Friday, January 22, 2010
Today was a very stressful day at work because I had a project deadline. One hour before my deadline, a co-worker got difficult and we exchanged words. I turned in my project and by lunchtime, I was angry, stressed out, and just plain tired.
To give me a chance to vent, another co-worker treated me to lunch--at a local rib joint. How was I going to manage this? I told myself that I didn't need the additional stress of abandoning my new, healthier habits. I was determined to stay on track. My usual order would've been three spareribs, potato salad, and baked beans. Today, I ate an open-faced smoked turkey sandwich, four french fries, and I split an order of baked beans with my co-worker. It was funny what happened to the french fries. I did not know they would be included with my sandwich. I grabbed four of them, offered the rest to my co-worker then, after she refused, threw them away. The restaurant employees and my co-worker looked at me like I had lost my mind. The restaurant staff kept askin' me "Were the fries not satisfying? We can make you more." Lol. They were so scared that I was gonna ask for the manager and complain.
One thing you gotta understand about midwest culture is that you DON'T throw away food--even if it's bad for you. Also, if you are walking anywhere it must be because your car broke down. People fry twinkies at state fairs and eat french fries by the plate-ful with their coca-cola and spareribs. That's why we midwesterners are heavier than folks on the coasts. Yes, we have vegetarians and fitness enthusiasts but it is not part of the culture like it might be in California.
Anyway, adopting healthier habits sometimes feels like swimming upstream, but I'm working hard to make it happen.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
After a disappointing weigh in last week, I vowed to drink more water and get more exercise. I'm pleased to say that I am off to a great beginning. Today was the second day in a row that I succeeded in drinking 8 cups of water. It was also the second day in a row that I've exercised. What made the difference?
I re-read some of my earlier blogs, read motivational stories on SP, and reminded myself of WHY I wanted to lose weight. I also quit rationalizing about why I wasn't drinking my water or exercising more. I simply told myself, "These are the things you need to do to drop weight." So I did them.
All I can do is try to do the best I can every day. Persistance--not perfection. I had a pretty disciplined eating day, I worked up a sweat exercising this morning and I drank ALL of my water. I'm feeling really proud of myself today!
Monday, January 18, 2010
Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a society where people would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. At that time, blacks lived under the worst conditions with few opportunities for advancement. Now, we have a black man in the white house--a powerful milestone on this journey to equality. Why do I consider President Obama a milestone? Because there remains much more work to be done. We are still a largely segregated society and our deepest friendships are often with people of our own race and background. When we fail to experience a diversity of relationships we become susceptible to ignorant and often racist stereotypes about people who don't look like us.
Twenty years ago, I had a problem with East Indians. I had heard about their caste system that excluded dark-skinned Indians, rendering them "untouchable." Every time I ran into one, I assumed that because I am dark-skinned, I was regarded as an "untouchable." Then I met a light-skinned woman from New Dehli. We became friends and she invited me to her home for dinner where I met her father and younger sister. They explained to me that they had come to the United States shortly after violence erupted in their city. During the fighting, my friend witnessed her mother gunned down in the streets. "See these black circles under my eyes," she said, pointing to her face. "I cried everyday for a year."
I felt about two inches tall after that encounter. I remember it well because it taught me an important lesson as an African-American. This woman had not only invited me into her home for dinner, but told me her story. How could I continue to assume that all East Indians hate me because I'm black? From that point on, I decided to never assume anything about people who are different from me. I needed to be more child-like in my regard for others. That is what we all need to do; that is what Dr. King dreamed of.
I am grateful on this Martin Luther King holiday, that I am free to dream of transforming my life. For me, a healthy mind, body, and spirit is key to being able to be the best person I can be. Transformation takes time. Just like there are numerous set backs, there will be numerous victories. Nevertheless, one thing remains imperative; never, ever give up.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Last week, someone posted on a spark people message board about how discouraged they were. I was in a light mood that day and advised them using a quote from the movie Finding Nemo's Dory the fish. "Just Keep Swimming." It was intended to remind them how important it is to be persistent.
Now, this week, I find myself needing to take my own advice. I weighed in this week and not only did I not lose any weight, but I gained two pounds. I know it's because its that time of the month, but dang, I still want to be rewarded for changing my eating habits. Still, I must acknowledge that it's tough to change everything at once. I thought I'd be able to, but it's clear that I have to be patient with myself. Intellectually, I understand this weight is going to take some time to lose, but emotionally, it's tough to keep your chin up when the scale doesn't reward your efforts.
I also have to be honest with myself about this week. My biggest achievement has been writing EVERYTHING that I ate down. It's clear that some days were much better than other days. My intake swung wildly between not eating enough calories and going over my limits. I also realize that I am not drinking enough water or getting enough exercise, so my goals for next week will be getting in at least 6 glasses of water a day and exercising four days for 30 minutes. So now, I need to analyze what's helping me and what's hindering me.
1. Consistenly journaling. I give myself a big ups for this one. I usually hate tracking my food intake, but I really like how easy it is to do on SparkPeople. I also like getting my points.
2. Handling temptation in a new way. I ran into several situations where I could've gone hog wild with my eating, but managed to stay on program and stay focused.
3. Keeping busy. I find that I tend to snack when I'm bored. I'm busy with my job and with volunteer work, so it's passed the time.
4. Eating thoughtfully. Instead of just grabbing stuff at random, I've done a better job of planning for situations.
5. Blogging. Sometimes, just writing down my thoughts helps me stay focused.
6. Understanding that change is a process. As I mentioned above, it was unrealistic for me to expect perfection. I'm learning as I chug along.
7. Diet-friendly work environment. My job has a weight-loss contest going on. Plus, there will be a fitness instructor leading free classes after work twice a week.
1. Disorganized meal planning. I need to plan my menus better and shop around my menus. My kitchen is not stocked properly and because of economics, I'm still eating what's in my kitchen. It's getting better stocked with time, but haphazardly buying things at the grocery store is not working.
2. Lack of exercise. I'm not crazy about exercise. I don't like getting up early and I'm too tired in the evening. I don't like walking in bad weather. Still, despite all of this, I need to move my body. I set up my fitness room, which is good, but I haven't taken advantage. I am setting a goal to exercise with a DVD on two weekday mornings and to walk somewhere--anywhere on the weekends.
3. Not enough water. I drink too many diet sodas and not enough water. My goal is to get in six glasses of water. If I can make six, then perhaps I can do eight someday. When I get up in the morning, I'll take a glass of water with breakfast. I have a Weight Watchers mug at work, which I will fill and sip on during the day. That will be good for four more glasses. I will take one final glass of water with my dinner.
4. Being impatient. OF COURSE I gain weight during that time of month. It's always that way. I need to stay on course. Eventually, the scale will reward my work.
Okay, I feel better than I did when I started this blog entry. All I need to do is just keep swimming.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Today was not my most disciplined day. In fact, it was below average. So why do I consider it a victorious day? Because I navigated my way through a day full of temptations without ruining my diet. Mind you, I wasn't perfect, but I did MUCH better than I would've had I not been paying attention to my food intake.
For example, at lunch I was caught in a workshop where they ordered the typical box lunch: sandwich, chips, cookie and a pop. I told myself "Look, you don't have a choice in this situation. You don't have access to any other food. Eat the lunch and cut down somewhere else, later." The only modifications I made were to swap a regular soda for a diet and put mustard on my sandwich vs mayonaise. I did eat the cookie but promised myself I would plan better next time by bringing a piece of fruit and giving away the cookie.
Then, that afternoon, I went to a happy hour. Normally, I would've piled my plate with appetizers and ordered a fruity drink or martini. This evening, I sampled a slider without the bread and tried one other small appetizer. Again, not perfect but much improved over my earlier behavior. I supplemented my two appetizers with a light beer.
By dinner time I was back on program, opting for chicken and a small salad. What I learned today is that I don't have to handle things perfectly, I just need to improve. Some days, I'll be perfect, other days mediocre and still other days are going to be a disaster. This journey is not on a smooth highway, but rather a hiking trail full of ups, downs, rocks and fallen trees. Sometimes I might stumble along the way, but as long I continue to move forward, I'll reach my destination. See? That's why I consider today a victory.
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