Friday, July 30, 2010

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Actually....I think the first day of the rest of my life started back in May....when I  stepped on the treadmill at the DRC for the first time. Although I had no confidence that I was going to come back the next day....I still took the first step. For the most part, working out has not really been that bad. The only issue I seem to have is the hour that I tend to go.....5:30 a.m. It really is a double-edged sword for me. I do much better when I workout first thing, and by doing that I have no excuses as the day goes on to NOT go. However....5:30 a.m. is an ungodly hour to have to hit the floor running. Most days though, I am up and there. I find the workouts challenging and I made up my mind from day one that there would be no excuses or quitting!!! So far....I am good.

In the weeks that I have been working out....I have not had the large weight losses that I had hoped for. I have seen many health benefits; (blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate), and I sleep better, seem to have more energy, and feel a little less stressed, but I have only lost 10 lbs. I was hoping for more along the lines of 30. August 19th is just around the corner and that is our annual town celebration of Old Settlers. There are parties, bbq's, and many activities.....not to mention you always run into people that you haven't seen in years. My goal was to look and feel a lot better than I did last year. Perhaps I should have started this all last year, but I was licking emotional wounds and nursing a bruised ego (a story for another time) and I just wasn't quite ready. Oh well...better late than never. At any rate....I am doing it now and my goals are just a bit loftier than looking good for an event or the month of August for that matter. My goals seem to be becoming much more long term. That is why when the weight wasn't coming off, I knew that the next change needed to be my eating habits.

I am such a profound self deceiver. I can convince myself that a whole cheesecake will NOT wind up on my rear end and that a bag of tortilla chips and a whole jar of salsa is health food. After all...salsa is made from tomatoes and tomatoes are good for you.....right???? So all the working out in the world is not going to make me lose large amounts of weight....if the eating habits suck. Mine did. Although I will say that I have done much better with the salads and the fruits and veggies, the late night peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the craving for ice cream have most likely held me back. That is where Weight Watchers steps in!

Many years ago when WW first began, my aunt who had heart issues and was many pounds overweight began a lifestyle change with WW. Back then WW had the same precepts....but the diet itself was much more restrictive and not nearly as evolved, but she went at it full force. One year I saw her at a family reunion and she was very large wearing a moo moo type dress and spending most of her time sitting. The next year I did not recognize her. She was a size 8 bundle of energy, who looked 15 years younger. It was amazing and it was a lifestyle change that she held until her death many years later. She was a proud member of the WW maintenance group and her dr. told her many times over that she saved her own life and added at least 2 decades to it.

My mom also had put on 20+ pounds and decided to jump on her sisters bandwagon. Within six weeks she had lost all her weight....never starved herself once and looked fantastic. So WW was something that I had seen work over and over, but it is not a lazy persons "diet". (I hate the word diet and from this second forward we will call it a lifestyle change!) WW is not about prepared food that you pop into the microwave and call good. It is a program that teaches you what is good for you, will fill you up, and will keep your body running efficiently. You learn to make good grocery buying choices, eating out choices, and you learn portion control. But YOU do it all. You buy the food, prepare the food, and eat the food.....all the while learning that this is not just for the here and now.....but for forever. For those that like the convenience of having your food delivered to you and all you have to do is nuke it and eat it....WW might be a little too much work for you, but I can't afford to have someone do all the work for me.

So yesterday was my first meeting. My previous 10 lb weight loss was only known to me. So this feels like starting from scratch. The number glaring back at me on the scale was a couple of pounds less than last year at this time, but still way too high for me to want to associate with it or be comfortable with. it.  If I lose all the weight I hope to lose.....I am going to lose a small child from my body. (Okay....maybe a "not" so small child). I am hoping though, that finally getting both the eating right and the working out....I will start seeing results. While I have some energy is in no way anywhere near where it should be. I am so tired of walking in the door in the evening and being too tired to function the rest of the day.I am ready to feel closer to 20 something than 70 something.

Back to the meeting. Yesterday was my first and just as my luck always is....there will be NO meeting next week, so I will have to wait 2 weeks before I know if I am getting results. It is all about goal setting, so my goal to begin with is to work out at least 5 days per week and to eat the 5 recommended fruits and veggies a day. This should prove to be interesting. The group of ladies that is also attending the meetings are mostly women I know. Mostly they are acquaintances but all are very nice and seem like a fun group. It really won't be a bad way to spend an hour a week.

So with my cupboards empty.....I headed to the grocery store as soon as my workout was complete at 7 a.m. this morning. I had read the WW first handout/book from cover to cover yesterday, so I had a pretty decent idea of what I needed. I shopped mostly the perimeter of the store and stayed pretty much away from the isles where quick frozen meals loaded with salt, sugary goodies, and those ever popular boxed meals reside. Instead I did my best to purchase my dairy products, fruits, veggies, and lean meat. I am now all prepared for a week of healthy eating that will help me stay within my allotted 24 points. Tomorrow might be a challenge because I am having an open house of sorts....filled with goodies.....and of course....cheesecake, so staying accountable won't be much fun. Thank goodness for the extra 35 weekly points we are given. Have a feeling there won't be many of those left by the end of tomorrow.

Well....this is it. The beginning. Maybe it is not exactly the first day of the rest of my life....but it definitely is part of the journey....and away we go!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

TMI or All About Me....Whether You Want to Know or Not!!!!!

To be completely honest....I am not all that interesting. I do however have issues that many others also have. I live a life filled with children, too much stress, loss, frustration, and my biggest demon.....being overweight. The latter itself is part of the source of my stress and frustration....and my stress and frustration feed into my issues with weight. It is a vicious cycle that I have tried for years to break and have had very little luck..just like thousands of other people in the world.
I call this blog TMI (Too Much Information), because it is going to be about my weight issues; what brought me here, what I am doing to change things, and hopefully....what I do to maintain things once the weight is gone. In the midst of the discussion/posts/blogs....there is probably going to be a lot of info posted about me that others simply might not want to know, but it maybe very important and pertinent to  my journey and destination. So for anyone who does not want to know me quite that well, I will not be offended if you choose now to check out. For the rest of we go.
Honesty time: I have had some sort of an eating disorder off and on since I was about 12 years old, I was about 5 lbs over weight and my dr. told my mother I was FAT! Probably by the standards of the day....I was. I don't remember there being any "fat" kids in my class or my neighborhood, so my chunky thighs and round face probably did constitute "fat" in the 1970's. (Looking back....I was a preteen girl whose baby fat was turning into curves and had I been left alone and never told I was fat....I probably never would have been.) Instead though...those words set me off on a life long pattern of bad eating habits and low self esteem that I have yet to recover from.
I believe the day we got home from the drs. office, I began binge eating. My self esteem went from normal to nothing in just one word...FAT! As a pediatrician he should have known better....but as a know what I am getting at. My mother didn't really help the situation either. We were a family who liked  our fast food, and when cooking, Mom never met a starch she didn't like. Up until the moment that the horrid three letter word was used....I had always been somewhat of a picky eater. Often times I would turn my nose up at sweets and fast food, but after being declared "that which must not be named".....ALL food became a source of comfort to me. I would raid the cabinets and if I couldn't find anything else to eat....I would eat crackers with barbecue sauce. It was as if my mind had decided that I was going to live up to the adjective and my body was along for the ride.
I did gain weight, but fortunately I was only 4'9" at the time and I still had another 5" to grow before I stopped, so the stretching to 5'2" over the next few years helped to keep the weight from going crazy....not that at times I didn't try to out eat the growth spurts. And the fact that I was put on steroids for my asthma didn't really help the whole situation, but I never got "fat." I never even got what you would call heavy....just a little chunky.
My weight though, and the word fat made me feel like the big fat pig in every room. I saw myself through a zoom lens which made my body in my minds eye, appear "much" larger than it really was. When I would hang with my girlfriends I would always mentally compare myself and never did I ever see their flaws....I was too fixated on what I felt were my own.
Finally, when I hit my senior year...something snapped. I just simply could not take feeling fat anymore, so around Thanksgiving....I just quit eating. I would nibble and pick....but I would leave much of my food untouched. By New Years....I had lost weight and people were noticing. My clothes no longer fit and I was feeling good about myself. Well....actually it was a false feeling of good because my weight loss was not real. I mean yes, I had lost weight, but the way I had done it was not healthy, nor was it lasting. I knew the moment that a whole cheeseburger or a piece of cake passed my lips, the weight would start coming back. The bad thing was....I was starving. You can only tell yourself you are not hungry for so long before your body takes over and says "YES YOU ARE!" 
People were noticing the "new" me and more over....boys were noticing the new me. I was suddenly getting attention that I had never had (or knew I had) and I liked it. AND somewhere along the line I made up my mind that I was willing to risk my health to keep it.
From that time on until I reached my early 30's, I went through a succession of not eating, taking boxes of laxatives, and taking diet pills that no MD would prescribe. I never did throwing up for me...even to look good....was not an option. However, I did take boxes of laxatives, sometimes taking as many as 10 or 12 pills at a time. And the diet pills....oh my goodness. I would travel over state lines to go to a clinic that would hand them out like candy. I spent years yo-yo dieting. I was just like an alcoholic.....addicted to losing weight and I had many of the bad habits and attitudes that went along with the addiction.
Finally in my early 30's I got it figured out, that if you exercised....then you could actually eat more and be okay. Well, I had it figured out sort of. I still had the addictive attitudes and ideas and I was deathly afraid of gaining I did what all good addicts do.....I binged. This time on exercise. I began working out 3+ times a day, but did not eat the amount of food necessary to maintain that kind of a workout schedule. I was skinny though.....too skinny.
It was at this time in my life that I met and married my husband. He was a fantastic cook and somewhere along the line convinced me that no matter how I looked.....he loved me and found me attractive. That and I got pregnant almost immediately. What I wasn't willing to do for myself....I was willing to do for my child.....I ate. Soon, eating once again became something I didn't fear and my body began to show it. I gained 70 lbs during my pregnancy and then afterwards only took about 40 lbs off. I wasn't happy, but food and I had once again developed a loving relationship with each other....and I was not ready to give that up.
I maintained my weight pretty well for about four years. Never losing that last 30 lbs....but never really gaining either....until I got pregnant with my last child. With him I gained 40+ lbs....which was sad as I only actually carried him 27 weeks. He was born 13 weeks premature. I immediately lost 20 lbs....but have yet to EVER lose the last 20 or the 30 before that. In fact....I have gained another almost 40+.
Now if I want to play the "poor me" card....there have been issues that have caused me to turn to food for comfort. My son lay between life and death in the NICU for the better part of 5 months, my husband died suddenly of a brain anuerysm, my mother developed lung cancer and after surgery, chemo and radiation she died of colon cancer (yes I said colon,....not lung), my then 15 year old son went off the rails and dove head first into alcohol, drugs and anything else that would make me crazy, and I just pulled into myself, grabbed a cheesecake.....and never looked back. And that my why I am here. Too much information???? Well....I have only tipped the ice berg here, but you do see how I got here.
In the last few years I have begun to worry about my own health, as we obviously have a history of cancer in the family  and I was working overtime to make sure I had high blood pressure and possible heart disease. It really did worry me.....but not enough to do anything about it.....until this summer. My blood pressure was increasingly time reading as high as 160/98. That particular reading was probably more due to anxiety, but I was getting average readings of around 140/95. I knew that if I kept going the way I was....I was going to end up on blood pressure meds to go with my reflux, and thyroid meds. I didn't want to have to go that route. My dr. then challenged me to start working out 30 min. a day for a month and then come back to see her. My first thought was...."yeah right! What is that going to do?" Worrying though that if I didn't make a change me kids might not only be down one parent.....but two.....I decided to give it a try. I started heading to my local gym and working out. The first day I was only able to do about 20 min. and thought I would die. I knew as I was leaving the gym that the chances of me returning the next day were.....slim to none. But the next day I surprised myself. And then the next and the next....and soon I had worked the 20 min. into 25 and then 30. I was feeling better, but I wasn't seeing the results I I brought on board a trainer once a week....who then upped my workout to 45 min.
On returning to the dr. after what turned into 6 weeks, my pulse which had been racing up into the 90's was down to 70 and my blood pressure was down to 118/80. I was in shock. And this was all fine and well....but the 30+ lbs I had hope to lose over the summer has only turned into 10. This  could be in no small part due to the fact that although I have made some positive changes....I am still dealing with tons of stress, have a very sedentary job, and I have really not changed my eating habits that much. But that is all about to change....or at least I hope it does. 
I have wanted to do this blog for awhile....but refused to start it unless I felt that I could actually carry through with it. Because of the changes I have already made....I do feel that I will continue, so that is what this is going to be about. I am going to bombard you with my journey, my failures, my success, and all the wisdom I gain along the way. Sometimes it maybe funny, and other times....anything but, and still other times I may get on here and sound like the worlds biggest whiner, but whatever the case....those of you who choose to.....are going to be along for the buckle up and get ready....because here it is.......too much information and all!!!!!