Sunday, May 29, 2011

Week 55 - Weigh In

It was an "oh, sh*t" kind of morning. At least, those were the first words out of my mouth when I woke up at 8:05 (my Weight Watcher's meeting starts at 8am). My first thought was, "just skip it, you know you're up."  I had already looked at the scale and surprisingly enough, I have gained, which I have to say wasn't expected. It's a surprise gain. (Can I stress anymore what a surprise it was? LOL)  It also didn't help that all forces of the universe seemed to be against me going this morning. 

I wandered into the office and my phone was flashing. Text messages. Not just from one of my Weight Watcher's buddies, but two - both asking where I was. This kind of support, these little nudges, make all the difference. I knew I couldn't tell them I was skipping my meeting. So, I quickly got ready so I could make the 9:30. I texted back, letting them know I would be there. They both were going to do some grocery shopping immediately following the 8am meeting, so I decided I would go a little early, stop in the grocery store to say hello and then go on to the meeting.

I looked for my keys. Yeah, no where to be found. I searched for my Weight Watcher's book, which I always keep on my desk - nope, not that either. It didn't matter, I was going. I finally found my keys.  I popped in the grocery store and chatted with my friends for a few minutes and then straight to the meeting I went.

So, I weighed in. I am up - 4.2lb gain. It's ok. This is the struggle of weight loss. This isn't a sprint. I'm undertaking a life-long battle of obesity. I will win it. I will just see set backs, sometimes.  It seems they are far more frequent now than they used to be, but we just deal with them and move on. I am the tortoise.

Friday, May 27, 2011

One Year and a Little Reward

On May 25, 2010, one year ago yesterday, I took the step to transform myself. It has been an amazing year!!  Looking back at the first blog entry, one that I wrote four months prior to allowing my blog to be published publicly, I see a completely different person, not just physically, but mentally. You can read that first blog entry here, if you haven't already.

One thing I did not expect when I joined Weight Watchers was the amount of support and strong friendships that I would make along the way.  I've had people ask me if I do just the online program or if I attend meetings. The response that often follows is, "I could do it online but I don't need meetings." or "I'm not into sitting in a room full of people and talking."

I get that, I do. Believe it or not, I'm a fairly introverted, private person. Whenever I take one of those personality type tests, the results always include something about being closer to an introvert than extrovert and having only a few, quality, deep relationships. So the idea of sitting in a room of 30 other people and talking about something that has been a source of much sensitivity and pain for most of my life, wasn't all that appealing, at first. However, now I can't even imagine NOT having my weekly Sunday meeting. I've had Sunday's where I've had to miss over the course of this year and I feel I'm truly missing out on something if I'm not there.

It has been a year of ups, downs and stalls. But it's been a wonderful year and I'm so happy I finally committed to changing my life.

Months ago I posted that I lost 50lbs (January 31st, actually). As a reward for losing 50lbs I was going to pierce my nose.  Weeks and then months passed and no nose piercing. I gained and lost the same 5lbs and eventually dipped back into the 45+lbs lost. At that point it didn't feel right to go get it done if I was no longer at 50lbs lost. When I saw the 56lbs lost this week, and knowing that yesterday was my one year anniversary, I decided it was time to do it. So tonight, I went and had my nose pierced. I'm so glad I did it! It's a great reminder, every time I look in the mirror, that I did it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eye of the Tiger

Oh yeah, that's right, eye of the tiger, baby.

I went to the gym tonight. I warmed up with .70 miles on the treadmill. Ok, so it was a little more than a warm-up, but I wanted 15 minutes on the treadmill before I started weight machines, so that's what I did. I moved to weight machines and did my full leg circuit - 2 sets with 15 reps each, on each machine. It really felt great. Once finished I did another 15 minutes on the treadmill.

I've started truly training for roller derby. Before when I worked out, I was doing it to see the numbers on the scale go lower. The intent was to lose the weight. While I've been extremely motivated to lose the weight, working out with another purpose in mind seems to have really lit a fire under my activity level. It excites me. It makes me happy. I get a feeling of a different kind of accomplishment. I had all that before I decided to "train" but there is something about doing these exercises for the ultimate goal of having enough strength to be a derby girl that makes me feel like Rocky.

Think of inspirational movies, perhaps it's Rocky, maybe it's Karate Kid, maybe it's something completely different. . .when you're in the gym or working out at home, or running, or whatever activity you do that makes you feel like a superstar. . .what movie/book/character do you think of that really seems to get you moving?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Eenie meenie miney moe

You know, sometimes we take a while to see the answer that is right in front of us. Somethings are just so obvious that when it does "click" we wonder why it took so freaking long!

My first experiences with physical activity were mostly very negative. I dreaded PE class. In grade school we always had the typical selection process where two students (I haven't a clue how those two students got to be the ones, but they did) stood in front of a long line of first graders and got to point and select the kids they wanted on their team. The two minutes (or however long it took to go through the process) felt like an eternity. I was ALWAYS the last selected, no joke. My name was typically followed by an "ooohhh mann" by my fellow teammates.

This experience set the stage for how I would view exercise for the next 25 years.  I never played competitive sports. I never played softball. I often tried to find any way possible to get out of PE class. In fact, my senior year of high school, after moving to a new school district which required an additional semester of PE (Florida schools only required 1 semester, WV schools required a full year), I actually failed the semester and had to drop my Anatomy class (an elective) to re-take it to graduate! THAT's how much I hated PE class.

However, there was one time in my life that I was very physically active. From the time I was in 7th grade until I hit about 10th grade I roller skated. I was actually pretty good. My cousin, a few friends and I would go to the rink every Friday and Saturday night and for five hours straight we would shuffle, jump and speed skate. Rarely did we get off that floor unless we were dying for something to drink. We would sweat and we would go home SORE! I remember some Sundays my feet would ache or I'd have bruises and floor burn from some fall I took from attempting something I probably shouldn't have.  One weekend we attempted some kind of jump and when I landed I fell hard and broke a gold ring on my finger. That experience taught me to no longer skate with jewelry. At the time, I never thought of it as exercise, it was just fun. I loved it.  I was accepted there. I kept up. There were no "oh man's" when I skated with a group.

It was during that time that I also lost 90lbs on Weight Watchers. It was my first attempt at ever losing weight and the two just happened to be going on at the same time.

So yeah, slight "duh" moment that it's taken a year to figure out that there IS something I really enjoy doing that burns some calories. Sure, I walk and jog - but nothing compares to how great it feels to strap wheels to your feet.


Think back to younger days. Is there a physical activity you loved doing then that you didn't equate to the status quo exercise routine? If so, what the heck are you waiting for? Try it again!

Week 54 - Weigh In

Amazing weigh in this morning!!!! I lost 7.2lbs this week. I'm only 3.8lbs away from a total loss of 60lbs. Yes!!!!! I feel awesome. (And I finally get to move my tracker and post a weight loss "sticker" today! It's been a while.)

I woke up extremely early. I knew I had a great week and had looked at the scale early on and saw a 6lb loss. So last night was like Christmas Eve. It's been WEEKS since I've seen a really great loss. One of my good friends happened to be online early as well. We chatted for a few minutes and as I thought about asking her if she wanted to hit the gym before our Weight Watchers meeting - she was typing it! So, we did it! 7am we were on the treadmills. My legs were a bit sore from yesterday, but once I got moving that worked out.

So, here are the quick stats:
Loss this week: 7.2lbs
Total loss: 56.2lbs

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mind the gap

State of mind is a major driver in weight loss. Sure, purely physiologically speaking, weight loss or gain is equal to calories in - calories out - if you come up with a positive number, weight gain is going to happen, a negative number and woohoo you're losing some of yourself. However, drivers for the caloric intake and output are mostly in our minds.

It's not breaking news that many of us will eat (and some will not eat much at all) during major emotional turmoil. We also tend to overindulge during times of great celebration! But what about the gap in between those? Can monotony also make us reach for that bag of chips or a few extra cookies?  I find that when I've lacked giving myself a pep-talk, when I've stopped truly BELIEVING in my own abilities - I struggle. I think that is where I was for the last bazillion weeks (ok, technically 15, but who's counting). I think I've finally made the two ends meet and closed the gap.

This week has been a fantastic. I'm excited to go to the meeting and see my official number on the scale. Even a year into this weight loss, I still commit the big "no-no" and weigh myself during the week. I won't divulge that number now, as I only record my official Weight Watcher meeting weigh in but as of right now, it looks like a GOOD week!

I attribute it to a different state of mind. This week I had several big things going on, which could have resulted in food choice nightmares.  First was a meeting at work. It was a celebration of an accomplishment for a great group of people. Rather than eat the food provided, I packed my lunch, took my lunch bag to the meeting and enjoyed the company, rather than the food.

The second big event this week was my birthday. The day before my birthday co-workers took me out to lunch. Fortunately, the restaurant had grilled fish and plenty of fresh fruit, which is what I ordered. That evening my husband's family celebrated my birthday at their home. His mother made one of my favorites, fried chicken breasts. I kept my portions under control, budgeted 15 points for the double fudge chocolate cake she made for me and kept my day within my daily point values. On my birthday, my loving husband understood I preferred not to have birthday cake again, so we celebrated with a kid friendly junk-ish kind of food dinner (pigs and blankets and mac & cheese, both made as reduced fat recipes) and later that evening I had a deep chocolate vitatop as my birthday sweet.

This week could have gone way differently with food choices. I could be dreading looking at the number on the scale tomorrow. I feel so great that I don't have that dread. I don't have that worry. And, because of the healthy food choices I physically feel great!!

How has your week been? Have you faced any challenges? Have you celebrated any victories?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let your freak flag fly

How many times have you wanted to do something but said you can't because you have a weight issue, or you don't want to look silly, or people your age just don't do that, or a myriad of other reasons that prevent you from doing what you want?  How many times have people said, "You can't do that. . ."

For months I've wanted to do something and for months I've told myself to wait until I weigh less than I do now. Wait. Wait. Wait. Do you have any idea how many times in my life I've said, "I'll do that when I'm skinny."

I'm done waiting. I'm done allowing the reaction of others to dictate what I will and won't do.

So tonight I took a major step towards a goal. What is this outlandish goal I have?


Walking in the smells brought back memories from 20 years ago when I was a rink rat who anxiously waited for Friday and Saturday nights where I would spend hours on the rink - skating, jumping, sweating and loving every second of it. A year ago I never would have dreamed of having the guts to walk into a skating rink, rent skates (little own put them on) and stand up on them! This journey I'm on is one that is so much more than just weight loss. For so long I've been trapped in this prison of fat that I've neglected to remember that part of life is having fun! And you know what, skating is FUN!

Now, I have months of practice and training to get there, as apparent by tonight's experience walking into the skating rink and strapping those rental skates on my feet. I did rent the low ankle speed skates as they are better crap than the high top brown with orange wheel rentals - and they served their purpose.

I grabbed the skates, tossed my flip-flops, car keys, phone and purse into a locker and put a quarter in the slot to retrieve the little round orange key.  Anxiety grew as I went to sit down and put the skates on.  My heart was pounding!!!  I quickly stood up on the skates, did a pretty large hurky jerky motion and immediately remembered to relax my knees to prevent the fall. OMG, like second nature I remembered!!!  My legs quivered as I stood in the skates.

Now, don't get me wrong, it wasn't like I was able to immediately jump the step, push off, do cross-overs to gain speed around the rink and skate like I did when I was 14. This is all about setting realistic expectations right? I believe I wrote about that earlier in the week. . . Anyway, no, I actually didn't make it to the wood floor rink tonight. I stayed on the carpet, skated back and forth for the 20 minutes I had until the rink closed.

 While I didn't get on the rink and I didn't skate a single lap - I took the step and tonight, that's what it was all about. I can do this. I know I can. Soon, my legs will be strong again, I'll be skating around that rink with confidence and then. . .I can work towards my goal of DERBY!

I can't wait!

So this week, think of one thing you want to do that you keep telling yourself you can't. Think of one thing you've been putting off, saying you will do it when ____________________ and then, move that when up to NOW! You can do whatever you want. Nothing has to stop you.

Do it and then enjoy that feeling knowing that you stepped out of your comfort zone, let your freak flag fly and you HAD FUN!!!

I'm going back to the rink this weekend and I WILL get on that wood floor.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Deprivation and Over Eater's Math

When I stick to plan, I do really well. When I sit down, plan my meals, plan my snacks, have the kitchen stocked with all the right things - I do well. However, I tend to attempt to deprive myself, often, which results in moments of completely falling down.  My goal, through this entire journey, is to learn how to have the bad stuff, sometimes, while maintaining a healthy diet, most of the time, and in turn avoid binges, overeating, feelings of deprivation followed by feelings of entitlement. The ONLY way I can have a healthy relationship with food is to no longer abuse it and eat in moderation.

For many, having off-limits lists works and depriving themselves eventually turns into just lifestyle. "I don't eat that.' However, over the last year (yes, I've been doing Weight Watchers for a full year as of last weekend) I have discovered that doesn't work for me and I know it doesn't work for many that are just like me.

I attempted to cut Diet Coke completely out. I felt like I was missing something. I didn't feel "good" about it. I wanted something and constantly yearned for it. I'm sorry, I just am not into living my life unhappy because I am denying myself a drink that I really enjoy. So, I've made a deal with myself. I will drink Diet Coke. I have a "Diet Coke Time" and it's typically in the afternoons at work. I make sure I drink all the water during the day and then I have a small treat around 3pm each day to look forward to. If we go out to dinner, or running errands - I have a Diet Coke. I've cut way back and my consumption is no where near what it used to be - moderation. It's a great thing!

The same goes for sweets. For several weeks I attempted to cut out my evening chocolate fix, which, by the way, turned from regular ice cream, cake or candy bars before Weight Watchers to Weight Watcher's Smart One desserts and Vitatops which completely satisfy my craving and were on plan. But, I got it in my head that I needed to cut back on those things - that it was "time" to cut them out.  Well, consequently I felt deprived. I wanted my sweets. I wanted them so badly that I started the old tactics of sneaking them.  I started stopping at the vending machine at work and grabbing a candy bar or cookie.  At school in the evenings, with no one around, I would grab one of their homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I'm not sure who I thought I was hiding it from, perhaps myself and my tracker. If I ate them and only I knew, I could easily selectively forget - right?

Hence the same 5lbs I've been juggling the last 15 weeks.

What do I attribute all this to? DEPRIVATION!

I made the choice many, many weeks ago to change what was working for me. I wanted to strive for those stellar days of perfect food choices, no sweets, no refined sugar, no processed foods . . .

That simply doesn't work for me. I know this now. When I do that, I talk myself out of being on plan because the very first slip up I feel my day is no longer perfect and therefore, not worth while to continue on plan. It goes like this. . .

"Ok, I'm having an off-plan day (rather than considering it on plan or considering it an off-plan MOMENT), I might as well have whatever I want  now because tomorrow it's back on plan and I won't have it."  This thought then snowballs into having a full size Kit-Kat bar during they day, only to come home later that evening and have a fast-food milkshake. At least the milkshake was a small.

"I haven't tracked the last two days, this week is pointless, I might as well enjoy it because next week I'm back on plan."  If I know I like sweets and the plan is built to have what I want - make the sweets on-plan, in the budget and don't allow this to happen. Duh, Elizabeth!

"I NEVER eat sweets, so it's ok if I have two servings of that birthday cake. Today's a wash, anyway."  With over eater's math, those two servings of birthday cake can then equal birthday cake, ice cream, a handful of M&M's and several glasses of wine. Why? Because after being "good" for so long - I'm entitled, I deserve it, right?

I could have avoided all of these situations of "blowing" my days if I had just done what Weight Watchers preaches - plan it, have it, track it - it's ALL still on plan!  With the "I'm still on plan" mindset, I know I'm less likely to overeat the special treats because I know I'm within my limits to still lose weight. Nothing is blown, nothing is ruined and progress continues.

It's all a mental game.  My deprivation days end here. I know what worked for the first 50lbs and I can tell you, it wasn't following a strict diet of no treats, no chocolate and no enjoyment.

Week 53 - Weigh In

This is the start of something great. I feel re-motivated and I feel ready to go. I went to my meeting this morning expecting a gain. In fact, I came very close to using my no weigh-in pass just so I didn't have to see the number. However, I received an email from my wonderful leader. It was sent out to the group but it really spoke to me, personally. It was about coming home, no judgment, starting fresh and I told myself it's just one weigh-in, it's just one number and next week will be fantastic.

To my surprise, I lost 1.2lbs.

I've been in a rut with my weight loss. First it was my husband's surgeries, then finals, then graduation. Once all that was over it was like I took a giant sigh. I can't say I was always 100% focused on my weight loss, as I've always had a lot of stuff going on, but my focus certainly was more than it has been the last few weeks.

So, I'm re-focused and re-committed. Today, I'm changing it up. I'm cooking foods I haven't had in a long time. I'm setting myself up to have a really great week.

It's been a little while. How are all of you doing? Have you reached any major milestones? Have you tried anything new? Share!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fifteen years is a long time, but sometimes, it feels like it was yesterday

It was a Monday.  We received a call from the nursing home and the nurse on the other end told us she wasn't doing well. I immediately went there and found her gasping for breath. She had an oxygen mask which covered most of her face.  It was difficult to imagine what she was like several years prior - still a spry, spunky, independent woman. The last three years had certainly taken their toll. Her body was visibly smaller from the weight loss she experienced.  Her face drooped on the right side, as did her other right extremities. It had been two years and six months since I had heard her speak a word to me. Sure, we communicated, mostly with her head nods and I often just knew what she was wanting or needing; but we hadn't had a verbal conversation for two and a half years.  Strokes aren't forgiving, strokes aren't relenting and strokes do not discriminate.

Soon after I arrived she woke up. She made motions with her left arm making half moon swoop towards the ceiling.

After a series of absurd questions ranging from, "Do you want to go outside?" and "Do you want to go to the hospital?" to "Is the room too cold?"  my mother and I both asked her, "Do you see something there?"

She adamantly shook her head yes.

More random questions continued.

Her frustration grew. She started pointing at a photo frame that had photos of all the family. You know the kind, those that have the different shaped cutouts in the mat. In a medium sized oval was a photo of her son who had passed on three years prior. It was that single event that I truly believe was a catalyst to her stroke.

"Mothers should never have to bury their children," she told me on the day of my uncle's funeral. "I was supposed to go first. Not any of them!"

Eight months later, she was in the hospital paralyzed on her right side and unable to speak after a blood clot blocked a major vessel in her brain.

She continued to point at the frame, frustrated, tired and afraid. I can't even begin to imagine what it was like to be in your right mind, have 100% of the cylinders firing for conscious thought but have no ability to speak words and communicate verbally.

We finally asked the question, "Do you see him?"

She nodded her head and burst into tears with what little energy she had left.

"He's here, now?"

Again, she confirmed that he was, indeed, there. Her son. Her oldest son.  She then did a wide, swooping motion with her arm. A HUGE half-moon towards the ceiling.

"Are they all here?"

Softly, with tears in her eyes, she nodded. Her family had come for her.  She wept. My mother and I wept.

I think many would have dismissed these events as psychological breakdown during the dying process. I think many would say that due to the congestive heart failure her brain was slowly dying due to deprivation of oxygen which caused hallucinations and delusions. Perhaps, for them, that is the best explanation for events of these types. For me, I had seen it far too often.

After my grandmother had the stroke and after she had gone in the nursing home, I decided I wanted to be a nurse. Immediately after high school I enrolled at a branch of WVU as a pre-nursing major. A friend of my mother spoke to her about me training as a hospice aid. I jumped at the chance and soon I was working with cancer patients, aids patients - individuals that were terminally ill with less than three months to live. Honestly, it was the most rewarding job I have ever had.  Needless to say, I saw a lot of deaths as an 18 year old college freshman.  It wasn't uncommon for these events from "the other side" to happen during the active dying process.

I truly believe it was my destiny to do that work. It was training for the event that was about to take place. Without that training, without the greater understanding of death, which I had been given by witnessing the dying dance time and time again, I'm not sure I would have been able to handle the grief that was about to be handed to me.

I knew what my grandmother was seeing was real.  I stroked her head, softly cried, and told her to go with them. They were there to take her home.

More events took place throughout the night as I sat by her bed, listening to the soft mechanical hum of the oxygen machine and humidifier. Some were signs sent to me from above to comfort me. Some were signs sent to comfort her and lead her home. I am forever thankful I received and saw those signs the night of May 6, 1996.

The next morning, upon arriving home for a quick shower, the phone rang. My grandmother had passed away fifteen minutes after I left her bedside. It was clear that it was too difficult for her to let go with me there, pulling her to stay on this earth with just my presence; while they all gathered around her, encouraging and comforting her to go with them.

On May 7, 1996 I lost my grandmother. She was like a second mother to me. I miss her each and every day. Tomorrow, May 7, 2011,on the fifteenth anniversary of my grandmother's death, I will walk to accept my A.A. degree marking the halfway point to my R.N. degree.

I know she will be there with me.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Yes, that title is a very loud sigh of relief. About a half an hour ago I received an email on my droid informing me that final grades were posted and I could visit the website to view them. My heart immediately started to flutter. I am typically a 4.0 student. However, this last term was slightly different. I didn't have the time to study as much as I normally do. I didn't "feel" as organized or as accomplished. In fact, I really felt like I was struggling. It just wasn't my norm with all the outside distractions.

Needless to say, I've been stressing since I finished my last final exam. Had I done enough?

The class that stressed me out the most was my second term of Spanish. I had Spanish in high school - over 15 years ago. Unfortunately, those high school credits were far too old for the school to even dust off and consider, so I found myself taking both terms of Spanish as an accelerated course this last term. Spanish I wasn't a concern. I knew I passed it, as I wouldn't have been allowed to continue in Spanish II. However, the second Spanish caused me a lot of concern. I missed more classes. I failed one test. Yep, that's right, FAILED a test. (I NEVER fail tests.)  I threw my presentation together in the matter of a couple hours. My work in that class just wasn't up to my normal and I knew it. So, after the final, I stressed.

I couldn't imagine receiving a D or even worse, an F in that class and having to admit to myself and everyone else that my graduation would be held up another term. I couldn't imagine having that low of a grade on my transcripts.

So, back to tonight. I quickly typed in my username and password, took a deep breath and clicked the link for my grades.



To my surprise, staring back at me were two wonderful, wonderful little letters. Spanish I - A and Spanish II - B. OMG I pulled a B out of my butt!!!! LOL

I did well in my other two classes as well.

So, stress is gone. I am walking, in cap and gown, to pick up a degree that would mean very little to some (A.A. in General Studies) but means so much to me. It's really just a stepping stone degree to continue to my Bachelor's in Nursing and it's not a degree I can really do much with, other than know how hard I worked, how many hours I spent away from my children and family, how many late nights I spent studying and how much Diet Red Bull I consumed the last two years. It really means the world to me.

I did it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week 51 - Weigh In

Welcome home! That's what I felt as I walked back through the doors of my Weight Watcher's center. It's been three weeks since I attended a meeting and it feels like an eternity. I really miss my meetings when I don't attend and I really NEED my meetings. I gained. It wasn't a little gain. There is no sugar-coating this one (well, actually, this one was sugar-coated considering the things I consumed to get to it). It was a major gain. But that's behind me. No looking back, only forward. I know what mistakes were made, I know what I did. Today is a new day and a fresh start.

This fresh start truly is a new beginning. I'm approaching my year anniversary of weight loss and over this year I've had some pretty major events that could have put a stop to the entire process. But, they didn't. Not that I want to jinx myself but my life has changed greatly in the last few weeks. Since I'm finished with school until next January, I've been given the gift of time. I plan to hit the gym regularly again.

Immediately following the meeting a friend and I went to a local gym and put some time in on the treadmill. It felt great. I feel great!

I'm confident the SIX pounds I gained will come right back off in no time. This is going to be a fantastic week. I'm going to work hard, track precisely and welcome next week's weigh in with open arms.

Bring it on!!