Thursday, March 24, 2011

Status update

Alright folks, I've been a bit sketchy on the details of my life as of late. I'm sure much of that has to do with me being sick with a fever AGAIN since last Wednesday night. I finally went to the doctor on Monday and was prescribed antibiotics to get over this (hopefully) once and for all.

I've had stress over the new job and stress about my younger sister's wedding. As in she didn't want to go through with it so I dropped everything to try to be a good friend and sister to help her through it. All that to have her ultimately decide to marry I'm anyway. Awesome.

And honestly? Things with my boyfriend and I (we live together for those that are new here) have been rocky. We had a HUGE fight right before I started the new job and while I can logically say that I understand why he said what he did, I'm just not back to trusting him fully again. No raised voices - just words that hurt more than I thought they could. Our therapist is getting paid well thankyouverymuch.

My grandmother is literally on her death bed and I get text updates from my dad about how she's battling breathing on the respirator and how her right lung is almost completed filled with fluid, despite the drugs they have her on. She's got dementia so when they can rouse her enough to get her to open her eyes, they can't get her to understand that they need her to cough so the pneumonia doesn't spread further. According to my dad, she won't recover and will likely die this weekend. I thought I was prepared for this, but I cried a few times today - which kind of surprised me actually.

It ain't pretty, but it is my life as I know it currently.

All of this and you would think that my eating would be completely out of whack. Well, for the first time in decades (okay, I'm only 33), I can say that you'd be wrong. Somehow feeling like I've lost control in every way in my life (yes I know I never had control in the first place) maybe has made it easier to assess one small thing at a time, like how I'm eating, what I'm eating, or what I'm drinking. I'm proud to say that I'm down 6 pounds from when all this hoopla started.

The delicious coffee-ish sugary drinks that are free at work are now a thing of the past. I get lots of fiber in my diet due to whole grains, veggies, and fruit. I eat portioned meals each day and don't have dessert each night unless I'm really wanting it.

And you know what? I feel great - much better than how I remember feeling when I wasn't eating as well. Next up? The exercise piece. The upper respiratory infection put running on hold for a while, but not for much longer.

So no, I'm not posting like crazy, but I am still here, still on this journey with you... Even if it feels like I'm more distant.

Is here where I say "it's not you, it's me"?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letting Go

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." ~Lao Tzu

I was born into a family of three daughters.  My whole life, I've been the funny one, the one in the middle who takes care of others and soothes the hurts of the day.  I was the smart one who became an engineer at a great school.  I was the responsible one.

And, I've always been the fat one.

I've written about it before, but shedding the titles of the past has always been a pretty big deal to me.  "What kind of girl are you?" and  "What kind of girl do you want to be?" are questions that I've always found pretty powerful to ask myself.

But what I don't think I've realized until late is that if I don't let go of my own ideas of how things should be, I'm living in the past.  And if I'm living in the past, I'm not making much of the now - or making much of the future that I could have.  I'm starting to realize that living like that isn't living much at all.

I'm not sure when I decided that being at a healthy weight wasn't for me, not really.  But I've believed that for as long as I can remember.  Thin, pretty people were for covers of magazines or bridal websites - not for people like me.
When you feel so low about who you are as a person, it's hard to feel like you're worth another diet, another go at healthy eating, a higher paying job, a more fulfilling life, or a healthy relationship.  You just believe that you're lucky for what you get - and you shouldn't expect to be given more.

But if you always believe that, you can never become anything different.  Despite all of your efforts.  And believe me, the only thing that I've done more times than I've quit diets is starting a new one.

I may not be posting often on this blog, but I am doing a lot of thinking about me, about how I got this way, about why I've struggled so much with weight loss, and about what it is that I really want.

Some days I'm closer to answers to those ponderings and some days I'm not.

What I can tell you is that I've made some huge progress in myself - lasting progress - over the past year.

I no longer think that I don't deserve a loving relationship.  I no longer believe that I'm not worth a happy life.  I no longer believe that suffering abuse as I did several times as a child was due to me being faulty to begin with.  And I no longer believe that my destiny is to be fat.

I'm letting go of feeding my emotions with food.  I'm letting go of my belief that I will always be that funny fat girl. 

I've spent the last three weeks at a job that is challenging and that I'm good at.  If I never felt worthy of higher pay and better perks than my previous job, I wouldn't have this one.  I'm realizing, while surrounded by smart, successful people, that I'm worthy of being employed there too.  In fact, they're lucky to have me join their team.

Changing jobs (and being successful with that change) has given me a whole new outlook on life.  I can't change the past, I can't change who I was. 

But letting go of my old beliefs about myself and about my life means that I'm opening up to the beauty of possibilities I've yet to be exposed to.

What about you - what aspects of yourself do you need to let go of?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My sliver of happy

Usually I point you all to blogs regarding weight loss, healthy eating, mindfulness, or friends that I know.

But today, I'm going to encourage you to check out a blog that is first on my reading list - and has been - for weeks.

Enjoying the Small Things is written by Kelle Hampton. 

She takes pictures of things, mostly her girls.  She writes beautifully.  She's not perfect (even though she looks like she is).  She shares and she practices being centered in the right here and now, in taking pleasure in the enjoyment of the small things. 

If you're new to her, I recommend her post about the birth of her second child.  It's a great starting place.

Reading her words and seeing her pictures makes me relax; it soothes me in ways that I can't clearly articulate.

Do yourself a favor - check her out.  I'm pretty sure you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Perseverance, Week 2: Less Sugar

Last week, I mentioned that the idea of small changes adding up to big lifestyle changes was a motivator for me.  My small change from last week was that I was going to start adding in more water to my daily life.

So how'd I do?  Well, pretty good.  My facility doesn't have ice (I KNOW, what do they think we are, animals?!?) so water is less temping than before.  BUT they do have fairly cold water fountains.  So I've been making frequent trips to the water fountain throughout the day to put water in my nalgene bottle (cartoon drawing of it to the right).  I learned quickly to not fill it up, as I typically don't drink the whole thing before it gets warm.

Week 1?  Success!

For the second week, I really wanted to focus on something that I think will help me in the long run AND the short run:  To cut down on sweets.

This is a tough one for me - especially lately.  I've been craving sweets more and more...and there seems to be something to the idea that the more you have of something, the more your body craves it - especially with sweets.

So this week, as impossible as it might feel, I'm going to limit my refined sugar as much as possible.

The hardest thing to do is to cut out the sugar in my coffee, but I think I'm breaking free of that.  Today, after two mugfuls of coffee, I still had only used less than half of a Sweet N' Low packet.  Next, I need to watch the dessert offerings that I've been having after dinner.  A few Milk Duds are turning into a few handfuls...and what's worse, they're not even being mindfully consumed.

Last night, on the way home from work, I stopped at the grocery store and bought some delicious blackberries and honeycrisp apples, two of my most favorite fruits.  This way, when I'm armed with something sweet for after dinner, I can have a healthy portion of fruit instead of my usual scouring for something artificial.

So I (selfishly) can have some inspiration for a change next week, what is something small you're working on this week or have had success in?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cracking in two...

"Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before." ~Jacob A. Riis

This weekend, I had originally planned on running a local 7K (The Runnin' O' The Green).  I ran it last year - even though it ended in snow and Joe was in bed, warm and cuddly.  But this year?  I didn't sign up; I just cuddled.

I couldn't run 7K straight if I tried.

But the worst thing?  I didn't.  Try that is.

On May 1st, I'm already signed up for a 5 mile run, the Cherry Creek Sneak.  I did it last year and it was a bunch of fun.  Well, maybe not fun, I mean afterall, it was difficult.

Anyway, on January 3rd of this year, I registered for this year's Cherry Creek Sneak.  Know what that means?  Yes, that's right - I have about 6 weeks to get in shape and be able to run 5 miles. 

I'm up for the challenge.  I can add 1 mile per week and then work on my speed for that distance throughout the week.

Somehow, having a tangible goal to work towards helps me out.

What's more, this change in me - to be healthier in my mind, body, and spirit may not be discernible from day to day...but over the course of a longer time period, the change is undeniable.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Keep going

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking." ~Buddhist Saying

When I first started my weight loss journey, I often thought about food as "good" or "bad."  It's kind of silly, actually - since food is usually measured in calories.  What makes a calorie "good" or "bad?"  Well, nothing really.  A calorie is just a science term.

And just how many calories of one thing makes something good or bad anyway?  My answer used to be:  when I start to feel guilty about it.

These days, I've realized that I've shed that mentality.  I've had a constant supply of chocolate in our house since I moved in - almost a year ago.  Guess how many times I've binged on them? ZERO.

So clearly, I've learned that food isn't inherantly good or bad.

And yet, I'm struggling with letting go of labeling myself on my journey as either doing good or bad.

Gained weight?  BAD.  Lost weight but not as much as I'd liked?  BAD.  Clothes getting baggier? GOOD.  Worked out today? GOOD.

I'm not talking about healthy pride in doing something that makes your body feel great.  I'm talking about making the label of good or bad to be a core of your identity - if only for the day.

The thing is, I need to realize that my path to success has many glitches in it.  There may be many times where I ask myself if I'll ever get to my ideal weight.  Those times, I get discouraged and downtrodden thinking that I'll never be as successful as the people that do extreme dieting.

But then I come across something that reminds me that as long as I'm on the right path, and I put one foot in front of the other, I WILL get there.

It's not a race.

As long as I have the intestinal fortitude to keep on going, it's all good.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

True Perseverance

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another."  ~Walter Elliott

I came across the above quote and it hit me right across the face with it's simplicity.

I mean, wouldn't that be nice if someone could give a miraculous answer of how to solve this whole "weight problem" thing once and for all; one where you never slip up?  It'd be pretty awesome.  I suppose that's why I've bought more exercise equipment via infomercials than I care to admit.

The thing is, getting to a goal weight isn't one long trend of stick-to-it-ness. It's probably not done by one person waking up one day and deciding to have 100% healthy meals and 100% awesome work-outs every day.  It's not about being perfect for ever and ever.

For me, it's about small goals, small things that I do now or can learn to do well with practice. Then I add another trend or practice on...until ultimately, I'm a much healthier version of me. Those habits form a long chain of resolve - one that results in me being a changed person.

I've been having these a-ha moments recently where I'm realizing that I'm turning down sweets more often - just because I know I don't like the way my body feels on refined sugar. I've started to realize that with more sleep, I function better. And I've been recognizing how when I eat something that's "diet-like" it's because that's what my body needs to fuel itself - and not because I know that eating it will result in a smaller waistline.

This week, I'm going to focus my game on one (admitedly) small thing that over time will create a big win: for one whole week, I'm going to promise to drink a lot more water. When I drink more water, I feel better; I'm fuller, my skin looks better, and I feel wonderful.

Time for you to share: what are you working on this week; what's your current short race?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Last reminder!

Hi all!

One last reminder to enter the Walgreens giveaway sweeps on my review blog if you haven't already.

Contest ends next week - and I'd love it if one of my loyal readers won!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Breaking the trend

"Tomorrow, you promise yourself, will be different, yet tomorrow is too often a repetition of today."

     -- James T. McKay

Yesterday I was catching up on some TV shows that I've DVR'd while doing laundry and cleaning up the house.  An episode of "Criminal Minds" came on and the quote at the beginning of it hit me hard (thus, why I quoted it above).

I realized that that pretty much sums up how helpless I've felt in the middle of a cycle of eating poorly and ditching exercise.

I tell myself it'll be different tomorrow.  I'll eat better.  I'll exercise.  I'll take the stairs.  I'll pass up the extra calories.  And yet, when faced with those very choices, I've found myself not making the better one.

Truthfully?  This weekend has been tough.  As in REALLY tough.  As in, I'm doing things I haven't done in years tough.  While I don't want to get into the details, suffice it to say, I'm struggling.

I struggled all weekend - with my food choices and my exercise choices.  And those three pounds that I reported losing? Oh, I'm pretty sure that they AND some friends found their way back to my ample butt.

So what now?  What do I do now? 

Well, I could let this same trending behavior tie into each day this next week. 

OR I could change it.  Starting now.

Last night I made some amazing tuna fish salad.  Truthfully, it's more carrots, celery, and onions than tuna fish, eggs, and light mayo.  It's crisp, tasty, and healthy.  It's what I'll be enjoying for lunch this week.

I also made some great chicken noodle soup using whole wheat noodles (okay, I'm not really a fan, but they're edible), LOTS of veggies, some chicken stock, and some white chicken breasts.  That will be a lot of our dinners this week.

Most exciting, I've already exercised this morning.

Having a plan for today makes it so much easier to break the trend of overeating and emotional eating.

Having a plan makes me feel more in control.

And it helps me leave yesterday where it the past.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Hello there!

The newest addition to my cube. :)
First, I am so sorry for being vacant.  The new job has a VERY strict policy of what is and is not allowed on work computers.  I can't even get to my gmail account on my work computer, so Blogger is completely out.  I do have access via my iPhone (which is how I'm reading blog posts at lunch)...but commenting is not so fun and easy - especially via our 3G network.  Having said that, I've never been so happy to have an iPhone in my life.

And actually?  The picture on this post is from my cube - I bought the tiny vase at a small shop in Idaho Springs and the daisy is from a bouquet that I bought at Safeway Tuesday night (the whole bouquet was only $2.99!!)

So basically, I'm having to find time to write a blog and comment at night.  So far, I've only made it to two blog posts and have commented on 0 blogs.  I want to...I just am swamped with all that I have on my plate right now (Jackie, you were so right!).

I'm struggling though.  I want to tell you about all the times I "won" but I can only think of a few.  One of which being that Wednesday morning, our HR department brought in ooey gooey donuts (including bavarian creme, my favorite) due to us hitting the February sales numbers.  I was in the lunchroom when they brought them in and felt no hunger towards them - so I just passed them up, despite many people encouraging me to indulge.

The thing I've been struggling the most with is getting so growling hungry in my stomach that I want to devour people's faces AND my lunch.  The food I bring to work is healthy (a sandwich, a cup of blackberries, an apple, and some PopChips), but when I get to the point of being famished, I scarf it down without much mindfulness.  I get this hungry because most of my day is spent at other co-workers desks - and they're training myself and another co-worker at the same time.  These people must have stomachs of steel because they'll go for hours and hours without so much as a peep of discomfort.

And my eating at night?  Eesh.  VERY far off where I want to be.

Starting today, I want to honor my body a bit more - even if only to eat and fuel it when I'm hungry versus waiting for when my co-workers get hungry.  If they think I'm a pig, too bad.  I'll show them in a few months when the weight starts to peel off again.  But in the meantime, waiting until I'm physically so uncomfortable and it isn't doing me any favors.

On the plus side?  Scale says I'm down the 3 pounds I reported gaining last week.  So I guess it isn't all bad.

P.S.  Just a reminder to head on over to the Review Blog and enter to win the $100 gift card!  The contest ends soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New job, new challenges, new goals

So yesterday, I started my new job (cue confetti!!!)!

Two things about the new job and food:

1) They have unlimited "deluxe" powdered coffee.  You know the kind that you can get at convenience stores in authentic flavors such as French Vanilla or English Toffee?  Yeah those.  If you've never had the chance to try them, they're basically about 40 thousand teaspoons of sugar in a highly caffeinated beverage that tastes nothing like coffee and everything like drinking melted chocolate.  In short, it's delicious.   And it's free.

This may present a problem...mostly because being hyped up on caffeine AND sugar is not the best option.  Secondly, I probably won't like how that feels on a regular basis.  Thirdly, it's not good for me.  Fourthly? I really don't need extra calories in a drinkable form.

My plan?  Know that the coffee is there should I want it.  There are non-flavored, non-sugary options, but because it comes out of a machine, I don't get to pick how sugary or creamed the coffee is.  I can experiment with those options, or I can drink hot tea (which is typically my hot beverage of choice anyway). 

BUT should I really want the coffee, I'm going to let myself have it.  With the caveat that I need to be mindful about consuming it.  If I'm just going to down it while in a stressful meeting and not really savor it, then it's wasted calories anyway.  It might make sense to save the flavored coffee for times when I can really enjoy it.

2) The lunchroom is pretty far away from where my desk is.

Actually, this kind of sounds like it'd be a pain in the butt, but I think it will work in my favor.  First, how often do I go to the kitchen to grab something to eat just for a diversion to break up my normal work day?  Now, I can make the walk a part of the diversion.

The added benefit is that I get in some movement throughout the day. 

I can have some snacks at my desk (although I didn't see anyone actually eating at their desk) to enjoy in a pinch, but most of my items are fruits, cheeses, or meals that require refrigeration.  I'm hopeful that the distance to the fridge/lunchroom may help me decide if I'm actually hungry before eating.  If I am really hungry, the walk will be no biggie.  If I'm not, the long walk may be enough of a deterrent to avoid it.

Yesterday, I ended up eating more food (and food that wasn't healthy) than I had intended.  My boss took myself and another new co-worker out to a bar for burgers (no joke) and Joe and I had dinner plans pre-arranged at a local restaurant.  The dinner was excellent, but not exactly low-cal either.

If I want to look and feel better, I've got to take more control of my eating - at work and outside of work. 

And without any bad habits already marring my normal workday, I'm in a perfect position to set up some great guidelines for me.

Added to that, I get to go to work a half hour later than I used to - with a commute that's half what it used to be.  Running in the morning is going to make a comeback in my life without having to feel like I'm getting up earlier to do it.  I can get up at the same time I always did and still get a great 3 mile workout in.

The new job is going to be stressful enough - learning new people, new things, new cliques, and new unspoken rules.  Why not add some new healthy activities too?