Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hanging in and pressing on....

It's been a tough two weeks. I've had a couple of small gains which haven't really added up to much.... except that they are gains --- UGH!!! I tell myself that it is the busy season, and this is true. Between musical events -- 3 different concerts/performances, just as many choir practices, plus our yearly caroling/party -- and being chained to my desk with work (reports, reports, reports, and ... oh yeah, did I mention reports?).....

No excuses, though. I could have done something better, differently, etc.

But I'm proud. Last year at this time, I was in the middle of a massive pity party, table of one. And I was definitely bellying up to the bar. For example, at last year's caroling party, I had one of everything. No, really, I mean it. THEN went back for seconds on "favorites" ..... this year, way more picky. It was like, "If I can make it at home, anytime I want, then do I want to eat it here?" Yeah, that put a kibbosh on a peanut butter cookie. Think about it: it's not special. I can make those anytime I want. So why would I want to "indulge" in it, just because someone else brought it?

Nah.... not worth it.

But starting tomorrow, I have some time off. I have to do my shopping (yes, you read that right: 12/21 and STARTING my shopping). And I've got my gym bag packed and ready to go with me. Yeah, I'm gonna hit the gym first, then shopping.

But you know what's been my saving grace as well? My 5K's. Since mid-November, I've done 3, and I just signed up for a New Year's Eve night run. I figure it's a good omen if I can wrap up the old/start out the new year with something good for me. Besides, I gotta break 46:30 if it kills me (HAAAAA!). I'd love to break my PR of 45:56.

And I have the "Magic Tracker" this week (even though we won't have a meeting on Christmas Day). Why? because when you have the Magic Tracker, you lose! Ta-Da!!! :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

No holiday death spiral....

At this time last year, I was going through lots of medical tests, and in general having a big ol' pity party, table for one. And it was around this time that I began to succumb to the Holiday Death Spiral. If it was on a table to be consumed, I was going to have some.

Yes, I know better.
No, I wasn't hungry.
No, I really shouldn't have had three of them, but it was just too darn tasty.
I only get these around this time of year.
I'm so busy I don't have time to hit the gym.
It's the holidays - I'll start fresh in January.

I had every excuse. And then in January, a serious health scare and my only consolation was food.

Yes, I knew better. I was falling into a death spiral 36 years in the making and only recently "conquered."

This year, I do not want to fall into that trap again. I do not want to go backward in my progress. I'm havi g enough trouble dealing with some continuing health/medication issues that are playing around with my progress. I don't need to derail myself.

Luckily, I have a few new pieces of weaponry in my arsenal. A new resolve. Knowledge of what doesn't work. A few new routines I want to try, and ways to make my spaces more healthy, more conducive to what I need to succeed.

A gym bag packed each evening ready to go the next morning .... and if something happens and I don't make it out the door in the morning, I switch things around and make sure I go that evening. I even have a DVD in there, just in case plans get changed and I have to do a quick workout on lunch hour.

This year, no death spiral. And while maintaining through the holidays would be nice, I don't want to just maintain..... I want a net loss come January 8 (my first weigh-in after the New Year). OH YEAH!

I have the tools.
I have the drive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Science!

I admit that I have become a junkie when it comes to reading up on the advances that science is finding about the human body, especially as it relates to food and fitness. I know, some of that is from my own experiences and some comes from working in the industry (even part-time), but the ones that fascinate me most are the psychological studies in both fields. I like the physiological ones -- how food reacts in the body or how exercise affects the body, or the processes involved with each. But sometimes the biggest challenges (and opportunities) are found in our minds.

For instance, just a few weeks ago, I learned about studies on "hedonic hunger" ..... eating when we aren't hungry because we have somehow responded to a cue. It could be visual (such as an ad on TV) or olfactory  (passing by a Cinnabon and inhaling. Deeply.), or even something as simple as "Hey, let's go get Chinese!" And suddenly, the fact that you JUST had a satisfying snack of something good, it does not matter. You will have that Chinese food or croak trying. You are suddenly very hungry (on a non-empty stomach) and only an egg roll will begin to do.

Tell me about it ....... I do not know how people in New Orleans can be skinny when they are surrounded by all that decadence. I went out with friends when I was down there for a visit, and thought I did pretty well for dinner. I even tracked it until it came to dessert .... which none of us NEEDED, because we'd all just eaten a very satisfying meal. So we agreed to get a couple of desserts and share them; better, right? Yeah. Let me tell you, I have found a dessert that I have renamed The Big O On A Tiny Plate. Because that's exactly what it is. We all took a spoonful and nearly knocked each other over to get the next bite. It didn't matter that we had just eaten a full meal. It didn't matter that we'd just had a very satisfying taste of a luscious dessert (with dark chocolate. And pecan brittle. Oh, and salted caramel. Lawd have mercy......) We. Had. To. Have. More.....

Imagine a weekend of that, where every dish was divine, but less than the healthiest thing out there. And I just didn't care. I was going to taste New Orleans. And believe me, I did. Po-Boys. Beignets. Gumbo. A Pat O'Brien's hurricane (though I was good, only half of one)...... Great googly-moogly.

Imagine the impact on the scale the next week. Let me just tell you, "not pretty" doesn't begin to cover it. Luckily, most of it has come back off, but it is a prime example of hedonic hunger -- we were not hungry. We had no intention of having more than one bite. But once we dove into those delectable desserts, with fat, salt, sugar...... those dopamine pathways overrode every good intention, and every piece of science I knew that screamed "NO!!! Put the spoon DOWN!"

Okay, disclaimer here: I do work for Weight Watchers (as if you didn't know that already), and I am going to recommend a blogpost by our CEO, David Kirchhoff at his Man Meets Scale blog. It is worth a great read on what we've learned so far in scientific studies (those we've done and those by other groups).

Friday, November 09, 2012

Slow and steady

If I had any misgivings (wouldn't call it a regret) about the time I was in my weight-loss process, is that I feel like it almost happened a little too quickly. I had a bounceback over the last year and now I am working to get those last few back off. This time, however, instead of a race to see how fast I can do this, I want to be sure that I get it off and keep it off, even if I have setbacks or plateaus along the way.

So I've been back on track for about 3 months now, and I've lost just over 10 pounds in that time. That's an average of 3 pounds a month, 0.8 pounds per week (more or less). I remember a time that I'd fuss over that figure, thinking a more reasonable expectation would have 10 pounds the first month and then maybe 5 each additional month.

This time, I hold myself to a different standard: consistency.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This is awesome!

I will post more about my trip to the Virginia Creeper Trail a little later, but I found this beautiful thought earlier this morning, and felt I needed to share it................. And while the scale gives us feedback, it can never, ever define who we are.

Get Off The Scale!

You are beautiful. Your beauty, just like your capacity for life, happiness, and success, is immeasurable. Day after day, countless people across the globe get on a scale in search of validation of beauty and social acceptance.

Get off the scale! I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it. I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile. Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.

It’s true, the scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That’s it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love. Don’t give the scale more power than it has earned. Take note of the number, then get off the scale and live your life. You are beautiful!” 
― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The DIG DEEP bone

Throughout my life I have been a voracious reader, but the last couple of years, it has taken me forever to get through books. I keep ordering them and getting them at used bookstores (I know, what is WRONG with me - I can't even finish the ones I have!), but....... anyway, the latest one that I am so very slowly making my way through is Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. It's an excellent book so far, I just would like an uninterrupted afternoon to make my way through it. More on that to come.

One of the things that she mentions in there is people who constantly just dig deep when the going is tough and they've hit the wall but they just keep on going. Of course, she goes on to say, but what do you do when that doesn't work, and redefines DIG. I won't give her secrets away here (but really, get the book: it is good!). I thought about that in my own life.

I am blessed that I have been gifted with a DIG DEEP bone. Did I always use this gift? Are you kidding me? Would I have needed to write this blog had I used it properly? Once I discovered that I really did have this special gift, I decided that I needed to use it as often as necessary. Last week was one of those weeks. I'd done everything I was supposed to do, and still had an uptick on the scale. But I also knew that I had done nothing wrong, it was a blip, and I needed to dig a little deeper and just plow on. And I did precisely that and lost not only everything I'd "put on" (ahem: water weight!) but that number again, AND a little more. I'm getting ever closer to being back where I want to be -- and I love that feeling.

But no resting on my laurels..... hey, that reminds me, just where are my laurels, anyway? ...... and I am so psyched about my upcoming activity plans for the next couple of months. Biking on the VA Creeper Trail this weekend, and four different 5K's in November and December. Plus gym work and who knows what else? I need to get back to yoga -- I do miss it, and need to work it back in my plans. That's the one area I've slacked on lately and I miss that lovely time of shutting out the world and just breathing and moving ever so gently. I just need to dig a little deeper and rearrange some things to make it happen.

Which brings me to this thought............... What do you need to dig deep, if you're not sure you have a DIG DEEP bone?

  • Practice. There is a saying about doing one thing each day that scares you. No better way to find your DIG DEEP bone than to scare yourself pantsless until you realize that yeah, you CAN do this!
  • Remind yourself that the outcome is worth the work. Whatever you expend into this will be rewarded!
  • Ask yourself what's the alternative (or the alternatives) .... are they worth it? One thing that I always remember asking myself in my college and early adult years was, "If I do (x) {or alternately, if I didn't do [x] that was good for me}, what will I think when I look at myself in the mirror the next day?" Would I feel better about myself? Would I be proud of whatever effort I put in, or ashamed that I hadn't done my best? Always doing a risk-reward analysis, but it paid off. There were times I would think that something wasn't worth the guilt I would feel, or doing something when I didn't feel like it would make me really proud of myself. So I still do -- would wallowing in self-pity and eating a donut really make me feel better, or make me proud? Would getting up at the crack-a-dawn and putting in a good honest workout leave me feeling good about myself, instead of rolling back over and hitting the snooze bar?
  • Destroy the negative self-talk tape and replace it with positive self-talk. It is something I always struggle with ..... that inner voice. It's not just about my size or my habits or anything in particular. I struggle with it all the time, in every situation. Sometimes, it plays the most negative stuff -- and the worst moments are when I not only listen, but choose to hit rewind over and over. Other times, when it tries, I'm able to stop and say, "What a liar! Telling me I'm not worth the trouble. I'll show it! I am TOO worth every ounce of energy I put into this....." or sometimes, "Did that person really say that? Okay, well, they might think I'm (fill in the blank) but that's just their opinion and I choose to disagree. I *know* I'm not the things they think I am!"

So when you're faced with a situation where you're not sure you can go on, dig a little deeper..... go on for one more minute. Then the next, and the next, until you've hit an hour. And the next, and the next. And WOW you've made it a day, just digging a little deeper, moment by moment. You just put one foot down in front of the other. Again and again.

You can do it. You are worth it. Dig a little deeper.

And WW members -- if you do not own a copy of the Power Foods cookbook, then get one at your next meeting, and make the Turkey, Zucchini, and Quinoa miniloaves. Oh. My. Gosh. So. Good!!!!!! (And very filling, too!).

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A year in the life

First off, apologies: I didn't realize I hadn't posted at all in September -- WOW! It was definitely a busy month, so I'll try to be better about this in October.....

***

52 weeks ago today: The Great Earth Fare Swoon. Oddly enough, I am just as busy today as I was that day in October 2011.... so much to do, so much to do. In fact, some of the same: Monarchs meeting, choir practice, only this time it's not a day off and I have a lot to do at work today.

What has transpired in this year is unlike anything I would have ever imagined. More medical appointments than I would have ever guessed. A scare that kept me in terror for about 2 months, only to find that there was nothing there at all. Lots of work stress and lots of home stress. New medicines and consistent monitoring. And a rebound on my weight that I would never have wished on anyone.

What have I learned? A temporary setback is no reason to throw a pity party..... and from last October on, I was having myself a huge ol' PP, table for one and one only. I'm back on plan and working hard to get this weight off ..... and yet, at the same time, I've learned not to completely freak out when the scale goes back up. I'm savoring those NSV's because I can't count on the scale to necessarily give me accurate feedback. For example, about every three weeks, I have a big spike, only to lose it either the next week or over the next couple of weeks. Usually I can lose more than the spike was, so that means the scale is going down ..... just very slowly.

However, I'm also learning to plan my activity, to plan rest days, to be flexible to allow for changes and modifications. And what's really helping me with this is ActiveLink. Now, disclaimer: I am a WW employee, and I promise I'm not just trying to shill a product ....... but the ActiveLink device that's available to members has done more for my workout motivation than anything else! I look forward to getting in my activity and am trying really hard to keep moving throughout the day, so that I don't have to try to make it up by an hour of excruciating work at the gym (although I do own up to doing 30 minutes of torture as often as possible).

What have I done this year? Things I never imagined. I asked more questions, I learned more about the body, I allowed others to minister to my spirit, I prayed even harder, I rejoiced even more, I decided to take a few more chances. I got back on a bike for the first time since I was probably 16 -- and now have two bikes to use! I signed up for a 5K in New Orleans to visit with some old friends, and for a Bridge Run. I'm even considering a couple of obstacle runs next year, and am mulling finally learning to swim so that I can attempt a ladies-only tri at some point.

And within this year, there's been some sadness that has made me stop and think about life. A very, very dear friend passed very unexpectedly, far too young. He was such an inspiration in overcoming obstacles and I cannot help but try to honor his memory by doing the same in my life.

The point is that you only have one life. You can choose to wallow in misery or you can choose to embrace the here and now, to make the most of your opportunities. I've done a lot of both this year, and I far prefer the latter. I want to be the best possible person I can be, and I'm determined to succeed in this effort.

And you can too!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When determination pays off....

After last week's setback, I was determined not to fall into a funk but to just keep plowing on, and to keep going. And YAHOOEY! did it pay off -- I lost all that increase from last week and a little more!! I might have even had more but I enjoyed some really, really good ribs on Sunday with some friends....definitely worth the splurge!

So what's the plan this week?

Same as this week. Same as last week. Keep tracking, keep moving, keep making more good decisions than bad ones.

Keep breathing -- deeply, purposefully, mindfully. Keep listening to what my body is telling me -- I'm hungry; no, I'm good; ow! that hurt; I'm feeling good, let's do 2 more minutes!........

And success will come.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What's that saying about pride and a fall....

because holy Moses, according to the scale, I not only fell from Grace, but probably on her as well. It said I had gained back everything.

Okay, whatev. I am choosing not to believe the scale.

Did I do everything right? No..... primarily in that while the week before was Shark Week, this was Manatee Week (as in water-retaining sea cow, thank you Jeff Foxworthy!) I didn't always make the best choice in that I ate more processed food than I should have. Worst was when I made a great recipe with a higher-sodium ingredient that I normally would have. And while there's no pressing physical or medical need for me to control my sodium (hypertension, etc.), the cardiac history in my families is enough to make me try to watch it as much as possible..... that and one of my meds might lead to retention. Que sera, sera.

But I'm more proud of my non-scale victories, of the things I did right. I worked out. I tracked every day, including the times I went into the weekly points allowance. I paid myself for my workouts. I even got up early to go work out (and today's after-work gym trip was a great reminder of why I should go in the mornings). Yeah, I'm pretty damn proud of all that!

So this week, it comes right back off....again. And I'm never going to stop trying to do my best. I know now what to look for, and will make sure that I watch myself a little more carefully. That's all I can do.... and I'm worth it!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Looking back a moment....

Okay, stats for this week, down 3.2 more! WAHOO!!!! Planning does pay off, huh? Who'd a-thunk, right?

So..... I was sitting at the meeting this week and speaking with another member. She mentioned that she'd heard part of my story, and as we were talking, she said, "Wow, I bet your numbers at the doctor's office went way down." I said, "Well, I don't know..... my numbers were usually pretty good to begin with, no hypertension, no diabetes, none of the usual things. But then again, I didn't go for annual physicals, just whenever I needed to. I hated the doctor's office." She looked puzzled and I said, "Well, if I'm in there with a cough, I'm not there to be told that I need to go on a diet." She nodded, laughed and said, "Yeah, true....."

I hated the thought of going to a doctor's office, knowing they were going to put me on a scale. It finally reached the point that I simply said, "I'd rather not, that's not why I am here." The "nice" thing about a small-town family doctor who'd treated you most of your life is that they didn't put up a fight. Of course, that's the same reason that a few years later, I changed doctors, but that's another story.

At one point, I even told one of the Wheel of Doctors (an ever-rotating group of younger GP's who didn't stay too long in the practice) this: "I'm here because my face feels like it's about to explode. I've had enough sinus infections and sinus headaches to know what they are. If I could write myself a prescription for a Z-Pack, I would. I know I'm overweight and I know I need to lose. Okay? But that's not why I am here."

The odd thing is that now that I'm way smaller physically, I'm spending more time and energy in doctor's offices. But I don't mind. I no longer fear going. Rather, I look at it as finally being a participant in my own health and well-being........... something we should do no matter what our size is.

And while doctors and medical personnel do need to help their overweight patients, they also need to meet the person where they are at that moment, and recognize when the person is really truly ready to make a change. They need to be honest and let people know where they stand, without scaring the absolute bejeezus out of them, and offer real solutions...... not a pamphlet with an 1800-calorie diet and say, "Best of luck!" (Can't count the times that happened). I was lucky enough to have a doctor -- not even my primary care physician -- do that for me. He met me where I was, at my worst place, explained how my weight was impacting my health (at least for what I saw him for), and gave me options to make it possible. WOW. Imagine that..... working with a patient instead of herding him/her through like another cow in the stalls.

And if you are overweight and scared of the doctor's office ..... don't be. I know, easy to say. But you have to own your health and work your butt off to improve things wherever you are. My family jokes with me and say, "You know, you've had more health problems since you lost the weight...." and I think, "I could be dead right now. No thanks, I'll take needles and labwork, and doctor's visits, and using 3-4 days of PTO a year if I have to just to stay on the road to wellness. Worth EVERY moment, every dollar, and every breath."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

BAM!!!

This thought occurred to me just a few moments ago, and I knew that if I didn't put it down SOMEWHERE, I would forever forget it...... and it actually made me stop what I was doing long enough to really think about it.

Knowing what it takes to succeed is not the same as being aware that you have what it takes to succeed.

If you're reading this, stop. Go back. Re-read the bold print. Slowly. Carefully. (Proofread for me, if you'd like.)

Welcome to my reality prior to May 2006.

I knew what it took to lose weight. I had every diet book (except low-carb stuff) on the shelf. I could read, absorb knowledge, and on occasion, attempt to put those things into practice. I. KNEW. This. Stuff. But I didn't know my stuff. I didn't know that I had in me what it would take to lose the weight...... okay, scratch that. I wasn't aware that I had what it took. It was buried deep enough that I hadn't discovered it yet.

One day, when I opened myself up to the possibility that maybe I didn't have it all, maybe I didn't know it all, and that I needed some guidance and help, then everything seemed to click together. Only then did I realize that I'd had the power all along........ and like Dorothy Gale, I had to learn it on my own. As much as someone could have told me I had the power -- and people did, in their own ways -- it was not until I made that realization for myself that it all began to work. Only I could fire up my own cylinders.

As I work my way back toward my goal, I am finding that yes, I knew these things still ..... but I had lost cognizance that I knew these things, and lost a little faith in my own abilities. I became less aware of all of these things.

And as much as it PAINS me to even imagine using a Celine Dion song here (so I'll claim Jim Steinman), "It's all coming back to me now......"

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Dear Universe,

This week, I decided that I was important.

Okay, allow me to rephrase a little. I decided that I was important enough to stop letting other people and other forces to control my time and energy. I'm not sure how I managed to cede that power over to them, but it doesn't matter, really. What matters is that I take it back.

So the haphazard, harried nature that my life has become must now cease. Tombstoning it, baby. A little more order is in order. A little more control over my choices, my time, my energies, with just enough flexibility for those little curveballs you're so fond of zinging toward me.

I decide what. I decide when. I decide where, who, why, how. Some of those elements may not be within my power to control, but I'm claiming the ones that are possible within a particular situation.

It is time for me to reclaim my life. For the last year, it's been everyone else's schedule -- when they can fit me in, or when I can squeeze in a moment for this that or the other. No. This has to stop.

Like the song says, my soul's been in the lost and found .......  but I'm here to get it back. I'm the only one who knows its value anyway, so I'm the only one who has say over it.

Yeah. I'm worth it.

And now time to put another little prayer out to the Universe -- for everyone else who's in the same situation, feeling lost and unfocused and out-of-sorts. Let's all mosey over to L&F and get ourselves back.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Bike Ride

Okay - forgive the delay in my post this week. I'm finally back among the land of the living for several reasons. Mostly, that old devil Senor Migraine tried to kill me off several times last week. That's a whole post in itself.

So how did Sheri and I do on our bike ride?

Completely. Kicked. It.

We met at 5:00 AM at the appointed place, her sweet patient husband following behind us, and headed on the road. About 3 miles in, I noticed something odd about my bike.... seems that the gear shifts were moving toward me. There was a little something loose but we fixed it as best we could. That held out until about five miles into the trip -- and one hour into the 2:15 we had allotted for ourselves (yeah, rut-roh Raggy!). Sheri graciously offered to switch bikes with me, since she had on riding gloves and could easily provide more resistance to the turning of the handlebar.

It was also an eye-opener for both of us in bike differences. She has a hybrid cruiser, mine is more of a mountain bike. It takes a lot more energy to make it go at the same distance and near the same speed -- which is why I was always much slower and had to get off and walk up hills more often during the practices (and some along the route). We laughed because at one point during our first training ride, she said to me, "You didn't tell me you had asthma!" because I was wheezing so dang hard! We have now decided that whatever time we spent on my bike would count as a high-intensity workout.....

Rob, one of our members, took my bike with him and brought it back later that night, tightened up, checked up, seat raised, etc. YAHOO!!!!! I haven't taken the opportunity to ride it again but I plan to tonight when I get home ... if it's not raining! Ah yes, summer in the South: a pop-up thunderstorm in every afternoon!

And I have found a place I need to visit: the Virginia Creeper Trail ........ 34 miles of mountain trails along an old abandoned train route. Yes, I know -- we have the Swamp Rabbit Trail here, same thing, but this is in the mountains. Think fall and the foliage. Think no city traffic. Think getting the heck outta Dodge and just being somewhere wonderful and new!! Uh, yeah. I think we have a winner! Not that I'd do all 34 at once. I'm thinking 5 or 10 mile stretches.

This could be the start of something wonderful!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

You'd think I would know this....

I was up again (yes, that was the scream you heard late Tuesday afternoon).... but only minimally. But then my friend MH, the receptionist, said something afterwards that made me say, "Well, DUH! Why didn't I make the connection?" She asked what kind of activity I had done and I said, "Well, I didn't yesterday, I had a massage, but usually on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I lift weights....."

MH said, "Um, you know, I had much better luck doing yoga on Monday instead of weights...."

And it clicked. DUH......... Glycogen. Nasty, nasty glycogen that holds 4-5 times its weight in water! Alllllll day Tuesday, after a Monday strength training session, it just takes in whatever I send its way.... or sucks it right out of my cells and hangs on for life.

She may be on to something there. But I'll be danged if this is gonna beat me!!

****

This past Sunday morning, I had my first practice run for our bike trek. Sheri and I covered 7.5 miles. My biggest obstacle? A couple of hills and a numb rear end. The standard bike seat and my tushie just did not get along. Luckily I had purchased a replacement beach-cruiser style seat and put that on the bike on Sunday night. MUCH better on my little ride around the neighborhood last night! So we are planning to try another trek this coming Sunday morning as one last big prep for our ride on the 14th.

Hard to believe -- I used to go all over the place on my bike until I got a car. Even as large as I was, I always enjoyed biking around town. Who knows, maybe this will be the start of a new love of biking? My friend Jen from Boston -- who has always biked for as long as I have known her -- has given me some awesome tips!

****

And a recipe ..... I didn't take pictures because honestly, it took so little time and I didn't think to grab the camera.

Figs are one of those fruits that just doesn't seem to get a lot of press ...... except in fig preserves or Fig Newtons. In fact, that was my first exposure to figs (the Newtons). I never liked fig preserves as a child, because I was so into strawberry jam/preserves (still a fave) or grape jelly (YECH!). But as an adult, I have grown to like them. And I have seen a lot of recipes for a fig pizza -- mostly with goat cheese and caramelized onions, or with bacon.

I wanted to see if I could make a mini version of it that would be just enough for one or two to enjoy -- SUCCESS!!!

Mini Fig & Chevre Pizzas


Serves one or two persons

1 whole-wheat sandwich thin, split to make 2 discs
2 Tbsp chevre (goat cheese)
2 figs
1 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 375. On each of the sandwich thin halves, place 1 Tbsp of chevre and 1 fig, sliced thinly. Drizzle each with a half-teaspoon of honey. Bake for about 5-7 min or until cheese is melted but not bubbling. For extra taste, you can add a few leaves of arugula or spinach to each half.

WW PointsPlus: 7 for both halves (one person) or 3 per half (two people).

ENJOY!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The whole sleep thing, revisited

Okay, for the weight stuff: up a bit but not concerned. I know I had some issues with water retention and with being on exercise restriction (except for walking). I'm off restriction as of Friday -- did a killer workout that day, I've been tracking well, and I know that come Tuesday, at least some of the gain (if not all) will be gone. It's all cool.

So my plan was to do some biking last night, some yoga and maybe a little more biking today..... POOF! It was all just a dream, apparently, because all I did this weekend was sleep. Okay, granted, I've been a wee bit sleep-deprived watching my SC Gamecocks in the College World Series (come on babies, let's 3peat!)....especially since night games = ratings bonanza (really, ESPN? 9:00 starts?)  But in general, I've  just been plain sleep-deprived. Again.

I had planned to do some cleaning this weekend but yesterday afternoon, sleep came calling first ..... and stayed for about 2 hours. Same dang thing this afternoon but for 2-1/2 hours. I also don't think I'll have any trouble falling asleep tonight. If by 10:30 I'm still wired, then I'll dip into the melatonin.

But long-term.... don't know. I honestly wonder if I have some sort of mild circadian rhythm disorder. I seem to be just a couple of hours off from what the rest of the world needs from me. I can't fall asleep before 11:00 but I have to have at least a good 7 hours. But getting up at 6:00, when I have to leave my house by 7:00 to be at work by 8:00 is not really a good option for me. Mornings are tough enough for me, so I need to ease into them.... hence, waking an hour earlier. 6 hours of sleep for 6 days a week does NOT make me a pretty person.

Anyway, this week is a little less chaotic (minus these three CWS games!) ..... and hopefully, I can treat myself with a little more love, lots more exercise, good sleep, and keep working toward a truly healthy life!

Friday, June 15, 2012

YES!!!!

Last week was a not-too-good weigh-in. I was up, and I had a feeling I would be that day .... I woke up feeling puffy and yucky. But that just made me determined to work it off. I had a follow-up with my doctor on Wednesday, and I mentioned that I had eaten some higher-sodium foods and then...... she replied, "Oh yeah, that is one of the things with this type of HRT; you will really have to watch your sodium or you will definitely retain water." Since I'm already trying to watch it as much as possible, now I know I really have to.

So I worked this past week to do my best. I had one splurge meal on the weekend, but glad I had those 49 extra weekly PP allowance to help...... and come Tuesday, I was down over FOUR pounds!!! :) Who says tracking doesn't work? That and lots of liquids.

And I am trying yet another new fitness routine. I had gotten The New Rules of Lifting and as much as I like it (a lot!), it isn't a program for weight loss. I needed a routine that would allow for weight loss and yet still challenge me. So I am using Selene Yeager's Perfectly Fit. So far, week 1 is kicking me. It's not that I haven't done these moves before, and it's not like I've been a complete slug in the last few weeks either ..... but BOY, was I sore on Tuesday... Wednesday... Thursday.... (you get the idea). But I finish it knowing I've put in a good workout and that results are coming.

Oh, and my leader and I are having a Bike-to-Work challenge. On Saturday, July 14, our plan is to bike together from our hometown to work .... 14.4 miles away. And I do not care what they say: you can forget how to ride a bike!!! Not the mechanics so much but all the little things: high gear vs low gear, which brakes to apply when, even the feel of riding a bike. I haven't put in as much practice as I would like, but I plan to remedy that this weekend! I have a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads .... now where'd I put the first aid kit?

Happy Weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Long time no post....

....and for that, I apologize. Lots of reasons, none of which really amount to much in the long run.

I am working to get back on track, and I have started by getting back to a weekly meeting. I found one that works best with my schedule, and I am doing my very best not to miss! Over three of the last four weeks, I'd had losses -- small ones, but still with the MINUS in front of them. This week, no. But I know what happened and will correct it. I feel hopeful again.....

And with that, I'm up for some challenges -- good challenges, that is!
1) Weight Watchers' LifeLiveActive -- just started last week and goes through July 14. I am also taking part in a challenge with myself and my working leader (as opposed to my meeting leader) .... we're biking to work on the last morning of the LLA campaign!!! And as of just a few moments ago, I am 95% on the way to procuring a real-live bike for myself for this..... keep in mind, I haven't owned a bicycle (other than a stationery one) since high school. Actually riding one again as an adult is going to be interesting! Thank God for Craigslist and this nice family not too far from me that had one for sale (picking it up tomorrow)......

2) As part of Set a Summer Goal topic this week, I had also accepted a challenge in the WW Community section of e-Tools to aim for 10% by September 1. To do that, I'll need to drop over a pound a week to get there. But that's okay -- I can do this! I bought a posterboard for myself to make a calendar: one that I can cross off each day and put stickers on them -- almost like a child's chore chart..... hey, whatever it takes!!

3) My company is ALSO doing a walking campaign at the same time that WW launched LiveLifeActive.... PERFECT timing. So I'm trying my best (as wellness coordinator) to encourage people to move a little more. It's hard to do when our jobs are so dependent on PC's -- not mobile devices but actual PC's, so we sit. A lot. That was part of my problem last week -- so much data entry to be done and work to be done for month-end closing that it was hard to get away for much more than potty or lunch breaks. One of the ideas that I have had is to do a "Brain Break Walk" a couple of mornings a week --- just a quick 10-minute lap or two around the building (inside the building today, with the rain). I'd really like to make it at least 3 days a week -- for longer than the campaign!!

I know what to do. I know I have the skills, the courage, the tenacity. I have support out the wazoo. I have the tools I need. What I need is a little divine cosmic oversight to bring it all back together again! :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

This is scary.

Since I cannot print a copy for everyone I meet.......   and I'm just as guilty, being a "desk jockey" .....


Via: Medical Billing And Coding

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Open House - Recipes from "Appetizers with Annette"

Today, I had the great honor of hosting the opening event for the Grand Opening of the new Weight Watchers Store in Greenville...... I am thrilled to be one of the chefs for our territory, and so today I hosted "Appetizers with Annette" (my real name - for those who don't know me personally). I am so grateful for the opportunity to combine two things I love -- preparing food and sharing ways to make food healthy and tasty, and meeting new members!

The recipes I made today:


Pumpkin Curry Hummus (from Diane Morgan's "Skinny Dips" -- www.dianemorgancooks.com)


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
15 oz can cooked chickpeas, drained, rinsed
15 oz canned pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp ginger root, finely minced/grated
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pumpkin and squash seeds (unhulled)


In a small nonstick frying pan, over medium heat, warm the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and saute just until beginning to soften, about 30 seconds. Add the curry powder and saute, stirring constantly, until fragrant (~1 min). Stir in the honey, remove from the heat and set aside. In the workbowl of a food processor (with metal blade) process the chickpeas until finely mashed. Add the pumpkin puree, ginger, salt, and garlic mixture. Process until the hummus is smooth and pureed. Add more seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside for an hour to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired.

2 Tablespoons per serving @ 1 PointsPlus (R) value each

Key Lime Phyllo Tartlets -- adapted from another WW recipe


4 oz reduced fat cream cheese spread (Neufchatel cheese)
2 oz fat free key lime pie yogurt (~1/4 c)
1 Tbsp sugar substitute
1 tsp lime zest, grated
1/2 medium fresh lime, sliced, then quartered
1 Tbsp graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp fat-free whipped topping
15 each Athens Mini fillo shells

Toast shells at 350 for 5 min. Meanwhile, in mixing bowl, place cream cheese and begin to whip (use mixer). Add sugar substitute, yogurt, and lime zest. When combined, spoon into the cooled fillo shells. Garnish with the following: scant 1/4 tsp of whipped topping, scant 1/4 tsp of the graham cracker crumbs, and lime quarter. Serve immediately. To prepare for later. assemble cream cheese mixture and refrigerate until ready to fill shells. Then garnish as desired.

Each filled shell is 1 PointsPlus value each.


For an extra-special bonus treat ---- here you go!

Turkey Mini-Reubens


8 serving(s) Small Potato Rolls, Ingles Bakery
8 oz Plainville Farms no salt added, 99% fat-free turkey breast, shaved thin, torn in pieces
4 slice(s) Jarlsberg Sliced Lite Cheese, each slice torn in half
1 cup(s) sauerkraut
1/4 cup(s) Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Split rolls in half (top/bottom) and spread mustard on both halves of the roll. Place one ounce of  turkey on each sandwich, covering both halves. Top one half with cheese piece and sauerkraut. Fold again to create small sandwich. Bake for 12-14 min to melt cheese and heat through.

Each sandwich: 4 PointsPlus value each; 2 sandwiches = 7 PointsPlus


Thanks a million to all who made it possible: Tisha Oates (our new territory manager), Diane Rose (our previous territory manager), Sheri Cameron, Eunice Morris, Brittany Cartee, Dart Schmalz, and Ellen Brashears. Y'all are awesome -- and thank you so much!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting better all the time...

The virus (thank God) has finally left me -- without affecting another single soul in the household. Go figure. It just didn't like me......

My back, however, is still not quite 100% again. I had a fantastic massage on Monday night which worked most of the kinks out ..... and 30 minutes in the recliner on Tuesday morning undid most of it. UGH!!! At least I have another chiropractic appointment this week. Unfortunately, until I'm able to move 90% of the time without pain or discomfort, I'm not picking back up my weightlifting routine. I don't want to make the problem worse!

I've moved my weigh-ins to Tuesday night, at least for a while. It's more a psychological thing. For years on end, my tracking began on Friday and ended on Thursday. Then as I've not been in meetings (except to work them) for about a year, I've gotten off routine  .... weighing on Saturday mornings but beginning my tracking on Monday (why?). Well, I don't mind starting the tracking on Friday, but weighing in on Tuesday. I know, totally weird, but for now, it will have to work.

And I'm down 2.4 pounds...... I've been tracking this week religiously because I have The Magic Trackers. Our Saturday morning meeting has a 3-Month Tracker that we pass around among members. NO ONE wanted to take them this week .... so I did. And yes, it makes a difference. When I had the virus, I found that I didn't want to eat (well, yeah - why bother?) .... and so I am finding that when that little internal clock says, "Oh boy, food time!" (snack, lunch, etc.), I'm asking myself, "Do I really need this or is it habit?" ..... or "What can I eat that will be the best for me?"

So to all my friends, keep plugging along..... it really does get better, all the time!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Unkind week, kind results

Picture it: South Carolina, Monday morning after Easter.

The alarm went off early. My gym bag waited at the door, and I was looking forward to starting Workout 3A of this new program I was doing. Instead, I awoke to this weird feeling. Honestly, my first thought was, "Holy cow, did I overdo it yesterday! No, wait, I really didn't, but ooooog it feels like I did." Within 5 minutes, I was absolutely sick as a dog. My first thought after that was, "Oh God, please don't let it be food poisoning!" (Especially since I had cooked Easter dinner!)

Nope, not that ..... a stomach virus. A wicked, vicious, vile, awful, stomach virus. I didn't know it then but by a couple of hours later, I surely did. And the only upside to the whole event was that I lost 5+ pounds easy. I didn't even have a point of reference (since I hadn't weighed in at work on Saturday), but I knew it was a substantial amount.

I wanted to lose, but not quite like that!

Then on Wednesday, I was leaning over to pet my dog and OUCHIE!!!! My back pulled in the same place it had the week before..... but this time it seemed so much worse! It was so bad that my supervisor sent me home at noon. I called my chiropractor -- God bless him, he worked me in on his lunch hour, and promptly stated that I had never before shown the problem areas he was seeing in me that day.

Here I am 3 days removed, and the back/hips are still very tender. I haven't had this sort of back trouble in forever -- probably not since high school. I went for a walk tonight and felt it every step of the way -- but in fairness, I had not iced my back at all during the day......

But the kindness of people all week long has been my take-away from this -- not the weight loss, not the back pain, but the wonderful giving spirit of people. That has gotten me through the rougher parts of this week.

So while it may not help your actual weight-loss/health journey, take time to be kind. If nothing else, your heart will certainly feel lighter!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Alwyn Cosgrove is trying to kill me...

I don't know him from Adam, but I promise you that Mr. Cosgrove is indeed out to end my life. Who is Alwyn Cosgrove, you ask? He is one of three authors of The New Rules of Lifting for Women ... he came up with the workouts.

I am only on Stage 1, Workout B-1, but oh my...... see, Stage 1, Workout A-1 was crazy enough. As many squats as I've done, and they hurt like hell this time. In fact, I'm still feeling the effects of these when I went to work out today. The plan is to workout no less than two and no more than three times in a week, so that you take a rest for about 48 hours, then work out again.....

I'm thinking 72 hours rest right now..... because I actually was still sore from Tuesday's workout when I did today's workout.

But I can't wait to see the results. This entire plan is about 6-8 months worth of workouts, getting progressively stronger and better. That is something that I can totally get behind!

If I survive Stage 1......

Saturday, March 10, 2012

And light dawns....

Finally.

It seems that for the first time in many months, I can breathe again. As y'all know, it's been an insane life since about mid-July. The role in the play was wonderful, but I allowed it to become an excuse for a bad spiral -- I didn't have time to really take care of myself, but I'll catch up later. Then came the slew of medical things in September and October ..... and again, another excuse for not really giving myself my full attention. Then the job changes starting in November and continuing through now -- the real spiral acceleration. And more medical stuff starting in January -- and the "woe is me, life sucks" thing continued.

But in the last two weeks, I have gotten a reprieve medically, and yesterday, I finally began a treatment regimen that we were going to begin last fall (before we needed to discover why I had passed out ... and  we still don't know!). I have a teensy suture on my hiney where the medicine was inserted (and OH is it tender this morning!)..... and I have light rising above the horizon.

What else happened? I got the good swift kick in the keester that I needed. To my friend JG out in Texas, I owe a huge debt of gratitude. Her words were, "you have worked too freakin hard to sabatoge yourself, and thats what you are doing. You DESERVE to be healthy, so go out there and kick some blah ass!" WOW. She's right. I don't know why I didn't see it before ..... but the more important was why was I choosing to sabotage all my best efforts?

The answer came this morning ..... I subscribe to several motivational quotes, newsletters, etc. through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. From one of the Twitter ones came this gem of a quote (so good, I made it by FB status): "Your problem is you’re … too busy holding onto your unworthiness." (Ram Dass)


I'm gonna let that one sink in a moment.........

One word: THIS.

For the last few months especially, I have been caught up in a very negative self-talk loop that screams to me that I am not worthy. That no one appreciates me or my efforts so why should I bother? To quote an old Mellencamp LP (from back in his "John Cougar" days): Nothing Matters And What If It Did? 

And why? I know better.

Right now, I'm on exercise restriction because of the teensy suture .... and that's fine. Gives me some time to perfect improve my battle plan.

But make no mistake. I am worth it. I am not a fraud, just because I've had a period of failure. What I have learned is that I always have to be on guard. I can't do it alone, or thinking that I know it all so I don't have to (fill in the blank).

The sun in shining. And so am I.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Good news

Again, I apologize for my silence recently. Work has been incredibly busy, and by the time I attend to that, myself, and a few other things, really deep blogging has a tendency to be put off again and again.

First, for the good news: I have the all-clear. I had an MRI on the 25th, followed by a consultation on the 29th at which Dr. Y-2 said that they found NOTHING. Okay, they found a benign cyst elsewhere (nowhere near the trouble spot) and so I'll discuss that with my doctors this week. I cannot wait to get to their offices, and begin getting my life straightened out.

The last five months have been an exercise in many things, especially in patience. But where it might have done much for my spirituality, it's taken a big toll on my weight maintenance. Now that I know that I'm not facing any potential treatments or otherwise, I can finally focus again on the external me (so to speak).

I'm sitting here with "The New Rules of Lifting for Women" in hand. I've been doing interval training. I've tried yoga and Zumba, and I like them all. And so I have decided to mix up my routines. Monday and Friday mornings, weight training with some cardio -- maybe not interval style, but we'll find something. Then Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Zumba or all-cardio (whether at the gym or at home with DVDs), and yoga on the weekends. I need all three components. I actually need a little yoga/med each day..... if for nothing else than balance (and I don't mean mere physical balance).

It is time to quit worrying about me and love me wholeheartedly again.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Woefully behind

Sorry everyone! Real life has intervened (or is it interfered?) for a while, and may continue to do so, but we'll see what transpires as time goes on. I'm still working on the medical stuff .... still not quite solved, but that's okay, we're getting there. Thorough is good; at least that's what I keep saying to myself as I wait, and wait. I'm not terribly patient, though.......

Yesterday morning, I woke up with an incredibly sore neck. Not a pain, and not any specific area ... just an all-over feeling, kind of like you just didn't sleep on it correctly. I sat all through church trying to stretch my neck in all directions to try to get the kinks worked out, and nothing was helping. I'm way overdue for a chiropractic adjustment -- had to postpone my appointment due to all the other stuff. But I wasn't going to spend my day all knotted up either. It occurred to me that nearly a year ago, I'd purchased a series of four yoga classes from a nearby place on LivingSocial, and it also occurred to me that they offered Sunday classes ... or so I remembered from the website when I bought the package. So I called, and yes, they had a 2:00 class. So I packed up some yoga gear, went home for my mat, and off to yoga I went.

Keep in mind: I've never done a yoga class before. Back in The Day, getting down in the floor and even attempting some of the poses and stretches would have been impossible. Even a couple of years ago, I'm not sure that I would have been able to do so either -- at least not for the balancing poses. Dave-the-Trainer was helping me with my balance in the workouts he'd developed for me, and even dropped in a few yoga poses to help. My physical therapist gave me a few to use to assist in my lymphedema management. But to actually do all the breathing and poses and so forth .... no, I hadn't.

Let me just say that even after the 3 remaining classes on the deal are up, I think I have found my new Sunday afternoon pasttime, my new "me-time" hour. Oh my gosh. And let me tell you, if you think yoga is for wussies, you would be sadly mistaken. Oh my gosh, even as gentle as the moves were, my arms were SO sore this morning! But I left there so incredibly relaxed and in a good place that not even all the hustle and hubbub today could harsh my mellow or disturb The Force.

If you have never tried yoga, I highly recommend it! Check with some of the local studios, because most offer a beginners' class or other gentle introduction (such as the session I had yesterday). And kudos to the great folks at Greenville Yoga for their awesomeness!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sharing something I love....

First off, an apology. I just forgot to do a post last week, and then this week, some events transpired that were way more important than a blog post. Nothing I really want to go into detail on at this time, or in this space.

Now.....

Yesterday, we had national Open House Day for Weight Watchers, and I was thrilled to be asked to lead a cooking demo for our location. I love to cook. I'm not a pro by any means, but there's something about being in a kitchen and preparing delicious, nutritious food that just makes me happy. Since our meeting is early morning, I thought I would prepare a brunch-type food from our new "Power Foods" cookbook. And I had the perfect one: Cheddar and Veggie Frittata.

And in one word: yum. Actually, to use several words: (throw head back and roll eyes just a bit) oh my stars, this is SO good (followed by muffled chewing sounds interspersed with a bunch of mmm's).

Really, you can't go wrong with a basic frittata recipe like that. As I told the group yesterday, you can pretty much make the vegetables interchangeable. Don't like tomatoes and peppers? Use broccoli and mushrooms. Or onions and asparagus. Whatever your heart desires. For the non-starchy vegetables, the calories, etc. would vary only slightly. Or use smaller amounts of 3 vegetables instead of two. (I'm thinking broccoli, mushrooms, and peppers.... okay, 4, gotta have a little onion). And if you preferred, it would be a great light dinner, paired with a salad. MMM!

But the really fun part was being able to show people that cooking healthy is possible, and that it doesn't require much except a little time and a little ingenuity. One of the things that I mentioned is that when I first started WW, I ate out nearly every meal ... and lost weight. But that as time went on, I realized that there was so much I wanted to do and try myself to make it healthier (or cheaper). And then I realized how much I enjoyed this! I also spoke to them about batch (bulk) cooking ..... to spend the time once a week to cook larger quantities for using throughout the week, or even freezing for later on.

Cooking isn't some impossible task, and cooking healthy is no harder than cooking the way Granny did (especially here in the South, where lard, sugar, butter, salt, etc. are in everything!). You just have to devote a little time, a little research, a little experimentation, and a little backbone (to say to family members, "Well, this is how we eat now. Don't like it, cook your own food!) .... and you may find you enjoy it more than you ever dreamed!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Kick It in 2012!

All I am going to say is I am glad 2012 is here. 2011 was not the best year for me, in terms of weight -- some due to issues out of my control, and just as much fully within my control. I am taking control back where I can, leaving to God what I cannot control, and choosing my battles more wisely.

In about 2 weeks, I will begin treatment for the endocrine imbalances, and I cannot wait to see how this will affect my health and my life. I hope that it will put everything back to levels it needs to be for all my systems. I hope that it gets me out of this sleep debt mode that I've been living in for an eternity. I joke that if the Grateful Dead were to rewrite "Truckin'" for me, it would be "Living on sugar, vitamin B, and caffeine....." Not healthy, believe me.

So I'm ready for the changes. What am I going to do to make sure of it?
  1. Get back into cooking. I let it go when I did the play -- not that I regret doing that at all. That was way more fun than anyone should have. But it became an excuse not to do anything at all -- too tired, not enough time, etc. I let it slip as a priority, and in doing so, I slipped to lower on my list.
  2. Make sure I get in my workouts -- lately, I have been doing 4 a week, and so far, it's working. My ideal would be Monday mornings, Tuesday afternoons, then Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons. But we'll find a way to make it work so that I get four a week, no matter how crazy my life gets.
  3. Keep getting my massages. I'd like to set them up on a more consistent basis (every 4 weeks, for example), as I think that would help increase the benefits for me. Oh, if I could afford a weekly one, don't think I wouldn't!
  4. Keep digging into the family medical history. Knowledge is power. You know how much I believe that..... this is especially important!
For 2012, it's time for revolutions, not resolutions ..... the continual changes, reassessment, adjustments, changes, all moving me toward better and better health, a better understanding of where things are and where they can go.

And you can do it too. There is nothing impossible for those who believe. So believe this year. Believe you can do it, believe you are worth it, and believe that you have the power.

Let's say that again: You. Have. The. Power.

Do you believe? Start kickin'!