Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Weigh In

Sunday has always been my weigh in day.  It just feels right.  It's the beginning of a new week, a chance for a fresh start in all areas of life, not just eating right or exercise.  So I decided that I need to restart my weekly official weigh ins because they help keep me on track.  I don't want to get scale obsessed again and I am really working on physical improvement and how my body feels and how I feel about my week instead of obsessing on just the number on the scale.  What non scale improvements did I make last week, what does my body feel like, how did I do with making healthy food choices?  I think last week was a huge success for me.  The whole week wasn't perfect but I made some major breakthroughs mentally.  I found a new Why, a reason to make permanent changes.  I made a huge mental leap when I was finally able to make peace with sweets.  I was finally able to realize that the world isn't going to run out of cookies, the world's supply of sugar, chocolate, and all things sweet was safe and if I didn't eat it right then and there, it would still be around whenever I got back to it.  These things will always be around, and plentiful.  I am no longer restricting myself or making those foods off limits, so it is okay if I don't scarf them all up as soon as I can, it is okay to leave them for a later date.  I was finally able to start eating healthier foods again and I joined the gym and really just feel good about myself.  My body is sore from working out but not so sore that I can't move.  I know I have made real progress towards my goals, which now consist of getting healthy and being the best I can be instead of just reaching a number on the scale.  As far as what is my goal for my end weight.  I'm not really sure anymore.  I always wanted to weigh 125 but I think it better to focus on getting fit, and eating healthy and not depriving myself and wherever I end up, I will be happy with. 

I've been listening to the Half Size Me show a lot recently for motivation and it is an amazing podcast, if you haven't listened to it yet you definitely need to check it out.  One of the things that Heather says all the time is that there is a difference between sustainable weight, and achievable weight.  You might be able to achieve a really low weight through dieting, restricting your food, and exercising like crazy, but is that really sustainable for the long run?  Your sustainable weight is the weight that your body naturally rests at when you are eating healthy in a way you know you can sustain the rest of your life, and you are being as active as you want to be.  It is a way to live your life without having to diet your way down.  That is what I am focusing on now.  Sustainable, maintainable weight loss and I think that it will really help me when I enter maintenance to have made these realizations now.  I figure I could either go through what I went through this past month now or after I hit maintenance, but it was something I was going to have to go through because you just can't live forever with a dieter's mentality.  I think that we all start there at the beginning.  The idea of being on plan, off plan, in the zone, or completely blowing it.  But sometime, somewhere you have to make the mental switch from diet to life.

With all that in mind my weigh in this Sunday was 148.6!  I am extremely happy with that number.  It is below 150 which I where I have been hanging out for the last 4 weeks, and I didn't count any calories last week.  I think maybe, just maybe I might be officially out of the donuts and Doritos phase and at least into the combined phase of hunger directed eating combined with a slightly exaggerated pull towards donuts and Doritos.  However, the past two days I haven't desired much junk food, and I only ate one fiber one brownie for dessert.  Today however, I think I might have a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top.  We will see when the time comes.  I know it is there if I want it, and if I don't.... well, tis the season for pumpkin pie.  It's not going anywhere.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I'm a Member!

Over the past week I have been researching and talking to my husband about joining a gym.  It had always been too expensive especially with child care.  Child care was often more than the actual membership fee and it was basically just a room for the kids to play for a while.  Also, gym playrooms are notorious for being dirty and kids getting sick every time they go.  But then I finally started looking into nice gyms, the ones I couldn't afford, with a membership fee of over $30 a month and what I found amazed me.  These were really nice gyms, not only nice for the adults but the kids programs were absolutely amazing!  The one closest to my house had five different rooms for the kids to play in and they are on 30 minute rotations.  The activities change every day so that the kids never get bored even if you took them there 7 days a week.  You get 2.5 hours every day and they have a separate toddler and infant room so the little kids don't get stomped on by the older kids.  The activity rotations include active play, crafts, science, music, sports, they have two playgrounds, and an indoor play structure, a rock climbing wall and it is basically just amazing.  Here is the best part, the cost for the kids was actually way less than the cost of the basic membership!  Even though the cost of the basic membership was much higher than other places, the kids together were actually less than most other places.  It's more like sending your kids to preschool than to daycare.  Considering the cost for preschool for one kid for two days a week, 2 hrs a day is between $150-$300 a month, this was a really great alternative, and my husband finally said yes! 

I am super excited to have this gym membership, it is an amazing place with about 150 group classes each week, an outdoor and indoor pool area complete with water slides and a splash and play area for the kids.  Yesterday I did a body jam class which was really fun, it reminded me of Zumba a lot but it was more American dancing.  Today we went to the outdoor splash and play pool.  I was planning on going to the begin to spin class at 11, but the kids played in the pool from 10-11:35 and I had still had to fight with them to get out of the pool!  However they were pretty tired by that time and were more willing to go than at 10:30 right after they had gone in.  I made it to the 12:00 Zumba class after dropping off the kids in the kids center (it's like it's own building it's amazing).  Today they had a giant inflatable bounce house in the gym area today, that place is so amazing!!!  Zumba was tons of fun, and the instructor was really great.  I am really glad I can go whenever I want now and that it is so close to my house!  Before the Zumba place I was going to was a half hour drive away, so it took 2 hours to go to class (half hour there, hour class, half hour back).  We got home today and I was so tired!  It was a good tired though, a "I played hard" type of tired not an "I ate like crap and now I don't feel good and have no energy" tired.  The kids ate some pasta for lunch, had some apples and cheese.  I ate a large salad that I had made yesterday with chicken, black beans, corn, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, and pecans in it.  It was so good I didn't even bother with salad dressing.  Excellent, saves me the extra calories.  Afterwards Chloe went down for a nap and Lily and I made this awesome apple craft:
I love pinterest.  I feel really good right now, the past two days have been really great days.  I ate very well yesterday and today, I think I am on the up and up again.  I am happy that I can move on and I am going to restart my Sunday weigh ins, making sure to only step on the scale once a week.  I don't want to become scale obsessed again, and I want to make sure that I am living and eating in a healthy way that I want to continue for the rest of my life.  I don't want to eat well for 5 days and binge for two days for the rest of my life, that is not healthy or sustainable and it's not normal eating behavior.  I've learned a lot over the past month, and I'm ready to keep going.  Yes I had a setback, yes I gained some weight back, but now it's time to look to the future, take what I learned and put the rest behind me.  There may have been a bump in the road, but that doesn't mean I failed.  You only fail if you quit and gain all the weight back, and I have not quit.  In fact I feel better and more excited and enthusiastic today than I have all year, even after I broke my plateau.  I am happy with my mental progression and today the future looks bright. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Apple Farm

Since it is Fall and we have a theme of apples in all of our activities we are doing around the house: apple crafts, apple songs, apple books, baking with apples; we decided to take the girls to the apple orchard!  We had a really great time.  We arrived at about 9am when they opened and the guy who owned the orchard was really nice.  We were able to pick raspberries and he said that you could eat as many raspberries as you wanted while you were picking!  That was a good thing because there was no way we were going to get Chloe out of the raspberries without her eating them!  They were some of the best raspberries that I've ever had.  It was awesome.

Lily was really excited about picking the apples, and we were encouraged to try all the apples as well!  It was so awesome!  They also had a pumpkin patch with bluish pumpkins which we found out were Hubbard pumpkins and Matt decided we needed to take one home with us.  It was 16 pounds!  Hubbard squash is supposed to be similar to pumpkin in taste but sweeter and richer.  I found a baked squash recipe for dinner, a pie recipe for dessert and a soup recipe for a side.  I could also make something similar to mashed potatoes if we have anything left over.  I was really amazed at all the apples that had already fallen to the ground.  Some of the tree branches had so many apples on it that they where bent really far over and looked like they might break off. 

Later Lily and I did an apple craft and she had such a great time coloring and cutting and gluing the pieces, she carried her apple around with her the rest of the day and then we hung it on the wall in her room. 

Here are our spoils from our trip today:
I haven't the foggiest clue as to how much those apples weigh but it is a huge bag.  Not pictured are the raspberries, there aren't very many left!  Also I found a jar of pumpkin pecan butter which is the consistancy of apple butter and it is divine!  So amazing.  And Matt bought a maple candle for himself for a Christmas present.  And that Hubbard Squash is 16 pounds!  I now have a lot of some fun things to cook.  It was a really fun morning.

In other news I did better with my eating today.  I got really hungry around 4pm and so I just decided to eat dinner then and I didn't get hungry the rest of the evening.  I know I still ate too much but I am coming out of my food coma.  I think I was hungrier today because lately I have just been eating so much food, but I did a much better job today, I am on the up and out and ready to get back on track.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Pain of Change

Recently while listening to the Half Size Me podcast, Heather was talking about the pain of change and how the pain of change is not as bad as the pain of staying the same.  What pains are you experiencing in your life because of your weight?  What physical pains, and emotional pains are you experiencing and is it worse to continue to endure those pains or to decide to change and face the physical and emotional pains that changing brings?  Shortly after this I was listening to the staying motivated clip from the Half Size Me app and in there she talks about how the real way to stay motivated is have a profoundly deep and important why.  The things we do to motivate ourselves often don't last long.  Reading a success story, or pulling out our skinny pants, or dreaming about what size we want to be or the body we want to have when we are at our ideal weight are all superficial and fail to stand up to the challenge and the pain of change time and time again.  The real way to stay motivated is to find out what pains you more than the pain of change.  What is so awful to you that you can't stand the thought of it so you continue on no matter what, what makes you determined to reach the end of your journey and make real permanent changes?  I guarantee you one thing: it isn't to fit into a pair of pants.

I realized that sometime in late July I lost my why.  I have lost sight of the goal and the drive that motivated me to lose weight in the first place.  I crossed 145, I was in my healthy weight range, I was able to be more active with the girls and so I threw everything out the window, I had more or less arrived and I was done right?  Wrong.  I went into the "off plan" mindset for a long time.  I not only fell off the proverbial wagon, but I was rolling around in the mud to boot.  So here I am thinking about my why at the same time I am currently sitting on the couch watching Snow White with Lily eating chocolate, crackers, cheese, and chips.  Grazing again even though I told myself I wasn't going to do that today, I inevitably did.  So as I was watching Snow White for the umpteenth time munching away pondering my why I came up with lots of ideas: being able to be active with the girls, being able to play with them when they want me to, facing the fact that I failed, seeing the disappointment in my Mom's face or my husband's face when they realize that I have forsaken my healthy habits.  The horror of getting fat again, the threat of diabetes (it's in my family so I am at a higher risk for it).  Thinking of thing after thing, they were all good things, all good goals but I figured that when I found the right one it would be so profound that it would stop my mindless munching which had been going on for the better part of 2 hours and didn't seem to be reaching an end any time soon even though I was making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and my spaghetti sauce was simmering on the stove.  Nothing struck a chord, so I dug deeper, thinking, really thinking what is it that will drive me to pick myself up out of the mud, clean myself off and start again, what will give me the strength to really change, for life?  Digging into my own emotions, my childhood, my past, thinking about my future, thinking about my present.... and find it I did.

I found my why, and it wasn't something I had really previously thought of before.  It revolved around my kids, but not in the way I expected.  You see, while I was on the couch munching away, Lily was on the couch munching away with me.  I realized that the one thing that horrified me more than anything else would be if my kids grew up and lived my life.  If my kids were overweight as children, grew up with weight problems, perpetually dieted, and felt awful about themselves.... and it was ALL MY FAULT.  My fault because I set a bad example by teaching them to snack on crackers and cookies, my fault because I didn't cultivate a love for discovering healthy food that they liked to eat, my fault because I couldn't change my ways and so they ate what I ate, and that made them fat, and that gave them image problems.  My fault that they didn't know how to properly feed their bodies because I had taught them to eat fried chicken and ice cream.  The horror that they would have to go through what I am going through and face the pain of change instead of being able to stay naturally thin because I didn't care enough to change myself so I could teach them how to navigate this world of fast food and processed food, my fault because the only thing I taught them how to make was cookies and brownies.  The single terrifying thought that I would make them fat and it would be entirely my fault.  THAT is the thought that stopped me in my tracks, the thought that I would fail them in one of the most essential ways giving them not the gift of self confidence but of self hatred.  Never in a million years would I want my kids to go through what I went through in middle school and high school, never would I want them to have to go through what I am going through now.  Changing not only your body, but your mind, your whole life!

Right then and there, everything was put away, to the protests of my 3 year old who had been happily crunching crackers and chocolate.  Of all the things I teach my children, teaching them how to love their bodies, to love exercise-to fall in love with a physical activity so they don't have to think of it as exercise- and teaching them how to eat healthily, how to cook good food, how to eat snacks and desserts in moderation are some of the most important things they need to know so they can become successful, confident women.  If I don't pick myself up they will not learn these things from me, and one of the best ways to teach is to lead by example.  If they follow my example, I would not be doing them any favors.

I know now that I can face the pain of change, because the pain of not changing is now much more intense than the pain of staying the same.  I now have a Why that is much more than looking good, or reaching a smaller size, or attaining the body I always dreamed of.  If you are struggling I challenge you to really dig deep within yourself and ask the question "why do you want to lose weight?  What pains you more than the pain of change?  What is so terrifying to you that you absolutely cannot fail in getting to your goal?"  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Emotional Pain

This last weekend I went out into the mountains with my family and we had a great time.  It was a much needed vacation and it was nice to be unplugged from all of the electronics, we didn't have any internet or cell phone service and we walked and hiked around with the kids, and played all day for two days.  We saw the Aspen changing colors and enjoyed the weather.  Pippin ran around like crazy and wore himself out and got so dirty that I had to wash him as soon as we got home.  He needed to be groomed to, so I decided to go ahead and groom him (I don't take him into the groomers I groom him myself :-) 
He had so many stickers on him from running through the weeds that the only way I could get them out was to give him a haircut, so it worked out well.
Isn't he such a cute little poodle?!  He is one bundle of energy that is for sure, not right now though, he's tired from the past two days ;-)

However, when we got home today we decided to eat pizza with the family and we were all having a good time and I was thoroughly enjoying my favorite pizza in all the universe: Hawaiian Pizza when one of my family members said something to me, and I'm not going to say which one, that really hurt and totally threw me off for the rest of the day, and now I am persevering on it.  The stupid thing is, I know they didn't think before they said it, and I'm not entirely sure it was meant to be insulting or hurtful, probably just an observation.  They said "Wow, Jenna I'm surprised you are eating so much food."  And just like that, they shot an arrow through my heart and all the joy was taken out of the day and the sun seemed to shine a little dimmer.  I was suddenly very self conscious of exactly how much I was eating and realized that really I shouldn't be eating pizza, nevermind that I haven't eaten pizza in about three months, and oh crap what was I doing and how am I going to make up for it later?  I'm eating a lot of food?  really?  Good grief how much food do they think I am supposed to be eating!  Do you want to know how many slices I ate: 3 that's how many.  I was contemplating having one more slice but there was no way in hell I was going to eat another slice after that comment.  The rest of the day I was freaking out about what to eat for dinner, since I ate so much food at lunch time I settled on a meal replacement shake.  The problem was, that wasn't what I really wanted, and I was moderately hungry again after my bountiful lunch of three pizza slices (and these were not huge slices, just regular sized slices, not like the large individual size pieces you can buy at different pizza places).  So after eating my meal replacement shake I was feeling miserable about myself and hungry, and that led to binging on cookies.  Fortunately I decided to make the small package that I had in the basement, it is a snack size pack, unfortunately it is still very high in calories when you eat the whole pack (minus four cookies I gave to the kids).  It only made one sheet of cookies.

So here I am feeling like a complete and utter failure, having once again binged and being shot down by some stupid comment someone said to me, made all the worse because it was someone close to me who said it.  Why are they noticing how much I'm eating anyway?  I'm trying to look on the bright side.  For instance, I didn't just throw the rest of the day away after I ate the cookies and eat as much as I possibly could.  But I'm feeling pretty small and pathetic and awful right now and I'm finding it hard to focus on the positive changes that I have made over the past month and my brain has gone right back to berating myself for gaining the weight I have over the past few weeks and I start to doubt myself, and wonder if this is something that I really can do, can I make these changes, can I really learn to live a healthy lifestyle or will I revert back to old ways as soon as I am "off" my diet?  Have I just been dieting this whole time?  That is what the past four weeks have been about, trying to break with that diet mentality and learn to really embrace a new life.  The thing is, this isn't the first time this person has made comments like that these past several weeks.  So I start thinking that maybe what I am doing is wrong, but maybe they are just afraid that I will revert back to my old self and they don't want that for me.  I don't want that for me.  I can't go back, I have to keep going forward, but today I feel very low.

Friday, September 19, 2014


I bought a few new exercise clothes the past week from my favorite workout place: Zumba of course.  I love the colors and fun styles on and of course it goes with my favorite workout which is in fact, Zumba, so it is good all around.  As I was shopping I noticed something interesting.  They don't just label their clothes with sizes, their clothes are labeled with words: spicy, marvelous, and lovely.  Just think about that.  Each word for large medium and small has been replaced with uplifting messages.  I always get so caught up in what size I am that I forget to appreciate my body for what it is and what it does.  Labels send the wrong message.  When I got my clothes in, I received another surprise.  On the label there is an inspirational message that says "here are all the things a size won't tell you:  how awesome you are (like, ridiculously awesome!) What a great hair day you're having, how good you sound sining in the shower.  Ya Know, the important stuff.  It's not just about a size, it's about a state of mind.  And You?  You are Marvelous!"

How amazing is that!  What a wonderful message to send to yourself.  So when I went to zumba class in my new clothes and every time I caught myself thinking "you look stupid", I switched my thoughts to "no, you look Marvelous!  I am Marvelous, look at me!"  And it was a huge self esteem and confidence booster.  I love that they have this positive thinking worked into their clothes, and it helps spread the amazing fun that Zumba is all about.  It's about being you, having a good time, enjoying yourself and your life and what your body can do.  So the next time you go clothing shopping instead of sighing about whether your size is still a large or still a medium, think to yourself, "Wow!  I am lovely!"  And you will immediately start to feel better.  Smile at yourself in the mirror and say "I sure am Marvelous today!"  Oh, and by the way, if there is an 'x' in front of your letter then you are just extra lovely or extra spicy :-) and being extra special always feels good.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


 I had the privileged of going to Zumba this morning!  I don't get to go too often, but I love it when I can!  I could really tell a difference this morning in my energy levels.  The past few times I have gone I have felt really tired and like it was hard to get through the class and I just wanted it to be over, but today my energy levels were soaring!  I can really tell that eating better has impacted my body in that I feel better, and I can think better, and I actually have energy!  Wahoo! 

I also made a trip up to my in-laws and used their pool to do my very first swim!  I swam for 30 minutes and focused on getting used to the water again, the feel of swimming laps under water, breathing and all that.  I was surprised at how out of breath I got!  Then again, I haven't swum laps in a pool since middle school.  I didn't get a photo until I was already showered and dressed but I think you can see how tired I am.  I had trouble walking when I got out!  I have a loooong way to go to become triathlon ready.

And now to completely change the subject.
I'm not sure about you but every time I have gone on a diet in the past including this time, I always have the same nightmare over and over again.  It always comes when I am doing well and eating good and doing good at resisting sweets.  Always the same dream, over and over, at least once a month.  In my dream I am presented with a large array of desserts: candy, cookies, cake, brownies, etc. and I am alone in this room with all these desserts and I can't resist and I eat and eat and eat and in my dream I'm freaking out because I have been doing so good in real life and I don't want to be eating but I can't help it.  I don't want to be breaking my diet, but I can't resist eating all that food!  And when I wake up I am just so relieved that it was a dream, and that I didn't binge like that.  Has anyone else ever had a nightmare like that?  I think it just tells me exactly how bad my relationship with food was.  I was terrified of it, dreaded it, wanting it but can't having it.  A love/hate relationship that was all consuming.  Therefore I find it interesting that last night I had a different nightmare, in the sense that it was a really annoying dream.  In this dream I was weighing myself in the morning and the scale flashed 2.4 pounds (not a typo), after weighing myself a few times and getting the same number I realized that for some odd reason I had stacked two scales on top of each other, and this was the cause of the scale not weighing properly.  After solving this problem by placing the scale on the floor instead of on top of another scale, I tried again only for it to flash 50.2 and then I realized that "oh yeah!" I was using the broken scale and needed to use the other scale.  So I then stepped on the other scale and..... I never knew what the number was because at that exact moment my dream decided to morph into a scene from high school marching band and we were right about to go onto the field for a competition and of course I didn't know any of the music and hadn't been going to practices because I forgot I was in marching band and I didn't know any of my spots.  (This is also a dream I've had before- the terror of performing but I have no idea what the music is or where I'm supposed to go, it's like those dreams about school where you realize that your finals are tomorrow but you haven't been going to class all term).  Anyway, right before we went onto the field I decided that I needed to stop time to figure out what was going on, so logically that is exactly what I did.  After a few moments I realized that I was a super awesome flute player and I had a solo at this performance so I started time and I was playing a piccolo solo to the tune of "let it go" from frozen, which sounded nothing like the actual song, it sounded more like an Irish Jig.  But I was dancing around the field doing my super awesome solo, and you know what is cooler than dancing around on a football field is dancing around on ice skates, so naturally I started skating around playing my piccolo... and that's all I remember.

So now you know how nerdy my dreams are :-p  but I do wonder if I have made a big enough mental shift to where I won't dream about binge eating on all the "forbidden foods" again.  If I can at last make peace with myself and with food and this time when I lose the weight, it will be because I have found a lifestyle instead of adhering to a "plan".

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reflections over the past 4 weeks

This last month didn't look anything like I thought it would, and one month ago if you told me where I would be now I would have been horrified.  The past four weeks have been a time of soul searching, and my eating and exercise was on a landslide.  Today I weighed in at 150.4, my highest being a few days ago at 153.  I am sad that my weight has crept back up so much, my clothes feel tighter and I can tell when I exercise that I have put weight on.  It is an interesting thing to experience.  Now that I have experienced being thinner, I definitely don't like feeling heavier, wider, and that there is more of me.  But the question really is this: would I do things differently this past month if I knew then what I knew now- what the outcome would be.  Would I trade the knowledge and mental progression of the past four weeks to weigh 8 pounds less than I do today?  Honestly, I can't say that I would.  I would love to be in the 130s right now which is where I might be if I had never veered off course, but would I really be in a better place?  This past month I have been working on listening to my body, and now I know that when I binge I really feel terrible.  If I eat more than three cookies, I get a raging headache.  If I don't exercise, I feel more tired and lethargic, and grumpy.  If I don't eat protein and just eat simple carbs like chips and sugary foods, I have no energy.  I couldn't play with the kids, I didn't have motivation to cook food for the family, I wasn't taking the kids out to the park or doing any activities with them.  I started trying to find ways to hide, to avoid my responsibilities, playing on the computer and putting movies on for the kids.  It wasn't how I was wanting to live and it was tied to the way I was eating.  If I want to feel good, and have the energy to do activities with the kids, have the energy to live life then I need to make sure that I am eating well.

I was talking to my brother the other day, another naturally thin member of my family and he mentioned that he has never had a strong desire to eat sweets and he believes its because it was never a forbidden food or a restricted food or a food that he wasn't supposed to be eating so he never had feelings of guilt if he did eat some.  He just doesn't eat a lot of sweets because he doesn't like the way it makes him feel.  Looking back on my childhood,sweets was always on the forbidden list of foods.  Even when I wasn't dieting it was always something that I wasn't supposed to be eating, on the bad list, something that I should be avoiding but couldn't control myself around and therefore I was a failure because why did this type of food have power over me?  Why couldn't I master myself and eat what I knew I was supposed to be eating?  These past 4 weeks I have not restricted anything and I have eaten A LOT of cookies, sugar, candy, popcorn, brownies, cake, if it was made from sugar, I ate it.  And I felt awful, not guilty mind you, but physically I felt awful.  I still feel a pull towards eating those foods but it isn't as strong.  I don't want to eat 15 cookies in one sitting followed up with candy or popcorn smothered in butter or whatever else that is unhealthy that I can find.  Today I ate two white chocolate peanut butter cookies, and I felt fine afterwards, I didn't really feel like I needed to eat more.  And THAT is something to be proud of .  I have lived my whole life in fear of sweets, unsure how to make it relinquish its hold over me.  Always living in fear of the next time I would be presented with something irresistibly succulent.  The past four weeks I have been trying to learn to want to eat healthier instead of forcing myself to eat healthier, and I believe I have made huge progress towards this goal.  A complete shift in mentality that would have come no other way for me. 

I have known all along that sometime in every person's weight loss journey there must come a time when they stop focusing on doing things because it will yield weight loss and start doing things because they genuinely want to become healthier, and want to feel better.  A time when you stop focusing on weight loss and start focusing on your health, and your overall fitness level, way of life, and happiness.  I have known all along that this shift in mentality hadn't happened for me yet, I was still clinging to weight loss as my primary goal but as soon as I set the goal to do a triathlon next year I started thinking of myself as a triathlete.  My goal is not so much weight loss anymore, but preparing myself to finish a triathlon, and through that the weight loss will happen.  I still have an exaggerated desire to see what the scale has to say, but I've been thinking of other ways to measure progress.  For instance, when I am sore I know I am making progress, being able to stop eating cookies after two and honestly not desiring any more is progress, choosing fruit over crackers is progress, actually wanting to eat healthier because I actually want to feel better is progress.  When I think about the progress I have made in other areas, I don't feel like such a failure in weight loss, I start to feel like a success, and then my whole mood goes from being depressed to feeling empowered. 

So back to my original question.  Would I trade the 8 pounds I gained over the last 4 weeks for the knowledge I gained by going through what I did?  No, I wouldn't.  I have made much more progress in the last 4 weeks than I have made all year, and now I feel like I am in a much better place mentally to take on the rest of this challenge, and see this journey through.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A New Focus

I have been thinking a lot lately about where I am and what I am doing and where I want to go, and I think that there has been a disconnect in my reality and my mentality.  I feel like mentally I have progressed but in reality I am still holding back.  I realized that my goals do not motivate me anymore.  Since hitting my healthy weight range I have not really been motivated by the goal to lose weight.  Yes I still want to drop the last 20 pounds and get to my goal weight, but just the prospect of losing the weight isn't enough of a drive to keep me going.  I want to progress in my eating in reality but my eating has been all over the place because I really don't have much driving me, I don't have a goal to pursue.  A year and a half ago I had a huge list of things I wanted to improve on and I feel like I have made good progress on that list.  I still have a huge list of things that I would like to improve on but I was listening to the Half Size Me show this week and at the end Heather challenged us to do something differently.  If something is not working then you need to change it.  Instead of doing what you always do, do the opposite.  So what I usually do is make a huge list of goals and then I feel overwhelmed and then don't do anything.  Instead, I have decided to pick the two things I want to improve on that are at the top of my list.  The first being a Mom. 

The realization struck me a few days ago when we had a cold front go through and it was 35 degrees outside all day and so we were cooped up inside, not having any other plans to get out, and the reality that winter was coming and more and more days like that are on their way made me feel utterly inadequate and like a terrible mother.  Then of course there is nothing worse for your self esteem than to see what everyone else on the internet is doing with their kids.  But some good came of it as I decided to finally do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time: set up more of a routine or a schedule with the kids.  I picked several topics I wanted to cover and activities I wanted to do: music, math, science, reading and found several great blots with lots of free resources.  For music there is a site with free recordings of many children's songs.  We did music time last night for the first time and my kids just absolutely loved it.  I made folders to organize everything and put all my findings in:
This is about the peak of my organizational skills.  The colors don't mean anything.  I had the folders left over from doing Pampered Chef.  I never really used them, so it is great to be using them now!
I am really excited to start tomorrow, I've made a quazi schedule of things to do.  There is no time limit and I'm keeping it really informal.  It is basically going to last as long as their attention span does.  I also have free play and reading and outings on my list but those don't get folders.  Tomorrow we are headed to the Library to pick up books about apples because our theme for the next two weeks is apples!  So we have an apple song for singing time along with other finger plays and active songs, and apple science (we are going to make an apple volcano!  I never would have thought of that, I love mommy blogs!) and even apple math ha!  Homeschooling blogs are great. 

Anyway, I think that it is really going to help me feel like I have more of a purpose and I think it will help the kids too, give them a little more structure and fun things to do besides watch TV and fight with each other.  Oh, and no we are not doing every subject every day.  That would be way overwhelming.

So number two on my list of things I want to set a goal for was obviously exercise, fitness, nutrition, health.  That is all lumped into one hence this blog.  As I was thinking about this I realized a few things.  First I realized that before I always had something I was working towards.  When I first started losing weight, my older sister was getting married in 5 months and I bought a dress two sized two small for me, I managed to fit into the dress but barely!  After that I fell off the band wagon for a little while until I learned that my sister in law was going to be getting married soon and I worked towards that, and in the middle (since they didn't get married for about 10 months after I found out about it) my sister and her new husband became really involved with Herbalife, so I was caught up in that hype for a little bit to tide me over to the wedding.  After my sister in law's wedding I most recently became active in a Beachbody Turbo Fire Challenge group and I really got into that with posting and getting points and doing the workouts and I had a great time.... until it ended.  And now I am here doing nothing because I have nothing to work towards.  No real goals, no real timelines.  The second thing I realized is that I need to make a goal that is more health and fitness related versus weight loss related.  If I work towards health and fitness then the weight loss will be a side effect from the changes and choices I make.  Someone once told me "if you want to look like a runner, you need to act like a runner, if you want to look like a swimmer, you need to act like a swimmer, if you want to look like a zumba instructor, you better act like a zumba instructor!"  That means what you eat, your exercise, the way you think, it all comes down to: If you do what they do, then you will look like they do.  I hope that all made sense.  Anyway so I set a goal..... not just a little goal, a big huge crazy madness goal that makes me nervous just thinking about it but also gets me so excited I couldn't sleep last night because I was trying to figure out if I could really do it, how to make it work.....  Are you ready to hear my goal?  I decided that come next spring I am going to do a Triathlon.  That's right, not just swimming, not just running, not just biking but ALL THREE!  Crazy I know.  My father in law is really into triathlons and I told him this morning and I think I'm his favorite person in the world now.  He goes "that's the best news I've heard in.... well in a looooong time!"  It was pretty awesome just feeding off of his excitement. 

I searched online for a training program and ultimately I decided to put something together for myself.  I did cross country in high school, but I'm not a runner, and I also did some swimming too.  Of all three sports, I like swimming the best and I don't have easy access to a swimming pool so I am going to save swimming for last and worry about it later.  I found the accelerated couch to 5k program (4 months) and a 10 week cycling program that I am planning on just repeating each week to make it a 20 week program and I'm going to mesh the two together and throw in some Turbo Fire/Zumba and weight training.  Then when it gets closer I'll start the sprint triathlon training programs. 

Still working out all the kinks, but I'm ready to get started tomorrow!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Popcorn and Cookie Dough

I have been thinking about the past year or so since I started to lose weight and decided to go back to counting points instead of counting calories because counting points is what really worked for me and helped me lose the majority of my weight.  I've lost maybe 10-15 pounds counting calories and about 50 pounds counting points.  The other reason I decided to return to to counting points is because it it much more flexible and less ambiguous.  Calorie counting can be so incredibly confusing for instance, do you start at 1200 a day or 1400 a day or 1600 a day?  Then do you add in your exercise calories, and what happens if you go over your calorie allotment for the day? Do you eat less the next day, pretend like it didn't happen, go all out because you are already over and you might as well scrap the rest of the week?  Weight watchers gives you a points goal, then you get the weekly points which you can use if you want but don't have to, and then you enter in your exercise points separately and you can choose to use them if you want but don't have to.  So it has more wiggle room and flexibility.  If you go over on one day it comes out of your weekly points so you don't feel like you have blown it and are left wondering what to do next.

I did not sign back up for weight watchers however, I bought a app last year called itrack bites.  It is basically weight watchers online for a one time app fee which is great, because you get the tools and don't have to pay a reoccurring monthly fee for it.  That was always my problem with weight watchers online. I felt like I should be able to pay a one time fee for the online tools since I wasn't going to meetings or needing new supplies like tracking journals.  I have been feeling really good this week so far.  We had our team meeting for Pampered Chef on Tuesday night and it was our recipe tasting night for all of our new products so I definitely ate a lot more than I normally would have, but I just estimated around 25 points and that was that.

On the flip side, today I was feeling tired, and emotionally stressed.  I tried hard, put up a valiant effort; even tried to do other activities to distract myself but in the end it was all for naught.  Popcorn and cookie dough.... why is it always popcorn and cookie dough?  I binged today on popcorn and cookie dough.  Every time I go off the wall it is always with those two foods.  Emotional eating is something I am still having a very hard time with.  Being home with the kids with no one but myself to try and talk me out of it doesn't work very well.  Alas, tomorrow is a new day and I really want to try to get into a groove again where I am eating health, and feeling well.  I love how I feel when I am in the groove, but it seems hard to get there and easy to slip up. 

Thinking about my two kryptonite foods got me thinking about all the things I don't binge on anymore.  I remember in the beginning anything would do.  I could go off the wall eating goldfish, cheese-its, teddy grahams, really anything that was a snack food.  So I guess that progress has been made in that really, I only have two trigger foods now a days.  I think maybe just not keeping cookie dough pre made in the house could really help solve the cookie dough binge.  Of course there is nothing stopping me from whipping up a batch, except maybe my own laziness.

In other news, I was at Wal-Mart today to buy one thing: brown sugar and of course I remembered I needed band aids and Chloe needed a new sippy cup.  On the way to the band aids what did we pass?  The Halloween isle.  Lily has been obsessed with Snow White lately and has already said she wants to be Snow White for Halloween.  Looking through the costumes they had three Snow White costumes and one her size, so I figured I had better get it now and that way she can wear it more.  It was $30 which is officially her most expensive dress.
She is now watching Snow White wearing her dress.  I'm sure we will get some good use out of it.  It's big enough she could probably wear it next year too!  She is in that size where everything is either too big or too small.  She is about a 5T which means she is almost too big for toddler sizes and almost too little for girls sizes.  I was at the Mall today and The Children's Place doesn't carry 5T and their xs (size 4) girls clothes were too big for her.  The size 4T are usually a little to tight unless it has an elastic waist band.  We also went to Burlington Coat Factory and they didn't even have any size 5T clothes on the 5T rack!  craziness.  So I bought one pair of 5T jeans at Wal Mart, and got Chloe some Frozen Pajamas because I really wanted to get her some pajamas and it is supposed to be really cold tonight.
Wearing her new PJs and using her new Dora Sippy cup
$10 for the PJs so I was happy to see that they didn't jack up the price just because it was Frozen like other stores do.  (When at the Mall Lily picked out a Frozen outfit that was $25 for the outfit and was made out of really cheap material... we didn't buy it). 

Anyway, I get to go to Zumba class tomorrow and I am super excited about that.  Hoping to get a good streak going now.  I'm weighing in on Tuesday and I want to have a decent weigh in, a true reflection of my weight, not an inflated number because I ate a ton of food the day before, so I am going to get focused and remember my goals and that eating crap makes me feel like crap.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I don't know about you, but for me when I am counting calories and really focusing on not eating too much food I start noticing how much food everyone else is eating.  It's almost the only thing I can focus on.  When we go out to eat I notice how much food my husband is eating, and how much food the people at the tables next to us are eating.  I notice when people eat snacks, eat desserts, eat meals, even just chewing gum.  And it seems to me that everyone is eating more than I am and quantity of food becomes an obsession.  I think to myself "I just want to be able to eat!  I just want to be able to eat and not feel hungry!"  I start to dread the hungry feeling that I get and I try to fill that void with countless carrot sticks, glasses of water, and always turn away in despair, lamenting the fact that I can't eat.  Then comes the dark days of the binge or splurge or whatever you want to call it.  And I eat.... and eat, and eat everything I can get my hands on.  I eat past satisfied, I eat past full, I eat past feeling sick, because I know that tomorrow I won't be able to eat anymore.  Then tomorrow comes and I just don't want to feel hungry.  Quantity of food was everything to me.  It didn't matter how much food I ate, I just knew that someone was eating more than me and I was intensely jealous.  Jealous because they could eat however much they wanted and I was stuck with my 1 cup serving.  It didn't matter that my one cup was enough to make me feel satisfied.  I wasn't full, there was more food to be had but I couldn't eat it; I wanted it, I craved it, but never could have it.

Have you ever felt this way?  I'm not saying I felt this way 100% of the time, but over the years there are definite periods of time when this feeling was all consuming.  Even over the past year and a half during my successful weight loss, I have felt this way on and off.  The feeling never really disappearing, but sometimes being pushed to the back of my mind when I was focusing on other things.  But in the darker days, when stress creeps up on you as it always does, when something trips one of your triggers, the feeling can be so overwhelming I am reduced to tears wondering what is wrong with me and why I can't conquer this one foe.  Why food has sunk its talons into me and I can't get free.  Always thinking about food, always planning for my next meal, and always obsessing over those people who can eat whatever they want, eat huge amounts of food, eat all the time, and never gain weight.  And no amount of food could ever satisfy the monster within.

Such was my state of being.  I think many can relate to this feeling.  I say this because I have talked to many people trying to lose weight and this is something that the conversation inevitably comes around to "I have such and such friend and they just eat all the time and never gain an ounce!"  I have come to realize that the reason why they can eat this way is because they are listening to their hunger signals, these people probably have faster metabolisms that require more fuel, true.  But guess what, we are not around these people all the time.  What do we see them really eat?  Lunch?  A few snacks?  We don't know if these people love to go run 10 miles every day therefore their fuel requirements are much higher, we don't know if they eat a lot at one meal and then eat small amounts of food for their other meals.  All we see is what we perceive to be them scarfing large amounts of food, because when restricting our own food, suddenly food becomes the most important thing in the world.  It's our body's natural response to starvation, needing to find more food, when will we get food next.

The only way out of it is to change your mindset.  Once I told myself I could eat if I was hungry no matter what my calories were for that day, a remarkable thing happened.  After a few days, when my body decided I wasn't just trying to pull the wool over my own eyes, I stopped caring so much.  If I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was satisfied, who cares how much food everyone else is eating?  I was getting all the food I wanted, all the food I needed and the next time I got hungry it was okay to eat again.  So if I was feeling satisfied, not feeling hungry, not feeling ridiculously full, why should I care how much my husband eats.  Why should I care how much my friends eat?  My food isn't going anywhere.  They are not going to swoop down and steal my food away by eating what their bodies require of them.  After a few more days, something even more amazing happened.  I stopped eating everything on my plate.  Before I would clutch onto my food and you would have to pry it from my cold dead fingers if you wanted to take it away from me.  I was eating it all because that was all I could have.  I didn't matter if I wasn't hungry, it was time to eat and that is what I could eat and so I ate it.  All of it.  I thought leaving food behind was going to be incredibly difficult.  And it was at first.  The idea was so unfathomable to me that I didn't even bother with it for the first several days.  But after a while, and really believing that I could make this work, and really wanting to make it work, I realized I didn't need to finish everything on my plate.  If there was enough left over I could just do what I do with the kids: put it in the fridge for later.  If there was only a bite or two, well I guess my food waste will either go up or I will have to learn to take smaller portions.  I never in a million years thought that I would willingly let go of food.  But it turns out that when you stop forcing yourself to go hungry, food just doesn't seem as important anymore, and I can finally stop obsessing over who is eating more than me because finally it really doesn't matter.  Honestly, who cares?  I am getting what I need, so I stop noticing what others need.

Breakfast Before
Breakfast after- I am done eating. I have realized I am satisfied, I am done.  If I get hungry again later I can finish eating later.  I never would have let this food go before because it would have been all or nothing.  Every calorie accounted for and so I better make the food last until it is time to eat again.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mental Progression

I made a very important discovery this past weekend.  Last year as I was losing the majority of the weight that I lost, I remember that I just wanted to be allowed to eat, and I would crave that feeling of fullness.  I wanted to feel physically full.  I wanted my stomach to actually feel full, and I spent a lot of time bemoaning the fact that in order to lose weight I could not attain that feeling and I felt deprived, and sad, and sometimes a little hopeless because how could I keep this up for the rest of my life, all I wanted to be able to do was the one thing I wasn't allowed to do- eat. 

Over the past two weeks, after haphazardly throwing myself into intuitive eating and completely butchering it I did make one incredibly important discovery.  Something that is so mind blowing to me that I am still reeling from the shock of it.  I realized that I don't like that feeling of fullness.  I no longer crave the feeling of being physically full because when my stomach is filled to capacity I feel lethargic, a little sick, bloated, and tired.  When I eat a decent meal following my points or calorie guidelines I feel energized, light, and ready to move on.  It was an amazing discovery for me, and a turning point.  I started to realize that even though I have only lost 10 pounds this year and last year I lost 60 pounds, I have largely been working on the other aspect of weight loss: mentality.  There are a few big components to weight loss, one being physical, another emotional, and another mental. 

Last year while I was very excited to be losing weight I feel like I was just going through the motions.  I was doing what I was supposed to be doing but I wasn't doing it because that is what I really wanted to be doing, I was doing it because I wanted to lose weight.  This year, I have noticed that I have been struggling with the mental and emotional side which has impacted the physical aspect of it.  I hit my plateau and I know that the reason why is because I was caught in a binge eating cycle.  I would be good for four days and binge for two, good for five and binge for one, etc etc etc. As I got closer to my healthy weight zone it became indefinitely harder to lose weight the way I was eating because I didn't want to be eating that way, mentally I was fighting it.  I didn't want to be eating healthy, I wanted to eat all the things I had been depriving myself of and so those things crept in on a rapidly increasing basis.  Finally, after the last two and a half weeks my mind set has caught up with my goals.  I have made the first real mental steps to reaching my goals and being able to be successful on maintenance.  While all along I have been stubborn and determined, my desires haven't come around to match up with my reality until now.

I was talking about this with my older sister who is naturally thin and she commented that it blew her mind that I used to crave that full feeling because she has never been in my situation.  For her, she knows that eating too much makes her feel yucky and so she just doesn't do it (except maybe at Thanksgiving and a few other special occasions) because she genuinely doesn't like to do it.  She knows where her body feels its best and stops eating when she reaches that point.  She knows how different foods make her feel and instinctively chooses food that is healthier because it makes her feel better.  These are the realizations that we need to make ourselves, the mind changes that we need to make if we want to be successful.  We all want to be thin so badly, but we have to be able to let go of our old selves and to allow ourselves to morph into something completely different.  This isn't just a physical journey, if it were I would be there by now!  There is so much of this journey that is mental- the ability to change our believes, our desires, and our wants, and the way we look at, view, and understand our body and our food.  There is also so much of this journey that is emotional- the way we feel about food and our body, the way food and exercise and our bodies make us feel.  Our opinions about ourselves, good or bad.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like if I can make this one connection now, then maybe, just maybe I can be successful with making other mental connections too.  Maybe someday I too can realize that I genuinely want to eat healthier food and I will no longer crave the junk.  If I can make this can too.


Friday, September 5, 2014

New Clothes

This weekend I'm headed to a Women's conference.  It's called Time out for Women and it's and it goes from Friday night through Saturday and they have motivational and spiritual speakers come and it's a time to be uplifted.  I am really looking forward to it.  But the dress code is nice casual and my abysmal wardrobe has nothing casual nice in it.  Right now I have casual, church, and formal.  And they said that dressing in church appropriate clothing is not required.  Since I've been losing weight I haven't been buying very many clothes since I figured I would just have to go buy more clothes in a few months anyway.  But I decided today that I should probably go get a few items for this weekend.  So I went over to Ross and here is the outfit I chose

I got some slacks and that shirt.  I also bought a few other shirts and I found another pair of pants that I like a lot as well but I ended up just getting the black.  I didn't want to buy too many clothes.  Guess what size pants those are.....  Any guesses?  Size 6!  Whoot Whoot!  Now they are pretty tight, and they are stretchy.  I definitely saw some size 6 pants at the store that there was no way I would fit into, but I am thrilled to be able to have one pair of size 6 pants and say Wow!  I fit into something that is size 6!  It's Calvin Klein brand if you're wondering. 
Here is another outfit I was thinking about and the pants are size 8 and the brand is Ann Klein
I really liked the pants, but I decided on just getting the shirt for some of my skirts I have that don't have tops. It's just a solid black top so it will go well with a lot of different things.  I was surprised at how well the kids were behaved.  I was pretty pleased with them.  They did run around a bit and I had to keep calling out to them to come back and they always returned.  I had to go running after Chloe once because she decided to play a game with me where she wanted me to go running after her and catch her and she was squealing with delight.  Made me a little flustered but she is just so cute, you can't get too upset with her. 

I'm going to go finish getting ready to go now, I'm leaving in an hour and I have to make sure that there is enough prepared food in the house to last my husband and kids through tomorrow night! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


So I finally figured out what I want to take away from that book.  As you know by now some of my main goals have been to stop binge eating and develop a more normal way to eat besides cycling through being good and being bad.  So after reading that book I know that now I need to make sure that I don't restrict foods, or make them off limits (even subconsciously which might be more difficult).  And I also want to make sure that I tune into my hunger better.  I want to work on eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am satisfied.  So I am going back to my three month challenge but I am making a few changes.
  1.  I will allow myself to eat when I get genuinely hungry regardless of my calorie consumption for that day.  This is important because it stops the deprivation feeling.  When you are genuinely hungry it is your body's way of telling you that you need more food.  When we override this feeling we trigger the message that food is scarce and our body starts going into starvation mode making food the most important thing, and just about the only thing we can think about sometimes.  Leading to food obsession and then binge eating when our willpower fails. 
 2. My calories will be more of a guideline as I strive to check in with my hunger throughout the day.  So if I am not as hungry that day I am free to eat under my 1750 count, if I am hungrier I will allow myself an extra snack or two so that I don't feel so restricted. 
3. I'm going to weigh myself every two weeks to check in with how I am doing.  Therefore I am going to take the plunge and make September 16th my first official weigh in.  I'm not sure how much my week long dive into the donuts and Doritos phase will effect my weigh in.  Hopefully it wasn't enough to undo a month's worth of work.  I would still be happy if I was about 140, which is now behind where I was hoping to be at that point, but we will just have to see.   With some luck I will at least be lower than when I started, which is 146 but I am hoping to be lower than 143 which is my lowest.

Today was the first day back into Turbo Fire.  I've decided to do another round of Turbo Fire, it was nice having a schedule and I didn't have to face indecision about what I wanted to do that day.  I felt bulky and tired which I know  is because of the way I have been eating this past week, but I made it through. 
Eating was tough today.  I didn't measure as much as I usually do, and I could definitely still feel an exaggerated pull towards junk food, so I allowed myself some chips and two cookies.  I think that my calories landed me somewhere around 1800 for the day, which is only 50 more than my max.  After you pull yourself out of the donuts and Doritos phase, the second phase is a mix between eating what your body really wants and being pulled towards food that you previously banned.  I want to make sure that these foods lose their grip on me so I am not restricting them.  After a week in phase one, I was mentally and physically ready to move on.  I went for full indulgence, and it wasn't pretty.  So now I need to associate the terrible way I was feeling mentally and physically with the foods I was eating so that I won't want to eat those anymore because I have associated eating those foods with feeling bad (not always the easiest thing to do when you are staring down a big bowl of cookie dough, or a plate of cookies or a bag of chips) but I think I made some progress. 

In other news, have any of you with younger girls noticed how incredibly hard it is to find anything with Elsa on it?  Holy cow, my kids are obsessed with Elsa from Frozen (poor Anna), and it seems like everywhere is always sold out.  I spent some time at Wal Mart today because I was getting the tired rotated and had two hours to kill.  I just happened to walk along the toy isle when they were stocking Anna and Elsa plush dolls!  I talked to the man stocking the shelves and he says they go through boxes and boxes of Frozen merchandise, and that as soon as he puts anything with Elsa on the shelves it's gone within a few days.  He said no one can keep it in stock because it flies off the shelves as fast as they can get them in!   I snatched up an Elsa one for Chloe for Christmas and asked Lily what she wanted, in the end she picked out a Sleeping Beauty doll which I was rather surprised at, but they were out of the Elsa barbie dolls (she liked the more life like and delicate detailing of the barbie type dolls better than the plushy type dolls) so maybe if those had been in stock things would have turned out differently. 
Chloe's Christmas present

I can't believe I'm shopping for Christmas already!  But my father in law has a birthday Dec 14,  Lily has a birthday Dec 15th and then Christmas, then My Mother In Law on Jan 13 and Chloe on Jan 15!  Besides I figure the closer we get to Christmas, the rarer Frozen merchandise will become.  So if I want to get anything for them for Christmas with Frozen on it, I figure I better get it now while I can (or can't since they still seem to be sold out of Elsa, poor Anna had about 30 dolls still in stock but Elsa was all sold out)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Finding balance, discovering what is right for you

I am a big believer in the saying "there is a time and place for everything".  When I first started I was so overwhelmed with the prospect of losing weight, I really didn't know where to start.  I am not sure I would have been able to really make hunger directed eating work for me.  I remember thinking, "I don't know what to eat let alone how much to eat.  I don't know about exercising except that I don't want to do it.  I don't know where to start."  So I followed a path that was familiar and I thought would be a good fit for me: I signed up for weight watchers online for the third time because their plan is the most flexible.  You do not have any forbidden foods, and you also get weekly points and you can swap out activity points too.  Of course I so desperately wanted to lose weight that I would often not use the weekly points only to splurge on the weekends.  But it seemed that I was making enough progress to be moving forward despite this.  Applying what I now know, this really is a great system if you take it to heart and adapt it and mold it to work for you as an individual.  By not forbidding any foods you effectively eliminate gasping for food.  You still get to eat the foods you like as long as you control yourself and moderate your eating.  In addition you get weekly points that you can spend when you feel hungrier, or if you are eating out, or at a party.  This allows some wiggle room so you are not feeling so rigid.  I think now if I were to sign up for weight watchers again, I would be acting a lot different than I had previously.

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to talk about weight watchers.  It's to talk about how I have changed over the past year and a half.  I started out not knowing what to do but slowly I made changes, and over time those changes stacked and compounded and helped me on this journey.  After I felt like I had a better grip on quantity of food, I was ready to look into quality of food.  My mom introduced me to eating clean and I spent the next six months learning about eating healthier.  It wasn't an overnight process and to be honest, it is still an ongoing process.  I started making healthier breakfast choices, finally ridding myself of cereal for breakfast (a lifelong goal that I had never before been able to accomplish).  I used to be really good at making the main dish for dinner and that was it.  Now I am really good at making the main dish and one side of vegetables :-)  It's the little things that count.  I am working on adding a second side to our dinners but haven't quite gotten that far yet.  Some days it gets done but most of the time it doesn't.  But at least we have vegetables to eat with dinner now!

Once I felt more confident that I knew what to make and I could easily peruse my cookbooks for healthier recipes that would be satisfying and taste good I started looking into making healthier desserts and cooking with healthier ingredients.  I started using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.  I am still in the process of exploring desserts and baking with honey, agave, applesauce, coconut oil, date sugar, whole flour, and other ingredients instead of white flour and cane sugar.  I am by no means perfect but I am still working, changing, progressing.  If you find something isn't working for you then change.  Seek out something that resonates with you.  So now I am changing again and hopefully learning and growing (in character, not in size haha) by trying to reconnect with my body.  I don't think this path would have been right for me in the beginning, or even 6 months ago.  And it might not even be right for me now, maybe when I really need this is for maintenance, but I am trying it now because if it works now then that is great, if it doesn't work now then I know what has worked for me in the past and I can always return to the tried and true methods that I know work for me.  Everyone's path is different, everyone's journey looks different.

So now I have made a decision.  Basically this last week I have been in a week long phase of pretty out of controlled eating.  But that has happened before, and often longer than a week.  I can't ditch the mentality yet of being "on plan" and "off plan" although I would love to.  Whenever I try to ditch that mentality it just turns into one big "off plan" phase.  So I am going to revise my three month challenge by adding in many of the hunger directed eating steps.  I am going to allow myself to eat when I feel hungry, even if it is something small.  I am going to start focusing on how food makes me feel more.  In that light I currently feel bloated, tired, and in a brain fog.  When I am eating more healthily I feel clear headed, energetic, and motivated.  Right now all I've wanted to do for a week is crawl in bed and shut the world out.  I think I need to gradually make the switch to hunger directed eating and hopefully by the time I hit maintenance I will have it mastered.  So I am not going to have any forbidden foods, but I am going to keep tabs on what I am eating to make sure I'm not going crazy.  Also I haven't been exercising much this last week which hasn't helped matters leaving me feeling lethargic and lazy.  So starting Tuesday I am going to be getting back on track.  Hopefully some day I will be able to rule out that phrase from my vocabulary, but right now is just not the time.