Friday, February 15, 2019

Ruler of my Weight: What rules my healthy lifestyle choices

I am in the midst of trying to change my lifestyle to one that is more solidly based on healthy principles.  This is an awesome and wise shift in thinking.  But along with that I think it is important to figure out how this unhealthy lifestyle came about. Or in other words....what rules my lifestyle choices.

Now there could be a multitude of reasons why someone finds themselves overweight and why the maintain that higher unhealthier weight.   It can be different for each and every person who is battling this journey.  It can be simply that a person is a social eater and happens to be very social.  It could be a hormonal problem or based on a side affect from medication.  (Just to name a few).  But for me?  Food is my addiction.

An addiction is the ruler of my life...and the mastermind behind my weight problem.  I’m lucky...I’m not addicted to some illegal substance.  I’m not addicted to nicotine.  I’m not even addicted to caffeine.  (Not anymore).  I’m addicted to the power of food and how it makes me feel.  But I’m unlucky because a food addiction is so frequently overlooked as a valid and real addiction in today’s society.

I eat for happiness.  I eat through sadness.  I eat because I am addicted to the ‘high’ or feeling of contentment that food fills me with.  

I recognize this.  I have talked about it quite a few times over the years   But talking about it doesn’t make it easier.  It’s not an excuse. But it IS a stepping stone for understanding why I am the way I am.  The knowledge IS a tool that I can use to overcome my battles with my weight and healthy lifestyle journey.

Luckily, a food addiction is one that is not based on a physical when I deny myself I won’t be physically ill.   But’s a mental addiction in the mind.  It’s just as hard to overcome...but with the knowledge of what my ‘ruler’ is, I have a better chance at overcoming!  

With this knowledge I can remind myself that I handing a second helping will not make me feel better....even though my addiction tells me that it will! I have to tell myself that the indulgence in the dessert when I’m not really hungry may make me feel better emotionally...but only for a few moments! And addiction based emotional response is only temporary. I have to retrain my mind to not listen to the voices of the addiction that tell me to eat!  Knowledge is power!

So what is your Ruler?  What was the catalyst to your current weight?  What is the internal reason that brought you to this point?   Once you have that figured out, you can make a plan to really fight whatever demon caused the excess weight!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Stars stars everywhere: a plan for staying on track

Over the multitude of years on this healthy lifestyle journey I have changed my operating procedure quite a few times.  I have tried all sorts of things.  I have counted points with weight watchers and calculated calories with a variety of different websites and apps on my phone.  I have monitored exercise with stickers in 
my day planner and kept track of my running in a running journal.  I have swung wildly through various different means of organization as I work on this lifestyle. 

 There is no right way.  Something that works for someone may not work for someone else.  One of my friends shuts down if it becomes competitive….yet I thrive on competition.  Just look at   me a few years ago when Jason and I had a competition going with running. I worked to match him mile for mile because I was NOT going to let him get ahead.  I didn’t want to lose and I DEFINITELY wanted to gloat!   So competition works for me!   Sometimes though, what worked for me last month or last year  might no longer work for me.  It really is a constant adjustment to match our tactics and efforts to stay the course on this healthy lifestyle with up to date and current ideas, plans and goals.
A while back I was using a streak tracker.  I liked it, but it was hard to ‘live’ because if I fell off track one day it messed up my streak.   I stopped using it because it didn’t allow me to live and be was too restrictive. 

So that brings me to my current thought.  I don’t know how well it will work and it may be gone by the end of the month,  but I’m going to give it a go.  I have seen something similar over the years and I have done versions of the same thing over the years, usually just for one aspect of my healthy living.  It just seemed like it was the right thing to do at this point in my life.  I quickly decided that I wanted simplicity.  I didn’t want an extra notebook or extra anything, it had to fit into my life…and any tracking had to fit into my current day planner.  So without further ado, I announce my star plan.
This is a very simple plan.  Every day in my day planner I will be giving myself a star for certain activities.  I am giving myself some ‘freebie’ activities that are easy to earn the star and some stars require more work.   So what can I do to earn a star?
1.        Track my food every day. (an easy star)
2.       Weigh myself every day .  (another easy star)
3.       Exercise at least 20 minutes, 4 days a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s walking, running, crawling or whatnot….exercise 20 minutes!  (not so easy star……well it’s easy to do….hard to get going to do it!)
4.       Keep my food level in my appropriate predetermined range….for me this is between 1200 calories and 1530 calories.  (why those calories?   1530 is the amount that myfitnesspal says I can eat and still lose 1.5 pounds a week….which is still a respectable figure).  I figure that this needs to be done 6 days a week.  (Ok, it should be 7… and most weeks I can manage that just fine, but I need to account for ‘life’ happening and embrace the fact that there will be failures!)
5.       Stay on the low end of my calorie goal 2 days a week.  This is 1300 calories or under.  Realistically, I would like this to be lower also….but once again….I’m embracing life and saying “I would rather lose slowly but in a healthy sustainable manner”
So what does this mean?  35 stars per week would be an absolutely perfect week.  It would mean that I tracked and kept my food at 1200-1300 each day, I weighted every day AND I exercised each day for 20 minutes.   Absolutely perfect!  But I’m not aiming for perfect.  I am aiming for   living life and making this work for me and allowing myself to have days where I stumble.  SO to have a win?  I am aiming for 26 stars each week!

26 stars each week.  
For the month of February (28 days) I need to accumulate 104 stars
For a month with 30 days, I need 108 stars
For a month with 31 days I need 110 stars.

Easy peasy!  It is a silly mind game….it is a stilly method to keep myself on track.  But guess what…every time I open my day planner, I’ll see those stars and know what I need to do!   It may be silly, but if it works….that’s all that that matters. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Touching down on Friday: weekly healthy lifestyle report

What a week! Welcome Friday and the upcoming weekend!  I made some changes this weekend.  Have they made a difference?  In some ways maybe…in other ways it’s too soon to tell.  But we will get there. 

The first line of business is the challenge.   I have done really well.  I continue to track my food and I’ve been really good about keeping my calories in check…so I am earning a check mark (Star) for each day!  GO me!  Exercise…..I failed last week, but I am nailing this week and I have made up some of my missed time from last week…ok, not some….ALL of my missed time from last week has been made up! As I mentioned on Monday, we walked on Sunday….and I walked during my lunch breaks!   The weather was fantastic and it was neat to walk outside in really nice weather (74 degrees) around a lake that was still frozen!  

So I walked on ………..  On Monday night I even walked after work with Jason!  Go me!!!  By Wednesday I had recouped my missed time and sat at 185 minutes….and my goal by today was at 160 minutes so anything toward the end of the week was above and beyond.  The latter part of the week was a little less exercise...the weather kept me in during my lunch break (threatening rain).


It is true, I am only walking…but I have to start somewhere!   Some gals at my job decided to do squats every once in a while (at predetermined times)  at our desks (when we can amidst our work)….I have been doing some squats and WOAH…my legs are on fire!  All those squats that I used to do in Zumba made my legs strong and a few  squats didn’t affect me…but boy oh boy do they affect me now!

This week I decided to go back to something that I’ve done in the past.  I decided to use protein powder and make a protein shake as part of my lunch.  I went to the store and debated which powder to buy.  I ended up buying a handful of single use packs to try some.  I got home and laughed because the ones that interested me were all the same brand.   But that’s fine.

On Monday I tried the Garden of Eden Organic Whey…chocolate with Peanut butter.  It was Delicious!  I didn’t have any aftertaste or negative thoughts. 

On Tuesday I was anxious to try the Garden of Eden Organic Whey…the same as Monday…but Strawberry flavor.  Once again I LOVED IT!

I figured Wednesday would be a repeat of deliciousness.  Afterall, it was the same brand…just a different type!   I chose the Garden of Eden Protein with Greens…vanilla flavor.  Holy cow…YUCK!  It felt like I was drinking chalk!   This will NOT be a repeat!
So day three was so horrible that I just couldn’t bear to try it again on Thursday or Friday!  (The ones I have left to try are in this same ‘family’ of protein packets...the raw protein).   I do know that when I go shopping this week I will pick up a big jug of the first kind I tried.  I’m trying to decide...strawberry or chocolate peanut butter?  Or should I just sink the money and buy both???

I have grand plans for a tracking system for me. Simple and easy!   I’m trying it out....and if it works I will be sharing it shortly!   Meanwhile, I vowed this weekend that I was going to start running.  And what do you know?  I’m feeling sick!  (Cough, sore throat and just exhausted!).  It seems like every time I make plans and I’m determined that life throws me a curve ball!  Oh well!

So I am trucking on and working on this healthy lifestyle thing!   Perseverance is the key!!!!

Effort: the effect on weight loss

Effort.  What a simple word.  Defined by the dictionary it means “a vigorous or determined attempt”.    We put forth effort all day and every day.  On those mornings where it’s really cold outside and you just don’t want to get out of bed and have to brave the cold to go to work?   You expend effort to get moving.  You put forth effort when it comes to cleaning your house, cooking dinner, completing your tasks at work.   All sorts of effort is expended.  But what about effort when it pertains to weight loss?  What effort is there?  How do our efforts parlay into success….or failure?
A while back I saw a statement on a blog that I regularly read .  It talked about effort and there was something that stuck out at me….a connection that I made in my head.   I popped the phrase into my data base in my mind and I sat on it a while.  I may be totally twisting what the message was in the original post, but it’s what has come around in MY head from a simple post!  So without further ado, I have two mathematical equations for you.  Ok, don’t panic…they are SUPER easy!
1.         Effort   =  The joy of success
2.        Lack of Effort  = absolute  failure
I told you they were easy didn’t I?  So simply put….if I put in the effort, I can reap the joys of success….but if I fail to even make an effort I fail.  Woah now…. So one brings most probablesuccess and the other one is absolute failure?   What kind of nincompoop would chose the absolute failure?    Who wants to fail?  No one!  It is human nature to want to be successful in all of our endeavors.
So once we get to this point in our thinking we can safely assume that to have success, you must have effort!  I will go further and say that if you never put forth any effort, that you will never be successful.  (I will qualify this by saying that there are extenuating circumstances that can bring around successful weight loss without effort….I mean….we could all have some horrible accident that causes us to break our jaw, requiring it to be wired shut for months……a liquid diet absorbed in pain may do the trick without actual effort!  But the AVERAGE person will need to expend effort to show success!)
Is there risk in the effort?  Well of course.   There is always a risk in pushing ourselves forward and putting effort into something.  But what rewards would you be able to reap if you try????  Amazing, joyful success!  
So it really boils down to a decision.  You can weigh the possible risk with the possible benefits of success?  But in the end, really think about it….because if you never try, what hope do you have of success?   NONE!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Here we go again: a new week to restart this healthy journey

Here we are.  It’s the dawn of another week.   Another perfect opportunity to start anew on this healthy journey!  And of course it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past week!  I’ e got lots to talk about today.  I’ve got some deep thoughts about my weight and fitness level and how it relates as I get older.  I have an update on the challenge I accepted and started a week ago.  And of course I have my weekend update to share. (Don’t we all live for the weekends??)

So let’s first talk about this challenge.  Last Saturday I wrote a post and talked about accepting a challenge (or two).  The challenges were quite simple.  The first was my food...keep my food in my goal range 6 of the 7 days of the week.  The second challenge I set for myself was to exercise 4 days of the week for 20 minutes.    The first goal...with my eating I NAILED!  I did very good!  I did use my cheat day, but everything went well!  The second goal?  Well theoretically it should have been easy...remember how often I walk on my lunch break...netting me 20-30 minutes of walking each day?  Now to mention that I walk on my 15 minute breaks!!!????  Yup, I remember!  Ohhh yeah, I don’t do that in the winter because it’s snowy and cold?  Drat!   I knew this though going into the challenge and set my goal accordingly!  I started out the challenge strong with a 45 minute short hike on a local nature trail.

And that was the end of it for the week!  So one day equaling 45 minutes!  I have lots of excuses...serious ones was cold....frigidly so! It was snowy!!!

The cold and snow (snow at least two days...maybe three...they are all running together in my mind) made for some horrible commutes so I got home late!  So valid excuses...but excuses nonetheless!  So anyway, this week I need to step up my game, I’ve got ground to make up!!!

We talked a lot about my mom the other night. . Mom has been struggling for a while.  She is wobbly and unstable when she walks.  She is achy and hurts when she moves. She is struggling.  My brother and I both separately came to the conclusion that she is letting any muscle tone she had slip away.  This is happening as a result of a few things.  She is honestly battling depression still as she grieves over the loss of my father..her husband of over 50 years and that can’t be’s natural grieving.  But the inactivity and lack of motivation to move is adding to the issues.  The issue?  Mom has never been overly active, so she was already starting at a deficit.  So the inactive has hastened the progression of muscle loss.  Mom is struggling with movement hurts and she struggles to get over the hurdle of ‘it hurts but I keep moving because I know it’s good for me’.   It’s just not  easy for her.   And it’s really concerning for my brother and I ...and Jason and my sister in law also.   So jason and I were talking about it after our visit on Saturday.  We talked about mom but then the conversation segued into our health as we approach a more elderly age. It, in many ways is motivation for us...for me to really get the weight off. It is motivation for me to get stronger.  It is motivation for me to fix my problems NOW.  Each year that passes I see that it is more difficult for my body to lose weight ...and that isn’t going to change!  But if I do it will be easier than next year...which will be easier than 10 years or even 20 years from now!  I’m going to get old, nothing can stop the progression as long as I’m living.  So it’s time to focus on getting healthy so that the progression is as easy as possible!!!   

So we had a full weekend.  On Saturday we ran a few errands.  We spent a few hours with Jason’s parents and then went to my brother’s place for dinner and birthday cake to celebrate my niece and nephews birthday.  It was a nice day spent with family.  Not very active...but good for the soul!!!!

On Sunday the weather was cool but nice!  (40° give or take)  we got out and walked quite a bit....we checked out a new park that we hadn’t been to and walked all around downtown.  We checked out the melting ice sculptures from the Saturday night fire and ice event in downtown Frederick. 

We  ran a few errands and we enjoyed a day together.

So I did walk about 2 hours or so...but I’m only counting 60 minutes toward my goal.   Part of the walk  was strolling a I figure that’s only right!!!  I’m going to rock this week and not only make my goals...I’m going to exceed!!!

Friday, February 01, 2019

On the path to health: goal review

Where in the world did January go????  I blinked and it’s gone!!!!   But with the end of January and the beginning of February it is time to report on my January goals and set some perameters for February!

In January I set a mission for myself.   It wasn’t anything in depth...but it turned out to be a perfect plan for me!  My mission for January???
1. Track every bite of food
2.  Put money into my savings
3.  Weight less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!
4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week.

I am proud to say that I tracked every darn bite!   Ironically I found that if I was tracking, even though there was no goal or plan to keep my calories in check that I just naturally worked to keep my calories in check!   But I had the freedom to still mess up...I only had to track!!!  So I totally nailed this one!!

I am happy to announce that my savings account grew!!!   Woohoo!   (And it should start growing faster soon....I found out the other morning that I was given a promotion at work....a grade level higher.  So a promotion in my career and a bigger pay check!)

I was sweating out this next goal...which was to weigh less!   On January 1 I weighed 252.8.....I dropped mid month to 250.8.  And then my weight went up for some unknown reason....but I managed to pull off a 251.6 to end the month.   It’s a loss of 1.2!   I said I would be happy if it were a loss of ANYTHING...well I am happy!   Slow is better than nothing...and it’s much better than a gain!!

The last!  Miserably so!   I got some walks/hikes in on the weekend...but my three times a week?  It just didn’t happen!!

Sooo. What are February goals looking like???  Honestly, quite similar!!    The big difference is that I’m going to put a bit more restrictions on my food...but loose enough that I can still ‘fail’ but succeed!!!  So without further ado....

1.  Track every bite of food
2.  Put money into my savings
3.  Weight less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!
4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week.

5.  Keep my calories within my caloric range at least six days a week....with and emphasis on getting the calories to the lower end of that range as often as possible!  

So pretty much the same goals...just a bit of a restriction in saying that I have to be within my caloric range!   So there you have it, past, present and future goals!