Friday, September 25, 2009

Phase Two and Other Life Altering Realizations

This week, I'm on Phase Two of the Curves Weight Management Plan. This consists of (like Phase One) at least three days in the gym, plus an aerobic workout every day. Also instead of starving on 1200 calories a day, I can feast on a relatively bountiful 1500. Whoo Hoo. Who would have thought that 1500 calories a day would sound like such a cornucopia?
Of course, it's only 300 extra calories a day, but hell. I've been able to add in a few whole grains and even the occasional small baked sweet potato - luxury of luxuries! I love them suckers with a bit of spray butter and cinnamon. Mmmm!
Perversely though, my daily workouts have become a bit harder. Not a lot, but when you track your progress on a daily basis - it shows up. I don't know if this is just a natural week two progression or just some freak that will work itself out next week.
Whatever, I've felt better and had more energy this week than I'd had in a while. I've even gotten more done around the house. Almost like I had been neglecting not just my body, but every aspect of my life as well. Even my daughter commented that I seemed like I was in such a good mood this week. Funny thing is, I hadn't noticed until she said something.
Bless that child. Her and her brother are - if not my whole life - at least the most important part of my life. And I thank them because if not for them, I maybe wouldn't have the motivation to get healthier. I want to be here for them. And not just physically. I know this is incredibly shallow but I don't want to embarrass them. I don't want my kids to have "the FAT mom".
One of these days when my daughter is a doctor and my son is an NFL O-Lineman, I want them to be able to say that their mom inspired them to take care of their bodies and stay healthy. What a compliment that would be.
Besides when I get my own Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial - I want to look good!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Aha Moment

The other day I had an epiphany of sorts. I'm a little ashamed to say that I have been working towards losing weight (seriously this time) for almost a year and I just now had my aha moment.
I was sitting around wondering why in the world that it took my almost 10 years of being overweight to actually do something about it. Sure I had tried in the past, but I had always failed and I couldn't figure out why. Why could I never lose weight? When I was younger my weight was hardly ever an issue. If I was up 10 lbs, well then, I would just cut out pop and desserts and that 10 lbs would come right off. So why couldn't I do the same thing now?
It occurred to me that I had never been afraid of my weight - and here's the kicker - because I had never failed at losing weight. Suddenly I was 20 yrs. old with new baby and a new body. Somehow it had escaped my notice that after the baby was born all of that weight that I had gained while I was "eating for two" would not just magically fall away. Yes, I was 20; but while all my friends were worrying about mid-term exams and college parties and the like; I had a mom body and worse - no time to do anything about it.
So I over the course of the next few years I went on every fad diet known to man. I've listed them all before so I don't feel like I need to relive that embarrassment again. And time after time - I failed. I failed and I failed and I failed. Until finally it hit me. I cannot keep doing this to my body. I needed to get myself healthy and happy. So I just took the bull by the horns. I joined a gym, I've been watching what I'm eating and the results have been positive. So far I've lost almost 35 lbs. Yes, it's slow, but it took me 10 yrs. to gain the weight so to lose the weight for good I expected it to take a while. After all, I had tried fast, right?
But I still couldn't figure out why this time, it seemed to be working. Sure, I'm determined not to be 30 and overweight. But there had been times in the past where I had wanted to lose weight for this that and the other. Then one day, there it was, out of no where. I suddenly wasn't afraid to fail. I just simply was not. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe because I have failed so much in the past. What's one more failure, right? I mean I've been there. I've failed (many times) and nothing horrible happened. My husband didn't leave me, my kids didn't love me any less, no one died because of it, nothing.
The only difference is that now when I have small failures I don't indulge them. Previously if I had one bad day I would just throw up my hands with the whole thing. Fuck it. What's the point?
Not now. Now if I have a bad day I just say 'that's OK. It's one day. I'll just do better tomorrow" and that's what I do. I can't believe how simple that is and how much time I wasted beating myself up. I mean, I could have lost this weight years ago if I had just used my brain a little more and my mouth a little less. What was I thinking during all those 'diets'?
Well, fuck it! I'm done beating myself up today. I will just have to do better tomorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

These Are a Few (more) of My Favorite Things.

* Benefiber Cherry Pomegranate drink mix. Tastes like cherry Kool Aid from back in the day.

* BirdsEye Steam Fresh frozen vegetables. They steam right inside their bag in my microwave and are refreshingly tasty now that my summer vegetable harvest has all but slowed to a trickle.

* My Basset Hound Tater. He hates exercise as much as I do. He will run and play in the yard, but strap a leash on him and man-o. Not a fan of the structured exercise.

* Hard boiled eggs. A dish of these in the fridge are the ultimate convenience food. An egg and a banana = the perfect in a hurry breakfast.

* Neutrogena Foaming Blackhead Removing Face Wash. I know, not technically diet related. But anyone who has exercised knows that you sweat. A lot. I have been washing my face with this product after every workout for a little over a week now and it has drastically reduced the blackheads and breakouts on my nose and forehead.

* Ultimate Fake-Out Cupcakes. 1 box Pillsbury Reduced Sugar Cake Mix (any flavor), 1 egg white, and 1 can diet soda (any flavor) Mix all and bake at 350 until done. They are (depending on flavor) a tiny bit over 100 calories per cupcake. For an extra few calories you can add a dollop of fat free Cool Whip on top. My favorite is Chocolate w/ diet Root Beer and White or Yellow with diet Sprite.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Phase 1

I don't know if anybody does Curves, much less the weight management program that they offer. But, I am currently in love with it. Curves, as you probably know, is a women's only gym that works you out by a combo of circuit training and aerobic activity. I didn't know if I would like it at first because, you know, women are bitches. However, after attending for almost a year now I must say the bitches are few and far between. For the most part every one is super supportive. Even the ladies who have already achieved their goal weight are awesome. It's nice to see someone who started out where you are succeed. Or maybe I just am at a place in my life where I'm willing to accept change in myself. Wow - pretty profound, right?
Anyways, Curves offers a weight management class that literally kicks ass. It consists of three phases, all of which are totally doable. (for the record, I did this program last year and lost a butt load of weight. Don't ask me why I didn't stay on it. I don't know)
The first phase, strangely enough named Phase One, is where I'm at right now and it is by far the hardest part of the whole diet. Luckily it only lasts for one week. I figure I can pretty much put up with anything for one week. Well, except for vacations with the in-laws. And country music. And maybe if they ran out of Vitamin Water 10. Oh, and I absolutely can't stand when it's a full moon and your dog acts all crazy. OK, so maybe there's not much I could put up with for a week, but this I can.
It consists of eating 1200 calories a day. I know, not a lot. But like I said, it's only a week. The idea is that this calorie reduction jump starts your metabolism and kind of kicks it into over drive. You also have to workout at least three times a week. Usually I shoot for 4-5 plus walking most days, so 3 days a week is not a problem. Curves says that it is normal to lose 5-7 lbs. on Phase One.
However, don't get all giddy. While it is, of course, awesome to lose that amount of weight in one week - it is not sustainable. Nor is it smart. After the first week you absolutely must go off of Phase One. You cannot maintain a 1200 calorie/ day regiment with any hope of lasting success. Your body will simply go into starvation mode and will actually hold onto the weight. Of course, if you keep up 1200 cals / day for very long you will probably lose weight. However, the likelihood of that weight creeping back on - or in my case, crashing back on like a wave on the beach - is extremely high.
After Phase One week, comes logically Phase Two. There will be more on this next week. Suffice it to say that you are allowed 1500 calories a day. This is still a reduced number sufficient to weight loss, but you are also not starving yourself. A definite plus, in my opinion. Not a big fan of starving, me.
I started on Monday so I'm almost halfway through. I'm a bit hungry when I go to bed tonight, but nothing unbearable. I've not had quite enough energy, but so far it hasn't interfered with my day to day activities. I can totally see how it would, though, if you kept it up for any amount of time. And the most prevalent side effect I can say for Phase One? The Bitchys. Like I said, women, you know? Take away my carbs and look out! Not that this diet is by any way carb free - they strongly encourage whole grains - but on 1200 calories, it's a little hard to get a lot of carbs. If it's a choice of having a huge-ass salad (btw that's a technical diet term - huge-ass salad) or a bagel. Well, I'm in favor of anything that has huge ass in the title.
I have even come to love my own huge ass. Sure I want to lose weight, but I want to keep the booty. If I could just lose the tummy and the thighs, I would rock this ass all over the state. Beyonce who? I wonder if Beyonce has ever even heard of Phase One? I doubt it, but I'm sure that any woman must be in favor of a smart healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. Because believe me, I am not working this damn hard just to gain all the weight back.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

OK. I don't know if it was the goals, the tight jeans, or just the simple disgust at myself; but I am officially back in the groove. I'm almost afraid to proclaim it here, but it has been a long time coming and, damn it, I'm kind of proud of myself.
As we know, I have, um . . . slacked off . . . all this summer and paid the dreadful price. I was on target of losing about 1 -2 pounds a week. Not so much this summer. Since the last day of my kids school I have not only NOT lost anything, but may have actually managed to gain a few pounds (depending on what day of the month I weight - if you know what I mean).
So last week I put my foot down with a virtual, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!!!" I recognized what my problems were this summer, (too much summer time indulgence and not enough gym time) and laid down what I planned to do about it. (more gym time, super-low calorie 1 week jump start followed by a reasonable 1600 calorie/day 'diet') And one week later . . . drum roll, please . . . It has started to work.
Today at the gym, for the third day in a row, I kicked ass. I had all the energy in the world and really turned that into a crazy good workout. And two days ago I actually made it into the green zone (a Curves term) on every machine - a result I haven't achieved since May.
Yes, I'm tooting my own horn a bit here. But maybe that's been the problem this summer. Too much time making excuses for my laziness and not enough time spent looking at the reasons why I actually deserve to succeed.
So simple, right? I deserve to succeed. I do. It's not so much that I ever thought I didn't deserve it. Just that I had never taken to time to recognize that I did. But it's true. My kids are not going to be any less well fed or dressed or loved because I take the time to take care of myself. My husband isn't going to feel any more neglected because I go to the gym. If anything the kids are thrilled because I have more energy to play out in the yard with them. They haven't been so thrilled with the salads at every dinner, but then neither am I. And my hubby certainly hasn't complained when I haven't fallen instantly asleep when my head hits the pillow every night.
The only thing I have a real gripe about is that I hate how much time I wasted. I had heard for years in every woman's magazine out there that when you take the time to take care of yourself you will really see results. And I had never paid it much attention. Why??? Who knows. It's so cliche but it's true. I have more energy now than I ever have and my moods have held pretty stable, which is a huge plus here in Mama's house.
The verdict? Like the old hair color ads, I'm worth it. The only question now is, how far will I take it? I certainly doubt that I will ever make it to Playboy model status. But I think MILF status is not out of the question.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September Goals

1. Workout 4 times a week at Curves

2. Walk at least 4 miles/week. (I know, not a lot. But cut me a break, I haven't walked all summer)

3. Be super vigilant about my food diary. I do so much better with one, why did I ever quit?

4. Do more non-workout workouts. ie: I will not ask my husband to dig the hole for the new trees I'm planting. Yard work counts for something, right? And it's much more satisfying than walking in a circle for an hour.

5. Have me-time every night after the kids are in the bed. Even if the laundry needs folding or the dog needs a bath. 1/2 hour won't kill me.

6. Finally get the playroom organized and the basement finished. Technically not diet/workout related. But the stress of it all is really bringin' me down, man.

7. Be down one pants size by the end of the month.

So here's to hope. None of these goals are unattainable, which is where i have messed up in the past. What made me think I could lose 40lbs in a month by eating grapefruit and cabbage soup? Gag. I will let you know at the end of the month how it goes. Keep hoping!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Wagon Drove On . . .

I didn't just fall off the wagon. I did a total belly flop and lay there breathless as the wagon rolled on without me. In fact nobody even noticed I was gone. I don't think they cared.
The month of August hasn't exactly been the easiest for me or my diet. I am not really sure what the deal is - other than the fact that I lost all will power. I thought that perhaps things would be a bit easier, what with the kids going back to school and all, but evidently not so much.
There has been much stacked against me. The State Fair and their corn dog sabotage, a friend's pig-roast with a table full of Good Ol' Southern Deserts, and a Cincinnati Reds baseball game that I enjoyed in the Luxury Box courtesy of Sara Lee Foods. I'm not trying to make excuses but more offering an explanation of what happened. No - what I let happen.
I did not have to eat the corn dog - but I did. I did not have to eat all the deserts and drink all the beer - but I did. And I certainly didn't have to eat the mammoth bratwurst on kaiser roll and super awesome guacamole dip - but I did. And to add insult to injury, I have not used my workout time to full advantage. I strained my back a few days ago putting in a stone retaining wall in my landscape. So I had to miss a couple days of my circuit training. I could have used that time to get out and enjoy some of the beautiful weather we have been having lately and taken a few nice long walks. But did I? I think you know the answer to that by now.
Now it is time to pay the piper - so to speak. I have gained a total of 3 lbs. I am not sure that this is a completely accurate figure because I am experiencing what my grandmother whisperingly refers to as "my monthly visitor". But the point is that I sure as hell haven't lost any weight this month - which sucks. Big time.
So I have wallowed in self pity for too long already. It is time to do something and not just set back and say that I have to do better. What I need is a plan.
A new weight management class starts at my gym on 9/10. I will definitely be participating in that. I am going to enjoy myself responsibly this holiday weekend. Then starting Tuesday I am going to start a 1 week diet jump start. (More on this in a couple of days.) I will go to the gym 4 days a week and walk 2+ miles 3 days a week. I will give up all pop (even diet). And I will strive for 5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables.
Hopefully in two weeks I should be completely back on track. I know it's a marathon and not a sprint. But I'm hoping that this little boost will at least give me enough energy to catch back up to the wagon.