Tag Archives: Weight loss

Two Days Later….

Well, good morning, friends! It’s two days since I truly recommitted myself to taking care of my nutritional needs. As a by-product, of course, I’ll be shedding these pesky 20 pounds; but, the main goal here is to get back to eating healthfully, in a way that gives my body what it needs to be its best.

Using my old profile, I have started a new program on LoseIt! and it tells me that I should reach my goal in the middle of June – perfect for bathing suit weather! I entered my current weight into the program, along with my goal weight and the amount of weight I want to lose each week. It gave me a calorie budget to get to that goal. Right now, that budget is 1350 calories per day. However, as I lose weight, that number will decrease to keep me on track. Here’s the thing I have to remember, though: although my daily calorie budget will eventually be under 1200, I must eat at least that many calories each day to allow my body to function properly. If I dip below that, weight loss will slow. I will feel tired all the time. I will feel cold all that time. This is the voice of experience saying that weight loss dieters need to eat those 1200 to stay healthy. As I get further into the program and my calorie budget drops, I will have to ensure that I am exercising enough to stay within it.

For the last two days, I’ve been within that budget – yesterday, well within it. There are several different tasks I may be assigned any given night at work. Last night, I was given the most physically taxing one. I calculate that I walked anywhere from 13 to 15 miles over the course of my ten-hour shift. (And, honey, my bones are feeling every. single. step. right now.) Like exercise does, my long walk has left me hungry this morning. So, when I got home, I had a little 100 calorie snack because I don’t want to eat anything super caloric right before I go to bed.

Okay, scratch that.

I do want to eat something super caloric – like, say, oh a few chocolate glazed doughnuts from The Doughnut Palace – but, I’m not going to do that. So, yeah, I’d be lying through my teeth if I said that I’m not willing to sell a kidney for pastries right now. Indulging myself just wouldn’t be the smart thing for me to do since all of those calories would immediately go into storage. Likely on my thighs. And I’m into cleaning that storage unit out, not adding to it!

So, I’m going to drink a nice cup of herbal tea, brush my teeth and go give my body the rest that it needs.

(Psst! If you’re O+ and need a kidney, call me later!)

Big Trucks and Big Trunks

My friend David drives a big truck. One of his frustrations with drivers of cars is that they whip in front of him, leaving little room for him to stop if he needs to. The legal weight of a tractor trailer (without additional permits) is 80,000 pounds or 40 tons. Compare that to the average car which weighs around 5,000 pounds or 2.5 tons. It doesn’t take a physicist to figure out that it take a lot more time and space to stop that tractor trailer than it does to stop a car. Momentum and inertia are just HUGE.

Those same physical forces are pretty huge in the mind of a healthy eater, as well.

Now, stop it! I heard you say, “Oh, c’mon, Goddess! You’re really reaching now.” Okay, so first, thanks for finally addressing me properly. 🙂 And second, no – no, I’m not. Follow me here.

Your 30th high school class reunion is in October – like mine will be next year (yikes!). In late August, you realize that you’ve been to a few too many barbecues over the summer and popped the top on a few too many cold ones. You have 15 pounds to lose to be where you want to be for the celebration. You realize this, of course, just after you’ve polished off a slab of ribs, a generous scoop of potato salad and two helpings of Aunt Sally’s banana pudding. You start your reducing diet the next morning. You eat nothing but twigs and grass; but, after Day Five, you see no difference in either the numbers on the scale or the dunlap disease you’ve got going on with your blue jeans. (Dunlap disease. Remember that? It’s when your stomach has done lapped over your pants.) You get frustrated. Sound familiar?

Well, honey, your momentum was going up on the scales. Your semi was all loaded up with all those carbs that your body still had to store before it could get to using those stores. It took a while for that bad boy to come to a stop. You’ve got to stop the big truck before you can start unloading the big trunk, you see.

That’s both pretty simple and pretty self-evident. But. I still get frustrated by the delay. Like every. single. time. It’s important to remember that our bodies neither stop nor turn on a dime. We have to give them time to adjust to things. So, although I’ve corrected my over-snacking and poor food choices, I won’t see a difference in my pants for a week or two. I have to allow myself to be human and not a quick weight loss advertisement with all of its smoke, mirrors and gimmicks. I have to let my body to use (and maybe even continue to store) the extra calories I ate recently. I know that eventually, it will run out of the excess and it will start working on the stored energy that is making my jeans tight.

I have to have patience for the process and not let my efforts get jackknifed by the lack of immediate results.

A Committed Five Minutes

Yesterday, my sister told me about a coworker of hers who is so overweight that the weight is really beginning to affect her health. Her health issues have gotten the lady’s attention and she’s ready to make some changes. She has a stationary bike and has committed to ride it for five minutes in the evenings.

Just five minutes.

bike wheel clockIt’s easy to discount that as “no more than five minutes,” but, if you are or have ever been profoundly overweight, you know that it means “I can make it for five minutes. I can do this.” And that is truly how it starts. I’ve said it before (but I think it bears repeating) that many of us think that we have to start an exercise program going all out. I’ve got to run a marathon within the week, after all, no pain no gain, right?


To begin with, I really did just walk my dogs. I added little accidental exercises throughout the day like parking further from the door or taking my shopping cart all the way back inside the store. Pennies make dollars. Steps make miles and ounces make pounds. The longest journey really does begin with a single step, or, in this case, five minutes on the bike. I am so excited for this lady! She will begin adding minutes before she knows it. She’ll start pushing herself as she sees that it takes longer for her to be out of breath. She’ll celebrate every additional second that she is able to last on the bike.

She’s also beginning to look at her food a different way. After lunch one day, my sister commented to the lady – we’ll call her Willa (like I willa do it) – about her lunch. Willa had eaten a grilled cheese sandwich and french fries. My sister pointed out that while the meal had been filling, there hadn’t been much nutritional substance to it. Willa had fed her body oils and carbohydrates with just the teensiest bit of calcium and protein hidden away in there. They started talking about nutritionally dense options, which makes “dieting”so much easier. At least my sister and I think so, meaning that 100% of Doty girls surveyed agreed – a HUGE margin!

It’s just like when I was a lifeguard. We were taught that after blowing the whistle to get a swimmer’s attention, give them a positive action since they typically hear only the last word you say. For instance, if a kid was running, rather than shouting “don’t run!” I yelled “walk!” The word told them what they could do rather than what they couldn’t. It seemed to work well with the water-logged kiddies and it works just as well with sugar-addicted goddesses.

So, join me in celebrating Willa’s baby steps towards better health and let’s stop focusing on restrictions that make us feel deprived and, instead, focus on freedoms that make us feel more empowered.

How Could I Not Have Known?

My son recently celebrated his 21st birthday. All week long on Facebook, I posted photos of him growing up, although I refrained from posting any that might embarrass him. Oh! Like that adorable one when he….. well. He is going to choose my nursing home; so, I’ll just keep all that to myself.  In looking through photos and deciding what to post, I revisited our trip to Chicago in 2010. The one I posted at the top of the page is one of my favorites. My dad and my son go221509_10150159896253197_6369362_oofing with the dinosaur sculpture outside the Field Museum. My two best guys! I also ran across a few of me with my dad standing in front of Lake Michigan. Oh, my.

Yep, the one on the right there. That’s the one that really caught my attention. My waist’s circumference was greater than my shoulders’.  (The word “circumference” should be used in describing planetary bodies, not human ones. When that’s the best word to describe a waist, there’s a problem.) Those pants I was wearing there were actually a little bit too big; so, I thought they were flattering. Not so much. But you want to know something? I didn’t truly know that I was that big.

How is that even possible? Well, it’s the frog in the pot.

You know that analogy: you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water and he’ll jump out. But, if you put him in a pot of cool water, then set it to boil, he’ll stay in it until he’s cooked. I got cooked.

I wasn’t a thin woman who woke up obese one morning; it wasn’t some adipose tissue / Kafka thing. I was heavy as a child, not really super chubby, but dense. So, the word “heavy” was used a lot. I thought that meant fat. So, I thought I was fat even before I was. The first diet I remember being on was in second grade. All my life, I didn’t lose weight as much as misplace it for awhile. I surely found every pound again – with friends! Somewhere in all that yo-yoing, my mental picture of my physical self got stuck at about a size 14. I was a solid size 20 in this photo.  I had no idea how big I was.

And that is still a challenge.

I’m now a size 6 (or 8 or 10, depending on the garment and the maker) and I still don’t know what I size I am. But I’m not so worried about it anymore. As you know, when I started the whole juicing thing, it was to lose those last 10 pesky pounds. I can honestly tell you that it’s not about that anymore. It’s about getting wholesome food into my body. More than ever, it is about being healthy.

That much I do know.


More Than One Way to Get There

Ancient_Roman_road_of_Tall_AqibrinIn the Roman Empire, it was said that all roads led to Rome and, I guess, it was true since the Romans built all the paved roads.  If you build all the roads, you get to make up all the sayings about them. In the case of resolutions – whether new year’s, new Monday or post pig-out, I think that most roads lead to weight loss – or have the goal of it, anyway.

But there are lots of roads to get to that destination.

On Facebook, a friend posted a photo of herself holding a dress she wore when she was about 200 pounds heavier. In the text she posted with the photo, she said something about the gastric bypass surgery she had and how many people view that as taking the “easy” way out. Anyone who thinks that there is any easy way to lose 200 pounds is, not to put too fine a point on it, an idiot.

As I’ve said over and over in this blog, I share some of my own experiences losing weight, and the foods and habits that helped me do it. However, there are many different ways to lose weight effectively and healthfully. I constantly stress healthfully because for every solid program out there, there are three or four completely cockamamie ones. I’ve tried a few of them with limited positive results and a litany of negative experiences. Seriously, who wants to smell like vinegar all the time? So, again, as long as you lose weight in a healthful way, I say:

Go with what works for you!

For the seriously obese, gastric bypass or lap bands may be the only options that save their lives.  Even with the surgery, diet and exercise must be altered to incorporate healthful habits or the weight loss will never be permanent. I know of a few gastric bypass patients who have gained all of the weight back because they didn’t incorporate the changes.  The same thing is true for packaged food diets. If you don’t incorporate good food choices, portion control and exercise into your lifestyle, the weight loss will be only temporary.

Making those sorts of sweeping changes for maintenance is not easy, regardless of the method one used to achieve the initial weight loss.

Any real weight loss or healthful living program takes commitment, diligence, consistency and time. Let’s not forget about time. After all, neither Rome nor her roads were built in a day.

‘Tis the Season

…the fundraising season, that is.

School is back in session and you know what that means! Yep. Cookie dough, popcorn, doughnut, candy and cookie sales. This weekend at the grocery store, I was approached by the cutest little con man to ever wear a Cub Scout uniform. In no time at all, he had separated me from my money and I was the proud  owner of a bag of caramel corn – premium caramel corn, no less. With pecans, almonds and stuff. As I walked away from the adorable huckster with the bag of popcorn coated with more refined sugar than I’ve eaten in two months, I lamented that I didn’t just give him five bucks and run like hell.

That’s what I do for the Girl Scouts. I give them money for their troops, but I don’t take the cookies. As I mentioned some time ago, I cannot be trusted with a box of Tagalongs; so, I make a donation directly to the troop instead. Normally, the troop gets some piddling little percentage of the sale. If I give them a five, they get 100% of that five and I don’t end up with tight pants. Plus, my five amounts to a whole lot more than they’d get from me buying three or ten boxes of cookies. Did I say ten? I meant four. Three or four boxes of cookies.

school-fundraisersPTA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Band, Science Club, you name it – everyone seems to be raising money for something and they all seem to be selling refined sugar to do it. Whatever happened to selling candles and wrapping paper? I suppose fundraising is easier to do year over year if you sell something quickly consumed and we consume sugar a whole lot faster than we do candles and wrapping paper. In fact, until Katrina, I think I may have had wrapping paper I’d bought from a coworker’s child ten years before! Hey, it was pretty and I bought a lot. But, I just proved my own point. There’s no way on earth I’d have ten year old World’s Finest Chocolate covered almonds. It’s a minor miracle if I have ten minute old World’s Finest Chocolate covered almonds.

I truly sympathize with the clubs and organizations that have to raise funds. My mother was the leader of my sister’s Girl Scout troop from the time they were Brownies until they graduated from high school. Everything they did, I did. Plus, I was a member of a troop of girls my own age. I was a cookie seller times two! My sister’s troop planned a trip to Europe and we raised money for almost three years to make that happen. We had tag sales, bake sales, and car washes. We raked leaves, babysat, ran the city’s public pool in summer, worked as janitors at a church, and had fund-raising dinners. (Until that time when we gave the town food poisoning. Looking back, if we’d had a toilet paper sale in conjunction with the dinner, we’d have made a fortune! Missed a great opportunity.) In the end, we raised enough money for the troop to go to Europe on a six week tour. That was some serious fund raising, let me tell you. So, when I say that I get the pain of fundraising, I really do.

I get their pain and I support their efforts; however, after consuming that sugar-laden bag of popcorn and dealing with the wreckage that was my entire system afterwards, I’ll revert to my previous plan:

Give ’em five bucks and run like hell.


On The Faces of Things

chickensWhen my son and I evacuated New Orleans to get away from Katrina, we went to the home of my cousin Dorsey and his wife Susan. Now, Susan hasn’t eaten anything that used to have a face for as long as I’ve known her. Even knowing this, I emptied my freezer – including a frozen chicken – when we left NOLA. After arriving at their house, I was putting the chicken in the freezer when I dropped it. Their burglar alarm registered the sound as broken glass and called the police. Uh huh. Karma.

Once, frustrated with the limited restaurant options compatible with the Adkins diet I was on, I told Susan that, although my restricting factor was the opposite of hers, I had a glimpse of how difficult it was for her to eat out anywhere. I thought I understood, at least a little.

HA! Hubris.

These days, I’m not eating animal protein – with the exception of a little grated Parmesan on some of my roasted vegetables, and the eggs used as binding agents in many veggie burgers and sausage. I am also avoiding refined sugar, caffeine, and most wheat since it makes me feel bloated, gassy and achy. (Ezekiel bread is something of an exception; but, we’ll get to that another time.) These restrictions really don’t leave much on menus that I want to eat right now. Seriously, look over a menu next time you eat out. There’s not much there for gluten-free vegans. (I’m not really one of those; however, it’s the easiest description I can come up with at the moment and I’m feeling kind of lazy. So, there you go.) And menus at social events can be just as much of a wasteland as the ones at restaurants.

On Saturday, my company very graciously held a picnic for all facility employees at the Nashville Zoo. It was cool and overcast – really a great day to be out there, not Southern, sticky hot. They set up an enormous carnival in the middle of the zoo with lots of activities for children and with food and soft drinks for everyone. They grilled up hamburgers and hotdogs, had popcorn, sno-cones and cotton candy. It really was like a carnival! Great family fun and VERY generous of the company. (NOTE: I am in no way either complaining or criticizing this event, merely making an observation from a dietary viewpoint that is very new to me.) Anticipating a sugary, carnivorous menu, I took couple of apples and some water with me. That turned out to be a good thing. Although I was able to enjoy some of the popcorn, the rest just didn’t fit with how I want to eat right now to achieve how I want to feel. And that’s my issue, not my hosts’, let me make my thoughts on that perfectly clear, as well.

In years past, I’ve had people over for dinners and picnics, and I’ve served everything from homemade lasagna, jaeger schnitzel and moussaka to fried chicken and crawfish magnifique. As the hostess, I’ve served things that I wanted to serve with very little thought to my guests’ dietary restrictions. I really don’t even know if my guests had any! I can tell you that I will now be far more sensitive to that sort of thing.

So, Susan, it’s okay for you to come to dinner. Now, I truly do understand and I have some fantastic things on the menu that never once had a face.


The Two Step Doesn’t Work

A few weeks ago, I was having a terrible week at work.  I mean the whole thing was just a waste of calendar space.  That Friday, my boss and I were getting coffee at the same time and he asked how my week had gone.  For about a nanosecond, I considered a bald-faced lie. Confession: lying makes me feel light-headed.  At that moment, I hadn’t even had my first cup o’ Joe yet; so, the risk of passing out or something equally as embarrassing was high.  I opted for the truth.  I admitted that had I been unconscious for the week, it might have been worse, but that was probably the only way I would have cratered more effectively.  To my surprise, he laughed.

Now, this is one of the reasons I have come to like and respect this man: after I told him what I had done to address the issue, he took this opportunity to encourage and instruct me.  He took a crappy situation and used it to make me a better agent and a better person.

Three_Is_A_Magic_Number_cHe pointed out that I had done the three things necessary to truly rectify the problem:

  1. identify and acknowledge it,
  2. develop a plan to correct it,
  3. implement the plan.

As a result, my professional life has improved dramatically.  By now you should know that I just cannot leave well enough alone and that my mind draws parallels between things – sometimes even unlikely things – in this case, between my current professional challenge and my personal weight loss one.

I had identified and acknowledged that I had gained weight – step one.  I had developed a plan to correct it – step two.  But, I had yet to fully implement that plan – misstep three.  Without implementation, the first two steps were nothing more than a mental exercise which is great, don’t get me wrong.  But I can do mental push-ups all day long, they ain’t gonna get me back into a size six, you know what I mean?

Step three renewed my zest for exercise which has lead me back into kickboxing.  I do love that and can already feel progress.  I had to lay out of class on Saturday to rest my fussy knee, but I’ll find the right balance there, I’m sure.  Since my son is home from college, I’m doing some weight lifting with him.  That helps me switch it up, keep it interesting, build muscle and respect the knee.  It’s just all around good stuff.

Bottom line: using just two steps doesn’t work.  As it turns out, Schoolhouse Rock was right – three really is a magic number.

Gassing Up

When I was the interim manager of a travel agency in Starkville, MS, a coworker joked about going over to Columbus to this Mexican restaurant to “gas up.”  The food was really good, but his assessment was right on the money; so, out of respect for each other, we scheduled those trips on Fridays.

My three kickboxing classes have reminded me about gassing up correctly.  For Saturday morning’s class, I remembered to get up in time to prepare the only breakfast that gives me enough energy to make it through that workout – a bowl of old fashioned or steel cut oatmeal with chia seeds, milled flax seeds, cinnamon and a mashed banana.  I’ve tried cold cereal.  Nope. Eggs, bacon and toast. Nope. Pancakes. Nope.  For me, this is the only breakfast that fuels me properly.  It’s my best way to gas up.  I have to eat it at least 60 minutes before class, but no more than 90.  Fewer than 60 may have me nauseated, but more than 90 and I run out of gas before the third mitt drill.  For my son, it’s different.  He needs to eat two hours prior and he needs a meal heavier in protein.

Speaking of protein, I have been hit this week with some pretty strong cravings…..for chicken and eggs. I know, right?  We’ve talked about cravings before and I truly do believe that they are often direct communication from our bodies addressing a specific deficiency.  When I think of food cravings, sugary foods usually come to mind.  My body is usually feeling tired and is demanding something for quick, ready energy; so, it creates visions of chocolate donuts dancing in my head.  Right now, my body doesn’t need the extra energy – it needs those amino acid chains. Right now, my body is telling me that it needs protein.

Working and building muscles – with push-ups, ab sprawls, squats, etc – actually damages them with tiny tears.  Protein repairs that damage, making the muscles stronger than before.    After hours of aerobic and isometric exercises, my aren’t ultimately feeling tired – they’re feeling damaged; so, my body is giving me A Chorus Line with barnyard fowl. (Take a moment and envision Bob Fosse choreographing for chickens. That’s priceless.)

Chicken Barn Dance by Matthew Finger
Chicken Barn Dance by Matthew Finger

Preparing for exercise, exercise itself and feeding your body afterwards are all crucial and, I believe, all very individual.  Walking is less effective for me than for many I know.  Lifting weights is good for everyone – but different weights and in different manners.  My body craves meat. You may be fine as a vegan. It’s all about YOU – your body, your metabolism, your heredity, your lifestyle.  Because it’s so personal, I think it’s important to educate yourself and to consult a professional.

In my profession, I hear it regularly: people have read this book, watched that show or listened to something else.  More than many, I can appreciate the value of self-education; however, I still go see my doctor for annual check-ups, you know what I mean? So, as you change your fuel and activity, talk with a doctor, a nutritionist, or a personal trainer.  When you see your doctor, your healthier stats are reported to your insurance carrier (which can have great effects on your rates, depending on what coverage you have.)  As for nutritionists and personal trainers,  health and fitness are ALL they do.  They’ve read more than you and I have time to.  They are educated on the subject – sometimes for years – and they know their professions.

You can make significant headway on your own, sure; however, this is what these people do. They are too valuable a resource to waste.

Kicking My Fanny Into Gear…Literally

I’m actually typing this blog with my nose. It is the only part of my body I can control to any degree right now. It is Wednesday night and I am writing my Thursday blog now because I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to do it tomorrow.

For the first time in about 10.5 months, I attended a kickboxing class tonight.  Before my knee surgery, I attended class with Karin’s Kicking Fitness three times a week.  I. LOVED. IT.  The class is hard, hard work if you really get into it.  You can take it easy on yourself if you like and hardly break a sweat, but I don’t.  I work hard and smell like a goat when I leave.  Here’s the thing: if I’m going to take it easy on myself, I’m going to be on the couch and some beer drinking and hockey watching are going to be involved. If I’m going to pay to attend an exercise class, then, by golly, I’m exercising.

left hand and heavy bagMy first class was on Valentine’s Day 2012.  I attended three times a week until late July when I hurt my knee (not in class, by the way).  During those six months, I missed no more than three classes and became a beast!  I was in the best shape of my life, hands down. My core was strong.  I could do push ups on my toes and first two knuckles. Squats, lunges, planks, mountain climbers, boot strappers, burpies – bring ’em on!  While the classes got easier, they were never easy.  Again, I. LOVED. IT.  And I have missed it terribly.

Fast forward now through those lazy 10.5 months of The Great Regain and we get to tonight. I was so excited to be able to go to class.  I had my knee in a brace and, because Karin is a physical therapist assistant who had worked with me during recovery, I was confident that she would watch me to make certain that I didn’t do anything to hurt myself. My confidence was well placed.  She watched me and suggested some adjustments that would give me a good workout, but that would protect that knee.  The workout was hard – harder than I remember.  There were a couple of times when I was afraid I might have to excuse myself to go “call some dinosaurs.”  I managed to hang on, though, and made it through with my dignity mostly intact.

As you decide to exercise, my advice is:

  1. talk to your doctor to make sure your body can handle it – seriously, a heart attack on the treadmill is just a buzzkill for everybody,
  2. consult a professional (a certified personal trainer, if possible) and ask for their help in developing a program that works for you,
  3. DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY! If you hate it or just tolerate it, you’ll never stick with it.

Tonight, I drove home with my knees, can’t lift my arms and had to pretty much fall out of the car when I arrived at the house.  The four-inch step to the stoop required a Herculean effort.  Thursday, I may have to pay someone to apply my make-up, brush my teeth and do my hair.  Friday, I’ll likely start crying the moment I wake.  Saturday, class is at 8 AM and I’ll be there because, yep, I. LOVE. IT.