I hear you’re going Vegan!

Filed Under Non-Food Rewards, Permanent Weight Lose | 30 Comments

P. tells me that you have decided to go vegan. I applaud your choice. It is definitely a lifestyle decision and you will probably find out that it will end up being more than about what you eat but also about the health of your entire environment in which you live and potentially work. In an earlier e-mail, I mentioned a few pointers. I would like to reiterate them again. As I have mentioned before, T. has been a vegetarian since she was 18 and she is 37 now. She has learned a lot of things a long the way, a lot of which she has shared. The difference between being vegetarian and vegan is that some vegetarian do eat milk products as well as fish. T. does not eat fish and she has since gone the way of other sources of non-animal protein for her “milk” needs; such as tofu. So, as you acquaint yourself with this new lifestyle change you are going to find out that everyone who has stopped eating meat and claims to be either a vegetarian or a vegan are not necessarily eating the same things. There are shades of gray like anything else in life.

One of the first things she noticed was she started losing her hair. A lot. Another friend of hers told her to take a protein supplement. These are easy to find. You can even now find whey protein, which you can add to a beverage, in the vitamin section at Wal-mart. It is not cheap though. None of the “health” supplements are. So, if you go for the “bald look”, then maybe this might be something you won’t mind.

As I mentioned before, I would really research as many resources as you can. If your public library has a good selection, I would start there but if you have a kindle or nook (I know how you like electronics), you probably can download a lot of really good books on the subject. I personally love Amazon.com and I routinely purchase second hand copies of most books. I also have gotten into the habit of reading the reviews. I also have been a contributor as well on books that I have read. If enough people say “save your money”, I look elsewhere.

I would also strongly encourage you to join an online “foodie” group. I joined 3fatchicks.com in 2007 and although I don’t regularly “check in” at this time in my life; I have learned so much about food, nutrition, etc. It is a free online diet support site. It has sub-groups that cover every imaginable “diet” and lifestyle change (related to food and nutrition) that is “out there”. There is nothing like a peer-to-peer chat room to learn about “what works and what doesn’t”: I would just do a “Google search” and see what is out there for vegans. I really feel like in the early stages of any changes having and knowing people who have “been there, done that” will really help you get you off to a good start and lay a good foundation that will encourage you, rather than discourage you. Why re-invent the wheel?

Another thing that you might want to “invest” in is a couple of really good vegan cookbooks. One author that is highly recommended is Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I have her cookbook“Appetite for Reduction“, which came highly recommended by a friend of mine. Another cookbook Isa has written is “Veganomicon”. Vegan food tastes different because they do not use any animal fat by-products even when baking. When T. graduated from college in 2009, P. and I traveled to Philadelphia to see her graduate. I bought her, on her wishes, a vegan cake. Did I like it? It was good but it did taste different. I was not aware, until T. told me this years ago, that most processed baked goods that are on your supermarket shelf use animal fat by-products. Little Debbie line of “cakes, etc.” (which I just love) do use beef tallow. I am not sure if you were aware that McDonald’s used to use beef tallow when frying their famous french fries. Now, you know why theirs tasted different than the rest. Vegans and vegetarians filed a class action suit a few years ago and I believe McDonald’s et al did change the oil they used.

This is just the tiny bit of information about the tip of the iceberg with the food we eat and how it has been altered to cause us disease and obesity. If you wish, you may contact T.  and I am sure she would be glad to answer any questions you have or steer you towards some useful sources where you can get all of your questions answered.

Again, I applaud the action you are taking for your health. I am fortunate that I have a grown child who has taken such a strong and positive desire to eat and live in a healthy way. She has been informative without being proselytizing about it. I will say that don’t be surprised though as you learn more and more about our food production system along with all of the “crap” in our food, that you might channel your political inclinations in that direction. It does seem like many who are non-meat eaters follow suit.

Since I joined 3fatchicks.com in fall of 2007 I have been making changes in my own personal diet. I have shared with P. what I have learned but not “forced” him to do what he didn’t feel comfortable doing. I have a saying ” Eating healthy is my assurance that I won’t need to use health insurance (which we don’t have)”. P. agrees with me on this. You either pay at the grocery store or you pay at the doctor. We choose to pay at the grocery store. Speaking of which, you will probably notice a slight increase in your grocery bill. Remember, if you aren’t filling your cart with a lot of junk food (which costs as well) it will even itself out within a couple of months.

Also, don’t be too hard on yourself at first. I have come along way but I am not perfect. I have made some great strides but I still know there are changes that I need to give another “try”. Some changes P. has embraced and some I don’t think he ever will.

Finally, I feel there is also a spiritual side to this that is somewhat overlooked. I did initially begin changing my diet because I wanted to lose weight but then I began to discover that some of the newly-emerging health issues I had were a direct result of the way I was eating. So, then I was faced with the prospect of going the “traditional” route and medicate myself with pills for the rest of my life or to make some serious dietary changes. I also couldn’t help noticing that I had been “using” food as a “medicine” in an attempt to heal old hurts, wounds and my resultant character defects as well. Needless to say, that discovery opened a whole new can of worms that I have been working on ever since. In conclusion, I am a “work in progress” on this.

The spiritual side of treating our body as “the temple of God” is something that I didn’t always adhere to until I noticed that people who are really spiritually sound are also ones who do not have a weight problem and usually do not have any major health problems. On the flip side of this same coin, I have also come to realize that as the Bible states, “our days are numbered” and He controls both the day we are born and the day when we die, so that brought me back to the “reasons” why I was doing what I was doing.  It is not enough for me to live longer if I am not actively contributing to the “betterment of the environment in which I live.” Did I ever think losing some unsightly fat and gaining health would lead to this? Not in a million years.

There is a strong argument that Jesus puts forth when he told the Pharisees that “it is not what we eat that makes us unclean but what is in our hearts and minds.” So, while it is good to be concerned with our physical health it also has to be tempered with making sure the rest of our health is equally attended to.  Our life here on earth was created and meant to be transitory. We are “just passing through”. We were created to manifest God’s love and to love one another. The final answer is LOVE. However, if treating ourselves well allows us to treat others well in the process, then whatever method we choose to gain that end is worthwhile in reaching for.  So, I say, GO VEGAN!

It is Okay Not Knowing

Filed Under Keeping It Real, Permanent Weight Lose | 1 Comment

It is okay not knowing and not having all of the answers. I don’t. I have some answers to some questions but I honestly do not have all the answers. I never will and I am okay with that.

I am closing in on the second year that this online blog has been available for me to not only connect with my own thoughts, dreams and desires but also to (bravely) share them unedited for total strangers to read. I am sure the fact that I am not able to see any/all of your faces is a protective “shield”, much like many of our Super Heroes had, and which I am very grateful for. I will say that my intent today is the same as it was nearly two years ago: making peace with food. I will freely admit that I didn’t really know what exactly that meant or exactly how to go about it but like most journeys I set out with the intention of finding out. I am grateful to say that I am beginning to find out what that means.

Here are a few things that I found out along the way. 1) Trust myself and what my inner (hopefully higher as well) self is telling me. 2) Be open to other people’s suggestions but measure and weigh their opinions carefully. 3) Although this may sound like a conflicting statement: In the end, you are the best judge of what is best for you! 4) Once again, this may sound like it conflicts with the previous statement which seemed to conflict with the preceding statement before that but; you may hear a truth about yourself coming out of another person’s mouth. Does that make sense? It will when it happens.

For example, I was really feeling torn about some of the choices that I had either seemed to avoid making or had abandoned until one night when I was pouring my soul out to my husband, P., he said very calmly (he usually is anyway): “St. Teresa of Avila once told the nuns she was in charge of, ‘God’s will is going to happen regardless of whether you want it to or not.’  I so needed to hear that! I have made no secret that I have a chronic twelve year history of insomnia. At times, it gets worse but my mind never seems to go to sleep. Even when I sleep, I think. Lately, it has gotten a lot worse. I have been ruminating over so many different things in my life, including about the mechanics of losing weight. When I heard those words, my shoulders dropped and I relaxed. You mean if I get it wrong, it will happen anyway? Yes, “if it is meant to be.”

So, what does that mean? I have heard that saying as much as most of you. The question to ask is: is this in my best interest?  If it is, then the next question is: does my heart long for this? If it does, then the follow up question is: do I have the courage to reach for this, no matter what? If you have three resounding ‘Yeses!!”, you can almost be certain that it is God’s will.  The real litmus test is the outcome: if something happens in spite of repeated efforts, failures and obstacles beyond any one’s comprehension, you KNOW it is God’s will.

For me, this amounts to less controlling, less anxiety, less fretting, worrying and obsessing and more relaxing, more believing and more “letting go” than this recovering control freak could ever phantom or imagine. As I have shared in the past two years, most often something didn’t happen because of my efforts and not because of lack of effort. Does that make sense? From here, it makes perfect sense! I have discovered already that I have been my own worst enemy. Bar none!

So, as I round off this year and look forward to a new year and a clean slate, I can say this: I am okay with not knowing. I don’t know when I will be my end goal weight. I don’t know what that end goal weight is sitting right here even but I do know is that I am willing to step aside and let things happen that are “meant” to happen. One day at a time.

When the Inside Gets Skinny First

Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles, Slow Starts & Relapses | 36 Comments

First of all, I weigh the exact same weight that I did one year ago. There, I said it. Does this mean I am a failure at weight lose? Well, if you measure weight lose by inches, pounds and clothing sizes; then, yes, I am a failure at losing weight. However, if you measure weight lose by the infrequency of how I binge, how more self-accepting I am of myself and my body image than I was a year ago and how I want to eat more healthy than I want to eat “trash”; then, I would say that I have lost “something”. It might not be actual physical poundage but I have lost a lot of the obstacles that landed me where I was morbidly obese, miserable with myself and acting against my own best interest.

What then did I lose this past year?  I lost a lot of my former character defects: pleasing others, perfectionism, rationalizing, minimizing, categorizing, cowardice and, sometimes, denial (on a good day). Although it seemed to me that I was either treading water or spinning my wheels throughout most of this year I also began to notice some significant changes in “me” and some of that change came by surprise.  I think this quote says where I ended up:

“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou ‘canst not then be false to any man.” —William Shakespeare.

Today, I have the courage to say to you, dear readers, that Plan A did not go like I had thought it would. When I began this journal regarding my weight lose, I honestly thought that I would check in once a week (probably) and “report” how much weight I had lost, whether I passed on that piece of chocolate cake or ate it in secret, how many miles I walked or ran and the poundage of what I was lifting on any given day. Well, as a person who “used to” suffer from OCD, that is how I thought it would be as well. I am great at keeping records of what I ate, how many minutes I exercised and whether or not I was following along a predictable line but as I really got into this; it took on a life of its own. It began to “own” me and not the other way around. Oh, did I also say that I am a recovering “control freak” too?

What I learned in this past year is that my body is boss. It knows what is best for itself and it will “take over” even the most persistent attempts that I have in making it do “what I want it to do”.  For example, during the summer of 2011, I decided (in a burst of extreme effort) that I was going to tackle my weight lose through extraordinary expenditure of energy via Power walking on my motorized treadmill followed by Power lifting of my free weights as well as hundreds of body sculpting exercises.  Not only did I push beyond pain, I embraced it. I said, “Bring it on!” and I did. How dumb! How stupid can a college-educated person be? As Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”. I was chasing down pain medicine with bags of frozen peas afterwards. Within four months, I had re-injured an old groin injury (say, I said “old”, as in I didn’t learn the first time) and for almost two weeks, I couldn’t even put any weight on my left leg.  I hobbled around but I then decided that I wouldn’t let that stop me; I would do a “work around”, so I proceeded to figure out a way to continue to brutalize my body while nursing this re-inflamed older injury. Then, my “bossy” body told me in no uncertain terms: “Kill it kid. Time Out!”

So, I turned my attention to “helping others”. I had also been a part of a “buddy challenge” in an online diet group.  Once that challenge had run its course, I decided to grab the reins and lead a new one on my own. I soon discovered that I was in my “element”. I just plain loved it. It was a blank slate so I got creative. I made up some really fun ways of moving your body that everyone (including some grand kids that joined for the fun of it) found quirky but effective.  Some ideas came to me while I was actually doing something else: like folding clean laundry and getting tired of doing that, I began tossing rolled up socks into a laundry basket. Soon, the basket got farther and farther away and so I had to sharpen my aim. Then, I timed myself. How many rolled up sock pairs could I toss in the laundry basket in 5 minutes?  Silly but effective in breaking a sweat. It also took some weight off of my leg that was “mending”. For a person who had recently lost his leg to diabetes it also gave him some much needed movement in his upper body.

Then, the buzz saw hit a knot in the wood! Group dynamics. There are two kinds of fat people: people pleasers and “heel diggers”. The former will say “Yes” to anything and everything, irregardless of whether they can, will or want to. The later will say “No” to anything and everything for the same reasons. When they butt heads, watch out! The first group minimize what it will take to do something. The second group will catastrophes what it will take to do something and, therefore, elect to not do it.  In the long and distant past, I was a mediator. It kicked in almost immediately until I realized that, just like myself, these were learned behaviors for these people and until they either realized this about themselves and then were willing to step even one foot away from this center of comfort they had created, they were going to be this way. That was then that I had to release my desire to control and my need for everything to turn out in a neat perfectionist planned way. Some “excess weight” just got lost at that junction.

After the first of the New Year in 2012, I decided that I wanted to start my own sub-group based on some of the things that I had learned about myself and my relationship with food. My adult daughter thought the title was magnanimous but I settled on “The Way”. What I wanted to share with others was the same objective that I had when I began this diet blog two years ago: I wanted to find “the way” to a “normal” relationship with food. In words that I have often said: I want to make peace with food. Much to my surprise, the response was overwhelming. Within a week’s time, I had over forty people who had signed up for my group. I was ready to begin.

Within the first two weeks, I had to settle a “she said, she said” online fight; remind someone that taking another person’s work is not nice, it amounts to “stealing” and if she didn’t rescind I would take action (which I did); and proceed to “fall in love” with some of the brightest, clever, endearing “angels” I have ever had the pleasure to meet on the internet. They taught me so much about how the human spirit can soar like an eagle and plop like a big turd while at the same time embracing a new way of life that was both wonderful and frightening as well. I love giving so I rewarded their efforts with “prizes’ for the most weight lost, the most amount of miles walked and for having the most team spirit.  I also learned about how some people will never seem to give themselves a break and how they can’t accept good things from anyone no matter how much they earned it. I learned that I had to quit being so hard on myself and love myself right there and then because  if I don’t love and accept myself, how can I expect anyone else to? I left some excess weight at that door as well.

I had to drop my perfectionism when I had to tell my dearly loved group that I would have to “step down” in mid-summer (and mid-challenge) because i was broke from all the giving and I was not following my own “rules”. It was one of the hardest things of recent that I had to do but I knew it was the right thing to do for me and “them”. I had full confidence that if they looked at themselves in the mirror honestly, they would realize they “knew the way” to permanent weight lose as much as I was beginning to.

What I later admitted to both my husband, P., and a friend, was that while trying to save others, I had nearly lost myself. It took a lot of courage for me to stand my ground (one emailed me and pleaded with me to return as their group leader, which I graciously declined) and for me to look at what had happened to me in the meantime. What started out as a sincere and genuine desire to lead others to permanent weight lose and a more sane relationship with food ended up with me “losing myself”.

Besides being financially broke(r)[ not a word but even more broke than I had been when I started], I was also trying to keep things together with my food plan by eating foods that I would never consider in the past two years: separated chicken parts ( say what?), HFCS (the empty food filler from Hell) and counting ketchup as a vegetable (echoes of Reagan’s school admonition). I had slid in my standards. Why?  I had stopped remembering the cardinal rule” “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.” I was gasping for air but there was no one to see it, feel it or respond to it. I also had to stop looking for someone else to rescue me. The cavalry was not coming that day nor would it ever.

Although it has often been said that “no man is an island”, when it comes to losing weight or making any other kind of life changes, sometimes, believe it or not, it is best to go it alone. I would never have traded anything for the experiences that I have had in the groups that I have been a part of. I have laughed, cried, loved and cherished all of those people but I made their happiness more important than my own. Did I say I also needed to learn balance in my life? Yup!

So, now that I had that year of being detoured, I am back on finding my own way. Once again, the insides are a whole lot skinnier today than they were a year ago. Now, I just have to get the outside to match the inside.

…to be continued.

Giving Thanks for Having Choices We Can Make

Filed Under Keeping It Real, Non-Food Rewards, Slow Starts & Relapses | 3 Comments

It is just days before one of the most identifiable eating holidays of the year: Thanksgiving.  For those of us who can “afford” buying the turkey and the “trimmings”, this is a day we all look forward to “pigging out”. For those of who are both in need of losing weight but are still “attached” to eating all of the delicious dishes that accompany such an extravaganza; it is a day fraught with anxiety and elation, even a combination of both, as we make our way through the buffet line.

A few years ago when I decided that “now” was the time that I make some serious changes in my dietary habits, I decided, along with many other weight lose friends, that I would “re-do” the traditional turkey meal. It also coincided with my adult child visiting me who has been a vegetarian for half of her life. In the past, as she was making the transition from being a carnivore to a herbivore, when she did the “rounds” of visiting her relatives and extended family (her father and I are divorced), she would tell me that she would end up eating buttered buns and mashed potatoes. I used to feel that was so “sad” since I was thoroughly enjoying my second or even third helping of turkey soaked in gravy along with green bean casserole, jellied cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes and, of course, the piece de resistance: pumpkin pie with a huge dollop of Cool Whip.

Since those days, my beliefs on what constitutes a Thanksgiving meal has shifted. One reason was the fact that I had discovered that my excess weight was causing me some serious health problems. I had a new perspective to consider: is eating all of this excess really worth the impact it has on my health? The obvious answer is “No” but the question also asks of me, what about my emotional and even spiritual health? How is this largess impacting those two parts of my being?

Okay, I realize that is getting “heavy handed” over “one meal a year” but for anyone who is truly struggling with their relationship with food, that one meal of the year is just the tip of the iceberg. We all know it isn’t just one meal because it bleeds over into several days that follow. Black Friday brings us front row center to all of the food court “temptations” at our local Mall. Then, there are the “leftovers”. If you drive by McDonald’s on Black Friday and the weekend after Thanksgiving, you will see their drive through busier than a “one arm paper hanger” . There is something about having eaten turkey for a couple of days that makes you want to have a Quarter Pounder with cheese. There just is!

Suddenly, what starts out as one meal ends up being several wrong turns down dead end streets. Even more importantly, it puts all of the emphasis in the wrong place. Thanksgiving need not stop at extra food and extra calories. It has the potential to be so much more….if we allow it to be. Today, I make choices that celebrate both my good fortune in being able to purchase food to share at my family table but also that I can choose to make that meal more representative of the other meals that I have throughout the year and not just “that one day”. In fact, in spite of this being a quintessential American holiday tradition, a “day of thanksgiving” can be universal, if we only allow it to be.  It is also about being thankful for having choices we can make.

This year Thanksgiving follows on the heels of a national election here in the U.S. For most of us,  we feel pretty much the same way we feel after a Thanksgiving meal: uncomfortably replete and just wanting to find the nearest place where we can “veg out” and put the experience behind us.  However, I am reminded that, although there are obvious flaws in the way our system works, we do have the freedom to elect who governs us.  My husband and I had many lengthy discussions about this freedom that we have. It will have been 40 years since the first time that I was able to exercise my right to vote. I will admit that, in the past, I “had made up my mind” long before the two individuals were squaring off at their first public debate.

This year was different. This year I decided that my vote would speak for more than myself: I wanted the person to sit in that office who would best represent and do the most for the greatest number of people. My individual vote no longer represented “what was best for me” but what was “best for the rest of us”. Now, I have mentioned in my past entries that I am one of the 42 million Americans who does not have health insurance. I would benefit from having health insurance but, unfortunately, as I have told my friends, “I make too much money to qualify for Medicaid (usually people who subside on government programs), I am too young to qualify for Medicare (usually for our senior citizens 66 and older) and I am not disabled enough to qualify for Supplemental Insurance through Social Security.” However, I did not want to make my vote be “a one issue” vote either. It took a lot of thought, prayer and deliberation for me to make my decision but, ultimately, I knew that the person I choose to best represent the American people(s) was the person I wanted to “stand behind”. Although it was a tough decision, I am thankful that I also exercised the freedom of choice to make that decision.

So, what does this have to do with making choices regarding food and eating? Actually, a lot more than I realized at the time. I have come to realize over the past couple years as I change regarding my relationship with food, that everything in my life is a matter of “exercising my personal choice”. Rather than bemoan the fact that I may have to choose to not eat that extra piece of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving or, if I do, know full well what that will mean to my blood glucose, I can celebrate and give thanks for having the freedom to make that choice. I can choose to make choices that support renewed health and well being, including mental and spiritual well being.

I am slowly learning that my weight lose journey is not “all about me” but it does clearly impact everyone that I come in contact. If you recall your American History, the first Thanksgiving was made possible because the Native Americans shared their maize crop among other food staples with the starving new settlers who has just survived one of the worst “first new years” of their existence. Unfortunately, it was a lesson of brotherhood got lost over time but it is never too late while we are giving thanks for the abundance of choices we all can make on this day as well as the other 364 days of the year that we also extend our hand to someone who could and may benefit from the choices we make today.

After all, we do have a choice.

A New Self Image is Emerging

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Non-Food Rewards, Permanent Weight Lose | 135 Comments

Week of August 9, 2011:

Well, yesterday began Day 1 of a two month BLC (Biggest Loser Club) Buddy Challenge. I can say by the looks of my eating patterns in the past couple of weeks, if not months, that I really needed to be pulled back and take a “reality check” on my so-called weight lose efforts. This past weekend was a perfect example. I decided to do some baking which I  really enjoy doing. I haven’t made cinnamon rolls from scratch in probably 25 years!! I “forewarned” P that this might be considered the “baker’s dozen” meaning that this is the “trial batch” where I see what I need to do to “correct” any problems. It went well except for a few minor hitches which are easily corrected the next time that I make them. I just thought the whole process was enjoyable. Just kneading dough by hand “alone by itself” was a neat experience. Plus, the smells were just wonderful. What really made it a “perfect” baking day was that it was “pouring down” while I was in the kitchen. Paul was used to having cinnamon rolls with icing that was more like frosting. He had a couple but I did expect him to eat more. I ended up eating the majority of them, which had to have been thousands of calories over 36 hours.

I think that the next time that I make them; I will either “half” the recipe or make them up to one point (before the next rising of the dough) and then freeze the rest; whereas, I can bring out a couple as needed. Either way would help in doing “damage control”. I think that I am also going to have the option of making an icing from Splenda. In fact, now that I have begun this “Buddy Challenge”, I am going to revert to using more Splenda in both my cooking and eating. If I had made an icing using Splenda I would have saved the majority of the calories which come from the icing.

Well, I will say that a couple of things that I have learned  is that I really don’t like no sugar dessert products except for the ice creams. However, those dessert items with sugar in them are too loaded with calories to really include them in my food plan right now. So, I am returning to using Splenda. After briefly reviewing that Splenda cookbook N gave me back in 2006, I have decided that I am going to resume using that when I can. I was excited to see that the author and chef included several recipes for pies which is my all-time favorite when it comes to desserts. I think that I will be able to “indulge” myself, within reason, with some former favorites and not sabotage my food plan as I have done too much this past year.

I feel really fortunate that I am finally at a place where exercise is actually impacting my weight lose efforts. I am hoping that I will be at 30 minutes of walking, whether on the treadmill or even outside by the time I am half way through this “Buddy Challenge”. One thing is that it will allow me to have a few “mistakes” if I go over my calorie range. Well, it will be a “challenge” but one that I really hope that I can rise to the occasion on. I haven’t really completely applied myself since June 2010. I put my personal goal as losing 20 lbs in the next eight weeks. I have no idea if that is possible but I was able to lose 25 lbs in 4 weeks last summer and I have managed to keep that off with going up and down 10 lbs besides.

I do think that I have established some good eating habits for the most part. I think part of the deterrent for me has been I couldn’t match the eating with some good exercise habits. However, I have felt that I have made some significant progress in the past two months with starting and sticking with this strength exercises. I have finally been able to resume walking on the treadmill in the past couple of weeks. Now, to keep up the exercise and burning calories along with staying within the recommended calorie range. That will be my own personal challenge as I move through the next two months. Ideally, it would be nice if I managed to do that from  here on out so that I could start to steadily lose weight until I make it to my goal weight.
I think that I can do it. I think that what I need to do over and over until it sinks in is realize that not only can I do this but I have everything I need to do this. I think what I have needed all along was to believe in my abilities to do this like so many other things. I have simply believed it wasn’t possible and so I either didn’t try hard enough or I would try for awhile, lose my motivation and then slack off. It does mean applying continual pressure on myself to keep at it even when I don’t feel like it; like so many things in life that presents obstacles.

I do credit being in this Beck Diet group with regaining some of my lost confidence. It is very positive exchange of support, ideas and just plain talk on a daily basis. In fact, when I slack off and don’t post at least every other day, I really know something is missing in my whole approach to things. I am a little envious of those people who have already lost close to 70 lbs. There are a couple who have and even one person who has reached her end goal. I so would like the reducing part of this dieting to be over. It reminds me though of when we were in the last couple of years of paying off the car. I remember P saying that he was wondering if we would ever own that car. Well, we were six months past the due date on the loan which added enough interest to make two monthly payments but considering that we had both been laid off from our jobs, it still was a euphoric release of “We Did It!”

Although I am still somewhat skeptical about returning to college and going into an entirely different field with not any real clear idea of “where, what and when” I will get employed doing this or for how much money; I know that I can’t continue to do what I have been doing. I have realized for almost six months, if not longer, that I need some focus in my life. I have researched this as much as I felt I needed to and this still has more pros than cons. When I called the registrar office though I was told that I would have to self-finance my own education. Now, with the new legislation in July 2010, the individual higher education colleges are the ones who determine how financial aid is appropriated.  Although I am accepted to every program that I apply, I do not have the self-funds to return to college. I could ask my Dad to co-sign a loan but he is in his 80s and I am nearly 60; it is just something that I don’t want to ask him to do.  P was turned down because my financial “situation” is his as well.  Nearly 18 months has been in this kind of limbo for me. I always hit a dead end.

P is starting to get service calls from S; going out to customers’ homes. One thing that is really nice about that is the majority of S’s customers live around or north of here; mostly in A, etc. For almost five years P has had to go as far south as G (about 50 miles out of the city) for C’s. As a result, he has put a lot of miles on our car. If he could begin to have more work within 20-25 miles north of here, he would be facing less traffic (especially going through the downtown connector) and I think it would just make the commuting part of his job go a lot easier.

I started wearing my pedometer yesterday so I could just see how many steps I actually was doing and although it didn’t seem like a whole lot, I ended up yesterday doing 1.5 miles! It is hard to believe but I have already logged 1 mile of “walking” today!! My “daily goal” is to walk, at least, 1 mile. Considering that most days I am in this apartment all day it is really going to take some doing to get even a mile in unless I start pacing up and down the halls. I do think that when the weather is less hot and humid I just might venture out and walk around the apartment complex. Hopefully, by then, I will be able to tolerate the hills. I’ll have to start being “creative” in how I can get that in because once the stuff is done around here, I won’t have as much “reason” to get up and “do stuff”. I do look forward to that day though because I just feel so stymied by both of our bedrooms.

[I realize that the ones who engineered these pedometers were thinking of able-bodied people so it is probably laughable to think that I am excited about walking the equivalent of 1 mile but, for me, walking involves a significant amount of pain to do weight-bearing activities so it is what I can "tolerate" in terms of pain as well as getting back in shape.]

I have really been thinking about how to make more headway with all of my clothes. I tried on some the other day since I thought I was going to wear a certain outfit to Mass on Sunday. I will admit that some of the clothes that I am sending to Goodwill are ones that just plain make me look big. In fact, most of them I paid on average $80 for a dress or $160 for a suit and I have never worn them!!  I honestly am becoming more attuned to how I actually look in my clothes. I am also realizing that just because the outfit looks good on a 6′ woman who is probably a size 6 doesn’t mean that it will look good on a 5′7″ obese woman(who was a size 26-28W at the time). In fact, more than likely, it won’t. I spent quite a lot of money (money we really didn’t have especially since most of these I never wore)–thousands of dollars. The only consolation I am getting from this is that someone who is a large-sized woman will be delighted to have such “never worn” clothes at deeply slashed prices. I could have taken them to a consignment shop and gotten a few dollars out of it but they have such strict stipulations; current season, well-known labels, hangers, freshly dry cleaned, etc. that I just wanted them out of here. Period!

Yesterday I wore one of my favorite pair of khaki pants (which I cut off at the knees when I accidentally ripped them on a rocker) with one of my newer active wear t-shirts which has some spandex in it so it is more form fitting. All I can say is I don’t mind seeing my reflection in the glass doors. It has made me more aware of the fact that I have another criteria to consider as I am going through these clothes: clothes that not only fit but also flatter. That brings some new elements to ponder as I go through my clothes. Does this outfit or item flatter my newly emerging figure and where do I draw the line on that?

I have two pair of heavier cotton twill pants that I used to wear quite a bit about a decade ago. Of course, at one point, I “outgrew” them but I hung onto them. Well, finally they fit through the hips and through my pot belly but they are huge through the thighs (which is a problem I have with most Plus-size pants-they assume everyone has a lot of weight in their thighs which I don’t–I am more of an apple than a pear). So, do I keep them if they are like that or send them on their way?? How “picky” should I be about all of this? Especially in light of the fact that I am unemployed, will be returning to school within the month and I certainly won’t have a lot of discretionary money for clothes (although I know me well enough that if I want something I will find a way).

I just had an idea! Maybe, what might make them “work” is if I shorten them to just below the knees since them the “wideness” in the thighs won’t be so apparent. That is what I am going to do. I am also going to send anything that is really summery to Goodwill. Although we will have quite warm weather through most of September, I can still wear some of the clothes that I have now that are more trans- seasonal in both color and fabric.  I did that last year and although when this year rolled around and I wondered if I had done the right thing, there really is no point in hanging onto summery clothes when September 1st is three weeks away. I just don’t go enough places to have so many clothes that I only wear “on occasion”.

Well, I think that if I can go without the cane, I really should try to do so. I usually put it in my grocery cart when we go out. Again, let’s see how my legs can support me moving forward. Maybe, by the time we start back with Friday night Bible study I will be able to walk without it. Like P said, I could also carry it with me, “just in case”, which I think is a good idea. I will just have to start carrying either a tote or a bigger purse. Another thing that I have been waiting on is the fact that my shoulder and upper back muscles were pretty weak before I started doing all of these exercises. Even carrying one of my larger purses was a “task”. I was weak all over and that also contributed to me having difficulty in getting around.

Another thing that I didn’t realize is just how other people :perceived” me. I think I am so used to expecting to be “overlooked” that when I got “noticed”(lots of spontaneous grins) at church two weeks ago when I finally wore the dress and shrug that I bought for Easter 2010; I had to rethink about what was I saying about how I felt about myself by the choice of clothes that I wear. I am sure that most of the people must have thought I didn’t care about myself. I do but probably not in the way that reflects a more positive body image. The next thought is “should I/when should I” ditch the cane I use for walking? My legs are getting strong enough where I don’t have the pain that I used to constantly have. I guess, I will have to see how all of this new walking goes and if I can walk without leaning onto something.

One of my “concerns” is that I have been using that cane for nearly two years and  a lot of people see me with it. If I get rid of it, what will people’s reaction be? I have a feeling some will be happy although many will attribute it to me losing weight. How much has losing weight helped? Well, what has helped me more is the fact that I have been doing these strength exercises and building up my leg muscles more so they can start doing the work the cane has been doing for me. Although, I will certainly see what another 20 lbs lose will do for me. I might be pleasantly surprised. I don’t really know what to expect since I haven’t been below 245-250 lbs in several years. So, some things to think about in the upcoming days/weeks/months.

Well, I just spoke to P and he told me he is now waiting on his check to be drafted so he can go and cash it then get D’s for both of us. I suggested that since he is so close and it is both really good tasting food and amazing portions for the price (double portions for $5.50 a meal). I am really getting hungry though. I have been sucking down pop and chewing ice and it is not filling me up. I really don’t want to start snacking because even half of a meal from D’s is around 800 calories and quite a bit of sodium. Yesterday, I stayed within my calorie range and I would like to do that as well today—if at all possible. I just had another idea (since I am so hungry). Maybe, I could make something else within the next hour and then when P comes home, I can divide up D’s and have some of it tomorrow for lunch. At least, that way I can adjust my breakfast accordingly. I think that is what I might do because I don’t think I can comfortably wait for another couple of hours.

P also told me that one of the other technician’s, J, who has had factory training, approached him and he would like P to learn more about piano prepping so that he can focus on voicing which is done after that. Both B, the owner and P’s “former boss”, and J wanted to know if P would be willing to come in 10-15 hours a week to do this. J would be supervising P’s work. We are both absolutely “floored” by this offer. We have had many discussions in the past couple of years about what P would like to be doing and this is exactly what he had been hoping for. Not only that but it would also mean regular hours/money we can “count on”. We are both “amazed” and very grateful!! As I said to P last night, “Do you think it is possible that the tide could actually be turning for us?” Let’s hope so.

Well, I decided to wait and eat D’s after all since P is probably now on his way home in the next hour or so. However, I did make a small snack to tide me over. Right now, I am at 1300 calories so I could have half of the meal and still come in just under my 2100 calories or very close anyway. I have been hungrier today but my “strategy” has been to eat smaller meals more frequently; which is quite a departure from what I have been doing recently. I know the drill by now. The second and third days are tough because now I am not going on the fumes of the previous overeating (like this past weekend). However, it still means that if I am going to keep all of this up I am going to have to be as diligent as I can be.

I have returned to the group to read some of the posts. Much like the Beck Diet group there is a lot of banter about what is happening personally in their individual lives. I am familiar with some of their personal stories since I posted there for several weeks last summer. There are a lot more sick (and older) people in this group though than probably any other on BLC. I think in the Beck Diet group there are younger people; certainly, younger than I. In fact, I might be the oldest one that in that group! As I told P, I would hate the thought of trying to diet well into my 70s. It would really be hard to be motivated. I don’t even want to think about being this heavy when I am that age. I just hope that I’m not. However; if I am, I know that I won’t stop “trying”. Even being 50 lbs less is still a lot better than where I was about 15 months ago.

I am really looking at everything more critically at the clothes that I am deciding on whether they can continue to “work” for me as I am losing weight and firming up my muscles. Also, how I might be able to “stretch” its use beyond now. I am also thinking about what I journalled earlier (above) about being aware of whether a particular outfit or clothing item “flatters” me. I decided to shorten a navy knit skirt that I have practically “worn to death” in the past few years. It was one of the few things I owned that I felt looked good on me (all things considering) and seemed to be quite “forgiving” as my weight went up (usually more than down). I just think that certain lengths can be matronly.

In fact, when I look at many of these 26/28W they all seem quite matronly. At the time, I must have bought them more on how they looked on the model than how they would look on me.  I haven’t tried on any clothing in a store in close to 20 years. Everything I have owned in the past 15 years I have bought from a catalog or an online website. Part of the reasoning was because I hated to try on clothes but I was also avoiding seeing just how they looked on me. Had I faced in a mirror how I looked in those sizes I might have actually decided back then to “do something” about my extra weight. Denial runs deep. Now, as I am being more selective and I can see these clothes for what they really are, I do see things more clearly. Everything was either in black or brown, the tops were usually tunic length and boxy and the skirts were all ankle-length.  They served one purpose–cover up the body. It now makes sense why I focused so much attention on my hair, skin and nails. They were really the only areas of my physical self that were covered up!

I do want to reinforce the work that I have done with my body and that includes wearing clothes that accentuate it. In fact, case in point: I noticed that one of the women  in this BLC group, whohas lost over 70 lbs and has even gotten into “Onderland”, but she still dresses like her former fat self. The outfit she was wearing in the picture makes her look ten years older and she is 5 years younger than me! That is what I am talking about! I know, I have done this myself (unintentionally too). I bet she doesn’t even realize it. I know that I didn’t.

No, I know that I am doing the right thing by getting rid of anything that doesn’t fit or doesn’t flatter my newly emerging body. I do not want to have any excuse or reason to return to these larger sizes. I mentioned what I was doing to this group. Another person mentioned that she felt that her too large sized t-shirts were comfortable and she didn’t want to part with them. Oh boy, do I remember a part of knit pajama bottoms I used to wear. I was newly married and they were huge, even on me, but oh they were comfortable! It was everything that I could do to part with them. Well, I do understand what this woman is talking about because I have a couple of t-shirts that I like to wear around the house that are quite big but in the interest of supporting my new weight lose (now around 40 lbs) I really do need to give them away (if they are in decent enough wear) or toss them.

Well, I packed up the sweaters that I had hanging in our closet and put the plastic bin up on the shelf on my side of the closet and…..I think I pulled a muscle in my upper back. The same area that seems to give me trouble. Now, I have a stiff neck, a sore shoulder blade and shoulder joint going down into my upper arm. I will definitely treat it for the next couple of days. However, I can be careful and continue in our bedroom. I just will wait for P to lift anything up onto that shelf. I may use the time then to continue to try some clothes on and see how they look on me. I am also trying to “let go” of some of the clothes I was wearing when I met P and, quite frankly, only made me look like a square box. I never felt very pretty in some of these clothes but I just felt more relieved that I could actually find something that fit me (sort of).

I think about the show “What Not to Wear”. I have begun recording it. One of the points that the host, Stacy London, always makes is it is better to have a few clothes that really fit you well and flatter you than a bunch of clothes that do absolutely nothing for you. I’ve got my work cut out for me.  I will say this though: there are some clothes that are really well made, “better quality” and which I was lucky to find. I am going to hold onto them until I am absolutely certain that I can’t do anything with them before they go to Goodwill.  Wow! I just realized that I have set myself some new standards to “live by”.

8/10/11:

At least, I have dropped 1.8 lbs so far. Of course, I know that all this was the sodium weight I had from overeating this past weekend and also the extra sodium the past couple of days. Still, I am now at where I was last week. Now, it is any one’s guess what I will be able to lose the rest of this week. Yesterday was a “challenge” as I knew it would be. I haven’t eaten two days in a row within my calorie range in a very very long time! Credit for that first of all. I was hungry all day and night long so I ate every 3 hours just so the hunger wouldn’t get too overwhelming and begin overeating to compensate for that. It seemed to work because I managed to get to bed by 1 a.m. and only be over my high calorie range by 148 calories which is very good, all things considered. I was also running to the bathroom throughout the whole day but I only went once during the night and I managed to sleep 9 hours!! (I only had 5 hours the night before and I didn’t have a nap yesterday either)

Today is going a little better although I am hungry even after eating an apple and a piece of string cheese. I have had about 1200 calories so far today. When you think that this is only the third day, I realize just how  “daunting” of a task it can be to lose even 20 lbs. Well, all I am going to do (I have to!) is focus on today. Right now, I have plenty to do around here that should keep me busy for quite a few weeks. I do hope though that I can get it all done by the first of September, simply because I will be studying and taking classes so I don’t need to have all of this as well to add any other “pressure”.

It is late night again but this is my third day on this Buddy Challenge and the most that I have gone over my calorie’s is by 148 calories. Amazing; considering what I have been eating in the past weeks and months.  It really makes me feel like I might actually be able to start seeing the numbers on the scales go down more than a couple of pounds. Finally, some money came in today. P got his unemployment, paid from CM, S and tomorrow he has a “personal”(from his own website) job. Yay!! The best news we have gotten in quite a very long time happened yesterday. One of the techs at CM is going to show P the ropes on piano prepping starting with a S tomorrow. This is hands-on experience. The kind he has been hoping(wishing?) for a very long time as well.

We went out to eat at A’s. I mentioned “celebrating” this good news but it doesn’t take much to get us to go out to eat. We just enjoy doing it so much. Fortunately, I hadn’t eaten too much prior to it and I was able to stay very close to both calories and sodium content as well. We went grocery shopping afterwards. I hate to say this but I don’t get out a lot and when I do I have a tendency to forget about how much things cost when I am putting them in the cart. As I told P, “You do better when I am not with you because I see something I would like to try and it ends up in the cart”. I know that if I had more money, I would be trying just about anything that is “new” or I find “interesting”.  Well, I also did my upper body weight workout but I decided against doing the lower body. doing the abs probably would have aggravated my upper back, which I am taking additional EX-Tylenol for. Wearing the pedometer and trying to find ways to move around this apartment including doing some “interval” walking on the treadmill besides walking around in the grocery store has again put me  at 1.75 miles today!!  That is three days in a row! It makes me wonder if I can keep this up but so far so good. Of course, let’s see what impact it is having on my overall weight lose.

Speaking of which: I wonder how much I “should” expect to lose for the rest of this week. What I have lost so far has mostly been the sodium “bloat” from overeating this past weekend. I think, I would consider myself to be doing what I “should” be doing if I could lose another 1.5-2 lbs. Then, I think, I would feel like I am on the right track. If I don’t then I am going to have to consider either stepping up my exercise which I am not sure how far I can take that right now and/or dropping down 100-200 calories per day. I am sure that at some point I will get to that place where I will have to make some tough decisions like that. I just hope when that time comes that I will be able to do that because I am hoping that it will be coming from the activity part of this plan. I could see myself going down to 1600 calories but I would really hate to go down to 1400. I just think there is too much temptation to cheat and binge. I don’t want to do that.

I am feeling both excited and a little impatient but if I keep concentrating on having “good days” every day those “good days” will begin to add up and their impact will be seen and felt.  I don’t know if I am going to be able to lose enough to break Onederland by Christmas but if I could lose 40-50 lbs that still would be awesome. I was already thinking about asking others if they would be interested in a pre-holiday challenge since we all know that we usually don’t do well during the holidays. I am hoping that this coming holiday season I have learned to make some Splenda pies, etc so I can really enjoy having my desserts without feeling like I am “missing out”. Well, even if no one else does want to, I hope to continue on with this on my own. Well, that is a long way from now. For now, I have to focus on today and what I can do to make it “happen” for the next 24 hours. Right now, I am starting to get hungry again. It is 1 a.m. and if I were “smart” (as P often says) I would go to bed.

I will say that right now I feel really confused about what I should do next. P had to go to his monthly guild meeting so I got back on the treadmill and walked another 10 minutes. That was a good thing. If I weren’t concerned about injuring myself or doing too much I believe that I would  have done another 10 minutes as well. After all that is one thing that can only benefit me. In fact, since this is Thursday and I have been walking now for about 10 days, it might not be a bad idea to try this again tomorrow. I wasn’t expecting to jump up my time on the treadmill just yet but since it seemed like my knees did “good enough” I just might try doing 20 minutes tomorrow as well. Ultimately, this is where I will be able to burn some calories that I am consuming and where I need to be heading as well. I am so glad though that I chose to deal with my uncomfortable feelings by doing something non-caloric and physical. What a change that is for me!!

I also just didn’t feel like making a formal dinner. Instead I finished off the NS Klondike ice cream bars. It upped my fat consumption which is not so good  but they are also gone now so I won’t have any other choice but to choose something else to eat tomorrow or the next day when I have a craving for something sweet. Maybe, this would be a good time to try using the agave nectar in place of the sugar in some of these recipes and see how that turns out. Anyway, I just feel really disoriented right now. I hate to admit this but I wasn’t crazy about going to school anyway but the fact that I am not contributing any money to our “situation” doesn’t make me feel very good about my efforts (or lack thereof).

8/14/11:

I broke the 265 lb mark and I weighed in at 262.6 lb. However, yesterday I weighed 265.2 lbs. Then, yesterday I was finishing up leftovers and I ate over 3000 calories with over 4400 mg sodium. I feel like I need to go to the bathroom. I didn’t go yesterday so maybe tomorrow I will have more than one BM. I sure hope so. So, maybe in the next week or so I will break the 260s and get down into the 250s. I would like to be in the 240s by the end of this “Buddy Challenge” but I am not sure if that is realistic. I guess, it will depend on how closely I can stay within my recommended calorie range and how much I can increase my activity level. I surprised myself this past week. I was able to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes straight and the past couple of days I increased that to 15 minutes straight and 20 minutes in two separate sessions.

So, based on that I am going to increase my time to 15 minutes straight starting tomorrow. I am almost wondering if I will able to increase the weight of my hand weights by the first of September. I think what I should do first though is increase the sets or reps; like, 3 sets of 10 or 2 sets of 15 then increase it one more time so I end up doing 45 reps. Maybe, I should try 2 sets of 15 tomorrow and see how that works out. In the past couple of weeks, I added ankle weights to my lower body workout so I would increase the tension. I think I will continue with that and maybe increase one more set of 15 reps. I also might consider getting a kettle bell for one particular exercise (kettle bell swing) which supposedly is enough to cover a lot of different exercises and also work all of your muscles. I am just not sure how heavy I should go. I was thinking about 10-15 lbs. to start with. I think I will consider doing this seriously in September: up to a 5 lbs weight (which I think my silver weights are that) and a 10-15 lb kettle bell.

I have journalled recently about the reaction that I got when I wore that pretty dress with the bright pink shrug. I was worried that I might be “too big” to wear such a dress but it did look really pretty and it will only continue to look prettier as I tone my muscles and lose more weight. I am going to continue to try some of the clothes in my closet right now and see if they too need to be shortened. I have slender calves and I really should “show them off”. I think I have a good sense of style. I just need to practice more often. Tomorrow I will wear that navy blue outfit to church with black patent ballet flats and my hair down. However, as I lose more weight and continue to tone my waist, I am going to begin wearing some belts rather than wear my tops loosely as I have been. It’s all about “nudging” the eye to think I have a figure rather than just a “box”. I think, shortening the skirt will also help until I can find some belts in my size. (I might even consider making some if possible!)

I came across an article about Kate Middleton’s younger sister, Pippa. Although she is not as pretty as Kate (who is stunning!), Pippa does have a good sense of style which, of course, the magazines et al have picked up on. I feel that, at my best, my style is very similar. Again, I just need to tweak it. Surprisingly, Pippa seems to “prefer” flats or really low heels. For someone who is 27 years old, that is definitely a departure from what we usually see in the print media and on t.v. I was able to C/P a lot of photos of her so I can ’study” the separate elements of how she puts together an outfit and use that as my “guide”. I feel I really need to break free of the way I was dressing not that long ago. I am tired of being thought of as only a “pretty face”. Granted, I still am obese (and I will be for another 100 lbs) but I am getting more toned so I want the way I dress to reflect that as much as possible.

Well, I have got it started with, at least, three outfits so far. More will follow as I go through my closet and leave hanging only those that will support the “newly emerging” body image that I am projecting from now on.  One thing that I am going to “switch out” right away is the size of my handbags and sunglasses so they are more in proportion to my physical size. Fortunately, I do have some bigger ones so this will be quite easy to accomplish.

8/15/11:

I had a fitful night for sleeping. P was really crowding me while we were sleeping and when we make love my back really hurt afterwards. It is our mattress. It is just plain shot. I didn’t go to church but he brought me the host come to take instead. Then, we prayed the LOTH and did our weekly Bible reading. Afterwards, I made some pasta along with some of my leftovers. This time I made sure that I split it in half so that I didn’t overeat it “by accident”. I haven’t done that with pasta in a very long time. I just love spaghetti and meat sauce too much. Then, I did my calculations for my food and I walked 15 minutes at one session on the treadmill. Listening to 60s music really helps a lot. I finished my strength exercises around 11:30 p.m. I don’t like to wait this long but it is just the way it happened.

Tomorrow (or sometime later today), I will need to post my weekly weigh-in. I started in weighing heavier than I usually do although I knew it could be attributed to excessive calories last weekend and probably some added sodium. I wasn’t sure how much weight I would lose after that initial flush. After all, I have been at this for quite some time. So far, it appears that I have lost nearly 6 lbs. I have been faithful in getting more physical movement in, doing my weights and staying as close to my calorie range as possible. I decided to buck my hunger and make a bag of microwave popcorn. It didn’t put me over much on my sodium so I am hoping that it won’t significantly affect my weigh in.

I would definitely say that my working out has now finally begun to impact my body’s ability to burn off the extra fat. I decided to take it up a notch. Wow, it was a lot harder to do 2 sets of 15 reps with the 3 lb hand weights than I thought it would be. I reread the information about how many reps a person should aim for and the author of “Abs n Arms” said around 50 so I think my final increase will be 3 sets of 15 before increasing the actual weight of the hand weight. And, of course, I went an extra 5 minutes on the treadmill. For now, it is just a matter of keeping it up. I plan (and hope) to exercise 6x a week while I am in the reduction phase of my weight lose program. I can say this right now: it was nice when I had a day off. Interestingly, that was the day I really went over on my calories too. Part of it was simply because I didn’t measure some of the portions I ate. The other part was that I had some really good tasting leftovers to eat and that made it easier to “eat more” also. Well, this is going to be my “lot in life” for quite some time whether I like the idea or not. I am hoping though that I can get my activity level to the point where I can actually stay around this calorie range. I don’t know if that is possible, given my physical limitations of endurance and/or whether my knees especially will allow me to do that but I am going to give it a try.

Here’s some “numbers” to show where I am and how much weight I need to lose to say that I “accomplished” these mini-goals. I will need to lose 30.18 lbs in order to say that I have lost 10% of my original weight. I have already accomplished that although since I didn’t put my original weight on my BLC tracker when I rejoined it doesn’t show that. However, I have already accomplished that. (It was 271.62 lb.). In order to lose the next 10% of my body weight, I will need to be 244.62 lbs. which is about 18 lbs from now. In order for me to say that I am “only” 100 lbs overweight, I will need to reach 235 lbs. That is 27 lbs from now. In order for me to be in Onderland, I will need to lose 63 lbs. How long will all of this take? It depends on how much I am willing to really apply myself to this goal.

If I had weeks like this past week, then I would say that it could be possible for me to be in Onederland by January 1, 2012.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Getting better a little at a time.

Filed Under Slow Starts & Relapses | 1 Comment

6/3/11:

Good news. I weighed in this a.m. at 269 lbs. so I have lost the (extra calories/sodium induced) weight I regained from last weekend’s departure from my food plan. For the past three days, I have tried to slowly return to the food plan I have decided to follow. Each day, I try to eat a little less calories and do a little more activity. I took my blood glucose before I had lunch (which was D’s P brought back yesterday but I didn’t eat because my stomach was still tender from all the medicine I have been taking) and it was 80 mg/dl!!!  I have never had that low of a reading  since I have been monitoring (February 2010). I hope everything is accurate. I am at the bottom of my test strips but they haven’t expired. Well, that is certainly the kind of “news” I like to hear.

I slept through the night although I was up several times. I managed to stay in bed for about 5 hours which is getting to be longer than the 2-3 hours I have been doing for the past couple of weeks. Ideally, I would like to get 6-8 hours every night all at one time and not broken up into 2-3 segments. This has really been quite a trying two month’s period for me. Between my arthritis flaring up (predictably so), two heavy periods which left me exhausted and depleted each time for 4-5 days, seasonal allergies and then all of this sleeplessness followed by a mild cold; it has just been one long trial.

However, now that I am feeling better, I am also feeling uneasy about all of the time that has been “lost” where I haven’t paid attention to the “unfinished” stuff in my life. I certainly haven’t forgotten any of it either. It weighs on my mind every day, to one extent or another. Right now, things seem to have “settled down” some and I am hoping that will remain so I will be able to pick up where I left off and, hopefully, be able to cross these off of my “to do” list. I will rest easier when I can say that. I feel an “internal” pressure to just get things done around here. I have been doing a few things but it seems like the normal everyday things just seem to consume more of my time so I don’t always really pay as much attention to the other stuff as I would like to. Then, I get started playing online games and I can spend 8-10 hours over a period of time on that. When P is home during the evening though I refrain from that and join him in watching some tv together. I think that it’s important that we spend some time together each day. P has also expressed that he likes it when I go to bed when he does. I try. I don’t always end up doing that or even staying there once I do but I try.

6/4/11:

I weighed 267.4 lbs this morning. Well, I am steadily losing the sodium-induced water weight from last weekend. I have now lost 7 lbs in 4 days and I really haven’t been eating within my calorie range either. In fact, I don’t think I have had one day this past week where I was able to eat under 2500 calories! So, I feel fortunate that, in spite of the higher calories, the water weight went away. . Hard to believe that I could retain that much fluid but I think I could easily lose another 2-3 lbs if I would eat less. I actually ate quite a bit yesterday and the sodium was high so that was a surprise when I got on the scale this morning. I’ll keep working at getting my calories less though because that is when I will start to see “new” weight come off rather the same 5-10 lbs over and over again.

I was eager to change the scale on the BLC site since I was honest about the recent re-gain. Since January 27th when I rejoined I have lost 10 lbs. That averages out to be around 2.5 lbs per month. That seems pretty pathetic in one way and one could even say it shows more failure than anything but since that time I have worked consistently on changing my food plan for the better. I have consciously begun to eat more vegetables. After two months of eating a lot off my food plan including delivery pizza, fast food and lots of chocolate; since April 1st I have made a decision to go no-sugar and I really have stuck to my guns on that. Granted, I have had a few slips but that was all they were—slips. I have discovered in the process that going “no sugar” has really helped curb cravings and overeating to a significant extent. Now, I really need to hunker down and really apply myself when it comes to exercising and burning some of those additional calories off.

This past week I resumed exercising.

Last night, I had one of the best night’s sleep I have had in quite awhile. I went to bed at 10 p.m. and was able to stay in bed until 8:30 a.m. I did get up several times to go to the bathroom (hence the lower weight this a.m.) and I had a horrible leg cramp around 3 a.m. that got P up even since I was yelping loudly. He massaged it and we both went back to sleep. Well, that explains the leg cramp since I usually get those when I have lost a lot of fluids (and probably electrolytes along with it).

If I were following my food plan I wouldn’t be journaling this. I didn’t this past weekend and that is why I am continuing to go up and down the same 5-7 lbs. Going “off plan” was more about making food choices that were high in sugar/fat/sodium and calories than anything else. We ate at GC for P’s birthday but I am so accustomed to eating there that I could have made better choices (which I usually do) but, again, I got it into my head that this was a “celebratory” meal and although it was his birthday and not mine I decided to deviate and have both regular Coca-Cola all weekend and two glazed doughnuts for dessert at GC.

Well, today is a new day and new week. On Saturday, I began doing the recommended self-treatment for eliminating my knee pain. Since this is the primary reason why I don’t walk for prolonged periods of time, I am really hoping that this will bring me to a place where I can choose to resume walking on the treadmill and/or outdoors and also doing more of the active workout dvds. I am having trouble with some of the stretches. The back of my thighs have always been tighter than the front (maybe this is part of the explanation of why my knees hurt) and when I try to do the quad stretch one of the muscles cramps up and it is very painful. I usually have to ask Paul to rub the muscle until it calms down. I don’t think is “normal”. According to the author of this book(let) it should take about 8 weeks and then the muscles should be strong enough to support the knee and then the pain should be gone. If it works, then I will feel more inclined to push myself harder on the treadmill and/or the workout dvds and then I should really see some progress.  Then, I might be able to go for longer walks with P by early fall. I do think that if I can get to that point, the weight will come off a lot easier since I can really “ramp up” my activity level. So, I just have to be patient awhile longer.

So, in  the meantime, my weight lose might be slower since I will be more limited in what I can and can’t do. However, I am still going to try to build muscle in the meantime since I will need muscles to be more active when the time comes. I am also tweaking my food plan as I am going along. Although I had regular Coke and donuts for dessert yesterday, I also had 3 servings of vegetables, lean sirloin steak and baked fish and limited my the portion of the other starch (rice). Had I not tried the garlic cheese stick (which I wouldn’t get again–it wasn’t that tasty for the amount of sodium it had in it) and the one slice of pepperoni pizza (which was definitely worth the extra sodium!) I would have had a good OP meal. I still think that I have come a long way from my former food choices. There would have been a time when I wouldn’t have gotten any vegetables at all. Right now, my body isn’t as “forgiving” because I am not active but there will come a time when I could have regular Coke once a week and possibly a dessert on occasion and still be on the downward trend with my weight lose. I look forward to that time. I think, it could be by fall.

The past couple of nights I have made it a point to go to bed around 10 pm. Last night I was able to stay in bed (except for multiple trips to the bathroom) until 5 am. That is the best I have done in months. I had breakfast and then I did my strengthening and stretching exercises. That is the best way to go about that. Do them right away in the morning and then they are done. I think the longer I wait during the day, the more “excuses” I can think of to not do them. I think that is with most people. I used to do my walking the first thing in the morning when I had a regimen of doing that. I need to pick that habit back up. So, it is 8:30 a.m. and I have had my breakfast, did my strengthening/stretching exercises, made the bed, cleaned up and I have a second load of clothes in the washer.

Well, once again, I noticed that my knees really hurt shortly after doing the exercises that are “supposed to” make my knees “pain free”; so, I didn’t go everywhere that I wanted to go but I was satisfied with what I did manage to do. We got a 4′ tall wire fence for our garden, which we will put in later tonight. Then, we ate at my favorite Chinese buffet place for lunch. Now, that I am “better” physically, I have been using my free time to do some running around; running around that I just didn’t feel like doing before. If we had more money and the weather were milder, I don’t think I would stop until I “dropped”. I really miss just something different than going to bed, hanging around this apartment and, yes, playing online games. For now, I relish the times when I can get out and do something different than what I have been doing for months on end.

Of course, the entire country is under this oppressive heat wave so then it makes it a little more difficult to be out in this heat. Finally, I convinced P to start running the a/c in our car. In the past couple of years, we have opted not to and some days it was pretty tough but he felt it was hard on the car engine and it does use extra gas but I told him that there were times when he would come in and he looked exhausted. I just said we’ll pay the extra money on gas this summer, especially since this weather more typical of mid-July. I sure hope we aren’t stuck with this the entire summer. If so, it will make it seem even that much longer, although we have excellent central air in our apartment. That makes it more pleasant to be indoors.

6/7/11:

Again, I was able to sleep at least 6 hours within one stretch. I do get up multiple times to go to the bathroom but I fall right back to sleep so I am okay with that. I got up around 7:30 am and I did my stretches in bed–my thigh muscles are very tight and my right knee feels swollen when I try to bend it. Then, I got dressed and got on the living room floor and did the three different exercises for the abs (or core muscles) that I learned years ago and do get the results. I have decided that I am going to do my abs every morning first thing before I have breakfast so that they are “done” and I don’t have to think about trying to “fit them in” with whatever happens the rest of the day.

Another thing that I am trying to do is get out of the apartment more frequently. There have been times in the not so distant past where I didn’t leave this apartment for a couple of weeks at a time!  So, in spite of the oppressive heat, I willingly got out of the nice a/c to “tag along” to our garden and put up fencing and water our plants and eat at Wendy’s for lunch. I did get a little bit of coloring by being out in the sun but I urged P to wrap it up when I was even feeling like I had gotten a little too much sun. He is much fairer than I am and he burns; not tans. I know that you aren’t supposed to water your grass or plants during the hottest part of the day but considering it was as hot at 10 a.m. as it was at noon, I think that would be splitting hairs today. I made sure that it got a lot of water; enough to last a couple of days.

I think we should also consider thinning out our peas again since I thought the plants didn’t look as robust as they did earlier this week. It could be the sun but let’s see if we can thin them first and if they rally back. If not, then we know they are more suited for a winter garden. Some of this may be learned by trial and error. I think thinning might be the first choice and then we can check back a few days later and see how they are doing. They looked so promising a week ago.

For example, I thought the only answer for my knees and the pain/inflexibility was surgery. It still may be the case but now that I have found this small book on how to eliminate the pain I am wondering if this might be a better answer. Given the fact that we don’t have health insurance nor the money to pay for elective surgery at this time; it might be “an answer to my/our prayers” even if it isn’t what I thought would be the “answer”. SO; it is very well possible that God will have an absolutely different but brilliant answer to our financial insecurities. I am open to anything that will allow us to meet every bill that is looming on the near horizon.

6/8/11:

Well, another blessed night of sleep. I felt like sleeping longer so I stayed in bed until 7:15 a.m. I went to bed at 10 p.m. last night but, as usual, I was up and down every two hours to pee. I’m used to it and as long as I fall back to sleep I don’t let it bother me too much. Once again, I did my knee strengthening exercise then crunches and some stretches in bed. My thigh muscles are very tight. They have always been tight but not as tight as they are right now. I now understand that this is contributing to the knee pain.After having breakfast, I suggested that we go to Wal-mart. I honestly thought we could “afford” it although once we got home and I thought about the purchases I made, I realized the majority of it I could have waited on. Unfortunately, that often happens in spite of all the signs that point to us being in serious financial trouble if we don’t get some money in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve been feeling so good after a rested night of sleep that I wanted to get out of the apartment. Wal-mart was nearly empty so I could take my time and look at what was on the shelves and enjoy shopping. Again, relaxing in a store with so many cheap choices can mean spending a lot more money in the end.  I also look at it from the perspective of it is a large open area, I can walk slow and it is a/c. I was also feeling really upbeat with the fact that I could walk around the majority of the store without yelping too much from my knees. There was a time not long ago when I couldn’t do that. I know when my knees have had their limit though and as soon as it approaches that point I tell P it is time we check out. He is getting used to this cue so he knows that we need to wrap it up whether we have gotten everything we came there for. In this case, it was a good thing because that kept a cap on the spending. Still, I didn’t need to buy S another summer dress although it was so cute and when I got home I realized that the cute sandals I had gotten before I saw the dress matched! I also bought her some swim diapers, a couple of coloring books and crayons. So, I will try and send all of this within the next week.

6/9/11:

I feel like I am on a roll but I have had another wonderful night’s sleep. Granted, I get up about every two hours to pee but I do fall back to sleep almost immediately so I can live with that. I have been really trying to go without a nap also so that I will feel tired enough to go to bed by 10-11 p.m. So far, it seems to be working although I do have a “natural” dip in the mid-late afternoon. Well, once again, I did my stretches and ab crunches first thing in the morning. After P prayed his morning prayers, we prayed our rosary. We are nearing the completion of this 54 day novena. I am so glad that we both could do this together and that we have made every day thus far. Then, P had a few things he needed to get done today. I am always glad when he has “some” things to do because he gets really antsy when he doesn’t have any work.As for me, I just enjoy when I have a “good day” (without pain or missed sleep).

Well, I finished making homemade chicken noodle soup. I cooked the whole chicken long enough that the carcass just fell apart. I appreciated that since I hate boning a whole chicken. I put the different parts into separate containers. This will make it a lot easier to reheat later on. I also put aside some chicken breast meat for me. It is so much more tender when you just boil it in some seasoned water. I hate dry white chicken meat. Well, I had a cup of it and it tastes very good. P just loves it. I would make it more often but the big stock pot takes up quite a bit of space in our refrigerator. I am glad that, at least, we have a well-stocked kitchen right now. We really don’t need to do any major grocery shopping for another week.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

M.O.M.’s cooking

Filed Under Slow Starts & Relapses | 31 Comments

5/27/11:

I went through the Month of Meals cookbook (compiled by the American Diabetic Assoc) or MOM is how I abbreviate it for my BLC food log. Yesterday, I made one of the recipes, black bean chili, and had it for lunch. Last week, I had made the potato salad, something I really love also. I can really taste the absence of fat and salt in both recipes but they were still very tasty. I think today I will try to make a couple more of the recipes. It is fun to experiment when you have most or all of the ingredients readily available. The black bean chili is a great way to get my vegetables in and not feel like I have a mound here and a mound there sitting “alone” on my plate.

The only thing is when my appetite increases (like after cleaning the porch last night) I do want to have some food so I have been going over my daily calorie limit, unfortunately. Usually when I first start being more active this happens. If I remember, just like the early hunger pangs as I adjust my calories downward, this will go its course and then I will be able to be more active without “needing/wanting” additional calories. At some point, I am sure that I will probably have to even plan a light snack for after working out. However, if I really work out hard enough it does the opposite and acts like an appetite suppressant, sometimes for several hours afterwards. Right now, it is just getting back into the full swing of things so, once again, I am going to have to be patient with the process.

Maybe, I need more “prep” time than what Dr. Beck lays out in her book. She said 2 weeks but for me it has now been four weeks and I have been more “maintaining” a 5 lbs weight lose from the first initial week than actually losing. I am going to cut myself some slack here because when I began reading the book I was still experiencing the heavy menstrual flows and the acute arthritic pain not to mention I haven’t slept well for nearly six weeks. I feel I am making progress. Since May 1st I have been able to buy the food that would support me in eating healthy. I have really gone to the grocery store armed with a lot of nutritional information culled from a lot of sources which I then see what is available to support that. I also have cracked open a lot of my cookbooks, especially the ones geared towards diabetics. I feel more in the mood to cook now that I have more food available to me. It also has been really fun to try different foods that I didn’t before because we weren’t spending the money at the grocery store. This is one aspect of my present weight lose program that I really hopes continues. It gives me such hope that I can have a varied, tasteful and healthy food plan as long as I can “afford it” financially. Here’s hoping. (fingers crossed)

About two weeks ago, I decided that I would really make a stronger effort to go “no sugar”. What I discovered by doing that is a lot of the stronger physical cravings triggered by my blood glucose rising rapidly dramatically fell off.  That action alone brought a lot of sanity into my behavior towards food.  Now, that I have made an assessment of my weaknesses and strengths regarding dieting, I can be more on the alert for how my weaknesses derail an otherwise steady progress. I have more hope because I have a better understanding of what I am doing right and what I need to work on and improve.

Within the next two weeks, I will be receiving a heart rate monitor, some new (more difficult) BL dvds and the second edition of the Beck Diet Solution. I went through the “Treat Your Own Knees” book last night and although I haven’t read it in depth yet from what I have read it sounds like by me strengthening my thigh muscles, doing some key stretching and then doing some walking followed up by some physical therapy treatments, I should eradicate my knee pain. It sounds logical from what I have read so far. I think it would be wonderful if I could resume some of my former mobility and strength. It would also go a long way in helping me to lose weight since I really do need to be more active so I can burn more calories.

In some ways, it does make me feel a little foolish, especially if I find out that really all along all I really needed to do was lose some weight, get my muscles stronger and be more active. In my defense, I didn’t “discover” this book until just recently so how would I have known exactly what to do to treat my knees? I wouldn’t have.  On the other hand, won’t it also be wonderful if I can walk without a cane and even better yet go for a walk with P? That will not only rebuild my strength and stamina but it will also help me lose weight. Not to mention, I might be able to postpone surgery so, if we were able to afford health insurance, the rider that would be on that surgery I could actually “comfortably” wait until that was lifted and then I could have the surgery? I think any or all of these possibilities are exciting.

For an “unending” breakfast this morning, I decided to have the nutri-grain blueberry waffles along with the new sugar free maple flavored syrup I ordered through the mail. First of all, you can have 1/4 cup which was enough for 4 waffles. However, although there was no disclaimer on the label, I have had a lot of gas and some stomach upset since then. I could have had half of the serving size but I guess, first time, I thought I would see how much 1/4 cup was. It is plenty enough. I know that a lot of programs do not endorse using sugar alcohol for that reason but the diabetic recipes often call for that so I figure that if I were diagnosed as a “full blown” Type II diabetics I would be probably encouraged to use them as an alternative to “added” sugar products. So, I am going to use them while I am following a weight lose food plan since I have found that when I have sugar foods I do have a tendency to crave more food as a result. Not to mention, repeated use of sugar foods would also raise my blood glucose.

When I was out shopping, I got more highlighters and recipe cards to finish up the Beck Diet Solution book with. We always check out the “latest” candy selection. I had sworn off all the chocolate but it’s been quite a while and I actually felt like I was in a lot more “control”. I scooped up the last of the  sugar free selection.

5/30/11:

Hard to believe that it is already Memorial Day Monday!  P’s birthday is next Sunday. I wonder if the rest of the summer will fly by as quickly as the first five months of this year have so far. I decided to “relax” my dieting efforts this past weekend and I can say that it makes all the difference in the world right now. We had PJ’s pizza on Friday night. I haven’t ordered that in a couple of months! Even P remarked that it had been quite a while. Suffice to say, I believe that I can wait yet another couple of months to do it again. That is real progress. Then, we got some of our favorite mini chocolate bars yesterday. I had a few but again I didn’t feel like a non-stop binge coming on. Progress again!  What has changed? Well, I think the way I viewing dieting in general and I really owe it to the “work” that I have been doing in this Beck Diet Solution.

A couple of key factors were “defining” a plateau. She defines plateaus into two categories: short and long term ones. I realized that I had more control over my weight lose than I had previously thought. In fact, if I am experiencing either there are things that I can do about those to get myself started back in losing weight. Before, I would see even a slight weight gain that some how I had failed and done something wrong which then the anxiety sometimes lead me to either overeat at the next meal since I tend to have an “all or nothing” mentality towards dieting and felt like “what’s the use?” or simply to reinforce the insecurity and mistrust I have had in my decision making and choices I make in this area. For me, this has been very freeing. It also helps me to “reduce the stress” (another lesson) since I do have unreasonable expectations of my own efforts in dieting, which, again, was very freeing. I can lower my expectations enough to reduce the stress without compromising my weight lose goals. That was a huge revelation for me. Again, it gets back to the “all or nothing” thinking I have previously had.

So, this weekend, I am relaxing my dieting efforts and eating “off plan”. I am still logging everything I am eating and I am also weighing myself every day. So, now I am viewing this “going off plans” meals/days/weekends/maybe even some day the “holidays” as “temporarily going on maintenance. Yes, the “danger” exists that it might be difficult to resume going back “on plan” and, therefore, I might not want to do that but, again, since Dr. Beck emphasizes that success or failure really depends on: first, our thought processes, then, secondly, our behaviors; why not, view this as it is a conscious decision to eat “off plan” knowing full well that will slow, stall or cause a temporary weight gain and that if I take ownership of that decision and I can live with the short term consequences; than why not?

So, the benefit of seeing these same actions in a different light is that I can avoid many of self-defeating thoughts that I had before and I probably can and will get back on track a lot more quickly as a result. I will say that one of my strengths is the ability to get back on track. In some ways, I do have the ability to flip dieting on and off like a light switch. I used to see this as a weakness but now I am beginning to see it more as a strength and a strength that I can use to my “advantage”. Later tonight we are going to have our “annual” brat supper that we typically have during one of the summer holidays. I don’t think I have had brats since this time last year. When it dawned on me that this is an “off plan” food that I rarely “indulge” in I decided that I am going to enjoy it for today and then tomorrow it is back to “business as usual”. I like that “strategy” and I think that will help me move through the remainder of my weight lose journey easier and feeling like I don’t have to have super-human willpower to lose all of this weight. That alone is a great relief and I also think a “recipe” for failure too had I continued to hold onto that unrealistic expectation.

So, my “plans” today also involve some “spontaneous movement” (I prefer the word movement over exercise since I feel that is what it is): I am going to have Paul help me take the two rockers from the porch out to our cement area between these two buildings and I am going to really clean them up good. I bought a small plastic bucket and a long handled brush(actually for car tires). If I had a garden hose I would have used that. It would have been quicker and easier but I don’t so this is the next best thing. Then, I will wait for them to dry. I hope to begin the spray painting the dark wood chair. I bought two cans of paint so let’s see if this will be enough. I have been wanting to do this for several years but just never got around to it.

Finally, I got some decent sleep. I felt like I was coming down with a mild head cold yesterday so I began taking some sinus/allergy medicine for it. If I take two of them, it really knocks me out. I figured it was the combination of all the fans and a/c running that irritated my sinuses. I was able to get about 8 hours total today. What a difference that makes!!  I think, I had had several days/ nights with less than 4 hours each day and it was rough. Let’s hope this is the start of my sleep turning back around to “normal”. I have decided that I am going to do everything I can to not oversleep as well; out of boredom or even feeling blue. I am going to do my best to stay alert and stimulated throughout the day. I realize that part of the reason why I seemed to spend a lot of time sitting here at the computer was I simply wasn’t filling my day with enough things to interest me and keep me stimulated. Plus, I now think that I was also having some S.A.D.D. during the winter months. It seemed my mood brightened as soon as April came around only to be “slayed” by my arthritis and that flare-up along with the two heavy menstruations I had. Boy, what a past 4 months it has been. I sure hope that I am pulling out of a lot of this so I can really move ahead on some of the things that have been on hold during that time.

This past weekend, I “allowed” myself to relax on my food plan. I didn’t go into the weekend thinking that I would but once I ordered Papa John’s pizza on Friday night (which I haven’t done in two months) it just seemed to evolve. I still feel like I ate in a fairly disciplined way. I did have regular Coca-Cola and some mini chocolate candy bars but as soon as the clock struck midnight last night all that “indulgences” ceased. Getting back on track is essential if I am going to “allow” myself some “off plan” eating. The success of doing that will also mean that I won’t lose much ground when I do. I have been very careful the past 6 1/2 weeks so this was a risk to do this. However, I was willing to take that risk since I know how stressed I was feeling going into the weekend (the lack of sleep was the primary cause) and how much more relaxed I became when I made the decision to do that. It is not easy dieting and especially under these circumstances. I think that “on occasion” if/when I can do this I will allow some of that built up tension to be released. I am well aware that is also saying that I am still “using” food as a stress-reliever. I guess, this is a more conscious effort. I acknowledge that I am an emotional eater. Not as bad as I used to be, for sure, but I still “use” food to relax and unwind. It is a work in progress which I feel I am winning.

6/1/11:

Well, I slept better last night. TG. I did get up around 5 a.m. and I am returning to bed in a few minutes. All my eating over the weekend resulted in a nearly 6 lbs weight gain. Last night alone I ended up having a 1200 calories “nosh”. Since I was prompted to weigh myself on BLC I did put in the weight gain. Not a great way to start out a new month but “Oh well”. Now, to get back on track. I plan on working out when I reawaken. I also plan on working out 5-6x a week. This will be tough at first but once I get used to it the benefits will really be worth it. One benefit is that once my metabolism picks up I will be able to absorb these detours from my food plan a lot better. In fact, I might not even regain any weight. Since I ate over 3000 calories each day this past weekend and even closer to 4000 calories along with added sodium, I am not surprised by the weight gain. However, I do hope that I can get back to 2100 calories today and within a few days be around 1800 calories.

Since I didn’t fall back to sleep right away, I got up and thought I would exercise while P was doing some “errands”. I did about 10-15 minutes of STOIV. I could feel it in my knees, especially the sideways movements. I felt clumsy and really out of shape. It is always hard to start all over again. However, it is a start and I have to begin somewhere. I might actually try it again tonight when P is at choir practice. I will just keep returning to it until I can do a little more each day.

Well, as it turned out, the summer cold that I have been fighting returned and I ended up sleeping a lot. I’m not sure how much but I would say between 9-12 hours over three separate times. I seem to feel the best when I take the Emergen-C which is 1000 units of Vitamin C and some B vitamins. It felt like that is what I needed to do so I went to bed around 10 p.m. and I got up in the middle of the night, although this time, I had, at least, slept some before I did get up. My joints are holding their own. Crossing my fingers but other than the twinge of pain in the sides of my knees when I move suddenly, I am able to sleep when I do go to bed except when I am dwelling on the many different things in our lives. The good thing about being sick. You stop “caring” so you can care for yourself. There’s a lesson in there.

Well, my latest renewed efforts to get back eating OP (”on plan”) and exercising is starting out slow but I am getting back on track and that is the main thing. Although I really do enjoy taking time off from my dieting and eating some of my old favorites, I really hate the fact that I “had to” change the scales on the BLC site backwards—again. However, if/when I get back where I am working out diligently like I have in the past, I will be able to ride out those kinds of “bumps” a lot easier and with less “damage” to my weight lose progress. It is just getting back to that point again that takes time.

TG, I have been sleeping a lot better these past couple of days. What a difference that makes too! I have tried to get up from here periodically and do something around here. Just to stretch my unused muscles for one thing but also so I can “say” that I have done something besides play online games while I am waiting for my pain meds to kick in; which, sadly, I hate to admit I do a lot of. Now, that it seems that I am having some good nights which gives me some good days, I really need to do more of the things that I have been putting on hold for several weeks now.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Is this beginning to look like a pattern here?

Filed Under Slow Starts & Relapses | 22 Comments

Week of April 22, 2011:

Good Friday-

have you seen this DVD?
http://www.collagevideo.com/item.asp…FYS8KgodR0MVHw
It’s by a physical therapist and I suspect is no different than the standard exercises one would get from a PT, but I find them easier to do when I’m following a DVD. I’ve found it very helpful, although I haven’t had problems as serious as yours.

Well, I really overshot my sodium yesterday which probably wouldn’t have mattered all that much if I had stayed within my calorie range. For awhile there, I thought my lack of weight lose could be solely attributed to not drinking enough water and/or too much sodium but the bottom line is simply: “Calories In, Calories Out”. Nothing magical about that!

I finished the first “preparatory” week of Beck’s Diet Solution last night. I have made 1 ARC and 2 Response Cards to be read as frequently as I need to. I have set in place a primary diet and a back-up secondary one: my primary one is BLC and my secondary is South Beach since I feel that I learned a lot from following that and much of what I learned in 2008-2010 I still practice today. I have determined the “Advantages of Losing Weight” (ARC card) to be primarily health-related: I do not need anyone to convince me that full blown diabetes is looming ahead if I don’t practice eating healthy, exercising and, eventually, losing the extra weight. The “vanity” part is gravy. My Response cards are ones I identified as what I need to do to ensure that I have the “tools” to lose weight and then keep it off. For me, it has always been about losing weight since I have found that part of the equation the most difficult to “carry out”.

What I will be practicing from here on out is to: eat slowly especially foods I have a tendency to “gobble” (mostly sweets), eat no more than 1 servings of fruit per setting if possible and no more than 3 per day, 4+ servings of vegetables per day, drink at least 64-80 oz water each day, break up my meals into 3 meals plus two snacks when possible, record and pre-plan my meals daily, using smaller plates when I am able to help me “feel” like I am eating more and also to train my eye to know what a “normal” portion or serving looks like. Yesterday’s task was to “arrange my environment” to ensure success as I diet. I agreed to make homemade fudge so I asked Paul if he would be willing to have it out in the car.

I have been alternating between getting “one chocolate bar vs the whole bag”. It still has been difficult to just eat one serving. Most of those candy bars are 2.5 servings which ends up being 200-475 calories! I just might not be able to buy any of those period because once I open the package, I just seem to keep on going. This is a major stumbling block for me to successfully lose and keep the weight off. I would like to believe that I can exert more self-control but when it comes to sweets but especially when I am home I don’t want to eat just one. I want to eat as many and as much as I want until I am full. I am very willful when it comes to this. I would probably be the same way when we are eating out but I am more aware of how that might be perceived plus I also am trying harder to exert more self-control. I think this is really crucial that I have identified this thought and belief of mine.

I have looked ahead in this book and I am coming to one of the important points in her program: No Choice. Although I haven’t read the whole chapter yet (I’m working this book as she strongly recommends, one day at a time) my understanding is that you make a decision to not stray from your food plan “no matter what”. Since, I have done that so many times, this one action might be the key that turns my lackluster dieting efforts into some serious weight lose.  What that will mean for me is that there is no “off time” for my dieting. I am dieting all the time, day in and day out, whether it is a birthday, holiday or every day.

If there is pizza, then I will eat 1-2 pieces tops. If there is only a choice between regular soda and water, I will choose water. There will not be eating “just cuz”. I will diet according to my food plan until I have reached my goal weight of 140 lbs. I haven’t dieted like that in decades! Not since I was following Nutri System. It explains alot about why I have remained obese all of these years. It also explains that until I really draw that line that can’t be crossed permanent weight lose will probably elude me. Wow! What a revelation!

Today is Good Friday and it is 3 meals only with 2 being smaller ones and no snacks. It is this kind of discipline that I need to exhibit for the next 15-16 months. I finally “get” what all of these experts and fellow dieters have been saying. It finally sunk in. Right now, I feel rather foolish about it all. I have been deluding myself all along. I wasn’t dieting. I was talking about dieting. I wasn’t doing. I was trying which is really not doing. I think of how I must have come across early on to some of these “Beckies”. OY! It was like I was almost flaunting the fact that I was eating cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, etc. I was the Emperor who was butt-naked but thought I was finely clothed. Right!

Right now, I am in a good place. I don’t know if it is the weather or if it is the “dawn after the darkness” but I feel good finishing up Lent. March was particularly dark for me both emotionally and psychologically. Ideally, I hope I never revisit that place where I was at. It was a particularly stressful month. We met the fundraising goal for P’s walk I talked him into even though it was at the expense of us being short for April’s rent. It is crazy that, in our present financial circumstances, we gave a non-profit organization $725!! Good cause or not; we are in no financial position to be doing some like that but we made a pledge and we honored it. It was alms giving to the nth degree!

4/25/11:
Well, once again, Easter was a “bust” for me. I now wish I would have gone to the Easter Vigil Mass and I could have, at least, said that I attended a Easter service. I was up all night/early morning on Easter with all of my affected joints bothering me. I thought that was bad but it was nothing what last night was. That was even worse. At least, I could sleep after 3 am on Easter morning but last night I got up and down, continuing to take more and more Tylenol PM until I finally fell asleep around 6:30 am. I didn’t get up until 1:30 pm though. I washed and styled my hair. When P got home from work I suggested that we go to GC instead of my follow up eye appointment. I think both of us were disappointed that we didn’t go anywhere for Easter. I think P was half expecting turkey and ham there although it seems Monday night is barbeque since everything was either chicken or pork barbequed. Afterwards, we came home and watched a lot of “Family Guy” episodes. I think between the good food and the silliness of  the programs, we both relaxed enough and we went to bed at the same time. There was intermittent thunderstorms throughout the day and night. So, it actually ended up being a pleasant evening to end a very disruptive couple of days for me.

4/26/11:
Last night I slept a lot better but once I actually “settled down” to starting a new day, I began to feel blue. We are facing the same scenario that we were at the end of March. I sort of thought that would happen but I think both of us were just hoping that we wouldn’t be. This past month has been one of the slowest months P has had for several months in a row, none of which have been very good except for an odd week here and there. This past weekend we talked some about what our options might be. P has wanted C to tell him where he stands but I have a feeling that even they aren’t quite sure how things will go in the upcoming months. We spoke over the phone today while he is wrapping up. He was told that he has no more work for the remainder of this week. Well, that is good to know but it also makes some decisions both harder and easier to make as a result. He has been earning just enough to collect unemployment and on the same hand build up monies so he can continue to collect unemployment. I would compare this to seasonal workers.  We’re not accustomed to living this way so this has been quite an adjustment. Both of us just plain hate the uncertainty of this all. Somehow  the saying that “the more things change the more things remain the same”applies to our lives the past year.

I actually think the way we have been approaching this period of uncertainty has been the best way overall. We have remained in the same apartment complex, renewing our lease at the least amount of months as possible. We have a competitively low(er) rent than other places. It has also given us a sense of stability which has been important. We have lived in this particular apartment three years. It’s hard to believe because so much has happened during that time; Mom getting sick  then dying and both of us losing our jobs.  We made the right decision to stay here in this apartment.

Here I am coming up on the first time that I joined BLC back in June 2010 and I haven’t lost any more weight since last July.  I will say that I am still hopeful though because of the prep work that I am doing with the “Beck Diet Solution”. Although, a “face off” will be coming up soon as I finish the prep work and actually truly begin applying what I am learning and setting the stage for.

4/27/11:

Well, I haven’t been journaling much lately because I have been spending hours and hours playing online games. How unproductive is that! I have been following the BDS book day by day and reporting what I am doing to my BDS support group. I have noticed that others are at different levels of applying the techniques or some not at all. Well, considering that I have been with this group since early February and I have gone up and down the scales, I am no one to talk. This coming Friday (two days from now) will be when I put all of this prep work to task and begin what I hope will be the “last diet” I am ever on. I hope so. I am so sick of thinking that I know what I am doing only to find out that I am not. I do think what might be the one thing that will turn things around for me will be “No Choice” kind of thinking; which means for me is that at times I may want to abort my diet for food that may mess with my progress.

I feel what I can compare this to is when I managed to steer our finances from the brink of disaster to “treading water” in very difficult circumstances is noteworthy. There were times when we thought we would never get that car paid off. Last year we got P some really quality dress clothes, helped both A and T out financially so they could get through some “tough times”, pay on car repairs, get a new washer and me new eyeglasses. Even more important we got Pl much needed business cards, paid his annual guild dues and we paid off 4 “old” credit cards. I am also happy that I am still trying to find ways to reduce our expenditures. I am really looking forward to both gardening and attending this “Couponing 101″ class. I am really hoping that we can begin reducing our grocery bill significantly. Besides saving money, I also hope it will mean we will get more for our money and we will actually be able to eat “better” as a result. Money saved at the grocery store will “allow” us to pay off  other bills. If we can do that given the “breaks” we were given, I am sure hoping that I can do that with my weight.

If I really stick to a reduced calorie food plan for the next 15-16 months, I will realize my long held goal of being 140 lbs and an ideal BMI of 22%. I am afraid that I will really screw up or lack motivation. Hopefully, all of these cards that I have made will help me refocus when I lose my “reason” for doing what I know I need to do. I am beginning to have more faith in myself though.
In the past couple of days one of the “experiments” we were suppose to attempt was to “Hunger Tolerance”. I have shared with this group that I am pre-diabetic. After I posted about this Day’s “lesson”, I decided that I would try the “Hunger Tolerance” and just see how long I could “last”.

I took my blood glucose a couple of hours ago and it was 118 mg/dl. That is high. It should be in the 90s. I had a huge supper last night: 2 big plateful of spaghetti with meat and sauce and two large pieces of garlic cheese bread with added mozzarella cheese. Then, about two hours after that I had a medium-sized bowl of popcorn and one Kit Kat candy bar. I think I ended up having 4000 calories yesterday. It is 4 pm right now and I am mildly hungry. I took my blood glucose at 4:45 pm. I was beginning to feel slightly shaky. It was 105 mg/dl. I had a repeat of last night’s supper but I did not eat anything else the entire day. I would say that this shows that I can tolerate hunger well. However, will I say the same thing when I am eating half of what I ate yesterday? I do remember going to bed often feeling very hungry last summer.

Well, I did Day 12  which is dealing with cravings. As I have often said, my cravings are very specific. For me, the best line of defense is eating very healthy meaning eating those 3-4 servings of fruit and 4-6 servings of vegetables every day. The main thing is for me not to “cave in” and ask Paul to pick me up something chocolate. Then, I get myself in trouble. Another place where I really have a hard time eating healthy is when we decide to stop by McDonald’s. Almost always I order a value meal which means french fries, a burger and soft drink. Now, there are other choices there but I just am not familiar enough with their menu so I’m like a deer in head lights. I just freeze. So, until I have a clear cut strategy of how to handle fast food restaurants, I probably shouldn’t go to them.

Tomorrow, we are going to eat at COB. It will be my last not-counting meal I will have from now on. There is a section on “special occasions” in about 75 pgs in the book. Since this is a quick read, I hope that by the time I eat out again I will know exactly what I should do. What I have been doing is allowing myself to choose carefully but still eat around 1100-1300 calories both at GC and CO. The “coach” of BDS said he thought you could eat 200+ calories over what you normally eat. I was thinking that I could also combine one meal and a snack which would be about that. Even so, that is not a lot to eat at either of these restaurants. I could “solve” that problem by not eating out as much or when I am there remind myself what my end goal is and how important it is that I make good choices when I am eating out. Maybe, a combination of both will be the best way for me. Initially, I know I am going to feel “cheated” and I will feel like we aren’t getting our money’s worth but maybe I can find some creative ways to mix low calorie foods at both restaurants so I feel like I had a large meal and was able to enjoy some favorites.

Afterwards, we are going to plant our garden. We have a deadline of May 1st. Considering it seems like we just got the plot, that deadline has crept up on us. Once it is planted though, it will be exciting to go and check on it and see how things are growing. I am just so glad that I pushed for us to do this. I really look forward to fresh produce for pennies. I know that P  will be “sold” the first time he brings home to eat something from our garden. I hope that some of the other people will share some of their produce. I know I’d be willing depending on how much comes up. It would be a great way to try some new things to eat.

Well, last night I awoke almost every 45 minutes to go to the bathroom. I must have really released a lot of sodium-induced water bloat because around 8 am I had a horrible cramp in my left calf. I only get those if I have lost 3-4 lbs of “water weight”. The “good news” is that it is gone. The “bad news” is that those Charlie horses are pretty painful. I was preoccupied thinking about how we are going to make next month’s rent.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Yo-yo Me

Filed Under Slow Starts & Relapses | 1 Comment

4/15/11:

For the purposes of this pc journal, Friday is the start of a new week since April 1st was a Friday. My total 2 week weight lose was 7.8 lbs. It would have been more except the past three days I have eaten more daily calories. I have decided that I am going to continue to weigh in every morning and record my weight. I am also going to make a note of when I have exceeded my daily calories the day before and/or if I have eaten out the day before. I think, it will give me some insights into what impacts my weight and, who knows, maybe it will also help me figure how many calories I will need to lose a specific amount of weight in a specific amount of time. I do think it is useful information and I am not willing to discard it ” just yet”, in spire of the protests of some of my fellow dieters who feel it can be “maddening”. I say that it is only “maddening” if your self-esteem rises and falls with the numbers. I look at it more objectively. It is a piece of information that I am gathering to understand how my body’s metabolism works at any given time.

If/when I can get back into the recommended calorie range or even below it, I believe that I will see another 2-4 lbs lose. To recap, I decided to withdraw my participation (reporting) to three of the four groups that I was involved in. Each had a unique approach to being accountable. I decided on the Beck Diet Solution because I feel that it is behavior modification techniques that will help me stick to a reduced calorie plan long enough to see long term results.  I feel this is the key for me to lose all of this extra weight. As the author points out, any healthy reduced calorie plan will work. The reasons that she cites why most people she has counseled fail is because they sabotage their efforts to the point where they either yo-yo, regain all of the extra weight or give up. I have done all three.

What I took away from these different support groups is that I needed to eat an even more balanced food plan than I “thought” I was doing. I liked cold purified or natural spring water but I never consciously and consistently drank a lot of it every day. That is something that I now do every day. I have been doing that for a couple of months. That alone is not enough to help me lose weight though. In the past couple of weeks, I began consciously eating 3-4 servings of fruits and 4+ servings of vegetables. Again, that alone is not enough to help me lose weight. After weighing daily with one of the “100 lbs+ to lose” group, I identified that all of the eating out at restaurants with the added sodium was causing my weight lose to stall (not to mention some days I was eating over my recommended daily calories). I began April with the intention to reduce my sodium intake. I cut back on eating out, drank additional water, or ate out earlier in the day which I think helped me not gain any additional weight but, again, it did not help me lose much more weight than the 5-10 lbs. which is usually what is called “water weight”.

So, all of this comes back to one thing, which Dr. Beck stressed; reduced calories. I have to eat less calories than I expend or expend more calories than I eat or a combination of both. Her approach is to aid with the behaviors to keep doing that long enough so I will lose all of the extra weight and then keep it off indefinitely.  So, the past couple of days I have been reading her book that the Beck Diet Solution support group uses. I am going to follow it day by day as recommended until I have completed the initial 6 week program.

During that time, I will continue to do what I have been doing: I will log the food that I eat on the BLC site, stay within my calorie range (and I hope even eat less than that), log my exercise “calories” I burn on the BLC site, practice the BDS techniques, drink between 80-100 oz of water each day, work to reduce the amount of sodium I ingest, eat 3-4 servings each of fruits and vegetables (incorporating a variety along the way)and make a concerted effort to get to bed before 11 pm each night, refrain from having caffeine 6 hours before bedtime (that means after 5 pm!). One additional that I want to start “practicing” is to eat between 45-65 grams of carbs per “setting”. That is another tool that the diabetes instructor told us last month when I attended that four class series. The purpose of that is to control and keep my blood sugar level instead of up and down spikes. The “challenge” in doing that is I will probably have to eat less per “setting”, or at least, a specific amount of carbs anyway. The only time that this might be difficult is when I go out to eat.

Yesterday, we had lunch at GC. I made excellent choices except that by choosing to have dessert, which was an additional 400 calories, I bumped up my carbs by 20 grams. Had I gone with the fresh cantalope, which is what I usually do, I would have been fine. So, I need to add one more “behavior” to my growing list: preplanning most if not all of my meals. Right now, by leaving it to my “at the moment” decisionmaking I have inadvertently stalled or prevented myself from losing weight because if/when I choose foods that I won’t “burn off” through some kind of activity I am eating more than I “should”. As I move through the next couple of weeks/months, I am going to make sure that if I do decide to eat more calories at a favorite restaurant that I either consciously eat less the next day and/or do something afterwards to “burn off” the extra calories. My “solution” was to see how many calories I actually did have there and then have a much lighter supper (a chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread bread and  an apple) . I did “allow” myself to have a small bowl of popcorn later. Although that wasn’t exactly pre-planning, I did intentionally eat less for the remainder of the day.

I am already doing most of this so I don’t think that it will seem “overwhelming”. However, having to report the same things over and over to four different groups (3 of which called this participating in a “challenge”) just was “too much”. I don’t feel that I was deriving any additional benefit from all this reporting either. I see the benefit is from the “doing” not “reporting it”.

It does mean though that I am going to have to be scrupltously honest with myself in doing all of this. If it looks like at some point I need to report to someone other the Beck Diet Solution group then I will do so. Maybe, I will even feel I need the interaction of other dieters at some point. For now, I feel the BDS group should suffice. I will also connect with some of the other people, on both the 3FC site and BLC site, I have become “friends” with just to let them know how I am doing or especially if it looks like I am running into some problems. I might even “report” to these individuals briefly once a week. Besides, helping me, it might also help them as well. Right now, that sounds like the level of “reporting” that is doable. Once or twice a week! Well, I think all of this sounds like a good solid plan. Now, to implement it day by day.

My next personal “challenge” will be to eat less each day and to resume moving around more.

Well, I have just returned from picking up my free trial pair of contacts from my eye care specialist. For the past year, I have “endured” wearing the same pair of free trial pair of contacts. I try to not wear them any longer than I need to and I have tried to keep them as clean as possible. Still, since they were drying out, they were becoming increasingly more uncomfortable to wear. I am very excited to say that I am going into Easter having “acheived” some of my “hopeful” or “wishful” desires “fullfilled”. I have the outfit from last year that I didn’t end up wearing. Since I have lost 34 lbs since then, it should fit even better. I had my hair trimmed and I will be wearing new contacs so I’ll be able to see “everything”!! I decided to go on PL’s site and I ended up ordering a pair of linen peep toe small wedge shoes. Last year I bought a pair of hot pink flats to wear with my dress but I felt they fit “tight”. I think these will work although I am sure I will have to get some of those heel wedges to fill in the heel.

I did my Day 3 reading from Beck Diet Solution besides some supplemental reading from one of the “Biggest Loser” cookbooks. Day 3 was “eat sitting down”. Well, I feel pleased (and relieved) that this is one behavior that I do and actually insist on doing. However, while reading this Day I was struck by another behavior that I need to work on. I am not sure if it will be one of the Days coming up but I went ahead anyway and decided to do a “Response Card” regarding that: pre-planning meals and staying within a specific calorie amount for each meal. I think doing this could be the “key” that will keep me from eating past my recommended calorie range. Without pre-planning a specific amount of calories per meal, I have a natural tendency to “overeat” even when I am eating really healthy meals.

Today was a perfect example. I consciously ate a larger breakfast because I “thought” I would be going to the retreat and I didn’t know when they would be feeding us. However, eating 1/3 of my calories “sets me up” to continue to eat more calories per meal right through the remainder of the day. Looking back on today’s food choices I ate really healthy food. I had 4 servings each of both fruit and vegetable. If I hadn’t eaten the entire dark chocolate candy bar, I would have still been at the top of my calorie range!  I was over my calorie range significantly but I decided that I would just “maintain” today since I was feeling weak before with all of this bleeding. Paul got me some multi vitamins which I took a double dosage.

I have both heard and read that more than likely the cause behind my excessive bleeding is an excess of estrogen. Excess body fat creates excess estrogen!  One woman on 3FC told me that it might even get worse before it gets better too. I felt she was saying that as I am losing weight that may happen. She didn’t say it exactly but I felt that is what she meant. Well, I do know that when I experience a hot flash (and for me it is more of a feeling of being warm) that the bleeding starts at that time. Maybe, the next time I am at a drugstore or at Wal-mart, I can ask a pharmacist if they think me taking soy isoflavone plus progesterone cream might take care of it. I was doing that about 8-10 years ago but when I heard that even plant estrogen can cause breast cancer I stopped doing both. I have also heard the progesterone cream can have potential cancer risks.

It is a lot to consider. Having these kind of menstrual flows is also detrimental to my health. I get really wore out from the blood lose. I am sure that I am anemic. It is also socially isolating. It is very disruptive to my ability to attend certain “functions” like the retreat today. I am just not sure why it suddenly began up again this past week. The only thing that I can think of is that I have really tried harder to eat healthier and reduce the amount of sodium I ingest; both of which helped me to lose 8 lbs in the past two weeks. Could it be the weight lose triggered this? I don’t know.

4/17/11:

I slept well last night. I got up once but I managed to sleep around 8 hours. I washed and styled my hair, got “dressed up”; all with the expectation that I would have a full day ahead of me. Well, I can tell you that it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. As soon as I started walking out our door and up the steps to our car, I could feel just how weak I am right now. I”thought” that maybe having something to eat would help that. I do think this “weakness” is related to having lost close to a pint of blood yesterday. I thought eating at COB would help. I think I will probably need more calories today than what my reduced calorie food plan recommends but this is unusual circumstances. I don’t think two days of eating more calories will hurt me overall and it will probably help me move through rebounding from this excessive bleeding. My blood pressure has been much lower-106/54- and I think the weakness is from that. I am sure that I have been dehydrated. I drank more although I probably made the mistake earlier today in drinking some caffeinated diet soda. I feel better now after eating about 1000 more calories that I have been. Depending on how I feel tomorrow, I may need to increase my calories a little bit. For now, the bleeding has stopped for today. Then, I have to seriously think about what I should do for future times. It is bound to happen again.

4/18/11:

Although I slept close to 8 hours, I awoke frequently during that time. I went to bed before 1 am but then I had slept quite a bit on Saturday so I was half-expecting that I wouldn’t be as tired yesterday. Today, I started pre-planning each meal or snack within a specific calorie amount. I don’t think breakfast-afternoon snack will be hard. I do expect that eating less for supper will be though. I am beginning at 2100 calories which is the top of my recommended calorie range. I hope to work off the recommended 200 calories per day from exercising; if not more at some point. If that is the case then I will be able to still eat around this amount of calories and still lose. I am glad that BLC doesn’t promote really low calorie food plans. They are more prone to strongly encourage an increase in physical activity. I didn’t work out today because I wanted one separate “day of rest” after all of the bleeding that I have had in the past week. I am glad that I ate the amount of calories this past weekend. Yes, it caused me to have a temporary weight gain but I know it is not going to stay and I feel my body needed the extra nutrition. I ate healthy. I just ate more. In the future, I am going to make sure that I have something like Pedilyte popsicles or Powerade instead. I was somewhat reluctant to do that but now I realize that would have been best. I become seriously dehydrated. That is why I am so weak, my pulse increases and my B/P really gets low. I felt it was better to gain a few retro pounds than think I could safely “diet”. There is a time and place for everything. I feel a lot better today.

4/19/11:

My legs bothered me throughout the night and are even bothering me now but I still managed to go to bed (although getting up multiple times) and sleep through the night. This habit is getting easier. However, after having the extra calories, it looks like my body is really holding tight onto the extra sodium-induced water weight gain. This has been the case since I restarted my weight lose efforts; now, going on three months! It feels ridiculous to be trying so hard to eat the recommended fruits n vegetables every day, stay within my calorie range as best I can and then still see only a few pounds lost. It is really frustrating.

Well, today I resumed doing my strength exercises. I was really seeing some progress there for awhile. I noticed that the pain in my shoulders had lessened for one thing. Even my posture was straigthening out.  I haven’t exercised for several weeks. All of this has been a lot of stopping and starting. Again, inconsistency. How can I expect any lasting results if my efforts are “hit n miss”? Realistically, I can’t. As I am known to do, I “impulsively” ordered three exercises dvds which I should be getting sometime later this week or early next week: Pilates for Inflexible People, AM/PM Stretches and Joint Mobility. There’s no argument that I certainly could benefit from all of these. As soon as I get them, I am going to mark out time to do them on a daily basis.

I’m disappointed that here I am nearly one year later and I will still be wearing the same clothes that I wore last year. I now think about some of those clothes I gave away and I think it might be nice to have some of them. However, I really had to make some tough choices. I mean, I barely have the room for what is in our closet now. Well, I am going to play it by ear this coming season. If it looks like I am really doing well with weight lose, I will give away what is too big for me. I’ll try not to hang onto too much “extra” except the better quality clothes. If I can stick with some form of exercise, even that will help me move down into the next size. Still, a size 22 is a plus size and not a “normal weight” size.

I have been talking back and forth with one of the people who was in my BLC group. She is struggling with getting back on track. She was diagnosed with diabetes and I think she still takes pills for it. Fortunately, I do not. We have talked about how difficult it seems to be to lose weight. I am hoping that the BDS will be the key to overcoming that hurdle. What I have changed since joining BLC is logging all of the food I eat so I have elevated my conscious awareness of what and how much I eat. I have also begun drinking a lot more plain water the past couple of months. This past month I have even made a very concerted effort to eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. Fruits have never been too difficult for me to do but vegetables have on an ongoing day to day basis.

As I was telling this woman, I might have to seriously reconsider following the South Beach Diet again just to jump start my weight lose. Again, it might be a result of the fact that I am not being active. Even Beck Diet Solution says that we have to be flexible in moving from plan to plan if one isn’t working out. I love meat so for me that would be the main plus in that. I think I could forego most carbs most of the time. If it meant losing weight at a consistent clip, it would definitely be a trade off. I won’t do anything this coming week because we plan on going to GC for Easter and I do plan on “indulging” some. However, it would mean that I would be giving up all starches like bread and cereal for two weeks before I could slowly re-introduce some carbs back into my food plan and even then it is a very slow process. According to the book that process could take upwards of 4-6 weeks since you only re-introduce one carb at a time and see how your weight lose is and especially your food cravings. That part is very tedious and that is one of the things that I doubt whether many people do as he suggests.

Out of that low-carb way of eating has spawned some of the more creative ways of having carbs without having the starcher versions: spaghetti squash for spaghetti and mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes. I have tried the first and it wasn’t half bad although I felt like I could eat a lot more than regular pasta probably because it was a lot lower in carbs. Another thing many people who do “low carb” is to use lettuce leaves in place of bread. There are also some low carb bread products on the market although I haven’t tried them…yet. Well, I will give this some more thought but I am leaning in that direction at this junction. I need to get this weight lose moving downwards. It just isn’t healthy the way that I am going.

The main concern with the South Beach Diet was that it sounded like most people didn’t lose more than an initial 20 lbs. I think it’s because it is a big switch for a lot of people to go from eating a lot of carbs to quite a severe reduction of them. Usually, it was the people who were big cereal eaters who “complained” the most. I actually was never much of a cereal eater except for the past year or so. For me, the big “deal” is foregoing bread since that is the staple of my starch eating. After that, I like having pasta every so often.

After I laid down for about an hour, I thought about this some more. I remembered that I lost weight when I ate less period. I even noticed that sometimes when the sodium was higher, I still lost. In fact, not only did that happen recently for a few days but I remember that since I thought I weighed less than I actually did last summer BLC had bumped me down to the 1500-1700 calorie range and, although I struggled to get to 1500 calories, the times that I ate between that calorie range I was losing weight. So, the answer might simply mean that I will need to eat less calories. Now, that is going to be hard. I can easily eat 1000 calories going to GC or China One Buffet, not to mention I can eat 800-900 calories when Paul brings home food from Donnie’s, which he did tonight! What that means is I am going to have to eat a lot less the rest of the week so I can eat like that for one meal. It reminds me of what I just read somewhere: calories in, calories out. I can wrestle with this all I want but that is really what it gets down to.

So, what I need to do is two things: work at getting down to 1800 calories each day, breaking that amount up into 4-6 meals per day. Then, concurrently, I need to try to burn off 200 calories per day. Ideally, some kind of aerobic activity where I can work up a sweat. I am eating too many calories. Period. I will admit that I thought there might be some “trick” involved in drinking a lot of water, lowering my sodium or even eating my recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. All of those are good things in of themselves but none by themselves will cause me to lose weight. I am not burning up the calories that I am consuming. So, I have two choices: eat less so I force my body to burn off the excess or become more active and force my body to burn off the excess.

4/20/11:

I wasn’t even that active yesterday and I still managed to lose 1.5 lbs in spite of eating more sodium. That is the KEY! Eat less, don’t worry about the sodium IF I am active so I can sweat some of that off. Today was yet another day that P did not have any work. He has had one job this week and that was for $36! It is really scary. I didn’t want him to “worry” and I knew that if he didn’t have some things to fill his time, he might get mopey. Luckily, he did get $212 for unemployment so I suggested that we do some of our personal “errands”. We went to GC for lunch. Then, we stopped at the NFSC and signed up for our community garden plot. The manager was really informative. He even said we could have some of the seeds he had stored in a refrigerator in his tool shed. We have access to the tools and the rain water that collects in two different barrels. I think I can put P to some tasks. I think once he gets involved he is really going to enjoy it.

4/21/11:

I was able to “maintain” my weight from the day before in spite of extra sodium and calories. Again, movement was the KEY. My legs and knees were really hurting by the end but it is clear that if I want to be able to eat well and even err when it comes to extra sodium, activity is the answer. Starting this coming Monday, I plan to really jack up my activity and get this weight moving down instead of up and down. I even put the actual weight on my BLC scales. I really hope this is the last time though that I have another month of up and down. I have made improvements though since I restarted with BLC back in the end of January. One thing that has really helped was accepting these challenges and then actually doing them. Especially this past month when I began consciously eating 3-4 servings each of both fruits and vegetables. I have found that my blood glucose seems more even although when I had that heavy menstrual flow I was experiencing a lot of shaking. I took my morning fasting yesterday and it was 114 mg/dl. I’m disappointed because I would have thought that with all the healthy eating it would have gone down. However, I am eating more fruit and that can raise your blood glucose in spite of it being good for you. Well, it just means that I have to work harder at becoming more active so I can use up some of that “underutilized” sugar in my blood.

Although it has been a slow start for me this year I think that I have actually made quite a bit of progress in becoming healthier and eventually thinner. This is time for me to give myself credit for what I have done right. I’ve consistently logged my food even when some of it was embarassing to admit.  I’ve developed a habit of drinking more water every day and this has cut back on my diet soda consumption quite a bit. This past month I have made a concerted effort to eat the recommended servings of both fruits and vegetables and I have done that for 20 days thus far.

My hope is that beginning on this coming Monday I am going to continue to do all of those good things that I have been doing for myself and restart exercising on a daily basis. I think that if I can really up my activity level, I can still lose 2-3 lbs a week and keep my present calorie range. I hope so but I won’t know until I try it and see how my body reacts to the changes. I have been going through the Beck’s Diet Solution book. I have been writing my “suggestions or reminder” cards as directed. I have noticed that I “gobble” sweet foods quickly. I think because those are the kinds of foods that give me a “quick sugar rush”. The proverbial “melt in your mouth” kinds of foods. So, I have decided to target those types of foods by purposely slowing down how I eat them by breaking them into small pieces/segments.

I think that the main reason why I haven’t lost all of this weight is inconsistency in my efforts. I will go great for 2-3 weeks and then I will have a patch where I either make some choices that cause me to fall off my reduced calorie food plan or I get distracted by external events. Again, I think that it will take a more disciplined effort on my part. I have put more thought and effort into how I have been buying my groceries and preparing my meals. For breakfast, I made a homemade (and much healthier) version of an Egg McMuffin. I used a multi-grain muffin, one egg, one slice of turkey bacon, a TB of shredded cheddar cheese and 1 tsp of margarine. It tasted really good and it was visually satisfying too. It was quick and easy too.

I bought some whole wheat pizza crusts already made up and ready to be used. I am sure the fact that I don’t have to mix the actual flour, etc means they are considered processed but I was also thinking of the money. I got three medium sized crusts for $4.99. I think I will make one for lunch. I have lots of vegetables to pile on it. I could even add some leftover chicken or turkey bacon. That would add some sodium but I love pizza and, again, I was thinking of the cost factor. If I can get in the habit of making some “healthy substitutes” for some of my former favorites, I might go a long way in saving us some food dollars at a time when we really need to be. Sometimes, I get tired of all the extra work it seems it takes to try to save even more money. Unfortunately, that is when I slip up and we eat out several meals in a row. I guess, that is part of the overall learning curve involved

Well, I have been conversing back and forth with another woman I met on the BLC site.  She is seeing a doctor next week about her diabetes and you can tell she is very concerned. She is on 2 pills so her diabetes is a lot worse. Again, I am just so grateful that I caught mine when I did. I can’t seem to budge right now from the teens but, at least, it is better than it was a year ago.  I think everyone who has had struggles is thinking about the day after Easter and really knuckling down. For me, it will mean moving a lot more. It will also mean that I am going to do my best to eat at 1800 calories and if I move more than I will actually be “consuming” 1600 calories per day. It has got to be that way. I am sure that I will probably have some days where I will really be hungry. It will definitely mean that I can’t eat too many “empty calories”.

I personally think that the main reason most people fail at dieting is that they just don’t want to do what it takes to get the weight off.  I don’t necessarily think that it is laziness but I do think that it is really hard to be that disciplined day in and day out. No matter what anyone says you will have to change the way and what you eat while you are losing weight. Now, most of the experts say that if you don’t make a lifestyle change you will gain the weight back. According to Dr. Beck, the hardest part is losing the weight. Sitting here, I would agree with her. The past three months have been so “typical” of how I approach losing weight. I have allowed myself to overeat on many occasions. I have also allowed myself to eat many of the “wrong kinds” of foods. I have simply eaten too many calories for someone as sedentary as myself. I have given in to impulses, bad habits and whims.

Depending on what I weigh this coming Monday and on May 1st, it is possible that I haven’t lost more than a few pounds in three months. If that isn’t failure, I don’t know what is. Had I come out of the gate really sticking to 1800 calories and getting some kind of movement in every day, it is very well possible, I could be 25-30 lbs less than I was when I rejoined BLC. I’m not. Well, it was a poor showing but I did do some things right and I continue to do them. First of all, I haven’t given up on myself. I could still turn this around. If we eat out on Easter Sunday, I will enjoy myself. I will make sure that I have my fruits n vegetables but I will probably have a piece of cake or pie for dessert. I am going to make homemade fudge so that will probably be my indulgence over the weekend. We “inhale” that like it is “air”. I know however I “approach” this weekend, it will show up on Monday’s weigh in. I am sure that there are a lot of other people who will be thinking and saying the exact same thing. I will try to show some “common sense” though.

Come Monday, whatever fudge is left I will either have a very small piece or, ideally, “none at all”. We’ll see how I do. This is where the Beck Diet Solution is supposed to come to the “rescue”. For me, it gets to be an unending cycle. I lose a few pounds and then something comes up where I  go overboard and I lose ground only to get back on my diet and do it all over again. Considering I am not exposed that much to food I sure seem to have trouble with it. It certainly slows down the process.

Recently, I have come up with the idea of making my weight lose goal of losing 130 lbs by our 10th wedding anniversary on August 17, 2012. It is doable. That is 8 lbs per month. I have already told others in my Beck Diet Group about it. The coach thinks it is doable but, again, it won’t be if I don’t put some action into place. What I have discovered is that the most important number I need to aim for is lower calories. I can actually have higher sodium if I have lower calories. Granted, my weight lose might not be as dramatic but it does allow me a little more leeway in the choices of foods I can eat. I just can’t eat as much of them!

Well, this all has really been a very slow learning curve, it seems. Three months has almost gone by and I have not lost any significant amount of weight. However, in the light of Dr. Beck and giving myself credit, what I have done is set up a support network of fellow dieters to share with, which I do on a daily basis, I have begun drinking more water every day, I am eating a more balanced food plan every month, I am logging my foods and calories every day faithfully, and, on occasion, I am even being more active. I am going to consider May 1st my new “restart”day for my end goal of being 140 lbs for our 10th wedding anniversary. Ideally, I would like to return to those same places where we had our pictures taken and have our pictures taken then. I would also like to go on a honeymoon. For me, it would be closure and a nice sealing of what I hoped our wedding day would have been.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Cruel to Be Kind… in the right measure

Filed Under Slow Starts & Relapses | 230 Comments

4/8/11:

Well, officially, I lost 5.2 lbs in the past seven days! I even broke the 270 lbs mark. I am 269.8 lbs as of 5 am.   The interesting thing is that it isn’t as much about calories since I had a couple of days where I ate about 200-300 calories more than BL recommends but about the level of sodium that I have ingested and, quite possibly the amount of H2O I can drink each day.

So, moving forward, I am going to really push to drink more than 100 oz of water each day. I am also going to push for having less than 2500 mg of sodium with the end goal of having around 1500 mg sodium.
Now, that I am seeing the results of what I am doing, it gives me a clearer idea of what to do to hopefully continue to have these kinds of results. This has been a much needed shot in the arm for me psychologically. I was feeling really blue after having two dismal months at going up and down a few pounds. In fact, it also helped to make a better choice for Lenten Friday than I have been making in the past couple of weeks. I decided instead that we would pay the extra cost of having salmon instead of going to McDonald’s and ingesting all of that sodium. So, our dinner will be Alaskan pink salmon, a green salad, baked potatoes.[Correction: it ended up being lots of fresh fruit, raw vegetables, peanut butter on an English muffin. P's job overlapped our dinner hour and I told him to find a place to eat for himself, which he did]

It is hard to say just how much more I can expect to lose before Monday’s “official” weigh in. I would be thrilled to death to be 297 since not only would that mean that I have lost all of that extra bloat I was carrying on for the past couple of months but also I would be one pound less than my “official” weight I have been posting for the past couple of weeks on BLC. I have thought about what I will post on Monday’s weigh in and I will post what I actually weigh. I thought about the whole scenario and I think it would be in my best interest to have the weigh-in match what the scales actually say. Although I wouldn’t have the “ego-lift” of saying I had really dropped the weight that I have done, I would be starting out where my “official” weight matches what it is here at home. I had spent the better part of March covering up the fact that I was bouncing up and down 1 lb here and 1 lb there. Now, I will have “come clean” and I can just post what is actually happening to my weight lose. It is definitely in my best interests to do that. Knowing that the scales here and on BLC site match should be “reward” enough. It will have to be. At least, for this coming Monday.

I will have reinforced my integrity and sense of honesty which is more important than a brief moment of “back at ya” towards my leader and the comments she made the beginning of this month.  I freely admitted in my post that I was both disappointed in my March’s results but also knew some of it stemmed from my efforts. I did mention about stress being one factor. The leader came back pretty heavy-handed and said that there will always be stress and that is no reason to turn to food. Well, that was not what I was saying at all. I did explain that I had been through a highly unusual stressful 3-4 years. It was just not something that was temporary. Both P and I are weary from being under such financial straits for so long. Add to that N’s gender change(2007), Mom’s battle and lost with cancer(2008), both of our jobs being lost(2009) and then my arthritis getting worse(2009) coupled with barely making our rent (we’ve borrowed money four out of the past five months so far since last November 2010 and it would have been five out of five months but he had the foresight to borrow two months’ rent back in November), lack of sleep from the anxiety and depression I feel and, guess what, dieting and exercising were not top of my list. I am not super human. That is all I was saying.

Another person, who obviously has some feelings of intimidation of this leader, posted me with the promise that I would keep it secret (sad) about her feelings towards this leader. This other woman said that she felt that our leader didn’t always realize that she was being hurtful but sometimes it is also difficult to hear what she has to say. I understand her point but again, there is honesty and then there is being blunt to the point of being rude. It is a fine line but it is one where we all have to learn tact at some point in our life.

I was stunned and hurt by the leader’s remarks. After saying my piece, I have been pissed (read: hurt) ever since. It is quite obvious by this person’s lack of apology and her hell bent competitive attitude regarding this particular challenge that she is determined to be “top dog” at any expense, including other people’s feelings. In my opinion, leaders are there to inspire and lead by example not bully and browbeat you into “feeling inferior”. Well, I refuse to buckle on that part. All it does to me is the attitude of “bring it on”. “You want to play hard ball well I’m ready”. Whether she meant to be hurtful or not, it did feel that way and I will say that there has been part of me to want to “show her”. Well, that is plain silly. I need to acknowledge to myself that I had valid reasons why I was not succeeding at my weight lose. I don’t have anything to prove to her. In fact, the best “revenge” will be to continue to stay on track and have really good weeks from now on. If I really want to “show her” and “put her in her place”, which I still secretly do, than I need to really knuckle down and do all I can to facilitate a good weight lose every week. I am sure that at some point I will look back on this and think of how silly I have also been. Sometimes, it is easy to feed into another person’s “issues”. This time I came close to doing just that.

I do want to show that I have been working hard this past week but again I just lost the weight I hadn’t been able to during the month of March. I continued to post 268 lbs because I knew that my sodium intake had been very high and the last week of March I ate whatever I wanted to since I had decided to call a “time out”. I didn’t even log my calories during that time. I figured that once I got back on a healthier food plan the weight would fall off. Well, I was right regarding that. It has. I haven’t exercised since I have been focusing more on getting my food plan back on track and also to get back to a more “normal” sleep pattern. However, I hope to resume some form of exercise either this weekend or Monday. I probably need that extra nudge.

I am also going to do another thing: I am really going to try to stay at the bottom of my calorie range and even try to go 100 calories below that some days. This will probably mean that I will be eating a lot more than 4 servings of vegetables a day but whatever I can do to shave off some calories I am going to do that. I might also have to start drinking less milk. I had been drinking a lot more since I started adding instant coffee to it. I also need to start getting some diet salad dressings since I will probably be using that as a dip for all the raw vegetables that I will be eating.
All of this may take several weeks to arrive at where I would like to be but that is my end goal and that is what I am going to strive for over the next days, weeks, months.

I would rather do a few things well than haphazardly do other things so-so. One of the biggest weaknesses I have had in my past efforts of losing weight on my own is inconsistency. I would have some really great days and then a string of really not so great days. So far, I have been able to sustain a 5.2 lb weight lose this week by trying to correct my sleep patterns, drink more and more water, work at lowering my sodium intake and, of course, tweaking my food plan. However, I do want to say that I have managed to also fit in some chocolate every day. I am really leaning towards dark chocolate so I get some added “benefits” from it.

Again, one thing that I can’t help but notice is that what really helps my hunger is eating really healthy and that does include eating the fruits and vegetables that everyone seems to stress. I will have to admit that they are right. When I eat the minimum recommended of 3 servings of fruit and 4 servings of vegetables, the rest of my food plan seems to fall into place almost too easily. I do have a tendency to overdo the fruit which can raise my blood glucose and then I will get a craving for more food. I honestly think that eating vegetables blunt my hunger pangs and control my appetite. Who knew?

I was explaining and stressing this “phenomena” to one of the “Coaches” on the Beck Diet Solution. He seemed skeptical but I thought everyone knew that. This is one of the key elements I took away from the South Beach Diet. In fact, I feel it is one of the important strengths of the low carb food plan. Some people are more sensitive to carbs and how they affect their body than other people are. I am able to handle a lot more carbs IF I am more physical but that is the key and something that I can’t always be consistent on; again, because of my knees.

I also think that since a lot of people don’t understand how food affects their bodies chemically they are frustrated and in the dark without needing to be. I really think that Dr. Agaston does a really good job in explaining some of the chemistry behind food in a way that made me have some real “a-ha” moments. I just hate to say that I forget to practice a lot of it. Well, this past week I have implemented some key elements that have allowed me to lose weight each day.  I will continue to push hard to get more water in and also to push that sodium intake down as far as I can comfortably go and still have an interesting choice of foods to eat.

Quite honestly, I am at the point where I don’t really care if I have to stay away from some real diet busters as long as I am losing. I mean, that is what I am trying to accomplish here, right? I am trying to get all of this extra weight off. I have been mistakely sabotaging my efforts for too long to continue to do it now that I have had these revelations. I don’t care if I have to limit my food choices to more home cooked meals, more fruits and vegetables, more water, less sodium, etc. as long as I am losing the weight. That is the real incentive. I also think that success can and does build on itself. I don’t know if I will be able to say a year from now that I am also down 130 lbs like starbrite has been able to do but even if I were down 80 lbs that would still be more than I have been in decades. I’m enthused again. I am psyched. I am pumped. I am motivated. Now, to do it!

Well, again, it seems like I am able to sleep about 4 hours before I have to get up. I had an organic vegetable pizza for breakfast this morning. It’s Lenten Friday for one and we have to eat non-meat food but it was also just nice to have one of my favorite foods instead of trying to fit it in after I have eaten a lot of other foods that I felt like I had to eat “just cause”. I think of all the times that I ate the usual eggs or cereal for breakfast when I really wanted something else to eat. I have broken that “atuomatic pilot” at times and I actually enjoyed having a tuna salad sandwich for breakfast. Again, it really gets back to what I am really hungry for right now instead of settling for what you think you should eat instead of what you really want. It gets back to the emotional component of eating to some extent but also how many times have I eaten many other things only to finally eat what I really wanted in the first place.

Well, this morning that is what I chose to eat, it tasted delicious, it was satisfying for me, met the guidelines of my food plan (organic, vegetables, non-meat) and by eating it early enough in the day I have the rest of the day to “work off” the sodium that is inherent in frozen processed foods.
I hope so because I took two Aleve for my knees and I noticed that the two are 440 mg sodium! Now, I know why they garner a warning for those with weaker hearts. I also know I am going to really need to push the water today.

I just got to thinking about whether weighing every day could also have the same effect of creating an obsession with the scales. I don’t weigh as much with this new scale as I did with my old one. Maybe, because it seems more consistent in the numbers. I also can’t “manipulate” it either by shifting my weight, etc. I just wish I had this scales when I first started last year. I used the old scale and where I was at with that to “go back” to where I thought I was. If that was the case I actually did get over 300 lbs. That is hard to believe but when I think of how some of my clothes fit back then plus I was buying and wearing 26W which sometimes were tight depending on the style, how I was beginning to look through my middle especially and just how I felt overall, I believe I was. I am very grateful that I was able to get as far as I have but I won’t be out of the woods regarding being considered obese until I am at least in the 180s. That is 90 lbs away!

Right now, I feel like I have traveled up and down around the numbers of 265-276 lbs so much that I am almost sick of seeing them when I step on the scales. 265-276 lbs is sort of a “set point” for me and it was in the past as well. I want so badly to see 259 just because it will be out of this particular area I have been in for so long and which I hope to never see again. I made a vow last summer that I would get rid of a lot of the larger sizes as I moved down the scales. I am now also thinking that I have worn some of these clothes so frequently that I will probably be getting rid of them because they are becoming quite worn. So, it might mean that I will need to buy a few clothes in sizes 24W just so I have some clothes that are acceptable to wear out in public. I don’t need an excuse to buy clothes anyway because I just love following the current trends but again it does get back to still needing to buy the larger sizes longer than I thought I would. Wal-mart online has some of the nicest, cheapest plus-sized activewear for women I have ever seen. As we move through the really hot months, I hope that I will be able to supplement what I already have with some clothes. I guess, it will depend on how our finances are. Right now, we are really struggling just to make our monthly bills. There is not a nickel to spare.

Last night P and I went to a free discussion on organic gardening and canning. It was held at our North Fulton County Service Center where we can vote, get car tags, get funding for work-related education, etc. I had heard about it through the woman who gave the series on diabetes that I attended in March. It turned out to be two hours so full of so much information I left feeling excited that I had decided to go after all. I signed up Paul too. I wanted him to be exposed to the ideas so he would have an idea of what I was hoping we would “get into”. It was definitely worth the time. I would have even considered paying for it but being free (both of these) was very exciting, especially at this particular time in our finances.  I have now decided to apply for a plot in the community garden. There are only two spots left so I hope I’m not too late.If they are taken then I will ask to be put on next year’s list. We even both won a door prize each. I won a bag of organic compost and P won a starter canning kit. They served fruits, vegetable,s donut holes and chocolate chip cookies besides water, coffee and tea. I felt like I was really living it up. This is what being so broke for so long has done to me. I am literally grateful for anything “extra”.

The one aspect of all of this that has troubled P and I is the fact that it seems so “uncertain”. We just never know where our next dollar will come from. It is stressful on a day to day basis. Now, as I look over our tax forms, I see that we made $xxxxx in 2010. Even P was surprised! Then, why is it that we feel so stressed about money? Because we don’t have any savings so when he has these fluctuations in his income we scramble to know where the money is going to come from to pay our bills. I need to start contributing some kind of income as well. That would help us a lot. I have a feeling there probably will be this uncertainty for some time until both the economy rectifies itself, we can raise our income and the money coming in, and we are able to reduce our debt significantly as well. The new financial advise from all of the current financial gurus is to “live below your means” and sock a lot of extra cash into savings. Those are the people who are actually “riding this current wave and doing okay”. I am trying to do my best to absorb any/all of this financial advice that is floating around. I can see where I  need to steer us.

Both P and I have realized for some time that we each have strengths and weaknesses that contribute to making our life what it is. Actually, if I could quit being so stressed about things, I would be able to see more clearly just how well he is doing in spite of the local economy and the specialized type of work he is in. As this past couple of years have unfolded Paul has picked up work from several different sources and it continues to grow…slowly, but it is growing. Having said that though, I think both of us did appreciate the security of a weekly paycheck. That is the only thing that I miss about working for someone else. It is so much easier to plan when you know how much you are working with.

4/9/11:

I can’t hardly believe this but I am 268.4 lbs!! I have lost 7.8 lbs since April 1st. Isn’t that amazing? Granted, it was my wish that I would be able to lose all of that sodium-induced water bloat that I was carrying around last month and make it to 268 lb (which is what I have been posting for the past three weeks on the BLC site) but this makes it real!! I am .4 lbs from being where I said I was. It has averaged 1 lb a day. I will say that the increase in vegetable and fruit fiber has made me a little constipated but I am not kicking it at all! I am drinking the additional water which is helping me to “release” the water weight. I don’t even know if I can expect to lose anything more before Monday but I am hoping that I can lose 2 more lbs. That would be a dream come true!!  Now, I feel like I am back on track. Really on track. Now, to stay there.

The other active group on BLC has asked me to join another Buddy Challenge. I am not sure what the details are but I agreed. It begins Monday. That is four groups that I will be reporting to. OY! Well, as long as I can “juggle” it all and do it justice I will continue. After all, these “challenges” do keep a person “accountable” even if it means that it shows up your weaknesses, like last month. Well, if I can’t say anything more than it was a revelation of just how much sodium I was ingesting and how it was impacting my weight lose, which is what this is all about, then I guess it was not all for lose.

4/10/11:

I had my annual eye exam late yesterday afternoon then we went to A’s to have the house sirloin. I ended up having the 9 oz steak, baked potato and broccoli. If you order two “qualifying” entrees, you get a free appetizer. I have always wished it was a salad but it doesn’t work that way. Instead, I got the onion rings with the idea that I would either have just one (or two) or take all of them home. Well, I had 3 small ones then took the remainder home and put them in the freezer. When we came home I checked the A’s website and I found all of my food except that there was no listing for sodium. I guessed and this morning I weighed 271 lbs. However, since then I had a very difficult BM (to pass) and I have eaten about 1/3 of my daily calories. After my nap, I weighed again and that was what I weighed. I am hoping that is only a 2 lb “gain” from having eaten already today. If we would eaten a restaurant meal four hours earlier it might not have affected my morning weight “gain”.  I just had another thought: I could compare notes with other restaurants and use theirs as a gauge for the sodium. It is better than guessing.

I went on GC’s website but I noticed that their restaurant seems to be more heavy-handed with sodium although I did write down similar food items for comparison. I had written down some of the other entrees that A’s have and I noticed that their sodium level was lower than GC. However, these were also “diet” entrees which I would think they have made an effort to lower calories, sodium and fat. I did some “ballparking” and after several calculations, tentatively, I have come up with what I think seems reasonable levels of sodium based on comparing with other entrees they have listed with the complete information. Well, no such luck so all I can do is gauge how the scales reads the next morning for now.

On a different topic, I also got a very heavy period early this evening. I started out with some strong cramps and the bleeding progressed over a period of hours. I passed a lot of larger clots and I’ve been bleeding very heavily for about four hours. Every time I get up from this chair, I feel more “come out”. It’s kept me busy changing my clothes, cleaning up and doing additional loads of laundry. I am not sure I am out of the woods yet. I plan on going to sleep within a half hour so I hope that this begins to taper off. One thing that I also hope is that this will help my Monday morning weigh in. I suspect that there was more sodium in the meal I had Saturday night than I suspected. Also, today I had 1000 calories in “fun size” Snickers bars. I logged all but 320 calories of those. I just couldn’t admit that I went 400 calories over my top of my range. It’s enough to log what I did log. Although I have been hungry since 9 pm, I decided to wait until 2 am to have a sandwich, skim milk and an apple. It can go on Monday’s food log although it may/may not affect my weigh in. So, right now, I am hoping that this heavy period will give me a 2 lb lose although it is not showing up on the scales right now. I know. I have weighed every time I go into the bathroom.

I’ve agreed to another “challenge” with another group. I had joined one of their challenges last summer. I started too with a “decluttering” one but it just seemed too overwhelming to me. I really don’t have that much to declutter although I certainly have quite a bit to do that I have been procrastinating on.

Ideally, I would also like to begin exercising again on a daily basis. Also, I need to switch out my cold weather wardrobe with my warm weather wardrobe. Somewhere in the midst of all that I would also like to finish up the painting that I began in here about a month ago.

I hate to admit this but the past couple of weeks I have spent almost all of my waking hours here at the computer and it was mostly playing online games. My sleep has settled down into a more familiar pattern of going to bed before 3 am the past several nights but I am still having difficulty sleeping more than four hours at a time. I took a long nap earlier this evening but I didn’t feel well. Between the cramps and my allergies, I just wanted to lay down.

4/11/11:

I am very happy to say that I was able to put down my “official” weight today as 267.2 lbs!! However, getting there was quite the ordeal from yesterday’s 271 lb. (and I am assuming the added sodium in the evening meal we had at A’s). I began bleeding around 5 pm but it started out slowly then built up momentum. At one point for several hours, I was changing my super maxi overnight pads every half hour. I was passing a lot of clots each time that I bled as well.  I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I felt I was able to go to bed and get some sleep. I lost 3.8 lbs during that time. That is a lot of body fluids. I was so weak when I went to bed. I slept for about 3 1/2 hours before I got up. I had to change then too. I had a light breakfast, posted everything on my different groups and went back to bed. I was able to sleep for another 5 1/2 hours. I had a late afternoon lunch and then I returned to sleep for another 3 1/2 hours. So, I slept a total of 12 1/2 hours!! That isn’t even including the sleep that I had on Sunday. I still weak but nothing like I did earlier today. I don’t know how many more periods like that I can handle.

4/14/11:

My early am weight is 270.4 lbs. I think this reflects that I ate 600-900 extra calories over the top of my calorie range. I slept well last night although I hope to return to bed soon for a few hours more before I “get movin” for the day. If I can stay within my calorie range the next several days, drink the water that I have been drinking and maybe even fit in some physical activity, I might see that 265.6 lb that I saw the other day. I hope so.

Last night, while Paul was at choir practice, I began reading the Beck Diet Solution. To me, this seemed so familiar that I am almost certain that I tried doing this book before. I am going to follow it as the author wants you to. So, last night, I made up Advantage/Response cards. These are single sentences that I am to read several times a day, much like subliminal programming, to assist me in developing the “resistance” to avoid eating for all the wrong reasons. I feel really pleased that I did not allow myself to eat more than a cold chicken sandwich and some raw vegetables for a light supper, even though I knew that they would push my calorie limit over the 2100 peak. I felt that if I hadn’t eaten that, I might have felt too hungry and overeaten later, usually less healthier choices, thus boomeranging and potentially widening the calorie gap even more. I think, that decision and subsequent action, would be considered following the BDS philosophy.

I also still stuck to the fruit/vegetables servings yesterday. Today, I decided to start trying to stay within 45-60 carb grams per “sitting”. That is what is recommended for diabetics to manage their blood sugar. I wore my pedometer and even though I sat a lot I did manage to take 1100 steps. Anything under 2500 is considered sedentary but I’m not fooling myself. I am sedentary. At least, for now.

Well, the game is still on. I made my goal of losing 20 lbs by Memorial Day and I am still going to do that. That could/would put me at 250 lb or less. I would like to see if I can scan our most recent portrait (for our church directory) onto a Photo Shop page on the computer, crop it and then save it to my flash drive so I could upload it as my avatar for both 3FC and BLC. Even though my double chin was “touched up”, I still think that it looks enough like me right now that I would like to add it as my most recent photo for both sights. I am also going to keep updated photos of me on both sites as I lose the weight. 10% of my weight would be 27 lbs. which would 249 lbs or by Memorial Day.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

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