Monday, March 28, 2011

Before & After 80 Lbs

In response the the request for an updated Before / After. I figured 80lbs is as good a milestone as ever to update my collage:



Some details on that before picture. Xanthe was in the foreground playing in the kiddie pool last summer. My head was cut off, but rest assured, that WAS me. I was wearing a maternity tank top (from year earlier preggo with Porter) and size 24 Target jean short.

Some details on the after picture. Taken 3/26/11 in preparation for dinner out with my family. Wearing, size XL Banana Republic shirt (not PLUS size, ha!), size 14 Eddie Bauer Jeans. Oh, yeah, that IS me.

80 Down, 20 to Go!



Huh. I am dumbfounded. At a loss for words. I cannot fathom how I have happened upon the following numbers this week:

Weight loss this week: 3 lbs
Total loss to date: 80 lbs

20 lbs to go!

I traveled to IL on work this week. I will say that I made a good effort to keep on the straight and narrow. I excercised on Monday before I left. I watched what I ate. I checked out menus online before I ate out (Maggiano's! Wow. There are some calories!). I ate sandwiches and fruit and salads.

I kicked my butt on the treatmill. People who can run on the treadmill without breaking a sweat and looking graceful are aliens to me.

So, ok, I can see how that might have worked for me. But arriving home, I celebrated my brother's birthday (carrot cake!), visited with my sister and neice in town at the Brazilian steakhouse (meat!), and otherwise had bites here and there and everywhere (Cheese, crackers, cookies, oh my!)...

I supposed I should stop rationalizing and just accept. Next week, I will (naturally) try SUPER DUPER hard, and no weight will drop off. On some level, this success was born a long time ago with my continued effort day in and day out. I've realized that the weight that I drop this week was due to that old Newtonian law... a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

Let's keep that motion going! And for some motivation, a pic of my mini-me's... In my old clothes. Circa 1980. Gotta love a throw back.

80 down and 20 to go. Move over Jennifer Hudson!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dear John


A series of letters...

Dear 270's:

I hardly remember you. Perhaps it was the post baby haze like an ice cream induced coma. The world seemed slower and the stairs steeper when you were in my life. I must admit though, I yearn for 250, so I must go.

Best of luck,
Mara

....

Dear 250's:

I am just on my way thru town this week, I've got so much to do, I can't stay for long. The pounds are falling off my frame and I've hardly gotten started. I've tasted quick success and I'm yearning for more. I have woken up and seen the light. No more abusive relationships for me! I still feel flabby but I can feel the change, it is a coming.

Off like a dirty shirt,
Mara

...

Dear 230's,

Figures you'd show up around Thanksgiving! Turkey, stuffing, and potatoes, how you tempt me. I have learned that even though I may have the occasional discretion that I can still stay true to myself. And that means, I must break up with you. Lets just say, its not you, its me. And, we can't be friends. I have no intention of coming back to you. I've got some new sizes to buy and I am cleaning out my closet.

Gotta run,
Mara

...

Dear 210's,

I have to give you credit. You've been fighting hard to keep me. You tease me with the jumping up and down on the scale. You are here there and everywhere. You tenacity is impressive. You certainly know how to woo a girl. You've given me the freedom of sexy clothing and nights out. You allow me the occasional glass of wine or cocktail. I am happy with the status of our progress physically and we seem in sync in terms of activity. But, I have to be honest, I am dreaming big. I want 170. I mean, I really really want 170. I am jonzing for 170. Call it cheating if you like, but I'm going to get it.

With deepest affection,
Mara

...

Dear 190's,

Wow you are stubborn. You grab on and don't let go. You've charged into my world and taken root. I never thought I could snag a "Onderland", and here I am. I love that you give me energy and joy. That I am starting to see this in all parts of my life, not just my physical or personal. My entire outlook is different in 190. 190 is only 20 away from 170. I know it will be the hardest 20 to go.. and dear 190, I will go, although to date, you may be the hardest to leave. I've gotten accustom to what you challenge me to do. Our daily habits mesh and you suit me. You are sweet and nice and all things a girl would love, but there is just a spark missing... a spark I see down at 170. I have to go there and see... and what is the cliche? If you love someone, set them free.

Love,
Mara

Monday, March 21, 2011

On Relationships


I've always had an affinity for treatises. You know, those philosophical undertakings by thinkers in a long gone era where they waxed and waned eloquently about topics that appeared complicated or misunderstood. I took a lot of political philosophy courses in university and not because I liked political philosophy but because a title as simple as

A Treatise on Government

seemed ambitious, unlikely and cavalier in my opinion. Thus, I wanted to know more.

It is without even the faintest hope of explaining actual relationships that I title this post

On Relationships

A treatise, of sorts.

As I was falling asleep last night I was cataloging the formative relationships that I have had in my life. And by relationships, I would define that as relationships that would or could have been categorized as amorous on some level. Have you ever done this? Sort of a movie of the life of Mara..

And thinking back, it seems so different than it did when I lived it. Last night I was taking that philosophical approach, why is it different now? What prevented me for seeing those relationships for what they were at the time?

Well, that is easy - I did. Me. Moi. I saw them different because I was different. I was me, but less me. I was still trying to find me. And I didn't know what was happening to me (was it love?) cause I couldn't imagine how someone else could love me. I couldn't understand it because I didn't love myself. If I can't love me, who can?

Now mind you, I don't think I had this thought pattern back then. Back then I was a jungle mass of insecurity and nerves. But now, as a older more self actualized (lets hope so) being, I can see the wood for the trees. Heck, I see the whole forest.

They, the proverbial they, say it all the time. To really understand love, you have to love yourself. Only then can you accept love from someone else. That you can't look for someone else to fulfill you. That the only person who can make you whole, is yourself. Once you are an authentic you, then you radiate, like the sun, you brighten those that you are near and people want more of you. They want to bask in your glow. Feel your happiness and joy. Doors open. Love walks in. Hello!

I've been on a journey in the past 6 months. It started as a weight loss journey. It turned into a journey regarding my overall health, my worth as a person, as a Mom, and more so, as a wife. I have learned to love myself again. I am more willing to show love and more willing to accept love. It is a daily habit. If you don't do it, all things are neglected, including the love you able to accept. More than any size, ring or other bauble, that is the ultimate reward.

I have a lot more to say on this... as well all know, treatise are long. Consider this an introduction.

Oh, and it is Monday:

Loss this week: 1 lbs
Total loss to date: 77 lbs
Lbs to next goal: 23 lbs

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How?


I've been fielding a lot of questions recently on how I am going about losing the weight. My system has sort of evolved, so I am going to tell you what I am doing now and how I got here.

I am not doing any commercial program. No Weight Watchers. No Jenny Craig. No Nutrisystem. No prepackaged food for me.

I knew how I got here. I knew how to fix it. That wasn't the problem. The problem was actually doing it.

What I am doing:

--- I am counting calories ---
--- I diary everything I eat ---
--- I excercise 5 X per week ---

How does this translate into my every day life?

FOOD

I use My Food Diary as my online food diary. I am not that strict about the kinds of foods I eat. I am strict about how much I eat. You can eat anything, you just need to know what you put in your mouth.

For example, if you decide to eat a monster cupcake from Gigi's you are either going to have to work out for a LONG period of time, or eat less some other time. You have the choice. But it comes down to this - knowing the consequence, do you really want to eat that cupcake? Thinking thru it that way makes you realize that sometimes the cupcake is not worth it. It is easier (note, not easy, just easier..) to pass it up.

You learn that you can eat a lot more vegetables = bulk = for less calories. You find foods that keep you full until the next meal. Here are my go to daily foods:

Breakfast (Try to keep it until 350 cals)
Coffee
3/4 c. Kashi cereal
1 c. Special K cereal
100 cal whole wheat english muffin w/ a nut butter (caloric but filling - must measure!)
Fried egg (watch butter) w/ slice toast
Fruit

Lunch: (Try to keep it under 450 cals)

If I am out and about I will look for:
Subway - Veggie Delight or other 400cal or less sandwich. No cheese. Only red wine vinegar. No other condiments.
Panera - Calorie content is posted on menu
The Noodle Company - Ask for calorie info when ordering
Cosi - Bombay Chicken salad w/ light dressing (watch side of flatbread = cals!)

At home:
I opt for Healthy Choice microwave meals that range between 210 - 350 cals.
I like single servings of Greek yogurt
Or low calorie / Kashi granola bars if I am craving sweet

Dinner (Try to keep it under 700 cals)
Meat - watch the sauces
Vegetable - I go for quick and easy microwave steam variety
starch - watch your portions, this is where the calories live!

We also do chicken with salads, fish tacos, turkey meatloaf, you name it.

Rules I live by:


When in doubt, don't eat it or only taste it.
Skip the starch and have two helpings of veggies.
When in doubt go for the fish or stick with vegetarian.
No fried food.
Avoid starches.
Avoid cheese.
Avoid bread.
Avoid sauces, dressings, butter and oils.

My fall back foods:
Raw Whole Almonds (11 nuts) - These are caloric but super healthy and filling.
Fruit - berries, clementines, bananas, etc.
Veggies / Salads
Greek Yogurt (very filling - high protein)
Light Stick Cheese (50 cals)
Kashi Mocha Almond Bars (YUM!)
Gelato/Sorbet (Satisfies by ice cream cravings - small size = 150 cals or less)
Boca burgers 1/ yellow mustard, pickes on english muffin (Satisfies burger cravings!)

EXCERCISE

I think it was Matthew McConaughey that said that his excercise regime was to break a sweat every day. I like that. I think it is good advice. I think it doesn't matter what you do, just that you do something. I went a long time without doing anything, so for me, I knew I couldn't be too regimented. I couldn't say I would do it 30, 60, 90 minutes a day. I only said, I would do something. So, I did. And for the first 50 lbs, it worked.

Then I had to re-evaluated and get more organized.

I use the Wii. I did the Wii Fit until I didn't find it challenging anymore. Then for Christmas I got the Golds Gym Dance Workout. I just submitted to the game. On day 1, I put in my info and started with the Personal Trainer. It tells me what to do. I don't pick it. I don't think. I just do it. Almost every day I find the time to spend doing this.

I've worked my way up since January. From 12 mins at the beginner and tutorial levels, to 38 mins at the Advaned levels. Every day it is different and I average about 300 cals burned in 30 mins of excercise.

I credit this workout with the inches that I have lost of my chest, hips and waist. I twist. I punch. I do jumping jacks. I try to do the salsa. It must be hilarious to watch, but I do it without shame albeit in the peace of my own basement.

It works for me.

Now that it is getting nicer out, I am anxious to get outside. I am toying with cutting back on the Wii and starting to run. I ran for 26 minutes on Tuesday. No outside yet, but I know I can do it if I want. I am seeing that I might start mixing it up a bit. I think I am going to have to keep pushing to get the next 25 lbs off this frame.

This is what has worked for me. It may not work for you. The key I think is being able to find those things that keep you going and work in your daily life. I knew I needed to do it on my own and still be able to enjoy going out on the weekends with the kids and occasionally a fancy meal with my hubby. So, I do that. I work for it and enjoy it more now than I did before. I splurge on clothes instead of food. I bought a full length mirror and appreciate what I see in it now. That is all a girl can hope for. Harder yet, is keeping at it.

Monday, March 14, 2011


The sun set around 7pm yesterday. It may still be freezing, and yes, there is snow on the ground, but one of these days it will be spring. It is a long time coming this year.

Weight loss this week: 1 lb
Total loss to date: 76 lbs

The weight loss is slowing down. I knew it would happen. I've been plugging away loving the steady drop of several pounds of week. But, I knew these last 25 lbs were going to be a challenge.

Last week, in my goal reaching euphoria, I took my body measurements. As a comparison to where I was in mid-January, I've logged the following stats:

Waist = -3 inches
Hips = -4 inches
Chest = -3 inches
Thigh = -1.5 inches
Calf = No change (started skinny, stayed skinny)
Bicep = No change

Today, I am going to start running. Here goes nothing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What now?


Driving down the road in my old black Saturn SUV, my Mom asked me:

“So, what made you do it?”

“Lose the weight?”

“Yeah.”

I hesitated. And sort of stumbled over my words. The first thing that popped into my head was the easy answer – I don’t know.

But I did know. It was the culmination of a lot of little things. I keep thinking about those little things. Trying to figure out what it is that all of these little things, like fire pokers to my motivation, have in common. The only thing I have come up with is fear…

Early in August, I was perusing the plus size offering in Target, looking for a black swim bottom for our upcoming trip to the Dells. Let’s not even talk about the fact that I am now shopping for swimsuits for the Dells and not for South Beach… that is a whole different post. Depressing. Ok, so back to Target. As it happened, there were 3 alternative black swim bottoms (cause every plus size girls know black is the ONLY option) for the larger set.

I opted for what I thought was my size in the swim skirt option. Took it home. In the privacy of my own home, I tried it on (over my undies, sanitary liner in place, of course). The skirt covered numerous sins evident on my tush and thighs, nice. But ugh, my tummy is getting cut off. Spilling over. Oh, this won’t do.

Return to Target. Return the 20/22. Purchase the 24/26. At home, the skirt now looked less like a swim skirt and more like a granny-church-skirt - hitting me around the mid-thigh. But low and behold, the tummy wasn’t spilling out and at least I was decent. Sorta.

I don’t specifically remember thinking – this is what it has come to – but it felt like that.

I had one option. In one color. In the last available size. Oh, gawd...

Slowly, I kept seeing my options getting limited. Limited by my own weight. Something, I can control. Fear of going to restaurants, wondering if I would be comfortable in the booth? Hearing stories of larger people being kicked off airplanes for spilling into the next seat and wondering will that be me? Or will I just continue to get those looks of relief when someone comes down the aisle and realizes they are not going to have to sit next to me? Fear of not fitting. Fear of can’t. Fear of not… not being able to..

Consider that motivation.

Actually wondering who is going to teach my kids to do the things that kids do when their Mom isn’t able to keep up. Having kids who want to sit in my lap, lean back against their Mommy, but really can’t cause the lap doesn’t exist, and the tummy takes up all the available cuddle room.

I was that person. And I was afraid, really, honestly afraid of what I had let happen. And the only person who could change it was me.

My answer to my Mom was something along these lines. But it is so much more. I am too young to give up. I am too young to just accept that this is what it is. I am too young not to take control. To live in fear and just allow myself to continue to feed myself into a stupor.

What’s the point of trying to figure this out today? I’ve reached 3 huge goals in the past 8 months. 75 lbs. I am a fraction of the size that I was then. I can cross my legs, fit in booths, shop in regular sizes, run around the block, flex my arm muscles (damn good), and navigate the complicated and horrible food options in numerous restaurants. I am my new (and old) young (and adult) self.

It is imporant because in the last 24 hours I’ve started to think – what now? I need to remember what it was like to feel like I had no options. Black. That covering up was the only way. Fading into the background. If I forgot, I will easily not keep on keepin on.

So, one of the fears I really need to embrace today – is the fear that I will forget what that was like. I need to remember to keep going.

Monday, March 7, 2011

75


Straight to the stats:

Weight loss this week: 2.5lbs
Total loss to date: 75lbs

According to My Food Diary I have lost the last 50lbs in 150 days. Roughly that is 1 pound every three days. Wowza.

I am smugly going to say, I earned it this week. I busted my butt. I have worked out harder for the past 9 days straight than I have since I started this gig. The Golds Gym Dance Workout for Wii - personal trainer option - bumped me up to Advanced at the end of February and I feel like it is making all the difference. Left lights, twists, jumping jacks. There is a new appreciation for sweating in this house! And, it feels good.

In fact, on Thurs/Friday last week, I was down 3 - 4 lbs on the week, and making a real go at embracing my new place in Onderland. As per usual, the weekend saw me creep back up, and this week for good reason. Erik & I indulged in some adult time last night. After a comedy at the Sundance Theater, we headed over to Flemings Steakhouse for a late dinner (first no-no). Recounting what I ate seems tacky, but suffice it to say, I have a couple new wines that I am loving, the ahi tuna appetizer was to die for, and I only wish I could cook fish at home like they did as their special. I nibbled. I nibbled on the good stuff. Crusty french bread and chardonnay infused feta spread. Prosecco and lemon ginger custard....

If you are going to splurge, this is how to do it. Better yet, with your husband who you are more in love with daily. I am a lucky girl.