Monday, January 13, 2014

Word of the Year and Still Losing

I have done a "Word of the Year" on this blog for each of the past three years.  My first attempt was the word "Dare!!!" and that year rocked.  Year 2 I chose "Stewardship" and that one sucked because it's just not the most motivating, rock-n-roll music word, you know?  For 2013 I chose the word "Aspire" and it was a pretty darn good one!

Ways I "Aspired" in 2013:

1. Lost (almost) 50 Pounds! 

48 pounds to be exact- I'd have hit the 50 if it weren't for those pesky Holiday season treats! I took a look at where I was at and where I ASPIRED to be in life and realized there were several self-placed roadblocks that were making my other life goals harder to achieve.  The extra weight I've been toting around for a decade was beginning to slow me down.  I don't have time for that! I wanna live at warp speed for as long as reasonably possible.  Carting an extra 80-85 lbs. around while doing that just wasn't working for me.

I also had an experience where I missed out on a big personal life goal because of my weight. Not acceptable.  And so, it's gone- or at least the ugliest pounds are.  I need it out of my way so I can really go after the big goals I'm seeking.

2. ASKED For A Raise and Promotion:

I knew I wasn't being paid to the level at which I was performing at work- I agreed to hire in at a lower level when I started with the promise that they would move me up when the budget allowed.  I read a great book called "Ask For It" which claims that a big part of the reason women tend to earn less than men is that we simply don't ASK for raises.  Upon hiring, 52% of men will negotiate the compensation package but only 8% of women are willing to do the same.  If we are earning less, it's partly our OWN fault.

So, I prepared the comparables to statistically show the big boss how I was performing well above my pay grade and how others performing the same tasks in this market were being compensated. I didn't do the emotional "nobody appreciates me" martyr whine.  Instead I sucked in my fears and ASKED for a raise.  In a politically correct way, I explained that I either needed to be paid for the job I was doing OR I needed to do the job I was being paid for (substantially less work with much less responsibility).  Recognizing that it was his place to decide the best use of my time, I asked which he preferred.  I got a 25% raise and a title change that better reflected the work I really do.  I aspired to improve my position at work and it worked!

3. Aspired To Be A Better Wife/ Mom

This one is less tangible.  Sometimes I hit it, sometimes I missed.  One thing I've aspired to do this year is nag less and listen more.  Instead of focusing on where my kids and spouse are falling down, I aspired to recognize where they are succeeding and encouraging that.  I did pretty well in this in any topic NOT related to house cleaning or homework.  I still nagged plenty about that!

4. Support

My spouse has some of his own aspirations- chief among them to finally finish that Bachelor's degree he's been working on for years.  Since I am not much help with homework (it's highly technical), I could support him by taking on other stresses so he didn't have to deal with as much of the everyday life stuff.  He's almost done with school now.  When asked what he plans to do with the new degree he answers "Pay off the student loan", but I'm sure he'll be excited to finally have that monkey off his back. Sometimes the most successful thing WE can do, is nurture the success of others. I always have so many of my own goals and ideas that I can forget that the people close to me do too and that I need to step back sometimes and help them succeed.

5. Friendships

I love to surround myself with friends who help me aspire to become more than I am.  I have met so many new people this year and have taken opportunities to help them push along their own aspirations.  I prefer to spend my time with people who are passionate about doing great things and actively striving. I've been watching, learning and ASPIRING to be more like them!  Which is why I selected my 2014 word of the year:


I've used my fat and my fears of not being good enough to hold me back on a big goal that germinated in my mind all last year.  So many times I wanted to move that aspiration forward but was too paralyzed to try. I developed a fun little product and spent the year testing and trying and planning and aspiring how I would go about producing it.  But I was too scared to make the leap.  So scared that LOSING 50 POUNDS seemed to be the EASIER goal to tackle!

I don't want to be owned by the fear of looking foolish.  So the freak what?!!! Even if I fail, I will win by trying.  I will move forward anyway because the "what if" question is just not acceptable anymore. I have to know if it's a good idea or not and mostly I have to know that I had the courage to find out.  The ultimate success or failure of the project I'm undertaking isn't the most important component, it's pushing myself past the fear of not being good enough.  And I will!

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.  If you want to conquer fear, do not sit around and think about it. Go out and do it!" -- Dale Carnegie

For the last year I HAVE sat around and thought about it and it's made me more scared to try, not less.  This year I will not simply think about it but also find ways to act on it (within the bounds of risk I am prepared to take, of course, my word isn't FOOLISH after all)!  Fearless refers to carefully researched and calculated actions but it still takes a leap of faith to start! This is the year to put the fears aside and simply do it anyway!


Weight Loss Update:  Although I gained a lot in December , I do think taking a break (I planned for it to be 2 weeks of less-strict eating and it turned into 5, oops!) was good for me.  I learned how quickly small cheats can add up.  I gained about 6 lbs. over the holidays- though some of that was water/gylcogen returning with the carbs I was eating since I'm on a ketogenic diet.  I did  get back on the wagon on January 1st and now, 11 days later, I have lost the Christmas gain and I'm heading down the scale again.  I have no idea what "week" I'm in anymore but I am pleased to report I'm still "in it to win it".  Whew!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weight Loss Weeks 14-17

Once again quite a bit of time has passed and I haven't posted.  I am still plugging along on the diet though I've lost a bit of mojo I need to find again.  My goal is to lose 10 lbs. per month and I'm not going to hit that this month since I had a bad week.
Week 14: -0 lbs.
Week 14: -3 lbs.
Week 15: -4 lbs.
Week 16: +1 lbs.

Total lost: -41 lbs.!

Ugh.  I know! What up with the +1?  I am guessing it's because I did so well in the 2 weeks prior.  Kind of a bummer since I've gotten this many weeks in without a gain!  Still, 1 lb. could be the result of almost anything so I'm not going to let it sidetrack me.  I hope.

I celebrated crossing the 40 lbs. lost line by going to White House/ Black Market clothing store in the mall and trying on some cute clothes.  I could actually FIT into clothes in that store! A REGULAR STORE! I only bought a couple of sale items (shirts) because I don't plan to stay in my current size long enough to get a respectable amount of use out of them.  Still, I can't remember the last time I could wear a regular size from a regular store so I'll just enjoy it.

I have to admit that after 4 months, the diet is getting pretty old.  I am mostly satisfied but every so often I just want some cheese or a few chips or that delicious dessert.  Is that so wrong?  I have been slacking a bit in the last week- last few weeks really.  In fact, during a hard moment when I just wanted to do some serious "emotional eating" I actually LICKED the fake cheese off a dozen Doritios chips.  However, I, like Bill Clinton, did not inhale!  As I was licking the salty-licious fake cheese chemical crap I did have at least enough presence of mind to recognize the act as a true low point.

We're hosting "Practice Thanksgiving" tomorrow so it's only going to get harder for me as I cook a bunch of tasty, naughty food for everyone which I pretty much can't eat.  I don't care about the meal itself but the pies will be hard to give up. Sigh.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weight Loss Update- Weeks 11-13

Time just keeps passing and with all of the recent vacations, conferences and getaways, it's been hard to keep my diet going.  I spent most of week 11 in Las Vegas at another conference and then the weekend of week 12 off vacationing with my Mom & sisters.  I fell off the wagon a bit in Vegas (not TOO bad) but stayed on plan through the sisters weekend.

I've finally lost enough weight now that it's more obvious and people have started to notice. At work my boss said that even though he's just a dumb guy that doesn't notice things, he can see that I've lost a lot of weight and that I look nice.  Of course, I ran into his wife the night before at a kids event so I should probably thank HER for noticing and then telling him to notice! LOL! The biggest deal for me is that I'm losing some of the "face fat" that makes me not "look" like me.  One of my sisters grabbed a photo of me on our vacation that I actually liked (even though I'm not wearing make up).

I have a long way to go to hit my ultimate goal but I have now officially lost more weight than I have ever lost before and honestly I've lost it so much easier and 3x faster than I did during the 2009 loss (which is cataloged on this blog).  I am learning that for me it's easier to have NONE where sugar is concerned than to try to moderate "some".  I crossed over a major weight milestone too which made me pretty darn happy!

Week 11: (no weigh in, out-of-town)

Week 12: -1.5 lbs. which was lucky considering my cheating in Vegas (okay, that sounds different than what it was!)

Week 13: -5 lbs.~! Yay!

After really struggling through September, I am back on track!  I am just a pound or two above the weight I was at when I got pregnant with the twins nearly 14 years ago.  Once I lose those pounds, I'll weigh less than I did when I was 28.  Since my last "baby" is now 10, it feels good to finally have the "baby weight" gone.  Soon I'll be able to focus on the losing the weight I gained during the newlywed, DINKS (dual income, no kids) years when Greg and I went to dinner almost every night and we packed on the pounds!  That feels like uncharted waters and I'm so excited to experience them again except this time the scale is moving in the RIGHT direction!


Week 1: -4.8 lbs.
Week 2: - 3 lbs.
Week 3: -7 lbs.
Week 4:-0 lbs.
Week 5: NWI
Week 6: -5 lbs.
Week 7: -4 lbs.
Week 8&9: -2 lbs.
Week 10: -2.5 lbs.
Week 11: NWI
Week 12: -1.5 lbs.
Week 13: - 5 lbs.

Total Loss: -34.8 lbs!  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weeks 8-10

Life is busy but I am still "on plan".  I was pretty much OFF plan during our vacation but still managed to squeek out a loss (only because it was over a 2 week period) so I lost 2 lbs. total for weeks 8 & 9.  That's not great but it was a choice.  

I chose to eat less strictly (but not crazy) on our vacation so I could really enjoy myself.  And I did!  We had a per diem which offset the cost of food and meant we could try some of the really delicious restaurants on our vacation.  I practiced eating the way I would in maintenance mode rather than loss mode and, for the most part, did pretty well.  

I DID fall totally off the wagon one evening and ate a candy bar.  The fancy hotel we were staying in (way over our "normal" price range) put chocolates on our pillows every night! Oh my heck! I was on a sugar high and couldn't sleep until 2 in the morning.  Seriously, I was high as a kite! LOL!  I also crashed pretty low after and I think it was in many ways good for me to see how I feel when I'm not eating right for my body.  The most important thing was that I got back ON the wagon immediately when we returned home.  No waiting for "Monday".  

I realize that my whole life will be a series of getting back ON the wagon after an overindulgence so I didn't berate myself too hard for veering slightly off course.  I weighed the rareness of the luxury vacation against slowing my losses for a week and the vacation came out the winner!  When I move to later phases of the diet I will be practicing getting back ON the wagon while still meeting with my coach.  Isn't that a smart way to set things up?  Wish I'd been the one to come up with it.  My coach teaches RECOVERY from lapses because we will ALL have them.

This past week was better, I lost another 2.5 lbs. Even better, my daughter hit the 10 lbs. loss mark (she's on a less strict diet than I am because she's a 13 year old kid).  My husband also joined in, though less enthusiastically, and he lost a whopping 12 lbs. in a single week. Seriously.  He's never really tried to lose weight before so he's a bit freaked out and struggling to adjust.  Let's just say the carb withdrawls have NOT been pretty!  

I hope he'll stick it out but it's hard because it takes awhile to start to feel better and you have to be near-perfect for the first 2 weeks to get to the "feel better". We're also having to work against his obstinate streak and being told no to something right now only makes him want it more.  Poor critter.  I think the huge success helped motivate him but who knows?  He's still in the "hangry" mode so time will tell.  

My current grand total is:

Week 1: -4.8 lbs.
Week 2: - 3 lbs.
Week 3: -7 lbs.
Week 4:-0 lbs.
Week 5: NWI
Week 6: -5 lbs.
Week 7: -4 lbs.
Week 8&9: -2 lbs.
Week 10: -2.5 lbs.

Total Loss: 28.3 lbs!  

I am closing in on my second goal.  The first was to lose the 10% weight that Doctors ask people to lose in order to start to enjoy improved health.  Did that!  My next goal is to hit the 30 lb. loss mark.  I had hoped to hit it by the end of September and I have one more day to be there!  I saw the right number on the scale this morning but it's not my "official" count.  Still, if I can reach it even "unofficially" I will count it as a goal I've met!

This next week will present a new challenge.  I will again be at a conference but without my spouse so I think it will be easier to be good.  The conference location has lots of buffets available which means I'll be able to eat decently- buffet food isn't too tempting to me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Catharsis- 17 Years in the Making

This is going to be a weird post and I am unlikely to hit "publish".  However, it's a necessary post for me in order to complete the full-circle of catharsis that began quite unexpectedly this past weekend. I'll write it for myself, if no one else.

I don't know that I've ever mentioned on this blog before that I am my husband's second wife.  It's not a secret or anything, there has simply never been a need to mention it since The First has never been a part of our lives.  My spouse was fortunate to escape that 6 year union kid-free thus we've never had to deal with an "ex" nor has she had to deal with us.  In fact, I've never so much as seen the woman in the flesh, let alone met her.  Until now.

I think in the early years of our marriage when I was less secure in who I am, it would have been counterproductive to have met her.  Although I've never been the rant-and-scream type, I won't pretend I didn't imagine doing just that from time to time- especially when I had to work extra hard to help mend old hurts that would never have existed if she were the same person in private that she wanted people to believe she was in public.  I would have handled the whole thing poorly and my spouse was wise enough to know that (and, let's face it, he was scared to death of what may have erupted with him squarely in the middle)!

No, it's best I never had the chance to meet her "back in the day" when the sting of feeling like a "second choice" wife would have been keenly felt.  According to my spouse I am an "upgrade" rather than  being "second choice" but women's emotions being what they are, *I* felt less than.

I've wondered sometimes over the years about this mystery woman- especially as we have so many social circles that cross.  There are many people who know both of us through different personal and professional channels so it was extra odd that we had never met each other. And where there is a mystery, imagination takes over. And I'm an imaginative person!

Never having met the woman, she seemed more like the villainess in a cheap work of fiction than a real person.  And when you can cast someone in that one-dimensional role, it makes it easier to focus on the flaws.  Having cleaned up the emotional damage she left in her self-obsessed wake, I was disinclined to dwell too much on her "upsides"- though she obviously has some.

Being in this second-wife boat can be confusing. On the one hand, I wouldn't have my spouse and he wouldn't have become the man he is but for the fire he had to walk through.  Without HER there would have been no US. All these years I have simultaneously appreciated and resented that she had to be part of OUR equation at all. But she did.

On the other hand, how could anyone claim to love another and be so intentionally cruel?  I can forgive someone hurting me but I'm fiercely protective of my loved ones and far less apt to forgive damage done to them. It's always been an odd mix of gratitude and contempt where she is concerned- I've never been sure which should emotion should be the victor because those aren't emotions that can co-exist peacefully in your heart.

 My spouse says that the state when you're stuck between two interpretations of a situation is called "duality".  Problems and emotions are never resolved if you remain in that place.  At some point, you must simply chose a winner and go with it.  I thought that maybe someday I would meet the woman, have my say, and, in so doing, break the duality limbo.  This weekend I had my chance- and what I learned surprised me.

At a beautiful resort where my spouse and I were staying for a conference at which I was teaching, I unexpectedly ran into her.  I knew we worked for similar organizations but I didn't imagine our paths would really cross- we do very different jobs and are separated by geography. Still, it was kind of shocking to realize she was there- and not just there but manning the registration table so I couldn't exactly choose NOT to meet her.

Since I didn't know WHAT to do in that moment, I quickly ducked into another room and kept thinking to myself: "What the heck is the protocol for something like this anyway?"  When actually faced with the REAL person and situation all I knew for sure was that I didn't want to be either rude or friendly- but what was I supposed to do or feel or think?

I dreaded going back to our room and letting my spouse know she was there because I didn't want it to be a black cloud on our romantic getaway- he's always made it very clear that, although he didn't wish bad things on her, he had nothing to say to her. She's just part of his past he'd just as soon KEEP in the past. Ironically, HE has long since forgiven any anger he had toward her. And if he had forgiven her, I knew I should.  I thought I was secretly still harboring a grudge- and honestly it probably wasn't nearly as secret as I hoped.  I didn't WANT to carry that old grudge but I feared I hadn't totally put it down.  Meeting her was such a relief because it granted me the opportunity to know for a certainty that I no longer carried the old emotions.  I met her and felt- NOTHING!

She did approach me one time at the conference.  She politely wished me luck on my presentation and said she planned to attend and hopefully learn a few things that could help her improve her non-profit foundation. I'm glad we were both polite- it was a professional conference and that's a credit to the maturity of both of us. However, the conversation was also a way for her to let me know that she has a charitable foundation (something I already knew through a mutual friend).  When she brought up her charity (and the implied "I'm really a good person" that goes with such a declaration), I realized that she was feeling insecure about meeting me too or she would never have felt the need to bring it up. I can appreciate her apprehension and, given the things she'd done in the past, I can see why it was important to her that I see her as a "good person" now.  She may well be.  Who really knows?

There was a time when I may have been propelled by my own insecurity to "shown her up" by parading out my own successes.  Instead, I came to the bone-deep realization that I simply didn't need to one-up her.  I didn't need her to know anything about me- past or present. I didn't need to impress, belittle, embarrass, intimidate, befriend or any of a host of other emotions because none of them applied. And there was nothing about her, past or present, I felt the need to know either. I didn't feel compelled to "rub her nose" in our successes nor hide our failures. I didn't need to prove my worth or superiority or whatever other ugly emotions would drive such a competition. I simply didn't need ANYTHING from her at all.

I am no longer that young, insecure Second.  I know who I am.  I know who WE are.  I know what we've accomplished and overcome as a couple and the strength it's given our bond.  I know what we struggle with and how we lift each other. I realized that nothing that could be said or explained or justified from all those years ago mattered one whit. She, and all the baggage I'd associated with her, didn't really matter to me at all.

I thought I'd feel a rush of hate or curiosity or SOMETHING when I actually met her.  Instead, I found peace.  Whomever she is, good, bad and everything in between, has absolutely no impact or import to US.  The past she personifies has no relevance to the life we live now.

It's a bit ironic that I had the opportunity after all these years to say whatever I may have thought needed saying- and I realized instead that I simply had nothing to say to her at all! As I stood there nodding my head, I finally realized that my "grudge" had been gone far longer than I even knew.

What a freakin' relief! I'm not nearly as bad a person in real life as I sometimes am in my imagination!  I could have exacted my self-righteous "pound of flesh" (which wouldn't have been righteous at all) but discovered instead that I truly did not want it.  She and her past transgressions simply didn't matter.  And if I dig a bit more into that, I realize that she never really did.  No emotion I ever attached to her had anything to do with her, it was MY insecurities.  Vanquish MY issues and comparisons become entirely irrelevant!  Seeing her helped me know that I've finally come to a good place with my own sense of self worth and that I'm finally getting it from the right place- from inside myself rather than mirrored through the good opinions of others.

I may run into her again sometime.  It would probably be less awkward in the future but I'd still hope the outcome would be the same- we're both polite and BRIEF.  I will not seek her nor avoid her but it's nice to know that if I DO see her, I can handle the awkward just fine. There is nothing mentally healthy to be gained by engaging with her or discussing the past anyway and I am perfectly content to relegate it all to history as lessons my spouse learned the hard way.

Besides, when it comes right down to it, I already have the prize.  And rest assured, he IS a prize whom I deeply love, respect and value- even if she didn't. Pretty sure he still digs me too even after being my man for nearly 18 years!

In the end, I have to say thank goodness for The First.  Without her, there would have been no US and the US is what's important!  I am so glad I had the chance to meet her so the mystery could finally be relegated to the archives of memory where it can gather the dust that it truly deserves.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 7

Last night I attended a fun blogger event where they had lovely catered food.  Crepes with all sorts of sweet, gooey sauces and I resisted it all! Yay!  Two nights ago we had to make treats for an activity for my daughter and we (stupidly) made Eclair Cake instead of buying lame cookies from the store.  Cheated a little but not too badly.  I have gone so long without significant sugar that when I taste it, it's incredibly, cloyingly sweet.  Too much!

Of course, that doesn't stop me from at least tasting it.  Emotional hunger longs for the soothing embrace of sweet, sweet sugar even if the reality is no longer the same.

I've also been struggling to get my veggies in.  4 cups of veggies per day is A LOT,  I think increasing my veggies will be the goal for this upcoming week.  The big "win" for the week is that I actually got a photo of me that I like.  I still have a long "weigh" to go but in the photo from the blogger event, I really do have a bit of a waist again!  Someday I MIGHT even get a version of my former "hourglass" shape back.  We'll see.

Until then, this week's progress involves a 4 lb. loss!  Much better than I was expecting given my little cheats.  We'll see what the new week brings!  I will have some extra eating challenges so I'm hoping I do okay.

Week 1: -4.8 lbs.
Week 2: - 3 lbs.
Week 3: -7 lbs.
Week 4:-0 lbs.
Week 5: NWI
Week 6: -5 lbs.
Week 7: -4 lbs.

Total Loss: 23.8 lbs!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week 5-6 Weight Loss

I've been spinning my wheels a little bit on the weight loss thing- but just a bit.  After the big -7 lbs. I pretty much stayed even the next week- losing nothing.  Bummer.  I missed my weigh in on Friday so I won't have an official weight again until THIS Friday.  As it stands, I seem to be down nearly 20 lbs. from where I started so that's great!

It's also kind of surreal.  It took me 9 months to lose 35 lbs. in 2009.  At the rate I am going, I may lose that same amount in 9 weeks!  Well, probably not quite the same but you get the idea.

My goal is to lose 80 lbs. then decide if I need to go for another 10.  It's so strange that I am 20 pounds lighter than I was.  I wasn't looking to start a "diet" when I did this- it was just the latest thing my older sister (who is my best friend) dragged me into.  Yet here I am- weighing less than I have in 3 years just a MONTH later!

I am down a clothing size for sure.  In fact, I can probably fit into my "going back to work" wardrobe I bought when I got my job 3 years ago as I now weigh less than I did when I bought it.  I couldn't wear those clothes last fall.  I am having to give away my summer capri pants too.  They have always been a little baggy at the waist but now they fall off!

It will be interested to see how many inches I've lost at this Friday's weigh in.  Pounds lost is but one method of measuring.

I think the most interesting thing I've learned so far is that having a diet that is this restrictive (no dairy, almost no carbs that come from grains, tons of low-fat protein) is that it's actually EASIER for me than trying to moderate a slower-paced diet.  Fewer "what should I eat?" decisions to make and without the carbs driving cravings, it's easier to stick to than anything I've done before.  I would not have predicted that going in!

I will be teaching at a conference in Mid-September and I'd like to drop 8 more lbs. by then.  Not sure I'll hit that goal but I have 3 weeks to try!

Week 1: -4.8 lbs.
Week 2: - 3 lbs.
Week 3: -7 lbs.
Week 4:-0 lbs.
Week 5: NWI
Week 6: -5 lbs.

Total 6 week loss: -19.8 lbs