Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

It Was All in My Head

June 8, 2010

In my continuing quest to take my life back and own my body, rather than being controlled by my body, I made a momentous decision.  I committed to training with a group of Cancer Survivors to participate in the Danskin Triathlon.  Little did I know how profound that decision would be.

At almost 90 pounds over my ideal weight, way into middle age (55 years old) and a body experiencing the difficulties that accumulate from life (back injury, surgery, broken bones, etc.), I got off my rather expansive butt and decided to do something different.

Like many overweight people, I was uncomfortable with the thought of working out with “athletes” and figured I would be “different”, perhaps even laughed at or, at best,  tolerated and I knew I would not be able to keep up with most, if not all, of the others in the group, but I put that aside and did it anyway.  What I discovered: all of that was in my own head.  No one laughed, no one tolerated, no one “put up” with the fat girl.  They were supportive and enthusiastic and willingly accommodating.  The coaches, the other participants, everyone just wanted to see everyone else succeed.  How incredible!

So, train I did.  For 12 weeks.  And then, the day of the Danskin arrived (I would say dawned, but the Danskin started long before dawn).  We arrived in the dark (5 am) to set up for the day. The triathlon included a 1/2 mile lake swim, a 12 mile bike ride (open road, hills, you name it) and a 3.1 mile walk/run on grass through fields and over dale.  Oh, yeah.  Did I mention I have asthma?

But, what I really want to share is that I DID IT.  Those people I was so afraid would laugh at me and be so much better than me–the ones that often, in my mind, kept me from making the choice to make a difference–those people didn’t laugh at me or abandon me.  Those people stayed with me and supported me and allowed me to support them, each in our own way.  And, we all finished.  It took 3 hours, 58 minutes and 43 seconds to finish the course and finish it we did. I did it while still almost 75 pounds overweight, 55 years old and with all the same problems, but I DID IT.

It brought home to me how ridiculous the self talk and embarrassment and all the reasons I gave myself to not do something are.  It was all in MY head.  Everyone has something they must overcome and everyone has the talk in their head.  The key is to step outside the internal chatter and just do it (do I sound like a Nike commercial here?).  I know, at least for me, it was easier said than done.  But then, I look at the wonderful people who journey with cancer and journey with obesity and journey with asthma and journey with back injuries (you get the idea), and still do it.

And, now, I, too, am one of those people.  And you can be too.

Come join me on the journey to just do it, to take control back over your life and your body and please, along the way, share your journey so we can experience your triumphs and support you and welcome you back to a place of controlling your own destiny.

P.S.  This post is dedicated to Capital of Texas Team Survivor.  You go, ladies! You are incredible.

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Feeling frustrated? Foggy-headed? Try drinking some water.

June 3, 2010

Most of us have been told that we should drink at least 8 glasses of water per day to keep ourselves hydrated.  There are lots of reasons touted as to why this would be important–to keep our kidneys functioning correctly, to keep our skin looking vibrant and healthy, to prevent constipation, to give us more energy, to lose weight. Now we can add two new reasons for drinking water–to decrease crankiness and frustration and lift our mood and to improve our cognitive abilities.

In a study done by Kristen D’Anci of Tufts University and recently published in Perceptual and Motor Skills, young, healthy athletes participated in a study  of the cognitive and mood effects of mild dehydration (the equivalent to a busy office worker not drinking enough during the day).  The results showed that those allowed to achieve mild dehydration exhibited more anger and frustration as well as a “down” mood after the session than those that maintained their hydration.  Additionally, those who were slightly dehydrated performed much less well on the cognitive tests administered after the session than those that were well hydrated.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling a little foggy-headed or getting easily frustrated with a task, ask yourself when you last had a drink of water.  Getting a glass of water just might make you able to finish that task or project much easier.

The switch from “want to want to” to “want to”.

April 21, 2010

I don’t know what switch was turned on for me.  For years I have been overweight and frustrated by it, and complained about it, and threatened to so something about it, but it was more of a want to want to than an actual want to.  I knew it was unhealthy and I knew I “should” do something about it (I am really good at “shoulding” on myself).  Many of my friends were, and are,  very encouraging, but still I did nothing.

Then the cancer was diagnosed (a cancer that is fed and supported in its development by the excess estrogen produced in fat cells) and still I wanted to want to but did nothing.  I talked about doing something, I laid elaborate plans for things I would do that I didn’t do.  I even joined a gym and kind of went, but didn’t really push it much while I was there.

I got the operation report for my cancer surgery and read all about the problems encountered and actions taken as a result of my obesity, but still could only find the “want to want to” in myself.  I attended support groups, nutritional counseling and in-depth workshops.  They all supported my fantasy that I was doing something, but I was still not moving my body nor changing my eating.

Then, one day, I was.  I signed up to participate in training for a triathlon (the Danskin) and I knew I would probably be the heaviest and most out of shape person there (I still am) and it was scary and uncomfortable and yet, suddenly, I was willing to go.  I was suddenly willing to do what it takes to take control back over my life, my body, my health–everything.  I wish I could pinpoint what made the switch turn on.  If I could do that, I could make a fortune turning everyone elses “want to want to” to a “want to”.  But I can’t.  All I know is that finding a set goal and a set group of people who could provide the tools without judgment to get me there, who could see for me what I couldn’t see for and in myself, has been a huge part of it.  It would seem that in my endless planning and attempting that I actually put myself in the way of the answer for me.

So, I am training (not as hard as some of the others, but training none the less) 5 days a week.  And, while not a flattering picture of me in any way, here is proof that it doesn’t matter how big I am or how out of shape I am, I CAN DO IT if I just decide to. And so can you, when you decide.

I would love to hear about your journey from “want to want to” to “want to.”

Follow up to yesterday–eating out doesn’t mean eating unhealthy–but it can mean eating boring.

April 20, 2010

Don’t get me wrong. I love salads.  Salads can be full of wonderful textures and a variety of tastes and colors–and they can be incredibly healthy.  But, that is not the only option when you are not eating meat.  Except, when it is.  And that is just annoying and frustrating to me.

In a town that is health conscious, it seems to me people who are setting up luncheons in a restaurant, you could find some vegetarian option.  Not today.  The only option was to choose the salad and have them hold the meat.  But, good news for everyone else.  Meat is free!.  It must be, because I paid the same for my salad without meat as everyone else did for salmon or chicken.  And here I always thought the veggies were the least expensive part.  Apparently I was wrong. Or maybe the meat was already on the salad and they had to charge me the same to cover the cost of removing it?  I am not sure, but all in all a very frustrating lunch.

How hard can it be to think outside the narrow little box of lettuce?  And then, lettuce covered in some type of creamy, sweet dressing.  Healthy?  Doesn’t seem so to me.  I have been posting healthy, fun, easy and inexpensive vegetarian recipes for several weeks now without resorting to plain lettuce salad (my bad–it also had avocado and a few tortilla strips) and a creamy dressing to give it flavor.  I would think restaurants would be better able to come up with creative ideas than demonstrated today.

So, okay, I think I am done with the rant.

But I also know I won’t order food at that restaurant again.

Eating out doesn’t mean eating unhealthy.

April 19, 2010

Eating out doesn’t mean eating unhealthy foods, or giving up on the cleanse.  Eating on the cleanse has been fun and pretty simple and easy the past several weeks.  And with minimal appearances by lettuce during that time.  But, there comes a times when eating out is on the agenda and it can seem daunting to eat out, enjoy the meal with others and still eat healthily.  That was my challenge this past weekend.

With family visiting from out of town (and one of them is a chef, so knows good food) and a schedule that was a little on the time constraint side, it might have seemed a challenge to eat foods on the cleanse without eating lettuce salads. But, most restaurants offer something that fits the bill.  Now, I will admit that in some smaller towns, finding vegetarian fare that isn’t based around salads might be more challenging than in a big city, but you can always ask for what works for you.

Friday evening was a stay-home-finish-laundry-get-the-house-ready evening.  And after a full week of work, the food needed to be easy and comforting.  So, what is easier than vegetarian fried rice and my favorite fast food, spring rolls.  Warm and flavorful rice and cool and easy spring rolls with a rich peanut sauce.  My idea of a healthy take out meal.  Yum.  But easy to make at home also.

Then, lunch out at a wonderful, local, Interior Mexican cuisine restaurant here in Austin–Sázon. Lots of healthy choices on the menu, but how could I pass up Calabazitas Rellenas–steamed tender squash stuffed with roasted corn and serve with fresh roasted tomato salsa. Light and healthy and delicious.   Then dinner that evening at Kerbey Lane with potato flautas, guacamole and pico de gallo.  While the flautas are deep fried, they are far from greasy and it was wonderful warm food during a cool thunderstorm.

Finally, Sunday morning brunch at 24 Diner for divine slow cooked steel cut oatmeal with apples and brown sugar and vegetarian sausage (made from beets and lentils and rice and flaxseed).  I am going to search for this recipe.  It was delicious.

Then back to cooking at home again last night.  A rainy, cool day just begged for a warming hearty stew, so it was time for Green Chile Stew and garlic toast (wheat free bread of course).  How warming and comforting and just plain good.

Now, on the third week of the cleanse, it might be time to add in some lettuce.  But, then again, maybe not.

Kale Salad–how to play with your food without getting into trouble!

April 16, 2010

I love salads and have no problems with lettuce, but there are so many other wonderful leafy vegetables to enjoy.  One of my favorites is Kale.  There are several varieties available, each with a slightly different taste.  My favorite is curly leave Kale.  However, it can sometimes have a bitterness to it’s taste if not cooked or treated correctly.  My favorite recipe for kale in a salad type dish comes from my friend Sylvia, who is an awesome raw-foods chef.

When my energy is low, or I am just feeling tired and fatigued, this recipe always perks me up.  It is easy to make and I love it because you really get to feel and play with your food while making this dish.  Don’t let the instructions scare you–you get to become a kid again, play with your food and not get in trouble:)

Click here for the recipe for Mediterranean Kale Salad.

My new favorite fast food–spring rolls with peanut sauce.

April 14, 2010

Still no lettuce, but lots of good veggies.  It was time to make portable food for lunch and dinner–eat in the car kind of food.  While it isn’t hard to buy spring rolls already made, they often have meat or tofu, which aren’t part of the cleanse or my diet. I decided to make my own. They are so easy and yummy!  And portable. And inexpensive!  And everyone can choose what they want in their own spring roll.  I love it when everyone gets to “have it their way”.

The peanut sauce can be modified easily to fit your taste and to not run down your arm while you are eating it:)

Still feeling great, lots of energy and ready to enjoy some really good, gooey cheesy tex-mex soon!  And a glass of wine. Looking forward to a big get together soon at a favorite Mexican food restaurant.  Suggestions for THE BEST place in Austin to eat gooey, cheesy Tex-Mex?

Some thoughts about fear.

April 13, 2010

Cancer is a scary word. Cancer is a scary thing.  Living with cancer is often a life of uncertainty, a loss of control and, some would say, scary.  But so many of us (all of us?) live with fear. And it is interesting how our decisions are so influenced by fear.  Not just those living with cancer, but all of us.  And even before we found cancer, we often found ourselves living in fear.

Recently, on a street very close to my house, several people waiting for a bus were killed when a driver lost control of his car on a curve and hit them.  Fear totally directed that young man’s decisions in driving that car.  Out of fear of not being important or good enough, he challenged another driver to race him at the stoplight.  He had to prove himself to a total stranger to feel good enough out of fear of not being enough. He was doing 80 miles an hour when he got to the curve posted for 35.  He ended up justifying his fear–he killed two people and injured another.  Wow! Fear of not being good enough led him to make choices that reinforced the feeling of not being good enough.

But, for most of us the decisions we make are much more subtle. One of my friends recently purchased a gift for her nephew’s birthday.  She spent a lot of time thinking about the perfect gift, then found a small local store to purchase the item from. It was an electric guitar.  After a lot of discussion with the store owner, she purchased a guitar that was in stock rather than order the exact one she wanted and, while it wasn’t exactly what she had envisioned it, she was very happy with it.  Until she got home.  The more she thought about what she had wanted and what she had purchased, the more she wished she had ordered the one she original envisioned.  But, she was too afraid to take it back.  She would have purchased one from another store before taking it back because “she was embarrassed and afraid to look stupid.”  Her fear wound up costing her several hundred dollars.

So, perhaps most of us would have taken the guitar back. But how many times each day do we make choices out of fear.  Fear of not being good enough, fear of not having enough, fear of being unworthy or unlikable or unloved?  Every time we hold back, every time we take the easy way out, we can trace it to fear.  Yesterday, I finally made a phone call that has been on my to do list for a week–just because I felt afraid.  Once I made the call, it was actually pretty easy.

I used to hold myself back from exercise or active events out of fear–fear I would look stupid, fear I would be awkward, fear I wouldn’t be as good as every one else. Wow! I would compromise my own health out of fear. Fear of being embarrassed due to being out of shape and overweight led me to make decisions to not exercise to get into shape. (Not really much different than the young man in the car, really.)And the interesting thing is, I am not alone.  I have met many and know many people who have the same fear based decision making pattern. People who are struggling financially who don’t open bills when they come, people who are having a hard time getting customers who are afraid to go to networking meetings, people who are having slow sales but are afraid to do calls.  Our fears just reinforce our beliefs that lead to the fear.  But how incredible when we bypass the fear and just do it (ok, so I stole that from Nike:)).

I finally committed to a training program.  And, while it certainly isn’t always comfortable (I am the heaviest and most out of shape in the group) and I often cannot do what everyone else can, I have learned to laugh at myself in a gentle way.  And, it really isn’t as bad in reality as it is in my mind.  IF you could have seen me last night trying to balance on the bosu, you would have cracked up.  As did I.  And guess what! No one else in the group even cared.  They were too worried about what they were doing to laugh at me.  And that is the key.  People really are much less judgmental toward us than we are to ourselves.

(BTW, this is not me on the bosu.   I only wish I was this steady on it–I could barely stay on it with both feet:))

So, where does fear hold you back? Where could you find one fear to bypass today and just do it?

Continuing with the brief presence of lettuce

April 12, 2010

Ok, so lettuce once again appeared on the menu, but only in passing.  It was once again time for a junk food fix–but of course, it had to be healthy junk food (is that an oxymoron?!) so, what could be better than Mexican food.  Yep, good old fashioned tex-mex.  But easy and healthy and inexpensive which are all really good things on a Saturday after cleaning house all day.

So, Chalupas and spanish rice–yum. So easy and so filling.

Sunday was one of my favorite comfort food days–kale with chickpeas and nuts over mashed potatoes and fruit salad.  Easy, so good for you and I love the creaminess of the potatoes with the wonderful rich taste of the kale.

This cleanse has been so easy.  While we did add a little cheese to the chalupas, with the avocado it was creamy and rich enough i would have been just as happy to leave it off.  And, I feel really good.

So, what about favorites like hamburgers?

April 9, 2010

One of the hardest things for many people is giving up the comfort foods, the familiar foods, the high fat, high sugar foods that we are used to to satisfy our mouth hunger.  I am fortunate to live in a city where veggie burgers are often on the menus and almost every hamburger place in town offers a veggie burger option.  My challenge is that many vegetarian options are made from soy–tofu or Textured Vegetable Protein, which I cannot eat.  But, there are some options available that are made from whole grains and just vegetables.  And, there are some wonderful options for vegetarian burgers at home, either commercially prepared or home made.

Morningstar Farms

My favorite commercially prepared veggie burger used to be  from Morningstar Farms called the spicy black bean burger.  It can be grilled, broiled or fried. But, unfortunately, it contains soy and wheat gluten.

But, you can easily make your own that doesn’t include those ingredients if you want.  If you make the bean patties yourself, they are easy, freeze well and can make a healthy, hearty quick meal or snack.  Plus they are cheap. Put it on a spelt or gluten free toasted bun with tomato, lettuce, avocado and mustard, it is delicious. Add some potato chips and cabbage slaw with vinaigrette, a few pickles to top it off, and it is wonderfully satisfying.

I love Chinese food, but some of my favorite dishes can be challenging because of the noodles.  Fortunately, there are many alternatives to traditional wheat pasta, especially in the Oriental food isle.  I love fried rice and but Lomein is also a favorite.  And, it can be made with soba noodles (which are made with buckwheat, which really isn’t related to wheat).  It is easy, and best of all, inexpensive.  

Like most of us, I eat on a budget, so easy, inexpensive dishes are great for me.  It is important that I be able to eat healthy, still afford the food and support our planet.  These meals do that.

And, finally, my favorite party or large gathering dish (but it can just as easily serve one).  It is made up of whatever sounds good to you at the time and/or you have leftover in the frige.  I call it the Baja bowl (but Sherry eats it in a tortilla too.) Add some chips and guacamole and you have a meal fit for a restaurant!

So, while lettuce made a brief appearance, and it will come back occasionally, it is so exciting to me to realize I can healthy and have a huge variety of foods in my diet.  I hope some of you will share some of your favorite healthy recipes as well.