The Siren Song of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

**  WARNING: CONTAINS POTENTIALLY

“MUST GO TO STARBUCKS NOW, RIGHT NOW!!” TRIGGER! **

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE

There is an insidious evil in the world and thy name is…

the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte!

The morning started innocently enough. Laura and I had an out of town appointment and, due to a comedy of errors and some early morning lack of communication, we were over an hour early. And what can you find around every corner, a hip place to consume empty caffeine filled calories and while away the time to the latest alternative crooners: our best friend – Starbucks!

So of course one found us. And, pumpkin addict that I am, I HAD to have that once a year “Pumpkin Spice Latte”. But I did get the smallest size (well next to smallest), the “Tall”. And then, of course, right beside the barista is the large case with the pumpkin sweet trio of scone, muffin, and bread. Well, the muffin has a cream cheese center so it’s a pretty easy decision. It’s an irresistible siren song of pumpkin, sugar, butter, and cream cheese.

The shame. I admit I was tempted and I fell from grace. But in life I try to look for the lessons in even the smallest, and most addictive, of places. Enter the Pumpkin Spice Latte. First, it doesn’t taste as good as it smells. Forget that at your own peril. Second, by the end of it, it’s cold and all the tasty stuff is gone. Third, the muffin is amazing so that’s worth it, but go for a plain coffee and you (and your wallet) will thank you!

On the good news front, on our way home, rather than being tempted by the dozens of restaurants, we drove to Publix and picked up a much healthier lunch (ok, except for the cookies!) and enjoyed it, chatting, as we drove along.

Pretty sometimes isn’t as pretty as it seems. Resist the Pumpkin!

Slowly relearning, Baby Step by Baby Step

This is a follow up post to 2 days ago when I promised I would update you on how yesterday’s “Anniversary Dinner” and the “lead up” to it went.

Commitments:

  • 1 hour of loving movement
  • All meals except actual dinner healthy ones
  • As much moderation as possible at actual dinner

So how did it go?:

  • Over an hour at the gym – 20 minutes on elliptical, 10 on treadmill, tricep/bicep work, 3 sets of leg presses, a little calf work, 2 sets of ab exercises. Didn’t push too hard but worked up a sweat and felt better afterward.
  • 2 eggs and healthy oatmeal for breakfast, 4 oz tilapia with salsa and some steamed zucchini for lunch, a little pomegranate juice for gym, and an apple afterward
  • Dinner was another story. They spoiled us with off menu appetizers (small though), raspberry mojitos, fresh rosemary rolls, and the meal itself was wonderful. Had a steak (way over-seasoned and with béarnaise sauce!), some garlic mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus. Ate too much of the meat! But the dessert was only so-so so skipped it and just had coffee. Really, really good coffee.

Leaving the restaurant I felt absolutely miserable. Bloated, brain fog, and wondering “why?”. And have a bit of a food hangover this morning.

Yes, it was my anniversary dinner (19 years, 4 married) but I think I would rather have gone to a great play, a classical music concert, checked out a new gallery downtown, or went dancing (even though my spouse doesn’t like to dance). Making a healthy dinner at home and enjoying the time DOING SOMETHING together is how I think I want to celebrate things like anniversary’s and even holiday’s like Christmas in the future.

So how’d I really do? Well kept almost all my commitments. Fell down a bit at dinner with all the extra food but learned a valuable lesson from it. It’s ok to be a foodie but in moderation and focusing on “experiences” instead can actually be more fun, certainly more rewarding, and create memories that last much longer than a 10 ounce rib eye covered in béarnaise sauce!

Huge thanks for the comments! Has given me tons to think about and decide what to begin doing. Today is “cognitive remediation therapy”. Trying to get back those brain cells lost to all these years of psych meds. Wish me luck and a healthy eating day and best to all of you as well!

Like the Chinese say “It’s been an interesting year…”

To my readers, I apologize for the lengthy absence. Like the Chinese say “It’s been an interesting year!” On the weight front, it’s been follow the bouncing scale readout for months now and frankly, I’ve been struggling to go from day to day.

Yes, there have been some health issues, but they are getting under control. But I’ve lost my motivation, direction, and sight of why I started this journey in the first place. While it was understandably for potential serious health reasons (borderline diabetic, developing sleep apnea, having trouble with simple walking, and generally feeling like crap), after losing a large portion of the weight and those issues now resolved, the last roughly 40 pounds to lose (I’ve gained back almost 10 pounds since the beginning of the year) now seems an unobtainable goal. The difficulty stems partially from struggling with constant bouts of depression since April that only now are getting under control and being just plain tired.

Tired of struggling to lose even a pound, working out 5 days a week, eating like a bodybuilder (i.e. a fly!), only to gain 2-3 back after 1 pancake breakfast. The depressions come with major sugar/carb cravings and it takes weeks to lose the weight from falling off wagon after wagon. We’ve talked about “flipping the switch” – looking at problems from the opposite direction or a different point of view. So here I am with you, dear readers, admitting I now need help to get back on track and figure out why this journey continues to be important, and what it’s true value is to me, not just now, but in the future as well.

Because what I’ve learned is this: this is not a journey – it’s a way of life, a commitment to set aside fleeting instant gratification and “sweet treat pleasures” for a healthy body and nutrition and loving movement that keeps my mind on track. I am getting help with this, going back to a therapist after 4 years without one and making a major med change that I am praying will help with the sabotaging food cravings.

So today’s lesson: yes, I’ve fallen down this year, over and over again. But I keep getting back up and part of that is coming back to this blog. It’s very hard admitting here that I’ve lost my focus and dedication. But committing to writing here, finding inspirational messages, quotes, stories, and pictures for you (and myself), and using this as part of holding myself accountable, all these actions will help. Yes, they will take work. Yes, it will be a pain in the ass. Yes, I would rather be eating cheesecake and watching “Farscape” than sweating in the gym and staying true every day to making healthy food choices.

But I commit to myself, and to you, tomorrow is a new day. We’re going out to eat for our anniversary, but even then, and the rest of the day, I will make healthy food choices. I will go to the gym for a 1 hour cardio and strength training session. And I will report back to you on whether I was able to honor these 2 commitments for 1 day. Sadly, like a 12 stepper, it’s going to be 1 day at a time for awhile. But I hope you’ll support me and, as I get back on track, I’ll do the same for you.

kalima123:

These look perfect for when you’re “dying” for something sweet but don’t want to blow a good workout’s hard work! Will try them too and let you all know how I like them – sure I will!

Originally posted on Living Made Healthy:

When I’m bored or avoiding housework I like to peruse Pinterest. Everyone does right?

Lately, I’ve really started to miss baking. I haven’t really made anything interesting because there is no one to eat them. Obviously I don’t want a ton of sweet treats sitting on the counters, and Blake sure as hell doesn’t need to eat a whole batch of anything, so I’ve just haven’t made anything. Poor KitchenAid mixer is getting dusty!

red kitchen aid

I’ve seen this recipe for Peanut Butter Breakfast cookie before and always passed it over, but today I deiced to take a look at the recipe. It’s actually not bad! There is no sugar, no flour, and no butter! Wow! Sounds way too good to be true!

I decided to try it out. Of course, in true Erin fashion with some adjustments. Seriously, I can’t follow recipe to save my life, even when I try I…

View original 488 more words

2012 Yearly Wrap Up

2013 3Hello and Happy New Year!!!

After taking a short break to my “get crap back together” after the school thing, am very happy to be back and will be blogging again regularly. Missed everyone but have been busy learning new fitness, nutrition, and motivation tips and tricks to help us all!

But first a quick wrap of “2012 Goals Achieved“!

INCHES LOST: I lost 4 inches off my bust, went from 22 to size 16/18 in pants and from 1X to Xlarge and some Large/Medium as well. Sold or Donated 80% (or more) of my clothes and shoes and, except for one shopping trip, have gotten everything but sneakers from Goodwill.

FAT LOST: I lost 15 pounds this year and have kept it off. Went through a cycle of gaining and losing, then plateaued for about 5 months but kept going.

STRENGTH: I am doing much better. Can do 3 rounds of full range of exercises with trainer. Bench press 40 pounds and squatting 60 pounds. Much better endurance and able to run 2 miles easily.

MOTIVATION: I began working in July with an amazing trainer and hit the gym at least 3 times a week now, if not more. That includes fitness classes, strength training, C25K training, and yoga. Also tried P90X with a group.

RUNS ACCOMPLISHED: I completed 3 separate 5K’s this year, up from 1 last year. Also decreased time on the last one – Thanksgiving Day – by 15 minutes!

DIET: This year I struggled with sweets and junk food, especially pastry, but was able to get friends on board with my “healthy eating program”. Also did a great job with food choices during the holiday’s compared to last year, and did a 1 day water cleanse yesterday – even with going to a friend’s gathering a being surrounded with AMAZING FOOD.

BREAKFAST: Eat breakfast every day, use stevia not sugar, cook with cooking spray.

WATER: Drink it like it’s out of style (at least a gallon a day). That, coffee, and protein shakes are all I drink now.

ENDING THE BLAME / GUILT CYCLE: I am finished blaming my weight gain on my condition (1 med a bit of an issue but have overcome it), my mom for passing the condition down, and beating myself up when I slip off the wagon, hit a wall, or fail at something. Now I can accept life as it comes, deal with it, and move on to make healthier, smarter decisions next time. This is a HUGE step for me!

TAKING CARE OF MYSELF FIRST: After the whole “class thing” and backsliding, I have been extra vigilant about self care, meds, preparing healthy meals, eating on time, and getting to the gym. The healthier I am in all areas of my life, the better wife, friend, and overall person I will be. Can’t help others with half a tank!

OTHER GOALS ACHIEVED OF NOTE:

SOCIAL: Went from anxiety/depression central and trapped at home 2 years ago to planning and hosting 3 parties/gatherings this year: a “Harry Potter Movie Marathon and Authentic Menu” Party, “Cocktails/Mocktails” Party, and a “French Country Christmas”. Also captained the 2012 NamiWalk, great success! Am almost anxiety free now and ready to kick another med to the curb! And will be reconnecting and visiting with friends monthly.

EDUCATION: Signed up for and completed 90% of a college class.

FINANCIAL: Also studying and creating a financial plan for my family for next year to knock out our debts. Paid off car and refinanced house this year. Exciting plans for 2013.

Have another set already of goals for 2013, some carried over from 2012, but many new.

Pleased to report that achieved almost everything on our “2012 Vision Board“. So for those of you who don’t know what a vision board is or just haven’t used one – I HIGHLY recommend it! Seeing your goals in color every day and the “check marks” stuck to the one’s you’ve achieved is an incredible motivator. Gives such an amazing feeling of pride and accomplishment. Have a blog entry from January 2012 explaining how to make your own vision board but even if you just create a “2013 Goals List” and display it where you’ll see it every day, then check things off as you do them, you’ll still get those “warm fuzzy feelings”.

So, welcome back everyone! 2013 is a year of challenging myself like never before, beating the sugar monster, and getting in the best health I’ve been in since my late 20′s. And I challenge you to go after your goals and “knock them out of the park” as well! Would love to hear some of your plans and goals for the New Year and your accomplishments in 2012. This is going to be exciting and thrilled you’re along for the Ride!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Extra Weight Gain? Was FOOD + MEDS…Now back on Track!

First, a very Happy Thanksgiving to all you wonderful folks!!! May this day be special for you however you celebrate it.

As for the extra weight – it’s all gone plus am almost back down to July/Aug weight and plan to end year with another 10 off, in the high 180′s. That’s my goal and am sticking to it.

Didn’t make it to the Turkey Trot 5k but am signing up for a Dec 1 closer 5k. Will be ready to run by that time!

Keeping this one short but sending love and hugs to all of you. Take care and enjoy the day!

 

Extra Weight Gain? Is it Food or Meds? Or What?

I’M UP 5 POUNDS, I FEEL LIKE CRAP, WHAT NOW???

We all know it starts with food – what we eat, how much, frequency, when, etc. Then it goes to activity, water consumption, getting enough sleep, but then it gets murky. In a depression, there’s tons of science about eating more, craving sugary/fatty foods, eating less or not eating. There are tons of factors but many of us end up with extra weight gain and feeling worse about ourselves as we move out of the depression or other episode. Not all, but the “I could care less” during the episode changes pretty quick for me when I look at the scale. The question is: did the depression cause the weight gain or did I gain weight by self medicating with food???? What other factors are in play?

For me, the main culprit has usually been meds. They helped me gain most of the weight, than I helped myself. Took 2 years to titrate (lower dosage) down 1 main culprit and another I was worried about dependency with. Then wham, bad episode, doc ups the “evil weight gain med” and a week later I’m 5 pounds up and feeling like a double failure. The pain of the episode, both mental and physical, pushed me over the edge to self medicate with food. Chicken, egg? The point: the med change helped me so much emotionally I’ve been coming out of the bad funk over the last few days. Have been able to slowly knock the increase back. And the 5 pounds, well with the lower dosage, lots of exercise, cutting back carbs, and increasing protein, not only are they gone, I’m actually back to July/Aug weight.

Lesson: There are so many factors that impact weight gain and loss, but for us on mood meds, they can have a very real impact on our hard work. Some are notorious “weight gainers” and while they help us feel more stable, we look in the mirror and are pretty unhappy with the side effects. What’s critical to remember is that mood stabilization, mental health, and mental safety come first. You can only do so much when you’re in an episode. Once you’re more stable, then you can talk to your doc about the weight issues and what you can safely do to address them. Be good to yourself – hopefully you have a plan in place and support system to call on when needed. If not – DO ONE!!!!! I wouldn’t be here typing away if those two things haven’t been my lifeline for 12 years. Although I’m preaching to many in the choir, hopefully this will shed some light for some others of you.

Huge Shout Out to Sandy Sue for her friendship and amazingly great advice/insight! Hugs!

Taking Care of Business

Quick update (and a shout of Thanks to Sandy Sue and other terrific supporters for your words of wisdom!):

- Depression beater 1 million: an hour deep tissue massage. Use a Groupon or online coupon. Hurts like heck during it, but could actually move and stretch again after a few hours. A bit sore today but not unbearable. Don’t be cheap, go for the hour to really hit all the knots depression hides in.

- Projects Help: A Lot!: continuing painting in the dining room and, even without doing trim work, is starting to look pretty amazing. Benefit: a mindfulness exercise, low stress, get in some exercise, but have to pay attention. Which keeps me from obsessing over…well, everything. Also went out and bought fabric for next big stitching project. Last one took 4 solid months. This one looks like about 8. Another mindful, mindless project that yields results to be proud of. Some people garden, cook, do woodwork – I sew.

- You May Gain A Bit of Weight, But You Probably Will Be Able to Lose It: Depression eating isn’t new, heck, many of us overindulge when we’re not depressed. But it’s only during an episode that I’ll make a 9″ pan of brownies and eat it all. We won’t talk about the brownie or cookie dough runs. However, after the initial “food medicating” is past, it takes a bit but one can get back on the horse, and with some initially hard work, lose that weight. Yes, it sucks. Yes, we initially feel even crappier thanks to the scale monster. Yes, we can do this…again. I gained almost 5 pounds in about 2 weeks and lost about .6 in 1 day through heathier eating. Imp: Results may not be typical!!!

- One Sure Fire Sign You’re Coming Out of It: ok, more than 1. You showered today and brushed your teeth. You were able to go back to work. You are back on your healthy eating program. You can stretch, move around, and want to get back to exercising, doing errands, and all that other life stuff. You may not FEEL 100% but you’re moving in the right direction. I’m at the “doing self care, eating better, and ready to get back to exercising”. Yay!

Only you know your “depression remedies” – and hopefully your significant other/support system in case you need reminding. As a rapid cycler, mine are horrible but short lived. If your main diagnosis is depression or you’re a BP1, your episodes may be much longer and require different remedies and much more time for you to see relief. That’s why it’s always so important to contact doc asap to discuss your plan and what you can do to get through this one and help make future one’s shorter and more manageable. I’m not a doc myself but after 14 years on this merry go round, have learned a tad bit. Hope this helps any of your out there or at least was an interesting read!