Diet Bet

I’ve been talking a little bit about Dietbet.com and how it is to be one of my motivating tools this January. Today I headed over to the website to check in on the bet I’m joining and to learn more about the process.
The downside, to me, is that the rules and how to’s don’t always seem clear. I suppose that over time it will become a little more obvious what is happening and the how will become a little less mysterious. But in my ‘curiosity killed the cat, fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of philosophy, I paid for an additional bet just to see how it works! So now, I am signed up for the original 4% in four weeks bet and I also paid for and registered to be a part of a 30 day challenge. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do in those 30 days, but I figured if I just keep moving forward that hopefully the bet will pan out with something positive. My goal will be to lose about nine pounds. I can do that.
I tell you what, though. As soon as I laid my money down my game face came on. It may be a very good tool, indeed, if that is the instant way it made me feel.
If you want to join in, here are the links:
4% of Weight Lost in Four Weeks (Starts on 1/3, though you have a few extra days to check in late)
30 Day Challenge (Starts on 1/1)
If you actually join, let me know so we can cheer one another on!
***

De-Mystifying the DietBet Check-In
I’ll admit right now that if something seems technologically complicated I will bypass it. In that vein, I was skeptical of the dietbet photography upload business that on some websites can be such a frustrating pain. You see, to verify your weight you submit two photos- one on a scale in front of a mirror and the other of the scale with your weight and a special word that, I suppose, is the equivalent of holding a newspaper in a spy film. You are supposed to wear ‘airport security’ clothes- whatever that means. I just wore workout gear that didn’t weigh much.

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Yep. 223. I can’t even… Seriously.
Anyhow..
To make things even easier, Dietbet has an app for your smartphone that makes the process go from easy to simple. And to be clear, I edited these photos together for this post. Diet bet does not make you do that! Cheers for simplicity!
So, here’s to me losing 8-9 pounds in January!
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Resolutions!!


First: SQUEEEEE! I figured out how to embed a YouTube video! It was all the fault of these mobile sites on my iPad. Tsk tsk.
Anyhow…
I have always been one for resolutions. Every year for the past two decades I’ve made a resolution to lose weight, become more active or eat healthier. Sometimes a combination of two or three, but always this trinity of choices.
Last year I made my resolution, kind of tongue in cheek. I had made the same resolution, to continue to lose weight on the slowest diet in the world by shedding between 1-2 pounds per month, as I had the previous three years. Then, late in January, I ‘met’ Katie from runsforcookies.com and realized I needed to take my resolution a little more seriously. So I did. You know the long story, but the cliff notes version for newbies is that I started moving a lot, very intentionally, making smart food choices, lost around 60 pounds and gained a whole new sense of self.
This week I have been thinking a lot about my diet bet, and how my friend who I am doing it with pointed out that every person she knew who was involved in the bet actually lost weight, thus ‘won’ the bet. I’ve been thinking resolutions are similar. Even if you don’t make it the whole year or meet your goal, most likely you made headway. This year you may not have made it past the planning phase, but next time you try you will be better prepared. This year you may have succumbed after 20 pounds and two months. This year you could do that again. Small goals. Baby steps. Small successes. Which brings me to the video.
Dr. Mike, from the video, points out that New Years resolutions absolutely work for a percentage of the people who adopt the practice. In fact, of the 41% of the people who made the resolutions, 46% of them were still working toward their resolutions six months later, as compared to 4% of the people who chose a random time to make a goal. With this study group, there was a ten times greater likelihood that they would be successful! He suggests that this is due to the feeling of community and the reflective nature of this unique and hopeful time of year. If you ever needed motivation as to why you should commit to your goals now, that seems proof enough to me! If I even have a smidgen of a greater chance at success simply based on when I declare my intentions, that seems like a pretty easy step to take. But ten times better chances? Sign me up.
So take a risk, make a goal, and jump. You never know, it could be the start of a brand new life.
Happy 2014!
Cheers for health and happiness!
***
And if you liked what he said there…

Honesty

Today is Bradley’s birthday. It’s a tricky day because he has a love-hate relationship with his birthday. Mostly on the side of hate it can be tricky. This day, though, Jude was on day two of the stomach flu, so doing much of anything was out of the question. We did take a really interesting run, though.

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While we ran we were really honest with ourselves and shared our truths about our eating habits of late with one another. Bradley and I often recognize that people fail most often with personal goals- and yes, I am speaking of losing weight here but think that this theory can be applied to other things- when they aren’t truthful with themselves. They justify behaviors (but I need healthy fats!*), make convenient excuses (I earned a treat), hide behind advice of others (my doctor said x but my therapist says Y and they are conflicting so I’ll do nothing) and aren’t honest about what they are doing (eating more/crappy food than they admit).
So, me: I have been eating the mostly same quantities if food but I’ve been eating crappy foods. By crappy, I mean that we have had a cookie tray and some chocolates sitting around that we have been nibbling on. Whenever we got hungry, there was no need to make anything, there was a cookie. Or piece of fudge. Or whatever. It’s gone now- I realized I had to throw it all away otherwise I was going to consume it all. Bradley admitted that he was eating it up so I wouldn’t eat it. He was eating to save his wife! Lol! I also was honest about the fact that I’m eating more food. Like, I eat the same quantity at one sitting but I’m sitting down and eating more often. We are having a staycation so there are many opportunities to eat.
Lastly, leading up to Christmas, our exercise habits were pretty bad. I ran four times in the three weeks leading up to Christmas- we just got so busy, depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. My metabolism got compromised and it was like my body was primed to pack on the pounds, and it did. I have yet to get under 219 and I am absolutely floored that it rushed on so quick. At first I thought it was water weight, but it hasn’t left and I think I need to own that I actually, gulp, gained nine pounds. Granted, I do still think some of it is water weight. I have a tendency to swell and hold a little extra water in my muscle tissue when I start exercising, so I know that’s happening- we started a great exercise regiment again. I’m not laying down the fast miles or anything, but I am getting two to three miles ran per day and we have also been walking a little and hiking.
I guess I’m saying that it’s time to own my behavior and confront myself. Get kicked back into gear. Today was pretty good, with the exception of birthday cake and birthday pie, I was a pretty solid eater. My meals had the primary component of vegetables -cruditΓ©s for lunch with apples and cheese, then taco salad for dinner- and we ran well today. I’m feeling more in control and I know it will all start coming off again. 210 will be here again before I know it. (If only speaking confidently was all I needed to do to make it so!)

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*Yes, this is valid. But everything needs to be in moderation and I have been served ‘healthy’ meals before with enough olive oil to make a generous offering at an altar AND cook my meal in.

Resolved!

This break has been great for getting me back in my running shoes and out on the street. I am feeling the burn, I tell ya. I usually do not walk at all on my runs, but over this week, I’ll admit that I have walked a little. And by a little, I mean less than 1/8 a mile for any given run. While I continued to run during December, it was so little and so irregular that I’m feeling some of those beginner pains- a little burn in my lungs, my hips twinge just a tad, my calves are way tight and I’m sloooow. Today I ran in the 11’s, before that I’ve been in the 10’s per mile. Oh well. What is most important is that I am doing the work. No matter how slow or uncomfortable, I’m still out there slogging through the miles and burning the calories.

My goal was to run 10 miles per week and I did that for week one. I actually beat it- 12 miles. Mwa ha ha!
Today I went to the spa and got a full body exfoliating scrub down. After that, it was a body butter rub down/massage and my skin actually feels like butter. So, so soft. I will have to do this again. But, as I was leaving with my body feeling amazing, I got that overwhelming ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ feeling and just became super determined to get cruising on my weightloss. I would venture to say I’ve not been the greatest at telling myself no this break. I have not eaten enough to have gained 10 pounds in two days (even if that tenner seems ultra determined to stick around… Whatever.), but I have eaten enough to have gained an honest 2-3 pounds. The fudge was delish, the chocolate covered strawberries were the perfect thing for midnight munchies (since I kept them ‘safe’ in my room), and I have eaten my fair share of tofurkey dinner. It’s been a plump holiday, but no more. I’m getting my rear in gear to kill it on the diet bet and get my momentum going in earnest starting today. While I was no angel today (damn you, chocolate covered cashews- I’d better finish them off so they stop tempting me! Sheesh!), each day I have gotten better at curbing my impulses. Tomorrow should be good. Phew. It feels good to be back in control again.
***
I’ve decided that my New Years resolution will be working my muscles more consistently and eating with the intent to build lean muscle mass. It sounds weird, I know, but gaining three pounds of muscle means much better ability to control calories for me. Muscle consumes way more calories than fat and having three more pounds of muscle will burn a bajillion more calories every day, which will mean I can eat more and exercise less! Right? I know, I’m so scientific, but the equation is something like that with way more accurate numbers and words.*
To me, that makes for something to shoot for. Plus? I like the way really muscular thighs look on women so I’m gonna chase those. And I would love to plum up my arms to fill the skin in. We will see…
*Scientists speculate that for every three pounds of muscle you build, you increase your resting metabolic rate by about five percent. So if your body burns 1,200 calories per day through your resting metabolism (this doesn’t take into account any exercise or other movement you do during the day), you’d burn an extra 10 to 30 calories per day per extra pound.

Winter Weight

I was feeling all in control. Psychotically in control. Remember how I wrote that article about how I wasn’t eating enough and being a weirdo? Oh my. The winds of change.
I had a few glasses of gluhwein (ermehgerd so yum), a few more salty snacks than usual, a few pieces of fudge… I woke up weighing in at 211 on the morning of 12/24, but by the time I woke up on Christmas day I was 217. By the end of the day, on Christmas, I weighed a hardy 221. 221. Un-freaking-believable.

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This was our selfie on our 3.1 mile run today. Guess what I weighed in at here? 219.6. I lost 1.5 pounds, am still up nine (nine!… I really don’t know what is up. You can see it clearly in my face. Isn’t that nice? Yeah, yeah, water weight, blah blah blah, cheese puffs, yadda yadda, wine… I know. I know! But knowing all of that doesn’t make it any easier to see the scale go up. Sigh. On the plus side, I suppose this water influx should help on my diet bet. Small silver lining.

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I just had to share this treasure of a photo. I’ve heard for a little while that curling wands, not irons, are where it’s at. I’ve pined for one, watched YouTube videos on how to use them, I’ve placed all of my curly haired dreams on the curling wand’s shoulders! Bradley got me one for Christmas and this is how the hair turned out. It looks natural, if you want naturally witchy looking hair. I’m not impressed and now just feel like a jerk that I convinced my husband that I needed a curling wand because I could make spiral curls! Just imagine! Spirals! Ha ha! Yeah. Spirals.
On the plus side? My babe got me the entire NKOTB collection. Yep, I’m a proud owner of all their music now, including the Christmas album. It was a funky funky Christmas, indeed. πŸ™‚

Let’s Compare, Shall We?

You can always tell when I like a picture that I take of myself. The picture I took Thursday surprised me so I started making the infamous comparison pictures…

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The difference here is about five years and 130 pounds. 130! Isn’t that amazing? Like, my chin looks so incredibly different, but my eyes are so much more visible. I had NO idea they were so hidden before!

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These ones are almost exactly one year apart. Really, about 13.5 months if you want exactness. πŸ™‚ The first was taken on my 39th birthday, the second on Thursday. The difference is about 80 pounds. That is a very big difference as well. πŸ™‚

Little Miss So & So

Let me just start off by saying this is a really weird post for me to write. It’s super awkward and embarrassing and immodest to talk about what I’m going to talk about. That said, changes are underfoot and I’m dedicated to acknowledging and recording my experiences…
Before I get rolling here, I also need to preemptively say I don’t know if I am actually attractive or not. I have no idea. Sometimes I look in the mirror and am all like, “Whoa, Mama! Where have you been all these years?!” And other times I’m looking in the mirror and everything seems out of scale, I have rings under my eyes, my jaw bone and nose are huge and I can’t remember why I went ‘Whoa, Mama,” in the first place. I guess it’s like assessing your own partner or kids after a while. Objectivity has long since parted ways with my ability to determine how attractive or unattractive my family is. According to me, she is the prettiest, he is terribly handsome and my husband is unrivaled in his magically babelisciousness sexy self. Know what I mean? So I’m not saying I attract tons of attention here for my absolute hotness, just more than I’ve garnered in the past.
So… I get checked out now. By guys. It’s pretty weird.
I don’t mean that I have men (and/or women) panting at my feet, asking for my number or anything like that, but I do get assessed, categorized, considered and that is a new thing for me.
As a fat girl, I have gone through life, with the exception of my 17 year old self when I lost a bunch of weight, being immediately dismissed. Unlike the girl with a big nose or weird hair or whatever weirdness one might think she has, mine was obvious from a distance- I was a big girl and, when you are a big girl, you can tell from a distance. There was little I could do to camouflage 340 pounds and the net result was that any categorizing and assessing ended long before I would get up next to anyone who might check me out. Check the box, here’s a fat girl… Not to say I didn’t have my fans, but they were much more rare.
Now I get checked out all the time.
Seriously. And it’s not just one type of person. On some days it’s older gentlemen, today it was three separate guys who were very tall and in their 20’s. And the men are good looking too. I’m flabbergasted. It’s not like it means anything significant. I’m certainly satisfied with the man I live with and I am not looking to hook up with random guys who actually look at me in the grocery store, mostly it’s just nice to actually be considered. To not be shut down even before they get close enough to see my crow’s feet and elementary aged children hovering nearby means a lot. It means I am fitting into a different body type category and that is a fun and interesting place to be in right now.
Anyhow, I hope that didn’t come off as all snotty and pious. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. I’m having fun seeing what happens with my new body. I’m trying something completely different midlife and it’s so fun to observe the outcomes.

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The last time I ran I was just on this side of recovering from a cold. The air has been thick and soupy with tons of fog lately and when I ran I gave myself some bronchial issues. I immediately got a chest cold the next day and what feels like a sinus infection. I’ve taken the rest of the week off, but tonight I took my dog, Martha, for a walk and it was just killer not to trot some of it or break into a run from time to time. I think tomorrow I want I do an interval run, maybe, and just push myself just a little and see how that feels. I’ll admit that I have been eating yummy things way more than I should. I NEED to be working out more and harder.
In addition to that, I purchased the NKOTB album called The Block and those boys are kind of nasty on it. But I still want to listen to it so I need to go running so I have time to listen to my filthy New Kids not in front of my kids. LOL. I laugh, but I am serious. It’s so fun to have music to look forward to running to. I also have Robin Thicke to listen to. Apparently the more perverse the better for my ears…
***
I have decided to take a diet bet this January. I am joining with a friend from work who was successful and won a few bucks while she lost a few pounds. She also pointed out that, yes, you are betting against other people in the pool, but every person who did it with her lost weight. So, really, everyone won, regardless of whether or not a few bucks made it into their account. It’s not about the money, for sure, but it seems fun to have an additional external motivator to propel me into the New Year.

Diet Fatigue

This morning I woke up and got on the scale. I was pleased to see that I’m still right around 210- I’m hitting 209-213 regularly lately- but as I stepped off the scale I just felt drained of the whole thing. There comes a point in any project that you feel done but aren’t done. I’m kinda there now. I ‘only’ have 40 more pounds to go until I am officially done, but I want to be done now. I’m sort of over it while also not being over it.
So as I was sitting there, whining about it in my head, it occurred to me that this is to be my life. Maintenance just means being consistently careful about what I eat, exercising regularly and not allowing myself to slide down that slippery slope to bad habits. My life will be this project. Maintaining my weight will not be easy, glamorous or exciting. It will just be me, weighing around 170 or so. I think it was really good to come to that realization. Perhaps I need to embrace this as my future- food won’t be so exciting when it just is. And really, shouldn’t the place of food in my life take more of a less prioritized role? I think it should.

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I took this picture as I was leaving work today. I texted it to Bradley with the caption, “Can you see how happy I am to be coming home to you tonight?!” It was a hard, hard day. Probably in my top three of most difficult days of my career, and only top three because I don’t want to discount other tough days! I want to say Hardest Day Ever, but who knows?
My workload is heavy this year and I am feeling it, trying not to fail in it, but it is seriously draining me and I need to get better about taking care of myself before I backslide into a depressed, anxious, panic state again. I can feel it creeping in and it’s freaking me out. However, I’m grateful that I have people around me now who I feel safe turning to, I’m thankful I have coping strategies in place now, I’m thankful for my supportive husband, I’m thankful that we have an event-free, winter break on the horizon and I’m thankful that I know myself so much better now. Already, as I’m pointing this out to myself, I’m starting to feel so much better… πŸ™‚
***
You would not believe the amount of chocolate my students are giving me this year. Oh. My. Goodness.

Goal Met!

What’s the goal? To actually RUN finally. To follow through on my workout! Then to post about it on my website. I’ve done both of those things now. πŸ™‚

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And if I were a bare minimum kind of girl, I would be done about now. Ha ha! But I’m not.
I have to tell you WHY I haven’t been running or posting. It’s because I’ve been so incredibly overwhelmed by life and, as a result, so freaking exhausted. Like, when you’re trying to stay up past nine o clock so hard but can’t, so you fake wake up over and over and act like you’re watching the movie by saying such observant things like, “Wow, look at that!” Or engaging in pseudo conversation like, “Do you think this move is good and why?” Before smugly laying my head back down, eyes drooping, convinced that Bradley has no idea that I’m actually dozing between statements. The next morning I hear about my snoring, though, and about my gibberish sentences or how I pick up conversations from dreams and bring them to him, live, in the real world, saying some embarrassing nonsense before I laugh, wilt then snore again. Yup, I’m reaaaal smooth.
So I let myself just take some time. Caught and recovered from a cold. Taught third grade to kids less than two weeks before Christmas. Top that! (Hello to my K~2nd coworkers, I bow down to you.)
***
I was thinking about my winter break and how I want to approach it, food-wise and exercise-wise.
I think it’s reasonable to expect myself to run ten miles each week. That lower mileage will help me get back up to speed. I’m still maintaining my fitness, but my lungs burned today and my heart felt flumpy. I need to get back into real shape again. It won’t take long, but I need to give myself some latitude.
As far as food goes, I think I’ll stick with my usual diet. I always allow myself a cookie or treat if I want one on days where I’ve worked out. This month I’ll just have to be super careful about sticking to that rule. And like Thanksgiving, I’ll let myself take Christmas off. Though, remember how I hit 213 on thanksgiving and wouldn’t let myself lose my footing? Wouldn’t that be funny if I woke up less than 210 on Christmas morning? I’d take that gift over cookies any day!
So there’s the goals: 20 miles and the same calories except on Christmas.
This week I hope to run a few more times and stick with my food plan.