Wednesday, September 12, 2012
So another part of the Biggest Loser Challenge is that I need to have a plan for working on an item that has been difficult for me. I've decided that my vacation is going to be that item. I am going to have a plan in place for that two week period to stay on track and not go over. I know it can be done, so it's a matter of planning and fortitude.
Step one . . . does anyone have suggestions for staying on track over a 2 week vacation? And this one includes a 24 hour car ride, so all suggestions are welcome for how to not eat your way from Connecticut to Florida . . . and then back again!
Serious . . . any and all suggestions welcome!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
As part of the Biggest Loser Challenge, I am taking a quiz and blogging my findings. Let's see how I do.
I decided to take the nutrition label quiz, because it will be a good reminder and I may even learn something new. So here is the quiz I took . . .
SparkPeople Nutrition Quiz - Are You Able to Interpret Food Labels?
Quiz by Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian
Are you label able? Bring your food label knowledge to the table and see if you know the nutrition facts label inside and out. Packaged foods are required to sport these labels, which are jam-packed with information about the food inside. See if you're in the know by answering these 11 questions about food labels!
I aced the first question, which was a "zero" listing of fat doesn't mean the item doesn't contain some fat. Loophole!
Second question, I got wrong. It was a guess . . . I thought only the FDA monitored content on labels, but it is both the FDA and the USDA. Something learned.
Third - correct . . . labels can be life or death to some people.
Fourth - correct . . . the item you should look at first on the label - serving size!
Fifth - correct . . . items are not listed in order of healthiest to least healthy. They are in fact listed from heaviest to lightest.
Sixth - incorrect (game show buzzer on this one) . . . and I was completely clueless, but the item that manufacturers are not required to list is Vitamin D. The choices were Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium and Iron, and for some reason, I thought it was either Vitamin D or Calcium, and I went with Calcium. Oh well.
Seventh - correct . . . the percentages on the right side of the label are not necessary accurate for everyone's dietary needs.
Eighth - incorrect . . . the question was true or false as to whether some food labels list nutrient recommendations based on both 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets. I guessed, because I never paid attention. Indeed it is true. Who knew!
Ninth - incorrect . . . and on this one, I read the question wrong. Had I read it right, I would have given the right answer. The question was out of four items, which one did not list a "%DV". I guessed trans fat, and was wrong . . . because I missed the word "not." Dang . . . I have a coworker who never reads anything and goes too fast, and then I go and do it!
Tenth - correct . . . trans fats have not ALWAYS been listed on labels. They weren't required until 2007.
Eleventh - incorrect . . . this was a tough one, because I just wasn't sure. It was a question about whether labels list grams of added sugar, naturally occurring sugar, hidden sugars from low and no-calorie sweetners . . . and I guessed the first and third, and it was the first and second.
So I got six out of eleven. Not as good as I would expect, but the questions were pretty involved and I try to stick to the basic overall parts of the label and not the finer details.
Room for improvement? Indeed.
Sunday, September 09, 2012
As part of the Biggest Loser Challenge, I need to start looking at the things that are holding me back from reaching my goals. This is a tough one, because a few of them are somewhat beyond my control. But that doesn't mean I can't talk about it and face them dead on.
So, five things that are holding me back or have held me back in the past. Hmmm . . .
1) Depression. I am one of those people who suffers from seasonal affective disorder, and just tries to muddle through it each year. And maybe, just maybe, that's not enough. Maybe I should be doing more about it. I have a number of weeks before I have to worry about it, and as anyone who suffers from SAD knows, it doesn't just arrive one day. It sneaks up on you until you suddenly realize. I like to call that my "oh crap!" moment. So, this year I have a list of some options for dealing with it in advance so I can be ready for it, and I have one person who has volunteered to be my "champion" and say, "Hey, have you done anything about this yet." Today things are great, but in a few months it could all be very different.
2) Living the lonely life! My husband and I have been married for 30 years, and he moved to second shift about 10 months ago. While it's not a huge deal, it has made things tough. We live completely separate lives each week. We don't do things together. We don't cook meals the way we did in the past. We tend to be a bit "grab and go" which is unfortunate. The "grab and go" has to change, and that is something we are working on.
3) Exercise is a tough one. Last time I did this, I was able to get to the gym and do some things. But in the last year or so there has been a strange, unexplained muscle problem. It requires a little more digging from a medical standpoint, but since I'm dealing with some other medical things that have to come first, it's taking a back seat. One medical issue at a time. In the meantime, I have to do what I can and find a balance between exercise and pain that will work.
4) Food. I love food. Who doesn't love food. So there are times when you want something really, really bad. A miserable craving for something. I need to give myself free license to eat that one item . . . a single serving only . . . satisfy the craving and move on. I need to fit it into my range, and I need to be sure it is one serving only and one day only. Of course, the option will always be there two weeks later or a month later to have it again. But I need to learn that it is "one and done." It doesn't control me; I control it. And I need to use this mentality when I am on my two week vacation (which falls during the challenge - oh lord!).
5) Giving up is a common thing for me. It is so easy to give up. So easy to not see the numbers move and to just say, "Why am I bothering." Well, no more. Numbers do not define me. This is a day by day journey. I cannot ever let numbers define me again. And that goes in two directions . . . I won't let the lack of scale movement define me. I won't let the "you look great, how much have you lost" define me.
So those are my five. I am, indeed, a work in progress. One day at a time.
Friday, September 07, 2012
Question . . . is setting a higher than usual goal setting myself up for failure, or providing a challenge.
As part of the Biggest Loser on SPARK, I was challenged this week to talk about my goals and how I will accomplish them. Goals are such a funny thing, because over my lifetime I have spent more time not meeting goals than I have meeting them. Interestingly enough, the goals I break are typically the personal ones, so that makes it tough. It makes you wonder why you aren't important enough to yourself to fight for your goals.
I have 107 days of healthy eating under my belt, and there is something to be said for habit and milestones. Back in my younger years, I worked for an explosives factory. There was always a sign that said, " ___ DAYS ACCIDENT FREE" (the blank representing the number of days since the last mishap). High numbers in an explosives factory is a very good thing.
So I'm at 107 days "accident free." I definitely don't want to "blow" it.
In the last few weeks, I've only been losing a pound a week. If I do the math on a pound a week, a 10 pound loss would be an o.k. target. But within the next 10 weeks (during the challenge) I have a 2 week vacation away from home . . . eating restaurant food . . . not having a kitchen. With that in mind, I might have set my goal a little high at 14.5 pounds in 10 weeks. I kept thinking that it was really 8 weeks for me, and I wondered how much damage I would do in the 2 weeks of vacation.
Am I setting myself up for failure, or am I setting a meaningful, challenging goal?
My goals . . .
1. Participate in the RTC and ITC goals, while encouraging others on the team and celebrating our success. I have already started working on this one, and this blog post is a part of this week's goals.
2. Track my food daily and stay within my range to continue and extend my 105 days on the road to healthy eating! Well, today was Day 107, so I feel like this one is moving by momentum at this point.
3. Make plans to get through a two week vacation that falls right in the middle of this challenge I will battle having no kitchen, eating restaurant food, and try to stay active to maintain or lose during this time frame. This one is a big one. I have never stayed healthy on a vacation. The temptation of eating out and "being on vacation" is just a tough one for me. However, this time will be different. There will be healthy snacks. There will be water. There will be structure. There will be evening blogging on Spark (if possible) to stay accountable. There will be one large meal a day surrounded by smaller ones. Let's just say, I've got some plans. I have to make it to Day 175 (which is the last day of the challenge).
4. Revive my blog and post at least three times a week. This is a must, and should not be a problem.
5. Find a way to increase my fitness level, which is the one thing that has really been a problem for me over these last 105 days. This one is the toughest for me, because I still have an unexplained medical issue that is still in the process of resolution and has taken a backseat. When I exercise, even a small amount, I have muscle aches similar to flu the next day. The more I do, the worse the pain. And so far, it is unresolved. I've been "managing" the pain. Does it keep me from exercise - absolutely. Nothing worse than getting out of bed with a myriad of aches and pains and trying to make it to work each day. But this is something I have to mange and get better at, until a solution is found (still in the works).
So those are my goals. Hmmm . . . Failure or Challenge?
Here is the thing. I won't be defined by numbers. So if I don't make the 14.5 pounds, but I do make it to day 175 without an unhealthy day . . . there is no way that is failure.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
So way back in the day . . . I was successful at this journey.
Back in the day, for this writing, was back in 2009/2010. I started Spark, was experiencing success, and then a few weeks later lost my sweet baby sister very suddenly.
I stayed on my journey, and a few months later nearly lost my oldest brother, who fell into a depression after the loss of our sister. But I continued to plug along and successfully lost weight and was healthier than I had been in years. Mind you, I had a long road ahead, but I had shortened the trip considerably.
Then some medical stuff came along . . . and I tripped a bit. I was getting back on my feet when another of my brothers was diagnosed with cancer. He was my guy. My only local relative. And I struggled and watched as the beast that is cancer consumed him over a ten month period and eventually stole his life It made me angry, and it kept me down for a while. In fact, as I write this now and the tears relentlessly fall, I realize just how angry I still am over his untimely and unfair death in January of 2011. Cancer sucks.
But that was back in the day. Back when I gained all the weight back. Back when I even gained a few more than just "that weight" back. We all know that when we lose and then we gain, there is always more that comes back with it. It's as though the additional baggage we pick up in life is reflected in our weight.
So in July of 2012 I decided to start the medical journey again . . . getting some answers to three medical conditions which seem to have medications that counteract my weight loss success. I said, "Enough!" I decided to live one meal at a time and not live by numbers. Numbers do not define me. Numbers will never define me.
So I took a leap of faith and joined a weight loss plan on-line . . . not SparkPeople, because that was from "back in the day." I did a tried a true one that is all about numbers . . . Weight Watchers. Gosh how I hate that whole "points" thing. But I did it anyway, and I was successful for two months before ever mentioning it to anyone. If someone says, "How many points in that?" I swear I will scream and run for the hills. So no one can know. No one. I told just a few friends who won't say anything. Because numbers will not define me. Not pounds. Not points.
And now that I made the leap and counted points and stayed on plan for 102 days, I realized that it doesn't really matter whether you count points or calories or what you count. It's not about numbers and counting . . . it's about acCOUNTability.
So with 30 pounds down on this latest journey, which I hope is a one way trip, I have a whole list of tools to stay successful. SparkPeople was always there waiting for me to come back, and a personal invitation from a friend to join a Biggest Loser Team in SparkTeams was like leaving the light on for me.
So here I am . . . returning from back in the day.
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