The Struggle is Real?

The struggle is real! — Or, is it?

My it has always been losing and maintaining a healthy weight. I have felt and agonized over the struggle for almost my entire life. When I was a child I was a victim of others taunts, but as I grew older I started to take things into my own hands. Unfortunately, being in control of my weight loss efforts didn’t alleviate the struggle, it merely made me feel that I was a failure. The struggle continued and it controlled me.

Yesterday, as I was practicing meditation (that’s a whole other story), I had a moment of surprising clarity. Maybe I should classify it as an Ah-ha! moment. The centering thought for the day’s meditation was “Now is my time.” (https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience) At first it just seemed to be a very generic, positive statement then it made me realize that now is not an event it is ALWAYS. My time is always. It’s NOT a struggle, it’s ALWAYS. It’s not a task or goal to achieve, it’s who I am and what I want. It’s ALWAYS available to me.

When I remove the struggle for my perception and live in my time, my always, I feel relaxed and free. I’m no longer clenching on the inside. My time is always and if I want to truly experience it I need to stop clenching and struggling and embrace what it is offering.

Indulgences (or eating what I want to eat)

I am very accomplished at following directions and rules. If you want something done and tell me that the way to accomplish it is done a specific way, I’m your go-to person. I will get it done. WeightWatchers (https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/) tells me how to lose weight – and they are spot on. It works. Period.

My challenge as I move forward on this journey is that I want to eat what I want to eat and that desire is getting stronger. I’ve moved through my version of resentment over what I feel are my designated food options and discovered that I truly don’t like how that feels. I also don’t want to be resigned that because my body is a certain way I shouldn’t deserve to eat joyfully whatever it is that I want to eat. I definitely see those foods that give me the most joy as my indulgences and I know that if I don’t eat them I will successfully lose weight, but I’m done with giving them up. There must be a better view of how I’m looking at this dilemma. The reality is that one way or another I am going to eat whatever it is that I want to eat. My solution now needs to be how can I do just that and continue to lose and then maintain my weight.

Thinking outside the box is not my typical first choice. That seems a bit strange seeing that I can excel at singing on stage and that is definitely considered a creative art. My creativity lies in my ability to express feelings musically with SOMEONE ELSE’S blueprint.

AHA! I just figured something out!! I don’t have to do this all by myself. People have different strengths and I can use their support to give me the blueprint and then I can make it my own. WeightWatchers is definitely my foundational blueprint, it always will be, but now I need more insight on how to add my joyful foods to my everyday existence.

My WeightWatchers leader and personal coach, Joanie C., guided me to discover my approach to pizza. I LOVE pizza. Making my own knock-off version of pizza does not satisfy me and definitely doesn’t give me joy. Here’s my pizza blueprint:

  1. Order a cheese pie for delivery
  2. Serve out ONE slice and cut it into 3 smaller slices
  3. Put the rest of the pizza in the refrigerator to cool down
  4. Eat the pizza with a side salad and glass of red wine
  5. Take the leftover pizza out of the refrigerator and vacuum seal each piece separately
  6. Put leftover pizza in the freezer.

Now for ice cream. In my WeightWatchers meeting room I listened to a fellow member talk about the amazing ice cream sundae she had made with 1/2 cup of ice cream, cut-up fruit, and fat-free whipped topping. She said it filled up her bowl and completely satisfied her. That sounded perfect to me, so I tried it. WOW! It came out to 4 SmartPoints and it joyfully hit the spot. I didn’t feel deprived so there was no side of resentment.

Then there are waffles. My husband, Mark, and I go out to our favorite diner regularly and I always wistfully look through the pancake and waffle section of the menu. I know they are delicious but I absolutely will NOT spend the quantity of SmartPoints I would need to use to eat them. Sigh. Enter Mudhustler from WeightWatchers Connect. (He’s also on FaceBook and Instagram. https://www.facebook.com/mudhustler/   https://www.instagram.com/mudhustler_official/?hl=en) And, enter the Big Ass Waffle!

Perfection – at 4 SmartPoints including the sugar-free syrup. Joyful.

Thank you to my blueprint creators. I’m using your creativity as part of expressing my own creativity in living my healthy life.

Kitchen Appliance Obsession

I love small kitchen appliances. They fascinate me. They inspire me. They make cooking and baking easy and fun. The picture above shows a few of my appliances: KitchenAid stand mixer, KitchenAid food processor, Cuisinart toaster oven, Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother, my brand new Instant Pot (!), and SodaStream. Oh, I shouldn’t forget my coffee corner with the Nespresso and Keurig:

 

Or, my Christmas present obsession the Power AirFryer XL:

 

Hidden away I also have an air popcorn popper, a FoodSaver, and a Ninja Blender System.

For the past 2-3 weeks I’ve been feeling a bit blah about my weight loss journey. Not discouraged, but disconnected. I’d been thinking about buying an Instant Pot for a couple of months and this past week I placed the order. It arrived the very next day – even though I didn’t request any special shipping service. Was that a sign?

Did I need the Instant Pot? No. Did I want it? That’s a big old YES.

When it arrived I immediately unpacked it and read the manual from cover-to-cover. I was a bit nervous about how the whole electric pressure cooker worked exactly, but I was ready to explore what I’d been hearing and reading about this “amazing machine.” A friend of mine, Michele G., received one as Christmas gift. She’s quite an amazingly creative and talented person in many areas, one of them happens to be with food. I took her suggestion that I begin with hard-boiled eggs. They. Were. Amazing! I was so excited that I even gave one of them to another friend as a gift. My next Instant Pot adventure was steel cut oatmeal. Once again, amazing! Everything is so easy and tastes delicious.

I searched the internet for healthy Instant Pot recipes and stumbled upon a whole section in Skinnytaste.com (http://www.skinnytaste.com/recipes/pressure-cooker/). Score! I love her recipes.

I’m feeling much more engaged with my weight loss journey. Go figure. I’m going to go plan my next Instant Pot adventure.

What are your favorite small kitchen appliances?

 

Snow Day!

I am a public school teacher. I am a 10-month employee. I have built-in vacations throughout the school year. And, I have snow days from time to time. Today is a snow day! Usually “the call” comes between 4:30 and 5:00 AM, today’s call came early last night. That is a definite treat. No matter how the unexpected (or sometimes anticipated) day off comes I always feel excited – like 9-year-old, clap your hands, and jump up and down excited. When the call comes in the morning it’s sometimes hard for me to fall back asleep. When the extremely rare night before call comes there’s time to prepare for the celebration.

In my past I would have loaded up on comfort foods, grabbed a good book and movie, slept in late, and stayed in my PJs all day. It would basically be a day of eating and not moving very much where I’d end up feeling a bit achy and sluggish.

My new snow day reality is a bit different. I still feel all the excitement, I hit up the grocery store for provisions, and I sleep a bit longer than I would on a normal work day BUT my food choices have surprisingly adapted to my personal health goals and I seem to be no longer capable of sitting still for long periods of time. When on earth did this happen to me?!

My grocery basket last night included bananas, celery & carrots, blue cheese, Frank’s Hot Sauce, BOCA crumbles, Halo Top ice cream, PB2, Quest bars, and a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew. Did I need everything I bought? Nope. But, I wanted options for making food on this snowy day. I’m seriously contemplating making Skinny Buffalo Chicken Strips (http://www.skinnytaste.com/skinny-buffalo-chicken-strips/) and Low Fat Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing (http://www.skinnytaste.com/low-fat-creamy-blue-cheese-dressing/) from http://www.skinnytaste.com – hence the celery & carrots, blue cheese, and hot sauce. The BOCA Veggie Ground Crumbles I like to have on hand for one of our favorite Weight Watchers recipes of Pasta with “Meat” Sauce (7 SmartPoints). I had my typical breakfast of a Shakeology protein shake with banana, but I did add a little something special with an Eggo Nutri-Grain Low Fat Whole Grain Waffle spread with PB2. As for the Halo Top ice cream, Quest bars, and Diet Mountain Dew? Total splurges of comfort. Will I eat them any or all of them today? Yes to the diet soda (and, yes, I know it’s really not good for me) but probably no to the other items. Right now I’m splurging on having a second cup of coffee with half-n-half – I’m methodical in measuring out 1 tablespoon for each of my cups of coffee.

I slept an extra 2 hours from my regular work day wake-up time of 5:00 AM. That felt wonderful! I also stayed in my PJs and leisurely prepared and ate my breakfast. Then, instead of heading for the couch and my warm blanket, I tidied up a bit and changed into my yoga clothes for my daily practice with Yoga with Adriene (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFKE7WVJfvaHW5q283SxchA). I feel awesome! When I’ve been sitting too long my Fitbit will buzz to remind me to get up and move, which I will do. I also see some serious shoveling in my near future. Of course I will mix this all in with reading (YOGA: Mastering the Basics – Sandra Anderson/Rolf Sovik, PsyD) and watching some Netflix (The Crown). All-in-all a lovely day.

I still have the excitement for snow days, but now I physically and mentally feel great after the day has ended.

I Accept

I am a WeightWatcher member and always will be. I love their Beyond the Scale program. I have always wanted to be thin – and in my mind that also meant beautiful. Now I’m beginning to understand that I already am beautiful and I need to place my focus on being healthier not only with my physical body but also with what and how I think about myself.

It’s hard for me to mentally move beyond the scale, but I know that’s what I want to do. My struggle with my weight is more of a struggle inside my thoughts. When I was a teenager I thought I was fat – such an unkind word, but that’s how it was back then – but when I look at pictures from that time period I really was not fat. I wasn’t exactly like most of my peers in body shape and size, but I was NOT fat. Unfortunately that’s when my mental struggle began and I didn’t realize that all of it was so tied up with how I felt about myself. I have about 37 years of beating myself up mentally to release! That sounds overwhelming – almost. You see, I have had every tool and person that I need to help me find my way. I always have.

My WeightWatchers leader and personal coach, Joanie C., is a great source of encouragement, motivation, and acceptance. She introduced Yoga with Adriene (http://yogawithadriene.com/) to me and yesterday I finished the 30 Days of Yoga program (30 Days of Yoga). It was an amazing experience. I feel like yoga is changing me on the inside and it feels great. Today I began YogaCamp (YogaCamp) and this 30 day program is adding a daily affirmation to focus on during the practice. Today’s affirmation is “I Accept.” How perfect that not only did I inadvertently begin a new routine that is placing focus on positive self-talk but also that it’s starting out with I ACCEPT?

I do, I accept. I am exactly who I need to be and I am exactly where I need to be right now. Just saying, “I accept.” releases tension that I’ve been holding inside my body. “I Accept” is helping me to do what I need to do and taking away the burden of “I Should.” I accept that I have everything I need and am exactly in the right place at the right time.

Whatever tomorrow’s affirmation may be, today I accept and I will return to this affirmation again and again.

I accept.