Monday, July 12, 2010

Starting Over

Hello Everyone,

It has been a few weeks, and a few things have changed. As usual, when you step back and look at a situation, you gain a new perspective. I had gained back some weight, and I was wrapped up in frustration. My focus became very negative.It was all about what I did "wrong." And so the guilt piled on, just as the pounds had.

I decided to go back to the beginning. I would read my first posts, see what my successes were,and start over. The truth is, I never got around to reading my original posts. Partly because I was very very busy this week and partly because I already knew the answer. I am sure, however, that when (not if) I go back and read them, I will find something else that will keep me on the road I need to follow.

 Meanwhile, I decided to stop worrying and blaming. I just started eating the things I know I should be eating. I stayed away from the scale. After an entire week of that, I was too curious. So, today I took a look, and what I saw made me very happy. All the pounds that piled on were almost gone. Only 1 left.

So what I learned from this setback was what I already knew. It just got buried by my need to find more; something else, something new, something better. All along, what I was looking for was right there. I am now back on track, and I am enjoying what I am eating.

I hope all of you are doing well, and as usual, I would love to read your comments. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Liz and Shelley to the Rescue

It has been more than a month since my last post. Where has the time gone? Where have my healthy eating habits gone? I can no longer say that I have stalled or that I've hit a plateau. Otherwise that plateau would be as wide and long as the Sahara. I have gone from being frustrated, to disgusted to not caring.

I remember when starting this blog, I said I was not going to count anything. I wanted to take baby steps and make the changes seem as painless as possible. My first challenge was drinking water. I worked exclusively on it, and it worked. I am still drinking at least 6 glasses a day, most days it is 8 or 9.

Now I am counting things and I even purchased a portion control plate, which is now sitting on the top shelf almost out of reach. I am not happy, nor am I succeeding. I  think I know a few changes to make, but first, some inspiration from Liz Taylor and Shelley Winters, two actresses who had weight issues. Perhaps some of Shelley's wardrobe ideas would help while I try whittling  the weight off.  The hairdo is definitely not an option. The cocktail is. I could wear something like that wherever I go. The supermarket, drugstore, gas station. I bet it would get me in and out of places quickly. All I need to add is sunglasses and a cigarette holder.

Or Liz's jewelry techniques might help. I could walk around with the strand of pearls I use when photographing my soap products. I could just hold them across my face like Liz and make sure to pull the strand under my chin extra tight for some added lift. Maybe I could combine the two looks! Now we're talking!

Or maybe I could cut the new habits I had not planned on picking up. I have started taking advantage of the Lean Cuisine frozen entrees on sale, and I notice that I am ordering food for delivery more. You can get just about anything delivered here, no need to pick it up or drive through.  My excuse for Lean Cuisine is that it is perfect for portion control. I have a few excuses for delivery, which is NOT pizza, by the way. One delivery item that I like so much is good for 2 or sometimes 3 meals. There is so much of it and I don't have to cook. For both options, the price is right. But is it really?

I know cooking can be a pain in the neck, but it is what I always did. Even though I was cooking for one, I enjoyed making meals that I really like; I also did not mind eating the same thing a few times a week. That meant I did not cook every night.

Recently a friend of mine, who is a lot younger than I am, observed that we are the only people we know who still cook. Everyone she knows is ordering, driving through, or microwaving. I think it is true for most people I know, too.  Now I am not being critical of those who do this. I know lots of people do not cook, nor do they want to. I never liked the idea of cooking every single night. I love to dine out, and ordering food occasionally is something I have always done. Those things will not change.

What I am talking about is my personal choice to drift away from what I always did, which was to make most of my own meals. Now I am going to sound like the old fuddy-duddy that I am. When I cooked, I knew what went into my food. I can taste the salt in the food I purchase whether it is delivery or frozen. My friend made another important observation. "Who knows what preservatives are in that stuff?" How true. Having worked in many restaurants (some considered fine dining establishments) as a waitress, I know what she is talking about.

I don't know what is going to happen next. I often feel that I will continue to struggle and never lose, but just maintain these extra pounds. In the meantime, I am staying away from the frozen food aisle. If you are still with me, thanks so much for reading all the way to the end. As always, I would love to read your comments.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Every Step I Take

Hello Bloggers,

I hope you have all had a good week. Right now I am in between cars, and I have been walking all over the place. Today will be my second day off this week. I enjoy walking, but my back often tells another story. But I lost another 2 pounds of the 7 that I gained. Only 2 more to get back to where I was before vacation. The price I am paying for those cupcakes is high, but I do remember the lesson I learned. Nothing tastes as good as the first few bites. So less really is more.

 Yesterday, I rediscovered something. I can remember that in high school I never ate breakfast because when I did, I was hungry all day. Now I was in high school 50 years ago. So the low carb craze was, at best, in its infancy. I did not know anything about carbs then, just that cereal in the morning kept me eating all day. Of course when all the low carb plans evolved, I tried them and they worked. While I worked at them.

It has been an ongoing struggle, one that until recently was half-hearted. Even this time, I have strayed more than I wanted to admit. This past week was tough because of the portion control problem. Until yesterday. I saw a 5 minute microwave recipe for low carb bread. I was intrigued so I tried it, and it was not too bad. I made a sandwich with it and I was full after eating only half of it. As the day wore on, I had no cravings for anything AND NO PROBLEMS WITH PORTION CONTROL! So you know what is next, I am going to try a low carb plan once again.  Not sure I will follow a specific plan,  but I think I will just count carbs and see what happens.

Don't forget to visit Roxie's blog. Roxie is an inspiration. If you feel like straying or giving up, reading her posts will recharge you. They are both encouraging and fun to read.

See you next week.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Easy On, Not So Easy Off

Hello Everyone,

This has been quite a week. I started over. I really cast all reason and common sense to the winds while on vacation. It was oh so easy to discard my healthy new habits and fall back into my old carb-laden sugar-coated habits. I added 7 pounds as a result.  I did manage to take off 3 of those pounds, but it was not easy. So many times this week I wanted something sweet. I wanted more carbohydrates, more food! I went to bed wanting something to eat. I won't call it hunger; I think it was more of a craving. But not a craving for a certain food or taste. It was more of a craving to feel full. YUCK! Believe me I had enough food to eat.  I still have no regrets. Here's why. None of the cupcakes tasted as good as the first one. Oh they were good, but not like the first one. Now a week later, I can really feel the difference.I like this much better than that carbo-overload-on-my-way-to-a-diabetic-coma feeling I had.

That does not mean cupcakes are the enemy. They are not a daily menu item. Instead they are a treat to be savored. This brings me to my next step. Portion control has been a real problem for me. It is what I am going to focus on until I have  conquered it. I will do this by using my portion control plate, and by eating as slowly as possible. Slow slow slow. That's my new way of eating.

Don't forget to visit Roxie's blog. And as always your comments are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Two Cupcakes Away and No Regrets


Hello Everyone,

Well, here I am back home from Cape Cod. It was a wonderful trip. I really enjoyed spending time with my friends from Make Mine Pink. One of the highlights of the trip was Cupcake Charlie's. Once you click the link, just roll your mouse over the flavor names for a picture of each of these little confections. The one pictured here is the Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcake. This wonderful little shop sells cupcakes that are truly memorable. I did not want to believe it, but I kept testing, and yes, they are truly awesome. Not just something sweet to look at, the cupcake is more than the sum of its parts. The cake is moist and flavorful. The icing is swirled on top to creamy perfection. The surprise fillings are rich and delectible. That is why I am no longer just one cupcake away. I am now 2 cupcakes away. I have gained 5 pounds.

Can you see what we were all up against? It was the cupcake counter. This photo is courtesy of Gail Friend of Gail Friend Designs.

And I even have the nerve to say , "No regrets." Yes, that is right. For me regrets provide opportunities for insight and lessons learned. I saw myself for what I really am: a sugar addict. It was like a drug. I did not stop. Besides everyone else was doing it. It was my vacation. So easy to rationalize what started as a treat, then became one poor decision after another.

Now I am starting over. Back to my plan. Hard to do? Maybe, maybe not. I will certainly find out. But one thing I know is how awful leaving my plan made me feel. How even though there were more cupcakes to be had, I got to the point where I did not want them anymore. They were no longer a treat. I learned that it is so much more enjoyable when things like that are a once a week treat. I savor them and really taste them, instead of inhaling them which is what I did last week.

 I would like to add that the cupcakes are not entirely to blame. There were days I did not drink my water. My lips felt rough and chapped as a result. I ate more restaurant food than usual. The salt content was noticeable to me. I recently discovered that I am so out of touch when it comes to food. I may be the only person in my circle of friends who actually cooks most of the time. I eat out maybe once every two months. I never have fast food. That may be why I noticed the salt content. I am hoping that accounts for some of the pounds. Even 1 pound would help.

 I am not going to beat myself up over this. Instead, I will take my lesson and move on. Every time I feel like eating junk, I will try to remind myself how much better I feel not eating it, how much better the quality of my life will be in the long run. How much healthier I can be. Make that WILL be.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Planning , Portions, and Walking on the Beach

Hello Everybody,
This week's post is up early because I will be in Cape Cod on Monday. . I have been thinking about how to handle the vacation eating. I came up with many plans from 1) no desserts, 2) eat a healthy breakfast and always have salad for lunch, 3) stick with it; you do have a cheat day coming 4) damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead. My final plan is to be mindful of what I am eating, savor the cheat day, do the best I can, and don't beat myself up if I slip. My doctor has told me to walk and not worry about the pace, so I am also hoping to get in a few long walks on the beach as my exercise.   After all, vacations come once a year...unless you are retired and look at every day as a vacation. Hmmm. maybe that's the problem. But enough of that.

Roxie and I decided to talk about portion control this week. That is the bane of my existence. One cookie is never enough.  Did anyone say ice cream? Mamalama! Ice cream is my all time favorite. I am a lifelong protein lover, so I can easily go overboard on what might seem like a healthy food. Okay, so you get the idea.

The portion control problem is not entirely our fault.  Have you ever noticed not just the size of the portions in restaurants, but the size of the plates? One of my favorite restaurants was Ernie's, an Italian restaurant  in Manhattan. The first time I ate there I was astounded by the bowl containing my entree. That bowl was bigger than any serving bowl I have ever seen. It was not brimming to the top or even half full, but the portion was still huge. Ernie's was NOT a family style restaurant where you order portions for 4 or more; it was a single portion restaurant. That was over 15 years ago. Since then restaurant portions have become much worse. The plates in some restaurants are the size of a satellite dish. Maybe even bigger. Imagine being a server and carrying those things around. So what's an overweight girl to do? Well, there are a few things. You can use a handy chart of portions, or even pictures of portions. Or you can try the Portion Plate. It looks like a great idea to me. I am going to order one. The site is also diabetic friendly and even has a very helpful portion quiz. You might also want to check out what the Mayo Clinic says about portions and servings. The bottom line is that you have to work at it. Really really work at it. That is something I am still struggling with. When I am successful, it is because I have reminded myself how much healthier and happier I am when I eat the right thing.

Have a great week. Marie

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Marilyn, Roxie, and Me

Hello Everybody,

So what am I doing with a picture of Marilyn Monroe? It happens to be one that I will be using for my Marvelous Melons soap, but that is another story. I have read more than a few times that Marilyn was a size 14. Even if it is not true, and she was a size 12 or even a 10, I love that she was in the double digits. Some psycho designers now consider 14 a plus size. But I will settle for size 14. It is a respectable size. Marilyn looks pretty good to me in this picture. I think she is looking right at me. She is! She is saying, "Marie!! you can do it. I know you can. When you are a size 14, I'll let you borrow my dress." Well Marilyn, okay. I guess I could wear it on my birthday, which happens to be on Halloween. That could work. Thanks for cheering me on. This brings me to my next topic.

I am so happy that my friend Roxie is joining me on this trip. Unlike Marilyn, Roxie is a real living person. I know that together we can accomplish much more than doing it alone. Roxie and I will be sharing our thoughts, experiences, ups and downs, tips, and recipes with all of you. We would love to have you along for the ride. We will be blogging on Mondays. You can find Roxie at her blog. In addition, we are both members of Make Mine Pink. Look for our posts on the forum. Hope to see you. As always, your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hello Everyone,
It has been a while; in fact about one month has gone by since I last posted. Now that winter is gone, I am dreaming of days like the one in the picture. This was taken when my family and I cruised to Bermuda. I was heavier then, and that is why I am not in the picture.

With summer comes lighter clothes. No more sweaters, long sleeves or jackets to hide the bulges. I have to say one of my favorite articles of summer clothing is Capris. I love that they still hide a lot, yet they are still summery. And just as important, they are in style. No shorts or skorts necessary.

So why all this talk of hiding the bulges? Well, not one more pound has left me since my last post. Not one! Some days, a pound or two is added. Yikes! Fortunately, thet do go away again. I have really stuck to my plan. Even though this plan allows a cheat day, I usually limit it to a cheat meal. I guess I have reached a plateau. I am not sure what the longest record for a plateau is, but it seems that I have been here much longer than a month. It is discouraging, and I must admit I have really slacked off on exercising as a result of this. I know it is the very thing I should probably increase. I have been out walking, but I am kidding myself when I rationalize that it will serve as my exercise for the day. It is not enough to count as a day's exercise. I have decided to hang in there though. With just one adjustment. I have decided to eat fewer carbs than this plan allows. And of course to get back to exercising. Tomorrow. Really. Tomorrow I am going to exercise. Now that I have written it here, I must do it.

 I refuse to think of this as a failure or setback. I truly believe I have made some strides. In the past, discouragement led to a sugar fest. Not now. So that counts for something. I am still drinking more water than before and I am really enjoying some of the healthy meals I have been making. So there has been some change for the better.

That's all for now. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. Hope to hear from you.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yikes! it is working

Hello Everybody,

Today's post is going to be very brief. I have been avoiding the scale even though I have been sticking to my program. I was weighing myself almost every day in the beginning of the week and nothing happened, but Friday was my good news day. Another 2 pounds is gone. In the past, I would have celebrated with a cookie or something, but this time, I just had a cup of coffee.

How has your week been? I hope good things happened for everyone. I look forward to reading your comments and suggestions.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

That darn scale!


Hello Bloggers,
It has been a very interesting week. That scale did not move. I followed my plan, but the numbers did not go down. I was so discouraged. I did my exercise according to the Five Factor Fitness plan. I did use lighter weights but I did everything else as directed. I have been stiff all week. How could that scale have the nerve not to move, especially when I did? 

Then I remembered something I read on WebMD, a site that I have used from time to time. I like this site because it has lots of very helpful information. When I saw the WebMD magazine in my doctor's office, I knew it was a reputable site. I remembered reading that every Friday instead of getting on the scale, we should try on a piece of clothing that has been too tight. I knew just what I would try on. A pair of jeans that I love but have not been able to wear for a long long time. So I ripped those suckers off the hanger and hoped for the best. THEY FIT! I mean they really fit. They were not even snug. They were comfortable. So while the numbers on the scale were not on my side, I can say I did have some success this week.

Now for the other aspects of this journey. I did slack off a bit with my water drinking. That may have had something to do with the scale not moving. I am back on track though. I also removed the counter for my 100 Days of Weight Loss. I did not stop reading the book, but I find that not reading a new tip every day gives me time to think more about each tip. This chapter's theme is feeling satisfied versus feeling full or stuffed. I want to really work on this, so I have been spending two days or more reviewing the tips.  Having come from a mind set of no portion control (low carb), I now need to make changes. I also need to work more on focusing on the food when I am eating and not eating while doing something else.  This book has been very informative and thought-provoking. I have learned a lot from it. One big change is that I exercise because of this book. The words "Do it anyway" remind me to get going when I don't feel like it.

For the first time in many years, I am happy with an eating plan. Since I started this blog at the end of last year, I have not gained any serious weight, only a few pounds as a result of switching plans. And then there was that cheat day from hell. No more of those even though the plan allows it. I will have a cheat meal once a week, but never again will it be an all-day event. It wasn't that great. I felt terrible afterwords, too. The results so far are great. i have maintained a loss of 16 pounds. Slow but sure wins the race!

Well that's all for this week. I'd love to hear from you. How are you doing? What are your successes?


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Eureka! A Cheeseburger Day!

Hello Everyone,
As you know I have been searching for an eating plan that I believe I can live with. I may have found it. The name of the plan I have been following since my last post is called The Five Factor Diet by Harley Pasternak. I found this plan by accident. He was appearing on QVC, and I happened to be surfing. So as the Flavor-of-the-Week-Diet-Book-Purchasing-Fool that I am, I decided to look into this plan. Amazon and Google gave further information, so I purchased a copy. There are very inexpensive used copies listed on Amazon. That is one of my favorite ways to acquire books.

I was very skeptical about this book because the number 5 is the gimmick. I am not crazy about gimmicks. Gadgets, yes. Gimmicks, no.The other thing that almost turned me off was the "Hollywood" connection. Several celebrities endorse this plan. Yawn. Unimpressed is my word for celebrity endorsements. But still I looked through the book and it has everything I want. As a diabetic, I am interested in foods low on the glycemic index. As an unsuccessful low carb dieter, I am not interested in lettuce sandwiches. I am looking for a plan which includes all food groups with healthy carb choices. I want some meat and seafood; no tofu, thank you. I want some freedom once in a while. I don't want to spend a lot of time cooking, and I want to eat food I like.

It turns out this plan has all that. I can even have 2 pieces of French Toast for breakfast, and Jello sugar free fat free butterscotch pudding mixed with apples and cinnamon layered over ricotta cheese. Not half a cup but a whole cup, and that is just a snack. I had a delicious Mexican Chicken salad which included chicken, salsa, corn (!!!I love corn) and fat free sour cream. A very very tasty chicken soup with cannelini beans and basil in a tomato broth. Tonight I will be making a mushroom barley risotto. Every recipe has 5 ingredients...well, not including spices. But I have most of the spices. Everything is supposed to take 5 minutes to prepare. Well, sometimes it takes longer, but I don't mind slicing strawberries for crunchy strawberry bars. The point is, it is all quick and easy for me to prepare. It has not been too expensive for me either.

I saved the best for last. There is a cheat day!! Not a cheat meal, a cheat day. I had my second cheat day yesterday. I pushed it. On my first cheat day, I stuck to the program, but went out for a burger one night. Also had an almond cookie that night. I still lost almost 2 pounds that week. I stayed on the plan religiously until yesterday. I wanted pretzels and another cheeseburger and also a piece of cheesecake. Yikes! I had it all.  The author told me what would happen and I knew he was right. I did not feel that great. This morning I am happily back on the plan. Today's breakfast was a cup of Kashi Go Lean cereal and 1 cup of skim milk, and of course my beloved coffee. Oh, the coffee. That is one thing I will not change. I am not giving up half and half in my coffee. I still have lost a little over 3 pounds. If I lose 1 pound per week, that will be fine with me. So far it has been painless.

Next post, I will update you on my 100 Days of Weight Loss and exercise. In the meantime, I hope you will post your comments and suggestions.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Starting over?

Hello Everyone,

I know it has been a while since my last post, but it has taken a while to feel better. I certainly did not bounce back from my bout of poor health. I lost some weight as a result, and I have been anxiously avoiding the scale. I expected some pounds to return because I knew I would start eating more than I did while I was sick. So far only about 3 or  4 pounds have returned. I can certainly live with that.

Along the way I have had a few bad days. One day I had a pity party; only cookies would make me feel better. Ha! Well, I did read the labels carefully and chose to buy a very small box of cookies. I knew better than to attempt the 100 calorie packs; I would have ripped them all apart at once and devoured them. I was very happy with my little box. Then there was the day I needed pretzels. I have loved pretzels ever since I can remember, and I still do. Unfortunately, we have a very volatile relationship and can not live together.

So where am I now? Have new habits gone by the wayside? Is my water intake back to being very low? Have I poured sugary treats down my throat and found myself in a carb-induced sugar stupor?  The answer is yes...and NO! Yes because of the cookie and pretzel slips. Other than the few slips, I have not lost the new habits. There were a few days when I did not drink my water, but I quickly began to crave it. No sugary treats except for the cookies. No more pretzels. That craving has been satisfied for a while. I say for a while because realistically, I know that I will not go through life never having another pretzel or cookie.

The only thing that I have not resumed is exercise. It's no surprise. But even that seems to be something I want to do again. Believe me, that is a first. I did not push myself to resume doing it. I knew I would go back to it. This may sound crazy, but the feeling that I would return to it is probably what is motivating me to start again. I think if I had chastised myself or become discouraged, I would make excuses, feel like a failure, and give it up. But I know I will be doing it in the next few days because I can visualize myself doing it, and because I remember how good it felt and because I felt so  healthy doing it.

That is all for now. I hope you are all doing well. I am looking forward to reading your comments.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

A New Sensation

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year!
I know it has been a long time, but I was sidetracked by a kidney infection which knocked me off my feet for a while. Then before I knew it, it was Christmas. I operated in slow motion over the holidays, but everything seems to be okay now. I knew I was back to normal the other day when I woke up and thought about exercising.

So what is this new sensation? Zhu zhu? No. A Slanket?  Guess again.  How about an inflatable lamp? The more you pump it the bigger the balloon and the brighter the light? Nope. Read on.

One thing that happened while I was sick, which is not surprising, is that I could not eat anything. I had only soup, water, ginger ale, and the occasional Saltine cracker. Forcing myself to eat something was a new sensation for me. And it went on for a long time, about 3 weeks. At one point, my son bought me vanilla ice cream so I could get something down that had  some calories. Even with that, I lost 15 pounds.

In my earlier post about the water challenge, I tested the concept of forming a new habit in 3 weeks. It worked for drinking water, and it seems to be working now for eating. I no longer have to force myself to eat anything, but eating less is not difficult most of the time.On one or two occasions when I ate larger portions, I felt very uncomfortable. It is the same feeling of discomfort I now also get when I eat too much processed food or too much sugar.

At one point, my doctor was ready to put me in the hospital. That was a wake up call for me.  I always took my health for granted  until I got close to retirement.  But even then I was halfhearted about it. Now it is a top priority.

I also learned  the difference between real hunger and the desire (habit!) to eat. I eat even more slowly than I did before. I put my fork down more often between bites and savor the food. I really think about the taste and texture of the food. A few evenings when I felt the desire to eat,  I drank more water or a glass of V8 which tastes so good to me and fills me up. If that was not enough, I would just go to bed hungry. It turned out I really wasn't hungry at all. It was just an old habit (snacking) dying hard.

I apologize for dwelling on my illness, but I have to say it  changed a lot of things in my life  for the better. I have slowed my pace down and try to enjoy whatever I am doing. I make an effort to relax and enjoy a least one good laugh every day. I am eating as slowly as possible, putting the fork down more often, and savoring my meals instead of eating mindlessly in front of the tv or while doing something else. It is making a difference for me. I know it will for you too. I'd love to read your thoughts on this, so please comment.

And, yes the 15 pounds is still gone.