Reality Check

This couldn’t be more true for my life! I’ve made excuses for so long and I’m done making them!

So I’ve had my Body Media band for about a week now and to be honest, I’m astounded at the information I’ve learned. I knew that the moment I plugged the device into the computer I was going to learn a lot more about myself and the reality; however, I wasn’t prepared for the shock.

Now, I considered myself a relatively active person over the last few months. I made to the gym, took the stairs and tried to get up and walk around at least every hour at work. After this week, I realized it’s simply not enough. After one week of tracking with my Body Media armband, I see that I’m not burning as much as I thought I was and furthermore, “guessing” on tracking sites like MyFitnessPal are ok, but the reality is far from what they told me.

This band has changed my outlook on weight loss. Now I look at my calories with an understanding, like I did tonight. I now know that I will run on the elliptical for 50 minutes to burn off that giant piece of cake. I’ll have to do 10 – 15 minutes just to burn off those Oreo cookies staring at me. In reality, I really don’t think it’s worth it!

I know my sweet tooth has and will sometimes continue to get the best of me, but this information now makes me more conscious of what I’m doing. Sweets still appeal to me, but I’m working hard to find alternatives to curb that desire.

In other news, I tried spinach in my morning shake and … just WOW! I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it but honestly, I couldn’t taste it. It did make my shake green though, but that’s OK. I just had fun explaining to my coworkers why I was drinking a green milkshake.

Despite having an awful week last week, this week is going 100% better. I’m staying on task. I’m getting to the gym like I need to and I have a much better understanding of what I need to do to reach my goals. I’m really looking forward to meeting with my nutritionist on Thursday. I’m hoping she’s proud of my accomplishments this week and I really hope the number shows on the scale.

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I <3 My Nutritionist

Recently, we discovered a little hidden secret – our insurance will cover up to 7 nutrition appointments with a dietician FREE OF CHARGE. That’s with our Highmark insurance, but others may follow suit. Since there’s a dietician at our gym I must certainly signed right up to use all seven of those appointments before the end of the calendar year (when they reset).

I had my first “official” appointment last night and boy was fantastic. I feel like I’m finally going SOMEWHERE with this progress – even when I feel like I’m moving backwards. It began when I exported my food journal from September 1 – present. I sent this to her via email to review. Naturally, there was a lot of data but she got the gist of where I’m struggling. Since she really doesn’t know me yet, I had to fill in the gaps on how it can look like I’m really screwing up … but if you know the history you’ll see how it’s little wins.

Instantly from my food journal, Jackie knew what my major problems are:

  • Sweets, sweets and more sweets (like that wasn’t obvious lol)
  • Eating out

While the change in our eating habits has curbed some of the eating out, we’re still doing it a lot more than normal. What is really noticiable is just how much we do it on the weekends. I knew it was bad, but once she showed me I was shocked. There were weekends where we ate out almost every meal – every meal!

As far as my second problem, with sweets… I can honestly say the changes I’ve made have curbed my sweet tooth greatly – even if it doesn’t look like it on paper. I will freely admit, prior to September I would buy a 1/2 gallon of ice cream every week and consume the whole thing before the week was over by myself. I’ve cut my ice cream down to maybe 3 times a week, but I still need to cut back even more.

Some people told me to go cold turkey on cutting out my sweets – I voted against that option by scaling back slowly. I tried cutting my sweets entirely out of my life… that didn’t end well. Food addiction is truly like any other bad addictions, some people need to ween themselves back rather than say goodbye.

Jackie and I agreed on several goals:

  • Cut my sweets to 2x a week or less (preferrably)
  • Find a better multivitamin (currently just stealing Bella’s). She’s recommending Nordic Berries … which Bella can actually take too!
  • Find an omega 3 fatty acid supplement
  • Increase my calories from 1500 to 2000

I believe these are all doable if I put my mind to it. The only one I’m really worried about it cutting out the sweets. My sugar is really higher than it needs to be and while much of the sugar is good sugar – it creeps up on you when you don’t realize some of the things that have natural sugar.

I really felt great after leaving my appointment. It’s nice to have someone to look at your food journal and help you improve it. Our plan is to meet every week for the next couple weeks, then every other week for the rest of the year. Then my insurance resets and I’ll have 7 appointments for 2012 which I plan to space throughout the year. I’m pretty confident that once I get myself on track by the end of the year, those spaced appointments will merely be for adjustment purposes.

In other news, my amazing friend Sarah gifted me a Body Media arm band which I’m proudly wearing for the first time today. I had it on for a few hours yesterday and in just that short time the data collected was incredible. I went to the gym with it on and you can see, down to the minute when my heart rate was most elevated, when I was running … walking, etc. Pretty much, I have no excuses when I show it to someone. I absolutely love it.

I’m very excited to take it home today and plug it in. I can’t wait to see what it will tell me after a whole day of wearing it. This model is old and it’s getting me started but I’m hoping before Christmas I might be able to pick up the newer, smaller model with bluetooth download (so I could see it now) before the holidays are over.

I thought I’d be annoyed with the band today since I’m not comfortable wearnig things on my arm, but surprisingly it hasn’t drove me crazy. I knwo it’s there and now and then I need to give it a tweak adjustment but it’s not annoying. I’m really happy right now. Finally starting to get back in the swing of things!

M.I.A.

I apologize to all my followers for not posting sooner – to say my life has been turned upside down would be an understatement.

Our family has had some pretty tough events and decisions over the last week or so that has really put a stress on my emotional self. While I won’t discuss everything – I think it’s important to note several things in my journey that have greatly impacted my success and failure this week.

Death – We lost a beloved family member this weekend. Our family cat, Artex. At only seven, our baby was called to heaven way too soon after battling some kind of illness for the last month. It pains me I couldn’t help him. We took him to the vet but they had no answers – his symptoms were unfortunately consistent with just about every cat disease on the planet. What’s worse – our daughter (only four) found him at the bottom of the stairs Sunday morning. There was no preparing her for the grim reality. It simply smacked her in the face and quite frankly – that killed me in side.

No one wants their child to feel such hurt. I know this is a normal part of life, but there’s no preparing for something like this. While some people don’t understand how important animals are to me, to my family – this was just one of the many contributing factors to a bad weekend / week for me.

Family and Friend Struggles – Without getting into a lot of specific details, our family was saddened to learn of several friends and family members recently diagnosed for a second and third time with Cancer. Additionally, a good friend has a sister in critical condition in the hospital. Other family members have caused drama within our family stemming from a variety of reasons and some good friends are dealing with extremely stressful situations.

When I worked at Holy Family Institute, we were all trained in the Sanctuary Model so I know very well how vicarious trauma can and does affect our everyday life. These things all weigh heavily on our hearts and our minds. We pray for life to get better, but know there’s not much else we can do to help.

With these struggles unfortunately comes tension and stress and sometimes misdirected anger. I’ve been the victim of misdirected anger at least a time or two in my life, and again more recently. It hurts, but there’s nothing I can do about it other than attempt to move forward with my own life and focus on what matters.

Stress – Stress is a killer and a new job has tons of it. It’s been about two months since I started at my current employer and while it’s gone really well – the stress is still there. As the work continues to grow and challenge, the stress continues to pile on and does weigh heavily on your mind, body and soul.

I’m not making excuses, but when life throws curve balls at you continuously… eventually something falls. For me this week, a lot of things fell – including my diet. I’m just coming out to say it – this weekend I did an awful job of keeping in my calories. Emotional eating returned with a vengeance in the form of kit-kats, resses cups and cookies. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t stop myself.

So where to go? 

I feel this process has made me a lot stronger. I didn’t hit a bump in the road this weekend – I hit the whole damn mountain. It’s take a few days, but I’m starting to get back on track and feeling better. There’s still a lot of sadness in my heart – for my family and for my cat.

Some people will never truly understand just how important a bond between an animal and a human is because they’re just not wired to understand it. For me, an animal will love you unconditionally. They cuddle you and make us laugh. I miss my cat every day and my home feels so terribly empty without him. I pray everyday for the healing of our friends and family and I hope that soon – some of the sadness will dissipate and life will return to a stage of normal again.

Never give up on your dreams

Wow… it’s been an interesting day… but more on that in a moment. I think the best place to start today’s post is with one of my inspirational photos I found on Facebook a few weeks ago. I’ve returned to it several times (and shared it with several people) because it has such a deep connection for me.

Never Give Up On Your Dreams

This image has become my inspiration for the last few weeks.

When you’re heavy, it’s very common to see your self as an enormous animal – say a pig, hippo, elephant…. or even a rhino.It’s what’s been trained into our brains from mean bullies for as long as I can remember. Let’s face it, society is mean. I still remember many of the hurtful things people said to me growing up, but I had thick skin and let it roll off. Then again, I was never as heavy as I was this summer.

The first time I found this photo on one of the many fitness-healthy eating pages, I chuckled out loud (literally). All my life, I’ve felt like a rhino and I’ve always loved unicorns since I was a little girl. While at the time, I saved it and shared it with my friends, I had no idea how important this photo was going to become for me.

A few days later, I went back to this image to look at it again. I didn’t realize at the time just how much much I was like this photo. Here I am, the rhino running on the treadmill staring at photos online of people who’ve lost weight, reading inspirational stories and talking with people in my circle of friends who have actually succeeded in the process. I draw to them, usually on Facebook, to get me through and give me hope my dreams will one day become a reality.

While the reality of this photo isn’t possible, my reality is entirely possible and no matter how much life throws at me – I refuse to give up on my dreams. This rhino is going to be a unicorn some day and when that day comes, I know it’s because I worked damn hard to get there.

This photo isn’t one of the only images that inspired me. I’ve decided to include several more of my recent favorites in this post as well. This one struck me several weeks ago and it couldn’t be more true to my life. While I enjoy going to my gym, there are just some days that aren’t any fun. There are days I’m tired, cranky, sick and who knows what else is going on but I keep on going. I know if I don’t, my results won’t become a reality.

In fact, one of the things I’ve started doing is finding other ways to workout besides the gym. Like walking around the block with my daughter and our dog. I’ve also developed a great interest in participating in charity walks and races (hence my entry to the next one on November 3).

These changes aren’t by chance – but instead they are needed in my quest for results. I might not always love my work out, but I certainly love jumping on a scale each week and seeing that dreaded number go down, down and down more. I’ve surpassed the 30 pound mark since this summer and that’s huge for me. What’s even bigger though is the weight is staying off. After years and years of unsuccessful yo-yo diets, I’m proud to say my weight is staying banished forever!

While so many photos that I love are inspirational – some are just down right funny. Like this photo posted by a friend and inspirational mentor, Maria. I couldn’t stop laughing all day after seeing this. If it was only so easy, we’d all be skinny.  I now tell my body this daily, unfortunately it’s also the one body part I feel shrinking quickly.

I wish there was a way to pick the parts of my body that shrunk first because there are days I feel like I’m all out of whack because one part is shrinking faster than another. I’m sure there’s other women out there with the same problem. I want the weight to leave my stomach and hips … but it’s coming off my face and my chest. I guess the best way to look at it though is that the weight is coming off!

Of course the real point of this post (originally) was to talk about my mini success of the day. After getting off to a rocky start and making at least one bad choice (hey it happens), I got back on my feet and kept going. I didn’t let one little screw up ruin my entire day. I knew today was going to be tough when we decided to go to the Pumpkin Festival, but I had no idea just how difficult it would be until today.

This festival marked the first festival my family has attended since changing our eating habits. Normally these festivals are my favorite time of year when I scarf all the funnel cake, candy, sugar, sweets, desserts and carnival food I can get my hands on – but not this time! If I told you this day was insanely easy, I’d be lying through my teeth.

From the minute we walked onto the grounds, the smells just hit me. Kettle corn, corn dogs, funnel cake, candy apples, pumpkin pie and the list goes on. There were goodies lurking around every corner and boy did I want them bad.

We didn’t bring a lot of money (on purpose) so we would hopefully be thwarted from wasting money on food and rather

Me and my daughter with a 100 pound boa at the Houston Pumpkin Festival

let our daughter play with the overpriced children’s activities. It was well worth it too – she took a nice pony ride, several trips down the bouncy slide and my favorite part of the day, taking a picture with a 100 pound boa that drive her grandma crazy (she hates snakes).

These are things I should be spending money on, not overpriced festival food laden with calories and fat (not the good kind) and basically blowing my entire day out of the water. I’m so proud of myself for resisting the urge to give into the temptation of fair food.

In reality though, I know that I don’t need to take all the things I love out of my life. If I really wanted a funnel cake, I could have one. But I didn’t need it and I knew better. Today was not my day to cheat. I wanted it, but it simply wasn’t worth it.

Since I always like to justify with myself why I made such a great choice, when I got home today I looked up the stats for the average funnel cake….. WOW … JUST WOW…

Average Funnel Cake (per MyFitnessPal.com)

Calories – 760 <— nearly half my daily calorie allotment
Total Fat – 44g
Sodium – 200mg
Carbs – 80g
Sugar – 16g

Average Corn Dog (per MyFitnessPal.com)

Calories – 280
Total Fat – 19g
Sodium – 755mg <— that’s a LOT of Salt!
Carbs – 21g
Sugar – 5g

I guess you could say, this entire process has been making me more aware of my decisions and how much they will ultimately affect my life. Am I saying I’ll never have another piece of funnel cake again – fat chance! Do I think the next time I want one that I will be splitting it with someone (or possibly 3-4 someones), absolutely!! It’s all about moderation. If I must have a funnel cake, it would be best split between three to four people, which then brings the calories down to 250 – 190… that makes a big difference.

As far as the corn dog… there’s not much you can do with that. I think I’ll be avoiding those unless I know they’re less caloric in the future. I know they exist … and maybe we’ll get adventurous with some “clean eating” options. Hmmmm I’m sure we’ll come up with something useful.

So today was another small victory in my book. I know success is  an option in my life. I have realized the possibilities in my life are endless. That unicorn is in sight and one day I’m going to make it there. Each day I’m running just a little bit closer and getting a glimpse of what my life will ultimately be like.

The only way I can succeed though is to focus on what I’m doing and not what the world is doing around me. Every choice I make needs to be my choice, not someone else’s lifestyle. I have especially learned that when so many people discuss different diet plans – from Clean Eating to Paelo. At this point, we’re following something in the middle of the two because I pull recipes from both ends.

Simply put, I’m not going to banish everything I love from my life. I’ll never give up dairy products, I simply wont. If I do, I know I’ll relapse back to wanting them and screw everything up again. I won’t give up my grains either because damn it, I love them!

I believe my husband and I have found something that works well for the both of us. We’re avoiding processed food and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ve limited the sodium and “white devils.” I truly believe our new lifestyle is going to make us a lot happier in the long run. It’s already helped us both lose significant weight.

Before I go, I’d like to share one final photo with you – I found this one to be extremely inspirational for my thoughts of the day. I know going to festivals may or may not get easier. My shopping budget is tight and expensive and it’s tough staying on track when all you want to do is bury a spoon deep in a half-gallon of ice cream, but I know with the results – life just gets better and that’s where the focus must be to move forward! It’s just going to get better with each day.

One final note – for those that personally know me and know just how much I love my ice cream – I am proud to say that it’s been over 40 days since I purchased a half-gallon of ice cream. I use to eat one full half-gallon a week (nearly 1 bowl a day). I’m not saying I haven’t had any ice cream – but it’s not in my house. That’s a little win in itself!

Thanks for reading!! Please leave some love!

Giving into tempatation does not equal failure

Well, it happened. Sarris got the best of me……

I’m not going to make excuses, but I’m just going to say – it’s been a BAD day.

Let’s start with the why…

It started yesterday when I got home from the gym and my husband told me our daughter got another note from her teacher (mind you… she’s only 4). Bella apparently had a very bad day yesterday. When she was finished with her school work, she proceeded to act up. To make a long story short, it just got worse as the day went on. Her teacher wanted us to be aware because her actions caused her to lose her earned treat from class. I support that decision FULLY.

Well, upon getting home … she hadn’t had a nap. She also hasn’t been feeling well battling a cold. Bella had a melt down and stormed up the stairs, threw herself on her bed in true drama queen fashion and ended up falling asleep.

We, unfortunately, allowed her to sleep the rest of the night. Figuring maybe she was just exhausted. No nap, not feeling well…. We all know how that goes. Boy were we wrong!

Fast-forward to 2:00 a.m. … we’re sound asleep in our bed… and then it starts.

“Mom… I’m hungry.”

Ok fine… we tell her to go downstairs and grab something. She has a plethora of things to choose from (fruit, cereal, etc.) all ready and available for her. We try to let her be independent.

She comes back upstairs. We hoped she’d just go back to bed.

Nope … WIDE awake.

“Mom … I want to go downstairs and watch TV.”

“No.”

Seeing this is a lose-lose situation … Daddy turns on the bedroom TV. I drift in and out of sleep / awake for the next 4 hours. This is naturally from the constant position changing of my kid (squeezed between us, sitting on me, snuggling with me, leaning on me… you get the point).

When I’ve drifted my last time and am forced to get up, I discover my husband used the last of the milk. My daughter (at some point) messed with the mini fridge and turned up the temperature so the soy milk was also frozen.  At this point, I’m exhausted, hungry and really irritable.

I throw oatmeal, fruit, ice and protein powder in to a blender and pray it doesn’t taste disgusting because I’m THAT hungry and I’m running really, really late. Surprisingly, the shake wasn’t a disaster. I missed the creamy taste from the milk that masks the chalky taste, but it sufficed for the time being.

Dropped Bella off about 10 minutes later than normal and her teacher was there. I spent the next 15 minutes discussing my kids behavior with her and letting her know we fully support her firm approach with our child.

The day at work hasn’t been that much more wonderful to be honest. Now at 2:00 p.m. … I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed my buck and headed to the kitchen. I just NEEDED chocolate.

I know what you’re all going to say – it’s will power, I’m better than this… etc. etc. but let me tell you… that chocolate tasted like pure heaven and actually did make me feel better.

Now the point where you’ll be proud of me because after my post yesterday, I’m more aware of what I was grabbing and all the bad calories that were coming along with them.

I took my candy bar and broke it in half. I put ½ in my desk drawer and locked it (yes this is sad, but it’s working). I took the other half and broke it out to six pieces (something I’ve never done before). I took five pieces and put them on a napkin at the corner of my desk, well out of immediate reach of my arm. I took the 1st piece and actually just let it melt in my mouth. Not chew, not devour… just melt.

In our last meeting, Maria (who’s running our contest) talked about “enjoying” your food. I can honestly say … this is the first time I felt like I actually enjoyed my chocolate bar. I could kill a whole bar in five minutes… but this half of a bar actually took me a good 45 minutes to fully eat.

Putting the candy on the corner of my desk required me to consciously reach for it. I had to turn and reach. Not readily available next to me. Thus, I didn’t always grab a piece right when one was finished. I spaced them out.

Ok so I consumed about 130 empty calories because I’m having a bad day, but it could have easily been 260 and I likely wouldn’t have been satisfied. Now I’ve also got 130 more empty calories to eat another day when I remember it’s in there!

I guess my point is … while I caved and had a moment of weakness. I’ve learned how to control that weakness. I felt that I MUST have chocolate so I got some; however, I’m smart enough to satisfy that need and then save the rest for another day. I think that’s a lesson worth being proud about!

What’s for dinner?

It was always the same phone call on my way home from work – “what’s for dinner?” It was the same conversation with my husband every night followed with an “I don’t know, what do you want?” 

I’m fairly confident that part of our obesity problems stemmed for this question. We never really “planned” dinner, we just guessed and hoped for the best. Our meals were laden with highly processed, quick fix meals that were anything but healthy. 

Today, we’ve adopted a weekly meal plan that I devise when the sale ads come out for the week. This helps control the costs while also ensuring that question will never result in a last minute dinner decision again. 

I guess if you’re looking for advice – creating the meal plans only takes a few minutes but the peace of mind they give you last weeks at a time. It’s much easier to stick to your weight loss journey and healthy eating habits with a plan. 

Let the torture begin ….

I knew this day would come, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so quickly. Here I sit at work on my lunch break fighting an insane urge to grab a few $1 and head to the kitchen – someone’s selling Sarris Candy bars.

For those that know me, Sarris chocolate is like pure heaven to me and of course all my favorites are there – peanut butter, crisp, almond and the list goes on. It’s utter torture.

While heating up my yummy, healthy lunch I took a quick peak at the bars. Over 200 calories each and it doesn’t get better from there. I came back to my desk to look up further nutritional information. Let’s see…

Milk Chocolate Bar

  • 272 Calories
  • 14g Fat
  • 25g carbs
  • 3g Protein

Milk Chocolate Roasted Almond

  • 264 Calories
  • 16 g Fat
  •  28g Carbs
  • 48g Protein

Salted Pretzel

  • 245 Calories
  • 11g Fat
  • 33g Carbs
  • 4g Protein

Crisped Rice

  • 330 Calories
  • 17g Fat
  • 42g Carbs
  • 4g Protein

Caramel Candy Bar

  • 222 Calories
  • 11g Fat
  • 28g carbs
  • 3g Protein
Dark Chocolate
  • 264 Calories
  • 16g Fat
  • 28g Carbs
  • 2g Protein

So if you’ve kept track … the lowest CALORIE bar is the Caramel … but it’s just pure sugar! The worst bar by far is (sadly my favorite) the Crisped Rice.

This process has made stop to think about the reality of every choice. Two months ago, I would have dropped $5 on the bars and not thought twice. I likely would have consumed at least 1-2 that same day. I’m a chocolate fanatic, I’m not going to lie.

Through writing and thinking (publicly) through my decisions, I’m learning slowly that I can resist the temptation to buy the candy bars. I don’t need to have that chocolate – I’ll reach for my Blue Diamond Chocolate Almonds instead. Much healthier option and a LOT fewer calories.

It’s little victories for me. That’s the only way I’m going to beat this addiction. I didn’t get this way overnight and I know it’s not all going to change in a couple of months. I’m so glad I posted my transition photos last night because the response has just been overwhelming. I know I haven’t changed a lot, but I can see the changes. I can’t wait to see what the changes look like next month and the month after … and by Christmas! I just can’t wait.

I might not see it on the scale, but I see it in my clothes. I practically have no pants left that aren’t falling off. I love a good excuse to go shopping (though I’m sure my husband does NOT). I also feel much better and I know that’s half the battle. I know six months ago, I would never have been able to actually walk / jog a 5K. NEVER! But I did it and I’m so happy I’m going to do another one.

Thank you for all the love and support. You guys help me keep in line. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I hope that maybe my journey will inspire others to do the same thing. It can be done with some planning and dedication!