Friday, August 31, 2012

Fifteen Cheerios

I counted them. 15 cheerios, floating around in my bowl.  I spooned them up about five at a time, and dropped them in the trash. Then, I poured the last 1/4 of a cup of milk or so down the drain, rinsed my bowl, and set it on the sink to be washed. 


I measured my cereal this morning. 50 grams of cheerios, 4 oz of milk, and a cut up banana for good measure. It's a magic breakfast, one my mom used to make for me as a child, and it occured to me that it's the perfect post-workout breakfast. Plus, it just plain tastes good. 

Well, I ate my cereal, and then, at the end, with just a few lone cheerios floating around in my bowl, I realized something. 

I was full. 

Now, once upon a time, I'd have eaten those fifteen cheerios. I'd have turned the bowl up, and finished off the milk. Not because I was hungry, but because they were there. 

But now? I'm not a garbage can, and I shouldn't treat my body like it is. So what, it was just fifteen cheerios. That's literally not even enough to register on my food scale. I didn't *want* them! My body was telling me "Hey, I'm full, thanks!" So, I decided that I wasn't going to eat them. I put those fifteen cheerios in the trash... not my stomach. 

Sure, it wouldn't have made a difference calorie-wise. I'm not going to get fat eating fifteen cheerios and a fourth of a cup of milk. But that's not the point. I'm trying to reorder the way I think about food. Food is fuel. I LOVE food, don't get me wrong. I'm a TOTAL foodie... but when my body is telling me I'm done, I have to listen to it, because it's smarter than my brain is.  

So I do. This is a major thing for me. And let's suppose I did this every day for a year, eating those fifteen cheerios and the fourth of a cup of milk. How many bowls of cheerios would I have eaten without having to? 

I challenge you, my friends, to STOP cleaning your plate. Stop treating your body like a garbage disposal. Even if it's just a little, when you're done, you're DONE. Listen, and stop. Don't worry about the minuscule portions left over. Mom and grandma were wrong... cleaning your plate isn't something to be proud of! 

And moms, I know you. You've been known to finish off your kid's plates when they're done, just to keep that food from going to waste, haven't you? I have.  Well, stop it. Remember that your body is your temple, your only one, the thing you need to get from age 0 to your deathbed. You end up wasting the food anyway, because what does our body do with the food you eat that you don't need? That's right. Metabolizes it right into fat for storage. So instead of the trash can, it's on your hips now. 

Stop treating your body like a landfill. It's better than that. YOU are better than that. You deserve BETTER. 

Photo Courtesy lobstar28

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Leading Horses

Most, if not all of us, have loved ones who are not healthy. As we walk our own troubled paths, we crave companionship, especially from those who are closest to us. For those of us who are married, this is often our spouse. Our need for them to be with us is not just about companionship, either; it's also about worry, about wanting them to live forever and be with us forever and be healthy. It's love. 

But what do you DO? 

I've found in my journey thus far that you can't force them. There's no amount of nagging that will make my husband start being healthier. In fact, most people respond negatively to nagging, and will do the opposite just to spite you! 

You can't treat your significant other (or indeed, anyone else in your life who is an adult) like a child, and expect them to thank you for it. 

What CAN you do for a loved one you're afraid of losing to bad health? 

Be there. Do what you're doing. Set an example. If you're the cook, keep making healthier things that accommodate their tastes, while improving nutritional content. I've switched our family completely over to 93% lean ground beef, for example. We were at the grocery store the other day, and my husband saw me get it, and he said "Trying something new? I thought that stuff was dry." I smiled and told him we'd been eating it for months. 

I've bought low-sodium ham. I keep fresh, raw veggies on hand for snacks for the kids. I talk about the things I'm doing. I mention that I want to start making our plates based on the government food plate. Never do I tell him what he needs to do. I talk about what *I'm* doing. 

And it's working. As time progresses, he is starting to be more aware of his choices, and is slowly but surely making more healthy ones. At a buffet, he still goes for nothing but deep fried veggies, fries, and brown things (seriously, the whole plate will be brown) but he's more likely to add veggies when he's cooking, or eat them first, and he's trying to get more exercise. 

One change that I have made? I buy him 2% milk. He drinks a lot of milk, and it's healthier for him. He asks me specifically to get him whole milk sometimes, and I do when requested, but absent his request, it's 2%. At a minimum, every other gallon is 2%. 

The other day, we were at the store together, and it was time to get milk. The last gallon was 2%. He looked at the whole milk. Then glared at me. And picked up the 2%. 

He knows. ;) He's a big boy. But he has to make the choice to be healthy. I can't make it for him. Through my example, I'm helping to slowly change his environment, but in the end... he has to make the move to good health. He knows I'll pay for a gym membership if he wants one. But until he's ready... he won't take it. And I'm okay with that. I can deal with waiting patiently, as long as eventually we're on that road together. 

Will we be riding bikes together or lifting weights together? I don't know. I hope so, though it's a slim hope. 

But I'll be happy to see him choose some green veggies at the buffet one day. :) 

Photo courtesy of Canadian Veggie

Friday, August 24, 2012

So unbelievably sore.

So yesterday at boot camp, our trainer really put us through the wringer. First, he told us to put 10 lb weights on our barbells. (Most of us do 7 1/2 or smaller, normally. Everyone in there was used to doing more than 5.) 

Then we went into crossfit mode. 

I don't know what it's called, but basically we deadlifted, then went into an overhead press. Did that for a minute. I didn't do a full overhead press; I've figured out that's how I hurt my shoulder, and I'm NOT risking further injury now that I can't go to the doctor. We combined that with 5 pushups. did it again. Five times. 

Rested for a bit, then went outside and ran around the building, combined with mountain climbers. then around the building. 8 times. Back in the building, squats with barbell. Then mountain climbers. It was basically bull-blown circuit training. 

It just... FRICKIN HURT. I actually felt really good at one point after he demoed the exercise, and then used ME as the example of proper form! I was doing it perfectly, he said. That really made me feel good. 

Anyway, today my thighs hurt SO much. Every time I stand, it's murder. But it's a GOOD pain... not the pain of "ouch I've pulled something" but good old fashioned DOMS. The good thing is that my shoulder doesn't hurt at all; my suspicion about the exercise that caused my injury has apparently panned out, and my modifications worked. I might be able to heal this thing on my own. I hope. 

I didn't eat well today; ate a bit too much at the cheap pizza buffet. I did eat an enormous salad, though, and opted for the whole wheat crust white pizza, so while I overate, I overate on relatively healthy stuff.  I just did the math on my overeating. *I still ate at maintenance!* not even 2,000 calories. I didn't track beforehand, but I made the right choices, so that though I went over my range, I still stayed in maintenance range!

I've been VERY busy today otherwise. It's beta test launch day on NaNoWriMo. Wrangling a ton of beta testers, manually promoting them, and fielding questions, it's been very meticulous and busy. I am very blessed with fantastic volunteers and co-workers, though; it's a labor of love! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Do unto others

Lately, I've discovered something about myself that I *really* don't like. It's a terrible habit, and one I absolutely must stop. 

I'm very critical of other people's weights. While I never, ever say anything to anyone, and would never attempt to hurt them, I still *think* it, and often say something to my husband about it in private. It can be as simple as commenting on how a certain celebrity has added a few pounds, or how one of my own friends has just "let herself go." 

It's UGLY. It's nasty, and it's NOT ME. I don't do that. It's doubly hypocritical because while I'm healthy and active now, I've gone for 6 years and more being unhealthy, lazy, and FAT. Did I get "that big"? No. That was honestly more luck than some kind of superior personality trait. 

It's worse when I see a parent with an overweight child. The thoughts that go through my mind are usually something along the lines of "how could you do that to your kid?" You know, because I have slender, active children, I'm a better mom than they are. 

Except for the fact that I have slender, active children *in spite* of the fact that I'm overweight and lazy. They have watched me eat like a pig and sit on my butt their whole lives. I'm very blessed that they listened to what I said, instead of following what I did. That's not me being a better mom, that's me being incredibly blessed with good luck. 

Slender people aren't immune from my scathing glares, either. Someone who is slender but clearly "weak" or unfit gets the same derision, because I lift weights and they don't. They're not immune because they're skinnier than I am... in fact, I'm more harsh, because they're lucky to be slender, and they're wasting it on higher body fat percentages and laziness. I resent them for squandering what they have. I always think, "They'll figure it out when they get older and their metabolism slows down like mine did." It's so rude and unfair. It's petty, and nasty. 

I don't like this part of myself. Even if I never breathe a word of it to these people, it's not okay for me to think these things. Because they're not true! I'm not somehow better than they are because I woke up and started doing something. When I was a teenager, I was those people. I was naturally active, but I ate terribly; it wasn't unusual, for example, for me to come home after school and grate myself HALF A BLOCK of cheese. For a snack. 

I have been the soda-swilling, cheese-burger chomping fat girl. So I didn't get to be 220. Or 250. Or 300. That doesn't mean I'm better than someone who DID get that weight. It just means I was blessed with an awareness before it got too bad, and even then, I've struggled so hard with my own willpower. I should have lost MUCH more than I have, but my own snacking and lack of ability to say no to myself when I want something has sabotaged me again and again. 

I've made great improvements in my physical and nutritional health. I eat SO much better than I ever have. NOw, I think it's time to make some improvements in my mental health. 

Instead of tearing people down in my head, I'm going to start building them up. I can't stop myself from noticing weight, it's a part of my everyday life and I think about it a lot, but I CAN stop myself from being nasty and crude about it. I don't have to revel in my own imagined "superiority" anymore. 

I KNOW how hard it is to get started. I spent more than 6 years sitting and wallowing in that self-loathing that comes with being anything other than perfect. I know what it's like to stare at that plate of food I shouldn't eat, but I can't stop myself. So I don't binge on sweets. But I've gone to Krispy Kreme and devoured three donuts in less than a minute, just because I "deserved" it. I've been there when I threw caution to the wind because I went over my calorie range and figured I might as well blow it to hell and back. 

So I want to say I'm sorry. To every one of you who had the nerve to be alive and have imperfections and issues. Because I've been a complete ass. I may never have seen you on the street, personally, but you here represent all those people I've been so judgmental of. None of us are here because we're perfect people with no problems. We ALL have weight issues, we ALL struggle with being healthy. I have no right to be so judgmental, and you don't deserve it. So accept my apology in lieu of those here in my own hometown, for my stupidity and jealousy. 

And walk with me as I commit to shelving such attitudes and being a more positive, loving person. Because no one deserves abuse, even if it's just in someone else's head. 

Image courtesy of Tobyotter

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just who is this crazy redhead, anyway?

Obviously, I'm a mom and a wife. I have 2 kids, 3 cats, and a dog. I like to grow basil.  I have a cherry tomato plant in my yard that looks like it's drunk but makes the best tomatoes I've ever had. I have a disabled husband, and suffere from a severe case of Uber Lazy myself.

I am a writer, though lapsed. I love words, and have an above-average vocabulary and excel at communication through written means. I'm no slouch at public speaking, either. I'm a community moderator (not here on Sparkpeople, though I wouldn't turn down the job if offered.)

I'm a dilettante who knows a little about a lot of things, but a lot about very few things. Those things I know a lot about though, I tend to get a little obsessed with from time to time.

I am mercurial; I tend to be very positive as a general rule, but I have a mean bite, and can turn cranky at the drop of the hat. I'm always willing to admit when I'm wrong, though, and have apologized for many a foot-to-mouth insertion. I have made friends of enemies.

I love tea. A LOT. I am a regular at a local British tea room, and am trying to get as many friends as possible to join me. My favorite teas are white and herbal, particularly chamomile.

Exercise-wise, I prefer group classes for motivation and camaraderie, and gravitate to boot-camp style classes. I can't stand Zumba, though I'm a big fan of kickboxing.  I hit harder than my husband, and no longer have trouble opening pickle jars. I will, however, fake it now and again to keep my husband feeling like he's needed. ;) I have rediscovered my age-old love of biking. In college, I would ride 20+ miles per day, since I had no car. I am an avid but terribile runner, and will probably never run more than a 5k now and again.

I'm a bit of a spendthrift, and love to drop silly money on microtransactions in worthless games on my computer. I love toys... I have an android tablet, an iPod touch (my second, I lost the first), and a prepaid dumbphone that I would very much like to replace with an iPhone. I'm a gadget-a-holic.

My favorite foods are lemon pepper chicken alfredo, everything bagels, and steak. I'm majorly addicted to cheese, although I'm mildly lactose intolerant.  At any given time, there will be 5+ types of cheese in my fridge. Right now I have Philadelphia 1/3 less fat cream cheese, sweet basil formaggio, mozzarella, Sargento colby jack ultra thin slices, sharp cheddar, and Laughing Cow swiss wedges, and I will eat every last bite of every one of them.  I drink 2% lactose free milk.

And last, but certainly not least, I love dragons.  I've used the handle "Dragonchilde" since 1997, when I discovered the world of online communities in college.  I plan to get a dragon tattooed on my shoulder. I used to be afraid of pain, but having two kids with no pain medications pretty much removed all fear of that.

And that's me. So who are you? Enquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Don't talk to yourself like that!

Words are POWERFUL. 

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me." 

If I could find the person who came up with that nonsense, I'd go back in time and assassinate them. Those 13 words are the most damaging, destructive words ever uttered, which is even more ironic given their intended meaning. Broken bones will mend, but words leave marks that never heal. 

Words define us. They create our minds, express our thoughts, make us see people in different ways. Words can tear down the greatest monarch, or build up the smallest child. 

If you tell yourself over and over that this is a bad day, and it's just going to get worse... it will. 

Tell yourself that this is just a blip on the screen, and it'll all be okay... it will. 

Tell yourself you're ugly, and others will see you that way. 

Tell yourself that you're fat, and you are. 

Tell yourself that you're going to be healthy, and you're going to start marching down that path to health and living well. 

Tell yourself that you're beautiful, no matter your size, and you will start to feel and look better in your own skin. 

I am overweight. But I look in the mirror, and I smile. Though I'm not even halfway to my goal yet, I feel GREAT. I look so amazing compared to the way I did this time last year. There isn't even a way to compare the two. 

If I found my daughter calling herself ugly, I wouldn't tolerate that. She's beautiful, no matter what she looks like, and I won't hear her talk that way about herself. I wouldn't let anyone else talk that way about her. 

If I won't let someone else call my daughter names, why should I let anyone else? I'm worth just as much as she is. She came from me, after all! She had to get that worth from somewhere. I'm someone's daughter. My mom wouldn't tolerate anyone calling me names. She loves me! It can be hard for us to love ourselves, but if you want to succeed, it's time to learn. 

Stop calling yourself names. Don't abuse yourself. Think in positive terms. I know, it sounds cheesy and new-age-pop-psychology. But it's true. Negative thinking becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I told my husband today that if he kept insisting that this was a terrible day, and it was just one bad thing after another, it was going to be a bad day. 

Stop taking abuse. Don't take it from your husband. Your mother. Your best friend. From YOU. 

You are WORTH MORE than that. You are not fat. You are NOT gross. You are NOT ugly. 

You are you. You are worth the time to be healthy. You are worth the effort to be fit. 

Find words to describe you that aren't tearing you down. Need help? Ask me. I'll find some for you. I'm good with words. I like them. I know a LOT OF THEM.

Here, let me start you out: 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Exercise makes my whole day better.

Getting to the gym for a workout sets me up for a successful day from right in the beginning.

It gets me up early so I'm available to do the things I need to do. I'm a night owl by nature, and am happiest staying up until 3 AM and sleeping until 11 AM.  This is not, however, conducive to productive daily living.  When I go to the gym, I'm back home by 10:30 at the latest, and ready to work. Often, I'm home earlier than that and get more done before folks at HQ are even awake (I'm on the east coast, and work for a company on the west coast.)

It makes me more likely to make better decisions later.

I eat better. I'm not going to come home flush from a workout and stuff myself with sugary cereal or junk food. I'm going to have a protein shake, or make myself some turkey sausage.  It also makes me more mindful of the things I put in my body so that I'm refueling properly.

I move more. I'm more likely to do something active AFTER a gym workout than before.  Today, I rode the half mile to the nearby Fred's on my bike, instead of driving.  No reason not to, and I was already awake and functional. Lately, I've been driving to the store.

I sleep better at night. When I'm active, I just plain sleep better. I sleep more quickly (normally I'm up for an hour or more trying to fall asleep) because I've used my body, and it has more need of the rest.

I hurt less. The less I move, the more I hurt. My back will start aching from poor posture, my joints start to hurt from the arthritis (I'm only 33.)   In short, exercise makes me just plain feel better.

I'm in a better mood. This means I yell at my kids less, they behave better, I snap at my husband less, and overall, this whole family is happier.

If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

I love to move. I love exercising. I love being active. I never want to stop!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August the First: Reboot

So, it's no secret that this entire summer has kinda sucked for me. I've been terribly inconsistent with my workouts, and in fact, haven't been more than once a week in two months. Very uncool. Part of it is that without the motivation of having to take the kid to school, I just don't like to get up in the morning. I work from home, so I set my own hours. I'm NOT a morning person. So given my druthers, I stay up late, and sleep in. I've been out of sorts emotionally, physically, and mentally. 

I have done well with my eating, so that I've lost some, though not as much as I'd like. 

But, in order to get back on track, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon, and make some goals for August. You guys are going to make me feel guilty if I don't. :) 

So, here's my goals for the month. 

1) I will walk three times a week with my family. With my husband off his meds and my kids getting unfit, we need to make this a priority for all of us. Some of it's understandable; I mean, the average temperature this summer has hovered over 100, so it's been tough to get them to go outside and play. But still, there's no excuse for them getting worn out after a half a mile of walking Monday! 

2) I will go to the gym 3 times per week. I'm paying for the membership, I'm going! I miss my classmates and trainers, honestly. 

3) I will ride my bike 3 times per week. I love my bike. I love riding it. It's not even exercise, to me, it's fun! This will be my me time, my enjoyment time. 

4) I will write 1,667 words a day every day all month for Camp NaNoWriMo. I didn't write a thing during June's camp, so I'm going to do it come hell or high water. 

All doable. What are YOUR goals for this month?