Five More Pounds

I am five pounds from my goal weight.  I talked with my doctor and he felt that 151 pounds would be a healthy weight.  Weight Watchers set my goal weight at 141 which was on the high side, according to their calculations.  Last October, I realized that this journey was going to take forever and I was getting tired of paying the $40 a month for the meetings.  I wanted to get my Lifetime status back so I could go to the meetings for free.  So I asked my doctor to write a note saying he approved that 151 was a good weight for me.  He asked me why 151?  I said I wanted to lose at least 50 pounds on this journey.

At my weigh in this week I lost 1.4 pounds which put me within 5 pounds of my goal.  Which brings up a big question.  What am I going to do when I reach my goal.  I was listening to Charles D’Angelo the other day on the radio.  He is the St. Louis weight loss guru.  Charles was interviewing a prospective client and asked him “what are you going to do when you reach your goal?”  The prospective client replied “I am going to go out and eat the biggest pizza I can find.”  Charles told the man that he would not take him on as a client because with that mind set he was sure to gain all the weight back.

That made me think about what am I going to do when I hit my goal weight.  I do think about foods I would enjoy eating again.  Ted Drews sounds glorious and I would like to go to PI and eat pizza instead of a salad.  But I am very afraid of gaining back my weight.  So I do have a plan.  I will indulge.  But only very little.  This journey is for the rest of my life.  And I do not want to go through my life not enjoying some favorite foods.  But I do know I would rather eat PI pizza than Dominos.  So I will save my pizza eating for when I go out and not order in.  I would rather eat Ted Drews ice cream rather than Breyers.  So when we make a trip to Ted Drews I will indulge.  But what I can do is not eat a whole pizza.  I can have a slice of pizza with a salad.  And I can have a mini concrete rather than a regular or large.

My taste buds have changed.  I really like eating clean.  I have given up processed foods.  I don’t eat anything that is white except cauliflower.  I eat very little grains. Which I am looking forward to incorporating back into my diet.  I would like to experiment with quinoa and other grains.  I never seem to get tired of eating lean meats and fresh vegetables.  I love fruit.  But for now trying to get the last few pounds off, I have decided to eat only one fruit per day.

I also have gotten back into my exercise routine.  I go to Dave Reddy’s boot camp twice a week.  I go for my three mile walks the other days.  I do take one day off.  I am looking forward to running again.  I took a break from that with the bad weather.  We do have a wonderful treadmill which collects a lot of dust.  I would much rather be outside or walk in a mall than get on that treadmill.  I feel like a hamster in a cage on that treadmill.

I do know one thing, when I reach my goal I am going to buy a jean jacket and some new summer clothes.  All of my summer clothes are huge on me and I am in need of a new wardrobe.  I am looking forward to getting a cute bathing suit, one that does not cover my whole body.  So instead of focusing on what I can eat again, I am focusing on what I can wear again.  It is a great feeling.

Vestibular Neuritis

I have finally been diagnosed.  I have Vestibular Neuritis which is a “disorder that affects the nerve of the inner ear called the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve sends balance and head position information from the inner ear to the brain. When this nerve becomes swollen (inflamed), it disrupts the way the information would normally be interpreted by the brain”.  I got that explanation right off of the internet.

But here is what my doctor told me.  I have a virus that affects the nerve from the inner ear to the brain causing symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, balance difficulties, nausea and fatigue.  Exactly 3 weeks ago I woke up and started to get ready to go to my Friday boot camp with Dave Reddy.    But I was feeling a bit unsteady and not sure if I was coming down with something.  I just didn’t feel right.  So I decided to take a day off from working out.

I went to work and was able to photograph 10 senior basketball players from DeSmet Jesuit High School for their annual coaches gift.  My balance was off but I was able to complete the shoot.  I went home and rested on the couch and started to feel better.  The next day I went to Chicago on Amtrak and was still feeling off.  A bit dizzy.  I got worse in Chicago and could not take the train home, so my wonderful husband drove from St. Louis to pick me up.

Fast forward to today, three weeks later, several doctors visits, doctor’s evaluations and an MRI. Yesterday I had a VNG test.  And I was finally diagnosed with this virus.  I am so relieved that I finally found out what I had.  But the most interesting thing about this illness is that the more active one is and the more exercise one does the sooner the illness goes away.  I was so excited to here that because for three weeks I have done nothing.  I did go out for a walk at Fenton Park two weeks ago but that is the only exercise I have had in three weeks.  So today I will be working out and I am excited to do so.

But the funny thing about these past few weeks is how my imagination played havoc with my mind.  Of course I was sure something was wrong when my symptoms did not go away after 1 week.  And I was sure it was a tumor of some sort in my brain when my symptoms did not go away after two weeks.  When the ENT doctor set me up for the MRI, I really was afraid to ask her what they were looking for.  She was nice and said “we want to rule out anything that may be going on in the brain.”  And that answer was good enough for me. I also was assured I was not showing any neurological signs of anything serious.  But I still had that nagging bad feeling in the back of my mind.

I tried to stay off of the internet to search what I might have.  But my curiosity got the better of me.   And what I found out scared the bejesus out of me.  I was preparing for the worst.

So when preparing for the worst I started to think.  Heck, I should just have an Imo’s Supreme pizza since I am preparing for the worst.  I may not be able to eat Ted Drews because I will be to ill, so I better get some now.  I kept thinking about what I have not eaten in one and a half years and how I might enjoy something crazy fattening indulgences.

But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that whatever illness I had, those foods would only make me feel worse in the long run.  I love how my body feels now.  And I don’t mind looking at my body anymore.  I decided I did not want to sabotage my eating with some crazy indulgences.   So for the past three weeks I have been eating very healthy and sticking to my 26 Weight Watcher points per day.

But last night I was craving – and I mean craving – ice cream.  Like Ben and Jerry’s.  I wanted my husband to go and get it for me.  He said he would go if I went with him.  But I was so cozy sitting by the fireplace I did not want to go into the cold.  So I got my greek yogurt and frozen strawberries and a banana and stirred it all together.  It was delicious and it took care of that ice cream craving.  It was such a healthy dessert.

I am getting better and looking forward to being 100% better.  Every day I can tell, the symptoms are subsiding.  I start physical therapy on Monday and I am excited to learn the exercises that will redirect my brain to compensate for the damage done to that nerve.  And the most amazing thing about this illness is that activity and exercise will make the symptoms go away quicker.  So watch out world, this girl is going to rock the gym.

The Scale Challenge

I have been so busy these past few weeks, I had to put my blog on the back burner.  I have missed sharing my highs and lows of my weight loss journey.  But life has gotten in the way.  I have been busy at work, which is a very good thing.   I also made a trip to Evanston, Illinois to visit my family.  I always love visiting with my family and this visit was an extra special one for me.

So to let you all know about how I did on my staying off the scale challenge – I failed.  I could not stay away.   I very rarely fail at challenges.  But this challenge hands down got the better of me.  I love my scale at times and sometimes I hate my scale.   But one thing I decided is that  it keeps me in check.  It makes me accountable for what I put in my mouth.  It is a tool and only a tool, just like my measuring cups, food scale and daily points tracker.

Before I went to Evanston, I got on the scale.  The number was the same number it has been for a month.  Oh well.  I had been so good with my eating throughout January.  And my weight would go down a pound and up a pound.  It just had not been going down consistently.  I will admit with the weather being so bad, I did not work out as much as I had been in the past.  So that could be the reason for the no weight loss in January.

Every time I go see my family, it is like a free for all for me.  I love my brothers cooking.  And I eat things that I normally do not eat.  My sister in law had a bowl of chocolate covered cranberries sitting in all its glory on her table.  How dangerous for me to have a bowl of goodies right within my reach.  I tried hard to resist it.  But when that sweet tooth kicked in I found myself reaching for them.  There is so much truth to the saying “out of sight out of mind.”

But I was determined this time not to come back from my family visit to see a higher number on the scale.  And we all ate very healthy.  We ate plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  I cooked one evening preparing roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and vegetables.  We had a wonderful salad to round out the meal.  And for dessert we enjoyed sorbet.  And the key to eating the sorbet was eating one serving which is a very small half cup.

I did not weigh myself for almost 5 days.  Because one thing I have learned is that there are only two scales that I can count on.  My Withings Scale and my Weight Watcher meeting scale.  These scales are very consistent.  I trust them.  And I weigh myself wearing the same thing and at the same time of day.

When I came back from my visit, I hopped on the scale and I had lost one pound.  I was elated.  I had been very good with my eating.  But when you are visiting people you are really at the mercy of what they are eating.  I just made sure that I kept track of my points.  Unfortunately, I did nothing in the way of exercise.  There was three feet of snow on the ground in Evanston and I used that as a good excuse to not get my walk in.  Excuses-excuses.

So for today, I am looking at my scale not as a demon nor as a friend.  I am looking at the scale as only a tool.

The Glorious Scale


The scale.  It can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  I have my scale right next to my kitchen, sitting in all its glory. I see it every morning.  And every morning, I look at it, say a little prayer and hop on it.  And then whatever number I see on the scale sets the tone for the rest of the day.  Some days I am happy, some days I am sad and on most days I am just frustrated.

When I hop on my Withings scale, the number climbs until it hits your actual weight.  The first number is pretty cool.  It is several pounds lower than your actual weight but just looking at that number is glorious.  And then the number starts to climb, slowly, slowly, “please, oh please stop” and then it stops.  Sometimes it stops on a number I am pleased with.  And then I know my day will be great.  But when it stops on a number I am not so happy about, my mood is set for the day.  Sad, confused and frustrated.

Our weight fluctuates on a daily basis.  It goes up, goes down, and sometimes stays the same.  Our bodies are mysterious.  Some days our bodies may retain water causing weight gain.  Sometimes our bodies just want to play with our minds and the weight just stays the same.  NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO!  And some days one may have eaten the biggest, fattest, greasiest, sweetest, hugest meal – and several of them – and your body will show a weight loss.  Go figure.

This week at my Weight Watcher meeting, my leader Bonnie, gave us a challenge.  Stay off the scale.  She explained how the scale is a good indicator but when weighing every day it can be a detriment to our weight loss.  Weighing yourself every day can play with your mind.  She said that weighing just once a week was best while trying to lose weight.  We should just weigh in at our Weight Watcher meeting.  She asked who wanted to take the challenge to stay off the scale for one week.

So Bonnie, was looking directly at me.  “Lisa, do you think you can stay off the scale for one week?”  I looked her straight in the eye.  I am always up for a challenge.  For crying out loud, I ran a 6 mile race as a challenge, I attempted the 30 Whole Paleo Challenge, I gave up wine for 3 and a half weeks – not quite making it to four weeks – which was a real challenge.  So I looked Bonnie and said “yes”.  Piece of cake.  “I will stay off the scale for one week.”

And I will be honest, this has been one of my hardest challenges.  Yesterday was the first day of the challenge.  I woke up at my regular time, went to the kitchen to make my coffee and there it was.  I turned the corner and saw my scale.  I thought about the challenge.  I stood frozen looking at that glorious piece of equipment.  I have been so good with my eating.  Basically, perfect.  “Ok, I will hop on the scale just this once and I will start the challenge tomorrow.”  But I am so good at challenges.  Once I make my mind up to do something, I usually succeed – no matter how hard it is.  I will stay off the scale.  I will succeed at this challenge.

But my scale in all its glory was calling me to it.  It was like the bottle of wine that calls my name every evening.  “Drink me, drink me.”  And I say to the bottle of wine.  “I will drink you – just not right now.”  And then I grab a glass of Diet Tonic Water.  The scale is like a drug to me.  I have never used drugs so I am really not quite sure what drug addicts feel but the scale is so powerful.  I am so drawn to it.  It has a power over me.

I suggested to my husband that I put it away.  I wanted to hide it.  But he said “just don’t get on it”.  That is like telling me while he is pouring a glass of wine for himself, just don’t be tempted while I am enjoying this glass of sweet nectar in front of you.  Or when he asks me to get him cookies every evening after dinner never thinking that I would be tempted to eat one.  But actually those things really don’t bother me.  When I am on a mission, I can really walk away from temptation. But for some reason I am really having difficulty walking away from the scale.

So, yesterday was the first day of the challenge.  And the devil was calling my name.  It was saying  “just hop on, just this once.  You will feel so much better.”  I succumbed.  I was weak.  I got on the scale saying “just for today and tomorrow I will put it away.”  So I hopped on the scale, in all my weakness, praying for the ultimate weight loss.  The number started out wonderful and I had that high, the feeling was glorious for that one moment.  And then the  number started climbing, climbing and then it stopped.  The high immediately left.  The number was the same number it has been for a month.  I stepped off the scale and immediately  was depressed.  My quick high left me very low.

Enough!  I am tired of the highs and lows.  I am tired of being addicted to this scale.  I am tired of the devil.  I am putting the scale away.  I am going to put it in a place where it will be difficult to reach and put out again.   I will succeed at this challenge – one day late – but I will succeed.  So glorious scale I bid you adieu – I will see you again – but for today, I am walking away.

Happy Birthday To You

Today, my mother would have been 101 years old.  I remember her birthday every year and on her birthday I always say a short prayer thanking her for being my mom.  I still miss her and think about her all the time.  She was a great person and my best friend.  She died in 1988.  I can’t believe she has been gone for over 26 years.

I do not want this post to be sad.  Because I am not sad.  Yes, I do miss her.  She was my best friend.  I talked to her or was with her every day, especially the last 5 years of her life.  So when she died, there was a big void in my life.  But life marches on.  The hurt and pain have lessened and today I want to share some fond memories of her.

Since this is my weight loss blog, my memories  are going to evolve around food and exercise.

My mom was very small and lean.  She was 5 foot 2 and maintained her weight at 114 pounds for most of her life.   I think she was at one time 5 foot 3 but as she aged her body shrank.  She was definitely not a curvy woman.  More of a  straight up and down kind of person.  A boyish figure.

We lived in Evanston, Illinois – home to Northwestern University.  Our house was three blocks from the University and Lake Michigan.  We had a great downtown filled with stores for shopping such as Marshall Fields, Lyttons, Weiboldts, Rothschilds, Wally Reids and the 5 and Dime.  Those were great stores back in the day.  My mom and I spent many hours together, shopping for that special item at many of those stores.  My mom loved to shop.  I would always tire of it because of all the walking.  But my mom was like the Eveready Bunny.  She never slowed down.

So how did my mom stay so thin?  She never dieted.  NEVER!   Now looking back on it she never snacked, ate very little and was extremely active.  My mom loved her lawn. She cut the grass, watered the grass, raked and weeded.  She cleaned the house and did the laundry.  She was moving constantly.  Looking back on it now, there were only a few times during the day that I actually saw my mom sit.

And my mom ate very little.  For breakfast she would have one slice of bread with butter and a cup of coffee.  She would also have orange juice.  A VERY, VERY SMALL GLASS.  I am sure it was no more than 4 ounces.  On Sunday’s, she would treat herself with a very small piece of coffee cake. For lunch, it was usually a half a sandwich.  Before her dinner, my parents would snack on a very small bowl of nuts or a very small bowl of potato chips.  AND THEY NEVER REFILLED THE BOWL!  Her drink of choice was a vodka martini.   Only one.  For dinner she would have whatever my dad cooked which was always a meat, vegetable and a salad.  Sometimes a potato or a piece of French Bread were included.    My mom also loved chocolate.  She would have ONE chocolate as a treat in the evening.

So that is why my mom was thin.  She ate little and moved a lot.  Don’t we as children learn from example?  Obviously not.  I sure missed that example.  My mom very rarely splurged.  And when she did splurge, her splurge was definitely different than my splurge.  She was a great baker.  I loved her chocolate chip cookies.   My mom would splurge and eat one. I would splurge and eat several.   I remember her fudge during the holidays.  My mom would splurge and eat one.  I would splurge and eat – let’s just say – definitely more than one.  Her pies and cakes were to die for.  Again, she would  splurge on a very small slice of that pie or cake and my splurge would be a huge piece that filled and overflowed my plate.

Evanston had a great transportation system.  There was the “L” and the bus.  Both were within a block from our house.  My family had one car so we all got very familiar with public transportation.  I used the public transportation.  I did not like walking.  My mom very rarely used the car or public transportation.  She walked.  She walked downtown,  walked to work, walked to church and walked to the movies.  She walked everywhere and sometimes for miles.  The only time I remember her in the car is when she was driving me somewhere.

My mom loved to dance.  She and my dad danced beautifully together.  Again, a trait I did not pick up on.  She would dance the Charelston to make us laugh.  And laugh we did.  She played with us.  I remember our baseball games in the back yard.  She was so quick and athletic.  She was a swimmer in her youth.  But for some reason I never picked up on her athleticism.  It just was not for me.  My mom tried to encourage me to be active.  But I just was not into sports or activity.

My mom was very supportive of me throughout my life.  She never criticized me for being overweight.  She supported me with every diet I tried.  When I was dieting in high school she always provided me with wholesome food.  Fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  She always made sure I would have a Weight Watcher breakfast ready for me to eat in high school.  And she always made my lunch.  When I was in college, she was my biggest weight loss cheerleader.  Again,  she always encouraged me.   

She never saw me at my heaviest but I know she would not have said anything.  She only would have been supportive of me.  My mom always loved me for who I was.  Not who I would become.  My mom was always proud of me – fat or thin.  She did not let my weight define me.  She always let me know that I had a lot of great qualities.  I always felt loved by her.  I have wonderful memories of my mother and will forever be grateful for them.    I am thankful for all that she gave me.

Happy Birthday Mom.


I just looked up the word sustain in the dictionary and the meaning is “to keep up or keep going, as an action or process”.  My big question of the day is what weight loss program can one sustain for the rest of one’s life?   I have come to the conclusion several months ago that my weight loss journey is not to reach just a number on a scale.   I have lost and gained enough weight during my lifetime trying to reach that number on the scale.  My weight loss goal now is to reach my goal weight (7 more pounds) and be able to sustain my weight loss and maintain my loss for the rest of my life.

I have just completed 2 1/2 weeks on the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge.  I will say I have done some good things.  I now look at all nutrition labels.  I have done so in the past but was more concerned about the calorie count and Weight Watcher points than the additives in the product.  But now I am concerned about the additives in the product.  They say if you can’t pronounce what’s in a product  than don’t eat it.  I have eaten mostly clean for these 2 1/2 weeks.  I drink at least 64 ounces of water with a touch of lemon per day.    My diet these past weeks has been lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, olive oil and nuts.  I have limited my use of Stevia. I have limited my drinking of Diet Sodas.  I drink my lemon water instead of Diet Light Lemonade (my absolute favorite drink).  The good thing is that  I am full most of the time.   But the bad thing is that I have just not been satisfied.

If a person is not satisfied with the food on a weight loss program, how can one sustain that way of eating for life?  I know I can’t.  I am throwing in the towel with the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge.  Does that make me weak?  Does that make me a quitter?  Absolutely not!  They say on the program “anyone can do anything for 30 days”.  Not so.  I need to know that I can sustain a lifestyle if I am going to do something for the rest of my life.   I need to go back to my Weight Watcher way of life.  I know I can sustain that way of eating for the rest of my life.  I realized early on, the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge would not be sustainable.  To me, it is a 30 day program that when you reach day 30, you go back to your old way of eating.   And that to me is yo-yo dieting.

While on the Whole 30, I found that I a craved foods that I had never craved before.  I guess it was because so many foods are forbidden.   No dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, white potatoes, and definitely no alcohol.  On Weight Watchers, I very rarely ever have a craving because you can eat anything.  When a food is forbidden doesn’t it make you want it even more?    I very rarely crave sweets.  But every afternoon on the Whole 30, I was craving sweets.   Whole 30 says not to eat any sugar or sugar substitutes.  So what was I suppose to do with my cravings?  Go out for a walk?  Drink more water?  Eat another piece of fruit (which on the Whole 30 is limited)?  On Weight Watchers when I am craving a sweet I grab a sugarless piece of gum or a fruit smoothie (both no-no’s on Whole 30).   And that would sustain me for the rest of the afternoon.

When I got home, when on Weight Watchers, instead of grabbing a glass of wine (trying to limit the sugar in my diet), I would grab a Diet Tonic Water.  I would fill a glass full of ice, pour my Diet Tonic Water, and add a slice of lime.  It is so delicious.  I soon forgot that I wanted a glass of wine.  On Whole 30,  Diet Sodas are a definite no, no.  They do encourage you to drink lots of water.  But after drinking a gallon of water with lemon all day long, water just was not going to satisfy me.  The other evening while preparing dinner, I found myself pacing the kitchen .  I was drinking my lemon water and it was not getting rid of my craving for a glass of wine or a sweet drink.  I soon caved and grabbed a glass of Diet Tonic Water with ice and lime. It tasted delicious.   And I felt horribly guilty!

So what can I do to sustain a healthy eating plan for the rest of my life?  Weight Watchers.  This program has been a slow but steady weight loss program for me.  I have lost weight very slowly but steadily.  Yes, I do get frustrated with the slow weight loss but I know that I can sustain this way of life for the rest of my life.  I have tried so many weight loss programs in my lifetime and have failed so many times.  And it was because those programs were great to lose weight but they were not sustainable.

I am very thankful for the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge.  It taught me a lot.  Clean eating is the biggest thing I will continue.  Chemically induced products will definitely be limited in my diet.  Added sugars in my “diet” will be limited.  But the biggest thing Whole 30 has taught me is that Weight Watchers is the program for me.  I know I can keep it up and keep it going.  That is sustainability.

Cheating vs. Choosing

I hate the word cheating.  I am not fond of people who cheat.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I have done my fair share of cheating in my life.  In grade school during a test (I was not the brightest student), I would continually look at my neighbors paper to see what answers they put down on their paper.  Certainly their answers were better than mine.  And then my neighbor would catch on to me, straining my neck to catch an answer from their paper and they would then put their arm over their work so I could not see.  Bummer.  I did the same thing in high school – copied homework, and stole answers from my neighbors paper.  I am sure I plagiarized on occasion.  That is cheating.

In college,  I had an art history class that was in a very dark auditorium.  I loved that class.  I still remember and can name the artists of the Impressionist Era.  But it was so easy to cheat on tests.  It was so dark in the room and I could go in with my cheat sheets and easily ace a test.  And I did get an A in that class.  My biggest cheat in college was going into a World History final with several small pieces of paper shoved up my sleeve with a ton of information.  I passed that test with flying colors.  Yes that was definitely cheating.

People cheat on their taxes, people cheat on their spouses.  People cheat when playing games.  Cheating, cheating, cheating .  Cheating not only hurts yourself (I am sure I could have done better in school if I tried harder and studied more) but most of all it hurts other people.  A spouse cheating on his wife is devastating to all involved.  A person cheating on his taxes hurts the rest of society.  But me eating a piece of chocolate is not cheating.  Am I really hurting myself?  Am I hurting someone else?  No.  Absolutely not.  So my question is, why on a weight loss program when one slips does one say “I cheated”.  Or on many weight loss programs they say “You can have a cheat meal”.  The word cheating to me is a bad word.  In the dictionary the word cheat Is defined “as a fraud, a deceiver, to take an examination or test in a dishonest way, as by improper access to answers” (that was me).  So how and why do some weight loss programs say you can cheat on occasion.  The word cheat in a weight loss world makes no sense to me.

Now the word choosing is a much better word.  If I want a piece of chocolate I will choose to eat one.  If I want a glass of wine or two I will choose to do so.  If I want to eat more than my 26 points on Weight Watchers I will choose to do so.  I am choosing, not cheating.   But there are still consequences to my behavior.  I may not lose the weight or I might even gain.  But that is ok.  Because I have made a conscious decision to do so.  I am still in control of my situation.

Now on other weight loss programs they say you can have a cheat meal.  Oh my gosh – let me at it.  I can do some damage on a cheat meal.   Just the word cheat in my mind opens up the flood gates.  Remember I was a great cheater in school.  So cheating on a meal would mean I would eat things that I have totally taken out of my diet.  Chips, fried foods, ice cream, cookies, white bread, cereal, candy, and the list goes on.  We are talking major damage here.

So for 30 days I decided to shake things up and do the Paleo Whole 30 program.  I am trying desperately to get all of the additives out of my diet.  No more sweeteners.  No more diet sodas, eating whole foods – meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats.  But giving up my non-fat greek yogurt is a challenge.  So I had greek yogurt as one of my meals with fruit this week.  I was told with the Paleo Whole 30 I could count that as a cheat meal.  Are you serious????  Greek yogurt as a cheat meal??  That does not make any sense to me when others are “cheating” on pizza, ice cream, cake and wine and calling it their “cheat meal”.

I chose to have Greek yogurt.  This is not cheating.  Greek yogurt may not be part of the Whole 30 program but it is definitely not cheating.   Me eating this food did not hurt anyone and it definitely did not hurt me.  I just chose to not follow the Whole 30 for one meal.

The word cheating is an inflammatory word.  Guilt goes along with the word cheat.  Yes I did feel some remorse for cheating on those tests.  I would hope a spouse has some guilt when cheating on his partner.  When I call someone a cheater I am hoping they will feel bad and change their behavior.  If I cheat on my “diet” my mind says “cheat with gusto”.  And then once I cheated I feel bad.   But eating greek yogurt does not make me feel guilty.

So I am not going to cheat.  I don’t have to cheat to succeed in life.  On my weight loss journey, I am choosing.  I am choosing what goes in my mouth.  Yes there will be days that I may not make the best choices.  But I am choosing to do so.  I am doing it with a full conscious knowing what and if any consequences will follow.  My cheating days are over.

Clean Eating

So Maria called me before the first of the year and proposed another challenge for me.  “Let’s do the 30 day Paleo challenge.”  Great – another challenge by my beloved daughter.  Do I really want to do this?  I have been very successful with Weight Watchers.  But then I thought it would be a great idea to start the new year off with a new challenge.  I am always up for a challenge and was interested in  what was involved.  Here is the link to the Whole 30 program. I read the program and saw what was good to eat and what I had to avoid.  And I new I could implement this with Weight Watchers new Simple Start.

Mostly the Whole 30  is eating lean meats, fish, vegetables, nuts and fruits and healthy fats.  Here is the kicker.  NO WINE!  Ok, I can give up wine for 30 days.  I have given up my wine before and it actually has been hindering my weight loss. So no problem.   Also on the Whole 30 there are no grains, legumes, dairy or additives.  No sugar substitutes.  So that means not only do I have to give up my wine, I can’t have sugar free gum, sugar free popsicles, diet tonic water and my Greek Yogurt (which I absolutely love).  I am ok giving up legumes and grains.    They have not been a big part in my diet anyhow.  But I will admit giving up my Greek yogurt, sugarless gum and sugar free popsicles and diet tonic water will be a challenge.

Before I go any further I want to clarify my few diet products that I enjoy.  I chew maybe one piece of sugar free gum a day.  I usually will pop a piece in my mouth early in the afternoon when I get a sweet craving.  My sugar free popsicle is a treat for after dinner.  And my one glass of diet tonic water was only drunk before dinner to replace a glass of wine.  Greek yogurt was my go to breakfast with strawberries.  Oh and I usually would sweeten it with one packet of Stevia Raw (which is also a no no).

My go to drink is now water, water and more water.  I fill a gallon jug of water, cut up limes and lemons and put them in the jug.  I love it.  It tastes fresh and is very refreshing.  Did you know that you are suppose to drink 1/2 your body weight in water?  That is in ounces not pounds.  So If I weigh 154 pounds, I have to drink around 77 ounces of water a day.  That is a lot of water.  But I have been easily drinking that amount daily and enjoying it.

Now I am not a perfect human being and I did choose to have a few items on the no no list.  I did have my Greek yogurt three times in ten days.  There are just so many eggs I can eat for breakfast.  I also don’t like meat or fish every morning for breakfast.  So that is a challenge.  We went to the movies yesterday and I didn’t even think about having popcorn.  Which is an absolute no no.  But I really was craving a diet coke which I very rarely drink.   After a few sips, I was noticing a horrible after taste.  I never have an after taste with my lemon water.  So I don’t think I will be having any more diet soda.    I finished my last sugar free popsicle last night and I will not buy any more.  I won’t even talk about me loving light lemonade.  I have totally given that up.  Now my sugarless gum might just have to stay in my program.

I think more than anything on this challenge is to not add any additives to your food. So here is what I am trying to do.  In my smoothies, (a great treat mid morning snack with one cup of almond milk and a cup of blueberries) instead of my Stevia Raw  I could add 1/2 of a very ripe banana.   How sweet it is.  I could also cook down some very sweet apples and add that and that would be a very natural sweetener.

I am now 10 days into this challenge and here is what I have learned.  Paleo Whole 30  is very easy to stick to.  It is a very healthy way of eating.  I am never hungry.  I LOVE NOT BEING HUNGRY!  I have not weighed or measured or tracked any food for 10 days and I am loving it.  And this definitely goes along with Weight Watcher Simple Start program.  I feel absolutely FREE.  I just eat my lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and my olive oil.  It is so simple.  I don’t think about food 24-7.  I do take time to make sure my refrigerator and freezer are well stocked with great wholesome foods.  I have enjoyed eating new foods.  My absolute favorite is Butternut Squash chips.  Which is a great snack when I come home from work.

I am enjoying my Clean Eating.  I feel great.  I am sleeping better.  I feel like I have a bit more energy.  The best thing is that Whole 30 is VERY EASY.  Weight Watchers Simple Start is also very easy. In my world of chaos and confusion, very easy is my favorite place to be.

Saying Goodbye

Goodbye 43.5 pounds.  I hope to never see you again.  It is time to say goodbye to our unhealthy relationship.  I know we were friends for most of my life.  For so many years we were very tight.  I do remember the good times that we had.  We laughed together and jiggled together.  We had such a great time eating junk food and never exercising.  I loved sitting on the couch with you and watching TV.  I especially loved going to the movies and eating that super large tub of buttered popcorn and a very large (of course) diet soda with you.  You were my best friend.  I was comfortable with you.

But you started to give me too much.  My clothes just kept getting tighter and tighter.  So I bought bigger and bigger clothes.   I took comfort with you being by my side 24-7.  I then realized that our relationship was very one sided.  You gave and I took.  I took too much from you.  And then I got high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Medicine fixed that.   I was angry at you and I tried hard to still be your friend.

But then I was diagnosed with sleep apnea.  And you thought that mask was funny.  It wasn’t.  I hated it.  And I don’t like being laughed at.  So I had to say goodbye.  It has taken a very long time for me to break up our relationship.  Not only was I physically unhealthy, I was in an unhealthy relationship with you.  You are still trying to hang on.  But you will soon be totally out of my life.  So I am saying goodbye.  Along with high blood pressure and sleep apnea.  I will soon be rid of my cholesterol medicine.  Please leave me alone.  You are not healthy for me.  You can see in these photos how our relationship slowly dissolved.   And by the end of 2014 you will no longer be part of my life.  I know you will try hard to rekindle our relationship.  But I will not let you.  I am Saying Goodbye!

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All or Nothing

I am an all or nothing kind of gal.  I tend to not to do things half way.  I do it all or I don’t do it.  A good example is in my cooking.  In my past posts you all know by now that I am not the best cook.  But when I do cook, I cook a lot.  Christmas Eve dinner was a success with my family’s Italian Dish, Rovalini.  But why did I have to make enough to feed an army?  And a hungry army at that.  And now I have several Rovalini meals frozen in the freezer.

When the grandkids came over to bake cookies.  Why could I not be happy with just baking one batch of cookies.  I had to bake dozens and dozens of cookies.  The grandkids left me in the dust to finish baking by myself.  I should have taken their cue and stopped when they got bored.  But I was on a mission.  I was intent on making A LOT of cookies.  I never asked the question, what am I going to do with all the cookies?  I gave away a lot.  I ate a few.  And the rest of the cookies made it to the freezer.  Have you ever tasted a frozen cookie?  They are absolutely delicious.  So they will find their new place – in the trash.

All or nothing.  I am never satisfied.   More is better.  When I buy clothes I always buy two of the same thing – in different colors.  When I go for a walk – why only go for one mile when three miles is better.  Why buy the smallest Christmas tree on the lot when a bigger and taller one is better.  And the list goes on.

So I have been thinking about my all or nothing attitude and I have started to feel bad.  Because what it is doing is making me feel guilty when I can not complete something.  Like working out.  I always thought an hour workout was the best.  And two hours would even be better.  But two hours out of my day working out is an impossibility.  I can do one hour.  And I definitely can fit 1/2 hour in.

So I leave a thought for anyone that is starting a weight loss journey for the new year.  Baby Steps.  If you feel you can not walk 3 miles I bet you could walk for one block.  And then tomorrow you might be able to walk two blocks.  If you are a soda drinker, what if you replaced one of those sodas with water.  Just once.  And tomorrow you might be able to give up two of your sodas for water.  What if just for today you had grilled chicken instead of fried chicken? Baked or sauteed fish instead of fried fish.  What if you replaced your full fat salad dressing with a light dressing?  Or olive oil and vinegar.  Just for today.  

A weight loss journey does not have to be all or nothing.  It is a way of life.  I know I will not lose these last 18 pounds overnight.  But I can and will be diligent with my journey.  I will continue my weight loss journey into 2014 with baby steps.  And just for today I am giving up my all or nothing attitude.