Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

Don’t maintain – transform!

I have never liked the idea of maintenance. For starters, I can’t spell it! It usually takes about three tries before I can get rid of the automatic spell check line! But the real reason is that it’s not motivating, at least not for me!

So, why is maintenance, other than being hard to spell, not motivating?

I am a goal driven person. I like to make progress and to achieve my goals. It’s literally how I get my kicks. But it’s hard to view maintenance as a goal. You don’t achieve maintenance, it’s just something that you do. Much like housework, which I also dislike intensely, maintenance is undervalued. It’s not sexy. It’s not fun. It’s not awe-inspiring. In fact, most people don’t even notice that you’re doing it…that is, until you stop! Did you ever notice how housework is invisible until it doesn’t get done? It’s the same thing with maintenance. It’s typically overlooked until you start routinely setting it aside in favor of brownie hot fudge sundaes with Kahlua infused whipped cream.

If you’re like me and you think that maintenance is somewhat of a bum goal or you just don’t like doing it for whatever reason, I challenge you to change your perception of what it means to maintain your ideal weight (or whatever weight at which you find yourself currently if you’re stuck at a plateau). Don’t think about it as maintenance; instead think of this as an opportunity to transform.

Transformation. Now, that’s sexy. That’s motivating. You can set some goals around transformation. More importantly, the goals that you set around transformation are going to be a heck of a lot more compelling than, well, another week down, another 2,240 to go (assuming, of course, that you plan to live for at least another forty years)!

So, what types of transformation goals can you set for yourself while you’re either at your ideal weight or in the middle of a plateau?

  • You start working out with weights or adding a couple of pounds to the weight with which you already working
  • You could start doing yoga, which would improve your balance and flexibility
  • You could stop eating processed food, which would improve your digestion
  • Similarly, you could start incorporating more live, raw, or super food into your diet
  • You could start drinking more water, which would help return the elasticity to your skin
  • Similarly, you could moisturize
  • You could start a daily meditation practice, which would help you become more comfortable in your body and in the moment
  • You could change your exercise routine to work different muscles
  • You could stretch more, which would help your muscles rebuild after workouts
  • Similarly, you could take a day off
  • Or you could simply chose to get more sleep

For goal-oriented people who love to strive, the idea of maintenance is about as motivating as coffin! So shift your mindset and transform your body! Heck, don’t just stop with your body. Why not transform your entire life while you’re at it?

New Fast Food Bombs to Avoid ala The Hungry Girl!

I swear, I don’t know why there aren’t laws preventing this kind of stuff!

Revisiting K-Bells (Re-Review!)

A few months ago I wrote that Michelle Khai’s Slim & Tone Program, available online, was fun, but that it wasn’t really that much of a workout.

But I liked it and I wanted to make it work for me, so I decided to cardio beforehand.

I also moved from the 4lb bell to the 8lb bell – that made a difference! Though I didn’t report it, I started rotating between Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred (using 5lb barbells) and KB Total Body Blast and really began noticing some changes in my body, especially in my arms and shoulders.

A few weeks ago, I decided to go back through my K-Bells set, which came with 9 different workout of varying lengths. I found one that I either did once with the 3lb bell and decided that it was too easy and moved on or I just missed it while I was running through the rest of the program.

Cardio Balanced, touted as “a powerful 40-minute fat burner that takes your kBell workout to the next level. Michelle’s expert coaching guides you through new K-Bell moves that supercharge your metabolism, combining cardio and resistance training for serious toning and weight loss.”

They’re not kidding. I really don’t know how I missed this one!

This thing is literally kicking my butt and I did P90X three times, so I’m no light weight! With the 8lb bell, Cardio Balance is my new best friend. It’s also whipping me into shape without a lot of jumping around and no high impact moves that hurt my knees.

Watch out Michelle Obama…
michelle-obama-vogue-cover

…I’m about to catch you on those arms!

Finding the “Why”

The other day someone asked me why I was so motivated to maintain my weight release (or, using more conventional terms, weight loss).  Now they didn’t come out and just say, “Why do you want to not regain your thirty pounds?”  It was more along the lines of, “Why are you so committed to exercising, when you’ve already reached your goal weight?”

I sat there for a moment stumped, because I really hadn’t thought about it in a while or, to be honest, ever! I used to have a really good list of reasons why when I first started changing my body three years ago, but I hadn’t really given it much attention – if any – since I had achieved my goal.

Before I tell you what you what my “whys” are regarding my body, let’s spend a couple of minutes on why the “whys” – no matter who you are or what you’re doing – are critical.

When you have a clear reason why you’re doing something the following are true:

  • You’re more likely to accomplish it.
  • You’re better able to garner support from those around you.
  • You feel better about sticking to your goals, which, subsequently, boosts not only your self-confidence, but also your self-esteem!

When you don’t have a clear reason why you’re doing something, the converse it true:

  • You’re less likely to accomplish your goals
  • You encounter more resistance from those around you who don’t understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.
  • You become resentful about the ongoing discipline being successful requires, which undermines not only your progress, but also your self-discipline, your self-esteem, and your day-to-day mood!

The point of this being, it’s just as important to know why you’re doing something as it is to know what you want to accomplish, because the why is the motivation, the fuel, the justification, the reason you’re doing what you’re doing.  Knowing the why and being able to articulate it to others, as well as to yourself, is crucial because recent scholarship in teaching and learning suggests that 30% of the population are why learners.  This means that 30% of your potential sources of social support tune you out if you start with the what.  So, if you say, “It’s really important to me to drop this weight,” and someone says, “Why?”, you need to be able to tell them.  Because if you can’t, they won’t hear anything else you have to say about you and your weight and fitness goals.  And just imagine what might happen if you yourself is part of that 30% that needs a compelling motivation before they can learn (or act)!  Trust me, find your why and learn to articulate to yourself, as well as to others!

So just to give you an idea of how to get serious about finding the why, let me tell you how I rediscovered mine.

Basically, I waited until I had a chunk of time with no distractions.   I got a blank piece of paper and a pen (I chose this method as I tend to self-censure if I’m typing in a way that I don’t when I’m writing by hand!) and wrote at the top: Reasons Why I Want to Maintain My Current Weight and put the date on it.  I sat there for a moment, looking at the blank sheet of paper – and actually drawing a blank – until I came up with a reason.  And let me just say, as soon as the ink hit the paper, it was like a dam had broken.  In less than 10 minutes, I had come up with over thirty reasons – some of them better than others in the cosmic sense – of why I was truly and unequivocally committed to maintenance.  (Interestingly, I also gleaned some insight into why I don’t like the term “maintenance’, but that’s another post!)  And, just in case you’re wondering, since I’ve done this, my commitment to maintain has gotten stronger and I’ve been able to marshal more support from my already super supportive partner, MJ.

I’m not going to write out all thirty, but I’ll give you a few examples just to give you an idea.

Reasons Why I Want to Maintain My Weight (July 21, 2009)

  • To avoid re-injuring my knee
  • To have more energy
  • To be healthy
  • To get  compliments (sad, I know)
  • To be a better role model for my Little Sister
  • To feel good about myself
  • To succeed
  • To wear fun clothes
  • To be able to wear whatever I want
  • To not have to re-buy all of the clothes I’ve gotten rid of

You get the general idea.  As I said, some reasons are better than others, but I put them all down.  Notably, and somewhat ironically, this list isn’t that much different than the one I had made three years ago entitled “Why I Want to Lose Weight.”  What does that tell you?

If you’re trying to accomplish something – anything! – and you haven’t gotten real on your whys, I highly recommend that you sit down with a sheet of paper (or at the keyboard) and do this simple exercise.  It’s easy.  It’s quick.  And it is guaranteed to get you where you want to be.  Or, if you’re in my position, it’s guaranteed to keep you there!

Let me know how it goes!

Never eat standing up!

Remember that old wives’ tale, “It doesn’t count if you’re standing up”? Or was it just wishful thinking?

Regardless, according to Judith S. Beck, author of The Beck Diet: How to Think Like a Thin Person,” you should never put anything in your mouth while you’re standing up and that includes while you’re walking.

Why does it matter if I eat standing up versus sitting down?

Because people tend to eat more and more quickly when they’re standing or walking than they do when they’re sitting.

Although this seems like a fairly simple rule, you may be surprised how effective it can be.

For instance, abiding my this single rule practically eliminates the bad habit of tasting – otherwise known as snacking – while you cook!

It also has the potential to eliminate or at least drastically reduce the terrible habit that a lot of women (especially wives and mothers) have picked up of cleaning not only their own plates, but the plates of everyone else in the family as they clear the table after a meal!

Additionally, people who don’t abide by this rule are less likely to count (or even notice) the calories they eat standing up, at least not to the degree they are likely to do when they take the time to prepare a meal or snack and sit down to eat it! Dr. Beck also suggests, by the way, that you limit your eating to the dining room, which means eliminating eating at your desk, in front of the television, etc!

Never eating while standing up also cuts down on a lot of impulse snacking, including the elimination of store samples that on any Friday night in a reputable grocery store can add up to well over 500 calories before you even realize it between the goodies offered at the bakery, the deli, the produce isle, and the prepared foods section. And let’s not even get into how quickly the calories can rack when you stop for the four to six samples of beer and or wine!

Never eating while standing up also has the potential to cut out trips to the office candy jar! Because if you’re like me, if the candy doesn’t go immediately into my mouth, I can usually talk myself out of it before I get to my desk. Same thing with all of the office “goodies” that all of the would-be pastry chefs in my office bring in on most days that end in “Y”! However, if I do actually wait to eat something until I get to my desk, chances are that I’ve made a conscious decision to eat it and, thus, will record it in my food diary!

If you really want to cut down on all of the standing up calories that you consume without usually even realizing it, just stop and sit down. If you’re cooking, ladle whatever it is to a small measuring cup and go sit for a moment. Chances are the smaller amount will cool faster and you’ll get a better idea of what it really tastes like. And if you use a measuring spoon or cup to taste, you’ll be able to keep track of the calories! Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to think they don’t, the calories we eat standing up really matter! A calorie is a calorie, no matter what you’re position you’re in when you consume it!

Tip for the day: If you’re ravenous after a workout, don’t just grab a handful of grapes or chips straight out of the bag. Instead, take a deep breath, decide what you want, take a moment to count (or measure) whatever it is out, put in in or on a small serving dish, and sit down. Just by taking that extra thirty seconds you’ll increase your awareness of 1) what it is that you actually want (instead of just stuffing something in your face), 2) the calories you’re consuming and 3) the taste of whatever it is that you were hungry for to begin with.

If you really want to develop this habit quickly, set up a “tip” jar in your kitchen and/or office. Every time you find yourself (or, if you have a good support system, whenever someone else finds you) eating on your feet, throw a dollar in there. Eventually, usually about the time that you’ve developed the habit, you’ll have enough saved to take yourself (and probably someone else) to a nice sit-down dinner!

This cracked me up: Attract Girls By Eating Best Food on Earth!

I guess there’s more than one way to convince guys to be healthy.

But just as you know, I eat a lot of these foods, but I’m not attracting too many women! Though I’m assuming it works to get guys too! 😉

And, if you’re a woman, this is not the best advert for Royal Jelly (if you know what I mean)!

However, check it out. In addition to the Edward Cullen vibe, there’s actually a lot of good information!

Product Recommendation – Emerald Balance Plus (Chocolate Superfood Drink)

Emerald Balance Plus is marketed as the best tasting chocolate superfood drink on earth and they are not kidding! Seriously, this stuff is delicious!

Chocolate Emerald Balance Plus
The Best Chocolate Super food Drink on Earth!

If you like dark chocolate, you’ll love Emerald Balance Plus, this multivitamin nutritional supplement drink mix provides you with your daily required:
• Antioxidants
• Immune Supporting Nutrient Dense Superfoods
• Heart Healthy Omega 3’s (microencapsulated)
• Plus Microencapsulated Vitamins A, B’s, C, D, and E and a balanced dose of the Minerals, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc & Iron.
• And the Added Protection of your daily dose of Chocolate

So, enough with the hype. Even if it does taste great, why should you really bother with superfoods?

First and foremost, individuals who regularly consume superfoods have an easier time losing weight and keeping it off than those that don’t.

I know that when I am drinking my superfood drinks, whether it’s Emerald Balance, Emerald Balance Plus, or Perfect Food, I am less hungry throughout the day, I retain less water, and I am less likely to be plugged up (if you get my meaning)! On nights that Michael and I are having dinner parties (and therefore drinking lots of wine) I drink 12 ounces of Perfect Food before and after; these two simple steps have pretty much eliminated the post-alcohol bloating and weight gain! Additionally, my entire weight release effort has seemed fairly effortless once I started drinking green stuff (and now chocolate green stuff) on a regular basis – that is, twice a day.

Why are superfoods and green stuff so great?

I have less information about the chocolate versions, given chocolate’s only recent elevation to the category of superfood, but according to Robert and Shelley Young, the authors of The pH Miracle for Weight Loss, as well as several other best selling books touting the power of maintaining an alkaline diet, “stirring some ‘green powder’ into good water will help you maintain a highly alkaline diet like nothing else” (p. 135).

From their perspective, it’s not the calories that are making us, as American’s fat, it’s the acid. And in order to combat this, we must maintain an alkaline system.

The body retains fat as a protection against the over production of acids produced by the typical American diet. Some of these acids are eliminated through the bowels, urinary tract, and skin, but whatever is left must be buffered or neutralized. Excess acid in the body starts to break down cells in your tissues and organs – pretty much the same way that acidic steak sauces tenderize meat. Cell breakdown sends the body into self-preservation mode; it used dietary and body fat in the desperate attempt to protect itself, no matter what the costs. Fat can bind up acids and sometimes escort them out of the body. But fat is used primarily as a way to sore those acids. Ask any plastic surgeon: The fat they liposuction out of their patients is brown and black because of all the acid it contains (p. 14).

Charming.

So, how do you alkalize your body – that is, how do you make it less acidic?

Well, in addition to eating lots of fresh low sugar fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the easiest way is to drink green stuff (which is surprisingly pretty darned tasty in its own right) or, if you can’t do the color, the aforementioned delicious dark chocolate stuff which is available much more cheaply at Amazon.com, Netrition.com, or Vitamin Shoppe.

Seriously, go try it.

Start with the chocolate stuff and then transition to the green once your body becomes more alkaline.

I guarantee you’ll be surprised not only by the taste, but also by the ease with which you’ll shed unwanted pounds and gain extra energy!

Hint: if you’re already drinking soy shakes at any time during the day, just throw a serving in your blender. I tossed some in with my morning spiru-tein shake and it was awesome!

Overcoming Procrastination: avoiding the “paralysis of analysis”

Procrastination is not only a formidable enemy to reaching one’s goals, but also to one’s self confidence. Learning to recognize the various forms that procrastination can take and develop winning strategies will help you not only achieve your goals, but to also feel better about yourself while you do it.

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a course on information marketing, and the instructor, Eben Pagen, who went from a $0 business to a $20 million business in less than five years, made a reference to something called the “paralysis of analysis.”

I laughed, thinking it was a great term, but I didn’t really think too much about it. I most certainly didn’t think about how it might apply to me!

Now, the reason why Mr. Pagen advised avoiding the “paralysis of analysis”, is that getting stuck there prevents you from achieving your goals! It also undermines your self-confidence and forward trajectory. And when you undermine your self-confidence and forward trajectory, you no longer attract other self-confident and forward moving people into you life.

Obviously, when you avoid the “paralysis of analysis”, you achieve your goals (partly because you’re learning from your mistakes), you increase your self-confidence, you gain forward momentum, and you attract like-minded people into your sphere of influence. Sounds familiar?

You may be wondering why I’m giving you a little mini-marketing recap in a blog about losing the last ten pounds and keeping them off forever. Am I right?

Well, the other day, I realized that I, too, had fallen into the trap of “the paralysis of analysis.” Essentially, I realized that I was spending more time arguing with myself about whether I should exercise than I actually did exercising! It was particularly ironic, when it would take me 20 minutes to convince myself that it was worth exercising when I only had 30 minutes to begin with!

When all was said and done, of course, if I’d just gotten up and done it, I could have had a full 50 minute session (with a 400+ calorie burn to brun)!

There are plenty of other examples, but I’m sure you get the general idea.

Now that I have recognized the “paralysis for analysis” for what it is – a highly sophisticated, yet undermining – means of procrastination, I have developed a better system for for getting around it.

How I get around “the paralysis of analysis” is that I exercise immediately upon getting out of bed; else, I schedule it in the day, as I would any other appointment. And this applies not only to exercise, but to work, writing, calling friends and family, etc. So, now that I recognize this for what it is, whenever I catch myself arguing with myself about if I should do something – especially if one of the key the arguments against doing it is not having enough time – I just do it.

If you are a procrastinator or someone who just likes to analyze (or, one could say, over-analyze), I challenge you to simply do the things that you’re trying to talk yourself out of actually doing. You’ll feel better and I guarantee, you’ll get a heck of a lot more accomplished!

Let me know how it goes!

Drop the “us v. them” when it comes to skinny people!

Why do people tend to turn everything into us versus them?

Well, one reason is that it simplifies things. It makes it easier to navigate the social world. Basically, it’s a cookie cutter way (or short cut) to make snap judgments about people. I, myself, have been guilty of making judgments about people who I would term as “skinny,” as you may recall from previous posts. One of the assumptions that I make about all skinny people, whether it’s true or not, is that they are naturally skinny.

Why is this a dangerous assumption to make?

When you turn someone into a “them” as opposed to an “us” you automatically separate yourself from them; you essentially take them off your team. You also make them somehow different from you.

When you assume that all skinny people who are, in your mind, “naturally skinny,” you end up giving yourself permission to fail. This is because your mind automatically takes the next step by saying, “They are naturally skinny. Because you are not naturally skinny, you shouldn’t compare yourself to them.”

When this happens, you will fail to meet your weight goals – that is, to be skinny yourself! Or whatever your goal happens to be.

This insight isn’t new. It stems from an old theory in social psychology called social identity theory. Social identity theory shows that when faced with an appreciable difference, people tend to establish in- and out- groups (e.g., “us v. them”) on even the most trivial or minimal differences. (And I am assuming that if you have any weight to lose at all, weight is not a trivial issue for you!) When this happens, individuals start to dis-identify with the out-group (in this case, skinny people) by assigning certain traits to them and to identify with the in-group (in this case, overweight people). When your own group is marginalized, and one could argue that overweight people are marginalized in this culture, you will also begin to identify with all of the negative characteristics – such as laziness or a lack of self-discipline – that exist within the broader culture. This, of course, is the last thing you want or need if you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off.

Over the last 72 hours, this very topic came up no less than three times.

The first was in Judith S. Beck’s excellent book, The Beck Diet Solution, the reference I scooped from Cindy Sadler’s excellent blog, The Next Hundred Pounds. In her book, which is based more on cognitive restructuring than dieting, Dr. Beck lists out characteristic differences in the way that skinny people and overweight people think:

Characteristic Number Seven:
You Focus on Issues of Unfairness

Are you surprised to learn that most thin people restrict their eating to some degree? They might be trying to maintain their weight or to stay healthy – or both. So they sometimes eat smaller portions than they would really like and choose healthy foods when they;d really prefer to eat something else. They accept these limitations without too much struggle. They just don’t think about it very much.

You however, might frequently reflect on how unfair it is that others can eat what they want but you can’t. Truth is, not only do you underestimate how much others restrict themselves, but you also focus on the the injustice you feel because you have to limit yourself. In the past, this kind of thinking may have led you to stray from your diet, or you may have given up entirely (p. 39).

Beck then goes on to report the results of a survey that she did where she asked individuals – who were at their desired weight – if they would eat differently if all food had the same calories. The majority of men (over the age of forty) and the majority of women (of any age) said yes! Pretty compelling stuff!

Then, I was at a marketing seminar in L.A. and every morning there was a place set up where you could get a bagged breakfast. Invariably, the women that I would have previously classed as “naturally skinny” (or worse) walked over to the bags that contained bagels, muffins, fresh fruit, and cream cheese and then walked away. I didn’t see any of “those” woman – many of whom turned out to be raw food chefs or fitness experts! – go anywhere near anything that even remotely resembled a bagel, let alone a muffin. Instead, I saw them with almonds, fresh fruit, and herbal tea. Humph! Ironically, and much to my chagrin, they ate a lot like me!

And, finally, the following came across MJ’s Twitter feed: I just found out that three people I assumed were naturally skinny had all been previously overweight.

When you hear/see something that many times in a 72 hour period, there must be something to it!

So, how do you go about trying to break down those stereotypes? And I use the word stereotypes intentionally, because that’s what they are.

First, just watch skinny people. What do they eat? How do they eat it? When facing situations that you find challenging, what do they do? How do they spend their free time?

And don’t watch them when you’re out at lunch, because as one of my skinny friends told me, a lot of skinny people will eat a lot when they go out, but they will either cut back at dinner or for the next few days depending on how much they splurged!

Another thing would be to simply ask them! Trust me, they don’t bite. And if they work in the fitness industry, they’ll be all too happy to tell you all about it!

So, if you have this idea that skinny people can eat all they want, watch them. Remember, modeling (and team building) are powerful predictors of success!

Jillian Michael’s Weekly Radio Show

Wow!

I didn’t realize that Jillian Michael did a weekly radio show.

It’s definitely worth listening to if you need a good kick in the pants about anything. This is not just about weight loss. It’s about self-esteem and identity. It’s about anything that you want to accomplish.

Check it out here, not only because it’s funny, but because it provides you with a ton of information (such as how your identity dictates your reality, how to reduce headaches, how your posture affects your ability to detox your system, the benefits of massage, supplements, etc.). It also provides you with free personal coaching with some serious attitude.

In case you don’t have the hour, think about just this one simple question: “What prison is your mind keeping you in?”

Hint: One way to work this in to your week is to download it and listen to it during a workout!

Perseverance in Weight Loss:Keeping your eye on the prize (as opposed to your gut)

Over the last three or four days, I have really gotten my head around why cultivating perseverance in weight release (more commonly known as weight loss) or any other long term goal really matters.

Essentially, if you have a strong sense of perseverance, you will meet your goals because you’ll be able to 1) face challenging social scenes and still make choices that support you; 2) automatically create solutions when faced with difficult environment (i.e.. packing in a ton of fruit and bringing your own blender to a two day conference!); and 3) maintain your self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem.

When you haven’t cultivated a strong sense of perseverance, you won’t meet your goals because you’ll be more likely to 1) abandon your plans in the face of difficult challenges or upset; 2) fail to see or to create opportunities to succeed; and 3) undermine not only your self-confidence, but also your self-respect and self-esteem. And once you’ve undermined those three puppies, all bets are off!

So what does it actually mean to persevere? Without resorting to Dictionary.com, perseverance, to me, means to soldier on in the face of adversity and unwelcome surprises. Remember when you were a kid and your mother made you clean your room? Not just put away the mess, but to really do some massive reorganization and to clean out the gunk and garbage that may have accumulated since last summer? It’s typically the case that it gets a lot worse before it gets better. Same thing with growing out a short hair cut. You can give up during the truly hideous stage or you can persevere until you get the long luxurious mane that you’d been coveting for months.

A few blog posts ago, I told the story of the hapless veterinarian, who essentially asked when I was expecting my first bundle of joy! Needless to say, I was a bit floored. Because not only am I not pregnant, I am actually smaller than I’ve been in my entire life. I weigh less. My waist is smaller. My clothes are smaller. No matter how you slice it, there is less of me to love. Yet, here I am being asked if I’m pregnant! Wtf?!

You may recall that over the last couple of months, I have moved away from my predominantly cardio based exercise regime. Instead, I have introduced a mix of weight training DVDs, including Michelle Khai’s Kettlenetics Slim & Tone Program, as well as Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred and No More Trouble Zones. What this has done, essentially, has caused me to lay on a lot of muscle in my waist and in my upper and middle back, effectively pushing my pudge front and center!

The result, ironically, is that my core is stronger but my stomach looks bigger—bigger, that is, relative to the rest of me! And to make things worse (or better, depending on your perspective) my hips and thighs have also gotten smaller. Not a flattering combination! So, although I was completely thrown by the vet’s question about my impending life changes, it was (unfortunately) completely understandable.

I think it goes without saying that looking three months pregnant was not a goal when I started my weight loss (that is, my weight release) program. It would be very easy for me to justify not persevering and convince myself that it’s better to be a size 10 who doesn’t look preggers than a size six who does. But to do so would not only undermine my health and fitness goals, it would eventually undermine all of the self-confidence, the self-respect, and the self-esteem that I have gleaned from this process so far. It would also cost me a heck of a lot of money since I have sold all of my old clothes!

So my only other choice is to persevere.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still getting rid of the shirt! However, what I really need to go is keep my eye on the prize and not my waist line.

How shameful

I used to work in a Baskin Robbins!

Thanks to my sister who just forward me a list of the Unhealthiest Drinks in America (2009)!

I am pleased to say that I have never had any of these and, now, thanks to this, I never will.

I’m not sure why there isn’t a tax on stuff like this. We tax everything else that is “bad” for us! Oh yeah, because we actually subsidize the crap that goes into it. My bad.

Again, a picture’s worth a thousand words!

This morning on Good Morning America: What a Fatty Meal Does to Your Insides! Yuck.

Notice that’s one fatty meal, not five!

You couldn’t have paid me enough to take that assignment!

Thanks, Anne! I think….

Bring on the Fries!

I particularly liked the visual comparisons she used. Ouch!

Check this out: Summer Foods That Fool!

Nothing says lose the shirt more clearly than ‘Are you pregnant?’

I bought this super comfortable shirt at J Jill – one of their Pure Jill collection – and I loved it.

When I first tried it on, I thought, hmph, not particularly flattering but oh, so comfy! (MJ seconded the former with a very diplomatic, “Not the best thing I’ve seen you in.”) I’m thinking he was a little too diplomatic!

Today at the vet’s, the vet said, “I see you have some big life changes coming up yourself!” It was the silly smile that women always get around pregnant women and the meaningful glance at my waist (which, granted, looks about twice its normal size in this particular shirt) that gave it way.

“It’s the shirt,” I said simply, trying to smile. “I never wear it out of the house, but I figured with all of the car hair, what the heck.”

What I really wanted to say was, “Who asks if you’re pregnant anymore, you obnoxious cow?!”

Needless to say, she was mortified – perhaps more than me.

I, on the other hand, was resolved.

The nice comfy J Jill shirt is being relegated to the pajama drawer, if not the trash!

Fourth of July with MJ’s parents

Another holiday, another family cookout.

This time, however, when I saw MJ’s dad, the first words out of this mouth were, “I got you some Boca Burgers and some other type of veggie burger. I also bought organic wheat rolls.”

I was absolutely floored. Touched, but floored.

So, armed with my signature tabouli and MJ’s parents veggie burgers (and some very tasty pickles and olives), I was good to go for completely angst free family cookout.

Thanks, Mr. Y! The burgers were delicious!

Less of me to love or more of “me” per square inch?

I took my measurements today. The last time I took them was October 2008. The changes don’t look like much – an inch here, a half an inch there. Though I must admit that I am most pleased to announce that both of my thighs are finally less than 20 inches in circumference! (That’s one at a time, by the way, not combined)!

In order to be consistent, I take my measurements at the largest part of bust, the smallest part of my waist, the widest part of my hips, the biggest point on my flexed bicep (both right and left) and seven inches above each knee at the thigh. I use the Myo Tape Measure, as I find it’s the easiest way to take your measurements on your own and be relatively steady in terms of tension. In other words, it’s harder to cheat!

I used to to do it every three months or so, but I’ve gotten lazy.

Since everything had gone down a little (with the exception of my waist, which has remained stubbornly put), I was pretty pleased. But, out of curiosity I decided to go back a little further in my records.

Since July 2007, I have officially lost 24.25 inches! Wow. That’s two feet if you live in the U.S and just over 60.96 centimeters if you don’t!

Almost instantaneously, my little voice kicked in: Where did all of that go? Which part, exactly, is gone? What if that was the best part?

Luckily, before I made it out of the bathroom and into the kitchen with my hand outstretched for the cashews, I remembered what Michael assured me of last year when my weight was fluctuating.

Essentially, the message was this: I love you, either way. When you’re up, there’s more of you to love, but when you’re down, just think if it as more love for you, per square inch. It doesn’t matter what you weigh, you’re still you.

The cashews sit unmolested in their airtight container in the cabinet and all is well in my world.

Moving Toward v. Moving Away

I’ve been doing some learning about the way people make transformations or change in their lives. Typically people are motivated by their hopes and aspirations (that is, what they want to happen or that which they are moving toward) or their fears and frustrations (that is, what they don’t want to happen or continue happening, or that from which they are moving away).

As a general rule, people are much more likely to be motivated by their fears than by their aspirations. Part of that may be that they are unable to fully realize or envision their aspirations, whereas it’s much easier to imagine their greatest fears (especially if they are already living them).

When I started my weight release journey three years ago, I had a really hard time envisioning what I wanted to accomplish. Then, one day, I was over at a friend’s house and I was looking at a selection of framed photos of her around her living room.

“See, I was thin once,” she said matter of fact-ly. “When X is over, I will be again.”

I was floored. And jealous. And, in that moment, it hit me why it’d been so hard to visualize what I wanted. I had no pictures of myself as I wanted to be!

Now, when I was in Weight Watchers, my leader used to talk about visualization and about how you should find the body of your dreams from a magazine and then put your face on it. I also remember thinking: Give me a break!

When I realized that part of my inability to visualize had something to do with never having seen it (what can I say, I’m not a visual person), I decided that I was going to take Judi’s advice, albeit some twenty years after I first heard it. But I didn’t do it using magazines and scissors, I did it via modern technology. Five cheers for photo manips!

The first thing I did was find the photo. I ended selecting a stock photo of Jillian Michaels. I then had Michael take a picture of me standing in the same position, with my head tilted just so. He then used Photoshop (or some other similar software) to create a photo that we joking call KJillian!

The first time I looked at the photo, I had to look away. I thought, ‘How embarrassing.’ In fact, it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that it literally hurt to look at it. Seriously, the dissonance was staggering. I literally had to keep it in a manila folder on my kitchen counter. However, over the course of a week, I got used to seeing myself like that. And as the image became more familiar to me, it also became more believable! Eventually, I put it up on the refrigerator.

Just as an aside, my little sister came over, looked at it and then looked at me and said, without batting an eyelash, “How did your head get on Jillian Michael’s body?” I told her. “Cool,” she said. Apparently not so embarrassing after all.

If you don’t have a picture about what you want to achieve (either in reality or in your mind’s eye), create one. Seriously. I’ll admit: thought it was the cheesiest thing in the world when it was first suggested to me, but it was incredibly powerful. In fact, it got to the point that when I would take pictures of myself (in similar clothes and in a similar position), I thought that they looked odd, which motivated me to move my reality towards the image in my head.

The same thing is true, by the way, if you have an image in your head of what you don’t want to be; you will become that. Remember, the one of the strongest human drives is self-consistency! My problem was, previously, that I saw myself as heavy or as someone who was 30 pounds overweight, so that’s what I created (over and over again). Bottom line: get rid of the bad images and bring on the good – even if you have to stoop to using Photoshop to do it!

Now that I have a solid image in my mind of what I want to move towards (that is, my head on Jillian Michael’s body or something similar), I sometimes also use moving away from – especially when I need a good kick in the pants, like a I did the day before yesterday, when I just could not get myself moving.

First, just writing that blog post helped, because I hate to admit that I can’t do something.

Second, I have a pair of pants that I bought at a consignment store. Technically they fit; however, I would never go out in public with them fitting the way they fit at the moment. Ironically, they are the smallest pair of pants that I own, but they make me look huge because they’re so tight.

Essentially, these are the “get leverage on yourself” or the “moving away from” pants. I put those on (to say that I just slipped into them would be a bald faced lie!) and all it took was five minutes standing in front of the mirror to get me down on the NordicTrack, followed up by my moving towards: Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.

Are you a moving towards person or a moving away person? If you are primarily one, I strongly suggest mixing it up when you need a little extra motivation!

And if you don’t have a picture of what you want to achieve, get one – even if, especially if, you have to make it yourself!

As if the calories and addictive properties weren’t bad enough!

Thanks go to my sister for this little tip!

Snack Tip of the Day: Frozen Grapes

I think I must have picked this one up from my Weight Watchers days, but I had certainly forgotten about it: Frozen Grapes!

I broke of a bunch of 25 white seedless grapes, washed them, then stuck them in the freezer overnight. Delicious.

Now, why would you want to freeze a grape?

Well, actually, there are a couple of reasons.

1) Freezing seems to enhance the natural sweetness of the grape, which if you have a sweet tooth, as I do, that’s always a plus.

2) Freezing, if you live in a warm environment, is very cooling.

2) But, perhaps even more importantly, freezing slows you down. I don’t know about you, but I can eat 25 grapes in about two minutes and with a maximum chews of about 2 per grape. When they’re frozen it doesn’t work that way. Let’s be honest, when’s the last time it took you fifteen minutes to eat 25 grapes? When’s the last time you chewed a single grape 20 times before swallowing?

Anyway, give it a try. If you don’t like them, they’ll always thaw!