Stock Your Toolbox

It’s no secret that you need the proper tools to get the job done.  This is true whether its construction, carpentry, or you’re an artist creating a painting or sculpture.   It’s even true having the right software program to execute a project or a mechanic repairing a vehicle.  Think about any profession and you will think about the vast number of tools that are required to perform the job.

Apply that same principle with being successful with eating healthy and dieting.  Last week I was without my tool bag and not a single tool to be found.   I had been laxed at going grocery shopping.  On the positive side I was so focused on other projects and really didn’t think about my next meal.   However, I also didn’t make time to go to the store.  Consequently, I let the cupboard run bare… or I should say run bare of anything healthy.   I was home sick and emotionally feeling that need to pamper myself as well.

I rummaged through the cupboard and found a jar of Cheeze Whiz.   So… that’s what I ate.   Yup, as my father would say, “that’s the worst thing you can eat”.   It wasn’t pretty, actually pretty disgusting, and it sunk like a lead balloon in my belly.   I could feel the calories just ooze through my veins.  Yet, there I was slathering the Cheeze Whiz on yet another slice of bread.

It was almost immediately afterwards that I realized I didn’t have my tools.   I didn’t take time to buy my healthy staples – my go to, easy “don’t have to think about” foods – my tools.    I was too busy with projects and didn’t make time for balance.  I can’t say I didn’t take time for me because the projects I was working on were fun.  But as they often say you need to balance!

The other tools in my toolbox are the emotional and intellectual tools – the self-talk.  I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself for being sick and didn’t find another mechanism to pamper myself.  Lesson learned – stock up on the good stuff and remind myself every day of my strength and power!   Affirmations and apples, baby – that’s how to roll!!

Sending healthy wishes!

red tool box with food in top tray

Crush the Course

My blog is to help others to keep going and my tips that have helped me. In a previous blog (The Diets, 02/14/2019), I listed all the diets I had tried that did not work.   However, a couple of years ago I had heard of a new method of weight loss called “Intermittent Fasting”.  I was in a slump and thought to truly be able to speak about the best method for weight loss maybe I should give it a try.

This diet requires you to pick two days within the week, not consecutive, and limit your calories to 500.  The other six days of the week you eat whatever you want.

When learning about this diet it stated that most people end up eating less overall on the non-fasting days.   When I read that I thought… well not me.  If you tell me I can eat, then I will definitely eat and eat very well.  So that’s how it started.   I did great on the fasting days and ate very well on the off days.

Here’s what I noticed…

  • On the fasting days I had planned meals that I knew I would like that stayed within the daily goal of 500 calories.
  • I didn’t have to think during the day what I was going to eat – I had it already mapped out.
  • I got through those days knowing I could eat anything the next day. I just needed to hang in there for those days.
  • On the non-fasting days, I was elated, tickled that I could eat anything. It was as if the diet “burden” was lifted.  I started out doing exactly that – eating whatever.
  • I noticed weight loss fairly early on, albeit slight, but it encouraged me
  • I had a new perspective on the calories I was consuming on the non-fasting days.
  • I started cutting back on the non-fasting days. Partly, because I didn’t want to undermine my results, and because that “thrill” of eating anything had worn off.  I really didn’t “need” to eat all those things I thought I would love eating.  The excitement wore off.

Fast forward, it was very successful but low and behold I was in slump mode again.  I came upon an app that was for the fasting method of weight loss.   I wanted to try something new, especially an app to stay current with society.

This app was a little confusing, not intuitive as I had hoped, or perhaps it wasn’t a great app.   My one take-away was that I would get little reminders during the day… “your fasting will start in an hour”, or you’re doing great, your fasting will end in an hour”.   It’s not that I like the focus on eating.   That part was a negative to me but what I did like is the little pop up communication.

I decided to use my reminder feature on my phone that I already had to create my own notes of encouragement.  At first, I started with “don’t eat…”.  But then I decided that it was better to stay positive and not focus on the eating.   I changed it to “Stay the course”.   Then, I decided that was boring and changed it to “Crush the course”.

I’m having fun with this reminder feature.  It can be anything you want it to be.  It can be something funny to make you laugh during the day or it can be a reminder to take a break and meditate for 5 minutes.   The objective is to encourage you and, in a sense, remind you that you are your own best advocate and cheering section.

So, go out there and CRUSH IT, HAVE FUN, BE HEALTHY, BE STRONG… AND LIVE!!!

74340397_523626851517518_9052386429568548864_n72691104_433385930714594_6516575409444749312_n.jpg

I’m Still the Same Person

I jumped on Facebook the other day and received a notification that I had been tagged in a photo.  My first thought was “where was I recently that someone tagged me?”  Hoping it was a fun memory I had forgotten about.   I went to the post and much to my chagrin was an old photo of me from high school.  It was a photo of me when I was at one of the lowest points in my life as far as self-esteem.  I remember those times vividly.   Overweight, not finding clothes to fit.   Feeling like a laughingstock.  Feeling invisible, or perhaps hoping I was.

The pain flooded back as real as if it were those almost 40 years ago.  I immediately removed the tag “incriminating” me.  I was so embarrassed and hoping the tag was removed before anyone could see it.   I don’t have many photos of me overweight, so I took a screen shot of the photo and sent it to my daughter. My daughter knows my struggles and I wanted her to understand why I’m obsessed with my weight.  Her response was “you’re not that person anymore”.

Her statement made me pause and reflect on that.   The photo was from a performance when I was part of a singing group called “The Madrigal Singers”.  I loved singing back then and I still love to sing.  I loved art back then and I still love art.  I was kind and smart.  I am still kind and smart.  I had an amazing family and I am blessed to still have my family.

Does it make me a better, more likable person because I lost weight?  Have I changed or has society treated me differently because my outward appearance changed?  I believe it’s a combination of things.

I didn’t like myself the way I was.  This caused me to be introverted.  That said, society did play a role in that.  Being made fun of for my weight told me that being overweight was a bad thing and a sign of weakness.  When I lost weight, people treated me differently.  There was a marked difference in people’s interaction, and it was unsolicited.

As I lost weight, I physically felt better and was able to move more easily.  I could shop for clothes in the girls’ section instead of the “moms” section (back then clothes were not made over a certain size).  I wasn’t afraid of people thinking I was a “freak of nature”.

So, even though internally I feel like the same person, what has changed is my self-esteem and not caring what others think.  I’m focused on what I love to do and all the things that make me who I am.

When deciding to write this blog I wasn’t going to include the photo from high school.  It is still too painful to look at.  However, I thought by not including it and was becoming like “society” and thinking that girl should be invisible.   That girl was a kind, amazing girl and she deserves to be known!  I love her!  It feels so good to say that!

I also wanted to include a photo of the same girl who worked hard to be stronger and self-confident.  If you are struggling to lose weight, do it to focus on you and not society.  Focus on all that you are and what you love to do.  Be healthy so you can continue to be you for a very long time!

file23167942_1929145107099982_7206199535463068601_n

Scale is Life

SCALE

For as long as I remember I have been obsessed with the scale.   It’s a morning and evening ritual and I am hard wired to respond to the number of the scale. Most times it’s not necessary for me to check because I can usually look at my waist and know exactly what the number will be.   On the rare occasion I am surprised by the number I have been known to throw my arms up in the air in jubilation or drop to my knees with chagrin.

They say never to look at the scale and that you should know how you feel and judge by how her clothes fit.   That always terrified me because I never wanted to gain so much weight that my clothes were no longer comfortable.   To me it was like going a full semester in school with only one final.   No do-overs.

All of this said, something happened to change how I look at the scale.   For the VERY first time in my entire life I did not see a number and think of how my daily strategy would be.   I saw life.  I felt alive.   I was aware that the scale reflected a healthy human being that was taking up space in the world causing a response from the scale.  I was grateful I registered presence on the scale.  I am alive.

The reason for this new perspective was the passing of a wonderful person.  Someone who lived a great life – a kind-hearted soul, lover of the outdoors and epitome of a family man.  The passing came after what I consider a brief illness.   It makes you shake your head in bewilderment and you can’t accept it.  Often with the passing of someone you pause and appreciate life and how quickly things can change. What changed in me was how small and embarrassed I felt worrying about weight.  Worrying about how I looked.  Worrying about clothes I was wearing.  Letting my thoughts be consumed with what was in my cabinets that I could eat.

The morning of the funeral I did what was rote for me and got on the scale.  I didn’t deliberately tell myself to appreciate life and not be concerned with the scale.  But that morning I didn’t go into strategy motion, or celebrate, or beat myself up.  Because the scale moved, I felt alive.  I felt healthy.  I felt strength.

I will continue to exercise and eat healthy, and yes, weigh myself.   But I will be grateful, and I will be motivated to do those actions that help me to have energy to keep living life.  The scale is my reassurance that I am alive and have choices and have been granted one more day.

Thank you for reading.SCALE

Feeling Fraud

I started and stopped writing this edition of my blog many times.  It is difficult to write.   At this point in my life I thought I was successful as someone who conquered the weight loss issues, the food addiction issues.  Yet here I sit struggling, not happy where I am.

I have been much lower with my weight, approx. 9 pounds lower.   I knew when I was there it was pushing it and was content to gain a couple of pounds.  I gained those couple of pounds and then fell victim to too many carefree weekends and holidays and moved up to a plateau where I have resided for the past year.   I was okay with that.  However, the problem is that when you’re obsessed you spend every waking moment worried.

I know everything there is to know about losing weight.  I truly do.  But there are moments that I literally shake for wanting to eat something.   I lose the ability to redirect my thoughts to anything else.  Something else takes over and my breathing is accelerated, and I snack and can’t stop.   What has helped me from packing on pounds is that I am at the gym every day.  But to work that hard at the gym to stay at the same weight, and even gain a pound here and there is exasperating.

I hit an emotional low and just wanted to sleep and make the obsession go away.  The next day I started again.  However, this time I had the day off and just did those things that made me happy.   I gardened all day and organized my home.  I skipped exercise which normally gives me terrible anxiety, but I just wanted to be happy and focus on what I love.  I ended up skipping my exercise routine for an entire week!   That was the first time in a dozen or so years that I have done that.

The outcome was awesome!  I actually lost weight!  I was so focused on doing what I loved that I wasn’t thinking about my next meal.  I didn’t expect to quit exercising because I recognized that I had the energy to accomplish so much because I was in good shape.  When  I did decide start exercising again, I couldn’t wait.   I usually listen to music and podcasts while I exercise, and I was looking forward to hearing new content.

I am always learning new things about diet and myself.  Many times, I lose it and want to give up but every – single – morning I start again.  I am hard wired to need to be in shape.  Too many formative years of associating negative emotions and pain to being overweight.  While I can understand where I am and who I am that is something that will never go away.

As I said this was difficult to write.  My intent with this blog was to share what I have learned and my success.  However, admitting to struggling every day made me question if I should be sharing.  Do I have the answers for others?  Why should they listen to me?  Am I a fraud?

I came to the conclusion that I am not a fraud.  I am someone addicted to food.  Don’t know why – just am.  I start every day to work on myself and this blog is for those with similar struggles who get it.   They get it and my hope is that they never give up.  Start every day.  Try everything.  When something doesn’t work or did but doesn’t now, try something else.

This is my truth.  Thank you for listening.

29799356_l

Power/Strength vs. Victim/Weakness

Before I started writing this blog, I was still struggling with staying on track with maintaining my weight and I’m still learning about what makes me get out of control with my eating behavior.

When I am doing great and in control of what I eat, I find myself wondering how I was ever in a bad place.   What made me cross over to the other side?  When I am out of control, I wonder about the same thing but in the reverse.  How did I get back in control of my behavior?   It’s as if there is a very thick concrete wall preventing me from breaking free of the behavior.

The behavior I’m talking about is an extreme amount of energy around food – the obsessive thoughts about my next meal.   It’s not necessarily poor choices and sugary desserts, it’s the behavior of racing to the pantry as soon as I get home from the gym and eating another breakfast or putting granola on my yogurt and then finishing the entire bag of granola, etc.

Recently I went through the cycle and tried to understand my thoughts and feelings within each one.   When I’m in control I am self-confident and feeling strong with everything I’m doing in my life.   I am organized at home; I am productive at work and I’m managing my finances and so on.   I am busy with all positive things I enjoy doing.

When I’m out of control with my behavior I am in “victim mode”.  I am feeling that there isn’t anything in my life I have control of, and I am the victim of the circumstances around me.   I need something to look forward to and food is in my control.   As I have said in past blogs, I eat so fast that it really isn’t about what I eat or even the food.   It’s that I can control something and can say yes to something.  And yes, that instant gratification is addicting.

I have also discovered that I’m a happiness junkie.  I love to have a little burst of happiness – something in my day to look forward to.  I’m putting together a list of things that I can do to give me my happiness high – that don’t cost me money!!   For example, I love to create and do advertisements.  I can get lost for an hour just finding one specific graphic out of thousands of just one object for a design.  I also love being motivated by the experts on business or success.  There are thousands of great seminars on You Tube.

Today was a good day.  I did well with getting over the concrete wall to better behavior.   It started with exercising to a Podcast by Gary Vaynerchuk (obsessed), then I wrote “I am enough” with a lipstick on my bathroom mirror (it was on the Today Show).   Who knows when I finish writing this, I might even do the superhero stance for five minutes just to seal the deal!

Thank you for reading.  The Effort is in the Attitude.Ready to save the world.

Not Your Mother’s Green Eggs and Ham

Would you could you eat in a car?

Would you after a night at the bar?

Would you eat from stress after work?

Would you eat instead of working out?

Would you eat your son’s sandwich crust?

Would you eat on a bus?

Would you eat frosting off cupcakes?

Would you eat after failed dates?

Would you hide the food wrappers?

Would you eat while listening to rappers?

Would you eat when you celebrate?

Would you lie about what you ate?

Would you eat when depressed?

Would you eat when undressed?

Would you eat in a car?

Would you eat from the jar?

Would you eat from social anxiety?

Would you eat a sundae instead of drinking tea?

Would you eat peppermint bark, while in the dark?

Would you eat in a park?

Would you eat under a deck?

Would you eat because… what the heck?

Would you eat food still frozen?

Would you eat scalding food from the oven?

Would you eat from the carton?

Would you eat the entire dozen?

 

Yes, yes, I would.

I would eat as I am.

And I would eat them because I am.

But I would try every day.

I can do this! I would say.

To focus on life instead of food.

Because I am worth it!

And so are you!

Close up of a green easter egg