MOONBIRD   31,175
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Celebration and Rewards

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A big part of why my weight loss has been different this time around is because I have celebrated goals, big and small. Sparkpeople recommends that you set goals and reward yourself when you get to those goals, which motivates you to keep going. This really works!

My first big reward was when I lost 25 pounds. I got an mp3 player, which I loved because it was useful for when I went on my walks. At 40 or 45 pounds down, I bought some shampoo that I'd been wanting. Once I'd lost over 100 pounds, I got a Vera Bradley purse. Other than those, I haven't really bought myself a lot of stuff because we don't always have a ton of extra money. I would get new clothes as needed, but I never went crazy and spent a lot because it's kind of pointless when you won't be wearing them for that long.

Sparkpeople recommends not rewarding yourself with food. This is hard, I know. I know you feel like sometimes you shouldn't have to count calories, and I don't on days like my birthday or on Thanksgiving Day, but if you constantly reward yourself with food treats, it kind of defeats the purpose. Of course you can have a dessert if you have enough calories for the day. I have eaten desserts regularly and I think not depriving yourself is a way of losing weight because you're not on a DIET.

So, think of things you want and can afford, and get them when you reach those goals. It really does feel good to earn your new purse, or jewelry, or manicure, or whatever it is you like.

Another thing that is super important is celebrating your accomplishments. Be proud of all of them! You have a right to be proud of yourself when you've worked so hard for something. I remember the first time I noticed my collarbones stuck out again and the first night I realized I could easily feel my ribs. The first time I ran a mile without stopping made me feel amazing. When I have a great workout, I post it online for my friends and family to see. Some people may think this is bragging, but I am not trying to brag. I am just happy. I see no difference in me posting about my 3 mile run in under 30 than in someone else posting about a new car they got or some place fun they went. It makes me happy, so I post it.

Losing weight is a long process, and you have to find a way to be happy, even when your final goal is still a long ways away. Also, when you celebrate your victories, it helps hold you accountable because people will wonder what you're up to when you suddenly aren't talking about workouts anymore. Don't be afraid to say how great you're doing thinking you'll jinx yourself. Talk about your progress and know that you'll be doing even more in the future. It also motivates people to see a real person doing something they have been thinking about doing, so you are helping others when you talk about your healthy lifestyle. Never stop setting goals and keep working toward them, and you really will amaze yourself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 1/18/2013 6:02PM

    It's really hard, even still, to NOT reward myself with food. I've been trying really hard lately to stop doing that, lol! I agree, we need to celebrate all victories!

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CALVIND 1/17/2013 9:44AM

    I don't think you are bragging. I enjoy hearing about accompishments form other sparkfriends. It helps to keep me movtivated. Congrats on your accomplishments and more to come.

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COFFEE_123456 1/16/2013 9:13PM

    I think it is great that you post what you are doing (real friends won't think it is bragging at all - they'll get it!).

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 1/16/2013 6:47PM

    I love hearing about your accomplishments! It just shows what you can do when you put your mind to it. Congrats on all you've accomplished!

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Consistency and Excuses

Monday, January 14, 2013

The next blog in my series is at my blogger blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BMCKEOW1 1/16/2013 1:09PM

    This is all very true. I to was scared to start. It all seems so overwhleming, still does from time to time. But then I'm scared of giving up, of what will happen if I don't make these changes now. I want to grow old with hubby, when we have kids I want to be able to play with them. I'm scared because I've missed to many things because of excuses now it's no more. Just get up and do it.

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JANIEWWJD 1/15/2013 3:45AM

    Wonderful blog!!! Thanks!!! emoticon

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 1/14/2013 6:02PM

    Consistency is the ONLY thing that helps me lose weight, especially with exercise. I can be spot on with food, but if I don't work out, forget it!

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TIME4CARRI 1/14/2013 5:42PM

    Great blog as usual!!

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MARTY728 1/14/2013 2:52PM


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Bad Habits

Monday, January 07, 2013

Today I am going to discuss bad habits and how they affect your weight loss. We all have at least one bad habit we know we need to change, and if you have a lot of bad habits, it can be hard. What I did was start with probably my worst--soda.

Before I lost weight, I had a major soda addiction. I would drink Coke all day long, like it was water. I usually had about 5 cans in a day. That is hundreds of extra calories, but no nutrition. The first thing I decided to do was stop this bad habit. I got a water bottle that held something like 32 oz and I made a goal to drink 2 of those a day and no soda. At first it was hard. I craved it so much, but after a couple weeks it went away and getting rid of all those extra calories made a huge difference and I started to lose weight. Now I rarely drink soda. I have a diet one sometimes, but not daily.

Another bad habit I had (and still sometimes have) is not getting enough sleep. I have insomnia issues and sometimes I just can't sleep, so I will read or watch tv and then end up staying up too late. I really try most nights now to get in bed by 11. I figure even if I am not asleep I am at least resting.

My other bad habit was eating too many sweets. I ate way too much junk food, so what I did to break this habit was not keep it in the house. If there are no cookies to run to, then you can't eat them.

They say it takes a month to create new habits. So, if working out isn't a habit for you yet, and rather sitting around is your bad habit, try to switch it. Make some sort of exercise a habit and make a conscious choice to fit it in, and when it just becomes something you know you will do, it's not so awful anymore.

So, think of one or two bad habits you have that are keeping you from reaching your goals. Maybe you also have a soda addiction. Maybe you go through the drive thru all the time, or order out for pizza or greasy chinese more than you should. Sometimes busting even just one of your really bad habits will make a huge difference. Get into a good habit that replaces the bad one. I make sure I have my water bottle filled and I take it with me places. This keeps me from drinking soda. It's amazing how the craving for it does go away over time. If you are always running to the drive thru for lunch or after work, take the time each evening to prepare a healthy lunch to take to work, or take a few minutes at the beginning of the week to meal plan so you can make healthier dinners. There are so many crock pot recipes you can make and have dinner ready when you come home.

Sometimes focusing on one goal at a time really helps before you move on to trying to do more. Once you beat your bad habit, you really do feel motivated to keep going and conquer more things.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMACASSEY 1/14/2013 3:12PM

    Hear, hear! It always seems tougher to break bad habits than to create good ones, so I think it's a good point you make to work at reversing bad habits--turning bad ones into good ones! I know we all have bad habits we can change.


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JANIEWWJD 1/12/2013 4:20AM

    My two bad habits are diet soda and ice cream !!!!!
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SPARKLISE 1/11/2013 1:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ARICOGFJ 1/11/2013 1:10AM

    Cokes are my weakness. It takes about a week for me to get back on track. I have been experimenting with a lot of new teas and am really enjoying it.

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READY4CHANGE81 1/10/2013 11:07PM

    Great blog! emoticon

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HEIDIC75 1/7/2013 1:38PM

    Great post !!!!thank you for sharing this emoticon

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MARTY728 1/7/2013 12:57PM

    Great Blog! emoticon emoticon

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BMCKEOW1 1/7/2013 12:49PM

    I broke my soda habit and I am so glad I did. Now my water bottle goes everywhere with me. I still have one every so often but I don't crave it. I had given up sweets for the most part but I've found myself getting back into that bad habit again, I'm going to break it before it gets bad again. Thanks for the reminder

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LIZRUNS22 1/7/2013 11:09AM

    Great post. A great reminder to do a little self-inspection and find opportunities for improvement. Thanks!

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SHUFFMAN126 1/7/2013 10:47AM

    Great blog!

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    Excellent! emoticon

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The Voice Inside My Head

Sunday, January 06, 2013

The voice inside my head is an evil bitch. She's been there as long as I can remember. There are times I don't hear from her for a while, and then it's almost like a switch is turned on, and she appears.

I know because I've lost so much weight and accomplished so many things that many people think I don't struggle. They tell me I make it look easy. If only they knew. It's a hard battle, and there are some days I am not strong. Sometimes I am amazed when people tell me I am strong or amazing, because I often feel weak. There are days I can't shut that voice up and I spend the whole day in a funk because I can't stop listening to her.

Today is one of those days.

I woke up feeling good because I got a good night's sleep. I have insomnia and sometimes for weeks I barely sleep at night. This can affect my moods a lot and of course, my weight loss. I am on anti-anxiety medicine now, but I don't feel it's helping very much. I get maybe 4-5 hours of sleep where I toss and turn. So, falling asleep last night before 11 and sleeping till almost 8 this morning was awesome. I got up and figured I'd do my long run of 5 miles and come home and have breakfast and spend a nice day with my family before my husband had to go to work. I weighed myself just knowing I'd be under 180. I was down to 177 back in October and then I gained a couple pounds and then I was back down, and then at Christmas I gained a couple pounds. I've been determined to get it off the last couple weeks and my weight was staying steady at like 180-181 most days. This whole week I tracked my food and stayed under my calories and I worked out every single day. So when I got on the scale and saw 182.4 I could not believe it. How in the hell did I gain weight this week?

This upset me so much. Normally if I have small gain, I know it's coming. I know it's because I ate too many sugar cookies or something, and I know a few days of being strict with calories in addition to my workouts will take it off. I didn't expect this, and I got very upset. I cried and sat at my desk. For a minute I thought about skipping my run, but I was determined to do it, so I got dressed. I sat there and cried some more, and the voice started saying things to me. "Why do you bother? You'll never be thin no matter how hard you work. You will never be able to eat like an average person. You work so hard and you're STILL FAT. No one understands how hard this is and I bet when they say you look good they are just saying it to be nice."

My husband saw me crying and asked what was wrong. I told him I'd somehow gained 2 pounds. He said not to let it bother me, that it didn't matter and I look great. Well, it matters to me. I know it's not supposed to, and I know I am supposed to be happy about all I have accomplished, and I am, but I feel like I am failing because I am still so heavy. I am only 5'5" and I weigh 182 pounds. I am sick and tired of being fat. I have been fat my entire life. I don't know what it's like to live life as a person who isn't fat, and I am so sick of it. It's almost like because I have lost so much weight that people think I have no reason to complain anymore. I realize I am not as big as I was, but I am still overweight. It sucks. I don't know another way to describe it.

I've been in such a funk that I basically hibernated in the bedroom. I still went for my run of 5 miles, but it felt hard because I would start crying in the middle of running and couldn't breathe. When I got back home, I didn't want anyone to see me upset. I didn't even eat today until 2:30, and I never skip breakfast. I didn't even have an appetite. It's hard for me to be positive on days like this. Sometimes I am tired of working so hard and still hating how I look. There are times I don't know that I'll ever be satisfied with how I look. I know my body is ruined from being so overweight for so long. The skin hangs like it would on a very old woman, so while I look OK in clothes that hide it, I feel like my options are still limited and I can't wear what I want to because you can see the unevenness of the skin on my stomach and how it hangs. I don't expect to have the body of a supermodel, but I would like to at least look normal, or average.

Sorry I am such a downer with this blog, but I am a real person. I am not perfect and don't pretend to be. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon Give yourself and your body a break. I love your opening line, because it's so true! NO ONE can be harder on us than we are on ourselves. Take a deep breath. Regroup. You KNOW that this could be stress, water weight, or something else. The scale is fickle.

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SPARKLISE 1/11/2013 1:39PM

    emoticon emoticon You talked about being on antianxiety medication!
Have you been on it long? You should know that one of the side effects is weight gain.
I know because I went through it.

It's normal to feel discouraged about how our body looks because we've made to believe that once we lose the weight, we will look like a 20 year old that 's never had a weight problem, and when we realize it's not true, we have to mourn the loss of that dream.
And please don't be too hard on your family. If they've never had a weight problem, they really can't understand.
Just like I can't understand being addicted to drugs-I know we talk about being addicted to food,but I still don't know what it's like to be addicted to drugs no matter how bad my food addiction gets.
Hope you get over your funk quickly!
Keep up the good work! emoticon

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GODIVADSG 1/8/2013 2:18PM

    Elizabeth.... you are not alone. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARTY728 1/7/2013 2:13PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GENTLEDSOUL 1/7/2013 7:15AM

    As said by others, this is something that I can completely identify with. Celebrate the small victories, like doing your run despite your funk :) Tomorrow will be a better day

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TIME4CARRI 1/6/2013 11:41PM

    You know what? THIS TOO SHALL PASS. It's just a crappy day with old crappy bitch voice bringing you down sister. You do this for you, you run for you and all your accomplishments have been a beautiful gift to yourself. Try not to minimize any of it because what you have done is REALLY hard! From a different perspective, two pounds is nothing, really. It will be off again and you will move forward. It's just that well, sucked. Thank God we get a tomorrow:)

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GRUMBLEGIRL 1/6/2013 6:32PM

    Everyone has these days. I think that many of us are so grateful, l and admire you so much because you actually share your thoughts....the good, the bad and yes even the ugly days!! There are 101 reasons for 2lbs. Remember what you have accomplished and just keep doing what you've been doing along this journey. Tomorrow will be a better day.

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MAWDOT35 1/6/2013 6:31PM

    Everyone has days like this! Just because you have done so well and lost so much doesn't mean you can't feel like this once in a while. I don't know what your goal weight is, but I'm sure you will reach it if you keep up the good habits you have learned. After that, I hope you will find a way to have the excess skin removed. Then you will be a new woman! Keep moving forward!
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Comment edited on: 1/6/2013 6:32:06 PM

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FINCHFEEDER80 1/6/2013 6:13PM

    I'm sorry. emoticon emoticon

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 1/6/2013 5:38PM

    Oh Elizabeth *BIG HUGS*... I'm not going to tell you to be kind to yourself. I'm not going to tell you tomorrow is another day. I COMPLETELY understand EVERY thought that was in your head today. We are living very similar lives right now. After all we've done, the scale shouldn't have this much power, but it DOES. We've been through so many ups and downs, it shouldn't affect us as much as it does... honestly, it's just another up swing, sure to be followed by a downward one. I KNOW how much this sucks, and I applaud you for going for that run. *I* just continue to eat. I've been in a funk for over a month, and I keep eating, because THAT will make it better... I haven't been on the scale, I don't want to get on the scale... Just know this... YOU have done an AMAZING job. YOU have completely changed your life. YOU have every right to have bad days. And YOU are still and inspiration to me and countless others on this sight. We are all here for you because we love and care about you. Today is just another day on this roller coaster of a journey, try to take it with a grain of salt... not a pound of chocolate. Love you girl.

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CHOCOHIPPO 1/6/2013 5:17PM

    Please don't be so hard on yourself. You've accomplished so much!!!! So you and I both still have a way to go to get to our goal weights. We will. Celebrate your successes and not your defeats. The two lbs probably isn't even a real gain. Wear your skin proudly (mine is loose too) and know that it may also shrink a bit in time. But you will be healthy. Many skinnies are not. I'm proud of you. I hope when this funk passes, you will be too!

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LRB444 1/6/2013 5:13PM

    I hope your day gets better.

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Organization and Planning

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The next thing I want to talk about is how being organized and planning your meals ahead of time can really help with losing weight.

For those of you who struggle with being organized, just realize that this is also something that won't happen overnight. I am a naturally tidy and organized person and I find that I get more done because of it, but I know for some people it's overwhelming and they struggle with it. So, take baby steps to get things in order and don't expect it to be done in a day. Planning things ahead of time, like meals, snacks, and workouts, is a part of being organized and helps relieve some stress, at least for me.

One thing I have found really helpful is to get your kitchen area of your home organized and decluttered. I spend a lot of time preparing foods, and if I didn't have tools within reach that I use regularly, it would be more difficult and I know I'd be less likely to do it. I have measuring spoons and cups in a drawer that is easily accessible. Healthy snacks are kept on a shelf in the pantry where they eye level so I see them first when I open it. Once a week, I go through my fridge and get rid of any old food and make a list of what I need. I believe in keeping things well stocked, but not in over stuffing the fridge or pantry so you don't even know what you have.

I went through my pantry shelf by shelf and checked for expired things and I got rid of unhealthy things and slowly stocked it with staples like oats, whole wheat flours and pastas, healthy snacks, etc. If junk food isn't in your house, you can't eat it, so this really does help. When we do have junk in the house, I tell my husband to put it someplace I don't see it, or I put it behind other things. I often forget it's even there. This doesn't always work, but it does sometimes. :)

Each week I think of the meals I want to eat for dinner and lunch. Breakfasts are easy for me because I eat things like oatmeal, eggs, waffles and cereal which we always have on hand. Dinners are harder because I try to come up with things we all like, but that doesn't always happen when you have 2 picky kids and a husband. So, I ask them what they want too, and if it's something I don't want to eat, I will get something else for me to eat, such as veggies to make a simple salad. Once you plan out a few meals for the week and then check your pantry and fridge for what you need to have to cook them, it's much easier. I often eat leftovers for lunch, or salads or sandwiches, so I make sure I have meat and the bread I use. Having a list when you go into the store keeps you from overspending and buying things impulsively, many of which aren't the healthiest.

When I plan my meals ahead of time, I end up staying within my calorie range, which leads to weight loss. Of course you can't plan every single meal of your life, things come up, but if you can most of the time, it will make a big difference. You will eat healthier and save money. We don't usually eat a lot of meals out, and when we do I try to look up the nutritional information before going out. Times I haven't, I end up regretting it, because it's so easy to go over your limit, and if you do this too often you don't lose weight.

Don't despair if your kitchen is a mess. Commit to 10-15 minutes a day (or when you have some extra time) to get it straightened up the way you want it. I keep Pam spray right by the stove, and I do the same thing in the fridge where my healthy snacks are what I see first when I open it. I find that when the kitchen is in order I want to cook. Planning out and organizing at least half of your meals for the week really helps keep you in control.

My biggest suggestions when it comes to organizing and planning are:

Don't tear your whole kitchen apart trying to get it perfect. You will have a huge mess on your hands and be overwhelmed. Work on a drawer or cabinet at a time and save the rest for later. Same thing with going through your pantry. If you have duplicates of kitchen tools or just stuff you know you'll never use, stick it in a bag for good will or see if a friend could use it. Less stuff makes your life simpler and you're not spending forever looking through drawers and cabinets for things you need.
Make sure you aren't starving when you go the store. I like to go after I've had breakfast. When I am hungry and go, I end up buying way more snack type foods and wanting to eat them as soon as I get home.
Don't get overly excited about making a bunch of new recipes or new foods you haven't tried yet all at once. You'll end up spending too much money and might not get around to cooking/preparing all of it before it goes bad.
Buy things in bulk IF they are things you will use up in a reasonable amount of time. Freeze things for later. This saves time and money.
Keep a notebook where you write down meal or ingredient ideas and then add them to your grocery list for when you shop.
Do not buy trigger foods. I will talk more about this later, but a trigger food is any food that you know once you buy it you have a very hard time not overeating it. I didn't let mine in the house for a long time. You need to set yourself up for success.
If you don't have one, get yourself a nice new water bottle, or even a nice tote to pack your lunch for work. Prepare your lunch the night before if you can.
Stock up on some healthy things that can be microwaved. I know a lot of people will give me flack for this, but there are just some nights when you do not feel like cooking. I keep a few Amy's frozen burritos and lean cuisines, canned soups, etc on hand to have when I don't know what to make or I am just feeling tired or there is something going on where I don't have as much time to cook. I find this is much better than spending money on fast food and you end up eating healthier.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTY728 1/7/2013 1:51PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TIME4CARRI 1/6/2013 1:25AM

    Great advice! No flack from me on the microwave meals, you are right. Mc Donald's is never healthier than Lean Cuisine!!! emoticon

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 1/5/2013 9:20PM

    emoticon This is exactly how I manage things. I plan meals and shop for 2 weeks only, so there's never any "extras" around to tempt me. I do buy "junk" for hubs and the kids, but that's also been getting a bit of a makeover. Instead of ice cream and chips, it's now sugar free pudding cups and whole grain crackers. Both of us are awesome! emoticon

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MAWDOT35 1/5/2013 8:48PM

    Good ideas for planning and organizing! I need to do more of this!
You are doing so well!!! I love following your success story!
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