Friday, July 30, 2010

That's the way I like it

First of all, I wanted to apologize for my sporadic blogging of late. I usually aim to write three times a week. But the past few weeks have been a bit hectic.

Also, coming up with new things to write about can sometimes be a challenge. I want to entertain you and be honest at the same time. The truth is that sometimes my life (including my weight loss journey) is a little boring. I welcome your ideas for future entries. If you have any questions for me or anything you’d like me to talk about in a future post, send me an e-mail or add a comment below.

Moving on, I thought I’d give a few of my new “likes.” Some are my new obsessions (see first bullet), others are just things that are helping me along the way.

These adorable single-serve cups of ice cream are AMAZING. Seriously. What’s great about them is that they are controlled portions of goodness. If I were to buy a big gallon of ice cream—even light ice cream—I could easily overeat it. But with these little cups, I have what I need and am totally satisfied because I get to FINISH it. Yay! They come in five different flavors and all are fewer than 170 calories. My favorite so far is the Caramel Cone. It has tiny chunks of waffle cone in it. Yum.

  • Pickles wrapped in turkey slices

I stole this idea from Hungry Girl (a terrific website if you’re not familiar with it). I take kosher dill spears and wrap them in a slice of turkey lunch meat. It’s a fun little snack that may seem strange to some, but it makes me totally happy.

  • Corn on the cob

I’ve been addicted to corn this summer. The sweet white corn is my favorite. Eating it evokes memories of growing up in Michigan. My mom would send me out on the deck with a paper grocery bag to shuck the corn. I was always so proud of myself for completing this very important job. These days I don’t roll my corn in the stick of butter like I used to (oh yeah, I did. I know, I know), but instead use a little spray butter or some olive oil and sea salt and pepper. Thanks to Eat Right Atlanta, I’ve had fresh corn every other week in my produce basket. Speaking of…

I don’t think I need to tell you any more about this, do I? If you haven’t ordered yet, what are you waiting for? Do. It. Now.

  • Push-ups

Don’t let my trainer, Jessica, know, but I kind of like doing push-ups. It’s a pretty cool feeling to know I can do them, and last week while in the middle of my millionth (OK, second) set of them, Jess pointed out that she could see my muscle. Woo.

  • My power flower

I know it’s a popular symbol in yoga as well as significant to many Eastern religions, but I’m new to learning about the lotus flower. The flower grows in murky, muddy water and pushes itself to the surface to bloom in remarkable beauty. I love the idea of something starting out in darkness and blossoming in the light. That’s what I’ve been trying to do since I started all this, so the image of the lotus really speaks to me. I bought a little lotus necklace that reminds me to keep pushing through the mud and the muck to find the light.

  • Your e-mails and comments

You all have sustained me these past seven months. Your humor, your stories, your successes and your struggles continue to inspire me. I am so grateful for your support.

I hope you all have a fantastic, healthy weekend. Do something good just for you. You’ve earned it.

And don’t forget to send me your suggestions for future blogs. I’ll be looking forward to reading them!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Looking like a fool

I’ve loved losing weight. I love feeling healthier, happier and more confident than I have in years. I love watching the scale move (in the right direction, for once).
But you know what I don’t love?

My pants.

General Larry Platt sang it best when he auditioned for American Idol. And lately, I am indeed looking like a fool with my pants on the ground.

Now I know this may seem like I’m just trying to find something to whine about. But I feel like I’ve been looking increasingly frumpy the past few months. I’ve actually had a few meltdowns because I think I look like such a slob.

I’ve bought a few pairs of pants, which have fit me for a while, but I’ve outgrown (outshrunk?) those. I’m also trying not to spend a ton of money on new clothes that hopefully will only fit me for a month or so. I found a skirt in my closet that had been several sizes too small. I was excited to have something new to wear. Alas, I apparently passed the stage where it fit me and now it’s too big. I almost had a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions when I attempted to wear it to church this weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Old Navy to buy a couple of tops. This is exciting because for the past few years I’ve only been able to shop at Old Navy online, where they sell the Women’s Plus line. Now I can actually shop in the store.

Just for kicks, I took a pair of jeans into the dressing room with me. I didn’t expect them to fit, because they didn’t have that W on the end of the tag. I told myself I wouldn’t get upset if they didn’t fit me. There’s just something about pants that has scared me. I’m afraid I’ll try on a size and they won’t fit and I’ll feel like a failure. So I promised to be gentle to myself.

I walked into the dressing room, clutching my shirts and immediately hanging my jeans on the wall. I looked sideways at them as I tried on the tops and picked the ones I wanted to buy. Finally, I tentatively took them off the hanger and slipped them on. I giggled at myself thinking how small they would be.

But they weren’t. Oh my gosh, they fit! Cue me, happy dancing in the dressing room. Literally.

Unfortunately, the only ones they had in my size were skinny jeans. I’m no 20-something hipster, and I haven’t worn skinny jeans since 1987 when I begged my mom for the Guess jeans with the tiny little zippers on the ankles. But I bought them anyway, because I was so thrilled they fit.

I headed over to my friend Rebecca’s house. I knew she’d tell me if I could pull them off. So I put them on. And, bless her, she took one look at me and told me that nope, skinny jeans were just not for me. As I suspected. But then she said the most magical words: “They’re actually a little too big for you.” Booyah.

P.S. Had a good weigh-in this week. Got rid of 3.2 pounds for a total of 62.7.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Um, I'm not sure I'm ready for the free dance

One of the best things about my gym (shout out to Ladies Workout Express in Toco Hills) is the wide variety of classes it offers. From spinning to step and Zumba to yoga, there is something for everyone.

Last Friday, I tried a new class called Nia. According to its website, Nia is a “dynamic blend of dance arts, martial arts and healing arts…Balancing technical precision with free-form expression, Nia brings the body, mind, emotions and spirit to optimum health through music, movement and self-expression, guided by the sensation of Pleasure.”

And yes, that’s pleasure with an uppercase P. Nia laughs in the face of the “no pain, no gain” mentality with a gentle, barefoot class designed to awaken your senses.

They only offer the class once a month at LWE, so last Friday after personal training with Jessica, I took off my shoes and joined in the, um, Pleasure.

So, here’s something about me. I’m kind of a hyper person. I don’t do yoga or Pilates (though I know they’re both fantastic workouts) because I’m not so good at the quiet, meditative stuff. So when our instructor plugged in her twinkly lights and started the class by asking us to focus our energy on the triangle we formed with our hands in front of us, I was a little worried.

There were lots of heel-toe steps (“Feel the sensation of your feet upon the earth,” she told us), cha-cha-chas and twirls. And then there was the free dance.

“Step left, left and free dance, free dance!” our instructor told us she shimmied and waved her arms around her.

I looked around and attempted not to giggle at myself. I tried to feel the music. But sadly, my idea of a free dance involves a little hip shaking and dropping it like it’s hot to “Baby Got Back.” (What? I went to college in the ‘90s.) This wasn’t quite so bootylicious.

Then there were the cat claws. Our teacher told us to put our hands out as if they were claws and pounce—cat-style—to the front and back of the class. I have to admit, in my head, at least, I let out a silent little cat screech even if I was smirking at my instructor’s truly impressive feline impression.

At the end of the class, we stretched, which was a nice way to wrap up a Friday evening class.

“I want you to picture your favorite color. With each inhalation, I want you to imagine yourself more and more bathed in that color,” she told us. I pushed away the image that I was swimming in a sea of Pepto-Bismol as I became further saturated in pink.

To wrap up the class, we refocused our energy on our triangle and clapped three times. Though it was entirely out of my comfort zone, I felt relaxed, yet energized.  My body had a nice little buzz that I felt the rest of the night.

The moral of this story is simple: Never underestimate the power of the free dance, my friends.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy Meal, happy girl

Blame girly cravings or a serious McDrought, but last week, I was dying—I mean DYING for fast food.

It seemed like every commercial I saw was for Zaxby’s, and my mouth was watering for the yummy chicken goodness I’d loved since college, when Zax was just a Statesboro chicken shack.

I was literally dreaming of Sonic cherry limeades, Taco Bell meximelts and quarter pounders with cheese. I hadn’t even had a French fry since February.

It felt like I was fighting with every ounce of my being not to swing through a drive-thru. So I decided to take a different approach.

I knew I could fight and fight and fight until I finally exploded in a calorie and grease-laden binge. Or I could make a controlled choice.

So Thursday evening, after much internal debate, I chose McDonald’s. I drove up to the menu board like a girl visiting an ex-boyfriend with whom she’d had a very ugly breakup. Everything was so familiar, but I was hesitant, tentative, cautious. I knew I couldn’t trust him. And I knew I had to be the one with the power this time.

I ordered a cheeseburger Happy Meal. I drove home like a girl with a giddy secret. And when I unwrapped my food, I put it on a plate and savored every bite. It probably took me an hour to eat. I took tiny bites and swallowed each one before I moved on to the next.

When I was finished, I was completely satisfied. I no longer craved junk food. In fact, I haven’t craved it since. I didn’t feel guilty, because unlike in the past, I listened to my body and I made a choice. I counted my Weight Watchers points. I didn’t overeat.

Am I going to go to McDonald’s every week? No. I probably won’t go for another six months or so. But I feel good about the choice I made. It felt empowering to make a decision about food that was completely conscious. It was the first time I can remember eating McDonald’s and not considering it a binge.

Normally, I’d write about eating McDonald’s as a confession. But this time, I was pretty excited to tell you guys that somewhere along the way, I’ve regained some of my power over food. It turns out that now I’m the one wearing the (increasingly baggy) pants in this relationship.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Look what I can do!

I was trying to come up with something profound to blog about, but nothing seems to be coming to me.

So I’ll talk about the little things.

The other day I was sitting and chatting with a friend when I looked down and noticed something: I was crossing my legs! I can’t remember the last time I could do that.

Then Sunday I was kneeling at church (you know us Catholics with our stand up-sit down-kneel aerobics) and noticed that for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t leaning back against the pew. I used to kind of half-kneel, half-lean because my knees couldn’t take it.

Today, I wanted a salad from Chick-Fil-A. My car is dangerously low on gas, so I walked there with a few co-workers. And I only whined a little bit about the heat.

For the past few years as I’ve gotten heavier and heavier, little things like crossing my legs, kneeling, walking or even standing too long was like torture. And now I’m noticing that some of these little things were actually big things that really affected my life.

My fabulous sister-in-law suggested I take a cruise when I hit my 100-pound goal. I love that idea. I went on my first-ever cruise last October for my dear friend Lara’s bachelorette weekend. Though I had a great time celebrating with friends, I was also at my most self-conscious and miserable. Every walk back to our room seemed like miles. I didn’t want to go to the pool because I hated my body so much. I was completely aware every single moment of how heavy I was and how much I loathed myself for it.

So to celebrate a weight-loss milestone with another cruise seems perfect. Plus, it gives me something to work toward, if losing 100 pounds wasn’t enough. Stay tuned for Cruise Watch 2010 (or maybe 2011—time will tell).

How are you going to celebrate your next milestone?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mirror, mirror on the wall: why I hate you most of all

I used to work in an office that had darkened windows. To people walking by, the windows were slightly mirrored and they couldn’t see inside.

I used to get such a kick out of the primpers. The people who strolled past our building fixing their hair, checking their teeth and adjusting their clothes in our windows—all the while oblivious to us giggling inside at their expense.

It’s something I’d never do. See, for me, there are safe mirrors and unsafe ones. Safe ones include the one in my bathroom and the compact in my purse. Safe mirrors do not include building windows, full-length mirrors in a department store or any other mirror that I happen to walk past unprepared. And you should see the way I manage to avoid looking at myself in the gym mirrors, despite my trainer telling me to check my form. Even then, I try to take in just the part I need to rather than the big picture.

I’m getting a little better. The mirror isn’t quite as scary as it used to be. But I promise you’ll never catch me as one of those mock-worthy primpers.

As I get past my mirror-fear (which also includes cameras. Of course, I’ve talked at-length about that already) I thought I’d share what might possibly be one of the scariest pictures of me ever. This is me yesterday, post cardio fusion. Note the tomato-red face (curses on my fair Irish/German skin), smeared eye makeup and sweat-stained shirt.

Though this doesn’t exactly show me at my loveliest, it does show me as someone who is working hard. And that, to me, makes it a picture I don’t mind seeing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Red, white and yum

How was your holiday? I hope you all enjoyed the time with your friends and family and saved up your calories for a few splurges.

Do you know who didn’t save up his calories? Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who won the annual Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest for the fourth consecutive year.

Joey ate 54 hot dogs. I broke that down in nutritional value. Fifty-four hot dogs (sans buns) equals:
  • 16,686 calories
  • 1,085.4 grams of fat
  • And for my fellow Weight Watchers, 378  points

I love a hot dog as much as any other American girl, but this year, I stuck to the 97 percent fat free Hebrew National dogs. They’re really good.

As a splurge, I made my mom’s traditional Fourth of July fruit pizza. It’s made with sugar cookie dough, topped with a cream cheese, sugar and vanilla mixture and then layered with strawberries, blueberries and bananas. It’s heavenly. And certainly not something I put on my daily menu. But I firmly believe in the importance of moderation, especially on holidays.

And I still lost this week, despite not even having the buffer of the typical Monday after a weekend. I’m now officially down 57.8 pounds.

I’ve talked about it before and I'll talk about it again, but I’ve learned that the black and white/all or nothing thinking is what got me in trouble in the first place. Tell me I can’t ever have pizza? Guess what? I’m going to eat an entire one by myself. Tell me I can never have ice cream? I’ll eat a whole gallon.

Now I allow myself pizza and ice cream in moderation. I’ll have one piece of pizza, or a small bowl of sherbet. Knowing that I can still have them--and some of my other favorite treats--makes me less rebellious.

Now it’s your turn to tell me. What are some of your favorite splurges—those treats that you sacrifice extra gym time for or save for a special occasion?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recipe fun

It's produce basket day! It's produce basket day!

Seriously, that's how excited I am for my bi-weekly delivery from Eat Right Atlanta.

I got a decent number of responses from you guys last time, but I'm hoping for even more this week. Before you go out of town, use your culinary creativity and send me some healthy recipes using one or more of this week's contents:
  • Grapefruit
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Green Onions
  • Bell Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
Also, if any of you have any brilliant ideas for making grapefruit a little more edible, do let me know. I really want to like it.

As for a weight update, I was down 2.8 pounds this week. But I know I got lucky after my weekend at the Ronald. I have a feeling it's caught up to me this week and I might be in for a gain next week. Fingers crossed I'm wrong.

Speaking of the Ronald, I'm so grateful for the wonderful support I received about my decision this week. I really appreciated your kind words. It wasn't easy, but I'm feeling secure in my choice.