Here We Go Again, Same Old Shit Again!

I’ve been away for too long again, but mostly that was by design.  I felt that I didn’t have anything productive to add, and I also felt that I all I wanted to do was bitch about how I keep gaining weight and how unhappy I am.  I didn’t want my writing to turn into the sort of “woe is me” type bullshit, when my unhappiness with my physical appearance is due almost entirely on the way I approach food.

Recently, I have been bitten once again by the fervor and obsession with losing this weight.  I have been scouring the internet, running numbers, scenarios, and planning my “next move”.  This all began at the end of August, when I feel like I officially hit rock bottom.  I had gained more weight (ugh!) and was on a trip to Vegas with my husband, my BFF and her boyfriend.

We were in the hotel room, watching a little TV while we got ready to go somewhere.  I was sitting on the corner of the bed, and across from me on the wall was a large mirror.  I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was me.  And I looked horrible.  I had never seen myself from that angle.  I can go on about how grotesque I looked, how I knew I was fat, but God DAMN!!!  Holy Shitballs.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  This was the pinnacle, the top, the rotten core of me, on display.  I did the only thing I could think of.  I took a selfie.

I will not post it now.  It is too much and too real, and I don’t need it spreading around on the internet as a meme.  As hard assed as I am, that would destroy me.  But I admit to taking other pictures of myself that showed me in the worst possible light.  I can’t explain why I do it.  Years ago, I would have said I did it to further beat myself down.  Now, I feel like I do it because it’s like an expose.  I can’t deal with it if I’m not honest about it.  I can’t deal with myself if I’m not honest about what I see.  I made a hard goal for myself then, and that was to lose 40 lbs by the end of the year, and I had 4 months to accomplish that goal.

So, I made that awful selfie my home screen on my new phone, and I chose a picture of Amanda Latona for my lock screen and a picture of Misty Copeland as my S-Health background pic. Every time I unlock the phone, I see this glaring reminder of my reality, and every time, I am struck not with despair, but with motivation.  Motivation to change myself.  Motivation to keep going. This month, I focused on trying to change my habits and eating less, especially at work. I started using the tools I had invested in, starting with logging my food regularly, and exercising regularly.  I managed to lose 6 pounds-the only weight I’ve managed to lose since starting work here!

The hubs and I have been fans of the Biggest Loser show for some years.  I know that the show isn’t realistic as far as losing weight, but the struggle of these people is real, and so many of their stories really touch me.  I can relate to many of their struggles. During a commercial break, they had the coaches selling their pitch for the Biggest Loser Boot camp.  Now, I am a cynic and a skeptic, but like anyone who struggles with their weight, I can’t help but pay attention.  So, I looked it up, and the hubs asked if I would be able to commit to something like that.  Of course, I wanted to sign up right away, but the hubs was right.  I was going to pay big bucks for this, was I going to be able to stick with this for the whole 8 weeks?  The eating, and the exercise, and the checking in?

After all, my track record for this sort of thing is pretty abysmal. Right now, I need that more accountability and that more structure this boot camp will offer me.  I feel like the start date was the perfect time to begin, because it’s the start of my week off and I will be working a regular schedule for the month of October.  The program ends right before Thanksgiving.  Previously, I spoke of the planets aligning, and everything falling into place, and I feel like this is exactly what has happened. 

It seems pretty solid.  So far, I have completed all the “Prep week” tasks.  Today was the first day, and so far, so good.  I haven’t done the prescribed exercise yet, but I did walk my kid to school this morning, and I had already planned to do this in the afternoon.   I’m excited, and I’m nervous. I want to succeed and I feel like I am finally going to make it.  I am determined not to make this phase feel like deja poo!

Advertisements

Food is Fuel. Choose Wisely.

This Food Friday, I want to remind everyone to be conscious of what you are putting in your body.  The weekends are usually the time when I sort of just let it all go, and eat whatever, and then struggle to undo the damage over the next week. Which of course, then ends in another weekend where anything goes.  Breaking the cycle is tough, and yes, sometimes it sucks, but if I want to reach my goals, I have to be totally committed to the change, because this isn’t a diet.  It’s a lifestyle.

I saw a Facebook post from a friend who is also a Beachbody coach, and he was talking about how he had just bought a box of Hamburger Helper and a package of oreos.  He was talking about how he and his wife used to eat stuff like that twice a week because it’s quick and easy, and of course it tastes good.  Or, at least it used to.  After having cleaned up their diets and lost weight, they found that the Hamburger Helper was not as good as they remembered it.  Way too salty, and just generally nasty.  They ended up not finishing it.  The oreos, he claimed were just as good as he remembered, but they ended up throwing that out too.

work hard in the gymThe other day, we had pizza from Domino’s.  And guess what?  Same reaction.  Pepperoni pizza and I could taste the fat in the meat!  So gross.  And it was soooo salty!  We used to have pizza all the time.  That night, I managed 2 pieces before I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Anyway, Robbie’s post got me thinking about how we used to eat. We were a box dinner family, too.  I also used to buy those frozen chicken patties and put it on a bun.  I was also a HUGE fan of Stouffer’s French bread pizzas.  God, I can almost taste them!  And those Tostino’s party pizzas?  We would eat 1.5 of those-each! We also ate out frequently: fast food at least 2xs a week, and dinner at a restaurant every weekend.

Wow.  When I think about the way we used to eat, it actually makes my stomach turn.  It took me a while to think about all the trash we used to eat on a daily basis.  I’ve been slowly changing our diet, learning to cook (and well!), and making smarter choices at the grocery store.  I generally stick to the perimeter of the store, and only go down the aisles I need something from.  Of course, I still end up at the check out with items that wouldn’t get past the food police.

However, as my picture suggests, I have busted my ass in the past, trying to lose weight, get in shape, etc, but I always failed, and the reason always boiled down to a bad diet.  Previously, it was starvation.  Now, it’s a certain overly liberal slackening of the food.  I noticed the other day that I have not been eating as clean as I was, or even should.  Too many snacks and other stuff I just don’t need, and it’s interfering with my results.  Honestly, I have not been as strict with myself since I finished the 6-Day Express.  And that’s terrible.  When I saw this meme on my Facebook today, I realized I have not been paying attention to what I’ve been putting in my body.  In short, I have not been choosing wisely.

So, now it boils down to:

1.  I have 6 weeks before we move, and I’ll be seeing my family en route.

2. I want to lose at least 10 lbs before then.

3. I’d like to wear my wedding rings by the time we leave.

And, the plan for that starts with:

1. Tracking my food and exercise.

2. Planning ahead.

That’s it in a nutshell.  Do you find yourself making poor food choices, even though you are busting ass working out?  What do you do about it?  Sometimes, I just need to see something that gives me an “A-ha” moment, and I’m good.  This week it was a blueberry meme.  Next week, who knows?  The only thing to do is to make better choices and keep moving forward.

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.

You Bet Your Asparagus!

It’s Food Friday, and today I’d like to share with you the wonders of one of my favorite summer veggies: asparagus.

When I was little, I remember eating this stuff by the can! They were so delicious. I would gobble them up like they were candy, and yes, I would eat the whole can by myself.  Later on, I guess I had forgotten how much I loved them, and so when I was a young 20-something, I no longer bought them.  Of course, this was also the time of my life when I was beholden to no diet rules and I subsisted on mostly fast food.

asparagusNow, as someone older and wiser (haha), I am discovering more amazing and tasty vegetables than just the standard lettuce, tomato, and cucumber.  I also rediscovered asparagus-fresh, crispy asparagus.  I had no idea what to do with it, so I usually would just steam it in the microwave and sprinkle on a generous amount of lemon pepper.  Later, I discovered the amazingness of grilled asparagus!  SOOOOOO delicious. I would drizzle a little olive oil on the bunch and throw it on, turning the stalks until they were tender crisp.  Then, I would drizzle this wonderful bleu cheese vinaigrette over them, and then the feast would begin, and we would fight to the last stalk!

What I didn’t know as I was eating these delectable little spears is how healthy they are!  I had no idea that asparagus had so many health benefits.  I’m realizing that this is true of most whole fruits and veggies, but sometimes, it is still a shocker that so many of us aren’t developing our full potential because we aren’t eating nature’s bounty.

Did you know that asparagus is not only loaded with fiber, but also has folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K?  It also contains a detoxifying compound that breaks down carcinogens and free radicals, so it’s possible it can help prevent several types of cancers.  And, amazingly enough, it is like a little fountain of youth for our brains! That’s right, eating veggies like aspargus and other leafy greens can help prevent cognitive decline because of the folate.  Asparagus also has high amounts of the amino acid asparagine, which acts as a natural diuretic and flushes extra salt from the body.

Amazing what a nutritional punch these little spears of goodness serve up in every bite! And another thing I love about them, they aren’t just a side dish.  They are also amazingly versatile!  You can grill them, steam them, use them in a stir fry, scramble them with eggs, whatever!  I plan on getting some on my next trip to the store, chopping them up and freezing them to add to my next egg scramble.  We had asparagus last night that I cooked up in the grill pan, and then added a little lemon juice and parmesan.  Yummy!

There are tons of asparagus recipes out there, but one of the simplest ways is to just trim the ends, put it in a baking dish with a little water, cover, and microwave for about 4-5 minutes.  Then, all you have to do is season them with whatever you like!  My go-to’s are usually lemon or garlic, but I’ve also used sesame oil and sprinkled sesame seeds on top.

Word to the wise: the thicker asparagus stalks are tougher, so stick to the thinner ones.

Lemon Parmesan Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus

2 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 TB parmesan

2 TB or more lemon juice

 

Wash and trim asparagus, drizzle olive oil over stalks.  Saute in pan till tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.  Toss with salt and pepper, and transfer to plate.  Drizzle lemon juice over stalks, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy.

I apologize if my cooking intructions seem a little on the light side.  This isn’t an actual recipe per se, this is just how I made the asparagus last night.  I used half a lemon for the juice, but the other measurements are approximate.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

MISSION: I’m possible

Greetings, it’s Motivation Monday, and I have a wonderful and inspiring story to share with you.

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a Beachbody Super Saturday event.  Super Saturday is a quarterly event for current and prospective Beachbody coaches and customers to learn about the company.  While it was great having a chance to connect with other coaches and previewing Shaun T’s upcoming new workout (it was awesome!), and learning more about building my own business, I had the opportunity to hear a few transformation stories.  These people defied the odds and beat obesity.  The most inspiring story was from Toby.

Toby has Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair.  When he was diagnosed at 6, the doctors said he would not live past 14. much less into adulthood.  But here he is.

TobyAt his highest weight of 328, he had had 2 defibrillator pacemakers, struggled with arthritis.  He had developed severe edema in his legs and it had gotten so bad, his skin had burst in places.  He ended up having to wear these special boots at night that would squeeze the excess fluid out.

His turning point was when he had to get fitted for a tux and the man who measured him told him they didn’t have pants that big-he would have to get special ones with sliders on the side.  Toby was devastated.  He knew there was nothing he could do about his medical condition, but he had to do something.

He was watching TV and saw an infomercial for P90X.  He had seen it before, but this time felt like this might be the answer.  But how was he going to do P90X?  He got online and found a woman who had MS and had modified P90X so she could do it.  His co-workers laughed at him when they heard he was going to do the program-they had tried it and couldn’t do it.

He stuck with it, doing the modified program, even when he wanted to give up because of the pain and weakness caused by his muscular dystrophy, and his own inner demons.  In 2 years, he lost a staggering 133 lbs!  He has even managed to build muscle, despite having MD.  His heart strength has improved and he doesn’t have to use the air boot for edema anymore.

This isn’t a P90X sales pitch.  This is the story of someone who, despite the odds and the obstacles in front of him, decided he was possible.  This is the story of a man who had lost hope and no longer believed in himself and managed to bury it with sheer determination.  This man, who is confined to a wheelchair and suffering from a chronic and debilitating disease has improved his health AND his life by refusing to accept excuses.

And I’ll be honest and say his efforts make mine look puny so far!  It reminds me that some of the biggest roadblocks are in our minds.  It reminds me that Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, the word itself says “I’m Possible”!

If you would like to hear more of Toby’s story, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2ZVsn7xxZo&feature=player_embedded

Or, read about it here: http://www.beachbodysuccessstories.com/p90x/im-in-a-wheelchair-and-lost-133lbs-doing-p90x/

 

And where-exactly-am I supposed to find that?!?

Hello, fans, it’s Whiny Wednesday and I’ve got a humdinger for you today!

I’ve mentioned before that I love to cook.  I enjoy finding new recipes and making them for my family.  I especially like finding recipes that are quick and easy to make.  I have a couple of cookbooks that are sort of my go-to books.  If the recipe isn’t “healthy”, I try to find ways to cut down on the fat or calories.  It’s not always easy, but if I can shave calories by skipping the butter, or make it healthier by using whole grain pasta or ground turkey, I do it.  What makes it harder is finding “special” ingredients.

One of my new favorite cookbooks is the Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook.  It’s where I got the lentil salad recipe from last Friday.  I enjoy the cookbook, I’ve tried several recipes and they all turned out great.  Even better, the kids actually ate them.  There are two reasons why I bought this particular cookbook, mostly having to do with “quick” and “easy”.  I liked reading about the eating plan, most of the recipes have a picture, and most of them sound like something I could serve my family. They also include serving sizes and calorie counts for each recipe, which I love.

What I wasn’t counting on was the amount of “special” ingredients that several recipes call for.  Now, some of these things aren’t too bad, and I could justify buying something a little pricey because I knew I would use all of it, or whatever.  But there are a quite a few ingredients that the recipes call for that are simply not going to happen.  And it’s not just because this bottle of Meyer lemon infused olive oil costs $20.  Yes, that’s right.  $20 for a bottle of lemon flavored olive oil.

meyer lemon EVOOOne recipe calls for “all-natural marinara (preferably low-fat,  low salt, no sugar added)”.  Another calls for all natural barbecue sauce sweetened with agave or honey.  Nitrate free lunch meats.  Salt-free seasoning blends-and we’re not talking Mrs. Dash either, but exotic flavors like a curry blend.  All natural 100% fruit spreads in weird flavors.  Tamarind flavored brown rice crackers.  You get the idea.

My annoyance comes from the fact I can’t find most of that shit in this little town I live in, and I’m not driving an hour-plus one way to try to find it.  I have to make do with what I can find right here, in my own town, at my local store.  Do you know I went to 3 stores looking for all-natural plum jam?  3!!  That’s when I decided to just settle and buy the only plum jam I could find-Smuckers.

I hate feeling like I have to settle for things, but if you live in a small town like me, or in a rural area, you may feel a little despair when trying to plan interesting and nutritional menus.  I know, not everyone is into “fancy” cooking like me, and maybe it is just me.  But I LOVE food.  I like to eat-haha that’s how I got here.  But just because I’m not eating a bunch of junk everyday and trying to eat clean doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice my taste buds.  Just because I’m eating healthy doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy food that’s delicious and packed with flavor.

I can’t help but feel a bit defeated when I want to try a recipe and it asks for stuff that I just can’t find around here.  But as I’ve come to try more recipes from this particular book, I’ve realized I have already  ditched the “all or nothing” about the food.  It’s weird to realize that, because in the past, I would have been completely hung up on the fact that “The Spice Hunter” seasonings are unknown in these parts.  Or that I couldn’t find all natural barbecue sauce sweetened with agave, or tamarind flavored crackers.   I buy and use what I can find. If it’s Heinz Chili sauce, then by golly, that’s what’s going on the meatloaf. If it’s Smuckers plum jam, then so be it. It messes with the calorie count, sure, but I’m not going to let it stop me from making the recipe and trying something new.

The lesson here is that there are always going to be things you may think keep you from trying something new or different.  The answer is that there is always a substitute.  Can’t find that special ingredient?  Find something similar, use less.  Too easy.  Can’t do full squats because your knees feel hurt like the devil? Try a demi-squat.  Can’t keep up with a challenging workout? Slow down, focus on your form, and do what you can.

See?  There is always something you can do, so you don’t have an excuse to do nothing.

 

On the path to Greatness

Happy Motivational Monday!  Yes, yes, we all hate Mondays.  I usually lament the passing of too short weekends, and the inevitable return to the daily grind. Too often, it feels like there just simply isn’t enough time to get everything done.  But, one thing I have discovered, is that I secretly love Mondays because it means the start of a new week and new opportunities to reaffirm that I am on the right path to health and fitness.

Today, I’d like to share a few wonderful quotes from master motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar. He died just last year at the ripe old age of 86, but his legacy remains.  Every time I see one of his quotes, I’m astounded by the simplicity and the veracity of his statements.  In short, his words remind us that our dreams of success, whether it’s work or personally motivated, are determined by us.  You and me, we are the masters of our own destinies, whatever they may be, and we can achieve greatness when we believe in ourselves.

prepare to winWe all have times when we falter because life keeps throwing us obstacles, but we have to keep moving forward. Since I decided to make a full commitment to losing weight and getting strong, there are definitely times my motivation level has been pretty low.  But I made a decision to not let go this time.  I’m going to play the bulldog on this one and even when my spirits flag, I will not quit until I win!  As Zig would say, “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”

Part of learning to motivate myself has included a big heaping serving of STFU-I had to stop bitching about the past and my past failings, put on my big girl panties and MOVE ON! I’m not saying forget the past. The past is important, but learn from it, don’t dwell on it.  Part of this learning process has been learning to love Mondays, not just because I get a chance to “atone” for my weekend transgressions, but because it’s my reminder that backsliding is forgivable, not a deal breaker.

We had our first dinner out in a long long time, where we enjoyed ourselves and ate like kings.  Then birthday cake (not mine) the next day, along with some homemade fresh French bread, but it’s not the end of the world.  I don’t have to explain myself or justify it or make excuses about not eating healthy 100% of the time.  It is what it is, and now it’s done. Today is a new day, and instead of throwing in the towel because I “blew my diet” over the weekend,  I’m back at it.

I made my plan, I’m prepared to win this fight, and end the trend of obesity in my life, and I’m committed to changing my life for the better.  We all deserve greatness in our lives, regardless of how humble that greatness may be.  One of my biggest goals this summer is not being able to look hot in a bikini (maybe next year), but being able to wear my wedding rings again.  That’s right.  My rings.  I took them off when I was about 7 months pregnant, over 3 years ago, and only now am I doing something about it. But my focus is not on those 3 years lost; my focus is on now.  For so long, I didn’t even let myself try to lose weight, even though I was desperately unhappy with myself.  And yes, ol’ Zig would have told me: “The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you think you can only do a little.”

We all have the potential to achieve great things in our lives, but you have to start doing to start achieving. Here is another great quote from Mr. Ziglar to send you on your way to a great week:   “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” -Zig Ziglar.