Failure…

I ate too much yesterday and now I feel like a failure. I let old habits creep in and I ate mindlessly. Failure isn’t fun. My rational mind says, “Don’t be ridiculous, you’re being dumb.” While my emotional mind says “Yep, you blew it. Back to old habits.” The two vacillate back and forth as if it’s a vengeful tennis match and my neck hurts from whiplash as I watch the volley.

Me and my rational/emotional mind games.

Hey, did you notice that neither voice was very kind? I just did reading this back to myself.

As my friend, Regina would say, “I’m going to throw myself a pity party.” This is so damn hard sometimes. I wish, wish, wish it weren’t but it is and I don’t think it will ever get easier. I think I’m always going to have to think about this and fight my natural predisposition about food. That sucks, that really sucks, boo-hoo… That’s it. That’s all I have to say about that. It actually helps to say that here because this blog is my place to always tell the truth about what it takes to lose weight and maintain my weight loss. It just plain old sucks.

I put in “beauty” in my media library and this image showed up – it is truly beautiful.

So what’s next? Well, I printed my action plan. The one I wrote the other day – and I’m putting it up and am going to carry it around with me. I can try that. I can forgive myself because this is hard, and I have done something amazing – I lost 93 pounds. That’s literally a huge accomplishment. Today I entered my code for my #WW #LIFETIME status and that is something to be really proud of – I did that – me. I can remind myself of all of this as I write this post sitting in my kitchen, cooking homemade sauce in my size four jeans. I’m doing this for me and I am hoping my words are reaching you and inspiring you to do the same.

Let It, Snow…

Snow days offer a particular kind of challenge that anyone who has tried to lose weight can relate to. Outside, it’s snowing at a rapid pace the skies are a cool slate grey. Inside, the house is warm and seems to give off a golden light in stark contrast to the frigid weather. For me, it seems I instinctively I start wishing for cinnamon and sugar aromas to fill the air. Maybe something ginger or spicy savory smell would be nice too.

Home and food are synonymous for me. Many of my fondest memories of home are intertwined with home cooked meals. Meals that were lovingly prepared and set around a welcoming table. A table full of life, stories, and lots of laughter. It’s no wonder that traditions and comfort are easily interchangeable with eggplant parmesan, sour milk cake, or homemade manicotti. It’s not like it was done on purpose and I certainly don’t blame anyone for my food confusion. It just the way it worked out for me.

We went out into the weather just now and picked up a few items. While we were out we stopped off at my favorite bakery to buy some bread for dinner. I have to confess I ate 3 1/2 cookies and drank a cup of hot cocoa. In retrospect, I do feel some remorse. It’s not that the whole day is a wash but I wish I had stopped at two cookies. I have 4 points left in my budget for today. I’m sure I will go over but I’m aiming to stay within my “blue dot” healthy eating zone. Obviously, no dessert or wine tonight.

If I make it that would be a huge success. I’m going to try my best. That’s all I ask of myself, is to try my best. Something I’m proud of today? I went to spin class and really threw myself into the workout. I also have my menu for tonight’s dinner, and I’m looking forward to cooking. So, I’ll put that in the win column too.

More tomorrow. Meanwhile, be kind to yourself because you are listening.

Beginners…

Some may think it’s hard to be a “beginner” because if you’re a beginner you don’t know much and have limited, or even, no experience. However, I think being a beginner is a gift. It’s a gift because everything is possible in the beginning. It’s all new and even though that can be a bit scary, it is ripe with potential. That is why, when it comes to being a better cook, I am going to try to adopt a beginner’s mind…

A beginner’s mind implies openness and eagerness to get started. There are no preconceptions either way. No good or bad expectations and that grants some freedom, doesn’t it? When it comes to cooking, I am using this week off to experiment with menu planning. I’m cooking and prepping dinner ideas to see if they would be feasible when I’m back to work.

So far so good. I’m two for two. The cauliflower fried rice was great. Last night I prepared the White Chicken Chili was really great. You can see all the meals I prepare on the What’s for Dinner page. I’m also using my Paprika App and that has turned out to be a great tool. Paprika is a recipe manager and I really think it’s great. It organizes the recipes and creates shopping lists and helps to plan out meals.

I’m like many of you – I get home from work and I’m tired and hungry. The truth is, what I value gets done. I know that in order to maintain my weight loss I have to prioritize cooking really tasty food. I am the only one who can make that happen for me so I have to just get over the fact that this goal is going to take time and effort to accomplish.

So… what do you say? I say, “Mangia!” Let’s eat really delicious healthy food that’s good for us too. I think that’s one way that makes this lifestyle change permanent.

Attitudes…

Added from the “Waitlist” I was happy to be sitting on a bike. I was in the front row between two other riders. The instructor was new to me, I had never seen her before. She seemed a bit disorganized and was having trouble connecting her microphone. She turned on the music, and it was very, very LOUD! I started to cover my ears my bandana.

I’m going to buy some new bandanas…

The woman to the left of me started saying, all the things I was already thinking, “I’m not going to be able to hear her.” and “The music is way too loud.” and “I have to call her over…” And she did, she spoke to the instructor privately. The noticed the instructor smiled and nodded, and went back to the front of the room. She tried to adjust her equipment again, but it was clear she was having issues.

The lights went out, and the fans turned on and she said, “I’ll be loud.” But I could scarcely hear her. Then, the woman on the right of me said, “Don’t worry, we’ll just watch you. We’ll do what you do.” She was smiling back at the instructor, and I turned my head to the left and saw the other woman frowning and squinting.

I felt like I had a devil and an angel on each shoulder. I thought to myself, “I have a choice, I can either do this ride annoyed and disappointed, OR I can do this ride with an expectation for a good workout and be encouraging. It’s time to decide which one.” That helped. The music was still loud but I leaned in and got into the ride. Then I decided to sing along. “Ba! Ba! Ba!” I used my heart monitor to ensure a challenging workout. I yelled, “Woo! Hoo!” I realized that I was having fun but it could have gone either way,

By the end of the workout, we all clapped, even the woman to the left of me. This makes me think of leadership. I think each of us always has a choice to create something good. Even though I wasn’t leading the class, even though I was not the person who first sparked the positive vibe – I still made a choice to take the ride where I wanted it to go. Who knows, maybe I even inspired the woman to my left to change her attitude? Could be. I mean, what did we really want? Everyone in there wanted a great workout so don’t we have a responsibility to make it a great one?

This is a lesson I can apply to my weight loss journey, my professional life, even my attitude about being a better cook! When faced with a poor attitude or a good one – choose the better one. Be the person who builds the others up and tries to be the best she can be. I realize I won’t always be my best self but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep trying.

Leadership…

I spent most of my evening writing a blog post about leadership. I am a contributor to an educational blog, and every three weeks or so I write a post. I started thinking about this post last Saturday, at my WW meeting. You might think that’s weird but it’s true. So many people there are mentors to me, they lead by example, they are empathic, they walk the walk and have integrity.

So many of these words describe my Saturday morning crew. I wonder if they know how important they are to me. I want to use this small platform to send this message if you are reading this post right now, I cannot underscore how important you really are. You have the power to not only transform your own life, but you can also have a profound impact on someone else’s life. Believe it.

Here is my post, in case any of you want to read more about leadership – http://literacylenses.com/ It was inspired by leadership guru, Drew Dudley. Drew wrote an amazing book, This is Day One A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters. Truly a powerful book.

This is beautiful, isn’t it? I am still so comforted by the aesthetic beauty of the natural world. It is there as a beacon to kindle inspiration.

Work Ethic…

I tend to work long hours and am up burning the midnight oil long after everyone in my house have gone off to bed. Snacking, was a way to stay up and keep working when the body says, “Just go to sleep.” living in my head and ignoring my body and that’s just not conducive to healthy living and self-awareness.

It weird that having a good work ethic, a strength that has enabled me to accomplish so much in my life, can also present a problem, weight gain. I’m happy to say, I have not snacked to stay awake in a long time. Tonight at dinner, I stopped eating when my body told my brain I’m done! Big stuff. These are things I’m thinking about.

Creativity…

I read this book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, a while back. It was an interesting read that attempted to explain the nature of creativity. I’ve been thinking about what it takes to live a creative life.

There are all kinds of ways to be creative but all of them stem back to some kind of vision of what you want to do or to share or to be or to contribute. In some ways, I think about my weight loss journey as a testimony to my creative spirit. I have created a new reality for myself. I imagined what I wanted and began setting goals to bring it to fruition.

I guess my message to you is to do all that you can to be your most authentic self. Indulge your inner creativity and work on something that will bring you joy. More tomorrow.

21st Century Life

“There are so many people who want you to succeed. Believe me. Most of us already know that weight loss can be a difficult proposition, it takes time and effort. What some of us may not know? There are lots of and lots of people who will take the journey with you.  Step out of your comfort zone and embrace the process with an open mind and heart. If you travel this path with others you will be one of many leaders who will be a source of inspiration and support. You definitely don’t have to do this all by yourself.” This is my message today.

We live in a connected world. Technology offers so many ways to access each others’ lives. With a click on the trackpad, I can see family dinner at my cousin’s house in Florida, keep up with the latest news from colleagues in Washington, and follow my daring friend’s adventures in Hawaii. Then travel back home again to storytime with a friend’s grandchild. All of that leaves me feeling happy to know these things are happening in the world.

I felt this way a couple of times this week. My results? I lost 1.4 pounds this week. Woo Hoo!

Yet there is also an underside to 21st Century life. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)  one in five (22%) Americans say that technology leaves them feeling isolated, lonely, or anxious.  I think that may be because we find ourselves on the outside looking into each other’s lives rather than being present in them. Being present and being an active learner is something that my #WW community  truly lives by example. 

Saturday Morning #WW Leaders Inspire Me

Being a member of WW who also attends meetings is a powerful thing. This organization continues to evolve and become something really special at a time when many of us crave a community. I love being a part of something bigger than myself, and today we all said, “Yes” to sharing our experiences. We did so as we celebrated each other’s success.

  • Lauren hit goal! She is going to be in the body she wanted in time for her wedding and is committed to making a permanent lifestyle change. Her story fills me with happiness.
  • Kim decided to make a change in her life, she said “I need to make a change. The time is now.” This week she lost 5 pounds, This is living your life with a sense of agency.
  • Erin is making intentional choices and says her success is 100% due to a mind shift. She lost 30 pounds as part of the virtual WW community and when she saw the weight coming back, she decided to start attending meetings. Bravo, Erin.
  • Betty lost 5 pounds and is learning how to navigate food choices during work. This is huge! This is empowerment.
  • Joanne lost 7 pounds in one week! Amazing. She is learning to say, “No.” and is taking care of herself. This is a life-changing reflection and it sends shivers down my spine.
  • Emily shared some real reflections on her week that were profound. She didn’t just keep doing what she’s done in the past to be successful she is being a responsive problem solver who refuses to get stuck. She shared her perspective that real change is all about mindset.

By now, it’s probably obvious why I am such a fan of #WW. I am not alone. I am part of this dynamic group and all I really want for anyone reading this blog is for you to feel included.

7 sp but worth every bite. Egg, Canadian Bacon, and Avocado Wrap 7 sp. 1/2 cup Fage Non-fat Yogurt with mixed berries 0sp

A word about my Featured Image.

Everything you see here was a gift from one of my WW friends. I am filled with gratitude, I am embarrassed to say that sometimes I forget how fortunate I am. Thank you.

Yes, we are learning about portion sizes, and healthy eating and activity. Yes, we are learning about the growth mindset and mindfulness. But more than that, we are letting each other into our lives because we want to make a change for ourselves and for each other. Take good care on the journey as we get ready for a new week ahead. Know that you can be part of something bigger than yourself, if only you say, “Yes.”

Momentum…

I had some momentum with my small goals this week that all came to a crashing halt tonight. It was a long day from when I left my house around 7:15 am until I got home around 9:00 pm. On the way home, I decided I wanted ice cream and then I made some very indulgent choices and now I have some regrets. I am uncomfortable and I know I could have done better.

While I am concerned about my food choices, I am more concerned with why I made them. I think I was looking to find a little comfort. A little something special because I felt overworked, overstressed, and overtired. Next time, I think I’ll try something different. I want to try to do something that is calming and relaxing. Maybe do some positive self-talk to acknowledge the struggles of the day, that gives me permission to release those feelings.

Click here if you want to see my action plan. Of course, I cannot guarantee that in the moment of stress that I will have the presence to do this, but I’m going to try. Thinking through what I’d like to do rather than making the same mistake over and over is better. So, making a plan is really good for me.

At the start of this post, I was feeling defeated, but now things are looking up. While I am still disappointed about my choices, I realize that I have the power to turn things around. I can celebrate that I tracked my choices, and am accountable for all of it. I’m owning it and am informed and that’s much better than just pretending it didn’t happen.

Letting these choices to overindulge or going outside of my healthy eating zone on a regular basis is how I could slide backward and start gaining weight. Not tracking is like giving myself permission to go on autopilot and all those habits could easily reemerge.

As I read over this post, I can’t help but wonder what you are thinking. I imagine that some of you recognize yourselves. I hope it helps to know that I have days that are a struggle too. Someone else reading this might be thinking, this is too much work. It is work, but for me, it’s worth it.