Saturday, November 22, 2008

Drum Roll Please!!!

Ladies and Gentleman, my mother told me that I should never brag. I'm just too happy to care about manners though. I've gotta tell you! I've now officially lost 19 lbs.!!! Crazy enough, it's been pretty easy this time too. I mean, considering the fact that I have been doing the diet & exercise thing for a LONG time without breaking my plateau... it's kind of weird that it's just melting off me now. I attribute the first several pounds to my new blood pressure medications. I'm pretty sure a good amount of the weight was water retention (it's pretty obvious since all of a sudden my wedding ring fits for the first time in 2 years and several people have commented that I look less "puffy".) By the way, does anyone know the proper response to that comment? I'm thinking it's a compliment and so I should just say thanks? It's a little awkward though.
"Wow. Your face looks a lot less puffy!"
"Umm..." sheepish smile, "Thanks... I guess I didn't really realize I was THAT puffy before."
"Oh. You were. You look a lot healthier now. Even your eyelids have lost weight."

Which explains something else... remember when Jen enlightened us on how she is a FATMG? Well, I clearly fit into the FAOG (Fat All Over Girl) category. In other words, my body distributes my fat so equally (my body is truly into making sure all body parts receive their fair share of blubber. It's a just and impartial system) that when I lose nearly 20 lbs., I'm still basically wearing the same size. It's just a teeny bit looser. While there are some other people who are able to drop 20 lbs. of pure belly fat and look like an entirely different person, when I lose 20 lbs. all of a sudden my eyelids aren't as puffy and my watch is a little too big. Yes, that's right. I still have belly fat but my WRIST lost 3/4 of an inch. Weird, I know. That's actually fine with me though since I really can't afford to go clothes shopping yet anyway. :-) So... with that in mind, I'm hoping that I can drop 40 more lbs. as effortlessly as this last 19 have vanished and hopefully be at my goal weight at tax return time so mama can get a new wardrobe!.

For now, I feel a lot better already. Which is way more worthwhile to me than looking good. If I cared more about the looking good part, I seriously doubt I would have let this weight thing get as bad as it did in the first place. I should have been a little more vain and binged and purged as soon as my jeans got too tight the first time like all the other hot chicks do (Just kidding. But seriously...) It would have probably been a lot easier than waiting for my blood pressure to sky rocket. The day that I went into the Doctor's office he looked at my age on the chart and said, "You're just a baby! You're too young to have these numbers." and I told him I may only be 29, but I feel like a car with well over 100,000 miles on it. That had never had an oil change. And I'm not talking about a Toyota. Those things can drive for forever! No, I felt more like a crappy old Chevy Nova that used to be cool but now the windows don't even roll down anymore and only AM stations come in (through an old metal coat hanger because someone ripped the antenna out a long time ago.) The good news, the drum roll request inducing news is... my blood pressure is WAY lower, my energy is WAY higher, and I think I may have upgraded to a different kind of used car. I mean, I don't feel like a brand new sports car or anything, but I may be in the certified pre-owned Corolla or Camry group now.

So, now that I've rambled on & on about my wrists losing 3/4 of an inch and used car analogies, here's the lowdown on what I did to break my plateau (in case you were wondering):
Disclaimer: I can neither confirm nor deny that any of these things will work for you. All I know is this is what I did differently this month and now I'm 19 lbs. lighter.
#1. I think finally getting on blood pressure medication was a huge part. I'm pretty sure my body was just under too much stress to lose weight before and once I gave it the medicine it needed to "take the pressure off" my fight or flight response was lessened and my body got the message that it wasn't in immediate danger and didn't actually have to try to save itself by storing every ounce of energy that went into it.

#2. I got paranoid. When the doctor told me that I needed to put the salt shaker down, I got offended because I NEVER add extra salt. Then, I realized that I didn't need to add salt because the "diet" foods that I was eating like frozen entrees and canned soup had more sodium than I was supposed to get per SERVING! I read the labels on absolutely everything & switched to whole foods when I couldn't find enough low calorie / low carb options that weren't low in sodium. Then, when I started feeling a LOT better from skipping the salty stuff I kicked the sugar problem. Once again, I thought I was eating mostly low calorie / low carb and wasn't pigging out on sugary desserts or eating white bread! However, a can of slim-fast has more sugar than I'm willing to put into my body anymore. Stinking diet foods...

#3. I exercised less. Crazy, right? First I tell you that I got rid of my diet foods and now I'm saying I exercised less. It's madness. When I first started on my new medications, I played the sick card and made good friends with the couch. Where before I would push myself to work out longer & harder, now I was kicking back on the couch reading every book in The Twilight Saga. I still squeezed in the occasional walk, but because I felt like it. When I didn't feel like it I didn't go. I realized something. Before, I was so tired that a lot of the time when I exercised it felt like I was running a triathlon with the flu. I was clenching my jaw in resentment as I exercised and ending up with a migraine after every workout. So, I rested and still lost weight.

#4. I got distracted. I volunteered all week at my kids' school doing the Book Fair. I had long phone conversations with good friends. I went shopping. I didn't notice I was hungry. I just felt happy & fulfilled. I realized that I eat when I'm bored, sad, stressed, lonely... so I made sure to avoid activities that left me feeling frustrated and got busy doing things that I loved.

#5. I convinced my family that losing weight was IMPORTANT since it was now officially on doctor's orders and I knew that they weren't letting me blow it. For once, my hubby didn't sabotage my diet by tempting me with my favorite treats or suggesting we go for ice cream like he has always done on every diet in the past. My kids were worried about my health and if I so much as popped a piece of their pizza crust in my mouth they were freaking out on me to take care of myself. Accountability and motivation are awesome. They weren't being greedy with their Halloween candy. They were trying to protect me. ;-)

#6. I overdosed on B-vitamins. I got the easily absorbable B-complex formula with something like 6,667% of Thiamine and 1,176% of Riboflavin, etc. You need B-vitamins to handle stress and in the past dieting has made me REALLY stressed (oddly not this time) and stress makes losing weight hard. See the cycle? Plus, B-vitamins are essential for turning the food you do eat into energy!

#7. I cheated. Then, I regretted it and knew it wasn't worth it. After two solid weeks of not putting an ounce of sugar into my body, I gave in and ate a slice of cheesecake just to "keep my metabolism on its toes". Within 20 minutes I had a HORRIBLE blinding migraine and I realized... I'd gone two weeks without a migraine. (A record for me lately.) All of a sudden cheating sounded scary. I hate those darn headaches and would do anything to avoid them! Bonus incentive right there!

So, that's that. 19 lbs. down. 40 to go. I'm a third of the way there!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday Strategy for the Battle of the Bathroom Scale

So, it's November - aka "The Most Critical Time of the Year." Well, for me and any of you hoping to hold steady (or maybe even gain some ground) in that annoying battle with the bathroom scale. At this time every year I put the battle strategy into play, and get ready to come out victorious on New Year's. And just so you know, this plan is geared ENTIRELY around eating Holiday food, and avoiding goody-deprivation at all holiday food gatherings.

And it never fails me.

Just thought some of you might be interested.

I really should have posted this right after Halloween - since I always get things started at the beginning of November - but I was too busy not thinking about Halloween candy to organize my thoughts... But better late then never, right?

So, the plan. The strategy. It all revolves around advanced planning and preemptive striking. In other words, lose now, gain later, and it all comes out in the wash.

I know, I know, you're thinking, "Like it's that easy to just 'lose now.' If I could do that I already would have. Duh." But just hear me out. This is all about mind power, and is totally doable. I swear. Why? What magic formula will make it easier to lose this time? Motivation. Hanging before you every day from now to Christmas, are all those goodies. The feasts. The cookies. The party foods and appetizers constituting a meals worth of calories in a single bite. All the foods you know you'll want to eat, and should be able to eat because it's Christmas. Do you really want to be the one at the party saying "Well, that hot, steamy, overly cheesy, completely delicious looking, and divine tasting artichoke dip looks great, but I'm really just into celery right now,"???

Trust me. You can do this. You can do anything for a couple of weeks and a big piece of guiltless-pumpkin-cheesecake, right?

So here's the goal. Lose at least two (solid, meaning more than just water weight) pounds before Thanksgiving, and then again before Christmas. And here's the plan to accomplish it.

1. Pick your most favorite eating time of the day and leave it alone (meaning, eat as usual, no suffering necessary). You love breakfast? Fine. Lunch? Fine. Dinner? Evening snack? No problem. All of them? Pick one. And no complaining - it won't work if you're not willing to suffer at least a tiny bit.

2. Look at your two remaining meals, and usual snacks, and start sacrificing. Cut them in half, substitute with healthy/low-fat/low-carb/low-sugar/smaller portion/or-what-ever-it-is-that-works-for-you meals, grit your teeth, think about your favorite holiday treat and how you will guiltlessly consume a second helping, and bear it.

3. Add an extra gimmick just to kick start things. For instance, this year mine is "turn down one thing every day." Sounds so small, but I've given up an ice cream sundae (with LOADS of toppings, all you can eat), brownies (the plural because you know I wouldn't have stopped at just one), pastries, my late-night handful of milk chocolate chips, and a few other things just this week. Other years I've ditched sweet-treats altogether, or eaten one salad a day - whatever. Just pick some small thing and be strict. No cheating allowed.

4. If you have a party to attend, eat light all day to make up for it. (And don't go totally overboard when you get there. It's not Christmas YET). If you have to make goodies, go ahead and have some, but set your limit before they're done, stick to it, and get them out of the house fast. If someone brings you treats, eat them. Then skip dinner. (Well, that's what I do, but I suppose I shouldn't try to sell you on such obviously not-healthy strategies. But it does work...)

5. Look in the mirror at least three times a day (no complaining, if you've read this blog before you TOTALLY knew this would be part of the plan) and tell yourself you're going to be a skinny babe by Christmas.

6. Exercise is extra-credit.

7. When the morning of the big day comes (first Thanksgiving, then Christmas), save your calories up. For instance, have an apple for breakfast. Eat a pile of lettuce for lunch.

8. At the actual event? Enjoy yourself. Eat up. Gain back those two pounds all in one sitting if you want - you earned it. (Or, not. Besides, like you can gain two pounds of actual fat in one sitting. I personally believe one meal never hurt anybody).

I would just like to bear my testimony that everyone should get to eat at Christmas dinner without "watching what they eat." I also believe that gorging on good food for the entire holiday season is going over the top, and should be considered a diet-sin. I know that every woman has at least four weeks of solid diet-self-control in her - especially when the reward is turkey gravy, Christmas croisants, and chocolate trifle. I also know that my little battle strategy works for me, and will work for anyone who undertakes it with real intent. Losing two pounds is really not an impossible task. And you'll thank yourself on New Year's. In the name of Holiday Food, amen.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Stupid Plan That I'm Regretting, Yet Kind Of Glad I Conceived

I'm all alone in my house (essentially - everyone else is sleeping), with hordes, and hordes of Halloween candy.

But it gets worse.

This morning, after breakfasting on several mini candy bars and a few Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I made a vow. I was standing at my sink doing dishes, and feeling rather candied-out for the moment (key word here would be "moment"). I was feeling strong. I was feeling optimistic. I was feeling like taking on an impossible task.

These dangerous emotions caused me to have the following conversation with myself:

Me: What am I going to do with all that candy around? I've already been eating chocolate and goodies for three days - one more day of junk food, and I'll be sorry.

Me: Well, fine then - I just won't eat anymore candy. Who cares if it's in the house, I can be strong.

Me: Oooo. That candy is going to last for days! Do you seriously think your willpower can outlast it? Snickers? Milkyway? Candy with both chocolate AND peanut butter? I don't know...

Me: Of course I can. I am totally in control here. I (momentarily) don't even WANT to eat anymore chocolate. Besides, the Lord wants me to be healthy.

Me: Bringing out the big guns, huh? The whole I'm-in-control-of-my-body-and-what-goes-into-it-so-I-can-withstand-any-stupid-old-craving argument?

Me: Yeah. That one.

Me: But aren't you a little scared? You know you could totally prove yourself to be weak and gluttonous on this one - it's like the perfect set-up for failure.

Me: (feeling VERY confident, strong, and momentarily candied-out) I can do this. Watch me. Not ONE SINGLE PIECE will pass these lips.

Me: You're on.

It was like making a pact with the devil. And you know what happens if you break those contracts... And I've totally committed myself. If I eat candy I lose.

I HATE LOSING! And there is GOOD candy around here!

So I'm looking for a little support. Is there anyone out there willing to join me? Willing to turn their back on chocolate and peanut butter so I won't feel so alone? Who will understand what I'm going through? Or who will at least sympathize and commiserate with me?

If so, I'll be forever grateful. And hopefully victorious. And that would also translate into not-gaining-back-those-irritating-four-pounds, which is ESSENTIAL heading into Thanksgiving/Christmas!

And now back to my house, all that candy, and an exercise in self-control. Wish me luck...