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My biggest challenge this year...

Sunday, December 09, 2012

And every year is falling off the horse and not getting back on right away. Have you ever fallen hard and were afraid to get back on that horse for fear of falling again? That has happened to me on several occasions.

I joined SP in March of 2010 after my husband had discovered it and started using it. It was a pretty awesome experience, I was tracking every day, and we were walking and biking, although I wasn’t doing it consistently. Exercise… the bane of my existence. Always has been. Never have found consistency with exercise. But that’s a subject for another blog.

SP was pretty awesome. Hubby and I were consistent with tracking and eating well. He was also consistently walking and running. I was not doing that, but I was eating really well, and staying within my limits. And the results came! Oh how they came! I lost 45 pounds!! I was looking good and feeling great! I dropped 2 sizes. Yessiree, I was doing it!

And then it happened…

The dreaded PLATEAU!!!

It came… I was warned about it. It’s like when the authorities tell you to plan for evacuation ahead of a hurricane. You sort of listen halfheartedly. You know it’s coming but you’re sure it won’t be that bad.

Only the plateau isn’t like a hurricane that sweeps in and sweeps out just as fast, leaving terrible destruction and devastation in its path. No… the plateau just sneaks up on you and you don’t take notice right away. It’s like death by a thousand cuts. You then realize the needle on the scale isn’t moving. Frustration builds and you think it’s ok to “cheat” just one time but then nothing happens still and you think well it doesn’t really matter because I’m not losing anyway so you lose focus and you lose your way. That’s how it happened for me. The holidays came, and with it more lost focus, but hey, the New Year is around the corner. I will do better then.

I’ll just start again after the New Year. And so I did. But then there was that big business trip coming up! ITALY! Milan to be exact… and all that northern Italian cuisine, and the wine, oh the wine!! How often do I get to Milan for goodness sake? I’ll just take a break and start after the trip. I did start again after the trip

But oh, here’s the conference coming up in Singapore! SINGAPORE!!! I will probably never get a chance to go to Singapore again! I’ll take a break while in Singapore and then start again.

My first plateau coincided with me starting a new role, a global role, that had me traveling internationally several times last year. The long and the short of it is that I regained 25 pounds of the 45 I had lost over a 24 month period. It was lost focus, lost discipline and lost desire. And it was a gain of not only pounds but a regain of poor choices and poor habits that were long typical of my behavior… the same behavior I had practiced for some 25 or 30 years. For years I have been losing and regaining the same 30 to 40 pounds.

Ring in 2012. I know I will do better!! Yes, this is the year! I started and sputtered again and again. Finally, it was November 6, 2012… Election Day. I did my civic duty but ultimately I alone would have no control over the outcome of the election. I had gone to a checkup that day and got the sad news that my A1C test was high. That was depressing, but suddenly I realized there WAS something I could control… I could control my own actions and choices, and ultimately my health.

And so here I am facing my biggest challenge, dealing with my diabetes and my health. I recommitted myself to retake control over my life and over my choices. I was have lost 12 pounds. It’s a good start.

So what’s different this time? This very blog is different. I am blogging. I am participating on teams. I am using ALL the resources of SP. I get jazzed accumulating SparkPoints. I am interacting with people who face my same challenges and can help me face mine. And people DO HELP one another.

And here’s another thing… there’s no better time to start then now! As IndyGirl says… LIFE STARTS NOW, NOT 10 POUNDS FROM NOW!!

So here I am… started just before the holidays thinking if I don’t do it I am never going to get serious. My husband said to me, “There’s no such thing as fat old people.” I am doing it because it is a matter of good health for me. I am diabetic. My life depends on it… literally. My mother died because of complications from diabetes. Her quality of life was very poor the last 3 or 4 years of her life. I don’t want to repeat the cycle.

Every journey starts with the first step. I am taking one step at a time. As Mickey Rooney sang in Santa Claus is Coming to Town, put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking across the floor. Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll walking out the door…

Let’s do this!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KOFFEENUT 12/10/2012 1:59PM

    Good for you! It's awesome that you lost weight before - you know it can be done. It's awesome that you're here now - you know what you need to do to be successful. You WILL make this happen!

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CANDOK1260 12/10/2012 12:24PM

    emoticon for sharng emoticon

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CJWORDPLAY 12/10/2012 2:46AM

    Your words come straight for your heart - and I feel I could have written them myself - on several occasions. You are so right about starting now. Thank you for writing this blog. I'm glad to know you are making good choices - it's an encouragement to me and all those who read it. emoticon emoticon

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CATHYGETSFIT 12/9/2012 11:03PM

    It's easy to get derailed like that. It's easy to slip back into those old habits. You're doing great now though and have made great progress. As for plateau's they say that changing what exercises you do every 4 - 6 weeks will keep you from hitting a plateau. My body though, just doesn't want to lose the lbs regardless of what I do. I'm still plugging along though regardless. Good for you for getting back on the horse regardless of how scary it might have been! Keep up the great work!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/9/2012 11:03:56 PM

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VAPIDWENCH 12/9/2012 8:13PM

    Great blog - I've been in a similar situation; I lost weight last year, spent most of this year putting it on (plus some more to keep it company), and my weight gain continued because getting back on the horse seemed too scary...

Except now we're both here and ... it's not is it?! Congratulations, I really hope the weigh loss journey goes well for you. You can do this.

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SIOBHANKNITS 12/9/2012 6:44PM

    Great blog, Anna! Congratulations on the progress you've already made this fall. You are so right that we can make choices to lower the chances that we will suffer some of the same things we've watched our parents go through. There's no guarantee, of course, but at least we'll know we've done what we can. And it isn't easy to undo these decades of poor habits. Don't I know it!
emoticon emoticon

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Life is hard… it’s the “hard” that makes it worth it.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself.
-- W.C. Doane

The last 48 hours have been a roller coaster of emotions. Parties have started. Knowing I need to make good choices is the easy part. I know the choices I must make.

It’s making the right choices that’s hard.

I have made the right choices regarding food at a holiday party Wednesday night, at an all-day meeting yesterday, and by forcing myself to go to Zumba class last night. Also yesterday, my father, who lives with us, visited his sister in NJ and she sent him home with SO MUCH food!! Most of my favorites… and desserts!! Didn’t touch the stuff.

I made the right choices but was depressed about it. I am still depressed about it.

I was so sore after Zumba I wanted to cry. But I iced, took a hot shower and went to bed early. I woke up this morning and wasn’t feeling terribly sore. That was a plus. And when I woke up this morning I realized it was time to take my measurements with a tape measure. I have lost 2 inches in the last month around my chest, waist, hips, upper arm and thigh.

I should be elated about the lost inches. And I am very happy. But it seemed a bit hollow. I am just feeling depressed because my blood sugars have been high. I had lowered my average daily sugars by 40 points and then in the last couple of days they have been spiking up. I am trying to figure what I ate. Essentially, anything over 25 or 30 grams of carbs at a time just makes them go haywire. And this is just so very depressing.

Tonight I had a piece of fish with some asparagus, some hummus and 1 oz of pretzels which I used to scoop up the hummus. My carb intake was 45 grams. When I checked my sugars they were sky high. It really depresses me that I cannot eat what I want in moderation. I have to keep those stupid carbs in check. I am on 3 types of medication to control my insulin resistance, and yet the sugars are not yet in control. I have lost 12 pounds in the last month, 2 inches off my key measurements and I am eating what generally should be considered good foods. And although my carbs are generally in the 35% range my sugars are spiking again… all because I had half a wrap yesterday and some pretzels today. I am even forced to stop eating sweet potatoes, the only thing left that I consider dessert. I noticed that my sugars spike when I have eaten even a small sweet potato.

This is going to be a slog. A downright slog. All I can say is…

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMARTIN77 12/12/2012 1:08PM

    Thanks for the warm welcome on the PCOS group. Hang in there, sweetie. You're making strides every day to be healthy for yourself and your beautiful family.

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BLUEFISH1881 12/9/2012 12:28AM

    Hang in there Anna. You can do it!


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CATHYGETSFIT 12/8/2012 3:59PM

    You are doing great Anna! Don't get discouraged because you really are doing great! I would have been super tempted by all that food! Carbs really can be the bane of all of our existences. I understand that you feel like you are doing everything right but you still can't get your blood sugar under control. I understand how frustrating that can be. I think that this will change soon though. You have a lot to be proud of! You're losing inches and pounds, you're not eating things you shouldn't be when they are right there in front of your face and you are exercising. You are doing fantastic!! Be proud of what you are accomplishing!! Remember, that none of us are perfect and we are all here for you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RFJSJ50 12/8/2012 1:29PM

    Life seems so unfair sometimes! All you can do is keep plugging along, day by day. You will find the healthy combination that is best for you. I so admire you for the choices you have made. They show your strength and determination to get to where you want to be. Always know you are worth the effort you put in to be successful on your Spark Journey. Always have faith in yourself and your ability to be successful.
emoticon Sheila

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SIOBHANKNITS 12/8/2012 9:54AM

    Hang in there, Anna! You have already achieved so much. It does get depressing at times, but it won't last. Your persistence & consistency will pay off. Body chemistry is such a mysterious thing. And the connection between our gut and brain is strong.
We are all here because we don't want to try to do this on our own. We are all here for each other! Isn't that awesome?!?
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CTMOM2KIDS 12/8/2012 9:14AM

    Thank you, beautiful ladies for your encouragement. Reading your comments brought tears to my eyes. Sugars were very high again this morning. I just pray that all will be well again soon.

Have a blessed day! emoticon

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STINAMARIE86 12/8/2012 8:45AM

    You are doing amazing! Be proud of yourself! I would have been so tempted by ALL of the food! Working out will hurt, but the pain will go away when your body gets used to it! Keep it up! You are doing great!

Sugars and carbs!!! AHHH! Everyone's worst nightmare, not just yours. It is a challenge, so take it as such! Don't get too down about it. Figure out what you can and cannot do(Even though it is a pain and it is frustrating), and keep going. I don't struggle with blood sugar, but I do with hypothyroidism. I know the downfalls and the heartfelt frustrations when you do everything you possibly can and nothing changes! But honestly, things are changing, slowly but surely they are!

Look at you dropping inches! Awesome!

JustLlama is right! ~ You are rocking at this!

You are going to get through this, and when you look back at it, it will make you proud, because you didn't give up when things got hard!

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JUSTLLAMA 12/8/2012 2:24AM

    I think you are doing amazing. You have some REALLY big things to be proud of in there. I know the food choices, especially desserts would about do me in. And the Zumba - yeah it hurts, but it will get better.

Don't get discouraged. You are rocking at this!

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Are you dreading rockin' around the Christmas tree?

Monday, December 03, 2012

I know I am... I took at look at the calendar today. Here they were, all piled up one right after another. The HOLIDAY PARTIES!! Some fancy, some not. Casual, formal... company gatherings, mine and his. Team gatherings at work, for Little League, Parish Council. Friends gathering... ringing in some holiday cheer! YIKES!!! The test starts on Wednesday for me, and it pretty much continues until Christmas.

The last time I fell off the wagon I fell HARD! I gained back 25 pounds... and the timing of my fall? Heading right into the holidays. It was the perfect storm at that time... I hit my first major plateau as we were entering the holidays and did not get back on track after New Year's.

So what did I learn? Firstly, I restarted, recommitted, regrouped on November 7th... a Wednesday, not a Sunday or a Monday. Just decided, Ok. I need to get back on track today. I just started... and I have been tracking ever since. My current streak is 28 days. Secondly, I did not say I will wait until after the holidays. Again, I consciously and deliberately started heading into the holidays so that I can signal to myself that I was making a life change.

And now here I sit, the first real obstacle I face since I recommitted. One, two, three, four... twelve!!! I just counted them. I have TWELVE holiday parties, engagements, gatherings, celebrations! And they will all revolve around food or drink!!! How will I get through them? How will I stay the course? It's simple, really. I have to make choices, the RIGHT choices. And to do that I have to stick to my strategy: to live a healthful life each and every day. And to stick to my strategy I need to stick to my plan: 35% carbs, 35% protein, 30% fat. And to execute my plan here's what I plan to do. I resolve to do the following...

1. Every event will be catered or hosted at a restaurant. I will make healthy food choices. I will not be afraid to ask for special considerations or preparations from the chef. I will ask for dressings/sauces on the side.

2. I will be mindful of portion size. I will "half" my cake and eat it too! If a portion is too large, I will settle for half a portion.

3. Substitute healthy options... instead of the mashed potatoes, may I have some steamed broccoli instead? Most restaurants let you have it your way.

4. Don't be afraid to talk about it... let your friends, family members, colleagues, whomever, know what you're up to. They need to support you. Surely they will notice you're no longer piling on the pasta and cheesecake. They'll notice so don't be shy. Shout it from the rooftops!! I have decided to eat more healthy because my life literally depends on it!

5. Pace yourself... eat slowly. Drink lots of water. Savor each bite! And thank your host/hostess for the healthy foods they offer. Instead of "wow, that pie looks spectacular. Wish I could have some," you can say, "I really loved that carrot souffle!"

6. Prepare to be the designated driver! Maybe ONE glass of wine but order a seltzer with a splash of cranberry and a lime. It will look like a drink and no one will ask. And if they do ask or suggest another glass of wine, just say sorry I'm driving.

7. One bite is ok... when it comes time for dessert, my absolute weakness, take one bite. It is after all the holiday season. One bite won't kill you. BUT MAKE SURE IT IS JUST ONE BITE!!! It's all about control and having a plan!!

8. Stand firm! If you have a habit of caving in when pressured by your friends, make sure you're not sending mixed messages. Come prepared with a game plan that defines in your mind what you'll eat and how you'll respond to temptation.

9. Mingle and socialize!! Catch up with friends. It isn't about the food! It's about the company. Stay away from the food tables, hold onto and nurse that seltzer and cranberry and feast on the power of people instead of food.

There you have it. My resolution for the month of December! It's all about choices we make and it's all about control. I am strong enough, I am worth it! I WILL make this work. My life depends on it!

In good health...


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUEFISH1881 12/7/2012 12:53AM

    What a great plan. Focusing on what you can have instead of what you can't is a great idea.

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KANOE10 12/6/2012 8:00AM

    Great blog. All of your steps are positive and pro-active. We can make it through the holidays!

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RFJSJ50 12/5/2012 9:57PM

    emoticonYou sound so positive and determined! I need to remember your words as I view the multitude of offerings at various parties!

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CATHYGETSFIT 12/5/2012 8:47PM

    Great ways to stay on track! You could also eat a little something before you go so that you aren't as tempted to eat so much. Don't forget to schedule your exercise in too! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEWKATHYNOW 12/3/2012 11:07PM

    It's all about having a plan. Sounds like you've thought it all out! emoticon

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It's never too late for new beginnings...

Sunday, December 02, 2012

I have been thinking of my aunt the last few days, my father's sister, the second oldest of 10 children. She passed away two and a half years ago from respiratory complications at the age of 85. She was a tough broad, WWII generation immigrant to the US. She faced adversity that most of us will never know, and she was as stubborn as a mule! If she held to believe about something there was very little chance that she would change her mind.

Like many in her generation, especially women of the "old country," she did not drive. Like so many of her ilk she relied upon her husband, her children, family, friends, neighbors, and of course public transportation to get around. She also walked everywhere. She had a small cart that she would push to the local market to do her grocery shopping. She did not bulk up when she shopped, just bought what she needed for a day or two.

She became widowed at age 50. She had to work hard to continue raising five children who were still relatively young. They were very poor so things like a life insurance policy or other safety nets were nonexistent. She work mostly minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. She went about her life for another 20 years and finally she had had enough!

At the age of 70 she decided she was tired of relying on her children, relatives and friends to drive her everywhere. She was now living in an area with less available public transportation and walking was not practical. She decided that she would learn to drive! This woman who did not finish the 8th grade was going to learn to drive. Everyone close to her thought she was off her rocker and that she should be committed. No one supported her in her goal and thought she would be a danger to herself and others. Being the stubborn mule that she was she dug in. She began taking lessons and studying and failed her written and driving test many, many times. There would have been no shame had she quit. The odds of her actually passing were minuscule, yet she persevered. Finally, after 5 years at age 75, my aunt got her drivers license for the very first time! She went on to drive for the next 8 years in her used Buick Century. She did not drive the last 2 years of her life because her eyesight and her emphysema made it difficult.

My aunt defied the odds, especially because no one was supporting her goal. But her mental toughness and sheer strength of will allowed her to achieve a dream. She proved that it is never too late to start something. At the of 75 she enjoyed a freedom most of us take for granted. Her attitude and her toughness inspire me.

I have been trying to lose weight for over half my life. I stumble and fall and get back up. I now hope to stay up but if I fall I know that each day marks a new beginning to start again. I lost 45 pounds 2 years ago when I first joined SparkPeople. I then gained 25 back and now I am back down another 12. That is still a net loss of 32 pounds! I am 32 pounds lighter than I was 2 years ago. That is 6 5-pounds bags of sugar and then some. Did you ever hold a 5-pound bag of sugar? It's heavy! I have lost 6 bags plus!! Not too shabby!

Thank you, auntie, for your example! It is never too late to pursue our goals! Each day brings new beginnings!

In good health...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMARTIN77 12/12/2012 1:12PM

    I'll let you in on a little secret: I am 35 and I do not drive. Never had a driver's license. Yup.
You talked about the fear of swimming on your bucket list...well, mine is driving independently. Perhaps I can develop some toughness and moxie like your auntie and cross this off my bucket list.
emoticon Congrats on your accomplishments and here's to new beginnings!

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68ANNE 12/2/2012 5:03PM

    It is great that you have that role model to help when someone or even yourself says to give up or you wont get it done but we all know better.

Comment edited on: 12/2/2012 5:03:52 PM

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KOFFEENUT 12/2/2012 4:04PM

    You are SO right - it is never too late to pursue our goals! Thanks for sharing what an inspiration your aunt has been. May WE be women like this!

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MYBULLDOGS 12/2/2012 8:14AM


my sister lost 105 pounds at age 63 by walking 15000 steps a day.

i lost 44 pounds by giving up grain products and sugary products at age 60.

i use a salad plate as a dinner plate; i eat with a childs fork. takes your brain 20 minutes to tell your stomach your full. it works.


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Everyday I'm shufflin'...

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Do you ever wonder if it's worth it taking vacation? I took Thanksgiving week off and I loved every minute of it. I started to Zumba, exercised everyday, spent quality time with my husband and children, saw good friends. I was thankful for my blessings. But then Monday came. Party over!

This past week has been quite difficult. Taking the week off last week was great but I came back to a hell hole at work. I have a global job so just because I and the rest of America were celebrating Thanksgiving did not mean the rest of the world stopped working. Things blew up and I went into crisis mode from Monday morning and did not stop until late Friday. I must confess that I kind of thrive in chaos sometimes. I enjoy rallying my troops to get out of the chaos but at the same time my exercise suffered a lot this week.

At the same time I was working so hard I was fighting off a cold. Well... final score is cold 1, Anna 0! I lost the fight and am completely congested, coughing, sneezing, and all the rest of it. Thank goodness I don't have a fever. I am achy all over and this is another reason that has contributed to lack of exercise this week. But here's the silver lining, I continued to eat well, track well and earn those Spark points! Hurray for me! I will take each small victory. No victory is too small.

The trend line for my sugars is slowly coming down but it needs to get better, especially my fasting sugars. I am working hard on this. My doctor is trying to break the insulin resistance and use my own natural insulin to do this. He has prescribed a combination of 3 different medicine to do this. I hope it works.

We're off to make gingerbread houses in a little while. This is our annual Christmas celebration with our church Sunday school program. It should be a fun time. After that it will be time to deck the halls and finish decorating! Fa la la la... la la la la!!!

In good health...



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

68ANNE 12/2/2012 6:54PM

    Great job on the week. I hope the next one isn't as hectic

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CINDY_LOU155 12/1/2012 4:57PM

    Congratulations on getting through a crazy week with a cold to boot! I hope you feel better quickly. emoticon

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PUCCAKITTY 12/1/2012 8:41AM

    I know exactly how you feel. But hey, we all need some time off, from time to time. That's the only way we can stay sane! Lol.

emoticon emoticon

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GUINEVERE23 12/1/2012 8:38AM

    This is great! It is so hard to keep tracking when we're busy, but you did it!

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JGRAY76 12/1/2012 8:33AM

    Sounds like you are a take charge type of person at work. Hope you are feeling better so you can find a sliver of energy to get back to your exercising this week.

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