Worth every bite!

I went to a Weight Watchers meeting yesterday morning and the topic was about knowing the difference between internal and external hunger.  And how planning to eat at regular times can help us to combat that external hunger, the hunger cued by environment, our senses and our emotions.  Keeping from getting too physically hungry can help us to not give in to the external hunger….sometimes.

So, after my meeting I planned my day and made sure I had healthy food to eat.  I had been sick for the past week and  a half, only able to eat plain toast, saltines and bananas.  Now I was able to finally add back in some real food, careful in my choices.

Until…… this happened.

Cue the external hunger!  Big time!

I was reading a local paper when I happened upon the ad for this newly opened cookie business, just up the road from us…..I shared it with my husband and after checking the website we ordered.  Why wouldn’t we?  They were offering free delivery and the cookies would be warm when delivered.

This was a perfect example of external hunger taking over!

Was I truly hungry?  NO!

I had already eaten dinner, just 45 minutes prior.  It was getting late and I hate to go to bed after eating… but Wow!  These cookies looked amazing!  Especially the smores cookie.  And did I mention, they would be delivered warm!!

Still……

It was late, so I told my husband I would save the cookie for tomorrow.

But….external hunger doesn’t let go and give up that easily!

And when the cookies arrived and I smelled them….well, I just HAD to have one.

So, I did.  I ate the entire huge smores cookie.  OMG!  It was amazing!  Delicious!  Heaven!

Darn that external hunger!

Before my journey with Weight Watchers, I would have given up, the guilt weighing me down.  Not so kind words would have run through my head and I would have eaten more.

But I have learned many things on my journey, with one of the most important being to be kind to myself.

I ate a cookie, albeit a GIANT cookie.  A gooey, decadent cookie! And I am sure it was more than my daily points budget. Heck it may have even been more than the weekly extra points budget I have.

But it is okay!

I have tracked this week.  I have had extra points each day.  I have not used any of my weekly overdraft points budget.  I CAN fit this into my plan, my life and it works!

One splurge does not negate all the positive strides this week.

So, I ate a cookie!  It is not the end of the world.  It does not mean I failed.  The great thing about Weight Watchers and this lifestyle I live is that I CAN have what I CHOOSE.  That is so empowering!  I get to CHOOSE what I spend that budget on.  I get to CHOOSE what I eat.  I. Get. To. Choose.

Yes, sometimes my choices are cued by external hunger rather than physical hunger.  But it still works.  Will I never eat a cookie?  Will I never have steak?   Will I never go out to eat?  Will I never slip up? NO.  I get to live my life, make my choices and still can become the healthiest version of me!  It is about living my life.  It is about avoiding deprivation.  It is about eating to be healthy the way that I will eat for the rest of my life!

Yes, external hunger won out last night.  So what?  I did not fail.

That cookie was worth it. Every. Single. Bite!

Here is to living my life, my way.  Becoming the best and healthiest version of me, one choice at a time, one step at a time, and one leap at a time!

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Circle of Inspiration

Yesterday morning I completed another 5k, the She Power 5k.

20190128_152212_hdr copyI had signed up for this 5k back in July 2018.  A while ago.  I had done this race in February and loved the race and the medal, so I knew I wanted to do it again.  And the medal this year was beautiful!  Who doesn’t want the bling from a race, isn’t that why we do it?  Well I also signed up with the intention that this was going to be a PR for me.  My fastest 5k race was in January 2009, 10 years ago.  I was 10 years younger and 20 lbs lighter and had trained for a couple of months.  6 months was plenty of time to get ready to make this 5k a Personal Best.  Sometimes the greatest intentions don’t always work out…..

I did not prepare for this race other than a couple of walks here and there and a 5k in November that told me I was REALLY out of shape…. But I still had time.

Everything was pretty much stacked against me for yesterday’s She Power 5k… no training, extra weight, my husband wouldn’t be able to be beside me and encourage and motivate me along the way…. Yes, things were stacked against me.  And thoughts did enter my mind that maybe I would just walk and set a goal for next year, putting off my goal for a future date.  The problem with that is that the future date usually doesn’t arrive.

Yes, circumstances, lack of preparedness and my thoughts were threatening to keep me from this 5k, until….

My Circle of Inspiration.

We all have a Circle of Inspiration, made up of friends, family, co-workers, strangers we meet or see on TV or read about, individuals who walk into our lives for a moment and so many more.  Many individuals form our circle, inspiring us along the way.  And we find inspiration and give inspiration within this circle.  The great thing about a circle is it has no end; the inspiration is all around us.  What a wondrous thing to be able to find inspiration in so many ways, from so many different individuals.

I have a wonderful and wide-spread Circle of Inspiration I can draw from.  And it is in this circle that I find the strength to fight on, to work harder, to keep going when all I want to do is quit.  Whether it is about just getting through my day, getting out of bed, stepping outside my comfort zone, continuing my journey of health, facing hard things in life or crossing a finish line when I don’t think I can, inspiration is there.  My husband, my sons, my daughter-in-law, my extended family, my friends, the strangers I have met and so many others inspire me to just do it, to take the leap and fly!

20190127_073024 copySo, with everything against me, what made the difference for me yesterday morning was these ladies, part of my Circle of Inspiration.  Some had done a 5k before and for some of them this was their first.  And they inspired me on my journey.

When I worked as a WW Coach (formerly known as a Weight Watcher Leader) I had the privilege of getting to know many individuals who inspired me every day, every week.  These women met in meetings I led.  And I was blessed these past couple of years to have been a part of their journey.  I have laughed with them, cried with them, celebrated with them, and commiserated with them.  And I have had the privilege of getting to know their individual stories.

Each of these women came to this race yesterday for their own reasons and with their own goals, inspiring each other along the way.  That Circle of Inspiration.  Some struggled with physical limitations, and some faced mindset challenges, yet each of them was willing to set aside the challenges that could have kept them from walking this 5k and instead they chose to step outside their comfort zones.  I have often said that stepping outside that comfort zone is where our greatest growth happens, and these ladies were proving that to be true.  Having the privilege of knowing their personal stories gave me the strength to show up and to cross that start line.  And they gave me the courage to push myself beyond what was comfortable so that I could finish strong.

We gathered before the race and lined up at the start together.  When it was time to go, we went at our own paces.  Each of us had our own personal goal we wanted to reach.  And that was scary for some of us, maybe for all of us.  But because of this Circle of Inspiration, because of the support we found in each other, we were able to push forward.  One-step-at-a-time, literally!

I was inspired by all of them, whether it was their first race or one of many…. I was inspired by their enthusiasm and excitement at completing a race.  I was inspired by their determination to push past the physical barriers that had kept them from even 20190128_152234_hdr copydreaming of doing a 5k race, those physical barriers that at one time kept them from even walking around a block, let alone 3.1 miles.  I was inspired by how they changed a mindset from “I can’t” to “I think I can” to “Yes! I can”.  I was inspired by the support and encouragement they showed each other.  I was inspired by those who conquered their fear and were willing to do this race with little preparation. I was inspired by seeing the empowerment that comes from believing in oneself.  I was inspired by the resolve to finish faster than the last one.  I was inspired by their faces, the joy, the pride after finishing this race. I was inspired by the courage shown to finish a race despite a fall and injury, and not just finish it, but finish strong, something I am not sure I could have done.

To say that these ladies inspire me is an understatement.  Each one of them is an inspiration and I am so very blessed to know them and be encouraged by them!

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Congratulations, my friends! You thought you could and you did!

We all finished this race yesterday morning, proud of each other and proud of ourselves.  We each met or exceeded our personal goals.  And yes, we are ready to do it again!

I know that without these ladies I would have still done this race, but I am not sure how hard I would have pushed myself without my Circle of Inspiration, those who inspire me every day in my life and these ladies who gave me the strength and courage to push myself faster and to see what I was capable of.

I didn’t finish with a PR, but I finished faster than the She Power 5k 1 year ago and faster than the 5k I did in November.  I walked and I ran, knowing these ladies were somewhere amid the sea of women and they were pushing themselves too.

I was just 3 ½ minutes slower than my fastest race 10 years ago……imagine what I can do with a little inspiration, a little training, and being a little healthier….  Next year will be my year, I have no doubt!

With a vast and far reaching Circle of Inspiration, WE CAN…. I CAN …do anything!!

The Power in one word

Why?

A question.

A word.

There is a lot of power in that one little word.

Last week I led my last workshop for Weight Watchers, having resigned my position last month.  One last meeting and the topic was on our why.  That word.  Why.

I did a lot of thinking about that 3-letter word as I prepared for my last workshop.  Why do we do anything?  Why don’t we?  Why do we start or stop something?  How can getting in touch with our why help? 

I wrote about finding my why last year (here) after realizing that my “why” was missing and that was part of what was holding me back.  And now I had an opportunity to delve deeper into the why, the reason for what we all were doing on this journey to get to a healthier us.  And deeper into the power of that one little word.

You see, the why…that reason, is what fuels us.  It gives us the energy, the fuel we need to achieve what we have set out to do.  Our why gets us to our goals. 

And the why is different than the goal.  The goal is what I strive for, my focus.  But my why, well that is the whole reason for doing it, for working toward that goal. 

And it hit me when I was preparing for that last workshop that a missing “why” is what makes New Year’s resolutions not work, at least for me.  I have written and shared that I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions anymore because they just don’t work for me.  I am not good at them.  And now I realize why they don’t work for me.  That word was missing. 

New Years Resolutions were always the same—set them on New Years eve for the New Year.  Lose Weight.  Get Healthy.  Exercise.  And I set them for many years.  Because that is what one does for New Years.  I just did it. 

But why?  Why did I set those resolutions?  What reason would fuel me?  I set those resolutions without a reason, without the personal why that made them my own.  The reason that meant something to me. 

Setting a goal needs to be one that means something to me.  One that is mine and not a goal someone else sets for me.  And then I need to ask myself why?  Why this goal?  What does this look like for me, in my life?  Why do I want this? 

Our why is the fuel we need to move forward toward our goals.  And setting a goal without a “why” is like driving a car on empty.  Yes, we can get a few more miles down the road when the fuel light comes on, warning us we are about out of fuel.  And then we stop.  Our travel ends.  Our progression stalls.  We don’t get anywhere without more fuel.

That is what our why does for us.  That is what my why does for me.  My why is my fuel.  Without it, I am not going far.  And I won’t reach my goal.  And sometimes I lose sight of my why and need to remind myself the reason I keep doing what I am doing, the reason I want to reach certain goals I have set for myself.  When we have the fuel we need, the gas in our tanks, the why for doing this, well then, we can achieve anything we set out to achieve. 

I can reach any dream or goal I set as long as I know why!

There is a lot of power in that one little word… why.  What are your goals?  What is your why? 

Continuing to be a Success Story

Frustrated. Defeated.  Hopeless.  Why try?

All thoughts that popped into my head as I read the Biggest Loser study that was published yesterday and as I listened to an interview this morning with the season 8 winner and a doctor for Good Morning America. This study and the interview make it sound as if losing weight and getting healthy is an impossible goal, unreachable because of biology…..because our bodies want to keep us fat.

I have watched every season of the Biggest Loser, awed and inspired by the mental transformations in the contestants. Watching as they had their AHA moments, crying along with them and being inspired. Even though there are many contestants who have maintained a healthy weight after leaving the show, this study is disheartening.  And if I was still in the process of losing my 70+ pounds, this study and the interview this morning would have me crawling back into my hole, leaving me feeling that I would never be able to achieve lasting success.

This study looks at the Biggest Loser contestants of one season. Why only look at the weight loss and regain of contestants on a Weight Loss show, where weight loss is done in a strict environment, in a way that most of us cannot do it, yet alone maintain it?  Did they base the findings on these contestants because they could not find any other success stories, anywhere in America? 

And why only look at those who gained back their weight? Why only look for a cause and ultimately the excuses for regaining the weight?  Why not look at those who have maintained their success?  Why not look at how they are succeeding, at what is working? 

As I sat here and listened to the interview I thought, well, if I gain back all of my weight then I can blame it on my body….I am just meant to spend my life obese.

NO! That is defeatist thinking. 

Weight loss shows like the Biggest Loser create an artificial environment for those individuals. The weight loss that is achieved is done so in an unrealistic way…..a manner that is not sustainable for the long haul.  In the interview the former winner said that he had kept the weight off for two years, but realized he was exercising more than most people in order to do that.  Then he said that when he got a job, went back to work and wasn’t doing all of that exercise the weight started coming back.  There it was, the real reason for the weight gain…..going back to our normal life after “dieting”. 

I tell my members and myself that you HAVE to eat to lose weight and get healthy the way you are going to eat for the rest of your life.

It HAS to be a lifestyle and it HAS to be what fits into your life, instead of making your life fit the “diet”.

And exercise/activity HAS to be what you can do for the rest of your life.

Is it realistic to think that I can eat under 1000 calories everyday for the rest of my life? Is it realistic to think that I can eat “diet” food for the rest of my life?  Is it realistic to think that I can go to the gym 7 hours a day, for the rest of my life?  No.  What kind of life would I have if that is how I spent every single day for the remaining days I have on earth? 

I would not be living!

When I look at it this way, then I realize that this study and the findings do not reflect the reality for so myself or the many others  who have lost the weight and kept it off.

This study shows that when you “diet” in the extreme to get to a goal weight and then go back to your real life, back to a normal way of living, working and surviving, it does not work. Extreme “dieting” backfires on us.

So, I sat here listening and reading and realized that the way I have lost the weight worked. Slow and steady wins the race.  Slow and steady gives us the time to make habit and behavioral changes that will last.

Getting healthy and losing weight is not a sprint. It CAN be done. 

And it will last when we do it in a way that is livable and sustainable. When we stop “dieting” and we start living we can achieve our goals and stay there. 

And though there may be times that I go back to old habits….maybe gain back a few pounds…..it does not mean I am meant to be overweight forever. I know without a doubt, that I will NEVER again be my before self, I will NEVER gain back all of my weight because my lifestyle has changed and my mindset has changed.  I have learned new habits and changed my lifestyle in such a way that I CAN get back on track when I slip and I CAN get back to where I want to be…..where I am happy and healthy. 

Thank you to the Doctor who did this study for reminding me that extreme dieting does not last and that this lifestyle and the habits I have changed through my weight loss journey with Weight Watchers is what works….for me and for many others.

This IS a lifestyle!

 There IS hope!

I WILL beat the odds!

I CONTINUE to be a success story!

 

Choosing Me

My heart was racing. Anxiety was building.  Was I really going to do this?  Really?  But what if I can’t?  I know it is going to be really hard.

The fear was creeping into my brain, threatening to change my mind, to hold me back from doing something I had agreed to do.

How often in my life have I let my fear rule my choices? Far too many times. 

“may your CHOICES reflect your hopes, not your fears” –Nelson Mandela

This quote that I read last week in my new Fitness journal came back to me in the moments leading up to my hitting the “confirm” button. Was I going to let the fear stop me, or was I going to choose to follow my hope, the faith in my ability and the faith my husband had in me? 

Another quote I read recently stuck out in my mind:

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As I clicked on the confirm button, my excitement grew…..I am going to do this. I have made my choice.  I am going to let fear mean that I am facing everything and rising!  I am going to do this despite my fear of failure, fear of disappointment, and deep down my fear of succeeding, of being proud of me. 

I did it. I registered for my first half marathon.

I made my choice and I have chosen me.

Glowing

This week in meetings I am talking to my members about glowing…..Weight Watchers Glowments, those moments when you do something you are so proud of that you cannot help but glow. I love this!  And though I lead meetings now, I am still a member, continuing to learn and grow on this journey. 

This week has been another one of those moments when I go….ahhhh….YES….THAT is what I need to hear and do.

Taking care of me…..putting me first…….something that is hard to do in the best of times and even harder in the midst of chaos, heartbreak and fear.

The past couple of months have been difficult and the past few weeks found me falling back on old habits to comfort me….I even had a Peanut Butter day….just one day. What I learned is that the old habits don’t get rid of the fear or the pain.  Peanut butter does not heal what is hurting my heart and soul, instead it gives me heartburn.

I am finding my footing, finally, this week. I am beginning to find a way to take care of me, and find some happy moments, all while my heart cries.  I am finding that the new habits I formed while losing my weight and the lifestyle I have developed is now more comforting to me than the old ways. 

And this week I am finding some moments…those glowments that I encourage my members to find…the positives when negatives are all that can be seen and felt. And I am proud of me!

Slowly I am getting back to my life….. taking back my life. And that starts by taking care of me…..eating healthy, exercising (yes, I need to get to my training for that half-marathon) and doing things that I enjoy doing. 

A movie last weekend, a book to read, and dancing in the living room…all ways I have started to be kind to myself.

And Last night, an evening with my husband at the Bruce Munro Sonoran Light Exhibit was just that moment or glowment. The lights glowed, changing colors, drawing me in.  And I was glowing!

Taking care of me does not take away the pain and fear, but it does help me to grow and glow!

Lifetime Anniversary

Today, Valentines Day, I celebrate with my husband our love and I celebrate the greatest love I have found, the love of self. It took a really long time for me to get to a point of really believing I was worth it and worth loving.  When I finally got there, a world of endless possibilities opened up for me.

 February 14, 2008, was a day to celebrate….Valentines day celebration with my best friend and love of my life and a day to celebrate reaching Lifetime at Weight Watchers.

I joined Weight Watchers for the 5th time, in March 2006.  I had tried many different diets over the years.  I lost weight and regained the same weight plus more many times through the years.  And this time, when I went back to Weight Watchers I knew I HAD to go.  I had found myself in the kitchen, standing in front of the sink, an open bag of Oreo cookies in one hand and tears flowing down my cheeks.  I ate those cookies, not even tasting them, while talking to myself. 

And then I said the words, out loud, that made me stop—“Terri, you are killing yourself……and I DON”T care, no one does and no one will care when I am gone”.

Saying those words out loud, while shoveling the cookies and my emotions down my throat, was like a slap in the face. I didn’t care.  And that scared me.  I had to do something to change what was happening, to change the way I was feeling.

And I did. The next morning, for the 5th time, I walked into a Weight Watchers meeting.  I was scared, nervous and ashamed.  I had been to that meeting before and I didn’t want to see anyone I had seen before.  I was so embarrassed to be back at the meeting and this time I was at the highest weight I had ever been.  Something had to change. 

I sat through the meetings that first year, which was the longest I had stuck with Weight Watchers. I learned to track my food, to eat the right portions and to make healthier choices.  I loved my leader…..she inspired me each week and she cared about me and the other members.  And that made a huge difference for me. 

That first year I lost 20 lbs. 20 lbs!  The most I had ever lost on my attempts with Weight Watchers.  But I was struggling.  I couldn’t seem to push past that 20 lbs and I still had over 50 lbs to go. 

It was at that point that my leader gave me a popsicle stick…..she said it was to remind me to stick to it. I took that popsicle stick home and taped it to my pantry door, where my comfort foods waited for me to eat them.  Later that same day, I got a call from a family member.  The phone call upset me and when I hung up the phone the first thing I did was walk straight to the pantry.  I wanted the peanut butter, chips, cookies…..anything that I could eat that would stuff it all back inside. 

And then I saw it…..the popsicle stick.

I stopped without opening the pantry door and I turned around, sat down on the couch and then it hit me……I am a food addict.  Food was my answer to anything in my life and food was the answer to how I felt about myself and how I dealt with the pain of the abuse in my childhood. 

That A-HA moment changed everything for me. I realized in that moment that I did not think I was worth the effort it would take to lose the weight and get healthy.  I was not worth it……I spent my young years and teen years being told just how worthless I was, and I realized, in that moment that I believed I was worthless.

I needed to change something. I sat there and cried, allowing myself to feel the anger, sadness and frustration.  Then I grabbed my laptop and I began to write what was to become my weight loss journal—and I titled it “Stop Eating Your Emotions”.  It was while I was writing that I decided I needed to start each morning looking in the mirror and saying 4 words.  Those 4 words are the most empowering words I have EVER said to myself:

I AM WORTH IT.

I started the next morning. And I did not believe it.  But I kept saying those 4 words, every morning.  I did not believe them that first week, or the next.  It was a couple of months of saying those 4 words before I started to believe it.

I am worth it!

I am worth more than that jar of peanut butter. I am worth more than the chips and cookies.  I am worth it to go to my meeting every week and I am worth taking care of. 

Those 4 words changed everything for me.

It took me another 10 months to lose my last 52 lbs. I lost 72 lbs to reach my goal weight.  I felt amazing!  I liked myself and I believed I was worth it. 

The weight I had struggled to get rid of represented all of the excess baggage I carried from the abuse and abandonment of my younger years and my teen years. That a-ha moment allowed me to realize that I needed to sort through the baggage….one bag at a time….before I could get rid of the weight.  And that is what I did those last 10 months.  Each pound I lost was another piece of garbage I threw out of those bags…..each pound was another memory to get rid of, another person to forgive.  And as I sorted through it all, I gained my self-worth.  I gained confidence and I learned to forgive.  The little girl in me was finally healing and it was amazing.

January 10, 2008 I reached my goal weight and 6 weeks later, February 14, 2008 I achieved lifetime status with Weight Watchers.  I DID IT!  I found “me” under all that weight and I found a way to love myself.  I could not have done any of it without the support of my family, without my meeting and without the other members and my leader….all of the support was invaluable to me. 

But reaching goal and lifetime was not the end of the journey. I am human and I still fall back on old habits.  I still have some “bags” to finish sorting through.  There are days when the old doubts find their way into my thoughts and I have to remind myself that I AM worth it.  And yes, there have been times when the weight starts to creep back up and I find myself struggling to get back down to my goal.  The difference now, today, in this moment in my life, is that I have the tools and the support to get myself back on track, to keep from going to far back down that hole. 

I now work for Weight Watchers as a meeting leader. I am inspired everyday by those who attend my meetings.  They remind me every single day that this journey is worth it……difficult, but worth it. 

I still go to meetings as a member because I am a member first and an employee second.  I still have that popsicle stick.  I still start my mornings looking in the mirror and saying those 4 empowering words.

I AM WORTH IT.