Weigh less=eating less as well

Posted by lettucelose on February 20th, 2012 |Filed Under Calorie Counting | 39 Comments

Week of August 30, 2011:

I am really glad that August is almost over. In fact, both P. and I are glad that the summer months are drawing to an end. Mostly because of the excessive heat that we have had this past summer (as well as most of the country) but also because this has been an achingly slow summer for P’s work. This past weekend, a full time employee of C’s, B, fell off a ladder and injured his back. P  is getting his tunings for this coming week. Nothing has been said about anything beyond this week. I am assuming they are waiting to hear how B is doing and how soon he will be able to return to work. It is an unfortunate thing for B but a “lucky break” for P and I. P was thrilled to death. I know he likes being busy but I also think he feels “needed” and his first loyalty still lies with CM.

We will do our best to “save” as much of this extra income as we can. As life would have it, additional expenses seem to “pop up”. P has a doctor’s appointment at the end of this month which will be another added expense. I would like to sign up for the tax preparation course (since I allowed a lapse of a year from taking continuing ed courses and now have to take it over again) if I am able to.  I would also like to go to a Tuesday morning Bible Study course. I am now thinking that might be possible! P and I have discussed it. He seems less willing to give up use of the car on Tuesday mornings because he is concerned about how he would get to CM but, maybe, it would be time for me to learn how to drive on the interstate system here. I could drop him off if the bus system doesn’t take me all the way there. I promised him I would check the  transit schedule to see what is available over that way.

On a side note: It has been three weeks since I began this BLC “Buddy Challenge”. I am very glad that I did. I have received as much from it as I given back. I needed to push myself a little harder and really make a more serious commitment to my weight lose efforts. It doesn’t take much for me to push myself regarding exercising since I really do like to do just that–push myself physically. What I do have a much more difficult time is pushing myself regarding my food plan. For one thing, I love to eat out and it doesn’t take much persuasion on my part for P. to follow my lead. It is our chance to break free of our daily routine and do something “socially and as a couple”. When I was much heavier, eating out was one of the few social activities I could do because it was just too hard for me to get around physically. I am still struggling to walk much for distance but I am feeling better about how I look and that has increased my confidence in venturing out socially.

I am not avoiding getting out in public like I once did. First of all, not only do I have clothes that both fit and look good on me, but I don’t experience as much physical discomfort in smaller spaces, like our car, or just moving in general. I can move with more ease and less pain. I am also sleeping better as a result of having less pain. That also gives me additional energy but also a better frame of mind. All of this has been a direct result of me consistently working out day in and day out for this past summer. I am now seeing the connection between my eventual maintenance of the weight I have lost and being more active. If I can choose more options other than eating out, then I won’t feel the need to fall back on that as my only “social activity”. In regards to my relationship with Paul, I try to remind myself not to substitute this experience as our only chance to be “intimate or close emotionally”. This was the trap that C., my former husband, and I fell into and all it did was make us both fat and it may have contributed to me feeling more and more isolated in that marriage.

Starting in September,  I/we will have more opportunities for us to do other social activities together as a couple without food being at the center of those activities. Again, that will disengage the connection I had from the past when eating out was the one of the few social activities we did together. I am very intent on breaking free of old eating habits because I see this “lifestyle change” as something that involves a whole lot more than just what I eat or don’t eat. I am now seeing the “significance” of me joining that Tuesday morning Bible study, for example, as yet another way to relate to other people besides “food”. This NH career counselor said that church would be an excellent “network” source and that she encouraged me to “utilize” that since someone might know someone who might know someone that is hiring.

Although it is hard to say whether the 10:30 Mass traditional choir will change their members or not depending on who is hired for this new Music Director position but I have almost made up my mind that if /when it is all settled, I would like to re-join the choir. I told P. this morning that I would prefer these newer hymnals simply because all they do have is the melody and for me that would be easier for me to follow; at least, initially. I think that the existing choir members have their own preference but without a music director that will comply with that, what will they do?  P said he would remain with the choir but he wouldn’t be as happy and there have been a few people who said that they might not remain. Although I do appreciate the sacred music, it is much more complex musically and to the uninitiated (of which I am one) it is intimidating to master. I am sure that someday when I am able to learn a musical instrument, I will prefer to sing it but, for the purpose of getting back into that, I would prefer the “easier route”.

In fact, in just the past couple of days, I have decided that I am going to make a “comeback” socially. I am very determined to break free of some of the ingrained food-centric habits I have developed in the past years. I am also not going to “sign up” for things that I really don’t have some kind of interest in as well. This is about doing things I enjoy doing and that I will be doing with them with others.

Well, I have decided to make this my “Day of Rest” instead of it being Wednesday as previously planned. I just don’t “feel like” doing the RS DVD today. Since, yesterday’s activities sort of dwarfed my work out plans, I decided that I would bump my lower body workout to my D.O.R. (day of rest) so I will do that today. Instead, I “feel like” working in our closet. Now, that I have considerably thinned out my side of the closet, I have turned to P’s side. Since I am home all day, I feel kind of bad when his side has been such a mess and I haven’t even bothered to organize it. Well, I stopped for about an hour to do just that. I also both washed and dried a peasant skirt in hot water/heat with the hope of shrinking it somewhat. Then, I trimmed one tier to make it less “draggy” and more “flouncy”.  The nice thing is that I don’t have to hem that since the lace border is “bound off”. Now, the hemline grazes my upper calf and I do think some of the “bulk” seems less. It is a cute print and definitely trans-seasonal. In fact, it might be what I will wear either this coming Sunday or to our first Friday night Bible study, which is a pot luck. I need to go to a fabric store and get some notions asap.

I have decided that I am going to label P’s side of the closet so that it might get him to put things back in an orderly manner. One distinct advantage to that is he will know where things are. It was just so messy that I would have a hard time finding anything to wear, if it were me. Also, we need to go clothes shopping for him; especially for work clothes. He needs a new pair of athletic shoes as well. In fact, he seriously needs a new pair. Note: on a fluke, when we stopped at a local mall, I saw an athletic shoe store and pulled him in there. We bought a really nice pair right there on the spot. He was beaming when he left the store.

In the meantime, I have some things around here that I can and need to do. I am hoping though that I will make the best use of my time; better than I have done so in the past. I am really trying though to create a balance in my daily routine, ideally, not spending an inordinate amount of time on any one activity. Again, the end goal is creating a balance in my life that will hopefully spill over into my food plan and my approach to the lifetime change of both weight lose but weight lose maintenance. I think that one of the reasons why most people do not either lose the weight or keep it off is that they don’t see the role of excess food plays in their life. The only way that I will know that is to see where there are “voids” in my life. What is missing in my life? What am I filling with excess food? Well, I may not be going about all of this in a clear linear way but I am making in-roads in closing the gaps in my life overall.

Well, once again I managed to go over on the sodium today. I stopped eating my meal from D.’s for that very reason. I wasn’t very hungry at the time either but I divided it in half and then I froze the other half. I did have spaghetti with meat sauce and, of course, the meat sauce is what carries all the sodium. I have decided that from now on I am going to make my own tomato sauce so I can save from eating a huge amount of sodium. Anything canned or jarred always has a lot of sodium! If I am really going to see a real steady drop in weight then I am really going to have to get a handle on the amount of sodium that I ingest on a daily basis. I went through this with canned vegetables and now I need to follow through on some of these other “convenience” foods.

Speaking of sodium, I believe that I am retaining another possible 5 lbs due to all of the restaurant meals that I have been having last week. So, I decided that based on that “hunch”, I moved my ticker down on 3FC and I changed my weight on the online scales on BLC. Well, tonight when I was logging my evening meal, I so happened to glance up and notice that my caloric range has been dropped down to 1400-1800 calories!! BLC changes your caloric range when you have reached either a certain weight or a certain BMI percentage. I can’t remember which it is.  Well, if my “hunch” wasn’t correct, by the time I begin sticking to these lower calories, it will be. At first, I was stunned but as I have thought about it, I do recall last summer when I “thought” (according to that old spring scale I used) that I was indeed at 255 lbs (or around that same number) and sure enough the caloric range was dropped.

Last summer,  I really did try to stick to the lower range and I was “rewarded” with more weight lose. However, I also remember  watching t.v. and feeling very hungry for most of the evening. At times, it really felt like I was white knuckling it.  I found that more often than not I did end up going over. I did tell P. about this and I said “Now, it is going to look like I am dieting because I will be basically eating half of what I have been eating and I will be making some tough choices when I go out to restaurants.” Now, I am going to know what it feels like to diet like most of the BDG does. I have often read how they have really struggled with making some really tough choices while eating out. In the meantime, here I am eating just about whatever I want. Well, those days are behind me. However, I should also look at the “silver lining” in this. I am at a weight now where I am consuming less calories because my body weighs less. It’s a trade-off.  Even in the BDS, Dr. Beck says that most people eat an average of 1500 calories a day in order to lose weight.

Well, it is a good thing that I caught it when I did. Sheer luck actually. Now, I am really going to have to watch portion sizes more stringently than ever before. It would be very wise if I didn’t have empty calories very often. I am also going to have to re-introduce myself to the salad bar. I didn’t get any answers from anyone in the BDG about whether anyone had deducted a specific amount of calories eaten for a specific amount of calories burned. Either they didn’t see my question, they don’t know or they aren’t willing to say whether they do or not. There are many in the group who have lost over 70 lbs. You don’t do something like that without some sacrifices along the way.

Well, I am going to have to tighten up my efforts a bit from now on. Fortunately, I caught this while I was doing my evening meal.Then, when P. told me that we only had one bag of our favorite microwave popcorn left, the reality of having to reduce my portions by half had to begin right then and there. Probably the toughest choices will be when we go out to eat. At least, initially until I can determine how much I can eat while keeping the calories low. Since no one answered my question, I am going to answer it myself. If my pedometer says I have burned “x-amount” of calories that day then I am going to deduct that from my overall food plan. I will remove the item that is the closest in calories to that amount that is burned. In spite of being relatively sedentary today, I still managed to burn off the equivalent of an apple. I am eager to see how many calories a typical RS workout burns. I am hoping that my pedometer picks up on that “movement”.

Once again, I will probably go through a couple of days where my stomach will have to adjust to having less food in it. As I was telling P., I have read (listened) to the BDG members talk about how they “work around” social events all the time with their food plan. Many are very successful at doing so. I hate to admit that for the most part I just eat and then try to eat less when I return home. That strategy is going to have to be scrapped. It wasn’t really working all that great anyway. I was eating way over 2100 calories most of the time. I am surprised that I lost what I have lost. I attribute that more to eating less than I was and that I have been increasing the amount of exercising that I do.

Well, on the bright side, I should definitely see those numbers start to go down again instead of this back and forth that I have been experiencing. Initially, I was hoping that I might break the 250s and be in the 240s by the end of this “Buddy Challenge” but now, I am wondering if I could possibly break the 240s and be 239 lbs by October 8th. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I haven’t weighed that since fall of 1983!!  Well, all I can say is, I will do my best to stay within these caloric limits, exercise, get back into the habit of drinking more water and, of course, eating the vegetables and fruits.

In fact, I had the realization this evening that what I have been doing is more “dabbling” at dieting. How can I even call eating 2400 calories+ anything but going off my food plan, if nothing more than eating too much? How easy it is to fool myself! I am not burning enough calories to reduce my caloric count down to 2100 calories. Not even!! I would have to be doing the entire hour of RS giving it everything I had to come close to that. Well, it is a good thing then that my daily caloric range was reduced, even if I pushed it prematurely. It jolted me into knuckling down when it comes to my food plan.

I think there is a part of me that wants to make it look like what I do is “effortless” but that isn’t so. Plus, I am doing a discredit to myself if I allow others to think about it that way. I have set my mind to this and for the most part I am following through well. However, I haven’t done as well with my food plan. It is my one weakness. I like to eat a lot more than is allowed to lose weight. If I were a marathon runner or really active athlete I might be able to eat like I do but I’m not. I have limitations because of my knees and that is also going to limit how many calories I can effectively burn through exercise alone. I read some of these people’s posts where they say they burn over 3000 calories per day. If that were the case they wouldn’t need to be losing weight. There would be no extra weight to lose. Maybe, I read that wrong because she does do a physical job as a certified nursing assistant but I think she might mean steps which is not the same as calories. None of us in this group is as active as we need to be. The only person whom I think is really being active is T. and she walks marathons and yet she still struggles to lose weight. I also thought that was “weird” but then she doesn’t post how many calories she eats in a given day or whether she is eating fruits/vegetables, etc.

I did a 15 minute mile and walked 3 miles a day, 5 days week for nearly 7 years and I never lost one pound! I often wondered why but I never did anything about the calories that I was eating. My muscles were toned and I had no cellulite whatsoever in my body but I was still medically obese at 245 lbs.

Well, before I start “scrutinizing” what others are doing, I’d better see how I handle some challenges that will be coming up from now on. The first one will be tomorrow. If I choose to make my homemade pizza, which still can be done in a healthy way, I will have to limit myself to less portions. I have whiting fillets thawed out that we can also have for our dinner tomorrow night. We do have both plenty of fruits/vegetables so all of this is doable. I did tell P. though that within the next couple of days we are going to need to go to the grocery store. How much we will be able to spend will depend on what he gets from S.. He is expecting a really nice size check but let’s hope that they are forthcoming with that.

Boy, this has been a couple of really “emotionally powerful” days!  I am both “ready” for it but also sort of “stunned” at the same time.  However, I just can’t sit on this. I have to take all of this and see what I can do with it.

8/31/11:

Well, the “big news” for my day is that since my recommended caloric range is now 1400-1800 calories, I need to get up to speed on just how I “number  crunch”. I decided that I would post as honestly as I can about this transition on both of the groups I report to. I also presented an idea for a “pairs” Buddy Challenge that would run through the “food holidays”. I also asked the BLC group if I could join them after this Buddy Challenge is over. This may sound rather “arrogant” but I can honestly see that I have a lot to give there and maybe if I were a daily presence, I could end up being a “present” to them. If anything, I will admit that I have tried harder since signing up for this BC so it definitely has benefited me as well. It has made me rethink about what I am doing right but what I can also do “better”: for instance, I really “should” make more of an effort to drink more H2O, I “should” really try to not eat sugar (I am usually pretty good but I have had my indiscretions like the whole bag of chocolate-cover almonds last weekend), and, the biggest, I just plain haven’t stayed within my calorie range but a few rare times. I love to exercise but I hate to “diet”. I just do.

I mentioned this to my BDG since they have known my personal habits the most intimately over a period of six months. I know that many of them have struggled to make healthy choices in the most trying of situations where I have just eaten a lot of some healthy foods and some “questionable” foods. Well, now I have a new motivator: staying within my calorie range for real, for serious and, ideally, for every day!

I decided that I just have felt like I’ve been dragging for the past couple of days so I would take another “Day of Rest” from any strength or cardio exercising. I will need to come back strong though tomorrow. Part of the reason was I really had hoped I would finish our bedroom. I am making in-roads but it seems like 45-60 minutes and I am “done”. I feel good though that I got P.’s side a lot more thinned out and organized. I also switched around my warm weather sandals for the cooler weather shoes. If I would do this at the beginning of each change of season: cold to warm and warm to cold, I think I would actually wear a lot more of the things I do own. In fact, I know that I would. I really do have some nice choices to pick from too. I simply forget that I have them if they are stored away in a plastic bin. Let’s hope “moving forward” that doesn’t happen anymore. I can actually “visualize” more outfit combinations now that I can actually see them in front of me.

Well, I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped but maybe tomorrow and Friday I can finish it up so that I can say “Finally, I am done in here with all of that”. Then, I can actually resume my work here in this room. I would really like to get all of this done by the end of September, if at all possible. I have a feeling things might start getting busy by then and it would simply be nice to know that this stuff is done and I can devote my attention to other things instead.

P. will busy for the next couple of days but I am hoping that by Friday night we can return to our garden and plant the seeds for our winter garden. It seems silly to call it that when we are still having upper 80s-low 90s high temps during the day. I mean, that would be considered ideal growing weather in MN. I still want to buy another big bag of organic soil provided Lowe’s is still carrying it. In a way it seems like there is a lot going on right now but yet when I look at what I accomplished during the day I think I really didn’t do that much either. A lot of it is odds n ends too. Hang a picture, continue painting the stuff on the porch, organize and give away the unneeded clothing, etc. Some day I hope all of this will be finished though.

I ended up making a really good meal for dinner tonight. I breaded and sauteed some whiting fillets and sauteed some chopped spinach. Yes, I used margarine to cook the fish in and added it to the spinach. First of all, I am out of canola oil and I was concerned that the olive oil might be too strong of a flavor for the more delicate taste of the fish. Paul loved it and so did I. Yes, there was some trans fat in the margarine but I figured that the amount that I used spread over the entire spinach dish really made it negligible.  Splitting hairs, maybe, but I don’t do this very often and it was quite tasty. Once again, I was able to eat under 1800 calories although it was close. For me, this is a big deal since I am more accustomed to eating around 2300-2400 calories every day.

I am worried about when I am eating out since that is so easy to overeat. Also, when I am hungry for long enough time I also have to really be careful not to want to grab the first thing so I am not hungry. “Hunger may not be an emergency”, according to Dr. Beck but it can be a very compelling reason to want to eat. I have an idea of what I probably will eat tomorrow. Since I have both a fresh tomato and some cooked spinach, I am going to make the scrambled eggs with those, topped with some feta cheese. It is yummy! What a flavorful dish. I also hope that I can make some whole wheat muffins. Since our bananas are already starting to turn, I do think that I will add one of those to my muffin recipe. I also have a can of pinto beans out for the same reason. Depending on if P. wants eggs tomorrow for breakfast, I might also make those oatmeal scones but use chopped prunes in those instead of raisins since I have the prunes. I will probably make my favorite “from scratch” homemade pizza. I think, this time I am going to reduce the sodium usually present in the tomato sauce by slicing my fresh tomatoes thinly and adding that to the pizza. I can also add the spinach to that as well. I have some ground turkey “patties” that I will probably crumble up and put on the pizzas. This time though I am only going to have one of the personal pans instead of both like I did last week.

Ideally, I would also like to see how well I could do a RS workout. Mostly, I want to see how many calories I can burn while doing one. If it is more than a couple of hundred than it becomes a really valuable “tool” for me to use in terms of having more flexibility with my food plan, especially if I plan it a day before, during or after going out to eat. It means that I can actually enjoy eating more knowing that it will be worked off. I know that working out is so key to burning off the extra calories so it is something that I have to keep continuing to push to do no matter how I feel. In the past, I have seen its impact on both increasing my metabolism but also it “covers a lot of sins”.

Well, I am very hungry right now. I am eating an apple simply because I burned 52 calories yesterday and this is 74 calories. I will have a cup of milk with my Ex Tylenol PM soon and then I will go to bed. I am sure that I will wake up tomorrow hungry so I know exactly what I will be making right away. Maybe, I can also do the baking right away as well. We really need to go grocery shopping but I actually think we could wait until Friday sometime.

I realize that Dr. Beck says that “hunger is not an emergency” but boy it is also tough to sweat it out too. I have been hungry for close to five hours and this apple is helping somewhat but I am sure that I will be up quite early simply because an empty stomach will awaken me!  Hopefully, my stomach will adapt to the fewer calories within a day or so. Again, it will be quite a feat of self-discipline to work my way through the different mazes that eating out has. If I can get up enough courage, I might ask for a take-out container right away when I order and divide the meal in half  like I do when I have P. bring me D.’s. In fact, it would even be a great way to build some tasty meals straight from the freezer. I have half of a D.’s meal in the freezer right now. I have done that with my homemade muffins and I love that I can take one out, it is already cooked and reheat it in the microwave. Besides, saving a lot of time, it just is nice to be able to have the immediate convenience of that as well.

9/1/11:

Although I have eaten just under 1800 calories for the past three days, I haven’t budged on the scales at all. In fact, I gained .6 lbs!! I haven’t had a BM yet today so that might explain that but I was so hungry last night that it really surprises me. I was listening to the banter regarding allowing yourself to indulge sometime in the middle of the week and then eat less the last day  or so before our Monday weigh-in. Well, last Sunday I wanted to eat Chinese so badly, I didn’t care about the weigh-in on Monday. I was quite hungry as well Sunday evening but I figured that if I didn’t eat that would counteract the earlier MSG meal. Not so! I gained! I figured that it was sodium-induced so I just shrugged it off. Well, although my sodium intake is still much higher (hovering around 3000 mg) than I would like it to be, eating less should “register” a lose eventually. I weigh everyday and I record it. My “persistent” pattern has been “higher calories/higher sodium”. From now on, I hope to seriously change that. [NOTE: I have also noticed  by keeping the sodium under 2000 mg that I can actually eat between 1800-2000 calories and see a drop in weight! Interesting?]

Well, I have decided that since BLC has reduced my recommended daily calories from now on, I am really going to try hard to stay under 1800 calories. I am going to have to think about other lunch alternatives so I can avoid the “sodium trap” that processed lunch meat and other typical lunch type foods have. I am going to start buying fresh tomatoes with the sole purpose of making sauce from them. I haven’t done that in decades but that was all I used to do when I lived in St. Paul. I probably bought my first jarred spaghetti sauce in the late 90s. I could buy deli meat but then I am not sure what the caloric breakdown is. I am not sure if the person behind the counter has that kind of information or not. I am getting to the point where I don’t like to take risks on certain foods that you have to guess-estimate the calories and nutrient breakdown. It is possible but it is a lot of extra work. Again, probably the best bet is to cook it up myself and then we just take pieces from a whole roast, chicken, etc. I am also going to need to start eating more raw vegetables and salads for lunch too.

I think today I will end up going over my 1800 calories. I had a higher caloric breakfast than I intended. I had a two egg omelet with spinach and tomatoes, 2 slices of whole wheat cinnamon toast, one turkey patty (seasoned to taste like pork sausage), skim milk and red grapes. Before that would have been substantial but it also would have fallen nicely into my former caloric range. Not any more. I could have had half of everything and it would have fallen better into my present caloric range. Well, there will involve a learning curve regarding this. There is no other way to say that. The good thing is that I will be at this level probably right on down to my goal weight. It might drop down to 1100-1400 as I get closer but by then I will be active enough where I can still eat at the top of the range. Speaking of which, I have been wanting to try RS workout. I remembered it being demanding but my left knee was what really gave me a lot of trouble. I burned around 66 calories for 20 minutes. If I did the complete 60 minutes, I would end up burning 198 calories, which is what BLC recommends.

I think, what I will do is go back and forth between walking on the treadmill and doing that workout. Both hurt my knees but, at least, on the treadmill I can hang onto the hand rails for balance and when I get really tired. When I get too tired doing a workout, I have a tendency to sit down for a few minutes. Not exactly the best thing to do. Still, so I can build up my stamina, I am going to go back and forth between the two. It is also good for your body to do that since it doesn’t get used to the same use of the same muscles.

P. came home around 4:00 p.m. I was just so tired from not sleeping very well last night (wondering if I would lose any weight) and then I just felt like I was dragging all today. I did manage to vacuum most of the apartment, put a load in the washer, load the dishwasher and make myself some meals but after doing that RS workout, I was really tired. I laid down for about 90 minutes and I really didn’t want to get up either. I am going to bed earlier than 3 a.m. tonight. I have been doing that the past couple of nights and although it wasn’t bothering me before it has seemed to the past couple of days. I have been thinking about this whole diet and exercise thing and I actually had a revelation that I think will serve me well. It is not what a lot of people would want to have but I think it is probably the most realistic thought I have had about this whole thing.

I think when a lot of us are faced with the idea that this will take a long time and will take a lot of change and effort on our part; we lose our initial flush of enthusiasm. I think from one perspective that is understandable but  what is the alternative? Stay unhealthily heavy? So, I think, somehow, I am going to have to find that reserve that will continue to propel me on no matter what. Right now, I just wish my knees were in better shape so that the exercising part would be easier. However, it wasn’t my knees today that were holding me back. I simply didn’t have the stamina to really give it everything. I got pooped fast. Not quite as fast as in the past but I was quite tired within 10-15 minutes. I also felt really clumsy. The nice thing about walking on the treadmill is that I can hang onto the hand rails when I get tired but I can still keep walking so I am still able to continue but then my knees really start to hurt. I think, all of this is telling me that no matter how much I would like to push myself, my body is saying it has limits and it is going to let me know what those are. So, whether I would like to be a “superstar” when it comes to working out, my body is telling me that this is going to be the “speed” at which I do this, whether I like it or not. For the time being, I am just going to have to be satisfied with what I can do. It won’t stop me from continuing to increase the intensity but I might not be increasing it as much or as often.

I am also going to go back to my original idea: doing 3-10 minute sessions on the treadmill. As much as I find RS fun to do, I am just not able to move around as quickly as they can although I noticed that some of the people who are doing the workout are not throwing themselves into it as easily as those people closer to an ideal weight. In other words, I am moving 100+ lbs more than they are. I have to accept that fact and realize that I am not going to be able to do things as vigorously as they do, no matter how much I love the upbeat music and overall fun nature of his workouts. Still, it gets back to what I have said to others and need to remind myself: focus on what I can do because I have been quite successful with building muscle which does burn more calories. The added benefit is that muscle takes up less space and you also look more fit since your muscles are toned which is a more attractive appearance overall.  Again, I will just have to keep working at losing the weight and staying within the recommended calorie range that BLC suggests. I went on another site and it confirms that with my present weight, 1800 calories is about what I need to eat each day to lose weight. Of course, as I lose weight that will have to decrease either through my calories I consume or the activity I am able to do. However, I will pull out RS once a week and do that as an alternative. It does get to be boring to walk on the treadmill although 10 minutes at a time is a lot more doable than 30 minutes; at least for the time being it is. I also think doing RS might be a good gauge to see how I am improving my stamina. I have to remember that I have been inactive for quite a long time and it will take time for me to build up my aerobic capacity again.

So, what I am saying is that to keep doing what I am doing in terms of my building muscle and getting some walking on the treadmill so I am burning calories as well. The food plan is just something that I am going to have to deal with day in and day out. It might take me one year to lose all of this weight or two years but considering that I have been obese since 1983 (28 years ago), what is a few more years to get back to my normal weight?? It is nothing and I need to learn to be patient with the process.

I still have a lot of social anxiety when it comes to events with food as part of the “event”. Dr. Beck goes into some detail on how to handle situations like this but I will admit that it does take a very disciplined, well thought out and careful plan in order to navigate the buffet line. There are so many different possibilities a person can and often does take. I can eat a lot less that day and/or exercise more so that I can enjoy whatever others are bringing to share. I know what P. would like! I could make some baked chicken parts—like drumsticks or small thighs. Then, I could bring a large tossed salad, some fresh fruit maybe and maybe some of my muffins. At least, that way P. gets something he likes to eat and I can fill up on healthier foods and probably indulge a little in some sweets. (see, I never stop thinking entirely about what is for dessert). I often wonder if this will always be the case. If I were a weight loss student, these “clinical” situations would probably garner me a D+. Others do this a lot better than I do.

Now, that I have lost enough weight where BLC has lowered my recommended calorie range, I have to be even more careful than I would have been in the past when I had an extra 300 calories to “spend”. When I hear about some people who are eating less than 1400 calories a day, I think someday I will be there as well (hopefully) and how will I do that? Do I “nurse” a bottle of water all night? I am really feeling the sense of deprivation these days. Is it more psychological than physical? Probably.

Well, I did my lower body strength exercises late but they got done. I decided that since I hadn’t  done them in several days that this would be a good time to increase the intensity. So, I added 1 more set of 15 reps. I am now doing 3 sets of 15 reps. It was doable although I felt like I had really worked out afterwards. Tomorrow I will do the same with the upper body strength exercises. I will add 1 set of 15 reps so I will be doing 3 sets of 15 reps. By the time that becomes comfortable, then I will increase my hand weights to 5 lbs, which I think my silver ones are. So, I should be set for weights for another month or so. Then, I will move up to 8 lbs and probably stop there. At least, that is what the author of “Abs n Arms” suggested. However, “we’ll see”; maybe, I will want to increase the weights further. I guess, it will depend on the progress I am making in terms of toning up and developing real strength.

I did take some time out before P. got home to go through some more clothes of mine. I tried on several outfits. He came home just about the time I was trying on one particular outfit. He looked me over and said “Boy, you are losing weight”. Well, sometimes it is hard for me to tell. I mostly can see it when I try on something that is smaller than the size I used to wear. If it “makes me” look smaller visually by either the style of the piece or the cut of the fabric, then I think, yeah, I am losing weight. I am really so glad that I have decided to get rid of all those huge sizes. So far, we have donated 14 large Hefty bags mostly full of my clothes. Interestingly, as I have both lost over 40 lbs now and I have dropped 1 1/2 dress sizes, my body image has changed to the point where I don’t want to “cover up” any more. I am more drawn to clothes that fit better. I swear I didn’t even do this consciously. It seemed to “evolve”.

I will say that I will try to alter as many of my favorites as I can but if it looks like I can’t, I will have to say “goodby”. I hated to give away my favorite denim jacket. Not only did it keep me warm but I really like how the fabric felt against my skin and it was so comfortable but even after putting it in both a hot washer and dryer, it was still loose on me. Then, I knew it was time to “let it go”.  I felt sad. It had become my “friend”. Now, when I look back, I never realized just how big I was nor how I looked to others. I “thought” that jacket made me look the way I “wanted” to look not the way I “really” looked. I just had a thought: what do most really large women wear as their “all purpose” back-up outfits: sweats and big loose t-shirts. I am working hard at getting as far away from that “look” as possible. Yes, trim athletic women do wear “active wear” but it is more tight-fitting and they have the figure to “carry it off”. So, the edict is: loose and baggy have got to go!! The next question is: so, what do I wear then?

Well, I have been looking at both the catalogs and different photos of the public appearances of different “celebrities” to just see what kinds of style-setters there are. I can say this: most Hollywood actresses only know how to dress for the Oscars. Other than that, they are really clueless during their “personal lives”. I do like though the fashion sense of the two Middleton sisters. It is lady-like, conservative but still there is some style to their choices. I was fortunate that I could C/P a lot of their photos so I could get some ideas. Now, for their age group, most people would consider their styles to be a little “aged” but for me, who will be 60 in two years, it is perfect! The length of their skirts might be too short for me to pull off and, in some instances, the height of their high heels, but other than that I do plan on “modeling” my newly emerging body image and appearance after their choices. I was surprised that the younger sister, Pippa, wears a lot of flats. Kate is definitely the prettier of the two but both have such a nice style to “imitate”. It makes my “job” that much easier. I had a good sense of fashion before I became so big but after you hit a certain weight it is just plain hard to really pull it together and feel good about it. Now, I believe I will once again. I really do look forward to that as well.

So, I am really taking all of this newly emerging body image quite seriously. I am not waiting until I am my goal weight either like most people do. I have “listened” to too many people on the 3FC’s threads to know that most of them don’t “invest” a lot in the sizes as they are reducing. Yes, it is and can be expensive but I have a lot more to lose and I may be in one particular size for a lot longer than one month, as some of them have mentioned. I will need to be replacing some of my pants simply because I don’t want to attempt to alter them on my own because of the construction involved in the pockets. On the other hand, I could just remove them or sew them shut and then take them in. I guess I will see how much money I have as I am losing weight.

9/2/11:

Well, finally, the scales showed the lower calories I have been ingesting for the past several days. I am back at 258.8 lbs. 43 lbs lost since June 4, 2010. [NOTE: In the fall and winter of 2010 I did not attempt to diet but simply to maintain by choice] If I don’t lose any more weight this weekend I will still keep my numbers on BLC “as is”. I have decided that I don’t want my “competitive” side of me to get in the way of what I really need to do: lose weight in a healthy manner.  After all, I don’t want to lose the weight and then re-gain it because I “relaxed” my efforts. I will do my best though to show the real lose and not “suppose” that there is a different weight lurking underneath the sodium “boat”, “stalled” BMs or too high of calories and put down a weight that hasn’t “come to pass”. I suspect that it was the higher calories/higher sodium that was to blame more than anything else.

Hopefully, from now on, “moving forward”, I will adhere to my food plan and my exercising and this won’t happen again—until I will need to reduce my daily caloric intake again. I am still hoping that I will be able to increase my activity level to the point where I can “subtract” those  “burned calories” so I can still eat a little higher than the lowest calories of my recommended range. I think, I could eventually handle 1400 calories but I really hope that I don’t have to go any lower. One of the BLC experts said he wouldn’t recommend not going any lower. I think, if I am burning the recommended 200 calories per day, which is the equivalent of walking on the treadmill for one hour, I should still be able to either eat 1600 calories or eat 1400 calories but “show” that I have only eaten 1200 after doing the workout. The key, of course, is doing the physical activity so I can eat the additional calories, which I am willing to do.

On the other hand, if it seems like I am getting too tired and I am not rebounding, taking a few days off won’t hurt either. I was a little nervous about doing that this past week but last night I did a very strong and hard lower body strength work-out and I felt good afterwards. Today, I feel more like I can push myself and that is what I have done; carefully. I have already walked twice for 10 minutes at a time. The first time, I took Ex-Tylenol before and then I iced my left knee for a full 30 minutes afterwards. I also iced it after the second time as well. In fact, I think I actually prefer doing this with the treadmill than the RS workout. I just feel like I am able to do more aerobically since I try to mix up the speed at which I am walking. I’ll come back to his workout at a later date when I either get tired of doing this or it seems like I need “a change”.

Well, I managed to do 3-10 minute sessions on the treadmill. The second and third ones actually weren’t “half bad” either. I had the idea of possibly working up to 6-10 minute sessions. It would amount to me needing to do one about every two hours but I think, at some point, it would be doable. Think of the overall health benefits I would get from doing that!! Well, that will take up a bit of time too and I am not sure if I will have the kind of schedule that will allow that 6x a week but I will move in that direction and see where it takes me. Since this feels really comfortable to do 3-10 minute sessions, I might switch to 4-10 minute sessions mid-week next week. We’ll see. I would be very surprised if I were able to lose more than a couple of pounds over the weekend but you never know. Ideally, it would be nice if I were the number that I have recorded-255 lbs–but that might come later in the week. Again, we’ll just have to see how things go. I would love to break through to the 240s by the end of September-first part of October. That would mean that I would be at a weight I haven’t seen since the mid-80s—thirty years ago!!   When I hit the 230s, I will be at a weight I haven’t been since fall 1991 (briefly when I was on NS) and then again when I started college at the University of MN in 1983.  When I hit 200 lbs and a little less, I can say that I haven’t been that since early summer 1983.

Sitting here, I have no idea what I will have to do to get to those numbers either. I think that I will lose some weight for awhile at the level I am at but there will come a time when the weight lose will stall and then I will have to consider what I can do next. I am fairly confident that if I do these smaller increments of walking on the treadmill I will be able to increase the amount of times I do the walking. It all adds up and, from what I have read, it still counts; whether I do it in smaller segments or all at once. As for the lower calories; well, I guess, I will just see what will be demanded of me.

9/3/11:

I was able to lose another .6 lbs. I might be able to lose another .6 lbs by Monday’s weight in but I doubt whether I will get to 255 lbs to match what I currently have posted as my “official” weigh in. Well, I will just hold tight and leave it at that and eventually it will drop below that even. I would like to have my picture taken when I have lost 50 lbs which would be 251.8 lbs. That could be another month!! Oh, well, if it is, it is. I will say this, all the working out that I do will definitely show more by then. I think what I will have my picture taken in is: the really short knit Danskin Now active wear shorts and one of their form fitting t-shirts. There is some spandex in the material and so they hug the body more. I’ll wear my athletic shoes too. One person in the BLC group asked me to post a photo of me. I am hoping that I can find my USB cord to my camera so I can do just that. When I do post my picture, I think I will surprise a few people too!! Except for my blasted pot belly, I am really showing a lot of toned muscles. Maybe, I can do more lower ab work so that it gets flatter by then. I could see if I can get through one of those Pilates workouts!! That might really shape up that area faster.

Today, we went to GC for lunch and then grocery shopping. We hadn’t been to the store in almost two weeks. Although, I knew that I wanted to spend “more”, I was also aware that we still had limited money. However, it ended up being $158!! We did buy a lot of meat: chicken, turkey and fish. I think, we spent around $25 of that on non-grocery items. I wanted to spend even more but I knew that what we had bought was “enough” for now.  My left  knee was bothering me so I decided to use the electric cart. I really prefer that since it makes getting around so much easier and more relaxing. When I got home, I both iced my knee and took some Ex-Tylenol. That has become my standard “procedure” for dealing with this. I was able to get in 2-10 minutes “walks” on the treadmill. I took a nap after we prayed our novena rosary just because I didn’t really fall asleep last night until nearly 4 a.m. I have been having some trouble falling asleep this past week.  I’m not really sure why. I have only taken a nap once or twice too and that was only for an hour at most.

[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.]

Wolves In Sheep Clothing

Posted by lettucelose on January 31st, 2012 |Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Response to Readers | 30 Comments

Dear Readers:

First of all I want to thank each and everyone of you who are reading my diet blog. Secondly, I do appreciate when you take time out of your own busy lives to respond and leave comments. I have thought long and hard about how to handle your responses. This is my response to your responses.

I am currently active participant in two online diet support groups. I have been active in one group on 3FC for over a year. I have been active in some other groups on another site, Biggest Loser Club, for close to 18 months. In the fall of 2011, I made the decision to “resign” from two other  BLC groups so that I could create and “host” another online diet support group on that same site. Besides, my own personal life and desire to work on my own weight issues, I am also aiding others in finding their own “success” in their own personal weight loss efforts. I am finding that this is not only my “calling” but also my gift. I feel blessed to have been given this opportunity and I want to give it my “very best”.

In the past, I have said “Yes” first and then spent having an anxiety attack wondering how I was going to keep and honor my commitments. No more! I have always wanted to give my best to whatever venture that I have undertaken. In my “old age”, I am realizing that I do not want to dilute myself to the point where I become ineffective in both my ability to do what I need to do for myself and what I can offer other fellow “sojourners”.

Therefore, it appears that I am going to have to lay some ground “rules” regarding this ongoing blog. I am not a computer technician nor a software programmer.  I am an obese person who is presenting her personal experience in losing weight. That is what I am good at. I do not want to give you misleading or wrong information regarding areas of expertise that I simply do not possess. Therefore, I can not specifically answer questions related to how the feed is presented to you, how to set up your own blog or any other technical questions. www.3fatchicks.com is the site administrator so I would recommend that you contact them and seek answers to your questions.

For those of you who would like to share my personal experiences either in one of your own groups that you are involved in or within the context of a newsletter, my answer at this time is “No”. I do want you to know that I have given it a lot of careful consideration. The main reason why I have declined to do this is quite simply I am in the process of losing weight. I have a long way to go. It may take me another year, if I am fortunate, to lose the remainder of the weight I need to lose. Then, there is the matter of maintenance. I would prefer if you continue to follow my blog, if you so choose, and then ask me again in 6-12 months. So, in the interest of maintaining my credibility and integrity as a person whom you have obviously begun to trust; the answer for now is “No.”

Postscript: If you feel that my stand seems unreasonable or harsh, my original decision was confirmed to be correct when I attempted to contact several of you readers who made these requests but gave me false e-mail addresses to respond to. Wolves in sheep clothing.

On another point, which has come to my attention in a rather unpleasant way, I also have to protect the integrity of the content of this blog, which is my inherent “intellectual property”. Although your intentions appear to be honorable, I have already had to deal with piracy and theft of my ideas. My simple stand on this is that it is “bad karma”. However, as a realist, I realize that there are those who not only grab at any quick weight loss diet that comes down the pike but also that there are people who want to “ride on the coattails” of claiming credit for something which they have not put in the “blood, sweat and tears.” It is not only a crime, it is disrespectful and insulting.

In conclusion, thank you again for your readership and support.

***Regretfully, I feel that I must share this disclaimer as well. Please do not use any of this content, partial or whole, for your own purposes. It does constitute theft and it can be punishable by law under the current U.S. copyright laws.*****

HAPPY FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!

Posted by lettucelose on January 12th, 2012 |Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 1 Comment

NEWS ALERT!  DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE WILL BE A SHORT SUPPLY OF TWINKIES IN THE NOT SO DISTANT FUTURE. YES, THIS IS CORRECT! HOSTESS BAKERY CORP., THE COMPANY WHICH HAS SUPPLIED YOUR NEVERENDING NEED FOR THAT DELICIOUS AND DELECTABLE SPONGE CAKE WITH SWEET CREAMY FILLING, IS FILING BANKRUPTCY DUE TO OVERALL POOR SALES.

YES, THAT IS CORRECT. THE TWINKIES THAT WERE PACKED IN YOURS AND MINE “BRADY BUNCH” AND “MORK N MINDY” METAL LUNCH BOXES WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST. SO, IN THE MEANTIME, STOCK UP WHILE THEY ARE STILL ON YOUR GROCERY STORE SHELVES LEST YOU ARE CAUGHT WITHOUT YOUR STASH OF CHEMICALLY ENHANCED CONFECTIONS. WHO KNOWS, IF YOU HOARD A COUPLE EXTRA BOXES, MAYBE SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE, WE MAY SEE YOU ON ANTIQUES ROADSHOW PONDERING WITH THE REST OF US OF WHAT THEIR “TRUE VALUE” REALLY IS.

BON APPETITE AND HAPPY FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!

AND HERE WE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT THEY WOULD SURVIVE EVEN A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST. JUST FALSE HOPE AND NASTY TABLOID FODDER.

(P.S. This is a true story although any resemblance to any real characters is just plain stupid!)

INQUIRING MINDS JUST HAD TO KNOW.

Finding Clothes to Fit and Getting Fit

Posted by lettucelose on December 14th, 2011 |Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Dealing with Obstacles, Denial is Deeply Rooted | 263 Comments

Week of August 23, 2011:

Since I ate 400 calories over my high calorie limit and I was way over on my sodium, I was not sure what to expect when I weighed in. I did walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes in one session in the evening but I still expected that I might show a “sodium-induced” gain. Much to my surprise, I even lost a little bit more. I weighed 258.8 lbs. This was before I had even had a morning BM too. After I had lunch, I actually not only went once but also ended up going two additional times. I had a lot of cooked cabbage mixed in with some fat free kosher beef franks  (one of my “new favorites”)  and carrots for  lunch and all that roughage really did a number on my lower intestines.

However, I got dressed. P and I went to GPC. It was the first day of fall semester. Oy! It was crowded everywhere. However, it seemed to run rather smoothly, certainly a lot different than ATC. According to the woman I spoke with, she believed that I would get financial aid including a small Pell grant!! I had to do some walking and my knees tolerated it quite well, to my surprise. When I left there I really felt like I could have hope that this could work out. The admissions rep suggested that I apply for spring semester which begins in January. I was okay with that. I really didn’t want to “suddenly” have to make the transition to being full time student within a matter of days. As I told P on the way to Wal-mart, I felt like I could actually walk this campus by then, including without my cane (or at least all of the time) if I continue to lose weight and strengthen my legs. I wouldn’t feel the physical barrier that large spaces have been to me in the past couple of years. In fact, we walked all over Wal-mart and took our time. I wasn’t exhausted when I left there. After we prayed our nightly LOTH and another rosary towards our 54 day novena, I even got on the treadmill and walked for 20 minutes non-stop. Now, that does bother my right leg but I think it is because I have to really use effort to keep on the moving tread. I wonder if I would feel this way if I were walking on solid ground. Anyway, I managed to walk the equivalent of 3 miles or 6000 steps. Amazing! I can’t even remember the last time I was able to do that. Again, I didn’t feel like I was also dragging that “extra 43 lbs” that I have managed to lose in the past year.

While I was standing there in line at the admissions office; I won’t say that I felt tiny, because I’m not, but I didn’t look half bad in the cut off knit pants and form fitting t-shirt I was wearing. By winter, I should be able to walk without a cane (most of the time) and I should be able to get around a lot easier. Immediately, I began to ponder on what I would wear as a full time student going to day classes along with kids that are my twin nieces’ age. Well, as long as I don’t try to “act their age” or “act like their Mother”, I will be okay. January is our coldest month here so I probably will be wearing jeans, turtlenecks and a short jacket. I also think that active wear still could be a “safe bet”. Depending on our income by then, maybe I can scour the thrift stores and Old Navy for some appropriate clothes. It would be awesome if I could be 30-40 lbs less by January. That would bring me very close to 200 and with me working out like I am, I will be a lot more fit as well. The best foot I can put forward is to be myself and just relate to each of my peers as just that–my peers, at least while I am in school.  It could be fun and after all more than likely these will be my peers when I am out there in the work force. I can only imagine! (eyes rolling and a little chuckle)

I logged my food for the day. I was able to get under 2000 calories which is my daily goal for this week. Since I got up so late I didn’t even bother to eat breakfast. I just went straight to eating lunch and then I counted McD’s as dinner so I had quite a bit of calories left over to eat for the rest of the night. I didn’t really get hungry again until around 9 p.m. so, as I have been doing for the past week or so, I began eating up the “leftovers”. Can I do this everyday? Well, I don’t know. I just want to be able to try anyway since I will eventually have to get used to eating a whole lot less as I go down the scales. I didn’t have any “spread” and, once again, I was surprised to see that my fat intake was much lower. I am also finding out that if I eat a lot less fruit, I am less hungry as well. Again, it gets back to what spikes your blood sugar.  I am really discovering all kinds of things as I move through this process. I do need to remember that when I am eating more baked goods, which I have been doing in the past month or so, I am also eating more (trans) fat because of the margarine I am using so I need to be mindful of that as well.

Another reason why I would like to wait until winter is that I would really like to have lost enough weight where all of these habits will have really become fully engrained. It is going to take a lot of stamina to be a student and possibly work part-time as well. I do think that I will be able to bring a lot of the food that I both make and eat with me so I am not gaining weight by eating from the vending machines. Now, they have these book bags that are on wheels. We bought one for P last year and he uses it for some of his tools for his work. I could pack a lunch and a couple of healthy snacks, put a cold pack in with it then just buy a soda or a bottle of water. I know the pitfalls of school cafeterias and vending machines and I don’t want to undo all of the work that I have worked so hard at.

8/24/11:

In the past week or so, I have gotten into the habit of  going to bed around 2:30 a.m. every night. Then, I get up anywhere between 11 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. I guess, there’s no harm to that since I really don’t have anything planned for the day most of the time.

So, in the meantime, I am trying to “catch fire” on going through my existing clothes and getting that whole “project” finished. I have been trying on some of the clothes that I was unsure about how they fit me. I am pleasantly surprised by some of the things so far. I am giving away my favorite denim jacket which is kind of hard since that was always my “security blanket” that I wore over everything when the weather was cooler. I tried on a really “polished” looking (and I think it was kind of expensive, I don’t remember the exact cost but the construction and fabric tell me it was close to $100) camel-colored outer coat. For this climate, I could pretty much wear it from the cooler nights of late fall up to the early spring. It is big on me now when I recall it being tight on me before even though it was a size 3X. [Now, some catalogs have a size 22-24 as their 3Xs, which is what I think this is] I was very pleasantly surprised on that! It is machine washable so I could try to wash it on hot water and then have it dried at the laundromat. I won’t do that though until it gets much cooler so that when I do that and it “responds” I won’t nix myself out of a really nice “dressy” outer coat to wear.

I also shortened two ankle-length skirts. One I have never worn simply because it was too tight. Sizing has changed in the past 4-5 years. Now, a 4X is a 26/28 and a 3X is a 22/24. It used to be a 26/28 for a 3X. I am not sure why this change came about. I do see a lot of people who write reviews on the online sites “complain” about this all the time. Now that I am aware of this anything new that I buy I buy one size larger especially if the style is more form fitting.

With the right kind of blouse or sweater these skirts could really do well throughout the late fall and winter months. One thing that I really need to do is start “investing” in some belts so that I can belt some of these blouses and lighter sweaters to take some of the “bulkiness” out of them and show my emerging waistline. I think, I am really going to enjoy dressing up this fall/winter season a lot. FINALLY, many of the clothes that have been hanging there for several years are going to be worn. Last night, I tried on a black short sleeve dress I had bought a couple of years ago. I didn’t realize that it was made from 100% silk. It is a 24WP. I was expecting that I would need to hem that as well but it actually had the right proportions for me. I do remember reading somewhere that if you have a short waist one way to get a better fit in clothes is to buy from the Petite line. Well, they were right. This was the correct length; just below my knees, and it fit really nice through the waist. It was a tad tight through the abdomen area but if I wore a really good control top pantyhose and/or lost another 10+ lbs it would be no problem.  By the time I might need to wear it, I think this “minor” problem should remedy itself. I was considering on removing the short sleeves though just because I think sleeveless would look dressier still but I will wait until it is time for me to actually wear it. I think that by the time I finished really going over my the clothes in my closet I am really going to enjoy wearing what is left.

Although I initially was going to give away my long black leather coat, I have decided to keep it (at least for this coming season). It is very narrow through the body [which will mean it will take a lot more weight for it to actually be baggy on me] and it will keep me warm during the really cold months this winter. I do need to replace the buttons [which I was in the process of doing last year] but that is an “easy fix” and it is well made. In fact, I may even want to reconsider giving it away period. After I lose all the weight, I might even want to “invest” in having it altered.

The shorter leather coat is still tight on me. What gives? I am afraid that will probably take another 15-20 lbs before it starts to seem “loose” [read:comfortable] on me. However, it is a keeper for the winter months. There were times last winter that I wore my denim jacket simply because that fit better when I would have prefered to wear the shorter black leather coat. Now, FINALLY, I should be able to wear that instead. Both of those really have a thick padding also! I never realized that before. Again, it goes to show you how well things were made “back then” (I bought the long coat in 1997 and the short one in 1999). Again, I usually go for less trendy and more classic styles so how old they are isn’t as much of a problem.

I also just tried on a sleeveless black sheath dress that I used to wear quite a bit when I first met P. Quite frankly, I didn’t have a lot of clothes “back then”.  However, I got tired of wearing it as an ankle-length dress (once again, what is with all of the larger sizes always being ankle length?), especially here where it is usually is warmer more than it is cold. I shortened it a couple of years ago when I was trying to figure out a way to wear something black for a Christmas party. Well, I was still carrying a lot of extra weight, especially through my middle. To say the least, shorter dresses on “apple” figures are not flattering at all. I felt like one of those chubby dolls with ringlets.

I held my breath as I was trying it on because I really didn’t know what to expect.  I was expecting that to be the case today but, once again, as a result of losing 43 lbs (so far) it has “dropped” in length by a good 4-5″!!! I am going to put a really small hem in it (maybe tonight) and then I will have a black sleeveless sheath dress to wear for “when the occasion arises” and I need to. The fact that this is a lighter weight knit material is also an “added bonus” during the hotter months. Actually, when I think about it, what a “gold mine” I discovered with finding this stuck in the back of my closet. It would really come in handy right now. Although I am not certain whether we will be attending a funeral this coming Friday(P may not be able to get off work), I now actually have something is both appropriate for the occasion, the weather and my size!! That hasn’t happened very often in the past for me, that is for sure. I think in baseball they call that a “Triple Play”.

Well, ideally, that will be with everything that will end up in my closet. I will have the right outfit for the occasion, weather and my size. This is a “big deal” for me since more often than not that was one of the deciding factors in why I declined to go somewhere. If I had had enough sleep and my joints weren’t bothering me too much then if I didn’t have something that I felt comfortable wearing, I would end up not going. Well, hopefully, when I finish with all of this, I will have crossed that off as one of the “reasons” why I turn down social occasions.

I was sharing these thoughts with my BDG and one of them later commented that they thought that was “interesting”. I am never sure how to read what “interesting” means so I am not sure what that person meant. Any one who has had to struggle with not having the right garment for the right occasion, weather and their size not to mention deal with having social anxiety then simply would not know what I “meant” by my comments.  If you have, then you do.

Once again, to my surprise, I found yet another dress (which I never worn) that would also be appropriate to wear to a funeral (if P can go and I decide to go along with). This is a heavier knit but it has a real nice drape to the skirt part of the dress. It is v-necked with butterfly sleeves. It feels stretchy when I put it on. The original length is not bad, it hits me mid-calf but in the interest of losing more weight, I decided to shorten that by 3″. I decided to stop there since I now have 5 separate items to hem, which will keep me busy for the next several days.

Well, “mystery of mysteries”, I am gaining weight the past couple of days rather than losing like I was doing so well there for two weeks. I took a look at the amount of calories and the sodium I have been having, which I think is the main reason. Monday and yesterday were both within my recommended calorie range. Well, I have four days before I weigh in “officially”.  I will do all I can to nudge those numbers downward. It wouldn’t be surprising if I stayed the same given the fact that I lost almost 10 lbs the first two weeks but to gain is something I wasn’t expecting, especially in light of the amount of exercising that I have done in the past couple of days. I mean, Monday was fantastic that I walked 3.0 miles total!! I haven’t done that in so long that I can’t even remember when. Although I wasn’t very hungry yesterday and I really didn’t feel like actually fixing a decent meal, I still made sure that I ate at the bottom of my recommended calorie range. I thought that was important so that I wouldn’t have this wide swing in both appetite and calories and, ultimately, have difficulty getting “centered” again. It is very tempting to “starve it out” or over-exercise when the numbers go up on the scales but I want to develop a “sane relationship” with the scale, my weight and my body image. So, again, I am going to aim for the lower range of my recommended calorie range, continue doing my “planned” exercising and try to drink more water in the next four days and, hopefully, this will correct itself by Monday. If it doesn’t by Wednesday then I will really have to take a look at what else might be happening; like, could it be premenstrual bloat, muscles “swelling” or just not enough water (instead of all the diet soda I drink instead?).

I made a big breakfast which took me awhile to finish. It was “big”. I decided to adapt the “classic buttermilk” pancake mix from a 40 year old cookbook to a healthier version. I used organic whole wheat pastry flour and honey instead of table sugar although I kept the 2% milk for the nominal fat content. It wasn’t bad although I managed to almost burn them. I also did a “repeat” with the ground turkey patties: seasoned it to taste like pork sausage (although not as greasy but just as tasty) and had eggs. That should keep me quite full for some time today.

Wishful thinking takes over and I start daydreaming about how much I could “possibly” lose by the end of this Buddy Challenge. One number “flashed” in my eyes: 243 lbs.  Of course, that is 15 lbs “south” of what I weighed this past Monday. That would be 25 lbs total then for 8-9 weeks. It is possible but I would really have to bring my calories down to the lower level and I would really have to work out even harder than I am now. Well, ideally, I would like to lose 40 lbs by Christmas. I don’t know why I chose that. I guess, it shows that I am losing without it seeming like I could be slacking.  Well, as I said, I will follow my body’s “lead” as to what I can actually do physically since that is more than half the battle. Ideally, I will be walking 30 minutes 6x a week within the next month and a half. Coupled with eating healthy and less should bring about the results that I hope to achieve. Again, it would be a dream if I could push pass 200 and get into Onederland for the New Year’s. It would definitely be a testimony to how well I do through the holidays though.

I pulled out a few more clothing items to either give away or to put in my “alteration” pile. I have just a few more things to try on and then I will be done with the fall/winter dressier clothes that I have hanging in the closet. I am seeing quite a bit of space so I hope that I can put as much of my clothes that are in the plastic bins hanging up. I think between losing weight and having them there in front of me I will be more apt to wear some of them. I used to really enjoy getting dressed up but after I really got past a size 22/24, it became more of a chore. As I became heavier, I also began to withdraw more. Then, when my arthritis started flaring up and I was in chronic pain, I became a recluse. It seemed to happen so uneventfully that I didn’t notice until I started seeing that I was getting out of this apartment twice a month. It is a wonder I am not stark raving mad. Like many things in life that seem to evolve on their own, it just plain happens.

I am hoping that now with losing what I have, I will rekindle my love of clothes again. I think that I have enough clothes right now that should see me through just about any situation: school, “work”, play, church, special occasion. I hope that I can afford to buy some new jewelry, some belts and some new shoes. I am glad to see that flats are still a strong fashion statement. I have tried to wear something with even a small wedge heel (like a new pair of sandals I bought earlier in the spring) and anything that pitches my weight forward puts pressure on my knees. That might change when I lose more weight but until then I need to wear flats. I quick checked PL online (our nearby store closed this past spring, much to my surprise!) and there are quite a few really nice flats and they are having BOGO right now too. I could really “do well” with that; if only we weren’t so tight for money.

[Side note: in the book "Beck Diet Solution" Dr. Beck suggests that a person find a non-food reward to give themselves each time they lose 5 lbs. I decided from the get go I would choose new shoes. I think that I lit on new shoes because they are usually cheaper than clothes and I am hoping that they will "last" beyond this whole weight loss journey. I have bought about 6 pair so far. Believe it or not, I have bought 1/2 size smaller. I usually add "fill ins" in the heel area (suede padding that forms around the heel area) since I have feet shaped like ducks. Medium width across the toe box and very narrow heels. This is so much fun!! I don't need an excuse to buy new shoes but it certainly makes it sweeter, now that I have an "excuse" to do so]

Well, I walked on the treadmill but I decided to stop at 15 minutes because both of my knees were really feeling it. If they respond to the EX-Tylenol I am going to take, I might try for 10-15 minutes later tonight. I just might have to do what I did before: break it up into two different sessions. Well, I am walking on knees that have been “bone on bone” (as it is often described) for 8 years. I am neither crazy or courageous. I am simply without health insurance. I do the best with what I have to work with. It is just “that simple”.

Some of the women in this Buddy Challenge work out to a dvd called “Chair Dancing”. It is geared towards the elderly, obese and those with joint problems. If I weren’t so broke I would buy at least one of them. When I get some money that is what I plan on doing. I read some of the reviews and I noticed that many people who have broken legs or are post-op use these so they can continue to be active so it can extend beyond being “unfit”. I saw a stationary exercise “bike”(just the pedals) at Wal-mart for $24.77 which I also want to buy when we have some extra money. I think I may have to supplement some of the walking that I am doing on the treadmill with other things simply because I have a feeling I will only be able to take this so far.  Well, keeping my workout varied will keep it from getting stale. I don’t think it would be very interesting to walk on the treadmill longer than 30 minutes anyway. Loud music helps to distract but when every step hurts then it is time to do other things as well.

I had a BM (finally!) so that should help “release” some of those “retaining pounds” my body seems to be hanging onto. My stomach feels a little iffy so maybe it was my “big breakfast”. I seem to be having Well, I am just finishing up my take-out meal from D’s and I am at 1891 calories. I would like to stay there if possible and not go over except for another cup of skim milk. I did walk another 10 minutes on the treadmill. So, from now on, I am going to try to do 15 minutes in the earlier part of the day and then 10 minutes later. I dropped back to 1.5 mph simply because my knees were really feeling it today. I did take some EX-Tylenol which helped temporarily but I am really starting to have trouble with my stomach taking all of this additional medicine. I really need the added boost though in aerobic movement. The pedometer that I wear does calculate how many calories I burn (I either forgot or I never checked it before) and by the time I am walking on the treadmill 25 minutes I have burned “aerobically” 120 of the 145 calories I have burned today. BLC recommends that I burn 196 calories per day so I am getting very close to their “ideal” for me at this time.

It would be nice to have knee surgery. I know that it would make a major difference in my ability to be more active. I could throw myself into working out! I have the drive and desire.  I would even consider allowing myself to be a test subject for a new joint replacement study if there were one that was looking for willing participants; especially if it were free. I realize that is risky but if I came into already having strengthened my leg muscles, eating healthy and having lost some of this extra weight; I would think I would be minimizing my part of the “risks” that usually go with “less than satisfactory surgical results”. One woman in this Buddy Challenge needs to get her BMI down to 40% before her doctor will do the surgery. For me, that might be another 10-20 lbs so that would definitely be within a doable range for me.

When I think back just thirteen years ago I was walking 15 miles a week and now I can’t even walk more than 20 minutes on the treadmill, it is just hard to believe that I am the same person. Once my right foot got injured in the fall of 1998 I had to scale back on my regular daily walking. From there, it just became a matter of treating that injury to cutting further and further back in my walking. The last time I walked any distance was when we flew to Atlanta to check out P’s school and we walked the length of the airport, which is 8 miles.  Granted, when I laid down that night, both legs were swollen from hip to toes but I still did it. Now, look at where I am at!

8/26/11:

Well, it is hard to believe this but I spent a total of 7 hours on the computer; mostly, revising my Favorite Foods list on BLC (5 hours). The computer seems to run slow on that part of that site. After I weighed this morning and I had gained back 8 lbs of the 9.8 lbs I have lost so far during this Buddy Challenge, I knew that I had to reevaluate what I was doing regarding my food plan, etc. One of the things that I decided to do was to clearly designate serving sizes on the foods I have listed.

For example, on the restaurant servings, I make sure that I show that it was an entire entree but probably at least 2 servings. I think, I want myself to stop and consider whether I really want to just go ahead and have it even if it is double what I “should be” eating. This past week, I had made my now favorite homemade pizza. I did make two personal pan-sized pizzas but I really loaded them this time: ground chuck, lots of vegetables and cheese. The original recipe is vegetarian and I believe the cheese is a lot less. I am unclear about that since it has both 4 oz of reduced fat cheddar cheese and then 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. 4 oz seems like “a lot” of cheese (I eyeballed it from the 8 oz package) whereas 1/4 cup barely covers the top. I do know that one package had 1/4 cup = 1 oz of cheese so that would mean 4 oz “should be” 1 cup, right?? I would really like to feel confident about that but right now I don’t. The original recipe calls for the cheddar cheese to be added to the crust which I did twice but left it out the last time and this time. I would rather have the cheese on top of the pizza since I think that is where it is most noticed.

Another thing, which may/may not have affected this temporary weight gain, is the fact that I have had a lot of fiber in the past several days; again, thanks to all of the whole wheat products I eat. I would point to the vegetables and fruit but, surprisingly, on a few days, I didn’t even have any fruit! I have also observed (again to my surprise) that when I fore go fruit entirely I really am not very hungry at all. Boy, I wish I had known this when I was following SBD. It would have saved me a lot of unnecessary cravings. Great discovery! Now, I wonder how far I can take that without hurting myself.? Well, besides revising my Favorite Foods list, I made sure that I had my measuring cups and spoons on “ready alert” so I could make sure that what I was eating was exactly what I thought I was eating.

I was busy again today going through the clothes hanging in my side of the closet. I am finished doing that. I have a pile of clothes sitting on the loveseat in the living room where I have been hemming things that were just “way too long”. I tried on everything that I “thought” might fit me. I also decided to give away some things which either just didn’t flatter me or were “somewhat” duplicates of other items I kept. Now, I know that what I have left does indeed fit me and the small section that doesn’t is only the next size down, which I could be wearing in a few months. I have noticed that I have a lot of black separates. OY! i forgot that I also have a section on P’s side that I need to go through. I still have some plastic bins to go through that are scattered around the bed and lined up against the walls of our bedroom. At least, now, I feel like I am making progress. By evening, I sit down and go through some of my recorded programming while I am hemming something. It all has a nice rhythm right now and I think it seems to be moving right along.

8/27/11:

I decided last night that from now on, I am going to split my strength exercises into Upper and Lower Body. I have been tired after doing the Upper body lately and I have missed twice as a result of that. I don’t want to do that because it takes a lot longer to tone and firm up the muscles in your legs. So, the very first thing I did was my lower body strength exercises. Then, I began a dinner rather than have a bowl of cereal or toast for a very late breakfast. By the time P came home, I gave him a short list and a gold ring that I have. Gold is at a high right now (I think $129 an ounce) so I went through my jewelry box to see what was left. There’s not much left either because I have been either selling or giving away all of my finer jewelry for the past five years. I still have a 14K crucifix but we decided we would wait on that. Let’s see how our finances are. I think Jesus would understand. Food and fuel first.

Over the past several years, I have gone to my jewelry box when we were really strapped for cash and sold some of my fine gold or semi-precious stoned jewelry. This was my very last quality gold piece that I could “offer”. We ended up filling the car with gas and buying groceries.

[side note: A few years ago some of the Hispanics in our parish wanted to make a crown for one of our Virgin Mary statues so I donated several fine pieces of my personal jewelry to that "cause". It was sent back to Mexico so a jeweler could fashion it. Although I had some very beautiful rings, I had stopped wearing them when my arthritis in my hands caused my joints to remain permanently damaged and larger. I only wear my wedding set now. My hands, once one of my best features, just now are  "my hands". Oh, well. It was sad to see them go: I had a 1 carat sapphire with diamond ring, a ruby (my birthstone) and diamond ring and a gorgeous emerald and diamond ring, to name a few favorites I donated. However, I knew that the jewel-encrusted solid gold crown for Mary would be equally beautiful. It was and is.]

When I get some extra money, I am going to be returning to Amazon.com and order some dvds and/or books on lower body exercises. I think I need to find some new ones that actually might be more effective. If anything, add them to what I am doing already. One of the women in the BDG commented on how I really had the mind-body connection in synch. I would say that I am really listening to my body. If something feels tense then I make a mental note of it. If something feels too easy, I think about how I could make it more “intense”. I really want to end up at my goal weight where I have symmetry in muscle strength, endurance and, hopefully, “appearance”. I made sure that I stretched today too. I haven’t done that in the past but it will help with flexibility and also warm up my muscles so I don’t injure myself.

My “hot spots” right now are the muscles are either side of my neck, both knees but in different places(on the inside of the left knee and on the back of my right knee) and down the back of my entire right leg (both the thigh and calf). I have really tried to both strengthen those areas and then treat them as I am “stressing” them when I walk on the treadmill. I think from now on that I am going to first use topical means rather than take additional EX-Tylenol simply because that seems to upset my stomach. I think, at some point, it could be beneficial to receive a massage in some of those really tense muscles or be able to get into a hot tub or warm water and allow those muscles to relax. Maybe, if we can get enough extra money, we could seriously consider joining the newly opened LA Fitness near us. They have a pool and I think that would be really beneficial for both of us. I know P would like that as well.

[We have an in-ground pool here at our apartment complex but the adults sit on the sides under the shade trees while all the 8-10 year old boys jump into the water.  We just don't like to have to be on the "look out" to see who might jump on us next.]

I have really come a long way in a relatively short period of time. It will be three months on September 4th that I began doing just the pillow exercise to strengthen my quads. When I mentioned it on the BLC Buddy Challenge group, some of the others had done this as well, usually after knee surgery. Well, hopefully, by the time I get knee surgery, I will be fit enough to recover fairly quickly. I am also focusing on strengthening the backs of my thighs as well so the strength is even. The same goes for my arms. I only do the biceps curl once a week simply because my biceps are a lot stronger than the triceps, which are really hard to shape up. I might start including that exercise more frequently once I increase the weight again. Right now, I am waiting for my shoulder muscles to be strong enough to “move up”. I’m not there yet.

I just want to keep trying different types of exercises in different ways so that I can get each muscle group as fit as possible. I have listened to some of the other people’s ideas and written them down. Right now, we are just fortunate to meet some of our basic bills but as soon as we get a little extra money I am going to get some different dvds and books. I really want to take all of this as far as I can go. It makes a huge difference in not only how I look but also how clothes fit me, as I have found out this past week as I have been trying on different clothes. I used to have a lot of self-doubt about how far I could work out because of my joints but I know believe that I can find enough different exercises to “work around” my knee joints until the time comes when I can get the surgery that I need. Then, hopefully, no more pain and a lot more mobility.

8/28/11:

P got an e-mail from one of his choir members saying that today at the 10:30 a.m. Mass a potential candidate for the Music Director was “auditioning” and she was encouraging everyone who could to attend so they could give their opinion. [P had applied for this position but he doesn't play both the piano and the organ, and with the "times being what they are", our church is hoping to find someone who can play, sing, direct, et al] I went to bed “early” although it took me 90 minutes to fall asleep. When I did get up, I pushed myself so we could go and, sure enough, he did both play the organ and piano besides singing. P and I thought he was good. I felt he showed the kind of respect towards the kind of music the 10:30 a.m. Mass uses: more sacred music. We have new hymnals and P said they reminded him of St. Alphonus and Sacred Heart. The old ones were beginning to look “shot” anyway. Some of our parishioners didn’t like them but I say “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” and “beggars can’t be choosy”. I actually liked them but the “divas” in our choir wanted 4-part harmony which these hymnals don’t have. I like them because the songs have the melody and I find them easier to sing. Oh, well, again.

I have expressed a desire to join the choir (again). I tried it back in 2006 or 2007 but I found the rehearsals really intimidating. The former Music Director,B, was a real taskmaster. He was a professionally trained opera singer at some time in his musical past and it showed. I am sure that I would have eventually stepped up to the plate but, at the time, I just shrunk from the “challenge”. Now that P and I sing a hymn everyday when we are praying the LOTH, my voice has had some “practice”, I would like to give it a try again. I used to sing 4th seat first soprano at one time. I don’t know why I stopped singing because I was told I had a good voice. I have no explanation.

However, I have always said that I know what kind of demands both the rehearsals and the weekly Mass attendance involve. It is probably the most labor-intensive of all the ministries but it is such a visible part of the Mass and I have really not been a part of a group effort like that in a very long time. I feel now might be a good time. The only other thing that would stop me would be when I have my arthritis flare-ups. I know that it is a commitment that I have to “be there” all the time and I am not sure if I can do that at this time. If not now, will I ever be able to?

In fact, I have really decided to get more involved overall in other activities as well. I have never shown an interest in joining his Carmelite community simply because I didn’t want the monthly commitment. I have had such a time dealing with excessive bleeding, sleepless nights and then chronic pain that, over a period of time, I just ended up withdrawing from so much. There has been so much that P ended up doing alone that I really felt like he was probably feeling like “why was he married” when he was attending so many things alone. I feel bad about that and I would like to begin to make that up to him, if I can.

I have also realized that I have done myself a disservice not connecting with more people in the limited social contacts that we have. I have often wondered how I would “fare” without P, should something happen to him (God forbid). I have really been very withdrawn for quite a long time. P has done a great job in blending work and church activities so that he has a wide circle of social contacts and “friends”. I can’t say that about myself. I recognize that I need to change that too. I think that the time has come for me to reach out more and try some different social activities.

For one thing, I am feeling better about myself in general. I am beginning to see a compelling reason to work hard at both losing weight and getting back in shape: I feel better physically and I am able to move around better as well. I probably could even go without my cane if I am walking on level ground. I still need it though to help me get up if there is nothing that I can pull myself up with. I don’t have either the muscle strength nor the full use of my weight-bearing joints to climb stairs without a cane and usually I need to hang onto a railing as well. It just simply isn’t there—yet. Plus, I can’t dismiss the fact that I am 2 years away from being 60 years old. A lot of “normal” 60 year old begin to have trouble rising from chairs, etc. The extra weight just compounds that age factor. It really makes me want to get down to my goal weight by my 60th birthday. I sure hope that I can do that. It does make me wonder how I might do when I have lost another 40 lbs. For one thing, it would be less to “move around”. Period. It won’t change my knees but it will take less effort to move a lighter body around. This is the BIG payoff!! I’ll get less fatigued and I might even be able to do some things with more ease since I won’t have to put such stress on my joints. That alone is one of the best reasons I can think of to really push to get more of this extra weight off.

I was telling P how I just feel “liberated” being able to not only go down one whole size (mostly size 24W) but that I actually look better in these clothes than I did when I first bought them. I decided to wear what I would consider one of the last summery looking outfits today at church. I had bought the pants when we lived in Minnesota. I always had to wear them with a top to cover my pot belly and it was “pronounced”. I also think they were kind of tight on me. Well, today I wore a sleeveless top that tied at the waist. My pot belly was still there but it has flattened out quite a bit. I do a reverse curl that I got from the BLC site, which really helps strengthen the lower abdomen muscles.

Since I consider my pot belly to be my worst body part I would say that is a major triumph. I just need to keep pushing my abs as hard and much as I need to until I can feel really confident about how I look in anything that skims that area. The same goes for my upper arms since I have really had heavy arms since I gained all this extra weight. Again, I have been pushing the upper body exercises as much and as many as I can think of to do. They too are starting to look more toned. All of this extra work is beginning to show. I have only been doing extra thigh and butt work since my birthday which was about six weeks ago. They too are showing some tightening. In fact, I think between the ab work and the butt work, I am fitting into pants that I might otherwise have to wait to wear until I had lost another 15-20 lbs.

Well, I plan to just keep at this. I actually consider the strength exercises the easiest to do too since it is really murder on my knees to go very long on the treadmill. I am going to break up my time on the treadmill and do 3-10 minute sessions. Ideally, I am going to do them in the morning, afternoon and then evening. I felt like I “hit a wall” trying to walk more than 15 minutes. By 7 minutes, my knees are really killing me so 10 minutes should be doable. Starting tomorrow, that is my plan. Maybe, within a month or so, I could increase that to 4 and then 5-10 minute sessions. It would be hopping on and off the treadmill a lot but so what? It is aerobic.

I have always considered September 1st to be the start of fall (not like the “official” 21st) and, for me, that means the beginning of wearing fall-like clothes. Granted, it won’t get truly cold here until closer to Thanksgiving but I am talking more about the switch in colors from brights and whites to more autumnal colors. Well, I never really did get my spring clothes out and hanging up in the closet as I had planned to do around early April but now that I have sorted through a lot of clothes, I will say that there is a lot more room for the next season’s clothes. Not only will I know what I can wear but it should also be ready to go (other than maybe some light ironing). So, now, I will be packing up the spring/summer clothes and I am so hoping that what will remain will be a lot less because I would like them to fit on the shelf above my side of the closet without them being stacked two-high. I would actually like to be able to fit a lot of little things in some of those plastic bins, whether to put them in the hall closet or the  laundry room; just to make both of them a little less cluttered and more organized.

I do think doing this has also increased my confidence because I have clothes that fit and are also appropriate for the occasion and the weather. After church, we went to CB. I don’t have the appetite that I used to have and I did my best to choose wisely from the choices available but still I wanted to continue eating until I was stuffed. We haven’t eaten there in almost 2 1/2 months. I think that is the longest that we haven’t eaten there. It blew my entire day’s calories. Anyway, after we did our weekly Bible reading and our novena, we went to the laundromat and while our clothes were drying, we went to our garden.

Although no one else was heeding the “advice” of our master gardener, D, to clear out our gardens and start the fall/winter ones; I knew that we needed to simply because we don’t have much that is really producing. I kept one large tomato plant because there were both blossoms and green tomatoes on it. The rest of our battered vegetables we pulled up. We have learned first hand why organic produce is so expensive. We have not used any kind of fertilizer to protect the plants from the elements including bad as well as good bugs. What grows grows. What doesn’t goes into the compost.Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can pick what I want to eat straight from my garden without washing it. The size are smaller (again no added chemicals to artificially expand the size or growth period) but the taste is out of this world.

This past summer the only vegetables that survived this ungodly heat we, and the rest of the country has had, was our sweet potatoes (we had a bumper crop) and the cantaloupe.  Both were “divine”. The cantaloupe were so sweet and juicy. I made Thai sweet potato peanut soup with lots of my sweet potatoes. Now, as the weather is finally cooling down our tomatoes (and the rest of the community gardeners as well) have a chance. None of us want to budge. I think D realized this since no one moved any of their tomato plants to start our fall garden as he had wanted us to.  The “silent majority” spoke. Our fall is more like a moderate summer right now. We want our tomatoes to have a chance.

Much to our surprise, we had some tomatoes turning and some additional ones besides since the last time we saw them. D had mentioned that the excessive heat had stalled some of the tomatoes and he was right. I don’t blame the others in hanging in there with their tomatoes. We left the last tomato plant which has grown even since we last was there. We removed the strawberry plant and put that into a container which will be put on the porch from now on. I might either cover it during the winter or even bring it into our apartment when it gets colder. We dug up the rest of the soil. It is always as hard as a rock. We found a couple of left over sweet potatoes and we cleared out the Swiss chard. We tossed a non-producing green pepper plant.

Then, after we broke up the really hard porous soil, we added 50 lbs of organic soil and a small bag of organic compost. We will plant our fall/winter garden soon. I am hoping that this richer soil will be what our garden produce needs. I am beginning to wonder if the other that we had was depleted although we did manage to get some produce out of our plants; just not like I have experienced in when I was an organic gardener back in Minnesota.  After that, we “treated” ourselves to a McDonald’s cone and shake, respectively. When we returned home, we both showered. I was able to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes besides. Then, I logged my food for the day, posted on 3FC and joined P to watch some HIC re-runs while I was doing my upper body exercises.  A nice day overall.

I am so glad that we got the garden cleaned up though. The soil looked so dark and rich looking compared to the hard flat dirt we have had. I had such a feeling of accomplishment when I got that done. I hate procrastinating on anything and I have a few things that I have been doing just that on which need me to “wrap them up” asap. Ideally, I would like to finish the two bedrooms by Halloween. No special reason for choosing that date except that is about two months away and that seems like a fair enough time for me to finish them. Let’s hope that I do. It would also mean that I could really focus on the upcoming holidays instead of thinking about the two unfinished bedrooms that need to be “pulled together”!

Well, tomorrow afternoon I have a scheduled appointment with the career counselor at NH. I have no idea of what the outcome of this will be. I really don’t. I want to be as honest with her as I can be since I really think that had I been honest last fall and said that I really wasn’t interested in doing something clerical (again) that I would have looked harder at other programs W.I.A. could have funded and I might not be in this situation.

P “surprised” me the other night when I was telling him about my conversation with T about me returning to college. He mentioned about the possibility of me attending an art school where I could take something like web design. That was so “uncharacteristic” for him to come up with some suggestion that I really didn’t know what to say. It just seemed very sweet and caring. So, I am going to check out a couple of the art colleges nearby and see what they have to offer, etc. The AIA is not even 3 miles from here. Well, if they will finance my education and accept me; why not?  Thirty years ago I was a fine arts major. What happened? I listened to my practical Mom and my even more practical ex-husband then boyfriend. That was when the extra weight came on, the depression set in and it took me until 1992 to begin to straighten out the “crooked path” I was on. How very sad!

No one, I mean no one, knows you like you know yourself.  As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.”

8/29/11:

Today I met with the career counselor at NH. It went as I had expected it to. I was asked to sign an employment assistance agreement at the end of our meeting. Unfortunately, part of that agreement is that I look for work that would utilize these computer skills I learned last winter. As I told P on the way out, I knew that I was “settling” (to use T’s words from the other night when we talked) when I took this course and now I am going to be held accountable to that choice, in spite of my “protestations”. However, I know that I need to find my niche whatever that might be and although this feels “unsettling” right now I know that if I push through it I might actually find something that I will really enjoy doing, whether it is going to school (which I haven’t completely ruled out) or a job of some kind. I will say that this woman was trying to throw out some ideas and not necessarily think only in one linear way. I thought that shown a kind of strength and intelligence was refreshing to see given so many people seem to go “by the book”. I will do my best to work on this very neglected area of my life.

In fact, the more that I think about it, the more I realize that one of the reasons why I began overeating was because I was unhappy. However, I was unhappy for a lot of reasons back then. I did take care of many of the reasons why I overate but I still have some “reasons” today that I need to really work on. One thing that I do know for sure is that happy people do not need to turn to food. When I am busy decorating, watching a favorite old 1930-1940s movie, hand sewing, listening to some favorite music, etc. I am not thinking about overeating food. When I was listening to myself talk today the thing that really stood out was the fact that I had jumped from job to job, learned them and actually excelled at them but they weren’t something that I necessarily pursued except for working at home. If it hadn’t been for J finding S800 I would never had really realized that “desire”. I need to find my “bliss” in this area and ideally I will also be paid something for doing it as well.

Well, after that we dropped off a large bag of my clothes to a different clothing donation center, American Kidney Foundation. It was closer so “why not?” So, I suggested going to GC for an early supper. (supper in the Midwest is before 6 p.m.) Then, I also suggested that we fill the tank with gas, get the car washed (and us vacuum the inside) and then have the oil change. It has been several months past due since P had the oil change. There is never really a good time for it so I said “Let’s do it!”. Maybe, cleaning out our garden and getting it ready for the winter garden set this in motion but I could tell P was relieved to get this stuff done.

We said our evening LOTH and nightly rosary then I retired to here, walked on the treadmill twice for 10 minutes each time, logged my food and reported in to my two groups. I weighed in at 261.4 lbs this morning. What could I account for that “re-gain”? Well, for one thing, we ate at CB yesterday and I am only approximating both the calories and the sodium content. I haven’t been able to find a website with their menu on or the nutritional data so I am using other sources and that is not accurate. I could be off the sodium content by as much as a thousand mg, which would show up as a 2-3 lbs weight re-gain.  I do feel that the temporary weight “re-gain” is not an accurate measure of my weight but then again it is for that “moment” in time.

I am really glad that I am losing some weight and firming up.  I am feeling much more positive overall with my body image. I don’t even have to hold in my gut when I am sitting in the car. What I wore today really fit well on me. I have come to the point in exercising where it is really showing when I wear clothes. I can wear more form fitting clothes and I look firm underneath. None of this is due to Spanx either. It is all of those ab work, etc. Although, it can be tiring to do this, now when I am seeing the results, I have more motivation to continue and put aside the “excuses” not to do it. I just wish dieting itself were easier for me. That is why I need to keep adding more and more exercises to do so if I can’t do one thing for a longer duration, at least, I can make up for it by doing multiple exercises.

I had an idea though tonight that I am going to “explore”. It has just been in the past week that I really “realized” that this pedometer does indeed track calories burned and also separates the aerobic steps from just plain ordinary moving around steps. It gave me the idea of trying to calculate more accurately just how many calories I am burning doing certain activities. This will really help me narrow down just how many actual calories I am burning a day rather than an “estimate”, which I was doing in the past. I also posed a question to the BDG: since I know how many calories I am burning, does this mean I can “negate” that many calories from my food plan?

I believe that might be what some of the BLC people attempt to do: burn enough calories so they are actually in the negative. Now, I read someone say they had burned over 2500 calories yesterday. Since it takes me walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes to burn 88 calories that would mean she would have had to walk half way from Atlanta to Minnesota! Unfortunately, this is one of the “downfalls” with the image that BL has: everyone sees these extremely large people getting put through a very demanding physical program and then thinking that they can do that at home. They are medically supervised. We, at home, are not. Yet, like this woman above, and even myself to some extent, go ahead anyway, thinking we can make it happen at home.

I have been slow to admit this here but I have really pushed my own body beyond the comfort zone and I have paid a price for that. Just recently I have begun taking 2 EX-Tylenol arthritis pain formula pills (1300 mg total) before I walk on the treadmill followed by icing my left knee which swells up immediately and sitting on a heating pad for my tight hamstring on my right thigh. This is just plain nuts!! I have been doing this for two months now. I will admit that I love being active again. It has just been too long but my body simply won’t do what I want it to do, no matter how strongly I want it.

Since we got such a late start with everything and I was just too tired earlier in the evening to do my lower body strength exercises, I am going to do those on my day off (Wednesday) so I am in the same rhythm as the rest of my strength exercises. I wanted to start doing 3-10 minutes sessions on the treadmill but I did get 2 in so starting tomorrow that is my plan. Besides all of this, I am also going to resume purposely drinking more water, just so I can flush out all this added sodium I have picked up. I asked P to bring me home D’s tomorrow as well so I am looking again at another restaurant meal and another meal that I have resorted to “estimating” both the calories and the sodium.

This is just plain “crazy”. Since I see this, why am I doing it then? I came across someone’s “signature” which read “You can’t over-exercise bad eating habits.” Amen to that! So, why am I doing that? No sooner do I think I am “okay” then I realize I am not. It is disappointing and frustrating.

I hate to admit this but when I was finished with this meeting with this career counselor one of the first things that I thought about was that I probably wasn’t going to be working any time soon and I was glad about that but then the somber reality of how we are struggling to make all of our bills. I feel “responsible” for being part of the problem and not yet the solution. I think even P’s patient nature is beginning to wear thin. I don’t want to prolong this any longer than it need be, which if I were really honest, I probably have by not taking that certification exam right away in the spring and then really “pounding the pavement”. Well, in my defense, when I was having an acute flare-up, which I was during that time, I was not thinking about anything but just getting through the night. I just wish some of this would straighten out so we could make progress and not sit here “spinning our wheels.”

[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.]

By George, I think I can do this!

Posted by lettucelose on December 14th, 2011 |Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Calorie Counting | 2 Comments

Week of August 16, 2011:

I am amazed but I weighed in today at 260.6 lbs. All I need to do is lose one more pound and I will have broke the 260s! I was wondering if I would be able to do that for this next week’s weigh-in. I would be thrilled to death if I could. Although last summer, I “thought” I was in the 250s, since the scale seemed to bounce all over the place, I really don’t know for sure. This new scale does not budge easily so when I see results like this, I know that they are accurate. Yesterday I decided that on my non-strength building days I would add a second session on the treadmill. I did 15 minutes in the afternoon and then did 10 minutes in the evening. I am going to try and do that every other day for the time being. If it becomes “too easy” then I will do that also on the days that I do my strength building exercises.  Again, it just gets back to keeping the body stressed enough so it will force it to burn calories just a little bit more and harder.

Also, I can say that I have “officially” passed the 40 lbs lose mark. I am going back to when I was my heaviest which I believe was just over 300 lbs. I can’t believe that I got to that place but I did in the past couple of years. There was a time about two years ago where I was definitely filling out size 26/28s. I remember how I looked when I sat down. All of the weight that I carried in the front of me just pushed out. I felt very unattractive no matter how many clothes that I bought. Well, I have gotten rid of a lot of those clothes and I am now going through the size 24s to see which ones fit me. I have some 22s that I believe I should be able to fit into later this fall as long as I continue doing what I have been doing.

I had another idea about how to alter some of these larger sizes. I would like to hang onto the clothes that are well made, both in construction and in the material that was used. I have also decided that I am either going to learn how to alter clothes on my own or seek out a class to learn how to do that. I also  had the idea that I could actually use some of these larger-sized clothes as fabric to cut from to make a new skirt or dress out of. Whether I will actually go to that length will depend on how much money I have to spend on new clothes and whether I am still motivated to do so. I do know that as I reduce my size I am definitely going to begin wearing more clothes that are form fitting. I am already in the process of doing some minor adjustments with what I have right now.

In fact, the more that I am toning my body, the more I realize how this is as important as losing the weight itself. I have been covering up my body for a very long time. That gets to be a certain mindset and one that needs changing as much as the numbers on the scales. It is important that I begin to change my body image while I am losing so that when I do arrive at my goal weight, it will seem like I was there “all along”. I have listened to enough people talk about having some difficulties in adjusting to their new weights and/or body image. I want to work on those residual problems as I am going down the scales. I guess, I want to take on all the aspects of returning to a former body size and not wait until then.

One of the biggest obstacles that I need to work on is overcoming the almost reflex action of avoiding social situations. I have social anxiety. It was really exacerbated by gaining so much weight and really feeling self-conscious about it. I also think that it didn’t help when I began using a cane. Whether that was the right decision to do or not, I did, and now I am wondering when I should stop using it. P came up with the suggestion of bringing my cane along “just in case”. Since I am going to start switching to bigger purses, that is what I am going to start doing. I can fold my black one up and I think it should fit in my purse. If I feel that I am getting too tired to walk without it, I can always pull it out. I am not sure why I am so skittish about anything social. I recently missed going to a memorial and also Mass. Granted, I didn’t sleep well because my back was hurting me but I do know that in the back of my mind I was nervous about both.

It would be awesome if I could break into the 240s by the end of this BLC Buddy Challenge but we will just have to see how my body responds to what I am doing.

8/18/11:

Well, I broke into the 250s this morning! I weighed in at 259.4 lbs. So, I have lost 9 1/2 lbs since beginning this Buddy Challenge 10 days ago. Granted, the first 3 lbs were ‘water” but the rest has been “honest-to-goodness” real weight lose. I still can’t believe it but obviously my body is in a good place and starting to respond to what I am doing. It shows that when I decrease my calories and increase my activity, I lose weight. I knew this but I just wasn’t doing it. What makes this even more poignant is that when I keep my sodium around 2000 mg it also helps a lot. I also think that the slow and steady increase in the stress of the kind of workouts that I am doing is beginning to pay off.  Another benefit of increasing the intensity of my work-outs is that it curbs my appetite. I just haven’t been as hungry in the past week or so. What I have been is very tired, almost to the point of exhaustion.

Well, my plan is to just keeping on doing what I have been doing. As I said above, I would love to break into the 240s by the end of this Buddy Challenge. That would be another 10 lbs in 6 weeks. All I can say is that I will do all I can between now and then to make it more likely to happen. In fact, I am in such a good place with all of this it would be awesome if I could keep up this pace right on “down the line”. At this point, I have lost almost 41.5 lbs. I have lost half of what Bill lost to get to his maintenance. I am quickly encroaching on where B and J are. J lost 70 lbs to reach her maintenance.

I still have a long way to go though. I want to be 135 lbs so that is 125 lbs to go. Wow! That is still a lot of weight to lose. I have gotten to where I don’t focus on that as much as having a good day and doing what I know I need to do for today. Then, that prospect doesn’t overwhelm me or intimidate me as it once did. That is one of the more surprising “developments” recently. There was a time when the very thought of tackling this weight issue was just too overwhelming for me. I couldn’t stay on a reduced diet for longer than a few days before giving up or giving in, whichever way you want to look at it. Now, I find myself just plodding along.

I didn’t go to bed and/or sleep until 6 a.m. yesterday so I was so tired the whole day. I decided not to push myself so I didn’t exercise. I waited to see if having some food would help. It didn’t so I just ate within my calorie range and stayed lower on my sodium (which I can see is KEY) and then watched some t.v. last night. I still didn’t go to bed last night until 2 a.m. I didn’t intend on that. It was more because I was responding to some e-mails including ones where P has lined up some personal “jobs” for tomorrow, which is instant cash for us. I got an e-mail from the Career Counselor at NH. I sort of rolled my eyes when I saw it because it just flooded me with some feelings of inadequacy regarding the one area in my life which feels so “crummy”. I did revise my resume and sent that to her. She wanted to see me in person as well so I told her early afternoons next week sometime would work. As I told P, I am not putting a lot of stock into this because I know that they might have to do this so they can say that they “worked with me” regarding finding employment. According to their contact person last fall, he said that they “track” our job search efforts, they don’t offer job placement, which WIA insisted they had to do in order to receive funds from WIA. Well, we’ll see what comes of it but I will go just in case she does have something she can offer me that I could check into.

I have really struggled (and resisted) the idea of going to college for four years. It just seems like such a long time for a person of my age. However, I do see from time to time “spots” on the national news or even on the Internet where older people are either starting a different/second career and/or returning to college for the same reason. They all seem “very happy” working in their “golden years”. I guess, my work experience has been mostly unfulfilled, both in the inter-work relationships I have had and, of course, the pay was “below standard” (and certainly for me holding a college degree). Maybe, it is my past experience that is coloring my view about doing this and prejudicing me. I think so.

Anyway, there is another part of me that thinks about what would happen to me if Pl were to die or even become unable to work? It is one thing not to be helping to provide “something” now but it would be crucial if he couldn’t work due to disability or an accident and although I would have quite a bit of money if he died because of his life insurance (provided they wouldn’t contest it), I am well aware that I also need to foster some contact with other people as well. So, I am holding my breath on this one but I am going to go to their D campus and check things out. Maybe, if I am “lucky” I will qualify for some kind of financial aid so I can pay for the schooling. I also really do like the fact that it is so close and we/I wouldn’t be going through the horrible mid-town traffic. It certainly has given me something to “hope for” anyway.

Well, I got my 15 minutes in on the treadmill. It actually went a lot easier although my right knee started to lock up a lot the last 90 seconds or so. Maybe, that was a good idea to fore go exercising yesterday. I will have to remember that. Now, all I need to do is my strength exercises. Again, I am “working on” clearing out the leftovers in the refrigerator. I came up with a pretty good way of  getting my vegetables in and eating up some leftovers. I had quite a bit of cooked cabbage leftover from one of my D’s take-out meals so I sliced up two fat free kosher beef franks and heated that up together (the sodium in the two skinny wieners are 1040 mg!!) along with some baby carrots. I’m having red grapes for “dessert”. It really makes me feel good that I can both eat healthy and really enjoy it at the same time. In fact, I am really feeling proud of a lot of the choices that I have been making lately. Obviously, they are good ones because the weight is finally going down.

As I told P last night at this point the weight I am is “pre-P”. I am almost certain that I weighed around 265 lbs (and didn’t waver much either) the first few years we met. I was always trying to diet but I sabotaged my efforts more often than not. I really didn’t know what healthy eating was back then. The only thing that I could think of was having a salad and foregoing dessert. I have since learned that it is a lot more than that. I don’t recall being “between” 265 and 245 lbs. It seems like when I gained weight back then it was in 20 lb increments. So, I am now finally charting a new path for me as I write this. The last time I was 245 lbs was in the mid-1990s, if I remember correctly. So, we are talking about 15 years at the least. I began college at the University of MN in 1983 and I weighed 232-235 lbs then. I felt huge back then because that was the most I had ever weighed. Now, I would be thrilled to death to weigh that. As for Onederland, I haven’t been there since early 1980s. Again, my weight jumped from 190s to 200s to 220s to 235 within a matter of one season–from April 1983 to September 1983.

So, I am now on the verge of returning to what I weighed decades ago. I feel that mentally and emotionally I am finally ready for the change. So, now, it is just “putting my hand to the plow” and not looking back. I think the real key right now is “not looking back”. It is not about dwelling on the fact that I once weighed 301.8 lbs., which now seems staggering to me, but to look forward to a more “normal weight” within a year. I am really glad that I am taking the time to really scrutinize the clothes that are remaining in my closet. Ideally, when I finish with all of this (which seems to be taking forever) I will be able to confidently say that whatever is in my closet flatters me (at that point in time) and I truly do have clothes that I can take off the hanger and not worry (too much) about how they look on me.

Well, I have done all of my strength exercises for the day. I am still finding the mid-abs the most difficult to do. That is also where a lot of my weight is right now too. I have accepted that it will probably take me losing a good 60 more lbs before I can actually consider curling up enough to touch my knees with my elbows. In fact, I might not be able to do that until I am within 20-30 lbs of my goal weight. Well, that is the reality of losing weight. You really have to get the extra weight before you start seeing the muscle definition emerge. Although I could do this every day and I was doing that in the beginning, I think I will just leave my ab work-out “as is”(doing it when I do my strength training every other day–that is still 4x a week) for the time being.The results won’t be as obvious until I do lose some more weight and the main thing is to continue to strengthen them.

When I do get more weight off I might consider at that time begin doing some of the more challenging dvds that I own, like the Pilates. Now, that will be challenging. By the time I am able to do that I should actually be seeing a “normal figure”. Maybe, when I hit Onederland I can seriously begin doing the Pilates workouts that I have. Again, I have been around enough fitness centers, seen enough programs, read enough books and so on, to know the “drill” on getting into shape. It takes time and persistence. To get those enviable bodies like the ones we all see on t.v. and in the magazines, you got to put the time in. Well, fortunately, I have the motivation. I also remember what it felt like to feel “strong” and limber. I would like to regain that if possible.

Right now, I think that doing 2 sets of 15 reps with the 3 lb hand weights is enough for my upper body. I find that my neck tenses up so that is saying that I am not quite at a place where I have the strength through my neck to move with a heavier weight. The main thing is to have “good form” and just continue. I can always go up to 3 sets of 15 reps as well. The author of “Abs n Arms” also said that you should switch off and on between a lighter and heavier weight just so you stress the muscle differently; so, I will consider doing that as well. Again, the middle of my upper back towards the right side, where I bruised it last winter when I fell in the shower, acts up after I have done the abs.

I took the opportunity to try on a dress that I wore once (maybe twice) when I first met P. I remember wearing it to Ph’s baptism which I think was 10 years ago. Although it is polyester, it feels like a thick silk and it is a bright teal and purple print. It is in the sheath style which I also like. It is a size 24W and it is “almost”loose on me!!! I am thrilled beyond words. This style is “in” right now and it will wear well throughout the fall and winter months for me. I would like to see if I could find a matching shrug to wear with it when the weather gets cooler. [In fact, I did find one in Jessica London online: either in royal blue or purple---I actually think the purple might be better with it--make the colors pop!] Again, I only want to keep the clothes that truly fit me (or I can alter later to fit me then) so when I go in my closet, I will feel like anything I choose will look good on me. What a change that will be from the past.

I am continuing to eat up leftovers and I still have more to go. That is great since that definitely keeps us from going to the grocery store every other day. Plus, I seem to really have hit my stride when it comes to home-cooked meals. Right now, I am having pork and vegetable stir fry plus a whole wheat strawberry muffin. Well, I made my daily goal of getting a lot of different vegetables in.

So, we ended up going out after all to GC for an anniversary meal. I am really feeling a comfort level with eating out and still staying close to my food plan. I did go over on the sodium, which is almost a “given” when eating out, but it was only 2 lbs and I don’t “officially” weigh-in until Monday morning. Both of us were just so tired that we came home. I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes and then logged my food.  I stayed up late to watch one of my favorite “reality” shows: House Hunters International. As I was sharing with P, the trend has changed quite a bit this past year with these new episodes. Now people are moving globally for new jobs. Before it was for adventure or to retire early. Even our local news mentioned that the majority of the jobs being offered right now at job fairs are abroad. I think, it caught the person reporting by surprise as well. It just means that this recession and this unemployment has really changed the landscape in a way that truly only the “strongest will survive”; in what ever way works for them. We just have to figure out how we are going to be able to survive. Beyond week to week and month to month. That’s all.

Well, although I went way over my daily sodium, I only gained 2 lbs so I think that if I really watch the sodium in the next two days, I should lose that by Monday morning. I don’t know if it is realistic for me to expect to lose any more after having already lost 9.4 lbs in two weeks. I would like to lose another pound. This sounds like a selfish and competitive reason but right now I am ahead one other person by a few pounds and it is possible that she could have a really good weekend and “overcome” my current “first place” position. If I can push myself tomorrow, I am going to try and even do a RS work-out at some point. We’ll see if I can get P away from his ghost shows long enough for me to do that. It would be awesome to say that I have lost 10+ lbs in two weeks.  Well, if I don’t, it is still a very respectful “show”. I am strongly motivated to keeping this up too.

This is what I have decided to do for this coming week to “intensify” my efforts: I am going to attempt to remove (1) 100 calorie item from my daily calorie intake. The most obvious one for me is my use of margarine on toast or muffins. I do think the fat adds something to the warm bread but I do have butter spray which has no calories at all so I am going to get in the habit of using that. I will share this with the rest of the group because it might incite someone to consider doing it themselves. I shared today how I began working out again. All I can do is share and if they want to pick up on some of your ideas, fine, but on the same hand, if they don’t want to, I have to just respect that too. It is definitely their lose.

8/21/11:

Once again, I had leftovers for lunch and then we had a “fresh” meal for dinner: baked pork steaks, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.Surprisingly, I was still able to stay within my high range for calories and even stay well under my sodium range with eating a bag of fat free microwave popcorn and a light beer. All of the numbers were withing the recommended range as well. In other words, this ended up being a really good day overall with my food plan. I suggested that we watch a couple of our own movies instead of just surfing the t.v. channels and really not “engaging” in anything particular. I think, we find that relaxing so we both ended up mellowing out by the end of the night.

8/22/11:

Tomorrow is the third weigh-in for our Buddy Challenge and the second where we are measuring weight loss and subsequently the body percentage lost as well. I am about 2+ lbs ahead of one person but she knows how to drop weight quickly so it might be interesting to see how she will fare tomorrow. I have really worked hard this past week. I have really tried to keep my sodium down as best as I could. However, I have noticed that my appetite has really increased as I have increased the intensity of my activity. I feel like it doesn’t take more than an hour or so before I am hungry again. Unfortunately, I hope I haven’t been fueling that since the past couple of days I have really eaten a lot (now all) of homemade whole wheat muffins I made earlier this week. Sometimes, I just run out of ideas of what to eat. I was also constipated yesterday which is unusual for me since I usually go to the bathroom almost right away when I get up.

I also walked 20 minutes in one session on the treadmill and I did most of my strength exercises as well. CT, who is in second place this past week, may pass me this week. She seems eager to “compete”. She mentioned right off the bat how I would be a “contender”. It would be “fun” to win this Challenge although “victory is fleeting”. I won one last year and who remembers that? I doubt any of them do. I guess, it would depend on whether I would stay with this group after this challenge or not. I probably will. I feel like I have fallen in although it is interesting how the conversation flows. In some respects, I feel like I am almost virtually ignored. However, when it comes to posting in these groups, timing is everything. If you post too early or too late then people may miss it and assume that you aren’t posting. I posted for this past weekend because I didn’t get on until close to midnight. Now, tomorrow all I have to do is weigh in.

I have tried to increase some part of my exercises’ intensity on Sunday night; sort of an informal “Last Chance Workout”. Tonight, after it quit storming, I walked for 20 minutes straight. I varied the speed between 1.6-1.8 mph. I actually think that 1.7 mph seemed comfortable enough to me that I might begin by doing that as my “base speed”. If I can, I would like to do 1 20 minute session earlier in the day and then 1 10 minute session later in the evening. I tried that last week with 1 15 then 1 10 minute “session” last week  but I think I only did it once. As I said, I have really felt like I have been consuming more energy than I am accustomed to. I have been sleeping an average of 9-10 hours a night, which is great after all of that missed sleep this past spring. Today my appetite just seemed hard to tame. I wasn’t happy about that at all. I think some of the choices that I made might have contributed to fueling it too.

Well, tomorrow and this week is a whole new week and that is how I want to look at it. I would like to aim for eating no more than 2000 calories. Considering that I ate 2500 today means I may have my work cut out for me. It is evident that I need to eat more vegetables and fruits. I still have some red grapes and pineapple so I have no excuse not to. I just didn’t eat them. As for vegetables, I was sort of hit and miss on that this past week. I had some really good days but I was also trying to eat up a lot of leftovers which left me sometimes eating a lot of grains. What I have decided to do is try to reduce each day by 100 calories. Now, for me, all that would mean is to reduce or stop using margarine. Then, I will go down my food plan and look for other places to cut. I am already eyeing the skim milk that I drink when I take my evening Tylenol PM. I either have to stop drinking milk the rest of the day, have half as much or try to find another way to take those pills. Other ways I can reduce my calories is by eating half of something: one slice of bread rather than two, one slice of lunch meat, one-half of a muffin, etc. I won’t do that though until I start needing to get below 1800 calories.

I can see that if I am going to crank the activity level, I am going to have to be eating a lot smarter than I have been. I really have to eat quality nutrients in my food because my body needs the superior fuel. I went without vitamins for almost two weeks and it makes a difference for me especially since I was also bleeding during that whole time as well. My “outside” goal is to just get all of this down to a “system”. If I can get a well-established habit of exercising without fail six days a week, eating a really healthy and well-balanced food plan, then I am hoping that my body will respond well and I will lose weight. Granted, it would be nice to be in the 240s by the end of this challenge. That would mean 10 more lbs in about 6-7 weeks, depending on how you count the calendar weeks. That is about 1.6 lbs per week. It sure seems doable, especially what I am trying to do now. Well, we will just have to see how things work out.

Well, I hope to find out something about whether I can count on going to school this fall or winter by mid-week or so. If that is a door that is completely closed to me then I will just have to really hunker down and do a real blitzkrieg for job searching. Perhaps, this career counselor can shed some much-needed light on my “situation”. It doesn’t help that hundred of thousands of well-deserving and qualified applicants are out there looking for work as well. In fact, both P and I are becoming increasingly worried about how we will continue to “survive” just based on what has/hasn’t happened in the past two months. It is very real and it is very scary.

[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.]

A New Self Image is Emerging

Posted by lettucelose on December 14th, 2011 |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.]

Denial continues to be stronger than “Getting Real”

Posted by lettucelose on December 14th, 2011 |Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Denial is Deeply Rooted | 22 Comments

Week of August 2, 2011:

I weighed in today at 266.6 lbs. So, I am still .8 lbs more than when I recommitted myself to a new goal of being 135 lbs by my 59th birthday. Not exactly moving in the right direction. I do think that it is a combination of all the stress that we have been under and the excessive, ongoing heat that the whole country has been experiencing. However, it has only been two weeks and I am moving forward well on my strength exercising for one thing. I decided that starting August 1st I would “test” my legs to see how I would fare on the treadmill. I did 5 minutes a short while ago. I could feel the same areas that I have had pain in the past hurt but the 5 minutes went relatively quickly so I take that as a good sign. I thought what I would start out by doing is 5 minutes morning-afternoon-evening. It doesn’t seem like much right now but I can build on that as my knees can tolerate it and as my leg muscles overall become stronger. In the past month, I have added five new exercises for my lower body; targeting the outer hips, back of my thighs, inner thighs and my gluts. All of these muscles are very important in supporting my body as I move. I want to shoot for 30 minutes every other day; ideally, non-stop and then add on a couple more days to bring that up to 5x a week I am walking for 30 minutes.

With something like this, you really have to plan and look long term. This is not something that I am going to be able to accomplish overnight. So, it is hard to say when I will be doing those 30 minute sessions 5x a week. It might be closer to Christmas. Who knows? However, once I am at that point, I should really be seeing some changes in how I am losing weight and how my body is shaping up. Yesterday, I increased my reps to 2 sets of 10 reps with the 3 lb weights. I just bought those for my birthday and the first time that I did them, they felt really heavy. I just can’t believe how weak I had become. It’s sort of “shocking”. I used to easily “lift” 40 lbs with my arms 30 years ago. Again, my decision will be to move up to 2 sets of 15 reps. At that point, I will probably buy a 4 or 5 lbs weight and start back again at 1 set of 5 reps, etc. I will stop though at 8 lbs since that was the recommendation of the author of “Abs and Arms”.

Right now, I am sticking with 2 sets of 15 reps for each individual exercise I am doing. For my abs, that is a total of 120 reps. I have decided to stick with that since with abs it is more about being able to move closer to your knees, etc. and I am not “there” yet. I think, once the abs become easy though then I will move on to some of these really challenging workouts that I have seen on t.v. I think by the time I am ready to try “Hip Hop Abs” or “Zumba” I will have been able to really strengthen my lower body so I can do all the movement with a lot more ease. It is really about becoming stronger and stronger.

Well, those 5 minutes caused my knees to both hurt more and to swell up!  I am really surprised that it took so little to do so. I did take some EX-Tylenol at dinner and then eventually I laid down for a nap but it shows that although it was “easier” last winter to get in 30 minutes per day(within 4 weeks, if I remember correctly), I’m not sure why it isn’t now. Well, I stopped at 5 minutes. It seems meager but I will do another 5 minutes tomorrow, etc. etc. and then I will add another 5 minutes. It is less than I originally thought I could “tolerate” but as the author of “Treat Your Own Knees”, he was more interested in building on time since that really defines “endurance”. That hardly seems like “enough” to call aerobic but I am also moving around the apartment throughout the day doing the dishes, making meals and straigthening up; some days more than others. It will have to be “enough” for now. That is all I can do and I want to do it “safely”.

P went to Eucharistic Adoration today. He ran into our Bible study leader, E, and she mentioned that one of our “members” just lost her job. I was surprised and I felt upset about it. This woman is a R.N., I think, and I thought the medical profession really needed nurses. This recession has really has been difficult for us. We have managed to hang on by the skin of our teeth but we need twice the monthly income we are getting and had I been continuing to receive unemployment we would have. I try not to beat myself up about some of this because it certainly isn’t what either of us wanted to have happen. We were already struggling financially before this all began. We did not “need” this to happen to us. I keep reminding both P and I that we are not alone in this but we both readily admit that we are bone weary from such a long time of struggling financially.

Although I don’t want to discourage P I said to him that since LK at C’s mentioned that it was just between him and Pl about P working at S what would stop L from cutting back on giving P work since he knows that P is getting some from S? P trusts L 100% so that would just break his heart if L would do something like that but when they talked earlier this a.m. L was mentioning about how he had heard that once the unemployment runs out this time there will be no additional unemployment. Well, I don’t think that is so. P has a claim established for a full calendar year until May 17, 2012. It also depends on just how much he makes as well. As long as he is making some money he is building up his unemployment. His weekly benefits are about $47 less but it is still over $xxx. We are grateful for anything. The one thing that we have been praying for is a steady weekly paycheck from an employer so we would be very happy to relinquish that unemployment should P be offered a full time job.

8/4/11:

Well, I am quite proud of myself that I didn’t even go on the computer yesterday so today I ended up spending nearly 4 hours catching up on my e-mails, “correspondence”, posting with the Beck Diet Group and logging my food for the past two days. Still, I managed to get some productive things done yesterday as a result. I made the M.O.M. whole wheat pizza again (third time). This time I added ground turkey crumbles as the meat. I decided to not add the cheddar cheese to the dough as the original recipe calls for since I really couldn’t see how that added to the flavor (and still added to the calories, etc). I tried this time to add less toppings on the pizza so as to keep the calories down and the sodium as well. I managed to do the first but with the kind of toppings that I put on additional sodium was almost a given. I like to have black olives on. Had I had some peppers and mushrooms, I could have added that without all the sodium. Another food items I need to have on hand.

I also made homemade fudge. Considering that we had quite a weekend eating a huge bag of small chocolate candy bars, it seems kind of “dumb” but I told P that I want to see if I can learn restraint around one of my “trigger foods”. I want to see if I can truly eat only one per day (or even every other day). I think that it would add to the confidence that I can handle slippery slopes better than I previously believed I could. We will see how this “experiment” works out. The past three days I have tried harder to eat closer to my BLC recommended calorie range. I have also begun walking on the treadmill. After my knees almost immediately began hurting the first day, I decided that I would walk only 5 minutes each day this week and then add 5 minutes each day the following week and so on. If my knees can tolerate the increase then I could possibly be walking 30 minutes per session 5x a week within 6 weeks. That is what is recommended to get the real fat/calorie burning happening.

[I never saw this as being a way to sabotage my dieting efforts by making homemade fudge and then trying to "test" my reserve but it is, isn't it? Why have I not been able to see this? Why haven't I been able to see the connection? It is like part of my brain is in a fog and the other part works.]

Six weeks will take me to mid-September so there is plenty of time to reduce by the time the holidays come up. I remember quite well how all the aerobic walking I was doing in the fall of 2007 really helped me through the holidays that year. I didn’t even gain any weight even though I both stopped walking and I ate whatever I felt like. I believe I can count on my body to deliver me this time as well. Although I do plan on exercising better judgment when it comes to the food choices I make.

Well, I am breaking up my time on the computer by going through our closet and pulling out clothes that I will probably not wear in the next season or two. I am trying to focus on keeping only those clothes that I will really wear; either now, the near future or next spring/summer. In the next day or so, I am also going to try on certain clothes as well so I can see where I am at in terms of sizes and what I can/can’t wear this coming season.[Side note: Some of these I ended up ruining my credit over since I bought a lot of clothes that I really couldn't afford and I have been hanging onto them for 6 years!!] Fortunately for me, I usually gravitate towards more “classic-styled” clothes so they will be fine if I wear them in the next year. Still, my goal is to clear out as many “non-contenders” as I can. Ideally, I would like to have some empty plastic bins when I get done so I can use them in the laundry room to “contain” some of the odds n ends on those shelves.

[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.]

What gives?

Posted by lettucelose on December 14th, 2011 |Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 54 Comments

Week of July 26, 2011:

7/26/11:

My first “official” weigh in for this new birthday goal is 270.0 lbs!  That is 4.2+ lbs. from last week. Not exactly what I had hoped for as my first weigh in. I did add a comment section of what I thought “might” be contributing to that weight gain. I ate D’s on either Thursday or Friday of last week, I had horrible sleep for several nights in a row so I was having the “middle of the night” munchies, eating foods like potato chips or high calorie nuts and I also had high calorie sweets like chocolate covered almonds and extra-large homemade chocolate chip cookies. Then, we ate out twice over the weekend. Add to all of the additional calories and sodium I am also constipated. I don’t think I have had a BM since early Saturday. That is very unusual for me.

I mentioned that I had been in a “holding pattern” but it is self-imposed. I don’t have to be in this spot and yet I am. I hate to admit that although I have the Beck response cards right in front of me on the edge of the computer monitor screen, I rarely read them. I “allow” myself to eat out frequently and although I have been consistently exercising every day for over a month, I am still eating way more calories, along with hidden sodium and possibly hidden fats, without discretion. What gives?  It is like my mind and my actions are not in sync. I know what I “should” be doing but I am not doing it. Why?The only answer that I can come up with is simply I have done this for so long, that I don’t know how to do anything else. No wonder I am back and forth all the time. This is getting to be repetitive, demoralizing and embarrassing. I mean, I am sharing this with other people. I feel like the Emperor who thinks he is wearing a full regal garment when he is actually standing butt naked in the midst of a crowd.  Dear readers, this is not sensible eating, consistent “dieting”, nor even addressing a lot of issues. I am on auto-pilot.  It amazes me that I have even managed to lose nearly 30 lbs in the past year because the way I eat it doesn’t even seem possible that I have.

OY! I think I just walked blind-sided into this booby trap ensconced in “denial”. I know better but I was not even trying to use any of the Beck CBT skills to make better choices or even say “No Choice”. So, the next question is where am I really at with using the Beck CBT skills in assisting me to lose weight?  I would venture to say I am almost back at “square one”. This is very humbling. I can not deny the fact that I was basically thinking that I had this figured out and that I was doing better than I really was doing. Why? Well, I think that there is a part of me that simply doesn’t want this to be this hard. I want to have it both ways. Well, if I want to not practice these skills then I will be at this weight indefinitely. Do I really want that? The obviously answer is “NO’” but on the other hand how badly do I really want to lose weight and how much am I willing to commit to doing what it takes to get there? It might be a question that I ask myself every day until I am doing what I need to do to see the kind of results that you would expect from someone who is very serious about losing weight.

Well, I was able to stay in bed from 10:15 p.m. last night until 6:30 a.m. today. I have not been able to sustain that kind of prolonged sleep for so long I don’t even remember when it happened last. My guess is that it could have been months. I did get up multiple times to go to the bathroom but it “released” 4.4 lbs of sodium-induced water weight so it was “worth it”. Now, to start out today on a good foot and recommit myself to practicing my Beck skills. Already, I am hungry less than 2 hours after my breakfast! I think that is because I went over 75 grams of carbs and my blood sugar has risen so that sparks my appetite. If I start getting busy then, of course, that burns off some of that sugar pooling in my blood and the appetite decreases. I am really more aware to how my body processes carbs/sugar than I would have ever been before I “discovered” I had elevated blood sugar. Now, to really take to task sodium in my diet. I am eating double of what is currently recommended!!

After P hands in his invoices so he can get paid, then he goes to D’s to eat (and kill some time while his check is being cut). Usually, he brings me home a meal as well. Again, it is a lot of sodium but this is really “cheap eats” at a time when it really helps. I have been dividing the meal in half and then freezing the second one to be eaten later. We both are so amazed at how much food you get for $5.50!! You get enough to make two complete meals out of for one thing and it is the kind of food that we both love to eat: home style Southern cooking. It also goes to show you how huge the portion sizes are from most restaurants. I spent quite a bit of time trying to work around my D’s meal. More than likely I will end up going over my recommended daily calories. I am just hoping that I can stay under my recommended sodium. I’ve decided to aim for under 2500 mg sodium for awhile so I can start releasing a lot of that sodium-induced water weight.

7/27/11:

Well, it took me three days but I managed to do just that—keep the sodium down (which isn’t as easy as you would think, at least, for me) and the sodium-induced temporary weight gain is no more. It is a dilemma though and one that I hope I can also work on when I restart “sweatin”. 7/28/11:

Yesterday, once P got his check from C’s, we went to GC for an early supper. Then, we went to Ls. I got a large bag of organic potting soil and P got the “replacement” hardware needed to finish assembling the wooden media rack. Wow, it was really warm out. It was in the mid-90s but still felt warmer than this past weekend. We ended up watching t.v. for the remainder of the night and it was the third night in a row where I was able to sleep through the night, except for a bathroom break around 3 a.m. until early morning!! All I can say is “Wonderful! Wonderful!”. Today, I made another large stock pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I also made a “wonderful” breakfast for myself. I did a “repeat” of the “pork” (aka turkey) sausages, scrambled eggs with chopped spinach and garlic herb feta cheese crumbles, the homemade carrot-prune muffins and mandarin orange slices.  Yum!!

I ended up putting the small but very “substantial” pineapple based fan on the traditional end table along with the olive colored based lamp (which I got this past winter and I had as a printer stand since then) next to our loveseat. P really liked the placement of that in our living room. Granted, we could easily use a living room about 4-5 feet wider to accommodate all of the furniture in there but it will have to do for now. I just wanted a place to “house” all of his odds n ends that he leaves lying around on the furniture. The end table has a deep drawer where I would like him to just put some stuff in there (out of sight-out of mind and everything just looks neater as a result!). With the wooden media rack now assembled I transferred the remainder of our dvd collection onto that. For the time being; it is staying in the dining room until I get the second bedroom finished. We could get another 35-50 dvds before we needed to get another media rack of some kind.  I also put the glass top demi-lune sofa table behind the second loveseat. It does cut off some of the space in front of the front door so I am not sure that it will stay there indefinitely. A couple of years ago I had it in front of the patio door which I might end up doing again. It is also possible that I might either put it in either of the two bedrooms. We’ll see where it looks like I might have some “freed up” space once I rearrange some of this furniture.

Every time that I am able to add one more piece of furniture or decorative item that makes this seem more like a “home” rather than an “rental”, I am very happy. [When my arthritis wasn't so bad (about 3 years ago) I was able to both paint and wallpaper 3/4ths of our large apartment. I have always loved the floor plan of this apartment. It has generous closet space including a large walk-in closet in our bedroom and a separate laundry room off of the kitchen. Five years ago, all of the apartments were remodeled with new flooring and cabinetry. This two-bedroom unit also was able to get new appliances and a new central air conditioning unit. We have an open porch that overlooks a heavily wooded area where we can see lots of birds and even an eagle once in awhile. Although we have lived here nearly eight years, we have never really tired of our "home". It meets all of our needs.]

It is easy to forget that too until I look into some of the apartments where the walls are all beige and there are few wall decorations. I just couldn’t do that even though I am sure at different points in time, I probably ran a risk of breaking the “rules” of what you can or should do to alter the interior appearance of our apartments. We have had some leasing management who were fine with painting although they did balk at some people who wanted renovate the showerheads, etc. until last year when they replaced all the plumbing with more water-efficient ones (water has gotten very expensive here in the past couple of years).

The irony in that is from the time I left my own home I owned, I have decorated almost every apartment I rented. Some more than others. It usually depended on how much money that I had at the time. Plus, back in Minnesota, the choices among second hand stores, were very limiting. I didn’t do much shopping outside of the local area plus I didn’t have access to a pick up where I could have brought much home. So, the combination of all that really made for “slim pickin’s”. I have done more since we have been down here simply because there is such a “wealth” of second-hand or discounted “resources” to draw from. I have gotten several really good pieces of gently used, second-hand traditional furniture from G. That alone has really been a real “blessing” because it is difficult to find really nice furniture that isn’t either out of my price range or if within my price range then cheaply made. Then, all I have had to do was tie it in with the wall color and accent it with decorative items. I would love to see what Pa’s reaction would be; if she would ever actually get down here to visit. I have gotten a lot of compliments from different work men as they have come here to do something to the apartment. Although he was here late at night and only stayed overnight, P’s brother, L, thought our apartment was really nice. That’s nice to hear. I don’t entertain much so not many people do see the inside of our “home”.

Well, as I have said before: I just need to keep editing what we do own so what is left has a place and it is something that I really use/need/want so I can “justify” the space it does take up. It’s a process. At this point, I would love to be able to split up some of this stuff in another “residence” just so I could use it without it make our existing space cramped.

[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.]

Stuck in a Holding Pattern

Posted by lettucelose on December 14th, 2011 |Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 36 Comments

Week of July 19, 2011:

Once again, I am up past midnight. I took a nap from 4-6:45 p.m. so I figured  that I wouldn’t be very sleepy. I was right. It’s not the best pattern that I’ve gotten myself in but I am sure that once I set a few other things in place I will feel more like going to bed earlier than what I have been doing. I decided earlier tonight that I was going to make my yearly birthday goal “big and bold”. I would like to lose the remainder of the weight I have by my 59th birthday, exactly one year from now. That averages 2.7 lbs per week though! It is doable provided that I really get down to business. Between the information and help available on BLC site and the Beck Diet strategies; I can do it.

7/21/11:

My 58th birthday really ended up being quite “lovely”. It was quiet but I was okay with that. I ended up ordering pizza from PJ’s and I even managed to stay within 500 calories of my recommended range. I don’t feel that was a bad “celebration” at all! We watched AGT and I was able to talk with T for over an hour. However, yesterday just plain sucked! We went to bed around midnight. I awoke around 2 a.m. P redid his resume so it was reflecting his past experience in music. He checked with both the office at our church and with our current Music Director about the position. Our current Music Director even said he would put a good word in for P but he told P to not wait on applying. Well, I was thinking about that when I awoke so I came in here and drafted both a resume and cover letter on Word. I wasn’t sure on a couple of the dates (I was only off by one year) so since it was getting closer to when I “thought” P would get up I pushed myself to stay up a little while longer so I could do some “fact checking” with him. Well, after he proofed the resume/cover letter I sent it via-email to our church’s office.

As I told P, I feel like these kinds of opportunities don’t come along very often and since this has only been advertised internally (that we are aware of) I felt the pressure to get on this and not delay. In fact, I was very tense about getting this done and sent right away. I awoke thinking about it. This would really put P “front row center” if he got a position like this in our church. It would also mean a steady paycheck and an opportunity for Pl to step outside of what he has been doing. I also feel that should he get something like this it would also mean that I would need to be there to show my support if not even be in the choir itself which would mean an every week commitment. Although S did say that they would be calling him this fall, who knows how busy P could be? Maybe, that is all he will need to start bringing in more money but fall is about six weeks away and until then we have to think of every possible way he can bring in more money. This seemed like a genuine opportunity.

So, pushing past when I “should” have gone to bed I ended up sleeping poorly when I did and I awoke very irritable. After having something to eat, I decided I couldn’t stay up any longer and I went to back to bed for a couple of hours. It was a really good nap. I tried to stay up but I just couldn’t. I was so tired I felt nauseous. I slept for a couple of hours. Well, I did awake in a much better mood. We watched some of our summer programs and then P went to bed. I decided to come in here and play some online games before I return to bed. Besides my sleeping suffering today so did my food plan! I am just going to have to say “No!” to having any kind of nuts around here. I thought that I could try again but I can’t seem to leave them alone. Although they are high in monounsaturated fats, they are also high in calories and I just can’t seem to stop at one small handful. I had already eaten close to 1600 calories before I returned to bed. Not exactly how I wanted to start the first day of my year long countdown to a “New Me!”. Not at all!!

I have always handled these kinds of problems when they arise since I am the one who makes the majority of our financial decisions. It is an arrangement that has worked well for us as a couple although there are times when I am concerned that should something happen to me, P would really be lost as how to go about handling our finances. In fact, I have been thinking about making a record of account numbers, passwords, etc. to keep in our safe so if I were unable to deal with this for any length of time, he would be able to make sense of it. That is a good thing that I should consider working on asap.In the meantime, I always share with him what is going on and how it has been resolved.

[I also see the "irony" of this as well since I am a self-professed "recovering" compulsive spender. I used to say that I had a tri-core addiction: bad relationships, food and money. Well, I have a very good relationship and marriage right now, which I am very grateful for, but the other two areas are "works in progress". We are still snowed under in $65K in debt from some unwise decisions we made six years ago, that we are currently paying back. I still have over 125 lbs to lose before I see a "normal" weight.  There is such a long road ahead for me/us. I get so weary from it all sometimes.]

Although BD, who recently had the heart attack, invited both of us over for dinner, I reneged at the last minute. I am self-treating my back again, which seems to be an ongoing problem that is not really going away as I would have thought it would have,  and that, at the moment, I was in no mood to “be social”. I always feel so bad about doing this because I do it a lot.  I realize that things like this happen in life so I “should” be able to just “let them go” and move on. I am getting better about it but I still balk at switching gears a lot of the time. I guess there is a part of me that is wanting to feel sorry for myself that life has to be so damn difficult at times. I want to just pout and make a scene rather than shrug it off and actually turn to something like a nice dinner with another couple and “forget about it”. [P returned and told me that BD has done a complete 180 degrees. He now walks 3 miles every day. He has become a vegan and he doesn't eat any sugar. Wow! For someone who had a mild heart attack, he really took things quite seriously]

This is the first time that I have identified my thought processes on this so I consider that a “breakthrough” of sorts. Now, to just put an alternative way of handling it into place from now on. Tonight would be a good start but, again, I’m not in the mood. Which Dr. Beck would say “do it anyway” whether you are in the mood or not. She would be correct in saying that too. So, for now, I see the root of my reaction(s) to these kinds of upsets and that is progress. Maybe, I will get to a place where I can shrug it off, clean myself up and move past it. Today probably isn’t it but that is only because I have chosen not to take this one step further. That is my weakness at this moment.

I love having revelations like this because they also show the work that is happening beneath the surface while I am working on my physical self. It is moments like this that really test an emotional eater “in recovery”. I didn’t turn to food to “comfort” me or ease the tension I felt. In fact, I was relatively calm during the whole conversation(s) I had with different reps. I take notes while I am talking because invariably I will have to repeat what I said several times because once I am transferred the previous person doesn’t fill in the following person as to why I am calling. That alone escalates my frustration.

I just got a phone call from the W.I.A. person. I am not even sure if it was my career counselor. I can’t remember what her voice sounded like. She sounded nervous though. I just told her that I had some health concerns this past spring that didn’t “allow” me to finish the final exams.  I also told her about my future plans to return to a college degree program (none of the “free money” government retraining programs won’t cover those). She sounded nervous when she asked me if I had found a job or whether I wanted her to close my file. I told her to go ahead since my plans now include taking out a student loan and returning to school so I really won’t be needing their assistance any more. I also don’t want that “over my head” either.

I also told her that when I pass the final exams for the MOS program (I have until late this fall) I would send her a certificate of completion. I feel that is only fair since it was paid for through the program. I think their concern is the fact that I haven’t found a job as a result of that training. They have to show that their program is effective when requesting government agencies’ funds. I guess, since I haven’t completed the final exams nor gone out and sought work with that upgraded job skill, I can’t really say if it was worth it or not. I wasn’t sure if it was something that I really wanted to do or not. I knew that it was a “time filler” for me. The one person that I feel that I have “let down” through this whole process is P since he has shouldered the entire responsibility of working and paying the bills. I feel some “guilt” regarding that. He has been incredibly sweet during this whole time. He is amazing.

That is why I try to really help him when it comes to looking for work like using my writing skills to draft a more powerful cover letter, deal with the headaches of our finances, stretch our food budget and provide moral support when he is feeling down himself. I know that those are my strengths right now. He also recognizes them as such, acknowledges it to me and that makes all the difference in how I see our “situation” and how I feel about myself. I think if he were critical of how I have conducted myself this past year or so I am not so sure how “good” our relationship would be. I am sure that I would feel a lot worse than I do already. It really brings home to me just how we do bear each others’ shortcomings at different times during our marriage and how fortunate we are that how we have handled the aggravations of life have spoke as much as each of us as individuals and how well we work together as a couple.

7/23/11:

Well, in spite of the fact that I ate/drank over 3000 calories yesterday, including eating 800+ calories in finishing off a large bag of potato chips, I weighed 264.6 lbs this morning!!  I was half expecting an increase because my food plan has included delivery pizza, regular soda, potato chips, chocolate covered almonds, etc. the past 4 days or so!! IF ONLY I could eat 1800 calories a day, I do believe I could break the 260s before the end of this month. If I could weigh 259 lbs on August 1st, I would be a “happy camper”. What do I attribute this to? My “educated” guess: is that I am eating lots of fiber along with these foods that are high in fat (foods like whole wheat bread, cheerios, whole fruits, popcorn and nuts); I am starting to gain some “serious” muscle and therefore, burning more calories; I am drinking lots of non caloric liquids and chewing a lot of ice; I am logging everything I eat so I am aware of what, when and how much I am eating; I am really trying to reduce the amount of sodium that I have.

[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.]

Heart Attacks and Eating Healthy

Posted by lettucelose on December 14th, 2011 |Filed Under Non-Food Rewards | 27 Comments

Week of July 15, 2011:

It is about 12:30 a.m. but since I haven’t gone to bed yet, I still consider this Thursday. I finally got out of this apartment for the first time in two weeks-14 days!! It was 14 days ago that we went to  Wal-mart, I walked around it like I have been doing only that time it left me barely able to walk to the car and it took me another day or so to “bounce back”. It came as quite a big surprise to me then. I haven’t walked very far anywhere since then so I am not quite sure how I would fare now. Maybe, it was a fluke or maybe not. I won’t know until we go there again, I walk around the store again and then see how my knees and legs handle it. I will say though that I have a very “sensitive” inner thigh muscle that seems to be acting up like it has been “pulled”(strained). All yesterday I could feel it being really tense and painful. I iced it for quite some time then put some Icy Hot on it before I went to bed. Today, it seemed fine.

Well, we ate at GC. I was careful with my portions but, unfortunately, when I got home and tallied up both the calories and sodium content, I was left almost speechless. I picked one piece of  a lot of different things. Some of the food items I had never tried before and others were favorites but ones that I knew were high in either calories or sodium so I made sure that I picked smaller portions or just one serving. Even so, I ended up having over 2000 calories(which put over my 2100 high limit) and 4500 mg sodium!! It is a good thing that I didn’t eat much before but I was too afraid to eat anything else afterwards even though I was hungry later in the evening. Crap!! I told P that lately as I have tried to eat less sodium, it seems like all I do is run into problems with my food choices; particularly when I eat out.

After we ate, P followed up on a job lead that L from CM gave him. L suggested that P try S and see if they needed any extra help. It was either luck or L knew something as an “insider”. S is right across the street from GC so I sat in the front under the porch on a bench while P talked with one of the S’s personnel. She told him to stop in early next week and they could offer him some work including being available there on Saturdays. I think we were both speechless. We are so accustomed to things not seeming to “open up” for him that this came as a complete (although very welcomed) surprise.

I also had P’s lab results printed out so when he does get to see a doctor he can present that as well. He called BD after about a 6 week absence and he found out that B had a heart attack recently. I didn’t realize that he was P’s age for one thing. He also is not your typical heart attack profile. He is thin and he doesn’t smoke or drink except his triglycerides were also as high as P’s. When P heard all of this he was visibly affected by this. I think finding out that his own triglycerides are so high really now has hit him after hearing about B’s news. Well, I can see a few places where we can “tweak” our food plan. I read the information about cholesterol that came along with his lab results and I will do all I can to check both of our “diets” from now on.

For starters, I told P that I plan on us both eating the fat free microwave popcorn and going back to Smart Balance “margarine”. As long as it looks like we can afford it, I also want to eat fish twice a week with three times a week as our end goal. I will look for a lower sodium and low fat hot dog. I now will get egg substitutes and try them. P really loves his soft boiled eggs and when I do have eggs I like my yolk as well but I could use egg substitutes in my baking for sure. I could still use the egg yolks in recipes like potato salad but just use half as many so I get some of the flavor and texture but not all of the cholesterol. Again, with these M.O.M. diabetic cookbooks and my own ingenuity, I think we can eat “healthy” and still have delicious food.

As for both of us, we need to get back into a regular, consistent aerobic exercise routine. When we got home and after it cooled down some, P went for a walk. Later in the evening, I had a chance to review the information and I will be more mindful of what makes up some of the fats in both what remains in the refrigerator and cupboards. I also plan on looking for a OTC fish oil capsule that is smaller, doesn’t taste fishy and you only take once a day. If it is small enough maybe even I could get in the habit of swallowing it whole.

The other good news is that my body is getting toned enough where it is actually beginning to show in my clothes. An outfit that I have worn for several years now, an abstract empire waist top with solid knit capris, now almost seems to be too big for me. I am going to send it to the laundromat and, hopefully, it will shrink some. Since there is less of me, both have gotten noticeably longer in length. I don’t mind putting them in the dryer now that they have gotten bigger. I can “afford” to have them be a little more “form fitting”.

7/16/11:

Well, we both went to bed around 10 p.m. last night. As usual, I awoke several times but I managed to stay in bed until 4:20 a.m. before I finally got up. I decided to go ahead and make P his chicken noodle soup. However, I do have the tendency to eat the majority of my calories when I am up earlier and it seems like I have “time to kill”. Not exactly what I want to do either since when I do awake I still sometimes have quite a bit of the day left not to mention I don’t always get in all of my food groups when this happens. I seem to favor carbs at that time. I didn’t sleep for long and I do plan on returning to bed in a short while.

I did my lower body workout laying in bed. When I clear the floor space enough I will probably try to do it more often on the hard floor although I do think I am still getting some benefits since I can feel and see the difference already. I can feel my leg muscles getting stronger lately. I feel more secure when I stand in the shower, which was a big reason why I fell last November. A lot of the joint pain has subsided especially as I have added the hip exercises. I know that I was weak in that area as well which might have contributed to the pain in my right hip. According to the book, I can do the quad strengthening exercises every other day for two-three months and, then at that point, I think drop down to 1-2x a week for “maintenance”. So, if I want on August 4th, I can probably do that. I could also give it another month to be on the safe side too. I guess, I will make that decision at that time. It really doesn’t take long so it isn’t a big deal if I go until September 4th.

[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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