Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Most Hated TV Commercial - and some thanks.

I've been having trouble sleeping lately.  Between 3 and 4 each morning I wake up, stumble out of bed so I don't wake the sleeping husband or dog, and head to my trusty recliner in the living room.

I pop on the TV, usually to some true-life crime show (I seem to sleep better with those on the TV) and am subjected to this one annoying commercial OVER and OVER again.

The commercial is for a diet pill.  Along with this horrible sci-fi background music that repeats the same three tones over and over again, this pill promises that just by taking this pill you will reduce your body fat.  Never mind the small print that says "Results may vary. Diet and exercise are recomended." This miracle pill will cure obesity all by itself.

Then a screechy-voiced woman gives her testimonial, exclaiming at the end "You just can't do it by yourself!  You just can't!"  

Oh really?

This commercial annoys me on so many levels. The music, the whiney testimonials, the unrealistic promises of magically shrinking fat mass.

Yes, you can do it by yourself!  It takes work, a positive attitude and a willingness to change your life, but you can do it a lot more effectively - and permanently - than some crazy diet pill.

There are so many people out there, refusing to believe how powerful and capable they are to win the battle of the bulge, that they'll jump at the latest magic weight loss cure offered on late night TV.  (I also notice that the ladies giving the testimonials on this commercial don't present any "before" pictures.)

I have two brothers who have also lost a lot of weight this year.  I was talking to one brother last night about the discussions we have when someone notices our improved health and asks what we did to lose the weight.

I went on a strict diet and my brother started jogging and working out at the gym.  Nobody wants to hear those answers.  They want a way AROUND the diet and exercise to get to a slimmer physique.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  There is no magic weight loss fairy.  You have to put on your big girl panties (or big boy pants), take responsibility for your own life and do something yourself.  And if that's not the message you're willing to hear, then stop asking people how they lost all their weight!  And when you go on the diet, stop whining about it and just get on with the task at hand.

You can do it yourself!  You can!

You CAN eat right.  You CAN exercise!  You CAN beat the struggles of a lifetime.  Sure, you may struggle along the way (I have) and there may be set-backs (I've had a lot of 'em).  But let me tell you, YOU are worth the effort.  Start small, change just one habit - just be willing to change the way you look at yourself, your capabilities and the world around you and get started on your own journey.

And be thankful for the miracles around you and give thanks frequently.  Gratitude and focusing on the positives in your life goes a long way in keeping you going.  Be grateful for the sun above if there's nothing else to celebrate, but keep that joy in your heart and more miracles will fall into your life.

In the midst of a horrendous week, I had an unexpected, anonymous gift come into my life. Someone beat me to the bicycle shop and paid for part of my new bike.  I am so touched by the unexpected gift and expression of love.  My guess is the gift came from someone who reads this blog.  So let me take this opportunity to say "Thank you, so much!!"  I am so blessed by the people I am fortunate to know.  I will pay the gift forward one day!   

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 63, 167 lbs.

Trek Lexa LS - The one bright spot in my life right now.
A bike I recently ordered - I'll be riding on it and training
for the Mississippi tour in April. It's a serious road bike,
but the paint job is girly enough to keep me happy!
 Okay, the weight is back down, the fat ratio is back where it should be AND I've gained another pound in my lean mass! 

This week, I took my frustrations and worries to the pavement.  I hopped onto my bike and pedaled my heart out.... a much more constructive approach than taking my worries to the pantry!

With my husband's cancer diagnosis and all the associated doctor appointments, life has become more uncertain than normal. We never do know exactly what's going to happen tomorrow, do we? 

What we are facing is six to eight weeks of daily (M-F) radiation therapy, paired with chemo treatments - it's all overwhelming and crazy.  I'm going to be pulled in several different directions and it's become so clear to me how important it is for me to stay healthy and strong while my husband goes through treatment and recovers.  There are going to be days ahead where he's going to depend on me like he never has before. 

I've had my pity party, my bump in the road. Now it's time for me to be the strong woman I know I am and keep it together.  Someone sent me a quote recently that said, "Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living."  So I'm back up and fighting.

I'm also trying to maintain a positive outlook and have not cancelled the bike tour of Mississippi in next April.  I still plan to train regularly and if all goes well, my husband will be finished with his course of radiation several months before the tour begins.  If things don't work out that way, I'll get creative. I am also still planning to model in the charity style show on September 17.

So that's where I am right now.  Scared, unsure of the future and worried ... but willing to stand strong and face the challenges ahead, whatever they are.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Week 62, No Weigh-In

My husband had a diagnostic procedure with biopsies on Monday so I wasn't able to make weigh-in this week.  The procedure has left him in a lot of pain and I've been focusing on him, so it has been difficult to get online and post.

I am not caving into self-indulgent binges as much as I was earlier and I've been making time to take a little bike ride every once in a while, pedaling especially hard on my way to and from work, and I'm starting to see the number on the scale get smaller again.

I've been thinking a lot about old habits and past issues.  The old habits I used to lean on when life got rough were what put a 300+ lb. number on the scale.  The old hurts and issues are a thing of the past.  They're only able to hurt me now if I dredge them up and make them a part of my world today.

The past is the past.  It's part of my history.  It's part of who I used to be.  Running to the pantry for a big old fix of carbs is also part of my past.  

The biggest, most valuable gift I can give myself is a better way of eating.  To live a healthy, vibrant, happy life.

Eating until I was too stuffed or drinking until I was too numb to feel anything didn't solve any of my issues before.  It didn't make me happier, more fulfilled or stable.  It won't make my husband's cancer go away, but it will cause him to worry about me. Eating to excess is a stupid, self-centered way to deal with my problems ... and I know this!

And something else happened during this last backslide: My right knee started hurting again.  I am not sure if this is some kind of sub-conscious warning from my psyche about how I used to feel 124 lbs. ago or if I've somehow injured myself and wasn't aware of it.

All I know is that for the first time in over a year my knee is making me limp ... and I don't like it!!

So whether it's an injury or something else, I am taking it as a reminder of how far I've come and how important it is to take care of myself.  This is the only body I have, it's a wonderful gift from God, and it's worth treasuring.

I have a lot to learn about myself in the coming months.  Both my husband and I are being challenged and are facing a lot of fears and uncertainty about the future. So far, I've already learned a few things about myself:  I've learned that I'm a lot stronger and more patient than I ever thought I was and I've also learned that watching my husband and how strong he has been through all of this has deepened my love and respect for him (and I didn't think it was possible to love that man any more than I already did!)

More lessons are coming and I'd rather face them with a strong mind and body.  This falling apart and caving into the past is for the birds! 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 61, 169 lbs.

Llamas and a donkey hanging out by a creek.  One
of the fun things I saw from my bike this week.
I am not proud of myself right now.  Last week I talked about not treating my worries with food.  Well, that's exactly what I've been doing.

We've received the official diagnosis and I can talk openly about it.  My husband has been diagnosed with cancer.  My wonderful, supportive, loving husband - my rock -
 has cancer.  It's the last thing you ever want to hear about someone you love.

Then I started eating everything I could get my hands on, reaching out in the wrong place for comfort - eating my sadness, anger and fear instead of processing those emotions in a healthy way. A moment of clarity came when my husband in a hinting, round-about way (he has a gentle way of putting things when he's worried) let me know that he is proud of what I've been able to do in the past year and doesn't want me to fall apart or put my weight back on because of him.

So it's time to get my act together.  It's not going to  do my husband any good if he's worried about me while he's busy healing.

My husband has excellent doctors and while we don't have the full picture of what his treatment is going to be like or whether the cancer will be easy or difficult to treat, I know he's in good hands.  So today, instead of hanging on to my emotions and stuffing them down with food, I am going to hand them over to God.

As my friend Sharon said to me recently, "You're the new and improved Lanza and you've worked damn keep on those rails sister. You are going to need to be as fit as you can possibly be to face what is ahead. You have all the tools and you are stronger now and you've made a promise to yourself to be good to yourself and to never go back to that unhappy, hurting person you were a year ago."  Thank you, Sharon, I needed that!

I need to be the best me possible right now.  This issue isn't about me, so I need to stop indulging in crazy behaviors and really BE THERE for the most important person in my life.  He needs and deserves a strong, healthy wife by his side to face the road ahead.

So instead of moping at home on Monday, I hopped on my bike and rode for 15 miles.  I have to say the bike ride did a lot more to lift my spirits than the excess peanut butter ever did.  I knew when I went to weigh-in later that day that the readings weren't going to be good.  Both my weight and fat ratio have climbed to a higher number and it's going to take some time to get back to where I was.  But you know what?  The work is worth it and I'm worth the effort.

This episode is not a set-back.  It's an opportunity to learn about myself and prove to myself how strong I really am.  I'm going to make sure to take time for myself, to move my body and treat myself with respect - it's one of the ways I can help ease the burden and worries the man of my heart is carrying around.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Week 60, 165 lbs.

The weight and fat are both up, due to two factors.  One issue is the pending arrival of my monthly visitor, which always shows an increase in my fat ratio.  The other was a couple of celebratory margaritas with my husband on his birthday, two days before weigh-in.  I had cake, too!

The margaritas were the first hard alcohol I've had in ages and I realized something about my body chemistry: Even though I didn't get drunk or over-indulge, the hard stuff slows me down, way down! 

The morning after the birthday party I decided to hop on my bike and go for a long ride and work off some of the previous day's excess.  I was hoping for a ride like last weeks, a long ramble in the country with some challenging hills.  The earlier ride was a lot of fun and I amazed myself by flying on two wheels, going about 17 mph along one of the local highways.

This past week's long weekend ride was torturous.  I couldn't get above 10 mph.  I couldn't climb hills the way I had earlier... each hill was long and agonizing, instead of an empowering challenge.  My body was running on sub-standard fuel.... and I was extremely aware of it.

Instead of going the 17-20 miles I was planning to go, I came home after the longest 12 miles I've ever ridden.  Not fun.

I've been anxious to get back on the bike but haven't had much time.  A close family member is facing some scary medical stuff and there hasn't been much time for exercising this week.

In the past when I've been worried or hurting over an issue, I went to food and drink to either numb what I was feeling or as a source of comfort.  The challenge right now is finding a healthier way to deal with emotions and worries.  When I find myself vegetating or going to the cupboard for a snack when I'm not hungry I need to do what I did in the early weeks of dieting.  I need to find something to keep my hands busy: Vacuum the bedroom, work on a hobby, weed a patch of the garden - anything but non-constructive wallowing in worry with a snack in my hand.

My family member is having a procedure done on my regular weigh-in day.  I may not have a weigh-in next week, but I will stop sometime during the week to post some kind of update.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Week 59, 164 lbs.

Me then and me now!  I seem to have a thing for necklaces
with metal circles in them!! 
Yep, I'm up a pound, but here's the funny thing:  I gained a pound in LEAN mass!  My fat ratio went way, way down this week!

I'm building muscle, baby!!

This is why I say time and again, it's important to find an Ideal Protein center that measures fat and lean mass ratios, along with the body weight.

It has been a week of challenges and a week of realizations.

Now that I'm on Phase II of Ideal Protein, I have a bit more freedom to do some more exercising.  So I celebrated the transition by hopping onto my bike and going for a ride down a country road ... and kept going ... and going.... until I realized I was starting to get tired and should head back.  I ended up doing a 22 mile bike ride!! (I haven't done more than 10 miles in the past.) 

The last five miles were torture (I overdid it) but I couldn't help but be incredibly proud of myself.  I took hills like a champ AND I know I don't have a ton of training to do for the bike tour of Mississippi I signed up for.

The tour takes place in April and will be six days of cycling with a bunch of women ranging in age from their 30s to 70s.  The daily bike treks will range from 30-50 miles and I figure if I can do 22 miles in a couple of hours now, if I continue training I'll be more than up to the challenge when it comes time to leave for the tour in April!

I also met a local bicycle trainer who has agreed to serve as my bicycle guru.  She's given me a lot of great advice on what kind of bike to look for (because my current commuter bike is too heavy to take on a long cycling tour) and information on cycling groups in the area I can join so that I will learn the dynamics of biking with a group!  Fun!!

A year ago I was riding my bike to work regularly, but a 22 mile bike ride, let alone a six day biking tour, would have been something I only dreamt about, not a reality.  I can't believe how much my life has changed in such a short time.

Unfortunately, an old, ugly habit resurfaced one evening this week and it took me a while to figure out what was going on in my head.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I was bulemic during my teen years.  Back then I would binge on food to the point that I was in pain, and then abuse laxatives in an attempt to keep from gaining weight after eating all that food.

One night this week I didn't just eat a bunch of junk.  I ate lots and lots of food in a short amount of time.  I ate to the point that my stomach hurt so much I felt like someone punched me. Afterwards I felt sick and couldn't move.  I just curled up in a ball and slept it off. (I had a food hangover the next day, too!) 

I haven't done something this self-destructive in a long, long time.  That kind of eating isn't sane.  It's actually a form of violence, directed towards myself.  If someone else had abused me that way I'd be furious and ready to fight!

Instead of wrapping myself in shame, feeling defeated and hopeless, or ignoring the issue, I stepped outside of myself and tried to figure out what caused me to fall into this behavior again.

On Sunday I wore one of the cutest dresses I ever wore to church.  I LOVE - LOVE - this dress!  I found it at a local thrift store (I do a lot of thrift shopping now that my size changes so rapidly.) The dress has a fitted bodice and flared skirt, which flatters and emphasizes my new hourglass figure perfectly.  The dress is white with bright pink, orange and green polkadots, so it's a happy dress!  I was working the church's welcome desk this weekend, so everyone who knew me had to stop and tell me how good/pretty/skinny I looked and one little old lady, who I had never seen before said, "Well, don't you look beautiful?"

After church I went to the grocery store, where I saw more people who had even MORE nice things to say to me. One older gentleman, a stranger, started flirting with me!! 

I have never, EVER been the center of attention like that!  And while it felt good and empowering to hear from others that I am an attractive woman, the old inner voice that had me hating myself back in the day and growing fatter with each year made an attempt to resurface and establish dominance once again. 

Because issues in my personal and professional world have me worried and running in ragged circles, I let down my guard and got too tired. I was easy prey for that old way of thinking to resurface and tell me that I don't deserve to feel this good about myself.

I didn't beat myself up over this crazy behavior.  I recognized it as crazy behavior and put it back in the past, where it belongs.  After a lot of introspection I decided I needed to show myself some extra loving kindness and treated myself to a long hot, bath with lots of bubbles (because that's one of my favorite things in the whole world).  A couple of days later I treated myself to a bike ride with two new friends in an area of town I hadn't explored before.

In the end, the binge from hell didn't set me back.  I didn't lose ground and I didn't add fat to my body.  I also gained some valuable insight from the experience:  These old behaviors and ways of thinking may resurface from time to time but they don't have to define who I am or defeat me.

I am so much more than a moment of weakness or an old habit.  I've come too far and accomplished too much to turn back to the old ways now! 

I deserve to look and feel this good!