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Friday, December 31, 2010

Mini Goal Achieved! Happy New Year!

                             Christmas Day at the Christmas House--before all the food was left behind

Goals—written and publicly declared goals with deadlines—work for me. I don’t know why it is, but it sets the universe in motion, and when I write down my goals and declare them to others, invariably I reach my goals. A few months ago, I set a mini goal to weigh 200 pounds or less by the New Year. I did not specify whether I would reach that goal by New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, though. I gave myself a one-day leeway. When I reached that goal early, I reset my mini goal to weigh 195 or less by New Year’s.

I then hit a dreaded plateau, and for a month my weight hung around at 200 pounds. Things looked dim for meeting my newly established mini goal. Ah, I finally broke out of the plateau and lost a few more pounds, but Christmas week arrived. I spent days cooking and tasting food that I would serve my guests on Christmas Day, and several guests brought more food to put out on Christmas Day. I had to taste everything, of course, but I managed to lose weight anyway. What you don’t know, though, is that after everyone left my house on Christmas evening, they left my refrigerator filled to capacity with delicious food, including sweets. I hate to waste food, and some of it definitely did not follow the food plan I have been on. I have been avoiding high-calorie or sugar-laden food and all starches, and there I sat with homemade bread from my brother, homemade fudge from my cousin Joe, homemade brownies and chocolate-covered pretzels from a friend, and all the ham, turkey, stuffing, and other things I’d cooked, including potato salad and stuffing. Yes, there sat all the sweets and starches I’d been successfully spurning for months. I n addition I had cole slaw, carrot salad, chopped chicken liver, collards, squash casserole, spinach pie, and you name it. All these treats sat in the refrigerator of someone who lives alone—and who is trying to lose weight. It became a nightmare. I stood outside myself and saw me loading down my plate at mealtimes and filling my stomach. I not only overate, but also ate foods I’ve been avoiding for six or more months.

The good thing about mini goals, though, is this: having one gives me a mission and a deadline. Once I set that mini goal, I strongly desired to meet it, so when I saw that I was gaining weight, rather than losing it, all the pigging out and unconscious eating stopped immediately. Back I went to salads, wise choices, and portion control, and guess what: it worked. This morning, December 31, 2010, the scale reached 195. One hundred ninety-five pounds by New Year’s. I did it!

On the one hand, one hundred ninety-five pounds still sounds awful, but on the other hand, it means I have dropped fifty pounds of unhealthy fat since July 15. Fifty pounds! I can’t even lift fifty pounds anymore, yet for years I had been dragging it around on my body, everywhere I went, including up and down the stairs several times a day. No wonder I felt tired, worn out, and in pain all the time.

Having lost fifty pounds means I’m more than halfway to my goal weight of 150. I have only forty-five more pounds to go. With fifty pounds under my belt—or I should say no longer under my belt—then forty-five pounds sounds easy to lose. I know I can do it. I can reach 150. I feel elated.

Oh, and I had two great things happen this week. One, I bought two pair of pants that fit me nicely, and they are size 16. I used to wear size 22/24. The second great thing is that a complete stranger struck up a conversation with me and eventually said, “Tell your husband he has a beautiful wife. Are you married?” I didn’t know anything about the man, so I didn’t admit I’m single; I just thanked him and walked away, but what joy I felt that someone thought I was pretty and flirted with me! Such things haven’t happened to me in years. I didn’t lose weight to look better, but to feel better. Looking better is just a bonus.

I haven’t decided on my next mini goal yet. I’ve spent too much time this week setting my overall goals for 2011. One of those is to lose at least thirty more pounds in the New Year. I realize the weight will drop off slower as I get closer to my goal, so I’m giving myself time. I’ll report when I set my next mini goal. For now, I’m celebrating having reached my latest mini goal, and what a way to celebrate! The whole neighborhood will be setting off firecrackers in commemoration of my having met my mini goal. Oh, my neighbors may think they’re celebrating New Year’s, but I know they are really celebrating my success.

Happy New Year, all!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tip: Know Good Oils; Use No Bad Oils

Christmas has come and gone, now, and at a time when the average person gains weight, I lost two pounds. Such losses call for severe discipline over the holidays, when calorie-laden bring-a-dish parties and buffets multiply and cookies, cakes, and candies abound. Even I fell prey to a dish of pretzels sprinkled with peppermint chips and coated in white chocolate. My so-called friends, Roger and Cheryl, were real friends, until they brought those bedeviling pretzels into my house on Christmas Day, along with brownies and cheese chunks. I put out a buffet for my friends and relatives, and some bring food to add to the larder. As a result, all day long, my guests (twenty or more of them) ate turkey, ham, dressing, squash casserole, potato salad, cole slaw, deviled eggs, chopped chicken liver, sliced tomatoes with basil and mozzarella cheese, carrot salad, artichoke-heart dip, and spinach pie. I prayed the guests would also eat all the desserts, as well, including those peppermint-chip, white-chocolate-coated pretzel slices. I don’t even like pretzels, but add chocolate, and I scarf them down. Add peppermint, and they’re singing my name. After the main meal, I also set out a giant éclair, a pear-glazed cake, fudge, and brownies, and as a result, perhaps, not many people sampled those special pretzels. Please, please let them be gone when everyone leaves, I begged silently.

Meanwhile, I stayed aware of my food choices, and while I probably overate a little, I didn’t stuff myself, and I avoided every one of the mouth-watering desserts, but those pretzels—those darned pretzels—begged me to taste them. I took a small chip, and the cycle began. I know for a fact that eating sugar makes me want more sugar, and sure enough, soon I found myself walking by the plate and taking one more little chip, and then a bigger piece, and then a whole pretzel, and the dance lasted for two days. Thankfully the quantity in the original bag was small to begin with, and I stretched out my treats, one piece at a time, maybe once every couple of hours, but by the day after Christmas, I knew I had to stop, and I did. Today I haven’t had any, even though many pretzel chips still remain on the plate, quietly calling to me.

My rule at Christmas is “no gifts.” We’re all old enough to buy whatever we want or need or want, so I’ve relieved everyone of the gift-exchange burden to create a guilt-free, stress-free Christmas. Nevertheless, my cousins Bryan and Michael brought me a hostess gift and denied it was a Christmas gift, and it was a bottle of exotic olive oil. I cannot wait to taste it! Olive oil is one of the few oils that are actually good for you, and I use it often, whenever I cook. It makes a great dip for bread instead of butter or margarine, as well, although I’ve been limiting my bread intake lately.

What about oils? Which ones are okay, when you’re trying to lose weight? I rarely click on ads on the Internet, but one caught my eye, a promise to explain some of the “diet” foods that could actually make us gain weight. I had to listen to a long, long promotional advertisement to get to the good information the ad promised, but in the end it was worth it. It promotes a series of e-books created by a nutritionist who touts eating fat-burning, rather than fat-storing foods, and guess which foods she says turn into sugar in our bodies that our bodies then store as fat. Yep, exactly the foods I’ve been avoiding on my food plan: pasta, bread, white rice, hydrogenated oils, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup, but she added one I hadn’t considered: Canola oil.

I recall all the hype in the 1970s about Canola oil and all its healthy benefits. It supposedly was high in omega-3, which was good for us. My, how information changes once you look into it. Turns out Canola oil is cheap, which is why so many processed-food manufacturers embraced it.

Here’s the whole scoop. Canola oil is made from genetically modified rapeseed plants. Rape oil is used as a lubricant, fuel, soap, and synthetic rubber base, and even to brighten colors in magazines. It is an industrial oil, not a food. Rape oil, when consumed, can cause emphysema, respiratory distress, anemia, constipation, irritability, and blindness. Obviously rapeseed oil is great for lamps and as a mosquito repellant, but products from rapeseed were not fit for human consumption until someone in Canada genetically modified the plant. In addition to the genetic modification, the process of making Canola oil involves a combination of high-temperature mechanical pressing and solvent extract, usually using hexane. Even after considerable refining, traces of the solvent remain. Like most vegetable oils, Canola oil also is bleached, degummed, deodorized, and refined at very high temperatures, a process that can alter the good omega-3 content in the oil and in certain conditions make the trans fat level as high as 40 percent. I also read that many products that claim they include olive oil, such as some mayonnaise manufacturers claim, actually contain mostly Canola oil and only a trace of or no olive oil.

By the way, the reason Canola is capitalized is that rape oil wasn’t exactly pleasing to consumers, so someone came up with the term Canola to refer to the oil originally created in Canada; basically Canada oil.

Olive oil, on the other hand, while expensive, is a natural juice that preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins, and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is, freshly pressed from the fruit, without all the processing required of Canola and other oils. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated fats as olive oil. Whereas Canola can potentially cause problems for some people who use it, olive oil has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil even activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs, so it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

An important component of the healthy Mediterranean Diet, olive oil, it seems to me, should be one of the few oils that someone trying to stay healthy should use. Other healthy oils include butter (yes, real butter, not the fake, processed stuff called margarine) and coconut oil. Other oily foods that are fine to eat on a healthy food plan include raw nuts, avocado, and even eggs. All yummy stuff. Nothing manufactured or genetically altered and renamed to avoid negative marketing implications.

Okay, so how did I do after cooking (and tasting) for two and a half days and then enduring a gluttonous Christmas Day? Not bad at all. I lost two pounds this week. Hooray for me!

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 198
Goal weight for this week: 197
Actual weight this week: 196
Total pounds lost: 49
Goal weight for next week: 195
Goal weight: 150

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tip: Don’t Be a Statistic!

Oh, how lovely it is to see the dial on the scale dropping again after my month-long plateau! Again I’m energized and excited about my goal of reaching a healthy weight.

Yesterday I had lunch with good friends who complimented me on my new figure, even as I know I have so much more to go before that figure will be in alignment with what it should be for my height. I accepted their compliments, though, which always feel good, and we ate a scrumptious lunch without overdoing the calories or starches. Granted, we ate plenty of both, but not too many of either.

This past week I spent some time iced in and had time on my hands, so I followed a few threads on the Internet. I discovered that a few years ago, Nestlé, one of the world's largest makers of chocolate, bought weight-loss company Jenny Craig for $600 million. I wonder why its commercials don’t tell us this mixed-up piece of information. Nestlé for weight loss? Confusing. For more see

My friend Deb pointed me toward SparkPeople, a free diet site filled with great-sounding, healthy recipes. There’s no charge for any of it, either. See I spent time downloading some mouth-watering recipes. Thank you, Deb.

As long as I’m into reporting bits and pieces today, here’s a note I received a few days before Thanksgiving from Edwina Cowgill, one of my blog followers:

I’m having nineteen people at my house Thanksgiving Day; I’ll be cooking all day Wednesday and Thursday morning. Here are a few things I plan to do to help me through the cooking and lunch:

- Have fresh veggies to nibble on while I cook.

- Eat a cup of squash (filling and few calories) just before serving lunch

- Have fresh fruit for dessert

She also said, “I love your determination and drive and look forward to reading more about your journey.”

Hey, I appreciate her determination. The holidays are the hardest time to lose weight but the perfect time to be on a weight-loss plan. One of the things I learned on the Internet is that the average North American gains seven to twelve pounds over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Egad! I do not plan to be a statistic. I am going against that average and losing weight during the holidays.

This week I am cooking for and serving about twenty-five people on Christmas Day, and while I’ll make my usual recipes that don’t spare the calories, I’ll be cautious about what I put on my plate. Oh, yes, at least half the turkey tail will be on that plate; I can’t resist a good turkey tail, but I won’t scarf down the potato salad or stuffing in the quantities I used to consume. In fact I won’t consume anything in the quantities I used to consume. I’ll be conscious of my portions, and I’ll spurn the sugary desserts. As an alternative, I will offer fruit for folks like me, who want something sweet, but not something filled with empty calories and devoid of fiber. Yeah, baby, bring on the holidays! I can beat ’em!

Here’s this week’s weigh-in information:
Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 199
Goal weight for this week: 198
Actual weight this week: 198
Total pounds lost: 47
Goal weight for next week: 197
Goal weight: 150

Mini goal: 195 by New Year’s Eve (former mini goal of weighing 200 by New Year’s Eve was met early, so I set a new mini goal, also subject to change)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tip: Diet-Buyer Beware!

Some people may say that only two things are certain in life, death and taxes, but I submit a third absolute certainty: Advertising for diet plans and exercise equipment will for certain hit the airwaves on January 1 of every year and continue throughout the month or longer. Why? Because advertisers know that gullible folks like me make New Year’s resolutions, swearing that we will finally begin dieting and exercising and get our weight down. Advertisers also know that by January 1 the general public has eaten its way through huge holiday meals, along with all the extra cookies, pies, candy, chips, and eggnog that proliferate at every holiday gathering. Yep, advertisers know we’re bloated and overloaded with guilt and more likely to fall prey to a promise of a new body, regardless of the outrageous expense.


This year I won’t be one of the hundreds of thousands of people enticed by such commercials, because I have a jump on the whole weight-loss concept. When those ads run, I will feel smug in the knowledge that I’ve learned how to eat correctly to lose weight, and I don’t need expensive and often ineffective gimmicks to take control of my life and my weight. I am in control, now. I laugh at your ads. Bring them on!

Before people start new diets, they should get all the facts. Here’s a site where users write reviews of the top diets, and the site lists the diets in the order of their rating:  It of course doesn’t list my Don’t You Dare Call It a Diet, because my plan isn't something you have to buy. It is simply a sensible way to eat. What could possibly be wrong with it?

Read all the negative reviews about all those diets, though, and you’ll see why I created my own food plan, without expense, inconvenience, or gimmicks. I especially felt repulsed by the side effects of Alli reported on this Web site. Ugh! Buyer beware.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bobbie's in One-derland!

A few days ago a friend I haven’t talked to in a while asked me a question no one dared to ask me six months ago, before I started my food plan. “What’s your current weight?” she asked.

I glumly responded, “I’ve been at a plateau for four weeks. I’m stuck at two hundred.”

“Wait till you reach Wonderland,” I thought she said.

I didn’t respond at first, and then it hit me what she actually said: “Wait till you reach One-derland.”

Oh, how clever! I’ll have to use that in my blog, if I ever do reach One-derland. I had started to doubt it, after four weeks of staying the same.

Plateaus are common in weight-loss programs. The body reaches a stage where it thinks it’s starving, and it calls out all its forces to hold onto the fat it still has stored. We who want to lose weight can’t let those plateaus bother us, though. We must keep pursuing our weight-loss goals and stay on track. Most failed dieters gave up when they saw the scale not moving for a while, but when we give up, the scale starts moving up. When we give up, we lapse into old habits. We add a little more food to our plates (remember, the body thinks it’s starving, even though the mirror proves it’s not so). We may say we’ll get back on the plan tomorrow or we come up with some other excuse, and soon the weight adds up.

I held to my belief that the plateau of 200 pounds was temporary, even as the days and weeks passed, and even yesterday, my weight still held at 200. I’ve said I would report my progress every Monday, but yesterday I took a friend in for oral surgery and then took her to my house so she would not be alone while she recovered from the anesthetic. As a result I never had time to write a blog entry yesterday. Somewhere in the back of my passive-aggressive mind, I was thinking that maybe if I waited one more day, that dial on the scale would finally go down a notch. I knew it was tottering on the edge, slightly less than 200, but not a full pound less, yet.

It worked! This morning I entered One-derland! The scale finally read 199. I decided that I created this blog, created my own food plan, and made my own promise to write at least once a week, so I am in control of everything related to my food plan and blog. I gave myself permission to fudge (Whoops! Maybe I should use a less-fattening word!) and report my weight today, Tuesday, instead of yesterday, when today is such a milestone day. I’m in One-derland! Hooray!

Oh, before I end this blog entry, let me tell you a tale that could have ended in dining disaster. Sunday I made a big dessert to take to a friend’s party. Outside, a light snow was falling, but I didn’t let it concern me. It was melting when it hit the streets, so I didn’t worry about it. Note that I live in Georgia, where we have no ability to clear the streets of snow, so I’m a wuss about driving in ice and snow. In addition, I live at a higher elevation than almost all my friends, so the weather in my area tends to be a little harsher than the weather at lower elevations. Nevertheless, I felt eager to see my friends, many of whom had been following my blog and congratulating me on my weight loss, so I got dressed and ready to go. I put the dessert in the car, and only then did I notice the snow had started sticking to my driveway.

Yikes! I have the world’s steepest driveway, and when it ices over, there’s no traveling up or down it safely. Dare I leave the house to attend a party for a few hours, knowing that while I was gone my driveway, and indeed my whole county, might become impassable? Would I enjoy the party, knowing that I might have trouble getting home? Is any party worth risking life and limb, not to mention automobile?

Reluctantly I decided not to leave, not to join my friends, and I called the host with my apologies. Thankfully he had made a fruit salad, so the partiers didn’t suffer for dessert. I would have loved that fruit salad too, I’m sure.

Next problem: what should I do with my giant éclair dessert? If I kept it, I would be tempted to chow down on it, and the recipe serves twenty people—or one very hungry, overweight person! The solution hit me while I walked the dog through the snow flurries. My next-door-neighbor works in a busy veterinarian’s office. She could take the dessert to work the next day and serve it to coworkers and clients, and I wouldn’t be tempted any longer. When I offered it to her, she gladly accepted, and I felt five pounds lighter, simply getting it out of my house and in her hands.

Disaster averted!

Okay, on another subject, now that I’m at 199 on December 14, I may have to re-evaluate my mini goal, although I won’t change it just yet. A while back I set a mini goal of weighing 200 by New Year’s Eve, but I hit 200 earlier than I expected, so I reset the mini goal to weigh 195 by New Year’s Eve. Immediately after setting my new mini goal, I waltzed into a four-week plateau wherein I didn’t lose a single pound. Now, finally, I’ve seen a breakthrough to 199, but I have only two and a half weeks until New Year’s, so I may not meet my mini goal of 195 by then. Instead, I’ll rest on my laurels for having met my first mini goal so much earlier than expected. See? I make all the rules, so I can change them whenever I feel like it! Who can challenge me?

Starting weight: 245

Weight last week: 200
Goal weight for this week: 199
Actual weight this week: 199
Total pounds lost: 46
Goal weight for next week: 198
Goal weight: 150

Mini goal: 195 by New Year’s Eve (former mini goal of weighing 200 by New Year’s Eve was met early, so I set a new mini goal, also subject to change, now!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tip: At a Plateau? Change Something!

Weight Watchers recently announced its new points system, and guess what it considers freebies, no points at all toward your daily “eating” score: non-starchy vegetables. Yup, exactly what I’ve been eating, mostly.

Confession time: I haven’t been perfect. Once I hit 200, I celebrated and felt great about myself. That milestone meant I had lost forty-five pounds. Maybe I’ve been patting myself on the back too much, though. I’ve gotten a little lax on the eating thing. That is, I’ve eaten more than four ounces of protein at dinnertime several times in the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, I had a little—just a little, but still, probably calorie-laden—hot chocolate. I added a little hot cocoa to a cup of spiced chai tea, the day before, on the recommendation of a reader, and in this cold weather it warmed me up and tasted terrific. I strongly believe that sugar begets sugar, though. Once I eat a little sugar, I feel okay about eating a little more sugar, and then, if I don’t watch out, I will crave it. The sugar stops here, then. No more for me.

My overdosing on protein and nipping a little hot chocolate here and there resulted in another week without a full pound lost. Yes, there was a little movement downward on the scale dial. Perhaps I lost a quarter of a pound or so, but I report only the whole pounds, so as far as this blog is concerned, I again lost nothing this week, for the third week in a row.

What’s a person on a weight-loss plateau to do? Research, that’s what.

I read a bunch of conflicting information from other Web sites and resources. Some said that when you hit a plateau, just wait it out. Others said it’s time for a change (so you aren’t following the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results). The concept of change hits home for me. I evaluated what I’ve been doing the past few weeks, and I’ve fallen into my old pattern of forgetting to eat breakfast. Whoops! Breakfast, I’ve learned sets our metabolism for the day. If I skip breakfast, my body thinks its starving, so it slows down my metabolism in an attempt to “save me” from starving to death. Oh, thanks, body!

Here’s my promise to myself this week, then: I will remember to eat breakfast. I will not eat unrefined sugar (I will eat fruits, but they don't count as unrefined sugar). That’s what I’ll change this week and see what happens. Oh, and I’d better not eat as much protein at dinner. Ignoring my own eating guidelines has been foolish of me.

By the way, “friend” Scott Isaacs, endocrinologist and weight-loss specialist on Facebook to get up-to-the minute information on weight-loss and healthy eating. Scott’s my cousin, and he’s constantly researching and reporting the latest information for people like me who want to lose lard and get healthier.

Let’s hope that next week’s weight-in shows better results, but here we go for this week (again).

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 200
Goal weight for this week: 199
Actual weight this week: 200
Total pounds lost: 45
Goal weight for next week: 199
Goal weight: 150

Mini goal: 195 by New Year’s Eve (former mini goal of weighing 200 by New Year’s Eve was met early, so I set a new mini goal)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Stalled, but Not Disheartened!

I am officially disappointed that my weight stayed the same again this week, which makes two weeks in a row. Ugh! In the past, such a disappointment would have been enough to throw me off a food plan, make me stuff my face in frustration, lose faith, and lose momentum. Not this time. I have more than myself to disappoint, if I were to do such a thing. Now I have more than a 1,600 readers of my blog that I’d let down. Writing this blog definitely keeps me going. You folks keep me going. Thank you!

To encourage myself and prove that I’m making progress, I pulled out my old photos and took some new ones in similar poses, to see—and confirm—that I’m getting better and better, even if I am still far from my goal weight. I’ll include “before” (left) and “during” (right) shots in this blog entry. I can’t take an “after” shot until I reach my goal weight, but expect more “during” shots to come.

How do I plan to put an end to this languishing period and start losing weight again? Exactly what I did before: Eat fewer white carbohydrates. Eat more salads. Keep food portions within boundaries. Work out. Make wise choices.

The news isn’t all disappointing. This morning I received the report from my latest blood test. My cholesterol has fallen into the normal range, so I have stopped taking statins, no longer exposing myself to their potential side effects. I will stay off statins for six months and see what my next report says. My fasting blood sugar count was down, too, at 101. Normal glucose levels fall between 70 and 150 mg., with 99 or less being ideal, but my number used to be higher than 101. No, I can’t remember the exact figure, but it wasn’t in the diabetic range of above 150. Again, the doctor advised fewer white carbohydrates, including sugar. I promised I’m already following that regimen, so things should be even better on my next test.

I also was able to reduce my blood-pressure medication, because my blood pressure has fallen within normal range. Two medications I can strike off my list and keep out of my body! Hooray! I’m definitely seeing definitive, recordable progress in my health, which explains why I feel so much better today than I did six months ago. It’s also why I plan to be the Energizer Bunny and keep going and going.

Here’s today’s weigh-in results:

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 200
Goal weight for this week: 199
Actual weight this week: 200
Total pounds lost: 46
Goal weight for next week: 199
Goal weight: 150
Mini goal: 195 by New Year’s Eve

Friday, November 26, 2010

Even Thanksgiving Didn't Throw Me Off Track

I've enjoyed finding old, fat photos of myself and posting them at the top of my blog, so readers can compare them to the new, improved me when I post new photos.

I thought Thanksgiving at my brother and sister-in-law’s house would be the most tempting of all days, but it turned out to be a breeze. First, my family members praised me for my weight loss, which reminded me to make wise choices when the food was served. Next, my sister and I have a ritual dating back to our childhood. We used to fight over who got the tail of the turkey, but now we simply share it. Yes, a turkey tail has a tiny piece of meat and a huge amount of fat. We know that, but I’ve learned that meat-related fat isn’t bad in moderation; instead, we gain weight from eating starches and sugars, which turn to stored fat in our bodies. She and I therefore indulged ourselves, giggling and eating half a turkey tail each for our guilty-pleasure appetizer.

When dinner was ready, I chose a small piece of turkey, a small piece of ham, a big batch of string beans, and a small bit of cranberry and fruit Jell-O salad. I spurned the broccoli casserole, which sounded healthy but was loaded with cheese and cream. I ignored the sweet potatoes, normally healthy eating, but that particular casserole included brown sugar and marshmallows. I passed up the stuffing and anything else that looked calorie-laden and starchy.

After dinner, out came a huge buffet of alluring pies, candies, cookies, and puddings. In the past I would have eaten a plate filled with samples of each sweet. This Thanksgiving, I ate a little fruit for dessert, and that was it; I felt perfectly satisfied.

How did I resist all those temptations? My blog keeps me motivated, because I know I have to report my weight in a few days. I hope that for the first time in my life I will be able to report that I actually lost weight during the week of Thanksgiving.

Stay tuned for my weigh-in on Monday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tip: Say Yes to Sweet Potatoes

Yesterday was Monday, and I stayed too busy to report the results of my weigh-in, or maybe I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t lose any weight this past week. I knew my weight loss would slow down at some point, but I trust it hasn’t come to a dead stop. I’m still way ahead of my scheduled goals, and I’m still eating right, so I’m not concerned by a one-week idle.

Today I visited my doctor for a regular checkup, and she told me I should be very proud of myself for losing forty-five pounds since I last saw her in April. She’s right. I am proud, and one week of staying the same weight is no big deal. It’s only the second week my weight stayed the same since I began my food plan in July. I’m sure I’ll still meet my mini goals and overall goal. Heck, I already met my first mini goal, which was to weigh 200 by New Year’s, and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

Yes, I am proud and excited that I’ve lost forty-five pounds, and more and more people are asking how I did it. My plan is simple, and it’s not about depriving myself, just making wise choices. One of the main components of my plan is to consume starchy foods in moderation. I can’t resist a little corn, rice, or pasta now and then, so I don’t deny myself, because if I did, I’d crave it even more. Instead I eat starchy foods in moderation, no more than half a cup at a time, and less than that is even better. For example, at lunch yesterday, the chicken wrap I ordered arrived with French fries on my plate, even though they were not in the description of what I had ordered. “I don’t want the fries,” I told the server.

“They come with the meal,” was her answer.

My lunch companion said, “I’ll take some,” so I tried to put all the fries on her plate, but she wouldn’t let me.

I took one small fry, put it in my mouth, and chewed. I had to admit that it did not taste nearly as good as losing weight felt, so I left all the other starchy fries on my plate and ate half the wrap I’d ordered and a small bowl of soup that came with it. I took the other half of the sandwich home and ate it for dinner with another small bowl of soup. Good choices.

Some starchy vegetables are fine, though, and one of my favorites is the sweet potato. The Center for Science in the Public Interest ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars, and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than a hundred points. No wonder I love them! No, I don’t add brown sugar to them, but a pat of butter and a little sea salt, and they’re out of this world.

When my family went to a hamburger restaurant a few weeks ago I ordered a grilled chicken breast on a bowl of lettuce, rather than a beef burger on a bun, so I didn’t feel guilty about eating some of the delicious sweet potato fries and onions rings we ordered as an appetizer. I left the table feeling that I’d had great treats without overeating things that are bad for me. Sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal, more vitamin A than carrots, more potassium than a banana, and more flavor than white potatoes. A small sweet potato has only about 150 calories, and all of them good for me.

So am I depriving myself? Am I starving or craving things I can’t have? No way! That is why I deny that I am on a diet at all, and without dieting, I’ve lost forty-five pounds. Yay, me. Now on to the next forty-five…!

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 200
Goal weight for this week: 199
Actual weight this week: 200
Total pounds lost: 45
Goal weight for next week: 199
Goal weight: 150

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tip: Pause before You Plunge

First the great news: I hit a major milestone this morning. My mini goal had been to weigh 200 by New Year’s, but guess what. It’s only November 15, 2010, and I already hit that goal this morning, when I stepped on the scale and weighed 200 pounds. Oh, heavens, that number still looks awful, doesn’t it? I have so much more to lose, but hooray for me, because I’ve lost forty-five ugly, health-threatening pounds. I hope the next forty-five pounds are as easy to lose as the first forty-five. I trust they will be, because I am in the habit of making good choices, and I constantly read more good information to keep me on track.

Most recently I read an interesting tidbit in AARP The Magazine that said that the Cornell Food and Brand Lab studied 213 people while they helped themselves to a buffet. Seventy-one percent of the thin people scouted the buffet table first to see what they wanted to put on their plates before they even picked up a plate. Three-quarters of the heavy people grabbed their plates first and began taking food before they even had a good idea of the choices available.

At lunchtime last Saturday I went to an opening of a new business in the neighborhood that offered a free buffet. I had read the article about thin people who perused the buffet before making choices, but honestly, I didn’t think about it at the time. I instinctively scrutinized the offerings at the food table before I put anything on my plate. I’m not sure, now, though, whether I actually took a plate first or not, but I certainly didn’t put anything on that plate until I had made my healthy choices.

Remember my blog entry about thinking like a thin person? It’s working. More and more, I’m thinking like a thin person. That buffet table had green beans, broccoli, white rice and beans, two types of dried-out-looking meat, and a cabbage-based salad. I chose the salad, broccoli, and green beans, and without any effort bypassed the dried-out meat and white rice, plus, without even thinking, I also bypassed the entire table of sweets, which included cookies, cakes, and my absolute favorite, whipped cream. Well, it was probably the fake kind, loaded with hydrogenated oils, but in the past that fact wouldn’t have stopped me from glopping it onto a piece of cake and eating it with gusto. That’s the past, though. Now I automatically scan buffets before I put anything on my plate.

I know I will be faced with more buffets, especially during the holiday season, and I feel confident that I’ll pause, scan the selections, and make my choices before I put a drop of food on my plate. In that way I’ll fill my plate with the best choices and not be tempted by the starch-laden ones. Getting through Thanksgiving and Christmas while sticking to a food plan may be tough, and actually losing weight over the holidays may be even tougher, but I swear I’m going to do it. I have a goal in mind, and nothing can stop me.

Because I’ve met my first mini goal, I’ve set another one. My new mini goal is to lose five more pounds before New Year’s and weigh 195 by January 1.

On another topic, one of my many readers said to forget the digital scale that has become my nemesis, because it says I weight more than my dial scale says. I think I will use the digital scale when I want to see incremental changes in my weight, but for now will ignore it and stick with the dial scale, which, by the way, agrees with the expensive dial scale at my gym, where I weigh in wearing a bathing suit. Today is weigh-in day, so here’s my official report:

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 204
Goal weight for this week: 203
Actual weight this week: 200
Total pounds lost: 45
Goal weight for next week: 199
Goal weight: 150

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Find Your Inspiration, and You’ll Inspire Others

I’ve been getting wonderful e-mail messages from blog readers and followers.

One of my blog followers wrote to say that she likes my blog, and because of it, all the previous week she told herself all she had to do was make good choices, and it worked. Good for her!

I answered her this way:

Thank you for reading my blog. Keep making good choices. It gets easier. Even today, I was about three-fourths finished with my lunch when my dog barked to ask me to let him out on the deck. When I returned to the table, my inner voice said, "You could quit eating now." Hmm. I thought about that little inner voice and decided it was right. I put the remainder of my food back in the fridge, and I was completely satisfied with the quantity I'd eaten and happy with myself, too. This food-plan/healthy-choice thing gets easier and easier with each day, even though I originally thought it would get harder. Instead I've made a habit of making good choices.

One of my Australian friends wrote:

I just scanned down your Facebook page and learned that you have lost 37 lbs. Oh, my God! Is there anything left of you? I would be in heaven if I lost that much, so I’m going to use you as my inspiration.

Judi from Oz

I responded:

Believe me, there's still plenty of me left. Too much. I have a l-o-n-g way to go before I reach my goal weight, which will still be ten pounds more than the alleged perfect weight for someone my height. If, however, I can come within ten pounds of what I weighed high school some forty-eight years ago, I'll be pleased. My greater joy, though, has been that by going so public with my intent, I've inspired dozens of men and women who have written to me like you did, and they, too, are eating healthier and losing weight. They now inspire me to keep going. It works both ways.

Another writer said this:

I'm also wanting to lose some significant weight and needing inspiration. Perhaps your notes will give me the kick on the backside I need.

I hope my blog helps her and all my other readers.

When I decided to go public with my intention to lose weight, I did it for me, so that I couldn’t quietly back down and not follow through, not when I had declared my intention to the whole world. Now that I am proving how easy weight loss can be through wise choices, being conscious of the foods I eat, and eating moderate and correct quantities of food, I’m inspiring others. It’s the happiest cycle I’ve ever witnessed. While I’m getting inspiration from others, I’ve also giving inspiration to others. We feed off each other, and it’s the only feeding frenzy I know that can lead to weight loss instead of weigh gain.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tip: One or two setbacks do not equal failure

I know everyone wants to hear my weigh-in news. It’s good. Despite eating more than necessary two nights in a row, I lost two more pounds this week.

Whoa, I sure rushed past that part about eating more than necessary, didn’t I? Well, I am human, and sometimes I still have the innate desire to pamper myself or stuff my feelings by stuffing my face. This past week I endured a few things that caused me emotional distress. Fortunately those things did not involve anything so drastic as the loss of a loved one, but any loss or disappointment can lead to breaks in our good habits, and I gave myself permission to eat more protein than necessary, two nights running. Both nights I cooked and ate two pork chops, instead of one, along with a good supply of sautéed cauliflower and eggplant.

At least I was conscious of my eating, aware of my lack of logic (“It’s okay, Bobbie; you deserve to be pampered this once” turned into “again” the next night.) Yes, I deserve pampering, but next time I’ll get a manicure instead of overeating. Thankfully, because I ate correctly the rest of the week and worked out several times, too, I still lost two pounds this week. Whew! It proves I can’t ruin eating right by eating wrong once or twice.

What is eating right? The other day someone told me my food plan sounded like the Atkins Diet. Oh, no, no, no, I say. As I understand the Atkins Diet, it relies on high protein and high fat, and as a result, a person cannot and should not stick to it for life, only for short spurts. A high-fat, high-protein plan is already less than healthy, yet the Atkins Diet goes a step further and spurns all carbohydrates. Well, folks, vegetables and fruits are carbohydrates, and they are important and tasty sources of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. Meats may have nutrients, but they lack the volume and variety of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants of fruits and vegetables.

My food plan is almost the polar opposite of the Atkins Diet. Mine is a plan I can stay on for life. It’s loaded with vegetables and fruits, so I get all the vitamins and minerals my body needs. I can eat what I want, in appropriate portions, but I choose to limit my intake of starchy foods. To aid in losing weight, I have also chosen to cut out desserts, which turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be. I cut down, first, by limiting dessert to one forkful or spoonful, but soon I didn’t want any at all.

As much as I used to love sweets, it amazes me that once I began losing weight, sugar-filled desserts no longer had a hold on me. Breaking the sugar habit took only a few weeks. Now desserts no longer even tempt me. I keep my goal in mind, and my goal of losing weight and living a healthy life takes precedence over the empty calories in cookies, candy, cake, pie, and soft drinks.

I’m thrilled that I’m only four pounds away from my planned milestone of weighing 200 pounds or less by New Year’s Day, which is seven weeks away. I know I’ll reach my goal or exceed it, and success is sweeter than any dessert known to man.

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 207
Goal weight for this week: 206 dial scale, 209.2 on new digital scale
Actual weight this week: 204 dial scale, 208.0 on new digital scale
Total pounds lost: 41
Goal weight for next week: 203 dial, 207.0 digital
Goal weight: 150

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tip: Remember Your Motivation

My original goal was to lose weight so I would feel better. Within a month of following my food plan, I started to feel better, so now I have to keep remembering my original motivation.

It's easy to forget the amount of pain I was experiencing before I started the plan. I must keep remembering the pain and restrictions I dealt with for many months before my decision to stick to a food plan. My mobility had deteriorated to the point that I used my mother's old cane to help me get around the house, especially in the morning when I needed to hobble to the bathroom or take the dog out to the deck.

Some days I didn’t walk my dog at all, making him pee and poop on the deck. I could much more easily clean off the deck than I could walk down my steep driveway to take the dog for a walk. When I walked downhill like that, I not only felt pain with every step, but I also feared my knees would go out of joint and I'd fall. I could feel my knee joints slipping and popping.

When I felt a little better, I put the dog in the car and drove down to the end of the driveway, took him out, and walked him a little bit on the flat part of the street. Within weeks, though, I could leave the car in the garage and walk down the sheer cement walk with the dog.

Since losing more than thirty-five pounds, I take long strolls down the driveway, down the street, down the hill, around the corner, and back up, all the way, as far as I want, without fear or pain. No more pain: that’s why I have to stick to my plan. It works.

We all know what we should be eating, but cutting down drastically on starchy and sugary foods can be tough. I absolutely had to; I had no choice. My goal has nothing to do with my looks; it has everything to do with my health. If I come out looking better, that's a bonus, not a goal, but I have to admit I’m enjoying the compliments coming my way these days.

For a long time I fought depression, because I knew my enjoyment of life had decreased immensely. The term "quality of life" kept running through my head. I thought of the dogs and cats I’d euthanized when their quality of life went down. I did not want to be euthanized, though. I wanted to be youth-inized, and losing weight did it. I feel young, spry, and healthy again. Hooray!

If I want to stay motivated and stick to the plan, though, I must remember that earlier pain, stiffness, fear, and immobility. Writing about what I experienced keeps me motivated. The memory of feeling limited, seeing my quality of life diminishing, keeps me moving in the right direction, the healthy-eating direction.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tip: Celebrate Success

Oh, heavens, I messed everything up. I caved and bought a digital scale, figuring it would give me increments my dial scale couldn’t. Yes, it gives me increments, but oh, dear, the digital scale says I weigh more than my dial scale says. How will I handle that disconnect in my accounting? I’m thinking about it.

I don’t want to discourage myself by taking a leap of several pounds backwards from what I weighed on my dial scale a day earlier. I’m open to suggestions on how to handle my dilemma. I posted my question on Facebook, and a few of my friends asked if I could calibrate the digital scale. No, it allows for no adjustments. One friend said to take helium. Although that suggestion might be good for laughs, I’m still looking for the perfect answer. Until then, I’ll report both weights.

Regardless of what scale I use, though, I have lost thirty-eight pounds, which is cause to celebrate. As a result, I’ve been going through my storage closet and pulling out expensive clothes I refused to donate after I gained weight. I donated most of my cheaper smaller-sized clothes when they no longer fit, but I kept a few nice pieces, believing that one day I might fit into them again. That day has arrived. Last week I slipped into a hand-painted jacket I bought some twenty years ago and haven’t been able to wear for the past ten years. It fit perfectly again. I found a Bob Mackie sweater vest probably worth hundreds of dollars that I bought brand new in a thrift shop about five years ago, but my blouses were too long and showed from underneath, so I never wore the sweater vest. Why were all my blouses so long? Plus-size blouses are big in every respect. To accommodate my large stomach, the girth had to be large, but as a result, the shoulder seams hung down between my shoulders and elbows, short sleeves reached my elbows, long sleeves covered my thumbs, and the lengths came down below my expanded butt. Now that I can wear smaller blouses, they are also shorter, so I can again wear many of the fancy jackets I’ve been storing.

As far as fashion goes, I had grown into a complete slouch. I used to love to wear bright-colored, unusual clothing. My eye was naturally drawn to things with sparkles, dangly things, or unusual designs. Once I grew into larger sizes, my clothing choices grew limited. When I shopped for clothes, I bought what fit, not what I loved. My clothes became plain, bland, and gigantic.

Remember, please, that I’m still not thin by any stretch of the imagination; however, now that I am bordering on a size 18 to 20 instead of a 24 to 26, I can wear shorter blouses and stylish jackets, and I’ve plundered my closets and pulled out the bright, cheerful clothes I love. When I wear something I like, I become more conscious of my hair, makeup, and jewelry, whereas for years I just slapped myself together and left the house without spending much time on my looks. Nothing helped, so why bother?

It’s so much fun to see the real me coming back to life. I’m finding my true self again and enjoying my clothing choices and personal image. Now I’m just waiting for an excuse to wear that Bob Mackie vest.

Rediscovering and reactivating my beloved clothing choices has been a wonderful way to celebrate this point in my success, and I have other, smaller clothes I’ll enjoy fitting into in the future. I know it is not only possible; it’s inevitable.

Here’s today’s weigh-in information, and I’ve lost another pound.

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 207
Goal weight for this week: 206
Actual weight this week: 206 dial scale, 210.2 on new digital scale
Goal weight for next week: 205 dial, 209.2 digital
Total pounds lost: 38
Goal weight: 150

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tip: Become Your Own Weight-Loss Company; Don’t Pay Those High Prices!

I find myself more interested in ever in reports on various diet plans and weight-loss companies. I read an article that quotes a study whose results say the Jenny Craig diet helped women who weighed 200 pounds or more lose twenty pounds a year. The study was funded, of course, by Jenny Craig. Once I read the entire article, I learned that the cost of the diet is usually about $350 for the intake and counseling and $100 a week for the food; however, all those things were provided free to the study participants. Finally, if you read to the very end, the article makes the most ludicrous of all statements: “If provided for free, structured programs like Jenny Craig may be a cost-effective way of encouraging weight loss and fighting obesity.” Of course it’s cost-effective when it’s free, but it’s NOT free. It’s expensive and unnecessary, if we simply learn to eat correctly on our own. For the whole article, see

Twenty pounds a year, when you weight 200 pounds, means that reaching a weight of 150 would take two and a half years. Although slow weight loss is smart, something that slow would probably discourage most dieters before they reached their goal weight. In addition, how many people can afford to pay for Jenny Craig food, counseling, and monitoring for two and a half years?

An advertisement came in the mail recently for Nutrisystem, another expensive weight-loss plan that makes participants buy their food, rather than teaching you how to eat normal, healthful food from supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and restaurants.

Logic dictates that if we don’t learn how to eat correctly on our own, without prepared meals being delivered to us, as soon as we stop eating those prepared foods, we’ll go right back to old habits that made us gain weight in the first place.

Now Nutrisystem also offers a program to help lower blood sugar and control type 2 diabetes. Nutrisystem D, like the regular program, requires that you buy Nutrisystem-prepared meals. Do they expect people with type 2 diabetes to eat Nutrisystem D meals for life? What an impossible and expensive task! It means participants can never go to a friend’s house for dinner, take a cruise, or eat at a restaurant.

Let’s back up a moment and look at some facts. What causes type 2 diabetes? According to the Centers for Disease Control, while not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight, obesity and lack of physical activity are the two most common causes of this form of diabetes (insulin intolerance) and obesity and lack of exercise are responsible for nearly 95% of type 2 diabetes cases in the United States. If we can avoid getting type 2 diabetes 95% of the time by eating correctly and adding a little exercise to our week, it would cost less, save us from having to monitor our blood sugar, give us personal freedom to travel, eat out, and enjoy life, and also let us avoid the horrific effects of diabetes, including but not limited to skin problems, foot problems, heart problems, blindness, and death.

My food plan calls for self-motivation, rather than motivation from a counselor, plus I get motivation from those who send me e-mails to encourage me, since I went public with my intention to lose weight.

My food plan doesn’t cost any more than regular groceries cost, because it calls for regular groceries. My groceries cost about $35 a week. My food plan involves buying and eating real food, not food manufactured, dried, frozen, or otherwise prepared. I eat regular, normal, healthful food. Cereal, oatmeal, fruit, and/or yogurt in the morning and vegetables and fruits for lunch, dinner, and snacks, plus three to four ounces of protein of some sort, be it eggs, fish, chicken, beef, or beans, at lunch and dinner.

I worry about people who diet on pre-packaged foods. What do they learn about how to eat normal, everyday food? How can they know what to cook for themselves? What can they know of how to order healthy food at a restaurant? I have learned how to eat normal, healthful, delicious food. I can follow my food plan for life, and it’s simple. I eat lots of veggies and fruits and I control the protein. Around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon I might have a snack of an apple, fresh pineapple, kiwi fruit, or whatever is in season. I avoid snacking on starch-laden snacks such as chips or popcorn. I avoid dessert entirely or allow myself one forkful, which is amazingly satisfying. My plan automatically results in low-fat, healthy eating, and the weight falls off at a satisfying rate.

It took me about three weeks for this healthy type of eating to become a habit, but that’s it. It’s a habit with me now, and I no longer have hunger pains or cravings that feel uncontrollable.

I have become a zealot, I know. I want to tell the world how easy it is to lose weight and eat right, all without paying someone to monitor you, counsel you, or make food for you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tip: Turn off the TV for more reasons than you think!

I knew that plopping down in front of the TV in the evening wasn’t burning many calories, especially when I added what I thought was my requisite bowl of popcorn, but it never occurred to me that when I leave the TV on in my bedroom it could lead to obesity. A new study says that leaving even a dim light on when you sleep at night messes up your circadian rhythm and leads to obesity. Read the full article from the LA Times at,0,5456627.story.

Since reading that article, I’ve been turning off all the lights and even wearing a sleep mask at times, especially a few nights ago, when the moon was full and the sky was clear, and the glow through the blinds was as strong as early-morning light. Every time I woke up to pee, I couldn’t resist peeking out of my window at the magic moonscape below, but then I put on my sleep mask and slept again.

As an aside, when I was married the first time, so many years ago I can’t even count, our only television set was in the bedroom. Our routine soon became this: Eat dinner in the dining room or in bed and watch television until we fell asleep. Is it any wonder, then, that both of us gained weight? My husband at the time had dropped about forty pounds or more before we met, and I was young and uninformed. I had no idea how easy it is for people who have lost weight to gain it back, much faster than those who haven’t lost weight. It has something to do with hungry fat cells begging to be replenished; I won’t go into it. I will only say that by the time my marriage broke up, my husband was quite the blimp. His weight wasn’t an issue in the breakup, although his health was beginning to suffer, and we both were still in our twenties. He did lose that weight later, I’m happy to report, and his health improved, I’m sure.

In my second marriage, I insisted on no television in the bedroom, and now I can see what a wise decision that was. That marriage ended in divorce, too, and again, the television didn't play into it.

Somehow, however, I ended up with an extra television set in my house when I moved to Woodstock, Georgia, and the only logical place to put the extra set was in my bedroom. I almost never turn it on, but there it sits, willing to lull me to sleep when need be. I know now, though, to turn it off before I fall asleep, if I watch it at all. I don’t want to mess up my circadian rhythm and undo all the good I’ve done with my body and my health.

Speaking of health, I mentioned recently that the severe cramps I used to experience in my legs and hands had stopped, and I wanted to credit the weight loss. Since then I’ve been thinking of all the healthy foods I’m eating, and I’ve changed my mind about why the cramps have stopped. I eat a good deal more vegetables than I used to eat, especially as a salad, almost every day, and in almost every salad, I put a large portion of spinach. I looked up spinach and found the following information: This food is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol. It is also a good source of niacin and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Potassium rang a bell with me. Didn’t someone tell me I needed to correct my electrolyte balance, if I was experiencing muscle cramps and that potassium was a big help in that direction? I looked up potassium next and learned that it helps your muscles and nerves function properly, helps you maintain the proper electrolyte and acid-base balance in your body, and helps lower your risk of high blood pressure, and spinach is a potassium-rich food. Voila! My healthier diet is naturally taking care of some of my health issues.

I weigh myself on Mondays, so here’s today’s report, and I’m still on track. This food plan of mine really works.

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 208
Goal weight for this week: 207
Actual weight this week: 207
Goal weight for next week: 206
Total pounds lost: 37
Goal weight: 150

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tip: Almost Every Menu Has Good Choices

Yesterday after bowling my sister and I went out to lunch. Both of us immediately scanned the salad portion of the menu and found a salad made with avocado slices, shrimp, and Romaine (a good form of lettuce with fiber, food value, and taste, unlike the popular iceberg lettuce). It also promised pico de gallo, and feta cheese, all with an olive-oil-based dressing. Great!

My sister asked our server, Sarah, if it was okay to split a salad, explaining that she and I are both on diets, whether I admit it or not.

I laughed, because as my sister knows, I refuse to call my food plan a diet, because the D word sounds repulsive. It is, after all, a four-letter word. Diets require restrictions, restraints, limitations, and hunger, and most call for unusual or bland foods. Diets are difficult to maintain, and they are short-lived, because of that fact. My food plan is not a diet, because it doesn’t have immutable rules; it’s just a healthy way to eat, and it’s a plan for life. It calls for real food, with unlimited choices, and no matter where I am, I can eat healthy, good food. I get frustrated when people say, “Oh, you’re on a diet; does that mean we can’t go out to eat together?” Of course not! A food plan isn’t a diet, and besides, we have to eat something, every day, to stay alive. I eat real food; restaurants serve real food. It’s up to me to make healthy choices.

My sister and I made our healthy choice. We told the server that we would split the salad, but put the pico de gallo, feta, and dressing on the side. The server said the restaurant also had a balsamic vinaigrette dressing we might like, and she offered to bring both dressings, on the side, of course.

I wanted the pico de gallo on the side because it contains raw onions, which sometimes give me a bad aftertaste that continues in my mouth for hours. We ordered the other items on the side, though, so we had complete control over them. I don’t care for feta cheese, for instance, but my sister loves it, so she could have all she wanted on her half of the salad, while my half remained cheese free. Often when a restaurant applies salad dressing it adds too much; besides, with two dressings, we could choose the dressing we preferred and apply it in the quantity we wanted.

When the salads arrived (the restaurant split it and put it on separate plates for us. How nice!), I had one more shrimp than my sister, which we agreed worked out fine, since she was eating the cheese, both of us mindful that both shrimp and cheese should be eaten in limited quantities. I picked out some of the tomatoes from among the onions in the pico de gallo (which, by the way, means rooster’s beak in Spanish. What’s up with that?) and added them to my salad. It turned out my sister and I both liked the olive oil dressing best, and olive oil is one of the good oils included in cholesterol-lowering Mediterranean diets. Half a salad turned out to be exactly the right amount of food for each of us for lunch. Isn’t eating is restaurants a treat?

Although I give many tips in my blog and will give many more as I go along, there's obviously no trick to my food plan; it’s just a healthy way to eat, and regardless of where I eat, I can almost always find healthy choices. As a conscientious eater, my only job is to make the right choices, every time I eat. See? It’s not a diet at all, and yet I’m losing weight every week and having a great time doing it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tip: Think Like a Thin Person

The food plan I follow isn’t new to me; I followed it about fifteen years ago and lost sixty pounds, when I wanted to stay off blood-pressure medication. At that time, my doctor beamed with pride over my accomplishment and said, “Now all you have to do is think like a thin person.”

Duh? I’d never been thin in my life, and even after losing sixty pounds, I still weighed more than most women my height. Think like a thin person? What did he mean? When I asked, he said, “If you gain a few pounds, take if off right away, so you can stay at this weight.”’

His sage advice fell on deaf ears, because I considered myself fat, and I thought like a fat person. As my weight gradually crept up again, these are the thoughts that were running through my mind: “I lost weight; I deserve to eat a big meal now and then.” “Now and then” soon became every meal.

Sometimes I thought, “I’m rewarding myself,” when I ate more food than I should. I also thought, “That was so good that another helping will be even better.” After a while, I got into the habit of eating dinner, having ice cream for dessert, and then eating a big bowl of popcorn while I watched TV at night. My thinking? “I won’t eat popcorn tomorrow night, just tonight.” Ha. I soon was eating it every night I was home. When my clothes no longer fit, instead of thinking like a thin person and losing the weight, I thought like a fat person and bought bigger clothes. Over the years the clothes that grew too tight were donated to charity and I bought even larger sizes. Fifteen years later, I had not only regained all the weight I’d lost but had put on an additional twenty-five pounds. Why was it so easy? Because I always thought of myself as fat, so even when photos of me shocked me, I shrugged and said, “So what? I’ve always been fat.”

The frustrating thing is that when I look at pictures taken when I was in my late thirties, when I thought myself fat, I looked fine. No, I was not thin; I’ve never been thin, but I was at a healthy weight. Why did I think I was fat? Well, I won’t go to a head shrink over it; the fact remains that because I have always weighed more than the medical charts say I should, it’s been easy for me to gain weight, thinking I’m fat already, so what’s another pound or two? I thought like a fat person. I didn’t know how to think otherwise.

This time, though, and I swear it’s true, I’m determined to use every trick in the book to lose weight, get healthy, and stay healthy. I must change my thinking and think like a thin person, so I did some research. I asked several thin people how they think. Here are some of their responses:

“I think of my body as holy, which it is, and so I take care of it. I won’t eat anything that isn’t good for me.”

“I have a trap door that shuts off when I’ve eaten enough food.”

“I refuse to eat desserts, except for fruit. Cakes, puddings, and pies have almost no food value and don’t last long enough in my mouth to be worth how long they stay on my hips.”

“Desserts don’t exist for me. Period.”

“I’ve always liked vegetables more than starches, such as potatoes and rice.”

“When my clothes stop fitting, I deny myself the urge to go shopping for larger clothes. I refuse to wear clothes any larger than the size I am now.”

“I don’t own a scale. I gauge my weight by how my clothes fit. If they start feeling tight, I eat less at each meal until my clothes feel comfortable again.”

Fitting into the same clothes year after year became a theme among the thin people I asked. One of my friends had a favorite pair of slacks that fit her perfectly. When she could no longer wear them, she set out to lose the seven pounds that stood between her and those pants. Once she fit back into her favorite pants, she donated two pair of larger-size jeans she had bought, so she wouldn’t be tempted to go back to her higher weight.

We women of size get ticked at thin women who bemoan the fact that they have five or seven pounds to lose. We scoff at their comments and say they don’t have to lose weight, but they think like thin people, so they actually do have to lose that weight. If we thought like them, we would never grow to the large size that we are.

Think like a thin person. I’ve got to learn to think like a thin person.

A few weeks ago I dreamed someone gave me a whole cake. I pulled off the icing (the best part) and was about to put it in my mouth, when in the dream I said to myself, "Whoa! I forgot I'm on a food plan!" In my dream, I stopped myself and did not eat the icing. A week or so later, I dreamed I went to an event that included dinner, but when I went to the buffet table, it held nothing but ooey gooey desserts, just the things I used to love. In the dream, though, I felt insulted and asked someone, “Where’s the real food?” Both mornings after those dreams I awoke feeling proud that even in my dreams I refused to eat things that did not contribute to my health.

Last night when I finished dinner, I took my plate to the kitchen sink and heard an ancient, familiar internal voice that said, “Dinner was good. What do you want to eat now?” I haven’t heard that voice in a few months, because I’ve been consciously working on my food plan, portion control, and healthy eating. I’ve been trying hard to think like a thin person, so when I heard that voice, I mentally answered, “Yes, dinner was good, and now you’ve eaten plenty.”

Maybe I’m learning to think like a thin person after all.

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 210
Goal weight for this week: 209
Actual weight this week: 209
Goal weight for next week: 208
Total pounds lost: 36
Goal weight: 150

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Weight-loss Drug Banned; My Food Plan Still Works!

First I want to thank everyone who has posted comments on my blog or sent me e-mails supporting me or regarding your own successes. Although not all these comments show up on the actual blog, I get them, read them, and love them. Keep staying in touch, and keep up the good work yourself, if you’re on a food plan.

Next I want to mention Dr. Scott Isaacs, an endocrinologist in Atlanta who specializes in weight loss for his patients. He’s not only handsome, he’s also kind, friendly, concerned, and sweet. I know, because he’s my cousin. As a doctor, though, he’s also knowledgeable and stays up to date on everything in his field. He’s written several books about hormones and weight loss and is working on another. He recently posted links on Facebook, a few days apart. One link is to his article that appears on about the leptin diet (see After reading about leptin, how it works, and how to counter it, I understand weight loss and weight gain much better. I knew that eating lots and lots of vegetables, some fruits, and a little protein each day has changed my weight and improved my wellness, but because of Dr. Isaacs’s article, I now know why.

The other link is to a Business Week article at that announces that the FDA has banned the ingredient in Meridia, an alleged weight-loss drug, because it caused heart attacks and strokes in 16% of the people taking it. It said that further studies on the drug proved it was not more effective than diet and exercise alone.

The ban on Meridian, he said, didn’t surprise him, and it didn’t have any impact on me, because I refuse to pay anyone to “make” me lose weight. Here are the facts: I gained weight by overeating, eating the wrong foods, and being sedentary. To lose weight, I have to eat less, eat correctly, and get more exercise. No fad diet, pills, or magic will replace the fact that my actions are the key factors in my losing weight. I can’t blame anyone for my weight gain, and I can’t rely on anyone but myself to make the weight go away.

I measured my boobs, waist, and hips today and see that I’ve lost more inches in my hips, mostly, which means I’ve lost more weight in my abdomen, which definitely needed to decrease. Good for me! I’ve known I was losing in my chest, because I’ve been able to hook my bras on the tightest hook, instead of the loosest one, and I even bought a new, sexy bra in the same cup size as before, but with a circumference four inches smaller.

Besides the things I can measure, I love noticing the subtle ways that weight loss is improving my health and appearance. Some things we women never want to discuss, but since I am already so boldly posting my original weight, horrible figure that it was, I may as well be totally honest about all that is going on. Here are a few other delightful changes I’ve noticed since losing thirty-five pounds:

1. I walk better and without pain. Not only are my dog walks more enjoyable, but I also walk down stairs without fear of my knees going out. I walk up stairs at a much faster pace than before and actually enjoy bounding up the stairs on occasion.

2. I breathe better. I used to lie in bed and hear breathing in the room and realize it was my own wheezing caused by fat constricting my windpipe.

3. I sleep better. When I breathe better, I sleep better.

4. My blood pressure is better. My pressure used to be in the high to high normal range. Now it’s almost always at or below 120/80, the recommended range. Granted I’m still on blood-pressure medication, but I was on it before, when my pressure was registering as high as 160/95 at times.

5. My body is more flexible, which means I’m finding it easier to put on socks, cut my toenails, tie my shoes, cross my legs, and even give myself a good foot rub.

6. I swallow easier. I could actually feel the fat in my neck constricting my swallowing at times. I’ve read that overweight people choke on food more often than slender people, but I didn’t want to apply that news to myself. Nevertheless, I had several instances where I choked on food when I was alone, and I’m not talking about food or liquid going down the wrong pipe and causing coughing. I’m talking about seriously choking, unable to breathe, cough, or speak, with food completely blocking my airway. Each time, I was finally able to dislodge the food myself, thank heavens, but it left me weak and freaked out.

7. My bladder control is better. Women who have given birth to children are inclined toward bladder leakage in latter years. Weight, however, is another factor. I had several strikes against me, but that’s history, now.

8. My muscles don’t cramp as much or as often. Cramps are painful and inconvenient, but mine went a step further. I was driving out of a parking lot one time, and both my legs cramped so severely that I had to pull the car to an awkward stop, jump out, and walk around to stretch my muscles until the cramps subsided. It took almost a half hour, and all the while I was in severe pain. When the pain finally stopped, I was afraid to get back in the car and drive, lest it happen again while I was amid traffic. Thankfully I got home safely. As a bit of a disclaimer, this event took place after I had walked around a large store for an hour and then walked across a large parking lot to reach my car when the temperature was one hundred degrees outside. The cramps may have been exacerbated by heat exhaustion and/or dehydration, but I’m sure my weight made me more vulnerable to both.

9. Sex is better, with less fat in the way. Enough said!

All these benefits definitely add a great deal to my quality of life, which is why I feel younger than I did a year ago. Yes, life is grand, even when you’re old enough to be a grandparent.

Yesterday was weigh-in day, and the news is good. I hit another milestone: thirty-five pounds gone!

Starting weight: 245
Goal weight for this week: 210
Actual weight this week: 210
Goal weight for next week: 209
Total weight lost: 35
Overall goal weight: 150

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tip: Walk; Just Walk!

As you can imagine, I’ve become embroiled in health tips and information related to the food we eat. The other day I read the following information on weight loss:

Along with diet and exercise, healthcare professionals recommend that you:

Reduce saturated and trans fats
Limit refined carbohydrates (Bobbie's note: these are the starches I avoid)
Keep fat intake under 35% of total calories

Three brisk walks a week may be the most health-conscious thing you can do for your body.
In fact, a study presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association reported that women who walked for at least three hours a week had a 40% lower risk of heart attack and stroke than women who didn’t walk. The study, part of an eight-year research project of 84,000 female nurses ages 40–65, also suggested that the brisker the walk, the greater the health benefit.

(end of article)

All that information is great, but my walks aren’t that brisk. I walk with my dog, and my miniature poodle, like most male dogs, spends a great deal of time sniffing things and marking his territory. Our walks, therefore, include many stops and starts and only a few brisk strides here and there when something new draws his attention. Still, we walk, every day, two or three times a day, for ten to twenty minutes, and every time, I have to walk down a long, steep driveway and then climb back up it to get into the house. I figure that driveway adds enough strain at the end to count for a few more brisk steps than I actually took. At least it all adds up to some form of exercise.

Fact is, and I’ve said it before: I don’t like to exercise, and almost nothing motivates me to do so, except obligation. I don’t have a fenced yard, so I’m obligated to walk the dog and scoop up his poop, so I stay on good terms with the neighbors. I also joined a gym and pay a monthly fee, hoping that fee would form an obligation to go, but I still go only on average of once a week or less. Instead, I point to the fact that at least I walk every single day, several times a day.

Here’s another confirming article I found on the Internet:

Walking benefits you

Results from the Nurses’ Health Study demonstrate the following benefits:

It’s inexpensive, requiring little equipment other than a pair of sturdy shoes. There are no fees to pay, no courses to drive to, and it’s as easy to do as strolling around the block.

It’s probably the safest form of exercise. Walkers stand little chance of developing shin splints, tennis elbow, or torn muscles, cartilage, or ligaments.

Walking is one of the most efficient, low-impact workouts available. Walking and running burn about the same amount of calories per mile. The benefit to running comes from the fact that you can cover more miles running than walking in the same amount of time.

Walking offers a host of long-term benefits. The study found: women who walked briskly (3–4 miles per hour, or one mile every 15–20 minutes) had a 54% lower risk of heart attacks and strokes. Walking lowers blood pressure, improves the cholesterol profile, lowers the risk of osteoporosis and may lower the risk of certain kinds of cancer. There is evidence that walking helps reduce stress, too.

Walking may reduce the discomfort of the most common forms of arthritis, and it can help with weight loss, which can help improve overall long-term health.

(end of article)

I guess I’m doing okay, then, to walk; at least it’s something, and I do know this: walking and losing weight have definitely reduced my arthritis pain, and I love the fact that I feel younger and more vibrant at 66 than I did at 65. I’m definitely going in the right direction, however and whichever way I’m walking!

Oh, and although I claim with all my heart that my weight-loss plain is strictly about health and not about looks, I have a confession. I saw several friends over the weekend that I had not seen in months, and all of them commented on how much weight I had lost and how good I looked. Such comments and compliments make me feel even better about my decision to lose weight. Yes, flattery is not required, but it sure feels good and is the fringe benefit to eating consciously, losing weight, and regaining my health.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't You Dare Call It a Diet!: Tip: Eat four ounces of protein with lunch and din...

Don't You Dare Call It a Diet!: Tip: Eat four ounces of protein with lunch and din...: "Monday again? How did it roll around so quickly? As I lay in bed last night, knowing I had to weigh in this morning, I mulled over my past w..."

Tip: Eat four ounces of protein with lunch and dinner, and only four ounces.

Monday again? How did it roll around so quickly? As I lay in bed last night, knowing I had to weigh in this morning, I mulled over my past week. I had returned to keeping a food diary, to assist me in being conscious of everything I ate. I made sure I made one meal a day a salad with protein in it. I worked out at least once this past week and walked every day, several times a day. I bowled twice, three games each time. I avoided eating out as often, so I could more clearly know the contents of what I ate. It was all a good week…until Saturday night.

Saturday night as I chopped my greens for a salad, I thought about the protein I planned to put into the salad. I had several options: a hard boiled egg (about 32 calories), some fake crab meat (about 115 calories), or an aging bratwurst (about 250 calories) that had been cooked about five or more days before. Each of these proteins was about four ounces. Isn’t it amazing how they compare, though?

My thinking went this way: “I’ve been good almost all week, and this bratwurst is getting old, and it tastes terrific on a salad. Even though it is the highest in calories, I’ll eat it, so it won’t go bad.”

Okay, that wasn’t the worst decision I could make. I decided to warm it a little, because bratwurst has a lot of fat in it, and the fat tastes better warm than cold. I opened the Ziploc bag with the two leftover bratwurst and dropped one onto the plate. I looked at the remaining bratwurst and wondered how much longer it would last before it went bad, and that’s where my mind disconnected. Darn it, I put both on the plate, warmed both up, cut both up, and put both in my salad, for a whopping 500 or more calories on the meat alone.

I say I don’t count calories, but they are a good indicator of what’s the best thing to eat, and obviously I failed to be conscious of my actions for long enough for me to warm, cut up, and eat two bratwursts in my salad, when one still had a boatload of calories. I figured I’d blown the whole week of eating consciously. Well, I could have.

That night I bemoaned the fact that I had eaten so much. I didn’t feel comfortable. I’d forgotten that I used to feel that way after almost every meal, uncomfortable, slightly stuffed, and regretful. I’m imperfect, but at least I haven’t had that bloated feeling in a long, long time. Maybe I needed to go through it to remind me that I must eat more consciously.

This morning I stepped on the scale with trepidation, as I usually do, but I discovered I had lost weight anyway. The rest of the week had redeemed me from my one-meal fiasco. Whew!

Here’s today’s tip, then: Eat four ounces of protein with lunch and dinner, and only four ounces, and be conscious of the fat content in those four ounces.

Here's today's weigh-in information:

Starting weight: 245
Goal weight for this week: 213
Actual weight this week: 211
Goal weight for next week: 210
Total weight lost: 34
Overall goal weight: 150

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tip: Don't Get Discouraged!

Bobbie's Birthday Party!

Yes, yes, I know; it’s Monday. I’m supposed to report my weight. The news isn’t great this week, just as it wasn’t great last week, but last week I at least lost a pound. This week my weight stagnated.

I expected weeks like this. I know they happen on weight-loss plans, but I hoped it wouldn’t happen to me. Instead of kicking or cursing myself, though, I point to the fact that I wanted to lose an average of a pound a week, and if I lean on the averages, I’m still doing okay. Let’s see. I began my food plan on about July 15, but I won’t count those first few days and say it began instead on July 19, so I can count Monday to Monday. Today is September 27, so I’ve been on the plan ten weeks and have lost 31 pounds, which is an average of three pounds a week. Okay, I’ve found a way to see the good side and stop concentrating on the not-to-good side, the fact that the scale stayed the same this week. I can also say, “Hey, at least I didn’t gain anything.”

I could have gained. Really, I could have. My food plan isn’t highly restrictive; I can eat what I want, I just have to be conscious of the portion sizes and keep them small. I’m human, though, so at times I consume more food than my body needs. I know I ate more than I needed last night, for example, when I went to my favorite Chinese buffet and it had coconut shrimp, one of my favorites. Believe me, I didn’t consume nearly as much as I used to eat when I visited that buffet. I used to consume at least two big plates full of mostly shrimp and fish. Last night I first made a salad and ate that, before I fixed a single plate and was careful to add vegetables to the protein. I used to eat apple pie and ice cream for dessert there. Last night I skipped dessert entirely. I know I’m eating healthier and less, but less than far too much can still be too much!

Overeating last night might have been so bad, but I had overeaten the night before, as well. My sister gave me a dinner party for my birthday. Although I insisted on bringing fruit for dessert instead of having a birthday cake, the dinner was so delicious that I ate more than usual, and my stomach felt it, too.

Whenever I overeat, though, I try to make up for it by eating less at other meals, but obviously I’m not perfect, or my weight would have gone down this week.

Am I discouraged? No way! I may be disappointed, but certainly not discouraged. In the past the news that I hadn’t lost weight in a week might have sent me to the freezer to binge on ice cream, but not today.

I examined what I’ve done all week and what I’m eaten. The first thing I acknowledged is that after I saw progress in my weight loss, I stopped keeping my food diary. As a result, this week when I didn’t lose weight, I couldn’t even look in my food diary to closely examine the foods I’ve consumed. Bad Bobbie! I vowed to return to original plan and write down everything I eat.

What’s the purpose of a food diary? When I write down what I eat at each meal, I can more carefully analyze whether I’ve eaten enough vegetables and protein each day, but more importantly, the food diary is my conscience. Every item that goes in my mouth gets written into the daily diary, which means I can’t eat a candy bar and forget I ate it, the way I used to do. The diary keeps me conscious of my food consumption, and conscious eating is the entire basis of my food plan. My food diary is a simple spiral notebook where I write down the date and list each meal or snack that I eat that day. If I’m at home, I list what I eat as soon as I eat it. If I eat out, as soon as I get home I list the items I ate. I don’t wait until nighttime to try to recall everything I ate that day, because invariably I’ll forget something.

In examining this week’s weight stagnation, the second thing I realized was that I’ve skipped breakfast almost every day this past week, and breakfast is an important meal. I know that fact, but I still sometimes forget to eat breakfast. I pledged to eat breakfast this week. I began today with plain yogurt, blueberries, and high-fiber whole-wheat cereal sweetened with a very light sprinkle of raw sugar.

The third thing I know is that I got to the gym only one time this week. I need to work out more, to burn off calories and get more fit. My excuse has been the fact that my dog has needed much more attention than normal while he recuperates from eye surgery and complications following surgery. That excuse will soon disappear, though. The veterinarian estimates that the dog will be much better by the end of this week, and I’ll have no excuse not to swim and do water aerobics, my workouts of choice.

Examining last week makes me analyze what I can do better this week, and by golly, I’ll do it. Nothing will sway me from becoming as healthy as I can be, and for me that means I must have a smaller body. No, I am not discouraged in the least; if anything, I’m more determined than ever.

Starting weight: 245
Goal weight for this week: 213
Actual weight this week: 214 (rats!)
Goal weight for next week: 213
Total weight lost: 31
Overall goal weight: 150

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Small Pound for a Woman

I don’t mind admitting it; I worried on my trip to the scale this morning. I knew that this past week I had walked away from the dinner table with a tummy a little fuller than it’s been lately. I ate properly and ate healthy foods, but didn’t always watch my portion size. Instead of just a leg or a thigh of chicken, I ate the whole quarter, leg and thigh. For several meals. My fault; for me whatever goes on my plate goes into my mouth, most of the time, and I know that fact about myself. I swear next time I cook a package of chicken quarters I’ll cut the legs and thighs apart, so I won’t be tempted to take a whole quarter at a time. Add in the fabulous prime rib lunch I ate yesterday, when a client came to town and insisted on treating me to an expensive meal. At least I switched the garlic mashed potatoes out for broccoli, but I couldn’t resist the shrimp-and-grits appetizer and ate a good third of the grits. When it was over, I’d eaten way too much for one meal, even though I took some of the food home.

While I strolled toward the dreaded scale, I promised myself I’d be better at portion control this week.

I also acknowledged that I had worked out only one time this week. Only one time did I show my face (and a few other things) at Gold’s Gym when I slipped into a bathing suit for water aerobics and swimming. One time, all week. I mentally pleaded, “Oh, please, scale, at least show no gain, and please let me have lost a pound. I swear, if you’ll show me one pound lost, I’ll work out more this week.”

In my bargaining phase, though, I reminded myself that I’ve been taking longer and more walks with my dog, now that my knees and feet don’t hurt. It may not be much exercise to stroll my street, but it’s at least moving around, instead of sitting at my desk or sitting on my sofa. I also bowled twice. Again, not much exercise, but it involves lifting weights, walking, and a lot of high fives, when my sister or I make a mark. Doesn’t that count?

Up on the scale I stepped, trepidation in my heart. Alas, I had barely eked out a one-pound loss. Oh, if my scale were digital and showed increments, truth is I probably didn’t lose a whole pound, but it’s not, so I’m claiming the pound.

I knew I couldn’t maintain weight losses of three or four pounds a week, but I really do want to average one pound or more a week, so I’ll be better this week. I swear it.

On the good side, this week I’ve had several moments of joy over my smaller body, even though I have much more weight to lose. I wore a pair of earrings that used to dig into my shoulders, but because my shoulders have dropped and neck has elongated with my weight loss, I was able to wear the earrings comfortably. One day I was sitting on my sofa and chatting with a friend, when I noticed I’d crossed my legs at the knee. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t been able to comfortably cross my legs in years. Fat little legs and arthritic knees don’t allow such flexibility, but there I was, with my legs crossed. Hoo ha! Slender people don’t have these thoughts, but I’m sure some of my friends can relate to the joy I felt at that moment.

Watching my body grow smaller and feel younger is more than a delight. It’s a reward for eating consciously and healthily. This week I reached my sixty-sixth birthday, and yet I feel younger and better today than I did on my birthday last year. I love the direction I’m going.

Starting weight: 245
Goal weight for this week: 214
Actual weight this week: 214 (barely)
Goal weight for next week: 213
Total weight lost: 31
Overall goal weight: 150