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.

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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.

Facebook Relationship Status

Ok so in a couple of my previous posts I have mentioned that I am divorced. I have also alluded to my boyfriends…as in plural. So what does my Facebook relationship status say? lol “It’s complicated”. Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is sort of a ‘not for younger readers’ post. I’m not going to get explicit but some of you parents out there might not want to have to try to explain things like this just yet.

Perhaps I should start with a few terms that you might have heard before: polyamory, dominant and submissive, bi-curious…yeah I think that might cover it. So quick refresher on my personal background. I come from an extremely conservative family and I married someone in my very strict church who turned out to be a real narcissistic a-hole, divorced him and now I’m not living according to the way I was brought up and chose a different path for my life.

So what path are we talking about here? Well, I guess you could say I started exploring myself in all ways when I left my ex and that includes in a sexual nature. I’ve always had a little attraction to a woman here or there but never acted on it. I will admit to having wondered what it might be like to be with someone who understands how my body works more closely than the guys out there. I’ve never acted on it and who knows if I ever will. However, I’m not closed off to the possibility so therefore, I suppose you could call me “bi-curious”. In any case, even if I never end up exploring that side of myself, I will always be able to appreciate the beauty of the female form and certain females especially.

So on to polyamory… I have 2, count them 2, boyfriends and yes they both know about each other! lol And while maybe they aren’t ecstatic over the fact that they share me, they are ok with it and we are actually working towards, possibly, all living together at some point in the future. Whether or not that works out remains to be seen and is a topic for another day. BUT! Both know they are special to me and the other is special to me as well. Without giving their names away and exposing anything, we shall call them “West-Coaster” and “Native”. Take that as you will and I will talk more about them in the future.

For now, it’s enough to say that I actually started out dating West-Coaster online and we hit it off as just flirting and then he told me that he is very much a believer in polyamory. He had a girlfriend when we met and even though she’s no longer around, he was just as sweet and attentive to me as he was to her and I started thinking…well, maybe it is possible. I will be happy to talk about how that evolved more in the future and will but for now, I’ll just say that my view of polyamory has changed a good bit. I believe it’s absolutely possible to care for more than one person at a time and care about them both just as strongly, even if differently. Not everyone is cut out for it and I’m not talking about someone who just can’t control their sexual urges when faced with the next potential partner. I’m talking about real, true, deep feelings. I love both my guys and they know it.

Now for the last term…dom/sub. I have indeed a dom/sub relationship with one of my boyfriends. I am West-Coaster’s sub in matters involving the bedroom and usually when we’re flirting. I never really saw myself in such a position but I find I quite enjoy the change. I play at being more dominant with Native but for the most part that’s just on occasion and want to change things up a bit. So what does that mean? I divorced my ex because he was an arrogant, selfish dude and then I turn around and put myself as a sub and let a guy dominate me? Well sorta. I can say that it’s NOTHING like 50 Shades of Gray so don’t ask. lol I will go into more details in the future (not graphic details but a little more explanation of how the relationship works) but it’s nice to be able to say that I have two guys who love me and want to take care of me, in multiple ways. I’m happy that I’m accepted as a flawed human being who is still a work-in-progress and still exploring who she is.

So have I rambled enough to whet your appetite? Let me know what you’re thinking…what you want to hear about, know about, questions, concerns, comments, suggestions…well you get the picture. lol In the meantime, have an awesome Friday!

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.

Change is a Part of Living

So this might seem a weird subject but I wanted to address the subject of change. Humans, in general, seem to hate change. We resist it and avoid it, make excuses and even sometimes flat out refuse to go along with it. I’ve heard people say things like they can’t change their circumstances, their physical issues, their financial status, their marriage, their job, the chronic illness they are fighting…and the list goes on and on. One of my favorite excuses is that the person is too old to learn something new now.

Here’s the problem: Life has to change! We have to adapt and grow to keep on living. No one can stop change. It’s all around us! Technology changes, the environment changes, the weather, seasons, buildings, people…everything changes! And you have to be ready to roll with the punches or you’ll get run over! Make changes yourself or adapt or you will no longer be ‘living’ but just existing. Does that mean we have to like or enjoy every change? Nope and lots of times you won’t. lol But the truth is, so much is out of our control that we have to concentrate on what is in our control.

So if you can’t change something that’s changing or that’s out of your control (like that chronic illness or financial circumstances) what can you do or change? Your attitude! Maybe a more positive attitude and acceptance is what you have control over changing! Maybe if you are aware of the situation and looking for ways to make the changes possibly down the road, it will keep hope alive for you and yourself moving forward!

Let me give you an example. I was in a pretty bad marriage. I didn’t feel that my ex cared whether I was around or not, we did virtually nothing together. I worked 2 jobs to support us and he spent money like crazy and kept our debt growing. I was taking care of family that lived close by and I felt so horribly stuck. Stuck taking care of family when I was exhausted with no support. Stuck in a marriage that I was terribly unhappy in. Stuck working myself into the ground not only at my secular jobs but in keeping the house clean and tidy since he wouldn’t help with that either. I drove over an hour to both jobs and I was a miserable person. I tried changing my attitude first. Maybe if I tried to be more positive and asked for help more I would get it or at least be happier. Nope. Didn’t get the help I asked for (in fact I was berated for asking and told to quit “bitching” all the time), and the positive attitude only kept me going so far. It helped but hard to combat the negativity coming at you from all directions when you’re exhausted.

So I tried talking to my spiritual support, my family, friends. None of them could really help me and I knew that. I wasn’t looking for them to change things for me, just to counteract the gaslighting that my ex was doing to me. (For those who don’t know, gaslighting is when someone makes someone else think there’s something wrong with them or their thinking…that they’re crazy, etc. Look it up if you haven’t heard of it. It’ll blow your mind.) They were supportive in the best way they could be. But finally, one day, I realized that I was heading towards one of two endings here. I had to leave the situation either on my feet or in a body bag. Yes, I seriously contemplated suicide for a few seconds here or there. Never attempted it and dismissed it quickly but I needed to do something.

So I told my ex husband I was leaving. I had had enough and I was tired of trying to change things on my own and him working against me. It was hard. I had married young and had never been on my own before. But I left and I never once cried about it or looked back. Did I immediately divorce him? No. I still held a small glimmer of hope that he might come to his senses and realize that I was serious. But finally, after many months of taking care of myself and growing as a person, I realized that there was never any going back.

Was it scary? Absolutely! I had been married for over 15 years! I had no place of my own and couldn’t really afford one at first. But it was the best decision I think I’ve ever made. I’ve grown tremendously. I have been able to make changes, big and small, that have allowed me to be a happier human being and healthier too. I’m truly happy now and I continue to make changes that are in not only my best interests but in the interests of all those I care about and am around. I have hope and can see a future where I don’t feel trapped anymore.

So embrace change. Find ways to adapt or make your own changes, even if it’s just in your attitude! I hate getting up early in the mornings but I embrace that as part of my new job that allows me to take care of myself and spend time with my bf’s who are also on day jobs. If you need help in creating new pathways in your life or even just your brain, share your story with me! Let’s see if we can figure out something, anything that might help give you some hope and at least a smile for today.

Mood Music (or Ramblings on Music)

So today at work, I have my area to myself and not a lot going on. I’m organizing and cleaning and since I’m basically alone, I have my “favorites” playlist on my iPod playing. Now, I’m a huge fan of music and almost all genres at that. I like a little of everything from big band of the 40’s to Korn, from the Beach Boys to Boys to Men, from country to rock and roll, from opera or classical to heavy metal.

But it’s funny that when I’m cleaning, I usually put on “oldies”. You know rock and roll and Mo’ Town from the mid 50’s through the 60’s. Sometimes I put on 80’s but the oldies are my go-to music when I wanna get to dancing and cleaning at the same time. It keeps me in a good mood and moving. And today it got me thinking of all the ways that music affects me, and most other human beings. Have you thought about this? Like really?

When you’re fighting traffic to get to work or home from work, do you listen to stuff that makes you wanna take out everyone in your way? Or do you put on something calming and soothing so that you will be able to keep your cool? I have some songs that I absolutely cannot listen to if I’m sitting in traffic and not moving because they make me one very angry person. lol However, I put on Enya and I’m the epitome of calm.

So that said, I’m kinda picky about certain things not being in songs I listen to. I tend to stay away from rap because a lot of it is degrading to women or other people or it promotes things that I certainly don’t agree with like crimes. It kinda floors me when I hear people say stuff like “Oh music doesn’t really affect me” or “It’s just a song, doesn’t mean I agree with what it says. I just like the beat”. You sure it doesn’t affect you? How many times have you had a song stuck in your head all day? Have you found yourself singing with a song that you hadn’t even realized was playing in a store? How about moving to that beat when you weren’t paying attention originally? It does affect us, all of us! Granted some people are more affected by others but it does affect you.

If you don’t believe me, research how much good composers in Hollywood get paid. Press the mute button on an intense scene on a movie or show you’re watching at home. If you take away the music on a horror or suspense movie, things aren’t nearly as scary or suspenseful. How about on a game show when contestants only have so much time to complete a task? As the time starts to run out, the music speeds up, freaking the person out.

So does music affect us? Absolutely! Think about it more the next time you are listening to the radio or watching TV. I would highly suggest you choose the right music for the right time, task or setting. After all, “mood music” is a common phrase for a reason. Happy listening!

Is there a certain song that you consider to be your “theme song”? Is there particular music you listen to in certain settings for getting the right ‘feel’? I’d love to hear about it!

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.