Where do we find inspiration to keep going?

More often than not, I have to remind myself why I am not eating the cookie I want or why I should not just stop logging all that touches my tongue. Always thinking about what I eat, weighing whether or not I should eat it. Did I do enough to eat this amount of calories, what is my carb, fat, protein ratio, have I had enough calories to eat, have I enough calories left over for a spoonful of ice cream? All questions I ask myself on a daily basis and honestly, sometimes it gets tiring always have to weigh the options, calculate the intake and the list continues. When I am getting too fed up, that is when I dig into my arsenal of inspirations. 

I believe I mentioned inspiration a few months ago as I was recommitting myself to loosing the weight. But I wanted to bring back the subject as it is more important than we think to have small things that keep us going on a regular basis, especially if you end up like me, needing several weeks to see any progress on the scale.

Last night I wanted to stuff my face with anything that had sugar and fat. A really strong urge. One of those where you can’t help but be proud of yourself if you end up not giving in. I had 1/2 a cup of ice cream and well within my calories. I was proud. But one thing I reminded myself of was how uncomfortable I am on planes due to my size. Weird, I know. But when you have a large butt it limits your ability to move in your seat to be comfortable. There is not enough space to put your feet under you or just scoot to one side to shift the weight as you are already taking up all of the space you have available to you. Not to mention the feeling of being in the way because people you sit next to feel comfortable enough to take both armrests and not give it up at any point. So you squeeze your shoulders together to make yourself as small as possible. If you for a moment could try and sit like that in your chair amd then ask yourself. How comfortable would you be after 8 hours on a plane? Not very. I know plane rides are never comfortable but most would have a couple of inches to move around in or even be small enough to have their heels be on the edge of their seat so they can shift their position. Imagine not even being able to do that… frustrating. And I am on planes often enough that one of the things that keep me motivated is the fact that I might just be a bit more comfortable. Odd I know, but whatever gets you through the urges of binging.

Another inspiration is the hope that one day I will not be sweating profusely when I go down in the subway during summertime. I know it is hot down there but I literally have to bring a wash cloth to help me not look like I just ran a marathon. I hate the subway in summertime. 

Then there is the usual, want to fit into clothes better without seeing that extra bump or two in the side or the front for that matter. Or just not look twice as large as anyone else in a picture. Or simply when you see a piece of art where you see the most perfectly shaped woman and you use that as your ideal to reach.

My husband and I had a conversation about me being overweight and he was trying to understand why and if there was anything he could do to help. Have I said just how much I love him? He asked me, why do you overeat. What is the psychological need to do that? My reply was along the lines of: It started out with me wanting to hide and be small. After my reply he looked dumbfounded and simply blurded out: You do realize that overeating does the EXACT opposite, right?

Although, I know that is the case, I never really thought of it like that and that conversation to this day is a huge inspiration to me. Eating whatever I want is counter intuitive to what I really want and need. So it is something I think about several times each week.
I follow bloggers and influencers, who inspire me and share the same struggle. They sometimes have insights, good ideas, recipes etcetera. But most of all, it is the sense of not being alone in your struggles and having a sense of community where it is not odd that you want to be comfortable in your seat, not hate how your tire sticks to yourself when you workout or that you constantly check if you are in the way because you are that much bigger and really uncomfortable in your own skin.

There are so many ways to find your inspiration, what keeps you going both small and big. My biggest inspiration is my husband. I know it is cliche but that is the truth. He is next to me and hates it when he is not. He loves me even when I am imperfect. And he is my biggest supporter. Pushes me when I really don’t want to be pushed but need it. Supports me when I just want to stuff my face and puts things in perspective and rallies around me when I have triumphs. He is the person with the biggest heart that I know and that is something to beat as most of my friends are up there when it comes to their love, support and acceptance during both good and bad times. Am I the luckiest woman on the planet or what???

It’s a good day!

Xoxo,

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Fat vs Sugar

It has been rumored that sugar is the culprit for the average weight gain in the western world and not fat. And I have been doing my fair bit of research on this. Why? You might ask. Well, trying to loose weight, I feel it is important that I focus on what is fact and what is yet another guess (as there has been a fair bit of that when it comes to weight gain).

Why is it that researchers are now so focused on sugar being the culprit? The reason is because of statistics. Statistics show a direct correlation between amount of people with type 2 diabetes, having high blood pressure and obesity with the increasing amount of sugar consumption.

It used to be that fat was the culprit. Now it is sugar. Why is this? The history is long and complex but I will try and shorten it for you.

In the 1050’s when we had a bit more time on our hands and did not have to deal with a world war, we noticed that there was an increase in deaths related to heart diseases compared to just 50 years earlier. Scientists of course  curious (that is their job after all) started investigating and found that fatty arteries were the culprit and a man, Ancel Keys, in particular fought for the idea that there was a correlation between fats and heart diseases. His research has been scrutinized A LOT and I am not going into this debate as that is a post on its own, so I will stick to facts and what is still usable and that is in particular his influence on the “Anti-fats” campaign. It is true that there is a correlation between eating high amounts of fats that then clings to our arteries and heart disease but where it goes wrong is the relevance on weight gain and loss. For some reason scientists made a direct correlation between fat intake and weight gain but luckily we have gotten wiser.

So why is Sugar now the focus? The reason is related to Ancel Keys history. When doctors found out the impact that fats had on the heart and its related diseases, they started recommending a low fat diet. Ideal would have been to then increase the protein amount in foods but that was not that easy and it was expensive, so they recommended higher carb diets instead to make sure people were eating enough calories.

So why is the higher carb diet part of the story? Two reasons. Sugar is a carb and it is cheap and carbs converts itself into sugar (which then eventually becomes fats if we eat too much). The food industry started seeing a surge in the need for a “low fat” foods and sugar was the easiest replacement. It tasted good and it increased the flavors and was a great way to replace fats.

Interestingly, the increase in sugar in our diets now showed a correlation between obesity since the end of the 1950’s. Interesting, huh?

So this is where the research has ended. Sugar is now the bad guy. However, one thing, I believe is missing in all of this data is the industrialization of our western world. We move A LOT less than our ancestors and one thing we are build to do is to move. Us standing up and our long legs are due to the need to move around.

My opinion is, there is nothing wrong with sugar, there is nothing wrong with fats. All in moderation and simply make sure to exercise enough to keep your body healthy and strong. Fats does not cause obesity and truth be told, sugar does not cause obesity. Obesity is simple math. If you eat more than you burn off, you will gain weight. It is that simple.

New, very interesting, research is starting to establish the importance of full fat products and studies and science are showing something interesting. Studies are showing that people that eat and drink full fat dairy products tends to weigh less and even lose more weight than those that eat low fat or non fat dairy. Scientists have found a couple of possible and very likely reasons for this. 1. Full fats makes us feel full longer and 2. they have found acids in the full fat dairy products, similar to probiotics, that you can’t find in low or non fat products that are improving your bacteria in your intestines which in turn curbs your sugar cravings. These two facts is what has kept the research group that ate full fat dairy products stay thinner and even lose weight. They ate less and had a lower craving for sugars.

This in particular, I have found interesting and I feel there is enough research behind it already (thousands of people have been in these studies around the world) so I am willing to test it out on myself. I have started changing my milk from skim to whole, yogurts from low/non fat to full and my cottage cheese from non to full fat (not that my yogurts or cottage cheeses are high in fats even if they are “full fat” products). I will keep you posted on any changes I might experience.

When it comes to food and diets. Stay vigilant and do your research it is worth your while.

Xoxo,

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This Is The Tough Part

Going through the 4th week is usually my tough time. The time, where I simply want to give up. Drop out of the gym and not count every single calorie.

And true enough. It has been a tough week.  I have counted my calories, I have gone to the gym but boy, have I not wanted to. At this point I am just trying to distract myself from giving up. I am constantly trying to tell myself, I will get past these next couple of weeks.

It is a constant battle where I keep trying to rationalize my bad choices but I know they are simply excuses. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I have lots of them but none of them are really okay.

If I eat this ice cream I can just skip dinner. If I eat this chocolate, I could just eat a little less for dinner. I am so tired and my muscles are so soar, I am sure it will be just fine if I skip the gym today. I have been cleaning all day, that should count for something. I can already see my weightloss in the mirror so I can take a break, no?

You get the point. I have a LOT of excuses. They are never ending. Being aware of my rationalizing is simply excuses, I have been good at ignoring the urges to eat what I should not eat or not go to the gym and I have been cognizant of choosing what I need to choose and not what I want to choose.

Need vs want. That is a good call out for weightloss. I NEED to loose weight and I WANT to loose weight (most of the time) but the want is more wavering than the need. Which is how, I know what to choose when I am debating with myself. I, always, have to choose the need and not what I want. If I chose what I want rather than the need, I would sit with a tub of ice cream this very moment.

It is, also, that time of the month where you just want to eat everything in site and you simply feel like crap no matter what. Yes, if you are a woman, you know what I am talking about. My period has come along and cravings become 10 fold around this time.

This is the time, I am asking for your help. Your help to motivate me and check up on my and make sure I have gone to the gym and that I have been calculating my calories. I promise to be honest and open about my experience if you keep at it with me.

At the moment I am cooking my lunch for the week. A great way to stay out of the fridge and not eating food. It helps me stay organized for the week and it makes it easier to count my calories to have my food prepped for the week. It, also, saves time so I have time and energy to go to the gym during the week.

The menu for the week is Mexican inspired wraps with low fat ground meet, low fat refried black beans and coarse tomato salsa. I, also, bought a watermelon as my lunch dessert. I should be all set with a roughly 550 calorie lunch. Once I am done cooking, I am off to the gym. Anyone want to join me?

XoXo

 

 

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How Come You Put On So Much Weight?

This is a question I get more often than one might think. And I think it is a good question. Weight does not just suddenly pop up and it is not like I do not want to be healthy and look good when I stare back at myself in the mirror. Believe it or not, I have thought about why I keep gaining weight for more than 25 years. I have roughly 100 hours of psychology hours behind me,  several bad habits and eating disorders behind me, along with 10+ books about weight loss and about 10 different fad diets under my belt (anything from Weight Watcher to electricity run through my body).

My husband asked me this question a few days ago, as we were talking about when I was anorexic with a tendency to binge. This was the time, I was skinniest. I was 130 lb. So not insanely skinny but still lower than the average I should have been at (144 lb). More about this later.

This question got me thinking. I am probably not the only one who has had this question asked and I am sure a lot of you are asking yourselves this very question, but you might be to polite to ask (my husband is not). It is, also, an important question to ask one self when trying to lose weight as you need to dig in and learn about your habits more deeply than simply “I should not eat that”.

Everyone has their story and no story is better or worse than others, as we are all different and react differently to what we are exposed to in life that build our habits. Mine started in early childhood and simply kept getting reinforced through my childhood. Once those habits have been instilled in you they are insanely hard to break. Not until I was in my 30′ did I start really understanding my habits and you can’t change them if you are not aware of them. So lesson number 1. Learn about your habits, good and bad.

One of my first memories of childhood was when I was 3-4 years of age. My parents were fighting (which were not uncommon in those days) and to spare me from the stress of the yelling they would place me in front of the TV with a small bowl of candy and they were off to the kitchen. Of course I could hear them yell anyways, which would make any child feel unsafe so I emerged myself in the TV and my bowl of candy. The reason why this exact memory is so important is that it is my first memory of what happens when I binge. I am in front of the TV or computer and sugar just goes in, one after the other. After a stressful day or if I have been in a fight, my go to remedy to make myself feel better is the TV and my bag of goodies.

This habit got reinforced throughout my childhood. My surroundings where not getting any calmer. Matter of fact, they got worse. At age 5 my parents divorced and soon enough it was time for my sisters and mother to fight each other.

As I started growing into my teenage years, I was not the rebellious type. I internalized things more than my sisters. With the insecurity of trying to find out who you are as a teenager and the fear of being unpopular started my next habit. Binging! It started out with me wanting to lose that “baby fat”. I put it in quotation marks as that was what my mom called it, although others were not as nice about it. Ever since I was a kid, I was body shamed and food shamed by pretty much everyone in my family (a few exceptions, love you dad!).

Looking back, I was not overweight, I was just not skinny but that was considered overweight and that is something I still live under today. I have a hard time distancing myself from that image and just accept that my body is more voluptuous than those of my sisters and mother’s side of the family. My dad’s side of the family had a bigger tendency to carry more weight than average but unfortunately, we did not really engage with that side of the family and my father’s mother died when he was very young so I never got to meet her. Although, I am told, that I look like her. She must have been a very good looking woman 😉

To put the pressure into perspective. When I was skinniest at 130 lb, I was still called overweight and having “baby fat”. Yes, insane, I know, but my shape and voluptuous features simple gives me the look of being a bit choppy.

This constant pressure, although, I am sure it was not intentional, drove me into my dabble in anorexia. I say “dabble” as I had a friend at the time, whom saved my life and made me wake up from what I was doing to myself, fairly early into my days of not eating or binging with purging afterwards. If he is reading this, he knows who he is and I simply want to say: Thank you!

As the pressure was still there, the habit of using food as a comforter was readily available, I instead started binging and that is how I ended up with the other side of a eating disorder – over eating.

Over eating was something I hid as I felt it was shameful. I was not supposed to eat all of those treats and foods as I was supposed to lose weight and be skinny like my friends and sisters. But my feelings were overwhelming and I could not control my urges. This urge simply stayed and I tried over time to control it in different ways. I still have the urges today but with some really capable psychologists, I have gotten some great tools to recognize when the urge comes on, why it is there and that I have a choice. The choice is harder than you think, but I am slowly learning to accept my choices. Good or bad. And I think, I am finally growing up.

After over eating for roughly 20 years, you put on weight. I have had more excuses than I can count but at least now I see my excuses and I can choose to act on them or grow up and say no.

The bigger picture of my story is showing how important positive body image is for especially young people. I hope that my blog will help people to realize that they are beautiful no matter who they are and what they look like. It is truly, what is inside that determines your outer beauty.

XOXO

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Training – Motivation at the Gym

I have always been of the mindset that, if I am going to the gym, I might as well make the most of it as the hard part is getting out the door. That is still the case for me but not in the sense you might think.

The past week I have gone 11 days out of 14. This does not mean that I give it my all every single time. It is about being smart when going to the gym. I do the full workout 3-4 times a week and the rest I do a simple walk or elliptical for 30-45 minutes. Those minutes are to help my joints not get completely stiff after a tough workout and it really helps. There is nothing worse than the day after a tough day at the gym and it hurts when you are trying to sit down. The walk the next morning, is the solution but never forget to stretch after a workout.

I was doing a bit of research online to find out how I could make the most of my workouts and most research agreed with what I am already doing. Whew! What a relief, cause I like my routine.

If you are looking to learn how to run longer or faster, most suggest 3 days of actual running and 3 days of some other exercise with 1 day of rest. Military.com, Runnersworld.com and Active.com vary slightly so all in all it depends on your motivational level. Military.com is what you would suspect. Hardcore with no resting days until you get to a pretty high level but they are starting you off slow to avoid injuries. Runnersworld.com has you set at 5 days of training and 2 resting days while Active.com has you average out at also 5 times per week but you can get away with 4 times per week but they do not specify if you need rest in between.

I know these are simple articles and perhaps not as trusted as medical advice or university research but when I do a simple google search for university level research, the results are not too dissimilar. John MacKenzie at Delaware University, also, suggests 5-6 days of training with 1-2 days of rest in alternating weeks. Although, his take, is slightly different from the articles I first found. He has you running all of the days but in different speeds, styles and levels. The Mayo clinic is similar to John MacKenzie’s style with 5-6 days of training but they are adding in more walking in between. This has been my primary style, when I have been training for a run.

I had never really done proper research on how I should be running or training for a run but it looks like, I was not too far off. Although, I am not training for a run (although I have one coming up next week), I am using the same principles for my workouts. And why will come in my next article about training, which will be about the balance between cardio and weight training.

I would not suggest that you start off with a 5-6 day training routine per week as for any starter that will be too much and you will lose your motivation. If you are a newly starter or you have a hectic schedule, go for a more manageable training schedule of 3 days per week but if you have a sedentary job, think about taking a couple of smaller walks during the day. Personally, I try to get to roughly 10,000 steps per day as that will add roughly 500 calorie burn per day. That is 1 pound per week, in weight loss or more of the delicious food that you like to eat. Mind you, this is for me and my current size, the smaller you get (are) the farther you need to walk to burn the same amount of calories.

I am no doctor or training expert but I have done my fair share of research and I have tested it all out on my own body. With minimal injuries, I would say, my recommendations are not too off. However, it is always important to listen to your body and seek medical advice if you are unsure or over the age of 40.

Let me know if you want to work out with me. I couple of you have already signed up to be a support 😀 Love it!

XOXO

 

 

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