Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Up and Down

           Well February has been quite a rollercoaster month.  I lost, I gained, I lost again, and then gained again.  Not surprised at all by this, since my eating was a bit off this month (which is a nice way of saying I totally blew it on a somewhat regular basis).  So thankful for my accountability group, who reminds and encourages me to stay on track (or, in my case, to get back on track).

                I was given the opportunity to talk about my weight loss journey recently on the radio.  A friend of mine hosts a weekly program on Sport City Chefs, an internet blogtalk radio station.  She and her husband are both former world champions in arm wrestling for multiple years.  It was a great experience and helped excite me again for this journey I am on.  You can find the interview online at: 

                At the end of the program, Carolyn summarized the show by listing the below 11 points that were discussed in the interview.  I thought that would be an easy way to work in my blog post this month!  So here they are:

1.      We don’t need a program. We need a paradigm shift for the rest of our life
2.      Learn to own your decision to lose weight
3.      Eat less, move more
4.      Feelings follow form
5.      Still do what you’re called to do, whether you feel like it or not
6.      Give people you trust permission to meddle in your life- for your sake.
7.      Create a different way of looking at food
8.      Walk ¼ mile, jog a ¼ mile.
9.      Get a buddy to hold you accountable.
10.   Join my online weight loss accountability group by emailing me at
11.   Don’t let the scale dictate your mood.

Okay, let’s talk food!

My newest favorite for breakfast:  Blueberry Protein Pancake

1 scoop protein powder (I use the Cookies and Cream flavor from Iso Pure)
2 egg whites
2 tble. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 medium ripe banana (mashed)
½ frozen blueberries (thawed)
¼ c. dry oatmeal

Mix the above together with a wire whisk.  Generously spray a dark coated pan with Olive Oil Pam spray.  Pour the whole thing in.  Not going to lie: this thing is really hard to flip.  Be sure you sprayed generously and don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty.  It’s well worth it in terms of taste!  Top with Walden Farms calorie free (as in ZERO) Blueberry syrup.  

Calories:  370.  SO GOOD!

The below is a before/after shot of my husband and I at our daughter’s high school formal.  Such a fun night!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year, New Beginnings

Well I was waiting to lose what I gained through the holiday season before posting another entry, but then I thought that was probably cheating and I should be real and just admit that I gained 5 pounds .  I’ve lost two of them and am hoping the other three disappear shortly so I can at least be where I was back in November.  I’m still 28 pounds away from goal and working hard to hit my goal weight in 2013.

I knew I was going to need to do something different and motivating to get back on track and, on a whim, threw out the idea on Facebook of starting an online support/encouragement group for weightloss and/or exercise goals.  I now feel like I’m starting a new chapter in my weightloss journey, only this time with a great group of friends who are there to encourage and challenge me along the way.  It was exactly what I needed and I feel like I’m back on the right track with more motivation than ever. 

After a year of counting calories and tracking macros (protein/fats/carbs), I  think I’m finally getting the hang of it.  =p  I can pretty much gauge my meals calorie and macro-wise (as long as I’m cooking it), which makes the meal planning much easier.  I know that if I have a certain breakfast, I will need to cut the potato at lunch, or if I’m craving a peanut butter protein shake (which is pretty much always), I am going to have to pass on the morning snack.  Knowing these things off the top of my head is exciting to me because it means that I have truly learned some things this past year about diet and nutrition.  If you knew me well before all this, you would understand why that excites me.  It’s never too late to learn!

Below is one of my favorite lunches.  Easy to make (all in the electric skillet), and doesn’t take too much time.  You could substitute the brussel sprouts for any green vegetable, and add mushrooms, onions, or anything else that falls into the “practically calorie-free” category (of which I have a list, as everyone should!).

Use a 5 oz red potato.  Cut into strips.  Spray Pam on one side of the electric skillet.  The potatoes take the longest to cook, so put them in first thing.  Sprinkle with a dash of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt (or other “better for you” seasoning salt.  Lawry’s is a bit of a weakness of mine), and some parsley.  After the potatoes have about a 5 minute head start, spray the other end of the electric skillet with Pam and put the vegetables in.  Sprinkle with no more than 1 tbl. Balsamic Vinegar.  After another 5 or 10 minutes of both of those cooking, add 22 pieces of the Kirkland brand Tail-off Shrimp.  Take the potatoes out, stir the shrimp and vegetables together, just to heat the shrimp up and give it the flavor of everything else in the pan. 
Calories:  296. (You could easily add a salad to this for just a handful of calories more)

I currently have “runners knee” and am unable to run, which kills me.  And the fact that it “kills me” is hilarious, considering last January I was working on trying to get a consistent walking schedule down, with absolutely no thought of ever in this life being a runner.  After much Googling and talking to runners, I decided to take all of January off and, Lord willing, will start up again in February.  In the meantime, I’m at the gym six days a week doing various cardio machines and strength training.  Anxious to see how that first run on February 1st goes!

Below is a “then and now” picture of me with my first grandson, Elliott, two years later.  Love that kid to pieces!

Wishing you all a happy new year, and hoping you too will hit your weight and exercise goals in 2013! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

One Year Anniversary

It has been one year this week that my daughter Rachel kicked off my weight loss journey by striking a deal with me that she would cook for me and I could only eat what she put in front of me (see  One year later and I have lost 60 pounds, 43.5 inches, and am down 8 pant sizes.  I went from not working out at all to now running 20 miles a week, and hitting the gym three days a week.  For the first time in many years, I can walk into a room and not have the passing thought that I am the largest person in the room.  I feel “normal” and am so thankful God has brought about this change in my life. 

I’m on the home stretch, with still 25 pounds to go.  The weight comes off much more slowly these days, but until I hit the magic number, I will continue counting those calories, tracking the macros (protein, carbs, fats - see, keeping up with all the working out, and holding back on certain foods I one day look forward to eating again.  I can’t wait to get there!

While doing the above is how I am losing weight, that is only the physical part of it.  So much of dieting is mental.  You have to really be at a place in your life where you really, truly, honestly want to lose the weight.  You have to be at a place where you are willing to give up things to get there.  You have to want it badly enough to do things you may even hate (like working out).  And you have to be ready to persevere through the plateaus and the temptations along the way.

You also have to learn to view food differently.  Food is fuel, not comfort.  Your body needs fuel, good fuel, to run properly.  But it doesn’t need to run on a full tank.  The recent gas hike we experienced in San Diego caused me to change my approach to fueling up our 15 passenger van (an incredible gas-hog).   We knew the situation was temporary, so rather than fill up, I would just put enough gas in to get us to the next event.  Once the crisis was over, I went back to filling up as usual.  Dieting is like that in some ways.  Each meal isn’t about “filling up”.  It’s about getting enough fuel in your body to get to the next meal.  You will leave each meal with plenty more room for additional fuel.  But you will have enough to get through the next three or four hours.  “Filling up” is for another time in my life, when I can "afford" it.  Until those last 25 pounds are gone, I’m still in “crisis” mode, putting enough fuel in my body to make it to the next meal.  No more; no less.  It takes awhile to get used to leaving the table still wanting more.  It takes even longer to stop trying to convince yourself you “need” more.  That’s a huge part of the mental challenges dieting brings. It took many months before my attitude towards food began to change.  But as you stay the course and weight starts coming off, it gets easier to truly want to lose more.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any recipes, so here is my newest favorite snack: cinnamon crisps.

Heat oven to 400.
Cut up two corn tortillas into eight triangular pieces in a small bowl.
Mix with 1–1.5 tsp. olive oil
Add two packets of Stevia and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Toss to mix well.
Lay pieces out on a cookie sheet and bake on the first or second shelf in oven, roughly 5 minutes.  Flip and bake another couple minutes, or until baked to your “crispiness” preference.
Smells and tastes great! Yum!

I think I'll go make myself some as an Anniversary Snack.  What a difference a year can make! (Picture on right is a visual of the 43.5 inches lost.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Still Going

After no weight loss for way too long, the scale is slowly starting to move again.  I’ve lost three more pounds since the “plateau”.  Probably the most difficult part of being on a plateau (besides the emotional aspect of it), is staying on track eating-wise when you see no result.  I can’t say I did very well with that.  More cheats happened in the last two months, than in the whole seven months before that!  But now that the scale is moving again, however slowly, it is definitely motivating me to be more diligent (again) with my food choices.  On the upside of being on plateau, it gives you a whole new perspective on “only” losing one pound a week.  I was never so excited to see a minus 1 result on the scale as I was that day.  I was simply ecstatic.  And now I’m just grateful for anything, anything, less than it was the week before.

Running continues to be the main part of my workout plan.  I run 4 days a week and go to the gym 2 days.  I went back and reread my posts about running at the beginning of the year.  I really, truly, honestly hated it.  It was strictly to help the weight come off.  My plan was that I’d stop when I hit my weight goal.   But that has changed.  Radically.  I. Love. Running.  Somewhere between the first 5K (in March) and now, I truly began to enjoy running.  I look forward to my run days.  I even occasionally sneak in a 5th run on my “rest day” under the guise of “it’ll just be a relaxing, slow, recreational run.”  If you would have told me seven months ago I would ever use the word “recreational” and “run” in the same sentence, I would have never believed you.  It is amazing to me how much my attitude toward this single activity has completely changed.  And I am convinced it is what is helping me lose the weight.

You may be like the way I was when I started this whole journey, i.e. hating working out.  I didn’t do anything for the first six weeks I started the diet.  When I did start, it was with much grumbling and complaining and lack of a whole lot of effort at first.  The encouragement is that your attitude may end up changing.  I know you don’t believe me, even as you read this.  I wouldn’t have either.  But I can testify that by sticking to a workout plan (whether it’s running, swimming, biking, cross-fit, lifting…whatever), and slowly seeing results from that plan, and pushing through the times when you absolutely hate what you’re doing but know you need to do it anyway,  your attitude toward that very hated activity may begin to change.  Not overnight, and not anytime soon.  But if it happens for you , as it did for me, one day you’ll look behind and be totally shocked by the change.

While it’s clear to me that I won’t make my goal of hitting my desired weight  in a year, I am still committed and encouraged, and despite not blogging much, still very much see myself on a journey.  Like everything else in life, it has ups and downs and long stretches of nothing exciting.  And through it all, I just keep going.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back on Track

It’s been over a month now with no weight loss.  However, August wasn’t exactly a model month.  With a couple family birthdays (including my own) and various outings with friends, there was more than an isolated few “off track” days.  In retrospect, I should be grateful there was no gain and I’m still where I was a month ago!

So today, with parties behind me and the beginning of our school year and normal routines, I am back on track and focused yet again on losing the rest.  After asking a lot of people who have gone through the plateau stage, it seems shaking up the workout routine is the common thread in getting the scale moving again.  In light of that, I’m increasing my workout times and doing varied workouts, getting out of my ruts, and pushing to burn more calories in each workout than previously burned.  Another thing everyone says, that I know I haven’t been consistent with, is keeping up the water intake.  So I’m back to my huge blue water bottle and trying to get 1-2 of those down a day.  We’ll see how that goes!

Thank you for all the encouraging notes, emails and comments during my plateau.  I not only have the blessing of losing weight through this, but the blessing of a great support network, which keeps me going and motivates me to finish what I started.  You help me more than you know!

Another before/in progress picture below.  The first one is with my oldest daughter a few years ago.  The second was this weekend, on a birthday shopping trip with my second daughter.  My children are nine of the  reasons I want to continue losing weight!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Plateau

Three weeks now with no weight loss.  The dreaded plateau.  It would have been more convenient to have the plateau come when I was in a definite size.  But I’m between sizes right now, belting one and squeezing in the other.  Of course it would have been even more convenient to plateau at maintenance! But since these things never seem to care much about convenience, I’m just continuing to do what I do and wait it out.

In the absence of any exciting weight loss to report, other than the 54 pounds to date (not that that's not exciting in and of itself), I’ve decided to focus on inches lost in this post.  I measured at the beginning of all this, last November, but only once or twice since then.  I must admit, I’m more focused on the number on the scale, even though everything I read tells me not to be.  But the inches lost are adding up and I was quite surprised by how much less of me there is.

There are seven areas I measure (chest, waist, hips, thigh, stomach, buttocks, and arm).  In total from those seven areas, I’ve lost 38 inches!  That’s over a YARD of me GONE!  And if you count the size I can squeeze into (which, of course, I am), I’m down 8 jean sizes.

So if you are on a weight loss journey, here is my tip for the day:  measure yourself at the beginning and then don’t do it again until you hit your plateau (and you will hit a plateau).  It gives you something to get excited and motivated about, even though the scale refuses to budge. Because right now, I gotta admit, I'm pretty motivated and excited!  

My other random tip for those taking up running or cardio that you otherwise don’t care for: audiobooks.  I started downloading books on my itunes and only listen to them when I run.  I cannot believe what a difference it has made.  I get so lost in the story, it takes my mind off the run (or cardio machine) and makes the time fly by.  Sometimes when I should be done with the workout, but the chapter isn’t finished, I keep going to get to a good stopping point.  And because I won’t let myself listen to it unless I’m working out, there are some days I can’t wait to get to the gym, or start the run, so I can find out what happens next! Books that leave you hanging at the end of chapters are especially effective in this regard.

And speaking of running, I ran my second 5K on the 4th of July.  I beat my time goal, which was to finish in 33 minutes, by two minutes, finishing in 31 minutes.  That’s five minutes faster than the first 5K in March.  VERY happy about that!  =D  Below is my wonderful husband, Ron, who also ran the race, but finished considerably before me.   

Bottom line, plateau notwithstanding, I’m still committed and on track.  Other than a couple day splurge with some girlfriends on a recent getaway, I’ve been keeping to my calorie and percentage goals.  I’m obviously looking forward to the scale moving again, but the way I eat is pretty much the way I plan to eat long term anyway, so I don’t feel like I’m spinning my wheels for nothing.  I may not make my final goal in the one year time frame I was hoping for, but, Lord willing, I’ll hit it eventually.  And in the meantime, I feel better than I’ve felt in years!  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nobody Said It'd Be Easy

I love those weeks where I’ve lost a couple more pounds, tried a new recipe that is just to die for in a completely healthy-okay-to-eat kind of way, or had some really cool new gadget or insight that helps propel me into the next week of my weight loss journey.

This last week was not one of those weeks.

Last week, hands down, has been one of the toughest weeks for me so far.  I have a sweet tooth craving that cannot be satisfied, jars of peanut butter that audibly call to me at odd hours in the day, and the munchies almost around the clock.  Not just today, which I could probably handle, but the entire last week.  While to some degree I’ve succumbed to these temptations, for the most part, I’ve just suffered through it.  But the longer it lasts, the weaker I get.  And the weaker I get, the crankier I get.  And the crankier I get, the more I think about peanut butter.

This next paragraph is supposed to contain the epiphany that saves the day.  It’s supposed to be the nugget that you walk away with that encourages and inspires you to stay the course, or start the course, or get back on the course.   But today, I sort of hate the course, and have nothing short of this to say:  this is hard.

Losing weight is never easy.  And losing a lot of weight throws the element of a lot of time into the mix, making it not only not easy, but seemingly unending.   It’s at this point that we separate the people who are committed to losing weight from the people who merely want to lose weight.  It’s that commitment that compels me to not give in, to not take a step backwards in my journey, only to have to make up for it next week.  Not because I’m obsessed.  Not because losing weight has become an idol in my life.  But because I have a goal to be in the “healthy weight” category.   I have a goal to be healthy and keep up with my nine kids and grandkids.  I can’t meet that goal by giving in whenever it gets hard. Yet I can already hear the voices of some well-meaning friends who would say to do just that.  “Take a couple days off”. “Life is short, eat dessert first” kind of advice.  When I get to maintenance, there will be times I do just that.  But for another 32 pounds, I’m still on a journey.  And I can’t get to where I’m going if I start walking backwards.  Please don’t tell me to just go for it and get back on track next week.  What I need is….

I can’t even finish that thought because I don’t even know what I need.  Sometimes things are just hard and you have to pick yourself up and just keep going.  I suppose if you’re really looking for it, you could find a life analogy in there somewhere, though if you find one, it would be completely unintentional.  This is just me, struggling to stay on track with the goals before me.  Even when it’s hard, even when I don’t want to, even when others would tell me to take a break.

Not the most encouraging post, I know.  I’d apologize, but it’s real.  If you think losing weight will be easy, you might as well know the truth.  It’s not.  Sometimes it’s just really hard and not a lot of fun.  But the more you distance yourself from your ultimate goal by giving in or taking breaks, the longer it will take to get to your destination.

 Just. Keep. Going.