January Wrap Up

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I lost 2.6 pounds.

Disappointed in a low number, but happy to not gain!

I feel my shape is shifting from bubble to more hourglass proportions, yay!

I tracked every bite of food I ate for 30 days!  #proud

Starting Measurements /Current Measurements

Bust: 51"/49"

Waist: 56"/51.5"

Hips: 56.5"/56"

Size: between a 22 and a 24, and between a 2X and a 3X

February Goals

It is a short month so I want to keep it reasonable.  Just 5 pounds from my lowest January weight of 288.6 - so I will be happy as a clam at 283.  If I work hard enough, maybe I will even break into the 270's.  That would be great!

I'd like to be solidly back in the 22/2X size range.  Most of my clothes are in that size but about 50% are too tight for the moment, and I was gifted some 3X sizes at Christmas, so I should be covered (literally, lol) with enough clothes to not need to get anything bigger (or smaller) for this month and likely next.

Move.  I need to add activity to my routine.  I know it will help the results move along and help my body get back into a nicer shape even if the scale doesn't move much.  

Weekly Weigh In #4

Monday, January 30, 2017

Apologies for the lateness of this post.  I weighed in and took all my photos on Monday but couldn't find the time to get the actual post written until Tuesday night.  Accounting life! I had month end, which is typically a busy time already plus the deadline to get tax forms out.  It was too much!

This week was sort of meh.  I weighed in and gained, which broke my heart.  I don't want to get discouraged already!  Not making excuses at all, but it is that special time in the month AND it was my anniversary Saturday and I celebrated with all the food and drinks.  The week is off to a better start thank God, so hopefully the lady time bloating will be gone and I will have a dramatic amount of pounds down on Monday.

Good Things:

I didn't give up!

This is noteworthy because after a week of being over my calories just about daily, GAINING weight, eating half a days calories over my limit on a celebratory day, old Natalie would have been done with the whole lifestyle change by now.  I messed up, so I don't want to play anymore, lets go get ice cream and pizza.  Sunday came and I reigned it back in.  Monday came and I was back to eating how I am supposed to for the most part.  I feel really proud of myself, I may actually be changing my ways.

Tracking like a champion

Let me tell you, Saturday was a feast day.  We went to our Anniversary dinner at this Argentinian restaurant which was so good.  We had appetizers, wine, fried entrees, dessert.  I-N-D-U-L-G-E-D.  I tracked every single one of those calories and I was an astounding 800 calories over the 1700 I am allotted.  I didn't even flinch, I was like yup, and snapped my fingers in the air.  I loved every last one of those calories, and I would eat them again!  I feel like I have made peace with the tracker after these 30 days of tracking.  I don't associate guilt or shame about what I chose to ate, nor do I care to lie to myself about any of it.  If I eat it, I just track it.  Over eating doesn't scare me when it is just tallied on a page.  I don't know why it ever did.

Improve, please.

Getting some activity in my life

I have been meaning to get on the rower, or swing the kettle bell around while watching TV and I just haven't.  The issue is that I never think about it until I am writing my recap posts and am like 'shoot, I should have added that to the program this week'.  Then I won't think about it again until next week.  Good intentions, right? Well right this moment I am setting my alarm for 6 AM, so by Thursday I intend to be up at on that rower.

Keeping my calorie goals

I have gotten way too lax on my calorie limits this week.  I say ' oh, it is just 75 calories over, that is no big deal', then it turns into, '250 calories over is still a calorie deficit, so it is fine just today'.  Being all loosey goosey with the calories is precisely why I am back in the 290 zone this week.  I need to do better with my portions and choose less calorie dense things throughout the day.  Totally need to reign it in on the weekends too.  I really want to stay under the calorie goals this week so I can let my hair down for 'The Big Game'.  I want all the chips and dips and wings!  And for the love of God, can we get the girl scout cookies eaten or out of the house already?!  Update - are down to half a sleeve of thin mints left as of 9:53PM 1/31/17.  (victory!)

Ok, I am two days into the week already and so far so good!  I am going to stay the course and come back strong next Monday, you'll see! ;)

I need to get some shapewear in my life.

Having an Ego Helps

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Alternate title - What ABC's The Bachelor has taught me about weight loss and life.

I love watching The Bachelor franchise so much.  I watch it as a study in sociology and culture, I watch it to make fun of the contestants on Twitter, and to learn what beachwear is currently trendy.  It is solid gold entertainment to watch and follow along on the twitter feed #thebachelor - fellow watchers are hilarious!

This season is featuring Nick, the bachelor who was left broken hearted on three different seasons.  His group of ladies are all sweet and lovely, and then there is Corinne.  Corinne is the villain of the season.  Nick seems to dig her, and all the ladies hate her.  I just grab the popcorn because she makes for good TV!

Hate her or love her, there is something very valuable we can learn from Corinne.  Throwing yourself at men works!  Being confident and having an ego will catapult you towards your goal in a meaningful way.  Corinne isn't caught up in what the girls (or America) think of her.  She is confident with what she is working with and has her eye on the prize.  

Having a large ego gets a bad reputation, and unchecked you can come off as arrogant at best and delusional at worst.  

I am not advocating for the worst aspects of a large ego.  You don't need a yuuuge ego, but it my opinion that they are helpful to have when pursuing your goals.  Your ego picks up where your self esteem ends to give you a boost.  Your ego bridges the gap when your confidence isn't quite there.  'Fake it 'til you make it' as they say.  

Not to generalize, but it is difficult to find a heavy person who is brimming with self esteem and confidence.  They exist, and God bless them, because we need examples in our society that convey this message.  In the real world where I live, most large people I know don't feel great about how they look, how they are treated in different avenues of life and general levels of feeling successful.  This is where you need an ego. 

We aren't lording our abilities over others or acting like giant tool bags, we are saying we are confident, we can do anything we set our mind to, and we are mother snuggling champions.

Is Corinne contemplating on how some women in the 'Bachelor Mansion' might be too young for Nick, or here for the wrong reasons™?  Does she concern herself with Danielle being too boring for Nick, or Raven being too crazy?  Heck no.  Corinne is putting on her hottest bikini and going out to get her man. (and napping when necessary, lol)  Let's be real, all this feigned concern for Nick picking the right girl is just the girls wanting to weed out the competition because they see Corinne as a real threat.

I think most of the ladies on the show are confident.  They know who they are, they feel good about their abilities, and hold their head up high.  Corinne has confidence + ego because she is all of those things and not afraid to let it be known and be proud of them.  Ego seeks validation from the outside world -  which doesn't have to be a bad thing.  

I was brought up in a culture that values humility.  1. because I am a lady, and we aren't supposed to be braggy and 2. because that is a common moral value we all should have.  They are competing ideas, for sure.  I will say, in the every day world I don't believe it is harmful for us to know we are good at things and be confident in that fact.  I see it in the business world all the time.  The ones who remind the boss of their wins are the ones who get noticed over the ones who downplay their contributions.

My point is, don't say, oh I lost 5 pounds, no big deal.  Say, I'm 5 pounds down and I am going to be ten pounds down by the end of the month!  Don't say, ho hum, I was only able to walk 30 mins on the treadmill before I was dead tired and hurting.  Say, I am 400 pounds and I just crushed my 1.5 miles on the treadmill, my body is amazing!  Don't say, I suck, I ate like 45 girl scout cookies this week.  Say, I did awesome at drinking water this week, and I lost weight, I rule!  Revel in your accomplishments!  Know that you are capable of great things.  You don't even realize it now, but there was a time when you didn't even think weight loss was possible, let alone that you'd be so good at it! ;)  Don't even for a second worry that you used to be able to run faster, or you will never be as thin as so-and-so.  All those do is made you feel bad and make you want to quit.  It is not champion talk.  When you feel good and have positive thoughts, it is a virtuous cycle that will encourage more positive behaviors that move you towards your goal.  Our minds are powerful, so lets put them in our corner.

Is my ego big?  I'm working on it.  I will say I am very confident in my knowledge of the intricacies of my own body and how I need structure my diet.  I am confident that I can climb stairs without getting out of breath.  I am confident that I can cook a really tasty healthful meal.  These are starts, I just need to get into celebrating myself more, then I will be where I want to be.  No one said it was easy.  Lucky for me, I share a life with a man with quite the sizable ego, maybe he can give me some pointers! 😏

Corinne is probably not the girl to end up with Nick, I am calling it now.  But it won't be because she was insecure or being pulled down by negative chatter from other ladies.  She's got the eye of the tiger, so either way, she will be just fine.

Weekly Weigh In #3

Monday, January 23, 2017

Has it been three weeks already??  Last week FLEW by.  We had MLKJr. day, which I was stuck at work, boo.  Then Wednesday was crazy, we were having terrible weather so I was delayed two hours getting to work.  Later that evening we got together for my little brother's birthday, yay.  Then Friday I was just in a funk due to the inauguration and all that.  Then the weekend went fast, as it always does, and here we are.

Good things for this week:

I lost weight!  

By some miracle from God, I am down on the scale this week.  288.6 this morning after a week AND weekend of indulging.  It was not my finest week in the calorie counting game, so I am thinking I am going to be paying the piper come next week.  I am happy to be in the 280's though, so I am hoping a good week of staying on track will keep this downward trend going.

Still tracking!

I'm on day #22 of consistent logging in to My Fitness Pal and tracking my food.  I tell you, it is a challenge to log those things you wish you hadn't eaten but did.  I made a promise to myself that everything good, bad, ugly, and in-between was getting logged and I am trying to embrace that.  In the moment it sucks, but I am glad that I can go back through the week and see what I ate and try to figure out why.  Was I having a frustrating day?  Was there just opportunity since I didn't plan well?  Yes and yes.

Less puffy overall

I am not swimming in my clothes or anything yet, obviously.  However I do feel like my stomach area is a lot less puffed out as usual, and my wedding rings slide on with less force.  Always feels good to notice a change!

I am getting great at restaurant eating

I am not proud to report, but this week we went out to dinner four times.  On a good note, I was able to keep my dinner choices light and only eat half of the entree so to keep the calories in check.  Nice work, Natalie.

Before I get to tooting my own horn too loudly, I have to say this week was a struggle and I definitely did not overcome.

I was over my calories 4/7 days

Guys, it is not like I get some teeny amount of calories here.  I have 1700+ which is probably overeating for someone at their goal weight.  So I planned on being indulgent on Wednesday.  It was Jeff's birthday celebration and I made a delicious cake, so yeah, I was planning to partake in all of that.  I am not sure if this event triggered the rest of the weeks indulgences.  They seem to have a variety of explanations on my part.  Wednesday morning I had to spend 2 hours in the Whataburger parking lot waiting for water to recede so I could get to my office.  In a moment of weakness I found myself in the drive thru getting not only a breakfast-on-a-bun, but a taquito to boot.  This was after I already had my egg mcmuffin.  Oh well I thought, today is my indulge day so I will just skip lunch.  I did skip lunch because I wasn't even a tiny bit hungry but ended the day about 500 calories over.

The next day our shipment of girl scout cookies came in.  Shouldn't have even brought them in the house, but it is a good cause and all that, right? Then the chicken I had planned to make for dinner hadn't quite thawed so we went out for dinner.  Friday I was too tired to cook so we ordered in dinner.  And had more girl scout cookies.  Until those things are gone, we are going to be having some problems keeping up the calorie deficits.

I am happy at least it is a new week and I can get back to my usual schedule.  I do so much better in a routine.

I haven't gotten on the rower like I had wanted

Last summer I was doing really well with my rowing routine.  I would wake up a bit early and row for 20 mins.  It was no big deal, and I hopped in the shower right after and had a normal day.  I wasn't tired or having major appetite increases, which can happen when you start an exercise routine.  It was very positive and it gave me real results - my arms and back definitely got stronger and smaller.  Shirts that were tight on me were back to normal, and I was loving it.  I got away from it once we went on vacation and I haven't bothered with it since.  I know I just need to get on there once and then I will start the momentum of the daily routine.  Waking up early is difficult if I don't make it a priority to get in the bed in the 9 o'clock hour.  I should add that to the goals list this week.

Donald Trump has got me emotionally eating

The smart thing would have been to lace up my sneakers and go to the women's march and at least get some steps in!  I haven't made the much of an effort to accept the reality of things, I keep thinking I am going to wake up and this is all a bad dream.  Maybe you think I am dramatic, maybe I am a little.  Aaron and I decided on November 9th that the only real solution was to immigrate to Canada.  It isn't totally off the table, but we are several years into the student loan repayment for Aaron's schooling and if we had to give that up it would cost us way more than we'd recover from any time soon.  So for the next seven years we are stuck in this place.  It is just hard.  I care about everyone around me and I want them to have a good life and feel safe, and have a thriving society.  Besides feeling personally victimized by this administration due to my gender, my ethnicity, and my religious convictions regarding human rights, I don't think any of the proposed policies are smart or will be beneficial to us everyday people.  The Donald is just a sleazy crook who makes my skin crawl, and the fact that 50% of the people around me thought this person was capable of leading anything makes me want to throw up.  Oh, and also, I will personally be screwed if my insurance decides I am too costly to cover.

So I feel stressed and I try to not involve myself too much.  I honestly think the identity politics that rule the day are harmful and  we have elevated politics to a religion of sorts.  Definitely not something I am trying to be a part of with so much of my energy.  Too bad for me I was feeling so bummed and out of sorts with a fresh shipment of girl scout cookies, I may have eaten about ten thin mints to make me feel better.  It didn't work.

Looking back on this past week doesn't give me a nice feeling.  I feel like I strayed pretty far from what I am supposed to be doing, and a little like I lost control at times.  I try to keep it in perspective and remember that before I started I was eating well beyond the amounts I ate on the worst days I had this week, and doing it daily.  My blood sugar levels have stayed in a good rage even with all the cookies I ate.  The week wasn't a total bust.

It is nice to know how lumpy I look in this shirt :\ someone get this gal some shapewear.  

I am a Temple

Friday, January 20, 2017

I am a temple.

I am going to try my best to not get too Jesus-y in this post, because the point of this blog is weight loss.  Even if you aren't a religious person, you hopefully at least agree that we should treat our bodies with care and respect.  We have to spend a lifetime in them, after all.

I am a Catholic, and as such, we are taught that our bodies are the dwelling of the Holy Spirit (God.)  The cliffs notes version of the story is that before Jesus, there was a Jewish Temple.  It was destroyed and rebuilt a couple times, but once Jesus was around and the temple was destroyed - he made the metaphor that if you tear the temple down, I'll rebuild it in three days-which everyone took to mean Jesus is the temple (who would be destroyed/crucified and rebuilt/resurrected).  So churches have meaning and significance and we build them to honor the Lord and continue His work here on earth, the real 'temple' lies in Jesus and in us via the Holy Spirit.  (This is not a good enough reason to not attend church! ((in my opinion.))

So the Lord is dwelling in us, as believers.  When we die, our bodies will rest, then get resurrected when He comes again. Sadly, we don't turn into spirit orbs from what I understand.  So, yes, we are more than our body, but our body is still there with us the whole time.  

If I am worthy enough to get to heaven, I might be pissed if my fat body has to come too, lol.  When I imagine what it might look like, I picture us all being 'whole' again.  An amputee has his legs again, a teen with bad acne has perfect skin, someone who was disfigured in an accident is back to how they were before, and I am me without 150 extra pounds.  Or maybe we look like zombies but are too happy to care? 

I am a temple.

As long as I can remember, a core life philosophy I have held is 'I am more than what I look like.'  This still is very true to my heart.  Especially in these times where we need feminism more than we thought we did.  I am funny, and intelligent and plenty of other things that I would prefer to be judged on rather than the size of my rear end.  I have been overweight all of my life, so (thankfully?) I haven't had the overwhelmingly common experience of being objectified.  Not that it has never happened, but I have literally seen it happen with my own eyes and ears to plenty of traditionally attractive colleagues.  However I have felt the sting of being invisible, despite my taking up so much physical space, more times that I want to remember.  I wanted no part of either scenario, so I turned my nose up and types who ogled the pretty girls and went on evangelizing my message of 'love me for my personality, it is really great!'

The message by itself isn't flawed, but yours truly managed to muck it up along the way.  You love people and yourself for who they are on the inside, but that doesn't give you license to treat your outsides like a garbage dump.  I'd venture to say that if you do treat your body so carelessly, perhaps you don't love yourself as much as you think?

During my journey through young/middle adulthood I have morphed this 'I am more than what I look like' message into an 'I don't care what I look like, and I don't care what you think about it either' message. This is problematic for a couple of reasons.  First, the catalyst of the morphing was laziness.  I am not advocating for deeper connections and respect of all people, I am just making excusing for not ironing my shirt and picking up fast food for all three meals of the day.  That isn't respectful of anyone I am around in a given day and it certainly isn't respectful to myself.  Secondly, this really sells yourself short in so many ways.  I get an attitude about good looking people.  How they must be so vain or probably not very smart - spending all their time doing up their hair and makeup instead of reading a book.  It isn't fair or kind or loving, and that isn't the person I want to be.  I get mad that attractive people just get handed all sorts of things in life, and it is total sour grapes.  Those things just compound the ugly.  

I am a temple.

I thought I was being kind to myself.  When I would see how my thin friends ate - always choosing the grilled chicken, never fried, ordering soup as their whole meal when we go out to eat, having a rice cake as an enjoyable snack, etc., it seemed so sad.  In my mind, these people were punishing themselves in order to keep a svelte physique.  (No one is claiming that I have normal attitudes about food, no worries) I felt happy with who I was usually, and I felt like in all other areas of my life I was working hard and doing well, so I let myself have free reign and no restrictions about food.  I pretty much never denied myself at all.  To this day, I will go for the most decadent and calorie laden food options everywhere I go.  It is like a special talent I have.  I love myself, so I get to have everything I want.

I am a temple.

The Holy Spirit is within me.  I wouldn't desecrate a church, so I ought not desecrate my body.  I don't do myself any favors by overeating and packing on so much weight that I am nearly more inches around than I am tall.  It isn't a punishment to eat a simple and unprocessed meal that I had to prepare myself.  I realize that of course, this is an oversimplification of my issues and why I am obese, but I feel that it is only to my benefit to be mindful of these things when I do sit down for a meal.  

It helps to think about the situation a step removed.  If a child I loved wanted nothing but candy for dinner, how would I respond with love?  They tell me they listened to their teacher all day, finished their homework, made straight A's and were the youngest person to be nominated for a Nobel prize.  Do I let them have candy for dinner, even though they are winning at life in every other way?  God, no.  I love them.  I want them to have a balanced healthful dinner with maybe a piece of candy afterward.  So shouldn't I treat myself the same way?

I am a temple.

Temples are beautiful.  We don't build a church that is sterile like a hospital, or utilitarian such as a factory.  We put beautiful and meaningful imagery and art on every wall.  Churches are adorned in gold and priceless art because that is how we show God how loved He is.  

Beauty isn't just some silly superficial distraction.  (It can be, sure, if taken too far.)  But beauty in our lives and in ourselves is a gift.  Too often a low self esteem, laziness (my hand is raised), or a multitude of other reasons will talk us out of being our best selves.  This may be digressing and I am definitely not saying that beauty only belongs to those who are height and weight proportionate, but when you treat your body like the temple it is, beauty follows.  When we feel good about ourselves and treat our bodies with the proper care and emit that beauty into the world, I believe it radiates into every other faction of your life.  Your confidence can get you a new friend, a job promotion or new client, love, a winning lottery ticket, and who even knows what else?! I admit it, I was wrong about beauty and not giving it the credit it deserves.  I think beauty inside AND out can be a virtue and a way to honor God and one another.

I am a temple.  

Much of this weight loss process entails challenging the deep seeded beliefs that I have had for a very long time.  It isn't easy, but I continually remind myself that my views of the world are at least in some part flawed.  The behaviors which made me the size I am are all rational responses to a set of irrational beliefs.  I think beauty is a superficial waste of time, so I look sloppy and wind up with a low self esteem based on the way others perceive me.  I think eating everything with reckless abandon is a reasonable reward for a hard day's work.  Eating vegetables is a punishment for a crime I didn't commit, so pass the cheese fries.  It is a rich tapestry, folks.  

I am going to keep reminding myself that I am a temple.  I am going to try reeeeally hard to remember to say grace before a meal (I am so bad at this.) and remind myself that I am nourishing a temple not overstuffing an NYC trashcan next to a hotdog cart.  Maybe with enough reminders I will eat more mindfully, spend less time on the sofa and more time moving my muscles.  Then everything falls into place and people will comment, dayum, nice temple on my instagram photos. (not really, lol)

Lets take care of them like they have to last forever!

And for those who aren't religious at all, sorry I wasted 5 minutes of your day!

Weekly Weigh In #2

Monday, January 16, 2017

It is week two and we are making some progress!!  I am down 2.2 pounds from last week!  It is a relief because week one I was not budging at all on the scale, despite a major cut down of calories on my part.  People swear by the calories in/calories out (CICO) method of losing weight, and I suppose they aren't all wrong.

Week two has gone fairly smoothly, I am happy to report.

Still logging my food daily!
I'm on a 15 day streak!  I even bit the bullet and logged all of my over indulging that happened on Sunday :(  I was over my daily allowance by nearly 400 calories because I got a craving for sweets and was feeling very low blood sugar-ish and starving and ate a Hershey bar, oreos and 3 shortbread cookies.  Sugar addiction is real, y'all.  Then the chicken I was to cook for dinner was still frozen come 5:30 pm, so we called Papa John's pizza.  Trying to keep the perspective though, a pre-food logging Natalie would have pigged out all the meals and been maybe 1000 calories more than this just because 'it was the weekend and I'm going to treat myself'.  I would have been able to post an extraordinary loss today, had I not pigged out yesterday - my lowest weight this week was 288.4 (wha!!?!).  As they say, weight loss isn't linear.  I am happy to be down from last week and plan to stay the course for this week.  

Out to eat was a win!
I felt like a normal person who manages their weight on Friday.  We made a dinner plan to have Olive Garden, and I willfully ate light for breakfast and lunch so that I could get a reasonable entree and TWO bread sticks at the OG.  Icing on the cake, I was too full to even eat the whole thing, so I had a light Olive Garden lunch for Saturday.  The idea that I need to be deprived in order to be successful is being disproved day by day.

Valuing Consistency
I am trying (and succeeding I think) to focus on being consistent above all else.  It helps me to get back on track after a screw up day of cookies and pizza.  Past attempts I was too focused on perfection and needing to get it right every day, every calorie to the point when I eventually get off track (happens to the best of us!) I just gave up and went back to my old ways of doing things.  Yes I ate too much on Sunday, but my goal was to just track everything, so I am still winning.  It balances out too, because today I am totally still feeling full from yesterday, and it is 2pm and I've only had 590 calories for the day and am not hungry at all.  I will likely be under my goal for today and Sunday will be a wash.  

I lost weight!
Consistency paid off because I did well on the scale.  It feels pretty good.  Not thinking about the long road ahead, but just enjoying the now, and feeling proud of myself.

This week on the 'It could have been better' segment:

If Sunday hadn't happened, that would have been good.
I am really not trying to beat myself up over the Sunday calorie bomb.  All things considered, 400 calories is no big deal at all.  The bummer is that the fat/salt/sugar/whatever caused a jump from the 280's back into the 290's.  It's okay though, this week I am going to be comfortably within the 280's and God willing, never see a 29_ on the scale ever again!

Trulicity, blessing and curse
I give credit to Truclity for approximately 75% of my success.  I feel 'full' on less food, and I don't get major cravings to overeat that rival a drug addiction.  I started the first two weeks on a half dose and i just took the week 3 full dose Saturday morning.  Boy can I tell the difference!  My stomach just feels kind of uneasy most of the day and the heartburn is a new and unpleasant treat.  I am probably just adjusting, and eating pizza didn't help.  Either way, I am not feeling the greatest, so my plans to get back on the rowing machine this week are being foiled.

Weekend water consumption is hard.
During the work week we have unlimited access to bottled water and coffee.  So thanks to that, I am getting in at least 4 bottles a day, then another 2 at home.  Weekends, if I have 3-4 bottles of water, that is high.  I know the jury is still out about how water may or may not be doing anything much for losing weight, but I would just feel better if I were getting maximum hydration daily.  Something to work on!

Don't be calorie obsessed
It was Friday night at the Olive Garden and Aaron was there with his eyes glazing over as I was talking about 'Did you know the bread sticks are 140 calories?  I thought they'd be more.  My entree is 590 but I guess if I were only eating half I could have had the non-light entree.  Those are all around 1100 calories.  The salad is 140 too, i think it is the dressing.  Did you know the meatless entrees are about 200 less calories than the meat ones?'  This is how my A.D.D. mind works when I am hyper-focused to the point of obsession about something new.  It isn't bad to be super into calorie counting when you are on a new diet, per se, it just makes you a terrible dinner companion(sorry, Aaron!).  But I know me, and I know my patterns and this is indicative of being super excited and committed at first only to give up weeks later.  I want to keep on an even keel and have the attitude of 'this is just me living a normal life where I maintain a healthy weight, nothing to see here' and not the 'so excited about this, gonna crush those pounds, lets do it 110% forever yay, now I'm bored, I need excitement, what's the next project to get excited about, oh yeah I was supposed to be losing weight.'  I just want this time to feel (and be)completely different than the failed times. When I see myself getting into my old ways, I want to screech the record player to a halt and get myself on the better trajectory to success.  I have vowed to not talk about calories to Aaron again unless it is something truly interesting or noteworthy.

Truth be told, I had to think kind of hard about things to work on for the week.  Looking back everything felt mostly smooth sailing.  Here is hoping week three is more of the same.  I have my brother's birthday celebration this week, so I need to plan ahead for that cake consumption.  Otherwise, I am looking forward to the 280's next Monday! :)

Weekly Weigh In #1

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week one is complete!  Don't they say the first part is always the hardest?  I haven't been dieting very long obviously, but a week is at least some momentum, right?  I feel like the pieces are moving into the right places if not all the way there just yet.  First, some successes.

I am proud of tracking my food all week!

8 day streak, baby!

I have an internal battle with myself about tracking my food and I have no idea why.  I have a small idea, actually.  I cook a bunch of stuff at home and I feel like it is such a hassle to try and piece together the ingredients and portions I ate out of the whole recipe.  This time around I decided that the priority was to track first and foremost, and it doesn't need to be an exact science.  For instance, last night I made banh mi sandwiches.  It is a crusty roll from the grocery store bin (no nutritional info), pork chops with hoisin sauce, pickled veggies, sriracha mayo.  It is delicious, but a lot of little pieces add up to the whole sandwich.  So instead, I just searched the database for a bahn mi that someone already entered, and boom, it was done.  It wasn't exactly accurate and I know that, but at this point the habit of tracking is more important to me than the exact calories I am getting in.  It is all a deficit compared to my pre-tracking days so I still count it as a win.  
If you are on myfitnesspal, add me as a friend here if you would like to connect!-

I stayed within the calories allotted by My Fitness Pal most days!

I tracked everything, and I was usually right on the money with the calories I was supposed to eat.  I went overboard on some candy eating and I went over like 300 calories on Saturday.  But if you take the 80/20 approach or the 'No S' diet approach, I did just fine.  I owe a shout out to my new drug Trulicity.  If I overeat or consume too much fat or sugar at once, I feel like garbage and it will be expelled from my body by any means necessary, post haste.  Therefore, I have been hyper-aware of portion sizes and am able to talk myself into healthier options much easier.  True Story, I ate out EVERY MEAL on Friday and stayed in the calorie range!  I shouldn't be proud of all that eating out, but I made good choices so I don't need to feel guilty about it at all.

I am challenging the notion that healthy food doesn't taste good.

One week ago, I was boo-hoo-ing to my friend about how healthy food just makes me depressed because it just isn't tasty.  I think of healthy food and I see a sea of tasteless vegetables, sad salads, and plain, tasteless, rubbery chicken.  That is 100% me being dramatic.  I went on a quest to actually find some okay looking healthy recipes and I went a little crazy on pinterest -  So putting this on my wishlist too, by the way.   Then on Friday, I had the most delicious and decadent tasting tomato basil soup from Piada.  Like so good it felt like a cheat meal and it totally was a light choice! Plenty of people eat healthy foods on a very regular basis, and aren't punishing their taste buds in the process.  The info is out there, I just wasn't trying to get out of my comfort zone.  Our fridge is stocked and I have a full week of new recipes to try.  So excited!

So the week went pretty well, all things considered, though not everything was sparkles and rainbows.

I didn't lose any weight.

Well I did, then I didn't.  I weigh myself every morning and one point I was down two pounds.  Then I ate out every meal on Friday (all the sodium) and ate too much candy on Saturday.  I have been tracking my blood sugar levels in the morning and they go remarkably hand in hand.  When I was down 2 pounds, my AM levels were the lowest all week.  So I know that in order to get the scale budging I need to stay in my calorie range and get less calories from carbs and sugar over all.  It is a new week, and we are going to try and get it done!

Planning ahead could have been better.

When I have a plan, things go smoothly and I do what I planned to do with little varying.  When a wrench gets thrown in, then I drop the plan like a hot potato.  It wasn't the biggest deal, but we were supposed to have banh mis on Saturday but I forgot the dang cilantro.  So I could have gone to the store, or I could have swapped it for another healthy meal from later in the week.  But instead I just instantly went to the frozen pizza.  I need to quit buying them, but I suppose it saves us from the calorie bomb of ordering take out?  

As I stated before, I am pretty happy with the progress this week despite the setbacks.  I am ready to hit it hard this week and have even more to be proud of next Monday!

mirror selfies are not in my wheelhouse of skills yet.

A Fresh Take on Goal Setting

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I don't know about you, but I desperately need a better way to go about goals.  I had a frustrating moment in a Red Lobster recently, which ultimately reinvigorated my desire to keep trying.  However I can't shake this voice inside telling me 'you've tried this all before, you've never been able to do it, maybe you just can't do it, so why bother'.

Which, yes, this is true.  None of my goals are anything new.  I've wanted to lose weight my entire life, I've wanted to be a CPA since 2010 or so, I've wanted to build a supportive blog community and business since even before then.  It is like, the things I think I should try, don't yield the results.  So do I not know the steps?  Do I not want to do the hard work?  Probably, both.

The other X factor is that I have such trouble staying focused.  I get excited about something and then overwhelm myself until I get burnt out and don't want to do it anymore.  That, or I just get lost in getting the day to day things of my life managed that I just forget that I am supposed to be working towards something.  I am in a constant battle against my instinct to keep the status quo.

Improving Self-Efficacy

Lack of self-efficacy is a major inhibitor of goal achievement.  If you truly believe you aren't going to be able to accomplish something, then you behave accordingly.  The profession of sports psychology was built upon this issue.

Such examples in my own life - I believe that I am not able to pass the CPA exam.  In turn, I exchange buying review programs and study hacks with the actual doing of the work.  I procrastinate and make excuses.  Who actually knows if I could have passed, but I am not going to pass behaving in such a way.  I believe I will never be able to totally do what it takes to be a healthy weight.  So I go ahead and have that donut, or choose fried chicken instead of grilled.  Thus I reinforce my belief.

So if you are a person with goals and are beat down by the fact that you never get them achieved, work on your self-efficacy.

After a quick google, some good ideas are to recall past times when you were successful, have a mentor, surround yourself with groups of people (virtual or in person) with your goal or who have reached your goal, and keep a positive mindset.

Re-word your Goal Language

I need to quit watching so much TV and study.  I need to get off the couch and exercise.  I need to stop ordering takeout and cook healthy foods at home.  I need to control my spending and save more money.  I need to stop looking at facebook all day and get some blog posts written.

The pattern here is the way I typically approach a goal.  I think - well, I am not exercising because I am tired and just want to veg out on the sofa.  I don't get blog posts done because I am using my time to be on social media all day.

The way we talk to ourselves is something to be noted.  I don't call myself a lazy slob, or an ugly cow, like I have bad self esteem.  I actually think my self-esteem is pretty decent, all things considered.  I do nag myself though.  (Mom, is that you inside my head? lol) When has nagging ever been effective?  With me, clearly, when nagged, I only want to dig my heels in further to show that I am the boss and you aren't going to tell me what to do.

So my idea is that I need to just reword what I want in a more positive way (because being positive= better self efficacy).  Even a step further, I want to acknowledge the true reasons I want something.  Losing weight is a specific goal, but vague in what it would mean for me.  I don't care about how I look in a bikini, I just want to be off diabetes medications and be able to have a child or five.  I want to get my CPA because I want the lifestyle that career boost can bring, I want to be respected in my job and seen as a smart person.  I don't need a CPA to have those things necessarily, but all the ducks are in a row and ready to go for CPA certification.

My re-worded goals:

1. I want to get off diabetes meds
2. I want to have a baby
3. I want a better job
4. I want to be out of debt
5. I want to have an active blog

No nagging statements, just declarations of what I am after.  It feels much lighter than before.

Encourage the good, ignore the bad

There is a book I read back when I was first married called What Shamu taught me about Life, Love and Marriage.  The premise is that this woman used the principals used to train Orca whales to modify behaviors in her husband.  I tried it a little with Aaron, and it does in fact work.  The idea is that when Shamu does good, he gets a fish.  When he does bad, he gets ignored.  We all have animal instincts within us and we all have that feeling of needing to be a part of the group.  At a time, it was dangerous to our survival if we weren't in the group.

In training a husband, if he takes his plate to the sink after dinner without being prompted, he gets thanks and praise.  If he cleans the bathroom, he gets a foot rub.  He will eventually associate positive things with the good deeds and want to keep that feeling going. A virtuous cycle, if you will.

If we can apply these sorts of tactics to ourselves, that would be a feat!  It might be tricky to 'train' yourself, but maybe you can encourage your partner or a close friend to be the Shamu trainer.  I can probably get Aaron to agree to give me a foot rub every time I make a healthy dinner.  Maybe tell me how foxy I am looking when I finish a workout?  I haven't quite nailed this down, but I think it is a clever strategy worth keeping in my wheelhouse.

Stay Positive

This is one of my bugaboos.  My default is sort of snarky and skeptical.  The basis of my whole sense of humor rides on my snarkiness.  I think overly positive people come off cheesy and insincere.  I equate my negativity with some sort of idea that 'I get it' and I'm 'keeping it real'.  Not to mention it infuriates me that as a lady in polite society, I am not allowed to be angry.  It makes people uncomfortable.  Ugh.  Society, man.  So see, me and positivity are not super well acquainted.  I feel my outlook and support towards others is always very positive, so I know I have the ability in there somewhere.

100 years ago, I worked at a daycare center as an assistant teacher.  This center was one of the more deluxe types catering to well-to-do suburban Dallas families.  We had fancy accreditations which had peculiar but likely positive effects on the children based on studies and such.  Some made sense, like labeling the classroom things in English and Spanish to encourage language skills.  Others were a little bonkers.

We couldn't tell the kids No, or any variation of the term. (Don't, Stop, Can't, etc.)

If a child hit another child, we had to say "we use our nice hands in the classroom"
If a child is shrieking like a banshee, we say "please use your inside voice"
If a child is running into traffic, we say "use your walking feet"

The point of the whole deal is that kids (and really, all people) hear the message, not the 'no' or 'don't' that comes along with the message.

Don't eat the cookie = you are thinking about the cookie
Have a nice salad = you think about the salad

Therefore I will attempt to talk to myself like one of those two year olds (who are teenagers by now, wow.) and stop using 'no'.  It might help to hang out with more positive people in hopes they rub off on me.

Staying Focused

Do you ever think you have a touch of the A.D.D.?  I am pretty sure I definitely do, based on family history and my own behaviors.  I don't think it is bad enough that I need medical interventions of any sort, but I do need to figure a way over the hurdle of staying focused.

The fun thing about having a weight loss goal is that many of the things we do in order to lose - such as exercise more frequently and eating less processed food will naturally help your focus.  It is another one of those virtuous cycles.  (We could put so much on autopilot if we would just get out of our own way, right?)

Here is what I have found helpful so far:

1. To-do lists.  I live and die by them if I need to get stuff done.  I refer to my goals, and then make a list for the day/week of what I want to accomplish and little by little stuff gets done and progress is made.

2. Reminders everywhere.  While I think about losing weight a lot of the time in a philosophical sense, when I go to eat food, I am not thinking about calories going in my body.  I will think about being a CPA as I am 4 episodes deep in an American Dad marathon.  So I need reminders.  When I see my phone, I have the My Fitness Pal app alerts.  When I get on facebook, I see the updates from all the weigh loss groups I am in.  When I go to the fridge, I see a photo of thinner me, when I thought I was fat but really had no idea.  When I am reminded of the goal, I will remember to exercise during The Bachelor instead of tweeting all the sassy things.

3. Accountability buddy.  Get one, or get a few.  I have teetered on the issue because sometimes people holding me accountable is annoying.  Especially when I have quit and just haven't told anyone yet.  Maybe instead of accountability, they can be cheerleader buddies.  When you lose two pounds, they are there to tell you how awesome you are, and when you overindulge on the weekend, they can just ignore you like I suggested a few paragraphs ago.  This post is coming full circle quite nicely.

4. Make it habit.  They say if you can do something for 14 days straight (or is it 21?) it will become a habit.  Habit = autopilot.  When something is habit then you don't need to remember it at all, which is amazing.  Digging deep for three weeks and using all your mental energy to get a habit started will reap benefits for a long time if not indefinitely.

Hopefully some of these thoughts can be helpful in the pursuit of our goals.  If you have any good tips that have helped you along your path, I'd love to read them in the comments!

New year, Old you.

Monday, January 2, 2017

It was mid December, and I was thinking about goals already.  December is usually the time I do a recap of my year, what went well, and what was a struggle.  Am I better off?  Did I accomplish much?  2016 felt like a remarkably bad year for many of us, and at that moment, mine felt remarkably bad too.  Personally, nothing different from every other year really happened.  I had the same job, same amount of bills, same number on the scale.  Maybe since nothing much changed over the whole year, it triggered a breakdown?

I say breakdown, but it was really just me crying into my cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster while dining with my mom that evening.  I proclaimed that I am not me without cereal.  (This is a 100% true story, sadly.)

In short, I am very frustrated.

I feel like I don't know what to do and I don't know how to change.

I keep wanting the same things year after year after year, and wind up empty handed in December.  I have been dwelling on the things I expressed that were moving me to tears at my Red Lobster emotionfest.  Maybe If I can break them down a little I can get to a root of something or find a workaround to my logical conclusion that I am destined to be fat and unhealthy.

I proclaimed that I don't want to live in a world where I can't have dessert, or eat out.  Hear me out, because I know that the #1 cliche in dietland is that you are allowed to treat yourself sometimes.  The host of a podcast I had been listening to for a while had lost over half her weight, which awesome.  There is always a 'but' though, this woman maintains her weight by basically eating how she diets with maybe an extra piece of fruit per day.  Oh, and she works out two hours a day, six days a week.  A reddit forum I was reading asked - how often do you indulge in desserts?  It was more common than not to hear the response - my birthday ONLY.  Not only do I crave a dessert daily, which I admit is too indulgent, but I get immense joy from baking.  It is my zen space, it challenges me, it is how I show love.  The reality of several weight loss success stories feels like the two can't coexist.  And it breaks my heart.
It is not lost on me that the fact that I feel an emotional wound from this just goes to show how dysfunctional my relationship with food can be.
I feel part of it is that I just love food in a major way and it is a large source of my happiness.  I love a good meal, I love a good restaurant, I love breaking bread with my friends and family, I love trying indulgent recipes, and I love the feeling of being full.  It is like a hug from the inside.  Emotional eater, much?  So if I have to change all that, it feels like I will be giving up a whole lot that makes me happy.  And don't I deserve to have some meager sense of happiness? Drama queen, much?

So I cried it out, and talked myself off the ledge I was on.  Many of my logical conclusions aren't based in reality, and I get that.  It will take me some time and work to rethink my ideas about food. Platitudes and cliches don't do it for me, I have an excuse or idea about all of them and how they are wrong for me, or just wrong in general.

It is funny how a mental crisis can bring you down, then you get actually health crisises and realize what an actual fool you really are.

Here is the story of how I couldn't catch a break over Christmas break. (tl,dr warning.)

December 20th.  I went to my endocrinologist appointment and my A1C was higher (?!) this time when I was on medication for blood sugar control, than last time when I was on NOTHING.  So what on earth is up with that, body?  She wants me to take a drug called Trulicity, which is an injection once a week but gnarly side effects.  I don't want to start this until after the holidays so I can indulge.  I cleaned out an old purse and found half a bottle of Invokana which I used to take until it started giving me recurring lady infections.  I figure, taking this for the week should be okay and keep my numbers down before I start the Trulicity.  Cool.

December 22nd.  I am pulling a tray of sugar cookies out of the oven, and I feel a pop(?) ((it wasn't exactly a pop, but I don't know how else to describe it)) and cue the back pain.  I have had back trouble in the past, but it was usually following something strenuous like lifting boxes all day when moving apartments.  I ice it, I take the ibuprofen and consider myself out for the day.

December 23rd.  I am still feeling the hurt, but I manage to complete a few confections by rolling around in an office chair.  We had a Christmas party to attend that evening and I could not go empty handed.  Well at the party, I held my adorable yet heavy baby cousin for some time, back to square one with the back injury on Christmas Eve.

December 24.  I am living on pain killers, don't bake a thing.  This is making me sad because I bought a huge amount of baking supplies that are going to go unused.  I am the baker, so I usually bake treats for any party I attend, my office, my mom's Christmas Eve gathering, and Christmas for my family in Austin.  I love it and am happy to do it when I am feeling good, but I just couldn't.  I was scared there wouldn't be enough treats for everyone.  (Fat people fears, lol)  We make it to church services and mom's Christmas Eve.  Of course this year we got everyone a huge crockpot, a grill for my mom, and basically everything huge sized and heavy we could imagine.  So I got Aaron to mostly lift the heavy stuff but alas.

December 25.  Christmas!  I am feeling a little better but still being cautious.  Aaron has come down with a killer cold so he opts to stay home and not go to Austin with us.  Aaron is highly allergic to everything in the air in Austin, so it would have made a bad situation worse I'm sure.  So that kind of stunk.  It was a nice time and I spent a good deal of the day sitting and resting.  There were plenty of treats :)

December 26.  Back is at about 75%, I catch Aaron's cold, and wake up to the the worst lady infection of my life.  Thanks, Invokana, you jerk.

December 27-30 Fighting the cold, back still isn't 100%, lady area is in repair.

December 30 Happy Birthday to me!  I have to go to the CVS minute clinic to get drops for pink eye, which came out of nowhere??  Also got meds for coughing, which hasn't relented.  Come home from b-day celebration, start the Trulicity shot.

Jan 1 Trulicity side effects in full force - violently, I mean violently barfing in the middle of the night.  Also coming out the back side.  Lord, help me!

Blah Blah
January 3rd - the cold is finally gone, my back is still kinda bugging me, and I am scared to eat much of anything which is great for my weight loss goals!

TL,DR - I am usually quite healthy and these last weeks have been nothing short of hell.  It puts it in perspective that maybe eating dessert every night isn't worth the extra pounds contributing to debilitating back pain.  Maybe eating badly is what causes these drug side effects to be nightmares?(yes.)  Maybe if I eat better and lost weight I wouldn't have to be on these medications which wreck your system and cost a lot of money. (yes.) And then maybe my immune system would be able to handle a little cold and not knock me on my butt for like 5 days.

When I think about my health, I think of those Looney Toons scenes where a train is heading full speed into a mountain with a tunnel cleverly painted on.  My attitude is that painted tunnel, but the reality is I am speeding towards disaster.  There is still time to hit the breaks or change tracks to avoid the crash.  After this wake up call of illness week, I feel a new motivation to change for the better.