Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year ...

If you've ever struggled with your weight, you can probably relate to this, especially the first few days of a new year ... 

I took a deep breath today and weighed in ... not as bad as it could have been, but I've definitely put back on a few pounds this past year. Not good when I have such a long way to go. This past year has been a real struggle between injury, diagnosis of thyroid disease, blood pressure complications, hospitalization ...then just plain ol' discouragement, then flat out rebellion against good habits! 

To combat all of that (cause goodness knows I do not have enough willpower to overcome all of that!), I came home and put all the Christmas candy and goodies in Ziploc bags and stuck them in the OUTSIDE freezer. Went to the grocery store and restocked my frig and pantry with foods that are better for me and will help me make better choices. I've taken on a challenge to walk 60-70 miles this month ... so far I've walked almost 10...I'm well on my way. I have declared to myself that I will write down every morsel that I eat. Today I was successful with that and managed to stay within my daily points allowance ... and I felt great about it!

If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that routines and habits...good habits...are two of the best tools you can have in your workshop when building your weight loss and fitness plan. And I have always been a creature of habit. So what happened to me this year? Believe me, I've spent a ridiculous number of hours trying to figure that out. And you know what? I really don't know ... I've rationalized; I've made excuses; I've tried to reason it out; I. Just. Don't. Know. But I do know that I could drive myself (and everyone else) crazy trying to figure it out. So I'm not going to do that anymore ... what's done is done. It's time to pick myself up, stop moping and just get back to business. And that started today ... 

Someone said today in our Weight Watchers meeting that you have to be a little selfish when you are trying to be healthy ... you have to take the time to plan your meals and snacks, you have to take the time to track what you eat, you have to take the time to be more active.

For those of us who struggle with weight, it truly is a moment-to-moment battle. Losing this weight has been the hardest, yet most rewarding, thing I've ever done...gaining some of it back has been one of the biggest blows to my self-confidence ever...not to mention embarrassing. Becoming healthier is my goal ... I'm hopeful to continue doing that this year ... and for the rest of my life.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Excuses ... lately I seem to have a lot of them when it comes to my weight loss and activity/exercise ...

  • I'm too tired ...
  • It's raining ...
  • Just a few extra cookies or chips won't hurt ...
  • I'm having some "issues" ...
  • I have this "thing" going on ...
 Really, we all have excuses for whatever it is we don't want to get done.

I started posting a "meme" on Facebook just about every day this past week to encourage and motivate me and others. (I didn't even know what these little picture things were called; my daughter had to enlighten me.) One of them said, "Because today is another chance to get it right." Lately, I have been feeling that every single day I have failed on my weight loss plan.  Instead of looking at the long-term progress made, I've looked at the day's failures.  And then I begin making excuses (see list above).  I've always been a good excuse-maker.  I know a lot of people who are good excuse-makers...I'd wager that I'm better at it than most people.  And I can make you feel pretty lousy if you question my excuse!

So what's behind my excuses? What's the reason I make them? I'm still trying to figure that out. Part of it is a desire to be perfect. If I can't get it perfect, I either want to quit or start over. I'm a little obsessive-compulsive and it bothers me when things aren't just so-so. I'm also a pleaser. I want everyone to be happy; I want to fix everything to make it right. That behavior leaves me depleted and without much left over for me. Looking back at my first year on Weight Watchers, I can remember feeling guilty that I was taking such good care of myself. No one else was suffering or complaining ... meals were still cooked, laundry was still done, etc. etc. I just made preparing my own meals and exercising a higher priority than I ever had before.  But I still felt guilty because what I was doing was not only changing me and my habits, but changing things for those around me also.

Uh-oh ... there it is ... change.  That is probably the biggest reason for my excuse-making.  It is easy for me to go back to the familiar and stay the same. It is frightening to me to see my habits changing, to see my body changing.  It is, at times, exhilarating, but it is also unfamiliar.  It requires a new way of doing things and sometimes a new way of thinking.  It was appropriate that the topic of our meeting this week at Weight Watchers was about habits. It is so difficult to break an old habit, or establish a new habit. It all has to do with that word "change." But baby stepping my way out of the bad and into the good can make habit-changing simpler.  Each baby step will make me stronger and stronger, more skilled, more self-confident, and more successful.

My goal for this week of habit-changing is to not use any of those excuses (and not come up with any new ones either!), but just get the job done.  It won't be perfect ... it doesn't have to be perfect.  And every day IS another chance to get it right!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Road Trip Anyone?

(I am shamelessly stealing this analogy from my Weight Watchers leader, Ellen … but I am totally giving her credit for it!)

How excited would you be if someone asked you to accompany them on a trip across the country?  You know … like from LA to L.A.?  That’s about 2,000 miles.  Pretty fun, huh?  So you get all ready to hit the road, then they announce to you that you’re going to be walking instead of driving or flying.  Now how excited are you?  Maybe not so much …

That was the analogy presented to us this week and how it applies to our weight loss journey … because believe me, it is a journey … and it is often like walking 2,000 miles. 

Walking in the door and perhaps the first few weeks are like the initial excitement/anticipation of the trip – planning the route, where you’ll stay, what you’ll see when you get there.  Then reality sets in – we’re going to be walking?  This might take longer than I thought … how do I plan for this?  What will keep me motivated to reach my destination?

With every trip, there are unforeseen detours, stops, side trips, slow downs and sometimes break downs!

You’re walking along at a pretty fair pace and up ahead there is a detour … you’ve got your meal plan laid out for the day, then that friend calls that you haven’t seen or heard from in ages and wants to “do lunch.”  At a not-too-points-friendly restaurant.  Well, you know, this is a special occasion … just this one time won’t hurt.  So you detour off your meal plan and order that higher points meal and split dessert.  Definitely not a deal-breaker, but certainly a detour off your original path.  How do you find the motivation to get back on track?  For me, it means honestly evaluating the meal, counting all the points for it, tracking it … and moving on.  There are always going to be detours on the road … if we follow all the signs, we’ll get back on the right road.

Sometimes, when you’re walking, you just get tired … you just feel like you have to stop and rest … that’s okay!  We’ve all been there.  Your body needs the rest.  It doesn’t mean you completely derail all the progress you’ve made.  You take the rest you need, find strength in the rest, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and hit the road again.  It could be that you’ve injured yourself, you’re facing a health issue, you’re going through a family crisis … whatever it is that is forcing the rest … just rest.  Look at all the progress you’ve made up to this point … look at the big picture, not the little rest you’re taking – find your motivation in that.

Even if you take a side trip or have a complete break down – look how far you’ve come.  Ever been stuck in traffic for a while and you begin to see cars turning around?  Then in just a minute or two, it clears up and you’re on your way again.  Don’t get that close to the finish line and turn around and head back in the other direction!  You’ve come too far!  Push on … you CAN do it. 

Losing weight is not easy … let me say that again … losing weight is NOT easy.  For those of us who have a lot of weight to lose (and truthfully, whether it’s 15 pounds or 150 pounds or more, it’s a lot to each person individually), it is tempting to buy into the commercialism of an “easy” fix … whether it’s the latest diet craze, some new miracle pill or surgery.  There is no easy fix … let me say THAT again … there is NO EASY FIX!  It is a long, hard road.  When I walked through the doors of Weight Watchers 16 months ago, I knew that this was possibly my last chance to really make an honest-to-goodness attempt at losing weight.  For me, the motivation was (and, in large part, still is) not wanting to face a surgeon’s knife to deal with my morbid obesity.  Because I knew that is where I was headed - either as a “willing” candidate for weight reduction surgery or as an unwilling patient to deal with one of the effects of my morbid obesity.

So how to stay motivated as you trek the 2,000 miles?  Lots of ways … surround yourself with the tools you need to be successful, become a little bit selfish when it comes to your weight loss goals, start talking differently, reward yourself for every goal achieved. 

I’m learning to clean out my surroundings and keep them clean.  I just can’t keep M&Ms around anymore – sorry to everyone who has missed that jar from my desk.  I’ve replaced those with other options, tools, to keep me motivated and successful.  I’ve talked in previous posts about the amazing RunKeeper app on my phone that tracks my walking progress.  Well, now I’ve paired that with a Pandora radio station and I can walk to all the 70’s disco music I want!  Don’t hate …

I’m learning that the things I have said to myself about my weight for decades are things I would never say to a friend who was facing a weight problem … so why should I say them to myself?  Why should I belittle myself?  Why should I be so hard on myself?  Why don’t I point to the positive changes I’ve made instead of the way my belly is still jelly? 

And possibly, the best motivator?  Start rewarding yourself!  It doesn’t have to be a huge thing … celebrate that five-pound loss with a new pair of earrings (after all, accessories are one-size-fits-all – I can still wear the same earrings I wore in high school – I’ll bet you can too!) … celebrate sticking to your plan for a week by heading to the library and checking out that great new book you’ve wanted to read and read it … celebrate when you’ve been physically active all week by buying a new set of earbuds and tune in to that disco station!

So, where am I on this 2,000 mile trek?  I’m somewhere around Ft. Stockton, Texas.  And I can’t tell you how very, very fitting that is for this part of my journey.  It’s almost laughable and certainly ironic how perfectly fitting this post is with where I am … anybody ever been to Ft. Stockton?!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

...please push the play button...

24 days ... 576 hours.  That's how long it's been since I've last been out for a good, long, sweat-pouring, hard-breathing, music-loud-in-the-ears walk!  Too long.  Never thought I would say those words!! 

First the blood pressure ... then the foot numbness ... now the blood pressure again.  I'm growing impatient.  I want to get out there and walk... I'm eager, but I'm scared.  Will I be able to do it?  Will I build up to where I was before? 

18 days ... 432 hours.  That's how long until the 10K.  What will I be able to do?  How far?  How fast?

4.4 pounds ... 70 ounces.  That's how much I've gained back ... not so much from eating as from the complications I'm having.  But still ... it scares me.  I've worked too hard, come too far. 

I'm determined ... a setback is a setup for a comeback. 

Please...just push the play button and let's get re-started!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Getting Back on Track

It’s easy to write about the good things that are happening or when things are going right, but when things are not going so great, it’s a little harder to share that…

I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster since the end of October.  I haven’t stopped losing or exercising or tracking or going to meetings…I’ve just been up and down.  And that’s hard to admit!  Still managing an average weight loss of about .75 pounds a week; still managing to exercise 5 days a week, always tracking, not missing any meetings…and yet…

The “spark” that I had in the beginning of this journey just hasn’t been there for a while.  I’ve had to stop and really look at my motivation, my desire, my goal for this whole process.  I was starting to feel deprived in some weird way.  Like I wasn’t ever going to get to eat and enjoy the things I love (how dumb is that-I’ve been eating them all along!).  Or that I would always fight this feeling of never being good enough…no, never being perfect enough.  I’d started to look at the huge amount of weight still to lose and began to wonder if the rest of the battle was worth it or if I could just stop and be satisfied with what I had accomplished.  After all, I feel so much better, my clothes fit better, my doctor says I’m in better health, people tell me I look better…

But there have been some challenges along the way…most recently some health challenges.  Not anything major, just mostly the effects of having lived a sedentary lifestyle for the past 25+ years and carrying around nearly 150 pounds of extra weight for all that time (I guess that’s pretty major).  The last couple of weeks have had me contemplating and refocusing.  When challenges arise or things change in my life, particularly when they change in ways that I don’t understand or desire (!), I really have to take a step back, process the information, line it up with God’s Word and try to make sense of it…and I know I can’t always make sense of it.  The biggest problem is that I think I can do all of the changing…all of the processing…all of the FIXING.  I’ve been a fixer…always have been.  I don’t want people to be unhappy; I don’t like confrontation; I don’t like change.  I want to make things right for everyone.  And things in our lives are not always sunny and rosy and right.  We are going to face challenges, defeats, disappointments and CHANGE. 

Yet…in the midst of the challenges and the changes, there is one constant in my life that I know never changes.  One constant that always succeeds in getting me back on track.  When I align myself with God’s Word and His Ways, no matter the challenges, He will see me through.  There’s great comfort, peace and assurance for this weary soul in that promise.  Is there for you?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Forward, Looking Back

What??  I have a blog??  Amazing…can’t believe it’s been three months since I’ve blogged!

Well, it seems to be the time of year for resolutions…I prefer to call them goals instead of resolutions.  Have you made yours?  I was challenged today to be specific in my resolutions/goals.  What exactly do you hope to accomplish this year?  I’ll take it one step further…how do you intend to achieve what you hope to accomplish?  We’ve all heard the phrase, “He who fails to plan plans to fail.”  So looking forward to 2012, some of my personal goals are:  once and for all get my house organized (ok…that’s one I have every year, so I obviously don’t have a plan for this one!); stay in closer contact with the people in my life who are important to me - no more excuses about lack of time, past hurts or unrealistic expectations (I’m working on a good plan for that one); continue on this incredible weight loss/fitness journey I began a year ago. 

At this time last year, I was researching and learning as much as I could about the “new” Weight Watchers program.  A lot had changed from what I knew of Weight Watchers, and I wanted to be sure it was something I could “live” with…not another “diet.”  I had a good plan in mind as I walked into the meeting room.  And I’m happy to say that plan has been working.  So, the weight loss portion of my plan remains the same-track what I eat, be active and attend my meetings.  As part of the fitness goal, I’m signing up to participate in the Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans on April 7.   Training for this event begins January 1!  I’m a little apprehensive about tackling a 10K.  This will be a real accomplishment! 

Looking back on 2011 in the weight loss/fitness area, it has been a very successful year for me.  I knew when I walked in the door of Weight Watchers that this was it for me…no more excuses, no more “tomorrows.”  I set my goal to track (for non-WW folks, that just means writing down everything you eat) every morsel of food that went into my mouth, regardless of how much or what it was!  I set my goal to attend every weekly meeting.  I set my goal to learn how to eat responsibly.  I set a goal for the number of pounds I wanted to lose this year.  I set a long-range goal for the number of years it would take me to lose all of the weight I need to lose.  I did NOT set my goal to become more physically active!  That was one thing to which I was very resistant!  But physically active I have become!  I walk regularly and am learning to incorporate more activity into my everyday life.   

So…how successful was this year for me?  If you’re just looking for a number when you become a Weight Watcher, you’re just looking for another diet.  Success cannot only be counted by the number on the scale.  I’m really pleased to say that 99% of the time I tracked every bite of food that went into my mouth (and believe me, some days it wasn’t pretty)!  I attended every weekly meeting except the ones where I was out of town.  One of the things I’m most pleased with is how I view food now…not every meal is my last meal!  I don’t have to have everything all at once!  I’m learning to eat responsibly.  I’m virtually back-pain-free; blood pressure meds have been cut in half; I sleep much better.  Now for the numbers…I set my goal to lost 50 pounds in 2011.  As of my weigh-in this morning, I’ve lost 59!  I’ve also lost over 25” and 3 dress sizes.  Still have quite a ways to go, but I’m very pleased with the progress…

How about you?  Are you ready with a plan to accomplish your goals this coming year? 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Caution: School Zone

What??  Two posts in the same week?

I have a good friend a few years younger than me who is working on getting her Master’s Degree.  She also has five children (two of whom are in college, one of those about to get married), works a full-time job and is involved in all of her kids’ sports activities.  I jokingly said to her the other day, “You’re such an over-achiever!”  And truthfully, it was meant as a compliment.  That conversation, along with several other nuggets of wisdom I’ve heard over the years, has started me thinking about my own “education.” 

My first-grade teacher for as long as I can remember signed off on her letters and emails with “When you’re through learning, you’re through.”  Wise words, Mrs. Sharp…

My college Accounting professor, Margaret Wright, was the perfect picture of a professional who was always prepared and pushed us to expect more from ourselves. 

My mother used to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true.”  I always took that to mean, “Don’t lie to your mother!”  (I think I had a guilty conscience!)  But I realize now she really meant me to stop long enough to consider not only what I was saying, but what I was doing…to take into consideration if what I was doing was beneficial and good for me and not harmful to others. 

For years my patient husband has said, “Eat less, move more.”  Never, ever in a condescending or critical way, just practical advice for staying fit and healthy.  Seriously, he deserves a medal for how patient he has been with me over the years …

My Weight Watchers leader, Ellen, is a former school teacher…every week her meetings are chock full of information that we soak up like sponges…information that is backed by research from a company that has been in business for almost 50 years helping people lose weight and get fit.  She gives us the tools we need to win this battle! Eat right.  Be active.  Stay on target.  Get up and go.  Power up.  Treat yourself.  And in good school-teacher fashion, she doesn’t just give us the answers … she makes US give HER the answers!  And … she gives BRAVO stars when you get the answers right!  Ellen has some amazing aides in her classroom … Cynthia, Gina and all the folks at the check-in tables weighing us in, giving us encouragement, celebrating with us, giving us a pep talk when needed … seriously, I look forward to Fridays just so I can see all of them!  Each of these ladies has been down the weight-loss road.  They are living proof that it can be done.  I’m learning a lot from them about losing it, maintaining it, but most importantly, living it.

So … if you’re ready to achieve more, if you’re not through learning, if you’re ready to do something beneficial for yourself … and if you’re on your own road to weight loss or fitness, consider Weight Watchers.  It’s a healthy approach to weight loss that will help you reach your goals ... one pound at a time.

Quarterly stats: Lost ~ 50.6 pounds (95 to go!)
                         Lost ~ 23.75 inches
                         Lost ~ 3 dress sizes

                         Gain ~ 50.6 pounds of mobility
                         Gain ~ 23.75 inches of flexibility
                         Gain ~ 3 dress sizes of confidence