Friday, March 30, 2012

Hips Don't Lie

Despite not having an optometrist on staff yesterday, I sold a boatload of glasses, and came home moderately exhausted from the sensory stimulation.  I plopped down on the couch, soothed by the peace that blanketed my house with the kids away, and when my husband left to do some errands, I allowed myself to lay back and relax, truly soak up the silence for once.  As I felt myself relaxing to a drowsy state, something inside me said, you're doing so good right now, don't waste this opportunity to further your goals!  So I got up and danced.  As usual, it made me feel so high.  Dancing has just always come natural for me, I have always loved it, and despite my weight, it's something I can do for prolonged periods.  I have even been told I am good at it, but when I'm feeling the music I really don't care if I'm good or not because it's not about how I look, it's about how it makes me feel.  It could be considered selfish in that manner, but that's what working out is all about, right?  I've never been into the whole partner-workout things, though I wouldn't turn my husband down if there was an hour in the day that he would be my personal trainer.  Unfortunately, that doesn't fit into our schedule.  But doing it on my own, and being successful, is very empowering. 
So I danced for an hour and was still dancing about as I cooked my dinner and began picking up the house.  Many times last night I was aware of how good I feel, and how I would have missed out on that high if I had allowed myself to fall asleep.  Relaxing and resting can make me feel good, satisfied even, but I don't recall it ever giving me a high.  And it gave me so much positive energy that I got about twice as much housework done as I had intended.  It was a good that just kept building upon itself.  Even when my husband brought his stress home (not an unusual event lately) I was able to just let it roll right off. 
This morning I was expecting to face the usual Friday celebratory-food battle, but then while I was cooking my breakfast, I put my hands on my hips and noticed a little less of a 'ledge' there.  I immediately ran to the mirror and started peeling off clothes to see if it was true.  The results were visible, and I began to sing "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira.  Then, when my breakfast was done, I still had 20 minutes to spare before I had to get ready for work, so I had an impromptu dance session before I ate.  I couldn't feel better right now.  I am where I need to be, and it is so rewarding to be back on track.  I have that feeling back, that nothing can stop me right now.  How priceless! 
Planning to have a great salad from Subway for lunch, as a special Friday treat.  Even though it is totally clean and on-plan, it feels special because it isn't my usual extra lean turkey burger reheated.
I am hoping to get a run in this weekend, since I haven't been running in quite some time.  Only 7 weeks left to get ready for this 5K, I gotta get on my horse, so to speak.
The weekend is finally here, I hope you all have a great one!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pin Me Up

Last weekend, my husband had a photo shoot with a man whom I feel is going to catapult his career.  The stuff he did for this shoot was fashion-based, as that is what the market is around here, department-store style.  The photos came out fantastic, and had him wearing brands like Banana Republic and Polo.   My husband has always dressed stylishly, but less preppy than the clothes he wore for the shoot.  So when the photographer introduced him (in his own clothes) to some of his friends, they judged him fairly harshly on his style.  Granted, his clothes are fitting somewhat loose due to hardcore dieting to lose muscle (sounds backwards, but to be a model, you can't be too muscular or it messes up your lines and makes you look short and stocky), but I never gave it a second thought.   Now he is all concerned with keeping in style and I wonder, if this career takes off for him, how are others going to judge me?
My immediate reaction comes from the rebel in me.  Middle finger extends to those who are shallow enough to care what brand I am wearing.  I will wear a studded dog collar and ripped leggings and a Misfits shirt to counter your shallow existence.  But I don't really listen to the Misfits, so I would feel like a jerk, and a Bouncing Souls T-shirt might be hard to come by.  Anyway, I have been thinking about my style, or lack thereof, and it equal inspires and irritates me that I am letting some imaginary, future judgement effect me so.  But part of my desperately wants to have a style.  Right now, the things I find most flattering are jeans and casual shirts, but that doesn't represent who I am  in the least.  So I have been on a mission to find what I like, and let me tell you, it isn't easy.  Back when I had no self-esteem, I used to see cool style all the time and wish I had the confidence to pull it off. Now I have the confidence, but I hate the styles that are popular in the states right now.  I am like such an ecclectic mix of things, ranging from goth/punk/rockabilly-military, but then part of me likes a little glam.  Part of my confusioin stems from never having too much expendable income, so as an obese person, I was always forced to settle for the best of the worst, and usually didn't like most of the clothes I wore.  Still, it is something that has been ignited in me, and since I'm having a tough time finding what I like, I am thinking about taking a sewing class to brush up on my skills so I can make my own clothes.  What better way to express who you really are? 
My body continually confuses me, the shape is so bizarre right now.  I have always been an apple shape, round all over, but as my body shrinks, the fat concentration is so evident on my hips and the front of my stomach.  It is so strange, when I find a shirt that is flattering to my upper body, it highlights my weird hips.  I can laugh about it, because I know my body's in transition, but it messes with my body image a lot, and makes picking out clothes a real chore!  I need to experiment with some pin-up girl short-shorts perhaps.  I think right now I need a stylist, my style ideas are quite schizophrenic!
I have been having a lot of triumphs with food lately, especially yesterday when I took the night off from classes to self-indulge in a haircut and a little window shopping.  As soon as I made the decision not to go to class, my indulgent voice came whispering in my ear, it would be so quaint to settle into a comfy booth and eat a delicious meal while people-watching.  While I started to think of what food/restaurant would be worth it, I kept shopping, trying to procrastinate food decisions.  In the end, I realized that I had my raw almonds in the car with me, and that I could save myself a lot of calories, guilt, setback, time and money by eating almonds.  They did the trick.  While I didn't have much luck shopping, I did find a delicious sparkling ruby shade of nail polish and I realized that even the tiniest touches can make you feel wonderful.  I went to bed really happy that I didn't give in to my indulgent self.  Last weekend I ate out twice on Sunday, and both meals  were really disappointing, one way over-salted, the other super greasy.  I remembered those meals while thinking of where and if to eat, and it helped me make the right decision.  I have had to remind myself that the rewards are not immediate in this quest, but they will inevitibly come.  And when they do, they will taste way better than any kind of junk food I could put in my mouth.
There is something else driving me, it is trivial and silly and not worth mentioning, but it is working for now so I will continue to use it for motivation because it has been really effective recently.  I am happy to be back on track and in a good mental state. 
The weekend approaches, friends.  Hope have some great things in store!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Persistence

My kids are spending their spring break at my mom's house this week, a couple hours away, which is giving me a lot of free time that I am putting to good use.  I have been sleeping in a bit, still working out, and having a few uninterrupted conversations with my husband.  Last night, after shopping for a new watch and shoes, and coming up empty-handed, I went home defeated.  I didn't like feeling that way, and it made me feel like I wanted to eat junk, so I made a quick decision to get a strength session in.  I put on my workout gear that allows me to see my physique, and it was really effective at pushing me to work harder.  What's nice is that I can see my muscles moving when I contract them.  As a long-time obese girl, this is so exhillerating to see.  I am not a gigantic blob of fat anymore, I have muscle tone.  There is still a lot of work to do, but where I am at is definite progress from where I have been the majority of my life.  I did a full body workout since I have not been commited to doing 3 per week, I figured I might as well get as much out of it as I can.  I did some old-school moves like 21's and one-legged squats.  Those two really kicked my butt!  I am paying for it today, but it makes me smile.   And when I woke up this morning, I put in a really challenging cardio session, driven by how awesome the progress is coming along.  I am stronger than I have been in a long while, and excited about it!
Over the past few weeks, I have been told how thin I am getting by two seperate people who I haven't seen in a while (one of them was my mother, but she is very slow to give out compliments, so it surprised me a bit).  It's funny, because I have been feeling so flabby and uncommited lately, but I know they are comparing that to what I looked like for most of the time they knew me.  It just made me feel really great to hear it, and it drove me to keep pushing toward my goals.  When I am done, people won't even recognize me!  And I plan to have some professional "after" photos taken when I am satisfied with my physique.  That may be a few years down the road, but it will happen.  If this journey has tought me anything, its that persistence is everything.  Get knocked down 7 times, get up 8.  As long as I keep rising to the challenge, I know I'll conquer it.  I already am. 
Happy Tuesday readers!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Try-Umph

Yesterday was one of those days that started out good, and turned sour halfway through.  It included a meeting with an academic advisor, who informed me that my calculations are way off, and my degree will take me twice as long to complete as I had figured, that means it will likely take me the better part of ten years to get my Masters Degree.  I don't know if I have it in me.  College is tough.  Managing a full time job, full time Mommy duty and trying to find time and energy to keep up with college is near impossible for me.  By the time I left work yesterday, I had had four really bad transactions with customers, a situation that could possibly get me written up, and a stress headache the size of Texas.  But, I didn't comfort eat.  Oh, I wanted to, the urge is instant.  But I thought about the way my arms look, and how I want them to look, and I stayed the course.  When I got home, I realized that I missed a snack and it had been several hours since I'd eaten.  I ate some turkey hot dogs, which are allowed on occassion on the South Beach Diet, but I had them on one white bun, more carbs than I needed, but equal amounts of sugar to a slice of 100% whole wheat bread, so I did it.  I wanted to go crazy with food, but I kept it reined in.  I thought about how fun it would be to eat all kind of fun stuff, and then I thought about my big, white, cellulite-plagued belly and I opted for my on-plan 2 no-sugar-added fudgesicles.  They hit the spot.  Several times throughout the night, I wanted to eat mindlessly, but I always fought it.  I fought it by watching a favorite show, I fought it by playing with my kids, and finally, and most effectively, I fought it with a piece of sugar-free gum.  Once I started chewing the gum, I didn't even think about eating the rest of the night until I had my bedtime snack of raw almonds.  So even though I was surrounded by my husband's stress, and coming off a rough day, I had the strength to keep my goals in mind and look for a soloution.  I thought to myself, these pounds are so hard to get off and keep off, I don't need to be making it harder on myself. 
I am going back to my hometown next month, to spend time with my bestie, and I want to enjoy the time looking and feeling good.  An old crush lives there, and even though I am not planning to see him, it is a town of only 37,000, posibilities of bumping into each other are there.  I don't still want him, I have actually seen a photo of him recently and thought to myself, how could I have been so attracted to him?  Then again, I am married to a male fitness model, so it's a little unfair!  Anyway, things have been a little out of whak for me since the last time I went to my hometown for my 20 year reunion, and I want to just relax and enjoy myself, have a little break from the chaos of my life, and identity apart from any of my work and family-defined roles.  Feels relaxing just thinking about it! 
I am heading into the weekend feeling really positive.  I think I can keep the weekend eating in control, and still have a little fun. Might try to log a run on Sunday, I am hoping to get a map of the actual route I'll be running, and try to run it, just to see where I'm at.  This morning's chaos had me in an all-out sprint between my apartment and my kids' bus stop, retrieving forgotten backpacks, and running on rain-soaked grass in slippery, ill-fitting sandals is something to behold.  I got to the bus stop huffing and puffing like a chain-smoking couch potato!  My kids and I got a good chuckle out of it.
Well Friday is finally here.  Hope your weekend rocks!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Funky Bunch, Indeed

"Can you fell it baby?  I can too. "
Many may judge or tease, but I like Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the (bleepin') Funky Bunch.  Way way back in the day when that song was popular (and yes, it was indeed popular once upon a time) my friends and I would go clubbing all the time.  We were quite popular at the time.  One particular night, one of the clubs we were at interrupted the usual sweat-infused energyfest with a dance contest.  Guess what the song they selected for each contestant to dance to?  Yep, Funky Bunch in the club.  And some of my friends displayed amazing bravery and got up and danced to a song that is not that easy to dance to.  That song brings me back to that place and the laughter and reckless freedom I enjoyed way back when.  And though I feel only slightly dorky when I think of that song, it always makes me smile.
Yesterday was about as perfect a day I could hope for.  If you couldn't tell from my abbreviated post, I was feeling really really happy.  The dancing in the morning started off my good mood.  I almost went back to bed when my alarm went off, because my foot felt like it needed to crack, and was definitely not comfortable enough to walk for cardio.  Luckily, I was awake enough to come up with plan B, and as usual, it sent my mood skyward.  One of my most effective tricks for motivation and focus has been to look at my body in the mirror more.  Wear less, look more, to really see where I am and where I want to be.  In winter, I was too cold to dress in a way that allowed me to see my progress and trouble spots, it really works.  I was actually quite pleased with what I saw yesterday, the water weight being washed out made my muscles look more defined and my stomach look flatter than a few days ago when I was so bloated I looked pregnant. 
Work was slow and smooth, just the way I like it, and when my boss came in a few hours later and realized that we didn't have a doctor on staff for the day, she agreed to let me leave at noon.  Yesterday was 81 degrees, sunny with a thick breeze; it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  I stopped home for a quick lunch, then hit the thrift store.  It was so nice to have so much time to really look at everything and try on as much as I wanted.  Usually, my kids are with me, and they have no patience, so I have to scan through so quickly that I feel I am missing all the good stuff.  I found some great stuff yesterday, and I even had the "thrifting moment"; that moment when you realize that you have found a true gem for an amazing price.  I even bought two sleeveless shirts as a commitment to my plan to continue improving myself.  And you know what?  When I was trying them on, although not completely thrilled with my arms, they didn't look that bad.  That is a huge triumph for me, one that means I can wear tank tops in the summer, sometimes.  Joy ensued in the fitting room.  It's been too long since I could say that.
I spent so much time shopping that by the time I was done, it was time to eat again, but I was on the go, so I had to make it work the best I could.  I didn't have a Subway anywhere near enough to warrant backtracking and driving all over, especially not at these gas prices.  So I ended up at McDonalds.  And I ordered a Southwest Chicken Salad with grilled chicken.  I didn't eat the dressing or the tortilla strips they add to it.  I was pretty disappointed in the salad altogether.  It was swimming in some sort of semi-sweet dressing, and even the chicken had some sort of marinade or sauce on it.  The veggies included corn and carrots, two of the highest sugar content veggies available.  But, considering that my huger was telling me to indulge in other things, I think it was a solid choice and it made me feel really good that I made the healthiest choice available at that moment.  I immediately told myself that I was going to monitor my body's reaction to the sugars to see how I handled it, and no matter what, I was going to stick tightly to my normal diet for every meal that followed.  After eating, I had enough time to go for a walk along the bay, and I was having inner-dialogue about whether or not to wear one of my sleeveless shirts so I could get a little sun on my pastey-white skin.  Finally, I just did it.  I figured that if someone didn't like the look of my arms, they could just go look at something else.  And it actually made me feel great to feel the breeze and sun on my arms, and I revelled in every single moment that I was walking around with a spectacular view on a perfect day, smiling like nobody's business.  And even though I wasn't walking forever, it cleared my mind and relaxed me so completely.  I started thinking about all the ways Green Bay is so charming and comforting, and that even though I detest driving in snow, I will miss all of those charms when I move away.  And then, I let all of my fears about moving go, and I realized that living in Florida would mean enjoying beautiful weather like that every day.  I said quietly to myself, I'm OK with Florida.  And I closed my eyes and let the sun and breeze kiss my face.  I'm OK with everything
When it came time to leave and head off to class, a song started playing in my head and I almost sang along.  Can you feel it baby?  I can too.
Had an awesome strength session and some early-morning cardio this morning, think it's going to be another awesome day!
Happy Thursday Friends!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

:)

This will be a short blog today, as I am at work and don't want to be caught!
This morning: bones need to pop, foot feels weird, rainy pavement still dripping, a little uninspired for cardio.
So I danced in my room, iPod blasting, watching myself in the mirror. 
And I saw so much today.
Collar bone reappearing
Hello arm and shoulder muscles, nice to see you again!
Welcome back smile, I knew I could find you once more.
Today was a success, no matter what else happens.
Happy Wednesday everyone!
Smile more.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pavement, AHHHH!

This morning I was almost accosted by a deer.  Well, not really, but I did come in close contact with one, it was just on the opposite side of the street as I walked through, disturbing it's early morning peace.  Many animals scuttered away from me this morning as I came breaking through their morning, dark still sitting heavy on the slightly foggy open fields.  A few stars twinkled, as if they were winking at me, welcome back!
It was dark enough for me to be a bit spooked out walking down a sidestreet short on streetlights, but the air was unseasonably warm, and I just had to feel the pavement below my feet instead of the damn treadmill.  Being back on the street made me feel like the person who was conquering the world last year, and all the positive energy came rushing back.  It is spring, weeks and weeks early for this part of the country, and I am going to take it for all it's worth!
The weekend was absolutely packed full of fun for my family, hours and hours of fresh air and sunshine, some awesome sushi, and a trip to the zoo, it truly was a perfect weekend.  I ate whatever I wanted to eat, which ended up being more sane than most weekends, and I didn't work out at all.  I spent my time outdoors with my kids instead of cleaning my house, and at the end of the weekend, when I tucked their happy, sleepy little selves into bed, I knew that happiness isn't just about weight loss.  We all slept great and woke up so refreshed this morning, ready to start another week in blast-off mode.  It has been a while since I have felt this good, mentally and physically. 
My hormones have finally shifted and I am back under the influence of sanity, logic and reason.  This morning's walk made me feel really fired up again.  This month, I am going to try to take my nutrition to a higher level, so the hormonal flux won't be such a challenge.  There are a few things I have up my sleeve, and I will let you know if any of them are successful, as I know this is a challenge for millions of women (and some men after andropause). 
Last night, my husband and I had some of our deepest conversation to date, and I was amazed by how cleansing and stress-relieving it was to talk so freely.  Some really great things came up and it brought us much closer.  I think it might be a start to a great reconnection, and a mutually-therapeutic open door to express our deepest thoughts.  Most couples start off that way and grow apart, but we've always done things backwords.  I went to bed feeling so relaxed and awoke so recharged, and while I am aware it was a combination of many things making me feel that way, I was smiling today as I was pumping out the paces on my walk, and enjoying my cardio is something that has been missing for months.  My relationship with my husband has a huge impact on my mood/stress level, and I really allow that to play a part in my total health.  That being the case, I am going to make a better effort to insure that that part of my life is as low-stress as it can be.  A lot of things I feel bad about are assumptions, and a lot of times they are way off base, but I still react emotionally to them, as if they are true.  Anyway, at the end of our conversation, we lightened things up by talking about food, and he confessed that he has been having stronger and stronger feelings of deprivation.   Being a fitness model, he has to be way more strict with his diet than most people could or should.  There are times when his carbs and fat intake are so low that he looks like a zombie.  And when he was talking about how he feels on the weekend, I told him, that's how I feel all the time, I always want stuff I'm not supposed to have. That's how I ate myself to 223 lbs.  But, we've both been going through a lot of personally-emotional stuff and not talking to anyone about it, so we've both been using food.  We agreed that we are going to try to keep each other on track, by trying harder to make the weekend cheat meal a singular act, not a full-on binge.  I think we can lick it together.  And think of all the money we'll be saving!
I feel good about cleaning things up, my body felt better today than it has all week.  Part of that is biological, but a lot of it is mental too.  And while I was hesitant to step on the scale this morning, it showed me a reasonably lower number than I was expecting to see, 164, compared to how I've been feeling and what I see when I look in the mirror, I can handle that as my new starting point.  I don't have a goal in mind right now, other than getting back to making healthier choices the majority of the time.  My 5K is in less than 9 weeks and I feel like, if I don't get some hours logged, I might just as well plan on walking it, because if my time is worse than it was last year, I will feel really defeated.  But there is still plenty of time to do good, and my joints are liking the warmer temperatures, so now is the time to take advantage of the rare, Wisconsin weather-bliss this spring is providing and get out on the pavement. 
Pavement, that word is quickly becoming one of my favorites, sharp and with friction.  I love spring.  I love walking/running on pavement.  I love that it is warm enough to walk outside without bulky clothing.  I love that I have work to do, because it gives me something to strive for.  I have a new attitude and I'm ready to refresh.  I'm back and ready to rock this thing.  How bout you?
Happy Monday, happy srping!

Friday, March 16, 2012

HIPPOcrite

La la la...I'm not listening!
Most of the time, when I am blogging, it is more like a cathartic free-write, where I just blather about whatever is on my mind.  I try to stick to weight loss issues for the most part.  The trouble with free-association blogging is that what inspires me one minute, might get outweighed by something else, and then I end up looking like a HIPPO-crite. 
Yesterday I was all gung-ho about making choices, and being logical in the face of stress.  That is great, and I meant it.  Generally I don't simply give in to junk food without a fierce inner dialogue.  And I did spend most of the day thinking about my choices and how they truly are choices that I have control over.  But, a few hours after my post, I found myself running for the snack machine at work, driven by the change of hormones that seems stronger and stronger the farther I get from healthy habits. 
Hormones are troublesome for me.  To me it is like being in the water.  Normally I can swim just fine, but once those big waves of change start rolling in, I feel really weak against them and often feel fighting against them is not worth the energy. I need to do more research on hormones and how to combat the cravings.  I know it is most effective when you eat correct all month long, not just during the two week lead-in.  I have a lot of work to do on the wholistic front.  To my advantage, I have a nutritionalist at my disposal, provided to me free from my work.  I am seriously thinking of scheduling a time to meet with her.
 I am giving myself a bit of a "free pass" through the weekend, and starting things fresh again on Monday.  I don't normally allow myself that much freedom, because I feel like it is a lazy cop-out, and partial effort is better than none, but this is where I'm at this week.   It will be an interesting weekend, since my husband is planning on pulling things back to just one cheat meal this weekend.  I know I will get back there at some point too, but right now, I'm enjoying a break and taking this time to rebuild my dream.
The more I research moving to Ft. Lauderdale, the more anxiety it is provoking in me.  From the personal accounts I have read, it is expensive (the cost of living outweighs the wages), high crime, messy traffic, and very environmentally UN-friendly.  Not to mention, I would have to sit for another licensing exam for my profession.  My last one for Las Vegas was a 9-hour exam, I don't want to relive it.  Of course, I have also read how beautiful the beaches and the people on them are.  Talk about being a misfit!  Right now, though I hate the snowy winters, we are in our saftey net living in Wisconsin.  When something comes up, my mother-in-law can watch the kids in a pinch.  When we want a date night, "Pop-Pop" comes over to watch the kids.  And we found the perfect babysitter, who not only has patience to deal with my kids' quirks, but invites them over for sleep-overs with her 10-year-old son, giving my husband and I even more time to spend together.  I know we could be happy in Florida, because I know we could be happy anywhere, but there is a building anxiety in me that is thinking I should have chosen LA instead.  Maybe some more research is needed!  I don't feel ready to conquer anything right now, much less the mountains of tasks moving to a completely unknown place brings with it.  I feel like I've lost my mojo.
But it will come back, I have faith.  This is just a slight "holding pattern" for me, but instead of landing, I am gearing up to take off.  I am in positive spirits, and I know I am not that far off track, and that it will turn around quickly.  I am getting a plan together that will include some research into inflammation, hormones and superfoods; a brand new workout module that will include strength training 3 times per week and getting in some training runs in between.  Spring is a time for renewal, and I am not about to miss out on my chance to get a peice of that action!
Happy weekend and Happy St. Patrick's Day to those who celebrate it!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Mouth is Magical

I am a problem solver.  It's part of my job.  Glasses don't fit right?  I have the solution.  Can't see good?  I can fix that too.  When my kids or my husband need something fixed, mechanical or emotional, I usually have a creative fix that satisfies all of us.  I'm a natural-born fixer.
Today, I was adjusting a pair of glasses for an elderly lady, you know the type, all of about 90 pounds, in a polyester pencil skirt with gaudy buttons on.  She was very sweet, and was kind enough to cram her glasses to one side to indicate to me how crooked they felt on her face.  By my expert eye, they needed to be tweaked about 2mm.  The first adjustment I made had them sitting nice and square on her face, that should have been the end of the story.  But when people become accustomed to wearing their glasses incorrectly, it is difficult for them to get the feel of having them on correctly, so she asked me to adjust them a little more.  With the second adjustment, I over-corrected the tip, setting them low on the opposite side she was originally complaining about.  To me, looking at her, it looked ridiculously low on one side, but she kept wanting to push that side lower and lower.  I reassured her that I would make them fit just how she likes them to fit, but she meekly said that she thought it would be OK, and left with a pleasant smile, unfixed.  Clearly it was not easy for her to get around, she walked slow and calculated with a walker, her boney arms shaking with the effort.  Why was she so meek?  Why didn't she stay and demand that I get them to feel how she wanted them to feel?  I could tell she was disappointed.  And I was too. If she had been making the request on behalf of someone else, I'm betting she would have stayed and insisted the were adjusted to the wearer's liking.
As unfulfilling as that encounter was (I like to be the optical heroine), I learned from it.  Being passionate or sure about what you want doesn't mean much if you are too meek to pursue it. 
Lately, I have been letting my stress drive me into binges, and I am so frustrated that I don't have the wherwithal to sidestep what are turning out to be major obstacles for me.  I know stress is so harmful to the body.  I know that I always find a way to resolve the stress eventually, but in the moment, when I am overwhelmed by it, I succumb to the intensity of the emotional/hormonal response and shove food down to try and calm the internal fires.  And it relaxes me for a while, but it doesn't make the original problem go away.  Putting a band aid on my stress is only a vague form of procrastination.  Eventually, I have to encounter the real issue causing the stress.
Yesterday was another learning experience.  I have been dealing with a personal stressor for several weeks now, and displaying my meekness in all it's glory, I just kept my feelings inside and never really confronted it.  Yesterday, by way of an odd coincidence, I finally got to explain my feelings to my stressor, but it was by e-mail, so I didn't get an instant resolve, even though I got my feelings out.  All day, it stressed me out, the waiting to see how it would be received.  Lunch time came, and I didn't have time to make one, so I came to a huge stopping point, where I had to decide whether to go to Mc Donald's for lunch, or my planned Subway.  The decision tortured me.  The old-hat me said, I'm so stressed out, McD's would make me feel a little better, and I could get some ice cream.  The trying-to-remember-who-I-was-one-year-ago-me said, I have a choice and I have control; it won't make the stress go away, it will just smother it in fat and sugar.  There were a varying degree of other options considered such as getting a salad from Mc D's or getting a less healthy lunch at Subway.  I literally spent ten minutes of my lunch break on the dillema before I decided to go to Subway.  I still hadn't decided how I was going to write the ending of that story until the words actually came out of my mouth, turkey breast salad with spinach, double turkey and load me up with veggies.  Decision made.  Yay me!  It brought me back to a place where I always made the healthier choice, no questions asked, and I was never meek about taking what I needed and wanted in order to make my goals happen.  A seemingly small, quiet victory (that almost wasn't) felt like a major triumph for me.  And the stress was right there waiting for me when I got done eating.   And when I picked up my kids from the sitter a few hours later, we made a quick stop to purchase a basketball, and I just gave in and got a small sweet treat and a bag of chips to share.  I felt like my stress was peaking, because I knew I was going to have to face my stressor very soon.  I ate the cookies and a few handfuls of chips, then a sensible dinner.  Then, a little conversation for dessert.  And in the end, it wasn't what I put in my mouth that released my stress, but what came out of it.  Finally, a deep sigh and a huge lesson learned.  I hope I can remember it the next time stress rears it's ugly head.  Junk food does not fix anything.  And that is something a fixer should know.
Happy Thursday readers!  Hope it's fantastic!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Friday Stank Like Parsnips

My Friday resolve?  Let's just say that Friday was a trainwreck, with levels of stress I have not experience in a good long time, and it left me completely off-plan, shovelling junk food into my mouth, and crying at work from the amount of accumilating stress people kept dishing out to me.  Not a good day.  And the level of stress I reached, nearly the pinnacle of the mountain of sh*t, well, when I get to that point, reason no longer exists, and the only thing that can comfort me and bring me off the ledge is food.  Isn't it sad that the last word in that sentence is something other than my family or my strong mind or something productive?
The immense amounts of apathy spilled all over my weekend, and it turned into a fat-fest, eating whatever I wanted all weekend.  I ate out 4 times, ate chips and chocolate and ice cream with carmel sauce, you name it.  And by last night, I could see how quickly my body had changed.  Not just back to the shape I had two weeks ago, but it looked like my body from a year ago or more, when I was still on my way down, happy to move from the moo-moo sizes into an18-20.  Last night as I looked in the mirror, my belly looked so round and bloated, my joints ached (from the sugar I'm guessing) and I felt like I couldn't breathe as well.  But, my stress level was reduced, right?
The funny thing is, before I give in and eat junk, I have this ideal of how great it is going to be- the mouthfeel, the taste, the rush of dopamine, and the relief of stress.  And, it does give a temporary numbness, even verging on sleepiness when I eat fast-digesting carbs these days.  But, it rarely tastes as good as my ideal, my best memory of that food.  McDonald's french fries are a perfect example.  Think of them, so hot they burn your mouth, perfect balance of crispy and soft, just the right amount of salt...yeah, right!  How often do they live up to that ideal?  For me, not very often.  But when I think of junk food I don't think of it when it was just OK, I think of that time when it was the best thing I ever put in my mouth.  And when one junk food doesn't make me feel that way, I move onto another, in search of that perfect high that comes only when all the stars are aligned.  Truth is, the more weight I carry, the more my sense of smell and taste suffer.  So, even when I have those foods, I can't taste them as well.  It's bittersweet.  But the lesson I hope to learn from it is, junk food is never as fulfilling as you imagine it's going to be, and it's not worth it most of the time.   Yet, I still turn to food as a cure-all when things get really bad.  It didn't help that I didn't have my husband there on Friday to help as a sounding board, and the few minutes that I did see him, he was so stressed out and irritable himself, that it only amplified my stress.
So last night I ended up being the one elected to do the grocery shopping.  It was late and I was super tired, and I detest when it is so crowded and busy that you can hardly get down the aisles without having to say "exscuse me" a million times, so less thoughful folks will move their carts aside allowing room to pass.  But when I got inside I made a quick stop at the magazine section, and found a copy of my favorite fitness mag, Oxygen,  which inspired me to get a new pair of leggings to wear for working out.  My Oxygen subscription expired a few months ago, and I haven't read it since, and just having a new copy of it made me realize how essential it is to surround myself with things that are healthy for my mind, like the visual inspiration I get from that magazine and their fitness models, as well as physically, like the healthy food I bought to support my goals. It changed my mindset considerably as I swerved in and out of traffic down the busy grocery aisles.
I thought it would be hard to get back on the wagon after a weekend of such indulgences, but it really scared me how horrible I looked last night, I really don't want to go back to that place.  It put a physical "face" on what has been going on inside me lately, and I need to fix this or I will end up worse than I was.  So today is back to "normal".  Not trying to force myself to attone for my food sins by going keto, not beating myself up or looking at it as something I want to do every weekend, but just get back on the "normal track".  Because denying myself makes things really difficult, but it's also really difficult to eat crazy all the time.  My normal eating, the sensible stuff, is actually the easiest for me, and it makes me feel the best.  I'm not saying I'll never go keto again, it has it's place, but for now, it's just back on the straight-and-narrow.  And, I will be scouring my Oxygen mag for a new strength workout to incorporate.
I have spring break from school this week, so things should be a little more mellow this week.  *Huge sigh*.  It might equate to a few extra workouts since the weather is going to be absolutely beautiful this week, which always helps my spirits. 
My favorite part of the weekend?  Yesterday my family took advantage of the great weather and spent a couple hours in one of our favorite parks.  The kids were in heaven.  And it felt pretty great to me too.  My family is therapeutic, sometimes I just need a little help remembering that.  And at one point, when my 8 year old told me, "Ghost poop is invisible but smells terrible...like parsnips." I laughed out loud, and it was such a great release. 
So many lessons learned from one weekend.  I'd chalk that up to a success at any rate!
Happy Monday readers.  Hope it's a start to a great week for you!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Food Devils

Ah Friday, so we meet again!  And man, has it been a week to end.
This week has been exceptionally busy for me with interviews, presentations, book reviews, boring work seminars, and a midterm exam.  Wow, that all makes me seem way more important than I am.  Add in a little self-reflection and the perpetually unpaid mommy duties, and I am letting out a really long, loud sigh at the sight of the weekened. 
There is a black cloud hanging over me today, and it won't go away until I confess my food crime.  Yesterday was the day that I had that boring work seminar.  It forced me to have to work at the other store, which I am not particularily fond of, and always feel like I am under a microscope.  That little inconvenient happening meant that I didn't have my proper supply of snacks with me.  Now, I have been doing really well with staying on track this week, so I improvised and had some sunflower kernels for a couple snacks in a row.  Not nutritionally ideal, but still on plan, and better than eating some junk.  Since being on plan so nicely lately, my metabolism has been absolutely unstoppable, my stomach roaring every two hours, my body readily using everything I am giving it.  By the time I left work for my late-afternoon-seminar, I was about as full of sunflower nuts as a gal could be.  But, I felt satisfied.  Amazing how such a tiny seed can pack the fat content it does.  At the seminar, cookies and fruit were provided.  I skipped both, knowing that eating even fruit carbs with no protein to slow their digestion down was nearly as bad for my cholesterol as eating the damn cookie.  Way to go, prestigious health organization that I work for.  I did have a Diet Coke and a Diet A&W Root Beer though, and they tasted great, and I found myself appreciative to have fluids, as I seem to be consuming copious amounts of them lately.
I felt great that I was able to stand my ground in the face of the sweets presented, but as I was on my way to pick up my kids, my stomach started to growl.  My first thoughts are always logical.  Need to get home so I can cook a decent meal.  Then it progresses slowly, like a cat about to pounce.  It would be kind of cool to just get something special to eat, even if it's on-plan.  I picked up my kids, who were all giddy about having today off of school, and were already in "weekend mode", and gave in to their request to stop and get a treat.  They took an exceptionally long time choosing their snacks, and by the time they were wrapping things up, I had had enough time to ogle the newest flavor of Chex Mix, Italian herb and Parmesan.  And the internal tug-of-war was actually quite fierce, but I eventually gave into the hedonistic food-devil that dwells in me, telling me, "Eat them, it will make you feel soooo goood."  And I was so hungry, I did some pretty good damage not only to my own snack, and also had some sweets beside.  By the time I put the first "bad" thing in my mouth, I had already made the decision that I was letting it all go.  And that is such a dangerous mentality.  I could have had a serving and just stopped.  Physically, I could have.  But I let my mind interfere with reason, and we all know the chaos that ensues from thinking! 
At any rate, this morning was an attempt to regain some sort of order.  I got up at my normal, absurdly early time to do cardio and ate my normal breakfast.  I am behaving today because I know we are ordering pizza tonight.  My husband will be gone overnight for a photo shoot, this one for comp cards he can bring to the agencies, so it's worth it, but my kids like to order pizza and have a "movie night" when he's gone.  So, I don't mind that my eating chaos will extend an extra day this weekend, but I don't plan on letting that be the rule.  I have been doing really well the last two weeks, and it has been quite refreshing, making me feel strong, and reminding me that I can do this, if I have the presence of mind.  I have been very aware everytime stress and outside factors have been triggering me to want to comfort eat, and there is such a fine line between the yes and the no.  I think the best way to be successful is to celebrate the times I am able to say no, and just get over the times I said yes, and move on.  To Hell with beating ourselves up everytime we indulge.  As much as I don't want it to, food brings me joy, and I am going to endulge in joy sometimes, without regret.  Sometimes just knowing I am allowed to do something takes away the impulsive thrill-seeking junkie affect for me, and actually works in my favor.  Then again, once the stress starts to pile up...sigh.
Have a great weekend everyone!  Hope you get some sunsine.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lonely Little Fat Girl

This weekend has been very telling for me, and I think it has led to me being back on track. 
I did good on Friday, though it was really tough, I kept it clean all the way through.  The roads were so slippery that I had 3 close-calls driving myself and the kids home.  And when we got home, I let out the biggest sigh, and thought about how eating some junk would help relieve some stress.  And I was simultaneously aware at how easily that thought cropped up, and that eating junk would only soothe me temporarily, but would make me feel sad later.  Usually I stop at the idea of eating junk, and start shoving things in before I can talk myself out of it.  So, that was a huge victory.
My husband's reaction to me not agreeing to a cheat meal that night, was not one I'd expected.  He was truly disappointed.  I explained that the roads were only part of the reason I didn't want to go out to dinner, that I was trying to exercise some self control so I can overcome my obstacles.  While he understood, he is the kind of person who can eat the way I would like to all weekend, and by Tuesday, he is leaner and has lost all the water weight.  My body doesn't work that way.  He pouted a bit, but I didn't cave.  He eventually got some snacks and beer from the store and had his own little treat that night while I put the kids to bed.  I understand that disappointment, he used to be the voice of reason when I wanted to go off the rails.
Saturday was a sharp contrast to Friday's discipline, partially planned.  The babysitter's son had a sleep-over that included my boys, so we had an entire afternoon and evening to ourselves.  We had a late lunch, some cheesecake, and a dinner out.  Only the lunch was truly worth it, in hindsight, but we had an OK time anyway.  We also saw the movie Wanderlust and laughed so hard/much my eyes hurt from wiping tears away.  Before we went out, I put a lot of effort into my appearance, and I felt good about myself.  My husband seemed not to notice, but some other guys did.  What a hollow feeling.  When we finally settled in for the evening, to watch some movies and have a few drinks, I was already starting to feel pretty invisible.  More computer time for my husband, I rarely get to see anything but the back of his head anymore, as I sat bored waiting to start the movie we'd rented.  Even what should have been an intimate, reconnecting evening together ended up leaving me feeling invisible to him.  It is a place we've been before, and it nearly destroyed us, and once again, it will be up to me to make him see what he's doing.  Maybe that's more personal than I should get on a weight loss blog, but the emotional element is so very important to me, especially when I am going through some really heavy stuff that doesn't involve him, and I feel like my life is changing in so many ways.   And yet, sometimes I still feel like the lonely little fat girl, drowning in apathy.
So the victory that came from my lonliness is this.  What is missing from my weight loss journey, is ME.  I have allowed myself to come last again.  My needs,wants, dreams come after everyone else in my family is satisfied.  It is evident in the littlest things like always eating my breakfast cold, because I am too busy making sure my kids are eating their breakfast that I don't get to eat my own until everyone else is "set".  And it is evident in the fact that I feel completely ignored in my marriage.  Everything I do revolves around what my family needs, and if there's time left, I'll sneak in something for me.  Going back to school has made me feel really guilty because that means 3 nights a week I get home late.  That means my husband has more responsibility for/with the kids and I get less time with them, and my husband has to alter his schedule to fit mine.  My self esteem issues that stem from childhood include the feeling of being an inconvenience, and feeling like I am in the way.  Those issues have yet to be resolved.  But I did realize that the reason I was so successful at the start of this journey, was only due in small part to all the time I had on my hands.  In huger portion, it was due to my strength to sort of stick a proverbial middle finger out to everyone and declare that it was MY TURN.  I was making myself a priority, putting myself first and letting the chips fall where they may.  I knew my family's needs would be met, but I was making my own a priority for the first time in years.  And on Sunday, when I was recalling the previous nights events, I decided that I have two options, to continue to be so emotionally wrapped up in my husband's actions (or lack of ) or to do my own thing, focus on me and build up strength so I can MAKE myself important, and feel strong enough to let him know what I need.  I learned a long time ago that people can't fix something if they don't know it's broken.  My husband isn't intentionally trying to hurt me, he's actually quite oblivious to the fact that anything is wrong.  He is simply doing what has always come natural to him, focusing on A#1.  And there is a lot to be learned from that.  I can't focus on fixing myself if the only way I'm involved is by way of hurtful emotions I put myself through.  Actions fix problems.  It's time to take action, make myself central to the solution, and start pushing toward the goal. 
Ran a mile yesterday at 4.5mph.  After drinking the night before, it felt like pure torture, but I did it.  And I know I've got even more in me.  And I know I'm worth every second of it. 
Not sure how it is posible to be simultaneously bloated and dehydrated, but that's how I feel today.  And despite being 100% on plan yesterday, my weight is back up to 163, but my clothes fit looser.  I don't know that I'll ever stop being confused about my body!
So it's Monday, but some nice weather is in store for the week.  Hope you are all getting a bit of spring weather yourselves!  Have a good week.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Redefining Friday

I have really grown to love Fridays.  Since late last summer, Fridays have been like their own personal eat-anything-I-want party, and lately, they are just the kick-off party, the precursor to the junk I eat all weekend.  I eat relentlessly, nachos and sweets and meals at restaurants.  When did all this change?  When I first started this journey, I ate one cheat meal per week, no sweets allowed.  Then, slowly, my cheat meal included one sweet treat afterwords, usually in the form of an ice cream from our local frozen custard stand, and I would always tell myself, this place isn't open during winter, I wont have any problems letting go of this habit.  Enter the abomination known as the McFlurry.  There are a million ways to hate McDonalds, and the Rolo McFlurry became one of mine during the limited time they sold it.  Then it was their Holiday Pies.  Thank all that is holy that I can't stand Shamrock Shakes!  I rarely go to McD's anymore, and don't have too much problem not getting something there when my kids want to go.  I will say, for some reason, their mix on the Diet Coke is the best I've ever tasted.  I mean it, they make Diet Coke taste better than Diet Coke. 
At any rate, I still kept things to a sane, one cheat meal per week most of the summer, until my stupid class reunion hit.  That weekend was a stumbling point for me.  I was all wrapped up in a bunch of negative feelings about my marriage, nostalgic over people I left behind a long time ago, and the biggie, it was the first time in a long while that I got to hang out with my bestie and just let the girl talk roll.  In the past, hanging out with her meant my own personal therapy session, free-flowing catharsis at every turn, and usually it happened in the presence of food.  Hanging out a restaurant talking, or sitting in the car munching on chips/candy and talking.  Talk about dual therapy!  So, when that reunion weekend hit, I was primed for a little food and friend therapy.  The release of not monitoring what I was eating, was intoxicating.  I never quite got fully back on track for any lenghth of time, at least, not on the weekends.  Everything else around me resolved, but I was/am still eating like I did that weekend, and even worse. 
But today is the day I redefine Friday.  I haven't been working out much this week, but I have been sticking nicely to my eating plan.  Even though it has only been 5 days, I can tell a huge difference in how I feel.  And by that I mean, mentally I feel thinner, but also physically, some of my flappy spots are less flappy today.  Last night I made the mistake of going to the grocery store while I was hungry (needed medicine for my coughing kids) and I ended up buying them some treats.  This was a true test of my commitment, because I was wanting to indulge really bad, but I was smart enough to know that merely meant my blood sugar was dropping off and it was time to eat a sensible meal.  I bought them some Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies and a box of no-sugar-added ice cream sandwiches.  For myself, since I knew I couldn't have those things, I bought a box of sugar-free fudgesicles, and some amazing Dunkin Donuts Strawberry Shortcake flavored coffee.  Honestly, it tastes like you've dipped your strawberry shortcake in a cup of coffee-soooo good.  When I got home, I had my dinner (a turkey sandwich, since I was short on time) and then I ate one of those no-sugar-added ice cream sandwiches (4g lactose carbs, not too bad).   Later I had two fudgesicles.  That equated to one snack more than I should have had, but I figured that is OK if it only happens from time to time and doesn't become the rule.
This morning I was happy to see my weight back in the 150's (barely) and it got me thinking about where I want to be heading.  While I was getting ready for the shower, I took a few minutes to look at my body and pull things out of the way to see what my shape will look like when all this extra stuff goes away.  I think I have been blessed with a good physique, it has just been covered so long I wasn't aware of it!  And that got me fired up a bit.  I've been going in the wrong direction for so long now that I lost sight of the whole thing, and just went on autopilot for a while, going through the motions.  No fire where I lit my spark, as Crowded House once sang.  My weight loss and all the self-reflection concerning it, have taken a back seat to my busy life, and I have been staying in my comfort zone for far too long now. 
So today, I am taking back my body.  I am going to keep my mind on the posibilities so that I don't forget why I should push a little harder, or why it's worth it to get out of bed at 4:50am, even if the wind is freezing the contents of my nose together as I walk to the workout room.  I will make a greater effort to keep Friday a weekday, one in which I need to be commited to a clean, mindful diet, so that I can reach my goal someday.  Because even though I'm labeling this phase my comfort zone, I'm not comfortable with where I've stopped.  And I do still care.  Time to kick things up a notch and get re-commited to me. 
My latest chapter in my adolescence course is about parenting styles and the effect on kids.  I think in this chapter I am delving into perhaps the darkest, ugliest, painful things I've been inclined to think about in a good many years.  Again, I know it will be healing to confront it, but I have to go through a lot of ugly to get the scab. 
And maybe that is a parallel to weight loss.  It isn't always pretty or easy, but the reward is the mental and physical crown jewel we all seek.  And until you dive in and encounter the ugly, you won't see the beauty of the light surrounding you.
I know I'm on my way toward something good, because I am making that happen myself.  Even if it takes forever.
Happy Friday everyone!