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


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 !

What Really Annoys Me

January 2011
So I am writing again to get something off my mind.

It is January, the month of diet commercials, diet pills, diet "tricks" and diet newspaper flyers. Does anyone else think this whole thing is ridiculous ? The entire month of December, advertising- including television commercials, newspaper print, flyers, store displays and online ads, are filled with the notion that we should have whatever we want or crave. Because-get this- we "deserve" it !

The flyers are filled with scrumptious and decadent desserts that we absolutely
NEED to serve at our parties and have at our family gatherings. Cheese topped with more cheese, and chocolate topped with more chocolate.
This week, I have seen flyers telling me that "New Years is coming- are you ready ???" , alongside photos of pop,chips,ice cream, and cake. I also got a coupon booklet in the mail yesterday with a huge picture of a burger on one side and a huge container of fries on the other. The picture filled the entire page, along with one word: CRAVE.
That is pure evil.

Now tell me this: in all this advertising, in the millions and millions of dollars spent on this, have you once seen an ad for weight loss or fitness ? No ??  ....Me either.

Now, here it is, the 2nd day of January, and the market is saturated with diets, diet pills, fitness clothing, Gym memberships, workout equipment, and more.Television commercials are almost exclusively weight loss ads. Between the commercials for Jenny Craig, LA Weight Loss, Weight Watchers, TrimSpa, Nutrisystem,
Dr. Bernstein, and Herbal Magic, you would think that society would be stick thin by now....... Right ?

Wrong. The truth is, if these things were magic, and delivered on their promises, we would be a very different society. The diet industry is a billion-dollar industry. Why ? Because people will pay anything for a quick and
easy solution to their weight issues.

And the truth is, THERE IS NO QUICK AND EASY.  There just isn't.
Real weight loss has nothing to do with a "diet".  Nothing. It is not a diet, it is a change- a complete overhaul, if you will- in lifestyle and mindset. If you want to lose weight, and keep it off, you have to work your a*s off.
Quite literally.

There is no pill, no formula, no magic cure for being fat. It is hard, hard work. It is a lifelong commitment to bettering yourself. It is a major shift in what and how much you eat. It is an eye-opening, knowledge-is-power kind of learning experience. Combine that with regular cardio exercise, and you may just be on to something.

If you are sick of the money you are spending on diets, exercise equipment, and magic pills that don't deliver the magic, then put your wallet away, get your butt off the couch,and go for a run. A bike ride. A powerwalk. Whatever you can do to be active.

Ignore the commercials for things that seem like a quick fix. I didn't gain this extra weight overnight, and I wont take it off that way, either. It's not easy.
It's a long hard road, but the benefits are amazing.

Seats at the Mall and Other Embarrassments

This is an email I wrote to a friend. Very real...very not funny.
But this is how I felt, Re: Seats at the Mall
October 2010. 

So it made me sad to read your note, but not for the  reasons you think. I actually so get it.

I often feel like seats have  gotten smaller, (really?) and it ticks me off, because I know that's not true. The ones at the Pen Centre, in the food court are the worst. I seriously can't  fit in them. The stupid twisty ones with the bars on the sides. Argh !  I am so embarrassed that I dont ever say anything to the person I'm with. Like Garry or my mom-in-law. And so I tolerate sitting in it, while it cuts off my thigh and circulation for  like 40 minutes.
It sucks. Large.

And while I'm at it, I will say that I have realized that no pillow or blanket is ever going to hide the fact that I'm  fat. That I can't hide behind other people in a picture and have everyone  be "tricked" (oooh, I'm so smart!)  into thinking im not fat. Seriously, people KNOW already.

So then why the heck do I  give a s*** about being "too embarrassed" to have people see
my exercising ???? WHYYYY ??

I know. It doesn't make sense. We've fooled ourselves into thinking that when we don't look at it, it doesn't exist. If there are no photos to prove it, we aren't fat.
I know, this seems really stupid when I say it out loud.
But I do believe that God had graced us with a coping mechanism (however ridiculous it seems) in order to deal with the cold hard facts that otherwise would hurt us so deeply.
We can pretend all we want to that it doesn't bother us. That it doesn't consume every part of our day. That we wouldn't change it in a second if we could snap our fingers.
Fat is such an emotional thing. And to deny it is the only way you can survive it.

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

I wrote this one year ago. The date was September 26th, 2010. 
This is how I felt. This was my life. I've decided it's time to share it :

SEPTEMBER 26th, 2010. The First Day of The Rest of my Life. 

So I have a secret. I've been keeping it for years. It's not a bad secret, not a "post-secrets" kind of secret. It's a dream. It's like something that i haven't had the nerve to share with anyone.

I have always wanted to run.

There it is. I said it. I have wanted to be a runner for a long time now. I always have kind of felt like this will happen someday,and that I understood it.That it would someday be a part of my life.
I have always looked with envy on people running down the street with such conviction, such determination, such drive, and wanted to be there, to be that fit, to be that strong.

And yet, I always thought it to be "someday". Not today, not tomorrow, not next week Thursday. Someday. And I realize that's pretty random. And I realize that "someday" is not an actual date.
Which is why last night it came to me, in the version of a Youtube video. I watched Bendoeslife. And I was stunned, I was inspired, I was ready.I made a choice to finally do it. To just freakin do it already. I have decided many many times before. It's time to do something about it. The time is now.

However, those thoughts never come to fruition.

I have just realized that thoughts have to turn into actions, even if they :
~make you uncomfortable
~don't come at the right time of year
~don't come at the right time of your life
~make you look stupid
~make you sweat and be gross

It will never ever be the "right time". Ever. So the time is now. I am going to go for my very first ever run tonight. I am going after supper tonight, and I will admit I am scared as heck. I am scared I will be embarrassed, that people will see me and think I'm a fat girl running. That people will think thoughts about me, that I can't control.
The ironic thing is, that's already happening. People already think I'm fat. They do. They see me every day, and I can't control what they are thinking. There's nothing I can do about that. The only thing I can do is to change myself, and what I think about me. I know who I am inside, I know what I have looked like in the past, and I know what I am capable of.  I know who I am in my dreams, and I am not the fat girl. I am
thin and beautiful.

I want to match who I am on the inside, to the outside.

I will start tonight. I will look stupid. And I will probably hate it. I will hate it so much, but I will try again, and try again, until I hate it just a little, and until I dont hate it much at all , and until I just barely start to like it. And then I will do it until I like it a little bit more.

This is why i am writing this down. I don't want to give up. I have done that before.
This time I want to win.