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.
Friday, December 19, 2008
& other shopping stories.
I had this blog all written yesterday, went to copy it before posting it as I always do, when my browser crashed & ate it! Argh. My day did mostly get better from there.
Anyway, I bought new jeans a couple of weeks ago. I took my time in the store; I sat down; I walked around. Yet when I got home and went to wear them, it was as if I'd gained 10 lbs overnight. It's not the first time I've had that experience, either. Apparently jeans need to be broken in just like some shoes do. Mystery #1.
When I first started losing weight, I was going down a size every other month, literally. It seems the smaller in size you get, the more "room" there is between sizes. This time it took me almost 4 months to get to the next size. It's a good thing, really, because I was beginning to wonder just what size I'd be wearing. Mystery #2.
I've mentioned this before, but different color jeans fit differently. I always have to go up a size for black jeans, for instance. Doesn't matter cut or brand, this seems to be a universal truth. Dark jeans, which we all know are more flattering, also tend to run small. It's as if the clothing industry has it in for those with weight problems -- you need those dark jeans to feel better about yourself, but you'll also have to wear a larger size, which makes you feel worse about yourself. Mystery #3.
There's one good thing about shopping, in real brick and mortar stores (even though I love the convenience of online shopping), at this time of year: getting in your steps! Wednesday I did my normal grocery shopping, then I had to go to Target. And since Target is next to Sports Authority and I'd never been there, I walked on over. And since Marshalls just happens to be next door to Sports Authority, I had to check them out, too. I've found going to several stores (on your own two feet), makes it easy for me to get to my 10,000 steps and then some. Keep in mind walking around a store isn't aerobic exercise (unless you're jogging laps), but it's certainly better than having your butt glued to your chair.
I even hit the mall yesterday. Something I usually avoid like the plague at this time of year. I've found, though, that if you go during the week, during the day, it's usually not too bad. Once again, I got in more walking than I would on a normal Thursday. So just remember there's an upside to all that shopping!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I had cookies after dinner last night. I do that every now and again, but it's been a while, and man, those cookies were goooooooood. Can we say the "o" word again?
I think the reason the cookies tasted so good was simply because it had been a while since I'd had any. It was special. I have been working on cutting back on sweets. I will never eliminate them -- I don't even plan to try -- but I know that I still eat too many sweets.
How many times have you eaten a whole sleeve or package of cookies, not really tasted one bite, and felt sick to your stomach afterwards? Ashamed? Guilty? Like a failure?
Cookies shouldn't be off the menu. But they should be special. Don't settle for anything less than great. If it's not great, throw it out after a bite. You are worth more than mediocre cookies.
And that goes for all holiday treats. I like to say that you can eat anything you want, you just can't eat everything you want. So pick and choose wisely. Savor every single bite. Maybe leave just a few bites on your plate. Make it special, because you're special!
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