Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 Pounds Down

I hit 180 pounds on August 8th 2013.  This was the first time that I actually felt like I had achieved something.  I was feeling much better and I was once again excited to be losing weight and motivated to continue to do so.  I was back on track!  When I reached this milestone this is what I wrote:

"These last ten pounds were much harder to lose.  I stalled at 183.5 for over a month due to Julia's wedding and my birthday.  I also pulled a muscle in my lower back fairly early on which made it almost impossible to exercise.  I am at the point now where if I eat something unhealthy I feel sick the rest of the ady.  We went to Red Robin and I ate half a hamburger and felt so sick to my stomach!  Eating healthier is so much better, I don't crave greasy food (Sugar? Yes. Pizza? Yes. but French Fries and hamburgers, etc. No)  So I'm making progress.  When I eat right I feel good, and I have more energy.  The stairs in my house don't seem like an impossible task anymore.  Being sleep deprived from Chloe means I am still tired a lot, but eating well helps a lot.  Also, if I limit my splurging on sugar to one day a week it helps me stay on track and to not feel deprived.  I can't wait until I am 170!  I am going to make sure I reach that next goal faster than this last one."

So as you can see I had a lot of good ideas once I reached this weight, and I was preparing to make my big discoveries about eating healthier and going on my sugar free challenge.

Here is a picture for you.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My One Month Plateau

So if you look at my weight tracker you will notice that starting at June 30th I plateaued for 4 weeks. (5 if you count the week it took me to get back to my weight at the beginning of the plateau)  In the long run it doesn't seem like a very long time, but when you are in it, it seems to last forever.  I know exactly why I plateaued.  It's because I stopped trying.  I stopped tracking my points and I didn't care to eat smaller or healthier portions and I was consuming as many desserts as I possibly could.  This lasted pretty much from my sister's wedding to my birthday, and it happened right on cue.  The last two times I started weight watchers I didn't make it past four months.  I would do really well tracking for about three months, and then the novelty would wear off and I would get tired of tracking and think that I could do it without tracking and so for the fourth month I would not track and eventually I would stop weight watchers all together.

So I hit 183 and I was able to squeeze into my bridesmaid dress and since I had been feeling a lot of pressure and anxiety over fitting into the dress, my weight loss came to a screeching halt.  For the next month I really didn't care much about what I ate.  Combine that with the fact that I pulled a muscle in my back and wasn't working out because it hurt, and you have a recipe for weight gain disaster!  We had a lot of left over wedding cupcakes and I think I ate half of them!  Then of course my birthday was coming up and I had to have Ice cream and cake..... several times.  Lets not forget the pizza!  So as you can see in my weight tracker, I went all the way back up to 187.

So what was different this time around than the last times.  Why didn't I just stop all together?  Well the first real motivation was that I hadn't even reached the weight that I had attained after Lily was born.  My lowest weigh in with Lily was about 170.  I had a very strong desire to reach this weight again.  So I picked a date: the day after my birthday.  For the end of June and through July 20th I could eat whatever I wanted, but I knew that the day after my birthday I was going to get back on track.

This was key.  I think I needed a break that was more or less unstructured so I could decompress after all the freaking out of fitting into my dress.  But picking a date that was not tomorrow, but an actual date in the future that I could think about and know that that is the day I will be getting back on track helped to make it tangible; and I was able to stick to my date instead of saying "oh I'll just get back on track tomorrow."  Which, as we know, tomorrow never comes.

Another motivator for me was that I had been taking pictures of my weight loss every 10 pounds and I made a chart that showed my weight loss progression thus far.  I had four pictures on it: My pregnancy photo, my start photo, 200 pounds and 190 pounds.  Before my plateau I was only three pounds away from being able to take another photo and continue my chart.  This was actually a huge motivator for me since I really wanted to put the next picture on my chart and I couldn't do that until I got back on track and reached 180.

After one week I lost 4 pounds since I shed all my food weight I gained from my birthday and such.  Most of the weight I gained from the last month was not really converted into fat since it hadn't had enough time to sit on me.  So after one week I was back to where I started at the beginning of my plateau, and at the end of two weeks I reached 179.5.  It took me two weeks to lose 3 pounds once I restarted.  That is pretty good since you aren't supposed to lose faster than 2 pounds a week.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Birthday Temptations

Yesterday we had my younger sister's birthday party.  She is officially 15 and learning to drive (Yea!)  However, you know what birthday party's bring.  That's right, cake.  On Saturday, Matt realized we didn't have anything sugary in the house so he asked me to pick something up at the store for him.  Obviously he is not sharing in my no desserts or candy challenge.  He usually eats about two desserts a day, and goes mountain biking once a week, doesn't gain a pound and somehow manages to have extremely muscular legs and very healthy blood work.  Some things just aren't fair.  He tells me that I should be grateful since he is taking care of my portion of dessert for me so that way I don't have to eat it. 

Anyway, this is what I brought home, since he said no to everything else that was for sale at the store.
Chocolate Torte- yes he already ate some by the time I am getting around to writing this post.  Hey! It's been two days.

So now I have a Raspberry Torte in the refrigerator and I am heading off to a birthday party.  Fortunately it is my sister and my family is already well informed of my 30 day challenge (which has somehow turned into 7 weeks instead of 4).  We had a great evening.  Mom and I practiced the new Pampered Chef recipe for the Rockcrok: Cheesy Shells with Sausage for her Pampered Chef show she is having for me in a few weeks.  We are going to make it like the recipe says for the show but for today, we did put low-fat cream cheese in it but we left the cheese out so you could sprinkle it on top, that way you get a little less cheese and can control how much you put in your individual dish.  It's a great way to take a higher fat recipe and cut out a fair amount of the points: keep the cheese or the sauce on the side. 

I was able to eat one small serving and a serving of the roasted vegetables my older sister, Julia brought down.  I wasn't full but I wasn't hungry for the rest of the day either.  It was much less than I thought I needed to eat and I was just fine!  Just another testament to how my body no longer needs the same amount of food I was giving it before, but my brain still thinks it does.  I will have to see what I can find about re-training your brain.

Chase loves red velvet cake so this was our birthday cake (red velvet cupcakes).  Surprisingly, she didn't want any of the leftover cupcakes so guess who got to take home the extras!  Fortunately Julia took two of them to take to work (almost everyone in my immediate family has joined me in my quest to eat healthier.  Now most of them already ate healthy, but I think I just reignited the fire and their determination to continue eating healthy, so most of them don't want left over cake hanging around.)  So with no one else wanting left over cake, Matt claimed the extras, so I now have this sitting on my counter.
I just have to tell myself that it's not as good as it looks- like those misleading cakes in Korea- they looked oh so good, but tasted terrible like the Koreans left out all the sugar!
In addition to all of that, my older sister Julia also bought a Halloween gift for the girls.  She knows someone who makes their own candy, which is pretty cool, and I am all about supporting home business and small business.  Of course it just has to be something I am trying to avoid.  So I just tell myself that these are not for me, they are for the kids.  Now I just have to regulate their consumption of sugar.  What I don't want to do is push sugar on everyone else in an attempt to rid myself of the stuff.  But this is super cute, they are like chocolate suckers.
Repeat: not for me, not for me, not for me
So now my house has gone from being sugar free- to sugar overload!  And Halloween hasn't even arrived yet!  At least I have a plan for the Halloween candy.  First I am going to throw out all the junk candy, you know what I'm talking about- the hard candy that Lily can't eat, and of course those nasty candy sticks that look and taste like chalk.  I will keep all the decent candy and use that as Lily's potty candy and recommence potty training.  We took a break when she decided she didn't want to use the toilet anymore and was wetting herself three times a day.  So at least I will have a plan for that, and since it will be Lily's potty candy that means that the parents (Matt included) need to stay out of it.  Otherwise we won't have anything to bribe her to use the potty with. (I'm sure you've all been there if you have kids in potty training!)

So lets hope my self control is up to the challenge.  It is much easier now to resist these temptations now than it was 5 weeks ago. 

One and a half more weeks left in my Sugar-Free Challenge

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wife = Husband

I am proud to announce that today my weigh in is164 making my total weight loss last week 2.4 pounds!  I am super ecstatic as I am the exact same weight as my husband!  I have been heavier than him since we were married (with the exception of about a one month period of time right before we left for South Korea) and I am very excited that soon I will weigh less than him, which is as it should be!  I made my husband weigh himself this morning too just so I could compare and see where I stood and he weighed in at: 164!   So we are exactly the same, and I am going to work just as hard this coming week so I can weigh less than him next week!

I realized yesterday as I was trying to make sure that I didn't eat too much before my weigh in that I get fuller much faster than I used to.  It takes a lot less food to fill me up now.  Whereas I could eat a whole sandwich, chips, yogurt, and fruit for lunch, yesterday I made some sweet potato fries, Matt ate about 2/3 of them so I had about 1/3 of a single sweet potato and half a tuna sandwich (consisting of tuna, light mayo, pickle, celery, and spinach on top).  And that was enough to fill me up.  I ate a yogurt for snack and I couldn't even finish my whole portion of pasta for dinner. 

I have also learned that my eyes are much bigger than my stomach.  I see smaller portions of food and think "there is no way that is going to fill me up" and then it does!  So I still have some major work to do in retraining my brain.  As the saying goes "My eyes are bigger than my stomach" is too true for me. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Irony of the World

So all week I have been fighting a battle to get some exercise in.  At first I was sick, and then each time I tried, my kids would go to pieces and I would have to abandon my efforts for the day.  Today is the first time all week where my kids were both happy while I started my workout.  So where does the irony come in?  Today is also the day that my energy level is below ground, having attended to the kids 5 times last night, and bruised my tailbone yesterday going down that slide at the Pumpkin Patch with Lily (that slide was dangerous!  Matt hurt his back taking Lily on it, basically you just drop onto your butt....)  Anyway, the kids were great, so I decided to just keep exercising until they started getting cranky.  I figured that at least I am moving even if I don't have much energy to put into it and my dancing is lethargic and sloppy.  Also, squats were killer on my tailbone, because all my weight focused right in that spot.  So my squats were practically nonexistent.  I wish I could say that it got better as time went on but unfortunately that was not the case.  The good news is that I was able to do my entire workout and I figure that is better than doing nothing.

Tomorrow is my weigh in day, so I am trying to eat light today.  I had my classic oatmeal this morning and made a tuna salad sandwich for Matt for lunch along with some sweet potato fries.  I did have a few fries and half of a whole wheat tortilla wrap with tuna salad in it for lunch.  I ate a Greek yogurt for snack and we had mixed vegetables with a pasta that I pulled out of my Weight Watchers cook book for dinner. I kept my portions small.  I have been 164.5 all week and this morning I was 166.2 so I guess that I have gained back my water weight I lost earlier in the day.  I am hoping to be back to 164.5 by tomorrow since that would be so depressing to go all week at a lower weight and then weigh in at almost two pounds more the day it counts.  I will let you know tomorrow what my weigh in is!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Emotional Eater

So Lily decided that she needed to wake up at 5:15 am this morning after going to bed at 9pm last night.  This is not a good set up for the beginning of the day.  Needless to say, she was happy all of two hours before she threw her first tantrum.  She refused several times to go back to sleep and woke Chloe up prematurely so now I had two cranky kids to deal with. It was still pretty early in the morning and my husband was able to take Lily in the morning so I could get some more sleep, so I was feeling frustrated but in control. We were planning on going to a meetup at the library today and that seemed to calm Lily down enough that I could get her dressed and fed.  I am really glad we went because it provided some much needed distraction for me and entertainment for Lily.  I think I did remarkably well staying out of the treats.  Someone brought apples, bless their heart, so that is what I snacked on. Plus there was string cheese so I had one packet of string cheese after Lily asked me to open it and then turned her nose up at it.  Lily of course was all over the chocolate pretzels.  But it was such great fun and I think I am learning some semblance if control. Or maybe it is just that I can't eat sweets right now.... I guess we will find out for sure in two weeks.
Here is a cute photo of Lily Coloring her Monster Picture and drinking her fruit/vegetable juice (just about the only healthy thing she had at the party!)

The afternoon was the real challenge.  Lily fell asleep in the car on the way home but didn't sleep very long. She wanted to be put to bed three times and each time she would just whine and cry in her room after about two minutes.  About 2:40 I decided I needed to exercise since yesterday I was cut short due to Chloe's neediness since she still wasn't feeling good.  So today I got Chloe up from her nap and fed her and made sure she had everything she needed before changing into my exercise clothes.  I put her in her bouncer and she started crying! Well I thought I would start my first song since she usually calms down once the music is playing.  No sooner had I selected my dance playlist than Lily, who had been playing outside, starts screaming.  She had fallen down and skinned her knee! So I had to put a band aid on and make sure she was feeling better.  I gave her a chocolate which cheered her up and started my first song.  Half way through Lily finished her chocolate and started crying again and rolling around the living room floor getting under my feet. So I paused it after my first song and Lily asked to go to bed. So I put her to bed running up and down the stairs three times since she had left her favorite blanket and then teddy bear downstairs.  All the while Chloe is crying in the bouncer because she continually sees me leaving her.  Finally having Lily put to bed I started my second song thinking Chloe would calm down after I started again.  Not so!  Chloe cried through the whole second song! So I pit her back to bed when the second song was over and got Lily out of bed who by this time was screaming her head off.  Back downstairs with. Lily on the couch with her favorite blanket and teddy bear I started my third song and again about half way through, Lily starts crying.  I finished the song and Lily decided she wants some apple juice. So I went to get her some juice and while I was in the kitchen she decided to turn my game off!  Effectively making me lose my place in my routine and having to start over. I told her she didn't get her apple juice now because she was not supposed to touch the iPad while I am using it (she knows this but usually ignores this rule).  So of course she starts screaming at the injustice done to her and I went to pick a new routine.  About 10 seconds into it I shut it off because Lily is still screaming bloody murder and I am so frustrated that it just is not fun anymore.  Lily then informs me she wants to watch Kung Fu Panda. So I turn the movie on and retrieve Chloe from her crib who thankfully has calmed down.

It was right about  now that the desire to eat something hit me full force. I wasn't hungry but I wanted to eat so bad that I went into the kitchen fed Chloe some cheerios and chocolate chips.  Upon realizing that my fruit I bought yesterday is not yet ripe and not wanting to eat another apple, I cooked Chloe's acorn squash.  I hung around the kitchen for another ten minutes before realizing that I wanted to eat because I was so frustrated with the kids and upset that once again this week I was unable to exercise.  I have clocked about 35 minutes of exercise this week due to sickness and kids.  Normally I have two hours in by now.

Since I couldn't eat anything sweet due to my challenge and I can't eat junk food since I have all my points tracked for the day, I finally admitted defeat and left the kitchen without eating anything at all.

The rest of the day has not been any less frustrating but at least Lily should go to bed early tonight.  I also realized how deeply embedded emotional eating is in my brain.  I now have a new topic to research since this is yet another issue I will have to overcome in my quest for a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight and keep it off for good.  If I emotionally eat junk every time I get upset that alone could sabotage the remainder of my weight loss and weight maintenance when that time come.  Because, lets face it!  Life is stressful, and I have known for a long time that I turn to sweets and sugar when I get upset, frustrated, or overwhelmed.  I have thought twice today that I would like to just go take the kids out to Yo Yogurt just so I could relax and calm down, and Lily really likes Yo Yogurt!  But I can't because I am off sugar for 37 days!  (Actually if you count the two weeks before the Harry Potter Party it adds up to 51 days).  So then I am thinking where else could I go?  And you know what.... I couldn't think of a single place to go that didn't involve high fat and high carb pastries, hot chocolate, or ice cream.  Goodness!  This is what my brain thinks when I get stressed?  No wonder why I am overweight and out of shape.  Well, these are the things we need to change, and I am working very hard to change and become a healthier, thinner, more energetic, and happier version of myself.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Sister's Wedding

My sister was married July 12th this year!  Congratulations!  But this meant photographs, and bridesmaids dresses.  When I was thinking of this at 227 pounds, I cringed in horror at what I would look like on the wedding day, being the heaviest person in the bridal party, and I wouldn't be able to avoid getting my picture taken this time.  Not only that, but these pictures would find their way into permanent photo albums, and plastered all over Facebook.  That was an embarrassment I could do without.  So I set a goal before Chloe was even born to weigh 175 by the wedding.  It was a lofty goal but at the time I was overly optimistic.  That would be 35 pounds in only 5 months (or 52 pounds in 6 months if you start counting at 227 instead of 211).  So I bought a size 12 dress thinking I would work to fit into it.  I was about a size 16 when I first tried on the dress, and thought that losing two dress sizes wouldn't be too hard.  After all, that was an average of about two pounds a week.  Having done this multiple times I should have been prepared for the plateaus and pit falls that I would encounter, and since I was breast feeding I couldn't do anything too extreme otherwise it might mess up my milk production. 

This actually proved to be good motivation for me.  Every time I fell off track or was tempted to give up, I would look at my size 12 dress and freak out that it wouldn't fit for the wedding.  On the wedding day I made it to 183 pounds.

That is me walking down the isle with Levi, one of my sisters friends and one of the Groomsmen.
As you can see in this picture I did end up making it into the dress, but barely!  It was quite a task to get it zipped up!  (It was a combined effort between my mom and Chase, my younger sister.)  If I didn't have to wear a nursing bra with it I am sure that it would have fit a little bit better.  But I was proud of the hard work that I did to get to that point.  It was a glorious wedding, and a lot of fun too, even though I couldn't move my arms too much or my dress would become dis-proportioned because it was too tight!
Here is a picture of all us brides maids and my beautiful sister, Julia, right in the middle!  I am all the way to the right.  My skinny mini younger sister is right next to me.

And here is a picture of my whole family.  As you can see, I am the heaviest person in my family even after the weight I have lost.  Well, we are changing that!  Soon I will fit right in :-)

                  Photo courtesy of Jessica Leavitt Photography
And you can see my husband all the way on the left holding cute baby Chloe, and of course my red headed Lily!  (My husband couldn't gain a pound if he wanted to.  He just burns off all the extra calories while he is sleeping!  He is like a little furnace at night, it is crazy and totally unfair.)

In addition to the weight I lost, I thought I did a pretty great job on my hair and makeup.  Thankfully my good friend Casey VanWagenen taught me how to do my makeup just a year ago, so I don't look like a clown.  Trust me, before that it was bad news if I ever got a hold of makeup.  Normally I just didn't wear makeup, it had never been that important to me so I never bothered to learn how to actually apply it in a flattering manner.  What resulted when I actually took the time to apply makeup closely resembled something out of a Tim Burton movie:

Okay, I am just kidding on that one, but trust me, it didn't look elegant and it didn't look natural.  So thank you again to Casey for being kind enough and loving me enough to actually tell me that I was a disaster and then teach me the proper methods and colors for my complexion and my face.  Here are some good pictures of me and my beautiful sisters!
Me and Julia

Me and Chase-not too sure what is up with the look on my face
Photos courtesy of Jessica Leavitt Photography
I also thought that for someone who knows less about doing hair than doing makeup, it came out looking nice!  You can see my hair better than my makeup in that photo.   Here is a photo of us skipping down the Isle.  Hurray for the newlyweds!!!! 
Not too shabby :-)

All in all it was a rousing success, I was able to wear my dress, even though it was probably still a size too small for me, I thought I looked at least half way decent!  (Since I have no fashion sense, this is quite an accomplishment for me.  Of course it helps that my clothes and shoes were picked out for me!)

And I have to leave you with just one more photo, because the two girls in this photo are absolutely beautiful!!  My daughter Lily, and my wonderful sister and a wonderful Aunt, Julia.  Happy Wedding, and may God bless you forevermore!

Photo courtesy of Jessica Leavitt Photography

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When Sickness Strikes

In some ways, being sick can actually benefit those trying to lose weight.  If you can't eat anything due to an upset stomach you are bound to decrease in mass.  On the other hand, losing two pounds of water weight in 24 hours like I did due to sickness really is not healthy weight loss.  And when your only exercise consists of your stomach muscles contracting.... well you get the idea, Not Fun!  Lets just say there are more attractive ways to lose weight.

On Saturday night, I thought I contracted a cold since my head was all stuffed up.  Poor Chloe developed a fever that night as well, so I was up several times taking care of her.  I'm sure we can blame it on the changing weather, and the chilly nights.  Fortunately the girls have space heaters in their rooms to keep them warm at night.  Unfortunately, we do not.  Not that it would matter anyway if we did since we always leave the door open at night so I can hear when the girls wake up, and I can't sleep with the heater constantly turning on and off throughout the night.  Thankfully, my husband produces enough heat burning off his various desserts to keep the bed quite toasty.  However, that does nothing for my head, which is subject to all kinds of chilly weather during the wee hours of the morning.

On Sunday, I stayed home with Chloe all day, but ate normally.  I did quite a bit of resting since I didn't feel very well myself and was quite weak.  Monday was the real kicker.  Where I thought I had a simple cold, now I am thinking I have the flu with stomach cramps that rendered it nigh impossible to even sit up.  This is when I lost all of my water weight through various and sundry methods which need not be detailed out.  Thankfully by noon my stomach stopped hurting and I could move again.  This was a blessing since I had largely been ignoring Lily, and Chloe would cry if she was not being held; so Chloe and I were lying down together on the floor and Lily had free reign of the I Pad and any movies she desired to watch.

My total food consumption for this day consisted of about 10 saltine crackers, one Honeycrisp apple, one slice of deli sliced turkey, and some applesauce For a grand total of about 9weight watchers points. (mostly due to the high point value of saltine crackers)  That is actually pretty good all things considered.

Last night an amazing event took place in our house: Chloe slept through the night!  Wahoo!  I was very surprised since she still has a fever of 100.5 this morning.  But I was able to get some much needed sleep and I feel much better this morning.

I was able to eat my oatmeal (1 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats NOT instant) and drink my milk (5 points for the oatmeal, one for the tbsp of brown sugar to flavor it, (I also put in a dash of cinnamon for flavor and since cinnamon is a fat-burning spice it just makes sense!) and then one point for half a cup of milk = 7 points for breakfast).   For lunch I ate a can of the Light Progresso Chicken and Dumpling canned soup endorsed by weight watchers since I haven't been to the grocery store yet this week and I am not feeling up to making anything.  That was 4 points.  I am supposed to make Beef and Broccoli stir fry (5 points) for dinner with biscuits (3 points per small biscuit).  But Beef and Broccoli doesn't sound too appetizing.  I will have to think up something easier on the digestion.  I might be sending Matt to the store to get something.  I will have to make sure I get to the grocery store tomorrow, we are out of everything!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weight Tracker

I decided to post my weight tracker so that you can see the weekly progress that I have made and relate some of the blog posts to dates and weigh ins so you have a better idea of the whole picture and where I was at the time.  So here it is from the beginning!

Jan 15th          227        Chloe is born
Feb 17th:        211.2     start
Feb 24th:        206.4     -4.6
March 3rd:      203.3     -3.1
March 10th:    202.2     -1.1
March 17th:    201.7     -.5
March 24th:    200.8     -.9
March 31st:    198.2     -2.6
April 7th:        200.2    +2
April 14th:      195.5     -4.7
April 21st:      194.7     -.8
April 28th:      192.9     -2.5
May 5th:        193.3     +.4
May 12th:      189.8     -3.5
June 2nd:       185.4     -4.4
June 9th:        Skipped- shame on me
June 16th:      184.7     -.7
June 23rd:      184       -.7
June 30:         183.4    -.6
July 7th:         183.4      0
July 14th:       185.2     +1.8
July 21st:       187        +1.8
July 28th:       183        -4
August 4th:    181        -2
Aug 11th:      179.5     -1.5
Aug 18th:      180        +.5
Aug 25th:      178.4     -1.6
Sep 1st:         178.1     -.3
Sept 8th:       176.1     -2
Sep 15th:      176.6     +.5
Sep 22nd:     173.3     -3.3
Sep 29th:      173.1     -.2
Oct 6th:        170.9     -2.2
Oct 13th:      168.4     -2.5
Oct 20th:      166.4     -2
Oct 27th       164        -2.4
Nov 3rd       161.6     -2.4
Nov 10th      160.5     -1.1
Nov 17th      159.2     -1.3
Nov 24th      158.5     -.7
Dec 1st         159.0     +.5
Dec 8th         154.3    -4.7
Dec 15th       153.7    -.6
Dec 22nd      152.3   -1.4
Dec  29th      154.5   +2.2
Jan 5th          153     -1.5
Jan 12th        150.4   -2.6
Jan 19th        152.1   + 1.7
Jan 26th        153.7  + 1.6
Feb 1st         153.4  -.3
Feb 9th         151.2  -2.2
Feb 17th       149.9 -1.3

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20th Weigh In

I was pretty nervous for today's weigh in since we went to the Hu Hot Mongolian BBQ earlier this week and of course I pigged out, I didn't have to eat dinner that night but I am sure I way over ate my points.  However, I was good the rest of the week and my persistence paid off.  I am proud to say this morning I weighed in at 166.4, losing two pounds last week!  Woo hoo!  I am hoping that I am able to keep this up and hit my goal of weighing 150 by New Years Day.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

20 pounds gone

My first official weigh in of 190 was on May 12 2013 and Man! was I excited.  I was able to go out and buy new clothes because my pregnancy clothes were finally getting lose on me.  Anyone who has gone through pregnancy knows the feeling of finally discarding your pregnancy clothes and getting back to normal clothes.  Except in my case, I didn't have any clothes to fit back into since I go through pants very quickly, I didn't have any to wear.  So I was able to go out shopping!  Yeah for shopping ;-)  I bought a couple new pairs of pants and some shirts.  I was able to squeeze myself into a size 16.  The largest size I have ever worn.  I don't even want to think about what size I would be wearing when I was up at 211.

When I hit 190 this is what I wrote about the way I felt "I love Zumba!  I can finally make it through the day without feeling like I need a nap.  Taking Lily to the park and doing routine tasks are much easier.  I feel better and need to focus on eating healthy.  A new haircut for summer makes me feel cool!" 

This is when I cut my hair, and it was a part of my "feeling the need to improve" movement. (Read about that post HERE)  Cutting my hair short made it super easy to take care of, and it was so nice not to have to deal with hair in my face all the time.  Here is the picture that I almost forgot to take.  Fortunately, Matt is much more on top of things than me and he took a picture of me while we were on our vacation out to Ouray.
My hat covers my face, and you can't see my awesome new haircut, but beggars can't be choosers! (Or procrastinators might be more accurate)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sugary Progress

Only 12 days left in my 30 day challenge to abstain from sugary food.  There have been some trying days this week.  I made Matt brownies earlier in the week on a day when I was not tempted to eat them.  However, the next day I found extremely difficult to stay out of them, especially when I gave a little piece to Lily wand was letting Chloe taste some as well.  When Lily did not eat all of her piece I found myself starring down at this delicious chocolatey brownie oozing with chewy goodness.  Just one little piece couldn't hurt could it?  That sweet sweet chocolate was singing my name.  Reaching deep down inside my soul and finding some long lost self control and sense of purpose I forced myself to throw the rest of her piece away (it was rather small or I would have kept it for a later day).  Reveling in my victory, I moved on with my day.

Today I had another challenge when I went over to my in-laws.  My Sister-in-Law, Emily, decided that Lily needed a cookie.  Now this wasn't a small kids size cookie, this cookie was about the size of her face! 
Emily took a picture of her and as predicted it showed up on Facebook!  

 Of course, she couldn't finish such a ridiculously sized cookie in one sitting, and of course she left it on her plate which was sitting right next to me as I was finishing my salad.  Now, salad is good (especially my salad :-)  but chocolate chip cookies are... well... chocolate chip cookies.  And of course I just had to give Chloe a piece.  Soooooo tempting to just pop a chunk of it into my mouth.  You would think that this would get easier, but sugar has a hold on me and is reluctant to let go.  However, I scored myself another victory for this week as I refrained from eating said cookie and proceeded to put the cookie in a bag for Lily to eat later (she found it during my Zumba workout, good for her!  Now I don't have to watch her eat it and I am preoccupied).

All my victories must be making me feel pretty confident because today I realized that my challenge will be over the day before Halloween.  This is a very dangerous time for me with all the candy around and I have been making such great progress that I do not want to blow all my hard work by giving in to junk candy on Halloween.  So I decided to extend my challenge by a week.  Yes, that is right.  One more week to carry me through Halloween to make sure I don't undo all of my hard work.  Then when the time comes I will decided how to introduce it back into my life slowly.  I can't banish it forever, and the only reason why I have been doing so good is because I know it is only for a little while, and I will be able to have it again.  But I need to learn control, and portion sizes.  But I don't have to think on that until November 6th.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

For Love of Zumba

While reading through other weight loss blogs and testimonials I noticed one thing that they all seemed to share: Running.  Everyone who lost weight seemed to pick up a healthy habit of running to go with it.  This was a problem because I hate running.  Now I know there is a difference between running at 200 pounds and running at 125, but I used to do Cross Country in High School (because it was the only sport I couldn't get cut from) when I weighed 135, and I didn't like it then.  I hated how I would always dry heave after each race and I hated the way it felt when I was running, and besides that I developed a really bad case of the shin splints my first year and managed to pull  both of my calf muscles my second.  No, running is not for me and I can't believe that you have to run to lose weight.  This post addresses how I found my exercise passion, and let me tell you: It is not running.

Sometime around the 200 pound mark I realized that I needed to start exercising.  I didn't have access to a gym since I couldn't afford the monthly fees plus childcare.  I have never been too good at sticking to exercise DVDs, even ones that I enjoy.  Exercising with two young children around was perplexing, and I was not sure how to do it.  I remembered that I enjoyed Zumba classes after Lily was born, but I couldn't afford classes and Matt was gone most nights so he couldn't watch the kids while I went to classes anyway.  So I was back at square one. 

When I first started exercising, I did my 20 minute Zumba express video and that killed me!  I could hardly make it the whole 20 minutes.  I knew I had to start somewhere though, and I might as well start with what I had: the DVDs and do that until my attention turned elsewhere.  I invited my younger sister Chase over to do the video with me and that was even more fun.  Chase has Zumba Core on the Wii and my excitement over starting to exercise won her over and she started doing Zumba with renewed vigor.  At home I tried to do my Zumba when at least one of my kids (usually Lily) were taking a nap, and this worked until Lily decided that she didn't need to nap anymore, but that comes later.

Realizing I was missing out on all the fun over at my parents house I started heading over to Zumba with Chase once a week.  The first time I went, we exercised for almost a whole hour and I thought I was going to die!  My legs didn't want to cooperate and I was so tired and just felt like I had absolutely no energy.  But I persevered and forced myself to finish the workout, even though I am sure I didn't  have very good form, at least I was still moving. 

Since I am a gamer a heart, I slowly began to increase my stamina by playing the game and exercising off of you tube videos of Zumba Core Wii songs.  I would put Chloe in her bouncer and she was just the perfect angel.  She would sit quietly in her bouncer or bounce herself in time to the music.  Lily on the other hand could be a challenge.  When I first started doing Zumba with Lily awake, she was interested and would dance with me almost the whole time I was exercising.  Having her run around my feet did make it harder to exercise but at least she was happy.  Not every day was perfect though, some days I had to stop in the middle of my exercise because Lily was being too difficult and needed some more attention; sometimes Lily would go outside and play while I finished my exercise.  Other times Lily would fall off our wall in the back yard and I would have to stop for the day, but I always went back another day.  I never gave up, I never said "it's just too hard to exercise at home with two young children".  Every now and then I still have to stop in the middle of a workout because Lily gets into trouble or needs attention.  Chloe is still the perfect angel, hanging out in her bouncer enjoying the music.  If Chloe gets fussy it usually means she wants to go to sleep so I will put her to bed and then go finish my exercise. 

Then came the fateful day that all the videos I had been using on YouTube were taken down, probably due to copy right infringements.  For the next few weeks I floundered in my exercise as I tried to do my DVDs or go to my parents to use the Wii, but my parents and Chase were so busy with different activities I rarely was able to come over before the kids bed time. 

Finally, near my birthday (July 20th) Zumba finally came out with a game app for the I Pad.  I was ecstatic and immediately bought the app and all the songs as my birthday present.  This was revolutionary for me.  I loved the songs, and since it was a game it was so easy for me to go back to it again and again.  I loved learning the new songs, and seeing many of the songs I loved from Zumba Core.  I loved picking and choosing songs and doing them in the order that I wanted to.
iPad Screenshot 2

In fact I still use this app today to get most of my exercise in!  However, I really wanted to go to a live class.  So I found a dance studio called "Springs Salsa and Dance" and when I found out they have monthly Friday Night Live classes that are 90 minutes long and only $5 per person I begged Matt to go, and he lovingly obliged.  Here is a picture of me at my first Friday Night Live Dance (honestly I can't believe I am claiming this picture, I think I look awful and I have a stupid expression on my face, but oh well).  I am in the hot pink shirt right in the middle of the photo.

I believe I am somewhere in the 190s in this photo.
I had such a great time, and my inner fire for Zumba was blazing.  I decided then and there that I was going to become a Zumba Instructor no matter what it took!  (which would be a lot of exercise and healthy eating!)  I absolutely love Zumba, I love to dance, I love the music and it makes me feel good and happy.  If I am having a bad day I can do Zumba to cheer me up, or I don't feel too good, it is usually because I need to Zumba. 

For a former exercise avoid-er, feeling this inner fire and love for exercise is entirely new.  Now I believe that everyone who is looking to lose weight and doesn't like to exercise just needs to find the right form for them.  There is so much more out there than running!  For $30 (the cost of the app) I now have endless hours of Zumba exercise and classes right at my fingertips.  I know many people choose running because its free, you can just step outside and go running.  But guess what, I have two kids, and I can't just step outside and go running.  You can do a step class, take up spinning, body pump, whatever lights your inner fire and gets you moving!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Half Way There

I hit a major landmark today, one that I have never before made it to: the half way mark.  At 168.4 pounds I have lost 43.5 pounds coming down from 211.  Now I have 43.5 pounds more to go to make it to 125.  I have now entered uncharted territory and I am very excited to finally be on the back side of this journey.  I dropped out of the obese phase and I am working my way day by day into the healthy weight range.  I have not been at a healthy weight for eight years.  Eight years ago I was 145, and that is the very peak of my healthy BMI range (which means I really should be less than that since I am a girl without a lot of muscle).  I am coming down with a new perspective on weight, and health.  Rewiring my brain to think positively about my body and about myself is ongoing and one of the single most difficult tasks that I have undertaken in this journey. 

Since I was 11 years old I have told myself that I am fat, and disgusting.  Insulting myself on a daily basis I have cultured a negative self image and low self esteem.  I have often wondered over the past few years why I have this feeling of unhappiness when everything in my life really is going well.  I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters, we just bought a new home.  We do have some financial struggles but that isn't the end of the world.  There is plenty to eat (obviously or I wouldn't have this blog!) and life is going well.  I realize now, my constant stream of insults I give myself each morning as I look in the mirror is the culprit. 

To change the way I think seems almost impossible, because I can't just start complimenting myself or I will just roll my eyes and in the back of my mind is my inner critic saying "yeah right, you don't really believe that".  So I need to start out slow, making positive statements that I actually believe such as: I have more energy today than I use to, I am looking better, I can make it up and down the stairs several times without getting winded!  I can go from the basement to my bedroom without running my legs burning from the stress!  Hallelujah!

Half way there, and I have made many changes, but my journey is not over.  I am a little nervous entering this next phase, wondering if it will be harder to lose this half of the weight, but also excited because now I get to burn off the pounds that will carry me to my goal.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Remembering the first 10 Pounds

Ten pounds down and 75 more to go!  The first ten pounds is definitely a mile marker, it is the first sign of success and reaching that weight gave me a feeling of empowerment and renewed excitement.  Now the first ten pounds is pretty easy to lose, I think I lost five pounds the first week just from water weight and excess food weight.  But it was still a victory and set the ball in motion for future success.  I joined Weight Watchers February 17th 2013 at 211 and I hit 200 March 24th 2013, about one month and a week.  Based on what I said above, it took me about a month to lose the last five pounds and this is what I had to say when I jotted down how I felt at 200 pounds:  "Time to start exercising.  I need to figure out how to exercise with two kids around.  Feeling like I have a lot of areas to work on and like I need to spend more time with Lily.  I have lost all baby related weight and I am now entering the hard-core weight loss zone."
So although I was feeling some excitement, I was also feeling very nervous about my future weight loss, anticipating that it was going to be much harder from here on out now that I would be losing fat and not excess baby gunk.  *Deep Breath* I survived though, and plowed on through and continued to try my best.  The hardest part now that I was cleared for exercise was how to do it.  Without a gym membership I was lost.  I had two small kids at home and how was I supposed to fit in an hour of exercise two kids that I couldn't even get to nap at the same time?  That is a blog post for another time and in fact you can read about it HERE (not yet linked, post coming soon).

Remembering the first 10 pounds I lost reminds me of where I have come from and reaffirms my dedication to continue on this journey and reach my goal.  I don't ever want to go back to the way I felt, hardly being able to get up the stairs to the bedrooms in my house, having no energy to play with the kids, park days were miserable for me because I had to move around so much!  Those pounds are gone for good, I am looking forward with renewed devotion to my 30 day challenge and learning how to eat healthy. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Split Pea Soup and Other Stories

For as long as I can remember, two things immediately come to mind when I hear "Pea Soup".  The first being "Peeea Sooooup" from The Rescuers Down Under and the second, this overwhelming feeling that pea soup is going to be gross.  In my effort to provide myself with nutritious and easy lunches, I came across a split pea soup recipe in my new Weight Watchers cookbook, the first few times I glossed over it, but then I caught myself wondering why I thought split pea soup sounded so unappetizing.  I have never tried it, in fact I didn't even know what split peas were or if they were the same as regular peas.  Turns out split peas are classified as legumes and peas are vegetables. Split peas are starchier and have been dried, but it seems that they come from the same plant.  Anyone who knows otherwise is welcome to correct me in the comments section for this post.  So I bravely made my pea soup and hoped that I was going to like it because it made eight- 1 Cup servings.  After soaking my peas for an hour and letting my soup simmer for another hour (turns out it takes a loooong time to cook split peas) I successfully completed my soup and was ready to try it.
I honestly had to brace myself and force myself to take the first bite, so engrained in my mind that I wasn't going to like it.  After a few bites, I decided it was better without the cheese and took the cheese out of my soup.  It tasted beanie.  It was okay, not great but not as bad as I thought.  Actually the second day it was much better and by the third day I was thinking that I would make it again!  Time must have allowed the flavors to mix, either that or it was an acquired taste. Either way, Chloe loved it from the get go!
Lily on the other hand, my picky eater, didn't want anything to do with the mysterious green soup and asked repeatedly if we could make strawberry pancakes, an idea she has been obsessing over since watching an episode of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" where they make strawberry pancakes.  She was stoked to make them and actually ate almost all of them.  It's pretty rare that Lily actually finishes any of her food.

It must have been a soupy kind of day because I also made some sweet potato soup to go with dinner for the week.  I figured it would make a good side dish to go with most of our meals.  This is about the time Matt decided he wasn't too big on soup and told me he didn't really like soup much.  Talk about timing! Now I have 16 servings of soup and only me and Chloe who will eat it!  So I did the only logical thing, I froze half of each soup for later! 
So now I don't have to make lunch for quite some time and I even have left overs for another day so I don't get too tired of eating the same thing!  I'm going to have to start pulling things out of our freezer now, it's getting quite full with all the frozen meat and veggies and soup that is now in there!

All in all I would call it a success!  Let me know your favorite healthy soups!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feeling the need to Improve

Complacency is not one of my weaknesses.  In fact the exact opposite is true.  I tend to find so many areas of my life that I want to improve on right away that I often get overwhelmed which causes major setbacks in my advancement.  In the middle of February this year 2013, just after Chloe was born I entered one of these restless phases and it hit hard.  It was hardly a month after Chloe was born, I was not yet cleared for exercise and not fully healed from my C-section (I hadn't even made it past the six week mark yet!)  But I became utterly repulsed by my every day activity and had a very strong desire to improve.  I wrote a journal entry on February 14th talking about how I wanted to regain purpose in my life.  I wrote "I feel like the last nine months (pregnancy) and the arrival of Chloe has thrown everything upside down and everything is so mixed up I don't even know where to start to pick up the pieces and put my life back together in a meaningful way."  Just to give you a tad bit of insight, my pregnancies leave me very sick and excruciatingly exhausted.  When I was pregnant with Chloe my husband thought I had major depression because I would just lye on the couch all day while Lily watched movies or played with the I-Pad.  I'm talking Zero energy.  So for nine months my life was on hold and by this time I was ready for something to change.

I am sure many people have gone through similar crisis-es.  Feeling like your whole world has fallen apart or that life has just gotten away from you.  I remember making several lengthy lists of different areas in my life that needed improvement.  One such list is as follows: Nutrition and fitness, Family Home Evening, Motherhood (getting Lily off of all the movies I had her watching), Housekeeping, Flute, Craft Time (cross stitch, knitting, crochet), Hair and Clothes, Working part time, Improve Pampered Chef Business, and the list goes on.  Now my problem is that I wanted to tackle all of these categories at once and I wanted to be perfect in all of them right away.  I immediately wanted to be Super Mom who does crafts and activities and takes their kids to parks every day, and cook healthy, and exercise, and still have time to practice my flute and do my crafts and immediately change the way I look.  Needless to say, it blew up in my face and after about one week I came to a screeching halt.

What I discovered is that I needed to take a large breath and SLOW DOWN.  I needed to pick just a few things that were really bugging me and change those first, and know that it would take some time.  So I cut my hair short since that was really bothering me, and I focused on nutrition and fitness.  I also thought that getting Lily off of all the TV was very important so I found a site called which offers free Pre-K packs that you can print and they are full of fun activities for toddlers.  I purchased a magnetic white board and a laminater so we could reuse them.

Over time things slowly improved, but I had to set priorities and realize that I couldn't do everything at once.  I had to realize that I am not a college student with no kids, and this is my life now.  Life with two kids is crazy busy but it is also slower.  I do not have time to do a million things.  It is now October and I still have not touched my flute since I made the list.  I have pulled out my knitting once since February when both the girls were in bed and I actually had a little bit of spare energy for it.  I will just have to save those things for a period of my life where I do not need to supervise my kids 24/7.  Maybe once they start school I will rediscover those simple pleasures.  So if you are facing a similar crisis or similar feelings where you think everything in your life needs to change, the first thing you need to do is realize that it can't all change at once.  That is a hard but vital step towards improving.  I am still working on nutrition and fitness, and in fact that one category takes up nearly all of my free time.  I spent the rest of my time just trying to be a good mom.  Lily and I are making Halloween crafts during Chloe's nap time, and we work on the Halloween Pre-K pack together.  I really try to give each child some one on one attention each and every day, but that doesn't mean I am perfect!  Far from it, I still feel the need to improve in each of the areas I listed, but things are better.

As long as I keep working to better myself, keep learning how to be healthy and lose weight, keep trying to be the best mom I can be, then I am a winner.  I recognize that I have progressed and I am better now than where I was.  Take a moment to acknowledge your success.  Celebrate! Then move on and continue doing the best you can and continue working towards your goals.

Setting specific goals is so important.  If you don't have goals then how do you know you have reached what you were trying to attain?  If you just say "I want to be better" then how do you know when you are better?  So here are some of my specific goals.
1.To weigh 150 by January 1st, losing another 20 pounds by the new year
2.To have craft time with Lily every week
3.To read a book a day with Lily
4. To be able to differentiate between healthy foods and unhealthy foods without needing to look them up (to do this I will have to memorize the lists of healthy food choices in each category)
5. Start having a Power Hour once a week in my Pampered Chef Business (once I achieve this, I will increase it to two times per week.)
6. Have Family Home Evening every week, even if it is short.

So there you have it.  What are your goals that you are striving to achieve by the end of the year/month/week?  And remember, you only fail if you stop trying. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Epiphany that is Changing My Life

A little over two weeks ago, I was cruising along feeling like I had my Weight Watchers points under control.  I was routinely eating my daily allowance of points and rarely going over now that I had started my 30 no desserts or candy challenge. (Read about that HERE).  So I was feeling pretty good, until I realized that in just a few short months I would not be nursing anymore.  Already Chloe has increased her food intake and decreased her nursing.  Timidly, I recalculated my points to see how many I would lose if I told Weight Watchers that I was no longer nursing.  Are you ready for the results?................ 7 Points!!!  The day I stop nursing, I will lose 7 points in one day.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with weight watchers, that is a little less than a whole meal.  My sandwiches I make for lunch are usually about seven points.  I was already at the point where I couldn't decrease my food intake without feeling extremely hungry.  Feeling depressed and frightened, I went to look at success stories to see if I could get any help.

One thing I kept noticing was that those who found success claimed that they no longer craved sweets or chips or junk food, but craved vegetables instead, and that they would fill half their plate with vegetables first.  After reading that I looked down at my own dinner plate....... finding nothing but chicken swimming in sauce and noodles.  Now Golden Sauce Chicken is absolutely delicious, but it's not exactly the healthiest food I could make.  And what is more, it seems like my inability to make side dishes has finally caught up with me.  I am really good at cooking the main dish for dinner, but the table is usually bereft of anything else.  It is a rare day that I cook up some vegetables, or anything for that matter, on the side.  So, unless Italian Seasoning counts as a vegetable (which I doubt) I had found one of my problems.  Fruits and most vegetables are 0 points on the Weight Watchers plan, so I knew I had to increase my vegetable consumption, because there was no way I was going to survive if I had to permanently give up seven points in one day!

The time had come, I knew I needed to start cooking and eating healthier.  The problem was, I didn't know how.  All my recipes were around 11 points per serving (which is a lot of points) and I knew I had to completely rethink breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Faced with this daunting task, I went to the only source of information I could think of: my mother.  For as long as I can remember my mother has striven to get the family to eat less junk and to eat more healthy.  Valiant efforts that fell upon deaf ears an unappreciative minds when I was younger.  I told her about my dilemma and my desire to start cooking healthier and that I had bought a new Weight Watchers cookbook to cook out of.  She was elated that I had finally come to my senses, and let me borrow the book that changed her life:
The Eat-Clean Diet: Fast Fat Loss that lasts forever by Tosca Reno

I think she has an updated book out now but this is the one that I have.  Now this is a little deceiving because it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change and that is the first thing that is emphasized: Diets don't work!  Most diets restrict one of the major food groups, which often send your body into starvation mode due to insufficient nutrition. So when you go off of them, you of course gain the weight back and lots more besides (I know this from personal experience) because you have not taught yourself how to properly eat.  The second thing of note is that I personally think it is too strict for this foodie to follow perfectly but this book actual teaches you what to eat and how to eat and how much to eat.  It was a goldmine of information and I took seven pages of notes while reading it!  It also includes some recipes to help you get started. 

For the first time I was paying attention to the categories of food and the food groups and what nutrients come from what food groups.  One of the most important things I learned is that you should always combine protein and carbohydrates every time you eat, whether it be snacks or meals.  Eating protein with your carbs slows down digestion which allows you to feel fuller longer.  There is also a whole chapter on what to eat for breakfast!  Never being an advocate of skipping breakfast, but not being content with cold cereal either, this was a godsend.  Now I eat old fashioned oatmeal with berries (fiber and complex carbs) and a small slice of ham (protein) or egg white scramble (also protein) for breakfast.  Once a week I like to cook something out of my Weight Watchers cookbook for breakfast to mix it up.  I of course make enough for two days.  These recipes are great because the usually combine eggs and vegetables which gives you your carbs and protein.

Lunch is trickier for me since I am used to eating sandwiches for lunch.  Now don't get me wrong, sandwiches can be good but after a while eating the same sandwich every day can get tiresome.  So I have been browsing my cookbooks, and I settled on soup.  Soup is great because you can put so many things into it and it can be made in so many different varieties that it never gets old.  What I have been doing for now is making enough soup to last almost the whole week and portioning it out into one portion containers so I can just grab one out of the fridge for lunch.  So I spend one morning cooking my soup for the whole week!  If I run out, I will have left over dinner or make a sandwich for lunch so I am not eating exactly the same thing every day.  Faced with the challenge of completely redoing every meal I make and everything I eat, this was a simple solution that works for me now.  I am not sure if I will stick with this the rest of my life but for now it works until I can get more used to eating healthier (or eating clean as Tosca calls it).

My dinners need the most work, so I had to pick out the main meals that I wanted plus two sides to go with them.  The first week I was lucky to get one side with each meal, but my goal is to have two healthy sides with each meal.  I succeeded a few days ago when I made chicken, green beans, and quinoa.  It was by far the best, healthiest, and yummiest meal I have ever made.  I was so proud of myself for this creation!
All this food was 12 points.  I was stuffed by the time I finished it.  Compare that to my chicken and noodle dinner from the week before which was 13 points and about half the amount of food. 

I am still working on eating clean, but I have made huge strides.  Part of learning how to feed yourself is learning what foods contain what nutrients.
Complex Carbs: whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables
Essentail Fatty Acids: Olive oil, flaxseed, pumpkin oil, fish oil, grapeseed oil, nuts
Protein: Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Pork, Beef

This is a pretty small list but it is the basics.  I am also learning about portion sizes as one day, after I lose my weight, I would like to sustain my weight loss by myself without having to pay for a Weight Watchers subscription.  Portion sizes and the amount of servings you need each day are essential for me to accomplish this long term goal.

Eat 2-4 servings of starchy complex carbs per day (1 serving = what can fit in one cupped hand)
You need 4-6 servings of fresh produce per day (1 serving = what can fit in two cupped hands)
Eat 5-6 servings of protein per day (1 serving =  what you can fit in the palm of one hand)
Eat 1-2 servings of Essential Fatty Acids per day (1 serving  = about 1 tsp)
In case you are wondering, your starchy carbs are your beans, oats, wheat, brown rice, potatoes

 On Sunday I make my meal plan for the week.  I calculate all the points for everything I am going to make.  I write it all out (this makes tracking during the week ridiculously easy since I have already done all the work).  I plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and both snacks and calculate all the points and add up how many points I am spending each day.  The last two weeks this has taken me about an hour to do since I am so new to eating clean and I don't really know what to eat off the top of my head.  I have to look up everything!  But I have faith that I will get better at it and it will get easier.  This method has been my life support for the past two weeks because everything is already predetermined and I don't have to sit there when I am hungry and wonder "what should I eat now?"  It is already written down and decided, so I will make the healthy choice, and I am focusing on stocking the kitchen and pantry with healthy food choices and I am working on undoing the food damage that I have already done to my almost 3 year old.

I have noticed that already I have passed on my unhealthy lifestyle habits to my oldest daughter.  She will ask for fruit snacks before fruit, prefers soda over water, and wants to eat chips for lunch, and has a sweet tooth to rival mine.  Making these changes now with secure that she has a healthy relationship with food in the future.  I want to teach my kids what I am learning now so that they don't have to struggle with it like I have.  Lily has been resisting, and sometimes just prefers not to eat than to consume the offered food, but then again... she has always been that way ;-)  She is such a picky eater, I am just going to try to turn her into a healthy picky eater instead of a junkie picky eater!

Matt doesn't have any qualms about my new found health streak.  As long as I keep the food coming he pretty much eats whatever I put in front of him.  His biggest complaint is the sudden lack of sweets in the house.  He is used to consuming at least two desserts a day (not that it makes him gain any weight, since he seems to burn it all off while he is sleeping!  He is my personal furnace at night). 

The first week I created my meals I had to go back and add 8 more points to each day!  I feel much better now about the day when I lose 7 points.  I still have a few months to get better at it and to really understand how to better nourish my body.  I probably won't drop all seven points in one day, since I can use my weekly point allowance to help offset some of the points I lost to make a more gradual change.  But I don't feel like the world is going to come to an end.

So here is to healthier foods and re-learning how to feed myself and my family for a happier and healthier and thinner lifestyle! (By the way, my first week eating clean I lost 3 pounds while consuming more food :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My History

I didn't have problems with my weight until I was in 6th grade.  That year my family moved to Arkansas and I was a little sixth grader weighing 100 pounds.  That was 1997-1998 and that was the very first time I went on a diet.  I started the Slim Fast diet to lose weight and substituted my morning and afternoon meals for a slim fast shake.  I remember this being devastating to me since I absolutely loved to eat and I loathed the feeling of being hungry.  As anyone who has been on the Slim Fast diet knows, it is not very satisfying.  Drinking your meals deprives you of the manual process of chewing, which in itself releases releases endorphins.  In addition to this I would run the treadmill for at least 15 minutes a day ( I remember the day my parents took me up to 20 minutes a day and I was so angry at the injustice of having to run an extra 5 minutes.  Oh, how our little minds can blow everything out of proportion).  I would also go out running with my dad.  I can't remember how long I stayed on Slim Fast, I know it wasn't the whole year, but by the time I entered 7th grade I was around 87 pounds.  Of course, being on the Slim Fast diet doesn't teach you squat about how to eat healthy or about portion sizes and I was having a rebellious streak in my desire to get revenge for my parents making me diet.  So I took my allowance and would purchase sweets at school since my mom was on a health kick back home and I of course needed to get my sugar fix.

That lasted all of about two to three weeks as I put on weight fairly quickly and grudgingly admitted to my parents about my secret sugar consumption at school when confronted about it.  So back to the treadmill I went, this time my run was in the morning before I ate breakfast, which as a foodie made me absolutely miserable.  I was used to eating breakfast first thing in the morning and became increasingly more cranky the longer I had to wait.  But I faithfully exercised and my weight stabilized until I hit High School.

My Freshmen year of High School I was 5' 4" (my current height) and weighted 125 pounds (which is my current goal weight), but at the time I of course thought I was fat and wanted to weigh 115 (which looking at the BMI chart would be on the very thin side.  125 is right in the middle).  I had no idea what a BMI was or what all the major food groups were or how to eat healthy, or what a healthy weight was for my height, I just thought I was fat because I had been fat since 6th grade and if I didn't weigh the same as my mom then I was fat.  (My mom is 5' 5" and about 115)  I know I went on several generic diets where I restricted my food intake, but the first fad diet I remember trying is the Atkins Diet, which was all the rage my Sophomore year.  My Sophomore year my weight went up to 135 where it stayed through my Junior year and then after a vacation my weight went up to 145 my Senior year.  All throughout High School I would diet on and off and bemoan the fact that I was fat and gaining weight.  I was in cross country my Sophomore-Senior year (I pulled my calf muscles in my Junior year so I was only the assistant manager for the coach my Senior year).  But I kept on eating too much and always resisted the healthy food that my mom made.  I had a taste for the typical American food: fried, greasy, sweet, and typically unhealthy.  I didn't want to eat baked chicken and vegetables.

So I entered College at 145 and my Freshmen year went up to 155.  I met my now husband my Sophomore year of College at 155 and when he proposed the next year I was 165.  I dieted by restricting my calories and got down to 160 for the vacation to Hawaii my parents planned that year (Christmas 2007). But by the wedding I was back up at 165.

The first three months of my marriage it was over 90 degrees every day and being accustomed to the cooler weather where I live, was unprepared for this heat wave that hit Boulder the Summer of 2008.  Therefore, I spent most of the summer inside in front of the AC and by the fall I was at 175.

That was when I finally learned about BMI and I realized that mine was 30, clinically Obese.  I about died when I learned that and in the spring of 2009 I joined Weight Watchers for the first time.  I tracked my food, and took my portion sizes down, but I did not change the way I ate.  I still ate the same foods, just smaller portions of them.  So I made it to 158 before my husband and I went to go teach English in Korea for a year.  Naturally I went off Weight Watchers because none of the food they eat in Korea is on the Weight Watchers food lists!  I came home from that year pregnant with my oldest daughter Lily and weighing about 190.  By the time Lily was born I was 215 and I decided to try to lose weight again.  I joined Weight Watchers a second time, and made it down to 170 before the holidays hit.  Again I did not change the food that I was eating, just eating less of it and after the first three months the novelty wore off and I started slacking.  I did make it all the way through August before I cancelled my subscription thinking I could do it on my own.  This of course proved to be false.  I gained 15 pounds over the holidays and by that time I was planning on getting pregnant with my second child and was thinking "why bother, if I lose weight now I will just gain it back when I get pregnant again."  So I was 192 when I got pregnant the second time.  At 9 months pregnant with Chloe I was 227, the heaviest I had ever been and absolutely miserable.  Now I was ready to change for good.  So I have joined Weight Watchers for the third and final time, determined this time to change not only how much I eat but what I eat, and make a true lifestyle change once and for all.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pulling My Sweet Tooth

I know this is a long post, but it is a topic that is very important to me and I have thought a lot about over the past several months.

A little over a week ago, I realized that I had a serious problem: I couldn't control myself when it came to sweets.  Every time I am presented with the sweet sweet goodness of cookies, cake, candy, ice cream, etc. I tell myself I will just have a little bit, and then after one bite I am hooked and can't stop myself reaching for my second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth cookie.  I realized a while ago that one of the biggest culprits to my weight gain over the last several years is my sweet tooth, or in my case teeth.  (I think all of my teeth are sweet!)

I have tried time and again to get my consumption of sugar under control to no avail.  First I tried to designate "sugar days" where I would only eat sugary foods on certain pre-determined days.  This failed miserably as I was always thinking of the next time I could eat sugar and since it was always on my mind, when presented with making little chocolates for my sister's wedding one day the temptation was just too much and I gave in. 

So what is to be done about my destructive nature?  How can I get my sugar cravings under control?  This question really hit me hard the day I was craving sugar so badly that I not only ate my seven cookies, but went out to buy a large malt at Gunthar Toodys and proceeded to consume the whole thing myself.  And then of course, later that evening I ate several mini chocolate bars (courtesy of Lily's potty training stash) and naturally I felt so sick to my stomach that I couldn't sleep much that night.  I knew that I had to do something right away, find some way to release this hold that sugar had over me.  I couldn't do moderation due to my complete lack of self control.  I had tried limiting my eating to pre-determined days, and I had even picked a day of the week that was a free day, where I didn't have to count points and could eat whatever I wanted.  But I tended to go so over the top on these days that it often took four days of good behavior to make up for these binge days.  To say the least, it was extremely frustrating working hard for four days just to make up for one bad day.  And my weight loss was crawling, in desperation I did the only thing I could think of: I Googled sugar.

And I found some interesting things, lots of extreme views on completely cutting sugar out of your diet (I'm talking, not consuming ANYTHING with sugar in the label) it was way to strict for me, and the thought of completely kissing sugar goodbye had me rolled into the fetal position rocking myself back and forth.  But I did find some useful information amongst all the extreme views.
1. Sugar had addictive properties
2. Sugar acts like a drug on your body
3. You can get sugar addiction
I knew for a fact that I had sugar addiction, I was acting like a drug addict!  Always thinking to when I would be able to get something sugary to eat, eating desserts and candy earlier and earlier in the day, often now before noon.  Not being content until I had consumed my daily dose of cookies or jelly beans or candy bars and then of course the guild at sabotaging my weight loss was all consuming and I just wanted to crawl back in bed and shut the world out before it learned how much of a failure I was.

This was my frame of thought just three weeks ago, so I decided that I would conquer this once and for all.  I was going to pull my sweet tooth!  Not in the extreme sense of cutting out everything containing sugar, but by simply saying "NO" to desserts and candy, for one month.  I figured if I could completely cut out all desserts and candy for one month, I would purge the cravings from my system and during that time I would focus on eating much healthier.  You can read about my healthier eating habits epiphany HERE.  So I set out immediately, that very day, that very minute to take a month off sugary foods.  This way, I know the answer is always 'no' and I don't have to think about when I can eat them, I just won't do it, like knowing ahead of time you are going to say "no" to smoking or drugs if you are offered them. 
"All you gatta say is NO-O! All you gatta say is NO!"  (10 points for anyone who knows where that song comes from, lets see if anyone else shared the same childhood tapes I did!)

So, the first few days were not as bad as I thought they would be.  I couldn't just throw everything out since my husband and two year old daughter would probably commit mutiny if I did (although if you are living alone this is a great way to start your own quest rid yourself of sugar addiction- just don't have any of it in your house!  If it's not in your house, you can't eat it).  The hardest part was giving jelly beans and chocolate to my two year old as a reward for using the toilet without snitching some for myself.  But I reminded myself that I just had to say "no", for now it was off limits.  It wouldn't be off limits forever, but for now it was.  The first week of my challenge I lost 3 pounds!  I succeeded in sticking to my resolve for two weeks until our annual Harry Potter party was upon us.  We are supposed to bring something to share, and what fun is a Harry Potter party if you can't have a butterbeer, chocolate frogs, treacle fudge, or licorice wands?  I of course decided to make cauldron cakes:

They were divine! Of course I ate way too much, but after two weeks of not eating sugar I actually didn't eat as much at the party as I would normally have eaten.  My sugar cravings were filled quicker than previously, most of my splurging coming from when I was actually making the decadent desserts than at the actual party.  Here is a picture of the cauldron cakes that I made.  I ran out of chocolate so I couldn't put the handles on top.

                                                   I thought they turned out looking great!

 Of course the next day was our General Relief Society Broadcast and we always have dinner before hand and this year it was dinner from around the world.  There were selections from Korea, Athens, Chicken Itza, Hawaii, Canary Islands, Rio, Bavaria, Paris, and a few other places I forgot.  You get a picture of the Korea table since that is the only picture I took that night.  Matt served his mission in Korea so I sent him a picture of it.  We thought that it was funny they chose to represent Korea with Choco Pies (similar to moon pies).  That's like representing America with Twinkies!  But I guess they were trying to think of something that all us Americans would like.  (Korean food can be an acquired taste).

So I know you are thinking "isn't this supposed to be a post about NOT eating sugar?"  I promise I'm getting to the moral of the story.  So the Harry Potter party was Friday, and the Relief Society Broadcast was Saturday, and my weigh in day was Sunday.  Well, I was too much of a chicken to weigh in that day since I had way over eaten my points the past two days. So I just charted one of the weigh ins I had that week, my average being 173.1.  I decided to restart my 30 day challenge on Sunday (instead of picking up and finishing the last two weeks I started over with the full four weeks).  I waited two days to allow the food from the splurge days to leave my system and I weighed myself on Tuesday morning and I was 172!  So even though I did splurge I lost weight!  So the moment you have all been waiting for: The moral of the story is that if you are working hard and you do have a splurge, if you get right back to doing good, the food doesn't stick with you.  This is how we are supposed to live! (with maybe a little less splurging than I did).  We are supposed to eat healthy and exercise on a daily basis, that is our normal routine and then when fun events come along, we can splurge and know its not the end of the world as long as we get right back on track the next day.  This can't be an every day or every other day cycle, but every once in a while.  Which is what I struggle with, so I restarted my challenge last week like I said. 

One week down (I lost a two pounds that week putting me at 171 for yesterday's weigh in!) and yesterday my in-laws invite us up for dinner.  Matt knows that I am having a "dry month" so he asks his mom to make dessert.  So my first temptation came when the snacks before dinner were proffered.  (we ate at noon and dinner wasn't ready until 6:30, that is a LONG time for me to go without eating)  Here is what the proffered snacks consisted of:

Ironically I had eating avocado on my sandwich for lunch, so I really didn't have any more points to spend on guacamole and I had bbq chips as my side because I was really wanting chips, so I couldn't eat any more chips!  So, you guessed it, I ate the tomatoes. (good thing I really love tomatoes!)
I also swam in the pool for two hours with Lily, getting unexpected exercise.  Now, the deal for me coming up was that they would grill salmon and provide plenty of vegetables.  (It's a long time joke that Matt's Mom never makes enough vegetables for dinner).  So dinner was amazing!  And there were even plenty of vegetables to go around.  Then my time had come.  Here is a picture of what I courageously said no to:

                                                                       Fruit cobbler

Earning jokes and laughing at my expense I firmly stuck to my resolution, kindly explaining that I was on a 30 day challenge to eat no desserts or candy.  My husband on the other hand, (who couldn't gain a pound if he wanted to) had made no such promises:

                      That lighting makes him look like he has a nasty sunburn!  Isn't baby Chloe a cutie!

I left feeling triumphant, and earning the impressed looks of my mother-in-law, I left that night with a smile on my face.  I had done it, I withstood the trials of the sugar temptation.  Maybe there is hope for me after all.  This morning I weighed in and was rewarded with a reading of 168.7!  My lowest reading in 5 years! (with the exception of the first time I went on weight watchers, but I quickly gained that back.  You can read about that experience in my history post (not yet written).  I am so excited to be out of the 170s, finally out of the obese BMI numbers and I will kiss those numbers goodbye forever!

So there you have it, a story of succumbing, and a story of perseverance.  This time, I am sticking to my 30 day challenge come what may.