Monday, August 31, 2009

Dinner Woes

I've been wanting to write about a lot of things lately, and ideas have been swirling through my head throughout the day, but then when I have the time and sit down to write I draw a blank. Ugh.

I've gotten on the stationary bike two nights in a row now and I'm going for #3 tonight. We purchased the bike a few years ago and we use it sporatically. It's not my favorite piece of equipment as I feel like I'm just sitting there and not really doing much, but I love that I can bring my laptop out into the garage and watch a movie while I bike. I just have to watch something that I've either seen before or something mindless because I've noticed that my pace will slow down a lot if I'm trying to follow a storyline.

That combined with really being aware of what I'm putting in my body (not just calories, but grabbing for the whole grains, fruit, veggies, lean meat etc) has really been making a difference on the scale.

My only problem is dinner. Breakfast and lunch I have down, I have a range of choices that I know are good for me and are quick and easy to make, but when it comes to dinner I always feel at a loss. There either isn't anything in the house that I want, everything takes too long, I don't have the right ingredients, or what I'm craving isn't the healthiest.

My husband usually makes dinner (I'm so lucky!) and while he is not as health conscious as I am he generally makes pretty healthy food without even thinking about it. Portions are where we have a problem because he makes big portions and eats a lot. Like last night he made brown rice and his take on chile verde with low fat coconut milk. He got low carb heart healthy tortillas, low fat sour cream, and all natural guacamole to go with it. Delicious! As he piled a burrito high I knew that I couldn't match him bite for bite like I used to when we were dating. I put together a small plate with a little of everything, but no tortilla and I ate it slowly and savored every bite. When he got seconds, I almost got up after him but stopped myself. Was I even hungry still? No. Did I want more? Yes! It was delicious, of course I wanted more! I listened to my body, and even though I didn't love the answer I felt a lot better afterwards as I enjoyed some Rooibos tea and the feeling of being satisfied but not stuffed to the brim.

I'm so close to the 40lbs lost mark, I can smell it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

So Happy!

Our baby is safe and sound, back at home curled under my feet as I type this! We're still fuzzy on the details of where he was and for how long, but it doesn't even matter. Someone 6 long blocks away had him and called animal control sometime last night for them to pick him up. It looks like he got into a bit of a fight, he has marks above and below his right eye, but nothing major and we feel very, very fortunate that he is okay. I have never been so worried nor so relieved in my life!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Crushed Pt. 2

He wasn't there.

We're going to make signs and plaster them all around the neighborhood, and keep checking in with the shelters in the area.

I really, really, really hope we find him soon.


I don't know where my dog is.

We left our house for an hour and 15 minutes last night and had the dog in the backyard because it was really hot inside and we thought he'd be more comfortable. We double checked the gate in our driveway, made sure the lock was engaged. When we returned someone had pried open the gate, lock and all, and our baby was gone.

We drove all around the neighborhood, and asked our neighbors, but saw nothing. The animal shelter couldn't help us because it was after hours, so I am counting the minutes until they open in an hour and a half. He has to be there, he just has to. He is such a big part of our life, he is our baby, my first dog, my running partner, my snuggle buddy.

I am trying to stay positive, hoping that someone picked him up and brought him into the shelter last night or this morning. I just want him safe, I want him home with us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thoughts on maintaining

I have been really good this past week, with the one exception of movie date night on Saturday where I got out of work too late to eat something beforehand and ended up with a dinner of movie theater popcorn and candy. Ugh, it just sat in my stomach all night. What is it about movie theater popcorn, that smell? Even if I go to the movies with a full stomach once I smell that popcorn my stomach starts grumbling for it. We're been really good lately, making sure to eat a full meal before heading to the movies so that we're not tempted (well, we're tempted, but not being truly hungry helps so that we don't give into the temptation). Good for the belly, good for the wallet too!

As I sit at work today there is a Greek salad calling my name from the fridge that my coworker left for me, but I don't have a fork :( So, so sad. I brought my faithful PB&J so I'll survive and bring it home for dinner.

I am on the cusp of entering a new set of 10s with my weight loss. I was getting a little cranky yesterday because I just want to be done. I want to be at my goal weight and only having to worry about maintaining that. I think I'm just in a lazy little mood which is contributing to that, but I know I won't be done when I'm maintaining. I put on this weight way too quickly (for someone who isn't pregnant at least!) and I don't want to make it to my goal weight and just become a lazy bum who eats non stop again. That's why I'm doing C25K and trying to make exercise and being active part of my everyday life, not just for now for my weight loss, but for the rest of my life. It should be interesting to see what it feels like to actually be at my goal weight, I'm really curious. I'm also curious about how my eating habits will change. I really like the foods that I eat and I don't go throughout the day feeling hungry at all, so I wonder how that'll work with adding calories to maintain instead of lose. More food? Higher calorie food? I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Man, I'm excited to get to that bridge!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

On my way to running success

I tried doing C25K with the dog again this morning and it went a lot better! I tried to walk him through the little park by our house but people were playing tennis and he loves tennis balls so we scratched that and just went down random streets near our house.

It wasn't perfect and we're still on week 1 (to be completely honest, I'm a bit scared to move on and start running longer than 60 seconds at a time) but we're doing it! That's all that matters, right?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Exercise fail and success

I don't like being sweaty. Maybe that is one of my exercise barriers, but I hate it. I also get crazy red faced and it doesn't go away for a while.

Doesn't matter though because I've gotta exercise and if I'm not sweating I'm obviously not working hard enough.

I knew I had to exercise today because it's my day off and that means more sitting around the house and general laziness compared to walking around and being pretty active at work.

I tried to walk/run with the dog, but in an attempt to get out of the routine of our neighborhood and walk in an area with more shade we ended up at a really nice park/trail by our house that had one major flaw - gophers. We were only at the park for about 20 minutes because walking a straight line was just not happening and I kept getting a stitch in my side. Exercise fail.

When I say run with the dog I should really put it in parenthesis. I am attempting the Couch to 5K program because I've never run a mile in my life and accomplishing that would be huge for me. Running is also something I will be able to do anywhere, anytime for exercise once I get good at it. I'm still on week one because I haven't been very consistent, but I'm trying and I enjoy it so far.

After dinner I decided to try again, this time on the elliptical. Exercise success! 30 minutes and I got nice and sweaty so I know I accomplished something.

In other news, this morning I weighed in at my pre-vacation weight! I kicked that water weight and week and a half worth of eating whatever I wanted to the curb. I'll remember this for the future though, it doesn't feel great to be setback like that and next vacation I'll try to be more conscious of that. Just because I'm on vacation doesn't make it a buffet free for all, but man it's just so tempting sometimes.

An amazing day of food!

Yesterday invigorated me. I love food. I don't need to have a love/hate relationship with something I truly love. I just need to remember that eating good, healthy food in moderation is the best thing for me, and the days that I have every now and then where I don't worry about calories should be filled with the most amazing food ever. Why waste it on something I could eat everyday or something that really isn't that great?

My day yesterday was filled with some of the most delicious food I have ever encountered. Thank you, San Francisco, you are truly a food lover's paradise.

Our day started off at Zazie's with the La Mer Benedict and Miracle Pancake. We split both and while the La Mer was fabulous (give me the combo of crab and avocado and I'm easy to please), the Miracle Pancake stole the show. The miracle must be that these lemon ricotta pancakes with lemon curd and raspberry sauce don't weigh you down like regular pancakes at all. Almost crepe like, we savored every bite and knew that we started our day off right.

Later on we ended up at Rosamunde Sausage Grill. Oh. My. God. Best sausage I've ever had, ever ever ever. I am not a huge meat eater, and I've gone through periods of being vegetarian. When I do eat meat, I don't generally go for sausage. For some reason, yesterday it sounded delicious so we went in. We ordered the Beer Sausage with grilled onions and sweet peppers and a little bit of sauerkraut. It is a tiiiiiny little place so people order and pay for their sausage here and then take it next door to the Toronado Pub. Beer + Beer Sausage = Yum! The Beer Sausage was a bit spicy and full of delicious flavor. I even purchased two (they sell half cooked ones that you can bring home to grill yourself) for dinner tonight!

Just before we headed out of the city we stopped at a place I've been wanting to try out for a while, Humphry Slocombe. Say what? Delicious, delicious ice cream, the best I've ever had in my life. We tried the Cinnamon Brittle, Tahitian Vanilla, and Secret Breakfast (which they said was bourbon + cornflakes...). All three were SO good! I even tried to make sense of bringing some home but I figured it would melt and I don't really want to have it readily available for immediate consumption every time I open my freezer.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Buca Birthday

So, I survived the birthday dinner at Buca di Beppo. I'm sure I could have done better, but I'm pretty proud of myself. I had a little of everything, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I made sure to pay close attention to my hunger level and while I left full, I didn't leave feeling stuffed or gross. I did have some cake both at the restaurant and then celebrating at home afterwards that I didn't really need but in the grand scheme of things I still did really well.

We were stuck with the leftovers of both Buca and cake (lesson learned for the future - don't take the leftovers!) and we brought the pasta for lunch today. Probably not the healthiest lunch, but I brought steamed veggies with it and portioned it out to a reasonable amount.

The cake... well, I had a bit of that tonight too. It was delicious though! No guilt here though because I had room in my stomach and room in my daily calorie range, so I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This isn't a diet, this is a lifestyle change, and there will always be someone's birthday, or wedding, or a holiday where food will abound and it won't be easy to make the healthy choice so I'm learning with each challenge like last night. No more leftovers though, I'll try harder to pass them off to someone else next time!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Good (Re)Start

Yesterday went fabulously on the eating healthy/not giving in to emotional eating front. I woke up early to make a veggie sandwich (with homemade hummus my husband made the night before) so that I would have a healthy and yummy lunch. I arrived at work to find not only a BBQ with all the fixins but also a make your own sundae bar, complete with gummi bears and other candy. Oh how I love gummi bears, especially in ice cream. It was calling to me. Crap.

My coworkers decide to eat in the BBQ/ice cream room and being fairly new to the company, I joined them. They offered me burgers, they offered me potato salad, but I resisted. Having made the sandwich myself and putting the time and effort into it really helped me say no. Would I like a bag of chips with my sandwich or a soda, they asked. No, no, no.

I ate my sandwich while they ate their plates of burgers, slaw, beans, and potato salad. I really enjoyed my sandwich and I definitely was conscious that this was a lesson in resisting temptation.

There was one thing I couldn't resist though and that was the sliced watermelon at the very end of the table. I enjoyed two small pieces with my sandwich, and then two more once everyone started eating their sundaes. It was SO good, and I left lunch feeling really proud of myself. More than that, I felt better throughout the day and I know that if I had filled myself with burgers and greasy potato salad I would have been dragging.

I woke up this morning feeling energized and made myself a blueberry smoothie (blueberries, vanilla non fat yogurt and a splash of non fat milk, best combo ever). I'm starting the day off on the right foot, but I'm trying to decide what to make for lunch as I'll be having a birthday dinner out and while I will make the best decisions possible there I know that it will end up being a higher calorie day so I'd rather have a lighter lunch.

Lesson I have been learning throughout this process: I love, love, love the foods that are good for me. Fruits, veggies, lean protein, low fat milk products, etc. I don't know why it's a struggle. I don't know why I even get tempted by the stuff that will make me feel like crap afterwards, but I do. After feeling so great yesterday with my food choices I know that will help me tonight in deciding what to have at dinner. I don't want to come home or wake up tomorrow with a tummy ache, and I won't because I am in control of what I eat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Emotional eating

I don't want to say that losing weight is easy, but for me it seems to be more of a mind struggle than body struggle.

When I eat right, keep my calories in a healthy range and work in some exercise, I have been successful at losing weight. I know it works. I just have to be disciplined and stick with it.

So what's the problem? I have a very big emotional eating issue. When I'm stressed, I crave high calorie, low nutrition foods. I crave salty and sweet, sugary and savory, all at once. If I give in, I stuff my face until my stomach hurts and I get a momentary high that fades away quickly and I'm left feeling like crap. I have also used food as a reward, and of course I celebrate with food. Food, food, food.

The first 3 1/2 months I did really, really well keeping my emotional eating under control. Any time I was hungry I would ask myself if I was really hungry and if I was, I would eat. If I wanted to eat because I was stressed/bored/etc I would drink water and try to occupy my mind with something else. It worked! I thought I was cured... boy, was I wrong.

In the past month I have given in to my emotional eating and let it take control of me. As I was stuffing stuff in my mouth I would remark to my husband that I was emotional eating and didn't give a crap. Bad, bad, bad, so bad. I was eating with abandon once again, not paying any attention to serving sizes or the amount of calories I was mindlessly consuming.

I was dealing with a lot of work related stress and change, in addition to worries about money, the future, everything and I was eating my feelings. Most of the stuff that was really stressing me out has been resolved and I am happier and optimistic now. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

I'm most upset with myself because I was consciously doing it most of the time and just didn't care. That's how I became my big, lazy, unhealthy self in the first place and it's what I have been working so hard to move away from. So why did I do it? Momentary weakness? Self sabotage? I only know that I am regaining today the motivation and self control that I started this process with. I also now have the realization that I may never fully overcome emotional eating, and if I do it will not happen in the span of 3 1/2 months.

I want to lose weight. I want to get healthy. The only thing stopping me is me and I won't let that happen anymore.

I CAN lose weight, I will lose weight, and I WILL become the healthier person that I want to be.

Why hello there!

Hello my glorious, non-existent readers, welcome!

Some info about me: I am, according to my lovely BMI, currently overweight. A few months ago I was classified as obese (ugh) and I am working toward the wonderful 'normal' range.

I started my journey on March 31st, 2009 with my first weigh in. Amazingly, I weighed 10lbs less than the last time I was recorded at the Drs (although not quite sure when that was). Don't know where those 10lbs went, but it was nice to be off to a quick start! In the 4 1/2 months since that day I have lost 23 pounds as of today's weigh in. At this time last month I had lost 26 pounds, but I reverted back to some very bad stress and vacation habits that did not help the scale move in the right direction.

I am working toward an exercise appreciation, rather than avoidance, in addition to the weight loss. I know I can be a skinny minnie (more on that in a later post), but aside from the effects of playing soccer/tennis as a kid, I have never been in shape or an "active" person. I want exercise to become a part of my life so that I can be as healthy as possible and set a good example for those around me and my future children.

It's not about getting thin, it's about getting healthy!

Day One

Well, if my calculations are correct this is actually day 134, but since I seem to have fallen off of the healthy wagon the last few weeks lets just say that this is a fresh start, shall we?

I don't know if I should track on here by BMI, inches (truth be told, I haven't been measuring/recording this at all, which I know I should), or actual weight/pounds. Not sure yet, but I'm sure I'll figure something out soon.

I don't know how well this day is going so far - it's 11AM and I have done absolutely nothing except eat breakfast and fool around on my computer. I'm off for lunch soon with a friend (Thai, yum!) where I will do my absolute best to not place myself in a curry coma and after that I WILL be active for the rest of the day - no more sitting on my butt!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Story

Growing up, I was pretty healthy and active. I was never skinny, but I wasn't overweight either, and I played soccer. When I hit middle school the soccer stopped and I wasn't as active. I gained a little weight but I was still a very normal sized pre-teen. The only body issue I remember dealing with was my chest, or lack thereof. I remember feeling very insecure about my barely there breasts, but never about my weight .

In eighth grade I got really sick and was home from school for three months. During that time I only had enough energy to lie on the couch, for the entire day. When I'd leave the house it would be to go to doctor appointments so I was nearly completely sedentary. Even though I was eating a pretty simple and bland diet (extremely, extremely bad acid reflux was part of this fun time in my life), I packed on the pounds. The bucket loads of sugar I put in the hot tea I drank for comfort every day probably didn't help, nor did the fact that I got my period and started puberty during this time as well.

Once I was better and started venturing out in the world my confidence plummeted. I was about to start high school, I was covered in stretch marks, I was overweight and completely out of shape, I was a completely different person. I remember staring in the mirror at Old Navy praying to God to take away my stretch marks, that I'd lose the weight and if he'd only take away the stretch marks I'd be my old self again. I started my freshman year of high school, made a few friends but my confidence was still pretty low.

A few months in I was watching a Suzanne Somers infomercial, I think it was for some sort of juicer, and she was talking about making changes and being healthy and how YOU CAN DO IT (all with the help of her product, of course). I decided right then and there that I was going to change.

I started walking more, making an effort to move more, slowly but surely. That helped, but I didn't see the change I really wanted. So I started watching my food. Very, very closely, whittling down my daily intake to practically nothing. I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food but I liked the results I was getting so I kept with it. As I lost weight the compliments kept pouring in. My confidence soared as the pounds came off and I began eating less and less every day. I would trick my body by eating only a bite of something and found that it worked. All I had to do was give myself a little bite and the growling would stop. I stopped being hungry. I also stopped getting my period, and it's no surprise my boobs never got any bigger. I discovered BMI and decided that I would need to be at the very lowest of the normal range to be perfect. I found pro-ana sites and was not disgusted - I saw girls losing weight by whatever means necessary, like I was. I felt proud of the control I had over food. One week I survived on 30 calories a day - 3 sugar free jello cups, one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I hid this behavior from everyone and I don't know if anyone suspected. I don't know if they were concerned, all I know is that everyone kept telling me how great I looked. I made my goal, and even surpassed it, finding myself slightly in the 'underweight' BMI category. I was ecstatic, I was confident, I was skinny, I was perfect, except for those stretch marks, of course. A boy at school told me that he liked me, but I was 'too skinny' for him. I wasn't offended, I was really, really happy. If I was too skinny that meant I wasn't fat.

I didn't feel the need to lose anymore weight, and I don't think I could have. After I lost the weight, my social calendar filled up and it became more and more difficult to hide my food habits. I also joined the tennis team and started playing nearly every day and I knew I couldn't function with the amount I was eating. I don't remember when exactly I decided I would start eating again, but it was very difficult at first because my stomach couldn't handle normal amounts of food. Now that I know what I must have done to my metabolism I'm shocked that I didn't gain a lot of the weight back right away. I laughed at articles that said that if you lost weight in an unhealthy way it would come back, and then some. I was cocky, and as I started eating more, and started drinking, I really didn't gain much weight. It was very gradual. I know that Sophomore year of high school I was at my lowest weight and when I met my husband three years later as I was starting college I was only 10-12 pounds heavier.

Once I was off at college and falling in love I started gaining weight. I was so happy and I felt free. I found someone who loved me for me, who I didn't feel the need to impress, and who didn't care one bit about my stretch marks (he even had some himself!). We went out to dinner a lot and when we didn't we ate a lot of crap that wasn't very good for us. Add in good ol' college drinking and revelry plus a lack of exercise and you have weight gain. He gained weight, I gained weight, but I didn't stress out about it because he still made me feel sexy and wanted and loved. We moved in together, gained some more weight. Got engaged and had a long engagement, gained some more weight.

It was when we set a date for the wedding that I seriously thought about trying to lose some weight. My reasoning was that I wasn't at my ideal weight and if I lost weight after the wedding I would look back at our pictures and think I'm fat. That was my reasoning, no concern for my health at all. I don't even think I made an effort. I talked about it, but I never did anything. I was scared. Scared because I knew that I could lose weight by not eating but I didn't know any other ways to do it. I didn't want to give up the food I loved and I was lazy. I didn't know that there could be a balance, and even though I thought I was so strong when I was controlling every bite of food before now I thought of it as weak. Even though I was unhealthy now, I realized finally how unhealthy I was before and I didn't want to go down that road again.

My dress, which I purchased the day after I got engaged (a total fluke, didn't plan for that one), was now too small. I ended up letting it out before the wedding. How was I not completely embarrassed by that? How did that not give me a huge wake up call? I don't know. In September 2007 I felt beautiful and confident at our wedding and I didn't see myself as very overweight. The whole time I'm gaining weight I don't really acknowledge it. I noticed that I was buying larger sizes, but it was gradual. When I looked in the mirror, with the exception of those moments every now and then when nothing fits right and I got frustrated, I thought I looked good. Most photos with my husband and friends are face shots and even though my face is a bit rounder I don't see all of the excess weight.

In July 2008 we go to Mexico with family friends and as I'm trying to find shorts for the trip I realize how fat my legs have gotten. I ended up choosing a pair of shorts that went almost to my knees and I still didn't feel comfortable. I brought them out once during the trip and felt miserable the entire time I was wearing them. When we looked at pictures once we got home, I saw it. I saw all of the excess weight, in both the face shots and the full body shots that I hadn't seen in a long time and it really upset me.

Didn't kick me into gear though, because I didn't want to change my habits. I liked going out to dinner with friends, I liked sitting and watching TV every night, I didn't like to sweat, I didn't want to make an effort. I've never been one for New Years resolutions so 2009 started uneventfully.

It wasn't until March 31st 2009 that I felt ready to make a change. I wish I knew what changed. All I know is that I was tired of wanting change but not doing anything about it. I finally had enough and decided I could do this - I could lose weight without being extreme. I had been on Spark People previously and set up an account, but I didn't do anything about it until then. I figured I would start calorie counting because that was part of what worked before, but I would keep it within the healthy range that the site recommended. The weight started coming off right away, and I started moving more - parking in the far corner of parking lots, walking during my lunch break. After about a month or two, I decided to start incorporating exercise, a little at a time. I eventually moved to The Daily Plate because I read reviews online that the daily calorie requirement was more accurate, but I kept my Spark People account because I liked all of the short workout videos and articles. I have steadily increased the amount of exercise I do a week, but I am not an exercise fiend. I still don't love being sweaty, but I find that if I exercise 5-6 times a week I keep the habit up and I feel so much better.

So there you are and here I am, 40 pounds gone, 25 to go, learning more about myself every day. I want to be healthy, including being at a healthy weight, and I want to be able to sustain this loss for the rest of my life. That's where the hard part comes in, the learning about myself and my habits, finding a healthy relationship with food (I don't want to have to count calories for the rest of my life), learning to listen to my stomach and not my head and making exercise a part of my every day routine.