Posts tagged ‘calorie counting’

I am not magic

Yesterday I had the privilege of having someone ask me what I’ve done to lose so much weight.  I admit the question brings a nice feeling as, not only has someone noticed I’ve lost weight, but they also want to know my “trick.”  You know, as if I’ve got some sort of secret which has escaped scientists for years.  My response to this question is the same these days “diet and exercise.”  The response of the individual yesterday differed incredibly little from that of most:  “Ugh.  I don’t like either of those.”

I get it people, I really do.  I can’t say I’ve loved every second of learning to eat differently, but I can say I enjoy what I’m eating and I’m not hungry.  I can’t say I’ve always had a love for exercise, hell, I can’t even say I have a love for exercise right now… but I can say I love doing things which were a challenge/impossible for me before.

I cannot help reduce the difficulty.  If it were easy, no one would have a weight problem.  If it were easy, people would be successful every day.  (And in truth, I don’t consider myself any more than just a bit successful.  I am, after all, still over weight.  I still eat too much sometimes.  I still eat too mindlessly sometimes.  I exercise half-heartedly sometimes.  The success is that I’ve lost weight and I’m (so far) maintaining this loss.)

What I can say is this:  Baby Steps.  No one is saying you have to jump into the deep end of the pool.  Feel free to test the water with your hand, sit down by the edge of the pool and dangle your feet in.  You may not be far, but you’re better off than you were.  No one is saying anyone needs to start jumping into daily exercise from a sedentary lifestyle.  All you have to do is start moving.  It sucks.  I’ll be the first to admit it sucks at first.  I practically threw up the first time I went ONCE around the Curves circuit.  What did I do that amounted to anything special?  I went back.  I kept going back.  I set goals, small but attainable goals.

And you know what?  It worked.

The food thing is the same way.  I started by finding what works for me.  I’m fine eating half my calories during the day and then the other half at dinner.  Why?  I’m busy during the day.  I’ve always been a big dinner kind of girl.  I LIKE eating a big meal.  It’s part of me… and organizing my calories this way works for me.  Want to eat small meals all day long?  Sure, you can do that.  Want to eat a big breakfast and then pace out the rest of your calories?  Sure!

The changing diet goes slowly.  I started by buying 100 Calorie packs.  Why?  I liked crunchy munchies and I wanted to make sure I didn’t fudge my portions.  I detest them now.  So little food for 100 calories!  I substituted ground turkey for ground beef.  I incorporated more salads, searched for lower calorie recipes.  I learned new ways of cooking.  I scoured the internet for variety. (And somehow I became pseudo-vegetarian, totally unexpected.)

Things take time.  Yes, I’ve been disheartened many times by slow progress or no progress at all.  But looking back over the past year, I can see the slow changes and the comparison between me now and me then is gigantic…. Nearly as gigantic as my stomach rolls were.

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C25K: At the Park Take 2

Howdy all!  Today I went to the park to run/walk 3 miles.  I used the actual one mile track today and so my times are real.  I have to admit to being pleased with my first lap at 11:28.  It’s not a 10 minute mile but it’s a far cry from the 15 minute miles I started running with.  Lap two started out with some walking and took me 13:18.  Lap three also started out with walking and I walked a bit about halfway through and wound up at 14:48.

So I’m not certain what I’m going to do.  At this point I think I might just head to the park to run to finish getting ready for my 5k and then go back to the C25K program to work on speed after July 3.  My goal time for the 5k is 36 minutes and I’m really hoping I make it.

I may challenge myself to run 20 minutes without stopping just to get my mind out of the interval mentality.  I think I could have kept running but taking a break after each mile seemed like a nice thing to do.  I know the program would break me of this but unfortunately I’m feeling as though I’m in crunch time here and so I’m going to do what makes me feel the most comfortable.

Food Choices

I’ve been feeling rather uninspired about food lately.

I started a downward spiral into less-healthy eating a while ago, most likely around Christmas.  It has stuck around and then, in March,

pardon the hair, I was sick

it became worse.  There’s nothing like feeling like crap to make your food choices revolve around convenience rather than nutrition.  Suddenly I find myself at work, eating an apple I happened to pick up out of the teacher’s lounge and thinking “Wow, this tastes superb!  Why haven’t I bought apples for snacks lately?”  Oh, maybe it’s because I’ve been buying 100 calorie packs.  You know, they’re super convenient.  I don’t have to put the carrots into a baggie, wash the grapes or strawberries, deal with cutting the kiwi in half…. Are you hearing what I’m saying?  Essentially I went back to being lazy about my food choices.  Now granted I had been sick for a month, misdiagnosed with a heart problem and given pills which could double as sleeping pills but still…. I’d given up my fruit/veggie snacks simply because they weren’t convenient enough?  Please excuse me while I bang my head on the table.  I obviously need a wake up call.

Actually, I need a big wake up call.  I stopped journaling my food a long time ago.  I managed to continue losing weight for a long time.  After the start of the new year (and the start of a lot of my personal life drama) I reached my original goal weight of 175 and allowed myself to get a bit more lax.  It’s turned into laziness and a blatant relapse into old food habits.  I’m attributing the fact that I haven’t gained weight to my mostly meatless diet.  At least something’s been saving my butt.

I’ve been having a great time exploring lots of Asian themed meatless meals, figuring out the right way to cook tofu so it actually has flavor AND doesn’t fall apart.  Unfortunately, just before my week of medical horror, I experimented with a new dish which sort of brought together everything I’ve learned so far.

It wasn’t the food which made me sick.  But, for some stupid reason, my mind has blamed my illness on the meal.  I had tons of leftovers and they literally sat, untouched, in my refrigerator for a week and a half before I mustered up the courage to throw it out.  (You read that correctly, courage.  As in, I was afraid smelling it would  make me relapse to a full sinus infection and heart problems again.  I never said it was rational, I just said it was happening.)  So where does this leave me?  It leaves me with a plethora of meatless meals I don’t feel like making anymore and beyond that a bunch of meals I used to make which are certainly not in my healthier vocabulary.  It’s a tough place to be, really because I know there are great meals out there to be made, I’m just feeling so uninspired about food.

I’d like it to be simple, please.  Oh!  Add in convenient too!  And, if you could make it that special blend of things which doesn’t leave me wanting or craving something I can’t quite put my finger on and which usually leads to me raiding the kitchen cupboards in search of anything I can fit into my mouth.

it was super good, actually

*sigh*

I know, I know…. nothing is simple.  I struggled with a grocery list this week and while it did contain fruits and veggies for snacks again, I had an incredibly hard time coming up with meals to eat.

In trying to think about the last time I’d been inspired by food I remembered a class I attended one weekend in which a vegetarian meal was provided.  (You didn’t even get a non-vegetarian option and I was totally skeptical.)  It ended up being one of the most amazing meals.  Ever.  It was one of those times when I really wished I knew how to make something like that or that I could even identify the ingredients.  (Yep, sometimes those veggies are just THAT foreign to me.)

Anyway, there was a corn chowder which was so yummy and tasted so fresh I swear they had to have picked the veggies out of the garden and thrown them in the pot at the last moment.  There was also some rice stuff which I thought was dynamite but it wasn’t exactly called anything and I couldn’t identify what was in it and so I’ll just chalk that one up to “maybe some day.”

So anyway, this is a rather long and rambling way to say I made corn chowder for lunch/dinner today.  There are a zillion recipes for corn chowder on allrecpies.com and so I narrowed it down by searching for vegetarian corn chowder (though throwing bacon in this sucker like one non-veggie recipe had called for sounds super yum).  I settled on one which looked simple enough, quick enough and modifiable enough that it called my name.

The original recipe:

  • 2 cups cubed potato
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 11 oz can creamed corn
  • 15 oz can whole kernel corn
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

The directions said to throw the potato, celery, and onion into a pot and cover with water; bring to a boil and simmer for 20 min or until the potatoes are done.  I left out the onion.  I hate onion.  I added in carrot, I have no idea how much.  Then it said to drain the water and add in the evaporated milk, creamed corn and regular corn.  I used frozen corn instead of canned and so I had to throw in a bit of water to make up for the water which would have been in the can.  I just did it until the thickness “looked right.”  I threw in some sugar snap peas because they’re my new love, the cayenne pepper, some fresh ground black pepper and nixed the salt altogether.  Then I let it simmer for 20 minutes or so on low.

Ok, this was super good.  It tasted just as fresh as the one from the class and I think this might have been better and I totally blame it on the cayenne pepper.  It gave just the tiniest amount of heat which served to make it interesting… you know, just enough so that you’re aware something else is there but not enough for there to be any real spice to it.  YUMMY!

At any rate.  I’m sharing with you in the hopes you’ll share with me.  I need fairly simple (I don’t like cooking all day) recipes which may or may not contain meat.  Please share your favorite(s)!

Back at it… and with more crazy ideas!

What have I done three times this week which I was unable to do last week?

Mmmhmm you guessed it!  Work Out!

It feels incredible.  I can even feel a difference between this week and the previous week of “easing back into it.”  I most definitely still had the sinus infection last time.  Don’t worry though, I’m taking it fairly easy.  As of right now, I’m only doing the Curves workout.  Monday and Tuesday I did not use my Curves smart tag…. you know, in the spirit of easing into things.  I won’t lie, Monday struck me as a bit rough but Tuesday felt better.  Well, it felt great actually.  It felt so great I broke out the Curves smart tag tonight.

Wow.  I forgot how much that pumps up the intensity.

Wow did I get a great workout tonight.  I feel it too!  The endorphins are here (hi guys!  i missed you!), the legs are a bit wobbly, and I’ve got that blood coursing through the veins feel-good feeling.  Yeah, I love it.  Now I just need to get back into a routine, which is easier said than done.

So far this week I’ve worked out at night, after work.  Why?  I’m just so tired of doing so in the morning and then having to hurry to get ready, hurry to work, hurry with my morning prep at work.  I’m tired of hurrying (maybe that pseudo brush with death did a bit for me, or maybe my attempt at de-stressing my life is actually working).  How long can I keep this up before I have a day where I just want to come home and plop down on the couch?  I don’t know, but if you asked me right now, I’d say until summer… which is all I need.

I need to get back into the running but I’m kind of done with the treadmill for the time being.  I cannot make myself do another boring run where I stare at the wall and pretend to be really into my music (or is the run I’m supposed to be into?).  So, I will be running on days when it’s nice outside and not too windy.  No structure for the time being and I figure the structure will come when I’m ready (and seeing as they’re calling for snow tonight, I doubt I have to worry about this much in the very near future).

Oh, and the crazy idea?  You know how much I like seeing my name on the walls of Curves…. and now I”m out of the 1-99 work outs area…. and it’s much less crowded in the 100 work outs area than it was in the 1-99 area but… it’s still pretty crowded.  I’d like to be in the 200 work outs area ASAP….. which is the crazy bit.  I keep thinking… can I do that by the end of the summer?  I’m at 119 right now.  That is 81 work outs.  If I just count May, June, July, and August as having 4 weeks and if I go 5x per week, that’s 20x per month and a grand total of 80.  I can have the rest of April be the slush fund (you know, for those days I just don’t make it.)  So yeah, theoretically it’s possible, but it’s also a huge commitment and hey, life happens.

Oh what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.

That’s not crazy, right?

A Familiar (and not-so familiar) Sight

Yep, this was the view this morning at 7.30 am.  The sinus infection is back and I can’t say I’m surprised.  I mean, I knew about halfway through my prescription that the previous antibiotic wasn’t strong enough…. and sure enough… about 8 days after I finished the last one, it’s back with a vengeance.  My head HURTS this time.  Waking up every morning is just downright painful.  All day yesterday I felt as though I couldn’t breathe… very similar to the feeling I get after taking Imitrex for a migraine… that whole trying to breathe while underwater feeling.  This is in addition to my heart just beating in my chest to the point where I just knew my blood pressure had to be sky high… a fact the nurse confirmed this morning in the doctor’s office.  My usual blood pressure?  110/60  My blood pressure today?  110/80  Yeahhhh, no wonder it feels like my heart is just a hammering.  No doubt the upper number would have been higher had I done anything except wake up, get dressed, and go to the doctor, but I digress.

So when I woke up, I looked on the immediate care website and found you could do something called a zip pass.  Whee!  Make your appointment online and no waiting in the waiting room!  The last time I arrived at immediate care when they opened,  a line of people had formed and it took at least 45 minutes of waiting before I even saw the inside of an exam room so this is totally cool!  I made my appointment for 7.45 and went on my way.  Turns out, I didn’t need to.  My car had it’s choice of any spot in the parking lot.  As I pulled out (with a new prescription for stronger antibiotics) the second patient of the day drove in.  I guess no one is interested in getting the doctor visit out of the way first thing on a Saturday morning.

Needless to say, the workouts aren’t happening.  I managed to exercise 3 days this past week which isn’t so bad but it’s disheartening.  I just want to get back to my old routine.  I just want to get back to exercising and shed the final 15 lbs I’ve been wanting.  I know, I know, the diet has more to do with it than the exercise but if I’m not 100% on plan then everything seems to fall apart.  What do I usually do to comfort myself when sick?  Eat.  What do I do when I’m sick and can’t work out so I’m bored and not super busy all day long?  Eat.  So yeah, it’s a struggle when the exercise isn’t there.  Plus, I just FEEL better.

I tried another item out of my vegetarian cookbook (I ordered another, too).  This one called for a tomato or spinach wrap and unthinkingly I grabbed tomato basil, which made this an odd flavor combination as the green stuff spread on the wrap is actually avocado mixed with lime juice.  Yikes!  I didn’t realize the basil bit until I actually bit into the wrap.  I also should have taken a bit of time to shop the wraps.  This one here is 210 calories.  It’s not too much for me to actually eat, it just seems a bit heavy in the calories and knowing if it’s average or higher than some would be helpful.  Anyway, in addition to the wrap and avocado mashed with lime this dandy includes tomato, English cucumber, and shredded carrot.

How did it taste?

Well… tomato basil and lime juice just aren’t meant to be mixed, I don’t think.  I should have read the label more carefully.  Apart from that clash though, it was pretty good.  Will I have it again?  Yes.  I’m also thinking some turkey bacon and romaine lettuce would go well inside this thing also.

Ok… that’s my update.  Hope everyone out there is feeling better than I am!

Anger Management

I see it all the time and it goes something like this:  “Fat people choose to eat poorly, they choose to put the food in their mouths.”  Or even sometimes it goes like this:  “You are making the choice when you fall off the wagon.  You are choosing to do the wrong thing.”

I always have a sort of double reaction to it though.  On one hand, yes I realize it’s a decision I’m making.  On the other hand, do you really think it’s just that simple?  If it were just that simple don’t you think I’d have stopped by now?

I replied to a comment yesterday and went off on how everyone seems to want to penalize fat people.  (I’m so beyond being PC so if me saying fat people offends you, stop reading.)  People want us to pay more for food, for healthcare and for a million other things I can’t be bothered to list.  This is in addition to the prices we already pay socially for being heavier than is deemed attractive by the majority of people.  We’re made fun of when we’re young, we’re told we’re unattractive when we’re older, we’re laughed at, we’re the butt of a million jokes and quite frankly, by the time we reach adulthood, those of us who have been fat since childhood are kind of immune to all the name calling and being ostracized.   It’s now when people call me fat that I wonder “do they really think that still has any impact?”

I go into all this because being fat is a very public problem.  It’s one of the problems nearly everyone feels entitled to comment on.  Being fat means everyone can be up in your business about it.  Why?  Beats me.  No other problem is seen to be quite so inviting to criticism.

For example?  I meet a bunch of people in my line of work; adults and teenagers both.  One of the things which has always annoyed me is when people cannot control their emotions.  They have outbursts, they go off on people for the smallest things, they are difficult and when questioned the response is “I just can’t help myself.”

And what do we do to these people?  Well we certainly don’t call them emotionally under developed though that is precisely what they are.  We don’t tell them to just “make the decision to shut their mouth.”  Being quick to anger, being a person who flies off the handle is a problem of control, just as over eating is a problem of control and yet no one is ridiculing these people and telling them they’re making a decision to be an asshole.  Why?  It’s just not socially acceptable to criticize people like that.

I’m sure there are other examples.  This just happened to be the one which struck me today as I worked out.  Yes, I have a control problem.  My problem deals with my control over food and the decisions about what I put into my body and how much.  Other people have control problems also.  In fact, I’d be willing to bed nearly everyone has a control problem of one nature or another.  The severity of the problem may vary but we all cope with the world in different ways and we all lose control of our world and ourselves from time to time.

Does this mean I should give up and give in to my lack of control?  Absolutely not.  My point is, just because fat people aren’t attractive to you is no reason to call them out on something, single them out for discrimination and public ridicule, and to make it seem as though it’s as simple as making a choice.  Doing so is only over simplifying the problem.

We don’t need ridicule, people.  Trust me, we get enough of it every day.  We even ridicule ourselves in our darkest moments when we find another pair of pants doesn’t fit or realize we cannot hide our guts anymore.  Ridicule just sends us over the edge and out of control again.

How about being positive?  How about a little support?

As for me… I’ve gained new insight into those people with no emotional control and I’m hoping this will lead to a new tolerance…. because right now, those people drive me fucking bonkers.

Comfortable Skin

I’ve been spending some time this morning thinking about being naked.

for lack of wanting to post actual naked photos...

I don’t remember how long ago it was that I began to feel more comfortable in my skin, that feeling of being sexy again and enjoying (for the most part) what I saw in the mirror when I actually dressed myself up and made an effort.  I can remember a specific moment though, shortly after buying my first pair of size 16 jeans in more years than I care to try and count.  I threw on the jeans though they were a bit too snug and paired it with this fantastic black sweater I’d bought the year before and which hung on me in just the right fashion.  As I looked in the mirror I remembered thinking I looked good.  I also remember realizing it had been years since I’d thought that about myself.  Oh sure there were times over the past several years when I thought I looked nice, maybe even moderately attractive, but I always knew I didn’t look GOOD.  Looking in the mirror that day was another milestone.

Those size 16 jeans and black sweater are both too large now to be worn with any degree of seriousness.  The black sweater has been tossed into the bins of old clothes I’m hanging on to “just in case” and the jeans have taken a bit of a permanent residence on my closet shelf.  I’ve worn them a bit but they slide down and don’t flatter me at all (but we all need those lazy Saturday/Sunday jeans for cleaning house…yes?).  As I began to slip out of a size 16 and into the 14 I am now, the feelings I have about my body have continued to change.  As time continues to move onward I find myself enjoying my body.  I may never have been one of those very large girls who rocked their curves, but I am finding I enjoy my size 14 body.  I like the curves I have right now and the way I look in my clothes….

But, more importantly, I like the way I look naked.  It’s not as though I’ve spent time standing in front of the mirror naked (ok, not a LOT of time) but it’s more of a feeling.  I don’t run into my clothes the moment I step out of the shower.  I walk around the house in my underwear trying to find the pants I want to wear that day rather than putting on sweatpants to do the same thing.  In essence, I’ve become comfortable in my own skin.  Now granted, I don’t know for certain how far this comfort will go.  I don’t want to parade naked in front of people.  I’m also sure the moment I don a swimsuit and try to go out in public I’ll have the same feelings of insecurity and inferiority I’ve always had.  I’m not sure though.

So… while I’m beginning to really enjoy feeling comfortable in my own skin, I’m also wondering how this will translate into my every day life.  Will it make me more confident?  Will I be more outgoing?  Will I suddenly turn into the person I’ve always wanted to be?  It will be interesting to see how many of my social hangups were due to my weight… or are really just a part of who I am.  (Though I suppose it could be argued who I am was shaped by my being overweight.)

As for now… I think I’m beginning to understand how to rock these curves.