Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Results Are In

Today marks the end of the Eat Clean Diet Makeover Challenge, which I began in Dec 2010.  And though it is too late for me to submit my "after" photos on the official website (they must have been on Toronto time), I am doing a lot of reflecting today.  When I looked at my blogger stats today, I was surprised to see that I have had nearly 800 page views since I started this blog in December.  I know there are far better written and more popular weight loss blogs out there, and I appreciate every page viewed. 
Honestly, I started doing this as a way to help me stay motivated, and to hold me accountable, but it has been like a secret weapon along the way.  If I slipped up and ate some garbage, I knew I'd have to admit it in shame.  And while my readers are so supportive, it makes me feel like I'm letting you down when I report shortcomings.  I know it's a part of life, and I have learned from each experience, but it is still a factor, and it does indeed help keep me on track sometimes. 
So, here I am at the end of what I am viewing as my first hurdle, and here's what things are looking like from here:
Day 1.  I can't disguise how unhappy I am.

Side View.  Start of my journey.

Back fat in full action.  "before' photos
July 31,2011.  40 pounds gone.  Well on my way.

Couldn't find less flattering lighting if I tried!  July 31, 2011

Back fat still in action, but much less of it.  I'm smiling even though you can't see it.
Since beginning my journey, I have lost 39 pounds, and the inches tell the story of my slow and steady shrink:
Bust: 7 1/2 total inches lost
Chest: 5 1/4 total inches lost
Waist: 6 5/8 total inches lost
hips: 7 7/8 total inches lost!
And aprox 2 inches lost in all other measured areas.  In May I also began measuring my "upper roll", the roll of fat above my belly button, just to make sure it was indeed shrinking.  Since beginning to measure, I have lost 2 5/8 inches.  I wish I would have measured from the start.
What I have learned in this time frame, has been priceless.  I have learned that I am in total control of the situation, not because I had some magic "motivation" fairy dust, but because I want this.  Bad.  I've learned what causes my cravings, and am learning how to handle them without giving into them.  I've learned that I am strong, vital, and quite unstoppable.  And, I've learned that my investment is paying off now, and will continue to pay off in spades for the long run.
Thank you, thank you so sincerely from the bottom of my heart, for being part of my journey.  I am only just getting started, and I'd be delighted to have you along as I barrell toward my next hurdle.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm Gonna Let it Shine

The past two weeks, it has been markedly darker when I am out for my walk in the 5am hour.  For me, it is a mix of slightly eerie and kind of cool, as it seems like it is late evening rather than early morning.  Today, the darkness was punctuated by fog and a high level of humidity, which made the earth release a sweet smell from her vegetation, and had a multitude of animals still scurrying about while I interrupted their morning feast. 
I have been increasingly amazed at how sudden the sun rises, at precisely the last two minutes of my walk, during my cool down, it seems to just pop up, like someone springing a surprise, and every single time, a huge smile spreads across my face.  No matter what else happens in my day, I have that incredible moment. 
This morning as the sun popped up, I realized how symbolic it is for how I feel right now.  I had been in a bit of a funk as of late, and something just suddenly popped up and woke me from the drudgery.  And I am basking in it with an internal smile that seems ever-present.  I have been making things happen, taking back the control, feeling really strong mentally and physically, and even (gulp) seeing my dreaded arms tighten up.  I am looking toward the future as a challange, a series of goals I can keep conquering, and know that I am more than strong enough.  From my current vantage point I know that the light has always been there, it just took me til now to learn how to let it shine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Small Victories

Today I re-learned what I knew when I was much stronger in my resolve; to get where I truly want to go, I have to do some things I don't want to do, and I also have to not do things that I wish I could. 
My wish that I passed up today, was my sweet tooth.  I had a horrible sweet tooth nagging me, around 3pm today, but I didn't cave.  I ate some plain yogurt instead, and found that the craving quickly subsided with little further thought.
Tonight after work I did what I was absolutely dreading doing, a strength session.  I didn't think I had one in me, I was feeling so tired, hungry and weak, but I just hunkered down and did it, and found that I had more in me than I thought I did.
And, as usual, I feel way better mentally and physically for have conquering both of those obstacles.
This may be a new beginning, or just getting back to where I was before I lost my way, either way I'm happy for these small victories!

Making Lemonade

Last week did a number on me, stress-wise, and Friday ended up being where the whole thing fell apart on me a little bit.  I was in great spirits, ready to be successful and put my knowledge to use, I was in my own store again and ready to clean up all the messy situations that had been left for me by the non-opticians who filled in at my office while I was covering the other office.  And about halfway through my day, just before my scheduled lunch, I got a call demanding (by a supervisor other than my own) that I go to the other location because it was so busy that the technicians were being pulled from their ever-important positions to cover optical.  I was so stressed out, and I knew it, but I still went for the food for comfort, stopping at McDonalds on my way to the other store.  I don't think I even tasted it, I literally inhaled it.  And, I didn't make a single sale the whole time I was there, and only helped about 4 people with slight adjustments or answering questions.  What a waste of time and stress. 
Later that evening, my family wanted to go to (you can almost guess it, right?) McDonalds, so I ate there again, so my husband wouldn't think anything was funny that I wasn't eating a cheat meal with him.  I was ashamed to tell him I had an unplanned cheat meal.  That meal was complete with a rolo mcflurry ice cream treat, which was absolutely dreamy.  My body was feeling a little unappreciative after that, and I knew I didn't need McD's for a long time after that. 
Then Saturday came and my husband felt like having another cheat meal, and of course I am still under the influence of those same hormonal imbalances, so I agreed.  This time, at our favorite sit-down restaurant, and I had a bbq chicken sandwich and mashed potatoes.  And of course, I ate a bunch of chips and salsa. 
On Sunday, we took the kids to the amusement park in Green Bay, and as we were about to finish up around dinner time, my husband said, "This would have been a perfect day to go to dinner afterword."  I simply said, "Yeah, that would have been cool."  I didn't want to lead him on and give him the impression that I thought it would be OK to do that, financially or calorically.
It was hard for me to focus and stay on track on Sunday, but I did, if only out of sheer force.  I knew if I didn't stop somewhere, I would keep spiralling and then, where would it end?  With me being obese again, and back on meds.
Yesterday a physical issue kept me from working out, and I worked a long 10.5 hour day, but thankfully I was back at my own store.   This physical issue left me with no appetite, but I was happy to note that my metabolism was hot and kept me aware of when it was time to eat.  On my way to work yesterday, I saw a man running, and on his shirt it said, "Go the distance".  That was a split-second inspiration, and I needed that.  It reminded me that I am doing fine.  These little slips in resolve and eating are little hiccups in the road to where I am going.  Soon enough, I will be remembering them from a different vantage point, and realize that though I'm not proud of them, and know what too many of them will do to my health, they are not going to make or break me.  Everyone goes through phases of not treating their body like a temple, and that being said, it wouldn't be normal to eat squeaky clean 100% of the time.  I will just be more careful to be there a lot more often than I was last weekend. 
The reunion is less than 3 weeks away, and I have made little progress.  I am hoping this is the week where I can finally commit to all the exercise I have in mind, cardio every morning and either weight or cardio after work.  I know in the end, that I will look just like I do now, which is satisfactory for said event, but mentally I will feel much stronger if I make an extra push right now.  And as I have always believed, we have to be inspiration to and of ourselves, because that is where the most potent form of drive comes from. 
With the contest drawing to a close in mere days, I visited the website, looking to see when to submit "after" photos, and it said the contest was closed and winners would be announced shortly.  That was a bit of a "thanks for playing" feel, but for what I gained by having that to push me toward my goal, I have already won!  I may enter the next one, which should begin in August, and I would have an entire year to get those last 20-or-so pounds off and tone up.  That would be a much more achievable goal.  For me to be sitting here, realizing I only have 20'ish extra pounds to lose, is amazing!!!  And it makes me begin my otherwise-ordinary Tuesday feeling like Wonder Woman.  Well, minus the hideous outfit.  And that, my dear friends, is how I am going to make lemonade from these lemons.
Happy Tuedsay readers!  Hope its a wonder!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Out of My Element

Yesterday I had a chance to put my recent research to the test, in that I was fairly stressed out after work.  I had to work at my supervisor's store while she is on vacation, and just being out of my element stresses me out.  I have a difficult time finding where things are kept, and often have to improvise, and the clientel and coworkers are all different.  I am a person who thrives on the comfort of routine, where work is concerned.  I have been fortunate to be able to set up my store exactly the way I want, where everything is organized and makes sense to me, but being out of that setting is a little frustrating. 
So, it was pretty inevitible that my stress (and therefore cortisol) levels were elevated by the time I left work, and when I picked up my kids, my older son's ADHD was in full swing, making him really whiney and defensive, which led to him wanting to both irritate and start fights with my younger son, who reacted by whining.  My husband was forced to work a 12 hour shift, and was in a horrible mood when he got home, complicated by the fact that it was nearly 100 degrees and ultra humid yesterday, and he works in a warehouse with no climate control.  He was home just long enough to fix a pre-workout mix and then he was off to the gym to blow off some steam.  The only thing that really calmed the kids and I was to bring out our pet mouse, Squirt, and play with her.  Pets are so magical for stress relief!
With all that stress and cortisol running rampant in my body I was having raging cravings!  I wanted comfort food, sugars, salts, fats.  It didn't help that I don't have my normal groceries in the house right now, so my version of improvising was a grilled cheese with bacon.  Of course, the bread was whole wheat, the cheese was fat free and the bacon was turkey bacon, but still not very nutritionally sound.  I was still craving, this time sweets, so I ate some blueberries with splenda, and that seems to hit the spot that needed to be hit, thank goodness.  So, it seems the whole stress/cortisol -induced cravings theory is absolutely correct.  In hindsite, I should have had a nice peice of fish with some brown rice, but my improvised meal seemed to do the trick of making my mind feel as if I were having a cheat meal. 
I didn't do a workout after work, I just didn't have it in me, but I had a great cardio session this morning, which will start me on my way to a better day.  Today is the last day I have to work at the other store, so I will be back in my comfortable surroundings tomorrow.  I need to remember that there are only so many things I can control about my day, but the ones I am able to control, make all the difference.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Feeling Good

I don't know why or how, but I have been feeling so good this week.  The energy drinks actually feel quite effective, and I have had some really phenomenal workouts.  Even my mood has been better than usual, despite being given the added stress of handling two stores while my supervisor is on vacation.  I don't understand it, but I like it! 
Since I want to get more cardio in this week, and morning is the most effective time (on an empty stomach), I have been doing interval walking each morning, and will do either more cardio or strength training after work for the next few weeks until the reunion.  I actually really enjoy the morning cardio outdoors.  At that hour (5 am) all the little animals are out (ducks, turtles, rabbits, groundhogs, skunks), and by the time my walk is ending I usually get to see a pretty amazing sunrise.  It's a really positive way to start the day.  With my body starting to regulate from being off the medicine, I am feeling like my workouts are really effective, I can actually feel my heart rate climb and fall, and that is great for me physically, but also mentally, because now I can tell my workouts are actually effective; I feel like I'm really getting something out of it.  Combined with the excess water finally starting to flush out of my system, it's looking like I'm in good shape to hit my mark of getting under 150 by August 13.  I think this new goal might finally give me the push I needed to break the 150 plane, I have been close to it, but had a few sticky spots with eating which set me back in the month of June, but I am ready to go full-steam-ahead, and not just because of the reunion.  Mentally, eating unproductive things feels really good for a bit, but then usually, after a while it feels not worth it when I realize what that does to my body, and just how much work it will take to reverse.  Even though I believe in going off plan when your body needs it, sometimes after the fact it puts me on a mind trip. 
So yesterday after work, I had really strong cravings for fat, and we don't have anything really crazy in the house, so I decided to do my strength training to see how that affected my craving.  I had a phenomenal workout, I really pushed myself and it felt so good.  But my craving didn't go away.  So I researched how the hormone levels throughout the month effect women's cravings.  One article said that 75% of women have cravings each month.  It's a wonder any of us are fit!  What I learned is that, when your estrogen starts on the roller coaster of ups and downs, your body produces more cortisol,  which makes your body kick into "fight or flight" mode, and when that is in play, it is looking for more carbs and fats for survival.  Seratonin levels and blood sugar levels are also fluctuating, all leading to cravings.  The article I read said if you crave sweets, that your seratonin levels are out of alignment and you should eat complex carbs (not sugary ones) like brown rice or whole grain breads.  If you crave fats, it means your cortisol level is too high, and you should eat essential fats like salmon, or dishes cooked in my favorite, macadamia nut oil.  By the time I have my body all figured out, I will be going through menopause!  At least it is good to know there is a reason we have these odd cravings, and what to do about them.  I had chicken breast and brown rice with low-sodium soy sauce for dinner and a few strawberries afterword, and when the craving didn't disappear, I had a few handfuls of peanuts and read that article.  It is starting to make a little sense.  Our bodies are amazing!
We here in Wisconsin are in the middle of a heat (and humidity) wave, which makes me so glad that I can finally wear tank tops and not have to hide myself in shame!  What a reward for all the hard work!
Hope everyone is having a great week!  Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Water For Hot Dogs

When my mom had my kids over the 4th of July holiday, my husband and I took a walk on a beautiful trail, accompanied by the Fox River on one side, and beautiful mansion-type houses on the other.  Along the trail we came across a sign nailed to a rustic fence post that read "water for hot dogs".  We looked at each other in puzzlement and I made a comment about how maybe the owners really like hot dogs.  A little way down the trail we saw a bucket of water on the ground labeled "for dogs" and finally all kinds of lights went on.  Hot DOGS, not hot dogs. 
It's funny how the smallest things can confuse you, and then something so simple can put things in the proper order. 
Last week was a crazy week for me, and due to technical difficulties I was on a bloggin hiatus, which made me feel a little restless.  I signed up for my twenty year high school reunion early in the week, and eagerly made a goal of losing ten pounds before then, seeing as how I had a full month to do it.  The following day, I took myself off my blood pressure medicine, which also had a diuretic.  I knew I'd gain weight, and I did, and I knew it would be water weight, but boy is it doing a number on me mentally.  It's not as if I gained an enormous amount, just three pounds, but seeing 156 on the scale again, was really disheartening.  And all the water trapped in my body made me look soft despite all the work I've been putting in.  I walked around feeling jiggly and like I was "going the wrong direction" and even questioning if certain items of clothing even fit anymore.  To make matters worse, over the weekend I was trying to find something to wear to my reunion, and nothing seemed to fit right or look good on me.
Then I told my husband how I'd been feeling and he put it very simply.  You have been on a drug that has been artificially removing excess water from your body for a few years, and now it doesn't have it, what do you think your body is going to do?  Of course it's going to go into a bit of a shock mode and hold onto that water.  You know it's just water, because there's no way you're going to put on three pounds of fat in a week.  And even though I had known all of this, just hearing it from him, put in a simple and compelling way, made it all much clearer to me.  I stopped sulking and immediately my workouts were more effective.  I have also increased my water intake to help flush the excess water out of my system.  Yesterday I drank nearly two gallons of fluid, as it was very hot and humid, and this morning I was a pound lighter.  I guess I expected the water weight to come off easier, but since I do indeed know that it's just water, I know that it will eventually come off, and maybe a bit easier than this past week has been.
My new Oxygen magazine had an article about jiggly arms, and that has been something I've been extremely self-conscious of as of late, so I added a killer 4-move triceps workout, that includes a pre-exhaust.  I have done the workout once, and can tell it is going to be effective.  It's little things like that that get my mind back on track,  in the face of my own setback, I can empower myself to stay positive by making changes that will help me reach my goal.
I still have more than three weeks left until my reunion.  And while I am sitting at 155 this morning, I am thinking just getting under 150 might be a more realistic goal than aiming for a ten pound loss, I am happy with the work I've done thus far.  I would never have considered going to this reunion if I hadn't made these positive changes, and in a way, it will be a huge release for me, to let go of the feelings I have harbored against many of my classmates, for treating me so negatively because even back then, I was one of the heaviest girls in our graduating class.  It's not good to hold on to those feelings for so many years, but feeling disdain for certain people who hurt my feelings, made me feel like I was protecting myself from further insult.  It's time to let it all go, and because I'm in the position to do that, I know I will have more fun than I've ever had with that group of folks, and I'm actually excited about going.  I have decided that if I don't find an outfit I like, I will make one, and in that sense, I am not leaving my satisfaction in anyone else's hands.  Me "owning" my health issues and taking this journey has translated into so many areas of my life, and knowing that I have a great support team is priceless, but knowing that I am empowered to make changes all by myself, makes me increasingly aware that I can handle whatever life throws at me. 
My goals are to do extra cardio this week, keep drinking a ton of fluids, and to work the triceps work into my strength training at least twice this week as it is a muscle group that takes longer to heal for me. 
Hope you all have a great start to your week!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Former Fattie Scores a Beep

Yesterday at work, I was just minding my business, doing all my busy work, when something magical happened.  A song came on the radio, little miss Britney Spears.  It must be said (again) that I am not a fan, lest my image of being a tough chick be tarnished.  But this particular song I like, and even ashamedly admit have it on my iPod for cardio.  I haven't heard the song in a few days, so when it came on, it sounded fresh again, and immediately put me in the moment of doing cardio and being really focused and amped up.  That's when the magic happened; my passion returned. 
For the past little bit, I have been forcing myself to workout, despite wanting to.  There was a time when I didn't feel that way, I used to awake excited to get into my workout because I knew I would feel awesome mentally and physically when I was finished.  The drive was always alive back then, because my body was making huge changes, visible changes and I wanted to keep pushing to prove how strong I was, showing the world that people can change, despite what the naysayers would like to believe.  But somewhere along the line, I started feeling less enthusiastic, and my ho-hum mentality infected my drive to work for what I want.  It's tough to pinpoint when that happened.  Maybe when I started working, maybe when my husband stopped dieting and is now wanting to indulge like I have never seen him indulge since I've known him, maybe when I got to a certain point where I can wear a normal size shirt and look pretty good in clothes, or when I became aware that the contest was coming too quickly for me, and I don't look how I imagined I'd look by now, and then with the 5k out of my way, what's left to aim for?  It's hard to say what the cause was, but I'm gratful that I have had the sense to keep working out and for the most part, still eat clean despite my sagging determination.  Just as I was obese for thirty years, knowing one day I would just hunker down and tackle the problem, I knew if I kept doing the work that one day my drive would return.  And yesterday really turned some things around for me.  People always say that motivation does not involve magic, you just have to make things happen.  I disagree.  The mind is so powerful, and it's emotional connection to the senses is quite magical.  It may have just been a song I was hearing, but the emotion attached to the memory was the magical part that made me remember my vitality and fiesty spirit, and what I was working for.  When I got home after work, I did strength workout, and the mind-muscle connection was so strong, the workout was really effective.  And this morning when I woke up, I wore my sore muscles like a badge, knowing that I can see the muscle when I flex it, which is one of the things I have been dreaming of.   I put on my short shorts and a fitted t-shirt, which made me a little self conscious, but once I saw my muscular legs and my thinner arms, I went with it.  I had an awesome cardio session, could really feel something take flight inside of me, that is so priceless; I wonder if anyone else gets that feeling.  About halfway through my walk, I got a beep.   A double beep, at that.  I think it is really funny when guys do that, really, when has that number ever worked to pick up a chick?  At any rate, that may be the first beep I've gotten in a good many years, and what it did for me was confirm that I am on the right track.  I am not begging for attention from the male population, and am not accustomed to it so it makes me a little uncomfortable/awkward, and I wouldn't want to be with anyone other than my knock-out of a husband, but a little nod of approval made me feel a little vindicated for the years of feeling like people could only feel disgusted when they looked at me.  It's all a mind game, and I am well aware of myself, but I will take the beep for what it's worth.  I'll take the beep for all the people who aren't getting any, and spread it around like goodwill.  I know where beauty lives, and people don't beep for that kind of beauty, but they should.
One quick note before I sign off.  I have been getting more Facebook friend requests than normal lately, and if I don't know the requestor I ignore.  If you want to request me and you've read my blog, please make note of it on your request so I don't ignore.  My e-mail is: 4eyeslv@live.com.  Thanks for reading, have a fantastic, beep-worthy weekend everyone!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Absence Makes Mommy Eat Junk

With my kids at their grandma's house for the week, it should follow that I have had a fantastic week of getting things done, but the exact opposite is true.  In fact, whenever my kids are gone, my mind goes into irresponsible mode and I give myself a free pass to slack on diet and exercise.  Not that I've gone off the deep end, but this week has not been exemplary of the kind of changes that helped me lose seventy pounds over the past few years. 
I was so disgusted by what I ate last Sunday, and how it made me feel, that I thought I would be squeaky clean for a long time.  I envisioned myself doing extra cardio all week, and really watching the numbers fall off the scale.  But on Monday, when my husband started to fantasize about eating yet another cheat meal, the devil on my shoulder came around like the comfortable, old friend I was so accustomed to appeasing my whole life, and I started to raise a naughty eyebrow and say, "yeah, let's do it!  One more, and then we'll be good all week."  But my husband, instigator though he may be, has more of a food conscience than I do.  He has a photo shoot for a modeling agency this weekend, so he is trying to get his already-perfect physique even leaner for the shoot.  After waiting a few hours for him to decide whether or not we were going to indulge, he decided not to, and boy did that do a number on me mentally!  I went ahead and ate my greek yogurt with blueberries (which tasted phenomenal by the way) and sulked a bit, all the while planning a solo cheat meal the following day at work.  I did good at work that day, eating my planned food all day, and reminding myself that I took myself off the cholesterol meds, that I don't need to be creating the same health issues I just rid myself of, defeating myself and nullifying my work.  That only worked for so long before the indulgence came.  I was feeding my mind, which was acting like a spoiled brat for not getting what it wanted.  And once again, I told myself afterword that I would go right back on plan now that I'd gotten what I wanted.  Because I didn't cook for myself that night, I also didn't cook a lunch for myself for the following day (Wednesday), but brought some turkey hot dogs with me to work, so I'd have something.  They are South Beach Diet approved, so I felt OK with that.  But, a sales rep brought lunch from Panera, a local bread/sandwhich shop.  There were turkey sandwhiches on focaccia bread, which I ate, and I also had a huge chocolate macadamia cookie and a healthy serving of chicken and fruit salad, which in reality, should have been the only thing I ate.  The rest of the day I ate clean, and repeated (without the cookie and chicken salad) yesterday.  Today, I am finally going to eat those turkey dogs I brought for lunch two days ago. 
I think I have indeed been a lot more active with my kids gone, at least.  My husband and I have been going for extra walks, exploring new trails or just around the neighborhood.  And though I skipped my cardio yesterday morning, when I got home, it was perfect weather, and I knocked it out while my husband was at the gym.  I am so homesick for my kids, and can't wait to see them.  I wonder if some of my eating issues are for comfort from missing them so much when they are gone.  At any rate, I pick them up tomorrow morning, so everything will go back to normal.  We found a fantastic babysitter who has experience working with special needs kids, so we are breathing a sigh of relief as we begin yet another new chapter.  Plus, we finally hired another optician at work, so help will be on the way soon.  Everything is coming together nicely.
Life is pretty amazing.  When you are in the middle of the cabbage, it seems so hard to understand, but it all seems to work itself out on the other side.   I'm looking forward to cleaning up my act and exerting myself more, and in time, seeing more positive results.
Hope you are all geared up for a fantastic weekend!  Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Too Much of a Bad Thing

Last night was a planned night of extreme indulgence, and it doubled as a learning experience.  My kids are spending the week at my mom's house, a couple hours drive away.  Most couples would probably plan out something really fun to do on a holiday weekend, but for my uber-fit husband and this trying-to-get-there wife, we are all about food.  We eat clean all the rest of the week, so when we have a chance to venture out and eat some deliciously naughty food, it really feels like a treat. 
We started off with an early dinner at our favorite cozy spot, Tucson's.  The service there is always stellar, and the atmosphere is refreshingly relaxed, the food is always good.  I usually keep it clean and get the ahi tuna fajitas and just eat it without the tortillas, but tonight was a planned cheat and with us not having the kids, it lowered our inhibitions more than usual.  I ordered a dish called Chicken El Cortez, which is basically death-by-cheese, with a little bit of panko-crusted chicken thrown in for good measure.  I was only about quarter of the way through when I began to feel myself getting full.  I had eaten some chips and salsa before my meal, and gulped down a diet coke, so I already had a lot to deal with before my extremely rich, heavy meal arrived.  The taste of that dish was a total knockout, very crave-worthy.  I gave a good amount to my husband, just so there wouldn't be any leftovers.  We were trying to decide whether or not to go get some ice cream from a local custard shop, and of course we decided to do it.  We each had a frozen blender treat with bits of sweet stuff in it, for him a reeces peanut butter cup blender, for me a turtle blender.  Two bites into it, I regreted eating it, but did I stop?  No.  We paid good money for this, so I better just eat it.  The ice cream (or custard, whatever it was) was over-the-top sweet to begin with, then there was a layer of carmel running through it and sugared pecans.  Blech!  After eating it, I could just feel the lactose in my system, and was anticipating the GI distress I would likely be experiencing later.  But this was our night, our entitlement to enjoy ourselves by way of our mouths, so the evening continued.  After the ice cream, we went for a walk on the beautiful Fox River trail, the one where I ran my 5K.  While we were walking, I kept remembering how it felt to be running there.  Although I wasn't enjoying the exersion of running, the feeling that kept me going was the fact that I am now healthy and fit enough to run a 5K, where many many other people (who looked of average size and health) had to stop and walk for a while.  I, the former heart attack candidate, was actually doing something that not everyone can do.  And with my cheese and ice cream filled, protruding gut, I was walking along the same path on a hot, sticky day, feeling like all I wanted to do was go take a nap with the air conditioner blasting.  What a difference clean eating makes in how my body feels! 
We went to rent a movie next, then off to the buy some alcohol.  What an all-american evening we mapped out for ourselves!  I had once tried some Lambrusco with a meal at our favorite Indian restaurant, and loved it, so I got a bottle of lambrusco, which was really difficult to find.  My husband likes to experiment with beer from different countries, so he got 3 bottles and then we got a small bottle of Captain Morgan's spiced rum to mix with Diet Coke. 
By 9 PM we were watching our rented movie, (Cedar Rapids) which provided a few laughs, and drinking.  Normally, that would sound like such a drag, but it seemed right in line with the rest of our gut-busting indulgent day.  The wine was not what I was expecting, it was really sugary and weak, and after drinking 3 glasses I was stone sober and uncomfortably full.  I switched to rum, which instantly made me feel better since I mixed it with Diet Coke.  The night ended, for me, after a second rum drink, and me falling asleep watching Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  My sleep was not great, and during the times I was awake, I kept thinking to myself, I can't believe I used to live like this, it's really not even enjoyable to me anymore.  My body feels like garbage and whatever fulfillment I was expecting to get out of my fantasy of a mega-indulgence just didn't happen.  It just isn't worth it. 
This morning I awoke, begrudgingly, with a dizzy head, burning stomach, and feeling really dehydrated.  But after the way last night's indulgences made my body feel, I knew which way I wanted to feel today, so I strapped on my shoes and hit the pavement.  The sun felt good on my bare shoulders, and I did a fairly low intensity walk, but afterword, I felt much better.  Today will consist of drinking a lot of fluids, eating squeaky clean, and enjoying the company of my handsome husband.  We may see a matinee of Water for Elephants, which looks like a phenomenal movie, and maybe a nature walk or a trip to the beach before capping the night off with fireworks.  Tomorrow, it's back to work, and it will be business as usual.  I don't even feel tempted to eat anything off plan today, it was really the ice cream that was the kicker for me.  Every time I think of it I shiver in disgust, which is a great way to keep myself from wanting sweets of any kind.  In that manner, I am glad I ate that sickeningly-sweet disaster last night.  Sometimes the fantasy of a thing is much more fulfilling than the actual happening.  For me, the way my body feels when I put the right things in it, is enough to keep me from indulging like that for a good long time. 
Happy 4th of July to my American readers, and for my other readers, I hope you had an awesome start to your week!