Monthly Archives: May 2011

Success is Sweeter Than Cake

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Cakes made this week: 4.

Cookies made this week: 42.

Marshmallow treats made this week: 2 large pans – let’s call it 60.

Batches of homemade frosting made this week: 3.

And the worst part was that none of it was ready on my crazy-eat-anything day!  I’ve had it smirking at me all week.  I decided to abstain from the sweets on the principle that perhaps it would pay off.

It has.

From clothes fitting better to a lower BMI and weight (and the little happy flowers on the Wii), it has paid off, and man, is that SWEET.

Have I been starving myself?  No.  Have I been depriving myself?  Again, no.  On the other hand, I have been delaying gratification.  I’m saving some goodies for this weekend.

Diary of progress:

I’ve kept up with the ice packs on my neck and trapezius, and that icing-down had actually made it easier to fall asleep quickly, as well as just feeling good.

I’ve continued with a glass of red wine at night, which absolutely tickles my husband, as he thought I would never ever intentionally drink red wine – which he loves.

I’ve started the kettlebell swing exercises, and I can already feel some benefit.  I’ve gone back to the gym and warmed up by jogging 1/4 mile before stretching and lifting.  I like keeping the gym time short, because it feels like less of a waste of my day.  If the 4-Hour Body proves true, there’s no reason to spend just tons of time when a little time will give you nearly all the same benefit.

I’ve had a hard time controlling snacking, which I think is triggered by stress and not packing enough vegetables into my meals.  I’ve tried to handle that with a protein bar, a Muscle Milk, and nuts or almond butter.  I want to work on that a bit more, because I know if I’m eating well at each meal, I shouldn’t need to snack.  Of course since it’s stress-triggered, I should probably just be patting my back that I haven’t been gorging on retaliation foods, even though the temptation for that has been unbelievably strong.

I’ve also had a hard time getting up early.  I just don’t want to get up in the morning.  I want to hit the snooze and try for more sleep.  I don’t know if I need to get to bed earlier or change some other habit, but it’s annoying to not have that cushion of time in the morning.

Raindrops

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The best part about tonight is sitting listening to the rain splashing down outside my kitchen window.  The window’s open so that the cats have free range inside and out, but two of them are curled up next to me as I’m typing.

The dog is spread out like a hunting trophy on the living room floor, simply content to be near his people.

It’s moments such as this that I’d like to catch for eternity, bottle up, and drink them in when life gets too dark.

Conquering Demons

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Tonight I managed to conquer some of my own personal demons:

  • I stopped making something when I realized I was messing it up
  • I read about the kettlebell move I wanted to do from the 4-Hour Body
  • I got back out of the house to go work out
  • I braved walking into the gym full of all the super-fit people (especially the super-fit males)
  • I warmed up with a real 1/4 mile jog/run
  • I used the equipment in front of the super-fit males
  • I watched my form in the mirror

Any one of those things is normally enough to send me howling in fear.  I don’t know what gave me the fortitude to do so much.  Maybe it was admitting how close I was to quitting today.  Maybe it was just that the ideas had sat and percolated in my mind long enough.  Maybe it was that everyone at my house was asleep, so I felt no obligation to be there for anyone else.  Whatever it was, I amazed myself.

And not just with doing it, either.  I realized that I can kettlebell swing a 20 pound weight for 30 reps.  Next time I need to increase the weight so that I work to build up my strength and muscle mass – work a heavier weight for fewer reps.  I am stronger than I thought I was.  I thought I would have a hard time with a 16 pound weight, but 20 pounds was no problem, and I could have kept going for more reps, but that was not the point of this exercise tonight.

Unfortunately, this all means that I didn’t get to sleep on time, but maybe having worked out before bed will increase the quality and depth of my sleep and leave me feeling ready to get up with my alarm.  Wishful thinking.

The demons are still there.  They’re waiting for a moment of weakness and a rematch.  I just hope I’m strong enough to conquer them again.

Wanting to Quit

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Today I wanted to just quit.  Quit the insane attempt to have some sort of control over my body.  Quit trying to be responsible.  Just quit.

I convinced myself that I didn’t have time to make breakfast.  I rationalized with myself that it didn’t even matter, since the evil Count of Wii said that I had fluctuated up – up -on my weight after three consecutive flat liners.  I was going to break down the doors of Whataburger for my egg and cheese biscuit!

Then I recalled a short, annoyingly apropos passage in the 4-Hour Body.  It said, “The moment you aren’t seeing any progress, the moment you just want to quit – that’s the most important moment to stick with it.”  So basically, just push through it one more day and it will begin to pay off.  Rather than set myself back weeks for one day’s weakness, be strong for one more day.

Damn it.

I don’t like being strong.  It’s harder when you’re actually doing it.  Sure, after the fact it feels better, but in the moment, it’s hard.

I didn’t stop at Whataburger.  I didn’t.  I was strong.  Just for one more day.

God, I hope it pays off.

Vanilla Mousse Cake and Assorted Temptations

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It is so good to know that tomorrow is my cheat day.  It’s probably the only thing that kept me going today. 

At work, they brought in platters of Subway sandwiches, chips, and vanilla mousse filled white sheet cake, as well as about six other types of desserts.  What did I eat?  The half chicken breast, black beans, and fresh spinach I’d brought from home.  I told myself that if there was any cake left, I could take it home and have it tomorrow.  (I actually did bring 3 pieces home – one each for the girls and my husband.  I abstained.)

Tonight, I started baking cookies for my an over-the-hill cake I’m making for a friend.  She works in a library, so my idea was to make a book cart out of cereal treats and fill its shelves with 40 cookie books.  The only thing standing between me and eating some of those cookies – or the dough – was knowing that tomorrow I can indulge. 

Delaying gratification has never been a problem for me, so this system is working.  I know I could break and have something, but I will enjoy it so much more on my cheat day.  I also know that the “one little thing” here and there each day that sounds so tempting really does make a substantial hit over the course of the week against my overall progress and goal.

But gosh it was hard today.

Tonight, I whipped out the almond butter for that last “fill-me-up” sensation.  It blunted the sharp-clawed snacking demon and will probably help me sleep better, too.

Been drinking Perrier tonight.  It’s my way of convincing myself I’m actually having soda.  It is carbonated, so it’s not too hard of a sell.  It’s not that I am disallowing myself soda, but I am trying to curtail somewhat.  I drank a lot of unsweet tea and water today, so I do feel as though I accomplished something to that end. 

I’m just not counting the Diet Dr. Pepper from Sonic right after work, because that was medicinal.

The Diet Tax

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Ever try grabbing something quick to eat when you’re trying to follow a diet?  I quickly realized that the cheap food is sugar and carbohydrates.  The stuff you actually want to eat is both a) hard to find and b) at least three times the price.

It’s as though you’re paying a whole new tax for trying to go healthy.  Today was a perfect example of this for me.  Through poor planning and awful time management, I ate out three times today.  Yes, all major meals.  Finding food that met my nutritional goals?  Now that was a challenge.

I am proud to say that I managed to leave food on my plate – all the tortillas from my lunch.  I love tortillas, but I looked on them as if they were the enemy today, and I stood firm against them. 

I also avoided the appreciation desserts today, too.  I knew that simply avoiding the room that held the desserts would help because then I wouldn’t have to deny myself something.  Besides, I know that on my crazy day this week I’ll have a chewy praline from El Fenix.  That’s worth waiting for.

I braved the Wii again tonight, and it still showed no change – which I interpret as perfectly okay.  That means to me that I’m losing fat and increasing muscle at an even rate.  Doesn’t matter if I have no real evidence to back this up.  I just know it’s true.  I also know that I will start to see a weight shift when I get back to drinking water.  I realized that I will drink water at work if I bring bottled water.  Otherwise, the water at work tastes like soap.  So tonight I bought myself a case of bottled water.  I know that the eco-freaks out there will have a hissy fit, but that’s a blow I’ll gladly take to tip the scales.

Tomorrow, I’ll not have to worry about eating out.  I’ll get up early enough to cook breakfast.  I’ve already packed my lunch, and I don’t have some weird function or errand that will keep me out past dinner time.  Sounds pretty promising.

Red Wine and Other Secrets of a Late Night Shopper

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I’ll be the first to say that I do not drink wine.  I don’t.  It just has never tasted good to me.  I always get hit by the sulfites or just the bad taste.  Don’t get me wrong – there have been a couple of good wines that I have tasted, most notably at other people’s weddings.  My problem is that I a) don’t want to spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine, b) I don’t want to spend a lot of money buying a lot of different wines to figure out which are good, and c) I don’t want to waste my time drinking bad wine. 

That said, I’m flying high on one glass tonight, and the second is winking at me and making suggestive ‘come hither’ gestures to me. 

I’m all about this wine stuff now… wheeeee! 

And why?  What was the turning point?  Well, the 4-Hour Body book, of course.  It’s currently the gospel of my meal plan, and I’m sifting through it for tidbits I can use. 

I went last night to buy a bottle of wine.  I’m so pathetically lost in this venture that I don’t even know how late grocery stores sell wine.  I don’t even know where the wine is in the store.  I decide to get a bottle of Perrier instead.  It’s on sale; why not?  I get to the register, and (don’t forget I’m looking really hot in my high heels, make-up, and dressy dress) this nice-looking guy comments about my Perrier.  So I tell him that I came in for a bottle of wine, but I was too embarrassed to ask when they stopped selling.  He told me, and I agreed, that I needed a bottle of wine.  He even asked the cashier and then pointed out where to find wine in the store.  I have since come to believe that he was not some average hormonal male, but in fact the personification of Bacchus. 

Walking to the wine section, I was overwhelmed by the selection, the sheer variety.  That meant I had to establish some superficial parameters right away.  (I must insert here that I am taking about ten times longer to type this post as every single key on the keyboard seems to be jumping up and getting in the way of normal touch-typing tonight.  I keep having to delete and retype just to ensure proper spelling.  It can’t be the wine.  Really.)  First, I ruled out anything less than $6.00 a bottle as unsuited to my needs.  Second, I ruled out anything over $10 a bottle as impractical on my budget.  I had no idea the breadth of wines still in that narrow realm of cost.  Finally, I picked one based on the fact that the label made me laugh – Menage a Trois with pictures of two nekkid people. 

I get home, expecting to share this uncommon bottle of wine with my husband, and he is passed out asleep in the kids’ room, on the floor, on top of the giant teddy bear.  Great.  No Rex for me tonight.

I make the most of it – I fix up a light meal, I fight with the bottle opener (these things were designed so that only either exceedingly sober people or very skilled drunks could operate them), I pour a glass, I fix up my ice packs, and I turn on Jon Stewart.

I actually realize that I like the wine.  Not only that, but it does have pleasant effects.  I also realize that pairing it with food takes out some of the bite I dread.

Fast forward.  Tonight I get home, pop open the bottle, and pour both my husband and myself a glass.  The world looks a lot more friendly from the other side of that glass.

Minor Triumph

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I’m one of those people who detests, no, loathes, seeing failure.  For that reason, I tend to not only be very risk averse, but I will also avoid people (or things) that I know I have failed, and I only want to be around them when I am doing my best.  I can’t stand other people’s disappointment, because that breeds personal disappointment.

All of that to say I haven’t gotten back on the Wii since… well, 41 days. 

I just couldn’t bear to see that poor little computerized Mii bloat up again with weight gain, to see that BMI scale inch back upward.  It was too much stress for this woman!

Tonight, I decided to get back on it before I went to the function I’m attending.  I don’t even know how I rationalized this with myself other than I was alone, my family was out, and my failure would be personal and intimate instead of a group affair.

To my surprise and delight, I was exactly the same as the last time I’d measured those 41 days ago.  So, regardless of how far I’d fallen, when I climbed back on the wagon, there were results – namely, that I hadn’t slid so far back that I’d spend another several weeks just getting back down to my baseline.

Now that’s what I call a pep talk.  I’m at my progress point – It’s as though I paused, and now I can resume.  That buoys my spirits and makes me feel this was really pretty valid to live through this experiment.

It’s kind of funny, because I had been feeling bloated and fat all day.  My jeans, though they fit great through the waist, seemed tighter in the thigh, and I just felt as though I was stalled and going nowhere.  I was ready to give up.  Instead, I’m on track.  I’m working the excesses of the past month to six weeks off of me, planning to never again lose control and inch that far up.

Anyhow, I’m dressed to kill, have make-up and high heels, and I’m ready for the night.  I feel good, in control, and empowered.

When Peanut Butter is Crack

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Peanut butter really is crack cocaine. 

Tonight, I desperately wanted some desert.  I popped a few Brasil nuts.  Yummy, but not enough.  I looked in the pantry, and I saw the Skippy, so I gnabbed a spoon and dug in. 

Okay, I’m not an expert on illicit pharmaceutical use, but I’ve heard that when you go off a drug for a while, especially one to which you have developed some level of tolerance, that the first hit back on it is overpowering.  That’s exactly what happened with the peanut butter.

The first lick, and I nearly choked.  It was too sweet.  Peanut butter?  Too sweet?  Yup and yup. 

This weekend I had gone and bought almond butter – unsweetened, unsalted, un-anythinged almond butter from Sprouts Farmer’s Market.  The first taste of that was almost bitter, but it was, for lack of a better word, nutty.  It was kind of pleasant.  This evening, before my meeting, I snacked on some raw almonds so I wouldn’t go postal in the two-hour gab, and then I realized on my way home that I had a church meeting, pushing dinner back an extra hour and a half.  I zipped in the house, grabbed a tablespoon, and scooped out some almond butter to tide me over.  The brown goo was starting to grow on me, and it sure helped me turn down the petite quiche (my favorite!), lemon bites, and little raspberry tartlets served at the church meeting.  When I got home, I had some salmon jerky (apparently my husband was afraid the salmon would be undercooked, so he opted for… umm… a thoroughly cooked approach), some overcooked mushy carrots (do you sense a pattern here?), some black beans from a can (not overcooked), and some formerly frozen peas.

Then later I got desert-hungry.  You know the feeling.  You know you aren’t really hungry, but you want something extra.  You just want something to top it all off, to treat yourself to something sweet. 

Enter the moment of near gag.

I had no idea how sweet peanut butter can be!  To say the least, it was an education.  After that nutty, rich goodness from the almond butter, and the clean, crisp crunch of the Brasil nuts, the extra sugar added in the peanut butter hit with one heck of a punch. 

It’s funny, but when I was accustomed to eating things with sugar in them, I didn’t really appreciate how sweet foods are naturally.  Now, it’s almost overwhelming.  I should probably admit that on Saturday, my crazy eat-anything-day, I made myself a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and peanut butter (It’s like having Reese’s ice cream – but better), and I couldn’t finish it.  I could hardy even swallow the second bite.  I just put the whole thing back in the freezer, hoping that I would be hungry for it later that night.  Never happened.

Censorship

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Well, maybe that’s too harsh of a word, but I discovered after writing my original post tonight that there are some words too “hot” for wordpress. 

Let me give you a clue: It rhymes with Rex.

Seriously?

I mean, for the love of little apples, people, you can’t categorize something as “knowing” another human?  I mean, the Bible – the BIBLE – talks about it, it’s part of human nature, and it sure as dogs like peanut butter is the only way you’re going to reliably keep having a human race without medical – or divine -intervention.

Well, that’s enough to just make you feel ‘blue’ about writing altogether.

Sheesh.

Hmm… work-arounds… Maybe I’ll just call the new category “Rex.”  There we go.