Tag Archives: weight loss

Feeling thankful…

In 2010, I posted a gratitude per day on my blog.  Last year, I tried to do it on Facebook, but couldn’t keep up.  This year, several friends are participating in the Facebook meme of posting something they are thankful for as their status every day. The month is more than half over already and I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon!  Since Thanksgiving is just a day away, I thought I would just write one blog post about being thankful.

Despite having lost my Dad a couple of weeks ago, there is a lot to be thankful for this year.  First, I am extremely grateful for the care he received, both last year in Memphis and this past year in Delaware.  The staff at Cadbury, particularly the nursing staff, was amazing, caring for his physical needs while treating him with the kindness and respect that he deserved.

I am thankful that I was able to see him as many times as I did this past year.  The cost of travel, especially by air, can be quite prohibitive, but my mother made sure I was able to get there several times by paying for my tickets.

I am incredibly lucky to have a job that, first of all, allows me to have time off in the summer and secondly, offers family medical leave during the school year so that I can spend time with my parents when they need my assistance.

I am always grateful for my loving wife (I can say that for real, now!), who loved my dad almost as much as I did and who supported my need to spend time with him.  She has been my shoulder to cry on when the grief threatens to overwhelm me.

I am thankful for my brother.  Even though we don’t have a lot in common and rarely talk, we know we have each other’s back and that counts for a lot.  I hope he knows how much I love him.  I am also incredibly thankful that he met and married his wife.  She has become one of my dearest friends – I can call her any time, day or night, and know that she will listen, offer advice when asked, keep my confidences if I need her to, and give generously of her time and talent.

I am also grateful for my students, who teach me something every day, if only how to be a better teacher.  They are kind, smart, interesting, caring, amazing young women who will help shape our community and our world in the years to come.

I am thankful that I am making healthier choices (most of the time) when it comes to what I eat and the activities I participate in.  Over the past year, I have made many positive changes and hope to continue in my journey towards fitness and health.

I am thankful that I have found a family of choice so far from my family of origin.  Without relatives closer than 800 miles, it could be very lonely here in the south.  But I have some wonderful friends who treat me like family and for whom I would do just about anything!

One of the best parts of this past year was the privilege I had of marrying the woman I love.  I am extraordinarily grateful for the members of the LGBT community and all the allies who have fought for marriage equality over the years.  Without their hard work, we would not have been able to legally declare our love and commitment.  As it is, we still have work to do, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of history – I have faith that some day (soon), we will be able to look back and say we were there.  And that the next generation will be able to look back and think “what was the big deal?”

As we head into the frantic holiday season, filled with TV ads, mailbox-filling catalogs, and incessant Christmas music from every conceivable corner of retail locations, I took a moment today to just sit.  Sit in silence, looking out at the water in Lewes, DE, and contemplate all that I have to be grateful for.  That includes you – my readers.  Thanks for reading about my life here in this little corner of cyber space.

Exercise used to be a dirty word

Exercise used to be a dirty word for me.  I hated it.  I hated to sweat.  I hated to be sore.  I hated everything about the idea of purposely putting yourself through that.

Then I started losing weight.  Then I plateaued.  Then I discovered Zumba and Hip Hop Abs.  Then I started to actually enjoy exercise.  Well, not all exercise.  Just those two.  But I find myself actually looking forward to Thursday nights and Saturday mornings, when my classes meet.  I even go when I don’t really feel like going (because, deep down, I really want to go).

Last weekend, I wasn’t able to go to the Saturday class due to being out of town, and I definitely missed it.  So I was determined not to miss again if I could help it.  This past week, though, I have been fighting a bad sinus infection, which has left me somewhat sleep deprived.  I have also been really busy at work, bowling practice has started up, and Thursday (when I only took a small sandwich and a handful of grapes for lunch), I was exhausted and hungry when I was driving from the bowling alley to the community center where Zumba is held.  It would have been so easy to make a quick turn and just head home instead.  I thought about it.  But then I thought about how much better I would feel about myself if I pushed through and went to class.  So I went.  And I was glad I did.

This morning, I was still tired when I got up to feed the menagerie (our dogs and cats can’t seem to understand the concept of the weekend being for sleeping in).  I did actually go back to sleep for a while.  When I woke up at 8:30, it was tempting to close my eyes again, but then I would have missed Zumba.  So I didn’t – I got up, got dressed, and got my butt there on time.

I haven’t been giving it my all these past 2 classes – my body just won’t respond right now – but I am still proud of myself for being there at all.  And I know it is helping – at my weigh in this week, I had my lowest “official” weight so far.  I am now down 48.4 pounds since January.  Although my home scale did (for a couple of days) show me at -50, officially, I’m not there yet.  (When I weigh myself at home, I am usually just about to get in the shower… at the WW meeting, I have clothes and shoes on!)  I am quickly running out of clothes again – time to purge the closet and make a run to the thrift store for another size change.

When I hit the next milestone, you’ll know… you’ll probably hear the cheer wherever you are!

Turning Lemons into (Sugar-free) Lemonade

Last week, I suffered a significant set-back in my weight loss journey.  I had the largest single gain at my weekly weigh in since I began Weight Watchers in January of this year.  In the past, something like that would have completely derailed my efforts.  I used to have a lot of negative self-talk, and a 3.6 lb gain would have caused my thought process to go something like “well, I obviously can’t lose weight.  I must be failure at this, so why even bother trying?”

This time around, things are different.  Instead of giving up, I took the setback as a challenge.  I looked at the habits I was falling back into and made a conscience decision to get back “on the wagon”.  First, I bought a digital scale (to replace the analog one I had been using).

This is not my *actual* weight!

I figured it would be more precise and I wouldn’t be able to fudge what I was seeing.  Second, and probably most important, I went back to charting what I was eating, even on the days that I ate too much, and deliberately chose fruit as snack food rather than chips.  And third, I went to exercise class twice this past week. Each time I go, I seem to be getting more out of it, since I am getting better at following the moves of the instructor.  I even added hand weights for added toning!

All of these changes – to my food intake, my activity level, and my attitude – paid off! Today, I recorded a weekly loss of… wait for it… 7.6 pounds!  As of right now, I have lost 20% (yes, 1/5) of my starting weight.  Almost 48 pounds total.  When I got to thinking about how much trouble I have carrying a 40 lb bag of dog food from the car into the house, and that I used to carry more than that around with me EVERYWHERE I went, I really can understand why I am feeling so good these days.

Look at how long my neck looks!

I know my body has changed – I have had to give away most of my clothing because it just hangs on me (skirts and pants have literally fallen off me) – but I haven’t really been able to see it in the mirror.   The condition of having a distorted body image – perceiving oneself as fatter or thinner than one really is – is known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  To some extent, I think I have some issues with this.  Even after losing 30, 35, 40 pounds, I would still look in the mirror and see the same (fat) person I had always seen.   I had a hard time believing that I looked any better, even though I was wearing smaller sizes and people were telling me how good I looked.

Today, though, something clicked.  I looked at my self and realized my stomach is flatter, my arms are more toned, and I have a neck! When did all that happen?  Now I am even more excited to stick with the program.

Imagine how good I’ll feel – physically AND emotionally – when I hit 50 lbs!  I plan to make it  happen by this time next week.  And then, who knows?!  I’ll have to set a new goal.  But my confidence has returned – I know I can get back on track any time I feel myself slipping.  I am NOT a failure.  I am taking the lemon I was given last week and making (sugar-free) lemonade out of it.  I finally believe I will succeed at this.  I already weigh less than I have for most of my adult life.  And I am determined to reach each and every goal I set for myself – I can do it!  As my Weight Watchers leader gets us to say each week:
I’m smart!  I’m funny!  I’m pretty!  I’m Chrystal!  And darn proud of myself, too!

Ups and downs…

I knew, going into last Monday’s weigh-in, that the previous week had not been my best effort.  I had eaten way more than I should have, and exercised way less.  Fortunately, my “bad” eating habits are still better than they used to be, and I actually lost a little.  A very little.  0.6 lbs.  But as my sister-in-law put it, a loss is a loss is a loss.

I was still about 1.5 lbs from where I want to be, with just over 2 weeks left to get there.  Unfortunately, this past week was also a tough one.  I traveled with a group of students for 3 days, eating in hotel lobbies and mall food courts for much of that time.  These types of eating establishments do not cater to weight management plans.  Deep fried, greasy, carb-heavy menus make it difficult to make healthy choices.

But the internet is my best ally!  When I got the itinerary from the trip organizer, I googled (strange how that has become a verb) the malls, scoped out the choices at the food courts, and got nutritional information from the chains’ websites.  I made a list of places and menu items that would be good choices, packed healthy snacks, and vowed to do the best I could to stick to my plan.

Unfortunately, I deviated from my plan almost from the beginning.  Lunch on Day 1 was supposed to be a turkey burger without a bun.  We left Memphis at 6:15 am, the girls performed at a school in Little Rock, and then we headed to the mall.  By the time we got there, I was famished.  With 95 girls and 8 other chaperones scattering to the various eateries in the food court, I chose the place with the shortest line – Mandarin Express – and ordered more than I should have.  I knew it was too much food – although I tried to go with the healthiest options – but I ate it all anyway.

It might not have been too bad if I had been able to go walk it off, but we had to load up the bus and travel for another 6-7 hours.  The good news is that when we stopped for dinner, I was still full from dinner, so I got a sandwich to take to the hotel room.  I never did eat it, though.

The next morning, breakfast was available in the lobby of the hotel.  I had eggs and a bagel.  Probably should have skipped the bagel, but it was already on my plate when I spied the eggs, and I hate to waste food.

Lunch was again at a food court – I chose Mexican this time.  Should have tossed ½ of what I got, but again, I hate to waste food.  So I ate it all.  Dinner was early on day 2, so I wasn’t very hungry.  Stuck with an appetizer and sharing an entrée.  I didn’t make the healthiest choices that day, but at least I am doing a better job of listening to my body about when I am hungry and not just eating because the clock (or the itinerary) says it’s time.

Day 3 began better – I knew there were eggs on the buffet so went right for that.  Had 1 piece of wheat bread with them.  Then, remembering the assignment my Weight Watchers leader had given the group, I tried a new power food.  I have not eaten oatmeal since I was 11.  I had a traumatic experience at summer camp when I was forced to eat it, even though I didn’t like it.  I haven’t touched the stuff since then.  But my taste buds have changed as an adult, so I decided to buck up and try it.  I put a small amount – what my mother used to call a “no-thank-you helping” – in a bowl, added some nuts and a little brown sugar, and tasted it. 

My 11 year old self feels vindicated.  It was still yucky.  That may have been because it was pretty runny and was being served in a hotel lobby.  I may get brave and try it again, but I am not putting money on my liking it!

Lunch that day was again mall food – I splurged on a piece of pizza.  In my former life, I would have ordered 2, plus bread sticks and a soda, so I am proud of my restraint!  I even blotted the grease off before eating it.

Another change I have made, that I have not had too much trouble sticking to, is no carbonated soft drinks.  I can’t stand artificial sweetener, so won’t drink diet drinks.  I have pretty much only had tea (hot or cold) or water to drink since January.  (I did have a beer on St. Patrick’s Day – but I don’t think you can blame me for that!)

After I got home on Friday night, I was able to get back into my routine.  Over the weekend, I ate better and I even got more exercise than usual, since I participated in a 2.5 mile walk on Saturday.

Sunday afternoon, I did some exercises with free weights, and wasn’t really hungry for dinner, so just had some popcorn as a snack.  All in all, I am feeling pretty good about the week.  Weigh-in is less than 2 hours away.  Wish me luck!

A Red-Letter Day!

Anyone who has struggled with weight issues knows the cardinal rule about dressing.  Wear loose-fitting clothing, and never, never tuck your shirt in.  Above all else, camouflage your shape.  We tell ourselves that no one wants to see the rolls, the lumps, the puffiness.  If we hide our imperfections from ourselves others, then it is easy to pretend they aren’t there!

When I began this weight-loss journey, I made a promise to myself that I would be honest with myself.  One of the ways I do that is to track everything I eat – even the bad stuff.  Weight Watchers has an amazing online tool that lets me enter the food and the portion size, and it calculates how many “points” I have eaten.  I have a set number of points each day, with a cushion of a fixed number per week, and if I go over my daily total, I know that I have to cut back the next day or deal with a gain when I weigh in.  Since the beginning of the year, there have only been 3 weigh-ins that were higher than the week before.  This was not one of those weeks!  I lost 2 more pounds this week, so my total is now over 35 pounds!  I have three more weigh-ins before my reunion, and am hoping to lose at least 7 more by the time I go.

Clothes are definitely fitting differently – I have had to get rid of lots of things that were just too big, but I am able to wear things that have been sitting in drawers or hanging in the closet for years.  Shirts aren’t pulling across my bust and belly and pants are hanging longer around my ankles because they aren’t being filled out as much up top.   Jeans that I couldn’t zip up a couple of months ago need a belt to keep them up and blazers that felt like straight-jackets can now be buttoned with room to spare.

When I look at myself in the mirror, though, I don’t always see as much progress as I feel in my clothes.  Especially when I look before getting dressed.  I still see too much of me.  I see my gall bladder scar and realize my belly will never get flat because I have scar tissue underneath the incision.  I see my 47 year old breasts and realize they will never be perky.  And I see the extra skin under my arms and know that I still don’t feel comfortable going sleeveless.

Even though my partner tells me I look good, and friends have told me I look good, I don’t always see it for myself.  As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, “The bad stuff is easier to believe”.

So why is today a Red-Letter Day?  Because when I got dressed this morning, I tucked my t-shirt into my jeans.  I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I looked good that way.  My neck has really slimmed down, so with the v-neck of the shirt, it looked longer than usual.  I could see my waist and my pants weren’t too tight.  For the first time in a long time, I felt good about how I looked.  I felt pretty.

I added a belt (that now fits again), and went to work with my head held high.  I am looking forward to doing it again tomorrow!