Thursday, July 31, 2014

What I've learned

Well...here I am...

...the race is on - to reach 249.8!

The line above is what I originally called the post - The race is on.  However, I think we all know how I wander all over the place.  I ended up with something totally different than what I was planning.

I was more than a little surprised this morning when the scale said 252.2.  I must have weighed five times.

This is a rare event for me.  The scale usually shows an increase the day after eating out...especially so after eating out TWICE the previous day!

But who am I to complain about losing weight?!?!  Take it and move on!

This means that I'm getting close to being below the next zero of 250.  For me, this is a huge milestone in a lot of weighs (get it???)

I started the beginning of the year at 290 lbs with the idea that I was going to lose this weight on my own and learn a new way of life.  I had no specific plan except that I wasn't going to be beholden to any specific plan - this was gonna be the DIP.  I'm a smart woman - I was gonna figure this shit out on my own, make up my own rules, and DO IT!

Can I say that I'm proud of myself?  That I'm amazed at myself?  There's no doubt I've still got a long row to hoe, but by God, I'm hoeing!  Hell - I'm 1/3 of the way there!  I didn't have any confidence at all on 1/4/2014 that I would be able to lose even 5 lbs on my own.

I'm pretty proud too that I was able to take the BIG vacation with hubster, let loose a little bit, and basically maintain.  That was a big lesson and gave me a lot of reinforcement that I'm on the right path, I'm doing the right thing, and that I'm making the permanent changes that will sustain me for the rest of my life.

I was a little worried that it would be extremely difficult to get back on track after vacation.  With the exception of a little hiccup that I talked about last week, I'm on the train without a whole lot of issues.

The biggest thing is that the food chatter has decreased immensely.  Before, when there was some food I saw or wanted - it didn't matter what type of food it was, I would justify not just eating it, but overeating it by rationalizing that I didn't know when I would be able to eat it again.  Isn't that pretty stupid?  Not rational at all.

I've discovered along the way that sugar is not my friend.  When I eat sugar, I really do feel like shit afterwards.  And while I did indulge on vacation, it really was tempered.  The indulgences had to be worth it.

That's another thing I learned, the indulgences are rarely worth it and I've become much more selective.  This can be attributed to the decrease in the food chatter and the fact I'm generally better able to think more clearly, more reasonably, and more rationally about food.  There is always gonna be tempting food around - I don't have to give in to all of them.

Another big lesson I've learned is that a challenge doesn't have to translate to failure.  Yesterday was indeed a food challenge, but I tried hard to plan ahead and figure out how to make the day a success instead of a failure.  That's something I rarely did before.  Before, the mindset for a such a day was that there was no way to figure it out or to make it a success, so I might as well throw in the towel and start again the next day - I mean - why try to make it work or salvage it - clearly it's too difficult.  That thought, THAT VERY THOUGHT, would lead to a fcuking free-for-all foodwise.  This would mean that I would start the next day even further behind.  It was only too difficult because I let it be too difficult.

The funny thing about this whole challenge thing is that I never back down from a challenge in other areas of my life.  I think most folks who know me would say that I thrive on challenges.  Tell me it can't be done, and I'll prove your ass wrong!

It's been an incredible learning process and I'm learning something new about myself all the time.  I've got a long way to go, but I've got a few tools under my belt now that will help me.

I think my chances of long-term success are much greater than they were in January.  That quote by Peter Attia on the right side of the blog is totally true and it rings truer for me every day.  If you remember nothing else, remember this: the game is won – or lost – not by the infrequent big changes, but by the frequent, deliberate, and repeatable small ones. This is where grit comes in.

I'm counting on it!


Onward!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Success!!

Well...here I am...

...and the day was a success!!!

I ate exactly what I planned to eat for both meals out today.

Lunch was easy; dinner was relatively easy with a few small challenges.

The restaurant my girlfriend and I ate at tonight was my favorites steakhouse when we lived in Texas.  They've just opened up a location in the town just north of where I live and I'd been looking forward to eating there.  When I told hubster about it, he immediately told me that his old wife wouldn't have done that to him.  I told him that his old wife must have been a lot nicer than his new wife - suck it up and get over it.  lol

Anyway, this restaurant brings a bowl of freshly baked rolls along with a sweet butter as you're seated.  And just let me say - they are good.  So, they placed the rolls on the table and I moved them to the side.  After a moment, I pinched a bite.  Luckily, they weren't hot, so they weren't IT...yannow what I mean?  So I left them alone.

Now before I picked up my girlfriend tonight, I talked with my mother on the phone and we talked about how good the house salads were - so cold, crisp, and fresh.  I don't know what it is they do that makes it different - lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and egg - that's it.  But they really are a salad apart from your every day run of the mill house salad.

So as I sat looking at the menu, it was like a little internal dialogue.  "Ok self, what are you gonna have?"  "Are you gonna make good decisions?"  "Remember the salt!"  "Oh maybe I can splurge a little."  "No dumbass!!  You've been splurging for two months now!!  Snap out of it!"  "You gotta weigh tomorrow."

It wasn't a matter of picking the entree - it's a steak....period.  It was a matter of picking the sides - sweet potato - plain, loaded, striped, plaid - it seemed like an endless list!  It was the same thing with a white potato - plain, loaded, mashed, fried, etc.

So what did I do?

Well - during the conversation with my mother, I said that I was gonna get a double side salad.  And that's exactly what I did.  I had a moment of...not weakness...uncertainty is a better description...while we were ordering, but it passed.

I ended up with a triple salad (kitchen error) and a steak.  It was awesome!  We enjoyed the meal and we had some good conversation.  I liked the relaxation and conversation more than the food.

That might seem like an odd thing to voice - that I liked the relaxation and conversation more than the food; but in all honesty, it hasn't always been that way.  At times in the past, F.O.O.D. was the highlight.  How offal (hahahahaha) is that?

Maybe I'm learning.

Onward!

Challenging Day

Well...here I am...

...it's going to be a challenging day today.

I have committed to eating out at both lunch and dinner today.  It's not that it's bad to eat out, it just makes it more challenging.  And I know from experience that the scale is always up the next day.

Neither meal should be too much of a food challenge - chicken kebab and spinach at lunch and then steak and salad for dinner.

I think the thing that worries me is last week.  The whole idea that I thought I was on track when I wasn't pulled me up short a little bit.  I've corrected it and have been totally and well within my parameters.  But that whole idea of "a little bit of this, a little bit of that" can really fatally and drastically derail my efforts to reduce the size of this barn-sized ass.

I'm gonna have to maintain a vigil today...and yes, that's what it is...to make sure I stay on track today.  It's far too soon for an excursion off the DIP*...particularly since I took an almost two month excursion with Vienna and the vow renewal!

Onward!

*DIP - Donna Improvement Plan

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weight Loss Tip of the Day

Weight loss tip of the day:  No matter how hard you try, you can never really laugh your ass off.

Onward!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

I won the bet

Well...here I am...

...glad I won the bet with my doctor.

As I said yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment today.  At my previous visit, the doctor was happy that I had lost weight and she made a bet that I wouldn't be able to lose another 10 lbs by this visit.

I won the bet...by 1/4 pound!  That's alright though - I still won.  My scale this morning said 253.6 - nekkid.  Her scale said 252.75 - with clothes!

The not-so-good news is that my blood pressure was back up - about 130/100 - enough to go back on the meds.  I'm assuming being back on the meds will bring it back to normal range.

The doctor told me a story of another patient of hers who had lost over 100 lbs doing the Atkins Diet.  Her blood work showed that all her markers were better.  Anecdotal for sure, but there seems to be a lot of positive anecdotal evidence floating around about Atkins-type plans.

I have another visit at the end of October.  I hope that since I won't have all the distractions I've had the last few months, I'll be able to show a bigger loss.  That would be awesome.

The only real challenge of the day, and it wasn't too difficult, was after the appointment.  I was thirsty, so I stopped at the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant.  I was on the phone with hubster and told him how appetizing the menu board looked and then asked him what I should get.  There was only a little pull - but the food really did look good.  Hubster said I should ignore everything but the drink and get something to eat at home.  Anyway - that was it.  Now don't go thinking that I listen to hubster all the time (that would be against the wife code or something), but I only got a drink and did eat lunch at home.

I just finished reading the book, The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz.  She posits that the nutritional information we've been given by the nutrition/scientific establishment for the last 60 or so years has been wrong.  It was an easy read for me since I happen to agree with the majority of what she wrote.  As a scientist, I was quite dismayed at how the scientific method was pushed to the side in order to push forth the agenda of a few egotistical folks.  Disgusting really.

Food was good today.  I didn't eat or take my meds until after the doctor visit, so I ended up with two eating times with a snack time, but that's fine.  One thing I've realized is that the sodium in my Vienna-style meals is gonna add up quickly, so I'm gonna need to watch that carefully and look for some alternatives.  I may just have to move to Vienna!

That's it for the day - I've stayed aware for the last three days of what I'm eating and following my guidelines.  I plan to do it again tomorrow.

Onward!



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Struggling a little bit

Well...here I am...

...Struggling a little bit.

The vacation's are done, the ceremonies are over, and it's time to get back to business.

I thought I was doing okay until hubster pulled me up a little short on Friday night when he jokingly said that'd we had our last anniversary dinner.  I had thought...on the surface...that I was back on track.  However, when he said that, it jarred me a bit.

We got home on 7/21 and ate out Tuesday through Friday night...and every one of our lunches and a few of our breakfasts were eaten out as well.

This is not a good thing.  Not only is it stupid to eat out so much, it's not conducive to me losing any weight.

Now, I've not gained any weight, but I surely haven't lost any either.  I gave myself some leeway during all the travel and celebrations, which was a reasonable thing to do.  However, the leeway has continued - a little bread here, a little dessert there.

So I've gone back to basics.  High fat, moderate protein, vlow carbs, no sugar.  So far, so good.  I started yesterday and I've had to correct myself a few times - oh how quickly newly formed habits can go by the wayside.

One good thing that will help is that hubster is out of town for a bit.  In many ways, it's easier when he's gone.  We went to Costco yesterday and bought meat and a few veggies.  After he left this morning, I put a bunch o'meat in the crockpot with some mushrooms.  It was very tasty and I'll be able to eat off of it for a few days.

We also bought some lettuce and have some leftover grilled chicken for lunches.  With some cheese and a little bit of dressing, I'll be set for lunches.  As far as breakfast goes, we bought some double cream brie and some really nice blue cheese.  I'll pair that with some of the sopressetta, smoked salmon, or prosciutto for breakfast. One side note, it was very difficult finding these breakfast items without a crapton of sodium, so I'll have to keep an eye on it.  Of course, I always have my standard issue smoothies.

It bothers me a little that I was fooling myself - that I wasn't as on track as I thought.  And I've gotta give hubster props - he's not always been the best (sometimes has been the worst) at providing support, but he did it right - no blame, just a neutral reminder.  It's interesting because he's giving me what I need the way I need it - which is not always easy for partners to do since we're all different people.

He never says, "No, you can't eat this or that', but rather he'll let me go along my own way.  He intervenes by moving whatever it is out of my way.  It's not such a big deal at home since we eat the right way at home.  It's really helpful in restaurants especially the ones with bread baskets!  Since the vacation is done, we'll be foregoing the bread basket altogether from now on.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow - the same doctor I saw a few months ago and we bet on a 10 pound loss.  I posted about it here.  If I remember, there was a 2-3 difference between her scale and my scale.  If there's still the same difference, I have a chance of winning the bet.  Even if I don't win the bet, I'll still weigh less than I did when I was last in her office.

Onward!




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hotel breakfasts

Well...here I am...

...thinking about hotel breakfasts.

So what I've only got two data points at the moment - I'm good at extrapolation...plus, I've been in a lot of hotels.

When we were in Vienna, the breakfast was included in the hotel price.  Breakfast was a food highlight of each day for me.  In every hotel I saw, there was smoked salmon, roast beef, proscuitto, all sorts of sausages, cheeses, yogurts (none in a container, but fresh) - all of them were full fat.  If you wanted artificial sweetener, you had to ask for it - it wasn't automatically placed on the table.  There was a variety of breads as well; however, there were very few sweet breads with all the sugary stuff on them.  Finally, there were at least 12 different fresh fruits each day - I believe most of them were organic.  I came to really like mettwurst - a strong German sausage along with some strong brie and blue cheese and a slice of watermelon or a few strawberries.  It was A.W.E.S.O.M.E.  In Vienna, we also had the option of ordering fresh omelets - fresh eggs and all.

Another thing was that everyone walked everywhere.  It really was the fastest way to get around.  Take the metro and then walk the rest of the way or hell, just walk the whole way!

I didn't see any larger folks in Vienna.  I may have been the biggest person in the city.

Last weekend in Austin, the breakfast was also included in the hotel room.  However, there were packaged cereals with low-fat milk, fake eggs, turkey sausage, and a crap-ton (hubster makes fun of me when I use that word!) of sweet breads.  The available fruit was banana and apples.  Yogurt was in a container.

Lots of folks in the room were overweight and left the hotel to get in cars to go somewhere.  Us included.  And Austin is a fit city.  Now - I do realize that since it was a hotel the folks were not from Austin.  Even folks in the city were "fuller-figured".

It was so much easier to eat real food in Vienna than it was in Austin.  And while it kinda kicked my ass the first day or two, the walking in Vienna was awesome.  I very quickly adapted to the walking and no shit, by the end of the week, it was no big deal to go back to the hotel at the end of the day and then go back into town on foot - it added a few extra miles each day and I loved it.  In Austin, the only public transportation is by bus or taxi and it's so far spread out that it would be very difficult to go by foot.

No doubt I love both places and could easily live in either without so much as a second thought.  But I think it would be much easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle in Vienna than in Austin or even here in Maryland - basically the US in general.  Perhaps NYC would be different so far as walking goes - not sure about food.

In any event, I'm going to try and emulate/copy/recreate the Vienna breakfast and walking.  I haven't quite figured out how yet - well, with the walking I'll just walk more...duh.  Gotta give the breakfast some thought.

One item to note - I was hungry this morning when I woke up.  I swear I think it's getting rid of the glycogen from all the carbs even though it's now Wednesday.  Does anyone else have that happen when they remove carbs?

Finally, hubster is going back to Vienna in October.  I'm wondering what to do.  ;-)

Onward!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Married....again

Well...here I am...

...Married...again.

Hubster and I renewed our marriage vows with Elvis in front of family and friends in Austin, TX.  It was fantastic and we had a great time!  Our children and two close friends of ours really did a bang up job of getting it all together - it couldn't have been any better!  We are very lucky indeed.


I really didn't know what to expect with Elvis, but let me tell you, he did an outstanding job.  At first, I thought he had some vocals on the track, but it was totally his voice with just back up singers on the tracks.  He did some of the more well known songs and had some hilarious vows.  Hubster and I both had a few tears - it was very sweet.

The sign behind us in the photo above was made by the kids.  Pretty impressive, huh?  It's kinda funny - the sign was to the left of where we stood to make our vows and I didn't see it AT ALL until after we had walked back down the aisle afterwards and my son asked how I liked the sign!  They laughed uproariously when I told them I hadn't even seen it because I was nervous!


Foodwise, I did okay.  I'm not brave enough to get on the scale at the moment because I'm retaining an inordinate amount of water.  I certainly was off plan, but I didn't binge.  There are a lot of restaurants in Austin that I like, so when we ate out, I ate what I truly wanted without all the crap.  At one restaurant, I wanted fish tacos and cup of tortilla soup - so that's what I got without all the other stuff.  I ordered the tres leches to split with hubster, but we ended up splitting it between three of us with some still left over.  At another restaurant that used to be a big fav, I was so disappointed in my food that I didn't even finish it.  I kinda figured it really had to be worth it and it wasn't...at all.

As far as alcohol goes, I had two margaritas and a single beer during the entire trip.  It just wasn't what I wanted to drink.  This is not the right way to describe it, but I feel worse about drinking Diet Coke than I do drinking the alcohol. 

Perhaps it was because of the excitement of being with friends and family, but I don't think I had a lot of food chatter. 

More importantly, I'm home and back on track without any issue.  And hopefully, I'll be able to get below the 250 mark soon.  I've been playing with the same 5-7 lbs since May.  While this isn't optimum, I'm not perfect and I feel that I've done a good job given all the excitement of the last two months.  Maintaining is a helluva lot better than gaining and giving up!

And I am NOT ever giving up!

Now - back to my regularly scheduled programming!

Onward!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Going to the chapel...

Well...here I am...

...going to the chapel!

I've been quite lax on posting since we got back from Vienna - only posting once.  But it's not because I've fallen off the wagon.  As a matter of fact, it was quite easy to come back home and get back into my food groove.

In thinking about it, I consider it a BIG success.  While I haven't lost any weight weight - I have lost the water weight and am still on track.  And I must say, it's been quite taxing since we got back.

My lack of posting has been to do with getting ready for our upcoming nuptials!!  Or renuptials as the case may be.

Hubster and I have our 30th wedding anniversary on Monday.  On Saturday, we're renewing our vows in Austin, TX with friends and family...

...with ELVIS!!!

We've got the rings, the food, the dresses, the guests, the wedding party...everything.  Some friends of ours have offered their home and it's gonna be a blast!!!

My daughter has done an outstanding job of getting it all lined up and organized.  I think there may be a few surprises in store, but I'm not sure.

Did I say we're having a Hawaiian theme?

Here's a pic of my dress:


I have several dresses, but with all the pulling, posing, changing, and judging - a girlfriend of mine and I decided this was the best, most flattering one.

Along with all the conversation about the renewal ceremony, work has been a BEAR!!!!  Five hours of meetings today, which is typical since I've been back.  How in the hell am I supposed to get any work done if I'm in meetings all the time?!?!?

Finally, we think our oldest dog is ill.  She's an awesome girl, but she's 17.  She's started to lose weight, she has trouble keeping food down sometimes, and she is peeing EVERYWHERE, which is something she's never done before - the carpet cleaner is getting some serious use.  Having said that, she's quite persnickety, so she may be pissed off that we were gone for so long.  We've got someone staying at the house while we're gone, so I'm glad we'll have someone her full time to keep an eye on her.  The other two dogs are just attention whores; the cat just wonders who the hell is in her house - it's not the usual intruders - meaning hubster and me.

In the end, I'm still here - just super busy getting ready for everything.  I hope things get back to normal next week after we get back.

Onward!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm bacckkkkkk!

Well...here I am...

...I'm baccckkkkk!!!!

Vienna was awesome!  It's definitely in my top 5!  There was so much to see and so much to do - I think I'll continue to go with hubster when he has to go.

On the backend of the visit, I'm pretty happy with the way everything turned out.  The scale was up to 257.4 the day we got there, was 261.2 on Monday, and down to 256.6 this morning.  I'm calling that a victory.

At the very beginning of the trip, I was fixating on the food and it was just causing me anxiety about the whole thing.  Finally, I just gave it up and decided that I would enjoy without going crazy.  With the food anxiety I had about the trip, in my mind, all my efforts had turned into a race that I had to win.  It's the same song over and over.  I **have** to win, but the goal is unreasonable in the circumstance, so I fail, and fail miserably, which in turn causes me to give up.  So what happens?  I screw myself over even more.

This time was different.  I caught myself and realized that this isn't a race, it is a way of life.  I was on vacation and there was no reason NOT to enjoy myself, but there was EVERY reason not to screw myself by being a glutton.  It wasn't a necessarily deep thought at all, but I actually **understood** it.  It really calmed me down.

I had beer several times - nice dark beers - but I had a single beer and that was good.  Funny thing, beer is cheaper than both water and soda.  Go figger!!!  There were also Sacher Tortes.  I'd had them here at home, but always found them dry.  We passed the Sacher Hotel often, so we went in one day and saw they had these miniature, single person tortes - three bites max.  Perfect!  I got one, enjoyed it, and that was it.  Tried the apple strudel at Cafe Landtmann, but only ate half because it wasn't a WOW!  Meals were mostly meat with some sort of potato, dumpling, or sauerkraut.  There was always starchy carb left on my plate.

I think the walking helped immensely.  And let me tell you, we did some serious walking!  I didn't ride in a car for over a week.  I had forgotten my walking shoes, so I had to break in a new pair I bought there.  That was a little difficult since I got blisters in all sorts of places on my feet, but the bandaids helped a lot.

Here's a little photo of hubster and me at one of the outside restaurants.  I'm still self-conscious about photos, but I'm trying to get a grip about it.  Besides, I think it's an okay picture.


The day we were at the Belvedere (all the Klimt), I fell on the cobblestones.  Here's the result:

My bruised laig


It's a pretty impressive bruise.  It goes from my ankle to the middle of my knee.  I'm gonna look like a real charmer at the renewal ceremony next week!

The other issue I had was water retention.  I swear I felt like a water balloon about to burst most of the time we were there.  These are my hands today:  


These were my hands last week:


They barely look like the same hands!!!  I drank as much water as I could, but water didn't seem to plentiful in some places or else it was very expensive - like $4 a 3/4 liter.

One thing I was quite happy to see while we were there was Gustav Klimt's The Kiss.
  
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
Along with Farm Garden with Sunflowers and The Bride, I was a happy camper:

Farm Garden with Sunflowers by Gustav Klimt

The Bride by Gustav Klimt
I don't know why I like these so much - it's not usually what I'd like to look at, but there's something about them that just makes me want to look at them.  The garden painting is the first Klimt I ever saw, but when I saw his other stuff, I was totally intrigued.  Oh - one cool thing.  Our hotel was on the same street as Klimt's studio in the early 1900's - Josefstadter Strasse.

Anyway, that's about it for now.  It was a great time.  Now comes next week.  Lots of family and friends and our vow renewal.  I think it's gonna be another great time!

Onward!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I'm walking

Here I am...

...Yes indeed, I'm walking!

Vienna is awesome!  The city is beautiful and maintained quite well, the metro puts any subway system at home to shame in spades, and the people are very kind and polite.  Pretty amazing and impressive all the way around.

The coffee here is to die for.   People here are serious about their coffee.  As for dining,  I'd venture to say there are as many outdoor places to eat as there are indoor places.

I haven't been in a car since the day we got here.   Walking,  the metro, and the bus are the ways to go.  Saw my first parking garage at Karlsplatz today... didn't seem to fit at all.

Spent the entire day at the Belvedere - a palace that is packed with art - Klimt,  Schiele, Monet, Renoir...the list goes on forever!   I'm going to start feeling cultured once I get past being overwhelmed at the sheer volume of famous paintings.

The food is also pretty awesome.   I've had the weiner schnitzel and Vienna ribs.  I wanted to try the sausage today...and that's what I thought I ordered.  When I received my food,  I basically had two skinny footlong hotdogs.   Oh well.

I have my pedometer with me and I'm logging close to 25000 steps a day.   I'm pretty proud of that.   I don't know when I'll hey the opportunity to come back,  so I want to see as much as possible.  The only problem is that I'm not used to walking that much and my shins are quite sore and I have blisters on both feet.   The band aids help a bunch.

Auf wiedersehen!

Onward!