One can for every pound I lose...bring it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Let's Tawk Turkey

There was much buzz about the Thanksgiving holiday. What did you eat? Were you "good"?   (by the way, since Malibu I no longer use the words "good" and "bad" to describe food. I use "healthy" and "unhealthy.") People were anxiously awaiting the play-by-play and, perhaps, taking bets on whether or not the pumpkin pie would make me come undone.

Yeah, I was good. I mean, I made healthy choices. Working in a hotel that never closes, I chose to work. Not only did I choose to work, but I chose to cover the housekeeping department so my supervisor could have off. I walked over 7,000 steps at work by 2:00. Healthy choice #1.

My sister in law graciously had dinner at 5pm, and I eyeballed the choices. I took a nice serving of strawberry spinach salad; took a helping of veggie casserole - covered 1/2 my plate with veggies just like the picture on the slide at Malibu. Healthy choice #2. Took my deck-of-cards sized helping of turkey and some filling. I even used a little gravy. I followed the "rule" of no forbidden food. And let's face it, once something is no longer off limits, it loses (some) of its appeal.

I ate and didn't feel guilty. Dessert? Yup. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream? Nope. I brought my own healthy "banana split" inspired dessert (on the Kraft food website - sub low fat cream cheese and light cool whip and prepare the pudding with nonfat milk) - in moderation, this is soooo good.
Healthy choice #3
Following a tradition that I broke this year, my husband and son complained they ate too much (my son even said he felt he would throw up.) Oh, I remember those days. But food no loonger had power over me - I had power over it. I was satisfied, not stuffed, and dang proud of myself for making it through the holiday without feeling like I "blew it." Friday started a 3-day Zumbathon (healthy choice #4!)- I burn about 500 calories per class - and I can look back and be proud of the choices I made. I did not feel deprived at all. This is new. I used to think diets were punishment for bad choices I made before. But I'm not on a diet. I've got a new lifestyle.

It all comes down to having a new relationship with food. A healthy relationship. A relationship free of drama (should I have eaten that? OMG, I can't believe I did that to myself!) - free of pain (ouch, I caught my belly in the zipper!) - free of lies (these jeans shrunk) free of jealousy (is her butt smaller than mine?) and free of excuses (it must be my thyroid.)

I remember the motivation that was instilled in me in Malibu. John asking "what did you come here for? how bad do you want this?" when we were in circuit class. I literally climbed mountains for hours a day when a little over a year ago I could barely breathe - I gained a newfound respect for the power of my body. My eyes were opened to a new world. I wasn't going to complain about how unhappy I was. I was going to change my attitude and change my life.

Today's daily scripture that was emailed to me was from Philippians. It goes like this:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

I really try to do all things without complaining. It's hard. But I do know that now, I won't complain that my jeans don't fit while I eat a cookie. That's just silly. I feel like I "get it" now. And I ain't tawkin' turkey. I really get it.

Thanks to everyone for their continued support!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


In Malibu, they taught the 90/10 rule: The idea is to keep a healthy lifestyle & thoughts 90% of the time, and 10% of the time you can indulge.

I guess you can say I've been a "Perfect 10" these past few days.

Just 9 days after arriving home from the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, I was on a plane to West Palm Beach Florida for a work conference (I know, rough life)

THIS trip, I was on my own as far as my food and meals were concerned. I had a very successful week at home, planning my meals and exercising. I had this in the bag.

Well...funny thing about being away from home and not having a regimented schedule like we did at the resort. I was left to my own devices, and had what I like to call "temptation challenges" at every turn.

The first morning I did great! Had a very healthy breakfast and chose the fruit instead of bacon.
yes it's wheat toast
 For the afternoon break, they put out a "candy bar." It was beautiful. Ya know, if you're into that kind of stuff. Think jars of colored sugary balls and cubes and chocolate bars and gummy thingies AND little plastic bags you could fill up.

I chose a nutri-grain bar - apple cinammon. And a very small Hershey's chocolate bar. So far, so good. The evening reception was poolside and it was lovely. There were healthy options, too!
Hooray for fruit skewers!

They had wonderful little stations with different finger foods. I steered clear of the mini quiches and dough-wrapped cocktail wieners - helped myself to a few crab claws (with cocktail sauce not butter) and a slice of honey turkey. Fabulous.

Then, on the way out, a sign told us to help ourselves to a box of "midnight snacks." Here's the image that came to mind:
I took one anyway.
Inside the box (which was opened in the parking lot en route to the car): A biscotti (120 calories - not bad) a piece of peppermint bark with a generous chocolate crust and a small, fudgy chewy thing that was probably a brownie but tasted like a piece of heaven.

Hello, 10%.

I guess all things considered it really wasn't all that "unhealthy" but I felt the guilt start to creep in. And, since the "finger food" didn't really seem to count as a "dinner" (and because I hadn't attempted to count any calories for what I had eaten) I found myself out that night at a small tavern/restaurant for a late night dinner - I chose the chicken sandwich. It came with fries. I ate the fries.

And so the cycle began. From that point on, I thought carefully about what I ate, but I didn't track it anywhere (and I have an iPhone which gives me clear access to pretty much all that information). I did choose the berries over the cheesecake at dessert (that was so hard to do, but the berries were amazing) and I didn't touch the mound of bread that came before dinner. I still felt in control while I "treated" myself to a little freedom.

And, since I was in Florida, I had to have one of these:

key lime pie

I split it with my colleague. I still felt incredibly guilty. But here's the thing: since being at the Biggest Loser Resort, I know I won't gain 5 pounds from eating 1/2 a piece of key lime pie. It's not going to ruin me or my efforts. I learned there is no "forbidden list" of foods. If I looked at it that way, it would have too much power over me. The life coach Essara talked about "forgiving yourself" and moving forward and not letting a slip-up stop you from what you wanted. So, so true. Because before, I would have just given up. I would have said "well, there goes THAT" and just kept eating out of control.

This time, I was very aware of what I was doing, and got right back on track the minute I got back home. Took my dog for a 45-minute walk; went to Zumba (yay!); and tracked every bite I took today. I will NOT let this be a "fail" in my book. It was a trip to 10% Land and I am now back in 90% Reality World. (-: It's all good, and I love not beating myself up like I used to. I love knowing my numbers and the math and what food does to me and what exercise means to me. I also know I don't feel as good when I dabble with the 10% ~ I'm more tired and irritable. I prefer to feel the way I do when I eat clean - but I also know that this is real life and I will be faced with more challenges along the way. I just have to keep track to stay on track, and then I'll see that I can do this the right way, once and for all. It'll take some time...but I got plenty of that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Before & After

My life of "dieting" has been a series of before & afters.

Before I was a chubby kid.
After I grew out of it.

Before I had my son.
After I had my son.

Before I was married.
After I was married.

I used my befores & afters as excuses. You know..."it was so much easier to lose the weight before I turned 40" or "I'll start dieting after the holidays." That kind of stuff. While some of it was true, I still needed to adapt my choices along with the changes in life.

I think in terms of before & after now too. BBL and ABL (Before Biggest Loser & After Biggest Loser.)

BBL I was what I would now call a summer dieter. Summer the time I was good, summer the time I was bad. (-: But mostly, I kept losing & finding the same 5-10 pounds.

This wooden figure would pretty much sum it up. Believe it or not, a few months ago I found this in the middle of the street while walking my dog. I know God uses subtlety sometimes to give us a message we need...this was not one of those times. I actually looked up & laughed.

A "sign" indeed. I hung it next to my fridge.

ABL, I don't think in terms of "good" and "bad." I think in terms of health and the benefits it brings me to make good nutrition choices.

Can you change your life in a week? Yup. I believe I did.

I needed the "yes you can!" affirmation for myself. I had had a defeatest attitude. 35 pounds was a LOT to lose (for me. I realize that your mountain may be higher - but this is my mountain, and it's been a struggle for years). I remember crying when we were in the pet store when I realized the huge bag of dog food I was struggling to carry was the exact amount of weight I had to lose. So, I went home and had some ice cream. Cuz it was a summer diet.

I'd get really "gung ho" for a week and weigh & measure everything. Like, even my lettuce. Then I'd see a loss of a pound (or point 6) and get discouraged and give up. I would think, "If it's going to be so HARD just to lose OUNCES, why bother?" And have some ice cream.

I was unhappy that my clothes didn't fit and that I didn't feel good about myself, but I wasn't really willing to work for it to make it better.

I saw the opportunity to spend a week in Malibu as a way to force myself to focus on me and the things I needed to do to get my thinking straight. It was one of the greatest things I've ever done for myself. I've never gone clear across the country all alone for no other reason than to help myself. It was one of the best investments I've ever made. It made me realize my body is meant to do so much more than what I had been doing with it. It made me realize I could eat healthily & still be satisfied. It made me realize that I didn't have to eat from dinner to bedtime (and it successfully broke my nighttime eating habit.) I felt GREAT when I was there, great when I left, and I now KNOW I can do this. Who cares if it's slow? It's happening. Time is going to pass anyway (as a mother of a teenage son I am painfully aware of how quickly time can go) so it might as well pass while I'm doing something good for myself. This quote reflects my "after" attitude:

Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it.  The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.  ~Earl Nightingale

After a week home, I've lost another one and a half pounds. I've chosen healthy foods and incorporated them into our family meals (allowing one night off for my boys to have pizza while I chomped on a delicious salad) and I've exercised four times this week. I have to say I am a "ZUMBA" addict and would go every night if I could. 400 calories in one hour! Love it. There is no price I can put on the knowledge and confidence I gained from Malibu, and I am forever grateful for everyone there who touched my life in a positive way. I don't want to undo all the good I did in California. And it's given me a drive to succeed like I never had before.

Life is busy and crazy and hectic BUT I can still make choices that are good for me - like planning out my meals (one day at a time!) and finding time for exercise. Because I am a better wife, mother, boss and friend when I am feeling better about myself.

So, I am after my before and before my next after picture, and that's just fine with me.

Excuse me while I take this exit (-:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Outside the Bubble

This should be at the exit of the ranch!
So, I have been home for 2 days.

My reality check bounced.

I had such a wonderful time at the Ranch. It was hard to leave, but I knew I was mentally prepared to handle the challenge of working the program at home.

Until I got home.

To be fair, they did warn me. In his "Budget Review" lecture John used the famous saying "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." So simple, so true. Darlene texted me Saturday night and asked if I had made my food plan. She had a great little notebook system of meal ideas and calorie counts for breakfasts, lunches, dinners & snacks that she could mix & match to meet her calorie target. Simply choose your meals & plan your day. I told her I'd do mine on the plane but pretty much had it in my head.

My head is a great place to lose things.

Here's the thing: on our last day (Saturday) I went with three BL buddies to see a movie. It was our first real-life temptation challenge.

I looove popcorn. I simply thought I would not be able to watch a movie without it. But when we entered the theater, I swear the smell was so thick it stuck in my throat. It didn't even smell good. And the candy didn't look (too) attractive.

I had a banana in my purse
I figured this was proof positive that I could do it on my own. Not even tempted and too high on my week's worth of exercise to blow it (the fact I was getting weighed in the next day didn't exactly hurt either) I smuggled in my bottle of water and took a seat.

The next day (after weigh in) I chose wisely at the airport. Got the turkey & avocado sandwich from LaBrea Bakery (note to resort nutritionist: your note says sub mustard for mayo, but the sandwiches are pre-made. I removed the slice soaked with mayo and ate it open-faced on the plane) - even brought an orange as a snack. I had breakfast earlier at the Resort, and ate some of my sack lunch on the way to the airport. I thought I was golden.

Coming home was a joy, especially when my 13 year old son said "Wow Mom you look skinnier!" 5 pounds is not exactly a total body makeover, but that's not what I went for. I had a total head makeover. But it was still pretty awesome to hear.

Monday, I woke up knowing I would make it a great day. My mom made me a one-egg two egg-white omelette and some wheat toast. Went to work to catch up on paperwork & emails and when I was hungry I ate the greek yogurt I had in the fridge. Took my son to tennis, ravenously eating my 12 almonds (they looked bigger on the Ranch) and came home and hurriedly prepared a warm grilled chicken salad.

Proudly entering my food items at the end of the day, I was shocked to see how many calories I had eaten.


I was not shocked in a good way. Less than 1,000 calories is NOT good. (The Mayo Clinic recommends no less than 1200-1400). I know that a diet this low in calories is bad for my heart - the very thing I was trying to protect by going to the BL Resort.

I had failed to plan.

Counting your calories at the end of the day doesn't do any good. I wasn't about to find 400 random calories at 10pm. The point is, plan ahead. I know better! And still, I thought I could wing it. Epic fail.

So, today I fared much better. I tracked along the way and kept count of calories at each meal. Today's total intake was 1269.

Even better? Tonight I discovered my Bodybugg program has a menu planner. I entered all my food for tomorrow (you can do the whole week!), including all meals & 2 snacks. You can even print it out! It will make my day a LOT less stressful to know that I've got a plan and I'm on track. That's how it's supposed to be done. I won't have anyone serving me food and figuring it all out for me. No 3 hour hikes in the mountains. It's go time, with real-life responsibilities and people depending on me and lots of places to be and go.

The life coach called being at the Resort "living in a bubble" and encouraged  (and had a whole lecture on) planning. So, outside the structured program from the Ranch where everything is figured out for you, realize that it's going to be YOUR job now to figure it out. It's the only way to succeed. I'm still figuring out exactly where I'm going to fit in my exercise (got a half hour at the gym tonight, which is laughable by BL standards, which are laughable in the real world, so I'm working on finding balance!)

It will take some planning ahead but I need to do it or I'll find myself in a tough spot with not enough calories to sustain the energy I need (or, conversely, too many calories to lose weight!) I don't want to lose the momentum I gained while I was in Malibu. I need to focus and take time for me because no one else will. I alone am responsible for what I eat so I need to take charge and not depend on anyone else to figure it out for me. I know I can do this.

                                 I'm thinkin' outside the bubble.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 7: Fitness Summary

It was really easy to get out of bed today - and not just because we got an extra hour of sleep.

It was Weigh Day. The day I got to see what I'd been working for all week.

I was first in line!

So I know you're all curious what I accomplished my first week ever at the Biggest Loser Resort, so here are my numbers!!


Look he's smiling! (so was I! This was the "magic" number I wanted)


They say this won't be a big number after the first week - but it's DOWN!


7.25 inches all together! Woo hoo!  
When Cameron weighed me in on the scale he asked if I had a number in mind. The number I had tucked away was 5 - and I got it! I was thrilled. After measurements the lady asked (I don't remember her name but she was in purple, in super shape, and super nice) - if I was happy? Happy? I'm THRILLED. Thinking back on this past week I know I earned every pound, inch and loss. It was hard work but I did it and I felt fierce. Like a warrior. Every time I was tired and wanted to give up, I didn't. Seeing the Biggest Loser contestants working out in the gym as I was going to bed was great motivation. And the opportunity to work out with their trainer Brett? Quite simply THE most motivating part of this week. I know how good it feels when I'm good to myself.

SO, I worked hard, and I got the result (see no risk ~ no reward post for more on that!) I chose wisely at the airport (even though there were many unwise choices) and I know that EVERY time I do make a healthy choice, I'm one step further to my ultimate goal.

And my souporters are one step closer to the grocery store! That's FIVE cans of chicken noodle soup to your local food bank - please and thank you!  Thanks and God Bless my souporters for helping me through this week!! What a great gift to be able to pay forward!

And it doesn't stop here...When I get home it's on like (say it with me!)


Day 6: Numbers, Food & Classes

       CALORIES EATEN: 1122

ALL of my hikes this week had bathrooms. Yay!
At the end of "graduation" we all got a keepsake DVD of the week. It is very well done.

"It's only 2 minutes. Temporary time. It's do-able!" ~ Ursula, during Circuit training (more on that later.)
"This has zero calories?" - Paul, one of the Guests, incredulously asking as he read the label on the mustard, in a funny display of how calorie-conscious you become here.
"Are you there?" ~ my recumbent bike, when I stopped pedaling during circuit training. Ha ha ha.
"Dude, did I ever tell you about the time I almost fell down this ravine? I hung onto a bush and was able to pull myself up and I saw a rattlesnake right behind me." ~ the guy in the photo below in the red shorts who was behind me when he said this - JUST as I was feeling afraid of the trail and what was on the other edge of it. I let him pass so I didn't hear anymore "dude" stories.

Breakfast: English Muffin & Peach Smoothie. I liked the smoothie at first but it had a very strong honey taste that stuck with you. The muffin was good but DRY and coulda been great with some jam & butter (-: also had our fresh fruit. This would probably be one I'd ask for eggs & toast instead unless you looooove the taste of honey.

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich & Squash soup. The soup was YUMMY as usual (they have this hot sauce here called Sriracha that I tried and LOVE - just a few drops adds some nice heat. I put some in the soup and it ROCKED) The turkey sandwich was served on their kitchen staple, a sandwich thin, with tomato, onion & sprouts with an aoli spread. It was very tasty.

only teeny tiny drops needed! it's hot stuff!!

Dinner: Salisbury steak with brown rice & veggies. It was good - reminded me of the meatloaf last night actually. Had a nice little gravy over it. I put the sriracha in the rice to give it some flavor.

Dessert: Pineapple sorbet. Their "sorbets" here are basically chunks of fruit held together by what I assume is the natural juice. It was hard and took some work to break apart but I loved it.

CLASSES: Well, it's Friday. Basically you have the hike or Cardio Blast, then a choice between 2 different classes before lunch. My choices were Total Body H2O or Circuit Training. I was definitely doing the pool class...until I realized how flippin' cold it was when we got back from the hike. So I bucked it up and went to Circuit (only 2 brave souls went to the pool and they got a personal session with Ravenna!) - then I hear Ursula's voice in the gym. Someone on a treadmill actually said "Oh no, it's Ursula" and Urusla says "I hear everything."

Bummer. Should have froze in the pool. And I love Ravenna!

But, I have to say, Ursula was different. Maybe someone said something to her (or maybe she's reading my blog?) Anyway, she wasn't giving everyone a hug but she also wasn't being rude. She was being helpful pointing out the numbers on the machines (you go in sequence alternating between cardio & strengh training and it's NOT easy to navigate) and yelling "you can do it" type quotes during the workouts.

I loved this class.

So, God put me right where I needed to be to have a positive experience with Ursula and make my last class a good one with no bad vibes at all. Cuz that's how He rolls.

After dinner we got to have "graduation" which is basically just watching the DVD they made and then the microphone gets passed around and you can say something about your week. I wasn't gonna cry....and then I cried. I shared a personal struggle and talked about cancelling my trip to Disney to come here and how it was so worth it...that it allowed me a closer walk with God and that I had a spiritual awakening while I was on this journey. Anyway, it was cool to hear what everyone said.

So I am all packed up and ready to go! My "Fitness Summary" is tomorrow at 7am, the shuttle comes for me at 8:15. Ready to head home armed with my tools & resources! (I thought it was really neat that the nutritionist gave me a list of places to eat healthy at LAX - with calorie counts!)

I've enjoyed my week immensely and have had profound moments of physical exhaustion tempered with profound moments of serenity. Just what the doctor ordered! Can't wait to see my guys and get a big sloppy kiss from this one (my husband said he was dreaming of Mommy)


Day 6 Hike: No risk, no reward

So, one of the reasons I came here was because I was used to taking the easy way out. I tried all the fad diets and tried to microwave myself thin (not literally, people). I cancelled my appointments with my trainer when I was running late from work and promised myself I'd exercise at home (didn't happen.) My health & fitness got fit in around everything else - instead of realizing that there wouldn't be much else if I didn't get myself to a healthy place and make it a priority.

So, this week has taught me that when you challenge yourself and do something outside your comfort zone, it pays off. The risk is worth the reward.

Today's hikes were an optional sign up. I was thinking about going to the beach hike again since it was so beautiful and I really really love looking at the ocean. But then I heard talk of Solstice. Basically, the consensus was "It's SO hard at first but the reward makes it all worth it." (what reward? do we get cookies at the end?)

I asked 3 different trainers their opinions on which hike I should take (including the hiking manager) - all 3 of them said "Solstice" because it was so lovely at the end.

At the, how about the beginning and middle? Made me a little nervous. I didn't know if I wanted to do it. The beach was so lovely...but then the "new" me realized what my old thoughts were doing.

Taking the escalator instead of the stairs.

OK OK I'm only here for a week and was up for the challenge. I wanted that reward!

I considered today my "last chance workout." There was only one class after lunch (I had a choice and was going to pick Total Body H2O) so I knew I needed a good calorie burn - it's weigh day tomorrow!

Off to Solstice we went. They took 2 vans because so many people signed up.

The beginning was TOUGH. Like, a straight incline for what felt like an hour (but it was only like 46 minutes)

I took 111 pictures on this hike.

we started up.

and up

and up

pause for photo op

Tropical terrace? Don't mind if I do

resume upness (my word)

This part scared me.

I'm going over there.

wow...scenic views

Bet they have nice views!
Yay! Down-ness!

So I started to see some of the "ruins" they talked about on the way here.

Built in the 30's by one of the first African-American architects, with an elaborate system to protect it from fire - it was destroyed in a canyon fire in the 80's because the system was not maintained after the owner's death. They had pictures - you should have SEEN the view from their kitchen. Amazing.

So then I hear a sound (no, not a rattle) of falling water. There was a waterfall! Yay!

steps to waterfall

It was so lovely and cool down at the bottom. We lingered for a while then headed back on a nice flat trail. Someone mentioned that the Solstice hike has a reputation for being awful (because when they first opened and it was 100 degrees out and people had this as their first hike ever, it was awful) - but this was one of my favorites. I loved the views and the different perspectives of nature on this hike. Very satisfying last hike.

And so, at the end of the day, I can say I took a risk (which seems very small now that it's over!) and was rewarded with some breathtaking views of God's craftsmanship (and I did thank Him many times along the way for the scenery!)

Like anything in life, if you want the reward, you gotta work for it. Just like with weight loss. It's not easy and takes work...but at the end you can enjoy the view... in this: