Amping Up My Health Goals

I’m sort of on a health kick.

Actually, there’s no “sort of” about it – I’m on a health kick.

I’ve been meaning to vlog about this, and I would still like to, but by the time I remember I WANT to, I look like something that dug itself out of a grave and well, I’ll spare you the gory visuals.

This whole thing started with Mother’s Day.

I went shopping with my mom. And as usual, I felt like a cow. My mom has lost weight and she’s downright skinny! Me? Not so much.

But the cherry on my humiliating sundae? The picture of me and my mom together.

Wow. Just wow.

It was yet another wake up call for me. I had gained my last pound – it was time to get serious about losing weight – AGAIN.

I go through spurts. Who doesn’t? And my last spurt? Done sprung a leak, ya’ll.

I went to work the Monday after that fateful, eye-opening picture wracking my brain trying to come up with a plan – did I really want to get back on my exercise routine? I mean, I was GOING to exercise, that’s a given anytime you want to lose weight, but I’ve been known to overdo the exercise thing in the past (like getting up at 4:30 every morning, driving to the gym and working out for an hour and a half every day. Oh yeah, I did that for two and a half years!!) and I really didn’t want to go through that strict of a routine this go-around. No. I needed to amp things up a bit – I needed to not only get back to exercising on a consistent basis, more importantly, I needed to re-train myself to eat smarter.

For you see, I had been so used to just eating what I wanted for so long, that I sort of forgot HOW to eat properly. Now that I’m older and my body is going through “THE CHANGE”, I can’t do that anymore.

The Mother’s Day picture was proof of that.

As usual, God was there for me. For out of the blue, one of my co-workers caught me one day and started telling me about this great new protein shake she had started drinking.

WAIT! I promise you it’s not some crazy fad. Well, okay, it might be a fad, but I’m going into this with my eyes wide open. And by that I mean, I KNOW THERE IS NO QUICK FIX, OR MAGIC POTION, TO LOSING WEIGHT. If you’re serious about losing weight, you have to re-train both your body, and your mind, into a new way of thinking.

This co-worker showed me a before picture, a picture of her at her heaviest. And I looked at her with new eyes. The girl HAD lost a ton of weight. So okay, I’d give it a shot.

Here is what I’ve been drinking for the past month:

It’s called Body by Vi and it’s a protein shake.

Before you roll your eyes – I’ve been on it one month and I’ve lost eight pounds. I increased my activity level, but not by much. I cut out ALL CARBS (seriously, no breads, no pastas, etc) and all sugars, obviously. But it goes beyond the obvious sugars (junk food, candy, etc.), I rarely drink orange juice and I check sugar content on everything I eat now.

Not a bad start, if I do say so myself, but I can do better.

The thing is, the shakes? Are expensive. For example, the type of protein drink I’m currently drinking? Costs $100 for 60 shakes. That’s two shakes per day for one month. Yeah. Expensive. HOWEVER, when you consider the amount of money you spend on food in one month’s time and you’re buying less because you’re making healthier food choices and not buying the normal junk you normally buy, you’re probably saving money in the long run.

So consider that.

And if you go this route? You need to be DAMN sure you’re committed to it because it really WILL be a waste of money if you don’t change your eating habits along with drinking two shakes a day.

For example, here is what I consume on a typical day:

Half a glass of orange juice, (but not every day). I know what I said about orange juice. Yes. It has a ton of sugar. But I drink it because, A. it makes me feel good and keeps my immune system strong and B., it helps me stay regular.

One 8 oz shake. I’ve been mixing it with unsweetened Almond milk – which has 40 calories. It’s less fattening, and it’s a lot less gassy than regular cow’s milk and I’ll be honest (when am I NOT honest with you people), I feel pretty good since drinking it. I don’t miss cow’s milk AT ALL. In fact, when I stop the shakes, I doubt if I EVER go back to cow’s milk, quite frankly.

Peanuts or almonds for a mid-morning snack. I know what you’re thinking – NUTS ARE FATTENING, KAREN. And you would be right, BUT, it’s the good kind of fat – the kind of fat that actually helps you burn the bad fat. And it’s got a lot of protein, which is KEY to losing weight – cut out the carbs and sugars and eat more protein.

One 8 oz. shake for lunch.

Cheese for mid-afternoon snack. Or low-fat yogurt. In fact, I’ve been eating A LOT of yogurt lately. Since I’ve stopped eating sugar, the sweetness of the yogurt actually helps curb my sweet craving.

Then I have a light dinner. I stick to meat and veggies. For example, Kevin made sliders (mini-hamburgers) the other night. I ate just the hamburger patty and put a little mustard on it for flavor. (No ketchup – ketchup has too much sugar). I’ve been buying broccoli, so I cut up some broccoli, dipped it into a little ranch dressing and YUM. I also had another piece of cheese. (I’ve been eating more cheese, too. Now you see why I need an occasional glass of orange juice between all of the milk, cheese and yogurt products I’ve been eating lately).

The shakes keep me full for about two hours. Then I just eat a snack. Honestly? I’ve been hungry, but not ravenous and as long as I have a handful of nuts now and again, even that’s under control.

The shakes themselves taste sweet. In fact, the powder smells EXACTLY like cake batter. It’s delicious. In addition to two big bags of powder, they send you flavor packets that you can add to the shakes to, well, shake things up a bit. :) There are also all kinds of recipes for different types of shakes to avoid the monotony.

Though I’m glad I tried this Body by Vi, it’s just too expensive to maintain. So, I’m going to look into other protein drinks that are less expensive.

But the protein supplements alone are not enough – I need to rev this plan up a few RPM’s … I talked to my co-worker again and she told me that in addition to the shakes, she added something else … something that has sped up her metabolism and helped her to lose thirty pounds – THIRTY POUNDS, YA’LL!!!

I’ll tell you what I’m trying next in a different post.

Right now, it’s almost 10:00 p.m. and I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open. I plan on getting up at 5:00 in the morning and driving to a nearby school to use their track so I can get my three mile walk on before I go to work.

Yes. I do believe I have lost my mind, thanks for asking.

All I know is, I’m determined to reshape my body. I’d LIKE to lose forty pounds, we’ll see if I can make that happen.

More later …

My First 5K Experience

First 5K


So … that was fun. No really, I’m not being sarcastic – it really was.

I psyched myself up for this by thinking, “Okay self. It’s just another work day. Get up, take a shower, put on makeup (yes, I put on makeup because HELLO. I have to work with these people and OMG – gross), get dressed and get out the door, just like any other work day.” I didn’t think about it, I just did it.

Which is pretty much what I do on a daily basis when I go to work.

I got to the facility by 7:35 a.m. I was supposed to meet the other girls from work at a specific sign by 7:30 a.m. I just about didn’t make it because as I walking to meet them, they were walking to the starting line.

There were people everywhere and I wish now, I had taken my camera. However, one of the girls I work with had someone take a picture of all of us with her camera phone and she will likely email it to everyone on Monday.

We got into the back of the line. I wish now, I hadn’t. But one of the gals I work with brought her dog and people with strollers and dogs had to line up at the back of the line to stay out of the way of the more serious runners. But next time, I’m totally positioning myself at the front of the line because once we got going, the competitive side of me was a bit irked whenever I saw the runners were already heading back when I hadn’t even walked half of the course.

The day was PERFECT: sunny and cool. I wore a t-shirt and shorts and even I was almost cold. Of course, I warmed up fast once we got going.

The city shut down a few streets for us, so everyone had plenty of room to do their thing. I heard from veteran 5K-ers that they tried to keep it to the sidewalks one year and it was just a mess.

I took my Ipod and I fully intended to just speed walk my way past the other girls and sort of lose myself in the music, but to my utter annoyance, I had one gal from work insist on keeping pace with me and talking to me. I wasn’t annoyed with her, per se, but rather when I get into the workout zone, I really don’t want to talk to anyone and just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.

Not to mention, I’m the world’s worst small talker and it was just uncomfortable trying to come up with things to say to her.

There’s definitely something exhilarating about walking with a bunch of other people – the energy was palpable. But again, I wish I had been more at the front of the pack because by the time I crossed the finish line, they were already starting the awards. It was cool to cross the finish line though. I guess the chip on my shoe told them who I was, because as I was walking across the finish line, the announcer called out my name. I was a bit surprised to hear my name, and a bit embarrassed, simply because I was one of the last to finish. But oh well, it was still fun and I really enjoyed it.

I grabbed some ice cold water and watched the awards for a bit before I left. I really didn’t see a reason to stick around – most of the activities were geared toward the kids. I was surprised, though, to see Reliv had set up a booth and was selling products. I don’t know WHY I was surprised other than the fact that I didn’t think Reliv was big enough to participate in events like this. (My in-laws sell Reliv).

As I was driving home, I was surprised to see Kevin driving the Mazda next to me. He hadn’t gone with me this morning, which was cool, I hadn’t really expected him to, but I couldn’t figure out why he was out and about so early. When we got home, he said he had driven to the halfway mark and was waiting to take pictures, but he couldn’t figure out why he didn’t see any runners/walkers.

The “race” was over before he even got there. He thought it would take us much longer to get through it.

I finished in just under 45 minutes. Which is pretty normal for me. I usually walk three miles in 45 minutes on the treadmill.

I had fun. And I think I’d like to do more 5K’s. In fact, I had two gals try and talk me into a few more walks coming up. One of the walks is a night walk at the end of July, which I think would be interesting, not to mention smart, considering the days get to the unbearable point at the end of July.

So that was the start of my weekend.

Now back to our regularly scheduled lives…

Irony: The More I Work Out, the More I Hurt

Irony number two: I have back issues. I have had back issues my entire life. In fact, I have a slight curvature in my spine. In fact, Dude has a pretty significant curvature to his spine.

And here I am, working for spine doctors.

How ironic.

I wonder if I did that on a sub-conscious level. I wouldn’t doubt it. My sub-conscious is sneaky like that.

I’ve been working out. A lot. Okay. Maybe not a lot. I work out every other night because I wash my hair every other day and I can’t stand the thought of not only having dirty hair on day two, but having dirty SWEATY hair on day two.

So I work out every other night.

I am doing EA Sports on the Wii. And then walking 45 minutes or three miles, whichever comes first.

And though my jiggles are jiggling just a little less, my back is hurting more and more.

I simply can’t win.

My back rarely hurts when I’ve got a little weight on me, but the moment I start losing that “buffer”, ouch.

But that is yet another thing I will endure because I simply refuse to buy bigger clothes.

It’s. Just. Not. Going. To. Happen.

People get into trouble when they buy bigger clothes. I will not be one of those people.

Sharing this bit of working out news is not the least bit exciting. Why? Because I go through spurts. I have gone through spurts my entire life. I get excited about something, I participate to death and then it sort of burst into a spontaneous ball of pretty spark and … nothing. The enthusiasm is gone. My drive is gone. I’m no longer excited about it.

Until the next spurt happens, and here we go again …

I confess. One of the biggest reasons I’ve been getting back on the exercise wagon is because of one gal at work. She began one of those crazy two-week diets at the beginning of the year where she wouldn’t eat any carbs, yadda-yadda-yadda for two weeks. Then she started introducing these foods back into her diet, and began re-training her body to eat healthy. Then she began to exercise and now? Four months later? She’s looking downright skinny.

I could do that. I too have the willpower to stick to something like that, but I simply choose not to. I prefer, instead, to just sort of bargain with myself all day.

“Okay look. If you want to eat this brownie now, fine. But you can not eat anything else fattening for the rest of the day.”

“It’s 8:00 o’clock at night – it’s too late to eat. You’re just going to have to ignore the hunger pangs. Go to bed. You can’t be hungry if you’re sleeping.”

Things like that. And yes. It works for me. In essence, I guilt myself into doing the right thing. But of course, just cutting back on eating isn’t enough, I have to start exercising, too. Because no matter what anyone tells you, you HAVE to exercise AND watch your food intake if you truly want to lose weight.

Period. End of story.

So yeah. I’m feeling a teensy bit jealous of the gal at work who’s losing all of her weight. I also admire the hell out of her. And when you wear scrubs all day every day? It’s so easy to pack on the pounds because there is no external restriction to remind you to scale back a bit.

I work with a lot of obese women. And if you ever wonder why there are so many obese people in health care I blame stress and scrubs. It’s an uphill battle. But the gals that I work most closely with? Are pretty good about watching their weight and though I’m not really one to allow other people to affect my life/attitude, it happens. And I’m thankful for their diligence.

This is a bit off topic, but the other day, I was talking with my “buddy” (we have buddies that cover our nurses’ flags and voicemails whenever we’re out of the office – which reminds me, my buddy is going on vacation for a week next month and OMG, I’m going to be super busy trying to do my work AND her work while she’s gone), and we were talking about … okay fine, we were gossiping, (though I HONESTLY try to stay out of the gossiping arena because that will get a person into trouble in no time flat), and I said, “Want to know a secret?”

And to my utter astonishment, she began crying.

In addition to feeling extremely uncomfortable, I was flabbergasted. What the … ??

She thought I was going to tell her I was quitting.

Bless her heart. The thought of my leaving truly freaked her out. I’m not quite sure how to take this. I mean, I’m glad she likes me. I’m glad she enjoys working with me (because let’s face it, I’m pretty awesome *snort*), but wow. Her reaction shocked me. And it made me really sad. Because though she has told me stories of how awful it was for her until I came on the scene, I guess I didn’t realize just HOW awful it was for her until I came on the scene.

The other two gals in my area? Are not bad people. I like them both. Sure. They both have their quirks, I have quirks, we all have quirks. And I deal with those quirks because people are different and that’s life. Getting upset over things you can’t control is a total waste of energy and I refuse to do that.

But wow. I knew there was tension between the other two girls and my “buddy.” But I guess I really didn’t know how serious that tension was until I saw her reaction to my “Wanna know a secret” statement.

Now I sort of feel like I’m stuck in this job. Granted, I have no intention of going anywhere any time soon because even though I don’t get paid squat, I truly enjoy this job. It challenges me and I really dig the crazy pace and all of the multi-tasking. But this whole flu shot thing every flu season fiasco? Is really not something I want to put myself, or the people I work with, through every year. I plan on waiting it out a few years to see how often these “flu epidemics” (*snort*) break out and go from there.

But if I ever choose to leave healthcare and pursue something else, I now have the added guilt of leaving this poor woman who has clearly attached herself to me.

And though I’m flattered she likes me, and enjoys working with me, I sort of resent the fact that now I will feel guilty for leaving, if it ever comes to that.

Does that makes sense? *sigh*

People are starting to share office gossip with me. I really wish they wouldn’t. I really don’t want to get sucked into office politics. I just want to go to work, do my job, have a few laughs and then go home. But I see what’s coming … invitations to hang out after work. And though, again, I really, truly like these gals I work with, I just don’t want to go down the hang out after work road. Because then you just add another element of stress to your working life, especially if you get upset with one another or you start feeling like you owe someone something because you’re “friends.”

I know that makes me sound stand-offish and snobbish. And to some extent, you’d be right. But I’m just trying to be realistic and I’m desperately trying to keep my personal life and my work life two separate entities.

I’m not sure how much longer I can make the distinction.

And guys, get this, on the 19th of this month? I will have been at this job for six months.

SIX MONTHS, PEOPLE.

Wow.

I Think I Figured Out Why I’m Not Sleeping Well

I tossed and turned last night.

It was so bad, I actually woke Kevin up.

I wake up with various parts of my body tingling. Sometimes, those same parts are completely numb.

But they’re always aching and it’s uncomfortable enough to prevent me from STAYING asleep.

I can fall asleep, no problem. In fact, I can fall asleep virtually anywhere and at anytime. But staying asleep seems to be my biggest problem lately.

I’ve mentioned that I’m a light sleeper – every little sound/sigh/creak/car/bark/whisper wakes me up. So, I’m pretty used to that and I sleep with white noise – usually a fan, or a noisy air purifier.

But this is different: I’m waking up sore and achy numerous times a night.

So now I’m running through possible scenarios in my head. I’ve always had a bad back. (Well, it wasn’t bad until I fell off a six-foot ladder trying to change a damn marquee, but I digress). And to get around that bad back problem, I work out. Working out keeps it stretched and pliable so though it may ache a bit after working out, it usually works itself out and the next day I feel pretty good.

But again, this is different. I’ve BEEN working out. In fact, probably too much. Which at first, I thought might have actually been the problem. But last night was … terrible. I tossed and turned more than usual and today, I feel like someone ran me over with a Mack truck – twice.

I sat down to talk to Kevin about my problem this morning:

Me: “This is so frustrating! I’m working out, harder than ever, to PREVENT this kind of stuff from happening. I’ve been doing the 30 minute ‘hard’ programs on the EA Sports program and then walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes while watching a TV episode on DVD.”

Him: “Maybe that’s the problem – you’re working out too much. I mean, my gosh Karen, how long do you work out? An hour and a half?”

Me: *A simple nod*

Him: “That’s too long. Here’s an idea, just stop eating so many candy bars.”

Me: *giving him one of my say one more word about my eating habits and die a slow death look*

Him: *sigh – he knows when to stop – smart man*

Me: “Life is too short to deprive myself of a candy bar now and then … no, it’s something else. It’s like I feel worse since I’ve been using that EA Sports Active program on the Wii …. OH!”

I sit up straight in my chair because it suddenly dawns on me – it’s the program.

Not the PROGRAM, per se, but where I’m doing the program more specifically.

The Wii is set up in my husband’s home office. His home office used to be our screen-in back porch. Kevin put some sheet rock, put down some indoor-outdoor carpeting and voila – instant office.

I work out in his office because it has enough room for me to jump around (as long as I keep the ceiling fan in mind, we’re good) and of course, has the Wii. Which I need to workout to the EA Sports program.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

The office has a concrete floor. And since it was a porch, it wasn’t leveled, so the floor has a slight slope. I’ve been jumping and running on a sloped, concrete floor which I’m SURE has not helped my sensitive back one bit.

EUREKA! It’s not me, it’s my workout environment!!

Which, thank goodness. I’m not about to give up EA Sports, I really enjoy working out to the program (I even bought another disk with more exercises, though I haven’t used it yet). Now the problem is, how do we move the Wii to a more workout-friendly room? I don’t want to workout in our living room because we have new wood floors and I don’t want to dimple it with my excess weight. (*ahem*). I could workout in the family room, which is adjacent to Kevin’s office, but there’s the whole remote issue – the controllers won’t work if the remote bar thingie can’t pick it up.

At any rate, I’ll think of something because I have no intentions of stopping the program, cold turkey. But I’m relieved that I figured out why my body has been so sore and out of whack these past weeks. I expect to feel like I’m coming down with a cold. Whenever you burn layers of fat, you release toxins that are trapped in your fat that get released back into your blood stream, so you feel pretty run down until that passes. But this muscle soreness has stumped me because I haven’t really been doing anything all that unusual.

I’m pretty sure I’m right on my theory.

So. I need to find a new place to workout to EA Sports. Then I should be more physically comfortable which means I should be sleeping better which should result in less fatigue.

Which I have to get under control if/WHEN I get a job.

I’m tired of being complicated. *sigh*

Think Before You Eat – It’s a Constant Compromise

Let’s talk about food. Not as in let’s swap recipes, but rather, how food affects your physical and mental well being.

There is no particular reason I’m writing this post, it’s just something I am forced to think about pretty much constantly and I go through phases when I eat more than normal and have to reign myself in and get serious about controlling my eating habits again – like now.

Before we get started, please note, I am not an expert, as in AT ALL. I can tell you my experiences, I can give you my observations and even my advice, but I in no way really know what I’m talking about. I’ve been battling weight issues my whole life (really, who hasn’t??) and I only NOW (I’m 45!) think I (sort of) have it figured out. Again, these are my views, this is what works for me. I hope it helps you, or at the very least, gives you an idea, or even encouragement to try and control your own eating habits.

Also? Eating is sort of psychological. If you’re eating all the time, it would be worth a look at WHY you’re eating. It probably won’t be an easy journey but if you truly want to conquer your eating demons, then beating them down will be more effective than if you try and shut the door in their face. You know?

I talked before about how we really MUST reach a point where we are comfortable with our bodies. Though we would all LIKE to look like Victoria Secret models (and the media knows this and of course quilts us into thinking it’s possible), get real. Though it’s certainly possible to lose weight and tone your body, the question is, is it HEALTHY for YOU to wear a size zero.

Personally? With my height? I’d look like a fence post, with breasts.

Thankfully, I have stopped aspiring to be a single digit size – I’m pretty comfortable hovering around the 10/12 size (and I say hovering because it truly varies from day-to-day. There’s the bloating/puffy factor that comes with being a female, and the sizes of clothes depends on who’s making them at what time of year and which style is hot at that time period. In other words, it’s never consistent so I end up trying on both sizes of everything I like because it’s a crap shoot. Tell me I’m not the only one this happens to).

But though I’m okay with this size, it’s not easy to maintain this size. My problem? Is I have a huge, as in GINORMOUS sweet tooth. If I could just curb my sugar cravings, I wouldn’t have to battle my weight so much.

But alas, I can’t control them.

Wait. Scratch that. I CAN control them, I just don’t want to.

Life is too short to deprive myself of what I enjoy. Though a little control IS called for here.

I don’t diet, but I do balance my sugar intake on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. For example: If I’ve eaten a few donut sticks for breakfast, then I don’t eat anything sugary or fattening in the afternoon.

Or, if I eat something fattening after lunch, I don’t eat anything else fattening the rest of the day.

And I especially try not to eat anything really fattening after dinner where it will just sit and eventually turn into solid fat. (I’m not always successful though – especially when it’s getting close to Myrtle’s monthly visit. I CRAVE junk food for about four or five days before she comes knocking on my uterine walls).

I also try and eat a lighter dinner, (and by “lighter” I really mean smaller portion), again, because I’m less active after dinner and it doesn’t have a chance to fully digest.

Also? I AVOID soda. I don’t drink it, I don’t miss it. I’m pretty convinced that over half of our obesity problem is because people have substituted soda for water and drink WAY too much of it. Yes. It’s habit forming. Yes. It’s pretty delicious. And yes. It’s hard to kick the habit. But when you do, I promise you, when you break down and have that glass of soda at that party? You will gag because it will taste sickeningly sweet.

Look at this photo, people:

I want you to remember this photo every time you drink a soda – just think how much sugar you’re drinking. Now think how many sodas you have in one day. Then think about all of the sugary snacks you eat on top of that. Soda is liquid sugar. Soda is obesity’s secret partner. Is it no wonder you can’t lose weight when you’re drinking so much sugar??

Cut out the soda. Like I said, it’s an addiction and it will be tough to kick the habit at first, but you’ll see what I mean when you haven’t had one in a while.

I can barely stomach the thought of drinking soda anymore.

That’s pretty much my eating habits, in a nutshell. I don’t diet, I just try and balance how much I eat and when I eat.

I also avoid buying crap so that I’m not tempted to eat it – if it’s not around, then I won’t eat it, right? (Though I have been known to make special “junk food” trips now and again to the store).

Though this all sounds great, I get carried away. Like now. I’ve been eating like a cow. I am pretty much snacking all day long now because I have, once again, gotten into the habit of munching on something whenever I’m on my computer – and since I work and play on my computer all day long, well, there you go.

When that happens (I mentioned that it’s happening now, right?), then it’s time to hit the treadmill.

I’ll talk about exercising in my next post.

In the meantime, watch what you’re eating. Seriously. Balance when and how much crap you’re putting into your body every day.

  • 1. Eat breakfast. This one is really hard for me because I’m truly not hungry in the mornings. But I find that when I eat breakfast, and force myself to eat lunch, then I’m truly NOT that hungry at dinner and I naturally don’t eat bigger portions. It all evens out over the course of the day. Try it.
  • 2. Munch on dried fruit or granola bars instead of candy or pastries (that will help satisfy some of your sweet craving).
  • 3. Drink LOTS of water (stay away from the soda, seriously, it’s evil).
  • 4. And lastly, don’t have that crap in your house. Make it hard to obtain – like, if you really want some junk, then you have to physically leave your house to go get it. It won’t discourage you every time, but it will discourage you most of the time.

Look gals (and guys), if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to change your eating habits. Will it be easy? Oh hell to the no, but how badly do you want to shed those pounds? How badly do you want to be able to fit into your clothes again? It’s EASY to overeat, disciplining your diet is HARD. But you just have to be stronger than your weakness. Don’t let your diet control you, take control of your diet.

Don’t be a weakling. Stop being lazy. Stop making excuses.

Start small. If you normally eat a few poptarts for breakfast, then stop. Eat cereal instead. If you normally have a Little Debbie in the afternoon, then have some crackers instead. If you normally eat a huge plate full for dinner, cut out 1/4 of that, then eventually cut it down to half. Eat more for breakfast and lunch then you’ll be less hungry for dinner.

It’s all about discipline. I’m tired of the excuses. I’m tired of the whining and the self-deprecation and “I feel sorry for myself so you should too,” lines. Get a backbone ladies (and gents) and start being PROACTIVE.

I will.

Will you?

And because I don’t want to end this post with me going all Army Sargent on you, watch this video and have a laugh – then get serious.

Because no one can stop you from over eating but you. Take charge.

Now excuse me, I’m going to make fried chicken for dinner. (But I will drain the chicken, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess grease, take off the fried part on my breast and just stick to the chicken part. I will also give myself the smallest piece of chicken and only scoop about half portions of potatoes and veggies onto my plate as opposed to heaping the guys’ plates full. See? It’s a constant compromise).

Body Expectations – Get Real – Part Two

I’ve already written a post about body expectations, but it was geared more toward giving my testimony as far as my struggle to FINALLY become comfortable in my own skin. And even though it was cathartic for me to write about, I don’t really feel like I HELPED anyone out there looking to come to terms with his/her own body.

So … I did a little research about achieving that healthy body image level and thought I would share a few tidbits with you.

All of us are bombarded with images and messages all day that lead many to unhealthful obsessions with the shape of their bodies. At best, these body-image issues can be unpleasant and distracting from the goal of being healthy and happy. At worst they can lead to serious mental health problems like body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa.

And there are a ton of self-help books that deal with body image, but when all of the well-intentioned dust settles, it’s really up to US to actually make that change and change our personal expectations.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I had an eating disorder, but I have certainly struggled with depression when it came to my own body changes. A woman completely changes after she has children. That tight little body is gone and in it’s place is something softer, fuller and definitely more maternal in nature. This is not necessarily a good, or bad thing, I suppose it’s all how you look at it and what your personal goals are as far as your body, but please don’t think I’m using having children as an excuse for NOT getting back into shape and getting back on that healthy wagon – you owe it to your kids, your partner and especially you to treat your body with the respect it deserves.

And then, your body changes again after you turn 40. I’ve experienced it, first hand. (I’m 44). There are aches and pains that you never even knew were there before. Certain foods suddenly disagree with you, your eyes start playing tricks on you and it’s suddenly a whole lot easier to gain weight around your middle. Your metabolism slows down, which means eating habits have to change. There are hot flashes, night sweats, and a whole slew of other age-related issues that take you by surprise. Your body is more mature, slower, and any endurance you might have had before that point has either slowed down or disappeared completely. It’s quite an adjustment.

But not impossible.

Let’s get real – it’s highly unlikely you’re going to look anything like those Victoria Secret models, or runway models, or actresses or … anyone BUT who you are.

The trick is FINDING you. The challenge is finding that point where you feel good about how you look and your body is healthy enough to sustain you for many, many years.

It took me YEARS to reach a point where I feel comfortable with my size. There are moments, (okay, a lot of moments) where I wish I could lose just a bit more weight, or look more like some women I admire, but then I jerk myself back and face reality – I am me. I can improve, and I will continue to take care of myself, but ultimately, I can’t make myself to be any other person than who I am. And the sooner I accept that fact, the happier I will be.

Here are a few tips to help you with your own body image:

  • Don’t compare yourself. I know, easier said than done, right? Especially when we’re bombarded with magazines, television, movies, and other images on a daily / hourly basis. But it’s self-destructive. When we compare ourselves to others we always lose. But remember, you’re special because you’re you. No one can take that away from you. And let’s not forget that these “fantasy” women that are portrayed in our society as “beautiful”, are actually fake. Pictures are photoshopped. They’ve most likely had plastic surgery, and the week of recovering afterward. And then the stress of maintaining the plastic throughout their lives. And the deprivation – think of everything they CAN’T eat. Who wants to live life like that?

    Not me.

  • Focus on Your Accomplishments. Instead of beating yourself up, focus on your positive traits. Do you volunteer? Are you an excellent wife/mother/sister/daughter? Are you articulate? Do you have a lot of common sense? Do you have a knack for making people laugh? Do people gravitate toward you because of your kindness?
  • Learn to Take a Compliment. Ugh. I have such a hard time with this one. It’s like I work so hard NOT to draw attention to myself that when it happens, I feel embarrassed and guilty. I then cope with those feelings by downplaying the compliment and though I’m secretly thrilled to receive it, I’m equally appalled that the person might sense it and think I’m conceited. It’s a vicious circle.

    The very thing we are looking for — recognition — we brush off. Practice saying “thank you” when someone gives you a compliment. Don’t over analyze it, or judge the giver, or make light of it; instead let it soak in and allow yourself to feel really good.

  • Focus on the positive. Don’t say you can’t do something, because then you probably can’t. Don’t call yourself stupid, because you’ll start believing it. Don’t call yourself dumb, you’re not. Stop framing everything you do or say in the negative. Instead, think positively.

    “What a good idea; that was a good way of handling the situation”; or “That was a real accomplishment; I’m so proud!” By shifting from words of criticism to words of praise, you begin to change your life.

    I am constantly berating the boys for focusing on negative things like that. Keep telling yourself that you’re smart, that you ARE good enough and then watch what happens. :)

  • Affirmations. Find a part of your body that you like and accept, even if it’s your eyes, hair or smile. Write an affirmation about it. For instance, “I love the way my hair shines,” or “I love the way my eyes sparkle.” Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and repeat your affirmations to yourself. Say them with enthusiasm. Believe it! Even if you have to “fake it till you make it.” After a few weeks of doing this, you will come to believe and know that what you are saying is true. Then move on to another body part. Even though giving yourself compliments may become progressively more difficult, continue through until you LOVE YOUR BODY!
  • Learn to Compliment Others. In learning to compliment others, you learn the law of reciprocity. As you give, you do receive. By learning to acknowledge the good in others, you can learn to notice the good in yourself. Remember, to be loved, give love. To be accepting of your body, be accepting of others’ bodies.
  • Stop Fantasy Thinking. Do you ever hear yourself saying, “If I’d just lose 10 pounds I’d be happy,” or “If I had thinner thighs I’d be asked out more.” Stop those thoughts now! That is fantasy thinking. The truth is that there is room for all shapes and sizes in this world. People are attracted to others for a variety of reasons. Yes, sometimes attraction has to do with body, but that might be a smile or overall appearance. Others are attracted to another based on the energy they give off or their laugh or because they are funny. Your body is not the reason you are miserable. You were miserable first and took it out on your body. Get on with your life. Be loving, and you will attract loving people.
  • Heal Your Relationship with Food. If you are afraid of food, you will always be afraid of what it might do to your body. (More on food later).
  • Body Movement. The body was designed to move. To walk or run or jump or dance are normal activities. By reconnecting yourself to your body, you might be amazed at how incredible it really is. (More on exercising later).
  • Support. The struggle to heal your negative body-image is an ongoing battle. It is often wise to seek the professional help of a therapist and a dietitian. There are self-help groups available at no charge as well. Many books and articles have been written on the subjects of food and body. There are seminars available as well as church and temple groups. Talk to a trusted friend or relative. All of us need support. We are constantly barraged with messages about the fantasy body. We are given negative messages about food and weight. It is extremely hard in our culture to have a healthy, positive body-image. You need support. You deserve it!

(These tips were found in the Love Your Body : Change the Way You Feel About the Body You Have book).

It really is essential to get your mind on track BEFORE you attempt to tackle your eating and exercising issues. If your overall outlook about yourself is not in the right place, then getting other areas of your life back on a healthy track will be that much harder.

No. It’s not easy to undo years of damage. It’s hard to ignore society’s definition of beauty. And no amount of wishful thinking is going to get you where you want to be. It all starts with a hard, honest look at how you perceive your body image and finding a place to begin where you’re comfortable and ready to move forward to becoming a better you.