Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eff the Wagon!

First it was Oprah falling off the wagon, now it's Kirstie Alley talking to Oprah about falling off the wagon. I have to admit, 10 minutes into the show and my back is up. The day the Jenny Craig person stopped coming to her house for weigh-ins, Ms. Alley fell off the wagon. This neither shocks nor surprises me. I'm going to go out on a limb and say, no shout, THERE IS NO BLOODY WAGON, THERE IS ONLY YOUR LIFE!

I wholly believe that the inability to lose weight (or lose weight and keep it off) has nothing at all to do with food and everything to do with wrong thinking. In order to get to the place I am right now I had to adjust a lifetime of thinking wrong thoughts about weight, about food, about me. Thinking that being "on a diet" was a solution, that cutting out entire food groups was a good idea, that the minute the diet is over that I could go back to eating whatever the heck I wanted, scale be damned. Thinking that once I "blew my diet" I'd pig out just because I deserved it. Thinking that food was love and comfort. Thinking that I wasn't really harming my health by eating crap. Thinking that being thin was the answer to all my problems, hopes and prayers. Thinking that it had to be all or nothing. Thinking that if I fell off the wagon I could get back on tomorrow. I wasted too many tomorrows thinking like that. I'm sure Oprah and Kirstie Ally have as well.

If you're struggling with weight issues, take an honest look at your thinking before you tackle the pantry. Small, manageable changes one day at a time and you will get your life back. There is no wagon, only life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Weigh-In

Myspace Comments, Glitter Graphics at GlitterYourWay.com

I hit 216.5 today, so that's 60 and 1/2 pounds gone. Exercise, juicing, eating a wide variety delicious and nutritious whole foods, plenty of water and green tea and lots of sleep seems to a be a viable formula for getting healthy and feeling good.

I woke up this morning to a delicious breeze blowing on my face through the open windows and there was no way I was going to the gym. I grabbed my iPod, sneakers and sunglasses and hit the road. I love this time of year, everything is so green and the sun feels so nice, gentle and warming, not like July when you feel like you're stranded on the equator. It was a wonderful walk. I wonder if that house realizes that they have a shrub right there at the front that is shaped like a giant bulbous bum. I laugh every time I see it. Butt shrub!

The 1/2 mile circuit I used to walk when I first started out would take me 30 minutes, now I'm doing a 2 mile circuit (estimated mileage on Google Earth) takes me just 45 minutes. Now I must go and make juice. Have a wonderful Monday everyone! Drink some green tea.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Think Thin

I wasn't going to blog today but sometimes an emotion gets stirred up or an idea springs to life and it's all I can do to type quickly enough to get it all typed up.

"Think thin!" I never did like that phrase. "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels" is even worse. Because I don't know what thin feels like or thinks like but I'm really not all that bothered about it at this moment. Sure "thin" has been a fantasy in the past but it has no place in my now. Vibrant, energetic, strong, healthy, free...now these words are of great worth to me and I'm starting to understand the core of them. I was overwhelmed to tears this morning just walking through the kitchen, I felt light and free. I move without pain now, swiftly with purpose. My body does what I want it to do, no longer rebelling with aching knees, sore cankles, searing low back. Fat was the prison of my own making and now that I've tasted freedom I can't imagine going back.

There are lots of things that feel and taste good, but nothing can compare to "free."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Measurement Update

One month into the BPAL Get Fit for Summer Challenge on introPLAY and it's time to take my measurements again.

Sunday March 22 my measurements were...
neck~ 14.5 inches
chest (upper)~ 41.25
chest (bra strap)~ 40.5
waist~ 39
hips~ 50.5
thigh~ 30
calf~ 20
flappy bingo arm~ 16.25
forearm~ 11
wrist 6.5

Saturday April 25 my measurements are...
neck~ 14.5 inches
chest (upper)~ 39 (-2.25)
chest (bra strap)~ 38 (-2.5)
waist~ 37.75 (-1.25)
hips~ 48.5 (-2)
thigh~ 29.5 (-.5)
calf~ 18.75 (-1.25)
flappy bingo arm~ 16.25 (bollocks)
forearm~ 10.75 (-.25)
wrist 6.25 (-.25)

Overall, I'm down 10.25 inches after a month of regular cardio and strength training. Woohoo! Seeing the numbers in black and white is really motivating.

It's a gorgeous morning and my husband and I just got back from a vigorous walk around the neighborhood, which is a nice change of pace from the gym. Have a beautiful weekend, I'll see you Monday morning for the weigh-in.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Favorite Things, Beauty Edition

My love of beauty products started back when I was a kid and Auntie and Nana would take my sister and I to Freedom Drug near where we had our cottage on Plum Island. We could pick a beauty product and a book or magazine. Every time! It was so fun. I'd always go for a lip gloss (the fruity kind with the roller ball top) or Camay beauty bar or Rose Milk skin lotion. I'm still nuts about beauty products. I even started dabbling with making my own oil cleansers, serums and masks with fab results.

Here is a list of my favorite staples and must-haves...

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
is first and foremost my favorite beauty product. I follow my nose through this life and there is no other perfumer like Elizabeth at Black Phoenix. I collect those little amber bottles like they're going out of style. There are too many amazing scents to name, but I adore Love Me, Snake Oil, Dorian, Havana, Black Lace... I could go on for hours. Stop smelling like a department store, get some BPAL.

I am positively evangelical about The Salux Cloth. I've gotten my husband and a few friends hooked on this funny little bath scrubber. It makes mounds of creamy lather and exfoliates like crazy. If you suffer from rough elbows and elephant knees, get a salux. Your skin will be smooth as velvet.

I'm a lip balm addict and my favorite is Weleda Everon. And it does stay on leaving no rebound dryness. The faintly rosy smell is lovely. Speaking of Weleda, the Skin Food cream is fantastic, too. Smells amazing!

My Publix started carrying rosewater in the ethnic food section. Laxmi brand, 5 ounces for $1.99. I adore rosewater and this is as good as it gets. I use it as a facial toner and a curl refresher. The bargain price makes it all the sweeter.

The oil cleansing method has changed my skin, there are more brands that offer oil cleansers nowadays but it's so easy to make it yourself. I just blend castor, grapeseed and sunflower oils with essential oils that work for my skin needs (I like patchouli, carrot seed, lavender and tea tree) and use it twice a day. I never thought that oil would balance oily skin and clear up breakouts but it has.

I always keep a tub of powdered clay on hand to make facial masks. I really love the French green from Mountain Rose Herbs. One tub will last forever and it won't go bad because you only mix enough for one or two uses. Keep some clay and a bottle of rosewater in your bathroom and you can have a facial whenever you fancy it.

This isn't a beauty blog but nothing makes me happier than a spa day in my bathroom. Next time you have a few minutes try this gorgeous anti-oxidant facial scrub mask~

Mix the contents of two pomegranate white tea bags (or any anti-oxidant tea you may have on hand) with a bit of clay and some pomegranate juice until you have a smooth paste. Gently massage over clean facial skin like a scrub and then leave to dry for a few minutes and rinse. Apply your favorite night serum and you'll wake up to a dewy glow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fat % Update and More Blessing Counting

On a whim, I stepped on the scale last night after work to check my fat %. I can't attest to exactly how accurate that feature of my scale is but it read 38%, down 2% since my last reading on March 10th. Definitely the right direction. I'm going to update my measurements this weekend, too. I've just returned from a great workout on the elliptical, treadmill, lower body weights and floor ab work. I feel euphoric, light and spent.

I'm taking some time to count my blessings this morning. I feel very fortunate to have a home, a job and money to buy healthy food in these tough times and I want to, need to, give something back. I'm interested in information on worthy causes that are helping people who are suffering the weight of this economy, local (I live in Metro Atlanta) and national. If any of you have information about which organizations are doing good work and need the most help, please leave a comment. I'm going to spend some time today doing a bit of research. I just have to do something, even if it is just a week's worth of grocery money.

Have a beautiful day everyone!

Monday, April 20, 2009

On Being Ready

I overheard my mother and grandmother talking years ago, presumably about my weight. Nana said, "Don't worry, she'll do it when she's ready." Nana was always wise but who knew it would take until I was 39 years old to truly be ready.

What makes it different this time? I've been thinking a lot about this because it really does feel different this time. Losing weight when you're not ready is impossible. Will power will only get you so far and "white knuckle weight loss" does not last.

I've had a shift in my thinking, I suppose. After all these years, I finally believe, really and truly believe, that food isn't love, comfort, companionship or respect. Food can be pleasure, yes, but it is not the only source of pleasure this life has to offer. Food is fuel, nourishment. Food holds no power, it's just food. I'm in charge of what happiness I get from this life. I'm responsible for my contentment, I'm accountable for the decisions I make regarding my health and fitness.

Food is not the answer to life's big, scary questions. For the first time in my life I'm not afraid to feel the feelings, to find those answers. There's a freedom that comes with not being afraid and that's when I knew I was ready.

Monday Weigh-In

The weekend was relaxing and productive but I can't believe it's Monday again already. Scale read 219 this morning so yay! 2.5/58 pounds gone and just 20 pounds to One-derland. It really seems doable, I'm feeling good and looking pretty good so I'm no longer overwhelmed by the amount of weight I still would like to lose. It's a nice place to be.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Joy of Fruit

Happy Sunday, everyone! It's been a strange week for me trying to get back into my routine. I've felt tired but still managed to get in three really good workouts in addition to getting the house scoured and sparkling. I'm happy it's Sunday. I'm going to make the juice packs for the week and do the prep work for dinner then I'm going to sit down with a cuppa and enjoy the day with my husband.

I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday while I was washing some grapes to make a fruit salad. I felt so joyful that I was going to eat a big bowl of fruit. I wondered where that pure joy came from because fruit and I have not always the best of friends.

Growing up, whenever I wanted a snack I'd hear my mother's voice saying in a none-too-pleasant way, "Have a piece of fruit!" It always seemed like the piece of fruit was a punishment of some sort. I didn't want fruit, I wanted the snacks the other kids were having that my mother never bought. I wanted Bugles or Doritos or Cheez-Its. But it was always, "Have a piece of fruit!"

Then my mother discovered the Fit for Life diet book. That's the plan about food combining (can't mix carbs with protein) and only fruit should be eaten up until noon each day. Ugh! So my sister and I had to endure periods of where got to eat nothing but fruit for breakfast and for lunch. How much did it suck taking a brown paper bag full of fruit to school for lunch when the other kids were chowing down on normal stuff? A lot.

Fast forward to 2004 and my Atkins Diet phase. Dr. Atkins took a person who already had fruit issues and turned them into a full blown fear that fruit will make me fat. I was already fat and I was missing out on so much joy.

Gone are the days where I exclude major food groups from my eating. Over these past few months I started adding more fruit to my diet, I've always been a fan of a crisp, fresh apple but now I wanted ruby red grapefruit. And strawberries. And red, seedless grapes. And melon and pineapple! I can't wait until the mangoes and papaya are ripe and ready. Fruit is a purely joyful creation of flavor, color and yes, nutrition. Fruit is breakfast, a delicious snack, it's even dessert. Fruit is exotic, sensual and sweet. I've got a succulent cantaloupe waiting in the fridge for me, I don't want to keep my friend waiting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Zoolander Chicken

Really, really, ridiculously easy and delicious! I wasn't in the mood to cook dinner tonight, nevermind be creative, so I foraged in the freezer for some chicken cutlets. I always keep the freezer stocked with cutlets because they defrost quickly and are just the right portion. I smeared them with some German mustard (oh, so vinegary and tangy) and then crusted them with a couple of tablespoons of plain breadcrumbs mixed with a couple of tablespoons of grated Grana Padano cheese (less expensive than Reggiano but so much more delicious than standard issue Parmesan.) Toss into a hot 400 oven and cook for 15 minutes. I served the chicken with some brown rice made with Thai coconut curry broth and steamed snap peas. For a last minute supper it was really good and definitely a keeper. What do you do to avoid the take-out menus at dinnertime?

Savannah Photo Set

I may have dragged my butt to the gym for the past three mornings, but my mind and heart are still in Savannah. I got my pics uploaded, so click here is you'd like to have a look.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday Weigh-In

Time to pay the piper...

We made it back after a wonderful weekend. Good thing the rain rolled in to Savannah yesterday morning, it made it a bit easier to leave. Once I upload all the pics to the gallery, I'll post a link. Savannah is truly a sight. I've popped up 2 pounds, no doubt water bloat from hitting the hooch. I ate pretty much what I wanted, but was very conscious of portion sizes and that worked out very well. Plates went back with food on them or leftovers got taken with. The wine was a different story altogether.

We ate at some really lovely restaurants, the food scene in Savannah has improved tenfold since our last visit. So two pounds and I wouldn't change of minute of it. I don't want to live the sort of life that when I'm holiday I have to order grilled chicken or fish and steamed veggies at every meal. Special occasions are called 'special' for a reason. We logged in hours and hours of lively walking. We covered much of the historic district and did a 4.5 mile walk on Tybee Beach. This trip was about much more than food and drink. I did normal things that normal people take for granted. I felt free!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Live from Savannah

Yeah, we brought the laptop. Free wi-fi! We brought DVDs and have all the links to what we want to do this weekend, so it really is quite handy to have. Rob is napping, I did my nails and just poured myself an ice cold glass of Chard. Yes, it truly feels like we're on holiday. Only it's very different this time. Anyone who says that being obese and out of shape doesn't interfere with their quality of life is a big, fat liar.

When we first arrived, our room wasn't quite ready so we gave the girl Rob's cell number and set out for a walk down on River Street. I tackled a long set of very steep and bumpy concrete stairs from the street level down to the river. Without a second thought! My husband was agog when we reached the bottom. We walked up and down the river street and sat on a bench but not because I was out of breath, not because my knees and ankles hurt but to people watch for a spell. On the way back to the hotel, we walked hand in hand and Rob noticed that he didn't have to slow his pace to make sure I could keep up. How awful it must have been for him to drag me along with my huffing and puffing and trying to keep up. We're on the third floor of the hotel and we've been taking the stairs. We've been here 4 hours and already it's unlike any other trip we've ever taken. Who am I and what did I do with Girlie?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Peace Out

I'm about to leave for my last shift before we take off for our weekend away. I spent 75 minutes on the treadmill this morning as a preemptive measure. I'll be back for the weigh-in on Tuesday. I'm not hoping for a loss but I'm looking out to keep gains to a minimum. I'm really looking forward to seeing Savannah again and hope that you all have a safe, fun and sunny weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More Travel Trepidation

My husband totally surprised me Monday morning by telling me he's taking me away for a romantic weekend. This weekend! First off, I wanted to know who secretly replaced my husband with Casanova to see if I'd notice and second, huh, me, go away on short notice? I don't do anything on short notice. But I didn't freak out, in fact, I was glowing with happiness and surprise. We're going to our favorite hotel in Savannah and we'll be taking a long walk on Tybee Beach on Saturday. The beach! I'm really looking forward to it, especially since we have some wonderful dining experiences lined up.

Now I find that the freak out is starting to creep up on me. I'm a little nervous about enjoying 3 1/2 days of restaurants because I don't want to come home to a major weight gain. I'm also nervous about what to wear. After some mild weather, it's gone cold here again and I'm swathed in jeans, sweaters, socks and shoes. The weather is much milder down in Savannah so I'm going to have to dip into all those spring clothing that I'm so excited about fitting into and actually wear them. I'm going to feel so naked.

Savannah is a wonderful walking city so other than the drive out to Tybee Island, we are going to keep the car garaged for the entire stay. We'll be doing lots of walking so hopefully this will offset some of the eating and drinking. It's been far too long since Rob and I have been away alone together when I've felt good about myself. I'm not going to try not to let my insecurities get the better of me and enjoy every minute of it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Weigh-In

It was a rough night for sleep last night. I was up and down, hot and cold all night and I'm feeling worse for wear this morning. But I pushed my self out of bed and hit the gym for 50 minutes on the elliptical trainer before I ran out of juice completely. Early to bed and cardio, weights and abs tomorrow! I'm down another 2 pounds, so I broke into the teens today~219.5. That's 57.5 pounds gone and perhaps I'll break the 60 pound barrier next week. I'll give it my best shot!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Progress Photo

I had Rob snap this piccie of me as I was on the way out the door to work yesterday. It was the maiden voyage of one of my new smaller uniforms. If you click on the photo, you can check out my clavicles. I'm very proud of them this week.

My lunch waiting to be packed on the counter behind me. It's leftovers from Friday's dinner of Chicken Taco Chili from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes. So easy and so delectable, it was amazing leftover. My dear sister, who is doing so well on Weight Watchers losing her baby weight, turned me on that recipe blog. Thanks, Girlie!

I don't have to go back to work until Thursday so I'm looking forward to some quality time at the gym this coming week as well as some down time (have lots of shiny new magazines to catch up on.) Also the toilets need cleaning, so I have that to look forward to. Joy! I hope your Sunday is restful and I'll see you back here for the weigh-in tomorrow.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hello Neo

Today was going to be for me, no work, no chores. Just a good two hour workout and then the afternoon spent in a hot salty bubble bath with my book and a cuppa. But yesterday the Mister's car decides to put on the "maintenance required" light which was followed by, "Can you take my car in tomorrow?" Ugh! What can I say to that, though? I'm so fortunate that I get to just work part time so I agreed. A standard service usually takes about a half hour so I packed up breakfast, hot tea, water and my gym gear and headed to the the garage at 8:30am.

Bloody service took an hour and 45 minutes and I was steamed! The old Andra would have caved on the gym, headed home, grabbed a pound of chocolates, a bottle of Chardonnay and dove in the tub. Instead I went to the gym and took my frustrations out on an elliptical trainer for 67 minutes. And not the usual True Strider but the dreaded Matrix that made my glutes burn for three days after the one other time I rode it. I feel better though I'm still mildly annoyed that I didn't have time for weights. I left the gym at noon because I got hungry. Weight training while hungry is not a good idea.

Because I'm a planner, tonight's dinner went in the crock-pot first thing this morning, so I'm quite pleased that I don't have to cook tonight. I just have to wash the juicer now and make lunch. Then I'm taking my book and my cuppa and diving in the tub. Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Call Me Keira

Because I can actually see my clavicles! It's been a long time since I've seen them and they are a most welcome sight.

Last night I had a look at the DVR menu and noticed that the thing is getting pretty full and it made me realize just how much time I used to spend watching TV and how I'm making such better use of my time now. I do have a bunch of Oprah shows to catch up on but I had to watch yesterdays last night before bed. It featured Valerie Bertinelli, Marie Osmond and most prominently, Star Jones, talking about their very public weight losses. I've never been a fan of Star Jones but much of what she said really resonated with me. She spoke about how after her gastric bypass surgery she didn't know who she was or who she was going to be. It drove home the message that weight loss is so much more than losing pounds, it is a real process.

When you're obese, losing weight is not just about eating less/moving more to peel off layers of excess unhealthy weight. So many other changes occur, thoughts, reactions, emotions, even personality. I've started to feel different this past week. I've been thinking and feeling things in a different way, it's hard to explain but it's like I'm learning who I am all over again. Who I am at this size. This may be TMI, but my libido is back with a vengeance and I feel like I'm falling in love with my husband all over again, it feels amazing but again "different."

I've always been a bit of an emotional wreck with a hair trigger crying response, but now I'm feeling emotional in a different way, like things are releasing gently rather than building up and bursting out. The calmness is another thing that is really new to me, but I know that this is from the exercise (and I reallyreallyreally like it.) I know that this process is going to keep on happening until I hit my goal weight and beyond. Once I get to a weight that I can maintain without hunger or having to work out like an Olympic hopeful, I'll have to learn who she is, what she wants out of life and how she wants to live it. Until then I'm going keep peeling back the layers and finding out what is underneath.