Monday, December 29, 2008

Changes that are a part of me now

In cruising the "blogging" world (and lots of support from my husband), I've been exploring National Blog Posting Month ( Their push is to help with blogging every day, which is one of my "stretch" goals (don't you just love that term?). Anyway, the theme of January is "change", which seems so appropriate for the start of a new year.

I've been thinking about change a lot lately. Besides my "big, fun, scary" goals, I'm also closing in on my Weight Watchers goal. I've lost about 52 pounds so far, with 8 more to achieve healthy weight. Wahooo!! That's a big change all by itself. WW encourages thinking about "non scale victories" (which means something other than the numbers on a scale). Some of my victories include:
1. I can walk without having to strap into my ankle braces
2. I don't hesitate if it's only a story or two for stair climbing
3. My jean size has dropped from 20 - 22 to 14 (and the size 14 are drooping)
4. I can walk down the narrow aisle on an airplane and not smack people in the head
5. My belt is so long that I tuck the extra into the side loop on my jeans
6. I actually wear a belt!!!
7. My work pants have safety pins in the back to tuck them in (time (AGAIN!) to buy smaller pants)
8. It's ok to not blend into the background, so that means wearing more color, sparkly stuff, attention grabbing jewelry, and maybe even makeup.

I have a done of new small habits that adding together make for a new life-style. I didn't take on all these at once - they were added as the time for change plus my readiness demanded. I look at this list and I'm amazed with the number of things that are now just part of who I am and how I act. The daily changes I could think of (by no means exhaustive list) include:
1. Water. New water bottle holds 24 ounces, so my goal was to fill it up twice a day, which would hit my 6 cups of water target. I aimed for filling it once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Now I'm rarely without it and I guarantee it's being filled somewhere between 3 - 4 times a day. Even with the new Weight Watchers Momentum plan where any liquid counts, water just fills the bill better than anything.
2. Portions. I measure just about everything. Any idea how small an ounce of cheese is? Pretty darn small. I don't really like the taste or texture of low fat cheddar cheese so I eat the real stuff. This means I need to pay attention and weigh it because it carries a fairly hefty point value. Every morning, I dump my Fiber One Clusters into a 1 cup measuring cup and then dump that into my cereal bowl. I count my crackers and no more just eating anything straight out of the bag.
3. Visual. I eat off nice plates - no more plastic and rarely off of paper. The other day, I had hummus and pita chips. Hummus went into a small condiment bowl on the plate, chips along side. Then I added in some vegetables, like celery and carrots and cherry tomatoes. It was all arranged in a fan and looked just fabulous. It tastes better when it looks better.
4. Location. One of my past favorite activities was reading, but not just reading, but taking a whole bag of classic Lays Potato Chips and reading until the chips were gone or my tongue dried out from so much salt. No more. I usually eat at the dining table. When I read, I still snack sometimes, but it's with veggies or my trusty water bottle or fat free microwave popcorn. As I said earlier, NOTHING comes from the bag to my mouth. It's on a plate or bowl, measured first.
5. Efficiency is way down. I used to stock pile things to take downstairs until I HAD to make a trip down. I planned for that trip like it was some big trauma. Now, I just run up and down the stairs with whatever has to be taken. I have no idea how many trips I make a day. I guarantee I could count them on one hand before now....
6. Choices. I laugh now. Our vegetable used to be canned green beans. That's it. Now we have salads all the time, with lots of texture and crunch from peppers and celery and onions and cukes. We have spaghetti squash and it's actually tasty without a ton of butter or sugar or whatever other crap I used to put on it. Now it's microwaved and that's about it - sprinkle some fresh Parmesan cheese and it's darn fine. Microwave recipe: poke it a couple times, stick it in the microwave 5 minutes or so per pound, until the sides start to soften, let it sit for 5 minutes, then cut open, scoop out seeds, and you are set for dinner. Sweet potatoes boiled or microwaved, then broiled with a bit of herbs or spicy chili sauce (instead of, again, a ton of butter and LOTS of brown sugar) have become another favorite. Just a whole new world -- there's a whole department called "Produce" at the grocery store. Real stuff, fresh not canned. Who knew?

This change has been one of the best ones I've experienced so far. Thank you to Rich, my husband, for his encouragement and support. He was worried about my family history of diabetes and strokes so he encouraged some sort of weight focus. I found Weight Watchers and he helps with figuring out point values and does a lot of the shopping (and can read labels to pick out great choices). What a sweetheart! Thank you, Rich!

I look forward keeping up this new life style and to the other changes of 2009! Always an adventure and never what I might expect.


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