Well, hello again

It’s been a while since I wrote here.  I’ve been pretty busy elsewhere for the past nearly two years. (Yikes!)

So updates.

I completed the major exhibits project at work last May (2013) that I had been working on for nearly two years.

I completed my MA of History degree in May also.

And I finally got my ass in gear two days before turning 40 and joined Weight Watchers for accountability and support.  Since October 8, 2013 I have lost 48.6 lbs.  Tomorrow, I hope to log an additional 1.4 gone and make it an even 50 lbs.   I’m not even half-way to my ultimate goal, but I’m proud of how far I have come.  This is a pivotal point in my progress–in the past this is where I have fallen off track and started gaining it all back.  I’m averaging around 2.7 lbs per week right now and if I can maintain that average that will put me over 110 lbs gone and at my wedding weight by the time we head to my husband’s 20 year class reunion this summer.  And it would put me at about 138 lbs gone by the time my sister-in-law’s wedding rolls around in early October–and I will be at my lightest weight in my entire adult life–firmly in Onederland.  But even if I don’t maintain those numbers, it’s okay.  I fully expect to keep up the average of around 10 lbs per month and that is still significant progress.

Right now, I’m exercising a minimum of 2-3 times a week but aiming for 4-5 times each week.  This month, I started taking Karate with my three kids.   I’m loving that experience.  It’s something I have always wanted to try and I’ve always thought I was too fat to try it.  I’m not letting that stop me now.  There are things I can’t do right now, but there is plenty I can do and I’m loving my instructor’s encouragement and occasional surprise when I successfully catch on to something quicker than he anticipated.

I finally feel focused and I’m proud of the steady progress I am making towards my health and weight-loss goals.

I’ve been asked, what will make this time any different then all the other times that I have yo-yo-ed when I hit times of stress.  This time, I have cleared my schedule of any outside commitments besides work and my family, unless it is something that will get me closer to my goals (ie. Karate).  No more PTA.  No other volunteer commitments.  It’s time I take care of myself, because if I don’t, no one else will.

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Here we go again…

I seriously need to get to the root of my consistency problems. I start out strong and I go along doing really well for several weeks and then I just stall. I slip back into old habits and eating the unhealthy foods simply because its “easier”.

Why?

Some say that its good that I never give up, I always come back–but in the meantime I’ve backpedaled on all my progress and its like starting over–over and over and over again.

Why do I do that?

Some would say its because I don’t value myself enough. I’m not sure if that’s it or not. Maybe its true. Maybe I don’t. How do I fix that?

This summer I’m headed back to grad school to finally finish my thesis and my MA of History. I have until next Spring to get it all done. So if I can get readmitted to graduate school in time I’ll take 2 credit hours this summer, 2 this fall and 2 in the spring. On the positive side of all this I’ll gain access to the athletic training facillities at the university I go to. I may be joining a friend’s “Physical Training” group too.

Putting my goals and needs first will have to happen for me to complete this academic goal. Maybe finally finishing this degree will help me finish other goals too?

Cost of eating healthy

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Eating healthy can cost a lot when you are on a tight budget. Tonight I loaded the cart with produce, some frozen veggies, whole wheat bread, greek yogurt, and sugar free cool whip (for my fruit salad–yummy, yummy!) and it cost me a little over $50.

That’s a lot of money for our family. It’snot easy to keep the cupboards stocked with healthy options when you have a family of five including my two fruit/veggie-loving-boys. But we do the best we can and stock up when we can, and pray that the lean times when the cupboards are bare of healthy options are few and far between.

Now, I’m headed to the kitchen to make myself a big fruit salad. (yummy, yummy!)

Baby Steps

Last last summer, I decided that I absolutely had to begin looking at this journey in terms of baby steps.  I’ve long known this is the key, but making it happen hasn’t been as easy as KNOWING what to do.  If it were, I would have reached my goal seven years ago.

So late last August, I finally took the first of several baby steps.  This was a big one.  I gave up diet coke–and all other soda-type beverages.  No more chemical drinks.  Now, I only drink water or flavored waters or occasionally a light/diet lemonade.  For 30 weeks I have been diet coke free.  You would think the craving would be totally eradicated, but it’s not.  Just this past week, while my family was on vacation for spring break I found myself craving a diet coke in the worst way.  And in the past, if I were to give in to temptation it would have been while traveling.  I have survived two major trips now and not broken.  Last November my husband finally took me to Las Vegas for the first time (he’s been many times) and I didn’t drink any soda/diet soda there either.

I feel like this is major progress for me.  And now it’s time to take the next baby step in this process.  No more processed carbs.  Specifically (and especially) I will stear clear of any kind of restaurant bread/grain/chips.  If I can give up diet coke (a serious addiction for me that it has taken multiple attempts to break loose from) I can and will give up processed carbs.  The only exception will be whole grains when I know for certain what the nutrition content is in them.

So, yesterday at Buffalo wild wings I had a grilled chicken salad for lunch and told them to go light (half of what they usually do) on the cheese.  Then at dinner the husband wanted to eat out at a local italian place for “kids night” and our daughter’s birthday dinner so she could get a free dessert.  I didn’t eat any of the bread and herbed oil.  I swear I could taste it though.  That was so hard to ignore.  I ordered the spinach and grilled chicken salad which came with feta cheese, strawberry slices, a few pecan crumbles and a light strawberry vinagrette.  However, I suffered a moment of weakness when I caved in to have a couple of bites of my daughter’s cheesecake but I’m still counting it a win.

My husband loves to eat out–and this is probably one of the biggest–if not THE biggest–obsticle I face in this process of trying to lose weight and get healthy.  Once again, today at lunch, the husband wanted to go to a local burger joint. I told him no thanks, because I knew there were NO good choices to be made at that place.  Shredded iceburg lettuce drenched in ranch dressing is not a good salad.  So he changed his selection to Wendy’s because he knew that was one of the few places I can get what I need and I got my full sized apple pecan chicken salad that I so love.  I can’t wait until strawberries are in season and they bring back the berry salad at wendy’s as well as the one at Panera Bread!

I’ve always loved bread to the point of claiming a carb-addiction.  But I was seriously addicted to diet coke too–so, I figure that if I can give up soda/diet coke for the past 30 weeks, surely I can give up processed carbs. The hardest part is the detox.  Hopefully, giving up processed carbs will be what does the trick and boosts my weightloss into gear and keeps me from backsliding or staying in the same 5-10 pound range I have been in for the past 4-5 months (285-295).  The cut down on carbs will also help me maintain blood sugar levels and head off that diabetic diagnosis I’ve been tumbling towards for a while–and hopefully it will translate to my husband’s eating habits as well, because he’s been backsliding way too much in the past year and his numbers are out of control.

I know that the carbs (specifically processed/refined!) are the key here–as well as making a stronger effort to make 30-60 minutes of real cardio and strength training a daily habit.  My kids are the motivation I need to make that daily appointment.  They need the activity just as much as I do and we are working together to make that happen.

Dear Me (In 10 Weeks)

August 19, 2011

Dear Me,

I hope you made the most of this summer challenge and the support from your Pink Teammates and the resources on Sparkpeople.  I hope you committed to long lasting change and built a firm foundation for PERMANENT healthy habits.

Please look back at the progress (or lack of progress) you made in the past 10 weeks.  Did you do everything you could to get further down the road to a healthier you this summer?  If you’ve experienced success this summer (and dang it–you better have!) it’s because you put in the effort.  You made more healthy choices than unhealthy choices.  You found ways to compromise without giving into the all or nothing mentality.  You were active this summer.  Maybe you walked, maybe you swam, maybe you worked out indoors where it was cool–but one way or another you found ways to be active.

Now don’t go back to those old habits.

If you didn’t make progress, I guarantee it was because you allowed obsticles to derail you and turned to food instead of healthier  ways of dealing with challenges or stress.

Your 10 week goal was to lose at least 30 lbs.  You are capable of more, of course, but I’m trying to be reasonable here and avoid that “all or nothing mentality” I’ve harped on so much.  If you lost 30 lbs then you should be feeling much more energized and experiencing less pain.

Do your feet still hurt?  If they do, give it another 30 lbs and if they still do, it’s time to visit the doctor.

Thirty pounds gone will put you firmly under 300–hopefully into the 270s or lower if you did more.  What’s your next goal? Stick with your team and work with Sparkpeople,  you know it works!  Don’t sabotage yourself by turning back to your old habits.

The kids begin school today, if you haven’t yet, sit down and examine your goals and make a plan to continue working towards them–not just your health goals, but also your academic goals.  It’s past time to get that thesis finished!

Finish what you started.  You deserve the success.  And yes, the change that it will bring to your life can be intimidating and definitely firmly in the world of the unknown–but embrace your sense of adventure and don’t look back except to remember where you never want to return again.

Remember to “Never give up! Never surrender!”

A healthy start makes a difference, right?

Up and at em. Lord help me.  I’m so sore, my head aches.

I know that the soreness and headaches would go away if I lost the weight.  I don’t need a sleep study to know I’m not getting enough oxygen during the night.  I can’t sleep on my stomach or my back and I can only sleep on my side–and usually on my right. 

My left side hurts too much after about 30 minutes of laying on it.  I wrenched my shoulder this summer falling on a bridge in Colorado.   And after having all this weight on one side most of the night, it hurts too. 

There are so many times in the night when I wake up because I stopped breathing.  That shit has got to stop.

Right now I wake up so sore that I can’t even begin to think about exercising first thing in the morning. 

My tailbone hurts.  Why the hell does my tailbone hurt?

Anyway, all that has little to do with the title of this post. 

I’m up. I made the kids their lunches and in the process made mine too.  I’ve got a nice spring mix/baby spinach salad with grape tomatoes and baby carrots topped with just 5 or 6 croutons and some watered down Fat Free Ranch Dressing.  I’ve got a turkey sandwhich on 100% whole wheat with fat free miracle whip.  I even packed snacks of a small granny smith apple and some light yoplait yogurt in case I get hungry in the morning or afternoon.

I ate my breakfakst–a banana and 1 cup of fiber one honey clusters cereal with a cup of skim milk.  I’m nearly finished with my 1st 32 oz bottle of water of the day.  I’m working on getting back to drinking at least 4 of those a day (if not more).

Yesterday, I had the same breakfast and only had time to snarf down the sandwhich for lunch.  Came home starving and had way too large a helping of spaghetti and meat sauce and lord help me FOUR slices of garlic toast.  I LOVE my husband’s garlic toast. It’s a definite weakness.

Then, later in the evening, I polished off the cookie dough ice cream.  Another weakness.  But i’ts out of the house now and I’m not bringing it back–not even for my birthday in 11 days. 

I didn’t drink any diet coke yesterday–that was a masterful exhibition of will power.  I WANTED that damn diet coke.  I drove by Sonic twice during the day while running errands and I did not swing in for a Route 44 Diet Coke, telling myself each time over and over again “YOU DO NOT NEED THAT DIET COKE. You may WANT it. But you do not NEED it.  My husband recently referred to our diet pop drinking as poison.  He’s right.  It’s so bad for us. And I’m trying to think of it that way whenever I think of it at all.

This morning I weighed in at 295.something.   That’s down from the 298.8 I popped on Monday and 297.3 yesterday.  It’s water weight beging shed as my body figures out I’m not going to deprive it of what it needs most–and I will take it as a good start.  It means that just the small changes I’ve made in the last three days are making a difference.

I’m working myself back up to exercise.  Right now I just don’t have the energy–but that should begin changing as I continue to give my body the healthy fuel it needs.  Then I’ll start working that back into the routine.  But for now, I’ll concentrate on making the changes to my diet stick and changing my thinking about the process.  I’ve been doing this off and on for years–you’d think I’d have that part mastered too.  But clearly all the times “off” indicate that I have far from mastered changing my thinking.  I can change my eating, but if I don’t change my thinking about all of it and actively work on nurturing that attitude everyday, then it’s all lost the next time I hit a wall of stress.   I’ll just go back to all my old bad habits, and I don’t want to do that anymore.  I never want to see 295 again.  I refuse to see 300 or higher again, and its time I refuse to see each number I hit on the way down to my healthy weight again too.

Making time for myself

For the last five months I’ve barely had time to come up for air let alone take care of myself.  I’ve continued to gain weight back. I’m at 298 again.  UGH.  This cycle has to stop.  I’m putting the brakes on now

I have to make time for myself. Time to eat right and exercise.  Time to plan meals and spend time with my family. Time to reflect and journal my progress and challenges. . . . Time to finish my thesis. 

I don’t get paid enough to allow my job to consume my life.  I’m going to start enforcing that magic word, “no.”  I started by dropping all of my children’s extra-curriculars except swimming–and I kept that for their health and mine.  We need an activity that will bring regular exercise into our lives and swimming is one way to do it.  They can take swim lessons (the oldest will be joining the swim team in November after this last round of swim lessons) and I can exercise in the cardio room or do some deep water aerobics.

I dropped Girl Scouts and my leadership position there. The thought of starting another year with that responsibility had me breaking out and on the verge of an anxiety attack.

Yes, the remainder of this year is still going to be  pretty busy, but enough is enough.  The next major event at work is three weeks away and I have a couple of quarterly reports, a final grant report, and a newsletter to produce.  There are mutliple mini-events associated with the overall big event that have to be carried off, but there is no reason why I can’t make time for myself to plan my meals and exercise.  And time to journal my ups and downs and hopefully some progress too.  I’m supposed to be keeping this blog for myself and to help me reach my goals.  I must start using it that way.

I refuse to take on anymore projects this year and I already have next year mapped out according to priorities as well. I am not superwoman.  I cannot do it all.  I can do my job and take care of myself–I’m not going to kill myself doing my job anymore–I want to keep loving it, and I’m afraid that love is in jeopardy if I don’t make some changes.  And as I’ve said, I don’t get paid enough to do this job as it is–Love has to justify the pay I get, without that love, it’s seriously not worth it anymore.  I could substitute in the local schools, have the same basic amount of pay, more freedom and a hell of lot less responsibiltiy.

I’m sick of falling off that damn wagon.  I want to get back on and stay there for the remainder of my journey.  I’ve got to quit making it so dang hard on myself.

Rough Month and Half

I haven’t checked in on sparkpeople–or done much of anything else regarding my health–for almost two months now. It’s been a rough couple of months.

My father-in-law passed away suddenly. He had just turned 62 year old.

Six years ago, my husband and I passed through the hell of the worst week of my life when my dad died suddenly. Senselessly.

We went through it again with his dad’s death. The cause of death has finally come back–it was something that could have been taken care of if he had only seen a doctor. Something that could have been managed with medication. But my father-in-law was too afraid of going to the doctor, of being told he’d have to take pills, or have an operation. He was afraid of growing old. He was a very unhappy man.

It’s been rough on my husband and my in-laws.

In the course of this ordeal we found out that diabetes runs in my husband’s father’s family. I have suspected for about a year now that he was diabetic. Turns out he had even said he probably was, but refused to go to the doctor and get checked out. He refused to change his eating habits too. It’s why he was always so grouchy and didn’t feel good all the time. His blood sugar had to have been constantly spiking and dropping with the way he ate.

It’s stupid really. If he had just been willing to make some changes in his lifestyle–like my husband has–he would have felt better, and probably been a happier man. And his health would have improved as well. Maybe if he’d been willing to make those changes he would have also managed to take better care of his heart as well.

Ah, the “maybes” and “if onlys” get you every time. Just like when my dad died, we are going through them again–only with the hard earned lessons learned from my own father’s death. By the way, in case its not totally obvious, this has brought back to the surface many of the issues I faced with my dad’s passing six years ago. The grief isn’t as raw, but it’s there, and I’m hurting for my husband and his sisters (one of whom has been my best friend since 9th grade) and his mother.

As I’ve always done, I’ve gone off the rails with my eating. I haven’t been tracking my food. I haven’t been making an effort to eat homemade meals. I have been drinking diet coke to get me through the day. I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep–because my husband has been having difficulty sleeping–so I’m up late too. Then I am up to take the kids to school and get ready for work while he sleeps in.

That means no energy to exercise. No focus to eat right.

I’ve managed to stay in the 280s. So at least I haven’t gained all of the weight back that I’ve lost this year. But here I am again, looking for the bright side, saying “at least I didn’t” do whatever it is that I didn’t do THIS time. I need to stop doing it all. Period. I need to find a way to manage stress and emotions and lack of sleep without giving up on taking care of myself.

The other morning I had a fasting blood sugar of 127. That puts me firmly in the diabetic range. Forget pre-diabetes. I’m diabetic. No denying it anymore.

Damn it.

I know that lack of sleep and stress affect the insulin levels too, so maybe that’s part of the problem with where my blood sugar is–but I know it’s also the food choices. I’ve made a few too many trips to McDonalds for breakfast the past month and half. I’ve also gotten into the bad habit of picking up icecream or frozen custard in the middle of the afternoon whenever I’m out running errands. I’m self-medicating with food again. WHY DO I DO THAT? I know that I shouldn’t. I know that I’m doing it when I do it. I know that my triggers are stress and fatigue and diet coke.

Yet, here I am again. When do I conquer this? When do I reach the point where I have the will power, the strength, the determination, the resolve or whatever it is that it takes–that says, “No. I’m done. I won’t self-medicate anymore. I won’t abuse myself anymore. I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve good health and I’m going to make sure I get it–no matter what.” And then DO it?

When does that happen for me? What’s it going to take?

Week 11: The scale moves downward

I joined the local YMCA’s weightloss “competition” this week. I did their version of the “biggest loser” last year and quit part way through out of disappointment in the organization and what the program was offering–or not offering. I wasn’t going to join again this year, but some friends joined and said it was much better and invited me to join their team.

So I decided to give it another chance. So far, it does seem to be better run with more support than was offered last year.

I weighed in and of course the YMCA scale measures me nearly ten pounds higher than the one at home does–some of which probably has to do with the clothes and shoes I was wearing and the time of day I weighed in.

I got back on track this week, really stuck to my plan despite hormonal challenges, until Friday. Friday I tried to choose a healthy lunch by getting a salad–but because it was a fast food salad it was higher in calories and sodium then one at home would have been. Then we ate at the Hideaway for dinner.

For those unfamiliar with Stillwater, the Hideaway is a local pizza place that has been in operation since 1957. It’s very popular and we very rarely go there as its slightly higher priced than the chains. But the pizza is sooo good.

So there was that–I definitely ate more pizza and garlic bread than I should have, BUT, I didn’t have any diet soda–I drank water. That’s huge for me. I’m continuing to swear off diet soda and stick with water only. I refuse to drink my calories and the diet soda leads to cravings for sweets and refined carbs that make it extremely difficult for me to exert self-control and will-power. I won’t go back down that road.

Yesterday, I did well until dinner when we had KFC. I should have gone ahead and had a few pieces grilled, but I didn’t and I also had the potato wedges and two and a half biscuits. Lord, how I love biscuits. We also had corn on the cob–which I love and we made a pan of green beans here at home to go along with it all.

So, I’m paying for Friday and Saturday on the scale with a slightly smaller loss than I would have logged had those choices been healthier. Oh, and I forgot to mention the cake. We bought one of the cakes that was auctioned at the Boy Scouts Blue and Gold banquet earlier this week and instead of just letting the kids have a piece and toss the rest, I had several pieces Friday and Saturday. I clearly still have a long ways to go when it comes to these kinds of things.

All in all, I’m lucky to be logging a 1.3 lb loss for this week–which is totally due to the exercise I worked in as well as the really great days I had the remainder of the week with my nutrition.

This coming week, I will build upon the progress I made this week and hopefully I’ll double the loss I had this past week.

Week 10: I’m going to call it maintaining

Last week when I weighed in I was up five or six pounds.  This week I’m right back to where I was the week before and the week before that.  So I’m going on my third week of no further progress in the numbers moving down on the scale.  That means that since January 1st, I’ve lost 8 lbs and since Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve lost a total of 16 lbs.  Not the rate of progress I would like to see–I can do better than this, but all things considered, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

I dropped that excess weight–whatever it was–from last week, and I’m happy about that.  I haven’t gained.  I’m happy about that too.

Now, I just have to get my momentum moving again. 

We need to go to the grocery store–bad.  Of course, today is super bowl Sunday so who  knows how bad it will be if we try to venture out this afternoon.  Our timing sucks.

Super Bowl isn’t a big deal for us around here.  We mostly just watch  it for the commercials–we aren’t professional football fans. That isn’t to say that my husband may not be tempted to have his sister and brotherinlaw and their kids over (I haven’t heard anything at this p0int in the day yet) and pile on the usual football snack foods.

Whether that happens or not, I’m going to do my best to get refocused today.  Get back to doing what I know works and sticking with it.  There shouldn’t be anything (birthdays, holidays) to side track me again until Spring Break next month–followed  immediately by my daughter’s 7th birthday.  Valentine’s day does present the small temptation of chocolate, but its not a huge deal for us around here, as we just celebrated our anniversary.

I had one chocolate hershey’s kiss last night and didn’t want another–it was so sweet!  I just didn’t enjoy it like I would have in the past.  I’d definitely call that progress.

Yesterday I spent the day cleaning the house.  The kids had pretty much trashed their rooms again since we cleaned them at the first of the year, so I had to ride herd on them cleaning their rooms while I took care of laundry, dishes, vacuuming, mopping, and general cleaning downstairs.  

Today, I’m going to finish getting caught up on some work stuff I brought home, and I’m going to plan out my week and find time for exercise.  I know that half the battle is planning  (the other half is knowing, according to G.I. Joe). 

I just have to do the prep work.