Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Beast

Entry #6

For the past day and a half I've been working in my classroom getting it ready for the opening of school in two weeks. Before going back I thought it would be much easier to stick to my diet once I went back to school. I'd be so busy preparing for the first day of school, my mind would be occupied and my body busy. No such luck.

You see, there is in our staff room a monster lurking. The beast is commonly known as the vending machine. This contraption is loaded with all kinds of treats (Snickers, Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies, Doritos, just to name a few). They've each got their own little window so it's oh, so easy to get a good look at the goodies. I came close to fishing through my purse for $.75 to plunk in the thing. Luckily good sense prevailed and I left the room.

Now when stuff like this happens I've been trying to stop and figure out why I have the desire to eat something that would not be a good food choice, especially when I am definitely not hungry. As I thought about this, I realized I was viewing the food as a comfort or consolation of sorts. Why do I need consoling? The answer came to me -"because I'm here at work all alone and the other teachers are still enjoying their vacation." Oh, boo hoo. Poor me! I should be (and am) grateful to have a secure job in a good district, surrounded by colleagues who care about each other. That's my consolation!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Family, Friends, Food and Insanity

Entry #5
It's been a few days since a new post has been added here. I guess I'll have to decide exactly how many times I want to post an entry. Originally, I thought every day would be good. However, after a couple of times where my days were very busy and ran late, it was impossible to write and get to bed early enough to get a good night's sleep. So for now, I'll post when possible. Maybe that's a bit too loosey goosey, though. Hmmm, I'll have to give this some thought.

This past week has been so busy with family, friends, and, of course, food. How is it possible to not connect getting together with family or good friends and food? That has been a problem for me most of my life. Whenever a special time came around it was a great excuse to go off the diet "just for tonight/today/lunch/dinner". Of course with the good intention that as soon as the special event was over it would be right back on that eating and exercise plan. Yeah, riiiiight. Many were the times when going off for "just tonight" ended up in a three day or, sometimes, three week eating binge. Finally I would muster up the determination and discipline, go back on my diet and be fairly successful. That is, until the next special event came along and the cycle would be repeated.

This week I had some girlfriends from church over for dinner. It was a wonderful time to reconnect and catch up on what's been going on in our lives. For the last year or so I've basically hidden away at home. I've avoided social situations whenever possible. It was so much more comforting to just stay home with my television and food. Those days are over. After sharing our dinner together I am determined to get together with friends more and get involved to some degree in my church again.

The same could be said for family. I come from a large family (I'm the oldest of nine children) and throughout most of my adult life have spent mostly only holidays and birthdays with them. This summer, though, I've felt a change in myself in this regard. Making time to spend with family members has become more important to me. Maybe it's my age. I don't know, but I like it.

Last night the California contingent of my family celebrated my brother Tim's 49th birthday at his home . He, his wife Nat and my two nieces Taylor and Danielle live in a beautiful rustic log cabin-style home on fifteen acres just outside of Oakdale. As it was getting dark the sound of crickets filled the air. It was wonderful to look up and see the stars in the night sky when they don't have to compete with the lights of the city. On the way home I was telling those in the car with me how nice it was to hear the sounds of crickets and frogs at night. I mentioned that I had been considering buying some live crickets at the pet store and letting them loose in my flowerbed so I could hear them sing at night. My nephew Preston (3 years old) told me that last year he had a cricket in his bed and the cricket "cricked" so loud it kept him awake. I'm not sure how much of that story is actually true, but his invention of the word "cricked" was just too funny.

At both of these events food was in abundance and, though I didn't weigh, measure and count calories for everything I ate, I was able to keep the portions small. And that included dessert which I thoroughly enjoyed on both occasions. It feels good to be able to eat any food I want and only watch portion sizes. Forbidding myself foods because I'm dieting has never worked. It's amazing that it's taken me forty years to learn that! What is the definition of insanity again? Oh yeah, it's when you keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Very Good Start!

Entry #4 Weight 249.5 lbs. Nine and a half pounds lost in 10 days! Woo hoo!

I couldn't believe it when I stepped on the scale this morning. I had to get off and do it again to make sure I was seeing the numbers right. If I hadn't compared my scale to my doctor's a few weeks ago I wouldn't have believed it and would have gone down to his office to get weighed. I was expecting a four maybe five pound loss. I am very thankful to God and to all my friends and family who have been very encouraging.

Today wasn't such a stellar day in terms of exercise. For some reason I couldn't fall asleep last night and then when I finally did drop off, kept waking up throughout the night. When the alarm went off to get up and go to the gym I reset it and tried to fall back to sleep. That didn't happen and I never got to the gym as I was babysitting my niece all day today. Oh well, at least the diet part of my day was good.

While fixing my lunch today I learned that when school begins Weight Watchers, Healthy Choice, and Lean Cuisine frozen meals will be my best friends. It took me forever to measure out, weigh, and look up the calories for the stuff I put in my lunch. Tonight while fixing dinner I found myself thinking that I would just "eyeball" the food I was putting on my plate. I didn't give in to that, thankfully. While the calorie counting book will not completely rule my life while on this diet, counting calories will be a necessity for a long time to come.

Tomorrow night I'll be having some friends from church over for dinner. I'm looking forward to seeing these women. One of them will be moving to Long Beach as her husband (he's in the National Guard) has been assigned there. Linda is a very talented musician and singer and a wonderful friend. She, her husband Greg and little family will be missed a great deal. But, then, now I have an excellent reason to go down to Long Beach, maybe make a side trip to Disneyland. Hmmm.

I heard from another friend today who saw my blog link on Facebook. It was so good to hear from Tina. I appreciated her kind words of encouragement and hope to be just as encouraging to her on her journey. This is one of the nicest things about writing this blog. I've heard from people from high school as well as other places. It's good to be back in contact with them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Temptations and a Green Thumb

Entry #3
I'm realizing that I need to list these by entries instead of days. My computer had been in the shop with the Geek Squad for a few days so this is my third blog entry, but not the third day of my "diet".

I put that "d" word in quotes because I hate the word "diet". For much of my life I've been on one diet or another and always with the same results. However, in the interest of ease (and I am a lazy creature) and speed, that will be the word used when I write this blog.
Since posting last, I've successfully navigated two challenges and have begun searching for my green thumb.

Last Wednesday evening my family went out to dinner to celebrate my sister's 50th birthday. We went to Chili's and had a great time. For the first time ever I planned what I would eat before going to the restuarant. With the help of the internet it's now possible to look at the menu, including calories, online. So that's what I did before leaving for the restuarant. Passing up the chips and salsa (of course, placed right in front of me) wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. My sister Christine, who knows about this blog and my newfound determination to lose it this time, was so sweet and offered to move them away. It was tempting to have her do it, but I decided that I can't run from food and temptation for the rest of my life, so we left it where it was.

The next day I was meeting Christine and my niece and nephew at the movies to see Toy Story 3. The monster looming there, of course, is the concession stand. The smell of popcorn did provide for a bit of a temptation, but it wasn't as hard as I'd feared it would be to resist. Before I went I'd heard about how the last few minutes of the movie were pretty hard to take and to bring a box of Kleenex. I was bound and determined not to cry. Does two tears and brimming eyes count as crying?

On to the green thumb. My yard is small (I live in a condo) but it has looked like a jungle for most of the summer. This weekend I'd decided to start to spruce it up. When beginning this diet I wanted to start going to the gym on the weekends as well as weekdays. No need. My body is sooooo sore from the bending, shoveling, etc. that goes with gardening. This weekend showed me in no uncertain terms just how out of shape I am. But now at least half of my yard is pretty with flowers of every color everywhere I look (as long as I only look at the western half of my yard).

Gardening has never been my forte. I'm really good at killing plants and flowers. Growing them, uh, not so much. My father was a gardener's gardener. I swear he could have taken a popsicle stick, planted it, and something green would sprout out of the ground. He loved to work with the earth, plants and flowers and his yard showed it. Many people who knew who my father was would often comment to me on how beautiful his yard was. My dad passed away last April l5th and I miss him. So I'm determined to make my yard as pretty as I can. That will be my tribute to my Dad. With St. Francis (I have a statue of him in the yard) and my Dad watching over my efforts, I'm sure my yard will bloom.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Silencing "The Voice"

Day 2

Thanks to everyone who responded to my blog appearing on Facebook yesterday. It was very encouraging to hear from so many friends! I hope everyone who reads it can take something away for his or her own use.

As I said yesterday, I'm not exactly sure what all I want to include here. The main motivation was to post my progress (kind of like a diary) with weight loss. Another area of my life that is actually very much intertwined with weight is my faith life. Over the years it has been true for me that when I am disciplined in my spiritual life (prayer, Bible reading, etc.), it is much easier to stick to a good eating and exercise plan. When one of these areas breaks down, the other is quick to follow. By no means do I want to set myself up as any kind of teacher/lecturer on the topics of weight and faith, but these are two areas that will definitely be covered. Please feel free to let me know if I'm getting too big for my britches!

This morning while responding to encouraging words from a friend I came to a dead stop because I realized that I was getting ready to write something that was a put down to myself. Unfortunately, those come very easily. It was a real effort not to put it in there.

Almost as soon as I posted yesterday's blog "The Voice", as Geneen Roth writes about in her book Women, Food and God, started in. The tirade goes something like this: "Who do you think will read your blog? What makes you think you can do this? What if something goes wrong and you pick up and spread some kind of virus? How full of yourself can you be to write about yourself as if anyone else will care about your weight loss? How are you going to look when, just like every other time you've started out with high hopes, you give up and gain it all back?" I've never been much of a risk taker. Playing it safe could be the motto for my life. If I don't step out and take a risk, I can't fail. And not failing, above all else, is what's important. There is no room for that kind of thinking anymore. A huge part of the job of losing this weight will be to risk failure and silence The Voice.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Toes In The Water!

Day 1, Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This is my first attempt at blogging. I was encouraged by Kenz at All The Weigh to start a blog and, after some hesitancy, finally decided to just do it.

Before finding Kenz's blog I read the AOL homepage story from last week about Sean Anderson and his very successful weight loss. I stumbled onto Kenz's blog while reading Sean's. They are both required daily reading for me now. I've experienced my share of successes, always followed by regaining the lost weight plus more. The positive, sensible messages I've found on Kenz and Sean's blogs have inspired me to follow their examples.

Here's a little about me: I am a 52 year old single woman, living in central California. I have been an elementary school teacher for 23 years, this year will be year 24. I enjoy reading, listening to music, baking and cooking. I love the ocean although I don't get there as often as I would like. My faith is Catholic and in the past was very active in my parish. The past few years I've taken a bit of a break from that, however.

I'm a little uncertain of the direction I would like this blog to take. Like Sean, the main reason I've started writing is to keep myself honest with my weight loss efforts and if I can possibly be an inspiration to anyone else, so much the better.

At this time I am 5ft 2.5in. tall and weigh 259 pounds. I would like to weigh 125-130. At least that is what I'm shooting for! This time I really feel like it's possible. I'm counting calories (something I have studiously avoided for years) and there are no forbidden foods. I belong to a gym and plan to go at least five days a week. Right now I'm just walking the treadmill, but will gradually add other cardio and weight machines as I progress.

This is more than a little scary and intimidating for me. I am, by nature, quiet and reserved so putting myself out in the blogosphere is daunting to say the least. That, coupled with the fact that I am technologically challenged should make for interesting times ahead. But I am very excited to begin this process and follow in Sean and Kenz's footsteps. But, today I'm just putting my toes in the water!