Posts Tagged With: diet

Releasing My Inner Swan

swanI received a most beautiful gift in the mail, a pewter swan. The following note was attached, “A gift from one who lives in Swanton, home of the Swanton Swans. Also symbolic of my favorite story and how the ‘ugly duckling’ became a ‘very fine swan indeed!’ As you have done!”

Step back for a second and flash back over the past few years of my life. In January, 2011, if you’ve been following the blog (and if you haven’t…start at the beginning!!), was when I started my weight loss journey into Onederland. By July 2012, after a rocky bit with my inner ear conundrum, I made it to goal.  Honestly, I thought reaching goal and getting my weight down would be a “cure-all” for so many things in my life.

I was confused when it wasn’t.

While a lot of people were very supportive, many people close to me were not.
I’ve come to bristle at the thought of dating anymore. Guys that knew me when I was bigger, complain that I’m “too skinny” and look too different. I’ve been called “boney” and “wasting away”. I’m not. I’m SO not.  Guys that have only known me since I’ve reached goal couldn’t understand the disdain for the way they joked about “fat chicks”. When I explained my situation, they’d say, “But that’s not you, so it’s ok to say that.” No… it’s not. I honestly thought dating would be easier. It’s not, for me.

I’ve had to pull back from the center of friends I’ve always had. There’s nobody in that group that can relate to what has happened to me physically, mentally, emotionally. They think the journey is “done now” and I can “eat normal”. It’s not done and their normal is not my normal.

So I had to dig deeper and tackle those core issues that needed fixing. Like needing other people’s approval. Like needing to be part of a “couple” – you know, being in a relationship and using it like a trophy or a measure of “making it”. Doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good. Well, I’d rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t treat me with respect or love me for who I fully am. Let’s not forget bad self-esteem. Or needing to be liked by everyone. Being angry at others for flaws in my own self. I did journaling. Lots of journalling, meditating, walking while thinking, talking it out. Lots of positive self talk. Looking in the mirror every morning and saying, “Good morning, Beautiful.” And looking in the mirror at night and saying, “Good Night, Sweetie, pleasant dreams, you ROCK!”   I’m not perfectly fixed, but I’m perfectly flawed like Otep would sing. Cracks in antiques give them character, right? I don’t think we’re ever totally fixed, but I’m working on it and it’s made it easier!

On the up-side, I have found many friends online and in person through the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and through this blog.  I have found many kindred souls that have been through the same experiences, the same heartaches, the same victories.

And I have found my voice and my confidence. Albeit, not a roar, but it’s a flame getting bigger all the time. I’m not afraid to ask for what I need, to stand up for myself, to speak up when confronted. But I don’t need the drama of those around me. I’m recognizing the dynamic and the sickening soup that I’ve allowed myself to be cooking in because I felt an obligation imposed on me out of “loyalty”. There are times when we have to look at those close to us and recognize their relationship as being toxic and unhealthy.  So we have to find the courage to pull ourselves up out of the quicksand and climb hard into higher ground. For our health.

I was presented with two career opportunities that required my courage, strength and dedication. But it requires me to say good bye to so much that has been familiar and my safety net. It requires me to relocate into another state. Several states away.  It requires me to rely on a network of newfound friends that are incredibly supportive. It requires me to enter a very corporate job market at “almost 50”, as my Dad pointed out. It requires me to learn more about my profession using my high school education and experience through doing. I never went to college and was mocked by people throughout my life for not going. I’ve learned a LOT by doing it.  It requires me to take a leap of Faith and cannonball into the waters of Life.

A few years back, I don’t think I could have CONSIDERED doing such a thing. It would give me an anxiety attack. I would make excuses about why I could not do it. I would rationalize that it would be impossible to do this.  But after losing 150 pounds, it made me feel like I could DO ANYTHING.

But not everyone around me feels the same enthusiasm as I do. They point out my age. They point out the hard work. They point out that there are people who need me where I am now. They call me selfish. They call me foolish and crazy. And only a couple asked me, “Would it make you happy?” I look into my daughter’s eyes and she is excited and says that I am a role model for her and girls everywhere no matter the size. Tall order.

My story has really started to have that fairy tale kind of feeling. I thought it was Cinderella, but the only time I’m losing my shoe after midnight is when I’m just too tired from pulling too many hours awake, there’s no Prince Charming, no pumpkin car. It really is the story of the Ugly Duckling who became a swan and finally found where she belonged after all.  I even looked up the story by Hans Christian Andersen and I cried as I read it. It was way too bittersweet and familiar to me.

Sometimes where you’re born isn’t where you end up.
Sometimes, those closest to you can hurt you the most.
Sometimes not fitting in is a blessing in disguise, it makes leaving easier.
Sometimes break ups are the best thing that can happen to you.
Sometimes you need to break away from what you’re told to do and find what you WANT to do.
Sometimes the ones that claim to need you the most are avoiding doing for themselves.
Sometimes those late blooms in life are the most spectacular!
Sometimes you have to find the courage and strength to do something big (like get to goal), to show you just how powerful you really are.

And sometimes you have wonderful friends, like my Susan, to remind you of a child’s story that helps you cannonball into the next part of your life so much easier.

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Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Ledge and the High Dive

hitting a wallWherever we are in this journey, there are times it feels like we hit a wall.
We may still be overweight. I’m not talking by just a few pounds. But we hit that plateau, stall-point, or we just get bored, we get sloppy in the dieting, or we sabotage ourselves… or even worse… we start rationalizing and saying “I’m ok, I’m happy. This is where my body wants to be and I’m good with it.” It gets tough. You may not be able to quite put a finger on the “why’s”, but it happens to all of us. A friend of mine said, “Pammie, I’m hitting a wall.” And as I talked to her, it made me realize something I had hit something too.

During my travels I was given a bottle of absinthe by a friend. A friend who didn’t know my struggle and love/hate relationship with alcohol. In pride, in fear of appearing weak, I graciously accepted it. Inside me, my stomach wrenched tight to the point of feeling sick. Alcohol is something I try to stay away from for the most part.

I have several reasons for not drinking much – with losing weight, I  lost most of my physical tolerance for it – it don’t take MUCH for it to hit me anymore! I don’t feel very well the next day or two after a night of drinking with my friends. I feel it’s a waste of empty calories for the enjoyment of it. I have a slew of bad memories from my party days, both physical and emotional. I feel it’s just another addiction I substitute when I’m trying not to eat. I have a bad taste in my mouth for drinking, frankly speaking and pardon the pun.

So I put this bottle in a cabinet and made a “bargain” with myself. I told myself that if I lost 10 more pounds under my goal, I’d celebrate it by having a drink of this special stuff. (I am NOT skinny, so this would still be healthy weight loss.) Perhaps I thought I was putting the demon in the cage by putting that bottle in the cabinet.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I can hear you gasping from here. I went against one of my cardinal rules. I gave myself a “food incentive” or “food reward” to dangle in front of the scale. Hey, I’m almost a year after hitting goal. I’m (not so) large and in charge here. I can handle it.

Yeah…about that.

I hit what felt like such a huge wall in the past couple months. I worked incredibly hard going after this little goal. After losing 150 pounds, you’d think that 10 pounds is “no big deal”. I remember in my first weeks of weight loss I could POOP out 10 pounds without even thinking about it. I took my calories down, I put more activity in and I went after it as though I was going after the brass ring of my weight loss. The scale wasn’t moving. As I counseled others in their journeys, I looked at my own advice and got meticulous.  I made sure I was preplanning, I cut out my “bonuses”, I put in even more activity, tried to get more sleep.  Yes I was stressed (and still am) with a lot of stuff going on, but I refuse to let that hold me back. The scale started moving and I was elated. I could do this!

bingeThen as I got closer to a new number on the scale… I’d eat. Maybe not a whole lot to someone else. Sometimes as little as a few hundred calories. An extra helping of a healthy meal. Or a few drinks with friends. Or a bag of popcorn while watching a movie with my daughter on the weekend. It added up. I’d lose 5 pounds and then gain it back, and get frustrated. Not enough to affect my clothing, but this is a bad pattern I knew I had to get under control NOW!
WHY was I doing this? I knew the drill! I teach the drill for crying out loud!
Then this past week it hit me when my friend said, “Pammie, I hit a wall.” And I responded to her saying that she wasn’t in front of a wall, she was on a ledge and she was just scared.  She’s made it feel like a high ledge and it’s more built up in her mind than it really is. jumper ledgeShe needed to walk off the ledge in an act of faith and know that the step was not as scary as she thought. There’s an invisible path to freedom we can’t see until we step off the ledge. It’s excitement and exhilaration, NOT fear… or make it that way. She said to me, “I never lost this much before and I’m scared what’s next.”  So I asked myself WHAT AM I AFRAID OF WITH THIS TEN POUNDS? As I thought about this conversation another analogy came to mind.

boy_on_high_diveThis is where I am. The feeling of being on a high dive at the public pool.
Everyone is watching you. Everyone sees you on the high dive. If you step backwards and climb back down the ladder, everyone sees that you couldn’t do it. You got scared and gave up. You admit defeat. And there’s others in line for the dive that are willing to jump in front of you and show you how it’s done. But you have to do it YOURSELF to get your reward.  HOWEVER, if you go forward…. Running, laughing, jumping and throwing your arms in the air and JUMPING off that high dive who KNOWS what will happen? Maybe the water will be very cold at first. It may take your breath away at first. You may bellyflop and it may almost hurt a little. Or it may feel super refreshing. It may feel like the best euphoria you ever experienced. It may feel like the highest high. It may feel like the biggest victory EVER!!! But you won’t know until you ALLOW yourself to do it. And there’s the reward I gave for myself. And that’s when the epiphany hit…
Well, in my case, I knew what was waiting for me. A bottle. The demon in the cabinet cage loomed over me, watching me, waiting for me. And I think that scared the crap out of me to the point that I was sabotaging myself so that I wouldn’t get those extra pounds off. In fact, I was slowly going up on the scale. My own inner core of my mind knew I was scared of those past memories associated with drinking and it wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to happen. Memories of poor decisions made while drinking. Memories of my kids seeing me while drinking. Memories of losing control. We hate it when we lose control. We like to be in control of our journey.
absintheAnd so… I poured the bottle down the sink. I knew it was the right decision because of the way I felt when I did it. I felt like a rock came off my shoulder. I felt like curtain came away from my thoughts and I could clearly see the path from my own ledge. I had felt trapped on the ledge. I felt in spotlight on the ledge. Vulnerable. Where everyone could see me, that I wasn’t losing anymore. I am on that high dive. And what happens if I can’t do the fantastic swan dive and I have to crawl down the steps? Well…I don’t know, because I’m moving forward.
Well, I still have that inside goal of getting down to 150 pounds. But I took away that double-edged sword of a reward for it.
When you hit your plateau, your stall, when you jump into ONEderland and then everything goes awry… take a look at what you’ve promised yourself. With what you’ve put pressure on yourself. And take it easy on yourself! YES, push yourself to get to goal… but be very careful what you dangle in front of yourself. Ask yourself these questions when you get scared….
1) What is my incentive for losing weight?
2) For who am I losing weight?
3) Is the reward truly “worth it”?
4) Is the incentive enough to keep me at goal or is it a short term goal (such as a reunion, party, wedding, retaliation, trying to make someone jealous?)
5) Will I be truly proud of myself and my intentions?
6) Can I continue the same habits I am using to LOSE weight to be able to STAY at goal weight or is this a fad, harsh diet? Is this healthy eating? Will it cause health issues to keep eating like this?
7) What scares me most?
8) How does that affect or connect to the feelings of fear I’m having right now associated with losing weight? Do I feel my significant other won’t like how I look? Do I feel that I, myself, won’t recognize myself? Am I afraid of what OTHER PEOPLE will say about how I look? Am I afraid of appearing different?

magicIn order for change to be a true change, it WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE at times. But like always say…turn that sickly feeling in the stomach of fear into excitement and wonderment (or ONEderment). Take control of it and make it work for you.

wide openTake a step off the ledge.

We call create our own limitations in our minds. We have the keys to our cells and it’s up to US to figure out which key unlocks the door.

While helping my friend, I figured out my key. We all need to examine those many keys we hold on that mental key ring and get to the core of what makes us tick, makes us eat, makes us stress…. and then the future’s wide open! I’m slowly going downward on the scale again making up those couple of pounds and headed into new realms. And I’m feeling good about it…no looming anxiety, stalling or binges.

Those are my rambling thoughts for the day! If ya like it, pin it, share it on Facebook, email it to a friend, I’m all about that!

Check out my website at pamkaelin.com and my facebook page!

Categories: Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Emotional Dermatillomania…. Or Picking Our Mental Scabs

blog socially awkwardBeing a teenager is tough. No doubt. Being a fat teenager was extremely hard for me. I was very shy and hated being in rooms full of people I didn’t know. I was not social. It affects some of my behaviors today. There are routines and patterns that have been worn into my head like convoluted hiking paths down to my inner core. blog rocky pathThey are worn down so heavily, so many times, with rocks protruding up to make me stumble as I try to get to my inner most thoughts at times. These familiar paths and patterns hold me back from going forward other times. Take, for instance, the scenario of me being in a room full of people I don’t know. When I was much younger, it could bring on panic attacks for me. I’d hear a whisper, laughter, a “certain” tone of voice, and assume it was a negative attack on me. There were times it was true and I was the butt of some ill-based jokes. But so many times it was MY ASSUMPTION that I was being mocked. It was a Pavlov’s Dog reaction to being exposed to bullying, snide remarks and such as a result of my weight and my attitude that developed along the way.

Those insults and negative behaviors created a very large wound in my self esteem.

scraped kneeLet’s look at what happens when a part of our body gets physically wounded. I’m outside, walking and say I fall and scrape my knee open. Blood rushes to the surface.   As air hits it, over the next few days, it becomes hardened and the wound is encased in a scab. So I’m sitting outside. Bored. Looking at my knee and start picking at it. I wince because it hurts and it’s not quite healed. But I can’t stop picking at it. I flick away the scabs and watch as more blood comes to the surface. I say to my daughter, “Hey, look at this cut, doesn’t this look nasty?” She agrees and I get attention for it. Another day goes by and it has scabbed up again. I’m at work stressing over an issue and subconsciously start picking at the scab. It starts to bleed, a little heavier because I’ve broken new skin with my fingernails.  I clean it up and it starts the healing process over. Now, what if I keep picking and picking and tearing open that scab? Well, the skin around it will inflame and if enough dirt falls into it from my fingernails, it could become infected and then I have an even bigger problem. Now, being adults, you’re going to look at me and say, “Pam, would just stop picking at your damn knee and it will get better!”

You see, that’s what I did with the wound on my self-esteem and my thoughts for many years. There’s probably a thousand little insults I’ve heard in my whole life. If I keep going back over and over in my mind, and pull up all those times I was embarrassed, tormented, made fun of, bullied, stood up, dumped, etc….it’s like ripping the scab off that wound of bad self esteem everytime I do it. I’m never going to get over it and be able to move forward if I keep picking at that scab. I’m going to become a slave to constantly ripping that scab open to avoid getting over it. To give me a reason to be upset. And hey, it gives me attention to have that “injury” and wound to cry about.  To give me a “right” to be righteous about those who judge based on looks and size. I can point the finger and say it’s THEIR fault I feel this way, my father, my mother, my siblings, my ex-boyfriends, my ex-husband, the kids I went to school with, the public school kids on the bus who made fun of my parochial education, strangers in public, teachers that humiliated me, people I didn’t get along with, strangers in the clothing store, people in restaurants I thought were watching what I was eating, and how many other people I could blame!

Bottom line… it’s MY fault I feel bad because I keep thinking about it. I keep pulling up those bad feelings and continuing them.

It’s time to let the past pains scab over and heal. It takes soul-searching, journaling and some good quiet time to come to peace with these things. If you can’t do it on your own or without hurting loved ones, then it’s time to get professional assistance in this. Talk to a third party like a counselor who won’t take it personal when you need to get angry, but has the professional training to guide you in letting it all go.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. You’re never going to be truly happy and successful until you let go of all this ugly scabby damage.

I garden outside in the warm weather. I get scores of scratches, cuts and little wounds, it comes with the territory. But I wrap them up, protect them and then expose them to air and they get better, most times without a scar.

What happens when you pick at a scab repeatedly?

The area becomes scarred, mangled and the skin has scar tissue and is never the same.

That’s what happens when we keep picking at our emotional scabs. We become scarred, hardened, harsher and generally tough to manage. It gets in the way of living and happiness. You see that scar and you remember the injury and it makes you unhappy and the cycle starts again. blog gold appleYou can be the prettiest person, thin and healthy but your negativity can make you very ugly to yourself and others.

I am 48 years old. It doesn’t matter what a group of boys said to me back when I was 16.  I am not that scared lonely girl anymore. Time to let it go.  But what if I still am that scared lonely girl inside? Time to let her go. If repeated bad behaviors have made us feel crappy, lethargic, even suicidal at times…. Then repeated GOOD behaviors should do the opposite. I’m doing that.

We cannot stop people from talking about us, confronting us, trying to include us in their drama, or listening to the silly diary-like statuses on Facebook that annoy the snot out of me. And it annoys me MORE when they come from ME!!! That’s when I stop myself, unplug from the computer, back the hell away from Facebook and all that social media bullshit and go outside and get some fresh air!

We_Can_Do_It!But we CAN stand up for ourselves. We can be our own bodyguard. We don’t have to wait for a super hero to come along. We are our OWN hero! It’s never too late to stop the cycle. It’s never too late to adopt new patterns. It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to correct the path on our journey!

It’s time for healing. Trust me, it makes the journey healthier, happier and easier.

rearviewmirror1Like I told my son years ago in the Rear View Mirror post… the rear view mirror is a reference to the past, it is NOT where we are going. If we keep looking in it, we are doomed to crash. However, if we look forward and have a positive attitude, I feel anything is possible! Not JUST weight loss, but with anything we set our minds to!

Now…. Stop picking those scabs, it’s time to heal!

Hey! If this helped you, inspired you, pissed you off, cheered you up, gave you that weird feeling in your stomach that you know it hit you right where it counts…then pin it, share it, email it, share the love!!!

Check out my website at pamkaelin.com  and follow me on Facebook!

Categories: Anger, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Relationships, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Getting “Unstuck” in the Journey

Ever get in your car and go to work, the store, on an errand and it feels like the car is driving itself. It knows where it’s going because you’ve done this a million rutstimes before. You’re not even thinking about it. It’s as if your car is on auto-pilot, or on rails or in a rut in the road that just TAKES you to where you’re going. It’s a habit. Not a bad habit, but a habit nonetheless.

My friend Kim Bensen was talking tonight in an online meeting today about habits and it made me think of my journey. Habits have both hindered and helped me.

lostMy journey isn’t too different from driving in a car day after day. I had tried to lose weight in what seemed like a million times before and it always ended the same way in the same place. Nowhere.  I’d stop for one reason or another. It was so many reasons….
– it was a fad diet that I couldn’t sustain, and I’ve been on many
– I gave into the peer pressure of hearing people say I couldn’t do it
– I was losing it for approval of other people such as a significant other, or my parents, or my kids
– I’d reward myself with food and end up binging
– I would sabotage myself
– I’d plateau and give up
– and so many other reasons….

stuck in mudBut it was the same paths that led to the same endings in the journey. It was like my car got stuck in the mud of dieting. I was in those same ruts that led me to “that place” of giving up. I’d gun the engine, get frustrated and panic, and spin my tires deeper and deeper into those same habits until I couldn’t climb out and would just… give up.

The only way to get out of the ruts and mud is to throw something different onto that path to climb out. You have to stop panicking, calmly get with your program and think your way out and onto a NEW path. I had to figure out that the old paths weren’t getting me there. My car was so accustomed to those old paths that I did the same triggers, sabotages and routines over and over expecting a different result.

blog bike ridingIt was time for  a new path. A fresh one. One where my tires have never gone before. I admit, at first it’s scary when you do something new. I don’t mean just a new diet. I’m talking about changing the BEHAVIORS while you’re dieting. I’m talking about the inside work, getting to the core, thinking it through. I journalled. I talked it out with friends who were also in my weight loss group. I read self-help books. I looked at my current habits and how they were feeding into the weight gain.
Some of them were:
first-ten-pounds-ribbon– Expecting other people to notice and  validate my weight loss and disappointed when they didn’t…so I’d give up.
– Revolving my special events, Friday nights, holidays, social times around FOOD instead of around people.
– Tracking my food after I ate it and scolding myself and beating myself up for the AFTER effect of eating
Rewarding myself with food when I had a good weigh in
– Relying on restaurants and outside sources to cater to my food needs when I was on the road and so frustrated when they couldn’t that I’d have an excuse to give up
– Relying on other people to keep me on my program and blaming them when I’d fall off the wagon
dunce– Talking negatively to myself and calling it “just kidding”, referring to myself as “Fat ass”, “The fat lady”, and other derogatory terms on a daily basis.
– Letting tradition and other people dictate my plans for holidays which would involve food
– Letting the demons from the past, voices from the past and present from OTHER people convince me that I couldn’t do this.

These kept me in the ruts. It was time to throw some solid stones in the ruts and climb out. It was time for a new beginning of a new path. My new habits that I learned were:
– Finding a plan that was easy for me to sustain and was also healthy. I choose Options by Kim Bensen and have been doing it since January, 2011 and I don’t see doing anything else. It’s easy. It’s healthy.
Preplanning my day’s food so that I was prepared.

– Knowing how to adapt if my plans change for the day. A good soldier knows how to adapt and let’s face it. This is a war at times!keep calm Keep calm and carry on. We will make a mistake, but we are beautifully human. Nothing good comes of anger, losing control or giving up. Keep calm and carry on.

Positive self talk. Catching myself when I said ANYTHING derogatory even if I disguised it as a “joke”. I tell myself to stop it and look in the mirror. Yes, look hellosweetiein the mirror and say something NICE to myself. It’s a habit I do every day now. Start the day with “Hello, Sweetie.” A salutation with a term of endearment. End the day with a good night hug, a blown kiss in the mirror, an affirmation.  Someone else might look at it and say I have a big ego, I’m “cocky” or whatever. I look at it this way. I AM MY OWN BEST FRIEND. If I give up on myself, there is nobody else in that corner. NOBODY. The rest of my friends are the cherry on life’s sundae….(yeah, there I go with food references)..but I HAVE TO LIKE MYSELF FIRST. How are we to keep friends, relationships, etc… if we can’t even have a good one with ourselves?

–  Which leads me into the WHY’s of weight loss and DOING IT FOR ME. Not some guy. Not my kids. Not my weight loss leader. Not my parents. Not that guy from high school that never asked me out. Not ANYTHING OR ANYONE else except me. My ex-husband, during an argument, made me realize I was losing weight for attention and approval. Looking back on it, he was right. I realized I had to only have my OWN approval and acceptance. Except for my weight loss group, I had very little support around me. But I did it. You can too.

green_monstercartton4Stop blaming the demons from the past. Stop looking in the rear view mirror like I wrote about over a year ago.  Most times, we can’t help what happens in our past. BUT, this is the present. Today. We CAN change today. We just have to WANT TO and stop playing the stupid blame game. Take ownership, grab control of our life and change it.

NO MORE FOOD REWARDS. When I was over 300 pounds, I said to someone, ‘Once I hit the 100 pounds lost mark I’m going to sit down to a big plate of onion rings from Red Robin and gorge myself.” And she looked at me and said, “Why would you do that? After all that hard work? If you had enough money, RedRobin-OnionStackwould you spray paint graffiti on the Mona Lisa…just because simply –  you could?” She was right. The more I thought about it, she was SO right. I looked at her in that moment of clarity and I would have kissed her if I could, but I was looking in the mirror. I was having a journaling self talk session with myself and that epiphany came from it. It was at that moment I said NO MORE FOOD REWARDS. I still haven’t eaten a Red Robin onion ring in 2 years and that was my “thing”, my food of all foods.

– Packing food when I hit the road. I don’t care if it’s for the weekend or an afternoon shopping. I usually have food in the car and at the very least water. Or I know where I can eat that will be safe. And all else fails…I hit a local grocery store and keep it simple. Check out my blogs on road tripping… it’s easier than you think!
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2011/11/21/watch-out-im-packin/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2011/11/15/a-roadtrip-through-onederland/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/15/roadtripping-eating-out-and-about/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/10/pams-roadtrippin-ever-evolvin-food-packin-list/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/09/pams-roadtrip-kisses-in-onederland/

Most of all, I want you to realize how awesome and powerful you really are!wonder woman You are Wonder Woman. You are Iron Man. You are the beautiful love-child when they got together! You CAN do this! You gotta believe in the power of YOU. I want you to high-five yourself and laugh outloud and greet yourself when you look in the mirror. You’re a rockstar! Don’t think that other people are ANY better than YOU!

Take your journey on some new paths and you’ll end up in new territory and THAT’S when you end up in ONEderland!
I’m all about sharin’ the love! Feel free to share it, pin it, poke it, throw it to the wind and see who catches it! But feel free to share this with anyone that needs some encouragement. Catch me online at pamkaelin.com where I have all kinds of stuff including my recipes and videos and check out my Facebook page And please, I encourage you to check out my friend Kim’s site and program at kimbensen.com  It really changed my life for the better and we’d love to see you there sometime!

Categories: Anger, Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Relationships, Roadtrips and Vacations, Support, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cleaning Out The Emotional Pantry

One of the biggest trends and buzz words that I’ve seen in the dieting world in the past couple years is the concept of “clean eating”. Now… everyone seems to clean eatinghave their own conception of it and I’m not sure there’s a clear definition of it. But BASICALLY it’s taking food down to NON-processed, natural, healthy, whole food. Getting away from the JUNK, the ARTIFICIAL and the vitamin LEACHING, over processed, chemical-laced, nutrient-stripped and “hidden ingredient” added GARBAGE. And going clean and lean.

It’s a pretty good concept and there’s tons of info out there on it regarding food and how to do it.

Now, there’s several types of hunger out there. Physical hunger, head hunger and EMOTIONAL hunger.

The physical hunger we feed with real food. When we feed our physical hunger with good, clean, wholesome food in amounts that our bodies REQUIRE (as opposed to crave), we can see positive results with our bodies. We see pounds reducing, muscles toning and strengthening, illnesses minimizing, minds thinking clearer.

Head hunger is a little trickier. I’m not going to go into this much because this deserves its own topic another time. But it’s when we’re not really physically hungry but we THINK we are. Such as in boredom, routines, bad habits (such as always having popcorn to watch a movie, or always eating dessert with dinner, or a commercial comes on television and we look for food).

But let’s look at something we don’t talk about often. EMOTIONAL hunger. That craving for approval or compliments. That starving we have for a better life or happiness. That nagging feeling deep inside us for the relationship or job we either don’t have or it’s not quite what we want. Money problems. Anxieties. Depression. Not being able to stick up for ourselves.  Lack of self-esteem.  A horrible secret we’re hiding from the world. There’s many, many causes of this insatiable hunger.

clean pantryWe tend to feed that emotional hunger with excessive worry, negative thoughts, sabotage. And even after we’ve gone back for seconds and thirds at the buffet of beating ourselves up, we put ourselves in situations, conversations and relationships that reinforce this negative behavior at times. We stockpile a catalog of insults, past memories of pain, and reels and reels of mental video that we play over and over when we want to feel kicked. We engage people that we know are going to upset us and we allow them to make us feel less than worthy.

Why on earth do we do this?  We all have our issues. I found it comes down to this…

Even if you’re following the greatest diet in the world for your food on a daily basis – you gotta clean out that mind pantry of the mental junk food! That’s how I look at it.

It’s those over-processed memories of insults that we play over and over. It’s the artificial intentions and reading into how people look at us, talk to us, their tone, etc. It’s how we double-dip ourselves into bad relationships that we KNOW are bad, but it’s SOMEONE and it’s SOME attention. It’s the nutrient-stripped situations we purposely put ourselves into that put us in a bad frame of mind that “make” us….

bingeGo eat.

You know how it happens. Let’s look at the most recent events. Christmas. For some people, it can be one of the most stressful holidays. Oh, trust me, there’s some people I don’t even want to look at on Christmas let alone any other calendar day. But on Christmas, everyone plays nice. You’re the jerk if you don’t. So you have to put on the smile. Then there’s the relative who verbally pokes at you or insults you. You hold it in. You smile. You’re asked why you’re still single. Or why you’re not pregnant yet. Or where’s your unemployed spouse and why do you think they can’t find a job? Or what about that kid of yours in rehab, how did that happen? You smile, you repress it. You hold it together. Then you go home and you’re dislodging your jaw in front of the refrigerator and pouring the contents down your throat. You’re sobbing because you can’t stop eating. And why are you eating non-stop? I’m not even sure why I do it when I binge.

When I binge on crunchy food during stressful times, I sometimes think it’s because I want to drown out those horrible insults I’m hearing over and over inside my head. But you know what…your mind will play them longer than you can eat. I’ve eaten myself to the point of vomiting, while sobbing and unable to stop. All because I allowed someone to upset me.

Yes…I ALLOWED them to upset me. We ALLOW others’ drama and stress to affect us. Drama is contagious. Nothing says lovin’ like freaking out. It’s how we show people we care. Or at least that’s how they perceive it at times. I have seen it whether  it’s co-workers, family or friends and they’re engaging me in debate. Their voices are going higher and louder and the emotions are escalating. If I’m keeping my cool, I’ve had it screamed at me, “You don’t even care or you’d be as upset as I am.” Well, I learned a long time ago that nothing good comes from anger or being upset.

focusYou can’t think. You can’t focus. You get so wrapped up in the OMG moment that you go straight to worse case scenario in your brain. And it’s not worth it.

Let’s clean out the mental pantry.

FIRST – Throw away all the negative self-talk and name calling that you do to yourself. It’s junk food for your esteem, pure and simple.

SECOND – Stop purposely throwing yourself into situations where people are going to upset you. On holidays, I visit those houses where I HAVE to, for a short amount of time. It doesn’t have to be hours on end. Just enough to say I visited and it’s done. And then I don’t dwell on the negativity that did transpire. Stick up for yourself. Learn to SAY NO. Give yourself permission to be nice to YOURSELF. Make YOURSELF a priority.

THIRD –  Journaling – when we come out of the “high” or “drunkenness” of a emotional binge, step back.  Start a journal entry with “I ate today because…” and just start writing. Get it out. Write until you just can’t write anymore and don’t correct your grammar. Just let the heart pour out. SEE it on paper. You think it’s IMG_0454easy? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. When it’s particularly painful, it can be hard to write those words out. It’s admitting those core things that upset us and seeing those words on paper such as “I really hate my spouse when they…” or “I just wish I’d never wake up so I could get away from all this”. Just because we don’t SAY these things out loud in the “real world” doesn’t mean we’re not thinking them. And our THOUGHTS feed our EMOTIONS and manifest in how we treat our bodies. Journaling cleans out the emotional pantry. It’s those rancid thoughts that have been left to sit on the shelf and go bad past their expiration. Journaling throws these thoughts into a sort of trashcan. You don’t have to go back and read it later. You can burn it, like I know some people do. Or just put it away. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy journal. Even your computer or a scrap of a tablet.

FOURTH – Start looking in the mirror and talking to yourself with positive self-talk. YES, it feels silly and YES it works!

FIFTH – Keep in mind that not everyone is going to like you. Everyone has a free will and has their own opinions. It doesn’t mean they are right or wrong but they are different. It’s what makes this world diverse and wonderful. If everyone was the same…it’d be rather boring, don’t you think? Accept that some people just won’t like you and they will try to make you feel bad. Don’t matter.

paminmirrorSIXTH – No matter what, be your own best friend. Treat yourself in the same way that you would treat your BFF. Be nice. Compliment yourself. Pep talk yourself. (Again, look in the mirror) Be in your corner. Don’t do things to impress others so much as YOURSELF. Don’t diet to make someone ELSE proud…do it to make YOURSELF proud!

SEVENTH – Fill your mental pantry with the beautiful memories of everything. No matter how bad a situation is, there’s ALWAYS something good that came as a result. Focus on the positives, or the humor of a situation. Believe me, I can find humor in almost ANYTHING and I’ve had a LOT of stuff happen to me! Stockpile the nice words and compliments that are given to you along the way.

Stop living in the past memories of pain with the long overdue expiration dates. They’re DONE. Today is worth living NOW.

Stop dwelling in the OMG of a situation and live in the WOW of now.

When you get to the core of WHY you binge or starve, I have found that it’s so much easier to stay on your program, lose your weight and stay at your goal weight. Attack the core issues of your eating! It’s like operating on the tumor that’s giving you a headache instead of just taking aspirin all the time to take away the pain.

That’s my pep talk today… go clean out those pantries and start tomorrow anew!

Categories: Anger, Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Support, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Preplanning Your Mind for the Holidays Part 1

Decorations and trees have been in the stores since Halloween. Christmas music has been playing in the stores since Thanksgiving. The holiday is HERE!

Kim Bensen has taught me the valuable lesson of preplanning daily menus and preplanning big days such as holidays.

But let’s step back just a second. Before we can preplan our food, we need to preplan our MINDS. We need to get on-board, on program, and enthusiastic about our choices before it’s shoved in our faces.

The holiday is all about sensory overload and all five senses are included.

Sight: Lights, decorations, trees, costumes, huge lighted displays galore, crazy decorated cookies and foods you don’t see any other time of the year!
ChristmasVacay-543x320Sound: Christmas and holiday music is everywhere, the sounds of laughter, Christmas carols, concerts, parties, etc.
Smell: Pine & balsam, snow (yes kinda like rain, snowfall has a beautiful smell outside), flowers and ALL THOSE COOKIES, dinners, foods!,
Taste: Of course taste and food are involved. There’s peppermint, chocolate, cookies, turkeys and hams, seafood dinners, decadent desserts, libations and all sorts of tasty treats.
Touch: Pretty papers, bows, cards, ornaments, presents and gifts.

The holiday just throws our senses into a WOW state! It’s no wonder we feel like a little kid, a little crazy and nutty, a little silly.

What’s one of the things we think about when we think about Christmas?

crazy-christmasPresents and gifts.
(I know you may be saying “food” but we’ll get to that in a bit…)

In this digital day and age, so much is centered around the gifts. So while we’re in the middle of the frenzy of the holidays – shopping, and all that. We want to give OURSELVES a gift. We want to give up the diet for the season. We want to be “nice” and make it easier on ourselves. Because, hey, who wants to think about the diet or the preplanning during the holiday? We want a break. We want that little gift.

It’s NOT a gift.

It’s the first step of sabotage to ourselves.

It’s the “gift” that’s an illusion. It’s the yummy poison that makes us a slave to our food addictions even more. Before we know it, we’ve packed on 10 pounds or more over the holiday and wonder where the heck it came from.

I’ll tell ya where it came from… it was that “gift” you gave to yourself.

It’s really so much easier to stay true to our plan whether it’s Xchanges by Kim Bensen, Weight Watchers, counting calories, carbs or WHATEVER we’re doing. If you go off NOW… you may not come back right away if at all.

FAT DOES NOT TAKE A HOLIDAY.
GAINING WEIGHT DOESN’T TAKE A BREAK.

When we stay true and preplan – it makes it ONE less sense to make sense of during that sensory overload… make sense?

But seriously… when we ‘plan’ to go off program, we’re only ‘planning’ for failure.

So how do we preplan our head during this crazy time?

On the days leading up to Christmas – KNOW that you’re going to stay OP (on program). VOW to stay on program. Not “try”. DO.

If you’re going to the mall shopping, do some extra laps around the mall, park farther away (like you have a choice sometimes?), take steps instead of the escalator or elevator.

Do things to keep your hands busy – writing out holiday cards, decorating the tree, cleaning and decorating the house, outside decorating.

If you MUST make cookies – some of us just love to cook – keep only a small portion and give away the rest to a church, daycare, hospital, local food bank, someone who doesn’t have time to cook (like me…only kidding), a neighbor, etc.

Remember ONE thing… our holiday doesn’t have to be centered around FOOD. Let’s start switching up our holiday traditions. Who says you MUST have a big Christmas dinner? Why not find something ELSE to do with your time? Yup, I can see your faces looking at me like “Are you kidding me? We ALWAYS do this.” Well time to switch it up.

There’s plenty to do on Christmas day besides sit around and look at food. Not EVERYONE celebrates Christmas or celebrates it in the same way we do!

There are concerts and events you can attend.
For some movies like Les Miserables… it’s the opening day! Go see a movie!
Go walk through a botanical gardens like Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania
Go for a hike
Go volunteer at a veterans’ hospital, convalesence home, or other non-profit.
Help with a non-profit that drops off meals for less fortunate
christmas houseDriving around and looking at Christmas lights – some houses REALLY do it up!
Caroling (walking and singing burns calories!)
Got snow? Go outside and play in it, make a snowman, have a snowball fight, PLAY!
Go skiiing, snowboarding, camping etc
Schedule a trip out of town if you can. A good reason to visit family in another part of the country.

And if you are forced to either cook for the family or spend time around a dinner how about:

–        Go out to eat (no clean up, no left overs,)

–        Take up someone’s invitation and eat at someone else’s house and not take any leftovers

–        Plan foods that are both on-program and yummy (or a portion of the foods that YOU want)

–         If going to someone else’s place, take a dish that you can eat and share and is on program!

In the past day, I tripped across a way to help keep me OP. Maybe you’ve heard of the “Elf on the Shelf”. Basically, it’s this elf that’s used to keep kids in line. You tell them that the elf can see them and tells Santa everything they do. I took this a step midge in the fridgefurther. I have a ceramic elf (yes, he’s an ELF, not a gnome) and put him in my fridge with a sign that says, “Pam, have you PREplanned what you’re looking in here for?” To be honest, it’s really made me rethink my nibble more than once. So he’s my “Midge in the Fridge”. I’m going to the thrift shop to get more. I’m putting a Pixie in my Pantry, an Elf on the Shelf (of the cupboard), a Faun in the Freezer (with the icecream), ANYWHERE there’s nibble food… I’m putting an elf with a sign!

Stay tuned for my next installment on this topic…
this is just the beginning on PREPLANNING THE MIND!!!

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Thanksgiving…My Way.

Well, here it is again. Thanksgiving. A lot has changed since the last time I wrote about Thanksgiving in my blogpost last year called Taking the Gobble Out of Thanksgiving http://myweigh2onederland.com/2011/11/20/taking-the-gobble-out-of-thanksgiving/

In fact, I look back at it in wonder and think… really, has it only been a year? I wrote a line in there that said my life is filled with craziness and busy-ness. (chuckle)… yes, now more than ever it seems. (sigh)

It also seems that here in America, we have this NEED to devote whole days around food. Especially Thanksgiving. While other holidays like Christmas have a central theme that food plays into, Thanksgiving is simply a food-fest. There’s no other purpose! This is supposed to be a feast of gratitude and I guess it started out as a harvest celebration in the early days of America.

Quite frankly, the only way most of us are “harvesting” is by standing in line at the check-out at the grocery store after we’ve knocked over 3 old ladies, a soccer mom and some guy in a motorized scooter on our way to get the biggest, fattest turkey they’ve put on sale.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve cashed in at the store all those free rewards to get my free turkey breast too. But this year, I really am playing it differently. I’m going to kick back and defrag, recharge, relax, organize, write and get into what I want to do. And it’s going to feel exhilaratingly nice…hopefully.

People can’t handle it when you want to get away from the food on Thanksgiving. Something must be “wrong” with you. Are you ok, are you feeling well, are you depressed, what’s wrong, we’re worried about you, you mustn’t be alone, you must come to dinner, you must be around people. I realize it’s all done with the best of intentions, but… I am going to truly enjoy the quiet.

It made me think, once again, about we turn a whole day into an event centered around food as though it’s a sport or this huge competition. We spend the days before Thanksgiving gathering our ingredients like the coach of this inanimate team who’s out to score the ultimate culinary touchdown. Some people will order foods through the Internet and on shopping channels. They acquire that “gotta have” ingredient to make the day memorable. They spend hours prepping and cooking and creating.  In my case, I spend the day making the kitchen look like it’s been in a food fight only to sit down with the family and have it be basically annihilated within about ten minutes. Then there’s round two with seconds, or thirds or more. Then there’s the dessert tray with Grandma’s pies and those interesting little cookies that Auntie Jane will never disclose how they’re made although we beg her year after year and ice cream. In some houses there’s cocktails, glasses of wine, beer and other beverages. It makes me almost sick to the stomach to think about it…because I’ve eaten myself privately sick other years. Gone back for seconds when nobody’s looking, shoved an extra roll in my mouth when I went to the buffet table when nobody else was standing there.

There’s no RULE that says I have to participate in this. It’s one of the few days of the year I don’t have to work and I should be able to enjoy it the way I see fit. My daughter is with her father, my son has some odd jobs to attend to and I don’t have a “better half” to impress with my culinary skills.

My son and I will do what we want to do and cap it off with a modest dinner out at the Asian buffet he likes so he can get his crab leg addiction fed.

I eat turkey throughout the year. I eat crustless pumpkin pie throughout the year. I don’t devote certain foods to one day a year or one season a year. Maybe that’s how I can take the gobble out of my Thanksgiving pretty easily. If we have a food issue, let’s not feel obligated to court that vampire. There’s no crime in finding something different to do for the day that makes us feel relaxed or alive. A concert. A movie. A walk through a botanical garden (we did that for Christmas last year). A project we haven’t had time to get into. Time for US. There’s nothing wrong with that.

I do realize it’s inescapable for some of us. There’s many ways to minimize damage when you must be exposed to “the dinner” (read my blog from last year for some tips). But just remember… there’s no rule or law that says we must participate in this.

My mother almost insisted I spend Thanksgiving with them this year. Now, you have to understand. I live 2 doors down the street from my parents and I work with my parents almost every day of the year. I see them every day. One day is NOT going to kill them that I have time to myself. I found my voice this year and said, “No. I really don’t want to be around the food all day and I have things I want to do.” It felt…. good. Let me tell ya, my mother asked me more than once or twice and it was becoming a sore subject for the past month. But I stuck to my guns. She said, “You need to be around people.” When I looked her in the eye and said, “Mom, I’m around people every every day. I need a break.” She finally got it. She didn’t like it. But she realized I’m not Howard Hughes (I sure as crap don’t have his money) and I’m not sitting in the dark growing my nails to ungodly lengths and getting crazy. I simply need some refueling that doesn’t involve food.

Last year, at Thanksgiving, I wasn’t at goal yet. I prepped food and took it with me to someone else’s house and weighed and measured everything. If I was doing a big dinner… I would still be doing that. It never STOPS. These habits you are forging now to LOSE weight do not instantly stop once you reach goal. Please remember that. Goal is simply a turn down another street in our journey. It’s NOT the final stop. Do I feel it’s easier? Yes. Not everyone feels that way. But the more you stick to your guns now while you’re losing weight and make those habits rock solid, it’s easier. Our diet, our lifestyle is NOT a punishment. On Thanksgiving, this day of thanks and gratefulness… be thankful you took the time to get your health back. It’s worth it.

Find your voice. Be brave. Write your own story, don’t let the world control you. Don’t let anyone tell you what you MUST eat on a particular day of the year. Don’t let the world bully you. Be happy in your journey. When you lose weight, you tend to find YOURSELF… your voice, your style, your personality. Not everyone will like it, but you aren’t put on this planet to please everyone…just yourself.

Categories: Cooking, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Support, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Not Quite 50) Shades of Labels

Most people hate to grocery shop with me, especially when I say, “I just have to pick up a few things.” In my kids’ opinion, it turns into an epic quest for just the right ingredients and I look like Sherlock Holmes investigating a crime while I’m scrutinizing labels, asking questions out loud and trying to figure things out. It’s led me to be a more informed grocery shopper on this journey and it has led to some interesting discoveries.

This week, during Hurricane Sandy, I stayed with my Mom overnight. We luckily didn’t lose our power, so she was watching the Foot Network a lot (ahhhhhh!) and one of the cooks was making cinnamon buns. It made me remember the recipe I made for years using refrigerator biscuit dough and I knew I could make a low fat version. I just posted this recipe, “Pam’s Apple Cinnamon Buns” on my website within the past day but found out some interesting information in the making of this recipe for the website….

In our town, there’s still some residual electrical outages and hurricane cleanup from our “dear friend”, Sandy that rolled through very rudely and uninvited. My favorite grocery store, Landis’ Supermarket, has been very busy keeping up to our area since other grocery stores are still running on generators… let’s give them a big WOO HOO and THANK YOU!

In the midst of all this chaos, I wanted my refrigerator biscuit dough. While other people were scarfing up loaves of bread, dozens of eggs and gallons of milk like there was a French Toast Contest in town ready to begin, I just needed my dough. I had food put aside from the weekend before the storm, I had 20 gallons of water in containers in my basement and more in my freezers. I just wanted the dough. Nothing else I needed, just wanted. Yup, I wanted cinnamon buns, but I wasn’t going to compromise on my eating program.

In the refrigerated section, I did what was expected of me. I automatically picked up the Pillsbury Reduced Fat Croissant Dough in a tube because, well, it said “low fat”. Because I don’t really like working with all the perforations on the dough, I saw the “Croissant Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet” stuff which is just a baking sheet of the dough. Something made me compare the nutritionals on both of them.

If you look at the really long named dough sheet one, there are 6 servings at 120 calories each and 5 grams of fat in each serving. I multiplied 6 servings to the 120 calories and there’s 720 calories in the whole tube of dough. 5 grams of fat multiplied by the 6 servings is 30 grams of fat in the whole tube.

(I actually made a little worksheet in the store while I did this and have a pic of it here in the blog)

Then I looked at the nicely labeled “reduced fat” one. There are 8 servings in this tube at 90 calories each. (doesn’t that just sound so much better right away?) So 8 multiplied by 90 is 720 calories in the whole tube (sounds familiar). Then I multipled the 4 grams of fat to the 8 servings and there’s 32 grams of fat in the whole tube. What seems off about this?

They are both the same price.
Sounds like they are both the same product aimed at two markets; the dieters and non-dieters. Yet our “reduced fat” version has 2 extra mystery grams of fat per tube in there!!!

Actually I think it’s the same exact product and I’m writing Pillsbury just to clarify that for me. The redeeming factor here is that they are the same price to the consumer. But it can be confusing to the average person just looking to buy something. And I use coupons, sometimes the diet version of an item cannot be used with a coupon for the “normal” one. I’m not saying that with THIS particular product, but I’ve seen it with other products.

THIS is why it takes me longer in the grocery store. Labels can get very confusing with the way they market to their consumers. What are they aiming at…. The diet crowd, the cheaper crowd, the “I want to treat myself” crowd…there’s a bunch of variables.

When you’re buying processed foods, always read your labels! ALWAYS! I try to always take the time, in the long run it really pays off. GRANTED, during a life and death crisis…and I am NOT making light of Hurricane Sandy at all since we were in its path…I understand. But we make excuses why we couldn’t make that extra few minutes of time to read the labels. Then we get mad at the scale when it’s not making sense. TAKE the extra time to read. No, it’s not super interesting or sexy like reading “50 Shades of Grey”… wow…if only. BUT, it’s worth it and you’ll feel sexy SMART…honest! Trust me!

As a side note, I am very grateful that our area,

At least nobody was hurt, this is from my parents’ property.

while it has sustained some damage and some annoying tree & electrical issues, we were pretty lucky. Quite a few areas got hit pretty bad. Please keep in your prayers, positive thoughts and any help you can give to someone who didn’t fare as well.

I always encourage people to help out on a local level where they can, but if you are not from the area, and would like to help those on the East Coast who got hit, here is a link to the American Red Cross’s site.

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I Survived Skippack Days 2012

Wow…I survived the weekend.

I would venture to say that most of you don’t know what Skippack Days is. Or care. But this is a powerpacked weekend for one of my Dad’s businesses. This is a huge craft fair event that he helps to host in the town. For our family business, it involves a lot of hours, stress, planning and manning my Dad’s retail store which is on the same property.

This was a huge working weekend that for at least the past 7 years has been filled with me stressing out, pigging out, and being in pain for days afterward. I really don’t get to “enjoy” the event because I’m working in the store. Sure, I may get to run out to a crafter tent here and there, but I can’t enjoy the event like the average consumer would. So I pretty much loathe the event. It can be very hectic and it’s a 2 and a half day weekend of being on your feet from very early in the morning until nighttime hours. I always dread this weekend and this year was no exception. It had its stresses, crap and emotion, but this time, it left me ultimately with a smile.

This year was different.

Every other year I almost couldn’t walk because I was in so much pain. Pain from being on my feet all day long. By the end of Skippack Days weekend, for the past years, I would be limping, in hidden tears, stressed, bloody socks, swollen feet, locked up pain in my back and neck and trying to find a reason to call out from work the following Monday. A little tough to do since I have the same boss for almost all my jobs now (my Dad).

This year was very different. The difference? I was 150 pounds less thanks to Xchanges and preplanning. With my new lifestyle I was focused, did not pig out or even cheat once, my stress didn’t unravel my mind, and… my knees do not have any pain, back is painfree and my feet  are only mildly aching.

Preplanning helps NOT only just with my food plans for the day, but for focus in my life. I feel more in control. It’s more than just a “to do” list, it’s an “I CAN Do” list.

My daughter Katie was working there this weekend too. We packed ALL our food, preplanned our days and went into it calm and prepared. Each day, I also prepared the crockpot and turned it on in the morning with that evening’s nutritious meal. Every other year, we’d stop and get take out and overeat because “we worked hard and we deserved it.” Not this year, we saved our money and ate at home, in a healthy controlled way. Here’s what we had planned out and how it turned out:

Friday night dinner: We packed precooked Fiber Gourmet pasta mixed with tuna, low fat cream of chicken soup, spinach and mixed vegetables in a makeshift casserole meal which we warmed up in the microwave at work. Cut up apple for a snack.

Saturday:
Breakfast was a low fat english muffin and scrambled egg sandwich.
Lunch was a large spinach salad with hardboiled egg, tuna, and lots of salad veggies on top. I had a pouch of travel size Raspberry vinegarette dressing. Snacks were cut up celery with low fat peanut butter, raw carrots, a Vitalicous Vitamuffin top (chocolate) and I had ample water and drinks. Yes, I did buy a Box of Joe at the Dunkin’ Donuts and was drinking a lot of coffee that day.
Dinner was waiting in the crockpot at home. It was a chicken and dumplings recipe that I got from the kimbensen.com website.
The unexpected nice thing was that Saturday, my two teenage nieces asked if they could come back to my house to stay the night (they were also working the store) because they haven’t been able to get together with Katie for a long time. So I said, “Sure, we can have a pj party.” With having dinner in the crockpot, I knew I had plenty of extra. They LOVED it and as we talked, caught up on what all we’ve been doing, they got to see my website and my recipes. They asked about Xchanges and the recipes on my site. I even had them try the Banana Softserve and they thought it was awesome! They said they were going to try my recipes and that made me feel like I was making a difference in these young ladies’ dietary lives.

Sunday, we started the day with a quiche. I had plenty of shredded mushroom, broccoli, onion and zucchini in it and my nieces never even knew it until I mentioned it hours later. Marybeth, the younger one, looked at me and said, “Really?” She hates most veggies and she ate it up like a champ!
Lunch for me was another slice of quiche, baby carrots,  and a veggie burger from my website. I packed sandwiches made from Peter Pan whipped peanut butter and homemade sugar free blueberry jam for the girls, along with sandwich bags of baby carrots and muffins I had made from a box cake mix (spice cake flavor) mixed with a small can of pure pumpkin puree (no other ingredients like oil, water or egg) and topped with a teaspoon of sugar free chocolate morsels. The nieces thought these were almost impossible to believe they were low fat and delicious.

I had a bean chili from my website waiting in my crockpot, but Katie wanted flatbread pizza instead. I agreed and we each had a couple cups of chopped veggies atop our flatbread with sauce of Classico Lite Alfredo. Bean chili will be Monday night’s dinner. I cleaned up the kitchen and jumped into my Sunday night online chat on kimbensen.com I was still energetic and ready to DO. I didn’t need to fall into bed as soon as I got home.

The end of the long weekend is upon me now as the adrenaline is winding down.

Yes, my feet ache just a bit, naturally. But I had the energy and good mood to put together a different dinner without complaining or bitching. And we ate at home, we didn’t just plunk our ass in a restaurant booth and pig out in triumph to be done this long weekend. I’ve done that too many times. I have dinner ready for tomorrow night. I did the online chat. I was calm, cool and collected for most of the weekend.

All I need is a good night’s sleep which I will be doing shortly and I’ll be ready for tomorrow. My body won’t be wrecked for days.

I like this new style of LIVING. It’s moments like these that makes the Xchanges diet, lifestyle change and all that good stuff totally worth while. There truly is no food right now that I need to eat to celebrate anything right now. I’m good. Life is good. I’m tired, but it’s a good tired. It’s the tired of knowing I did a job well-done. Both my job at the Southwest Trading store, my job with Kim Bensen manning the Sunday Night Bootcamp Chat, and my job of preplanning and sticking to my Xchanges for all of a stressful long weekend.

I did it. Not only did I survive Skippack Days…I thrived.

No tears.
No limping.
No bloody socks.
No restaurant or take out money spent.
No exhaustion.
No back pain.
No knee pain.
No self-medicating with food or alcohol afterward.
just a feeling of victory over so many things!

With planning it out, following the plan and getting through, I took the weekend I dreaded most…and MADE it work for me.

Other years I couldn’t have handled my nieces coming over, having dinner and spending time together. I would have been in bed exhausted and very grumpy. I know..I lived it. I was up early the next morning, ready for another long work day, getting food ready in the crockpot and getting the kids up in a planned methodical way and not exhausted. A little tired, but not exhausted and running on fumes. I can’t say it enough, I like the way I feel. It makes maintenance so much easier to WANT to stay here.

I didn’t write this post to brag or rub it in your face where I’m at. I’m trying to tell you that …. if you start NOW…you will get here.Don’t just think about it, don’t say “Someday I should do something about my weight issues.” SOMEDAY is not a day on the calendar…do it TODAY. Start today! It’s so so worth it!

You can do it. You just got to want to.

Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weighing Our Words Again

One of my first blog posts was called Weighing Our Words

I talked about how we spoke in regard to ourselves; our body types, our size, our beauty or self-imposed lack of it. I talked about how others hear our words and it affects their behaviors, how they speak and what they eat….but I never addressed the biggest issue.

How we talk about FOOD.

You know… FOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

Have you ever really looked at your Foodese, your foodspeak, your language of food?

How many times have you said:

1. “I just LOVE  <insert food here> .”
2. “You can’t go to <insert place here> and NOT have the <insert really good food here> …you just CAN’T!”
3. “Grandma’s cheesecake IS TO DIE FOR.”
4. “That cookie is calling my name.”
5. “It jumped into my mouth and I ate it before I knew it.”

….and let’s not even talk about the movie “American Pie”…. (‘nuf said)

In our house, my daughter, Katie can tell you, we’ve corrected our language.

Let’s look at
#1. Love. That has got to be the most abused word. And people have even taken the word love and reduced it to a symbol. The heart. They “heart” this and that. People and things. Actions and everything. Sad. You love PEOPLE, not things, or actions, or rock bands, or restaurants …or food. Watch how many times you hear that phrase “I love ______” and see how many times it’s about a PERSON and how many times it is not. When we say we LOVE a food item, we have given it the same role as a person. But food cannot love us back. Food will never reciprocate those feelings.

Number 2. This is a myth. “You cannot go to X without eating Y.” It’s fuzzy math that isn’t true. I live a couple hours away from Hershey, PA. When I was married, this was a “pilgrimage” because my husband went to school in Hershey, actually at the Milton Hershey School for orphans. So this was a place we went often. Yes, the lamp posts have huge Hershey kisses on them. Yes, the town is painted in more shades of chocolate than I knew existed and I’ve been through Chocolate World so many times I could guide the tour. But I can go into a town like Hershey and not buy an ounce of chocolate (or lick a lamp post). Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy chocolate, but food is not the focus of my life anymore. When we went to Hershey, it was to meet up with people and enjoy doing things…not sit and eat chocolate. I can do THAT at home. A bigger challenge, for me, is going to Red Robin and not eating the tower of onion rings. I used to devour those things like a mother lion on an antelope! Not kidding. But I can now go to that restaurant and have a salad (although they don’t offer much else I choose to eat now) without dressing (I bring my own) and I’m good.

Number 3. Let’s just settle something here. No food is worth DYING for…not even Grandma’s cheesecake. Seriously. If you’re going to use that phrase of being a true martyr, would you do it for FOOD? I can understand dying for Faith. Dying for kids, spouse, loved ones. Jumping in front of a car to save someone you love. But for food? If you’re going to run in the street because there’s an icecream cone about to get hit by a car…please… get professional help.

Number 4. There is no food that calls your name. It reminds me of those videos on YouTube of the Annoying Orange sitting there saying “Hey, Apple. Hey, Apple.” I’m sorry, you’d have to see it to believe it. My guilty pleasure. Again, we’re giving food this property it doesn’t have. It’s not a person, it can’t talk and we can’t love it. It cannot talk to you. It’s sitting there minding its own business while your brain is imagining it’s calling out to you. Hide it, put it away, throw it away, give it away, flush it, do whatever you have to do. The only thing REMOTELY close to food talking to you is the Chiquita stickers on the bananas…which I do love to stick on various parts of my body as I grocery shop.

Number 5. There is no food that’s literally going to run on its little legs and crawl into your mouth unless you’re eating bugs and creepy crawlies on the show Survivor. Again, we’re taking away our own responsibility and transferring it onto the food. It’s the food’s “fault”. We didn’t do it. We were just minding our own business and the darn food literally jumped right into our mouth and demanded to be eaten. Right now! Without chewing!

Let’s start minding our P’s and Q’s with how we TALK about our food.

We are so eager to give food human qualities. Certain people won’t eat anything that “has a face”… but you’ll let it speak to you? To give it this POWER that it simply does not have! Maybe it’s because it takes away the responsibility of saying we stumbled and ate something. We need to start looking at our food quite honestly and taking away all those “magical” abilities we gave it.

Food is nutrition.
Food is fuel.
Food is NOT an event.
Food is NOT a person.
It won’t love us back.
It cannot convey emotion or confirm our “love” for it.
It won’t do ANYTHING for us except sustain us and give us nutrients.
It is not magic.
It cannot talk to us, scream at us, condemn us or compliment us.
It gets in our mouth by our little fingers and no other way (unless you’re faceplanting into your plate)

Let’s start changing the way we talk about food.
Start becoming aware of how we talk about our food.
Proper nutrition helps us think better, helps us focus.
Let’s change our minds for the better.

Change your mind…change your life.

Categories: Binge Eating, Cooking, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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