VHALKYRIE   16,233
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Healthier and Happier

Thursday, March 07, 2013

I didn't gain weight overnight - I gained it over 2 years. 40lbs to be exact. 20lbs a year.

Ouch. That was some serious margarita and cheesecake overload.

When I became overweight, I went into a weird kind of denial. Anorexics see themselves as too fat when they are too thin. I was the reverse; I saw myself as thin even I went from a size 4 to 14.

As I bought larger and larger pants, I rationalized that I just had a 'few' pounds to lose. "We all put on a little weight," I thought.

A friend of mine recently developed an old roll of film (from when we still had film cameras!). I was truly stunned by who I saw. Was it really me?

This one wasn't from that roll, but I came across it today and noted the date: March 7, 2003. Exactly 10 years ago today.

Maybe I'll be brave enough to share the others one day.

It took me about 10 years to figure out all the right pieces to reverse this. I fit into a size 4 or 6 (depending on the designer) these days. The muffin top, side rolls and double chin are gone.

My body's not perfect. My butt is J-lo like; my thighs touch. I can pinch an inch (hurray for Spanx!) You'll never see me post a bikini photo for my success story - it feels too exposed (no pun intended).

As I get older, I see the clock ticking with the growing lines on my face. I discover a few gray hairs emerging now and then. Tomorrow I won't be as young as I am today.

And yet I am still healthier and happier than I was 10 years ago.

Even if it took me 10 years, it all started with day one.

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 3/9/2013 9:32AM

    Moving out of denial can be a rude awakening! Those pictures don't lie, do they? You have made a remarkable transformation, kudos to you!

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WOUBBIE 3/8/2013 11:08AM


I can so totally relate! If you read my Sparkpage intro you can see just HOW long a process this is for me. When my 16 and 17 year old were more like 2 and 3 I:

weighed about 235
smoked up to 2 packs a day
drank 6-10 beers a night
ate whatever, whenever
drank coffee all day long just to stay awake and moving
drank virtually no water
took Prilosec for constant heartburn
got winded walking more than a flight of steps
stayed in pjs or sweats most of the day
stopped taking care of my face or hair or clothes
was usually depressed or disconnected

I'm still a work in progress too. I will never be beautiful or have an ideal body. My job, my family, my husband, my own self all throw out constant challenges.

Never been happier!

Comment edited on: 3/8/2013 11:09:14 AM

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FITGIRL15 3/8/2013 10:58AM

    Good job! Your story is awesome!

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SEEINGCLEARLY53 3/8/2013 1:35AM

    emoticon .....you look happy!

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Intuitive Eating

Thursday, March 07, 2013

For the past few months, I've been doing something I never thought possible: I eat when hungry, not on a set schedule.

I used to follow this set schedule:

7am Breakfast
10am Snack
11:30am Lunch
3pm Snack
6pm Dinner

When I was eating too little protein and too many carbs, I was constantly hungry. My entire day revolved around my next meal. I was always hungry.

These days my meals are variable. The only true set meal that I always eat is breakfast. I eat breakfast whether hungry or not. If I don't, then I become sluggish mid-morning, and ravenous by lunch. If I'm not very hungry when I wake up, I eat a very light breakfast. If I'm hungry, I eat a bigger breakfast.

Mid morning snack is almost a thing of the past. If I eat the right breakfast, I cruise until lunch. I'm usually ready for lunch between 11:30-2pm.

I usually have an afternoon snack if I eat lunch earlier.

Dinner I almost always set at around 6:30pm, but last night I wasn't hungry at all, so I fixed something for my husband and nothing for me. My late afternoon snack killed my appetite for dinner.

If I'm not hungry, I don't eat.

However, it's not quite so straightforward as that. There is another variable: activity level.

If I notice that my appetite is low and I'm not eating much, it means that I need more activity. When I'm very active, I'm hungry more often. Heavy activity usually means more snacks.

If I have low activity and low appetite, it means my metabolic needs are slowing down, and my body is down shifting. High activity revs up metabolic needs.

Since my appetite seems to be slowing down, it's time for me to engage in more activity. I miss having the gym at my old apartment, but with the new house, there's yard work to be done. I need to get my bike tuned up so I can start exploring the bike paths in our new neighborhood. For now, it'll have to be sessions with Jillian Michael's workout videos.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 3/8/2013 7:05AM

    I've found that my hunger cues are different than they used to be. I know if I'm hungry if I start to feel like my batteries are running low - I get tired. Growling tummy doesn't really happen anymore. That only happens if I'm 'starving'.

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GREENGENES 3/7/2013 7:38PM

    Sounds great. I'm not sure if I could pull that off though. If I have a day when I'm not particularly hungry and don't eat I tend to get headaches.

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Not Quite Zero

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

It's midweek, and my goal of zero waste March isn't quite zero. I had to throw away an onion that became rotten. But it was in a brand new bag that I just bought, so it wasn't due to neglect! I didn't inspect the bag well enough when I bought it, or it became bruised during the trip home. Some vegetables can be saved by just cutting off the bad part, but I didn't like the look of it when I cut into it, so I threw it out.

Other than that, my plan is going well. I've done the following:

- Cut up chunks of meat that we bought in bulk and placed them in Food Saver bags for freezing.
- Week old tomatoes were pureed with onions and a bell pepper for a delicious tomato sauce over meatballs.
- Bought a large package of fresh basil, and made pesto. I portioned the pesto out into ice cube trays for freezing. Now whenever I want to add basil to a dish, I just throw in one of the frozen pesto cubes.
- Mini cucumbers cut into snack portions for dipping in hummus. The rest were put into a pickle jar with a simple boiling vinegar/water and dill weed solution. I put them in the refrigerator when cool. Homemade refrigerator pickles really can be as simple as that. Unlike store bought pickles which have been cooked to death, my pickles retain their cucumber-y flavor.

Looking what's in the fridge today, it looks like I'll be making a Thai pork stir-fry because I have pork, bell peppers, and onions that need cooking. I'll be making an asian cabbage slaw because I also have half a cabbage. I'll serve that in place of rice tonight. Extra veggies are always a win.

Mid week is looking good. Unless we have a surprise power outtage, I think this week will come out a win against unnecessary, preventable food waste.

For those of you trying this goal with me, how are things going for you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEECHNUT13 3/6/2013 6:44PM

    We save our old vegetables and bones in a bag in the freezer, and when we get a bunch we make stock. It's delicious and all-natural. We pour the stock into sandwich bags (2 cups each) and stick them in the freezer.

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FITGIRL15 3/6/2013 5:02PM

    I can't wait to try these refridgerator pickles! They sound delicious! Any recipe that you prefer?

My BF and I were just talking about food waste today and how much food gets thrown out at the grocery store due to being past the best before date! Oy!

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VHALKYRIE 3/6/2013 3:13PM

    Glad to hear that you aren't guilting your children into eating more than they want to! That is how many of us got into our bad relationships with food and overeating. Especially since your kids are so young, it's hard to estimate how much they want, and you definitely want to give them enough.

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MAESTROMAGRO 3/6/2013 3:02PM

    Nice job! We make those refrigerator pickles too...yum! We have done OK...I only have tossed three mushy cherry tomatoes. If I had caught them a day or two earlier I could have put them on my grilled sandwich but they really were past it. With the kids we have some waste because they may not choose to eat all of what is in their "mat boks" (lunch boxes) but there is not too much I can do about that. I don't want to guilt them into eating food they are not hungry for...we all know that is not a good thing but I have to put enough in there incase they are hungry...their appetites really vary from day to day...sometimes they are hungry on the walk home and polish off what ever is left in there but if not I toss it unless it is grapes or something like that.

All in all we are doing pretty good. Thanks for the inspiration...you really do have me thinking about it.

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Zero Food Waste Goal for March

Sunday, March 03, 2013

I've got a pretty good handle on my diet and fitness goals, so I've been struggling with topics to write about. I fear long time Sparkfriends' eyes are glazing over as some of my stories are overlapping or repeating.

As I switch into maintenance focus rather than dieting, I'm going to cover more lifestyle topics. Hopefully this will be of interest to readers new and old. If there's anything you'd like me to write about specifically, feel free to write to my Sparkmail.

My first lifestyle topic that I'm going to tackle this month is 'zero food waste'. In the United States alone, we waste $165 billion dollars worth of food a year. That's about 40% of all the fertilizer, water, land and energy used to grow and move food across the country. An American family of four throws away $2,275 worth of food annually, or $189 per month.

The fertilizers and irrigation we use are very damaging to our environment. The Gulf Coast experiences dead zones every year due to the nitrogen runoffs from farms all the way up the Mississippi river, which kills fish in the Gulf of Mexico. More food is grown than we actually consume. Food that is unpurchased in grocery stores usually goes into the garbage. There are very few communities that take this food and give it to homeless shelters. It just goes to waste.

Every time I throw away a rotten cabbage that I intended to make into a soup, I feel like a failure. Starving children in Africa guilt and all. The absolute very worst is when I have to throw away meat. An animal gave its life, and because I didn't plan well enough, it was a wasted life.

This month I'm going to make it my focus to use everything.

Here are the ground rules:

- Removing the outer leaves from lettuce, cabbage and brussel sprouts for sanitary and cleanliness reasons is ok.
- Meats and veggies will be bought in smaller quantities.
- Veggies that start to look wilty get thrown in a pot for soup or stock.
- Onions, bell peppers, carrots and celery will get chopped up and refrigerated ahead of time for quick use and easy prep. They'll be more likely to be used.
- Most meat will be prepared for the freezer early in the week.
- Food prep will revolve around what most needs to be cooked first.
- Meal planning for the week penciled in advance. I'm pretty good with this already.

When my husband and I moved into the house, we had to buy a refrigerator. We bought an armoire, or French door, version where the fridge is on the top and freezer is on the bottom. All food in the fridge is at eye level. That makes it easier to see what's available and needs to be used. Hopefully this will make my goal easier!

First order of business is a bunch of tomatoes we bought last week that look like high priority. I'm going to put them in a blender to make a marinara sauce for tomorrow's dinner.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 3/3/2013 7:44PM

    I hate it when I have to throw away food, I think this is a great idea!

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GREENGENES 3/3/2013 7:40PM

    Well Done. Have you read "No Impact Man" That was the "common book" for freshman last year.

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WOUBBIE 3/3/2013 4:58PM

    LOL! I wouldn't worry about you boring us anytime soon!

I don't like to cook whatsoever, though I've had to since I was about 14. Money's always been tight (and my parents/grandparents were very Depression-Era conscious) so I've always tried to waste as little food as possible. I STILL throw out more than I really should (why oh WHY did I buy all those extra cucumbers?), but every Saturday since the kids were little it was "use up the leftovers" day. I may not be a great chef from scratch but I'm a freaking genius at using up bits of this and that!


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MYLADY4 3/3/2013 2:52PM

    Great plan. We do waste too much food that is not "perfect" too.

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THINRONNA 3/3/2013 2:43PM

    This is a great topic! I like your plan. I struggle with the random bunch of broccoli turning yellow or not eating left overs fast enough too. I completely agree about the horrible feeling of throwing away meat. It just isn't right. Aside from the environmental factors, in Norway food is so darn expensive that it is ridiculous to be throwing anything away. I think I am going to follow your example and work on low or possibly no food waste as well...

Thanks for the thoughts!

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NAKIOMA 3/3/2013 1:16PM

    Sounds like you're organizing your priorities. Remember if you pass a grocery on the way home you can pick up fresh produce every few days without having to go out of your way. That helps eliminate a lot of things from going bad in your fridge - good luck -

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Do Or Don't Do

Saturday, March 02, 2013

We all have to give up something.

Sometimes I get Sparkmail from people telling me that they are inspired by my story. In particular, my bicycle story seems to generate the most mail for me.

A quick recap. Back when I was obese, I bought a bicycle so I could get fit. I rode it for one hour every day. There was a particular hill that I could not peddle up. It was impossible for me; I had to get off my bike and walk it up. I kept at it, though. After many weeks (forever?), one day I peddled all the way to the top without stopping. It was a crowning achievement for me. It was the turn point where I knew that a life of being overweight and out of shape wasn't inexorable. I could change it.

I rode that bike every day. EVERY day. I rode it when I was 'too tired.' I rode it when 'I didn't want to.' I rode it in the rain. I lived in Seattle at the time. If I didn't ride in the rain, then I'd never ride at all.

People ask me, "I really need to lose weight. I know that you lost weight with low carb, but I can never give up x, y, or z. How did you do it?"

This bothers me because I wonder if what they want me to say is, "You don't have to give anything up!" I can't say it. Because I don't believe it to be true. We all have to give up something.

Here are foods/drinks that I never thought I could give up, and I did:

- Snickers bars
- Full sugar soda
- Potato chips
- Cheesecake
- Cheerios
- Processed 'luncheon' meats
- Fast food
- Chili's margaritas
- Fruit juices
- "Convenience" foods

Here are things I eat/drink less of (after I went into maintenance):

- Potatoes
- Rice
- Breads
- Pasta
- Desserts (reserved for special occasions)
- Diet sodas

Even eating in 'moderation' is giving up frequency or portion size.

When I had a lot of weight to lose, I dropped everything I thought I could 'never give up.' I used to love Snickers bar. I haven't had a Snickers in over 7 years. And I don't miss it. It represents a time period when I used to hate myself. Whenever I see a Snickers at the grocery store, I look at it and remember a time when I stayed inside because I didn't want to be seen. When I couldn't carry my groceries up the stairs to my apartment without feeling like I just ran the Boston marathon.

When I gave up Snickers and all, I also gave up:

- Constant fatigue and tiredness.
- Fear of walking up stairs.
- Fear of carrying groceries across the parking lot.
- Jealousy of watching other people run, bike, and hike without being out of breath.
- Self loathing: clothes didn't make me look fat; fat made me look fat.

If I say I'm going to 'try', I'm not fully committed. I am someone that is either "Do or don't do; there is no try."

How long have you been trying? "Do" or "Try". Which is going to get you where you want to be?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KICKINGKILOS 3/7/2013 3:44AM

    PS- I have shared your log (just wanted you to know)

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_BABE_ 3/7/2013 1:25AM

    Good blog. You can't portion out snickers and pop and have them in moderation...somethings just have to go if you want to lose the pounds.

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KICKINGKILOS 3/7/2013 12:46AM

    what a great blog. I hate to say but I do feel scared to give up bread but yes I have given up a lot of stuff in this journey.
Im at a standstilland its time for tweaking things I know.

Anyways Proud of your dedication. No snicker bars in 7 years...wohoo.

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THINRONNA 3/3/2013 6:51AM

    You are great! I agree with you and Yoda. I gave up lots too. Snickers just happens to be one of the things as well. I have had maybe one or two in the past three years but it doesn't have a hold on me like before thankfully. There was a time when I could eat several in a day!

I even had the very same situation with running up a hill that seemed impossible for the LONGEST time. I just kept at it...I would see others do it...I would have others pass me as I stood there panting but I just kept at it and the day I finally got all the way up that hill was one of the best days ever!

We are people...we have a will...we will have days of weakness but take the obstacles away and we can succeed!

Fantastic blog!

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    Never in a million years could I have put these thoughts into such picture perfect words like you just did ... but I agree with all the points that you made. Every single one of them.
Best blog ever!

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CATLADY52 3/2/2013 6:15PM

    You nailed it!

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MYLADY4 3/2/2013 11:11AM

    Very good, very very good.

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WOUBBIE 3/2/2013 11:09AM

    One thing that people who haven't really given low carb a serious try do not believe is that, once you "give up" some of those things it kinda doesn't feel like all that much of a sacrifice.

You get nearly instant positive feedback. You start to lose weight right away. Your cravings drop dramatically. The Snickers bar quickly loses its power over you, at least on a physiological level. (If you're an extreme emotional eater, then you still have a lot of baggage to sort through, of course.) You'll have more energy without doing another single thing and activity starts to become more doable and less of a burden.

When food pushers shove brownies in my face they don't understand that now, if I take a bite of one it's my CHOICE, it's not the physiological imperative that it used to be. And if I say no it's because I'm not particularly interested in it at the moment.

I take exception to the "Just Do It" mantra, because if you just do something that didn't work for you in the past it will continue to not work for you in the present. "Just Find It" is more my style.


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GETSTRONGRRR 3/2/2013 10:04AM

    Well said, Jedi Master!

I used to love making bread with my 2 boys. We'd spend hours on the weekend kneading dough, watching it rise, shaping it, baking it. We drooled over the King Arthur catalog. Never thought we could cut out bread.

But like you said, once you make the decision, once you make health a priority....it all lines up!

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1935MARY 3/2/2013 9:37AM

    This is awesome and very inspiring. You are so correct if someone says they are going to try, I think you are setting yourself up for failure. By say I am is positive and therefore you will come out a winner, not a maybe. Awesome. Thank you for sharing. Have a great week-end.

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DMEYER4 3/2/2013 9:29AM

  congrats on your journey. You are an inspiration.

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