Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Healthy Travels

I'm gearing up to take a road trip with my family for a nice visit with some of my family & friends I haven't seen in a while.  My first thought upon planning this trip was that my healthy eating / fitness plan would go out the window because "it's vacation!"  Oh no - not true.  While I do think I'll probably eat things I wouldn't normally eat in my day to day life, I'm not throwing my plan out a bit,  In fact, I'm ADAPTING MY TRIP to my fitness goals.  We picked a hotel with a gym and pool, plus I plan on doing one of those new-fangled P90X/Insanity super workouts with my brother, Lou.

It's a thirteen-ish hour drive (with two kids!  Hey-yo!) but instead of stopping for dinner on the way out there, we're packing dinner to save on calories....AND cash.  There will be lots of walking involved.  But you want to know what my biggest plan for success is?  I'll let you in on the secret....I'm sure you won't tell.

I PLAN TO FOCUS ON THE EXPERIENCE, NOT THE FOOD.  While there will be some childhood favorites available that I can't get at home in IL (mmm...Zweigle's White Hots....Abbott's Frozen Custard...Molson Beer - ok, that one wasn't from childhood) and I will be consuming some of each, I don't have to lose my freaking mind.

I look forward to telling you about the trip once it's over.  I'm so excited I could pee my pants.

What are some of your favorite healthy travel snacks besides fruit?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Turned 36

My birthday was Friday.  I feel like I've been riding the wave ever since.  Friday was a great day.  My husband took the day off to hang out with me and gaggle of children who were with us that day.  That was my first great present - an extra day with my fella.  Then in the evening, my mother in law made a wonderful birthday dinner.  Did I blow it and overeat just because it was my birthday (I know ya'll totally want to know)....

The answer is a resounding "NO."  I did NOT blow it.  I was in control.  I enjoyed the experience.  My daughters presented me with a new pair of pajamas (since getting in our pajamas as soon as possible after the work/school day is over is about one of our favorite things).  They were size "XL."  They're very cute - yellow, with pictures of summer-ish (summery?) things on them.  Best of all - THEY picked them out.  They thought I'd love them and I do.  But I have to admit.  I got a bit of a panic attack when I saw the size.  I can't remember when I wore an "XL" anything that didn't have a number in front of it.  I was so afraid I'd disappoint them if they didn't fit and I couldn't wear them to the special family movie night/family campout in the living room that my oldest had orchestrated for the night after we got back home.

When we got home, I put off trying on those pajamas as long as I could.  Then I finally did it.  And guess what? THEY FIT.  THEY FIT.  Did you hear that?  THEY FREAKING FIT.  I cried in the bathroom a little.  When I emerged, my oldest said, "Momma, you look beautiful!"  My daughters and my husband took extra care to make my birthday special, and it's one I'll never forget.  I've got tangible evidence of all the hard work I've done so far.  And guess what?  It's only going to get better.

And just for the record - 36 completely ROCKS.  I love my life.....my husband (who totally noticed I've got collarbones which I'm sort of in love with touching) and children are an incredible source of inspiration and motivation to me.  Here's something I know:  When I turn 37, there isn't going to be an "X" anywhere in the size of pajamas that fit me.  And you know what?  I'm really excited about that.

Goodbye, 35 - and thanks for being the year I got my ass up off the couch and took control of my precious life.

*******UPDATE:  How could I have forgotten to mention this??  There was no cake!  I had a birthday and there was no cake and I survived it....AND it was still a birthday!    Instead, I made a Frozen Yogurt Pie (will post the recipe at a later date).  It was wonderful and completely guilt-free.  That felt awesome!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Perspective & Priorities

As with all things on my blog, this post relates to me.  How I'm feeling - it's not how you should feel or what I think everyone should be doing.  All I know about, all I can write about, is my own world. 

This week has been considerably clearer for me than last week.  On Monday I received news that an acquaintance of mine and her mate lost their infant baby.  Just one month old, this remarkable child had made such a huge impact on so many lives. As a mother, I couldn't imagine having to bury one of my children.  I can't imagine the hole that creates in a person's life. 

While thinking of this couple and their incredible little angel, I suddenly realized that perspective and priorities are what it takes to be successful.  I wrote to a dear friend this week: "If these people can bury their daughter and still go on - I can lose 70 more pounds."  Just one week ago, losing any weight at all seemed an insurmountable task.  Now, it seems like something very minor indeed. 

That's perspective.   My priorities have to be in line.  I want to be a healthy mother.  I want to be around for my children.  I want to enjoy them.  I want to live.  One or two days away from my plan isn't going to kill me.  It's not going to change a damn thing in the big picture.  I will lose this weight, of that I am certain.  But I think we all must live each day as if it were our last because it very well might be.  And I don't want to live my last day with any shame or guilt.  I want to be free.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Psychology of (My) Weight Loss, Part 1

I'm wondering if I'm allowing myself to become a bi-polar weight-loser (still can't bring myself to use the word "dieter.").  I'll have these extreme "I CAN DO ANYTHING" periods followed by, "No, you can not do everything.  You can't even do anything."  That is seriously how I've felt the past couple of days.  I've had binges (yeah - making those lemon bars while pretending I was doing it only for my husband's enjoyment?  Not such a good idea in hindsight).  I've done the self-loathing thing.  I've tried to remind myself that the "old" way is the more "fun" way.  But in reality, it's NOT.  It's not any fun at all. 
My blog is all about honesty.  Judge me if you must, but you can't say I'm not being honest.  I have realized in the very recent past, how much I have let my relationship (or lack thereof) with my mother influence my self-destruction.  Please don't read me the wrong way here.  I'm in no way trying to paint my mother as a monster.  She never hit me.  She never verbally abused me.  She never told me anything negative about myself.  But at the age of about 15, she moved several states away with her new husband and the two children she had created with him.  And it was at that moment that she ceased being my mother. She never really looked back (or so I thought).  The promises of phone calls were empty ones, and I very rarely heard from her.

I have spent a good portion of my adult life trying desperately to have a relationship with her.  I don't know why it has mattered to me so much.  The more I think about it, the more I feel like a failure.  Like I didn't measure up to - I don't know what.  Her silence in my life is heard in my heart as indifference.  The longer that passes between phone calls from her, the more bitter I become.  It depresses me to think about it.  And when I get depressed, it's the worst kind of binging that I do.  It's a hopeless binge.  It's the sort of binge that I can't stop in the middle of.  It's the sort of binge that I can't seem to get full from - until I stop.  It's the sort of binge that leaves tears running down my face because I feel so weak and ashamed. 

After a binge like that I feel a small amount of relief as if my body needed it.  But then, of course, I feel sick for quite some time after.  I really hate feeling out of control.  I hate not being able to stop myself.  I told someone today that the hardest part about making a change in our lives is making the decision to do so - and sticking with it. 

With every 10 pounds I've lost, I have found a way to sabotage myself (check out the "Progress" tab above) and gain the next week or shortly thereafter.  This is a cycle (and one of the many reasons I'm tracking my weight loss publicly).  I need to break this cycle.  And although I briefly entertained the idea of taking a break from all electronic applications I use for my weight loss journey (Twitter, blog, and Facebook), I realize it's this very support that I need so much to break such cycles.  I gain strength in the numbers of people in similar situations as I am.  Together we can do this.  It's all about self discovery and behavior modification.

Despite what my brain has been telling me, I WILL WIN at this.  I CAN do that, and I WILL do this.  It's not a choice.  It's just what I'm doing.

And I'm really glad you're all with me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Battle of The Cheese Wedges: Weight Watchers Brand vs. The Laughing Cow Brand

Ask anyone who knows even just a little about me and they'll all tell you my favorite food is....say it with me....CHEESE!  I love just about every kind of cheese, except the stinky/moldy kind.  I knew when I started my journey to healthier living that my relationship with cheese was going to have to change.  Seriously, and I'm not proud of this - but I could sit and eat an ENTIRE block of sharp cheddar cheese.  All of it.  I freaking love it that much.  World's best snack?  Cheese & crackers.  Best way to jazz up just about any recipe?  Add cheese.  Favorite pizza topping?  Extra cheese.

The problem is that if you don't moderate your intake of cheese or any food, really - your body will rebel.  Food is meant to be consumed in moderation, not in entire blocks of cheese.  So, I cut back some and then discovered these spreadable cheese wedges.  They're great melted in pasta (thank you, Hungry Girl, for the idea!) if you're a mac & cheese type (seriously?  Who isn't a mac & cheese type?) and they're absolutely wonderful spread on to a Bagel Thin for breakfast.

But which brand is better?  Weight Watchers, or Laughing Cow?  Read on, and find out what I think!

Weight Watchers Brand
Judging from the research I did, the Weight Watchers brand of spreadable cheese wedges come in several delicious-sounding flavors:  Original Swiss, Parmesan Peppercorn, Jalapeno Pepper, and Garlic and Herb.  My local supermarket (a large multi-tasking store type chain) carries only the Original Swiss and Jalapeno Pepper varieties.  They are both very good, have a mild flavor and are spreadable as the package suggests.  They come with six in a package and at my particular supermarket cost $2.68 per package.  All varieties are 1 PointsPlus per cheese wedge. I really enjoy them.

The Laughing Cow Brand
According to their website, The Laughing Cow spreadable cheese wedges come in a host of different flavors: Original Creamy Swiss, Light Creamy Swiss, Light Garlic & Herb, Light French Onion (my personal fav), Light Queso Fresco and Chipolte, Light Blue cheese, and Light Mozzarella w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil.  Seriously, they sound fantastic, right?  Well, my supermarket (keep in mind, my town's population hovers somewhere near 7,500) only carries The Original Creamy Swiss, Light Creamy Swiss, Light French Onion and occasionally the Light Mozzarella w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil.  I have tried all but the latter, and they're really all fantastic.  I have taken a particular shine to the Light French Onion.  It is incredible spread on a piece of toast with a fried egg over top.  Or spread on to 12 baked cheese crackers.  I double checked the nutrition stats for all of their varieties (even the Original Creamy Swiss) and all varieties of this product are also 1 PointsPlus on the Weight Watchers system.  I adore this product....all of the varieties I have chosen have been excellent.  In my supermarket, they retail for $2.98 per package.

So which would I recommend?  I will, from now on go with The Laughing Cow brand.  Although the cost is higher, The Laughing Cow brand comes with 8 wedges to a container.  Each wedge of The Laughing Cow brand is 21grams.  Each wedge of the Weight Watchers brand?  Only 19 grams.

For me, one wedge of the LC brand (which is 2 grams larger than the WW brand) costs around 37 cents.  Each wedge of the WW brand costs around 45 cents. Each package of the WW brand contains 114 grams of cheese.  Each package of The Laughing Cow brand contains 168 grams of cheese.  I'm no math whiz, but that means The Laughing Cow brand cheese wedges contain 54 grams more of cheese than their WW counterpart.

Sometimes, folks, it's all about the math.  These cheese wedges are an awesome way to curb cheese cravings and can be used in so many different ways - melted into scrambled eggs, as a topping for a bagel, melted into hot cooked pasta, as a topping for crackers, spread on to vegetables.....they are very versatile.  But for my money?  I'll be going for The Laughing Cow from now on.

**** Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this review in any way.  These are all my own personal opinions.  So there!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Secret To Whooping A Day Into Shape (I'm Not Trying)

I'm going to tell all of you what it takes to truly take a day and make it yours.  It's painfully simple and excruciatingly complex.  All it takes is a positive attitude and a little confidence in yourself.  I've said before that I believe that weight loss is about 20% science (calories in vs. calories out) and 80% mental / emotional.  When we truly believe we can succeed, we succeed.  When we truly believe there's a chance to fail, we'll fail every time.

Riding the high of self-confidence now doesn't mean that in the future something won't happen to point me back to my old ways.  It's very easy to slip back into "What The Hell" mode.  It's comfortable.  It's what we know.  But true strength is forged OUTSIDE of our comfort zone.  It's earned through figurative and literal blood, sweat, and tears.  When we feel strong it's like a badge of honor, as well it should be.

Me?  I'm not going to try anymore.  A wise Muppet once said, "Do or do not.  There is no try."  When we use the word "try," we offer a chance of failure right in the front door.  Failure is like a vampire.  It can't come in unless we invite it.  And saying we're going to "try" something means, "Eh....I'll do a little of the required work, but if it doesn't pan out then who cares."  I'm not going to try succeeding.  I'm going to do it.

"I never try anything, I just do it." 
-Varla, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

30 Pounds Lost Incentive Earned / Self-Control

I reached the 30 pounds lost mark this past week and yesterday I collected my prize!  We dropped the girls off at grandma's house and went out on a wonderful date!  We headed to them movie theater to see Thor at 10am.  Can I just tell you that I LOVE the 10:00 show?  We both got in to see a 3D movie (which always carries that stupid extra surcharge) for $13.  FOR BOTH OF US.  That's not being cheap, that's being smart.  After seeing Thor (which was awesome, by the way.  Chris Hemsworth This piece of cinema is worth feasting your eyes on for 2+ hours.

After that, we headed to lunch with some friends.  We'd decided on TGI Friday's as we hadn't been there in many years and thought we'd give it a try.  My husband ordered a delicious looking BBQ Chicken wrap with fries (which looked yummy), and the couple we were with ordered some sufficiently yummy looking food as well.  I ordered the "Dragonfire Chicken" which was one of their "RPRP" (right portion right price) meals.  I also ordered a blackberry margarita.  It was a normal sized one, but I realized once and for all I don't really like margaritas.  I think it has something to do with the dreadful tequila they use to make them.   Anyway, I was pleasantly happy that my ENTIRE meal (sans drink) was only 11 PointsPlus, according to the nutritional information on their website (they do not list fiber values, however).  ELEVEN.  The chicken, which had this delicious kung-pao sauce with it was fantastic.  It came with jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.  I couldn't have been more pleased.  I highly recommend it.  The cocktail - not so much.

Today was Mother's Day and my husband and daughters went the distance to make it an extra special day for me.  My husband cooked breakfast AND washed the dishes (thank you, dear!) and the girls had some wonderful gifts.  I did not track what I ate today, but as most Weight Watchers folks do, I mentally tallied points.  I figure I used about 4 -5 of my weekly points today.  I made sensible choices and felt like a "normal" person.  I didn't stress about food.  I just enjoyed my family.  That's what it's all about, y'all.  I will, however, be back to tracking tomorrow!!

"Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children"
        - William Makepeace Thackeray

Here's to all the moms out there who do their best every day to live up to the image their children have of them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Haven't Been Present - Here's Why

I don't feel like I've had much to say this past week or so.  I haven't been very present on my own blog or at the blogs I read on a daily basis.  There are many that I read regularly but don't often comment on and there are many that I do comment often on and I haven't even been leaving comments there.  I haven't been writing as much.  I haven't been on Twitter much, and my Facebook page - well....I haven't been there much at all either.

I haven't felt well the past few days but it can also be said that I can feel the grip of depression starting to set in.  I've got a good idea what the trigger is (or what I've ALLOWED to be the trigger), and I'm looking to put it in it's place with a phone call in the morning.  How do you tell someone you have loved for nearly 36 years that their absence in your life, their lack of effort in your life and your children's lives is a constant reminder of the one of the most traumatic events of your life?  Or, more importantly, DO you tell them?  Do you just let the past be the past or do you confront it? 

At what point do you say, "This shit doesn't matter to me anymore?"  When will I be that person who can just let it all go? I've tried to be that person, but something always seems to remind me that I've got unfinished business to attend to.  I've always been a "fixer," and when I can't "fix" something, it eats away at me.  I've been reading all these posts on Facebook about how people are in awe of their mothers and they're all so close with their mothers.  I've always wished that to be the case with me, but it's not.  I can't post a photo of my mother on FB and pretend that she and I have a fairytale relationship because we don't.  She's not an evil person - I just don't understand her, and I don't know if I ever will.

In relation to weight loss - I don't know what it all means.  I just know that when depression kicks in, I usually fall desperately off plan and beat myself up as much as possible.  I'm trying to tread water here. So far so good.  Recognizing the signs that it's coming is helping me fight it off.  Thanks so much to all of you for your wonderful support.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April Goals Wrap Up / Goals For may

At the beginning of April, I set some goals for myself.  Since today is May 1, I will go ahead and assess how I did for the month of April.  But first, let me tell you a little about how April has gone for me.
In April, I took a break from the #7daychip.  I found that for me, I was obsessing over the numbers of what day I was on and stressing out over being perfect.  This isn't because of the design of the objective of the group or anything, it was all me.  When I would mess up, the guilt spiral would start.  So once I felt I was out of the running for the #30daychip, I took a step back and reevaluated my goals and how I need to get there.  I think that #7daychip is an excellent concept and has helped me greatly in the past.  I felt, though, that a break was needed to "recharge."  It has really helped.  I started back to trying to earn my next #7daychip yesterday and my only goals are staying within my daily allotted points target and tracking what I eat/drink everyday.   I feel this will boost my success.
In addition, I started the SBR Challenge (see tab above).  This has proven to be a great group of people we have here.  Many of us have had a bit of struggle the past week but I know we're all going to kick it into high gear and power through this challenge.  It's gonna be awesome! 

Let's get into the meat of last month's goals and see how I did:

Goals For April

Goal weight for the end of April: 229

My weigh in last week was 232.6.  This isn't quite 229, but I'm getting pretty close.  More focus will do the trick here, I think.

Drink 120 oz of water daily
I'm happy to say that there were only 2 or 3 days OUT OF THE WHOLE MONTH that I did not get all my water in.  That's pretty damn good, if you ask me.  You didn't, but I'm telling you anyway.

5 workouts per week, no excuses

Done.  This is one of my favorite parts of this weight loss stuff now. I am really enjoying my workouts.  I even got a chance this past weekend to workout with a friend and it was a lot of fun!  I may trick her into taking a Zumba class with me someday :)  Sunday workouts have been pretty awesome, too - my husband and I have been doing about an hour of Kundalini Yoga every Sunday morning together and I absolutely love it.

Blog 6 times per week

I think for the most part I've done this.  I'm not 100% sure though.  If not, I'm pretty close.

Try 2 more healthy recipes this month (I love cooking new things!)
Trying to think here.  I don't think that this happened.  Though I did make a new recipe today that was spiked iced tea.  It was heavenly, but sent me straight into a 2 hour nap.

Log 50 miles at the gym this month with a combination of elliptical, treadmill, and bike 

This month I logged:
49.61 miles on the bike
21.84 miles on the elliptical
.96 miles on the treadmill (as you can tell, it's not my favorite.  I kind of don't like it at all)

For a grand total of 72.75 miles logged at the gym for April.  I'd say I surpassed that goal and it feels so good!!  Yesterday I bested my 2 mile time on the elliptical and I just keep getting better at it.  It freaking ROCKS.

So this leads me to what my goals for May are.  I have many things going on this month (Mother's Day, my birthday, and our mini-vacation at the end of the month), so I will really have to keep a tight rein on my eating/exercise. Here's the goals:


  1. At the end of the month, I would like to weigh in at 221.  That'll leave me at my lowest weight of the past (at least) 10 years.  I stalled at 221 the last time I did Weight Watchers.  I ain't stalling this time.
  2. Continue with 120 oz of water daily
  4. pre plan each day as much as humanly possible (this is when I experience the greatest success)

And for this month, that's it. What are your goals for May?
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