Balancing Act – Month 2 Week 4

“I’ve learned you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time” – Oprah Winfrey

Weight loss is about balancing. Balancing what you can eat versus what you can’t. Balancing what you should do versus what you shouldn’t. As time went on for me this balancing act became more of a struggle. It’s easy to sit here and type like everything was peachy, but it wasn’t. This month was a struggle for me because this concept was so simple. Sit in the kitchen and eat. What followed from that simple proclamation was a host of issues I never expected to have to deal with. The first one hit me hard, but they kept coming and coming and that’s when I ran into issues.

The first issue that came was I got tired of cooking. I was working at home then helping my son with his homework. I was trying to make more mindful choices and realized my mind no longer wanted to make choices. Add to this every commercial on tv seemed to focus on weight loss. I could try Slim Fast, Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, or Jenny Craig. Why were people using these plans, because they didn’t have to think. Outside of Weight Watchers they pretty much told you what to eat. Slim Fast instructed you to drink your two fabulous shakes and even eat their snacks if you needed something extra. All you had to do was “eat a sensible dinner” and you would lose weight. Lean Cuisine didn’t need you to do anything but buy their breakfast, lunch, and dinner frozen meals and you would shed pounds with little to no thought. Jenny Craig was even better. She would just ship the stuff to your house. She took all the guess work out of eating.

I know it sounds crazy but my number one goal with losing weight was and still is to simply never have to think about losing weight. That’s where the motivation of one pound came from, but here I was thinking about what to eat to lose weight. Earlier I told you this was a struggle and as you can see it is still a struggle. You can plan for a lot, but you can’t plan for a lack of energy to cook. Most of the time when I had given up on cooking my husband would cook something. My kids were good with this for a day or two, but after that they would begin looking at me crazy. During another bout of non cooking I decided we could order food daily to support local businesses. This was a great idea for two or three days, but then again my kids looked at me like I was crazy. My oldest son one day looked at me and said “are you going to cook any time soon?” These were definitely my kids, they didn’t hold their tongues. Reviewing this now I realize this was part of the depression, but people with depression never catch the signs that fast. I wish I would have.

The lack of energy to cook and the eating random foods did nothing but make the situation mentally worse for me. I became lethargic and really just wanted to lay around from day to day. The concept of doing anything stressed me. Around this time a friend of mine told me I needed to start writing. I loved to write and thought this was a great idea. Really I was using it as something to keep me occupied, something to keep my mind off food. I tossed around a few ideas of what I would write about and actually began putting some stuff together. One day while sitting around doing nothing I decided, I needed to tell my story. I needed to tell this story. The story of one pound at a time. Making a long story short, this is how you are reading this blog. This is one big journal on my journey to lose weight and stop talking about losing weight. Very ironic I know.

I’ve told you all this to tell you again that you need to journal and of course keep reading this blog. You need to keep a record to hold yourself accountable. I keep a journal/planner for work. I keep a journal for gardening. I’ve kept journals all my life but they always focus on madness. No journal was ever uplifting and always started off the same way. I weigh this and I want to weight this. I needed this time to be different and blasting my life to the world was how I planned to do that.

Your journal doesn’t have to be public, but you do need to write stuff down. You need to find patterns that you find yourself so you can figure out how to overcome the negative patterns in your life. I had to realize that I couldn’t do everything. I couldn’t be a great mom, a great wife, a great boss, a great cook, and a weight loss guru at the same time. I had to just be ok at some stuff. Hell some stuff I wasn’t even ok at. I’ve been married for ten years and I still struggle daily on how to be better or how to just be ok. How to live daily without doubt or insecurities.

I remember that I use to think that stuff should be 50/50. Marriage, food, work, everything. Overtime I’ve learned that is not possible. Nothing is ever 50/50. Nothing is ever that perfectly balanced. You simply have to figure out what you are going to place importance on at that moment. I needed to place importance on self care during that moment. I had to focus on my mental and physical health. My family would understand, but I needed to tell them. That’s the first step really. Just open your mouth and tell someone. Once I was able to do that the pressure of not cooking was gone, someone else would do that. The pressure of being a good teacher for my son was gone, I got help with that. Things I was stressing over went away because people helped me when I asked. My husband was my number one supporter when I simply asked him to step in and help.

This week reach out and see who can help you. Figure out where you can take some things off your plate so you can focus on yourself for one week. I know you are thinking there is nothing you can release, but you can. This is where you need to balance. You need to place a higher importance on yourself for just a little while, just for seven days. With all of this going on I did manage to lose my one pound this week. I actually lost two pounds and got myself back on track. I don’t know if it was not eating from stress of what to eat, or realizing I wasn’t hungry. It may have been spending time with myself and changing my focus, who knows. What did happen was I was again focused on the end result. That end result of only trying to lose one pound and not turning this into some big production. To calm down and stay focused on this small thing I needed to do for myself. Remember you are the most important person in this journey. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself.

I would again like to say this journey is full of ups and down and daily I’m learning to not beat myself up. Some days I have great days and other days I don’t want to do anything. If I could have wrote a blog with just unicorns and rainbows (my husbands expression) I would have. I feel its much better to tell you what’s really happening. Week two I wrote about depression and by week three I was writing about mindful eating. I thought the depression was taken care of, but clearly I was wrong. I’ve included this again to let people know depression doesn’t work on your time schedule. It shows up when it wants to. It shows up when things are going great, and there should be no need for it to drop by. I don’t know when it will come or how long the unwanted house guest will stay. What I do know is journalling and realizing when I’m in a battle helps. I am not always strong. I say this for you as much as I say it for me. Scream it if you want to. I AM NOT ALWAYS STRONG. Guess what though, its ok. Karyn White had a song called “Superwoman”. She was talking about a relationship superwoman but I’ve taken it to a much broader context. I’ve changed the lyrics. Originally they say “I’m not your superwoman”. Ive changed them to say “I’m not a superwoman”. Remember, no one asked you to put the cape on. You took it out the closet all on your own.

Put the damn cape back and do some self love this week. Enjoy the fact that you are two months into this journey and ready to leap into next month. Pause and reflect on your success and failures. Don’t worry, you will get a bonus reflection post. The last thing I want you to do is smile. Just simply smile.

Mindless Eating – Month 2 Week 3

“The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on” – Brian Wansink

There is an entire selection of books on mindful eating. My personal favorite is Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. There is a book and workbook that will guide you through the principles of intuitive or mindful eating. Since I am not promoting any diet or any particular way of life, if you think this is something you would enjoy you should read it. What this book helped me figure out was what triggered me to eat. What cues played in my brain that would just set me off towards the fridge to grab something, anything. I will say the workbook is not for the faint of heart. I started and stopped the workbook several times because I honestly wasn’t ready to deal with my own shit. What happened is I somehow kept getting drawn back to it and realized there was a lesson I needed to learn.

If you thought I was about to share that lesson, nope. Remember earlier I mentioned it much easier to talk about what you are doing instead of what you aren’t, or what you should be doing. That’s what we are about to talk about this week. I could go on and on about intuitive eating, but you have no concept of what that is. What you do know about is mindless eating and if I’m gauging correctly most of you are pros at it. We mindlessly eat while watching tv, working, reading, or some other task that lets us have a free hand to use to shovel food in our faces. I’m going to spend a little time talking about mindless eating while watching tv since I believe that was a huge source of my problem. Total disclaimer- I watch too much tv. I binge watch Netflix like everyone else. I binge watch stuff I’ve saved on my DVR. You actually will rarely see me watching life tv. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is I don’t have patience for commercials and I want to fast forward. The second reason is commercials are sent from the food devils I’ve decided. This is not a real thing “food devils” so please don’t Google it.

There are a few shows that I watch live when they come on. All the NCIS series and anything that comes on after NCIS. I have no idea what it is about that series but they get me every time. I need to know what’s going on and I’m glued to the tv. I think its because they remind of of the older versions of Law and Order. The new Law and Order does nothing for me, maybe because I miss Jack McCoy. Plus I generally have an obsession with crime shows and anything that will eventually lead me to a killer I never suspected. The problem with this need to know addiction is I end up watching live, thus watching commercials. NCIS starts at 8pm on the East Coast. So I get myself ready for three hours of great tv, then I’m usually off to bed. This is where the problem comes in, test my theory if you don’t believe me.

Every commercial break there is an ad about food. It may be an ad about a food you need to try, a restaurant you need to go to, or lately the grocery store party you need to go be a part of. The newest grocery store ads in my area are these fun loving characters who are dancing in the store because the prices are so low. They ironically are dancing to a song that was originally talking about strippers who wore “apple bottom jeans and boots with the fur”. I would have loved to be in the room when the announcement of given regarding this song. I honestly would just like to see the Black peoples faces as the snippet played and the presentation was given. I’m guessing they stopped it right before the lyric came on “She turned around and gave that big booty a smack”. Sorry I digress.

My point is there are approximately four commercial breaks during a one hour show. To be fair we need to add the commercials before the show and after the show. That takes us to a total of six commercial breaks. Commercial breaks are about four minutes long give or take so with some quick math of six times four I end up watching 24 minutes of commercials for my hour long television show. If I watch three hours of tv we would only add the extra commercial at the beginning and end of my three hours stint, so that’s a total of 20 commercial breaks for a total of 80 minutes of commercials. I promise you this is the most math you will every see on my blog. There is a point to all these calculations. That is 80 minutes of someone trying to sell us something. that is over one hour of commercials for my three hour tv binge. There is usually at least one car commercial, one insurance commercial, one new drug commercial, and then there is food. Lots and lots of food.

For a person trying not to eat this becomes a nightmare. Even if you are full because you’ve just had a very nutritious meal and maybe even a snack how can you resist. They tell you about pizza, burgers, tacos, and chocolate you should try. Everyone looks to be having such a great time while eating. You also may see a diet commercial during this time, but pay close attention. Even in the diet commercials there is food. Weight Watchers shows you people eating gooey pizza. Nurtisystem show you people eating lasagna and chocolate cake. There is a reason for this. They are appealing to your desire to eat food and “enjoy it”. The problem is at 8pm I’m not getting ready to go out and enjoy food. I’m going to go downstairs and grab food I have. Currently there are several commercials with actors/celebrities eating chips. While you may not have the nice house, and the fancy clothes you do have the chips. Your brain for one quick seconds goes “hey I want chips”. Think that doesn’t happen? Think about the last food craving you had and why you had that craving. Go head, I’ll wait.

If you are stronger than most you can survive the food craving during the three hour stint, but advertisers then hit you with the one two punch. Towards the end of the night they no longer show food commercials about stuff you can eat now. They begin to show you commercials about what you can eat tomorrow. The commercials change from dinner to snacks, to breakfast. Don’t believe me? Turn to any channel and watch tv between 8pm-11pm. Let me know what channel you’re watching and what commercials you’ve seen. I’ve been hooked watching and HGTV binge and saw that same commercials I would see watching NCIS. The only difference is they pepper in a few Home Depot commercials.

What we have to realize is its their job to make us buy what they are selling. We don’t have a chance people. The deck is stacked against you. The only way to level the playing field is to have a plan, and I am going to tell you my plan. I plan to eat. I plan to snack. I know I’m going to fall victim so I don’t even try to fight. I have no willpower left at 8pm and I’m not trying to lie to myself and act like I will. Instead of mindlessly eating I mindfully pick a snack. If I want sweet I eat an apples with peanut butter and chocolate chips. If I want salty I have a mini bag of popcorn. If I want cake (cake gets its own category) I have a small piece already cut and on a plate ready to go. I usually make it through the 8pm hour, but around 9:15-9:30 is when the craving hits. I take myself downstairs and eat my snack. I would love to tell you I’m too lazy to go downstairs and get the snack, but that would be a lie. The only change I made in this whole situation was to be ready to eat. I didn’t believe that I could outsmart the advertisers. They are very good at what they do. What I did was acknowledge the sell and substitute it with something I already had on hand.

The key for this to work for you is to already have something ready. If you just go rummaging through your kitchen you are going to eat what you find. I typically find chips and Little Debbie cakes. When I plan a snack in advance I have no excuse to eat something else. I eat what I had planned. What’s great is if I am strong enough to not eat the snack, guess what? The snack is there for tomorrow when I battle the “food devils” again.

It would be easy for me to tell you to stop watching tv. We are in a pandemic. I’m not going to tell you to do much of anything. What I am going to tell you is be honest with yourself and have a plan in place. We have enough going on to not have to worry about getting sucked into buying crap food because the commercial told us too.

I lost my one pound this week. Maybe it was the extra calories I burned running up and down the stairs to get snacks. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t eat any more Hershey Nuggets. Whatever it was it got me semi back on track, and for that I was grateful. All we can do during this process is continue to make tiny changes to get us towards our goal. What snack are you going to have ready this week?

Depression Eating – Month 2 Week 2

“The only thing I like better than talking about food is eating” – John Walters

I eat all the time and eating all the time means eating everywhere. I like eating in front of my fireplace and eating while watching tv. I like eating in front of the computer and eating while I’m at my desk working. It’s so easy to go grab something and go somewhere. I would mindlessly go to the fridge or pantry, grab something and walk away. Often times what I grabbed would be gone before I even made it to the new location. Being conscious of this was eye opening and filled up many pages in my journal as I tried to work through issues. I almost felt there was a void yet I didn’t know how to fill it. Taking away that instant gratification of food opened more wounds that I was not ready for.

As I stated I eat when I’m sad and since I suffer from depression I’m sad a lot. There are days when I have no idea why I’m sad and couldn’t tell you if you asked. I simply know I don’t feel the best and it’s like a melancholy cloud that hangs over me. If you suffer from depression you understands everything I’m saying. I often times want to be alone yet wish I wanted to be with other people. I want to decompress yet have no idea what is weighing me down.

Machon Note- I have suffered from diagnosed depression for over twenty years. In reality I have suffered for far longer than that. In the beginning I didn’t know what it was because often times in the African American community we do not talk about depression. I hit rock bottom and didn’t have a grasp on life. The truth is I didn’t want to live. I could not even make it through the day, I was not able to function. Food was and still is my coping mechanism for depression. Some people use drugs, alcohol, sex, or many other vices. While my vice was food and may seem harmless I will tell you one is not better or worse than the other. I do not think I am better than anyone else that suffers from any illness. With all that being said GO SEE A DOCTOR. You cannot self diagnose and you cannot self medicate. That’s what I was doing with food. After the ground fell from under my feet I went and sought help. I should have done it sooner, but I was lucky that I did it at all. Therapy and medication got me on the right path. That may not be your path. Find your path. Find a path. Do something. I advocate therapy and I advocate admitting that you have a problem. There is an entire profession out there to help you become a better version of yourself. I have not nor will I ever beat depression. I have simply learned how to manage it and realize when I need help. Call someone and get the help you need for whatever you are suffering with. Call them. Now back to out food lesson.

Eating for no reason in hiding was how I was dealing with my depression. When I started eating in the kitchen I had to answer some tough questions. I had to sit alone with myself not mindlessly eating but having the desire to go get food. 75% of the time I was not even hungry. When I made it back to where to my room or desk with no food I would just sit there. What was on tv was not as interesting so I would flip channels. The computer become boring so I would shut it down. Working was monotonous and I would get agitated. After I snapped at a coworker for something ridiculous I knew I had to figure this thing out. I began to journal all day. I would journal about when I went to get food. I would journal about what I ate and how I felt. Most of the time I would journal about not getting food. Not wanting to sit at the table and eat which meant I wasn’t really hungry. The journal revealed some huge aha moments. The biggest one; I just needed to do something with my hands.

If you read the above paragraph you are thinking “she was going off on people because she couldn’t eat food”. That is exactly what I was saying. Because I could not get what I wanted (food) I was lashing out at other people. I would get this feeling that I couldn’t explain and just want to be alone. It’s hard to describe the power that anything has over you until you are talking to someone who has also lost to that power. Here is an example. Every time my monthly cycle rolls around I want chocolate. It’s not just any old chocolate but it has to be Hersheys Nuggets with Almonds. I have no idea why and I’m sure if I dug deep into my psyche I could figure it out, but I haven’t done that. Usually about 1-2 days prior the craving is so serious I have to leave my house to go get Hersheys Nuggets with Almonds. Let me walk you through this.

I get dressed and hop in my car just to go get this one thing that I can’t live without. Now let me tell you I usually fight the craving for the first day and then it seems to get worse and worse. I try to find stuff in the house to eat and realize all these extra calories are not worth it. I might as well go get the damn chocolate. I usually start with house staples like chips, or some frozen candy my husband has stashed. I then move to the kids Little Debbie cakes or I bake something from scratch. This month I baked banana bread and after eating half a piece I realized this was not going to kill my chocolate craving. I need to point out this banana bread of some of the best stuff I have ever made, but I digress. My last effort to not eat actual chocolate was to drink hot chocolate because all chocolate is the same. Yea you know as well as I do that this is a lie. This did not work and I still craved the nuggets. Finally giving into the craving the next day I hopped in my car and drove to the store to get this thing that had been gripping my thoughts for days.

I wish I could tell you I just got the nuggets and kept on my way. I didn’t. I had to get some other stuff so I didn’t look like a fat ass who just went in the store for nuggets. I got some coffee and some other items that made the purchase look random. It was “oh I need coffee, creamer, and what do you know. Hersheys Nuggets with Almonds sounds nice”. Again all this is what runs through my head. No one was judging my basket. Correction I was judging myself.

If anything I’ve said sounds familiar stop beating yourself up. What I realized is that I don’t have willpower to fight cravings so I’m done trying. As soon as I want something I’m going to get it, but place a limit on it. I can’t eat the whole bag of fifty nuggets but maybe I will allow myself to have six per day. A serving is three but who the hell eats three. Also If I don’t see something, I forget it there. After I got the nuggets I placed them in a cabinet in the kitchen and like I knew I would I forgot all about them until the next month when I wanted nuggets. I realized where I was weak and came up with a plan.

I can’t beat cravings, but what I can do is manage them. I can realize exactly what it is and deal with it. I can eat my six nuggets in front of my family and keep it moving. I can leave the bag downstairs and not hide in my bed eating fifty nuggets while watching tv. FYI- this is not an advertisement for Hersheys Nuggets. This is simply my vice. If you haven’t figured yours out I want you to be patient, you will. Someone once told me my vice was not nuggets it was sugar. No, no its not. If it was sugar the Little Debbie cake or the banana bread would have done the trick. The chocolate stashed in our freezer would have done the trick. No my vice is pretty particular and once I stopped fighting it, it stopped winning. That’s what this journey has taught me. I need to control stuff before it controls me.

At the end of this week I did not lose a pound. I didn’t say I was perfect. Not only did I not lose a pound but I gained a pound. Yes it was the nuggets. I didn’t eat six, but I didn’t eat the whole bag. Probably half of the bag was gone to be honest. What I learned this week though was losing the pound was not the most important thing. Learning about myself was a much more valuable lesson.

If you know what your vice is send me a message. If you don’t know what your vice is begin to write down your cravings, and how you respond to them. Remember, this journey is a slow one. We have all the time we need to become mentally stronger while on this journey.

Let’s Start Gardening- Week 2 Bonus

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us” – Jenny Glow

When you stop eating all the time you have to find something to do with your hands. The game changer for me during this time was I decided to build a garden. I dug out a 15×20 foot section of my yard with the help of my entire family. I began buying seeds and read about square foot gardening, container gardening, and straw bale gardening. I did last year on a fifteen bale garden and installed a underground sprinkler system. I had all this time so why not fill it by growing more food. Giving you all true transparency my husband did a lot of stuff and we had to pay someone to help with other stuff. A 15ft x 20ft is no small endeavor and I advice you don’t do that. Everywhere you will read it says start small. Listen to that message. Start small, and when you think you’ve started small, start smaller, then smaller. I did not head that warning for year one or year two. I’m probably not going to do it this year either but I feel like I should at least mention it.

Machon Note- I knew nothing about gardening when I started. I went too big, too fast. I had straw bales, squares, soil, and containers all in one location. I would never recommend your first garden be anywhere near the size of mine. Everyday it took all the energy I had. A garden is like a small child. You have to give it water, food, and tend to it daily. There was not one day during the peak season that I didn’t have to pick something or prune something. I thought I like cucumbers until I had twenty of them and no plans. I made pickles for everyone and still had plenty to spare. This kept my hands busy and prevented me from randomly eating. I have no idea why I went crazy. Yes I do, I’m extra.

I’m putting out this special message because I’ve fallen in love with gardening and if you want to do it, start now. There are a million rules to gardening but you don’t have to follow any of them. Gardening can be as easy or as intensive as you want it to be. With anything you just should start. The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to grow. What will you eat? What will you give away? What vegetables or fruits bring you joy? The next thing you need to decide is where you plan on having your garden. If you want a plot outside make sure its close to your home. No one wants to go far to garden. You might think you do, but you don’t. As soon as the heat of July or August hits no one wants to be lugging water all the way across the yard. The romance of gardening goes away as soon as the sun starts beaming down on your neck. You also have the option of gardening in containers. This is very appealing because you get to keep everything you want contained. You can have your garden on your front porch if its in containers. The world of possibilities opens up with just small adjustments.

To start your garden you only need a few things. Soil, sun, seeds, and water. It is as simple and as complicated as this. I would love for you all to come on this garden journey with me as a bonus. You will find when you stop eating all the time, you can fill that with some useful stuff. So here is what I need you to do. First make a list of what you would like to grow. Then you need to head to a store and get some seeds. You can also hop online and purchase seeds from a number of seed companies. This year I did a blend of both. I actually purchased all my seeds through the catalogues and got in the store and couldn’t help myself. Yes I have a problem. I think the fun part for you is deciding the varieties of what you want to grow. Your veggies will look like the pictures so grab what catches your eye. FYI- don’t wait to get seeds. I thought I had all the time in the world to get seeds. I wanted to keep researching to get the perfect variety only to watch stuff sell out in minutes. Apparently everyone decided to start gardening the same time I did or vice versa.

When you have picked the seeds you want to grow research the seeds. Yea that’s probably out of order but hey, you have the seeds. Some seeds you will need to start indoors and other you plant right in the ground. Every seed is different and has special needs. its up to you to learn what those are. Also if you are looking at all the snow out your window thinking this girl is crazy believe me its really time to start thinking about your garden.

Come back next week where we will discuss the first crops you need to plant in preparation for the 2021 season. Parsley, thyme, broccoli, mung beans, alfalfa, leeks, onion, oregano, chives, and basil are on the early list. If you plan to start any of these items grab some seed starting kits and potting soil. Correction, grab one kit. Remember we are staying small.

Some of my favorites: Jiffy Seed Starting Kits. These come with everything you need. The growing tray with dome and seed starting pellets. This is the fool proof method. If you want to get a little more ambition get Miracle Grow Potting Mix and use your own pots or growing cells. Don’t use dirt. Potting mix is lighter and helps the seedlings grow.

Eat At The Table – Month 2 Week 1

“If you are more fortunate than others, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”- Unknown

If you have successfully made it through month one congratulations. Month two should be a breeze for you and help you keep the momentum going. The premise for month two is simple. You cannot eat any food outside of your kitchen. Breakfast in your kitchen, lunch in the kitchen, and dinner in the kitchen. If you want snacks, you guessed it. They will be eaten in the kitchen. You can take drinks outside of the kitchen but everything else must remain in the kitchen. Note that a milkshake is not a drink in this case and must be drank in the kitchen. I can see some of you getting really creative as we get further in this month. I’m a fat girl remember. You can’t fool me. I also know that this sounds crazy but I did have some logic behind this challenge for myself.

I am a closet eater. I like to eat when no one is around and in a house with three other people our kitchen is front and center. I would have no issues eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the table but what got me each time was the snacks. At night while watching tv I would eat chips and popcorn. Saturdays and Sundays while watching football or Hallmark I would be sitting with ice cream or brownies. I would put food in my mouth with no thoughts at all as to what I was doing. Mindless eating would be the easiest way to describe this. It always amazed me how I would get to the bottom of an entire bag of chips and then think “did I eat the whole bag”. Yes, yes I did because I opened the family size bag and now it was gone. It would have been great to believe some fairy had come along and stolen chips but the reality was there are no chip eating fairies.

Was I eating a bag of chips in front of my family, NO. For one thing they would ask me if I was going eat the whole bag of chips. Second they would look at me like I was crazy and most likely ask for some of my chips. Hiding in my room I didn’t have to deal with that. They could not judge me. Please let me throw this in here. My family does not judge me. Well they do but not about food. This is 100% in my head. Because this has never happened I have no idea what they would say in this situation. I created an entire scenario because I didn’t want to deal with the fact that I didn’t need to eat as much food as I was eating. Funny how sometimes the only person judging us is us. Thinking out loud what I did was actually hurt my family with my closet eating. My oldest son eats in his room and my husband eats while watching tv. My youngest does eat in the kitchen but only because the rest of the family is hiding out in a room eating. There is no one to see him eat. Instead of creating healthy habits all I did was create an environment where we could all eat in secret. I needed to fix this.

The first week I didn’t eat in the kitchen I noticed I would go in the kitchen, grab food and start to walk out. I would get in the doorway and realize I had created this rule for myself and pause. Sometimes I would sit down at the table and eat but a funny thing happened. Often times I would put the item back and just head back out of the room. I didn’t even want the thing I had gone into the kitchen for. I had placed no food restrictions on myself so if I wanted the chips I could have eaten them. I just didn’t want to sit in the kitchen and eat them. It sounds crazy but I’m telling you it was all true. Eating ice cream in the kitchen and not in front of the tv was insane. Eating a bowl of popcorn not on the couch watching a movie baffled me. Who does that? A brownie, cookie, doughnut, or cracker did not have the same thrill when I had to sit at the table. I began to feel punished by sitting at my own kitchen table, but only when I grabbed snacks. My family eats dinner a few nights a week at the table. We eat breakfast every weekend at the table. Many of my favorite memories are made at that table. Sitting alone with food at that table took on a whole new meaning and it was one I did not like.

One day I was asked why I was at the table eating popcorn. I said because I’ve decided to not eat outside of the kitchen. After my child looked at me like I had grown horns he turned and left the kitchen. I’m sure he had come in there for something but the thought of his mother sitting there looking crazy drove him away. It’s hard to explain to kids why you make some of the decisions you make but the truth is I would have had to be vulnerable. I would have had to explain that once I leave the kitchen I am out of control with food. I eat until stuff is gone and don’t remember what I ate. I would have had to tell my child that as a grown woman I can’t control my actions so I’ve decided I have to sit at this table and slowly eat my food. Yea, I was not saying any of that but if my child is now reading this book it clearly explains why your mom was sitting at the table that day.

For the first week I want you to try this. If nothing else notice how many times you attempt to leave the kitchen with food. I think you will be shocked. I also want you to notice how you eat when in your kitchen. You probably aren’t shoveling food in your face because you would look a hot mess. Sitting at the table eating an apple became a much more pleasant experience than sitting at a table eating a family size bag of chips.

At the end of this week I had lost my one pound. Eating at the table, what a novel concept.

48 Hours- Monthly Recap

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”- Leo Tolstoy

It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself in 48 hours. In the grand scheme of things it seems like such a small space in time, but for me it was a little life altering in regards to weight loss. What I learned is it takes my body 48 hours to process food. Let me state this is not scientifically proven, but this is what I learned about myself. I weigh everyday. I have weighed everyday for years after reading a book that suggested it. The theory was if you weigh daily you will never be surprised about weight loss or weight gain, Yes you can argue that weighing daily is harmful. You can say weigh once a week or even once a month. That is your prerogative. As for me, I weigh daily and will continue to do so. I do adhere to the rule that you need to step on the scale at the same time everyday if you want to get an accurate reading.

After I wake up and use the bathroom I step on the scale. I use to look at the number and begin my morning ritual of brushing and flossing. Now because I have a fancy scale I make sure my phone is in the bathroom and my scale app is open. Yes you read that right. I stand on the scale bare foot and watch a little ring dance around in a circle as my weight, body fat, metabolic age, and fifteen other things are calculated. This experience is both exciting and humbling. Exciting because I like to see the numbers move, humbling because the bluntness of the readouts will hurt your feelings. This is not a scale you should own if you can’t handle the truth, or this scales version of the truth. If you are easily offended I would just stick with a regular scale that only displays weight. This particular scale is by Renphro. With all this information it provides you would think it cost $50+. No, I actually snagged it for around $20 when it was on sale. I thought it was a deal until it hurt my feelings. I want to say I packed it away and called it a $20 loss. If you know me, you know I did not do that.

I sadly take the torture each morning, and use this number to gauge what I need to do for the day. If I’ve lost my one pound for the week and the scale remains the same, I eat what I want. If the scale goes up, I need to cut back or try harder for that day. It’s a very simple process, but this process taught me something was off. One day I had eaten a lot of food and had racked up about 2800 calories. The next morning I stood on the scale and it had not moved. I took this as a sign that the weight loss gods were finally shining down on me. I ate reasonable well that day and even went for a walk. I was super proud of myself and thought well maybe I was doing so well the extra calories did not matter. The following morning I stood on the scale and it was up two pounds. What!! I had barely eaten anything the day before and I took a walk. At the moment I didn’t think about the food I had eaten two days ago, I was only focusing on the past 24 hours. At the time I just got upset and worked out twice as hard. I was able to get the two pounds back off but I really had to try hard to do it. Taking a breezy stroll just wasn’t going to cut it. Was my scale lying to me the day before? This is what irrational people do when something is off. Blame the inanimate object glaring at you from your bathroom floor.

Later in the month this happened to me again. I didn’t eat 2800 calories, but ate more than I should have consumed. I stood on the scale and nothing changed. Great I was the same weight I was yesterday. Two days later and I declared “the devil is a lie” the scale had gone up one pound. I want to tell you I became this super educated person at that moment and began to do rational things. No. I was pissed. Why was I working hard and the scale was lying to me? Why did I keep doing all this work and this scale chose to mock me? I thought about how this scale (not this exact one) had seen me naked more than anyone including myself. I don’t look at myself naked very often. Some fat people do, but I am not one of them. I had bore my body and soul to this thing each day and it kept torturing me with numbers, false readings. Yes, I became delusional. It doesn’t take very long when weight is concerned.

Now this is where the old me would have given up and just ate a bunch of crap and said the plan is not working. I did something different this time. I pulled out my journals and began comparing my weight and food logs. I saw a pattern. It only took me forty plus years but I saw a pattern. Revelation was my weight does not change the following day, it changes 48 hours later. It was taking my body 48 hours to catch up to what I had done to it. Why it took so long I didn’t know, but at least I knew that my 24 hour joy was false hope. False hope that was telling me what I had done 24 hours prior was ok when I knew it wasn’t.

Having this little piece of information in my pocket I made some changes coming out of month one. I knew my body would react in 48 hours so after a larger calorie day I knew I needed to workout hard for two days to get it off. Some of you are thinking why didn’t you just stay your ass off the scale? If I was that strong I wouldn’t be fat in the first place. No, this girl doesn’t have that willpower. What happened was the 24 hour weigh in still lied to me, but I was prepared for the 48 hour information. I worked out harder the day I ate the big meal and two days after. Again you might ask why didn’t I just not eat the big meal? Again I say, that’s why I’m fat because I like to eat the big meals.

You have to decide what works for you and what you are willing to do. Learning this little bit about myself I knew I couldn’t keep eating the big meals but also knew what I needed to do if I ate the big meal. I knew I would not be perfect on this journey but on month one giving up foods I loved all the time would not work. That’s what I had done before, and that’s how I had failed. Remember I did lose my allotted four pounds and actually lost six to something was working. What I did before heading into month two was add this little gem of information in my weight loss toolbox. Having the tools I needs when I run into situations helps me be prepared and ready to deal with the consequences of my actions. After all, I did not stop loving food after month one.

How To Use This: If you discover a patten write it down. You need something to have in your weight loss toolbox for when you know you won’t eat well. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Super Bowl, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, and for my best friend Halloween. We each have that day or several days when we are just going to eat. Stop trying not to eat, that’s silly. I can’t avoid cake so I’m not about to start trying now. Eat the damn cake. Just know you are going to spend some time working out or eating better later to combat the cake. Hopefully this tidbit helps some other people. If you have a tip you’ve learned about yourself let me know. We all needs some little gems.

Encourage Yourself- Month 1 Week 4

“Someone is holding their breath waiting for you to fail, make sure they suffocate” -Unknown

You are almost done with the first month of this journey. You have lost three or more pounds and know 100% you will lose another pound by the end of the month. If you are sitting there thinking it’s only four pounds, know those four pounds will never return. This slow method works. Please continue to trust the process. What have you learned? What is one food that you must avoid? If you haven’t figured it out the entire month is really about learning what works. I mentioned before instead of focusing on what you can eat focus on what you can’t eat. I unfortunately learned I could not consume large amounts of carbs. Cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich and chips for lunch, ending with chicken and macaroni for dinner. Carbs on top of carbs was just what I ate all the time. My issue was finding things to replace the carbs. That will be a challenge for a lot of you. When you remove something, what do you replace it with?

When I had weight loss surgery I had to have a psychological exam. During the examination I was told once you stop eating you will begin doing something else. It’s up to you to decide what you do. For me that did not click. I went in there to focus on weight loss. I had no intentions of doing the work and figuring out why I was eating. I just wanted to not be able to eat. Cutting half my stomach in half would be the solution. Well guess what, they were right. Once I stopped eating I started shopping. Logically I made it work. I was losing weight so I needed more clothes. I was eating healthy so I needed different foods. I was packing my lunch so I needed a Coach lunch bag. You all will learn I’m pretty extra. I don’t do anything half ass. I was carrying my lunch in style. What I had done was simply replace food with spending money. This was not at all a good plan. My bank account would often times be near empty as I decided I needed one more thing. Had I known what I know now I would have dealt with that. Unfortunately I did not and I simply started eating again. Weight loss surgery does work and I feel like I need to say that. I did not do what I was supposed to do so it did not work for me. Again hindsight is 20/20.

FYI- Coach does not make lunch bags. Coach does make small bags that are perfect for carrying your lunch. My husband was not happy with this discovery but I had the best looking lunch bag in the lunch room. It’s the little things that bring a person joy. Ok you can judge me on this one.

Back to my carb addiction. What clicked for me this time was focusing on replacing just one thing at a time. I needed to replace the carbs. I decided to replace the carbs with fruit. YES. I know fruit has carbs, but it wasn’t white bread so I called it a win. I tried to have bananas and apples in the house at all times. Grapes were also a great go to. I could eat these after I finished my meal of protein. I have to be honest. There were times I just didn’t eat. I couldn’t figure out what to eat and it was easier to simply not eat. I would drink some water or coffee and keep it moving. Was this the best choice, probably not but I’m just being honest. Planning what you will eat is critical. Standing and looking in a refrigerator full of food and not being able to pick something is exhausting. I now realize why people fast. To not worry about food is a blessing at times. For a person like me who always thinks about food this was crazy. You can eat this, but not that. This was the reason I had failed at low carb diets. I felt myself falling off the wagon and decided again to change it up. Yes three weeks in I had all these thought running though my head. It does not take long for our minds to steer us back to old habits. I did come up with an alternative plan though since not eating was not an option for the long term.

Instead of killing all carbs I decided I would remove them from one meal. That worked. Breakfast and lunch were the easiest to remove carbs so that’s what I did. Who doesn’t love bacon and eggs for breakfast. Tuna became my go to for lunch, again easy stuff. Just that simple act of not going crazy and eliminating carbs helped me. I realized my pattern of telling myself I couldn’t have something just made me want that thing. Once I took the power away from carbs they were not so scary. If I wanted toast with breakfast I didn’t eat carbs for lunch.

I will not sit here and lie to you and say everyday this worked. What I will say is it worked enough for me to lose four pounds during the first month. I actually lost six pounds so I would call this a huge win. Instead of focusing on the bad stuff I had done I really tried to focus on the good stuff. I had logged food for 30 days and that’s all I promised myself I would do. I had lost the four pounds I said I would lose. I had succeeded without putting any unrealistic expectation on myself.

There is a gospel song called Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence. Listen to that song. While it is definitely a gospel song it is more than that. The song is about you speaking into existence what you will accomplish. Sometimes the hardest person to convince of your success is you. I will always be my worst critic. Here is a few lines from the song:

Sometimes you have to
Encourage yourself
Sometimes you have to
Speak victory during the test

And no matter how you feel
Speak the word and you will be healed

There is even a point in this song where they say “gotta pat your own self on the back”. When is the last time you’ve done that? When is the last time you have truly been proud of something you have done, something you have accomplished. I’m not saying you need to go losing your mind over four pounds. What I’m saying is feel good about the fact that you did something for yourself for 30 days. You accomplished what you set out to do. You have honored your number one supporter, YOURSELF.

Listen To Your Body – Month 1 Week 3

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures” – F.M. Alexander

There is a book by called Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Trible and Elyse Resch. The book focuses on the concept of letting your body cues guide you through eating. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This seems like such a simple concept but for me it was extremely difficult. Truth is I was never really hungry. I just ate because the clock said noon, I was bored, I was tired, or I was watching tv. I was rarely if ever hungry so I didn’t know what true hunger felt like. I typically just ate to eat. After my weight loss surgery the doctor explained if I ate how I ate before the surgery I would become physically ill. That should have been enough to stop me from eating, No. It did not. There were many occasions where I would eat so much food I couldn’t move and would be physically sick. I would get the meat sweats, yes this is a real thing. Essentially I would consume so much food that without notice my stomach would begin to feel like it was pushing the food back up through my throat and into my mouth. I would get nauseous and begin to sweat. I didn’t know if I should sit still until it went away or walk it off like it was a cramp. The fact that I had done this too myself by simply eating was not only crazy but insane. You know what made it worse, I did it more than once. I did it so many times that I was back eating the amount of food I ate before the surgery. Yes I gained the weight back and some. Again I can feel the judgment coming through the screen.

Back to intuitive eating. I’m not going to give you all the principles regarding intuitive eating because you need to buy the book. You should actually purchase the book and workbook. The books taught me to pause and begin to figure out when I was hungry or full. Before I would eat I would drink water to see if I was even hungry or if I was following an old cue that said eat. I know you’ve probably heard “you are not hungry, you are thirsty”. I always wanted to say “no I’m not thirsty. I know when I’m thirsty. Your stomach does not growl when thirsty”. Again, my stomach didn’t growl much but that phrase still made me angry. The only time I can remember being hungry was when I was on a diet. It seemed like as soon as you told your body you were going to restrict food it sent some message to your brain that told your body to act a fool. The headaches, body pains, and agitation would begin. I don’t know about your body but my body went into full blown attack mode and I always ended up on the losing side of this war. If you are following along, you know this is usually when I would give up. I’m not the type to be fighting unnecessary battles.

Intuitive eating did take some of the fight out of some battles. While eating I would eliminate distractions to determine when I was full. For the first time in my life I was leaving food on the plate. Some of you may have come from a home that said you couldn’t leave the table until you finished your meal. That was not my house. I was not trying to leave the table because everything on my plate was delicious and I wanted more of it. My mother and grandmother were fantastic cooks and didn’t have to force me to eat anything. Depending on the meal I would have seconds and thirds, then have cake. If you haven’t figured it out there was always room for cake.

Intuitive eating will take you awhile to grasp as will logging your food. You will forget or pretend to forget and that is ok. I would encourage you to always have your food journal handy. Yes if you chew gum or eat a mint that needs to go in that journal. If you haven’t been adding those items, start adding them now. What you now have in front of you is two weeks worth of data regarding what you eat. This is essentially a gold mine of information that companies are paying millions of dollars for.

This is what this information is telling you. If you lost weight, it’s telling you what you can eat and still lose weight. If you didn’t lose weight, it’s telling you what you can eat to maintain weight. If you gained weight, it’s telling you the foods that will increase your weight. You may not like what the data is telling you, but it is telling you a lot. It’s up to you to play detective.

Going into week three make necessary adjustments based on the information you have. Congratulate yourself for what you have accomplished thus far. Please remember you only needed to lose two pounds up until this point. If you have lost more great job but two pounds is the goal. Remember to stay the course.

Things that weigh two pounds- a pineapple, a quart of milk, two cans of soup, and a jug of laundry detergent. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. Send me some notes regarding your loss so we can celebrate together.

Stop Acting Brand New – Month 1 Week 2

“You’re always one decision away from a totally different life” – anonymous

Machon, “how can you lose a pound a week if you are not counting anything? How can I lose weight and just eat what I want. I think the first week was just a fluke”. Listen Linda, this is not your first rodeo. I am not about to badger you over the definition of calories and tell you what you should be eating. Let’s be honest, you know what you should and should not be eating. I’m not going to give you a lecture on good carbs, bad carbs or superfoods. If you haven’t learned all about this stuff I’m going to send you to this magical place called Google. You can spend hours going through information and find someone to tell you what to do. I am not going to be that person. As stated before I’m going to tell you what I did and recommend some resources you might want to look into. So, if you can’t figure out what to eat to lose one pound a week do what I did. Figure out what you should stop doing to lose one pound a week.

How about you stop drinking soda, eating candy, ice cream, or cake. You might want to stop sitting around, stop watching tv, or put your phone down and move. It might even mean reducing the amount of butter you use, let’s hope it will not come to that, but it might. For me it was not that drastic. The act of logging food made me stop eating food. I gave you all that little hint in the last blog. For shame for shame.

Do you want to eat the snicker and log it? Hmmmmm, not really. I think I’m going to pass today. That’s all it took for me. Before I ate something I asked myself if I wanted to log it. That little pause first off killed any unconscious eating. I had to consciously decide if I wanted to eat this piece of food or drink that drink. Snickers may not be your thing, they actually are not my thing either. My best friend loves snickers and I need her to realize at this moment I’m talking to her. If snickers are your thing right now I am also talking to you. My thingsssssss are cake. I found reasons to eat cake. Oh it’s cold outside, lets bake a cake. Oh I had a fantastic work week, lets bake a cake. Today sucked, let’s bake a cake. You get the picture. For Mother’s Day my husband got me a Kitchen Aid mixer, yes the Rolls Royce of kitchen gadgets. Why, because I can bake a cake from scratch that’s better than anything in a store.

For me this was like providing drugs to an addict. Now I could make cakes daily, and I did. See I make cakes and pies from scratch. No boxes over here. I have a whole pantry shelf dedicated with items to bake. If I was to walk into my kitchen now I could make a German Chocolate Cake, Lemon Pudding Pound Cake, and Neiman Marcus cookies without putting a dent in that pantry. So not only am I fat, but I can bake. Also before you ask I have a fat family as well. I did it, I know. We are all working on ourselves. I know you are not judging me.

For the first month I decided to only bake once. The reason is I can eat a whole cake. Stop acting shocked like that’s crazy. I bake good ass cakes, why would I not eat the whole thing. I also developed a plan for when I would bake. I would have a maximum of two normal slices of cake. After my two slices I would give the remaining cake away. I sent out several care packages during month one. The latest victims were my in laws. My husband visits my father in law every weekend and every weekend he had a care package. Some weeks it was items from the garden, some weeks it was cakes and pies. No one has ever objected to either, but I have more request for my cakes than I do my tomatoes.

So what are you willing to stop doing to continue losing your one pound? You made it through the first week successfully and I know you will do the same week two. Whatever you decide write it down. This is just the beginning. Looking back to see how far you’ve come will be crucial to your success.

If you have questions or want to chat send me a note. Hold on. Don’t ask me anything you can find on Google. I’m serious. I will not tell you what to do, but I will tell you what I did. Don’t think I’m playing about Google.

Log Food- Month 1 Week 1

“Food may be essential as fuel for the body, but good food is fuel for the soul.” -Malcolm Forbes

For the first month I decided I would log what I ate. As I previously mentioned I had used all these apps to log food and I figured I would give one of those a shot again. The two I enjoyed the most were Lose It and Lifesum. I honestly liked Lifesum the best but Lose It was running a special for half off so I went with them. Currently as I’m writing this both apps offer a free version and a premium version. Lose It Premium cost $39.99 for one year and Lifesum cost $45. As you can see they were both close in price but that 50% off offer got me. I would tell you to try them both for free and see which one you like. Lifesum had a more playful approach app which I loved, but Lose It has more charts and graphs. Are you a numbers person or would a dancing apple get you to enter your meals? You would be shocked at what gets people to do the right thing. Which one is easier to enter your foods and has features that will appeal to you? With anything if you like it you will use it. The goal for month one is simply to find something and use it. There is also My Fitness Pal, Calorie King, Weight Watchers, and a host of other apps you can use. Again find something to use and use it for 30 days. We need to nail this first thing.

Here is your first assignment- USE THE APP.

I don’t want you to worry about what you are putting in the app. I don’t want you to focus on a plan. I want you to use the app. Don’t look at the calorie features or the carbs. Don’t stress about what the app is telling you or if a red line appears telling you you’ve eaten too much. This first week is for you to gain a baseline of what you eat and how much you eat. If you begin filling in this tracker with the thinking of eating less you will be lying to yourself. You will not have a baseline of information. If you have soda everyday, log it. If you go out for dinner a few times a week log it. Get familiar with the app and get mentally aware that everything you eat or drink must be logged.

Machon Tip- Log it before you eat it or right after you eat it. The reason I used an app on my phone was because I always have my phone with me. One day I forgot to log as I ate and I tried as hard as I could to remember everything I had eaten. I could not. What did I put on my cheeseburger? Did I have one soda or two today? Did I grab a snack out of the cabinet or was that yesterday? Where food was concerned the days were running together and if I didn’t get the food logged before or right after I ate it I was a mess.

I want to add that I realize an app is not for everyone. If you want to write down what you eat in a journal feel free to do so. I will keep referring to logging as “the app” because that’s what I used. I understand some people are trying to reduce screen time as well as get back to basics. There is a lot of science that backs actually writing stuff down increases your success. I believe this 100%. I also know for me having notebook with me at all times was not going to happen. I had enough going one in my life. Keeping track of a journal was not making the list.

So a quick recap of what you should have done thus far: Get a calendar and log your current weight. You will then subtract one pound each week until you get to your goal weight. Have that calendar handy at all time. You also will either have an app downloaded or a notebook to begin logging your food. Logging all your food. Eat what you want when you want, but log it. If this seems too easy, it is. I promise you this will work and I also promise you it doesn’t get any harder than this.

Disclaimer- To keep you motivated I need to confess that I lost weight this first week. I did exactly what I just told you to do. I didn’t workout because I had not been working out. I ate cake, I drank soda, and I was literally just popping food in my mouth at all times of the day. Did I eat as much food as I would have normally ate, no. Why, because I didn’t want to log it. The shame was strong. Let me know how your first week went. Please head to the contact page and send me an email. Did you lose weight or gain weight? Did you develop a baseline?

Starting Weight – 290

Ending Weight – 288