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So when you saw the title of this post, did you really think I was going to post my “Before” photos here in all of my XL glory?  Seriously?  HA HA HA HA  No.

But here’s the idea: 

Photo Credit

Now please, before you go reading anything into this cartoon, please know I just snagged it from google images (credit given) because the lady still looked cute, even for a big girl.  Kinda like me.  So I appreciate her struggles, even though she is, well, a cartoon.

The thing is, I DID just take some super-duper-top-secret “BEFORE” photos.  I’m getting ready to start something new this Monday and I’m certain that the last quarter of 2010 is going to yield awesome results for me physically!  The Before Photos will be my evidence of how far I’ve come. 

But I am most certainly NOT going to be sharing those “Before” Pics here unless I’ve got some hottie “After” Pics of myself to post along side them.  This will take time, effort, and cooperation from my metabolism.

If you want to know why most people don’t embark on these weight-loss odysseys that require photographic evidence, I have a theory. 

I do NOT think the problem is not wanting to face one’s blubbery image on the screen.  I do NOT think the problem is embarrassment of the throngs of curiousity-seekers who might ogle at your photo like some sort of freak in a carnival tent. 

No, I’m pretty confident that the Real Issue is that Before Photos are NOT a one-person job.  There is another person clicking away at the camera to capture all that voluptuousness.  In theory, this photographer is an encourager, someone who you trust.  But the Before Photo is where theory meets reality. 

It’s ugly, people.  In so many ways.

I shall illustrate.

My photographic helpers were daughters Ninja (11 year-old tomboy) and Princess (10 year-old girlie girl). 

Princess:  Mom, you don’t look that fat.  You look cute.

Ninja:  You don’t look fat at all Mom.  (pause)  *giggle*

Me:  What?

Ninja:  (collecting herself)  No.  You look great Mom. 

Princess:  It’s just that we’re not used to seeing you with, you know, THAT (points to my XL belly sticking out between the bottom of my bright yellow running bra and the waist of my black compression shorts.)

Me:  Yes, I usually try to be more modest.  It’s not like I’m going to be wearing this get-up out at…

Princess:  (interrupting)  No, really Mom.  It’s not that you look like a hootchie or anything.  It’s just that I had no idea your belly was so…

Ninja:  (cutting her off)  Let’s take the pictures, now.  (clicks away at camera)  Okay, turn to the side now.

Me:  (turning) Like this?

Ninja:  Sure.  Yeah, Yes…Yes…  ACK!  WOW!  Oh Mom, I had no idea. 

(Princess flees from hallway photography studio, possibly in fear, possibly to avoid being caught laughing at mama.)

Me:  Nice.  Did you get the stinking picture?

Ninja:  Yeah, Mom.  Here’s your camera. 

Me:  (looking at the photos)  Ugh.  I have my work cut out for me.  Thanks for your help, girls.

Princess:  (peeking back around the corner)  You really do look cute, Mom.

Ninja:  In a silly kind of way.

Princess:  Yes, “silly.”  That’s it exactly.

Me:  (muttering to myself as I head away from the camera crew, who I imagine is now dissolving into a fit of giggles) I guess the whole experience could have been worse.

Helpful Husband:  (from the next room) What experience?

Exactly.

So this is exactly why most people do NOT put themselves through the ordeal of those Before Photos. 

Marathon training?  No problem. 

Intense cardio?  Awesome.

Strength training from hell?  Bring it. 

They are small potatoes compared to the ordeal of the Before Photos. 

But I figure if you can make it through the Before Photo ordeal, then everything else is downhill from there! 

Check back with me on December 31, and I’ll tell you whether it was worth it!  🙂

 [UPDATE:] 

Helpful Husband has now been exposed to this blog post.  After laughing hysterically–a little too loud and long, I might add–he asks, “When did this happen?  Was it here?  Was I here?  Really?” 

“A couple weeks ago.  Yes.  Yes.  And yes.”  Hard stare at HH.

Long pause while HH ponders whether he would have been in more trouble if he’d been involved during the infamous photo shoot than he is for being so very unaware. 

Again, I say, it could have been worse!

 

 

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Photo Credit

Just a reminder, Sunday is the last day submit your recipes for our Contest. 

The How (guidelines) of the Contest can be found and entries can be submitted HERE.

The Why (desperate plea for help) for the Contest can be found HERE

The drawing for The Prize will be held on and the winner will be announced on Monday. 

 

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Poor HH.  He tries.  He really does. 

Thanksgiving is a Very Challenging Day for someone trying to lose weight.  And for me, it was my third day on Weight Watchers.  It was also a day I elected to go on a 10-mile run in the morning.  My master plan was to earn enough Activity Points to enjoy my feast guilt free.  Which indeed, I did.

So the Morning After the Thanksgiving Feast is always met with at worst, trepidation, and at best, curiosity.  At least by me.  And Friday morning is my weigh in day, so there wa no avoiding the trip to Scale City.

I got on the scale and…to my total delight, I’d LOST WEIGHT!  3.6 pounds.  Yippie!  In fact, I even lost weight over Thanksgiving Day, and I assure you, I ate plenty. 

Image Credit

Yes, I know that the first week or so of a new diet causes you to lose “water weight” and it’s not the same as losing actual blubber.  But remember, my master plan is to have less literal weight to carry around with me during my marathon in February.  It matters little whether I’m carrying 3.6 pounds of water or 3.6 pounds of fat or 3.6 pounds of pixie dust.  It takes more effort to carry 3.6 pounds of anything than it does to travel without it. 

So, delighted, I walk back into the bedroom and make my announcement to Happy Family.  Princess and Ninja were delighted, though they had the good sense to refrain from suggesting that we go out for Dairy Queen to celebrate. 

Helpful Husband was very happy for me.  In fact, HH was so happy that he had just a little short-circuit in the compliment-and-encouragement section of his brain.  Yes, he complimented me all right.  And you can be the judge as to whether it was better or worse than the last time.

Here’s how it went down:

HH:  Wow, honey.  That’s really great!  (This would have been a fine place for him to stop encouraging.)

Me:  Thanks!  I’m SO excited about it!

HH:  And you did all that in just three days.

Me:  Yes!

HH:  You know, you’ve lost more weight in the last three days than you did in over six months and almost 500 miles of running.

[Long pause as HH and I both ponder his last statement.  And his fate.]

Me:  Did you really just say that?

HH:  I was trying to compliment you.

Me:  Is that what that was?

HH:  I really am happy for you.

Me:  [sighing]  I know.  Thanks.

Epilogue:  In appreciation for this compliment, I spent the remainder of the day being Helpful Wife and announcing the point value of everything that HH was putting in his mouth.  It was the least I could do.  🙂

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Me:  (Happily discovering that another food I like is cheap-o WW points)  Yes!

Princess: (Spying on me instead of picking up her room)  Mom, what are all the points for?

Me:  (Ignoring the question)  Is your room done?

Princess:  (Ignoring the question)  Are those points anything like Webkinz Kinzcash?

Me:  (I’m hooked.  She got me.)  No these are points that add up to a certain total I get for the day and then for the week…(long explanation trails off when her eyes glaze over)

Princess:  (Waking up from the glaze when she realizes I’ve stopped talking)  But what do you GET for the points?

Me:  I get to lose weight.

Princess:  Sounds like a rip off.  You should be able to use those points to buy something, like in Webkinz World.

Me:  I get to lose weight.

Princess:  How much weight have you lost?

Me:  I’ve only been doing this since 8 o’clock this morning.

Princess:  (with complete sincerity)  Yeah.  How much weight have you lost?

Me:  (after staring at her in disbelief during a long pause)  Is your room done?

[Princess exits with lightning speed.]

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Well, one of my friends just lost her 100th pound on her 40th birthday.  (I would post her name here, but I don’t know if she’s willing to be a public figure, so you’ll have to die of curiosity.)  Another friend is in size 9/10 jeans as of this weekend, in spite of her PMS.  (I have absolutely NO qualms posting her vitals here, since she’s crazy bold enough to share them with the world herself!) 

I am SO happy for them.  Not a bit jealous.  Not. One. Little. Bit.  Okay, well maybe a little.  But sheesh, these ladies have quite literally worked their fannies off, so it’s not like I can begrudge them their awesome achievements.

This just ain't right.

Photo Credit

As for me, faithful readers of this blog know just exactly how much weight I’ve (not) lost.  Indeed, LOTS of you have weighed in (No pun intended…I leave the puns to Linda and Charlie, who are really, really good at puns.  My humor usually occurs by accident.) with really great recipes in my recipe contest, designed to give me ideas and inspiration to be able to cook/eat/feed my family in a more healthy manner.   (Do you notice how often I interrupt myself?  Imagine being my husband (known here on this blog as HH).  Constantly being interrupted by my bursts of inspiration.  He’s such a lucky guy.)  Thanks for your entries!  I will be using them!

Anyway, it is not that I haven’t worked hard enough.  As you (may) know, I’m training for a marathon, so I am getting bunches of exercise.  And as you (may) know, distance runners are particularly weight-loss-challenged because of the distinct nutritional requirements of their sport. 

However, it occurs to me that my sport does not require me to have a burger and fries twice in one day.  And it also occurs to me that I now do have LOTS of awesome recipes from my faithful friends who read this blog. 

Further,  it occurs to me that I have this most salient reminder of two friends that have had MEGA success in the fanny-shrinking department, that these women are really normal, nice, friendly gals, who weren’t doing anything faddish or into some wierd trend.  They were just doing the Hard Work of monitoring what they put into their pie-holes.  These women aren’t supermodels, but they’re superheroes–at least in the weight loss department (and my eyes).  Worse yet, they are totally likeable.  I really LIKE them.  You can’t hate someone who you like, so since I like them I am now left with:  No Excuses.

Since I found myself today at the crossroads of No-Excuses and Forever-Fat, and since I found myself at the end of My Own Strength and Will-Power to Do Anything About It (seriously–I’ve made this a pretty public journey–the public nature of any “failure” would have been enough to have caused me to change if I’d been willing/able/ready to do it), I did the only thing that there was left to do.  I prayed.

[Time out now, because this is something I’m actually serious about.  I take myself pretty lightly, but God?  Now, I take Him seriously.  Just because God has a sense of humor doesn’t mean He’s a joke and He is one of the few things you won’t find me kidding about.  Just wanted you to know.]

SO, I prayed that God would just help me care.  Seriously.  I obviously hadn’t cared enough to do something about it.  I’m not trying to be hard on myself and I’m not trying to make light of God Almighty here.  But I knew that He cared about me taking care of myself, and I obviously wasn’t caring enough to make the necessary changes in the Eat Less curriculum of the Eat Less/Move More game plan I’d taken on. 

If God cared and I didn’t, then I had a problem.  So I asked Him for help.  And of course, He gave it to me.   [Aside:  Even if you’re not a Christian, the exercise/weight loss/diet stuff you’re about to read will probably interest you.  It’s worth it to continue reading.  If you are a Christian, please do not believe for a minute that I “heard from God” just because I said so.  Test it.  If you don’t know how, then message me or ask your pastor.   I’ll be happy to share my testing-process with you personally, but that’s way beyond this post.  Listen, the important thing to know is God does care and He does talk to us, but our “feelings” are not the litmus test for the will of God.  Even if you love everything I say, I don’t speak for God.  God is perfectly capable of speaking for Himself.]

SO…very surprisingly, the help that I received was in the form of several distinct and unassociated people who’ve had great success in this weight loss program called Weight Watchers.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it. 

Now, I’ve done WW before and was quite successful with it.  I have clothes that used to fit me in my closet to prove it.  The problem was that I “did” WW before and I’m now really, really looking for a permanent lifestyle change.  One that can accomodate my new lifestyle as Mom-Who-Runs.  One that I can do as a Normal Person (which I desperately would love to be) instead of either a Dieter OR as a Rebelling-From-Being-A-Dieter-And-Doing-Whatever-I-Please-Person. 

My big objection to WW was that I would have to go to those meetings.  Now, when my world operated on a different schedule, the meetings were not a problem.  At this point in my life, though, the meetings are Out Of The Question. And so, WW was out of the question.  Until now. 

I know this is old news to some people, but it’s new to me, and I’m kinda excited to hear it.  Weight Watchers now has an ONLINE program.  Which means no more (stupid) meetings!  No more needing to get a babysitter so I can step on a scale!  No more lecturettes!  

And *ahem* no more excuses.  

Undaunted, I had one last remaining excuse.  This bit of being an endurance athlete.  Seriously, people.  We need CALORIES to run 26.2 miles.  Or 13.1.  Or 10.  Or 6.  Reasonable people understand that there’s no way to safely crash diet and safely train for a marathon.  But THEN, while poking around on the WW site, I discovered something I’d forgotten entirely.  ACTIVITY POINTS.   

Hallelujah, activity points!  I don’t remember the way they are calculated.  (It’s been a long time since I achieved lifetime WW member status.)  But essentially, activity points help to account for the activity you do by giving you more points that you can/must consume for that day.  So there was actually a chance that I might be able to lose weight, train for my marathon, and not starve/injure myself in the process. 

There was a light at the end of the tunnel.  I just needed to reassess my WHY.

My motivation to lose weight is no longer what it used to be.  I’m not even willing to tell you what it used to be.  Seriously, I don’t even know if I can get my brain to go there.  NOW, however, my desire to lose weight has to do with not having to caring this extra 40 (to 45) pounds with me as a passenger on my marathon on February 21st.  My motivation is to lose some of that weight so that it doesn’t have to come along for the ride on my first marathon, or even most of the training for it.  Losing the weight will help me avoid injury, improve my time, and enjoy the experience (not to mention take a cuter picture) during that race.  So THAT’S the motivation.  And I can’t wait until January 31st to start thinking about it.

So here’s my question:  Who among you has tried (or knows someone who’s tried) this Weight Watchers Online thing?  Would you recommend it for someone as random as me?  Would it yield itself to the odd requirements of an adult-onset-endurance-athlete with a sweet-tooth husband and two athletic daughters to feed?  Would I injure myself trying it while training for this marathon?  Would you recommend it?  In essence:  HELP! 

Please, please, please give me your comments about this if you’ve got an opinion.  Even I’m not such a lover-of-contradiction that I’d start WW three days before Thanksgiving, but I’ll be making a decision about What To Do very soon.  It would be great to have input from people who’ve been there.

As it stands now, the extra weight I’d be carrying would be like carrying a preschooler in my arms for the entire 26.2 miles during my race in February.   Um, pass.  Clearly, it’s time for drastic measures. 

Can’t wait to hear your words of wisdom.  I thank you from the bottom of my…well, never mind. 

P.S.  Another benefit:  HH doesn’t know that there is a WW for Men Online available.  I feel a master plan cooking up.  This could be good!

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In case you didn’t catch this last Friday, I am training for a marathon, so once a week I go on a long run.  Each Friday I’ll post my predictions and results here, so you’ll get that feeling of running with me.  

I thought for a moment of posting the results of my weight loss adventure on Fridays as well, assisted by your awesome recipe entries in The Contest, but then another thought occurred to me:  I actually have to COOK those yummy things.  I won’t actually get healthier and lose any weight by just reading the recipes and wishing.  Oops.  Well, that will be an adventure for next week and surely, I’ll post about it. 

But I digress.  Back to Long Run Friday.

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Photo Credit

THE PLAN:  9 mile run today.  In my cold-weather trail shoes. Assuming it’s cold enough.  (Have I mentioned I love running in cold weather?) 

PREDICTION:  Awesome, of course.

THE REALITY:  To be determined.  I’ll update you all afterwards, assuming I survive.

[UPDATE]:

I had a great 9.5 mile run cold, but gorgeous-weather today. 

I had a few obstacles, most self-imposed, that caused it to be a little tougher than it needed to be, however.  Like, I ate meat last night and I’d already learned the hard way NEVER to eat meat within 24 hours of a long run.  I’ll save the details of how I came to that knowledge in a different post, but suffice it to say, once I thought through the potential impact that my dinner would have on this morning’s run, I called my mom, whose home is at about the halfway point, and asked her to leave her door open in case I needed to stop and potty at the halfway house.  (I did.)

I ran in trail shoes, because of the cold and because I really wanted to try them.  Note to self:  trail shoes belong on the trail.  Or in the snow.  Or in the rain.  They’re heavier and don’t breathe as easily, so the experience wasn’t quite as awesome as it will be in more extreme conditions.  I’m excited to try them in the snow!

I also tried new water bottles and wore gloves today for the first time.  Definitely too many firsts to even be able to discern what accounted for my slower time.   But really, these were my biggest problems, so I am definitely NOT complaining.

Still, I was pleased with myself for getting out there and doing it.  I ran the full distance and only stopped for a very brief time at the above-mentioned Mom’s halfway house. I even took time to stretch afterward!   The first time I ran the 9-mile distance, my knees rebelled and I had a hard time walking for weeks.  Today, I’ve managed to recover reasonably well without the need for ibuprophin!  We’ll see how things continue as the mileage ticks on.  (I’m sure I’ll yield to the ibuprophin later–I do need to be able to move tomorrow!)

Oh, and I have a BIG announcement to make.  It’s super-big for me.  BUT I’m going to wait and make it later this weekend.  (Do you feel the suspense building?)  Stay tuned!

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I had to pass along this very funny quote from an anonymous friend and fellow Fitness Diva, who we’ll just call CHRIS for the sake of this post.  (So what if that’s her real name, we’re calling her that anonymously for the post.)

Heard last night:

Oh please, diet and exercise fairy, grant me the will power and energy to survive the enticements of [the coming day] and the motivation to get my booty to the Y.

ExerciseFairies[1]

Fairy Credit

Oh, have mercy!  I spent most of the night LAUGHING at things my fitness diva girlfriends were writing.  Really, who needs crunches when you can just laugh for hours?!  Just thought I’d share. 

 

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