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SundayI read an article that talked about Saturday being the most dangerous day for weight management. Quite honestly, I’ve almost never had a problem with Saturday. I plan that day and it usually goes like clockwork. My problem is, Sunday. I don’t know what happens with that day. I can make it through Friday evening just fine and step on the scale quite elated Saturday morning. I use that feeling throughout Saturday and make sure I do as needed to have that same number or better on the scale for Sunday morning. Then, Sunday morning, I’m glad at how well I’ve done for the weekend. Somewhere around 4pm on Sunday, it just all goes out the window. I really don’t know what is wrong with Sunday. 

Maybe it’s because I’m anxious at the starting workweek. I suppose that would make me an emotional eater and I need to tune in to those feelings and figure out how to dial them back. 

Maybe it is residual joy from how I used to spend my Sunday’s before my weight loss journey. On Sunday, quite often, kit and caboodlemy husband and I ordered what we called the “Kit and Caboodle” which would be wings, breadsticks, a large pizza, and likely some dessert from a chosen pizza establishment. We might also get a sub or calzone. Most of the day we’d nosh on that food, watch movies, sleep off and on, have a drink or two, and then go to bed. Maybe that was how we dealt with the coming week. Again, making me think about eating as related to how I feel. 

Maybe it’s just because on Sunday, typically at 4ish, I finally have nothing to do. Dinner has been prepared for the week, my chores and errands are complete, and there isn’t anything pressing. I’m not really a person that knows what to do with “free time.” I generally go, go, go, except after 4pm on Sunday. I don’t know what this means. Am I eating out of boredom?

Frankly, I’m not sure what the problem is. I find it sad because I go up to bed about 7 or 8pm, so it’s only 3-4 hours of time during the entire weekend that makes me wake up Monday morning disappointed. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to figure out why I do this, how to stop this behavior, and make sure I wake up feeling better about myself on Monday for the workweek. I still don’t know why, but, the fact I’ve noticed this problem and am trying to deal with it, has helped me mitigate this destructive conduct. It’s my version of AA (Awareness and Acknowledgement). I’m aware there is a problem and I’ve acknowledged I need to find a resolution or stop the behavior. For now, this seems to be enough, as I watch my calories like a hawk on Sunday, eating low calorie foods, only eating if hunger and telling myself “no, stop, don’t” when I’m about to do something I will regret. For the month of August, I’ve been waking up, stepping on the scale, feeling happy about myself and starting my Monday’s off ready to tackle the world. As I enter another weekend, I feel confident that I’m on the right path and my positive journey continues.

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 timefliesTime lately has been flying and I’ve been super-busy, though I know, that is no excuse. I’ve been slacking on my writing duties and even slacking on my weight-management a bit too. I had a birthday, we took a vacation, then my husband turned 40, which resulted in a party and vacation, and now, I’m ready to write and get my waistline back on track. I have put on a few pounds (13 to be exact), nothing anybody likely notices. My clothes still fit, they aren’t tight to the eye, but I know what the scale is supposed to say. I’d been neglecting my own rules as related to partying, anticipating extra food consumption and planning for my day or an event. It is amazing how quickly the body reacts to these thoughtless moments, as additional pounds come and just as easily, as I’d started implementing these in my rotation again, the pounds go. Below is a list of things that I became lax on but have reinstated: 

  • When drinking alcoholic beverages, do not just sit and drink. Stand, circulate around the room and talk to people. This burns more calories and the drink lasts longer, thus I consume fewer calories.
  • If I know about an event in which I’m going to allow myself to indulge, I need to do extra workouts a week before and possibly (depending on how much I indulged) a week after the event. For me this is typically adding a 30-minute bike ride and/or 2-mile walk to my day. Since normal workouts are in the morning, I do the extra workouts after work, which actually helps me wind down for the day.
  • Dance off extra calories when at a club or party with music, as this burns calories, keeps me from eating and is just fun!
  • Plan the day. Recently, I went to the state fair, planned what I was going to eat and actually ate less food. I did some extra workouts earlier that week to make sure I had the calories for my favorite foods. Once I got to the fair, I didn’t really want all that I’d planned. The result was a 1-pound loss for the week.
  • Even plan for snacks. I’ve gotten back in the bad habit of being at home and noshing. Now, I make sure to plan for any snacks, “extra curricula” food, or even a nightcap on those days I know I’ll have a lot of down time.
  • Write everything down. I started keeping a few things in my head and well, in my head or not, they did end up on the scale, as it is quite unforgetting. When I first started my journey, I put down 5-calorie gum and 2-calorie espresso beans. Then, I started thinking those were minimal calories so I didn’t need to do that. I started making allowances/excuses for 20-calorie items here open and paperr 30-calorie there. Over time, this really does add up. So now, back to, “if I eat it, I write it.” 

I’ve already started seeing the results of my restored roadmap for weight-loss and management. Soon, I will be back to my 172-175 pound self and this will be yet another closed chapter in this long and continued journey.

Over July 4th weekend, I was reminded of how “easy” it is to lose weight. As the conversation went on, we all know what the problem is. We either eat too much or don’t exercise enough, or both. I was asked what I did to lose weight and everyone already knew what the simple answer would be, “I eat less and workout.” Yup, so easy, so simple, and yet… not! That’s what we all laughed over as we contemplated health, wellness, weight-loss, and weight maintenance. 

In our conversation we realized that knowledge or know how might not be the problem. The problem for some is sticking to the plan. The problem for others is resisting the need for instant gratification. The problem for others is prioritizing exercise. My initial problem actually was expertise, as I wanted to know how much I should eat. I wanted to be accountable for the calories in and calories out. Once I gained that knowledge, came up with a plan, stuck to it mountainsand prioritized my workouts, I lost the weight. Perfection, right? Nope. Now of course, to maintain weight loss, there are other problems, which, as our conversation developed, we realized is likely always going to happen. It’s called “moving mountains” for a reason as it’s not just one mountain. Just as one is moved, another will appear. 

What I’ve learned recently is that once I recognize there is a problem, I don’t have to know why or define it. What I can do is create rituals or good habits to combat those problems. Hearing this made me feel like a lightbulb had gone off. The best example I was given for this behavior involves a person that might be a workaholic and doesn’t spend as much time at home as they’d like. Instead of trying to figure out why this happens, they should create a ritual and stick to it. Be home for dinner at 6pm at least 2 nights a week (to start). They can later change it to more days and over time, the problem is solved. There wasn’t time wasted on trying to figure out why the problem existed or complicated steps to fix the problems. Setting rituals and sticking to them became the new behavior.    

lightbulbA ritual I have created is to always order the small size, even if that means the kids size. I’m getting used to it as sometimes it is hard to remember but I have found the smaller size to be plenty. I now get kid scoops, small or kid size fries, a cup instead of a bowl, etc. It allows me to still eat what I want, get wonderful flavor and food, but without the guilt or as many calories. 

Another ritual I’ve started is to use the small plate, regardless of the food size or amount I think I’m going to get. This is for home, restaurants, the buffet, etc. Sometimes I think the food will not fit but it does. Sometimes I also think I would not get satisfied by what I put on the plate but I do. The truth is, if I had more on the plate, I likely would have eaten it. There is no harm in going back if I’m truly hunger but typically, that doesn’t happen. I don’t know why I sometimes overeat or don’t stop while there is still food on the plate but getting a smaller plate keeps me from caring so much and eating less. 

I plan to add a few rituals in my personal life that have nothing to do with food and exercise as well. I do ponder too much about the why, as opposed to coming up with action items to obliterate the bad behavior. Quite honestly, rituals is not something I think I would have come up with as a solution on my own, so I thought I’d share it as others might find it equally useful.

Today’s post is likely the easiest ever, as today is my husband’s 40th birthday. When I think of health and wellness, he certainly comes to mind. In the 21 years we’ve been together, he’s stopped smoking, he’s graduated from college with a financial management degree that he’d desired for years, he’s lost 70 pounds, and he strives to better himself. He helps me in my wellness as he makes me want to be better and do better and pushes me to excel. We complement each other well and help provide much-needed balance in each others lives. There isn’t anything healthier than that in my opinion. As I have a birthday to go celebrate, I’m leaving this entry short and sweet. Happy birthday to my wonderful and loving husband. May you have many, many more as you continue your “Healthier U Journey.”

BP at Mardi Gras, 2013

birthday cake

In  just a few short hours, I will be 42. I find myself wondering over the past week or so, what does that meant is 42 supposed to look like? Do I embody it? Do I even care if I’m the typical 42-year-old woman? I’ll share with you what I came up with. 

I don’t think I’m the average 42-year-old, although again, I’m not sure I even know what that is. I am me and I feel pretty good at this age. While I’m far from perfect, I have certainly matured over the years. I’ve made sure to put my health front and center. I’m even calmer when in uncomfortable situations, as opposed to arguing, yelling, or just bolting. I’m understanding in the differences of others without losing my point of view or myself. I am patient, caring, kind and open-minded. At the same time, I refuse to deal with a bunch of BS. I accept the fact that people are flawed and would rather they be upfront about things, just as I am to everyone. All of these traits came with growing up, or as I like to say, are reflective of Grown Folks and yup, I’m Grown!

At 42, I am happy. I have many more goals I’d like to accomplish and things I seem to continually fail at but overall, I can’t really complain. I can wake up on my birthday and do yoga, or cardio, or weightlifting, or bike riding and be with people I love throughout the day. My mind, body and spirit might be getting older, but intelligence, confidence and strength came with being older, so it’s not a bad trade-off.

So, what does 42 mean? To me, celebrating this birthday means I’m still here doing what I do, learning what I enjoy and being the best me I can. I’ve taken HUJ strides in changing who I am and sculpting the best version of me possible. Maybe it’s in bad form to say this, but “Happy Birthday to Me.” Or rather, as I say it with no shame and shout for the world to hear, “Happy 42nd Birthday to Me.”

I was trying to figure out what I wanted to write about, as I had a couple of topics running around in my head. Therefore, I figured a short synopsis or a few quick tips might be useful to pass along. 

huge waistMore waste might equal less waist – I really don’t want to waste food or advocate it, but when served too much food, that’s what I have to do instead of eat it. If I eat it and know I’m no longer hunger or don’t have the calories for it, my waistline will not be happy. I’d rather waste the food than see the food on my waist. 

Volume speaks volumes on the scale – When I’m at happy hour, my preferred drink more often is wine. A glass of red wine has 125 calories for a 5-ounce pour. Sipping that glass throughout the evening goes a long way. I do love bourbon but with at least 140 calories per 2-ounce pour, if I’m going to be out for a long time and drinking, wine will keep the calories (and morning weigh in) down. I still drink my bourbon but usually more when I’d like a nightcap, am only going to have one drink, say for an hour-outing, or when I want that calming/soothing one-glass sip. I drink my slightly dirty martinis on rare occasions as they have way too many calories. Luckily, I don’t like beer and thus can avoid a beer gut.

Ask, and you shall receive – I customize my restaurant orders all the time and restaurants have no problem providing what I have asked. I can pick apart a menu like nobody’s business and look for ingredients that I might like. Then, I figure out how those ingredients can make a composed lower calorie, great tasting dish. With so many people having food allergies, chefs do not seem mind preparing food requested in the manner preferred. It’s almost as if the Burger King Slogan fits anywhere – Have it your way. 

Little changes can make a big difference – I used to drink a large white chocolate and caramel latte with skim milk every morning, for a whopping 530 calories. This is how my day started every weekday. Now, I drink a medium half-and-half shot of sugar-free white chocolate and sugar-free caramel latte with skim milk for only 130 calories. Honestly, the first couple of days it took getting used to but now, I love it. A new person made my coffee once (forgetting the sugar-free) and it was horrible… way too sweet. One sip and I knew it was wrong. My taste buds adjusted and that one change dropped 400 calories from my daily diet. I used to drink that coffee with a 400-calorie muffin and now I have a Vitatop, a Weight Watcher Muffin, a Granola Bar, etc. or something similar for less than 200 gbtasterscalories. Just a tweak here and there, still eating good food but saving myself tons of calories. The same is true about those shooter desserts in restaurants compared to their full-size counterparts. I still get the sweet flavor and indulgence without a bunch of regretful pounds.

I hope these few tips are helpful, as they sure have helped me continue to enjoy life while I eat wonderful tasting food, socialize with friends and maintain a healither weight.

sleepzzzsI recently read about a sleep study called Lights at Night (LAN). This study showed that exposure to artificial light while asleep can contribute to cancer, lead to depression and even make you fat. Sadly enough, it was only the last part that intrigued me to read further as now-a-days it seems that almost anything can cause cancer and I suppose the same could be said about depression. I’ve worked pretty hard at losing weight so I figured something that might “make me fat” as the article stated was worth me continuing to read. Apparently, light pollution, such as passing traffic, television light, or streetlights affect the melatonin, leptin, and ghrelin levels in the body as well as the biological clock. In short, as related to weight gain, the body’s hunger cues are affected and people tend to eat more. 

I found this quite compelling. So much so, that as I continued to read, I was wondering how much pollution I get at night. There is a streetlight right outside our window, the blinds do not close out all the light (moonlight and otherwise), and my husband generally stays up watching television after I’ve fallen asleep. The article lists various ideas on how to make a sleep environment dark and conducive to a good night’s sleep. Those suggestions are:

  • Installing blackout drapes or blinds – I figured that since I live in an apartment, I wasn’t getting this installed. Plus, it didn’t help my problem with the television being on at night. I go to bed about 7:30 or 8pm work nights, so I would not expect my husband to turn off the television. 
  • Close the bedroom door – again, this gets rid of some of the outside light but not the inside. 
  • Get rid of your electric clock – I love my clock and frankly, I’m not getting rid of it. My dad gave me that clock over 20 years ago and it (knock-on-wood) still works like a charm. The article did mention to move the clock away from the sleep area so the light does not illuminate that part of the room. Additionally, it was mentioned that red light might have a minimal impact on sleep patterns. I keep my clock clear across the room anyway forcing me to get up out of the bed when it goes off. 
  • Avoid night-lights and television lights – I’ve already mentioned that one, so it’s not going to happen. 
  • Wear an effective sleep mask – ta da! I found my solution. I can take this with me anywhere I go (travel, airplane, sleepover, etc.). No matter what, I’ll have darkness at night. Additionally, this solution is inexpensive.sleepmask

I started using my sleep mask Tuesday night and honestly, I’ve had the best sleep ever. I woke up a little after midnight last night and feeling completely rested, wondered how I managed to oversleep. I looked at the clock and realized I had 3 plus hours left until it was time to wake up. Wow. Keeping the light out does allow for a more relaxing sleep. Even my husband mentioned Wednesday that I was out like a light thus sound asleep much quicker than usual. I don’t know if I’m in the honeymoon stages or if this is what you call a placebo effect but for now, I’ll take it. If this $10 expense can lower my risk of cancer, keep me happy, without the fat part (of fat and happy), and make such a HUJ difference in restful and soothing sleep, I’m all for it. With sleep mask in hand, I’m continuing my strides to a healthier me.

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