Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Be Brave!

Once upon a diet time- way back a few years ago when I was having these same deja vu moments- one of my daughters was usually around to help out in my unending quest to fit in my clothes without busting zippers or popping buttons or twisting my cankles. 
She would come in to borrow crock pots or measuring spoons or sleeping bags - and finally when they were unfashionably out of style or no longer working, she would return them. Hauling them in the front door to where my foyer resembled a section of Goodwill.

But along with those things, one morning she inadvertently left an unfamiliar plate behind on my kitchen table. It was covered with foil.
"I know you're on a diet", she said, fleeing out the door ,"but it won't hurt you."

After the dust settled, I peeked beneath the foil, curious what insignificant, harmless morsel of a treat may be waiting.

It was a "Cinnabon".

For her to think it wouldn't hurt me would be like asking Edward Scissorhands to scratch my back or Dracula to kiss my neck. It was asking for trouble. It was trouble. And I knew there wasn't room enough in my kitchen for the both of us.

I circled it a few times- attempting to scrutinize my enemy. Deciding to approach it slowly instead of making a hasty mistake.

There it was -"Cinnabon". Even the name sounded evil. No good could come of it, I was sure.

It lay there all coiled up in a perfect roll- ready to spring forth all it's cinnamon-y goodness to those less stronger than I. (To those dieters that hadn't started their journey yet.)

But I knew "Cinnabon" had to be alleviated. I knew it was here to harm me- to dig deep into my willpower and destroy me. I wasn't going to let that happen. Even if it meant extreme measures.
Even if it meant sending that beautiful mound of dessert to the landfill.

Cinnabon was watching me. too. Trying to look all sweet and innocent- attempting to disguise all the calories and fat that was coiled up in it's delicate face.

But, then I saw the fear. Cinnabon was beginning to sweat- it's gooey white frosting dripping in thick puddles around the plate- the cinnamon slipping from the rings of yeasty dough in obvious defeat.

I reacted quickly. I lassoed it up into a hangman's noose and pitched it into the trashcan. Then, for good measure I smothered it in warm coffee grounds and onion peels. I was certain then that it wasn't coming back. Cinnabon could never hurt me now.

Then I drifted off into the sunset with my Ab Roller. I had an extreme sense of satisfaction-
knowing I had made the kitchen a safer place. Knowing I was strong enough to fight- and win.

Be brave.
Fight the Fat.
Never let anyone tell you that it's not gonna hurt you.
Because it will.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wedding Weight Woes

Looking back in time, it's only too obvious that most of my diet dilemmas focused around a special event, such as a wedding, birthday or reunion. I was quite comfortable in sweat pants and tee shirts when I had nowhere to go. And in the privacy of my own home it was somehow acceptable to wear a little donut powder on my face instead of makeup.

Why didn't I learn my lesson? Why didn't I realize when the birthday guests all mistook me for the party clown, that I needed a big change? Why didn't I set in memory all those grueling, depressing and laughable hours and days I spent in front of dressing room mirrors sucking in and pushing up and contorting my body into something it sadly could not be? Why did every diet start with an upcoming wedding and end immediately after the reception?
And so now, people, there is a wedding on the horizon - and it's too close to think I might possibly forego the torture of squeezing into a dress that does a hideous job of camouflaging my bumps, bellys and blimp-like features. I've got to go into battle again. And it's a thought I'd rather not think.
Oh, I have an idea in my head what I'm looking for. I see clearly in my minds eye the fabric, flow and fantasy of a beautiful dress. But when I'm stuck in that little room with twenty possibilities and a full length mirror, I realize I'm suffering from delusions that can only be hushed by hibernating six months without substanance.

Shopping for clothes when you are overweight is a chore. It's like looking for that proverbial needle in a haystack, or in my case, that parachute in a ocean of parachutes. It's not fun.
Will it show my arms? Will my knees roll out when I sit? Does it highlight my back fat? Do I look pregnant? Is this too much cleavage? Too tight? Too young? Too busy? Too short?

I console myself with the knowledge that I am trying to lose weight. I haven't given up on stuffing
my feet into real shoes again,
wearing sensible cosmetics and having my bed head coiffured into a non-helmet hairstyle that thins my face. Somewhat.
I pat myself on the back ( oh, if only I could!) for the fact that I'm heading in the right direction. I'm serious about making it to my goals. I'm adamant that future weddings and celebrations will find me prepared and proud.

We all need something to strive for, live for, work toward. Find that special yearning on the horizon and follow it. Someday you just might realize you are there. You've found it. It's yours.

And don't let anyone steal your dreams. They are what happiness is made of.

Monday, January 18, 2016

When Memories Trump Measurements

There's something we fail to realize when we are dieting. Something huge. Something that not even the popular diet gurus have shared with us. Well, I could be grasping for straws here...making excuses...but I'm telling you now - in my opinion- in my world of diet counting and struggle and failure and stress and ups and downs and crazy self worth.... making memories trumps it all.

My sister came to visit this weekend. We've been best friends, buds, partners in crime for almost sixty years and I can always count on her to bring out the fun.
That's why the weekend wouldn't have been the same if we had munched on celery sticks, clinked our milk glasses together in a toast-and did sit-ups in the living room floor instead of watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.
For this weekend, all barriers were down. I didn't measure, weigh or stress out over what what going into my mouth.
All I cared about was what was going into my heart.
Memories. Sweet, gentle, small, miraculous memories that we will both remember when we are old ladies, reminiscing about the past.

I made home made chicken and dumplings. At the time it didn't matter to me that they were laden with carbs and would add a few ounces on the scale. I didn't consider the calories in that margarita that my sister handed me with a smile. I didn't freak out that my treadmill was lonely or that I quit counting fat grams in my head.

I know, we've got to stay strong. Not be derailed. Not make insane excuses to pig out or flip out or opt out. But we can be a part of the party. And then, when it's over, clean up, clear out, and get back on that train to a better you!

There's nothing more depressing than to be invited to a family dinner in a restaurant, only to feel like you have to hide in the corner eating rice cakes while the family dines on steak and ribs and potatoes smothered in fifteen kinds of butter. Appetizers, crackers, and that slice of pie oozing with sugary fruit. What's worse is that you know they are watching you from the corners of their eyes. They inspect your choices, your portions. They secretly criticize your self control, the size of your bites...the way you sit in in your chair like a puffin.
But, just smile. Be a part of that group. They are your tribe. They are your memories. They are the most important thing you will ever have in your entire life.
Laugh with them. Eat with them. And then- go back to doing the things you know must be done.

I suppose it's a lot like telling an alcoholic to enjoy a few drinks. But if it effects you in that way, by all means, avoid those dinners. Or at least skip the fattening parts.
Only you know where you've set your boundaries. Keep yourself on a leash, but enjoy a little romp
once in awhile or things will lose their luster.

I'm telling you now, even if I gained a few pounds, I don't care. I enjoyed my weekend and all the laughter, love and looniness that it brought to these cold January days.
But today, I'm boarding that diet train and heading back down the track on my journey. I see myself
way off in the distance. Over that river, across that mountain, through that woods and beyond...there
is a better me.
But my heart isn't starving. It's full of love and memories.

And that has made all the difference.

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Version of An Old Movie

If you've never watched the Wizard Of Oz while dieting, well, then, you've never fully enjoyed the real story. There are so many innuendos, suggestions and subliminal messages in it that it blows my mind! Here's my take on the old classic as I see it through the eyes of a woman on a diet...

In her younger days, Dorothy was happy. She walked around the farm, singing and dancing with the ease of a gazelle. Auntie Em fed her apple pies and corn casseroles and creamy butter on home made biscuits. And that right there, folks, became Dorothy's biggest problem. Aunt Em was an enabler. When Dorothy's blue and white gingham dress became a little tight from too many Tootsie Rolls, Aunt Em just took it to her sewing room and let out the seams, lengthened the belt and let poor Dorothy go on believing she was still just "a little ol' thing".

But one day Uncle Henry became winded when lifting her up on the garden fence. It was then that Dorothy began to realize that she had gained some weight. When she found the fabric scraps in Aunt Em's sewing basket -and then got on the scale- Dorothy's world became dizzy with disbelief! It was as if a tornado was spinning her out of control! Stress, low self esteem and worry began to get the best of her.

When she finally realized she was fat, she was living in another world. Of lollipops. And a yellow brick road. Which wasn't really bricks, but Twinkies. And everyone dancing around her was soooo little...like midgets...compared to how she had blown up and turned into an obese young lady that was  so very lost.

At first she didn't know what to do. She just kept eating like she didn't have a brain.
It took her awhile to realize she had to have a heart. And her heart had to be into the journey of finding a diet that would work. So she kept looking and kept trying and kept searching.
All her friends were like a bunch of flying monkeys, though. They tried to sabotage her efforts. They kept whisking her away to the bars and buffets and all you can eat potlucks. They even tried to steal her ruby red running shoes, telling her she didn't really need them.

And there were those skinny witches that keep messing with her, too. She had to learn to pay no mind to them.

It took courage for Dorothy to keep trying- to keep pushing herself to find the old her. To find her way back home where she felt comfortable in her own body. And she did find courage and willpower and strength. Even to walk through fields of popovers and not eat a single one.

Eventually Dorothy found the perfect diet. It was as though a wizard had taken control and turned her back into a person she recognized in the mirror. She wore those ruby red shoes and worked out several times a week, she gave up Twinkies and sweets and started eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. And before she knew it, she found her way back....

It's a journey. You're going to meet a lot of people along the way that are going to help you. Join them.
But there will be those who will hinder you. Avoid them.

Because someday when your brain and heart and courage all work together, you'll fly over the rainbow. And life will be fun again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Results Matter

I wasn't quite ready for the Week One Weigh In. Well, sure, I knew it was coming, but I didn't have the tools properly prepared. My bathroom scale was somewhere out in the garage amid a sea of crescent wrenches, buckets and boots. And when I finally unearthed it after a half hour of sobbing quietly over a box of old photographs like any empty-nested mother, it had a skin of dust that needed a good ol microdermabrasion.
I just knew that before I got this sucker cleaned up, the kitchen would call and I would end up popping a mouthful of muffin or a case of crackers or something way too dangerous to be in the vicinity of my eyes, body and teetering temptation. So, I avoided the kitchen altogether and ran quickly with food blinders on to the bathroom, where this scale was going in the first place. We were going to become good friends,( I hoped), and looked for a practical place to designate as its "forever" home. It had it be in plain site as a daily reminder. But not where it would be covered with wet towels, out of date magazines or the peepee poopoo plunger.
I dusted the scale carefully, knowing not damage it in any way or somehow sabatouge the readout -because my life was depending on this Health-o-meter to be kind. I needed some digital digits that would make me rub my eyes in disbelief, that would cause me to do a happy dance all the way to the mall for a new pair of jeans... that would make me smile and say, "I can do this".
Once it was cleaned up and in place, what to wear to weigh in was my next conundrum. Pajamas or birthday suit? Sweats -or Spanx - or some super dooper miracle air suit that would fit my fat to the favorable weight of a finch feather.
Anyway...avoiding my reflection at all costs, I chose the birthday suit (because Amazon does not carry the air suit at this time), and then slowly proceeded to step on the scale as though it was embedded with shards of serrated glass. I sucked in my gut, stood up straight, and held my breath.
And then I opened my eyes and looked down...
I lost! I lost!
(Of course, the whole thing was kind of embarrassing when my husband walked in while I was whooping and moon dancing and high-five-ing the mirror...)
It wasn't a huge amount of weight, but at least it was a loss and not a gain. And that's the way we all have to look at it. Baby Steps. One day at a time. Do your best and forget the rest.
Let's keep on truckin'.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week One

It's been a week. On day two I was ready to quit. A week seemed so far away. Months were forever. But now that I've made it this far, I know I've got to keep trying. I'm pushing myself, but that's to be expected. My comfort zone was back there in The Land Where You Eat Everything. This is a new place. The rules have changed...but they say the living is eventually so much better.

I'm not an expert. Not on food, diets or people. I'm just a person that refuses to resort to elastic waist bands, flowery Grandma sweatshirts and orthopedic shoes.
I'm tired of crawling in bed at night and realizing my belly is the size of a small puppy, that my heartburn is causing this insomnia and that I'm stressing about what I'm going to wear to that spring wedding.
I'm tired of having to crawl over to a piece of furniture to stand upright after playing with the grandkids on the floor, of not being invited to the zoo or parks because they know I'll get tired and winded, and breathing hard after climbing a short set of stairs.
I'm sick of looking into the mirror and seeing a tired woman. With double chins and bulldog cheeks and a stomach that resembles a python - that wraps and wraps and wraps itself around my middle- and absolutely refuses to hide under a tee shirt or even a nice hoodie.
So, well...anyway...we all have our reasons. Those are some of mine. But whatever it takes to motivate you and keep you focused, do it. Do it now. Do it tomorrow. Do it till you know you are the best you that you can be. And then, keep doing it.

I started walking in the treadmill this week. I forgot how hard that can be. I watch the clock and wonder how only six minutes have passed! I'm ready to quit at twelve minutes. I'm sweating, hacking, using my Lamaze breathing techniques to keep from passing out. But I've set my goal at thirty minutes so I push through. I try to imagine the future. I pretend I'm walking toward it and it's going to be amazing.

We are all on individual diets, but I wanted to share some things that help me in some way through this journey.
The sausage is delicious and the farro is like a thick textured oatmeal. I liked it but my husband did not. I put a little brown sugar on it and found it was very filling. I found both those items at Aldis.

The Sytha 6 is a protein powder found at GNC and Amazon and I've found its the best tasting protein drink I've had. 
Fruit, of course, but not too much. Grab a banana instead of a hot dog, or an orange instead of a donut.
pB2 is a powdered peanut butter that is a lot better for you than regular peanut butter. Mix with water and you have a better tasting celery stick!
I don't think rice cakes are real nutritious, but I like having them on hand when I crave a salty crunch. They are also good piled with tuna or chopped seasoned chicken.
My scale: see where it's not set on zero? Well, I set it that way so that my dinner plate will fit on top and bring the weight to zero before filling it. I weigh my dinner on it usually, staying around 5 oz. of meat. I take it off the scale and then add my vegetables. This works for me, but you do whatever works for you. 

I'm planning to weigh in today. That's always a scary thing. If I weigh too much, I get discouraged, if I lose a lot, I find myself allowing little extras that only add up to more pounds later.
No matter what that scale says, you just keep looking forward!
Wish me luck. And may the odds be ever in your favor!
See you soon!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Let's Fly

I hate counting calories...measuring...weighing...scribbling down that 1/8 cup of innocent cheese and forced to realize that I may have had enough carbs in one meal to last me three days. It's not fun seeing the truth. But reality is what makes us mad enough to keep going sometimes.
First of all, I suck at math. Forget adding it in my head. I need one of those giant old lady calculators with buttons as big as tortilla shells. Even then, I have to punch it in several times to make sure -(before I celebrate ) - that I still have 15 calories to spend before I go to bed.

A great way to organize your calorie and quantity intake is Fitness Pal. It's a free ap that tracks your progress and does all those crazy calculations for you. Even if you aren't actually counting calories, it also breaks down carbs, sugars, proteins and even some vitamin content. It will also graph your weight loss and exercise program.
To be truthful, I've downloaded and removed Fitness Pal several times from my iPad. I'd get three days into it and then abandon the "dream". I think part of the problem was that it was a lot like the mirror - brutally honest! Who knew one slice of S'mores Galore cheesecake was 1576 calories? Yikes!
My beautiful niece Olivia has used Fitness Pal with amazing results - and I'm convinced if I just make it a daily ritual ( like Facebook, reruns on TVLand, and watching dust bunnies play under the sofa), then I'll have a fighting chance this time to reach my goals.
My diet is fairly simple. I've cut out bread, sugar, high fat and sneaky snacks. Luckily I've never been  hooked on soda, so that's a plus. I eat scrambled eggs and fruit for breakfast and sometimes add a link of pre cooked sausage. For lunch, it's salad. I do add some adornment such as cheese, raisins, peppers, etc. but I don't go overboard. And I measure out 2  tablespoons of oil based dressing to top it off. I can add 3 oz. of meat, too. And I probably will when I get to the grocery store! Dinner is 5 oz. of lean meat, a cup or two of green beans (or a similar vegetable), and a small baked potato. Sounds really, really boring, but I'm better off not given much variety. I've been known to make plain oatmeal into a chocolatety, walnutty, marshnallowy, brown sugary delight that blows the Fitness Pal up like a giant cellulite bomb. Enough said. You do yours, I'll do mine.

But seriously...
A few years ago I started a diet in January and lost 25 pounds by July. I literally threw away whole pies and froze a pound of good salami. At least being frozen, it was out of sight and no,t easily scarfed. I started looking for ways to replace fattening foods with fiber foods. I counted points. I kept a food diary. I began to feel less hungry all the time. My cravings stopped. I bought fun new clothes. I moved easier.
I don't know what happened.
Come that Fall, I ate pumpkin pie and Halloween candy and the whole fat world enclosed me once again.
And today, I am still suffocating. I am still a prisoner to this strange, fleshy suit - a heavy, alien body that keeps me from being the sweet, graceful butterfly that I feel inside.

Let this diet be part of your daily ritual. A selfish, pampering piece of your life that you'll never regret. 
Let's fly, girls!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It's All About The Shoes

Starting a diet is a lot like buying a new pair of shoes.
Not only are there hundreds and hundreds to chose from, but somehow we manage to try on and accumulate several over the years.

Just like shoes,sometimes the fit of a diet isn't quite right. Too restrictive-too boring-Way too fancy-Or even too loose.
That just gives us the excuse to go out shopping for something better.

Just like buying new shoes,whenever we start a new diet, we treat it carefully at first. Loving the way it fits...
It just feels right, doesn't it?
We write down the calories carefully, we weigh our meat choices, and we savor new flavors. We love the way we start to look in this diet.
But soon we grow tired of keeping it polished-it becomes boring-
you begin to get a big ol' diet blister that won't go away.
You think about throwing this diet in the back of the closet
and giving up. You want to just go running through fields of chocolate chips and ruin it completely.
You dream of something better.

But stop.
The blisters are only temporary.
And when they go away, you will be a new person. 
Your shoes will sparkle and shine and your body will be thankful you didn't go a little crazy on it.
If you don't do it today, that big old diet shoe will come kick you in the big old butt someday.
Believe me.

Sure, you can change shoes once in awhile. Have a nice Valentine dinner with your sweetheart.Try a cupcake at the baby shower.
Steal a couple of french fries from the kids.
But know when to stop.
Know when to pull those diet shoes back on and walk the straight and narrow again.
Know when to set aside the play shoes and get serious.
So, I want to say this to everybody- knowing when to stop can sometimes be the hardest part. But learn to say no. To hold your head up just walk away in your brand new diet shoes, smile proudly, and say- "No thanks".
Get up. Smile. Brush your hair and throw on some lipstick. Put on those diet shoes and walk proudly. 

Today is a new adventure.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Starting Gate

I just want to say how happy I am to have you join me today. Being accountable for my choices somehow makes it easier to stay focused. I hope that you'll find inspiration here, or encouragement, or just a friendly " it's going to be okay" when days seem slow and progress comes to a halt. But, you know, we really can't give up. We owe it to ourselves to be the best we can be.
Today would be a good day to know what diet you are starting. If it means counting calories or points, you should have a calculator, a calorie guide and some good measuring cups in your kitchen. A small food scale is ideal also. I'm always amazed to see what five ounces of meat really is. It's not good to cheat yourself out of the protein you need, but neither is it fair to overindulge by guessing portions. Remember Rule Number One? To be truthful. And that encompasses every single part of a diet. You lie to yourself about that candy bar you snuck in, the extra helping of sweet potatoes, or the amount of water you drank- then you only hurt yourself.
Have your little "Bee" notebook ready and begin entering everything you eat. Everything. Then keep a tally depending on what you are counting or tracking on your particular diet plan. Make adjustments where necessary.
Another thing I suggest is taking a "Before" picture. Sure, you can hide it in the closet or never look at it again, but take it, please. Someday when you've reached your goal, you'll be glad you can compare the old new to the new you.
Remember- the first few days are always the easiest. Rolling into the weekend or beyond, we will meet obstacles and temptations and things start to get real. But give it six months. At least. What's six months of your life? The reward will be so worth it. You know it will.
But what's important to remember besides measuring, weighing, recording and avoiding temptation is -that you are doing this for yourself. It's the one selfish act that no one will judge you for. Your body is yours and your health is all wrapped up inside it like a breathing burrito. Let's get healthy and energetic again. Sadly, we won't get any younger, but it's almost garanteed that we will feel younger. Losing extra pounds is the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth that there is.
Another thing. Spoil yourself. But not with food this time. With bubble baths and manicures and getting your hair done. Save those bigger splurges such as new clothes, a purse -or even a vacation for the milestones such as a 10, 15, 20 pound loses. You deserve to pamper yourself. Remember to use moisturizer, keep flossing and brushing, and taking good care of yourself.
Another thing: eat at the table. Set out a nice placemat or tablecloth and use your best china and glass wear. Eat slowly. Chew well. Don't rush. Enjoy every bite.
Okay, well, that was a lot of information and bossiness, wasn't it?
Do your thing. I'll check back in a few days and see how it's going. And I'll share my struggles if you really want to hear about them. We are all in this together.
But right now I've got to feed the dogs and chickens. They are having beans, cornbread, pineapple upside down cake, Spam, oatmeal cookies, chips, dip and a cheese ball!
Bee all you can bee!  See you soon!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

And So It Begins

First off, right out of the cattle gate, let me just say this: I hope you're offended by the title of my blog. I hope it makes you uncomfortable, self conscious and well aware that your jeans will soon have to be made in a parachute factory if you don't put down that donut and double mocha latte and slap yourself into reality. And, hey- You're breathing heavy- I can hear it. Or is that me?
I'm not here to preach, I'm here to share. Guess what? I'm fat. It's true. No amount of slimmers, tunics, heels or makeup is going to change what I see in my mirror today. And right there in that reflection is Point A. That's where you start to change your life for the better. Point A is where you quit deceiving yourself, where you stop sucking your gut in hoping it will stay stuck forever and where you finally agree that it's time - that you won't spend another day in blinders. Point A is when you see yourself without filters.
Get naked. Turn around. Sideways now. Forward. Back. Front.
Hey, don't cry. It's just good that we caught it before it inflates any further, before it causes health problems and embarrassing moments at the beach and keeps you from every fun photo on Facebook.
So, right now go weight yourself. Yes, now. While you're naked. This way you're not tempted to estimate the weight of your sweats, tee shirts and socks as 6.2 pounds. Believe me, I've done that. I've lied to myself for years now. Let's not lie, okay? That's rule number One.
Now, after you've squeezed into some clothing, let us take a new notebook out and sit somewhere comfortable. Write across the front: So Long Fatso. This is your food diary. Inside the front cover write the date and your weight. Then write Point B. And then enter weight that you would like to be. (Get it? B is where you want to Be!) This will be your goal weight. You can change Point B later if you think it's necessary. In fact, you will have a bunch of little B's buzzing around. Let's just call these "Bees", shall we? To make our pathetic little notebooks a bit more fun)! You can draw a little bee when you reach Mini goals for 60 days of progress, ten pound milestones and even a little Bee when your jeans go from Jumbo to Giant. And then smaller, and smaller...
What's great about losing weight and eating healthier is that not only does your body change in amazing ways, but your skin does, too. You become more youthful looking, radiant, and happy. A smile is priceless. Even your hair texture will change. And your nails. And eyes. And your outlook on life.
The difficult part about this whole journey is choosing which diet you want to follow. There are so many out there. I'm going to follow a diet that a trainer put me on a few years ago and it was successful for me. (Until I ran over Point B with a massive rolling cheesecake and smothered it in nacho cheese -until I forgot- and became lost- and my eyes were glazed with jelly donuts and denial.
We will discuss exercise and portions and all that stuff as we go. The most important thing is that you know it's time. You've told yourself the truth.
So let's get ready. Tomorrow we begin. Good luck, Fatso!