Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wow...That Made Everything Okay

I was presented with some pretty devastating news this week.  What I learned from it was that I am in fact an emotional eater.  I never wanted to admit this before.  I didn't think that my weight gain was related to emotional eating.  I thought that I was just eating too much for no reason at all.  It occurred to me, as I started to face this difficult situation, and couldn't seem to satisfy my appetite, that perhaps I am in fact one of the millions of people that eat for some emotional fullness.  In the midst of this situation, I sat down for lunch.  As I took the first bite of a really unhealthy meal, all of the sudden, it all slipped away for one brief moment.  I felt like the drug addict right as he sticks the needle in his arm.  Everything else faded from sight in that instant.  As I continued to eat over the last four days, I realized at each turn that it wasn't because I was psychically hungry.  Instead, the emotional void that I needed to fill was urging me to eat.  I would love to say that the realization of this allowed me to make better, more rational choices about my food.  However, I gave into the urge and ate.  I think that this is an important realization though.  While I wasn't able to control my impulses in the moment, I think that as I move forward, I can once again make choices that help me feel better over the long term.  The instant satisfaction of junky food quickly fades into an overall malaise that accompanies it.  The long term well-being that I feel when I make good choices about my food consumption must overtake the momentary relief that bad food can provide.  I do want to thank those around me these last few days (you know who you are) for knocking me over the head sometimes when I was spiraling out of control!  You're the BEST!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

As my summer comes to an end and the daily grind begins, I felt like it was time to share a few words of reflection on how the dog days of summer went!  Having not spent one summer completely free of work in decades, I made the most of having all the time in the world.  I think, though, that I was busier every day this summer than I am when I'm working full time.  What adventures we had!  State parks galore, California, Pennsylvania, camping, beach lounging, you name it, we probably did it!  And then there was waking up late and drinking coffee until the kids woke up.  The best part of the whole summer though, was hearing my 2 year old wake up in the morning, walk down the stairs, see me and say, "What we doing today, mama?"

I tell you this, because it occurred to me about half way through the summer fun, that having so much fun wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't gotten healthier.  The old me would have sent the kids to daycare or camp and I would have hung around the house or did some lazy errands on my own.  It's only with my renewed sense of well-being that I've been able to enjoy what it means to spend time engaged with my family and to be an energized example to my children.  The weight-loss process has brought me a renewed sense of commitment to my family and their well-being.

So, as the school-year begins and day-to-day takes hold, I am thankful for the fun times had this summer and look forward to this year with anticipation and excitement as I continue on my journey and put these summer days behind me!  Forward I go with healthy choices and the confidence to continue losing weight!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You Can't Stop the Waves, but You Can Learn How to Surf

As I've been stalled out at about 40 pounds down, I've had time to think about what this process has been like.  Thankfully, this plateau has come at a time when I'm way too far into the journey to even think about turning back.  However, it has given me a chance to really work through what the whole thing means.

I took my kids hiking earlier this week.  We went to Calvert Cliffs State Park.  We  ate a picnic lunch at this awesome recycled tire playground and then, in order to get to the cool part of the park, you have to hike for about two miles to get out there (unless of course you get on the wrong trail and add another mile or so to your walk, which we did).  The thing is, I have a two year old.  He didn't eat his lunch (the playground was much too fun to stop and eat) and he hadn't taken his afternoon nap.  So, about a half mile into the hike, he's tired and hungry (although not annoyingly miserable - somehow when they're that little they know it's more fun to stay positive even when you're tired).  As I carried him on my shoulders (and on my back and in front) and as I developed a whole new appreciation for mama monkeys, I had a few thoughts.  He's only 31 pounds.  I used to carry around 43 extra pounds, what a little 31 pound monkey compared to that!  Granted they weren't in a wiggly little body on top of my shoulders, but they also weren't a bundle of fun and silly little jokes like he is either!  It also occurred to me that I had NEVER taken my kids hiking.  We never used to do anything really fun and outdoorsy.  I was always too tired or just didn't want to do it, or I made excuses about something being too expensive (Side note: state parks and picnics are the cheapest way you'll ever spend a day).  Boy, I didn't know what I was missing!  Hanging out with my two favorite people in the woods, looking for fossils at the beach and just enjoying the journey with two sets of fresh little eyes was all worth it!

That's the point of this journey though.  It's not just about losing weight or gaining muscle.  It's not the destination, it's what you do on your way there.  A year and a half ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of taking a two year old hiking.  Not in a million years!  Now I've discovered that while it's a little more difficult, it's so much more rewarding than dropping him off at the babysitter.  Spending time with my kids on an adventure makes the journey so much more rewarding.  They're able to see that I've become a different person;  a person that enjoys being with them and doing fun things.

On another note,  I recently won a contest!!!  YAY!!!  It was the Smartest Loser Contest sponsored by the local newspaper.  My best buds, friends, coworkers and probably some of their friends voted for me in this contest.  The prize, besides just the satisfaction of having won, is a $500.00 spa day at About Faces Day Spa and Salon.  Yesterday I got my picture taken for the Annapolis Style Magazine   (go to the last page) and next week, I'll get to cash in my prize!  I'm so excited.  I think in my whole life I've never spent $500.00 in beauty treatments.  Well, maybe combined over the last 32 years I have, but probably not in the last 10!

This is just one more example of how it's about the journey, not the destination.  I've still not reached my final weight loss goal, but I'm working at it.  This prize is just a little encouragement along the way!  I'll get there, maybe I'll get there by the end of the year, maybe by the end of next year.  But the idea is, the years come and go, and I'll continue to get older, so I might as well make the best of the ride!  I'll turn 40 and 50 anyway, so I might as well reach those milestones a little smaller! 

So, as I'm wrapping up the 90 day challenge at the gym, I've been doing some reflecting on the gym process.  It has been so amazing to get into this fitness routine.  I feel like a different person compared to when I started in January.  While I didn't reach my weight loss goal (I had a goal of 18 pounds lost by the end of the 90 days, which averages to about 1.5 pounds per week) the change has been more than about pounds.  I discovered that I am capable of committing to going to the gym four times per week.  I can do yoga and spinning classes and I feel stronger and healthier than ever.  At our final lecture in the program, we talked about the next steps in a healthy lifestyle and how it's important to make the journey the important thing.  I can't guarantee that when I lose all of this weight that my life will be perfect.  I can't guarantee that my finances will be secure and that my family's and my own health will be great, but what I can control, at least a little bit, is the present.  All that I am guaranteed is this moment, and I will make the best of it.  I will take what comes my way, and instead of trying to stop the waves, I will learn how to surf!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Alas! The Day Has Arrived!

After months of losing and gaining and losing the same 5 pounds, I have finally reached both my 40 pound mark and my 20% weight loss!!!  I am SOOOOO thrilled!  The even better part is that I recently lifted a forty pound weight at the gym and it was HEAVY!!!!  I'm so glad I'm not schlepping those 40  pounds around with me!  What a thrill!  I think the weight should come off a little easier now that I'm not stressing over reaching those milestones.  The same thing happened when I was approaching the 25 pound mark.  It took me weeks to get there, but once I did, I was able to lose a little faster after that.

Another exciting little thing that's been going on is my nine-year-old daughter has started to take control of her health too.  We've consulted with a nutritionist about her health and she's started tracking what she eats and is taking suggestions for healthier snacks and meals.  Generally she's looking to make healthier choices.  I'm so proud of this step she's decided to take and I look forward to going on this journey with her! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Power of Air

To think I almost skipped yoga today to stay home and watch television!  Today was not the day to skip.  I'm so glad I got my lazy butt up and finally went!  I had the most amazing practice today and finally have come to realize the power of breathing.  You see, (and for those of you who actually know about yoga, please excuse my pathetic explanations) yoga focuses a lot, and I mean, a lot on breathing.  There's this special breath that you do (insert Hindi word here) where you take air into your body and expand your stomach area and then when you're exhaling, you push your naval back toward your spine.  Welll...turns out that if you maintain your breathing like this for the length of the practice everything becomes a lot easier and the positions are more manageable and it gives you almost superhuman strength!  I mean, it was super intense today and so thoroughly and completely invigorating! 

Besides fully appreciating the breathing component I continue to stand in awe at the instructor who manages to not only make the classes fun and energizing, but she also somehow makes it so that I feel like I'm engaged in this hour long dance class that allows me to flow so seamlessly from one move to the next.  It's like each position goes so effortlessly into the next.  Another class I recently took felt more like the positions were independent of one another making it seem sort of stilted and awkward.  Today wasn't like that though.  Today I felt like a tree swaying its branches in the wind; a lovely dancer with a flowing dress! 

Ah...I think I've said enough!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aha! And Other Moments of Insight!

I think I've finally figured it out!  Today I went to a work session and did some serious running, sprinting, and interval stuff...I think that's what I did anyway, I'm not so in touch with all of this fitness lingo...and it's starting to become clear.  I think the weight loss has been stalled because I've been doing activities that are more toning and not so fat burning.  The things that I have done that are more fat burning, like running and spinning/cycling, I've not done to the point where I've had to push myself and really get my heart rate up.  I've been going through the motions, but not actually making it so that I can't breathe when I'm done.  Not that I suggest asphyxiation, but having to stop and catch your breath might be worth something.  It's a lot harder too, these exercises.  It really requires more will-power to actually force yourself into a position of making it hard to breathe.  Kind of goes against my natural instincts of wanting live, but whatever.

On another note, I'm so proud of my Weight Watcher buddies.  One of them just made her 5% weight loss (in TWO WEEKS!!!!)   and the other, not sure if she's made any milestones, but she's well into the plan and down I think about 13 pounds!  AWESOME!  I love having other people to talk with about the program and am forever encouraged by their progress and their suggestions.

At the WW meeting this week, we talked about the four pillars (or something like that) about the new WW program.  One of them is "treat yourself".  Just a word about that...WW and any other program shouldn't be about deprivation, but rather about finding balance in your life.  If you can't enjoy a little cookie here or there, or a taste of ice cream then you're setting yourself up for failure.  What is key, is that when you do treat yourself, that you eat something that is really worth eating.  The other day, I had a little bit of ice cream.  I started to eat it and discovered that I wasn't really enjoying it.  Instead of forging ahead and finishing what I had served myself, i chose to throw the rest away.  It really wasn't worth the points that I was going to have to spend to finish it.  The taste was good and got me through wanting to have it, but that was all I needed.  Treat yourself in moderation.

Friday, March 4, 2011

No Excuses!

Okay, so I'm taking requests.  Today's topic is "no excuses". For a few weeks now, I've been asked to write about making excuses, or rather, not making excuses.  Well, I've stopped making excuses and now I'm writing about it!  Finally! 
As you've been reading, I've been doing this 90 day fitness challenge and haven't really been losing weight.  The first week or two I was blaming it on building muscle or retaining water.  As the weeks pass and the weight isn't coming off, I've been forced to reevaluate and think that maybe, just maybe, I'm not really putting in all the effort I should with my food choices.  The working out has been regular and strenuous, but I think my eating needs to change back to what I had been doing.  The excuses of water and muscle need to be forgotten.  Getting back to basics is what is called for.  The program is simple, you lose weight when you burn more calories than you take in.  I must not be burning what I'm putting in! 
This week was another sad weigh in.  I gained 2 pounds again this week!  I figured I hadn't lost, but I really hadn't expected to have gained 2 pounds.  What a disappointment!  I'm SOOO close to my 40 pounds down, that I can almost taste it (so to speak) and I just can't seem to get there!  I'm convinced though, that I'll get there.  I've refocused my meals and eating habits and I think this will be the week.  I can feel it!