Independent vs Stubborn to a Fault

So today’s topic is a little bit off from my usual stuff but I want to put this out there. I’m in my mid 30’s with a birthday this fall that puts me closer to the 40 side than the 30 one. I’m not much for numbers and for the most part, other than wondering where the heck my life seems to have gone, I don’t mind getting older. I’m young at heart and I have a lot of fun without being stupid…most of the time. lol

However, while I enjoy my life and independence, I really hope that as I get even older, I won’t be like a couple of my grandparents or many of the patients I have. I hope I will remember the lessons that they are teaching me now that a younger person does not offer assistance to say that they can’t do some things or to make them feel bad but because the younger person sincerely wants to help and sometimes…well, we can’t do things without help.

Case in point: when my family talked and decided that it was no longer safe for my grandparents to drive anymore and took the keys to their car, they had a fit. They tried begging, threatening, wheedling, pulled the ‘I’m-your-parent-and-you-do-as-I-say’ routine, tried the ‘it’s-my-car-so-give-me-the-damn-keys’ so many times it stopped being surprising…everything they could think of to be allowed to drive. But here’s the thing, the last time my grandfather drove he almost hit somebody who was walking on the side of the road! And my grandmother was driving on the wrong side at least part of the way before she realized it! It just wasn’t safe for them to be behind the wheel anymore…not for them or anybody else. So we stood firm and even got almost mean about it when we told them no. I hated doing that to them but it was the responsible thing to do for society and them.

I hope that when I’m old and I really need assistance I will be humble enough to accept my limitations and accept that help. That could come in the form of another person or a walker or cane or wheelchair or whatever! I’m trying to take good care of myself now so that I’m not a burden on others in the future but the truth is, when we use these things, it keeps our independence. If an older person falls and breaks a hip, that makes them even more reliant on others for help. If they had used the tools and people they needed to begin with, so many things might have been prevented. Those who offer to help, genuinely want to and don’t mind.

That said, I also want to note that if you are a caregiver of someone with health issues or who is older, you need to remember to ask for help yourself. One person can’t do it all and you will burn out quickly if you try. Find resources to help you…friends, family, programs, whatever you need. But make sure you take care of you so you can also take care of those dependent on you. That’s one thing I am learning. I have to stop and take care of myself sometimes and that’s ok. I used to feel guilty but not as much anymore because I know I need that just like everyone else. We’re all human and we need rest and food and fun like everyone else.

Feel free to share your stories and advice with me! I’d love to hear from you.

Shout Out to My Weight Loss Aids/Tools

Ok, so this week I admit I had a small problem figuring out what to write about, but then I thought about what all I needed to do this weekend and one of them includes getting groceries and it led to the idea of this entry. I run into a lot of posts in various places (and have written my own) about the stumbling blocks for people to weight loss. So I wanted to talk about the tools and other aids I’ve found for myself in my weight loss journey so far. Here is just a quick list of 10:

  1. WW’s phone app – First and foremost, I love the WW app as I am doing Weight Watchers all online. The app has some issues and some features I wish were a little more smooth but overall, I love it. I did WW years ago and had to do it all on paper. What a pain in the…hand? 😉 lol Anyways, now tracking my food, fitness and weight has become so easy! The barcode scanner has become my favorite feature simply because it’s so handy when I go to the grocery store!
  2. Smaller containers, plates, etc – I am very much a visual learner and portioning out my food is one battle but as I was of the ‘clean-your-plate’ family, I have learned that eating out of smaller dishes and containers makes me feel less guilty about leaving food behind. I didn’t take as much so I’m not wasting as much if I don’t finish but also it helps me keep my portions under control.
  3. My WW’s digital food scale – Any food scale will do so I admit I’m not bragging just because of WW’s because mine is an older version anyway but I love that it comes with a bowl to put on top to keep the scale itself clean and is so easy to use. Measuring your food is essential when you don’t have the feel for portion sizes so my scale definitely helps.
  4. My digital person scale – I love my own scale that I use at home and I can’t remember who makes it but I’ve had it for a while. It’s one that gives you your weight with one decimal place, can track 2 people’s weight for you, and gives you the difference between weighing times so I don’t have to do math first thing in the morning when I don’t even have the lights fully on yet. lol With mine, for example, I step on the corner and hold it down until ” – 1 – ” pops up and it reminds me of my last weight. Then it goes to 0.0, I step on and it gives me my current weight and then the difference. So something like, “183.8”…”-1.2″. It’s easy, fast and seems to be fairly accurate.
  5. Kroger’s clicklist – Many grocery stores are doing something like this now but I personally love Kroger. Their online shopping feature is awesome! I shop from work or home and at all hours day or night in any way I’m dressed (or not) and when I’ve got the whole list down…Voila! I choose my pick up time and submit my order. The great things about this is: I can shop anywhere and anytime as long as I have access to a computer or my phone, I only buy what I need, Kroger saves what I’ve bought in the past so I can just add it quickly to my cart, I only buy what’s on my diet or what I choose to cheat with instead of impulse buying, no lines, no roaming aisles aimlessly, and I save time just showing up, picking it up and going home. I can plan meals and use the online sales add or digital coupons. I’m not perfect at it and it has a few glitches but overall I love this!
  6. Supportive friends/family – You will always have those people in your life who will tell you when you’re doing something wrong. I don’t let it bother me that much when it comes to losing weight and I truly appreciate the support I get from those who are closest to me. My boyfriends are super supportive of my goals and even though they aren’t on the plan with me, they keep me motivated while reassuring me that they love me no matter what size I am. That’s a hard balance to keep but they seem to do a pretty good job! lol
  7. Convenient locations – I had a super hard time with losing weight when I lived out in the middle of nowhere. I had to drive so much of my time away. Stores weren’t convenient nor was access to good food. So where I am now with so many good choices of places to get food, living closer to work, access to lots of public parks…it’s all conducive to living healthier and I’m learning how to take advantage of that.
  8. Low cal water flavor packets – I’m not a huge fan of water. I drink it and a lot of it but I miss flavor sometimes! So this is where those little flavor packets save my bacon! I get flavor without the empty calories and it’s helped me cut way back on the Dr Pepper especially!
  9. Exercises that I fit in through the day – I love hearing little tips on how to move more throughout the day instead of doing one big exercise routine. Yeah I take the stairs more often like a lot of people suggest. I don’t park as far from the door as I could but I don’t look for the first spot either. But I read an article that suggested doing like 10 squats and 10 push-ups every time you go to the bathroom. I can do that! That’s a good reminder for me and when I drink my water, I go to the bathroom at least 8 times a day I’m sure! lol That’s a lot of squats and push-ups!
  10. A love of food – This might sound like a weird thing to list but I’m so thankful that I really love a variety of foods and I’m not scared to try new things. I would go insane eating the exact same things all the time or if I only liked to eat a handful of things. It makes keeping my weight loss journey from feeling like I’m on a circular track! I love to try new varieties of foods or foods I already like/love in a new way. I think it’s so much fun and I have discovered new favorites!

So I hope that those points help you a little. Even if it doesn’t, I hope it at least helps you be a little more positive in looking for things to help you like it did me! Let me know what helps you in achieving your goals. I’d love to hear about it.

Challenges to My Weight Loss Goals

So this past weekend was Memorial Day weekend and I went off on vacation with West Coaster. We had a fun time, getting there Wednesday evening and I got home Monday night. The problem was that where I was there weren’t a lot of healthy food options in spite of the fact that there were so many dang restaurants and places to eat! Everything was fried, wrapped in or topped with bacon/cheese/creamy sauce, etc. Even the buffet where we stayed, there were almost no vegetables to choose from and those that were there were cooked in such ways that it took most of the nutritional value out of it or made it almost void because of all the stuff they added to them.

Now there’s a reason I gained weight to begin with. I was way too tiny in high school and shortly thereafter but, like a lot of Southern women I know (and I’m not trying to exclude people here but just using my own self-categorizing), I eat my emotions…happy, sad, angry or whatever. I absolutely love food and trying new things. I love the fats, cheese, creams, sauces, breads, sweets…you name it and I love it. Even in small doses this can be hard for me because of the number of terrible things out there for you. If you eat 1 piece of each kind of candy and there are 10 different candies, that’s still 10 pieces. So I have to fight and pick and choose what I eat if I want to keep going down on the scale and clothes.

So let me briefly look at some of the sabotages to my weight loss goal. 1. My own background. 2. No refrigerator/microwave + expensive restaurant = Feelings of having to finish all of my food no matter what. 3. Portion sizes everywhere! 4. Limited healthy options that also taste good when out and about, especially when on vacation when you want to enjoy everything. 5. (And this is a big one) Eating only until I’m full but still enough food to last me until I get the chance to eat again and can make good choices! My job and life rarely allow me to eat those small snacks during the day that can be healthy and stave off hunger so that I don’t get to the point that I’m so ravenous, I’ll eat whatever is right in front of me and until I’m stuffed!

So how do I combat this big problem I seem to have? Well, first I should admit that sometimes I lose that battle and just end up eating badly. However, I’m getting better at planning ahead. I try so hard to have snacks that are good choices within easy reach that are easy to eat and that I really love. I love chocolate. I’m not going to give it up unless it becomes a serious health allergy or something. BUT! I am going to try to have the sugar free chocolate pudding cup handy vs eating a huge slice of chocolate cake. So I’m trying to be realistic when I plan ahead. If I’m going to be in the car, I can’t eat a salad. That’s just not safe driving! But I can look up fast food choices on the Weight Watchers app so that when I go through the drive thru, I don’t need the menu and know exactly what I’m going to eat.

I really do try to plan ahead and I don’t beat myself up when I kinda mess it up for the meal, the day or even a week. I’m human. I will eventually get it mostly right or lose the battle because I gave up. But I can do this and I’m not going to drop into a deep depression because after vacation the scale says I’m 3 pounds higher. It happens. I’m not striving for perfection. I’m striving for different than the really unhealthy patterns that I’ve had in the past.

My Weight Loss &/or Yours

(I plan on posting more than once today so if this doesn’t interest you, maybe the other post will.)

So I joined Weight Watchers almost 4 months ago and I’m down a total of 21 pounds as of yesterday. I’ve still got about 30~ pounds to go to goal weight but I’m excited about the journey. Except that I am part of their online only plan and I keep having little irritating problems with their app and website. When you’re only doing the plan online, you kinda want these things to work! lol

Anyways, enough of the technical issues. Let’s talk about weight loss and setting goals, etc. One of the things that irks me about doing any kind of weight loss plan is that someone is always telling you that you’re doing it wrong…even when you’re seeing results. :/ The thing is, everyone is different! What works for you might not exactly work for me. And just because you think I should be doing more or trying harder, back off. I’m doing something and it’s working for me! Maybe not as fast or as well as for other people but I’m happy that I’m making changes that I know for sure I can sustain more long term than other people can. You wanna drink your food from now on, I suppose that’s your choice but I love food! I love different textures and tastes and I don’t want to live on smoothies the rest of my life. You want to cut out all carbs? Good luck! Not for me. I think we need grains and carbs for a balanced diet. I don’t mind if you want to share what works for you. But don’t do it in a way that you are judging me.

The other issue I have with people on weight loss plans is their goals. I won’t tell you that your goal isn’t important or a good one because that’s very personal. But if you’re trying to lose weight just to wear a smaller wedding dress or get into that bikini for the summer, what happens when the wedding is over? Or summer turns to winter and you’re wearing sweaters? Yo-yo dieting is definitely not healthy. So if those are your short-term goals, awesome! Something to work for! But make your long-term goals more personal and about taking care of yourself for life!

And if you have setbacks in ounces on the scale or even a pound or two, don’t act like it’s the end of the world! Our bodies are in a constant state of flux. It’s constantly trying to keep a balance inside and fighting the environment around us. So that might just be a bit of water retention because it’s a little warmer outside. Or maybe you’re PMS’ing or whatever. But if in general you are staying active and healthy, that’s what counts! Try to remember the big picture.

When I joined Weight Watchers, I had a goal weight in mind but I didn’t have a lot of ‘definites’ or unrealistic expectations or goals. I knew that if I was gong to make these changes permanent, then making them slowly might be ok. And little diversions from my regiment are ok once in a while. I don’t say things like, “I’m going to run 5 miles every day!” when I know I started out as a couch potato. If I had done that, I would have quickly quit and given up. Instead, I have increased my steps, taken longer routes, added walks here or there, added a few lunges or push-ups every time I go to the bathroom…stuff like that. Little things that I can change. I also take a day once in a while and do nothing but sit around the house. I will never be one of those people who gets up at 5 am every morning and runs 10 miles. Not my idea of fun at all! But I can see getting up a little earlier and doing yoga before work maybe, of putting my tunes on and getting up and dancing to a song now and then instead of just bobbing my head along.

So my only short term goals right now? Memorial Day weekend, I’d like to be under 180. As I am currently at 184.2, I’m pretty sure I can make that. If I’m off a bit and don’t quite make it, I’m not going to huff and give up. I’ll be a tad disappointed but I’ll keep going. My other milestone/goal? By the end of September to be under and staying under 170. That’s totally doable if I keep up the pace I’ve set so far or even do better.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always open to tips and suggestions, stories of how everyone is trying to get healthier. But I know what I will do long-term and what I will do only while I’m trying to meet my ultimate weight and fit goal. I’m ok with both as long as I can see the difference. I’m on this journey for me. Everyone and everything else is a necessary secondary.

Southern Girl Losing Weight

So one of the things I’m trying to change about myself is my eating habits and my relationship with food and exercise. As a Southern born and raised girl, I’m actually not that much like my predecessors in my family. I rarely fry things, I actually don’t care for gravy, I keep a close eye on how much butter and salt I put on things and I try really hard not to cut out my veggies.

So you might think, ‘Wow. She does pretty good!’ Well I thought so except that my weight and size kept going up and as I’m now closer to 40 than 30, I knew that any battle with that was not going to get easier but would only get harder. So I started looking at my vices. I don’t smoke, I am on my feet a lot for my job so I move around. However, I am/was extremely addicted to Dr. Pepper and Mr Pibb. Everyone knows that’s a big factor, so I started cutting that back.

Finally, I was ready to really make changes and I joined Weight Watchers in January. Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t follow the program as strictly as I probably should. However, I seriously wanted to make life-long changes. Already I have lost almost 18 pounds and that’s a good chunk of my 55 pounds gone initial goal. I might go for another 5 pounds after that. I don’t know and I’ll figure that out as I get closer. I know a lot of people try different diets or weight loss plans with a goal of making it to a big event or a birthday or a special date. Me…I just chose somewhere around a year as I thought that was a doable goal. Am I going on a vacation? Yeah I have one planned. Do I wanna look good in a swimsuit this season? Of course!

But honestly, I know I’m in the right mindset because I am accepting the ups and downs of the journey and not depriving myself. I have cheat days but I’m paying better attention to what I eat. I’m learning that some choices really weren’t as good as I thought. I’m learning to know that feeling full doesn’t mean I have to feel stuffed. I’m drinking more water and moving more even when I don’t have to lol Is it hard? Sure. But my clothes are fitting better and I’m feeling like I’m more in control of myself. And for the first time, I’m starting to feel beautiful. Losing weight isn’t the only contributing factor to this but it’s helping.

There will be plenty more entries on my journey as I go from 205 to 150 or less. (Hopefully) I hope you will offer encouragement and tips if you’re reading this. Or maybe draw inspiration from it. That’s cool. I love to help in any way I can.

Intro to my Blog

Where you learn a little about what this blog is all about.

Welcome to my personal blog! I’ve never had a blog before but I’ve wanted to start one for some time now. So I know you have some questions about it and this first post will hopefully address those. If you have others, feel free to ask anything you like in the “Contact” section!

So what’s the point of this blog? This is about my personal journey through life as I try to improve myself and “discover myself”…words of wisdom I’ve picked up here and there, observations, blunders, heartaches, funny ‘schtuff’, and general thoughts on various aspects of life. I’ve divided posts into categories that you can find on the right side of the screen.

WAIT! I know you’re thinking, “Why in the world would I want to read what basically amounts to someone’s diary?!” Well before you totally dismiss this, hear me out. I’m a human being on this road of life with you. Maybe you’re struggling with some area of your life and want to hear about someone else’s troubles too. Maybe you are looking for something deep and profound (Though I don’t know how much I fit that category! lol) to help change your perspective. Maybe you are looking for someone who can relate to your problems or other areas of life. Maybe you just want to be entertained. (I’m nothing if not entertaining when given a chance! 😛 ) The truth is that I’m out here, sharing some very personal things with you just because I think you might benefit from some of them. I hope you think that’s brave because I admit I’m a little nervous about it!

So who the heck am I anyways? Well, you can call me Elizabeth. I’m a Georgia girl, born and raised, several generations rooted here. I’m over 35 years old, have 2 cats, a full time job in the medical field (NO I’M NOT A NURSE!), and I’m divorced. Doesn’t mean I’m the crazy old cat lady! lol I am not looking for a relationship. I’m currently in kind of a complex situation as it is! And I have no kids and no plans for any in the future. I get along with just about everyone and I don’t hold back honest answers when asked for my opinion. (And sometimes even when I’m not asked. lol) But I’m always kind and try to be understanding of others.

As for the title of this blog…what does it mean? Well the truth is, as the oldest of 3 kids with a perfectionist father, I have tried all my life to be perfect. I have OCD tendencies and I’m extremely hard on myself when things don’t go according to plan or the way I really want them to. Recently, as in the last couple of years, I’ve made a lot of changes in my life and I’m learning to stop striving to be perfect and live up to everyone else’s expectations or standards that I set so high for myself that I’ll never be anything but disappointed when I can’t reach them. I’m exploring life and things I like. I’m looking at the way I think about a lot of things and asking myself is that really the only way it has to be. And the truth is, my life is totally different than I ever dreamed it would be or should be! And I’m freaking HAPPY, truly and deeply happy! I’m loving the journey I’ve put myself on and I’m learning that I will never be perfect but I do need to keep striving for something in my life or else I’ll become stagnant and boring and just…exist. I don’t want to just exist! I want to continue to grow…my way. So I’m striving, not for perfection, but for “different”. I want to continue to make changes as I see a need for them or a desire to do so.

I’m going to be sharing some personal stuff on here so it might get a little bumpy or not exactly for the “whole family” as it were. You might decide that some posts are interesting to you now but later they might be. I’ve categorized them in some instances under what part of my life it’s about. But I hope you’ll enjoy the ride, find some inspiration, share some things yourself and ask whatever you like. I will be posting on average 1 to 2 times a week, sometimes more or less depending on time. Enjoy your day! And in the words of Truman (The Truman Show), “In case I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night!”

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