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.

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 do love summer. It’s warm, people always seem friendly and there’s so much to do. With that said, summertime for me sunshinehas its difficulties as related to health, wellness, and my eating regimen. The warmer weather makes me want to go out and do more; however, that’s not necessarily a good thing. I like to sit on patios at various restaurants and watch the passersby. I like to head down the street to grab a bite of ice cream and sit in the park. Sure, I walk to all these events, which add to a healthier me, but eating, drinking and possibly staying out late, those aren’t helping my wellness cause. I try to do a mixture of things to balance my summer fun. 

I love salads. As a cold natured person, I don’t typically eat salads in the winter, as I need food that will warm me up. However, in the summer, I crave salads all the time. This is a good thing as I can have a light dinner salad with a glass of wine (or two), sitting on a patio. This keeps the calories low and helps me soak up some vitamin D through the sun. Since we frequent many establishments in our neighborhood that are in walking distance, I do burn off a few more calories in the summer than usual, so that’s a plus as well. If I walk to get a salad and a couple of glasses of wine, I’ve likely walked off at least one glass of wine. 

sushi rollI also love sushi. For some, sushi in the summer is not desirable as there is the risk that it’ll go bad quite quickly, but again, I’m cold natured so the best time for me to eat it is in the summer. Sushi, at least the sushi I eat, is extremely low in calorie and very good for me. I don’t get sushi with excessive ingredients or with crunchy, fried, or saucy accompaniments. I like most of my sushi au naturel, with wasabi of course. If I get it with rice, I try to get brown rice. I try to mix it up a bit with some nigiri (but typically don’t eat the rice) and a few bites of a sushi roll. Luckily, I finally have my husband into eating sushi so we can get a couple of different small rolls and some nigiri to get the most bang for our buck and save our waistlines. 

 As I stated, I do try to walk more during the summer. Many places that we frequent are within walking distance (less than 2 miles), so regardless of the weather, if I know I’m going to eat and drink, it’s time to walk. If I do eat any excess calories, it’s possible I’ll burn them off. For example, my birthday is next Sunday. On Saturday, we’re doing a 5k event and then hanging out with friends that afternoon, likely bar hopping. I figure the 5k gets us started off with a good calorie burn (this is after I already do my 2-hr normal workout for the day). From there, I’ll be sure to watch what I eat. We’re going to a Mexican place, so I’ll get a couple of tacos with everything on the side so I can control the sour cream and cheese, along with no chips and salsa. When we bar hop, I’ll sip slowly (thus shooting for no more than one beverage per establishment) and make sure I only eat if I’m hungry, and even then, it’ll be low in calorie. In addition, we’re making sure to walk everywhere. This will certainly keep my metabolism in overdrive, as I’ll wake up, workout, do the 5k, and never stop going, thus burning numerous calories.

picnic ants, noWhether or not this plan works next week, we’ll see but as I’ve always said, having a plan is at least a good start. Moreover, knowing my weaknesses and setting boundaries is quite helpful too. Luckily, I do like low-calorie foods such as salad and sushi and I live in a walking neighborhood that helps offset my need to be active when the sun comes. This summer, I hope to continue having plans and ideas to ward off the pounds like Raid against ants at a picnic; I’m going to squash all these summer temptations like a bug.

ninja

Last Friday I surprised myself. I woke up per usual to do my 2-hour workout, which included 30 minutes on my exercise bike, 1 hour of Kenpo X (P90X’s version of kickboxing) and another 30 minutes on my exercise bike. Everything was going just fine until about 4:20, when I’m about 10-15 minutes into Kenpo X, the electricity shuts off. I looked outside and it was pitch black. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this was in the morning. All the lights were out in the neighborhood. At first, I was a bit frustrated, as I love my kick boxing workouts. Then I came to a realization – I had this video memorized. I know exactly what all the kick and punch sequences are and the count of most of them. I know Tony has us do 25 for some and 30 for others, so if I just do 30 for everything, I’d get it right. If I decided to do this from memory, the only missing element from the video would be the count for the cool-down sequence. He does running in place for about 30 seconds, jump rope for 30 seconds, jumping jacks for 30 seconds and then finishes with X-jumps (yes, this really is the recovery section of the workout). How was I going to know when to change-up every 30 seconds? It dawned on me that I could get the flashlight, shine it on the kitchen timer and use that as my clock. 

At 4:27am, with nothing but the moon lighting my living room, there I was kicking, punching, sweating and panting , dark nightlike a ninja in the darkness, doing my workout. I’m not sure if it was my stubbornness, my competitive nature or just plain will that made me go up against Mother Nature but it’s a fight I won. I didn’t need lights, the television, or Tony Horton’s voice to do my exercise. When I got to what would be the last segment of the routine, the electricity came back on and I couldn’t help but laugh. I went through the video to make sure I’d done everything, and I had. I’d even done more because many of the things I did 30 reps to should only have been 25. Oh well, more cardio for me. I finished up with the video and a huge smile on my face. Then I went upstairs, completed my 30 minutes on the exercise bike and felt quite accomplished with the day’s workout. 

If you’d have ever told me I’d be so defiant one day and so committed to my health efforts that I would complete my daily workout in utter darkness, I think I would have laughed. However, in the end, I ended up laughing, as my rebellion seemed to take me to a higher level of fitness and well-being. I realize that I never have an excuse. I can always exercise kickboxingand choose to be this better version of myself. While it was a bit scary, there in the dark, by myself, kicking and punching the air, it was also liberating. I felt alive and renewed in my conviction to health and wellness. Now, each morning, I dare the electricity to shut off; I already have a plan of action in my head if it’s a cardio day or weight-lifting day, I know how to proceed. Surprisingly, or happily, my journey moves forward, as I yet again learn something new about myself as I continue striving to be a healthier me.

happy easterWell, it’s almost Easter. On Sunday, I can fall off the wagon, as I gave up alcohol for Lent. I’ll admit, this wasn’t the hardest thing to do but it wasn’t easy. In the past, I’ve given up coffee, chocolate, and dessert, foods I consume every day. While I don’t drink every day and most times, not even every week, partaking in a sip of wine with dinner or a de-stressor bourbon after a hard day at work or a hot-toddy nightcap is something I’m able to do when I want. On those occasions, when I was unable to have my beverage of choice, I did manage to muddle through and as always, learned a few things about myself.

The challenges this Lenten season were an adult birthday party, St. Patrick’s Day and a happy hour for my husband’s new job. For the birthday party, I was fine in the beginning, as this wasn’t too long after we’d returned home from Mardi Gras. I did enough drinking on that trip to last a few weeks. However, as that evening progressed and everyone around me enjoyed a cocktail, I started wanting one. That’s when I spotted someone “drinking” that I knew didn’t drink. My husband asked her what she was drinking and she said, “A Shirley Temple,” made with Sprite, grenadine, and a squirt of lemon. I’d forgotten all about those things. Since I hardly ever drink soda pop, I figured this would be something drink with cherrydifferent and I could trick my body, at least for this event. Viola, success. I had two diet Shirley Temples with cherries and made it through the evening just fine, with calories to spare.

Then came St. Patrick’s Day, on a weekend no less. This is usually a day I go all out, with Pub Crawls, green beer, etc. (and keep in mind, I don’t even like beer). Wow, talk about struggling. I curled up on the couch the Saturday of that weekend and felt bewildered. Oh, I just wanted the pain to go away. My wonderful loving husband again came to the rescue. He Googled non-alcoholic drinks, went out to get some Vernor’s ginger ale and whipped up a virgin concoction of something that was wonderful. I have always enjoyed the soothing flavor of ginger. Ahhh, again I’d made it through tough times. There was an unconventional solution to keeping me on track and we found it. This reminded me of how I felt when I first started eating better and losing weight. There’s always a healthier alternative that will work. It’s just a matter of finding it.

The final test was last week at the happy hour to wish my husband luck at his new position. We celebrated with both old and new co-workers. The drinks were flowing and after a while, the sting from the dark roasted black coffee just didn’t work. Even the full strength Shirley Temple (as they didn’t have diet) didn’t work. I was miserable and before I knew it… the night was over. O-V-E-R!!! I’d made it. I knew if I could make it through a happy hour, 5 weeks after being stone-cold sober and just one week away from Easter’s arrival, I’d be fine and sure enough, now, I am.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m counting the hours until I drink my extra spicy bloody Mary at Easter brunch, but at least I bloody Maryknow I persevered. Oddly enough, the thing I noticed most is that I had no food cravings while on the wagon. I didn’t want to drown myself in pizza or cookies or eat half a cake. This is progress. On the down side, I wondered if the reason I didn’t crave these things is because I wasn’t consuming alcohol. Could it be that alcohol brings on these feelings? Maybe these foods wouldn’t taste as good to me without alcohol, thus I didn’t crave them. I suppose I’ll find out soon enough, but at least I’ve done the research and am now aware. I have found that knowing is half the battle and once I identify a problem, I can tackle it. I’ve already figured out my strategy for brunch and how to make it through Easter day without overdoing it. Additionally, I’ve planned the following days to carefully add my favorite beverages back to my diet, in slow rotation, so that I don’t swill everything in sight. As I frequently say to those that ask, moderation is key and I’ll be sure to intently exercise that over the next few weeks, as I raise my glass to toast you all – Happy Easter!