It ain’t over, yet…

It ain’t over, yet…  🙂

Last year at this time, I was miserable.  I had so much extra weight on me.  My self esteem was suffering and I didn’t want to go through “another year” of setting the same old resolution only to get off track by mid-January and lose hope AGAIN.

This year, I was miserable because of health issues.  I’ve had a shoulder injury which has caused some excruciating pain at times and ended me up in the Emergency Room.  I’ve been sedentary since the Wednesday before Christmas and on lots of pain pills and muscle relaxers.  For about a week, I could not even wash dishes, vacuum, lift anything heavier than a fork or do laundry.  (Oh, darn, right??)  I’m realizing what a true gift my health really is.

So, here we are on New Year’s Eve, 2011.  No, I have not hit my initial goal of losing 50 pounds, in fact, over the holidays, I gained about 5 pounds and just in the past week (since the ER visit with my back) I have gained an additional 3.  I’m weighing in somewhere around 164.  So, I have a decision to make.  Do I let it get me down that I’ve gained 8-10 pounds back or do I use that as a springboard to motivate me to keep going forward with more energy and determination?  I choose the springboard.  I found this photo posted on facebook:

This is my motivation.  I haven’t made it to my goal yet but I’m not as far from it as I was this time last year.  My journey began January 18th, 2011.  It does not have an ending point, a destination of sorts.  It will be a lifelong journey for me so I’ve settled in for the long haul.  It’s not a diet.  It’s a mindset.  A lifestyle.  I know at this time of year, there’s the big fitness push, all the TV commercials, all the books on the shelves, all the talk is about getting fit and healthy, getting organized, getting out of debt, etc.  If you do choose to try and live healthier this year, I challenge you, don’t let it be a fad – do it for real this year.

 

I’m starting somewhere around 164 this year, last year I was 204.8.  Some resources I have found useful over the past year:

 

The book GOALS by Tommy Lanham – to step by step this book really helped  me set small attainable goals with a purpose… ones I can actually accomplish!  I can’t tell you what a difference this book has made in my personal journey.  It’s a short, easy read that has the potential to change your life if you let it.

 

A life coach – I have worked with a life coach through most of this journey.  It really helps me stay on track when I know that each week, I have someone asking me, “How’d you do this week?”  “Did you do your 5 workouts?”  “What do you feel you need to do this week?”  My life coach has helped me focus on what’s important and the REASONS I have to lose weight.

 

A sponsor – I have a dear friend of mine who has lost so much weight.  She understands it – she “gets it.”  She didn’t have surgery, do fad diets or starve herself.  She understands how much of an addiction this can be and howhard it is.  I can call her in the middle of Kroger with 2 boxes of HoHo’s in my cart and she will tell me to walk away… ask me how I know!!  🙂  She will be 100% honest and even though she’s 10 hours away, she will kick my butt if I don’t stick to the plan.

 

www.MyFitnessPal.com – this is a website I have been using to track my food intake, count calories and connect with others who have the same goals I have.

 

I have not been doing my devotions and reading my Bible like I should over the past few weeks.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays has gotten me off track spiritually and I really do believe that when I’m off spiritually, every other aspect of my life suffers, including the weight issue.  I’m starting off tomorrow with 3 new books.  Made to Crave, the Made to Crave devotional and The Maker’s Diet.

I’ll keep you posted on my opinion of these books.  I do want to encourage you to read, educate yourself and challenge yourself.  If you immerse yourself in information about health & wellness, you’re much more likely to stick to losing the weight and making healthier choices.

 

Brian Tracy says “You are what you think about most of the time.”  If you think about how much you miss those doughnuts or those sweets, that’s what you will focus on.  Instead, think about health, read about it, start your own blog about it, talk about it with your spouse, family members, friends.  Surround yourself with information and health and it will be a great start to this journey.

So, there you have it.  My renewed commitment to my health, my God and my blog.  🙂  If you want to receive a notification when I post a new blog (typically 2-3 times per month) then click on “Yep, I’m in, sign me up!”   Let me know if you’re on the same journey and let’s cheer each other on!  God bless you this new year!

 

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It’s Not Failure…right?

I feel like I’ve done pretty well on controlling my eating habits and not eating when I’m emotional.  But apparently, from the results of the weigh in today, something went wrong, right?  I’m not sure.  The more I get “into” this weight loss thing, the more I am learning it’s a science, a passion, a lifestyle, a struggle all rolled up into one.  I’m not sure it’s anything I did “wrong” but it may be that my body is just not responding right now.  I let Jillian Michael’s almost destroy me so you’d think that would be very helpful in my weight loss journey.  Wrong – that’s where the science comes in.  I worked my muscles hard this week and after some research, I found out that your muscles hold on to water when they’ve been worked so hard.  The water apparently helps muscles in the healing process.  And guess what?  Water adds to your weight… and this week, I’ve had other reasons I’m retaining water…. ugh.

So there you have it – this week’s weigh in is 170.2 – up 2 pounds from last week.  My first weight GAIN since I started this journey in January.  This is where the importance of my sponsor, Terri and my life coach, Brian come in.  They are vital in this struggle and they hold me accountable and won’t let me quit.  In the past, I’ve said stuff like “Well, I lost 30+ pounds, I fit in my clothes better.  I’ve done pretty good.”  and then I would slowly return to my old lifestyle.  I have a feeling that Brian and Terri won’t allow that to happen.  This is a change in the way I view food, the way I see life and how I take care of my body.  Honestly, I get a little irked when people comment, “Oh, you’re on a diet, aren’t you?”  IT IS NOT A DIET!  It’s completely different and I can never, ever see myself going back to the way I was living.  I’m fighting this addiction to food and I will fight it every day for the rest of my life… it’s not going to stop when I reach my goal weight.

My amazing friend Tanya Torp writes in her blog:

It has taken me a long time to get to this point.  I’ve stopped and started more diets and workout routines than the number of flavors at Baskin Robbins.  I’ve had at least 6 die hard workout buddies who claim to have the same goal of  seeking a healthy lifestyle  as me quit faster than you can say “Pastry sale at Magees Bakery”.  One by one they offered accountability and partnership and as soon as I really started to lose weight and hit my stride…they decided perhaps this “workout” thing wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  Not one of them is exercising to this day.  I have allowed myself to even use them as an excuse for not getting healthy. “Poor me.  I can’t exercise without an accountability partner so I might as well do nothing”. Yes, it really does sound lame written out like that doesn’t it?

So, why do I do it if  I dread it?  Why bother working out at all?  I come from a family plagued by obesity.  I grew up watching my mom try every diet and exercise program available from eating only hot dogs and cabbage for one diet, to some soup only menu thing that smelled awful, followed by the  Atkins craze, SlimFast, and Weight Watchers.  I saw her succeed with Jazzercise only to end up right back in the same cycle that I have learned to perpetuate.  Get excited, get dedicated, practice extreme discipline, get bored, get busy, and fizzle out.  Guilt.  Shame.  Giving up completely. And then, we begin all over again.  But, I want something different this time.  I want to live without the diabetes that is breathing down my back begging permission to access my body while holding a sign saying “But, I run in your family.  It’s only a matter of time”.  I want to have babies and run and jump with them.  At 36 years old,  I am careening into my 40′s  never having worn a bikini in my life .  I want to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded.  And, as much as I dread the idea of what my husband calls “real camping”, he adores it and I want to share it with him…peeing in the woods and all .  I’m no “sissy” so-to-speak.  I have survived Africa and all manner of living situations.  I just happen to think it is not a crime to be comfortable when camping.  A nice KOA with some port-o-potties, a blow-up bed, perhaps some showers.  Is that too much to ask? Well,  it’s not “real camping” to hubby until compasses, survival skills, and leaves are involved.   But, huffing and puffing up some obscure mountain kinda takes the picturesque romance right out of the whole thing.

I’m going to tell you a big secret.  Fat people know they’re fat.  Or at least I should say we know “we’re” fat.  It is no surprise to us.  It is also no surprise to the 40 Billion dollar a year diet industry selling us miracles like some Snake Skin Oil salesmen in some old Western.  They literally thrive on obesity.  Diet pills.  Diet meals. Exercise equipment most people in their right minds know will never work.  But, desperation breeds blindness and before you know it some infomercial promises become hopes to be dashed.  Radio spots on popular stations offer us “Lose weight fast” dreams and millions of people fall for it a year.  The truth of why I get up early every morning is that the only thing that will work long term is slow consistency and that just ain’t all that sexy.  Eating less.  Eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.  Burning more calories than you take in.  And, building muscle are slow and painful processes that net real results…in time. I do this because I refuse to believe a risky surgery is worth more than merely taking care of what God has already given me.  I do this because all of the excuses in the world have finally caught up with me and they want to hog tie me to the railroad track of heart disease, diabetes, or other debilitating diseases and I say “I don’t even think so sucka”!

To read more of Tanya’s amazing blog, visit:  http://thetorps.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/one-day-youre-gonna-run/

So, back to work…  going to a week of church camp where someone else will be cooking and I will have little time to exercise, journal or eat right.  Please pray for me…  I’ll be back in 2 weeks with an update!

 

A Rant: “The Point”

I hit 3 milestones this week!

1.  I am no longer in the obese category!!
2.  I weigh less today than I did on my wedding day 11 years ago.
3.  I’ve broken the 30 pounds lost mark – I’ve officially lost 30.2 pounds in just under 4 months!

This feels soooooo good!!!

Oh, I almost forgot…. I’m now officially OVER 1/2 way to my goal!!!  Official Weigh in:  174.2  🙂

WARNING:  Now I will rant:

When people see me and notice my weight loss (by the way, it took me losing 21 pounds before anyone ever said a word), they ask “So, what program are you using?” or “How are you doing it?”  When I tell them I’m exercising and making better food choices, they look at me like I fell from the moon or have corn stalks growing out of my ears!  Is that so hard to believe?  Huge news flash people:  there is no miracle diet, no quick trick, no magical pill to take…  it takes hard work, eating right and exercising.  I’m so sorry if I’ve upset you but it’s the truth.  😉

For me, my personal experience, I had to come to THE POINT…  the point where I was sick and tired and decided I must do something about losing weight.  Notice, I didn’t say I decided I needed to do something about it, I decided it was a MUST.  I was fed up and entirely disgusted at how I was treating my body and I was ready to commit to doing whatever it took to get rid of it.  If you don’t get to that point, you’ll never do it.  Yes, a lot of us feel  like we really should do something to lose a few pounds or we need to start eating right but until you get to that utterly fed up “point” – it’s not happening.  I have a friend who says she needs to lose weight but she hasn’t come to that “point” yet so she’s not even going to start because she knows she’ll get frustrated and give up.  She says she’ll do it when she reaches that point.  I have to respect that.

So where are you?  Are you to that point, yet?  I’m not saying I’m perfect in this by any means.  Every single day is a learning journey and it is frustrating.  I have several friends who are losing weight in a healthy way and are dropping the pounds twice as fast as I am.  I cheer for them but inside, I’m thinking… I’ve been doing this as long as they have and I’ve only lost 30 pounds…  Then I have to kick myself in the pants and realize, I’ve lost 30 pounds!  That’s a huge accomplishment for me, something I have never been able to do.  I have stuck with this lifestyle change (not a diet) and have settled into it as a way of life.  I’m educating myself.  I’m not going back.  I have 24 more pounds to lose so I’m nowhere near done.  God has given me strength and surrounds me daily with people who encourage me and hold me accountable and I have no doubts that those 24 pounds will come off.  God is good….

…end of rant…

Please sign up to follow this blog & join me on this journey.  God bless….

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.

 

 

“Mom, you’re shrinking!”

It’s been a challenging week on several levels.  I am really getting tired of my exercise routine and it’s becoming more difficult to find the energy and desire to get up and do it.  I have worked out every single day on my eliptical (with maybe 3-4 exceptions – those days, I did a yoga session) since January 18th.  I’m so glad it’s beginning to get warm outside so I can walk in the local park or just go outside and play with my kids.  I prefer doing my workout in the mornings before the kids get up, then I get my shower and devotions in while it is still quiet.  This is really tough because I am not a morning person (ask my husband, he’ll tell you!)  As most of you who read this regularly know, I work with a life coach.  My session with Brian Osher this week helped me to see where I need to get up earlier to avoid the stresses of rushing through my workout/shower/devotion time.  So, I have been doing just that.  I’ve been in bed by midnight (on weeknights) and up by 7:30 (8:00 this morning).  I’m typically a night owl and up until around 2 a.m. but then we sleep until 8:30 or 9:00, even 9:30 some days.  I can tell you, this has been a transition for me but I think it’s worth the “pain” of getting up earlier.  I feel much better during the day and I’m not as stressed (I eat when I’m stressed).

So, now for the weigh-in…This week, I weighed in at 184.4!  I’m .2 away from having lost 20 pounds!!  I’m down 2.4 since last week.  This is the most weight I have ever lost and I feel terrific!  I no longer reward or comfort myself with food, I see it as fuel, that’s it.  Yummy fuel, yes… but fuel.  As we were doing the Bible lesson with our kids before bed the other night, my son looked at me and said “Mom!  You’re shrinking!”  Oh, what joy that child gave me!  I know you’re not supposed to have a favorite kid but at that instant….   hmmmmmm…….  (JUST KIDDING!!)

I am seeing a difference.  My size 20’s are in a stack to put in a yard sale.  In fact, I wore a size 16 pant to church on Sunday!!  I’m never going back (and if I do, I will be completely miserable squeezing into smaller sizes because I refuse to buy larger ones).  You’ll know if I gain because I’ll be walking around with big splits in pants that are too small!!  This is not a diet – I’m not changing the food or denying myself anything.  www.myfitnesspal.com has been a blessing – it allows me to track my food and exercise each day and tells me what my boundaries should be (how many calories, sugar, fat, etc. I should have).  It’s completely free… I urge you to check it out.

So, that’s my week.  How was yours?  Follow this blog or share it with friends… Click the “Yep, I’m in, Sign me up!” button on the righthand side of this page and enter your email.  You’ll get a notice everytime I write something here.  Be aware, you’ll also get updates when I find good deals (I just happen to dabble a little in coupons!)

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!