Archive | August, 2012

Oh, the plateau

31 Aug

I am hitting a serious plateau in weight loss. Going on three weeks and lost almost nothing.  So…do I care? Is it upsetting? Am I discouraged? Do I want to quit? Am I ready to eat cake?

Quite the contrary.  I feel INCREDIBLE. I just got home from a 3.5 mile walk where I was able to throw in a little jogging. I am currently battling shin splints, so I ran as much as I could tolerate, walked, then stretched, then ran again. Compared to my time and miles lately, I was moving super slow.  So what!  I got out there and had a great time. Yesterday I was boxing and totally kicking butt for my workout.  Hell yeah!

As I walked up my driveway, a neighbor of mine drove by and stopped to say hello. She said she had to stop to tell me how great I look…ask what I was doing…said I really look good.  (go ahead, roll your eyes. I did.) She is the second person today to tell me how good I look.

Compliments make me feel good, but also make me feel self conscious. I am not good with accepting compliments and always seem to have a “yeah, but I’m also…” to discount it. Now, I am owning them so I started just saying thank you. These compliments remind me that this current plateau is only one piece of data at one point in time. My neighbor can see the big picture, she sees the progress I’m making. I feel the progress I am making and am super pleased.  Tomorrow is weigh in day and I am not expecting to see much change on the scale. So what! This girl is having way to much fun this week to let a little number ruin my fun.

Watch out world…here I come!

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Losing battles, winning wars

29 Aug

So here I am…doing something new, doing really well with it, feeling great, seeing results, sharing my story, loving my success. And then it happens…..that same old battle. It kind of snuck up on me this time. I was at work on Thursday doing what I do and suddenly the bag of Snyder’s pretzels in my desk started calling my name.  It said “Annnnnnneeeee…….you know you want some. Have just an handful….you will feel so much better.”  So I counted out one serving, ate it, and heard the whisper again.  “Aaaaannnnnnneeeeee, you know you want more…need more to feel better…just a little bit, come on have some more”. Dang it, why do Snyder’s pretzels have to be so stinkin’ good? Before I knew it, that bag of pretzels was now in my stomach asking “don’t you feel better Anne?… oh, you don’t? well you are stuck with us now…sucker…”

 

It’s kind of embarrassing and I’m actually hesitant to blog about it right now. I have come so far in such a short little time. To stop and admit to the world that this is still hard, that I still struggle. Why am I still giving my emotions over to food?  I thought I was over this. It has been weeks since I felt like this or ate like this. What is my deal? Am I not strong enough? Why do these moments of doubt and struggle come after such great victories…and will they ever go away?

 

All weekend I thought about it…worried about it…punished myself for it…over analyzed every angle…worried about what was going on in my head. I was so focused on one moment in time…one battle lost. The never ending battle. It took a conversation with one of my close friends to realize that as I focused on this one battle, I was not able to see how I was winning the war.

 

In the same week I lost the pretzel battle, I packed up a closet full of clothes that are 2 sizes too big. I exercised every day even though the shin splints are screaming at me. I met my calorie goal each day. I diversified my greens…even ate broccoli…blech! My resting heart rate and recovery rate has drastically improved in the last 3 months. My weight has dropped and my confidence has soared.

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day and my habits are not going to change over night. What can change is my reaction to them. To get something different, I need to do something different. Right now that something different is to change my perspective. It may start with losing a battle and just getting up and moving on. Eventually, it may be these battles become easy victories….learning to do something other than eat my emotions. Who knows….I could be well on the way towards the end of my war with food. Only time will tell. In the mean time, I can’t worry about what battles I will face or what others will think. For each battle lost, there are at least a handful of victories that surround it. My something different is to focus on those victories, big and small, with or without pretzels.

Worth more than a million

22 Aug

This morning started like any other morning. Denver was sitting at the foot of my bed making his presence known. God forbid I don’t get up right away and take him out…instead I rolled over and slept until 6:30. I’m a mean mommy, especially in the morning. Finally I got up, took him out, gave him food, and jumped in the shower.

 

I was rummaging through my laundry basket deciding what to wear (because if you know me, you know how I avoid putting away clothes until someone comes over). Inside the basket are the “what fits” options. The clothes are from three locations: the dryer, recent clearance purchases, and clothes I found in a box in my closet, saved in the hopes that “one day” I would be able to fit into them again. I put on a purple t-shirt from the “one day” pile and a pair of gray pants that I bought on clearance at the beginning of the summer. When I tried them on back in June, they were too small. This morning they fit just fine. I left my bedroom with a big smile on my face. Suddenly, today feels a little magical.

 

As I went to the kitchen to grab my snacks for the day, I caught a glimpse of myself in the living room mirror. I couldn’t believe it. I had to take a second look. It’s a frumpy outfit, definitely more on the casual side of business casual, and nothing to write home about. I looked at myself again in the mirror. I feel – and look – like a million bucks today.

 

 

Hours later, I still can’t believe I am wearing these pants…I can’t believe how far I have come since June…In the grueling-est of moments, I toughed it out…I didn’t give up after my usual 5 weeks…I fought through the temptations and frustrations.

 

This, my friends, is evidence of success. This is evidence of doing something different. This feeling, these pants, this accomplishment, I would not trade for anything, not even a million bucks.

 

Evidence and Food Police

21 Aug

If there is one thing I have learned in the last few months, it is that food is 80% of weight loss. I didn’t believe it at first. In fact, I resisted it. Why does it matter what you are eating as long as you are under your daily calorie goal? Well, it matters…big time. I didn’t go from zero to sixty overnight. It took me about a month to get in to “clean” eating. You can do it too.

 

Here’s the secret, you have to go slow to go fast. Do not attempt to change everything you eat overnight. That’s a pretty overwhelming step and you are setting yourself up to fail. It is unrealistic to take a lifetime of habit and think you can flip a switch and be done. Like everything else, you have to do something different to get something different. Just as important, you need accountability (what I call “food police”). Here’s how to work on your eating…one step at a time.

 

For the first week, write down everything you eat and what time of day. Try to guess on your serving sizes. That’s it. Are you already thinking “I can’t write stuff down, I’m just too busy…” Guess what? You have to do something different to get something different. No excuses. Write it down!

 

The second week your goal is to start adding up calories. There are a million resources to help you do this. My favorite happens to be the app for Loseit.com (if you want to “friend” me there, my user name is grumpyspice). Again, your goal here is accurate recording and calculating calories. This is to help you become aware of what you are eating. There are no judgments or critiques, just observation.

 

As you begin week 3, I am guessing you will be a little surprised at what you eat. Maybe you eat more than you thought, or you realize you are only eating twice a day. You may be able to begin to see a pattern; that you’re most tempting time is midafternoon or early evening. Again, this is not about judgments, it’s about observation. “But Anne, writing stuff down is so hard…I don’t remember to all the time and….”  BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! Choose to do something different. Write it down!

 

Start week 4 by deciding on 1 thing you will change in your eating. This could be anything: meeting your daily calorie intake, eating 3 vegetables, cutting your meals in half, having a protein for breakfast, incorporating a healthy snack during your tempting hour, eliminating a processed food, drinking 64 oz of water, and on and on. The choice is yours. Pick one thing and do it. Be ready to check in with your food police and show the “evidence” of your success. At a minimum, your evidence will be your food record. You may also be able to report other “evidence” like weight loss, a change in your energy level, or a feeling of accomplishment.

 

Week 5 is where the food police comes in. Find somebody to hold you accountable to your goal. I don’t care who it is, but this person needs to be clear on their role. They will be checking to see if you met YOUR goal and if you did not, they will ask you why and what are you going to do differently to meet that goal. Then you will report to them next week on how you did with your plan to meet the goal. That’s it. There is no advice, no suggestions, no judgment. This is not about your food police person. This is about you. If you think you can swing it, you can even be your own food police. For me, when I started I knew I needed to be accountable to someone. In fact, there were several occasions where I chose not to eat something because I would have to relive the moment with my food police. Instead, I found some other way to deal with what I was dealing with.

 

Each week add on 1 small change. You may find that some changes take two weeks to stick and that is okay. Keep moving forward. The goal here is to build on success after success…going slow to go fast. And again, I cannot emphasize enough, the focus is on YOUR goal. This is about you. Your friend, doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, co-worker, whoever may have advice and a goal for you. Take these under advisement (especially from your doctor) and use them to determine YOUR weekly goal. At the end of the day, this is your life, your choice, and your journey. To get something different, you need to do something different. Start by building the evidence for your “something different”.

The secret to change

17 Aug

It seems like every other day I am seeing somebody I haven’t seen in a while and get a “Wow, Anne, you look great!” Most of the time it’s followed by “what are you doing?” or “what’s your secret?”

 

Well, I am here to tell you there is no secret to losing weight. The internet is full of good information (and unfortunately bad information) on how to eat and exercise. There are magazines to read, television shows to watch, bloggers to follow (get it? Bloggers to follow…..hahaha), and a million other resources to inform and inspire.

 

Since some of you are dying to know, here are the things that I am doing differently…all leading to my success:

  • Evidence and food police (100% accurate tracking and accountability)
  • Clean eating (no more processed food for this girl!)
  • Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables
  • Getting active (every day something, with “serious work” 6 days a week)
  • Asking for what I need (even if I feel like I’m oversharing)
  • Managing stress without food

 

I’m guessing some of you are disappointed.  What, no secret potion?  No magic recipe to shed the pounds?  Nope. Sorry.  The best things in life don’t come to those who wait…they come to those who work their butts off for it.

 

Here’s the real secret.  When I think about what my life will look like in the future, I expect it will be different. I expect to be free the struggle with food. I expect I will be able to run a half marathon. I expect I will be eating a lot of vegetables. I expect to eat pasta only once a year. I expect to manage my stress in better ways. I expect that I will forgive myself and others. I expect to feel a sense of accomplishment like no other. I expect I will be getting a tattoo to remind myself where I never want to go back to (don’t hold me to this last one…I may chicken out and buy jewelry instead).

 

In the meantime, I expect this to be difficult…and doable. I expect there will be bad days…and good days. I expect the doubt and worry…and that I will get through. I expect the injuries…and the healing time. I expect that my struggle with food will continue…and the drastic improvement I will continue to see overtime. I expect feeling alone and tired…and the overwhelming support I will get from my friends and family. I expect the frustration…and the elation.

 

I expect something different. I dream of something different. I know I can make something different happen. Admittedly, I am a little scared about something different in my life. Bottom line, to get something different, you need to do something different.  The secret’s out, but don’t tell anyone you heard it from me.

Data points

15 Aug

There are many ways to measure success when you are shifting your life to a healthier lifestyle. There are the performance measures….number of ounces of water consumed each day, number of calories consumed, number of calories burned, number of days with physical activity, number of sit ups or push-ups, and type of food consumed. These are the measures I like the most because I have complete control as to what they will look like. As an over-achiever perfectionist, I strive for the “A” (you know, “A” for Anne and all). This is where the observable choices are made, and if made well, will lead to good outcome measures. It is in these measures I am much more likely to give myself a break, looking at the big picture and saying “for that day, I did what I could” and I am content. Good enough.

 

Outcome measures like clothing size, blood pressure, blood work improvements, and total body weight I am much less enthusiastic about.  In fact, they make me nervous. Why?  Well, I don’t have complete control over them.  Theoretically I do because basic math says that if I eat less and move more I will lose weight. But that doesn’t always happen.  What is it about that stupid number on the scale that it becomes such a derailer?  Why do I have to make this such challenge every week?  And why do I freak out about it EVERY time I get on a scale? 

 

It starts with “oh my, I can’t believe I weigh that” to “wow, I lost 5 pounds so far!” to “feeling good, pounds are coming off” to “what do you mean only 1.5 pounds…the math says 3!” to “only down 30 pounds so far” and on and on. Ironically, I am totally okay with talking about improvements in blood work or going down a size. Those don’t really have an impact on my psyche. Bottom line, I freakin’ hate the scale. When I don’t hit the “A”, I second guess myself….big time…What did I do wrong? Can I really do this? Can I live without drinking lattes? Am I really worth something better? What if I’m not strong enough? What if I do all this and still don’t get what I want? What if I will always be the fat girl with glasses? 

 

There is no easy answer here, but if I want something different, I need to do something different. From now on, weight is just a data point.  There will be no judgments, observations, congratulations, despair, anxiety, pride or any other emotion about this stupid number.  It will be a statement of fact and that is it. Now, if I want feedback, talk to me all day about the choices I am making….calories consumed, miles walked, whatever….but I won’t say or think one word about that freakin’ number or any other individual data point. That’s just cheating myself. Instead, I will look. at my whole story, see the big picture, all of it. Because to get something different, I need to do something different, and here I have to work on thinking something different…a challenge that may be more difficult than kettle ball swings or burpies.

Oops…I just ran my first 5k

12 Aug

My friend Carolyn invited me to walk with her family at their church’s 5k.  I fully intended on walking and I have email evidence to prove it.  As we all lined up, my feet started to twitch.  Carolyn looked at me and said “Go run. I know you can do it. I don’t want to hold you back”. At first I didn’t want to because I really was there just to hang out with her and the family.  But then I really wanted to….why not? I had my hot shoes on, my running watch, and a bottle of water.  So I asked if she was sure because I didn’t want to be a jerk.  She said to go, and so I did.

 

Luckily it was a nice and flat run, mile and a half out and back.  I didn’t do intervals, instead I just ran for as long as I could and then walked until my heart rate was back down.  God bless Garmin sports watches.  Here is a picture of me a little more than half way through the race.

 

Two lessons were learned today.  1-when a chance at success presents itself, go for it. I didn’t over think it, I didn’t worry about it, I just got in there and did the best that I could do.

 

2-surround yourself with people that believe in you and are happy to see you succeed.  Carolyn could have said that she was really looking forward to talking while walking and made me feel guilty for wanting to run.  She didn’t. Without hesitation she said “go”. It wasn’t about my new physical abilities reminding her of where she is with hers. It wasn’t about who finished the race first. It wasn’t about missing an hour of gossip. It was about me trying to be a better me and Carolyn’s unconditional support of that goal.  Friends like this are priceless…keep them close!