Category Archives: Thought Patterns

What’s going on in my head

You Take It On The Run, Baby

That thing in your kitchen or dining room, is it: A) a dining table? B) a desk? C) a filing cabinet? or D) all of the above?  I had to go with mostly B for my answer.

We eat at our desks, in our cars, over the sink, in front of the television, at the computer and generally everywhere else but at the table.  Even when we cook it ourselves, mealtime is something we blow through rather than something we enjoy.  Since HOW I ate was nearly as important as WHAT I ate, I found it crucial during my lifestyle change to make a HUGE shift in this habit.  Here are some things I did (and do) to help me get a handle on how I ate:

  • Beautiful outdoor table settingI eat most of my meals at the table.  This lets me concentrate on my food and on my dining companion.  If I’m eating alone, I am able to just appreciate my food, making the meal feel more like an event and less like a footnote.
  • I eat on a plate – a real one that has to be washed and everything.  I use metal cutlery and glass drink containers, even at work. Although my office supplies plastic cutlery and disposable plates, I bought an inexpensive set of cutlery, a glass plate and a glass bowl from Target. In total, I spent about six dollars and it was worth every penny.  My colorful salads look pretty on the plate and it feels like I’m eating a real meal.  The glass plate is also a little smaller than a standard plate; so, my portions can be a little smaller while appearing large. (Plus, I’m not throwing plastic and styrofoam into the waste system!)
  • I try to make my meals look appealing with lots of color and texture, as well as flavor. Use red bell peppers instead of green, or Swiss chard instead of spinach sometimes for a pop of color. Add a couple of crushed almonds, walnuts or a few chunks of apple to your salad for some crunch.
  • I eat slowly, chewing each bite and enjoying the different tastes and textures.  This is important so that my stomach has enough time to communicate with my brain, telling me that I’m full.
  • I experiment with new foods, new herbs, spices and preparation techniques.  I also use stronger flavors like cumin, red pepper, white pepper, garlic, cilantro, dark chocolate, etc.  A little feta or goat cheese on my salad adds a nice kick to those greens!  Those flavors wake up my taste buds and let them know we are having a treat! (If you do this, your coworkers will likely want you to keep a toothbrush, some toothpaste, mouthwash and sugar-free mint gum at your desk, too!  If you don’t much like those coworkers, skip the minty fresh and go double time on the goat cheese. The area of office space available for your exclusive use with increase proportionally.)

Food satisfies an appetite.  If you don’t enjoy the aromas, flavors, colors, and textures, you’re cheating yourself  out of three-quarters of the experience!  That email can wait.  Angry Birds will still be there after lunch.  There’s very little really worth watching on prime-time TV, anyway. Take those 20 or 30 minutes of mealtime to reconnect with your family, your friends, your food and your body. It will be the most enjoyable time of your day.

When You Are Your Own Black Knight

Of course, one of my favorite movies is Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  And, of course, one of my favorite scenes is when the Black Knight stands at the bridge and declares, “None shall pass!”  About 30 pounds into my weight loss, I realized that I was my own Black Knight.

I was looking for a pair of warm-up pants.  I had bought the whole suit on sale some months before and, while I could locate the jacket, I couldn’t find the pants anywhere.  They had always been too tight and I had never warn them.  Finally, I remembered that I had donated them to Goodwill because I thought I’d never be able to wear them.  Slam on the brakes.  I thought I’d never be able to wear them. I did – no one else, just me.

The truth is, no one else thought that much about my weight.  I’m just not that important in their worlds.  That’s not to say that I don’t have friends and family who love me – I do.  But, none of them were wringing their hands over the fact that I was obese.  Certainly, none of them were losing sleep thinking that I was unable to lose weight.  I’d be willing to bet that it never even occurred to them that I was unable to lose weight. I was the one who thought that.  I was the one who didn’t believe in myself.  I was the one standing in my own way, denying passage.

How sad is that?

black knightSo, the biggest challenge wasn’t necessarily cutting calories or making good food choices.  The biggest challenge was vanquishing the Black Knight.  And, to be honest, it’s a challenge I still deal with at least a little bit each day.  The way to win is not with one swift thrust from The Blade of Logic.  Like King Arthur, I had to strike multiple times – disarming, then, um, dislegging my own Belief Black Knight.  And, like the knight in the movie, even without arms and legs, the demon still threatens to bite my knee caps.  He’s never completely gone, but he’s not nearly as fearsome as he was two years and all those pounds ago.

And for those external Black Knights?  I quote the crazy-talented Pavel Datsyuk: “There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t. What you have got to do is turn around and say, ‘watch me’!'”

So, to both my internal and external Black Knights, I say with all due respect (which is to say very little), “Watch me!”

Monday Morning…um….Yellows

Yellow-LightConfession.  Last Monday, I wasn’t annoyed that the scales showed no weight loss.  I was annoyed because they showed a seven pound gain!  I knew that wasn’t valid; however, I was still all kinds of irritated.  If you’ll notice, as of today, 22 April 2013, the weight loss counter shows a total loss of only six pounds.  So, yes, last Monday, the scales showed that for all of my efforts, I had gained a pound.

This morning, the scales show me back down at the six pound total loss.  I promise that from this point forward, I will be 100% honest with you about the scale results.  I didn’t want to do that last week, however, because I knew that the numbers were flawed and I knew that if I pushed through, they would correct.  However, if you are just starting your weight loss journey, that kind of information could just torpedo the whole project right there – or, at least, it would have for me in times past.

So, I’m back to square two, and that’s not such a bad place to be.  The momentum is heading in the right direction and the things I did last week worked; so, I will continue doing those this week:

  1. I drank LOTS of water – in the form of water or coffee, I drank at least 8 pints a day.
  2. I kept my wheat portions down to no more than two in the whole week.  I satisfied my grain needs with steel cut oats.  This week, I will add a little brown rice.
  3. I ate no more than two fruit servings per day.
  4. I got in at least four hours of exercise this week that included five days. I’ll be honest, a couple of those days were kind of phone-in efforts.  This week, I add that I will get in four hours of exercise that include me getting sweaty and include at least five days.

As ever for those of us with chronic, self-esteem related weight issues, the keys are:

  1. modify my behavior.  To get different results, I must do different things.
  2. (and this is most important) DO NOT ALLOW OLD, NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERNS TO DEFEAT ME.  

I will continue to be my own best friend and defender rather than my own worst enemy.

Baby Steps Count

When I first started losing weight, I can’t tell you how many people lamented that they, too, would lose weight if only they could exercise.  My thought was that unless you are a quadriplegic, you can. Then, I injured my knee.

I couldn’t exercise in the ways I had been and in the ways I wanted; so, I pretty much just stopped. I pouted, threw a little pity party complete with cake and ice cream….and elastic waistbands until I forgot how I started.

I walked the dogs.

So, you can’t run a marathon.  Walk.  So, you can’t walk far.  Walk a little and build up. You can’t walk fast.  Walk slowly. Walk the dogs. Park further from the grocery store door. Eventually, take the stairs instead of the elevator.  You don’t have to be able to climb Everest today.  It will wait while you work up to it!

I have a friend whose knees are in such hideous shape that even thinking about how they grind and pop makes me shiver.  She can swim. She can do leg lifts.  She can lift weights with her arms. She can still move.

Remember how when we were children we ran everywhere just because we could? We experienced the joy of movement! Find something that lets you feel that joy again. I felt it yesterday just walking from my office to the nearby grocery store.  I felt my muscles waking, stretching, and contracting as they corrected my balance and allowed me to move.  Our bodies are truly wondrous machines!

Heather blossoms
Heather blossoms

After work, the pups and I went to the park and had a nice, long walk like we used to. We felt the warm sun and the cool breeze. We smelled the perfume of the flowering trees.  They spotted a deer and tried to go befriend it (I’m sure that’s what they had in mind). They loved it. I loved it.

It’s a beautiful time of year to start – to remember the joy of moving and the wonder of Spring. It may be a little cliché to say that we should let the season remind us of our own potential, new beginnings and growth; but, why waste a good cliché?  Let’s use it! Let’s start again.

Monday Morning Blues

Treble clef bike stand in NashvilleSo, I weighed in this morning expecting at least a pound lost and….no. Nada. Nothing. C’mon!  As long as I’ve been doing this and as many real causes as my mind can give, this still frustrates me, particularly at 5 AM.

I’ve run into this several times during this last couple of years.  Here are some possible culprits:

  1. The fact that I’m a woman in child-bearing years.  Girls, you know what I’m talking about.  Did you know that we can retain as much as nearly five pounds of water? I feel like a camel.
  2. Too much wheat.  My first week at my new job saw me eating about 10 meals of Cheerios and a couple of meals that involved mini bagels.  While my calorie counts were okay, too many of those calories were supplied by wheat.  I don’t know if all the studies are valid; so, I don’t know that wheat causes weight gain.  I just know that, for me, too much wheat makes me feel bloated.
  3. Too much fruit. When I first switched my food choices and when I’ve had to pull myself back onto the wagon, I found that eating a lot of fruit during those first weeks was really helpful with cravings.  I had quite a bit of refined sugar in my diet, which just wreaks havoc with my blood sugar.  To help me stay with healthful food choices, I replaced the refined sugars with fruit, then decreased the amount of fruit to cut overall sugar consumption.  It’s time for me to cut my fruit consumption down to two servings a day.  I’ve seen diet plans that recommend that you not eat apples.  Apples are actually VERY helpful for me.  They are sweet, colorful, crunchy, and full of both fiber and flavor; so, they satisfy my appetite in several ways.  You just have to try it for yourself and see how your body does with them.
  4. No enough exercise.  I have pretty much been wiped out when I get home at night and have not been getting any movement in.  That simply won’t do. For my weight, for my heart, for my muscles, for my bones – I must exercise.

So, what are my solutions and goals for this week?

  1. Nothing much I can do about that whole girl thing but wait it out and drink a lot of water to keep my system flushing.
  2. I have to reduce my wheat intake. This week, I will have no more than two servings of wheat.  I will satisfy my grain requirements with oats, brown rice and quinoa.
  3. I will have no more than two fruit servings per day.
  4. I will get in at least four hours of exercise this week that will include at least five days.

If we are connected on MyFitnessPal, you can hold me accountable for my exercise – and I EXPECT YOU TO! If you don’t see me moving during the week, send me a little nudge.  If we are not connected on MyFitnessPal, why aren’t we? Connect with me and let me know your goals and how you’re doing. Let’s help each other.

The keys to breaking through this stall are:

  1. modify my behavior.  To get different results, I must do different things.
  2. (and this is most important) DO NOT ALLOW OLD, NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERNS TO DEFEAT ME.  

I have been my own worst enemy.  It is long past time I became my own best friend and defender.

Nutrition and the Forty Hour Work Week

Until last week, I was unemployed for a few months.  During that time, I was shocked to discover how quickly I fell out of rhythm with the rest of the world.  It was so simple to go to bed a little later, sleep a little longer, take a quick nap after I got all caught up on Castle, NCIS, Property Brothers and  The Mentalist.  I was sedentary.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and how much I wanted.  I gained weight.

Last week, I started not only a new job, but also a new career.  I’ve gone from aviation to financial services and I am loving it.  I’m working with a tremendous group of professionals who are constantly training and helping me.

Clock made wih food

I have also gone from spending most of my time alone to spending at least nine hours a day with other people.  I’ve gone from an industry I knew a great deal about to one that is full of new concepts, new laws, new products and new opportunities.  At the end of a full day of interacting and learning, I’ve got to admit, I’m exhausted.

I take my lunch and my morning and afternoon snacks to work with me.  Those meals are well thought-out and balanced.  It’s the others that are falling between the cracks.

I have eaten an embarrassing volume of Cheerios this week.  More often than not, both breakfast and dinner have been cereal with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  Evening snack is a stick of string cheese.  While I’m not killing my calorie count with this, I’m not helping my body.  I’m not giving it the fuel it needs to operate efficiently and healthfully.  And, isn’t that what this is about?  Getting healthy?  Giving my body what it needs so that I can live a longer, healthier life?  Yep.  The last time I checked, that was the ultimate mission.

To help me resolve this nutritional short-fall and to pluck out a bad habit before it takes root, I have been working on a menu for next week.  I will share that with you on Saturday.  For this menu, I’ll be breaking it down to seven breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as 21 snacks.  I’m not going to plan them out day by day this time.  To get it all really balanced, I’ll have to do that in the future, but if I wait to do anything until I can do that, it’ll be weeks.  So, since even baby steps in the right direction are progress, this will be my first baby step: a week’s worth of mix and match meals.

I know that the planning will be very helpful for me and I hope it will be helpful for you, as well.  Will it be?

Putting My Back Into It

I have either had or believed I had a weight problem most of my life.  I have lost weight and found it all again; but, most of the time, I’ve just wished I could lose weight or (at least) said that I wanted to.  I haven’t REALLY done much about it other than to lose and gain the same ten pounds about a hundred times.  If there were a Frequent Loser instead of a Biggest Loser, I’d be the Grand Champion!  Several people have asked me what made this difference this time.  What made me stick with it?  What made it work?

I would soooo love to give you some fantastic formula. (Oh, who am I kidding? I’d love to SELL you some fantastic formula!) But I just don’t have one.  The truth is – I don’t know.

Maybe it was realizing that I am approaching menopause when weight loss will be more difficult.  Maybe it was realizing that the health risks associated with obesity weren’t just risks anymore, but were becoming real and showing up in my blood pressure. Maybe it was wanting to meet my grandchildren someday. Maybe it was losing those first 20 pounds so quickly.  Maybe it was some combination.  I don’t know.

Chain GangAs a senior in college, I spoke with a professor when I was thinking about attending law school. “Doty, ” he said, “you’ll fail.  And when you do, you’ll be devastated. You’ll fail not because you’re not smart enough, but because you don’t want it enough.”

He was right.  It wasn’t important enough for me to put my back into it.  I didn’t want it enough to give it everything I had.  I would have failed.  If I had wanted it badly enough, his words wouldn’t have stopped me – but they did.

Maybe, the answer for why the lifestyle change worked this time is just that simple.  Maybe I didn’t want it enough before.

Maybe this time, I wanted comfort, health, and possible grandchildren more than I wanted Phish Food.  Maybe this time I believed it was the worth the effort to save my own life.

Maybe this time, I valued myself enough to put my back into it.