Posts Tagged ‘self-improvement’

Just to let you know that I am still hanging in there.  I’ve been busy with house guests.  Seems like the snowy, cold northeastern winter is stimulating friends and family to venture south. To be honest with you, I could have been better about my eating during this time. BUT, I am doing ok and maintaing at 15 pounds gone.

Sometimes it is just one thing and then another that takes my attention away from my diet regime.  Yet, the good eating habits and nutritional information that I learned in the early weeks are giving me a good foundation for maintaining my weight loss. You probably won’t believe me, but I swear that it is true…..I have had so much cake and sweets the last few months that I really want to get back on track.  I feel so much healthier and energetic when I reduce sugar and carbs and focus on lean protein sources for nutrition.

I’m looking forward to gaining control of my schedule so I can move forward again.  It is only 5 more lbs to go.  How hard can it be?????


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Twenty-five weeks of the 20-lb struggle and I have been sitting here on the plateau for eight of those weeks. First it was Halloween, then it was parties, then it was family dinners, then it was Christmas cookies, then it was New Year’s Eve, then it was too cold, then I was too busy, then it was too much work. As you can see from my chart I am     s-l-o-w-l-y inching my way back to the pinnacle I reached in week 17. Still haven’t gotten there though.

So what’s going on? I have some ideas.

Idea #1: The nearer your destination the more you keep slip-sliding away. Let me explain. When I started the 20 lb struggle I could get all the motivation I needed in order to make changes in my eating patterns and behavior by looking in the mirror. Looking at myself standing there naked with my fat rolls staring back at me was so horrifying that losing my appetite was usually not a problem. Lose the appetite and you can lose the weight.

But after I lost about 10-lbs. I looked a lot better.  I bought new, smaller clothes.  Looking in the mirror was not as horrifying as it had been previously. The closer you get to your weight loss goal the more difficult it may be to find the motivation you need to go all the way.

Idea #2: Putting the brakes on diet momentum makes the journey more difficult.  Coming to a full stop adds the burden of inertia to forward movement. In other words, it is easier to maintain diet momentum once you are already rolling, than to kick start it again after a full stop. There are lots of reasons for diet inertia, but let’s just say that once you fall off a wagon it can take a while to get your ass off the ground and hop back on again.

Idea #3: If I don’t make it happen it won’t happen. I’ve been waiting for a miracle.  I’ve been waiting for the scale to show imporvment even though I am not putting in 100%. It is difficult to get going again.  It is difficult to find the motivation to make the sacrifices that Ineed to make.  It isn’t easy to find the motivation to help me push forward. But if I don’t do it, nothing will change.

Idea #4: Although losing weight is an important goal, it may not be the only one that deserves my attention. I also need to nurture other important areas of my life, like work, family, friends, celebrations, etc.

My dog, Snickers, whines and cries when I talk on the phone around 7:00 pm.  Why? That is the time we usually snuggle on the couch and watch TV. When my attention is diverted elsewhere he lets me know about it!  And when my attention is diverted elsewhere, my scale let me know about it, too!

Am I feeling blue because this is proving to be more of a struggle than I anticipated? Not really.  Even though I am having trouble losing weight I still feel good about three important things.

First: I have lost a significant amount of weight and I think I look pretty good.

Second: I am maintaining my weight which means that I am not reverting to my previous unhealthy habits.

Third: I am feeling healthier and more energetic than I did before I embarked on the 20-lb struggle.

So, how’s the view from the plateau? Pretty good, but certainly not perfect. What I see from the plateau is “room for improvement.”

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After 19 weeks of the 20 lb struggle eating healthy is becoming a way of  life. So hooray for me! But I’m not all the way there quite yet.  I still have 4 lbs. to go.  I have been able to navigate through the dangerous waters of X-mas parties, family gatherings and going out with friends. I accomplished my goal for the week.  I held my own and didn’t let my eating get out of control.  I haven’t lost any weight this week, but then, I didn’t really expect to.  The good news is that I didn’t GAIN any.

With  X-mas safely behind me I now face the daunting challenge of New Year’s Eve! It’s going to be more difficult than you think.  Tomorrow I will be going to Orlando to meet my daughter, Amy, at Gaylord Palms Hotel. We will spend two nights in luxury in the hotel  and a full day at Disney’s Epcot where we look forward to dining at Chefs de France, a casual restaurant nestled under the Eiffel Tower in the France Pavilion. Yum!  I hope all the walking around the theme park will help us to work off the calories that will be comsumed there.

Then we will travel about 40 minutes northeast to stay with my daughter, Laura, and her family until January 3rd. If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably already know about Laura. She is a professional party planner who is somehow able to make every meal and occassion sparkle with creativity and deliciousness. No matter how much I try, the magic that she cooks up is just about impossible to resist.

Whenever I visit them, my grandchildren insist that I go on Wii Fit which is a Nintendo game that uses a balance board to calculate your weight and body mass index. The first time I used it about a year ago, I was shocked and dismayed to see that the game placed me smack in the middle of the “overweight” category, just below “obese.” The last time I visited them I showed vast improvement. I was still in the  “overweight” category, but only three pounds from “normal weight.”

If you think that weighing in at Weight Watchers is stressful, you should see me when I have to weigh in with Wii Fit. I usually try to weigh in as soon as I get there, before the effects of all the good cooking by Laura and Rick can be felt. Five days of temptation will clearly test my will-power. So I have a back-up plan, just in case.  Just like millions of others who want to start the New Year on the right foot, I plan to reinvigorate my diet and exercise regimes.

For everything there is a season.  There is a time to enjoy good food and family.  There is a time to get serious and get in shape. I intend to do both, just not at the same time.

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Life gets hectic, especially around this time of year. Parties,  out-of-town guests, family dinners, holiday shopping, etc., etc.,  etc. With so many distractions how do you find time to exercise? How do you stay focused on eating healthy as you rush through the food court at the mall? And for those of you who have lost weight and are now shopping for clothes in a smaller size, how do look in the mirror and not tell yourself that you look so “mahvelous, dahling!” that a little cheating won’t really matter?

This is why weight loss is so challenging to me. Wish I could tell you that I have simple and easy answers to the questions above, but the sad truth is that, just like you, I am having a hard time of it. It is a struggle.

And so it is with great surprise that I am able to report that I lost one pound this week.

Below are some pictures that I took at my daughter Laura’s home over Thanksgiving. You can tell at a glance why dieting in this envirnoment is a challenge. Everything was made from scratch and delicious.  My son-in-law, Rick made the pumpkin pie and the mini-apple-pies and the mini-brownies.  My daughters made the rolls and the croissants.  I made the cranberry sauce and the roasted sweet potatoes. Laura made turkey breast, stuffing, sweet potato souffle.  We also had brussels sprouts and a green bean casserole.

Cathy and Emma enjoying Thanksgiving meal.


Amy brings rolls and croissants to the table.









This is what I ate: 2 slices turkey breast, a dollop of cranberry sauce, roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts.

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Reaching a weight loss plateau:  Day 84

How hard can it be to lose 20 lbs? Well, that all depends. For many who are grossly overweight they can drop that much in a week or two.  For me it is a daunting challenge. After 3 months of the 20 lb struggle I have lost 10% of my total body weight (13 lbs). But there has been no change in the past few weeks.  I am in the Dieter’s Twilight Zone, that space between success and failure, between “good enough” and “looking great.”  I am at the weight loss plateau!

Today I will review the past 3 months and share some lessons learned.

  • Enthusiasm is a great way to kick start a weight loss plan, but it is difficult to maintain through the long haul.
  • Having a weight loss plan is important.  Sticking with the weight loss plan even when you don’t feel like it is even more important.
  • Looking for simple answers is easy. Learning that hard work and persistence are required for true success is difficult.
  • Everyone is different. It is ALWAYS important to be in tune with your body and to make consistently healthy choices.
  • Creating healthy eating habits that you repeat regularly helps to keep you on track. For example, I try to have my meals at the same time each day. I always have a piece of fruit or a Breakstone’s Cottage Double when I get home from work to take the edge off my hunger.
  • Don’t worry about being perfect. Nobody is.
  • A simple, yet flexible, weight loss diet can help provide structure and support during the difficult times.
  • The diet I use is easy to follow, healthy, and effective for consistent weight loss.  I was pleased to learn that a diet similar to the one I use was endorsed on a recent TV showing of The Doctors. They called it a Common Sense High Protein Weight Loss Diet.  Here it is in a nutshell:
    • Avoid sugars, starches, bread, pasta and fatty foods.
    • Have a portion of lean protein at least twice a day.
    • Drink coffee and/or caffeinated drinks only before 12 noon.
    • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
    • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables.
    • Eat fresh fruit in moderation.
    • Use dairy products in moderation (low or non-fat only).
    • Exercise whenever possible.  If you can get into a regular routine of 30-40 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 or 4 times a week you get a GOLD STAR! 

With Thanksgiving, family gatherings, and the holiday season looming ahead it is probably unrealistic to think that I will be making much progress any time soon.

My Plan:

  1. Stick with the program whenever possible.
  2. DO NOT give in to the temptation to say “The Hell with it.  I’ll just eat whatever I want.”
  3. Remain mindful of my eating behavior and my eating choices.

I’ve also hit a plateau in terms of writing this blog. At the beginning I couldn’t wait to write about my experiences.  I felt like I was talking to a friend and sharing what was going on in my life. I loved when I got comments.  I sent out e-mails to everyone on my mailing list and told them to check out the blog. Everyone was very encouraging.

But over time I started hearing things like, “How is that blog thing going?  I haven’t had time to look at it.” The blog traffic statistics also started to dip to lower and lower levels. So that got me to thinking.

Who is the blog for? Is it to help me to lose weight? Is it for readers to be entertained/educated/helped?

I don’t know.  Maybe no one cares about my 20 lb struggle but me. 

I’m not giving up, though.  Even if I am the only one left reading this blog at least I’ll know that there is, at the minimum, one person getting something positive out of this.

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Jack o LanternDay 78

Each year I buy a bag of Snickers bars, a bag of tootsie rolls, and a bag of Kit Kat bars. I put them in a big Halloween bowl and pray for Trick or Treaters to knock on my door so that none will be left over. Snickers loves Halloween because that was the day that I brought him home to live with me eight years ago. He was so sweet that I just had to name him after a candy bar.

That first year he wasn’t sure what to make of the children ringing the doorbell and yelling “Trick or Treat!” But each year since then he looks forward to the excitement of having visitors all dressed up in funny costumes come to the house. This year I dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Snickers pretended that he was the little dog “Toto.”

Snickers Halloween

Snickers gets ready for Trick or Treaters

Snickers helped me to get things ready and as soon as I put the plastic pumpkin out in front of the door, he knew what he had to do.  He spread out by the doorway and waited patiently until he heard someone approach.  Then he started barking and jumping at the door. He was really trying to be scary! But as soon as I opened the door and he ran out to greet the visitors no one was scared.  Instead all we heard was “Oh, what a cute little dog!”

Tomorrow I will take the leftover candy to work and let someone else be tempted by it.

Snickers as Toto

Snickers as Toto

Yesterday was weigh-in day and I really was not looking forward to it. I knew that the news would not be good. To be honest I have been sort of bummed out.  I don’t like that I couldn’t stay disciplined while I was staying with my grandchildren. I felt discouraged and disheartened.

I started the 20 lb struggle with so much enthusiasm and positive feeling. But now I felt like I had failed. I wanted to get my motivation back but I just felt defeated. I was telling all this to one of my friends when she said something interesting that changed everything for me.

What she said was, “You have worked hard for the past ten weeks and you lost 14 lbs. You deserve a vacation.  Some time off. Maybe you gained a few pounds on your vacation from the 20 lbs struggle, but you didn’t gain it ALL back. Give yourself a break and then get back on track.”

So that’s what I did. 

I decided that I had had my vacation and now it was time to step onto the scale and get back to business. I was scared.  But it wasn’t because of Halloween Horrors.  I was scared to see the damage that I had done while I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating.

One foot.  Then the other. I closed my eyes. And then I looked. I had only gained two pounds! It wasn’t as bad as I feared. I can do this.  I can lose those two pounds. And. I can lose six more! After all I’m already 12 pounds gone.  That’s a pretty good head start as a begin my renewed effort in the 20 lb struggle.

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Pantry temptations

Pantry temptations

Day 70

My weight loss challenge this week is focused on self-control and will-power.  Because I live alone I have been able to control my food environment very well. There is nothing in my pantry that I shouldn’t eat.  But this week I am at my daughter’s home which is filled with temptations at every turn.

I have already succumbed to pretzels, hummus, pizza, Keebler Fudge Shoppe Fudge Sticks, and Sun Chips. While none of these foods are sinfully unhealthy, they do stimulate my appetite and make staying on the straight and narrow more difficult. My weight loss plan involves eating lean protein, vegetables, and fruit in order to feel satisfied. These foods help me to suppress my appetite. The idea is that the less hungry I am the less likely I will be to eat impulsively, make poor choices, gain weight.

But life rarely works out according to plan. In the midst of family fun and togetherness I have let down my guard. Knowing that so much is available “just to taste” creates temptations that I do not usually have to overcome. At home I have made things easy on myself by creating good routines and avoiding the foods I know will not help my weight loss efforts. But here my will-power is being tested almost on a minute by minute basis.

So it was with trepidation that I stepped onto the scale this morning. After 10 weeks of the 20 lb struggle I am proud to report that I have lost 14 lbs!

Have I mentioned that I am very petite? Standing at less than five foot tall, a weight loss of 14 pounds represents slightly more than 10% of my original body weight. Despite the fact that I have not been able to develop a regular and organzed exercise regime yet (but I am working on this), I feel more energetic, less sleepy, mentally sharper and happier.

I am truly excited by what I have accomplished so far.  I can’t wait to lose a few more pounds.  My clothes are getting too baggy and I want to go out and get some new ones.  But being a practical and thrifty person by nature I want to wait until I am at my goal weight. I think that I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Temptation can slow down my choo-choo train, but it can’t make it stop.

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