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Does This Vacation Make Me Look Fat? April 6, 2010

I’m home!! I got home from Costa Rica around 1am and if I don’t write a post now, I think it will be weeks before I have time to sit and do it. Things are crazy (again!) just as they were pre-vacation. Tonight is my solo performance show, and next week I begin a brand new job. Whewwwwww. So much for laying back in the slow tempo of Central America – I’m back in the USA again and back to the insane pace of life.

Being on vacation was wonderful, and relaxing, and rejuvenating. But it was a totally different environment and pace than I was used to. For one, I did not have my scale with me (thank goodness!) which gives me constant feedback. I use it to stay on track here at home, and without it, how would I know what was what? I wasn’t super worried about it, because I knew that even if I came out of the vacation a few pounds up, I could get back to it quickly enough. Still, I was curious.

One one hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost weight because:

  • I was sweating buckets every day. Without even moving.
  • I was getting SOME exercise – walking to the beach, to waterfalls and the like.
  • I was not eating a single thing between meals.
  • The meals were what I would consider very healthy – protein, beans, vegetables, a lot of fresh fruit. Our host was an amazing chef!

BUT I wouldn’t be surprised to gain weight because:

  • I wasn’t doing ANYthing near my regular workouts. At one point I ran about 4 steps and then quickly gave that up. It’s like running in a steam bath. I couldn’t deal.
  • I didn’t swim at all like I’d hoped because the ocean was, although gorgeous, brutally rough.
  • The food was incredibly delicious and I often went back for seconds.

It was really, really hard to gage where I was. I couldn’t really use my clothing as a monitor because all my summerweight clothing, I bought last year before I got to my goal weight. So it was all pretty much hanging loose on me anyway. I couldn’t tell by looking at the mirror. I really had no clue at all. And you know, normally it wouldn’t MATTER so much but I do have this WW job you know, and I didn’t want to come home and have to battle back down to my range. So I would’ve preferred to not gain a whole bunch. I felt healthy. I felt good.

One measure I was able to take was my blood sugars. In the first part of the week they continued to be up because I think I was still dehydrated. I wasn’t able to drink as much as I would’ve liked to, so it took a few days for that to stabilize, but by the end of the week I was in a good place. I have to say it gave me a small bit of comfort to be able to measure SOMEthing objectively.

One thing that I noticed was that I felt more comfortable in my body than I ever have in a hot climate. Before, when I’d gone on a beach vacation, I’d felt awful in a bathing suit, disgusting when I sweated, and extremely unfit. On this vacation, I took a 5 mile trek through the jungle (to get to the waterfall, yay) and it was like… piece of cake. I took one hike to this eco-lodge up a very very steep hill, and it was like… no problem. I felt comfortable clambering around and never got huffy puffy or anything. That felt GOOD. And sweat didn’t bother me like it used to.

I used to be one of those people who was completely sweatophobic. It made me sick. But now it’s just…. water. And it doesn’t bother me. It’s really OK. Maybe because sweat during my workouts is a good thing – a very very good thing. I’ve made friends with sweat! Yahoo!

So when I left on my vacation I was 5 lbs “down” because of my dumb dehydration problem at the marathon. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to maintain THAT because it was mostly water weight anyway. In fact it was ALL water weight. This morning when I weighed myself I was 2 lbs up from that weight, so 3 lbs down from the day before the marathon. OK! I’ll take that! I hope I’ll be able to maintain that because it’s a number I can be very happy at.

So that’s that. Interesting, huh? It’s funny how things change when we don’t have our regular landmarks and ways of checking in. But I felt good about what I was doing overall. I’m eager to get back to my regular workouts. I’m glad it’s not 90 million degrees here. But it was also good to get out of routine and realize there are ways of staying healthy that look and feel different.

 

Back to WW School February 25, 2010

Last week I attended a one-day training for Weight Watchers, a followup to my initial training last fall. It was awesome.

When I first took this job, I told myself (and others) that if at any time I felt like this company was not good, or I was not benefiting from it, that I would quit. The pay certainly isn’t worth it. But I have found that the deeper I go in, the more time and experience I have, the more impressed I am with this company. They really do want their members to succeed, and they are constantly searching for ways to better help them. It’s so good, really.

The theme of the training was “Facilitating Change” and while I can’t go into the teeny details of it, I will say that it was really so thoughtful and fantastic. I feel like my meetings this week really have benefited from that experience, and hopefully will continue to improve.

At one point during the training, they asked us to describe a moment when we felt like we really made a Difference in someone’s life. A lot of people (other leaders) had some pretty moving stories to tell. I felt okay about my little story, but it felt kinda … I dunno, not a big deal. But then LAST night I was at my regular meeting, and a member came up to me and said she’d had a GREAT week, had made a real change in her habits and it was because of something I’d said. And she thought about what I’d said, during her week, and it made a difference.

I swear. It brought tears to my eyes. It made me so happy. Because honestly, so often I doubt myself, and think, who am I to be doing this. How am I helping anybody. AM I helping anybody? Sometimes I am not sure. And I think I’m just standing up there going blah blah blah.

We learned that WE are supposed to talk a minimal amount, and really the meeting should be comprised of the majority of members talking, sharing, etc most of the time. I am very guilty of letting my mouth run and I have to do all sorts of things to SHUT MYSELF UP. (I am a solo performer, remember? LOL)

One funny tool we learned was to WAIT, and let members speak. And WAIT stands for: Why Am I Talking? Ha ha ha. I thought of this several times last night, and I used the physical reminder of putting my hand on my chin. (one, to assume the “thinking” pose, and two, to hold my jabbering jaw STILL!) I think it went well.

We also recently had a district-wide training on the Science of Weight Loss. Again, super impressive. I feel so lucky to be soaking in all of this great information and am eager to pass it on.

 

Ignorance is Not Necessarily Bliss February 5, 2010

First of all, I want to thank EVERYone for the wonderful words of support in my time of distress earlier this week. I can’t tell you how supported I felt, and how very moved. Thank you. Newsflash from the offspring is that the fever has broken, and doctor has cleared her to return to classes. Which is a great relief. Yay!

I went to my awesome trainer this morning and was flooded with beautiful lifesaving endorphins. It felt so so good. I’m back, people!!!

I wanted to write a bit about food logs, tracking etc. I heard someone say this week that they do not keep food diaries because it would make them too “obsessive.” I hear that. I think that some people could get carried away. I am not one of those kind of people. I am the kind of person who is more likely to say, “Oh, it’s fine! It’s not that much! It’s healthy!” and think I am doing JUST FINE and then be all baffled because I am not losing weight. Or gaining, in fact. My natural state is to be the Queen of Denial.

A few eye opening things this week. One, I was teaching late. There happens to be a California Pizza Kitchen right next to the building where I teach. I got out of class around 9:45 and was hungry. I just wanted something “small.” I was wavering between a salad and a cup of soup. Well, guess what? This incredible CPK has their nutritional info in a little bound book, right next to their wine list! Which is kinda of shocking because really, if people KNEW, would they eat anything at all?!? Well, I took a browse though that and my eyes just about popped out of my head.

MOST of the salads were well over 1,000 calories. Each. Now I know, or I’ve heard, that these restaurant salads are often 10x worse than many entrees, but still: I was like, WHOA. Are you serious?? Grilled Vegetable Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast: 1044 calories. (doesn’t that sound HEALTHY?!?) BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad: 1257 calories. Cobb Salad: 1070 calories. Caesar Salad with chicken breast: 787. “Thai Crunch Salad” : 1155. (beware the crunch!)  Miso Salad: 1146.

I got a cup of “creamless” asparagus soup: 106 calories. Very very good!! And it was excellent. And very filling. I threw on a bunch of buttered croutons (what the hey!) for another couple hundred cals, probably. Living it up! It was the perfect late-night dinnersnack.

And to think I’d been believing that a salad or a soup would be sorta equivalent. Um. Not. I think that soup is almost always the better option. The largest-serving (bowl) of the highest calorie soup (Chicken Tortilla soup) is only 541 calories, which is miles less than any salad on the menu. And the pizza.

The thing is, most of the pizzas are between 1200-1500 calories. But I often don’t eat a whole pizza at CPK. I might eat a slice or two, which would be 300-400 cals. Which is not bad. In the past, though, I might choose the Caesar Chicken SANDWICH because in some universe, a “sandwich” is better than “pizza.” But that SANDWICH is 1051 calories! And you can bet I’d eat the whole thing.

Just sayin’. It is a good thing to be aware of what one is eating. Not to be obsessive, but to be aware.

In my WW meetings we have a little tradition called the Group Tracker. It is a 3-month food journal that is being passed around the meeting. Members volunteer to take it for a week, track their food and then report back and pass it to someone else. We’ve been doing it for a month now at two different meetings. Which is 8 people. And guess what? Every single person has lost between 2.5-3.5 lbs WITHOUT FAIL the week they have the tracker. Is that amazing? We call it the Magic Tracker. But that is what being Aware, and accountable, can do.

I’ll be honest. I do not write down every single morsel, every single day. But I do try my best to be honest (with myself) and aware of what I am putting in my mouth. And when I bother to really check it out, and get a reality check, I am often very, very surprised.

 

Sneaky Eating, Foodie Style January 25, 2010

I’ve been dyyying to write this post ever since I read ManMeetsScale’s fantastic post on “Sneaky Eating.” Once again I was blown away by the terrific writing, absolute honesty and hilarious humor in this guy’s writing. And I had so so so so many things to say in response but kept feeling as if I’d need two free years and a 500-page blank book in order to do it. (might need that anyway)

Go read that one first. Then come back here. Are you back? Wasn’t that great??

I have to say, it brought tears to my eyes. The kind of tears that come when you really feel SEEN. And understood. Now I suspect that many, many people feel this same way about certain food behaviors, but they don’t go around telling people about it. The thing that astonishes me about this CEO of ours is that he DOES put his dirty laundry out there. And it is such a gift and a service to all the rest of us.

I was completely fascinated by the way he does that “sneak a little spoonful” thing. That’s not how I do it. You wanna hear how I do it? My own personal sneakiness has to do with eating in a car. I think I have had this belief that “if you eat it in a car, it’s invisible” (and of COURSE contains no calories! Natch!) And the car is like this little soundproof, sealed, safe container.

I don’t remember when I first started eating in a car but I suspect it had something to do with when I got married and no longer lived alone. I had to find a place where I’d be anonymous, hidden. My favorites were super-rich macaroni and cheese, or creamy polenta, or chocolate Schoolboy biscuits (the whole box) or shortbread cookies (the whole package). If I was stressed, I’d head straight to the Andronico’s parking lot and there I’d be.

Last week, at my Healthaversary party, someone said to me (in front of everyone else): “I know so many people who try and try and try to lose weight but never can. But you did. What do you think your secret is?” I had to think really hard about that. But I truly do think that the answer is, to come out into the open about what is previously shameful.

Which is at the essence of a really, really good WW meeting. Or blogging about one’s food and weight and eating.

I kept this in the “dark” for so so so so long and it just fueled it, like.. what? Mushrooms? (trying to think of what grows in the dark) Even therapy, a LOT of it, didn’t really touch it because it was just too… private. But talking about it amongst my blogging and Twitter and face-to-face friends has really been the Secret.

I’m taking it another step further. I’m very very very excited to be turning Foodie McBody, the Story, (HA!) into a live solo performance show! I’ve done solo performance before and there is nothing that is quite as wonderful and cathartic and moving. I’m working on a short piece that will be performed (by me!) the night of March 28th, in San Francisco. (same night as the morning of the MARATHON!) If any of you will be around, I’d be extremely psyched to have some friendly faces in the audience. More details to come as it gets closer.

What’s YOUR sneaky eating like? C’mon, tell Foodie all about it.

 

The Breakfast Experiment January 22, 2010

Last week I began an awesome tele-class with the dynamic duo of MizFitOnline and Dinneen  of EatWithoutGuilt. What an amazing team they are! They’re teaching a pilot class called Jumpstart 2010, and I feel fortunate to be part of it. MizFit is a unique expert on all things fitness, and Dinneen is the queen of intuitive healthy eating. Together, they are just fantastic. (for you Twitter folks, look for the hashtag #JS2010 to see Tweets on this class)

For me, I feel it is necessary to always continue learning, finding ways of fine-tuning my understanding of both fitness and nutrition. I can’t afford to sit back and say, “I’m done now.” So it was a great opportunity for me to be able to participate in this class and see/experience things in a different way. Already I am so glad for what I absorbed in the first session.

One of the “homework” assignments of the first week was the Breakfast Experiment. Which consists of eating something new for breakfast every day, and logging how we feel right after, and also 2 hours after each meal.

Here’s what I’ve noted so far.

Day 1: 10am (after heavy workout) mini whole wheat bagels (“bagelettes”) with peanut butter. Pretty good. But since I ate SO late, I was ready for lunch around noon.

Day 2: 8am – caramelized onion scramble (one egg + one eggwhite) with one small slice ham, sprinkling of goat cheese. Plus blueberries on the side. This was VERY filling (Weight Watcher folks will recognize this as a classic “filling food” breakfast!!) and I was happy/satisfied until 12:30pm lunch. Thumbs-up breakfast, but I don’t always have time for this.

Day 3: 10am (again after heavy workout) – 0% Fage yogurt with blueberries, a couple pecans and a drizzle of agave syrup. Very refreshing and yummy after hot workout, but a slight tummyache half an hour later. Was it because it was cold? Because it was dairy? Because it was cold dairy? Hmm.

My trainer yelled at me this morning bc I admitted I had not eaten anything before the workout, only a cup of coffee. I KNOW this is not good. But I am rushing around like a bat out of hell in the AM, driving daughter to school, then rushing to the gym, and it’s all I can do to get a cup of coffee in me to fling myself behind the wheel. No, it’s not ALL I can do, but…

I resist eating before workouts because:

1. It’s early.

2. I don’t like eating the second I wake up.

3. I reallllllly don’t like working out with stuff in my stomach. Because I work out so hard there is often the danger of puking. Today I felt pukey enough on on empty stomach.

I guess the only solution to this is to (nooooooooo!!!) get up earlier. Which means (noooooooo!) going to bed earlier. And maybe I will have one of those mini-bagels, or a slice of turkey? or cheese? on the way to the gym. I’m going to have to experiment with this.  Miz? Dinneen? Any thoughts on this?

Edited to add:

Day 4: Double fiber English muffin with cheddar cheese. I didn’t think this was going to last very long, but it was amaaazingly filling and staying! Four hours, easy.

Day 5: Bear mush hot cereal with blueberries & cream. DELICIOUS. Also very long-lasting. Yum.

 

It’s Official!! I’m a WW Leader! November 6, 2009

Whewwwwww… what a DAY.

Got up super early because I couldn’t sleep. I think I was rehearsing/muttering my meeting points all night in my sleep. Showered, got dressed. (same dress/sweater combo as training weekend) Drove to meeting, got there about an hour early. Clipped up my flip-chart pages and then stood around and twiddled thumbs. Went to the bathroom. Paced the meeting room to and fro, loitered at receptionist desk, etc etc etc.  Finally the members began trickling in and the room filled up.  A few of my friends came in and I was so happy to see them: two who are already WW members, and one who decided to join TODAY. Yay! Then it was time to start. SHOW TIME.

All I can say is that it went well. I felt good. I was happy to have an eye on the clock so I was able to pace myself. I got everything in that I had wanted to.  People connected with the topic and with each OTHER, which is a key thing.  One of the things they did at training one day was to have us all stand in a circle and pass this ball of yarn back and forth; eventually it made this big criss-crossy web. Which was to demonstrate what we are supposed to be doing with our members, creating a web of connection between them. I felt like I could visualize this happening throughout the meeting time and it was way cool!

After the meeting, the leaders/manager sat down to give me Feedback. Overall, it was reallllllly positive. They had been taking notes (which they gave me) which said: “Very comfortable in leader role. Warm, enthusiastic, natural smile. Professional demeanor. Excellent approach to meeting topic, well prepared.” YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!

Then they told me a few little “areas of improvement” which I totally agreed with and which were very helpful. But they were teeny tiny and just fine tuning. THEN they said, “So, how’d you like to lead an at-work meeting?” I said, “Sure, that would be great,” and then they said, “Starting today! In an hour?”

WOW. So I zipped out of there, did a quick errand I need to do at home, and zipped over to the office building where the At-Work meeting was. The reason for this incredibly rapid succession of events is that my leader was promoted to Territory Manager LAST NIGHT and now needs to find leadership for his 7 (!!) meetings. This was the first one. Now it’s mine!! So I led the meeting AGAIN, and he introduced me and basically turned it over to me.  It’s a small group and I really liked the people there.  That meeting had a totally different feel but I think it went well.

Then I came home and collapsed. Woweeeee!!!!!!!

I want to thank everyone for the great support you’ve shown me since I began this process. I feel like I’ve been so incredibly buoyed by everyone here and at Twitter. THANK YOU.

 

Losing or Learning? October 27, 2009

muffinOne of the phrases (and there were many!) that really stuck in my brain from WW training was, “You either have a losing week, or a learning week.” I LOVED this, because it takes away the notion of failure. If we don’t lose weight, what can we learn from that, from our behavior, that we can change if we want to have a losing (or maintaining) week the next time? I must repeat that refrain in my head a dozen times a day.

I am having a big-time learning week. First, I learned that it really IS hard to lose or maintain when I eat out in a restaurant like 5 meals in a row, even if I am trying to make healthy choices. Part of it is the food is just TOO GOOD, and I lose sight of necessary portion control.  Also, we really do not know for sure what is IN the food we eat at restaurants. Then, especially for me, there’s the social aspect, which is sooo distracting. All that adds up to, even with the best intentions, an inevitable weight gain. SO I am making a resolution to really cut down/minimize my restaurant eating as much as possible, from now until December.

As if that weren’t enough, I came home to even more of a delusional bubble. Some part of my brain seems to believe that as a WW staff person I have donned some invisible cloak of immunity, ie, I can do anything and not gain weight. NOT! OMG!  But there’s a little devil on my shoulder this week, poking me and saying, “This won’t count!” and other lies.

Here was my lesson for this morning.  I am particularly vulnerable in the fall, because of colder weather, upcoming holidays, and special things like PUMPKIN TREATS. I am such a sucker for pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin EVERYthing. I especially love pumpkin muffins. But I have resisted them… until today. I just freaking wanted one. So I got one. And I ate it.

And this is what I learned:

  1. It tasted really good.
  2. But not THAT GOOD.
  3. I felt a little bit sick after I ate it, because I am not used to eating sweet carbs for breakfast anymore.
  4. It did not sustain me. I was hungry pretty quickly, like 90 minutes after I ate it.
  5. I really don’t know how many points it was, but it was anywhere between 6 (best case scenario, which I doubt) and 11. (ACKKKKKK!) Which is like half of my points for the ENTIRE DAY.
  6. It probably was very very bad for my blood sugar but I did not test it right away so I don’t know. :-(
  7. Bottom line? Yeah, it tasted good, but ultimately….. NWI. (NOT WORTH IT)

So yeah, I learned! I could’ve just craved and desired that pumpkin muffin all day- all week or month- but I am actually glad I ate it because now I know. I know it was fine, but y’know? I don’t need to do that again. Instead I am going to search out some low-point pumpkiny treats, and make those instead for the next time the pumpkin urge hits me.

I’m learning! I’m learning!

(pumpkin muffin photo – and recipe -courtesy of my friends over at Muffin Top!)

 

 
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