Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hands in the Air

Yesterday's lackluster look at a year of progress was partly due to the fact that I have been having issues getting good sleep lately.  Last night, I finally slept long and deep and awoke feeling so refreshed!  What a great feeling.
After spending some time reading other weight loss blogs, I am realizing that it is tradition for many many people to put off getting healthy or committing to plan until the new year.  That is exactly the mentality I am familiar with, and have used for decades.  And, it doesn't just pertain to the holidays.  There have been so many times when I have procrastinated getting on plan (or back on plan) until after a certain day or event, or series of events.  The truth is, whenever I give myself permission to indulge for a set amount of time, I find it hard to not let that snowball, as something else always comes up.  I can always find a reason to put it off, and can justify it until I'm blue.  But what I am learning is that, by simply not allowing that mentality lessens my slip-ups.  If it is a week that I have planned to be on track all week, and I want something counterproductive to eat, it is much harder to put that something in my mouth.  When I have allowed myself a "break" from clean eating, I don't even give food (or my health, for that matter) a second thought, whatever I want at the moment, goes right in, because I know I am going to buckle down on said day in the future.  That mentality led me down a very dark path, and now that I have taken the time to analyze this negative pattern, I am going to refrain from using it.  It might be reduced to a trick of the mind, but in the bitter battle against the bulge, the mind is such a huge factor!  That doesn't mean I am not going to have bad days or weeks, but it holds me more accountable to remember that it isn't planned.  Moreover, when I do get off track, I am going to make a genuine effort to start fresh the very next meal, instead of waiting until Monday, as I usually do, which is just a way of giving myself a free pass to eat any crazy thing I want for whatever time until Monday morning.  That is a sure sign of non-committence, and in the future, will be a red-flag for me to refocus on my inspirations and aspirations.  It all goes back to accountability and responsibility.  As a parent, I have been scolding myself for things I do that I would not allow my kids to do, which has been a somewhat effective way of keeping my mind straight.  It could be something as simple as wearing a hat in the cold weather, as I stand outside waiting for them after school, shivering with a bare head and I say to myself, would I allow my kids to stand out here without a hat in this weather?  And from that, I decide to take care of myself at least as well as I would my children.  So, as far as the giving myself a free pass for a month of holidays, would I let my kids eat whatever their hearts desired from now until Jan 1?  Hell no!  And for that matter, I would be frightened to let that happen for even a full week.  So, the same goes for me, if I wouldn't allow my kids to do it, I know it is not a healthy decision.  This mentality has helped me out of a jam more than once lately.  And in the end, it makes a good role model of me, and lessens my likelyhood of being a hypocrite.  All positive results!
So, today feels like a fresh start, of sorts, 'day 1" of my second year of my quest for a fantastic physique and continued health rewards.  I started paying a lot of attention to my posture and gait, as my hips and knees have been so irritated lately.  Granted, the frigid weather isn't helping.  Yesterday was a bit of a breakthrough of sorts.  I have had hip problems for more than a decade now, and my knee started acting up a year ago, I either never paid attention to or never delved that deeply into the cause, I just thought it was due to weak leg muscles and being way too obese.  But yesterday when I was walking on the treadmill, it was a light went on as I realize how much I rotate my knee when I walk.  That realization led to another: I rotate my knee to avoid feeling strain in my hip.  And the strain in my hip is caused by really bad posture.  My habit, when I am standing still, is to have my knees touching each other and locked, with my calves somewhat spread apart.  if that sounds absurd, it's because it is.  I think it is because my calves have always been so big, that if I stood with my feet together, the calves would touch or press off one another.  Because I lock my knees, I am using my hips to support my upper body, with my pelvis tipped forward, and my shoulders scrunched down.  Honestly, I must look a mess.  Basically, I feel like I am avoiding using my quads, glutes and hamstrings to stand, which is completely without logic!  Once I softened my knees and forced the right muscles to support me, all the pain in my hips disappeared!  And I have been focusing on maintaining better posture while walking, and it feels like I am gliding instead of clunking around or walking like an old lady due to sore hips.  Best of all, I feel like my lower body is strengthening, just overnight, by using the correct muscles and actually paying attention to it instead of being on autopilot.  What a difference a day makes!  Before I figured that out, I was fully expecting that I would be one of those ladies who has to get hip replacement surgery before the age of 50.  So, I am well on my way to solving a bad habit already, and it feels so nice, physically.
Today I forced myself to do a weight session.  I don't know why I dread doing them these days, but I did it.  I know it is the essential key to getting the physique of my dreams, so much more than cardio, but it has been so hard to talk myself into doing it lately.  It is a bad habit I need to get out of.  That's what this new year is for, breaking bad habits and improving on good ones.  And what is new for me, is that I am starting today, not waiting around for some magical date on the calendar or some silly food-based holidays to pass.  Life is going to come weather or not I feel ready to overcome challenges.  It's not just a black and white choice to  either seek comfort in things that end up disappointing me, or chose to be more powerful than my weaknesses.  Instead, I choose to live in the grey area, and in a very flawed and spectacular human fashion, I choose to try.  To try to make good choices, and to forgive myself and move on when I don't.  That is the beauty of the grey area, and we are ever able to edit and restructure things as we grow and learn. 
Life may be a rollercoaster, but I for one, am going to be sitting in the front seat with my hands in the air.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Year Passes

One year has passed since I began this journey toward health, and lately I have been getting down on myself for my lack of discipline, but when I see a photo of myself anytime before November of last year, I think God, is that really the way I looked?  It is amazing what you don't see when you have been stuck in the same spot for years.  In my naivite, I imagined I could reach my goal weight in a year's time, but once the silly contest ended, it was a bit of an eye opener for me. 
Looking ahead to the coming year, I know I will have many challenges ahead of me, adding college into an already chaotic schedule, but if I have learned anything about myself in the past year, it is that I am stronger than I ever imagined, resourceful, and so very worth every minute spent putting myself first. 
I hesitate to set a defined goal for myself for the year, as I really don't know what to expect from my body.  I know it is harder to lose fat/weight as your fitness level increases, I know that there will have to be dietary changes and workout tweaking, along with much learning about my body and my limits.  I know that no matter the formula, it absolutely must include daily reignition of the spark that started it in the first place, and reasoning with myself when my emotions, stress and anxiety get the better of me.  Wise choices will lead me where I want to go, sure and steady.  I originally began this, in part, wanting to look and feel better than ever by the time I hit 40, and that is still 13 months away, so it is totally possible.  Heck, I already do look and feel better than I have in years! 
My areas of focus for the next year?  More consistent schedule of weight training, focus on correcting posture/gait to help my knees, and upping the ante on the cardio with some longer sessions and some more intense sessions.  Maybe try some more plyometrics or interval mix of cardio and weights. 
As I begin the next chapter of my journey, I continue to be excited by the prospect of being in control of making my dreams come true.   A tight, healthy physique, a cute and trendy wardrobe, a new lease on life!  I am more than halfway there.  And to be honest, the toughest part was making the committement to begin in the first place.  So, the hard work is already done, the rest is just fun and rewards.
Thanks for following along on my journey!  Here's to the start of another great year!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Love Mondays

I am so happy my husband will be home tonight.  This is the longest we've been apart in years, and it caused me to behave out of character, spending long stretches eating to try to comfort the absence, and wasting so much time on mindless computer games to keep myself busy so as not to think about it too much.  I was prepared to be a little sad when he left, a normal response I think, but I wasn't prepared for how much anxiety it caused me, seemingly for no reason.  I'm sure there's a reason there, but not evident to me. 
My entire weekend ended up so counterproductive.  At best, I did some cardio on Friday, and a few sets of a leg exercise to strengthen the muscle that holds the knee cap in place, as the thing keeps slipping around.  Each night since Thursday, I have gone to bed with my stomach feeling aweful, my body feeling jiggly and bloated, thinking, I'm glad this is not my normal eating habit anymore, eating clean makes my entire body feel so much better. 
By Sunday night, I was already preparing for the week, making meals and planning my workouts, getting ready to challenge myself on that treadmill.  That put my mind in a healthy place, and got me refocused.  I don't like how being off track makes me feel.  My husband leaves again, just overnight this time, in a couple weeks, and I will challenge myself to not let things go so astray.  I'm sure, as he becomes more successful in his modeling ventures, he will be gone more frequently, I cannot allow my health to be effected by that, I have to be a strong role model for my kids, and this weekend I was anything but. 
I entered a contest at work called "Maintain, Don't Gain".  It basically equates to a weigh-in before the holidays, and another weigh-in in early January.  Those who gain less than 2 pounds earn wellness points which after a certain number banked, turn to cash.  I love that my company is so health conscious and rewards me for looking after my health.  It shouldn't have to be that way, that we only do something if we are rewarded monitarily, but it is definitely a driving force.  I want to actually see a loss on that scale when I hop back on.  To me, that is the real reward. 
On Saturday, before the leg workout, I did some cardio dancing for fun and to take the edge off my anxiety, and it helped me to realize that part of the key to my staying motivated, is actually seeing my arm muscles.  I have been so covered up since fall began, that I never look at my body to see where I am at.  I wore a tank top when I was dancing on Saturday, and it was almost as if I was surprised to see muscle tone on my arms, it really made me feel great!  So even though my progress has been stagnant for months, at least I haven't gone totally off the rails and lost everything I have worked for.  I have been successfully maintaining my loss, which isn't a bad place to be.  With a little thought and effort, I am right back in the game, and in time, the losses will start happening again.
If anything, Monday to me, represents an opportunity for a fresh start.  Here's to a great week!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Glut of the Gut

The Black Friday food hangover is evident in every face I have met today.  Even my kids are looking like sleepy little balls of unmotivation, despite having a relatively mellow day. 
My husband flew off to Puerto Rico yesterday morning, and it completely overwhelmed me all yesterday.  He will only be gone until Monday, doing a photo shoot with a somewhat known photographer there, but watching him drive off, and having him away for a holiday, made it tough on me.  I got a huge knot in my stomach and lump in my throat as I was watching him finish packing, and rechecking his itinerary.  Then, after he pulled out of the driveway, I started pacing, so much nervous energy.  I immediately got the urge to comfort eat.  So after about an hour of slowly getting the kids ready, we went to do a little shopping for a mix of winter/Christmas/food shopping.  And by food, I mean non-food, calorie/sugar/fat-laden junk.  But after bingeing on it, I still felt empty and edgy. 
We went to my mother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving dinner, which is always so warm and welcoming, but all I kept thinking about was her son, my husband, and praying for each leg of his travel to go without a hitch.  Dinner was fantastic and we ate reasonable amounts, followed by pumpkin pie.  However, after indulging in all the snacks beforehand, we were all so overfull to the point of discomfort.  That is the Thanksgiving tradition, right?  An excuse for glutonous comsumption of food and alcohol.  Thankfully, I didn't indulge in any alcohol, I had nowhere to put it! 
As we were leaving, my husband called; a rare treat as most of our conversations these days happen by way of text messages.  Just hearing his voice made me choke up, though it was a fairly uneventful conversation.  It made me realize how much of a hole there would be inside of me if we were ever separated.  Ah, absence, you can suck it!
When the kids and I got home, we put up our tiny tree and decorated it with our humble homemade decorations.  I nibbled on a few candy canes while we decorated, not really wanting them, and still overfull, but still trying to fill all the empty inside of me.  We all went to bed full and swearing never to eat that much again.  Another tradition.  By the time I went to bed, I had already planned to get up and do cardio this morning, to try and combat both my mindless eating and all the extra calories consumed yesterday.  I slept horribly, left my phone on "vibrate" in case my husband texted to let me know he'd made it to Puerto Rico, even though he told me he wouldn't because it would be too late.  Everytime it buzzed I had to look.  I was up a lot.  So when the alarm woke me at 4:50am, I nearly didn't get up, but I knew I had to.  And the cardio session was awesome.  I had my usual breakfast and some coffee, and by the time we left the house I felt fairly good, despite.  While it defies good sense, I weighed myself, just to see how much damage I did yesterday.  I could tell I was retaining a ton of water by how tight my ring got overnight, but the scale showed only 1 pound gained.  Today will be all about intaking fluids. 
I feel a little better today, mentally, and don't have as much nervous, displaced energy.  I think the boys and I will have a fun weekend, and we will be welcoming my husband home before we know it.  Then, I will be able to get back to the treadmill, and that will be very therapeudic.  If anything, it has been yet another learning experience.  I think it was the Barenaked Ladies who said "Absence makes the heart grow fungus."  I don't know about that, but it sure does make me binge! 
So with a sigh, I release yet another glutonous holiday from my mind, and gear up on getting in a good place before the next one hits!
Hope you all had a great week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Addicted...To Cardio??

I am starting to get addicted to walking on the treadmill.  That is a bizarre confession for me, being that I used to detest the unnatural feeling of walking on one.  This morning I woke nearly an hour earlier than needed, already excited about my workout.  That is not normal, I realize, and I am taking it for the blessing that it is.  I did an hour of low intensity interval cardio this morning, and as the TV they have in the room never seems to have a signal, I had a full hour to stare at the machine and formulate a plan.  Challenge, it seems, really puts that sparkle in my eye, and drives me.  Next week, I will try all four levels on the machine, fat burning, intermediate, advanced and interval.  All of them actually have interval characteristics, in that the machine adjusts both the speed and incline after a set number of minutes, but they are all laid out differently.  It will be an interesting experiment.  I can tell which muscles got activated by the incline being increased the past two days.  I think it will lead to a great looking lower body eventually.
I have been thinking a lot about body image lately.  A couple weeks ago, when I was bingeing nearly non-stop, and my clothes fit snug and I was depressed about the turn I'd taken, when I looked at my body, I saw only bad.  All the fat still hanging off my middle, my wrinkled, dry face, flabby legs and arms.  All I could see was what I didn't like, and it made me feel like I was a failure and didn't have the strength to conquer my demons.  Now that I have been on track for a few weeks, even after having an over-indulgent weekend, I can look at my body more objectively.  Yes, I still don't like all the fat around my stomach(s) and on my hips, but I can actually see some shape taking form in the way of the start of some abs.  No, not a six pack, not even a one-pack, but flatter in some areas that have never been flat.  At least, not that I can recall.  And when I was on the treadmill today, I tried to figure out what my goal weight should be, and I am thinking somewhere around 130 will be good for my height and desired muscle tone.  That means that, as of today's weight, I only have 25 pounds left to lose.  It hit me then, that more than the fact of it being years since I lost X amount of pounds, it has been years and years since I was only 25 pounds overweight.  I remember my senior year of high school, I wanted to join the Army, and they told me to lose nine pounds and I felt like it was impossible.  Back then it was popular myth that starving yourself, skipping breakfast, replacing several meals with rice cakes, and jogging would lead to a Twiggy-type physique, so I followed the flock.  I lost five of the nine pounds in one week, then ended up bingeing for weeks after.  And the lose-then-binge yo-yo-coaster was almost non-stop until I hit a major depression in college, then it was all binge for most of a decade.  All of that led to my issues with hypertension and high cholesterol (and ignorance that it was the sugar-not the fat-consumption that was quietly killing me). 
So here I am, finally kicking butt, and feeling great.  I have been so much more happy and productive at work, and stress doesn't effect me as much when I am making healthy choices compared to when I am eating poorly and getting little movement.  I have taken my health back, and that makes me nearly invincible.  In the past (and even quite recently) I have been disappointed that motivation usually comes after starting, NOT before, but now I see it more as a tool in my repetoir.  I know that once I begin to make a healthy choice, I am already on my way to where I want to go.  Good choices build upon themselves.  And simply making the decision to begin is one of the healthiest choices for mind and body.  After all, how many people go to the trouble of dipping a foot in the pool, if they are not going to at least swim a lap or two? 
This Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for my health.  Many people say it, but it really means a lot to me that on the verge of really messing up my life, I can say I made the commitment to myself to not throw in the towel.  I am also thankful to everyone who reads my modest little blog.   I have surpassed a thousand page views, which seems a little surreal, but means the world to me.  I appreciate all the support and understanding.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Road to Extraordinary

When I was 200+ pounds, I couldn't walk on a treadmill.  Oh, I tried, so many times.  But despite my valiant efforts, I always felt off-balance, with a bizzare stride and in the end, spent more time focusing on my awkwardness than my workout.  So, needless to say, I was a bit skeptical this morning as I stepped into the cardio room at my apartment complex.  The room holds two bikes, two treadmills and an eliptical machine.  I chose the treadmill, determined to make it work, because I am really tired of walking back and forth in my apartment. 
Long story short, I had an awesome workout!  It didn't feel awkward at all, and the only time I lost my balance was when I tried to speed up too quickly.  Seeing my speed on the screen actually drove me to work harder.  If I could hit 3.3 solidly, then the next interval I tried 3.4, until I finally hit 3.5mph and while I was doing it, I realized that I was likely walking faster than I could run.  By the time I stepped off, I felt so awake and warm, I was even perspiring a little bit, which hasn't happened in some time.  Which made me wonder if I have been pushing myself enough. 
My greatest triumph is this, I spent all weekend eating junk, really indulging, and by noontime yesterday, I was so over it, and ready to go back to a healthy lifestyle.  And not only that, but looking toward the future.  I even looked at my progress objectively, and looked at how far I have yet to go, and realized that in order to get to extraordinary, you have to get through ordinary on the way.  I am not quite to ordinary yet, but I will continue my quest for normal.  For me that means, not being the one who is heavier or saggier or softer than most people in the room, but being quite unremarkable in pysique.  That's where I will separate myself from the crowd and push toward extraordianary.  My time is coming, and I will revel in it!
Yesterday I saw an ad for a gym and it said this: "Nothing is impossible.  Even the word says 'I'm possible'"  That is really powerful.  And it will help drive me.  I have a feeling it is going to be a very productive winter, having that cardio equipment and a home gym at my disposal.  I am excited to see what develops by spring time!
Hope your week is starting out great!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stress: Not Always Necessary

You know that saying when it rains, it pours?  It's so true!  The past two weeks have been so stressful for me, and it has been multiplying and folding over upon itself.  Sometimes I wonder how I have the strength to keep it all together, then I see my children and even their incessant fighting can't draw me away from the fact that they are the very light of my existence. 
Today's stresses include last night's news that our current babysitter may not be able to watch our kids for much longer (looong sigh) and the headache of having to find a new daycare/sitter that can watch autistic children is one I'm not ready to take on just yet.  But it won't wait long.
I also got my 6 mo performance review at work today, and while most of it was positive, and my boss herself thinks I rock, there is one person in particular, a manager from another department who always has her nose in everyone else's business, who had some really negative things to say, including that I should work on my posture, so that I portray confidence.  As Julia Child would say, balls to that!  That is getting a little personal, don't you think?  The company I work for is so bizarre because they want us to treat it like it's a private company, but it's corporate.  So many intricate details and policies, yet so little training.  And since it's a health clinic, my department (optical sales) is an after thought at best, unless someone has a complaint.  Anyway, the way I see it, this time of year it is easy to tell who is miserable, by how miserable they want to make everyone around them.  This week I have been witness to some stressed-out people screaming at each other in public; perfect strangers irked by one another.  One was at the bus stop yesterday, when the kids were getting on the bus, a car drove past the bus and one mom started pointing and yelling at the car, who promptly pulled over to confront her.  They yelled back and forth, and it ended with the mom calling the cops.  It turns out, the driver of the car was correct, the bus driver didn't have his stop sign out, because none of the kids were crossing the street.  Its hard to watch people being so ugly to each other over so little.   I mean, I see both sides, but they could have resolved it without making a scene.
Me?  I am just coasting along, happy that there is no snow on the ground yet.  Happy that Friday is just one day away.  Happy for my health and a good job and for my family.  People will always have ways to stress you out if you let them.  A little kindness goes a long way in this world.  And for what that doesn't cover, there is strength of mind and sound reasoning.
I could have easily slipped to the other side of this diet so many times, but I am grateful for my will being strong right now.  This makes all the stress of the past few weeks much easier to swallow.  Now how's that for a turn around?  Instead of turning to junk food to try and make me feel like my life is manageable, I am turning against that sort of food, and it's the latter that is making me feel better.  And, despite having done only 1 cardio session and 1 weight session, I have lost 4 pounds since going back on the keto phase.  All my clothes fit better and I have more energy.  And best yet, I have a dream again.  A dream of the 140's , and then, of the 130"s and maybe, that will be where I can peacefully exist for a good long time.  It is so close I can just about smell it! 
Here's to a killer weekend!  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sunshine is Coming

Yesterday was a series of stressful events, including getting written up at work, and while I indulged in a one-man complaint fest, I didn't allow myself to comfort with food.  By the end of the night, I was stressed out and irritated with everyone.  I was an emotional wreck. 
It is really hard for me to let go of yesterday's stress, but I am resolving to turn my week around.  I will chalk it up to being a bad Monday, and move on.  At least, that's my plan.
It has also been really hard to talk myself into doing cardio in the mornings, despite having access to a nice fitness room at my complex.  It requires walking outside in the shivery-cold, dark morning, and usually I have several layers and blankets on me inside the house and am still shivering.  It is an excuse, and I need to stop allowing it.  My husband's schedule at work changed, which means our morning routines clash, and it has me a little discombobulated.  I will find my groove again, it'll just take a little extra planning.  It is affording me a little more sleep in the morning, which is nice, but I could be putting that time to much more productive use.
I am so looking forward to the sunshine making an appearance today, and I am especially looking forward to this weekend, when I can have a warm, and flavorful cheat meal with my boys.  My husband has a gig booked (a paid modeling appearance) on Friday, so I'll probably take my kids for a nice meal and maybe ice cream.  I may not have anything sweet, but I may have a few glasses of wine once they are in bed. 
Ah, sweet weekend, hurry along!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sugar vs Cocaine

I had a pretty great weekend, I must say, and my smart choices led to a budge in the scale, at long last.  The peace and rest on Friday were so therapeudic.  My knee has been slowly feeling better.  I think I have self diagnosed it as sublaxation, where the knee cap slips off place and then slips back on.  Thankfully, it is something that can be fixed by strengthening the VMO (vastus medialis oblique) muscle, it's part of the quads.  So, Saturday I did a full three cirucuit weight session including some squats and step-ups, though I had to modify them to keep the pressure on the knee to a minimum.  I am going to make a more concentrated effort to strengthen this area, so as not to continue having these issues, which make arthritis a lot more likely.
My diet has been really good, despite having to improvise on occassion due to lack of groceries at certain points.  Even when my kids were having snacks, I was fine.  I had one chip from each of them and was fine with stopping there.  My "treat" was a diet A&W root beer,  which tasted like dessert! 
Yesterday I got the cleaning bug, and cleaned out my garage and patio, and got ready for (ugh!) winter.  Then, we took a walk to a convenience store to get some coffee and the kids picked out a snack.  Again, I had one piece of each of their snacks and stopped.  The walk ended up being about 2 miles round trip.  Then, after a little more cleaning, we went to our local aquatic center and played our hearts out!  My kids loved it.  I was so exhausted from all the activity (plus some high intensity cardio earlier in the morning) and by the end of the night, my nose was stuffy and I was starting to cough.  Ugh!  Sick again.  Oh well, it's that time of year!  At least there is no snow in the forecast for this week.
My husband and I were daydreaming about moving someplace warm and snowless.  He has a few friends that live in Florida, and we were just talking hypothetically about what if.  I  have always had an unwarranted, really negative feeling about FL, but just the fact that it doesn't snow there is enough to make me agree to move there, if the cards were in place.  I could actually use my optical license there, which would likely equate to a better wage than I make now.  And there would be an ample amount of modeling work there for my husband.  It was just a thought in passing.  Every year around this time, we start dreaming of living anywhere that it doesn't snow.  Last week when we got that rain/snow mix, one of my husband's coworkers got in a car accident due to slippery roads, and is now in a coma.  This is why I hate snow.
I am feeling good heading into week 2 of my ketogenic diet, no sugar cravings, despite hormonal influx, which is quite remarkable!  I was deciding whether to start adding in good carbs this week, or hold out another week, and I decided to stick with it one more week, because I am doing so good and it is making me stronger mentally.  The whole thing is building on itself.  It truly helps that my husband has been keeping his diet much cleaner as well.  We didn't even have a family cheat meal this weekend, due more to finances than resolve, but it didn't even bother me.  We will have one this weekend, likely on Friday, and I will try to keep it sane.  The last thing I want to do is throw myself back into sugar cravings.  I can see why some nutrition and fitness experts consider sugar poison.  For people who are sensitive to it, like me, the addiction is nearly immediate and so strong.  I once saw an interview with Tom Arnold (Rosanne's ex-husband) at a point where he'd dropped a bunch of weight by some form of low-carb diet, and he said he'd beaten both the addiction of sugar and cocaine, and sugar was the much harder habit to kick.  That is profound!
Well, here's hoping your week gets off to a great start, and if you live someplace warm and sunny, count your blessings, I'm sincerely jealous!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Small Victories

This week has certainly presented me with enough stress, which is a huge trigger for me wanting to self-comfort with food.  Luckily, I have been able to work through the challenges and stay on-task, but I'm not going to lie, it was tough! 
Today, however, I have the day off, and I have been indulging in relaxation and the all-too-rare quiet that is blanketing my apartment.  To my absolute delight, I don't even feel like eating anything off plan today, which is usually a fight I have with myself when I am alone, and have no one to witness or answer to. 
I really enjoyed watching Good Morning America and the Nate Berkus Show, they bring back bittersweet memories of being unemployed and beginning my weight loss journey.  More than that, the Nate Berkus show got my creativity flowing, and it got me excited about changing my interior design and wardrobe.  I need a wardrobe makeover so bad.  I don't feel like my clothes represent who I am.  Then again, I live in a place where it is absurd to wear a dress in any month that falls between September and April.  That leaves me wearing old baggy workout gear and my one, lonely pair of jeans with some long sleeved T shirts.  Not exactly a fashion diva's wardrobe.  I am finding that clothes are a huge motivator for me.  When I was in a department store with my family last week,  I felt so inspired by the really cute clothes they were selling, in sizes I would like to be someday.  I left the store feeling iron-clad in my resolve.  Then again today, after watching Nate, I felt like working toward a physique that would allow me to design the type of wardrobe I would be delighted to wear.  Eating unproductive junk will ruin that, and I will be doomed to wear dreaded casual, boring gear indeffinitely.  So, I am going to keep my focus on that, and see how far it can drive me. 
The good news that interrupted the stress of the week, is that I got accepted back to college!!  I can finally start working toward my career in psychology and autism.  It will be a long, long road, but well worth it.  As the weight loss journey has taught me time and again, anything worthwhile is worth the struggle.    So, my life will get a little more complicated in January when I begin classes, but I say, bring it on! 
My knee is still acting strange, slipping in and out of alignment, but the pain has lessened considerably.  And when it is in the right place, I can use it freely.  This morning I took advantage of it being good, and got a quick session of cardio in.  I would have been upset with myself if I let the opportunity slip, since the knee was agreeing with me and I had the day off.  I may get an upper body workout in this weekend, and if the knee allows, some more cardio.  I now have access to a bunch of cardio equipment at my complex's leasing office, and am eager to try it out.    As far as diet goes, it has been a very successful week for me.  That feels like a small victory, and one I'm looking forward to experiencing more frequently. 
Hope you are having small victories of your own.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let the Snow Hating Begin

My diet is going good, and my knee is starting to come around.  There is something funky happening inside it, where things pop and move out of place, and it feels horrible for a bit, then it cracks or pops again and feels better.  It is kind of unsettling, but at least I am far more mobile than I was on Monday.
It's just in time for the dreaded, was-supposed-to-miss-us, its-far-too-early-in-the-season-for-it SNOW.  If you are new to my blog, you will not know just the extent to which I despise driving in snow.  Complicated by my natural nervous-driver state and tires that are just about bald.  I am gratful that my work and my kids' school are both very close to home, so my winter driving is limited.  That being said, I start to stress out about winter driving in the preceeding spring.  I like to plan ahead.
I realized something yesterday, and maybe I knew it before, but I was reminded of how clear my mind seems when I am eating right.  I guess when it's not filled with self-hatred and doubt, the mind has more functional space and clarity.  Whatever the case, being back on track has made me feel pretty great.  I have decided not to work out this week.  Partly because of the knee, and partly to experiment.  I want to see how much weight I can lose without exercise, but with keeping a consistenly clean diet, and test out the old theory that diet is 80% of your physique.  I know I need to add it back in soon, but since I'm already taking time for the knee, now's a good time to experiment.  As far as I can tell, I haven't lost any weight yet.  It is a bit tricky being that I didn't weigh myself at the proper time on Monday ( I did it after eating and drinking).  Yesterday and today I was 158.  I have been constantly thirsty due to the lack of carbs for water retention, but I actually feel good about drinking more fluids, so it's a positive.
My energy level has been good, surprisingly.  I am getting my carbs strictly from the dairy (lactose) that I am eating and veggies.  And I am finding that I have actually been looking forward to my meals.  Not just because my metabolism is so amped up, but because the food is tasty.  Simply adding green olives or sunflower nuts (which both have good essential fats) makes things taste so good that I don't miss the carbs at all.  And the absolute best thing that always comes from starting back at phase 1 is that my sugar cravings have disappeared.  Though my other cravings have been very few, they crop up when I am hungry.  I have adjusted my eating schedule so I eat every 2 to 2.5 hours instead of trying to wait it out for 3 hours.  My metabolism is really revved up from the clean food.    I am really gratful that there haven't been any catered lunches to tempt me, but I think I am in a strong enough place that I can resist.
Friday I took the day off of work to use up some vacation hours I have amassed, that will be a true test, because I will be alone all day with no one but myself to answer to.  If I feel how I do now, it will be a piece of cake!  No pun intended.
Well, I'm headed out into the snow to grit my teeth and white-knuckle it over the kids school.  If I can handle Wisconsin winters, losing weight should be nothing.  Or, is it the other way around?
Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Knees Hate Me!

My date night with my husband was nice, but it went all too fast.  We went to one of our favorite restaurants, which is nearly impossible to get a table on a Saturday night, but we walked right in and were seated immediately.  Dinner was everything we'd hoped it would be, and he even left his phone alone out of respect.  Next we went to see the Rum Diary, which I really enjoyed.  There again, we are usually lucky to get a front row seat and have to crane our necks all night to see the screen, but this time we got really good seating.  Everything went our way.  After the movie, we went to get some ice cream, and before I knew it, we were relieving my father-in-law and tucking the kids into bed.  It was a really nice evening, and a much-needed night to reconnect as a couple.
My diet was as atrocious as it's ever been this weekend!  I ate a mountain of sweets and fats, and by Sunday night, it was glaringly obvious how out of control the sugar beast was.  I was already planning on going back to phase 1, the ketogenic phase of South Beach, and now I wasn't in denial about why it was not only a good thing, but essential to my well-being.  Seeing all the really cute clothes out right now, I started to get back to an exciting place, mentally, really gearing up for a successful refire.  Then, we brought the kids to a park to burn off some of their energy, and my older son begged me to join him on the merry-go-round.  I happily obliged.  But when I tried to push off, my already irritated knee made a horrible sound and I knew something was not good.  Thankfully, I can still walk on it, but my mobility is limited and slow.  No workouts for a while, except maybe some upper body weight work this week.  It is feeling bruised this morning, but some of the swelling went down, so I am praying for a quick recovery.  It is almost a year to the date that this very thing happened to me, and that was what drove me to start my journey.  So it is fitting that this would happen again when I am needing to restart.
So my goal for the week is to keep my diet squeaky clean and take in lots of fluids.  I have already told my husband that if we do have a "cheat meal" this weekend, that I will not be having anything off-plan, which still allows me some really tasty fajitas from our favorite restaurant.  I have been painfully aware that I need to fix the broken path I've been on, what better time to get back in the game.  I really hope I can stick with it this time.  Unfortunately, I have been so out of the habit of weighing myself lately, that I forgot to do it this morning.  After eating and drinking a bunch of stuff, I weighed 161.  I will try to remember to weigh tomorrow morning.  I figure, I have 7 months until the warm weather returns, I should be able to make some really great progress by then. 
Things are starting to happen for my husband, he is lining up more and more paid modelling gigs, and there is potential he will be discovered at some point.  More than ever, I need my self esteem to be iron-clad so that I don't fall into a pit of apathy and assuming I am not good enough for him. 
We might be getting snow this week, yuck!  I'm not ready.  I don't know if I'll ever truly be ready for it.
Hope you had a great weekend, and that Monday goes smoothly for you!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Amy Whine-house

While my position at work is a commissioned sales job, I am happy that I have had minimal interruptions today.  I spent my entired day at work reading my blog, starting to my first one, and reading until August.  There were some really inspiring things, some funny observations, and a lot of joy in accomplishment.  It did what I intended it to do, remind me of what I am doing and why.  The past two months have been very lackluster at best, as I find myself wondering what was driving me, and how to get it back. 
I am making a fantastic recovery from my latest sinus infection, and have been feeling fine for a couple days now.  I think my kids might be able to get through the entire week without an ear infection, but it's just a hunch at this point.  This happens to us every year, being exposed to so many other germ-infested bodies at school and work.  We always make it through.
I have been thinking of my recent indulgences, when my husband is out of the house, and in my usual manner, analyzing it to a hair.  In the past, I had reduced it to the absence of guilt because of the secret nature of it.  If he wasn't there to judge me then not only was I getting a naughty, forbidden treat, but I didn't have to answer to anyone.  But something hit me on Monday, as my husband was out at a Halloween party without me.  Maybe I am eating because he is gone.  Because he always seems to be gone, always seems to be off indulging in self-serving purposes, which makes me feel very low-priority to him.  We have discussed it many times, and some of the time spent away is for his own workouts (which I completely understand and accept) but there are the photo shoots, some take most or all day, and the social gatherings, dropping in for a going away party or a Halloween party, etc.  On Halloween, my kids were both sick by the end of the night, and I found myself in the situation of trying to prop a throw-up bowl in front of one, while grabbing pain medicine for the ear infection of the other, both of them crying in discomfort and needing me at the same time.  It made me very stressed out and irritated that my husband simply had to go to his friend's party, couldn't disappoint.  But it seems, he's perfectly okay with disappointing me.  Or maybe that is my warped perception of things, I do let my emotions and apathy rule me.  Don't get me wrong, my husband is a great guy, he is just spreading himself way too thin, and it is leaving so little for me.  He works really hard, and tries to find new ways to earn extra money for us, he does his best to interact with the kids.  But whereas I am a work in progress in the weight-loss journey, he is a work in progress in the family commitments and prioritizing category.  It often leaves me feeling loney not just for myself, but for my kids.  And food is such a warm companion.  We are having a date night this Saturday, which he has said he is looking forward to a break from all the constant media he is always allowing to steal his attention (Facebook, e-mail and several modelling websites that have his phone and computer constantly buzzing) and just focus on me for a few hours.  I think he is feeling a bit guilty about leaving us for 4 days at the end of the month, to do an photo shoot in Puerto Rico.  It is an unpaid shoot, and I'm worried about the amount of money it will end up costing us, but when my husband is passionate about something, he will rest at nothing.  At least the plane ticket was paid for by the photographer. 
All that being said, it still comes down to me.  If I drown myself in apathy, my resolve will always be weak.  In one of my blogs I said, "Exscuses are belief-killers" and when I read that again today, it really hit home.  I have a choice in the matter.  In the pursuit of discovering why I am letting things slip, I am making exscuses left and right.  That is leading me back to the all-to-familiar path where the measuring tape is showing a reversal of my hard work.  As I have told myself so many times in the past, I need to inspire myself, not rely on anyone else to tell me I am capable and worthy of acheiving my goals.  My husband cannot be around 24-7 to guilt me into being good.  My doctor cannot be there everytime I need some motivation to stay on track.  My kids will always love me no matter what size I am.  But I wont, and I have proven that to myself for many years.
So, after my weekend, I am going to start, once again (I know, how many times?) on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet and really try to keep my head in the game.  I will ask myself why I want something before I do it, and if the answer isn't productive, I will not eat it.  That is my goal, at least.  I started this blog on Nov 29 of last year, and while I am not going to set an unreasonable weight goal for the month, I want to end the month feeling strong, and knowing I am back on track.
That is my one small step for now.
Thanks for listening to me whine.
Have a great weekend!