Walden Pond

Walden Pond

Friday, October 31, 2014

What Works for Me

First things first, my Holiday Scale Accountability Club weigh-in was not good news. I didn't expect it to be since I've not been good the last couple of days. I'm back up to 290. But next week's will be great. I know what I need to do.

After my experiment with Whole30, I've decided to give myself a kick in the rear and do what I already know works for me, adding in what I learned from the Whole30 experience. What works for me really comes down to one thing: exercise and quiet time.

The only time I'm ever been able to lose weight effectively is when I focus on exercise. I'm not saying that diet isn't important, or that I don't need to watch what I eat to lose weight. What I mean is that when I am exercising every day, I don't have to watch my food intake because I just naturally make good choices. I don't even have to think about it. After I've exercised about 10 days in a row, I just stop reaching for Cheetos, cheese, Cokes, and bowls of rice. Instead I start grabbing asparagus (yes I eat it raw), cauliflower, celery, apples, and clementines. When I get hungry I want a salad or a pita stuffed with greens. I want squash and lentils. I drink way more water. It just happens.

The other thing that really helps me is meditation. I used to do a 25-minute yoga session every morning. It helped me wake up and keep my focus throughout the day. It was better than the cappuccino I've been using instead. With two kids gone, more of the morning chores have fallen back to me, so I've let it go. I really don't want to get up 30 minutes earlier everyday, but maybe a 10 minute routine in the morning could be squeezed in.

I also used to meditate before I ate, every meal, for about 5 minutes. It caused me to make better choices about food, eat more slowly, and enjoy my food more. I stopped because I was eating lunch out a lot and didn't really want to shut everyone out for 5 minutes at lunch. Then I dropped the other mealtime meditations, too. I've changed jobs since then, and have a different lunch hour than my coworkers. I need to bring those meditations back.

So my own personal weight-loss program for Connie is as follows:
  1. Do at least 10 minutes of yoga every morning.
  2. Walk/run (I don't run but I want to) for at least 30 minutes every day.
  3. Meditate 5-8 minutes before each meal.
  4. Eat breakfast.
That's it. All the other changes come naturally with how exercise and meditation make me feel. I am ready to get this done!!

But not tonight. No, tonight is the best night of the year. Tonight is better than my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one. Tonight I get to stay up late and howl at the moon! I get to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show with my friends and act crazy. Tonight I am able to make myself look however I want to. And tonight that means that I am a Zombie Masquerader!!!

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What I Learned in the Last Week

So even though I was only on the Whole30 for four days, I do think I learned a lot about myself from it. First let me tell you why I didn't like it.
  1. I felt obsessed with food. So much of my time was consumed with what I could have and what I couldn't have. Whether I was at home or at work, all I thought of was food. It really felt unhealthy to me to be so focused on food. I mean, the whole reason I started this blog was so I could STOP obsessing over my food, right?
  2. I had to eat meat. As I mentioned in a previous post, the amount of meat really bothered me. I'm fine with eating meat when I go out to eat somewhere or on special occasions, but every day and sometimes twice a day was just too much for me.
  3. I didn't want to exercise. Besides the fact that I was too busy thinking about food to think about exercise, the Whole30 requires special pre- and post-workout food. My life was already complicated enough.
 Clearly, this was never going to become a lifestyle change. But even with all that, I did learn some important things from it.

 First, I learned that I need to eat breakfast. Duh, right? I knew I was supposed to. I know it's the first thing every weight loss experts says to do. But I always resisted it. I've always said I don't have time. I'm too rushed in the morning. I don't like eating early because the food feels heavy in my stomach (yeah, if you're having donuts or pancakes or biscuits). But I found on the Whole30 that I did have time to make breakfast (with a little planning), and when I ate breakfast I had a clearer head and was more focused at work. My job is one that depends entirely on reading and listening. Without breakfast (I skipped it yesterday), I can see a definite difference in my work.

Second, I consume too much sugar. A lot of you probably think this is another "duh," but it was never obvious to me. I didn't think I had that much sugar, really. I don't eat sweets. I don't ever crave candy, cookies, cake (I actually don't like cake), donuts, or the like. I did drink Coke, but that was only one a day and was something I was already trying to decrease. But I hadn't noticed how my once-in-a-while gas station cappuccino had become a daily habit or how my new-found love of apples had led to caramel dipping sauce. I don't think sugar is a trigger food for me or that I need to avoid it in things like ketchup or mayo at all costs. I don't even think I need to give up my Christmas baklava or birthday lemon icebox pie. But I do need to be more aware of what I'm eating and especially what I'm drinking.

Third, I eat too much white rice. I eat a lot of foods with rice, and I don't think rice is bad. But even though we buy a lot of brown and wild rice, I turn to white rice the most. It's my comfort food. When I'm sick, all I want to eat is white rice with butter and salt. When I make a stir fry, I'll have twice as much white rice as veggies, and I'll have a bowl of just rice for seconds. I've made stir fry with wild rice, and it's delicious. My family loves it. I love it, too, and I eat a normal amount of rice then. I need to stay away from white rice.

Fourth, my family doesn't miss meat. My vegetarian daughter and meat-allergic son are both away at college. Michael and Tori have no issues with eating meat. Tori eats it as school, and Michael ate it anytime he was away from the house. They never exactly complained about being vegetarian at home, but I could tell they missed it. Turns out, not so much. They both liked all the meals I prepared on Whole30, but they also complained about all the meat. Turns out, meat for dinner once a week or so is more than enough for them. That made me happy.

Fifth, 90 percent of my aches, pains, and morning headaches have nothing to do with my diet and everything to do with Sebastian. Bash is my husband's supposed-to-be-a-Jack-Russell-but-SURPRISE!-is-actually-more-of-a-pitbull.

Sebastian is very sweet, but only a year old and much larger than we expected.

Bash sleeps in our bed, as does my Valentine. Both dogs usually sleep at the foot of the bed, but as it's gotten colder, Bash has taken to crawling under the covers in the middle of the night. He slides in between me and Michael. This starts out fine, but at some point he turns sideways. I spend the second half of the night somehow pinned between the two dogs and with my husbands arm slung over me trying to pull my upper body closer (Sorry hon, I can't snuggle. There's 30 pounds of dog in the way). I think once we figure that situation out, my life will greatly improve.

Sixth, I already know what my body needs. I really do. I know what makes me feel good (healthy good, not spoiled brat I want my Cheetos good). I know what makes me lose weight. I know what a long term healthy lifestyle looks like for me. I just don't do it.

So the obvious conclusion to this: Do it. Do what I know is right for me. Stop being a pansy-ass.

So I will.

1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 4 of Whole30: Walmart Rage (long)

So....my Whole30 is over. I went off plan on Day 4.

Everything was going fine yesterday. I was expecting some mood swings because Days 4 and 5 are referred to as the "kill all the things" days. But really, everything seemed the same as any other day.

Then I decided to go to Walmart after work. I wanted to get some sweet potatoes to go with dinner, look at the shoes, and maybe pick up some more fake blood for my costume. When I got out of my car, a woman and her daughter got out of their car across the lane at the same time. The daughter was probably 11 or 12, but big for her age. She was taller than her mom. The mom was scolding the daughter for something under her breath. I couldn't hear what the girl had done, but I did hear the daughter repeating, "I'm sorry mom. I really forgot. I'm really sorry." The girl wasn't crying or whining as she said it, but the deep sincerity of it just got to me. I hurried into the store.

I didn't find the kind of shoes I wanted, but I picked up some fake blood and some colored hairspray and duct tape for my daughter. By this time I'd been in the store about 20 minutes. I headed over to the juice aisle to pick up some tomato juice for my husband. The woman and girl from the parking lot were there, and the mom was STILL going at her.

I was furious. I mean, really, what could this kid have forgotten that was so horrible that her mom had to vex her for over 20 minutes in public? The girl was still saying how she was sorry and how she really did just forget and it wasn't on purpose. I was so angry at the mom for doing this to the girl. I just can't convey to you the shame in that girls voice. I felt so sorry for her and so mad at her mom.

Normally, I would have said something. I really would. I'm one of those people. I have three teenagers. They screw things up. That's what kids do. I have scolded and yelled at my kids, like any parent has, but what could a 12-year-old have done that deserves over 20 minutes of tongue lashing (and who knows how long it'd been going on before they got out of the car)? So, yeah, I would normally have gone up to the woman and said, "Look, I don't know what she did, and maybe she was wrong. But you are hurting your child. You are making her feel worthless. You're her mom, so she can't hate you for what you are doing to her today, but I can. And I do. I hate you for her. Give the kid a fucking break!"

But I didn't want to say that yesterday. Yesterday I wanted to take that 46 oz can of tomato juice and bash the woman in the head with it until she didn't exist anymore. I could see myself just hitting her again and again until she crumpled on the floor and the little girl was free. It was scary. I'm shaking just writing about it.

In the back of my head I distinctly thought, "Oh, that's the anger they were talking about." I set down all the things I was carrying. I just put everything on a shelf there in the juice aisle. Then I turned around and walked out of the store. I drove home, and I was fine until I got inside and my husband asked me how my day was. I broke down. I just started sobbing. My husband held me and kept asking what was wrong. I kept telling him it was really nothing. I was alright, but of course that sounded crazy coming from the incredible crying woman. Eventually I calmed down enough to tell him what had happened. He asked me if it was because of the diet. I said only the last part. I would have been angry at the woman under any circumstances, but I'm honestly not homicidal as a general rule.

He had to go pick up our daughter from after school band practice. By the time Michael and Tori got back I was cried out but I felt tired and emotionally drained. It was that kind of cry. When I said hi to Tori she asked if I could have some beef jerky she'd gotten at a fundraiser. I said sure, it's meat. I really didn't even think about the fact that jerky usually has soy in it. My daughter was being nice and wonderful, and I was a wreck. When I read the ingredients later (after I'd eaten it) I found out it had soy and whey (soy I understand, but whey? What?).

So that's it. I'm off plan. According to the Whole30 rules, I have to start over with day 1. That would put Thanksgiving with the 30 day period, and besides, I really just don't want to. I was miserable the whole time, and I felt like I was obsessed with food. And I still feel badly that I didn't speak up for that poor girl (but I'm happy I didn't kill her mom in a Whole30 induced rage).

I'm not sorry I tried it, and I'm trying not to feel like a failure. Even though I only lasted 4 days on it, I still learned a lot. I'm going to write more about what I learned in tomorrow's post. This one has gotten too long already, and I'm still feeling overly emotional about it all.

So anyway, sorry for the long drama filled post. And thank you to everyone who encouraged me as I tried the Whole30.

1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 3 of Whole30--tired of the meat already

I'm really not liking this. Part of it is the meat. It's not really heavy with meat, and to be fair, I've only had tuna, a pork chop, and some hamburger so far, but each of those has just served to remind me how much I don't like meat. When I became a vegetarian it was because I didn't want to kill other animals, but now I think part of the reason it was so easy for me was because I just really don't like meat.

I have a lot of old issues with meat. My parents always wanted to be homesteaders. We kept chickens throughout most of my childhood, and at different points in time we had cows, sheep, goats, and rabbits. When my father would bring home calves, sheep, or bunnies, he would tell me and my brothers they were pets. He would encourage us to name them and divvy them up between us. I think this was his way of getting us to take care of them. We didn't have any "normal" pets, no cats or dogs (I think we had a hermit crab once), so we were always happy to have something new to love.

Except one day we would come home from school and find out our pets had been butchered. Part of the reason I was so thin as a child was that I refused to eat my pets. That meant unless it was chicken on the table, I went hungry (Mom was not a big fan of vegetables, so meat, potatoes, and gravy from the meat were often the only options). My mother still thinks I don't like casseroles. I like them fine, but it's really hard to pick the pieces of your pet rabbit out of a casserole. So I skipped them at home.

It was horribly cruel. My brothers and I weren't stupid. We knew where meat came from, and we knew the difference between pets and livestock. Like I said, we always had chickens for eggs and meat. I took my turn gathering eggs, feeding them, and cleaning out the coop. As the oldest, I also helped with the processing when one was killed. Same with the goats. Half my family is Mexican. Eating goat wasn't a big deal. I never considered any of the chickens or goats as pets. Of course, no one ever told me to name them.
Barbados sheep--the kind my family had

I'd mostly gotten over this, but when my oldest daughter became a vegetarian and my son became allergic to mammal meat, leaving meat behind just seemed a natural thing to do. It was really easy to change. Even when I stopped being vegetarian and moved to flexitarian, the meat I had was almost always chicken. Up until yesterday, I hadn't cooked a mammal in almost 3 years.

I'm still doing the Whole30, but I really don't think this is a lifestyle changer for me. But it is making me think a lot more about what I put into my mouth and why. That in itself is a good thing.

I had the same breakfast and lunch today as I had this weekend: eggs and leeks for breakfast, tuna and spinach for lunch.

Dinner tonight was tacos. I really missed the cheese, but the avocado helped that a little. I had to season the hamburger myself because I couldn't find a taco seasoning mix without whey in it. My seasonings just tasted like seasonings. I used chili, cumin, and paprika, but it just tasted like chili, cumin, and paprika. It didn't taste like "taco," know what I mean?

I had three of these things.

After dinner, I worked on my mask and face paint for Halloween a little bit. I really want it to look just right on Friday. Then I went to bed early again. The more time I spend asleep, the less time I spend obsessing over food.

ETA: I got on the scale this morning to weight for the Holiday Scale Accountability Club and had a gain. Smiley
1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day 2 of Whole30

No headache today! Yippee! I can still feel some residual pain from it. Kind the outlines of the migraine from yesterday.

This morning I had eggs and leeks & asparagus for breakfast again, but this time I fried the eggs. It was a lot better that way. I was pretty hungry since I basically skipped dinner last night.

Right after breakfast Tori and I started practicing our Halloween makeup so that we can apply it quickly on the big day. I hate it when Halloween falls on a weekday. At least until we finally get it made a government holiday, LOL. When my kids were little, I'd take the day off and pull them from school a couple of hours early, just to get everything got done.

I had the same lunch as yesterday. I still don't like the tuna, but tuna and deviled eggs were going to be my go to lunch options for the work week. I definitely have to find some new mayo.

For dinner I had pork chops, sauerkraut, and roasted zucchini and eggplants. It was okay. It has been about two years since I had pork chops (pig meat was never high on my list even when I regularly consumed flesh). There is just something weird about the texture.

I'm going to head to bed soon. The headache echo is still lingering. And if I go to bed, I won't be tempted to eat everything.

So far, Whole30 has me obsessively thinking about food and craving things I normally wouldn't even think about, like ice cream and candy. I'm sure it's just the fact that I can't have these things that is making me want them so much. I'm hoping it will be easier tomorrow, since I'll have work to focus on.

1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

...GO! Whole30 Day 1

My first day of the Whole30 was not enjoyable. I started the day with a horrible headache. It wasn't a migraine, but I couldn't take ibuprofen for it because that has sugar in it. I drank lots of water and hoped it would ease as the day went on.

For breakfast I had deviled eggs made with homemade mayo. It was not good. I need to try a new recipe for the mayo. It has no flavor at all. I also had leeks and asparagus cooked in ghee. That was freaking awesome. I made a huge batch so that I can just reheat it for the next couple of days.

I went grocery shopping. After I got home I made up some more kale chips and roasted some cashews (I couldn't find any pre-roasted with out soy). My head was still killing me, so I took a hot bath. Sometimes the hot water or steam helps. It didn't this time.

For lunch I had tuna and celery (made with the flavorless homemade mayo) on a bed of spinach, kale chips, pickles, and a handful of the cashews. I over-salted the kale chips, and of course the tuna was nasty, but I ate it anyway.

By the time I finished lunch, I was feeling nauseated. This wasn't because of the bland tuna. My headache was morphing into a migraine. I gave it another hour to be sure, but mid afternoon I took one of my migraine pills. I went to bed and slept for several hours.

I woke up around 7:00. My headache had eased some, but was still kind of there. I was really hungry, but still a little nauseated. We had apples on the counter, so I grabbed one of those. Then I went back to bed.

That was it until this morning. I'll post about today later tonight.

Anyway, Day 1 sucked, but it wasn't related to the Whole30.  Here's to a better day today!

1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ready, Set....

First things first: Friday is weigh day for the Holiday Scale Accountability Club. My scale had good news. I'm still on track.

I'm getting more and more excited for my Whole30. The more I read about people eliminating migraines, skin problems, sleeping problems, etc., the more stoked I get.

Last night I made ghee. It's basically butter with the milk proteins cooked out. It's the only dairy product allowed on the Whole30. It was easier than I thought it would be, and it smells fantastic. I figured it would still smell like butter, but it smells like toasted pecans. Weird.

I also made some kale chips. I've never had them before and always figured it was too much trouble to make them. This was another thing that was way easier than I thought it would be. They were so good! I'll definitely be making them again (like, tomorrow). Tori, my 14-year-old, doesn't even like kale, but she was seriously digging the chips.

I have easy meals planned for the next couple of weeks. I don't want to be stressing out over difficult recipes when I'm going through sugar, carb, dairy withdrawal.

I haven't worked out at all this week; I've been so focused on food. I need to get my miles in!

My biggest challenge today has been to not dive head first into "forbidden" foods. I keep catching myself thinking, "I should have X because I won't be able to have it again for 30 days!" Umm, no. That kind of thing will lead me straight into a binge. I'll be eating what I normally eat. It's still not compliant, but it doesn't have that death-row-last-meal kind of feeling.

I'm going to try to make a post every day of the Whole30 (even on the weekends!) to share what I'm eating, and how I'm feeling. Here goes nothing!

1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Small-town Grocery Woes

Short post today because I have a lot of work to get started on.

Yesterday after work I went straight to Walmart to look for apple chicken sausage and tapioca flour. No luck. Thankfully, I've got some other ideas for breakfast now. I was able to find coconut flour and potato starch, so I have some options for thickening stews.

Last night I made my first batch of mayonnaise. My husband said it was perfect. My daughter said it had too much garlic. To me it just tasted like oil, but that's what store-bought mayo tastes like, too. So I guess that means it's good, lol. I only like mayo mixed in with things like tuna (I was able to find some soy free canned tuna!).

I've decided I'm going to start my Whole30 on Saturday, October 25, 2014. I'm already dreading it. Not really, but yeah.

I have my meals planned including the big Halloween party circuit. Now I just have to get past the fear and nerves of what is going to happen to me the first week. Here goes nothing!

1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Headaches, Darkness, and Whole30

This is exactly how I felt this morning (except without the run-on sentence). I'm really looking forward to the time change. No more leaving the house when it's dark. No more walking the dogs when it's dark (and scary). I like a little daylight in the morning to remind me I'm not a ghost.

I went home early yesterday with a headache. It wasn't a migraine, just a really bad tension headache. So no gym, and now I'm behind at work. Blech.

This Whole30 thing is coming together. I have my lunches planned out (now that I've found some tuna without soy in it). I'm making some homemade mayo tonight. I've made some chicken stock. I have about 10 dinners planned, but I would like to up that to at least 15. So far breakfast has been my challenge.

I've just been alerted to the existence of a chicken apple sausage. I looked up the ingredients, and it looks like it would be compliant. Now I just have to check if our Wal-mart has it. Also, I have no idea if I'll like it. The only sausage I've had in the last two years has been MorningStar's vegetarian sausage. But if I can find this chicken apple thing, I'll give it a try.

I've already stated that I don't like eggs, but there are two exceptions: deviled eggs and dill pickled eggs. I can eat dill pickled eggs by the dozen, but the pickling mix I use has sugar and chemical stuff in it. So that's out. Deviled eggs I like, but I'm never tempted to eat a ton of them. If I make them with homemade mayo, they might be a breakfast options. Maybe a couple of deviled eggs with some sauteed kale and onion?

If things go according to plan (like they ever do), I should be able to start the Whole30 this weekend.

No gym until I catch up on my work.

1307.51 / 0 / 1284.17

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Practice Food

So this morning, I thought I'd do a trial run of a Whole30 breakfast. This was mostly to make sure I was waking up early enough to prepare it. I don't have a ton of time in the mornings, so I need something that can be prepared quickly.

This morning I went with scrambled eggs and spinach. I love spinach; I hate eggs. But I thought the combination would kill some of the egg taste, so I gave it a try. It did kill some of the egg taste, but there was still the texture of the eggs. I really hate how eggs feel in my mouth. I was able to eat maybe one eggs worth, but I fed the rest to the dogs. I'm going to have to look for something else that I can have in the mornings. 

I had thought I wouldn't be able to go to the gym yesterday, but I was able to wrap up work in time to go. I tried to get up to 3.4 mph, but I couldn't get higher than 3.2 without my shins really hurting. Then I'd back up to 2.8 until the pain went away. The good news is that I spent most of the time at 3.0 without it killing me, so my regular walking pace may have increased from 2.8 to 3.0. The bad news is that I barely finished one mile.

I don't know what was going on with my shins. Maybe I need to stretch more before I walk? I don't know.

Today is Tuesday, so I weighed myself this morning as part of the Holiday Scale Accountability Club. I'm not going to post my twice weekly weights (I will still post it on the 1st of the month), but I will say if it's good news (289.2 or below) or bad news (above 289.2). Today was good news.

Those of you who do Whole30/paleo type stuff, what do you eat in the morning? I'd love some recommendations. I don't have to have something "breakfasty," but I do need something fast and easy.

1307.51 / 1.06 / 1284.17

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

 I had a busy weekend.  It actually started off on Friday with a trip to the gym. I walked a little over a mile (see numbers at the bottom of the page) and did some upper body work, too. I have really weak shoulders. They are so week, I have trouble holding my arms above my head even for one minute. So I hoped on a couple of weight machines that work the shoulders. I only did a couple of reps at 10 pounds. I felt pretty good about my time at the gym.

That is, until Saturday morning. I woke up with incredibly sore shoulders. I couldn't believe that I was so sore. I really didn't think I'd done that much with them. I'm actually still sore today. Anyway, after my normal morning chores, I made the 45 minute trip to the YMCA to get my body analysis.

I forgot what the machine was called, but it measured my weight, how much of my weight was water (cellular and extracellular), the weight of the muscle on each limb and my torso, and how many calories I burn at rest. It was really cool. I'm going to be looking over that print out for a while.

The thing that surprised me the most was how many calories I burn at rest. According to the machine, when I am at rest--no exercise, just laying around watching TV--I burn 1648 calories per day. I really expected something lower. For some reason (maybe just because I'm fat), I had always assumed I must have a slow metabolism. But 1648 calories a day by just existing? That seems pretty normal to me. So there goes one of my excuses.

My father lives in the same town as the Y, so I spent most of the day there with him. He is renovating a house he bought, and he showed me some of the progress he's made. The only other time I've been there, it was night, so he took this opportunity to take me on a hike around the property. I'm counting that as my outdoorsyness for the weekend. We were out there for 30 minutes climbing up and down hills in the mud. I did not have fun, but I was pleased that I was able to keep up with him. My dad is 61 and broke his hip a couple of years ago, but he can usually run circles around me.

Sunday I spent the day indoors, catching up on laundry and reading. I picked up a copy of It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the proponents of the Whole30 thing I'm going to try. I'm about halfway through the book now.

I'm thinking about starting the Whole30 earlier than January. For one thing, the sooner I start, the sooner it will be over. I can find out what foods are bad for my system (hopefully not beans and legumes), eliminate them, and be done with them. The other reason I'm thinking of starting early is the same reason I was going to put them off: the holidays. After all, if I'm going to conquer emotional eating, what better way then to be on this strict food program during them. I won't be able to just grab some cheese when I'm trapped with people I don't like. I'll have to actually deal with them. Maybe I'll get in a fight, but that could be good in the long term.

Anyway, I've started some prep work for it. I made some chicken broth yesterday (the whole house smelled like chicken; super gross) and froze it. I've made my meal plans for breakfast and lunch. I'm still working on dinners. I may be able to start this as early as next week.

Whenever I do start the Whole30, I'll be sure to report about it here. I'll give an idea what I'm eating and how I'm feeling.

I won't be going to the gym today, but here's my end distance from Friday:

 I'm getting closer and closer to Walden! I've gone over 22 miles so far!

1307.51 / 1.21 / 1285.23

Friday, October 17, 2014

My First Challenge!!

 I'm doing my first blog challenge! Gwen at The Sunny Coconut has started the Holiday Scale Accountability Club. The goal is to not gain any weight over the holiday season. It starts today and ends on January 9, 2015.

I know I usually only weigh on the first of the month, but the challenge requires weigh ins twice a week. So I'm going to try not to get too obsessed and weigh on Tuesdays and Fridays.

So my first weigh in this morning showed me at 289.2. That's up a pound from October 1. I was actually expecting it to be higher. I can't say I've made great choices this month with food or exercise.

Speaking of exercise, I didn't go to the gym last night. I had to work late, so I went straight home after. My clothes are still here in the office though, so I will make it in today.

I've been looking at the pretty pictures of fall leaves on other blogs and on my picture of Walden Pond above. I love fall leaves. I love the colors and the way they drift down in a breeze. It's not something I see much of in real life.

I live in northwest Tennessee. We don't usually get much of a fall season here. We get a late summer, then maybe two days of fall, and then...rain. Rain, rain, and rain. Rain that beats the leaves off of trees. Rain that pounds the pretty fall colors right into the mud. By the time the rain stops, the cold has set in, everything is gray and washed out, and there is mud everywhere. It stays that way until it freezes. Then when it's supposed to be spring we get more rain, more mud, and maybe even some snow flurries (not actual snow. Oh no, that would be too pretty.). Then the sun comes out, dries everything up, and we get a week of green leaves, budding trees, and flowers. Then it's summer, hot, humid, and icky. So out of the entire year, there are really only about 10 days I want to be outside. Oh, well.

Tomorrow I'm traveling to the nearest "big town" (I live in a small town. Then you have big town, small city, good-sized city, and big city). It's a 45 minute drive, but I'm hoping it's worth it. That town has a YMCA with one of those machines that measure your body composition and stuff. They let you have two free readings a year even if you aren't a member. So I'm heading there tomorrow to see what I can learn about myself. Yes, I do have a Village People CD in my car. Why do you ask?

IF (and that's a big if. See the capital letters?) it isn't raining, I'm also going to try to do something outside. This summer I tried to relearn how to ride a bike. It's not as easy as people say. I was moderately successful. Maybe I'll go for a ride or at least take my little dog to the park. I just want to do something before I start my 6 month seclusion from the elements.

My Valentine. He's the bestest best thing ever!

I'd like to do more than just maintain my weight during the holiday season, but I'm hesitant to put forth a weight loss goal. I'm thinking instead of having some fitness goals. Of course, getting closer to Walden will be one, but there are other things I'd like to do. I'll have to think about that this weekend.

I don't usually blog on the weekends, so I'll see you all on Monday. Have a great weekend, and if you are somewhere with beautifully changing leaves on the trees, take some time to enjoy them!

1307.51 / 0 / 1286.44

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Believing I can Believe in Myself


Yesterday Sean Anderson from The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser  posted about believing in yourself. Believing in myself is something I have a lot of trouble with, and I commented as such on his post, asking "How do we get past that?" Sean had this to say:

In my opinion-- the answer is in taking small steps toward what you desire. You don't need belief at first-- but you do need perseverance and a "never give up" attitude to stay in the game. Take it small, take it slow--then, as you go--your belief will strengthen, Connie. I think we must let go of the idea that we need it all perfect before we can proceed. We simply must proceed in the direction and at the speed we can handle at the time...then watch it grow and develop... You'll be believing in yourself before you realize that's what's happening!

Thanks, Sean! I really like this because it goes along with what I was saying about that Thoreau quote that inspired me to start this blog: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." It's the whole it's not about the destination; it's the journey thing.

Even if I don't fully believe in myself right now, I can still put one foot in front of the other. I can still move forward. I can still walk to Walden Pond, even if I don't actually reach Walden Pond. You know what I mean?

Last night I had McDonald's for dinner. My daughter had made dinner, but...umm...let's just say it was a nice effort. I didn't have anything fast and easy for back up, and we were starving. So now I know, always have something fast in the freezer to make up for dinner mishaps. I had a burger and fries. I know I should have had a salad, but I'd had a salad for lunch, and I didn't want another one for dinner and listen to me whine and make excuses blah blah blah. I should have had a salad, full stop.

Tonight I'm trying a new recipe myself. I will have something for back up in case it doesn't workout. I am inspired. I can do this thing!

Oh, and I brought my gym clothes to work today. Smiley Face

1307.51 / 0 / 1286.44

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Half Bottle of Coke

Okay, I did laundry last night, but it was all work clothes. Tonight my daughter is fixing dinner, so I will have no excuse to avoid washing my workout clothes.

My daughter is on Fall Break, so she is home this week. (I should have her wash my clothes....hmmm). Monday, we had tornado watches in our area. Rather than leave her alone in our trailer, I brought her to work with me. For lunch we got some stuff from Walmart, and I grabbed a 20oz Coke to go with mine.

Coke is a huge addiction for me. I really only drink Coke and water. And it has to be Coca-Cola. I love the stuff. I love the company. At my heaviest, I drank a 2 liter of Coke every day! It's been quite a few years since then, and I even gave it up completely after I had Lap-Band. After the band was removed, I quickly went back to drinking Coke. I have kept it at 1 can a day for a long time, and shortly after starting this blog, I switched from Coke Classic to Coke Zero.

Well, Monday I drank half of that 20 oz. I figured I'd drink the other half at lunch the next day, so I left it on my desk. Then yesterday for lunch I had a salad. I don't drink Coke with salads. Coke needs something salty or carb-heavy (or both). I still had a Coke Zero at dinner, but I just had water with my lunch salad.

I had another salad at lunch today. So I have a half bottle of Coke that has been sitting on my desk since Monday! This is a big deal. I don't drink Coke by itself. I have to have it with food. There have been times in the past where I got more food at a meal because I still had Coke left, not because I was hungry. Coke was just to wonderful to waste.

Now, this 10 oz. of Coke is flat. I'm never going to drink it, now. But I may keep it on my desk for a little while longer as a reminder that I can break its hold over me when I want to.

My goal for tomorrow: Get to the gym!!! I need to make those numbers down there move!

1307.51 / 0 / 1286.44

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Whole30...Should I try it?

Hi everyone! Without going too much into our money troubles, I wanted to let you know that we are making it. I managed to sell some things and cut our expenses enough to make up for what we were going to be short. So that crisis is managed.

I have not binged during this time, but I haven't made good food choices either. I've also been dealing with my monthly cycle. That always messes with my digestion. Not to give TMI, but a few years ago I had Lap-Band surgery. My body built scar tissue around it which had to be removed, along with the Lap-Band and some of my intestine. So some things make my digestive system react in weird ways.

I haven't gone to the gym in the last week. My cycle and my laziness when it comes to washing my gym clothes have kept me home. I absolutely have to do laundry tonight (or go to work in a cocktail dress tomorrow), so I won't have any excuse not to go the rest of the week.

About a year ago, when I was still vegetarian, I was eating a huge variety of vegetables and sticking to a mostly whole foods diet. I felt really good doing that. Then I let life get in the way.

I've been thinking about trying the Whole30 eating plan. I've never excluded grains or dairy from my diet, and I wondered if that might help with some of my non-weight health issues. I have eczema and frequent migraines, both of which I've heard the Whole30 helps with. It might be worth trying this just to get rid of the migraines.

I'm nervous about it because of how much meat I'd be eating. Even though I am no longer vegetarian, I don't eat meat very often. I basically only eat it when I'm away from home. I don't prepare meat at home.

Besides eating the meat, there's also buying the meat. It's been so much cheaper to eat vegetarian. I'm going to have to deal with a lot of extra spending to eat Whole30. For that reason, if I decide to do the Whole30, I won't start until January. That gives me a couple more months to get back on track financially and to research some cheaper Whole30 compliant meals. In the meantime, I can work on cutting the Coke Zero and grains in a slower way.

My husband thinks it is worth it just for chance that my skin problems and headaches go away. He also remembers how much more energy I had when I was eating so many greens regularly.

What do all of you think? Is Whole30 worth the money? Any advice?

1307.51 / 0 / 1286.44

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tough Times and New Goals (long)

Hi. First of all, I want to thank everyone who commented on my blog or through email. I had a really, really bad weekend, and it just overwhelmed me. I really didn't think anyone was reading this blog, so I didn't think twice about venting here. Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement. I especially want to thank Lyn at Escape from Obesity for her encouragement.

The picnic on Saturday was a disaster. I didn't eat too much or binge or anything there. My husband works for a company that keeps two-thirds of its workforce as temporary employees through an agency. My husband is one of those. The picnic was for everyone, but only the regular non-temp employees could take part in the activities. So basically, we were allowed to eat and watch. This isn't something they announced ahead of time. Maybe it was PMS, but this really aggravated me.

Then we found out at the picnic that next week the company is laying off most of the workforce for one or two weeks. While this isn't going to kill us, it was hard news to take when looking around at all the money the company spend on the carnival rides, concessions, and games at the picnic.

The picnic was held on the college campus where my son attends school, so we visited with him for a bit. It was a good visit until the end. Then he drops the bombshell that he needs a few hundred dollars for a trip he is required to take for his major. This also wouldn't kill us, at least not by itself. But on top of the layoff, I was panicked.

We live in a very economically depressed area. My husband was out of work for two years before he started working at this factory. My son has been unable to find a part-time job while in school because all the fast food and retail jobs that college kids would normally have are being filled with middle aged people trying to support their families and pay their mortgages. My job is pretty good, but we are still struggling to recover from the time my husband was unemployed. I feel like I've been in crisis mode for the past 4 years, and this weekend it was all just too much.

A friend invited me to a movie, and I went. I wanted to forget everything for a little while. So I drowned my sorrows in movie popcorn. The good news is that I didn't go completely off the rails into a binge. The bad news is...well, movie popcorn.

I've gone over our budget and options several times, and I think I have a plan to handle both money problems now. But I don't think I can handle the added stress of calorie counting right now. For a little while, my grocery list will be more about money value than caloric value. I'm not planning to just eat mindlessly or binge, but I'm going to eat what my budget dictates.

The gym is there whether I use it or not, so I might as well use it. This blog is about getting to Walden and trying to deal with my emotions in ways other than food. I can still do that. So here are my new plans for the next month or so.

  • Continue exercising and racking up the miles to Walden.
  • Continue tracking everything I eat. This is for my own awareness. I'm not trying to follow a calorie count. I won't be posting what I eat here, but if you want to follow me on My Fitness Pal, my username is conniebug76.
  • Practice mindful eating by being aware of my emotional/hunger state when I eat. Food is food, not a friend.
  • Meditate for 8 minutes every morning and every evening.

So there it is. Again, thank you to everyone who reached out to me. It helped more than you know.

One last thing: last Friday I made it to the gym, and I went again last night. Both times I was able to get 1 minute of vigorous activity. Now that I know what it takes to reach that level, I'm going to try to extend that time. The numbers below reflect the addition of those two workouts.

1307.51 / 2.17/ 1286.44

Monday, October 6, 2014


I'm tired of this. I'm tired of being poor, of being fat, of being unhappy, of being so careful around food.

I can count calories all I want, but that won't pay my electric bill.

I read a blog about someone sipping their coffee in the morning and planning their day. Fuck them.

I get up at 4:30 in the morning. I spend forever in the bathroom because my digestive system is messed up from Lap-Band surgeries. Now that fall is here, I walk my dogs in the dark. It's scary. I rush around trying to get everything done I need before it's time to take my daughter to school. She can't ride the bus because the driver is racist.

I'm tired of trying to figure out how to pay for food AND the electric bill, how to have enough gas for work.

My children in college tell me they need money, even though I made it clear they would be on their own. So now I'm supposed to feel guilty for being poor.

My husband is getting laid off again. But he still has the nerve to say, "I miss having bacon on Sundays." Does he know how much bacon costs? Doesn't he think that if we could afford meat I would buy fucking meat?

My mother has been paying us $130 a month to live in her RV on our property. But she has decided to move, so that money's gone.

We have an underwater mortgage we can't afford on our trailer.

I hate my life. What difference does it make what I'm eating? Sometimes and early grave can be a girl's best option.

I think I'm done here. No one reads these things anyway.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Finally Made It to the Gym!

Yesterday I actually  made it to my gym! I had some other errands to do, so I didn't stay long. But I managed to get one mile closer to Walden. Woo hoo!

My food was under goal, so that was great. My dinner was pretty high in fat with the Hollandaise sauce, but it's not something I make often. Eventually, I'll pay more attention to fat, sodium, and protein. Right now I'm mostly concerned with not binging, not feeding my emotions, staying under 1570 calories, and making exercise a habit. I definitely need more consistency on the last one.

Here is my food from yesterday.

Breakfast: Breakfast bar. 90 calories
Snack: Apple slices. 36 calories
Lunch: Cheddar, almonds, broccoli, and fat free ranch. 287 calories
Snack: Pretzel chips and hummus. 180 calories
Dinner: Chicken croquettes, turnip greens, and sliced tomato with Hollandaise. 856 calories
Snack: (not pictured) Lemon Italian Ice. 60 calories

Total calories: 1509 calories   Under budget!

As you can see in the photo, I also did 1.07 miles on the treadmill. I'm going for 2 miles tonight. There is one thing that bothered me about my workout last night. I wear a Body Media tracker. I'm supposed to get 45 minutes of exercise a day: 30 minutes moderate and 15 minutes vigorous. As much as I tried to push yesterday on that treadmill, I couldn't get up to a vigorous level. See:

That's my workout at 4PM. My normal brisk walking pace is 2.8 mph. I use 3.0 as my baseline on the treadmill, bumping it up to push myself, and going back to 3.0 when I need to. I thought that those high speeds would push me into the yellow, but apparently not. I've never been able to go faster than 3.3. Maybe I just need to build more muscle before I can go fast enough to be vigorous. I don't know. I'll try to stay in the higher speeds tonight and see where that takes me.

Tomorrow is going to be a challenging day for me. My husband's employer is throwing a huge picnic for all the employees and their families. There will be prizes given away, rides, and free concessions of hot dogs, pizza, funnel cakes, nachos, etc. for four hours. I really want to go and just not think about food, but I am committed to staying on track now. So my plan is to have a very low cal breakfast, a low cal dinner, and use the majority of calories at the picnic. I'm going to eat the foods I'd like to eat, but I'm going to eat small portions, track the calories, and not pig out. I'm going to focus instead on spending time with my husband, walking around and people watching, and getting to know his coworkers.

Wish me luck!

1307.51 / 1.07 / 1288.61 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Feelin' It!

Some days, I really feel good: good about my food choices, good about myself, and good about what I'm doing. Yesterday was one of those days.

I woke up early enough to finish watching a movie I'd started days ago. I didn't get out of breath at all while walking my dogs. I ate every couple of hours all day long and stayed in my calorie range. In the evening I was tempted to snack, but I recognized that I wasn't hungry. Instead of heading to the fridge, I took a nice, relaxing bath. A little reading, and then it was bed time. All in all, a day I'm happy with, even though I didn't go to the gym.

I did plan on going to the gym (I know; I say that a lot). I didn't go because I got a phone call about a drawing I had entered month's ago. I won a prize. I had to go get it. It's a really nice emergency kit with first aid supplies, one of those foil blankets, a plastic poncho, flashlight, radio, and a glow stick. It's pretty cool.

Here is my food for yesterday:

Breakfast: Fiber One bar. 90 calories
Snack: Apple slices. 36 calories
Lunch: Broccoli, cheese, almonds, and fat free ranch. 300 calories
Snack: Pretzel chips and hummus. 180 calories
Dinner: Veggie stir fry with white rice. 583 calories

Total calories: 1189

In the future, I will try harder to keep it above 1200, but I really didn't want to make myself eat when I wasn't hungry. That's a habit I'm trying to break. And let's be honest, how often am I going to end up eating that few calories? I mean, come on, this chick likes the foods.

So far, today has been just as good. Of course, there's plenty of time for things to go pear-shaped, but I'm trying to stay positive.

1307.51 / 0 / 1289.68 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Weigh-in and Stay Away from the Danger Zone

For me, the danger zone is McDonald's, or at least it's one of the danger zones. I went to McDonald's yesterday with the full intention of getting a salad. I really like their salads, too, so I wasn't sacrificing or punishing myself by getting one. But when I pulled into the drive-thru and opened my window, I could smell the French fries. I could hear the person ahead of me ordering French fries. So I ordered a burger and fries.

I really love McDonald's French fries. I don't have that problem at other places. At those other places, I can take them or leave them. But McDonald's fries are DIFFERENT. I thought I could resist them, but I was wrong. I'm not strong enough for that...yet.

The old me would have said, "Screw it," and ordered hot fudge sundae or a caramel frappe to go with the burger and fries. Instead, I just got the burger and fries. I logged it, and adjusted my dinner plans to stay in line with my calories.

By the time I bough groceries last night, it was getting late. Hubby and kid wanted McDonald's, and I didn't want to cook. So that's what we did, but this time I did order the salad. So my calories were still under goal! Yay! So the lesson: I don't need to ever go to McDonald's by myself.

Lunch was still a bad choice. I don't deny that. But I'm not quitting this time. I may have to stop every now and then to change a tire, but I'm going to keep down this road until I reach Walden. And from there--who knows?

Here is what I at yesterday.

Lunch: McDonald's double cheeseburger and large fries. 960 calories
Dinner: McDonald's grilled chicken bacon ranch salad with dressing. 410 calories
Snack: Almonds and cheese. 160 calories

Total calories: 1530--40 calories below target!

Today is weigh-in day! I got on the scale this morning ready to accept whatever it gave me. I've been off plan most of the month, and I have rarely exercised. Well, the scale read 288! That's 2 pounds down! If I can lose 2 pounds half-assing it, imagine what I can do when I really work at it. Let's find out this month, shall we?

1307.51 / 0 / 1289.68