Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We are more than our LOOKS!!!

disclaimer: I apologize in advance for any sexism that I imply here, because I do know that men go through the same kind of thing, but this post will be about my experience as a woman, so I will be discussing women's issues... not saying that this is ONLY a women's issue at all

Now that I've gotten the disclaimer out of the way, here's my topic: 

Why do we, as women, let ourselves care so much
about our looks?


one of the first results for search: what a woman should look like
Seriously.  I have been guilty of caring way too much about my appearance for most of my life.  I can't remember a time when it didn't matter to me at all.  Maybe when I was 5?  4?  3?  Even in my earliest memories, I can remember people making me feel as if my looks were more important than anything else.

Adults love to tell little girls that they are pretty, or that what they are wearing is pretty. 

And some little girls take that stuff seriously. 


"You look like a doll!!!  How PRETTY!!!"

I remember one time when I was 6 years old (ish) and I looked in the mirror, thinking that nothing about me was special.  Feeling terrible about how plain I was.  My pale freckle-less skin, my mousy straight hair, my uninteresting nose, eyes, and ears.  I hadn't yet started to worry about my weight (thank god) but I was still very much concerned about my looks.

That memory saddens me, and makes me wonder how many little girls I see every day have simular thoughts.  How many young girls put that much thought into their looks.



another "what a woman should look like" result

...And for some of us, it has never gone away.  That desire to be pretty, and the thoughts that our appearance somehow represents our worth.  That need to fit into a certain mold.  Whose standards are we trying to achieve?  And... why?

Some things are way more important than how we look.  Like... almost all things.  Just off the top of my head, here is a list of things that are more important than looks:

1) health
2) loved ones
3) work ethic
4) school and work deadlines
5) bills...?

All of these things are way more important than what we look like.  And the list could go on literally FOREVER. 

So, why is it that we put looks on such a high pedestal, and assume that if only we looked a certain way, everything else would fall into place?



another "what a woman should look like" gem.

Hmmm.  Here's a thought:

Let's stop the madness. 

I'm not saying that I'm going to stop caring about my appearance.  I am just saying that there is a balance out there.  I can still take pride in my appearance (shower, hair, makeup, clothes without holes in them) without making it a top priority.

I have been taking steps for weeks now to not care so much about food and exercise, and to instead focus on more important things (which is how I managed to ace my finals, BTW!).

I encourage all of you reading this to take a moment today and think about how much energy you put into your appearance. 

Are you only dieting and/or exercising for your appearance, or is health your main goal? 

Do you constantly (or nearly constantly) worry about how you look? 

Let's try to dial it back a bit and focus a bit more on important things. 

what a woman should look like #1 result!  (joke)



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a perfect moment...

Have you ever have one of those, "WOW, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be at the exact perfect time" moments?


I have, but I had completely forgotten them until yesterday.

I was at a study group for my Intro to Law class, and we were working on our final exam together, each of us contributing equally and working hard.

Some time during that study session, I had a "moment".

I was exactly where I was meant to be at the exact perfect time.

I was really in my element, and was ridiculously happy. I was amongst my peers, all of whom have simular goals to me, and we were talking about the history of law as well as how to apply law cases to examples of law cases... and it felt great.

For about 3 and a half hours, I was thinking only about law, and my place at the University of Memphis and what my current class schedule really meant for my future.

I was NOT thinking about my body, my food, or anything along those lines.

And I was happy.

I'm going to continue to strive for moments like this in my daily life. Moments of perfection that have nothing to do with my weight or my appearance.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Monday, December 5, 2011

How my non-tracking is going...

It's going really well so far!  There have been some bumps along the way, but I have basically been not tracking my food or exercise since December 1st, in an attempt to finally completely finish my EDNOS recovery and move on to a life that is not so food focused.

One thing that I've learned I'm pretty good at:  waiting until I'm actually hungry to eat.  I rule at that.  Sometimes it 6 or more hours between eating, because I'm really not hungry that often some days.

Here's another reason that it may take me so long to get hungry- I'm pretty bad at stopping eating when no longer hungry.  That part is still tough for me!  I think that part may be tough on the weekends for a while.  It's probably mostly difficult because I still eat while doing other things, mainly watch TV.  That is a habit too ingrained in me to give up.  Therefore, my meals tend to be so large that I don't need to snack between them, because they keep me full for hours.

I'm still eating mostly healthy foods when I do eat, and of course everything is vegan.  :-)  The only difference is that I'm no longer measuring portions (except with my EVOO, I still use a teaspoon out of habit) and that I'm no longer tracking it.  So at the end of the day, I have no clue how many calories or PointsPlus I have consumed. 

And I'm not going to lie, that is kind of scary to me.  It would probably be less scary if I actually could master the "stop eating when no longer hungry" concept.  So that is my goal right now, is to really hone in on that skill this week.

The other good news is exercise:  It's my goal to no longer exercise just to burn calories and lose weight, but to actually exercise because I want to exercise.  And to do exercises that I enjoy, with no pressure of a time goal or calorie goal to reach.

On Saturday, the weather here (Memphis, TN) was amazing.  Stacey and I decided to walk a lot.  We walked to my mom's house, which according to mapmyrun.com is 1.74 miles there and back.  Then we walked to a local holiday parade, which is another 1.7 miles.  So, without really thinking about it, Stacey and I walked more than 3 miles on Saturday.  This was fun, it felt great, and totally counts as exercise. 

Yesterday, I really felt like getting some exercise in, but to make it fun I used my mini-trampoline.  I did ten minutes on it, then ten on the bike, then ten on the stepper.  Then I did another ten on the trampoline and three on the bike before I realized that I wasn't having fun anymore and was in in just for the calorie-burn and for the "exercise for one full hour" goal.  So I got off.  43 minutes, undetermined amount of calories burned, but a lot of fun had. 

I did not get on the scale this weekend.  I will probably step on the scale this upcoming Saturday, and do my measurements, and see how this is going.  But I look thin and I feel healthy, so that's all that I'm really concerned about.  Oh yeah, and I'm happy.  :-)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Recovering from EDNOS

Time for another reflective and honest post about my history with disordered eating.

Only, I'm going to be talking in the present tense a bit...

...because lately I've been thinking that despite being "recovered" from anorexia/EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) for years, I still have a bit of it inside me.

And it is that I'm pretty much obsessed with tracking my food.  Or with following a food plan.  Or both.

When I tried to break myself from this obsession with Intuitive Eating, I failed because I was still being obsessive.  I was trying to follow Intuitive Eating to a T.  I was on the non-plan plan (isn't that a quote from a movie?).

Anyway, my point here is that I am still (slightly) suffering from EDNOS.  It's not life-threatening like it was seven years ago, because I don't under-eat and I don't over-exercise.. 

But my mind is still overly cluttered with thoughts of food and exercise. 

I am proud that I've been able to make diet and exercise less of a priority for me lately, but it's not enough.

I think that for me to truly recover from my EDNOS once and for all, I need to stop tracking my food and exercise completely.

Not by following the Intuitive Eating book, but simply by just learning more.

This blog may change a bit as I try to release myself from these obsessive thoughts and the preoccupation with numbers (weight, size, calories/PointsPlus, calories burned, etc.).

I hope that you still enjoy my blog when it's no longer about how much I've eaten, how much I've exercised, or how much weight and inches I've lost or gained.

There will still be entries with vegan recipes, and also entries that will touch on the following themes (which are all goals of mine):

1. Learning to love the body that I have.
2. Not dieting. (no tracking my food or avoiding any foods because they are "bad")
3. Eat when hungry, don't eat when not hungry.
4. Exercise when I want to, and do fun exercises for the sake of feeling good, not for the sake of burning calories.
5. Get stronger, faster, and healthier.

But I am also going to be posting on topics of mental health and well being.  How I'm doing, if (when) I slip up, and of course there is the very real possibility that I will change my mind and go back to Weight Watchers, My Fitness Pal, or any other number of tracking sites. 
 
This is the beginning of a new journey, one that will focus on my letting go of the diet industry and the pressure to be thin, and learning to love myself and my body. 
 
If I lose more weight, I'm fine with that.  If I don't, I'm... learning to be fine with that.  If I GAIN... ?  Still hoping that doesn't happen, but as long as I'm healthy and happy, that's what the focus will be from here on out.
 
Thanks for reading.  :-)  I love you guys.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2010 vs. 2011 - when diet isn't #1 anymore

In 2010, I was very dedicated to my diet, which was Weight Watchers

Every morning, I logged onto Weight Watchers Online, and I went back several times a day to track everything that I ate, even keeping a paper journal throughout the day so that I would be sure to not forget anything.  I would also spend hours on the message boards, groups, and challenges.  I also began my true obsession with blogging that year, both on my WW.com blog and on here.

I had a very specific weight loss goal for 2010, and I knew that it would take hard work and dedication to reach it.  The goal was to lose 50 pounds in 2010, and I did it.  It still makes me feel very proud to know that I did that.


December 2009


December 2010
 My life in 2010 revolved around Weight Watchers, this blog, exercise, and a wee bit of actual work while at work.  I went from weighing in at 207 to weighing in at 156.8.

Enter 2011.  Suddenly my life included something new that's really important to me:  school.

Suddenly my life revolved around school, with Weight Watchers coming in 2nd.

I still made Weight Watchers and exercise a priority, which is why I was able to lose 13.6 pounds in the first few months of the year despite being such a busy bee.

Summer hit, and I pretty much maintained my loss, going up and down the same 1 to 3 pounds every week.

Then came fall semester... along with a tougher class schedule (no more freshman level courses), a car accident, and a bunch of family drama.  And suddenly, Weight Watchers/exercise/healthy lifestyle slid into 3rd place in the priorities.

School, then family/STRESS, then Weight Watchers.

And that's when the scale started to creep up quickly.  I gained 23.4 pounds from my low weight of 143.2, and got back up to 166.6 somehow.  And it wasn't really with obvious culprits such as binge eating or lack of exercise. 

Nope, it was sneaky stuff like a stolen bite here and there.  Not tracking every day.  Cheating myself on the scale.  Not accurately measuring my food.  A few bad habits creeping back in, like eating chips straight from the bag while watching TV. 

Stress can kill your dieting efforts.  It definately killed mine. 

When I finally stopped lying to myself about my weight gain, I felt in control again.  Healthy eating and exercise still aren't my number one priority, but I'm back on the wagon anyway.  I've lost 10.4 of the gained weight, which puts me back to 156.2, a mere .6 pound net loss for 2011.  Sigh.

I can only hope that even though it's not my number 1 priority, that I can continue to lose weight and eventually be able to maintain without the constant fear of regain.

But I'm still terrified that I have a body that wants to be bigger.  Like my body is happiest at around 165 and will keep trying to get me back to that size if I'm not paying close attention.

All in all, I have decided that I would rather be a college graduate (with honors!!!) who is slightly overweight than someone who hates her job and life but is great at losing weight. 

So that's where I'm at now, just trying to get back to my goal weight, but without the HUGE priority anymore.  I'm ready to find a healthy balance.

Of course, that will have to wait until after these finals are over! 

Has stress ever messed with your
weight loss efforts? 

because I want to spread the joy!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Here's a post about how I never post!

Sorry for the lack of updates lately.  Blogger fail.

I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still HERE and I am going to be here blogging for as long as this technology exists.

But right now, my life is crazy busy.  And I have been focused on things like work, school, and family stuff (including both drama AND sickness). 

So...  I don't know exactly when I'll be back to regular daily or even three-times-a-week blogging.  But I will be doing at least a weekly update with my weigh-in results, and maybe a new recipe if I've tried one that week.

Anyone have a topic that they want me to blog about? 
I am taking suggestions!!!

I can't promise when your blog topic will be blogged about here, but I will make every effort to blog about it, especially if it has to do with the themes of the blog (diet, fitness, health, veganism, Weight Watchers, etc.) but I will take a stab at any topic outside of those things, too.  Why not?  ;-)

And because no one likes a blog entry without a picture, here are my chihuahuas Diva (9) and Jacques (8).





Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lose 12.6 by Xmas - Week 4 Results!



weight: 158.0
weight lost from preview week: 2.8
total weight loss for challenge: 8.6

measurements
neck- 12
upper arm (widest part)- 12.5
bust (widest part)- 37
bust (below  breasts)- 32.5
waist (smallest part- 30.5
waist (belly button)- 35
hips (widest part)- 44.5
thighs (widest part)- 24
thighs  (halway b/w knee and crothch)- 20
calf (widest part)- 14
inches lost from previous week- 3.5
total inches lost for challenge- 19.25

Needless to say, I'm thrilled with my progress from this challenge!  :-)

Unfortunately, I'm feeling sick, like I'm coming down with a cold, so I'm not going to pushing myself quite so hard this week.  This may end up not being a big losing week for me, but since I lost 2.8 last week, I'm not too worried about it.  I'm going to be gentle with myself while I recover from this cold, which for me may mean less exercise than usual.

I hope that all of your weeks are going well, and I will be trying to do a Tasty Tuesday this week, but I doubt there will be any other posts.  It is looking like it will be another super-busy week for me!



Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Slow Cook Dried BEANS!!!

Many of you may already know how to cook beans from dried, and you also may have assumed that I did, too... but... Here's a confession:

...This last weekend was the very first time I have ever attempted to cook my own beans.  Yep, you read that correctly!  I have been eating canned beans since the beginning of my bean obsession, which began around the time that I started this blog and learned about The Kind Diet (vegan eating).

I always drained and rinsed my beans, so I don't think they were terrible for me or anything, but I knew deep down that it would probably be healthier to actually cook my own beans from dry beans.

What was holding me back from trying? 

I was afraid that it would be too difficult and time consuming.  I admit that I am a lazy vegan.  I would use the excuse that I'm just way too busy to cook, but the truth is that I've been avoiding cooking for years, and some of those years were not busy at all.  (Of course now I actually AM extremely busy so that excuse really works!)

Anyway, the point of this blog entry:  An EASY recipe for cooking dried beans!

Trust me, if this lazy vegan could do it, pretty much anyone can. 

I have this new cookbook to thank for the recipe-

I won this awesome book in a giveaway over on Rae's blog!

So far, I am loving it!!!  Every recipe looks simple and doable.  I won a crockpot at Stacey's office holiday party last December, and this is the first time I've ever used it. 

Here's the recipe:

Dry Beans From Scratch

Ingredients:
1 pound dried beans

Directions:
Rinse the beans, and make sure there are no little rocks that might have been missed.  Place in the slow cooker and add water to come about 3 inches (7.5 cm) above the beans.  Cook on low overnight, or for 6 to 8 hours.

After you cook the beans once in your slow cooker, you'll be able to determine whether you need to use less water (about 2 inches [5 cm], instead of 3 inches [7.5 cm]).  It will vary depending on how hot your slow cooker runs.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the beans if there is extra water.

Yield: 4.5 to 5 cups
Total prep time: 5 minutes
Total cooking time: 6 to 8 hours

my beans a'cookin! (I used a bag of dried mix beans, including pinto and great northern)
the finished product.  I was so proud!

mixed with barley, rice, tomatoes and EVOO!

mixed with barley, rice, lots of steamed veggies, and EVOO
So, in conclusion, if you are looking for a good cookbook to go with a slow cooker, I highly recommend this one.  I will be sharing more recipes in the future!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lose 12.6 by Xmas Challenge- Week 3 Results


Here is the latest update for my "lose 12.6 by Xmas" challenge!  The results were less dramatic this week, but I expected that and I'm happy with how the challenge is going.  As you can see, the second picture is a bit closer up than the first, but I think that you can see a difference in the definition of my waist and hips, which makes me very happy.  :-)

Here are the "official" results for the week:

weight- 160.8 (-1.2)
total weight loss for challenge: 5.8

measurements (+/- from last week)
neck: 12 (+/- 0)
upper arm (widest part): 13 (+/- 0)
bust (widest part): 37 (+/- 0)
bust (below breasts):  32.5 (+/- 0)
waist (smallest part): 31 (+/- )
waist (belly button): 35 (-1)
hips (widest part): 44.5 (-0.5)
thighs (widest part): 24.5 (+/- 0)
thighs (halfway b/w knee and crotch): 20 (+/- 0)
calf (widest part): 14.5 (+/- 0)
inches lost from previous week: 1.5

total inches lost for challenge: 15.75

So in three weeks, I have lost 5.8 pounds and 15.75 inches.  I'd say that those are amazing results!  I'm proud of myself for turning this weight gain around when I did instead of letting it go on even longer.

Coming soon: 
- a cookbook review and a recipe from it!!!  (hint: it's a simple bean recipe)
- Tasty Tuesday!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Other News...

Hello, everyone!  :-)

I thought that it may be time to post an update on my life, for anyone who is curious about it.  And if no one is, well then, this will be just a dear-diary type entry. 

Anyway, I still won't be going into the details about my crazy stressful family situation/crisis, but for now, that situation has cooled down a bit so I am not quite as stressed about it, and as you can see from my Tasty Tuesday post, my appetite has returned, so YAY! 


LOL, this is me.  I wish that I had six arms some days!
 My job is kind of stressful, and I still feel underappreciated and underpaid, but I hear that is pretty common for assistants.  I will have big news on the job front in early December, and will share with you all as soon as I can!  For now, just know that I'm happy and lucky to be employed when I know that so many out there are not. 



School is hard, time-consuming, and stressful.  However, I love it!!!  Every day I'm grateful to be back in school.  This semester is flying by, and I can't believe that midterms are over. 

Over the next few weeks, these are the big assignments: Persuasive speech (oral communications), 9 page paper (Foreign Policy), big paper/project/vague assignment (Intro to Art, slacker teacher), final exams in all 4 classes, including Intro to Law, Foreign Policy, Intro to Art, and Oral Communications.  Yep, it's a lot!

My whiplash injury is definately feeling better, and I'm hopeful that within a couple of weeks I will be able to start building up my upper body strength again (my upper arms are SO jiggly now... sad face). 


In fitness news, I'm planning to order a heavy bag as soon as possible!  I am really excited about this investment, and think that this will be an amazing way to get my upper body (and lower body) strength back, while also having an outlet for any and all repressed anger. 



Stacey remains the one constant in my crazy life, and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful partner in life.  He completed the 21-Day-No-Junk-Food Challenge with me, and was such a trooper!  We have both learned to live without junk food, but he was super happy to buy some Klondike bars on Sunday.



Speaking of the No Junk Food Challenge, there is another round for November, so any of you who would like to join in, start some time before the 10th and you can do the challenge!  If you are on My Fitness Pal, you can join the challenge on the forums here.   I'm going to start my second round on Sunday. 

Okay, that's all I can think of for now! 

Any questions?  Ask away, I'm mostly an open book.  :-)

Anything new or exciting going on with you?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tasty Tuesday!!!

This is long-overdue, and I've missed Tasty Tuesdays!  Hopefully I will keep it up this time and do a new Tasty Tuesday every week for a while, at least until the end of my "Lose 12.6 by Xmas" challenge.

At the moment, I'm tracking on My Fitness Pal, so this entry will only show calorie-counts.

I started the day with a thirty minute workout on my  birthday present from Stacey, this cool little stepper machine thing.  :-)  I have to guess on the calories burned, but based on how I feel as I do this, I would guesstimate that I burn at least 100 calories for every 10 minutes, so I gave myself 325 for this workout.  Sidenote:  I overslept a bit, and had planned for a 45 minute workout, so I was really proud of myself for getting up and gettin gin 30, since I typically am pretty "all or nothing" with this sort of thing.

 8:00am and it was time for breakfast!  Breakfast was overnight pumpkin oats (3/4 cup oats, 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1/2 cup almond milk, in fridge overnight, recipe courtesy of my MFP/WW/blogging friend Rae, who writes really cool poetry here.) breakfast = 290 calories
I had a banana and an applesauce some time between 10 and noon.  This is a recycled picture because I ate my banana without a photo.  My banana was a lot smaller than this one! snack = 117 calories
Lunch was a bunch of reduced-fat Ritz crackers with some bean dip (1/2 cup refried beans, 1/2 cup canned tomatoes).  lunch = 415 calories

After lunch I enjoyed 3 almond dream bites.  These are amazing.  snack = 46 calories

 Dinner was three parts- the rest of my mom's leftover stew...
 a stolen Dr. Pepper TEN... (take that, men!)
and a few baby carrots!  Dinner = 335 calories
 I had two evening snacks: First, 1 cup of cheerios with 1/2 cup almond milk...
and finally, a bowl ful of broccoli and cauliflower!  evening snacks = 233 calories

total calories for the day = 1436


Monday, October 31, 2011

Lose 12.6 by Xmas - Week 2 Results!


Start weight- 166.6
week 1- 164.0 (-2.6)
week 2- 162.0 (-2.0)
total loss for challenge- -4.6 pounds!!!


This week's measurements (+/- from last week)
neck- 12.0 (-0 inch)
upper arm (widest part)- 13.0 (-1/2 inch)
bust (widest part)-37.0 (-1/2 inch)
bust (below breasts)-32.5 (-1/2 inch)
waist (smallest part)- 31.0 (-1/2 inch)
waist (belly button)-36 (-0 inches)
hips (widest part)-45.0 (-1/2 inch)
thighs (widest part)-24.5 (same)
thighs (halfway between knee and crotch)-20 (-1.5 inch)
calf (widest part)- 14.5 (same)

total inches lost 5 (counting arms and thighs twice)
total lost since challenge began: 14.5 (WOO-HOO!!!!!)

I can't really see a difference between last week's picture and this week's picture, but I pretty much expected that.  It will be a gradual change, but I just know that the final picture that I will share on December 24 on here will be a dramatic difference from the first picture taken on October 15.

In other news, I have completed my first 21 Day No Junk Food Challenge!!! 

How did I do?  I didn't follow it perfectly, but I did really well.  There were a couple of times that I ate some chocolate-flavored graham crackers (chocolate is on the "no" list) and towards the end of the challenge, I allowed natual peanut butter back into my diet (PB is on the "no" list).  Oh, and I ate about 5 tortilla chips at a party one night before I remembered that chips were a no-no. 

Still, I'm pretty proud of my accomplishment!  I have definately learned that I don't need foods like chips and cookies in order to have a delicious day. 

I actually didn't get ANY cookies at the store yesterday, despite this week being a week that I am "allowed" junk food.  I did get a big bag of small baggies of chips.  Half are Stacey's! I also got some crackers, some natural chunky peanut butter, and some vegan ice cream.  I don't know whether or not crackers (such as Wasa light and Ritz reduced fat) are actually any healthier than potato or corn chips, but I do know that for whatever reason, I don't binge on them.

One food that I have stopped buying since week 2 of the 21 days challenge and I don't plan to buy again until next year:  BREAD.  I had been bingeing on bread and I think that is a big part of my recent weight gain.  When I have light bread or sandwich thins in the house, I eat them.  And I eat them ALL within 24 hours.  It's kind of nuts.  So, for now, I'm staying away from bread. 

Anyway, for now I'm going to continue tracking on My Fitness Pal, since I'm feeling really comfortable over there at the moment, and I love that it tells me every day how much I should weigh in 5 weeks.  :-) 

I do plan to get back to tracking on Weight Watchers eventually, but right now I'm sticking with MFP.  I love that I have the option of tracking either or both places, and will probably be switching from one to the other for a long time.

There are 8 weeks until Christmas, and I have 8 pounds to lose.  My awesome math skills tell me that means that I get to lose 1 pound per week, and I am up for the challenge!!!

Do you have any weight loss or fitness goals that you are trying to reach by the end of 2011?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When STRESS and other emotions creep in...

Howdy, blog-readers!  I hope that life is going swimmingly for each and every one of you, and that none of you are going through any stressful situations whatsoever.

Me...?  Not so much.  I have had a lot of stress to deal with lately.  Other emotions such as sadness and anger have been coming out, too.  This is all due to a highly personal family situation that I cannot discuss on here, but I thought that I could discuss how it's affecting my healthy lifestyle.

Have you ever been so stressed out by a situation that you actually are unable to eat?  That the thought of food literally makes you ill? 

This has happened to me a couple of times in the last week.  I've actually moved past the so-upset-I-want-comfort-food and into so-upset-I-cannot-eat category, which has NEVER happened to me before.

Because I know that my body needs the fuel, I have still been eating enough calories every day, but some days it's a struggle.  And some days all I want are crackers and bananas, and so that's what I eat.

I am still tracking, following the No Junk Food Challenge, and exercising daily.  These things are keeping me sane, honestly.  I'm not reverting to ED-behavior or anything along those lines, I'm just trying to focus on doing good things for myself and my body instead of putting all of my energy into the family drama.

I'm suffering at work and at school because of this crap.  Today I honestly just want to go home and crawl under the covers and only come out when life is good again.  Unfortunately, just because one part of my life has gone to hell (family), the rest of my life (work, school, other relationships) doesn't stop to give me some time and space to deal with it. 

"When it rains, it pours."  This phrase is becomming more and more true for me.  I'm just hoping that when the rain lets up, there will be a beautiful rainbow to give us all hope.

Anyways...  I'm hanging in there.  I will keep up with my plan to get to a normal BMI by Christmas.  I will keep on trying my hardest at work and in school.  I will keep on nurturing the good relationships that I have with family, friends, and Stacey.  I will keep blogging.

Thanks for reading!  I will be back on Saturday to report the next results to my "Lose 12.6 By XMas" challenge.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lose 12.6 by Xmas Week 1 results!




Start weight- 166.6
This week's weight- 164.0 (-2.6)

This week's measurements (+/- from last week)
neck- 12.0 (-1/2 inch)
upper arm (widest part)- 13.5 (-1/2 inch)
bust (widest part)-37.5 (-1/2 inch)
bust (below breasts)-33 (-1 inch)
waist (smallest part)- 31.5 (-.25 inch)
waist (belly button)-36 (-2 inches)
hips (widest part)-45.5 (same)
thighs (widest part)-24.5 (-3 inches)
thighs (halfway between knee and crotch)-21.5 (same)
calf (widest part)- 14.5 (same)

total inches lost 11.25 (counting arms and thighs twice)

Hmmmm.  So in one week of getting back on track, I can lose almost three pounds and several inches all over my body???

That seems like a lot, but I measured correctly.  And you can see the difference in these progress pictures, the first one take a week ago. 

My guess:  Water weight and bloat.  I think that I was carrying a lot of water weight around, and now it's gone.  And that makes me happy!  The scale says I'm lighter and so do my jeans.  :-)

I'm sure that the results this week will be less dramatic (though I would love to lose an inch or two of hips before this is all over!) and that is fine with me.  I have 10 pounds left to lose and 9 weeks to get there.

I CAN DO THIS!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why did I gain weight, and what now?

Okay, so the cat is out of the bag.  (Is that saying appropriate for a vegan to say?)

I have gained 23.4 pounds from my lowest weight, which I only saw for a day or so back in May (143.2).

And it was very important for me to share that information on here with you guys, because otherwise I would be misleading you and probably end up feeling so guilty that I would have eventually left the blog and gained back everything.  So it was the right decision to be upfront about my new weight of 166.6.

However, now it's time to figure out how the heck it happened (to avoid a repeat) and to figure out what the heck to do about it (to re-lose).


What the heck happened?!

I'm trying to figure that one out myself.  It seems like an awful lot of weight to gain between May and October.  Especially under the radar, with most of the weight coming back on within the last few weeks.

There are several possible causes-

1) I wasn't honest with my tracking.  This is easily fixed by being honest with my tracking!  If I bite it, write it.  If I drink it, ink it.  There are more annoying little phrases like that, but you get the picture.

2) I was eating too much CRAP.  This is probably the most likely scenario.  I ate a lot of simple carbs and junk food, every day.  Right now, I'm solving this problem with a 21-Day-No-Junk-Food Challenge, which is going great!

3) I was overthinking things, switching programs, and not being consistent with anything.  BINGO.  I was switching from MFP to WW and back again, and never being truly consistent with either program. 



What the heck to do?

As I mentioned in the confessional post, I am planning to lose 12.6 pounds in 9 weeks, which is about 1.4 pound a week.

My Fitness Pal has a setting that will give me a net calorie goal for losing specific amounts of weight.  Right now I have it set at "lose 1.5 pounds per week" in order to get to my goal weight of 154 in 9 weeks. 

Weight Watchers does not have that option, and is a slower weight loss, which is GREAT and is something that I have loved about WW, but for now I really want to get back into my 12's... so...

My plan for the 9 weeks is to do My Fitness Pal's plan with the 21-Day No Junk Food Challenge, and then to do a week of Weight Watchers, and then to start over again with MFP/NJFC. 

Why have the week of WW with junk food included at all?  Because I really do enjoy me some junk food, and I don't want to feel deprived.  Also, it should help my body not get bored with the same stuff over and over, by having a higher-calorie week every 3 weeks. 

The NJFC is going really well for me!  The first 3 days were the worst, kind of like when I quit smoking.  But since day 4, I've been doing very well with it, and haven't felt deprived AT ALL.  I get to eat more, with fewer calories.  It's kind of amazingly true what people say about healthy and whole foods:  They fill you up with less food, and you are almost always satisfied, instead of constantly looking for another sugar fix.

Okay, so that's my plan, y'all.  I hope it makes sense!  What will I do for Xmas week and starting in the new year?  I will post about that when it gets closer. 

P.S. Tasty Tuesdays are coming back next week.  :-)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weight Gain confession.

If you look at my weight loss ticker up there, it looks as if I have all of a sudden gained nearly 17 pounds overnight.

...but it wasn't overnight.


I have been fooling myself for a while now regarding my weight. I would skip weighing in for a couple of weeks, and then put the scale on the carpet, or lean a bit on the wall, or stand on my tippy-toes, pretty much ANYTHING to get the scale to tell me than I hadn't gained weight.

Yep, I know it makes no sense to do that stuff. I know that if my clothes are tight, it means that I've probably gained a few pounds. I know that I can lie to myself about my weight gain, but my pants are still tight and the scale doesn't lie.

So... embarassed as I am to admit this, I have gone from a WWer who has lost 70+ pounds to a WWer who has lost 53 pounds, all since June 11.

And the lying to myself (and to you guys) stops now.

I stepped on the scale on Saturday morning, both feet firmly planted, scale on the tile floor, not leaning or holding onto anything, and the scale told me this-

166.6

I stepped off and back on three more times, and the scale said the same thing each time. Still in disbelief, I put my two 8 pound dumbells on the scale, but the scale said "16" so that's when I knew that my drastic gain was legit.

I weigh 166.6 pounds, which makes me 12.6 pounds overweight (again).

I'm pretty disappointed in myself and very embarassed about my gain.

I have a new lofty goal of getting to a normal BMI by Christmas. That's losing 12.6 pounds in about 9 weeks. That's 1.4 pound lost per week.  I'm going to add a holiday weight loss ticker to the top of the blog, to help motivate me further.

I'm fairly certain that I can do this. Actually, I know that I can do this!

I apologize for the lies both to myself and to you all that I was still near my goal weight, when I had not been weighing properly or often. Now you and I all know the truth- I have gained some weight back.

The picture here is my body at 166.6. I will be posting updated stats, weight, and photos in this blog every week. Here are the starting stats for my 9-Week-Challenge-



Start weight (pounds): 166.6

Start measurements (inches):

neck- 13
upper arm (widest part)- 14
bust (widest part)-38
bust (below breasts)-34
waist (smallest part)- 31.75
waist (belly button)-38
hips (widest part)-45.5
thighs (widest part)-25.75
thighs (halfway between knee and crotch)-21.5
calf (widest part)- 14.5

I want to give a huge THANK YOU and a gigantic virtual HUG to all of my Facebook friends who helped to encourage me to post this entry.  I was embarassed to admit to a gain on here, but you all reminded me about why I blog:  to broadcast my weight loss journey HONESTLY to anyone who wants to know about it. 

I hope to inspire and motivate you all, and I hope to continue to do that by admitting to this gain and doing something about it.

I'm committed to stop the gaining, and to lose 12.6 pounds by the holidays. 

Thanks for listening, as always.  :-)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cheat Days- Good idea or Bad idea?


Every dieter knows about the CHEAT DAY.  In case you are one of the lucky people who stumbled across my blog even though you have never had issues with your weight (jealous of... er, happy for you!), here is a simple definition:

A cheat day is a regularly scheduled day that you eat more than usual, or you eat things that you don't normally eat on your diet.  You either keep on tracking (if your diet requires tracking), but ignore the high numbers, or you skip tracking completely.

That's my definition, anyway.

I have had one version or another of a cheat day for nearly my entire weight loss journey.  Because I'm back on Weight Watchers now, I'll tell you about my WW "cheat" days.

Saturday is my weigh-in day, but it's also my "cheat" day.  I put cheat in quotes because I still track, I just use most of my weeklies + my dailies + some APs (often in advance from actually earning them).  Since tracking on MFP,  I've noticed that this day can be up to 3000 calories sometimes!!!  Usually between 50-75 PointsPlus get consumed on any given Saturday.

I wonder if J-Hud has a cheat day?
The rest of the week, I tried to stick to my dailies and to have some leftover points at the end of the week... it almost NEVER happened.  I would eat all dailies, all weeklies, and all earned AP (sometimes this can be as many as 50) nearly every week.

...and that's on weeks that I'm perfect with my tracking.  Who knows how much I honestly eat when I'm not so perfect?

Anyway, this worked very well for me for a looooooooooong time.  Somehow I was able to go straight from my cheat day to more moderate portions the rest of the week, no problem.

Some time in the last couple of months, I've lost that skill.

Now, it takes me until Wednesday to recover from Saturday's overeating.  As in, I overeat on Saturday, feel deprived and hungry on Sunday, give in to some more overeating on Monday and Tuesday, and am finally back on track by Wednesday... and then it starts over every Saturday.

Now that I've read what I wrote right there.... I can see why I've been slowly gaining some weight. 

Here is a picture that I took of myself before I joined MFP (right around the time that I quit Weight Watchers Online, back in June or July.  At this point, I wanted to lose about 10 more pounds. 


I took a picture of myself in the exact same outfit last night, and I have visibly gained weight in my stomach and hips.  This cheating has to stop!  I will upload and post the pic from last night later, so that you can see what I am talking about.  For now, I will be using this picture as motivation to get my dedication back!

I've finally accepted that although my cheat day worked for me for years, it is time to give it up and to start eating right EVERY day.

This is not to say that I'm going to deprive myself.  I still believe in everything in moderation.

How I'm going to handle this with Weight Watchers?  I will be spreading my weekly and activity points out over the week.  I may still eat a few more on the weekends than through the week, but I will be trying very hard to not have any more 50-75 PointsPlus days, and I will be focusing on the GHGs 7/7 days instead of 5/7. 

You CAN follow Weight Watchers with a cheat day, and you CAN lose weight while doing it.  It's when the cheat day because a cheat week that you will run into problems!

Wish me luck for my first no-cheat-day weekend, I will need it.  :-)

Today is day 5/21 of the No Junk Food Challenge, and I'm going strong.

Do you have a regular cheat day?  Does it work for you?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

144-153.... 140?

Stupid numbers. 

Seriously, NUMBERS again? 

Yep, I'm going to talk about numbers again.  This will be the second post in a series about numbers, the first one being "27" a couple of posts ago, and an upcoming post about the numbers on the tags in my clothes. 

Today's post is inspired by a blog entry that I read today by WorkItOutGurl (Stacey), who talked about self-sabatoge. 

Back on January 22 of this year, I finally got into the healthy weight range by both Weight Watchers' standards and BMI's standards.  I weighed in at 154.4 and it was thrilling!!!  I was ecstatic!

me in January, 154.4 pounds, ridiculously happy!
Here's an excert from my WW blog entry that week-
                                                 
                                   I am hoping that in about 20 pounds, I will out of Plus Sizes, but if I'm not...who cares? Size 6 may be "plus size" some day. It's kind of crazy. I feel and look healthy and beautiful at this size. Thanks, everyone, for all of the support as I've made my way down the BMI chart from obese to normal. :-)

I kind of assumed at that point that I would keep on losing a pound a week and would be down to 135 (my original goal weight) within 20 weeks from that point...  Oh, the blinding optimism of one who has never been in the position of having to lose the last few pounds before! 

I actually did continue to lose the next 10 pounds fairly quickly, reaching the next milestone of 145 on May 14 (eleven weeks!).  OMG, I was once again thrilled beyond belief and ridiculously happy with myself.

May 2011- 145 and on top of the world!!!
I was so happy with and proud of myself for reaching this goal.  At this point, I think that I was still reaching for a goal weight of 135, but I started to doubt that I could make that goal, and even doubt whether or not I really wanted or needed to.  I was happy with my weight.

I reset my goal weight to 144, lost one more pound and called myself "done" with weight loss and ready to maintain my new goal weight of 144 forever.

May 28- goal of 144 achieved.  Delirious!!!
...and I was pretty satisfied with my body, but still wasn't 100% where I wanted to be.  At 144, my size 12's and 14's (depending on the brand and cut) fit pretty perfectly, but I was still very soft and jiggly.  I wanted to work on toning and stop caring so much about the scale.

I quit worrying about Weight Watchers.  I tried to maintain 144 with Intuitive Eating and failed, gaining back 9 pounds and getting back up to 153.  Then I tried My Fitness Pal for awhile and actually deactivated my WW account.  I readjusted my goal weight AGAIN down to 140, giving me 13 pounds left to lose. 

I lost some of it, gained some back, lost some more, and have now been basically losing and gaining the same 5-9 pounds since May.  I did finally admit that I needed Weight Watchers Online and rejoined, which was amazing, but I still was not really focused on losing the last few pounds.

So I had to once again ask myself about my goal weight, and whether or not I was happy at a higher weight.

And the answer is:  No.  I really want to get my weight under control once and for all, and weigh about 140 (138-142 WW range).  Currently, I'm maintaining about ten pounds over that (148-152 range) and that is just not okay with me.

I'm ready to lose the last 10 pounds once and for all!  I have finally realized that this is a LIFELONG journey that does not end when I reach my goal weight.  I have never successfully maintained a significant loss until now.  Yes, I still have 5-10 pounds to lose, and yes, I'm still about 5 pounds heavier than my low weight, but every single pound that I lost in 2010 and before?  Still gone.  And that makes me as happy as I was when I reached 145.  :-)

I am basing my current weight of 149.5 on an unofficial birthday weigh-in.  I'm still offially staying off of the scale, but I had a peek and YEP, I gained. 

I'll leave you with a picture of me on my birthday, which was last Friday so it's pretty much what I look like now.  About 10 pounds until I reach goal, and I'm ready to do it.  It's on.

Stacey & me on October 7- weight 149.5

Sorry for the self-centered egocentric post, but I had to get this stuff out there, and this is the best place to do that.  :-)  I hope that you are all having fantastic days! 

P.S.  Day #3 of No Junk Food Challenge and going strong!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

21 Days No Junk Food Challenge

...Any takers?  ;-)

First of all, let me state for the record that I believe strongly in the Weight Watchers philosophy of "everything in moderation" when it comes to diet and exercise.  But I also feel like it's good for me to step outside of my comfort zone every now and again. 

I found this floating around the internet, and I've decided to jump on the bandwagon.  21 days of no junk food!  This list includes a couple of items that in my opinion can be very healthy, including chocolate (dark chocolate can be healthy) and peanut butter (natural peanut butter is VERY healthy) but besides those two things, I pretty much agree that the things on this list are not foods that should be eaten every day if you have a healthy diet. 

However, lately... I have been eating more junk food than usual.  Like, if I have 7 or 8 PointsPlus left at the end of the day, I will eat waffles, ice cream, oreos, potato chips, redvines, french fries, etc...  And this challenge will help me to realize that I can eat healthy snacks, and those junk foods really don't have to be eaten daily. 

Here is the challenge, and I assume that the blog linked at the bottom of this picture is the original source:



Stacey has decided to join me in this challenge, and so have many members of My Fitness Pal!  If you are on MFP and wish to join in, here is the link to the challenge-  MFP 21 Day No Junk Food Challenge!

If you want to join me in this challenge, just let me know in the comments and I'll try to help keep you motivated.  It should be an tough challenge for me, but a very rewarding one in the end.  It will be good for me to discover healthy snacks, and healthier alternatives to my old snacks.

As for the peanut butter...  I am switching my JIF Natural for Martha almond butter...  I don't consider this to be a "naughty" spread, and am happy with the decision to keep a nut butter around. 

So...  any takers?  :-)


Thursday, October 6, 2011

27.

It seems like just yesterday, I wrote about turning 26.  Time really does fly, and it truly does fly faster and faster each year. 



Tomorrow, I become an official member of the "late twenties club".  Which is a really silly thing to be sad about, so I won't be sad.  I'm happy!  I once read a birthday card that said on the front-

Happy birthday!
Today, you are older
than you have ever been before.

Then inside-

And you are younger
than you will ever be again.

I wish that I had bought that card, because those words really spoke to me. 

It's so true, isn't it?  And this is true every single day. 

Every day, we are youger than we will ever be again, so we should be embracing each day, and being thrilled with how young, healthy, and happy we are instead of thinking back about how young, healthy, and happy we used to be.  Old memories can be a wonderful thing, but making new memories is just as wonderful.

Anyways.  I'm sorry to have been AWOL on this blog, but life has been very busy!  I need to start blogging at least every 3 or 4 days again though, because it's my favorite hobby and it keeps me sane.  :-)  So, that is a resolution of mine. 

My plan for my birthday weekend?  Tomorrow, my actual birthday, will be full of leisurely walking (Stacey's taking me site-seeing.  We are having a little stay-cation and will be going to Stax Museum and Graceland!) but will basically be a day of rest. 

After a day of site-seeing (YAY!), we're meeting family and friends over at Imagine Vegan Cafe for dinner and then we're off to Windjammers for karaoke!  Yes, it will be an amazing birthday. 

Lots of good food, lots of entertainment, lots of great company.  I'm very excited.  There will be no tracking of any kind tomorrow, and I will just have fun and relax about life without worrying about Weight Watchers.  I think that we all need that break every now and then, and I feel no guilt in taking a day off.

I will be starting a 21 day challenge right after my birthday, and will be back on Sunday or Monday to let you guys know what it's all about, and to see if any of you want to join in!

I'm going to make a list of New Year resolutions, since technically my new year starts tomorrow.  :-)  This is the list of resolutions that are about my weight loss journey.  I have more things that I want to do, obviously (good grades, read more, spend more quality time with Stacey, etc.) but I thought that I would stick to my WLJ goals for this entry.

1) Blog regularly.  Even if it's only once a week, get back to being a regular blogger.  It's my favorite hobby, and I love it.  Life should never get too busy for my favorite thing.

2) Follow Weight Watchers as written.  Stop quitting and rejoining.  Stop bending the rules.  Just follow the plan!  It's not hard, and it works.

3) As soon as I get the go-ahead from my physical therapist, start focusing on new workouts that include a lot of strength training and flexibility.  I know that I'm the queen of cardio, but I really need to add some strength and flex into my workouts.

4) ... Get to my goal size.  Get back into those 12's that fit for about a week, and then get see if I can get to a 10 before I'm 28.  I have an entire year, so it's very do-able.  Stop worrying about the scale, but keep on striving to get more toned.

5) Be proud of myself.  I've come a long way in my weight loss journey, and can easily forget that.  The longer it's been since I've been obese, the more that seems like it was someone else, not me.  My smaller body feels more like the norm every day, which is GREAT, but I should never forget what I've accomplished and should never stop being proud of the progress I've made towards better health.

Those are my new years resolutions! 

I will be back on either Sunday or Monday, and I hope that you all have great weekends.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tasty Tuesday!

 Breakfast = 1/2 cup dry oats, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 tbs peanut butter, a bit of sugar free syrup
290 calories, 8 PointsPlus
 Morning snack- 1 medium banana, 1 4 oz no sugar added applesauce
135 calories, 0 PointsPlus
Lunch- 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup kidney beans, 2 cups steamed mixed veggies, 1 tsp EVOO
421 calories, 8 PointsPlus

 Afternoon snack #1- banana
105 calories, 0 PointsPlus
afternoon snack #2- 15 cocoa roast almonds
104 calories, 3 PointsPlus
 Dinner- 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup kidney beans, 1/2 cup canned tomatoes, 1 tsp EVOO
406 calories, 8 PointsPlus
Evening snack- 1 can green beans, 1/2 cup black beans, 1/2 cup canned tomatoes
170 calories, 2 PointsPlus

Totals for the day-
1631 calories - 347 exercise calories = 1284 net calories,
29 PointsPlus

30 minutes stationary biking- +347 exercise calories,
+5 Activity Points