Friday, December 26, 2008
I consider myself to be fairly intelligent and well educated -- certainly in most things pertaining to weight loss! Yet yesterday I found myself watching one of my tv shows, and thinking, wouldn't it be nice to look like one of the female leads?
And then I thought whoa! Just what am I thinking? This is a woman who either has really good genes, is naturally thin (not to mention a whole lot younger than me), or starves herself and overexercises. I know myself -- I don't have that kind of a body. I know what striving for that kind of a body does to me, too, and it isn't pretty.
We truly are bombarded with the "ideal" woman all over the media, in a variety of ways, and it's amazing how that seeps into our subconsciousness even when we know it's not an ideal we can achieve.
Does it play into many people's desire to go back to a weight they had in high school? A weight that probably is achievable, but at a high cost to our self esteem and possibly health, because what we have to do to get there isn't a healthy lifestyle. Denial is definitely more than just a river in Eygypt!
I'm still probably about halfway through my weight loss journey, and I still haven't picked a final goal weight. I have some numbers in mind, but I'm focusing more on the journey right now than the end result. I do know I won't be picking a number at the low end of what's considered a healthy range for me. Been there, done that, and my body didn't like it. I wonder, sometimes, if it will be easier to go lower if I do pick a higher goal. I'll find out in time.
We all have to be aware of just what is driving our desire to be a certain number.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
While it may not always work, it's amazing how just the simple act of tracking something makes you more aware of it. And not just with food.
I've been tracking my spending, in some fits and starts, for several months now. I'll admit I've probably spent too much this last month -- and on me, not family & friends! -- but I've put more thought into it.
I've always put a lot of thought into the vast majority of my purchases, with few impulse buys, and I rarely have buyer's remorse. The reason I've spent so much this month is that I've been taking advantage of the sales and stocking up on more cold weather clothes; I have some, because it does get cold here, but not a lot because it's rarely cold for long. It'll be very cold, for long periods of time, when I'm living in NY.
I went to the mall last week, and I tried on some nice, dressy blouses. And they all fit. It felt so good! But I didn't buy them; I don't need them, and because I've been tracking my spending, I know I've already spend a lot.
Tracking what we put in our mouths can work like that, too. How much will that peppermint bark fill you up compared to say a nice apple or a bowl of soup? Sure, sometimes only the chocolate will do -- but if you concentrate more on the foods that nourish and fill you up, you'll eat less of the foods that taste so good but only make you crave more.
If you're eating for emotional reasons, that's a whole other bowl of wax, but tracking can help you there, too. It at least makes you think about it. Even if you're overindulging, please continue to track. You'll be happy you did.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sweets are one of my nemeses. I have others: portion size and rich food, but sweets are probably the biggest reason I pack on the pounds.
I've still managed to lose my 20 pounds while indulging in home baked sweets on a pretty much daily basis. So here are my tips for those battling a sweet tooth:
1. Make it matter. If you scarf it down and never taste it, you're more likely to overindulge. Put it on a plate. Sit down. Slow down. Savor.
2. My WW leader suggests waiting a couple of hours after eating before having dessert. You may find you're really not hungry for it.
3. Personally, #2 doesn't work for me, but it might for you. I do better eating my treat with my meal, because I'm full from my meal and more likely to be satisifed with what I have, as long as I make sure to observe #1.
4. Make it real. 100 calorie packs of Hostess cupcakes don't count. Because really, if you're honest with yourself, how satisfied are you with them after you finished them? Or do you find yourself craving more sweets? I'd rather have some freshly baked cookies, even if they have more calories, than one of those 100 calorie packs any day of the week (and twice on Sundays -- kidding!).
5. Have a treat every day. Follow the rest of the rules, and hopefully you'll stick to just that one treat. By having a treat every day, you take away the forbidden fruit syndrome -- you know you can always have something sweet, and that takes away some of its power.
6. Really think about what you want. Don't grab those M&Ms just because they're sitting there. What is it you're craving? Really craving? Have it. Just follow the other rules.
7. The 3 bite rule. Mine is a reverse of just take a few bites; just leave 3 bites. Just a few bites of a sweet generally doesn't do it for me (there's that portion size problem), but I can often leave just a few bites. Those can add up to a lot over the course of a week! I generally exercise this more with things I don't make myself, when I don't really know what is in it.
I made peanut butter chocolate brownies yesterday. I'm a bowl licker. I still do it. I don't lick it clean, but I will take a few licks. It's probably part of the reason I don't lose weight fast, but I'm okay with that. I still lose weight.
Back to the brownies. These had a fair amount of sugar in them. I must admit, things with that much sugar make me a little bit sick to my stomach nowadays. Don't get me wrong, I ate the end product (and they're good), but I was absolutely satisfied with one. More than one would have made me sick. If I didn't follow the rules, though, I probably would have eaten more than one, and upset my stomach big time. No wonder I used to have stomach problems much more often!
Sweets can absolutely be part of a healthy eating plan. If you can give them up altogether, you are better off for it, but life is meant to be enjoyed and sweets are definitely one of my pleasures. Just in moderation.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I got to pondering this the other day.
Here in the US, we've been conditioned to think of stick thin actresses as the epitome of beauty. These are often women that have been blessed by genetics with bodies that are unattainable for the rest of us.
But that's old news. That's not really what I was thinking about. I was thinking about my face. Yup, that's right, my face.
Some people are blessed with beautiful faces even when they're very overweight. They have wonderful facial structure. My mother is one of them. Unfortunately, she passed on her thunder thighs to me, instead of her facial structure.
Don't get me wrong, I do like my face -- but it's really hard to love it when I'm overweight. It's one of those faces that's rather long & narrow when I'm thin, but is overly round when I'm not. It shows every single extra pound, with a double chin to booot.
I got to thnking, though, what if I had lived in Italy, for instance? It's the sort of face you'd see in Italy. Would I feel more at home in my skin if I was surrounded by more people who look like me? Would I be considered beautiful there?
Of course beauty comes from within, but we all know that we are judged on how we look, too. People take you less seriously when you're heavy, if they notice you at all.
Here's what I know for sure, though: we have to dwell on the good things, not the things we don't like. It's too easy to list our faults; it's so hard, sometimes, to list the things we like about ourselves.
Despite the fact that I've come so far already, despite the fact that I am so pleased with the changes in myself -- both external and internal -- I am still a little disappointed everytime we take my photo. Because that photo doesn't quite match up to my picture of myself in my head. But I focus on what I DO like about that photo. It may be the collarbones that have finally emerged from hiding, the slimmer face, the definition of my arms, the flatter stomach. That's what I concentrate on.
Beauty really is strength, I think. Not muscle-bound strength, but the strength to set a goal and reach for it. To know when you've done your best. To celebrate every little victory, no matter how small. Be strong, because you're beautiful. Right now, this very moment.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
It's amazing how we get used to looking at ourselves a certain way. In 6 weeks, I've lost roughtly 4 pounds. It doesn't really look like much, does it? The changes are very subtle. It's still a victory, considering those 6 weeks included Thanksgiving and our ever shorter days where motivation can be difficult to come by.
This is what 20 pounds gone looks like (close enough, anyway). Thank you, Coach Nicole, for suggesting we take before photos of ourselves for the bootcamp challenge way back when. I so did not want to post that photo.
I still see a thinner me when I look in the mirror. I suppose the camera does add weight. Even so, I am very happy with what I am seeing. Yes, I still have quite a ways to go -- but in fact, in some ways, that just encourages me. Because if the first 20 pounds can create such a difference, how good will I look when the next 20 pounds are gone?
It's so easy to get discouraged when you lose weight slowly. Time after time, I have seen posters bemoan the fact that it's taken them so long to lose weight (often it's taken them much less time than it's taken me!). But if you truly look at yourself after 10 lbs are gone, 20 lbs, and so on . . . it's extremely motivating. Because you'll look like a different person. You'll feel like a different person!
You may not notice the changes week to week, but keep track of them . . . because all those little changes really do add up.
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