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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Progress Report

After nine weeks of attending my weekly Diet Center consultation I can report the following progress:

  • 23 pounds lost
  • 32 inches lost
  • Confidence gained!
I plan to continue practicing all of the good habits and healthy eating plan that I learned at Diet Center.  After Easter, I will join Curves and incorporate a weekly fitness program into my journey.

You see, my local Diet Center is closing and our consultant has retired.  The closest office to us is not very close nor convenient.  However, I feel confident that I can follow the healthy eating plan.  I just need a place to 'check-in' once a week and make sure my weight-loss journey stays on track.  I joined Curves a couple of years ago and stopped going for financial reasons.  This time around I must keep in mind that I am worth the investment of time and money into a fitness program.  This time around I will have my best buddy, my mom, to accompany me and continue our mutual support system.

I have learned that in order to grow as a person and to understand who you are in life it is imperative to be honest and share your experiences with others.  While my success is not a recipe for everyone wanting to change their life there are certainly people who will benefit from the details of my story.  The difference in success in anything is MINDSET.  I could give you all of the diet advice and 'secrets' that have helped me but unless you adopt the frame of mind that you DESERVE to be healthy, the following will be just words.  Every one has their own, individual journey and this is mine...

My daily caloric intake hovers between 1100 and 1300 per day.  I am a much larger woman but this amount has allowed me to lose an average of 2.5 pounds per week with no exercise!

Every morning I have fresh squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon) with warm water.  I take calcium, a multi-vitamin, an anti-oxidant, and vitamin B complex.  I also have a large cup of green tea with honey.

I write down every single thing I consume each day including vitamins and amount of water (a minimum of 64 ounces).

I limit the amount of salt, butter, and drink no alcohol.  I enjoy using non-stick cooking spray, garlic, Mrs. Dash, fresh ground pepper, and herbs for seasoning.  When I have a salad I use:  olive oil, vinegar, or balsamic vinaigrette (no more blue cheese).

I am 'allowed' the following each day:

  • 3 Starches @ about 60 calories each
  • 5 Vegetables @ about 25 calories each
  • 2 Fruits @ about 60 calories each
  • 6 Protein @ about 55 calories each
  • 2 Dairy @ about 90 calories each
  • 2 Fats @ about 45 calories each
  • 2 Additional @ about 20 calories each
My favorite starches are:  brown rice, wasa, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta.
My favorite vegetables are:  broccoli, lettuce (all kinds), Brussel sprouts, zucchini,  tomato, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, carrots, and cucumber.
My favorite fruits are:  bananas, grapefruit, strawberries, and apple (must have at least one per day).
My favorite proteins are:  chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops, and lean beef.
My favorite dairy is:  cottage cheese, fat-free cheese, yogurt (Greek and non-fat) and Diet Center fudge bar.

I try to vary my routine throughout the day but there are some things which work for me.  A large salad at lunch or dinner.  An apple, dairy, and butter-free popcorn (on nights that I'm still hungry).  I have my good days and bad days like every one else but I realize I have to treat each day as a new opportunity to live a healthy life.

It's all in the MINDSET!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Concentrate on the Positive

While this week has not been monumental in the weight-loss department (20 pounds after eight weeks), I choose to focus on the positive things that happened this week.

  1. I did not gain weight, I lost it.
  2. I received an unexpected package in the mail from a dear friend who saw something and thought of me!
  3. I had more energy than I've had in the last two years and accomplished some spring cleaning and reduced household clutter that has been laying around for years (literally, years).
  4. I saw my cardiologist and he praised me for my weight-loss success and gave me an 'A+'.
  5. I do not have to see my heart doctor until next year.
  6. My blood pressure has improved.
  7. Some clothes that I purchased are too big; a catch-22 since I like them but I won't be able to wear them. 
  8. Goodbye 3X, 2X (almost), and XX-Large (Old Navy).
  9. I am consistently writing a blog post at least once a week to document my journey and progress.
  10. I am looking forward to gardening and yard work which I have been unable to do for two years.
Another big item I've been considering is getting rid of my vinyl album collection and old stereo.  On the one hand I want to keep it because it brings back memories and I enjoy reminiscing about the past.  On the other hand, I am on a mission to simplify and de-clutter my entire house.  The albums and stereo have become an eyesore to me.  If I had a space dedicated to all things music and entertainment I could compartmentalize so many items like:  records, video game consoles and equipment, and guitars and a piano keyboard.  Unfortunately, we just don't have the extra space.  I've always thought about converting the garage to a 'playroom' but that would require funding and besides, the garage is my husband's domain.

So, to discard my music collection is a huge step for me.  Holding on to these items is like me clinging to the past.  I don't want to regret this decision.  I know there are some vinyl aficionados out there that think I am crazy to even entertain such a move.  I've thought about listing my collection for sale on Craig's List.  But, deep down getting rid of this history and joy would be like losing something you love.  In times of desperation, I have sold things I've collected and appreciated on E-bay.  I needed the money at the time.  But, looking back, I regret some of these decisions.  Music has always given me joy and hope.  Music can alter my mood and bring me out of a funk.  It is a type of therapy.  So, I had about 150 cassettes that I collected (mostly in the 1980's) and sold that collection.  I had over 100 CD's and sold them. 

When I first began my record collection it was only a few years ago.  While I grew up with vinyl record albums the ones I had as a child were lost somewhere between college and moving on to adulthood.  I happened to spot a stereo with a number of crates of record albums at a yard sale a few years ago.  Immediately, I had the bright idea to 'invest' in this collection as a way to make money on E-bay.  I continued to frequent yard sales and add to my collection.  I learned about the potential value of vinyl through sources such as the Goldmine guide.  E-bay and vinyl became a profitable hobby at one time.  But, after getting burned a couple of times on E-bay I decided to keep whatever was left of the collection to myself.  Most of my collection is classical, opera, and a mix of 1970's soft rock.  When I visit our local used book store and more I always check out their clearance vinyl.  It is just a fun thing to do.  Again, a hobby.  But, as we know from watching shows like 'Hoarders', hobbies can get out of control.

So, this week I continue to struggle with the big decision of what to do with my collection that has been my coping mechanism and part of my 'therapy' these past few years.  I have to decide what is more important to me, getting rid of eyesores or holding onto things that make you feel good.  Perhaps there's a happy medium somewhere in there?

My mission this week is to find that place!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Vision, Revisited

It's quite ironic that as I make my way through spring cleaning and a general organization frenzy I should come across my vision board that I created last year.  And, it was just around this time last year (March 24th to be exact) that I wrote about it on this blog.  The funny thing is is that I have embraced my vision without it even being in my line of sight.  Unfortunately for me, it had been folded up and shoved in between some bags on the bottom of my hall closet floor.  I must say that today I took the time to locate the push pins and place my vision board right in front of the computer where I happen to write my blogs.  Even though this happens to be in my son's room it is in my field of vision and Nicolas is pretty agreeable and supportive of my ventures to self-improvement.

I was never really a doubter of the potential power of  a vision board, if I were I would never have spent the time collecting the images and phrases and strategically placing them on the blank, white canvas.  I also would not have considered placing my vows and vision statement in writing and including them on my board.  I did spend thoughtful time putting this tool together last year so I would consider myself a hopeful believer in the power of 'The Secret'.

But, back again to the irony.  So, I created the board last year.  It had many aspirations and goals emblazoned on its surface.  It was placed out of sight for a year (not my doing but I think I know who the culprit is).  And, the funny thing is, a year later, some of this vision has 'come true'.

Here are some examples:

  • I traveled to Carolina Beach, North Carolina and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina;
  • I put money in my savings and I have more money in my pocket;
  • I started to get in shape without setting foot in a gym;
  • I eat delicious, healthy meals that are balanced and nutritious;
  • I stress less and relax more;
  • I found my own identity which feels great!;
  • I own what I am:  independent, intuitive, smart, straightforward, pretty, and sexy;
  • I love every day;
  • I bought some great lingerie and have more romance, desire, and happiness in my life.
These are ongoing life changes that I've embraced in the last year thanks to my vision board.  Out of sight, out of mind?  Not necessarily.  Once you set your mind to something and 'put it out there in the universe' you will be heard.  There is still quite a bit to be accomplished from my vision board and every day is another step towards getting everything I want and deserve.

Total pounds lost after week seven:  19.6!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ageant Saboteur

It happened last week.  It was inevitable, of course, but it came as a surprise nonetheless.

Ageant Saboteur knocked on my door.  He tested me with questions.  And he questioned my motives.  He tested my will.  And he tempted me with his nonchalance.   He did it with such cunning and prowess.  He had masterful skill.

After six weeks of adopting a new, healthy lifestyle I am 16.8 pounds less than I was when I started.  But, more impressive is, perhaps, the total inches I've lost:  22.  It is a combination of measuring:  neck, upper arm, upper chest, bust, rib cage, waist, hips, butt, thighs, knees, and calves.  So, it averages to about two inches for each measurement.  I have noticed a bit of a difference and while I only lost one half a pound last week, knowing that I am losing inches helps to push me along my journey.  I will be going to Diet Center until the end of the month when the local office closes.  That gives me another three weeks to lose at least a total of 20 pounds.  It sounds reasonable but we'll take it one day at a time.

So, getting back to my little sabotage incident...

My older son, who is home for spring break, accompanied us to dinner at Applebee's.  Applebee's has a pretty decent menu selection for folks watching their calories so it is on our list of frequented restaurants.  I mentioned that I no longer order appetizers but that he was free to indulge.  And, he asked me why.  I said something like, "You didn't notice I lost a little weight or that I'm trying to eat healthy?" And his reply was, "No."

This kind of threw me for a loop since he hasn't seen me in a month and you would notice if I wasn't eating my daily bagel or having a bunless burger.  But not him.  He's in his own little college world.  He then proceeded to order mozzarella sticks and upon their arrival to the table, he offered me one.  Hello?  Did I not just finish telling him that I was eating healthy?!  He didn't quite insist I eat it but then he proceeded to question my motives for trying to become healthier.  I reiterated that:

  • I want to live longer so that I may see my grandkids one day.
  • I want to feel better.
  • I want to look better.
  • I want to be able to wear a bathing suit on the beach and not embarrass the people I'm with.
  • I want to lose weight.
  • I want to be able to move more.
  • I want to be able to travel if I need to.
To me these all seem like quite justifiable reasons to indulge in a healthy lifestyle.  But my little ageant saboteur was not the least bit impressed.

It was a difficult lesson for me to learn that even some people you love (and who love you) will not always buy into what you choose to do with your life.  There will be a 'devil's advocate' to question your motives and make you sit back and contemplate the reasons for your actions.  I realize it is not a bad thing to be around someone with opposing views because it can reinforce your convictions.

So, I say, 'thank you', to all the folks who will try to sabotage or put obstacles in my way.  I will come out stronger and a winner (or at least the biggest loser)!