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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Funks and Wolverines

I guess it’s been a while since I have written anything since two of my friends have brought it to my attention (you know who you are, I am pretty sure it was a collaborated call out, and I am watching you two little schemers!). Always good to have friends who pull out the whip when you’re slacking though because this blog helps me a lot! Writing my journey is another way for me to remind myself of the whys.  February 19th was my six months Weight Watchers anniversary. As of my last weigh in (last Friday), I have gotten rid of 38.4 pounds.

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Kinda surprising…I thought adamantium would weigh more. Oops my geek is showing!

Tomorrow is weigh in so that could will change; something else that I hope changes, a funk I have been in. For the past three weeks (THREE WEEKS!!!) I have been slipping. Not a lot, but enough that I am having a hard time with a reset. I am not slipping so bad that I have gained anything, but if I don’t turn this around that’s a possibility. I can blame it on stress (which I have been under a little more of lately), I can blame it on being busy (which I am), I can even blame it on increased activity (trying to go beyond just being mom buff); the reality is though, I have been being good for 6 months now and I am getting bored and losing a little bit of my enthusiasm.

My one saving grace is I have a new normal when it comes to eating and my relationship with food. I can’t say I have broken my food addiction, because like any addiction, it still lives below the surface. I have replaced my need for emotional eating; I have been trying other fixes for stress. I haven’t found one that works as well as food used to, but I am developing enough remedies that I don’t have the need to turn to food now. Cliché as it sounds, exercise does work well; mainly because it also alleviates boredom, but the end result is I am not crunching on crap. I also have been facing whatever the stressor is and looking for solutions instead of doughnuts (speaking of doughnuts, it’s been months since I have had one…I am ghosting doughnuts after all our fabulous years together).  Biggest problem right now is boredom eating. My son loves to sleep and takes a three hour nap in the middle of the day (you can be jealous). I feel like I have run through all my fun options and now I am bored during this three hour span. It’s not like I can go have an adventure while he naps; CPS looks negatively on that. So reading, video games, and TV are my only real options. Guess what goes great with all those activities…food! Junk food especially (and by junk food I mean veggie sticks from sprouts or skinny pop popcorn). So that is my next project, how to not be bored while trapped in a box.

I have high hopes for breaking my funk next week; I bought a new pair of size 16 jeans as something to work towards. I am almost there too! I tried them on last night, and without having to do tight jean aerobics, I was able to zip them up while standing. I can zip them up, but they are a little tighter then I like, so I still have another 5 pounds before I can wear them and breathe.  This is big for me! I started this journey at a 22 and in just over six months I am (almost) a size 16. I look for motivation in everything. Weight loss is a marathon, and I think the key is always keep looking for inspiration! (Is there something longer than a marathon? That’s what I am on with how much weight I am trying to lose…but running doesn’t appeal to me so I am not down with the jargon.)

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Bottom pair of jeans were my favorite pair last August. The top pair shows how far I have come!!

Okay-ish News

So the good news is I didn’t gain any weight; of course this statement implies that there is bad news, which is that I also did not lose any weight. Perfectly broke even on the scale this week. I expected it. I am actually surprised that there has been no change on the scale. Two weeks ago I ate like crap (and by crap I mean my new normal of crappy eating, not the kind of crappy eating that put me in this whole mess to begin with), but still managed to lose a pound. Last week I ate like crap again and drank more than normal. (Now before you go thinking I am a total lush who doesn’t realize she is far too old to be doing Irish car bombs on the weekend; by drinking more than normal I mean I had three beers at a Super Bowl party in addition to the bottle of wine I typically sip throughout the week. I am a mom of a toddler, wine is mandatory to my survival.) So I will take my number with pride this week!

Now in the game of weight loss, there are always going to be ups and downs. Did they seriously have to hit right before I hit my 40lb mark though? I am at 37lbs now, but I have been having what feels like an epic slow down and I seem to be crawling towards that 40 pound mark at a turtle carrying a snail speed! At the end of the day my weight loss is consistent; I lost 20 pounds in my first three months, and I am on track to lose close to 20 by the end of six months (February 19th). Because I am anxious to get to the big 40 (in weight loss only, not age, so back off father time!), it seems like this is taking fffooorrrrrreeeevvveeerrr.  (Was that obnoxious enough to get my point across?) I feel like the kid who is waiting for Christmas morning, and every day I wake up only to be told “not yet!”

I have to go now and strategize for yet another party tomorrow (for the world’s biggest introvert, I seem to be the social unicorn this month). The plus side of this party is the health nuts and weight watchers* outweigh the others so it should be waist line friendly! May the sugar free cocktails be ever in my favor!

 

*Yes, I did use weight watchers as an adjective here and not as a plural noun for all you English snobs out there!

Game Face

So I haven’t written in a few days because life and toddlers get in the way sometimes. I am excited and a pinch proud though and have to brag on myself a little bit. Total NSV yesterday (for those not in the weight loss realm that means non-scale victory), went to a super bowl party and didn’t fall of the food wagon. I am always reading “you can do it” articles about how to survive whatever life is going to toss at you. (Much like Pinterest, I look and fantasize about being the person these articles tell me I should be, but rarely follow through on things.) This time I actually followed the advice in an article. (Hey, it’s known to happen once in a while! I have a very cute Halloween wreath that I found on Pinterest that I actually got around to making too…see I can be THAT person if I want, but I digress.) The article talked about having a game plan (see what I did there!) that can help you not consume a million and two calories. So I made a plan. Step one; fill up on good for me food at home. Step two; bring healthy food to the potluck style party. Step three; don’t overdo it on booze (our friend loves to host parties and has a fully stock bar and I seem to like to get my drink on at their parties… it’s easy to do there!). Easy plan I know, but the success is in the simplistic sometimes. I managed to only go over my points by 1SP yesterday sticking to that plan.

I had a Premier Shake here at home before going over, and made my awesome mojito fruit salad to bring along. Since I knew they were getting a sandwich platter, I decided fruit and a sandwich would be enough food.  I was only going to have two beers, but it turned out I had enough points for three beers, so I went all kinds of cray cray and drank three whole beers (mommy knows how to P-A-R-T-Y). Here’s the best part, because I didn’t go over hungry,  I wasn’t tempted by cheesecake, pigs in a blanket, or chips and homemade bean dip. Ok, I am lying about that last one, I was ALL kinds of tempted by it! I was full though so it was easy to not indulge.

It’s easy to go to a party (holiday, sports, or BBQ) and just say “To H E double hockey sticks with this sugar, I am going to tear this party up!” (Let me translate that out of toddler friendly talk “To hell with this shit, I am going to tear this party up!”) I also discovered it is just as easy to have a plan, enjoy yourself, and still not go off the rails. Realistically, the pound or two that I would have gained can easily come off; setting me back only a week or two. For me it is more than the gained weight. I have a hard time indulging and not wanting to continue the food party the next day…and next day after that. That’s the curse of the food addict!

 

In case you were curious about my mojito fruit salad:

4 cups of watermelon

1 cup of blueberries

1 cup of raspberries

1 lb. of strawberries

6 medium kiwis

1 oz. fresh mint, chopped

¼ cup of fresh lime juice (about two limes)

1 tbsp. of honey

  1. Cut the watermelon into one inch cubes. Peel and slice kiwis. Wash and slice strawberries. Wash remainder berries.
  2. Toss all fruit and chopped mint together in a bowl. Put in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. Mix lime juice and honey together in separate bowl. Put the lime glaze on about 10 minutes prior to serving.

The fruit salad is 0SP for one cup (more than a cup does start having a point value due to honey), this recipe makes about 10 one cup servings.