Monday, February 28, 2011

Blue Monday

I'm not in a happy place this morning. There are many reasons:

1. Still no sign of Hank (see yesterday's post below). Each time I check the live animal traps for him (three times in the last 12 hours, I feel my heart sink. I just can't believe this dog has gone through so much, was lucky enough to get adopted by a loving family in Taiwan, then loses everyone in a house fire. Then lucky enough to get shipped to the United States so he doesn't wind up on someones dinner table in Taiwan, and gets adopted immediately here in the States. Then this happens. He's lost ten minutes after being in his new home. It just breaks my heart.

2. I had an emergency call at midnight for a work problem. After fixing it I tossed and turned for what seem like forever. I was hungry (of course). I finally got up and ate strawberries with real whip cream (in a can but it's the real stuff, not light, and I ate a lot of it). I think I finally fell asleep around 2am with the alarm going off at 4:30am. I had to check Hank's traps at 5am then go to the gym. Of course the traps were empty.

3. My gym workout was lackluster to say the least. Probably because I'm so tired. I used the five-minute rule six times while I was on the Crossramp. Seriously, every five minutes I'd tell myself just five more minutes then I can leave. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life. Afterwards I did upper body weights which normally I love. I didn't seem to have any strength. It's like someone pulled the plug on my energy. After only four exercises (3 sets each), I gave up. Normally I do a minimum of six different exercises, three sets each. I just didn't have it in me this morning.

4. I have my performance review today at work It's not something I'm looking forward to. Especially because I'm so tired, and I never take constructive criticism well even under the best of circumstances. Given how I feel right now I'll probably wind up in tears.

5. It's snowing giant snowflakes right now. Thirty-five degrees with gray skies. Normally I love snow, but it makes me sad to think of poor Hank out there, alone, cold, hungry and scared.

I know all this will pass and everything will be okay. No one is going to give up on Hank. I probably won't get fired from my job. So I had a bad workout this morning, it happens.

I'm sure tomorrow will be a better day (heck, can't get much worse than how I feel right now).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chasing Hank

Meet Hank, a two-year old, 35-pound Formosan Mountain Dog:

I spent most of my weekend volunteering with a dog rescue group, Saving Great Animals, trying to track down Hank in my neighborhood.

This poor dog has the saddest story, but I'm praying for a happy ending. He's from Taiwan and has only been in the United States for five days. He is one of forty dogs rescued from Taiwan. Hank's breed, the Formosan Mountain dog, and the fact that he's solid black, put him at high risk to become dog meat in Taiwan. In 2004 the Taiwanese government made selling dog meat illegal, but of course, people still do it. The Formosan is a favorite, and an all black dog is considered a delicacy.

Hank was a beloved family pet in Taiwan until a recent tragedy. His family's house burned down, and all of his family died in the fire. Somehow Hank got out of the house, and was sent to the Saving Great Animals sister shelter in Taipei. They wanted to get him out of Taiwan since he's solid black. The risk of someone eating him was too high. I don't know about you, but this just horrifies me.

Hank was picked up at the airport five days ago by his new foster mom. He'd just flown in on a flight from Taiwan. She said he has the sweetest personality and played with her dog (a rescue from Mexico that I fell in love with). Hank even let her two-year old pet him.

Two days after Hank's arrival, he was adopted by friends of his foster mom. This is where we should have a happy ending. Unfortunately, more tragedy struck. Within ten minutes of having Hank in their house, the new owners accidentally let him in the garage with the garage door open. Hank has been on the run for three days, in the coldest weather on record in Seattle (in the teens at night).

Last night there was a sighting about a mile from my house, so we searched from 9pm until 2:30am. We finally gave up and went home. This morning there was another sighting a half block from my house. I ran over to where Hank was spotted, and met the guy that had seen him. There's a huge reward for this dog so the guy was really trying to help us find him. No luck.

About two hours later a lady called and said he was in her yard. It was a fenced yard about a half mile from my house. There were eight of us, including a woman from Pet Partnerhip, a searh and rescue for lost pets group. She had a snare pole and was using her own dog as a "magnet" dog, to be used to lure Hank over to her so she can collar him. Unfortunately Hank freaked out. We ran after him, but we couldn't catch him. I was in tears. I couldn't believe we were so close to catching him, and he got away from us.

The rescue folks finally decided to set live animal traps for him, with food inside. One is a block from my house and the other one about 1/2 mile. They have to be checked every two to five hours. I hope we catch him.

The new owners that let Hank escape aren't going to be able to adopt him. They're not fit to be dog parents. I know they must feel awful, but they haven't helped us at all to try and find Hank, and their mistake was pretty big.

Send a little prayer out for Hank. :)

Back to my regularly scheduled program, weight loss
I attended my Weight Watchers meeting Saturday, and I weighed in at 182.6. Not fantastic. Heck, not good at all, but what I failed to mention is about ten days ago I saw 187.0 on my home scales. That was the first thing in the morning, naked. At Weight Watchers I had clothes on (I'm pretty sure you already knew that). I'm going in the right direction, but I still have a really long way to go.

Saturday night after walking around in the freezing cold until the wee hours of the morning, I came home starving to death. I had purchased a box of two-Point Lemon Mousse Pie bars at my meeting (never again). I ate the entire box when I got home. I think there were ten, at 70 calories each.

I was furious with myself afterwards. I'd spent an hour at the gym earlier in the day, 30 minutes StairMaster and 30 minutes crossramp. One hour of high intensity cardio. Then I'd traipsed through the woods for five hours looking for Hank. I burned a lot of calories but not enough to compensate for a 700- calorie binge.

What can I say? Not much. I started over today, again. So far, so good but it's only 9pm. I have to go check Hank's traps before I can go to bed. I'm totally exhausted from this weekend. It ws physically and emotionally challenging.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My head has been buried in the sand

I've been really good lately about ignoring the the one thing I don't want to talk about. Recently, another blogger mentioned that you can tell when someone is doing poorly on their weight loss plan. It's when they talk about everything except their weight loss plan.

I know that blogger was talking about me (actually, I don't think they even know I exist...but still, that's me). I talk about my cat, about being sick with a cold, my toothache, and recently I've even been chatting about the weather. Really, the weather?

Sorry dear readers. To the few of you that still remain faithful, I haven't exactly been open and honest about my weight loss, or rather, my lack of weight loss.Or in reality, my weight gain. It's very apparent I've been avoiding the obvious. Even if I should happen to even mention trying to lose weight or talk about getting healthy, I quickly gloss over it  hoping you don't notice that I really haven't been into it lately.

About that blogger I mentioned above, they were right in their analysis. The weight loss hasn't been going well for me. I have a lot of reasons, or rather excuses. They really aren't even worth mentioning, but here they are: I've been sick, I'm tired all the time, it's cold outside, I've lost desire, I don't care anymore, my work is stressful (some things never change), or, and you've got to love this one because it's my favorite...I just don't feel like it.

It's time
Time for what? It's time that I do something about this very unfortunate situation I've put myself in. I have to lose weight. I have to stop talking about it and do it.

I just counted the days until the Seattle Big Climb. My heart sank when I realized I only have 24 DAYS before I have to climb 69 floors. There are 20 people on my Big Climb team. I am the team captain. One of the people on my team is the president of my company. I've heard he's a very nice person. Although we've met a few times, he doesn't know me, but he knows the person we're honoring with our climb. The president went to high school with one of the guys on my team (on my work team and my Big Climb team). They're good friends.

So it's not like I can say I'm not doing this thing. That's not even within the realm of possibilities. I have to go, put on my cheerleader hat and literally, take one for the team. Or in this case, take 1,311 stair steps for the team. Really though, this isn't about me. It's about raising money for research for leukemia and other blood cancers. Reading this guy's blog reminded me once again of why I'm doing this (it's not for me or about me, it's for a greater good).

About my weight gain
I weighed two days ago at home, no clothes, in the morning before breakfast. I was HORRIFIED to see 183.4 on the scales. I practically ran screaming from the room. How on earth did I let this happen? And now, of all times, with a very difficult, physical challenge facing me on March 20. I don't know. I just know it happened. Excuses are acceptable, and none would help at this point anyway.

Setting a goal with fierce resolve
I have exactly 24 DAYS until B.C. DAY (Big Climb Day = March 20). I can either throw in the towel and say there's nothing I can accomplish in that short amount of time, or I can give it 110% of my effort. I'm choosing the last one. I'm going for it. I know I can at least make a dent in the damage I've done.

My goal is pretty aggressive, but here it is:

Ten pounds in 24 days

Fierce resolve is a desirable quality in an employee. It's referring to intense professional will. It's something that's encourage where I work. Why can't I apply this concept to weight loss? What if I have fierce resolve to lose this weight? An intense will to lose weight. Imagine what I could do with this. I had it at one time, then I quietly and conveniently let it slip away from me.

It's really easier to not have fierce resolve about weight loss. Fierce resolve is hard work, especially for someone like myself, that has struggled with my weight my entire adult entire life.

I was reading about fierce resolve on the internet, and came across an interesting article. I borrowed this paragraph from the article:

Reality can and does bend at our will. This is where the phrase fierce resolve clarifies itself. When you are firmly decided upon a goal, you cultivate the resolution to achieve. You don't do this half-hearted.

My head is out of the sand.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The gym and a snow day

This will be a short post because I have a cat in my lap, with his head draped across my left arm. It's my cat Mickey (a.k.a. Mickey Mouse), a white and orangeTurkish Van. He's a cat that thinks he's a dog that's named after a rodent. Anyway, it's hard to type and keep my arm still so as not to disturb him. He looks annoyed here because I woke him up to take his picture.

My toothache finally subsided last night until 2:30 a.m. when the Vicodin wore off (it's only good for four hours). I woke up in agony. I took two more Vicodin and went back to sleep.

Since my toothache didn't come back, I made it to the gym by 6 a.m. and worked out for an hour and 45 minutes. My lungs burned so bad while I was on the StairMaster that I thought they were going to catch on fire. After my strength training I went home and was so nauseous that I threw up, and I hadn't eaten anything since the night before at about 9 p.m.. Maybe too much too soon.

Pictures through my office window today at 12:30 p.m., and then twenty minutes later. The sun came out and about an hour later it was all melted, but it was beautiful while it lasted.

Tomorrow's set some goals. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toothache from hell and pictures from my day

I woke up this morning thinking I either have bronchitis or maybe pneumonia. Every time I cough, my lungs burn and hurt, and my throat is raw from all the coughing. I even thought about canceling my delivery aircraft flight but since it was very last minute, and it's considered a great opportunity and an honor, I took a shot of DayQuil and headed off to the office. I skipped the gym because just showering and getting dressed pretty much sapped all my strength.

The day was sort of fun. We took a bus from Sea-Tac up to Boeing Field. We were able to take pictures of our brand new aircraft, and we took off for an hour and a half sightseeing flight around Puget Sound landing back at Sea-Tac. It was cloudy but there were patches of open sky.

The best part of the day was when we got to 15,000 feet they let each of us take a turn sitting in the Captain's seat with our hands on the "steering wheel" (I think it's called a "yoke" but I'm not sure). Then the Captain took our picture. That was really cool. Unfortunately, we were warned to NOT post the pictures on the internet. I'm not sure why exactly, but we were told it wasn't allowed.

The only pictures from my day where you can't see the name of my company (!):

Me holding up the aircraft

A view from the window. Notice the sunshine on the engine, where it was
sparkling clean and shiny. The entire aircraft had a new car smell, or I guess,
a new airplane smell.

The toothache from hell
Tonight I have major, excruciating pain in a lower molar. I had my first crown about a year ago, and it's hurt from the beginning. Tonight it started throbbing and the pain kept getting worse. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is when you would rather just die than to keep feeling the pain, about an hour ago it was at least an 8. I'm a wuss when it comes to pain, but boy does this ever hurt! I've taken two aspirin and two Vicodin and the pain is now down to about a 7. I hope I make it to the morning when I can get in to see the dentist.

The only positive here is that I have no desire to eat. None. The thought of trying to chew anything makes me cringe. I can't remember the last time I had a toothache. Probably when I was a kid. I never had tooth pain, until this crown, which was probably the biggest mistake I've ever made. The darn tooth didn't even hurt until the crown. I forgot what tooth pain felt like, and let me tell you, it is miserable.

At least the Vicodin fixed my sore throat and cough. Its weird it's not doing much for the toothache.

Weight this morning...183.4. Not good. Working on it the best I can, but with the cold and now a toothache, I haven't been in the gym in four days, nor have I been tracking my food. Hopefully I'll be well soon and get back on track. I haven't given up and the Big Climb in in 29 days!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rising from the ashes

Where have I been?
I've been right here, even though I've been away from my blog for over a week. It wasn't a planned or intentional time away. It just sort of happened.

It started out with thoughts that maybe I was becoming a little too obsessive about my food and exercise. I was tired of constantly worrying about it, thinking about it, and condemning myself for my bad choices. I was even more tired of writing about it. Surely this couldn't be of any value to anyone who might read  this blog. Failure after failure. It was disheartening to say the least.

I decided to "relax" a little on the food front. That didn't mean I would go crazy, eating whatever and whenever I wanted. Instead I thought I could take a step back and try to figure out exactly what was wrong with me. Why do I have the compulsion to overeat?

I stuck with the exercise all last week, but Thursday and Friday were difficult days. I had to really push myself at the gym. When I was on the StairMaster Friday morning I felt like my legs were stuck in mud. Every step was torture. My lungs felt like they were on fire and going to explode. It felt about ten times worse than ever before. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. Late Friday I knew what was causing the problem. I had a cold.

It's not the flu, and I don't even have a fever. It's just a simple cold. Sneezing, painful sinuses, and coughing, and I feel like hell. Today is day three so I'm started to feel a little bit better. It's the first day I actually got up, showered, and put on real clothes.

I felt a little better after the shower, but now I'm exhausted and just want to crawl back into bed. I'm going to try to stay awake for most of the day because I had a terrible night of trying to sleep last night. Apparently my body had enough bed rest. At 1 a.m. I was tossing and turning, going in and out of various nightmares. It was a very bad night.

Zicam doesn't work for everyone
I tried Zicam for the first time because my girlfriend said it wonders worked for her. Every three hours for the last three days I've put one of those icky mint Zicam melt-away lozenges on my tongue, let it melt, then waited fifteen minutes before I could have a drink of water. Each time I was practically gagging at the chalky, icky, sickly sweet mint taste. I can't tell that I felt any better. In fact, I almost think waking up every three hours to take the lozenge may have made me feel worse. I expected a miracle. I didn't get one. I was still just as sick as the last time I had a cold.

A&E Heavy and rising from the ashes
This morning I watched two old episodes of "Heavy" On Demand. These were episodes I had missed. There was one line that has stayed in my head. One of the guests on the show, Sharon, said she realized she'd "have to be stringent about what she put in her body for the rest of her life".

I realized that's me. I'm not being obsessive when I track my food and worry about what I'm eating. I'm just trying to be healthy. There's nothing wrong with being "stringent". Because of my past and my compulsive tendencies with food, I have to try to be in control all the time.

It's really not such a bad thing to be vigilant about what I'm eating. Not everyone has to live like this, but just like the crack addict or the alcoholic, I have to be careful of what I'm putting in my body.

Stringent: rigorous: demanding strict attention to rules and procedures.

That pretty much defines what works for me. Following the rules, paying strict attention to what I eat. As far as what's driving me to overeat, I know what it is but it's not something I want to share here, at least not yet. It's deeply personal, and a little sad to admit. For now, I prefer to keep this part of myself private.

Even though I know why I overeat, it's still a challenge to stop it. It's something I've been doing for a very long time, and changing an old behavior is difficult, but not impossible.

My plan for my week is to gently ease back in to exercising tomorrow. It's been three days, and I'm itching to get back to the gym. Tomorrow morning will be a light workout.

On the food front, "stringent" will be my keyword. Weighing, measuring, tracking every bite. It's really not that hard. I've been doing it for over three years now. What's another twenty or thirty years? :)

Fun day tomorrow
Tomorrow I get to do something fun at work. Most of you know I work for an airline. Tomorrow I get to ride on a brand new Boeing 737-800 as it's flown from Boeing Field to Sea-Tac airport, and the airline takes delivery of the new aircraft.

We usually get a few new aircraft each year. This year there will be three new 737-800's added to the fleet. It's a very big deal when we get a new aircraft. The price is somewhere in the range of $80 million, and there's a lot hoopla surrounding the delivery. It means the company is doing good and growing. 

As a special treat for working on a difficult project, myself and 107 of my closest coworkers (kidding, I only know a few of them), will get to ride around for a couple hours, sightseeing Mt. Rainier and the Cascades. Of course, after two gorgeous sunny days here in the Northwest, the forecast is rain for tomorrow (darn it!).

It will still be fun to fly on a brand new aircraft and be part of the festivities. After 28 years with my company, I'm still very excited about a new aircraft.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First bike ride of 2011

Today was a gorgeous day in the Pacific Northwest. I pulled my bike out of the garage, dusted off the cobwebs, pumped up the flat back tire and went for my first bike ride of the year. It was sunny and 50 degrees. Gorgeous!

I forgot how much I love riding my bike. It's hard to describe flying down a hill at 25 mph and feeling completely in control, yet free as a bird at the same time. I totally love it. Of course, going back up those hills with my extra twenty pounds was horrible. I thought I was going to have a heart attack for sure, as I was panting like a dog. It was really hard!

I biked to the gym, worked out with weights, upper body for an hour and then biked home. It took me about 25 minutes each direction. Much slower than my old 20-minutes I was doing last summer.. In almost two hours I burned 699 calories (Polar heart rate monitor).

Right now I'm totally and completely exhausted.

Watching the Grammys. Worst show ever! Right now I'm watching Cee-Lo Green in a goofy feather outfit singing the F--k You song (which I hate), but he's singing "Forget You" and he has some puppets and Gwynth Paltrow singing with him. Really? This is the best they could do? As soon as I finish this post the TV is going off. I'm reading a really good book, Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy. Love this book.

Plan for my week
Lots of exercise, as usual. Lots of stairs this week too, since the Big Climb is in less than five weeks (yikes!).

About my food, I'm going to stop freaking out about it so much. I'm really getting sick of being so worried about what I eat all the time. A piece of cake a couple times a year isn't going to kill me. Or even two pieces of cake a couple times a year. I just want to be healthy.

I eat very healthy about 95% of the time. That's about 90% more than I was doing three years ago. My biggest problem is that I eat too much of the good stuff. I rarely eat junk. I just need to eat less. Sounds easy. It's not.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday night update and Wednesday birthday cake

Last night didn't go well. After I wrote my post I felt like I was literally starving to death. Almond. Butter. I don't need to say anymore except that this morning I poured soap into the jar (what was left of it) and threw it in the trash.

Right now I feel very ill because I ate a big piece of birthday cake tonight, chocolate truffle cake and I don't even really like chocolate cake. It was my husband's birthday today. I feel really gross. Like throwing up gross. Plus I'm so thirsty I could die. I just can't get enough water to drink.

That's all. Not much else to write except I screwed up again. What else is new?

Oh yes, I should mention that work is out of control busy. I've been getting intense headaches lately. Probably because I feel like my head is spinning out of control All day long I keep telling myself to calm the hell down, but then someone else wants something else from me. Tomorrow is going to be different. Honestly. Totally different. I need a new attitude at work.

I'm going to bed now. I'm going to have to work out like a maniac tomorrow morning. I have a plan of really mixing up my routine with new exercises.

Funny, I just read this post and I sound like a crazy person, with a death theme. Hmmm....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I made it through Monday night without an incident

I managed to get through last night without any type of evening snack and no binging. It's a miracle!

Now I need another miracle! It's Tuesday night, and I'm in the same boat as I was last night, except tonight, I'm starving! Seriously, my hunger is off the charts.

My food today was sparse, but sufficient. I was in a rush to get to work for a meeting this morning so I skipped breakfast, which is something I very rarely do these days. I had a glass of non-fat milk because I read on someones blog yesterday that it was one of the best post-workout beverages. Protein and carbs in a glass.

Then off to work for back to back meetings until noon, lunch of chicken breast with two tablespoons of Stubbs barbecue sauce, leftover roasted butternut squash (yummy) and roasted Brussels sprouts (with about a teaspoon of oil). It was a wonderful and filling lunch.

Then a crazy busy afternoon at work, with no time for a snack except a few cherry tomatoes. I left work at 5:30pm to go to the Pyramid Brewery in Seattle for the Big Climb Team Captains meeting. It was a great meeting and now I'm super psyched about doing the event. Only 39 days left!

So I'm in a room with about 50 other Big Climb team captains and what do you think they're serving for hors d' oeuvres? Artichoke cheese dip with buttered french bread, and battered fried chicken wings with hot sauce, and of course beer. Lots of beer. Everyone was drinking beer.

They had a dinner menu and several people were ordering from it. My skinny (but very sweet) girlfriend ordered a bacon cheeseburger and fries. She does Crossfit and works out like a maniac, and she gets to eat whatever she wants and remains a size 2. Love her to pieces, but honestly, life is so not fair.

I ordered the salmon, grilled with no oil and without the cream sauce, steamed veggies, no utter. Water to drink.

I just got home about an hour ago (it's 10:30pm now). I took the train back to my near my work. That was an experience. I missed my stop and had to take a different train to get back to my stop. 9pm and I'm running around in train stations near the airport (a rather unsavory part of town). I made it home safely but it was kind of scary. I'm not doing that again.

So explain to me, why after eating a sufficient amount of food today, do I feel like I'm at a 10+ on the hunger scale (with 10 being the most hungry you could possibly be)? I'm debating about going to bed on an empty stomach. I ate at around 6pm, four and half hours ago.

I could eat something but will that send me into a binge. I'm still debating on what to do. Normal people eat when they're hungry. I've already determined I'm not normal when it comes to food. What shall I do? I'm exhausted so I'm really thinking about just going to  bed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday, Part II - How a binge starts

My second post for today...avoiding a binge

It's 10:21 p.m. This is usually when it starts, the beginning of my nightly binge. It always starts innocently enough. Right now it's been about four hours since I ate dinner. I feel a little bit hungry. I'm not starving, I just feel like eating something. Lord knows I can't have a slight hunger pain and not take care of it immediately.

I've thought of all the things that I could eat that would be considered an acceptable snack. I've eaten 32 Points today, which is a large amount of food (I'm allowed a minimum of 29).

I've had three pieces of fruit today, two apples and a banana. I make note of this because fruit is suppose to have zero Points. However, I counted a Point for the banana. That's how I've customized the Weight Watcher plan for myself. Bananas have Points on "my" plan. I decided I needed some sort of ground rule for certain fruits. This is because I ate four bananas at one sitting a few days ago. You may find that unbelievable but it's the truth. Therefore, certain fruits that I would overeat have been assigned a Point value. Apples are safe. I don't think I've ever eaten more than one apple at a sitting. Of course, this is totally against the new Weight Watcher plan, but it's working for me.

Right now, I'm thinking I could have a little snack, maybe a low-fat piece of string cheese for 2 Points. Or a Skinny Cow low-fat fudge bar or maybe another apple (they're organic Fuji's and they're delicious) or perhaps a Dreyers frozen Pomegranate bar. Maybe some baby carrots, they're organic and super sweet. Or a glass of ice cold fat-free milk. I love milk. Maybe it would make me sleepy. Or a small piece of left-over chicken breast from dinner or maybe a Franz thinwich with some maple pumpkin butter (1 Point for a tablespoon). Or microwave popcorn, the Smart Pop brand that's low in Points.

The problem here is if I eat one thing, I can't stop. I'll eat everything I've listed above. Yes, everything. Well, maybe not the carrots, but everything else. I know myself well enough by now that I'm about 99% sure that's what would happen. I would once again ruin a perfect day of eating on plan, a perfect day of exercise, with a binge.

Instead of eating and chancing a binge, I've decided to wait until tomorrow morning to eat anything. I'm sipping water, writing this post. I'm wondering if I can sleep when I feel hungry. It's been a long time since I even tried. Then again, I can never sleep anymore anyway so why would that make it any different than any other night.

That's how a binge starts. This is how I'm stopping it in it's tracks...I'm not going to start. I'm very tired and feeling sleepy. I'm going to bed now, and I'm feeling like I'm in control of my actions. I will not eat until tomorrow morning after 6 a.m. That's only seven hours from now. Surely I can last seven hours without eating.

Good night.

New diets always start on Monday

And it's a Monday
I remember my old days of my dieting failures. I'd always start a diet on Monday, and often by Tuesday or Wednesday, or even sometimes by Monday night, the diet was history. It was too hard, I didn't care anymore, and I was too hungry to continue. I'd always have a plan to start fresh the following Monday.

It's Monday again, and even though I don't live by my old rules, it is a new week and a day where I can start over. Yesterday wasn't a perfect day by a long shot. I went to the gym for an hour and a half workout. Then I blew it. Why I continue this craziness is something I've yet to figure out.

When I came home, I found a bag of opened Original Bugles in my kitchen. I don't even like Bugles, and I can't remember the last last time I ate this snack food. Maybe 20+ years ago. In case you've never heard of them, they're a corn chip snack in the shape of a bugle. Salty and greasy, and really not very tasty. That didn't stop me. It's certainly not a food I sit around and obsess over. As far as I'm concerned, they're far down on the food chain of things I like to eat.

I don't know what possessed my husband to bring them into our home (temporary insanity?) or me to indulge in them (more temporary insanity?). Yet there I sat yesterday stuffing them in my mouth. I even measured out the first serving. 1.5 cups. I think it was something like 180 calories and 9 grams fat for each serving. After the first serving I just dumped some in a bowl and ate them. Probably at least three cups. I didn't calculate the Points. Why bother? It seemed like a lost cause at that point.

Next up was the almond butter, something I read about in last week's Weight Watcher flyer. They were talking about what to eat to prevent night time binges. Peanut butter and whole wheat crackers. Or peanut butter and apple slices. I'm allergic to peanut butter, but I love almond butter. I stopped buying it two years ago. Last night I remembered why. I love the stuff, but too much of it is NOT a good thing. One tablespoon is three Points! I didn't eat just one. Last night was a bad night for me.

It's Monday again, time to start over.

Hunker down

hunker down:  finally sit down to finish something up. To stop procrastinating and do something.

That's what I'm doing, I'm finally settling down and focusing on reaching goal. I've been putting this off long enough.

I'm past the honeymoon phase, I know this isn't easy nor is it fun. I might return here someday, but it's rather unlikely.

I've faced up to the honesty phase, and yes, this is hard but it IS worth it. This is my life. Forever. I'm the kind of person that even when I reach goal, it's still going to be difficult. I've accepted that it's never going to be easy.

So now it's the hunkering down phase. The phase where I bite the bullet, put my heart into this 100%. The old "no pain, no loss" rule applies to me. After years of diets, I know myself pretty well when it comes to losing weight. I have to be a little bit hungry a good part of the time or I don't lose weight.

I'm not talking about starving hungry, but I can't feed every little hunger pain that comes my way. A little hunger is normal, and something I have to learn to live with. It's not like I'm going to die from a little hunger.

My goal for right now, just get through one freaking day without overeating. My plan for tonight is a small three-Point snack and yoga before bed. No TV after 8pm. No True Blood DVDs that have been giving me horrible nightmares of death and violence. Yoga and a good book are the plan.

Speaking of good books - "This Stranger, My Son" by Louise Wilson
I read this book over the weekend, and it's really good. If someone you love has been diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, you must read this book. My nephew was diagnosed with it in 1994. He committed suicide shortly afterwards at the age of 31.

My sister has been haunted by this for years, wondering what she did wrong as a mother. Blaming herself, saying she should have done more for her son, even though she did everything humanly possible to help him.

I just happened upon this book at a used bookstore. It was written in 1968 and is a mother's true story of life with her son that was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia.  It's heart-wrenching reading, and I could see my nephew in this story. It's a must-read for anyone that has a loved one dealing with this illness. I'm going to send my copy to my sister.

Weight Watcher New Complete Cookbook (with PointsPlus recipes)
I just bought this cookbook at Costco. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but it's a nice 3-ring notebook style cookbook. It retails for $29.95. Costco is selling it for $17.95, but it has a coupon inside for a year's subscription to Weight Watchers magazine. However, if you don't want the subscription, you can get a refund of $9.99 by writing "refund" on the coupon and mailing it. That means the cookbook was only $7.96! That's a real bargain.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Getting my head in the game

My Weight Watcher meeting on Saturday was excellent. My leader is the best, and I never fail to learn something from her meetings. Even when I think I know it all.

She talked about the four stages of weight loss:

1. The honeymoon phase - we all know and love this phase. Several you reading this are probably in it right now. I was once there myself.

It's when it's all new and exciting. You follow the plan to the letter and the weight falls off. This is the phase where you are determined that nothing will lead you astray. You're tracking your food, drinking your water, taking your vitamins, and following the healthy eating guidelines. You are perfect and nothing will keep you from reaching your goal.

2. The honesty phase - this is the loser reality check. Is this worth it? Is all the hard work, the deprivation, the exercise, is it all really worth it? You either decide it is worth it and continue, or you decide it's not worth it and stop. This is the phase where a lot of people walk away. Our leader told us that in the fourth week is when most Weight Watchers never return to the meetings. They made the decision that it's not worth it.

3. The hunker-in phase - this is were you have renewed resolve. You've made it this far and darnit, you're going to do whatever it takes. The weight loss has dramatically slowed down from the honeymoon phase, and you have a gain here and there, but you're not giving up.

4. The "homey" phase - this is when you get cocky, where you think you know it all. This is when you consider leaving Weight Watchers. Maybe you're almost at goal, and you decide who needs to go to meetings. You've got it all figured out, there's no reason to go to the meetings anymore.

In three years I've hit every one of these phases more than once. When I was at 152 pounds a year and a half ago I was in phase #4. I thought I knew it all. Now at 180 pounds I realize I still have a lot to learn.

There was a comment on my post yesterday regarding my night time eating, which continues to challenge me. The comment was sweet, and she left some suggestions of things I could try to overcome my night binging. I went to her blog, and found she's in the honeymoon stage of weight loss. What struck me from her posts is how excited she is about the process of losing weight. She seriously has her "head in the game" as she put it.

This is what I've been missing lately. My head has not been in the game. I don't look forward to my weigh-ins. In fact, even though I went to my Weight Watcher meetings for all January I took a no-weighin pass for each meeting until yesterday. I finally realized that by not weighing in, I wasn't doing myself any favors.

My goal this month is simple. I need to get my head in the game again.

Slip slidin' away

As soon as I posted last Tuesday that I was good at consistently exercising, I hit a brick wall. Suddenly, I didn't want to exercise anymore. The last five days have been a struggle, and one I didn't want to share with the world.
Not only was I struggling with food, which I've come to accept, but I felt myself slipping when it came to exercising. I woke up Wednesday and thought I really didn't feel like working out, so I didn't. I skipped the gym. Thursday was a huge struggle, but I forced myself to go. Friday I skipped the gym again. I didn't even walk at lunch or do the stairs this past week. This isn't my normal routine. It's almost as if patting myself on the back for doing a good job at something, somehow sabotaged myself.
I still managed to work out five times last week, for a minimum of an hour to an hour and a half each time. I suppose to most people that sounds like success, but because it was such an unusual struggle  for me, I tend to think of it as being a failure.
Yesterday I felt more like myself and got in an intense hour and a half workout. This past week made me realize how easy it would be, at any moment, for me to just stop working out, to simply give up. I'm not sure where these feelings are coming from. Maybe it's my lack of success at losing weight lately is now spilling over into the one thing I've considered a success, my exercise routine.
Whatever is going on in my head, I'm determined to overcome it. I'm back to the "just don't even think about it as an option, just do it" attitude towards exercising. If I think about anything too much, I tend to over anlyze it and ruin it for myself.
Exercise is like brushing my teeth. It's not optional. If I don't want my teeth to fall out, have a lot of pain as my teeth rot, and spend hours in a dentist chair (not to mention a lot of money), I have to floss and brush every day. If I don't want my body to fall in disrepair and become unhealthy, and spend a lot of money on doctors and medicine to only life a life of pain, I must exercise almost every day. There really isn't any other choice. That said, I feel like I'm back on track with the exercise.  
My eating and my weight
My eating is a continual battle for me. I'm still not at peace with food, and sadly, I doubt I will ever reach that place that so few seem to enjoy.
I went to my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday and weighed in at 180.4. Ugh! This is NOT where I want to be.
My biggest problem is the night time eating. Every time I think I have beat this problem, it comes back to haunt me. Nothing seems to work.
Things I've tried, that have worked temporarily:
1. Eat dinner super late, at 9 p.m. This helped, but then I don't sleep well with a full tummy.
2. Eat a late night snack of five Points. This helped too, but see #1.
3. White knuckle my way through it. This just makes me angry, and I can't sleep. Usually I cave a few hours of restlessness and binge.
4. Drink tons of water. Temporarily stops the hunger, but then I'm up several times going to the bathroom. Interrupts my sleep, which I already have problems sleeping through the night.
5. Go to bed earlier. Then I can't sleep, see #3.
6. Brush and floss before bed. This has absolutely no affect on me. I can always brush and floss again after eating.
I know this night eating is a mind game I play with myself almost daily. I know it can't be true hunger because I eat a lot during the day (all 29 Points plus some). In order to maintain my 180 pounds, I would have to eat a lot, so it's obvious I'm not starving myself.
Tonight I'm going to try something different. The thing that has worked on occasion is the late night snack of five Points. I'm going to try that again tonight, and if I find I can't sleep, I'm going to post about it in real time. Instead of remaining quiet about my failures, I'm going to share them with you. I don't want to be slip slidin' away.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

There's one thing I'm really good at

I've been focusing a lot on the negative aspects of my weight loss journey. I often talk about the things I don't do right. It's a never-ending list. I don't always track my food, I eat too much, sometimes I eat things I shouldn't. I don't do this right and I don't do that right. Blah. Blah. Blah.

However, in spite of all the things I don't do right, there's one thing I excel at doing  when it comes to a healthy lifestyle and that's exercise.

I'm fifty-five years old and throughout my life I've had phases of exercise craziness. I would pick some exercise, such as high-impact aerobics, in my twenties when all my girlfriends were doing it. Or running because I thought that was what all the cool people did and it burned the most calories. Or or weight lifting when I worked at the police department with all the buff police officers and the department had it's own gym. Or whatever exercise struck my fancy, and I'd go full throttle with it.

My problem was that I would only do it for a few weeks or maybe a few months, then I'd completely stop, cold turkey. My reasoning was simple. It hurt. Who wants to do something that hurts? I personally don't like pain and have a rather low threshold for it.

On February 12, 2008 I started Weight Watchers. At the same time I started going to my gym four times a week. I had been a member since 1996 and had rarely used my membership. After about six months I started going five to six times a week. Now I ofte go for fourteen stretches without a day off. Although recently I'm trying to cut back to taking at least one off day a week.

What happened to change me? How did I go from hating to exercise to not hating it so much to almost liking it? How did I go from a couch potato to working out six days a week, 60 to 90 -minute workouts each day?

What happened to snap me out of my inactive lifestyle is something I've written about before. You can read about it here. Basically, I felt like hell at 240 pounds. I thought I might be dying, and I might have died if I didn't do something about my physical condition. Since I really didn't want to die yet, I had to start exercising and lose weight. Let's see...death or exercise? Or perhaps a wheelchair or exercise? It was a pretty easy decision.

How I started
When I started exercising February 12, 2008 at 240 pounds, it was HORRIBLE. I'm talking real pain. I was miserable even just walking on the treadmill. I quickly gave up the treadmill and went to the elliptical. It was still hard, but I could set my own pace without being totally embarrassed. That was my big fear, being embarrassed at the gym. That's so stupid because really, no one gives a damn what you do at the gym. I barely even look at anyone else, because I'm totally focused on myself.

When I absolutely hated going to the gym
For the first two years I had a "five-minute rule". I decided right at the beginning that I would exercise in the morning. I knew if I tried to work out at night I'd find any excuse in the book to miss a workout. So I started getting up at 4:45 a.m. and was at the gym by 5:15 a.m. There were many mornings when I really thought I'd just rather die than go to the gym. The problem was that I probably would die if I didn't exercise. I decided to start my "five-minute rule".

It's really simple, when I would wake up and think "I'm exhausted, I don't want to get up and go to the gym. I don't want to exercise and feel pain! I hate this!", this is what I would tell myself:

"Diana, get up, get dressed. Get in the car. Drive to the gym. Go inside. Get on any piece of equipment you want. Exercise five minutes. If you're so miserable you can't stand it, you have permission to go home. Stop thinking about it and just do it."

Just knowing I could go home if I wanted to, took away a lot of the pressure. I had an out if I needed it. In three years I've only left the gym one time after five minutes. I had bronchitis and really had no business exercising.

The funny thing is that I haven't even thought about my five-minute rule for months. Now I just tell myself to stop thinking about it and go. I rarely give it much thought. I just do it. After three years, it's become a part of my life. I can't imagine ever stopping.

I have more tips for getting into an exercise frame of mind, but it's almost 9:30 p.m. 5:15 a.m. comes really early so I have to go to bed now.  More about exercise tomorrow.