Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflecting and recharging

Tomorrow night, we shall again sing "Auld Lang Syne" and bid a big ol' sayonara to 2010! I think we ought to sing a different tune: "You say you wanna revolution, well, you know...."

Last year, I wrote that I had decided I would not do resolutions, but do revolutions instead: "Revolution: a turning around. What are you doing to turn your health ... your lifestyle ... your family's health ... around? How are you moving from the negative into the positive? Join the revolution." In 2010, we had revolutions along with revelations. And I'm glad that I was part of a move toward being even healthier.
  • I learned to be proactive and take charge for health -- both mine and for others. The words that kept coming up for me, over and over, were "educate and advocate" ..... in ways I never imagined, I find that I am doing exactly that.
  • I took great joy in learning more about preparing food, and finding just how much better my own food could be. And sometimes, the simpler the better.
  • I learned about strength training and worked on it all through the late spring into now. The one regret is that I didn't do enough steady-state cardio on the off-days. I fully intend to remedy that in the coming year.
As I said, the phrase "educate and advocate" were my buzzwords, and it happened in ways I never expected. I expect to educate people about healthy choices, both in my work in HR and in my work for Weight Watchers. But I never expected it to hit home as it did this summer with my mother's health. And the message was, "Never settle for less than the right answer." Keep digging. Had I stopped, we might never have known that my mother had a silent heart attack. We may have pushed her to do more than she was physically capable, and I'd be sitting here typing out a eulogy instead of a story of moving toward wholeness.

I've also become involved with a support group for those of us who live with lymphedema. We are working to educate and advocate.... we all seem to share the story of healthcare providers, and most especially insurance companies, who have no clue about lymphedema and do not understand all that the condition entails. And sadly, some neither know the facts, nor want to know more.

So the journey continues..... viva la revoluciĆ³n!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

OOPS!!! Some random thoughts to end 2010....

In the holiday madness, I just realized it's been a while since my last post. So how did the holidays go? I will be so glad to have the Season of Carbs behind me, I won't know what to do!! I love this time of year, but I'm tired of the endless parade of carbs (especially sweets!).

Oh, don't get me wrong.... I love the taste but holy cow, it's gotta end. I am on a mission to get back to the basics: good lean protein, more fruits and veggies. Real foods.

And I have to get my rear back in gear with exercise. With this event and that event, and this thing to do and that, it's been pretty hard to stick to a routine the last few days. I did manage, of all things, to hit the gym on Christmas Eve .... but that was my last visit. OOPS. And I have a couple more events just after the New Year. As much as I enjoy my strength training, I have neglected my cardio workouts. That needs to change as soon as possible -- but how to work it all in?

Much to ponder as 2011 comes around!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blast from the distant past

Today, my dad found some old photos from a family Christmas dinner, circa 1993. There are a couple I want to share.......

First, this is a picture of myself and my cousin; I'm on the right, as if you couldn't guess. I apparently must have been trying to do an impression of the Michelin Man ... or auditioning for the next Ms. Stay-Puft (because "puft" I was!)

And next up is a small shot from a picture where I was enjoying dessert; I couldn't tell you if it was a first trip, a return trip, or a "hey let me eat something for the road" plate..... Now I ask you: what in heck was I doing with TWO monster slices of red velvet cake? You know, I can't even tell you whether or not it was worth it. I mean, red velvet is pretty much the same, no matter who makes it.

You would think I'd want to distance myself from those days as much as possible: shred every picture, never to be seen again. But actually, I want to remember. I want to recall what it was like to have no energy to do much besides just sit around and eat cake. I want to remember that sinking feeling of having to buy my clothes in a specialty shop -- not just plus-sizes at regular department stores, but the stores that sell the extended sizes.... and afraid that I might have to start making mine instead. I want to hold on to that feeling......

Because I never want to be there again.

Are you kidding me? I'm in sizes I haven't worn in almost 30 years. I was in junior high the last time I wore regular sizes (another sad fact, but true). I don't want to load up my plate and stuff myself to the point where my clothes are pinching and binding. I don't want to be a slug, but to actually have fun moving and living my life with joy and energy.

People complain about the cost of weight-loss programs, or of fresher, better foods in the grocery store...... but the investment that I have made in myself and in my health is worth every penny. You cannot buy this feeling with any amount of silver or gold. Are you willing to invest in yourself? Are you willing to say, "I love myself where I am, but I know I can be even better" ..... to realize that you are worth every triumph and struggle.

One of my favorite authors, Jill Conner Browne, has a great philosophy: "If you don't like your life, change it." When I walked into Weight Watchers that day, I liked myself, and I liked most of my life, but I realized I needed to continue the changes I'd already made in my life. I had no idea what lay ahead. Here I am, nearly 5 years later, and I cannot believe how much better things are, how much I had really missed out on, how good life can be here and now.

Is today your day?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Loving this.....

Need a good boost right about now? I did too – and I got a great one yesterday afternoon. It was a cold, blustery day here in the South. It was starting to get dark already on my way out the door from work. I had already decided that morning that while I was going to work out, I would do so within the comfy and warm confines of my home and not at the gym. I think that with the weather, my homing instinct kicked in and I couldn’t think of any place I would rather be. Yeah, odd for me…..

There I was, on my way out the door when I stopped to thank our marketing director for all she had done to make our office party a hit. She said, “Oh, I’m glad – you looked like you were having a great time. You had tons of energy!” What a fantastic thought!!!

That was a feeling I couldn’t buy five years ago: not only the glow of the compliment, but the reason itself. Yes, I did have a lot of unexpected energy for 9:00 PM and a pretty busy day. This Saturday was even busier for me than normal. I had work (7:45 until 12:30), and then busted tail to get to an afternoon 5K – the Jingle Bell Jog! This was a 5k sponsored by a neighborhood “Fun Run” group… just a group of concerned parents who wanted to set good examples for the kids in their subdivision. My physical therapist’s husband (also a PT) is one of the group founders and sponsors of the race. So I paid my fee, made my way over, and had a marvelous afternoon! And miracle of miracles, I was only 28 seconds slower than my personal best (I was thinking it was just 20 seconds, but oh well…). From there, it was home to change for the party, back to downtown G-vegas, and then, party on, Garth.....!!!

Five years ago, at the first Christmas party I went to as an employee, I wore a stretchy black dress, in that wonderful drape-crepe material that forgives everything, with a black wrap, and still looked like Battleship Nettie...... I had enough energy to dance to portions of two songs, but that was it. Tired, drained, and feet were killing me. This year, I worked all morning, walked 3 miles (just on the course) and STILL had the energy to get out and dance, and have energy left over when I got home.

I remember what it was like to wake up draggy, go sloggily throughout my day, have enough energy to do a few things at night and drag myself to bed at night..... I do not EVER want to go there again. It is not a fun place to live. These days, I wake early and still go to bed late (that part never changed). But it's how I pack my days in between that make the difference. It really is a feeling like no other.

If I could bottle how good it feels to have that type of energy. While sometimes I do feel tired and want to take it easy, I find that when I get home, I really can't sit still. I seem to be in perpetual motion..... and that's not altogether a bad thing!

Energy: if I could bottle that feeling........ I'd give it away!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

With apologies to Joey Tribbiani.....

"So ... how YOU doin'?"

It's been 10 days with all the tools at my disposal and I am PROUD to say I'm down 2 pounds from where I was last Thursday! YAHOO!!!!! I am up a bit still from a couple of mornings ago, but it's a goal to work toward.

So if you've joined (or rejoined) us this week with PointsPlus, how is it going for you? It's definitely an adjustment, but the changes are wonderful! If you're brand-new to Weight Watchers, WOW, what an introduction, huh? One of my fellow members tonight had just joined last week, and she kicked butt: down nearly 8 pounds!!! WOW!!!!!!

If you're having trouble making the transition, keep working PointsPlus. It may take you a little while longer to adjust but your body is going to say, "Oh wow! Look at all the good stuff you're feeding me!" And you may even find that the things you ate on Points (because of a low value) aren't really worth it on PointsPlus -- or that you have to work them in a little more, but it's worth it.

I had told a few fellow members that the thing I have appreciated most is a greater sense of freedom and flexibility. I'm fretting less over "how am I going to fit this in?" and instead thinking, "Wow! I get to find a way to make this work!" For example, last night, things didn't quite go as planned for me and I ended up eating grocery-deli sushi (and hey, it was brown rice sushi at that, and really good too). Got to choir practice and GASP! we had a reception downstairs. With cake -- a very cool 3-D cake of the building. So you know what I did? I had a slice. Woe is me, right? Nope. Not in the least. Had I used some of the Weekly Allowance? Yes, and I was about to use some more..... :) That was something I was very loath to do on Turnaround or Momentum (a/k/a the Points Plan). With PointsPlus, I don't even sweat it. I also earned activity points this week and so I had that to fall on as well if I absolutely needed to do so.

PointsPlus works. I promise. Hang in there and LOVE it - LIVE it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Are you excited?!?!

If you haven't been to this week's meeting then make sure you get to one this week .... because PointsPlus is here!!!! PointsPlus is the newest program offered by Weight Watchers, combining the best information in nutritional science with the well-known successful Weight Watchers approach!

Most of my readers know (or at least have figured out) that not only am I a Lifetime WW Member, I am also a Weight Watchers employee. I have been using this new plan for about 8 weeks now, and it has definitely helped me maintain my weight loss -- which is what I wanted anyway..... Now, I am ready to ramp it up even more to lose about five more pounds. I truly believe that PointsPlus will help me do just that. One of the things I appreciate most about PointsPlus is the sense of extra flexibility -- not that the previous plans didn't have that built in, but I really feel it with this one.

I don't want to give away too many spoilers, especially for readers who will be hitting their launch meetings on Friday or Saturday....... but keep in mind that change is sometimes just what we need to get us going in the right direction. So I hope that you will eagerly embrace the change, and enjoy what PointsPlus will do!

EVER FORWARD!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wow -- busy week!

What a week! It's always busy around this time of the year, and it's just going to be even busier until after the BCS bowl season ends. And with it comes all the holiday parties, all the gathering of friends and family, all the temptations that come your way.

So what do we do?

Do we throw up our hands and say, "Well, I'm done. Over. Can't do it. Might as well wait until January...."? Do we dig in our heels and make ourselves miserable -- passing up events so we can stay on course? Or do we seek to find balance?

Balance is so important this time of year. We cannot deny, hide, or escape the seasonal treats and events. To do so puts our relationship with food over our relationship with people, and that's never good. And to throw up our hands and elbow up to the trough -- well, that's not healthy either. There is a way to strike a balance.

There was a leader who substituted for my usual leader right around Thanksgiving of my first year on program. She joked about it, but her little trick stuck with me: she took a 1/4 cup measuring cup with her to events, family reunions, etc. And she measured out just 1/4 cup of each item that she wanted to try. Aunt Linda's macaroni? 1/4 cup. Uncle Fred's chicken taco bake? 1/4 cup. After a while, you really do have a good bit of food, and you taste only the things you really want. You also learn to pick and choose what's really important to taste. I modified it myself to a 1-tablespoon measure and a 1/4-cup measure. If it's something I just want to taste, or something where I really do want just a nibble to do me, then 1-2 Tbsp is more than enough.

Now, it seems silly and crazy -- but it works. You get to enjoy your food WHILE staying on plan. And you get to spend time with the people around you rather than shoveling food in and barely tasting it. You get to mingle with a satisfied stomach. You get to learn that a little dab will do ya.... so to speak.

Another tip: exercise a little every day. Even 10 or 15 minutes makes a difference -- aim for 30 if you can. Do more than you usually do. If you aren't on an assignment where you're tied to the desk, do your work standing. Park further out at the mall (not so difficult right now). One of my leaders gave this suggestion: crazy, but it works! If you're shopping at the mall .... every 3rd store, take all your purchases out to your car and come back. On the weekend -- oh my gosh, can you imagine how many extra pedometer steps you could get in?!

Another tip: survey the buffet first. See what you really want to eat, and what you can pass on. If for a company function, ask the planners ahead of time what's being served. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water -- or opt for wine spritzers instead of a glass of wine, or Jack & Diet Coke instead of regular Coke. Find the one dessert you'd like to try and enjoy one piece (or as much of that one piece as you want).

Another tip: examine your goal for the season. It may be that your plan is simply to maintain your weight, or gain only 2 pounds instead of 10. Work your goal. Enjoy the season and the love and friendship behind every gathering.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Desperately needed update....

Yeah, it's time. It's time for me to update my MP3 playlist .... not only what I actually have on my MP3 player, but the list that I share with you, my friends and followers. I'm going to work on this over the next few days (especially as I have some time off), and post it later this week.

There are a few songs that I've had on there since Noah built the ark, and as much as I personally love them, they just aren't cutting it for me anymore. And I'll be adding some things over the next few days too

***

Speaking of needed updates, are you excited yet about Weight Watchers' new program??? I sure am!! If you're a WW member, you're going to love what's coming down the pike! Be sure to attend a meeting the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4 -- the launch week!!!

Here's an article on the WW website (from the Nov-Dec 2010 magazine) from CEO David Kirchoff -- and in the post before this one, click on the link for the awesome video. There's also the "What's New" blog to learn more too!!

Here's to new beginnings -- and additional success!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

OOPS! Slack this week!

In many ways..... I forgot to post before I left for a weekend getaway at the home of my dear pals Tal & Sera. But since I'm fessing up, I didn't really track this weekend. I had fried chicken (a couple of legs) for the first time in years -- I mean, homemade fried chicken at the Beaver House in Statesboro GA. I ate a piece of Cracker Barrel chocolate pecan pie. Got home on Monday and had two big slices of pizza.

And yes, I'm up a little. Not as much as I expected, and I'm right back on track. Back to tracking (meticulously!) and got in a great workout.

***

By the way, if you haven't heard yet -- Weight Watchers has something wonderful and new coming up starting November 29!!! Check this out for more:

Weight Watchers -- Better Than Ever

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A November to Remember!

Today was the Lifetime weigh-in for me and WHEW!!!! Perfectly maintained! Oh, after last weekend's difficulties, I could have kissed the scale. Someone up there likes me!!

This past Wednesday, November 3, was the American Heart Association's "National Start! Eating Healthy Day" -- because my company is taking part in the Start! Heart Walk this spring, we participated in this day. I was glad that we had a pretty nice turnout, and that we are talking about healthier eating habits as the holidays approach. I've decided that I'm making this a "November to Remember" -- to remember the success I've had in previous holiday seasons, to remember to make good choices, to remember to work out even with the time change and changing weather, to remember that each day and each meal is a fresh start.

So I plan to make the best choices when faced with temptation: to choose healthy foods and right portions, to work out even when I don't feel like it, to stick to my guns and my plans. And I will have the best November ever!!

Make your November great -- and grate-ful!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Better late than never, right?

I had a busy last few days -- and as my leader said, "The first train in the candy car from here to Easter just pulled in....." Yep, Halloween was a food feast at the office -- pizza luncheon with a bakeoff. Yes, I made healthy mini-muffins. I had about 4 of them, just to make sure they were good..... oy vey. And then yesterday, I made a very healthy lunch, and then took my godson out for the day .... and we indulged in Fuddrucker's. Now, I chose as best I could -- I got a kids meal, and for the first time in AGES, indulged in fries ...... although I like that their "Fudd Fries" are more like potato wedges, with actual potato and not just a little meal with heavily-fried breading!

So what did all this extra indulging teach me? To judge whether or not a deviation is really worth it. To remember that I'm only human. To keep in mind to make the best possible choices in every circumstance. To enjoy the moment. To remember that this is a lifestyle change. To appreciate how far I've come. To remember that the journey is never over.

Was it worth it? For the muffins, not really. They were tasty, but not omg-gotta-have-em-fantastic. For the burger & fries, it really was worth it. I hadn't enjoyed Fuddrucker's in a long time, and it was enough to last me for a while. I made the best choice I could, and enjoyed the food (but not as much as I enjoyed the company!)

And the most important lesson from all this is to start over as soon as possible when you do fall off. As my original leader always said, "It's okay to fall off the wagon now and then, just don't let the wagon roll over you." She also said, "Don't let a lapse turn into a collapse" --- and even after all this time, it still holds true!

Here's to all the successes we are going to have over the next few weeks, as the holidays come upon us. Here's to all the progress we're going to make, the things we will learn about ourselves and our relationship to food (no matter how long we've done this!), and here's to being the best possible losers we can be!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Skip, skip, skip to my....

I am up a little, so I used the "no weigh-in" option this week. As a Lifetime member I really only *have* to weigh in once monthly, but I like to monitor my progress. I monitor it at home anyway, but I like being on the official scales and seeing how things go. I have some water retention going on, more than usual... not sure why, because I've been drinking my water all week. I have tried to watch my sodium intake, although today I had some delicious soup with more sodium than I expected.... Oh well.

So thinking of my four questions from a few weeks ago:
1. What do I want to happen? Some weight loss.
2. What do I need to make this happen? I need to do Simply Filling again, and to get in an extra cardio workout this coming week. Re Simply Filling: I'm amazed that I like this technique as much as I do.... and that I waited so long to try it!
3. Can I do this? Sure I can!
4. Will I do this? Yes!

Speaking of workouts, this was my first week of doing the new routine -- two sessions in, one more to come over the weekend and so far, wow. I can definitely feel it, and I'm looking forward to a few more weeks of getting stronger and more toned.

I had a doctor's appointment today and we were discussing my weight loss journey. I know I've said it so often that it almost seems cliche, but I really do feel a million times better. I know that in May 2006, I could not have ever imagined that my life would be as blessed as it is..... I could never have done a 5K back then; I've done about 8 of them since Sept 2007. I never imagined wearing these clothing sizes in my adult life; I was in my early teens the last time I was near these sizes. I had the energy to sit in front of a computer or a TV screen but that was it; now, I find it difficult to sit still for long (at least outside of work where I have to).

Life is good. Truly. Enjoy the journey -- every moment of it. Cherish every ounce you lose, every pound you lift, every step you walk. Love it and soak it all in!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Changing it up again....

I met with my trainer after my meeting tonight, and we have changed up my workout routine for the next few weeks. It's another full-body workout and it is INTENSE. Just what I need to shake me up.

I am debating whether to go back to Simply Filling to shake things up. This is going to sound utterly crazy, but I almost kinda sorta like the idea of sticking to the healthier foods and leaving the others behind. I don't mind asking myself, "Do I *really* want to 'waste' my precious points allowance on this?" Most of the time, the answer is no..... So if I don't do it this coming week, definitely the next one!

But in the meantime, I shall continue to track diligently, work harder, be smarter and live fully. What more can you ask?

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Need proof that tracking works?

I'm down 2 pounds from this time last week! I promise, all that has changed is increased diligence to tracking. I may go back to Simply Filling again next week (when it rolls around), but I am glad that I am paying more attention to what I eat. Proper portions, following the Good Health Guidelines, making sure I write down all that I eat.... sure, it takes time, but I can't argue with the results!

The one thing I need to do this week is to eat more veggies than fruit servings. This past week, it seems to have been the opposite -- not that fruit is a bad choice (I could be going face first into a bag of Doritos, right?). But my gut feeling is that more veggies would be even better.

Last weekend, I baked a pumpkin for the very first time -- most of the time, pumpkin for consumption comes out of a can! "Real" pumpkins are for decorating! But roasting/baking this pumpkin was so easy. I pureed it and then put it in the fridge.... so I think I'll eat some of it tonight for dinner. YUM!

I'm also on a new exercise routine -- the knees weren't always enjoying the lunges, so Dave worked up a new routine with some knee strengthening exercises as well. And we've added some static poses to help with balance and muscle use. That first night kicked my rear end! But I'm really looking forward to using them more often!

So if you're struggling this week, think about this:
1. What do you want to happen?
2. What do you need to do to make it happen?
3. Can you do it?
4. Will you do it?

GO FORTH AND CONQUER!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What I did right this week...

What I did was to track more carefully. Doing Simply Filling is great, and I enjoy the emphasis on the healthier Filling Foods. But not *having* to track every little point I consumed .... well, I didn't get out of the habit of tracking, but I felt I needed to do a little better.

So I switched back to tracking points again. And I'm glad: I needed a little more flexibility this week with a couple of days that were just jam-packed!

I stepped on the scale tonight and I am within my range for weight goal this month. I want to get down a few pounds again, and so I figured careful tracking would help. It's been nice to be back on this aspect of Momentum again.

One very nice aspect of the Simply Filling Technique is the emphasis on fruits, vegetables, lean meats/proteins, whole grains, fat-free dairy..... and so I am planning to keep that as part of my tracking. Who knows? I may find that I have a few points available here and there to "play" with too!

So here's to diligence and flexibility!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This year's Race for the Cure...

I just got home from the 2010 Race for the Cure. I paid a little extra for the timing strip (attached to my bib) and so my time is official and all.... 50:27 from gunshot. A minute-plus slower than last year. So I definitely did not hit my plan to do 45:00 or less, but I'm okay with it.

This year's Race was at a new venue (Fluor Field) and a course that I'd never taken at other races from Fluor Field. I went down streets that I didn't know existed, but nice quiet neighborhoods. The residents came out to cheer us on, and I appreciated that an awful lot. And I am not lying when I say that half these streets were all uphill!!! All those hams and glutes that I've been pumping up over the last few months got quite a stretchout this morning! And I am feeling it already..... I am tired, but it's a great tired. It's the "tired" that comes from accomplishment, from a job well done.

And this year, at the food court, they had fat-free Greek yogurt. It was all flavored (not plain), so I have to count the points (on SFT, only the plain kind can be eaten without worrying about tracking), but I'm just glad they had it! I got a nice protein boost from that -- and bananas have never tasted so good!

***

This week was challenging in a few different ways: I had a retreat last weekend, and so I didn't track at all... so this week wasn't a free-for-all, but more of a "do the best you can." But I am definitely back in the saddle this week! My other challenge was a knee that was giving me fits. I haven't had knee pain like that in years. Biofreeze is my friend, and I don't care how dorky I look wearing a knee brace or two under dress pants. I don't use the pull-on, stretchy but thin kind. Oh no, I have the big ol' Velcro-d up, criss-cross type but they're great. (Speaking of Biofreeze... need to go use some and SOON). It really hit me on my Monday and Thursday leg workouts.... AYE YI YI YI!!!! I just modified as much as possible (sorry, Dave, but a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do!).

***

Here's wishing everyone a successful week!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sorry to be so late....

but I had a higher calling! No, really, I did.....

This weekend was our women's Christ Renews His Parish retreat at church, and I was part of the team that presented the retreat. As part of that, I provided some treats for our breakfast on Saturday morning, and in the weekend's "Snack Lounge." Knowing some others on the retreat try to watch their calories/points, here's what I made:

* 24 mini-muffins, blueberry (thanks to Krusteaz Fat-Free Blueberry Muffin mix)
* 24 double chocolate mini-muffins
* Pretzels, dips & lo-cal treats

I did. It was good too. It was a wonderful retreat -- last time, when I was a participant, I went home renewed in spirit and body. This time, even though we worked like mad to make it all work, same thing: I thought I would be just exhausted but I am also renewed.

And I will be paying for the goodies I consumed this weekend: I foresee a workout nearly every night this week!!!! AND, AND, AND............ my Race for the Cure on Saturday. I am gonna beat 45 minutes come hell or high water!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Lose-A-Palooza Day!!

Today is Lose-a-Palooza Day for the Weight Watchers (R) Lose for Good campaign. I've put some information below, and I encourage everyone to check it out -- even if you're at your ideal weight or happy wherever you are on the scale.

We're dropping pounds and raising funds ...... as well as giving hope and help. As I mentioned earlier, our center is doing a food drive for a local children's shelter. Plenty of other locations are doing the same -- food drives to help the needy in their area.

One thing that we can all do is educate and advocate for healthier lives -- whether we do not have enough, or are blessed with so many alternatives that we hardly know what to do. Do your part today in your area!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More information about Lose for Good

Click on the link if you would like to learn more about Weight Watchers' LOSE FOR GOOD Campaign -- and remember, we can ALL do something to help the hungry at the same time we do better for ourselves!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Losing for Good

The statistics are staggering: 1.6 billion overweight people in the world....... and 800 million people who do not have enough food.

I can't begin to think how wrong those numbers are on so many levels. There shouldn't even be one person who never has enough food to sustain their lives. And it's sad to think there are twice as many people who may have more food than they need; granted, there is the whole dilemma of overweight people in poverty, who eat whatever is affordable regardless of the nutritional value (or lack thereof). They live in food deserts as much as those who do not have enough.

Well, I'd like to let you know that Weight Watchers is in their 3rd annual "Lose for Good" campaign. Over the last two years, WW Members have lost over 8 MILLION pounds and donated more than 3 million pounds of food to local food banks in these 7-week campaigns. In addition, Weight Watchers, Inc. has donated at least $1,000,000 each year to Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger.

I have to figure out how I'm going to make a contribution, since I'm not really actively losing but striving to maintain. What I think I am going to do is contribute one non-perishable food item for each 10 pounds I lost over those 4 years .... And if I end up losing any weight (even 0.2 pounds) between today and campaign's end, I will add another $10 in food.

Our particular location is donating our food to a shelter for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or other emergency situation. In fact, two of the members at the meeting I attend are volunteers there, and they were telling us about the work that's done there, and how wonderful the kids are, in spite of whatever circumstance has them there. God bless those kids!!!

And I hope this year, WW members lose even more -- for good!!!

***

Oh, by the way: down 3 pounds from last week. And I am going to have to figure a way to modify the legs routine, because the lunges are killing my knees and one of my quads. Gotta talk to Dave about that.... I like the routine, but not if I can't do part of it. I ended up doing some modifications tonight, and putting on a knee brace. Getting old ain't for sissies!! :D

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Following up....

I weighed in this morning, and I was up a bit, but still within my window..... WHEW! I was a bit surprised, since I was about 3 pounds lower than that amount just yesterday morning. But I had sauerkraut last night... DOH! Sodium!

Today, I went to a local orchard to pick up Honeycrisps -- one of my favorite types of apples! They also had Asian pears available, as well as peaches. Apparently, the peach season is running a little long this year; fine by me! I love peaches! Whenever I go to the grocery, the Asian pears are usually pretty huge, and in the past, I'd split them in half. These, however, are a little smaller -- and boy, are they ever juicy! Yummo!!!

This week, traveling presented some interesting challenges: airsickness, "cocktail hour" (without the cocktails but with the appetizers), and trying to choose the best options possible when dining out. I am proud to say that I did the best job I possibly could, and felt very good about my choices. But even better, I worked out both mornings - it wasn't my full workout, but it was something, and I was very pleased with the exercise facilities at both hotels! A few places I've stayed have something like 2 treadmills and a few dumbbells. Both of these had plenty of cardio equipment, as well as weights, both free and machine. WOW!

I'm going to stick with Simply Filling for a while. I like it, and so far, it seems to be working well to help me maintain (which is what I've asked for all along). And it's easier than I expected to plan my week's meals around the plan's specifications. So this week, I am sticking with it, sticking with my workout plans, and trying to stress less too! :D (Okay, that last one is a pipe dream.....)

By the way...

Sorry for the lateness in posting; I was out of town on business most of the week. I will post more after today's weigh-in. But I'm glad to say that for the most part, business travel had some challenges, but nothing I couldn't face and handle -- and handle well, given the "fun" that transpired on Day 1.

More to come..... after weigh-in, of course!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Good News... of sorts!

It has now been 3 weeks on Simply Filling Technique, and I am spreading the news with Billy Graham-like fervor. I was up ever so slightly (0.4 pounds; Oh woe is me....), but really, 8 pounds over 3 weeks is wonderful.

I'm honestly amazed that it took me so long to try this method. It's really far easier than I expected it to be. And it's made me really stop and think, "Do I want that?" I find that a lot of times, the answer is "No, I'm not willing to use that many points for that." Anyway, the evangelistic zeal comes from hearing other people say, "I don't know how I can break this rut I'm in....." I have recommended it now to a couple of fellow Lifetimers who mentioned to me that they were stuck or had gone up despite all their best efforts. So I'm really hoping that they try it, and that it works just as well for them.

I'm doing SFT again this week with a special twist: business travel. I will be leaving Tuesday afternoon for Chicago for some training, and that presents some interesting challenges. Dinners out, lunches catered in, etc. So I am hoarding my points right now (ha ha) in order to have some flexibility this week. The other challenge is doing my normal workouts..... those may have to take a week off and I would just do some extra cardio instead. Bummer!!! Maybe the hotels will have some free weights to use (most just have a treadmill or two).

Here's to a great rest of the week!!!! Make it awesome!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Did it purely by accident....

I followed the Simply Filling Technique for another week. I didn't really intend to, it just sort of fell that way ..... and I'm SO glad I did!!! I lost another 3 pounds this week. Ho. Lee. Molee. I am jazzed!!!

This week, I am going to purposefully follow SFT for one more week. The next week, we'll see, since I will be out of town for a training session. It might actually work to my advantage to do Simply Filling that week as well, now that I ponder it.

I wonder if it's the lack of stress from not having to worry about the point value of every little item, of not necessarily having to wonder about the measurements & weights ("okay, was that 3 oz of chicken or 4 from the restaurant ... oh drat!"). Yes, my food choices are a little more limited -- in the sense that I have to track the points if they're not on the Filling Foods list. But that makes me a little more cautious. With the regular Momentum plan, I could justify a splurge by saying, "Oh, I'll just use some of my extra weekly points allowance." Now, it's like, "Do I really want to spend any of my 35 points on THAT?"

Now granted, this week, most of the points I used were on cereal (12 of the 35) and on International Delight creamer for my coffee (4 more). Nearly half the points on two items? EEK. But the cereals I love most aren't Filling Foods .... I had a discussion with someone on that today, and I personally lean to the opinion that uh, yeah. These really ought to be Filling Foods, but I don't make the rules. Kashi GoLean regular, yes. Froot Loops, no...... hello.

Wow! I'm really enjoying using the SFT; I can see myself using it more and more often! So thanks Tisha for the great advice!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just in awe!!

So what did a week of Simply Filling Technique get me? TRY 5.2 POUNDS DOWN.

One word: Halle-freakin-lujah! For the first time in a while, I'm actually below my goal weight. I'm so happy I could just about cry.

But really -- what it got me was yet another alternative. I still have 11 points to spend for the week (ending tonight, that is), but I doubt I'll use more than one or two tonight. I can actually see myself doing Simply Filling for a week at a time, maybe not every week but rotating a week in once or twice a month. Or having maybe 4 days a week when I follow SFT more than Points.

Now in a method that I definitely don't suggest adopting, I actually did this week of SFT with minimal planning. Bought enough fruits, frozen veggies, fresh veggies, and lean meats for a few meals, but I found ways to make it all work well. It was yesterday before I actually used rice or pasta as part of a meal! I thought at first those would be staples, and HOW was I only supposed to have it once and then later sacrifice the points. Nope - I shocked myself!

SFT forced me to be a little more cautious and a little more creative -- not that this is a bad thing!!! So I am going to consult my Clean Eating magazines a little more often, and the Nutrition Action Healthletter from CSPI - they have clean recipes in there as well. I just wish that e-Tools had a way to say, "Yep! That meets our definition for something that would work with SFT!"

I like this alternative -- a lot. If you haven't tried it before, what's one week out of your journey to give it a go? You might surprise yourself; I know I did!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How's it going so far?

I'm actually kind of amazed. Today was Day 5 of the Simply Filling Technique experiment, and I am pleasantly surprised at how well I've done (Lord, don't let me jinx it by saying that....). No, I've stuck mainly to lean meats, fruits and veggies. Haven't even done brown rice or whole wheat pasta (though I did cook up some rice last night for Maddox's upset tummy). Having only 35 points for the whole week's made me pretty stingy about using them! So far, I have used just 13 -- and it's been on things like salad dressing or bread.

The one thing that has been difficult is making recipes unless they're specifically from WW cookbooks and marked as either "Simply Filling" or "Core" (from the old books). I would love to be able to use the Recipe Builder and have it tell me "Yes, this is SF-friendly" or "Mm, sorry, that's X points." I guess it's when the majority of ingredients are SF, then it counts, but really, I don't have time (right now) to get out my very favorites, compare them to a list, etc.

But, on a high note, if you do SF and are looking for an easy, YUMMY recipe: get the "Healthy Cooking Basics" from your meeting room, and go for the Grilled Chicken and Tomato-Zucchini Salad. Oh. It is SOOOO good ..... even the other members of my family loved it. It's simple but very tasty! (Matter of fact, I'm signing off now to go make more of the TZS).

I can say this so far: don't know if I could do this all the time, but I can definitely see myself incorporating more of it into my routine! And a big thanks to my leader Tisha for suggesting that I do this!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Physician, Heal Thyself

Here's the short story – up a little but with a good explanation: department luncheon meeting 2 hours before weigh-in. So it was an unofficial weigh-in; official one this weekend. And to try to do something different to get this weight down, I’m trying the Simply Filling Technique for a week – no tracking except for the non-filling foods I choose. For portion control, I will eat until I am satisfied – note: this doesn’t mean full as a tick or stuffed … it means, I could eat more but I’m good where I am.

Now for the deeper thoughts ….. At my job, each morning I run a computer routine that triggers part of what I do in purchasing. This morning, it ran veerrrrrryyyy sssslllloooooowwwwwwly. While I was waiting on it to chug along, I visited WW e-Tools for more information on Simply Filling. In following one link, I saw a messageboard post from someone who is struggling with the idea of loving a “defective” body (she has some health issues and my heart really hurt for her…). And I can relate to some degree, so I took a moment to respond.

Regular readers know that lately, I can’t seem to figure out why, after all these years, my body is in rebellion. It has decided that all the hard work I’ve put in is nice, but it has its own agenda apparently. This was part of what I wrote to the other poster:

{snip} So I lose all this weight and now while I'm in much improved condition, my body is somehow not with the program. I'm seeking answers myself for some things and feel like I'm spinning my wheels. It is so frustrating .... but then I think this: I'm alive and moving. I could be dead.

I'm a few years older. My body is not the amazing factory-new machine it was a few years ago. I've put a few more hundred-thousand miles on it. Changed up the chassis and cleaned out the engine, but most of the original parts are still there and now have at least 40 years wear on them. I didn't do myself any favors for abusing my body for 25+ years. Losing all the weight doesn't mean I live happily ever after. It means I live a lot longer with better skills and decision-making ideas. If there's something medical going on, I go in armed with information, and work with the doctors to figure it out. I have to learn to make peace with my body.

I don't have all the answers. I'm also learning to love my body, flaws and all. I'll have moments when I get down and discouraged - I'll rage at the heavens and pound the earth with my fist and throw a big ol' hissy fit. But then I will think how lucky I am to be moving and raging and learning and growing-as-I'm-shrinking...... and that is a beautiful moment indeed.


Physician, heal thyself. I struggle with the unexplained weight spike that’s been going on since February. I struggle with hormonal issues and possible repercussions throughout in my endocrine system (and the rest of my body). The body is amazing in its complexities and how every system interacts with each other….. it both awes me and frustrates me.

But I am alive. I am moving. I am breathing. I am reasoning and thinking, and my mind is still fairly sharp (no comments from the peanut gallery). My body is older but it moves and reacts in ways it never could have even 5 years ago or 10 years ago, when I was younger and supposedly in better condition. Looking back, I realize that I was playing Russian roulette, spinning that chamber and grinning each time there was a click and no bullet. What was I thinking back then, that I had some sort of semi-charmed life? I think that's what I need to focus more on -- the gratitude for what I have and less of the "what the Hades is WRONG with me?"

***

PS: So far so good with the Simply Filling. Yes I realize I'm only 2 meals and one snack into it, but it's been interesting so far. Right at this very second I am mentally craving something sweet, but my stomach tells me I don't really need it. Listening to my mind might be a terrible thing for my waist! :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

By special request....

Okay, first the good news: I am down!!!! I didn't look at the exact decimal figure but it's over 2.0 -- WHEW!!!!

Monday night, I was given the privilege of sharing my story with another meeting. I truly mean it when I say that I love being able to tell people that all things are possible. I enjoy sharing my ups and downs, and reminding others - and myself - that persistence pays, determination delivers, and that it isn't failure, it's feedback. I know that sounds like a trite phrase but it is TRUE. "So what did you learn from this?" is a question that needs constant answering.

On Monday night, I shared a Chicken BBQ recipe with the group. My leader told tonight's group about it, and I have been asked to post it here --- GLADLY!! I love BBQ, no doubt. Had WW ever said, "Give up the pig" I would have been gone! But a local chain does chopped/pulled chicken as well -- very handy years ago when I was having gallstone issues!! And I love good mustard-based sauce, as only we in SC can do! This one is easy to make, and calorie/POINT-friendly!

NETTIEMAC'S CHICKEN BBQ REDONE

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (either breast halves or tenderloins)
1 12-oz jar (~1.5 c) Dijon mustard (I used a squeeze bottle)
1 12-oz jar (~1.5 c) sugar-free apricot or peach preserves (I used Smucker's)

In a slow cooker (min. 3 quart), spray crock lightly with cooking spray or use a liner. Place chicken in crock (lined or sprayed), then mustard, then preserves. Stir well enough to coat the chicken and mix the mustard & preserves. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until sauce is to desired consistency (could take another hour if you like it drier). IF POSSIBLE, shred the chicken maybe once or twice during the cooking time. If not, no biggie -- it will still fall apart just fine.

Makes around 5-1/2 cups. Points values:
1/4 c serving = 1 pt
1/3 c serving = 2 pts
1/2 c serving = 3 pts

From this batch, I put 4 cups in the freezer, and have been eating off the remainder. I had a good bit of sauce this time..... that's moppin' sauce, so be sure you have some bread with you for that. MMM-MMM!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One step forward, two steps back

.... is not just a song by Bruce Springsteen.

Up this week. But I understood why. It's been a slightly off-kilter week. I've carbed way more than usual this week, and haven't watched my sodium as much. This one is on me. So guess what? So is the solution.

Part of that solution was meeting with Dave The Trainer tonight and getting a new workout. The current workout is still working, but it was time to shake it up and do something new. There is something to be said for the concept of muscle confusion! Tonight's was Upper Body Giant Sets.... two smaller Supersets .... one for chest/upper back; one for upper shoulders/biceps/triceps. Right now, my arms are a little sore..... heh. I asked Dave if I was going to be able to grip a steering wheel tomorrow; he laughed and said, "Yep! You'll be sore tonight and fine tomorrow." We shall see. Then next week, we'll work on Lower Body/Core. Tonight's core exercises were .... a little less successful. But with practice, I might get pretty good at them.

I will keep working on finding the good things I do. I want so much not to stress the numbers, but it's only natural for me to focus on that. And I want to keep finding answers for the medical things. I've had other things going on so I haven't spent much time on it.... but the time has come. I sat in my office freezing today, while my coworkers were either warm or comfortable. I had on a cardigan, and a wrap over my legs. I went outside in the 90+ heat/humidity to warm up. THAT IS NOT NORMAL.

As I told Dave, there is something going on with my body. I cannot prove it, but I know my hunches. And I trust them. It might not be thyroid, but I do believe it is endocrine-related. Might it be something with the hypothalamus? Could it be insulin resistance? Maybe it's adrenal? Is it simply early onset (peri)menopause? I don't know. But I need some help in finding the answers. So tomorrow, I am calling one of the internal medicine people near work and trying to book an appointment as soon as I can. I need to know. If it turns out my hunch is wrong, GREAT! If not, BETTER!

And I'm still working on Mama and her situation. You've seen the images either in print or on video of Rocky Mountain rams with the curly horns that constantly butt heads.... uh, yeah. They have NOTHING on me and my mother! But for both of us, we're going to get answers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

FINALLY!

It's been a while but the scale moved significantly in a lower direction. W.H.E.W.

As it turns out, this week's topic was all about NSV's - non-scale victories. I've been living off NSV's for a while now. They are important, more important than we realize! The funny thing is, several times this week, I've had people asking me, "How much more have you lost?" When I tell them I've actually put a little back on, they're like, "But you look so thinner!" To which I say: THANK YOU DAVE!!!! Dave is the personal trainer who is working with me, his workout is killer ... and it works!

My leader has encouraged us to write in our trackers, or on e-Tools, or somehow to actually write each day, at least ONE good choice we made that day..... So for Thursday, mine was being satisfied with my lunch -- enough so that I completely forgot about the WW Giant Latte bar that I'd had on my mind not even 30 minutes earlier. I had told myself that I would have one for dessert when I got to the office (I have a few in the freezer there). It was 3:00 before I thought about it again, and I realized then that I really didn't want it. I waited until I got home that night to have some instead.

Heck, I'll even go ahead and list mine for today: working out anyway. The last couple of Fridays, I have gone home first and then gone on Saturday to work out .... so I'm not skipping, just rearranging the days. I thought about doing the same thing today. I even got in the RR at the gym to change clothes and thought, "Why don't I just go home and rest?" But it wasn't crowded, and I knew I could get through my routine in a decent pace, and ..... well, I was there and halfway dressed out already. And I'm so glad I chose to stay and work out. I always feel better afterwards, and then I think, "Why did I not want to work out tonight?" (or ever, for that matter). It's a feeling of achievement and accomplishment that I love.

So think of all you've achieved, every good choice you make. It's hard -- I mean, y'all have seen how the last few weeks have been for me. Focusing on all I've accomplished and thinking of where I was 5 years ago took a backseat to about 6 months out of my life. So I'm really taking this challenge to heart this week. I hope you do too!

***

IN GOOD NEWS.......... JINNY!!!!! You did it!!! I am so proud of you! I'm so proud of your hard work, your dedication to yourself, and all the progress you made. Stay with it!

IN LESS-THAN-GOOD NEWS: I just got the word that my best friend's husband is scheduled for another surgery in the morning. He had surgery about 6-8 weeks ago (I can't remember when) but he developed an abcess at the surgical site about 10 days ago. He came home just 2 or 3 days ago, but the antibiotics weren't enough to fully take care of everything. They'll start the surgery at 6:30 AM, and it's going to be a LONG surgery - at least 6 hours. God bless them both! And if you're so inclined, please keep them in your prayers.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Stop the Insanity!

Many years ago, Susan Powter wrote her "diet" book called Stop the Insanity! Somewhere, I think I still have a worn-out copy of it. And out of all the diet/nutrition/fitness books I owned, even though I never followed the plan, hers at least seemed to make sense to me. And I loved the title...

Right now, it feels sometimes that portions of my life are just insane. And I need to stop as much of it as I can..... so last night at the meeting, I made the decision to change my goal weight, by bumping it back up. It was not easy to do this... oh, yeah, filling out the paperwork was, but I was so reluctant. It feels like defeat. It feels like cheating. It feels like my body is telling me, "You wouldn't listen to me, would you? Well, let me show you..."

Which is purely insanity, isn't it?

It's rumored that Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So I've changed things up to see if I can tweak the formula: better exercise (to be tweaked again soon), I even added back in some points this week to see if I wasn't eating enough (apparently, not the issue... hmm). I don't have answers, and that's insanity to me.

Not having answers to lots of things is making me crazy. The only thing I could control is my weight goal. Until I get answers as to why this gain is happening. Something is there. I just know. I can't explain intuition, but I just know.

Someone tell me I'm not crazy. Please.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Living the Serenity Prayer

I'm not dropping my basket (to use the phrase from the Ya-Ya book), but I am setting some of the contents down for a while. The stress of the last couple of weeks has finally gotten to me this week, and it showed especially in my weigh-in.

For starters, I am not sleeping well at all..... you know those little "5-Hour Energy" shot drinks? Yeah, I've used a couple of those this week to make it through. On the good side (I suppose), they didn't quite give me the boost that the ads promise, so I doubt I'll be getting any of them again. And a couple of times when I needed to go to bed early to wake earlier than usual, I've used Nytol. Again, not good, and I know this.

The weight gain is giving me grief, and last night as I cried a little from being up YET AGAIN (though only 0.2 pounds), even my leader said, "This is not worth the stress you're putting yourself under; we'll figure out what to do...." So here's my plan:

1. I have to stop worrying myself sick about Mom. I'm of no use to her that way. It doesn't mean I won't continue to get resources, come up with ideas and plans but I can't make her or her doctor do anything. If they can live with their current plan, then what choice do I have? All I can do is be ready for when the time comes. That's it.

2. I will concentrate more on my own health issues. I did that by calling an endocrinology practice. As it turns out, they honestly can't help me because they don't diagnose or test - they just see you once you have. There's another doctor nearby who is an MD and a DO and her practice looks very good. However, she is an out-of-network provider (basically doesn't accept insurance for payment), and her initial consultation is more than I can shell out at once. So I will continue to do research..... (le sigh).

3. I will get more sleep with better quality. Yesterday afternoon, when I sat down at the WW meeting, I didn't realize just how tired I was until I sat still long enough. My schedule has been all out of whack -- the last few weeks, I have staggered my start-end hours at work due to some other commitments. However, it's wreaking havoc in my sleep schedule. It's not healthy. So I spoke to my boss today, and starting next week I will work the same start-end hours every day. It also entails me passing off a responsibility to others, and all the better. I even went to bed early last night (okay, earlier than usual for me) .... it helped some. I only took a 10-minute nap at lunch (instead of 20 or 30)......

4. I will care for myself far better. I'm planning to consider a monthly massage. There are a couple of massage places (reputable ones, that is) near work. I figure if I can, I'll schedule one a month and see how that goes. I definitely plan to get with Stacey (my best friend) more often for mani-pedis! We are also working on a plan for a retreat weekend -- not just the one I am working on with church but a personal private retreat at a nearby convent's guest house. I need the time away from everything to just rejuvenate my spirit. AND I am also planning some time away this weekend as well -- go to the mountains and just take a couple of hours or so and get away from the madding crowd.

I guess I'm calling this "putting the Serenity Prayer into action" - accepting what I can't change, changing what I can, and learning the difference.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Answers and more questions

Okay, I FINALLY got my test results back on Tuesday: everything is in normal ranges. For two of the tests, my scores were pretty much in the dead center. For the last, it was toward the lower end of normal but not so much so that it was cause for concern.

I have answers, but I still have more questions. I was up at this week's weigh-in ... it wasn't entirely unexpected but really, can one blowout meal cause that much of a gain? No. I still think there is SOMETHING going on, and while it's not my thyroid, I don't know what it could be.

But I have bigger fish to fry right now: my mother's health. She has been feeling puny (that's a Southern phrase) for about 2 weeks. She went to the doctor last week because she could not kick a feeling of nausea. It would just come in waves but never so strong as to actually make her upchuck. Just that awful feeling of "I'm gonna be sick, I'm gonna be sick, no wait, yes, no...." So the doctor gave her some Phenergan and sent her home. By Tuesday, she still was sick, same symptoms, so she went back. He was concerned enough to send her for a chest x-ray, thinking that she might have some pneumonia. She is also having trouble breathing.

Those test results came back -- in only a day, but hey, I'm not bitter.... Oh, no. It's not pneumonia. It's pericardial effusion -- or in layman's terms, "fluid around the heart." So they sent her home with some diuretics and instructions to change up some of her medicines (dosages, timing, etc.) and to start moving.

Okay, I'm thrilled that she's now being forced to get off her rump and do something. But let me also tell you: everything I have read about this condition is like, "Further testing is needed to determine the cause of the effusion." Apparently there are different fluids meaning different types of conditions. So can someone tell me just why a test isn't being called for, post-haste?

I get the idea of managed care. Really. I do. In the past two years, both working in HR/Benefits and with my own medical needs, I have learned more about health plans, etc. etc. than I ever imagined needing to know. I get that insurance would prefer to try step remedies - if a lower cost, easier-to-the-patient idea will work, use it. Like you wouldn't use a tourniquet on a paper cut. I get all that. But I do. not. get. at. all. why you wouldn't call for a test when it is so obviously needed. I just went through it myself -- why'd my test results take two weeks? Because they had to be sent off to a specific group for testing, otherwise my insurance would not cover it. I'm still wondering if they'll cover it all because I had a similar test done just last July (11 months ago). It wasn't the exact same test -- that was a TSH, these three were the TTR, T3, and T4. Just different enough that it might be okay.

This isn't a political rant about healthcare legislation. This is a rant about the state of health care in general, not just in the US. Why is it so difficult to get the answers we need without having to prove ourselves? THAT, my friends, is just as sorry as not being able to get coverage because it's too expensive. I am tired of some CFO making a decision about my health instead of me and my doctor. I am tired of having coverage or payment determined by an underwriting manual instead of a doctor saying, "Yes, this is necessary, so cover it. Period." If you've never read The Rainmaker by John Grisham, do so, because it will give you a good perspective on the subject. Yes, it's fiction, but with so much of Grisham's work, I wonder how much really is fiction. Same with Runaway Jury - if half of what was presented as the scientific data in the trial scenes is based on actual scientific research, then my God, why would you ever light up?

Okay, I'm coming down from the soapbox now. It's Friday, it's a good day, and I am going to make the best of it. I am going to arm myself with all the information I need to make not only good decisions for myself but for those I love as well. And if I have to advocate for change, so be it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wishin' and Hopin' and Thinkin' and Prayin'.......

I have been able to rearrange my schedule in order to attend the 5:30 meeting on Thursdays. It's a different group, but they seemed very nice so far. And I discovered that one of the 5:30 members (who had been attending the 7:00 a while back) is moving to Europe on a 3-year transfer assignment. WOW! Lots of changes in store for her - and smart girl, she has already found where WW meets in the area to which she's moving! You go!!!! Sara, wishing you all the best, and please stay in touch!

In fantastic news, my weight was down. Not by much -- 0.4 pounds -- but I will take every single ounce or fraction thereof I can get. It's nearly 2 sticks of butter gone! I made a real effort this past week to listen to my body's hunger signals instead of those little signals from my head..... the ones that say, "What a day! You've earned a little wiggle room...." or "Man, this workout is something else; you can eat a little more today." Well, no, not really - not if I want to continue to strive for success. I didn't always succeed but I did much better.

Speaking of workouts.... "The Dave One" (as I call it) isn't getting any easier but it's definitely making a difference. I've had several people this week ask if I'd lost some weight. Well, no, but I certainly notice some changes. Clothes that were tight even a few weeks ago are now hanging better on me. There are portions of me which have begun to tone up even more - my physical therapist noticed that immediately about my legs the other day at our appointment. Those leg presses and curls and the abduction walk are having a positive impact on me! By the way, "abduction walk" doesn't mean that I snatch some unsuspecting person off the street and force them to exercise (although perhaps given the obesity epidemic in the US, we should consider the idea!) The calf raises and stretches leave my legs a little sore that night but healthy by the next day. All told, it's a fantastic feeling! Now, do I relish the workout itself and golly gee cannot WAIT to hit the gym? I'm not that insane. But when it's all said and done, do I have a feeling of great accomplishment? You bet! And that, more than anything, feels so good!

As of 5:30 PM on Friday, June 18, I am still waiting for the lab test results from the full thyroid panel from last week. I've called my doctor's office three times since yesterday -- and I'm not the nervous Nellie type. In fact, I've done a pretty decent job so far in not trying to dwell on it. But I also don't want to start wondering if the news is bad. No news is not always good news. I am a cautious optimist. I hope for the best, and yet know that I need to be prepared sometimes for the worst. I'm not quite up to pacing and chain-smoking just yet (well, at least the pacing portion). So I sit and wait and cross my fingers and offer up prayers and play some music and do my best just not to think on it. Kind of like Necie in the Ya-Ya books: I'm just thinking myself some pretty pink and blue thoughts...... Again, I don't know what the answer will be, but I know that no matter what, I am in good hands.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Which Are You Feeding? (and an update)

I weighed in at work Saturday morning, and I’m more or less holding steady. Part of me is happy about that, since I had some binge-y moments this week. In reflection on those moments, I know how it happened. On Tuesdays, I eat dinner at work (4:30 PM) in order to make my schedule work for a committee meeting each week. I don’t like this, since I usually finish lunch around 12:30. 4:30 is a little too soon for a full meal. By 10:00, I’m starving and shoveling in whatever's not nailed down (and that’s even with snacks at the meeting). So now, I’ve decided that I will simply have to stop and pick up something on the way to the meeting and eat it then. I hate the idea of spending money instead of taking something from home, but you do what you have to.

And this week, I tended to listen to my "head hunger" instead of my "body hunger." I wasn't really caring whether or not I was physically hungry, but wanting to satisfy my emotional hunger instead. I was letting my mind outfox my body. That was especially evident on Thursday night. I was perfectly physically satisfied, but mentally and emotionally starved for something. I fed the wrong need; this hunger didn’t need physical food but some sort of affirmation or reassurance.

Amazing, huh? After four years, I still fall victim to the old ways of thinking. I’m just proof that it can still happen to anyone. Even with knowing all those good habits to follow, my old brain followed the wrong internal circuitry. So this week, I will be taking extra precautions to listen to the right signals.

***

I went to the doctor on Thursday for consultation and answers. I mentioned that I do have some of the signs they mention for hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's, but not all. If I am fatigued or sluggish, it's only when I've gone until I just cannot go anymore and then crash! If nothing else, I have become a perpetual motion machine. Sitting still kills me. I also don't have a "sluggish system" – nosireebob, 50 grams of fiber a day pretty much helps with that. Pale, dry skin? I give white a bad name, folks. And dry, well, yeah, but you know, mostly seasonal and I'm older now. I understand.....

But I do have the low tolerance for cold temperatures. The A/C is on because it was 90+ degrees outside and it's starting to get humid. And usually I'm wearing a cardigan anyway (surprisingly, I'm not at this very moment, but I am cool). I sleep in yoga pants and a tee (either long or short sleeved) year round. Wasn't that long ago that I slept in a short-sleeved tee and shorts, and broke out the longer pants just for winter. I have two pairs of flannel pj's that get quite the workout each winter. In the winter, as I told Dr. H, I literally back my rump up toward the gas heater and get my butt warm. For some bizarre reason, my butt is always cold in the winter. Can't explain it.

Unexplained weight gain? Really, Doc, just read my blog posts since February of this year. Nearly every week is a lament about that. I have been consistently stuck about 5 pounds above goal for months now. There's a reason and that's part of what all this is about.

Irregular cycle? Well, DUH! That's what set this whole process in motion back in 2006. Irregular cycles have been sending me to doctors for years. I should have seen one in my teens -- not for irregularity in timing (oh no, that was no problem), it was all the pain and other stuff. It took me until age 27 to realize that all those things were not normal. And since 36, I haven't been "normal" in any regard to that.

Shoulder pain and stiffness? Just ask my chiro. The adjustments help but within days, it's back to the pain, and it's not just in the joints of the shoulder. It's my neck and upper back. My trainer has a few moves put into my routine to help me develop better shoulder/upper back strength so that the poor traps (i.e., the ropes that go from neck across the top of the shoulders) don't tote the whole load..... best of luck there. I still hurt. A large chunk of the excess skin that needs to be removed is all up front -- chest, midriff, the "I had all 19 of the Duggar kids at once" abdomen. Not to mention the backfat and now-practically-nonexistent derierre. Oh, and God no, let’s not forget the saddlebags that are my arms and upper legs (to the knee), and even a small portion above the calf.

These things are what have sent me looking for answers. I know, beyond any doubt, they're connected. I need to know what just what my body is trying to tell me. That need had me once again on a doctor's table. They checked my heart rate twice, once by hand and once with an oxygen saturation monitor. Same number both times: 56. (And great oxygen absorption, too, at 99%). The heart rate is low – for most people, but for me, it was considered "athletic" range. ME? ATHLETE? I still chortle. They were pleased.

He seems to think most of the issues may be interconnected, and the overall thing is the HUGE weight loss. I also said, "Oh, before I forget, by the way, I meant to show you this last time...." I have a cyst on my shoulder. I hadn't really paid much attention to it but I noticed it about 18 months ago, I guess? It doesn't seem to have grown or anything but who knows... He looked at it and said, "Oh, probably nothing, but just keep an eye on it." I said, "Do you need to do a biopsy or anything?" His response, "Eh... I don't know."

He went to his office and came back and said, "You know.... I'm going to go ahead and have (Nurse) draw up the orders for a full thyroid panel anyway. I don't think there's anything there, but I agree. Answers are helpful. And uh, depending on what the tests say, I may do an incisional biopsy of this cyst."

If ever there were a loaded word in the English language, biopsy is surely one of them. It sounds odd, but I am so glad that work was busy on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, insanely busy as it was. And I’m thankful that I had things to keep me occupied this weekend. If I hadn’t been totally occupied, I might have simply wasted hours thinking about the “what ifs.” As it is, I’m sitting here on Sunday afternoon, and the word is a little less scary. I’m not as freaked out as I would have been had I dwelt on it for long ... but I’m also not out on my lawn cheerfully asking, "Gimme a B!!" either. I’m waiting, patiently, and trusting that in the Master Plan, all will be well. Julian of Norwich’s very famous quote comes to mind: "All will be well. And all will be well. And all shall be exceedingly well."

So I’m waiting to see what happens, in a lot more faith and trust than I am used to exhibiting. I’m not saying that I’m not worried or scared or concerned, but I’m not going to dwell on it. It will be what is meant to be. And all will be well, in every area where I wish to be healthy.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Knowledge and power

I'm not sure I have a lot of words of wisdom this week. I'm not feeling very wise. I'm not discouraged, but I am .... well, I'm not sure there's a good descriptor for it. Baffled. Angry. Inquisitive. Perplexed. Not-Quite-But-Awful-Close-to-Helpless. Determined.

(For what it's worth, the one on the list that kills me is the "helpless" phrase.... don't even get me started on my absolute dread/dislike of "helpless"!! I don't believe we're ever without help, whether it's from others or divine assistance. Help is always there. But it's the only way I can really describe the feeling.)

I am still up, weight-wise. This week, I used 25 of my 35 weekly extra points. I use those extra very infrequently, but I did this week. Was it too many? Not enough? I know that maintenance is ongoing and one of those constant experiments to see what may work and what may not. But I hardly think that using 5/7ths of those points was enough to send me up that much? And yes, it was (sorry fellas) The Week Just Before. But water retention? No. Trust me. I spent all day Thursday wearing a path from my office to the ladies' room. AND WAS STILL UP.

I want answers. Plain and simple.

For the last two checkups (last fall and this spring), my primary care physician has expressed concern about a low pulse rate. His concern is that it could be indicative of a thyroid issue. Last spring and summer, I was plagued by some other issues, and in the effort to get to the bottom of those, one of my doctors ordered a thyroid test. It came back normal, so a change in meds was in order. Fine. And the low pulse rate could be attributed to overall good cardio fitness, perhaps. But in discussions with a friend, I learned about an autoimmune disorder in which the thyroid is involved. Her sister was diagnosed with it, and her sister's thyroid tests all come back in normal ranges -- which they shouldn't, given the nature of this disease.

It made me ponder things. I'm not saying that there's a definite medical issue and have that be an excuse. If I'm screwing things up and gaining weight due to inattention or some fault of my own, THAT'S FINE. I can solve that somehow. I can keep tweaking and experimenting and finding ways to make it work. I'll know then that it is all me. But if there is an underlying medical problem, well, I want to know that too. Knowledge really is power. If I know, then I can work to solve it or alleviate it or do something other than wring my hands and think, "What did I do? What didn't I do? I've done everything right that I know to do. WHAT IS HAPPENING?"

I have an appointment for next Thursday with my family doc, and I am going to show him the information I have found. I am thinking that with the issues from last summer (okay, really, from most of my adult life on that front) that I need a full panel, I need to have real answers. If my goal really is improved quality of life through healthy living, I owe it to myself to know my body, both its strengths and weaknesses. I need to find what is in my power to change and accept what I cannot control and change.

I hope I can follow the example of my aunt Peggy. My aunt Peggy is one of my she-roes. She has faced adversities that I cannot begin to imagine: losing a child who was only age 2, facing breast cancer, a late-in-life diagnosis of diabetes. Her response to roadblocks is a marvelous example: a moment or two of silence, some deep breaths and then an "Okay, so what do I need to know, what do I need to do, to make this better, to learn to live with it, to move forward?" I sometimes sign off posts with "Ever forward" -- it's a gag line from the Dragnet movie in 1987 that makes me laugh, but it's actually a great outlook on life: ever forward. And that's how my aunt Peggy operates. One foot in front of the other and just move forward.

And that's all I want right now: answers. Something I can see, hear, touch on a piece of paper, something that will help me move ever forward. Something to let me know what is and isn't in my capability. I don't mind being told nothing's wrong. In fact, the words would thrill me because then I'D KNOW. I'd know that whatever's causing this gain is totally within my power and grasp to change. If I'm told, "Wow, you have this and we need to get you on some meds to help you out," then fine. It's one more prescription in the arsenal. And I can deal at that point. Ever forward.

Knowledge is power. And I need the knowledge to keep me from that helpless sensation that I so dread and loathe.

Here's to knowledge and power. Here's to never settling for a shrug of the shoulders. Here's to the determination to delve in and to find out more about the gift of our own bodies.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sleep and weight loss

I'm someone who loves my sleep. I mean, I love sleep like a fat kid loves chocolate cake. Like the quote from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: "She used to say she could taste sleep and that it was as delicious as a BLT on fresh French bread." Even in elementary school, I had a late bedtime (compared to so many other kids) but my mother must have found it pure hell to try to drag me out of bed in the mornings. She asked, cajoled, threatened, demanded, and basically did whatever it took ...... my sleep needs simply didn't coincide with the demands of real life.

Here I am 30+ years later, and nothing's changed. I cannot fall asleep before 11:00 but in order to accomplish everything I have to, I have to be up at 5:30 on a normal morning, 5:00 if I have to be at work at 8:00. No, I'm not kidding. Why 2 hours to get ready? You eat breakfast, unravel the leg bandages, roll them back up, hit the shower, dry off, put back on a pair of support hose, fix lunch (and maybe dinner for the road too - my Tuesdays for the next 3 months), take a few moments to check your home e-mail, and hit the road so that you can maybe avoid the bad traffic......

I wouldn't say I'm sleep deprived, but it is days like today where I find myself sleeping to make up the difference. I woke at 7:00 this morning. That's the first time I've slept past 6:30 in I-couldn't-tell-you-when. I dozed a little this morning between 9:30 and 10:00. I fell asleep again this afternoon for what was supposed to be 20 minutes and ended up being 45.

And guess what? Studies are starting to show a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. The Weight Watchers' Science Center has a great article about Sleep & Its Role In Weight Loss -- please check it out!

It might behoove me ... much as I hate the idea ... to revamp my schedule. To somehow make my body go against my own natural instincts and go to bed earlier. Like I have enough time in the day anyway to do everything I need.... :(

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Closing Time.....

After 4 years, it is the end of an era. I am losing my 7:00 meeting on Thursday nights. Several back-to-back meetings at various locations and centers are being consolidated, and this happens to be one of them.

But oh my..... I've built so much of my schedule and my world around Thursday evenings being MY time. Right now, unless I can change my schedule to attend the 5:30 meeting, my only option is Sunday afternoons.... and really, do I want to weigh in after Sunday dinner? :D So I will do what I can to get to Thursdays at 5:30.

To everyone who has been part of my life for those 7:00 meetings, I sure hope to see you soon. You have meant the world to me!

****

Week 2 of the "Dave Workout, Plan One" ..... we upped the weight to a 15-pound dumbbell, and added yet another lifting/stretch thing to it. Oh. Em. Gee. I feel it this week in my abs and my shoulders/arms. It's still a good hurt. Strangely enough, I'm enjoying this.

They have a word for that: masochism. :D

Friday, May 21, 2010

He's trying to kill me.....

My personal trainer, that is. I started a new fitness routine this week. Medicine balls and twists. Dumbbells used as kettlebells. Learning to juggle (kinda sorta). Glutes & hams, with calf raises and lowers. Heavier weights than usual. Dave told me Monday night, "You are going to be sore tomorrow." Dave was wrong; I was getting sore 2 hours later!!!

But it feels good. It is hard work that feels good to body and soul. Am I perfect, do I remember all the routine yet? No. And trying to do the routine in the mornings is tough because I only have so much time, but I do as much as time will allow, and I am finally at a point where my schedule is evening out.

***

Last night, I had the opportunity to share a portion of my story at a WW meeting/open house. I really enjoyed getting to meet everyone, and hearing their stories and questions. If there's anything I want others to hear by sharing my tale, it's that there is hope, there is success, there is great joy in getting healthy. If you work the program, the program works!!! There will be setbacks and disappointments, but it is not failure -- it really is feedback. It's "okay, this didn't work.... so what will?" That with perseverance and determination, ANYTHING is possible!

I'm still working on getting back to goal, but I'm not discouraged. I know that I will be there before too much longer!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Progress, at last

I'm reading the Geneen Roth book little bit by little bit. It's pretty deep, so I want to savor it and not just give it the speed-read treatment. In fact, tonight over dinner, I read more of it, and got just whammied by what I was reading. About paying attention to your body and to stop the obsessing (and get to what's really eating you instead....)

This weekend, I experienced this for myself a little on Saturday night. I had a birthday party for a high school friend, and I didn't worry about the food. I ate what I wanted, to satisfaction, and earlier than my usual dinnertime. Amazingly enough, I didn't eat again until very late (just to have a snack before bed)..... I was very satisfied, to say the least. And I made it a point that I was going to count it against my weekly 35 points. I also worked out a little more this week, because I know I feel lousy when I don't.

It is starting to pay off. I am down 1.6 from my official weigh-in, and only 2.8 to go in order to be within range again. I changed up my breakfasts this week on the advice of two different leaders, if for no other reason than variety. I plan to do the same this week too. I'll also be changing up my exercise routine, after some sessions with a personal trainer (and plenty of advice and workout plans from Women's Health).

So you know what, I'm going to keep working hard, worrying/obsessing less, and living in the moment. And I'm guessing that the more I do that, the more my body will thank me! (As well as my mind.....)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I forgot to mention....

I'm reading a new book, just in Chapter One right now, but it is quite an interesting premise: Geneen Roth's Women, Food and God -- about how the choices we've made with food (and other things) reflect our deepest core values and our spirituality.

I cannot wait to keep reading it..... if I'm not dead asleep Sunday afternoon (after a pretty busy week and weekend), then I will be nose-deep in this book!

At the risk of sounding like John Fox....

It is what it is.

Yeah, I'm up. Not quite as much as February (oooh, a whole 6/10ths difference), but it's up. Oh well, weekly weigh-ins, here I come!

So what do I do need to do differently to get this fixed and soon?
  • Set a better schedule. The last couple of weeks have been a lot of curveballs and change-ups to my time frames. So that ends. Not only do I need to map out my day and eating plans to accommodate my new evening meetings, but my exercise as well. I've gotten off a good set schedule, and I need to get back. This will be a little easier once choir practice ends, so hopefully in about 2 weeks, I'll have a really good schedule set.
  • Do more cooking. Another thing I haven't had time for, but really need to work on. I have new recipes to try out, and I can't wait!!!
  • Figure out exactly (calorie-wise) what I should be eating each day -- not just the points, but the calories too. Points are a little different because I can use one point on something that's 40 calories with no fat or fiber, or it could be 90 calories with enough fiber. 50 calories is (for me) about 5 minutes on the elliptical. If I stop five minutes early and I've eaten those calories.... make sense?
  • Talk to my territory manager for more advice. I know she will be caring and offer real help and advice!
I'll keep you posted on how things go!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Struggling again....

I went on a much-needed retreat for women last weekend. I did not realize how desperately I needed a break from the everyday world, and just what sort of physical impact it would have on me. Knowing I was going to be busy with that all weekend, on Friday, I did a workout for my legs. This is important for later on......

I got up early Saturday, drove to the retreat, and -- oh my gosh, I can't begin to tell you about all the food that was there, and I proceeded to just enjoy myself with it. We were fed VERY well..... too well; not only were our bodies well-fed but our souls and spirits too. It was a beautiful weekend, with lots of emotion (at least on my part). I'm a pretty emotional person to start, so you know that means I will become a weepy mess pretty quickly. The stress of the last few weeks has honestly left me close to either a big ol' ugly outburst or a huge meltdown. But in the midst of all that emotional garbage, I found wonderful love and support from the women who became my soul-sisters that weekend. By the time we reached a very beautiful, moving moment of the retreat that evening, I was most definitely one hot mess. I went to a quiet spot in the church and wept, sobbed, openly, loudly, and did not care one bit who heard, who followed me in there, or what she might have thought. Amazing how God's love reaches out to you whether you're in the church or sitting in a bathroom stall......

What does this have to do with weight, physical fitness, etc.? Keep reading.

So I went to bed that night on the air mattress I'd brought with me. It wasn't the most comfortable sleep but it wasn't the same as a sleeping bag on the floor. When I awoke Sunday morning, my arms from shoulders to wrists felt like I had gone ten rounds with Tyson in my sleep. I mean, I was sore to the touch. Just as I was wondering what happened, one of the team members - a nurse-practitioner - came in and I asked her. She nodded and said, "Yep. It can be a response to the stress release that you've just had." On Monday night at the gym, I asked a personal trainer the same thing -- same answer: "Oh yeah! You get rid of all that built-up stress, and those free radicals and toxins go flush through your body. Heck yeah, you'll be sore."

Which has made me ponder this week just how stress plays into weight loss/gain. In the last few years, much has been made of cortisol, the "stress hormone" ..... and all the products that are supposed to help block, eliminate, etc. its effects. Uh, I don't think the products work, but I am wondering about the hormone itself. I came back from retreat and was feeling really good and relaxed and happy ...... and work hit me full force this week, and I have been pretty well just as stressed as ever this week. Add a car breakdown and a couple of other events..... well, that was tons of fun. And how have I responded? Not working out as I should. Bad food choices .... not so much in what I ate, but 10:00 at night has been my bugaboo.

But you know, today began the do-over. I have treated today like Day 1. Good choices, and tomorrow I plan to wake early and go workout. I enjoy the evening workouts, but there's something head-clearing and energizing about the early workouts. So guess what..... tomorrow. Monday morning (and then again Tuesday night). Now that I have my vehicle back, I'm not at the mercy of others!

So let's see how things go this week. I may not hit my goal weight for this month's weigh-in, but I'm going to try my very best!!! I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

To quote Lee Corso...

"Not so fast, my friend....."

I mentioned previously that I finally found some protein shake stuff at Vitamin Shoppe last weekend, and it was on clearance so, oh why not? I also stopped in at Wally World on Sunday and bought a nice little shaker/mixer thing -- "perfect for vinaigrettes, shakes, etc." (you see where this is heading, don't you?)

I took the protein powder with me to work yesterday for a quick pre-workout boost. I even only used half the recommended portion, in part to control calories and also to see how I would like it. I mixed the powder with a cup of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk.

The verdict: the protein powder is at home again, where it will stay. One, I didn't like the taste. Had I used a whole portion, it might have been better. But also, my "perfect for..." mixer? Not so much. I had to open it a couple of times and stir. Perhaps the powder should have been sifted or something first? It might have been the unsweetened almond milk. But all I know is I needed a blender or Magic Bullet for this concoction.

And two, I didn't like the way it made me feel. Perhaps it was the headache that was already building throughout the day, or just being tired after a crazy day. I just know I didn't feel right after drinking it. I have since realized that this case of the weirds may have been due more to the HeadOn (yes, apply directly to the forehead) that I was using. I discovered that today when I used it again when I felt a little headache coming on and got the same not-so-great feeling. Good thing I didn't spend that much on it - because it is finding a new home in le garbage!

Even weirder? After my workout, I felt oddly shaky. At the gym, I did a high-intensity interval cardio routine (20 minutes), and then a free weight arms routine. The only thing I did any differently was choosing slightly heavier dumbbells than I had used before. But I was sweating through the whole thing like I had just run a marathon.

I went into the grocery store after the gym, grabbed the bananas I needed and also a Powerade Zero. I could not chug the Powerade fast enough. Okay, that's fine, I get that I'm thirsty. But it's a two-minute drive at worst from the gym to the house.... that drink was G.O.N.E. before I ever got home. It was the shaky feeling you get when you've gone too long between meals/snacks. From the time I had the shake to getting home from the gym? Less than 3 hours...... I mean, really, I can do better than that each morning (usually 4-5 hours between breakfast & snack). So for a quick boost, I popped a peppermint candy, and that seemed to help until I got food in my system! Today, I took my Biggest Loser whey protein powder with me to work to use in the future. At least I know it works without giving me the weirds.

But you know, my leader and I were talking tonight and we realized that real foods are still the best answer....... so this coming week, as much as possible, back to "real" foods and less of the processed stuff. For protein after a workout, stick to lean meats, eggs, beans, etc. Oh my, in other words: Filling Foods. Now there's a concept, isn't it?

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Supplements, shopping, and working out

Okay, first....................... Some exciting news to report on the WW scene: a new location for our Clemson & Seneca area meetings!! Join us at the Heritage Point (a/k/a "Bloom") Shopping Center, on Highway 123 between Clemson & Seneca. We're actually right next to the Chinese restaurant in the center. If you live in the area, and you're interested in meetings at this location, just go to www.weightwatchers.com -- type in your zip code and look for the "Heritage Point" location in Seneca.

After moving the East Clemson meeting's inventory and paperwork over, we started unpacking the Seneca paperwork and inventory. However, I had to take off before everything was finished -- I had an appointment in Travelers Rest yesterday afternoon. When that was finished, I headed to Vitamin Shoppe, since I knew they were having a sale. And I wanted to look into a few things.

I don't know everything there is to know about nutrition, and especially performance nutrition. I still don't really think of myself as an athlete either -- I mean, really, there are people out there training for marathons and such, and here I am just doing 3x a week workouts. But I'm also a long way from the days of 30 minutes on a treadmill and being drenched at that. I know that I need some good quality protein after a workout, and I'm so tired of going into drugstores or even the grocery stores, and seeing these 300- and 400-calorie monstrosities that offer 30+g of protein, protein, protein (in your mind, you really need to be hearing that as the dragway ads about "Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!!!!!"). I don't even want the 150- to 200-calorie bars. I only have so many points each day to spare. Yes, I know I have 35 points a week, but do I really want to use them on this? I'm sorry, but I remember all too well the days when I was much heavier, and would choke down Powerbars and MetRX (a/k/a Sawdust) and thinking I was doing myself some good .... and now shuddering thinking at the calories I was putting in and not using. Even using them today, I'm very wary. 3 or 4 points is just more than I'm willing to invest right now.

A while back, I bought some Biggest Loser Whey Protein stuff -- 50 calories and I think 5 gr of fiber, not to mention good protein. Enough that it was either zero or 1 point .... but EGAD!!! You're supposed to mix it with 5 oz of water per the directions. Quite honestly, it would taste much better with 2 oz. of water as a paste. There is NO taste with it in 5 oz of water. I'm better off mixing it into a 20-ounce diet Coke and at least getting a little vanilla taste in that! YUCK!

I also found that so many of these protein powders do not have any fiber. Really? Why? The only thing I can even think of is that if you're training for a marathon and you've had a protein shake just before training, you really don't want to be 10 miles into the run and.... um, how to say it delicately -- give "run" another definition. But I would prefer a little more fiber.... some of the better protein powders are still 2 points (just for the scoop of protein, doesn't count if you're mixing it in milk! Ugh.....) One more tangent: really, do I need or want 5-pound vats of this stuff? What if I hate it? Not only do I have a buttload of stuff I don't want, but I'm out $50 (on average). How about sample packets, or maybe some smaller containers, like 16 oz, or 24 oz?

Anyway, I found some (on clearance - yahoo! - and a small container, even more yahoo!!), and I'm going to try it as something to have for a quick post-workout boost. But honestly, you know what works just as well, for about $2.50 per carton? Egg beaters: 12 g of protein for a half-cup. Perfect amount for an omelet, and it's still just one point. And I can chew it!!!

Oh, one last thing: all this stuff does is make me want to go get a degree in nutrition or dietetics and one in exercise physiology or kinesiology. I want to know how it ALLLLLL works together. Why wasn't I this interested back when I was in college the first time??? Youth really is wasted on the young, isn't it? (HA!)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A truly bright spot....

Okay, I don't get political on this blog or any of my others, for that matter. I was a poli-sci major in college, and I would crawl if I had to in order to vote..... but otherwise, I don't delve too deeply unless it's a campaign season. Campaigning is another beast entirely - I love watching the tactics that politicians will use (read: depths they will sink to) in order to win.

BUT..... no matter how you feel about the recent health-care legislation, one of the brightest shining provisions is the one requiring chain restaurants to post the calorie counts (if nothing else). Frankly, I wish they'd make them hand out a complete nutrition guide at the door, with fat, fiber, sodium, sugar, and a few other things listed..... but at least the calorie count is a starting point.

And I love restaurants that WILLINGLY provide that information now. Regular readers know that I am totally kookoo for Jason's Deli, just because of the great information they provide and are willing to give you ..... in one situation, with a new menu item, the manager even went online to their staff section to find the information for me. Now that's dedication! Kudos also to The Pita Pit (and we FINALLY have one around here, in Clemson!) -- their Athens GA location did the same for me one day and it was so deeply appreciated.

Today for lunch, I was out and about, and didn't want the usual stuff. It had been a while since I'd been to Arby's (except for one sandwich on vacation recently), but I remembered that they had a really good salad a while back -- the Martha's Vineyard. And naturally..... le sigh. No longer on the menu. But I went in and asked the counter staff if there was a nutrition guide where I could decide. They went right to the information center, got one for me, and I sat down with my handy calculator and figured out POINTS values. They were so very helpful, and willing to give the information! That earns quite a bit of respect from me.

Now, for the one complaint -- and this goes for many fast-food restaurants who offer salads. Here's a suggestion: How about letting ME decide if I want cheese or bacon or whatever on the salad. You can package the basics: the veggies and the meat, but all the accoutrements? Let me decide. You can put them in little containers within the package -- that still allows the service staff the ability to just grab, hand, and move to the next customer without having to freak over a special order. Or tell me up front what's on the salad: had I known that this one came with bacon and cheese, I may have chosen differently (even though it was good!). What would have been the harm in a package of bacon bits or little plastic container of cheese ..... I could have added it or not, but that would have been my choice. The salad was tasty - don't get me wrong - but really, to pick out the cheese is nearly impossible (the bacon was easier to remove). And to Arby's: bring back the Martha's Vineyard salad; it was so good!

But back to my point.............. having that information allowed me to make the best possible choice that I could. That's all any of us can ask for.... even if the choice becomes, "Wow. I think I'd better go somewhere with healthier options!" Don't think it hasn't happened, and my guess is that if it starts happening often enough with chains, they may start thinking, "Ooh. How do we remedy this?"