July 8, 2012

How It Works – Part 2 Diet Has The Word DIE In It!

FOOD!  I love FOOD!  The type of food I love has changed.  I am not on a DIE-T.  The first three letters of the word DIE-T are DIE.  To me, being on a DIE-T, which has an end and a beginning, makes me feel like death on toast.  Instead of going on a DIE-T, I changed my lifestyle.  See, I am not one of those people who can have just a little.  If I have even one bite of chocolate or ice cream, I want the whole bar or container.  I am a total food addict.  I used to be a person who could eat an entire meal and then an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s and then most of a can of frosting.  Anyone out there relate?

Let me rewind a few steps.  My weight has fluctuated my entire life. I have tried everything from Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers to the Cabbage Soup diet to the Mayo Clinic plan.  That Mayo Clinic one was really painful for me because I HATE tuna.  Yuck.  I would be able to keep weight off for a little while but then my binge monster would always take over. I could never shut this beast up!  I am an emotional eater.  Happy?  Eat.  Sad?  Eat.  Mad?  You guessed it.  Therapy helped me figure this out but WHAT I eat is also helping quiet the beast.

I mentioned in the About Me post that my dear cousin Pam sparked this particular journey with a Biggest Loser competition in September 2011.  At this point I had been sitting on my therapist’s couch consistently, emptying my emotional backpack.  I felt strong enough to try eating differently.  I started small.  I had oatmeal with a banana at breakfast instead of cookies and a MilkyWay.  I ate salad a few times a week instead of pasta or a sandwich with mayo and chips.  At dinner, instead of ordering hamburgers and fries every night, we cooked.  The weight starting dropping off.  I had a lot to loose and my body was responding quickly.  I called my food in every day to my wonderful Uncle Joe.  It helped tremendously to have a support system in place.  But it felt like a DIE-T

My employer sets out a cookie jar every morning with freshly baked cookies. These cookies are the devil.  Around the end of October I starting eating a few for snack.  That lead me to want more and more.  I starting binging again here and there.  I would catch myself, start fresh, and the weight would come back off.  Finally, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I had the binge to end all binges.  And I had had enough.  I knew I had to do something.  I ate so much Saturday night, my stomach was so full that I couldn’t sleep.  I had to do with my binge foods what an alcoholic does with alcohol.  So that Sunday I put it all down. I put down sugar.  I put down flour – yep no white, no whole wheat.  I put down soda.  I put down wheat – so no couscous.  And I got sick.  Out of work on Monday sick.  A migraine so bad, I thought I needed to go to the hospital.  A stomach upset so horrific, I was embarrassed in front of my husband. 

image courtesy of Nurse Ratched’s Place

But it didn’t last long and by Tuesday, I felt better.  A LOT better.  And I haven’t looked back.  These foods are not a part of my life anymore.  I eat a LOT of other things.  DELICIOUS things, like these babies:

I sought the help of a nutritionist to get a food plan because I refused to DIE-T.  Changing my lifestyle and releasing my binge foods was one thing.  Being on a DIE-T, counting calories or points was another.  Counting things makes me CRAZY and my track record on these plans is not so hot.  I can’t sustain it.  I can’t even commit to logging my food consistently on myfitnesspal.com. What I could do is weigh and measure my food and stick to a food plan if it had a lot of yummy food on it.  I could do that.  And I HAVE been doing it every day since that week after Thanksgiving.  It is NOT always easy, but it IS always worth it. 

July 7, 2012

How it Works – Part One

Hey Friday Everyone!  Friday is my favorite day, knowing I can sleep in a few extra hours tomorrow morning is wonderful.  But I can’t sleep too late, my baby girl Sadie Lou likes a weekend run in the park with my husband, John, and me around 7:30am.  Isn’t she cute?!The next few posts get into the nitty gritty of how I actually lost the 50 pounds.  I didn’t just wake up one day and say “Hey Em, come on!  Let’s get all this weight off!” and then just start spending hours at the gym and eating kale chips as a snack.  Side bar – I haven’t ever actually eaten kale chips, but I hear they are delicious.  I had to address three aspects of myself in order to get this far: Emotional.  Physical.  Spiritual.   And the work has been slow.

Emotions.  For me, the weight gain and eventual weight loss started here.  Does depression cause weight gain?  Does weight gain cause depression?  According to WebMD, “People who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are more likely to gain weight over time and become obese than people who don’t.”  So medically speaking, if you have depression you’re likely to get screwed in the waistline department.  I can speak from experience, this is true.  I ate because I felt like crap.  I felt like crap and so I ate.  And the stuff I was eating was crap.  For years, I lived on MilkyWay bars, Ben & Jerry’s, Cadbury, and Diet Dr. Pepper – with some chicken and veggies thrown in when I had to eat in front of other people.  Clearly from the picture in my first post, this food plan did not work out for me. 

I needed help and fast because I was on a one way flight to diabetes-ville.  I couldn’t figure out how to stop eating.  There was no way I could go to a gym, I was petrified.  Work out in front of other people?  The thought of that was scarier than those rats from the Secret of NIMH.I had been to therapy before, it seemed to help a little.  I gave it up after I lost some weight and started to feel better, I thought I was cured.  NOT!  I gained it all back and then some.  So in July 2011, back into a therapist’s office I went.  Twice a week.  Thank God for flexible spending because good therapy does not come cheap in this town.

My journey to health really started in that office, unloading the emotional backpack I had been carrying around and binging over for three decades.  Oops! I gave away my age, yes I am 32.  After a few months and some really hard work, we shifted gears and now, I see the therapist once a week.  She is amazing.  I get to tell her all my dirty little secrets without judgement and figure out how to deal with life on life’s terms.  She gave me a safe place to talk about why I was feeling like crap and figure out ways to start feeling better.   Feeling better inside was my first step to feeling AND looking better outside.  Feeling better outside is the topic of the next post so stay tuned!

July 6, 2012

Hey, It’s Me.

Hey, It’s me.  Emma.  I am a work in progress, Emma In Progress.   This blog is dedicated to how I am working my ass off – literally!  And this post iis the story of how I got here.  Read it.  It’s cool.

So this is me in September 2011.

I know, right?  Clearly you can see by looking at me that I was MISERABLE.  I may have been smiling on the outside but inside I was dying.  And not in the Rachel Zoe “I just found the perfect Louboutins to go with that dress and I die” kind of way.  I hated having my picture taken.  I must have felt pretty confident in that chevron stripped dress to agree to a photo.  At this weight, I was starting to really feel it.  My back and hips would hurt after just a few blocks of walking.  Not cool. Especially since I’m a New Yorker and walking is like, essential.  

Not long after this photo was taken, my cousin Pamela, a bona fide CrossFit rockstar, suggested our entire family do a Biggest Loser competition. We did this competition once before and I lost.  Boo.  This time, I was determined to beat everyone to a pulp.  Competitive much? What? Who? Me? Never!

I stuck it out and after 12 weeks lost over 20 lbs and won the competition!  I don’t have any photos of me at that weight, shocking considering my previously mentioned aversion to the camera.  I didn’t just stop after the 12 week competition ended.  As of today, I have lost 50 pounds.  I have to type that again.  50 pounds! I can’t even believe it myself sometimes.  In fact, I don’t hate the camera as much, here is a picture of me today, 50 pounds lighter.

I drastically changed my eating habits and found a new home at 24Hour Fitness.  This hasn’t been easy.  In fact, a lot of the time it down right sucked.  Who wants to get up at 5am to meet their trainer?  Most days, not me.  But the results are so worth it.  My life is completely different now, and not just because I have a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes or can pump out 1.3 miles on the elliptical machine in less than 15 minutes – at level 4!

But I can’t just stop at 50 lbs! I am still working on it.  Like most people, my life (and my weight loss) is in progress. I am putting it out here on the blogosphere because I want to share it with you.  I want to show you that weight loss, taking it one day at a time, the good old fashioned way eating well and exercising more, IS POSSIBLE.  And if I can do it, trust me you can too.  I have quite a journey ahead of me to get to my goal, it is 80 pounds long.  So join me and together we will do what we could not do alone!