Saturday, January 18, 2014
Dinners out wrecking your resolve? Recently, someone asked how to handle going out for Chinese, so I thought I would offer some tips that have helped me. This applies to eating out in general as well as having any higher calorie day.
One of the most important keys to losing weight is tracking everything you eat. It really helps you realize how much you are eating, when you eat, what you eat, protein/carbs/etc. There are MANY reasons to track. It is a pain at first, but it gets easier-promise. Enter foods manually if you will eat them more than once. That takes time, but it pays off. You only have to enter them once and then save. Remember to save to your favorites in the tracker!
So here is one thing that has really helped me manage calories. After you figure out your calorie range and you track everything as best you can, look at the bottom of the nutrition page. You will see calorie totals for 7 days. Add them up and divide by 7 to get your average calories per day for the week. If you are in range (on average) you are doing great! You will rarely have 2 days exactly the same or exactly on any given number. It is the average you are eating that is more important. So if I know I am going out to eat on Friday, I will eat a little less during the week and my average will usually come out ok. Some people call this 'banking' calories to 'spend' later. And it works. It also may keep you from binging when you know you have a high calorie day because you are going for an average.
Another thing that helps is setting a number in your head that you do not want to go over and use it like a stop sign. For example, my current range is 1500-1700/day. I use 2000 as my big, red stop sign. If I track food and it gets close to that number, or goes over, I know I need to stop for the day. I can't afford too many days like that if I want to lose significant weight. This week I had 2 days that went over. Yikes! But, I ate less on other days and my average came out to 1670. Still in range and nothing to panic, quit or binge over. Use whatever numbers work for you of course. Note: I am not recommending going over your range, just saying when it happens, keep it in perspective. Retrain yourself to use a 'bad' day as a 'stop sign', not a 'green light to overeat'.
I personally don't plan 'cheat' days either because life brings enough of those higher calorie days on it's own. Teaching yourself to manage your calories will help you lose and maintain loss. I say, enjoy your Chinese, or whatever special meal you are having, but, reduce your calories for a couple days and maybe do an extra workout to help offset it. See, you CAN have your cake and eat it too!
As for me, I will not quit, panic or binge…quitting is not an option!
Sunday, July 07, 2013
One year ago I thought I was going to 'try to lose some weight'. I had no idea the journey I was about to begin.
Today, as I reflect on the past year, I realize that it is so much more than just losing weight. It is learning to eat to live and not live to eat. It is choosing to be kinder to my body by giving it healthier foods and plenty of water. It is discovering that I still can find exercise that works for me at the weight and physical condition that I am at any given time.
And if you have been active on this site for any length of time, you know it is so, so much more. Finding new friends that believe in you and encourage you and doing the same for them. Celebrating with this community of new friends and supporters when you lose a pound or fit in a smaller pair of jeans. Giving and getting pat on the back or a kick in the butt when you need it.
There are highs and lows. Good days when it seems easy to stick to your calorie range and put in a good workout. And tough days when you feel like staying in your pj's and eating junk food 'til you puke. Mostly there are the in-between days when you choose to 'do the work'-eat right, drink water, exercise, not because it's easy or fun, but because you know it's the right thing to do if you want to be healthy.
And if you stick with it through all those up and down days, you get healthier. You lose weight. You feel better physically and emotionally. You can do things you couldn't do a year ago. Fit in clothes you couldn't fit in 6 months ago. Heck, fit in chairs you couldn't fit in 6 months ago!
I guess what I am saying is this. I may not be where I want to be...yet. But, I am so much better than where I was on July 7th, 2012. It's taken effort. And it will take more effort, but it is worth it.
If I can do it, so can you. Don't quit on you! Don't give up because you had a bad day, week or month. Get up every day and try again. Do the best you can each day and you WILL get results. Get involved with a team or board who are willing to offer you support along the way. You won't regret it.
You and I will have good days and bad days, but don't quit...because quitting isn't an option!
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Ah, yes. The wedding. So , so many months, weeks, days and hours of preparation and hard work…gone in day. If you have been there, you ‘get it’. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I want to do it again? Not anytime soon!
Quick recap: Our youngest son, Ben (27), got married in May. He and his bride decided on a rustic wedding to match the log-sided lodge where the reception took place. I was asked to help quite a bit as the bride’s mom lives a ways away and would not be able to help as much.
So here are the promised photos for those who asked. I just don’t like too many personal photos of other people floating around out there. Please do not copy the pics of the bride and groom/or other people. Thank you. Now, on to the photos…
The wedding took place in a historic brick church. It had some gorgeous stained glass windows.
The moms and grandma got wrist corsages.
Inside view of the historic church.
Ben wrote a song for Cheryl and his friend sang it during the ceremony. It was very sweet.
This shows Cheryl’s beautiful gown. Direct from China at a fraction of the cost, it was spot-on to the designer one!
The back had a huge, beautiful bow.
The guys wore these socks just for ‘kicks’…haha.
The hall is in the park right on the MIlwaukee River.
The table numbers I made from their engagement pictures. My hubby cut the branches for them and the centerpieces, which were simple mason jars, river rocks and floating candles. The card box was made from a suitcase my mom owned. (Photo taken before set up.) And a photo of all the table numbers at my house. You can see how he cut them on an angle. (No photo of the rocks, but I have several on my photo page. They were a big hit!)
The rings. Her diamond had belonged to her late great-aunt and is a beautiful European cut that sparkles like crazy. It’s huge too. Ben had it put in a new setting.
Bridal bouquet. The flowers were lovely and very reasonable.
This shows the hall with an upper balcony and rustic lantern lighting. Cameo by Sue/Elm Grove. Can you spot her? Notice the mantel. We used our own frames with a few repainted to a more rustic look. Then we took mason jars and laid them on a slice of log. When the bridal party arrived, we used the girl’s bouquets in those jars. It turned out very nice and was a really pretty backdrop behind the head table. The next photo shows the pretty candles in the fireplace after the tables were removed for dancing.
The cake on top was a special fancy chocolate one. The cups were ‘dirt cakes’ for the guests. Tasted like a chocolate mouse and each one had a gummy worm on top. What can I say, they like dirt cakes and it went with the rustic theme. They tasted really good!
It was a wonderful day and evening and went off nicely considering all the panic we had the week before. We have some great memories and funny stories to look back on for years to come. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement during my stressful days. I wish you could have all been there and hope you have enjoyed a peek at it.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Wow. Light bulb-going-on moment when I read those words somewhere here on Spark recently and it has been stuck in my head ever since.
I have been maintaining for a couple months now. I am in a tight 2-3 lb. range. Not altogether a bad thing. I'm not gaining and that is great. However, life got busy and I have slacked off on tracking my food. I really think that is a key for me. Yes, I have kept exercising regularly and I think that has helped me maintain rather than gain, but if I want to lose (and I do!) then I have to reduce the calories. No matter how much I exercise, it's a piece of cake to out-eat the calories I burn off. (I know...groan...sorry, couldn't resist the pun.) I can burn maybe 400-600 calories per workout, but I can eat 2,000 in less than 20 minutes if I let myself. (Big mac, fires and a shake, anyone?)
You can exercise all you want, but you HAVE to control the calories if you really want to lose weight. It's work to stay on track, but I won't quit, because quitting is not an option. Fact.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
Warning: This will probably make you laugh so hard you will wet your pants. It made me cry. But then, I am the poor mama.
Oi vey! The wedding is next Saturday and the final push is here. Cue the last minute drama…The groom (my dear care-free, laid back, la-la-la, mom-you-worry-too-much, son) was responsible for the groomsmen getting the pants (to match his suit) and the shirts. Easy peasy, right? Step 1 was choosing a grey suit. Step 2 was telling the groomsmen to get the matching pants (no jackets for this casual, oh-so-cool dude’s posse. "It will be so easy this way, Mom. You’ll see.") I suggest he makes sure to buy a suit for which they have pants to fit all 5 groomsmen because they vary from 5’6” to 6’ 5” and all different shapes. So get their measurements before you buy a suit. "Sure, Mom. Whatever."
Groom buys a grey suit…in a slim cut, because he is slim. He does not take the 5 guys measurements with him. He tells the guys which pants to go buy. There are 5 groomsmen. Only one is slim…any guesses where this is going? Enter groom’s mom (that would be me-who worries too much). "Have the guys try on their pants and shirts to make sure they fit ok." (And this was before I knew he had a slim cut suit.) "Oh, Mom, They are fine. They know what size they wear. Sheesh." (Hmmm. This was over a month ago.) A couple reminders were given over the last month to have the guys try them on and groom’s mom was assured all was fine…except that 2 of the guys couldn’t find their size.
Uh-oh. Suit was bought at Boston Store and the search of literally every store in the country as well as online resulted in no pants in the right sizes. So 2 pants in sizes too large were purchased and our dear seamstress friend was asked if she could turn a 34 waist to a 31 and another 34 to a 33 and hem that pair too. "No prob." she generously agreed. After all, she was almost finished altering all 5 bridesmaid dresses (a story I won’t even get into here-but it was our first drama). Hmmm-the pants were tagged 34 waist but measured 36w. Oh well, with no other choice she worked her miracles and produced the required 31wx34 for the slim friend (you know, the one who would have been fine in these slim pants-had they had his size!) and 33w x 30 for the best man (brother to the grrrrr-oom, who by the way has not taken a 33w in years but decided to lose 20 pounds right before the wedding) And, oh, did I mention the 2 guys needing alterations live out of state so we had to rely on the measurements they gave and had no way to fit them in person?
Back to our story…Groom decides to fly to NC 2 weeks before the wedding to celebrate 30th birthday with best man brother. (Why not? All is in control back here, right?) So, worry-wart Mom suggests taking best man’s pants with him for a try on since they are done and he won’t be here until just before the wedding when it will be too late to alter again. Groom reluctantly agrees to such an obviously unnecessary task. About 10 days ago, groom returns with pants as requested. Says nothing. Finally, the mother of all worriers asks how they fit. "Oh, they were tight on him." " What? How tight?" "Super tight." " Super tight like he can’t wear them tight?" "Well…" "Well what?" " Well, I don’t think he lost 20 pounds." "How much did he lose?" " I think he gained 5." "What?!" "But, it's ok. He can wear them. He just looks like a stuffed sausage." (Yikes!) "But that wasn’t the worst part. They don’t fit in the thigh." "What?!" "He has big thighs and he can barely squeeze into them. But it’s ok. He can still wear them" (Huh? It was at this point that he told me he had chosen a slim cut suit. which explains why the thigh is tight.)
So, mom and seamstress put in a call to best man to get the real scoop. "How tight are they really?" "Super, super tight." (Not just one super…two!) "Can you wear them?" "Well…I think I can stand in them …and maybe I can walk a little." (A little?! At this point we are speechless and our eyes are huge as we are envisioning this problem. And then we have to ask…) "Will you be able to sit?" "No way. Not without splitting them wide open. But I will wear them if groom wants me to." (What the…?) "Son…" (Yep, the groom and the best man are both mine. They get their stubbornness from their father.) "Son, this will not work. We can let the waist out, but your thunder thighs will bust those things open like a pair of ripe melons and we can’t have that. How are you suppose to drive the bride and groom around…How are you suppose to dance or sit down for dinner…" At this point he suggests a bar stool at the head table for himself. (He was serious. I kid you not.) He also suggests maybe he can unbutton and unzip to drive the car. (?????!!!!!) "No. Talk to the groom and tell him how bad it is. He thinks you are ok in these pants and you aren’t. Maybe you can all switch to black pants or something. There is still time to fix this problem."
So he talks to groom. Groom calls us and says It sounds fine. We will stick with these pants. (Sounds fine?!?!?!?!?!) (Apparently it sounds fine that his best man can’t walk, sit, drive, dance or even climb stairs. They can cart him around strapped to a gurney all day and rent an ambulance to transport him maybe. (Ok. I may be getting a bit hysterical by now.) (My eyebrows are lost in my hairline so far, I suspect I will not see them again for months. I will save lots of money on facelifts.) We did get the groom to agree to have all 5 guys bring black dress pants as a backup plan. He doesn’t see the need, but I think he agrees to shut us up. He knows I worry too much.
My dear, dear friend who is the seamstress extraordinaire and whom I have now nominated for sainthood looks at me with a strange mix of shock and sympathy. She had also explained to the grrrrr-oom that she can let the waist out, but you will be able to see a 'vee' shape from the previous alteration. And no jacket to hide it (Cuz he wants the easy, casual look, right. And best man can’t keep his hands behind him to cover the marks on the pants because he will need to clasp them in front to help hide the super, super tight pants making him look like a 1980’s porn star in front!) Now groom and best man are happily playing frisbee or whatever these cool dudes do, while she and I brainstorm. I suggest we try to find even bigger waist pants in the hopes that they will have a bit more room in the thighs. She has to alter the waist anyway so this solves the waist, the 'vee' in the back and possibly the thigh problem.
In the meantime we insist groom check with all the groomsmen to see if they 'actually' tried on the pants and get 'actual' measurements of waist, thigh and length just in case. As we are calling all Boston Stores (again) to find bigger pants, we get a message from the groom that one of the other guys is having the same problem (He is 6’5” and 280), the skinny groomsmen seems to be a 32 waist now and not a 31 (this news after his pants were altered!) The groom tells us this very calmly. He is uber-chill and I want to strangle him by now. Mind you this is yesterday and I have been at the seamstress’s house for hours working on this problem. So, now she has to remake both the pants she spent many hours altering to their so-called measurements. (And possibly the pants for Andre the Giant now too.) So we decide to call the skinny guy and explain again how to measure. I guess the videos and instructions we sent on measuring were never viewed or read because now he says he is not a 31w or a 32w or a 33w…he is 33.25 inches and his inseam is not 34, but 33. We ask for one more measurement-neck size. For the noose. Grrrrr. (We have since learned that when asking guys for 'actual' measurements (BTW-actual is subject to their interpretation. They do not actually know what the definition of 'actual' actually is.) you will be given one or more of the following: an approximate, a jeans size, a size they wore in high school, a size they wish they were, or a 'size range' as in "My waist is actually 33-34 inches". The skinny guy had e-mailed originally that he was "technically a 31" waist". I kid you not. These are called 'men-surements'. They are the seamstress’s worst nightmare because they tell her these are the 'actual' measurements and she takes their word for it.(She will never do that again.) They also will try to measure around their bodies with a Stanley metal tape measure and do not think there is any other more accurate way to do this in spite of explicit instructions and videos. I actually watched my son try to measure himself this way!
At the end of the day we find out that 3 out of 5 guys are finding the pants too tight in the thigh. Skinny guy thinks guestimates are ok for custom alterations, the best man is willing to risk a major wardrobe malfunction as long as the groom 'is ok with it' and the 5th guy was the only one who actually tried his pants on before he bought them and they fit him. (He now looks like a genius.) Groom, who lives in the land of bliss and peace where all is rainbows and lemon drops, calmly states he still wants them to wear these pants. (Really?!?!) He thinks this is the end of story. The guys will wear the pants they have.
Not happening. So, while he plays video games, I find one pair at one store that might fit giant guy. I find a new pair for skinny guy that he will have to wear as is (they are close enough) and find a 3rd pair that are 38w x 32 for best man who we find out is actually a 34.5w (after ‘losing’ 20 lbs-he gets the denial thing from his mom). Giant guy can give his pants to bride’s brother who finally tried on the pants and admitted his own were 'not real comfortable' (Ya think?) and he needed a size bigger.
So, assuming the new alteration for 'thunder thighs' fit, I think we will have 5 guys in pants that match the groom’s suit that don't look R-rated and will allow all of them to stand, walk and sit without splitting them open like the Incredible Hulk. And they will bring black pants as a back up plan.
Oh and I went by the groom’s house to iron his shirt and the 2 out of state guy’s shirts-skinny guy and best man. (He didn’t think they really needed ironing because, after all, they are new. Folded and pinned in packages. Oi vey.) "I don’t have best man’s shirt. Doesn’t he have it?" "How would I know? I'm just here to iron for you." He calls best man. Nope. No shirt there either. So I stop at the store to see if they have one. Nope. Now they had to order one and have it shipped. Hopefully in time for the wedding. If not, he will have to wear white or grey. At least he is the best man and can get away with a different color. (The others are yellow)
Phew. And to this my wonderful groom-to-be son said "See, Mom. It all worked out fine. You worry too much." (sigh)
Edit: Sunday 2:30pm Just found out the guys tried on the shirts and don't like them. They say they are big and billowy like a pirate's shirt! Now they are trying to find new shirts for all 5 before the wedding. Sonny thinks they need slim cut shirts to match the pants. I kid you not. He has learned nothing from this experience. I don't know what this wedding is going to look like. It will be one to remember for sure! Oi vey! Oi vey! Oi vey!
I will get through this wedding, because quitting is not an option. (Now, where did I put his noose measurement…er…I mean, neck size.)
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