Thirty-One Gifts

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alcohol: Death to a Diet

I don't care what the justification is, alcohol truly is death to dieting.  Usually, you don't just stop at one, and before you know it, on a "night out," you can spend over a thousand calories in beer alone, and if you are drinking sugary tropical drinks, well, you may go into the thousands of calories - just by drinking.  Do you realize how much "smart food" that would be?  A lot.  A whole lot.  Why do you think they call the distended belly due to alcohol a "beer gut?"  I know this well.  I loved my beer once.  And tequila.  I quit  alcohol over two years ago, and within the first 4 months, I lost 35 pounds.  I wasn't dieting.  In fact, I ate MORE, because there were grumblings in my belly: "Feed me Veronica!"  But, the weight I lost was a LOT of water and sodium.  I also wasn't ingesting a ton of sugar from the alcohol, so that wasn't turning to fat in my body.  Even one cocktail party on the weekend is enough to trash your diet - or live-it.  :)  If you're going to have one from time to time, then make sure you drink a ton of water and exercise to get it off ... just like food.  I've found that I really don't miss it.  Food tastes so much better, and it doesn't give me a hangover.  :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

The "Dolly Parton" Diet

Years ago, when the movie, "Steel Magnolias" came out, Oprah had the whole cast on her show - except they did it as a location interview.  Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine were all cozy on couches in a fancy schmancy hotel room.  Dolly used to be overweight, but many of you may not remember that.  Well, when she surfaced for this film, people went crazy, because she was not just smaller, but teeny tiny - particularly for having a Mae West type, figure eight, stacked and packed shape.  I was a figure 8 as well.  I was also short like Dolly.  She's shorter, but I don't have many inches on her.
     When Oprah asked Dolly how she lost all that weight, Dolly answered in her blunt and charismatic way, "I just stopped being a pig."  Since NO woman would really ever say that about themselves, the ladies gasped and giggled a bit.  Julia interrupted, and she told Oprah that Dolly still eats biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, etc..., and Oprah was shocked.  How could you eat all that and lose weight?  Dolly piped in with her natural exuberance, and explained, "I just don't eat as much.  I eat whatever I want, but less.  I realized I didn't need to eat everything I was eating, but I didn't want to give up my favorites.  It's what I grew up with."  Oprah was shocked at how small Dolly have become.  Dolly said, "I was always small.  I'm really petite.  It was just covered in fat!"
     I appreciate Dolly's candor.  It's true.  Once I realized that I was stuffing myself for many reasons: emotional, escape, celebration, disappointment, and just about everything but fuel - then I realized how Dolly had looked at it.  She just started using food for fuel and didn't give up everything.  That's how she's probably kept it off.  She doesn't work out much.  She claims in interviews that she hates it.  Now, I know I have to exercise and I can't eat gravy every night, but I like Dolly's philosophy.  Don't strip everything, because of course you'll crave it.  Cut portions first.  The easiest way to do that is to eat 6 small meals a day.
     Grazing throughout the day on healthier snacks, or just smaller versions of favorites at first, will keep you more filled and will prevent a pig-out at night.  I don't chow like a maniac at night anymore because I've deprived myself.  I just eat a handful of this, a bagel, a sandwich, salad, etc.  One of those every few hours keeps me going.  I don't starve and I'm actually losing weight.  I feel it.  My clothes are smaller.  I can't wait to go to the doctor.
I think I'll write Dolly when I'm all done with this loss.  I owe her one!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Overeating and Starving

If there's one thing most all dieters know, even though they may not be anorexic or bulimic, is the vicious cycle of overeating and starving yourself.  It's so natural to think you must deprive yourself, suffer, and take things away in order to be rewarded with a great body.  I would starve myself to lose weight, not realizing that I was throwing my body into crisis and it was actually holding on to the fat, because it was scared it would never get another meal.  I was too~  Of course, my body would get frantic, my blood sugar would drop, and I'd pig out on what? Carbs.  Katie will tell ya all that medical stuff, but basically, I was messing up my body for years in the cycle of starving and feeding.  And - the greatest sin of all when you're fat is to eat like a pig in front of other people.  You hide that!  That makes you depressed, you want to eat more, and then it forces you to isolate because you hate yourself so much.  It's really unfair when someone thin can pig out and people say, "My you're hungry!"  However, if a fat chick like me were to do that, I'd get, "Honey, do you really want that?  Do you think you ought to be eating that?  Do you want to die like your father?"  Ugh.  It's so funny too, because I'm referencing things like Thanksgiving dinner, where my thinner sisters and Aunt can pack a couple of plates away, and I can rarely finish one plate.  AND that's when I started noticing: my body didn't really want all that food.  Ever.  So, I put myself on the Dolly Parton diet.  More tomorrow ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Killer: Sedentary Lifestyle

First on my list of "How I got Fat," a recent post, is a sedentary lifestyle.  It's a vicious cycle.  It sneaks up on you.  For many, and it is true for me, I got married, settled in, made food all day for my family, and got too comfortable.  I also cook like Paula Deen, with sticks of butter and other assorted artery cloggers, which is fine every so often, but not everyday.  It's what I grew up with.  I'm also from a serious TV generation, the "I Want My MTV" crowd, and we spent more time watching movies on that new fangled thing called a VCR than we did playing outside - as teens.  Loads of things helped us out:  Big Gulps came out, fast food was more prominent than ever, snack food explosions, etc...  I've learned that just a couple of those habits will "weigh" your body down with lethargy, so you want to sit and sleep.  Vicious cycle.  Why?  The lethargy makes you feel like crap, so you eat more junk to soothe yourself, and then you simply don't get off the couch... getting bigger and bigger.  And that's how it happens.  Oh, and the mirror isn't your friend during this period, nor pictures, so you really don't have a "true image" of yourself.  Which is hysterical for me, because Veronica literally means, "true image."  Hmm...  guess I ought to work on that.  :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finished with Fried Food?

I have learned one thing: when Katie and I make a new pact at the beginning of each week, I need to keep it.  It only rolls into the next week.  Fried food and fast food have been the hardest things to take off my menu.  I'm in the third week of "quitting" them, and although it seems I may make the commitment this week with 3 days to go, it's been hard.  I love having a frappe on the way home from work on a payday.  The Conspirator and I love having a pizza or hamburgers and fries (homemade) from time to time.  Okay - too much of the time.  I was able to kick Diet Coke easier than this one.  Making the proper food choices all the time can be wearing, but now that I'm almost "cleaned out," even potato chips don't taste as good anymore.  They don't fill me up like trail mix, yogurt, or a little cup of peaches.  These are all sweet enough, and I'm starting to crave them more than carbs and fried food.  I NEVER thought that would happen.  The fried makes me feel bloated now.  My fingers immediately pop out from the increase in sodium.  SO, when not just Katie, but my body is telling me what it wants, well ... I better listen.  It's just that my love affair with McDonalds has been going on my whole life.  Too bad it's a Frappe every once in a blue moon now.  But ... I did fit into a smaller size the other day, my face is smaller, and my stomach is sliding off my body.  It's all working.  Why should I fight it?

Trading French FRIES for...

BAKED Sweet Potato Fries:

SOOOOO much better!  Recipe at:  Sweet Potato Fries Recipe  I leave out the salt and add pepper instead!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fighting with My Trainer

Okay, not all this stuff is easy.  The honeymoon is over, and although I feel better than I have in years, I got a bug up my butt this past weekend.  Katie, trainer extraordinaire, and I went bridal dress shopping.  For me.  I felt great.  BUT, I broke the fried food rule that we just made, (before I got to Katie) AND I wanted a dessert after the dress shopping.  Well, I got a little big for my 'britches, as my grandmother would say.  I felt so good.  I tried on dresses that were smaller than the ones I tried on in February, got a big head, had a partner in crime with me (not Katie), who shall remain nameless to protect her from repercussions, and I got in a snit with Katie when she only tried to help me.  In my defense, we've changed multiple habits that I've had for over twenty years in the course of 5 weeks.  That's pretty hard.  Now, Katie would say - "You've had enough years with that stuff, are you serious or not?" - and, no matter how big of a baby I want to be - she's right.  I've been fat long enough.  I've felt awful long enough.  And now I'm entering those hot flash times?  Yeah, time to be as healthy as possible.  I'm sorry, Katie.  Ready for tomorrow!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seat Belt Victory: EPCOT

As I said before ... it's not all about the weight.  Sometimes it's about how your fat gets in the way of living your life.  I love Disney.  Yes.  I'm a Disney freak.  However, at my largest weight (pictured lower left on the blog), and even two years ago, I couldn't even buckle the seat belt on "Soarin'," Disney's great air suspension ride at EPCOT.  I'm quite fond of this ride, because you go so many places during the course of it.  I love travel, and even though simulated, I'd rather be going somewhere.  To my surprise, despite having to brave four student groups clapping and cheering because all 200 of them got to fast pass us, I arrived at the dreaded seat.  I grabbed it while still standing, extended it to it's greatest length, and then sat down.  To my surprise, it buckled, and this is what was left over: 

I think we're making progress... :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How I Got Fat

I've been asked by more than a few people, "Exactly, how did you get so overweight?"  I love it when they tag it with something like, "You're so smart - how did you not see it?"  This implies a couple of things: one, that fat people are inherently dumb, because only someone ignorant could gain and keep that much weight.  Next, that I've never looked in a mirror.  All fat people look in a mirror.  Usually, full of self-loathing, where upon they eat to self-medicate, thereby getting fatter and making a vicious cycle where none need be.  I know this because I'm fat and I know fat people.  That's the thing.  Over half of Americans are.  I know the intelligence of Americans is widely debated in the world, but we do know we're obese.  We diet all the time!  So, how did I get fat?  I thought I'd list it:                                                                            
  1.  Sedentary Lifestyle.
  2.  Cycles of overeating and starving myself.
  3.  Drinking alcohol.
  4.  Drinking tons of diet soda.
  5.  No water.
  6.  Poor diet.
  7.  Poor sleep habits.
  8.  Medication that caused weight gain.
  9.  Lying to Myself. 
  10.  DIETS

I'll go through each of these in different articles, but I can say I just smashed the lying to myself with this blog!  I cut alcohol, diet soda, started exercising, got my sleep cycle rearranged, quit dieting, and I drink a ton of homemade tea now.  All these changes have been within a month.  I feel better than ever.  I never thought I could do it, but it gets easier every day.  There just comes a point where you have to stop lying to yourself.  I was hurting myself more than anyone else by refusing to see it.  Like I said, we're not dumb. :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Freedom From Fat

Just from the 50+ pounds that I've lost from a divorce and giving up alcohol, I feel so much better, that I'm now addicted to wanting to feel great!  I can see the goal on most days, and when I can't see out of the covers on a bright sunny day, well ... that's what Katie, The Conspirator, and a close-knit group of friends are for.  I've felt trapped by the weight for years, so when the Fourth of July rolled around - I was stuck with the same old possibilities of hot dogs and hamburgers.  Why?  Because it's a tradition?  When over 65% and climbing Americans are considered obese, then I think at the age of 43, I can skip a few to lose the fat.  Aside: I see skinny people on TV put fat suits on and go "undercover," showing what people say to them when they're "fat."  I think it's hysterical.  One, because they can't show a true reaction to the pain of being treated unfairly, and secondly, they get to immediately shed it all revealing?  A perfect body.  Ugh.  Funny though.  I'd like there to be a zipper at the top of my neck to zip this "fat suit" off of me.  I would think most obese people would agree.  That's why the diet industry makes billions a year.  BILLIONS.  Off of making us, well, actually fatter.  So, with all that in mind, I decided to treat myself to something I don't normally have and do it up right.  I allow one "cheat" on special days - not the whole day or a whole meal - just one.  I chose the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  Yum.  I feel more Freedom From Fat with each little decision.  Just like that.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pushing Through The "I don't want to's"

Even when you don't want to exercise, you should.  In fact, it's when you should exercise the MOST.  Why?  Believe it or not, exercise does eventually give you more energy, changes your mood by the release of endorphins, and helps you sleep more soundly.  I know, that could be at the top of any old blog about weight and exercise.  However, it's true.  And I'm a big girl that would rather be a couch potato ... or would I?  When you "weigh" over the options, that since a month has passed now, I feel better than I have in years, I have more stamina, I'm generally happier, and I move easier, then it's worth every teeny sweat drop!  Is it worth getting up early?  Well, since I'm not a morning person at all, I would have to say - most of the time.  There are some days I'd rather work out in the afternoon, so I do.  But Katie got my rickety body used to the morning, and now I get up with energy.  Of course, I'm not weighed down by the diet soda or fast food anymore.  I've also made dietary changes that lift me instead of making me feel heavy, such as switching chips for trail mix.  I try to remember all this when I'm sweating underneath my glasses into my eyeballs.  That's not exactly fun, you know?  Having a buddy definitely helps.  Whether it's a girlfriend, your love or your kids... get out there.  You'll feel a lot better, and for a lot longer.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bad Days Are Allowed...

Not "cheats," as those are explained later, but just one of those rainy, blue, stay-in-your-jammies days that comes along and kills your energy for everything.  Most people have those - whether they admit it or not.  Not all people are in on the "I need a day away" club, but a lot of us are.  We need space away from the world to re-boot.  I know that artistic people are especially prone to such days.  Heck, Picasso even had a whole "Blue Period!"  What to do?  Katie suggested many things, light therapy, music, food for-goodness-sake, and to move.  Blah.  Yuck.  HOWEVER, I went outside, for over ten minutes in the natural light that moves your mood, only to try to save a trapped Robin in my screen room before the German Shepard and Cat - known as Just Jazzie and Louie the Snob - made a rather primal meal out of him.  That was light therapy and action yesterday.  Music was noise, and the television worse.  A bath was wonderful...peace.  Someone on Face book said, "I'm going off the grid," which has become our new language for disconnecting from technology and the busy, noisy world we live in.  Today is better, and perhaps I can get some yoga done.  It would feel great to stretch.  I never know when I'll have to save a bird - by the way - the Robin made it.  I couldn't have saved him a year ago.  It's good for him that I exercise!