Friday, July 31, 2009

Trudging on

There has been a little change this week in my weight, I measured and the results were good, and while that is great I feel like I'm just going through the motions when it comes to this lifestyle. I know that "they" say people learn from doing, so if I eat healthy and continue to exercise, the habits I'm making will become my life. I hope so.

It's not that things are horrible in my life, it's not that I'm not content with the way my body is changing, I think I'm just worn out. Honestly, I think I just want some added zest today. I want a little spice, I want a little newness. I get stuck in these ruts and then I feel blah.

Summer is coming to an end sooner than I want it to, I'm back at work after almost a week off, and I think newness has some appeal. So, for newness, any suggestions? And advice on how to get rid of this blah-ness today? I'll try anything once!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Empty excuses

I was so busy this week I didn't have time to work out. I just couldn't muster up the energy to get those crunches done. I was on the go all the time and so the only food I had time for was fast food, that's why I haven't lost any weight. My dog ate my resistance bands.

Yeah, I hate excuses. If you didn't work out, fine, whatever. But don't tell me that somewhere in the back of your head you didn't make the choice to not work out, to not decided to walk some extra steps around the house while doing chore, to not order something healthier or smaller at the drive through. And for goodness sake, keep those bands away from that dog!

As much as I hate excuses, why did I find myself using them so much this week?

I painted the kitchen and I'm having a Pampered Chef party this weekend and so I have to clean the whole house and I've been so tired so I really didn't have time. Sound like the excuses above? That's right, they are. Every "reason" is really just an empty excuse.

Empty excuses are like empty calories. They add up quickly but they really don't do anything meaningful for you. Every time I make an excuse for myself I just set myself up for more failure. I can mess up, I can make mistakes, but an excuse doesn't do anything. It just let's me, in my own little world in my head, have a good "reason" why I didn't do something to better my health.

I'm tired. Why do you think I'm tired? Probably because I'm not getting that energy kick workouts normally give me.

I didn't have time. Yeah, but I definitely had time to watch my hour-long favorite show. Who's to say I couldn't have picked up my dumbbells or sit on my ball and get some work done on some muscles, even if it was just during the commercials. Those commercials really add up.

I couldn't make healthy meals. There are healthier choices wherever you go for fast food or sit-down dining. Almost any place you goes has grilled chicken or salads, or both. Skip the mayonnaise and you have some tasty treats anywhere you can drive through or drive to.

Working out and being healthy. We each get to decide where this activity, where this life goal fits in our lives and in our schedules. There are things that may get in the way sometimes, but if I decide that working out is high on my priority list, it will get done. If I decide that eating to be healthy is important enough to be ahead of a lot of other things on my priority list then it will get done. When I decide that "I'm too tired" or "I have too much cleaning to do" I am choosing where I fit, when it comes to my health, on my list of priorities. When I choose to place myself lower on that list then I need to own up to it. Not make an excuse about why something didn't get done.

I hate empty excuses. Hopefully I can place me high enough again that I start to get healthier because I also know that to go back one month to where I was before I started this journey is not going to happen. I know I'll falter in this goal at some point in time just like most others. We fail, then we get back up and try again, maybe even harder this time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Overdosed and frustrated

Oh my. I just had a couple of days to remember, and not in such a good way. Have you ever heard of Pizza Ranch? I love Pizza Ranch. It's a midwest thing, I'm pretty sure, but it was first invented/built/made whatever you want to call it near my hometown. Anyway. My SO and I went down to Ames to visit my sister and brother-in-law. Sister, it turns out, was in my hometown, but we went out to eat with by BIL anyway, 'cuz we love him. The SO asked if we could go to Pizza Ranch. He knows how much I love it, it pretty much reminds me of home, and even though we had pizza a few days earlier, wanted to make me happy. So we went.

Keep in mind I know I'm changing my life, I know that I've been making better choices and trying to live a better life. Most days I'm doing pretty well. Not this past Sunday. I figured I would have salad, a little chicken and some pizza and I would be good on calories. Not.

I had my salad (with peas!), I had about half of a small piece of broasted chicken. Two tiny pieces of Italian sausage pizza, (seriously, little kid sized, they were from the buffet so they eke those suckers out) two cheese sticks and, to treat myself, a little butterscotch pudding. To treat myself, yeah right, like dousing my mouth in grease wasn't enough of a treat. Anyway, I digress. I though, ok, this is a pretty big meal right here, but I'll still be in my calorie range. Whatever. Oh, I forgot the little piece of cactus bread. Another treat.

That meal? My entire calories for the day. FOR THE DAY!

That wasn't bad enough. For supper, since I was in the middle of painting the kitchen was prime rib sandwiches. With fries. And garlic bread. 1,000 more calories. What was I thinking? I know I painted for over two hours, some serious calories burned there. I also know I painted the next day and stripped and sanded a little table, which is probably why at my weigh-in this week I didn't lose any weight but I didn't gain any either.

I just know I overdid it. I completely did. For some reason, when the prime sandwich hit I couldn't just eat half of it like last time, I devoured the whole thing. The same as yesterday, when the SO and I got fast food I ordered a sandwich and forgot to have them hold the mayo. Then did I scrape it off? No. Did I eat half the sandwhich? No. I ate the whole thing again. I thought I was to the point where my body and I were having a conversation about if I was full or not. Maybe I need to listen a little longer and a little harder.

So, the only thing I'm not upset about from my long weekend? My kitchen is painted.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
- Aldous Huxley

This was my quote of the day today on my google page. It's interesting because my SO and I were just talking about happiness the other day. He said that I seemed happier since I started doing Sparkpeople, and he hoped I kept it up.

Then I asked if he thought that happiness was a constant state of being. Some of you are probably going, 'of course you can be happy forever.' I say it's a lie. I believe happiness, complete and utter happiness can be experiences for moments, minutes and even a few days, but beyond that happiness either goes into the realm of crazy, or it's probably not really happiness.

I had a great argument with a professor about this one time when we were discussing "Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia." Basically Rasselas and his sister set out to find happiness somewhere in the world because they both know they're not happy at home. Eventually, sorry to give it away, they realize they were never more happy than when they were at home. The professor found my belief about happiness to be, as his exact words were "depressing."

I have things that make me happy. Succeeding makes me feel happy. Sometimes I have an overwhelming rush of happiness when I look at my SO and feel all the love I have for him (I know, completely cheesy). When I learn something new, I normally feel happiness. This happiness does not last. I have a feeling, a moment, and then I am back to me, back to my daily life. My life is not devoid of happiness. I am content in my life most days and in most things.

My point? I am happy about Sparkpeople. I know that this may fall to content, and I'm completely satisfied with that, but the SO was right. It has been making me happy for almost three weeks now. I hope it keeps that way, too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The feeling

I got hit by that feeling last night. The feeling that my food day, my calories all of it was going to go to crap. My day went pretty well. Nothing too out of place. I packed my fruits, got some leftovers (pasta and shrimp, oh yum) and went to work.

At work I remembered that we were going to have a cookout. Brats and burgers. I figured I would go down and help (I'm on the committee that threw it) and have my lunch earlier in the day. I knew that I wouldn't make it to 11 a.m. to eat (I got to work at 4 a.m.) and so it would pan out. Things went according to schedule until about 11 a.m.

I went down to the cookout and helped people with things. Oh the smell was overwhelming. I love the smell of grilling. I heard someone once say that smelling is free and you can't gain any weight from it, so I smelled and smelled and smelled. It hit the spot for a while. Then, three hours after I had eaten my portion-correct meal I smelled the brats again. Oh my, so good. And I had a brat. Just one. No hamburger, no ketchup, just a little bun, a brat and some mustard. But that little bun, brat and mustard packs a few calories. When I put it in the system and found out how many calories I was kind of bummed, but I thought, 'oh well, I'll just eat light tonight, that counts as a (heavy) afternoon snack and I'll still be ok.'

Moved on and went hom.

My SO called. He got a interview for a job and wanted to go out for a few beers after work to celebrate. I wanted to be there for him so I figured I'd just go and drink water. I'm normally the DD anyway so I do that a lot. I went and picked him up (my car was getting worked on) and we went out. As soon as we got there I knew I was going to have a beer. And I did. Just one, but it's 100 calories. Also that night I knew we were going to have mushroom Swiss burgers and fries and little pieces of cheesecake for dessert (one for me and one for the SO). This would have been fine if I had stayed in my calories, but I hadn't. It didn't matter that my bun was whole wheat or that we bake the fries and don't fry them. I was still going to go WAY over my calories. Too bad. I was still going to eat. So here I am, feeling bad, but knowing that I was still going to eat supper.

I could tell myself that I've been good all week but that doesn't cut it. I can tell myself that I've been good all day some days but that doesn't mean that I'll help myself to a 400 calorie ice-cream cone every night. This is the way I'm going to eat, it's my new life. I just can't treat myself to food.

So we went home, made supper. As supper was cooking I had a bite of my cheesecake. Then we ate. The miraculous thing was that halfway through my 4 oz. burger and my fries I was full. I looked down and as good as the burger was, I was done. It was a great burger too, my SO is a great cook, but my body was telling me that I'd had enough. I didn't have more dessert, I didn't even need to have a bite because I'd already had one.

I finally got that "I'm done" feeling that people talk about. I've been feeding my body right and giving it what it wants. Oh it wanted that burger and those fries, it probably would have let me finish that cheesecake if I had pushed it, but it told me I had had enough.

I feel like even though weight is coming off this is even more of a victory. Now I can just stop. I can have some little treat and stop. I can eat and even though the food is delicious, I can stop. I got that feeling, the feeling that I was finished, and I was. Victory was pretty sweet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It's never felt so good to lose. I think people on the biggest loser can say that all the time, but yesterday, and then again today, I'm on board with the losing.

Yesterday my blood-letting went decently well. Actually, they did one arm and suddenly the vein disappeared so they gently (as gently as could be) poked around for a little big. It wasn't happening. I was actually fine through the poking and prodding, but about a minute after the needle came out I had to lay down. I didn't know if I was going to be able to let them check my other arm for good veins after that (on my insistence, not theirs). But then the dizziness passed. They checked my other arm and found a good vein and bam, I was giving blood. It was fine, I was fine. Obviously it never feels good to get poked by a needle, but other than that pain, I was surprised at the fuss I had made. I was nervous, I don't think my nervousness was displaced after my first, and only other time of attempting to give blood.

Will I do it again? Yes. Will I do it in 56 days? Probably not.

The other part of my losing is that I weighed myself yesterday. Guess what the scale said? 199!!! I am officially out of the 200's. Now before you tell me that you lose a pound when you give blood, let me tell you that I weighed myself on Monday too and it said 199, but I was afraid that it really wasn't true and so I waited another day. I didn't weigh myself until the evening too, so hopefully my 199 is true and I can feel as happy as I want to feel about it. So I'm a loser, not quite a big loser, but I think I'm on my way there.

So I'm a loser. There, I said it. Come be a loser with me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Giving "life"

I'm giving blood today. I'm nervous. Did I mention I'm nervous? That my blood pressure is probably skyrocketing because I'm nervous? I know giving blood is wonderful and I know how many people that it helps, it's just, I don't do so well with it.

When I was seventeen a blood bus was coming to my school. I wanted to give blood SO badly. I took iron pills for a month because my iron count was one or two points lower than it was supposed to be. I am not the biggest fan of needles, but even that couldn't stop me. I wanted to give blood, to help someone. I also wanted to find out my blood type.

Anyway, the big day came. I went on the bus, saw the people with slowly-filling-with-red bags and got a little light headed. I got even more light headed when the technician stuck a huge needle in my arm. Ok. It wasn't that huge, it was just a little bigger than I was expecting, but it didn't make me feel better. I sat there looking out of the window for the sixteen minutes I was allotted to fill my own red bag.

I went over my limit.

Do you know what happens when you can't fill that little bag in sixteen minutes? They have to throw it away. They can't use it because it's not enough and they can't let you sit there longer because the blood starts to clot or something. So I was done, I had gone through all of that and I couldn't even help someone because they were going to throw my blood away. I got up to go. I was still light headed. Let's just say they made me sit down on the bus some more before they'd let me leave.

I wouldn't say I was traumatized by the event, but I do joke that that's why I got three tattoos and one redone over the next five years, so I wouldn't have to give blood or make a different excuse about why I wouldn't give blood. Did you know that you can't give blood within a year of getting a tattoo? I thought about getting another one yesterday. And isn't it ironic that the thought of getting a tattoo doesn't bother me, or the needles that puncture your skin then. But the thought of giving blood makes me weak in the knees, and not in a good way.

Now what does this all have to do with health and weight loss? Well, a lot. For one thing I have to take it easy for a few hours after I give blood. I've put it off until the end of my day at work because if I get sick I don't want to leave my co-workers in the lurch. But I might not get my workout in and that bothered me. It made me realize once again how dedicated I am to this right now. Also, my blood (if I can fill the frickin' bag this time) might help someone else live. I really might "give life" as they say, and that though inspires me just as much as people on here inspire me to continue reaching for my weight loss goals.

So I'll let you know how the blood-letting went tomorrow, or tonight if I'm feeling really ambitious. But please, keep striving for your goals. Please keep being inspired by people and things and places in your life. Never give up. You never know what obstacles, big or small, you'll be willing to overcome tomorrow by overcoming one today.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Over a hurdle

So last night the desire for bits of sugar wrapped in sugar and more sugar was overwhelming, but I didn't have any. I made it through work, came home and, since there are few snacks like that now in the house, made it to bed.

I think mostly it was because I had the opportunity to tell people about it, to write down what I was feeling instead of just surrounding myself in a sugary haze. People here responded immediately and gave me little pushes to keep away from the things that helped bring me to obesity.

So thank you.

Here's to another day, here's to facing our obstacles and knowing when to run away from them. Here's to health.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nuggets of sugary goodness

I am at work. It's 8:30, and I'm craving mini vanilla cookies from the vending machine downstairs. I do have to admit, they are a huge weakness for me, especially on a Saturday night because I've treated myself to them time and time again. The problem? I'm at my calorie limit for the day. The other problem? A serving size is nine itty-bitty cookies (I think three servings in a bag) and the calories, not so itty-bitt, and I'm never able to just eat one serving of those cookies. Ever.

I've been good this week, I've exercised almost every day, way more than I scheduled for myself. I want to make the excuse so badly that I deserve this treat, that I should just go over my limit and deal with it. That this treat is necessary.

I'm such a liar.

If you look at the food I ate this week you'll see that, although I stayed within my calories I had plenty of treats. I think I had at least two times this week where I had part of a cinnamon roll. I know, empty calories, but I fit it into my calories. Although I know it wasn't great and it definitely brought my food fat count up, I could justify the treat because I cut something else out to put it in.

So I'm writing to dissuade myself. I'm distracting my mind for ten minutes and remember why I don't want those delectable evil vanilla cookie treats. Why don't I want them? I know they won't taste nearly as good as I want them to. I know that the watermelon I have at home tasted oh so melt-in-my-mouth good that I couldn't have wanted absolutely anything else at that minute. I know that I am at my calorie limit. I know that there is no way that I need those cookies. There is no needing and I'll just be disappointed. So, hopefully I'm done with the cookies.

I'll let you know tomorrow how my battle ended up.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The path to obesity

How did I get this way? Isn't that a question any person who is overweight, or struggling with some kind of addiction asks herself (or himself)? I sure did. About a year ago when I saw a picture of myself it was the thought that ran through my mind. 'Who was that fat person holding my niece?' It was me.

I thought about it again when we went to Virginia and I saw pictures, but I shrugged it aside. I had started jogging and could run the whole two miles on my route, things would change. I worked out in Virginia on vacation, I worked out when we came home, I worked out when we went to visit my family. I didn't necessarily enjoy running, but I enjoyed how I felt when I accomplished my whole run. I felt better, healthier, like I was really DOING something.

Then cold weather came, Thanksgiving rolled around and I stopped. I didn't like working out in the freezing weather, I never have. Then January rolled around and I sprained my ankle pretty badly at a wedding. I had to be on crutches for a week and an air cast splint thing for another two weeks and then, whenever I did extra activity, my ankle hurt and I just told myself it was better if I stayed off it. I babied myself, I gave myself excuses and I was my own worst enemy.

And then I weighed 205 lbs. I kept telling myself that it was okay as long as I weight less than 200 lbs. Like that much weight for my height wasn't such a bad thing. Liar.

Then 205 hit. I cried (I cry a lot) and I started a change. A change here, a change for my life, a change for me. And I cried again.

But it didn't just start a year ago. I didn't weight 155 a year ago and suddenly gained 50 lbs. It started when I wasn't healthy ten years ago.

The path to obesity doesn't ever happen overnight. We might wake up one morning and be saddened, disgusted or surprised by what we see in the mirror but it never is just *bam* you're fat.

I've been making bad choices about food and exercise for a long time now. I didn't play sports in high school or college and I didn't work out in any other way other than gym class but, even though I very slowly gained weight, it didn't matter. Everybody got a little bigger in high school as we grew into our bodies and I just ignored it.

My path came with no exercise other than walking to class and standing at work, and eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. Even when I started running last year I didn't change what I ate. I probably ate more because I told myself that I was working it off anyway when I ran. Who works off 1,000 calories from a McDonald's meal by running for 30 minutes? Not me. I must have thought I was the calorie burning version of the bionic woman.

In the last four years, it's gotten worse, but my path here has been a long one. That's why I'm so surprised that every day when I work out I think, 'Why haven't I lost more weight?' 'What am I doing wrong?' I have to remind myself that my path to obesity took ten years. It's not going to all come of in two weeks. I made little mistakes over that decade that added up to 50 lbs of weight, but I can make little improvements now that will help me lose it. In only a year too if I stick it out!

My path may be long, it may not be easy, but I keep reminding myself, again and again, that there's a sign on the road, every day there's a sign and it says "Reduction Ahead" and I just have to keep looking for it around every curve.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Feeling welcome

It's amazing the welcome atmosphere that exists on I wrote on a few message boards, just to introduce myself and say 'hey' and the response has been amazing! They say that with a community you lose more weight and keep it off, and with the response I've gotten, and the response I've seen on some other people's Spark pages I just think this site is outstanding.

One of the things I'm always afraid of is telling people that I'm trying to lose weight. I feel like as soon as I tell someone then I fall off the wagon and can't find my way back on. If I'm exercising and doing pretty well for a few weeks, when I tell someone I just can't find the motivation to go.

Well, this time is a little different. For the last week+ I want to work out partially because I know it's what I need to do to keep losing weight, but partially because I get to fill out my cardio or strength training box and see my spark points add up! The points are a motivational tool that I never knew I would fall in love with.

I love seeing my cardio time add up and become more than I thought it would. I love seeing the people reaching out to eachother and I love that I have more of this journey ahead of me. Thanks to all in my community. You're great motivation and I yearn for more.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I cried

Yesterday I talked about how I was disappointed that in almost a week I had only lost one pound. Well today I have to burn my words. I just stepped on my wii to do some of the exercises on it and I weigh 201. I actually just looked at it, looked at that number and tears came to my eyes.

I have lost four pounds in just over one week. This means that if I keep it up, next week I well be below 200 lbs. Somewhere I never hope to be again.

We all have goals, we all have points that we want to pass. Sure, I hope to lose 50 lbs by my birthday next year. But my first goal is to step on the scale and weigh less than 200 lbs. I never wanted to be above 200 lbs. Heck, I never wanted to be above 170 lbs. And next week, if I continue the hard work that I've been doing I will be. That's why I cried. Because today, even though my thighs burn from the lunges I did yesterday, even though I was craving a cinnamon roll yesterday and turned it down even though I REALLY wanted it, today I am closer toward my first goal.

As of right now I didn't even start the exercises on the wii. I wanted to sit down and write, immediately, about how this exact moment made me feel.

It made me feel proud of myself.
It made me feel like I'm heading in the right direction.
It made skipping out on the cinnamon roll COMPLETELY worth it.
It made me feel like I can keep going.
It made me happy, because I know that now I really am moving toward being healthy, I'm not just playing at it.

As I say this I have mini blueberry pies in the oven to bring to work tomorrow for my birthday treat. So I hope that this can push me through my day. That instead of possibly gorging on five of them later maybe I'll let myself have half of one (one whole one probably equals a piece of pie). This is part of my motivation, part of my sense of self. That blueberry pie is not going to make me nearly as happy as seeing those four pounds gone did. I will enjoy half of one, because I know I'm not a poor baker and it is something I love to do. But I know that it's not all of me or all I can do.

I feel like I'm becoming me again.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Holiday and Birthday down

The weekend has passed and I've lost an entire pound!

I'm trying to be excited about this, but it's really hard. I should look at it in terms of people when they start a business. Some people are so excited by that first dollar that they frame it and never spend it. Well, my first pound is spent and I wish I could spend forty-nine more today. But it is my first pound. My first pound on my way to many more. I have to keep telling myself, one is already down! In slightly less than one week I already lost a pound. That is something to be proud of.

I worked out, I ate ok, and I still lost a pound. I wasn't eating as well as I could be. I definitely had some liquid calories (aka beer) that added up. It's amazing that two beers and cranberry and vodka cocktails really add up. Luckily I had left some calories just for that purpose, to be drank, on the day that I turned 26, but still it's a kick in the pants.

Luckily I won't have to cut calories to fit in a beer here or there very often. I'm not a hard drinker and when I do drink it's only a couple. But two hundred calories is still two hundred calories! I know I had a few more than usual because a) I wasn't driving home, b) it was my birthday and c) it was the July 4, Independence day, my favorite holiday!

So I went right back at it this morning. Got on that stair stepper and as of three o'clock this afternoon I feel pretty great. Another week, another pound. That's my mantra for today.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Reduction Ahead

To begin. It's never easy to begin to change your life, to change part of what and who you feel you are. I have good intentions, I have good moments and days and weeks, and then I just stop. I don't get mad at myself for overeating one day or missing a workout, it just happens that I miss one workout, two workouts, and then it's a week between workouts and I just fall out of routine. Then a month passes and I'm all, "What am I doing?" and I hop back into something or another and try to keep on changing.

I overeat, I don't work out, and I have gained 45 lbs. in the last five years. 45 LBS! How did I let this happen? I don't recognize the person I see in the mirror anymore. My face is pretty much the same, but then I look at the stomach and arms and legs and think, "When did this happen to me?" When did the healthy person I knew become this?

We all have pictures in our head of what we look like. When I see myself in my head I see the person I was at 21. Not skinny but definitely not fat. I thought I was fat, but what did I know? My stomach is pretty flat. When I lay down on the floor on my back it concaves instead of becoming merely flat like it does now. I can do what I want whenever I want to do it. there is definition in my stomach and my legs, while not toned, definitely look fine in some shorts. This is the person I see. Basically the same person I see in my senior pictures four years earlier. This is the person I believe I am.

Now, the mirror tells me a different story. I have round humps that, if my pants ride too low, stick out over my sides. Pants that I had taken in when I was 21 and in that gym class now have been let out again and are stretched to the limit. I can feel the material on the thighs pull against my legs when I sit down. My face is rounder, softer. My arms jiggle, my boobs don't fit in my bras anymore - the bras I spent too much money for at Victoria's Secret and so I refuse to go buy more, but they don't fit the same anymore.

Most of what has changed happens when I see the mirror or when I try on new clothes. I don't like it. I really don't like what I see, what I feel and how I feel about myself because of some pounds of flesh that I put on myself in the first place.

When I'm with friends and in a crowd of people I'm talking and laughing and I forget that I'm overweight, forget that I'm uncomfortable with myself and I shine. People don't see my fat, they see my spirit and they warm to it. Then I remember and I shut down. I remember that I'm a large girl. A girl who, as an acquaintance once said to George, "Yeah, Jessica's just kind of fat." I thought of a great comeback later. I could tell him, "Well, you're an idiot and you'll always be an idiot. At least I can change if I'm fat or not."

That's the point, I can change, I can be healthier and make me proud of myself. I don't need to be the larger girl, I can be the girl I see in the mirror that makes me smile at myself. I can see a sign that says "Reduction Ahead" and follow it.