when giving 10% is a good thing

15 Sep

10%…it’s a number that doesn’t sound like much, right?  If I were to give 10% at work, the results wouldn’t be too great!  If we were business partners and I offered you 10% of the profits…you’d be a little underwhelmed.

But there are times when 10% actually amounts to quite a bit….for example…picking between meat that is 80% lean and 90% lean…sign me up!  Eating 10% less calories or moving 10% longer than you did the day before…that’s something to be proud of.  These small percentages add up quickly…and that’s when 10% is a really good thing!

It’s also a really good thing when I sit back and realize that during this journey, I have managed to shed 10% of myself!  That 10% is equivalent to a small child.  That 10% represents months of trying to eat better, move more, and gain a better understanding of what food used to mean and what food SHOULD mean to me.  That 10% didn’t come off easy, and it didn’t come off quickly.  When you’re talking about weight, 10% is quite a challenge and makes you realize it’s not such a small percentage after all!

But here’s what I find to be most interesting….while I still have a long way to go on my journey, I’ve already come so far.  That 10% has really made a difference in me.  My clothes fit differently.  I am slowly getting a new wardrobe without spending any money because I can now fit into clothes that have sat in my closet untouched for years.  I feel a little lighter on my feet.  I sleep a little better with fewer aches and pains.  I even think that “little” 10% has given me just a bit more confidence.    But that’s not all… Did you know that by losing 10% of your body weight, you drastically improve your health?  A quick online search will reveal some of the health benefits that come along with that undervalued little percentage….  Here’s what I found:

By losing 10% of your weight, you can:

  • Reverse or prevent diabetes by improving glucose tolerance
  • Improve sleep apnea
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol by reducing LDL–the bad cholesterol
  • Improve triglyceride levels
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease and sudden death from heart disease or stroke
  • Prevent chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Reduce aches and pains
  • Increase energy levels
  • And in some cases, eliminate certain medications–yes, 10% may be more effective than the nasty meds we have to take due to this weight!  That’s amazing!

Wow…it’s no wonder I can already feel a difference!  But as I mentioned, I’m only at the beginning of my journey.   I have a long way to go, but I thought that this milestone was worth sharing!

By having now lost 10% of my original body weight, I have a better sense of where I am going, how long and how hard it is to get there…AND the much-needed motivation to push through.  If I feel better  minus 10%, I can only imagine what minus 20% feels like!

I’m going to do my best to not focus on how far I have to go and instead take the momentum I’ve gained by how far I’ve come and see if I can do it again.  I am keeping my eye on my next 10%.  Afterall, it’s a tiny number, right?  😉

It’s no longer uncharted territory…I just conquered the first beast…using the same tactics, I can do it again.

This time, I’d love company….who wants to join me and shed 10% together?  It’s no race, no crazy competition…just good ol’ fashioned  motivation and sharing of obstacles, struggles and successes.  My theory is that everything is better with a buddy!  So let me know if you’re in!!

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nothing is more annoying than a reformed smoker

18 Aug

Photo Credit: Axolot

Sorry guys…this post has very little to do with my weight-loss progress and more a venting session on something I need to get off my chest.

Do any of you have friends (or acquaintances) that used to smoke cigarettes, but once they quit they quickly forgot how much they enjoyed those little dangerous sticks of nicotine?  They forgot about their own addictions and the struggle they went through to overcome that addiction and suddenly became those annoying ex-smokers who pointed fingers and were dramatically adverse to the smell of smoke!  They were suddenly untouchable and holier than thou!

Isn’t that just amazing?

So as I encounter people who have recently lost weight and choose to throw stones at people who are struggling or making poor nutrition decisions, it just really irks me.

Photo Credit: Iamagenious

It wasn’t too long ago that we were all unaware of (or indifferent about) the bad decisions we were making.  It wasn’t all that long ago that we sat in that chair scarfing down whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

My guess is that we only decided to take that first step to a healthier life after something deep inside of us said it was time, not because of the judgments or unsolicited advice of others.

So imagine my surprise when I encountered someone who has recently struggled with weight loss actually contemplating going up to a stranger and pointing out the damage that they are doing.  WHAT!?!  REALLY!?!

Man, I was speechless…How soon we forget!  We begin unloading our own baggage and begin finding faults in others.  How disheartening.  As a “big girl” who has been known to occasionally wear her heart on her sleeve, the world is cruel and judgmental.  It seems that we’ve been conditioned to wrongfully judge a book by its cover.  It’s hurtful and narrow-minded, but I guess it’s what we do. What do you do when you see someone making bad nutrition decisions?  Am I crazy because I can still easily relate to them?  I am one slip up from being right there next to them!

Am I strange for not having the urge to confront them like an ex-smoker might?  I was sitting in that seat only months ago consistently making bad decisions and I know that if some stranger would have come up to me with their unsolicited advice and opinions that it would not have ended well.   To this day, I am not perfect, will never be and not sure I ever want to think that I am.  I still slip up or make bad decisions (whether planned or unplanned).  One thing remains the same, I wouldn’t appreciate someone approaching me to give me their “take on the situation.”  It’s one thing when your family and friends hold an intervention because they genuinely care about your well-being and a completely different thing when a stranger takes it upon themselves to “save you” from yourself.

Guys seriously…set me straight here.  Why do I feel so angry about this?  Perhaps I should look at this situation from another angle.  Maybe this so-called “reformed smoker” just knows the road this person is headed down and wants to warn them as any Good Samaritan would?

At what point are we qualified to give advice like this to someone we don’t know?  Is it really coming from a good place or are we really just sitting back and judging that person and then feeling the need to bestow some wisdom to them–whether they wanted it or not.  Shouldn’t we be doing something more constructive like focusing on our own problems, assisting people who want our help, or helping those who are actually in the mindset of making a change. It’s sad how fast we forget the road we just took and become the person judging instead of the one being judged.

Ok…hopping off my soapbox!

Whew…glad I got that out of my system!  And for the record…as I know I will get some heat for the title and references…yes, it’s judgmental as well as a huge generalization.  Rest assured my smoking (and reformed smoking buddies)…this was just the first comparison that came to mind.  And yes, I am well aware that reformed smokers are not all annoying.  This was just a hook to get you to read this…and, well… if you made it this far….  (it worked)!  Love you guys!  😉

step 1: re-focus

15 Aug

So as I mentioned in my last post, I am going to find things that will help me stay focused on WHY I am on this journey!  I had a great conversation this week with my “weight-loss buddy” or better said, my accountability coach!  We talked a little about my posts and where my head was now.

I love blogging because it helps me work out issues, regroup, and brainstorm.  I love my readers and friends because they support me and help me get back on track.  My AC (accountability coach) had a great idea for a project over the next few weeks which would help me to become more aware of the positive choices I make everyday!

Basically what she wants me to do is create an area on the blog where I write my “Coulda, Buts”  Sounds strange right!?  A “Coulda, But” simply means I could have done this, but instead chose to do that.  Example (and one of today’s Coulda, Buts) I Coulda sneaked into that bag of Kettle Chips, But instead wrote a sticky on the “snack counter” that says, “THIS ALL ADDS UP!  PROCEED WITH CAUTION!”  🙂  And to be honest…that felt pretty good!

The point of the Coulda, Buts is to acknowledge the positive choices that I make everyday and give me something that I can look back on and point to when I’m not giving myself enough credit or if I’m being hard on myself.

In addition to the Coulda, Buts, Emily–my fab RD–gave me another great exercise that should help me to stay focused when I need a little extra boost of willpower and motivation.  She suggested that I create a list of reasons why I chose to go on this journey.  This exercise will serve as my reminder of why losing weight is important to me.  Something that I can revisit in moments of weakness or when I feel myself slipping back into old habits.

What do you think?

I plan on posting these this weekend, I’ll probably stick them up under that big empty space called “My Journey” so I can get to them easily!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what your “Coulda Buts” are for today or why you chose to go on this journey!

an all too familiar feeling

8 Aug

Finally sobering up from last week, I spent some time this weekend thinking about what this journey means for me.  The last few days, I’ve been really struggling, feeling sluggish and finding myself tempted by junk that I haven’t had in months.

I have this fear in the back of my mind and recognizing a feeling that is all too familiar.  I have now lost 36.2 pounds, which is a big milestone because as an adult, it is the most I’ve lost at any one time.  In the past, the amount of weight that I’ve lost hasn’t been motivation enough to keep going.  Instead I relapse.  At 36.2 pounds, I am excited, but extremely skeptical and fearful of what happens next.

This skepticism combined with a feeling of not being on top of my game the last few days has really got me concerned.  I’ve learned so much about how to eat better and make better choices over the last few months.  My clothes were fitting better and I was feeling good.  But the last few days, I really feel like I’ve hit a wall.  I feel gross–sort of bloated and stuffed.  Nothing seems to fit right, the scale isn’t moving, and I can feel my motivation waning.  I know I am in dangerous territory.

Yesterday I spent some time thinking about what habits I ignore that are leading up to what feels a lot like a relapse?  I spent the better part of the day thinking about this and believe I’ve identified four things that have led to my failure in the past and are again threatening my progress.

  • Fear of Failure
  • Underestimating Small Decisions
  • Creating Unnecessary Obstacles
  • Losing Focus

Let me explain…

  1. Fear of Failure: At times I am my own worst enemy.  I hold myself back for fear of not doing something perfectly or failing altogether.  As far as this journey, I think my biggest mental block is seeing how far I’ve come.  Instead of seeing 36 pounds as a positive, a part of me sees it as a long way to fall, if for some reason I fail again.  If I had lost 5 pounds and regained it, I would have been bummed, but to regain 36 pounds…I’m not sure if I am prepared for such disappointment.  Rational?  NO.  A real fear? YES.
  2. Underestimating Small Decisions: A big part of this journey for me is not feeling deprived, as this tends to lead to burning out and giving up.  I admit that throughout this journey I’ve made what felt like small, insignificant decisions and ignored the implications.  I’ve decided to occasionally have “a bite of this” or “a bite of that” and then simply went on with life as though those small bites wouldn’t add up.  Looking back on those “insignificant” choices, I wonder if I unknowingly have been reinforcing bad habits and failing to build up the willpower that I need to be successful on this journey.  Now, I don’t think a bite of TB’s ice cream every so often or a little bite of cake here or there would make me regain a lot of weight, but I think it reinforces a nasty habit of not being mindful and treating these “bites” like free food.  I can see how this could easily get out of hand.  A bite today, could easily become three bites, a slice, or a binge tomorrow. Before I allow this to happen, I need to rethink EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth and CLAIM IT!
  3. Creating Unnecessary Obstacles: My last post was about eating home-cooked meals away from home.  I got an interesting comment on this one from reader and fellow blogger, Fit B, saying that she lets people know about her journey so that they can be supportive.  That approach was spot on and would solve the problem, but it was my response that later made me pause.  I responded that I wasn’t ready to tell everyone because I didn’t want people constantly monitoring what I eat.  After I responded, I thought…why IS that?  Is it because I don’t want people to hold me accountable?  I don’t want people to know if I jump or fall off the wagon?  I don’t want to give up that freedom of making bad decisions without being judged—or so I think?  WOW!  This blew my mind.  At the end of the day…I need to hold MYSELF accountable and stop with the excuses.  This is a tough realization.  No, it doesn’t mean I will rush out and post on Facebook that I am on this journey, but it does mean that I need to be aware that I tend to build up walls that I can hide behind.  It is no secret that I need to eat better and lose weight and the fact that I am trying should be applauded, not hidden.  I need to work on getting over this hang up, as it really would make my life easier.
  4. Losing Focus: And finally, my last epiphany is the simple fact that at times I lose focus.  I forget why this journey is so important.  I take my eye off the prize and get distracted.  If I am serious about doing this, I need to remain focused on what drives me to WANT to get better!

Okay, so this post is CRAZY long…my sincere apologies, but I needed to write down these thoughts.  I know I need to face my fears and get to a place where I can accept occasional slip ups.  I need to take ownership of bad choices and need to learn to stop myself before I make an excuse or make life harder than it has to be.  And I desperately need to STAY focused!!

Anyone else out there get to a certain point in weight loss where you hit a wall and begin slipping in the wrong direction?  What do you do to break through and stay focused?

the trouble with home-cooked meals

7 Aug

A multiple choice question for you.

When trying to maintain a healthy diet, which would you prefer:

A.  a home-cooked meal

B. eating at a restaurant

Prior to last week, I would have chosen (without a second thought) choice A.

With “A” I have more control and much less temptation.  There are no surprises, and I know exactly what I am about to eat and how that might affect my progress on this weight loss journey.

The sad realization is that there is a BIG problem with choosing “A”.  “A” not only includes a home cooked meal prepared in the safety of your own house where you can read labels and substitute less than desirable ingredients with higher fiber/lower fat alternatives.  No, what lurks in the “A” category are home cooked meals made by our friends and family.  Meals cooked with love and all the good intentions to leave you feeling satisfied.  Meals that unfortunately also  threaten to sabotage your efforts to eat healthier.

Think about this for a second, because this is a rude awakening that I had last week.  TB had family in town.  When family is in town that means one thing…a lot of  family meals and gatherings.  Restaurants, our house, his parent’s house, his brother’s new girlfriend’s house..you get the picture.  It’s what I could best describe as a “Taste of” festival of nonstop eating, drinking and reckless abandonment of the rules I’ve learned and the path I so desperately need and want to take.

By the time this love fest ended, I was left feeling sick and less than satisfied.

I hoisted myself onto the scale to see digits that had disappeared weeks ago.  Oh…SO NOT WORTH IT!

Which is why I am asking you guys this very important question.  What do you do when faced with a home-cooked meal at someone else’s house?  Do you just go with the flow in fear of insulting them?  Do you mention that you’re trying to eat healthier and imply that they clearly are not.  What an awkward situation.

I tried to make healthy decisions as much as I could, but honestly can say I was simply not prepared for what was transpiring.  The thought never occurred to me that having people in town could get me so off track.

The nights we went out for dinner at local restaurants were much easier than those nights of sitting around a table with Thanksgiving like portions of lasagna, cheesy garlic bread, caesar salad with loads of dressing and vegetables dripping with butter.  Good Grief!  Not to mention the desserts, wine, and sugary after-dinner coffees!

At least at a restaurant I can plan ahead, try to find the nutritional value of the meal prior to leaving the house and have a tight game plan.

The only thing I know now is that after last week this girl desperately needs an action plan for these dangerous home-cooked meals.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Longing for a way to see the glass half full, I did see one tiny silver lining in this past week.  I felt miserable.  I was bloated, my body ached and I felt absolutely BLAH!  It literally felt like I was hungover from food.  I know it may seem weird that I am calling this my silver lining, but it really is!  I’ve eaten like this before (too many times to count).  The difference…I can recognize that it makes me feel bad.  You see, prior to this journey I thought that blah, bloated feeling was normal.  At least it was MY normal.  Feeling sluggish and tired and just all together crummy was status quo.  This realization gives me hope.  I can literally feel the damage that I am doing to my body.  I feel as though for the first time I am aware of bad decisions and can hear my body talking back.  And believe me…it is NOT happy!

So, my point (600+ words later) is to warn you: Don’t be fooled by a home cooked meal.  They are not all created equal…and some are much worse than what you’d find at a restaurant.  But seriously, if anyone has any suggestions on how to handle yourself when faced with plates of calories and evil temptations…please let me know.  After this week, I’ve decided that I want a solid holiday game plan.  I know we’re months away from the holidays, but never too early to prepare!  I’m going to need some preparation and LOTS of practice to say no thank you, no sir and no ma’am!

i’ve been down and out

15 Jul

Ok, let’s flip that and reverse it–I’ve been out and down.

I’ve been out (of touch that is) for far too long!!

And I’ve been down lately…fortunately I am not talking about my mood, but my SCALE!  Yep, that’s right folks!  I am moving on down.  So far I am on track, losing a healthy amount of weight each week.  I am mixing up my activity and searching high and low for healthy alternatives to satisfy the occasional craving.

It’s been a while since I last checked in and I am having withdrawals from you guys!  I hope you are all enjoying July and the warm weather.  Here are a few updates on my journey:

I am now in my ninth week of working with Emily (my awesome dietitian) and although I haven’t checked in on my blog lately, I have had weekly meetings with Emily to keep me on track.  I am having so much fun–something that I would never say about dieting.  The great thing about having Emily on Team Dee is that she really challenges me, but wants to make sure that I don’t get burned out.  Each week I learn about a new nutrition concept or work on mastering a concept that she taught me the week before.  We are taking this slow, at a pace that works for me and she really works with me not only to understand each aspect of the lesson, but find practical ways for me to successfully incorporate these learnings into my lifestyle!  This is really terrific!  She has taught me about the importance of Fiber, Fats, Carbs and now we are working on making sure that I am getting the right kind of carbs in my diet.  I’ve had a few grocery assignments to help me stock up on some healthy and yummy snacks that not only taste good, but are good for me.  She is slowly giving me an internal (and dare I say…external) makeover.

What I love most about this experience with Emily is that she is sincerely passionate about making sure that I not only make better decisions, but understand why I should make them and teaches me how to make them on my own.

Whether it is preparing a meal at home or eating out with friends, I am learning how to make smarter choices and do something that I haven’t done in such a long time…have an occasional splurge.  Pre-SkinnyGene (which is what I will refer to my life before Emily), every day, every meal was what someone with a “normal” diet may call a splurge.  I would eat out every meal for weeks and not bat an eye.  A typical day could have easily consisted of skipping breakfast, having fried chicken tenders, french fries and garlic bread for lunch, and then sharing a pizza with TB for dinner.  Now, if I go out at all, I crave a yummy sandwich from Subway.  You’d be surprised.  Once you detox from a high fat/high carb diet, you really don’t crave it as much as you would think.  I must admit that I eat more than I feel like I should at Subway, but it’s SO good.  My sandwich of choice…Turkey and Black Forest Ham on Wheat (no cheese lots of veggies, with honey mustard dressing–that they say is Fat Free, but it sure tastes sinful!!)

Also, since I’ve been gone I had a few great mood lifters as well.  TB told me the other day that he was beginning to notice a little difference in my pants.  I didn’t believe him because they felt the same to me, but shortly after that I started going into my closet and pulling out a few things that I had tucked away about a year ago because they were too tight.  And sure enough, they are fitting a little better these days!  They aren’t perfect just yet, but the fact that I can wear them out of the house is a HUGE step in the right direction!!

So in short (yea right…nothing I ever write is SHORT!), I am doing great and feeling great!  How are you guys?

i think he’s trying to kill me

30 May

Whew…Not sure what’s going on with my body these last few days.  I am exhausted!  I wake up tired so I am dragging booty all day.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t blessed with the ability to go back to sleep once I get up, so once those eyes are open and I am mentally alert,  G A M E    O V E R.  Then, as we begin our day full of errands, I drag myself into the insane heat which is Texas this time of year and I literally feel what little energy I have being sucked out of my body almost immediately!  I often times wish we could move to a cooler climate.

And to make matters worse, I am pretty sure the boyfriend is trying to kill me.  He has always been my opposite (and as they say, we’re supposed to attract).    He likes to spend money, I like to save money.  He’s full of jokes (at least he thinks they are funny) and I am at times more serious.  He’s great with his hands, and I am anything but handy.  He’s a neat freak and I am a creative mind!  His idea of a great weekend is walking around in the heat all day or spending the day on the boat….my idea of a great weekend is being in air conditioning, preferably lounging on a couch.  He’s full of energy and I…well..now we’ve come full circle.

So jury, I present you with the following evidence that suggests I should be in fear for my life:

Let’s go back a few days to Friday evening.  It was time to cut the grass, a job that he typically does solo.  Last week, being in need of my 30-minutes of exercise, I decided to assist (a first for me).  Now I admit, it was very enjoyable, almost therapeutic.  But it is important that the ladies and gentlemen of the jury understand that this scene played out on a nice unseasonably cool day which helped contribute to my positive attitude and willingness to help out.

So on this hot evening, when temperatures were still at about 90 degrees, the boyfriend excitedly announces…”Time to cut the grass!”  After being outside in the heat for about 5 minutes I wondered if he was nuts!  The answer is YES!  I was able to escape this torture by convincing him to let it cool down just a little.  So about 30 minutes later it was probably 85 degrees and we began edging and weed-eating, mowing and blowing.  On this particular evening he requested that the yard be cut on a diagonal.  I admit, I have always been fond of yards cut on a diagonal, but now that I have had to do it, I question if the homeowner just doesn’t have anything better to do with their time.  It took TWICE as long to do that, and let’s just say, it takes some serious skills to get perfectly straight lines (which I did not achieve this time).  Needless to say, I was weak in the knees kind of tired after that and by the time Saturday rolled around my battery was still not completely recharged.  This brings us to Saturday…a new day and time to hit the road yet again!  Yesterday’s agenda was to get the necessary equipment to wash and wax the boat (*cry*), go buy a Wii because he thought it would be the perfect way to have fun while being active (also due to my constant moaning about the heat and because HE LIKES TO SPEND MONEY), and last but not least he wanted to work on finally completing our outdoor project of building a greenhouse which has carried on far to long now.  Does this sounds like a lot of work to anyone else out there besides me?  I am pretty convinced that the boyfriend is trying to kill me.  He has never pushed me as hard as he is pushing me now.  I am not sure when we began to grow apart.  The boyfriend has always acknowledged my limits and has never asked me for much–certainly never expecting this level of activity in the past.  Which is probably how we’ve made it in this relationship so far.

I admit to the jury that over the last few weeks, I have tried to move more to strengthen my heart.  But did this give him the right to torture me?  What is clear is that somewhere along the line he became very confused and now believes he is dating a new woman.  He seems to think that I can be the machine that he is.  I ask, “Is this the beginning of the end?”  I believe the evidence speaks for itself.  It is clear that he is trying to kill the old me…the one that has been by his side through thick and thin over the years, the one who has laughed at his silly jokes, rolled her eyes at his crazy talk, endured his little quirks, and reminded him often how much I completed him.  Yes, we think the evidence is quite clear.  We rest our case.

For the first time, I feel too old for him.  I feel like he should look for some young little thing to replace me.  [Note:  He is actually about a year older than me, but an active little booger].

May the Lord give me strength!  Today we are supposed to finish working on the projects that we started yesterday.  It’s almost 1pm…I’ve been up for about 2 hours and I am already ready for a nap.  This is pathetic!  Blog friends…wish this girl luck…it’s going to be a LONG day!!!