Friday, October 30, 2009

Words from Dear Husband

This is Dear Husband filling in for MRS MOM with some tips and suggestions to help out.

I KNOW what you are going through because I have lost 4 inches on my waist and generally gone down 2 shirt sizes with a few changes. I am 6' and was up to 269. Now I am 6' and have no idea how much I weigh because weight doesn't correspond to my being leaner or feeling better. Also to remember is that when you start exercising and building muscle you will........weigh MORE because muscle weighs more than fat. Building muscle will make you weigh more initially but that extra muscle will help your body metabolize more efficiently. Throw the scale away or at least hide it in the closet. Use the clothes you normally wear as a marker instead.

I simply decided that I wasn't comfortable being that fat so I had choices to make. The first change I made was to stop eating AS MUCH. Notice I didn't say diet or stop eating altogether. Not eating will cause spikes in blood sugar and make for some nasty days. (Trust me I tried that before)

Second was I started using Stacker 2 to help control my hunger pangs/irritation. It gave me the energy boost I needed to start and KEEP moving. The more I do the better I feel physically and psychologically. No exercise at all..just the motivation and energy to get more household things done and more time with the kids.

Do not try some fad diet. The only time tested way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise (move) more. Eat your regular food, just eat smaller portions and skip the desert 5 days a week. Yes I said 5 days because a little desert in moderation lets you take a day off with no guilt. No special food, no secret ingredients to buy. Just do what you normally will make your life easier and will "feel" normal.

Yes I have physical and psychological cravings. Yes my stomach complains and there are days I could eat everything that doesn't eat me first. And yes there are days I feel like crap and want some comfort food. On those days I compare how crappy I feel at that moment compared to the feeling of being fat ALL the time. Those brief periods of discomfort (hungry or irritable because I DIDN"T eat that ice cream) are nothing compared to how much better I feel and easier I can move without the spare tire.

Is it hard?...YEP. Is it worth it....YEP. Small changes made me 39 lbs lighter..(I just weighed) but they made the QUALITY of my life more than any scale could say. My joints don't hurt..I sleep more soundly and I wake looking forward to the day. I could spout lots of sayings to motivate but deep down the only motivator is YOU. The support of the group is awesome but don't let a slip up make you so embarrassed that you stop. The old "OMG I GAINED 5 lbs and can't tell say that on the blog so I quit". If you break down and eat a quart of ice cream in one sitting....just try to understand WHY, then let it go and pick up where you left off.

That extra energy also helps out in other ways/areas....BUT this is a family blog so I will leave that to you, the dear reader, to contemplate.

**Mrs Mom back in for a moment. I hope you guys don't mind if Dear Husband pops in to contribute now and again! He is my rock- my support, my biggest cheerleader, and I swear he has half my brain. His support on this journey has made all the difference in the world to me. DH also mentions taking Stacker 2's. I don't- I'm doing this all on my own, with only determination to drive me on.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Summary - Weeks 1 and 2

First of all, I would just like to comment on all of the great posts and comments we have going here - how fun and supportive!

Secondly, I hope it doesn't bother anyone to have a new post added soon after another post - with so many of us writing, it is sometimes hard to find an "empty" day to post something!


Well, the past two weeks haven't been too bad for me. If I was keeping score, I would probably give myself a C+... Not trying to be hard on myself or anything, there is just a lot of room for improvement.

I've been doing really well at getting up frequently at work and stretching and walking around. This is a must for my legs. I've also done several short walks (15-20 mins) with my dog after work - lots of checkmarks there.

Food is coming along -this one is much harder for me. Portion sizes are better and I'm not feeling as snacky as I normally do, so each little thing helps. I'm trying to stay positive and build on little successes here and there. I'm sure doing a strict diet cold turkey would yield faster results, but I'm just not that kind of Type A personality!

Every day finds me feeling better - my legs hurt less and less. I'm starting to feel like my old self again and I find myself itching to get out and do more "things". I went out to the barn on Sunday - I sure have missed old Rusty! I couldn't help but smile when I saw him - his paddock is a total mud pit and he was standing on a little island in front of the shelter that is the only dry spot. He nickered to me for the first time ever - he is a very quiet horse typically. I know the nicker was one of "oh, finally - someone is here to rescue me from the mud" instead of an affectionate nicker, but I'll take it!

It took me a good 30 minutes to groom him and then we just did some lungeing. Someone was feeling young and frisky, so there was lots of bucking, farting and snorting on the lunge line - this doesn't really bother me, because he managed to do all of it on the circle and not pull me all over the place! He never bucks under saddle either, so I guess he just felt like goofing around after being stuck in mud up to his knees.

Being out at the barn gave me a big boost - my spirits are starting to pick up and I feel more and more like my old self. I was having problems with my legs before the blood clot, so I was pretty much in constant pain for the past three months, which really wears on your emotional state.

I'm working on a post with some resources for fitness and healthy eating - I have tonnes of stuff at home, so I'm going to try and get all of that sorted out this week and post it soon.

Happy trails!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Battling Two Problems

I have not made much progress. The ankle injury is part of the problem -- I haven't been able to walk until just the last couple of days. But, the ankle is also just a part of the excuse -- the other problem is that I am not trying hard enough. I have done only a little in the way of exercising; I have lifted a 10 pound weight with each hand a few times last week. I did try to watch what I was eating and I think I did OK with that (not great, just OK). But the real problem is that in order to do some yoga and lift the weight, I must get out of bed at a decent time!!! I have gotten into the habit of sleeping until the last possible minute -- then all I can do in the morning is get ready for work. I must get up earlier so I have time to do some sort of exercising. I am not one for exercising at night. Evenings are for other tasks, and always go by too fast. If I am going to do it, it will be in the morning, so I need to figure out how to get myself motivated to get my dead ass up when the alarm goes off!!! I read the blog posts about portion control, and I like the one about the bikini on the 9-inch plate...I think I can do that. But getting up earlier is going to be a necessity........Anyone out there in the "Wake-Up Call" business????

My name is Cdn, and I'm an addict.

Its true, its time for me to 'fess up. I am an addict.
Now before you judge and condemn me, and click away to the next blog, let me explain. You see I'm not "that" kind of addict. This is what I'm addicted to:

Oh wait, that can still look rather inappropriate! How about this:

Yes I am standing here and coming out with it... my drug of choice is sugar.

Ahhh, the lovely sweet taste. The little rush. I could do without the crash part though! lol

I'm considering trying to reprogram my taste buds. I love, adore, desire almost anything sweet. And there are so many lovely, tempting things that fall in this category. Unfortunately almost all of them are counter-productive to getting in shape.

My thought is that if I can cleanse my system of sugar maybe my taste buds will start to appreciate things like vegetables a bit more. You see that is my biggest struggle. I am NOT a veggie person. There are very very few veggies that I truly enjoy. (want to hear something really weird - I love the smell of cucumbers but can't stand the taste. And they taste exactly like how they smell!!)

The problem with cutting out sugar is that you need to pretty much eliminate all sugar, including the natural sugars in fruits and juices. At least that's what I've read. You can slowly introduce the natural, healthier sugars after you've been through "rehab".

So I'm not sure I'm willing to go to that extreme yet. For now I'm cutting down on my sugar intake and forcing myself to experiment a bit more with veggies. We'll see how that goes. Besides if I cut out sugar completely I'd have to cut out my coffee. And that just ain't happening at this point! lol


I haven't stepped on the scale since the beginning of the month. I don't plan to for about another week either. Is it that I just don't care? That I'm a bit afraid? That no matter what I see, it will still depress me and bring me down? Probably all of the above.

But, no matter what the scale or measuring tape may say, I am making progress. After a month of walking Dude to the bus stop by way of the driveway, I moved to walking through the vineyard as it was a steeper incline. Now, after a week of that, I'm not coming home as sweaty and tired as I was before. Really, I'm not cringing at the thought of walking up the driveway from the bottom of the hill now. (In case you missed seeing the grade of the driveway, you can see it here in the first pic.) Please remember that I not only walk up this incline twice a day, 5 days a week, but that the grade on the other end of the driveway is longer and steeper. And the vineyard is more so.

I noticed yesterday that my glutes, hamstrings and quads are really firming up. Of course, it's still not noticeable with the layer of flab over the top of it. But, I can feel a difference. And that's a start!

Beyond the walking, I haven't added in any extra exercise as my shoulder is still a bit sore where the clavicle meets the sternum and in the front part of the ball socket. I really don't want to re-damage it. However, I think I'll try some pilates today and see how it holds up.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week Two Review

If I trusted my camera, I'd take a self portrait right now, to show the effects of Week Two.

But since destruction of my camera is not high on my agenda, we'll skip that part, 'k?

The week was non-stop. Which did great for my activity level, and portion control, since I hardly sat down to eat anything. And when I *did* sit down, the phone would ring, and I literally had to run.

Did I mention running? Yeah- we found out I still can, when an emergency call from my in laws across the way came in with a medical situation. Once an EMT, always an EMT, and I blasted out the door to the rescue, with my husband hot on my heels. (All is well- or at least as well as it can be in the insanity here.)

Long story (shoot, long WEEK,) short, and my shorts are looser. Which is awesome. Running the other day? While my heart was stopped at the time, later on it dawned on me that A) it felt GREAT to run, and B) I wasn't hurting the next day. Granted, it was a short run, but it was flat out like a lizard drinking run.

Jumping on the jumpoline happened one or two days with the kids, and the weather held enough for an actual RIDE on my horse as well. (OK, so maybe I am not so sure about if a ten minute ride on a rehab horse counts for an ACTUAL ride, but it was ten solid minutes of walking, turning off my seat and legs, and whoa off voice.)

The ride?

Lots of walking around, fetching tools on barn calls, chasing kids, and more walking went on this week. The less I eat in a sitting, the less I want to eat - or CAN eat- at a time. Hydration is holding steady. Better, but not where I'd like to have it yet.

The plan for this week:
- Keep on keeping on.
- Ride a couple more times
- Pray that no more medical emergencies visit Command Central (we actually had about four of those this week, in varying degrees of severity. 'Nuff already.)

Here's to you ladies, keepin on keepin on with me!
Mrs Mom

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Portion Distortion

Hi! Got a minute? Can I talk to you? Good! Pull up a chair and let's get started!

A couple weeks ago, while I was watching the Biggest Loser, I picked up on something. The contestants were having a challenge in which Curtis Stone was not only teaching them about portion size, but also about basic nutrition. This really shocked me! I mean, how could anyone not know the very bare basics of nutrition? Were they hiding under a rock I wonder?

It boggles the mind. After all, the USDA food pyramid was taught to me beginning in Elementary School and yearly after that until I completed the required health class in High School. Even afterward, I found it hard to not be bombarded with the information. All you had to do is pick up a magazine from the check out counter at the grocery store, pick up your local paper or turn on the tv to gather more information about healthy eating. Really, did these people not do so much as turn on Oprah? I mean, if I know the information, why don't they?

Anyways, I've been reading about how no one really wants to count calories here. I get it. I really do. I don't like to count them either. I find it a bit tedious and I've got better things to do with my time. So, today I want to introduce you to one way of eating that doesn't require any calorie counting or measuring or weighing. In fact, it's so simple it might be right up your alley. It's called The Bikini Diet. Now wait! It's not exactly what you think! Just hear me out, ok?

Ok! So, take a 9 inch plate. Got one? No? Well, imagine one for me, alright. (I don't have one either and I'm not going to run out to replace my dishes today, so let's just imagine). On that plate I'd like you to imagine laying out a teeny bikini. Let's see... We've got two cups and a bottom. Now, just what do you think I want you to do next? Yes! We're going to load our plate up for dinner! Yay!

Now, I want you to serve yourself some protein. Any kind, doesn't really matter. But, I only want you to serve yourself as much as will fit in one cup of the bikini top. No more, no less. Next, serve yourself up a carb. It should fit in the other bikini cup. No, we're not going to re-imagine this bikini as though it belonged to someone really "blessed" up top. Just an average bikini top here please! And lastly, the bottom. Go ahead and serve yourself up all the fruit and vegetables that will fit in the area where the bottom is. And there's your dinner! How easy-peasy is that? No measuring, no calorie counting. Just a real look at what and how we should be eating in a fun, creative way.

Really ladies, I have a ton of health, diet and nutrition info wandering around my head. I've got so much I want to share but I don't want to offend or bombard you all with it all at once.

I haven't made much progress this week myself. My shoulder is mostly healed, albeit still a bit tender. While that alone doesn't stop a workout, it does limit my workouts, so I just walked my son to and from the bus. I didn't do anything on top of that. I've also been fighting a stomach bug the last couple days and have been a slug on the couch. :(

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The "Half of" Diet?

Just thought I'd put forward an idea that I've been toying with. What would happen if I were to eat half of everything that I ate now? What if I made not a single change in what I was eating or when, but instead only changed the quantity. Last year (when I was on a diet that worked on a per day calorie allotment) I discovered that really couldn't "afford" the calories in the average American meal even if I was eating"healthy" foods and skimping on things like sauces and cheese. I discovered that I was eating a lot of half or even quarter portions. We all know that North Americans have a problem with portion control...but how many of us have ever really tried only changing our portion size, not implementing that change as part of a greater diet program?

Some of the habits I learned while calorie counting have stuck... like not eating a whole portion of meat, instead I usually only have a few ounces. Eating one egg on one piece of toast instead of two and ordering the appy version of a meal and skipping the sides (potatoes, rice etc.). This past two weeks I've been too sick to really get "on track" but am hoping that once I am back on my feet I can work on portion control and exersice and not focus so much on cutting things or changing my diet. Can I really eat just half a chocolate bar? Half of a muffin? One cookie? We'll find out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So far, so go...

Scrap the 'so good' part. How about 'So far, okay'? lol
Just wanted to touch base and say "I'm still here!!"
Even though I kinda slipped up yesterday (Monday as I write this) I have also made some progress. I managed to work up a good sweat on the ol' treadmill 3 times last week. While not necessarily eating a whole lot better I managed to not eat as much... then yesterday was my cheat day.
I find that, for myself, if I give one day to let the "rules" relax that its easier to stick to it the rest of the week. But I have to fess up, I was bad. During the day I didn't eat often enough. I basically just had lunch, at around 2 - 2:30, because I was on the run all day. Skipping breakfast is bad. I really have to stop doing that! Then I went out for drinks with a friend from work. I don't drink often, which is good because alcohol is a total waste of empty calories. But I have a hard time saying "No thanks" when Mike orders a round of shooters! (I know, bad!) Then Pie picked me up and we went for supper (a very late supper - like 11pm) and I had ribs. Half a rack smothered in bbq sauce with sweet potato fries. I know sweet potatoes are supposed to be healthier than regular potatoes but I think frying them isn't the idea! lol
I did however put in a fab session on the treadmill before I went out. And today I am feeling "I CAN do this!" I have my mindset ready to go for another week. And I have to tell ya, I am feeling better already. More energetic. Probably doesn't hurt that the new pair of slacks I bought for work are already too big :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week One In Review

It was a frustrating week.
Stressful (as always.)
And just plain frustrating as all get out.

We started strong, and then the weather reached up and bit us, with cold rains that slowed everything down for the bulk of the week. The jumping on the trampoline with the kids that I had hoped to get in at least three times? Stayed at just that once. Walking more with the horse, and possibly riding a time or two again? Not happenin' in the rain.

However, we DID get in a start. The portion control is getting easier. My mood has been calmer and more relaxed since paying closer attention to my intake. The moving I did do, chasing the Little Mens, seemed to help soothe the aches in this old bod that come hand in hoof with crap weather.

Today was better. It dawned bright, cold, crisp, and inviting. (Cold is relative my Canadian counterparts! I remember true cold all too well!)The kids ate breakfast, I had my customary Bucket O' Joe, and we dressed warm and headed out. The horse was able to get out of his muddy paddock to the grass for a bit, and we enjoyed a wander around the yard for about forty five minutes, as we watched the Little Mens play and jump. (Sonny loves "his" kids.) Sonny Bunz was being a bit of a yutz, so back into the paddock we went for some play time. Which meant I had to move too, in order to get photos of him playing Arab/Thoroughbred/dressage horse for a bit. He got so involved in playing at one point that he completely forgot Mom was there, and darn near ran me over. The look on his face as I skittered out of his way was priceless!

I ducked inside to feed the Little Mens- again- and get some breakfast for myself (Shredded Mini Wheats. Yes, they were frosted too. I LOVE those things.) After a while of mundane housework, that Froggy Feelin took over... and I headed back outside.

Nabbed up the horse, and trimmed his front feet. (Never an easy task. My horse A) has pathological feet that take extra care and time to work on, and B) he tends to be a PITA to work on.)

The good news? I got both front feet DONE. Better news? He had to get only one spanking to decide to stand like a nice horse. Best News Yet? I GOT BOTH FRONT FEET DONE!

What's that? There are four feet on a horse? Yeah... well... we're going in stages. His hind feet will be taken care of in a couple days. My back was pretty upset with me by the end of the trim, and so was my right hand. But they WORKED. I Did The Job. (Will I go back trimming client horses? Right now I'm saying "Oh. Hell. No.")

Alright y'all- you have heard my stress and frustration of the first week of our communal blog. Let's hear from the rest of you, how YOU did!!

Mrs Mom

Friday, October 16, 2009

Feeling a bit better

I just wanted to do a quick update to outline a few of my goals. Having this past week off to recover has left me with lots of time to think. :-)

I'm feeling a bit better - the medicine must be doing the trick. I have much less pain in my leg, so I have been up and about more the past couple of days.

I have a few points that I'm going to work on for this first phase of my "plan". Since I have been sick, I pretty much have to start at square 1 with exercise. I find this a bit frustrating, but what can you do?

So, without further ado, here is my basic plan for the next couple of months of my recovery:

1)Exercise. I need to start out with walking. I can only walk for about 15 minutes right now without being in pain. Not so good. I'm hoping to walk 2x a day for 15 minutes each time, increasing the time and speed as my leg allows. I'm planning on working up to 30 minutes, 2x a day. My dog Max will appreciate this new plan as well! I'm going to add in some weights and yoga as my doctor allows. I'll know more about what I can and can't do next week.

2)Stretching - I need to make a point of getting up from my desk at work once an hour to stretch and walk around. This is a MUST for my legs and avoiding future blood clots.

3)Food and portion size - this is a big one for me. I like healthy food, but often eat too much. I also enjoy junk food more than I should. So, watching portion size will be a big one. Also cutting down on "treats" and "snacks"... I've been doing a bit better in this area since I've been sick - I'm just not as interested in some of those foods anymore.

4)Planning ahead - this is also a big one for me. In order to avoid buying food out at lunch, I need to make sure there is something good for lunch that I can take to work. Scheduling my workouts will also be an important key to success for me. I need to make these things a habit.

5) Tracking - I don't really plan on weighing myself often, but I do want to keep track of my measurements, so if I get discouraged, that will help. I also have had success keep a little chart with Xs to mark completed workouts - looking at a little row of Xs after a tough week can help illustrate that your week was more successful than you maybe thought.

6) Riding - this one is a big question mark right now. Not sure if the Doc will allow it right away. I'm going to plead my case again with her on Tuesday - once I tell her that Rusty is 19 and very lazy, maybe she will change her mind. Even if I can ride 2x a week at a walk, it will be better than nothing! If I can't ride, I will plan to make it out to the barn 3x a week to longe and do some groundwork or something...!

Well, that is my plan for the next couple of months! I hope to refine it and do some more advanced things as my health improves. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Here Goes....

Well, here I am. I need to lose some weight. Ten pounds would be great, but 20-30 would be fantastic!! I would really like to look at the scale and see a "3" as the second number. It doesn't even matter if the last number is a "9" -- I just want to see that "3" in the middle slot.

Recently I had a bad case of bronchitis and went to the doctor -- this is the same family doctor I have been to since 1983 (give or take). I mentioned something about my weight (155 pounds at this point) and he had the nerve to look back in my chart and say "This time last year you were about 143 pounds....when you first started coming here you were 121 pounds." I should have said "What about you, buddy?? How much did you weigh 20 something years ago???" But I didn't....

I never had a weight problem growing up. My weight problems started in my early 20's when I became desperately unhappy and depressed and ate to fill some sort of void. The only times I have had my weight under control since then have been times when I was so emotionally stressed that I was on the verge of nervous breakdown, and when I had major surgery a few years ago.

John (husband) is always on my case to exercise. He is commited (spelling???) to exercise. My commitment comes and goes. Probably because I hate to exercise. It does not seem to work the same for me as it does for other people. I hear stories about how after exercising you will have so much more energy, will feel so much better -- bull!!! Not me -- I tried running 3 times a week. On those days I had to make sure I had everything done ahead of time; the cooking, errands, etc., because after running I was so exhausted and in a fog that I was worthless. The energy never came -- I felt worse on the days that I ran.

I found doing floor exercises (sit ups, push ups, that kind of thing) while watching television helped -- it took my mind off the fact that I was doing something I hated. Also, I seem to enjoy yoga more than actual exercise. But I never seem to stick to the floor exercise and/or yoga routine for long -- I start doing it every day or every other day, then stop. One thing I do manage to do is walk for 1/2 hr on my lunch break every workday (except for now, because I am on crutches -- see for that story).

I do eat healthy. We do not eat fast food, we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and cook fresh food -- no pre-processed or packaged stuff. The problem is PORTIONS!!! Also, I LOVE junk food (Doritos, Cheetos, potato chips) and binge on those things once I get started. I actually crave this stuff and have to be very, very careful not to give in. I am not into sweets -- salty snacks are my downfall.

What I need to do is this:

1. Stick to some sort of exercise routine -- at least 30 minutes 3 times a week
2. Continue the lunchtime walks
3. Control dinner portions

It is going to be tough getting started right now, because of the crutches, but I may be able to manage some yoga, and I can definitely start on portion control.

Now that I have "gone public" with this, I have to do it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Game Plan

I'm kinda like Mrs Mom... I subscribe to the school of KISS (and I'm not talking about the rock band). If I make too many changes at once, or too big of a change I seem to fall off the wagon. At the same time I need some kind of guidelines. So I came up with a bit of a game plan for myself.

#1 Very Important - Do not take on too much at once and overwhelm myself!
#2 Use the treadmill. And not as a clothes hanger!! When I bought it I swore to myself that I wouldn't be one of "Those People". I am very happy to report that the only time it is used as a hanger is when I drape my sweaty clothes on it to air out before they hit the hamper after a session on the TM. lol My goal is to use my TM for a minimum of 30 min/day 5 times a week.
#3 Get back to the gym. I joined Curves as part of a fitness study a few months ago. I did pretty well and was happy with my results and how I felt. Then Pie got sick, really sick and my life was suddenly put on hold. I was working every day, at the hospital when I wasn't working and just drained right out. I plan on getting back into my routine of 3 days a week at Curves. (side note, would you consider Curves a gym or a workout centre or something else???)
#4 This is a bit tough in the winter but I'm hoping to be able to ride 3 - 4 times a week. I plan to check out team penning this weekend. If I have fun that will be one of my ride days (its every Sunday) And I've also found someone to take lessons from that has an opening that fits my odd schedule!
#5 Eat healthier foods and practice better portion control. I have to say this will probably be the hardest part for me. I eat a LOT of "convenience foods". Usually lunch, and usually because I'm in a hurry. I will also admit that I am often a breakfast skipper and that is something I really need to remedy. There's a reason its called "The most important meal of the day" it fuels your body so you don't crash and eat too much/the wrong kind of foods.

So there you go, my basic game plan. I guess now its time to tell myself Game On!

This about sums it up

Credits for this comic belong here. I'm still adjusting to blogger, so please forgive me if I've failed at linking this more correctly.

I was working on a blog post about this very topic, but I believe the webcomic does a better job getting my point across.

It was quite by accident that I discovered the calorie count for menu items at Claim Jumper. They keep it at the back of the bar menu all nicely hidden away from the average diner. Really!

The Fam and I went to Claim Jumper a few weeks ago. When I saw the numbers for the calorie count, my eyes just about popped out of my head! OMGeez! Are they trying to kill their customers??

You know, I’m glad I stumbled across that calorie listing before I ordered. I had planned on ordering the Black Tie Chicken Pasta. And I can tell you that no matter how good it may have tasted, it wasn’t worth those 3773 calories I’d have consumed.

Not everything on the menu was a total bust. I did have to look pretty hard though. Even the salads were calorie loaded.

What I ended up eating was a Loaded Baked Potato for 440 calories. I wanted a bit of a splurge as going out was a treat in its own right. And the potatoes are huge! However, you can probably shave a few of those calories off as I didn’t eat the skin like I usually do because it was coated in coarse salt. I also had a side of grilled asparagus, which is my favorite. Really, I’d happily eat an entire platter of it! At 51 calories per serving, it sure was yummy and worth it!

Now, the lowest calorie item I found on the menu was Vegetable Soup for 82 calories per cup. That would make a lovely snack or as a starter for a low cal meal!

Needless to say, that little trip to Claim Jumper was eye opening for me. I feel lucky that I stumbled upon the calorie counts for items on the menu when I did. I’d like to see the calorie content of items more openly disclosed on menus and more low-cal, healthy, filling items included. And I’d love to see Americans become more health conscious over all.

So, if you’re paying any attention to calories what-so-ever, how do you select what you’ll eat when you eat out?

Thank Heaven For Rain

Yesterday, in a fit of insanity, my sweet sons convinced me that I needed to join them in jumping on the trampoline. Which is something that is indeed a LOT of fun for the boys and me, and is also something that really gets my old body up and moving. They were all set to get me back out there again today (and I would have gone willingly,) I have been saved by a steady rain.

Know what I learned this morning, upon dragging my sorry behiney out of bed? The old body had not been moving like that in far, far too long.

Wait- it's not quite THAT bad. I actually have that, "Hey! You DID something yesterday!" feeling. My abdominal muscles know they have been used. My legs feel great, and my back actually is fine.

My thigh muscles are happy. (Oh... that just SO does not sound right...) Let's see.... OK- this is better. Part of the not moving enough of the right muscles was brought to my attention when I crawled my way up onto my horse for another short bareback ride. (Now see? THAT'S why my thigh muscles are happy!) Riding has always been a huge part of my life, so the feeling of muscles being stretched and gently moved at a swinging walk brings about the same kind of joy chocolate does. Only more so, because I know that riding, even a slow steady (and short) walk is actually using those precious muscles in a healthy manner.

While jumping and chasing the boys around, I discovered something else pretty great too. My over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder kept things under control quite well, so there is no pain in my shoulders or upper back, or the boobages themselves. I think if need be, running could be an option.

Boulder holders are such a hugely important part of fitness. Never being one to purchase a cheap, pretty bit of lace from the local outlet store or department store, I've always had to seek out a source for industrial strength support. At an equine expo back in 1998, I found my perfect support device. The No Bounce Guaranteed Bra, provided for active women in ALL sizes, has been my salvation. No more duct tape over a sports bra, over an underwire bra in order to ride. (Can I get an AMEN?)

I've also been working on portion control. We don't eat a lot of pre-made food here, simply because Dear Husband (who was a Chef before we met,) and I both love to cook. I've been careful to quit eating when my stomach feels comfortable. We aren't messing about with "diet" things, just trying to be smarter about the quantity ingested. Seems to be working- my shorts are more comfortable!

I suppose I also need to make a confession. I don't own a scale. I've never owned a scale. In fact, I "fired" the last Doctor (back when I was a size 10 on my 5' 9" frame,) looked at my weight on the chart (about 180# at the time,) and said I was overweight. He never once looked at me before making that pronouncement. I stood up to my full height. Placed my hands on my hips, and said, "Hey Doc, lemme ask you this. Can any of your other overweight patients do this?" And I proceeded to flex.

His eyes about fell out of his head. Once he snapped his jaw shut, I turned my back on him, pulled my jeans back on, and left. Oh- and I did invite him to NOT bill me for that waste of my time.

I guess he had never seen a farm girl before... Never mind a woman with over a 100 pound grip strength.

Plan of action?
- DO more, including lots of jumpoline time with my boys, and riding my horse.
- Continue to watch portions, and keep them sensible.
- Drink more, as staying hydrated here in the muggy southland is extremely important.

I'm trying to go with the KISS theory on this. As long as the momentum continues, this looks promising!

Until Next Time Y'all-


Monday, October 12, 2009

The 15 Year Diet

As best as I can figure I've been on a diet, preparing to start a diet or trying, unsuccessfully to manage my weight in some form or another since about the age of twelve...or maybe even a little before. I remember coming out of school in the summer before grade five with the hope that when I returned to class that fall I would have lost a bunch of weight...I had visions of me breezing in to school wearing a short little sundresses complete with the Blossom hat (remember them? Pictured left). How old are you in grade five? 10? I remember my stepmother offering to pay me a dollar for every pound I lost (nice, eh?) not to mention the mortifying and relentless teasing of kids and even some adults. I remember idolizing the girls that ran around the pool in the summer time, without any apparent self consciousness (I still do!) I remember being the fat kid.

When I was about fifteen I decided to become a vegetarian. It was the first real change I ever made to my diet and the gratification that came from controlling my diet made an immediate impact on my psyche. In no time at all I had lost (at best guess) close to 70 pounds. The key to my weight loss success was simple- don't eat. One of the many problems with having an eating disorder is that no matter how much weight you loose, you never feel thin. I remember going shopping for a new pair of jeans after I'd lost the better part of my extra weight.... when the sales lady asked what size I needed I answered, "Thirty-four." figuring that I'd lost a little weight (my last pair were a 36). Of course I was swimming in the 34s so I asked for the next size down. A few pairs of jeans later I finally found a pair that fit...they were a size 27. I was stunned. Some part of my brain recognized that I was not "the fat girl" anymore but a bigger issue was at work and I was not mentally healthy enough to gain a realistic view of my size. I was weak, tired, spaced out and unhealthy. I was wearing a size 4 but I still wouldn't be caught dead wearing a bathing suit even around my close friends nor would I wear shorts (I still wont).

By seventeen I was, at face value, getting healthier physically as I had put on some weight. I was a size 9 bottom, 4/6 top (I am a pear shape all the way:) but in truth I wasn't better at all...I was what I called a "failed anorexic", meaning that I would have loved nothing better than to stop eating and most days I woke up with the firm intention not to eat...but each and every day I would fail and end up binging instead.

At eighteen I met my DB. I was a size 13. At nineteen I took up running and found that it was a really effective tool to maintaining my weight, (just a few miles a day was all it took) and by the time I was 20 I had dropped about twenty pounds and was probably the first truly healthy weight of my life. I was a size 9 and probably about 160 pounds. But I still wasnt happy with my weight and continue dieting...

(Me at my ideal weight. I just wish I had known it at the time.)

My attempts at dieting failed probably because I failed to recognize that I had hit a healthy weight for my body type. The next year I had an accident with my crazy gelding Loachan which resulted in a debilitating knee injury, which lead to a significant weight gain as I was unable to do much exercising and also had to deal with some major stress/life issues. The heavier I got the more difficult loosing weight became and the more I began to struggle with the emotional issues of my food association and long term diet issues.

As I'm sure you all know extra weight can really creep up on you... gaining even just a pound a month can add up to over fifty pounds over five years. In the past five years I've lost over 20 pounds about three or four times. But I always put the weight back on. I am hoping that by blogging here and sharing this all with you I can put my thumb on the root of my problem and finally get back to a healthy weight.

I quite simply REFUSE to spend the next fifteen years of my life fighting the battle of the bulge I am done with diets and know that the key for me is exercise (and plenty of it), portion control and a focus on health and wellness, not vanity.

First post - where it all starts...

Like my new co-bloggers, I struggle with my weight. Unlike my co-bloggers, I'm all of 5 feet tall and every extra pound shows and trust me, I have a few extra. I was fairly athletic and active growing up and didn’t start getting a little chubby until I was 12 or 13. My Dad was always bringing us treats and Grandma liked to show her love by baking – who can resist that? J By the time I was 18, I was a bit bigger than my skinny friends, but not really what I would consider overweight. Luckily, I was never teased about my weight – my height – yes, lol, but my weight, no.

I moved to the city for university and gave up most of my athletic endeavours and gained the freshman 15 (or so). A stressful relationship helped me lose a bunch of weight and left me at a svelte size 4. That lasted for a few years, until I got married.

The past 8 years have been a bit stressful – the kind of stress the builds and doesn’t really go away. Looking back, I didn’t deal with it very well at all. I have a better handle on things now, so I’m hoping to move away from those feelings. I think one of the reasons that the weight started slipping on was that even with a few extra pounds I was still quite athletic - I could go out for a 40km bike ride, go for a hike in the park, do weights, ride etc. I never felt limited by the few extra pounds here and there. That led to more than a few pounds and that combined with laziness and a good dose of stress got me to today.

I am limited by my weight a bit now, it is hard to find clothes that look nice and it is really hard in the horse world to find stuff that fits. My riding is suffering a bit too - it must be a bit hard on my horse to have extra weight bouncing on his back and I just know that my arms and legs don't quite fall in the right way. I'll save more thoughts on my weight and riding for a later post though.

The past couple of years, I have been having a recurring skin condition on my legs that causes pain and swelling. We don’t know the cause, but it eventually goes away. I had a bad flare up of that this summer and swore that when it went away, I would start back into a regular exercise program. The only slight catch in my plan was another medical problem lurking in the background.

On Tuesday of last week, I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my calf. It was very painful and swollen, so I headed in to the doctor to investigate. She was worried and sent me off to the hospital right away. A quick ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis and I was sent to the ER for treatment.

A blood clot can be quite dangerous – one form of it is called Deep Vein Thrombosis – that is what I have. If left untreated, parts of the clot can break off and head to the lungs or heart, causing major problems. Luckily mine was caught in time, so there shouldn’t be any big problems like that now that I am on medication. There are many causes for a blood clot in the leg and being overweight is one of them. So, with the pre-existing swelling in my leg, a long car/train ride on our trip last week and I had the perfect situation for a blood clot to occur.

Amazing how things can change in a week. I now have to take an intense course of medication and follow up with specialists a lot over the next few weeks. I’m still in a fair bit of pain and I am stuck resting on the couch most of the day. No riding for me for at least another week, maybe longer. The blood thinners I have to take can make a small injury much more serious, should something happen.

This small health scare is the catalyst to change my lifestyle and try to work on becoming more healthy and fit. I feel a little dumb that it took something semi-serious to really make me aware of the impacts my weight has been having on my health.

I’ve done well reducing my food intake over the past week, to make up for the fact that I can’t do any activity and I’ve lost 5lbs. It’s probably not a true 5lbs, but it is encouraging at least.

Well, I've said quite enough for a first post! I have alot to blab about on these topics, so I'm sure there will be lots of posts here! And I just wanted to add that I'm looking forward to reading the input from my wonderful co-bloggers! You ladies rock!!!!!

Confession: I've obsessed with my weight since I was a little girl

My story is similar to Mrs. Mom's. Pregnancy related illness led to an astounding amount of weight gain. And it's not really wanted to ever come off. However, I'm going to go back farther today.

In 4th grade, my classmates started to call me fat. It was right after we had taken our first ever Presidential Fitness Test and we'd all just been weighed in PE. I weighed 12lbs more than any of the other girls in my class. I felt horrible. And soon after this time period, I started hearing it at home.

Elementary school, middle school, right on up into high school. It didn't get any better. I always wore a size or two bigger than my friends. And the popular girls at school made sure I heard there snide remarks about my body. It didn't matter than in 8th grade, I weighed 110 lbs and I could bench press my own body weight, a feat difficult for most women, let alone teen girls just entering puberty.

I led an active lifestyle. I had daily chores that were physically demanding. And I thought I was fat. I wasn't a size 5 or 7 like my peers. I wore a size 11. It didn't help that my first boyfriend would make fun of me because I weighed 4 lbs more than he did and my waist was 3" bigger than his. I began to wear a t shirt over my swimwear when we went to a lake or took a dip in his pool. My peers didn't help much either as there was an emphasis on clothing size, not how you looked. I couldn't understand why my thighs were bigger than those of my friends. I didn't understand why I weighed more even though I ate healthier than most of them did. Then again, I didn't recognize that I was also several inches taller than most of the girls around me. I didn't feel tall. I felt BIG. FAT.

Eventually though, I dumped the loser and continued on with my active, athletic lifestyle. I started to skip meals and ruthlessly eliminate fats from my diet. I drank diet soda and I jogged 5 miles a day, on top of my M-F stall cleaning job (32 stalls) and riding my horse. I took extra PE classes as my electives. Aerobics, weight training, you name it. I took whatever they'd let me take. I thought that if I could just fit into a size 7, I'd be more accepted and no one would think I was fat any more.

I met my soon-to-be husband in high school. I wore a size 9 form fitted dress to his senior prom. I still wouldn't swim without a t shirt. And I was still highly self conscious of my body.

Shortly after graduation, we married. And soon after, he went overseas. When I found out I was pregnant, I accepted some bad advice from an older friend. I quit working out, I quit my active lifestyle because she said it was bad for the baby. And when I was 5 months pregnant, I got sick. So sick I was hospitalized and put on bed-rest. There I stayed until my eldest daughter was born.

I gained a whopping 90 lbs during my pregnancy. And it didn't want to come off. When I was finally cleared to ride, my horse friends would tell me that I was too heavy. I found the stigmatism that exists in the horse world. And I started to hear it a lot. It joined in with the broken record already in my head from my childhood. And it did real damage. I gave up riding. I just accepted that I was fat and that was that. I didn't try to do anything about it. After all, I'd been told that I was fat for most of my life.

And my high school sweetheart-turned husband was cheating on me. More, he cheated on me with the skinny girls from school, with strippers and with other skinny women. A message that said not only was I fat, but I wasn't good enough either. We divorced and life moved forward.

Another child, another round of the same pregnancy-related illness, a couple more failed relationships. I was fat and depressed. The weight wouldn't budge no matter how hard I worked out.

Then, I found a job I loved. It was a job that kept me on my feet and moving a lot. I started losing weight. I ate anything and everything I wanted and yet I kept losing weight. I felt good, I was looking good and I was loving life.

I met my current (and final!) husband. I left the job I loved, moved to Oregon, got married and got pregnant. We lost the baby and I fell apart. My weight yo-yo'd for about 8 months, and then finally plateaued and stayed there.

Not long ago, I came across my class picture from the 4th grade. I was easily a head taller than the rest of the girls in the class. More, I wasn't fat. Rather I was tall and gangly, more skin and bones than anything. I wasn't fat! I mean, I WASN'T FAT! Being told I was fat had just been a hurtful lie! And it became a start to undoing all the damage and baggage I'd been carrying around for years. More, I found the prom picture from my first husband's senior prom. I. did. not. look. healthy. Period. Rather, I looked a bit like Skeletor! Ick! (Yet, I was complimented by people around me!)

Now, I can see that the secret to weight loss is part mental and part emotional, not just science. You are not only what you eat, but what you think! I'm on my way to finding my happy again and I'm moving my feet just as much as I can. I've got a long way to go to where I want to be, but this isn't a race, it's an lifestyle change. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day!

I am more than just a dress size. Dresses don't come in only one size, so why should I? My goal is to be fit and healthy. I know I'll get there. And why not enjoy the ride with all of you while I'm at it?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's Time To "Bite The Bullet"

Ok, I said BITE the bullet- not EAT the bullet.

It's time. Past time, actually, to make some significant changes in my life. In four short years, I went from looking like this:
A slim, strong size 10 tall jeans,

To This:
A no longer slim, not quite as strong, size 16 to size 18 tall jeans.
Not to MENTION what my boobages did. Oi Vey..

I look at those two photos and all I can say is... Duuuuude....

The first photo is of a nice little colt I had picked up as a project, and showed in hand in 2001. Size 10 had been my size for... well, forever I think.

The second photo is of Sonny and myself, early this past Spring. So what happened?

What happened was two complication fraught pregnancies, and a complete change in my life. Our son Cub arrived in December of 2004, and just fifteen short months later, along came Wrecking Crew.

Cub did damage. Bad damage. He weighed in at a whopping ten pounds thirteen ounces. Arriving c-section (Thank GOD,) my abdominal muscles up and vanished. However, thanks to being sick the entire pregnancy, weight gain was not that bad, and I was able to slide back in size 12 jeans about two weeks post-partum.

When Cub was a tender six months old, we found out that there would be another little bundle joining us in March 2006. (Yeah yeah, we now know what causes that and have since taken away THAT problem!) Wrecker's incubation was not that bad, compared to his big brothers, but the weight gain ... shoot. It still has not left and the child is now three.

I believe the term used these days is "booty". Yes, I have booty. And some belly. (Which I doubt will ever be the same, as the issues incubating Cub destroyed muscles.) I have dimples on my thighs. Dimples I tell you! I've never in my life had dimples anywhere!

But most of all, I have boobage like I never had before. I have enough to share with about six other women. (And if I could give some away, I would in a FLASH!) My over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders are expensive ($60 US).

So what am I going to DO about this?

First, I have to set some goals.
Second, I have to live up to those goals.
Third, well, I don't know what may come third, as the first two priorities are a bit intimidating to me.

Joining the team here with Sweet CDN and Lovely Laura is for support, and most of all ACCOUNTABILITY. It is to help keep us all on track, as we sort our way through this process.
It is to help me to stop wondering when I look in the mirror, "Who the hell is THAT?" at the reflection looking back out at me.

I believe this is a good start.

Next time, I'll have some goals ready to publish. Until then,
Happy Trails!

My Omentum has no Momentum

I don't know if any of you watch Oprah, or Dr. Oz on his own show, but if you do you may have heard about this previously little known part of our bodies. The omentum.

A healthy omentum is slightly transparent, almost lacy looking. An unhealthy omentum can be 3x, 4x, or even larger, than the healthy organ. Fat cells extend the organ to make it seem a globular, weighty mass. A person doesn't have to be extremely overweight to have an overly large omentum.

Healthy omentum held by Oprah. The unhealthy omentum held by Dr. Oz is from a man who was only 30 lbs overweight!

The omentum is a fat organ connected to your stomach. Its general purpose is to catch and store fat. When stored in your stomach your body has easy access to the fat. It also stores hormones, including cortisol - also known as a "stress hormone". I guess that is part of the reason stress and belly fat are often connected.

For people with high stress, diet and exercise alone do not often work to reduce the size of a person's omentum. Often stress relievers such as meditation or yoga are advised.

If you did happen to catch Dr. Oz's spiel about the omentum you may be thinking that it serves no real purpose. However the presentation was a bit oversimplified. The omentum has more to do with our bodies than simply store fat.

Sometimes described as a "fatty apron" the omentum helps to cushion and protect our organs. It also has nutrients and growth-stimulating chemicals as well as stem cells. And the omentum has germ-fighting cells that migrate to places of infection within the abdomen. It will adhere to places of infection, effectively sealing them off.

So yes your omentum is a valuable part of your body. However an over sized, fatty omentum is not healthy. As well as looking unsightly (ie creating a "beer belly" bulge) it can lead to diabetes, hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure. Even more disturbing is that it can push other organs out of place as it expands.

This was of personal concern to me. I tend to carry most of my weight in my belly. My legs aren't fat, my butt isn't fat, my arms are okay. I have noticed my face is quite a bit fuller than it used to be but my real "fat stores" are my stomach and my breasts. I guess I need to add yoga to my 'get healthy plan'!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Starting out

**this is an edited version of my 1st post when this blog was private. thought it would do as a 1st post now that its public**

Well here I find myself. Trying, again, to lose weight.
I hate that phrase "lose weight". Its not like I want to find it again!

Let's try again... here's where I find myself, I want to remove some weight. I want to be healthy and fit.
Sounds easy right? And in theory it is. I have learned a lot about 'weight loss' through reading and watching TV... I know that doesn't sound quite right does it? lol Bottom line, there's a lot of info in my head, its the whole putting it into practice part that screws me up.
That and the emotional side of things. IMO anyone carrying excess pounds (or for that matter anyone that needs to gain a few pounds) has an emotional component they need to deal with.

These are the things I know about myself:
*I enjoy being active, but I tend to experience pain when I am
*I'm an emotional eater and also eat when I'm bored
*I'm a picky eater
*I need a support system (blogging may play a part here)

I'm very nervous about taking this blog public. There are far too many phony and cruel people out there.
Not to mention that most of the people that read my other blog - (Not Quite) Home on the Range - tend to be horse people. Horse people are great in most ways, however they can be quite judgemental on weight. "Fat" in the horse world is a whole other category. People that may be average to most are "fat". But I'm going to be "Buttercup" and suck it up. Also most of the people that comment over at NQHR are pretty good blog friends so I'd be very surprised if they were to come over here and be Negative Nellys.

And so I hope this will be a place for us to deal with weight and health. This will be a spot for us to learn and support each other.