Saturday, April 30, 2011

Change My Mind

I've been thinking a lot about my dad's weight loss & my best friend's parents weight loss & the Wizard jogging & various other people in my life who have recently made major changes in their daily routines to change their health for the better. A couple of months ago I made the same commitment (or re-commitment as it may be) but i've been pretty flakey about the whole thing. See, I'm being brutally honest here. Yes I've started eating better and yes I'm tracking my calories, but I haven't been strict about it. I've even been hitting the gym much more regularly but it wasn't until last week that I had a REALLY good workout. So this morning as I laid in bed wide awake before 6 am that I realized why -- I wasn't fully mentally committed.

If I'm going to make this work I need to fully commit my brain. I can't let the calorie counting go just because I'm on vacation or skip the gym because I worked late the night before...excuses will get me nowhere. Using that new found mental clarity, I got out of bed before 7 and went to the gym. Not only did I get in a good chunk of time on the elliptical machine, a 20-minute weight set for my back and legs and some ab work, but I jogged on the track. I set a goal for myself on the way to Las Vegas Athletic Club that I would jog 2 full loops on the track. That seems like nothing at all for most of you but between my weight and bum foot it's a huge fete. Not only did I successfully jog 2 laps, but I did 4. Small steps, but steps in the right direction nonetheless!

I know that doing the tough things right away in the morning gets them out of the way, but it's the getting going and doing those tough things that sucks. Now that it's 9:30 and I'm blogging and watching the Price is Right with my husband (yes he DVRs it), I am so happy that I went to the gym super early! I feel awake, I feel motivated and in general I just feel good. I guess all those people telling me to do the tough stuff first weren't lying!

As for the rest of my day, I unfortunately have to work. The good thing is that I'll be staying mobile almost all day. I'll also get to eat a healthy choice meal for dinner and avoid snacking! I think the hubs and I might even go to a movie after work tonight. Looks like a good Saturday to me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Las Vegas

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Wedding

So most of you may not know this, but I'm in love with London & all things Great Britain. I lived there in college, honeymooned there last summer, named my dog London and gave the Underground symbol tattooed on my back. I've never felt more at home than I did in London.

So, since today was a momentous day for Prince William, Catherine Middleton, their families and all of Britain plus it's commonwealths, I just wanted to say congratulations and I wish I could have been there to see this event in person.

Enjoy your fruitcake and chocolate biscuit cake!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Minnesota Escape

In the past five days I have eaten some of my favorite things. I had a cupcake from A Piece of Cake, mac n cheese from Noodles, a home-cooked meal by my dad and munchies by relatives on Easter. It has been absolutely delicious and delightful. Mind you, I didn't say it's been wonderful for my waistline, but the risky calories were 100% worth it.

When I got my work schedule for this week last Thursday I had more days off than usual due to the store being closed for the Easter holiday. I decided to take advantage of those days off and take an impromptu trip to Minnesota to spend a few days with my family and closest friends. I think it was just what the doctor ordered for me (and completely surprising my parents was a bonus!). As I described it cheesily to my seat-companion on the plane back to Vegas, "the trip was a little dose of happiness for my soul." If you've stopped laughing at that, I can tell you that it's true. I haven't felt that calm, relaxed, unstressed, happy and comfortable here in Las Vegas in a long time. Minnesota brings me back to my roots and reminds me what's most important in life -- family & friends. I can't wait to some day move back and be surrounded by those people more consistently.

With that being said, whenever I go home I don't pay much attention to what I'm consuming because I'm usually only there a few days and I figure I can work it off when I get back. It's true, I can, but I think during my next trip home I should just stick to counting calories and not worry about working off any ounces gained. Between last Thursday and today, I gained one pound. That isn't too bad at all, but it is a gain instead of a loss. I also didn't do anything athletic at all. My soul was definitely taken care of, but I didn't pay any attention to my body! Come to think of it, between the black flats and a pair of boots, I didn't even bring any shoes I could have gone for a long walk in!

Mike and I have another trip planned to Minnesota on June 30. We're lucky because we get to celebrate our one-year anniversary (a couple days late) with our friends and family. I'm hoping that I'll pay more attention to my waistline and also make an effort to go for a walk in the mornings or maybe hit the gym with my dad when he goes. Speaking of my dad, he's dropped nearly 40 lbs working out and eating better and looks amazing! My best friends parents have both also dropped a lot of weight using the Seattle Sutton food program and look amazing. They are really inspiring for me.

I don't work until 4 p.m. today and my plan was to literally relax all day, write a little and catch up on my DVRd TV programs, but I think after getting these few things off my chest I feel more like going to LVAC and getting in a good workout.

I hope all of you had a good Easter holiday and are enjoying Spring wherever you are.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blog Neglect ...

I haven't purposely not written anything on my blog for a few days because I'm off my plan, but I basically ignored social media in general for a bit. I checked Facebook sporadically and avoided regularly posting to Twitter because I simply needed a break away from everything. Don't you ever reach a point where you don't want the whole world knowing exactly what you're doing, when you're doing it? That's what I was feeling ...

The last few days have been pretty difficult in terms of dieting and staying motivated. I haven't gained any weight, but I haven't dropped the normal handful of ounces either. The reason is simple - I haven't been moving around! I know it was my "weekend" but I have been so lazy! The most movement I've taken part in was a photo shoot for a friend on Tuesday evening. That simply isn't enough for my diet or my health in general. Now before you think I've just sat on the couch watching TV, don't worry, that isn't the case. However, most of what I have been doing has involved sitting. :-(

So what can I do to keep myself motivated on those days dedicated to relaxation? I really don't have an answer for that. The only thing I know is that I need to get back into a precise exercise pattern. When I was at the peak of this program before my wedding, I stuck to not only my diet/tracking/blogging plan, but I had specific exercise goals each week and I stuck to them. The base of those goals is Extremely simple ...keep moving for 30 minutes every day. This goal could be as simple as taking a walk with the husband, doing pilates, a long day of housework, etc., but truthfully that isn't enough to help me reach that June 1 goal. So I think I need to add a new exercise plan as well. This plan is also easy - make it to LVAC 3 times a week.

Going to the gym 3 times a week doesn't seem like much, but for someone who's barely been going at all (certainly not on a regular schedule), this often is a lot and will make a big difference. The hardest part will be convincing myself to go each time.

Really, how in the hell did I get back to this point? When I was doing this before I got myself to the point where hitting the gym was habit and I actually enjoyed it. In reality, it's a good stress reliever! So when did I stop going on a consistent basis and lose my gusto for it? I really hate these wild ups and downs.I need to find that happy balance, and that is exactly what I'm struggling with. Figuring out my eating and tracking is a huge part of the battle, but it's time to establish the boundaries for the other half - exercise. The good news is, it know I can do it, after all I've done it before, right?

Any pointers for me would be great if you have some. How do you stay motivated?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Wizard Says to Jog

I tried running around the neighborhood once. I guess you could say I went "jogging" and failed miserably; at least I looked the part though. Before heading out for my "nightly run" (it was a tradition I was attempting to start), I geared up with nice 3/4 length running pants, a dry-fit Nike top, cross-trainers and my handy-iPhone tuned to my favorite exercise mix -- I must have looked like I was planning on running a marathon. I think I even stopped right outside my front door to stretch a little bit, after all, I wouldn't want to cramp up, right?

With good intentions and motivation boiling over inside of me, I took the first few steps away from my house and felt amazing. A few more paces passed and I could literally feel the burning sensation growing in my calfs. After what seemed like an eternity (just past the first turn off my street), I started feeling winded and really, really tired. It was at that moment, the intersection of Red Passion and Sole Addiction (yes, those are real street names) that I realized that if I left the neighborhood intending on jogging, that I'd probably need my husband to come pick me up. So instead of turning the corner onto Red Passion and exiting our neighborhood, I kept going straight. Sole Addiction curved onto another road and that turned into another and eventually I made a square and ended up on my own doorstep. I listened to less than two songs on my iPhone and made it back before the next commercial break started during the movie my husband was watching.

Now before you start thinking that I ran super fast ... I didn't. I barely ran at all. Back at the corner where I had my epiphany, I stopped jogging and started power walking. I walked until I could see my house and then jogged the rest of the way. I was already embarrassed enough that I wasn't going on a long, soul-searching run, but I told myself that there was no way in hell I could arrive on the front lawn walking. And I didn't.

I haven't tried running since. I love the treadmill at the gym, but I mostly walk briskly or switch to the elliptical or stairs for cardio. I've never been able to run on the treadmill and not feel like a giant horse's ass. I mean with every thud of my feet I feel like the people on the floor below me at LVAC can hear my paces.

It turns out, however, that the Wizard is the same way. She's never been much of a runner either and she doesn't like running on the treadmill at the gym. She wasn't a jogger ... until now. She said she's dropped more than a couple handfuls of pounds since she started sporadically jogging. She doesn't go out daily, but she goes out enough to keep into the habit of it and even encourage herself to do it more. Like me, though, after a certain length it gets hard and so she does what I'm calling milestone jogging. When she jogs (most frequently with a friend) she starts jogging and sets a milestone or a goal to reach. For instance, "let's jog to the third lamppost or the tree on the far side of the field." If she reaches that milestone and has more gusto in her, then they keep jogging. If not, they slow down to a brisk walk and then look for another milestone to reach. She said it's really become something she enjoys and seeing pounds actually drop away is even more encouraging. In her own words, "I'm really an outside jogger; I don't like running on the treadmill so much."

Maybe it's a method I could try too? I've honestly never been a fan of running, even when I was a three-sport athlete. I mean, there's a reason you never saw me attempt to try out for track & field or cross-country. But that doesn't mean that some form of jogging or running couldn't work for me, right?

Anyone out there a habitual runner? Any tips for a newbie? I've read the "Couch to 5K" plan and even started the process but I didn't like having to time myself. Having to keep track of seconds or minutes reminded me of the things I dislike about the treadmill. On a treadmill I constantly watch the clock, and even when I cover the clock I keep track of my time on other people's treadmill timers. I guess this "milestone jogging" is similar to the interval running in the "Couch to 5k" program, but without counting seconds. I think I definitely want to try it.... what's the worst that could happen anyway? I find out I don't like running and don't do it? Oh wait, I'm already being that lazy. I guess there's only upsides from here!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How're Those Goals Going?

I decided that since I've been back on my plan for about a month & since I set specific date-oriented goals that It's only fair for me to check in with myself and all of you about my progress.

Reminder: In my post "Who's in the Mirror?" I examined the ups and downs of the past couple of years including losing a ton of weight and gaining a little bit back. After examining that, I set two clear-cut goals for myself for this year.

"Feb. 1, 2012 - This is my year goal. By this date I would like to weigh 170 lbs. In Feb. 2012, I am going with my parents, husband and family friends to Grand Cayman, and I'd like to wear a bathing suit without cringing.
June 1, 2011 - Step 1 goal. By this date I would like to be back to my weight-loss point of 192 lbs. Once I reach this goal, I'll be finished re-tracing my steps and ready to move forward."

So ... that was March 20 and I weighed 209 lbs. This morning the scale showed 206.4 lbs. (Just a piece of info - I weigh myself every morning in the same manner at about the same time to keep it as honest as possible.) I'm not going to complain about a nearly 3 lb. loss, but I would love it to be more. I don't like excuses and I don't care that I was laid up immobile for a few days. I know that I made decisions like having a few drinks or not counting calories a few times that contributed to not losing more.

Checking in on my progress is definitely a necessary evil. I need to push myself harder if I'm going to make that June 1 goal of 192 lbs. I know I can do it, I've been there before, but I need to make a distinct effort in order to do it. So here we go, or continue going, full steam ahead ...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Paint the Room Blue

I was listening to the radio this morning and the radio personality was listing off tips from a new study that are supposed to help you eat less when you sit down to dinner or breakfast or whatever. As I thought more and more about each of the items on the short list, the more I think they all make perfect sense.

By the way, I looked for the link to the article or source for the list but I couldn't find it so we'll just have to list these as helpful pointers from an eat-less angel .... or something like that.

Here are the four pointers:
  1. Light a vanilla scented candle: the vanilla scent reduces dessert cravings and is supposed to help you stop eating earlier. The scent alone is sugary enough to put those thoughts of chocolate cake out of your mind.
  2. Listen to soft or soothing music: slower and soft music tends to be relaxing. Like when you get a massage, the music playing in the background is usually soothing and without lyrics. Its purpose is to calm you down; so, the same goes with eating. Calmer music can help you relax and slow down which gives your tummy time to digest what you're eating.
  3. Turn the lights on and keep them bright: just like trying on clothes in a dressing room with fluorescent lights, bright lights make food look less appealing. Dimly lit restaurants make more money because the low lights help people throw their eating inhibitions to the wind causing them to order and devour more.
  4. Lastly, paint your dining room blue: wherever you eat your meals, if that room is painted in blue shades then supposedly you will eat less. The reasoning behind the color theory has to do with the light causing the blue of the walls to reflect a blueish/gray hue on the food making it look less appealing. Apparently, the study showed that people who ate in blue rooms consumed 33% less than others.
Most of that makes perfect sense to me. Bad lighting can make food look less appealing, vanilla scents are so sugary that it could replace the want for dessert and music can be calming. The only part that I'm not so sure about is the blue room. Do colors really make a big difference in how a person is feeling, the way they look or how much they'll eat? They say taupe is soothing and yellow can cause panic. So now blue can stunt your appetite? In that case, let's paint the kitchen, dining room and living room blue -- just to cover the whole ground floor. Or maybe I'll eat in the guest room from now on since it's already painted in a blue color.

I think these pointers are good ones, though, despite the fact that they may or may not come from a medical journal or academic source. Tonight at dinner I think I'm going to turn off the TV and turn on some soft music. I can't do anything about the color of the walls, but I can light a few scented candles and see if that curbs my appetite at all. I do fell bad for the hubby though, he's 125 lbs soaking wet and certainly doesn't need to eat any less, but he'll sit through my experiments just because he knows how much I want to drop the weight. Let's give this study a shot!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Busy Day, Forgotten Stomach

Busy days are a blessing and a curse. Today felt like one of those days where every decision and request made me want to tear my hair out. However, on the upside, a busy and frantic day means a fast-moving work shift.

It's ironic that I think so much about how boredom affects my diet and eating habits, but I rarely think about the exact opposite. Today we were busy as ever at work. It seemed like every customer we ever had waited in the parking lot until a big group got together and decided all at once to walk inside. It was one thing after another and that meant that our breaks were put off slightly and our hunger didn't matter at all. I ended up eating half of my lunch at 3:45 p.m. and by the time I left work at 8:30 p.m. I was starving! And feeling so hungry for me is a great thing!

I love the feeling of being hungry. I know that sounds crazy, but I really like it. I went so long with eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and although I may have thought I felt hungry, I wasn't having hunger pangs. Now that I'm eating less and more carefully, I can actually feel when I'm full or hungry. Today, I was definitely hungry, no doubt about it.

Yesterday Mike bought a dozen red roses for me and today he had dinner waiting when I got home. What an amazing husband I have! I'm certainly not hungry anymore, and on top of that, it's officially my weekend! Things are good. I'm a lucky gal.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weight Loss & TV

I get it, America is overweight. A few years ago reality shows like VH1's Celebrity Fit Club and Biggest Loser took the TV world by storm. Now, it's hard to turn on the TV and not be bombarded by weight-loss television. I was flipping through the channels recently in order to set up my DVR recordings and I came across Dance your Ass Off, Biggest Loser, Shedding for the Wedding, FitTV, la di da di da di da and the list continues. It's madness!

I know once one type of show becomes popular - first came reality TV and then came weight-loss reality TV - that as many networks as possible jump on the bandwagon. I don't have a problem with all of those shows. Many of them are actually encouraging to me to get off my ass and into the gym, and remind me to eat healthier. After all, the participants are average people like me who let their weight get out of control and now they're trying to change their lives for the better ... aren't we all?

The type of TV I'm starting to take issue with are news-based programs. Every morning before work or at the beginning of my day I watch the Today Show or Good Morning America. At night my husband and I also tend to watch the evening news. Like normal rituals, these things have become habit, and these shows that I've been watching for years are starting to irritate me to no end. I literally cannot remember the last time that I watched news-based TV during a day and there wasn't something related to weight loss. Every time I flip on a news program, like this morning on Good Morning America, there's a new specialist or "doctor" or guru telling America to "Eat This, Not That", to stop eating egg yolks or start eating egg yolks, etc., etc. Keeping up with the schizophrenic nature of weight-loss TV is exhausting and, more often than not, the only thing each of these segments have in common is the overall message. I just wish the paths to that end goal of obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight were the same.

In one day, literally the same day, I was watching a program in the morning that had a "specialist" talking about how wonderful poll-dancing classes were for losing weight and toning your body and that night a news program was discrediting what poll-dancing classes are capable of as far as fitness goes. MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

I know it's all very simple: eat healthier, less-processed foods and exercise regularly and you can lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. It literally is that simple ... However, getting the motivation to be that disciplined after decades of having processed foods shoved in our faces is the difficult part. But, I just wish that I could watch a week of television and not be forced to re-think my eating habits. On Monday I'm supposed to focus on a balanced diet with fruits, veggies, healthy carbohydrates and plenty of protein. On Wednesday I'm told that all carbs are bad and that I should go vegan. By Friday it's best that I just watch calories and eat five meals a day of whatever tickles my fancy. Maybe my only solution is to turn the channel when those "healthy" segments hit the screen.

I like that I've personally found a balance in my weight-loss journey. I have found a program that works for me. I watch what I eat, focusing on calories, along with exercising regularly and blogging in order to keep me accountable. Guru A may think potato chips are the devil, but if I have a small portion within my calorie allotment I know I won't die and I probably won't even regret it. Guru B tells me to go vegan, but let's face it, I love steak and chicken and beef and pork and .... oh forget it, there's no way in hell I could give up meat let alone all animal byproducts.

It seems that every person that's lost a ton of weight or gotten fit or who went to college to be a nutritionist is a "specialist" and deemed worthy of being a trusted source on TV. Just because I lost 40 lbs before and I'm on my way to losing another large chunk doesn't make me a reliable source. The only thing I can actually say for certain relates to me and my actual journey. Just because I tell you that eating Lean Cuisine fresh steamers meals for lunch every day has kept me on my path and helped me drop a few pounds doesn't mean that I KNOW it will work for you. It's just a suggestion of something that worked for me. So who knows, maybe if all of these trusted sources came on TV and shared these tips as they pertained to their own path to healthier living then I'd be more likely to listen. But as it is, I have to do what everyone else does: sift through the weight-loss/healthy eating information overload and figure out a balance that works for me.

Maybe I'll start changing the channel too, after all, Dawsons's Creek and Saved by the Bell reruns are on at the same time as Good Morning America and The Today Show. I could revisit the shows of my youth and remind myself what life on the Creek was like instead.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Puppies, piggies & people, Oh My!

So it may sound dumb, but I forget how exhausting being outside all afternoon can be! Today Mike and I joined The Wizard and Kristi from work and their pets at Mix 94.1's Pet-a-Palooza. The outdoor event featured headliners David Cook, Fefe Dobson and Train along with dozens of pet organizations. Everyone brought their dogs (and piggies!). I loved it! London and Aribella, our two cocker spaniels, also had a blast socializing, humping and being pet by lots of random pet-owners.

One thing that fairs and other large gatherings always does is amaze me. What is it about outdoor festivals that gets people to exploit their normal diets and eat things way outside their comfort zone? I saw a man and woman each walking (and eating) juggling plates of nachos, french fries and hot dogs. I watched them walk a ways hoping to see them run into a gaggle of people whom they were going to share their goodies with. It never happened!!!

I knew I was going to want to eat something, and everything looked good, but I limited myself to half a portion of french fries and a shared pepsi. That small amount is guaranteed to be between 500 & 800 calories depending on how exactly the french fries were made. Thank goodness I don't have anything else planned today so I can ration the rest of my allotted calories. Fair food is such a disaster for people trying to lose weight or watch their figures. On the upside, we spent the entire time walking around and controlling out pups and that's a calorie-burning affair in and of itself. Walking even at a slow pace with any sort of tension for an hour can burn more than 150 calories! I doubt our rate was that high but it sure helps get rid of the guilt over the french fries!

So now we're home and both dogs are not only passed out, but snoring. It feels good to relax a bit. My foot's pretty sore from being pulled in every direction and walking so I think I'll put it up for awhile. No real plans tonight, but today has been pretty great! I hope all of you have had a good Saturday too!

Here are a couple of photos from Pet-a-Palooza!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Call to Arms

Almost 2 years ago I started my journey to lose weight and subsequently began writing this blog following the ups and downs. In that time, I've lost a lot of weight, gained a bit back, got married, been on 13 trips and changed jobs. It's been quite an adventure.

I'm thankful for the entire experience so far and I'm looking forward to the journey to come. One of the best aspects of this adventure, however, has nothing to do with me at all, but instead has everything to do with you, the readers.

I've always made myself accessible to anyone who reads my blog and wants to ask questions, show support or share their story. Hell, many of the people who read this are people that I know in person now or knew at some point in my life. Through Facebook, e-mail, Twitter & text message I have received a large number of responses to my story. Not only have I received commendation for being open and honest about the true story behind trying to drop the pounds, but some of you have shared your own weight struggle journeys with me.

So, here's the point I'm trying to make today. I know that I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who looks in the mirror and wants to cry some days because of the transformation that seemed to happen in an instant between then (cute & thinner) and now (um... Less cute & fat). What I don't know is if all of you who are struggling with your own weight journeys (including weight-gain struggles) know just how many people are out there that have stories just like yours.

It's heart-breaking to read about discouraging parents and partners & motivating to hear stories about friends who keep each other on track. I already have permission to share a couple of the stories I've been told (without using real names in some instances), but I want to extend the offer to anyone who wants to talk to share their story. Sharing your story, whether it's similar or erratically different from anyone else's journey can be liberating. Trust me, when I started writing this down it felt like a weight off my chest (no pun intended) and made me feel like I had to keep pushing because others were rooting for me. Now that's motivation!

I'm thinking of sharing someone else's story once a week so I'd love if some of you would share yours with me. If you want to share, please please please send me an email at

I hope everyone has a good day. Don't forget to watch your portions when you eat, drink lots of water and keep your booty moving!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Back At It

Well I haven't written in a few days, but to be fair, I've been pretty busy. I finally returned to work on Friday and the day felt like it lasted forever. I was suppose to work until 6, but I left a couple of hours early because my foot was throbbing and standing seemed to be an impossible task.

Yesterday went a bit better, I thankfully didn't drop anything on my already injured foot (I did the day before), but working the full shift really took a toll on me. When I got home I felt like all i could do was sit and rest. When we went to dinner I think I winced the entire time.

So anyway, here I am, day 3 back to work. My foot is still wrapped and I'm hobbling around like a penguin without the coattails. I think the extra effort I have to put into walking and standing is helping my diet though. I've pretty much lost those few pounds I gained while I was immobile! Woo hoo! On top of that, I'm right back on track watching what I eat and sticking to a plan. Feels good to have structure in my life again -- even if that structure involves standing on a bum foot for 8 hours.

As for tonight ... No rest for the weary. The hubby and I are going to make a grocery list and plan out our meals for the week --- I can stay on track that way --- then do a little shopping. I hope that ice cream doesn't tempt me too much!

It may be sad, but i can't wait for me "weekend" on tuesday and Wednesday so I can mix motion with relaxation. I also hope the doc says I can go to Petapalooza on Saturday. We'll have to see what he says during my follow-up visit Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone