Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Well, do you???
I lost 1.4 lbs.
And for July I lost a total of 2.7 lbs.
Not bad for a month full of out of town visitors, four parties, one business trip and one week of being the only parent at home. These situations are all triggers for poor wellness for me. But, I did it. I'm proud. Go me.
So, this morning after I weighed myself I was thinking about what I would write about today on my lunch hour. As I looked at the scale I thought about how I was closer to being ok with posting my beginning weight here on my blog. I have been planning all along to do that once I hit onderland (199 lbs.) (oops, I just gave away that I weigh over 200 lbs.) Give me a second...
While I ...
I don't share my weight with anyone. Not even Jim. Although he's probably figured it out by listening to me spout certain numbers out when we're wellness talking.
Back to my story.
Today's weigh-in is significant because I finally got off that five pounds I've been yo-yoing the past six months. And now I can officially say I've lost 30 pounds instead of saying that with a mental asterisk that says depending on which week I'm weighing in.
I'm just going to jump in and not think about it.
Today I weighed in at 215.8 pounds.
That means I started this journey at 245 pounds.
And there it is.
Why do I have a knot in my stomach. It's because I've always hid that number. In my head I didn't look like I weighed 245 pounds. I thought people would be shocked to hear that number. But, you know what - that number doesn't define me anymore. 215.8 defines me today and that's it.
Here's another number - 225
Do you know what that number is? That's my weight on August of 2002. When I found out I was pregnant with my first born, Jacob.
Heck yeah - I weigh less today than I did before I had my kids.
Not just less, but ten pounds less!!! Now that's something to write about.
Take that stupid numbers.
Here's one more number for today - 196
That is how much I weighted in October of 2000 - the month Jim and I were married. That's my goal for this year. To lose 19 more pounds and weigh what I did 10 years ago. When I was 25. When I was in my twenties for crying out loud. I will do it, just you watch.
Ok, I lied, I have one more number - 29
I gained 29 pounds the first two years of my marriage. I've never thought about that number before. I need to take a look at why that happened. I have a feeling it was because I eat when I'm lonely and Jim worked a lot of nights those first few years of marriage and I was left alone in the house with all the junk food I bought from the store. I'm totally not blaming him, it wasn't his fault that I couldn't control my eating. I will give this topic some self-reflection and address it in another post soon.
Well, thanks for holding my hand while I wrote this post. I'm going to proofread it now and hope I don't hit the delete button.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
"Most people are afraid of change because they don't know what it's going to look like."
I immediately thought of weight loss when I heard this. It was true for me. I waited years and year to face the fear and lose weight. And as I waited I put on extra pounds each passing year.
I didn't understand it at the time, but there were many things I was afraid of.
- I was afraid of failing
- I was afraid of succeeding and then gaining it all back
- I was afraid that if I tried to lose weight it wouldn't work
- I was afraid I would miss food too much
- I was afraid I would have to exercise
- I was afraid to tell people I wanted to try
- I was afraid it would be too hard
Today I want to touch on one of those fears - I was afraid that if I tried to lose weight it wouldn't work. Looking back I can see that this was one of my biggest fears.
I've been "dieting" pretty much since I was in 4th grade. I went to a weight loss support group for over ten years and thought I knew all I needed to know about weight loss. I had tried before and failed. And then tried again and failed. I never really had much success when I was trying. I think the most I ever lost was 10 pounds. In all honesty, I wasn't trying very hard.
I never did a combination of diet and exercise together. In most cases I would do one or the other and get burned out after a few weeks. With diet I would "go on a diet" stay away from the "bad food" and only eat "good food" until I would binge on the bad foods I so desperately was craving and then give up because I failed. With exercise all I really tried was walking. There were a few times where I walked consistently for a few weeks or even a few months and the scale didn't move. My conclusion was that exercise didn't work.
I felt like weight loss didn't work for me. I didn't understand how it worked for others. When I would hear others success stories and they would say "If I can do it, so can you!" I didn't believe them. I felt like I was incapable of losing weight.
I've talked before about how I got started with diet and how I got started with exercise and luckily for me it all clicked at the right time. I was at my highest weight and I wasn't happy and I was ready to try, even though I thought I would most likely fail again.
For me what worked was the Weight Watchers point system. I'm not saying the program would be right for you, but it helped me break through the "bad food/good food" relationship I had with eating. It showed me that I could eat my favorite foods in moderation and avoid setting myself up for the vicious cycle of dieting, binging, failing, giving up.
Weight Watchers also has showed me the relationship between exercise and food. Calories in vs. calories out. When I had tried to exercise in the past I'm sure I was still taking more calories in that I was getting out - hence the not working.
My message to you about fear is that it is a very real, very powerful thing. If you are faced with fear I encourage you to sit down and really take a look at what's behind the fear. If you're afraid of what change in your life will look like, figure out why you feel that way. Make a list and tackle each reason and push through to get what it is you want out of this life.
Jacob had a great day at camp yesterday. He was still wearing his costume when I picked him up and he said he had a lot of fun.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The kids are at day camp this week. Jacob, age 7, is in Voyager camp with a Medieval Madness theme. Jim has been out of town this week (he's back tonight - yea!) so I've had both drop off and pick up duty. When I picked up Jacob last night there was a note on the sign-out sheet that said Wednesday was going to be a dress up day and to be creative and dress in your favorite medieval gear. When Jacob came in from his camp he showed me a shield he had made that day out of cardboard and tin foil. Cool. And thus ended any thoughts of camp until 6 a.m. this morning when I was getting the kids snacks packed and swim stuff in their bag.
I don't usually do morning duty. In fact, I'm usually on my way to work before Jim and the kids get up (my husband is a saint I know). So it's been a bit wearing on my patience to deal with grumpy kids in the morning. I managed to wrangle them together and get them out to the car and that's when I saw it.
Jacob's shield. Crap - it's dress up day.
"Jacob, we don't have any medieval stuff so you won't be able to dress up today," I said to him as I was shoving his towel in his bag.
Jacob proceeded to burst into tears.
He doesn't really do the tears thing very often so I felt really bad. I knew once upon a time (ha) we had a Disney Prince Phillip costume. Jacob remembered this too. I wasn't sure if it was packed away or if we had sold it already. I dialed Jim's cell phone number.
"Pick up, pick up, pick," I said to myself as Jacob's tears got louder. Right before the voicemail picked up I heard Jim whisper hello. A quick convo determined the costume may be in the garage. I searched the bag and saw the shiny blue, silver and black costume. I lifted it up so Jacob could see it.
Jacob jumped out of the car, ready to strip down and put it on right there in the driveway.
On the drive to the Y is when I started to worry. I was worried he would get made fun of for wearing a Prince Phillip costume.
Once we got to the drop off area I frantically looked to see if other kids were dressed up while Jacob was begging me to put the costume on. I saw a few princess crowns. Search, search, search - ah, there were two boys wearing viking hats and swords. I helped Jacob get dressed and could feel the kid's eyes on us. I was worried. Really worried.
Jacob's friend Gavin came over and started talking about his new Harry Potter video game and whisked Jacob away to the breakfast area. I said goodbye and took Gracie over to the building where she gets dropped off. I looked back and saw two 10-year-olds walk behind Jacob and Gavin and saw them giggling. My heart sank. Jacob didn't notice.
I decided once I dropped Gracie off I would go go back to Jacob's building and check on him. I walked back in and saw him at the table eating with Gavin. I walked over to him, knelt down and said "Jacob, if anyone asks, you tell them you're a knight ok? See this cool armor on your costume? You're a knight!"
Jacob didn't look at me, but responded, "It has a cape, so I'm a prince." He said it with a hint of insecurity in his voice.
What am I doing?
WHAT AM I DOING!!!
"That's right Jacob. It can be what ever you want it to be."
I was trying to protect my son, but what I was really doing was hurting him. I was trying to keep him from being teased when I was the one that planted a seed in his head that maybe it wasn't ok for him to be dressed as a prince.
He wanted to be a prince. He was excited to be a prince. Why couldn't I just let him be happy being a prince? Because I've been teased before and I didn't want it to happen to him. But it will. We all go through it or are the ones doing it. Jacob is a strong kid. Yes, there's a good chance that he might get laughed at today - but he will either ignore them or stick up for himself. And if he does get his feelings hurt I can help him through it. That's what a parent does. But there's also a chance he could be the star of the show. Maybe everyone will be envious of his costume. I have to let him go through experiences and not hold him back from them.
Ok, so here's the tie in ...
All the times I've tried to lose weight before were for the wrong reason. I didn't want to be teased for wearing the prince costume. I wanted to be noticed for wearing the cool knight costume. I wanted to be skinny and have people notice. I cared so much what other people thought of me. I wanted to change for them.
The reason I've lost weight and kept it off is because I've embraced the prince costume and I'm proud to wear it. I don't care if other people think it's dorky. I've lost some weight and I have more to go, but I'm proud of the results I've had so far and I'm showing them off. Yes, my body isn't perfect and I'm sure I might get a few giggles when I walk past people that think I shouldn't be wearing that tank top but I'm confident enough in myself to not care what they think. I care what I think.
I'm not losing weight so that I can be skinny. Yes, it is really nice when people compliment me on my weight loss. Really nice. But that's not why I'm doing it. I like who I am becoming through this process. I'm proud of who I am. I'm my favorite.
I posted last night that I didn't want to go to Zumba. I was in a slump because I hadn't been in over a week and had lost my Zumba high. I went last night. I loved it. I'm back.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I made arrangements yesterday to have my parents watch the kids while I'm at the Y since Jim's not home tonight. They've been on vacation and I know they're anxious to see them.
Twice today I drafted an e-mail telling my parents that I wasn't going to go to Zumba after all. I had a couple of excuses why, but every time I went to push send I couldn't do it.
Because I know I should go.
Because my parents want to see their grand kids.
Because I'll feel better after.
Because I know I'm just feeling this way because it's been a week since I've Zumba'd and I forget what it feels like.
What I'm feeling right now reminds me of my pre-Zumba days. The constant internal battle to get myself to the gym. Coming up with 10 reasons why I shouldn't go that night. I'll go tomorrow. The kids need me. I'm so tired. I just need a night off. I need to do laundry instead. I need to clean the house. And on and on.
Since I've been home, two of my Facebook friends have posted about Zumba on their pages.
Mary Ellen said "is going for 5th Zumba class in 8 days!! ♥ it and what it is doing for me, inside and out!"
Nichole said "Zumba time! Love it!"
I know in two hours after Zumba is over I will feel the same way as Mary and Nichole. I will be on my Zumba high.
But I wanted to write how I feel RIGHT NOW because I know I will feel it again someday. I want proof of it so I know I'm not alone in the moment and that I can push through it. I'm in control!
I knew better though. I knew all that caffeine wasn't good for me. I know there's a bunch of information out there about the artificial sweeteners and the chemicals and what have you, but I didn't need to read all of that - I just knew it wasn't good for me.
I still drink a couple of DDP a day. Maybe someday I'll kick the habit entirely. We'll see.
I decided to make the jump to water after seeing a couple of my co-workers walking by my office several times a day to fill up there water cups. They weren't just any cups though, they had those tumblers from Starbucks with the hard plastic straws.
I knew if I had a fighting chance of making the switch to water it would be with this tumbler. It's true, for me at least, I drink more liquid when I'm drinking from a straw.
I had my friend pick up a tumbler for me from Starbucks since I don't drink coffee and it didn't take long for me to discover that I was right - this was the beverage container for me.
I know this isn't brain surgery or anything, but any little thing that makes changing bad habits easier is a winner in my book.
The other day I decided to get my fav Spud Ole with veggie chili at McAlister's Deli and when I stepped up to the counter I let out a big squeal. I saw in front of me a McAlister's tea tumbler just like my Starbucks one. The guy behind the counter asked if I was dining in and I blurted out "I want one of these!" (I really like McAlister's). Then I looked at the price and at $5 I was contemplating getting two.
I took my McAlister's tumbler with me to my conference last week and it really, really helped me get my water in. It's going on my permanent packing list.
How do you get your water?
Monday, July 26, 2010
Jim has told me to go out and buy new work clothes and I've been out a few times and bought a pair of pants and a few new shirts, but I haven't been on that all-out shopping spree yet. It's not that I'm afraid I'll put the weight back on. I think it's more of a thing that I'm not done yet. I still want to lose more weight. But I think there's more to it.
You know when people lose weight and they say they still see themselves as overweight? That they're surprised to see a thinner reflection in the mirror? I think that's my thing about buying new clothes. I'm still used to shopping being a painful thing. Only being able to go to Lane Bryant to shop for clothes. Picking out a dozen things to try on and then putting them all back because none of them look good on. Buying whatever fit, regardless of it whether it's cute or not. It was exhausting and depressing and I hated doing it.
It's been such a painful experience for me in the past that I haven't embraced it yet. I still have that old image in my head of looking over racks and racks of clothes that I know won't fit, passing by the stores that have all the cute clothes because I knew they didn't carry my size. So I have to re-learn the shopping experience.
Shopping is getting easier and more fun for me. I've gone out on my lunch hour a few times just to try on clothes. I know not everything will fit well, but it is a bit of high when it does.
Not only has buying new clothes been a struggle for me, but so has letting go of the old clothes. I've always heard you should get rid of your big clothes as you lose weight but I hadn't done it until recently.
There is a consignment shop called Selective Seconds near my house. I had toyed with the idea of selling some of my outgrown clothes there. I looked up the information online to see how it worked, but four months later I still found myself putting on the same baggy tops for work. Well, as I was looking in the mirror at work a few weeks ago I said enough was enough.
|My selection of large print shirts I took to Selective Seconds|
Sunday, July 25, 2010
If you read my Help Needed - Staying Strong on Business Trips post you'll know that I was worried about staying on my plan while on this trip.Well, I won some and lost some.
I planned to work out two days while I was there and only did one day. I hadn't thought about the fact that I would have to shower and get ready all over again after working out in the evenings and only had time to do that one night. The rest of the week I chose staying out late with friends over getting up early and exercising. I still had three days of exercise last week so that's pretty good.
|Me and my favorite Liz hanging out at City Walk on Tuesday night. I chose nights like this over yoga at 6 a.m..|
I did really well with breakfast and lunches. I brought my own breakfasts and did a good job with the plated lunches that I had been worried about.
I brought my McAlister's tumbler and got lots and lots of water in during the day and I had almonds and granola bars in my bag to snack on during the sessions.
It was dinner that got me in trouble. I was so hungry by dinner time that I didn't pick the healthiest choices. I had a cheeseburger and fries my first night in (hangs head in shame), Wednesday's dinner was a pasta dish with mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes with a cream sauce and it was good, but way to rich. Thursday's dinner was chicken marsala.
Overall I felt ok with how I did. Not as good as I had planned, but I didn't give up after making a few poor choices.
I got on the scale yesterday morning and quickly got off after I saw the high number. I was hoping it was a result of water retention from air travel the previous day. I got on today and I was down 1/2 a pound for the week. I'm relieved and ready to kill it this week!
What's Coming Up This Week
While I wasn't able to post last week, I did start a few draft posts that I hope to polish up and post this week. They include my experience selling my "big clothes" to a consignment shop, drinking water and being afraid of change. Have a great week everyone!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I'm doing ok on my plan. I've avoided all the snacks and apps but have made a couple of poor dinner choices.
Thanks to my neighbor Kelley I was able to use the low cal dressing packets she gave me on my plated lunch yesterday.
I've missed blogging so I'm anxious to get back to it. Check back
Monday, July 19, 2010
I could tell he was serious. So I gave him my attention. I think this was around the time I blogged about finding my skinny photos which included a couple of photos of Jim when he was 20 and may have been at his lowest weight too. He reads my blog so maybe seeing those old photos had been motivating to him to give losing weight a try.
I had him grab the laptop and we got him set up on the web site. I showed him how to use the plan manager by entering his points in for the day based off what he had eaten.
He had gone to a pizza buffet, had a bag of skittles, a few other snacky things. Once we entered everything in, he had eaten close to 70 points. His total daily point intake should have been 35 points.
Next we took a look at some of the places he likes to eat and he was getting discouraged at how high the point values were for his favorite menu items. I explained to him that if he really wanted a cheeseburger he could have it, he would just need to replace the fries with a salad. Stuff like that.
|Jim on July 3|
He's lost 11 pounds so far. He wants to lose 20 total before our anniversary trip in October.
What I didn't expect was how much he would help me by starting his weight loss journey. The biggest thing he's helped me with is realizing how important tracking WW points is for me. I've gotten really lazy with it. Basically I wasn't doing it. So I started that again. Then he pointed out that I probably wasn't being very accurate with my points. I was using more than a tablespoon of peanut butter on my pb&js. I was just grabbing a handful of pretzels instead of counting them out. No wonder I haven't seen the scale moving fast enough.
A great benefit to Jim starting WW is that I have a partner now. We're in it together. We're working as a team when we go out to eat. What we've done a few times is either split an entree or we'll order a low calorie option like a big salad with low-calorie dressing and then order a ham and cheese sub and then we'll split both. It's been awesome. It makes it so much easier to make smart choices.
I'm super proud of my husband. I know how hard it is to make the decision to change your eating habits. I know how hard it is to ask for help. I'm honored to be his coach.
My plan was to go to Zumba Saturday morning before getting my hair done. I didn't sleep well Friday night and in the wee hours of the morning I had talked myself into skipping class because I wouldn't have enough time to come home and shower before my hair appointment. I slept in and when I woke up on Saturday I started to feel guilty about not going to class. I sat up looked at the clock and said "screw it - I can still make it." I threw on some clothes, grabbed a banana, granola bar and water and headed off to the Y. I only stayed for half the class so I could make it to my appointment on time, but I felt so good about going. I'm extra happy I went Saturday because I didn't end up going last night because I wasn't feeling well. I can imagine if I had missed both classes I would have been really down on myself.
Friday, July 16, 2010
If you're curious, here's what my WW tracker looked like this week.
I get 30 daily points and an extra 35 weekly points to use during the week. I used all my weekly points on Saturday (two lake parties). I did Zumba five times and earned 53 activity points (it would have been 55, but I was 10 minutes late to the Saturday class). I used 18 of my activity points. I'm going to watch these stats closely week-to-week as I figure out how accurate my activity points are. If you have any questions about this just ask in the comment section below.
Now onto the title of my post. I need some help from you experts out there. I've had an awesome week. I have my game face on, I'm eating right, tracking my food and exercising. And next week I'm going to mix it all up by going out of town on a business trip. I'm confident I'll get my two days of exercise in that I normally would at home during the time I'm gone. Breakfast won't be a problem - I'll bring some instant oatmeal with me and they always have fresh fruit. Dinner will be manageable. I'll probably go out to restaurants and be able to find a low calorie option.
I'm worried about the lunches. They are plated lunches. Salad, lunch and dessert. I can skip the dessert no problem. I'm happy eating the salad but am worried about the dressing. Are all vinaigrette's low calorie? And the lunch plate - seems like a danger zone to me. The sauce, the butter, who knows what is on that plate.
Do you have any tips? Should I just eat the salad and run to my room to eat something that I know the calorie count on? I would love to hear your suggestions.
Another favorite part of Zumba classes for me are the claps. A lot of times you do a move on one side for eight counts and then you clap and then do the other side for eight counts. When the class is pretty full (like most nights) and the majority of the people have been to class before (like most nights) that clap can get pretty loud. It's really cool and it gives you a little spark that helps you keep going and work even harder.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Well, that's not me.
I will never be a runner.
I have been converted to a 5k cheer'er on'er!
My friend Kirsten, who I hadn't seen in over ten years, recently came back home to Indiana to visit and run her first 5k. I've been following her training on her blog and have been super impressed by her accomplishments.
I've read other runner's blogs in the past and I remembered reading how much it helped them to have a cheering section at their races. So I decided that I wanted to go to cheer Kirsten, Katie and Kristi on at the 5k. (We all went to high school together).
I wanted to make some signs to take with me so I decided to enlist the help of Gracie. When you say "craft," Gracie comes running. I knew she would be excited to color on poster board and also realized she would want to come to the race with me after being invested in the signs. Win/Win.
I stopped at the craft store to pick up supplies before picking up the kids at day camp. Gracie saw the pink and yellow signs in the van and said, "oooohhh, what's that?!?" I let her in on my plan and she was ready to get to work.
|Hmm, watch should I draw next?|
The race was last Saturday. It was the Little Red Door's Unite 2 Fight Race Against Prostate Cancer and was held in downtown Indianapolis. The race started at 8 a.m. Gracie woke me up around 7 a.m. and asked if it was time to go to the race yet? She was a little excited.
We got dressed and put the signs and camera in the car. Could she take her doll? Sure?
That was the first of at least 100 questions on our 20 minute ride downtown and 10 minute walk to our cheering spot. That girl can ask some questions!
At one point Gracie said something that made me realize she thought we were going to see a car race. I guess I hadn't been very clear. I explained to her that we were going to watch people running. Then she was excited and said she hoped Kirsten won the race. I then had to explain to her that runners aren't trying to win these types a races, they just want to finish with a good time. Yeah, she didn't really understand.
On the drive up Gracie said a cloud out her window looked like Tinkerbell's Tree. I handed her my camera at a stop light to take a photo of it. I wish that pole hadn't been in the way.
|Gracie's Tinkerbell Tree|
Anyway, we made it to the finish line of the race and started walking backwards along the route. We found a good spot right before the runners turn the corner and see the finish line.
|Gracie ready to cheer on the racers.|
|Happy birthday Kirsten. (I had two parties on Saturday and ate a total WW 68.5 pts. Proud to say I got all those points back from exercise this week!)|
|Katie, Gracie and Jacob|
|Jacob and Niklas|
|Duck Duck Goose - Jacob is too cool for this game!|
|Me and Kirsten|
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Last weekend was very busy and on Friday I was trying to figure out a way to get all of our preparations and obligations done. I picked up my kids, plus my nephew who had been staying with us all week, at day camp and headed home where Jim met us. Jim started packing our nephew's bag who was being picked up in an hour, while I got Gracie dressed for ballet and tried to gather her hair into a ponytail (after she had been swimming that day - always a fun chore.) Jim and I went back and forth about a dozen times deciding who should take Gracie to ballet and who should go to the store. We decide Jim would take her and I would wait for my sister-in-law to pick up her son and then Jacob and I would head to the store. Phew. I'm tired, just thinking about this.
So our plans went smoothly and Jacob and I headed to Kroger to get ingredients for the two batches of homemade salsa I was going to make for the two parties we were going to on Saturday. We were having a grand time (no really, Jacob was reading every sign he saw in the store and for some reason we both thought this was hilarious and were giggling the whole time) and when I headed down the chip isle I saw one of Jacob's classmate's mom.
I know her from volunteering at Market Day but I probably haven't seen her in six months. We were chatting and catching up while Jacob was checking out her Fruity Pebbles box in her cart. After a pause in the conversation she looked at me and said "You look good. Have you lost weight?"
I am one of those people that eats this up. I know it makes other people uncomfortable when people ask them this question, but I on the other hand, am in heaven.
I grinned the biggest smile ever and said: "Thank you so much. Yes, I have lost weight." Then I told her that I've been doing Zumba. She said she has been doing Zumba too. Shut the front door! We figured out that we both do Zumba at the YMCA, but haven't noticed each other. (That's how crowded the classes are!)
I left the grocery store floating in the air and even texted Jim at ballet to tell him what she said.
On Saturday I was scanning the back of the classroom at Zumba between songs and I saw my friend from the store. I ran back there to say hi to her and we even gave each other a sweaty hug.
How do you react when people notice your weight loss?
I felt much better at Zumba last night. I was back. I love Trish's Monday class. It's a great way to start the work week and it's at 6 p.m. so I have a little extra time when I get home to relax with the family.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I didn't think I would have time to go, so I didn't have my workout clothes (tank and pants) ready. I had on one of Jim's t-shirts and I put on some shorts (I never wear shorts to the gym).
So when I got to class and found a place in the front row, I had a really hard time looking at myself in the mirror. It wasn't the me I was used to seeing in the reflection. I looked big and dumpy and it was messing with my head ...
Then, at last night's Zumba class I wasn't feeling well, but really wanted to go. I hung out in the third row and was only able to give about 60% of what I normally give. I was a little down in the dumps on the way home and when I rounded the corner, I saw my neighbor/friend walking into her house wearing a super cute summer dress. (Kelley, I know you read this and I have to say - you look amazing.) I know Kelley's been running and I see her a lot in the mornings coming home from her morning workout as I'm on my way to work. She's been working hard and it's noticeable.
So the crappy self-image stuff along with being envious of my friend Kelley and not feeling very well, all lead to me coming into the house sitting at the kitchen table and putting my head down. Jim came in to talk and I told him I was frustrated with not seeing results the last few months.
I've pretty much been losing and gaining the same five pounds for the past three months.
Jim, being Jim, paused for a second and was thinking of what he could say to cheer me up and finally he said he didn't know way to say. He has suggested in the past that I go see a trainer that could look at my diet and exercise and help me make adjustments, but I'm not there yet. I have a hang up about seeing a trainer and I'm just not comfortable doing it yet.
So anyway, I got to work this morning and I realized I hadn't updated my exercise calendar. I have one of those yearly calendars taped to the slide-out shelf on my desk and I Sharpied (yes, it's a verb) out the dates that I exercised. I went back and updated the last three weeks and I had a huge revelation. I only exercised seven times in May, six times in June. That's compared to my 20 times in March and 15 times in April.
Obviously I wasn't working as hard as I thought I was.
So, I have a new attitude today. I'm back tracking points AND exercising 4-5 times a week and I know I will start seeing results again.
I do have some challenges coming up. Next week I'll be on a business trip and away from Zumba, but my friend Liz has already asked me to workout with her while we're there. Then the week after that Jim is on a business trip which means I'll need to take the kids to Child Watch which I don't really like to do (for no good reason - the kids like it). Then before school starts we're going out to Maryland for a week to visit my brother's family. Kim has told me she can hook me up with Zumba classes at her gym while I'm there.
So, I have a plan for my challenges. My goal is to be down another 10 pounds before our Florida trip in October and I think that's an attainable goal.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Here's a description of the book "Dexter, the louche public school boy, and Emma, the brainy Yorkshire lass, meet the day they graduate from university in 1988 and run circles around one another for the next 20 years."
I was just sitting there enjoying my lunch and reading and then this paragraph from the book hit me. It's part of a letter Dex was writing to Emma:
Em, we've know each other five or six years now, and I think I know what your problem is. I think you're scared of being happy, Emma. I think you think that the natural way of things is for your life to be grim and grey and dour and to hate your job, hate where you live, not to have success or money or God forbid a boyfriend (and a quick discersion here- that whole self-deprecating thing about being unattractive is getting pretty boring I can tell you). In fact I'll go further and say that I think you actually get a kick out of being disappointed and under-achieving, because it's easier, isn't it? Failure and unhappiness is easier because you make a joke out of it ... and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of Confidence. Either that or a scented candle.
If reading the above excerpt didn't mean anything to you, you have my permission to stop reading this blog post and continue on with your day.
My reaction to reading the above was getting the wind knocked out of me. I had to put my Reader down and just sit with it for a minute. Then waves of memories and emotions hit me hard.
How Dexter described Emma is how I think. Or how I used to think I guess would be more accurate. It's true - I think it can be easier to be miserable. There's no risk, no disappointment, no chance to feel any worse than you already feel.
I used to be so scared of happiness because I didn't want to have it and then have it taken away from me.
The rest of the day I kept thinking about this letter Dexter wrote to Emma. It made me remember an important turning point in my life (don't you love those - they sound so dramatic). It was April/May 1994. I was finishing up my English class in my first year of college. We had to do some sort of paper on a poet. ~Man, I hate poetry. I'm sorry, but I don't get it. I spend too much time looking up the words in the dictionary to appreciate how beautiful the writing is.~ So, I was not looking forward to this assignment. Somehow I ended up reading "Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters"
And I'm telling you, it did totally change me. Keep in mind, I read this over 15 years ago, but what I remember from the book (even if I'm right or not) was how selfish this woman was. She was so conceited and self-centered. She had a husband and children and she didn't care about them. She was manipulative. She would write these letters to her friend who was a priest and she would flirt with him. She saw it as a challenge. She knew he couldn't be with her, but she pushed and pushed until he fell in love with her.
When I read her letters, I identified with some of her characteristics and I didn't like what I saw. When you think of someone that's conceited you probably think of someone that thinks they're better than everyone else, but I had a different kind of conceit. I was one of those people that thought everyone was looking at me and judging me - good or bad. That can really mess with your head and how you think.
I was manipulative - not in a mean way, but in a way that would get me what I want. If someone called me out on something I did wrong, I could spin it around and make it their fault. I could have them in tears apologizing to me.
So from that point on I've worked on those traits. I still have them and I have to be careful to not let them have a negative impact on myself and my relationships.
I've since tried to go back and read that book that had such an impact on my life and I can never get past the first few chapters. It must have been an in the moment thing.
Another big thing that happened in my life at the same time was I was kind of seeing a guy at school who didn't treat me very well and I was completely fine with that. Luckily, it ended before it could even get started.
I remember vividly packing up my dorm room and picking up this photo of (my now husband) Jim and saying to myself "why can't I find a guy like Jim?" Later that I night I put my hooks into Jim at a party and I never let go. I was a good person and deserved happiness. I deserved to be treated well. I did deserve a guy like Jim.
I'm all over the place today with this blog. Let me see if I can bring it all back together ...
These "bad" traits I've mentioned - scared of being happy, self-deprecation, getting a kick out of being disappointed and under-achieving, failure and unhappiness being easier, selfishness, conceit, manipulation. Do you see where they can be connected to being overweight and unhealthy? When you're overweight you sometimes believe it's easier to be fat. You're already fat and getting by in life. You know what you're getting. There's no risk of trying and failing. Failure and unhappiness is easier because you make a joke out of it. It's always someone else's fault.
But if you can get that wake-up call. If you can have that one spark of hope. If you can read that one special book or meet that one special person or whatever it takes for you to turn you world around, your way of thinking around. You can realize you deserve to be happy. You deserve to treat yourself well and be treated well by others.
But the thing that stuck with me the most from Dexter's letter was not how he told her he thought she liked being unhappy. It was the one gift he wanted to give Emma for the rest of her life. The scented candle.
Just kidding. Confidence. It would be the gift of Confidence. How many of you out there can say that you have confidence? Confidence ... such a powerful thing. Seriously. Think how much confidence it's takes to decide to make a change to better yourself. You're taking everything you know about yourself and turning it upside down and you're screaming at the top of you lungs "I can do this!"
Whether it's to be a better person, or to treat others better, or to go after that cute guy you've had a crush on, or to decide to eat the right foods, or to put down the remote and put on your sneakers, or to run a 5k. It all takes CONFIDENCE. If you don't have it, you won't succeed.
So what do you want? What do you want right now? Whatever it is, grab on to it, gain the confidence you need and go out and do it!
Have a great weekend everyone. Make it the best one possible.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Once I heard class had been canceled, I took a look at what other classes were going on Tuesday and Thursday night and I recognized an old friend: Deep Water Fitness. If you read my Exercise - Getting Started post last month (I'm a post-linking fool today) you'll remember that I tried deep water fitness three times before discovering Zumba. That was back when Zumba was only offered three days a week so I filled my other two workout days with deep water fitness' cousin - shallow water fitness.
I was a regular at shallow water fitness for nearly six months before the YMCA added on additional Zumba classes and then I broke up with water fitness. Zumba was water fitness' hot friend and I dumped water fitness without a second thought. I'm not proud of my actions, but Zumba and I belong together.
So, on Tuesday night it was a strange experience turning left towards the pool instead of right up the stairs to the Zumba room. I picked my old changing room, put on my old swim shoes and smoothed out my new bathing suit (needed a smaller size).
I leaned against the cold, cement block wall waiting for class to start. There were two senior women waiting as well ...
Let me stop here and address the stereotype of water fitness being for seniors. Yes, it's true, the majority of water fitness participants, in my experience, have been seniors and it makes total sense. There's less impact, it's great for arthritis and for those with hip or knee problems. But it's not just for seniors.
Water fitness is my recommendation for anyone who was like me - very out-of-shape, hadn't exercised in years and was intimidated by the gym. I will always have a special place in my heart for water fitness. I felt very welcomed by the other classmates and it was not intimidating. There are always people my age and younger in the water fitness classes at the Y ...
The thing about water fitness is that you really do get out of it what you put in. For me I was sacrificing an hour away from my family and there was no way I was going to leave those classes without feeling like I got a good workout.
All the instructors were good, but I had my favorites. The one I liked the most was and instructor that stood on the deck the whole time barking out instructions. She had us doing sprints back and forth across the pool. When I thought I was pushing myself hard, I would push harder. When we would do timed circuits, I dug in and went as fast as I could. I came with a water bottle and drank the whole thing. I left the class red-faced.
So last night was the first time I had gone to deep water fitness since September. I really, really liked it. I've been working on my arms this summer. I wear hand weights to Zumba and I'm starting to see a difference. OMGosh, my arms got a workout. We use water dumbbells. I knew the yellow and blue ones were supposed to be harder than the yellow ones so I grabbed those for the first time last night.
Eyeline Aquatic Dumbbells
photo by Rebel Sports
But the thing I love most about water fitness is I get to spend time with myself. In Zumba it's so fast-paced there's not time to think. In water fitness there's time to reflect. I can think about my day and work out any frustrations in the water. I can have that internal debate of if I'm working hard enough. And there's just something special about working out in the water.
Throughout the class I kept asking myself why I haven't been to water fitness in over five months and there wasn't a good answer. I think it will be good for me to go to the occasional water fitness class.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I was one of the first people in my circle of family and friends to sign up for Facebook. I took some ribbing for being on the social network, but now all those naysayers are on it. Even my parents are active Facebook users.
I'm a constant status updater and I'm sure I've been "hidden" because of it. I'm ok with that.
I am grateful for Facebook because it was one of the tools that helped me get started on my weight loss journey. It started with my brother, Erick. We only see each other a few times a year since he lives out-of-state.
I said: "You look skinny Erick, have you lost weight?"
He said: "Down 15; thanks for noticing."
Then I noticed that every few weeks Erick would post things like: Down 20. Down 25. Down 30. He was losing weight, he was posting it on Facebook and it was really, really motivating me.
Here's a before photo of Erick.
I wanted to post on Facebook that I had lost 30 pounds. I wanted my friends to post comments of encouragement on my status updates. And so I did.
After I lost some weight I posted my progress on my status and got some nice comments from friends encouraging me. Then I decided to post a before and recent photo. Here it is:
I was shocked. My friends were so supportive and proud and in some cases said I was motivating them to lose weight. It made me feel so good.
I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to post wellness stuff on Facebook. I remember a few years ago when I would see people posting their gym habits that I thought they were just posting to toot their own horn and feel good about themselves. And to be honest, that is part of the reason I do it. But it's also because it's motivating to me and I think it's motivating to some of my friends as well. I know some people will find it annoying, but again, I'm totally fine with that "Hide" feature on Facebook. That's what it's there for.
I used to talk about Zumba a LOT on Facebook (I still do, but not as much now that I have my blog). And I have to tell you that whenever I see people I haven't seen in awhile, one of the first things they bring up is Zumba. They want to hear more about it, they want to try it or they just want to say they think it's neat that I've found an exercise I love.
So I will continue to post about wellness on Facebook as long as it helps me and as long as I'm getting feedback that it's helping others.
What's your take on this topic? Do you think Facebook is an appropriate place for wellness discussions?
Monday, July 5, 2010
Post-weekend Pep Talk
How did you do with your wellness goals? You did great? Oh, I'm so proud of you. That is so awesome and quite an accomplishment. Keep up the good work!
You didn't do so well? Here, I'll help you make sure you get back on track. First, if you have any negative self-talk going on put an end to it right now. Here I'll wait ... No really, get rid of it ...
Ok, next I want you to think of at least one smart choice you made this weekend. I'm sure you have them. Think back to how you would have played this weekend a few years ago compared to how you played it this year. Did you skip an extra dessert? Avoid the fruity drink cooler? Go to an extra spin class? I know you made some smart choices - reflect on those when the negative talk sneaks it's way in.
Finally, just keep moving forward. Make the rest of the week perfect. Plan ahead how you're going to eat and make sure you get in as much exercise as you can. Never give up.
Surrounding Yourself With Positive People
Moving on to the title of this blog post. Surrounding yourself with positive people. This is important for all around life, not just wellness. I'm am very much influenced by other people. I could never be on those reality shows where you vote someone else off because I would change my mind every three seconds. One guy would tell me to vote off this girl and list all the reasons and I would be like - "yeah, you're right, I'm going to vote her off." Then I'd be talking to that girl and she would tell me to vote off the other guy and why and then I would be with her.
I've seen it happen everywhere - with friends, in the workplace, at the gym, etc. If you're with someone that's negative, that negativity with rub itself off on you. Same goes for positive influences as well. So obviously, my advice is to gravitate to those positive people in your life.
Remember last weekend when I wrote about my Plan-Free Weekend? Part of the reason I was looking forward to it was because it was the calm before the storm. My brother and his family came for a visit this past week and we always try to make the most of our time visiting with them so I knew it would be a busy week.
One of our traditions for my brother's visits is to make the rounds at their favorite restaurants. I should add here that all the adults in my family are making a conscience effort to eat healthy. So while we did still visit our favorite places, I could see people were making smart choices. We all indulged from time-to-time, but it wasn't a straight out free-for-all.
I think knowing that we were all in the same place made it easier for us to make smart choices. We were surrounded with positivity. There was no judging. There was no - "oh, one bite won't hurt you." There was no - "I'm on vacation so I'm going to eat whatever I want."
Instead there was support. We split entrees. We went easy at lunches knowing that we would indulge at dinner. We skipped the bread basket. And we talked about it. We talked about how our wellness programs were going. We gave each other tips and talked about our favorite exercise classes at our gym.
Most importantly we spent time together. Yes, we went to our favorite restaurants, but we'll remember our time together the most. Isn't that what's important? We watched the five cousins play together. There were trips to the zoo, and old universities and to the lake. It was fun and non-stop and exhausting.
I think it will be helpful to me to put it out there the choices I made this week and then move on. Friday was my worst day food wise. I took the day off work and went to Cub Scout Day Camp with Jim and the kids. I took Gracie to the trading post to get a snack and I got a Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia bar without thinking about it. I ate it and then figured out how many points it was. It was 7. I was disappointed with myself. I knew we were going out that night with my brother and sister-in-law and I wanted to save up my points. Seven points is a lot to blow on ice cream. We went to my favorite restaurant that night. The smart choice I made was to split my entree with Kim and although I did eat the delicious garlic bread, I didn't eat as much as I wanted. Where I messed up was eating a piece of Jim's pizza and eating the whole dish of ice cream instead of only a few bites. Then there's the pitcher of sangria that came later in the night, but I was planning on indulging there so I was good with that.
That's pretty much how this weekend went. Making some poor choices (extra helping of cheesy potatoes, giant cookie, chips and cheese) but offsetting it with good choices (neither Kim or I mentioned the word "popcorn" at the movie theater, skipping the breadsticks and cheese, eating a salad instead of a Stromboli, only eating one giant cookie instead of three, going to Zumba Saturday morning when I hadn't planned on going).
Stick with those good choices, surround yourself with positive people and keep moving forward.
As I mentioned above I went to Zumba on Saturday morning when I hadn't planned to go. On Friday night I posted on my Facebook status that I would need to go after all the garlic bread I ate. So then it was out there, people would expect me to be there and I would have to answer the hecklers if I didn't show up. Even after the pitchers of sangria, I did manage to get to class at 9:45 a.m. Lisa was subbing and it was a great class. A lot of new music and new routines with a few oldies thrown it. I had talked to a friend of mine, Jodi, on Friday who was at camp with her son. I knew she was interested in Zumba so I let her know I would be there on Saturday and she decided to come. It's so fun to have a friend try out class. It's exciting to see if they'll like it or not. I think she did. Mary Ellen was in class too (she was my first friend to try out Zumba) she also has a son in the same grade as Jodi and me. It was nice for us to all chat after class. Then on the way out of the building I ran in to Rachael who's son is also in the same grade. Rachael and I went to high school together and have reconnected on Facebook (gotta love that Facebook) she wants to try out Zumba too. It's so nice to go to the gym and workout, but it's even better when you have other people there that will greet you with a smile on their face. It does make a difference.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Our little Gracie Girl has not given a thumbs up to any of our Clueless in the Kitchen recipes yet. Have I mentioned she's stubborn? Hmm, wonder where she gets that.
I'm posting a urgent call for help for this little lady. Are you up for the challenge? Do you think you can get her to give your recipe a thumbs up? It has to be healthy and include a fruit or a vegetable.
Here are some clues to our complicated princess' tastes.
Pork Chops (just discovered this week)
Pretty much all other veggies
Not big on sauces
Killer class last night. I thought it was just me, but I heard other ladies saying the same things I was like: I wanted to puke, how I couldn't move and my legs were like noodles. Followed promptly by "It was so awesome!"
Thursday, July 1, 2010
You've all seen movies before with darkrooms and let me tell you it is just as cool as it looks on the screen. There is definitely something thrilling about putting the photo paper in all those trays of chemicals and watching the image come to life. It was exciting every single time.
But there is a very non-glamorous side to developing your own photos that you don't see on the big screen and that is developing your film.
I took my first photography class the second semester of my first year of college. I had no formal training and had never processed my own film.
Our professor showed us how to pry open the the film canister with this big can opener thingy. Next you take the film out and hook it onto a reel. The next step is to wind the film around and around the reel, but it's really tricky. You have to hold the film just right to get it to fit properly. Once you finally have the film wound correctly you put the reel in a tank and you're ready to fill it will developer and let it work its magic.
Sounds pretty easy right? Well, since you can't expose film to light you have to do all of this in complete darkness. And for me I had to do this in a tiny broom closet just to make it extra painful.
My first attempt at processing my film ended in disaster. I opened the door that led to a long hallway of closets. I went into one that was available and shut the door. I'm a little claustrophobic to begin with and being in that tiny space in complete darkness already had me panicking. I felt around for the wooden shelf with the canister opener and pried open the film canister. I took the film out and hooked it to reel as best I could. Then I tried to spin the film around like the instructor showed the class.
I couldn't get it. I could feel that it wasn't on right. I started to panic. I couldn't do it. "No," I would tell myself - "you've got this Stephanie" and I would try again.
Crap, I messed it up again. Tears were starting to fill my eyes which didn't matter anyway because it's not like I could use my eyes. I felt like I had been in there forever. What were my classmates thinking? I gave it one last shot and shoved the thing into the tank.
I came back out into the light feeling very tense. Why couldn't I do it? My other classmates didn't have any problems. What was wrong with me that I couldn't do this?
I put the solution in the tank and set the timer. Once the time was up and the film had been dried, I took it out. My film was ruined. I hadn't gotten the film on correctly and the chemicals had ruined the film. All those photos I took were gone. There would be no dark room for me that day. No magical images to come to life on the photo paper.
I was defeated, depressed and ready to quit. I obviously couldn't do it.
But I'm not a quitter so I kept trying. The next time I stayed in the little room until I got the film on right. I was in there a long time. I didn't care if anyone noticed how long it took. I was going to do this. And I did.
It was always hard for me to process my film. It never came easy to me; I did get a little better at it each time and most importantly, I never ruined my film again.
This is the part where I tie this story into weight loss.
Weight loss is a lot like my experience with photography. Remember what I was saying about how glamorous it is to see the image appear on the paper? How thrilling it is? Well, that all happens at the very end. After the hard, sweaty work. We've all heard people's weight loss success stories. Seen their before photos and then see their magical new bodies appear before us. Heard them say "if I can do it, so can you." That's the fun part. That's the thrilling part.
But the work it takes to lose the weight can be very much like developing the film. Trapped in a dark room. Consumed with the end result. Having instructions from others but it ultimately being up to you to do it. All your hard work ruined in one day of mistakes. Feeling like a failure. Wondering why others can do it but you can't. They make it look so easy! Feeling judged, like people are wondering why it's taking you so long.
And the good parts too. Not giving up. Getting back up and trying again. Getting a little better at it every time you try. Looking how far you've come. Knowing you'll never be as bad at it as that very first day. And that you'll never ruin your body (film) again.
P.S. Although I loved photography and did conquer film processing, I really struggled with my classes and decided to switch my major/minor to newspaper and PR. Funny, both of my internships were for photography and both of my jobs since graduating were primarily for graphic design. So much for my major.
Here's a photo of my college newsroom. Look how tiny those Macs are!