Focus

Focus.  It’s not just a car that Ford makes.  🙂  When you focus on something, it becomes important in your life.  That’s why it is essential to have a goal.  It gives you something to focus on.  I once heard a motivational speaker ask “If you go hunting and you see a field full of deer, do you just randomly shoot hoping to get lucky or do you pick one, focus on it and shoot?”  Any hunter out there will tell you your chances of killing a deer are next to nothing if you try to shoot them all.  You’ve got to have focus.

When I first started this journey on January 18, 2011, I weighed 204.4 pounds and was physically and emotionally miserable.  I chose to focus on my weight and becoming healthy again.  I read books that educated me on nutrition (not silly fad diets), I joined www.myfitnesspal.com and educated myself on calories and exercise.  I began working on setting goals, developing healthy habits and making a plan with my life coach, Brian Osher.  I began to move more and eat wisely.  I weighed in every week and blogged weekly about my experiences as the weight began to come off.  Choosing to focus on my journey was as big a decision as committing to eat healthier and start exercising.

I weighed in this morning at 155.4.  To date, that is a loss of 49.0 pounds.  I have so much more energy, I feel fantastic (most days) and my health issues (especially the digestive issues) have all but disappeared.

I’m going to risk sounding negative here but I want to share something.  When people see me and notice the weight loss, they often ask “How did you do it?  I really need to do something about my weight.”  When I tell them (often to their disappointment) that I am eating healthier and exercising, you can almost see them mentally change the channel.  I get excuse after excuse as to why they can’t change their diet:  “My husband likes fatty foods and I don’t want to cook 2 different meals for us every night.”  “I have a hurt (insert body part) and can’t exercise.”  “I just can’t find the time to exercise.”  You know what?  That only tells me that they don’t really want to do something about their weight.  Zig Ziglar says “If you really wanted to be something different than what you are, you would already be making the changes to become what you want.”  You’ve got to get to “That Point.”  If they’re not to that point, I can see why they tune me out.  So forgive me when I answer the “How did you do it?” questions with a quick but polite answer.  If you really want to know more, ask for more details but I won’t offer them.  I’ve been tuned out too many times.

My weight loss has not been easy – I have often equated it to the disease of alcohol addiction, only my disease is food addiction.  When I stopped making excuses, God blessed my efforts and has been faithful.  I know it sounds absolutely crazy but when I lag behind on my devotions or find myself lacking in my prayer life, my weight tends to go up.  I honestly believe that losing weight is as much a physical endeavor as it is emotional, mental and spiritual.

Do you find yourself offering excuse after excuse?  Don’t wait for New Year’s – start now – start tonight.  “If you’re going to make a real and lasting change, you must make changes immediately and enthusiastically!”  – Tommy Lanham

Make this a focus and do something for yourself, the Lord’s temple, your children’s parent, your parent’s child, your spouse…. stop making excuses.  Click on “Sign me up” at the right hand side of this blog & join me as we go through this journey together.  I need you – I need your support and your success stories and your “I just ate a bag of Ding-Dong’s” stories.   Commitment is a balance between formula and freedom.  Let’s be free together!  Come on, we can do this!

 

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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!

 

The Value of a Goal

I know I say it every week but – Wow!  What a week!  The cravings have come back with vengence.  Since I’m an emotional eater, I immediately thought about a possible trigger.  What’s been bringing on these cravings?  Why do I want to eat and I don’t mean just a Little Debbie cake, I want to eat the whole box!  (And I’m not exaggerating.)  The only thing I could think of was the lack of sleep over Easter weekend.  I had an excessive amount of work to do and really got overwhelmed in addition to the fact that we were up very early all weekend.  So, now I know.  I eat when I’m emotional and when I’m dead tired.  Do you want to know the really cool thing???  3 months ago, before I started this journey, I would not have given it a second thought.  I would’ve eaten that entire box of Swiss Roll Cakes (my absolute worst weakness) and not wondered about triggers or anything else.  I would’ve stuffed my face until I was miserable.

I’m making progress.  I’ve been at this for 14 weeks and have lost a total of 25.4 pounds.  This past week, I only lost .2.  I was disappointed at first but then I thought about this journey as a whole.  It’s not a race, it’s a marathon and as long as I’m still moving ahead, I’m winning.  It’s when I sit down and give up that I’ve lost.  Sure, I’ve lost some momentum and gotten a little frustrated, but I’m still here.  I’m still going.

Last week, in my call with Brian, my life coach, I mentioned some things I needed to work on… one being wanting to spend more time with my children.  Then I proceeded to give him every reason under the sun that I was “too busy.”  His exact words:  “Blah!  Blah!  End of discussion.  Just do it!”  Don’t you just love him?  Geesh!  I feel very blessed that I have found somebody who knows me well enough he feels he can kick my rear end into gear.  This week, I told him I was fighting those cravings and I felt I was losing some momentum.  “The one thing that always works is focusing on all your reasons.  Your reasons will always outweigh those temptations.”  (Brian Osher)  He’s a pretty smart guy, isn’t he?  So I’m compiling all my reasons for losing weight into a list this week so it’s convenient to review when I’m losing some momentum.  More words of encouragement from Brian:

“Get tough.  Step up.  God made us to do hard things.”

“Think about what got you committed in the first place.  Plan for the obstacles.”

“Get back to the basics, get fired up and make it happen.”

I write all this stuff down in a journal every week to review and keep me going.  Journaling has helped tremendously.  So has www.myfitnesspal.com where I journal my food and exercise daily.  I joined a challenge on that website 2 weeks ago to burn 3500 calories through exercise in 1 week.  Since I typically burn 1800 calories in workouts, I wasn’t sure I would be able to reach 3500 but I set that goal and worked towards it.  At the end of the week, I did not reach the goal.  I burned 3000 calories and I discovered the value of a goal.  Sure, I didn’t reach it BUT if I had not joined the challenge and set that goal, I would’ve still been burning 1800 calories. 

So with the help of my life coach, I set another goal this week.  I weighed in this week at 178.8.  My goal this week is to lose 1.8 pounds.  I typically don’t set a weekly weight loss goal but this week, it seemed necessary to help me gain some momentum.  When I lose 1.8 pounds, I will be EXACTLY at the 1/2 way point…. that’s a good reward.  Ahhhhh, the value of a goal…. 🙂

If you want to keep up with my posts on here, click “Yep, I’m in!  Sign me up!” to the upper right hand side of this blog.  Be aware, you’ll also get some posts about money saving strategies…  See you soon!

Progress despite setbacks…

This has been a tough week.  I’ve struggled more this week with cravings than I have this entire year.  I’ve been keeping a caloire count (not real rigid, just a running total in my head) and trying to stay between 1200 – 1500 calories per day.  The Dr. Shapiro book I blogged about last week has been an absolute treasure.  It’s really helped open my eyes to what really is healthy and what is perceived as healthy.  Like I said last week, 1 biscuit = 14 pieces of toast WITH JELLY…. Never would’ve guessed it.  This week’s official weigh-in is 191.0.  I lost .8 this week.  I’m not upset – I’ve had to fight some pretty strong cravings this week and I’ve found out that getting out of the house, even for a moment, helps curb those cravings.  I walk to the mailbox at the end of the drive or I go to the basement & do a load of laundry – anything that gets me away from the kitchen for a few minutes. 

We had some friends come over one evening and instead of sitting down to a huge meal and then playing board games all night (which is what I would have normally done), we had a bowl of chili, went to our church’s gym, walked laps, played tag w/ the kids and had fun for about an hour before coming home and playing board games.  I am beginning to have a desire to be active – I’m not dreading workouts, I’m looking forward to them (most days – some days I still struggle).  I have a desire to go hiking, camping, roller skating… anything to move my body & break into a sweat!

I’ve made some self discoveries this week about why I eat.  My sponsor Terri sent me some interesting thoughts:

“We live in a society that focuses so much on food it’s scary. Think about it. EVERY event in your life, from weddings, to showers, to reunions, to family get togethers, almost REVOLVES around food.  This has been the case FOREVER (think of Jesus’ first miracle: he was at a wedding and there was food and wine, and *gasp* they RAN OUT!!!  HUGE faux pas! Mary knew this would embarrass the family, right?  So she asked Jesus to step in).  It’s ‘rude’ not to provide guests with the best food you can in as great of an abundance as you can – this also shows status/wealth.  Think Martha – Mary & Lazarus’ sister, I know the lesson is that she missed speaking with Jesus, but Martha was doing what she’d been raised/taught to do – be the ‘good’ hostess, and as women, it is ingrained in us that showing your love/respect means providing the best and most food you’re able to do.”

“Also, another thing I’ve tried to re-train myself to do: STOP treating food as a reward/punishment. When you do that you’re attaching emotions to it.  THAT is the part of your brain that you’re fighting with at the moment.  Food is neither.  Food is sustenance.  For instance, before WW when Z was a toddler he had shots and was so upset, I took him for ice cream after.  Since I joined WW, I saw the error of my ways.  I was ignoring his feelings by smothering them with food.  I was pushing *my* issues onto him.  So, now, we talk and he tells me things that bother him (or I hope he does).  You need to do the same thing with yourself.  If you make a goal, don’t ‘treat’ yourself with food.  Treat yourself with a treat: a pedicure or a new book or something you’ve been putting off.  Buy something for the house that you’ve told yourself you don’t need, even though you want it.  THOSE are ‘treats’. Don’t punish yourself with food either.  Don’t let a gain on the scale make you reach for the cookies!  You are going to have ups and downs.  Try not to attach the emotions of frustrations to them.  All easier said than done.”

See why it’s so important to have an awesome sponsor?  This really hit home for me.  When my kids get shots, my motto is “Get a shot, get ice cream.”  I still give “treats” to the kids when they clean their rooms or do some extra work for me – it’s always in the form of food.  I’ve started this week recognizing how much emphasis I put on food and how much of my life revolves around it.  Terri really opened my eyes to that and I am so thankful I have her by my side in this recovery.

My life coach has also been an amazing cheerleader and direction setter for me.  He is constantly challenging me to push myself to the next level and holding me accountable.  Two amazing tools in this fight to stay sober.  I’ve been “sober” since January 23rd.  Since January 18, I have lost 13.4 pounds.  This week, I’m working with Brian Osher (my life coach) to set some specific number goals.  I’m excited.  Where are you on your journey?  Click “Sign me up” to follow this blog – leave a comment to share where you are on your journey.  God bless you.

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!

Day 3 – still sober

I’m amazed at how God is faithful.  I know He is and has always been – I tend to be forgetful.  I’ve been making wise food choices and sticking to my commitment to working out every day for an entire 48 hours, now.  I know it sounds silly but I’m very proud of myself.  You’ve got to remember, for me, this is like a drunk trying to stay sober.  I eat when I get emotional or when I’m under stress.  Over the past 48 hours, my kids have run fevers of over 104 and I’ve been cleaning up vomit.  I had the potential to really fall off the wagon.  I’m not setting any longterm goals, I’m making it through THIS day first.  I was frustrated yesterday because I usually try to have a quiet time in the mornings and because my children were sick, I was unable to do so.  My husband came home on his lunch hour so I could run & get some groceries before  the snow storm hit and when I turned on the radio, I heard the song “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.  Try reading through these lyrics with MY eyes – the eyes of someone without the strength (on my own) to lose this weight…

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
“Boy, you’ll never win,
You you’ll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
“Boy you’ll never win,
you’ll never win.”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don’t seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
The Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
And the Voice of truth says “this is for my glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the Voice of truth
I will listen and believe
‘Cause Jesus you are the Voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you are the Voice of truth

So, I’m not listening to myself because myself tells me I’ve done this a thousand times before and it never works.   I choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth that tells me I’m doing this for His glory.  I will not be afriad.  I covet your prayers.

PART 2: 

Snow Storm’s a Comin’

Whenever I hear the words “snow storm” I go into a nesting mode… I feel like I should have my home ready for anything that might happen.  It should be clean, organized, all the laundry done, the dishes done, the fridge full of easy to prepare foods – you never know, right?  What if it snows 3 feet and every neighbor in the area loses their electricity except us?  I HAVE to be able to feed and sleep all of them here, right?  I know it’s a little insane… 🙂  Seriously though, you never know what the weather holds so I’ve been organizing and cleaning.  This morning, I watched this news story and realized how very unorganized I am (and I only have 2 kids).

http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/the-bateses-and-their-18-children-23906649