Monday, November 7, 2011

THE OCEAN BEFORE ME

So it turns out I was the ocean.

I remember distinctly, a few years ago, sitting with a few friends who were having coffee at my place. One of my friends mentioned how she just couldn't lose that last 4 pounds. Yes. You read that right. She needed to lose FOUR pounds, and was discouraged about it.
At that time, as much as I loved my friend, I felt that she was being irrational. Who cares about four lbs ?
I remember telling her something to the effect of "What I wouldn't give to have only four lbs to lose. What I wouldn't give to have your body. I wouldn't be complaining; I would be happy with it."

Now I have since learned that not being happy with your weight has less to do with numbers as with frame of mind. That what you feel about yourself is legitimate, and every person has the right, whether rational or irrational to another person, to feel how they do about their body. That someone who is 5 lbs overweight can be as unhappy as someone who is 100 lbs overweight. It's definitely a very personal, and very much subjective thing.

What I wanted to mention here though, is what I told my friend that night. And how much that stuck with me, because I had felt it a million times, and this was the most concrete way I knew how to put it.
I wanted to tell her in a way that she would understand what I was feeling.

And so I said this.
"I feel as though you are standing in front of a puddle. And I am standing in front of an ocean.
And we both have to get across."
Do you get this ? Do you understand the difference ? For you, you have this teeny-tiny hurdle in your life. And if I only could stand in front of a puddle.  But I am standing in front of an ocean. And as I look out over this huge thing I have to do, it terrifies me. And THAT is what makes this so difficult for me. I feel like when I see how vast, how huge, and how great, this thing in my life is, then I feel like I could never accomplish it. It's just too big.

So, I lived with that for a while. I saw the ocean in front of me and I nearly gave up trying to get across.
It was just too big.

And what it took for me was a mindset change.
I didn't need to get across the ocean; I just needed to step into it once. Maybe with just a toe. And then maybe I'd just get wet up to my knees. And maybe a little bit, each day, I'd go in a little deeper, until it didn't look so big and so scary anymore.Maybe along the way, I'd procure a canoe, or a kayak.

I thought the ocean was this external thing; this force holding me back.
And the truth is, I was the ocean. 
I just needed to trust myself; to believe I could do this. I needed to just step out and do it. And every day, I'd conquer a puddle. I felt so good about that puddle, that I'd do it again.
Before I knew it, I'd dog-gone conquered the ocean.

Don't look at the big picture. Just see today.  And then tomorrow... deal with tomorrow.





 " If you want to do something, all you have to do is do it. " ~ Ben Davis, runner and ordinary person.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Put Gas in Your Car !

You know, I don't feel like putting gas in my car today. Today I feel like mixing the gas...with sugar ! 
Gas costs too much, anyway.... I can't afford to buy the good stuff. 

Tonight, I'm going out with the girls. I'm going to stay up late....and I have a long way to drive. Have to fill up before I get out there. But I'm going to add GREASE to my gas tank. Maybe some mayonnaise....why not, right ? Should make for a great ride.

I have a lot of km's to cover tomorrow, and I definitely expect it to run in top shape !

Hmm.  Hmmmm....
The car is kinda sputtering. And it feels slow. Maybe sluggish or something. It even stalled last night !! Whatthe....?


Okay, so you get the analogy. You wouldn't expect your car to perform properly when you're putting things in that aren't meant to help it perform. It seems pretty stupid. 
It's common sense that to run properly, a car needs what it's made for : FUEL.
In the same way, putting crap in your body is sabotaging your body (and in turn, your life!)

Why would you put, say, high fructose corn syrup, in your body daily ? And fatty, greasy goo, and pop with 12 teaspoons of sugar in one can.....and still expect it to run properly ??
This 'crap' is making you run slower, feel sluggish, get tired and feel gassy and bloated. Crash and burn.
It's not MEANT to fuel your body ! Why sabotage yourself with the stuff that is being made only because it's cheaper to make and easier to produce ?
Yes, the "good stuff" costs more. It's because it's BETTER !Would you go to a sketchy grimy place for a cheap tattoo ??? Or a guy who does laser eye surgery out of his basement ??? No ! Because you know that it means trouble.
But we do this every day with our bodies, and wonder why we always feel so crappy  !!!

Your body is made for fuel. Fuel makes it go.
Oversimplified ? Maybe.  But it's really that simple.

Dear _____________:

When you are feeling down and out, or that you just cannot stick to eating healthy, or you fool yourself into thinking you are hungry for junk food, come read this post.
Remind yourself of all the times that you have felt like crap after eating something that wasn't "real food". How sluggish and terribly your body responded.Remind yourself how horrible it feels to gain back weight that you have already worked so incredibly hard to lose. How it feels for your middle section to grow, and grow, and GROW... All because of poor food choices you've made.\
 And don't forget how easily it is for you to slip into a depression when you don't take care of your body. How much better you feel when you DO take care of your body.
 Remind yourself how good it feels to hop on the scale and see that number decrease from all of the hard work you put in.
Never forget that your goals ARE achievable, even if you have briefly strayed off of your path. There is no rush to have the fastest or most stylish weight loss in history, but rather to do it right. And learn on the way. You have no one to answer to but yourself. You are doing this for YOU. You are doing this to improve your life and your family's lives.
Don't forget that when you take care of yourself, the most important things that you hold dear - your family - will reap the rewards.
Don't forget how nice it is to fit in movie theater seats and food court seats and plane seats. And not have to put a blanket or pillow on your lap when you're on the couch.
You can do this. You are doing great. And I'm proud of you !!

Love, Me

So I read something similar on a website that has been quite helpful to me. It's called Calorie Count Member. Now, mind you, I don't actually count calories. I never have, and likely I never will. However, that being said, I glean a lot of information and encouragement from the website. All these people have had, or currently have, the same struggles as I do (or have had).
This scenario in particular, really stuck out for me:

Oh my gosh- gaining a pound every week, sometimes even 2 pounds! Could you imagine ?!?!  That would just be awful. 
 Now, let's gain some perspective here. Why is it that when we are trying to lose weight, 1 or 2 pounds is nothing to us, but if we were to gain that amount of weight in the same amount of time we would really freak out.
 One to two pounds seems like so little every week, until you look back 2 months later, and are down a whole 8-16 pounds. It's a lot of weight. Keep on keeping on; the weight will pile up so fast.
Like I have read so many times, the time is gonna go by anyway, you might as well get healthier, look better, and be happier while time goes by !
Do you have any idea how fast the time went by? And how happy I am?
I get it, the little-bit-at-a-time part. I know that it sucks to lose just a pound at a time. But either you do it, or you don't- and either way, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and a year will come.

Don't give up. It's so worth it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

From Someone Who's Been There, Done That (Bought the XL Tshirt)

Okay, so people ask me sometimes what my "secret" is. As if there's some magic cure. There isn't.
As soon as they realize it's not, they lose interest. "Ugh, you mean I have to actually WORK at it ??"
Um, yes.  

So here is some practical advice from someone who has SO been there :

1.  Take on an "Eat Less, Move More" motto. Try it in all the small things.

2.  Try it without salt first. Does it need that much ??? That said, don't stress about a pound, which can often be water retention from salt. This is not true weight gain (or loss) anyway, so don't sweat the small stuff.

3.  Cut down on carbs- in a big way.  ie. Do you need FOUR pcs of pizza, or could you eat two, and maybe some more veggies ? Either way, you'll be full, and it won't matter in ten minutes from now.
a.) Think of how obsessed we are with carbs, esp bread. Toast or cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, garlic bread/pasta/bun for supper. Try one less carb a day. For breakfast try a yogurt and a banana. Or for lunch, beans or soup with some veggies.
b.) If you ate bread for breakfast, try lunch without it. Or supper.....See where I'm going with this??   ;)
c.) Eat your sandwich open-faced. It tastes the same without the second piece of bread on top. Same goes for a burger.

4.   Snacking- try a healthy snack. Ideas: Nuts, an apple, hand made trail mix, a banana, a yogurt,a cheese string. Usually 7 or 8 almonds does it for me, and I'm good until supper. A snack should be a bit of protein to tide you over- not another meal !

5. Give up pre-packaged junk food for a week and see if you survive. If you do......try it again next week.
* This includes boxed cookies, granola bars, chips crackers, Fibre bars, and Cereal bars. Anything that you keep in your "junk" cupboard is there because it's junk. If it doesn't go bad or need to be refrigerated, it's likely not good for you.

6. Discover salsa. And hummus. And chick peas in general. A sandwich can taste great with mustard instead of mayonnaise. Try beefing up the protein in your salad. I love to add boiled eggs, chick peas, or even a few almonds /pecans to my salad. If you want, add some chicken breast. This is a full meal, packed full of protein.
And seriously, I have not missed mayonnaise -at ALL- in the past  year. I've never once said, "Dang, I sure wish I had eaten more mayo in the last year!"
However, I have said, "Dang, I look good in these jeans !"

7. Almost any meal can be done in a healthy way. Taco salad or burritos, for instance, can be made healthier. Rinse the fat out of your meat and add more veggies. And it doesn't have to be doused in dressing. Again, salsa is your friend !  I always add corn and peppers to mine. If I use less meat and more veg/ lettuce, it tastes great, and I don't have to feel like I have made a terrible food choice.

8. If you slip up with your eating (party/holiday/ wkd away), don't beat yourself up over it.
Don't feel like you've now failed and can't do it. Pick yourself up, and keep going !! You can likely lose the extra  pound or two in a week.
Don't decide you're a failure !! ~YOU CAN DO THIS !!!!!!

9. This one ties in with #5, but I want to address this. I always had trouble with JUST HOW MUCH weight I had to lose. I said to a friend once, who was trying to lose five pounds (yes, just five);
"It's like you're standing in front of a puddle... but I'm standing in front of the ocean".
I felt hopelessly weighed down by the sheer amount of weight I had to lose. It made me feel like I could never do it; it was just too much.

So I changed my attitude. Here are some facts about you:
-You put on one pound at a time, you are going to have to take off one at a time.
-Time is going to go by anyway, you may as well try to take off a bit of weight at a time, and see where you are in 3 months. In 6 months, In 9 months. Picture yourself next Thanksgiving, Next Christmas. Next summer; what do you want to look like ? It's going to come anyway, just go for it and see how far you can get !

So here's how I did it. I started off just deciding I was going to go for it. I was going to do something active- TODAY. So I did. And it wasn't terrible, so I did it again the next day. And the next. Take it a day at a time, not 60 lbs at a time.
In 2 1/2 months, I had lost 20 lbs. I never thought I would get there, and it felt great !
In 6 months, I had lost 40 lbs ! Wow. I couldn't believe it was my body I was looking at in the mirror.
In 8 mths, I had lost 50 lbs !!!
At this point, one year in, I have lost a whopping 60 pounds ! 
I was amazed that I could do it...but I did, and you can too !

Start small, and you will get somewhere. A walk, a bike ride, whatever. You will slowly start to realize that you don't want to sabotage your hard work (exercise) by eating badly, and so you will find yourself WANTING to change your food intake as well.

You have nothing to lose... but the weight !!! Pardon the pun.

Little Decisions.

Although this is not my own analogy, (you may have even heard this before) it certainly is a great reminder.
The mistake most people make is thinking that WILL POWER is what's needed to change their lives.
No, the TRUE change comes in all of the little decisions we make.

The best analogy that comes to mind comes from Jeff Olson's The Slight Edge:

Imagine if somebody gave you two options: The first is 3 million dollars, no strings attached.
The second is a penny that will double in value everyday for 31 days.
Chances are, unless you actually stop and think about it long enough, you would choose the 3 million. But for those who actually understand what I'm getting at would realize that after:
One week- the penny would be worth $0.64,
Two weeks- $81.92,
A few days into week three-  $655.36,
At the end of the 31 days- $10,737,418.24 !! ~Wow !
Er, I'd rather have the 10 million.

The point is, make your change in the little decisions. You won't see the results immediately, but the results ARE gradually building. You'll get your payoff eventually. The change may not be quick, but at least it happens.
The change begins when we DECIDE to switch from that white bread to wheat bread. The change begins when we DECIDE to cut out just 5 minutes of our TV time and use it to walk perhaps just to the front of our driveway and back. The change continues when that sandwich with wheat bread is now accompanied with some lettuce and a tomato slice. The change continues when that 5 minutes of walking to the front of our driveway becomes 10 minutes of walking down the street and back. 
Then, one year later, you've cut your calorie intake in half because you've switched out all your original foods for healthier substitutions, and you are doing 5 miles a day.

"Sow an action, build a habit. Sow a habit, build a character. Sow a character, build a destiny."

What are the small decisions you make on a daily basis that are keeping you from reaching a healthier life?
Try logging your small decisions for these changes over the course of a week, and see if you can find your weaknesses.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TIPS THAT ACTUALLY HELP !

I thought I would write a list of tips that I never see online (and sure would have liked to before I knew them !)  Actually, most of them just make sense. The thing is, we know these things already, and yet, day after day, we make the wrong choice. Why ?? Because we think that "this once" doesn't count in the long run.
The thing about that is, it does. Every single day, we are faced with thousands of choices, and much of the time, we make the wrong ones.

Not to say we shouldn't be allowed to "break a rule" once in a while, (ie. have a treat), but to daily make choices that point you in the wrong direction adds up, and then you just wonder why the extra weight, why am I unhappy, why does it seem nothing works.... ??
That said, I want to stress that a "treat" is a piece of chocolate, not eight pieces. It is a small handful of chips, not a bag full. And to add to that, a treat is something you do once in a long while- once a week or so, NOT daily.

Back to the tips I want to share with you. I have found a few things that I just picked up along the way, little things that are common sense, but it may be helpful to hear them.
Here goes my version of Weight Loss Tips (that actually help) .

1.  When snacking, make smarter choices. These things add up. I choose a few nuts (maybe 10) or a piece of fruit, or a yogurt.

2.  Do not feel the need to have dessert more than once  week. Less is even better. Portion control is key here.

3.  PORTION CONTROL !!! Did I mention that ?? I think most people have no idea how much a serving is.

4.  Don't be sucked in by commercials. They lie. You DO NOT NEED  A BURGER AND FRIES AND A COKE TO BE HAPPY in life.

5.  Speaking of fast food, when you do find yourself in a f.f restaurant, think fresh. Not fried. Whatever they have that is fresh (ie a salad, soup, a fruit cup, a wrap with chicken/tomato/lettuce) whatever, is better. Anything fried is not a good choice, but if you must, then at least make it a (grilled) chicken. No french fries. Come on. You can do it. Eat one or two of your husband/kid's if you have to. I have been choosing wraps and salads lately. I have not ordered fries since September of 2010.
I survived, and you will too.


6. On that note, I do want to mention, not to put any one thing completely off limits. This is important. When I say don't order fries, I mean I'm sure you can handle not having them today, but know that you CAN have them if you want to- you just dont need them today. See what I did there ???  I am allowing myself to have whatever- nothing is completely and utterly "off limits forever"!
I know that if I say that, I will probably fail, because my expectations are so out there that I set myself up for failure.
DO not say to yourself, I will NEVER again have a piece of chocolate or fried food. You will fail. If you tell yourself you can have it, but are CHOOSING not to today, then you can succeed today.

7.  You have a lot more chances to be active than you realize. Every time you walk around the house, or go up the stairs, or take your kids to school, you have the choice to be active.
I had never done this in all my married life, but I am now RUNNING up the stairs every time.
Not walking- running. Many times a day I run up my stairs.
I am choosing to walk my kids to school and back every day. Yes, it would be easier to drive them, but this is a choice that is not only good for me, but for them too. No more excuses.
That said, I do have to drive occasionally, as I am on my way somewhere.  And that's okay. But ask yourself if your driving is legitimate, or if it is in fact, just an excuse not to walk. You want to drive every day?? Fine. But don't cry when you can't fit into that dress.


8.  Enough with the excuses. I am pretty sure there is an excuse for every active sport and exercise out there. You name it, I've heard it. That's fine. You and your sore foot/ leg/ knee/ back/ butt can sit this one out.
Try it again when you have no issues with any single part of your body. That day may never
come, but whatever. At least you're comfortable, right ?
No ? You want to lose weight and be healthy ? So get out there and do something that you CAN do ! I'm positive you can find something. A good brisk run never hurt anyone....other than me three years ago when I had sacro-iliac joint dysfunction.
....Okay, so there are times when you just can't do cardio. I couldn't for a good two and a half years. I spent much of life on the couch, and not by choice.
But there are always, always options. Really. Walking ? Swimming? Stretching ? Look it up online. there has got to be something you can do to be active !
I saw a motto on someone's blog, and I loved it. "EATING LESS, MOVING MORE !"
How great is that ?!?

9.  When eating at home, choose a smaller plate. Seriously, this works for me. The smaller my plate is, the less fits in it. Simple, but effective. When I was working and wanted to shed a few pounds, I switched from a lunch box to a small lunch bag. If it didn't fit in the bag I couldn't eat it.
(By the way, at that time, I didn't eat a chocolate bar in nine months, and I survived that, too.)
As for seconds, they are NOT as big as firsts. Just wanted to mention. Even better is to not have any seconds. Feel free to take seconds of vegetables, though. ( I know- Yum, right ??) 

10. I have not eaten any kind of pre-packaged bar or cookie product since September. I used to eat the occasional Fibre One Bar or granola bar. We have a cupboard that is all kinds of packaged snack foods. My husband and boys eat this stuff, and it used to tempt me. But I am feeling so much better without them. I
am not as tired or bloated and don't have gas pains. Seriously, I think this speaks volumes.
Anything homemade is better. The preservatives and sugar and oil in these things is crazy ! Not to say you can't gain a lot of weight on home-baked sweets, though, especially the Mennonite version. 


11. This is a big one. I am eating a lot less of everything, (I eat about HALF of what I used to !) but one thing I have done, personally, is to eat less bread products and potatoes and pasta.
Carbs are a big one. They are not the "be all and end all" of weight loss, but I certainly believe that one piece of bread is better than two. I used to eat a sandwich with two pcs of bread, and sometimes Iwould have another half sandwich. (Yikes!) And yes, I could eat a footlong at Subway. But now I choose a six inch, or a sandwich on one slice of bread. I just watch how much of the stuff I am eating in a day. If I have cereal or toast for breakfast, I eat less bread for lunch, and so on.  With pizza, I was eating easily four slices, and now I eat two. See where I'm going with this ? Don't put it off limits, but be aware of how much you are consuming- you don't need that much !!

12. Okay, another big one for me. I didn't realize how many calories I was consuming in LIQUIDS every day. Every single time you drink a glass of juice, or worse- pop, you are taking in a  LOTof sugar and a lot of calories. It's just not worth it to drink empty calories that aren't good for you, and aren't even giving you energy.
I made a decision, a month or so into my weight loss, to try to stop drinking most drinks other than water. I have done very well. I occasionally drink some juice-most often 100% orange or fruit juice, or some V8. Once in a while I will have a Fresca, which by the way, is calorie free, sugar free, and fat free. Not to say it's healthy (it has "fake" ingredients, and is likely made of actual garbage, haha), but if you are looking at it from a purely weight loss perspective, it's certainly a better choice than any other pop.
I do still drink coffee, but honestly, I just don't miss the juice and pop. I thought it would be harder, but really, I am realizing that in the context of a day's worth of calories, it's just not worth drinking stuff that doesn't do
anything for my body.


13. On a related note, I would highly recommend drinking a LOT more water. It doesn't even matter to me how much you are drinking right now- just drink more. I forced myself at the beginning, and sometimes even now, I have to remind myself to drink more. I fill up my glass in the morning before breakfast, at lunch, at supper, and usually a few times in between.


14. Watch your glass size.Seriously.  I saw this on a show. Some lady was trying to sell her idea of a portion control plate and cup. She showed the difference between two sizes of wine glasses. I was surprised to hear that the smaller glass of wine was 100 calories, and the larger one was 200 calories- DOUBLE !
The larger one just looked normal; I didn't feel like it was humongous. I immediately switched to a smaller wine glass, and when I do have wine (occasionally, by the way- NOT every night), I make sure to use the smallest one I have. Again, I really think that with all the media we are exposed to (commercials, advertisments, etc) we now have NO idea about portion control.


These are the things that off the top of my head have been a help to me. Most of these things I just kind of came up with, so I realize it is a mish-mosh of random tips. But if they can help someone feel better about themselves, as I do.... well, then I am happy to share them !!!!

So far, I have lost 32 lbs in the last 4 months. I am proud of that, but I know
that I am going to continue and do even more. I want to be strong and healthy-
for myself and for my children. I will keep on going. I AM DOING LIFE !!

* Note: This was written in January of 2011. As of today's date, Spetember 28/11, I have lost 60 lbs. Woohoo !!

Below is an article from Calorie Count Member. I thought it very interesting !
http://caloriecount.about.com/chocolate-lover-ban-words-like-indulge-b492773?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_20110215&utm_term=continue1