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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fast Food Fairy Godmother Says:"If you can resist the donuts, a reason to finally go to Dunkin Donuts in the AM is here"

The Fast Food Fairy Godmother is smiling today at Dunkins Donuts. I'll tell you why in a sec.

First, I gotta admit that as a teen I was a Dunkin Donuts junkie. I had a thing for those glazed, Bavarian Kreme, and Boston Kreme donuts, then, later, for the jelly-filled and the coconut. This was hardly a time full of concern for healthful foods, I can tell you. (Fortunately, I was young, had a working thyroid, and had a higher activity level, so I was normal weight, though not thin.)

Finally, though, Dunkin Donuts has something to lure me back if I need a breakfast while out some morning.


I'd go for the veggie one, myself. (Wish they'd do a Mexi-Veggie one, and add black beans and salsa to that. Yum.)

They also have a lite latte, and some other things that won't wreck your eating plan.

Good for them.

It's been at least a year since I ducked in for a coffee and cinnamon donut (had a massive craving). I avoid them for the obvious reasons (their breakfast sandwiches suck--at least the one I had like 7, 8 years ago-- and unless the coffee is really super-fresh, it sucks, too. And the donuts are prophets of diabetes or CAD. I want neither.)

So, if you run out of the house one morning, try one of these on the way to work. With a lite latte. Skip the Bavarian Kreme, if they even still make them. I honestly don't know.

If you try one, write a review and gimme a link.


What We Can Accomplish in a Year...

...if we do the work. If we stick to eating plans. If we move. If we don't lose heart or faith or let our attention flag.

Take a look at what we can do in a year by checking out the blogs (and archives) of these successful fatfighters:

Heather--at goal

Lyn--getting there, eloquently

Jennette--who got a book deal out of it and has been on TV

Roni--who's posted great "one year later" shots

Let's do some visualization--what CAN we look and feel like in one year?

Nice, huh?

And even though I didn't have a perfect day yesterday, I still was able to weigh-in 1.2 lbs less. Hurrah.

Let's take a healthy step toward next July 31. Let's become that visualized "me."


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Shrinking Inward" and the Imperfect Day...And How To Get Moving With Joy

That phrase in the blog entry header is the one used by my Pilates trainer today before we started our session. In her ebullient manner, she said, "Look at you! You're shrinking INWARD."

Imagine yourself there with me:

I look into the dread wall-to-wall-to-ceiling mirror of the eastern wall of the room and think, "Ew, I'm fat," but also, "Yeah, I am. I really am shrinking inward." See how my waist is defined. My belly, while still huge, naturally, at my great weight, and prominent, is nevertheless not as big, not as round, not as low.

I say, "I thought maybe I was projecting it when I looked in the mirror at home. Cause I really thought yesterday I was even smaller in my midsection."

"No, you're not imagining it," says Liza. "It's real."

Me: smiling.

I mention to her how the scale is barely budging (one pound down from last week, but still not at my lowest prior to my regain). She says, "It won't show on the scale. Not yet. Eventually, it will."

Building muscle. Wonderful and frustrating both to us scale-watchers, I think to myself.

Okay, you can come back from eavesdropping now. :)

Embarrassing moment: During one of the maneuvers on the Cadillac, my pants fell down. They're looser around my hips and waist. The same pants that were snug June 30.

Fortunately, I wear swim briefs (black or royal blue, depending on which of the four pairs is clean and at hand!) They are opaque and substantial enough to withstand all sorts of contortions and to forefend any flashing of naughty bits should pants tear or...er...FALL DOWN to my thighs!

Happy news: I can do more repetitions. I can do harder exercises. In just ONE month. Today marks ONE month of Pilates.

One month can bring changes. :)

What alterations are you going through this month? How have you changed?

BTW, how are you all doing on the exercise front? Good? I hope so.

If not so good, I understand. Really, I avoided exercising for YEARS AND YEARS.

I know it's really hard to break inertia. That couch is so comfy. That book is so engrossing. That dvd is so enthralling.

But you'll FAIL if you don't get moving! MOVE! Now! Today!

Find something that challenges you while having an enjoyment factor. It's the joy or fun or intriguing learning aspect that can make it stick. I think it's so much easier to make it to the gym or studio if you have an attachment, a pleasure, in some part of the exertion.

Maybe you are bored by treadmills. Avoid them. Try a bike. Or try hiking. Or try an exercise class. Or try a sport that will get you moving hard for at least an hour. Try a bunch of stuff until something sticks.

Honestly, who can get through all that trembling and heaving and heavy breathing for a lifetime (and we all need to move for a lifetime) unless we like something about what we do for exercise.

Without the "fascination" factor, you'll dread it and find excuses to stay home and sit and eat.

I dreaded my matwork and treadmill minutes years ago at LA FITNESS. I kind of liked the exercise machines, though--the weight-lifting sort. Still, that trainer was hard on my body and the maneuvers totally unengaging to my brain and spirit. I gained muscle, then dropped out. I didn't love it. I didn't attach to the action. I hated other people sweating on the equipment.

Now, it's as hard, but I feel connected to another person. I feel as if I'm pouring power into my spirit and body. I find it fascinating mechanically and I delight in how it uses my mind. I like that I have to think and imagine. I write fiction and poetry (at least, until my recent hiatus). I edit fiction and poetry, still. (Though I'm lax about editing my blog posts!!!) I dig metaphors. Always have. Exercising with metaphors--which Pilates does, because you must put an idea into the movement, now you're a feather, now you're wearing a corset, now you're trying to touch the ceiling, etc--works for me. Focusing on the placement and weight in this joint, that limb, creating that "scoop" in the abdomen, imagining my back straight as an arrow...I'm involved every single second.

What can work for you, those of you who have not gotten into movement yet?

Sit down. Think about what you liked to play at as a child. Use the knowledge that such a trip down memory lane gives you to narrow down what form(s) of exercise will give you what you need physically, emotionally, mentally, maybe spiritually?

Perhaps a martial art--if you want to feel like a warrior who can defend herself. Maybe swimming, if you wanted to be a mermaid as a kid. Maybe dance, if you wanted to be a ballerina. Maybe basketball, if you're tall and like dribbling, running, jumping, tossing. Think about yoga. Do you want something meditative, in tune with the cosmos? Do you want to feel like a Marine, and do obstacle courses and bootcamp-like training? You can! None of that is closed to you.

Do you want to move fast, slow, both?

Do you want music or silence? Inside or outdoors?

So, tell me. What have your figured out about how you want to move?

Write down your feelings about movement if you still haven't come to some ideas. Investigate. Become the Sherlock Holmes who unlocks the door to your perfect form of motion.

Now, a look at the food front: Yesterday was a quite imperfect day. Sadly.

I did fine until late night, which is my big bugaboo bingey time. After dinner. And I think my problem is that I had a VERY light lunch (6 points,some fat, little protein in my yogurt and fresh cherries). I felt fine at first, but the hunger at dinnertime was noticeable. I gobbled down an organic chocolate macaroon. I hit the low-fat chocolate frozen yogurt. I had a latte. I had some plums. It added up. (Clearly, I was having a sweet urge!)

I thought about my lapse. Know what? I can't do light lunches. Clearly. It sets me up for huge hunger and appetite freak-outs hours later.

I didn't make that same error today. I had a filling bowl of grilled chicken, brown rice, guacamole and salsa on top, with a dollop of organic sour cream for extravagance and mouth-satiety. I also had a three WW points iced Starbucks skinny cinnamon dolce latte right after the workout (instead of my past caramel macchiato indulgence). No sugar, lots of skim milk--oh, that lovely cinnamon kick--cause I need my calcium (I take inhaled steroids twice a day, bad for the bones.) Had some zero-calorie white tea, too.

You can approximate this entree with this recipe. If you try it, let me know how it turned out and how you personalized it. (I think it screams for veggies and avocado!)

Yesterday, I had 54 points! That's 16 over my 38 points "perfect day" number.

Today, I have 12 points left for supper. I'll be filling up on a salad pre-entree in order to head off that crazy late night temptation. And water. Lots of water.

How are you doing in your effort to have a perfect fat-fighting day?

Onward and Downward!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Did Ya Have a Perfect Day?

Lyn posted about working at it one day at a time, aiming for a perfect day.

I decided to take the one-day challenge. One perfect day. Well, okay, nearly perfect. I exercised for 50 minutes and I ate within my self-selected points count (38 pts, which is 1900 calories). It would have been perfect had I had more greens and slept 8 hours. I only slept 5 and a half.

The scale was .6 pounds down.

I'm aiming for another perfect day today. :)

One day at a time...because like it or not, you will have those days, and you can make them good or bad, better or worse, best or worst...or even perfect.

As Lyn said beautifully:

One perfect day, you can do. And if you can do it once, you can do it again. Don't think about the other days. It is ONE day. You only have to do it for ONE day. Then at the end of your perfect day, hug yourself, go to bed, and get back up in the morning committed to doing ONE perfect day. Again.

One day leads to another. Like the momentum of footsteps taking you to a goal, the days carry you forward. They are going to carry you, regardless. In a month you will be a month older. Will you be a month heavier? More miserable? Or will you be a month lighter and happier? Because believe me, the good days string together and create something more masterful and wonderful than weeks and months. They create joy. They become peace and clarity. They lead to a new you.

If you have a hard time visualizing a perfect eating day sort of meal plan, how about some of these to spur you on?--

Women's Health's meal plan for steady blood sugar

Men's Health's meal plan for craving control

High Fiber meal plan

A vegetarian meal plan at 1500 calories

A low-carb meal plan

Vegan meal plan

Oprah's Seven-Day meal plan

High Calcium Meal Plan

A 1200 calorie meal plan with meal replacements

Take 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise-- a bracing walk, an energizing DVD, some yoga, a refreshing swim, a hike in the woods or desert, a jog through the park, a spell on the trampoline, some focused weight-lifting, a bit of dancing in your living room to salsa music--and add several glasses of water to a good, calorie-controlled meal plan, and, presto, a perfect fatfighting day!

Then utter thanks for being able to breathe, move, and for having food at hand to nourish your body. These are great gifts in a world where many go hungry and many are unable to walk or run or jump or just do one abdominal crunch.

Always be grateful for being able to enjoy a day of becoming that new you.

Have a perfect today!


Aussie-Accented Pilates

Because of my wonky immune system, I had asked my trainer, Liza, to let me know if she had something or suspected she was coming down with something, so we could either get me rescheduled or get me with another (non-germy) trainer.

Well, Monday she called. Stuffy nose. Possible "something." Suggested training with another trainer, Elise, at X, Y, or Z times. My choice.

I had a moment of distress hearing the message on my voice mail, because, well, my body is..er..complicated. I worried a different trainer wouldn't have Liza's accumulated knowledge--after four weeks of 3x a week session--of my quirks and difficulties.

But, for the first time in my life, I did NOT want to miss an exercise session. (This is so weird for me to type, the exercise hater. Hah.) I wanted my Pilates!

So, I took a 4:30 with "Elise."

Turned out I had nothing to fear. Elise was WONDERFUL. A beautiful Australian redhead with an adorable accent and a very "nurturing" sort of voice. A dancer by training, and a certified Pilates instructor, she was terrific. (I''m really impressed by the professionalism and "reformer-side" manner of these ladies.) She's so gorgeous, I'd normally be intimidated somewhat, but she's soooo niiiiice! (Y'all would love this place. People there have heart.)If you saw MOULIN ROUGE, you might have caught a glimpse of her, as she was one of the dancers in the film. (The flattest abdomen I may have ever seen, too. You could serve tea on it and not spill anything.)

She made me feel "understood" talking about her large-sized mama, how difficult it can be for us obese folks to get inside a gym. It takes some courage.

Anyway, she got me through my complete first "the hundred." I struggled. (I don't think she knew Liza had me doing halfsies with a rest break.) My breathing wasn't bad yesterday, so I got through it. By the wheeze of my lungy-lung-lungs.

Also did some new "prone" stuff on Reformer and Cadillac. All you with big boobs and big bellies know that anything face-down is, well, NOT easy. I sweated buckets.

Felt good.

Honestly, if you're ever in the Miami area, go take a private lesson at The Pilates Room. Ask with full confidence to take a class with Elise or Liza. They'll treat you right.

You'll feel good.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Diet Blog: Why Diets Fail

Good blog entry over at Diet Blog called "Why Do Most Diets Fail?". If you're on a weight-loss quest, I suggest STRONGLY that you drop by and read it. And maybe weep a bit before getting on with the tough work.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Calculate the Calories You Need
to Eat to Maintain and to Lose

How many calories do you need to maintain your current weight, depending on your activity level?

Get an estimate (and remember that no two bodies are the same, so it's a rough number):

Caloric Needs Calculator

To lose about a pound a week: cut 500 calories a day.
To lose about 2 pounds a week: cut 1000 calories a day.

Depending on if my activity is light or moderate, I need between 2600 and 2900 to sustain my bulk. To lose a couple pounds a week, I need to cut back to 1600 to 1900. That's in the general ballpark I expected, and 1600 is often recommended (anywhere from 1200 to 1600 is very usual) for gradual weight loss, an intake level of calories that leaves sufficient room for adequate nutrition from various food groups.

Unless you really wanna risk damaging your metabolism (or damaging it more), don't go under 1200 calories. You'll be skimping on nutrition and your body may think, "famine, famine!"

Remember that as you LOSE weight, you need to recalculate, to see where you need to tweak.

If you prefer: Put in the number of the weight you'd (realistically) like to be. Calculate it based on a (realistic) activity level you'd maintain for LIFE. That's the calorie count you need to STAY at that weight. If we eat at a calorie level that MAINTAINS a certain weight, we could learn how to eat the way we'd have to for maintenance, and lose as well. It's not a bad idea, but it means slower weight loss, which makes some folks nuts.

I calculated 1900 or so for my desired weight (the goal). What that means is that the generous "dieting" caloric intake is actually the "maintenance" caloric intake.

My sister (who's normal weight) maintains at between 1800 and 2000 and she exercises nearly every day. She has no thyroid disorder. So, realistically, I'd need to eat less or exercise more. I might maintain at 1700 or 1800. Either way, for the weight to go away and stay away, I can never eat OFF diet.

It's a lifetime diet, a lifetime of caloric awareness. It can't end. The vigilance can never end. The restraint can't end. The deprivation is permanent if the weight loss is to be permanent.

Hard to take truth, sometimes.

That's just how it is.

Pause and consider.

What are your key numbers?

Friday, July 25, 2008

DragonFire Factoid: Weekends lousy for Dieters

Most people do eat more on the weekend, even when they're trying to lose weight.

"Weekend indulgences can wreak havoc on weight control, either causing our weight to increase or if we are following a diet to lose weight, can hinder our weight loss efforts," said study author Susan Racette, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis. The research was published online recently in the journal Obesity.
--from "Weekends Tough on the Diet" at Forbes.com

New Fave Pre-Workout Snack

I've never been a total afficionado of STARBUCKS, although I have experienced an occasional weakness for the caramel machiatto, grande size, 4 WW points, and the skinny cinnamon dolce latte, 3 WW points. I also have found my way to consuming their yumsy scones and pound cakes (the lemon is to die for). Don't wanna know the points! But I easily went weeks, even months, without paying them a visit. (Even though there are three relatively close, one of them two minutes away.) I tended to go in spurts--craving latte or macchiato for, say, three weeks, then that was it.

However, I've found their new Vivanno specialty drink in the Banana Chocolate Blend to be a real help for my workouts. I noticed that when taken as my lite meal BEFORE Pilates, that it eliminated my cramping issues. (I've had cramping every class except the one today when I drank a Vivanno with espresso pre-exercise to get the protein/carbs and caffeine that helps one during exertion and is good for my asthma.)

Must be the potassium (milk, banana).

The cocoa powder is just adding pure pleasure.

There's a Starbucks right below the Pilates studio, so that sure simplifies things. (Except it's costly, and I'm supposed to be cutting back for my motivational weight loss REWARDS!)

I drank it as my breakfast protein/fiber source, since I'm out of eggs until I get my groceries. Now I think I'm gonna make it a pre-Pilates staple and make it at home (non-fat milk, banana, bittersweet cocoa, whey protein with fiber, ice--that's the ingredients--then add a shot of espresso or drink that on the side.)

The nutritional stats:

Standard version, with 2% milk (5 WW points):
270 calories
2.5 of saturated fat
21 grams of protein
6 grams of fiber
28 grams of sugars

If you sub non-fat milk, it's gonna be 4 WW points, since you eliminate all but .5 grams of fat.

This new offering is a winner for me. Thanks, Starbucks.

Note: I'm not as thrilled about the Mango-Orange-Banana one, but it's sweeter and that might appeal to some who find the Chocolate Banana's sweetness too restrained.


Bible Bite for Today

"Forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal..."
--Philippians 3:13b-14a


Thursday, July 24, 2008

What I'm Making For Supper

Quick Bites: Baked Chicken Parmigiana I'm adding artichoke hearts and broccoli. Mmm.

Queenly Quote: Bodies and Minds are Flexible

Bodies are flexible, and so are minds. People really can change. They can be more than one thing in their lives. You can be born poor and become a self-made millionaire. You can be so fat that you injure yourself walking up the stairs and five years later run a half-marathon.
--by the very-much-changed Jenette of HALF OF ME

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Numerical Reality Check and the Quest for SoulFire!


I weigh the fricken same I did back in November of 2007.

Good news: Not heavier.


I should be 60 pounds lighter! Should be, should be, should be....the words that preface a jolt of regret.

I purposely went back to old posts on my blog to get perspective. I'm not depressed, as I was back then, I no longer have wacky liver enzymes, as I did back then, and I'm no longer a couch potato, as I was back then. Still, in the portion control department, I'm still stuck.

I feel duly slapped and dumbass, but not discouraged. Just pissed at myself. Really ticked.

Back to business time. And numbers are part of it...the bottom line. Numbers. Weight. Body fat percentage. BMI. Waist in inches. Hips in inches.

I got out my faboo MyoTape measure and my OMRON Fat Loss Monitor. I measured hips, waist, fat %, and BMI. I've already eaten, so no weigh-in on Mr. Tanita. Still, I need a baseline for this new time of resolve, and this will do:

47.7% fat
BMI: 44.5
Hips: 55.5
Waist: 44.5

(I see 44.5 is the number of the month!)

Geesh. Ugly ass numbers.

Ah, well. I ain't giving up. My trainer said today she sees improvement in my strength, sees I'm more limber, that I can do stuff I couldn't do 3 weeks ago.

Thank you, Jesus.

But...I need numerical progress in places other than exercise.

I ain't giving up. Screw all the obstacles. I will find the way to be on fire. I'm gonna find the way to turn into a living flame.

I'm burning down all those suckers that keep me back.

I'm gonna be like a Phoenix, baby. Burn, burn, burn as brightly as I can, take it down to the fundamentals, the very atoms of my dysfunction, the very core of my spiritual power and mental resolve, then build myself up spanking new, stronger and better.

Nothing less than cleansing fire is gonna do.

Call me Princess Phoenix.



My Summertime Wheeze:
Doing Pilates with Asthma


"Childhood brought Joseph Pilates the experience that shaped his masterpiece method of exercise, the experience of unhealthiness. Born near Dusseldorf, Germany in 1880, Joseph Pilates suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever as a child. The troubles of being a weak, defenseless boy in a rough world, inspired Pilates on his lifelong pursuit for health and strength.

One of the reasons I chose Pilates was that I've suffered from bad asthma since infancy and have developed other chronic illnesses.

Summer, especially late summer, is horrible for my asthma and allergies. August is a month I dread. It's just murder on my breathing and I end up congested straight through September, sometimes October. I'm prone to sinusitis and, consequently, acute bronchitis. Augusts are also when I tend to be hit with nosebleeds (which got so bad one year, I had to have my nasal blood vessels cauterized...not fun).

It's also draining. Having active allergies assaulting one's immune system saps energy in a big way.

Well, August seems to have come early. My "Summertime Wheeze" period has arrived.

Working out was really, really difficult Monday. Liza, my trainer at The Pilates Room, had to accomodate the fact that I simply had a hard time breathing (with or without exertion). She was really great about it, but I felt disappointed that I couldn't put in the effort I'd put in previously. It was so much harder to do ANYTHING, cause I just wasn't getting oxygen like I'd do without the wheeziness.

Today, I made sure to stay away from any triggers (can't do anything about the air outside, but I can control other things in my house and diet), drank two cups of coffee to get the that oomph of airways dilation, took all my allergy and asthma meds (Singulair, Zyrtec, Flovent, Serevent, a nasal wash with saline, and my albuterol inhaler right before class). I did some prayer and then some focusing meditation to think about air going in and out easily, easily, fully.

I was still experiencing a hitch in some inhalations and exhalations, but I was game. I'd do the best I could.

I did better than Monday, felt more in control of air and body. Not perfect; better. Liza was terrific with making adjustments as needed to ensure I was taking in air. For example, instead of the standard five in/five out breathing for the Hundred, she had me do 3 in/3 out, which was a massive help. Massive.

Getting through summer will be tough, but I like what Pilates is doing for my body, and I've got the will to continue, even if my illnesses pose difficulties. I trust my trainer to be watchful and make adjustments as needed.

It's nice to trust someone with your training that way. I feel lucky.

Even with summer bashing my hyperreactive immune system. Even with my worst allergy month ahead.

Screw you, August!


Design A Reward Plan:
Gaining While Losing

I've seen a few blogs with reward lists--say, a cd for each five pound loss or a mini spa day for a 15 pound loss, etc.

I did one once. I don't even remember what I wrote.

And earlier this year, you probably saw this USA Today article (I remember reading it), which said:

If you're looking for a little extra motivation to lose weight this year, consider this: Would you be more inspired if your boss offered you cash for losing 10 pounds? What if your spouse or best friend promised to give you an iPod or 100 bucks if you drop 20 pounds in three months? Would this motivate you or not?

Money and other rewards can inspire people to trim down, says Eric Finkelstein, one of the nation's top experts on the economic impact of obesity.

The truth is, I have all the books, cds, lipsticks, clothes that I need.

I'm gonna reward myself with hard cash.

Yep. I'm gonna go to the bank within the next week and open a savings account for my fat loss deposits.

In order for it to work, I really need to cut back on things like EATING OUT or TREATS in order to have the money for the rewards.

I'm gonna give myself $40 per pound.

Yep. You read that right. Forty bucks.

I figure for it to really motivate me, it has to be substantial enough that I can buy total self-indulgent luxuries or, if my better angel takes over, use it to fund charities I really believe in. Either way, it'll be a juicy reward.

Now, I have 115 pounds to my goal weight. That's 4600 bucks.

Nice chunk o' change, I say! I could buy a fricken Reformer for that and have enough leftover for a vacation. :)


~I could go to a writing retreat with that and get back to my novel.
~I could pay off half of my 2-month-old car loan.
~I could go to a real spa! One of those super luxurious ones you read about in women's magazines.
~I could hire a stylist to organize a makeover--hair and outfit and make-up like they do on the TV show HOW DO I LOOK or WHAT NOT TO WEAR.
~I could spend time with a life coach and sets up larger goals.
~I could spend some time at a Benedictine cloister for a spiritual retreat.
~I could sponsor a poor family's groceries for months.
~I could sponsor a native missionary abroad for a year.
~I could open a college fund for my grandnieces and grandnephews.
~I could have a real website designed to my specs.
~I could spend a weekend or a week at the Stanhope and spend those days lost in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the MOMA, and the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. (Oh, how I have fantasized about THAT.)
~I could redesign my closet for "skinny" clothes. Or use it as a down payment towards a new house for those skinny clothes. :D

$4600 lets you think a bit, dream a scosh, don't it?

But dreams can come from smaller amounts. What could you do if you paid yourself two or five dollars per pound lost? If you have to lose 50 pounds, that's 100 to 250 to spend as you wish. If you have 200 pounds to lose, that would be 400 to 1000 bucks to splurge on fabulosities. Maybe you want to plant a fruit tree in your yard or get a wonderful rug to exercise on. Maybe there's a designer handbag that you've coveted--the way I covet the Prada fairies handbag, cause, well, it's FAIRIES!-- but couldn't bear to spend hundreds of dollars on.

Well, let that handbag motivate you towards a slimmer, healthier body.

Maybe you wanted the whole Buffy the Vampire DVD collection. Well, 200 bucks gets you that. (Less on eBay.)

Maybe you've wanted a romantic getaway with your soulmate, but all your money's being wasted at take-out eateries and dining out on fatty food: Save the calories, take the trip.

So, let me see: If I lose 4 pounds a month (roughly 1 a week), that's 160 bucks in my account. If I lose 10 pounds, I got 400 bucks in my account.

And if I regain weight, the money goes into the checking to pay bills or our joint savings for emergencies/home repairs/taxes, etc. I don't keep it off. I don't keep the moolah.

That's the downside, but it should be considered a motivator, too. I don't wanna lose my splurge kitty!!!

In order to have that money, I'll need to re-examine my food expenses and wasteful spending and improve my budget. Even less restaurant dining, fewer Starbucks visits, more homemade pita pizzas, more exercise out of doors and fewer dvd rentals for sedentary viewing. Fewer "spur of the moment" magazine purchases at the grocery store, which can easily be substituted by FREE web-surfing. It all adds up.

Okay, there we go. Another motivator into the pot.

How would you reward yourself in order to have an incentive for weight loss? It can't be something you'd do anyway (come on, you'd have that manicure anyway, right, or buy that lipstick, or that cd, or that book). What thing you normally wouldn't give yourself would you get as your pounds-loss reward?

$4600. Mmmmmmm.

I think I might wanna use some for a celebration day cruise with my hubby when I'm at the halfway point (ie, have lost 57.5 pounds, which would put me at 218 lbs).

Go on. Dream big. Lose big. Reward yourself along the journey.

~~Create a reward chart

~~Reward Yourself

~~WW Reward Suggestions from $5 to over $50.

~~How to Reward Yourself When You Lose Weight

~~Rewards for Weight Loss Milestones

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Checklist for Fatfighters

Did you drink lots of water this morning?
Are you drinking lots of water this PM?

Did you exercise at least 20 minutes?
Did you stretch and breathe deeply?
Did you stop and consider your goals?
Did you weigh in and write it down or blog it?
Were you accountable to your diet buddy(ies)?

Did you eat a satisfying, diet-friendly breakfast?
Did you get enough protein in breakfast and lunch?
Did you include veggies/fruits with every meal?
Did you avoid refined carbohydrates?
Are you getting enough fiber to fill you up?
Did you plan a healthful, diet-friendly supper?

Did you tell yourself positive words to self-encourage?
Did you say something encouraging to another fatfighter?
Did you read an informative article online or in a magazine or a chapter in a book to increase your knowledge of nutrition or exercise or about emotional and psychological issues that affect weight loss?

Did you tap into your spiritual support (if you have one)by praying, meditating, reading holy writ, or uttering praises?
Did you do something kind to yourself today, even if it's just forgiving yourself for a mistake?
Did you deny yourself some treat for the sake of your health?

Did you remember to be thankful for all the people and things in your life that are good and beneficial and joyful and nurturing and pleasurable and supportive and beautiful?


Wanna Make a Chart?

Head over to SkinnyR.com. It's pretty easy.

I began with my May 2004 high of 299, charted some progress points from there, and entered my weight today.

Image version:
My Graph

Flash version:

Get your own graph at skinnyr

It's pretty easy to notice when I fell heavily off the wagon (spring 2008), when hubby got his lay-off notice and we were up in the air and stressed.

But it's back on the way down (and I'm gaining muscle!)

I've seen folks charting with TickerFactory, but I only see the straight across ticker, not the chart (except for ovulation). Anyone know how to access the weight loss graph?

If you have a link to other such measuring tools, drop me a url in a comment, would ya?


Monday, July 21, 2008

12 Week Goal-Setting?

Well, I had my lengthy bit of a reality check in my last post, onto something a bit more concrete:

Diana at Scale Junkie has left Denial, FL. She's headed toward a series of 12-week blocks of time during which she makes plans and, at the end of each 12-week block, takes measurements and is bloggily accountable.

Twelve weeks. About 3 months. A quarter-year.

It's a good block of time for short-term, achievable goals. Short enough to focus. Long enough to establish a good habit, or more than one.

If you don't believe me, check out these books that use the 12-week block for changing one's body and life:

More HERE.

I'm gonna sit down with a note pad and see if I can shape up something of a 12-week plan. If I get to it and complete it, and if I decide I want to go with it, I'll post it and, like Diana, become accountable.

Anyone else like the idea of a 12-week goal-setting, weight-tracking, measurements-taking, accountability blogging challenge? :)

And check in at amazon.com for some great deals on weight loss tomes in the Bargain Books section.

Something's Gotta Give--and It'll be Us Giving it Up

It was great to have Lyn back from vacation, posting with her usual gusto and insight. Her post yesterday is worth reading for a solid reality check that many of us need.

For those of us dealing with a lot of excess weight, something's gotta give if we're gonna lose it and keep it off. And it's us. We gotta give: Give up. Give up things that are delicious, delightful, mouth-watering, full of nostalgia. Give up immediate comfort, self-indulgence, instant happiness, and ease.

I don't believe a once-obese, especially a once-morbidly-obese person ever gets cut slack again in the diet game. If the weight is to come off and stay off, we will suffer. Period. End of story.

As Lyn says in her post, we've already had the cookies and pizzas and other indulgences. Too many. It shows in our bodies. We need to stop whining that we can't have them anymore in the quantities and frequency we wish.

We'll have to accept the fact that we just can't have our cake and eat it, at least, not very often at all. Maybe special occasions only. And when we do have it, we have to accept it will be a small, controllable serving, or we will flow back into a binge cycle.

At least, after a year plus of reading fatfighting blogs (and writing one), I've seen this in myself and many others (though not ALL). Slip-ups weaken resolve and strengthen the power of food over us. Give in and it's like starting from zero.


But something's gotta give.

We have to accept that lying around watching tv or reading engrossing novels all weekend is not gonna cut it. We have to move and move a lot, or we might lose weight, but odds are it'll come back, or if it' doesn't come back, we'll have lousy body tone and a lot of hanging flesh that isn't getting filled out a bit with muscle.

The days of sweet dessert wine and chocolate roses are pretty much over--if we mean it.

Sucks a dozen eggs.

But something's gotta give...

I'm still striving to get into the "I mean it" groove. Lots of days, I simply indulge in that extra helping of X or Y, or have more than one low-calorie sweet treat, or just order that pizza.

That's why I'm not making much progress. Some, but very slowly and quite bumpily. I don't really MEAN it yet. mean it the way I meant it when I said, "I do" to my beloved. Mean it for a lifetime and intensely and madly and irrevocably.

I partially mean it. Like a burning infatuation of mind and body that lacks the solid roots of commmitted love in the spirit and soul. It doesn't persist day in and day out, and it doesn't stand in the face of the greatest temptations.

And as we all know, when it comes to weight loss and health--and relationships of the heart--partially meaning doesn't cut it.

To succeed for a lifetime at weight loss, we have to marry the commitment the way one used to marry in the Church: dynamically, fervently, self-sacrificingly, consciously, indissolubly...and willing to put up with hardship and transient (or permanent) miseries for greater pay-off in the long-run. :)

I hear a particular term a lot--and use it, too--MODERATION.

Moderation is just another, pleasanter way of saying this: sacrifice; self-control.

Moderation is another way of saying this: I can't have that second cookie, and I can only have half of that restaurant square of lasagna

Moderation is another way of saying: Gee, I'd love to have a whole bowlful of pasta, but I can only have one and a half cups with a restrained sprinkling (not a half cup) of cheese. And forget the tiramisu, except for one lingering bite.

Moderation is another way of saying this: I have to do things in a different manner from how I've been doing it.

Moderation is another way of saying this: I have to change. I have to give up the whole of my desire and satisfy only part of my craving.

I don't believe in extremism. I think VLCDs are harmful to the metabolism--and to the psyche in some cases. It can lead to eating disorders. It can lead to thryoid issues. It can lead to binging.

I also think that the sort of free-for-all eating that has put us in the 50 to 100 to 200 to 300 excess pounds category is harmful. To the heart and pancreas. To the joints. To the psyche. To one's career. To one's love life. (I don't know about y'all, but I have known heavy women who "settle" for creeps because they fear that no one will love a Fat Gal. Or a woman who'll put up with emotional and physical abuse because she thinks if she doesn't put up with it, no one else will want her as a Fat Gal.)

I hate the fact that I can't just eat what I want, then lay around reading history and art books, studying theology texts, enjoying fantasy novels, and watching movies, and yet get fit in that manner.

What I have been doing for years doesn't work: ie, eating what I want and being a couch potato. Letting illness control me.

What many of you have been doing for years, maybe decades, hasn't worked. Giving in to Krispy Kreme donuts or Grand Slam breakfasts or Pizza Hut specials or the Colonel's fried offerings...doesn't help.

Reality Check: To win at losing, we can't and won't be perfect--yes, perfection IS a myth, not just because we won't be perfect, but because we don't NEED to be perfect, we just need to be pretty darn good.

We do need to accept deprivation of some things, ongoing deprivation of our triggers and things that we may be used to eating regularly. On the other hand, we need to get used to an abundance of other foods (notably vegetables, fresh fruit, lean protein, and water).

We have to learn how to order things in restaurants that might be our fifth or tenth choices, rather than our first or second. We have to accept that our PMS is screaming at us to eat those chips and chew that Milky Way, but we have to scream back: "It's not an option. How about a bite of sugar-free dark chocolate and an apple?"

There's a diet memoir where the writer admits that what clicked in her brain and allowed her to become a slender, fit woman was the phrase: "It's not an option." When she wanted NOT to exercise: "It's not an option." When she wanted junk food: "It's not an option."

Self-deprivation always sucks. It hurts. It makes us cranky. But one way or another, you and I will have to alter habits for a lifetime. A WHOLE LIFETIME.

Or it's curtains. The fat will stay. We'll never reach our goal. We'll regret it.

If you and I don't get a reality check, and hold up that mirror to reality daily, you and I can have gastric bypass and still regain. (See Carnie Wilson. see Randy Jackson.)

If you and I don't accept that we will have to give up to get, we can join Jenny Craig, we can join Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem, we can get a chef like Oprah--and it won't mean anything. We'll be part of the 98% gaining it all back...plus more.

Dieting isn't for wimps. Lifestyle change isn't for weaklings.

Looking at stark truths is not for wussies.

We have to let go of our past and of our devastating food habits and couch potato ways.

I hate it. I need it. I hate it. I want it. I hate it.

I have to face it.

Something's gotta give, and it's any expectation of this being doable without the utmost effort and sacrifice.

Are we up to it?

Do the reality check today.

Are you willing to give up all those fave junk items for 355 days of the year? (Lyn suggests a few special days in the year to indulge, but no more.)

Scary, ain't it?

I think so.

Reality bites.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The First Step To Stop Overeating --and Four More

Oh, Lawdy! The Overeating Ogre has come by this week after being gone for a while, drat him. He was by for dinner on Thursday (when I had four slices of whole wheat pizza and a big bowl of white bean soup and just about exploded) and Friday lunch (I had TWO entrees from Boston Market, TWO, with four sides, FOUR, and a chocolate cupcake and chocolate almonds). It was bad. It was like a PMS flash fire (only without the PMS, at least, I don't think so.)

But I banished the nasty creature last night and got back to normal. I walked. I did some at-home Pilates leg lifts. I did breathing to calm myself. I feel like I've slid back into Healthy Mindset today after the lunacy of the last two days.

Two bad days. Two bad meals, very bad.

All is forgiven. I'm moving on.

Fortunately for my spirits, I tried on a dress and two tops in my size today and both were HUGE on me. Hubby mentions my waist is nipping in. My butt is rounder (and according to hubby, firmer). Most startling, my abdominal pannus is smaller and a bit HIGHER. This is what makes me happiest of all. I hate that thing hanging there like a laundry bag. It's lifting, looking less bulky.

Two of my neighbors have commented on my "slimmer" physique as I've been out walking in the early evenings this week.

My bra band is looser. :)

I guess my clothing size has changed. :) I'm losing some fat, I know, and gaining muscle, so the scale is the same after a blip up the day after the pizza insanity.

So, instead of getting all happy and calm from this progress due to the Pilates--thank you, Liza--I binge. What up with that?

I notice other fatfighting bloggers and commenters on those blogs are struggling, and struggling a lot. We're having a binge epidemic.

Let's stop it. Now. Okay? No weekend excuses. No "it's Saturday, I need a treat" mantras. It ends now.

For you. For me. Let's get through this bad time and move forward.

I decided to look for something useful to share, something with tips and strategies and a bit of "workbook" exercises.

I found this one at About.com-- FIVE STEPS TO AVOID OVEREATING

I'll let you read it and do the work--Do it! Don't just read it! Do the work!--and I chose it because the first step is so crucial for those of us with chronic, emotional binge-eating:

Step A. Wake Up!

People who use food to feel better often report overeating when they are in a time-out or food trance. This trance provides an escape from inner criticism, difficult emotions, or stressful life situations. The first step is to find some way to wake up from the trance. No matter how intense your food craving, or how much you have already eaten, you have to snap back to reality before anything else can happen. There is no one proven guaranteed way to bring your self back to conscious awareness. You will have to experiment with several different ways to grab your own attention. Below are some suggestions that may work to bring you back into the here and now:

• Walk to the nearest mirror, look yourself deep in the eyes, and say hello to yourself.

• Talk aloud to yourself. Call yourself by name and say, "wake up."

• Shake your head to clear out the cobwebs.

• Take a deep breathe and say to yourself, "I am okay now. I am fine now. I am in control now."

• Plant visual cues in your kitchen. For example, place a special blooming potted plant on your kitchen table. Looking at it might remind you of your potential to bloom and prosper.

• Tape your baby picture on your refrigerator. Look at how pure and happy you are. Decide that you want to feel happy and eating is not the way to get there.

List a few methods you can think of to bring yourself back to living in the present moment:





Those are actually some very simple things to stop the binge-trance. It's not easy to get a clear head, but it's necessary. Copy and paste that step, print it out with the lines for you to write in. Do it! Come on!

Let's all try it, those of us having a hard week. Okay?

One of the methods I've thought of is doing a tape-recording or videotape of myself talkig to myself. I need to find a recorder somwhere (I know I have one) and tape myself doing the encouraging talk and the decisive talk and the hopeful, believing talk. I need to keep the recorder and tape handy--in the kitchen (where the table is) or living room, the only two rooms in the house where I eat.

Instead of a baby picture, I think I prefer a picture of myself in my early 20's, when I was a normal weight and very happy (cause I'd met my soulmate--hubby)and wore camis and shorts all the time cause my legs/thighs/belly/upper arms weren't huge.

Let me know if this strategy (and the others in the article) helped you get through to Monday (and beyond.)

Here's to a healthy weekend and a lighter weigh-in next week. If you want more, check out the eHow article on avoiding overeating. Drink water, focus on lots of fiber, slow down at meal times, etc. You've heard this before. So have I. Let's DO IT today adn tomorrow. It's a weekend of change, right?

Yes! We can!

Onward and Downward!

More articles:

Strategies to Avoid Overeating from Nutrition & Fitness Advisors--also focuses on awareness, keeping blood sugar steady, not starving, and finding what works for you.

Canadian Living's 8 Tips to Avoid Overeating

Escaping the Overeating Rut with a chart to help you become aware of your pattern/rut.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Answering a Question on Pilates

In my previous post, every gym's nightmare asked me this:

Do you use a pilates reformer or is equipmentless? those reformers scare me. seems like a lot of places i could get stuck in it or ways to hurt myself.

Yes, my trainer has used the equipment on me, as you can read if you scroll down to my post of three weeks ago that features pics of the equipment.

In fact, I remember that I had come across info from Pilates teachers online, and one mentioned that working on machines was better for her obese clients, as getting up and down on the floor is very difficult for many big people. (Including me.)

I have worked on the Cadillac, the Reformer, the Wunda Chair, the Ladder Barrel, and the Springboard. I haven't done any on the floor matwork...yet.

I really like using the Reformer and the Cadillac. Hard, but interesting, different. It's easy to get on and off the Cadillac, which is probably why that's the one she used on me the first week.

It's harder, much harder, to get on/lie down/get up from the Reformer. The actual part where you sit is small, and I'm quite large. Ergo, the difficulty. Plus, it rolls! So if I place my feet incorrectly getting up, I swoosh off. :)

She taught me the right way to get on and off, but size makes it tough no matter.

I've also used the flex band and the magic circle and the squishy ball (between knees to increase the working of the inner thighs.)

I noticed last night how much easier it was to bend down, scrounge in the crispers and lowest shelf of the fridge, and get back up. I feel...more agile.

Today, I did some post-workout shopping at the farmer's market. In the trunk of my car, the limes and lemons had rolled out to the very back of the trunk space in my Chevy Malibu. Now, if any of y'all have a Malibu, you know the trunk is quite deep. A month ago, I would have left the limes/lemons for my hubby (with his long, long arms) to get. But I looked at it, decided I'd give it a go, and got in there, stretched, stretched, and got those fruits. And it felt GOOD to be able to do that~!

Really good.

I hope we don't do floor matwork for quite a while. I want to get stronger and, yes, leaner, so I don't look like an arthritic cow getting up off the floor.

I'm no longer scared of the equipment, clearly.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pilates: 10, 20, 30....really?

When I signed up for Pilates at the Pilates Room, after my first session, I did some web-searching on "the man" himself, Joseph Pilates.

I came across this quote, which I sort of smirked at with an, "Oh, yeah, sure":

You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and have a completely new body in 30 sessions.

I figured my body had been messed up since childhood by assorted diseases, too many steroids and Rx drugs, and a wacky immune system; and it had been misshapen for so long by excess adipose that, for me, it might be more appropriate to rack up the milestone numbers this way: 100, 200, 300 sessions.

Well, I've only had 6 sessions and I feel better.

Color me a bright shocked fuchsia.

I feel my body. I feel it. I'm aware of it.

I notice how I'm sitting and change posture. I notice what my tummy is doing when I wash dishes. I find myself body conscious. Not self-conscious (that's the lot of most of us big gals, our constant companion in public), but body conscious. What is my body doing, how is it aligned, am I balanced, what's my pelvis doing down there in relation to my hip bones.

Kinda cool.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how I feel and look after the 20 and 30 session benchmarks. I still suspect that for a "new body", 30 is just not gonna cut it. I'll need to see it to believe it. I doubt Joseph P. had a morbidly obese, middle-aged woman in mind when he chose that two-digit numeral. But if I can have a whole new body in 300 sessions, then I've got 294 to go.

It's an adventure now!

Healthy Eating Mindset

Lyn has a terrific post today. Read it.

I'm still not squarely into the mindset I want (ie, the healthy eating one), but I'd say I'm halfway there. I say this because I've felt calmer this year about food than I have in years. I've pretty much been maintaining, but I notice a difference in how I react and feel. So, I'm moving toward that calm beach that Lyn talks about so beautifully.

Some of us get to the calm beach faster than others. Clearly, I'm a lollygagger. But I do feel it, and am aware of how both hubby and I have gravitated toward healthier eating with much more naturalness than before.

I still have binge days. I still have huge temptations, but they don't seem to be as huge as before. I mean, the mere SIZE and FREQUENCY has changed, and the satisfaction is nowhere near the same.

When I shop for groceries now, my shopping cart (or delivery coolers) hold mostly produce and low-fat dairy, much fewer processed foods and sometimes nothing that counts as "empty calories." Portion control continues to be my weak spot. My choices of food itself--greens, brown rice, fresh fruits, low-fat treats, sprouted whole grain breads, lean proteins, low-fat to fat free dairy, omega-rich eggs, organic and humane foods, more raw foods, nuts, seeds--has improved dramatically in the past year.

The biggest difference has been home-centered meals. We used to eat out or get take-out every day. No kidding. We spent a fortune eating out. We could have bought 2 cars, cash, for what we spent eating out. Now, I spend a lot on organic groceries, but I cook it at home, have leftovers, have lunch for hubby to brown-bag, have one diet meal delivered 4 to 5 days a week for myself, and it's still less than eating out. And much more "thought out." I can control the fat. I avoid frying. I can control salt. I can double up on veggies. I can make sure hubby makes it to his minimum 5 fruits/veggies. I aim for anywhere from 8 to 10, and am happiest when I have 11 or 12, frankly. (Makes for wonderful, non-stinky regularity in the loo when I surpass 9 f/v's. TMI?)

I consider this considerable progress from the previous two decades. It's been a gradual, subtle, gentle, and ongoing trek, with occasional setbacks. But I feel the change. And I noticed the power of food when I got my sugar down 20 points just by making dietary changes without drugs or even weight loss (other than a couple pounds). Food is potent. Food choices make for physical alterations.

So, gradual progress toward a healthy mindset--it's all good.

I'll take it.

I look forward to the days when those healthy mindset days are the norm and food is nothing to think about unduly.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tyranny of Skinny Ideal

I had a really "feel good" day yesterday, despite only sleeping 5 hours. (I only got five last night, too, cause I was up till 4 am doing some work.) I had energy like I hadn't had in a long while, and I felt...vivid! I decided my mood needed something vibrant, so I washed and straightened my hair into a glossy waterfall, painted my toenails an orange-red, and put on my summeriest lipstick--Manhunt, which looks orangey-red on me, though I already got my man--with some Lychee Luxe lipglass on top for extra shine. I felt glowy.

My Pilates teacher said she noticed I was walking differently, looked brighter, and seemed slimmer.


So, on with the tortuous, but satisfying workout. During a point where my trainer was adjusting some springs on the Reformer, I looked over to the corner with the ladder barrel, where an impossibly slender and tall creature of blessed looks (must be another model, I swear) was leaning on the barrel, pushing disgustingly at the non-existent fat on her thighs. I kid you not. This gal only had the amount of fat humans need to live and no more. But her face in that mirror was disapproving.

What was she disgusted with?

You know how when you sit there is that downward pressure that makes your body spread a bit. It's normal. Has to happen. Gravity, weight, pressure--it's impossible not to have SOME thigh spread when you lean your weight back on your lower body, pressing against leather. Flesh gives.

Well, she judged herself so harshly for being human.

Mind you, she was a very pretty, very very thin, very tall human with legs a couple miles long. Most women would give a few toes and fingers and maybe an ear to have her figure.

She judged herself nonetheless.

How crazy is that?

I look in the mirror at the gym and feel horror, but I'm misshapen from an assortment of ills and bad habits. That gal was not. She should have been reveling in her near-perfection.

I think one day she'll be 68 and look at a photo of herself at this age (20's) and think, "Geesh. I was a hottie. I was SKINNY. Why the hell did I think something was wrong with me?"

I know I look at pics of myself in high school, when I felt so very ugly and chubby, and I think, "Um, not THAT bad. I wish I was that weight now."

I was 135 at my lowest, mostly around 139. Magazines told me I should be 120, 123 tops. I remember that number: 123. It was the Holy Grail back then for me in th 70's. I did yoga. I biked. I never got below 135. I hated, loathed, hated my body for it.

Unless I get some wasting disease or an eating disorder, I'll never be under 135. And now, I'll be happy to be under 200, and delirious to be under 175.

Perspective. Changes everything.

I'm trying to enjoy what I can do now, even if the mirror sometimes scares me. I woke up today and didn't toss on some baggy cotton tee. I treated myself with care. I put on a sexy black plunging v-neck tank top and decided to start being kinder to the me in the mirror, while I work harder at becoming healthier.

Cause, you know, I ain't getting yesterday back, or this last minute I spent typing here. Or my high school weight (realistically.)

And sometimes, when I was in the moment, I had such a warped attitude and judged myself harshly because some stupid ass magazines and charts said the right number was 123 or less. I berated myself. I was cruel to ME.

Internally, in my mind, in my spirit, I became my own enemy.

That fresh, slim, flexible, fit young woman at the studio was, for that moment, in that mirror, her enemy.

And it made me sad.

She's missing this moment, this moment when God blessed her with beauty and health and a body that fits the social ideal so perfectly. She is at a peak--and she's letting it get away in those moments of self-disgust and self-judging.

I'm too old (maybe a bit mature) to have felt spasms of envy (as I might have 10 years ago). A sense of regret at never having known what it felt like to be like THAT, yes, but nothing dark.

I felt mad, too, that we impose such harsh expectations on women. Damn.

So, I should treat this me that I am now with some mercy, cause when I'm 68, I might look back in a pic and think, "I wasn't as horrible as I thought," and I might wish to be this age again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh, my! Oh, yum! And 100 calories...whoo!

If you're one of those folks who avoids 100 calorie snack packs cause you can't just have one, skip these. Seriously. Skip em.

If you use those 100 calorie packs as your special treat for a bag lunch or with your coffee or tea time at home, then listen up: Newtons fruit crisps rock like nobody's business!!!

I tried the apple cinnamon one, and they are AMAZING. It's like having a crispy apple pie, only much less fat and fewer calories. Delicious.

I love to have something sweet with my afternoon tea and protein, and fruit doesn't always cut it. These do. With tea or coffee, it feels positively self-indulgent. And you get two really good-sized crisps (like 4 inches long) in each pack, 50 calories each. (If you have great self-control, you can have one and it's really a nice fruity/cookie-ish treat.)

Mmmm. Thanks Newtons.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nosce Te Ipsum, Gnothi Seauton, Know Thyself: Do Dietitians Help?

Teale had a post venting her frustration with a medical system that seems to ignore the needs of the obese (and brother, do I know it). It's like you don't count until an acute or chronic illness (that may very well be caused by the obesity) crops up. Prevention doesn't cut it for many.

(Not my HMO that I used to have. They were big on prevention, and I liked them, but hubby changed jobs and we don't have them anymore. They offered discounts for WW meetings and refunds if goal weight was reached, and they paid for dietitian visits.)

However, I gotta be as honest here as I was with Teale: It may not help anywhere near as much as we may dream/hope/wish/want/need.

In 1989, I had my first experience with a registered dietitian in private counseling practice. A very nice lady in the southern part of Miami-Dade county.That was back when very high carb, very low fat was the craze. I was put on one of those plans. She was surprised at how adept I was at guessing calories (she quizzed me on various foods and I knew them all dead on.) My problem wasn't knowing nutrition (I had taken a college course on it and other medical sciences, and I'd been reading diet books since I turned chubbo as a kid). My problem was ACTION, was DISCIPLINE, was APPETITE vs HUNGER, was EMOTIONAL, was STRESS. I also was on a lot of medications, and some of them made me hungry. Steroids.

Those issues still exist, plus I have age and a dead thyroid to throw in there.

I lost 29 pounds with that eating plan taped to my fridge.

I regained them all when my health collapsed and I had to quit working (immune issues). I then gained roughly 10-15 pounds per year for the next decades, losing occasionally on WW or with another dietitian, gaining all plus back.

My second dietitian came after my immune slapdown began to be controlled somewhat and I was functional again. Late nineties. She had/has a thriving practice in an affluent area of NE Miami-Dade country. I lost about 11 pounds. Regained that plus.

My third dietitian was a nice Hispanic gal in a not-at-all affluent area of North Miami. I went to her cause my blood sugar was rising and I was clearly heading into diabetes. I lost 8 pounds. Not much. But she told me about some supplements that helped with my cholesterol (I can't take statins due to reactions to it.)

I regained those, too.

On my own, I've lost 25, I've managed to not regain completely (my usual pattern). I do believe this blog is helping, but it's a daily struggle. Some days, I just wanna have surgery and be done with it--though I know that's a simplistic view. Surgery can be a great tool, but it's still an adjustment and a lot of work for people. Look at the celebrities who regain a lot of weight after gastric bypass, or the folks with lap-bands who still have to focus on healthy eating and exercise. One way or another, you still have to change.

This blog is my journal for change. And I thank you all who give me support.

Back to the subject: Dietitians give food and nutritional advice. Most of us who have been overweight a LONG time and have brain cells that are active are pretty well-educated about food. We know the different diets (low-fat, low-carb, vegan, ovo-lacto vegetarian, low-fiber, high-fiber, no gluten, combination, "clean eating") and we may well have tried some to all of them. Some of us read diet news religiously online or in magazines and journals. We keep searching for that key to unlock us.

We need to know what we lack so we know what we need and know what we don't.

I don't usually need information on food or an eating plan. I can get that online or in magazines or in books. As I peruse dieting blogs, I see some folks who need some good basic nutritional catching-up and others who are very savvy and learning FAST.

We who know our nutrition don't really need a dietitian, I believe.

Dietitians mostly examine and talk about how we eat, what we eat, when we eat, and what our medical issues need for us to eat and not eat or how often we need to eat. What supplements may help with this or that. How to cook, what oils are best, what snacks are good. A dietitian serves a purpose, and as long as you know what it is, you won't be let down if nothing radical happens, weight-wise.

Dietitians don't solve emotional eating problems. They don't solve self-esteem issues. They don't fix your wounded heart. They don't address your sin issues (ie, hedonism, selfishness, gluttony, sloth). They can't be there when the urge to binge hits. They can only help you within their area of expertise--what is good to eat for what condition you have or to optimize satiation or fat loss or steady blood glucose levels.

If you have a new medical condition and want expert advice on the foods best for that or the eating plan that may ameliorate it, that's fine.

But usually, what we need a dietitian can't give.

We need coaching. We need to keep up our motivation, our eyes on the goal. We need strategies and tools and insight that dietitians (in my experience) can't really give. We need someone to instill that sense of "I can." We need exhortation. We need strength.

We need a cheerleader/motivator/coach/miracle-worker. :)

Actually, we may need a therapist or counselor.

Or we may need a rabbi or pastor or priest.

Or we may need a very good, very firm diet buddy.

Or we may need a group hug.

I don't know what you need, but I do know that a dietitian can help me (and has helped me) tweak an eating plan, but they can't get me to stick to it. They can't help me to avoid a binge. They can't maintain my motivation, day in and day out.

I have to find something else to help me do that, and a lot of it I have to find INSIDE.

Ultimately, I have to figure out how to become my own dietitian, coach, trainer, motivator, cheerleader, minister. Not in a crazy, isolationist, uber-self-sufficient way. In a sane, strong sufficient way.

Still, it's good to have all those outside support persons while we find our inside support team. The team of "me".

Insurance can help me with a dietitian, a bariatric surgeon, a psychologist, an endocrinologist, with medication, with lab work.

It can't come and stock my fridge. It can't make me cook. It can't stop me from putting that chocolate cupcake in my mouth. It can't stop me from ordering a big old pizza. It can't stop me from hating myself some days. It can't help me feel worthless some days.

It can't help me figure me out in my deepest place.

This blog is part of me figuring me out, but most of the work happens over HERE, where the internet can't reach. The Delphic aphorisms: "Know thyself" and "Nothing in excess" are still so relevant, and especially for fatfighters.

Gnothi seauton. Nosce Te Ipsum. Know thyself.

Nothing in excess, except, I'd say, faith and hope and love.

How are you doing figuring out YOURSELF today?

BTW, if you have had a great or terrible experience with a dietitian, diet counselor etc, do let me know or gimme a link in a comment. I wanna read about it.

And I love the idea of Lyn's to get a ring that reminds us of our need and goals. I had almost purchased some artwork with "believe" and "faith." But a ring is portable. Love it.

Begin to learn about food:

Be your own therapist/coach:

Don't just say or think--but DO:

Get spiritual help:

Self-control, that fruit of the Spirit:

Pilates Workout Recap--plus Work-Out Wear Purveyors for the Big Gals

Yesterday was my fourth session. I'm getting used to constantly being in this state of soreness--worst the day after, but always a low-level sort of awareness that muscles are waking up, getting used. I rather like it.

My energy level and mood has improved A LOT. I kid you not.

Just two weeks of working out and I'm so much more chipper and bouncy. I even asked hubby to take a turn around the block with me--and I haven't done that in...I can't remember! It helped that it was a lovely early evening, warm, but not oppressive, breezy, beautiful summer evening light at 7pm. The royal poincianas are in bloom (as are my hibiscus and gardenia bush) and it was just so pretty out there in the calm of the late day.

So, what did we do today exercise-wise: We worked on both the reformer and the Cadillac. Core muscle work, especially inner thigh and abs and glutes. And some arm work on the Cadillac. She worked me hard, too. I had to stop a couple of times when I got to muscle fatigue (particularly inner thighs, which still hate me). But it was a great session, and I felt really good when she complimented my focus and effort. Trust me, the time goes sooo fast (55 minutes straight) because I'm all concentrating on breath, position, and the sheer hard effort needed to get in those stretched and contracted positions with control and smoothness.

I am not so hot at control or smoothness yet, obviously, but I always see improvement as the repetitions add up (ie, getting better as I get coordinated with the inhale/exhale and motions). It really is great for making you concentrate, no kidding. No mindless exercising at The Pilates Room.

My trainer, Liza, did suggest I put in my cardio work on non-Pilates days. That will be harder for me, as anything that is weight-bearing messes with my left knee, which is gimpy. But she and I agree a bike would be good, and she'll be giving thought to what else would work with my messy left knee.

If any of you are wondering what the heck a size 24/26/28/3X gal wears to do this sort of stuff, I got my outfits at various online places:

Danskin (Plus) The cotton lycra bootleg pants are non-binding and hugely comfortable. I wear them on errands and to casual get-togethers with my family. So soft. I also like their racer back tank, which allows me to get full arm movement with no binding. (I use a racer-back sports bra from Glamorise with this.) Wish they had some happy summer colors! I also like their leggings. However, with leggings, I like to use something with a slightly softer fit around the hips, like a great top from...

Old Navy (Plus) I got mad at Old Navy when they took the "fat gal" clothes out of the stores and put them exclusively online. Well, after a couple years of pique, I came across that very plus size section and found a TERRIFIC top for summer. It's a racer back tank (they all it diamond back), and it's cool, it's soft, and it's perfect for my Pilates workout. The fit is close enough for the instructor to see if I'm doing my breathing and imprinting and etc, but loose enough so I can wear long leggings without looking like a hootchie mama or a deranged woman. I like them with Old Navy's very comfy yoga capri leggings and their terrific yoga pants, too. Hubby thought the diamond back top was sexy. Heh. And I wore it to Starbucks and didn't feel weird with my arms exposed. Maybe the purple color gave me courage. :) (I think I bought the last purple one, but they have green and black, looks like.)

Junonia--much more expensive than Old Navy, but they only carry clothing for us large gals. They do have workout wear of thicker, longer-lasting, high-quality fabrics (including Quik-wik), but wait for a sale or find a promotional coupon online.

In case you are unaware of the "Promotional code" or "coupon code" treasure hunt (I use it all the time), just google up a store you want to buy from online (like Lane Bryant) and then use the terms "promotional code" or "coupon code" or a variation along with it. If there is a current promo, many sites (like Coupon Cabin) will offer you the codes for free. I used one for my Old Navy purchase and got 20% extra off clearance items.

Just about all my workout stuff (and I have a lot) come from those places above. Feel free to comment with any leads on good plus size workout wear (especially affordable wear) for me and this blog's readers.

Anyway, I expect to be pretty darn sore--more sore, I should say--tomorrow. But it's good!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Quote for the Day for Those Undergoing Change

Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God,
our loving vine-dresser.

--Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Reformer...and Food Talk

Well, after two sessions with the Cadillac contraption, I finally got to use the Reformer:

I'm gonna be soooooooooooooo sore tomorrow. Liza continues to rock as a trainer. What patience, positivity, and compassion for this morbidly obese gal. I definitely recommend her to anyone wanting some Pilates exercise, but afraid to take the step. (If you live in South Florida, that is.)

It was a killer hour. Seriously, my inner thighs totally hate me right now.

But I got such a cool energy high. I was wobbly and tired and a little high from oxygenation (all that breathing!) and thought I'd totally collapse on the couch as I usually do after 5pm.

Nope. I put on my sneakers and washed hubby's car (waterless, eco-friendly car wash, btw). Lots of elbow grease, bending, huffing, puffing.

Now, I'm showered, clean, and feel exercise-virtuous. My eating went overboard with supper (I had a scone. A whole scone and not a small one either. It was ridiculously yummy and I was stupid not to eat just half or, better, a third). I did eat all ovo-lacto vegetarian today--still having raging salt and chocolate cravings, though-- and had lots of fruit (plums, mango, pineapple, orange, grapes). Not a total wash, but still disappointing in the calorie-restriction area.

Tomorrow is my organic food delivery, and I'm looking forward to those vegan dumplings for supper with sauteed baby bok choy. I'll have my Shape Lovers meal for lunch, which is the following:

Bite size pork filet stuffed with apricot, curry, Parisian carrots and almonds

363 Calories, 18g Fat, 20g Carb., 35g Protein

Delicious rice with peas, onions and black olives90 Calories, 2g Fat, 15g Carb., 2g Protein

Our lightest pureed soup with a variety of vegetables

34 Calories, 0g Fat, 7g Carb., 1g Protein

A divine sugar-free 3 milks creation

110 Calories, 3g Fat, 13g Carb., 3g Protein

Mmm. Good eating day ahead!

As you can see, the Shape Lovers meal is about 600 calories. My Vegan dumplings and bok choy will be about 500 once I add my fruit for dessert. So, if I can keep my breakfast and snacks (if any) to 500-700 calories, it will be a very good day for me. (Any day I'm under 2000 calories is a good day! Any day I'm at or under 1800 is a fabulous, throw-confetti day. Any day I'm at 1400-1600, it's time to call it a bona fide miracle and alert the Vatican.)