Give Thanks

This time of year we are reminded to be thankful.  I am truly thankful that I am alive today.  At the beginning of this year, I questioned whether or not I would make it through the year.  I was tired all the time, I wanted to sleep all the time, never felt really great, was eating Tums like candy, had almost constant indigestion, bloating and lots of gas that would get trapped inside my body and I was having trouble sleeping at night.  What has changed?  Me!  I am forever thankful to a friend who suggested that I get a stress test because that suggestion snapped me back to reality!  I was really not well and others could see it too.

I made a decision to change my lifestyle and I have not looked back.  I joined Weight Watchers Online in January of 2013 and have been able to shed 73  pounds.  I am not where I want to be, but, my energy level have almost returned to normal, my endurance is better, I do not want to sleep all the time, I am motivated to do things beside, eat, sleep and work!  I have not had any major issues with indigestion, bloating and gas since I started controlling not only what I ate, but how much I ate.

I remember in January, one of the first things I set as a mini-goal for myself was to eat one piece of fruit a day.  Today, I am not happy unless I have a least two pieces of fruit on my desk and one vegetable to munch on during the day.  HUGE change for me!  In January, I was constantly eating some kind of chocolate candy or potato chips at work but now I have my fruit, vegetables, yogurt, etc.  Do I miss the candy? Yes and no, I know I can have candy if I want it, oddly I haven’t really wanted it.  The same is true for potato chips which I felt I couldn’t live without.  I have found other ways to get my crunch and satisfy my sweet tooth.

I am very thankful that I learned how to eat better foods and portions which has helped me to feel better and better each day.  One of the side affects of losing weight, is that I not only feel better but I am looking better, feeling more confident and being generally happy all the time.  I am thankful I am living, I am thankful I am living healthier! I am thankful!

Today I am especially thankful that I can wear this pair of Levi’s I bought last month when I was on vacation!  Yay me!  I am not too good with the mirror selfies yet!

Lora 11272013D

Attitude and Weight Loss – I Am Worth It!

If you do not believe it can and will happen; it probably won’t!  Having the right attitude before you start a lifestyle change is a key.  If your head isn’t right, your body will not follow!  Long term weight loss requires more than skipping desserts at a few meals, it means getting and maintaining a positive attitude. 

How can I boost my self-confidence?  Shed that negativity!!!  Negativity can slow or even stop your weight loss and sabotage your weight loss maintenance.  Maintaining a negative attitude will sap your motivation, leave you discouraged, having low expectations, self-loathing, hungry and ready to quit at the smallest obstacle!

  1. Why do you want to do this?  Write down all the reasons why you want to start a new healthier lifestyle pro and con.  Pro, what positives will you befit from losing excess weight?  What are you reasons for losing weight?  Con – what do you feel has held you back in the past from achieving your weight loss goals?  What obstacles do you feel you will encounter?
  2.  Set a goal.  Make your goal realistic and take your weight loss in small doses.  I look at 5 lbs. at a time as my goal; bigger than that, I feel I get overwhelmed.
  3. Start small.  Make small changes one or two a week.  Such as; drinking more water, moving 15 minutes a day, eating more vegetables, eating more fruits.  Making small changes that stick will go a long way to reaching your goals.
  4. Mentally visualize when your reach your weight loss goal.  How will you feel at your new weight?  What will you look like?  What new opportunities will there be for you with this new lifestyle?  Will you feel a sense of achievement, self-satisfaction, empowered and happiness?  You should!
  5. Respect your body.  Eliminate any “fat talk!”  What is fat talk?  Speaking negatively about your size and shape of your body!  Become aware of negative thoughts and words about your body, shape and size.  Replace them with loving self-accepting thoughts and words.  Negative words have a big impact on your weight loss progress and it is believed can even increase your stress and weaken your immune system!
  6. Find some kind of movement that gives you joy!  Incorporate movement into activities that you already enjoy.   If you love watching movies or TV shows, add some weight training while you are watching, walking/marching in place, etc.  If you love to dance, turn up the music and dance around the house while you are burning excess fat!  I like to combine cleaning and dancing sometimes it makes the vacuuming more fun!
  7. Find a weight loss partner/buddy/friend.  This is helpful for more than one reason.  Sharing your common weight loss and exercise goals is a great way to support each other and provide that extra motivation to keep going at times when it is harder.
  8. Make a list of non-scale victories that you will accomplish.  For example; wearing a smaller size, smaller BMI, lower blood pressure,  losing three inches in your waist, go sky-diving, trying out a new form of exercise, wearing a different type of clothing, improving your endurance, being able to do a plank, lower cholesterol, being able to jog/run a 5K/half marathon/marathon, fitting into a waiting room chair better, getting off certain medications, wearing a smaller belt, lower blood sugar level, sleeves fitting loser on a jacket, being able to walk a mile, etc.
  9. Treat yourself!  As you reach each small goal, find something you like/enjoy and treat yourself to it (non-food of course!).   For example, I like to get a massage every ten to fifteen pounds, good for me and great for my skin too!   I have started buying salad plates as a treat too! (Using salad plates instead of full-sized dinner plates, is a way of controlling your portions and not feeling deprived).
  10. Don’t dwell on the past, be kind to yourself!  When things do not go as you had hoped in your weight loss journey, do not shame yourself, own it and move on.  The very next meal or snack is an opportunity for making healthy choices.  Do not feel that one bad snack, meal, day or week has to derail your new lifestyle!  Keep on keeping on!
  11. Accept responsibility for yourself.  No one can do this for you, no one can exercise for you, no one can make you eat anything you do not wish to eat….only you can make those good decisions.  No one can make you follow the plan or count points, you have to work it out!
  12. Nothing is off-limits, know and respect your limits!  If you know cookies or potato chips are foods that “trigger” you to eat too much or binge, it is simple AVOID those foods until you have more control over yourself.  Think of food as fuel.  You want to only put high quality fuel in your body.  Avoid lower quality food sources.  Choose lean protein, whole fruits and vegetables and limit processed foods.

This entry today started out to be on the topic of thankfulness, which is also a positive way of living!  Keeping an attitude of thankfulness/gratefulness is a another key to this voyage. 

There are no short cuts (machines/shots/pills/diets) to reaching a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle.   Each meal/snack/workout contributes to your success.  Make them all count!  Keep a positive outlook and keep the positive self-talk going!  You are worth it! You can and will do it!

This is something I created at the beginning of my voyage earlier this year.

Self Worth 47

The Mental Doldrums of Weight Loss

Do you ever feel your weight loss ship has hit the doldrums?  Do things feel, dull, listless? Do you feel gloomy or in low spirits?

Lately I have started to feel a little “blah” about weight loss.  I do not feel that spike of energy and excitement I felt at the beginning.  I am not cheating on my program or eating too much food, nor have I given up, but I feel I am on auto pilot and something about that frightens me.   I know I have created new habits, but I do not want to feel I have got this all figured out.  Life and circumstances are constantly changing and so does our eating environment.

There are a few suggestions that are given if you are starting to feel “stale” with your regimen.

First, it is suggested that you allow yourself some distraction; that is good for me, I can get easily distracted!

Have a mantra:  Write down all the reasons for losing weight, find some inspiring pictures to post.  I try to do this on a daily basis (finding inspiring pictures).  It is time for me to write a new list of reasons for my weight loss!

Here is my new list, most are on my original list but after ten months, it is time for a re-fresher!

    1. Be healthier (good BMI, good medical test results, etc.)
    2. Feel better
    3. Improve my endurance
    4. Strengthen my bad knees
    5. Improve my flexibility
    6. Gain more core strength
    7. Improve my confidence level
    8. Feel pretty again
    9. Physically look better
    10. Buy new clothes! (not really a motivation for me, but that is a by-product of weight loss!)

Have some wiggle room:  Allow yourself to deviate from your routine some times.  Try a new food, a new recipe a new exercise routine, shake things up a bit!  I try to do this every week as well; a new food, a new recipe and try to vary my exercise.

Get enough rest:  Not having enough rest can affect how you view yourself, your weight loss and life in general.  This one lately has been a challenge.  I want to sleep when I should be working and I want to work when I should be sleeping.  Hopefully this will straighten out soon!

I will work through this day by day and know there are always obstacles in losing weight, this is one more hurdle to keep clearing in my weight loss voyage.  72 pounds down, 48 more to go!!!

72 lbs gone

Losing Weight is like Pulling Teeth…NOT!…Well…….kind of!

I recently had to have a tooth extracted and it made me think of the expression “that is like pulling teeth”  and I thought is losing weight like pulling teeth…no…yes….sort of!

Before having a tooth extracted usually you have gone to heroic measures to save a tooth.  In my case, I had a root canal and over the course of many years two crowns.  That was costly!  Gaining weight is costly as well.  Yes the obvious, it costs your health but it cost your pocket-book too!  You have to keep buying larger and larger clothes, shoes, getting jewelry re-sized to fit, etc.

I started having reoccurring gum infections and though nothing showed up on the x-ray that was “wrong” with the tooth.  I was having gum inflammations and I chose to rinse more but they were still happening.  Before losing weight, my shoes were often uncomfortable and too tight and I assumed my feet were just swollen a little that day.  Wrong, my feet had gained weight too and my fingers!  You gain weight all over even your scalp nothing escapes gaining weight.

The last gum infection sent me to the dentist in search of answers and antibiotics. I was in pain one night that if I could have put my hands on pliers I would have considered extracting the tooth myself!  Another x-ray showed nothing wrong with the tooth but when compared to a previous x-ray from March it showed a great deal of bone loss.  The dentist concluded there must be a crack in the tooth which does not show on the x-ray and the tooth needed to come out.  I was told that I could always have an implant to replace the tooth or a 3-unit bridge.  My mind did not want to hear extraction but it did.  I knew I had to do something.  Just like in January when I had to energy and wanted to sleep all the time, I knew I had to do something to change things because this path was not a good path.

The extraction took only maybe five minutes but the numbing prior and the after care last quite a while.  Getting your mind set and ready to lose weight is like the preparation for the tooth extraction.  You have to be given a local anesthetic so you are not able to feel the pain.   Your mind has to be set so you are not easy to give up or quit when it gets harder or you hit a plateau.

I found out soft cool foods were the only foods I could eat for a couple of days and could not use straws to drink out of.   When I got home from the extraction, I had to start cooking/preparing soft foods that I could eat.  I had to put on my thinking cap on what would be good tasty soft foods that I would want to eat.    In weight loss, the time it takes to lose weight is small in relation to the time you have to take to maintain your results.  Eating the right foods is the major part of the equation of weight loss.  You should be thinking and planning what you are going to eat just like I had to after the extraction.  The more planning and thought you put into what you are eating, the better your results will be.

Brushing and flossing your teeth is a daily maintenance for your teeth, while eating properly and exercising is your daily weight maintenance.  Be kind to yourself and your body!! Do your daily weight maintenance!

Self Love 1

The Visual and Intellectual Disconnection in Weight Loss

“Seeing is believing!”  This is a very familiar idiom.  Can we always see things accurately?  Do we perceive what we have seen correctly? Do we always interpret what we have seen correctly? Honestly, no we do not! Why? Because some of us have perception/interpretation issues.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

What is body dysmorphic disorder?  There is a phenomenon called “Phantom Fat” (body dysmorphic disorder) which happens to many people who after having lost a tremendous amount of weight and reached a normal BMI, still see the obese person who they used to be.   There seems to be a great amount of “lag time” between what we see and what we know.  The mind-body connection has been broken/interrupted.  Some people adjust while others never adjust and see themselves as they are now and regain the all the weight they have lost.  Research has proved that changing body image is much more difficult than changing the physical weight on the scale.

My Self-Diagnosis

When I started this voyage of greater health and weight loss; I hung a pair of jeans that I had not been able to wear in a few years on my closet door.  I tried to squeeze into them and they were at least six inches from being able to be buttoned or zipped!   I KNEW when I could fit into that pair of jeans; I would feel thinner, accomplished and healthier.  Before I knew it, I was wearing those jeans and they became so big, I had to put them into my donation stack!  But how did I feel?   No different really.  I was happy but I didn’t feel any different!  This can be a real problem for people losing weight if they do not feel any different.  Physically, I was feeling so much better.  My energy levels were getting better, but I didn’t feel  or see my body any different than I had at the beginning.

I had a picture taken of me back in January (not my choice!)  when I first started Weight Watchers and put it alongside a picture where I had lost 20 lbs. (again not my choice) and then I asked a co-worker to take a current picture of me.  I had just reached my 50 lbs. lost milestone.  I added my new picture and put it beside the other two.   What did I see?  I could not see the difference between the first picture (before) and the current picture (during) after having lost 50 lbs.   My co-worker said to me, “What do you mean you can’t see the difference?  There is a huge difference!” I looked at her and shrugged my shoulders; I could not see the difference.   Below are the pictures I referred to.

2013 Progress

Despite what I haven’t been able to see in those pictures, I have kept focused and lost more weight since then.  I will soon reach my 75 lbs. lost milestone and I will take a new picture and to put beside the previous pictures.  That will be an interesting comparison to say the least!

I have read there are ways to overcome the body dysmorphic disorder and found some of the ideas/suggestions interesting.  Apparently some people have a “light bulb” realization that their bodies have changed and are different and for others it comes much slowly.   I think I am one of the “slow” learners in that regard.   I will try some of the suggestions and see if any make things “click” for me.  Here are some great suggestions for overcoming the body dysmorphic disorder:

Wardrobe Switch

One night at a family gathering, a woman’s sister, who is of average size, came up with an idea. She asked to switch clothes with her sister.  She told her sister that she felt they were the same size.  The sister put on her sister’s clothes and much to her surprise, they fit!  That was mind-blowing that her tiny sister’s clothes fit!  She found out she and her sister were exactly the same size.

Lotion Therapy

“Lotion therapy” has helped many to connect their head to their body. Lotion therapy is very simple, each day you gently apply lotion to your whole body.  This instills a person to “feel” their body, take care of it and give it respect. This re-connection of the head and body has prompted many to want to address her weight issues and to help them to truly know what size they are.

Tracing Shape/Size Exercise

A dance therapist who works with clients who have body dysmorphic disorder, pairs people off in her workshop. She tapes large sheets of paper against the wall and asks them to trace their partner’s body shape/outline.  They trade places and the other person traces their body shape onto a large sheet of paper.  When they both step away from the paper and see the outline of their body shapes they are often truly surprised by how small their shape really is.

Magazine Pictures

To help get a more accurate picture of yourself, ask family and friends to cut pictures out of magazines of real women who are your size, to point out in crowds women’s bodies that resemble yours.  When you look at the pictures, repeat this phrase:   “This person is similar to me” several times.  This will help your mind to embrace your new body shape.  Seeing a stranger who has a similar body type/size will not trigger your emotional associations of seeing a picture of yourself.   This helps to free your mind to accept your new body shape/size.

Spinning

As children we often spun in circles until we felt a great sensation.  The physical act of spinning helps your body to become centered and aligns your body’s energy axis.  Throw your arms into the air, look toward the sky and spin!  This exercise is believed to help your mind and body connects in a different way and allowing your mind to embrace your body and enjoy the feeling of being disconnected within.

Walking in the Dark

Turn off your lights and close your eyes and walk around the room.  When you’re walking in the dark, you cannot rely on your eyes – or current picture. You’ll have to rely on your memory of the room, conscious and sub-conscious, and will have to have heightened senses to keep from falling over or banging into things. This will jog up your brain and your energy fields as well as you start sensing with your whole body. If you can do for about 10 minutes a day you’ll find yourself being more aware of your current body, not your previous mental image.

Walking backwards.
The connections between body and brain, front of the feet and heels, front of the body and the back all come alive because of challenge of walking backwards. This actually corrects blocks in the energy field in your spine and neck which are usually around if a person’s current body image and sub-conscious body image isn’t the same.  (I do the elliptical backwards at times which I know engages different muscle groups and makes some muscles work even harder so this sounds reasonable!)

Hand Coordination exercises

Every time you do something that requires both the sides of your body to match each other, you are supporting the two sides of the brain in connecting up, and when this happens what follows is that the sub-conscious brain is connected with the conscious and helps body image to get corrected.

I haven’t tried these suggestions yet but I plan on trying each one of them and see what differences I notice/feel for each.   Here is one I have experienced:

 Retail Therapy

If you are having a hard time believing what you see, it is suggested that you go out for some retail therapy.  Not to buy but to get a clear idea of the size you truly are now.  Find something you like and select a size you feel would fit and head to the dressing room.  Many have reported that they grabbed a size they felt would fit and ended up with something two sizes smaller to get it to fit properly.  It is thrilling feeling when you try on something you thought would never fit and it fits!  Earlier this year, I took a pair of size 16 pants (no “W” in front of the size) into a dressing room and thought I know these will never ever fit me and then when I pulled them up and zipped and buttoned them I was amazed!  The pants were too snug to wear to work but I knew I was close to being able to wear that size, a smaller size than I had worn in a few years!  (that size 16 pair of pants that I was so excited to wear are in the stack of clothes I can no longer wear – too big– I am preparing to donate!)

Inspiration Clothes

I keep “inspiration” clothes hanging on my closet so I can keep pushing forward to get into the next size, etc.  It all started with that pair of jeans that I mentioned earlier.  I have found “inspiration clothes” to be an excellent tool for me in my weight loss! This year that first pair of jeans, several pair of pants, another pair of black denim jeans and a new pairs of pants have hung on my closet door and have been able to join the clothes— inside my closet!

I currently have a green dress hanging on my closet which I keep eyeing that I want to wear for my birthday in five weeks.  We shall see how close I come to accomplishing that goal!  I know I can get my body into the dress now, but it fits like an extremely snug sausage casing!  I feel ten more pounds and it should fit fine.  If all goes well I will be posting a picture of me in that green dress soon!  It might be for New Years instead of my birthday but either way, it is still good!

Continuing Frustrations

The other side of this coin is that I “know” those inspiration clothes are smaller than I was wearing previously but as I get into them, I start thinking, “Oh this must not be as small as I thought it was!”  I have talked to others who have experienced the exact same thing.  So I know I am not alone in this.

I am not sure what will be my “light bulb” moment, but I know it is coming!  I know research has shown that those who can align their body image with reality are more likely to keep the excess weight off; I want to keep all my excess weight off, be active and be healthy!  I will give a good update on this in the future, hopefully soon!

UPDATE:  (12/04/2013)

I promised an update and here it is!  I have now lost 77.4 lbs and took a new picture, and I CAN see the difference!   I have been trying to see myself differently and most of the time I do see myself differently but I am a work in progress!  Last night I was laying in bed and could reach around (a victory in itself!) and I could feel my the back side of my rib cage.  It isn’t buried like it used to be!  I am now less than 10 pounds from what I weighed when my dad died in 2007 which is another major accomplishment!  Goal and lifetime, here I come in 2014!

2013c Progress

TGIF! – (Takes Guts to Ignore Food!)

This is the time of year where everyone starts acting like the next great baker and all kinds of goodies appear in break rooms all over the country.  Healthy eating can go out the door very quickly unless you have a plan.  Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  The fall and winter holiday season have their own special challenges.  Between Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Holiday Parties, and New Year’s Eve celebrations there is a constant stream of traditionally unhealthy foods for 6-8 weeks depending on the year.   One meal will not wreck a health conscious plan but six to eight weeks of total abandon can leave your clothes much tighter and your body not feeling its best.  Now is the time to plan your strategy for the holiday season.

How can I ignore that cake/pie/cookies in the break room?

You don’t have to ignore it, but be ready to accept the consequences of over indulgence if you don’t ignore it.   Create a strategy before you indulge.  For example, I would, if it is really something I want to get, I will get only one or a smaller serving if it is something that has to be cut.  Take my serving away from that area, savor and enjoy it and remind myself that I had some and I do not need any more.  And for us Weight Watchers, track it!  I might even go for a short walk afterwards just to change the rhythm/environment.

If it is something I know could “trigger” me to eat more or to excess, I would ignore it all together and grab a piece of fruit or veggies to eat instead.  This would be a good time to for for a short walk if you feel very tempted to eat it.

We are having a potluck, I have no idea what people are going to bring, what can I do?

Bring something you know you can eat without worry/guilt and put a healthy serving on your plate.  fill in the empty spots with the best healthy choices you can find such as simple vegetables without heavy sauces.  Tossed salads can fill in a big spot on your plate.  Just remember to go light on the dressing or use balsamic vinegar in place of dressing.  Fine a piece of lean meat or a very small serving of lean meat if it is smothered in gravy or sauces.

Can’t I just have a bite?

If you are able to stop at one bite, of course!  Just remember that even  bite of this and that adds up!  And if you have a bite, be sure to track it!

Tracking 1