A New Year Start

happy new year2015 was a great year for me, health wise:

It may be the first time in my life that I maintained my weight (staying within 5 lbs) for a solid year. No drastic ups or downs – just clean eating (mostly) and pretty relaxed about diet.

I learned a lot about accepting my body this year. I’m appreciative of my health and not so wrapped up about my weight.

It was definitely a banner year for me in terms of meeting my fitness goals:

  • I ran over 1,000 miles (1,023.3 to be exact) and walked over 4,000,000 steps (4,361,000, but who’s counting?)
  • I completed my first half marathon in under 3 hours (2:35:58)

2015 running monthlyI have to be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to make the 1,000 miles. The last few months the only thing that got me out running was the fact that I really, really, wanted to hit the 1,000 mark. It took me until late December, but I’m so happy I did it!

My third goal for the year was to write weekly about things I’ve learned. That didn’t quite happen. I used this blog quite a bit to get ready for the half, but then life, work, and other things took precedence, and I haven’t posted since September.

In all, I only wrote  9 truths and with only 14 weeks until I turn 50, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to (or even want to) meet this goal anymore.  I am going to re-read the ones I did write, because I think it will help me get back into that head space.

The thing about meeting (or not meeting) goals is that you always have to set new ones.  I can’t just repeat my goals from a previous year. Where’s the challenge in that? So here they are, my official 2016 goals for the year:

  • Run 1,250 miles because I totally have to up the ante, and I want to commit to running at least 100 miles each month.
  • Finish a marathon in less than 6 hours which sounds both totally doable and completely insane.
  • Complete 50 hours of yoga because I see that my body needs more than just running, so this works out to about an hour a week.
  • Grow something to eatThis one is a little bit out there, and was inspired by a cool blog post (10 Food Resolutions That Don’t Involve Body Shame). I do not have a green thumb, I never grow things, and I rarely cook, but I thought this might take me out of my comfort zone a little and I like that idea quite a bit.

So there you are! What are your goals for 2016?

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Nourish Your Body Well

38 weeksIt’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.

Come on. We’ve heard that one before. I insist that my eating plan is not a diet, but many people argue with me that it is. lifestyle changeIn some ways my food plan is much more restrictive than any diet I’ve ever been on. In other ways it is so much more freeing for me than any plan.  If you are interested in the origins of my “cold-turkey” food plan or want more details about what I eat, you can check out the links.

The point is that my plan is about how I feel about food, not how much weight I lose. If I never lose another pound, I would stick to this plan the rest of my life because it feels good.

Through trial and error I found foods that nourish my body well, and when my body is well nourished I don’t have food cravings. Also, I can do wonderful things with my body, like run thousands of miles or walk millions of steps.

Nourishing my body means:

  •  lifestyle change2Feeding it regularly and never starving myself. No matter how much I ate yesterday, I’m not going to make up for it by not eating today.
  • Feeding it real, whole foods always. Nothing with preservatives or artificial crap. Organic when I can.
  • Feeding it nutrients it needs. Getting over my aversion to fats (I cook with olive oil). I eat whole grains. Plenty of protein and all the food groups.
  • Not feeding it trigger foods. For me that means no wheat. No bread, no pasta, no cereal. Those foods cause me to want to eat more and I lose control.

When I do all of this, I find it is much easier to stick to my plan, feel good about myself, and not feel deprived. Food cravings are the worst thing about dieting. I will do anything to avoid those.

Note: I am not a nutritionist, doctor, or psychologist. Everything on this site is based on my personal experience and research and is my own opinion, not fact. My words should not be a substitute for your own research and experience and should never, ever take place of the advice of a professional.

My Plan Is Not For You

magic_pill

A few weeks back I wrote about (among other things) that people are always asking me about my weight loss. Most of the time I don’t want to talk about what I eat or my exercise program because I feel like people think there is a magic pill and that I’m keeping it a big secret.

If I do actually get into a conversation with someone (a close friend or someone who is obviously in pain and self-doubt) I usually try to steer back to my core beliefs about addiction and self-love. But it rarely goes well:

  • First, they just want to talk about the changes in habit, not the changes in mind.
  • Second, everything I tell them seems to require some type of argument or excuse.

Here are a few examples:

What I say… What they say… What I think…
I don’t eat (wheat, sugar, preservatives, etc.) My doctor told me to eat… or, I have this important dietary reason I can’t eat what you eat…  So talk to your doctor, not me!
I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day I would get bored and give up after 1 week or I don’t like that thing you eat (yogurt, almonds, brown rice, black beans, etc.) I really don’t care what you eat.
I run several times a week I can’t run because of this important physical issue, or I can’t stand running.  Did I ask you to run? Find your own fun.
I use my fitbit to track my steps daily My phone has an app that works better than your fitbit. But it hasn’t changed my habits.  Ummm…..Why are we having this conversation?

There is a sexiness to this one, that isn't overt. Just enough...

It doesn’t matter how many times I say, “This works for me and my body but may not have an impact on you or your body.” It doesn’t matter when I say, “You absolutely should talk to your doctor about what may or may not work for your special physical or health issue.”  And it really, really doesn’t matter how many times I say, “For me it’s about never being on a diet again and just finding a way to be healthy and whole.”

There is no formula. I haven’t invented the next fad diet. I don’t want to convince others to do what I’m doing. And I’m certainly not judging what you are eating or if/how you are working out. I found a way to balance my life and feel strong and beautiful and whole.  You can find it too, but not by looking at me.

Wow, You Look So “Not Fat”

ambivalentOver the past few weeks I’ve had reasons to see people I haven’t seen in a long while, including some work colleagues from other parts of the country that I only see once or twice a year, a long-time friend who lives in another state, and someone I used to go to school with and haven’t seen in years. At each event I’m greeted with the shocked-surprised comment about my looks and I’m surprisingly ambivalent about it. Sure it is great when someone sees you and says, “Wow, you look fantastic!”

Except there’s a subtext. What I actually hear is, “Wow, you look not-fat!” When the comments come from most men or thin women, they usually follow-up by repeating the sentiment in different words so that I know it isn’t a platitude, but that they really, truly mean it. When the comments come from women who struggle with weight (and occasionally men who struggle) the follow-up is always “How did you do it?” Both sets of comments make me uneasy but it is the latter that makes me the most uncomfortable.

On a scale of 1 to Four Weddings and a Funeral, how uncomfortable do you feel?

On a scale of 1 to Four Weddings and a Funeral, how uncomfortable do you feel?

Here’s the thing: losing weight wasn’t the goal so much as the by-product. I wanted to get away from my food addiction, feel better and stronger, and get healthier. I felt older than my years and tired all the time. That was my original motivation anyway. As time went on I learned more about loving myself and my body and caring for myself. I focused on feeding my body the nutrients it needed, exercising for fun, and being gentle with myself. I try to be my own best friend instead of my own worst enemy. I’m breaking a lifetime of bad habits.

And along the way I lost about 90 lbs. It came off very slowly and at a certain point I stopped losing. (I suspect there is a correlation to running very long distances, but it could be that I’ve achieved my correct natural weight). I’ve been hovering around the same five pounds for the last six months, not gaining and not losing (a heretofore unknown phenomenon) and I’m happier than I’ve ever been, not because I weigh a certain amount but because I don’t really care what I weigh. So how do I respond to the unsolicited comments?

I usually try for a simple “thank you, I feel good,” (move along people, nothing to see) and some of the time that is enough, but most of that time my compliment-er doesn’t want the conversation to end there. How did you do it? is a whole, long conversation. If I’m dealing with an acquaintance, I usually stick with something like “healthy eating and exercise” which has the advantage of shutting down he conversation, but makes me feel like I’m feeding into the system of body policing – as if the goal to be thin is understood and accepted by all. If I don’t speak out, I’m part of the problem, aren’t I?

dear dietSometimes I say, “I gave up dieting and started focusing on self-acceptance,” which has the benefit of being truer, but almost always launches a much longer conversation than I really want to get into. I’ve told a few close friends, “If you want to know more you should read my blog,” and a few have, but most are really looking for easy answers about what I’m eating and how frequently I’m exercising.

I think I look great because I’m happy. I smile more. I get more sleep. I worry less. I still have lines and wrinkles and varicose veins (when did they show up??) and bunches of fat around my belly, but I feel strong and empowered and whole. So why, then do comments about how good I look invariably make me feel that it is just because I’m not-so-fat anymore and (for now) am fitting into what is “normal” and “acceptable.” And why does that make me feel so uncomfortable?

Happy 1st Anniversary

happyanniversaryI know it is three days early, but I’m too excited to wait. Happy Anniversary to me. It has been one full year (shy three days) since I completely changed my life and began my pursuit of health and happiness. It is one year that I went cold turkey on foods that bring me down (especially diet foods, that are super insidious). One year since I committed to fitness for fun rather than for losing weight. One year of deciding to accept and even love who I am in the moment (still kind of working on that one). One year of not saying “diet.”

It totally started as a lark, an experiment, a moment of desperation. However, after a year I’m happier and healthier than I think I have ever been. So here are some of the things that have changed in my life over the past year:

  • I rarely have food cravings. The other day I did a presentation in front of a plate of cookies and platter of bagels and muffins. These foods were in front of me all freakin’ day and I never even thought about picking one up until the end of the day when someone said, “Are you going to throw those out?” I did have some food cravings over Halloween, but I blame the candy corn and pizza, which triggered the cravings. Once I got “clean” again, I was fine.
  • I’ve lost a lot of weight. I know I keep saying it isn’t just about weight loss, but I have been tracking my losses. To date, I’ve lost 88 pounds and dropped 12 sizes. I no longer have to shop in plus size departments (except for bathing suits  and some fancy dresses apparently). At first weight loss was part of it. I wanted to be under a 100 pounds. Once I got there, I stopped weighing in so regularly. I might step on a scale once a month at this point, just to make sure I’m on track. I’m assuming when I get to a certain weight the losses will stop. If I ever feel I’m getting too thin (not an issue yet) I will think about adjusting my foods.
  • These are the badges I've earned since getting my Fitbit® in Jan, 2013.

    These are the badges I’ve earned since getting my Fitbit® in Jan, 2013.

    I have walked/run an amazing 3,348,000 steps or approximately 1,540 miles. (Not to be confused with the 3,000,000 steps for this calendar year.) Getting in my 8,000 steps/day is a habit, and I rarely let anything, including weather or bad moods, keep me from doing it. I park at the farthest parking spot when I shop. I take the stairs over the elevator. I walk to local businesses rather than drive. I don’t even think about it now. I just do it.

  • I run faster than I ever have in my life. A year ago my normal run was between 1 and 2 miles and I was running 15 min miles. I had one fast run that month (13:37/mile) and one long run (3.5 miles). Now my runs are usually between 3 and 5 miles, with longer runs every other week. My pace is usually in the 11’s with some fast runs in the mid-10’s (twice this month I ran 3.1 at 10:20-something pace).

2e57b67b41c1c5ce75ee3ae8e19621ffSo here I am, 48 years old. A year ago I felt old. I felt tired. I had lost my spark.

One year later I feel more confident in myself. I have some sparkle again. I feel younger than I have in years, and more capable. I feel like I’m falling back in love with myself and it is giving me more energy than I’ve had throughout my forties.

My choices might not work for everyone. In fact, they might not work for anyone but myself. But that is okay, because it is totally working out for me. I have a year of proof!

Cold Turkey

Starting in Nov, 2013 I got very, very fed up with everything related to food and diet. I couldn’t (just could not) bear to start one more diet. But my eating was getting out of control. It wasn’t that I felt I needed to or wanted to lose weight (I have long given up on that pipe dream) but that I needed to control my food addiction.

Note: I am not a nutritionist, doctor, or psychologist. Everything on this site is based on my personal experience and research and is my own opinion, not fact. My words should not be a substitute for your own research and experience and should never, ever take place of the advice of a professional. 

cold_turkey

Where does this expression even come from?

Food addiction is like, yet not like, other addictions. Some people may be offended that I compare food addiction to drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling, or smoking. I can kind of see their point, but there are many similarities. I am not a counselor or psychologist, but it seems to me that the loss of personal power to the addiction is common to all types of addiction, for example. When you do something you absolutely don’t want to do, knowing there will be dire consequences, but can’t help yourself, that is addiction.

Another way food addiction is like other addictions is that it is rarely about the substance involved. There are many physiological and psychological factors that contribute to the addiction. Just dealing with the addiction alone will rarely get long-term results. You need to address the underlying issues if you truly want to break free of your addiction.

Food addiction is not like other addictions, however by one pivotal fact: You can’t stop eating all together. Most addictions require physically breaking free from the abused substance or action. For some addictions it is recommended to go “cold turkey” or by gradual release by cutting back little by little or using alternative medications as a replacement. But you can’t do that with food. You can’t just stop eating all together.

foodpostitMy original plan was to go as close to “cold turkey” for food as I could. I thought if I could just get away from eating for a while I could get myself under control. I started to research different food replacement programs such as energy bars and shakes. The more I read, the less impressed I was. Most of the meal replacements, even supposed low-calorie ones, were filled with sugars, chemicals, and unnecessary fats. I didn’t think these foods would make me feel any better than what I was already eating.

My next thought was to just simplify. I would focus only on a few key foods that would provide me the requisite nutrition I needed. Again, lots of research led me to a few conclusions. The foods had to be whole, natural foods, not processed foods. That had to be easy to make and be portable so that I could fit them into my crazy life.  They had to cover all the nutrients that I would need and balance into the right amount of calories, proteins, fats, and carbs. They had to be naturally proportioned so that I would eat the right servings. They couldn’t be too tasty or I would overeat them. They couldn’t be too un-tasty (is that a word) or I wouldn’t be able to keep it up.

I love self-serve frozen yogurt. My trick is to put fresh fruit in first and then top with yogurt. This keeps my yogurt portion lower than my fruit portion. Plus coats the fruit with yummy yogurt.

I love self-serve frozen yogurt. My trick is to put fresh fruit in first and then top with yogurt. This keeps my yogurt portion small, and coats the fruit with yummy yogurt.

Once I had my list of foods, the plan was to stick to the program for two weeks to “detox” and then figure out what I wanted to do next. I had a vague idea of going back to weight watchers or something like that once I was “on track.”  That never happened.

After a month I was surprised at how easy it was to stick to the plan. After two months I began to think this might be a long-term solution for me. I have massaged and changed my plan over time, altered my foods slightly, and even allowed certain types of “cheats” that don’t completely derail me (hello, frozen yogurt).

It has now become a way of life. Every day I eat the same breakfast and lunch. For dinner, I allow more variety, but focus on key foods and stick to my rules: whole foods, low-fat proteins, fresh veggies, limited high-fiber carbs, avoid wheat, sugar, and processed foods.

I am almost never hungry and rarely tempted to cheat. Occasionally I will have something not on the list (homemade pizza, ice cream cake, etc) but it is rare, the servings are small, and I make sure the treat is worth it.

This is not a diet. I try not to use that word. This is a way for me to deal with my personal food addiction and issues. The result has been, I feel healthier, I have more energy, I am sick less, and I feel empowered. I also know how easy it would be to slide back into my addictive habits. I am not cured. I am convinced that I must stay this course for the rest of my life, or risk falling back into the world where food controls me.


			

Ironic Cooking

I have never been much of a cook. I know how to make a few key things really, really well, and can produce edible but not very interesting food the rest of the time. Here are the things I’m known for:

  • turkeyThanksgiving turkey – I’ve been cooking the turkey for my family the last few years. It is my mother’s recipe, so I guess she gets the credit, but I do it really, really well.
  • Roast chicken – Pretty much like a turkey, but smaller and takes a lot less time.
  • Sea Bass – I grill it or cook it in the oven and it is delicious. My trick is wrapping it in foil so it never dries out.
  • Pea Soup – This one is my father’s recipe, but I may have improved it a bit. I use the slow cooker and it takes about two days to make.
  • Pork chops / Chicken cutlet’s  – I basically cook them the same way. They are fried, and delicious.
  • Rice and beans – this is a new one for me. Again, I use the slow cooker, lots of garlic, and adobe. Everyone loves it.

That’s pretty much it. I make spaghetti from a jar, and heat up lots of other things, but don’t consider myself much of a cook.  I don’t hunt out recipes or enjoy cooking shows and my eyes tend to glaze over when people start talking about recipes.

As a single parent, this pretty much means my daughter hasn’t had too much cooking instruction. She took a semester of gourmet cooking in high school, but without having a chance to try everything at home, she doesn’t remember much. And she really wants to learn. So when I saw an ad for plated in my Facebook feed, I checked it out, for her. And it has been fabulous.

Here’s the premise: You purchase dinner for two (or more I guess) and they send you all the ingredients and the recipe. And voila! You have a gourmet dinner that you prepared yourself.  Most of the meals take between 45 min to an hour to cook (it usually takes us a little longer than the suggested time) and there are usually plenty of choices in the 400-600 calories per serving range. Many meals are a main entrée and a side dish, although there is some variation. I try to stay on my healthy eating program, but there are sometimes I have to stray a bit. The good news is  that you are cooking exactly the right amount for two people, so even if one of the recipes is higher calorie, you aren’t going back for seconds.

The first time we tried it we really didn’t know what we were doing, but we had so much fun doing it together and amazingly the food came out terrific. Since then, we have ordered about 16 different “plates” and its been a lot of fun. Some of the recipes are simple to do. We call it “re-plating” when we purchase the ingredients ourselves and then follow a recipe we have already done.  It is so cool that every recipe starts from scratch. If you need lemon, you zest a lemon. If you need rosemary, you pull the leaves of the rosemary plant and mince them up.

IMG_2262Hands down our favorite recipe is the pizza with vodka sauce, which is one of the less “healthy” choices we have picked. (I didn’t have any vodka, so we made the sauce with Grand Mariner, and it wassoooooo good.) We also really loved the Red calamari soup, the smashed fingerlings potatoes, and pretty much anytime we get to eat meat on a stick. We have tried foods we never would have tried before, like dandelion salad or Pork Tonkatsu. There are plenty of ingredients we never heard of or can’t pronounce. We have cooked Greek, Japanese, Basque, French, and Turkish meals.

The best part is doing something fun with my daughter. We are learning together, which is great for her. Usually I know more about something than she does, but in cooking we are about even. She does most of the chopping. I read the recipe aloud (multiple times, usually) and sometimes we screw things up (like the time we put the mixed up where the cucumber and the rosemary were supposed to go. No worries, it still tasted great).

So why is this cooking ironic? Because right now I’m following the most boring, uninteresting food plans of my life. I have been successfully getting healthier and losing weight largely because I eat the same thing day in and day out.  And I choose this same time in my life to improve my cooking. It actually works out well. The only thing that makes the boring, eat the same thing food plan work is knowing that I can enjoy food sometimes without everything going out of whack.  Also, in a way, these recipes do follow my food plan. All of them use natural, whole ingredients. I try to avoid meals with wheat and flour, but if I get one from time to time it is one small serving in one isolated meal. Also, as I get better and better at cooking, I’m learning to improve my go-to boring meals. Instead of just grilling a chicken breast plain, I marinate it in soy sauce, garlic, and Dijon mustard.  Rather than just stir-frying my kale and mushrooms, I add in a bit of lemon juice and garlic.

Unit Foods

I have said a few times on this blog how I just couldn’t deal with another diet again and maybe I’ve been a bit negative about my time on Weight Watchers. The truth is, I once lost over 100 lbs on Weight Watchers. I kept it off for years, too, until I didn’t and gained it all back (plus a little extra). For me, the problem with WW is that it becomes a game: What can I get away with and still lose weight. Also, it focuses so much on the weight loss, which becomes counter-productive. You can only maintain that for so long.

Technically a cookie is a unit food. You aren't going to eat one and a quarter cookies are you? Let's be clear: Just being a unit food doesn't make it healthy. It just makes it easy to measure.

Technically a cookie is a unit food. You aren’t going to eat one and a quarter cookies are you? Let’s be clear: Just being a unit food doesn’t make it healthy. It just makes it easy to measure.

I did learn some helpful things in WW, that I continue to use today. Going to all those meetings, I learned a lot about what is in foods. I had this one leader, Margot, that I loved. She was the only leader I ever met that made sense to me. Among her many words of wisdom, she taught me the term “unit food.”

unit food is a food that comes in single serving size. You don’t have to measure or weigh. You just get one unit. Food’s that are naturally unit foods are apples, eggs, and hot dogs. While it is possible to eat half of an apple or two eggs, you don’t accidentally consume an extra 2 oz of these foods when you serve yourself. The advantage of unit foods is you aren’t fooling yourself.

yogurtSome foods can be purchased as unit foods. For example, the Fage® yogurt that I eat every single day comes in single serve containers. I also purchase frozen yogurt (Healthy Choice) and Sabra Hummus in single serve. Frequently these foods are more expensive, because you are paying for the wrapping. However, it is worth it. When I buy a large (multi-serve) container of yogurt, for example, I find it is a struggle to make sure I have the proper serving. Some days I’m a little more generous than others. So it is better for me to pay a little extra and have a serving I can just grab-and-go.

Some foods aren’t available as unit foods or are too expensive that way. Whenever I can, I try to make my own unit foods. For example, I buy a big bag of almonds and measure out 1 oz into snack-size plastic bags. I also make a big pot of rice and beans every week, and then measure out single servings into plastic containers.  Technically they aren’t unit foods, but once I’ve measured and sealed them, they sort of are. It isn’t likely that I’m going to open up another plastic container and eat a few bites of rice and beans. If there was a big pot or bowl of it, I probably would, but once it’s been sectioned out, I pretty much can stick to the sections.

All of this is to say, you need to find tricks that work for you to get control over the food. For me, it’s unit foods and eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every single day. For you it might be something else.

The “Not Eating” Boomerang

I admit it. I had popcorn for dinner this week. Not the best choice, but I really, really love popcorn. (no butter)

I admit it. I had popcorn for dinner this week. Not the best choice, but I really, really love popcorn. (no butter)

It happened a few times this month. I ate a sensible breakfast, planning on a reasonable lunch, but work interferes and the next chance I have to think about food is ten hours later. (This is not hyperbole; my days can get long.) Or I managed to get my breakfast and lunch in, but dinner somehow escapes me and it is very late (after 8 or 9 pm) before I even think of dinner.

The consequences are both expected and unexpected:

  • Surprise! I’m starving. It feels like small animals trying to gnaw out of my gut. I don’t feel hungry while I’m preoccupied, but the minute I’m in my car it hits me hard as if all the day’s hunger must erupt at once. Waiting until I can get to a healthy meal is not an option. I need food now!
  • Mentally I feel entitled to eat more. Don’t you think I earned something extra. Seconds? Sure! I can afford the calories.
  • Physically I’m wiped out. I feel sluggish and often a little depressed. I get this “I don’t want to do anything but watch tv and check my Facebook” attitude. This becomes a vicious cycle.
  • When I do eat (eventually) I eat too fast and end of feeling bloated. Even if I don’t eat extra food or bad foods (which I obviously deserve) I feel as if I have.

Hunger is the enemy of healthy habits.  When I don’t nourish my body, everything else starts to fall apart. I make poor decisions, I get depressed, I feel like all of my efforts have been wasted. Sometimes I find that I focus so much on my workouts that I forget that this really started because of my relationship with food. The exercise is important and empowering, but without changing my food habits, I can’t really expect to get healthier. And if I don’t eat well, I won’t have the energy or the desire to exercise. It’s all linked.

For me, food is about fueling my body to get it to work better. Through trial and error I’ve learned which foods work well (lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, high-fiber, non-wheat carbs) and which foods hinder (sugar, wheat, processed foods) my recovery. So, this week I’m working very hard to get back to eating good foods and on a normal schedule. I know what to do; I just have to stick with it.

I realize that when I say hunger I’m coming from a place of privilege. There are 842 million people in the world that live with real, literal hunger every day. Just writing about my own hunger seems trivial and insensitive.  I had to stop in the middle of writing this post  to look into organizations that help people with real hunger. I ended up donating online to Feeding America, which is a highly rated non-profit devoted to helping 37 million Americans every year. 

Before and After Pics

So I get asked a lot if I have before and after pics. And I always think “before what? after what?” Because of course this life is a continuous journey. There is no stop and start, except the first and last one. Yesterday is before. So is last week. Or last month.

I know that when they ask this they are thinking about before I started on my food plan, but what does that mean?

I’m going to see a doctor next week that I haven’t seen before my 2/2013 operation.  I know she will be pleased that I’ve lost weight, but she won’t know how much because since I last saw her I gained about 40 pounds and then lost over 70. In her eyes, I’ve lost about 30 lbs, but that is just a tiny part of the picture.

And then in September, I’m going to a high school reunion. Now that’s a funny one. I’m about 15 lbs heavier than I was when I graduated high school. I’m about 30 lbs less than my 10 year reunion. About 30 lbs heavier than my 20 year reunion. About 15 lbs less than my 25 reunion. You know what is funny and sad: That I remember my approximate weight for each reunion. What a waste of brain cells. So are people going to look at me and think “Wow, she got fat” or “Wow, she got fit?” I guess it depends on what version of me they remember. Actually, chances are they are going to be thinking about themselves and if they look fat, or bald, or old, or whatever.

My before pic. Yes, rocking' the double chin, but I make it look good.

My before pic. Yes, rocking’ the double chin, but I make it look good.

My after shot is actually a projection. I'm not there yet, but someday...

My after shot is actually a projection. I’m not there yet, but someday…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you think nailing down a before is hard, how will I ever come up with an after? Obviously I would like to freeze time at that most perfect moment of fitness, when I’m at my lowest weight, but my best strength. How will I know when I get there? And what about the minute after that? And the day after that? And the month or year after that? I’ve lost over 100 lbs before. It didn’t make me happier. It didn’t last.

Here’s the thing: There is no after. There is no before. There is only now. I can only change the decisions I’m making now. Do I run or not? Do I make sure I eat my breakfast or not? Do I have popcorn and beer for dinner or not? (It’s a thing, really)

I can’t change what I did or didn’t do yesterday. That is done. I can only plan for what I want to do or not do tomorrow, but until tomorrow is now, I can’t know if I stuck to my plan or not. The only thing I can change is right now. This minute. Today.