Saturday, August 29, 2009


Today, the last Saturday before school starts again and I have to leave the days of summer behind, I decided to clean out and organize my dresser drawers.

I have kept too small clothes and underclothes that were in good shape in boxes under my bed or at the top of my closet for the last three plus years. Today I swapped out a lot of my larger clothes for these smaller sizes and I had a few revelations. First, the undershirts I've been wearing are a full four inches bigger than the smaller ones that have become more comfortable. That's a big difference, and I liked seeing it! The second discovery is that my drawers can hold more clothes now because the smaller size clothes take up less room. This is the best discovery of all. Last Christmas I kept thinking, why does it seem like I don't have any clothes to wear when my drawers are so full they won't even close? It turns out the clothes I wore last Christmas were the clothes of a person 70 lbs. heaver than the person I am today. And more fabric was needed to cover that person. So, in the space I now have 12 shirts, only 7 shirts used to fit. This is a great discovery indeed!

Yesterday I weighed in and did the ELG body composition analysis (idk what ELG stands for). The results were truly awesome. Not only did I lose 9 lbs last week (the weight gain of the prior weekend seems to be all water from my muscles holding on during the hike), I hit a new low. I haven't weighed this amount since mid 2006. I am down 69 lbs. from January 6, 2009. And I like that a lot!

The ELG reveals my percent body fat, my lean mass in pounds and my fat mass in pounds. It reflects my waist to hip ratio and all sorts of other facts. Don't think I didn't make a graph in excel to document visually my radical changes. Because I sure did!

Thanks for being part of this journey. I know that I could not do it without the help, love and support of friends and professionals who care about me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Have you ever noticed that treating a child kindly tends to have better results than being unkind? At the supermarket I make a point of smiling, making eye contact and saying hello to the checker. At the restaurant I am nice to the waitstaff. When I go to the post office--no matter how long the line was--I am friendly to the clerk.

Let's turn it around. Let's say I walk through my life being annoyed, displeased and smug. Let's say I make sure the child knows that I think s/he's an idiot...that the checker at the market is beneath me, the waitstaff are not taking good enough care of me and the postal worker is a waste of my time. There are plenty of people who live like this--you know some of them, you might even be some of them (I am sometimes!). But what's the point?

Kindness is reciprocal. Even if there's no immediate payback, there is always a payback--it's karmic.

My cat must want to be fed because he's just put his body on the keyboard...

Ok, my point is this: I am almost always kind when I'm out in the world. But I tend to be super critical and unkind to myself. I am quick to find my faults and I practically bathe in the waters of reproach. I am almost eager to call myself an idiot and smack my palm to my forehead.

So here's how I combat that behavior. Many nights as I assess my day, I make myself a victory list. This helps me stay in the positive, kind frame of mind that it so helpful to sustaining forward momentum. And it totally contradicts the tendency to diminish my hard work or treat myself badly for still being some sort of a failure (aka, still being on the path instead of at the destination)...

Here's some victories last week--especially as they correspond to my get healthy goals:

Goal - Boot camp 5x, plus 1 hour extra cardio
Victory - Boot camp 4x plus 8 hours extra cardio and 2 yoga sessions

Goal - Eat according to nutritionist's food plan
Victory - periodically read nutritionist's food plan, had several salads

Goal - Meditate daily
Victory - Meditated 3x

Other victories: wrote in journal several times, wrote blog, talked honestly with friends, went to the beach, didn't eat sherbet at the party, did laundry, felt my feelings, prepared Sunday School lesson, watched Netflix movies, work related know, stuff like that.

If you don't already do it, try a victory list. Give yourself a pat on the back. Treat yourself at least as kindly as you treat the lady at the DMV.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I am trying to sort it out, but I cannot seem to unravel why I am struggling so much right now.

I am feeling physically hungry. It's late in the day...2pm, I should have had lunch at noon. So I made myself a really good salad and I weighed and measured everything. It has been sitting on my lap for more than 30 minutes and I am struggling to get up the who-knows-what to eat it. This is strange. My stomach is growling and I am so, so hungry...why can't I eat?

Here's all I can figure out...for the last few days, maybe a whole week, I have been letting lunch get later and later and later. I have also been denying myself food...not fancy food or delicious food, but healthy, good food like Wasa crackers and egg white salad. By the time 2pm (or 3pm) rolls around, I am so hungry that I don't eat wisely. I reach for too much food, or I reach for my comfort foods. I have peanut butter or more than one slice of bread, or a grilled cheese sandwich--or I go out to a favorite place and get a favorite food. Looks to me like sabotaging behavior, doesn't it?

I'm meeting with resistance because my level of commitment is trying to increase, eg Facebook Healthy Challenge, blogging about food and even more secret stuff, meditating every day, etc. I am also struggling because I always start to struggle after losing between 60 and 80 lbs. I'm not sure why I do that, but I am sure that it is a pattern as this is the third (maybe fourth) time in 10 years that I am down 60 lbs. and wanting to be satisfied with the great strides while also wanting to stop striding.

I weighed in today--despite really wanting to skip the weigh in--and I am up again. I am up 4 lbs. from the start of the challenge two weeks ago, and 7 lbs. from my lowest weight since the challenge started. Obviously exercise and eating right are big components of weight loss, but there is a component rarely discussed and that is the mental game.

Believe it or not, I found terrific analogies between the evil-Friday-hike-of-the-damned and where I am right now with my weight loss.

Let me break it down:

  • trail = journey toward a healthy body
  • gnats = voices in my head (millions it seems) swarming and trying to keep me down
  • sunny spots on the path (where the gnats dare not go) = honesty about food and feelings, connecting with God through prayer and meditation
  • falling on the trail = falling on the get healthy journey
  • getting back up and continuing on = not giving up on the healthy journey. To me, this one is really important because what kept me hiking and moving was the fear that I would never get out of the mountains if I stopped. I also had the promise of a downhill car ride waiting at the end of the trail.
  • bursting into tears = acknowledging that this is a really hard thing I'm trying to do.
  • praying and swearing while praying = knowing that God is on the path with me and will love me even if I do (what I think are) unloveable things.
  • Todd and Maggie = I am not on this path alone. I have people with me and these people (and doG) love me and check on me and my progress. And we need eachother. I help them (somehow) and they help me.
  • imagining throwing myself to my death = imagining and or indulging in eating foods that harm my recovery and health. I had thoughts of suicide but I did not act on them. If I have "suicide thoughts" with the food I know what to do...observe that I am thinking about sabotaging my efforts, but don't act on those thoughts--take a contrary action like continue to hike but closer to the inside of the path.
  • finishing the hike = the end of the hike was completely uphill. It was by far the most difficult because it was uphill, and because I was physically, emotionally and mentally spent. But with Todd's help and patience, with my unwillingness to let the mountain win, I made it to the top and drove away.

Ok, well, that helped. I don't feel like denying myself that salad anymore. And I don't feel like eating peanut butter any more either. Well, that's actually not true. I do feel like eating some peanut butter and chocolate chips, but I know now, that I won't do it. That's safer. This is where I want to be.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Hike; The Voices

Friday I went on a hike with my husband and my dog. It was an 8.1 mile hike from Switzer to Gould in the Angeles Crest mountains. I have made one previous hike of this length and it took me ten hours to complete. In Todd's words, my love for him caused me to overestimate my skill level and agree to this hike. Let me just say that by the middle of my hike there was no love for him left (some has returned as of this writing).

Furthermore, I need to say that Todd and Maggie (the dog) usually make this hike in 2.5 hours. I assumed it would take me 4 hours at my current skill and weight. I am stunned, after living through it and completing the hike without being air-lifted out, that I completed it in 5.5 hours.

The first two miles of the hike were filled with thoughts of how strong I was feeling and how I'd even made the first hill with such grace and stamina that surely there'd be no difficulty finishing this hike by noon. Sure, there were more "helicopter" gnats than I knew existed, but they didn't stray to the sunny parts of the path. Sure, in the shade with the gnats there were large stands of poison oak, but it was beautiful in it's malevolence and easy to spot with it's gorgeous turning-red leaves. Sure, the terrain was shifting from smooth, round river rocks to sandy, to scrabble with leaves and teeny rocks that slip when you step on them, narrow to narrower, spiky rocks that threaten to take your foot off your ankle, but I was confident.

Todd said we were at the quarter of the way mark and asked if I'd like to turn around. Huh? What? I am confident, serene and haven't wobbled or fallen once. Sure, my foot hurts from where I stepped in the sprinkler well and fell on Tuesday, but I'm fit and healthy and strong. "I'm in, let's keep going," I say. Todd & Maggie stay about 5 yards ahead of me on the trail. I am swatting gnats, killing them with my eyelashes as they dive into my eyes, breathing them in through my mouth and nose and for many times I am holding my hands over my ears as I hike so that I can drown out their buzzing and protect myself from the possibility of them moving into my ear orifices also. As I swat the gnats I close my eyes. Closing my eyes causes me to stumble on the sharp rocks, so I open my eyes just in time to try to right myself before I fall into the poison oak. At about mile 3 I am swearing. I am trying not to swear loudly because I don't want to harsh Todd's mellow...he loves to hike. I start to agree with him that I am doing this for love...I'm trying to believe that I love him so much that I imagined that I also love to hike. By mile 4 I am praying to God with all earnestness that He will PLEASE kill the gnats, make them go away or teach me what to do to make them leave me alone. I am walking with my hands over my ears and one eye closing at a time. I say, in my prayer, "please kill these damn gnats." I've never sworn in a prayer before--which will probably surprise some of you because of the vitriol that spews out of my mouth when I get going...but I have never sworn at God before...especially about HIS creatures.

I trip over a rock, have to move my hands from my ears to brace my fall and I go down. I've twisted my left ankle. I've said the queen mother of all swear words...I'm in the middle of this gorgeous environment and all I can see is the stinking path, the poisonous obstacles and the "black death" cloud of gnats. My humor and confidence are gone. The voices begin.

The voices.

Here's a little sample, "Todd likes this? How on earth could he like this?" "What were you thinking coming on this hike?" "Your center of gravity is way off because you are still 100 lbs. overweight!" "How come you have such a distorted sense of your own strength--you can't
even do 6-count military push-ups at boot camp." "You really are a failure because you don't see yourself as you really are. You THINK you can do these things, but you are not healthy enough, you don't have any business being on this mountain." "Do not let Todd see how
frustrated you are, you need to keep a positive attitude so he doesn't regret bringing you along." "Why is Todd encouraging me to drink water? Even though my throat is dry and parched, I'm sure I can last a little longer without the water." "I think I am a little thirsty." "I think I might need to go pee." "I don't even know what my bodily needs are...I am SO out of touch with myself. Do I need to go pee? Do I need some water?" "It isn't fair to be a girl and need to pee and be hiking. It will get all over me because I'm too unfit to aim and squat deep enough..." "Why am I covered in sweat? What is wrong with my body that I can't handle this and Todd can?" "It's okay that you're not as strong as Todd. He weighs at least 80 lbs less than you. Imagine that you are carrying two five year-olds in addition to hiking. Could Todd do that?"

And that last little bit is what I need to talk about. The voices in my head, despite what I shared above, are getting much, much nicer. They remind me that I have physical limitations like weighing more than others, that prevent me from enjoying a full life. They suggest that for my limited skills, I am being successful. They remind me that I am obligated to get better so that I can spread the word and the joy of healing that comes from working (with God's help) really hard. They sound so compassionate. "Give yourself a break, you're doing your best." But there is something cruel behind the encouragement they're trying to give me. Here's what's really there: "Give yourself a break, you're doing your best, LOSER." "It's YOUR FAULT you're like this! Live with the consequences!"

At one point along the hike Todd said, "I'm going to run ahead to the river so Maggie can cool off." Maggie, is a small black lab. So she's hiking with a black fur coat on and she's not got the fantastic evaporative cooling system of skin that Todd & I have, so she needs to periodically sit in the river/stream and drink and revive. We're on a fairly steep downhill descent when he tells me he's going ahead. No problem. He stops and turns around and gives me a black referee's whistle, "just in case." I take the whistle and I say, "what about you?" and he says, "I'll be fine." It's true, I think. He'll be fine and I'll die. The fight to not think or say, "I give up, this is awful, I can't do it" has been lost. I begin indulging in the failure thoughts as though I am at an ice-cream sundae buffet. Mmmmm....a little self-pity is sooooo delicious, let's see what MORE self-pity tastes like...mmmmmm, ooooohhh, so delicious.

I begin to compare this hike to the Bataan Death March. To this, one of "the helpful voices" says "oh, drama much? like what you're doing now is anything like that tragic moment in our history!" Then a really frightened and frustrated voice says, "at least they were marching to their death." And then, "maybe the lucky ones were the ones like me who couldn't make it and just died along the way. That would have been more merciful than completing the march." Then I delve into some truly awful thoughts of how I might fall off the cliff and just die and that would be easier (I will spare you the details).

By the time I find Todd and Maggie at the bottom of the hill, they are relaxing and enjoying the stream. I burst into deep, hacking, sobbing tears. And I could not stop. And so I kept trying to hike. God bless Todd for not making a big deal about it. He asks me what I'm thinking. I say, "that we're not even half way through" and he is silent. So, I now know for sure that we are not even halfway through.

*****This is probably a good time for you to go get a beverage and take a potty break.*****

When I began crying I was totally and completely stunned at the outburst of emotion. Where had that come from? I didn't even know I was feeling sad. Why am I crying? "What am I feeling?" I have no idea. I'm probably just tired, I think.

Saturday morning as I meditated I realized something really important. I started crying because I was being tortured by "the voices." More importantly, I realize that the voices are being much, much kinder. They seem more understanding and compassionate. But I am smart and I am suspicious and it occurred to me that despite the kindness and superficial compassion, there is a great deal of cruelty. It seems that as I am practicing good self-care--eating right, exercising, meditating, etc,--the voices have become suspicious that I am changing and they seem to fear that they are becoming obsolete. They fear that I'm trying to get rid of them; so they have changed their tactics and are trying to talk more sweetly. They are saying the exact same things in a much, much nicer way. I have a pattern with this. My step-mother did this to me too. She was so beautiful physically, and so careful to always look good for others, that we were all sucked into her beauty and then blindsided by the reality of her anger and hate. Not surprisingly then, the discovery of this shift in the way the voices are talking to me brought up a lot of memories about the physical abuse I endured as a child. I have been keeping the abuse a secret even from me. I was repeatedly told never to mention any of what was happening. In fact, if I was suspected of telling even the smallest tidbit of what was going on in my home, I would get into trouble. When I have been brave enough to say, "I was beaten and hated" aloud, the protective voice is always VERY quick to say, "you're exaggerating and being dramatic. It wasn't bad."

I have been telling myself, "you're exaggerating" and "it wasn't that bad" and "you deserved it" for so long that I don't know the truth anymore. But I do know why the cruelest voice started. She is was designed to protect me. She took on the job of hurting me before someone else does. She learned that being successful would get me into trouble...there was only one star on our family's set. My job was not supporting actress, it was catering and cleaning...and when the director or other actors noticed the good work I was doing behind the scenes the Diva lost her mind and did all she could to shove me out of sight. So, I learned some ways of protecting myself. I thought that it would be safer to weigh a lot--it's harder to shove an elephant around. And I learned that extreme obesity got me attention too--in an extremely passive aggressive way--so it served a double purpose of shifting the light to the sidelines and revealing that everything under the big top was not roses and butterflies. The price I pay for this "protection" is a habit of sabotaging my success. It is also deluded. My protector actually believed that there was something she could do to protect me from getting beaten..."Don't do that!" "Do that!" "Quick!" But she was wrong. For the love of God, breathing in and out would get me beaten. Little Kristen--the one who was picked up and thrown against a wall the first time she met the Diva (at < 2 years old) --is scared to death of being whom she is meant to be. She is scared that her success threatens you and that you will withdraw from, hate, or hurt her. So she is hurting herself preemptively. And what happens is that she gets hurt no matter what.

I am horrified, stunned, and extremely grateful to discover how the voices have shifted. The other day I actually thought, "Oh! I don't even have self-hate any more. I'm really getting enlightened and I can't believe how easy it was to get those mean voices to quiet down!" I cannot stress enough my completely stunned feeling as I realized how my self-hate voices metamorphosed into something I would be willing to listen to. It's as though they put on some lipstick and a prettier dress, so I'd be less likely to see the ugliness.

It's time to thank the "protector" for her service, and let her go. The protector is not my friend.

And so, I need to say that I finished an 8.1 mile hike on Friday. I used every muscle in my body, and every "muscle" in my mind to fight the physical and mental battle of getting on and off that mountain. I did it! I was incredibly successful, and I paid the price in sweat and pain. The mountain beat me up...but I kicked back, and I won. I don't ever have to go on that hike again. But I did it.

I did it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ten Steps to Loving Yourself by Louise Hay

A friend emailed me this today and I need to put it on my mirror. Thought you might enjoy it too...all simple, familiar stuff that I often forget to do. xoxo

1. Stop all Criticism - Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself your changes are positive.

2. Don't Scare Yourself - Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. Find a mental image that gives you pleasure and immediately switch your thoughts to pleasant one's.

3. Be Gentle, Kind and Patient - treat yourself with patience, gentleness and kindness. Treat yourself as you would someone whom you loved.

4. Be Kind to Your Mind-Self - hatred is only hating your own thoughts. Gently change your thoughts to more loving ones.

5. Praise Yourself - Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. Praise builds it. Tell yourself how well you are doing with everything.

6. Support Yourself - Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for help when you need it most.

7. Be Loving to Your Negatives - Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. Now you are finding new positive ways to fulfill those needs. Release the old patterns.

8. Take Care of Your Body - Learn about nutrition. What does your body need to have the optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. Cherish the temple you live in.

9. Mirror Work - Look into your eyes often. Express the growing sense of love you feel for yourself. Forgive yourself for all as you look into the mirror. Once a day say "I love you" at yourself in the mirror.

10. Do It Now - Don't wait till you get well, lose weight or get a new job. Begin now, do the best you can.


44 days remaining

It's Day 11. Where are you with your goals?

The goals I CAN control are going beautifully. I added 2.5 extra hours of cardio this week (my goal is boot camp 5x + 1 extra hour of cardio/week) and I also added two yoga sessions this week. My food has been good, but real. Sometimes I don't feel like looking at, and certainly I don't feel like sharing what I'm eating. Perhaps it's the real days that are even more important to investigate.

Here's yesterday:

B: 2 cups lemon water (big surprise), 1 tub egg white salad (another shocker!), 1 cup cheerios, 1 cup mixed blueberries & strawberries, 1 pkg. splenda, 1/2+ cup 1% milk.

L: green salad (arugula, romaine) with 1/2 large bell pepper, and 1/2 small red onion. 1 tub egg white salad and left over tuna made with lite mayo, fuji apple, onion, celery and Bubbie's dill relish. I had this with a little light balsamic vinaigrette (about 2 T) and 3 light rye wasa crackers. I ate this on the sand at the beach with visions of mint Oreo cookies dancing right before my eyes as Lucy's kids blithely partook...and then they partook of delicious puffy, orangey, salty, not-at-all-organic Cheetos...oh, how I love Cheetos. I resisted those too. Somehow. And I went into the ocean. Which was Icelandic. So I went for a walk with Noah to the nearest pier. It was far. It took us an hour. On the walk I found two PERFECT sand dollars. Ok, one had been shot and the wound had festered, but it was intact aside from the bullet hole (in case you're wondering it was NOT a bullet hole...but it was festered and bullet-hole shaped...from a very tiny gun...anyway.) The other was slightly larger and perfect. It is exceedingly rare to find a whole sand dollar so I am taking it as a good sign. And Noah was a good walking partner. We even sprinted for a's like magic how awesome a day I had.

Dinner was 2/3rds of a Bay City Imports Godmother with the works. OMG I love Bay Cities and I go every time I need olive oil or am on the west side. It was after 4 and the line was longer than usual, then I overheard a very full-o-herself twenty-something talking about how Bay Cities had been on the Food Network and that's why it was so crowded...and I'm thinking, "it's always this crowded" and then she asks Nancy Newcomer if it was her first time and Nancy Newcomer says, "yes, I heard about this place on Food Network" and I'm like oh crap...Kristen McJudge-y was too harsh with full-o-herself twenty-something-and-loves-the-sound-of-her-own-voice. So, I was schooled.

Traffic on the 405 at 5pm was le poopoo so I ate a bit of my sammich and later when I was at my AIM group (Allied in Meditation--I made this group and this name up...let me know if you want to join, we're starting again in October or so)--we always have dinner so I had some of Carol's delicious shrimp salad and some tomato slices, a slice of the bread from Green Street (that's thick as a bike tire but WAY more delicious) and a third cup or so of raspberries.

So I'm eating what the nutritionist told me to eat and I'm enjoying eating it at various times and with friends. My other goal of meditating is happening very nicely. I haven't meditated today, but yesterday I made it to 14 minutes. The thing is I explored my three questions during meditation yesterday. The three questions are: Who am I? What do I want? and What is my purpose? I was taught to take one full breath on each question and then let it go. But yesterday I thought, man, I've been doing this for several months, how about I check in with myself and see what my answers are to these questions. Long story ... I found myself FINALLY having the courage to say, "I want to be thin." I have never allowed myself to want this. I even tried to think it twice this morning before it would come into the center of my attention and coalesce. And I think it is in part because I was raised in an environment where looks were everything--more than health, more than being a good person, more than moving responsibly into the role of adult. And there was terrible, evil, wicked, narcissistic vanity in my home. I wanted none of that. Truthfully, I wanted to be beautiful but under-tended Cinderella...a natural beauty. I guess some things, like a healthy body, are worth working toward and achieving.

So, there it is. A good day by every standard. I met my goals for the day, for the week and woo-freaking-hoo, I had a breakthrough as the result of my meditation.

How are YOU doing? Breakthroughs? Hard work happening? Discouraged? Amazed? What's stopping you? What's propelling you?

YOU deserve the best.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Screw Up - Day 8

Yesterday I ate
B: 2 cups warm water with juice of 2 small lemons
1 tub egg white salad
- 1 carb, -1 fruit

L:Everest grilled chicken salad with 6 oz chicken and 1 egg (plus 2 on the protein)
-1 carb, +2 protein

D: 4 risotto balls with mozzarella cheese, dipped in marinara, 5 endive leaves with chicken curry

Dessert: 3/4s huge ice cream sundae with whipped cream, chocolate and strawberry sauce, some nuts, three scoops ice cream, 2 chocolate chip cookies

I have no idea why I ate that ice cream. I know that ice cream doesn’t help me with my fitness goal. I know it isn’t my food. I know I could have ordered 1 scoop if I had really wanted it. But all of my sanity and healthy notions flew out of the window somehow. I know part of it is a fear I am harboring about a big change coming up in my life. I also know part of it is fear of success…but not a big part of it…I don’t think. So sometimes I just do things like this to remind me that I am a food addict that that there are things I do with food that just don’t make any sense. I sometimes start to think I am cured and then I realize that I am just a little better for just a day at a time…that I have a daily reprieve as long as I take care of myself and look at my emotional needs and emotional health.

So how do I recover (emotionally) from this deviation from my food plan? Well, I woke up and went to boot camp. I went to a meeting with people who know about food addiction, I went to yoga, and then I went to lunch with friends. Following lunch I got a manicure and a pedicure. I reminded myself that I make mistakes with food sometimes and that I really didn’t eat too much yesterday, I was negative 2 carbs, 5 fruits, 3 protein, and 3 vegetables…so maybe the damage isn’t too terrible with the calories. Maybe it will even out…but I was up over the weekend (that was sabotaging behavior) and I wanted to be down by Wednesday. But here’s the deal—I have time to make changes. I have time to recover from a mistake; it’s ok to experience the discomfort I’ve been feeling and to learn that I can recover from blowing it with the food…

Let’s see what the scale says…just information, just data. I’ll find out tomorrow morning.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 6

Saturday's are hard with the food!

I did the marketing though and got some of the TJ's egg white salad as well as bags of lemons for the morning lemon lots of other fruits and vegetables and organic meats, so I'm in good shape for the upcoming week. Preparing for the week's food is such a key part of being successful with eating. When there are good/safe choices in the fridge or on the counter I will eat those before searching out something less healthy and more delicious...why are things less healthy more delicious (I blame politicians!)...

Anyway, planning, preparing and holding steady are my secrets to long term improvements and long term change.

This makes me want to tell a story.

I have a history of being all or nothing...of going big or going home. I have a close friend who told me recently that he wanted to have quick weight loss before he started investigating some of his difficulties or changing some of his less noble behaviors. And this clicked with me. That's how I've tried to live my life forever--if I lose 20 lbs. then I'll take a look at stopping gossiping or being nicer to people who bug me. Then I needed to lose 40 lbs. before changing a behavior. Then it was 60, then 80 and then December it was about 170 lbs I needed to lose. And all to avoid the discomfort of examining my life and examining the reasons why I overeat and live my life overweight.

These last 5 years I have moved up and down with being willing to examine my life and find the underlying reasons why I "use" food and what it does for me. Today, thankfully, I realize that I will never be able to get rid of the weight unless I examine. For me the cart is weight loss and healthy weight management; the horse is examination and especially change. I have to be willing to put the horse first--to pull with the energy of honesty and change and to let whatever is going to happen fall into place.

This year slow and steady has been the key for me...the horse is more of a donkey and it moves stubbornly and slowly. But I feel great hope that the changes in my body have a better chance of being successful because I'm endeavoring to change from the inside out.

Day 5

Friday morning I weighed in and I was down 2 lbs. I was so excited...that's slightly more than 6 lbs. in a week! So I was surprised to find resistance to writing my blog on Friday morning...why didn't I want to share my good news with you?

I had to figure this out and, as you may recall, one of my goals is to meditate daily. During my meditation I realized that I am worried about being successful. I have a super negative history with success. Often, when I would "shine" the person closest to me and with the most power would be threatened and I would get punished. So, I learned to stop being successful, and to be careful not to shine. It has always been a careful dance between my deep yearning to shine at something...dancing, writing, smiling, loving, and my fear of being in trouble, losing privileges, or enduring the wrath of the angry face and silent storm. I am very skilled at being good but not great. I am very adept at passive aggression--I did all your dishes and I cooked all the meals for your children this week, don't you feel like a failure? This behavior pattern somehow made sense when I was a teenager, but I am seeing it for what it really is today. That's not to say I'm not afraid to shine. I am. But it is to say that I can see that this fear is an illusion and the reality is I am meant to do something with my life and in some areas I am meant to sparkle. In some areas I dazzle.

Friday I dazzled on the scale. For the three weeks preceding last I worked hard at exercise and was careful with my food and the scale hovered around the exact same numbers. I was feeling demoralized and afraid the scale would never shift again, would never show how hard I've been I started me a little Healthy Challenge to get motivated and surrounded by others who want to be healthier. And obviously it worked! And obviously a lot of the work happened during the month of holding steady. So I feel like celebrating my success (I don't really...I feel a little nervous still!)...I feel like taking the contrary action to hiding my success and really enjoy the drop of 6 full lbs. I feel like writing this down so the next time my weight holds steady I will remember that that's what my body does--drops weight over 6 - 8 weeks then holds for 2 to 3, drop, hold, drop hold. I have a pattern! I gotta remember!

So what is your pattern? What, if anything, stands in the way of your success?

Today I saw District 9 with Brandon. It was really wonderful. Then we saw GI Joe and it was really visually exciting. My good friend movie popcorn sat on my lap for 3 hours...first the full tub, then empty, then we refilled and emptied again. It sorta seems like I was trying to sabotage my success doesn't it? hmmmmm.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 4

End of Day 4. I have really been eating well because of YOU. Thanks for helping me! I hope you are getting the help you need too. PLEASE post a comment, or send me a link to your own blog where you are tracking your progress and success. Accountability really makes a difference.

One of the biggest changes I've made is journaling my food more often. I used to do it at the end of the day, but the nutritionist says research shows that journaling food as close to consumption as possible has really positive consequences--more accountability and honesty, less chance of "forgetting" the extra whats-it-called.

Here's my food today:

B: 2 cups warm lemon water, 1 egg white salad (100 cals), 3.5 wasa (105 cals), 1 large pear
L: In-n-Out This is real. I went to In-n-Out with Brandon after his endo appt. I ordered and ate a cheeseburger protein style, animal style (no bun, extra condiments) I learned that I really like to eat volume and for the calories this little burger was my entire made it difficult to hold steady the rest of the afternoon
PM snack: 1 Fiber Rich cracker & 1 "Clean you out" cracker (these are the highest fiber crackers in the world--available from Scandanavia and from the nutritionist. They have the power of a colonic...not that I've ever experienced that 7th wonder. But what I do is soak them in 1/2 c almond breeze and 1/2 c 1% milk for 3 hours or so (30 minutes will, allegedly, soften them up enough, but I like to be safe). Then I sprinkle with 1 pkg. splenda (the teeny package) and 1 tsp or so of cocoa and eat it like cereal. It's pretty good and the crackers themselves count as a "free" food per the nutritionist. They fill me up and let me hold steady for a bit...not to mention the added fiber boost. Apparently the Scandanavians with their high protein diet need extra cleansing power...hey, a few hundred thousand Swedes can't all be wrong.
I also had 1/2 egg white salad (50 cals) and 2 light rye wasa (60 cals) I was so hungry

Henry came over to play. Henry is 6 years old and about to be in 1st grade. He is as close to a gosh-darn-genius as anyone not related to me is allowed to be. I picked him up from school and we went swimming at his house. It was Wild Kingdom at his house--there was a dead dragonfly that we fished out of the pool and set on the edge of the jacuzzi and it came back to life. I do not exaggerate. Then there was a praying mantis--too cool. Then a giant beetle that tried to carry Henry off like an eagle with a fish. Awesome. But the fact is, Henry sees me and thinks "cooking."

I had intended to swim and then go home, but I cannot resist a brilliant child who wants to cook. He said this time I had to do the dangerous parts. (Dangerous parts are the parts with fire.) So as we're getting into my car to go to market to buy a "chicken with the legs attached." He looks up at the trees in his front yard and says, "Kristen, where does toilet paper come from." And I learned long ago that it is far more interesting and appropriate to say, "I don't know, where do you think it comes from" to which he replies, "Does God make it?" And I say, "hmmm, what do you think?" And Henry says, "If God doesn't make it, how does it get in trees." And all the wheels click in to place for me and I say, "Henry, sometimes teenagers throw toilet paper in trees to make a funny joke for their friends." (Henry is the only brother of three older and quite beautiful sisters.) And Henry says, "those rotten teenagers." Where on earth did he hear that phrase???

So for dinner Henry and I went to the market and we bought a chicken with the legs attached (thankfully I was not required to pull out the feathers as Henry had predicted). Then we had to buy some shark. Henry is quite enthusiastic in discovering all features and variations of sharks, so he decided to get some shark. I hate fish, by the way, so even though I cook it fairly well, I rarely eat it because it makes me so nervous...but for Henry, anything. I bought a piece of thresher shark and I got the fishmonger (yah, right...more like employee of the hour) to cut the piece up small--which turned out to be a mistake because it was delicious. I marinated it in olive oil, garlic, dijon and salt and pepper for 20 minutes and grilled it in the kitchen. Wow. Henry ate the whole thing declaring that it was, "a little rubbery." Then he graciously took the piece off of my plate totally relieving me of the responsibility of eating it!

We stuffed the chicken with lemon and onion wedges and roasted it at 500 degrees for an hour. I made new potatoes, green and yellow beans (sauteed in spray olive oil and sprinkled with some spicy asian chili something or other), and a giant green salad. Dinner was really good. I put butter in the potatoes and had a little lemon and onion chicken gravy--so I'm sure I was over calories, but I'll say that I had one plate full of food and that is very big for me. Henry wanted ice cream sandwiches for dessert and I had already done my part; didn't think I could handle making those from scratch, so I bought some and didn't have to eat it. Triumph goes to me.

Lots of love and best wishes to you on your healthy quest!

Day 3 - What I ate

I started off my day like a pro--boot camp for an hour, so tired I didn't run, just walked. But I sweat up a storm and moved for an hour. It's ok.

Next pro-status move? Came home and NAPPED. I blew off yoga because I was tired. I wanted to feel guilty about that and I tried to beat myself up for it, but instead I said to myself, "you must need sleep or you would have gone." And know what? That's true!

Here's what I ate:

2 cups warm water with juice of one lemon
1 cup 1% milk
2 c Cheerios
1 cup raspberries mixed with blue and straw berries

am snack
3 lite rye wasa
1 tub egg white salad


5 oz chunk light tuna in water mixed with
1.5 T lite mayo
1/4 onion
1/2 apple
1 heaping T Bubbies (no sugar, no vinegar) dill pickle relish
and I ate this with 3 cups lettuce and 1 lite rye wasa

I FOUGHT my inner demon in order to eat this meal. I was feeling very, very sick of lettuce!

pm snack
1 med nectarine

Dinner - at a friend's house so choices were minimal

1 cup cranberry juice
a few watermelon balls & some blueberries
1 slice quiche (egg, cheese, tomato, squash, onion, delicious)
about 3/4 c fresh spinach
2" square brownie (divine and worth it)

Overall it was a great food day and a great exercise day.

Besides the who-needs-so-much-lettuce-at-every-meal demon, I also fought the is-that-what-I-really-look-like-? demon. I read a book called Mega Yoga designed for large women to show them how to move their girth into the poses...and it is filled with photos of a pretty but huge woman. I spend my exercise dollars working out with thin people, and so, while I know I'm exceedingly heavy, I don't see myself as clearly as I do the trim group around me. I honestly had no idea I looked so bad. And when I see my whole self in a mirror--which isn't often for some reason--I take it in but walk away. This was an ugly realization. I'm not quite sure how these feelings are playing out so I will have to write about that...but the bottom line is that I felt really unhappy looking at photos of this heavy woman. On some level I thought she was pretty because she had good hair, skin and smile, but looking at her body was unpleasant on a gut level. I even asked Todd if this is what I looked like (promising he would not be in any trouble no matter what he said) and he diplomatically shrugged his shoulders and said, "yah, kinda."

It's a journey.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Between Palindrome & Dyslexia

What's it called when a word like dog can be read backwards and have a different meaning?

I am furious with my dog.

I mentioned that I was so tired yesterday but resisted a nap. Finally when my head hit the pillow around 9:45 I was ready for sleep. I got comfortable, perfectly comfortable, and I drifted off. Forty-five minutes later the dog (who sleeps in our room), heard something and lost her mind. She got up and started doing that cartoon move where you run in place for a few minutes to build up speed and then jet off...well, with her nails on the hardwood that's exactly what it sounded like. She bolted out the door only to find the hall door had been closed against the noise of Brandon's zombie killing video game. That meant the dog started whining and clawing and omg, she's going to have to go see what made the noise! This leaves me. I am awake now and I get up to let her out. And I can't fall asleep.

I roll over. Roll over again. Where did I put my sleep nirvana? I just had it. I don't know how long I lay there cursing the dog. I eventually drifted off into a light sleep but I woke up angry and with more curse words for the dog. I have a full life dontcha know?! I gotta go to boot camp at 530 and weigh in at 630 and yoga at 9 and, and, and. I NEED sleep!

On Monday (after not sleeping) I noticed during boot camp that my mind was wandering to the "imperfect" form of people around me doing their exercises. A few years ago I noticed that whenever I focus unkind thoughts on people around me it means I am harboring unkind thoughts about myself. So I turned it around...Kristen, you are doing a great job. I see how you have improved. Look how much stronger you are. Congratulations on your weight loss. Look how many more things you can do now! It feels good to talk to myself kindly. Well, it feels strange and uncomfortable, but it also calmed me talking to a small child who feels just naturally put your arms around them and talk softly. You're doing a good job, it's going to be okay.

And so, if I'm mad at my dog, does that mean I'm mad at my doG?

P.S., I'm in the 260's for the first time in 5 years...269 & 3/4 lbs. It counts as 260's!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 2 - part deux (Accountability)

Here's what I ate today. I'm writing this so that I will know where to look for good food ideas on the days when peanut butter, chocolate chips & honey sandwiches are the only meal I can imagine. Perhaps it will give you some ideas too?

Breakfast: I went to Taco Deli in La Canada (because the one in La Crescenta has terribly inconsistent and unpredictable hours) and I ordered the "Adrian Special" without potatoes. Basically it's a whole wheat tortilla with 3 scrambled egg whites, mild salsa and 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh pico de gallo (the best I've ever had). They roll it all up and it fits my food needs which are 2 carbs (100 cals/carb so 200 for breakfast), 1 protein or dairy and vegetables in any quantity. It's the best breakfast because someone else makes it for me, and it was perfect right before yoga.

Speaking of I'm finishing up my breakfast burrito in my car parked outside Descanso Gardens (where the yoga class meets), most of the liquid from the pico dribbled all over the front of my shirt. How do you say Zen? Pretty impressive, I know.

Lunch was late because I made a Costco run. I bought fewer than 10 items and spent more than $140. It's the least I've spent at Costco in ages. Brandon was a sport and went with me, which was a terrific help! Then he dropped me off at Trader Joe's for my egg white salad and some strawberries while he went to Everest to buy my lunch. I don't normally eat out this much, but thankfully Michelle has given me great advice for when I do have to eat on the run.

At Everest order the grilled chicken salad with no croutons. Unfortunately all of the vegetables are minimally prepared for my consumption so I have to take the salad home and chop the vegetables...(the tomato is cut into quarters, the egg is cut in half, the cucumber slices are like surfboards and the onions are so thick it's really silly) So, while I was cutting vegetables I had an am snack of 1/2 container egg white salad (50 cals) and 2 lite wasa (60 cals)

Lunch: 1 large tomato, 3 cups lettuce, 1/3 small cucumber, 2 large rings onion, 3 large rings bell pepper, 5 oz. grilled chicken, 1 hard boiled egg, and 1/3 cup of the most delicious balsamic viniagrette ever made...and it looks really low fat because it is so emulsified. Anyway, I don't normally eat salad dressing, but Jill sais I can substitue it for a fruit twice a day if needed. My lunch needs are 5 oz protein, 1 carb (100 cals), 3 cups raw vegetables. I used 1/2 of my lunch carb for the snack.

I ran a few errands and wasted time on facebook this afternoon. I really wanted a nap, but I slept poorly again last night so I delayed my gratification.

While I was preparing dinner I had the rest of my egg white salad and 1 more wasa cracker, so about 80 cals.

For dinner I had a green salad with grape tomatoes, 2 celery, 2 cups lettuce, 1 carrot, 1/4 avocado, lime juice, 1/2 sm cucumber. Then I made a goulash kind of spaghetti sauce: 1/2 cup bowtie pasta and I cooked ground turkey with 1/2 onion, added a can of cut tomatoes and a bit of Trader Joe's marinara (50 cals / one half cup). Then I added 2 cups of chopped green and yellow beans. It was so yummy and I was too full to even eat the nectarine I planned.

AND--last night I ate a frozen mango and cream bar (Trader Joe's again) which was 60 calories. I forgot to report it! I really like those bars because they are so low cal and so tasty, but when I went to buy another box today they were recalled. Recalled is such an ugly word!

B and I are going to watch Golden Compass... goodnight!

Before Photo

This photo will be my "before" photo. It's me and sweet Hazel at Adrian's big party on July 18th. I lost 21 lbs. in 6 weeks prior to this event (the culmination of WCBC & Diet for Health Biggest Healthy Loser Challenge.)

I'm excited about this new challenge. I need to stay motivated & focused. I am grateful to have friends sharing the journey.

Day 2

Boot Camp kicks my butt. I ran (I'm sort of exaggerating, but I really like to call it running) from New York almost to Dunsmore. I tried! But it was so hard! I ran some more on the way back and I did those stupid, evil, up on your tippy toes with the other leg up and pumping for 150 PER LEG! Then I needed a shuttle. Seriously had a difficult time even moving...but I did it...slowly. Janice & Patrick are like screaming by...some day that will be rush, gotta be honest.

It's summer and a lot of my friends are missing this week. It helps so much to have a community to exercise with! People are encouraging and motivational as they push themselves to try harder. I'm always amazed that someone has the time to encourage me. These people are so good and so generous.

But seriously, Ted--come back from Hawaii! And Lisa, how long do you have to be gone? 3 weeks, really? Larry...I hope your back feels better soon. And Hazel, I am thinking of you and it's keeping me going, enjoy all three panoramic vistas of the Grand Canyon.


Yoga at 9. See you later.

Healthy Challenge Day 1

So my goals are
1) continue 5 days of boot camp/week and add 1 hour of cardio per week
2) continue eating according to nutritionist's plan--that means fresh vegetables at lunch and cooked vegetables at dinner
3) work up to a full run on 2 laps
4) start practicing meditation
5) I aim to lose 20 lbs. by my birthday (Oct. 7)

Sunday night we didn't sleep well so when the alarm went off at 4:48 I was not happy! I hit snooze a full 4 times and then Todd said, "did you sleep at all last night?" I said, "no" and he said, "me either." If it weren't for first day of challenge obligations I NEVER would have removed myself from the bed! But I was motivated to at least be successful on the first day. So we went.

I ran one entire lap without stopping and then Adrian lost his mind and we had to run--I dunno--about a thousand laps today. I was able to run about 80% of them and it made me feel 1) exhausted and 2) kinda proud of myself...well, really proud of myself!

After boot camp I weighed in over at Diet for Health and could not decide between delight and depression when I saw my weight. I stepped on the scale twice to make sure it wasn't broken. Nope. I was down 3.5 lbs. from Friday. So the delight was the new lowest weight and the depression was that I'd eaten jelly beans and frosting on Sunday as a sort of pre-challenge "last supper" so my weight should have been up so it would be easier to meet my goal. How sick is that?

Jill had great advice, as always. She said that nutritionists have been fostering the idea that a treat day is ok every once in a while...but new research has shown that people who know they can have a treat usually obsess on the thought and tend to go way overboard, so it's better to just not plan on having treats. She compared it to a dog. If you tell your dog she can't ever get on the couch she won't...but if you tell your dog it's ok to get on the couch sometimes, then the dang dog is always on the couch. (This is one of those totally perfect analogies because our dog ruined our last couch and now is not allowed on at all.)

So, I revised my goals to include nothing about a treat day. My favorite food weakness is movie popcorn. It doesn't set me up on a craving and it is totally limited to while I'm in the theater (ok, the first 10 minutes of being in the theater)...something about eating in the dark. So I will still have the once in a while popcorn...and I think some chili-chocolate on Sunday is ok. I only have a one inch square...wait, does this count as obsessing?

After weighing in I went to a meeting and meditated twice for 5 minutes each time. It was not a business meeting and "meditating" does not mean sleeping! It was a meditation meeting and I tried to do it. The problem was I was exceedingly distracted by thoughts around one of my children who is struggling so it wasn't very relaxing.

When I got home I enjoyed my delicious lemon water (ugh) and some wasa crackers with egg white salad then off for a walk with dear Carol B. We walk from Pennsylvania to Lowell and that counts as 1 extra hour of cardio per week! So I'm totally ahead of the game.

Here's my food today:

3.5 light wasa crackers
1 container egg white salad (God bless Trader Joe's) 100 calories

Chipotle salad with barbacoa and guacamole, extra light serving of rice (1/3 cup) (3 cups vegetables, 1 serving starch, 1 fat serving)

1 nectarine & 1/2 wasa

I had a salad with cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, 1/8 avocado, lime juice, salt & pepper and then I grilled up 3 miniature potatoes, 1 bell pepper, 1/2 slice onion, olive oil spray, 8 large shrimp. It was really yummy!

Ok, and here's the last component of this very lengthy and severely boring post--I started a meditation book reading group and had an assignment which I completed today. I didn't want to--well, I sorta wanted to--so Yay me!