My name is Jen. I have lost over 225 pounds and had surgery to remove my excess skin. Now I work every day on making healthy choices to maintain my weight and stay fit and strong in a crazy and challenging world!
Friday, October 30, 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato and Apples
Love sweet potatoes and this recipe makes an excellent fall side dish!
First, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Take a pound of sweet potato
And cut it into small chunks
Throw those in a bowl and mix them with olive oil, cinnamon and sea salt
Lay them out on a greased cookie sheet
Throw them in the oven for 35 minutes.
Now cut up 2 apples – the kind is up to you! This is a Honeycrisp and a Golden Delicious.
Core them and cut them into chunks and throw them in a bowl.
Mix up with a little olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon concentrate (or 1/2 of a fresh lemon), sea salt and Rosemary. And lay those out on a greased cookie sheet.
When there is 15 minutes left on the sweet potatoes, throw in the apples.
When 5 minutes are left, take out the apples and sprinkle 1/2 cup of walnuts over the apples.
When the sweet potatoes have been in 30 minutes, they should be pretty soft. Take them out, place them in a bowl and mush up with a potato masher – they should be mushed up but not whipped.
Now add the apples and walnuts
And mix it all up.
Enjoy! I paired mine tonight with Swai and a side salad!
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
I have had ENOUGH!
This post, I’m afraid, is going to be long and rambley (what’s new, right??) So bear with me or stop reading LOL
Last night, something weird happened. I got ANGRY. It started out like this - I ran across a story that I should have NEVER clicked on. It was about a Boxer that recently came to this rescue agency in Arizona. They had pictures and the poor little girl is literally SKIN AND BONES. I seriously don’t know how she is still alive. (She had surgery last night and is fighting for her life as we speak).
As would not surprise you, this story had - and still has me SO UPSET. It is just sickening and heartbreaking. After reading about her, I got down on the floor where my boys were and just wrapped my arms around both of them and covered them with kisses and tried not to cry. I felt sick to my stomach and ANGRY. Angry at the number of FUCKING ASSHOLES in this world.
As I sat on the floor hugging my boys and telling them how much I love them, I then got angry at myself. Really angry.
I realized I am so sick of myself. Sick of thinking about how I look/my weight every goddamn minute of every goddamn day. Sick of my obsessing about food and calories and how many minutes I HAVE to work out or it’s catastrophic. Sick of hating myself all the time.
A few short years ago I couldn’t run 6 FEET. And now I’m going to cry and whine about the fact that it takes me almost an hour to run 6 MILES??!! Or I’m going to create a whole fucking DRAMA about eating too much peanut butter??!!
It was as if I saw things clearly for the first time in a long time. As the saying goes, I’ve lost sight of the forest for the trees. It’s ridiculous. And it’s selfish. I’ve had enough. Enough of myself.
So it changes today. No more bullshit negativity. And I expect any of you who read this blog regularly and choose to comment to HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE to this promise.
I know I’ve said things similar to this before, but something feels different this time. Why it took a poor starving Boxer to open my eyes? Who the fuck knows!
So dear me: I will eat right more days than not. I will continue to work out and stay as fit and healthy as I can be. I will be positive as much as I possibly can. That has to be enough.
The Boxer’s name is Gwen. Please send healing vibes to this beautiful baby. Maybe – by some miracle - she can get a second chance at life as I did. And I know FOR SURE that if she does, she certainly won’t waste one minute of it!
Monday, October 26, 2015
Who do I see about a return?
So when you buy a defective item from a store, it’s pretty easy to just return it, right? But when it’s your BRAIN that’s defective, who do you see about getting an exchange or your money back?
Because I am absolutely convinced that I am totally and completely defective.
I’m pretty smart. I have a Master’s Degree and had a 3.9 something GPA in my Master’s program.
But I’m such a fucking idiot!
Tis the time of year to start wearing my cold weather clothing. Friday I went to put on pants that were LOOSE last year and they came nowhere NEAR fitting me. Neither did the next pair I tried on. So my week ended by me driving to work crying. Crying at my pathetic lack of control and inability to get my shit together.
And so I did what any sane, reasonable and logical person would do – I handled being too fat by eating everything in sight.
By Saturday I was in utter despair.
What the fuck is wrong with me?? You would think that the fact that I was successful in weight lost before would give me at least a TINY FUCKING BIT of self-control. But apparently I was overtaken by an alien for a couple years who has now abandoned me.
The one bright spot is that I got my ass out the door and ran today. And it was probably the best run I’ve had in MONTHS. I felt strong and happy. 6.2 miles. Slow miles, but miles nonetheless…
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Les Mills Combat
Looking for a new workout? Marc and I discovered Les Mills Combat last year and we both love it!
Check out his review of the series here:
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Why do I even CLICK it?
I can’t be the only one who does this, can I?
Looking at all these DECADENT recipes that people post of Facebook for all KINDS of deliciousness. Cakes and cookies and pies and all kinds of other things that look SO GOOD.
And invariably I click on the recipe and it calls for TONS of butter and sugar - for fuck’s sake I actually clicked on one the other day that called for lard. LARD!!! I didn’t even know people still used that!!
And then, follow this up with me actually being ANGRY at the recipe or the person who posted it, for posting something that I am not allowed to eat.
It is TRULY a blessing that I can’t cook. Otherwise I might be tempted to make some of these things!!
And then those SONS OF BITCHES have the NERVE to post that one serving is only 250 calories. And then you look and a little TINY cake is supposed to make 12 servings! Are you kidding? In what UNIVERSE would someone eat only 1/12 of that??
In other news, I am just having a terrible time with motivation. AGAIN I have not run since my run with the dogs on Sunday. I have been working out, but not running.
And I feel guilty. Like I owe someone an apology. Who? Yeah - got me.
Yesterday I saw a woman that I used to work with a lot who is now stationed elsewhere so I haven’t seen her in a long time. She was very supportive of me when I was losing weight.
She asked how I was doing and I admitted that I am having a very rough time.
This is what she said “You know when you walked by I thought to myself that you were probably really upset at gaining a few pounds but you really look great – I think you had gotten too thin, and your face, your legs, everything looks so good now. So if you can maintain where you are that’s wonderful, because you really do look so good!”
This is what I heard “I saw when you walked by how amazingly fat you are getting again. It really is obvious how much porkier every single part of you looks. I hope you don’t gain any more, because you once looked okay and now…. not so much….”
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Listening to yourself...
Thursday, October 15, 2015
The no win situation…
I consider myself a feminist. But I’m definitely not one of these hard core, easily offended, reading into everything, all men are against us type feminist.
But when I read this article today, I was pretty shocked!
I really hope that you guys will check this article out.
The way I read this article is that any woman who has muscles is trying to act like a man. That it is a fashion statement only, and that a woman who builds up their muscles only does so to drive away men.
Are you fucking kidding me?
No wonder so many of us have such a fucked up body image!!
We can’t win. If we have an OUNCE of extra fat on us, we are disgusting pigs that need to get some self-control and eat better and exercise.
But if we have any muscles? Then we are clearly man hating dykes who are grossly unattractive!
So basically, there’s one body type that only a milli-fraction of women have that is acceptable.
The soft, but thin, big boobed, tiny waist Barbie – that’s what men want, that’s what we should strive to be, huh?
What do you guys think – am I over-reacting, or is my indignation right in this case??
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Freaks like me?
When I was losing weight, I felt camaraderie with others who were also trying to lose weight. I joined a weight loss challenge and would wait in line bright and early Wednesday mornings with the other hopeful losers to stand on a scale where my loss would be documented and then later in the day we would get a list and see who else had lost and how much. Who had the biggest percentage of weight loss and would win the weekly prize?? Who hadn’t lost and was eliminated from the challenge??
I was part of a group of people who were fighting the same fight - we would discuss eating tips and talk about what DVD’s we had tried for exercise. We would laugh about our weekend battles and tell stories of how we had successfully avoiding diving headfirst into a huge cake at the birthday party or how we had managed not to overeat at the family get together.
I tell my clients that I understand their struggle in early recovery. The experience of not fitting in with active users and partiers anymore. But they also don’t feel that they are a part of the clean community - the so called “normal” people who have never had an addiction problem. It can be a very lonely place. I assure them that their feelings are legit and it is why I so encourage them to get involved in self-help groups like Alcoholic or Narcotic Anonymous meetings - to be with others who get it.
I feel a little bit like that myself. I am not a part of the group anymore that is starting out trying to lose. I am not learning about what are good fats and bad fats. I am not struggling to eliminate processed foods from my diet. I know what healthy foods are. I’m not at the beginning of trying to incorporate exercise into my routine. I’m not doing a Jillian Michaels 30 minute DVD and feeling like I will die. I have been there done that.
And yet - I’m not a normal person. I’m not a person who has never had to struggle with my weight. I’m not someone who looks at a piece of pie and can just decide whether or not to eat it. I have to have a 20 minute debate with myself whether I am allowed to eat it. Food and emotional turmoil are linked in me, and people that have not struggled with their weight don’t get that. Food is just food. It’s not guilt and shame and all that other shit.
So when I was reading a magazine this week and saw an interview with a professional athlete who was talking about how he LOVES Oreos, but he never keeps them in the house because he would just sit down and eat the whole bag I was actually STUNNED.
I mean here is this guy who is incredibly physically fit - and he actually struggles with wanting to eat things that he “shouldn’t” - who has to mentally work at not over-indulging?
I realized that I sometimes create my own loneliness in this battle by thinking that I am so incredibly unique. When I have trouble with motivation I berate myself. Like lately I have lost all my will to run. The thought of running makes me feel sick nd depressed. I don’t know why. But I hate myself for it. I apparently think that I am the ONLY PERSON IN HISTORY that struggles to find motivation at times. I believe that all other runners happily throw on their shoes every day and delight in their running.
Or I believe that I shouldn’t struggle with eating too much. Because we all know that no one else who has ever lost weight still struggles with overeating, right?
What if I’m not a total freak? What if there are people that I have labeled absolutely normal or even superior to me that struggle and have doubts? What if I’m not alone on an island?
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
A shot in the dark...
Monday, October 12, 2015
Certainly not my weight! But I am trying my very best to hang onto the positive momentum that I have established!
What has made it easier? The weather! Columbus Day weekend in Northern NY traditionally does not have the best weather.
This weekend has been a welcome and wonderful exception.
On Saturday, we headed a little south and hit a long trail in Syracuse. It was a little chilly, but a brisk 7 mile walk warmed us up. From there we headed to a local apple orchard to pick a bunch of apples.
Once again I proved that a person like me does not have to have “bad” foods around in order to overeat as I stuffed my face with apple after apple.
Yesterday was warm and Marc and I took the dogs to a beach near us. We walked a long trail and then came out on the beach and decided to walk along and see how far it would take us. We walked while the dogs ran along the beach and in and out of the water. There was only a light breeze coming off Lake Ontario and I took off my sneakers and strolled barefoot along the beach. We ended up walking 9.5 miles. This time it wasn’t because I had to burn calories, it was because I was enjoying being outside in the fresh air. It was a wonderful day.
What hurt my mood? Well, I got my annual survey from the National Weight Control Registry. There are simply there to ask questions to document what works and what doesn’t when it comes to weight loss. But having to admit that I’ve gained so much weight and when they asked “Why have you gained weight over the past year?” – it wasn’t a question in my mind – it was an ACCUSATION.
I felt demoralized and humiliated taking this simple survey.
So it’s a mixed bag for me this weekend. I can’t say that I’ve been completely on track eating wise. But I am finding that concentrating on being positive and in the moment has helped.
The question is how long can I keep this up and will it begin to show positive results?
Friday, October 9, 2015
More BEING Less DOING
While at the cabin there was no access to television. We are catching up on shows we missed and last night watched an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles. The character played by LL Cool J is this amazingly physically fit man who eats well and appears to have all his personal shit together (unlike most of the rest of the characters). He is also very “zen” and has constants words of wisdom about how to improve your life.
I have no idea if this is what LL Cool J is like in “real life”. Well, clearly he eats well and works out because.... well look at him!!
Anyway, he was talking to another character and told her that a key for her is “More being, Less doing”
That phrase really struck home with me. Especially this week when I am striving to be more in touch with myself and more zen in a desire to stress less and have a positive impact on my weight.
As I was thinking about this phrase I was also thinking about this recovering alcoholic I used to know. She was very bright, a musician and very much a “hippie”. She was always talking about what life is like now especially for kids. How so much of their life is experiencing things virtually rather than actually experiencing it. Like playing a video game of baseball rather than having a bat in their hands and FEELING the ball and the bat hit each other and having the feeling of actually running the bases.
While this certainly contributes to the obesity epidemic, she was looking at it more from I guess a spiritual aspect. How people just float through life without truly experiencing it.
I always thought there was something to this, and was very impressed with her insight. I was still obese at the time and thought of her statement primarily applying to kids.
But as I was thinking about that phrase “More being, less doing” I was thinking about myself and my weight battles. Thinking about mindlessly standing at the cupboard eating - not really hungry, not even focusing on the taste of the food - just doing it instead of being mindful and present on what was happening. Or the times that I have sat in front of the television at night scarfing down dinner almost not tasting it - not being present - and then feeling unsatisfied when it was gone.
Even with exercise I sometimes find myself wishing it was over before it has even started and trying to “zone out” during a walk or a run because it has become solely about burning calories instead of enjoying the journey so to speak.
I wonder if truly focusing on being in the moment, in the experience - every experience - could help with my weight. To not look for something to provide momentary pleasure on a very primitive level the way that say chocolate does - but rather to be fully engaged in experiences that I truly derive pleasure from. If this would increase my sense of being instead of just doing things for the sake of doing them?
If that happened would that mean I would be more positive, more self satisfied and – ideally – thinner?
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Stuff your squash!!
That title needs to be filed under things that sound dirty but aren’t!
Ok, fall is the season for squash. All kinds of squash! Which are all absolutely wonderful for you and low in calories!!
This is what I had for dinner tonight and I hope some of you will try it and let me know what you think!
First I took a buttercup squash. Then I stabbed the poor thing many times. I threw it in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes in the oven you should be able to cut it in half pretty easy and scoop out the seeds.
After scooping out the seeds, place that sucker back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, I cooked up some fresh cranberries. To cook the cranberries, the directions say to boil together 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. I said to the package “Are you freaking nuts??” Then I boiled a 1/4 cup of baking Truvia with 1 cup of water and tossed in the cranberries which I cooked for 10 minutes. The cranberries will start to pop and will be easy to mush up.
Then I took the squash out and scooped the insides out and into a bowl.
I mixed the cranberries in with the squash insides.
Then I divided the mixtures back into the squash halves.
Popped them back into the oven for a few minutes and then removed and DEVOURED!
This one kind of fell apart and looks terrible, but it tasted AMAZING!
We have used this technique with different squashes such as pumpkin and acorn. We have also used different fruits such as apples, pears and pineapple.
So stuff your squash and let me know what you think!
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Keep it rolling…
Monday, October 5, 2015
For the most part the stress that I am under is completely self-imposed. There are people out there that experience REAL stress. People who have to scrape to make ends meet, people with sick children, people struggling with serious mental illnesses, people going through a divorce.
I am so fortunate (knocking on wood here) that I am not under that type of stress. In fact, I’m pretty fucking lucky, all things considered.
And yet – I feel the need to worry about things that I don’t need to worry about and stress out about things. Sometimes I think I’m addicted to stressing myself out – thinking that things have to get done NOW or worrying about things that I can’t control. Or obsessively comparing myself to others.
Before I went on vacation, the wonderful Christyne pointed out to me that placing this type of stress on myself can actually make me gain weight. Which then causes me to stress out more creating this vicious cycle.
In the spirit of trying to change that about myself I got up this morning and headed into work. I don’t know about you guys, but coming back from vacation is often stressful with lots of phone calls to return, e-mails to answer, and messes to clean up.
Arriving at the office, I immediately started to tense up and start freaking out about things that needed to be done. And then I stopped and took a deep breath. I did a little self-talk about how I was creating an emergency that DID NOT EXIST. That things would get done – they always do.
When lunch time rolled around I started to think that maybe I should stay in and work instead of exercising. And then I told myself NO, changed my clothes and headed out for a run. Predictably during the run a few times I felt myself speeding up and thinking about getting back to the office to answer some more e-mails. So I consciously and deliberately forced myself to slow down, to enjoy the crisp autumn air, to be more present.
I don’t know if any of you can identify with this, but sometimes I feel like I am just floating through life – without paying attention – does that make any sense?
So I forced myself to be more in the moment.
And guess what? I arrived back at work, got most of my work done, and drumroll please I ate my healthy lunch and didn’t snack AT ALL. I didn’t want to.
Now let’s get real – this was one day. But I think there is something to be said about reducing stress and, as a consequence, not doing mindless things like nibbling and snacking.
My goal for this week is to work on this – to increase my awareness – and see what that brings.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Having a superpower…
Those of you who have read this blog for a while know that I am a HUGE Stephen King fan.
One of my absolute favorite books by him is Firestarter.
So when I was younger and my friends would ardently debate which superpower was best – invisibility, flying, superhuman strength, etc. etc. etc. I wanted something different.
I wanted The Push like Andy had. He could basically force someone telepathically to believe something by pushing a thought into their had – like handing someone a $1 bill and saying the them “This is a $20” and they would see a $20.
When I was younger I used to think that would be amazing – to be able to force people to basically see and do things your way. You could become rich, you could hurt your enemies without anyone knowing. I’ll admit, there were some bullies in school that I fantasized about making them eat rat poison thinking they were eating a cookie!
For some reason, I was thinking about that book today. I remembered a part of the book where Andy had become a fat, unproductive drug addict. One day he kind of came to and – for the first time – pushed – himself. He fixed himself by making himself change using his “power”.
Wouldn’t that be cool if you could push yourself? If I could just tell me not to eat so much. To eat healthy and stop randomly snacking. To say “That piece of cake is off limits!” And then – without struggle – without feeling deprived or sorry for myself just DO IT.
Because that power to tell myself something is there. I do it ALL THE TIME. It’s the behavior that doesn’t always follow.
My best laid plans are made about 11PM at night – as I am drifting off to sleep. At that time, I know for sure that I will do the right thing the next day and the day after. But when that day dawns? The doing is so much harder than the planning.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
So, I’ve been missing in action for a while. After my post about the percentage of failures in maintaining weight loss, I dove head-long into a vat of self-pity and stayed there.
I was bound and determined to make it through that stressful week of planning and executing the graduation. It went off almost perfectly. But my stress level was so high that after it ended and I was cleaning up, I looked at the left-over cake and pizza and well, it wasn’t pretty!!
Armed with a extended clip of self-hatred we left for our annual vacation to the cabin in Western PA on Sunday.
I was so in my head and such a train wreck that I was miserable on the way down. I was convinced that I was fat pathetic piece of shit and that all hope was lost.
We spent the week hiking in the crisp fall weather. We walked miles. We looked for places that we hadn’t been before and found a wildlife refuge in the area and walked the trails looking at birds and other wildlife. The dogs – my wonderful boys – were SO good!! They relished every minute.
We wore them out and when we woke up one morning and the forecast was correct and it was DOWNPOURING – we left them in the cabin and hit a nearby mall where we spent the day shopping and hanging out.
As the week ended, I FINALLY started to get out of my head a little bit. You see, I recognize how absolutely RIDICULOUS I am. Intellectually I get it. But emotionally, I just can’t get there most of the time.
It was a long drive back and I tried to talk to myself about holding on to some inner peace. To worry about eating right most of the time and exercising reasonably instead of obsessively until I am exhausted and starving.
I’d like to tell you I’m all better now. That I get it. That I will now lose the 25 pounds I want to lose and life will be a breeze. But never bullshit a bullshitter, right guys?
I got up this morning and it was cold and windy. I took the dogs out and we went on a slow 10K run – the first time Chakotay has run 10K straight!! He did so great! And then I ate a normal healthy lunch.
I’m not making any promises here, but I’m going keep pushing forward….