Saturday, October 27, 2007

Now back to your regularly scheduled weight loss pattern...

Well, at least I had an idea it might be coming.

The fact that I lost weight for three weeks in a row was intoxicating stuff. Heady stuff. Stuff that had me optimistic and happy. But when I woke up this morning and could barely get my rings on, I knew my streak would come to an end.

Sure enough, got to my meeting, stepped on the scale and there it was. A nice, little, lovely 1-pound gain. Ugh.

Thankfully, the weigher didn't say anything, just noted my weight and sent me on my merry way. No offense to all the folks doing the weigh-ins across America, but a lot of us aren't chatty when that happens. I hate the "What happened?" question or the "You'll lose it next week" comment. In that split second, I'm upset. I don't want to talk about it. I want to take my papers, listen to my leader and start a new week.

Which is what I did. But part of me can't help but wonder what happened and why. The only difference from this week to last was that we eat out twice, instead of once. Okay, that's not bad. I didn't go over my points, but for the first time in this journey, I had to tap into eating activity points. I usually don't like to do that. And I won't again. Even though APs are designed to be eaten, for most of this journey, I haven't eaten them. The one week I did, I gained. I'm not going down that road again.

But that said, part of me seriously wonders if I've hurt my body with all the countless, unsuccessful efforts to lose weight. I've read in countless health magazines how bad yo-yo dieting is for the body. And I'm ashamed to say it, but I've been one of those yo-yo dieters.

I've been dieting as long as I can remember; I started my first serious weight loss effort when I was 14. Lost weight, gained it back. My next serious effort came in my early 20's, when I saw myself in a picture and didn't recognize who I was. Midway through that journey, Mr. CCC proposed and I had a new-found reason to stay on plan.

But about a month before the wedding, the stress of my job, of buying a home, of putting the final touches on the wedding plans got to me. I didn't have the motivation to count points, weigh my foods and go to meetings. So I stopped WW and didn't pick it up again until about a year after the wedding--when I'd gained about 25-30 pounds.

There were fruitless efforts there too. My mind wasn't right and I'd quit after a few weeks. Then I'd try again. Eventually, I ended up at Jenny Craig at my highest weight ever. But that too petered out after a few months and that brought me where I am now.

For the first time in my life, my head is in the right place. Save a few weeks here and there, I do have my mojo going. Yesterday, I didn't want to go to the gym. I was miserable, but I made myself go. When we ate out, I stayed within my points and passed up all the evil goodies my husband and parents were having.

I've traded my Starbucks for healthy, low-fat smoothies at Jamba Juice. I've traded my fast-food meals for healthier options. I want to do this, I want to put forth the effort, but my body seems to be resistant.

Has it finally gotten fed up? Have I finally blown my metabolism to smithereens? Is that why no matter what I do, my little "pattern" has shown up--two losses and a gain, two losses and a gain, now three losses and a again.

It's seriously sobering and maybe I have done my body wrong. Heaven knows I've certainly had plenty of nasty words for my body. Maybe my body now has a nasty message for me. I really don't know. But I am scared...scared that 15+ years of gaining and losing weight have taken their toll. Because on paper, everything should be going well.

For the first time in my life, I'm exercising consistently. I love sitting down on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, flipping through my cookbooks to look for healthy recipes for the week. I'm eating more veggies. I'm drinking more water.

You think my body would be happy that for once, I'm treating it well. But it just seems so determined to hang on to every ounce of fat it can.

I've said before I've felt this was going to be a long, hard fight. Nothing made that more evident than my weigh-in today. By all accounts, looking at the facts, I shouldn't have gained. But I did.

And that's what has me my body finally fed up with me? And if it is, do I have any hope of changing it?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Well, that's nice to know!

Two nights ago, I left work and dragged myself to the grocery store. It's funny. Before I was trying to eat healthy and make better choices, I loved doing groceries. Now, it's more of a weekly has to be done because we have to eat.

(Let's be honest--I know eating well is hugely important, but our grocery bill was also much cheaper before. And it requires a lot more time when you're reading nutritional labels instead of just tossing stuff in the cart. Hence why now groceries feels like a chore and not a fun outing.)

After about an hour of walking up and down the aisle, I headed to pay and noticed the woman standing in front of me in line--how could I not?

She was decked out in her workout gear. But it was the gear itself that made me smile...a leotard, leg warmers, a headband. It was very Flashdance and I had to take a look around to make sure I hadn't accidentally stepped back into 1982.

Of course it was still 2007 and it was her outfit that was dated, but hey--while it was dated, it was workout gear. Good for her for taking care of herself. She was a little older and as I started loading my groceries onto the belt behind her groceries, I noticed all the healthy things she was buying.

I kept thinking to myself, "Hey, this could be me in 30 good shape, with a cart full of healthy groceries." Because really--despite the neon pink legwarmers, it was clear this woman looked good.

Then she turned around and smiled and there was a moment of recognition on both ends--it was my WW leader!

I took a quick look at my cart, wondering what in there I didn't want her to see and then it hit me...I was proud of everything in the cart. Yogurt, low-fat milk, lean proteins, veggies. Even the few junk food snacks were of the 100-calorie variety. There wasn't a fatty item or a bottle of soda to be found anywhere.

Woo hoo!

We exchanged pleasantries, but as she walked away it popped into my mind. I know that losing weight and getting myself in better shape is a journey with no end point. And this little encounter proved it.

My WW leader obviously still has to work to maintain her weight. And she does. She exercises, she eats healthy foods. She's still working on it. And I'll be working on it all my life too.

I admit--the entire experience left me feeling encouraged. It was clear that my WW leader practices what she preaches. When she stands up there every Saturday morning and shares her story, she's not exaggerating. When she tells us she still exercises, she means it. When she says she indulges responsibly and makes healthier choices, she isn't kidding.

It's nice to know she really has fought the same battle and that even today, she continues fighting. It's a lot more than lip service for some!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quick! Look out your window!

Did you see a pig fly? Are your feet a little chilly?

Because something is seriously up with the universe...get this...for the first time since I started this journey, I lost weight for the third consecutive week.

Not kidding! At my weigh-in this past weekend, I actually lost 1.4 pounds, bringing my total to 32.4 pounds. Three straight weeks of weight loss? Surely, the universe must be turned upside down on its axis. Hades has frozen over. Seriously people--this is a rare moment!

Am I being overdramatic? Sure. But really, I have to be honest--not even when I STARTED this journey did I lose weight 3 weeks in a row. In fact, my second week on WW, I actually GAINED weight. So after two weeks of good losses, when I arrived at my meeting this weekend, I was fully prepared to see the scale go up.

I've accepted this process is going to be a lot slower than I'd hoped. And I've already discovered my body's little pattern when it comes to weight loss--I'll lose for two weeks, then gain the next. Then it's back to losing for two more weeks before the next gain. For the most part, this is what my journey has been like. At first it drove me bananas, but after sharing my frustration with my WW leader (and learning her body did the same), I've just come to accept this is the way it is. My body loves fat and doesn't want to let it go. Got it.

Knowing this, I'd mentally prepared myself for the worst. Even though I'd exercised, eaten well, and done what I was supposed to. Imagine my surprise when I looked up at the scale and saw the loss. I literally giggled. Out loud. Like a little kid.

I left with a spring in my step and then a familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I'm absolutely going to gain weight this week, aren't I? :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's just a number, right?

You'll never believe what I did the other day.

I told someone--actually, a few someones--what I weighed.

I know to some people this isn't a huge deal. I read so many of the great weight loss blogs out there and am just so impressed with the way some people are willing to put their number out there.

But me? I would rather share my social security number and bank account number than tell people what I weigh. Or worse--tell them what I weighed when I started this journey. Which is why what I did the other day surprised me so much.

My friends and I were talking (okay, more like chatting back and forth via email), and I'm not even sure how, but we got on the topic of weight loss. And before long, after dancing around just how much weight I needed to lose and what the ugly numbers were, I decided to stop dancing.

And I told my friends what I weighed. I told them how much I had weighed when I started. I told them how much weight I still had to lose. And I told them the most embarrassing stat of all--that once, I'd been successful at losing weight. That I'd dropped 60 pounds before I got married and gained it all back in the 3 years after that.

Now let's be honest--my friends have seen me. They've seen pictures. They know I'm not at the weight I was when I walked down the aisle, but the numbers themselves tell the story.

Moments after I hit send, I had a momentary thought of horror. Were my friends sitting at their computers, mouths agape, thinking to themselves, "Holy jeez! I know she was fat...but I didn't know she was THAT fat!?!?"

But before long, the emails picked up and get this--suddenly, my friends started spilling their weights. What they weighed when they got married. How much weight they gained during their pregnancies. How much weight they wanted to lose. What their lowest weights had been, what their highest weights had been.

And you know what--it felt good. Almost liberating. We were all encouraging each other; no one said anything bad about anyone else or their number. It was one of those moments you really think, "Wow. I am so lucky to have such amazing friends!"

So I felt good to say it the other day, maybe it'll feel as good to say it here.

When I started this journey I weighed more than I ever have in my entire life...255 pounds. Now, I'm at 224 pounds. I've still got a long way to go, but I realized its time I let those numbers stop haunting me the way they do.

Because when all is said and done, they're just numbers. There's no reason to hide them. They don't define me as a person. They don't say anything about the kind of wife I am, the kind of daughter I am, or the kind of friend I am.

They're just numbers. And I'm not going to be afraid of them anymore.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"It's for Paris. I'm on this new diet. It's very effective..."

To know me, is to know I absolutely love love love the movie The Devil Wears Prada. I can take or leave the book, but the movie...I can watch it for hours on end, quote it, and giggle every time.

One of my favorite scenes in the entire movie is when Andrea notices how much weight her coworker, Emily, has lost. Emily's response?

"It's for Paris. I'm on this new diet. It's very effective. Well, I don't eat anything and when I feel like I'm about to faint, I eat a piece of cheese. I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight."

It cracks me up every time...particularly because I don't doubt that this is what it's like for those who work in the fashion industry. Now, while I can't say I'm about to adopt Emily's radical eating plan (even though I do love cheese), I suddenly share her motivation.

Turns out that Mr. CCC and I will be ringing in the new year in you guessed it...Paris!

The words "ecstatic," "thrilled" and "can hardly wait" don't even come close to describing how I feel right now. In approximately 74 days, we'll be boarding an Air France flight and heading to the City of Lights.

And guess what? I don't want to look like a clumsy, fat American in the capital of fashion.

Shallow? Sure. I never said I was deep 100% of the time.

While Emily's character needs only one stomach flu to reach her goal weight, I'll need several full-blown attacks of dysentery to reach mine. But I do know that I can accomplish quite a bit in 74 days. So this past week, I kicked it into high gear.

My goal? To lose 15 pounds between now and the time I'm packing my suitcase. According to my WW meeting yesterday, I'm already on my way. I lost another 1.6 pounds, bringing me to my lowest weight in years. Hooray!

I've set this goal for myself for several other reasons too. Yes, looking good in Paris is one of them (I'm beyond tired of positioning myself behind Mr. CCC in vacation photos to hide fat), but I know the holidays are coming...Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas...if I don't set my mind right now and have a goal in mind, I could have a little disaster on my hands. Not going to happen.

Another reason? The Florida Girl that I am, I have never in my life needed to wear a coat. But I have always loved the glamour of a well-cut trench coat. They're just so fashionable. So chic. So glamorous. And after researching the weather in Paris in December I realized...I need a coat.

So what did I do? Bought myself a fabulous black, 3/4 length trench coat that makes me look tres chic.

The only drawback? While it cinches beautifully on my waist and buttons, it's a little tight on my chest. Once I'm wearing a sweater and some layers underneath said coat, there's a slight chance it won't close properly.

Unless I lose 15 pounds.

So there you have it...some women lose weight to fit in a bathing suit...I'm losing weight to fit into a coat. And to ring in 2008 looking as fabulous as possible!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Picadillo peccadillo

Like every good Cuban girl, I like my food starchy and greasy.

Which is why one of my grandmother's specialties--picadillo--is one of my absolute, all-time favorite meals. Basically, picadillo is seasoned ground beef. You sautee some onions, peppers with ground beef; toss in some dry cooking wine, tomato sauce, raisins, olives and capers and viola...after 30 minutes of simmering, you've got yummy meaty goodness.

Serve it atop some steamed rice and boy oh'll make CCC very, very happy.

Even though I've learned to make picadillo with some lower-fat ingredients (ground turkey anyone?), I have to admit. It just doesn't taste as good as the beef version.

Since joining WW, I've tried to limit my consumption of picadillo. Sure, I know I can have it and I know I can work it into my plan, but picadillo is a trigger food for me. For some reason or another, all that greasy goodness makes me lightheaded and I can't stop with one serving. So needless to say, I try not to enjoy it too often.

This quest was made even easier over the past few months because my beloved rice cooker (a staple in a Cuban girl's kitchen!) broke. I've been so busy running around I didn't have a chance to shop around for a new one.

But today, I woke up craving picadillo. I also had a coupon from Bed Bath and Beyond for 20% off a single item...and it expires in a day. Sooo...I bought us a new rice cooker. We needed one anyway. But I didn't need the other thing I bought--some super lean ground beef.

As I cooked, the intoxicating smell filled the condo. My mouth started watering. I couldn't wait for Mr. CCC to get home so I could sit down and eat my yummy yummy meal. Sure, I knew I'd go over my points for the day, but hey--that's what flex points were for. As long as I weighed everything out, I'd be fine.

All went according to plan. Sat down with Mr. CCC for dinner, and yes, my picadillo was as good as I remembered. The new rice cooker made the rice so fluffy and perfect, with every bite, I felt like I'd just discovered heaven.

I enjoyed every bite and sat there satisfied...knowing I'd counted my incredible dinner and wouldn't indulge again for a few weeks. But as soon as I cleared the plates and went to the kitchen I was smacked in the face with reality, also known as....LEFTOVERS! EEP!

There was still a good cup and a half of rice left. Maybe about another cup and a half of picadillo. I grabbed some containers from the cabinet and began shoveling the leftovers Mr. CCC could have it for lunch of course.

But just looked so good and it was still so warm. So I took another bite. And another. And another.

As I shoved every spoonful into my mouth, I asked myself, "Why are you doing this? Standing alone in the kitchen, hiding from Mr. CCC? You know if you really wanted more, you'd serve yourself and go back to the table. But you won't DO that, because then Mr. CCC will know you served yourself AGAIN. And you know, don't have all the points for this extra food. What the heck are you doing this for????"

But it didn't matter. I. kept. eating.

I finally made myself stop and thankfully, there was still quite enough for Mr. CCC's lunch. My stomach felt so bloated and full and was just in a general state of "ugh" that I felt not only guilty, but physically sick.


I'm not going to waste any more time being upset over this incident. I counted the (extra) points for my little kitchen "incident" and have a workout planned tomorrow morning that will help me move forward. But I did learn my lesson.

I still am not ready to have picadillo. It goes into the pile with my other trigger foods--chocolate chip cookies, cookie dough, and pizza. At this point in my journey, I just can't eat those foods in the portions they should be eaten.

So for a while, picadillo, you and I must part ways.

I'm going to blame this whole episode on the new rice cooker. Seriously. I can't eat picadillo without rice and the only acceptable way to make rice in my kitchen is in a rice cooker. So had I not bought the rice cooker...this would never, ever have happened! :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Moving forward...and gaining puppy perspective

In case you couldn't tell by my last post, it's been a rough go lately.

My head hasn't been in it.

My heart hasn't been in it.

I'll be honest--if I hadn't purchased a 10-week membership at WW, last week would have probably been the time I quit. That means I would've gained back all the weight I lost (and possibly more), and the cycle would have begun all over again.

But I haven't quit. It's been hard, it's been trying, but thanks to some inspiration, I've been able to fake motivation for the past few days ;) I got some good advice that I took to heart...and while my schedule means I basically read a page a day before I fall asleep from sheer exhaustion, I purchased the Dr. Phil book a few of you mentioned.

And it's right on...if I'm going to change my body, my habits, my health--I'm going to have to change my mind. Permanently.

So yesterday, not having any idea what to expect, I went to my WW meeting and faced the scale. After blowing through my flex points over the weekend and scrambling for any points I could scrounge up during the week, I knew I'd had more food than I should have. I also knew I hadn't worked out the way I wanted.

I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable gain (which would have been three weeks in a row, GULP!) but it didn't come. Instead, I lost the weight I'd gained over the past two weeks and hit my lowest point on this journey so far. Whew!

And when I sat down for the meeting, I tried to open my mind to what was being said. The topic of the week? Quitting. Or better yet--not quitting, even when it gets hard.

Ha! Divine intervention anyone? Perfect timing for me. Perfect timing.

Got lots of good advice, but the one thing that stuck out at me involved again--changing my mindset. When I confessed I'd considered quitting, my leader asked, "Quitting what? You're not on a diet. You're following a healthy eating plan. You're changing your life for the better. What is there to quit?"

Touche, master WW leader. You're right.

For the past few weeks, I've let myself be my worst enemy. I've let self-doubt take over. I've let frustration seep in. And slowly, I'm pulling myself out of that rut. No more blowing it on weekends. A little more planning and sacrificing of my time....since my beloved evening workouts aren't a possibility anymore, it's time to get up early and get it done in the morning.

It's up to me to change my mind and how I look at this journey I'm on. I'm changing it right now.

I got another dose of perspective late this week that reminded me yesterday how far I've come.

About a month ago, my parents adopted an adorable little puppy from the Humane Society. After much thought, much discussion and much whining (from me, I admit it), my parents realized their house just didn't feel like home without a dog. Since losing Dobie, we lost the happiness of having a four-legged friend run to meet you at the door. We lost the sweetness of a gentle nudge and a puppy kiss. We missed those things so much we decided to bring a new dog into our lives.

Oso is a German Shepherd mix who looks like a little teddy bear. But in the month we've had him, he's grown quickly. Not much of a little dog anymore. The other day, I volunteered to take him for a walk. I figured since I hadn't worked out, a nice stroll around the neighborhood would give me some activity points for the day. I set out with Oso, a bottle of water and a plan to walk for at least 40 minutes.

Call me naive.

Oso, who hasn't really had a walk that long yet in his little life, looked at me after about 20 minutes and sat in a shady spot. No amount of coaxing, water or treat would get him to continue. And I was 20 minutes from home.

I had two options--I could call home and have someone come pick us up or I could pick Oso up and carry him home.

I went with option two.

It was exhausting and I had to stop several times, put him down and take a breather. When we'd brought Oso home from the shelter, he weighed six pounds. As I trudged home with his furry little body pressed against mine, I knew that number was long gone.

Sure enough, I got home, put him on the scale and took a look..."little" Oso weighed 15 pounts. As I wiped my sweaty forehead it hit me...

I've lost two Osos.

When I carried him home for those last 20 minutes, I was miserable. He was heavy. With every step in the hot Florida sun, I swore internally that dog weighed a ton. And a year ago---I carried twice his weight on my body.

Talk about perspective. Yes, it's taken me longer than I would have liked to lose the weight, but it's happened nonetheless.

The whole episode--along with the inspiration I've found this week--have kept me going.

As for "little" Oso, the vets tell us he could get to be anywhere between 70 and 80 pounds. For every pound I lose, he's gaining.

I can't wait to get to the point where I can say I've lost a full-grown Oso...dare to dream, dare to dream. And despite the increasing body weight, I've got to say, I still love that I can pick him up and cuddle our little boy. Before long, he'll be much too big to carry home.

Monday, October 1, 2007

October's here...and I am not.

I've tried looking under the couch. Under the seats of my car. In the abandoned drawers in my desk. I've looked in the closet, under the bed, but really, my motivation seems to be missing in action.

Life continues kicking my arse all over town. Work stress. Family stress. The fact that no matter what I do, I am always running late. I'm staying up until all hours of the day, barely finding time to eat and when I do have time to eat...the words "not pretty" aren't descriptive enough.

In the past week...let's see...I had a day where I didn't journal. At all. Okay, let me stop lying. It was two days. There was another day I ate two chocolate chip cookies for breakfast (the bright side: at least it wasn't more). Even my workouts--which have been to this point a stress relief--are killing me. Last week, I dragged myself to the gym, despite the fact I didn't want to be there.

I gave myself the same old pep talk I've always given myself--if you don't want to be here after 20 minutes, go home.

Every time I've said that to myself guess what's happened--I've stayed on the treadmill or the elliptical machine and left feeling proud of myself. This past week the 20 minutes came, I was miserable. I went home.

As I was driving home, that was the night I had to stop and ask myself what I was doing and why. I'm getting into the danger zone here and I need to snap myself out of it. The thing is--I don't know how.

The fact I haven't lost weight in two weeks is killing me. I know it's not about the scale. I know it's not about numbers. I know there are good things happening. But mentally, for me, not seeing the number go down was draining. I talked a good game and for a while, I even believed it. But then the doubt crept in and the devil sitting on my shoulder just wouldn't shut up.

"You've worked so hard and you've only lost 30 pounds this year. Everyone else around you is hitting their goal weight. You're just a fat failure."

"Oh, come on. You don't need to work out today. You exercised yesterday. You can take a day off."

"You're working late every night this week. You're not going to be able to make a WW meeting for a few days. Go ahead and share the ribs with the hubby. By the time your weigh-in rolls around, you'll have burnt it off." (This one was funny, yet incredibly believable!)

"Hey, the first time you did WW, you lost weight like there was no tomorrow. And back then, you weren't even exercising. You're obviously just not doing it right this time."

"Look, you've been fat since the day you were born. Maybe it's time you just accept that's what you're supposed to be...fat."

I haven't shared these feelings with anyone. Not Mr. CCC. Not my incredibly supportive friends. Not the readers of my blog and for a long time--I didn't even want to admit them to myself.

It's part of the reason I haven't blogged for so long...I'm fighting an internal battle and as always, I'm trying to do it myself. And I can't. I go back and forth between wanting to continue what I'm doing and stuffing myself silly with cupcakes, french fries and nachos.

What's so maddening and frustrating about it is...I may not notice something is happening, but others do. Yesterday for example, my mom (one of my life-long weight critics) looked at me and said, "Did you lose more weight? You look great!" and today, one of my coworkers (who knew I was trying to drop some pounds) asked, "Can I be so bold as to ask how much weight you've lost? You look terrific."

If they believe it, why can't I? Why am I putting so much stock in a number? Why does a scale--even one I only visit just once a week--still have so much power over me?

I feel like some sort of weight loss fraud right now. I know all the positives, I'm just not seeing them. I'm not feeling them and my motivation is gone.

Right now, I'm just operating on the assumption that I have to do this...or I'm going to kill myself with food. (I never denied being overdramatic!) I need to do this or I won't grow old and raise great-grandbabies with Mr. CCC one day. I need to do this or I'll be the sad fat woman that you see using a motorized cart to do the most basic of errands.

There is proof all around me that I need to eat healthy and I need to exercise, but I just can't get my head around it at all.

And I need to be know someone else has done this--at a turtle's pace--because that's what it feels like right now. The good thing is, I believe in inspiration so I'm off to take a look.