A fresh start

I tend to blog in spurts. That doesn’t do much for holding onto readers, let alone expanding readership. So, beginning today, I’m going to try to be a lot more consistent; “try” being the operative word. Sometimes work and life become so overwhelming it’s all I can manage to update my Facebook status or tweet something just once a day, let alone post to my blog. But if I fancy myself a writer – which I do in the fantasy world in which I often dwell –  how lame is that? Writers write. They MAKE time to write, no matter what. It takes discipline – something I have too often fund to be in short supply where I’m concerned. When I want to be, I can be more disciplined than a US Marine. In the past, I have been crazily disciplined in a bunch of different areas:  golf – hitting 500 range balls and playing 18-27 holes of golf every single day for months until I achieved a 6 handicap; hunt seat (English) equitation – riding for hours with no stirrups at a posting trot to strengthen my legs and perfect my independent seat; weightlifting – lifting heavy weights six days a week, come Hell or high water, and going from 26% bodyfat to 16% bodyfat in a matter of months, just to name a few examples. Unfortunately, it can take an act of Congress, impending doom, or seeing a photo of myself at 40 pounds over my normal weight, to drop kick me into disciplined Marine mode. None of those scenarios are applicable to writing, but the desire is strong right now. Maybe the timing is right. My favorite author, Diana Gabaldon, says you have to write every day, even if only for 10 minutes. Good grief. I should be able to find at least ten minutes in a day to write. So… we shall see.

Now, a brief update:

I was doing that Fit to Fat @ 57 series on this blog, albeit for a very brief time. I stopped because I ended up with a stress fracture in my left tibia and femur at the knee and had to cease all exercise, making losing weight and becoming fit almost impossible. Well, it seemed impossible to me at the time. That was the undisciplined me. The disciplined me would have continued to diet, regardless of the fact that I couldn’t exercise. Instead, I gave up and ate whatever I felt like eating. I’m sure you’ve guessed that I gained back everything I had lost, finding myself back at square one. In fact, I was a square minus one, because I gained an additional 4 pounds during my feeding frenzy.

I saw photos of myself in May of this year and was disgusted. The person in those photos was NOT me. At least, not the “me” in my head. I decided I had to do something NOW or live forever unhappy with myself. So, on May 10, 2013 I started the HCG diet. I am proud to report that I have lost 35 pounds and MANY inches – 6 of which were off my waist, 4 from each thigh, and 4 each from my hips and chest – since I started the plan. The program goes in rounds and phases. Phase 2 is the weight loss portion. Phase 3 is the maintenance portion. Phase 4 is how you eat for life. I have done two rounds consisting of Phases 2 and 3. I have happily maintained my losses during both Phase 3 rounds, which is huge. If you can stay within 2 pounds of the low weight you achieved during Phase 2 for at least 21 days, you can begin another round in an attempt to reach your goal. I have maintained twice now, which feels so great. I know I can eat “normal” portions and not gain. I also have learned my triggers – foods that I added that caused me to gain weight or retain water. It makes me feel much more in control of my weight and my eating, as opposed to feeling as though food controlled me. I have maintained my 35 pound loss for 21 days and through two rounds. I am beginning a third round tomorrow with a goal of losing 20 pounds by the end of the weight loss round – just in time for a conference I will be attending in November. I’m actually excited to start the next round because I know I will be successful and finally reach my goal.

Another benefit of this diet is that I have been completely weaned off bread and sugar. I no longer crave bread, pasta and other starches. I can make the spouse’s sandwiches for his lunch, fill Baggies with pretzels, chocolate, candies, and other snack foods, and not be tempted in the least to down a few bites in the process. I can go to a fast food restaurant and eat a salad while everyone else chows down on burgers and fries, and I don’t feel deprived. I feel GREAT! I look pretty good, too, or so I’m being told with increasing regularity. My clothes are all too big for me, so I’m digging out stuff that has been packed away for several years that is a size smaller. Even some of those things are too big. I’m almost two sizes smaller now. In another couple of weeks, I fully expect to be back in a size 10.  The things I like about this diet are that a) you lose quickly so it’s easy to stay motivated, b) the strict requirement to forego sugars and starches in Phase 2 and Phase 3 helps break the addiction to those things, and c) the support provided on the website and the HCG Diet Facebook page really helps when you hit a rough patch. I know I have developed eating habits that will be sustainable for life. I am not just dieting. I am eating in a much healthier way, sans binges, and with no wacky, unsustainable food plans. I now crave lean proteins, vegetables, and salads and can easily pass up bread, starches, and sugars. That’s not to say that once I reach my goal I will never allow myself to indulge on occasion, but as one successful dieter and author recently said in an interview, “rewarding yourself with food is like an alcoholic rewarding a month of sobriety with a beer.” That’s one of the best analogies I’ve heard in a long time.

In addition to the diet, I have been exercising. I rode my bike to work and back as often as possible this summer – an activity I absolutely love. The weather is changing, and riding is not an option a lot of the time. Sadly, all too soon it will be too cold and too dark to ride to work and back, so I’m back at the gym. Getting up at 5:15 a.m. to go workout, especially when it’s dark, raining or snowing, and quite unwelcoming outside, is not my favorite thing to do. So, I am attempting to develop the habit now, while it is not THAT dark, not THAT cold, and not THAT nasty out. Hopefully, I can string together enough days of successfully getting to the gym that it becomes a habit, and something I look forward to doing. If I can accomplish that, it will carry me through the dark and dreary days of winter that will be upon me before I know it. I know that long-term success with keeping my weight off and being fit lies in habitually going to the gym as much as it does in eating properly.

So, today is a fresh start in blogging and a fresh start on my way to achieving the level of fitness I had fifteen years ago. I know I can succeed at both with a little discipline.

Fat to Fit @ 57 – Day 45

Wow, has it really been 45 days since I began this series? Where has the time gone? Unfortunately, I have not come close to the goals I set for myself for this time-frame. I honestly thought that I would have been riding my bike almost daily to work, would have been eating really well with very little cheating, and would have lost 10 or 15 pounds by now. Almost non-stop rain thwarted my bike riding plans initially. When the rain finally stopped, my knee was hurting so bad that I could barely walk, let alone pedal my bike. Two weeks of perfect cycling weather have passed, and I have been unable to ride even a half a block. I hope to remedy that this Friday when I visit the orthopedic surgeon to find out what the heck is the source of my pain.

As for the eating, I have been mostly “good”, eating primarily lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, but I have had bread on too many occasions, and indulged in the snack-sized versions of Cadbury chocolate-coated ice cream bars after dinner more often than not. The pounds have refused to budge. I blame that on the lack of exercise more than my dietary indiscretions, though. Well, now that I think about it, I’m sure diet is equally to blame. Had I been more careful with my food choices, I am sure I would have lost several pounds by now, even without the cycling.

So where does that leave me as of today, 45 days into this journey? I am down 8 pounds. That’s better than nothing. As of today, my knee is feeling better, leaving me hopeful that I will be able to ride my bike to work again next week. Oh, wait, I’m on vacation next week. Well, I won’t be riding to work, but I do hope we get a few bike rides in while we’re off. The Spouse and I keep vowing to get up at 5:00 AM to hit the gym. We have had a success rate of about 20%. We really need to work on that. This past week has been tough for me because my knee pain has kept me awake a lot, making a 5:00 AM rising time very difficult to handle. I really hope to get back in the groove soon. I do want to get back into the shape I was in just a few years ago. There really is no excuse. I can be fit and lean and healthy again. I simply have to buckle down and get to work.

My goal for the rest of this week is to eat better, to log my food in MyFitnessPal, and to try to get some walking in at lunch now that my knee is feeling better. I would love to log at least two or three pounds of weight loss by the weekend.

Fat to Fit @ 57 – Day 27

I have been on vacation since last Friday. As a result, sticking to my diet has been almost impossible. How do you eat salad and chicken breasts when you’re cooking for someone who is eating everything under the sun? Throw in the family barbecue, assorted day trips involving eating in restaurants, a crazy, uncertain schedule, and for me it has been a recipe for diet disaster. I did say at the outset my plan was to be honest about my successes and failures. Well, today’s post is about my failures.

Every morning I wake up and resolve to stick to my eating program. Before you even get halfway through the day, I have fallen off the wagon. When I decide I’m going to have a nice grilled chicken salad for lunch, The Spouse wants pizza. When I decide I am going to eat sensibly, we go to my favorite restaurant for happy hour, which has nothing healthy as part of their happy hour specials. It has been one thing after another. I am convinced I have gained weight as opposed to losing weight. I have gotten a time of exercise, so maybe that has balanced out the horrendous eating. I can only hope that is the case. It looks like I’m going to have to wait until I’m back at work to get back on the diet plan. It is so much easier to stick to a sensible eating program when you’re at work. Of course, I should be eating properly no matter what. Isn’t that really the goal here? I didn’t think this was going to be such a struggle this week. I think a big factor has been that I’ve been working so hard outside that I have needed to give up controlling my food intake as a reward. Dumb!

So, the plan for today is to at least do better than I have been all week. I say that as I sit here waiting to go into the grocery store to buy donuts and bagels and various other breakfast foods to feed the workers are putting new flooring in my house. I will make sure to buy things I don’t like. Let’s hope today is a better day.

Fat to Fit @ 57 – Day 15

The last couple of days have been a real struggle. My subconscious has been doing a lot of talking. Actually, more like nagging. ACTUALLY, more like peptalking. I have been faced with a lot of temptations, and it is taking a lot of cheerleading by my subconscious to keep me on the straight and narrow. Her typical encouragement goes something like this: “Come on, Gina! You can do this. You do not need to eat that. Come on! Just do it.” it seems to be helping.

This morning, we stopped at Starbucks. Laid out before me was an array of muffins, scones (my favorite), and very delicious looking pastries. It was all I could do to pick up a fruit cup instead. And for my drink I had a dry cappuccino. Round one – me!

We went down to watch the Coeur d’Alene Ironman this morning. We got there at 4 AM. The race didn’t start until 6:15 AM. So we walked around a lot checking things out. That’s when we went into the Starbucks. After we got our drinks from Starbucks, we went back to where we planned to sit to watch the swim. We sat and visited with the other people that had begun to gather there to watch the swim as well. It was fun. But it got really cold. We watched all of the pros finish, and a good portion of the age group competitors. Then we headed off to warm up and find some breakfast.

We ended up at Shari’s. I knew this was going to be a tough one. My favorite meal to eat out is breakfast. I love bacon and eggs and hashed browns and toast. Clearly, I was going to need a lot of cheerleading in order to avoid temptation. I scanned the menu, and saw that I could get fruit instead of hashed browns and toast with anything I wanted. The “low cal” omelette did not sound very tempting at all. So I went with a spinach, ham, and mushroom omelette with fruit. I have to say, I felt a little gypped when they brought in my plate and I saw that I had traded in hashed brown potatoes and toast for maybe half a cup of honeydew melon. I think if I’m going to give up
hashed browns AND toast I should get a double portion of fruit. Oh well.

So, while The Spouse and Oldest Son had chicken fried steak, pancakes, eggs, and hashed browns, I had my veggie omelette and fruit. It was pretty good. And I sure felt better about myself when I finished. I will confess to having a couple of bites of hashed browns, but I don’t think those will derail my diet.

We only got three hours of sleep last night. So when we got home from watching the race, I headed in for little nap. Unfortunately, the dogs had other ideas. I finally got up after tossing and turning for half an hour, and I was starving. Not physically starving, mentally starving. I drank some water, and had a few bites of a grilled chicken breast that I had cooked yesterday. Proteins always seems to do the trick. Also, thankfully, there are no snacks in the house. I don’t know if I could’ve resisted a handful of nuts if we had had any in the house.

Dinner will be a big salad and some chicken breast or tri-tip, lots of water, and a glass of wine. I just want to make it through today without cheating. Tomorrow should show some pretty good results on the scale.