Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just Tell Me What to Eat... Book giveaway!

Just Tell Me What to Eat!: The Delicious 6-Week Weight Loss Plan for the Real World
Most everyone who knows me knows that I am addicted to Weight Loss/Fitness books... it's an obsession. I buy them, read them, and shelf them. I also get a lot of books for FREE from publishers who want me to review.

Well, I just purchased a new book today that am anxious to read, and it reminded me of a vow I'd made a few weeks ago to start purging my bookshelf at home. But instead of packing them up and giving them to Goodwill, I'm going to give them away on my blog!

The first book up for grabs is Just Tell Me What to Eat! by Timothy S. Harlan, MD.

Want this book? All you have to do is leave a comment on THIS POST. You have until the end of this year (December 31, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.) I will choose a comment at RANDOM on January 1, 2013! I will also post another book at that time.

This is going to be fun!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Measuring Progress

I've really had to remind myself of this over the past two days. After being ELATED bout seeing 299+ on Tuesday, the scale jumped right back up on Wed. About 2 lbs up! Which was very discouraging being that I ate well on Christmas (no sugar or refined carbs and within my calories) and did a LOT of exercise. But TOM came later that morning, and I was very sore from the exercise, so I figured that was it. I let it go.

The scale was still up a little this morning (300.2), and that didn't bother me as much. But it still made me question whether or not it was the right time to start exercising again.

I got a lot of feedback from Facebook friends, and went ahead and hit the gym today. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and some upper body weights.

I know me, and I know that exercise is essential to my journey for health. Even though I LOVE seeing the scale get lower and lower, I also love to look good in clothes, and FEEL good when I move. Exercise does that for me. And I know it helps me lose inches, too. I snapped these pics today, and I look bigger in these pictures than I did at about 10 lbs. heavier this summer. But this summer I was in the gym A LOT. I see the difference.

So if I can just strike that balance between a great diet and a great exercise plan... I WILL BE SO HAPPY! I just don't see where I can lose! (or gain, lol). I felt really great after my workout today. And I can tell a difference with just 19 lbs gone. 

And about that scale... I promised that I would go to weekly weigh-ins after I hit 299, but this fluctuation makes me want to keep watch daily for now. I really do think I'm just using it as a tool at this point... or I might just be lying to myself. I'm just not ready to put it away. Stepping on that scale at 6:30 every morning is accountability to myself. It's an indicator of how well I did the day before, or it might tell me that I'm doing something wrong. 

Or I might be making excuses to keep it, lol. Mr. Leonard has assured me, though, that if he sees me getting scale-obsessed again like last time that he'll hide it from me again. And I believe him.

On another subject... I accidentally deleted a lot of my blogs from the Google Friend connect yesterday. If you see that I'm gone, or would just like me to add you, please leave a link in the comments. And if you have a Facebook page you use for motivation, let me know that, too! I'm trying to stay connected!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Merry (late) Christmas! I hope everyone had a day filled with love, laughter, and good times. I know that I had an excellent day. My Christmas was very different this year, but in a good way. My family elected not to do a tree or gifts this year, and we just celebrated by spending quality family time together. It was awesome. Our holiday also did NOT revolve around food this year. Yes... I baked cookies and pumpkin bread on Christmas eve, but I did not have ANY. I also made our traditional breakfast on Christmas morning, and only enjoyed the foods that I pre-planned for myself (turkey hashbrown casserole, sweet potatoes, and deviled eggs... all scaled down/healthier versions than usual). I made a pie and gorilla bread (another tradition), but didn't have any. But this number on the scale yesterday morning made all my holiday discipline worth it...

Yes... it was a Christmas gift to me from me to get right under the 300 lb mark for Christmas! I have been sugar free for about three weeks now, and have lost 19.4 lbs since 11/15.

This past week of vacation has been awesome so far. On Thursday, I took my kids to tour Cheekwood in Nashville. It's an art museum in a historical home, but it also has acres and acres of botanical gardens surrounding the property. It's really close to where I go to hike, and I've been wanting to take the kids for a while. We used to field trip there when I was a child, but I know it's been at least 25 years since I've been. We had an awesome time touring the home, but the best part was a sculpture hike we took around the property. It was basically a hiking trail, where different sculptures of different mediums were scattered about for our viewing pleasure.

This was my favorite one.

The kids and I enjoyed Cheekwood so much that I purchased a one-year membership. The sculpture hike is a short one, but there are other longer hikes available around the property. There are also the botanical gardens that we were unable to explore because it started raining. Now we can go back and really enjoy this place over the next year.

On Friday, we did a little shopping, then went to a family fun center to spend the day. The place we went to has bungee trampolines, skating, bumper cars, laser tag, bowling, and lots of other games, etc. Each child got an armband for only $10.50 each, so that was really a deal for all the kids to have hours of fun.

Saturday was a lazy, around the house day. Well deserved if you ask me! But on Sunday, Mr. Leonard surprised me with a day trip to Missouri to see my mom! He drove the entire eight hour round trip! It was so good to see my mom for the holiday, if even for the short time. It seems she has really started to adjust to the nursing home. She has made friends, and even has a "boyfriend" (even though she won't admit it, lol). Her Alzheimer's is progressing, but she still remembers all her loved ones, and was so glad to see us.

Christmas eve was pretty uneventful, besides spending the afternoon baking and getting movies/games rented. I surprised the kids with a "Family Game Night" basket that I'd won at an auction at our school. It had several board games, popcorn, candy, etc. that they really enjoyed breaking into on Monday evening. It really made my night to see everyone so happy and content.

On Christmas morning after breakfast was over, Mr. Leonard and I went on a walk/jog at the park to burn some of those breakfast calories. Even though I pre-planned my meal, that casserole (even with reduced-fat ingredients) was still kind of high in calories. But after that trip to the park, I burned most of them off, and even felt good enough to take my baby girl out to break in her new skates.

I realized that doing ACTIVE things like this with my children is so important to me right now. I am getting healthy for my family as well as for myself.

My sisters from Nashville stopped by and hung out for a while in the afternoon. They played games with us, and there were plenty of laughs. It was a great day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking at the bright side...

Thanks to the lovely technology of apps, I am now able to read the blogs I follow almost daily. I know that several bloggers took a day or so off from blogging to pay respect to the horrible murders that took place in CT on Friday. I, too, held off from posting for that reason. Honestly, I have avoided any press on that situation. I haven't turned on the tv coverage and haven't read a single thing about it. As soon as I heard that children were killed in an elementary school, and that many of those children were first graders... I immediately plugged my ears. As a mother of a first grader, who also is a teacher in an elementary school... It just hits too close to home. Right or wrong, I just can't process that type of tragedy.

I am choosing to look at the brighter things right now. I am 2+ weeks sugar/white flour free! I have finally reached a turning point where when faced with sugary treats, I do NOT have a meltdown. I had three different events last week where I was faced with either a work potluck or a buffet and I held strong and made good choices. I turned down Mexican with co-workers yesterday because it didn't make sense to play with fire. And I am prepared to stay strong at BUNCO tonight.

So far, I'm down 16 lbs since 11/15... 13 lbs gone since I lowered carbs on 12/4. That's an amazing drop, and I know it will slow down. But right now, it's very motivating.

I'm eating lots of lean chicken and fish and turkey. Veggies, including broccoli and spinach and salad greens. I eat fruit most days, but not as much as I did the first week. Lots of water. Cashews and almonds occasionally. And a few times I've had a Luna bar or an Isagenix Isalean meal bar when my carbs are low and I need something filling on the go. If I'm low on veggies, ill do a green smoothie with a low-sugar protein powder. I've cut down on soda to 1-2 per week.

I've been tracking using the Lose-it app, but may switch back to MFP since they also have a barcode scanner. The first week, I averaged about 102 carbs daily, and last week was closer to 70 carbs daily. I get between 90-100 grams of protein daily, too.

Another thing that has been an important step is only eating when I feel hungry. Honestly, that was such a foreign feeling for me. But now it's so amazing to actually FEEL that cue that everyone talks about that tells you that you need to eat. It's no longer an urge or a craving that I listen to. I'm listening to my body.

I am so thankful for all the support I am getting along the way, too. Friends that I'm constantly calling and texting with meltdowns and triumphs. I'm also very encouraged by my SkinnyHollie Facebook friends.

It's been a great few weeks. Now if I can only get through Christmas I will be set up for success in the New Year. I am officially on vacation until January 2, so I have a few more goals to work on while I've got free time. I want to continue to be sugar-free/low carb. And I want to start exercising again. I don't really have a plan for the exercise yet... Not sure if I should do cardio, strength training, or both. But I do know that exercise makes me hungry, so ill have to monitor those feelings carefully.

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A different reaction...

Today was STRESSFUL. Crappy. I've had to reel myself in from a terribly bad mood.

After a crappy day, I left work with my youngest and went straight to the high school where my nephew had a wrestling meet. It was my job to set up the concession stand for their home meet. My oldest daughter stayed after school to help me. We got everything set up, when they broke out the fresh baked cookies and pizza. Both smelled so good, and both are trigger (binge) foods for me.

For 7 days I've been low-carb, and am finally to a point where I'm feeling good. But those cookies and that pizza almost sent me over the edge. So as soon as another mom showed up, I left. I had to go home to get my youngest ready for her basketball game.

When I got home, I was greeted by my 12-yr old son, who was FREAKING OUT. I was so scared that the house was on fire, but then saw the broken glass all over the kitchen floor and noticed that the glass in the back door had been broken out. I asked him if someone was in the house, and he said there wasn't. But that he couldn't get his key to work and broke the glass to get inside. After being locked outside for 2+ hours. Thing is... his key worked just fine. On the front AND back door. Not sure what the hell was going on in his head, but it just added to my crappy mood.

I made a quick dinner for myself (more fish and broccoli since I've been craving fish lately). So I head out to
my little girl's basketball game. It was a good game, and I had a little time to calm down and assess my day. One thing stuck out...

I did not turn to food... not once. If anything, I had this strange sensation of NOT being hungry.

Over the past few days, I've adopted a strategy of only eating when I'm hungry, and stopping when I'm full. And it seems to be working pretty well. But I have to say that it's a strange sensation to "feel" hungry, and to "feel" full. And to know that it's not emotions or habit fueling my desire to eat. That's a really different feeling for me. I am not only seeing progress on the scale, but also seeing progress with the mental part of the battle. I'm setting myself up for long-term success!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

For the rest of my life...

When I decided last Sunday to start restricting carbs as a way to "jump start" my weight loss, I had no idea what I was in for. I really struggled on Sunday and Monday. Just eliminating sweet stuff wasn't working because I was still eating potatoes, bread and other foods with refined carbs. It wasn't sweet, but it was allowing my body to hang onto those carb cravings.

After some advice from friends, I went totally low carb on Tuesday. No sugar or refined carbs, but I allowed myself fruit to get through the cravings. I also started tracking with the Lose-it app - I switched from My Fitness Pal because Lose-it has a great barcode scanner and its very user friendly. The first few days was rough! I was cranky and miserable. My cravings were fierce. But by Friday, I was beginning to feel better.

Last night I had a planned girls night out with several of my best friends that included a house party and one friends birthday party. I was really nervous about it. Would I drink alcohol? How was I going to handle party food and birthday cake?

Before I left I made a good dinner so I wouldn't be hungry... Pan seared tilapia and roasted broccoli. And I made sure to drink plenty of water all day.

I am proud to report that I remained in control all night. 2 cups of diet coke, 2 chicken wings, a cheese stick, and some fresh broccoli with a dab of some type of dressing. Oh, and lots of bottled water. No alcohol at all. And it was good! I still had a great time and partied all night. I was even feeling pretty good about the way I looked. (please excuse the pile of towels behind me, lol).

And my reward... I weighed in this morning and was 7.4 lbs down since Monday morning. That felt pretty awesome.

Each day I'm finding that this struggle has so much more to do with my mind than just my body. I am addicted to food, and my food of choice is anything filled with bad carbs. Now that I am taking away those bad carbs, it seems like the fog is going away and I am starting to think more about the root of this problem I have.

And I am also facing the fact that the same foods that have comforted me for all these years are the same ones causing me so much pain. And they are the same ones that I may have to give up for the rest of my life. Silly as it sounds, that makes me sad. No more cake or donuts? No more candy bars and pie?

Some people are able to eat a little of these foods and move on. I'm not one of those people. Those foods have the power to consume me and are usually the trigger foods that kill my diet every time I'm moving in the right direction.

This coming week is going to be hard. Several work-related potlucks and dinners. But I have a plan for each and am very motivated and determined to stay on track.

I'm setting up my success for the rest of my life. There is no room for failure, and I'm sick and tired of regret.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thankful for friends...

Throughout this journey, I have made some amazing friends. I have really build a phenomenal support system over the years through this online community of bloggers.

But over the past few days, I have received snippets of wisdom and encouragement from people that are close to me in real life. Man, it feels good to know that so many people are pushing me along and are here for me during times like these.

I'm home today with a sick child - nasty virus going around my neck of the woods. So I'm taking some time to catch up on couponing and blog reading. I'm also taking some time to really wrap my mind around the fact that I'm going to have to detox from all refined carbs, not just sweet stuff.

After I made my announcement the other day that I was giving up "sweet stuff", so many people inboxed me or texted me words of wisdom of how hard it was going to be. Because carbs crave carbs. Its so hard to single out a single type of "bad" carb when you're eating other bad carbs. So after struggling BIG TIME with cravings on Monday, I decided to just "try" cutting all bad carbs on yesterday. All of my carbs on yesterday came from fruits and veggies.

And even though it was still hard, it wasn't nearly as bad as Monday. I still wanted pizza, and candy, and nachos, but I wasn't miserable. I ate a lot of protein so that I wouldn't be hungry. I also drank a lot of water.

I also reminded myself that I have an addiction. And the only way I will truly overcome it is if I stop trying to fool myself into thinking I can have my drug of choice in moderation. I just can't have it.

I know I've tried to give up carbs in the past. And have had no long-term success. But I have to try again. I know it's the key.

But it's scary. Can I really live without my favorite foods for the rest of my life? I don't know, but for now, they have to go. What I DO know is that I can't live like this anymore. I'm in pain... foot pain, back pain, knee pain. My weight is uncomfortable. I feel gross in my skin. I'm avoiding mirrors again. I am unhappy with myself. I have to change something... now. So if that means giving up the drug that's possibly making me this miserable, so be it.

When I'm at goal weight, I'll see if that piece of cake is worth it. But I'm thinking that I won't care about it at all...

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I have went crazy. Nuts. Bonkers.

I have decided to give up sugar during the Christmas holiday season.

Well, sugar is a strong term to use. My concentration is mostly on sweet stuff. Donuts, cake, pastries, pie, syrups and sweet tea... stuff that I REALLY like.

And know, deep down, that I'm addicted to.

Something hit me the other day after a text with my friend, Crys. She was telling me about another blogger friend who is opting to have gastric bypass. A part of me felt jealous... still not sure why. I think it has something to do with me seeing Cry's amazing success with it, and knowing that yet another person that I know of will be getting that same success while I'm stuck in the same morbidly obese body. So, while I'm chastising myself for feeling this way, I remind myself that even with WLS, you have to work your butt off. It's not easy (like some people think). There are all kinds of restrictions, sugar being one of the top ones. 

That got me to thinking, that if I had WLS today, I'd still have a hard time with giving up sugar. Because I'm an addict. So why not just give up sugar... now?

If I'm honest with myself, I KNOW that going sugar free seems impossible because I am so dependent on it. My love affair with sugar started before I was even in control of it. My baby teeth were rotten from sugar and soda by the time I was two. I remember sweet treats as far back as my memory goes. Sweets when you're happy, sweets when you're sad. Even as an adult, my mom and I used to love to shop the day-old cakes, pies and pastry shelf at Kroger or Walmart. I love anything sweet.

But if I'm ever going to lose weight and keep it off for good, I'm going to have to let it go. Now.

I don't want to wait until New Years. I want to start now. Well, yesterday was my "official" start date. But I didn't think it through very well, since I had a birthday party and an open house yesterday. And I ate cake at the birthday party, and while I was still "high", I at marshmallows dipped in chocolate fondue at the open house. Of course I felt ashamed an hour later because I'd failed on my first day, but I didn't give my day away and promise to start "tomorrow". I stayed clean for the rest of the day.

And so far today the only sweet indulgence I had was a Luna bar that I found in the bottom of my purse. That was after I passed up cupcakes at the grocery store in exchange for a honey crisp apple that cost me $2. It was worth it.

I think each day will get better. The cravings are there, and I know the temptation will be great. And I know I'm crazy for trying again, but I really think it's the key. If I can kick the sweets, I think the rest of the refined carbs will follow. I don't love bread, rice, and potatoes. Just all things made with flour and sugar! It's a start, one that I hope I can maintain!