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.

Self-help

A photo of me on Facebook made me realize, once again, how badly I need to lose weight. It seems to be a never-ending battle for me. It didn’t used to be that way. I used to be the queen of fitness. I was the gal the other women came to for advice about how to get in shape. Now I find myself seeking out someone else’s story to help motivate and inspire me to do the things I know I need to do. How silly is that? I know what I need to do! And I’m fully capable of doing it. So why don’t I be my own inspiration? Why don’t I write the motivational book? Or at the very least, the motivational blog. I’m completely capable of this. I don’t need someone else’s story to inspire me. I can do this. So, this is it. Today begins day one of my journey. From fat to fit. That is going to be my story. I will do the things I know I need to do, both diet-wise and exercise-wise, to become the person I know I can be. If I vow to update this blog every day with what I did each day to reach this goal, how can I do anything but succeed? I have to hold myself accountable to myself. There’s no excuse. There’s no excuse for being overweight. There’s no excuse for not working out the way I know I need to. There is no excuse for not being the me that I want to be, the me that I know I can be. So today begins chapter 1 of my fitness makeover story. Fat to Fit at 57. When I succeed, I’m going to publish my story, and it will be a bestseller. I know there are thousands of women just like me out there who are struggling to succeed. We can do it! And I am going to chronicle my journey. Maybe I can inspire someone else who needs motivation. So let’s get started…

So much to do, so little time…

Story of my life…. I am overwhelmed. I find myself, at the end of the day, saying, “oh crap! I forgot such-and-such – again!” over and over. I even make lists of things I need to do, and still forget to do them. I get to work and my life spins out of control. Before I know it, it’s 6PM and time to go home – and usually too late to do the things on my list because places closed at 5. I really need to get a grip.

Speaking of spinning out of control – my office is in a state of chaos. We’re rearranging, and attempting to clean.  Actually, we have already rearranged, and “I” am attempting to clean MY mess, because my assistant is NOT messy. I feel bad that she is subjected to my mess, but I can’t seem to get a handle on all the stuff on my desk. I try. I sort into piles, and even manage to throw some stuff away. But then the piles just get put back onto my desk, and soon they are no longer in piles. I really need a full-time filing person, along with a full-time secretary, a full-time assistant, and a full-time wife. Then, and only then, might I have time to exercise regularly.

And speaking again of spinning out of control….my weight. I just can’t seem to make any headway. I’ve really been eating well, but nothing is happening. I haven’t weighed myself in weeks. I don’t dare. It would be too depressing. But I can tell I’ve not only not lost, I’ve gained. I keep trying to get back into an exercise rhythm, but I’m making no progress in that area either. I go to bed DETERMINED to get up and take Riley for a walk and go to the gym.  Then morning comes, and I drag myself out of bed, so tired I can barely concentrate on the lunch and coffee making. While making coffee, I’m already planning my return to bed once The Spouse leaves. Most days, I don’t really go back to bed. I hop onto my laptop and check all the computers at work, then I harvest my Farmville crops (my latest Facebook addiction), or blog, or just read what my family and friends have been up to on Facebook. Before I know it, there is no time to walk Riley or go to the gym. There is only time to get ready for work. So, it’s not that I don’t have the time. It’s that I don’t manage my time very well.  The reality is, my mornings are my down time. That’s the only time I have when I can do what *I* want to do. There are no other demands on me – no spouse needing something, no coworkers asking for help, no boss requiring my assistance, no kids calling asking for anything. It’s just ME time. The crazy thing is, the BEST thing I could do for ME would be to exercise, so I’m being an idiot when I don’t.  It’s a struggle.  Ideally, I find the time to both exercise AND blog, farm, and check Facebook.  Not sure how to do that yet, but I’m working on it.

So, here’s my latest goal: my brother and his girlfriend and two of her kids are coming for Thanksgiving. I’ve never met B, and I haven’t seen my brother in ages. I can’t be fat when they come.  I have about 8 weeks until Thanksgiving.  If I can lose 2 pounds a week (a lofty goal considering I’ve been unable to lose 2 pounds in a MONTH), I can be down 16 pounds by Thanksgiving.  That would put me only 20 pounds over an acceptable weight. Okay…I can do this, right?  I need all the encouragement and accountability I can get, so as of this moment, you have my permission to provide either. Harass me about what I’m eating or whether or not I am exercising.  And I welcome your encouragement. (How timely – there is a NutriSystem commercial on TV right now with Marie Osmond. She has continued to lose weight since her first NutriSystem commercial and looks AMAZING.)  So… I’m going to finish this post, change out of my bathrobe, and take Riley for a walk. Then, today I am going to pack my bag and go to the gym. For real. It is 6:10 AM. I am watching The Biggest Loser. That should be motivation enough, right?  What have I eaten today? Some dried fruit – mangoes and berries from Costco – and my latte with nonfat milk and Cool Whip.  I need to get back into the habit of logging everything I eat. Studies prove people who log their food are far more successful than those who don’t.  I understand why. There are days I absolutely cannot remember what I ate, and I KNOW I ate bad stuff – chips, cheese, chocolate…. So, time to track my food and EXERCISE!

So keep me accountable, okay? And please send me encouragement. I’m going to really need it.  Thanks!

A New Year = A New Start, Yes?

Oh I try not to make New Year’s resolutions because, well, who ever keeps them, really?  But I can’t help but do so subconsciously.  I think it’s just human nature to look at the start of a new year as an opportunity to break bad habits, start new good ones, and simply start with a clean slate.  In fact, I suspect it’s human nature to do that at the beginning of a new month, let alone a new year.  So, in the back of my mind, of course, I’m thinking of all the things I plan to do differently – eat better, lose weight, exercise, get organized, be tidier, be more productive at work, spend more time reading the Bible and in prayer, and so on…..  I don’t want to acknowledge them as “resolutions” because I’ll feel like a total loser when I don’t stick to them, but they’re there, lurking in my subconscious, regardless of my decision to acknowledge them or not.  I figure by about mid-February I’ll be posting about what a loser I am, having failed to stick to even one of these subconscious resolutions.  Sigh….

I AM going to try very hard to squeeze in some exercise time, but with the endless snow we seem to be getting, it’s going to be hard. I can’t really go walking with Riley.  I hate to leave him alone for an additional two hours each day so that I can go to gym – it just seems cruel.  I could probably get my cross country skis down and do some skiing, and will probably attempt that this weekend, but that could prove disastrous – I haven’t xc skied in 30 years, so who knows how I’ll do?  Maybe my best bet is doing a bunch of stair climbing at work.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  I’ll try to make multiple trips up and down the stairs every day.  That should help, right?  I’ve got to do SOMETHING!  I’m sick of being trapped in this body.  It’s so not me!

If you’re wondering where I’m hiding these days, you should join Facebook. I pretty much hang out there most of the time.  I can play Scrabble, chat with my family and friends very quickly, play Scrabble, share photos with family and friends, make very quick updates to my status (as opposed to posting on a blog), play Scrabble….  yeah, my latest addiction is Scrabble.  I play with various Facebook friends and family, I play on my new iPod Touch, I play on my LG Dare cell phone… I love Scrabble, but I am not a very strategic player.  I need to learn Scrabble strategy.  I win far more often than I lose – I have only lost twice out of 12 games – but I cant’ stand losing at all, ever.  Oh sure, it’s not JUST skill.  It’s partly the luck of the letters you draw.  But I found a site with some strategic tips about how to manage your tiles to maximize your scoring options.  Most of the tips I’ve never really considered, so it was enlightening.  Maybe I can dominate Scrabble if I can put these tips into action.  I’m not competitive at all.  🙂

My niece, the daughter of my youngest sister, is going to Italy for a two week study abroad trip through her college (Biola).  She leaves on the 8th and will spend 5 days in Rome and 10 in Florence.  I am so envious!  I am going to hook her up with our family in Rome.  My cousin, Pino, has a daughter Brittnee’s age who speaks pretty good English.  I’m sure she’ll love showing Britt around.  Britt is excited to meet them.  Apparently, dinners are not included in their trip (?) so she’s hoping they invite her for a meal or two.  🙂  It’s weird that dinners aren’t included.  When YS went to France, only lunches were their responsibility.  Breakfast and dinner were included.

Speaking of YS, he started Jan Term classes yesterday.  He’s taking a Java class, so he’s going to learn to write applications for the web, cell phones, and game consoles. Then he just has two courses to complete this spring and he’ll be done.  Because he withdrew from his courses in the Fall, he forfeited 13,500 in tuition. 🙁  You don’t get financial aid if you’re part-time, so we get to cough up $5,000 to cover Spring tuition costs.  Ugh.  He’s going to have to take out a loan to pay for that.  Let’s hope he can get one with the economy the way it is.  If not, we’ll have to figure out how we’re going to afford it between him and us.  I’m trying not to think about that right now.

Time to get ready for work…  Happy New Year everyone.