Thursday, June 28, 2012
Went to the doctor's today, weighed in and got my blood pressure checked. My blood pressure has dropped from 150/80 in April to 110/70. When they gave me that new number, I was grinning from ear to ear. I've succeeded in lowering my blood pressure through diet and exercise! The scale also confirmed I'd lost 14 pounds since my April appointment.
It's nice to know that I'm changing on the inside as much as on the outside. Very cool! As a prediabetic, I am due to get my blood sugar checked in the next month or so. Hopefully, the news about my blood sugar will be just as good.
So happy right now, I could do a cartwheel!
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
No, not Herman Cain's tax plan, but the elation one feels when they weigh themselves and the last digit on the scale is a "9." 139, 159, 189, 209, 239. For me, when my weight ends in a "9", it gives me a sense of accomplishment and progress.
In addition, "9" is the number of pounds I have left before I hit my second mini-goal; to lose a total of 42 pounds by the end of August.
This afternoon, I attended a weight loss support group that my employer started up as part of their wellness program. The facilitator described in graphic detail what happens to your body when your arteries are so clogged with plaque that it cuts off the oxygen supply to your brain or heart. If it happens to your heart, of course, that's a heart attack. If it happens to your brain, it's a stroke. What's scary is that once the plaque is there, you can't do anything to reverse it. You can stop adding plaque, but whatever you already have in your arteries will be there the rest of your life. Dang.
Anyway, on a lighter note, I've added a link to a retro Jazzy Spies Sesame Street video. If you were a child when this first aired, you are either a baby boomer or a gen-x er, like me. I'm a nostalgic person, so I really got a kick out of seeing it again.
Onward and downward!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Wikipedia's definition of schaudenfreude is "pleasure derived from the misfortune of others." This week (God forgive me) I have a terrific case of schaudenfreude.
In 2010, I was pushed out of a previous position for reasons unrelated to my job performance, competence, relationships with coworkers or attitude toward my work. I wrote about the situation in an earlier blog where I referred to my former boss as "Miranda". (AKA The Devil Wears Prada). Without posting the new position, she brought in "Ruby"-- a less qualified, less educated person, paid her twice my salary, assigned her half of my responsibilities and installed her as my new supervisor. Yeah, I know, pretty vicious. And worse, "Ruby" behaved like an outsized diva, bullying me and her other direct reports.
After five years of job satisfaction, I abruptly left this toxic environment. My former co-workers and I wondered how long this new "marriage" between Miranda and Ruby would last. Six months? Eight months? I estimated eighteen months.
We got our answer last week. Twenty-two months. Ruby's staff threatened to mutiny, management investigated and fired Ruby on the spot. She had a major tantrum, yelling and cursing at one of the managers as security escorted her out of the building. Now, Miranda is facing a major project with a fall deadline and has no help. She will have to pay thousands of dollars for a consultant to complete the project.
Maybe schadenfreude is sinful, but hey, I'm human. I really have faith that you reap what you sow. If you treat others in the workplace with disdain, arrogance and disrespect, eventually it catches up with you. Hearing this story from former co-workers just cracked me up.
Okay, time to wipe the smirk off my face and get on with my day.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
If you are an emotional or stress eater like I am, each pound that you've gained over the years probably symbolizes some transition or life event. Maybe it was relocation, graduation, marriage, divorce, death of a friend or family member, or other traumatic event. Or it could simply be a mundane lifestyle change or too many dinners out. Combine the weight gain with failed diet and exercise programs and you end up cloaked in multiple layers of fat.
I'll give you examples.
As a teenager in middle school, I was enrolled in P.E. class, a cheerleader, played softball and ran track. I walked two miles home from school nearly every day. I weighed 135 pounds.
Then I graduated middle school and started high school. I ditched most of the extra curricular activities and took the bus home from school. I gained 20 pounds and weighed 155. Did I ever take this off? No.
Then my family relocated from the midwest to the east coast. I became homesick and spent lots of time at home watching MTV. By graduation, I weighed 170. Then I left for college.
I was much more active in college. My dorm room was on the fourth floor in a building with no elevators. I walked to classes every day. I jogged and worked out at the gym with friends. My weight settled in at 155 lbs.
My last year, I moved off campus and took a part-time job at a fast food restaurant. I rode the bus to campus and ate lots of free burgers and fries. My weight returned to 170.
After graduation, I fell in love and got married. I dieted and exercised to look good for my wedding. I weighed 155. Got pregnant and had my daughter. My weight returned to 155. Then I got divorced....one year later, met another guy and fell in love...that relationship fizzed. Two years after the divorce I weighed 180.
Four years later, my grandparents died...
Then I accepted a new job and relocated....
Six years later, I lost my job....
Well, you get the idea. Being an emotional and stress eater, I gained weight with each life event and, with one exception 10 years ago, never took it off. Now, as I drop the weight, I'm once again confronting what originally caused the weight gain.
Right now, I've just lost the 20 pounds I gained while I was unemployed last year. I've also lost 10 of the 20 pounds I gained when my grandparents died. I now have 35 pounds left to lose; The balance of the weight I gained after losing my grandparents plus the 25 pounds I gained after my divorce.
The 20 pounds I gained after middle school? No plans to lose it, because I'm in my 40s and don't want to look boyish or angular. I believe that when you're older and lose too much weight, it draws fat from your face and ages you.
My granny died 10 years ago and my divorce was 20 years ago. It's time for me to stop carrying around these events on my body. Wouldn't you agree?
What are you carrying around? Are you carrying the events from your past into your present? Maybe it's just weight you gained from happy times---delivering a baby, a series of hot dates at fancy restaurants, weeks of graduation celebrations? Heaven forbid, if it's from something truly traumatic, please see a therapist and face those issues. Whatever it is, at some point the fat is visible baggage from the past and needs to go.
Onward and downward.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
When I re-launched Sparkpeople at the beginning of this year, all I felt was a sense of urgency about my need to lose weight. I had gained 20 pounds while I was unemployed, reaching my all time highest weight. I was still piecing my life together because of all the stress in my professional and personal life.
What are the lessons I've learned on this journey so far?
1. There is no perfect time to start a weight loss plan. Jobs come and go, family members pass away, kids act out. These pressures are always with us.
2. Just do what the spirit moves you to do and no more. Once you start seeing results, do a little more. You are building momentum and speed over time. If you make drastic changes all at once, you will be miserable. If you don't have time to exercise, start with 10 minutes a day, three times a week. Add days and minutes when you can. Don't give up all of your favorite foods. Find a way to include them in your plan. In fact, at the beginning of the plan, I was eating breakfast at McDonald's every morning. I did this for months because I wasn't ready to give it up. I tried to adhere to my eating plan for lunch and dinner.
3. If you fall, get back up and keep moving forward. Baby steps, baby steps. You have to crawl for awhile before you walk. You'll stumble, you'll fall. Count on that because we can't be perfect. Just get back up. Don't give up.
4. Take advantage of the support and resources on SP! Plateaus are vicious. Why, oh why, must plateaus be a part of weight loss? I was on one for an entire month and could not understand why. If I hadn't reached out for support on this site, I might have given up. Since my plateau ended, I've dropped seven pounds.
5. Patience, in time the grass becomes milk. Our bodies don't lose weight in a logical straight line. There's hormones, periods, and all kinds of other factors that cause us to retain water or not lose as fast as we should. These challenges wreak havoc on our pattern of weight loss. My weekly pattern seems to be lose, lose, gain, lose big, gain, lose, lose, gain, lose big, gain. Crazy, but the overall trend is DOWN. It's aggravating, but I am starting to understand and respect it.
6. Make the SP program yours. What works for one person, may not work for you. You have to find a mix of nutrition and exercise you can live with day in and day out. No one else can tell you what that is. You need to try a few things and see what works. If you hate the gym, work out at home with videos. If you hate cottage cheese and cauliflower, find alternatives you do like. Figure out a few favorite meals and eat those 90% of the time. 10% of the time, eat the stuff that's not so good for you.
7. Distance yourself from friends and family who can't or won't support you. Find the ones who will. Yesterday, I met up with a girlfriend who said she's trying to lose weight. We went to an outdoor fiesta and decided to get food for dinner. There were no healthy choices around, so we ate tamales, flautas, rice and beans. Then, later she wanted to top off dinner with a large funnel cake. I redirected her to a small ice cream cone, sayin' "I can't have you cussin' me later for not stopping you from eating the funnel cake." I don't know how many calories are in a funnel cake, but I do know it's possible for a small ice cream cone to be part of a healthy eating plan. This is how a support system works.
8. You really do have to plan ahead, dang it. Sorry, no way around this one.
9. Biting and writing and blogging really keep you accountable.
I'm sure there are additional lessons I still need to learn, but these have helped me shed 32 pounds, so it's all good.
Onward and downward.
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