Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Ends, I'm at a Loss

Yes, January comes to an end today folks. I wish I were putting up great numbers for my weight loss plan but that is not the case. Still, I am down a total of 3.5 pounds for the month and a loss is a loss. In retrospect, I have been ill a lot the past 2 months: colds, flu, ear infections amd more ear infections, not to mention that awful visit from Aunt Flo and company.

Illness is not an excuse but I used it as one. I was too tired to cook nutritious meals. Then I was too tired to shop for the appropriate foods. While I was tired and even missed a lot of time from work, those still shouldn't be acceptable excuses. If I had planned properly in the first place, I would have had the proper foods in the house and there would have been no excuse not to cook them.

I am still not 100% well. I am struggling to to fight the urge to eat comfort foods and convenience foods and to get back on track. On the bright side, Ihave increased my water intake to a steady 4 to5 8-oz glasses a day. I only have soda once or twice a week instead of nearly every day and I have returned to 1/3 caffeine in my coffee. So I take heart from the strides I've made in spite of my lazy/sick self wanting to take the easy road recently.

Here's hoping for a better February.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Am A Food Junkie

Ok, Ok, I admit it. I haven’t been blogging because I haven’t been being very good the last few days. I avoided stepping on the scale so I wouldn’t see the proof of it and I avoided blogging so I wouldn’t have to admit it to myself or to you. A good friend, whom I asked to keep me honest if I failed to post for more than a few days, held up her end of the deal and now I must hold up mine. So here I am, confessing all.
I’m not really confessing all. No one wants to hear about every noodle I ate or every high carb morsel that passed between my lips. Suffice it to say I threw the diet out the window for several days and I’ll be damned if I can explain exactly why.
It started Friday. I planned on meeting friends for a writer’s meeting at the local McDonald’s. I also planned to eat there but I had promised myself to have a salad. When I stepped up to the counter, I ordered a Crispy Ranch Chicken sandwich combo meal and yes folks, I said Supersize it. My better angels started whispering right away “Oh no! Change your order! You’ve worked so hard!” But the darker demons won…”It’s just one meal. You can make up for it. You have all weekend. It’s just one meal. You deserve it…You’ve worked so hard!” It has been downhill since then. This morning I weighed 255.6 – up 1.7 from almost a week ago.
I have an addictive personality. There is very little that I love which I don’t indulge in excessively. For a number of years, I was involved with someone who drank heavily and so I did too. I gave that up when I realized the potential damage I was causing myself and my daughter. I smoked for over 20 years. I gave that up too for my health and that of my family’s. So I know I am a creature of bad habits AND I know I can break them when I finally decide too. This food thing though. It has really gotten in a way I don’t understand.
No matter how hard I try to beat it, it always wins. I am determined not to let it win. I just haven’t figured out my strategy completely, yet. But I will.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Helluva Weekend

Well I had a helluva a weekend. It must have been the Friday blog post lambasting Aunt Flo and her relatives. She called in for support and got it. Late Friday afternoon I was in the beginnings of what I was certain would be a slow painful death. In addition to the old battle ace and her kin, I was experiencing nausea, the likes of which I hadn’t experienced in years. I spent the next 12 hours either sitting on the porcelain throne or praying to it.
Flashes of fever and chills, actual stomach pains in addition to the cramps left me curled in a fetal position while my 2 year old granddaughter played all around my bedroom. Fortunately, she none too interested in the contents of my drawers. Lord knows what she would have found there.
The upchuck, er upshot of this is that I lost weight of course. By Sunday I was down several pounds but knew better than to put much stock in those numbers. After being sick, it takes a day or two for my weight to stabilize. And stabilize it did. This morning I weighed in at 253.9. This puts me at -7.8 for January so far.
I won’t even waste your time with listing my dietary consumption over the weekend. It was nonexistent Friday and Saturday wasn’t much better. I just tried to keep down what I could. Sunday was better but even the thought of certain foods made my stomach roil with displeasure. So it was easy-does-it. I did however, watch my carbs Sunday. Exercise – you’ve got to be kidding me. I had enough running back and forth to the bathroom to make up a marathon.
The stomach is still a bit sensitive and squeamish but I will manage. I do think I have developed another ear infection though – the second one in as many months. I know, I know. I’m such a mess. This business of getting healthy is killing me. I’ll be making a call to the doctor’s office in an hour or two to see about getting some antibiotics
Writing on my novel didn’t happen either. But I am back in the saddle today. I did get some paying work done yesterday and I’m looking forward to working today. Perhaps I will be able to scratch a few fictional words as well. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Menopause or PMS –One or the Other, Please

At 50, I am at the glorious stage of life where I am transitioning into my favorite person, Maxine. Yep, everything on my body is a clear cut roadmap pointing south. My distance vision is so poor I mistake my son for my husband. Thankfully that clears up as we get closer to one another because with my personality, there’s no telling how that boy might be scarred for life by my words or deeds if I thought it was still darling hubby.
Though I am predominantly a positive-minded person, there are days when Maxine’s sarcasm and impatience creep into my soul. I find this to especially be the case on days like yesterday and today. One of the other joys about this age is the cessation of menstruation. That’s right, no more monthly visits from Aunt Flo or her twin sister Aunt Cramps-from-Hell. Or so we’re told.
The transition, which I’ve learned can go on for years, includes skipping your monthly visits for 2, 3 even 6 months at a time. Just when you think the dynamic duo of pain and chaos are out of your life for good…BAM! They come calling with a mind to make up for lost time. For me anyway, it seems the longer these two titans of terror stay away, the worse the next visit is.
The pair showed up this week. Back when I had regular visits form them, I saw the signs of their impending descent upon my life. A full day of being a bitch on wheels accompanied by a day or two of a ravenous appetite that left even my granddaughter’s Gerber Toddler desserts fair game. Now, because I am lulled into a false sense of “maybe they’ve gone for good” by an extended absence, those signs sneak up on me and I don’t recognize for what they really are.
Earlier this week I was really struggling to keep from eating everything in the house that either tasted sweet or crunched. Even the French’s Fried Onion Bits were calling to me at one point in spite of my knowing how badly they taste before baking – yes in an earlier demon-like possession, I have eaten them out of the canister. When the tag team of Hurt ‘Em and Leave ‘Em Bleedin’ showed up, all became clear.
The good news is that I managed to fend off the worst of their predatory advances and even lose a tiny bit of weight. Today’s end of the week weigh-in finds me 255.4 bring the New Year’s total to -6.3. It’s not the 15 pound weight loss Atkins promises from their induction phase but then I haven’t been the ideal Inductee. I would have to say that all things considered, it hasn’t been a bad start. I just wish this body of mine would make up its mind…menopause or menstruation. This duality is killing me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bad Eating Habits Are Like a Drug Addiction for Me

Mid-week weigh-in is 256.3, up just a few tenths of a pound from last week. Not worried at all. I managed 5 glasses of water yesterday and Tuesday. My goal for the week was 2 per day so I am thrilled with that. And I have exercised on both Monday and Tuesday, so again I am satisfied with the progress. It will take time to melt this layer of fat I have built over the last 15 years.
The things holding me back? Well instead of making Chicken Kung Pao the other night as I had planned, I made nachos at the family’s request. I figured I could eat the meat and cheese, a little sour cream and be within my carb range. If I had done that, I would have been fine. But later that night, I felt deprived so I went to the kitchen to get a few nacho chips. Of course I couldn’t eat them plain so I added some cheese, sour cream and a teaspoon of guacamole. Yep, I killed my accomplishments for the day with that snack. Had I just allowed myself a few chips at dinner, I might not have given in to temptation. Better still, I should have stuck to my plan and made the chicken.
For me, the bad food habits feel like other bad habits I’ve had, particularly smoking. When I quit smoking, the beginning of the serious weight gain for me, I had to be removed from it completely. I had to get rid of all the ashtrays and lighters I owned. I couldn’t be in closed up places where there was smoking because the concentrated smell was too enticing. I had to avoid people who smoked, including my mother, because I didn’t trust myself not to bum a smoke.
If those nachos weren’t in the house, I wouldn’t have eaten them. I know I have to get to a point where I can just say no but it’s like leaving a filled crack pipe in front of an addict! For pity sakes! There’s no way I can say no right now. So I am going to have to police myself and my kitchen better. Fortunately, because I work at home, I don’t get out of the house very often. This reduces the temptation to stop for fast food or snacks at the gas station. I just need to keep the unhealthy food choices to a minimum in my own kitchen and should, in theory, be able to get over the hump.
As for the writing, I did actually open the file. I skimmed the story, re-read my character outline and began writing. I only added about 300 words but it was like getting a letter from an old friend. The rest of the evening, I found myself thinking about my characters like you would characters from your favorite television show…’I wonder how Maddie is doing? What will she do next? Will she tell Jack how she feels? And Jack…how will he ever reveal his truths to Maddie? Will she understand or will she slap him before turning to leave forever?’ My mind is awhirl with the possibilities. I sense another writing encounter later today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oh Fudge!

Monday was good and bad in the diet department. I managed to get 5 glasses of water down yesterday. It wasn’t so bad. However, I nibbled on some fudge and few rye crackers and that totally threw my carb count out the window. I am not going to punish myself by checking the scale. No doubt it will have fluctuated up, I screwed up and I know it. I don’t need a visual reminder to tell me that.
Today’s menu has gone better so far. Eggs and a small slice of ham for breakfast; a lean ground beef patty and green beans for lunch; the salad is made for dinner and soon I will be preparing a kung pao chicken recipe I got off the internet this morning. I also have some fresh broccoli florets cut up and ready in case the need to snack prevails tonight.
I haven’t been exercising as much as I need to these last 10 days. I managed to get on my treadmill for what may well be the first time in a year. I’m not sure. I can’t recall the last time I took a walk on it. I eked out 20 minutes at 3 mph. Sounds lame, right? But if you could see the sweat pouring off me and feel how fast my heart was pounding, you’d know I got a good workout. I will build up. It takes a little time. Anyway, according to the treadmill calculator that factors in my age and weight, I burned 152 calories. I am happy with that for my first time back on board. I will probably stay at that level for a week or two until I feel I can safely add some more minutes or nudge the mph up a bit.
I’m already drinking water today, too. Its earlier in the day than when I remembered to start yesterday so maybe I’ll match or beat yesterday’s number. Here’s hoping it all comes together.
As for the novel writing, I did open the file and skim over it yesterday to get re-familiarized with my characters. As soon as I post this, I will start in on it. Tomorrow I will post the word count for today. I don’t have a specific word goal in mind just yet. I normally write until I’ve bright the current scene or the next one to a conclusion. We’ll see how it goes. I’m a little rusty in this department too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Water, Exercise and Working on My Novel as This Week's Goals

The official Monday weigh-in has me at 255.5, a loss of 6.2 lbs. for the first 9 days. I am more than pleased with that. There were some bumps along the way during the first week-plus but I’ve learned a few things and I’m still here.
I recently read a column by a fellow writer who is also on a weight loss journey, Brett Day. He started his journey in October of 2010. If I am reading his weight ticker thingy correctly, he started at 333 pounds and has lost just over 47 lbs. since he began. In this post, he gives his tips for how to lose and keep the weight the weight off without gimmicks, fads or crazy diets. It is definitely worth reading.
I didn’t get in as much as exercise last week as I had hoped to. My goal is 4 30-minute sessions of cardio this week. I am also committing to at least 2 glasses of water per day. I know that’s only ¼ of what I am supposed to drink but it’s a start and its more than I have been drinking.
In other news, I have decided to finish writing the novel I began for NaNoWriMo in 2009. I got over 33000 words done then and now I am determined to bring it to a conclusion. With the other responsibilities in my life, it will be slow going but that fits right into my “baby steps” approach to life. I think I will include weekly updates on how the novel is proceeding as a way of keeping myself accountable. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Three Days In – What I’ve Learned So Far

I am really pleased with how well I’ve been doing overall. Yes, I’ve identified a couple of weak spots but I’ll come back to that. So far, I have managed to keep the net carbs in line, except for the first day when the Reese’s Peanut butter Cups called my name.
Using the Dance Central game has been a fun way to get my but off the couch everyday too. I am doing 30 mins a day but that’s really loosely stated as there are times when you are not actually doing anything like when a song is loading. Still, my heart is pumping faster, breathing is more rapid and I break sweat. So it’s all good. Once I get a little more acclimated to working out again, I hope to continue to challenge myself. With longer worker outs, different activities and higher intensities.
This morning I weighed in at 254.4. My eyes popped and my feet did a little jig right there in the bathroom – not a pretty sight at 5:15 AM but I didn’t care. That a 5.3 lb. loss since I started on Jan. 1. I don’t even care if its water weight. I knew I was going to see a loss…I could feel it before I even stepped on the scale. Seems funny to say that at 250+ lbs., you can feel a 1 lb. loss. I couldn’t have told you how much but I knew it. There’s a little more pep in my step and when I fix my plate, I look at the food and think “I can’t eat all that!” So my stomach must be adjusting to the portion control too.
The negatives? Well, my feet hurt. Just those 30 mins of activity at my weight is a strain my feet aren’t used too. The first night, I kept waking up with spasms in my foot. I have been wearing good supportive footwear but let’s face it – I’m 50 and I’m fat. It’s going to take my body a little time to get it together.
Another negative is that I am still struggling with late night snacking. Not struggling really, more like losing the battle. I have snacked every night but so far (after the Reese’s) making better choices. I discovered that while I bought enough fresh vegetables for my meals, I did not buy enough for snacking. I will be picking up some crunchy veggies today. One combination I really enjoy is fresh cauliflower with 2 tbsp. of jalapeno ranch dressing. Between the snappy taste of the dressing and the crunch of the cauliflower, it really does feel a bad-for-you snack.
Last negative. I am not drinking enough water. I need to work on that. One glass a day is not cutting it but I am having trouble making myself drink water. I would love some tips if any of you have any. Feel free to leave them in the comments.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The First Day Is in the Bag

Getting started is often the hardest part of changing your habits. I saw this in action first hand yesterday as I rolled out my plans for low carb eating and exercise. I was prepared. I have done my homework. I collected a variety of recipes to get me through the induction phase of the Atkins plan, done the necessary shopping for that menu and even provided healthy choices for snacks.
Yes, I’m a snack eater, mostly in the evenings. I don’t know why it hits me then. It’s an ingrained habit that has transpired over years. I finish working for the day, sit down in front of the television and I need to snack. Maybe “need” isn’t the right word but you know what I mean.
Anyhow, after a nearly perfect day of less than 1400 calories and just 19 carbs, I indulged. At 9:00 at night, I opened a candy cane of Reese’s peanut butter cups and ate them…all. What was I thinking? “It’s New Year’s Day- I’ll start the diet tomorrow.” Naturally that kind of thinking won’t get me very far at changing my old habits.
I did exercise yesterday however. We purchased a Kinect for our Xbox 360 for Christmas and a couple of games. The one I thought I would like is Dance Central and I was right. I love to dance. As a matter of fact, that’s how I met my husband but that’s a story for another blog post. Anyway, I like the way the game teaches you the moves. You can choose the difficulty level and you can spend as much time as you need to, learning the moves, before you actually “perform.” It helped immensely that I kicked my hubby’s butt at it!
The game is meant to be played for fun so it doesn’t give you and stats on calories burned or anything like that. While I’m a statistics geek and like to know those things, the beauty of the game is that it IS fun. You don’t notice the time passing. You just enjoy the game. And BTW- no, this is not a paid endorsement. I would tell you if it was.
So this morning, I hesitated before visiting the bathroom scale, fearing it would reprimand me for my Reese’s infraction and that retribution would be swift and gruesome. I was surprised to see a nearly 4 pound loss! I tried the scale several times, even moving it to different locations in the room to make sure it was right. The reading never faltered. I weighed 255.9.
Obviously I am delighted with the outcome but I know to continue my late night, unhealthy snacking would only be tempting fate. Fortunately, I believe most of the left over Christmas temptations are gone now.  I am looking forward to today’s round of Dance Central and the Curry Chicken and Indian Spiced Cauliflower I am making for dinner. 
Hope you are doing well in the early days of setting and achieving your goals.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions for New Year's

It is January 1st, that time when many of us set goals, make resolutions and try to overcome our personal demons with promises to ourselves. Some people don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions and I get that. I think any time of year is a good time to make changes. The trick is believing you can really make them.

That’s why I like New Year’s. Many of my friends and family are in the same boat as me. We are all trying to change something in our lives that needs tweaking. The resolutions run the gamut from losing weight to getting their finances in order. I have MANY of the same goals as my friends. I want get my financial life straightened out, become more organized, and be a nicer, more caring person and I want to lose weight.
So here I sit and this beautiful, sunny New Year’s day, wondering how to renew my resolutions and actually make serious progress this year. I started my weight loss blogging journey about 2 years ago and as I stepped off the scale today, I faced the fact that not only did I not make progress in 2011, I gained back much of what I lost in 2010.
Oh sure, I had a rough year, like 2/3 of Middle America and I tend to use food as a comfort tool but seriously? Gained all but 6 lbs of it back? So not only am I wondering how to be successful this year, I am wondering how I can ask anyone to take the journey with me as I am certainly no inspiration to anyone. Someone said to me they liked reading about my “honest evaluation of the challenges.” I found that little nugget of encouragement inspiring. It was followed by others who are also supportive friends. Several felt that others are in the same boat and would like to know it’s never too late to try again.
So after two years of virtually no progress, I am starting again. I weighed in 261.7 and at 5’ 6”, which means I have roughly 110 lbs to lose to be at a comfortable and healthy weight for me. At 50 years old, the time to make changes is here and I realize I don’t have many more years before the abuse I have heaped upon my body will start to show in ways both harmful and that make it even more difficult to shed the pounds.
I am a fan of low carb living and that is where I will start. I’ve already eaten both breakfast and lunch and my total net carbs are at 5.5 today. I will post my weight and my measurements frequently, in hopes that it will help keep me accountable to myself and to all of you.
I wish you a Happy New Year and great success with your goals, no matter what are.

Circle 8 Anthologies Featuring my Short Stories