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Reflections on the Journey

Friday, June 08, 2012

For the first time in awhile I don't have any specific topic on my mind. Considering how chatty I can be, it's quite remarkable, actually. Instead, I've collected an assortment of random thoughts:

1. I can't believe I'm going to be hiking in Alaska next week! How awesome is that going to be? I'm ready for it; I bought a new pair of hiking boots and will test them out on a hike this weekend with my meetup group. This time, I'm covering my arms as well as my legs so I'm not covered in ticks when I return.

2. They say losing weight is a marathon for a reason; it really does take a long time! I'm glad to be down 30 pounds, but the kicker is it took me more than five months to get here. Persistence, not perfection is what counts.

3. Sometimes I can see the weight loss, other days I can't. I'm 5'7", and am only halfway through my journey, so the change in my appearance is subtle, not dramatic. Honestly, I think I'll need to lose an additional 20 pounds before it's obvious to everyone I meet that something's changed. I don't need that validation like I used to, but it is icing on the cake.

4. I shopped at whole foods yesterday. I decided to pick up organic ingredients for my morning smoothies. I never worried about pesticides before, but that's because I wasn't eating a lot of fresh foods. Now that I am, I can understand the concern. I plan to sign up for the tour and their cooking classes one day.

5. Yesterday, I wore my favorite summer skirt. It's a size 1x and doesn't look quite right anymore. Dang! emoticon

6. Am I getting Spark People obsessed? I'm all over this website every day. I'm constantly reading articles, looking at recipes, checking message boards, reading weight loss success stories, etc. It really does help me stay motivated, though.

Onward and downward.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLEURGARDEN 6/8/2012 10:11AM

    Congrats on the weight loss marathon and that skirt not looking quite right. :-) I do have some clothes that I really like, and I'm bummed that they don't fit me right anymore. Other clothes I'm more than glad to shrink out of and give away.

How exciting about your Alaska hiking trip!

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Aaagh--Someone took a picture of me

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Now I know why I wanted to wait until goal before I take pictures.

Tuesday, I was at a fundraiser and posed for a group shot. The photographer was kind enough to email me the picture yesterday. When I saw how I looked, my heart sank. There were four of us in the shot, one girl was probably a size 0. There was one other slightly overweight woman, and another average sized woman. Standing next to this group, I looked huge. I had a double chin, big flabby arms and my boobs looked oversized and saggy. The dress I was wearing over my leggings appeared cavernous. After my chest it just tented out and made my whole body look round.

How discouraging! When I left work, I hit the gym. I signed up for a brutal step aerobics class and then lifted weights for about 1/2 hour. The whole time, my self-talk was like, "This is hard work. Why am I working so hard? I've been at this for months and I still don't look good in pictures. When am I gonna see results in photos? If I've lost 30 pounds and still look big, what does it say about how much I really need to lose? What did I look like before? This diet and exercise stuff is so hard. Why does it have to take so long to see results? I know I look better in my clothes so why didn't it show up in the picture?"

Next, I started answering my own self-talk. "This is a lifestyle, not a diet. You've tried the other way for the last 30 years. You know where that path leads. Now, you're living a healthier lifestyle. It's only been five or six months and you're already complaining? C'mon, where's your persistence? Remember, you're prediabetic. You need at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. Besides, anything worth having doesn't come easy. Keep doing what you're doing. Don't give up. It will show up in the photos once you've lost another 20 pounds. And quit dressing to cover your body. You looked big in the photo because you are not wearing fitted clothes. Wearing a big, loose dress and leggings fools no one and makes you look bigger than you are."

Whew! It took some doing to get my mind straight after the picture. In the fall, the non-profit I volunteer with is doing a 5K fundraiser. Maybe by then, I won't look so big in the pictures. I'll make sure to run/walk in something fitted.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SONYALATRECE 6/7/2012 11:50PM

    Glad you turned the negative into positive talk.
See. Some people thing talking to onesself is not healthy.
I beg to differ.

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BARBAELLEN 6/7/2012 7:04PM

    Hey, you! Is this the same person who is beginning to see a jawline and a waist? The one who didn't have those things before she worked really hard and lost 30 pounds? The one who's now shopping in the "Misses" department? Keep going - - you're doing great!

I'm the queen of impatience, so I understand exactly what you're talking about. I hate that it's hard work and that I can't eat everything I want all the time and that it takes time to lose all you need to. I also hate those pictures they send to you from events. For what it's worth, I lost my gusto after about 6 months (as I was warned often happens) but still kept focus enough to not GAIN. Now I'm on a roll again and enjoying the fruits of my efforts. Well, guess what got me back in gear? It was a courtesy photo of me from a fundraiser. Gads! That photo is now taped to my refrigerator!
emoticon emoticon

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MDWSTRNR 6/7/2012 11:38AM

    Good job not allowing that photo to derail your new, healthy lifestyle. Maybe when you're feeling ready you could have someone take a photo of you in more fitted clothes so you can see your progress.

Keep up the good work!

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FLEURGARDEN 6/7/2012 11:19AM

    Glad you turned that self-talk around. I also hate having pictures taken, but just think how great you'll feel one day when you compare a new photo of you with this current one. It helps to have photos along the way just to see that you really can see a change in your appearance over time. But I know, it just doesn't happen as quickly as we would like it to.

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XTINEMAS 6/7/2012 10:47AM

    I like the answers to your self-talk!!!! Good job!


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MSWILDROSE 6/7/2012 8:49AM

    Good job of turning that inner-message into a positive one!
I work with someone who has dropped alot of weight in a very short time and unhealthy manner (starving....literally).
I just tell myself that I am the tortoise and she is the hare....my way is best...it will take longer, but work out better in the end. emoticon

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VEUVEGIRL 6/7/2012 8:40AM

    Good for you turning around your self-talk!!

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Gone public with my goals

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Yesterday, I updated my Facebook status, informing friends and family that I had lost 30 pounds. I was inundated with well wishes, support and congratulations, which was super cool. I promised that I would post pix once I reached goal.

There's something about going public that takes your accountability and kicks it into overdrive. Now I feel like I owe it to the folks I've inspired to see this process through.

For now, I'm focused on my intermediate goal which is to lose 20 pounds by August. This goal is reflected in my current ticker; I have 11.5 pounds to go.

Today, my mom asked me how much weight I've lost. When I told her 30 pounds, she said "That's good. How does that compare to what you weighed when we went to Vegas a few years ago?" I told her I needed to lose 10 more pounds to return to that weight. She said, "Then that's all you have left to lose. You don't wanna get too thin, you'll look old."

Oh, mom, seriously? Lol, I know I look good as a thick woman, but this is about my health.

When I went to Vegas my BMI was 28. My long term goal is a BMI of 25.

That's still 35 pounds away.

Onward and downward.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIBANANA 6/8/2012 8:01AM

  The way your going you'll wow em for sure at that reunion.


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MDWSTRNR 6/6/2012 4:58PM


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TACONES 6/6/2012 11:58AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FLEURGARDEN 6/6/2012 11:09AM

    Congrats on the weight loss and going public! I've been talking to my siblings a little bit lately about my weight loss, since I've finally lost enough for them to notice the change. They've asked me what my goal is, but I haven't told them yet. I've just told them I have a number in mind, but it's a long ways off yet and I'll just see how I feel when I get closer to that number. My ultimate goal weight may end up being a little higher or a little lower than the number I currently have in my head.

Keep up the great work!

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2.5 lbs down!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

After only four days away from the scale, I decided to weigh in again. When the scale registered a 2.5 lb loss, I was so surprised I stepped off the scale, then jumped back on about three times just to be certain. Sure enough, 2.5 lbs gone!

For some reason, I think the difference has been my morning smoothies. During my five week plateau, I tried all kinds of things to shake things up; cycling my calories, changing up my exercise, tightening up my food diary. Maybe all of those strategies together contributed, but the biggest change I made was getting all my fruits and vegetables in. I had no problem fitting in two or three servings a day, but sometimes things got busy and I found myself eating meals that were within my calorie range, but lacking a fruit or a vegetable.

The smoothies kicked my nutrients up another notch. One smoothie amounts to three servings of fruit and vegetables. I was ingesting lots of flax meal, spinach, berries and kale as part of my smoothies.

Therefore, please take a lesson from my experience. If you are not getting the results you want, check your fruit and vegetable intake. If it is anything less than five a day, find a way to include more in your daily diet. For me, the smoothies turned out to be an ideal solution. Another strategy might work for you. I recommend that you invest in meeting with a nutritionist to assist you on this journey. My employer cafeteria plan reimburses me for my nutritionist visits, so I am planning to meet with her quarterly.

Above all, DON'T GIVE UP!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLEURGARDEN 6/5/2012 11:43AM

    Congrats on the weight loss! emoticon

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MDWSTRNR 6/5/2012 9:50AM


(I[m toasting you with *my* morning smoothie!)


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Making SP work for you

Monday, June 04, 2012

What is your formula for success? We all have one, but what becomes clearer to me over time is that a successful eating plan is as unique to us as our DNA. When we start imposing these weird and silly rules for everyone is when we set people up to fail. Ever seen these rules before?

1. Substitute fat free salad dressing for full fat salad dressing
2. Put your fork down between each bite
3. Chew each bite 20 times before swallowing
4. Avoid all processed food
5. Exercise in the morning
6. Don't cheat on your diet
7. Don't exceed your calorie limit
8. Don't eat after 7 p.m.

Now, I'm sure these rules work for someone, somewhere, but they don't work for me. In fact, some of them I think are just plain silly. At the same time, I've found things that work specifically for me. Examples are:

1. Drink a smoothie for breakfast most days of the week.
2. Exercise 4 evenings during the week and on Saturday morning.
3. When you have a social or event to attend, bank your calories and indulge. (E.g, I ate a bratwurst at a major league baseball game. Seemed kinda silly NOT to)
4. Eat a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack so your blood sugar doesn't get too low.
5. Don't just eat certain foods because they're good for you; eat them because it's what you like.

Those are just a few examples of how I'm doing this program. What are things that work/don't work for you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRIREDMON13 6/4/2012 4:48PM

    I love your blog, and i love the fact you post what works for you and some of the other previous rules. I believe people have different things that they can do to budget themselves and tips and tricks that they can do.

This is inspiring and motivating, as well as impactful.

Keep up your hard work. emoticon

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SONYALATRECE 6/4/2012 11:45AM

    Moderation and consistency in ALL things.
Besides, if we did/ate things only because it was good, we'd never get to ENJOY the benefits OR reap them. Don't you agree?

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MDWSTRNR 6/4/2012 10:09AM

    I think, for me, the main thing has been to constantly reinforce that I am taking good care of myself. For example, starting the day with a smoothie kind of sets the tone for how I want to eat. While I'm having my smoothie, I plan (and during the school year, pack) my healthy lunch and also plan for supper - way easier not to cave to tasty junk if I've got a plan.

The other thing I do is more of a sensory reinforcer: after my post-workout showers I use a (naturally) scented lotion or body butter. The rest of the time I use unscented lotion, so that little luxury is a reward, a reminder that I treated my body well, and a subtle encouragement to keep doing so.

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LEMONTWITTER 6/4/2012 9:23AM

    I think the core and very valuable lesson in what you have written above is to understand and be responsible for what works for YOU. Each of us have different changed habits that we can sustain; where as it might be really easy for my friend to chew something 20 times before swallowing; I sure am not going to sit there and count the number of times my teeth pulverize a lettuce leaf.

This is both the blessing and the bane of community boards: there are some "Nazi's" out there that will tell you that you are doing it all wrong if you aren't doing it THEIR way, and there are others that are so unstructured, it as if merely belonging to Spark People will somehow magically make the weight go away and the habits change.

Life is about balance...find the middle path.

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