This blog officially publishes at Singing for a Smaller Me at Wordpress, and is backed up here. In order to comment please follow the link listed above. Thanks!!! Zan.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keeping it Together

My mom has cancer.

How the hell do you react when your parents call to tell you that one of them has cancer? How could I react? I wanted to cry and scream, but didn't. I stayed calm because I knew that's what they needed.

But what happens when you can't lose control? What happens when you can't vent all your frustration at the world? I wanted nothing more than to just start eating and eating and eating and not stop. Eat until I felt numb, until the fear and upset disappeared.

My immediate reaction was to throw diet out the window, head to the greasiest pizza place I know, stuff most of a large pizza down my throat, and drown my sorrows in a pitcher of beer. My husband, bless his soul, would have been a willing accomplice, except he knows how much I would have hated myself in the morning. Instead, he sat next to me as he was pretending to get ready to go to said pizza place and said:

"I wonder how many POINTS a slice of their pizza is? Forty?"

It was enough to stop my deadly downward spiral and start me thinking. That little voice in my head kept screaming for pizza, but every other fiber of my being said "no, this isn't what you want to do."

Would my mom want me to fall off the wagon when I've been this successful? No, she wouldn't. Is she going to fall off the wagon just because of this bump in the road? No, she's not.

So, despite that urge to indulge, I stayed in control. The hubby, best friend and I went to Outback where I allowed myself to have a big, honking margarita along with my usual meal: Chicken on the Barbie with steamed vegetables (no butter in the preparation) and the Seared Ahi appetizer. Frankly, everything but the ahi tasted like ashes, and the margarita was too sweet.

Tonight's meeting topic at Weight Watchers, "Why We Eat", probably comes at the perfect time. Regardless of whether I feel like going or not, I'm going. This particular topic on this specific night is exactly what I need to reinforce good behaviors even in the face of the worst of news.

Food does not control me.

I will not find solace in food.

Food will not make my problems go away.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's official, I have now begun the process of converting my inner circle to Meatless Mondays! Meatless Monday for me must mean Meatless Monday for everyone!!! Well, not everyone, just my husband, a few select friends and anyone coming to the den for dinner on Mondays.

What with this whole Meatless Monday thing, I'm much more inclined to cook at home. Most likely because the usual meatless choices at restaurants consist of veggie burger, salad, veggie burger, salad, and - oh yeah - veggie burgers. Don't get me wrong, I looooooove good veggie burgers, but most pretty much suck it.

Last night's meatless creation came from the Morningstar Farms website. Since I'm not all that creative when it comes to cooking, I've become a pro at looking up recipe and intuiting their tastes and flavors. Yeah, not creative at cooking, but a definite foodie (I didn't get this monumental butt by hating food!). I was intrigued by several recipes but settled on the Chik'n Stir Fry. So glad I did. Found a recipe to keep in my cookbook, and not only I liked it, but so did hubby and BFF!

The BFF proclaimed, after last night's dinner, that she was now a Morningstar Farms convert. (Watch me do my little happy dance).

Meatless Monday Food Plan

Breakfast: Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Bar, Banana. 4 POINTS

Snack: Strawberry Fruit Strip. 1 POINT

Lunch: Meatless Buffalo Wings and 2 Fling Dark Chocolate Bars. 8 POINTS

Dinner: Chik'n Stir Fry with Brown Rice. 13 POINTS

Dessert: Apple Juice. 2 POINTS

Activity POINTS Earned: 5.

TOTAL: 28 POINTS Eaten, 4 left over.

Okay, there's something of a theme going on here. Meatless days = me not meeting my POINTS target. Hmmm. Must plan better for the future.

Continuing yesterday's affirmation to recommit to my weight loss program, I'm starting over with The Beck Diet Solution from the beginning. The first two weeks of the program lay the groundwork and prepare you for success in your weight loss program. In a way, going through them seems almost futile having started some time back, but I know they teach a number of useful tools for the days ahead.

Yesterday I recorded my advantages for losing weight. Today brings you Days Two and Three:

Day Two: Choose Two Sensible Diets.

When I started with Beck, and hadn't headed back the Weight Watchers route, I contemplated any number of diets: the Sonoma Diet, the Fat Smash Diet, the Raw Diet, so on, and so on. But when it really came down to it, I refused to follow any program that wouldn't let me enjoy *all* the foods I like.

In the end I knew Weight Watchers would be my number one and best choice, followed closely by the Spark Diet over at SparkPeople. Weight loss programs where you can have what you want in moderation? Learning how to eat like a normal person? Heavens to Betsy you must be kidding!

Day Three: Sit Down to Eat.

Sitting down to eat seems like such a simple thing to accomplish, and most of us take for granted that we always eat sitting down. But do we really? How often do you grab a chip as you're walking past the bowl? How about a handful of peanuts? Once you pay attention all those little bites really add up!

Over the past four or five months, I've become pretty lax in this department. Originally, I militantly followed this concept. Any food at all meant I was sitting down whether it was on a chair or cross legged on the floor. Funny thing that, I overcame a number of cravings and sabotaging behaviors by just following this simple direction. Any time I wanted something out of the candy jar, I'd grab it, but would make myself take it back to my desk before unwrapping and popping it in my mouth. You know what happened? Nine times out of ten I'd reach for the jar, think about the walk of shame back to my desk, and decide against it.

Well, guess it's time to go back the militant route. And if I really need it, I can find a few minutes to sit down and have a bite.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sixteen weeks. That's about how long the average person's motivation to stick with a weight loss program lasts. Um, scary!

In the past I've made it to that sixteen week mark multiple times, and it always seems like that's when I start finding excuses to not go to meetings, eat a little bit too much, not exercise because I'm "too tired", and so on. Maybe you couldn't tell, but I'm fast approaching that sixteen week mark. As a matter of fact, I'm less than two weeks away from it with Weight Watchers, and I'm so scared I'll repeat the same pattern again I could cry.

I really feel I hit that unbearable place where I can't stand being this weight anymore. That my health and body *must* lose this weight for sanity's sake. That this time is it, I'm doing it this time and nothing's going to stop me.

But there's also this little voice in my head whispering, telling me I can't do it, that I'm always going to be fat and I should just give up now so I don't disappoint myself when I hit sixteen weeks and start sabotaging myself.

Do I distrust myself? my resolve? Have I gone through this pattern so many times that I'm skeptical of my affirmation that I can do this?

Well, I'm not listening to that little voice anymore. Starting today, I've decided I'm not going to rely on gung ho motivation to get me there. This isn't something I'm just going to sail along and finish without any thought or work. If I have to claw and scratch and fight tooth and nail to get this weight gone, then that's what I'm going to do.

I will not let fear run my life nor will I doubt myself.

Today, I recommit myself to my weight loss. Today is week one all over again.

Okay. Good.

Then the question must be what am I going to do to recommit?

Reminding myself of my healthy habits. Day One from the Beck Diet Solution. Reasons I want to lose weight:

1) I'll be in better health

2) I'll feel better mentally and physically

3) I'll like myself more

4) I'll be happier when I look in the mirror and see myself in pictures

5) I'll have more confidence

6) I'll be able to exercise without discomfort or exhaustion

7) I'll look better

8) I won't mind eating in front of others

9) I'll wear a smaller size

10) I'll be able to wear more stylish clothing

11) I'll be able to shop in the "normal" size section of the department store

12) And on a very personal note, it might increase my chances of being cast in roles in musical theatre and opera.

You know? I do feel a little bit better now. It's been too long since I've really looked at the reasons I want to lose weight, and with 20 lbs gone for good I'm already starting to reap some of these benefits.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In lieu of the really real Monday, I dubbed Tuesday (my work Monday) as Meatless Monday (Tuesday). Yes, I confess it, I ate meat on Monday and so my New Year's Goal of going meatless on Mondays is 1 for 2. Alack, alas, and all that jazz.

Oversleeping and much snooze buttoning heralded in the morning, and the miserable storm pounding the West Coast. Fearing for my morning sanity and the safety of those at work, I allowed myself to sleep in and skip the workout until later in the day. Snacking was the name of the game all day long, especially since there was no time for making my morning smoothie. Woe!

Nutritionally, not a great day. I was under my POINTS target, didn't get enough fat, fiber or protein in. One of those days.

Meatless Monday (Tuesday) Food Plan:

Breakfast: Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Bar. 2 POINTS.

Snack: 2 x Fling Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Fingers. 4 POINTS.

Lunch: Morningstar Farms Original Chik Patty on Sandwich Thin with Dijon Mustard and Salad, 2 x Strawberry
Fruit Strips. 5.5 POINTS

Snack: Vanilla Creme Wafer x 1. 1 POINT.

Dinner: 2 slices Round Table Guinevere's Garden Delight Pizza, 1.5 cups apple juice. 13 POINTS.

Dessert: WW Fruities - Strawberry (2 packs). 2.5 POINTS.

Activity POINTS Earned: 8.

TOTAL: 28 POINTS Used, 4 left over.

I've noticed a correlation between my eating habits and how gray it is outside. Gray sky = crazy snack cravings.

My weekend commenced with an singing outreach event Friday night for a local light opera company. At rehearsal prior to the show, it finally hit me just how much weight I've lost after immediate reactions from not just one but multiple people. It's like a bright light was suddenly turned on.

Later that night, I finally stopped and took a good, long look in the full length mirror. My pants, which fit perfectly when I set out on this journey, are so loose they're dragging on the floor, and they're baggy around my thighs where they used to be tight. My shirt stays buttoned, it doesn't pop open. There's a figure there!!! The double chin is nearly gone. Instead of puffy, my face looks oval! It was like I suddenly saw a million little things I hadn't seen before.

Measuring the difference is hard when looking at your reflection every day. Theoretically, you know you're losing weight, that's what the scale says, but it takes a little longer to see that success staring back.

I'm proud of myself for getting this far, and I'm proud of myself for continuing on. It's a tough journey, but I won't allow myself to fall back, the only place to look is forward, and to keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ah, Monday, Monday, Monday. My gut reaction to Monday is "ugh, I don't wanna!!!" and usually starts with a petulant me hiding under the covers refusing to wake up. Which is followed by my alarm going off every two minutes and finally forcing myself out of bed and into the family room to workout. By then, I've reluctantly accepted I'll shortly be dragging my butt into work. Joy.

Lucky me, government employee that I am, Monday was a holiday and we had a nice, long weekend. I like long weekends. A lot. I found them excuses to laze around on the couch, channel surf, and do nothing in the past. But not this weekend.

I've wanted to empty out my closet and purge for months now. Each month I'd put it off until the next, but it's funny - my weight loss motivation started spilling over into other areas of my life!! Suddenly, that overstuffed wardrobe was unbearable and Saturday night, around 7 p.m., I began the four and a half hour long clearout of my closet. I kept pieces I've worn recently and loved, but anything that hadn't been worn in over three months was tried on, and if I didn't immediately love it, tossed.

Go me!

Part of this evolution is taking pride in my appearance. For too long, I allowed myself to dress like a schlump in whatever I could get my hands on just "because it fit". Baggy clothes, shapeless sacks, all of which made me look larger than I was. Well, I took charge and said "begone from my life". Now, my closet is made up of pieces that will last me through the next twenty pounds and some, and will make me look more put together.

Confession time.

Meatless Monday was not meatless. I spent the day with the hubby and friends, and off we went to Hawaiian barbeque for lunch. The vegetarian options were: eat rice and eat rice. Surprise! While I had rice, I was not interested in that being my only meal choice, so I had barbeque chicken. Oh yeah, did I mention, I had rice? In exchange, I made today, Tuesday, my Meatless Monday. It's my first day at work this week and might as well be Monday.

Well, back to listening to the rain and waiting to go home.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Whatever Shall I Do?


After scurrying to the grocery store yesterday morning (before work of all things) to pick up another container of baby spinach, I left it at work!

Alas, I lament my lack of luscious, leafy greens. You see, they're a vital part of my breakfast. How can one have a green smoothie with no green?

You can't!

Instead I'm stuck with some weird brownish red goop. Le sigh.

Oh, green monster, how I miss you. But worry not, we shall be reunited anon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

You know the saying "all good thing must come to an end. . ." Well, that time has come. I must now bid adieu. Those twenty pounds, they are gone forever. And I start down the path to losing the next twenty.

Last night at Weight Watchers I got on the scale with the knowledge that I'd had a great week. And my reward:

Last Week's Weight: 272.6 lb
+/-: -2.8 lb
Weight: 269.8

Total Lost: -21.8 lb.

Wahoo!!!! I smashed past that twenty pound mark, and in addition broke through the 270 mark. Excuse me while I do my happy dance.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday was the official start of my New Year's Resolution to not eat meat several days a week. What better time to start then right away, so I declared it Meatless Monday. Surprise of surprise, apparently there's a Meatless Monday movement. Imagine me, puttering around the internet when WHAM! BANG! I find the Meatless Monday webpage. Yep, apparently I'm just not that creative. Or, more likely, I heard it somewhere else. Ah well.

Funnily enough, I was then surprised to find that this kind of selective vegetarianism is already classified as flexitarianism! Okay, guess I'm a little dense: I am not the first person to think of this. Again, just not that creative.

Anyhow, Meatless Monday was a resounding success. I ate a wide variety of foods, managed to meet my calorie intake, carb intake, protein intake, and (just barely) my fat intake. The fiber intake was a little high, but so it goes. Actually, I noticed that I had to keep on eating all day long to meet my daily targets. And there was a moment of ohmigod, pizza!!! when the hubby brought his pepperoni, sausage and black olive pizza. I was good, though, and when he offered his crusts I made him pick off any lingering bits of pepperoni before I ate them.

My Meatless Monday Meal Plan:

Breakfast: Fiber One Oats & Chocolate Bar, Green Monster Smoothie. 5 POINTS.

Snack: 2 Archer Farms Organic Real Fruit Strip - Strawberry. 1.5 POINTS.

Lunch: Morningstar Farms Chik Patty Sandwich on Orowheat Sandwich thin with Dijon Mustard and Greens. Spring Mix Salad with Balsamic Vinagrette Spray Dressing. 4.5 POINTS

Snack: 40 Dry Roasted Peanuts. 4 POINTS

Dinner: HungryGirl's Sassy Saucy Ribwich (a healthy, meatless makeover of the McD's McRib Sandwich), Blue Moon Wheat Beer (while watching hockey game), Crusts from hubby's. 12 POINTS.

Dessert: Dove Milk Chocolate Squares. 6 POINTS.

Total POINTS Eaten: 33. Yay, hit my target exactly!

Now, in my quest to own a library's worth of fitness DVDs, I discovered that Costco occasionally carries some of the more current and popular brands (i.e. Biggest Loser and Denise Austin). Now, I've never been a huge fan of the Biggest Loser brand, but my fitness DVD guru had great reviews for some of these workouts, so I caved and bought the Cardio Max and Bootcamp DVDs (and a couple of Denise Austin ones, but that's not the point. And $8 each!!!).

So, these DVDs sat on the shelf for two weeks taunting me and last night I tried the Cardio Max workout. Being a little cocky, I set the DVD to play all three parts of the workout (the 20 minute section by Bob, 10 minutes by Jillian, and 10 minutes by that other chick). Yeah, not so much. Bob's twenty minute workout kicked my butt so hard that when it ended I immediately hit the chapter forward button to the cool down. This chick ain't stupid: I'm not gonna face ten minutes of Jillian Michaels after that!

I think I now understand what the BL contestants mean when they say, "I hate you Bob!" during a workout. During that workout I wanted to reach my hands through the screen and slap him. And, oooo, my muscles feel worked today. Yikes. My butt, she be kicked.

Gonna have to put this one into the regular rotation.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Six months ago, I was a chocolate/candy addict. The giant jar of candy sabotage my boss keeps outside her office did nothing to resolve my ever-growing problem and not a day went by I wasn't reaching in multiple times to have "just one piece". I knew there was a problem when I went to the jar for a little snack "to reward myself" because I ate a healthy lunch, discovered it was empty, and got angry! Because someone hadn't refilled the jar so I couldn't have a piece of candy.

Around that same time, I started reading a wonderful blog, The Next Hundred Pounds by Cindy Sadler. She's an opera singer who lost a sizeable amount of weight. Reading through entries one by one, I was impressed with her fabulous attitude towards losing weight, and kept seeing her refer to one of the most important tools in her weight loss arsenal: The Beck Diet Solution. I was intrigued and hied to Barnes & Noble to get a copy.

Beck has helped me in so many ways I wouldn't know where to start, but I can say that because of Beck that jar of candy outside my boss' office is no longer a problem. I don't fear walking past it because I don't want anything out of it, and I acknowledge that victory every time. Working through the book brought me to the realization that food doesn't control me, and I can control my food environment. Really, I can't recommend Beck enough.

I owe much to Cindy (even if I don't know her) because her story finally convinced me I *could* lose weight -and- keep it off. Thank you Cindy.

Since the event of weblogging, it never occured to me it might help in my weight loss efforts and I might find other people that motivated me. Hello! Dense! Writing about my challenges and reading other people's challenge is incredibly cathartic. Go fig.

Previously, I mentioned that I didn't make any weight-related New Year's Resolutions, but I did make a couple of healthy eating/living resolutions. My goals for the year:

- Make a day or two a week vegetarian days.
- Keep up with the exercise.
- Work through my craft projects and stash.

That's it. Pretty simple. Just those three resolutions.

To the end of reducing my meat intake I've stocked up on meatless soy protein products. Today, I bring you the Boca Burger All American Flame Grilled Meatless Burger:

Oh. My. God. Sooooo good. Cook this baby on the stovetop in a little olive oil or in the microwave, pop it on top of a Sandwich thin (my faves are Orowheat and Earthgrains Multi-grain sandwich thins), top with a couple slices of onion, dill pickle chips, a healthy dose of salad (I like spinach), and ketchup. I can't tell the difference. Seriously. And the grand total: 4 Points. Yes, you heard me right - just 4 points.

I think I can do this. So far good start to the New Year.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The idea of basing your weight loss goals on some flimsy resolution you set for the New Year is probably not the best of plans. Like so many others before me, I’ve made many a broad, sweeping statement about what I’d like to do in the New Year, generally something along the lines of “I don’t wanna be fat next year”. Great. Wonderful. Then, next year I’d find myself ten pounds heavier. Woops.

I avoided making generalized weight loss related resolutions this year. Yes, I have a goal weight in mind, but no specific time line. Frankly, I set goals for myself all the time, and don’t follow through on 75% of them. Rings a bit of setting myself up for failure, eh?

On the other hand, I find the Weight Watchers goal setting technique to be pretty awesome. It’s all about setting positive, realistic goals and stating how and when you plan to achieve them. We discussed it in depth at last week’s meeting and came up with possible goals we would like to set for ourselves. Although I don’t plan on making weight related resolutions, I did resolve to set a mini-goal or two and see if it helps or hinders.

Today was my first day back at the office after more than a week and a half away from work. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it much easier to stay on plan when I’m working. Call me crazy, but I feel better prepared when I have to sit at my desk all day long.

That brings me to the holiday re-cap.

Food wise, I stayed on plan 90% of the holiday season. And by plan, I mean staying within my calorie ranges. My protein to carb to fat ratios were all way out of whack, and my sugar high was, well, high. My good eating habits flew right out the window, and I started the season with a bang. Hello, heartburn! There was the inevitable baking frenzy (chocolate chip cookies, ginger snaps, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies. And did I mention chocolate chip cookies?). My mother-in-law made pumpkin pie. We ended the season with an epic party at our place and the alcohol, it did flow.

Exercise was my salvation. Yeah, I’m shocked too. I upped my exercise while I was out of work to make up for all the crud I shoved into the piehole. Discovered the joys of Fit TV, the show “Shimmy” (yay DVR!), and just how much belly dance can kick one’s considerable butt. Acquired several new workout DVDs ($7.99 at Costco!), and am looking into creating a monthly rotation so that none go to waste.

I managed to make it to WW meetings on the Wednesday before Christmas and the Wednesday before New Year’s. Actually saw a little success at the scale last week, but think that the weekend’s festivities bumped me back up a couple of pounds. Oh well, back on the wagon, I say.

Well, I’m looking forward to this year and the successes to come. Hope you are too!


Small goals are the key to success or so I've been told. To kick off my weight loss journey I wanted to give myself a visual tool to see how my progress is going. For your viewing pleasure, the ticker for my first goal of losing 20 pounds: