Monday, November 30, 2009

They All Noticed My Changes!

While I was home over the Thanksgiving weekend, I was pleased that I received several compliments on my weight loss. People that I've known my entire life, and individuals I met only recently all noticed the change in my size. It felt fantastic to be complimented like that!

I was a bit nervous to return to weighing myself this morning like I would any normal morning because I thought for sure that the scale would prove that I gained 10, 15 or 20 pounds from all of the delicious food I ate over the long weekend. Everything from wedding cake tasting to pizza and Thanksgiving turkey to buffalo wings, I had it all and enjoyed it! I was pleasantly surprised, however, when the scale showed 205.4. That is a weight I can definitely deal with and a good way to start my journey again.

I was thinking about my New Year's goal, to be down to somewhere around 180 lbs, and I know for sure that I won't be able to do that since that's 25+ lbs in four weeks, but I would like to drop comfortably into the 100s. It would be nice to see the scale start with a "1" even when I fluctuate up and down dramatically.

Tonight Mike and I are having homemade perogies for dinner with bacon, something that isn't exactly weight-friendly, but I have to get them in before I swear off naughty foods for awhile! I survived the first big holiday filled with delicious treats practically unscathed, and I know I have another one right around the corner. It's time to be on my best behavior so when those Christmas cookies cause temptations, I can have one for taste, but not splurge and ruin all of my hard work!

There are two photos from the weekend taken with my iPhone in this blog. One is a picture of Mike with his new nephew Evan after Evan's christening on Saturday, and the other is of me and my best friend, Stephanie at her dad's 60th birthday party. Mike popped into the background of that one too!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Heading Home ...

I can't remember thr last time I had such a wonderful weekend. I don't think I've been this happy since we went to Hawaii with my parents last February/March. Spending four days with my family, Mike's family and our friends was just what the doctor ordered to prepare my mind and soul for a cheerful holiday season.

The four day weekend was busy and packed wih great food that I just couldn't avoid. I'll definitely have to work a little harder to work off those extra calories from the turkey dinner, cake and excessive snacking, but all of it was absolutely worth it.

Mike and I also got a lot accomplished for the upcoming wedding as well. Friday was extremely busy and filled with appointments, but we made great strides forward. We reserved the cake, booked the florist, chose the invitations and had our engagement photo shoot.

So we're about to take off so I have to get this posted. I'll add a couple photos in the near future!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although I wasn't able to blog yesterday and offer some tips to all of you, I still wanted to drop a line and say happy thanksgiving!

Make sure you spend time with family and enjoy lots of great food. For me, I'm going to splurge a little bit and enjoy every minute of it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 23, 2009

Family is key at Thanksgiving

I'm not going to lie, I was surprised by the results of last week's poll. When I asked readers what their favorite aspect of Thanksgiving is, I was expecting almost everyone to check the response for "The Food!" To my shock and awe, the number one answer was "being with family."

Eighteen percent of responses were for the food, 54% were for "being with family," 9% were for "taking part in traditions" and 18% were for football. I know for me, my opinion of the holiday has changed over the past couple of years. I haven't celebrated Thanksgiving with my family for three years and so this year I'm ecstatic to be around my family and Mike's family.

If you would have asked me three years ago what my favorite aspect of Thanksgiving was I would have told you that it was the food, hands down.Where else, in one sitting, can you consume juicy turkey, wine, cranberry sauce (preferably from a can hahaha), mashed potatoes with gravy, veggies, corn casserole, green bean hot dish, apple pie and on occasion, even Christmas cookies?!?! It's like heaven on one table. That may explain the extra pounds that have made a home around my waist in the past couple of years.

No matter what you're reason is for being excited for Thursday's holiday, I hope you have a great one! I can't wait to hop on the plane, see my family and eat some fantastic food. I can't believe it's Thanksgiving already! Where has time gone?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Status Update

So I figured I'd offer all of you a little update on my current condition, both weight-wise and health-related since I seem to be falling apart from the inside, out.

I finally took everyone's advice, or maybe just gave in since I was being talked to sternly, and went to visit the doctor on Friday afternoon. After getting "examined" for less than three minutes the doctor told me to take 6-8 ibuprofen four times a day. I should probably note that he also never actually looked at my back with his eyes, or touched me with his hands. His inspection consisted of him asking me to bend forward and touch my toes (which I couldn't do). It's worth adding that I can never touch my toes regardless of the condition of my back since I'm the least flexible human being on the planet.

As if that wasn't irritating and odd enough (not to mention not worth the $35 I paid for it), It wasn't until I was signing the bill at the receptionist's desk and about to leave that the 15-year-old behind the counter "reminded" me to pick up my prescription at Target. Um .... what prescription? The doctor never bothered to tell me that he prescribed me Lortab for the shooting pain to take intermittently with the ibuprofen. What is wrong with health care in this stupid state?

I began taking the medication as prescribed (both the Lortab and ibuprofen) Friday afternoon, and treating my back with heat as the doctor said (but "absolutely no ice") and my back felt a little better on Saturday. The shooting pains had disappeared, and what was left was the throbbing, consistent pain. Believe it or not, but that was easier to handle. The relief was short-lived, however, since I woke up this morning (Sunday) and the pain had returned. To make matters worse, I picked up the basket of clean laundry to take upstairs (you can all yell at me later for lifting things) and tripped over the dog that was running around my feet. I wrenched my back again and now the shooting pains have returned. It's like returning to ground zero. The good news is that I know that all it's going to take to get past this is time, and time is something I have.

As for my weight, I'm well on my way to making it to 200 pounds by Thanksgiving morning. I need to make sure I eat extremely well Monday-Wednesday especially since my movement is limited these days. I know I can do it, and boy will it feel good the first time I see 200 or 199 in almost two years!

I can't wait for this week to blow by, weight goal met or not, because Mike and I are heading back to Minnesota and Wisconsin to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, the christening of his nephew and a whole lot of wedding preparation stuff! So, in the spirit of that, I will apologize in advance if my blog-writing is less than up to par Thursday through Sunday. I'm going to be a bit busy, and I'm looking forward to every second of it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm Falling Apart ... Literally

A doctor once told me that dramatic changes such as weight gain or weight loss, heightened stress levels or emotional tragedy can cause a severe shift in your body. Although my weight loss is not yet dramatic, if I were to couple that with high stress then I think my body may be reacting according to this doctor's theory. I am literally falling apart.

I have spent more than two weeks nursing the before, during and after symptoms of the flu and a cold. Now that I am just about out of the weeds with that bug, my body is falling apart. I still exercise regularly and I haven't done anything to over-exert myself physically, yet my back is barely working.

Starting yesterday during lunch, while seated in a wooden, upright chair, I started feeling uncomfortable and my lower back began to ache. I didn't think much of it, but when I stood up to leave the restaurant at the end of lunch, shooting pains ran down my spine, through my lower back, through my buttocks and into my thighs. The pain was horrendous. I ended up spending the afternoon walking barefoot (because walking in 3-inch heels became impossible) and hunched over like a 99-year-old woman with osteoporosis.

Last night I spent much of the evening taking ibuprofen and resting with a heating pad, but woke up again this morning with the same shooting pains. I can barely walk up and down the flights of stairs in our office without being on the verge of tears. It's horrible.

I called a local chiropractor and of course my insurance is worthless when it comes to this matter. Just a single visit is upwards of $60 and that's just for the evaluation to "see if anything's wrong with me." So, I'm going to keep stretching, taking ibuprofen and treating my back with heat and ice to try and relax the muscles and gain some movement back. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? I hope that's true!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A New Photo of Me -Taken Today

I Survived My Lunch

First of all I want to thank everyone who sent me Facebook messages, left comments on my blog, texted me and responded via Twitter to my cry for help regarding my lunch situation. The lunch went fantastic by the way, and I found something to eat that wasn't too far off my health/weight-watching radar.

We went to Landry's Seafood House by Palace Station in Las Vegas. Off their lunch menu I ordered "Chicken and Mushrooms." The dish was simple: grilled chicken w/sauteed mushrooms with some sort of a mushroom-based cream sauce drizzled over it. That was served with a light rice pilaf and steamed broccoli. When I looked it all up, it actually falls well within my calorie count, so I was satisfied.

As for the meal itself, unfortunately it was the driest piece of chicken I have ever eaten. I ate all of it though because I was starving!
Thanks again everyone for your great suggestions. As always, I love advice and learning from others who have gone through or are going through the same journey as me!

In a Tough Spot

So, I need some help, and anyone with ideas please feel free to comment.

I'm heading to lunch in two hours for a business meeting, and I'm going to a restaurant I've never been to before. Now, I've been in this situation before and I did what I always do: I looked up the menu online and rifled through it to find something to order before I actually go to the restaurant.

Here is where I reach my dilemma. We're going to a seafood restaurant and I don't eat seafood or fish of any kind. There are other items on the menu, but the non-seafood/fish items are all pastas or fried or are extremely high in carbs, calories and fat. So, what do I do without A) Being Rude, B) Starving or C) Cancelling?

I could order I side salad, I suppose, or a pasta and only eat a third of it. Do any of you have suggestions?

By the way, I'll write another post after lunch to let you know what happened and what I chose to do. Please Help Me!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dear Santa ...

In college I had a professor that asked us to write a letter to Santa Claus. She said it was cathartic and also a good writing exercise. Before that class, the last time I wrote a letter to Santa was when I was still writing with crayons. I'm sure I asked for things like Legos and Barbies or playing cards, and in college I asked for a new cell phone or car or a trip to the Caribbean. This year I've decided to revive the tradition and write a good, old-fashioned letter to the jolliest man we know. So, here goes...

Dear Santa,

I don't know if I've been good this year because I think that term is relevant, but I know I've tried hard to be a good person and given my all to fulfilling my commitments. I'm fortunate in that I'm not left wanting a lot, my fiance tends to spoil me rotten, but I've managed to find a thing or two that I would love to receive under or adjacent-to my proverbial tree this year.

If you have an extra one in your bag, I'd love a trip to London. I know we're spending our honeymoon there, but I truly can't get enough. If you'd like to throw in a flat in Kensington, I wouldn't mind that either. Also, if you happen to specialize in guidance, I'd love a kick in the right direction toward figuring out what I want to do with my life and career. I may be 26, but I'm no closer to knowing that I want to be a doctor, lawyer or Pulitzer-prize winning writer now than I was at 16.

Lastly, and I doubt you can find this in your bag of presents (perhaps liposuction equipment or diet pills, but I want neither of those), could you please find a way to get rid of my belly fat, love handles, excessively large boobs and tree-trunk thighs? I'd really appreciate for all the excess of Me to disappear overnight, preferably from Dec. 24 to Dec. 25. That would be a perfect gift.



Hmm, something tells me I'm not going to get anything in that last paragraph for Christmas, at least not directly from Santa like he waived a magic wand or something so I'll just have to stick to my own hard work. The other ideas have merit though. I'll have to let you all know if any of my Christmas wishes come true! What do you want for Christmas? If you share your letters here, maybe it can be a one-stop-shop for the big guy in the red suit.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weight Causes Clinical Depression For Some

I wasn't surprised to get a large number of responses when I asked my readers about weight-gain and how that relates to feelings of depression, but I was surprised by the poll's actual results.
Ninety-three percent of readers who answered the poll responded to "has your weight ever caused you to be depressed?" with a favorable response, leaving only 7% who answered negatively. Of those 93% who answered yes, more than 20% said they've become clinically depressed either now or at some point in time, because of their weight.

That number is astounding. More than 20% of individuals who are reading my blog have been labeled clinically depressed as a result of their weight. I didn't specify what the issue with weight was in the question, whether it's an eating disorder, weight gain or even dramatic weight loss, but my assumption is that the majority of people who answered the question and who are reading this blog on a regular or semi-regular basis responded based on weight gain.

I don't answer the questions myself, but if I would have answered this poll, I would have selected "yes, but not clinically depressed." Although I've never sought treatment due to the anxious feelings I've experienced because of the weight I've gained over the last five years, I have still gone through many ups and downs. It's very tiring and the thoughts have weighed very heavily on my mind about what I'm wearing and how other people perceive me, what I'm eating and whether or not someone sitting across the table sees a fat girl shoveling chow into her mouth. It's a feeling of being very insecure overall and it was pretty much the main emotion I've experienced for several years.

It wasn't until I made the actual decision to take control, not only of my weight, but of the way I look and the way I portray myself to the public, that I've been able to shift the way my mind thinks. I'm not so worried or obsessed about whether or not someone else sees me as fat or ugly, etc., but now I put more energy into how I perceive myself. If I think I look good then confidence is growing. What I've noticed is that the more confidence I gain, the more often someone else, whether stranger or friend, notices what I'm wearing. I've been complimented more times in the past 3 months (the amount of time I've been on this weight loss journey) than I had been the entire 10 years prior. Now I know that that just seems like a sad statistic, but don't get me started on my ex-boyfriends and those self-esteem issues. Just kidding .... sort of.

So, since this is such a large issue, I decided to talk with a doctor/friend of mine about the fundamental problems that are linked with weight gain and depression issues. He helped me narrow down a couple of pointers that have helped me, and can help other people keep those feelings of self-loathing, depression and or anxiety at bay. Losing weight is a process, it's a long journey that takes time and doesn't just happen over night. My friend told me that changing your frame of mind also takes a lot of time. So, start small and get big -- in a non-weight-gaining type of way. Here are his suggestions: control your stress in whatever manner works for you without eating the entire contents of the fridge (i.e. exercise, meditation, relaxation); get plenty of sleep (even if it means taking a Tylenol PM to kick start your first 8-hour sleep-athon); catch some rays. With the last one, I know it's not possibly to sit outside and enjoy a picnic in the sunlight when it's 30 degrees, but he suggested spending more time in well-lit areas outside the office and or hitting the tanning bed once or twice to avoid seasonal depression which also leads to piling on layers and feeling fat due to extra clothing.

It's a lot to take in, but I hope a couple of these suggestions can help you. I've been trying harder lately to get a lot more sleep and hitting the gym has definitely helped keep me calm. As for the tanning, well I avoid tanning beds like the plague, but I do try to go outside for a long walk every once in awhile just to enjoy the sunlight and fresh air (even if it is only 30 degrees).

The photo in this blog was taken today. I'm down a total of 26 lbs since starting and I feel great.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

200 in 10 Days

Well we're coming down to the final days before I return to Minnesota for the first time since Memorial Day weekend. This trip is important for me too because not only are we seeing my entire family and many of our friends, but we will be mingling with Mike's family and extended family for his nephew's christening. Also, we're taking our engagement photos the day after Thanksgiving so the way I look on that day will be kept forever as digital art. I must, must, must feel good about the way I look that day.

My goal in October was to reach 200 lbs by my 26th birthday. I didn't do it, if you remember, but I got awfully close. Now, almost four weeks after that day, I still haven't reached the 200 mark, no matter how close I've come. I've ridden a couple of ups and downs with getting sick and feeling stressed, but I haven't gained a ton of pounds, nor have I lost those last precious few to reach that goal. Now is the time to do it!

This morning I weighed in at a dreaded 208.8 pounds after indulging in an early Thanksgiving dinner and eating relatively unhealthily while sick for a week. That means I have 10 days (until I fly home late Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving) to lose 8.8 pounds. Now I know what you're thinking, lose 8.8 pounds in that short amount of time? I know it sounds crazy, but my weight fluctuates like crazy between 209 and 204 so I don't think it'll be that difficult to get back down to the 204-5 range and from there it's all about pushing myself both with what I'm eating and at the gym. Now is the time to concentrate and stay on track!

Right now in the kitchen I have puppy chow (muddy buddies to some of you), apple pie, candy, cheesy puffs, pudding and leftover pizza from Papa Johns. Those are some of my favorite foods, yet I didn't indulge even the slightest all day. That may not seem like a big deal, but I've been sitting at home almost all day working on my computer with no one else in the house. Do you know how easy it is to get carried away with eating snacks when you're bored and alone?!?!?! It's my worst nightmare for a situation!

I can't wait to go back to Minnesota in 10 days. I've been dreaming about seeing my family and friends and doing some hands-on wedding planning stuff. Not to mention the fact that Mike and I can't wait to meet our baby nephew, Evan! So, I guess you should all wish me luck and help motivate me these next few days. I'm going to need all the luck I can get with this one!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Seasons Are A Changing

I can tell that the seasons have officially shifted in Las Vegas. It took a little longer than normal for the heat of summer to wear off and the chill of fall to arrive, but alas, it is finally here. Just two weeks ago we hit temperatures in the low nineties and now we're happily resting securely in the 60s. This is the weather I love. However, this weather does horrible things for my body and my diet!

I can always tell when the weather is officially shifting form season to season. My skin gets a little dry and even peels, and my appetite switches from craving refreshing items like fresh fruit and turkey wraps to mashed potatoes, hot dish and steak.

Considering last night I wanted a New York strip, mashed potatoes and bread, I'm thinking my body has recognized it's want for foods with great warming qualities. However, I think it's less about warming the body and more about warming the soul --- providing that comforting sensation during the holiday season and cold months. I am from the upper Midwest after all and haven't been out of that region for very long.

Now, have no fear, I did not give in to my temptations last night, but I know these next few months will be difficult because "winter foods" are always higher in carbs, higher in fat and higher in calories. I'm really going to need to train myself to still want low-cal turkey wraps and fresh veggies instead of all the fattening goodness --- and that's not even touching on the fact that Christmas cookie season is right around the corner!!!

Well, this entire process is about ups and downs and overcoming the never-ending challenges. This is just the latest challenge to take head-on and push through . I'm sure I'll have something new to survive in the spring when the weather changes from cold to warm.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Staying steady -- and sick

Hey everyone, I'm sorry my blog has been a little meager lately. I'm still getting over this flu/cold bug and it's driving me nuts! I haven't been keeping track of my calories while I'm sick since I've been ingesting lots of carbs, juices and fluids, all of which seem to be higher in calories than I normally eat.

By the end of this weekend I should be at 100% again (I'm at about 75% right now), and I should be getting back to the gym too. I can't wait!

Not only do I feel awful, but mentally I feel bad because I'm not doing as well as I was. So, as soon as I feel rested, I'm getting back to it.

Check back tomorrow, I'm thinking of hitting the gym after work!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sick Bay

I spent the weekend sick. Although I should have spent every hour wrapped up in bed, I was able to get out a bit to take care of some errands and chores. It's Monday, day three of feeling awful, but hopefully this bug is getting past me.

I've been taking vitamins, drinking plenty of fluids (especially juices with antioxidants in them) and eating carbohydrates to absorb the acids in my stomach. I'm not exactly sticking to the stringent guidelines of my diet, but my first goal is to get healthy, and then continue dropping the pounds!

So, that's it for today, sorry it's so short. My word of advice, however, after talking to a doctor is this: If you have flu symptoms, don't run to the hospital immediately convinced you have the swine flu. Do you have a fever? If not, then you don't have H1N1. I thankfully have not had a fever and don't have the vicious bug, but let me tell you, this normal flu crap isn't that great either!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Biscuit Binge

I don't think I can ever honestly deny that I eat my emotions. Yesterday was the absolute perfect example of what I've trained myself to do for years - eat until I don't feel the pain anymore.

This week was difficult for me. I'm not sure why my emotions got all wrapped up in everything I was doing, but it seeme that the tiniest thing could make me cry or push me into a bad mood. A straw finally broke this camel's back yesterday afternoon and then came the biscuit binge.

As I was returning home, overwhelmed with frustration, irritation and a slew of other emotions, I had to stop at the grocery store for some items for dinner. What an awful idea! I also bought a container I Pillsbury biscuits. Instead of waiting for dinner, I cooked them as soon as I got home and consumed nearly the entire package.

Just as I knew I would, I feel awful today. It's not exactly falling off the wagon, but certainly a spat of weakness. My first real binge since starting this journey. I'm certainly not looking to do that again anytime soon!

So, today is a new day and a much better day at that. All I can do is take it one day at a time, and for now that's my plan.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What to Eat, What to Eat

I've had several e-mails lately ( asking me how I'm continually losing weight but still eating out all the time. What are my secrets? The easiest thing I can tell other people who eat out all the time is to plan ahead!

Not only do my fiance and I like to eat out on a regular basis, but on weekdays the best part about the lunch hour is getting out of the office. A group of my coworkers and I eat out almost every single day because it's a way to take a break from the office environment and it offers a lot of variety. This pattern could easily get me into trouble if I'm not prepared.

So what I do to combat this is to plan, in advance, what to eat at the restaurant we're heading to. We usually decide via e-mail what time we're going to lunch and which restaurant we're going to eat at so then I go online and look at that restaurant's menu. Oftentimes I can also find the nutritional information so I can enter it into the calorie tracker program on my iPhone.

Web sites like and Dottie's Weight Loss Zone ( have a lot of restaurants listed with nutritional (and weight watchers points) information.

Here are a couple of examples of things I like to eat when I eat out at chain restaurants for lunch during the week.
  • Jason's Deli - Either the Club Lite or the Turkey Wrap from the "Real Choices" menu. The Club Lite has 514 calories and I order it with baked lays and a diet soda. The Turkey Wrap 350 calories. The best thing about Jason's Deli is the frozen yogurt at the end of the meal. Soft serve is only about 60 calories for 1/2 cup!
  • Pei Wei - Asian food of all kinds is generally not the greatest for you, but there are healthy options everywhere. I used an iPhone app (listed to the right) to find a meal that isn't too horrible. The tricky part is the rice, and also the fact that Pei Wei's portions are calculated as 2 servings. I order the Mongolian Chicken with brown rice. A full dish of the Mongolian Chicken is 560 calories and the brown rice is 130 calories. White rice has more than 300 calories. Although that creates a meal of 690 calories, my lunch is always my heartiest meal of the day so I'm comfortable eating the entire thing. And, it's delicious!
  • Wendy's - I think the best thing you can do at Wendy's or any fast food restaurant is to order items individually and not as the meal. If you order the bacon cheeseburger, you don't need a large fries. When I go to Wendy's I order Crispy Chicken Sandwich (360 calories) and a small fries for 210 calories. Most people jump for the plain baked potato because it sounds healthier, but that's 270 calories without anything on it, let alone adding the sour cream and butter.

Like I said, eating out on a diet isn't the enemy, it's all about the selections you make. There really are healthier options everywhere, even at McDonalds or Taco Bell, you just have to find them and then order those.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When Did I Lose Control?

I've spent a lot of time talking about "aha! moments" or those epiphanies that helped kick-start my weight loss journey, but until today, I hadn't thought about another very important aspect of this entire issue ...

A friend of mine said she recently spent some time asking herself a question, and it wasn't "when did I decide it was time to lose weight?," but instead, "When did I lose control of my wei
ght?" I hadn't even taken time to figure out this piece of the puzzle,
and now that I'm thinking about it, I b
elieve it may be one of the most important aspects behind
the emotional and mental aspects of weight gain and loss. When did I lose control of my weight?

This question is really difficult for me, as I would assume it would be for a lot of people. It may not even be possible to pinpoint an exact event or moment or time period that kick-started all of the weight-gain, but I definitely think it's worth figuring out. For my friend, she said it was when her mother passed away and she took on more responsibilities with the household and her father, etc.

I would love to sit here and blame college for that initial push into the loss of self control, but I can't. I could tell all of you that it started with the famed "freshman 15" and just skyrocketed from there due to the late night pizza, beer drinking and constant take-out, but none of that is true. I did gain the "freshman 15" (or 25), but I wasn't a drinker and I
didn't gorge myself on McDonalds and Taco Bell. I'm afraid that now that I'm really looking back on it that it has more to do with personal and emotional situations than a simple solution like bad eating habits.

I've attached a couple of photos here that I came across just this past week when I found a "photo back-up disc" in my
collection of CDs. The photos were all taken between 2003 and 2005, and I weighed about 165 lbs. I stuck around 165 lbs for the first 3 years of college and didn't waver much. I was one of the "large" girls due to that size, but I was comfortable, if not happy with the way I looked. For me, my turning point came in 2005. It wasn't just one moment though, it was a series of events that not only caused me to lose control of my weight, but sent me into an emotional

To make a very long story short, in a matter of a couple of years a lot of things changed in my life. I went from studying at Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota to living in London, England then returning to Midwest to study in Wisconsin. I was in a 3-year relationship with someone from college and then was dumped via e-mail. I was a victim of bank fraud, twice and road the highs and lows of loving living overseas, but missing my friends and family in the U.S. There were quite a few ups and downs. I believe what really kick-started the weight gain was the end of my long-term relationship. Even though there is not a doubt in my mind that it was the best thing that could have happened to me, I still did a lot of emotional eating. And as I returned the states and began studying in Wisconsin, it took a long time for me
to figure out what I wanted to be doing and where I felt like I fit in.

I really believe that group of changes that happened all at once pushed my emotional eating to the next level. From there it was just a nasty downward spiral. From there I went to a desk job where I ate because it gave me something else to do while working. I also moved across the country to someplace foreign to
me and that caused me to eat away my stress.

It's unbelievable to think that your weight can change not only
based on what you eat, but on how you feel about yourself and the events that take place in your life. It may be difficult to think about and pinpoint the times in your life that transformed you, but in a way it's lethargic too. So, I challenge you, as I was challenged this morning to ask yourself, when did you lose control?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Change is Incredible

It's truly incredible to see the progress I've made throughout this journey. Although I had a rough week and a half or so, this week I've already dropped three pounds and I'm on my way to reaching that pivotal 200 lb mark!

Like with a lot of things in life, I've realized that my attitude directly affects what I'm trying to accomplish. Last week I was sort of down-and-out or in a "I don't give a crap" kind of mood and so I ate more than I usually do, ate things I hadn't in a long time and basically threw caution to the wind.

This week I'm feeling great again and I'm very committed to the journey I've been on and it's showing! I had reached 205.4 in October and then went back up to 209 lbs around my birthday and Halloween. This week I've managed to lose those extra gained pounds already and I'm back down to a fantastic 205.8. Honestly it feels fabulous and I'm looking at myself positively in the mirror again. I just think it's crazy that a minor attitude shift can change things so dramatically!

Three pounds is a lot to lose in one week, and I'm sure a lot is water weight, but I'm glad to be back on track. I really think I'll be down below 200 lbs before thanksgiving and well on my way to 180 lbs. by Christmas. I just need to keep the positive vibes flowing .... getting complimented on how look never hurts either. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dieting During the Holidays

Anyone who has done it before can attest to the fact that dieting during the holiday season is difficult if not treacherous. I'm not actually sure there's any fool-proof method of surviving Thanksgiving dinner through post-Christmas holiday cookies and champagne on New Year's Eve without gaining a few ounces (or 15 pounds), but I'm determined to give it a shot.

I've decided the best thing I can do to prepare for the impending holiday season is to get myself on track and stay focused. I need to make sure I eat right and keep track of my calories every single day from here on out, and make it to the gym whenever possible. If I get back into a steady routine, then it will be easier to stick to the plan. I know that the worst thing I can do is get lax about my goals and my weight management because as soon as I smell mashed potatoes and stuffing, or freshly baked apple pie, I'll ditch the "no thanks, I'm watching my weight" line and ask for seconds or thirds.

There are some tricks I'm going to try and use, both exercise-related and food-related to help stay on track while still enjoying the wonders of the holidays this year. I hope some of my ideas/tips can work for you too!

  • It's imperative to stay active and keep moving so why not do all of my holiday shopping in stores and not online. This forces me to walk around a mall or a shopping center. It's not a ton of exercise, but movement is key! Also, parking lots will be packed anyway, but choosing a spot far from the building forces a longer jaunt to and from the car. The added weight of packages and bags will just help with resistance training on the arms.
  • I don't live in a snowy state anymore, but I used to love ice skating, sledding and building a snowman or having snowball fights. If any of these are options for you then take advantage of it! Get outside and have fun, you'll be surprised that sledding can burn a couple hundred calories!
  • At Thanksgiving dinner try a little bit of all of your favorites, but don't go back for seconds and don't take huge portions. Also, make sure you choose the turkey without skin on it for less fat. If you feel like you took too much, then pass your plate to your spouse or a family member to finish it off. The best thing you can do is stay in tune with how your stomach is feeling. If you feel like you are full or will be full very soon, then stop eating!!!!!
  • The holidays are all about the sweet treats. I don't think I could enjoy Christmas without Christmas cookies (especially my best friend's mom's chocolate chip meringue cookies) or Thanksgiving without apple pie. This is a good time to share a dessert, or if that just isn't an option (believe me, I understand!) then don't add ice cream to it or whipped cream. Or instead of wine/alcohol and dessert, skip the glass of wine or the beer. It's all about trade-off and balance.
  • My number one thing to remember this holiday season is not to withhold anything from myself. I say this because if I restrict myself from trying all of my holiday favorites or indulging here and there then not only am I making the holiday season miserable, but I'm setting myself up for defeat. I can just see it happening: I avoid everything tasty during Thanksgiving then gorge myself on Christmas because I can't take it anymore. I would have been better off having a little bit here and there because I could exercise in between to burn the extra calories.

As my dad always tells me, it's about portion control, balance and the give-and-take. If you eat a little more today, exercise a little more tomorrow. Maybe I'll put in a lot of extra work from now until Thanksgiving so I have a bit of leeway, but then again, I wouldn't want to see all of my hard work just disappear in a flash. I guess moderation is key.

Do any of you have any good ideas for surviving the holiday season? Please share them with me, I can use all the help I can get!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Being Fat is Hard

In life there are thousands of "aha!" moments. As a writer, I have mini moments along those lines on a regular occurrence, but instead of being epiphanies they are simply out-clauses for writer's block.
One of my biggest "aha!" moments for my weight came a few months before I started this little adventure when I realized I couldn't do certain things anymore, or at least that I couldn't do certain things in the same way anymore. I realized that being fat is really hard and it actually inhibits you from doing even the most menial tasks.

Although the moment I'm thinking of isn't the most P.C., it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was using the facilities and as I was getting ready to clean up and pull my pants up I stopped and questioned what I was doing. Because of my added weight and new size I had to re-teach myself how to wipe in order to accommodate the larger body. I wasn't sure at first if I was having memory loss or if it was truly a weight issue. I think I would have preferred amnesia.

There have been several moments like that for me in the past four years or so as I have come to the haunting realization that I can't do even the most menial tasks in the same fashion anymore. Have you tried gaining 60 lbs and trimming your toe nails? What about shaving your legs in the shower when all of a sudden you realize you have to maneuver around extra rolls of body fat and larger breasts? It's not only a disaster for the task at hand, but boy does it do wonders for your self esteem, and not in a good way.

I could probably write a long list of things that have become complicated because of the weight gain, but I'll spare you. Have you noticed anything like this with your weight gain? Am I all alone in this venture? I get winded when I take the stairs (this is at least improving for me since I exercise now), tying my shoes is a challenge and don't even get me started on picking out clothes to try on at a department store. I really don't think the many days and nights of indulging in ice cream, mashed potatoes or chips were worth it at all. Losing out on living to the fullest is a horrible trade-off!

The photo added was taken today. When I feel fat I wear all black! Mission accomplished.