Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Sometimes when I try to impose too many restrictions in order to drop pounds, it backfires and I give up completely.
I was inspired this morning by reading my friend MORERED's blog. She said she is "being strict with no unplanned snacking and no after dinner eating" and lost 2.5 lbs. I got to thinking that if I did nothing more than this, I know I would lose weight every single week. Even if it's 1 pound a week, I'd be happy as long as it was steady and consistent.
My meals are typically moderate and healthy. I exercise daily, anywhere from 1 hour to 2 1/2 hours. Snacking is the thing that does me in....especially at night.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman is an advocate of eating 3 balanced meals and no snacks. He makes a point that when you're constantly eating, you don't experience true hunger. I agree. From years of eating incessantly, I lost the connection to my body's signals of hunger and fullness. Cravings are what Dr. Fuhrman calls "toxic hunger". You have to go through a bit of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms before you can eliminate toxic hunger and find your true hunger. And when this happens, you actually enjoy what you eat more.
I've also read that the liver is responsible for converting stored energy, in the form of fat, into energy you can use; but it's first job is getting rid of toxins and harmful substances from the blood. If you're constantly eating (especially on foods which are processed and loaded with chemicals), the liver never has any time to get rid of the fat because it's always churning away at the excess waste.
Food is food and there is controversy as to whether or not it makes any difference what time you eat as long as you stay within an acceptable calorie range. But a couple things come to mind..1) more often than not, if I'm eating at night I've already exceeded my calorie budget; 2) going to bed after eating means that instead of rejuvenating and restoring energy during sleep, the body has to use up energy to digest.
Makes perfect sense to me that the wise thing to do is stop eating after dinner.
That doesn't mean I won't allow myself to enjoy a yummy dessert now and then. It needs to be the exception rather than the rule and it needs to be planned for and enjoyed thoroughly without guilt.
My one and only goal for now is to master and maintain the habit of NO unplanned snacks. I know....easier said than done. But I do have some strategies.
What worked for me in the past to stave off night eating is a nice cup of green tea. It's hot so I have to sip it slowly. It's soothing and satisfies that comfort feeling I crave. Double win is that it's full of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
I'm going back to watching my hypnosis DVD by Glenn Harrold. His suggestions include ones that eliminate the desire to snack. When I was consistently watching this DVD a couple years ago, I found myself naturally not snacking.
Just say NO. Going back to the Beck Diet Solution, sometimes you just need to use your mind and stop acting on impulse. I need to remind myself that I can either eat whatever I want, whenever I want....OR I can be slim and healthy. I can't have both.
So simple, yet not always easy. However - do-able!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
I have to be honest here and admit that this week hasn't started out as good as I'd anticipated. My food choices haven't been the wisest and my portions are still too much. I'm disappointed, but this morning feeling more determined than ever. I remind myself that it's just January 4, and I'm on a lifelong path.
A couple of things have motivated me greatly. One is my Zumba class. My instructor really kicked our butts last night! There were a lot of new people, which was expected for the first class after the new year. There was a lot of energy in the room and Europa had several new songs and routines that were killers. I loved it! During the cool down, here I was with my hair dripping and my shirt all wet in front; but feeling so good. It's exhilerating for me.
My instructor is motivation in and of herself. She's so cute and fit. She inspires me just to look at her. She works hard at giving us variety, fun, and an extremely challenging workout. I also received the Zumba workout series yesterday in the mail and have already done the instructional DVD. I'm going to use one of the DVDs every day, but still go to class 3, maybe 4, times a week. I truly enjoy it and it's the best workout ever, so why not just go for it!
In addition to daily Zumba, I am also walking 5 miles a day; either outdoors or a 5 mile indoor Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds. I prefer outdoors, but unfortunately old man winter has arrived and it's brutally cold out there since yesterday. The snow and ice that usually comes from January-March will keep me indoors too.
Exercise is truly my magic key because I do like it, but I also know that my eating needs to improve if I am to get to my goal.
The second thing that motivated me was the Biggest Loser show. I taped it and watched this morning. It's the season of "no excuses". I was very inspired by these people. They have a lot more weight to lose than I do and I enjoy watching as they work hard and transform their bodies as well as their minds. I'm going to work just as hard as they do and see my own transformation by the season finale.
I made the decision to do this on my own. I was a little apprehensive of letting go of Weight Watchers, but I know I can do this with my own personal plan, and it's important that I do it this way. I need to prove to myself that I can eat and exercise in a manner that will not only shed pounds, but be easy for me to continue for the rest of my life.
I weighed in and measured myself on Sunday, January 1. I'll weigh in every Sunday morning (and only then) and measure every 1st of each month. It's a new beginning and I'm pumped to emerge from this fat armour and become the me I was meant to be!!
It's a choice, and I choose slim and healthy.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
My intentions for 2012 are summed up beautifully by don Miguel Ruiz in his book "The Four Agreements".
The Four Agreements are:
1. "Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret."
I have printed these out and posted them where I can read them daily. If I can do these 4 things, my life will be enriched immensely.
These are some additional thoughts of my own:
Being "impeccable with your word" also means to me to do what you say you're going to do. If I'm going to declare something, I'd better be serious and ready to do it, no matter what. When you go back on promises, especially to yourself, you're telling yourself that it's okay - maybe next time. The more you do that, the easier it is to continue repeating this behavior until you start to never see anything through to completion; you no longer take yourself seriously. I used to make the same exact New Years resolutions each and every year. I finally stopped making them because I knew how fickle they were. It's not that I no longer work on improving myself....it's just that I'd rather live in the present moment fully and make the best choices right then and there instead of planning and talking about what I intend to do in the future. Talking about it and planning it does nothing. The power to change is here and now.
I also like what this means in terms of not using your words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. I listened to a CD of Louise Hay's where she said she committed to stop gossiping and found that she no longer had anything to say. Isn't that the truth? It's so easy to gossip. It feeds the ego but in the end does damage to our spiritual nature. Without being aware of it, we tend to forget how much negativity and criticism escapes from our mouths each day. Another little book I like is by Stuart Wilde, "Silent Power". It's a quick read but very powerful. Silence sometimes speaks volumes. Trying to convince others of our point of view is always driven by the ego. Wilde admonishes us to control our need to talk. There's power in holding back in discussing our opinions or providing too much personal information. When you talk too much, you often don't take the time to think before you speak and more often don't truly listen to what the other person has said. Stephen Covey says "seek first to understand, then to be understood".
"Don't take anything personally" is the golden key of great relationships! "What you think of me is none of my business" (Terry Cole-Whittaker). Wayne Dyer says you should "become independent of the good opinion of others". If we can interact with others without reading so much into what they do or say, we would be free of hurt feelings. I listened to Eckhart Tolle's sessions with Oprah and took notes. He said that when we react against a situation, it's as if we are a wall and these things hit against us and hurt us. Instead, imagine yourself transparent and that the irritating things pass right through you as you remain unharmed. He likened it to being a lake...the depth remains undisturbed even while the surface is affected by outer conditions such as the wind.
"don't make assumptions" is so important in every area of life. What's the saying....to assume makes an a$$ out of u and me. Why is it sometimes so hard to ask questions? Is it because we're afraid to really know the answers? We get into more trouble by not asking. When we fail to get clarity, we often misinterpret the situation or what was said. So many disagreements and bad feelings are born simply from not being on the same page.
"always doing your best" means to me that I will put forth the effort that I am capable of...no less, and no more. It's a delicate balance and requires introspection and truly knowing ourselves. I think it's part of human nature to want to do your best. I know for myself that it feels bad whenever I have a knowing that I undoubtedly could do better. But I also think that when you require yourself to put more effort in than you are capable of, you either fail or you feel resentful, or both. I always say that your best is more than good enough, because expecting more than that from yourself is not realistic and not necessary. Pushing ourselves to greater heights is important for growth, but so is knowing our own limitations and not feeling less of ourselves because we may not meet the higher expectations of others.
Like all worthwhile things, these four agreements take daily awareness and practice. I don't expect myself to be perfect at them, but as long as I continually remind myself of these agreements and follow them as best I can, I feel as though I will go a long way in progressing throughout the coming year.
I'm ready for a great new year.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
This year DH and I spent Christmas in New York City. It was the perfect thing to do this year. I'm sure we seem like grinches, or at the very least a bit odd. My husband and I don't do all the traditional things at Christmas....there is no tree, no lights, and very few decorations. We don't exchange gifts. This year, there was no shopping at all, no wrapping, no baked goods. We got married in December of 1990 and spent Christmas & New Years in Aruba. I loved swimming in the ocean on Christmas morning. I loved walking around in 80 degree weather and looking at the palm trees lined with lights. We have friends who are just the opposite of us. They get into every bit of the preparations and celebrations....lights inside the house as well as outside, not one but two big Christmas trees with lots of different ornaments....shopping for weeks and wrapping for hours...lots and lots of beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree....numerous assortments of cookies, fudge, and candies and special foods. They enjoy their hectic holiday the same way we enjoy our simple one...to each their own, I say.
We got up Christmas morning, packed up the car, dropped the dogs off at the kennel, and headed to the city. We were lucky the weather was great and the roads were dry. Being Christmas Day, the traffic was light - no tractor trailors!
We drove around the Battery Park area until we able to find a place to park...being a Sunday and a holiday, we at least found a free spot. We walked around and took in the sights and delighted in just watching other people. It's an awesome sight to see the Statue of Liberty, even at a distance.
This picture convinced me to get back to the business of reaching my goal weight in 2012. This is officially my before picture, 12-25-11:
It was very emotional to be at the site of the World Trade Centers and see the memorial. It brought me to tears.
Just before sunset, we drove over to our hotel, which was in the Meadowlands (Secacus, NJ). The sun setting over the city was a beautiful sight that can't be fully captured in a snapshot (taken from our hotel window).
There was only one restaurant open that night, but it was great. It was within walking distance and the night air was crisp but not too cold.
Monday morning after breakfast we took the bus into the city. It was surprisingly quiet and not too crowded in the morning. I think a lot of people enjoy the night life and get a late start to their day. DH and I are early morning people. We enjoyed walking around and stopping in some shops. Rockefeller Center is always fun to visit.
Times Square is a busy place all the time; I especially have no desire to be there on New Year's Eve!
We found a nice bench in front of Central Park and enjoyed more people watching. We decided to go on a carriage ride through the park.
Our driver was from Italy and we enjoyed talking with him.
We ate lunch at a cafe that had a great pasta bar...we enjoyed sitting by the window and doing more people watching as we ate. So many people...all different...what's their story? I love that there are so many people around on this planet. They may look different and act different, but we're all here just trying to be happy. It's interesting to strike up a conversation with a stranger. There are always lessons to be had from it if you really listen.
We did A LOT of walking....20,603 steps per my pedometer. I'm so happy the weather was good. We didn't have a jammed-packed itinerary and we mostly were spontaneous in what we did. I had no pre-conceived expectations. I took in everything I saw and appreciated every little thing....like the pigeons and sea gulls who landed right on DH's hand to get a piece of bread.
I laughed and enjoyed that more than if I went to a concert at Radio City Music Hall or a Broadway show. It's the simple things in life that give me the most joy.
I took notice of how peaceful and relaxed I felt at all times. I was staying in the moment, going with the flow, and feeling sublimely serene.
That's the way I want to live my life every day - spontanous, relaxed, peaceful, in the moment, in the flow, no expectations, no rigid plans or rules. I just know that if I always go with my innermost feelings and stay present, all things will fall into place and I will make the right choices in all areas of life.
In my younger days, I enjoyed going out on New Years Eve....usually drank a little too much..always stayed up until the wee hours of the morning...and spent New Years Day sleeping in, often waking with a headache and cotton mouth. Am I glad those days are behind me!
For the past several years, DH and I spend a quiet evening at home with a special dinner and a glass or two of champagne. We rarely stay up until midnight. I like waking up early on New Years Day, all bright-eyed and rested. I have to say I'm glad that the holidays are over and things are back to "normal". I like the feeling of a fresh start in a brand new year. On New Years Day I always have that feeling that good things are going to happen for the coming year....I feel a renewed commitment to making my life as good as it can be.
Again, that's how I want to live my life - alert, energetic and greeting each new day with enthusiasm and optimism.
However you like to greet the New Year, I hope you enjoy it fully. Live life with gusto and never with any regrets. Know that your best is always more than good enough. Appreciate all that's around you and you will find more and more to be grateful for. Love all the things in your life passionately; and all that love will come right back to you. Happy New Year, friends!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I must say 2011 was one of the most difficult of my life thus far. Every single week I traveled and hour away to see my sister, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the previous October 2010. There were many ups and downs, highs and lows. She suffered, she got better, she went to the brink, she stabilized, she lapsed, she recovered, she relapsed, and then it was over on October 2 2011 as her spirit had enough and left her body for good.
Going through the grieving process is different for everyone. I had already done a lot of it during the year of her illness. I mourned the times we had that will never be again. I got depressed and sad that my sister was in such pain. I got angry that this had happened to US. Then as I watched her courageous acceptance of what was happening, I slowly began to accept as well.
In the end, her death was not nearly as painful as the previous 12 months. I actually felt a sense of relief mixed in with unbelievable sorrow. I hardly knew what to do with my feelings. I kept remembering all the times throughout our lives where Janet said “it is what it is”. I recollected all of the times she’d be sad about something, and after she got it off her chest she’d tell me that she can’t change it, so she’s just going to go to her “happy place”. And she did.
Janet’s illness consumed me for the first 9 months of 2011. It was somewhat like a job. It gave me purpose. I went every week to help her in any way I could, to cheer her, to get her out of the house (during those times she was able), to be there for her the times she had to go into the hospital, clean her house, fix her lunch, and sometimes to do nothing else but show my love for her.
October was the most painful because the loss was so fresh. My 60th birthday was on the 25th and she wasn’t there to celebrate with me. I sobbed the entire day. October had always been our favorite month because here in Upstate NY it’s the most beautiful, with all the brightly colored leaves, moderate temperature in the 70’s, and the bluest clear sky you can ever imagine. She and I would get together almost every weekend and drive out to many different nearby quaint towns to shop and have lunch.
In November I was just beginning to adjust. I felt like a scab had formed over my raw emotions and at least I was no longer crying almost every day. We had Thanksgiving dinner at our house and I was grateful for the brand new kitchen we’d just remodeled and having my stepdaughter, son-in-law, and grandsons over. I felt better, but clearly not out of the woods.
In December I felt like someone had ripped the scab off. The holiday season brought back more memories and longing to have Janet here by my side. I'm always melancholy during Christmas because it brings up a sense of loss from not having children of my own. Janet was always there to comfort me during this time, and now I don't have her either.
The days were now getting shorter and shorter, darker and drearier. We didn’t get snow, but much worse was the cloudiness and dampness, the rain and cold wind. I suffer each year with winter depression. I have a light box that I use from November-April when it’s the darkest. I believe it does help somewhat. I miss going outside to walk when winter sets in. I bundle up in layers and go out walking if it’s just cold, but I don’t go if there’s ice or snow on the roads and sidewalks. If I slip and hurt myself, I’ll be out of commission for a long time; so I just walk away the pounds indoors with Leslie Sansone.
I couldn’t get into the Christmas hoopla at all this year. For the first time, I didn’t bake a whole bunch of different cookies. That’s a great thing, because DH and I would be the ones eating handfuls of cookies every day. I baked one batch of cookies and some no-bake drop ones for our 20 year-old grandson who came over for the afternoon. I gave them all to him to share with his college friends.
I wasn’t into cards and only sent about 5-6 to some of my long distance relatives. I’d much rather go see someone to wish them a merry Christmas; or pick up the phone and talk to them. versus sending a card. Win-win, it also saves a tree.
I managed to get some simple decorations out…candles in the windows and a wreath on the door, with just a few santas and snowmen and angels scattered around. Every year from October-early December, Janet and I would go to craft shows every weekend to buy Christmas crafts. We especially loved stuffed snowmen. She had a tradition of buying me an angel every year. I have quite a collection of them that I treasure and will always keep. But over the years, I ‘ve been simplifying my decorations and each year I’d let go of more things that went to charity in Oct/Nov for someone else to enjoy. It no longer takes up hours of my time to put out decorations and then later put them all away. The extra plus is not having to find places to store all the stuff during the year.
Here it was one week before Christmas and I had done ZERO shopping! DH and I weren’t exchanging because our new kitchen was gift enough. He’s not a shopper, and even after 21 years he still doesn’t know what I like. If I want something, I buy it for myself. But right now, there is very little I want or need materialistically. We managed to get out one day and buy some things for Dan’s daughter and her husband. The grandsons are all at that age where it’s hard to know what to buy for them. They are 7, 14, 18 year old twins, 20, and 22. We are giving all the teenagers and above money, which they prefer anyway. So that also means no longer staying up until midnight on Christmas Eve wrapping presents.
I have to say that this simple approach to Christmas definitely appeals to me and I believe I will continue it every year. It centers me and helps me tune in to the real importance of Christmas. It detaches me from the material aspects and unites me with my spirit. I truly want to give more than receive, and give intangible things like love…..presence, not presents.
In the weight department, I am giving myself some slack for getting through a very difficult year. I started out the year at 183.4 at WW, and last Monday at WW I weighed in at 190, a total gain of 6.6 for the year. There was a lot of up and down in my weight, and looking at my record, I was 191.2 mid-March, so I did make some headway and at least tried to stop the gaining.
I’ve had lots of thoughts of quitting WW. As of now, I’m thinking I want to keep going and achieve my goal for once and for all.
I feel as though I’ve changed more in the past year than I have in the past decade. I am hopeful that this new chapter of my life will be good. I don’t make resolutions anymore. I have but two goals for the coming year: 1. To live in the present and appreciate each moment, like Janet did the last year of her life. 2. To love without expecting anything in return; not only people, but also love all things around me…all things created by God, all the simple everyday gifts that can get ignored when we’re not paying attention. If I can do that, everything else will take care of itself.
Wishing all of you a very joyful holiday season and a happy, healthy, and abundant 2012. I won’t be online much the rest of the year, so ENJOY and I’ll see ya next year!!!
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