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Making healthy choices

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Much of weight loss comes down to making choices. Chips & queso, or chips and salsa (or no chips at all)? To drink or not to drink? Have dessert, share a dessert, or no dessert at all?

Yesterday I decided to go to the movies. I had a rare day off from the dogs' agility classes, and wanted to take advantage of my free time. I'm a member of Regal Cinemas, and it just happens on Tuesdays you get free popcorn (this is true of all Regal Cinemas -- if you get their card -- all over the country).

Initially I planned to go to Regal, since it happens to be close to my home. I was going to get my free popcorn. Then I decided I didn't really need the popcorn, and chose to go to a different theater; one also close to home.

There's nothing wrong with popcorn; it's actually quite a healthy snack. Even movie popcorn, if you get a kid's size without butter and don't eat the whole thing, can fit into a healthy eating plan.

But at the moment I'm a women on a mission. I want to lose as much weight as possible before the cruise. Yes, I still indulge occasionally. My choice this week, however, was not to indulge in the movie popcorn.

Are you making healthy choices?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SQUIRTZIE 7/30/2008 5:39PM

    Good for you! Keep it up!

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Slow food

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There's a movement called slow food (see www.slowfood.com ). It's about enjoying local food in a relaxed, leisurely fashion.

There's also the french women don't get fat diet. And there are several reasons for that: 1) They walk everywhere 2) They eat everything -- in moderation 3) They make meals an event, not something to be rushed through.

I'm really proud that I've made eating without distractions a habit. If my husband is home and watching tv when I want to eat (I often eat in our living room, but with the tv off), I'll eat at the dining table.

Yesterday I was having my small bit of chocolate after lunch. And I found myself wanting to reach for something to read while I was doing it. I didn't feel the need during lunch, but I guess that piece of chocolate was so small, I thought I ought to be doing something else while I ate it.

Why? Why would I want to deny myself the pleasure of letting that small piece of creamy chocolate slowly melt away on my tongue? To get "something" done?

I know if I had reached for something to read, I would not have enjoyed that piece of chocolate to the fullest. It's my small indulgence after all; what would be the point of rushing through it without tasting it at all? That would only make me want to take another piece of chocolate.

No wonder we sometimes overeat. If we can't taste our food because we're too busy doing other stuff, we aren't satisifed.

I definitely want to be satisfied. And that means mindful eating. And sometimes that means really paying attention to yourself and what you're doing to yourself. And that's probably the bottom line, isn't it? Paying attention to ourselves. We're worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTER67 7/30/2008 10:55PM

    Very true. If we are taking the time to splurge on something special, why diminish it by doing other things at once? Thanks for reminding us of that.

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KEYWEST3 7/29/2008 11:49PM

    good idea! thanks for the reminder :)

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STARTSPARKING 7/29/2008 9:14PM

    Mindful eating is so important. So often we try to multi-task and do not actually take in all the pleasures of eating. Thank you for the reminder!

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MARY1313 7/29/2008 1:18PM

    I like the idea of this. I am going to turn the TV off and actually just eat tonight. It will be easy this week because my DH is out of town. Thanks for posting this!


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MOONLIGHT71 7/29/2008 9:08AM

    There was a show on TLC about this...Paul McKenna's 'I can make you thin'...He talked about the same thing...putting the fork down between each bite, chewing slowly, and no distractions. Listen for the signal from your stomach that you are full...we get so bogged down by everything around us while we eat (TV, family chit chat, kids arguing) that we don't hear our stomach say "ENOUGH!" However, it's hard when you only have a set amount of time for lunch and dinner has to be quick due to extracurricular activities, but it can be done!! Thank you for reminding me to slow down and enjoy the food I am lucky to have on my plate!!

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Planning vs. Spontaneity

Monday, July 28, 2008

Guess what? We need both in our lives. It's about balance, as always.

If you've been reading my blogs, you may have noticed that my husband isn't much for planning. I think he has to do so much at and for work, by the time he gets home, he just doesn't want to make decisions.

That can be really frustrating for me sometimes. It is easier, most days, to eat healthy if I have a plan. If I know we're going out for brunch, for instance, I'll have a light breakfast and make sure it includes some fruit and protein. Or if I know we're going out for dinner, I might have a salad for lunch. You get the idea.

It's too easy to get too rigid with our lives when we're trying to lose weight. Sometimes we've just got to lighten up and go with the flow. I know it can be scary not knowing what your next meal will be, but you've got to learn to hit whatever life throws at you. If you go on vacation, for instance, you often won't know what your next meal will be.

Always plan a few small, highly nutritious snacks that are your "go to" snacks; something you can either have all the ingredients on hand at home, or something you can easily carry with you.

When you can, plan when you'll go out to eat, where, and look up good options at that restaurant. If you can't plan, don't sweat it, though. Make the best choices you can, enjoy the company and your meal, and make sure you get right back on track even if you do end up overeating or making poor choices.

Life is about more than just eating and losing weight, after all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 7/29/2008 9:04PM

    I agree that it needs to be a combination of both. Before I head off to a party, I usually plan to eat lighter for the rest of the day. I also try to have a light snack or have a granola bar in my purse. That way, I don't get too hungry if food is not ready at the party.

As for dining out or eating on vacation, I agree that sometimes you can't plan ahead. If there are not great choices, I just try to limit my portion. You're right that we need to get right back on track even if we overeat. It's important to forgive ourselves and move on instead of going further downhill.

Thanks for this great post of important reminders!

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SQUIRTZIE 7/28/2008 9:54PM

    Good comments

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5 things I like about me

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One of the questions at our WW meeting this week was what body part we want to accentuate. The question was met with deafening silence, although eventually a few brave souls piped up.

I admit it: sometimes I find it hard to find good things about myself. Body or otherwise. While I believe I'm a good person, sometimes I just feel so lazy, so selfish, so not good enough, I guess. And I know that I AM good enough. So here goes:

1. I spend some time volunteering with animals most weeks. I've been doing that for about seven years now. Even though it often feels like I have more than enough to deal with with my own animals, there are so many in need.

2. I like to motivate other people. I discovered that when I became a WW leader. I didn't think I would like it, being shy in RL, but I did. I look for SP blog posts that are people looking for some motivation, and try to provide some.

3. I enjoy sharing my talents with others. When I was a graphic designer, I ran a large Website about graphic design. Yes, I got paid for it, but I enjoyed helping others get started with their own businesses. Many people helped me get started, and I wanted to pay it forward.

4. Although I'm not really an adventurous person, I do like to try new things. I'll try most foods, I like to travel, I'll try new fitness classes, and so on.

5. I like to nurture things. Sometimes it's plants, sometimes it's animals, sometimes it's my husband, sometimes it's me. But there's a satisfaction in watching something grow, playing with an animal or teaching it new tricks, helping my husband and I to be healthy.

Whew! Okay, that wasn't easy. It took some time.

What are five things you like about you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LILYMAC 7/27/2008 10:43PM

    Oh, thank you so much for your comment on my blog. I really appreciate it. It sounds like we have some things in common-animal lovers, artists, at about the same time in our lives, and being vegetarians. Yes, okay, you're a flexatarian, which I am in my mind because even though I haven't eaten meat in 1.75 years, I still crave it.

I really do want to get more involved with Spark People, and get healthier. I'm like you in that, too. It's not so much about the weight. I just want more energy and to be healthy. Everything else falls into place when those are your goals.

I definitely need the encouragement, though, so thank you. emoticon

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STARTSPARKING 7/27/2008 10:31PM

    Okay, so you want to know five things I like about myself. Actually, this was one of my SP team assignments earlier this year. We were to write blogs on the topic of "Why I Rock". I wrote mine on March 6:


I guess the five things I like most about myself are :

1. my loyalty to my family and friends
2. my ability to survive poverty
3. my perseverance
4. my contentment
5. my friendliness

Thank you for sharing about yourself. I applaud the volunteer work you do for animals. I am fortunate to be among those whom you support and motivate. I admire your talent as an artist. I am so glad to have crossed paths with you here on SP! emoticon emoticon

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BLESSINGS8855 7/27/2008 2:16PM

You are definitely good at encouraging others! I'm relatively new to diet and exercise (again!) but you sent me an encouraging note. Thank you! Encouraging others goes a VERY long way! What's the old saying? What goes around, comes around. Another one is, You reap what you sow. Thank you for being YOU!

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Jekyll & Hyde

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I feel that way sometimes. One minute I feel good about the growing pile of clothes that no longer fit, the next I just feel FAT. Like who are you kidding, you may have lost 10 pounds, but you still weigh more than you did the first time you joined WW (although I'm at least closing in on it).

Or I'm feeling good about the new jeans that are already getting loose after just 3 weeks, then unhappy with my reflection when I get my hair cut, with the rolls around my stomach and my double chin (and someone at my meeting yesterday suggested that putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth can get rid of that double chin -- who knew?).

I'm not trying to have a pity party here, or searching for sympathy. It's just so odd how our emotions can change from moment to moment.

I also know that I need to love myself no matter my weight, stomach rolls and all. It's just hard to do sometimes. Some people are still very pretty, even with a lot of weight. I have never felt that way. Or maybe I've been conditioned not to feel that way, with the "you'd be so pretty if you just lost the weight" comments of my youth.

I know that my weight does not define me as a person. I am a nice, animal-loving, artistically gifted, intelligent woman no matter what I weigh.

I also know that getting to goal weight doesn't solve all my problems. I won't instantly gain friends when I get to my goal weight. I won't find that 25th hour of the day when I get to my goal weight. I won't feel like there's enough of me to go around when I get to my goal weight. And when I do get to my goal weight, that's when the truly hard work of maintenance begins.

I just have to hold on to the good feelings of new jeans in smaller sizes, too tight jeans that fit and are flattering, the energy to get more done, the feeling of satisfaction I get from eating healthy.

"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."
-- Helen Keller

The quote above landed in my inbox today. How appropriate, huh? That Helen Keller sure was one smart woman. And they were told she'd never amount to anything.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 7/27/2008 10:00PM

    Wow, you spoke my mind also! Just last night I was sitting on the couch when I noticed how wide my thighs spread. I lost 41 pounds to get to 124 pounds, wear size 4, and still felt like I got fat thighs... How ungrateful and sad is that?! Then in this morning's kickboxing class, I was caught off guard by my own reflection in the mirrored wall. As I turned to do a twist punch, I noticed how slim my profile was, how narrow my waist seemed, and how strong my upper body looked. Was that a case of "Jekyll and Hyde" or what?

It's true that nobody can feel good about herself 100% of the time. I bet even supermodels have bad hair days. I agree that reaching our goal weight won't solve our problems. I will always be a work in progress. I know I will always have a few of those negative moments when I don't feel good enough about myself for whatever reason. Yet I will always try to remind myself about how blessed I am and focus on all the good things.

Thank you for a wonderful, thought-provoking blog post, my friend.

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MTER67 7/26/2008 11:38PM

    I prefer to keep my tongue in my cheek...har har har...

Nobody can feel good about themselves 24/7. Sometimes the outfit that I thought was awesome one week seems horrible the next--the fit's the same but the attitude is almost bi-polar!

We have to accept that there will be times we feel on top of the world and times we feel positively sub-terranean. There's nothing different about the way we look, but only our perceptions of it--we also need to be mindful that the times we feel low are also the times when the temptation to backslide or give up is the highest.

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. Another great blog! emoticon

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JANDELL 7/26/2008 10:08PM

    When I read this, Judy, it was just as though I was reading my own words!! I feel EXACTLY that way! The smaller clothes I bought are now my TOO BIG clothes...but I'm stuck with them anyway...because I just can't afford to replace them. But I am thrilled one minute because my new clothes are too big...then, like you, I look in the mirror and think, "who am I kidding?" I even have a defined waistline on the back and sides...but then there's that spare tire...and my body has lost a lot of its elasticity. And, like you, I know that when I reach my goal, then the real battle begins. Would you believe this is my FOURTH time to have lost a SIGNIFICANT amount of weight??!! So I can't let my guard down for a minute...I am committed to tracking my food for the remainder of my life (or until I can't see or write anymore!). But I LOVE being able to be more active...and I'm more outgoing...and it's ALL worth it...and I'M worth it...and YOU are worth it!!!

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LSFBOOK 7/26/2008 2:08PM

    I love the Helen Keller quote. I know exactly how you feel--emotions up and down. But, we are doing it and we will succeed. I bought size 16's yesterday that fit really nice. Although one pair that I didn't try on is a little tight--who cares! It'll fit in the next few weeks.

I tried the tongue on the roof of my mouth--doesn't seem to make much difference for me. But, sigh, it was a good try.

Have a great day and keep on writing!

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