Friday, January 31, 2014

Looks like we made it...

I have a deep dark secret to share with you.  Ok, you ready?  I LOVE Barry Manilow!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE him!

So his song was echoing in my head as I was in the shower this morning.  We made it.  Through an incredibly shitty week to top off an incredibly shitty start to 2014!!

Yeah, I am not thrilled at how 2014 is starting - it has been just one hit after another.  And, for me, after getting down under 120 FINALLY, I have shot right back there the last 2 days despite excellent eating and exercise.    

Why, body, do you do this to me?

But, I'm going to try to look at the bright spots!  Despite wanting to curl up and eat carbs, I got back on track for the most part with my eating.  Despite miserable weather, I have kept my committment to exercise and have run 136 miles this month - which when I head downstairs to the treadmill tonight - will turn into at least 140.

So, there's nowhere to go but up, right?

Where do you stand as the first month of 2014 comes to a close?  Are you happy with how you began the year or do you need to make some changes?  What do you have the power to do to keep yourself on track if you've done well or get back on track if you haven't?

Recognizing what we do and do not have control of and adjusting and working around that is crucial!

February will be better, right?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Totally gratuitous pics!

Today I had Marc take a pic of me before I left for work.  The purpose of the pic was to show myself wearing the sweater that she got me for Xmas.  

Marc sent me an e-mail of the pic and it said something to the effect that I looked really good.  So I was excited to open the e-mail.  Here is the pic:

And when I saw it, I was really disappointed.  I didn't think I looked that good - although I didn't think I looked terrible.  

And then later today I did an intense workout at lunch.  And I was dripping with sweat and I thought that I could almost see a tiny bit of abs sticking out.  So I took a pic:

And when I saw how the pic turned out, all I could focus on was the huge drippy extra skin on my thighs and I couldn't see any ab definition at all.  

So I guess in many ways I always take 2 steps forward and 1 step back when it comes to self-acceptance.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A whiney little bitch...

That title describes me perfectly today.  I've been doing pretty well this winter with keeping my spirits relatively high despite the horrible weather.

Last night though, I fell into a vat of peanut butter and couldn't get out.  So when my weight was up this morning almost a pound from yesterday morning, AND it was 0 degrees AND it was snowing like crazy - I seriously just wanted to go back to bed, curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep.

I'm starting to get that "lost" feeling again.  I feel like I'm floating through life.  I feel like I have no purpose and no direction.  

And - more whining ahead - I'm sick of worrying about everything that I put in my mouth.  You wanna know how pathetic I am?  We went to Walmart and I saw that they now have peanut butter and chocolate Poptarts.  It has been over 4 years since I have eaten a Poptart.  And there are people in the world who if they want a Poptart they eat one?  Me? I seriously wanted to cry seeing these disgusting processed pieces of deliciousness sitting on the shelf in front of me!!

It's no win.  If I don't eat it, I feel deprived and sorry for myself.  If I DO eat one, I'll feel guilty and fat.  It's a foodie's Sophie's Choice!

So, yeah.  That's where I am today.  So since I'm not having much luck telling myself, I need you guys to tell me - 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Reviewing your goals

Ok, are you guys reviewing your goals like I suggested?  Research shows that people who make a New Year's Resolution typically make it 21 days before abandoning their commitments.  We're in day 27 so......???

Are you making it or have you given up?

Let's say this last week that you have not done so well - you've fallen back into old habits.  You've gotten the "fuck its".  Ok, that's no problem!  It's NEVER too late to turn around and come back to sanity.

I have had clients with a lot of sobriety under their belts and then one night they go out and get hammered.  What I tell them is that everything they learned during their time of sobriety - every change they made - no one can take that away from them.  They may have to reset their clean date, but every bit they learned from their sobriety is THEIRS.  AND, I always tell them - unless you're dead or in prison for life, you get another chance!

They same is true for the whole weight loss and fitness game.  It's not too late to start eating right again!  So you haven't worked out in a week.  WORK OUT TONIGHT!  Do it for 10 minutes.  Get back on the proverbial horse.

As I shared with you guys, I had fallen off track in a lot of ways wayyyyyy back in mid-December.  Since that time, I've had good days and bad, but really struggled to get my mind right.

And then last week I renewed my commitment to eating well and getting re-focused.  And the scale has been incredibly kind to me for my efforts. 

So let's renew our goals.  I still have some work to do on some of my goals and I don't feel completely out of the woods yet as far as my eating goes.  But unless I give up, it's not too late!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A return to serenity.

I'm happy to report that I feel more serenity and peace of mind since well before Christmas.  It feels good to be back in control of my own faculties.

 A return to control over my eating has happened as I commited to last week.  I didn't go to any great extremes, but I did drop my calories lower and cut out most snacking.  Fortunately that has apparently paid off.  For the last 2 days I've weighed in at 119.  

 I ran this morning but cut the run a couple miles shorter than planned.  The treadmill is just WEARING on me.  I was mad at myself for this but not panicky guilty like I have been in the past.  So my goal to be a little gentler to myself appears to be working as well.

 Of course I did do a long yoga DVD late this afternoon - so I didn't let myself totally off the hook.

 So as the first month of 2014 closes out this week, I'm feeling pretty optimistic about the rest of the year. 

How about the rest of you?  Are you hanging in there?  Are you getting fatigued by this lifestyle change?

 This is the perfect time to renew your goals.  What's working and what isn't?  How do you get your enthusiasm back?  What changes do you need to make to keep your dreams alive and kicking.

Remember, it's hard.  It can be exhausting.  But it is SO worth it!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Not much to talk about today - I'm still a little shaken by the events of yesterday.  I don't want to make it about me, but watching someone die unexpectedly as you look on - it's a horrible experience.  I gave so much credit to people that work in the field of death and dying - especially Hospice workers.  How they do it is beyond me!

At any rate, it's late but I did want to post a link - Amazon has an Elliptical on sale for a fantastic price.  We got an elliptical earlier this year.  I wasn't sure how much I would like it, but turns out it is fantastic exercise.  I burn almost as many calories in an hour on that as I do running.  It's also non-impact for those of you who can't run due to knee issues or can't stand the impact of running.

So if you've been thinking about getting one, this is a great price!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Unexpectedly reflective....

Today presented some unexpected surprises that led to a lot of reflection for me and, to be honest, I’m still processing.  

This morning I woke up to another frigidly cold morning and I pouted as I lifted myself out of my nice warm bed to get ready for work.  But then, a welcome surprise - I stepped on the scale and it read 119.6.  Finally!
I tried not to be too excited and reminded myself that this is only ½ pound lower then what I was bitching about just a week ago.  It’s nothing to get all excited about.  But despite my best efforts to not let the scale determine my self-worth and my mood, I was admittedly happy to see myself fall below my self-imposed “red line”.  Back to goal weight for the first time in what feels like forever.  

So I get to work and it turns out to be a busy morning.  About halfway into the morning I escorted a client of mine to the bathroom so she could give me a urine sample so I could drug test her.  And I see all kinds of commotion near the bathrooms.  Suddenly I realize that the hallway is packed with ambulance personnel and that there is medical stuff spread all around.

I look down and see that they are performing CPR on someone.  I can’t make out who it is, but they are doing intense chest compressions.  I ask a co-worker and he tells me that it’s one of the attorneys that was here for court.  He’s not one of the attorneys I know real well, but he is one that I have worked with and one who is liked and respected by just about everyone. 

I stand there - frozen, paralyzed - watching them perform CPR and when they pause to see if there's a heart beat I see them looking at one another.  And my stomach lurches.  I recognize that look.  It was the look that the EMT's gave each other that horrible morning in December 1990 when they were performing CPR on my father.  That look of experience - knowing they weren't going to save this person.

Finally they take him away.  I test my client in robot like automatic motions and send her on her way.  On shaky legs I make my way back to my desk. 

He didn't make it.

And as I sat here, I reflected.  It's fucking cold and miserable out, but I am ALIVE.  If I were to die tomorrow, who would it matter to whether I weighed 120.5 or 117.5?  No one.

I just HAVE to keep this mind as I'm traveling through my life.  I HAVE TO.  I lost all this weight to be healthy and happy and to extend my life and my quality of life.  NOT so that I could have my abs show, fit into a size 2 skirt and be a veritiable slave to a number on the scale.  

I'm not sure what the scale will read tomorrow.  I'm pretty sure I won't care.  Tonight I will cuddle my dogs, I will tell Marc that I love him.  I will be grateful for what I have.  I will feel blessed that Marc's father is alive and well at age 95 and that both of my grandmothers are healthy enough to not only be alive, but to live independently and to have their full faculties!

If you are reading this, please think about this.  Call someone you love and tell them you do.  Take care of yourself - eat healthy and exercise.  And be glad for life today!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Did I actually lose a bunch of weight?

I find myself wondering that today.  No, not because my weight is still up, but because of my motivation level!

I am only 3 days in to being really good restricting my calories and I'm totally sick of it!  How the hell did I ever learn to live like this on a virtual daily basis for over 2 years?  Seriously!

Last night I found something productive to do once again to distract myself from eating after dinner.  I've shared with you guys before that we have an extra freezer.  In that freezer I keep all the extra meat organized and labeled in garbage bags.  I also have the veggies that I froze from the garden and frozen things that I bring to work for lunch.

All of that information is on a chalkboard in our pantry.  So, for example, when I pull out some chicken breasts for tomorrow's meal, I cross out the number and write in the new number.

It's a pretty good system - I can buy meat that's on sale and since it's just the two of us, we don't eat a lot at one time, and I really dislike leftovers.  So the frozen meat is easy to pull out the night before and it's thawed and ready for dinner the next day.  

But Marc and I sometimes forget to cross things off and sometimes the freezer gets really disorganized.  So I pulled everything out of the extra freezer as well as our regular freezer and counted what we have and got it all nicely organized.  For a Type A freak like me, getting organized like this is a little slice of heaven.  

So I was happy to get it done - and now I know for sure what we need and don't need the next time I go grocery shopping.

But I'm not sure how many more projects I can keep distracting myself with.  Seriously - how the hell did I do this when I was actively losing?

I have been rewarded by seeing the scale's numbers drop ever so slowly, but I'm still well above where I want to be [insert foot stomping temper tantrum here]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gun control...

I am from an area where people cherish their guns.  My father had guns in the house while I was growing up, although he wasn't one of those gun-nuts.  So I balance having grown up with guns with my good liberal sensibilities that tell me that guns are way to mis-used in this country and we need sensible gun control.

I personally don't own a gun.  BUT if I had one and if I could find Mother Nature, I would shoot the bitch in the face.  

I woke up this morning to an air temperature of -31 degrees.  Yes, that was the actual temperature!  All the schools were closed because it would be downright dangerous for the kids to walk to school or even stand at the bus stops in this frigging weather.  AND they are saying that this artic freeze is supposed to last well into next week. 

I cannot describe how depressing this is for me.

Apart from the emotional aspect, I realized something last night - and it's kind of a "No duh!" but I had really never thought about it specifically like this.  In the nice weather, Marc and I typically have dinner and then head outside and play with the dogs or work on the garden or just hang out outside.

In this weather, after dinner I tend to gravitate to the computer.  And then I might head into the kitchen and start picking at things - a few raisins here, a couple of Special K Cracker Chips there - it's not terrible, but those calories can really add up!!  So that's part of the reason that my weight is up!

I had a great day of on plan eating yesterday and exercised really well.  And after dinner I didn't want to mess it up.  So instead of getting on the computer, I cleared out everything in our master bathroom, sprayed it down and then got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the hell out of the ceramic tile - which was really in need of a good cleaning!   It looked great afterwards and I felt good about not only being productive, but not mindlessly eating and sabotaging my good day.  

The question is how much longer can I keep this motivation up?  I am starting to get cabin fever really bad.  Winter has to go away soon, right?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Back to basics!

"Holy shit!" That's what Marc exclaimed when he stepped on the scale on Sunday morning.  And I echoed the sentiment.  Both of our weights were up quite a bit that day.  Must be we had eaten something salty Saturday night as yesterday both of us had dropped back down a bit.  But when I say "back down" - well, both of us saw weights that we were not happy with.

I had yesterday off for the Martin Luther King Day Holiday and we had planned to take a trip to Syracuse to see some of the new stores at the expanded mall.  Marc had also gotten a Xmas gift he needed to exchange.  We had planned to eat out, and I knew that I would be eating too much and some naughty things.  And that's exactly what happened.  It was planned and deliberate.

But as of this morning, I have made a commitment.  For the next few days or weeks - however long it takes - I am - in my mind - NOT a maintainer.  Nope, I am in the active process of losing weight.  It is time for me to get back on track and that means back to basics.  And that means a different mindset.

The mindset that I had when I was losing was locked.  Certain things were "no-no's" - like snacking in-between meals.  Certain foods were simply not allowed.  As I entered maintenance, I relaxed those rules.  Which has made sense and has worked.  

But now as I find myself with a weight higher then I would like, it's time to buckle down again and get back to basics.

What does this NOT mean?  It's means that I don't get all crazy and start severely restricting.  It doesn't mean that I panic.  It just means that I get control NOW before things get worse.

Fortunately, I have kept up my exercise routine - that has been the saving grace, here.  So I don't have to get back on track there and the damage certainly would be worse if I had slacked off on that!

I have a pair of pants that my wonderful Aunt Karla gave me that are pretty snug.  I love these pants.  And I'm wearing them today and they don't feel any tighter.  So there is no need to freak out.  But, I also don't want to slide down a slippery slope, either.

I don't feel upset or sad, at least not yet!  LOL  Give me a couple of days where I've had to say "no" to myself and I might feel differently!  But I ate a wonderful healthy breakfast and have my healthy lunch in the fridge and that's the way it is and is going to be.  

On the weight loss site they talk about maintaining as being the process of gaining and losing 5 pounds over and over.  So guess what - I need to be a LOSER.  WHEN - not if but WHEN - I am back to my goal weight - however long it takes, then I will start relaxing the rules again.  It's just that easy and it's just that hard!

Wish me luck!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dance with me!

The other night I was watching the show "BONES" and Sealy Booth said this:
"Sometimes you have to dance to the music that's given to you."
That slapped me right across the face, so being the dork I am, I grabbed my tablet and typed it in so I wouldn't forget it!

How true is this quote, though?  We don't always pick our lot in life, often it picks us.  And we can lament and cry and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can learn to dance to the music that's given to us.

What do I mean by this?  Well, I was born a short female.  That means that I get to eat FAR less then a 6 foot tall male to maintain my weight.  It's not fair, but I didn't get to choose being 5'1".  That the music that was given to me.

What other things do we need to learn to live with?  Well, some of us were born with faster metabolisms.  My sister-in-law eats like someone is about to steal food off her plate and yet she's always been skinny.  Genetics - do you come from a line of heavy people or are all your relatives thin?  

Do you have certain physical challenges that make losing weight hard - like diabetes?  Do you have physical limitations that prevent you from intense exercise?

Are you lucky enough to live comfortably or do you struggle paycheck to paycheck?  

Certain things you can change, but many of life's challenges you just have to face.

So, you can cry and whine about how harrrdddddd it is, or you can suck it up and look for the good in the music that is playing.

Yeah, I have certain things that make weight loss and maintenance challenging.  On the other hand those challenges have led me down paths I didn't expect.  Like it turns out, I'm naturally pretty good at running.  Who knew?  That doesn't mean I don't work hard or face obstacles, it means that I've leaned to dance to the music that was given to me.

And DANCE, I shall.  Care to join me in this dance?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Recipe: Healthy Peanut Butter and oatmeal bars

I am NOT a cook.  Seriously.  I didn't cook practically anything before beginning this journey.  Since then, I have learned to cook a little.  I've learned how to spice things and have followed simple recipes, but that's about it.  

And I certainly am not a baker!  But I found a recipe for these bars and I've been craving something sweet, so I decided to give them a shot.  They tuned out really well.  If you're used to massively sugar laden treats, you might not like these really well, but Marc and I really loved them!

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (any kind! I used chunky this time)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a glass baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Mix the brown sugar and peanut butter together until light and fluffy.  Mix in the vanilla.
  • Add in the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. The dough will be very thick and clumpy, but it will come together. Slowly add the milk in a steady stream, mixing until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips and raisins. Use your hands to make sure everything is combined, if needed.
  • Once dough is completely combined, press it lightly into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 17-20 minutes until the bars are lightly golden and set. Allow to cool completely and cut into squares. 
This is how mine turned out:

Friday, January 17, 2014

A conversation with myself...

Somewhere in the world there is a mythical creature who loves to exercise.  This creature - or I have actually heard that there is more then 1 - exercises because it loves exercising - not because it doesn't want to get fat again.  But that creature is not me!

A little background.  What a shitty day this was.  I woke up and got on the scale and ONCE AGAIN it showed me 120.3.  If you translate those numbers into letters, it spells "Fuck you, bitch!"  I think I actually heard the scale giggle a little.

Anyway, I get to work and first thing get a call that puts me in a MISERABLE mood.  It involves a war between 2 people - both who rank above me - and I'm being put in the middle and it's completely out of my control.  Because it is a no-win situation for me, I'm struggling with anger and anxiety over it.

Late morning comes and it is a run day.  And it's snowing.  Finally the snow stops, but I don't want to run.  In fact, I don't want to do anything.  I just want to sit here and feel sorry for myself, thank you very much.

BUT, I convince myself to change my clothes and head out the door.  Here's the conversation that takes place between Fat Jen (FJ) and Thin Jen (TJ) as we head out the door:

FJ:  We have run 27 miles so far this week and walked another 3.5!  Maybe we should only do 3 miles and bring the running to an even 30.
TJ: No, we need to run more then that - the scale was still up this morning!
(1/2 mile in)
FJ:  Wow it's a lot colder and more windy then we knew!  This kind of sucks.
TJ: Yeah, you're right, my face is burning already!
FJ:  Ok, so the 3 sounds good then, right?
TJ: How about 4?  We can do 4.
(1 mile in)
FJ:  The sidewalks are really slippery we almost fell in that spot!
TJ: Well, we're at our turnaround point, and will now be running down a street with very little traffic, so we can run on the side of the road instead of the sidewalks.  Actually it seems less windy here, we're in luck!
(2 miles in)
FJ:  Yay!  We're halfway done!  You said we only had to do 4, right?
TJ:  I guess, but 4 doesn't seem very much - that will only be about 320 calories burned.
FJ:  So how many do we have to do??!!  Our hips hurt from all those kettlebell swings you made us do the other night [We had done 10 sets of 25 using a 20 pound kettlebell]
TJ:  I'm thinking I could live with 5.
(3 miles in)
FJ: Ok, we're rounding the back of the building, if we stop now, we've still run 30 miles this week.
TJ:  No, we're doing fine - we don't need to stop.
(3.80 miles in)
FJ:  Instead of stopping at this red light near the front of the building, why don't you run around the block and then we'll be at 4 miles!  I'm pretty hungry.
TJ:  Let's just head down this road where there's no traffic [it's a walkway] and then we can take the left turn and quit at 5 when we get back around.
(4.25 miles in) 
FJ:  This is totally snow covered and slippery!  We're going to fall!  I told you we should have stopped!!
Wait....wait!  That's our turn!  You just ran by it.
TJ:  I can't do it.  I can't stop.
(5 miles in)
FJ:  We're getting tired and we're running straight into the wind again!  If we turn around now, it will only be 6 miles that we've run.
TJ:  Well, I think it will be more then 6 - if we're going to do that, we might as well do the 7 that we're "supposed" to do!  Hey, I have an idea!  You know that big package of chocolate truffles that someone gave you for Christmas?  Marc has eaten all but 1!  If we do the full 7 you can have that truffle!  It's 70 calories - that's about what we burn running a mile.  I'll let you eat that if you stick with me for the full 7.
FJ:  Do you promise we can eat that?
TJ:  Sure - it's Friday - we've had a shitty day.  We deserve a treat.  And that was a Xmas gift and we haven't eaten even 1!!
(6 miles in)
FJ:  Here comes that big hill that we HATE.  You're going to wish we only did 6.
TJ:  I know.
(6.68 miles in)
TJ:  Yay!  We get a rest at this red light and then it's just a short sprint mostly downhill - we did it - aren't you glad?
FJ:  Are you going to let us eat that truffle when we get home?
TJ:  [silence]

So there you go!  Another glimpse into my crazy addled mind.  The next time you think that exercising is easy for me and you wish you had that motivation, just remember - it's not always about motivation, it's about commitment.  Some days are easier then others.

Anyone care to make bets about whether the truffle gets eaten?

Thursday, January 16, 2014


On any given week my weight bounces around dramatically.  Well, I say dramatically, but realistically it bounces around between about 3 pounds up and down.

As you know, my "redline" weight is 120.  My goal is to stay under that number.  

Well this week, I have been hanging FRUSTRATINGLY AND CONSISTENTLY at 120.3.  So that is barely above the infamous redline and nothing to get worked up about, I suppose.  But it's like that number is there going "HAHA!  How do you like that, Fatty?  You're above the weight you want to be!"

It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?  1 1/2 years ago I stood on the scale and burst into tears of JOY - overwhelming, fantastic joy - at seeing 119.7.  Now I stand on the scale and see 120.3 - only a little higher - and I want to kick the fucking scale across the room.  

So much for not letting the number on the scale effect my moods, right?  Actually I'm not totally down about this but I want to sit down and explain to Mr. Scale that I have been ON POINT with exercising my ass off this week.  And I've been eating really well.  So I deserve to be rewarded for that, dammit!

But as I know - and you know - it doesn't always work like that - on the scale or in life.  Sometimes naughty behavior gets rewarded and good behavior doesn't.  When I used to teach Anger Management groups, I would always tell my clients that one of the hardest lessons they would learn in life is that sometimes you are 100% right and you still LOSE.

Fortunately I keep in mind that if my good behavior continues, I WILL see a reward.  It just takes patience. 

Before I sign off today, I want to give a shout out to "J" - who began her first day of retirement today!!  I've said many times that this journey has truly shown me who my real friends are.  "J" has been one of my biggest supports, cheerleaders and has also not hesitated to kick my ass when needed.  As she heads off - in excitement and anticipation - of this next part of her life, I want to congratulate her!  You worked your ass off for many years, "J", and now it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor!  I hope this next part of your life is a wild adventure!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gayle's journey...

Some of you might remember that I was interviewed for a podcast by Carlos Cabezas of the Trim Endeavors site a short time ago.

 Recently, Gayle, a regular poster to this site was also interviewed!  She is a wonderful, beautiful woman who made her journey a little later in life.  It is a fantastic interview, especially for some of you who might be beginning your journey over age 50.

 Gayle is living proof that it is NEVER too late to transform your life!!

 You can listen to her interview - as well as mine and a few others - at:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wait 5 minutes...

There's a big joke in this area - as I'm sure there is in many areas - "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes!"  That certainly feels true today.  Hard to believe that 1 short week ago, it was so cold and we were getting such a horrible blizzard that they sent us home early.  And remember that I seriously thought I could be killed the ride home was so unbelievably bad?

Well today it is cloudy and 40 degrees and I was able to get out and RUNNNNNN!  The sidewalks are still ice covered and slippery in places, but I managed.  It was glorious to get out of the basement.  Actually it was weird - I could tell that my gait had been changed a bit by running on the treadmill and it took about 2 miles for me to get into the groove, but by mile 5 I was flying.  7:55 minute miles, thank you very much!

Anyway, I bring this up, because the "wait 5 minutes" can be applied to our heads, too, can't it?  Last week at this time, I felt desperate and out of control.  I couldn't get a handle on my eating and I felt pathetic.

My weight was ok yesterday and then spiked back up today (sigh!) - but my head is better.  I wasn't perfect yesterday, but I ate well and exercised.  And I felt good.  Today I came back from my run and had the really healthy lunch that I had packed and I feel proud about my choices.

So that just goes to show - sometimes we have to get through the lows in order to get back in the highs.  And if you wait 5 minutes, you can get there.  Learn to ride the wave.   

Monday, January 13, 2014

What I did right.

I see a lot of people newly into their journey who are already struggling with this lifestyle change only a short time in.  I certainly am NOT a guru when it comes to weight loss and fitness.  But I did lose a lot of weight.  So I must have done some things right, right?

So let me share with you today some of the things that I did right during the course of my journey that might help you!

  • Focusing on TODAY.  I didn't set out looking to achieve a huge weight loss in a short amount of time.  Instead, I worried about getting through each day making good choices and I let the weight loss take care of itself.
  • I didn't get radical.  I didn't count calories at the beginning so I have no idea how many I was eating a day.  BUT I didn't get all crazy and cut myself down to almost nothing.  I focused on eating less.  It is not reasonable if you are obese to start off your journey eating 1200 calories a day!  It will leave you hungry and angry and you'll want to quit.  Don't get radical!
  • Exercise - I started exercising.  BUT I didn't go nuts here, either.  I can run 35 miles a week now.  But when I started I couldn't run 2 minutes!  I didn't try to exercise 6 days a week for 1-2 hours.  Nope!  My goal was to move more.  Which meant taking the dogs for a walk or doing some short exercise videos.  It also meant exploring things I had never tried, like yoga.  You are going to burn out quickly if you try to go from NOTHING to EVERYTHING!
  • I did my homework!  I started to research what is good for the body.  I began learning about protein and complex carbs.  I started to cut out things that were bad, like soda.  
  • I thought outside of the box.  I didn't close my mind to things like "I hate vegetables!"  Instead I vowed to try new things.  New foods, new ways of doing things.  I had never lifted a weight in my life!  That was for male body-builders, right?  WRONG!  I found that lifting weights is an amazing way to transform the body.
  • I enlisted support!  I told my friends and family that I was getting healthier and asked them to join me.  I joined online support forums.  I joined the weight loss challenge at work. I didn't want to feel alone, and I didn't!
  • I refused to follow FADS..  When people would tell me that I could lose a billion pounds by eating cabbage soup for 7 days and nothing else, I refused to engage.  I didn't look for a fad diet.  I knew this wouldn't happen quickly and I put the thought out of my head that there was anything that could make this quick and easy.  I stuck with healthy lifestyle changes.
  • I fucked up.  Many times.  And then I moved on.  I DIDN'T GIVE UP!!
  • It bears repeating - I NEVER GAVE UP!  I wanted to, but I didn't.
  • On a related note, I started to believe in myself.  I told myself I could do it.  Even when I didn't believe it, I told myself it anyway.
  • I learned patience.  I am NOT a patient person normally.  But, again, I knew that if I was determined to make this happen, that I would have to be patient.  Some weeks I NOTHING even though I had been doing well.  Some weeks I did nothing different and dropped 4 pounds in a week!  It's the nature of the beast.  I learned to ride the highs and lows.
  • I celebrated small successes.  Like buying a shirt at a "normal" store.  Or being able to buckle a seat belt without an extender.  Or running for 5 minutes straight.  Things that others take for granted, I celebrated.
So these are some of the things that I did right during my journey.  I certainly made mistakes, and maybe not all of these resonate with you.  I'm just a normal woman, with a normal life who did something that a lot of people struggle with.

It doesn't make me amazing or special or a leading expert or anything else.  But if there is one thing that I can offer, it is my experience - so, for what it's worth, here it is.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Million Dollar Baby...

That's the movie that I watched while running on the treadmill this morning.  I had seen it before, when it first came out, but I watched it from a different perspective as I ran.  I checked out Hilary Swank's muscles and envied her lean body.  Yeah, I know, not the point of the movie, right?

It worked out perfect - that movie was about 2 hours long so I was able (with a short break) to run 13 miles.  

You know what I realized this morning?  I'm okay.  I really am.  I am lucky.  I am in good health.  I can run 13 miles.  I weighed 120.1 when I got out of bed this morning.  After I ran 13 miles I jumped back on the scale for shits and giggles and weighed 116.6.  3.5 pounds difference.  Probably from losing water while running.

So what do I weigh?  The answer is - who cares?  

I wish I could hold tightly onto times like this - when the scale doesn't determine (in my mind) - my worth as a human being.  You know what's funny?  When I was fat, I used to get so upset with people that I knew were judging me for my weight.  I used to think "If they only knew there is so much more to me!  I'm funny, I'm smart, I'm compassionate!"  And now that most people I meet don't evaluate me by my weight, I do it to myself!!

Where are you guys in your journey - not physically, but mentally?  Are you mean to yourself?  If so, please stop!  I know, easier said then done.  But focus on the good things that you are doing in your life!  You know I love Tony Horton and as he says:

One more thing today.  I know they are hugely expensive and take up a ton of room.  But if you're in the market for a treadmill, check out Amazon.  They have their Proform treadmills on sale for their deal of the day!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Inching my way forward...

How is everyone out there doing?  I weighed in this morning at 120.2.  It's still higher than what I would like to see, but I feel like I am inching back to normal.  

I did take my measurements - hip, waist and chest and I have not turned into a huge pile of ginormous fat, despite what my twisted mind tells me!!  If you are just starting this journey or are partway through or whatever - PLEASE do what I was not smart enough to do - take measurements!  They are much more indicative of your progress then a number on the scale.  

I often forget that.  But like I have always said - if I measured and my waist was 27 inches and my hips were 30 and the scale said 180?  Ok, that would never happen, but assuming I was otherwise fit and healthy, I'd be fine with that number.  You get what I'm saying, right?

We finally got the medal case hung today.  

It's weird - I looked at it with almost - nostalgia.  Like it's something way in the past and I'll never add another medal to it.

I think that this is because I've been relegated to the treadmill for what feel like forever.   So I feel like I'm a "fake" - not a real runner.  I'm sure that will go away as soon as the weather breaks and I can get back outside.  

So everyone - let's all keep moving along!  Some of us are doing great, I'm sure, and some like me are struggling, but you can't come down on someone who never ever gives up!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Shake it up, Baby!

I think that's what I need to do - I need to shake things up!  Something needs to kick me out of this mental rut that I am in and also knock my ass back into gear.

I continue to do pretty well with exercise.  I think that's because I have a pretty varied routine going.  I've mentioned my buddy, Sal, who is a DEDICATED runner.  But that's all he does.  Is run.  LONGGGGGGG distances and often.  But he is an antsy guy who can't stand more then a short run on a treadmill.  So he is climbing the walls right now.  Because it's downright dangerous to run outside around here right now.  So he hasn't been running.  

He told me this morning that he walked 4 miles last night and that it's "better then nothing".  Sal doesn't have to worry about his weight, so at least he escapes that mental struggle that I have.  But he wants to be running for sanity and fitness.  And because he does nothing else he has no outlet.

That's an advantage that I have.  Between the DVD's that I do as well as weight lifting and other things, I think that has helped (not made it easy, but HELPED) keep me exercising.  In the nicer weather I run on Fridays outside.  But today I did a ton of ab/core work instead on my lunch hour and will hit the treadmill when I get home.  

But food.  That's where I am just continuing to struggle.  I just can't seem to get my ass in gear.  It is so frustrating.  I know a lot of you out there are hearing where I'm coming from.

I just want to eat, eat, eat.  It's not even bad stuff that I am eating.  But picking continuously at healthy foods - well the damage adds up.  

In substance abuse counseling, we talk about the "honeymoon" period.  When someone first gets clean and sober, they typically feel great.  They physically feel better.  They start recovering things that they've lost - like seeing their kids again or reconciling with other family.  Or going to college.  They go to AA/NA meetings and proudly announce that they are 6 months sober and everyone applauds.  They share their story with new-comers and listen to the success stories of others in the program.  

And then - typically - comes a crash.  They begin to realize that this is their life.  There's not the constant praise and excitement.  Instead they just have to start living "normally".

I wonder if that's what is happening with me.  Is the honeymoon over?  Am I starting to realize that this is just the rest of my life?  And why is that hard for me to accept?  

I guess I need to do something to shake my routine up.  Maybe I just have "cabin fever".  But I want to make sure a small slide doesn't lead to a landslide!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A normal return to normalcy!

So, almost 4 years into this journey and 1.5 years into maintenance I am facing the hardest struggle I have ever had getting and staying on track.

That's what I get for bragging on Sunday about my weight being in the normal range.  Because it is not now.  I am thinking it was artificially low on Sunday for some reason.  My weight is up.  Since Monday I am 2-3 pounds higher then my normal range.  

Yesterday, the snow continued to POUND us hard.  I got up and showered and dressed and made my way into work.  Literally as I walked into the building, they decided to tell us not to report to work.  But they were going to open up at noon.  Seriously?

I am lucky enough to have a flexible job and spoke to my boss and was told that I could go home and did not have to come back at noon, but, of course, if I decided not to report, those hours would have to come out of my vacation.

I decided to go home and fortunately they ended up closing for the whole day because the snow JUST WOULDN'T STOP.  And I was SO annoyed with the stupid bureaucracy of me getting all together for work and they cancel at the last possible second.

Again, out of my routine and out of stress/anxiety/nervousness I wanted to stress eat.  

Today I came to work and fortunately the storm has passed.  The sun is actually out and it's not as cold, which automatically helps my mood.  But that doesn't mean that the winter doldrums just walk away.  I heard a song on the radio this morning - something about summer and bikinis - and I literally had this moment of panic thinking of squeezing my perceived fat ass into a bikini and going out in public.

Now before anyone gets annoyed with me, intellectually I realize how ASININE this sounds.  I get it, really.  BUT that doesn't mean it didn't feel real to me.  Especially since I only ran 3 miles on the treadmill yesterday because my Achilles was screaming.  But that is 1/2 of what I wanted to run.  Which in my mind = FAILURE.  And not as many calories burned.  And FATNESS.

Today I was sitting here and my workout time was nearing.  And I did NOT want to work out.  I totally talked myself out of it.  I had taken my jewelry off and was preparing to change into workout clothing and I decided I would instead go pick up something at the mall that I ordered online.  I convinced myself that walking the mall could "count" as exercise and that, even being in the car, exposing myself to the sun would be good for my mental well being.  

I started to put my jewelry back on.  At the last minute I asked myself what the fuck I was doing and managed to force myself into the room and changed.  And I worked out HARD.  And guess what?  I feel sore, shaky and good.  

But this total lack of motivation is a little scary for me.  

So I have to find a way to get my mind right and get back into eating right and embracing the exercise.  Hopefully I will be back into a normal routine - no more ass-kicking from Mother Nature - SERIOUSLY!!!

A normal routine helps make normal eating and normal behavior.  I hope anyway.

Bikini season is coming, you know?  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1 week in!

So 1 week ago was New Year's Day.  January 1st.  The time to make life altering commitments!

So, the question is - how are you doing?  Is your motivation still high?  Are you following through with the plans that you made?

On Good Morning America this morning they were talking about how the Federal Trade Commission has ordered the makers of Sensa to return 26.5 MILLION dollars to consumers who bought their products.  I didn't think I knew what Sensa was, but as they were doing the story I remember seeing advertisements for the product that you are supposed to sprinkle on your food and it curbs appetite and you lose weight.


You are telling me that so many people believed that shit that they made millions of dollars?  I guess that shows how desperate - (and how LAZY I would argue) - people are to lose weight - quickly and easily.

They interviewed a guy who stated that he does not believe that there is any quick solution to weight loss and that long lasting change will not come in the form of a powder that you simply sprinkle on your food.  Instead it takes hard work and dedication.

If you are one week into this journey and are lamenting that it's HARD and you have so far to go, you are exactly right.  So you can keep soldiering on or you can say fuck it and throw in the towel.  Either way, time will pass.  

There is NOTHING that I can say to make this easier.  There is no magic pill or powder.  There is only YOU.

If you are trying - truly trying - then keep at it as best as you can.  You may falter - as I am now.  But if you are whining?  I have no sympathy for that.  Get your ass in gear.  Stop focusing on 6 months down the road.  That doesn't work for many of us.  Take it day by day.  Make this a true lifestyle change.  

You will get there, I promise.  You know the old phrase "A watched pot never boils"?  Well, a watched stomach doesn't shrink.  Eat right, exercise and let everything else will fall into place.

It did for me.  It can for you!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I am alive!!

Around 1:30 PM today, I wasn't so sure that this would be true!!

I had to go into work today.  It was bad on the way in but got progressively worse.  They didn't give us the okay to leave until the storm was practically at it's hilt.  I am a Northern NY girl!  I have lived here all my life.  I learned to drive in this crap.  You can't scare me!

But today?  Holy fuck.  BY FAR this is the worst weather I have ever driven in.  I literally could not see anything but white in spots.  At one point I almost burst into tears because I was so scared.  I had NO IDEA if I was even on the road.  But I didn't dare stop.  And then - all of a sudden - there was a tractor trailer coming RIGHT AT ME.

I made it home unscathed.  But between the snow, the blowing and the cold (which makes the salt they use to de-ice the roads USELESS) I am in my version of hell.  

When I got home, this is what it looked like outside my house - and I am a several miles NORTH of the worst part of the storm.  

So, I get home, I haven't eaten yet.  I wish that stress and nervousness suppresses my appetite like it does for some people, but NOOOO.  Instead I was starving.  So I scarf down some lunch and then proceed to start nervously nibbing on everything I can find.  

What is the deal with that?  I mean I was home, I was safe.  Marc was here.  Everything was okay.  Except me.  I was nervous and pacing and EATING.

So it seems like there is a grand conspiracy to keep me from staying on track this winter.  I know it is my own choices, but I am having a hell of a time getting back into a rhythm.  If only the scale would sympathize!!  But instead I anticipate a stern reality check tomorrow.  

I did get 8 miles in on the treadmill.  So at least I haven't thrown everything to the wind.  

Stay safe everyone!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The winter that just won't quit!

Could this weather suck worse?  Wow.  I've been hanging in there pretty well but it's starting to get to me.

I had a return this morning of anxiety with a sense of impending doom.  It doesn't help that my boss is acting like the end of the world is upon us and getting all hysterical and wound up about the weather.  They are calling for a HUGE storm to nail us - since we are in the lake effect zone, they say we could get up to - get this - 5 fucking feet - of snow.  BUT that probably won't happen where we are - it tends to hit a little south of here, so I'm not going to get overly dramatic about it - not yet at least!

So, as I was sitting here this morning with anxiety and trying to stave off a fall into depression, I had myself half convinced that I wasn't going to exercise at noon.  I came thisclose to not exercising at all.  I had brought in our P90X Plyometrics DVD.  Which is HARD.  Cardio hard and also hard on my legs since I abhor squatting and there is a ton of squatting with jumping.

So I went into the room I work out in and set up my portable DVD player early to not give myself a choice.  And then at my lunch hour I went in to work out and just GLARED at the player.  I started it and during the warm up phase I still considered quitting and - get this - I thought "No one will know but me if I quit!  I could lie and tell people that I did the whole thing and they wouldn't know!"

What's with that shit?  I mean who is MAKING me work out but me?  So who the fuck am I lying to and why?  Who am I accountable to for my exercise?

I am such a head case.

Anyway, it took longer then normal today for me to get the "high" that I get from exercising - but eventually I got there.  And - as always - I felt great afterwards.  The anxiety is almost gone - although the start of the depression is still looming.  

I'll get through this, but the next few days aren't looking too promising.  I hope everyone out there is staying warm and safe!

Oh, before I go today, if you need a new scale, Amazon has a FANTASTIC deal on one!  It's like 75% off and is a top of the line scale!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Damage report!

So I told you guys that Sunday - which has always been my "official" weigh in day - would be the day when I assessed the damage that I had done from eating SO MUCH over the holidays.  

Based on my weigh ins over the last few days, I was guessing I would be about 3 pounds higher.  Not great, but not a disaster, either.  But there was some nervousness when I got up this morning and stood in front of the scale. 

As a huge Star Trek fan, I imagined Jean-Luc Picard sitting in his Captain's Chair after an attack and barking out "damage report?!" to the crew.

My scale requires that you tap it to bring up the 000.0 before you step on it.  I slapped the scale with my foot and waited for the numbers to come up.  I hesitated, took a deep breath, and stepped on.  Waiting for the scale to do its thing and calculate - I haven't had this much anxiety about the reading in a long time.  Finally the numbers popped up...


I was elated!!  Wow!  So overindulging - massively - didn't cause disaster!!

So what are the lessons that I - and you - can hopefully take from this?  A short term fuck up - by that I mean even several days - is no reason to throw in the towel.

What did I do after the indulgences?  I went back to my normal, healthy, on plan eating.  I didn't do anything tremendously dramatic.  I didn't cut back to ridiculously low calories.  I didn't do some wild "cleansing" diet.  Nope - I just went back to my normal routine.

Water - I am a water drinker, anyway.  But I made sure to guzzle water this week to flush out my system.

Exercise.  I went back to exercising hard and on target.  From last Sunday to yesterday, I ran 35 miles, did some time on the elliptical, and continued to strength train and do my DVD's.  That's a lot of calories burned.  It doesn't "fix" or make up for the "bad" eating, but it certainly helped knock me back down.

So I am happy to be in my normal weight range, and I feel mentally ALMOST back on track.  If you fell off during the holidays, if you gained a little, get back on track RIGHT NOW.  You can and will be back to where you want to be before you know it!

Now go on - MAKE IT SO!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Dope sick!!

When heroin addicts abruptly stop using heroin, they get dope sick.  What is "dope sick"?  Well the body has become physically and psychologically addicted to heroin.  So the withdrawal symptoms are pretty nasty - shaking, fever, vomiting, crapping continuously, body aches and shakes - those are some physical symptoms.  Irritability, depression and an intense and severe craving for the drug, that's some of the psychological symptoms.

Well guess what my friends - sugar, especially refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, causes an addictive response in the body.  Now listen, I'm not one of those fanatical anti-sugar people who believes that you must give up all sugars or fail.  And I don't believe there is some grand conspiracy by anyone to make us and keep us addicted and slaves to the sugar industry.

BUT, having said that, there is NO DOUBT that sugars are addictive, both physically and mentally.  Did you know that adults, when hooked up to a monitor, were shown PICTURES of a milkshake that their brains lit up the same way drug addicts brains do when they are shown pictures of drugs??


And we're not just talking chocolate and cookies when I am referring to sugar.  Things like bagels made with white flour and potato chips - they break down and can spike your blood sugar!

So many of you out there - including me - might be experiencing sugar withdrawal.  If you are new to this journey or if you have OD'd on sugar the last couple of weeks and are now getting off it.   Some of the physical symptoms can include headaches and shakiness.  Psychologically, you might be irritable, anxious, and, of course, have an intense craving for the "drug".

So, what can you do?  The same things that you do for withdrawal are what works for a healthy change in your lifestyle:
  • Drink lots of water
  • DON'T GIVE IN - one little taste reverts you back to ZERO.
  • Eat high protein food and healthy fats - eggs, nuts, yogurt
  • Exercise!  That can give you the "high" that is similar to what sugar does
  • Fiber - fruits, veggies, whole grains- eat them
  • Sleep - you will crave a quick high more when you are tired
Unfortunately, though, the main cure is TIME.  You'll just have to suffer it out - much like the heroin addict.  

Here's the good news - while my desire for sweet things hasn't gone away, it does decrease TREMENDOUSLY as you continue on a healthy journey.  I look at processed refined sweets with distaste now.  I still am vulnerable to fresh homemade sweets - like pies, but the desire to stuff my face with potato chips or Keebler cookies - it doesn't hold power over me any more.  

So hang in there, it does get better.  Now I'm going to have a greek yogurt cup.  How about you?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Back to reality!

Well, for me, it was back to reality today.  I had to return to work and get back into a routine.  Mother Nature in her ultimate bitchiness decided to welcome me back to my regular life by waking me up with temps of 2 degrees and frozen pipes.  Thanks, thanks a lot.

So, after standing on the scale this morning, it appears that I am dealing with about a 3 pound gain from all my holiday indulgences.  I am not going to call that a "true" gain until I see what I weigh on Sunday - I want a couple of days to clean my system out and then I can truly assess the damage.  But, yeah.  Luckily this is not sending me into a panic - but it did cause me to pout a bit.  You see, I like to engage in "inappropriate" behaviors and not have any consequences - kind of like the 2 clients of mine that went to jail today.  

Fortunately, where they may be facing at least a couple of YEARS of being locked up and told what they can do and when they can do it, I have considerable control of my life and what happens next.  The only prison I face is one of my own making - if I allow it.  

I got to work and there were many - and I mean MANY - left-over treats.  The chocolates are not that big of a draw to me, but the gourmet cookies?  I would like to say that I wasn't tempted at all, but I was.  Fat Jen - who has had too much control for about the last 2 weeks - whispered in my ear that it was Thursday and why not start getting back on track Monday.  Yes, Monday is a gooood day to start again.  

Thin Jen successfully wrestled the bitch to the ground and I have been 100% on plan with my eating so far today and had a hard and satisfying noon workout.  

We win this war one battle at a time.  If you have been on this journey a while, you know this.  If you're just starting - wait for it - because your test will come.  But know that you CAN win it.  One battle, one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome to the NEW YEAR!!

A new year means a fresh start!  I am really looking forward to 2014!  2013 was good to me, but I think we can always strive for better, so let's make 2014 a spectacular year!!

For this post, I'm going to bore my regular readers.  But I want to welcome anyone who might have decided to change their lives for the better and stumbled across this blog.

This is what I want to share with those of you that might be starting a journey today - JANUARY 1, 2014.

On January 1, 2010, I was 37 years old.  I had a house, a husband who loved me and a good job.  I was also morbidly obese.  I weighed about 344 pounds.  I had made some half-assed attempts to lose weight in the past, but have never lost any substantial weight.  I also believed in my heart, that it would be impossible for me to lose enough weight for it to make a difference.  I rationalized that I was still in pretty good health - except for my sleep apnea which was controlled with a mask hooked to a machine that I wore every night.

I often say that I wish I knew what stars aligned in 2010, I don't.  But whatever brought upon this miracle, it happened.  I started "working out".  It wasn't much to start with.  I played some fitness games on the Wii.  Both my husband and I started making little tiny changes in our eating.  I don't remember us having a conversation of needing to lose weight or wanting to change our lives.  We just started to make some changes and supported each other in these changes.  

I remember on June 3rd of that year, my birthday, I had lost 30 pounds. I had cut soda from my life and was moving more.  We were walking the dogs 3 miles every night when I got home from work.

One good choice, my friends, leads to another and pretty soon eating right and exercising became a normal and natural part of our lives.  The pounds melted away and in February 2011, I had lost 100 pounds.  In 2012 I hit my goal of 119 pounds, making my weight loss total 225 pounds.  

For anyone who is reading this and wonders if it's possible - I am living breathing proof!  I didn't have a trainer or a cook.  I wasn't on a reality TV show working out 5 hours a day and having a celebrity scream at me.  I didn't have my groceries paid for and wasn't given a $10,000 Walmart gift card. 

Nope.  I worked my ass off. I took it one day at a time.  I cried and screamed and felt sorry for myself many many days.  And yet, here I am.  

Today, I started 2014 with a 8 mile casual run on our treadmill while watching Snakes On a Plane.  My life is radically different then the Jen who woke up on New Year's Day 2010.  I am so much happier and healthier.  

Imagine 4 years from now telling someone, or blogging, about who you were - what you looked like, how you felt on January 1, 2014 and what your life is now, on January 1, 2018.  Can you see that person?  Can you work to become that person?