Big Rock Candy Mountain

Why yes, the title of this post is both a metaphor for my weekend and an allusion to one of my favorite childhood movies.

It’s been a sugary weekend, which has, unfortunately, not left me feeling very sweet.

To give you an idea of my indulgence, froyo replaced two of my meals, and was eaten once as a dessert. In two days. There was also cake at some point.

I feel a little queasy thinking about it now.

And as much as I hate saying this, I’m not looking forward to publishing the numbers from The Scale on Wednesday.

It was a tough weekend. The urge to binge eat stayed with me up until last night.

But today, there is hope. In the form of a fridge stocked full with healthy food.

Last night I was up until 11:30 p.m. cooking a week’s worth of healthy breakfasts and lunches. After, I felt better. I felt in control again.

If anything, this weekend served as a reminder that having sugar just increases, instead of satisfies, the craving for sugar.

This weekend also reinforced that the food choices I make affect much more than my weight. I eat the way I do because it makes me feel good. Inside and out.

This thing that I’m doing, the way that I’m living my life, it’s full of trial and error. There will be hiccups and slip ups and bad weekends. I don’t think I’ll ever claim to have beaten binge eating. I’ve come a long way and made a lot of progress, but I’m by no means free of it.

The difference now is that I’m willing to put in the work. I can sit with my emotions and be uncomfortable instead of numbing what I’m feeling with food.

The reward is that I get to live my life consciously and purposely. Worth the fight every time.





Love your fat photos, too

Earlier this week I was looking through my photos for a picture of my nephew to post with his birthday announcement, when I stumbled upon an old photo of myself.

One from when I weighed around 240 pounds.

My face looked so round, my cheeks so puffy. It was like someone had added an extra ring of skin around my face. I didn’t remember looking like that.

There was shock, And, truth be told, sadness.

And then I got angry that I felt sad.

Those photos are me. The same me that is sitting here right now.

I’m always a little bothered when people use “fat” photos as a reminder of what they don’t want to be for the same reason I feel that being disgusted with your body is not a good motivation to lose weight.

Because, as I’ve said before, you can’t hate yourself thin.

As I was looking through the photos, I stayed conscious of what my inner voice was saying, realized it was negative self-talk, and decided to turn it around.

If I’m going to continue moving forward in this way, believing that I can incorporate fat acceptance beliefs into a lifestyle where I’m also actively trying to lose weight, tuning into my thoughts is going to be critical.

Where I am now is only possible because I loved the person in those photos. I believed that person deserved a full life. I let go of the notion that being fat also meant I was sentenced to a lifetime of unhappiness.

I decided in that moment that I was not going to look at old photos and feel sadness, pity, or regret.

Those photos are just me, at a different time in my life, and obviously were taken in a moment that I wanted to remember. My weight in those photos did not define who I was then, just as my weight does not define who I am now.

Accepting and loving your body doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work, just like any change you want to make. You have to chose to do it every day, especially when confronted with something like old photos. That’s when it is the most important to not slip into a negative space.

It might feel weird at first, if you are used to bashing your body, but if you catch yourself enough times during negative self-talk and switch to a body-positive message, it will become a habit. And it will, of course, be worth it.

“The mind is everything. What you think you become” – Buddha

One change at a time

When I look back at the beginning of my weight loss journey, I can truly see how *this* time was different.

You know how I know that? Because I didn’t start out saying “this time is going to be different.”

A big reason people fail when they try to lose weight is because they focus too much on a dream of a different life and believe that simply being skinny will give them that different life.

Then they lose a bunch of weight through unsustainable methods and when they realize their life is no different, they go back to food as comfort.

Or at least that was how it had worked for me.

Hundreds and hundreds of times I would wake up full of enthusiasm always to end up, an hour later, a day later, a week later or a month later, hiding in my room eating everything in the kitchen. And when that food was gone, I would buy more.

It sounds crazy to think that a whole lifetime of habits can change in one single instant, but how many of us hold on to that hope?

Think of any skill, such as playing the piano. No one would expect to sit down at a piano and know how to play, but that’s the mindset of so many people when they say they want to lose weight.

When you take on too much too quickly, you’re bound to end up overwhelmed and eventually discouraged.

When I first began losing weight, other people thought I was crazy because I didn’t exercise and I didn’t plan on exercising. Seriously, I began my weight loss journey with a conscious decision  not to exercise.

Instead I focused on one change: food.

I lived and breathed and obsessed over nutrition every second of every day. I wrote down what I ate when I was awake and – true story – often dreamed about what I had eaten when I slept.

At first I tackled small challenges like weaning myself off of Lean Cuisines and learning how to go food shopping and then moved on to bigger things like exploring the reasons why I was an emotional, secret and binge eater.

Once in a while someone would tell me, “You know, you would lose weight faster if you exercised a couple of times a week.”

Good advice, maybe, but time was and is still not of the essence to me.

I continued on that path until one day I realized that healthy eating habits were suddenly mindless and just something I did. Grocery shopping no longer requires two hours in the store reading food labels, I can recognize real hunger from wanting to eat in response to my emotions, and the idea of ever consuming another Lean Cuisine again makes me gag.

I had a similar journey to exercise. Each day I would wake up with one thought on my mind: When can I walk today?

I walked before work, after work, in the dark, in the cold and rain and when temperatures rose above 100 degrees. I walked to get coffee, to meet my friends at the bar, to run errands and for frozen yogurt. If it was within a few miles, I would walk there. I canceled plans to fit in a walk and often made my friends walk with me.

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to do everything at once, or everything perfectly from the beginning to lose weight. A lifestyle change doesn’t happen with a snap of a finger. There is no time limit for you to get it right. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by losing weight, especially when that number is over 100. But if you focus on actions and doing instead of results, and break down what needs to be done into manageable steps, everything really will fall into place.

“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Wednesday Weigh-in

This week was tough!

I worked long hours, took on a lot of stress, didn’t sleep well and my hunger levels were high! I didn’t make it to the gym as much as I would have liked, although I did fit in a killer run over the weekend.

I know there was a lot I could have done to make things easier, but sometimes you just have to realize that you are not facing normal circumstances, and push through.

Yesterday I finally took some time to unwind constructively. I got up early and went to the gym which set a great tone for the day, I made time to read from my book of daily meditations and journaled with a pen and paper. As a result, I felt better almost immediately.

I also limited my time on Facebook and Twitter and disconnected from the “social” world while actively being appreciative of my more concrete surroundings.

With all that being said, here are the numbers:

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 176.5

This week: 177

Change: + .5

Total loss: 66

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” – Confucius

Facing my big, fat fears

A few weeks ago, my gym began offering free spin classes. I go to a cheap, bare bones gym that doesn’t offer any classes, so this was pretty exciting.

Except, I had never tried spin before.

There are two thoughts that go through my head when I think about trying new things:

1. Am I too fat for this? I’m probably too fat for this.

2. It doesn’t matter if I’m too fat for this or not, other people will think I’m too fat for this.

Oh my god. Sometimes I think I got off “easy” compared to trauma other fat people face, then I become aware of my thoughts, and realize being fat has affected me in more ways than I probably realize.

It’s amazing what you hear when you start listening to your thoughts.

Rationally, I know I’ve been working out consistently for about a year, have run two 5Ks and have much more endurance  than I did at 240 pounds. Also, there is that tiny detail of not actually being 240 pounds anymore.

There was nothing standing between me and that spin class except for my big, fat fear.

I was really nervous going into it, but just kept telling myself that I belonged there and I would be able to complete the class.

It helped that the instructor was really nice and because the spin classes are new at the gym, there were other spin newbies like me.

Since that first class, I’ve been back whenever my schedule allows it and have a great time every time. I leave so sweaty and so, so happy.

Source: Uploaded by user via Bobbie on Pinterest

I know that part of the good feeling that follows spin are due to endorphins, but there’s a feeling of accomplishment every time I leave the class that I’m doing something I didn’t think I could do.

Losing 65 pounds has changed my life in so many unimaginable ways, the most important of which have absolutely nothing to do with how I look.

I hate watching TV when I’m on the treadmill or elliptical, so instead I usually stare into my reflection on the dark screen and challenge myself to go when I want to stop and do what I think I cannot do.

Today, let fear be your motivation to action.

Learning hunger cues

As a (mostly) former binge and secret eater, I had to re-learn hunger cues big time. It took me a while to catch on to when my body was actually hungry versus bored, upset, stressed, tired, angry, sad or any of the other emotions I turned to food to solve.

At first the feeling of hunger was really uncomfortable. It was honestly a completely new sensation for me, but over time I learned to tell the difference between the beginning stages of hunger versus needing food STAT.

When I think back to my level of self awareness before I started paying attention to what and how much I was eating, I don’t think I ever really stopped to see if I was hungry before chowing down.

Now I try and wait until I am hungry to eat and I find my meals to be much more satisfying because I am giving my body something it actually needs as opposed to stuffing it with filler.

I don’t believe that all eating has to be purely for nourishment, however. I’m all for eating for fun, eating in celebration or just eating something because food tastes good. But as someone who is actively losing weight, learning and honoring my body’s hunger cues has been a huge success in my journey.

Also, when I think about eventually being in a place where I no longer want to lose weight, I imagine that knowing and relying on my hunger signs will be a huge part of maintenance.

So what do I do when I feel the urge to eat but am not really hungry? So glad you asked!

1. Chew gum. I would estimate that I probably go through about a pack of gum a week. My favorite right now is Trident, but I’m not super picky. I keep some in a drawer in my desk at all times to tide me over when I’m feeling the urge to chew something. I’m not sure if it’s just the act of chewing gum itself that is so satisfying, or something else, but having gum around has really helped me avoid snacking. It’s also a good excuse to turn down food that’s being offered to you.

2. Drink tea or water. On my desk at work I also keep a reusable water bottle and a big jar with lots of different tea bags. Having the items right in front of me and on hand at all times prompts me to drink water continuously throughout the day, which definitely helps keep me feeling full. And nursing a cup of hot tea is really comforting if I’m feeling stressed about a deadline at work, or just pausing to think. I remember when I used to write papers in college, I would keep a giant bag of Goldfish next to me and for some reason the constant hand to mouth motion kept me focus on my work. Now I play with paperclips or simply just hold on to the mug of tea to keep my hands occupied when I’m not typing. My brand of choice for tea currently is Celestial Seasonings herbal fruit tea sampler. All the different flavors are sweet and smell delicious.

3. Read, write, or do something creative. I find that when I’m engrossed in a creative project or enthralling story, I don’t think about hunger. When I’m really in the groove writing the last thing I want to do is break my stride for food. When i’m writing or reading, real hunger will make it impossible for me to concentrate, so I’ll know its time for a snack break. But if I’m not actually hungry, being engrossed in a project takes my mind off thinking about food. Next time you think you’re hungry, pick up a good book or turn to a news site you like, if the feeling of hunger is still nagging at you after 10 minutes, it’s probably time to eat.

Wednesday Weigh-in

Happy hump day!

It’s truly been a great week! I really focused on consistency and I think it paid off. Toward the end of 2011, I was getting into a bad pattern where I would have higher calorie days then try to “make up” for them with lower calorie days.

Totally blaming the holidays on that one.

But  it put me in a really bad routine where I was always either overeating or undereating and resulted in weeks of no weight loss. Not good. When 2012 rolled around I resolved to change that, and am happy to report I’ve been much more consistent, hovering just around my daily calorie goal. Woohoo! It feels so much healthier.

This week just felt good all around. I cooked a lot, which probably contributes to how I’m feeling right now. Cooking really makes me feel alive, especially when I’m using lots of veggies and fun spices. I also made it to the gym every day but Sunday and Monday. Sunday I needed a rest day, Monday I was lazy. Meh.

I’m really trying to embrace the truth that losing weight is 90 percent about what I’m eating and 10 percent everything else, including exercising. It’s really important that I don’t over compensate for my trips to the gym with food.

Next week I want to work on the same thing – consistency – but also keeping an eye on my salt intake…I’ve been a bit heavy handed with the shaker!

I thought a fun thing to do would be to look back at MyFitnessPal and see some of the foods I ate the most of this week. I honestly pretty much eat the same foods every week, but sometimes I vary it up a bit. I at least try to do different things with my groceries, even if  it is the same ingredients.

So this week (Wednesday to Wednesday) every day started with either oatmeal with a banana mixed in or banana oat pancakes.

Lunch was really varied. I’ve been taking the vegan broccoli quinoa I made over the weekend to work for lunch, but things like Greek yogurt, homemade hummus on a sandwich thin and salads have also made an appearance.

Dinners were all over the place as well. I had an egg white omelet with collared greens (my new obsession) one night, a Mexican inspired meal with veggies and black beans and a beet and goat cheese salad.

How did it all work out for me?

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 180.5

This week: 178.5

Change: -2

Total loss: 64.5

In other news, you may have noticed I changed my blog theme AND decided on a name.

Jodi, fat or not

I think it speaks to a lot of what this blog is about. Yes, it’s a weight loss blog, but this is who I am. These are my lifestyle changes that I’ve made, fat or not. When I started the blog, a little over a month ago, I didn’t really think a lot about the name, but I’m happy to be settled with one I love. I hope you like it too!

Wednesday weigh-in and breakdown

What a strange week it’s been!

I battled post-vacation jet lag, so my normal routine was out the window. I was fighting to stay awake at 2 p.m. and wide awake at 4 a.m. My meal times were all over the place and not very balanced. One night all I could manage for dinner were a few spoon-fulls of peanut butter and 2 dark chocolate squares. Then the weekend hit and I slacked on tracking.

Sitting in this thing for 13+ hours drained me!

What I’m proud of:

Instead of making a beeline straight for the shower and bed after a 24 hour flight from India, I pounded down two cups of coffee and headed to Trader Joe’s. I jumped right back into healthy eating and exercising and made it a priority to have fresh and healthy groceries. It would have been so easy to rely on take out for the first few days, but it felt really important to me that I get back to normal as soon as possible. And despite my fear that I had lost all my gym endurance – I made it there three times this week!

What needs improvement:

I totally gave into stress eating this weekend and didn’t track my eats at all Sunday. I’m going to be writing a post soon about how I deal with emotional and stress eating, but it’s still something I work on on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. Also, I usually try to avoid the candy and food that my coworkers sometime bring into the office, and I totally failed at that this week. I had brought back a couple of bags of candy from India to share, and ended up eating a fair share of them!

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 183.5

This week: 181

Change: -2.5

Total loss: 62

This week I’ll be again focusing on tracking and staying mindful of what I’m eating.

Happy hump day to everyone!

– J

Get it together

Um, you guys, I forgot how hard losing weight was.

I’m not really sure how I forgot. But I did.

All calories matter. Even the candy you brought home from India and shared with the office but ended up eating a lot of. All the extra dips of hummus, the I’ll-just-have-one of’s and especially all the coffees from Starbucks. All calories. All matter.

I think I’ve been living in a world of compliments, because I’ve been seriously slacking on accomplishing any weight loss.

Even before I left for India, I was in a pretty rough spot between two stubborn pounds.

I’ve been relaxing on a web of fear and lies for the last couple of months, telling myself that it’s okay if my progress has slowed.

But last night I went to bed upset with the choices I’ve been making. I haven’t been honoring my voice. The one that knows better. The one that has the power to override all the outside pressures.

And for that, self, I’m sorry.

It’s time again to put myself back in the driver’s seat. Because at the end of the day, I’m the one that has to live with my actions. I will do what’s best for me even if others don’t get it. I will do what’s best for me even if it’s not popular.

I won’t be motivated by fear.

I won’t let fear make me complacent.

I won’t let fear tell me I can’t accomplish my goals.

I can.

And I will.

Put happy first

Happy Monday!

It just dawned on me that I’ll be working a full week for the first time in a month. Time to expand my coffee budget.

It’s easy to forget that happiness, like weight loss, takes work. And like weight loss, happiness itself is not a goal, but there are goals I can set that will make happiness a more likely reality.

Before I really started examining my life, I thought things like partying, eating crappy foods and watching hours and hours of TV made me happy.

I was wrong.

For me, it’s about the little everyday things, like making my bed and having a clean kitchen, that truly contribute to my happiness.

Source: Uploaded by user via Hannah on Pinterest

Weight loss has happened because I actively work at being happy. Not the other way around. And, sorry folks, it never will be the other way around.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that things like cooking myself healthy meals and working out everyday mattered more in the way of feeling fulfilled personally.

Source: via Seema on Pinterest

The truth is, I would continue these habits regardless of whether I ever lost another pound. It’s this mindset that gets me through the frustrating plateaus and weight loss stalls.

Because for me, getting to a place of happy has always been more important than getting to a certain number on the scale.