Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lack of Planning on My Part

Turns out the old adage - lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part - isn't true when applied to oneself. Meaning that yes, lack of planning on my part actually does constitute an emergency on my part.

I found this out the hard way today.

Generally I grocery shop on Friday or Saturdays. That's when I plan my meals for the week and get the food necessary to make it through without running out of good stuff. I don't know about you, but when I run out of food in the middle of the week, I'm generally too busy to stop to refill the fridge. So, the temptation to eat badly (DRIVE THRU!) becomes even more of a reality. Since I don't like to face unnecessary temptation, I generally find it best to plan in advance to avoid it.

Admittedly, I didn't plan that well this week and yesterday ran out of veggies, yogurt (THW staple!), apples, and fake breakfast sausage (another staple for my pseudo-veggie food plan). Top this off with having to travel to Beaverton for a computer training - unknown schedule, unknown location, unknown ability to cope ... and ... well ... it was all a disaster in the making.

The urge to splurge was soooo front of mind today.

It haunted me in the lunch room this morning when the spread included bananas, costco muffins (yes, there were POPPY SEED!!!!), and bacon. It tapped on my shoulder when I walked by at lunch and saw the sandwhich spread. And it pounded my head into the wall when I walked by the lunchroom at the afternoon break and whiffed a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie smorgasbord.

I mean, seriously, these people were all here to learn computer stuff ... not stuff their faces! Yet, food was everywhere I turned. The torture!

I'm proud to say that I did manage to pass up all those temptations. I ate eggs instead of my fake sausage for breakfast. Went to the Spicy Pickle and had a turkey salad for lunch and still made it to the gym to meet up with my partner for a torturous workout instead of downing those gooey yummy cookies.

What I missed out on the most today was my snacks that help me make it to meal times. I love having yogurt around 10 am and rice cakes with an apple in the afternoon around 3. Having those two extra "meals" keep me from getting overly hungry and stuffing my face when it actually is mealtime.

So, with an empty belly and weak legs from a stressful workout, I stammered into the grocery store to fill up the cubboards.

Yes, I know, not the best idea. Hungry chubby chic loose in the grocery store!!! So, to stay on plan, I gave myself a budget so that I didn't go overboard and listen to my rumbling tummy.

I made it. I got the necessities, made it home and prepared an awesome chicken salad for dinner.
I do have to be honest though. I did cheat just a smidgy. I had roasted garlic Melba toast snacks with dinner which puts me one starch over for the day.

I'm over it though and won't be beating myself up for "going off plan" given the other temptations I was faced with today.

The reality is that I won huge battles because I was totally outside of my routine and element and was still - for the most part - was able to stay on plan and make healthy choices.

I also learned a valuable lesson.

Plan. Plan. And then plan again.

Food emergencies aren't fun.

Whiteboard Motivation

My teammate Holly has a great and very inspirational idea.

Each week, she puts up a new inspirational phrase and/or word on the whiteboard outside of her cube at work. She tries to find a word or phrase that is fitting for her weight loss journey but that will also impact the rest of her life too. She then takes that phrase and applies it throughout the week as often as she can.

The cool thing about it is that as she's been doing this, others have been asking her about her phrase or word. Talking about it with them has inspired her to do things she might not have done or helped her think of things in a new way.

When we started the weight loss challenge, we came up with a whole slew of things she could post on her whiteboard throughout the challenge that would inspire and empower her through the process.

I love this list. I even printed it out and have it posted on my computer screen so that I can repeat this to myself every day at work. I think that the more we challenge ourselves, not only to lose the weight but to change our thoughts, etc., the further we'll come and the better we'll do in the long run.
Challenge yourself
Challenge others
Challenge your beliefs
Challenge your thoughts
Challenge your judgements
Challenge your weaknesses
Challenge the process
Challenge your routines
Challenge your actions
Challenge your history
Challenge your motiviations

So, what do you do to motivate yourself? Do you have tricks that help you along the way?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Exercise? Really?

Ok, so I'm not a big fan of sweating.

In fact, when I started at The Healthy Weigh, I told myself that I was going to "try" to lose this weight but if they even mentioned exercise I would high-tail it out the door before they roped me in to such torture because I would not ... and I was serious ... be doing anything that made me sweat.

I took Letha's workshops and when she got to the Exercise and Weight Loss class ... I wanted to plug my ears with cotton and refuse to acknowledge that I was going to need to, at some point, step it up a notch in order to carry on.

My good friend Andrea, who has always been a fitness buff, has tried everything in the book to get me to go to the gym with her and I've had every excuse in the book as to why I just couldn't fit a gym into my schedule.

Amazing how 95 pounds and the enticement of $1000 can change that perspective!

On Friday, my friend Holly and I signed up for personal training and today was my first session. Let me tell ya, that trainer kicked our butts! Here I was thinking burpees sounded kinda cute ... doing 20 of them in repetition... yeah, not so cute!

The funny thing is that when Holly and I left our first apt I said to her that I hoped the trainer would be able to push us and really work us out.

Yeah, soooo not a problem! That little pipsqueak made us sweat! A lot!

Ironically, I'm looking forward to our next session.

The truth is that at 300 pounds, exercising was more than work. It was painful. Walking to the car seemed like an impossibility let alone two, three, or even four miles just for the heck of it. I didn't want to do anything that reminded me of how heavy I was. Nor did I want to look like a fool in public and have people pity the poor fat girl that couldn't do something or other. Going to the gym and seeing people thinner than I was, was just a reminder to me of how much of a failure I was. So, I just avoided it all.

I find it exhilarating to be doing those things now. The fact that I can haul butt on a walk, ride my bike around Battle Ground Lake, jog up the hill with my dog, or even have the confidence to walk into a gym ... those things all still amaze and inspire me.

The personal trainer will be working with us on strength training which she says will help us drop weight quickly. I'm banking on that because I still have my sights set on winning that Team Weight Loss Challenge!

In the meantime though, it will be nice to firm up what 95 pounds has left a little saggy. Yes, I know, TMI.

Perhaps tank tops and shorts are more of a reality than I thought ... Summer, here I come!

As a side note: Shape Magazine has a quick tool for counting calories burned. It doesn't list all activities ... but it's a good place to start!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Will Power?

I love this little phrase. I'm not sure who said it, but I finally let it settle into my brain as reality when Letha said it at one of her talks.
Losing weight isn't about will power. All it takes is knowing when to ask for help.

It's sooo true. This plays in my head when I'm lacking that will-power to stay on plan. Truthfully, I find myself asking for help a lot because will power fades quickly especially when chocolate is in the vicinity.

I'm so thankful for my close friends that haven't gotten sick of my phone calls, emails, text messages, facebooking and now blogging ... geesh ... think we might be a little too connected these days!? ... Anyway, they've all been great to me.

Of course, my bi-weekly visits to The Healthy Weigh are also really important. More than once I've gone in and said to them that I was struggling. The support that comes back from the team is incredible. There is no judgement, just open arms and a gentle shove at my back to set me off in the right direction again.

I hope that when you're struggling you reach out to someone and I hope that you'll find, as I did, that being honest and admitting weakness actually strengthens you and your friendships in the long run.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If Food Could Talk

I swear that ice cream can talk.

You might think I'm crazy, but I heard it plain as the nose on my face.

It was calling to me from the freezer. Just so you know, french Vanilla has a silky, smooth, buttery, french voice. It whispered to me from across the room as I sat on the couch, nails digging into the palms of my hands, trying hard to concentrate on anything ... ANYTHING ... other than the call of the sweet creamy goodness.

Turns out macaroni can talk too. The mac that my mom creates has five different kinds of cheese, hotdogs, and other goodies baked into it and it's voice is rich, booming, and thunderous.

Chocolate chip cookies have a childlike voice that twirls, and laughs, and beckons with fervent playfulness.

Wine sounds like a high society lady that turns her nose up at the person that refuses to indulge.

I've heard this all first hand while visiting my parents house on Friday evening.

As I was sitting there trying to concentrate on a rerun of WifeSwap, I kept hearing these foods daring me to enjoy just a couple small, itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bites and sips. Just a small indulgence. Just a few short seconds of bliss.

"There aren't even enough calories to count in one little, tiny, delicious bite," the ice cream oozed.

"Oh please, no one will ever know if you don't ever tell them," the wine prattled.

"GETTING OFF YOUR BUTT AND WALKING TO THE FRIDGE WILL BURN CALORIES SO GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND GET OVER HERE!" the mac & cheese shouted, jolting me a little.

Then came the playful laughter of the chocolate chip cookies. The laughter skipped across the room, bounced over the walls, and landed squarely in my lap with a buoyant bounce.

"Please treat yourself with a cookie. Please? Please?" The cookies were fervent, insistent, and questioning like a child asking for a new toy while in the store.

I was overwhelmed. I was not far enough along in my diet plan to be faced with such convincing subjects. And I was facing them alone.

I contemplated stuffing cotton balls in my ears but decided against that as I would need to pass the fridge to get to the cotton balls. Bad idea to be that close to the source of my temptation.

Perhaps if I went for a walk ... well ... maybe not given the hour.

Ok, how about a drive? Hmm... probably not a good idea to leave Beverly (my grandma) home alone.

So the only thing left to do was to suffer through the calls and hope that I was strong enough to resist their discourse.

Turns out when ignored, ice cream actually screams, chocolate chip cookies throw tantrums, mac and cheese tosses insults, and wine gets manipulative.

The funny thing is that the longer this went on, the less interested I became in the activity.

I ate my nonfat blueberry yogurt, downed 192 quarts of water (64 ounce jug filled many many times) and with each bite and sip heard the voices get a little fainter until, upon my 194th ounce of water, they were silenced completely.

Victory!

I was so proud of my ability to resist that I didn't even care that I had get up to pee every 15 minutes through the rest of the night. A simple walk to the bathroom was an opportunity to be proud of myself for standing firm against the calls of temptation.

So take that ice cream! Go bother someone else mac and cheese! I don't wanna play anymore cookies! And wine, turns out you're the one that's no good!

I was a better person because I fought the battle and won. At least for that one night.

What are your triggers? What foods are you making a decision (and cutting yourself off from any other possibility) not to indulge in?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Feeling My Weight

95 pounds is a lot to lose and although conceptually I know that, it's still hard for me to really grasp how much weight that is.

I shared my struggles of "making it real" with Glenda and she suggested I go to the grocery store and literally pick up and throw over my shoulder two fifty pound bags of dog food. Then (this is the kicker) walk up and down the aisle with them to feel that weight on my body again. Even though I have hay bales and grain bags at home, she thought it would be worthwhile for me to attempt this effort outside of my element.

I giggled when she suggested it - just as you are probably giggling now - because I could just see the funny looks I'd get for trying such a thing. I also had visions of dog food bags falling to the floor and dog food then exploding in all directions throughout the store. Since I kinda like to "blend" in public, I didn't think this little activity was really my cup-of-tea.

However, the next time I was at Safeway filling up the cart, I got brave and decided to give it a try. I mean, why should I care what those people think, right? I needed to "feel" my weight, darn it!

Ok, so the truth was that the aisle was clear and I figured since no one was around I could at least make an attempt just in case Glenda asked me later if I'd tried it. I didn't want to have to tell her no!

I struggled with the first bag, tossed it over my shoulder, and then bent down to pick up the second which resulted in bag one falling to the floor in a loud crash. No exploding dog food, but it was quite loud and I'm sure my face turned about 20 shades of red even if no one was around to see it.

On my second attempt to heft them over my shoulders, I was successful. Holy cow! I staggered away from the cart, weaving like a drunken sailor under the weight, and used every ounce of strength I had to not to crash into the cans of cat food on either side of the aisle. At the end, I did an about-face and made my way back to the cart.

As I stammered, struggled, and fought to stay upright under the weight, the thought that hit me was, oh my god, how in the world did I ever live with this much weight on my body! How did I function? No wonder I was tired all the time.

As I dropped (literally cause I was tired and at that point didn't care about crashing noises) the two bags onto the floor by the cart, I thought; "I'm free."

And isn't that the truth!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The "Couldn't & Wouldn't" List

Perhaps that's too negative of a title for such a positive list but somehow it's what stuck in my brain.

Anyway, a couple pounds ago, I started a "Couldn't & Wouldn't" list. This list is something I'm using to motivate and inspire myself. It's a reminder of where I've come from and also where I'm going.

I keep this list on my fridge and now on this blog. Can you imagine how long this list will be at the end of this journey? Wow! That will be cool! I can't wait to see what's going to make the list next!



95(ish) Pounds Ago

.... I would have rewarded myself with a pizza instead of a walk around Battle Ground Lake with my dog, Noodle.

.... I couldn't get on my horses without a bench, stool, stump, tailgate, or other means of a "lift"

.... I didn't realize how fast my horses could canter. With me down 95 pounds, they are little speed demons! We're gonna be rockin' it by the time I reach goal! I love it.

.... I didn't have energy to do anything after work but sit on the couch, eat, and watch TV.

.... The word "workout" wasn't in my vocabulary and when others mentioned it, I got all panicked and out of breath and had to end the conversation abruptly before I hyperventilated. I hated sweating.

.... The airplane seats were tight, cramped, and the seat belt just barely fit. I had to struggle to get it snapped. Not anymore! I can fly the little Horizon jets and stay in my space! No more spilling into my neighbor.

.... Speaking of trips, I hated walking through the airport because even that little bit of excursion made me hot and my feet hurt. I can now do it in heels without huffing and puffing.

.... I never would have thought of riding a mountain bike up a steep hill or out on a trail. Heck, I wouldn't have even wanted to sit on a mountain bike because I would have been worried the tires would go flat.

.... I never would have joined three hiking groups and signed up for my first hike with people I DID know let alone a bunch of people I DIDN'T know.

.... I wouldn't have dared get off my horse anywhere on a trail. How would I have gotten back up without either the horse or me falling sideways?

.... I couldn't walk up my hilly driveway from the barn without being out of breath. Now I sometimes throw in a random jog up the hill "just because".

.... I wouldn't have gone for a walk at lunch by myself ... or with anyone else for that matter. I wouldn't have wanted anyone to know how out of breath I was just walking at a normal pace on a flat stretch.

.... I wouldn't have pushed myself to go up the hardest and longest hill I could find not just once but three times and sometimes even go a fourth time.

.... I wouldn't have signed up for a Team Challenge where others might know my weight.

.... I wouldn't have published my weight on a blog.

.... I wouldn't have bought a pair of shorts and planned to wear them in front of other people.

.... I couldn't cross my legs without lifting one leg by hand and literally pulling it over to the other leg and then struggling and not breathing so that I could hold it in position so it wouldn't pop back up and hit the person in front of me in the face.

..... I didn't have a full length mirror in my house and turned my head the opposite direction when passing one in public. In fact, all mirrors were avoided unless it was a complete necessity (like make-up or hair). But today, I added a full length mirror to my shopping list. Yeah me!

..... I wouldn't look strangers in the eye.

..... I wouldn't talk with random people in the grocery line, post office, street, etc. I was too ashamed of myself and didn't want them to see me. I just wanted to blend.

..... I would never have looked forward to waking up at 5:00 in the morning so that I could fit a workout into my schedule. In fact, I used to have a hard time getting up at 8:00.

..... Drinking water ... huh? There was a such thing as water? Couldn't I just drink Coke (not even diet), wine, beer and fruit juice? Yeah, now I'm drinking 1/2 my body weight in water each day. Wowza. Yes, I pee a lot. TMI? Sorry, I did warn you though ... brutally honest. That's me.

.... I couldn't resist the burgers, fries, pizza's, and deserts at a party or restaurant. After all, I deserved to eat that stuff ... or so I thought.

..... I couldn't say "no" to others or to myself without feeling like less of a person.

.... I would let excuses rule my life.

.... I truly, 100% was not being the BEST me I could be.

How about you? How do you see your life changing as you lose weight? What things will you be able to do that you can't (or won't) do now?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

100 Pound Reward ~ Ideas Please?

Ok, people.

I'm on the precipice of losing 100 pounds and I need a major reward to mark the occasion.

I've toyed around with a shopping trip to Seattle but I'm not sure I want to buy clothes as I still want to lose another 50 pounds ... that seems kind of counterproductive for some reason. I would be better off doing something to motivate me to continue down the weight loss path.

So, I need ideas, thoughts, suggestions, opinions ... help!

This needs to be manageable financially (no more than $250 ... this girl lives on a budget!) and yet something out of the ordinary.

Ideas?

"Vending Machine Tape"

Here I am on this whole "doin' good path" and then I get a negative self-thought that's something like the following:

"Hey, I worked out today, I could eat an Almond Joy bar."

Yes, I know, what in the world am I thinking?!?!

But those are the kinds of thoughts that creep into my brain, start to play over and over, and if I don't find a way to boot out for good, will take over and sabotage my efforts.

Truthfully, it's a never ending downward spiral when I give into a negative thought.

Say I did eat that Almond Joy. The next couple thoughts would be:

"Well, I already messed up, I might as well go ahead and forget my diet for the rest of the day. I'll start it all over again tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow I'll be good and make up for today. I'll work out twice as hard, eat less, drink water and lose what I'm going to gain today because today I'm going to go ahead and eat that Almond Joy AND pizza!"

And then tomorrow I'd be so depressed that I slipped up the day before that I'd most likely talk myself into slipping up yet again. And so it would go.

The reality is that choosing an Almond Joy bar and pizza as a reward is the exact reason I'm the weight I am and was.

I try to keep that front-of-mind most days but today, after completing a nice four mile walk/jog, my brain is starting to play the "vending machine tape" and truthfully, it's a battle to shut it off.

What's helping is knowing there's a weigh-in today and I really want to make good progress this week. I'm so close to 100 ... just five pounds to go!

Won't hitting 100 pounds be so much more rewarding than an Almond Joy? In the long run, I'll feel so much better about accomplishing something instead of giving in to my negativity.

This is one of the things in this world that I can control. I can turn that tape off. I can drown it, in fact, by consuming large quantities of water so that I couldn't possibly fit one more ounce inside of me and then the Almond Joy will actually not sound as good to my now-rumbling tummy.

I just wish I didn't have to walk by the vending machine to fill up my water bottle.

Sneaky marketing vending machine people ...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Steppin' Out in Public

When I first heard about the Team Weight Loss Challenge my thought was "Cool, but that's sooooo not something I would ever do."

Then when I heard that the teams would be weighing in front of a room full of people, I thought "Oh my gosh ... That is REALLY soooooo not something I would ever do!"

Just to give you some perspective, when I started at The Healthy Weigh, I didn't want to know my actual weight. Somehow to me, putting an actual number to my weight made it real. It was scary, unmanageable and depressing.

I had little tricks to help me along the way like standing backwards on the scale so that I didn't see the numbers. The ladies at the clinic covered my chart with post-its so that I didn't need to be exposed to the numbers when I sat down to talk with them. And my overall weight loss was tracked in total pounds lost ... not actual weight.

This process continued until I hit the 60 pound mark where I finally, sheepishly, turned and faced who I really was and had been, knowing it was not who I was going to be.

Yesterday, there I was, butterflies in my stomach as the room filled up with other challenge participants. I had visions of Letha calling my team to the front of the room, me standing on the scale, and a big booming announcers voice screaming out "TWO-HUNDRED-THIRTEEN POUNDS" as the numbers also flashed across a big screen so that those in the back could see. Think of the weigh-ins on the Biggest Loser only bigger, louder, and on larger screens. Theater size. Yeah ... I was freakin'!

Of course, that's not how it happened at all. No one in that room would have known my weight had I not just posted it on the blog ... yes, I ratted my own self out!

But what progress, right?

I'm sure there were others in the room that were worried about this same thing.

So, I just gotta say, all of us challenge people rock! Seriously, we do! Yeah us for following through on something that we otherwise could have used as an excuse not to lose this weight.

We will have succeeded whether or not we actually take home the money at the end of this thing.

Although, admittedly, I'm kinda sorta bankin' on the cash. My team FLAB-U-LESS partner and I could use a bit of clothes-shopping-cash for our Seattle trip!

Anyway, I digress.

I would love to know from you guys what inspired you to take the leap and step on the scales for this challenge. What fears did you have and how did you push past them?

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Little History and Current Weight

Ok, this post is where I have to actually type my weight onto the screen ... make it real ... and then admit to where I started.

Phewie.

This is a toughie. I mean, sure, you can tell by looking at me that I'm not a thin girl but actually admitting the number out loud to the whole wide world seems a bit extreme. And yet, perhaps this will be liberating too. If I can own this number and then toss it away, it won't ever be part of my life again.

Sound like a plan? Ok, I think so too.

I started at The Healthy Weigh on September 25, 2008 and weighed 307.

But that was sooooo 94 pounds ago!

I'll post some pics soon to show where I was and where I am. I don't have a complete 1:1 to compare because truthfully, when I weighed 307 pounds, I ran in the opposite direction of any camera. Or maybe not "ran" per se because that would have been too much effort at that weight but I did get out of there as fast I could possibly go.

All of this is not to say that losing 94 pounds has been easy. There have been many hard days and yes, even weeks. I've woken up thinking "I will never be able to do this" and "This is too hard".

But through the awesome team at The Healthy Weigh, I'm learning to change those thoughts. It's a slow process, but there's light at the end of the tunnel and now when I wake up I think "Wow, it's going to be a great day".

Ok, enough rah-rah stuff.

I still have a ways to go in my weight loss. I'm participating in the Team Weight Loss Challenge which will help me kick this into high gear but I'd like to lose at least another 55 pounds which would put me squarely at 160.

As of today, I weigh 213.

Are you ready to complete this journey with me?

Let's go!

And so it begins ...

Here I am writing a public weight loss journal. Who would have thought I would ever, in a million years, feel the need to open myself up to the world about my weight loss?

I sure didn't.

I initially approached Letha about having a client write this blog not even thinking she'd toss it back to me and suggest that I be the writer. When I mentioned it to her, I was just thinking that in my weight loss journey, it would have been (and would still be) nice to hear from a client going down the same path. I mean, Letha is very inspiring and I literally eat her words of wisdom ... but let's be brutally honest here ... she's the size of a toothpick and sometimes, a girl needs to hear from another chunky girl facing the same issues!

And so, here we are.

I plan to write about the struggles, successes, hard times, good times, life changes, and the truths about my weight loss journey.

I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment on any of these posts.

I plan to post at least every other day so come back often!

So, shall we begin?