Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #51: Changing things up

For the past year I have been posting various tips and tricks as well as just random things I’ve learned as I work on a healthier me.  I enjoy sharing these weight loss journey sign posts with you.  I hope you find some of them helpful or at least momentarily amusing.

At this point, most of the lessons I am learning seemed to be the same lessons merely repackaged. It’s as though the universe realizes that I am slightly dense some times and need to have things pounded into my head. While I’m still learning and may come across new tips to share with you, I will not be posting this segment each week anymore.  It’s not gone for good. When something occurs that is worth mentioning, I’ll bring it back, it just won’t be a regular weekly post. 

I haven’t decided on a weekly thing to take its place yet (and I’m open to suggestions and if there is anything you want to see here on a regular basis let me know.) So for now I will just be posting my regular style of reviews on Wednesdays.

For my last regularly scheduled tip post, I’m going to post the top five things I’ve learned in the past year.

  1. Buy a pack of plain undershirts and socks with the reinforced toes to work out in.  Working out is a sweaty business and these clothes are going to take a beating. Rather than ruin your everyday socks and t-shirts, pick up an inexpensive pack that you can blitz clean with repeated washings and not worry over.  When they get too worn out from too much sweat and too many washings, relegate them to gardening gear or the rag bin and pick up another package. I actually recommend Hanes as they are not terribly expensive and can take quite a lengthy beating before they need to be replaced.  I tend to get the men’s v-neck ones as they are a little roomier and I don’t like the collar pressing on my neck as I work out.
  2. Patience. You didn’t put on all the weight overnight and you aren’t going to take it off overnight.  You also aren’t going to go from couch potato to winner of an Iron Man style competition in one gym session either. It is better to do consistent small workouts rather than destroying yourself on one big one and giving up for another couple of months. Losing a lot of weight is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t give up just because you can’t do everything now. Ease yourself in and build up to the level you want.
  3. This is about you.  Even if you work out with a friend and have the encouragement of thousands, it all comes down to you. This matters in several ways.  First it sometimes feels a little selfish to carve out time just for you to work out.  That’s okay.  This is one instance where you can be selfish.  In fact, you need to be a little selfish. This is your time, not a time to help someone else. You are helping you with something no one else can do for you. Secondly, just because other people start a work out in one place, doesn’t mean that’s where you start out.  This is about you and your body, not someone else’s regime. When I started, my knees weren’t happy about lowering me to the floor to do crunches and other floor exercises.  Because of this I used the bed as my flat surface. (I put a towel down first) Some of the movements didn’t work on the cushier surface, but many of them did.  I concentrated on doing those until I lost enough weight that my knees didn’t ache so badly and I was able to move to the floor and add in the movements I couldn’t do on the bed. I know I probably looked ridiculous. While not something I’d seen on a workout video, it worked for me.  Find what works for you, even if it looks silly to others.  This is about you.
  4. Understand that setbacks will appear and that your journey will more than likely not always be smooth sailing.  You may have an extra piece of birthday cake one week because eating it was the best way to stop yourself from saying something you might regret. Friends may visit and insist on a taking you out for a big Italian meal at their favorite restaurant in town.  You may get a bad sunburn on your legs and not be able to walk for two weeks.  A pandemic may shut down your gym and force you to establish a new routine. Life has a funny way of throwing things at you. You need to accept that things happen and then some weeks, a loss might not be possible.  Some weeks you may even gain.  The important bit is to move past the set back and keep going.  Sure, you didn’t need that extra piece of cake, but you didn’t call out your great uncle when he insisted that Elvis pompadour style wig he wears is his real hair. You let that 96 year old think he’s fooled everyone into believing he has a thick head of jet black hair. You get Karma points for that, even if you did gain half a pound in butter cream frosting alone that week and get a stomach cramp from all the extra sugar. Although seriously, I think that wig is part of an Elvis Impersonator costume. It is quite something to behold. But I digress.
  5. Treat yourself with kindness and respect.  Weight loss journey or not, I think this is something we all tend to forget every now and then. I know that I am my own worst critic.  And truth be told, I have said somethings to myself about myself that I wouldn’t even dream of uttering about any other human on the planet. Even if I absolutely despised them.  Yet I am occasionally guilty of saying these things to myself. I’m trying to get better and treat myself with more respect and kindness, because I know I am worth it.  I know you are worth it too.

So there you have it the tip five (ish) biggest lessons I’ve learned this past year. I’m sure I’ll learn more before my journey is done and when I do, you’ll be the first to know.  For now, I’m going to work with what I’ve got and keep trying to move forward.

For those interested in picking up your own soon to be beaten down t-shirts and socks, there is a sale on Hanes.

Up to 70% off Hanes Clearance including Men’s, Women’s & Kids Styles!

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #50: Effective Tools

Sometimes the right tools can make all of the difference

For anyone following along with my path towards a healthier me, you’ve probably noticed that my diet consists of monitoring portion sizes rather than banning foods all together from my world. This I of course paired with exercise. It is a slow process, at times to me it seems glacial, but it is sustainable.

I enjoy my food. I enjoy the crisp tang of a tart apple as I bite into it. I love the funk of a good cheese and I am fairly certain heaven smells like freshly baked bread. I am positive a slice from a fresh bread still warm from the oven spread with good butter melting in and maybe a drizzle of honey over the top is what they hand you once you pass St. Pete’s entry quiz. Conversely, I’m certain that hell smells like really good bread that you never get to eat. Maybe they pump the scent in from heaven’s ventilation system.

Regardless (now that I have given all of the mechanical engineers out there something to ponder in their spare time), I knew banning foods all together from my life was not going to be a pretense I could maintain. There are certain foods I don’t have all that often. Sure, that I can handle. After all some foods aren’t meant to be eaten every day. If you have cake every day what is the point of a birthday cake? But if you only have cake once in a blue moon than anytime it is served, cake itself makes the day an event.

Seriously, try it. Don’t have cake for a while and then out of the blue (and because when you went to get carrots at the grocery the only bag they had was a fifteen pound bag and once you got the giant bag home it was simply too many carrots not to do something with as they sat there accusingly until you agreed to make carrot cake) make a carrot cake. Every person passing through the kitchen will either ask you what the occasion is or assume they forgot something and sneak off to check their calendars. Because if you only have cake once in a while, when it arrives, it is an event.

Oddly enough this post is not about cake. I was just distracted. I blame the carrots.

I am far more likely to be taken down by savory than by sweet. Cheese in fact is one of my biggest weaknesses. While I can make camembert and stilton (along with their vast cornucopia of cohorts) occasional things, it is the everyday cheddar that has the ability to take me down. While I do treat the crumbly traditional cheddar with the same respect that I afford stilton, the big block of cheddar we get at the grocery store is designated for sandwiches and snacking.

I don’t know if you’ve looked but cheddar tends to be around 100 calories per ounce. And an ounce is not very much when you are talking about cheddar. It is very easy to go over that amount without realizing it. And when your system relies heavily on knowing how many calories you are consuming, it can be maddening. Enter the above two tools. One is a cheese slicer.

If you don’t have one, check the side of your box grater. There is usually a side with the slicer blades on it. I find this super handy for hard cheese like cheddar, especially if I am portioning it out. Sometime in the afternoon cheese and crackers sounds like a good snack. The slicer enables me to get thinner slices than I can manage with a regular knife (without slicing my fingers off in the process). The thinner slices give me the taste I want but not the mass. The slices my particularly effective tool produces (which I think is pretty standard) are the same as the parmesan shavings you see in fancy salads. One slice across a cracker is all that is needed for a snack.

The second tool is the smaller cutting board. Under normal circumstances it is terribly small and tends to look a bit decorative. Do not try carving a Sunday roast upon it. The results will not be pretty. However It is perfect for cheese. First of all for my snack I can place three crackers side by side across it’s length and that is a portion size according to the box. Add the cheese and I have my afternoon snack. It also helps make a small portion of cheese (or anything really) look larger than it is. Especially if you use the board to dress it up. Place the cheese on one side, fan out the crackers, maybe add a small bundle of grapes (not too many as you don’t want them to roll off or crowd the cheese, and maybe add a few olives.

The small board limits the amount you can place on it, and if you arrange things in a lovely manner instead of lumping them on the board, you fit even less. The hidden tool in this tip is the aesthetically pleasing presentation. Cooking shows may like to claim you eat with your eyes first, but quite frankly I think I eat with my nose first, then the eyes. Luckily scents can’t be electronically transmitted with the broadcast.

Secondary or not, the arrangement can help limit the portion size and is a fabulous tool.

I know some of you are thinking, Mimsy, that’s great but I don’t like cheese. My weakness is doughnuts. No problem. One doughnut won’t kill you. It’s the box that will take you down. So take one doughnut (not everyday of course, just once in a while). Place it on your pretty little board, or tray or whatever else you are using, then add a glass of your beverage. Use a low wide glass so it takes up a lot of real estate on your board and keep the amount of liquid low so it doesn’t over balance and spill while you carry you tray to the table (and so you don’t drink more calories than you eat).

That’s one of the reasons I kept the board empty in the photo. It may not make it an exciting picture, but it presents a blank canvas. For me, the weakness is cheese so I use a tool that helps me limit how much I take from the block and use a self contained place to arrange it nicely. Whatever your weaknesses are, I’m sure there are ways to do the same with them. It may require a little bit of thought at first but after a little while, reaching for the tools when you want to eat a certain type of food becomes habit. And that is really the goal here. To create better, healthier habits. This way you can still enjoy what it is you enjoy, just in a better way.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #48: The Unexpected

Sometimes in life things happen and you just have to make adjustments.  I know this is something we are all familiar with at this point.  Sometimes however the unexpected is a little closer to home. You know, there are times when I think myself really clever.  I’ll do something or write something or figure out a snarl in my plot in an unexpectedly delightful way and I will feel really good about myself.

There are other times when I manage to do something so bone-headedly stupid that I wonder why I don’t have a slew of Darwin Award trophies on my mantle.

This weekend was one of my not so bright moments. 

If you’ve been following along, you most likely know that I garden and that we have had a boat load of spring rain in my area. This weekend, it was sunny. 

In fact, it was just about perfect.

roses from my yard

The sun was shining and the temperature warm but not too hot. The roses were beginning to bloom. In fact. I cut a few for inside. A cool breeze was blowing so that nothing seemed too warm even when drowsing in the sun.  I sprayed myself down with sunscreen and did some work in the garden.  I then moved all of my seedlings outdoors for a chance to spend some time outside. 

Afterwards everything looked so lovely I thought ‘why not read out in the back garden?’ 

It was a nice break from being inside all the time and I was, quite ready for an outdoor break.  I loved my Wonder Woman Marathon, but there is only so much time I can sit on the couch. 

I also decided to change out of my jeans and put on a loose fitting summer dress.  I was quite happy to get to take it out of the closet (mostly because it didn’t fit me last summer and is now a little too loose on me). I was proud of myself for getting to wear it.

As we all know, pride goes before a fall.

This was no exception.

I settled myself with a book and fell into my story. For several hours.

Occasionally I moved around and my skirt shifted with movements, especially when I propped my knees up.  But I thought ‘hey I might actually get some sun on my ghost white legs’.

And boy did I.

Oh yes, my darlings, I sprayed myself with sunscreen when wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but in my haste to enjoy the perfect day, forgot to apply more when I changed and put none at all on my legs or upper arms where the skin was covered previously.

What occurred was a motley patchwork of burns on my inner thighs, knees, calves and feet.  (I kicked off my shoes to prop my feet on an extra chair.) The burns were pretty bad and I have been hobbling around ever since.  My arms are painful, but my legs feel as though the skin shrunk (which I suppose it did) and any movement is somewhat painful and walking is certainly out of the question. Making it from room to room is an effort. There is no way I am making it on the trail this week.

At the moment standing is not my favorite either. In fact the only position repotely comfortable is the one I was sitting in when I got the burn, ie. sitting with my feet propped up.  Monday morning I went to use the restroom and took longer than I expected because I had to work up the courage to stand back up and face the pain as the skin on my legs shifted.

It is getting better. Fear not, I don’t think I did myself any permanent harm. There are no blisters, just really red skin that feels really tight. It is just really painful at the moment.

Worse is that I know I did it to myself.

I did this stupid thing to me because I forgot extra sunscreen and lost track of time while reading.  As I almost always lose track of time while reading, I should have known better. Ghost white legs with no sun protection do not need to spend five hours in the sun.

Cool breeze or not.

So now I am dealing with the unexpected. I am giving my legs a break from walking, my body in general a break from exercising (mostly because I have no choice in the matter) and I am placing sunscreen at strategic points in the house so it is always visible. Although I think I will remember this for quite some time to come.

So unexpectedly I find myself with a week with no exercise.  I am watching my calorie count, but I do not have high hopes for Friday’s weigh in.  I really wish I could blame someone else, but really,  I can’t. this was all me. At best I could raise my fist and glare at the sun, but that really won’t help and it hurts to lift my arm that high at the moment anyway.

I will say, I am very happy to have that four pack of moisturizing face masks at the moment.  I have been lounging with them this week and suspect they will be used up by this coming weekend. 

Well timed Face-tory. 

Although I had about three layers of spf of differing strengths already on my face, so oddly my face is fine while the rest of me isn’t so happy. Still, I will admit, the extra serum in the mask packets is being applied to arms and legs and the extra moisture is quite appreciated.

As each day is a little less painful, I know that this too will pass.  I will probably be mobile by Friday in fact even if I leave off walking again until Monday.  But all my plans for this week have sadly been chucked in the bin.

For the moment I just have to accept that. Next week I will get back to walking and I will add in the Wii Fit to see if it actually adds anything to my at home workout.  This week, I am spending a lot of it with my feet propped up, a hydrating mask on my face and cartoons playing on the television.  At the moment, I’m partial to Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated.  It’s on Netflix if anyone is interested.  Louis Black plays the Mysterious Mr. E. which I find somewhat amusing. Plus, it is really hard to feel too bad about yourself when watching Scooby Doo. Or at least that’s my take on it. Maybe it just makes me feel better.

Regardless, next week, we resume real life, this week, I’m taking a bodily enforced break. If nothing else, let this serve as a reminder, don’t forget the sunscreen, even if it seems only mildly warm outside. We are entering the season of the sun. while SPF is important year round, it is doubly so now. Enjoy the sun responsibly.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip # 47: Nails

A selection from the stash in my drawer of Nail polishes

Like most everyone these days, my baby and I have been sticking close to home.  While we are both still working during the day, albeit in different parts of the house, and finding chores to do around the house on weekends, our evenings have predominantly turned into movie nights.

While there are all sorts of streaming sites from Netflix to the free site that our local library hosts, we also have a load of DVDs in our own personal library.  We have been going through old black and white horror movies and forgotten favorites as well as newer releases.  Two I can highly recommend (if you haven’t seen them) are The Imposters with Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci and Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell. They are both very much worth watching and among my all time favorites. I think The Imposters might be on VUDU, I’m sure Auntie Mame is in several locations. Just look for the one with the delightful Ms. Russell, in my opinion it is light years better than the remake with Lucille Ball. Admittedly I may not be in the majority with that opinion, so feel free to disagree.This weekend, we are starting in on the Wonder Woman box set I got for Christmas and hadn’t gotten around to watching yet.

I’m certain I will be singing the theme song in my head for days to come.

It is quiet and nice and something we can do in pajama pants. Plus the good comedy and bad horror are a nice break from reality before we toddle off to bed.

It helps cut down on the stress related nightmares. (Who would have thought that was Bella Lugosi and Robert Englund’s strong suit?)

The problem is the snacks. Something about television or movies and snacking just go hand in hand.  I’m pretty sure it started when the movie theaters started showing dancing concession snacks and drinks at the beginning of films, long, long ago. You know before I was born and dinosours walked the earth and attended drive-ins. It continued through the theaters and migrated to television. While I am doing pretty good monitoring my calories, one night of snacking can easily torpedo my entire plan.

My solution is to do something with my hands so I don’t snack. Or at least limit how much I can snack. 

I’d like to tell you I knit or crochet or something productive.  I really would.  But the truth is my hands cramp up after a few minutes of knitting, making me feel like I have earned a treat, thus actually promoting snacking, and despite the effort my grandmother took to teach me, my crocheting is horrible. 

It’s not like I was ever good and then just fell out of practice. I was a crochet disaster from the start. My strength is in turning skeins of yarn into balls for others to turn into objects, not in creating them myself.   

Oddly enough I am pretty good at all of the other preliminaries.  I worked for a living history museum a long time ago. It turns out, I can sheer a sheep, card the wool, spin it on a spinning wheel and dye it using all sorts of natural dyes I cook up from plants. I’m actually really good at cooking up the dyes.  Just don’t ask me to make anything with the yarn created and we are all fine.

I am apparently the supply side not the production. At least where winter wear is concerned.

But I digress.

So given that I don’t own a spinning wheel, or any sheep for that matter, I opt for a different course.  I have been painting my nails.  Mostly I’ve been using clear gloss.  The Sally Hansen Maximum Growth has been my favorite for a while.  I alternate between painting my fingernails and my toenails.

With my hands I alternate between the clear gloss with growth proponents and color.  Monday I take off whatever got obliterated by my weekend work in the garden and apply a clear gloss.  Tuesday I paint a solid color on the toenails.  Wednesday I add a layer of color over the clear gloss and Thursday I add a glitter coat over the solid color on the toes. Friday, the fingers get some glitter.

Discounts & Sales at SallyBeauty.com!

This way I’m not killing my nails with nail polish remover every night.  I’m just adding layers.  And I have to say, I still get a rush when I paint my toenails.  For the longest time I didn’t paint them, mostly because I couldn’t reach them.  Now I can and after each coat on my toes, I wiggle them with delight.  And my baby laughs at me for it. I’ll admit as we are sitting on the couch and I wiggle my toes in the air as they dry, it is kind of funny.

The rotation of colors is also letting me clear out some of my nail polish.  I have a nail polish drawer in my dressing table and I tend to only grab the polish stashed at the front on a routine basis.  Rotating the bottles lets me use them all.  I’m also finding some that have dried up and are no longer usable. 

To these I bid a fond adieu and relinquish them from service. I’ve actually cleared out a lot of space. Also I get to see what colors I have and which I lack, so I can make a list for smart purchasing instead of saying ‘ohh pretty’.  That line is why I have several bottles of the same colors. So now I have a plan for branching out and I’ve avoided snacking.  That, in my book, is a double win.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #46: A little extra care

Now I know, the phrase self-care has been batted around more often lately as everyone tries to cope with an unusually high stress level. While I am the first to admit that my destressing calming Face Mask time has increased as of late and all of the candles featuring calming scents are rapidly being burned away, this is slightly different.

Despite the lack of the gym, I am trying to still get as much exercise as possible. While some is done in the house with the yoga mat, a lot of my exercise time is outside these days. Not as much as I like because of the recent rains, but it is April and I have to admit, March and April are always pretty wet months where I live. And truthfully if they aren’t then in the fall we run the risk of wildfires, so even if I chafe at them now, there is a point to them.

It does mean that on the days I can go to the walking trail without needing the use of waders, I spend a little extra time outside. While the temperatures are still cool, the sun is bright and the air is fresh. When fish aren’t raining down from the sky at least. While the fresh air is fine, the sun is what gets me.

In the summer when it is hot enough to melt your bones, sunscreen is easy to remember. It is not so easy to remember now. I’m starting the spf layers though and advise you to to the same.

The difficulty is that I usually ease myself into spending more time outside than I do in the winter. In the winter I stay in doors and I use the gym. Then the rains come and go. Once I’m reasonably sure the rains are ended, I start shifting to walking outside. Usually this is the last of the frosts so I can start planting the seedlings out as well so garden time increases. As the heat increases, the walks become either earlier or later in the day to avoid the harshest of the burning sun. Then I reverse the process in the autumn.

There was no slow edging into outside time this year. And while my seedlings are still crowding my little bookshelf sized greenhouse with occasional forays out into the sun for hardening, I am finding little garden chores to do outside so I can spend just a little more time outside of the house. Add to this the increased (and lengthy) handwashings and much of my skin has taken a bit of a beating as of late.

This, in case you are wondering, is where the little extra care comes in. This is the time to treat yourself to that fancy container of hand cream you have stashed away while you use up the larger more everyday tub. I have a tendency to put the nicer, more expensive, stuff away for later and take it out when I am going out and want to feel special. Then I use the more everyday stuff (which is still pretty good, just not as good as the one I’ve held in reserve.)

This is the time for the reserve.

This is the time to use that special occasion hand cream, body lotion, hair mask, shampoo and body scrub that you hold back using on the regular (if you are anything like me). I’m not advocating that you go out and buy a whole bunch of super expensive ‘fancy’ (as my babydoll would say) things you wouldn’t normally buy. I’m just saying that now is the time to take some of the reserve out of the closet. Use that hair mask that makes your hair shine, maybe even dab on a bit of the scent you only wear to special dinners out (even if dinner is a less than glamorous affair).

But especially take care of your skin.

Pamper it.

Firstly, because you deserve the pampering, I know you do. Secondly, because your skin might need the little extra tlc right now. Using some of your reserve products might make you a little more conscious of how much lotion your poor over washed hands really need right now. That anti-bacterial soap may kill a bunch of germs but paired with hand sanitizer it does a doozie of a number on your skin and dry cracked skin is not what you need right now.

Protect the skin barrier so it can protect you.

Third, because stashing those products away right now does no one any good, but might help you out. Seriously, it might be helpful. Personally I am very scent oriented. Applying products that carry the scent I normally associate with special times can help make even a normal day feel special. It’s less aromatherapy and more aroma trickery.

But it is trickery for a good cause.

A little mental pick me up when monotony and stress get you down.

You may have noticed that along side my tube of lux hand cream in the above photo, there is my hydrating lip balm and lip scrub. When I apply sunscreen, I use a spray sunscreen and I always curl my lips into my mouth when I apply it. I think because when I was a child I hated the sunscreen on my lips. I remember it tasting awful, so I have a permanent reaction.

It is important to remember that the summer sun can dry your lips out as much as the winter wind, so I try to remember to apply lip balm before going out and to use a lip scrub on a regular basis. (just be careful not to over scrub). I am actually almost at the end of my lip balm supply so I reopened my Jersey Shore Cosmetics Lip balm subscription in order to restock. My first package comes at the beginning of May (I’ll post it when it comes with all of the details, especially since it has been a while), so I just have to get this last peppermint lip balm to last until then. I really like the subscription and it does give me a discount, but its one I keep for a few months, then realize I have a stockpile of lip balms, so I cancel until I work through the pile and then reopen it again. I just left it a little too long this year as it slipped my mind.

Hence the final peppermint,

So in a rather meandering way, that is my tip for this week. Be aware of the changes and take a little extra care with yourself. Use things that take care of your body, even if you are still trying to sweat that body down to a smaller size and maybe break out some of those special products you hold in reserve. Because you are most definitely worth it.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #46: Why Bother?

a new pair of shoes and moving forward one step at a time

I had this conversation with a friend of mine the other day and it really stuck with me. We’ll call my friend Jane for the sake of this post and to respect her privacy. She and I have very similar weight issues, i.e. far too much of it and no actual underlying health issues that aren’t weight related (like joint pain from feet being asked to carry too much weight). I think I started in about two lbs heavier than she was, but as I was 246 that put her at 244. For the past year we have both been inching along with our weight loss.

We were also meeting up once every week or so for moral support (and because our gym schedules happened to allign). I haven’t actually seen her since February at this point though.

When I spoke to her a few nights back she said that she wasn’t going to bother even thinking about her weight until the world returned to something more stable. Her argument was, quite simply, Why bother? Why bother focusing on weight loss when there are so many more important things to focus on right now? She even went so far as to put her scale in the cupboard.

I didn’t argue with her as weight and its loss are both very personal things that need to be dealt with individually, but I thought about what she said. I thought about it a lot.

And I have to say I disagree.

First off, I would like to say that, you should still pay attention to what is going on in the world. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to help you, although holing up like a hibernating bear might. Like most people I am following the news. However, there comes a point where paying too much attention is likely to drive me mad and having something other than the outside world to pay attention to has helped me tremendously.

While I am always thrilled when the scale shows me a lower number, and every weight loss no matter how small is celebrated by a happy dance, my goal at this time is merely not to gain weight. My weekly step on the scale is more of a monitoring process and part of my weekly routine.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still trying to lose weight, but I am more forgiving with myself than usual.

I find routines very important. Its why I started doing the weekly weigh in to begin with. I wanted a consitent day and time to step onto the scale to monitor my progress, lack of progress or even set backs. It keeps me honest and because I am sharing it with you, accountable.

Maintaining that routine makes me feel a bit more normal. In addition, at this point in my world because my weight loss plan involves monitoring my caloric intake and my exercising I sort of know how many calories I need to consume each day. With several week’s worth of groceries on hand, monitoring my weight each week actually helps me avoid some of my stress eating. Even if I only see my baby and no one else, I am still accountable to the scale each week. If I gain a bunch of weight, it probably means I am stress eating and need to stop.

If only so we don’t run out of groceries.

Being able to monitor the groceries also provides a level of comfort for me. Which is why I still have as healthy a meal plan as I can create at this point in time without constantly running out to the store for fresh veg and relying on a lot of frozen and dried produce from the freezer. Also much of that came from last year’s garden and needs to be cleared out as this year’s garden gets underway.

So the clearing out is actually a productive thing.

Adding workouts to my schedule despite not having access to the gym not only lets me build in breaks to my day, it also helps me relieve stress by focusing on just the way my body moves instead of following numerical progressions across the face of the globe. It not only keeps me active, which most doctors agree is a good thing, but I am doing exercises that force me to focus on my breathing.

During the exercise, whether I am following along with a Youtube yoga or five pound weight video or following along with the Planet Fitness Facebook page (my most common sources for videos) or walking around the neighborhood to stretch my legs in the sunshine between the rainstorms, there is my breath.

Steady in and steady out.

Not only does the action calm me, but as I don’t have any problems with the breathing in and out, I am also reassured that I am still healthy. I am reminded that I am fine.

No matter what news story I just finished watching.

While I respect my friend Jane and her decision not to even think about her weight or the scale for a while, for me, I believe there is ample reason to still bother monitoring my weight, even if it isn’t strictly to help with loss, and to maintain my workout routine, even if it isn’t completely for exercise.

I still focus on the outside world, but spending a little time focusing on myself actually helps me maintain a good balance so that I can deal with events without being overwhelmed. I know this isn’t technically speaking any sort of dieting tip, but I wanted to state why I am continuing with these posts the way they are. Hopefully you find the posts an enjoyable break from what’s going on in your life.

As for me, (and the lead photo for this post) my current pair of sneakers wore out and I just received their replacement. Actually my baby doll ordered the replacement based on a previous order. I was going to test out a different shoe this time around, but I forgot to tell him I was going to order them, so I have these.

I actually checked my chart and it was this time last year that I started monitoring my mileage on the shoes to see how many miles I got out of them before they were replaced. At that time I was alternating between the gym and the walking trail. At the moment, I am exclusively walking in the neighborhood and the walking trail. I think it just might be an interesting contrast to see how long this pair lasts compared to the others.

And yes that is another thing for me to keep track of, another item to add to my routine. I am by nature a list maker and I find this soothing. Hopefully you find it entertaining. So I will record this set of shoes for their mileage and compare it to last year. Then I’ll branch out to a different pair of shoes. maybe Reebok or Adidas next time instead of New Balance. We’ll see, for now the important thing is to just keep moving, one step at a time.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #45: Obnoxious Heels

The pink crushed velvet heels too high for everyday use but somehow I can’t part with them. Who knew they’d be a weight loss tool?

At the moment more people are working from home than ever before. Other people, while not working from home, are nevertheless staying within their homes in an effort to help avoid spreading contamination.  I, and everyone else I’m certain, appreciates it.  At least I believe they do. 

I didn’t take a poll or anything, but I’ll let the statement stand.

If you are at home, working or not, you may find that within very easy reach of the place you’ve settled for the day is the kitchen, pantry, and the stockpile of snacks and other tasty treats you picked up to see you through the next month or so.

Maybe it’s the Easter candy you bought early calling you or the extra bag of chips you’ve stashed away for when you REALLY need a snack whispering that time is NOW. 

Perhaps you’ve been stress baking and there is now a very lovely carrot cake sitting under a cloche in your kitchen because you figured playing with your cake decorating tips would relax you and the last time you went to the store they didn’t have small bags of carrots so you picked up the one ten pound bag of carrots they had and then found yourself giving into your love of carrot cake just because others were mocking the vast amount of carrots now lurking in your kitchen.

As an example.

I’m just saying temptations lurk. 

And when you are working at home, they aren’t too hard to find.  It was one of my downfalls when I started working from home.  Drifting through the kitchen for a cup of coffee and adding a cookie or bowl of pretzels or handful of whatever, was one of the things that helped add to my weight in the first place. And it was one of the first habits I had to change when I decided to lose weight.  While I have shared with you my lipstick trick (no snacking with sticky lips) one thing I haven’t shared, it the obnoxious heels trick.

Now, I will say, that most of my shoes are fairly sensible. I have the sneakers for working out, I have the shoes I use to run errands and the shoes I use for meetings.  I have the all purpose black pumps I can wear all day long on the few days I need to dress up for an entire day and I have some more decorative heels for social events and dinners out for when my baby and I have our nights on the town.

But lurking in the back of my closet, I have a couple of pairs of obnoxious heels.

You know the kind I mean. 

They were bought for a time when girl’s night out with me and my single friends was a routine affair. You know, the shoes that look gorgeous on the shelf, make your legs look fantastic, and make you feel sexy for about an hour before they turn into hard points of pain causing you to drink until your feet go numb and to very strategically choose which song you really want to try dancing to.

Most of them left my closet before my weight started to increase as life settled into more steady rhythms and girl’s night out shifted from dancing in a club to either lunch or dinner out at a nice restaurant. And became fewer and further between. Club wear in general disappeared as most everyone showed up in what they wore to the office that day.

And while there have been many clothing purges, there are still a couple of pairs of obnoxious heels, lurking because I just can’t get rid of them. They are too high to wear for long periods of time, at least at my current weight and probably still after if I’m completely honest, but I just can’t part with them. They just look so pretty.

So now, they get a chance to earn their place. 

When I know there is something that I will find hard to resist, like the aforementioned carrot cake, my far too high heels come out of the closet to help me out.  That’s right. If I have a video conference I may look nice from the waist up, if not, I’m wearing some form of t-shirt. Below the desk I usually have pajama or yoga pants on, depending on what was clean in the drawer when I dressed for the day. I learned early on that even if I wear pajama pants while I work I have to put on a fresh pair when I get up otherwise I feel like I haven’t started my day.

But with those pants, I will often have an obnoxious pair of heels strapped to my feet.  While I generally feel good about them when I am going to and from the desk to get my morning coffee, by the time my coffee is done, I am pretty much over walking in them. At that point I remember that these are the shoes that require gin and vermouth to wear for any length of time and that a martini is not a good idea at ten in the morning.

Especially if you still want to get things done with your day.

At that point there becomes very little that can tempt me to get up from my desk chair and walk the length of the house to the kitchen. My booty stays glued to the chair and the extra calories stay in the kitchen.  Oddly enough I also find myself being super productive on those days too. I tend to focus on whatever task I’ve set myself so that I ignore my feet. So if you are having a hard time settling into working from home, this might be a productivity tip for you rather than an anti-snacking method.

And if nothing else, it gives you a reason to wear those pretty, yet super impractical heels you just can’t manage to part with, yet know aren’t really feasible in your daily life. Who knows, perhaps they’ll even match your pajama pants.

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weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #44: The pantry

The pantry, staples, emergency and comfort

As I’ve mentioned before, my diet plan involves controlling my portion size and exercising. No foods are technically forbidden, although I do try to eliminate some that I know aren’t the best for me and there are no crazy things I have to eat. It is a simple calories in, calories out plan, with attention paid to exercising all of my body. Its a simple plan.

Well under normal circumstances it is a simple plan. But as we all know, normal is a sliding scale right now.

Instead of the gym I have been using workout videos gleaned from the internet, YouTube and the Facebook page of Planet Fitness have been crucial in helping me keep moving, especially as we’ve had frequent rainstorms blasting us while the weather makes its way, with some degree of difficultly from Winter into Spring.

This is not a year of easy transitions for anyone it seems.

The biggest change I have been dealing with has been with my food. Under normal circumstances, I have a system.On Friday afternoon, once rested from my Friday Face mask and before I start back to my afternoon’s work, I break out my meal plan for the following week. I double check the calories and portion sizing on the recipes I plan to make and then I write my grocery list. At this point many of my recipes are repeat players so the calories are already broken out. saturday, my baby doll looks over the list and adds things he wants that I didn’t put on the list.

Somehow candy always gets added. Go figure.

Then Sundays we go shopping.

As you are all no doubt aware, all that pretty much went out the window.

while we stocked up for a few weeks and have been self-isolating, we started to run out of things and so on Monday we made a list and went to the grocery store.(As a note, I live in Tennessee, while we have been asked to stay home for the good of all and we actually have been, the closing of non-essential businesses went into effect midnight last night. At least state wide, prior to that Mayors were just closing cities)

So Monday we went to the store with a list, but it wasn’t a meal plan list exactly. It was a list of essentials we would need for a month. We did not plan meals because we weren’t entirely certain what would be available. The last time we shopped, several shelves were very bare. They were again this time, but we got most of out essentials.

It was once we got home that meal planning began.

At this point I am still working towards remaining healthy and active and I would really like to continue to lose weight. I also recognize that the world is bonkers right now and the best I might be able to manage is to not gain weight. I will still post my weekly weight and work towards my weight loss goal, but I am going to try to be less obsessive about the scale.

However at the moment menu planning has taken on a more important role than just my calorie count. we are healthy and able to work from home. All of our relatives are in lock down somewhere else and currently outside of our ability to visit. So with enough food to last, there is no reason to leave the house for the next month.

I just have to portion the food out to last the month.

Luckily, I am a meal planning rock star.

Or so I tell myself.

And yes for the psychologically inclined out there, meal planning is also a way to exert control on an uncontrollable situation. So to keep things more normal in the house, I have sort of broken down our pantry, fridge and freezer full of groceries into weekly segments. While I settled this week’s meals, on Friday I will sit down with my baby and plan out the meals for next week. I will suggest chicken for Wednesday and ask what sort of sides or flavor profile he would like to see and we will discuss.

I’ve found that in general as long as he can have some input on the side dish or flavor, then he is pretty much okay with whatever I cook and will accept the portion I make. At this point I’ve figured out about how many calories we each need on a daily basis so it’s not as difficult as it seems.

I know this is more of a what’s going on than a tip, but here’s the tip. Treat your pantry, fridge and freezer as though they were the grocery store. Split what you have into weeks, but be general about it and allow for some wiggle room. There might be one day where one of the members of the household spends a little too much time in front of the news and you need to switch out your light veggie centric dish for a comforting grilled cheese. Its okay, just adjust and take it from another day as you shift things around.

Not watching the news just before dinner helps though. Especially if you are inclined towards stress eating.

The best way I’ve found to reduce stress eating in the past few weeks is to eat dinner, then brush my teeth and then with my mouth all minty fresh, watch the news to check for updates. Then if I feel the need to chew something after, I go for my stock pile of peppermint gum.

And yes, we stocked up on that when we loaded the pantry as well.

I know it’s not a typical dieter’s tip, but I hope it helps anyone out there reading.

Weight loss Regime Survival Tip # 43: routine and indulgence

Nearly anyone you talk to will tell you that achieving a goal takes work. If it didn’t take work then we could all wish ourselves into the place we want to be, healthwise, weight wise, location-wise or what have you.. Of course being human, we tend not to value that which comes easily as much as the things we actually have to sweat for, so we’d probably all want new and different things we couldn’t wish for or try to counteract the wishes of others.

I’m sure it would lead to a Wish War.

Unicorns vs. Armored Knights probably.

While sweat is good, we all know effort has to be put in the right place to be effective. For example last week, I put in a lot of effort. Every surface of my house gleams with anti bacterial goodness. All sheets and towels are freshly laundered as is any clothing anyone wore outside when they came into contact with people before being sequestered. Admittedly I might have gone a little overboard on a few things.

While I do normal wash for everything else, anything I wear for working out gets pounded with the hottest water my machine can give and then blasted in the dryer. After buckets of sweat it is the only way I’ve found to keep them fresh until they have a chance to wear out. Unfortunately not knowing my gym clothes system, my darling dearest added a couple of things to the mix and they now no longer fit him.

So I’ve been accused of being overzealous.

However effective this eradication regime was in keeping us healthy, it didn’t really move me in a weight loss direction. It was necessary. Very Very necessary. Just part of a different, but adjacent goal. Staying healthy is important to weight loss, it just doesn’t burn the calories. Especially when you chase the activity with buckets of fried chicken and my personal weakness, pizza. We have a local place here that makes their white pizza with a truly sinful amount of ricotta and Mozzarella. Even when not dieting I feel like I ought to hit a confessional after eating it.

And yes, it is fantasticly yummy.

But I’m getting off track.

Now that me and mine are settled in seclusion, panic has dimmed and there is the need for a routine to keep from going crazy. While both me and my baby are still working, albeit from him and with video conferencing, after months of diet and exercise, I find myself getting fidgety without exercise to break up my day.

I know, while a pandemic is raging it sounds a little narcissistic to think about my own weight loss, but the truth is, having something to dwell on internally, to focus on the personal rather than the world view, helps me keep the panic and worry away, or at least to a manageable level. So I am developing a new routine and quite frankly as working keeps me from obsessing about news releases, I’m actually getting a lot more done.

It turns out that I am way more productive without the outside world as a distraction.

But as I build up a new routine for myself, I need to also remember to be kind to myself as well. Working to keep from obsessing and working out to build a routine and burn off excess energy is all well and good, but a little personal indulgence also goes a long way.

For example, I have a small bubbling foot tub that someone gave me quite a few years ago. I forget if it was a Christmas or a birthday present. I generally take it out only a few times a year. Admittedly when I started my initial work out It helped alleviate foot soreness. I used it on Monday. Partially because I had to walk in rain boots instead of sneakers but mostly as an indulgence. It did not go back into the cupboard to wait out another year, but is instead sitting out for another go round next time I feel in need of a little pampering.

My candles are also being lit for more than just my Friday Face Mask and tonight I plan to give myself a full manicure, including massaging my overwashed hands with my most expensive hand cream as well as a new coat of nail polish.

This is a time when routine and indulgence need to work together as partners to provide sanity and stress release. So I hope all of you reading this are settling in and staying safe, building routines that makes sure life continues in a new normal instead of letting the shift back into the home make you stir crazy. I hope you are allowing yourself time to adjust and treating yourself kindly with little personal indulgences designed to induce calm in a stress filled world. You soaking your feet in scented oil with lovely candles lit around you isn’t going to help make the pandemic go away, but it isn’t going to hurt it either, and it might just do you a world of good.

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Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #42: Sanity and Acceptance

At the moment, the world has gone a little mad. My doomsday prepper neighbor is strutting around as though finally vindicated and I’ve learned that in the face of danger, people apparently stockpile toilet paper, chicken and milk. Entire sections of the grocery store shelves are completely empty.

while we have plenty of toilet paper. The usual amount actually, not a stock piled one, I would have liked to have added an extra emergency pack when I went grocery shopping last weekend, but I’ll live.

My menu plan was sort of torpedoed though as many of my staples were nowhere to be found. My babydoll and I tried to skew healthier with our in store recalculations, but I suspect meals are going to be heavier this week than usual. I’ve accepted that.

I also planned not to be in the gym this week, which is a good thing as my gym will apparently be closed until at least April 6th. With the machines providing less than six feet of distance between those working out, they felt incapable of assisting with ‘social distancing’.

Can I just say, I am amazed at how quickly that term has now become a part of the daily lexicon?

Part of social distancing involves most of the people I know now working from home. It has also led to the number of phone calls I get during the work day escalating dramatically as people call around to check on those they love. I appreciate being loved and I have been calling family and friends as well, particularly the older ones.

All of this us understandable and even expected.

However it does lead me to realize that I need to revise my personal expectations.

The gym is closed. Rain is sheeting down outside preventing walking on the walking trail (which is currently underwater at the moment). The constant communication means every twenty minutes there is a somewhat lengthy interruption.And food is hit or miss. Adding in basic stress and weight loss at the moment isn’t really a focus.

For my own sanity I need to accept that while I will be doing my best, some things are beyond my control. I have a set of weights at the house and if the weather clears up I will walk. I will monitor my portion size, but I am not going to worry about the scale.I know that even if I don’t lose any weight this week, even if I gain weight this week, or however long this stretch of coronavirus based insanity lasts, once I am through it and my stress level drops and the word returns to normal, my weight will once again be on a downward trend. My train is more resting at the station rather than being derailed.

I don’t know how normal or crazy your world is at the moment but whatever your personal goals, I hope you realize that sometimes allowing yourself to mentally hit pause is the best thing you can do. Beating yourself up for not meeting a weekly weight loss goal is cruel and unusual punishment and I would hope that as you take care of yourself and your family, you are nicer to yourself than that. Because you deserve better.

I’m trying to remember the same thing for myself.

Its harder than I thought it would be. I am always more understanding towards others than I am to myself. But I know I deserve better too. So I’m going to try for sanity and acceptance and not add to the insanity.