Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Left Foot

No not the Daniel Day-Lewis movie, for those of you old enough to remember.  I am talking about the small injury that sidelined me for the last month.  A gigantic, deep, nasty, oozy cut on the bottom of my left foot that kept me bandaged up and limping along in pain for a bit.  I won't go into details on how I got it, but it wasn't fun.

It was enough to keep me off the treadmill for a good solid three weeks.  I've just now started to get back on there again, and after such a long layoff I feel as though I'm starting all over again.  Slower speeds, shorter sessions.  And because I wasn't exercising I blew off my tracker as well.  It's like my WW leader Marci is fond of saying- if you get a flat tire, fix the flat, don't just go and slash the other three tires!

I was going great and had four weeks in a row of losses at my Friday weigh-ins.  Fortunately I only gained back a pound while I was on the IR list.  Now I expect to see that gone this week.

It's easy to lose sight of the big picture sometimes, when one of the key elements to your success has been taken away from you.  Like me, some of us just throw up our hands and say why bother.  Others just increase their focus on the remaining pieces of their routine.  Just because I can't walk, doesn't mean I can't continue to count points!  I use a WW calculator, not my toes, to add them all up!

I still struggle with losing during the week but gaining on the weekends, and at this point in life, I think I always will.  For me the answer is finding a way not to gain SO much and still have a great weekend with my husband.  Instead of gaining five pounds in two days, how about only two pounds?  How about eating just one meal out on Saturdays, instead of all of them?  I work so hard during the week to shed those weekend pounds, that I never ever make any real progress.  I think I've blogged about this subject more than anything else.

Using all the tools- my tracker, my Fitbit, my treadmill, the fact that I don't work outside of the house and I have no one at home to cook for- I should be dropping the weight like crazy.  The simple truth is I'm like everyone else.  I have days when I don't want to exercise.  I have days when I want a Coke and frozen pizza for lunch.  I have days when I head into town hungry and eat out.

I don't want to feel like a failure, but I have moments where I think it's just too hard.  I have to remind myself that I have lost weight since rejoining WW in 2013.  And I've kept it off.  Yes, I still have a long way to go, but as long as I keep creeping forward I will get there.  The biggest thing for me right now is to not regain the 40 pounds I've lost since quitting my very stressful job.  It would be too easy.  It should also be easy to crack beyond the 200 mark, because I've been sitting here at 205 for months now.  But I can't seem to get there yet.  Like a carrot dangling in front of me on a stick.  The only problem is, I want that carrot covered in bleu cheese dressing.

For the short term, I'm hoping to get back into the daily exercise routine to build up my stamina.  In October we are heading back to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, one of our favorite vacation spots.  When we go there, we always do a ton of walking.  Not just on the beach, but the hotel we always stay at is close enough to walk down to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.  It's a VERY long walk, but we do it.  Our first trip was 2005, and I was in good enough condition- and weighing a lot less- so I was able to climb all the lighthouses we visited.  On trips after that, I haven't even stepped inside one.  I don't know if I will be able to climb the 257 steps by October, but I want to work towards that goal.  And losing another 5 pounds before then won't hurt either.


(Outer Banks 2005)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tracking Works!

Okay I know there are commercials on TV that are currently taking subtle jabs at Weight Watchers (Kirstie Alley!!) and tracking.  And maybe you don't want to have to track every single bite of food that goes in your mouth.  But WHY NOT!  It works people, it really works.  I admit, I still do it the old fashioned way, by writing it down on paper.  But there are other options for the electronic crowd.  Online with eTools or the iPhone app.  I think there is even an option where you can just snap a photo of your meal.  Tedious?  Maybe.  But so was homework in high school, and where would we all be now if we hadn't spent hours and years learning to spell or writing out our multiplication tables.

I am posting about tracking today because I am happy to report that with it, my weight has finally started to move in the right direction.  Although I've been exercising like a crazy person since James started traveling, I haven't had much good news to report as far as my weight.  Now I can say after weighing this morning, I have officially lost 12 pounds since June 1st- James' first day on the road.  I have to backtrack and state that, right before he left, I had gained a few extra pounds- uhm, like five- because we had a few weekends out of town.  And one massive fancy steak dinner at Del Frisco's Grill courtesy of a $100 gift card that only paid for half of the meal.  So I was "up" more than normal anyhow when he left for his first week of travel.

For the first half of June, I was simply getting on the treadmill every day and trying to eat lighter, and to eat right.  But I wasn't tracking.  For three weeks, only those errant five pounds came off.  I became frustrated, especially on days when I would log 6 miles on the treadmill and not see any results.  So last week I started tracking, and tah-dah, seven pounds disappeared that quickly.  My weight is the lowest it's been for 2015, and I finally feel as though all the hard work is paying off.

It was eye-opening to say the least, once I started tracking and realized that wow, I was still overeating.  I was not measuring proper portions, and I was too heavy-handed with the condiments.  All those things add up easily.  Weight Watchers has come up with the points system scientifically, so every time I heap a tablespoon of something extra on my food, those are extra points.  Extra points equal extra pounds.  Yep it's a pain in the butt to measure out mayo every time I want to make a sandwich, but it's a bigger pain to watch my waistline expand more and more each year.

Some of the things I was eating that I thought were healthier alternatives, well, once I started calculating the points I had to step back.  My high fiber cereal was shockingly high in points, and frankly I didn't want to burn almost half my daily allotment on a bowl of cold cereal that tasted like cardboard to begin with.  When I decided to switch to toast instead, I quickly realized that our normal bread of choice was also very very high in points.  So even though I felt I was eating lighter, in terms of the amount of food, I was choosing things high in points.  And that's why the weight wasn't budging.

Although I do have a few trackers I bought at my meetings, I instead found a nice big spiral notebook and have since turned it into my own version of a tracker.  Instead of just three months, like the book from WW, this notebook is big enough to track for two years!  I've jazzed it up and made it fun to track by using colorful pens and stickers left over from my scrapbook supplies.  Anything to keep me calculating and writing it all down.

I'm still on that path of gaining over the weekend, when we go out and when I tend to be less active, but I seem to be gaining less and seem to be losing it quicker come Monday.  Part of it is James' current schedule- he's working nights right now so he's leaving on Sunday at lunch.  I have less time to overeat with him and more time to get back on the treadmill.

Right now I will continue with what I'm doing- the treadmill, tracking my points, using my Fitbit to get in my steps.  I think on their own, each component is certainly important but it's going to take all of it together to be successful.  I'll post again next week!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

New Determination

I am digging down deep these days to stay determined and keep motivated.  The biggest change has been my husband traveling full time.  Although he was barely home during the week due to his 13-14 hour work days, we still had a morning routine and an evening routine revolving around lots of coffee and then a big dinner late at night.  Now that he's not home at all during the week, it's given me the opportunity to change my own personal routines.

I am shocked that, without him here in the early mornings, the two of us reading the newspaper together at the table- I have NOT been making coffee!  I thought I couldn't live without coffee, but when I get up now I simply have no desire to make it.  And we stopped the newspaper on weekdays, so there is no reason for me to spend the first hour of my morning sitting on my butt, lingering.  I've always skipped breakfast because, after two big mugs of coffee filled with sugar and creamer, I was never hungry.  Empty calories did not make up for the fiber and calcium I'm now getting in my morning cereal, my new routine.

Dinner is also light, and early.  Gone are the days of finishing up a big plate of food at 8:30 at night, only to go to bed an hour or so later.  I now try to eat dinner no later than 6pm, and something light because let's face it, I'm not going to "cook" for just one.  I've never been a night time snacker, and eating earlier so far hasn't tempted me to start noshing in the evenings.  I've been trying to keep less of the pointless carbs in the house, and instead I've been turning to fruit for my midday treats.  I do love a good crunchy sour apple.  And frozen pineapple shoved through my Yonana machine makes THE best sorbet you could want on a hot summer day.

I've been spending the extra "me" time in the evenings to kick ass on the treadmill.  I'm up to 4-5 miles a day, and for me that is great.  Someone else might say, well that's just a warm up.  But I have to travel on this journey at my own pace.  Having the Fitbit has helped, and James and I can challenge each other and compare steps every day.  I had set my original goal at 10,000 steps a day, but I've been busting that easily.  I'm going to raise it to 15,000 soon.

So far we're going into the fourth week of James traveling, but my hard work has yet to show up on the scales.  I am still backsliding on the weekends when I'm with him, and that's the pattern I have struggled with the most.  What I spend all week losing, I gain back in a matter of 48 hours.

But I'm proud to say that James is working on his weight and health as well.  His goal is to get off all his medication for his high blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.  At the hotel he's been getting on the treadmill every day, keeping fruit in his room, and eating salads when he has to go out.  The company allows him to spend up to $50 a day on food, but he's barely spending half of that.  His first day in town he hits the grocery store for apples, crackers, peanut butter, celery.  His meals out have been salads at Panera, which I steered him to because I believe their ingredients are cleaner and healthier than say, Wendy's or McDonald's salads.  Maybe I'm wrong and I've fallen for the hype, but he has been eating lunch there several times a week and he loves it.  I expect that the extra pounds will start falling off him in no time!

I admit I've been discouraged because the scales are not moving in my favor.  But I confess I have not been tracking my points.  I am probably eating a lot more during the week than I think I am.  I haven't been measuring portions, and even too much of the healthy high fiber cereal, can add up to a weight gain.  So today I start tracking.  Again.  I think it will be an eyeopening week.  But I'm hoping that as long as I continue to trek those miles on the treadmill, and get my daily diet in order, surely I will finally start to see the results I'm hoping for and expecting!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's The Point?

Sometimes I wonder why I keep doing what I do.  Both with the blog and with my weight loss.  No one is reading the blog, I am very aware of that.  And I guess that's okay, I blog for myself more than anything else.  I should be saying the same about Weight Watchers.  I am doing it for myself.  But I'm doing a crappy job of both the blog and WW lately.

My weight stays the same, no progress.  I'm still in that same stupid pattern of gaining over the weekend and spending Monday through Thursday losing it.  I skip meetings for the most laughable reasons.  I am not tracking.  I might get to the treadmill once a week.  If I exercise two days in a row, it's a miracle.  So how can I expect to see any results?  With that attitude, I'm shocked that my weight just doesn't keep going up and up.

I'll be posting today on the other blog, about new reasons for me to get my junk together and get back on track.  You can check it out, I won't bore you with double the details here.  Very soon I will have more time to dedicate myself to the program.  I will have no excuses to NOT stay on track.  If I fail, there is no one else here to blame.

I know what I have to do.  I know what it takes.  I've done it before.  I've had success.  I have really got to dig deep and find that motivation and find that dedication and remind myself that I'm worth it!  I will be 50 next year, I can't continue on this current path.

I want to get off my prescription medications.  I want to wear normal size clothes.  I want to have enough energy to get through my day.  I want to be able to sleep better at night.  I want to have my knees and back stop hurting.  I want a healthier life!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Travel Tips

I had intended to post before we went on our big vacation, but in hindsight I'm glad I didn't because I didn't stick to my plan 100%.  James and I spent the second half of January- 15 days- on a cruise to Hawaiian.  (You can read all about the fun on my other blog.)

James and I do travel a lot, and over the years we've gathered up a few tips for staying on track with diet and exercise.  Cruises are difficult, and this trip was especially challenging since it was two weeks.  We were only in port in Hawaii for five days, so the other at sea days were we very much confined and limited on what/where we could eat.

One of the tips I've learned over the years applies to both cruising and staying in hotels.  I simply don't go out for breakfast.  Our preferred hotel chain that we always stay at has free breakfast, as most hotels do these days.  But even so, one could get in trouble by treating this as an all-you-can-eat buffet because let's face it, it sort of is.  And it's "free" so there's another reason to load up.  And if I went downstairs to see all the offerings, I would probably be tempted.  So I never ever go downstairs for breakfast.  James always goes to get me breakfast, and brings it back to the room.  Hotel and cruise alike.  Having said this, it's important to have a wonderful amazing husband willing to do this in the first place!  But when we travel, James usually wakes up hungry and I don't- I'm slow to want something to eat in the mornings and not very motivated to get moving towards the dining room.  And James has one simple rule that he has to follow for me- bring me ONE item only.  Not a plate filled with pastries, not three different muffins.  Just ONE thing.  Normally it's just a bagel- that and a cup of coffee and it's exactly the amount of food I need.

Although I know it's not recommended, I sometimes skip breakfast depending on what time I get going.  At home breakfast is usually just toast- breakfast meals like bacon or omelets don't interest me.  If I know we're going to be eating lunch at noon on the dot, I'm not likely to eat breakfast at 9:30 knowing I have another meal coming shortly.  For those of you who cruise, you may know about the sea day brunches, at least on our cruise line.  On those days, because the brunch is pretty spectacular, I skip breakfast and we eat brunch early.  It's a big meal and even at 11:30am, it's enough to get me through until dinner.

On cruises James and I learned long ago that the buffet food just isn't worth it.  Standing in line for a heap of glop, wandering around with your tray looking for an open table.  Yep it's a paradise of gluttony, but it's very poor quality- I would rate it mediocre at best.  There were a few afternoons where we went to the buffet for salads, or maybe to snag one slice of pizza to go.  But that's it.  No dinners there for certain.  I've posted about this before, but on cruises we go to the dining room.  It's instant portion control.  For normal people that is- we see some people ordering two entrees or two desserts, simply because there is no extra cost.  Dining room meals are already three courses- starter, entree, and dessert.  Along with that comes a bread basket and butter.  The portions in the dining room are small, and that's perfect for me, if only I can stay out of the hot rolls.  I told myself in advance, I don't have to order all three courses, and there were a few nights where I didn't.  Some nights none of the appetizers sounded good, and I even skipped dessert on a few occasions.  I was either full already, or it just didn't sound delicious enough to add on the calories.

Probably the most important thing I do on cruises is to drink only water.  Soda costs extra on the ship, and even though it's a one time fee, I know that if I "paid" to get soda I would be drinking a big Coke at every opportunity.  There are a few other free drinks on the ship- coffee, lemonade, juice.  But I have to trudge all the way up to Lido deck to get those and well, it's hard to motivate me to go that far just for a small sip of OJ.  So at every meal in the dining room, it's water water water.  Oh yes, and I don't drink alcohol at all, so that's not even something I need to think about.

I wish I could say I exercised every day.  That was going to be the plan.  I got on the treadmill the first morning, and that was it.  I think about how much better my weight would have been, had I stuck to a morning routine.  But I confess I caught a flu-like bug right away and felt more like sleeping in than jumping up out of bed to throw on my sneakers.  We do, however, always take the stairs.  We like to stay on a lower deck (closer to the water) so we're always trekking up and down to get to all the fun.  Even dressed up in heels, I made myself take the stairs to dinner, to the shows, to trivia, to the coffee shop.  Besides, at meal times, the elevators are notoriously slow and crowded.

I would like to think that all the small things I did on this trip, helped keep my weight gain to only 3.5 pounds.  Yep, that was it.  For two weeks.  I was amazed.  Normally when we go on vacation for a week, I just indulge without thought, and I almost always come back 7-10 pounds up.  I was really worried about what I would gain in two weeks if I kept to my normal vacation behavior.  So cutting back on some of my portions and trying to get in a bit of activity every day, made this trip a success as far as my weight was concerned.  And yes, I am ready to go back to Hawaii again as soon as possible!!!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Bigger Picture

On one of my old posts, I wrote about getting a calendar and hanging it on the back of the bathroom door, right where the scale is.  That was a few years ago.  My intent was to weigh every day, so I could see a "gain" right away and take care of it posthaste.  I know there are studies that say you shouldn't weigh every day, because you can become obsessed with it.  And there are studies that show people who weigh frequently do better at keeping off weight for the reason I stated- as soon as you see a 2-3 pound gain you can tackle it right away instead of being shocked by a 10 pound gain at your next doctor's appointment.  As for Weight Watchers' philosophy, I'm not sure.  I've had leaders say not to weigh at home, to only weigh at the meetings.  But again, I don't wish to have a big unwanted surprise when I step on the scale there every Friday morning.  Ambush!!

I've been keeping up with weighing, and don't ask me why, but I've saved all the calendars.  For the most part I have weighed every day, with small periodic bouts of denial and of pretending the scale wasn't sitting there in the corner glaring at me. Hanging up the 2015 calendar the other day made me want to go back and look at how far I've come.  Honestly, once I put the calendars away in my closet, I haven't glanced at them since.  So, as I type this post, I will be looking at them for the first time and I will track some of the highlights- and low points.  And some day soon, I'm going to gather up all my Weight Watchers' weigh-in books from over the years, for every time I started and stopped and started again- and record those here.

For now, here is what the calendar shows for the last few years:
  • January 1st 2012- 222.6 pounds
  • January 1st 2013- 226.8 pounds
  • January 1st 2014- 205.2 pounds
  • January 1st 2015- 211.8 pounds
Okay, so not much real progress there.  I know everyone's January 1st weight is a bit tough because it's the post holiday pounds, but it's still a good marker of how I'm doing by looking at several years at one time.  It's a bit disappointing to see it here, but I'm going to cheer myself that I haven't been steadily gaining ten pounds a year.  So now let me flip through some pages randomly and find some noteworthy info.
  • For 2012 it appears that my weight remained the same.  I fluctuated the entire year between 220 and 215.  Up and down but no real progress, and no pattern to attribute to the roller coaster ride.  I was working full time that year, so no exercise, no Weight Watchers, no anything!
  • In 2013, I spent the first few months in the low 220's.  In May as soon as I stopped working and started going to WW, my weight dropped to the 215-210 range.  June through August saw me around 205-195.  Great progress!  The end of the year saw me settle in around 205-200, after an October surgery slowed me down a bit.
  • 2014 started off well.  The holiday weight came off and by the end of January I was back at the 200-195 mark.  My low came in February at 193.  I stayed below 200 through early summer, but then I saw a steady creep the rest of the year.  On a vacation in June, I started having terrible knee pain which plagued me for many months, and I pretty much stopped walking on the treadmill.  During the fall I got back up to 215, went down about ten pounds, then added on a few more to finish off the year.
I'm 208 right now and true, that isn't great or healthy by any stretch of the imagination.  I'm not pleased with my lack of progress, but I do feel good about not gaining, especially since I'm at home now and it would be an easy thing to sit around and snack and never get off the couch.  But that's not who I am.  I can remember the days when the scale showed 240's, and the idea of hovering around 200 seemed like an insurmountable goal.  Now I know I can do it.  200 is within reach- only a few less calories a day and a bit more time on the treadmill each week.  2014 started off well, and I have no doubt I can get right back there again in 2015.

So I would rather be the 208 I am today than, say, the 227 I started off at in 2013.  I am happy that once I started Weight Watchers in the spring of 2013, I haven't been back to revisit the 220's.  I also hope that next time this month, I can still say I'm 208.  Yes I know that sounds weird to hope for "no loss" but what I'm hoping for is "no gain" because next weekend James and I leave for a 15 day cruise.  I plan to post one more time next week before I head off, to discuss strategies!


 (Winding down 2014 sailing the Tennessee River)