When Plan A Doesn't Work (and It Usually Doesn't)

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Image courtesy of Grant Cochran / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday The other day, I discussed the challenge I accepted at work. The challenge that I failed learned to celebrate different goals reached. The challenge that was, quite literally, this side of perfect.

Gather around a group of women and their conversation will probably revolve around three main topics: how unhappy they are with their relationships, how unhappy they are with work (or someone at work) and how unhappy they are with some aspect of their body (namely, weight). Even when things are going well, a woman's weight is always (usually), at the forefront of her mind. And as a result, they want to find that "thing" that works.

  • Low Fat
  • Low Calorie
  • Low Carb
  • No Fat
  • No Carb
  • No Sugar
  • Sugar-Free
The list can literally go on and on and on. (I didn't even include more extreme measures like pills, cabbage soup, and juice diets (not to be confused with juicing - with real fruits and veggies - this is different).

The point being, if there's a "way" out there, most women have tried it (or at least contemplated it).

Regardless of what "plan" women do, they generally have built in "cheat days". This is usually one day set aside to eat "off plan". Eating a dessert or some Chinese take out that's been calling your name.

I had cheat days when I was losing weight using Spark People four years ago. It was usually on a Sunday (after I weighed in - after going to bathroom, taking off all rings, hair ties, etc).

There was only one problem. In one day, I'd overdo it and invariably gain between a half a pound and two pounds - in one day! In essence, my one cheat day was undoing my whole week of hard work! But I never  put two-and-two together. Instead, I would look forward to my once-a-week cheat day all week as I was "working" my plan.

This time around, I don't have cheat days. I don't have cheat days because eating the way I do (no white carbs) can wreck havoc - and not necessarily the way you might think.

Sure, I could see some poundage gain on the scale the following day (or following days, as the case sometimes might be). But more than that, I just feel horrid. Now that I've cut out the majority of the sugar in my diet and almost all of my grain, my body takes notice when it gets an influx of these ingredients. Of course, it could be because I have been eating real (read: non-processed food) and the Chinese I indulged in the other day just totally did a number on my system.

The point is: my lesson was learned. I found that before, when I'd gain on the scale Monday morning, it wouldn't be a deterant for the following week. But feeling poorly after eating poorly (legitamately bad - not guilt), has had a huge impact on me.

For the first time - ever - I'm paying attention to my body. What makes it feel good. What makes it feel bad. I'm reading the science behind the diet I'm chosing to follow and have decided that it is sustainable for life.

On a side note, as a people, when we find something that works (or we learn of something that's "bad"), we tend to be a bit militant in shoving it down people's throats (ehem, guilty). I encourage you to find what works for you and work it, girl! Not only should you find what works and work it, you should know the reason behind its success. Do not be content with doing the latest diet craze. Instead, really learn the science behind your chosen way of eating.

One other thing, finding the perfect plan or executing it perfectly is probably not going to happen. But just because you fall once does not mean that you stay on the ground. You get back up, dust yourself off and keep on going. Because ultimately, what you want to be following is something that not only you can stick to while you're losing the weight, but also something you can stick to for life after you reach your scale and non-scale victories.

Because let's face it - regardless of which plan you choose to follow, if you begin eating the same foods you did to gain weight, you'll gain it right back (and probably then some). Sustainable - not quick fix - is your goal.

Go for it!

Until next time...
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This Side of Perfect: The Diet Edition

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It's dawned on me that it's been awhile since I've talked about health on the blog. (Okay, so I know it's been awhile since I talked about anything on this blog!) I think it's time to change that up a bit.

So, around April (yes, I know it's been awhile), I learned about this challenge at work. Many of the teachers, paraprofessionals, and other staff were getting in on the action. My clothes had been getting too tight shrinking for quite some time, so I knew that this was just the jump start I would need to lose some pesky poundage. I signed up!

The rules were simple:

  1. Pay a $10 entry fee.
  2. Loses the highest percentage of weight loss by the last day of school (in this case, May 24th).
  3. Winner takes all.
Easy peazy, right? Just pay my dinero, lose some weight, and treat myself to a new haircut or mani/pedi combo for my birthday (coming up next week...just sayin'). Since I had only recently been back in the working world after taking a few months off to complete student teaching, that ten bucks were a bit hard to come by, let me tell ya! But, I figured if anything would get me motivated, it was losing money when I really didn't have it to lose. (Yes, I know it's a form of gambling. It's also a form of motivation. It works for me, okay?)

So, I paid my money and decided I knew exactly which diet eating plan I was going to follow in order to lose weight. I knew because I had followed the exact same plan last summer and lost 25 lbs (go me!) I decided the best plan for me was cutting out breads, pasta, rice, and cereal. That's right, I was going to do Atkins/low carb. I knew from experience that this was a great plan for losing weight (and more importantly for me - inches) fast. 

This time was no different.

I lost six pounds my first week. (Full disclosure: I had just come back from Spring Break where I ate a little too much food and a drank a little too much soda. What I lost that first week was a lot of water weight. Still, it counts, right?) After that, I consistently lost between 2 and 2.5 lbs a week. After I lost my first ten, people started to notice. Then they wanted to know what I was doing. They watched what I brought in for lunch every day (The Man Beast was instrumental in this part of the equation. He did the challenge right beside me and researched tons of great-tasting recipes). Everyone was rooting me on. It was nice, I'll admit, but it was exciting to see the changes in my body. (I had gained 10 of the 25 lbs I lost last summer, so I had some catching up to do). 

One of the first things I noticed was that my apple-shaped body was losing a little bit of its apple belly. I also had quite a few heart palpitations that really scared me. When I started eating this way (cutting out the "white carbs"), I noticed these went away. The redness in my face went away considerably. I'm not sure if I have food allergies, but there was something I was eating before that caused me to get really red in the face about twenty minutes after I finished eating. When I cut out white carbs, my face cleared up, too.

I was on top of the world! I thought for sure I was going to win. Everyone at work was doing really good. There was ton of talk about health and fitness. But I just knew I was a shoe-in. In fact, when they made the announcement over the intercom on the last day of school, a member of the staff happened to walk by the opened classroom door, poked her head in and said, "It's you. I just know it's you."

Only it wasn't. 

I came in second with a 10% weight loss. The winner weighed in at 13%. I think I missed it by just a couple of pounds. 

To say I was a little bummed is an understatement. I'm excited for the person who won (I really work with a great group of ladies). But it kind of sucks to lose. 

I was reminded, yet again, that I was this side of perfect.

After I licked my wounds a bit, I instead, focused on what was going right, regardless of the outcome of the challenge.
  1. Heart palpitations - gone (this is the biggie because anything dealing with the heart scares me!)
  2. Skin cleared up - ego boost
  3. Apple belly gone - more ego boost
  4. I lost 10% of my body weight! Not only was this an original goal, but I knew from past readings, that losing 10% of my body weight has huge health advantages, including lowering my blood pressure and since I am an apple shape, reducing my risk of heart disease.
I was a winner!

So, while when I first started this journey, my eye was on the prize, by the end, my focus was where it belonged - on me and my health.

I'm not quite finished, though. To have a healthy BMI, I have about 15 more pounds to lose. I hope to lose that by the time school starts back in August. I've stayed on program for the most part (I'll share more on that, later) and know that I can stick with this. Not only that, but once I reach goal (and I will reach goal), I will stay on the course for a lifetime. Because, as I will share in another post, bad things happen when I don't (and not for the reasons you might think!)

Until next time,

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The Great American Summer #coppertonewatermoms

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Summertime is in full swing down here in Georgia. Now that Andrea has left the building, the weather is back to its hot, humid self.

While many stay inside during the hottest part of the summer, the rest of us aren't going to let a little a-whole-heck-of-a-lot hot spoil our fun. In fact, Baby Girl and I will be participating in a week-long day camp in a few weeks.

You won't find any Wilderness girls here in the South! No, ma'am (umm, sir?). Down here in the South, the girls dig fishing, archery and camping. They like power tools and BB guns. In short, they like to get dirty.

But being rugged in the great outdoors does not include getting severely sunburned. So, in addition to sporting closed toed shoes, a hat and some insect repellent, our girls slather on the sunscreen.

This is why I was so excited to see the UPS man walking up my drive yesterday carrying my latest Coppertone Water Moms shipment  from Coppertone. Seven pounds of sun-protecting beauty. Take a look!

Looks like a great spread, right? It is! What you see are four different formulas to meet any need! Water Babies Pure & Simple™ formula is tear-free. Coppertone Kids™  is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Coppertone Ultra Guard™ has a non-greasy formula, and finally Coppertone Sport™ which pretty much speaks for itself. In addition, Coppertone has graciously provided sunscreen sticks in the Waterbabies™ and Kids™ formula. These will be perfect for the faces :)

I'll be using all four formulas at camp, you can be sure! 

There are two things I hate about sunscreen: the smell and the stickiness/pour-clogging-feel. It makes me not even want to use sunscreen - but use it, we must, right? Well, if the latest statistics tell us anything, we should be bathing in the stuff! As a responsible adult leader, the last thing I want to do is subject "my girls" to harm. So yes, we will be wearing sunscreen. 

I like Coppertone sunscreen because it doesn't have that heavy, greasy feel and it doesn't smell. Is there anything worse than the smell of sunscreen? I mean, really. If I'm at the beach or at the pool, I expect to smell it, but if I'm just out in the sun, protected with sunscreen, I don't want to smell it. 200 girls slathered in sunscreen? Sensory overload!

I am very excited to use these formulas this summer. I will be slathering my girls (experts recommend that you apply a full ounce - about a shot glass worth - of sunscreen every two hours or so. FYI, this applies to all sunscreens, regardless of the brand). I doubt I'll have any left for my own family after camp, but if I do, I plan on taking it to the pool and the beach to give it a full workout. My goal: Empty all 12 bottles by the end of summer.

Challenge accepted!

Disclosure: As a member of the Coppertone® Water MOMS group, I receive product samples and promotional items to share and use as I see fit.  No monetary compensation has taken place and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience.


Lazy Days of Summer

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Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net
To those of you who have yet to begin your summer break, I'm sorry. However, to most of us in the south, our summer has already begun. (If it's any consolation to you Northern folk, we start our school year during the hottest month of the summer - August. I figure in the end, it all evens out.)

As I peruse Facebook, I see that friends and colleagues have already started sending their little ones summer camps and various summer activities (VBS, anyone?). Other families aren't doing much of anything as parents have to work and bills have to get paid. The Turtle Clan tends to combine the two in what can only be described as a laid-back, controlled summer.

What does that mean?

Well, that means that we have a nice combination of planned activities and summer laziness. That means you'll see the kiddos relaxing on their beds, the floor, or the couch, reading books, playing outside in the water, or catching up with family and friends on Facebook. On other weeks, you'll see them involved in Girl Scout activities (yes, even The Boy aka Honorary Big Brother) or day trips.

We strive on routine. Except when we get bored with it. Then we like freedom. Until freedom becomes too much. Then we want our routine back.
Yes! No! Yes!
I am looking forward to this summer because I do enjoy the relaxed routine of the every day. I think summer time is a time to rejuvenate the spirit and have fun after working so hard during the school year. I have always enjoyed summer break, even as a child.

And I'm sure the fact that June is my birthday month has absolutely nothing to do with it...

Until next time,
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