Friday, February 25, 2011


Today is my last day with the company that I've worked for for almost 4 years. 

I've had the above statement on this page for a few hours now and I still don't know how to finish this post.  I guess I have conflicting feelings about the end of anything.  And I have anxieties about new beginnings.

I realize that when I left my other jobs/companies, there was an overwhelming sense of dread about the job when I woke up each morning.  I had to get motivated to go to work and give a crap.

But this job?  It has a lot of perks - one of which that I'm able to blog from my desk while at work.  My boss is a moron, but he's a controllable moron.  And I've been the number one person in our business (in the nation) for three years now - bringing in almost $10 Million dollars annually.  Yes, that's right...Happy Fun Pants is pretty good at what she does.

I think I stayed too long with companies and positions that I grew out.  I waited until the job was almost unbearable before bailing.  And I don't feel that sense of desperation with this job.  In fact, I wasn't even really looking when the HR person approached me about this new position she had.

And this new company?  Well, it'll be more challenging.  They'll have different rules and cliques.  

I still think it's a good move - and I'm excited about the new opportunities.  So why am I not really wanting to go?

I think it's because when I joined this company 4 years ago, I was at my highest weight.  I was miserable.  I was in an unloving relationship with a guy that mentally and emotionally taxed me.  I had a mortgage and expenses that I couldn't pay.  I hated myself - really.  I wondered what happened to this vivacious and confident person that I pretended to be.

I switched from that to where I am now - all within the last four years.  I broke up with the boyfriend.  I sold my house in the 'burbs.  I bought a new row home in an urban neighborhood.  I gained a sense of trust in myself.  I started to love myself.    I lost 55 pounds.  I started running.  I met Joe.  I struggled through our relationship.  I had surgery.  I recovered.  I started to grow and stretch myself into being the best version of me possible.

The whole time, I've been supported and loved by the people here.  The whole time I succeeded greatly while here.  This company helped build my confidence in myself -professionally and personally.

It's hard to let this company go...because it's like saying goodbye to a security blanket.

I know that this jump will be a good move.  I know I'll be okay.  It'll probably be fun and exciting.

It's time to jump.  I've got a luncheon to go to in about 20 minutes and then I can leave.

So, here goes nothin'....


Quick Reminder...

If you haven't already done so, hop over to my review blog and enter to win a free $100 Walgreens gift certificate!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A perfect day

Yesterday at 5:30 in the morning, I got on the scale after not getting on the scale for a few weeks.  I was up 3 pounds.  My clothes don't fit any worse, but realistically, I'm not sure where I am in the bloating cycle or if this is just an outlying data point.  So I didn't stress about the number.

Instead, I got ready for work.  At 6:30, I realized I was hungry - and in an effort to actually fuel myself before getting famished, I decided to fix something before my ride in.  I stopped and realized that I didn't have time to savor every morsel of food that I opted to make a meal/snack that would be enjoyable, but would be mostly consumed for fuel reasons.  (I wrote about my new philosophy about fuel vs pleasure approach on this post). I toasted a double fiber english muffin and smeared about a tablespoon of peanut butter on it. 

Incidentally, as I spread the peanut butter, I realized that I've been letting my portions slide.  In months past, I probably would've glopped on a lot of peanut butter... Yesterday, a tablespoon felt reasonable and I didn't feel like I was on a diet just because I was eating less than I normally would've.  I could've made it lower calorie by not having the peanut butter, but the protein really did wonders for tiding me over.

I got to work, had two mugs (during the morning) of coffee with less creamer and sugar than I normally do.  I'm trying to work my way to black coffee...which is kind of a long story, so I'll save it for another time.  But yesterday, I had about a 1/2 a packet of Sweet & Low and about a 1/4 of a cup of powdered creamer (both mugs combined).

And THEN my co-worker brought in BAGELS!  From Panera!  With yummy cream cheese options!  If you've been reading me for a while, you know that bagels are a major source of pleasure for me.  I crave them - and their ooey gooey toasted wonderfulness. 

I looked at it, thought about it, and realized that I wasn't hungry; that the peanut butter and english muffin had me satisfied.  AND I told myself that I could have one later when I was hungry. I felt really great about the knowledge that those bagels would be there later.  And if they weren't, I could definitely get a fresh one almost any time of day I wanted.  I didn't need to eat them right then because I knew I would have many more chances.

At 11:30ish, I was hungry, but a bagel with cream cheese wasn't going to last me a while.  Instead, I re-heated a bowl of gumbo that I had leftover from a meal out last week.  I ate about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of gumbo with a toasted double fiber english muffin and maybe a teaspoon of butter between the two halves.  I stopped with more left for today's lunch - not really on purpose...but because I was satisfied.

I did have a "fun size" Butterfinger candy bar from the gargantuan bowl of Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Twix, and other candy that my cubemate brings to the office.  In the past, I would've had more than a few of these.  But I knew that if I wanted more, they would be there.  One was tasty and delicious.  It was enough.  Certainly I was tempted to have more a few times in the day - just because everyone else was.  Plus it's RIGHT THERE - where every time someone opens a wrapper I can hear and smell the chocolate.  But for some reason, asking myself if I was hungry first was enough of a pause to turn it down.

At 3:00, I was hungry again, so I had two low-fat cheese sticks. 

At 5:30, I got home and had probably a half cup of Annie's Cheddar Bunnies as Joe and I walked the from our place to the Pepsi Center where we got to see our basketball team (the Denver Nuggets) play.  Joe's company comped him really great free tickets, so we were lucky enough to sit in row 7 (!) for the game.  It was AWESOME.

When we got there, I had a Diet Pepsi (I was a bit sleepy at that point) and ordered some boneless buffalo wings.  The order came with fries...which I had ONE of.  The fries weren't that great, so I didn't continue eating them.  The "wings" were okay, but not fantastic.  I had three (although to be fair, they were a good size - not like "chicken tender" size, but pretty good sized) and then stopped.  I was satisfied.

Joe offered to get beer, cotton candy, nachos, pretzels, or ice cream - whatever I wanted.  But the truth?  I was completely satisfied cheering for our home team and not snacking on anything. 

What?  I always have a watermark across my face... :)
He ended up getting us both some water and some sliced bananas and strawberries with chocolate sauce drizzled on it.  They looked tasty so I had two slices of strawberries (maybe an 1/8 of an inch thick each) and one slice of a banana (a 1/2 inch thick) with minimal chocolate drizzle.

We walked the mile back home and enjoyed hot tea while putting together some of the puzzle we started over the weekend.

Honestly?  It was a great day.  Food wise, I made some great choices.  And while I didn't eat the lowest calorie things, it really wasn't bad.  In fact, on the walk home last night, I added up the points estimates in my head - and they were below what my usual daily target used to be.

So I stayed in my points range and I didn't feel restricted.  Sounds like a win to me.

The coolest thing?  It wasn't that hard.  You know how some days it's all you can do to keep your sh!t together and not eat everything in sight?  Yesterday, it was easy to resist things that I didn't truly want.

This morning I stepped on the scale.  I'm UP 0.6 pounds.

At first, I was really disappointed - I mean, what was all that about having a great day and then being UP in weight?  I re-calculated the points from yesterday...I was definitely within my old target range.  So what gives?

I kind of wanted to stomp my feet.  I actually thought, "What is the point of having a good day if my weight goes up the next day?!?"

Uh, DUH, Anne! The 0.6 doesn't change the fact that I am proud of listening to my body.  It doesn't change the fact that I am on the right track.  At the end of the day, I ate less than I normally did, I moved more than I normally do (working out and running aside), and I felt better than I typically do.

It is a win.  And if the scale takes a while to catch up, that's got to be okay too.

A few "perfect" days strung together makes a habit; a success story .  A story that leads to me being thinner, healthier, and having a better relationship with food than I was before.  And that's a story I want to be a part of.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feeling better without breaking the budget

Wednesday morning, Joe complained of feeling ill.  I got home from work Wednesday night and he was in bed sleeping.  He roused when I made him take more medicine and once again when I got home later that night to take yet another dose.

He, apparently, was in bed all day yesterday too.

When I got home last night, I felt horrible.  I took my temperature and was running a 101.5 temperature.  Nice.  I made a trip to Walgreens (just a block away) and spent more than a few dollars on everything from zinc drops to cold/flu symptom reducers to ibuprofen to echinacea.  Thank goodness they had a few essentials in their buy-one-get-one-free sale!  Those new items will last us through the weekend at least.

I came home, took some meds, had some soup, crocheted while watching my new guilty pleasure (a game show called "Baggage" hosted by Jerry Springer if you're curious), and then went to bed. 

This morning my temp is down to 99.5, but I'm sure that'll go up as the day goes on.  Hey, it's something to look forward to.

Oh yes, and I'm at work. Because it's within my last two weeks, I can't take the time off. Awesome.

Anyway, the timing of this sickness couldn't be better...because I get to have a hand in giving away a $100 gift card to Walgreens.  Woohoo!

All you have to do is go over to my review page and follow the directions there. 

P.S. Also, I have a drug test to take for my new job on Tuesday.  Do any of you know if the medications I'm taking now will skew the results?  I'm staying away from poppy seed muffins... :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stopping and inquiring

 Yesterday I wrote about stopping while eating and evaluating whether you actually want to continue.

And today, I want to expound that thought...
Sure, eating sumptuous and delicious foods all the time *sounds* good, but how can I do that *and* lose weight?

After all, isn't that what sounds so unbelievable on the intuitive eating/carte blanche plan?

So maybe it's not about indulging in every way... it's about making choices that make sense.

Take this morning. I went to a bagel place just outside of our building. It's well documented on this blog that I LOOOOOVE bagels. Smear some cream cheese on a toasted bagel and I'll roll over in ecstasy. When I walked in the bagel joint, I knew that I *could* have anything on the menu. But I also knew that I really want to lose weight, to feel healthier, and to be fueled as much of the morning as I can.

Instead of ordering a warm gooey bagel that I knew would taste awesome, I ordered a 240 calorie bagel thin with egg whites, turkey sausage, and salsa.  It had complex carbs, good protein, and some fat to help me feel sustained.  It's 3 hours later and I'm still delightfully satisfied.

What happened there?  I think we can all agree that that was the "better" choice than the full fat, carb-loaded, and calorie-heavy bagel, but why?  And why do I feel like sometimes I can make that choice confidently and other times, I feel deprived when I make that choice?

THIS is exactly what I've been struggling with for the past few months in regards to intuitive eating.

Honestly? I've been struggling with the (sometimes) loosey-goosey approach of "eat whatever you want whenever you want and still lose weight" idea.  I know it CAN work.  But I know that sometimes, I crave the stuff that isn't going to get me closer to my goal of being smaller, thinner, and healthier.

So what do I do then?

My therapist tells me that the step I should take then is to ask *why* I want the stuff that I know isn't going to get me closer to my goal.

Well, sure, if I had all the time in the world, I could probably practice analyzing every moment before food passes my lips.  But gosh, sometimes I don't know why I want something. 

In those times, here is all I really know:
* I want the ooey-gooey whatever it is to be in my mouth NOW
* I want to not feel restricted
* I know that when I feel like I'm on a diet, I feel like rebelling
* I know that if I eat only the stuff that tastes awesome, it's going to take a whole lot of concentration around every bite to stop when I'm no longer hungry
* I know that if I'm distracted in almost any way, I don't stop when I need to
* I know that when I eat "too much" of something that is high caloric, I gain weight

So yes, in an ideal world, I'd be able to be mindful about every bite and every step in the process.  But I don't live in an ideal world. 

Moreover, sometimes I don't have the emotional fortitude or patience to figure out *why* I'm eating whatever I'm eating *every* time.   Sometimes I honestly just don't know.

And in those moments, I feel paralyzed.  Should I honor what I really am craving even though I know it's not good for me?  Should I restrict?  If I do, will I resent myself and this process later? 

All of the sudden, what seems like it should be a simple process has my mind spinning.  I feel more anxious (although I don't know why) and feel more lost.  I feel confused and mistrustful of myself and the process.

And that?  Well, that doesn't feel good either.  So basically, my whole plan to make me feel more in tune with my body sometimes leaves me feeling confused, mistrustful, and bewildered.  AND my pants are tighter.

Uhhh...not exactly a winning outcome.

But people succeed at mindful eating.  HOW?  What am I doing wrong?  Is it me or is it the process that is broken?

I want it to work SO badly.  I want to be thinner and healthier.  That led me to being more inquisitive about what I could to, with the focus being on health (mind, body, and spirit) to help me achieve my goals.  It led me to ask myself, honestly, where is this marriage between mindfulness and me falling short?

I think I figured it out.  I *am* being mindful when I stop and ask myself what really sounds awesome.  At the counter of the bagel shop, what sounds the best is the gooey bagel slathered with cream cheese.  If I ate it mindfully, I'd savor each bite, eating it slowly.  But honestly, if I did that, I'd probably stop 1/4 or half way through the meal because I'd be satisfied. 

But the thing is, I usually don't eat mindfully.  Sure, I ORDER mindfully, but I don't eat it mindfully because life happens.  So in the bagel situation, I order the bagel with cream cheese mindfully, but then because I'm not eating mindfully, I end up eating the whole thing.  Which means, TADA! I've just gotten further away from my goals, my pants are tighter, and I'm questioning what the hell I'm doing anyway.

So what to do?

I think I've got a good game-plan - or at least a good rough draft of what that process can look like.

1. Ask myself if I'm hungry. I'm pretty good at this step.
2. If I am, ask myself if I want to eat primarily for pleasure or for fuel.
3. If I'm primarily eating for fuel, I make the "best" choice for myself.  Something with a lot of nutrients, veggies, fiber, or protein - whatever it is that will meet the strain that my body will feel in the next few hours or day.  This means, I choose steamed veggies, not sauteed.  It means that I hold the mayo.  It means I limit sugar.
3. If I want to eat primarily for pleasure, I need to ask myself if I have the time to actually donate to eating mindfully. 
4. If I don't, then I need to choose to eat for fuel reasons at that moment - and then re-evaluate my meal choices at the next time I'm hungry.

To me, that's HUGE!

This means that in the morning, when I'm hungry, I give myself permission to eat whatever I want (for pleasure)...but only if I can actually (gasp!) ENJOY it to the fullest extent.  Usually, that isn't the that means that usually I need to choose fuel-friendly options over what would taste the most awesome.

And really, isn't that what happened this morning?  I only had a few minutes to grab something...and I needed to eat it on my way to work.  I know that on the way to work, I'll be distracted by other drivers, the radio, the fact that I'm running late or something else.

So in those situations, if I order the heavier option, I'm setting myself up for not really tasting my food and for putting lots of unwanted calories in my body.  Because in situations where I'm completely distracted, almost anything will do.  Why not make the choice that will lead me to my ultimate goal - being smaller and more healthy?

Taking it a step further... if I'm at a bar or hanging out with friends and someone asks me if I want a drink, I'll ask myself if I'll really be tasting it or if I'm going to be so focused on other things that I won't even notice it.  If I'm going to be focused on drinking something that is absolutely fabulous, great.  If not, perhaps a Bud Light or (GASP!) water will do.

See the difference? 

It's no longer about restricting myself to drinking only Bud Light or only eating a bagel thin with egg whites. 

It's about being practical. 

It's about stopping and inquiring WHY I'm eating the food I'm eating.  It's about STOPPING before you order and thinking about what you really need - both physically (i.e. how hungry am I really?) and mentally (will what I order get me closer to or farther away from my goals that I have set up for myself?).

If I'm eating for fuel, then I might want to consider appraising the food in a fuel-based way.  In other words, if it's for fuel, I'm preparing my taste buds for something that may not taste the best, but is good for my body. I'm choosing to forgo cheese on my sandwich not because I *can't* have it, but because maybe because I recognize that I'm already going to get my calcium and protein in another way .  I'm also acknowledging at that point that I might be so distracted during the eating process that I wouldn't even taste the cheese anyway!

Making a "smarter" choice can happen intuitively because I recognize that the extra calories aren't going to get me closer to what will really make me feel good - a smaller size and a healthier body.

Maybe the fuel-friendly option is your go-to meal...something that you know the points, carbs, or calories of easily.  Something you know will nourish you and it's a no-brainer; something you don't have to stress about - either in the preparation or the consumption.

Now, that doesn't mean that I'll go out of my way to eat something that is disgusting just because it's healthy for me.  Life is too short for that mentality too.  But it means that I can choose the healthier option, the option that is going to fuel my body with the fiber, protein, or nutrients it needs over the one that is higher calorie, fat, or carb.  And let's face it, in this day and age, there are many opportunities to choose the more fuel-friendly choice.

If I'm eating primarily for pleasure, then I'll order or prepare something that really seems like it'll hit the spot. And when I take that first bite, if it's not something that tastes absolutely divine, I'm going to give myself permission to make something else.  Just like what I wrote about yesterday. 

In fact (and here is a big a-ha moment for me), if I notice that I'm always choosing fuel foods over pleasure foods AND start feeling resentful about it, maybe that's a warning sign.  It might indicate that it's becoming necessary to schedule in some "me time."  Time when I treat myself as a priority.  Even if that's getting something that tastes divine and savoring it by myself simply because I enjoy the taste of it and I'm worth enjoying tasty things.

To me, these steps make more sense.  They have some structure behind it.  They don't make me feel restricted or not worthy AND they still get me closer to my end goal of being healthier - mind, body, and spirit. 

In fact, if anything they make me feel better:
* I'm so important that I'm worth fueling my body with foods that will help it do what I want it to do.
* I'm so loved that I can have awesome tasting things.
* I'm worth slowing down and actually enjoying foods that taste delicious.
* I'm also worth taking care of.
* I'm worth realizing my potential and achieving my dreams.

If mindful eating can work (and I believe it can), perhaps it starts with knowing your own mind; knowing your own pitfalls, triggers, routines, and justifications.  And then developing a successful way to navigate around them.

I think I'm finally honing in on what will work for me - both for immediate and long term gratification.

And holy cow, I'm actually feeling something I haven't felt in a long time:  clear-headed and optimistic...what a welcome relief!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stopping and spitting

I've been noodling over an idea, a thought, and possibly a mantra.

What if I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to do?  What if I got to have only the best?  What if the enjoyable times were what I focused on?

I'm not talking about EVERYTHING in life.  I mean, I don't really want to pay taxes, go the speed limit, or go to work.  I'm talking about the really enjoying the little things in life.

Bear with me...

My thoughts are these: for most of my life, I've been telling myself that I was fat.  I've also told myself that fat people shouldn't have candy, cookies, brownies, fat, sugar, too much fruit, too much cheese, too much peanut butter, too many carbs, and anything that actually TASTES good.

What happens with me is that when I feel like indulging myself or escaping my life, I imbibe in the above foods as a way to rebel.  I eat foods that are on a no-no list because I want to prove that I can.  Or maybe I do it because I want to feel loved and good enough in some way.

The thing that occurred to me last night, is that sometimes I'm eating things that don't even taste good.  Sometimes, I'm eating them just because I can.  Because they're on a forbidden list of things in my head that I've told myself countless times I can't be trusted around.  Because I want to feel like I'm worthy of eating whatever I want.

But what if I felt empowered to turn down the food rather than eating it because I'm scared that I'd never be offered it again?

I think THAT is what a lot of being more mindful around food is about.

This past Thanksgiving, I practiced mindful eating better than I had probably in my whole adult life.  I ate when I was hungry and I stopped eating when I was no longer hungry. 

I dropped a few pounds that week - I was on vacation, I was surrounded by foods I had no control over.  And I still lost weight.

One of the key memories I have of that week, was where my younger sister and I were in my dad's kitchen.  On the counter was a big box of brownies that someone in my dad's office had made him.  They looked absolutely decadent.  And they were something that I could have and probably wouldn't have felt too guilty about indulging in.

In the "old" days, I would've eaten one:
* because it was there
* because I don't usually have brownies in my house
* because I was on vacation
* because my sister was eating one too
* because being around my family completely stresses me out

I looked at it.  I *was* hungry.  It honestly looked good.

I popped it in my mouth; as I was chewing, I realized that it tasted more flour-y than fudge-y.  It wasn't horrible by any means.  In fact, it tasted like any other supermarket brownie that you could have.

And that's when I realized that I didn't want to waste my calories or fuel on something that didn't taste great.

So I stopped chewing and I spit it out.

To me, that was a huge win.

I felt empowered when I listened to my body and spit out something that didn't taste amazing.  I don't have to do anything I don't want to do - including eating food.  I can stop any process.

Today I'm going to challenge myself to (gasp!) actually TASTE my food while eating it.  And if I don't like it, I'll stop.

I've actually got a few more thoughts percolating around in my brain involving stopping things that are unhealthy and I'm looking forward to writing about them and getting your thoughts. 

I think there is a lot of power in stopping whatever I'm doing or about to do so that I can make the healthier choice for me.

We're all worth that at least, right?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I don't want what happened in Vegas to stay in Vegas

I wrote last week that Joe and I went to Vegas to celebrate us, to get away from the cold, and to enjoy a weekend away from it all.

When we arrived at our hotel, we were greeted with friendly faces and opulence like I have rarely seen.  Vegas screams money and in some of the casinos, you're overcome by all of the luxury and over-indulgence.

Truthfully, just *thinking* about places like that kind of trigger me.  I'm not sure what it is about walking into places that feel bigger than I feel dwarfed?  Inferior?  Like I need to live up to the hype?

Whatever it is, we both kind of felt like kids in a candy store.  We giggled like schoolkids on our way to the room - we had a great time exploring, walking, and people watching.  Seriously, some of the things people wear are outrageous!  I've always been kind of modest and have had roots in Midwest conservative wear...the 8" platform boots, shorter than short skirts, and cartoon like boobs are C-R-A-Z-Y to me.

After we checked in we realized we were hungry, so we went to the buffet at our hotel.

And oh my gosh - the word "over-indulgence" doesn't cover it.  Everywhere I looked, I saw people gorging themselves silly.  It was more honesty than I (or them) probably wanted to admit.  THIS is what gluttony causes, what it creates, and what it means.  People overflowing in their clothes, cramming food down their throats faster than they can possibly taste. 

Honestly?  It was disgusting.  I felt a bit like paying the admission to the buffet garnered me a membership to a place where sick people go to binge.

I was determined to not be one of them.

I walked the entire buffet - surveying each station and dish - trying to decide what I was really hungry for and what really sounded good.

I had a delicious salad - full of fresh veggies that I love.  Then I had 6 pieces of sushi, two pieces of ravioli, and a small scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream.  That was it.

Each buffet trip we took (one each day) was spent in very much the same way.  The last day I ate a bit more than I normally would've, mostly because I started out absolutely famished.  I ate quicker than I usually do, and by the time that I stopped, I was okay.  But 20 minutes later, I was definitely uncomfortable. 

What did I enjoy at the buffets?  Fresh foods - including steamed veggies and fresh fruits that I usually don't end up getting at the grocery store.  Watermelon is something I never buy because we can never eat all of it before it goes bad...but at the buffets, I could enjoy many pieces of delicious, sweet, and sumptuous watermelon.  It tasted so delicious.  I tried some new veggies that I hadn't ever had before (hello, jicima!) and enjoyed the different flavors immensely.

Whats more, I felt so empowered each time I got up from the buffet (except for the last time) because I knew that I had stopped before I was full.  I stopped before I hated myself and was so miserable that there was no way I could enjoy whatever came next.

We walked around a lot (especially outside where we could be in shirtsleeves and no jackets and still comfortable - something that we haven't been able to do in Denver for a while), we played games, and we lost money.  We took pictures of lions, observed magic tricks, and laughed at silly things.  We drank a handful of drinks the whole weekend and enjoyed ourselves a lot.

I should mention that the meal on Friday night was at a wonderful Italian place.  I had a glass of wine and some mushrooms tossed with fresh gnocchi.  It was so good!  I paused at halfway through my plate and realized that I was still hungry.  So I ate the whole thing.  Like most upscale places, their portions weren't gargantuan, so I didn't feel guilty or bad at all.

We dressed up twice, went to see David Copperfield (which was more than a little cheesy and rehearsed, but still amazing) and Cirque Du Soleil's O (which was mind-blowingly fantastic).

We left money in Vegas, but not as much as we planned on leaving. In fact, our last gambling feat was a pull of a slot machine that gave us $26 and change back.

We had a great was exactly what I wanted out of the weekend and I honestly wouldn't have changed a thing.
I had to tell myself several times to relax, to enjoy the moment, to love where I was at right then and who I was with.  When I was tempted to "eat my money's worth" at the buffets, I reminded myself that the meal would cost the same whether I ate a ton or not.  I reminded myself that my body was worth honoring, worth taking care of.  I gave myself permission to have exactly what I wanted right then - even if it was a salad.  If I wanted something sweeter or saltier at the next meal, that was fine.  But right then I should eat what my body actually wanted. 

I had to remind myself that not eating gobs of food didn't mean that I was missing out.  Those same types of food would be available at the next meal or buffet. 

I want to take what I practiced in Vegas and apply it to my "normal" life here in Denver.  It seemed so easy there to be mindful.  But here, it feels harder.

Is it that my normal life doesn't feel luxurious and opulent?  Maybe.  Is it that I'm trying to spoil myself with Milk Duds and fast food because I feel like I deserve it?  Maybe.  Those are going to be some things that I explore further.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to bring a bit of Vegas home to my life here.  Sans the platform boots and glitter.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vegas, Baby!

Joe and I are headed to Las Vegas for the weekend.  We found a package deal last weekend that was just too good to pass up.  

I'm SUPER excited.

First, I've been to Vegas several times - but always for business, never for pleasure (kind of like always a bridesmaid, never a bride).

The thing is, with business trips, I got to stay at the Mandalay Bay, the Venetian, and the Bellagio.   Great places, but our budget doesn't call for the best of the best.  We're still staying on the strip, but we're not going crazy.

But the thing about going to Vegas for business is that we never ate at one of the buffets.  In fact, I didn't even know they had such a thing there (I mean, ASIDE from something like The Golden Corral). 

Apparently these buffets are amazing - with pretty much everything your little heart (and stomach) can desire.

So, what to do?

Well, first, I pumped Joe for information - and just so you know, he's completely excited about all his yummy options.  These buffets are about $30 a piece (at least at MGM Grand) for dinner. 

And oh man, the temptation to just eat whatever I want without any consequences is SO there....and the food isn't even in front of me right now!

But then I realized that $30 for a nice dinner (if it's as nice as Joe says it is) means that I get to be picky.  And yes, I can have whatever I want...but I need to be aware that there are consequences to wanting (and eating) lots of high fats/caloric foods.

My plan?  To listen to my hunger levels.  To take my time.  To enjoy the food (if it's as wonderful as he says it is).  To get in balanced meals - full of veggies, whole grains, and fruits.

And, most importantly, to not be so stuffed that I can't enjoy the other stuff we want to do in Vegas.  Like sight-seeing, watching some shows (we already have tickets to see O!), and walking around.

But I would LOOOVE some tips from you all on how to enjoy Vegas...have you been there?  If so, how did you manage on your healthy journey?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Celebrate good times, come on!

Since I've gotten the job (YAY!) and accepted it, I took a few days off this week before giving my two week notice.  My company gives a certain amount of personal days at the beginning of the year that are ours to use how we see fit.  If we leave without using them, too bad.  So I'm definitely using up my days!

Unfortunately, as soon as you say you're leaving the company, you can't take those days off.  So I've had most of this week off - but I actually will be giving my two weeks notice on Monday.

Because I needed to give The New Company an answer, I accepted the job offer this past Tuesday.  I'm very excited about the company and the position so I was thrilled to be able to verbally accept.  My first day of work is going to be the 7th of March. 

If you did the math (February 14 + 2 weeks), you've probably noticed that it means that my last day of work will be February 28th.   That means that I'm lucky enough to have a full week off between jobs.  Two of those days will be paid for (my company will pay me for my unused vacation days) so I'm really only taking three days off without pay.  I'm so blessed that I can do that without the fear of running out of money!

Anyway, after accepting with The New Company, I called Joe to squeal with excitement.

"Pick anywhere you want to go to eat tonight and we'll celebrate!," he said.

I thought about all sorts of places that sounded really good and all the ways that I could indulge.  I could have wine, beer, an appetizer, and desert - everything sounded fantastic.  I literally was salivating just by thinking of all my options.

But then I remembered my decision to apply and practice mindful eating.

We went to Sweet Tomatoes (a salad buffet place) instead.

Once there, I loaded my plate with fresh veggies (I was really hungry).  I enjoyed about an 1/8 of a cup of mushroom soup (it was delicious!) and then had a dish of their fat free soft serve ice cream.  It was sooooo good.

I'm not proud that I went to a "diety" place.  Instead, what I'm proud of is that even though all those other places sounded good and sounded like a great way to celebrate, it's not really what I wanted.  What I wanted was to be able to enjoy the meal with Joe.  I wanted to discuss how happy I was with accepting and how I have some reservations about what to say to my boss.  I wanted to not feel rushed.  I wanted to eat something with a lot of veggies in it - since I hadn't had any all day.  I wanted to go to a place where I wouldn't leave heavy and stuffed full.  And I really wanted a place that had a sensible desert option.

So, really, I got exactly what I wanted.

I think the problem with the concept of mindful or intuitive eating is that I get caught up in sometimes wanting it to be a free-for-all.  I want it to be this magical plan where I eat whatever I want whenever I want it and that I drop pounds like crazy.

In reality, there still has to be a trade-off.

Yes, I *can* have dessert after every meal.  But it means that the pounds may not be flying off (if at all) that week.  Yes, I *can* have sugar at every meal.  But that means that I'm still likely to have sugar headaches and to feel lethargic.

I'm thrilled to say that eating as mindfully as I have (not perfect, but a far cry from where I was even last week), has helped me feel way better than I have been feeling.

I've had more energy and I have enjoyed feeling more in control of my food, versus being controlled by my food and cravings.

And if that isn't a reason to celebrate, I don't know what is.

*I LOVED "Celebration!" by Kool and The Gang when I was a kid.  Who am I kidding?  I *still* love that song. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The art of actually trying...

Alright, I'm coming clean.  I'm REALLY unhappy with my body these days.

As in, I've gained weight AND inches and I'm really unhappy with how I look in the mirror and reflections of store front windows.  My skin feels almost as tight as the clothes I'm wearing.

What's more, with this new job (!) that I'm taking on, I need to buy dress clothes for every day wear (I currently wear jeans and a nicer top) and that means that I have to go to Lane Bryant or the likes for my clothes needs.  Because dress pants at the Gap (which top out at 16) no longer fit.


I've found myself thinking about going all protein, no carb because I know I drop weight quickly on that.  I've wondered about doing Medifast (since Lyn has had so much success).  I've even thought a lot of a lot about going back to Weight Watchers - since I lost 56 pounds doing their old program. 

But then I realized that I'm not even TRYING to do intuitive eating any more.  I'm just eating.  I'm not planning, not thinking, not trying to cut some calories, and I'm eating when I'm not hungry. basically, I'm not doing anything about my eating.

So while I may actually try WW again (since the new PointsPlus actually sounds like it encompasses intuitive eating guidelines more than ever), I'm not going to do that now.

I figure if I'm even thinking about paying $10 per week for a program, I should first take a look at what I'm eating/drinking and why.  First, I should actually TRY the lifestyle that I want to be successful at.

So I'm promising myself to eat when I'm hungry, but to stop when I'm no longer hungry.  No points, no judgement on what I'm eating.  Just that - eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm satisfied.  For at least a week.  And next Tuesday, if I'm still gaining weight like a champ, I can re-evaluate from there.

When I actually DO mindful eating, I lose weight.  When I listen to my body's signals of hunger and satiety, I choose foods that are good to me, not just because they're lower in points, calories, or carbs.

I'm coming to the realization that I may need the structure of a standardized program for now.  And I'm vowing to have a firm plan by the end of this month - whether to continue what I'm doing or to do a different plan.

But for this week, I'm going to work hard at practicing intuitive/mindful eating.  I know it can work...just like I know WW can work.  I just need to actually DO the work.

Things that are going to help me? 

1. I've been taking pictures of my food before I eat/drink it.  That gives me a chance to stop and ask myself how hungry I actually am before ingesting it. 

2.  I'm going to stop my eating or drinking at 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 of the way through to ask myself if I'm still hungry or not.  This morning, I woke up with a starving tummy.  So I made a smoothie with protein powder, spinach, and milk.  I only drank about a third of it - because what I had eaten/drank was enough to make me feel satisfied.  Even though I hate wasting things, I figured it'll go to my waist if I drink it I might as well waste it.

3.  I'm going to brush my teeth after each meal.  I'm realizing that I'm snacking when not hungry because it's there or because I can.  But eating with freshly brushed teeth tastes kind of nasty.  Brushing my teeth will help me be mindful of if I'm really hungry or not.  Because if I am, I'll forgo the bad taste to get some fuel.  If I'm eating just to eat, I'm finding that I don't eat because I know I won't like the taste.

4.  More water.  I know I'm only getting in about a liter of water a day.  For someone that used to drink almost a gallon, this is quite a drop off.  I feel better when I drink more water - and I realize that sometimes I'm not actually hungry, I'm thirsty.  This will help me differentiate between the two.

And that's it.  This week, I'm promising to be more mindful about what I put in my body. 

I owe it to myself.

Starting weight?  Let's just say it's higher than where I've been for almost 2 years.  UGH.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I got the job!! :)

I'll have to buy some cute new clothes for the cute new job (oy vey!)...but how exciting is that?!?!? :)

I'll turn in my notice next week (I'm owed 5 days of leave still...and if I tell them now, I don't get to take it) and then hopefully I'll get a week off in between the two jobs (without pay, but some things are worth it).  Sp right now it looks like I'll be starting the new job on March 7th.

I am happy - and a bit scared.  I've been at this company for 4 years and it's a very big fish/small pond type situation.  I'm the best of the best here...and me leaving may mean fewer blog posts (because I'm likely to be more challenged) and some serious adjustment.

Like, for starters, I can't run at lunch - which is one of my very favorite things to do. 

But like I said, some things are worth adjusting.

YAY! :)

Back in the saddle again...

Yesterday morning, Joe and I woke up earlier than we have in probably a month (at least on the weekend).  We've gotten in this bad habit of sleeping LATE on the weekends.  I won't say how late lest you parents roll your eyes and curse me, but late.

Anyway, yesterday we woke up earlier and we decided to work out.  Truthfully, I didn't want to.  I had taken a sleeping pill the night before and was still really groggy.  And I knew that if I told him that I would do the 30 Day Shred video while he worked out, that would be a lie.

So we got dressed and we went to the workout room together because I knew that even 10 minutes on the elliptical would be better than nothing.

Camilla the Exercise Queen was on the treadmill running at a 8.0 pace AND READING A BOOK.  Folks, I don't know how that can be done, but I'm pretty sure that means she's not human.

I did the elliptical for about 5 minutes until she got off the treadmill and then I took her place.

I was SO nervous.  I hadn't run since October 6th.  What if I sucked completely?  What if I couldn't run at all?  What if Joe saw me fail?  What if my belly (that has grown amazingly fast in the last few months) hit the reset button, causing the treadmill to halt suddenly, and causing me to trip and fall?  I'm just's a possibility that floats in my head.

But I ran anyway.

And I'm kind of proud and also kind of not-so proud of the progress that I made. 

First, I ran the first mile - at a pace that was MUCH slower than my standard pace - but I ran the whole thing! 

But after that I didn't have much juice left - so I walked at a 4.2 and 3.0 incline (alternating running at a 5.2 pace at 0 incline) for the rest of our 30 minute work-out time.

It's not super fast - and it's far off my awesome pace of under 10 minutes/mile that I worked myself to.

But it's a starting point.

I found myself wanting to give up during that first mile...and then I realized that I actually wasn't hurting.  I wasn't out of breath and my lungs weren't on fire.  I was just uncomfortable.  It didn't feel good to move my body in such a way after such a long time of not running.  I was tired.  I was lethargic.  And I REALLY hate running on a treadmill.

I told myself to suck it up anyway.  One mile of constant running wasn't going to kill me, dammit.  And I wanted to prove it to myself that I could do it.

And I did.

Between doing that and the shred video, I'm super sore today. 

I'm sad at how much pace/time/distance I've lost.  But I'm happy that I have a new starting point.

I've signed up for the 5 mile Cherry Creek Sneak in May and the 7K Running of the Green in March.  I have a lot of distance to make up, but it feels good to have a goal again - one that isn't based on the number on the scale.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Today - all over again

As all of you know, yesterday was Groundhog Day.  And if you're anything like me, you're thinking of that movie with Bill Murray...and now you might even have "I've got you babe" stuck in your head.

As I was reading blogs yesterday, I came across Karen's at Waisting Time.  She wrote about Groundhog Day (the movie and the actual day) and asked, "So my questions for you today are these: Is there anything you would go back and change on you road to a healthy lifestyle? Or anything else in your life you’d like to do over, if you could?"

I gave my answer - that I would've liked to have gotten "with the program" sooner.  I would've told myself that I was worth it and that I COULD succeed sooner.  I would've done everything that I did, mistakes included, sooner.  Even if only a day sooner.

And then this a-ha moment hit me.

It may get a bit confusing, so work with me here...

What if there was a future self that was able to pick a day where you could really turn your life around?  Not a day that you DID turn it around, but that you COULD'VE?

What I mean is, what if there was one day - one day where you could either choose to be on the same path of unhealthy decisions or a path where you would change.  Where you'd make yourself matter, your partner matter, your kids matter.  Where you'd be a better mom, person, friend, or self?

We'd all like to believe that if given that opportunity to right the wrongs, to do better, we would take it. 

But, what if your future self picked today to be that day?

What if your whole life could be turned around by the lessons you learn today?

It's a motivating thought for me.  Not that some random day could be picked, but the idea that TODAY matters. 

TODAY counts. 

TODAY is the day to get closer to the goals I have and further away from the life I used to live.

And tomorrow?  It'll be today all over again...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Running in -26 Windchill

Seriously, WHAT is up with this picture and/or sport??? 
It was too bizarre to not share...
In case you're not living in the Denver Metro area, I should probably tell you that it's been absurdly cold here.  Yesterday the *high* was *negative* three.  Last Friday it was almost 70.  Nice temperature swing, huh?

So yesterday morning, I had my last interview with "the" company.  Only I realized as I was leaving that I was running late.  Very in, I'd have to hoof it to get there on time.

I should probably say here that I wanted to feel confident in my looks during this interview...and even though it was cold, I was prepared to forgo some "warm" items so that I would feel cute and confident.  That meant no hat, no bulky long underwear, and (I know I'm going to hear about this) no coat.  I didn't have one that would look cute over a I just didn't wear one.

It wouldn't have been so bad except for the fact that the front door to our building is almost two blocks away from the door to get into the parking garage.

So I did what any non-sane person would do in this situation.  I ran to my the parking garage.

And okay, I know what you're going to say.  You ran two blocks?  Whoop-dee-do. 

The thing is, I ran two blocks in -15 degrees and when I arrived at the door, I was completely fine.  No burning chest; no hacking cough.  Just frozen nostrils.  And hey - I wasn't freezing cold by the time I got to the door - win win!

I think I've been afraid to run - probably because my last run before my surgery was kind of traumatic.  But all this 30 Day Shredding has put me in better shape than I thought. 

Such good shape that I'm starting to have my confidence back for running...such that I plan on running at least once in the next week.  I know it may not sound like lofty goals, but I suspect that if I run and don't die on the treadmill that I'll continue to be back up and running in no time.

It feels good to feel more like ME these days.  Healthy, competent, confident me.