Monday, November 08, 2010
Every year I start the holiday season with good intentions but fall apart somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Suddenly all those good intentions seem to go straight downhill like a giant snowball collecting the month of December in it's entirety on the way down until it starts to slow under the weight of the feast of Christmas dinner finally landing at the feet of the new year bloated and ten pounds heavier! I even blogged last year AFTER a disastrous Thanksgiving debacle and STILL ate naughty right into Christmas. This year I made it a challenge. Make a plan, publicize it, and stick to it!
So after thinking a few days, I've drafted the following and I'm calling it:
My Personal Holiday Survival Guide!
I'm starting RIGHT NOW being extra tight on my eating plan. A little initial weight loss will jump start my motivation to stick to my holiday eating goals. Next I will keep up my exercise schedule. No matter how hectic it gets -- exercise is still a priority. Which leads me to just how I plan to address that hectic feeling , starting with a little analysis.
First of all in general I tend to get very busy these months. What with all the shopping, mailing, Christmas cards, more shopping. That equals a lot of stress and a lot of tiredness from late nights. Two of my biggest binge triggers. So I am going to really pare down my activities for starters. I'm going to give each family member some money and a small personal gift to open for Christmas. Everyone, grandkids included. I'm going to take ONE day and dedicate it to shopping for everybody and it's going to be soon before the crowds get too hefty. I'm taking the hubby with me and we'll plan a lunch break at a restaurant where I can behave like Panera that's right in our mall. Then home to wrap the gifts ASAP - or better yet - hope that some local high school team is wrapping gifts in the mall for a fund raiser!
Bedtime -- I'm going to really watch how late I'm staying up and plan to get to bed at a decent hour. When I'm tired, I'm more vulnerable to snacking and just letting my guard down in general.
No holiday baking. I'm going to get my dear sweet neighbors some nice scented Avon soap and lotions to enjoy. They're cheaper and won't contribute to THEIR weight issues! Then I won't even have the ingredients in the house to tempt me - like chocolate chips. Instead of a traditional "baking day" with the great nieces, I'm going to take them out to a nice tea room for a relaxing lunch where the portions are small but the ambiance is big. They don't need all the sugar either!
We go to my son and daughter-in-laws for every Thanksgiving and she is a fabulous cook. She is very organized and generally cooks very healthy - save for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. We have a wonderful relationship so I have decided to call her and have a heart to heart talk with her and explain that I have a tendency to go overboard with my holiday eating. She just had a baby in September and although I thinks she looks great, she has already stated that she'd like to lose some more weight. Knowing her, she will make every effort for me to have some healthier lower fat, lower sugar stuff to eat. What she just can't skimp on I will have to exercise extra portion control on. So I'll put the lower cal stuff like veggies on the plate first and fill it up. Eat my roll without butter. Leave off the gravy.
Do I really need whipped cream on my pie? No. Do I really need to sample the pecan pie AND the pumpkin pie? No.
In lieu of bringing food that I have cooked, I'm going to send them a check to cover some of the cost of dinner. I would have them here and cook it all, but it's way harder for them to travel with three little ones. Better we go there. Plus like I said, she is a very organized cook. She makes it look effortless.
Before dinner I am going to volunteer to hold the baby, entertain the grandchildren - whatever takes me away from the kitchen, yet helps free her up. My daughter will be there and SHE can help with the cooking. I'm staying away from the food and the little snacky dishes of sugared nuts and raisins that my DIL sets out.
As soon as my plate is empty it's off to brush my teeth. I hate to put more food in a minty fresh mouth! This will give me a chance to let my dinner settle and that full feeling kick in before the pie comes out. Right after teeth brushing, I'm getting my hands ASAP into the hot, soapy, dishwater. My mother always used to say empty hands are the devils advocate. How true it is! The others can clear the table and scrape the plates. I'm not taking on the temptation to eat anything additional from the serving bowls.
When supper rolls around and the leftovers come out for everyone to fend for themselves, I'm asking hubby to make me ONE reasonable turkey sandwich without mayo on whole wheat. Put on a few raw veggies and don't let me near the stuffing and mashed potatoes for the second time in the day.
I've booked a hotel that has an exercise room and a free breakfast buffet. For breakfast I'm heading right to the fresh fruit and oatmeal if they have it. Whole wheat toast if they don't.
Our work Christmas party will be a challenge too, but my number one rule: No alcohol! It adds calories and dissolves my restraint. It's a catered event and I plan to place myself at the back of the buffet line so that the food will be good and picked over as I reach it. My plan will be sit at the table with our physician who is the triathlete so I can talk exercise!
I'm not quite yet sure of my Christmas eve plans, but I really want to eat Christmas dinner with my 96 year old father in the Veteran's Home where he resides. Trust me - the quality of food there will make it easy to stay within my eating plans! But his company on what could be his last Christmas will be priceless! The focus is to definitely be on him and not the food.
Well that's enough thinking for one night. I'm looking forward to reading some other's plans and maybe glean some tips that will help me stick to my goals
I hope that I might have given some tips that will help to motivate YOU to stick to your goals too!
Happy November and December to all my spark friends!
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
My status today reads "JCORYCMA says I'm ready to take on a November Challenge" and I've already gotten several inquires about it.
I lead and co-lead two Spark teams -- The official Spark Des Moines team and the Poker Lovers team. Each month I try to come up with a challenge for the team that is do-able but at the same time challenging. Some months it can be challenging for me to just come up with a challenge, but this month it seemed to come to me very crystal clear: a challenge that I NEED perhaps more for myself than any other challenge I've proposed before.
Something to jumpstart tackling the Halloween through New Years eatathon. I guess I figure that if I need it -- others may need it too.
So I am going to officially make this challenge to all of Sparkworld (or at least those faithful folk who always so nicely read my blogs).
Here it is:
How many of you look at a Holiday as a “free pass” when it comes to eating? I know I always have. Come on! I tell myself, it’s only one day…
For me the trouble is that it isn’t just one day. It starts with Halloween and the whole “To heck with it” attitude gets in motion and lasts until January 2 of the new year when I’m standing on the scale facing the music, thinking Great – now I’m stuck with 10 pounds more to lose!
Why do we do this to ourselves? Are the holidays that much more enjoyable feeling bloated, guilty, out of control?
NO!! They are not. That “sliver” of brownie pie your co-worker brought to work trying out a new recipe for Thanksgiving, or that “only once a year” pumpkin latte you swung by Starbucks for are so not worth it.
Thin looks AND feels better than those calorie laden treats taste, trust me. Yet I’m guilty of the same mentality year after year.
Not this year. We are going to short circuit that thinking right here and now. Our November challenge is a CHALLENGE. I want each one of us to start right now, right today and plan our Thanksgiving day eating. I don’t care that Thanksgiving isn’t for another 22 days. By now, most of us know where we will be eating Thanksgiving dinner and chances are it’s not a new venue for us. Analyze the meals that have been served when you’ve been there before. Are you doing the cooking? Do you go to your aunts and the whole family potlucks? Do you always go to a certain restaurant?
Next I want everyone to make a plan for how they are going to stay within their weight loss calorie range. Write it out and go to the icon on your page for starting a new blog and publicize it to the Spark world. Make yourself accountable not just to you but to all of us. Even if you have never blogged before now is the time to start. You don’t have to write a bunch of flowing sentences. A simple outline of your eating with no explanation will do the trick. Write out a copy to stick in a prominent place like your closet door or fridge. Every day look at that plan either online on your blog, or in your home. Ingrain it in your brain. Tell yourself daily this is what I am going to eat because I am in control and I don’t want to be FAT – any longer.
When THE big day comes – you will be more inclined to put your plan into action because it will be second nature – you’ll be on auto pilot. You can tell your sister-in-law that looks great but it’s not on my plan this year…
When it works for you -- AND IT WILL – you can pat yourself on the back and head into December planning for that next big dinner hurdle knowing that you can survive the holidays sans weight gain with a little planning and accountability!
I am going to be looking for everyone’s pre-Thanksgiving dinner blog. I’m anxious to pick up any tips that I can to help inspire me to stick with my own plan. Just title your blog NOVEMBER CHALLENGE. Good luck!
Let's do it friends! Let LAST year be the last year that we spent January mourning our poor holiday months eating choices.
This year we are going to enjoy family and friends first and foremost. The food isn't the focus.
This year we gonna be skinny (er)
PS - I'll be posting my Thanksgiving day plans within the next few days -- stay tuned for part II
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
My Dear Sweet Jack:
Welcome to the world!
AND - Welcome to our family!
Born September 12, weighing just 7.2 pounds, looking just like your daddy with lots of dark hair and no chin :) We were all anxiously awaiting your arrival -- Mommy, Daddy, big sisters Abby and Margot and Grandpa Jim and I.
To me you look perfect, but Mommy and Daddy said that you were born with a little hole in your heart. They said that your doctor reassured them that it is small and that as you grow, the hole should close. You are going to visit a special doctor who will keep a close eye along with Mommy and Daddy on your heart. Your regular doctor said that if you are eating well and gaining weight, you are probably doing fine. So far, you are eating well!
You can't help that you were born with a heart problem, but Mommy and Daddy love you and will make sure that you are well taken care of and do everything the doctor tells them to do so that you will continue to grow and be healthy!
I was born healthy many years ago and my mommy and daddy -- your great grandparents -- took good care of me. I am sorry to say that when I got older, I didn't take such good care of myself. I ate too much and didn't run and jump any more like I did when I was a child so I put on TOO much weight. The doctors told me many times that I needed to eat less and move more so that I could be healthy again. I tried sometimes but always found excuses to stop doing what they told me to do.
Your daddy and Aunt Angie and Uncle James (who lives with Jesus now) were all growing up and going to college and falling in love and I started to feel stiff, sore, and worn out! I didn't like feeling like that. When your daddy married your beautiful mommy I saw pictures of myself and felt sad that not only did I not feel healthy, but I didn't look healthy either.
I decided to do just what the doctors had been telling me to do all along. I chose healthier foods and ate smaller portions. I started to run and jump and ride a bicycle. I found that moving around like that was actually fun! I started to feel less tired and less sore.
By the time your cousin Lyric was born I was well on my way to looking healthier and feeling healthier. She was our first grandchild and it started to sink in to me that I had more reasons to keep my weight down with eating good foods and staying active.
After Lyric, those reasons just kept coming -- Natalie, Abby, Jude, Margot, and now YOU!
I feel wonderful now! and my doctor says that I am healthy.
This is my promise to you, special little boy, that I will always continue to eat right and exercise so that I can stay in the best shape possible! That way when you come visit, if your heart is healed, we can run and jump and play together!
Someday you will get older and leave the watchful eyes of your mommy and daddy. You will go to school and fall in love. Grandma will dance at your wedding --
With all my love - now and forever,
Friday, September 10, 2010
As most of you know I am an "incontinence nurse". I work with all kinds of patients that have urinary issues including urgency, frequency, and urge related incontinence. This is am immensely frustrating problem for patients because they feel overwhelmed with a sense that they have NO control over their bladder when urgency strikes. Day in and day out I remind them that our bodies have primarily two kinds of muscles -- voluntary and involuntary. Your heart, for instance is an involuntary muscle. It will beat whether you tell it to or not. You can hold your breath until you pass out, but then the good old involuntary lungs will start breathing without your specific assistance. The bladder is mostly voluntary. The cortical area of our brain needs to develop enough before we can assume voluntary control over it -- the dreaded potty training that frets parents so.
I instruct them that when that fierce sense of urgency strikes, resist the urge to take off and run to the bathroom. That jerky, impulsive movement only incites the bladder to contract harder. Instead, if you are standing, sit down. Calmly practice some voluntary contractions of the pelvic floor, distract yourself. Count backwards from 100. Walk calmly to the bathroom.
But the point of this blog isn't really about the bladder. It's about the MOUTH. Another entirely voluntary muscle...
Today I ate a light lunch. I was so busy, I had just enough time to eat a little tuna and some veggies and a few bites of cantaloupe. Usually I have a mid afternoon snack but I was even too busy for that.
Normally when I get off work I head right down to the Y to exercise, but my husband was leaving after work to drive to my daughter's house in Omaha so he could babysit for our grand kids. I had half debated going with him so I didn't take my gym bag to work with me. I ultimately decided that I was too tired to go with him, so sans gym bag, I headed home after work planning to have supper alone and get into bed early with a book.
All of a sudden while driving on the way home it hit me -- HUNGER!
Hunger with an urgency that took me by surprise. I usually eat about six times a day with three meals and three light snacks, so I rarely get truly hungry, but as I said, I was running on "E", having missed my afternoon snack.
My mind started whirring with possibilities. I could get off the interstate one exit before my usual one. That way I could drive up Delaware -- several solid miles rife with every fast food joint you could name. Maybe a burger? Nooo. Taco? Nope.
What I'm really craving is PIZZA! Mmmm. Yeasty, meaty, Italian spiced pizza loaded with ooey, gooey, cheese! Yes!
Ok next plan -- order in? No. Takes too long. Stop by the grocery store that has a pizza bar and grab a couple of slices! Yes!
No! At that moment it hit me. I was feeling out of control. My brain, mouth, and tastebuds were all conspiring via my visualization of melting mozzarella to undermine my resolve to stick to my food plan.
What do I tell my patients to do when that overwhelming sense of needing pizza - err - to use the bathroom -- strikes?
CALM DOWN! REMEMBER THE MOUTH -- ERR -- THE BLADDER IS A VOLUNTARY MUSCLE!
So I took my usual exit and came home.
First thing I did was eat my banana -- the afternoon's leftover snack. Then I logged onto Spark People and into my nutrition tracker. After entering my breakfast, lunch and the banana, I looked at just how many calories I had eaten for the day and how many that I had left. I looked at the break down. Did I need more protein? Had I had enough carbs? How much fat was left. That helped me consider my options.
I had a California Kitchens thin crust pizza in the freezer. 350 calories for one serving of two slices. Let's see, I also had turkey meatballs in the freezer. 190 calories for three. Put on a light hotdog bun with some marinara sauce and some 2% milkfat mozzarella cheese, it could be ooey, gooey good. What about making some spaghetti and meatballs? No, not just for me. By this time, the banana was kicking in and the hunger calming waaaay down.
I opted for the frozen pizza. I even had enough calories for a third slice AND a slice of light garlic toast.
Even enough for an O'Douls -- my little secret for all you folks who like the taste of a nice cold beer but like me find that alcohol can totally undo my willpower. It's non-alcohol and only 90 fat free calories!
Ok. Although it was frozen pizza, it was good frozen pizza, but not the kind of pizza that inspires a what the heck attitude about portion size and calories. It fit the bill and I was left feeling satisfied and so pleased with myself for not caving into my cravings leaving me stuffed while wallowing in self-pittious guilt for the rest of the evening!
So next time you get that immense, shaky, starving, out of control feeling, don't let it overwhelm and over power you. Slow down, take the edge off with a healthy snack even if it's not what you crave at the moment. Distract yourself and check your tracker if you can. Calmly weigh your options.
YOU are the boss of your mouth because it IS a voluntary muscle!
Sunday, September 05, 2010
So I faced the music the other day and changed my weight loss ticker to reflect the truth. My official goal is 130 pounds and honestly folks, I have been there. Not only was I there, but I actually stayed there for awhile.
It would occasionally creep up a little -- 2 or 3 pounds -- and I wouldn't get too concerned. After all we all know how little things like eating a salty meal can make you retain that much fluid, right? More muscle from the strength training! Not enough fiber the past few days? Break out the Kashi and I'll lose it.
No need to go in so frequently to change the ticker JUST to turn around and lower it again.
So ok it's a little more than 2 or 3 pounds now. BUT I'm eating like a "normal person" for once! (Has anyone actually ever figured out just what eating like a normal person means?)
I'm beginning to think that 130 is an unrealistic goal for me. 140 may just be my "set point". Yeah the size 2's are unwearable. A few of the 4's are getting snug -- that stationary bike is making my legs big! I'm a consistent exerciser so do I HAVE to eat like a saint?
Let's face it -- can I really track my nutrition the rest of my life? Do I need too?
I read a blog the other day from a friend on one of my teams who is about four pounds from her goal where she basically expressed all these feelings and said that she felt good about herself so why not stay where she was?
Then I noticed one little sentence --
"I haven't lost any weight because my eating habits have not been wonderful"
That hit me like a ton of bricks! I hastened to tell her DON'T DO IT, IT'S A TRICK!
I should know because I've been there. The thing about reaching my goal was that I was eating healthy. Staying within my calorie range. Everything balanced - not too much fat. Plenty of whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables.
I FELT GREAT!!
Not because I weighed 130 - although that was a mental kick. It was because that's what I weigh when I exercise AND eat right. Bottom line. Now it might be a different story if I ate just like I should and still weighed a little more, but that isn't my case.
I am no longer maintaining. I need to lose. 10 pounds - which may not sound like much but I swear that those last 10 pounds can be the most challenging because it IS tempting to be sick of being so strict and get sloppy with the eating habits.
I need to track my nutrition each and every single day. I figure if I aim for the bottom of my calorie range and keep exercising I'll lose and get back down to my goal.
I've gone back to the Spark diet and reread all the stages and repeated some of the early worksheets.
I'm going weigh once a week on Mondays so I have even more incentive to behave on the weekends. I'll track my weight every Monday night on SP. Rain or shine. Gain or lose.
MY ticker will be truthful----
How bout yours??
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