Last Take

Anyone who has read this blog over the past few years knows that I struggle with my weight, I have body image issues and I have lost weight successfully. AS a matter of fact, I have spent the larger part of the last 2 years undoing all of the hard work I did for the two years before that.

I began what I hoped would be my last “weight loss journey” in October 2013. I succeeded in reaching my goal weight in June 2014 and maintained that weight through the beginning of November 2014. I put on about 10-12 pounds over the holidays that year, and then I maintained that through the spring and into the summer of 2015. But then…the bottom fell out, really.

I took a big risk and changed directions in my career in the summer of 2015. I left my  structured bank operations manager job and entered an unstructured real estate sales job. I’m not gonna hash it all out, but what I can say is: I learned for what I think is the last time that I AM NOT A SALES PERSON. The lack of a good schedule and the stress of trying to make up the income I lost all contributed to a steady weight gain, even though I was still exercising regularly. Flash forward to November 2016 when I returned to my structured bank operations manager job (different area, same job basically). Though the schedule got better work-wise, the kids’ schedules got CRAZIER school and activity-wise. So though I’ve had a regular work schedule and rectified the financial situation, I have not been able to find a balance with food and exercise that has contributed to an even larger amount of weight being gained in the last year.

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So, it’s time to lose about 48-50 pounds. I really want to say that I’m going to lose it “FOREVER!!” but I’ve lived this story over and over again, so I have no clue if it will be forever or not. I want it to be. I want to be healthy and well. I want to be able to run with my kids and have a fighting chance of staying with them. I want to be the example of health and wellness they need to have in a mother. So, I guess for now, that’s going to have to cut it. When I finally lose the weight again, I will have to figure out a new way to want things because what I did before didn’t work out so well.

What’s my plan? Well, Weight Watchers isn’t in the budget right now. And honestly, I feel as though I know all the things I learned in Weight Watchers before. I know I need to track my food and keep the intake to a much smaller amount than it’s been for awhile. I know I need to stay active — that part has never been an issue. I know I need to plan every day what my food will be — take my lunch, for example. I know that “Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail” and I’ve lived that out in all directions my whole life.

Discipline is essential. I understand discipline better than many people. Just because I understand it, though, doesn’t mean I know how to stay with it. So I need to re-institute my discipline that I had before where food is concerned: Plan ahead, Make Healthy Choices, Stay Mindful of the food I eat.

Craig and I bought some packages of food prep containers and we plan to spend Sundays cooking to make meals for the week ahead. I created a new Pinterest board where I have posted some Paleo/Keto recipes I plan to use for meal prep.

I need to maintain my discipline where activity is concerned and probably take it up a notch: Continue my four days a week at the Crossfit Box (maybe five if I am able to make Saturdays sometimes) and then find more ways to be active in the everyday — take my kids to the Community Center and we can swim or run or play volleyball/basketball. Choose those sorts of family activities instead of a night out at the movies or video games.

I created a new id on MyFitnessPal.com (LastTake, if you’re interested in connecting). I will use this site for tracking food and exercise and water intake.

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I still have a FitBit that I’ll use to help track activity. It’s nice I can connect it to MFP and they can talk to each other so my exercise ends up on MFP and my water intake comes over to my FitBit app. It’s kind of cool. Maybe someday I will afford an Apple Watch or something, but for now, I’m using what I already have.

I’m going to begin reading a book recommended to me by a friend I met at CrossFit. The book is called “Breaking the Stronghold of Food: How We Conquered Food Addictions and Discovered a New Way of Living” and it is written by Michael L. Brown, PhD and Nancy Brown (Not sure, but thinking they are married). I just ordered it and it should arrive at my house mid-week.

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I’m going to try to pray more. And I mean, I am going to try and INTENTIONALLY pray more. I think that if I reconnect every day in an intentional way, to our Lord and his Mother, then I will probably have a shot at long-term success.

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I created a new Instagram ID as well (LastTake18, give me a follow!) I’ve been watching my kids and how they handle their IG accounts and I think I’m learning a lot about how to create and maintain a new page in the app.

 

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I’ll post weekly, try to have a related blog up that I can reference and hope to find ways to post that will keep me going. The many times I have gone on a weight loss journey, I have found that people who get to know me online (my blog, Facebook, IG) often inspire me to keep working toward my goals. I’m a social media person — I like to use it to help get through my days or connect and follow my family and friends in life. So, this is one more way I will do that.

I’m thinking a weekend blog entry every week is what you can expect to see here. I’ll probably talk about my wins and my struggles. More than likely, I’ll work through something as I destroy this food addiction I have and I’ll have something to write about it here, too. I’ll probably post pictures as I lose so that we can see the success along the way. I may share how I reward myself — hopefully without incorporating food! — and learn new ideas from you here in the comments or on my Instagram account.

So, Here We Go. Again. Again.

 

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Eat Right To Feel Right

Over the course of my life, I have NOT been the example for others in terms of eating right.

As a kid, my parents were deathly afraid I’d turn out to be obese like people on my mother’s side of the family so they completely over-managed food for me to the point that I always felt like I was “sneaking” food if I ate anything outside of the three meals provided by my parents. Growing up with many comments from my mother about how I was “pudgy” or “chunky” didn’t help my self-image much. When I got old enough for sleepovers at friends’ houses, I gorged myself on freely available soda pop, cookies and chips. Thankfully, I was a swimmer so I burned enough calories to stave off obesity while I was a kid. But the damage was done as far as my relationship with food and my self image. 

It has now been a lifelong battle of trying to see myself how I really look instead of always having the comments in the back of my head picking out the fact that my butt is too big, or my tummy rolls too plentiful, or my face is too fat.

Over the years, I have dieted, and exercised. I have faced my problems head-on and then run crying and screaming away from them at some point only to eat myself back into the out-of-shape overweight Michelle all over again. This will continue to be a lifelong struggle, I think. I am one of those people that really does need to make myself say at least one nice thing about myself in the morning so I can move past this self-loathing for good.

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April 28 of this year began something new for me. I began the process of detoxification, or “clean eating”. I basically committed to a grain-free, dairy-free and legume-free, no-processed food way of eating. This meant no artificial sweeteners or sugar, no flour, no milk, no cheese, no ranch dressing on my salad, no peanut butter, no green beans, no greek yogurt, no bread, no tortillas. As a matter of fact, I was quite overwhelmed at the amount of “no’s”!! But, I started with lean steak and salad and eggs as the main portion of what I ate, maybe a serving of citrus fruit during the day like grapefruit or an orange. Oh yeah…and no diet coke either.

I have a love-hate relationship with diet coke. I’ve known for a long time that it’s not the best thing to drink, but I would get myself into a predicament where I needed the caffeine and aspartame to “get me going” in the morning so it had become a daily habit. Breaking this habit is something I’ve done a few different times. I even went 2 years without diet coke at one point. But I know that one fountain drink worth is all it takes for me to want to continue to drink it every single day. So, giving up diet coke for good is a huge sacrifice for me is what I’m saying.

I made it four full weeks completely grain-free, dairy-free and legume-free and without eating processed food. And I lived! And guess what else? I felt awesome!! The first four to five days were difficult, I won’t lie. I was groggy, I was craving diet coke, I was craving a sandwich, I was craving stuff like macaroni and cheese from a box! Then, miraculously, it seemed…I felt awesome on day six. My brain still told my body that it wanted a diet coke, but I had the strength to tell myself, “NO.” My eyes saw cookies in the pantry for the kids, but my mind was strong enough to say, “You don’t want those cookies.” Getting up in the morning is not as much of a chore and I no longer hit that lull around 2:00 p.m. telling me I need something to snack on to make it the rest of the day.

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Then I was washing my face the other night before bed and I realized that I can’t remember the last time I had a pimple! Then I did remember, but it was more than 4 weeks ago and it was a doozy, too. But my skin is smooth and soft and clear. I don’t have to wash my hair every day if I don’t want to. I’m also less irritable and anxious — I don’t know if that might be the lack of gluten or not, but I know gluten is something many parents eliminate from diets of their children and see behavioral improvements.

The best part is I am able to run faster, I have taken my pace down from 11:15/mile to about 10:35/mile most days (depends on the hills and any soreness I have from crossfit). Tied for the best part is also that I am wearing smaller sizes of clothes, too.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I did have a margarita Saturday night and I ate some pizza at a work luncheon on Friday. I never noticed before how crappy pizza makes me feel. I paid for that bit of pizza I ate all evening. I remember before I went down this path of “clean eating” that I thought I couldn’t do it. I thought it would be too hard — especially with the kids and the fact that I probably couldn’t get them on board with it (let’s face it, processed foods are the lifesavers for moms and dads who work outside the home). Honestly, I would often speak in defeatist language like, “I just can’t give up my diet coke.” or….”I love pizza and bread, I just can’t imagine life without eating some of that in my regular diet.”

But then I realized that I wanted to be healthy more than I wanted to drink Diet Coke every day of the rest of my life. So, I psyched myself up, gave myself a nice pep talk and went whole hog on this plan. And, I’m not looking back — ever.

Will I ever drink Diet Coke again? Time will tell. But even this week, I was at a deli grabbing lunch and purchased a drink fully intending to get tea, but old habits die hard and I started to put Diet Coke in my cup. Then I used the water spigot and rinsed it out and refilled with ice and grabbed the unsweetened tea.

Will I ever eat pizza again? Oh, sure, I imagine I will…but I remember how horrible I felt the other day recovering from that luncheon and I bet I’ll think twice about it and see if there’s an alternative available.

Cheese is something I will work back into my diet, but probably not heavily. Greek yogurt, too. But if any pimples show up afterwards, I may reconsider.

I wrote this mainly to remind myself of this process and how it felt. I plan to write a post on crossfit and exercise, too. But I think the biggest factor in weight loss and wellness is dietary, and I’ve noticed the biggest difference lately due to the things I am no longer eating. 

I know it’s a hard thing to give up the things I have given up. And personally, I like tying that sacrifice to some other intention — offering up my own discomfort for the spiritual help of someone else. I don’t write this to say everyone should do it. I think different people have different goals in their lives about what they want to achieve. And people often have extenuating circumstances that might prevent them from moving on something like this (budgetary, small children in the home, etc).

I just want to get this out there though that I think there might be something to this non-processed, whole foods diet thing. I always thought it was a good idea. I was one of those people who would say, “In theory…sounds like a good thing…” followed by a BUT and that whole, “I would miss my diet coke too much” or something like that.

It’s only been a little over 4 weeks, but if the way I feel continues to be this good, I can’t imagine returning to my old ways.