Undeserved weight maintenance.

After the holiday week(end) full of frivolous food and celebratory relaxation, lots of my blogging buddies have either:

  1. Gained because they cheated, intentionally or otherwise (the gains are to be expected; just gotta get back on the wagon)
  2. Gained for no good reason; they were perfectly good and did not cheat (fully sucks)
  3. Maintained for no good reason; they were perfectly, terribly bad, and should have gained (fully lucky)

I’m in the #3 category. I stepped on the scale at Lindora today and my jaw dropped. I maintained. I didn’t gain or lose. It’s not fair – I should have gained 5-10 pounds after all the fun I had last week. I’m not going to squander my good fortune; I’m back on the wagon full force today.

And let’s not forget that I haven’t lost any weight in about 3 weeks. I’m happy I haven’t gained, but enough already. Time to get busy. Focus.

To top it off, I received an amazing email today from a coworker that humbled and motivated me…

Subject: you inspired me
Because of your success, I have decided it is time for me to drop half of my body weight. So I signed up for Weight Watchers online.
Thanks for being an inspiration to me.

Why I chose Lindora to lose weight.

Is this true or what???? : ) I recently discovered Pinterest.com where I found this and many other inspirational images and quotes... check it out.

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, I’m working on getting my focus back on my weight loss goals and remembering why I chose Lindora to help me succeed.

The most important thing about choosing a weight loss plan is finding what works for you. There are so many options out there—some totally stupid and crazy, some healthy, some much more effective than others. Here’s what attracted me to Lindora.

Lindora works. I chose Lindora because, in my experience, it’s the only program where I’ve been able to lose a significant amount of weight. When you carefully follow the guidelines, it really works. You will drop the pounds. A + B = C.  It’s a no brainer. It’s not easy, but you can have the confidence that you will get results if you follow the rules.

Lindora is simple. Lindora provides a list of authorized foods that reflect a “low fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate nutritional plan.” The boundaries of a limited food list are extremely helpful to me. I get overwhelmed with too many choices. The list is posted on my fridge. You can’t go wrong with fruits, vegetables and protein.

Lindora recommends exercise that is doable and sustainable. I like that Lindora doesn’t push strenuous exercise. They simply exhort you to “move more.” And that means lots of walking. When I lost 60 pounds back in 2002, I walked almost every morning for 30-45 minutes.  This time around, I’m working on getting stronger and being much more fit with lots of cardio and weight lifting. I also want to have more muscle to increase my metabolism. Muscles are so productive. I love that they are burning fat even when I’m not using them.

Lindora provides accountability. When you purchase the 12-week program, you go into the clinic every single day to report what you’ve eaten the day before, receive a B-12 shot, and weigh in. I recommend this program for any first-timers. It’s pretty costly (I spent about $1,200 in 2002), but if you’re someone who has tried many, many times to lose weight, it’s worth every penny. The daily accountability forces you to change your habits.

I completed the 12-week program back in 2002. I lost 60 pounds. But then I got completely off track after injuring my lower back. I couldn’t exercise, and for some bizarre reason, I started eating like I used to. Soon after that, we became parents to our 11-year-old nephew. Life turned completely upside down for the next 8 years. I’m not blaming my weight gain on a child. His arrival into our lives was, however, a mitigating factor as I slid back into my old habits. I gained all the weight back, plus another 20 pounds.

This time around I purchased the 4-week program. I know how to do Lindora; I just needed a kick-start and a month’s worth of accountability. Isn’t it crazy how we all know exactly how to lose weight? We just have to DO IT.

Lindora preaches lifelong change. Indeed, the guidebook is called “Lean for Life.” It’s not just a diet; it’s a transformation. It’s about rewiring your brain, creating new patterns and adopting new habits.

“With Lean for Life, the focus is on learning to become lean. The process of learning creates new neural connections within your brain. These new connections create actual structural changes in your brain. With reinforcement (practice), the changes (connections) can become permanent, and before long, you’ll find that making healthy choices about what you eat seems like second nature. And it will be! Your process for decision making will have been permanently changed.”

Just because I lost the weight and gained it all back ten years ago is no reflection of the viability of the Lindora program. I didn’t stick with the program. I didn’t follow their Lifetime Maintenance guidelines. If I had, I would have arrived and stayed at my goal weight all these years.

Here are some other weight loss programs I’ve tried in the past:

NutriSystem – I joined this program with my mom way back in 1989, the summer before my junior year of college. That’s when they used to have clinics; now they just sell the food online. I lost weight that summer, but it was extremely expensive. I was spending $70 to $80 per week on freeze dried, cardboard food. It was kinda fun, though, to go back to school about 15 pounds lighter. Gained it all back in a few months though!

Weight Watchers – I’ve joined WW several times over the years and could never stick with it.  It is too lenient. There are too many choices. Too much moderation.  I kept using all my points up before dinner.  The most I ever lost with WW was about 8-10 pounds.

SlimFast – Even though it was convenient and relatively inexpensive, constant hunger made this a short-lived diet. Shakes are not food. The most weight I lost? Probably 2-3 pounds before I gave up.

Herbalife – Who doesn’t like drinking fruit shakes for each meal? I liked them very much. But again, I was hungry all the time. And the supplements were just way too expensive. I lost about 2-3 pounds before giving up.

Why did you choose your particular method for losing weight?

Restart! Tomorrow is a new day…

I found this quote on Pinterest.com. Check it out! Lots of inspirational images and sayings...

I’ve been home all week enjoying a stay-cation. It’s been so nice. My husband and I have been organizing, cleaning, sleeping in, going out to eat, cooking, baking…

Uh oh. There it is. Yeah. I’ve been totally off program all week. And we only made it to the gym 2 days: Saturday and Tuesday.

It’s the end of Thanksgiving Day and I felt ick, yuck, gross. I am done. Done with junk food and unguarded eating. Done with feeling sluggish, sleepy and bloated.

I’m not going to overanalyze why I didn’t do better. I’m just going to start fresh tomorrow.  And by starting fresh, I’m going to:

  • Commit to 30 strict, on program days between now and Christmas with no attempts at moderation. (Other than two holiday parties over the next couple of weeks, there will be no cheat meals).
  • Re-launch my Lindora nutrition plan with three Protein Days from Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27. This will help renew my focus and discipline as well as get me into ketosis (where your body burns fat for energy instead of the food you eat).
  • Write down everything I eat and post my menu here for accountability. I’ve been slacking on that for quite a while.
  • Blog more often. It helps me stay focused.
  • Learn how to pat myself on the back for what I’ve accomplished thus far, but keep myself motivated to complete the journey. Must reach my goal of weighing 130 lbs!

Staying at home this week makes me appreciate how much easier it is to eat right when I go to work every day. My hat is off to those stay-at-home moms who are working on losing or maintaining their weight. Dang! Having the kitchen right there, a somewhat flexible schedule, and managing the stress of little ones who want your constant attention… You are amazing!

The Clothing Conundrum

Left: Sending fat clothes to Goodwill. Right: Clothes to fit in to. Those green shorts are from 1993, size 12. I'm keeping them just to be able to put them on again.

Losing weight is causing a clothing conundrum.

I do not want to buy new clothes! I am not at my goal weight!

It’s a fantastic problem to have, but it is a problem indeed.

As I’ve packed on the pounds these past fourteen years, I kept some of my favorite old clothes (size 12 to 20 pants, medium to extra large tops). Fortunately I’ve been able to pull some pieces out of storage bins and wear the items that do not look too dated. And I’ll have more to wear as I continue my downward path.

But critical pieces are needed. A few weeks ago, I had to go out and buy a couple of bras because I went from a size C to a B. Ain’t that just my luck? First place I lose weight. Sheesh.

Pants are another problem. I’ve been wearing the same two pairs of pants to work for the last month or two, and they are getting downright sloppy.

I have to make a formal presentation at work this week, so I needed to find a pair of trousers that fit me right.

Lane Bryant Right Fit Pants

So off I went today to Lane Bryant, one of my usual plus-size places to shop.

Lane Bryant has a fantastic brand called “Right Fit” with different cuts to fit your shape: Red (moderately curvy), Yellow (straight), and Blue (curvy). For the past ten years or so, I’ve been a Blue 3 (the equivalent to a size 22 or so). I’ve had about seven pairs in my closet—both jeans for weekends and trousers for work. They’re now in a box that will soon go to Goodwill. Nope. Not keeping them as a safety net. No. Nope.

So today I’m standing in Lane Bryant, flipping through the racks of pants. Where do I start? A sales clerk approached me. I told her I’ve been losing weight and didn’t know my size.  She replied, I wish I had that problem. She brought me some 16’s and 18’s (short length).

I tried on the 16’s. They were so big, they fell off my hips.

I stepped out of the dressing room and said to the clerk—somewhat formally, because it was a momentous occasion—“I am happy to say that these are much too big!”

After much ado, I learned that… GUESS WHAT? None of their “Right Fit” pants fit me. They were all too big! Even size 14! I had three extremely friendly, helpful, enthusiastic salesgirls helping me, running to the back of the store to try to find my size, coming back with options for me in all three of the “Right Fit” cuts.

I was starting to feel a bit giddy. I have sized myself out of Lane Bryant!!!

Lane Bryant T3 Tighter Tummy Technology

One of the sales girls recommended I try on the T3 trousers. That’s “Tighter Tummy Technology,” mind you. They basically have a girdle built in to the pants.

She brought me a size 14. I tried them on, then stepped outside the dressing room to look at myself in the full length mirror; all three of the sales girls were looking on. I was tiny compared to them. The pants fit me like a glove. I was shocked to see how well they held in my tummy and shaped my hips, butt and thighs. I wanted them, bad.

They cost $70.

I couldn’t do it. Not for a pair of pants that wouldn’t fit me in a month or two. Just couldn’t do it.

I bid farewell to the girls, thanking them and feeling guilty that I was leaving empty-handed after how helpful they had been.

I headed over to JC Penney. They were having a big sale, plus I had a 20% off coupon. I smiled to myself. I haven’t purchased pants at a regular store in so, so long.

I grabbed a bunch of size 16 and 18 black trousers. Short length. I had a feeling that size 16 at Lane Bryant and Size 16 at JC Penney would be very, very different.

None of the pants had a built in girdle that miraculously shaped my hips, butt and thighs. I’d have to suck in my gut with these ones. And most all of the “short” pants were not even close to short. I’m 5’1” and all of them were several inches too long.

I found one pair that fit. Size 16. Perfect length. A bit snug. But I’ve learned that even when you’re overweight, it’s better to wear clothes that fit. Baggy clothes just make you look bigger and sloppier.

They cost me $17.23 with tax. Regular price was $36.

They’re just temporary pants.

When I get to my goal weight, I can buy high quality, permanent pants that will fit me like a glove.

I forced myself to walk out of the store as soon as I found what I came for. I so, so, so wanted to look at blouses, sweaters, and all manner of fun girly clothes.

Nope. It’s not time yet. That time will come.

I was texting my husband the whole time. He was so excited for me.

New wardrobe, here I come. In about 6-9 months. I can wait. Anticipation is a beautiful thing.

The War of Fat, a.k.a. Resistance

The War of Art – Visual Book Summary Part I and II, by Sunni Brown

I’m reading The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. As a creative person (I’m a graphic designer, a writer, and now a loser—a loser of weight, that is), this book came at a critical time. It’s about identifying and overcoming the obstacles that keep us from reaching our dreams. Those obstacles are an entity, and its name is Resistance.

The book is so inspiring and motivational, I carry it around in my purse and gym bag so I can read and reread it whenever I have a chance. It’s in the format of a devotional with short essays and titles like “Resistance and Procrastination,” “Resistance and Self-Doubt” and “Resistance Recruits Allies.”

Here are some snippets of the introduction that captured my attention and inspired me—not only in my weight loss journey, but in my other dreams as well.

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? …Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of what you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.”

“Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when he endowed each of us with our own unique genius… Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence? How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, develop tumors and neuroses, . . . simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to? Resistance defeats us. ”

“Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is your and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you are closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or you will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.”

The first section is titled “Resistance: Defining the Enemy.” The fight against Resistance is:

“…any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of the lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.”

As a Christian, my enemy is an obvious one. That enemy wants me sick, fat and depressed. It wants me to be completely dissatisfied and unfulfilled. It wants to prevent me from doing the work I have been called to do.

But I have strength beyond myself, thank God.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
—Ephesians 6:10-13

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say this battle against fat and lethargy is a spiritual one.  I, for one, am reclaiming the gift of life that has been given to me.

You have a lofty goal? Like losing weight? You’ll be battling Resistance the entire way. We can’t let it win.

The War of Art – Visual Book Summary Part I and II, by Sunni Brown

Slow & Steady Wins the Race

This morning, I woke up slowly while my husband and I snuggled. His hand resting on my hip, he said, “What’s this?”

I smiled and said, “I don’t know, what is it?”

He patted my hip. “Is it bone? Or muscle? Flex.”

I flexed.

“It’s both. Wow. Good job, honey!”

It was a good moment. A very good moment.

I weighed in at Lindora today to discover I’m two pounds down from last week. Yey! I was only slightly discouraged when I did the math and thought to myself, “well, only 60 pounds to go.” Sigh.

I’m plugging away, slow and steady. I’m not being legalistic about my food. I’m having off-program meals 3-4 times a week, and combined with working out at the gym 4-5 times a week, I am steadily dropping the weight.

July 25, 2011 weight: 225 lbs | November 10 weight: 190 lbs

These are inspiring numbers when I sit back and look at them objectively.

  • 15 weeks.
  • 35 pounds gone.
  • That’s an average of 2.33 lbs per week.
  • I weigh 190 pounds.
  • I am 37% of the way toward my goal.
  • 130 pounds, here I come.

It’s a war I’m fighting. More about that in my next post.

Gym Rat Discipline/Corrective Action

I almost lost my job as a Gym Rat last week. My manager (my husband) had to walk away from me, he was so pissed off. If he’d have written me up, it would have said something like this: “Crappy attitude. Doesn’t follow instructions. Doesn’t adhere to safety protocols. Not a team player.”

I don’t like to be told what to do. It’s not an attractive quality about me, especially when I’m not an expert at the work I’m doing. I find it almost impossible not to get defensive. It’s hard to listen and keep my mouth shut.

I could blame it on the delivery. Why can’t he say it more nicely? Why can’t he handle my feelings with kid gloves? But the bottom line is, I wasn’t in the mood to work out. Wasn’t in the mood to be critiqued, guided, or directed.

Weight lifting is an art. There is focus, form and coordination involved. If you don’t do it correctly, you’re just wasting your time, achieving no results. Or worse, you could hurt yourself. Badly.

I don’t want to quit. I need my husband’s help and his years of experience in the gym. If I have a good attitude and am open to learning new things, our extremely effective partnership at the gym will be a success. Not to mention free from serious injury.

We need each other to stay committed to being healthy and fit. We can do this!

Off we go right now. It’s cardio night.

My name is Jennifer. I am a recovering foodaholic.

“Food is the most inexpensive, readily available, socially acceptable drug in the world.”
—Dr. Marshall Stamper, Lean for Life

Recently I’ve had a hard time feeling satisfied after a meal. Before I finish eating, I’m already looking forward to the next snack or meal. On the drive home from work, I’m thinking about what I can eat for dinner.

Or if tonight, maybe we can have a cheat meal, off program. For the third time in a week. My drug of choice lately: pizza. Perhaps I’m stressed. Or bored. Or sad. Or angry. Or just lazy.

Some days, eating is the only thing I look forward to. I just love how I feel when I eat. I feel warm. Sometimes I can feel the energy spreading to my fingertips and my toes. I feel either energized, or completely relaxed and calm. Unless I go overboard. Then I just feel sick and mad at myself.

If that ain’t a drug, I don’t know what is.

I need to replace that feeling with something else. Hmm… Like going to the gym. I get a fantastic buzz at the gym. And afterwards, I get to have time in the steam room. Then I take a long, hot shower. I am warm. Relaxed. Calm.

I heard in a recent Lindora webinar that, “It’s okay to get comfort from food — just as long as you’re eating the right things.” Most of the time I feel great after eating a meal on program: a salad with veggies, a protein, and a fruit. But sometimes… well, nothing but a big bowl of buttery parmesan popcorn will do. The key is not to make it a daily thing. It needs to be the exception, not the rule.

My overwhelming love for food is a battle I will fight my entire life. I mean, ya gotta eat, right? My goal is to turn that struggle into a lovely balancing act, full of moderation, temperance, and a clean conscience. To know I will often fail, but to pick myself up and continue to fight on…

Realizing that I’m a food addict certainly makes me less judgmental of those who struggle with drugs, alcohol, prescription meds, etc… Who am I to judge? My drug just happens to be socially acceptable and takes a lot longer to ruin my life or kill me. Basically I’m leaning on the wrong thing, or taking the easy way out instead of dealing with emotions.

I need God’s help in this battle, that’s for certain. I just need to allow Him to help me.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Butt Lift Gone Bad

Received this from a friend via one of those forwarded-a-gazillion-times emails. Why people show themselves out in public like this, I will never be able to fathom. Am I laughing at others to make myself feel better? Yeah. I could always be so much worse off! 🙂  The fact that her face isn’t showing and I have no idea who she is… well, it seems to make it okay to share this…

How not to dress in public when your back looks like buttocks!