Sneaky Addictions

If you asked me if I struggle with addiction, my quick answer would be no. I’m not addicted to alcohol, and I’ve never even contemplated using drugs (with exception of that one time that I considered smoking something at a Pearl Jam show at Bonnaroo.)

Drugs and alcohol don’t do it for me. I enjoy a glass of champagne from time to time, and I’m not opposed to drinking a beer or two at a game or out with friends. It’s just not my thing, but ‘my thing’ definitely exists.

I don’t have caffeine daily, but I have it most days. When I spend a few days away from Starbucks, I get a fairly strong urge to go. It’s safe to say that my new found love for Passion Tango Tea (unsweetened) isn’t going to lead to waking up in an alley somewhere, but I do recognize that I could easily become addicted to Starbucks and those cute little gold stars if I’m not already.

Starbucks Passion Tango Tea

A few days ago I spent about an hour without access to my cell phone, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. At one point, I needed to call Dad, and I couldn’t. I also missed calls from Mom, who seemed a little worried that she couldn’t reach me (because I’m usually so accessible.) I couldn’t post a photo of something cool that I saw on Instagram, nor could I waste time wondering why Facebook wasn’t showing me anything new. I couldn’t text my friends to tell them how crazy it feels to be without my cell phone for an hour. The number of times that I reached for my phone, which wasn’t there, was ridiculous.

I’m addicted to food too, which is a tricky thing. We all need it to survive, but I often crave more of it than I should. I’m learning learning to accept that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying food. I like it. I like the things that we associate with it too – being with friends, celebrations, comfort, etc. I just want to continue trying to control my intake because whether we’re talking about Apple products or coffee or most other things that interest me, moderation is the key to living a healthy life.

Sugar seems to be the basis of my food addiction. I’m not a doctor, but I know my body pretty well. I also know that sugar is hidden in a lot of things, and I’m striving to avoid those things. My avoidance comes from a desire to be healthier and fitter than I am now, and right now that seems more important than eating dessert or using pecan creamer in my coffee.

Right now it feels like I’m headed in the right direction, and I find myself thinking about what else I can do to make progress. I like this phase a lot more than the phase that I was in prior to it. I can honestly say that I’m trying, and I hope to see some results that will motivate me to continue down a healthier path to self-control.

Do you have any addictions that may not seem like a big deal? Do you call it something else?

 

 

 

Sugary Things

I’ve been pretty stressed out today, and while it hasn’t completely passed, I know that I’ll get through it.  I’m not turning to food to comfort me, which feels like a win. I’m sticking to my no doughnuts/macchiatos plan, but there’s still so much that I need to change. When I think of everything that I need to be doing differently, I get overwhelmed. I’m still not ready to look at the big picture, but I’m ready to add another layer to my checklist.

Saying NO to those sweet things is great, but I need to be sure that I’m not replacing them with other sweet things. I’m still at Starbucks regularly, but I’m “indulging” in unsweetened passion tea. It has no calories, and it’s pretty to look at while I work. I can have free refills too (thanks to my gold card status) so it’s a win. I don’t miss the macchiatos most of the time.

I haven’t missed the doughnuts either (probably because I reached the point of total disgust a few weeks ago,) but I have to be careful with other sweet things. Sugar is my weakness. I know that I need to make some adjustments in the way that I consume sugary junk.  I know some people who quit sugar cold turkey, but I’m not that strong. I can’t even think about how hard it would be to enjoy life without sugar at any time. I’m sure some of you are strong enough to do that. I’m not.

I met someone recently who only eats dessert on the weekend. That seems like good plan.   Refraining from sweets during the week (desserts, random offerings of chocolate covered gummy bears, etc.) would greatly impact that way that I consume sugar. I know someone else who eats well all week and allows himself to eat whatever he wants to eat on Saturdays.

I’m not ready to say that I will not eat anything sweet ever again, but I might be willing to refrain from it on the weekdays. If I can manage to do that without going crazy on the weekend, then I’ll consider that a win.

If I want sugary things during the week, I’ll have fruit. I love honey crisp apples.  I keep them stocked in the fall.  I realize that they contain sugar, but let’s be honest. I don’t have hundreds of pounds to lose because of all of the fruit I eat.

I did some walking with girlfriends over the weekend, and I was reminded how awesome and easy it is to enjoy my surroundings.

IMG_3955

I live in a beautiful neighborhood that people come to see from all over the world. I just need to start taking advantage of that more than I have been lately. I have access to a gym with a nice view as well. I’m not sure why I allowed myself to forget all of the awesome tools and experiences that are right under my nose.

Canal St. New Orleans

I’m committed to making some positive changes in the coming weeks and months, and it feels good to be making positive progress now.  I’ll face the numbers on the scale later, but for now, I think that if I limit sweet treats even more and exercise more regularly, I’ll be doing enough to see a positive shift.  I’ve already felt one of in my attitude, and that feels a lot better than what I was feeling until a few weeks ago.

Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding sweets and/or replacing them with healthier alternatives?

 

 

 

Does God Care That I’m Fat?

There’s no commandment in The Bible that says, “Thou shalt exercise daily,” but there is definitely a commandment that says to put God first. I’ve been thinking about what that means as I continue to grow in my relationship with Him, and I find myself wondering whether or not I’m committing idolatry. The answer is most definitely yes, at least sometimes, and I want to change that.

Gluttony is a sin.  Too often I find myself overindulging and putting the desire to eat above my desires for other things – including God. I’ve had to repent over this more than once or twice, and it’s still a struggle that I deal with almost everyday.

Luckily, in Romans 8:38-39, it is clear that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God loves me even though I’m plus-size. Whew! I’m even more thankful for that than I am for His grace. It still amazes me when I think about how much Jesus loves me, and with that, I believe that He wants what’s best for me.

I don’t think that doing what is “best for me” means that I need to be a size zero. I don’t even think it means that I need to be a size 8, even though that would be cool. I’m not sure what it means in terms of precise numbers, but I know that some things still need to change.

It has been almost two weeks since I had a sugary drink from Starbucks. I committed to going 30 days without indulging in an iced caramel macchiato (or anything else that isn’t plain coffee or tea,) and it hasn’t been a difficult as I thought it would be. The lack of doughnuts in my life hasn’t been as difficult as I thought either, but there’s a lot more than I need to change.

Yesterday my friend, Tracey and I, had one of those awesome conversations about life that you can only have with people you trust completely, and she suggested asking God to give me the willingness to make better choices everyday. Maybe at some point I’ll have the courage to ask Him. Right now, in all honesty, I’m scared of failing and scared of succeeding.

I don’t know how God feels in regards to what I should weigh, but I do know that what He wants is all of me. He wants everything that I am – the good and the bad. It’s easier to give Him the good stuff because letting go of the tough stuff means having to trust Him. I’m working on that, but it’s not easy…not even a little bit.

When I look at myself through the lens of God’s character, I can only conclude that He wants me to put Him first – before caramel macchiatos, before doughnuts, before money, before relationships…He wants me to be healthy.

It’s always hard to admit how weak I am, but maybe that’s exactly what I need to do. My favorite passage in The Bible is 2 Corinthians 12:9, in which Paul says, But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I guess that means that I need to embrace my weaknesses and continue to let God work in me. I know that I need to invite Him into this situation. That’s what prayer is, then I have to ask Him to give me strength to be who He wants me to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner For One?

I’ve been a bit of a homebody this week, which isn’t typical for me.  I’ve been eating at home more because I’m here, and it makes me think that I should take time to stay in more often.

I live alone, and I don’t always take time to cook for myself because it feels like so much effort to cook for one.  I enjoy cooking when I’m having company, but on the rare evenings when I’m at home, I find myself more interested in doing other things than cooking (like knitting, watching New Girl or Scandal, painting my nails, blogging, baking something to share with friends, homework, etc.)

I’m going to work on changing the way I think about cooking for myself because if it’s worth the effort to cook for someone else, it’s worth it to cook for myself.  It saves money and calories to make the extra effort, and I’ve always known that I should do it.  I

don’t think of myself as lazy because I’m almost always on the move, but it’s probably a good idea to spend more time at home preparing meals that are healthy for myself.

Am I the only one who prefers to order in or eat cereal when dining alone?

Regaining Weight and Regaining Control

Earlier this week I wrote a post about the anger that I was feeling, but I wasn’t ready to discuss how to change it.  Here’s an excerpt from what I said:

What can I say? I know that I should skip the venti iced nonfat caramel macchiato at Starbucks.  I also know that I should start my day with a workout instead of sleeping in for an extra half hour.  I know that I should swap out the food that I eat at restaurants for salads that I eat at home, and I know that I should drive by Krispy Kreme without stopping…ever. (Seriously, who needs a doughnut from Krispy Kreme?  They’re grossly overrated.)

Feeling angry sucks, and feeling angry and helpless sucks even more.  Verbally abusing myself won’t change anything either.  I understand that it works for some people, but I love myself too much to do it (at least most of the time.) Losing weight isn’t easy, but it’s possible.  How many times have I said that over the years?  Maybe it’s hard.  It’s obviously harder for me than I like to admit, but there are some simple concepts that would lead to big results if I’d simply do them:

  • Skip the calorie-laden drinks at Starbucks.  This seems like common sense, and it is.  I decided that I’d allow myself to drink them from time to time, which then became pretty frequent.  It’s fine to have a coffee or tea with no sugar and a splash of milk, but the 270 calories and load of sugar (even with the 16 grams if protein) just isn’t a good idea.  I don’t drink sodas. Why in the world would I drink sugary milk?
  • Exercise on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a weekend day.  This is easy enough, and yet, I’ve gotten so incredibly lazy.  I don’t sit at home and watch TV or all day or anything, but I tend to leave my house shortly after noon (without eating lunch.)  I work as a private tutor during the week, and I go to class as well.  I lead a small group on Wednesday evenings and go to band practice on Thursday evenings.  I’m not lazy in a traditional sense, but I’m not making an effort to sweat before I leave home.  (Did I mention the cute, little gym upstairs at my building? I’m embarrassed to admit how long it’s been since I exercised in it.)
  • Prepare healthy foods that I can take with me on the go. I used to do this. It requires some extra effort, but I used to believe that Sunday nights existed for food prep.  At some point (a long time ago) that changed.  It needs to change again because a little effort goes a long way, and little changes like that go a long way.
  • Say NO to Krispy Kreme.  I know so many people who think that their doughnuts are sub-par, and they are.  I know it, but when I drive by, I want them.  I don’t always get them, but I get them more often than I should.  I used to love cokes.  I would drink them everyday.  I was a slave to them, and one day I stopped drinking them.  Now, years later, I think they’re so ridiculously disgusting.  Perhaps it’s time to have a similar experience with doughnuts.

If you talk to someone who has lost a significant amount of weight, if they’re being honest, they’ll probably tell you that it’s hard to get everything right all the time.  (I know this is true because I hear it often.)  I’m not sure if it gets easier or when, which means that I’m focusing on a couple of minor changes that will lead to better results.  Right now regaining control is my biggest concern, and I’m making a couple of minor adjustments to do just that.

My focus this month has surrounded Starbucks because I’m there frequently.  Exercising before Starbucks is better than not exercising, but skipping sugary coffee drinks is obviously better that that.  I’d like to see some changes in myself, and I’m giving up the macchiatos for the next month.  At that point, I’ll decide if I want to have one before limiting them again, but my guess is that I’ll be over them.  I don’t drink coffee everyday, but I like the environment.  My goal is to have unsweet tea or unsweet tea when I’m there.   I drink a lot of water there too because one of my favorite barista pals always reminds me to hydrate.

I’m also banning Krispy Kreme from my life for the next 30 days.  Am I the only one who feels like short-term goals are more manageable?  I’ve proven that making number goals without adjusting my habits doesn’t work.  Maybe now I can prove that creating goals in the form of new habits will, in fact, allow the number goals to work themselves out.

I’m much happier and much more relieved than I was when I wrote the previous post, but I’m still not happy with the fact that I let myself spin out of

I’m in Washington, D.C. right now, and I’m sticking to the Starbucks rule too.  I still can’t say that I’m in control, but I’m working on it again, which is more than I could say at the beginning of the week.

 

Do You Have Health Insurance?

I don’t spend a lot of time complaining about the government because I respect our leaders even when I don’t agree with them.  That said, I think it’s ridiculous that I’m struggling to decide whether or not to keep health insurance due to the inane spike in costs.

I currently pay $222 per month, but that’s about to change.  I’m single, and it’s been over a year since I had a doctor visit for anything other than the basics.  ( And I rarely show up for those.)  I am in no way abusing the system.  I pay into it, but I count myself lucky that I haven’t had any substantial need for healthcare.

As a student at Tulane, I have two choices: purchase insurance through the school  or provide proof that I have healthcare.  If I don’t, I’ll incur fees that are completely separate from the fees that are completely separate from anyone fees that I will incur from the government.

Now, instead of paying $222 per month, I’ll be forced to pay nearly $400 per month. The cheapest option (with a high deductible) is $340 per month.  That’s a significant increase, especially since Obamacare was supposed to make healthcare “better.”  And I’m not alone. Earlier this year, a 3,137-county analysis published by the Manhattan Institute showed Obamacare increased 2014 Individual-Market premiums by an average of 49%. It’s hard to imagine paying that amount of money for something that I don’t typically use.  It’s also terrifying to think of not having health insurance in the event that I really do need it.

I realize that Americans are forced to have healthcare now,  but do you have healthcare?  I’m pretty sure that my answer will be no a few days from now.

Until then…

Friends, Fitness and Other Stuff

I know that I mentioned that I’m working on a new blog, but when I start thinking about replacing this one with something else, I start wondering if it’s a good idea.  The name obviously doesn’t have the same meaning as it did when I started writing here, but it feels like me.

It’s always been about so much more than weight-loss.  It’s about the reasons that I gained weight in the first place, the reasons that I struggle so much to lose it.  It’s about finding happiness and peace and strength to do the things that scare me and invigorate me.  I’ve found a lot of that through God, family, friends and my church, but I don’t know if I’m ready to let go of something that has been such an important tool for my growth.

Kenlie and Friends

The truth is that if I knew how to give this blog the facelift that it needs, I’d simply do that.  I just don’t know much about the technical part of blogging, which is why it’s always been so simple here.  Maybe I should work on figuring that out (even though the other blog name is pretty awesome too.)

In other news, school has started again, and I can’t decide which classes to take.  I also decided that I wouldn’t drink anything at Starbucks this month until after I completed a workout.  It’s my home away from home, and I think it’ll work as pretty good motivation.

Last night while I was comfortably knitting on my sofa, the fire alarms went off in my building.  I put my sneakers on and walked from my floor to the ground floor (because we couldn’t use the elevators,) then I quickly walked up several flights of stairs in the parking garage to get to my car so I could leave.  My heart was pounding a little by the end, but I looked at it as a bonus workout.

Knitting

I’m looking forward to September because I love this time of year.  I made an exercise goal that has nothing to do with numbers, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it impacts my health.

Is anyone else starting a new semester?  Do you have any goals for the month?

Can We Really Be Fat and Happy?

I rarely refer to myself or others as ‘fat’ even though I am. The word has such a negative connotation, and I choose to focus on my positive attributes more than my negative ones. I’m smart, thoughtful and caring, and I’m not afraid to admit it when I screw up. I don’t mind being the first to say that I’m sorry after an argument, and I’m not afraid to chase the goals in my life that haunted me for years. I can be a great girlfriend (when I have a significant other,) and I ampassionate about helping people.

I could go on and on about my positive qualities. (Don’t act surprised. Bloggers are narcissistic!) I know what I’m good at, and there is no shortage of reasons to love myself. I have experienced the kind of joy and peace that has changed my life over the last couple of years, but I’m not as focused on my health as I used to be.

I exercise more than the average person, but it’s not the priority that it once was. Healthy food still makes its way into my meals almost daily, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as it once was. I have to admit that I miss that feeling of control that I once had, but in most other areas I’m happier now than I was when I was losing weight.

It feels great to make goals and to stick to them, and it feels awesome to achieve the desired results after hard work. On the flip side, the driving force behind my weight loss goals came from a desire to feel loved and validated by myself and others, and I’ve experienced those feelings more since living in New Orleans that ever before.

I feel content in almost every area of my life, and I wake up happy and refreshed almost everyday. These are the feelings that I was fighting so hard to gain as I lost weight, and now I have them. People love and accept me just as I am. I love and accept me just as I am.

It’s hard to believe that I ever looked in the mirror and hated the woman staring back at me. I love her now, and I want what’s best for her. It’s just not as black and white as it was before. I don’t subscribe to the thought that reaching a certain number on the scale will fulfill me.

I do think it’s important to get to what feels like a healthy weight for myself, but I don’t know what that number is. I don’t dream about hitting a particular number. I dream of meeting someone who loves and desires me even though my clothing size isn’t made up of single digits like many of my BFF’s. I dream of living in a in a that society doesn’t think that being a size 24 is the most offensive thing that a person can ever be.

Leslie
Being obese makes life harder than it should be sometimes, and I know that somewhere within me is the power to change it. My personal experience showed me how good it feels to experience significant weight-loss, but the same experience helped me see the value in enjoying life without the constant stress and restrictions of counting points or counting calories or saying no.
I’m searching for a balance (and have been for months,) and I seem to be feel the best when I’m mindful of what I’m consuming. I also feel good when I exercise regularly because endorphins are awesome.

Often times we strive to lose weight because we think it’s what we need to be happy, but the truth is that most of us are looking for the same things everyday – love, peace, grace and acceptance. Having those things makes me happy, and those truths aren’t going to change even if my body does.

It’s Not Only About The Numbers

I don’t talk about my weight or (lack of) efforts here much here because I don’t see the point in it. I’ve gained weight, and I don’t like it. I know that I need to make some changes if I want my weight to change, blah, blah, blah…

I’d like to start seeing the numbers decrease again, but more importantly, I’d like to regain control of my habits.

It was a pretty simple process for me. Eat mostly healthy food, track it and exercise. Simple enough, but it’s not something that I’ve been focused on over the last year. I haven’t exactly given up on reaching my health goals, but I haven’t done anything to achieve them in a long, long time – until last week.

There’s something about Fitbloggin that makes you believe that you can do anything. It could be the fact that there are hundreds of people in the same place who recognize that it’s not easy even though they also realize it’s possible.

When I got home from Savannah I decided to make a simple change. I didn’t worry about changing anything except this – I decided to track my food.

It’s astoundingly easy to pass on the doughnuts when you’re calculating the calories and fat in them. For me, tracking food makes it real. I want to be proud of the things that I write down so I make better decisions. I drink more water. I try harder to do healthy things, and I feel better as a result.

I’m a week into tracking, and I don’t know what the scale says. I don’t care what it says, but I know my body. I know that I weigh a little less than I did last week because I’ve made good choices. That realization leads me to want to make more good choices.

Maybe I don’t have it all figured out, and maybe it will still be a struggle. Regardless, it’s been a long time since my food choices were intentional, and it makes me feel good.

Has anyone else noticed a difference in your food choices due to journaling them? Am I the only one who chooses an apple over a cookie when I know I’m about to write it down?

Honest and Uninspired

I don’t love blogging here anymore.  I like sharing my thoughts, but it’s been a long time since I was interested in discussing my health here.

I’ve droned on about my feelings of regret and failure because I’m not succeeding in the area of weight-loss, but while I was in Savannah a friend posed a very important question that made me think about failure and success in a different way.

She asked, “What are your top 3 priorities in life right now?”  I listed things like school, my relationship with God, people in my life, etc.  Nowhere on my list of priorities did weight-loss appear, and she lovely pointed out that I’m not failing in weight-loss because I’m not trying to lose weight.

When I made it a priority, the weight came off.  When I counted points and exercised, the results showed.  When I held myself accountable, I succeeded, but it’s been a long, long time since I have bothered with that.

My priorities have been placed on other things, and I’ve been open about that.  Eating delicious food with my friends makes me happy.  It’s not the only thing that makes me happy, but I like it.  Exercise makes me happy too, but that’s easier to forget.  I love the feeling I get when I push through a tough workout.  I like both things, but I’ve allowed myself to forget the importance of moderation in both.

I’m not sure when I’ll find a new, more focused groove.  I’m also not sure that I’ll share it here when I do.  I wish that I could tell you that I’m on track to losing 150 pounds, but I’m not.  It’s not my top priority, and it has to be if it’s going to happen.

I wish that the reality didn’t seem so somber, but I’m just being honest about where I am.  I’ve experienced an incredible amount of positive change in the last couple of years, and I hope it continues in a way that helps me to regain control and to lose weight.