Friday, July 30, 2010

Cat in Wonderland

The last few weeks I have fallen in the rabbits hole and every minute I feel like the white rabbit.  Time is ticking away quickly leaving no time for me to relax or exercise.  One of my passions on the side of my life as a Karaoke DJ is theatre.  I absolutely love theatre and everything that it brings.  I have always been mezmerized by the costumes and have spent all the years my children celebrated Halloween making them costumes.  I found myself sewing bridesmaid dresses for weddings and eventually it took me to sewing costumes for theatre.
My youngest daughter, Morgan who is presently at the ripe age of 21 has been directing theatre for children programs in our area.  Last year she added a local army base to her list and does a theatre program with the 4H.  Last year she tackled "Beauty and the Beast."  Since we both share the passion, she knows she can look to me to do the costuming.  So 109 pieces later I made all the costumes for the summer theatre program for the 4H club at the army base.  It was the first year they tried the program and was such a great success that they asked my daughter to stay on board the base all year long and once again to the summer theatre program.  I found myself reaching for anything to eat during that trying time.  I didn't want to fall back in those bad habits with this years production.

So "Alice in Wonderland" was picked this year, and once again I am doing 100% of the costumes for the show. Added to the equation this year was at least twice the amount of children.  Let's just say I have my work cut out for me.  I am done with  my crazy pschedelic Caterpillar costume and absolutely love my Mad Hatter hat.  I have made the Do-Do bird, Cheshire Cat and Tweedle Dee & Dum costumes.  Last weekend I made 29 cards made up of clubs, spades, diamonds and hearts.  I am only half done and only have 2 weeks left to complete the costumes.  I find it hard to say no to the challenge so I do it.  The reward comes the day of the show.

I have had my struggles with my eating during the last few weeks.  Finding little time for me, takes me away from food prepararation.  Alan may offer to pick up food, or I just grab something quick.  None the less I have felt somewhat like Alice in Wonderland with my food choices.  Everytime I eat I question the food and if like Alice will it make me grow or help me shrink?  I never realized how much we are like Alice in Wonderland just living our lives and trying to stay on the path to good eating and health.  I can only hope for maintaining my weight over the course of the next few weeks with the amount of sewing I have yet to complete.  When the show is over, I will climb out of the rabbit hole and get back to moving more and spending more time on my food prep.

In the end, as I get ready to tackle the Queen of Hearts and so much more, I look at my run through Wonderland as a maintenance program.  If I can stay accountable for how much I eat, I can avoid weight gain during this crazy time.  I've yet to reach my goal so this is simply me accepting that for now I am missing my me time, but soon I will find it again and move forward with my weight loss and good health.

We all have time where there is no time, stay accountable for the calories and try to make the right choices.  We can survive and keep moving forward on our journey.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Where Do I Begin?

Where did I begin?
(Me at 198 in January 2010)
I am on my 6th month of blogging now, and I started in a very doubtful place back in January.  My weight was bordering on 200 pounds and I felt as though I would soon have a heart attack.  I felt diabetic although I refused to go to the doctor for confirmation.  All the signs were there, my heart was not beating the way it use to, my breath was shorter, it was difficult to climb stairs.  My body was constantly reminding me of my weight by the numerous visits to the bathroom, the spots I saw in front of my eyes and the sure exhaustion I felt daily.  I lived on my caffeine boost to keep me going.  It was then I contemplated my future and where it was headed. I knew I had to change but what was going to make it different this time?  I have failed so many times with my diets that I really felt deep inside this would be no different.

I started by making myself accountable.  I publicly posted my first blog and announced it to strangers everywhere.  I would be honest to the world but kept it hidden from my family and friends.  I really had no idea that I could be successful this time, I felt as though I was just setting myself up for failure once again.  (I did later open up my blog to everyone)

I have read so much information on the word diet and realized the first thing I MUST do is remove it from my life.  They never worked for me in the past, it was doubtful they would ever work for me. Besides diets end, and when they do the weight creeps right back on.   My daughter, Michelle is a Nutritionist and has lived with me for the past few years.  I received so much information from her that I was educated on the many foods that I loved, and realized they did NOT love me back.  I would watch Michelle eat whole foods with joy.  I just wasn't sharing the same experience.  I had to retrain myself.  Yes mom gave me a cookie when I was sad, but it was time to realize those comfort foods in the past were killing me today.  I am no longer a young girl, but a woman facing my final half century.

The first step was making "small goals" for myself.  Not the goal that I would be 60 pounds smaller by summer, that would be unrealistic and I would be setting myself up for failure with such a long wait.  Instead I looked ahead a few months.  For me, I would be going to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Inductions Ceremony in March and I really wanted to fit in a dress I wore to the Emmy Awards a few years earlier.  I weighed 182 back then so I decided my goal was to weigh 182 by March 15, 2010.  For my small frame 182 was a far cry from where I should be for a healthy weight, but I could always carry that weight well when hidden under clothes.

So I now had my first realistic goal, or so I thought.  I purchased a calorie counter, that shows how many calories I burn a day.  And when I registered it online and told it my goal I was informed my goal was not realistic.  It was too much weight too fast.  I followed a 1200 calorie diet and did my best to exercise so that my calorie in and calorie out ratio were in sync.  If you can wear a calorie register and count your calories you will know if you are going to weigh more or less on a weigh in day.  It really is as simple as math.

I weighed 184 for the Rock n Roll Inductions, which was so close to goal that I was thrilled.  I didn't end up wearing the Emmy dress.  

The 1200 calories I had been eating were "whole foods".  What this means is, I stopped eating things that came out of a box or bag, that were not "whole" as the first ingredient.  I knew that processed foods were now my enemy and not the friend I had made them out to be so many times before.  (I am a stress eater)

Once my goal day was over it was time for a new goal.  I wanted to weigh in the 170's by April 4th, 2010.  On April 4th, I would be starting a scary yet exciting experience.  The brakes were on when I received this gift from my husband at Christmas.  I never thought I would be able to take on the challenge, but I really wanted change.  So on April 4, I arrived in Utah, at The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge.  Although I managed to reach my goal of 179 when I left for Fitness Ridge, the scale there late in the day with clothes on said I weighed in at 182.  Going to Fitness Ridge for me was to get moving, get my exercise on!  I had the education already from my daughter, but I really wasn't working out as much as I like.  I did exercise on my treadmill and elliptical at home, but Fitness Ridge took me so much further.  I climbed mountains every day and found out I could exercise for 7 hours a day on 1200 calories.  I left Fitness Ridge at 170 pounds.  My goal was to be in the 160's.  I was a little disappointed till I went home and got on the scale the next day weighing in at 167.

In May, I found myself taking hikes and walks as much as possible, I wanted to keep my energy where Fitness Ridge had put it.  I was excited to swim in my pool as I learned how to make it an exercise tool.  I created a new goal for myself, this was to weigh 152 by the end of July.  I lost another few pounds once I got back from Fitness Ridge, but it was slowing down.

I heard about a study being done with Shape Magazine and Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, Registered Dietitian, Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics, New York Times best selling author, Contributing Editor & Weight Loss Coach Columnist, SHAPE Magazine, Contributing Editor, Athletes Quarterly Magazine, Contributor & 'Food Coach' ABC News.  I wanted it to be my next goal motivator.  I contacted her and let her know I was interested and was lucky enough to be chosen to take part in her study.  Her book and the magazine article are due out by Winter.  Cynthia has been giving me one on one information that has taken me to a new level of good health.  She has introduced me to a way to eat the whole foods that is delicious and allows for an amazing variety.  I am perfectly portioned with my meals and feel in amazing health.  When I reached the 150's doing her study I was estatic.  I haven't seen that number in almost 10 years.  I have now realized I will reach my goal of 135, which I haven't been in my adult life.  

My study ends this week, but my journey will continue.  I will set myself another goal.  My challenge for August is already set, a new number will be my goal along with stepping up my strength training and exercise.  

My long term goal is not a number, but a feeling.  I will know when I reach it. Part of reaching that goal is knowing that for the first time, this will never end.  I have turned my eating into a lifestyle.  When you do that, you will succeed.  I don't pay attention to the numbers on the scale as much because I have discovered that with changing your eating habits, the weight falls off.  

Lastly, my lifestyle is discovering whole foods, and how to make them amazing.  It is not ignoring or forgetting some of my favorite foods from the past.  I will not push away that peice of cake with my favorite buttercream frosting, nor will I say goodbye forever to those delicious salty chips I always loved.  You just have to live by a new rule with change.  One I learned at Fitness Ridge and it will forever be apart of my life.  90/ have to give yourself a percentage of indulging in your desires.  It keeps you grounded for the 90%.  If you try and ignore everything you loved all the time, the day is going to come when you give in and binge out of control.  If you give in to your 10% you will never feel deprived, and you will do your mind and body good.  

So going back to where I began, my doubts were many.  I was certain to fail.  Only this time I took the education of good eating and put it to work in my life.  I moved more, I ate better and I started to believe in myself.  And I never let myself forget what would happen if I gave up on my challenge.  I asked myself, am I a happy fat Cat or do I want to take this journey and find my true happiness?  If you want to give up, ask yourself are you really happy with how you look and feel?  Another thought I kept close to me, if I eat myself into the hospital with disease, it will be my own fault.  

We can all make positive change in our lives, it takes a willingness and a passion.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Surviving the 4th!

The 4th of July was extremely tricky for me.  I have been on my new eating plan with Shape Magazine for over 3 weeks now.  The 4th was opening day to my last week on the program.  Although I will now incorporate this program in my daily life, I will have the opportunity to go off for a day to enjoy the little pleasures of life.

One thing I have learned through the last 5 months, the road to success is paved with many detours.  If you look at your life that way, and your lifestyle, you can expect to have days where you decide to take another road temporarily.  I have been doing that for the past 5 months and it has kept me in check.  You can NOT expect to deprive yourself of life's little pleasures everyday for the rest of your life.  Making a lifestyle change does NOT make you forget what you liked in the past.  A good example of this would be my 4th of July party.  When I have a large group of people, I offer foods that I know are not the best for me or my guest.  One of my favorite finger snacks come from Costco.  They sell large tubs of chips that offer a mix of BBQ Fritos, Doritos, Cheetos and pretzels.  I had these on all the tables so my guest could munch on these throughout the day.  Now, in the past I would reach for the bowl and start by finding all the BBQ Fritos enjoying each and everyone.  When there was no more to be found in the bowl I would work my way to the Cheetos, followed by the Doritos and always passing on the pretzels.  This is something I really enjoy.  I love the salty crunchy snacks.  If I had not committed myself to staying 100% faithful to the program, yesterday would have been allotted to include my treats.  I would have enjoyed them and not allowed myself to feel guilty.  It is ONE day, and the following day I would be right back on track.

I guess what I am saying is, to really have success with weight loss you have to allow yourself indulgences.  Now that I am on the final countdown I am finding it hard to want to be 100% faithful.  I have spent the last 21 days eating every meal either at home, or prepackaged by me and brought wherever I go.  I celebrated my wedding anniversary not with fine dining, but instead celebrating the 4th with friends.  I found it so difficult to want to stick with the plan, there were times during the day I struggled with cheating. But my commitment kept me in check.

The important thing to remember is there has to be a limit when it comes to exercising your right to eat or drink whatever you want.  In the past I would go off an eating plan thinking it was for a day, then it turned in to two, then three, etc.  I no longer live with that mindset.  If I say its a day, I mean it!

To truly succeed with having a healthy lifestyle you must come to terms with unhealthy eating.  You can have your day, but you must get back on track right away.  We can all be in harmony with our eating, as long as we remember there is a fine line between indulging and abuse.