Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anyone for Breakfast?

I forgot to share this breakfast with you a few weeks ago! I used those thin sandwich rounds that Nature's Own makes, along with some egg whites, and made a French toast breakfast. A serving of low-cal syrup is a whole quarter cup, and I didn't need to use THAT much! Adding coffee rounded out this feast. I didn't show the fruit that also went with it.

See? You do not have to feel so deprived when eating healthy!
Now I am off for my Tuesday walk. I have lots of projects that need my attention today, so I will be a busy bee for sure! I hope you are having a wonderful day! Remember, you only fail when you quit trying!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It is NOT MY Fault!!!

If you've suffered with being overweight, especially if you are or have been obese, you've most likely been the target of unflattering comments.
I was lucky. I was overweight as a child. I do not recall having classmates chastise me for being fat. I don't recall being teased or having mean jokes played on me. I know this is not true for everyone.

My earliest recollections of being overweight come from my parents. They always meant well and were only trying to help, but they made it clear that I was going to be a failure at everything in life because I was fat. I wouldn't be able to get a job. I would not be able to get a boyfriend. I did not look pleasing. I would be a failure. Again, I add, that they meant well and did not mean for things to turn out the way they did.

The first time I remember knowing that there was something 'wrong' with me was when Mom and I were looking through the catalog for clothes for the upcoming school year. She made some comment about having to look at the "chubby" sized clothing and how it was so hard to find anything in my size. Being chubby in the 60's was NOT a good thing!

In later years, I did not have boyfriends while in school. I had a best friend that was a boy and we shared a love of horses, but we never dated. It was more like a brother sister relationship.

My sister was four years younger than I was and skinny. She even was a model for a short time. She was the little miss goodie-two-shoes of the family.
It seemed like she could never do wrong. I also had a baby sister that was eight years younger than me. She and I conspired against the middle sister at times. It always seemed like my baby sister and I were the ones who got trouble though. That middle sister was just too perfect!

Now my middle sister is a good friend of mine. She's always been a healthy weight. My baby sister passed away at age 48 from many health complications and obesity contributed to that. Both my parents are gone too. Mom always battled the bulge, but it is funny, I never thought of her as being fat! Even looking back on old photos, I cannot see where she thought she was so big. Dad was overweight, but had other issues that contributed to some of that. Really though, I never thought of my folks as being fat too. I did feel, and still feel, loved by them both even though they have been gone for over ten years. I had a good childhood.

So why am I sharing all this with you? Well, mostly because we all have our 'skeletons' in our closets. Sometimes we use them as an excuse to not lose weight! I could blame my obesity on my parents, saying that "they made me that way." I don't though. Not now. I did though. A long time ago.
This battle of the bulge that we face has many different reasons of why it exists in our lives. We can blame others for making us this way. OR we can recognize where the problems started and move on. So what if we have someone or something we can blame for the fat issues? The thing that matters is the here and now. We can only blame ourselves for continuing to be overweight.

Part of the reason that I think I am having more success than ever before is because I am happier in my life than I ever have been. I seem to be handling crisis' better. I don't eat to calm myself or comfort myself like I used to. The bigger reason is the work I have done on educating myself. Still, if I hadn't addressed the emotional issues, I would have found a way to sabotage myself again.

It will be one and a half years in May, since I started changing my life around. I still have occasional slip ups. I still have bouts of the blues. I still struggle for a couple weeks smoking before quitting yet again for months, usually. BUT...I still am eating healthier than I ever have. I still am more confident than I have ever been in my life. I still not only keep exercising, but I find ways to enjoy exercising! You cannot realize just how odd it seems, to enjoy exercise! What a concept.

No matter what your skeletons are in your closets, why not find a way to bag 'em up and toss them in the garbage? Get therapy if you need it. Get medications if you need to. Do the step of getting the help that you need to do, (IF you do) in order to keep moving forward and learning what it is like to live like the thinner person, the healthier person, you CAN be!TIPS AND TRICKS:
I asked someone in class today, what were they having for supper? They didn't know for sure. In order to be more successful, you really NEED to plan ahead! If you have trouble doing this, then at least plan ahead to always have something healthy to eat in your pantry or fridge. It is better to eat an extra piece of fruit than it is to eat an over processed granola bar. Remember, if you can pull it from the ground, pluck it from a tree, or shoot it, it isn't processed food. Think of processed foods as pre-digested foods that go through your system so fast, you do not get the same benefits from it that you would from foods that are not processed. Look for less than five ingredients and be smart! I treat it like a game between me and the manufacturers. I know they are mixing the salt, sugar, and fat in their product to make it taste oh so good! Don't fall for their lure! Eat smart!THIS AND THAT:
Currently I have 28 weeks to lose 16 pounds to be at a goal weight of 175 pounds. I have 1.2 pounds to lose to mark 100 pounds gone! I happen to be fighting those damn cigarettes again. Grrrrrrr! I am eating pretty good though and exercising is pretty much getting to be second nature. I am really having fun with all this! Everything is so easy for me right now!

I hope your springing into Spring with a light and happy heart! Take care of your bodies. We only have one to mess with! (and YES this means me too! I will be quitting again on the stupid smokes!)

Eleanor Roosevelt: No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Don't Put Me On A Pedestal! (and book reviews)

Everything has been going along fine here. The weather has been much warmer than normal and combined with recent rains, everything is blooming and greening up outside!
I've been increasing my 'role' as co-leader of the weight loss support group at the local senior center. By the way, our "senior center" is not where old folks go to sit and vegetate. It is almost like a country club! There is a fantastic gym, a heated pool, a cooler lap pool, and classes for everything from exercise, to crafting, to dance, to driver improvement and more. There are day trips and overnight trips to all kinds of interesting places too. It is also VERY affordable!

Anyway, I help out as I can with the weight loss support group. I like helping folks but worry about being put up on a pedestal. I am not perfect!
I still struggle with eating right. I struggle with cigarettes off and on. I sometimes don't feel like exercising. I really have all the same issues that anyone can come up against when losing weight.
Looking at the others in our classes and seeing them looking back at me, is daunting. They ask questions that I hope I answer correctly. I can only answer them though, from MY point of view. I hope they also hear me say that.

One point I try to get across is to not believe everything you read or see on TV. There is a ton of money to be made by people touting their spin on the latest and greatest weight loss methods or ideas. Information is backed by "scientific" data, they'll say. The thing is, you can almost find a study to back what you are touting! I try to get across the thought that you need to be a skeptic about such things. I don't know if I am getting through to them yet though.

Speaking of being a skeptic, I've browsed several books lately. Most of their ideas will work for weight loss. Some will work for a long time, many will work for a short time. The thing is, you cannot lose weight and keep it off unless YOU change your lifestyle. If you "get on a program" that insinuates that you will one day get off the program. Then the weight comes back on and you get back on that same program again, or try the newest one out there. This is classical yo-yo dieting.

The first book I recently took a look at was The Primal Blueprint. There has been a lot of things that recently point to eating more like our ancestors did. The Paleo Diet is another one of them.
There are some good points in these books. I would have to agree that all the processed foods we have access to are not doing us a lot of good out there. I do believe that the closer we get to eating food that we could pick ourselves, or shoot ourselves, or pull out of the ground ourselves, the better.

I feel that The Primal Blueprint is saying that. I don't agree with all that is said in the book though. I read that our ancestors did not eat grains or most legumes, for example. I don't buy that. This is just my personal opinion though. Would you lose weight if you followed this book's plan? Probably. Is it realistic for most of us? Probably not. Still though, it makes for an interesting read, although it was a bit dry for my taste.

The next book I have been looking at is Deep Nutrition. There is a LOT more information than I have the patience to read. This one too, has some good ideas. One of its biggest no-nos is sugar. They say that we should cut out all sugars that are not naturally found in foods such as fruits. We should not add plant based sugars to our foods either. I wonder though, did our ancestors not use honey? Isn't that a sugar?
There was so much information in this book, that I lost interest in it too. I don't know if I buy their thoughts that our genes, our DNA, is affected by the food we eat. I probably misunderstood their thought that you can change your DNA, and that of your offspring, by changing the foods you eat. I thought that the DNA you have is the DNA you live with all your life?

I still stand by the Fat 2 Fit guys train of thought. They say to "Eat like the thinner person you want to be." This is just plain common sense! Russ and Jeff are the guys who do the podcast. Every time I hear of some new diet or plan or method, it can't stand up like the guys' method of eating as if you already weighed what you want to weigh. It is all so easy!

Look, it really boils down to this: Eat as healthy as you can; educate yourself on what foods are good for you and bad for you; learn what a true portion is of something; commit to some type of exercise regimen; and the weight will come off. Do not buy into everything you read, without investigating it. Do not go buy what the TV tells you to buy, until you have checked it out more.

A quick aside here...the other day I was in Whole Foods and was looking for something that I had heard about on a recent TV show. They had had a run on that product because a TV doctor said it would help folks lose weight. In the conversation I had with the person, they said every time there was the newest latest greatest product mentioned on certain shows, they would surely run out of it within a few days.
We are all looking for that magic pill. It does not exist.

  1. If you need to slow down your eating, try using your left hand if you are right-handed or your right hand if you are left-handed.
  2. If you reach a plateau, don't think of it as a plateau, think of it as your metabolism doing a readjustment or recalibration. Your brain and body need time to figure out if what you are doing is going to hurt. This switch can take time to be reset. Isn't the body an amazing thing?!
I have been playing around with yogurt based foods. I make a mean yogurt cheese now, that is sooooooooooo good. Yogurt cheese is when you remove some of the whey. It can get to the consistency of cream cheese and as a spread on banana bread, it is mmm-mmm good! It is easy to make. I personally use Greek yogurt. I put a coffee filter into a wire basket strainer and put the yogurt in that. I set it over a bowl or large glass mixing cup. I put wax paper on top to keep the yogurt from drying out and put the whole thing in the fridge for a few days. The whey drips through and can be saved and used to cook with. I have saved my whey by freezing it until I learn how to cook with it.

Oh! I DID say I had a recipe, didn't I? Here it is:

*6oz cup of Greek Yogurt plain (I use fat free Fage)
*3 tbsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed seems better to me)
*1/4 tsp seasoning of your choice (I have used black pepper, seasoned salt, and onion powder but really like finely ground California seasoning best)
*2 chopped green onions, both the white and green parts

Mix together and refrigerate at least six hours, but overnight is better.
This makes a great vegetable dip or a decadent salad dressing! Play around with the spices to suit your personal tastes. Even add a pinch of sugar if you want. The calories are just a modicum more than whatever the yogurt's calories are.

Be not afraid of growing slowly;
be afraid only of standing still.

Chinese Proverb

Thursday, March 08, 2012


First off, I haven't exactly addressed how I am doing these days. I feel I am in, or almost in, a maintenance mode now. I still have to track my foods. I still exercise 60 minutes per day, trying to do that seven days a week. It has all gotten so easy that it is scary! The scale doesn't move much these days. I had almost thought this was going to be where I was going to end up being, weight-wise. I convinced myself that this was ok because I was a LOT better than I was. Then I looked at my weight loss chart that one of my programs keeps for me. It looks ok. Then I took a closer look. I realized that I had lost TEN, yes TEN pounds since the first of January! That is very good, in my opinion. Of course MY opinion is all that counts here. I feel better about the slower progress now, especially because it IS still progress!

In other tidbits of news, a month ago we had this:
Snow in Arkansas is not that common, but we usually get a dusting now and then and a storm once in a while too. Notice the 'real' cap and scarf on the figures in this statue? Someone had a neat sense of humor there. This statue is in front of the center that I go to for exercises and the support group.

On one of my trail walks last week I came across this tree:
That is not snow on it though. It is the first signs of spring! It has been a blooming good time here of late. My daffodils have been up for weeks. My crocus just came up last week and my hyacinth are also in full bloom. The tulips will be next. The rose bushes are full of new red baby leaves. I hope we don't have a cold snap as that would really hurt all this spring growth! It makes for nice walking weather and I have been taking full advantage of Mother Nature's hints of spring.

The other morning I was waking up slowly. I stretched. I checked to see what time the clock said, hoping it was six A.M. or later. It was! I had stayed in bed till almost 8:00! To have that luxury of waking up slowly was so nice! Usually I have to get up, and get awake, and get coffee, and get my breakfast, and read a few emails, and get the child up, and be sure the child is still up ten minutes later, and get him going on his breakfast, and let the dogs out, and make the child's school lunch, and remind the child to brush his teeth, hair, and find his glasses, and tell him to get shoes and socks on, and smooch the husband goodbye as he goes off to work, and let the dogs back in, and head out the door in plenty of time to walk the child to school, and then continue walking a couple miles for morning exercises, and so it goes! (And NO, I don't do this in the buff! Of course I got myself dressed first. Geesh!)

This morning was different. I laid there, in the early morning light, just relishing my momentary laziness. My hand brushed down the front of me and I felt my heart beat. In a split second, I realized I had actually felt my physical heart BEATING! I felt again, and sure enough, my hands actually seemed to feel the heart muscle, pulsating. It was strong and regular and it was amazing!

I had no real idea of just how much body fat, masks things on our bodies. If you've been obese or close to it, for most of your life, you just don't know how amazing your body feels when the fat is gone and your body parts are suddenly noticeable.

Not only do I feel my heart, I can feel bones where there were none before. I honestly am often amazed when I find a new bone where I used to just be squishy. There are a few downturns to losing weight though. For some of us, the barriers come down. I never thought I used my obesity to hide from things...or people. As the weight has come off, I feel like I am a target. I don't feel like I look as formative and that someone would be more likely to attack me! It is a strange feeling. I never thought such things when I had size to protect me.

I have also found I don't need to take ibuprofen like I used to! I used to almost eat it like candy for so many aches and pains. Now I only take a few, maybe once a week. I also don't like my glasses anymore. They look huge on my face. I won't be able to get a handicapped sign for my vehicle any time soon either. A year and a half ago, I wondered how hard it would be to get one because it was hard to walk from my vehicle into the store, much less walking around in the store!

All these little things are my little diamonds.
We have a state park in Arkansas that you can go to and hunt for real diamonds. There have been some huge ones found as well as lots of smaller ones. I like to use the analogy of going to that state park for a vacation. You go out every day and hunt for diamonds. Each little gem you find, you put into your bucket. You hope for those big diamonds too. On the last day of vacation you go out and don't find any diamonds at all. You toss the ones you had gotten before, because you are so disgusted that you couldn't get that last big find on your last day of vacation. Now that is just silly, right? You would keep all the diamonds you found, of course, and you'd be happy you had found them and might make money from the sale of those small sparklers.

Yet how often do we start losing weight and when we hit a bump in the road, we say we should just quit. Nothing will work, right? NO! We need to give ourselves credit for every pound lost, big or small, in a week or a month or a year. We need to give ourselves credit for every healthier choice we make. We need to give ourselves credit for every time we say "No, I won't quit." We need to give ourselves credit for every step we take to add any type of exercise into our lives. Often we forget those little earlier diamonds of success. It makes as much sense to quit as it does to toss all the little diamonds out of our bucket, right?

This is why, when I see I haven't lost a pound, or that I have gained a pound, or that I have started smoking again, that I have to remember that I have LOST weight over several weeks, that I didn't gain that much, and that I will quit smoking again. I worked for where I am. It makes no sense to toss my little diamonds out because I didn't find the big one today. Hang on to your diamonds, big and little. You are worth as much, and more, than diamonds. Really!

What is your biggest food challenge? Is it that you can't give up KFC? Is it that you really want a cupcake? Don't give them up! Work around such things. The next time you have KFC for example, don't eat it in the car, eat inside the restaurant or take it home to eat it. The next time you go, use a fork to eat the chicken. Never touch the chicken with your hands. Don't pick up the bones and suck off that very last morsel of meat. The following time you go, tear off half the skin and don't eat that. Work your way through the trips to KFC until you can take off all the skin and not lick the bones clean. (You can still lick your fingers though!)

You want a cupcake. Do you grab one, tear off the paper, and stand right there at the counter and stuff it in your mouth in one or two big bites? Then you want to eat another? Pretty soon you've convinced yourself that you are bad and you may as well quit trying to lose weight. Instead, try it this way...get a plate and fork and put the cupcake on the plate. Take it to the table and sit down. Get back up and go get a napkin or paper towel. Sit down and now use the fork to peel off the paper wrapper. Then use the fork to eat the cupcake in small bites. Does it have frosting? Scoop off some of that frosting and put it on the wrapper or in the paper towel. EVERY little step you take to slow you down and to make you aware of what you are eating, doing, tasting, smelling, feeling...every step is your little diamond. Don't throw away your other little diamonds because this one has a little frosting on it.

What is your personal challenge food? What can you do to change it? Can you cut out five calories? How about ten calories? How about several hundred calories if you get a bunch of frosting off the cake or the skin off the chicken? Figure it out. Make it better, if only a little bit. These steps are the beginnings of change. These steps are the beginning of your brain rewiring itself to be the thinner person you want to be. Do not discredit little diamonds!

Have you ever eaten a big meal and wanted something sweet within a few minutes of finishing? You know you are full but the craving is driving you nuts! Researchers found that an after-meal, spike in blood sugar often leads to dessert cravings. What this means is that after a meal, many people experience a sharp rise in glucose, followed by an equally sharp decline. People then often crave sugary foods to get back to that food 'high' that they felt, right after that big meal.

Try eating slower or eat like you were at a restaurant. You get the appetizers first, then salad, then the main course. You can divide up your meal to fit within those categories. PLAN ahead and figure adding in a dessert to be had at least 20 minutes after the main meal. This doesn't have to be cake, cookies, pie, or ice cream either. I often have a cup of fat free Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of a high quality jam mixed in it. I savor it and eat it as slow as I can. The jam (not jelly) adds the sweetness and this will satisfy my cravings.

Eat smaller portions or halve your portions and then go get the second half later. Figure out anything you can commit to doing, in order to slow down your meal and to avoid the spikes in glucose. This is mindful eating. This is a good thing to learn!

Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip.

Arnold H. Glasgow

After the frenzy

Abby is still around and about.  I know she's been pretty quiet though.  She kinda over celebrated the new year's arrival. A souther...