Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I say that I want to lose weight

then what do I do? Bake cupcakes. That's right, at this very moment I have a batch of Red Velvet cupcakes going. Well, actually, half a batch - at least I managed to limit how much I'm making. I don't even know what triggered my craving for cupcakes, but as soon as I realized I'd have some leftover cream cheese (from the awful, fatty, calorie-laden 3-cheese quesadillas I'm making for dinner *sigh*) and could therefore make cream cheese frosting, I decided that my 3 year old and I just had to make cupcakes during naptime. Ugh. I was pretty good about calories yesterday and I forced myself to go to turbokick even though I felt awful - but today I not only had cheese and butter filled multi-grain hot cereal, but I had cheese with my soup and veggies at lunch (at least I skipped the ranch dip), and I'm having those quesadillas for dinner (at least I'm also serving spinach salad) - and now cupcakes! I'm insane. And I just caught myself gazing longingly at the super-skinny picture of myself I posted on the fridge for motivation - yeah, guess that's not so much working. Oh well, damage done, but I can try to minimize it. Eat very few cupcakes, send the rest to work tomorrow, maybe squeeze in a run. We'll see. Got to remember I've got $ riding on the Biggest Loser too - now I really have to be motivated lol. I guess I just needed to rant about my stupidity. Remember, girl, cupcakes do NOT = quality time!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pro-ana, anti-you

I am a firm believer that confessing something can help you move beyond it. Therefore, I feel that this post is necessary, despite the fact that it's probably way TMI.

This morning I stumbled upon a pro-ana (aka pro-anorexia) website while doing a little (mostly innocent) web searching. Ok, no, I didn't learn from my previous post and yes, I did Google "How did Jolene Blalock get so skinny?" (apparently she'd been a model and thus on a chronic diet since she was 17). I found myself horrified, however, not by what was on that site, but by the frequency with which I used to visit such sites. And that I used to think they were filled with really 'good advice.' *shudder*

When I was 19, through a semester of being overworked, overtired, overstressed and various other things, I lost 16 lbs. This dropped me from 116 lbs to 100 lbs. Which is a reasonable weight for someone who's 5'2." But along with the weight loss came control issues and an addiction to being thin. I'd felt chubby and ugly all my life and somehow fitting into a size 2 made me feel 'normal' - seeing all my ribs and hip bones made me feel pretty. And while my semester was rapidly getting away from me, one thing I could control was what I ate. Believe me, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't label it an eating disorder until I was out of college - at least, I didn't admit that's what it was. I just thought that I wanted to be thin 'like all the popular girls.' Even when I hit 95 lbs, I didn't think I was thin enough. I've always been pear shaped and somehow that made me feel fat, even though looking back at pictures of us all I was much bonier than any of the girls I wanted to be just like. But such is the nature of the beast.

At my lowest point I was eating 500 calories a day - though not all at once, so no one would notice how little I ate. Even after I was married and officially an 'adult' I was still only eating 900 calories on a good day and spending plenty of time on pro-ana sites. Sites with such 'good advice' as "drink lots of ice water so you'll burn calories warming up" and "if you're about to pass out, eat a peppermint, it'll give you a hit of sugar and quell your cravings." Advice that I followed frequently. As anyone who's ever skipped a meal (or 3) will tell you, hunger is miserable. I thought that being thin would make me happy, but constantly starving like that made me insanely cranky and depressed. I'm really surprised my roomates didn't kick me out in college.

Finally, I became pregnant with my first child. The childbirth class we took put us on a strict (healthy) diet and I began to remember what it felt like to be healthy and full. And I loved it. No more dizzy spells, no more crankiness, no more abject depression. I needed energy to keep up with my kids. These days I definitely eat. I'm even struggling to lose weight. But it's a hard hard process because, though I'm healthier now, there's a part of me that knows how to do it the 'easy way' - the way that will get me exactly what I want and make me miserable in the process. So I generally try to stay away from the old websites and, as much as possible, not surround myself with images of super skinny models. Because I'm well now and there's no going back.

Well, that's my warning - to myself and to anyone else who might be tempted to lose weight 'the easy way.' In short, just don't do it. It's not worth it. Of course supermodels never smile - being too thin made me cranky, too :p

Monday, March 21, 2011

11 Week Challenge: Week 10

Week 10: Avoid Sneaky Pitfalls

Well, we're almost done. How have you been doing? Lost any weight? Sadly, I've only managed to lose about 3 lbs. On the otherhand, these sneaky pitfalls are what keep getting me down. This week we are working on avoiding negative thinking, and getting in our exercise even when we don't feel like it.

There isn't much to expound upon here - the only tips the article mentions are keeping on hand a list of 10 things you love about yourself that you can reference when you're having a 'fat day' and forcing yourself to work out for just 5 minutes even when you don't want to (often that 5 minutes will turn into a whole workout session).

The biggest goal for this week is simply to keep up the good work. Lets look back over the last 9 weeks' challenges and get re-focused. And don't forget to have fun whenever you can!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why Star Trek Made Me Rethink

If you were paying attention to my earlier posts, you noticed that I have a bit of a problem with setting realistic goals. I find a 'body model' and work toward it - until I find a 'better' one and then another and another until my expectations are totally unrealistic and I'm down on myself again because I'm not thin enough or pretty enough or bony enough or..... Despite my noble goals, here I am again.

I also mentioned that media is my nemesis when it comes to self image. Hubby and I have been watching Star Trek: Enterprise lately and, of course, it's full of impossibly thin and gorgeous women. And, of course, I found myself desiring very much to look just like Subcommander T'Pol:

Note the jutting hipbones and itty bitty ribcage. Even if I ate nothing, ever, I could never look like that. Then we saw an episode which required said officer to remove her shirt and hubby exclaimed "ew, you can see all her bones!" As in, he doesn't find waiflike attractive. And I thought to myself - then what on earth am I setting myself up for?

And thinking back to my earliest posts and my earliest goals I realized how wrong I've gotten it lately. I've been trying to hit a certain weight, squeeze into ancient clothes, look like super-skinny celebrities. But not that long ago my primary goal was "get healthy, get fit" - what happened? It dawned on me yesterday that I'm already a couple pounds under my pre-pregnancy #3 weight. So what if I'm not college weight again - I shouldn't be that thin anymore - and a mommy of 3 really shouldn't have anything skin-tight, cropped or supershort in her wardrobe anyway. So, I'm getting back to my original goals - more working out, healthier eating, better sleep - and whatever shape I wind up, that's what shape I'm meant to be. Besides, all the other Star Trek chicks are sporting this look - and I could totally pull that off right now :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

11 Week Challenge: Week 9

Did you remember to measure your portions last week? I did and I didn't - but I'm getting better about it. And speaking of spotty performance, here is this week's challenge.

Week 9: Stay Positive

We all have bad days (or weeks), but the key to not blowing things entirely is to stay positive. If you have a slip up, learn from it and move on! Some ways the article recommends keeping a positive attitude include giving yourself a break (take a hot bath, getting a facial, seeing a movie), buddying up (getting freiends and family to cheer you on or help you out), and practicing optimism (it will get easier, you will do better).

So even if you eat three portions of dinner, make a cake (and eat it all) or just skip the gym for a night - it's ok. Try again the next day and don't get discouraged! This is a little easier said than done for me given that we're on week 9 and I have only lost 3 lbs (maybe) but I can only get better (and thinner) from here :)

New Shoes/ Pacing

I think I was a sprinter in a past life. When I head out the door for a run, all I want to do is take off as fast as I possibly can. Too bad I can't keep that up for long. In my previous post I mentioned my struggle with pace and its leading to a very short first run. Well, this weekend I tried for run #2 and ran almost a whole mile straight! Doesn't sound like much, but for me, it's major progress. I ran 9/10 of mile #1 and then walked 9/10 of mile # 2 meaning I got in a whole mile run (and a whole mile walk) which is pretty decent after not working out for 4 years. The key was, apparently, to jog slower than I can walk. But I kept going and only had to walk that tiny stretch. I also set short distance goals for myself (I just have to make it to that house over there - ok, now I'm going to go to that tree...etc).

Also in my corner was the fact that I finally finally got new sneakers. Why oh why have I not done this sooner!? I had no idea what a difference having real, proper running shoes could make. I've been living in my same cheapo sneakers for the last 5 years and they were seriously falling apart. No wonder my feet were dying by the end of every workout. I finally got it together and went to First Gear (where all my exercize savy friends go) and was so impressed! As soon as I walked in the door they told me to remove my shoes and walk to the back of the room. They then not only told me I'd been wearing the wrong size all this time (so that's why my toes are always bruised) but proceeded to bring out several of the comfiest pairs of shoes I've ever put on. They were light and cushy and breatheable and had some real arch supports in them (take that Dr. Scholl's). I even noticed immediately that the shoes corrected all the problems with my gait that were putting so much stress on my ankle, knee and hip. Hooray! I am so excited about some (relatively) pain free workouts. I wound up with a fanstastic (albeit $$) pair of Brooks sneakers - goodbye Sketchers, hello comfy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Run Run As Fast As You Can

mmmm. Gingerbread. But sweets are not what I'm talking about. Last night I went for my first run in about 4 years. Before kids I was in ok shape. I was certainly not an athlete, but I could walk forever and could run well over a mile without stopping. Well - last night I made it a half mile (of which I walked at least 1/3) and nearly blacked out as I was coming back into the house. Oops. In part I blame the fact that I was running at night (which scares me silly) so I was going too fast. I know that pace is super important, especially in the beginning so I'll either have to get used to my neighborhood at dark (it's actually very safe and cozy - lots of people out walking tiny dogs) or find another time to run. And my hope is that tomorrow I'll be able to get fitted for some new work-out shoes. 'Cause these ancient cheapo Sketchers I've been wearing forever are totally worn out and killing my feet (even with a nice pair of Dr. Scholl's inside). So I've had a pretty humiliating begining to my running career, but as they say - I have no where to go but up.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Biggest Loser

Well, today I had my first weigh-in for our play-group's Biggest Loser competition. I seriously doubt I'll win given that I've been stuck at the same weight for ages, but I thought that if a (very small) sum of money was at stake, I might find more motivation to try. We're allowed to use any method except diet pills - so I guess I'll keep up the calorie counting (which I've been bad about the last few days) and working out and see what happens. They're judging by percentage lost, so I guess everyone's got a shot. We're going for 10 weeks weighing in every 2 weeks to make sure no one is "cheating" or losing too much too fast (this is supposed to be a healthy competition). Wish me luck! I'm really gonna need it. Maybe I'll finally get my chubby tush out for a run tonight....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Though I'm not Catholic, I've attempted to honor Lent most years. In High School I dutifully gave up chocolate every single Lent. And by the end of the first week I invariably forgot all about my resolution and caught myself eating a Kit Kat at break or a cookie at lunch. Oops. Then I would feel horrible shame and remorse and get down on myself and abandon the whole deal and stuff myself full of the chocolate. This pattern repeated every Lent (with the possible exception of my FB fast one year) every year until last year. I finally decided that honoring the spirit of mourning and suffering temptation just wasn't the way to celebrate my Lord if it meant that ultimately I'd wind up hating myself and distancing myself from Him because I was 'too weak.' So I've changed up my meaning of Lent just a little. I now use the time to add something healthy to my routine so that I can celebrate the life He gave me and renew my focus on Him. Not only do I try to increase the amount of time I spend in His word, this year I am attempting to adopt a fitness related change. The goal is to take up running. However, I have notoriously bad knees/ankle/hip so this will only work if I can a) find some amazing shoes and b) take it slowly enough not to injure myself from the get-go. And I'll probably die on the way to my first mile I'm so out of shape. But something inside of me craves a run now and then and I'm in desperate need of some cardio - so here goes. I hope to get out to get my shoes by sometime next week and in the meantime I'm attempting to add another Turbokick class to my week. Wish me luck and please feel free to leave any running tips you might have - I'm a total newbie and know nothing at all. Happy Lent to you all!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

11 Week Challenge: Week 8

How did you do on strengthening your resolve? I'll confess, I haven't yet set out my motivators (I blame lack of time and a tricky printer :p). Though this weekend somewhat revolved around a brand new motivator that should keep me going for a while. We shall see. Anyway, this week we are dealing with the "eyes were bigger than my tummy" phenomenon.

Week 8: Eat Proper Portions.

The gist of this week's challenge is learning what a portion size really looks like. I have a nasty habit of 'guesstimating' what a portion really is - and when I finally do measure my food I'm shocked at how much I overshot. Or, conversely I'm amazed at how much a tablespoon of something really is. Either way, since I'm calorie tracking, I need to be pretty precise with how much I'm really eating. So - this week's goal is to measure everything. Find out how much a cup of peas really is. Or an ounce of cheese (this one gets me every time). Until we can reliably eyeball a portion on a regular basis, we'll measure every food item we eat (or as many as we can - you don't have to haul the food scale to a restaurant).

A couple other tips the article recommends - eating without distraction so you know how much is going into your mouth, and splitting a meal with a friend when out to eat (or asking for half of it to go right off the bat). And don't forget to read the nutritional labels! Not only do we have to know how much a cup of cereal is, we also have to know how many cups of cereal comprise a serving. If 1/2 cup of cereal is only 80 calories but we usually eat 3 servings - that's definitely something to look out for!

Best of luck! I highly recommend keeping a food journal, even if you're not calorie counting. It's amazing to look back at the end of the day and see how much you've really eaten (5 cups of starch but only 2 cups of fruit? Oops, better readjust!) Happy measuring.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Aftermath

Something that I consider a bit of a triumph lately is my newly emerging ability to think beyond the immediate pleasures of eating certain foods to the short term effects they'll have on my body. Long term consequences aren't a great motivator for me. The "you could be diabetic some day" argument doesn't really get me to put down the pudding cup. But when I look at the sweets in my fridge I occasionally find myself thinking "you'll be up all night" or "maybe it's the chocolate that's making you depressed" or "remember, too much sugar makes you itchy." And then it's much easier to simply walk away - or at least swap the junk food for a handful of sweet grapes. The more I am mindful that junk food really does make me feel like junk (that mac'n'cheese coma is not a good thing), the easier it is to choose the foods that I know will make my body feel amazing. And I'm fine with an occasional serving or two of carbs or a cookie now and then - I actually feel better when I have a very limited amount of 'bad stuff' - but really overindulging always leaves me feeling sick. And these days I need all the energy and health I can muster to keep up with my life. It's an ongoing process and sometimes I remember mid-snack - or not at all - and wind up paying for it later on. But I'm leaning, and that's progress, and I'm pleased.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cookies Are Not Quality Time

I've been flying solo as the parent at home this week - and if anyone knows me well, you know that I don't do 'alone' with grace. I get hideously stressed out when I have to be on my own (even with three kids in the house, I still feel alone). And when I'm stressed, I like to 'treat' myself. Which this week took the form of a big batch of chocolate chip cookies. I told myself I was doing something special for my kids because their world was pretty lonely, too (my middle child has been waking up crying for Daddy every night). But when I really stopped to think about it, I was shocked to realize what I was teaching my kids. I was teaching them that the way to soothe sadness and stress is with lots and lots of empty calories. My kids didn't need cookies, they needed cuddles. Giving them sweets was not making up for my lack of personal attention. In all my efforts to 'get it all done' I haven't been setting aside enough time just for them. And I thought to myself - wouldn't it be wonderful if my kids grew up associating the word "treat" not with desserts but with extra hugs, snuggling up with a good book or a lively romp around the back yard. I want my kids to beg for Mommy's time, not her baking. And I think, really, when they're screaming "cookie cookie" they really would be just as happy sitting on Mommy or Daddy's lap coloring instead. So my goal for the future is to spend more time playing with the kids and less time baking for them. And to work on my own perception of what a 'treat' is - maybe I can splurge on a massage once Daddy is home or, at the very least, take a nice hot bath once all the kiddos are in bed. Those are much healthier choices than a pile of sugar and just as satisfying and relaxing. Hopefully, if I work hard enough, even I will learn to associate "treat" with quality time and not sugary foods instead.