Tag Archives: diet

Learning the Lessons of My Own History

4 Oct

There was a point last week when I was just bursting with big plans for this “Me Time” and had great expectations that I’d be in the gym working out like a maniac and dropping pounds equivalent to a toddler each month….and then I actually thought about it.  Yes, I have the capacity to drop quite a bit of weight during this first month, but I also have to realize that there ARE lessons that I’ve learned about myself in a lifetime of intermittent diet and exercise and that I’d be a total moron if I didn’t absorb them and make changes this time around.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve been all fits and starts for a long time. I’ve tried more diets than I’ll bore you with and have leaped into exercise routines like Snooki jumps into a tanning booth. The problems, however, have always been the same.  There ARE many diets that are sensible and effective, but I realize that I need accountability. I need to have to answer to someone other than myself at the end of the day because realistically, while I may be the person friends want to talk to about their missteps because I’m comforting and forgiving, I’m a bit too comforting and forgiving with myself. I’m not saying that I should give myself a beating or a Mel Gibson tongue lashing because I had a little ice cream, but I could probably use a little balance.  Let’s face it, ice cream is awesome, but I just have to remember not to let a small indulgence bleed into a whole week or a complete abandonment of my plan.

As for exercise, I DO get a bit nutty sometimes. I’m not saying that I spend 6 hours in the gym, but I develop this feeling of pride that morphs into a weird moral superiority when I hit the gym every day. My father might be a little like that..and as he likes to say, “I come by it honestly.”  The problem with being a jerk about this stuff is that when I miss a day or two everything goes to hell. I backslide like Charlie Sheen within an hour of being released from rehab.

Moderation is my new byword. I started today with a reasonable, healthy breakfast and lunch, drank a lot of water, and hit the park for a lovely, crisp, mid-afternoon walk. As I write this, I’m cooking a great dinner with a mix of bright colored veggies and a perfectly individually portioned turkey and mushroom meatloaf.  I’m going on the theory that if I don’t place unrealistic expectations on myself that I can create and maintain a routine that lasts.

This weekend I’m going apple picking with some terrific people and I’m already thinking of the delicious and healthy things that I can make with the spoils of the trip.  Trips like these are great because they’re social, fun, outdoors, and active.  What are your plans for the weekend to get moving and have a great time?

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Emotional Eating Poster Child

22 Sep

Ah, good intentions!

From my last post you can probably tell I’m going through a slightly…turbulent time. While it’s true that I’m focusing a lot of energy on keeping positive, there have been some situations that have had the same effect on me that kryptonite has on Superman…that is, if Superman reacted to it by putting on sweats and eating macaroni and cheese….in bulk.

The job situation, despite my best efforts and intrinsic charm, has not resolved itself.  While I have a phenomenal support system, the people who can’t see beyond their own noses are taking center stage and pushing every hot button I have. Yesterday the combination of some bad news and a migraine sent me into a tailspin that drove me out of the office at lunchtime and straight to the grocery store. I filled my basket with every comfort food I could think of and then drove home to hole up for the rest of the day.

There was carnage my friends. There was salt and fat and carbs. There were cookies. It ended with a faceplant/nap on my couch that lasted til about 5pm, followed by a fog that didn’t want to lift.  If I ever had a single question in my mind about the connection between my emotions and my eating it exists no longer.  The hardest thing to reconcile, especially as I climbed on the scale this morning to welcome back 4.5 lbs, is that all this “comfort” is doing nothing but hurting me.

I felt so disgusted with myself today that I didn’t want to eat anything but last night’s overindulgence kicked my metabolism into high gear. My stomach was like something out of Little Shop of Horrors; growling “Feed me Lisa! Feed me!” I fed it a turkey sandwich that made me simultaneously overfull and sleepy.

The irony of all this is that I KNOW not to do it. I KNOW how I need to eat to be healthy and knock off the pounds. I SHOULD be eating a nutritious breakfast to keep the hunger and cravings at bay. I SHOULD be eating vegetables and moderating carbs….but I’m worn out and my logical self and willpower have decided to sound the retreat and lay low until I get my shit together.

So I obviously have to get my shit together…and fast…before that Chris guy from Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition starts ringing my doorbell and asking me to weigh in on the loading dock. Which reminds me, how IS it exactly that these people are too heavy to weigh in on a regular scale and then three months later can get on a scale that this dude carries in his Jansport backpack?  But I digress…

I know they say “We plan. God laughs.” but I need a plan. First, I need to REST this weekend. That may mean shutting off the phone and watching too many episodes of Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras. Next, I need to get back to giving my body actual FUEL. If I eat right I have more energy and I won’t feel like couch potato-ing my way through the next couple weeks or months.  Starting Monday, October 3 daily gym visits are back on the schedule. Yes, I’m delaying the gym a little, but I find from my own experience that if I give myself a week to re-adjust to a healthy diet and drop a few preliminary pounds I’m uber-motivated to get into the gym.

I need to re-establish some control and there’s a limit to the things I CAN control. Maybe while I’m at it I can try to convince Fitness, Shape, or Self that they need a chubby on staff. Think about it, they could reach a whole new audience…road test workouts on someone who is in…less than optimal physical condition. They could have “real life” editorial input (a.k.a. “No, I would NEVER eat lawn clippings for lunch no matter how much Minka Kelly raves about the results.”)  There! I have a new pet project….one that keeps me from eating a pint of ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser.

Boys and girls, there’s always going to be a time when things suck and you just-don’t-wanna…those are the times when we have to summon our inner parental voice that says “Do it anyway. It’s good for you. Ok, do it because I said so.”

Caps Lock to EMPHASIZE MY RAGE!

16 Jun

I’ve been watching a lot of old Biggest Loser episodes lately and what really struck me last night is that season after season Jillian and Bob push the contestants relentlessly until they spill the beans about their issues. For some it’s a crappy childhood, others have never felt good about themselves, some are mad at their parents, but all of them have a reason that they got fat and stayed fat for so long.  It really got me thinking that there’s a HUGE difference between recognizing your issues and dealing with them and/or letting them go.

I’ve always considered myself pretty self-aware. It could be because I’m one big mass of neuroses and I tend to over-think everything so how in the name of Neil Patrick Harris could my issues be exempt?  I’ve always been overweight with a propensity for putting on weight easily and quickly. I was a chubby kid. One of my thorny issues is that certain people (including family members and mean-spirited contemporaries) hassled me ENDLESSLY about it. I hadn’t even hit a growth spurt and had people riding me for being fat. What made it worse was that when I actually thinned out in high school I was 5’5″ and about 135 lbs (a perfectly normal weight) and they STILL told me I was fat. So many days I wonder “If everyone had just left me alone would I STILL be struggling so hard with my weight?” Obviously, I think not.

I’ve done therapy, complained to my friends, had a special relationship with Jose Cuervo and none of it has actually helped me get over it. I’d just like to say for the record that walking around thinking about how awesome you are doesn’t make you drop weight..unless of course you walk 5 mi. a day thinking about how awesome you are. Either way, just thinking you’re tits doesn’t get the job done.

I had a mini-meltdown this morning because of some photos I saw of myself. It’s been a big week.  Lucy’s graduation party, Kate’s Baby Shower and…well, I accidentally turned 36 so I went out with a bunch of folks to a local bar/restaurant.  All of these events were fantastic and I wouldn’t have missed any one of them but people also took pictures.  I should probably note that I am not particularly photogenic before I tell you that I looked like CRAP in every, single one from every, single event.   I’m telling you right now that I could get a summer job relieving the Goodyear blimp. What was worse than looking that bad was that I kept thinking “I looked in the mirror before I went out – I DIDN’T SEE THAT PERSON LOOKING BACK AT ME.”  I saw one thing but the camera saw Delta Burke (makeup and all!) and Shamu wrestling under a black shirt. I really thought that when you’re dysmorphic you thought you were heavier than you are!

So what did I do? I cried and grumbled…mostly to Eric because that’s always a good choice  (he actually has productive suggestions) and some to Christine (who just gets it). I still feel like crap but I did a little talking to myself and think I have it worked out.  I HAVE NOT let go of any of my issues. On the emotional side: I feel judged and embarrassed and angry. I feel like nobody is going to love me, even though I am pretty awesome, because I’m overweight. I’m mad at myself for not being able to get things in check. I’m frustrated because I AM trying.  Logical Me (and Eric) says: You have to figure out how your body wants to be fueled and I suspect you need more protein. You HAVE TO go to the gym. Working out at home was nice but you KNOW that your body responds well to weight training and cardio on the elliptical and bike. Your energy level is low and as a result Emotional Me is getting the crazy eyes.  Logical Me knows it’s going to be ok…just not RIGHT NOW.  This will take a while.

For the moment, until I can figure out what it takes to deal with my garbage or let it go, I have to be contented with getting back to the gym.  It’s going to take a Herculean effort to get myself back on an a.m. schedule but that L’Oreal lady keeps telling me I’m worth it.

How do you deal with all the baggage you’re carrying around?  Just so you know before you make suggestions: I don’t have a handgun permit or access to cyanide.

 

Crimes and Misdemeanors

13 Jun

Remember last week when I promised I would tell you when I fell asleep in the control tower? This was the weekend. It was an awesome weekend, don’t get me wrong – my beautiful, brilliant, cousin Lucy graduated from high school and had a wonderful party full of family and friends. I co-hosted a baby shower for my equally beautiful and brilliant friend Kate who is anxiously awaiting the birth of her son Tiberius. Ok, his name isn’t Tiberius but I like calling him that. The shower was terrific – lots of fun and funny womenfolk eating, drinking, and generally making merry.

The truth is that I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off all weekend. I didn’t work out and I didn’t have much control over my food options. I also made really good friends with a pitcher of mimosas which was entirely my own fault.  The scale was well aware of my indiscretions this morning….so much so that it didn’t even show my weight – it just screamed.

So, I fell off the wagon for a couple of days….and my 36th birthday is tomorrow and I have less than 60 days til my brother’s wedding.  Here’s the thing – I did TRY to take control of the situations.  I kept my portion sizes small, passed on hors d’ouevres, and drank a lot of water. I think the chief downfall here was sodium (which I couldn’t control) and alcohol (which I could but didn’t).  Thus, I must gather the lessons learned, dust myself off, and move on.

  • I CAN have a mimosa at a party – I cannot have 8
  • Orange juice has a lot of sugar and empty calories, as does champagne
  • I have to make more of an effort to slow down and be mindful of what I’m drinking
  • Drinking more water and going right back to eating right will nip this thing in the bud in no time
  • I’m really fun when I have a pitcher of mimosas in one hand and another pitcher in my belly…but that’s not exactly a good reason to do it
  • Weekends like this happen. It’s done. Get over it.
  • I REALLY need to work out tonight

I really have more important things to dwell on than this weekend’s crimes and misdemeanors…like the fact that my Gyno is asking me if I want to freeze eggs.  I want to bring her a dozen grade A jumbos the next time I see her and tell her to freeze them because I might want an omelet later.  I could also dwell on the fact that driving my rental car (car is in the shop for body work) is like driving a shoebox….or that my maid hasn’t cleaned the apartment, done laundry, or gone grocery shopping in at least a week. I’d slap that bitch around but I’ve been told by leading experts and the Catholic Church that self-abuse is wrong.

And on that note, please refrain from abusing yourselves and try to leave the weekend in the past and start the week fresh. Hope everyone has a great week!

Dinner For Two – Nights That Is

3 Jun

Creamy Veggie PenneWe all have those nights when we’re driving home from work that we’re so tired, frustrated, and hungry that we want to knock over a Taco Bell (“Keep the money just give me all of your Grilled Stuffed Burritos…to go”) or just eat anything that doesn’t move too fast. I’ve had to be hyper-vigilant because I’m temporarily barred from exercise and, well, I actually want to lose weight.

Last night was one of those nights for me.  I had worked late instead of doing my usually Thursday night routine – leaving around 5, running home to eat a quick turkey sandwich or veggie burger, and then heading to my knitting group for the night.  I didn’t get home til well after 7 and man, was I cranky.  I briefly considered eating peanut butter out of the jar with a soup spoon (hey, it’s got protein). There was some glimmer of common sense and sanity left in my now-fried brain so I decided to fix myself something relatively quick but satisfying and healthy.

I made what I like to call “Creamy Veggie Penne.”  Before I give you the recipe, I just want to note a few things. I cannot abide going to the grocery store 27 times a week to buy fresh vegetables.  Even though I love them I am a single gal cooking for one and most of the stuff in my crisper goes bad before I can finish it.  Cooking in huge batches on the weekend doesn’t appeal to me, not only because I’m a relatively improvisational cook, but because the idea of being forced to eat the same thing or variations on the same thing for a whole week drives me directly to one of the numerous pizzerias in the area (I live in Jersey, that’s basically all we have here).  Long story long, I stock up on frozen veggies.  I love the steamer bags to pieces (sugar snap peas are my current jam) but I also keep a lot of frozen spinach and pepper strips in the freezer.  Also, you’ll note that my salad is on the dinner plate and my pasta is in a tiny prep bowl.  I learned a long time ago that putting a reasonable and moderate serving of pasta on a full dinner plate will make me eat too much or just cry so I eat off of salad plates or from small bowls frequently.  One last thing – I don’t use salt when I cook and I LOVE garlic and red pepper flakes so adjust to your heart’s delight depending on your feelings about these things.

Creamy Veggie Pasta and Sweet and Savory Salad

1 c dry whole wheat pasta

1 c 360 brand Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (or your brand of choice)

1 (heaping) tbsp minced garlic or to taste

red pepper flakes to taste

Olive Oil Pam

2 tbsp neufchatel cheese

1 c frozen spinach

1 c frozen red, yellow, and green pepper strips

McCormick Italian Spices Grinder to taste

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan for garnish and deliciousness

Cook whole wheat pasta according to package directions.  While it is cooking, spray the bottom of a saucepan with Pam and put on medium heat. Once pan is hot, add minced garlic and cook until golden.  Add pasta sauce and neufchatel cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and is blended with sauce.  Add spinach, peppers and spices to taste. Simmer until your pasta is done.  Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta and stir.  Put half the pasta in your bowl and save the other half in fridge or freezer.

Sweet and Savory Salad

1 good sized handful of fresh baby arugula

Up to 1 oz of crumbled Gorgonzola

1 Del Monte Mandarin Orange fruit cup (in water, no sugar added) or equivalent

fresh ground pepper to taste

Balsamic glaze

Toss all ingredients and put on a plate – done!  Some things you could substitute in this salad that would be equally delicious are: goat cheese, shaved Parmesan, blood oranges, mango, raspberries, or strawberries.  If you can dream it you can eat it!  For us Weight Watchers folks this dinner comes in at about 11 points – 8 if you skip the cheese.  I like to round it out with a Skinny Cow Dulce de Leche ice cream for 4 points cause that’s how I roll.

Enjoy!

Benched

1 Jun

For the past several weeks I’ve had 2 lumps in my armpit. With visions of Terms of Endearment in my head I went to see my doctor about 3 weeks ago. She determined they were clogged sweat glands and nothing to worry about but she gave me something topical to apply each night. I did so religiously but in the past few days the pain from Darryl and Darryl taking residence under my arm has intensified, preventing me from moving well while working out and sometimes from sleeping.

To add insult to injury, my company changed insurers and now my medical practice, where I’ve been a patient since I outgrew my pediatrician, is out of network. Unable to deal with the discomfort anymore I went to a doc-in-a-box after work tonight. The doctor was actually great – funny yet professional. Long story short, the glands are infected, I can’t wear anything with sleeves,or wear deodorant.  Worse yet, until the lumps decrease in size I can’t shave or work out.  Added bonus? It’s Shark Week.

I will get better, hopefully sooner rather than later but it’s a detour at a time when I’m building new healthy habits.  I’m being benched just when I’m hitting my stride.  Remember when I said that my body pisses me off sometimes? Perfect example right here. There’s really only one course of action available…or at least one smart course of action. I have to take my antibiotics, face the horror of going to work sleeveless, watch my food intake really carefully, and try to do small exercises that won’t make things worse.  I think gentle yoga is going to have to be my friend this week.  I have to set reasonable expectations for myself until I heal and get past Shark Week. If I can get through this week without gaining weight it’ll be the best realistic outcome.

That being said, there are a lot of good things to focus on.  Starting this blog has meant a great deal to me. Eric had far more faith in me than I had in myself, but I just told him this morning that more important than the attention it gets, the blog is important because it represents a real change for me. So many times in the past I’ve come up with ideas that seem like real winners but I’ve never had the balls to actually follow through. It’s much like my own weight loss struggles…I just gave up because I was so convinced I’d fail.  So, thank you for your support and I promise I won’t give up on me if you don’t give up on you. We can be slow and steady together, face our setbacks head on and keep on moving no matter how long this takes.

I’ve been passing on your questions to not only a trainer but also a yoga instructor so we have two “Ask The Expert” posts to look forward to.  If you have any other questions or just want to let me know how you’re doing, leave a comment below.  Hang in there guys – I will too.

 

 

Stop, Drop, and Roll

31 May

Holiday weekends are tough for everyone. We have more time on our hands, less control over the food available, nice cold beer, and parties and barbecues seem more amusing options than exercise.  Since I’m talking the talk with you I had to walk the walk this weekend.

I wrote Friday about being prepared so I kept my scout uniform on for the weekend.  I got through the dinner that night without a problem, in part due to the fact that my hostess had read my blog and is totally supportive of my effort. She offered me fixins to make myself a nice, big salad which made it SO much easier to manage my portion control where the pasta was concerned. There was fresh fruit and great conversation and I came out of it feeling like I’d done a good job.

You know that old saw “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”?  Um, yeah. Welcome to my life. I never eat as much as when I have time on my hands. Although I had a number of things to do, I also had more time than usual with no work and an extra day of weekend.  So I started talking to myself. Ok, this isn’t something new for me…at work I frequently walk in circles in the parking lot, talking to myself out loud trying to figure out the right phrasing for a marketing piece, I mutter to myself at my desk about what a douchenozzle someone is – basically I’m a step away from being that guy who sits on a bench on Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair yells at random people in cars (sometimes rather graphically).

So I decided to use my crazy for good rather than evil.  When the temperature went well over 80 and exercise was the last thing on my mind I told myself that I was allowed to watch old episodes of The Biggest Loser as long as I drank water the whole time and that as soon as the sun set I would go walk in the park.  Good deal. Done.  Better yet, that walk energized me and when I got home I spent an hour doing activities from The Biggest Loser Challenge on my Wii (more on that in an upcoming post).

I talked myself into exercise every day this weekend by making deals (as long as I kept them) and thinking things like “I feel like running” and “walking outside will feel good.” I know I can’t really run but every lap I did in the park ended with a short sprint to satisfy the urge.  It was good. I felt good….until…

I GOT ON THE SCALE.  I was 4 lbs. heavier. WTF?!?  I panicked. I freaked. I raged. Then I calmed down and thought about it. What went wrong? I exercised every day. I moderated my portions. I slept.  Then it occurred to me that a TON of water had been going into my system but very little had been coming out. It was hot, I refused to turn on my air conditioning and I was drinking a lot of water to keep cool and hydrated. Bottom line, my body needed that water but it wanted to hold on to it. Sometimes my body really pisses me off.  I really had to fight the impulse to say “Fuck it all.  I’m doing everything I can and I’m gaining weight.” It’s what I’ve done in the past and, frankly, it hasn’t worked out that well for me…although every store whose name ends in “Woman” sends me Christmas cards thanking me for giving up on “that ill-advised diet and exercise thing.”

Logic my friends. Cool, calm logic kept me from eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  Ok, logic and talking to myself.  I had to say OUT LOUD “You are retaining water because it’s hot and because all those muscles you are using need water. Your body will keep it as long as it needs it and then it will release it. This is not a permanent gain. Oh, and by the way, put the AC in the window you dumbass. You make enough money to pay the electric bill.”  Like an infant, we have to learn to self-comfort, but we also have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we’re having a self-sabotaging temper tantrum.  It made me think about when we were kids and fire safety education taught us “Stop, drop and roll.”  I think that’s what we have to do when we’re having a diet or fitness related freakout – stop in our tracks, drop our anxiety and frustration level, and just roll with it.

Coming soon: my first trainer post!  Do you have questions you’d like answered?  Leave them in the comments and I’ll grill a certified trainer for you.

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