Feelings, Calories and Another Fresh Start

This is an exciting time in my life because I’m surrounded by so many amazing people.  After the end of my not-quite-relationship, I needed some time to process my feelings, so I took the time I needed.  I was almost over the heartache by the time I posted about it, and now I can honestly tell you that after spending the day with that man today, I’m okay.  It feels good to see him and not feel like I’m falling apart.

As I was chatting with friends earlier, I realized that I’m not romantically interested in anyone.  There’s a guy that I would be interested in if I thought he’d be interested back, but there’s no one calling me every night before bed or texting me 20 times a day.  I like the feeling I get when I think about the possibilities of liking someone who might like me back, but I’m back to focusing on everything that I do have.

I possess a lot of characteristics that someone would be attracted to, but right now, I feel like those characteristics are hard to see because of the cloud of my obesity.  For a long, long time I’ve said that I don’t want to have to change to make someone want me, and it’s true.  I wish that there was a smart, talented, funny, handsome and interesting man in my life who would let me bake for him, sing for/with him, laugh with him and play Scrabble with him.  I wish that I could have that without feeling like I have to change first, but the truth is that I’d like to change regardless.

It’s no secret that I suck at losing weight, nor is it a secret that I need to lose it anyway.  I take responsibility for it, and I think it’s time to change my perspective.  I want a tall, honest, intelligent man who loves Jesus to think I’m beautiful, but I also want to think I’m beautiful.

My priorities haven’t been weight-loss related in a long time.  I’ve changed so much spiritually and emotionally, and I’ve made positive strides in so many areas.  I feel good about many areas of my life, but I’m still letting my weight affect me in ways that I wish it didn’t.

I’m going to try again…What else can I do?

Since moving to New Orleans I have visited several Weight Watchers meetings, but I haven’t found one that makes me want to go back.  I underestimated the chemistry of the meeting that I went to in New York, but I have to start somewhere.  I’m going to start counting calories today, and my goal will be to stay between 1500 and 1700 calories per day on days that I exercise.

We’ll see how that goes.  I’ll also be accountable to people in my everyday life about the numbers on the scale.

Time will pass whether I try to make changes again or not, and right now I don’t care about the numbers nearly as much as I care about creating healthy, controlled habits.

Am I the only one who has to start over again and again and again?

 

Reclaiming Healthy Habits

I’ve been trying to reestablish some healthy habits, and one of those habits is eating at home.  I don’t really enjoy food in the mornings so I’ve gotten back into the habit of starting each day with a smoothie.

Last week, I tried a few new flavors, and I liked the results.

I made a green smoothie (as I often do)  with apple, banana and spinach, and it was amazing!

apple banana spinach smoothie

I also mixed strawberries and blueberries, which might be my new favorite.

Bluberry Smoothie

I did orange, banana and a little pineapple too, and it tasted like dessert for breakfast.

Strawberry Orange Pineapple Smoothie

I’ve also been drinking homemade green juice a lot lately, and I’ve begun craving it, which was totally unexpected.  My favorite blend is kale, celery, cucumbers, parsley, cilantro and lemon.

green juice

I like bringing it to class because I can drink it at room temperature, and there’s just something about it that satisfies my taste buds.

I still like to chew food, of course, and last week I finally attempted to make quinoa.  It was amazing, and it satisfied my hunger all afternoon.  I made dressing using strawberries and a mango, and it was pretty outstanding too.

Quinoa Salad

 

One thing I’ve noticed is that eating at home is much more exciting when I find new foods that I enjoy.  Mixing different ingredients in the blender to see how it tastes is fun for me, and I think as long as I’m eating protein packed meals with fruits and veggies, I’m doing pretty well.

I use Greek yogurt in my smoothies to add protein and bulk.  Does anyone have any smoothie suggestions for me?  I’m always ready to try something new!

 

Healthy Eating, Or Habits That Seem Nearly Impossible

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends this week, and I’m tired.  Some fantastic things have been happening in my life, but I find myself struggling with food choices…still.

The struggle isn’t new.  The desire to change it isn’t new.  The mental block that keeps me from making the changes I need to make isn’t new.

My struggles don’t actually pertain to food.  I know that.  They’re built up inside my mind, and changing the way I think will change the way I operate.  I know.  I know.  I know.

I’ve been crushing my 10,000 steps a day goal this month, and by the end of the week I will have exceeded 250,000 steps for the month of August.  I feel great about the cardio part, but I continue to feel crummy about the food part.

I know that I need to change my eating habits.  I also know that it’s not cool to munch on near an entire bag of chips and salsa on my sofa while I watch a movie with friends. (Yes, I did that.  No, I don’t usually do that.)

It’s hard.  I know. I get it.  I need help with this, but the help has to come from within me.  Making small changes has led to big results for me in the past so I’m going to incorporate some small changes starting now.  Here’s what I plan to do:

– Track my food intake – it’s such a simple way to help myself succeed.  Why did I stop doing it?

– Replace one meal a day with a salad for the next few weeks.

– Drink more water.

It’s a struggle.  People try and fail and succeed and fail and try again at this all the time.  I know that I’m not the only one who struggles with the food they eat, but it’s my responsibility to fix me.  Trying again…

 

 

Ideas for Tackling Food Cravings?

As I was reading blogs this morning I came across a post about strategies to tackle food demons, and I started thinking about what I can do to control my own cravings.

I often crave food when I’m not hungry.  In my mind it doesn’t matter if I’m happy, sad, stressed, lonely, bored, etc.  My mind automatically assumes that situations will be more gratifying if food is involved, and I’ve been attempting to change that mindset for years.  I still have a lot of work to do.

I did a little research (thank you, Google) and came up with a few ways to beat cravings that I can imagine working, and I am going to start implementing them right now.

-Brush your teeth – I can see this working because I don’t like to eat anything for a while after I brush my teeth.  I can also whiten them because that means no eating for at least two hours, but I certainly can’t do that every time I have a craving.  i don’t want my teeth to be so white that they glow in the dark. ;)

Avoid your triggers – Jeez.  This one is tough because so many things make me want to eat junk, but I get the point.  Last week I picked up my old friend, Clint ( aka The Suit) at the airport, and his flight didn’t come in until after midnight.  I had some time to kill so as I was driving past Krispy Kreme, I decided to order a doughnut.

Krispy Kreme Metairie

I avoid this place most of the time because it’s so easy to convince myself that I need to buy more than one doughnut, but that night I reminded myself that the gratification of the doughnut would make me feel good for about 30 seconds before it made me feel bloated, lethargic and regretful.  I left the parking lot…doughnut-less, and I felt like I had won a battle within myself.

Drink  water – I drink a lot of water, but it’s hot in New Orleans so I won’t hurt myself if I drink more than that.  I keep a few 32 oz. bottles filled at all times, and it’s fairly easy to drink one quickly.  I usually feel full for a while after that, but I also feel like I did something good for myself, thus making it a little bit easier to pass on the junk food.

Keep it out of your environment – I cleaned out my fridge last week and got rid of most of the things that aren’t good for me.  I have a pint of ice cream in the freezer, but it’s not a trigger for me.  I have a serving from time to time, but I’m usually okay with that.  I don’t keep chips or candy in my place most of the time, and when I bake, I get it out of my house quickly too.

It’s easier for me to succeed when I have healthy choices available instead of unhealthy ones which leads me to my next strategy…

Plan – When I chop veggies for stir fry or roasting, I eat them.   When I boil eggs so I have a quick snack, I eat them.  When I come up with new, delicious ideas like a banana + 1 tbps of freshly ground almond butter, I eat that.

Exercise – I don’t mean that you should hit the gym every single time you crave a cupcake (although that may not be a bad idea for me.)  I mean, if you’ve made time to exercise, it’s a little easier to remind yourself that you’re doing good things for your body.  Maybe it’s a good idea to do three sets of jumping jacks, planks or something similar instead of eating, but that won’t always be a realistic option.  I mean, the folks at Starbucks might look at me like I’m crazy if I start doing lunges when I’m craving baked goods.  (I just ten avoid them there.)

Having healthy options that I like allows me to eat food that tastes good which reminds me that I’m doing this because I can, not because I have to.

Eat regularly – I know that when I eat breakfast and exercise that I will likely have a healthy day.  I also know that when  I avoid eating until late afternoon, I’ll eat too much at that point so it’s important to eat in a timely way.

I realize that there must be a zillion other ways to fight cravings so I’d like to ask YOU to offer some advice on this.  My question is…

What strategies do you use to avoid cravings?

Or is there something that you think might work that we should try?

Many of you have learned how to deal with this successfully, but I’d like to think that I’m not the only one who still fights with myself to say no to overeating.

I’m working on this, and I’d like to know if you are too.  I’d also like to hear your ideas too so please take a moment to share them.

 

 

 

Cooking At Home

Sometimes I have to start my post by whining a little.  I just have to say that my ankle hurts.  I’m sure that the hour of Zumba I did this morning didn’t help it, but what am I supposed to do?  I took a week off from workouts earlier this month, and it didn’t feel better.  If it’s going to hurt regardless, I figured I should at least burn some calories.

cheese tortellini

 

I’ve been icing it, and I’ll stick to the elliptical tomorrow which doesn’t seem to aggravate it as much. I’m not sure what to do to make the dull and constant pain go away, but it’s not horrible so I’ll stop whining for now.

This week has already presented some health challenges, and I’m trying to conquer them one at a time.  It’s going to be harder this week because I’m going to several Superbowl events including ESPN Nation, VH1 Concert Series and some CNN events.  We also plan to spend Sunday at the Superdome so I’ll pack some Pellegrino to refrain from drinking beer empty calories.

I’ve cooked several meals at home this week, and I have really enjoyed eating healthy and delicious foods.  It’s satisfying to make something delicious and enjoyable, and knowing that it won’t keep me from reaching my goals makes it even better.

I made a salad loaded with greens, bean sprouts and baked tilapia.

tilapia salad

 

Clint said my bbq shredded chicken was awesome, and I have to agree.

 

bbqchicken

 

I made 100-calorie crepes with Greek yogurt and fresh berries before the parade with Matt and Shannon Sunday.  This is one of my favorite meals, but I don’t make it often.

crepes

 

 

When I wake up I plan to put a beef roast in the slow cooker.  I will load it up with onions, garlic and Lipton onion soup mix, and it will be ready by the time I’m done with class.

What are you cooking this week?

Opinion: Celery Is NOT a Snack

I stay up late.  Don’t even bother telling me that I should go to bed before 1 am because I’m not going to do it.  I don’t get up at 6 am so I can go to bed late and still get enough sleep, but around 9 pm I start craving food.  Right now I’m trying to figure out what my last snack of the evening should be.

It’s easy to say “eat a vegetable,” and that’s good advice.  I just have to be more specific about what I need to have in my kitchen to satisfy me while keeping me on target.

 

Here’s a list of late night possibilities that I’ve come up with so far:

- raw sugar snap peas

- hummus

- Greek yogurt

- fresh berries

- oatmeal (with a boiled egg white on the side)

- 100 calorie Belgian chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s

 

My list needs to be longer, but I am aiming for things that will truly satisfy me so I don’t find myself searching for something else after my snack.  I know it seems like I should add almonds or other nuts to my list, but history has taught me that they’re not a good evening snack choice for me.

For months I drank a gallon of water everyday, but I lowered my goal to 10 glasses recently.  I think a gallon is probably best, but for now I’ll stick with being happy with at least ten.  Maybe drinking significantly less means I’m thirsty.  I’ll keep that in mind too.

Working out five days a week is going well, and while I set a goal of 30 minutes, most days I’ve done twice as much.  I know that making small, healthy goals is the way to do this, and surpassing them makes me feel like I’m in control.

Losing weight is a mind game, and I try to remind myself of that.

How are you doing with your current goals?  What are they?

 

 

 

What Can I Say? Next Week = Awesome!

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday!  My week has been extraordinarily busy, and some cool things have happened.  I started a new job.  It’s just a part-time thing in addition to what I already do, but I’m really enjoying it so far.  The work is interesting, and the people are great!

The Suit and I are also learning a lot about building our own business, and we have some big ideas.  We’ve been lucky to meet and learn from some of New Orleans’ most successful entrepreneurs, and we’re just getting started.

And a month from today I’m moving into an awesome little apartment downtown.  It’s been a long time since I lived alone, and I’m looking forward to it for several reasons:

  • I’m looking forward to being independent again and having a glass of wine, or a Belgian tripel after a long day if I want to.
  • It will be nice to fill my DVR with shows that I love (like Drop Dead Diva, Suits, Covert Affairs and White Collar.)
  • I can decorate my place the way I want to…I chose the sofa, and I’ll choose everything else.  I like the mildly contemporary, minimalist look – clean lines, but with pops of color.
  • It’s in a beautiful building in the heart of New Orleans.  It will take me less than 15 minutes to get to school and work, and my apartment is less than a mile from The Suit.  It will be nice to walk to his condo in ten minutes instead of driving for over an hour.
  • It features stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops throughout, wood floors and floor to ceiling windows.
  • It’s close enough to Mom’s house that I can visit whenever I want to.  I can spend the weekend on the bayou, or Mom can visit me for a day of lunch and shopping or whatever we want.
I’ve been hoping to move into the place since I first learned about it in July.  It’s been a long time coming, but I have a lot to do between now and October 12.  It’s probably a good idea to have furniture when I move in, right? ;)

And next week is going to be one of the coolest weeks of my year.  It’s time to go to Baltimore!  Last year I attended Fitbloggin’ for the first time, and I knew as soon as I arrived that I’d be back this year.  Having the opportunity to spend face time with people that I’ve grown to adore over the years makes the trip worthwhile, and there are added benefits like improving my blog, experiencing new fitness techniques and meeting new, awesome people who will be in attendance this year.

I’ve been fortunate to do some pretty cool things in my life, but Fitbloggin’ is near the top of my fun list, and it’s only a week away! Can you believe I’ll get to spend time with so many of my favorite people at once?!

This year I’m excited to be connecting with McCormick to bring you tips and information that will make your food more interesting.  As a major sponsor at Fitbloggin’ this year, McCormick is going to show us how spices and herbs can dramatically alter a meal without forcing us to take a hit on calories and fat.  They’re hosting an afternoon tour on Thursday, and I’ll be there.  Will you?  If you’ve already signed up for Fitbloggin, I hope you’ll join me.  You can sign up here, but do it soon because spots are almost full.  I’m looking forward to so many things this year, and seeing so many of my kindred spirits will be an incredible part of that.

Following Baltimore, The Suit and I are heading to New York for a few days.  Among other things, we plan is to sail on the Hudson, attend a taping of Anderson Cooper’s daytime show and end our evenings when the sun comes up – probably somewhere in the meat-packing district.  There’s also a guy somewhere in New York who owes me some 50-calorie cupcakes.  (Note to the man with the cupcakes: You know who you are, and you know what I want.)

Next week will be filled with hugs, learning, fun and new experiences, and at times like these it’s easy to recognize that I have so many reasons to be grateful for my life and everything in it.

Will you be at Fitbloggin?  If so, I’ll see you there!  What are you most excited about?

 

 

 

Today

Today I will step on the scale to see where I stand after a week of eating processed junk food during the hurricane.  I will exercise.   I will also make healthy choices, and I will remind myself that giving up is not an option.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that quitting is not an option, and right now I have to remind myself to fight the mindless cravings, the feelings of lethargy and defeat…I have the power to be successful, and I’m claiming it today.

How do you motivate yourself to move forward when you feel like you have failed yourself?  How do you convince yourself to try again?

 

Challenging Myself This Week

Sunday afternoon I had a conversation with Aunt Janice in which I expressed my desire to jump start my weight-loss again, and she suggested the same thing that Leslie suggested last month.  She said I should cut out carbohydrates for a week and that it would yield great results so I’ve been giving it a try all week.

I’m not following any specific plan. I’m just eating lean protein, an ounce or so of nuts and leafy greens.  I am eating very few carbs, and the carbs I’m eating are healthy ones (not processed.)

I thought it would be terribly difficult, especially since I don’t spend much time at home, but it has been totally manageable.  I’ve been with The Suit a lot this week, and instead of going out like we normally would, we’ve made a conscious effort to eat at (his) home.  He makes the best eggs ever, and I think tonight’s dinner menu will include salmon and leafy greens.  He’s already in great shape, but like the rest of us, when he eats better he feels better so this has been good for both of us.

When I started this challenge Monday morning I knew I wanted to make it through the day, but I wasn’t sure how I would do it.  I’ve been taking it one step at a time, and that seems to be working.  My goal is to eat foods that are high in protein and low in carbs until Sunday (and beyond that, of course) at which point I’ll step on the scale and compare my weight to last week’s weigh-in.  I’m curious to see how the numbers differ, but I’m guessing that I’ll weigh less than I did last week.

I’ve had three solid workouts this week as well, and I’ll complete another one today before a meeting in the afternoon and seeing The Suit in the evening.

I know I can eat carbs and lose weight.  They’re even good for us sometimes, but being in control of what I’m eating again feels good.  Reaching my daily goals and being consistent feels good.

I’m watching my portions without obsessing over them, and I feel like I’m back in control.  That’s a feeling that I haven’t experienced in quite some time, but it’s a feeling I love more than most.  It makes me feel like I can win the battle within myself, and I can’t tell you how much hope I’ve found in making good choices once again.

Have you ever cut out carbs?   Do you pay attention to the amount you eat in a typical day?

 

 

Getting Honest About Some Things

Before I begin I have to warn you that this post might be long and scattered because I have a lot to get off my chest today, and I’m not sure where to start.

I could never put into words how much I appreciate the unwavering support that I receive here.  Many of you have been here since the beginning waiting to see me reach my goal, encouraging me to keep trying.  I love you for that, and I hope you never stop.  But right now I need to start digging out of this rut of complacency that I have been in for a lot longer than I want to admit.

Losing 100 pounds is often enough to dramatically alter the lives of those who lose it, but it’s not enough for me. I have experienced so many positive changes, but this is not a post about that.  Right now I need to figure out how to change my mindset, how to make myself move forward again in a strong, steady and powerful way.

I don’t know how to climb out of this proverbial hole that I’ve been living in.  I’ve been living comfortably with the fact that I’ve lost so much weight for so long now that it feels like I need to start over.  My past accomplishments don’t need to be forgotten, but they’re old news…really old news.  And I want to bask in some new accomplishments.

Before I continue, I’m going to ask that everyone refrain from telling me that I’m more than a number on a scale, or that I need to love myself so others will, or that I won’t be happy when I get to my goal if I can’t be happy with myself now.  I’ve heard all of that, and I understand most of it.  But let’s face some facts today.

When I look at my life I see some things that I like and some things I still want to change, but everything is overshadowed by a giant dark cloud that is the number on the scale.

I used to encourage others by saying that you don’t have to reach your goal before you start feeling good about yourself. You just have to start.  And it’s true.  I know it’s true because when I said it, I was feeling it.   Right now, what I accomplished throughout the first part of this journey is simply not enough.  I’m still obese.

I could make a list of reasons I love and respect myself today, and that list has grown more in the last year than it has at any other point in my life.  I know that I’m a good person, and I have been working through emotions that are difficult to face because I’m trying to become a better person.  There’s a lot of work going on inside my head, and that’s important to recognize (even though most of it is far too personal to discuss in such a public forum.)

But the fact remains that when I look at myself, I see the number on the scale.  We can say it doesn’t define me, but the truth is that it is me.  My body grew to its largest size because of what I did to it, and whether I like to admit it or not, my size currently defines who I am above everything else.

Look, I have a host of other imperfections as well, but my size haunts me.  It’s the truth, my truth, and the things that led me to my extreme obesity (and the snowball effect it has had since) are not easy to face.  It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, but I’ve been wrong a lot.  I made some pretty incredible mistakes.  I mistreated my body and my loved ones, and in many ways I led a life that could never have been happy and free if I didn’t begin to face those issues.

Before I started losing weight I would always say that I was a “good investment.”  I wanted to believe it was true because surely I’d eventually mature into more than I was – a grossly overweight, unhappy, unmotivated, unsuccessful shell of a human-being who didn’t value herself enough to create any positive change in herself.  (Yeah, the truth hurts, and it’s still not easy to admit now.)  But that’s how I viewed myself.

When guilt set in I told myself that I’d do better tomorrow.  I told myself constantly that the future was filled with hope, yet I failed to give myself any reasons to be hopeful.

Fast-forward to the present: I can’t say that I’m as horribly unhappy or unmotivated now as I was prior to 2009.  As I said, I like a lot of things about my life these days, but there are still some major things I need to change.

I need to change my environment.  I prefer living alone and in a city so I am planning a move into a cute little apartment in downtown New Orleans in the Fall.  Living alone will be good for me.  Controlling what is in the pantry and the refrigerator will be good for me.  I know that, but I also realize that everything I eat now is a choice.  It’s my choice, and it’s up to me to make better decisions.  One thing I’ve noticed spending most of my time downtown is that I’m more likely to go out for food.  It will be easier when I have my own little kitchen, but I will still have to make choices.  Living alone won’t solve everything, but it will be a big leap in the right direction.

I also need to claim what I really want.  I mean, I wish I was fit and trim, but we all know that I have to do a lot more than wish to be at goal.  It looks like I’m going to have to fight a hell of a lot harder than I did when I started my journey, and I have to accept that.  End of story.

I need a routine too.  I’m always on the go, and I don’t spend a lot of time in one place.  Just in the last few months I’ve been in Colorado, Virginia, D.C., New York, Houston, etc.  And over the next couple of months I’ll be in New York again, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Dallas (maybe Oklahoma too.)  Traveling a lot means that I have to have a different game plan.  I lost weight when I traveled before so I know it’s possible, but I have to be mindful.

I’m also lacking accountability.  I left Weight Watchers again recently after another bout of frustration with PointsPlus, and now my meeting no longer exists.  Say what you will, but weighing in at meetings every week changed my life.  I need to find a new meeting and make it my highest priority again.

I’ve gotten lazy with my workouts too.  Sure, I do them occasionally, but I love working out.  I crave endorphins nearly everyday so why the hell am I not doing it?  I don’t have a gym membership anymore, but there’s nothing stopping me from joining another one.  I’ll work that out this week, but until then I will do 30-Day Shred at home at least 5 times over the next 7 days.

I could drone on for hours about why it’s hard and how it’s not fair that I have so much further to go than the average person who loses as much as I’ve lost, but lamenting the work I have to do will not bring me closer to my goal.

I still say no to myself a lot more than I say yes, but I’m not doing enough.  I know that, and I take responsibility for that.

The fact is that my actions don’t help or hurt anyone except me.  I’m surrounded by people who love me and want me to be happy and healthy, but I have to get there on my own.  I’m happier than I was at 400+ pounds, but I’m not as happy as I’ll be at 150 pounds.  And it’s not because I don’t think I don’t deserve to be happy now.  It’s because I know that I am capable of so much more.

I’m preparing a life for myself in which obesity will no longer define me.  I’m in school studying Public Relations. (Yep, I declared recently.)  And I’m dreaming of a day when I can claim what I want for myself in my career and in relationships without the worry that my body is keeping me from fulfilling my desires.

This is my reality, friends.  This is my struggle, and no one can fix it except me.  Last week I admitted that I don’t know how, and sadly, I have not found the answer yet.  The truth is I can’t imagine stepping on the scale and seeing 275 or 250, or 199.  (I could see  the first number in the next month or so, but it feels as far as Mars!)

I don’t know how I did what I did the first time.  I don’t know how to wake up every morning with purpose.  I don’t know how to convince myself that today is the day (not tomorrow.)

I feel an utter lack of confidence and an overwhelming amount of insecurity, but I know what I want today.  I know what I want for my future, and I know that it’s mine for the taking.  I also know that I don’t have to get to my goal before I can start feeling on top of the world again.  I know I just have to start moving toward it.

This is my journey, and I’m doing things on my time.  I just need to turn the clock on again, and I need to remind myself that I’m worthy of it if I’m willing to work for it.