Plateaus.

This is often the point where discouragement sets in.  When I’ve been following the plan, logging everything, weighing and measuring every morsel that goes into my mouth, and exercising on a regular basis. Yet, I hop on the scale and there is stays….right on that same number…for days and days and days.

Plateaus.
Ugh.
Need I say more?!

I often allow moments like these to crush my spirit. I hear myself say, “See? You can’t do this. No matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t work.” Although my brain wanted to take me down that road, my heart stepped in and fought back, “Don’t go there! It’s okay. Your body is readjusting right now – working something out on the inside that you cannot see – and you’re standing firm. You keep your focus.”

This has been the benefit to looking deeper into my triggers, reactions, behaviors and habits. I read something the other day and kind of blew my mind.

“What causes you to slip is learned. It is a habit.
The way you react to slips is also a habit.”

I had to read that several times to let it sink in. I have actually taught myself how to react to all sorts of situations. The way I react is a habit. I always think of it all as food-related habits…but this is referring to a mind habit.

I have taught myself how to slip…by the words I say to myself and how I react to those words. In the past, I have allowed plateaus to take me down that slippery slope of discouragement, which leads me back to not working as hard as I have been.

Plateaus. They are a painful moment of waiting.

To regain my focus, I decided to sit down and look over the past month of tracking my food and exercise (this is a key benefit to writing it all down). Here’s what I found:

  • According to My Fitness Pal, I have consistently logged every meal for thirty-two days.
  • I have gone from drinking half a bottle of water a day, to easily drinking sixty-four ounces each day.
  • I have gone from hardly eating any vegetables, to including them in my lunch and dinner every day.
  • I have gone from a high carbohydrate diet to a high protein diet, reducing my carb intake by seventy percent.
  • I have gone from walking a little over a mile a couple of times a week, to walking two-plus miles almost every single day.
  • I have successfully lost twelve pounds since my doctor’s appointment on April 2nd, where I found myself at my very highest weight.
  • I have successfully stayed the same or lost after the past three weekends! That alone reminds me that I am doing well and on the right track.
  • My blood pressure readings have gone from 185/100 to 130/75. Wow!!

There’s also the things I can feel:

  • Bloating and puffiness is greatly reduced.
  • More energy out of bed because I’m sleeping better.
  • Waking up hungry, because I quit skipping breakfast.
  • Clothes that are beginning to feel loose on me. 🙂

So even though the scale is sitting still right now, I can clearly see my success.

This plateau…while it wanted to beat me down this morning, I’m fighting back and regaining my focus. This is going to take continued work and I’m not going to let that unmovable number undo my efforts.

Thanks for reading and walking this journey with me. I hope and pray you find encouragement here to stay your own course. You’re worth it.

Simply,
Cindy

plateau

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The other day I was sharing a story with my sisters. We were talking about when each of us went through Blue Birds and Campfire Girls. I mentioned, “I was kicked out of Campfire Girls.” We kind of giggled about it for a minute and then one of them asked what I did. I told them that I admitted to doing something that I really didn’t do…

“We were at a troop meeting and towards the end of the evening, I had to use the bathroom. As I left the bathroom, another girl from the troop walked in after me. She was someone who I considered my friend. She was pretty and popular and did have a sweet nature. When she returned back to the group area, she smiled at me and then motioned to her back pocket where I could see the outline of something, like a compact. I just smiled back and that was that.

The following week, our troop was attending a skate night at our local roller rink. We all came in, got our skates on, and then I was pulled aside by the troop leader and another adult. I was accused, right there, of stealing makeup from my troop leader’s bathroom. Needless to say, I was shocked! I told her, “I did not steal anything from you! I wouldn’t do that!” She said, “You were one of the last people in my bathroom.” Again, I told her that I didn’t take anything from her. I was told to stay where I was and they pulled the other girl over and when she was asked, she denied taking it. Our troop leader knew that it had to be one of us because we were the only two that used her bathroom that evening.

The troop leader left to go and phone our parents. That’s when this girl turned to me and begged me to confess that I had stolen some makeup. I told her that I was not going to do that, because I did nothing! She cried, “Cindy, please! I will be in so much trouble and my dad will hit me.” I started crying and told her that I couldn’t, but she pleaded with me and I finally gave in.

Our parents arrived, heard what we were being accused of, our confessions, and were told that we were no longer welcome in our troop. My disappointed parents asked me on the way home, “Why did you do it?” I bawled and told them, “I didn’t.” My dad, who just happened to be an attorney, drilled me full of questions about it and then asked, “Why would you admit to something you didn’t do?” I said, “She told me her dad would hit her.””

Now some may see this as something admirable and commendable that I did for a friend. Nope. I don’t see it that way at all. She made it very clear to me that she had an agenda, because a friend wouldn’t have even asked me to take the rap and watch my reputation take a dive like that. My peers now believed that I was a thief.

When I saw her the next day, she looked like she didn’t have a care in the world. I asked her how things went with her parents and she said, “They weren’t mad at me at all.” Huh…I believe that was a defining moment where my self-respect took a big dip and a barrier around my heart went up. I never talked to her again.

Diving into the behavior behind the weight issues is proving to be tough, at moments. I’ll just be honest with  you, I’ve never been one who feels it necessary to walk down memory lane; only to drudge up old feelings so I can blame people and things for whatever issues I have. I’m a very even-keeled person, with a huge amount of optimism (if I could bottle it and sell it, I’d probably be rich) so I don’t wallow in pity for very long at all. Last week, at my Thursday evening weight loss group (aka ‘support group’) we discussed chain reactions. We took steps through different scenarios, searching for healthier responses.

So here I am, diving into all of this behavioral stuff, and wondering why telling that story to my sisters lit something inside of me. I hadn’t thought of that moment in years! It has made me kind of stop and take a look back. First of all, why on earth did I confess to something I didn’t do? Was it because she was popular and I wanted acceptance? Was it because I truly felt sorry for her and didn’t want her dad to hit her? If I’m honest with myself, probably a bit of both.

I still can’t put my finger on the reasons I self-sabotage. I truly like me. I know who I am at the very depths of my heart. I am a good and honest friend. I am loyal and passionate. But…I have time-and-time again, put my feelings aside for others. I go where others want to go, I do what they want to do. I have lived a lifetime of putting me aside and placing other’s needs far above mine. I am the most flexible person I have ever met in my entire life…and I so dislike that part of me.

Please understand, this is not a pity party. Oh man…I hate it when people feel sorry for me, so don’t even go there. This is a “me” issue…it’s me realizing that even though I chase every single silver lining out there (always have, always will), I have lacked a level of self-respect in myself. I live a life of self-induced guilt, always feeling like I have to meet everyone’s expectations. Like I’m still running after acceptance. I don’t want anyone to have a negative thing to say about me, so I bend and cave.

This is explains a lot about me leaning hard into being an introvert; it’s the place where I find solace and rest. So…maybe there is something to this behavioral stuff. I don’t eat because I’m angry or depressed. I don’t eat because I’m bored or lonely. It’s a self-respect thing in my case.

I have no idea what this enlightening moment means for me. I have no idea how this will change my eating habits. But, I believe I’ve become aware of something crucial. I love myself, but I don’t really respect myself. And maybe that’s all I need to be aware of..to know that my feelings are valid and that I need to take care of this intricate part of me.

Hey…thanks for walking this road with me.
Thanks for reading my ramblings. 🙂
If self-respect is your issue…be mindful and take care of you.

Simply,
Cindy

respect

Weekends…

Need I say more? What is it about weekends and how one little slip causes all of your efforts during the week to unravel? I’ve been down that road way too many times, so I did my best to go into the one I just came out of with continued focus.

Friday night, as my husband and I sat down to watch a movie, I remembered the pint of B&J’s FroYo “Cherry Garcia” (my favorite flavor!) that I had left in the freezer, leftover from a couple of weeks ago when I had a large dinner and couldn’t eat it all. So, I asked him if he’d like to share it. What was left would be considered about two serving sizes (1/2 cup each). I know…hardy seems worth it, right?! Honestly, we usually watch movies with our own pint, to mindlessly chow down on, so asking him to share is a huge type of victory! And that little half-cup was delicious!

That said, going forward, I know that I will keep this type of temptation out of my home as I set up a healthier environment for us. 

But…Saturday morning, the scale was up by half a pound. Discouragement. Now, I know that could have been from all sorts of things. I don’t necessarily believe that what we eat the day before shows up the very next day. However, it was the start of my weekend and it did make me stop and take stock in how I started it out. I can often have a perfect week of focused-good eating, but then the weekend comes and I get into a mode of relaxing…even where my health is concerned.

A couple of journal entries ago, I shared that I’m going to what I now know is a weight support group. I grumbled about it after my first meeting, but now I am seeing more clearly what it is doing for me. I realized, after that first meeting, that I was remembering things discussed and so I’m really paying attention to my triggers, my environment, and what causes my chain reactions to venture down an unhealthy road.

Each week, our leader goes around the room and asks us, “What is your goal for the week?” Our goals are to be realistic, measurable, and achievable. My goal has been to track, at least 5-times during the week, and measure serving sizes. I’m serious, friends, this is truly a key to success!

So after weighing myself Saturday morning, I worked through the rest of my day. That is, setting out a plan of what I would eat for the remainder of the day and writing it into my tracker. It got me to thinking…when I go on vacation, I don’t want my time to be all willy-nilly, so I usually have some sort of plan as to how I want to spend my time (ie., things to do and places to see). When the checks come into our home, I don’t just spend however I’d like, I budget our expenses for the month (paying bills and setting a little bit aside for extras). So why not do that in THIS really important area of my life?! I know that I can’t go on living completely carefree, so I know I have to plan. And let me just share right here, I love to go out to eat. Any eating plan that I’m on must include me being allowed to live my life. So..I just have to plan if I want success.

Our weekend had its busyness, as always. My husband and I had errands to run on Saturday, so our plan was to grab lunch while we were out and about. On Sunday, we had family in town, so I knew we’d be having lunch out again. I didn’t do as I’ve done in the past, “Oh, I’ll just get back on track on Monday.” No way! I’ve worked way too hard to lose what I have and make some good habits. So, I logged into the restaurants websites and looked up their menus to see what would fit into MY life and MY plan. I already knew their portions would be larger than what I wanted, so I made a plan for that…before I even got there. I walked through the doors with a mindful focus on my health.

Well, long story short, I weighed point-4 LESS this morning than what I weighed on Friday. My friends, I haven’t had that happened in 4-EVER!! To be down after a busy weekend is the biggest self-confidence booster that I can give myself.  And what do you think this kind of success does for me?! At the starting gate of my new week, I already have this feeling of victory and so it sets a renewed focus on a brand new week ahead.

I’m not looking at that big number I need to lose, as that would overwhelm my mind and heart. Honestly, at this point in the game, I can say that I’m not really focused on any specific number. I mean, I do celebrate when the number is down, because it represents health inside of me. What I am really focused on is turning old and bad habits into new and good habits. I have a lot of undoing to do. My goals, right now, are to be mindful; to pay attention to what triggers me and causes the chain reaction to venture off the healthy road that keeps me doing, over and over again, the things that I keep on doing. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?! It really is a deepening of getting to know myself better. I like the girl who lives deep within my heart and I’ve allowed this shell to kind of fog my view of her – of me. I feel for the first time, in a long time, I’m being truly honest with myself…physically, spiritually, and mentally.

Honesty.
I think I’ll just leave that right there. 🙂

Thanks for walking this road with me.
May you find encouragement on yours this week.

Simply,
Cindy

planning

Focus Forward

I saw the doctor yesterday, to go over the numbers from my blood work. I knew we would talk about my high Cholesterol and Triglycerides. What I wasn’t prepared for were the questions asked about low levels of Neutrophils and high levels of Monocytes.

Wait…Neutro what and Mono huh?! I was asked questions like, “Have you been sick recently? Have you had any infections?” You see, these new words are all about my white blood cell counts. As I answered the questions, I didn’t think much of them. In fact, I was pretty unconcerned for hours until I decided to sit down and look closer at my paperwork, which, of course, led me to Googling the meaning of these little white boogers.

I am scared by what I read. It’s not a good thing to have low levels of Neutrophils and high levels of Monocytes. This has raised a little flag with my doctor. In three months I am to return to have blood work drawn so they can re-check these numbers.

This undoes me more than anyone can even imagine.

Upon reading all of this, I headed for the bedroom. I could feel my emotions building. My husband (who’s this amazing guy, who totally loves, accepts and just gets me…) was on the phone with someone, but as soon as he saw me he knew something was up. He hung up, came over to where I was holding up two pieces of paper and said, “Okay…what’s going on?” Tears spilled out of me as I explained these two words I had never heard in my whole life and then I proceeded to tell him what I found out when I Googled them (thankfully, he also refrains from rolling his eyes…he knows and doesn’t really approve of my Googling antics). I told him I saw words like, lupus, cancer…leukemia (the word that I detest as it took my dad’s life), inflammatory disease, infections, etc. I told him, “I’m frightened by this.” He just listened, nodding his head as I poured it all out and then reminded me that our home hasn’t really been the picture of good health this year. The beginning of the year had us all wrapped up in that awful flu going around, which has left both of us with lingering coughs and sinus issues. We have a little family living with us, where our two youngest granddaughters have often seemed to have a little fever or sniffle of some sort. He said, “It’s possible that our bodies are working overtime to fight on the inside and because of our malnourished way we’ve been eating, it’s taking is toll on you.” His sensibility always lifts and encourages me. We talked a little, prayed a little, and then he went back out to the living room to watch the baseball game.

I, on the other hand, took to Googling. 🙂 I’ll admit it right here…I’m an addict of many things. I decided to look up natural ways to increase my Neutrophils and decrease my Monocytes. Well, guess what? I found out that nutrition and exercise is a big factor! I also read that inflammation can cause these levels to get out of whack. Do you know what body fat does? It causes inflammation that messes with your immune system. Hmmm.

Don’t get me wrong…I know that being overweight is unhealthy on so many levels…but this was something in black and white, numbers that rocked my foundation and scared the crud out of me. I can’t stop asking myself, “How did I get to this?!” “Why haven’t I taken better care of myself?! I’ve always just looked at this like I just make poor choices and eat too much. But it has to be more than that. What causes me to sabotage a perfectly good day of eating well? What causes me to look for something sweet to eat when everyone has gone to bed…knowing that once I eat it, I will hate myself for it? What causes me to not care that I’m overweight, over 50, with hypertension and a family history of heart issues?

This is ALL about emotional eating. ALL about some type of behavioral thing going on inside of my heart that causes me to continue down this road. This isn’t going to be a quick and overnight fix. It’s going to take me diving into myself and recognizing what triggers me to head down the wrong road.

Years ago, I met a man my husband worked with. I sure liked this huge guy. Every time I saw him, he was an absolute delight to chat with. I found out that he had Diabetes, but he just continued to eat the worse things possible for his body and in huge amounts. I remember being so shocked and saying to my husband, “How can he continue eating that way? If I were given a ‘sentence’ like that, I’d change everything to save my life.” That conversation comes back to me and haunts me all the time. My sentence is different, but I do have an affliction and I’ve done absolutely nothing to save my own life.

I know I keep saying, “This is my wake-up call” but friends…I am telling you today that this is definitely my call to action, my call to WAKE UP!…my motivation to be victorious on this journey once and for all.

Skinny is the bi-product of good health, but good health MUST be my focus! My body…what’s going on inside of me…is fighting. The battle is real and I’m worth it. Today, I’m committed to digging my heels in, diving in deeper, getting my eyes focused forward, not looking back…and fighting this battle.

And just for the record…I am down three pounds already and my bp reading at the doctor’s office was 133/68 (that’s awesome!). At my meeting last week, I committed to measuring and tracking what I’ve been eating. While I haven’t been perfect, I’ve been very mindful to pay attention and track ALL that goes into me. As soon as I post this, I’m heading to the kitchen to cook up some eggs and steamed broccoli for breakfast, and then heading out for a 2-mile walk.

Thanks for being here and joining me on the journey.

Simply,
Cindy

lace-up

Hello Again.

Here I am, eight months since my last entry. Suffice it to say, I fell off the wagon…pretty hard. Yesterday, I made a big commitment; to sign up and attend a 12-week program offered by my insurance company. I’ve committed to educating myself on nutrition, exercise and the behaviors that cause me to do what I do…as well as, putting all of this into practice as I create a new lifestyle. I’m standing back up, brushing myself off, raising my chin, and stepping back up to the starting line.

I turned 55 two days ago. I began that day at the lab having my blood drawn. I want a crystal clear picture of where I am in every aspect. Call this my birthday present to me, because I’m worth it and my life matters. I’ve been able to view my results online and I can see the damage my careless lifestyle is creating: high cholesterol levels, high blood glucose levels (not at diabetes level, but creeping up) and unhealthy levels in my kidneys (due to lack of nutrition and hydration). I have to wake up to the fact that I’m not getting any  younger and my body is going to stop fighting as hard as it wants to, if I’m not giving it what it needs for the battles going on inside of me.

My first class was last night. They keep the group smallish so there’s time for everyone to talk. I guess you could say, it’s a support group. While I see the similarities of other types of groups I’ve attended, I’m remaining open-minded (this is so outside of my comfort zone) and committed to taking in all that I can from this more intimate setting. I was given a big book that has lots of questions to ponder. It’s a funny thing…I’m a very deep and passionate person, who has spent decades reading books that take me deeper into my own heart, however, I’ve never dug deep inside of me with regards to my weight issues. I’m actually a little nervous, but excited, to see where this goes because I want to get to the root of this and find victory once and for all. This is going to take me where no man or woman has gone before…into the depths of my heart to figure out why I continue to do what I do. I was a skinny and active kid, but have struggled with weight issues my entire adult life. Just the reality of that astounds me…how and why did this happen?

From my first meeting, I’ve gathered that this program seems to be more about the behavioral reasons. I was expecting a nutritionist to sit down with me and help me design an eating plan unique to my needs. But, that wasn’t the case. We’re actually, pretty much, on our own; eating real food…no pharma-diet pills or meal replacements. At first I was a little miffed that I didn’t have more direction, but as I’ve reflected more on the meeting, this is what I need, to focus in on my real life and make behavioral changes so I don’t continue further down this road I’ve been on. Yeah…I believe this to be a deep focus on a lifestyle makeover.

My goal is to post here regularly, to share what I’m learning along this new direction I’m heading down. I hope to encourage others in their efforts and, as always, appreciate all of the prayers and encouragement that come back to me.

Thanks for being here, and walking with me, along this road.

Simply,
Cindy

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