is so huge they usually have four guys working in that area, putting out fresh produce. It's like a huge adventure every time I go there.

I wanted to take pictures because it's so amazing, but it turns out grocery stores have a rule of not taking pictures inside their stores. I got into big trouble at the Metropolitan Market in Seattle a couple weeks ago. I thought the guy was going to take my camera away from me. Stupid rule.

If you have an HMart near you, you absolutely must go visit it. It's always strange to me that there are so few Caucasians in this store. I was a towering blond amongst a sea of dark-haired, petite people. The variety of their produce and seafood is beyond amazing. I so love this store!

A few of my purchases yesterday (that's yucca in the middle - I'm making a Cuban dish with it tonight)

The neighbor cat, Bear. He's kind of in love with me. If I leave anything of mine laying anywhere, he curls up with it and goes to sleep. This was my iPod strap left on the bed. He curled up with it wrapped in his paw and went to sleep. He does the same thing with my clothes or my robe or my purse. Anything of mine, but not my husband's stuff. Which is odd because my husband is the one that keeps letting him in the house. I keep telling him to go home. Although he is pretty darn adorable.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A body worth keeping

I've had very few dreams in the last couple of years that I actually remembered when I woke up. Since I started sleeping more I've been remembering my dreams. Some of the dreams are good, some not so good, some borderline nightmares.

Last night was a good dream. I think it stemmed from something I've started doing every morning after I get out of the shower. The idea came from Mary, when she suggested to try and say something nice about our body.

I've been doing the opposite for years. Almost every day I've been saying something or several things bad about my body for as long as I can remember. During the past week, each day I've stood in front of the mirror, naked, and found something positive to focus on.

This little task is not always easy. My natural response is to immediately go for the negative. Hips too wide, thighs too fat, stomach sticks out too much. You know the routine.

Every morning  last week I said something nice to myself about my body. Nice shoulders, strong arms, narrow waist, strong legs. I also touch the body part and could feel the muscles underneath the skin. Skin that's 54 years old and has been stretched and shrunk many times with my yo-yo dieting. Even though it's not the taut skin of a 20-year old, it's still soft with firm muscle underneath in most areas.

I still turn sideways and stare at my belly with disdain, as well as the hips and thighs. However, I try to end each one of these morning evaluations with something positive. Love the shoulders Diana! Great triceps! Just one positive thing.

The dream last night was odd, but it was a good dream. I was doing the Camel yoga pose. It's the pose where you kneel, bend backwards arching your spine and grab your ankles, and stretch, tucking your hips in and thrusting out your chest.

While I was doing this, I was also outside my body. My other self was touching my naked back, admiring the firmness of it. My stomach didn't stick out since I was arched backwards. In my dream I didn't even notice my hips or my thighs. I just remember thinking what a strong body I had, that I liked it. That it was a good body.

It was just a dream, but I woke up thinking wow, that was profound. Was that my subconscious telling me it's okay that my hips are too wide and my thighs are fat? That I'm still strong and powerful and should be happier with my body.

Another thought I had when I woke up this morning is that I'll never be fat again. I know we all say that when we lose weight. It's the mantra I hear and read all the time. I've done it myself.

Recently I went back to some of my old posts where I said "85 pounds gone forever!". I was so cocky and so sure of myself. Then I gained 20 pounds. That knocked the wind right out of my sails.

I'm completely back on plan now and have been for about three weeks. I've made some significant changes in my eating which I'll write about in a later post. Things that we all know, but I never actually tried doing. There's no magic pill, but there are things that work like magic (with a little hard work thrown in).

I think I want to keep this body. If it means an hour at the gym every day for the rest of my life, I'm okay with it. I've been doing that for over two years now and it's really not that big of a deal. If it means I have to eat less but eat healthy, delicious foods, I can do that too. This body is worth any hard work it takes to keep it as healthy as possible for as long as possible. It's a body worth keeping.

I guess I found my words. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Please stay tuned

It's not that I can't think about anything to write, I just don't feel like writing. Yet I don't want anyone to think I've quit or given up or stopped blogging. I know it's silly to post about nothing.

Just letting you know I'm still here, still eating right, going to the gym, and my pants are feeling looser these days. I'm reading more blogs too, so that takes up what little free time I have in the evenings before I go to bed and to sleep by 8:30 p.m. every day.

A few pictures from a lunch out yesterday with my team from work. They chose a Japanese steakhouse, not my first choice. Especially because they always pour a ton of oil and add what I think is lard (it looks like yellow Crisco) to whatever they cook on the Hibachi. Even if you ask them not to do it, they still do it anyway. I had the Hibachi Chicken, but I only ate maybe 1/3 of it. I'm sure it was still very high in calories and fat (Points). Oh well, I took one for the team.

I promise I'll get my writing mojo back eventually. Just not feeling it today. :)

And yes, that's a fireman putting out the fire. Very classy.

 Most people think this is cool, I don't really like it because I feel like I'm going to catch on fire.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sorry...just can't find my words tonight

Ducks at the Angle Lake, near my office

I guess I'm going through a little something. Not really depression, just taking stock of my life. Trying to figure out if I'm really living my best life. My automatic answer to that question is no.

The food and exercise are going well. No crazy binges, no cravings, just me eating right, tracking my Points. Going to the gym. Boring stuff.

My favorite new dessert, frozen Red Muscat grapes - to die for. One cup is one Point. A green diamond filling food.

Sorry, no big revelations about anything.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Remembering Army Private First Class Erin McLyman - A real war hero

Driving home tonight I noticed the large flag next to the ball field was flying at half mast. The wind was blowing hard and the flag was at 90 degrees from the flag pole, as though it was saluting those passing by. Every time I see a flag at half mast my heart sinks because in Washington state that usually means another fallen soldier.

This young lady, U.S. Army Private First Class Erin McLyman, died in Iraq last week from a mortar attack supporting Iraqi Operation Freedom. A real war. Her story is amazing because she completely turned her life around as a teenager, but her life has had a sad ending.

My heart and prayers go out to her new husband and her family and all the other soldiers fighting for freedom.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday update: It' not really a war

I managed to get to the gym this morning. After three days of bed rest and nursing my cold, it wasn't an easy workout. Thirty minutes on the StairMaster and 40 minutes of upper body strength training. I felt weaker than usual, but I got through it.

While I was on the StairMaster I was thinking about my post from earlier this morning, about it being a war trying to stay on track. I insinuated every day is a battle, but that's not really true. Some days are definitely difficult, some days are easier. Sometimes it feels like there's an internal battle of wills going on in my head, eat this but don't eat that, or don't eat at all.

There are times I just want to stop thinking about food, stop thinking about Points, and just let it be. Unfortunately, that type of thinking is what got me up to my highest weight of 245 pounds.

I believe it's wrong to think of this as a war. I can't live in a constant state of battle, fighting with myelf about doing the "right" thing when it comes to food. Constantly condemning myself for making the wrong choice serves no real purpose except to lower my already low self-esteem.

My ultimate goal is to make peace with food. To eat when hungry, to not overeat for comfort. Basically I want to eat to live, not live to eat. I don't want to constantly have the fight going on in my head about food.

I don't want to live in a battleground about food on a daily basis. That's not sustainable for the long run, and I'm in this for the long run. Whether I'll ever reach that goal of making peace with how I deal with food is yet to be seen, but it's something I'm striving towards.

Lost a battle but not the war

Last night I had a little slip. I went to bed at 8 p.m., exhausted from being awake all day and fighting my cold. I took a dose of NyQuil and fell asleep immediately.

At midnight I was wide awake and ravenous. No matter how hard I fought with myself to go back to sleep, I couldn't do it. I felt hungry and finally after tossing and turning for about thirty minutes, I headed to the kitchen for a snack. Just a little something so I could go back to sleep. It felt like I was sleep walking, but I was aware enough to not go totally crazy.

I decided on an Oroweat Sandwich Thin with Weight Watcher whipped cream cheese. I didn't measure the cream cheese, but it was about three tablespoons. I also had about a cup and a half of fresh strawberries. Total value of four Points, which I added to the tracker under yesterday making it a 33.5 Point day. Ouch.

Certainly not my best day, but I could have done a lot worse. Remember the cup of pecans I had a few weeks ago for 20 Points? Along with a variety of other foods in the middle of the night. I didn't even bother to keep track of what I was eating during those middle of the night rampages.

I lost the battle of wills last night, but it was just one night and a minor infraction. That kind of thing is going to happen. I'm not perfect and I don't pretend to be perfect. The war continues.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The little train that could

I managed to get showered, dressed and drive to my Weight Watchers 11 a.m. meeting today. Even though I still feel stuffed up with a runny nose I wanted to see the results of a week of really trying to stay on plan.

I'm one of the unfortunates that when I'm sick I'm more hungry than when I'm not sick. Instead of my usual, "poor me, I'm sick, eat whatever I want" attitude". . I really worked on re-wiring my head this past week (thanks Roxie!). I decided just because I didn't feel good, it didn't mean I had to eat whatever and whenever I wanted.

I tried to eat mostly filling foods (the green diamond foods) and cut out as much processed food as possible. For example, no Weight Watchers junk cream bars, since it seems it's impossible for me to eat just one of any of their products (more on this later).

I also ate every three hours and really tried to make every snack a "complete" snack of a protein and a carb. The snacks are never over two Points. Something small, just to take the edge off the hunger.

The other thing I did this week that I haven't done in months is that I allowed myself to feel a little hungry. Not the starving to death hunger, but a little bit hungry. I have to accept that it's normal to get hungry between meals. It's not a bad thing, in fact, it means my body is probably digging into its stored fat for energy. It won't kill me to have a few hunger pains. I just need to accept it as part of life.

I'm pretty happy about this week's results. It just proves that I still know how to do this, I know what it takes to get to where I want to go. A few tweaks here and there and I'm back on track.

My husband reminded me today that we're going to Denver the first part of May for our niece's graduation from college. She completed her Master's in five years which is cause for celebration. All of my husband's family will be there so I really need to get back down below 160 by May 8. As the little train that could said...I think I can, I think I can...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Still under the weather

I still have my cold, but it's just a cold. It's not like I'm going to die from it or anything. I did manage to sit upright for a couple hours today. I'm feeling better but not great. Two days in a row not exercising. That seems very strange.

In order to combat my never-ending hunger I made a feeding schedule for myself today (I know, babies and old people). I allowed myself to eat something every three and a half hours. At least I knew I had a snack in my future so it helped me calm down a little about being so hungry. Then I fell asleep at 1pm and slept until 7pm so kind of messed up my schedule.

Since I didn't exercise or barely move yesterday or today I had to keep my Points down to the bare minimum of 21 the last couple days. Which really sucked big time because that's not very much food.

I managed to read a few blogs earlier. I really love Bitch Cakes:Neurotic Glamour Girl's Weight Watchers Experience and Fitness Adventures. I enjoy her writing, especially her enthusiasm for life and her very unique style. You have to read her Tuesday's post, recovering from a binge. She  has a great attitude and we could all learn from it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feed a cold, feed a fever

I've started about five posts today and deleted every single one of them.

I have a cold. My nose is like a faucet that I can't turn off. My throat is sore. My head hurts. My teeth hurt. I feel bad.

I stayed home from work. I've been fighting the desire to overeat all freaking day. So far I'm winning the battle but it's a giant struggle.

I'm trying Roxie's idea of re-wiring my brain. Just because I'm sick and feel icky it doesn't mean I have to reach for food to comfort myself. Just because I can't go to the gym doesn't mean all is lost. Most importantly, I won't die from a little hunger, even if I am sick.

My goal today is different behavior, not the same thing I've done my entire life. Feed a cold, feed a fever.

I wish it was time to go to bed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eight hours

I simply can't believe the difference eight hours of sleep a night, every night, is making in my life. Why didn't I do this thirty years ago?

For as long as I can remember I've been a night person, and stayed up as late as possible. Every morning was torture for me as I'd drag myself out of bed, feeling more tired than when I'd gone to bed five, four and sometimes even three hours earlier.

In the last two years I've been a night AND a morning person, going to bed at 11pm or midnight or even 1am and getting up at 4:30-5am to hit the gym, almost every week day. Weekends I'd try to "catch up" on sleep. Just for the record, you can't catch up on sleep. It's something you need on a daily basis.

I've literally been walking around in a sleep-deprived state for years. It's a wonder I've even been able to function. It feels so good not being in a physical and mental fog all the time.

The best side effect of eight hours of sleep is how I feel about food. It's not that I don't get hungry, because I certainly get hunger pains and sometimes even get that feeling of "if I don't eat right now I'm going to perish off this earth from starvation". The difference is that I feel mentally stronger to fight the compulsion to overeat. I feel like I actually have some control over what I put in my mouth. My mind is stronger, and I can reason with myself. Who knew?

The only downside of sleeping eight hours every night is there aren't as many hours left to read blogs. I'm falling behind, and I'm not commenting as much these days. That bothers me. I love my readers' comments. They lift me, encourage me, and make me feel like I'm not in this alone. I want to return the favor.

Somehow I need to find more hours in the day. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Putting the binge monster to sleep

I haven't had a binge for five nights in a row. The solution, which many of you suggested, was so simple that I can hardly believe it worked.

I've changed a few things, but the one thing I think is the key is I'm in bed and asleep by 8:30 to 9pm every night. I know that sounds insane because it's so early, but it works, and I feel about a hundred times better. I think it's a combination of getting eight hours of sleep that makes me emotionally stronger, and the mere fact that I'm asleep during my peak eating hours.

I thought this wouldn't matter, and I'd just choose some other time of day to stuff my face, but I don't. In fact, it's actually changed how I look at food. I feel like I'm in control of my food, not that my food is in control of me.

A few other changes recently that are helping, in addition to the sleep:

1. Water - I'm back to guzzling the water. Sure, it's inconvenient, more trips to the kitchen at work for water and more trips to the bathroom, but it's my health and that's a priority.

2. Healthy oils - I'm getting at least two teaspoons a day. I've always thought it seemed like a waste of Points but it's necessary.

3. Dairy - I'm drinking two cups of milk a day. It should be three because I'm over 50, but I take a calcium pill so I think I'm covered.

4. Snacks - this one is big and I think has really made a difference. I'm been following Lyn's blog, Escape from Obesity, as she writes about MediFast. First of all, I'm not an advocate of using MediFast long term. However, I think what Lyn is doing is perfect for her. What's even better is she's sharing tips on what she's eating. For example, the snacks should be a combination of a carb and a protein. I've known this for years (from a nutritionist friend), but I chose to ignore it.

It makes a huge difference in how satisfied I feel with my snacks being a "complete snack". Instead of just blueberries or just an orange, I'll have half the portion of fruit I use to have and add some protein, like 1/4 cup of cottage cheese or some yogurt, or even a couple ounces of sliced turkey.

5. My lunch and dinners are smaller, but I eat more snacks and eat more often. I think this one is huge too. If you're following Lyn's MediFast diary, she eats often. Usually every three hours she eats something. Always something low in calories, but high in nutrition and fiber. All the food has added fiber.

I've found about three hours after eating I'm feeling hungry. After four hours I'm starving. If I get to the starving mode, all bets are off and I lose control. The key is to not get to that "I'm starving to death and am going to chew off my own arm" stage. Eat something for God's sake! I can't believe the difference in how this makes me feel less out of control.

6. Cutting out the crap - this one was tough for me, really tough. When I say "crap" I don't mean cakes and cookies and candy, I mean "diet" crap. Like diet sodas. I may only have a couple a week, but I cut them out totally. Weight Watchers ice cream bars are banned from this house. Sugar-free Coffeemate, I poured it down the drain. I like my sweets but I switched from Splenda to Stevia. I don't know if that's really better for me, but at least taste a lot better. I only have a packet once or twice a day in my tea and it seems to satisfy my sweet tooth.

So far, so good! The giant monster called my out-of-control hunger is resting peacefully.

None yesterday! My gym was burglarized (all TVs stolen) and vandalized. It was closed for a police investigation when I got there at 5am. Then my iPod that's three years old completely died. Not a dead battery, it's just frozen and I can't reset it (I think my sweat finally destroyed it). I can't workout without music so no evening workout either.

I'm now the proud owner  of a new 5th generation pink iPod that I bought last night. It makes movies, has a built-in pedometer and an FM radio. Now if it only worked out for me. :) No wonder when I tried to buy a new armband for my old iPod last week the guy at Best Buy laughed at me, saying, wow, they don't even make those anymore! It was "only" three years old. In technology world that's like 20 years. Anyway, love the new iPod!

Have a totally awesome day everyone. And tonight, get to bed early so you're not so darn tired tomorrow. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Home from the Dash!

I started this post at noon and now it's 6:30pm. Before I finished it I went on a crazy house-cleaning, throw-away-every-piece-of crap-we-own rampage. It's like I was on speed or something (only once in college and never again).

I hate crowds and decided this year I was going to skip the Seattle St. Paddy's Day Dash. Then a friend of mine, a 30-year old marathon runner, had purchased her bib and timing chip for the Dash. At the last minute she decided to go snowboarding instead so she gave me her bib and chip (a $30 value).

I convinced my husband to go with me and we'd walk it because he's not a runner, and since my knee popped out a couple years ago while I was on the treadmill, I gave up running. He agreed to walk with me, and I purchased him a yellow bib (the slowest wave and last to leave from the starting line, we're talking baby strollers and wheelchairs).

After horrendous traffic like you can't imagine (15,200 runners/walkers participated) and impossible parking, we were 15 minutes late to the start. We were literally the last people to cross the start start line at 9:15am (start time for yellows was 9am). While we were driving in the traffic, both our tempers flared and I think I said "I hate you" at one point. Yeah, fun times.

Once we got to the starting line, I don't know what came over me, but I decided to try running it. Or at least run/jog/walk it. Part of it was because I was wearing Cindy's was green. Green is for the first wave, the hardcore runners that are actually racing. They have a timed chip that starts when you cross the start line and ends at the finish line. Every time I passed a green bibbed person, I had a feeling of accomplishment.

Or perhaps my decision to run was because I was so annoyed with my husband. I just needed to get away from him for an hour or so. Whatever it was that pushed me to attempt running, I'm glad it did because I gave it my best shot and it felt great.

About five minutes into the race I realized I was dressed too warm even though it was only 41 degrees. I had to stop and take off my bib, take off my fanny pack, take off my sweater and tie it around my waist, pin the bib to my t-shirt, put my fanny pack back on, then take off again. I think this cost me at least two minutes.

Here are my results and the route was 3.7 miles, and had some good hills in it. I also burned 623 calories according to my heart rate monitor. Not too shabby for a 47 minute workout. Did I mention the hills? :)

bib number: 202
age: 30 <--------my friend's age, I'm 54
gender: F
location: Seattle, WA
overall place: 6812 out of 7824
division place: 668 out of 814
gender place: 3431 out of 4319
time: 48:58
pace: 13:14

It's probably closer to 47 minutes because of the shirt fiasco after crossing the start line. It's not fabulous results, but not too shabby for a fat, fifty-four year old with bad knees.

I'm psyched right now. I've been totally on plan for three days, eight hours of sleep each night (I'm a new woman!) and lots of water and tea. I've even been to Starbucks twice in two days and ordered a grande green tea both times. Zero Points! No skinny lattes for me anymore. Two Points is too much to waste on a beverage. I feel totally back in control.

By the way, my absolute favorite tea is TAZO Zen green tea. It's what you get at Starbucks when you order green tea. It's wonderful tea and of course, zero Points. It's sort of hard to find in the stores around here, but I finally found it at Metropolitan Market in Seattle.

Now for pictures of the day. Unfortunately there's not a single one of me. I tried to take a couple shots of myself but they came out horrible. Here are all the other crazies....

This doll creeped me out. He looked lik that Chuckie in the movies. Scary. He was sitting in DeLoean car.

Daffodils everywhere.

The fountain by the Space Needle

Standing looking at all the people after I crossed the finish line. I passed all these people (okay, I was gloating big time here).

More people that were behind me and I passed.

More peeps (that I passed!).

Space Needle next to the finish line.

Cupcakes at Starbucks that looked yummy. I looked it up later and one of these cupcakes is 8 Points and they're tiny! Totally not worth it! I didn't really want one anyway and ordered my plain Tzao green tea.

More people, and I was still amazed I had passed all these people. :)

A pretty tree at Seattle center...I love these trees.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I've reached my breaking point

Yesterday morning I stepped on the scale, 181.6. What the heck am I doing to myself!? I honestly don't understand this self-sabotage. Yes, I'm beating myself up about this because it's about time someone did. I'm angry for letting this happen, and it has to STOP!

I've been down this road so many times in my life, lose a ton of weight and gain it all back. This cycle has been repeated numerous times in the past 40 years. This time I refuse to be defeated. Not again.

The best advice I ever heard on losing weight
About two years ago I was in a Weight Watcher meeting when our leader said something I've never forgotten. He said we get the best results when we make drastic changes. Little changes give us little results. No changes, no results. Big changes, big results.

When I think back to each time I lost weight consistently, I was tough on myself. I weighed and measured my food, I ate within my Points, I tracked everything, followed the healthy eating guidelines. I tried to be perfect every single day.

I was a Nazi with my eating. Nothing past my lips that I thought might hinder my weight loss. Every week for months I consistently lost weight. Maybe a small gain every few months, but I was the poster child for Weight Watchers.

When I hit 85 pounds lost I thought, as we all think, I WILL NEVER GAIN THAT WEIGHT BACK! NEVER! Famous last words.

Some people might say who can live a life like that? Always watching what I eat, always trying to be perfect. That's the point, "try" to be perfect. I know I won't be perfect all the time. There will be times I'll eat junk I shouldn't, or eat too much, but I have to at least make the attempt. Lately I haven't even been trying that hard. I kind of do, then I kind of don't. Enough already.

I need rules. I'm a big rule follower in my normal life. I need to set rules for myself for weight loss. Rigid, solid boundaries, and I need to adhere to them.

Rule #1 - Weigh and measure everything I eat. After all this time I should know how much is a cup of milk or 4 ounces of chicken without the measuring cup and scales. Actually, I do know, but I want to eat more so I cheat. Kind of silly when you think about it. The only person I'm hurting is me with my cheating. No more guessing.

Rule #2 - Stop eating at 9pm. No more binge eating at midnight. Fight the urge with everything I've got.

Rule #3 - Drink water! This is so easy, but somewhere along the line I stopped drinking water.

Rule #4 - Cut out the processed crap, like Weight Watcher ice cream bars. It's crack!

Rule #5 - Treat my Points like gold. Budget them, make the most of them.

Rule #6 - Get some sleep! I'm running on 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night. Very bad. I have a new bedtime. 10pm or earlier.

I'm good on the exercise but I can still be better. I read an article today in More magazine about stepping up the exercise. The article was Are you pushing yourself hard enough? It said even if you may think you're working out hard, but you could probably work out harder, and should to get the maximum health benefit.

You have to keep pushing yourself, heavier weights, different exercises or different variations of the same exercises. The book I bought at Costco, Women's Health The Big Book of Exercises, is the best $12 I've ever spent. I love this book!

My plan for exercise is to have a plan before I get to the gym. I spend too much time deciding what I want to do. I should know what I want to do when I walk in the door, not plan as I go. I could probably squeeze in another exercise or two if I had a plan. Pick out the strength training exercises before I get to the gym.

I can do this. I've done it before and feel confident this is doable. My first goal is to get down to 172 by April 15. Eight pounds in four weeks. I know that's aggressive, but I'm making some aggressive changes.

Update - 3/12 6 a.m.
Yesterday was the first day of my new plan. It was a success! I even slept eight hours last night.

I'll admit I felt kind of hungry most of the day, a feeling I'm not use to anymore.

I measured and weighed everything. 21 Points isn't very much food, so I used 5 of the weeklies and 4 of my Activity Points (I earned 7 yesterday). Still didn't seem like a lot of food.

No night binge since I was in bed by 9pm. I'm down to 180.0 this morning. Down 1.6 from yesterday.

I also started wearing my pedometer again, trying to get in 10,000 steps a day (Of course, I don't wear it at the gym :). I didn't even come close yesterday, only 3,000. I'll try to do better today.

I'm feeling 100% more like myself today. I wonder if a good night's sleep had anything to do with it. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let's not talk about it until it's over

Turns out I shouldn't post how my day went until the day is completely over. I didn't quite make it through last night without eating four of these (which started a little something):

Each of these things are tiny. I haven't had them in several months. I thought they were one Point each. I think I thought that when I use to eat them all the time (the picture is deceiving!). I ate four, and knew the fiber max would probably make four of them about six Points. Wrong! Each one is two Points and four are TEN Points. Then I had a couple pieces of bread and some leftover shrimp.

I threw the other eight bars into the garbage. I can't have these things in the house!

It wasn't a full-blown binge, but it was definitely quite a bit over my Points allowance. So much for my brownie theory.

Today was a new day and so far (it's 11pm), so good, but I'm not talking about it until tomorrow. At least I have the water down, and the vitamins.

I read an interesting article in the April 2010 Good Housekeeping magazine at the gym this morning (that's why my workout took two hours! I read for 15 minutes). It's an interview with Valerie Bertinelli. I read her first book and wasn't very impressed, but I really liked this interview. It's a good read with some good information on weight loss. It's not about Jenny Craig propaganda.

I walked at lunch (in addition to my gym workout) but because it's the same place I walk every day, nothing to post that was was new. Maybe tomorrow I'll walk around Angle Lake and get some new pictures.

Have a happy tomorrow!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baby steps

It's 10:40pm Tuesday, and I've been really good today staying on my "skinnied down" version of Weight Watchers where I'm doing baby steps to get back on track.

I used the little Weight Watchers paper tracker today. I've never used one before, I've always posted my food online. The paper tracker has a space on the cover to write three things you commit to do this week.

This week I commit to:

1. Track Points and stay within Points limit ✔
2. Drink 64 ounces of water a day ✔
3. Vitamins ✔

I'm good on all three so far today. Since I'm going to bed in a few minutes, I think I made it through another Day 1.

I'm a bit puzzled by my lack of desire for sugar. I really have no craving for it, or for that matter, no craving to even binge. This is a polar opposite of how I usually feel after a big sugar binge like last night's brownies. Could it be possible that by indulging in what I consider bad food that it actually satisified some sort of demented craving I had for sugar? I'll probably never figure it out, but it's a pleasant surprise.

The only picture I took today was of the moon at 5:45am. This was in my front yard before I took off for the gym. It's just so perfect and pretty. A perfect little sliver of a moon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fighting the good fight

Thanks for the great advice yesterday. I know I need to get back on track and sooner rather than later. Mary suggested picking just one thing to change, just one thing for one day. One day at a time. I know she's right, yet I didn't do it today.

In fact, I just made No-Pudge brownies (the ones made with yogurt). I'm sure they're no pudge if you eat just one, but I ate half the batch. I have no idea how many calories or Points. Honestly, I don't even want to know right now.

My decision to make the brownies was based on when I binge, I'm binging on things that don't really satisfy my cravings. My rather weak theory is once I've eaten something I wanted, brownies, then I'll feel like my craving has been satisfied.

The hole in my theory is that history has shown once I eat sugar, I want more and the craving becomes even more intense. I'm a sugar addict, just like a crack addict has to have crack, I have to have sugar once I get started.

However, I have a plan for tomorrow. My plan is to get back on plan and TRACK MY FOOD. I usually do online tracking, but lately I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. For a change, I'm going to write it in one of the paper tracker booklets the rest of the week.

The good thing about eating all those brownies is I feel really sick. Like if I never see another brownie for the rest of my life I'll be fine.

Update, the day after the brownies incident, 3/9 - 5:22 a.m.

I'm up and dressed for the gym, leaving in just a few minutes. Amazingly I don't feel any ill effects from the massive amount of sugar and white flour and chocolate I consumed last night (about six hours ago). I'm ready to go workout and actually feel somewhat engergized. Probably still on some kind of sugar high.

More amazing though is even after I weighed at 181.6 I'm not kicking myself in the head over last night's binge. I'm ready to fight this devil to my death. I will track today, stay within my Points, and drink water. I don't think I had any water yesterday. Funny how when one thing goes to hell for me it all goes to hell (I skipped the gym yesterday too).

Yesterday is past, it's history. Today is a new day and damn it, I'm going to do it today. Make it through just this one day doing the best I can!


It snowed today. This is a picture taken through our office window. The snowflakes were huge, but they melted as soon as they hit the ground. It was pretty while it lasted.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Getting down to some serious business

You may have noticed lately that I haven't talked much about weight loss. No goals, no "I'm going to do this!" and no revelations as to why or how I got to where I am now. Nothing about how I'm struggling or much I want to get to my goal weight or about how much I've gained. Barely a mention of any binge eating.

Just lots of pretty pictures and nothing serious. Light, fluffy, shallow.

Here's the truth and what I really didn't want to talk about, but I need to face reality:

I'm really struggling on a daily basis to barely maintain under 180.

My lowest weight in the past ten years was 154 on February 2009. I maintained pretty close to that weight until September 2009. My size 10's all fit and I worked out almost every day. I still wanted to lose another 20 pounds, but I was comfortable at that weight.

Then life happened. My crazy job had me travel extensively. I used that as an excuse to barely exercise and eat like a the maniac food addict on an expense account. I self-medicated myself with food. I quickly gained 20 pounds which is now 23 pounds.

The last two months I haven't made any progress on losing that weight. Every day I wake up and think, "I really need to lose this weight!". It's a repeat of what I said to myself when I weighed 240 pounds. I would say the same thing every single day, but do nothing about it. Until one day I actually did do something about it and lost 85 pounds in a year. That was February 2008 and by February 2009 I was a comfortable 154, fighting to lose another 20 pounds.

So here I am, March 7, 2010. Sitting right at 178 pounds. I don't like this weight. My size 10's do not fit. My size 12's are getting tight, and I even bought a pair of size 14 jeans last week. I feel fat. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate my body like I use to hate it. I'm strong and I like being strong.  I just prefer to weigh about 20 pounds less.

I don't feel sexy or attractive at this weight. I want to feel pretty and sexy. As shallow as that sounds, it's just as important to me as being strong. I know some people will say that feeling sexy is a state of mind, and I agree to a certain extent. For me it's a combination of the mind and the body.

The big questions are: How am I going to fix what seems to be broken in me? How am I seriously going to get on track with losing weight? What can I do differently that might work?

Right now I don't have the answers. I'm trying, but my trying is half-hearted. I guess I have some soul searching to do to figure this out. I need answers and only I can come up with the answers that will work for me.

Now for the light, fluffy stuff and my annoying talk about my exercising. :)
I decided to bike to the gym today instead of driving my car. It's only 6 miles round trip, although it's kind of hilly. I stopped quite a few times to take pictures pictures, but still in two hours of biking and strength training my heart rate monitor said I burned 643 calories. Not too shabby for two hours of exercise and one was super fun.

I was surprised how much more difficult the hills were for me compared the last time I biked the trail in October.. Could it be because of the 20 pounds that was weighing me down? The hills were almost more than I could do (but I did do them).

On the way home the sky was overcast and gray. Really not much to take pictures of that was interesting.

One thing that's kind of weird is this sign. My bike trail goes past the Federal Way Aquatic Center and they have a sign out front with the weather and time, but it also has a weird face on it that it took me a few minutes to figure out.

Any guesses? Actually, it's suppose to be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 2007 his face became the emblem of King County (Seattle and Federal Way). Some of the lights are burned out and it sort of looks like a skeleton. Personally I think it's kind of disrespectful and they should remove his face from the sign until they get the lights fixed.

You can see all the lights that are burned out.

Across from the aquatic center is the hill form hell. It's so much fun to fly down it my bike, but it's torture going up it.

Really not much to take pictures of today. You can see how gray the sky is and the sun is just barely visible through the overcast sky. This was at 1pm.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday in pictures

No snowshoeing pictures. By the time I got going it was almost 1 p.m. It's really not worth an hour drive to Mt. Rainier and only have a couple hours there before we have to head home. My fault. I decided to wash my car "quickly" which turned into a two-hour detailing job. I love a clean car.

Instead we drove about ten minutes down to the beach at Dash Point Park in Federal Way. It was a spectacular day, with the high about 60 degrees. There are also some really cool trails in the hills around the beach. It's a gorgeous park that's close to our house. The tide was out so we spent a lot of time walking out to the water, then hiked a couple trails, one was practically up a mountain.

When we arrived I was a little bothered by all the people. I hate crowds.

Once we walked out closer to the water, it was like we were totally alone.

I thought this was so pretty where the tide was out. Sea grass?

Closeup. Isn't it artsy looking?

The killer trail.

A giant holly tree.

The view from the top of the trail.

Sand dollars. There were thousands of them. My husband told me he thought they were dead so I picked up a couple of them and put them in my pocket to take home. Then I started looking at them and they had little furry hairs on the underside. I told my husband I was pretty sure they were alive so I put them back, and tried not to walk on any of them. That was hard to do because they were everywhere.

When we got home I googled them. They were indeed alive. That's why they were half buried in the sand. They were feeding! There were all sizes, from tiny baby ones the size of a dime, to giant ones that were about four inches in diameter. Very cool.

Mt. Rainier, taken on the way home, about two miles from our house.

On the home we stopped at a little place called Brown Point Diner. I ordered the maple marinated chicken, pear, pecans and blue cheese crumbles salad, served with a maple vinegarette. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven (or maybe I was starving). It was so good! I ate half of the salad and about 1/4 of the delicious vinegarette. I took the other half home (which I ate it later in the evening).

It was a very fun afternoon, but I was kind of sorry we didn't get up to the mountain for snowshoeing. Maybe next weekend.

New blog - Health Foodie - a must read

If you haven't checked out Christina's new blog, Health Foodie, you have to go check it out now. It's totally amazing and a wonderful read. She's pretty amazing too. Read her "about" story, it's very interesting and just too sweet. Her husband leaves comments on her posts which are fun to read. They're a totally cute couple.

Last week
Again, not sure why I haven't posted since Wednesday, other than my week was unusually stressful at work. I had a couple presentations which always stresses me out big time. Add numerous other work problems and it was kind of a bad week at work, which of course, always bleeds over into my night eating problem. Not horrible, but not good either. I was up to 177.0 this morning...ugh!

I got in three good one-hour walks last week during my lunch hours. It's my new rule to get out of the office during lunch, if it's not raining. I can usually find someone to walk with me. Yesterday it was my 6' 2" coworker with super long legs which meant walking really fast. I kept stopping to take pictures so I could catch my breath.

It's strange that even though I work out a lot, five to six times a week for an hour to an hour and a half each time, a good walk up a steep hill wipes me out. There's definitely room for improvement in my physical capabilities. It could also be the twenty pounds I gained that's making it so difficult.

It's another gorgeous day in the Pacific Northwest. Sunny and  a high of 60 today. We're getting ready to head up to Crystal Mountain to try out our new snowshoes we bought last spring. It's suppose to be mostly sunny and right now it's 35 degrees. Perfect snowshoeing weather. I should have some great pictures to post tomorrow. Hopefully get in some good cardio too.

Have a great weekend everyone. Eat healthy, get a little exercise and relax!

My post wouldn't be complete without pictures.

Candy in the lunch room right before I left for my walk. There's always something in our lunchroom, cookies, cake, leftover potluck stuff. Most of it doesn't tempt me, but this looked really good. I didn't touch it and it was all gone by the time I was back from my walk.

A dead tree covered in ivy.

A picture of Des Moines Creek that runs along the trail. The picture doesn't do it justice.

A miniature of the big trees. This little tree is always little and it's the only one I've seen like this. I'm not sure how they did it, but it's very cool and very pretty.

The flag that flies in front of the King County Detention Center, along my walk.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fake it tll you make it

"Fake it till you make it" (also called "act as if") is a common catchphrase that means to imitate confidence so that as the confidence produces success, it will generate real confidence. The purpose is to avoid getting stuck in a self fulfilling prophecy related to one's fear of not being confident.

A conversation I had today with my mentor at work:

Me:  I don't like this project I'm on, it's boring, and I don't want to do it.

Mentor:  I know what you mean, I've been there many times.

Me:  How do I get through it?

Mentor:  You fake it till you make it.

Me:  Really?

Mentor:  Yes, really, It's all about your attitude. If you walk into your kickoff meeting down about the project, bored, not excited, everyone will see it. Even if you're not feeling good about it, you have to fake it. Fake that you want to do this project, fake that it's a great project. Your enthusiasm will be contagious.

Me:  I don't know if I can do that, pretend I want to do something I really don't want to do.

Mentor:  Sure you can, just go in there and do it.

I did. She was right. The enthusiasm spread. No one knew I was totally bummed by my project. Now I'm actually feeling a spark of excitement about it.

That was work. This is weight loss. Same deal. Faking it till I make it. :)

Picture out of my office window today, right before I left work. Actually, I'm in a cubicle, this is what I saw when I stood up.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

No fat chicks

You may be too young to have ever seen this bumper sticker. It was popular in the 80's. I remember the first time I saw it. I couldn't believe someone could be so rude and put this on their car. Usually it was seen on a big 4-wheel drive pickup, with these mud flaps.
When I 'd see the "no fat chicks" bumper sticker my first thought was the person driving the vehicle must be a total moron. I knew if I ever met this person I wouldn't like him.

Then I would feel hurt. Hurt because I was a fat chick and some idiot that I didn't even care about didn't like fat chicks. Back then my idea of fat was quite a bit different than it is now. In the 80's I usually weight around 135 to 170. When I'd get up to 170 I thought I was extremely fat. I remember joining Diet Center when I weight 172. At 172 I was mortified I was so fat.

Here's the clincher. I apparently don't like fat chicks either because I constantly berate myself for being fat.

This morning I weighed myself before getting dressed for the gym. I saw an ugly number on the scale. Up five pounds overnight. I was 174.4 yesterday and 179.4 this morning. My Tanita scales are extremely accurate. I didn't eat five pounds of food yesterday, but maybe I ate too much. Maybe too much salt. Maybe too much exercise (2 1/2 hours).

I thought this is such a crazy battle, and I'm sick and tired of fighting my weight. I'm never going to win.

I sat down at my vanity to pull my hair into a ponytail before I headed out  for the gym. I looked in the mirror and thought, I'm old and fat and ugly. As soon as I thought this, I realized what a really horrible thing that was  to think about myself.

I'm no better than those creepy guys with the "no fat chicks" bumper stickers. Except, I'm worse. I'm saying this to myself, about myself. I definitely have self-esteem issues, but this was a bit more than I normally do. I wouldn't say this to another human being, but I think nothing of saying it to myself.

I sat there and stared in the mirror. It's true I'm getting old, 55 in August. There's no getting around it, I'm not a young chickadee anymore. The cute, young guys don't hit on me like they use to, probably because I'm old enough to be their mom, or in some cases, their grandmom.

I'm definitely overweight, technically I'm obese. Yet as I looked at myself, I noticed the squareness of my shoulders, and the muscles in my neck. When I lifted my arms overhead to pull my hair into the ponytail band, I could see the muscles in my arms. Earlier I had noticed how my calves have very defined, strong muscles and are firm.

Even though I'm pudgy in some areas and I don't weigh what I want to weigh, I kind of like my body these days. It's strong and tough. It's not fragile or weak. Seriously, how many 54-year old women do you know that can do three sets of eight reps per set of bicep curls with 25-pound dumbbells?

So even though I'm not beautiful or skinny or young, I am strong and healthy. Maybe I am a fat chick, and maybe the jerk in the pickup truck that didn't like fat chicks wouldn't like me. I seriously don't care...I like me.


More trees. It's the Pacific Northwest. We have a lot of trees. :) Seen on my walk today at lunch, and the last one is in the Best Buy parking lot in Federal Way, WA.