My first go at a Wordless Wednesday

He's 10 now

our puppy

Wahoo!  It’s the first day of summer and …. day 5 of me being sick.  I have a doctor’s appointment in 3 hours, thank goodness but I am sick of being sick.  Had some good plans for a workout on Friday, but I was sick.  BLAH.  Swollen glands, swollen tonsils, sore throat, lots of coughing, headaches, stuffy head.

The good news is that I’ve been drinking a ton of water!!  I’m not eating great, I’m not eating horrible.  I have no idea if I lost any weight last week as I don’t own scales in my house and obviously I haven’t been to the gym in a while.  I’ll try to check in later this week after I get to feeling better.

Um.  There’s not much else to say.  Sorry I haven’t been around much lately.  Still a lot going on here, which is neither here nor there really.  The stress is getting under control, though, so that’s a positive!

Thanks for all the awesome comments and support from all my Mamavation Moms.  I appreciate each and every one of you!! XOXO

First of all, I want to sincerely thank everyone who stopped by last week and left comments for me.  I had intended to reply to each and every one of you.  That clearly didn’t happen.

How’s my week been?  Insane.  Stressful.  A few hours after I wrote my entry last week, a phone call sent me into a cleaning frenzy.  It’s not something I can really talk about publicly right now, but just know that it is now imperative that my house is as cleaned out and organized as possible.   So the husband and I have been spending the vast majority of our “spare” time cleaning, decided what can go in the garbage, what must stay, what can ebay, and the rest is goodwill.  I have neither the time nor energy for a stupid garage sale.  Working out did not happen last week beyond the lifting of things in my house.

This cleaning frenzy is going to be going on some more this week.  The difference is that I have decided not to put myself last.  I deserve better than that, in fact I demand it.  I demand that my family support me in trying to be healthy and get through the ordeal that is facing us at the same time.  If we work together, we can do both.  The child and I had a long conversation about how he needs to support me and not sleep until 10am every day.  Mom still needs to lose weight.  In fact, now I have to lose 4 pounds that I already lost once before!

I’m not here looking for sympathy or anything.  Life happens, and I have to deal with it the best I can.  And that’s alright.  I let the stress get the best of me last week with food and a few adult beverages, but I’m not going to do that again this week.  I am decided that the stress can come with me to the gym and I’ll just leave it there.  The alcohol is a problem in the summer, and at least for now I have decided to go dry until July 4th.  Give me a few weeks off.

The child was my friend today.  He got up with a good attitude and we’re home from the gym.  Like I said, I have gained back 4 pounds and I am once again at 180.2 pounds.  It could have been worse.  My post workout snack/lunch was a baked chicken tenderloin, half a cucumber, and a serving of whole grain crackers.  I’m still kind of hungry but I’m going to drink up some more water and try to ignore the craving.  If it doesn’t go away then I think I will raid the freezer for some more veggies I can heat up quickly.

I have no idea how I’m going to do this.  But I’m just going to do it.  I don’t know if I can make it to the show for a while.  There’s just too much to do.  Speaking of too much to do, I really need to go take a shower and get to cleaning and organizing.

Much love to my team, my Mamavation supporters and motivators.  You ladies are the coolest and best.

P.S.  I can’t wait to go to Colorado and meet my new nephew!  I’m sure you’ve heard that my sister-in-law @bodhi_bear gave birth to her and my brother’s baby.  I’m a proud Aunt!

The last two weeks have been fairly awful health-wise.  I can’t go back and fix anything, I can’t change what’s been done already, but I can look to the future.  Lately it seems as though all my posts are going about the same.

Well school let out May 26th, and it’s been a challenge with my son home all the time.  Plus he just turned 10 and we’ve been celebrating his birthday, etc.  So it’s been rough going for me.  As always, planning is a huge issue for me.

I’m not going to be all “woe is me” about the situation.  I’m not too proud to admit that I have been giving in to my cravings and temptations lately and it all lies on me.

So I’m going to implement a better plan of action now that things have settled down with my son’s birthday celebrations and I’m going to include him in the planning process.

On a good note, I needed to buy a new swim suit for this lake season.  My one from last year looked ridiculous on me.  For the first time in a very long time, swim suit shopping didn’t shred my self-esteem!  It took the first store and only one trip to the fitting room to find a suit that not only fit nice, but looked nice on me.  Spending some time in the suit made me realize that I really do look different.  My arms are so much more fit, and my legs less flabby.  No longer is it difficult to tell exactly where my butt ends and my thighs begin.  There’s very clear definition from one to the other.  Now I just need to find a way to keep it up and not lose everything I’ve worked so hard for.  That’s what I’ve been trying to remind myself of over the last two weeks.

Welcome to another Monday and another report of me staying the same and not working hard enough!!  Well I ended up being sick most of last week and rebounded with a voracious appetite.  It wasn’t pretty.  I don’t want to talk about it.  Haha.

So moving along then!  It’s crappy and rainy outside right now; tomorrow’s forecast is the same.  So I am getting most of my work done today and tomorrow.  My employer is extremely flexible with my hours and days that I work, so that’s very helpful.  The rest of the week is for all the landscaping work that I need to do.  That’s pretty much my workout plan for the week.  I know it doesn’t sound like much but you really have no idea the condition of my yard.  It’s pretty bad and there will be lots of pulling, raking and digging.  Then if I can convince my husband to go fetch a lot of mulch for me, a lot of shoveling will be on the agenda as well.  I also commit to eating better this week and drinking less alcohol.  (What I mean is zero alcohol).

Looking to the future I am faced with another wonderful summer of boating (and eating, and drinking).  Every summer is a huge challenge for me as I hardly drink alcohol at all during the winter, but during the summer festivities (like every weekend), it’s really hard not to drink.  Also did I mention that I hate beer?  I enjoy other malt beverages like Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff drinks, and OJ with coconut rum.  Yum.  Also loads of calories.  Planning healthy meals for boating is also challenging.  I made some progress last summer with chicken skewers in foil packets and bags of veggies, turkey burgers and Hebrew National Hot Dogs.

I am ALWAYS open to advice on things to eat at the lake, simple things to pack.  Sometimes a salad just isn’t reasonable for packing and ease of eating on a bobbing bouncing boat.  When we’re docked we have access to a microwave, but no fridge and no freezer.  Everything goes in a cooler all day, and lunch is always on the boat with a small portable grill to cook our food.  So if you have suggestions, please keep those things in mind!

P.S. I don’t much care for hummus.

Kim and Rachel, you two are seriously kicking butt, and I’m very impressed with you!  Keep up the hard work, ladies!

Stay tuned for more information on my summer weight loss struggles….

I had a very eye-opening conversation with a good friend, we’ll call her Renee, Monday night.  She gave me permission to blog about our conversation, because it was a deeply personal conversation.  This is a long entry, but you want to read to the end.  I promise.

It started with me doing a Facebook status update about my dinner.  I made Chicken Curry for the first time, and she started asking me about it.  Then it went to how she doesn’t have a lot of skills in the kitchen.  I shared some recipes with her in a Google shared folder.  Next thing I know, we’re talking about how food picky we are, and I was surprised that she doesn’t like cake or pancakes.  Then Renee said to me, “In all honesty, I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since I was 11. :( Not cool, but have been doing better the last 2 years.”

Whoah.  I had no idea.  After she said and I had some time to reflect, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.  She’s thin.  But I never make assumptions.  I had a friend in high school who hated how thin she was.  She ate and ate and tried to gain weight but couldn’t.  I never pass judgement on “too thin” people anymore.  There are medical conditions that can cause that.

So back to Renee.  She’s proud of the last 2 years of doing better, but she admits she will likely never be healed.  I asked her, if it wasn’t too personal, which ED did she have?  And she said, “for a long time anorexia. then for a bit I dabbled in bulemia. Anorexia is much easier for me to control though.”

Over the last two years, Renee has tried to become more open about talking about her ED.  She says it helps her to be more held more accountable.

Me:  Do you think that has contributed to your being hypoglycemic?
Renee:  It definitely plays a huge roll in my hypoglycemia. If I keep my eating under control though I don’t usually have problems. I have to be very aware of my body and how it feels.
Me:  Let me know if there is ever anything I can do to help.
Renee:  Thanks. Just accountability. Listen for excuses and such if for long periods of time I chose not to eat.
Me:  Define “long period”.
Renee:  A ”long period” would probably be 8-10 hours for me (though we are not usually together for that long) but 3-4 hours is also long since my body will start to feel bad. I try to have a snack every few hours. Anytime I go longer than a day with food deprivation is not a good sign.
Me:  I will try and encourage you to pay attention when we hang out. But I will try not to be pushy or bossy.
Renee:   Thanks Angela. I do appreciate it.  Can I just tell you how much I appreciate being able to tell you that? Well I do!
Me:  I’m glad! I feel honored that you trust me enough.
Renee:  It’s part of the process. Trusting myself to trust others. Self esteem thing ya know…  learning and growing. Gotta do it. The recipies help too. gives me a variety to try from to help me be more comfortable with food.
Me:  I’m happy to help! I didn’t even know it was that much help .
Renee:  It is. :D And I love it! It’s been something I’ve always been ashamed to think about or tell people about, that I eat, that is.  So I try to make status updates about food, and have conversations with people about it.  It helps me realize and process that food is OK.  It’s natural, and good for me to eat it.

Is that really any different than how we feel, us who are overweight and trying to lose weight?  This was a very eye-opening comment from Renee that made me think hard about our differences and similarities in our struggles.  Obviously, anorexia is far more severe than say, the emotional eating that I deal with.  My point is, we’re both embarrassed about food and sometimes look at food as the enemy.  Back to the conversation.

Renee:  Sorry if this is kinda an intense topic.
Me:  Not at all hon.
Renee:  Just wanna mak sure my talk isn’t too much.  I try to maintain my weight. Right now, I’m pretty under weight so I try to NOT think about what goes into me too much. I eat McD’s when I want it (which isn’t often) and don’t think about what I’m ordering or the bad things I am taking in.  But I do stick by trying to et as healthy as possible so I can feel good each day.  I need to be hitting the gym to build muscle right now I think. I hate not having the motivation to do it though.  I think some added weight scares me, but I know gaining muscle would be healthy.
Me:  It’s hard to be motivated. I know that as well as anyone.  And yeah..the same thing for me! I don’t want added weight, but I want to be strong!  Do you have an idea of what your ideal weight is? Not what YOU think, but medically what is ideal?
Renee:  Medically I should be at 140. As of this morning I was 127.
Me:  That would be some amazing muscle to get you to 140. You’d be so hot!! Not that you aren’t now, of course, but nice toned muscles are sexy.
Renee:  LOL for sure. I’d love to have some firece arms and abs. Legs are alright.
Me:  Don’t take this wrong. Please. I love having this open conversation with you, but it feels so backwards!! LOL I’m trying to lose weight and trying to encourage you about gaining healthy weight.
Renee:   Is it hard for you?
Me:  I’m so happy to help you in any way at all.  We have the same goals heading in different directions.  Being healthy, eating healthy, and having a healthy relationship with food. I’m an emotional eater. I have to remember that food does not make me feel better.
Renee:  Right. I have many friends who are in the same boat as you. My husband included. Some have made the coice to not be in a position to help me, and I get that completely. Its something very hard for me and others to deal with.
Me:  I got your back sister.
Renee:  Well thank you. And I have yours as well. I hope you know that. I try very hard to forget about my food relationship and encourage others in their goals.
Me:  I think you and I can really help each other.
Renee:  I’d definitely have to agree with you on that.
Me:  Do you mind if I blog about you, but of course I won’t use your name at all. This is a good conversation for me to share with my other weight loss friends.
Renee:  Oh sure. That’s fine.
Me:  Thank you. I think it will be good for others to consider another perspective. I think sometimes us overweight girls take for granted that we are the only ones struggling with food and our weight sometimes, you know what I mean?
Renee:  You’re right. People with eating disorders can be very hard to understand whether it’s over eating or starvation. Not everyone can grasp it, so it’s good to hear about it since they are so “secretive”.  I’m so glad we can have this conversation.

Me too.  I learned a lot from this short conversation, and think Renee and I have a lot more to learn from each other.  After this part of the conversation she expressed how much better she was feeling, and our talk gave her some motivation to head to the gym and work on putting on those muscles.  I gave her some advice that was given to me to take in some lean protein shortly after a lifting session to help rebuild the muscle tissue more quickly.  She thanked me for the tip and said, “keep sharing with me. I love the help!”

I will, my friend.  I will.  I am looking forward to have more open conversations with Renee, and have a feeling that we have found a big reason why we were brought together as friends.  It saddens me that she has “friends” who won’t talk to her about her anorexia, who won’t listen.  I am not envious of her being thin, I am not envious that she can avoid food.

You never know who needs you out there.  You never know what the “skinny” person at the gym is going through.  I encourage you not to pass judgement, but reach out.  Be a friend.  Listen.  Learn.

Welcome back to Monday.  If you keep up with my blog at all, you know I’ve had health and fitness on my mind the last few days.  If you don’t keep and you only read my Monday posts, that’s alright.  Haha.  Saturday I babbled on about speaking in the present tense about weight loss, and yesterday I encouraged you to make sure you know what you’re eating.

This last week was pretty good for me.  I was active most days, went to the YMCA a few times, and hiked with the family on Mother’s Day.

It was a great day for a hike.  We had cooler weather and some beautiful sunshine with a light breeze.

We even made a few friends along the way.  Saw some interesting things.  Lost the trail for a while.

I don’t know how well you can see the paw print, but it’s huge.

And the hubs took a good picture for me.

It was a nice Mother’s Day, and although I splurged on food and drink (the mimosas were delicious), I still managed to work in some activity.  I feel pretty good about that.  I did a lot better on water last week, and did well watching portions and eating mostly smart.  Still need to work in more veggies.

This week I plan to eat more veggies, stay up on my water, and continue to be active.  Today was my day of rest, but I’m heading to the gym first thing tomorrow morning after my little man gets on the bus for school.

Thanks to you all for your continued support.  I also want to take a moment to congratulate Rachel and Kim on their hard work and success during this campaign.  You two are total rock stars!!

People often ask me what I’ve been doing to lose weight.  Well there’s no magic pill, and I certainly haven’t just dreamed about it.  It takes a lot of hard work, and changing of habits.  One of the habits to change is the way we eat.  Even this seemingly simple idea can be far more complicated than we imagine. There are so many options, and so much misleading information.  I chose to eat real food.  I’m done with artificial ingredients, weird preservatives, and things I can’t read.  No high fructose corn syrup, no five different kinds of sugar in one thing, and no more “what is that?”.

Here’s an example.  I used to buy flavored “light” yogurt.  Here are the ingredients of one of my former favorites: Nonfat yogurt [cultured grade a non fat milk, modified food starch, fructose, kosher gelatin, vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D3], water, strawberries, fructose, contains less than 1 percent of modified corn starch, natural and artificial flavors, , sodium citrate, aspartame, potassium sorbate (to maintain freshness, malic acid, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, red 40. Contains active yogurt cultures including L. acidophilus.

Here’s what I buy now: Cultured grade A milk. Contains active yogurt cultures including L. acidophilus.

So in the “light” version we have, in bold, FOUR different kinds of sugar/sweetener.  FOUR.  Why?  Artificial flavor (what is that exactly?).  Red 40.. why do I care how “red” my strawberry yogurt is?  Sodium citrate is basically a form of salt, I don’t need salt in my yogurt.  Today I ask you to take a look at what you are eating, and ask yourself how it contributes to your health.  Other than some vitamins and the strawberries, are any of the additional ingredients in the “light” yogurt really contributing to my health?  Probably not.  So what is it doing to me?

Why not just buy the plain nonfat yogurt and add my own strawberries?  And some honey.  Or some granola.  At least if I flavor it myself, I know what I’m eating.  I’d rather put a little more work into my food and know what I’m eating rather than eat something that has to tell me in bold it contains phenylketonurics (which is the aspartame if you didn’t know).

After an enlightening bit of research, I now use real food.  I read the ingredients in margarine and it looked like a foreign language.  I picked up the butter and it read “sweet cream.”  That’s it?  Sweet cream.  Does butter have more fat and calories?  Sure.  Am I smart enough to just use less?  Yes.  And is it really that bad when it’s real food that my body actually needs to digest as opposed to what-the-hell-is-that-in-my-margarine?  In my opinion, and the opinion of others, NO!  Butter is better.  It’s REAL FOOD!!

So my idea for the day is Eat Real.  Eat real food.  Eat real ingredients.  Most things are’t that difficult to make at home on your own, for those that are, find a new version or a new brand.  When it comes to what you put in your mouth, ignorance is not bliss.

“There is no try, only do or do not.” – Yoda from “Star Wars”

I was in a conversation with a very good friend this morning and was brought back to an old SparkPeople blog I wrote last year.  I read a good book that helped me change the way I think about weight loss.  I changed the way I talk.

So this morning, we were talking about garage sales and what to do with the winter clothes we just pulled out of the closet.  She says, “I want to go minimal anyway and I want to be smaller next year.”  I replied, “I want you to change the way you talk.  ’I'm going minimal anyway, and I will be smaller next year.’”

If you talk about weight loss in the future, it’s never going to happen.  To truly be successful, you must acknowledge what you are doing in the present.  This was KEY in helping me lose weight.  I am doing this.  I am losing weight.  I am making better habits.

It’s a lot about positive thinking and empowerment.  For me, it even adds to the accountability that I hold myself to each day.  Because it’s not something that I’m doing tomorrow, it’s what I have been and I am doing right now.

So from here forth, I expect you to stop and correct yourself when you say it the wrong way.  I can do this.  I am doing this.  I want to change.  I am changing.  I wish I could lose weight.  I know I’m losing weight.  I hope I reach my goal.  I am reaching my goal.

Be positive. Be present.

It’s a happy Friday here, despite some thunderstorms.  Storms don’t bother me much, although my Weimaraner isn’t too crazy about them.  Haha.

So I feel like it’s important to keep the big picture in focus on this weight loss journey of mine.  I’ve been slightly frustrated about the 2 or 3 pounds I have been battling for the last 8 weeks, so I pulled up my spreadsheet.  The frustrations is that I’m exactly where I was on March 2nd.  Blah.  The Big Picture is that I’m still down 28.2 pounds.  Is that something to be upset about?  Not at all.  Oh wow I haven’t done my measurements in over two months, I should probably do that.  I’m still shrinking, so the strength training is doing it’s part.  Again, I can’t be obsessed about the pounds.  I’m down a total of  SIXTEEN inches!!!! That’s an educated guesstimate because I only measure one arm and one leg, so I take that measurement and multiply by 2.  You get the point, though.  So that nullifies my frustration and keeps me moving and motivated and focused on my goals.  I feel all better now.

Remember my Bike ‘n Hike last Friday?  Well I finally went through my pictures!  I had a few requests from people to share the beauty that I enjoyed that day so here are a few of my favorites.  I hope they can brighten up your potentially gloomy Friday.

Cedar Creek Yellow Daisy dsc01793

And that’s all for now.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  You can click on the “Photos” link in the upper right hand navigation bar and check out the rest of the photos from my Bike N’ Hike for yourself.  We have so many wonderful nature preserves in our area, I think I am going to tour them all and do my best to share them with you.  I have at least three of them in relatively easy biking distance, so be ready.  I gotta use my gorgeous Trek, and this is an excellent way to do it.

Have a great weekend, my friends!