Saturday, January 1, 2011

content to be content?

If you were taking a fabulous trip, would you stop 3/4 of the way there?  What if there were some pretty great places along the way with wonderful things to offer?  Sometimes you can reach a certain point and the elation of getting so far gives you such a delight that you become complacent.  At least that is what I have found.  Lately, I have been so happy with the results of my hard work over the last six months that I find myself not pushing as hard as I pushed to get to this point.  The problem with this is that I will never get to my ultimate goal.

For years I have longed to feel content with my body.  Looking in the mirror and assesing my shape was heartbreaking and made me feel like I was never as good as those people that are not over weight.  My self image was rock bottom and this reached into every part of my life.  Sometimes I think that the lack of confidence from being over weight kept me from being successful at actually losing the weight.  It was the proverbial double edged sword. 

Proving to myself that I could make a drastic life change was the first step.  The first several weeks of eating healthy and exercising were among the toughest.  Those first small steps began to make me see that I could take control of the parts of me I loathed.  Please do not mistake me for someone that never gets off track.  As I write this I am reflecting on all of the eating I did over the recent holidays and I feel shame.  At one time in my life this kind of thinking would have been all I needed to start the ulitmate spiral downward into self destructive habits. 

These days when I look in the mirror I see someone that I am proud of.  I have worked hard, changed my life and have the visual proof that I need to make me smile.  However, I know that I have not finished what I set out to do.  There are goals I have yet to meet, changes I still plan to make and miles of road ahead.  Yet I know that there is a day to come when I can breath a sigh of relief and enjoy the contented feeling that comes with fulfillment of a goal.  I also know that day is coming sooner rather than later and that gives me all the hope I need.

Monday, September 20, 2010

set backs are unaviodable

Things were moving along so great.  I was exercising on a regular schedule.  My eating was on track.  The weight was falling off.  Then it happened.  I had the dreaded set back. 

It all started innocently enough.  My kids and I flew off to Chicago to visit my brother-in-law.  It was meant to be a fun filled extra long weekend with lots of sights and some sampling of Chicago's best foods.  The trip was very fun but I used it as an excuse to eat everything the city had to offer.  Deep dish pizza, caramel popcorn (from Garrett Popcorn aka heaven on earth), cheesburgers from the Billy Goat (but no fries...chips), pounded chicken that was breaded and served with a twice baked potato the size of my head, my brother-in-law's lasagna and Bobtail ice cream plus were on my list of cuisine.  Just typing this makes my mouth water.

Things may have been ok if I had just gotten right back on track when I came home. Instead I kept sampling.  And sampling.  And even did a little more sampling.  To make it worse my exercise routine was interrupted by knee issuses and schedule conflicts.  I was spiraling.  The time had come to set back the set back.

I started by weighing.  Trust me when I say that was the last thing I wanted to do but I had to know what I was dealing with.  There was a 3 pound difference and it was not to my advantage.  Next I decided on a plan to get through the week until I weighed in again.  I planned every meal and snack for each day and stuck with them.  This is not unlike what I do on other days but I cut out the sampling and made myself enjoy healthier foods.  Sometimes it is a matter of making myself enjoy the things that are good for me and thinking about all of the positive results from eating those foods.  This may sound ridiculious but many times when I eat I visualize the good things it is doing for my body--inside and out.  This encourages me to stick to those foods and stay away from the ones I visualize doing bad things to me. 

The exercise portion of my plan was more difficult.  Between a full time job, my son's football schedule, my daughter's piano, housework, homework and everything in between, I had to work to schedule some me time.  However, I did manage to do just that and hit the gym on days I was not hitting the pavement.  Sometimes I just walked around at work tightening my abs over and over again. 

The focus and determination paid off.  The extra weight came off and so did 3 more pounds.  The best part of it all was finding a way out of my spiral for myself.  I saw what had to be done and I did it.  It just keeps reinforcing the fact that I can make a change and make it my lifestyle.  I have said it before and I will say it again, if I can do it--anyone can.

a little then and now

May 2009

September 2010

July 2008
August 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

sneak attack

I admit it.  I am sneaky.  There are times when I try my hardest to hide what I am doing from those that I love most.  Actually it doesn't matter who you are, I will try to hide what I am up to.  Sometimes I sneak around after the family is in bed.  Sometimes I sneak around at work.  Sometimes I sneak around all over town.  I think it is time to finally admit that I am in fact a sneak eater.

As a child I would creep into the kitchen at home or at my grandparent's house and sneak out extra snacks.  The thing to do was to wait until no one else was in the kitchen and take two instead of one and then hide the wrapper under other trash.  Growing older did not mean that I stopped this behavior. 

There were times when I would go buy 2 candy bars while at work and eat one going down the hall and the other when I got back to my classroom.  Sometimes I would just hide food in my desk drawer and sneak bites all day.  I am a night owl and staying up late always means snacks.  My family will be in bed while I am up eating cookies and chips.  This is a time when no one is looking at what I eat and I can raid the cabinets without worrying that people will see and judge me.  Being in my car alone is also a good time to eat without regard.  Many times I would stop at a store and buy food then drive just a short way down the road to buy more.  I did this because I did not want anyone to realize that I was buying such a load of junk for myself. 

This is all very hard for me to admit.  The load of guilt I carry is almost as heavy as the extra pounds that I am now starting to lose. My need to eat in secret is not something I can explain nor can I pinpoint one event that made me hide and eat.  There are things in everyone's life that makes them hurt and react with emotion.  Each individual handles these emotions in various ways and my response was to eat.  Besides, as I have said in a previous post, I love to eat.  It came down to doing something that I love and maybe making myself feel better in the process.  Trouble with that plan was it was horrible for me physically. 

Now I watch what I eat and I am trying to be healty but there are still times when I hide the kinds or amount of  food that I am taking in.  The times are much fewer and farther apart but there are still nights that I raid the cabinet and scarf down sweets and carbs.  I am fighting the urges and winning more often than not and that is progress.  I have begun to change my routine to break these habits.  For example, I do not take change to work so that way I am unable buy from the vending machine.  At night I have to turn off the TV and turn in early to avoid sneak eating.    In my car I pass by fast food and convenience stores or send my son in for me when I have to stop and am feeling weak. 

Losing the fat and looking good is a great thing but even better than that is being healthy and breaking bad habits.  Breaking bad habits that I will not pass on.  My 7 year old told me this week that she was looking forward to going back to school.  She said that she wanted to have better school habits so that she would learn more this year.  When I heard her say this I knew that the comment was directly related to the words I use to describe what I am working toward.  My use of the phrase "healthy habits" has spilled over to her thoughts and ambitions.  My son has started asking everyday if we are going to the gym and even if we do not go he goes out and exercises anyway here at home.  This is what my ultimate goal is all about.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

run your own race

"I have tried everything but just can't lose weight."  "I am happy being this size."  "It is too hard to get out and exercise."  "My schedule is so full I don't have time to cook or exercise."  "I don't know how to cook the right foods."  "I get tired of eating healthy food."

If I had a dollar for the times I have said or heard those phrases, I would have a better looking bank account.  Lately, I have wanted to spread the great news that it IS possible to change your life and to get yourself healthy.  What I have come to realize is that even though I see it clearly as the thing a person should do for themselves, not everyone is ready to do that.  I know.  I have been there.  I even have the 2X t-shirt to prove it.

This week someone shared an outlook on life with me and although she could not quote this word for word I can google anything.  Here is what I found. 

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely
in an attractive and well preserved body,
But rather to skid in sideways,
chocolate in one hand,
wine in the other,
body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out and screaming
"WOO HOO what a ride!"

 I can understand this line of thinking and I have to say that I DO intend to live my life to the fullest, but I want to be here for as long as possible.  If I continued on the kind of path the poem is talking about it was going to be an early grave for me.  The way I am living now it can be a longer trip on Earth and I can take care of the body God gave me so that I can enjoy life to it's fullest.  Tomorrow is not promised but I am going to spend my todays taking care of what I have.  I suppose I just can't make everyone feel the same way.

Last week a wise lady said my new favorite quote.  She said, "You have to run your own race."  She was not referring to the topic I am writing about here but I felt it fit perfectly.  I feel like her message was telling me to run this race and those that want to will run their own race too.  Maybe I will get the chance to give some advice, ideas and encouragement along the way but you just can't force people to get on the path. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

how the other half lives

A victory is a victory, no matter how small.  I like to shop at a certain store that has the plus size clothes on one side of the store and the non plus size clothes on the other side.  Previously I found myself on the plus size side but today I fdiscovered out how the other half lives.

When I entered the store I hesitated. Which way do I go? Should I start on the plus side and see how that goes or do I go to the other side and feel embarassed if I can't find anything that fits? I drew in a deep breath and headed straight to the "regular" sizes.

I could always see the other side where the "regular" size clothes hung but I felt that if I looked too long over that way people would snicker at my foolishness.  They would think I was crazy for thinking I could fit into any of those items and they would probably wonder if I was shopping for someone else.  Funny thing is, I have had the same thoughts when I see someone like me shopping outside of the plus section. 

In the dressing room I started to doubt my decision but when I slid on the first pair of pants I knew it was going to be fine.  Everything I took in not only fit but it looked great.  Leaving the store I had 3 pairs of pants and 3 tops that I can wear to work this week that won't look like a sack hanging on me. 

Now I have crossed over to the other side and I am not looking back!

Monday, August 16, 2010

eyes of a killer

Have you ever known that you were looking into the eyes of a killer?  I have.  Each morning when I look into the mirror I lock eyes with a killer.  My choices have been killing me and I am my own victim.

This statement may sound dramatic to you but to me it was a shocking realization.  The truth is that I have been slowly killing myself for years.  My eating habits and lack of exercise are part of the problem.  I now know that my attitude toward myself has as much to do with my state of health as much as anything else.  My way of thinking has always been that if you did for yourself before others that you were doing something wrong.  It was that attitude that gave me the perfect excuse not to cook the way I like or take time to be active. 

Lately when I look in that mirror I am starting to see the "real" me.  I see a woman that feels more self worth and wants to get healthy so she can see her kids grow up.  I see a woman that does not want to miss out on the fun because she felt fat or slow or ashamed.  I see a woman that is developing her build into something people may one day refer to as "athletic".  I see a woman that wants to be a healthy example for her children.  But most of all I see a woman that loves herself as much as she loves those around her and is not afraid to put herself first sometimes.