Recommendations

About the 30 pound mark I started to notice that my skin was getting looser.  As fate would have it, I finally got motivated to lose the weight right as I was entering that special middle point of life. You know the phase; in your mind’s eye you are still 20 something with 20 something skin, but in the cold hard light of your bathroom mirror you are firmly in your late 30’s (and if you can’t relate, go home, you’re too young, it’s past your bedtime). So I started playing around with firming lotions. I am just this side of cheap so my price point was about $15-20 a bottle (or hopefully less). I have tried about 4 or 5 different brands. It’s not that they were bad; it’s just that they weren’t great. I wasn’t seeing the difference they were all promising me. So I did what I do best and started researching good firming lotions. A couple articles mentioned Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter (find it here on Amazon).


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This bottle looks like it was minted the year I was born!


Don’t let the fact that the bottle hasn’t been updated since 1979 fool you (as it did me whenever I scrolled past it on Amazon), this stuff is LEGIT! I was super hesitant about this too when I received it, because not only did this look like a left over prop from That 70’s Show, it also smelled like chocolate Lip Smackers. This is awesomeness bottle up and made creamy. I loved this so much I am branching out and trying other products by Palmer’s. I just started using the Skin Therapy Oil with Vitamin E Rosehip (check it out here), but I have only just started using that so I don’t know if it is just as astonishing. It does make my skin super soft, which is always a marvelous bonus for someone with a thyroid problem. The best part of all…I can get the lotion for $7.85 a bottle!

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Occasion Stress

Between groups I follow on Facebook and posts on Connect (Facebook for Weight Watchers; look me up: Winteraine) I have read a lot of people who stress about special occasions and all the yummy, tasty goodness that comes with the event. A common theme is how to lose weight when they are celebrating. I get a little sad reading these posts because I feel like people may not enjoy these special days to the fullest because of fear of a pound or two.  I say don’t stress these days; I say throw caution to the wind folks! It seems like careless advice to give if you are trying to lose weight, so let me elaborate.

Think of how many occurrences you have throughout the year that rate as a special occasion. I am not talking about your niece’s 6th birthday party or celebrating your kids win at their little league game (while these should be celebrated, they are more of the mundane special occasions). I am speaking of the BIG occasions; a major milestone birthday or anniversary, a wedding, an engagement, the big promotion. Even a holiday that is special to your family (I am looking at you Thanksgiving). At most there are 5 days a year where you are really celebrating (if you are celebrating more than that in a year, you are WAY to popular or had an stellar personal year…congratulations). That is 1 tiny percent of the year you might “pig-out”.  Not including leap year that gives you 360 days to recover from those probable 5 days of splurging. I have a type A personality, and I am a mega rule follower. I track religiously, EVERY SINGLE DAY (I have a fancy virtual badge to prove it too)! At the end of this month I am going to a seafood and wine festival. I love seafood. I love wine. I have already given permission to myself to not track that one day. I have already given myself permission to enjoy myself with no stress or guilt of a hypothetical weight gain. Remember, it is not the few special occasions that got us into this whole big mess; it’s the other 360 days of splurging that did.

Weight Watchers and other programs like it are designed to be used lifelong. It is unrealistic to think that you can live your entire life within 30 points. These programs are tools to teach those who need it to have a healthy relationship with food. It seems counterproductive to a healthy relationship to have anxiety about something you may or may not eat 1% of the time. Food becomes the enemy, and we dread these events instead of becoming excited to share in our loved one’s life. I am not going to have dread or fear from happy times, but enjoy them. A temporary 1-2 pound weight gain seems like a fair trade for special memories with those who mean the most to me.

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Ode to March

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Today was my last weigh-in for March, and what a comeback! Two weeks ago I was only down half a pound for the month. I tried something new with my daily eating routine and it didn’t work out so well for me. (This is why we should all fear change, change is bad!!) Switched back to the way I was working the Weight Watchers program for the last 6 months and lost 4.5 pounds over the last two weeks. (See, told ya change is bad. If you want more details, read my entry Conversations and Pet-Peeves.) The first few months I was losing about 6.5 to 7 pounds a month. I am averaging about 5 pounds a month now; same as some, slower than others. I am not complaining though because at the end of the year that will be 60 more pounds gone!

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As of today, I am officially 45 pounds down. 45 POUNDS folks, that’s just over 1/3 of the way to goal. This is exciting for me because when I started I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it this far. I have two things working against me and weight loss; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS for short) and a thyroid problem. All the doctors and all the reading confirmed that I was screwed in the weight loss department. This really started as a “see I told ya so” to my husband, but I am nothing if not thorough! I figured I should give it my all so that I really could be sassy to him when it didn’t work (yep, I commit when I am being a brat). Turns out I found the problem (sugar) and I am really doing well this time. (He’s a bigger person than me and doesn’t use it against me that he was right… this time. I could really learn something from him and grow as a person, but it’s more fun being sassy and bratty.)

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Me, a size 16!! Don’t mind the mess…I have a toddler.

The other excitement this month, I went down to a size 16. I started this journey as a size 22 and now I am down to a 16! As much as I tell myself I am getting healthy for all the right reasons, about 20% is vanity. Getting down to a 16 was my first bigger goal. It marks the size that I can start shopping in a lot of the non-plus size departments. When I go shopping with friends, I can shop the same racks they are. (Of course the only girlfriend I really go shopping with just got a killer new job out of state and is moving in two weeks, but in theory I can find new friends and shop with them in any department!)

So March really turned around for me (and my scale); whatever was up March’s butt worked its way out and we ended on friendly terms. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a couple pieces of veggie pizza.

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Conversations and Pet-Peeves

Conversation between my mom and me… again.

Mom: “How’s the diet going?”

Me: “It’s not a di…”

Mom: “..et, I know. Anyway, how is it going?”

Me: “About the same as I was last week when you asked!”

The remaining conversation about the topic was my mom wondering if I “fell off the wagon” because I haven’t lost much recently (this is the reason she didn’t even find out I was losing weight until I had lost over 30 pounds…there are benefits of living a state away). Followed up by the great, wacky diet fad she saw on Dr. Oz (whom she loves, and I hate) that would help me lose some incredible amount in a week. She doesn’t mean to be rude, I know that. It is genuine concern, I know that too. She is one of those people food addicts hate though; the kind of person that can eat ABSOULTE crap and not gain anything (I get my chubby genes from my Dad; he’s a big guy too). If you think I am exaggerating, the last time I visited she ate maybe five bites of her healthy dinner, claimed to be stuffed, and then had two LARGE pieces of cake. Yep, nothing put crap for that woman. (It is also where I learned my fabulous eating habits.)

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Two things that I have upgraded to pet peeve status since I have started losing weight; 1) Thinking this is a diet, 2) Sassy remarks disguised as non-sassy remarks about how fast or slow I am losing. Let me broaden those two statements. I don’t have anything against diets. They are exceptional for people who need to lose 10-15 pounds for an upcoming event or summer or because all they have to lose is 10-15 pounds. Cleanses, low carb, paleo, prepared frozen foods, shakes…all of these help lose weight, but aren’t designed to be sustainable forever (and yes, I know some would argue that low carb and paleo can be, but I like doughnuts). Weight Watchers, SparkPeople, MyFitnessPal, [insert other journaling website], or just plain pen and paper is simply teaching those who eat too much how to eat less and make better choices. This isn’t dieting folks; this is learning how to eat how our bodies were intended to be fed! This is closely tied in with point 2.

Diets restrict and change how a person eats allowing them to lose a few pounds fast. This causes people to think weight loss should be fast (even those of us doing a calorie restricted program forget its slow going sometimes). So when someone like my mom or Dr. Oz hears that I am only losing 1 pound (+/- 0.5) a week I am suddenly put into a category where I am not talking this serious or I have given up because March has not been kind to my scale. (No seriously, my scale is having a bad month and taking it out on me. It’s telling me I have only lost half a pound this month. It has to be lying to me, I just don’t know why yet.) Outside of having gastric surgery, most experts agree that long term success comes from those who lose only 1-2 pounds a week. It seems like it’s a snail’s pace to look at the weekly totals, but over a year that is 52-104 pounds! People assume if I don’t have a big change that I have given up, or if they see me with a piece of pizza in my hand assume I am binging. To bring the point home; this isn’t a diet, and it’s not cheating if I have points for pizza! (Actually, it’s never cheating if I am ok with a possible weight gain if I go over points.) Everyone can save their backhanded compliments for something else, even those that are given under the guise of concern. (Wow that is bitter, but again upgraded to pet peeve!)

The most surprising thing for people is when I tell them that I am not in this for the weight loss, or at the very least that weight loss isn’t my driving motivator. It is just a very delightful side effect of learning how to eat properly. As I mentioned earlier, my mom did not teach me healthy eating habits. She didn’t do it maliciously, and it wasn’t because she didn’t care. I just grew up in a pre-helicopter, pre-organic/all natural/no sugar era.  The 80’s were the last great decade where Kool-Aid and Twinkies reigned supreme in a kid’s diet. I am raising a kid of my own now, and I cannot ignore what we know about childhood eating habits and how they affect the rest of their lives. That is my motivation. I want to break the cycle and I want my son to grow up reaching for an apple instead of a Ding-Dong. (Ok, that is wishful thinking, but if all we have is apples and no Ding-Dongs, I get my wish by default.) So no, I am not on a diet, and yes I am losing slowly. That’s ok, at the finish line I will have skills to take me forward and I will have an improved relationship with food!

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Journeys, Booze, and Shamrocks Too!

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I hang out on Connect a lot (for non-Weight Watcher types, it’s the online WW community. Think Facebook without trolls. Connect members hit me up; username: Winteraine). It’s an empowering environment that provides tons of motivation (and not to sound like a broken record, NO TROLLS!!).  One recurring theme I see is getting your blue dot everyday (again non-Weight Watcher types, it’s staying within your healthy calorie zone each day…seriously people, just join WW so I don’t have to catalog the slang!! Kinda joking, kinda serious). I always have at least one “binge” day, sometimes two, which screws me for any type of blue dot challenges (typically this is on the weekend when I drink because I have additional adult supervision with the toddler…which is also why my weigh in day is Friday morning!). So for Lent this year I decided I was going to blue dot it every day; I was going to be healthy AF! I have been too! And 17 days into March, I have only lost 0.5 pounds. BOOM!

What the what?!?!? I eat less, gain more?!?!? Not cool metabolism! Today was my third weigh in for March and for the first time (excluding vacations) I have gained, only ½ a pound but it wasn’t a loss. I mean, I have had several weeks of no change, but outside of vacation eating, I haven’t gained.  I have been a good little girl, but apparently my metabolism likes the rebel side more. So I went into research mode (because I am an odd one and I love researching things…yeah, I excelled at papers in school). Turns out some people actually need a few more calories to lose weight. I must be one of them. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not talking a large amount of extra calories (that’s how we got into this mess), but I do mean eating all my weeklies and maybe a few FitPoints (Weeklies are the extra “here have some chocolate cake” points you get each week; FitPoints are earned by getting off your butt and moving).

So for the first time since becoming Catholic, I am breaking my Lent restriction and going back to my old eating habits (sounds impressive until you learn I have only been Catholic for like 5 years). What better day to start then on St. Patrick’s Day…the American day to celebrate your Irish heritage (even if you don’t have a drop in ya) and drink excessively.  Because that’s all being Irish is right? Having red hair and drinking and/or fighting in excess.  (Just for the record, I do come from a strong Irish background, as well as my husband. We’re about as Irish as an American can get!)

I guess the moral of this tale is, when you are trying to lose weight you have to find out what is best for your body and metabolism. What works for some may not be what works for you. I know I have said it before, but I can’t stress this enough…Never compare your journey with someone else’s!!!!!

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Hazy, Crazy Lady

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I have been having writers block. More accurately, subject block. I keep starting posts, only to go off on tangents or digress from the topic, and nobody wants to read the musings of a mad lady (or maybe you do but this mad lady doesn’t want her crazy to show too much). A lot is going on in my personal life that seems to be spilling over into my ability to concentrate on one thing for more than 5 minutes; holy crap on a cracker, I am turning into my toddler! (Case in point, I just started fiddling with something on my desk 4 sentences in, after talking about my inability to concentrate. FOCUS RAINE! This is a quick post, you can do it! I have faith in me!)

Just as an update, I am still working hard on my weight loss journey. I am seriously slowing down on how fast I am losing. Don’t know if I am starting to plateau or if I have just being doing this for so long now I am starting to slip up here and there. I do plan to write more, I promise! I have a nifty note pad that I keep handy with about a half dozen topics I have been meaning to get to. I finally have my allergies under control so I am coming out of my allergy haze (yep I live in a climate where spring is in full swing, don’t be too jealous…It’s also adjacent to hell, so the summer is murder by heat). I haven’t abandoned this blog so please stick with me and don’t forget about me cyber world!

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Haters Gonna Blog

The other night, I was sipping a glass wine and reading other blog post about weight loss journeys…like you do when you have a few smart points left over. I typed in my key words and let the inspiration of others pour over me like sweet nectar. Except an alarming number of blogs were not the ambrosia of motivation I was hoping for. They were actually borderline hate blogs about those who are losing weight by those who do not want to lose weight. All under the facade of the authors being “body positive” and those of us losing weight as sell outs to conventional beauty.  What the What?!?!?!

The premise of the blogs were “love yourself” and to be “fat and proud”. They argued that those of us that are overweight  obese (as were they based on profile pictures) should not have to adapt to the notion that we are only beautiful people if we have a thigh gap. So far, not a problem, I agree that people should love themselves. I agree that people should be comfortable in their own skin regardless of the size of their jeans. I agree I will never have a thigh gap! Then these blogs went on to continue the argument that those of us losing weight are not comfortable with our bodies and that we are letting mainstream society lower our self-esteems. These blogs were presenting a bastardized version of what body positive movement is. Being body positive is living life to your fullest, not relying on others to reinforce your self-worth, and being kind to yourself.

If someone is 75, 90, or 100+ pounds overweight living life to the fullest is a tall order.  I am a gamer; being this overweight doesn’t cut into enjoying that! I can also binge watch Netflix like a gold medalist, body size does not slow me down there! However, I also love the outdoors. I love camping, hiking, and exploring nature. At my highest weight I was 275 pounds! It is hard to enjoy an active lifestyle when you are carrying around that much weight on your joints. Those who are not obese, picture for a moment how hard it would be to walk up a hill carrying a backpack that weighed 100+ pounds. Unless you’re super fit, you would get tired…FAST! When I was younger I could also go horse-back riding and I loved that! At the weight I was it wouldn’t be fair to the horse (not to mention most ranches have a 250 pound weight limit). I have always wanted to go zip lining through a forest (because I like to fantasize that I don’t have a crippling fear of heights), but again at my former weight I would have been beyond the weight limit.  I realized that I was not living my life to its fullest at 275 pounds. To be able to do half the things I enjoy, I would need to lose weight.

I love hiking, but it’s hard for me. I have to stick to the easy trails or paved paths. The one time I did a bigger hike, I broke my ankle because I couldn’t support my weight on a hill (upper left picture was just after I broke my ankle, still had to hike down the moutain 2 miles!). Part of my motivation is to be able to do higher and bigger hikes!

I used to worry about what others thought about me and my body. Up until I was about 20 I was actually thin. Because of PCOS my metabolism came to a screeching halt about that time. I never had a doctor sit down and tell me to be careful because it would be easier for me to gain weight but harder to lose it then other women…until I was already 100 pounds overweight that is. In my mind I heard that as I was obese because of PCOS. To add a few sprinkles of lemon and salt to that wound, I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis six years ago. So these were my excuses for being overweight, all the while being envious of all those skinny girls out there. Then I realized PCOS and my thyroid problem only made it easier to be where I was, but food made me obese, or rather too much food. More specifically the crappy food I was eating. I started being honest with myself, I started forgiving myself. I started liking myself. That like turned into loving myself, and that resulted into me losing weight. When I stopped looking at how others saw me and focused on how I saw me, I realized I was hurting myself by treating my body the way I was. I try to keep a firm policy of not hurting the ones I love, including myself.

I firmly believe you cannot love yourself, honestly love yourself, when you are hurting yourself being so overweight. I love myself now, but I am also reminded that I am not healthy or fit anymore whenever I look in the mirror. I am reminded of a time I didn’t like myself and stopped taking care of myself. Yes, I know people can be healthy and overweight, and that some people naturally have bigger bodies. This is valid to a point! I believe you can be healthy if you are 20 or 40 pounds overweight. I believe you can still be fit 20 or 40 pounds overweight. What I don’t believe is that you can be healthy at 75+ pounds overweight. All my numbers are where they need to be (well my blood pressure is starting to make a slow creep), but that is because medically speaking I am still relatively young. In another 5 or 10 years the weight will start to take effect though. It will show up as diabetes, as heart problems, as breathing problems and many other medically problems that I will have a greater chance of having because I am extremely overweight. Sure, I could be at the perfect BMI and body fat percentage and still get these diseases (as pointed out in a few of the blogs I read), but the more I lose and the more I move, the harder I am making it for that future outcome.   At that weight, I was not being kind to myself.

I don’t advocate that everyone who is obese go out and make the choices I am making. This is what is right for me at this point in my life. If someone is not ready to make changes, change is not going to happen. I get it, I have been there. I had fear in the past. Fear of failure (hell, I didn’t even start telling people of my journey this time until I had lost 30 pounds), fear of change, and fear of honesty. I do ask those who are writing about their journey to be honest with themselves though, truly honest. It is my experience that when someone bashes someone else, it is generally because they are reminded of what they see as their own short comings. For those that are body positive, why does it offend you that I am doing what I feel is best for me and my life? You ask to not be judged, but repay that by judging me.  I am not doing this to be a Victoria Secret model, land of the cover of a swimsuit issue of a magazine, or to even get a thigh gap. I am not doing this so that some guy looks at me and thinks “DAMN she is hawt!” (I am too old and too married to care what some unknown guy thinks of me). Most importantly I am not doing this so I fill the mold of conventional beauty. I am doing this so I can increase my odds of living a longer life with my husband and son. I am doing this so I can start doing the things I love to do again. I am doing this for myself. So next time you want to bash on someone for being kind to themselves, reinvest that time and energy into finding who you are really mad at.