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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Portion size

When I first decided to adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to be able to walk up those stairs without huffing at the top and be able to play with my child rather than sit on the sidelines I knew from past experience, (failure) that I needed to be able to eat real food otherwise I would soon feel deprived and then go crazy and undo whatever progress I had made and gain the weight back in a hurry.
So one of the things that I decided to do was to watch the amount of food I was eating. My thinking was that if I was careful with serving sizes I would of course be eating much less than I had been and I would of course lose weight.
I knew that our meals needed to contine to be balanced, I was feeding my child and husband as well after all. So that meant carbs, protein, and veggies for lunch and dinner every day. I adopted the idea that a serving of carbs was the size of my fist, a serving of protein of the size of my palm and a serving of veggies was twice the size of my fist. I always loved milk, and would continue to drink it because I love it, but also to set a good example for my child and so that I would be less likely to be breaking a hip when I got  old...er. So one glass of milk at every meal was in order. I had been drinking skim milk for years and continued on with that.
I was doing o.k. with these guidelines for portion sizes. I was eating 3 meals a day, and 1 or 2 snacks, usually a piece of fruit, depending on my level of hunger. For breakfast it was a glass of milk, 1 piece of toast with the proper amount of margarine and peanut butter rather than 2 pieces of toast and double, or more, the proper amount of margarine and peanut butter like I was having before. Lunch was portion controlled as well, sometimes leftovers, sometimes whatever my young child wanted for lunch.  At dinner rather than bringing the food to the table in serving dishes, I started to dish up our food at the kitchen counter. Not having that extra food right in front of me, within arm’s reach made sticking to my portions easier. I have to admit that the proper amount of food looked like such a little bit on my plate though. It took some time to get used to sitting down to a half empty plate and thinking that was enough food.  I knew that if I was really hungry in an hour or 2 I could have a healthy snack though, so that made not dishing up that extra bit easier.
I made an interesting discovery at around this time. I was at my parents’ house and Mom was getting rid of a bunch of old stuff from the basement. She had some old dinner plates that we used when I was a kid. They were so small! I was really surprised. It got me thinking... are these huge plates that we use now another contributing factor in the overweight problem that seems to run rampant in our culture? I know the proper amount of food that I was dishing up and eating sure looked skimpy on my plates at home and I realised it made me feel a little deprived to be eating what I perceived as so little food. Because I know that a huge part of weight loss and weight management is mental, I decided to get a few lunch size plates that went with our set. I stopped using the 10”dinner plates and started to use 9” lunch ones. What a difference! I was having the same proper portions, but the feeling that I was somehow being deprived was gone. My plate was closer to full instead of half empty. What a difference that 1” made, (insert your own racy joke here...lol)
I’ll never know  for sure the effect the smaller plates had, I know the portion size was the real secret, but maybe if I would have continued to feel deprived only because of the visual I wouldn’t have stuck with it like I did. How much of feeling satisfied with your food intake is mental for you? Does the appearance on your plate make a difference to you?


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sleeping

As I mentioned, once I decided to make some changes, they were pretty easy to stick to. Of course I had had a number of years to get to the place where I was ready, but the fact that I made rather small changes and didn’t put any specific weight or time demands on myself I think helped me to stick with it. I wasn’t trying to lose weight; I was trying to get healthy. I wanted to go up those stairs and so much more, effortlessly.
It wasn’t long before getting up in the morning was getting easier. Forcing myself to get to bed on time was of course a huge help. I found before too long that I was no longer experiencing those major drag times throughout the day. For me it was about 2:30 p.m. and around 7:00 p.m. If you have, or have ever had small kids you may know it as ‘hell hour.’  Getting up and getting that 20 min of exercise was giving me more energy!
If I am to be completely honest here, and that is certainly my goal, I would have to admit that getting into bed at that time had another purpose as well. Things were not getting any better in my relationship with my husband, actually they were getting worse. He would usually arrive home around 11:15 p.m. If I was in bed with lights out by 11:00 I would likely be sleeping when he got home and I could avoid him. Makes me sad to type it now, but it is the truth.
Recently while looking back and trying to evaluate what I did that made my weight loss go so well I found a number of articles talking about the effects that lack of sleep has on healthy weight. Here is one of them:
Want to look at a few more?  I just googled “SLEEP AND WEIGHT LOSS” and there were 31 million results.
Another huge benefit of going to bed earlier was that I was avoiding some of the most dangerous snack time for me. In the evening I was eating because I was bored and lonely, sleeping fixed that because luckily I am not a sleep eater!
Getting enough sleep is also important for our skin to look good, and really, I don’t care how old you are, you  want your skin to look good! There is also evidence that the proper amount of sleep helps our hair to be strong, shiny, and stay in our heads. Nail strength is improved. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing...
But there is more, so much more. Our ability to regulate our moods increases. Our immune system is strengthened, not only for little stuff like the common cold, but for the big stuff too. Aside from what is going on inside our bodies there is lots of evidence that safety is a factor wherever loss of sleep exists. Sleep deprivation has been related to an increase in industrial accidents, poor academic performance, delays in recovery from hospitalization, and misdiagnoses errors in health care settings. For example, one study found that attending physicians were slower in performing intubations and had slower general reaction times when they were sleep deprived. (Don’t get me started on what I think about the current system of having interns’ working days without sleep...)
I know, as you do, that sleeping more alone isn’t going to get the weight off us, but for me, I really believe that it was a very important part of the big picture. I thought the only benefit of getting to bed earlier was being able to get up to get that work out done, but I now know that bit of extra sleep, on a regular basis did so much more than that for me.
I know there are sleeping apparatus issues, among other things, for some of you, but I wonder, how much do you sleep? Would you like to get more?  Why don’t you?

Monday, 21 March 2011

244 LBS!!!

Before I got started I went to the doctor, it was past time for my physical anyway. I didn’t own a scale so I didn’t know how much I weighed. I stepped on the scale.  I weighed 244 lbs. 20 lbs more than when I gave birth to my child!!!!! And I was huge then! I cried in my car after I left the office. I was shocked! I knew I was fat, I knew I had gained weight in the last several years, but omg, it seemed impossible that I could weigh that much. That number was so overwhelming and embarrassing that it just increased my resolve to change my life. So I started...
As I mentioned in an earlier post, (sorry things aren’t totally in chronological order) at first I had a hard time finding the time to do the Pilates. I finally decided that the only consistent time I had was going to be time I created. I started getting to bed and having the light out by 11 every night. This allowed me to set the alarm to go off at 6:30 every morning to do the Pilates. I should say that I have always been a night person. I like to stay up late, and I hate getting up early in the morning, I love sleeping in as late as possible, always have.  I knew that I wanted to do this and with a young child and a husband that worked all the time I would need to get creative if I wanted to make it happen. Besides, really what was I doing while I was staying up late that was more important that taking steps to get healthy? I would spend about 15 mins convincing myself to get up. Then I would get up, go to the bathroom, get my bottle of water, which was already in the bathroom waiting for me,  put on my t-shirt, roll out my towel beside my bed and get to the Pilates. The 20 min work out was HARD!! As I mentioned there were many moves that I couldn’t do at all and there weren't any of them that I could do the number that the DVD wanted me to. I was sweating and puffing, and I liked it. I did this pretty much 5 days a week. The weekends I may or may not get it done, but I definitely wasn’t getting up early to do it. If I made time in the day, good, if not, I was o.k. with that.
I was trying to generally be more active. I would do some arm exercises in the evening while I was watching t.v. or when I was on the computer.  I would also try to play more physically with my child when the opportunity presented itself.
As far as following a “diet” goes, I wasn’t. I was watching what I ate. I was trying to be more realistic with my portions and really evaluating everything I was eating. I dished out what I thought was a reasonable about of food for each meal onto my plate at the beginning and that was what I ate. My goal was to eat until I was no longer hungry, not until I was full. I wouldn’t always finish my plate but even when I did, I rarely wanted more. I decided in my mind that that was my portion and that was it. If I really, really loved whatever I had just eaten, I reminded myself I could have it for lunch tomorrow, or again in a few days. This was not the last time in my life I would be eating whatever it was that I loved soooo much. I didn’t need to eat as if it was.
Because I have never been a big fan of cooking, and really am not that creative at it, I wasn’t going to be making 2 sets of meals. A “diet” one for me and another for my husband and child. Not only did I want to set the example for my child that healthy weight was achieved by eating in moderation, not by depriving yourself, but I also knew that if I was depriving myself I would rebel and say to hell with it, this is too hard and give up. I wanted to figure out how to do this in a way that I could live with for the rest of my life. So I was eating all kinds of things. Because the worst part of cooking for me was deciding what to cook I had always asked for suggestions. A few days a week it would be husbands turn to choose what he wanted and a few days a week would be my child’s. I didn’t stop this so we were eating everything that had always been eating. 
I had always made sure there was at least one vegetable with every meal. Usually a Cesar salad, but sometimes we would have another vegetable as well. I got into the habit of having a cup of tea with milk, no sugar, while I preparing dinner, I glass of water before dinner and of course a glass of skim milk with dinner. The tea and water helped me to feel full and not overeat.

No idea why some of this post is spaced differently than the rest... sigh...Here's hoping you all can still read it...lol.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

I start my journey

I mentioned earlier that one day I was walking up the stairs after my child and I was out of breath when I got to the top and I decided then and there that it was time for me to do something.  This was a major influence on me, and I decided to do something, but it took me a few months, and another terrible event to get me into gear. My husband’s brother was killed suddenly in a car accident. He was my age, and he was here one minute and gone the next, literally. That got me thinking about how fragile life is, and how I shouldn’t be taking it for granted, but most of all it got me thinking of how embarrassing it would be to die looking the way I did.... Sick? Probably. Vain? Definitely. Terrifying ? Absolutely!
While traveling to another province to attend the funeral I had a hard time fitting in the airplane seat. I fit, but the poor person sitting beside me was “enjoying” way more of my “personality” than either of us wanted. I was so embarrassed. I remember trying to will myself to get back into my own seat. I was squishing myself towards the window as hard as I could. About half way through I realized that all I was doing was giving myself a cramp, no matter how hard I tried I was still spilling out of the seat.
I had rented a car on line ahead of time, so things would be faster once I got to the airport. Since I would only need the car for the 2 hour drive from the airport, and then 2 hours back again in a few days, I rented the cheapest and therefore smallest car possible.  Well, this was another uncomfortable ride. At home I drove a van, much bigger seats, way more room....
The day of the funeral was horrible for all the obvious reasons, but also seeing so many people that I hadn’t seen in years was so embarrassing. Seeing the looks of shock on their faces was obvious, and some people didn’t even recognise me! Of course everyone was hugging me!!! Just in case they couldn’t see that I had gained about 110 lbs, (you know if they had gone blind for example,) they now were getting a good feel of all that fat. I was so embarrassed. I spent way too much time that day and the next few days avoiding eye contact, thinking about how I was sitting, (up straight, so the fat doesn’t roll out so much, or better yet standing up,) and monitoring what I was eating, (we all know what people think when they see us fat folks eat, or at least we think we know,) that I’m sure I wasn’t the help that I should have been to my grieving in-laws. To this day I still feel some sadness that I was so self absorbed because of my fat that I don’t feel like I mourned my brother-in-law properly.
When I got home in February of 2005 I decided that I had to make a change in my life. I wanted to do all I could to be a healthy, active Mom for my child, for however long I possibly could. That is when I borrowed the Pilates DVD’S from my friend, began to really evaluate everything I was eating and started with the stickers on the calendar.
In my next post I will give a bit more detail on what I was doing and how it was working. Thanks for reading, and commenting, or not....lol.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

More background

Again I have to admit that I thought quite long about how to proceed here.
I will continue with my background information by saying the following...
Husband I stayed together for a number of years more. As I said we lived pretty separate lives, he was always working, I was raising our child. I now know that we were both so very unhappy. I think that we both resigned ourselves to the fact that this is what our lives would be, and neither of us would admit, even to ourselves, how unhappy we really were. We had a small child, and we had made a commitment.  Sadly our communication was less than zero, so we were unable to express in a way that the other one could understand what was going on in our heads. My ‘drug’ for comfort and consolation was food, his was infidelity. I have to admit that I played the ‘poor me’ card for a long, long time. Way too long. Yes he could have made different choices if he was unhappy, but so could I.

In 2005 there were a few life altering events that happened in his family that were devastating. Within a span of 10 months 2 close members of his family were dead. It was a wakeup call to me. I weighed 244 lbs.  at the time. One day I followed our young child up the stairs to the second floor of our house and I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the top. I told myself that day that enough was enough! I decided that day that I would get to the point that I could run up the stairs without being out of breath. My child deserved a Mom that could run and play, not one that would be confined to the sidelines. I had a friend that had recently purchased some Pilates DVD’s. She wasn’t using them; I asked her if I could borrow them. The first time I tried to do the 20 minute workout, I couldn’t do several of the moves, and I was huffing like I was having some kind of an attack. I got through it however. I liked how it felt to sweat, I liked how it felt to be moving again and I liked that I was making steps towards my goal of being able to get up those stairs without being winded.
At first I floundered a bit with finding the time to do the workout. Like all of us, my days were already full, and finding the energy to workout at the end of the day when everything else was done wasn’t working. I decided that if I was going to make this happen I would have to get up in the morning, before my family and do that 20 minute workout then.  That is what I started to do. Every weekday morning I got up a little bit early and did the workout. On the weekends sometimes I would do it and sometimes not. It was empowering. I felt great. I soon noticed that I had more energy even though I was getting a little less sleep.
I wasn’t following any diet, per se, but I was watching my portions. Like all overweight, (o.k. obese people) I had a pretty good idea what I should be eating, I just wasn’t doing what I should. What I did decide to do was watch my portions. I also decided to eat when I was hungry and only to eat until I was no longer hungry. Sounds obvious I know, but there is a significant difference between eating until you are full and eating until you are no longer hungry.
I also stopped the late night snacking out of boredom and loneliness. If I was truly hungry I would have something healthy. Although I have to say that I had the mind flip from thinking that if I went to bed hungry I might die before the morning to the feeling that going to bed a bit hungry was o.k... even good.  In the evenings as I sat in front of the TV or computer I would do arm exercises. At first with no weight at all, keep in mind, I weighed 244 lbs and I was OUT OF SHAPE!! I gradually started to lift 1lbs weight, and then as I got stronger I would increase the weight in small increments.
Because my goal was not to lose weight but to become healthy and fit, I didn’t track my weight loss. What I did track was my lifestyle. Every day I would mark my progress on the calendar. If I worked out in the morning I would put a small sticker on that day. If I felt like I ate well that day, another sticker. If I did anything extra, like the arm exercises in the evening,  another sticker.  I loved looking at the calendar and seeing those stickers!!  I really have no idea how much weight I lost or how quickly. I do know that over the course of a few years I first got rid of those 2X cloths and got into 1X then to XL then OMG to L!!! I was trying to be more active generally, but mostly this loss was all from doing those 20 minutes of Pilate's in the morning, really evaluating everything I was eating and when, and doing those arm exercises in the evening. I was so thrilled and proud of myself. I was actually looking at myself in the mirror. I felt sexy again. I was happy, even if my marriage was as it had always been, I felt like the old me!!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

More background

So I have toiled over this next post. I have written a few and this it attempt number 3. First one was long and detailed. I decided no one wanted to read all that and I would bore people to death.  I spent some time I wondering why I was concerned about what complete strangers and people I will likely never meet think.
Attempt number 2 didn’t address the continuation of my journey at all. But then I thought that wasn’t right either. After all, I had said I was going to continue, and totally ignoring the past might not be considered healthy either.
So....
Aforementioned guy and I had been dating for about 2 years, and living together for 1. It is about 1986. I find out he screwed around on me. I am devastated. He is sorry, he cries, he weeps, he begs, he promises. I believe.
I decide that anyone can make a mistake. I love him, he loves me. We move on.
I start to think of why it happened in the first place. Of all possible conclusions I decide that I must have somehow been responsible. It must be because I was fat. (I weighed about 135lbs after all!!)
Time goes on, things seem wonderful. We are happy. We are in love . Things are going along just fine. I often wondered if it would happen again. I sometimes wondered if it was happening again. I sometimes was very sure it was happening again, but I had no concrete proof and wrote it off as being insecure and paranoid.  I gradually gained weight.
About 8 years later, (1993) I find out that he was thinking about cheating again. Again I am devastated. Again he is sorry, he cries, he weeps, he begs, he promises.  I believe and I forgive. After all , he didn’t actually go through with it. And really, who could blame him for looking and thinking. By this time I weighed about 200 lbs.
We got through it. I lost about  40 lbs. We were happy. We were moving on.
About  4 years after (1997)that we decide to get married. 1 year later we were married(1998). 15 months after that we have a baby (1999). Because I was back up to about 190lbs again when I got pregnant the Dr recommended I should be really careful as to how much weight I gained. I was very very careful to eat well, and only gained 25 lbs during my pregnancy, which came off very quickly after the baby came. I was being careful about what I ate, but honestly, when I look back I now know the weight came off so easily because of the breastfeeding and the post-partum depression, (but that is another post.) I continued to lose weight, and got down to about 170 over the next few years.
As thrilled as I was to be a new Mom, I was having a hard time. I was in denial about the post-partum. My husband was working more and more. We had decided that I would stay home, so he had the extra pressure of being the sole bread winner, plus things between us seemed to be becoming distant.
When our child was about 2, we decided to go to counselling in an effort to figure out what was going on with each of us and in our marriage. We went for about 6 months. It didn’t help. We were still distant. The tension was increasing, although we never fought, we lived more and more separate lives. I think we both acknowledge to ourselves that we aren't happy, but neither of us is going anywhere.
O.k. that is enough of me for tonight. I have blogs to read after all!! I will post again soon.







Saturday, 5 March 2011

Background, part 2

So it is 1984, and I get a really cool job in the tropics. I won't go into the details of that job, but lets just say that living in the tropics, wearing bathing suits, shorts, etc motivated me to get some exercise and watch what I was eating while I lived there. I lived there for 4 months, and as much as I would have liked to come home with a smashing hot body, I didn't. I came home only about 10 lbs lighter than I left.

When I move back to Canada, I come back to my home city. Moved in with my parents for a few months. I got a job in a bar, so that meant after work partying, and going out for "breakfast" at 3 in the morning before going to bed. Surprisingly I did manage to lose a bit more of that extra weight, and I got down to about 130. I still thought that I super fat though.

I know that my eventual weight gain is no ones fault but my own. I know that no one sat on  my chest and forced the food into my mouth, but there were circumstances that contributed. I didn't see how it all was affecting me then, but as I look back I see more clearly now.

In 1985 I met a guy that I started to date. He was a nice guy. He was funny, and we had a good time together. We dated for about a year, then decided to move in together. Things were great, we were in love, I was happy, and I was losing weight, getting back to 125lbs.

This next part is hard for me to write and I find myself unable to continue, not because it is too painful, (time heals thankfully,) but because I'm not sure exactly how to proceed. I think I will end here for now, and go to bed. Tomorrow I will be back, and continue.

Who knew??!!

Oh my gosh! I can't begin to tell you how delighted I was to log on to my blog tonight and see that I had not 1, but 2 comments posted!! Thanks you Christie and Darla.

To know that 2 someones have actually found my rambling is so.... amazing, thrilling, exhilarating.... Let's just say, if I was a smoker, I would have needed to have a smoke....

Having said that now, is anyone else thinking that I really need to get out more??

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Time to stop letting the perfectionism get in the way.

Hi everyone... o.k. "everyone" may be an exaggeration. Maybe "hi, one random person that found this blog looking for something else" might be more accurate.

I have wanted to blog for some time, but haven't been able to start, because I didn't know where to start. So in an attempt to move forward I'm just going to dive in...

My posts might be disorganized, and they may seem to be all over the place, but for now the important thing is that I will be starting. I will get better and hopefully I'll write something that others are interested in reading, but if not, at least I'll be writing something and that will be helpful to me.

I want to use this blog to get those thoughts/voices, positive and negative, out of my head and into the light to see if they are useful or not.

I want to use this blog to document my continuing journey to lose weight and get fit and be the best me I can be.

Occasionally I may also use this blog just to vent...

So... one random person, I hope you enjoy my ramblings.

O.k. first blog in the can....