Saturday, April 10, 2010

April 10: The Tree of Will

You know where magic comes from?  It comes from your will to achieve.  It comes from some place deep inside that goes untapped in lots of people.  With the right sense of determination, you can make anything happen.

I'm going to post a picture of my favorite tree.  I call her the Tree of Will.  (I refer to the tree as female for whatever reason).  She rests along the trail that I take my daily dog walks on.  Last winter we had a storm with very high winds and lots of trees got blown over into the river.  They all died, except this one tree that had something special: determination and the will to live.

Notice how she is completely uprooted and half submerged in the river.  And yet, she is budding out with leaves like she is still standing proudly at the side of the river.  She didn't give up when her roots got yanked up.  She pulled some kind of magic trick of will and BLOOMED.  She said to herself, "It's Spring, dammit, and I am going to bloom just like I always have, despite these unpleasant circumstances."

There's a lesson here.  This tree gives me a daily dose of inspiration that I wanted to share with you.  When we meet adversity do we grit our teeth and just bloom anyway, or do we accept that adversity as an excuse to achieve less than our potential?

I've been guilty of that, and I'm sure the rest of you have too.  It's interesting to look back at my life and wonder what unexplored roads I would have taken if I had the determination of this tree. 

With my weight-loss plan, I do.  I'm not going to let the slow weight loss get in my way.  I'm not going to let the fact that my new medication is not "weight neutral" affect my outcome.  I'm just going to plug away at it, and however long it takes, it takes.  I'll do everything humanly possible to make it happen as efficiently as possible.  I'll continue to study and learn.  I may get frustrated.  I may have a little hissy fit here and there.

But be assured, in the end, I WILL BLOOM.

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9: SNOW (!?!?!) and Weekends

Okay, not this much snow.  It was an amount I wouldn't have noticed had I not been stopped at a traffic light, but it's the principle of the matter.  It's rather audacious of the sky to snow on April 9, don't you think?

Confession : I did not walk in the snow.

On to other things.  When asked the most difficult time for dieting, people report holidays and weekends are their biggest challenges.  We've recently dealt with the holidays and don't have any others coming up soon, so let's talk about the weekend.

The reason your weekends are so difficult is that the nice organized system you've devised for workdays doesn't translate to the weekends.  We sleep late, we go out for dinner, we're out and about and end up grabbing lunch from a drive thru.  We entertain friends.  There is always something that makes this weekend different from the last one, therefore requiring a new strategy to get through it.


This is no different than your weekdays. If you don't plan ahead, your going to be caught without healthy options.  So most of us pack our cooler bags, stash some almonds in our purses and grab our big water bottle on the way out the door.

We can do the same on the weekend.  The first thing we have to determine is where our challenges are going to be.  So if Saturday night you are having dinner out with friends and Sunday morning you are having brunch with in-laws, you can set up your plan.  The dinner out can be your "off-plan meal" for the week.  Enjoy yourself within reason.  Brunch doesn't have to be a free-for all.  Bring a beautiful fruit salad as your donation and east fruit salad and the most reasonable options present in modest amounts. 

This leaves you with 4 meals and snacks to get through for the rest of the weekend.  If you're out and about shopping, bring some healthy snacks and munch on them in the car.  Fruit and almonds will get you through  a long stretch.  Make Sunday dinner in the crockpot so it is ready when you walk in the door after a long busy day.  Keep breakfast simple, sticking with your weekday options.

Figure in some time for activity.  I go hiking with my girls every other weekend.  It's a great, inexpensive outing that is healthy for us.  Other ideas are mini golf, roller-blading, biking, playing at the park, the list is endless.  If you play with your family instead of running off to the gym by yourself, your combining family time with fitness time and teaching your kids how great activity is.

Try planning your weekend the same way you do your workdays and see if it goes a little better!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8: Lessons in Patience

Yeah, that.

Patience has never been my strong suit. I've been getting a workout in it lately.  I am feeling very intense about my current lack of progress.  It's hard when I know I am doing everything I'm supposed to be doing to lose weight, and I'm not really losing weight.

I'm happy to finally be in the 180s, of course, but when I mapped this out, I expected to be at my first goal of 165 by June, which is little more than a month and a half away.  I think it might be too much to expect to lose over 20 pounds between now and then, yet I am loathe to "give up" on that goal.

Maybe this is a lesson in patience, set up to make me a better person.  Whatever it is, I'm not enjoying it.  I'm an intense, results-oriented person.  Sometimes it's important for me to look back and see how far I've come so far, so that is what today is about.

October, 2009

(Silliness at the Pumpkin Patch - that's why I look so terrified)


April 2010

I look at these pics and see that I have come far over the past few months.  My face is slimmer, my belly is smaller (although not small, precisely) and my skin is better, thanks to healthy clean eating.

I'll share one more horrifying picture, which I never imagined I'd put on my blog, but Lyn, from Escape from Obesity threw down the gauntlet by posting her own picture about a part she has been less than proud of.  Here are progress pics, taken two months apart.  I'll be adding a third pic soon, for April.  The first one is the beginning of my diet, Dec.1, 2009, and the second is Feb. 10, 2010.

The weight difference between the two is only about 18 pounds, but it's a pretty big difference, especially around the waist.

So, I'll carry on, and keep you posted, and try very hard to absorb my lesson in patience.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 7: Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Isn't that a nifty little graphic?  I love it!

What I do NOT love is two days in a row of rain.  I am so sleepy and lethargic again.  I'll be quite happy for some sunshine and long walks.  Today when it slowed to a drizzle I put on a baseball cap and the dog and I went out for 40 minutes but I have to confess, I wasn't very motivated.

The upside to rain is that I have cleaned our family room and done a lot of laundry today.  I also picked up my beads and am making some jewelry, which I haven't done in a while.

The weigh in this week was the same as last week, so at least my lost weekend did not result in a gain.  I've been fooling around with the same 2-3 pounds for two months now and it is ridiculously frustrating.  I can't wait to get my new book in the mail, The Guide to Flexible Dieting by Lyle McDonald.  I truly think the guy is a genius and if I can't lose weight using his recommendations, I might be a lost cause.  I'll be sure and review the book on here once I received and read it.

So my current plan is to carry on with my activity and my calorie counting.  It kind of feels like I am beating my head against the wall, however, it's the beat of my own drum.

Signing off now - I'm off to watch part 2 of Dr. Phil's Fat Debate.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6: Confession

I have a confession to make.  I may have been wrong about information I've provided you. 

I gave a lot of opinions in my Toxin of the Day series, but the research those opinions were based on may have been faulty.  I've been studying and learning a lot recently, and I have come to a conclusion by reading the conclusions of others much wiser than I.  That conclusion is that animal studies are not relevant to human nutritional research because their digestive systems are too different from ours.

That being said, at this point I still stand by the conclusions that I made.  I truly believe that many food additives are toxins added to our food supply without regard to the effects on the people consuming the food. However, I question the research that I cited to come to those conclusions.  I'm not sure that research is applicable to us.   So you will be seeing the Toxin of the Day format revived, and backed up with different research.  My conclusions may change through the research I'm planning, and if they do, then I will provide you with my new conclusions.

This is a tough thing for a blogger or a writer to do. I'm eating crow, friends, because it is really important to me that the information I provide for you is accurate.  Hopefully this won't mean that you decide reading my blog is no longer worthwhile.  Hopefully you will understand this is as much of a learning process for me as a writer and a consumer, as it is for you as a reader and a consumer.  Hopefully we can learn more about this together.

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5: Birthday Hike

Today was my 41st birthday, so I decided to celebrate it in a healthy way - I want to start my year off right this year!  My intrepid children and I decided to go on another hike.  This time we went to Ball's Falls, in Jordan, Ontario.  We took a branch of the Bruce Trail - a hike rated "difficult".  And it definitely was.  I landed on my butt a few times going down steep hills.  I actually sat on my butt on a couple and bumped my way down, hanging onto tree roots like  a monkey.

This hike seemed even tougher than our Gorge hike, although the altitude was only about 100 feet.  The trail wound up and down throughout the entire hike, whereas the Gorge hike was down once and then back up at the end.  We also saw a half a dozen slithery little friends, which thrilled only my 14 year old daughter.

We hiked down to the water for our picnic, which consisted of smoked turkey and Havarti sandwiches on whole wheat panini buns from the bakery.  I brought some fresh pears too but none of us wanted them at the time.  I haven't had any type of "lunch meat" in at least 6 months and couldn't believe how salty it tasted.  Still, after all that climbing around, it was yummy.

Turkey sandwiches:

After lunch we climbed back up to the main trail.  My oldest daughter, our expedition photographer snapped pictures of us relentlessly and also got some really awesome nature shots.

Picture of one of the small waterfalls of Twenty Valley Creek

The Bruce Trail portion of the hike ended with 157 steps up out of the Twenty Valley.  Yep, 157 steps.  I felt slightly less out of breath climbing these than I did ascending the Gorge last week, but all three of us took a little rest at the top.

Finally we walked through the Balls Falls trail, through the historical village to see the Lower Falls. Very serene and beautiful.

We hiked approximately 4-5 kilometers, which isn't really very far.  We were in the woods for about 2 and a half hours.  We were beat afterwards - I think it may have been a little too soon after our last crazy hike.  To celebrate my birthday we went out for ice cream.  I had a splurge of about 800 calories.  (eek)  I had Birthday Cake ice cream, with a cookie dough mix in, in a white chocolate dipped waffle cone.


My goal was to keep calories in check by preparing my own food for most of the day and splurging on dessert.  The other benefit to this strategy is that there are no leftovers around to tempt me for the next week or so!  Although I enjoyed Easter and my birthday treat, I'm really looking forward to getting back on track.  All this sugar and salt makes me feel sluggish, and I want to feel energetic!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 4: Happy Easter!

Did you have an Easter feast today?  I had an off-plan meal for brunch with my kids.  We had homemade hash brown potatoes (made in the oven), ham (I had a small slice), cinnamon rolls (yep, had one of those too) and watermelon.  I indulged but only had a small amount of the less healthy things and still felt quite satisfied.

This month has started off a little tougher than most.  I had candy on Saturday, when the girls got the Easter baskets, Easter brunch today, and tomorrow is my birthday.  We are going hiking again for my birthday and then out for ice cream at a decadent yummy ice cream parlor.    After that I have to get back on track.  I don't know if I can really measure any results this week after all the food-related revelry. Calories have been maintained at a level that should allow for weight loss, despite the off plan goodies.

I'm glad this only comes once a year!  I can't help but feel some low-level guilt from being off-plan three days in a row. 

I'll be back tomorrow with more hiking pictures!