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!

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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.

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!

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!

Sunday AM Gratitude

Good morning! If you are in the States, did you change your clocks yet?

– and while you’re at it, maybe take a moment to think about a few things you

are grateful for on this beautiful Fall morning! And sending best wishes

to all those impacted by Sandy.

Thrilled To Be Back…And How To Torch 100 Calories – It’s Easier Than You Think

It’s been an extremely busy few weeks, not an excuse, just an “exercise” in juggling new activities and responsibilities. Think I’m finally getting a handle on it.

Activities / Milestones of Note:

  • This past Sunday, did a 5K and ran/jogged 2/3rds of it. Compare to this April when struggled to just walk one.
  • On the 5th week of the C25K training program.
  • Signed up for 3rd 5K this year – the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning.
  • Battling emotional eating yesterday while in another bad depression BUT was able to stop myself for calling for pizza/cheesecake takeout and instead did a 20 minute run.
  • Called Overeater’s Anonymous to start digging into what’s holding me back and get tools to address overeating, sugar addiction, and self sabatogue.

But enough about me, here’s the good stuff:

How To Torch 100 Calories…Some Ways Are Easier Than Others, But You’ll Be Surprized!

Everything you do burns calories—breathing, sleeping, standing, and all of the active pursuits you enjoy. But what does it take to burn just 100 calories? You may be surprised by how little—or how much—activity you have to do to achieve that goal! To put it all in perspective for you, we’ve gathered 50 different ways to burn 100 calories. From standard exercises you do at the gym, to everyday chores around the house, you can burn 100 calories in just a few short minutes of your day.

Keep in mind that not all movement is created equal. In order to classify an activity as a cardio ”exercise,” you must be working at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. (You can calculate your target heart rate here.) However, even though periods of less intense activity may not count as part of your workout, they still provide health benefits and burn extra calories. After all, the less sitting you do, the better!

50 Ways to Burn 100 Calories

(Values are approximate and are based on a 150-pound person.)

Workouts:

  1. Biking: 23 minutes of casual cycling
  2. Cardio dance class: 15 minutes
  3. Elliptical: 8 minutes
  4. Jumping rope: 9 minutes at a moderate intensity
  5. Lifting weights, vigorously: 15 minutes
  6. Pilates: 24 minutes
  7. Rowing machine: 13 minutes
  8. Running stairs: 6 minutes
  9. Running: 9 minutes of running at a 6 mph pace
  10. Swimming: 15 minutes moderate intensity
  11. Walking stairs: 11 minutes
  12. Walking: 20 minutes of walking at a 3 mph pace
  13. Water aerobics: 23 minutes
  14. Yoga: 20 minutes
  15. Zumba: 11 minutes

Sports and Leisure Activities:

  1. Basketball, shooting hoops: 20 minutes
  2. Bowling: 30 minutes
  3. Dancing around living room: 20 minutes
  4. Darts: 35 minutes
  5. Golfing, carrying clubs: 15 minutes
  6. Ice skating, moderate: 18 minutes
  7. Kickball: 13 minutes
  8. Mini golf or driving range: 30 minutes
  9. Playing catch with a football: 35 minutes
  10. Playing Frisbee: 30 minutes
  11. Playing soccer, casual: 13 minutes
  12. Skiing,downhill: 10 minutes
  13. Softball or baseball: 18 minutes
  14. Tennis (doubles): 21 minutes
  15. Tennis (singles): 15 minutes
  16. Treading water, moderate effort: 23 minutes
  17. Volleyball, recreational: 26 minutes
  18. Water skiing: 15 minutes

Yard Work:

  1. Mowing the lawn: 20 minutes
  2. Painting house: 18 minutes
  3. Raking leaves: 23 minutes
  4. Shoveling snow: 15 minutes
  5. Washing the car: 20 minutes
  6. Weeding the garden: 18 minutes

Everyday Activities:

  1. Carrying an infant: 24 minutes
  2. Cleaning, moderate effort: 26 minutes
  3. Cooking: 34 minutes
  4. Doing dishes: 40 minutes
  5. Mopping the floor: 20 minutes
  6. Playing with children: 23 minutes
  7. Pushing a stroller: 35 minutes
  8. Rearranging furniture: 14 minutes
  9. Shopping: 38 minutes
  10. Sweeping: 23 minutes
  11. Walking the dog, 26 minutes

Were you surprised by the amount of time it takes to burn 100 calories? Which of these activities can you incorporate into your life to burn an extra 100 calories per day? Pick one that fits into your schedule and go for it!

Train Like Your Stronger Fitter Evil-Twin is Plotting…

How hard do you train? More importantly, what are your real fitness goals? Are they written down? Have you even thought past just losing weight and being able to shop in cooler stores?

When I started this journey in April of 2011, my only goal was to lose weight, mainly because I was just so miserable and disgusted with myself. But actual fitness goals aside from what I needed to do to lose the weight, not really. There were a few ambiguous ones like being able to walk for 20 minutes, get through a whole yoga class, that sort of thing. Now, a bit over a year later, 80 pounds lighter, and spending more time at the gym than I ever dreamed I would, now I have goals. They are:

* Consistently do at least 30 minutes of sustained activity 30 minutes 6 days a week.

* Complete 2 5K’s by December 31, 2012. (Have 1 scheduled for October. And doing the C25K program.)

* Complete a Half Marathon in 2013. (Start training in January.)

* Reach my goal weight of 160 by December 31, 2012 – and be at 25% body fat percentage (the normal range).

* Biggest: At least double the amount of weight I can lift, strength training I can do, and incorporate a program like P90X to really push losing fat and building muscle.

* And of course, ditch the “white stuff” – sugar, white flour, salt, butter/margarine (ok they’re not white) and eat as cleanly as possible.

These are my goals – sure that yours may be different in many ways. However, the next most important piece is planning how to reach whatever your goals are. Planning how you’ll do it, creating a schedule, journalling/charting your progress, and celebrating milestones. All this seems pretty basic, right?

Basic until you ignore your eating regime to have oatmeal right before bed. Til you blow off gym class to do, well whatever. Letting your schedule slide because life is getting in the weigh (family, work, school). Unless you have a plan, look at it regularly, and have a method to hold yourself accountable, it’s so very easy to let life takeover one tiny piece at a time until you’re sliding backwards and even more stressed out.

If you don’t have a plan, consider making one. If you’re not journalling to keep your food under control and charting your fitness progress, there are tons of great sites and apps to make it quick and easy. A small notebook works, too!

Don’t do what I did last night – ignore my trainer’s advice to have a protein shake at night if I get hungry and instead carb load and let it turn to fat overnight. Especially after busting butt for over an hour with my trainer that afternoon. Stepping on your own success is only frustrating and discouraging. Let that “future you” you’ll become be your guide and advise you. I ask “what would future Lara want me to do right now to help her become the fit, toned, and healthy person she became?”. The answer is: move more, eat clean and smart, and keep going! This journey is truly a marathon not a sprint. Pace yourself, do your best, and you’ll get there. In the meantime, be firm but gentle with yourself “on the weigh”!

 

 

What Can You Do Now?

Depending on where you are with your personal weight loss journey, and at regular intervals, it’s a terrific idea to think back to where you started and take a few minutes to compare what you could do then versus what you can do now. Not the obvious things like being able to walk around the block, finish a gym class, are overall healthier and have more energy.

The less obvious ones:

* Being able to run to the car through the rain without being winded.

* Being able to bend over in the shower to shave your legs.

* Automatically reaching for an apple instead of a donut without realizing you’re doing it.

* Doing a yoga pose instinctively, perfectly, the first time, to your own amazement.

* Getting up from a low couch without leaning on something or needing help.

* Comfortably crossing your legs.

* Leaning over and wrapping your arms around your legs while seated on the floor, again without thinking about it.

* Moving past the conscious decision to do a healthier activity because so many are now second nature. Like taking the stairs and parking farther away to get a little extra activity.

* And the very little things like going to sleep at a decent hour because you’re honesty tired, not because you’re eyes are fried from too much tv or video gaming, but because your body has reset itself.

* Finally, the feeling developing deep in yourself that you’re a thin person, a healthy person, temporarily wearing a fat suit. That happened to me a few days ago and it’s been instrumental in strengthening my commitment to reaching my fitness and weight goals.

As you keep a food journal, an exercise journal, maybe think of starting a list of “new developments” list of thoughts and actions that you look back and realize how long it’s been since you were able to do them, if at all. More than a number on a scale or the amount of weight you’re able to lift or miles you can now run, it’s the little things that we now take for granted that truly make all the difference.

Start that list – you’ll be glad you did. Plus you can use it for a confidence boost when your commitment wanes or you hit a plateau!

Help, I’m Out of Control!

I’m Out of Control And Really Need Help

After 6 weeks I finally got the scale back and guess what, I’m almost 4 pounds heavier. Pretty upset about this.

It’s time to admit that I have a problem and figure out what to do about it. Yes, I’ve lost almost 80 pounds and for the most part have kept it off. BUT since losing that bulk of weight and still having 40 that I want to lose, I’ve been fighting a losing battle with emotional and impulse eating for the last 4 months. I’ve plateaued and been ping-ponging on the scale.

One of the reasons I’ve gained back 4 pounds is 2 weeks of limited exercise (no trainer sessions, no body pump classes, only a solid weekend of hard work outside). Even after the major lawn overhaul and then the following week getting ready for and getting some major dental work, the 2nd reason is that my eating is out of control. I try to stay with the plan my trainer gave me but during the weekend and the time around and after the dental work (about a week), it’s been carbs, carbs, carbs and SUGAR. Getting takeout, going out for lunch complete with pancakes two days in a row. Ice cream one night, a half container of caramel almond butter with chocolate chips another. Making mega brownies. Eating half a challah loaf two days in a row. No wonder the pounds are flying back on.

Add sitting on my butt on the couch for hours a day and not using the fitness equipment sitting in the other room and it all makes sense.

Although my trainer says over and over, it’s your fat percentage that counts and how your clothes fit, especially as you gain muscle and lose fat (muscle weighs more), because I am still so overweight that’s not the issue now. Get me down to 10 pounds to goal and we’ll talk.

I feel like I’m at the end of my rope – I’m sneaking sweet stuff again, staying on plan during the day and then blowing it at night, not getting in enough movement, and letting temptation rule my food choices. I’ll go for weeks on plan and then blow it over a weekend. And to make matters worse this Friday and Sat we’re eating out to celebrate with friends. So I’ll do great until Friday night then blow it with the bread at the restaurant. Saturday is a birthday party complete with cake that I’ll be making and dinner out at a japanese steakhouse. That’s what’s been happening the last few months and why I’m not making any progress. I’ll stay on plan and then at the slightest opportunity, fall right off. Sure I get back on but the damage has already been done.

Crappy factoid here: within a few hours of a high fat meal we put on 3 teaspoons of fat around our middle, waiting to move somewhere else on our body. 1 meal!!!

I’m feeling so discouraged when I should be grateful that for the most part I’ve kept off what I lost over the last year. The problem is I’m not at the maintaining stage yet and still have a ton to lose. And my willpower seems to have taken a vacation.

I don’t know whether I need to go see my therapist again for a booster or figure out what’s really going on mentally that’s blowing my progress. Going to a training session today and hopefully trainer will help put this in perspective. That and planning ahead for this weekend’s meals, making a single layer cake (just use 1 pan), and starting to journal food again. The picture journal is a lot of work and a real pain which is why it was a short lived venture. Trainer has nixed the calorie counting but a simple daily listing of intake seems like the best way to go.

Even bought a book about stopping emotional eating, which I put down after a few chapters and haven’t picked back up. Can’t tell if I’m not ready to face this yet but if I want to achieve my goals I really need to suck it up and figure out how to be the winner when faced with chocolate (and ice cream)! Something has to change and stay changed for this journey to continue and figure out how not to fall back into sabotaging habits. Many of you have inspired me so much and would love your feedback on this. Right now I’m my own worse enemy!

It’s All About Inspiration!

What is the hardest thing about achieving and then maintaining weight loss and any kind of fitness program?

Yep: Staying Inspired and Motivated!

That’s the reason I post videos, motivating quote pics (see above), and reblog great posts from bloggers who inspire me. You can count calories all day, run until you can’t breathe, and spend hours at the gym. But at some point, we all hit the wall.

It’s when we stop caring what we put in our mouths, whether we make it to the gym, and that cool workout and yoga stuff we bought to have at home starts collecting dust. The business world calls it burn out, I call it just plain tired.

Today’s tip is to embrace the burnout. It’s your body’s way of saying it needs a break. You may also be in a weight loss plateau at this point. That’s normal, too. When we have a lot of weight to lose (or even just a little), it’s typical to get to a certain point and stall. And to control how far we fall off the wagon, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for these burnout periods. To build in 2 slices of pizza (but not 4). To allow yourself a weekend off activity wise and let yourself get completely bored watching telly and finally getting up to “go do something”. It also gives you a chance to research a little and make some minor adjustments for when you get back to work. Changing what and how you’re eating a little, switching to a new/harder class, doing cardio before instead of after strength trainer (or the reverse), adding or subtracting a day.

A few posts ago I talked about the cruel truths of long term maintenance and leading an active, healthy life. Mixing it up on a regular basis is one of those truths. Your body gets bored the same as your mind. It gets used to a routine / way of eating and gets complacent. It’s your job in the control room to keep it guessing and challenge it!

In that vein, here’s the perfect example of an inspiring blog from a blogger I admire very much. She’s a Runner. Pre-Service PE teacher. Personal Trainer. Sports Nutritionist. Les Mills Body Pump Instructor. Yogi. Torquay & Surfcoast Lover. Wow! So if you’re feeling sluggish this morning and not in the mood to get in much activity check out what she’s doing today. And get that butt off the couch!

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