Here’s my sign

We are officially, technically homeless.  Yes, that’s right.  Between moves, we usually have no address.  But that’s okay as we are either with family or at a hotel for the night.  As sad as I was to leave such great neighbors, I was anxious to get on the road.

I’ll be perfectly honest and just say diet has been mostly iffy and as far as workouts, well let’s just leave it at I spent plenty of time humping it up and down stairs in our packing and moving flurry.  I also noticed I had had a few sodas, and yes a few burgers, but I tried to balance that out by eating lighter meals between.  We were doing pretty well with the meal planning.

We hit the road Saturday morning when we had finished all our business with our house and saying goodbyes. We stopped at McDonald’s for lunch because it was there, and on the turnpike there isn’t anything else.  I did okay-I went for one of those deluxe chicken wraps, grilled.  but then I also got fries and a coke. Bad, bad.

But some time after we had hit the road again, I heard this noise, and looked down and saw this:

Photo: Ewww. I'm going to take that as a sign.

Of course I had to laugh.  But then, I felt like this was a sign.  A reminder I didn’t need to finish that soda, and that in fact I had probably been drinking too many sodas, especially since I haven’t been eating all that great, and of course, not exercising.  I took it as a sign to keep my commitment to get fit closer to the forefront of my mind.

If you’re like me, there are times if someone is shouting and yelling at me to do one thing, to go this way, to whatever, I tend to dig my heels and go the opposite way.  The paw on my drink was a nudge, a reminder to keep to the path.  I haven’t had a soda since.  I think that’s a pretty big deal.

Tempus Fugit

Time flies, and man does it.  I apologize for my absence over the last 2 weeks.  I realized about that time that Holy Shit, we are moving in a matter of weeks, not months.  So, that of course got the whole pre-move hullabaloo rolling to its inevitable conclusion.  We are now looking at a short and hairy 2.5 weeks before the packers descend and all of our worldly goods get loaded up into a big ass truck to be taken to the other side of the country.  I signed up for this life, vicariously now, but nonetheless, while I dread moving, I also kinda like it because it gives me a chance to get rid of the crap you accumulate over the years.

dali clockI have, so far, taken 2 car loads of stuff to Goodwill, some of it my “fat” clothes.  Can you believe I was able to cull out 20 freakin t-shirts from my current wardrobe?  20!  And I probably still have another 20 left to wear.  Sad, and yet oddly amusing.  I got rid of all my jeans that I can pull down without unbuttoning, and other shirts that are too big for me.  I even delved into the boxes of my smaller clothes to see if anything fit.  Nothing did, but it’s oh so close.  I did find a pair of jeans in one size smaller that make my butt look awesome, though.  And it was good to see how many clothes I’m just that much closer to wearing again.  I know I won’t have to drop a bundle on a new wardrobe when I lose a little more weight.

Officially, I’m right at my dreaded 15lb mark. That particular point I have not been able to get past for whatever reason.  I have been trying to remember what I’ve done that keeps me there before I start gaining back.  I can’t think of it, but I highly suspect that it’s something to do with a combination of things.  One being I lost weight and “cheated” my way through it, so I don’t need to be so strict with my food.  Two being I get busy and forget what I’m all about.  And I’m guessing that not setting specific goals about what I want and how I plan on getting it have something to do with it as well.  Of course, these are just a few things that I’ve considered.  I’m sure there are tons of other reasons, which at the time, seem perfectly reasonable and true, but when I think back on just the few that I already mentioned, I am filled with a sort of mild disgust with myself.

It’s just so easy to rationalize bad behavior away.  I’m trying not to do that.  Doesn’t help when I don’t make time to exercise, yet, don’t feel overly guilty about running down to KFC because I don’t feel like cooking dinner.  Doesn’t help that I had a flare up of plantar fasciitis last week that pretty much killed any urge to exercise.  That pissed me off-how can I do my squats or go for our walks when I can barely hobble around in the kitchen to cook?  And then, the hubs was no help-I got the impression he thought I was making excuses for skipping our walk and not working out.  Well, fuck him.  It hurt like hell, but I can only blame myself as I wore flip flops for most of the weekend instead of regular shoes.

Heel’s all better now.  Nothing that wearing proper shoes didn’t fix over about 5 days, and I was able to go run at the end of the week, so that made me feel good too.  Now, I am trying to put together my plan to keep exercising while we are on the road visiting family and heading to our future place of residence.  I’m worried about the effects of being on the road all day will have on my diet, not to mention I’m apprehensive about visiting my family and the food choices that will be there.  I hope by planning ahead with my exercise and keeping the majority of my meals light, I can avoid at least gaining weight on the trip.

Secretly, I want to lose enough weight so I can fit into my smaller clothes as soon as I get there.  I can’t tell if I think actually making such a goal would be incredibly unrealistic or if it’s merely difficult, but possible.  Either way, the clock is counting down, and I’m feeling the crushing press of time as ours draws to a close in this place.  We’ll be on the road for about 2 weeks before we reach our final destination, and I can only hope that I’ve prepared myself enough mentally and planned enough physically so I don’t arrive back at my starting point.

 

I’m Not the Jackass Whisperer

Since I started changing my relationship with food and fitness, I noticed my Facebook page has sort of morphed from the usual fare of Grumpy Cat memes and other fun stuff to include more of my food, and of course, I also post a link to my blog entries to share them with my friends.  Now, I know that there are plenty of my friends who are happy with who they are and where they’re at, physically and mentally, and to them, I say, “awesome, more power to you!”

There are also the select few who poke fun at food or recipes that I’ve shared, commenting that it’s missing meat (egads!), or I’m converting into one of those health-crazed Californians when I post a Shakeology picture.  These guys are my friends, but it still annoys me that they are mocking my choices.  But, then I reminded myself that I am not doing this for anyone else but me.  There’s no point in trying to justify why I’m changing my life to people who are just trying to shame me.  I’m not the jackass whisperer!

jackassI’m reminded of a time when I was in college.  I had gained about 50 lbs since high school, and my cousin had commented on it.  He said something along the lines that the family fat genes were catching up to me.  And at the time, I accepted it.  Practically my whole immediate family on my dad’s side is overweight, so obviously, it’s genetic, isn’t it?  Most of them have been on some diet or another for most of their adult life.  My aunt has even had her stomach stapled, but it didn’t make her thin.

My dad had amazing results on Atkins, twice, but gained the weight back as soon as he went back to eating “normally”.  I remember back in the day, my grandmother had the cabbage soup diet posted on her fridge.  She was forever trying to diet and lose weight.  She doesn’t have to worry about that now, as she’s 89 and her health is failing and she can’t even keep weight on.

I firmly believe that my grandmother would be in better health today if she had been more active throughout her life.  I see her frailness, and I know that yes, everyone eventually will decline, but how much better would her life be right now if she had been physically fit, and not just skinny?  I see her, and all I can think is, I don’t want to grow old like that.  Wracked with pain from tiny fractures caused by osteoporosis, unable to walk without assistance, needing oxygen to breathe at night.

As far as I know, I’m the only one in my family trying to make a change like this.  Not just changing what I eat, but changing the way I feel about food.  I’m working out and building muscle, because I don’t just want to be thinner, I want to be healthy.  Thinness is not a sign of health, it just means you’ve got good genes.  I want to be fit, and most of all, I want to be happy.  Happy with myself, happy with how I look, and happy about what I have accomplished.

I can’t vanquish the naysayers.  There will always be someone, somewhere who just doesn’t get it.  There will always be people who are happy the way they are, at whatever weight that is.  And that’s fine.  Not everyone wants to get “ripped”.  It’s okay.  I’m not here to tell you that you’re wrong, that if you want to be happy, you have to look like Shaun T.  I’m not sure I want to look that ripped!  I want to be strong, fit, and try on clothes without being disgusted with myself.

I’m not saying that people who are happy about where they are, physically and mentally, are jackasses.  What I’m saying is that there are always going to be people in your life, wherever they may be, who will try to bring you down, by mocking your efforts, or making fun of your food choices.  Don’t let them bring you down!  Whatever your goals are, however much weight you want to lose, however much muscle you want to gain, those are things that no one can take away from you.  Don’t let other people determine your course; you are the master and commander of your own future.  Let them poke their fun, but in the end, you’ll have the last laugh.

*sorry for the edit, I hadn’t finished my entry and I accidentally hit publish.

Dirty Little Secrets

I don’t know about the rest of you, but as I’ve gained weight, lost weight, had babies, and what not, I’ve accumulated enough clothes to open my own boutique.  I keep hanging on to these things because I tell myself I will lose weight and be able to wear them again.  Guess what?  Nearly 11 years of marriage and 5 moves and my “collection” has grown.  Before our last move, I ruthlessly went through these boxes and culled out almost everything that was older than my oldest kid.  But still, the evidence is pretty damning.

IMG_2414 IMG_2415 IMG_2416These boxes represent to me a lifetime of failed diets and plans to lose weight.  Carrying these around move after move has only increased my self-disgust and has made me feel like I would be overweight and unhappy forever.  I’ve told myself that this was the last move these boxes would follow us.  At least filled with my clothes, at any rate.  I’m on track, and not every day is perfect, but I will get there in the end.  I have about 2 months left before they will be packed up again, and I’m anxious to get in there and see what’s what.  Already, the clothes I’ve been wearing for the last 3 years are getting too big for me.

We all know there is no such thing as some miracle fat pill that’s going to help us lose weight.  There’s no magic bullet, and no particular program that’s going to make the fat disappear overnight.  It takes time.  It takes sweat.  It takes planning, and then executing that plan.  There is only you and maybe it’s your head that’s getting in the way.  I have found that all day long I’m running this constant monologue in my head.  Sometimes, it’s just helpful reminders, like a million “don’t forget to….” but occasionally when I have tuned in, I’ve caught myself thinking negatively about myself and my efforts.

These aren’t just random bad thoughts, these are things that I might be saying to myself without realizing what I’m doing.  Like when I look at those boxes of clothes I can’t wear, and I think, “what’s the point? Just get rid of that shit.  You’ll never be able to fit into them again.” Or I might catch a glimpse of myself passing a mirror and think, “ugh! I look disgusting”.  The problem is not that I thought it.  The problem is that it’s not even a conscious thought!  This constant litany of negativeness that constantly streams in my head has begun to beat me down.  We are truly our own worst critics.

Eventually, I’ll crumble under this avalanche of negativity.  There is only so much beating down a person can take before something breaks.  I used to “encourage” myself to push harder and longer by using insults and demeaning words.  You know, classic R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket.  Then I realized that that kind of attitude just does not motivate me, even though I used to think it did.  Instead it pulls me down, makes me want to quit.  And eventually I do, thinking “I just can’t do this anymore.”

But quitting is just not an option anymore.  I feel rejuvenated by my level of commitment to myself, to do this and see it through to the finish.  I have a lot of work to do as far retraining my brain, to learn the art of positive thinking.  Every time I catch myself thinking a negative thought about my body, my diet, my fitness level, I have to stop, reevaluate.  Is what I said really true?  Why did  I think that?  Was I trying to be self-deprecating?  Funny?  Am I making excuses?

Most of the time, it’s just me, lacking self-confidence and esteem.  Until now, I haven’t respected myself enough to really look at why I think the way I do about myself.  I can tell you it wasn’t pretty.  My negative self-talk consisted of calling myself a fat, lazy so-and-so, who can’t run for shit.  Well.  That’s not necessarily true.  I am fat.  But I’m not lazy and I can run, I’m just not particularly fast.  Also true: I may be fat, but I have a lot of weight to lose and slowly but surely, it is going away.  I may not be a fast runner, but I’m improving, and no, I don’t need to be able to run like a gazelle, I’d be happy to run 5 miles or so at a steady pace.  On top of everything, I am gaining muscle: my arms and legs are getting firmer and I’m seeing a little more definition.

One of the most important things I am learning is ditching the “all or nothing” attitude.  Some people may get off on that, but I can’t.  I’ve read past journal entries and saw how I resolved to eat right 100% of the time, work out every day, not fall off the wagon, be committed 110% to this diet.  And each and every time, something happened: I missed a workout, I ate pizza or whatever, and I quit the whole thing because I couldn’t keep my resolve.  All or nothing is just a recipe for failure.  A fitness plan and diet are not things that should be undertaken temporarily.  We should be making decisions about our fitness and our diet that will last a lifetime, not just the next few weeks or months.  That means the things we choose to stick to should be realistic and practical.

Today, while you are going about your day, take a moment now and then and listen to what your inner monologue is telling you.  Ask yourself if it’s negative, insulting, self-deprecating.  If it is, start retraining to think positively.  Focus on the short-term goals you have for yourself when you’re struggling.  Sometimes, that goal may be as simple as just finishing your workout!  In this race, there is no time limit, and there is only one direction: UP!   Start climbing.

 

 

I’m NOT on a diet, dammit!

Yes, I’m watching what I eat. Yes, I’m exercising. Yes, I’m following a specific food plan for the next 6 days. But that doesn’t mean I’m on a diet. Saying “I’m going on a diet” implies that at some point I will stop eating “healthy” and go back to the way I was eating. So, I’m NOT on a diet, dammit. I am making a move to change my life, inside and out.  I’ve always felt like my biggest obstacles in trying to lose weight has been making time for exercise.  But I’ve realized that it’s not really the exercise.  I like getting my sweat on!  Lately, with my husband wanting me to go to the gym with him, and someone to watch the kids while we workout, I realize I don’t have any reason not to bust my butt and do as much as I can while we are there.

This was my lunch one day last week.

This was my lunch one day last week.

I’ve made a lot of realizations in the last month-caution! serious self-reflection ahead!-and part of that is owning up to my shortcomings, recognizing them, and coming up with a plan to fix them.  One of the things that I’ve recognized is the fact that I don’t like being told I can’t have something.  It only makes me want whatever it is even more!  This especially applies to food.  I grew up in 2 households.  One, my grandparents, where foods were high in calories and fat, sugary snacks were abundant, and eating out was expected.  The other one I don’t really remember much-weird, I know, but I can’t remember what I ate as a kid when I lived with my mom other than it usually smelled like shit and garlic or rotten fish, or having stuff in the pantry that I didn’t like.

I would spend whole summers with my grandparents, traveling the country in their big RV, swimming in every swimming pool at every campground along the way.  Most of the time, my grandma cooked all the meals, but occasionally we would eat out somewhere special, like the time we ate at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  But whenever I got back home, my mother would do nothing but criticize the fact that I had gained weight and that I was a black as a bear.  So I’m remembering all this as I’m trying to define my past relationship with food so I can change it for the future.  Right now, I say the definition in it’s most basic form might be: Food means comfort, family, and love in every greasy bite.  Family meals meant piling your plate with way more than you could eat, yet packing down every last morsel until attaining “food coma” status.

Now, I’m trying to redefine my relationship with food so it doesn’t just equal warm fuzzy feelings.  I like to cook, and I’m pretty darn good at it.  But my food has to mean more to me than just comfort.  My food has to mean fuel for my body, so I can build muscle to burn the fat, so I can be healthy and strong and a good role model for my kids.  In the beginning, I was despairing how I’ll never get to have my favorite foods anymore, and how I have to change my cooking style.  But that’s simply not true.  I’ve already changed a lot about the way we eat in the house by eliminating the processed junk and sticking with whole fruits and veggies.  I don’t fry our foods, and whenever I can, I swap ingredients for lower calorie ones.  It’s a slow and steady process, but I’m doing it.

And yet, I say again, I am not on a diet.  A diet is something you do temporarily.  I’m redefining how I see food and how I’ll eat for the rest of my life.  I’m trying not to use food as a reward or a bribe.  I’m trying to eat clean, every day.  I’m thinking about the long term effects of that piece of cake, or that cheeseburger.  Right now, the indulgence of eating those foods is not worth it to me.  Right now, those foods are not part of the 6-Day Express plan I am working.  Right now, I am trying to jump start the old metabolism and eating that shit isn’t going to be doing me any favors.

I have 5 more days on this particular plan (I started yesterday), and I admit it has been difficult.  During the day is not too hard, even though I’m home and making food for my 3 year old.  Last night was rough when we sat down to watch a little tv, and it seemed like every commercial was about food.  That was torture! Not to mention my lovely SIL sent home 4 delectable looking little cake things when he dropped his mom off.  Little Bit just ate the chocolate stuff and the fruit off the top of his, so DH finished it.  I had a little taste of the cake; it wasn’t great, so it wasn’t a hardship to pass on more than that taste.

These first days of starting something new are not going to be easy, and I didn’t expect them to be.  I’ve read that it takes somewhere around 21 days to start a new habit, or break an old one.  I know it will take longer to break a lifetime of poor eating habits, but there is no time like the present, and I am ready to fight for the body and the life that I want and deserve to have. 5 more days of this really strict phase, then I will go back to eating normally.  And by normally, I mean eating like I actually give 2 shits about what I’m putting in my body.

Well, yeah. It’s like that.

The last month and a half have been a real doozy. I haven’t been keeping up with my workout plan, and what’s more, haven’t really kept up with my nutrition like I should. But, I haven’t gained any weight back, and in fact continued to lose a few pounds despite the stress.

When I say that the last two weeks were the longest in my life, they were. There was a constant sense of anticipation, anxiety, and stress. But it is done now and I can go back to doing what I need to do. Did I really need that time? Probably not. Was I being an ostrich again? Maybe. Instead of feeling like a kid Christmas Eve, I felt like I was swimming in a sea of sharks a la Homer Simpson.

Forget the last two weeks. The last few months have tried the limits of my patience, my sanity, and my wallet. We have had my husband’s mother, brother, his wife, and their daughter living with us. We went from being a family of 4 to 8, still trying to buy groceries on one budget. Let me add that while my BIL had a job, he contributed hardly anything to household expenses, despite the fact he said he would.

I had my MIL and SIL in the kitchen, constantly. We shared cooking duties for the most part, and I didn’t have a problem with that. Except that THEY FRY ALMOST EVERYTHING! And God forbid there not be any bread at the table for dinner. After my husband and I decided to get in shape and stop being fat-asses, their cooking habits were a problem. This seemed like it escalated after my husband and I announced we were going on a “diet”. They started making homemade bread, and homemade, butter-filled crescents with Nutella in the middle or other sweets and fried goodies. If I or my husband asked them not to fry the foods, their reply was “well, that’s how it says to make it”, or my favorite, “that’s how we always make it”.

By this time of their stay, I had pretty much resigned myself to eating foods drowned in oil, and having to evade a minefield of tempting goodies every time I went into the kitchen. I had ceded control of the kitchen because for them, if dinner isn’t started by noon, they go into panic mode since everything has to be boiled, baked, or fried within an inch of its life. Also, I got tired of the complaints that my niece or SIL don’t like this, or don’t like that, or this is too spicy or this has beans in it.

But that’s all over now. I told my husband they needed to get their own place, and sooner rather than later, and within a month, they are now living in their own little apartment. I’m just hoping it’s not too late to recover financially (and physically) from this nut roll. We’ve been indulging a bit in our newfound freedom, but the hard work is just beginning. We’ve had about a month now, readjusting to just being “us”. That included having leftovers in the fridge, resuming noisy sex, and eating healthier.

So yeah, it’s like that. Sometimes, life does get in the way, and I have to take a step back. I was never far, and I was constantly thinking about what I was going to accomplish without these ungrateful assholes living in my house. I participated in a webinar that has helped focus me and made me think about what direction I should take in my Beachbody business. We also found out where our next duty station is, and I plan on being ready to rock-and-roll with a new lifestyle that balances fitness, family, and learning to love myself. And now, I feel the journey can truly begin.

All Problems Solved — NOT!

I’m a fan of the “Hellraiser” film franchise. Yeah, yeah, they’re not Oscar material, but you know what, I don’t care. I like the shows and the stories they tell, and yes, for the pure gore.

For those not familiar with the Hellraiser movies, there exists a puzzle box that’s essentially a gateway to hell. Solving the puzzle opens the gateway for the Cenobites (the denizens of this hell plane) to come for you. Once they have you, you will be subjected to endless suffering and terror and blah blah blah.

One of the more recent movies had this line that kept sticking with me, and it was about that puzzle box, the Lament Configuration (or the LaMarchand Configuration). It’s from “Hellraiser: Hellseeker” and it’s the 6th movie in the franchise and brings back the lovely Kirsty Cotton, the protagonist of the first 2 movies.

Anyway, in the 6th movie, “Hellraiser: Hellseeker”, the box is introduced in a fashion by a simple business card stating “All Problems Solved”. Of course, this being a horror movie and all, you can just extrapolate what that might entail. The parallel that I’m drawing here is we are part of a culture that values quick results-we’re the microwave generation. We’re always looking for shortcuts, easier ways to get things done; anything we think might help us live our lives easier.

Every day we are bombarded with images of perfect Hollywood celebrities, some of them touting the latest magic cream that removes cellulite and stretch marks, the latest diet fad, the latest fitness craze, or shilling for some weight loss pills. I admit I am tempted when I see ads for weight loss, or some miracle product that promises super weight loss. Before I decided to finally commit to doing it the “hard way”, I browsed the diet aid aisle at Wal-Mart a couple times, trying to decide which product might be best for me. In the end, I left empty-handed each time.

Remember, I’ve been there. I AM there, right now, starting out-again. I’ve tried pills-Dexatrim, Slimquick, Ripped Fuel, and Hydroxycut. I’ve tried diets: South Beach, Atkins, Glycemic index, low fat, high fat, no sugar, low calorie and countless others. With the pills, I would lose a few pounds, stop taking the pills, and gain the shit right back. With the diets, I admit, I’m a total foodie. It’s taken me many years to figure out how I should fuel my body. I did the worst with diets that restricted food groups, like carbs. The most successful campaigns where I lost the most weight, I was pretty much starving myself (more on that later) because I was skipping meals. Of course, as soon as things returned to “normal”, I gained the weight right back.

The truth is, there is NO magic bullet. There isn’t a mystical, magical, rainforest fruit (or puzzle box!) that’s going to solve all your problems. You can’t take pills and expect to lose weight and keep it off for the long term. It takes dedication, commitment, and SWEAT! LOTS of it. When I say I’m doing it the “hard way”, what I’m really saying is I’m doing it the “right way”. One day at a time. No shortcuts. Just lots of hard work and eating right.

Oh, and apropos nothing, you can actually buy those puzzle boxes on eBay. I linked the pic to the page. Cheers.