202 Sticks of Butter!

Most of you know I started this weight loss journey back on January 18, 2011 when trying on clothes in a Lane Bryant dressing room, my daughter very innocently says to me “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  That was my point – the point you’ve heard me talk about.  That point when I was miserable, I dreaded trying to lose weight A-GAIN and was at my rope’s end.

I came home that day and cried, felt like hitting a brick wall with my fist and wanted to collapse in the floor with a big box of chocolates.  That would’ve really helped the situation, right?  I decided to make some changes, a little at a time.  In the past, I thought I just didn’t have enough will power.  I had tried all the diets, all the trendy tricks.  But this time, something made me look at my eating habits as an addiction (for me, it was), a disease I needed to fight.  I studied the Alcoholics Anonymous model and put some of the practices to work in my situation.  I immediately contacted a life coach to meet with on a weekly basis to set small, attainable goals and to hold me accountable.  I also found a sponsor – a woman who had gone through the struggles I was about to go through and came out on the other side.  I literally called her in the middle of Kroger one day because a recipe I was making called for 2 boxes of Ho-Ho’s and I knew there would be leftovers.  I wasn’t sure I could handle that.  In fact, I was trembling.  God bless Terri – she kicked my butt and helped me decide to not even make that recipe.  “Walk away from the Ho-Ho’s!”  🙂  It’s been amazing what a difference of having partners through this has made.  I know that if I screw up, my coach and my sponsor will come after me and make me explain my actions.

You have no idea what an accomplishment for me this is – to have lost 50 pounds!  The most I’ve ever lost my adult life is 7 pounds and that was before my wedding.  If you’re sitting at your computer thinking “I’m so proud of her but I couldn’t do that…” then you won’t be able to do it.  “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re usually right.”  -Zig Ziglar.  I’ve had to change my thinking before anything else started to change.  I’ve had to rely on God for a lot of strength.  On weeks I don’t do my devotions as regularly or stay focused on my time with Him, I don’t do well on the scale.  I know it sounds crazy.  I don’t care what you think.  I know my strength comes from the Lord almighty and I give him all the glory for this weight loss.  Cheesy as it may sound…

So, I stand before you today having made some lifestyle changes, a little at a time over the last 10 months.  It hasn’t been easy, I’ve worked for every ounce lost.  I haven’t taken any diet pills, I’ve not had surgery, I’ve not joined a gym, I’ve not joined Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.  I’ve made small changes to become more active and I’ve educated myself on what I eat.  Did you know that one, ONE whole wheat Pillsbury Grand’s biscuit is equal to 14 slices of whole wheat toast WITH JELLY?  Just learning stuff like this helps me make better choices.

I weighed in this morning at 153.8 pounds.  I began 10 months ago at 204.4 wearing size 20/22.  I’ve lost 50.6 pounds, the equivalent of 202 sticks of butter.  I’ve still got some sticks I’d like to lose but all in all, I’m ecstatic with this loss.  Just think where I would be if I were still at miserable and at my rope’s end.  I’m so glad God gave me the strength to make the changes and take the steps to get here.  It was a journey well worth it.  I look forward to continuing this journey.  Follow along by clicking “Yep, I’m in!  Sign me up!” if you want to get email alerts when a new blog post goes up (usually about once per week or less).  I’d love to get your feedback and hear your stories.

Step by Step – 5 Steps I’ve Taken in this Journey

So last week, I was all ready to blog about gaining weight – I thought it had been a tough week and had prepared to blog about a gain.  Then I got on the scale and 183.6!  I had lost 0.8 – which is enough to put me at 20.8 pounds lost since I started this journey 10 weeks ago!  Yay!!

This is a crazy journey, people.  Instead of changing my eating patterns, I’ve had to understand my old eating patterns and develop new ones.  If I simply change what I’m doing, then at the end of this when I reach my goal weight of 150, I will go back to my “regular” patterns and thus, back to my “regular” overweight self.  I’m changing the way I think about food and I’ve stopped “rewarding” myself or worse, “comforting” myself with food.  I’m changing my relationship with food – I know… it sounds like a cliche but it’s true.

I’ve had so many of you contact me this week telling me you want to start on your own journey – don’t you dare let me hear you call it a diet.  That word is now a 4-letter word in my world and it is not to be uttered in my presence!  🙂  Anyway, this journey for me has been a tough one – I still have 33 pounds to go.  Here’s a step by step list of what I did to get started…

1.  I got a life coach. (best investment of this entire journey).  My coach, Brian Osher, helps me set attainable goals which motivate me to strive harder to reach the next goal.  He also holds me accountable.  If I set a goal to work out everyday and I miss a day due to laziness or not making my workout a priority, he will not let me off the hook.  In fact, he kicks my butt.  For those of you who have never worked with a  life coach, they typically set up weekly sessions over the phone.  The sessions are typically 30-40 minutes long and at the end, you have a list of 1-3 small steps you’re focusing on this week to help you reach your ultimate goal.  For the most part, coaching sessions are less expensive than counseling sessions.  Several of you have asked why my husband wasn’t coaching me (he’s a life coach, too).  My answer is simply this:  how would you like to live with the person who would kick your butt if you did something to sabotage your goals?  🙂  Tommy Lanham is a fantastic coach with a wonderful Christian world view who has helped me develop my business and coached me in other areas but we both agreed he was too “close” to this situation and it would be better to get someone else for this particular journey.

2.  I got a sponsor. (just like in AA – it’s that person I call in the middle of the night when I’m craving brownies or I’m at the grocery store with a cart full of ding-dongs…  true example by the way.)  It has to be a person (same gender as you) whom you trust, who will understand the addiction you’re fighting and support you no matter what.  They also have to be tough enough to hold you accountable.  In my opinion, when I was looking for a sponsor, I wanted someone who was thin and had fought the fight of losing weight and I wanted someone of like faith.  It’s kind of hard asking a skinny girl who has always been skinny to help you lose weight.  They typically just can’t identify with you.

3.  I read good books. And I don’t mean grab a good romance novel, either.  Find something that interests you in the field of weight loss and read it – grab an inspirational biography of someone who has lost weight.  Read an informational book.  Avoid the “diet” books but read anything that’s motivational or inspirational.  One of the books I have read during this journey was “Dr. Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss” book – I found it on the clearance rack for $2.  It was DEFINITELY worth the read.  That’s where I found out that 1 biscuit (one regular, plain old biscuit) was equal in calories to 14 slices of toast WITH jelly!  That book completely challenged the way I looked at food and what I “thought” was healthy.

4.  I did something. With the help of my life coach, I found small, attainable things that could do that would get me moving.  I started taking an evening walk, I found out I enjoyed the eliptical machine (yeah, the one that’s been in my basement for a year), I found out that when I take laundry down the basement steps, I could go back up & down those steps 2-3 times without dying!  Little steps to get started but you’ve gotta do SOMETHING!

5.  I journal.  I write down in a journal things that I read, things I hear on TV or in Sunday’s sermon or things I read in my Bible that inspire me and make me want to keep going.  Then on bad days, I read through that journal.  When I am craving chocolate, I read those thoughts written in those pages and they strengthen me.  I also journal my conversations with my coach and write my action steps each week in there.

I also journal every bite that goes into my mouth.  It was incredibly hard to do and I tried it for 2 months without success.  I would either lose the paper, forget what I ate or just lose interest.  UNTIL I found www.myfitnesspal.com – it’s a FREE website that helps you track your food & exercise and it lays a foundation for you, letting you know the ideal amount of calories, sugar, sodium, fat, etc. for you.  It’s set up a little like facebook – you have a “wall” and you make friends (search for me if you want – my username is TammyLanham) and you can encouarge each other, see what other people are eating and ask questions in the forums.  It’s been a wonderful tool for me.  Did I mention it’s FREE?  🙂

So there you go – the 5 steps I have taken thus far.  I’ve lost 21 pounds in 10 weeks and have 33 more pounds to go.  Are you with me?!?  Click the “Yep, I’m in!” button to the upper right hand side of this blog to join me and others on this journey.  In about 2 weeks, I’ll have a HUGE announcement, an exceptional benefit for those of you (ONLY) who are following this blog.  So sign up, share this on your facebook page & get ready to jump in!  Let’s take this journey together!  (Be aware, I also blog about extreme couponing on this blog so you may get some pictures of me hanging out of dumpsters and walking out of the grocery store with almost free groceries… something I’m sure you don’t want to miss so sign up now!)

This was Christmas Day, 2010 at 204.4 pounds.

 

This is April 10, 2011 at 183.6 pounds.

 

 

The number…

GULP….. so here we go…

As most of you know, I’m on a journey – a journey to become sober.  Definition of sober:  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion or prejudice.   I am Tammy Lanham and I am addicted to food.  I’ve been sober for 10 days. 

I use food as a drug.  I began my journey on Tuesday, 1/18/11 with a call to my life coach Brian Osher.  Brian has coached me in growing Tammy Lanham Images and he was the first one I thought of when I finally admitted I needed help.  What made me realize I needed help?  In a clothing store, as I tried on clothes, my 7 year old daughter sneered her nose & said in disgust “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  She never, ever says stuff like that so I knew it was sincere.  And a shattered Mommy fell into a thousand little pieces on the ground (figuratively).    

Then, on Friday, 1/21/11, I had my first fall off the wagon experience… yep, just 4 days into my journey, I messed up.  What a role model I am, huh?  I took my husband out to eat at CiCi’s (a pizza buffet) restaurant for his birthday.  I felt miserable.  The very next day, I did it again – I ate way too much for dinner and wanted to puke.  I honestly believe I would be bulimic if I didn’t despise throwing up so much.   That feeling after you eat too much is just awful – not just the physical misery but the emotional disappointment you feel in yourself. 

With much thought and prayer, I felt like I needed to get additional help.  If I was going to use AA terms like “sober” and “falling off the wagon” then I needed to find some positive AA –type solutions.  I read online about sponsors in AA:

“A sponsor is someone who has been where we want to go in our twelve step program and knows how we can best get there. Their primary responsibility is to help us work the 12 steps by applying the principles of the program to our lives. They lead us by example as we see how the program works in their lives through sharing their personal experiences and stories of where they were and where they are now. We start to learn how to become sober by listening and doing the footwork that our sponsor shows us on a daily basis. In time we make these new changes a habit which helps us to remain sober one day at a time.”

If alcoholics have sponsors for their addictions, I can have one for mine, right?  So I thought about my amazing cousin Terri Newcomb.  I honestly think we were sisters separated at birth.  We have children about the same age, similar personalities and outlooks on life and even our parenting styles are similar.  She has fought a weight battle for 6 years and is staying thin and healthy.  When I read “they lead by example” on the sponsorship definition, I thought of Terri.  She is an extremely caring woman who will not hesitate to kick my rear end into gear if I need it.  I knew she would be the person to ask.  And I was right.  This past weekend, I almost had a melt down while grocery shopping for a big family meal I was preparing on Sunday.  I wanted to prepare Ding Dong cake for dessert – but I didn’t think I could handle having the Ding Dongs in my house.  I was literally shaking.  Terri walked me right through that temptation and I walked out of the store with Jell-O and peaches instead. 

And then I found another role model of sorts – Tom Hailey.  Tom has recently been through the weight loss factory and came out at the end of the line looking and feeling amazing.  He posted photographs of his scale periodically.  I thought “Oh my gosh – that’s crazy.  I could never do that.”  Then my friend Shaina Nailleaux  posted her weight yesterday on her blog…  so I guess the peer pressure got to me!  Hehe….  Or I’m delirious but here I am posting my weight…

I began this year on January 1st at two hundred four pounds.  I began this journey on January 18th at two hundred one point eight pounds.  Today, February 1, 2011, I weighed in at one hundred ninety six point four pounds.  I’ve got a long way to go – I’m not setting any long term goals.  My goal is to get through today.  Once today is over, I will move forward to tomorrow.  I know I am comfortable around one hundred fifty pounds.  Each day, I will make decisions that will affect tomorrow in a positive way and help move me closer to one hundred fifty pounds.  I will succeed.  Anybody want to join me?  I challenge you to join me on this journey.  Sign up to follow this blog.  All you have to do is put your email address in the blocks to the right and you will get an email when I post a new thought.  Friend me on Facebook and let’s do this together.  I have no idea what I’m doing – I’m just trying to do this one step at a time.  Let’s do it together!

Confessions of a Food Addict in Recovery

So I’ve been on this journey for an entire week now… guess that doesn’t quite make me an expert now, does it?  But I have started and I will finish this.  I’ll re-cap for those of you just discovering this food addict’s blog.  I am Tammy Lanham and I am a food addict.  I have been sober for most of the past week.  Definition of sober:  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion or prejudice.  The “excessive” part is where I have problems.  I eat to relieve stress, calm me down and when I’m emotional.  I use it as a drug.  I have been comparing this struggle to an alcoholics struggle with becoming sober.  Thank goodness, I have never had to fight the horrid battle an alcoholic faces but I’m battling my own demon, the demon of overeating.  I do not belittle an alcoholic’s struggle in the least – in fact, since I’ve started viewing my own battle as an addiction, I can better appreciate what an alcoholic goes through, although I am sure I still haven’t a clue. 

You see, I’ve tried losing weight for the better part of my adult life.  It’s my genes, right?  Not my fault so might as well have another doughnut, right?  Maybe it’s my thyroid…  See the problem?  I’ve made excuses all my life.  I’ve made bad food decisions all my life.  I’ve belonged to gyms, gone to weekly weight loss support groups and been on more diets than I can count.  I didn’t even want to set any goals (resolutions) this year because I set the same goal every year:  “to lose weight” and every year, I get frustrated and fall off the wagon.  So I waited until mid-January and with very little gusto, decided to try this thing one more time.  And I might add, this was about the same time (okay, the exact same day) that my 7 year old daughter with her nose sneered in disgust quietly told me in a dressing room at the clothing store that “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  Crushed me into a million little pieces.  Still puts a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  It was a very low moment for me. 

I contacted my life coach Brian Osher and he set my wheels into motion.  You see, I’ve lost weight tons of time (and gained even more back) but I have never done THIS before – I have never tried to beat an addiction, to remedy a disease.  I have to view it this way so my brain doesn’t tell me “You’ve done this a million times before and it never works.”  I have to scream at my brain to “shut up!”  So I’m telling it that I’m overcoming a disease – an addiction that has taken hold of me and is literally trying to kill me.

I hate exercise.  I know that healthy eating AND exercise are the keys to beating this but I HATE exercise.  At the end of my coaching session last Tuesday, Brian asked me to set a goal for the week.  My goal was to climb onto my eliptical machine (the one that’s sitting in the basement collecting dust… yeah, that one) for at least 5 minutes every day.  Okay, Brian, I can commit to that.  And I did it!  In fact, now I’m doing 8 minutes a day.  And this week, I’ve committed to doing that every day and adding in one Christian yoga session.  Baby steps…  a little at the time. 

Here’s a shocker – I eat pretty healthy.  Some of my favorite snacks are dried banana chips, sunflower seeds and dried apples.  I eat whole wheat pastas and breads.  I eat lean red meat and organic veggies and fruits.  The problem is that I don’t know when to stop.  I eat all the time – I think the proper terminology is “grazing.”  I’m not really hungry, I just eat because I happen to be walking through the kitchen as the cabinet doors fly open, grab me and pull me over while shoving yummy snacks down my throat… at least that’s what it feels like.  So this week’s goal is to cut out second helpings and stop grazing.  I can have a snack but I have to put it in a small bowl (make it a portion) and sit down & enjoy it.  No more sitting a bag of chips on the counter and eating out of it until half of it is gone.  To help me remember to stay out of the cabinets, I have a rubberband holding the handles of the cabinets together.  Sometimes, I wish I had a padlock… but the rubberband will do. 

Another baby step I’ve taken is to find a sponsor – isn’t that what they call the people who buddy up with the alcoholic to help him/her through a tough time?  I’ve got a sponsor who has lost weight, kept it off and is passionate about health.   She is setting an example to her 2 young children.  She will kick my butt if I don’t follow through on my commitments (and believe me, this woman WILL severly kick my rear end into shape – it doesn’t matter if she’s 10 hours away!)  She loves me and encourages me daily.  She’s on speed dial on my phone. 

Another baby step – I’m keeping a journal and filling it with positive thoughts, scriptures, quotes I see on facebook or hear in my husband’s sermons.  My favorites from this week:  “Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you – not a sign of weakness or worldliness.  Every temptation is an opportunity to win, to overcome evil and to do good… an opportunity for victory.”  – Tommy Lanham   “Sometimes you have to believe in somebodys’ belief IN you before your belief kicks in.” -Les Brown

This week, I lost 3.2 pounds.  That’s 12 sticks of butter according to my good friend Tom Hailey.  🙂  Thanks Tom…

So you see, I’m not setting any long term goals.  I know what weight I am comfortable at and I’d like to get somewhere in that area but for now, I need to make it through THIS day.  I will make good decisions for THIS day – I will be sober today.  I will exercise today.  I will spend time with my Creator today.  I will take care of our children today.  I will respect my husband today.  I will succeed TODAY.  I have no idea what will happen tomorrow but as for TODAY, I am doing this!

Stupid wagon

Fell off the stupid wagon – and you know why?  Because I went out to eat with my husband last night for his birthday at CiCi’s (pizza buffet) and for some reason, didn’t know when to stop.  I’m so frustrated with myself!  I had been doing so good!!  Now to remember the stuff I’ve been reading everyday during my devotions & reading time.

“Faith offers hope where none existed.”  – Zig Ziglar

“Every problem is a stepping stone of growth, and every difficulty is an opportunity to trust God more completely, to follow Christ’s example of selfless service and to experience God’s presence.  Out faith-filled response to pain results in great gain.”

“Hard work always pays off.”  – Proverbs 14:23

“Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.”  Proverbs 15:22

I’ve been thinking…  if I’m going to treat this like a disease, I really need to research AA and some of the other additional help groups out there.  Don’t alcoholics have sponsors?  Someone they call if they’re about to make a bad decision?  Maybe I need a sponsor to call when I’m overcome with bad ideas & need some encouragement.  Maybe I should carry a card with me that has some of the above quotes and scriptures on it so I can pull it out and remind myself.  Maybe I should write down my daughter’s stinging words “Mommy, your legs are fat.”   That’ll surely remind me what I’m doing and WHY I’m doing it.  I am frustrated but I’m also encouraged.  I know I can do this – I’ve tried losing weight many times before but I’ve never once in my life tried to beat this disease.  There’s a difference and I’m finding out day by day what those differences are and how to overcome this mess I’ve gotten myself into.

One Day Sober

So, what’s holding you back?  Well, I’ll share w/ you what’s holding me back.  My weight.  I feel pretty successful in taking care of our home, being a helpmate to my husband, being active in our church, homeschooling our children and running Tammy Lanham Images.  But I am a complete walking disaster when it comes to taking care of my health.  So, I have enlisted the services of my life coach Brian Osher.  Here’s what I gleaned from the “Wise One” (aka Brian) in our session tonight:

*If I want to make a big difference in my weight, make small, consistent adjustments in my diet & exercise.

*When you have a strong enough reason, you can do anything.

*There’s plenty of ways to lose the weight but none of them will work without a commitment.

*When you dig your teeth in, you can accomplish anything.

*Action = Motivation = More Action = Results

Sounds like a pretty smart guy, huh?  🙂  I am convinced that for me, deciding to lose weight is the equivalent of someone with a drinking problem going to AA.  I have never dealt with drinking issues but I deal daily with my own demon – an eating problem.  I think about food, I enjoy planning meals, shopping for it, cooking it and discovering new ways to prepare it.  It’s all I think about.  So, I’m going to start handling it like a disease.  I’m going to get through the rest of today making wise food decisions.  Then, I start a new day tomorrow and I will decide THEN what I will do.  I need a chip or something to recognize my one day sober….