Everything is Awesome

Before I get into it, I want to mention that my return to school is going swimmingly! The first two days were rough, I’m not going to lie, but after Wednesday my kids and I just kind of got into the flow of things and it started to feel good again. On top of that? I’m back down to 208. Phew! Only three pounds to my all time low, then I’m making my way out of the 200’s. Enough is enough. I’m determined to get it done this time!

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{we saw The Lego Movie the other day. Yes, Everything was Awesome! It is now my favorite kid’s film, barely beating out Frozen! Also? The only pic from this week that does not have my students or children in it. Ha!}
***
Now… Getting down to business…
H.A.A.L.T.– Hungry, angry, anxious, lonely, tired…
Amy, a reader of Tamara Shazam and all around awesome person, mentioned this acronym to me in a comment a week or so ago. It triggered some deep thinking of my own that resulted in my menu of responses to anxiety that I recently wrote about.
It was interesting to realize how those things really do strike a response in me.
Hungry
When I’m hungry, I’ll eat the entire time I’m making dinner, then feel obligated to eat a full meal because I prepared it AND because I usually am ashamed that I ate so much during the prep time. I’ve gotten better at controlling that part, and have sat with an empty plate at dinner time a few nights lately after I’ve binged during cooking. I guess it’s a lot like grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
Anxious
When I’m anxious, I look for any distraction possible and usually that is food. I’m working on changing this, obviously, but it’s still something I have to contend with way more often than I would like. I think the trick here, for me, is controlling my anxiety, and that is no small feat.
Angry
When I’m angry I don’t really like to eat. I like to move vigorously or sulk and sit in a dark room with noise canceling device over my ears. Think I’m joking? Just ask my husband who was probably terrified the first time he discovered me hiding in a dark closet. LOL! It sounds stupid, but canceling out stimulation of any kind works wonders for my freak outs.
Lonley
I do eat when I am lonely. I am incredibly insecure, though I think that is probably fairly surprising to some people. Maybe not, but I act confident, in general. When I get to feeling insecure and lonely (I think the two are tied for me), though, it is a perfect opportunity to turn to my good old friend: food. Preferably ice cream. Or tortilla chips with salsa and sour cream. And as I sit there and eat, my mind ponders my sad, lonesome state of affairs and I start looking for the next thing that might taste good… Then the next. I think those insecure, lonely moments are the hardest for me to control myself in.
Tired
When I’m tired, I can be very crabby, very punitive to myself, quite passive aggressive and I feel entitled of food in a way that is different. Like, I’ve EARNED the right to treats and binges. I deserve x because I had a hard tough day… That’s not how it’s supposed to work, but I do it anyhow.
Amy was right, when any of these get out of balance, a binge or poor food choice often lurks right around the corner! I feel like, if I pay attention to these triggers, I might be able to control myself better by making sure I don’t become too much of any of those things and I can keep cruising forward on my body project. Though I suppose it’s a bit of a brain project anymore as well, amiright?!

The Plan

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish before summer gets here. My breaks have proven, over and over, that they are not good times for me to make strides in weightloss. Fitness, yes. But weightloss? Ha! I know that things can change and that this time could be different, but I’m going to try to maximize the next three months in an effort to get as close to a beach body as I can. (Beach body is a totally relative term. I plan on looking like a post weightloss beach body with batwings and wobbly bits waving in the wind.)
I will admit that Jude’s birthday came and went and I do not weigh 199. I weigh 205. I really can’t complain about weighing in at 205. That, right there, is a pretty awesome accomplishment. But it does tell me that I’m not working quite as hard as I could. I have lost about 20 pounds since the New Year. I’m pretty proud of that, honestly. I’m averaging about two pounds a week, but I had really hoped to push it to 25. It seemed do-able. My goal at this point is to be in the 180’s by the time school lets out in June. In three months time it should be possible to lose more than 16 pounds.
To accomplish this, my plan is to run, lift and watch the calories. The calorie intake is going fine. I have not worked out much in the past few weeks and I have still been managing to lose a little here and there. It’s the working out that has been hard. I think that now that Jude’s birthday is over and most of the major night stuff (open house, music night etc.) is done at work I will be able to start running again.
My goal, this next week, is to run three times. I am not going to put mileage expectations on it just yet. I’ll admit that I’m pretty freaked out at the prospect of running at all. I’m worried it’s been long enough that I’ve lost my stamina, so I’m taking baby steps. Silly, huh?
In addition to the run, I’m planning on lifting and doing my abs routine five times this week. That does not take the same kind of stamina as running- just determination and willpower. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to hit them each five times.
I find that when I make a goal for the week that I usually follow through, and when I make my goals, I also make my targets. So the last part of my plan is to commit to making goals every weekend for the next 8 weeks. The disappointment I feel in myself when I don’t make my goals is pretty intense (I’m more relaxed about scale goals- don’t worry), so hopefully the added pressure will hold me a little more accountable and will propel me more rapidly into the 180’s.
Man, that is an intense idea: me in the 180’s. Gulp. A few years ago, I never would have guessed that I would even be close to the 100’s at all. I never thought I’d see less than 250 again in my lifetime. 180’s.
Wow.

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This week had some wet days so Boy and I went for a splash walk in our rubber rain boots. It’s been ages since I walked through a deep puddle in rain boots. It is such an incredibly satisfying experience. 🙂

Stick With It!

One of my oldest, dearest, best-est friends and I were texting back and forth the other day about how hard it is to get the ball rolling on losing weight and, simply, how hard it is to lose weight at all.
There’s a pervasive piece of wisdom that circulates with regularity that says if you are very heavy (like me at 340) the fat will just melt right off of you once you get some solid habits. For me, this was not the case. When I was heavy I was really sick. My body was telling me this, but it was a message that was hard to hear. I have PCOS, and while I was at my heaviest, I was taking metformin to help control my blood sugar, I did not menstruate and I had a really hard time getting pregnant. My body was actually closing down certain features as a result of my weight. When I finally became pregnant, losing weight was a breeze. I lost 30-40 pounds with each pregnancy purely by accident… which I gained back within 3-6 months of delivering each baby.
Anyhow, I found that losing weight, straight up, when I was in my 300’s, was harder than losing weight now. The PCOS just made me into a very efficient fat making and storing machine and it would not let the weight go. I recall a time when Bradley and I were on very similar diets. I gained weight while he dropped 20 pounds. It was very frustrating. The most recent, present and most successful weightloss I’ve ever had started out with obsessive tracking of my cycle- I had to watch my nutrition like a hawk and exercise like mad all month, but the only time I would lose weight would be the 3-5 pounds I would lose on approximately days 4-10 of my cycle. It was super annoying. Now I can lose anytime, it’s kind of nice. The way my body responds to weightloss as I make my way down the scale really makes me wonder how much my body’s chemistry impacts my ability to sustain loss.
I finally started achieving some level of success when I incorporated consistent exercise. And when I say exercise, I mean pushing yourself to the limits kind of exercise. Sweating through shirts exercise. Heartrate in the 150’s for 30 minutes exercise. Finally, when I incorporated the exercise 4-6 days a week, things started changing. As I lost weight, it became easier to lose more weight. At this point, after 2.5 weeks without exercise, it would seem that now I can lose weight without exercise, but I’m way more successful when I’m running and lifting.
I also know that over time my habits have changed tremendously. My diet is broader now, inclusive of many more flavors and textures than ever before. I rarely eat refined carbohydrates anymore and I actually enjoy foods that I despised before- raw mushrooms and the formerly banished bell pepper, to be exact. We are active as a family now too- we run, hike, fly kites and get outside as much as possible these days. That is new and really fun.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that even when you lose a discouraging 1/2 pound in a month, it’s still progress. You stuck to the plan, you built solid habits and you proved to yourself what you’re capable of. Furthermore, you’ve laid the groundwork for greater success in the future as long as you stick with it.
Speaking of sticking with it…

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{I was very reasonable with the treats :)}
Today my littlest little turned 6. I got all sentimental last night as I was tucking him into bed, realizing that we are no longer a ‘young family’. We are an established family with no crazy toddlers or crying babies anymore. We have big kids, now, until one of them blesses us with a grandbaby, and that, hopefully, is decades away. I feel another parental time warp happening, where it feels like we are passing a milestone, compressing time and logging one more scrapbook for the shelf; another volume has been completed. We are moving on… It’s amazing how quick this life happens, is happening, happened.
I think I need to go look at my gigglers right now and share some love with one at ten and one at six. Wow.

Jillian Michaels Kicked My Booty

I don’t know about you, but when I work out on stationary exercise machines, I like to allow myself to watch pretty much anything I might like through netflix, amazon or hulu. And I mean anything. I’m talking the extreme guilty pleasure stuff stuff that I would hate to watch with anyone else, like American Horror Story, Ghost hunters, Weeds, New Girl and any, cheesy romantic comedy that might catch my fancy. I’m presently trying out Bates Motel and some Cake boss cooking competition, but finding nothing that really is interesting to me.
However, while I was reviewing a variety of titles, I ran across the Jillian Michaels workout series. I put a couple of them in my watchlist with the intention of trying them out ‘sometime’. Sometime means never, quite often with things like this and me, so after 40 minutes on the elliptical I decided to just take a peek at the fat burn and boost metabolism routine.

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I usually avoid videos because the fitness level usually far exceeds my ability level. With that in mind, I started the video with the expectation that I wasn’t truly invested and if it got too hard I could quit. Turns out, it was the perfect fitness level! It was fun! And it kicked my booty!
Jillian relies on a lot of boxing moves and lunge kinds of moves to guide the workout. I was crouching, jumping, punching and even doing burpees! They were my first ever burpees, and I thought at first I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I could. I could do it all and I was pretty amazed. After 20 minutes of Jillian fun, I turned it off. After the 40 minutes of elliptical, my legs were already a little tired and I was having a hard time with all the jumping. Now the backs of my thighs have that excellent, super-sore feeling that let’s you know you’ve really got a good workout in, and I can’t wait to try the whole 57 minute workout or one of the others that are available on Amazon prime! Who would have thought that if be using exercise videos off of my video subscriptions?! Not me.
***
Non-Scale victory of the day- my BMI is less than one percentage point away from being out of the ‘obese’ category. I’m almost ‘overweight’ instead of ‘obese’! Isn’t that cool?! I think so!

New Month, New Day…

Whoa. Talk about hitting the brakes abruptly.
Number one:
Diet bet ended. It was a big brouhaha that, at the very end, I barely made it by the skin of my teeth. Seriously, the second bet needed to have a weigh in of 214.3 or less. I weighed in at 214.2. The next day, I didn’t have a diet bet going, so I worked out hard, but I followed that up with some Olympic style eating. I ate at least six cookies worth of cookie dough (BRADLEY!) and there were also some smuggled nachos on game day, even though there was no game on TV in our house. (We still gots the snacks, yo! {my inner 17 year old just died of embarrassment for my children}). I’m amazed at the havoc that is wreaked through the horrid nature of PMS and some crappy food choices! My final number, before I weighed in, was 215.

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However, I still have managed to get higher…
217. Yep, that’s my current number. I know that PMS has a lot to do with it, but I’m not feeling super proud. I’m feeling SUPER ANNOYED! Ack! So now I’m two pounds higher than the diet bet. Not off to a real great start.

Goal number one for this month: don’t worry so much about the bet. Just eat right and exercise and it will work like it should.

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This is the graph for my WiiFit meter. As I locomote around it records my altitude, distance and speed. Because it is for the Wii, the data gets recorded fun-style! I’m presently trying to hike out of the Grand Canyon, and have been working on that goal since early December. Altitude is difficult to come by when I spend so much time traversing around a classroom, for the most part, so I’m pretty far behind Bradley, who gets most of his steps outside.
I’ve also been running around Hawaii forever. Every step I take in real life is recorded, and for about every 2000 steps I get a mile! I started the Hawaii challenge (there are a variety of courses all over the world) so that I would be the first to get the Hawaii shirt (as you complete different tasks, you get different shirts to dress your character in. C’mon, any carrot is better than no carrot.) but it turns out to be taking forever! My family has completed all kinds of marathons through Tokyo, Australia and New York, but I’m still running around Hawaii!

Goals two and three for this month are to finish Hawaii and make solid progress or finish another marathon, and to get to Cedar Ridge on the altitude challenge. This means a few hikes and walks through the woods. I’m totally up for it!
***
This week my goal is to simply keep my food in check. I am wanting to eat EVERYTHING in sight. In these moments, I always assume the worst of myself. Everything I see wants to get in meh belly. Seriously. Today, all day, I was STARVING. Tummy growling, like, what gives?! I’ve been working out hard, yes, but this is ridiculous. I have to tell myself ‘no’ so often, that I feel guilty like I’m eating it too. Thought crime! Food is so present in my mind that I’m accusing myself of imbibing when I’m not. It’s weird. In the past, I wouldn’t have refused the craving, I would have nibbled a little bit here and and little bit there till there was no little bit left. I’m not saying I was perfect today. I ate 22 plain m+m’s, had one brownie bar and two tablespoons of half and half in my respective coffee and tea today. I was pretty good and stayed within my allowances- barely. Especially considering I wanted to play those old favorite classroom games, like: ‘How Many M+M’s Can Mrs. L Fit Into Her mouth’ and ‘Lets Eat Double or Triple Snacks Today!’
Keeping in check is where I’m at.
Also, a little exercise every day. Amiright? I won’t specify what or how long, but I just need to keep moving.
Yesterday it was a family walk and weights.
Today it was 20 aerobic minutes on the stationary bike and 20 of weights.
Just keep moving
Just keep… In control.
***
My favorite thing to say to my students at the end of a hard day or the beginning of the day after a tough day where we may have had a hard moment is,
Every day is a new day.
It’s trite, but true. Every day is a fresh start.
I need to remember that for myself too. Except I also need to remember that every minute is fresh, every hour, and every moment is an opportunity to start fresh and jump anew.
And every moment doesn’t need to be about losing or maintaining weight either. 217 is ok. It will go away when my PMS does, and when that happens it will be warrior week.
A new moment.
A new opportunity.
New day.
New month.
🙂

Evening Treat

A lot has been said lately on this blog about Katie from Runs For Cookies, just like back in the day when I just got rolling. I learned from her that it is pretty important to only make changes that I’m willing to change. If I want to eat ice cream for the rest of my life, and oh sweet my goodness, I am not giving up ice cream, then I need to figure out how to integrate that into my diet in a reasonable way.

I make sure to leave room at the end of my day for a treat. While, really, I shouldn’t have to integrate sugar and crappy foods into my life, there’s an obsessive part of me that needs to know its available. It’s the food addicted part of me. The part I have to pay special attention to and care for, nurture, otherwise this very careful self I’m rebuilding can crumble easily. So I allow my inner fat girl to have her treats. Without her, I wouldn’t be who I am today, as cheesy as that is. There have been times when I have done the clean sweep of my kitchen, but I literally panic and have anxiety, walking through the world feeling the oppression of self denial. It feels like I’ve taken the rainbows away when I remove all of that. Silly, I know, but it’s my reality. I’ve learned that moderation and strategy are what help me, and part of the moderation is letting myself cut loose on a treat once a day. And when I say treat, I mean treat. No zero calorie jello here. I want something even a non-dieting person might enjoy, just like I will have to learn to do when I am maintaining.*

Ice cream has been hit and miss with me this year. For a while, I tried to buy a big container and just take serving sizes, but my serving sizes would rapidly grow and, before I knew it, I would have a double or triple scoop in my bowl with toppings, nuts and a few spoon licks in for good measure. The quart would seem to melt away as I swiped a spoonful here and a taste there. You get the idea. My solution was to buy my ice cream in serving sizes. I realized that the more exotic treats actually worked out to be fewer calories than the quart because I had to stick with the serving sizes. I regularly buy the mini containers of ice cream (even Ben and Jerry’s sometimes), ice cream bars (even the regular ones dipped in chocolate) and fudgesicles. They all hit my sweet spot, satisfy me, and stick to a manageable serving side that’s difficult to exceed.

Chips have kind of been the same. We realized that we would buy a bag of Doritos to go with burgers for a night, and, while the bag would state that it had way more than four servings, we would pretty much eat the whole bag as a family. Or almost the whole bag. We realized that it made both fiscal and caloric sense to buy the individual sized bags at Costco. Not only do we eat fewer chips now at a sitting, those little bags seem more expensive with less in them, but because we don’t buy big bags very often the cost balances out and actually has become cheaper! The other part is that if you go for a second bag of chips you KNOW you’re eating more than you should!

When I have the super munchies, my go-to treat is popcorn. It’s pretty low fat, but you can even add butter and salt to it and it still isn’t that horrible- as long as you don’t go nuts and make the allowance for the extra fat/carb action! I will also let myself eat as much fruit as I want, in those situations. While fruit is more calorically dense than veggies, it is high in fiber and settles my sweet tooth a lot better.

Funny things happen though when you alter your diet a bunch. Then it’s the weird foods that start to sound good for odd reasons. Take Brussels sprouts. Unlike many people, I’ve never been offended by them. But I luuuurve them now. They never haunted my plate as a kid, sitting all bitter and cold on the edge of my plate. The one or two times I had them as a child I thought they were sweet and delicious, but they just never made a regular appearance!

Bradley loves the Brussels. He buys them all the time and recently, I have fallen in love with them because I assume that the sprouts are grown in hermetically sealed environments where nary a larvae has ever wandered. Just to make sure though, I clean them by slicing off the bottoms and picking off any leaf that may have ever touched any hand except mine. I inspect each one, before dropping it into a saucepan with about a half inch of water, a pat of butter and a little salt. Steam/boil. Add a twist of pepper at the end… Sweet, sweet yummy Brussels. And the cool thing about Brussels sprouts is that you can pretty much eat as many as you want, but you won’t be able to because they are so dense and filling. A few Brussels sprouts go a loooong way, and that is just the way I like it. When I’m at a weak moment and am having craving issues, Brussels sprouts actually are a good go-to food for me.

The other thing I love anymore is dried fruit with nuts. Oh my goodness. I about pre-emptively turned over in my grave the first time I craved my ‘just cranberries, almonds and cashews’ mix from Trader Joe’s as my evening treat! A fruit and nut mix, sans chocolate? Cha. Well, cha Ching, now, I suppose because I’m way into it. Bizarre.

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Yesterday Bradley and I took the kids on a really long walk. Our son was about bouncing off the walls with all the cold winter weather, so we thought it was a great opportunity to take them on our 5K run, so they know where to find one or the other of us if we we ever need to be found. 0_______0

It turned out to be a looooong loooooooooooong walk for our kiddos! We ended up closer to 4.5 miles after we played choose your own adventure in the woods (in a well-known area you just let your kid pick any which way they want to go on the trail and it makes them go a little longer, they love the autonomy) in addition to the distance to and from our house! We talked extensively about the existence of Bigfoot and about the Seahawks playing in the Super Bowl. We are not football fans here at Lj House, a fact that is inconceivable to those around us and we have not been swept up in the blue and green tide with the rest of Washington. However… My son wants to be a football fan in the worst way, but, of course he wants to swim upstream and is supporting the Broncos. He had a lot of questions about why the Broncos were better. But sometimes he was a steelers fan. And other times a 49ers fan. It’s hard to keep straight when you’re five! But really, what he wasn’t, was a fan of the Seahawks!

***
Clearly, this is one of the weirdest most disconnected posts I’ve ever written. Sometimes it’s strange to sit down and consider writing to, what has turned out to be, a substantial audience. I now have analytics! I’m excited to notice the patterns, to see what articles people look at (Bikini is the número uno top hit, you curious people) and seeing who responds to me. I get tickled pink when I see a comment and really thrill at watching the numbers of people marching through and reading about my weightloss project.

If I’m honest I’m coming to the end of diet bet and I’m freaking out, just a touch. I have three days and my weight keeps jumping back and forth over my goal weight. One day I weigh in at 212 and sigh a deep sigh of relief, feel chill and happy, and then the very next morning, after sleeping all night, I weigh 215! What is uuuup with that? Srsly. SERIOUSLY. So frustrating! And I’m still at the end of my cold so I’m stuffy and I have PMS so I am all water weighty and I want to eat everything so then I rebel and I eat nothing except dry chex and diet coke… Top that with being tired and fussy and not wanting to work out. Wah! Yeah, a wacky, crazy day. A wacky, crazy couple of days.
Can you tell it’s report card season?
Maybe that’s why my brain is such a frazzle.
Ha ha!
*
I know it’s not “Brussels” sprouts. That’s autocorrect and I’m just too lazy tonight to fix it.
*
(I’m sorry. I think this is hilarious and I put it up in my classroom sometimes when my kids need a little levity. It makes me laugh more often than I’d like to admit. Out loud. Srsly.)