Sunday, July 31, 2016

Not for the Faint of Heart

Do you ever watch those shows like Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss? If you are overweight and trying to lose, they can be very inspiring. On BL, in just six-eight weeks, people who haven't been able to lose any other way, lose incredible amounts of weight right before our eyes. On is even quicker. We can watch a year long journey in just 90 minutes and the results are usually pretty phenomenal. It leaves you feeling inspired knowing that someone that has struggled like you, can have such amazing results.

However, if you really think about it, both shows are very unrealistic for the average Jane or Joe. Why? Because in reality, when we lose weight, we are not allowed to take time off from the real world and real world stressors such as family, jobs, finances and having to balance all of that and eat right and exercise too. These people have nutritionist, personal trainers and time to do nothing but focus on their one goal.....weight loss. Quite frankly, if we were given a 1200 to 1500 calorie/day quota and had a personal trainer working us out 4-6 hours per day, we all might lose a lot of weight in a short time. The question though is does that weight stay off when the camera's are gone and they have to go back to real life and all that implies? Sadly, if you look up many of these weight loss "winners," when left to their own devices, within 2 years many of them have put a lot of their weight back on. They lost their weight in an unrealistic way and they weren't taught how to lose weight while actually dealing with life. Once it is up to them, only those with the most dedication will maintain the weight loss because once off the show, they have to take what they learned and make it work for them in a setting where working out all day and having someone cook for them is no longer a possibility.

Let's face it, life happens. It happens all day every day and for those of us who aren't on TV, if we want to lose weight, we have to be our own chef, psychologist and personal trainer. We have to mix all of this in with kids, spouses, jobs, house work and all the other million little things that we have to do every single day. Most of all, for those of us who are emotional or stress eaters, we have to learn how to manage our food urges and to redirect bad habits. For many of us, our weight loss journeys are often slow and tedious and there is no 90 minute quick fix. In fact, there is often no 6-8 week fix either. Sometimes it just takes us hacking away at those pounds 1/10th of a pound at a time over a long period of time to actually reach our goals. Weight loss is not for the faint of heart. 

I have always been someone with little to no patience....especially where weight loss is concerned. I wanted instant gratification and if I couldn't lose 80 lbs by lunch, I literally punished and sabotaged myself and my progress by binge eating on anything and everything in sight. It was a very skewed way to look at weight loss and in the end I would only be frustrated, disappointed in myself and in many cases, just add more weight. It was a vicious cycle for many years and the more stressful my life was, the more unrealistic my weight loss goals were and the more I self sabotaged.

Today I am 11 weeks into THM. While the first 6 weeks were relatively easy because I had truly made up my mind to stay focused and stay on plan, the last 5 weeks have not always been such a piece of cake. Life has been a bit more challenging with family and those million little things going on. I have stayed on plan, but some weeks the losses were very minuscule. This last week though has really been my most make it or break it week. We have had some pretty significant changes in our world and those who call me Mom and Grandma, have needed much more than usual from me. My days have started way before the sun was up and they have still been going long after it goes down. I really worried that I might completely lose my weight loss track and take a hit this week due to CRAZINESS! I did not.

A huge NSV for me happened this week. For the last 10 weeks I have kept a journal of every bit of food I ate. It helped me to stay on track and gave me an overview of where I might have gone wrong if the scales decided to be hateful. This week though, my mind is now so utterly programmed to THM, that there seemed to be no need to keep track any longer. There definitely was no time. My inner body clock let me know when three hours were up and I needed to eat and without thinking, I could throw together an E or S meal in minutes. I even have a good majority of the THM family favorite recipes memorized, so all I have to do is make them happen.

Still, I worried that without mirco-managing myself that I might screw up and fail. I did not. I will admit that no dedicated exercise was done, but I think over the week I climbed my stairs at least 200 times, lifted my 90 lb son at least 50 times, mowed the yard for cardio and basically never stopped all day any day, so I am really not sweating the lack of an elliptical and weights work out this week.

So how did I do dealing with real life, no food journal and no gym time? I lost 3 lbs! The weight continues to come off and I continue to choose me, my health and healthy choices over self sabotage and frustration. I am now just a few pounds away from my next goal and I hope to be at that goal in the next three weeks.

There are no quick AND healthy weigh loss fixes. If you truly want healthy weight loss, you have to be prepared to be patient, make yourself  a priority and most of all......remember that you are worth it.  I promise though, with THM.....weight loss is possible...... and I am living proof!

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Well  I am still plugging along and one week into a new challenge. I lost .2 lbs this week and even with such a small loss, I am celebrating. Why? Because it's a loss but more than that, it is helping me to keep a weekly count of my weight loss without being consumed by the numbers. There was actually a point in my life that such a small loss would have sent me into a depression. Yeah....the glass is half empty scenario and it would have been the green light for me to give up and give in. Not anymore. I have learned that a loss is a loss and quite honestly, I don't even need a loss to be motivated to keep going.

Someone ask me the other day if after I lose all the weight I need to, if I thought I would be able to keep it off. Ouch! Yet a very valid question as many who lose large amounts of weight are not able to maintain the loss and end up putting some, all or even more back on within a two year period of time. My answer was an unequivocal YES! Why am I so sure? Because THM is not only changing how I look but it is also changing how I view myself, food and the world.

I know I speak often of NSV's (non-scale victories) but quite frankly, I view each NSV as a small wonderful little miracle in my life. The fact that numbers don't rule my world or how I view myself anymore, that I can eat healthy and still be full and satisfied and the fact that I have been doing this for 10 weeks now and I haven't gone off plan once.....those are all miracles.

Ten weeks ago, I was truly convinced that I would never be able to lose weight. I was sure that I would have to spend the rest of my life being unhealthy, uncomfortable in my own skin and tired and miserable. I was cheating myself and my family because I "couldn't" lose weight and I viewed myself as not only a failure at weight loss, but also a failure at life. There was very little I liked about myself and I was down right miserable. Now.....I barely remember that person. I used to hate getting out of bed of a morning, but now I am up early and I stay busy all day long. My days are full of accomplishments and I am taking pride in who I am as a person. I have energy and an excitement for each new day that I didn't have before. It truly is amazing.

Another huge change is how I view my body. Oh, I still have a long way to go but I am learning to be much more forgiving of the imperfections that are my body. Before, I never looked in the mirror and if I did, it was from the neck up. I refused to stand in front of a full length mirror and if I had to, it always left me in tears. Now, I make myself look and when I do, I am so much happier with what I see. Also, since there is starting to be less of me, I noticed an old familiar panic take over about a week ago.

When I was young, I had an eating disorder and I teetered on the edge of anorexia while swallowing laxatives and diet pills. When I was very thin, that "looked" right to me, but it was so depressing because the way I achieved it was through almost starving myself to death. I would feel my bones protruding and feel depressed because I knew the only way I could keep them that way was to never eat. I was hungry and miserable and the weight loss was unsustainable. The other day as I saw collar bones starting to peak through, for a brief moment, my brain went back to a very unhealthy thought process. I started wondering how I could take the weight off faster. Maybe I could just eat smoothies for a week. Or maybe......I could skip a meal and a snack everyday. I felt my heart sink and my stomach knot. Then I realized that this was old, unhealthy thinking that would undo everything I had achieved these last 10 weeks. The truth is, I have had more success and happiness eating these last weeks than I have ever had with food in my entire life. Why in the world would I allow old, unsuccessful bad habits to creep in and derail what I have worked so hard for? Of course I wouldn't, but it was something I had to really think about, process and get through. Another amazing miracle.

So the weight is coming off. It will stay off, because my life has changed so radically in such a short time. While I enjoy food and still like to eat very much, food is no longer my crutch. I no longer use it to self medicate and when I eat, I can truly enjoy it because I know that not only am I filling my stomach but I am doing it in a healthy way that leaves no room for remorse or guilt.

Miracles happen all around us everyday and they are not just confined to the big, over the top things. Miracles can also be as small as finding happiness in being able to bend over and paint your own toe nails or being able to walk five miles without needing oxygen and an EMS team. The biggest THM miracle for me though has been that I have found a whole new strength in myself and I am learning to really like the person I am becoming. Now that a miracle!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Not My....Best Week Ever

To put it bluntly....I sucked at THM during these last two weeks! But I am human and I am allowed to suck every once and awhile. This particular challenge has been much more challenging to me than the previous one. Life hit me with some unexpected changes and worries and I spent a good deal of these two weeks trying to deal with emotions. In the past, emotions have always been my downfall as that is when I usually reach for fast food and gummy bears. I am proud to say that neither passed my lips, but I did not do well on plan either.

Along with being all up in my emotions and fighting off McDonald's urges, I also found some Trim Healthy Mama items that can be described as nothing less than pure evil. That's right....I said EVIL! First there was Lily's Chocolate bars. I found a couple of variety's at a little store we have close by that sells a lot of the THM stuff. I knew after the first bite that I was going to have to watch myself....especially when I dipped them in Peanut Junkie Butter. Goodness it was amazing! It was a Reese's peanut butter cup without the sugar. Not over indulging became a real trick and I realized after my second bar, that buying these at this point in my journey was not in my best interest, so bye bye Lily's until I can actually behave myself and act like an adult around them and not a kid whose parents are away for the weekend. Sigh......

The other truly EVIL thing I discovered was the Trimtastic Cake. I switched out the zucchini and used yellow squash and switched out the chocolate with strawberries. I made it into cupcakes and I couldn't keep my hands off of them. Luckily, my family had similar feelings about them, so there weren't a lot left around to tempt me. It did however, take me only about 10 seconds to realize that these treats needed to be left for special occasions when many people would be around to help me eat them. addictive personality was kicking in.

Along with finding these new almost irresistible treats, I did a lot of fighting with my emotions which left me also fighting old patterns and habits. Rather than waiting the 3 hours, my afternoons and evenings sometimes had much less time between when I ate. And last Saturday was my worst day since I started this back in May. I ended up throwing the time table out the window and declared it a cheat day. The foods I ate were on plan and I really tried not to have any crossovers, but there was a lot more food in a lot less time span.

While I have tried my hardest to stick this week out and do my best hasn't been very good compared to the last few weeks. Oh....and there was that whole pesky exercise thing. didn't happen. I tried a couple of times, but the truth is....exercise was inconvenient in my schedule so rather than make myself a priority and make the time.....I kind of just.....didn't do it. Nope, it was not one of my finer couple of weeks.

Now the good news. Yes, there is good least I think there is. There has been one huge NSV (non-scale victory) in all of this and that has been the fact that I have not touched sugar and even with all my "bad" eating, I still couldn't make myself eat off plan stuff. Even on my worst day, I didn't reach for off plan candy, chips or fast food. That in itself is quite amazing! I also made sure that starting this next week/challenge, that my elliptical was ready to go and that my exercise time comes before anything else....whatever I have to do to make it work. I am not going to let bad habits and stress beat me!

I am not as happy with myself right now as I have been, but I do know that I have come too far to backslide and lose all that I have accomplished. Even though I have not lived up to what I know I can achieve, I know that I have changed a lot and I want to continue forward. Over these last few weeks, my idea of what is cheating has completely changed as well as how I view food and more importantly myself. I think once I get the exercise implemented just as strongly as the good eating habits seem to be, that my continued journey on this plan will be much more effective and my health benefits will just continue to increase.

So how did I do these two weeks after finding Lily's and Trimtastic Cake and not being faithful to my eating schedule? Well, I was prepared for anything this morning. Mostly I was expecting to see a gain, but amazingly.....I am exactly where I started two weeks ago. Normally this would be a bit disappointing, but today I am grateful that I don't have to re-lose weight I put back on because of "bad" behavior. Okay....not bad but definitely slightly naughty!

Today is a new day and while I haven't heard what the next challenge is yet, I know I am ready to continue this journey and I am prepared to give it 100%.

Life is not about perfection because we are imperfect beings. Life is about trying, sometimes failing.....and then picking yourself up and starting again. It is our failures that we learn from and there have been many lessons for me, both physically and mentally in these last couple of weeks. I am getting stronger and life's speed bumps don't cripple me like they used to. Will this be the last time I have a bad couple of weeks while working to lose my weight and become a better me? I sincerely doubt it, but hopefully the times will become less and less and each time they do come, I will be able to handle them better and better.

So my suggestion to all of you out there......Don't give up! Don't expect perfection from yourself because you will only set yourself up to fail! Simply do your best each minute of each day and always keep in mind are worth it!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sorry...Not Sorry!

So this weeks blog almost didn't happen. Well....the blog would have probably happened, but I almost had decided not to share them anymore on the THM pages. Why? Because I got a private message last week after my end of challenge blog from a lady who told me "Please stop blogging and posting about every little detail of your weight loss. You are really over doing it and causing other mama's not to like you much." There was more to the message but that was the sum and substance of it. She felt I was oversharing and she was tired of it.

Now if someone were to describe me, "sensitive" would not be one of the first adjectives used. As a blogger of many years and someone who at one time was very involved in the political scene, you develop a pretty thick skin when it comes to personal attacks. I wouldn't really call this a personal attack, but it did make me stop and think. Was I oversharing? Was I too excited about THM and forcing it down others throats? I did back away from posting much on the THM Facebook pages this week, but after some careful thought and consideration, I decided BULL PUCKY.....Ima gonna share! So Message Mama, sorry.....not sorry! 

I share because of two reasons. The first is that if someone hadn't shared....and shared......and shared with me, I might never have ever heard of THM or be where I am right now. Thank you Marni Wells Jones from the bottom of my now, much healthier heart. The second reason is, THM in the beginning stages is not easy. For a beginner it is confusing and frustrating and you feel like the worlds dumbest person trying to figure out S, E, FP and so on. Having someone out there who has been through the challenging first stages, stuck with it and who is having success, is often just the catalyst for others who are on the fence about whether to trudge ahead or give up and eat a cheesecake. This Celery Girls advice........trudge mama's! Please keep trudging!

As I read through the different THM Facebook pages, especially the beginners one, I really do see a lot of struggle and frustration from time to time. Trying to wrap your head around no numbers, NSV's, radishes as potatoes and cauliflower being everything from rice to a sauce is confusing. So today I want to answer some questions that I see pop up all the time. Now please note: I AM SPEAKING ONLY OF MY EXPERIENCE. I can speak to no one elses.

1) Do I have to read the books? No! Only if you want to understand the plan thoroughly is this necessary. HOWEVER, I suggest you have on hand both the original THM book and the THM Cookbook. As you will refer to them a lot!!!!! The funny thing is that as you progress on the plan, the original book makes more and more sense and I personally use my cookbook daily.

2) I am not social and don't get on Facebook a lot. Am I missing out on much by NOT joining the THM FB groups? YES! Some of my best information has come from these groups and the ladies who share questions, thoughts, ideas and recipes....not to mention their awesome lifestyle transformation stories. Nothing is more motivating than to see the before and after pictures of these women working to change their lives. As a side note: If not for the FB group THM - Challenge Group......I would not be sitting here writing this today!

3) I love bread. I do not understand why I can't have bread with my eggs on plan! You can have bread with your eggs on plan! Eggs are an S meal. There are S breads you can make up quickly in a mug, toast them and enjoy. You can also eat a piece of sprouted bread with your eggs and consider it a crossover, meaning you are mixing your carbs and fats. On occasion, that is perfectly fine, but if you make a habit of might get a bit frustrated that the pounds don't shed as easily.

4)How can I do this? I have a family and I can't afford to make separate meals for them and me. So don't! I guarantee that at least 75% of the meals on plan are what I call "family pleasing" meals. This means that if you make Taco Time Taco's or Lazy Lasagna and don't tell them it is THM, they will eat it, love it and ask for more! I speak from experience on this!!!!!!

5) I made Lazy Lasagna. It was delicious, but I am still hungry. Can I have more? If much? Yes. You can have more. The beauty of THM is freedom. If you work the plan correctly, you should never feel hungry or deprived. Sometimes though, we fnd ourselves hungrier than at other times. If you want more more food....within limits. I always jot down what I eat and if I eat extra at a meal. That way if I have a slow loss or no loss week or even a gain week, I can go back over what I ate and see where I can cut back or change things up for a better upcoming week.

6) Do I have to drink Good Girl Moonshine (GGMS)? I don't like the taste of the apple cider vinegar? Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! do not have to drink it BUT believe it or not it helps your cravings, weight loss, over all health and most of all.....IT GROWS ON YOU! My first GGMS I nearly died. It was awful and I did not finish it. My friend though, encouraged me to look up recipes on Pinterest and play with flavorings and also to cut back to about a tsp. of ACV until I got used to it. I took her advice and found some GGMS that I really liked. From there I began making my own concoctions and never measuring the ACV (I know it is closer to a Tbsp per drink now) and now......I find it difficult to drink my drinks without ACV in them. I couldn't do this plan without my GGMS.

7) There is so much to drink between the GGMS, the sippers, smoothies, frappas, etc. Do I really need to drink all of this and if so, do I need to drink water too? Yes and yes! I know it sounds like a lot but your body does need most of this. I usually average 1-2/32 oz jars of GGMS, 1-2/32 oz jars of a sipper and 8 glasses of water a day. I also usually throw in a smoothie for either breakfast or a snack. The frappas? I use that as a special treat from time to time. The fact is, the GGMS and the sippers introduce healthy ingredients to your body and promote weight loss. The water is necessary for everything from your skin and other organs to your digestive track. Keeping hydrated is essential as many times we mistake hunger for thirst. My motto....Drink! DRINK! Drink!

8) Why does it seem that everyone else is losing weight and I am stalled or even gaining weight? I don't think THM is working for me! Bottom line, don't judge your weight loss by anyone elses. We are all unique and there are many factors involved as to how we lose weight. How much weight you have to lose, how much weight you have carried over a period of time, how much or little you work out, how strictly you stick to the plan, the time of the month, hormones in general, stress, chronic illness and genetics all play a part in our ability to lose and gain weight. I can tell you that before May 15, 2016....I was convinced that I could NEVER lose weight as I had lost and gained the same 10 pounds for over 15 years. I was giving THM one "all in" chance to see if I could lose weight by doing the Spring Fling Challenge. If I gave it everything and lost nothing or only a couple of pounds, I was resigned to a life of being overweight and unhealthy. I stuck to plan, stayed on track and got off my keester and started moving. I found out that I COULD lose and it was at a slow and steady pace. Be happy with your numbers, even if the weight only comes off in tiny incriments. All those little numbers add up in the big scheme of things and I am here to tell you.....if I can lose.....anyone can! 

9) I don't have a support system and people refuse to quit buying and eating junk off-plan foods around me. How can I possibly do this? Please know that I say this with as much love, respect and understanding as possible.....Put on your big girl panties and love you enough to make it happen! You ARE worth it! I guarantee that if you can stay completely on plan for 1 week, you will understand this. If your family doesn't support you, then turn to your THM groups. See if there isn't someone close to you in one of the groups who will buddy with you. If no one is close, then find a long distance buddy and call, chat, email and message each other. The THM groups have an abundance of support, but you have to ask for it. Don't give into failure before you even begin. If those around you insist on having snacks and unhealthy foods in the house, then ask them to keep them in their rooms or find a cabinet that is for THEIR stuff and know that it is off limits to you. In exchange.....give yourself a cabinet or space that is full of wonderful on-plan snacks and quick fix foods so that no matter what they bring in the won't feel tempted. It does get easier....I promise!

10) Final question. How do I keep my kids out of my GGMS and my THM foods? I say....don't! It is never too early to teach our kids good and healthy eating habits. Kids are great immitators and if they see you drink or eat something, naturally they will want it too. I used to try and hoard my GGMS, my greek yogurt and my Peanut Junkie Butter from kids, until I realized that I was molding how they saw and ate food and that it would likely be with them the rest of their lives. They now eat what I eat. It is all about the ever changing perception of food and how we choose to make it a part of our lives.

So there you have it. My answers to frequently asked beginner questions. And yes, I am currently doing the No-Cheat Get Moving 2 week challenge. Today ends week one and although I have "moved" some and paid for it a bit, I have stayed on plan for yet another week. Each week gets easier as I find no reason to cheat, after all....just about anything can be THMized!

Now to today's weigh in. For the first time in weeks....I gained 2/10ths of a pound. I am good with that as I know my body is changing. It is all part of the process and because I keep track of what I eat, if changes need to be made, I will know exactly where to make them.

My final words to you this week.....Don't give up! You've got this! And most importantly......You are worth it!

Friday, July 1, 2016

When One Challenge Ends.....Another Begins......Thank You Chrissy Benoit!

And the Spring Fling Challenge is at end. If you remember it started May 15, 2016 and yesterday was my last full day (June 30, 2016). In that period of time I began working out, something I hadn't done in a very long time and I went "all in" with Trim Healthy Mama (THM).

Before I give you the numbers, let me tell you a little about what this challenge has done for my life....after all, I am far more than a number!

Since May 15th:

I have had minimal to no sugar (I say minimal because I am not a purist so I may miss reading a label or two)
I have eaten on-plan every day
I have taken my once beloved Diet Mt. Dew out of my mouth, my house and my life (I don't even crave it anymore)
I have proven to myself that activities that I "thought" I couldn't do, I can
I lowered my blood pressure
I was able to go a couple of days without my acid reflux medicine (something I never could do before)
My joints and feet no longer ache
I have fought off several sinus issues without the help of medical intervention
I have eaten desserts daily
I have never been hungry
I am down to maybe a couple of headaches during the month instead of 10-12
I am putting....tumeric, ginger, collagen, apple cider vinegar (ACV), lemon and other healing foods into my body
I have learned a love of cauliflower, radishes and even zuchinni and spinach
I can fit into a smaller size clothes
I don't get winded as much
I can cross my legs comfortably
And most of all........I FEEL BETTER!

I can honestly say that this challenge has been the best thing that has happened to me in a very long time.

So now for the numbers. As of this morning....I have lost 19.2 lbs. I have also lost 9.5 inches. Those numbers are amazing as I have not lost that kind of weight in many years, nor have the inches come off like that. The down side to this whole thing is that I had/have a significant amount of weight to lose on my little 5'1" frame. Even with those numbers, the progress although I can feel it, is not very noticable. I had before pictures to go along with all of this, but they were on my old phone and seem to be MIA at this moment. My son assures me he can find them. At any rate, for now......the progress seems to be more internal than external which tells me that I have a lot more work to do.

Thank God (literally) for the THM-Challenge Group on Facebook. Not resting on their laurels....they began a brand new challenge today which I needed desperately. It is the 2 Week No Cheat - Get Moving Challenge. This means working out at a sweat causing, muscle burning pace for at least 30 min. per day and absolutely no cheating. I got the no cheat thing down but I will definitely have to work on the 30 min. per day. God Bless Chrissy Benoit and her challenge group for being what I needed to prove to myself that I really can change my fantastic meal at a time. 

So now I begin my new challenge. I will likely be blogging on Friday's for the next couple of weeks as that is the new weigh-in day. Wish me luck! And better than that....if you need a lifestyle change like I did....come and join me. Us mama's gotta stick together!

Happy 4th Everyone!!!!!!