Health

Preparing for Those Resolutions

I am the queen of setting goals.

The higher I can aim, the better.  I remember one year, when I blogged at Journey to Ithaca, my resolutions were: eat less poison, get completely off the grid, produce no more than one grocery bag or garbage per month, put together a 12-piece wardrobe, and have my Christmas shopping done by December 1.

I did eat less poison and put together a 12-piece wardrobe.  And with the other goals, I learned a lot about goal setting.

Another case in point?  My efforts to exercise consistently and lose weight.

I tried to start exercising my senior year of high school, when I was still thin.  After a year of therapy and medication, I had successfully quit my meds and was sitting in my last therapy session.  My therapist was not stellar (in fact, I had to go to therapy as an adult to unlearn a lot of things that I learned from the professionals I worked with during that time of my life!), but she did have one nugget of advice to give me.  When I asked her what I could do to help maintain my mental health, she was adamant that I start an exercise program.

I set out to do some research, and I learned that our local community center offered a free step class for high school students.  I eagerly attended and felt comfortable amongst the teens of various shapes, sizes, and ability levels in the class.  Our instructor was a cheerful 20-something named Jodi, with a bouncy pony tail.  We all really liked her.

I went to that class for about 6 months, until I graduated.  It was a few months until I got brave enough to attend my first class as an adult.

I started at the community center, since it was familiar.  But I noticed that the adult classes lacked community.  I also noticed that my heart rate often got too high during class, so I had to use less support under my step and smaller weights.  I became very self-conscious about this.

In the brochure for the community center, was an ad for a new women’s fitness center.  I went there and immediately loved the community!

What I did not love, were the large mirrors.  I was skinny and weak.  I could noticably do less than everyone else.  I paid for 28 classes, but stopped attending before I used them all.  When I thought about going back, the center had gone out of business.

When I first got married, I visited a local health club.  They offered me a great deal and a trainer put me on a program.  However, I looked so weak compared to the teenage athletes who were also working out, that I only went there twice.

I did a couch-to-5k plan from Prevention magazine. I followed it until I was running 5 miles…Until I ran past some redneck teenagers in our neighborhood, who followed me, mocking my slow running.

It was 10 years before I tried working out again.

I have told my hit and miss yoga story here, but the short version is that I did not stick with a work-out  until I found a tight-knit, small yoga studio with a teacher who was patient enough to work with anybody.  And only then, did I notice the benefits I was gaining from yoga, to the point where I experience physical pain and noticable mental differences if I miss more than 2 classes in a week.

Diet is the same pattern.  I tried diet after diet, giving up when I “slipped up” or “fell off the wagon.”  Weight Watchers, in the end, left me with no excuses.  It was only acceptable to speak of your journey in positive terms, and it became easy for me to see how much happier I am when I am eating well.

Recently, I regained 9 pounds.  But when I finally weighed myself, I also noted that I have kept 19 pounds off.  It’s not even a matter of the glass being half full, versus half empty.

So I am getting back on track.

So are you planning on making any New Year’s Resolutions?  If you are, here are some lessons I have learned from my experience in setting (and achieving!) goals:

 1.  When (not if) you “slip up,” first look at the reasons for your “lack of motivation.”

Why are you not motivated to stick with your changes?  Is there a good reason?  Before you judge or muscle your way through, look at your reasons for quitting.  I quit the step classes because I was self-conscious and needed a close-knit community without mirrors.  I quit the yoga classes at the gyms, because I did not feel like I belonged.  Once I found an exercise program that met my needs, motivation was no longer an issue.

2.  Look at your reasons “why.”

After you look at your reasons for slipping up, look at your reasons for making the changes.  Are you doing it just because someone told you to do it, or you think it is what you are supposed to do?  Is this what you really want?

3.  Try not to compare.

We are all different, and everyone struggles with something.  If you are struggling with making a positive change, then the thing you are trying to change is not easy for you.  So don’t compare yourself to the people who have it easy!  Close your eyes, and make your best the only thing that you need!

4.  Look at the big picture.

Slip-ups are a part of making changes.  Growth is not a straight line, but it is a general trend.  I regained 9 pounds, but I have still kept 19 off.  Focus on the 19, not the 9.  You are going to fall on and off the wagon.  That is life.

5.  Find supportive friends.

When you are frustrated, don’t talk to just anybody.  Some friends will help you focus on the positive, and others will discourage you further.  Learn to tell the difference.

What positive changes are you working on in the upcoming new year?  What strategies have you found to be helpful when making changes?

 

 

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About Us, Health

Weight Watchers on the Go!

We spent the past week visiting family and tying up loose ends in Michigan.

It was a week of changes and travel.  We flew to a hotel in Detroit, rented a car and drove to our hometown of Midland, spent 3 days staying in a travel trailer at my father-in-law’s house, visited with my grandmas for one day, drove 3 hours to Grand Haven where we cleaned out our old sailboat, spent a rainy night tent camping on the beach, drove 3 more hours to Buchanan to visit my brother-in-law and meet my new nephew, spent one night at their house, then drove for 3 days with our friends who moved to Texas, camping along the way.

Whew!

At my Weight Watchers meetings, we have talked a lot about vacations.  The consensus is that these are times to maintain, or even just try to minimize the weight gain.  It is perfectly okay not to track while on vacation.

This is all well and good, except that I had fallen off the wagon big time in the two weeks before we left.  I gained weight at two meetings in a row.  I was feeling anxious and lethargic, and I really needed to get back on track.  When I eat better, I feel better.

So I tracked everything I ate on this trip, enjoyed some yummy treats, and planned ahead for each scenario we encountered.  While this might not sound like fun, it actually helped me to feel better physically and mentally.  I kept a level head throughout the trip and had a much higher energy level than I have in the past.

I do not weigh in until Wednesday, so we don’t know the official end result.  But looking at my own scale, I lost somewhere between 2-4 pounds.

How did I have an amazing time, eat yummy food, and still lose weight?  Let me tell you about each scenario and how I handled it!

Friday: Flying Out

Rob and I discussed our meal plans for the airport, ahead of time.  We knew we would be eating there, since we like to give ourselves plenty of time to get through security.  I looked on the airport’s website and saw that there is a Chick-Fil-A there.  I had planned on ordering grilled nuggets, which are 1 point, but they did not offer them.  After quickly consulting my app, I ordered a grilled chicken market salad with no dressing.  This was 5 points, and it tasted amazing, even without the dressing.

For the flight, I packed my favorite 0 point snack–boiled eggs!

A quick tidbit of wisdom: If you are flying with a bag of boiled eggs, take them out of your bag when you go through security.  While they are not considered liquids, the scanner identifies them as such, which can lead to having your bag searched.  Of course the TSA agents found this highly amusing, as they had never encountered someone flying with a bag of eggs before!

Saturday: At the Hotel and On the Road!

We spent our first night at a hotel in Detroit, where we were treated to a continental breakfast.  I enjoyed 1/4 of the gigantic waffles made by the machine, for 2 points.  I also grabbed some 0 point fruit.

We then drove our rental car 3 hours to Midland, and we stopped at a grocery store on the way.  I bought provisions for my favorite on-the-road lunch: sandwiches.  We bought low-calorie bread (1 point per slice), light mayo (1 point per tablespoon), 98% fat free turkey lunch meat (0 points for 3 slices, 1 point for a full serving), and water.  I also grabbed some fruit, fat-free cheese, Greek yogurt, and ranch mix to use once we reached our destination.

Saturday Night and Sunday: Visiting and Cooking Collaboratively

We arrived at my father-in-law’s house in time for dinner, which was sloppy joes.  My stepmother-in-law and I always prepare meals together when I visit, so using the substitutions I brought was not a problem.  (I do have a rule that I will eat anything that is homemade when visiting, because cooking is an act of love). I used my low-calorie bread and kept my sandwich open-faced.  Ground beef is 4 points, sloppy joe sauce is 1 point, and the bread was one point.  I had been conservative in my point values, so I also had enough points to enjoy some 4 point potato salad!

My stepmother-in-law keeps a fruit bowl in her kitchen, and she said we were welcome to munch on it during our stay.  Whenever I was hungry, I nibbled on grapes.  We planned breakfast together and ended up having French toast (made with my low-calorie bread, so it was 1 point per slice) with homemade strawberry syrup (I made mine without sugar, so it was 0 points), and sausage (3 points).  The next morning, we had scrambled eggs (I used fat free cheese in mine, so they were 0 points) and sausage.

Lunch was, of course, sandwiches, and we went out for pizza on Sunday.  This may seem like an impossible situation, but I had one slice of pizza, which I ate mindfully and thoroughly enjoyed.  Then I finished my meal with a salad with no dressing.

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Yes, my high school mascot was the Chemic!

Monday: Conquering the Chinese Buffet!

I treated myself to an early-morning yoga class on Monday.  This got me some exercise, which I had been lacking, and helped me to stay positive and energized!

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After having eggs for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, we headed off to visit my grandmas.  We spent a lovely time with my grandma Eileen at her house, then went to do some work at my grandma Misty’s house. (Her real name is Elaine, but I called her grandma Misty as a child, because I got my two grandma’s names mixed up.  Fun fact: “Elaine” and “Eileen” are both variants of “Iliana”!)

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When we moved to Texas, we left some items behind, and they eventually ended up my grandma’s garage.  Our mission on this trip was to remove these items and drive them back to Texas in my father-in-law’s truck, which we were borrowing.

But before we set to work, we needed to eat.  And we have a long-standing tradition of eating at Chinese buffets with my grandma and my Aunt Anne.

Yikes, right?  Nope.  Yum!

I began with hot and sour soup, for 3 points.  Then I loaded up on 0 point shrimp and vegetables.  I decided to have small servings and sesame chicken and General Tso’s chicken for 3-ish points, then used the rest of my points on Szechuan chicken (7-ish points) and half of an egg roll (3 points).  I left feeling full and satisfied, without going over on my daily points!

Tuesday: Rainy, Yucky, and Stressful!

Then Tuesday happened.  After a healthy breakfast of eggs and sausage, we drove to Grand Haven to work on Moonraker, our old boat.  In the summer of 2012, we had sailed Moonraker from Bay City, on Lake Huron, to Grand Haven, on Lake Michigan.  We had dry docked the boat with the mast down, planning on beginning the Great Loop the next summer.  However, we moved to Texas instead, and the boat has been dry docked ever since.

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We were determined to make this our last “working” trip to Michigan, so that meant that we had one day to empty and clean the boat, so that we could make arrangements for the marina to broker it.

The good news:  The boat was in remarkably good shape.

The bad news:  It was yucky and rainy all day.

I had hoped to make it to a yin yoga class in Grand Haven that evening, but the traffic we encountered on our trip to the store made that impossible.  We finished at 6:30 on the dot.  I had thought that the office closed at 6:30, but they actually closed at 6.  So we weren’t able to sign over the title.  We will do that by mail.

That evening we headed to our wet campsite on the beach.  I had made reservations when the forecast looked good, or otherwise, we would have stayed at a hotel.  We had found a tent in my grandma’s garage, which she said we could have.  The stakes did not take hold in the sand, so it drooped.

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That evening I was hangry!  Grand Haven was supposed to be the high point of our trip, and it was nothing but yuck.  We were not really able to enjoy one of our favorite port towns, from our sailing trip.

I didn’t make sandwiches for dinner.  I went to Subway.

Did I order a salad?  A low-fat sub?

Nope.

I got myself a pizza.  With extra cheese.  And not fat free cheese either.  Rob and I split a large bottle of wine.

And I tracked none of it.

Iliana, however, had a great time.  She played with the other kids in the campground and loved the sand.  We saw a lovely sunset over the water and watched the musical fountain, which had been a mainstay of our week on the seawall in Moonraker.

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Wednesday:  Visiting my Foodie Brother-in-Law

Wednesday is supposed to be my weigh-in day, and I had found a meeting near my brother-in-law’s house in Buchanan.  If we broke camp at 6 am, I could make it.

We broke camp at 8:30.

So I had no idea how much damage I had done, but my weekly points had reset.  I carefully chose a breakfast sandwich from Subway, tracked the points, and enjoyed the drive to Buchanan.

After finally meeting my 7 month old nephew, Will, we discussed our plans for the day.  We decided to make our own wraps before heading to a winery.  We were treated to a tasting, before settling on the most wonderful, caramelly tasting Pinot Grigio I have ever experienced.

Then we returned home for dinner and my brother-in-law made us very large, very delicious steaks, with mashed potatoes.  I finished a portion much larger than a deck of cards and enjoyed every bite.

Breakfast was the most wonderful biscuits and gravy that I have ever eaten, along with hash brown potatoes.  And orange juice.

By the time we left that morning, I had 0 weekly points remaining.  Yes, I ate them all in one day!  (And if the truth be told, I actually went into the negative by 18!)  I have no regrets.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Road Trip!

After eating that breakfast, we hit the road, so we could meet up with our friends who were moving to Texas.  I bought fruit and boiled eggs for snacks (both are 0 points), and we ate sandwiches for lunch.

We camped in the evening and grilled turkey hot dogs (2 points) over the fire.  Breakfast was fruit over Greek yogurt, and I added a salad with my lunch that day.

Lots of water, lots of salad and sandwiches, and lots of fruit and boiled eggs.  Every morning, we stopped at the grocery store before we left.

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The trip was not without adventure! Luckily, the tire was quickly patched!

Friday night, we stayed at a campground with a fitness center.  I stepped on the scale in the evening, when I was full of water weight, and saw that I had lost 2 pounds!  I am excited to see how I do at my weigh-in on Wednesday!