Goals?! Do people really reach them?

I’m not a great goal setter. Correction, I’m a great goal setter, I’m a terrible goal achiever. For most of my life, I’ve had plans to accomplish great things. At eight I wanted to be a teacher. When I was thirteen I wanted to be a coroner/mortician. When I was sixteen I wanted to be a missionary. When I was eighteen I wanted to be a business tycoon. By twenty I’d decided that being a florist was more fun than college. And at twenty-two I obtained my MRS. degree. At twenty-five I decided to be a professional dog groomer. At thirty I was a banker. And now I’m a professional student and housewife. If you’d ask me today what my dream job would be I’d still tell you coroner or mortician, but I don’t have the will power to make it through medical school and I really stink at science. I seem to be the type of person who always takes the road of least resistance. I’m naturally lazy, I suppose. I make all these grand plans for my life – dream big and even convince myself that I could achieve those dreams – and then reality hits me and those dreams wilt as fast as a spinach in a pan of hot bacon grease!

When it comes right down to it, I’m a realist. I’m an optimistic (and sometimes naive) realist, but a realist none the less. So when Sam and I started the South Beach diet back in February I was very supportive of him – after all, I don’t want him to drop dead on me – but somewhere in the back of my mind I was certain that this too would be a short-lived exercise in futility. I mean, look at us. We’re fat people. We both like to cook, and we love eating even more. We plan our vacations around food. We took a cruise because it had unlimited dining possibilities in five countries! I photograph and blog about cooking (and eating) for crying out loud. So I was pretty certain that past experience was going to play true on this one. But you know what, so far past experience has been foiled!

Sam and I are seven months into our new lifestyle. South Beach is truly a lifestyle for us. And in that choice there has come tremendous freedoms in the way we eat and think about food. We’ve both lost significantly, and neither of us are obsessing about food. We still have “hungry” days, and we both still have the occasional strong craving, but we’ve learned to adjust to it. No, we still can’t eat stuffed crust pizza or chicken chimichangas, but we have found foods that satisfy our cravings for certain cuisines and still allow us to lose weight.

When we first started this diet, I was certain I’d never be able to live without my nightly trough of cereal; or pasta, or bread, or rice, or potatoes on a daily or even weekly basis. And making the switch from full fat-full flavored coffee creamers to sugar-free creamer nearly killed me. But now, my body and my taste buds are so used to it I almost can’t stand the ‘regular’ stuff now. And yes, we still have the occasional “cheating day”, but it is just that – occasional – and usually we feel really cruddy afterward because our bodies aren’t used to eating junk food anymore.

And the best part about this whole lifestyle shift has been reaching some long overdue goals. For the first time in eleven years I weigh less than I did when I graduated from high school. I am wearing regular sized clothes again and can shop in nearly any store that pleases me. I can walk into a room of strangers and not feel like the hippo in Fantasia. I don’t mind having my photo taken since I no longer have to cover up all my chins! I can wear a bathing suit comfortably and not feel like everyone is wondering who let Shamu in the pool. I can move and bend and stretch and reach and twist and walk and jog and even………..see my toes again! I’m over half way to my goal weight and I feel great!

I know that I can do it this time – I really can and I really will! When I get there, I’m gonna celebrate – but not with food (well, it’s not entirely out of the question that there might be a piece of chocolate truffle cake, but it’ll likely be a very small piece). I’m gonna celebrate and do something I’ve never been able to do before like ride a zip line, or rock climb, or go horseback riding through the Rockies, or maybe I’ll just buy a bikini and actually wear it on some exotic beach location. I’m gonna dance naked in front of a wall of mirrors (alone of course…with all the blinds closed, and the doors locked and no cameras in sight!). I’m gonna buy myself a sexy little black dress and ask my husband to take me out someplace romantic. And I might even sneak a peak at one of those Victoria Secret catalogs and buy myself somethin’ real purty.

If I, the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of will-powerless-ness’ can do it, so can you!

Total weight loss to date: 61 pounds
Total weight loss to go: 53.5 pounds
Desired goal weight: 134.5 pounds (yes, that’s even less than I weighted in college – but only by a half a pound!)


South Beach Diet update

I just noticed that its been a few weeks since I gave any kind of update on our weight loss progress. Let me put your minds at ease…

As anyone would expect, we didn’t remain completely SB friendly while we were in the Dominican Republic, although I will say that the food there wasn’t really that enjoyable.

Two of the things that really stood out to us food wise while we were there is the fact that bar drinks (even virgin ones) are loaded with sugar. Everything was super, sickly sweet – even the sodas. The second thing that was glaring in the food aspect was the amount of carbohydrates that are served. Most of the meals that were provided were buffet style. And like any buffet they had a fairly large selection of items, but as our eating habits have evolved we found ourselves really disappointed in the selection since 85% – 90% of the foods were starch based (rice, potatoes, plantain mash, oatmeal, breads, pastas, desserts, etc.). Even the veggie dishes were loaded with creme sauces and butter, which is really not the best for your system.

When we got home I found out that I’d gained a solid 5 pounds during our trip, which is the top end of what I thought I’d gain – and I do contribute it to all the beverages and desserts that I kept stuffing into my gob. But I’m happy to report that as of today I’ve not only lost the 5 pounds I gained, but an additional 3.5 pounds on top of that; bringing my total weight loss to 41.5 pounds so far – only 62 more pounds to go.

On a side note, I am fast approaching my first major weight loss goal, which was to drop below 200 pounds (my current weight today is at 207.5) so I know I’ll be celebrating that accomplishment in the next couple of weeks – yeah! Once I drop below two bills I will also be celebrating another milestone in this weight loss journey – I’ll be at 50% of my weight loss goal, which is 40% closer than I’ve ever been before! As Sam has pointed out to me already, I’m in uncharted waters right now as I have not been this low in weight (relatively speaking, of course) in over ten years. I love it. I do have more energy, and while I still don’t love the way I look I do feel more confident in my appearance, and I’m not quite as shy about having my photo taken now. Things are really starting to change.

South Beach Diet Update

Well, Sam successfully won the weight loss contest for his work and we’ve continued to stay strong on the South Beach Diet. To date, Sam’s lost 32 pounds and I’ve lost 35.5 pounds. When we started this program we took our measurements, and today we decided to re-measure ourselves. Overall, we’ve lost not only weight but also inches.

Here’s what I’ve lost so far:
Chest: 3.25 inches lost
Waist: 4.5 inches lost
Hips: 3.5 inches lost
Thighs: 2.25 inches lost
Arms: 1.75 inches lost
Neck: 2.25 inches lost

We leave for our vacation in the Dominican Republic in less than two weeks, and while I’m slightly nervous about gaining weight and making good food choices while I’m there I can still positively say that I love the South Beach Diet!

Thank you Jesus!

Since starting the South Beach diet, I have been ever so pleased with the nearly limitless possibilities for dining options. In almost every case, I’ve been able to come up with some type of South Beach alternative to the foods that we love. And even if it’s not exactly the food that we want, we’re still able to achieve a similar flavor to the one we’re craving.

However, as one would suspect I have not been able to find a suitable flavor alternative to a good ol’ greasy pizza. For one thing, the crust is a big no-no. I do have whole wheat flour and a bread recipe that I think I can tweak enough to make some kind of crust like base, but I find whole wheat anything quite dry and mostly repulsive. So for the past six weeks, we’ve spent out Sunday nights dreaming about a yummy, gooey, delicious, greasy, salty, pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and yet eating salad or leftovers from lunch.

But as it often does, inspiration struck me out of the blue. On Friday night we were discussing our weight loss and exercise options, and Sam mentioned a lady that works for him who goes to the gym every morning at 6 a.m. She is a faithful workout queen, but never really seems to lose any weight. Sam had taken some turkey pepperoni for a snack that day and happened to be eating it while talking to her and she mentioned that she loved it too and usually ate it with melted cheese. Hmmmm. Melted cheese, you say?? The minute I heard that, my mind started to whir and buzz. Melted cheese? Lets think on that for a while. That might actually work.

So last night as we were commiserating our lack of Sunday night pizza, I dug out the bag of turkey pepperoni and some 2% reduced fat mozzarella cheese. I lined up three rows of the pepperoni on the tray – making sure all sides touched each other, and then sprinkled a generous amount of the mozzarella on top of it. I popped it a 425 degree oven for about 8 minutes, until the cheese was all melted and gooey and golden brown. I slid the entire sheet off onto a plate and let it set for a minute. Sam and I both tore off a piece, said a little prayer to the pizza gods, and gave it a taste.

I’m sure that I heard angels singing somewhere. I became instantly light headed, and I was sorry that I didn’t have more pepperoni. SHEER BLISS I TELL YOU!!!!

Oh, by the way, for those of you who are following my little weight loss foray, I’m now down a total of 29 pounds since February 23rd! I love the South Beach Diet!

Irony is a good thing

Yesterday my morning Bible study class had a mini fellowship time in honor of all the January, February, and March birthdays. As Christians, we’re never one to pass up snacks, so most of the ladies brought goodies to share; and we spent a good 45 minutes sitting around the kitchen table chatting about various things. Inevitably the discussion turned toward weight loss, since a couple of gals were refraining from the sweets (me included). I found it quite hilarious to listen to a bunch of women gabbing about “how small they used to be back when…” all the while they’re munching down on carrot cake and donut holes. Yes, irony is a good thing.

The Treadmill

Like so many people, we have a treadmill. It’s a really nice one, in fact. Unlike most people who have one and don’t use it, ours is not in our bedroom, nor is it a convenient place to hang clothes – it’s in the basement. We initially bought it to use in exercising the dogs when the weather was just too bad to walk outside. That lasted about an hour. To be fair, Iris and Dream do fine on it – well, Dream isn’t as keen on it because we think alike (exercise is still exercise and why should we do it?). But Guinness absolutely abhors the machine. He becomes a nervous wreck even to just turn the stupid thing on. He starts slobbering and twitching. He pulls back on his leash – he’d rather choke himself than get anywhere near it. Even with treats, we can’t persuade him to get on it.

But, I didn’t write this post because my dogs use the treadmill – but to announce that I’ve officially started my exercise program. I feel at this point that I’ve lost enough weight that I need to do something to get my blood pumping and to reintroduce the concept of toned and sculpted. Yesterday I was rooting around in one of our many unpacked boxes in the basement when I ran across a couple of photos of myself from college – man I looked good…and young (it was after all 14 years ago). I had stems – not tree trunks! To say I pulled the ripcord when I got married is a complete understatement, but it’s not too late for me to reverse the abuse I’ve laid on my body. Looking at these photos made me realize that I’m not too old to have that body back. Well, me in a size 8 again might be a bit of a stretch, but a girl’s got to have a dream, right?!

Sam’s doctor prescribed exercise for him five times a week, in hopes he’d do it three times, but so far he just hasn’t had enough time or energy. So with a little bit of motivation from the scales this morning (I’m down another 2.5 pounds since Monday) and these photos floating through my mind I thought I’d set the example and get started myself. It’s not like we don’t have a treadmill and an exercise bike just sitting in the basement begging to be used.

Even though it wasn’t even 8 a.m. I grabbed my running shoes and a bottle of water and headed downstairs. Optimistically thinking I’d be able to just pick up where I left off twelve years ago….yes, it was still early and I was still groggy. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve never been a great athlete, but when I got married I could at least run for a couple of miles – when I had to.

I will tell you that with my knees and hip problems it became apparent to me within the first couple of minutes that running was not going to happen today, and probably not tomorrow or the next day. For one, I’ve got to find a better support system for the girls before I attempt it again. I nearly threw my back out. So I opted for moderately-fast walking. No, there wasn’t any power walker’s hip rolling or arm flailing going on either. I’m not about to look like an idiot, even if it is just in the privacy of my own basement. But 45 minutes isn’t as long as it seems when you’ve got the tunes cranked up and you’re completely focused on a goal. And focused I am. I want my butt back!

Good news on this proper Scottish day

Well, our unusually sunny and warm weather of early last week has turned to proper Scottish rainy, cool weather as of Friday. But none the less, I was able to find good news amidst the gray skies and rain drops. I lost another 4 pounds this week! Total weight loss is 16 pounds in three weeks – only 82 pounds to go!

I will confess, that I stayed on Phase 1 for an extra week – just to make sure I didn’t cheat myself out of any extra rapid weight loss, but now, despite this weeks 4 pound loss I’m moving into my first week of Phase 2. I get to start adding some carbs/starchy veggies and fruits back into my diet. I’m nervous about it all, because carbs are what led me to my current size, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to control the cravings, but I’m going to trust the system and go for it anyway. Today I think I’ll start out my day by having a piece of sprouted grain toast with some natural peanut butter on it, and a bowl of sweetened Greek style yogurt for breakfast.