Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mis Favoritos

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of my favorite things post, but in honor of Oprah’s last week, I figured it was a good time. But don’t bother looking under your chairs—you’ll have to get these things on your own. Sorry about that.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Olé Extreme Wellness Tortillas

These things have everything that’s important to me in a food—they’re big, they’re tasty and they’re healthy (I mean, EXTREME wellness—doesn’t get much healthier than that, right?). They come in several flavors, including spinach and herb, and tomato basil, but I prefer the plain old whole wheat. I find that I can use them for more things that way. Make a peanut butter and jelly tortilla. Use them as hummus dippers. Make an egg burrito. Replace bread in a turkey sandwich. They’re fantastic and have crazy amounts of fiber. I found them at Kroger, but they’re in most stores, I think. They’re with the shelved tortillas, not the refrigerated ones.

My friend Kate always used to say “hummus is yummus.” I’ve adopted that, too. Lately I’ve been using hummus as a snack (in one of the yummy tortillas), in place of mayonnaise in sandwiches and as a dip for raw veggies.

I’ve been a cardio fool lately. Jessica, my trainer, was at the beach last week, so I took advantage of more cardio classes. Every day last week I did hard-core cardio, sweated like crazy and felt both exhausted and exhilarated. It’s always a challenge for me to up my cardio, but I’m working on it. I want to challenge myself to try some new things—maybe a spin class.

I think I’ve mentioned that my mom died of melanoma. Family history, coupled with my quick-to-burn fair skin, puts me in the highest risk factor category. My friends are probably rolling their eyes reading this, because I’m constantly on sunscreen police duty. No matter your skin tone, your age or how much of a tan you’re hoping to get, sunscreen is your friend. Always. Winter, spring, summer or fall.

P.S. If you're a Children's staff member, come say hi, grab some goodies and sign up for some giveaways at my 100-pound milestone party at 12:30 p.m. this Thursday, May 26, in Classroom 5 of the Learning Services Building of the Children's Office Park. Hope to see you there.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Short side

Sometimes I feel I’ve come so far—not just in my weight loss, but in my never-ending battle of self-image. I realized last week just one thing, however unexpected, can set me reeling.


That’s right. Tiny pants. A small item of clothing that barely takes any space in my closet managed to take a ridiculous amount of space in my head last week.

It’s been getting hotter. My too-big yoga pants have seen better days, so I set out to buy a few new things to wear for my workouts. I bought a pair of shorts that I didn’t think were so bad, and thought the reduction of the heat could trump any amount of self-consciousness I would feel.

Boy was I wrong.

I first wore those shorts for a session with my trainer, Jessica. I caught one glimpse of myself in the mirror—in my shorts and tank top—and realized the image I saw so didn’t match the one I had in my head. I was horrified.

Here I am, lifting weights, doing push-ups, squats, lunges, etc. And all I could concentrate on was my appearance. I turned decidedly away from the mirror to avoid the cellulite on my legs and the rolls on my stomach. I was so distracted by those images that I really struggled through my workout. And it brought me to tears.

How silly I am, but also how human. I long to be the girl who doesn’t care what she looks like. Who can look in the mirror and see beauty when I do. I wish I knew how to change that. I know in some ways it’s gotten better, but when my appearance makes me cry during exercise, well, that’s just a sign of how much farther I have to go.

I vowed not to wear those shorts ever again. Then I changed my mind. I thought maybe it was something I needed to get over rather than ignore. So I wore them again for Cardio Fusion last Thursday. After all, in that room, we have no mirror. But yet again, I was distracted. The shorts stuck to my thighs when I did the knee lifts. I heard the slippy sound of the fabric rubbing together as I ran forward. And I was convinced that everyone was disgusted by me.

The truth is that no one cared. My fellow classmates were concentrating on their workouts. No one cares about what I’m wearing or how much my thighs rub together.

I just wish I didn’t care so much.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Biscuit bliss

This weekend I took on a new challenge in my weight loss journey—the impromptu road trip.

It’s a time-honored and much-treasured tradition for me, dating back to my college years. What’s better than a friend suggesting a destination and everyone hopping in the car, giddy with anticipation?

Back in the day, my road trip essentials included Doritos, Mountain Dew, candy bars and fast food. By the time I’d get to my location, I’d be stuffed with processed food.

Some of my best friends came into town last Thursday from Jacksonville, Fla. We went to see a band play Thursday night, but misjudged the time and missed half the set. So we decided to head to Nashville where they’d be playing the next night. So fun.

I was aware of my food—for the most part. On the way there, we stopped at a gas station or two. I tried to be somewhat healthy—buying peanut butter crackers and string cheese.

When we got there, we went to an early dinner, and I had salad. Still pretty OK. After the concert, we were all hungry, so I did indulge in a hot dog. But I think overall I could call the day a success.

I can’t say the same about Saturday. Let’s just say what I ate at the Loveless Café stays at the Loveless Café. Oh, who am I kidding? You know I’ll tell you.

So. This place is famous for its biscuits. We’re talking, melt-in-your-mouth, slap-yo’-mama amazing biscuits. I was not about to leave without a biscuit. Or two.

We waited an hour and 20 minutes for a table. By the time we sat down, it was 2:30 p.m. and I hadn’t had anything to eat all day. We literally cheered for our biscuits when our waitress put them in front of us. And let me tell you. They were totally, completely, utterly worth every calorie.

Totally worth it.
See, this is how I try to live. I’m not going to be “perfect” all the time. Nor do I want to be. How boring would life be? If I had watched my friends oohing and ahhing over those biscuits while I sat there bitterly wanting one, I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself at all.

So I indulged a little. And I am glad I did. I had a loss today. Not a big one, but a loss just the same.

And now I have sweet, sweet memories of biscuits to keep me happy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick mirror check

Having struggled with food issues for years, I’m no stranger to therapy. I’ve done both individual and group counseling and truly believe it has helped me change my life. After all, who couldn’t use an objective person to turn to for advice?

One thing I’ve learned in therapy that has really made an impression on me is the idea of the mirror.

You know how there are times you meet someone and you kind of instantly dislike that person? There’s no particular reason, but there’s something about that person that sparks a negative feeling.

Usually that person—or one of his or her personality traits—is a mirror into your feelings about yourself. What is it about this person you dislike? Is it something that you dislike in yourself? A characteristic you possess that you try to squelch? Maybe someone you fear you have the potential to become?

I’ve had some new insight into that mirror theory lately.

Several people—some friends, some just acquaintances—have started new diets lately. Many of these diets promise to make the person lose 1 to 2 pounds a day. Shakes and injections, special bars and pills. Whatever it takes.

And these diets are working. Good for them, right?

So why does it bother me so much to read about some of these people’s successes? I should be happy for them, no? They are becoming healthier. Losing weight, feeling better about themselves. It’s what I’ve been trying to do for a year and a half now.

Is it jealousy? Is it a superiority complex because I think I’ve done this the “right” way?

I think it goes back to that mirror. A hundred pounds ago, I would have done anything to be where I am now. I didn’t think it was possible. But I still would have tried—and I probably would have failed. In these people I see myself. Except they’re succeeding where I could not.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This is not a judgment about people who use different means to lose weight. This is a reflection of myself. I think part of this actually is a jealousy thing. I watch the weight fall off some of these people. They’re rapidly catching up to me. What took me a year is taking them mere months, and I get a little envious. My friend compared it to reading War and Peace versus reading the CliffsNotes. I guess I always have taken satisfaction in finishing a ginormously thick book.

At the same time, I would not have traded the perspective I have gained for anything in the world. I truly believe I have changed my life. And for me, because of my issues with food, I don’t think that would have been possible if I had done this any other way.

So congratulations to all of you who have made strides toward getting healthier, whether you’ve read the CliffsNotes or read the entire book.

I’ll just be over here analyzing my mirror.