Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Fun Day

This weekend has been a real eye opener for me.

Nothing quite tests the dedication to a lifestyle change like spending a weekend baking hundreds of cookies. In the last three days I’ve baked five dozen shortbread cookies, four dozen oatmeal raisin cookies, four dozen chocolate chip cookies, and ten dozen sugar cookies. The old Average Jane would’ve grubbed hand over fist the cookies as I baked them -- the new and improved AJ didn’t binge at all.

But of course, I had to try them.

I invented a new almond shortbread recipe, so naturally I had to taste the finished product -- I had a half of cookie. Then I played around with my oatmeal raisin recipe and again I had to try it -- I had half a cookie --I don’t want to poison any of my friends and family. I’m proud to report I didn’t eat a half of a chocolate chip cookie as I didn’t mess with my recipe -- but that’s because I licked the bowl. I heart chocolate chip cookie dough -- so I had a tablespoon worth.

I figured it would be a supreme test of my willpower to just make them and not eat a lot of them. But even as I made all my favorites -- other than the two cookies I shared with three-feet-of-fun and the cookie dough -- I didn’t find myself lusting after them. The few bites I had were enough to slake my cravings. And I don’t feel guilty for the bites I had -- everything in moderation after all -- plus the very point for a lifestyle change is to be able to actually live it.

So even with all my cookie and dough nibbling this weekend, I still climbed on the scale this morning to see how I was doing. I lost a little over a pound! So I’d say I was doing pretty good.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Weekend After...

It’s the Sunday after a major holiday -- time to get on the scale. Wait, let me rephrase that. It’s the Sunday after a major EATING holiday -- do I have to get on the scale?

*Cue suspenseful music*

I have to be honest. While it’s funnier to say I was filled with trepidation as I pulled out the scale and gingerly stepped on, it wouldn’t be the truth. I wasn’t worried. No, really, I wasn’t, for a few reasons.

Reason one: The mindset. I’m making a life change -- I’m not on a diet. So as the holidays come around, even the eating ones, I’m going to enjoy them. Sure, I didn’t eat the pie nor did I gorge out on the food -- not only was it a conscious choice but something I was incapable of doing without getting sick (it’s amazing how much your stomach shrinks when you lose a bunch of weight).

Reason two: I cooked the Thanksgiving Feast and the way I prepared the food -- using healthy choices that still taste delicious -- cut the calories in half for the entire meal. So while I ate a little more than I normally would’ve, I knew I wasn’t doing the damage that I normally could’ve.

Reason three: I worked out every day -- and I didn’t miss a day just because it was a holiday.

So armed with those three reasons, I pulled out the scale and happily hopped right on. Now I assumed I’d see that I’d maintained this week as I wasn’t on my best eating behavior, or even gone up a couple ounces. I looked at the numbers to find…

*booty shake*

…I lost 3.3 pounds over Thanksgiving! Now THAT is something to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Remembered.


I used to dread its coming like dreading a pap smear -- a necessary evil but one I hate just the same. And now, I look forward to Sundays so I can track my progress and get inspiration to continue my epiphany for another week.

I still keep my scale buried in the closet. Not to avoid its taunting gaze but to keep me from getting on it daily to see how I’m doing. No one needs that kind of pressure. So every Sunday morning I dig it out, strip (every pound counts), and merrily hop on.

I gained *gasp* a whole .1 pound.


I laughed gaily, bounced off the scale, buried it in my closet again and nonchalantly continued about my day. So what the pounds didn’t come off this week. They never do “this week” if you get my meaning and I know every week I can’t lose an average of five pounds. Besides the proof is in the fact that the jeans I bought last month are starting to get baggy and I work out with weights three times a week. Muscle weighs more than fat -- which is my mantra.

And even though I’ve gained weight *snicker* I’m still inspired to continue on my journey for two simple reasons: I haven’t felt this great or looked this good in YEARS.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm Ba-ack!

…and for those of you who haven’t passed out from the shock, let me catch you up.

Well, I didn’t realize it’s been over two months since I last posted an update on my progress with the epiphany. I didn’t forget, I’ve just been so into it, and other things in my life, that I sort of let it slide.

But…I didn’t let the life changes slide. So, let’s do a fast catch up. Hang on to your seats.

I have officially been on my life changing epiphany since the middle of June which (counts on fingers, subtracts some toes, and does the hokey pokey) makes it about five months now. And in the past five months, I’ve lost…

Are you ready? (drum roll please)

… a total of 76 pounds, 3 - 4 pants sizes (depends on the pants), 3 shirt sizes, and 3 bra sizes (in circumference, not cups)!

Can you say halfway to my goal? *does a booty shake*

How am I doing it? I eat approximately 1200 calories a day. As promised, I lost the first 20 pounds on the strict food plan, then chose to eat whatever I wanted as long as I adhered to the calorie count. I eat four to five small meals a day and I drink at least a gallon of water.

But my biggest crowning glory is the fact that I exercise every day -- so far 162 of them to be exact (yes I’m crazy, I keep count). And something weird happened. I stopped wishing the exercise video was over before it even really began -- which, let me tell you, made the video seem to last forever -- and started just enjoying the workout. It’s over before I know it and I’m a little sad when I’m done. Freak, right? I actually look forward to and like working out.

I really can’t believe the difference the 76 pound loss makes. Gone is the double chin and I have a collar bone! I had no idea. I can run after my three-year old son, three-feet-of-fun, and not get winded. And I feel prettier, sexier, and a whole lot healthier.

Now that I’ve gotten caught up with my progress I’ll for sure blog on Sundays as they are still weigh in days. Talk to you all next week!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More Pounds Bite the Dust

It’s Sunday again.

Funny how that works.

Cue suspenseful music.

I unearthed the dreaded scale from the dreary depths of my closet once again and stood upon it. Honestly, I wasn’t quite the drama queen this time and kept my eyes open the entire experience. I watched the little light blink and then did some blinking of my own.


Now, while I wasn’t such a dork climbing on the scale this week, I’ll admit to still shrieking and doing a little dance as I jumped off it. I lost another 5.9 pounds! Suddenly, 150 pounds by next summer didn’t seem quite so daunting. I still prefer to think of it as seven pant sizes, though.

I know. I know. It won’t always be big numbers sloughing off. But it sure does help here in the beginning while I’m growing accustomed to these major lifestyle changes I’ve made. This also gets me that much closer to losing my first twenty pounds, which is when I’ll shake up my diet again and be a little less strenuous on what I can and can’t have.

As with anything you want to do for the long haul, you have to make it doable and be committed. The doing is coming pretty naturally so far and I’m definitely invested. And when the going gets tough, as I know it will, I have these lost 13.7 pounds to remind me of why it’s worth it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Victor Victorious

I did it! I did it!

Every Wednesday I meet friends at a local bakery. We sit around a table and visit while we eat delicious baked goodness. I’ve avoided going the last three weeks. Well, today I went.

Since I was riding high on my successful weight loss last week, I figured I could handle it. I ate breakfast before I left so I wouldn’t be hungry. I figured I didn’t need that sort of strain on my willpower. I walked in and my friends sat around our table with bear claws, cinnamon rolls, and donuts of every size and flavor.

I went up to the counter. The only thing between me and baked heaven was a thin piece of glass and my will. I paid for my bottled water and joined my friends. I sat there and watched them savor their treats as I drank my water and I felt nothing.


I didn’t want any of it and it made me feel so triumphant -- like I can totally do this.

In fact the only drag about the whole excursion was the fielding of the, “Why aren’t you having anything,” questions. I answered with, “I’m not hungry.” They just couldn’t believe that I didn’t want anything. If money was tight they could spot me something. If the bakery was out of what I wanted they’d trade me something.

I have great friends, well-meaning friends, but they just couldn’t understand why I didn’t want anything. Finally I had to tell them I’d decided baked goods and I were on a little break. They all got that knowing look in their eye that clearly said I’d be back together with baked goodness sooner rather than later. I felt compelled to tell them that it’d been three weeks and that I’d lost nearly 10 pounds that I know of. It was worth it to tell them to see their jaws drop.

I felt vindicated. And while I know that, eventually, I will have an urge for something of the baked delicious nature and give into the craving, it still felt good to give my willpower the ultimate test and pass it with flying colors.

I walked away from the bakery field of battle victorious. And that feels better than any bear claw could ever taste.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fabulous Finish to the Week

How did it get to be Sunday, already? Seems like just last week I pulled out the scale and dusted it off -- oh, that’s right, it was last week. So, as promised, I dragged out the scale again this morning and ignored its pleas for pity.

I closed my eyes, stood on it, took a deep breath -- and looked down.

Jumping Jelly Donuts! It read I weighed 307.7 pounds. I hopped off and then stepped back on and sure enough -- 307.7 blinked at me again. I’ve lost 7.8 pounds in the last week. I’ll confess I screamed. It was fabulous.

I realize I won’t get these results every Sunday, nor should I on a regular basis -- too much rapid weight loss is dangerous. However, I think it’s an awesome kickoff to my lifestyle change. The rigorous eating plan I’m following now is for the first twenty to twenty-five pounds, to get my body jumpstarted into weight loss mode. After I hit that first milestone, I plan on incorporating a less intensive meal plan so I can lose weight steadily while making sure it’s something I can live with on the long term. Food Nazi can equal Binge Blowout. This is something I want to avoid at all costs.

As for how the eating is going -- sticking to my regime on some days has been harder than others. But today it’s all been made worth it. My goals have been reaffirmed and I’ve got a definite spring to my step.

Being nearly eight pounds lighter will do that to a girl.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Competitive Spirit

Break out the ranch dip and celery, I’m celebrating!

I’ve worked out everyday for the past seven days without fail. My chart is beautifully covered with fabulous checkmarks and I plan on indulging my hardworking self with a much deserved treat -- a pedicure. My toes curl in ecstasy just thinking about it.

Want to know the real key to my success?


Nothing beats good old fashioned competition as the ultimate power in motivation. I can suffer anything for the thrill of a victory.

My best friend and I are highly competitive -- she’s more so, but I digress -- and she has been hugely instrumental to my success. You see, along with my charts and checkmarks for exercising everyday, my friend and I are keeping a running total of the days we do it in a row. If we miss a day then we have to start back over at one -- the only exceptions to this rule are injuries and illnesses and in that case you can’t count the days you didn’t actually do something but you don’t have start over either.

On the evenings when I was too tired or just didn’t want to do anything, I’d think about how far she’d get ahead of me if I had to start all over. Without fail, I’d lace up my sneakers and force myself to do the assigned workout for that day. Thinking about her passing me up gave me the oomph to get started that a future reward didn’t -- and I’ve found, once I’ve started, it’s not so bad. So now, when we whine about having to workout, we rub each other’s noses in the fact of how far ahead we’ll be if the other misses the day. Hey, what are friends for?

So raise the water glass and let’s make a toast to competition. May the best girl win -- she’d say it’s her but hey, I was the one with the epiphany. However, in this I’d gladly take a tie so we can both win.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's Complicated

One vital bit of information: no one, save for you readers and those who live with me, knows that I’ve become dedicated to getting fit and healthy. I’m so tired of hearing, “Oh, you’re going on another diet?” or, “Sure you’re dedicated. You were ‘dedicated’ to the last one too.”

And this, I’ve found, complicates things.

It was my friend’s birthday yesterday and a bunch of us took her out to lunch. It was the first time I’ve gone out to eat since I started waddling down the ‘healthy way’ path over two weeks ago. I wouldn’t have even gone except I felt really guilty about ‘being too sick’ for her birthday party. But…I wasn’t sure I could say no to the cake. For me, cake is like kryptonite.

Naturally she chose our favorite gourmet burger restaurant -- you know the kind with burgers as big as your head and french fries the size of your thumbs. Luckily for me, they had salads. Yum, right? So, as I stared longingly at the monster-heart-attack-on-a-plate pictures in the menu, I ordered a grilled chicken salad while everyone else greedily ordered greasy delicious goodness.

This presented a new challenge in the willpower adventure. Up until now, I’ve cooked, so that means everybody at home eats the same thing as I do. The only willpower required is making sure to cook something healthy. At the restaurant, no one ordered a salad but me. Now for the real test of my willpower -- watching them eat what I really wanted. And now for the newly discovered complication of not telling anyone of my epiphany -- the sharing offers.

Be proud.

Not only did I not steal the food off their plates, but I said no thank you when they offered me bites.

Small victory? Maybe. But each small victory gets me closer to my goal. I didn’t get to savor a burger and fries, but I sure savored my willpower on the way home.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Horrible Truth

Today marks the two week anniversary of my lifestyle change epiphany -- two very busy weeks of implementing “The Great Plan of Attack.” And as promised, I have manned up and not only unearthed and dusted off the malevolent scale but also stood on it. Drum roll, please. I weigh, a whopping, scale groaning, how-did-I-ever-let-myself-get-this-heavy, 315.5 pounds. *THUD*

After I revived from passing out, and hurriedly put that-which-shall-not-be-named back in the closet, I started thinking, “Holy guacamole! If that’s what I weighed after two weeks of portion control, food rules, and exercise, can you imagine what I weighed previously?” I’d guess-timate that I lost at least five pounds from cutting my food intake in half, easily. But, be that as it may, my official start weight for this Herculean endeavor is going to be 315.5 pounds because I was too big a wuss to get on the scale any sooner. It could be worse I guess. I don’t know how, but it could be.

In true masochistic nature, I plan on digging that cursed scale out of its dark corner in the closet every Sunday and standing on it -- no matter how much it begs me not to. I figure keeping a weekly total of pounds lost and current weight will help keep me inspired, but I’m not going to be a slave to the numbers. So says the obsessive-compulsive girl who as we speak already has a graph of projected weekly weight loss totals and is making a color coded chart to record the actual weekly numbers.

This momentous occasion calls for a celebration. Cookie? Maybe in the olden days -- two weeks ago -- I’d have suggested a toast with delicious baked goods. Now? How about a shot of sugar-free lime JELLO? After all, nothing beats the sweet taste of getting fit and healthy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Necessary Evil

Doomsday is drawing ever closer. *cue suspenseful music* Every time I walk past the closet, I hear the scale laugh tauntingly from its burial ground. I’ve been successfully waging war on my food intake and have been having consecutive daily victories for over a week. I feel ready to up the ante and tackle a new evil.


I shudder just thinking about the “E” word but I know there is no way I’m going to come even remotely close to achieving my goals if I don’t start moving and grooving. I also had a nightmare about drowning in acres of loose sagging skin and I don’t want to look like I’m melting for real, which now makes exercise a high priority on my list. Must avoid loose skin at all costs. All costs.

For me everything starts on paper. So, you got it, I made a list. I wrote down all the areas I wanted to target. After I’d listed them out, I realized it would’ve been easier to have simple written: all of me.

I made a chart with the days of the week and what exercises I will do on which days. Every day I have crunches, push ups, and stretches, alternating days between Pilates, aerobics, and weights. The sight of it on paper is daunting, I know, but I did mention the drowning in flesh dream, right? Enough said.

Every good chart needs a rewards system in place, so it goes without saying that I have one. For every week I honestly complete the chart, I will treat myself to a little something just for me like a pedicure, new scented lotion (it’s an addiction, I can’t control it), or a new book and a bubble bath. I figure with as much hard work as I’m going to be putting forth, I should have the opportunity for some pampering too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saying Painful Goodbyes

With my first weigh-in looming on the Sunday horizon (yes I’m finally going to get on the scale and see the terrors that await me), I’ve decided to be more proactive than just eating half portions. I’ve now moved on to Phase 2 of the Great Plan of Attack: concentrating not only on how much but what exactly I’m putting into my body -- with emphasis on making sure it’s good for me. Yes, the joys of my new lifestyle are without number.

In the past, I was the queen of fad diets. If there was a new miracle get-thin-quick scheme I was the first lined up to try it. I lived the horror that was the Cabbage Soup 24/7 Diet, jumped on board with Tommy Lasorda and Ultra SlimFast plan, survived eating bacon and mayonnaise with Atkins, tried every diet pill ever invented, and anything in between. Some I had better success with than others but they all ended the same. When I stopped, I gained all the weight back and then some. Apparently, I hadn’t lost the weight. I’d just momentarily misplaced it while it multiplied like bunnies.

While none of the fads worked, I decided not to let that knowledge from having done them go to waste. Why not take everything I liked or made sense from the multitudes I’ve tried and meld them into an Average Jane lifestyle change? So that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I did mention that the joys are without number? Well, I’m numbering them. I will be creative and eat a healthy diet following these few, simple rules:

1.) No processed sugar. Truly the most painful rule.

2.) If it doesn’t grow that way -- don’t eat it. For example: Fresh fruit is high in fructose (fruit sugar) but in its whole fruit state it has a lot more vitamins and minerals and takes more energy to break it down for digestion. Fruit juice on the other hand has more sugar than a soda and takes no effort to digest.

3.) Starches convert straight into sugar and then go straight to my hips. So I avoid potatoes, corn, and peas to name a few.

4.) No white bread. Bleached flour is evil. However, I’m not a fan of the whole grain breads. It all tastes like cardboard and sawdust to me -- so I don’t eat bread period. Most anything you can put in a sandwich can be wrapped in some lettuce which is better for you anyway.

5.) No bleached white processed flour pasta. Either whole wheat or there’s kinds out there made from “vegetable flour” that is much better for you. Rule of thumb for pasta: always a side dish -- never a meal.

Ouch. How it pains me to look at that list as I think longingly of my lifelong friends: desserts, potatoes, pasta, bread, candy, chips, and chocolate (which does, in fact, deserve a category all of its own). But then I consider the whole person I have to lose, and decide maybe these friends aren’t all that good for me, and perhaps I’ll like my new friends better, once I get to know them.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mind Over Matter

Epiphany? Check.

Goals? Check.

Plan of Attack? *crickets chirp*

So, I have my awesome goals and I’ve written them in triplicate -- no really, I did -- once here and twice on paper to be strategically placed in the kitchen. One is affixed to the refrigerator by magnets and the other is taped to the snack cupboard. This way, I can’t possibly forget that I’m making a lifestyle change while under the influence of the siren’s call for junk food.

My first area of attack is portions. I’m not a dietician with formal nutritional training by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to me if you cut what you normally eat in half, you’re bound to lose weight.

I decided to implement this idea by loading up my plate with what I would normally eat then getting a second plate to split the first in half. I immediately wrap up the second plate and put it in the fridge -- that way I can’t cheat and nibble off it.

The first time I did this, the portions looked so pathetic and sparse I just knew I was going to be hungry afterwards. I promised my protesting rumbling tummy that if it was still hungry after the smaller portion, it could have the other half portion a half an hour later -- you know, so we’re sure you’re really hungry, I cajoled. It wouldn’t listen.

The answer was so simple. If I was a cartoon character, I swear you would’ve seen the light bulb above my head. I got a smaller plate and put my meal on that -- I don’t do the dishes, obviously. Suddenly it looked like I had a lot more food. Shockingly enough, after I finished the plate, I was full.

Dieting is extremely cerebral. I know the minute I think I can’t have something I’m racing to the kitchen to gorge myself on it. So, like the losing sizes versus pounds idea tricks my brain into thinking it’s not such a massive undertaking, putting less food on a smaller plate tricks it into thinking I’m eating the same amount as I had before.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Little Goals Are For Sissies

I’m a compulsive planner and goal setter, it’s like a disease. If it can be illustrated, charted, listed, or journaled, you can bet your cookies (mmm cookies) that I’ve done all of them and in triplicate. I love me some goals. So, I set some.

My first goal, of course, was the loss of an entire person, that pesky little 150 pounds, and I gave myself a year to lose it in. Hey if you’re going to dream, shoot for the moon! Now, I’m also realistic and know it’s a huge goal, pardon my pun, so I broke it down into smaller goals. Using my amazing math skills and knowledge of weight that’s healthy to lose in a week, I figured if I lost three pounds a week, I should be able to make my year goal, even surpass it.

On paper, the goals look perfect and easy, but really, I know better. If it were that easy, I wouldn’t be overweight and there wouldn’t be any phenomenon known as willpower. Slip-ups happen and there are even evil things called plateaus. I know these goals are going to be a major uphill battle, but nothing worth having is ever easy, right?

Right. Well, at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

In order to keep my goals attainable, I’ve taken it a step further. If I can’t hit the 150 pound goal, I would equally love to be single digits in clothes sizes and not care what I weigh. (Insert hysterical laughter here.) I’m tall and medium-boned. I don’t think single digits are in my future without looking like an emaciated skeleton. Not that I have anything against bony people, but I’d still like to have at least some womanly curves. So I’d be content, no, downright happy, as a size 10 or 12. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m an impressive size 28 right now. And doesn’t losing seven or eight sizes sound a lot easier than 150 pounds? It’s all in how you sell it to your brain.

Monday, July 14, 2008

And So It Goes

I’ve had an epiphany!

Before we get to that, I should probably introduce myself. I’m a thirty-something woman, an average Jane if you will. Just a work-at-home mom who realized I was turning into a work-at-home planet complete with my own gravitational pull.

Now, after five years of steadily getting bigger and the myriad of excuses I’ve used to justify my size and lack of ambition to change it, I’ve finally decided to do something about it. No more whining and excuses -- I’m firmly taking hold of my own destiny and attacking it with zest!

I’m committing to making a “lifestyle” change, which is my fancy way of saying I’m putting my big butt on a healthy diet and rigorous exercise routine. My goal: to lose an entire person’s worth of weight. One whole person. Roughly 150 pounds. Wow.

I have no idea what I weigh exactly at this moment, although I know it’s clearly over 300 pounds. The thought of getting on a scale wakes me up screaming at night. Oh, I have a scale but it’s where it belongs -- hidden in the closet behind the Christmas decorations. I just have to work up to unearthing it and actually standing on it. You know next week, when I’ve gotten used to the whole concept. Right now, I don’t think I could take the groans and it saying, “Get off, you’re killing me!”

So hop along for the ride, it ought to be a fun one with lots of ups and downs. Okay, maybe ‘fun’ isn’t the word, but I can promise it’ll never be boring -- even if it’s like watching a train wreck.

Fasten your seatbelts -- it’s going to be a bumpy ride!