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.

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.]