Monday, August 30, 2010

Entry #17
Weight 234.5 Loss of 3.5 pounds!!!
Monday, August 30, 2010

I was very pleasantly surprised by my weight loss this past week, especially after my slip-up of Friday night. But I am thankful that it didn't derail me as it might have done in the past.

Early this morning I checked Kenz's blog and she is hosting something called Friend Makin' Monday. It's a series of prompts which the blogger finishes. I thought it would be interesting to use at least some of the prompts, so here goes.

I read. Unfortunately, during the school year I don't have much time to do it. My favorites are historical fiction and anything set in New England or the South.

I don't like...spending time in the morning doing my hair and makeup. I spend about a hundred dollars once a year getting a perm so all I have to do is wash, condition, comb and mousse my hair in the morning. The only makeup I wear on a regular basis is mascara. I'm getting a little better about spending more time on my hair. Recently I got it cut and most of the perm is gone, so I need to spend a little quality time with the curling iron.

I family, friends, and the ocean. I wrote in an earlier blog about my growing desire to spend time with my family and the need to see my friends on a more regular basis. My favorite season is fall. I love the cool weather and the beautiful leaves that change color. The ocean has always been my favorite place to visit. I am in awe of its beauty and power.

I wonder...what I will look like when the weight is finally off. I've never been a "normal" weight, at least not that I can remember. I'm looking forward to seeing what that looks like.

I know...this weight loss will take a long time. It will be a slow process and I need to acknowledge and accept that. Sometimes it's discouraging to see how far I have to go to get to my goal, but it would be so much more worse to stop and then have to start again at an even heavier weight.

I a friend's 40th birthday party last Saturday night. It was so much fun to see friends that I haven't seen in years. The food was good and the best part was that I was able to enjoy eating a good dinner, including dessert and not feel guilty about any of it.

I want...eating healthy to become second nature for me. It's been very time consuming planning what I will eat and then adding up the calories. It is getting easier the more I do it, though.

I increase the intensity of my morning workouts and add at least Saturday to the schedule. Right now I only go in Monday through Friday. I've been gradually adding more weight machines to my workout and the elliptical machine to my cardio time. However, I still need to push myself more than I am right now.

I am...much more positive toward myself and my weight loss.

I am not...going to give up and live the life of hiding, eating and watching television again.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Good 'Ol Elbert

Entry #16 " There is no failure except in no longer trying." (Elbert Hubbard)

I found this quote on a little calendar I bought last year. Every day there is a quote by a famous and sometimes not so famous person. I looked Hubbard up on Google and found he was an author in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He founded a school for creative types that drew people from around the world. He and his second wife died when their cruise ship, The Lusitania, was sunk by a German u-boat in WWI.

The quote is a good one for anyone trying to achieve a goal. It's especially good for me as I view trying and not succeeding right away as failure after which I usually give up the effort. But as stated in a previous post, perseverance is now one of my favorite words. Good thing, too, as last night wasn't a rousing success.

My mom and I went to dinner at a Chinese place. I was actually very good about what I ordered and ate at the restuarant. We ordered honey walnut prawns, mu shu chicken and pork fried rice. I ate two mu shu pancakes, about a cup of rice and one of my mom's prawns. I ate until I was satisfied and stopped. I decided to take the leftover chicken mixture and a half cup of rice home to add to scrambled eggs for a couple of breakfasts. So far so good.

Now, I don't know if the old saying that Chinese food doesn't stay with you is true or not, but along about 9:00 I was feeling hungry. Since my calorie allotment for the day had been used and exceeded by about 50 I decided I wasn't going to blow my diet. Yeah, well I should have gone to bed right then and there. I was online reading different weight loss blogs and at around 9:30 decided to go to bed. As I was passing the kitchen the thought of having "just a bite" of the chicken floated through my mind. I took a bite and then another and another and, well I think you probably know how that ended. Good thing there was only about a cup and a half of the stuff left.

But my indiscretion didn't end there. Earlier I was tempted to eat a Skinny Cow ice cream bar (100 calories) even though I knew my calorie bank for the day was depleted. Well, now that I'd already gone way over 1200 calories, why not just go ahead and have that darn ice cream bar? I didn't even pretend to put up a fight. So yesterday's calories hovered between 1400 and 1500 calories.

Now for the good news. Today I got up and pretended that last night never happened. I was able to go back and eat a good, low calorie breakfast and lunch. I had to, because tonight I'm going to a friend's 40th birthday party. At this time I've got about 650 calories left for the day, so if I am careful, I can enjoy some good food choices and stay at 1200 for the day.

I am so grateful that I can view last night as a couple of mistakes instead of a failure. Elbert is right. There is no shame in trying and not making it. The failure comes in not even trying for fear of failure. The not trying is a failure in itself. It's a failure to put myself out there and risking whatever comes my way. Hopefully, those days are in the past for me. I know I will continue to pray and trust that God has good plans ahead for my life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Least Favorite Season

Entry #15
Summer is definitely NOT my favorite season. Although this summer has been the mildest I can remember, it seems Mother Nature is making up for lost time in a big way. I've heard it's supposed to "cool" down to around 97 tomorrow and then the weekend is supposed to be in the 70's. I'm looking forward to the weekend!

I've always had a hard time with summer. When I was a kid I loved school and didn't like summer vacations all that much. I rarely saw my friends over the summer and there were always plenty of chores to help with around the house. Not to mention the almond harvest which was sheer torture for about a month. Dad had 160 trees and he did things the old fashioned way. He'd climb the trees with a big rubber mallet and knock the branches to get the nuts off of them. The nuts would fall into tarps he'd laid on the ground. Then us kids would have to rake the almonds into piles, then put them in buckets and pour the nuts into gunny sacks. The whole business was filthy. We'd be sweating because of the heat, then the almond dust would stick to us and make us itch. I was so happy when I got old enough to stay in the house and help Mom with the canning of vegetables.

My Dad could eat anything he wanted and as much of it as he wanted and never gain a pound. The reason for that, I suppose, is that he did lots of physical work around our place which provided him with plenty of exercise. I remember him going through an old trunk and finding his Navy uniform. The last time he'd worn it he was about nineteen. (He lied about his age and enlisted to fight in WWII at the age of 16.) When he found it in the trunk he was either in his late thirties or early forties. He put the damn thing on and it fit him perfectly!

Unfortunately I didn't inherit my Dad's ability to eat anything he wanted or his penchant for hard physical labor. I would look at cupcakes and put on five pounds and always preferred television to exercise. Now it's come time to pay the piper. Every day that I make myself get up and go to the gym is a victory over my natural state of laziness. Sometimes it's a real struggle to get my exercise in and just about any excuse will do to just stay home. Just as sometimes I would use any excuse to eat junk food, I'll use any excuse to skip my time at the gym. There have been mornings when I've driven to the gym and left because the person opening the doors (my gym opens at 4 a.m.) wasn't there on time. I could have waited a few minutes, but didn't. That doesn't happen very often anymore. I'm determined to take this weight off and it's slowly sinking in that it's going to be a very long, hard road. But this time I'll do it and it will all be worth the work and sweat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Twenty-One Pounds Gone!

Entry #14

Weight 238 pounds. Loss of 3.5 pounds. Total loss of 21 pounds.

Very happy with Monday's weigh in. It was more than I expected, so it was a nice surprise. I guess I need to stop "expecting" anything and just keep plugging along.

My negative voice still creeps in every now and then asking me just how long I think I can keep this up without going off the deep end in a binge. At times this past week a binge started to sound pretty good. I found myself thinking about having a fast food, drive thru meal topped off with ice cream and maybe a candy bar or two. The feeling I had while thinking about this was almost nostalgic. It's been over a month since I stopped eating that way, but it feels like it's been a lot longer.

When reading the blog of Sean Anderson, who has lost over two hundred pounds and is close to his goal, I've noticed words like "focus" and "determination" crop up alot. To achieve the kind of success he has, I suppose, those are two attributes he has in abundance. They are necessary to the success of anything worthwhile. One of my problems has always been a lack of focus when it comes to my weight and, to a certain extent, my personal life. I've never really set goals for myself. When there's no goal, it's hard to be determined and maintain a focus. Even now, I don't have a real "goal weight". I think I'd like to get down to 125 or 130, but that may be unrealistic. I think that would be a good question the next time I see my doctor. He can give me some idea of what a healthy weight would be for me.

My blogging will most likely be rather sporadic as it's hard to keep it up now that school's in session again. Still, I'm going to shoot for at least twice a week. I'll make that my "focus".

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Favorite Word

Entry #13

It's been almost a week since posting. I feel bad about not writing more, but since school has started up again, my time is very limited.

Today was kind of hard. I attended a religious conference where Father Benedict Groeschel was the speaker. He's one of my favorite speakers, someone who can get a point across with a great sense of humor. He's 77 years old and very frail now, but still very enjoyable.

Lunch was included in the price of my ticket and it wasn't exactly a dieter's delight. There was a turkey and jack cheese sandwich, a bag of potato chips, cup of fruit cocktail (yuck!) and a chocolate chip cookie. I was very hungry so I knew I would eat the whole sandwich. The chips were 230 calories but I also ate those. The cookie I put away until later. Although I didn't know exact amounts, I decided to count the lunch as 500 calories. That's probably pretty safe.

Later I ate the cookie while driving to Mass. As I was enjoying every morsel of that cookie old thoughts came flooding through my mind. I've had these thoughts every time I stray from a diet and enjoy a treat. The thoughts tell me that I've blown my diet and what's the use depriving myself the rest of the day? There's always tomorrow to go back on the diet.

As these thoughts were going through my mind I reminded myself that I had accounted for the cookie in the 500 calories I allotted to the lunch. But I was looking for an excuse to eat more junk food so I chose to ignore that fact. It was a real struggle not to give in and binge. Reminding myself of how much I've accomplished in the past month helped and it was enough to keep me from buying more junk food to finish off later tonight.

It is so necessary to almost constantly remind myself that I am making progress and that, even though it will take a long time and lots of patience, I will make it to goal. I just have to want it more than I want the temporary comfort of a fast food fix. Sometimes I'm not so sure I do. It's easy to get discouraged when I see myself in a mirror or try on clothes that are the same size as when I began this diet. What's necessary is perseverance and that's not always been part of my vocabulary. I'm working on making it my favorite word.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A New School Year

Entry #12

Weight 241.5 pounds. Loss of 3 pounds. Total loss 17.5 pounds.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't happy with my weight loss this time. I should be thrilled about dropping three pounds after losing three the week before. I guess an explanation for my ingratitude is in order.

Last week I began packing up stuff in my classroom at Dent School in the hopes that I would be moving back to Van Allen School. I spent all of last week bending, stretching, lifting, walking to move from one classroom to another and then set up my new room. I figured with all the extra exercise I did I would lose at least five pounds. Oh well, I guess my age is catching up with me. It's going to be much harder to lose weight this time around.

The last few days of last week I didn't count calories and may have gone over 1200 sometimes. I had to set priorities and those were getting my classroom ready for the opening of school today. Now I have to get back to the discipline of counting, weighing and measuring. This is most likely one reason I didn't do as well as I thought I would.

The other reason could be that I need to build more muscle. In one of my previous blogs I wrote about hating to use the weight machines. However, I need to grow up and do the unpleasant stuff. So this week I think I will increase my time on the machines and lessen the time I'm on the treadmill.

The first day of school went well. I've got 21 kindergartners. Little ones are so much fun to work with. Everything excites them and they are so willing to participate. They're not too cool to sing along with "Zippedee Do Dah" and do silly stuff. Today we listened to the story "The Gingerbread Man" and I made a giant gingerbread man cookie. Of course, he "escaped" from the oven and we had to search for him all over the school. Later in the afternoon we found him hiding in one of my cupboards. I cut him up and gave him to the kids to eat. I tried a little bite but gave the leftover cookie to my niece. It's getting harder to pass up stuff like this.

Our nice, cool summer came to a screeching halt today. Naturally, the temperature has to jump up when school starts. Thank goodness for air conditioning. It occurred to me that next year at this time I will hopefully be at least fifty pounds lighter and the heat won't get to me as much. It's no fun to be sweating your make-up off at 9:00 in the morning. I go through this every year at the beginning of school. "Next year I'll be thinner and will be able to take the heat better." And every year I'm heavier than the last. I am determined that this time I will succeed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Left Hand

Entry #11
Weight 244.5 pounds. Loss of 3.5 pounds! Total loss: 14.5 pounds.

I'm very happy with my loss this past week. Taking in fewer calories and increasing my exercise program and time paid off.

My blogs will most likely decrease, at least for a short time. School is just around the corner and my time is going to be fairly limited. This year is going to be a little different and a tad more stressful, at least in the beginning.

Last year I was transferred from Van Allen School to Dent Elementary School because of fluctuating student numbers. It was a whole new world for me. For 22 years all I'd known in terms of teaching was small, rural schools where the student population didn't reach 200. Now I'm at the "big" school in town and things are very different. The other first grade teachers (there were seven total) were wonderful and the staff was very welcoming and patient with my constant questions. As the year wore on I really liked being there. I had a good class and enjoyed working with other teachers who were teaching the same grade I was.

Last Wednesday it was decided that Van Allen School would be opening up a second kindergarten class. I sent a letter of interest to the District Office letting them know I want to be considered for it. When I received the official notice, the deadline date for people wanting the position was listed as August 13, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. That's the Friday before the beginning of the school year! If I get to move back, I won't have to worry too much about my diet or exercise this weekend. There will be no TIME to eat.

As I wrote that last sentence I realized, though, that the reality may be just the opposite. Just about any time in the past when I had a lot of work to do at school (especially on a weekend), I "rewarded" myself with junk food. I didn't take the time to sit down and eat a real meal. So it was day-long snacking followed by stopping by McDonald's for a drive-thru dinner because, of course, I was way too tired to put something together for dinner.

So, if my weekend is spent moving and setting up a new classroom, I will be sure to plan my lunches and dinners and sit down to eat them. I've found that it's really true that if you eat slowly, you fill up faster and are satisfied with less food. Another tip I read or heard about is to try eating with your non-dominant hand. I'm right-handed so I've been eating with my left hand. It definitely slows down the pace. However, now I'm experiencing another problem. I'm getting really good at eating with my left hand!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saving a Starving Child in India

Entry #10

Okay, this is no longer any fun. It's 6:05 p.m., I've just finished my dinner and my calorie total for the day so far is 1195. I was really hoping to have a Skinny Cow ice cream tonight, but they are 100 calories each. Do I give in and go over my daily calorie total of 1200 or do I suck it up and stay far far away from the freezer? Even I don't know the answer to that one yet. We'll have to find out in my next blog entry.

Yesterday I fell off the wagon a bit. The first grade teachers at Dent had a morning meeting and then decided to go out to Taco Bell for lunch. I was going to beg off, but decided to join them. There was time to check the menu online before going, so I dashed back to my classroom and did just that. I was surprised to find a number of items on the menu that are very reasonable in terms of calories. I settled on the steak burrito supreme fresca and a side order of rice. This isn't the part where I go headlong off the side of the wagon. That happened when I returned from lunch and went back to my classroom.

Earlier that morning at our meeting one of the teachers was sweet enough to bring some treats. She brought in a big bowl of grapes and some low fat blueberry muffins. As she is unwrapping the muffins she mentions that they are lowfat so I could have one. I had told her a few days prior to this that I was watching calories. I felt badly about turning down the muffin. I wasn't in the least bit hungry but took a small amount of grapes anyway. As the meeting was ending she insisted that we all take a muffin so she didn't have to take them home with her. I decided to take one and save it for breakfast the next morning. Yeah, right.

When I returned from lunch I saw that lonely little muffin sitting among the clutter on my worktable. Without giving it much thought I picked it up and ate it. It was soooooo good. The whole time I'm eating it I'm thinking about how I'm not hungry and shouldn't be doing this. The bright spot in this situation is that my diet wasn't derailed by eating the muffin. Often something as simple as eating a muffin or a single cookie would be enough to decide, "Well, I blew my diet today by eating that cookie/cupcake/candy bar, etc. so what's the use? I'll go back on my diet tomorrow." Of course, "tomorrow" most likely didn't come for a few days or even sometimes, weeks.

My options when offered the muffin the second time were to, again, refuse it, or take it and then throw it away when I got back to my room. I almost did both. But then the guilt factor kicked in. I would have felt badly turning the muffin down the second time, especially after she mentioned bringing them with me in mind. Had I taken one and tossed it, I would have felt guilty about wasting food. We all remember the horror stories our parents told us when we were young about the starving children in India. I wonder how many of them were saved by my eating that muffin?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Need a New Name

Entry #9

I just discovered there's another blog with the exact same name as mine! Whoops. Hence the new name, The Kitchen Sink (as in "everything but the kitchen sink"). I decided on that for two reasons. One is that instead of just being about weight loss, exercise, and my struggles and successes with those, other stuff usually creeps in here as well. The second is that the kitchen sink is, well, in the kitchen where my nemesis (aka the refrigerator) also resides.

Yesterday was a good one in terms of diet and exercise. I ate out twice and managed to stick to reasonable choices and portions. Having lunch with a friend I used to teach with was wonderful. It was fun to catch up on what's going on in our lives and respective school sites. I chose the place to eat and it was slim pickins when it came to healthy, low calorie foods. Finally I chose a chicken breast on rye with a side salad. It was very good, but I didn't think about how the bread would be prepared. I was tempted to have it on a ciabatta roll, but decided to save calories and ordered rye instead. I felt so proud of myself ordering the sandwich without mayonaise (which I love on sandwiches). When the waitress brought my sandwich, I noticed it had been grilled (probably in butter). So, I learned a lesson about specifying how I want the sandwich prepared.

Then later it was on to Chevy's to meet up with some friends. My recollection was that we were meeting just for Happy Hour which I planned to spend with a diet drink. But when I got there we ended up ordering dinner. When I asked the waitress for the calorie information for the selections on the menu she pointed to a little flip chart. The writing was so small I could barely make it out. Finally I decided on shrimp and chicken fajitas. They came with beans and rice. I split the portions in half and asked for a to go box at the beginning of my meal so I could get the food off my plate from the start. Now I have lunch for today.

Sometimes it's hard to keep being vigilant about every single thing I put in my mouth, but I know it will be worth it when I reach goal. So, now I need to go and find my calculator so I can add up today's food choice calories. What fun!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Free Willy

Entry #8

I'm beginning to think that my blogging is kind of a drag. Every time I sit down to write I come up blank in terms of ideas. Does anyone really want to read about my less than stellar life? But, then, the main reason I'm doing this is for a record of my progress and to think through some things that come a little easier when I'm writing.

The past couple of days have been good ones in terms of food and exercise. It's a little more difficult now that I've cut back on the calories. But I didn't expect to have a rip roarin' time at this, after all.

My niece Mallory (5 years old) and nephew Preston (3) have been after me to spend the night at their house for a few weeks now. So last night I did and had so much fun with them. My sister served lasagne and garlic french bread for dinner. I didn't pull out my scale or calorie counting book as I thought that might be a bit much. It wasn't too hard to keep the lasagne serving small, but the battle over whether or not to have the second piece of garlic bread was a bit more difficult. I could very easily make a meal of garlic bread alone. I didn't have the second piece, but might have if I hadn't been beaten to the punch by the kids who shared it. Since I didn't have anywhere near 1200 calories even after eating dinner, I didn't refuse when Christine offered some Baskin & Robbins Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. The serving was small and it felt good to both enjoy some ice cream and not feel guilty about it.

After dinner it was outside and into the pool. It's so much fun to watch the kids swim. They are both good swimmers for their ages. My nephew is a little fish! We were having a great time and then Mallory suggested we play a game. She wanted to play "Free Willy". Guess who got to be the whale? Oh well, it was great exercise anyway!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Wake Up Call

Entry #7
Weight: 248 lbs. A loss of 1.5 pounds. I'll take it!

Actually, at first glance at the scale this morning I was a bit disappointed by my loss this past week. I've started enough diets to know that the first week of a major shift in eating and exercise always results in a big weight loss and subsequent weeks are smaller. However, I figured that all the exercising I'd done at the gym as well as climbing up and down ladders at school and stretching to put up bulletin boards should count for SOMETHING.

But, when I took the time to sit and really think over the past week I didn't come off as quite the exercising/diet wonder I was picturing in my very fertile imagination. To be really honest, the diet went well last week. However, I was starting to "forget" to write down the 5 measley calories in a bottle of Crystal Light Lemonade (never mind that I may have had two or three in a day) and the 5 little calories in a stick of Juicy Fruit gum. Then the "workout" at the gym where I was only spending 30-35 minutes on the treadmill began to look a little puny. I was a little too cocky about the original weight loss and thought I'd just stick to the same routine. This morning was a definite wake up call.

This week I'm going to cut down the calories to 1200. I was staying between 1200 and 1300 a day. At the gym I'm adding some strength training every day before I hop on the treadmill. I absolutely loathe strength training with weights. Whenever beginning an exercise program in the past I always rationalized putting off working with weights. I'd tell myself I'd just stick to the treadmill until I get back in "the swing of things". Not this time. Besides the fact that these machines build muscle, which in turn burns fat, at my age it is necessary to do these exercises for bone density and strength. And this effort is all about doing what is good for my body.

One thing I've decided to do this time around is reward myself for weight loss. Rewards after each loss of ten pounds sounded good to me. So, I cheated a little and even though I hadn't weighed yet, on Saturday I went to get my hair cut, colored and highlighted. The gal that did my hair lives in Escalon with her husband and three little girls. She knows half of the people I do. I guess I'd better be careful about who/what I talk about in the chair.