Week 13 & Bridget Works It Out

Every week, along with my progress update, I’m sharing guest posts from friends who are making changes in their lives to live more healthily. This week’s guest poster is my friend, Bridget Ivey. I only met Bridget a few months ago when she picked me up at the airport and then served as one of my don’t-let-Sherry-get-lost-too-many-times people at BlissDom. I knew we were destined to be friends when she offered me crack within moments of getting in her car. The crack turned out to be some super yummy cracker-chocolate-butter-toffee goodness (which may be just as addictive as the street drug…I’m guessing.)

Bridget’s words… 

I don’t have a super fancy weight loss story like some.  My story is typical, I think, of many people my age.  My weight yo-yoed back and forth for years, especially the last 7 years during which I had 4 children.  Whew!  Keeping up with all four of them should be enough to make the pounds just melt off, right?  That might have actually happened if I hadn’t eaten all of their leftovers from every meal.  But I did and the pounds kept adding up and up and up.  So many days felt like exercises in futility and I frequently fell into bed at night, worn-down and exhausted.  Weight loss was the last thing on my mind.  Exercise?  Ha.  If I heard about push-ups, I thought bra.  Pull-ups?  Potty training. No lie.

These days, however, my youngest has learned to walk and (somewhat) communicate and play happily with her siblings.  The older kids are mature enough to keep an eye on the little ones and let me know if a problem comes up.  And though messes and issues and interruptions are guaranteed through out the day, I am no longer a captive audience every minute of every day.  I don’t have to be constantly aware of every.single.little.thing and I can trust them to get me if they need me.  (I still keep my ears open for loud crashes and screaming matches.)

When I first realized that I could steal away little chunks of time, I used it to do things I had to do.  I’d do dishes or laundry or write a post the was due or edit pictures for clients.  I would get dinner started or clean out the junk drawer in the kitchen.  I was getting lots of things accomplished, but I found myself frustrated that I had these moments that I’d been craving for years and I wasn’t allowing myself to use them like I’d dreamed of.  So I started a book.  I would read a chapter or two and peek in on them.  If they were still okay, I’d catch one more chapter.  And it felt so good.  Reading for fun had almost entirely disappeared from my agenda, and I missed it dearly.  In a few days’ time, I finished one book.  The next week, another.  I was cramming in sentences into every little break I could find, as if I’d been starving for words.

And then one afternoon, I finished my book and I didn’t have another one waiting.  And so I sat.  I just sat and looked out the window.  It was a beautiful fall day.  Leaves were swirling and the wind chimes were clanging happily.  I almost expected a little birdy to start whistling a Disney song.  I stepped out into the sunlight and stretched out like a cat.  Doing that reminded me of my old Pilates video that I’d loved once upon a time and I did a few exercises right there on the back porch.  The next day I pulled out the old video and pumped my arms and focused on my core and rolled like a ball.  And I did it again the next day.  And the next.  When I got tired of that, I got out the Wii Fit.  (That obstacle course is tough, yo!)  And as I began to exercise regularly, I began to think more and more about my body and my lifestyle.  It was then that I devised my own little plan that it worked for me.  I lost 20 pounds at a decent pace and promised myself I would take a break after reaching that 20 pound goal.  I did, and you know what?  For the first time in my life, I got ‘off’ of a ‘diet’ and didn’t gain it all right back!  As a matter of fact, I lost 2 more pounds and I wasn’t even trying.  Which is CRAZY SPEAK, you hear me?  Crazy.  I had heard it before and I’m sure you have as well, but it feels important to point out: It worked because I wasn’t on a diet, I had changed my lifestyle.

So what exactly did I do to change my lifestyle?  Three little things.  Honestly.  Little things.

  1. I drank more water.  Cup after cup of ice water.  It’s easy to do, really.  You just have to remember to actually do it.
  2. I exercised.  I like Pilates.  I like how calm and relaxed it makes me feel.  I like how lithe and limber I feel when I’m done. I like how the Wii games make me compete against myself and try to improve my score.  Even still, I would not call myself an exercise lover.  I have several friends who are very athletic and really enjoy breaking a sweat and pushing themselves to run farther, push harder.   I?  I am not those people.  I’ve had folks promise me that if I’d get in a habit of running, I’d fall in love with it.  I tried.  I ran daily for about a month and I never, ever (not even once) felt invigorated by it.  I had people tell me that P90X is the way to go, but after having 4 children…well, doing jumping jacks isn’t really in my best interest.  I’ve tried stationary bike, row machine, tread mill, tae bo, and zumba (to name a few).  Those things were all great, but they weren’t for me.  I didn’t enjoy them and (I know myself) I wouldn’t keep up with it if I didn’t love it.  My point is this: Don’t do what worked for your friend; find out what works for you!  And then actually do it.  Put it on your to do list.  Pencil it into your daily schedule.  Have a friend call and pester you until you’ve gotten it done.  Whatever it takes.
  3. “One less”.  This was my big life-changing plan, my motto.  It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it worked (for me).  Whenever I was eating, I’d take one less bite than I wanted.  (That meant eating more slowly and listening to my body.)  During the day, I’d gotten accustomed to eating morning and afternoon snacks with the children, but with this new plan of mine I had to be more selective about which snack I wanted.  Want dessert?  Sure, go ahead and eat it, but eat one less bite than you really want AND make sure you eat one less high-calorie/fatty food at dinner to balance it out a little.  Honestly, all my ‘plan’ did was force me to pay attention to my own hunger cues.  It made me more aware of my choices and the effect they have on my body.

During my break (which has been really more of a maintenance-type phase), I’ve slacked off a little on all of these.  There are weeks that go by and I haven’t exercised at all.  And some days I make it to lunch and realize I haven’t had a sip of water yet.  And, yep, there are times when I eat until I’m stuffed (see also: Sunday lunch).  But the difference in today and one year ago today is that I recognize that I’m doing it and I know how to change it.

The children and I went on a hike early in the week, and a another short one the next day.  I drank enough water yesterday to kill a horse! (With the temperatures rising, that’s probably a good habit to keep up!)  And today my snack count was zero.  I enjoyed the hiatus from my plan, but I’m finding that I am really enjoying getting back into it.  Twenty more pounds before my next break.  On your mark.  Get set.  Go.

Bridget Ivey is a photographer, mother to 4 amazing children, and wife to a Pediatrician (who sometimes gets paid in potatos). She lives in a small Southern town and you can read about her family’s adventures on her blog Ivey League Mama. You can also find Bridget on Twitter @IveyLeagueMama and sharing her awesome photos on Instagram @IveyLeagueMama. Go, find her, you will love her!

Sherry’s update…

I’ve had a rough week…and I’m tired of that being my status update. So, I’m back on starting today! Seriously. Stop laughing.

Successes…

  • Weight…I didn’t weigh in this week. I am beyond frustrated with myself without seeing the number on the scale, so I gave myself a pass this week.
  • Inches…See above.

Challenges…

  • Everything was a challenge this week. I mean, I allowed everything to be a challenge this week. And I started my period, so there’s that.

So, how did you all do this week?

Past Posts on my fitness Journey…

Fitness Friday: Week 10 & Tips for Staying On The Wagon

Every week, along with my progress update, I’m sharing guest posts from friends who are making changes in their lives to live more healthily. This week’s guest poster is my friend, Ellen. She and I have known each other for many years and I’m excited for her to give you some tips for staying on the wagon (and a bonus recipe!)

Ellen’s words…

I’m honored that Sherry asked me to contribute over here at Paper, Scissors, Keyboard. Sherry and I have known each other for years, and have had a crazy adventure or two, which now includes our journey for weight loss.

Though you wouldn’t believe it if you saw me in person,  my doctor told me to lose 50 pounds – before I had children. I wear all my weight in my thighs and hips. He wanted me to go on the South Beach Diet. I tried, but that “lifestyle change” just didn’t work for me.

Over the years I have tried Weight Watchers and LA Weight Loss – both wonderful programs in their own right. However I’m on a tight budget now that I am a SAHM, so I’ve picked up some sound advice that I’ve learned from each program (and others) and have incorporated them into my own weight loss initiative through the LoseIt app for the iPhone.

So here are some weight loss tips that I’ve collected over the years that I’d like to share with Sherry and you:

  1. For me it all comes down to <<cover your ears>> counting calories.  Seriously, if I can keep my calorie in-take below 1,600 daily and watch my portion size – I’ve won the battle for the day.  Measuring everything for the first few weeks is essential until I have a feel for correct portion sizes for different food categories.
  2. A lot of recipes call for sautéing onions and garlic in oil or butter. But do you realize that water sautés just as well and is calorie free? Try it. I don’t think you’ll miss any flavor at all.
  3. Have a sweet tooth? Snack on dates.  Majool dates are my favorite and can be easily found in your grocery store. They are plump and “milky” and I recommend starting with this variety first. However make sure they aren’t dried out before purchasing.
  4. Water, water, water – and then drink some more water.  If there is one thing that is the greatest contributor to loosing weight, it’s water. It flushes our system. Water really is the fountain of youth.
  5. Don’t skimp on your kitchen tools. Last week I bought a Vitamix, a purchase I should have made 15 years ago.  I never knew making smoothies, humus and soups could be so effortless. By buying a refurbished mixer from the Vitamix website I saved $100 and also received a five year warranty.

Last of all; if you fall off the wagon, just jump back on. That’s the beauty about it being a wagon: it goes really slow so you can catch up.  I’m just thankful that it’s not a race car that speeds on ahead and leaves me behind.

Veggie Hot Pocket

  • ½ Yellow Sweet Onion, sliced
  • 1 Fennel Bulb, sliced
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 Tomato, medium sized, diced
  • 1 Avocado, diced
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Whole Wheat Pita Pockets

Sauté onion and fennel bulb in 2 Tlbs of water. Add water if needed. Add spinach and sauté until wilted. Add tomato and avocado until warmed. Season with salt and pepper. Cut pita pocket in half, toast or lightly heat. Fill each half of the pita pocket with veggies.

Ellen blogs over at The Hip Vegetarian and The Bloom Diaries. Since the new year she’s lost 10 lbs by watching her calories, however she falls off the wagon every week. She’s a little bruised up. However her new Vitamix has given her the energy to take a running leap towards the wagon again.

Sherry’s update…

This week, I worked slowly toward a firmer seat on the wagon. I’m still on…but it’s still easy to fall off.

Successes…

  • I did much better with staying hydrated this week. I drank all of my H2Orange several times during the week and almost all on the other days.
  • I worked to keep my portion sizes right and to only eat when I was hungry.
  • Weight…I lost 2 pounds! I’m so excited! So, I’m down 16 pounds in these 10 weeks and 26 pounds since my highest of 301).
  • Inches…I lost 2 more inches! That’s a total of 26.5 inches in the last 10 weeks. Woot!

Challenges…

  • Avoiding sugar continues to be a challenge for me. And it is pretty directly related to not drinking the full gallon of my H2Orange. When I drink that, I stay pretty strong…when I don’t? I want to eat my weight in peach cobbler.

So, how did you all do this week?

Past Posts on my fitness Journey…

Hopes for 2011, February & March Update

I know we’re into April, but I still wanted to update how February and March went. You can look back to my January update if you’re *really* that into my list!

Feeling 16 again. This one is the general health one. The biggest thing I did here was go see my doctor for a physical. The good news is that my body isn’t falling apart (always a positive, yes?) I also did this alternative therapy to try to get rid of  some pain in my heel/ankle. It hurt really bad, the treatment was expensive, and it hasn’t worked that well…so I guess my next move is to power through. So, now I just have to get off my rear and start working out. For me the fitness thing really kicks in when I start working out because I don’t want to mess up all my hard work by choosing the wrong food.

Don’t over commit. This one has been more difficult than I thought it would be. I did give up a gig that I have been hanging on to (and feeling guilty about) for too long. It was a huge relief.

Drink more! I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit here. I’m definitely having more water, but I’ve also been slipping on the diet soda. I’ve been trying really hard not to have it after noon though, hoping it will help both Tobin and me sleep.

Budget. We’re doing pretty well on this one. With our tax return we paid off some big chunks and did some other necessary things. Now we’re working on figuring out where we are, what our new costs are, and budgeting accordingly.

Give. After my friend, Ronny, died in March, we gave to The Livestrong Foundation. I’ve also been exploring Love Drop which is a fairly new organization, but one that is helping its donors (team) feel connected in their giving.

Get Green. I’ve been doing small things here and there for this goal. Not as much as I hope to work up to, but it’s slowly happening.

Follow directions. Following directions is hard, y’all. After visiting with the doctor in March, I’ve gotten better at this, but still not the most compliant patient.

Scrap. I haven’t scrapped much, but I did a lot of crafting for Tobin’s birthday party the first week of March, so that counts, right?

Write. I’ve been writing more here, but not my other outlets…so I’ll get right on that.

Remove distractions. This has probably been the one goal I’ve been the most proactive in reaching. We’ve cleaned out our closet, cleaned out Nicholas’ closet, posted items we aren’t using anymore for sale, I’ve cleaned out a couple of email accounts, and recycled a ton of old magazines. Still more to do, but I love the feeling of not have so much around.

So, how are your resolutions or goals for 2011 coming? I want to hear all about it!

Hopes for 2011 January Update

Back at the beginning of January, I told you all the 10 things I hoped to do more of in 2011. I thought, in an effort to be accountable to myself, I’d update how I’m doing each month. So, here is how I did in January.

Feel 16 again. The only thing I’ve done for this one (which is really my fitness hope for the year) is to make some doctor’s appointments that will make exercising and getting healthy easier. That’s progress, right?

Don’t over-commit. This one is a goal I have to remind myself of pretty often. I have said no a couple of times though!

Drink more! I’m doing better on getting water into my daily routine. And I’m doing a lot better about avoiding diet soda (which is a lot harder for me than drinking water). I have a long way to go on this one though.

Budget. We’ve done a few things to work on our budget including going back through old check registers to really see where our money goes. What an eye-opener that one was! We’ve already gotten our taxes done and we get to pay off some debt. I’m so stinkin’ excited!

Give. Thanks to my friend, Rachel, we have already given to the Corpus Christi Food Bank this year. I’ve also done some research to see just what we want to focus our giving on.

Get Green. The main way we’ve done this is to stop drinking soda. I know it doesn’t sound like a huge step, but we were drinking tons of cans and not always recycling them, so by avoiding them altogether I feel like we aren’t dumping so much. The other thing we stopped doing was buying bottled water because we weren’t doing a great job about recycling the bottles. Instead we bought some metal bottles for the fridge. Little steps.

Follow directions. This goal mainly goes toward being compliant with my medications. I’m doing soooo much better with this! I haven’t been checked out to see how big an impact it’s made, but I’m proud of remembering to pop those pills!

Scrap. I still haven’t caught up with N’s book or started Tobin’s book; but, I have scrapped in January! I finished N’s 4th book (which makes me only one year behind for him). I’ve organized the digital photos for T’s book, and gotten some papers to start his soon.

Write. I’ve sucked at this one. That is all.

Remove distractions. I’m super happy with this update. So far I’ve cleaned out Nicholas’ closet, organized our closet, cleaned out our books (and sold what we didn’t want to keep), canceled a subscription to a magazine that I wasn’t reading but was driving me crazy because I wasn’t reading it, and William and I spent a full day opening every box in our storage unit to see what we have. We aren’t quite done with the storage unit but the progress is awesome and we’ll be able to go down to a smaller unit (saving us money for our budget). I love this hope!

How are you guys doing? If you made resolutions are you sticking to them? If not, have you started doing anything this year to make your world better?