Off The Blogging Bandwagon, but…

I may have fallen off of the blogging bandwagon for a while, but not the weight loss bandwagon.  I am back on the blogging one, too, however, as I find it therapeutic to blog about my journey and to hear from so many readers out there who can identify with what I am going through.

The past couple of weeks have been a whirl wind.  We (my husband, my parents and I) took a vacation to the beautiful island of Maui, Hawai’i.  I could not have asked for a more perfect environment for weight loss!  The weather was basically perfect (far from the weather we are currently experiencing in Minnesota) for exercising outside.  I packed my workout clothes, so my husband and I went on a few runs and also made it to the workout room provided by the condo complex in which we were staying.  Granted, I still had my vacation hat on and did not exert myself nearly as much as I do when I am at home, but I thought it was important to have a balance between relaxation and hard work while on vacation.  There were many days, however, that I was literally physically and mentally craving a workout. This is a new feeling for me.  Usually, I have to push myself harder to get my butt off the couch and go to the gym than I do to get in a great workout once I finally get there.  Another reason Hawai’i is perfect for weight loss is because you are literally surrounded by fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood.  Sure, a lot of the food in Hawai’i is very expensive because it has to be shipped in from other places, but the seafood is mostly caught right off the shores and the stores often run good sales because of this.  You can also find the best produce at reasonable prices at the local farmers markets just off the side of the road.  You really can’t go wrong.  Of course, as with all markets, there are some that are better than others so I would suggest checking out a few and finding out for yourself which ones offer the type and quality of foods that your family likes.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t the perfect weight loss student while I was away; far from it actually.  But I gave myself the okay to enjoy myself and not be upset if I didn’t stick to my plan 100% of the time.  I ate out with my family including a lunch of fish and chips (yes, deep fat fried and delicious) and a couple of fast food breakfasts.  I made sure to use the true hunger gauge to determine if I was actually hungry (and physically needed to eat) or if I was just not full anymore (my previous determining factor of when I should eat).  Many times this resulted in me only eating two meals rather than three on the days I had the big, greasy, calorie laden meals.  And, as I mentioned before, I gave myself permission to not feel guilty about my choices as I was, after all, on vacation.

Upon returning home, I was very nervous about stepping on that scale.  Turns out I had lost almost 3 pounds while I was gone!  I could not have been more excited!  I still have a ways to go but I have found that my confidence, energy and body image have all improved so much since I first began this journey.

The past few weeks have not been all sunshine and rainbows, however.  I have been having a lot of internal emotional turmoil.  I will not get into the details here – only my therapist is required to listen to me drone on and on, because that’s what I pay her for – but I will tell you that it has been an emotional roller coaster of epic proportions for me.  I am doing my best to change the way I cope with things but old habits die hard.  The other day I devoured eight chocolate covered cherries.  I guess I can be glad it wasn’t a whole box of snack cakes like I have done so many times in the past, but it was still a very shameful moment (and by moment I mean a literal moment – I shoveled those things in as fast as I could; not sure I even tasted them).  I got back up and moved on, though.  I can’t seem to get out of my head and this is making it really difficult for me to not just reach for the nearest thing in the pantry or fridge.  I do find myself looking in the mirror a lot more, though, and asking which is more important – being thin or eating what I crave at that moment?  I’m going to continue to try to be strong and, with the help of my readers and my therapist, I hope I can stay on track during this horrible struggle.  I am also going to pray (as I have been doing) that I quickly gain clarity about the situation so I can get out of my head and move on with the healthier, happier me I strive for.

Emotional Meltdown No Longer Means Diet Meltdown

The title itself should tell you that I have made great emotional strides which is so important on a weight loss journey. I woke up and thought to myself “how did I get to this point”? (And I’m not talking about my physique; I hadn’t even pulled the covers back yet). The best way to describe it is that my emotional turmoil ebbs and flows like the crap in a port-a-potty during an earthquake. I’m especially sensitive to dreams and what they could mean. In the past I would’ve waited until my husband went to work then driven to the grocery store for thousands of calories worth of sweets and chocolate – and a couple donuts, cuz a girl’s gotta eat breakfast – and driven home and consumed as much as I could possibly stuff down. Today, however, I got up, drank a protein shake and hit the gym hard for an hour and a half.

Then, as if I wasn’t emotionally unstable enough today, I went to therapy and my therapist wanted to talk about my childhood, my relationships and the death of a very close family friend.

Despite all this, I’m sill on track with my eating for the day. Have a monster headache and am about to clock in at work. Just praying its busy enough to keep my mind off everything but slow enough it doesn’t completely push me over the edge.

God,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Post Super Bowl

I hope everyone survived the Super Bowl. I am quite proud of how I did. I only had one plate of snacks, including vegetables (with lots of dip). I also splurged on a piece of French Silk pie. It was amazing but I’m over it now and ready to be back to eating healthy.

Today was my day to weigh in. I’ve lost a total of 11 pounds so far on my journey. I’m glad to be seeing progress on the scale again. I’m still seeing the physical changes as well. I keep checking out my butt, thighs and arms in the mirror whenever I pass one. I also keep feeling amazed by how much better I feel. I can feel my belly slimming down. I feel like I’m sucking it in all the time like I did for so long but I’m not and that’s a great feeling. I’m also just more energized.

That being said, Jillian Michaels has been kicking my butt. I did her six week six pack video and her 30 day shred video. Made it through only half each time… With modifications. Haha. But it’s progress and I’m feeling stronger and know I’ll be able to do more as I go.

I’m happy to be making progress but I’m not using it as an excuse to go off track. I’m really looking forward to seeing more progress. And in all honesty, despite all the positive vibes, unicorns and rainbows in this post, it’s been difficult. I just keep my eyes on the prize.

Keep On Keeping On

Not a whole lot to tell right now, this the reason I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been working my tail off and haven’t had a lot of spare time either. I have managed to get to the gym quite a bit though. I have my husband to thank for this. He usually goes late at night and by the end of the day, going to the gym is the last thing I want to do. But he drags me along anyway and I feel great that I went. Also, getting to hang out with him doing a fun and healthy activity is a bonus. We don’t see a whole lot of each other lately due to our opposite work schedules. I have been making progress with the “Couch to 5k” app. Gaining so much more endurance. Also noticing that I’m losing inches still (I really ought to get a tape measure to track it!) especially in my legs and hips. It was also my first full week on Weight Watchers and I lost 3.5 lbs. I think I wasn’t eating enough calories for how hard I was working in the gym and that’s why the scale wasn’t moving. I’m still feeling great and not the least bit deprived. I think sleeping better has made a huge difference too. Before, I was only sleeping for 30-40 min at a time. Now I take some medication that helps me sleep through the night. I had always read that sleep can affect weight loss. Might be something to check into for any of you out there who are struggling and don’t sleep well. The last improvement I’m seeing is that I don’t really even crave fast food anymore. I used to stop at least a couple times a week on my way to work to grab lunch. Now I’ve realized I can whip up a healthy wrap or sandwich in the time it takes me to sit in the drive through (maybe even less) and I don’t feel sluggish and bloated for the rest of the day.

The thing that still remains a challenge for me is knowing when I’m hungry, rather than just not full anymore. My favorite saying used to be “I could eat”. I realize this was a huge problem. I would not wait until I was hungry to eat, instead if there was room I would fill it. It’s the mental part that has been the biggest struggle. Now I really have to ask myself and I truly hungry, or just bored/not full? I know this, like everything, will come with time. I’m glad I’m seeing so many positive results and changes and feeling a million times better.

Do What You Always Did, Get What You Always Got

I just completed another long weekend at work.  Working three days, 12 hours a day on an ICU is always a challenge.  I was also trying Jillian Michael’s Detox Water and counting calories.  I have not had any results with the detox water so gave up on that.  I have not lost an ounce from the detox water (at least I didn’t gain, I guess).  It just wasn’t “my thing”.  Drinking 60 oz of water a day – doable.  Drinking 60 oz of water that tastes like dirt – I’ll pass, thanks.

I was ready to give up on my weight loss journey all together, but the inspiration I got here and on the Weilos app has been outstanding and I thought rather than giving up, I would try a different route.  I signed up for Weight Watchers.  I have done Weight Watchers in the past, but ended up quitting far before I reached my goal.  I feel this time I am more likely to be successful, because I am going in with a different mindset.  Just knowing that I have been committed to this for almost two months already shows me that I am more determined than I was in the past.  I usually give up after just a couple of weeks, especially if I do not see results.  I am determined this time.  I want this weight off so bad.  I just need a plan that will help me not only lose the weight but also one that will help me keep it off.  I need to keep this mindset to keep going.

The other change I am making is I bought Dr. Phil’s new book The 20/20 Diet.  I am reading it now while on the Weight Watchers program and plan to start after I finish reading.  I feel that this will (hopefully) be a way to jump start my progress.  I am not sure what it all entails or if it is something I would be able to maintain long-term.  Either way, I have Weight Watchers to make the lifestyle change I need.

When reading the book, I saw a quote that really hit home for me:

“You create the results in life you believe you deserve”.  

This is something I have been working on with this new mindset, because I know that it plays a huge part in why I gained weight in the first place.  I am an emotional eater.  It was not unusual for me to eat an entire box of Swiss Cake Rolls in one day.  Sweets were my go-to foods for coping.  Being a nurse, I focus so much on taking care of other people that I don’t ever put myself first.  I put myself, my emotions/feelings and my health on the back burner.  I would eat my emotions because I didn’t want to burden other people with them and I had no other coping skills.  Add to this that the fatter I got, the less I cared about myself and my self worth went in the trash barrel with the empty snack cake boxes.  Digging deep down and being completely honest with myself I realize now that the reason I tried to lose weight in the past was not for me at all.  I wanted to be attractive for my husband and for society.  I didn’t want to subject anyone else to having to look at me naked, in a swim suit, etc.  I have done a lot of personal work to truly realize that I deserve this and to do it for me, not for anyone else.

I have a lot more work to do, both physically and emotionally, but I feel I am in a good place to be successful this time around.

Detox – Day Two

Yesterday, I started the Jillian Michaels 7 Day Water Detox.  I must admit, it doesn’t taste good at all; kind of a mix between lemon, cinnamon and dirt.  You have to drink 60 oz of this stuff every day for 7 days.  It was quite a feat for me to get through the 60 oz as I am not a huge water drinker.  By the end of the day, I was really tired of drinking this water and even slightly queasy, but I did it.  When I got up this morning, I had already lost a full pound. I know it’s water weight, but at this point – having been stuck at a plateau – weight loss is weight loss.  Just a couple of warnings if you choose to try this detox plan.  First, this is not a substitute for meals; it is in place or in addition to your water/beverage intake.  Second, don’t be too far from the bathroom, especially the first day.  Obviously, the increase to 60 oz of water in a single day, if you’re not used to it, will cause you to pee about a million times.  The part that I was not expecting is that I had far more bowel movements yesterday than I typically do.  When you think about this, it makes sense because it’s likely from the detox of the liver.  I, however, did not think about that part, because I don’t like to think about my bowel movements (ha).

Day two has been much better.  I am already half way through my water and it is only 1 p.m. (yesterday, it took me until nearly 11 p.m. to finish my jug).  Second, the water does not taste as bad as it did yesterday.  I read a review of this detox online and the author said she actually craved it in the morning.  I am far from that point, but it’s not as awful as it was yesterday.  Finally, the bathroom visits have significantly diminished in quantity.

I hope the weight loss results continues and the taste continues to become less off-putting.  I would recommend this detox to anyone who would like to try a detox that’s not a huge commitment (relatively short term and you don’t have to give up food!)

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Dreading Those Stairs

I have a good friend who is also a coworker who is also trying to lose weight. We push each other to accomplish our goals and check in with each other to stay accountable. We made a deal that, by a certain date we would each reach a weight goal that we set for ourself. If one of us didn’t reach that goal by the set date, we would both have to walk the stairs at work during our dinner break rather than sitting and watching television while eating. It’s great to have a goal with a consequence for not reaching it. It also makes it really motivating that if I don’t make it to my goal I not only have to face the consequences but so does he.

I’m getting nearer to the date we set than I am to my goal weight and that’s terrifying. It’s not for lack of trying. I have just hit a plateau and cannot, for the life of me, break through. Any suggestions from readers would be much appreciated. Otherwise I’ll just suck in my stomach and think light as a feather on weigh in day (with my fingers and toes and eyes crossed for good luck).

A Change of Heart

So the past few days of been a real eye-opener as to how my mindset has completely changed. Before setting on this journey, I was the definition of an emotional eater. I eat to celebrate my victories, and my defeats; no matter how big or how small. I ate with him I was bored, angry, stressed, sad, or happy. As you can see most of these emotions were of the negative type. I have worked hard to get my depression, anxiety, and physical ailments under control. Now that I have the medical issues tackled, I knew it was time to tackle my weight. So much has changed this time around, and I’m truly becoming a totally different, healthier version of myself.

Yesterday was an emotional struggle for me for many reasons. In the past I would’ve grabbed a handful of cookies and whatever else I could find in the cupboard, plop down on the couch, and watched a marathon of my favorite television shows. Instead, I mentally wrinkled my nose at the thought of eating a handful of cookies, and got up and went to the gym. Just the fact that the thought of cookies made me cringe, I knew I had made a change in my mindset. Although I enjoyed salty foods, suites were definitely my vice. It was not unusual for me to eat an entire, heaping bowl of ice cream covered in chocolate syrup cocoa powder and you other junk I could trying to put on top.

Today was another great indicator of how my mindset has changed. I went to the kitchen to prepare my lunch, not knowing exactly what I wanted to eat. I knew they were my favorite type of tortillas in the cupboard, some sliced turkey deli meat, avocado, and spinach. In the past this would not have been unusual lunch for me… As long as it was accompanied by some chips, soda, and something sweet. Instead, when opening the pantry to find the tortillas, I spotted a giant sweet potato. I decided to trade in my potato chips and my “something sweet” for diced up sweet potato with Caribbean jerk seasoning cooked in the microwave. It just seems so natural now to go for the healthier option. Granted, I am not perfect… I’m far from it. But just knowing I’m capable of making these healthier choices on a whim gives me hope for the future.

Rest Day? What Rest Day?

My plan for today was simple: make some soup for dinner, do some laundry, running errands, and visit grandma. Nowhere in my plan did I have “going to the gym”. I’ve been working my tail off at the gym for many days in a row. Running, lifting weights, and strenuous ab exercises, have left me sore. Evidently my motivation did not get the memo. After doing (most) of what was on my list for the day, I couldn’t stand it anymore longer, and I had to make that trip to the gym. i’m still on cloud nine from my before and after pictures from yesterday. I guess there could be a worst addiction to have. Off I go!

Unexpected Motivation

I’m on try 1 billion at losing weight. There are several things I am doing differently this time. I’m counting calories and exercising like I have in the past but there are a few things I’m doing differently.

First, I’m on a social network for people who are trying to lose weight and get fit. I was nervous about posting things and opening up in this forum at first but everyone is so unbelievably supportive. It’s so inspiring to know these people from all over the world, who don’t know me from Adam, are rooting for my success. And it’s so helpful getting support from people who are going through the same thing. My husband has always been supportive but for some reason it feels a little insincere because he’s tall and stick thin; he’s never had to go through what I am going through.

A second thing I did that I had never done before, had to do with my husband. His eating habits are very odd in that he usually only eats dinner. He typically does not eat during the day. By the time dinner rolls around, he is ravenous and ready to eat everything in sight. So while I have made a healthy dinner, he finishes that off then proceeds to eat multiple snacks throughout the evening. He would always offer me food until I gave in. He would tell the dog “mom wants some ice cream” and then would leave it at that until I either got up and got him (and me) some ice cream or let it go until he brought up another snack. He would also make me feel guilty when I declined his offer for a snack; he would ask me if I wanted something and when I said no he would say then he wouldn’t have any either. I knew he was hungry and if I didn’t eat something, he wouldn’t either. I realized that by him doing these things, he was unwittingly sabotaging my weight loss efforts. I finally had a talk with him and told him what I need from him to be successful. I told him I need him to not offer me food or only offer once. I told him that if I wanted something I would get up and get it. I also let him know that this was important to me and that I don’t mind him eating in front of me. That has been a big help and he has been doing a great job. I know he didn’t realize before our talk what he was even doing to me.

I made a rewards calendar for myself this time around. I have a box for each pound I want to lose and at the end of each group of ten pounds I wrote a (non food related) reward. For example, after my first ten pounds lost, I get a mani/pedi; after the second ten – a massage, etc.

The last, and most unexpected thing that has given me motivation, is my progress photos. I took a picture of myself on “day one” and a picture one month later. I put these two photographs side by side and was astonished at the difference. The scale only showed a total weight loss of five pounds (which is not bad for a month’s time) but I am so much more toned and have definitely lost inches everywhere. It was great to see all that progress in the images of myself. I did not notice the difference until I examined these images. It’s hard to see the difference on a day to day basis because you see yourself multiple times every day so you don’t notice the small changes. But when you see two photos a month apart, you really realize how much your body has changed. I posted these images on the social networking sight and within minutes I had an overwhelming amount of support and “atta girls” from these total strangers. It was an incredible feeling.

I’m going to continue on my journey and I plan to continue blogging about it. I hope you all become religious followers and find even the smallest glimmer of help, hope or inspiration.