Fat Fridays: Working on Not Being Discouraged

Good Friday morning everyone. It’s early. I just dropped my kids off at school, and frankly, I would rather go back to bed than continue with this day. I’ve been in a funk all week. We had spring break last week and it was so nice to sleep in, take the kids to do fun things, and just relax. This Monday morning was especially painful as the alarm went off at 6:15 am and I had to drag all my grumpy kids out of bed again. 

This school year has five of my kids doing school in-person, one doing virtual at home, and two doing homeschooling at home. I think most of my homeschooling friends would agree that by the time spring shows up, we are about done (as in over-it) with homeschooling. So, this week has basically been me prodding, cajoling, threatening, trying to encourage my six year old to get his stuff done every day. Not fun. Not exciting. Not inspiring. 

My weightloss journey has kind of felt the same this week. Not fun. Not exciting. Not inspiring. My weight has decided to do a shuffle in a three pound range and the fluctuation is discouraging. I know, I should just not weigh myself. But, I waited the whole week I was making myself wait, and the scale still didn’t show any movement. I think my body is comfortable at this weight. I am actually at a weight that I have hung out at for quite a while in the past before the pounds started creeping on even more. 

If I step back and think with perspective, I can see that this is all part of the journey. Some days you lose, some days you maintain, some days you fluctuate. If I stick to the plan it will stay on a downward trend. I know these things. But when you’re already feeling blah, it’s hard to remember that. 

I was texting with my trainer the other day and she asked me what things I was worried about that would keep me from sticking to my weightloss journey. She suggested that I make a list, and then start working on solutions for each of those things. I still haven’t done it. But I’ve thought about it some. And I need to be careful, because I know that one of those things that derails me is discouragement from very slow weight loss. You know, when you are really careful with what you eat and you are exercising diligently…and then nothing happens. After a while you start wondering, Why am I even doing this? 

So, this is how I am combatting this dangerous mindset. First, I am trying to remind myself why I am on this journey in the first place. Yes, I am trying to lose weight, but I am also trying to battle pre-diabetes. This past week I had a fasting blood sugar of 93, which is just amazing as I had been averaging in the 130s before I started my program. I am also trying to get in shape so I can do things with my family. This past Saturday our family went on a four mile hike up, down, and around a mountain. I was able to keep up with everyone and didn’t feel dead or exhausted the whole time. I am also just trying to stop my food addictions that had me using food to self-medicate all my moods. That is no longer a driving force in what and when I am eating. I am counting calories, keeping track of carbs and protein and managing to feel full on significantly less than I used to eat. These are all good things that I am succeeding in. 

I needed to remind myself of all that. I also think I need to work on that list of potential obstacles and start brainstorming more solutions so I don’t derail myself without even realizing it. 

Fat Fridays: Guess What I Did?!

So, you all will never guess what I did this week! This fat, middle-aged mom went jogging…Twice! My trainer had given me some kind of an exercise called Farkel (have you heard of it?). It was basically intervals of fast and slow. The first one was a total of 24 mins, 14 of those mins were fast, and the rest slow. The second time it was 30 mins and 15 of those mins were fast. In the past when she has written fast vs slow, I have speed walked, or gone a lot harder on the elliptical. But, I just suddenly had a thought, maybe I could jog? So, I tried. And survived 30 seconds of jogging. Then I survived 1 minute of jogging. Then I survived 2 minutes of jogging, and then, by that time I was determined to jog every time it called for “fast”. 

The first time I tried it we were at my parent’s house, out in the country, and all my kids were playing outside. I was determinedly jogging along and I glanced to the side and there was my four year old son, sitting by the path. His mouth was wide open in shock while he watched me. I was too out of breath to laugh. I managed to gasp out, “Mommy is exercising!” He stood up and announced that he could run too! And then he came and joined me, out-lapping me very easily. 

I felt very accomplished and proud of myself afterwards. 

The second time, two days later, I went to the park and took my seven and six year old with me. Fortunately it was in the morning on a very cloudy day, so there were only two other people at the park. Adults sitting under the pavilion. I say this is lucky because I really didn’t want to jog in front of an audience. When I say that I am “jogging” I mean that I am making my body do jogging movements. I am actually going about as fast as a six year old can speed walk, as was shown to me on Wednesday. This time I had to go “fast” for 5 minutes, and I actually jogged an entire lap around the park (quarter mile). I have no idea why, but this has been a big boost to my confidence. I have been out of shape for so long, I really didn’t know if my body could do “fit” things properly every again. Now I am envisioning myself one day actually Running!

At the same time, my jeans that I’ve been wearing since the beginning of this journey, finally started being really loose. Women’s plus size pants accommodate a lot of pounds. Which is great when you are gaining weight. A little depressing when you are trying to lose it. But, this week, I finally tried the next size pants down and I was able to get into them. Still a bit too tight. Maybe another 5 pounds and they’ll be wearable? 

After all the confidence boosting I had this week, it was a bit of a let-down to find that I had only lost 1 pound. But, I am determined to not care. My fasting blood sugar was 100 this morning and I am planning on going on a hike this weekend with my family. I have lost a total of 19 pounds in 9 weeks, and I am feeling good about my accomplishments. 

Fat Fridays: Fighting Stress with Exercise

Good morning everyone. It is an early Friday morning here. My kids are just getting up, grabbing their breakfast, getting ready for a virtual day of school. We have been in-person this year, but have had to move to virtual occasionally for covid, weather, and now, this week, gun violence in our neighborhood that has been taking the lives of our school kids. On Tuesday, there was an incident of someone shooting a gun in the parking lot of our elementary school, while children were playing on the playground. On Wednesday, we learned that the fourth high school student in six weeks had died of gunshot wounds. On Thursday, my body kind of shut down from all the stress, and in between doing life: helping kids with virtual school, doing my daily exercise, preparing meals, I climbed into bed and just slept. I think I took three separate naps. All of  them interrupted, none of them long enough. But I just couldn’t stay awake. 

Last night I went out on date night with my husband and we took a long brisk walk in the woods. It was nice to get physically tired instead of just mentally. 

This is one thing I have found as I’ve done my new exercise and diet program, I am finding myself starting to crave physical exercise.  

I especially like walking. There is something very therapeutic about being outside, breathing fresh air, getting out of your house. 

Almost every day my trainer has me doing some kind of weight/body resistance kind of workout and then she gives me twenty to thirty minutes on the elliptical. Sometimes I go on the elliptical, but sometimes I just go walk outside. The elliptical gives a better workout, but walking outside is more rejuvenating. 

You know, 2020 was crazy for everyone. But, I had high hopes that 2021 was going to be a lot better. So far this year, I haven’t had a normal week yet. Each week has had something big and crazy in it. And the stress of that can really pull you down. So, I am very thankful for exercise and the role it has been playing to keep me sane. 

Fat Fridays: Fighting Stress

Emotional eating has always been a thing for me. It’s a source of comfort for every imaginable problem. Since I started this journey, about six weeks ago, I noticed that after the first couple weeks, food stopped having such a strong hold on me. I haven’t been tempted to grab something every time my mood swings. I think a big part of it is that I am losing weight, and I have a definite goal that I want to achieve this year, and that goal has been front and center in my mind. No, I don’t want to just eat whatever, whenever. I wouldn’t reach my goal if I do that!

This week has been a bit of a test. On Wednesday I received word that my father’s cousin had died, (someone I had made a connection with online and who often commented on my posts and engaged in conversation with me), and then that same evening I received word that a dear lady from our church (who had long been a source of encouragement to me) had also died, of covid. 

I admit, my first reaction was that I just wanted to binge eat. Forget this diet. I’m just going to make a bunch of food and eat it. Maybe I will feel better. But, by the grace of God, I walked past the fridge and went in my room and cried instead. Which is actually what I needed to do, instead of trying to stuff the emotions down with food. 

The next day I was pretty out of it. We’ve had a lot of death in our neighborhood due to gun violence and everything just seemed to be crushing me down. My trainer asked how things were going, and I mentioned briefly what was going on. She suggested that I use exercise as therapy, and later that day I went outside for a long brisk walk in the sunshine. It helped. 

In the past, I have always had this mentality that I can’t start a diet until my life calms down. Like, adding a diet and exercise to an already stressed out life would just send me over the brink. But this year I am realizing that the exercise and diet are actually tools to help deal with the stress. Bingeing on donuts does not help you deal with stress. Knowing that you are eating healthy DOES make you feel better though. Like, the world is falling apart, but at least I am taking care of my body! 

In other news, I woke up early this morning and took my fasting blood sugar and it was 96!! I haven’t had a reading below 100 in years. That also made me feel better. 

So, my takeaway for this week is diet and exercise aren’t causing me stress, they’re fighting stress. 

Fat Fridays Begin with the End in Mind

It’s been a rough week. We have been dealing with gun violence in our community that took the lives of two highschoolers this week, days apart, both times they seem to have been caught in a fight that had nothing to do with them. On top of that we have had inclement weather that has kept my elementary kids home this week doing virtual school. Today I have simply been feeling weary. 

I weighed myself this morning, hoping to cheer myself up with my progress, but I had only lost one pound in six days, which is frustrating when I look at how much I exercised and how good I ate, despite the fact that we had a Valentines’ weekend. 

So, now I am trying to have a good attitude. I have lost ten pounds in five weeks. That’s good. I have been exercising around fifty minutes a day, six days a week. Also good. I can feel myself getting stronger. I have been eating for hunger instead of boredom or as a coping mechanism. That is awesome. 

My kids’ elementary school was a “Leader in Me” school for a while (not sure if they still are?). They incorporated Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits for Highly Effective People” and they went over these habits every day. It was impossible to not hear about these seven habits on a regular basis every time you visited the school. I don’t know if it made an impact on the kids or not, but there is one habit that has been on my mind this week, “Begin with the End in Mind”. 

I am tempted to get frustrated at the slow weight loss when I look at how much work I’m putting into the process. But, I need to step back and look at my end goal. My end goal is to have more energy, to not have an unhealthy addiction to food, to be in shape so I can do more activities, and to get my prediabetes under control. 

If I step back and look at these end goals, then I am doing very well. I’ve been taking my blood sugars more often and the numbers are already looking a lot better. I’ve been able to push through a very stressful week without binge eating anything, and have kept my intake at the level that it needs to stay for the rest of my life. I’ve been pushing my body to do a lot more than I thought it could do, and I can feel myself getting stronger and more capable. I’m jogging up the stairs at our house without giving it a lot of thought and I’m enjoying the rush of getting a really good workout. In other words, no matter what the scale says, I’m living the lifestyle I need to.  

I imagine I will have to remind myself of this often. 

Fat Fridays: Non Food Rewards

I am almost at the end of my fourth week of this new diet and exercise program. One of the first things I talked about during week one with my trainer was Non Food Rewards. I was explaining that on my nights off, or when I suddenly found myself with some alone time, my first instinct was to eat something special. It’s my night off, I’m going to go get some takeout! I just managed to get an hour to myself, I think I’ll eat some dessert! I just survived a really hard day, definitely deserve some chocolate! 

It is a pattern that is deeply ingrained in who I am. 

Obviously, eating every time you want to reward yourself is not a healthy pattern. It has led to one of my biggest problems, Comfort Eating. No, I’m not hungry, just bored, angry, uptight, tired….I think I’ll eat something. 

So, I have been trying to come up with some Non Food Rewards. It’s been hard. This is what I’ve come up with so far. 

Long Hot Showers

Buying New Exercise Clothes

Watching the Lord of the Ring Movies again.

Taking a walk solo around the neighborhood. 

I have thought about getting a foot soaking tub and sitting and soaking my feet, but that hasn’t happened yet. 

Reading a book (I don’t know if that counts though, I am always reading a book)

Sitting by my fire

I am just getting started on this list. I need more. 

In the meantime, I am also trying to tone down the food rewards. Like drinking a hot cup of tea or sucking on a sugar free hard candy, or munching on carrots and hummus instead of snack food. 

As a parent I am also realizing how I am training my kids to turn to food as a reward. It is such a big part of our culture. You did good today, have a piece of candy! It’s Friday night, let’s eat pizza and ice cream! You’re really sad, want to have a treat to cheer you up? I am not sure how to change this. I think I need a list of Go-To rewards for kids. And then I need to have it posted all over my house, because this is a deeply ingrained habit. 

Last week I lost another three pounds. Today I did thirty minutes on my elliptical, 40 seconds as fast as I could go, 20 seconds slow. I did not think I would make it thirty minutes, but I did! I am definitely seeing some positive changes. I am also noticing that I don’t have an urge to eat all the time like before. I eat, I get full, and then I don’t eat again till I feel hungry again. Yay! 

I’ll see you all next week! 

Fat Fridays Return

So, I just checked, and the last time I posted a Fat Friday was in September of 2019. It’s been a while. I’m pretty sure that it’s been that long since I’ve done anything concrete to tackle my weight problems. (For those of you that have joined since September of 2019, Fat Friday is my once-a-week blog devoted to all things “weight loss”.) A lot has happened during that time. I’m not going to beat myself up for putting weight loss on the back burner. But, I will celebrate that it is finally taking Center Stage again. 

Right now my main motivation for losing weight is health. I am prediabetic and my blood sugar hasn’t been great. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve been tired all the time. No energy. And I really want to be healthy so I can do things with my family, especially hiking and camping, which our family enjoys doing. 

January of course is THE TIME to start a new diet or exercise program. I did not WANT to start a new diet or exercise progam, but I knew it was time. So, I got on the internet and started doing searches, and quite by accident found the KickOff App. You pay a monthly fee and are assigned a personal trainer/health coach. You get the app and then every day you log either by writing or by photo, all the food that you eat. Every day you are given a new workout to do that comes with detailed instructions, pictures, videos to show you how to do it. They also give you a daily menu of recipes you can make, but you don’t have to follow those. Your personal trainer texts you at least twice a day to talk about your food choices and see how things are going etc. 

They ask you a bunch of questions at the beginning to see what you are looking for as far as exercise and diet are concerned. They have different levels you can pay for (I’m doing the basic level which is $95/month) and they can help you with different goals besides weight loss. 

I am almost at the end of week three and I feel like it’s a great fit for me. I asked to do five workouts a week, and while each workout has been challenging, it has not been SO challenging that I’ve been overly sore or hurt myself. But, this week she upped how much I am doing and I can tell that I’m getting stronger. This is a new thing for me to be doing so much exercise, and I am enjoying it. It is helping with dealing with stress and I’m sleeping better, feeling a little more energy. 

The diet part has also been really good. I decided at the beginning that since I’m paying for this, I’m not going to cheat. I’m going to record EVERYTHING that I eat. If I feel like not being honest, then I might as well stop doing the program. So, imagine having to take a picture of everything that you eat and show it to someone everyday. Yeah. It’s a great motivator to not grab a handful of chips, or eat that One chocolate, or just eat that One package of cheese crackers. And over three weeks my food choices have gotten better and better and my serving sizes are slowly going down as well. 

Now, if you are looking for someone to dictate what you eat, and how much, and what kind, this probably is not a good fit for you. While they do offer a menu plan, my trainer has been willing to just offer daily suggestions based off of what I’m eating, like, maybe try brown rice or a sweet potato instead of white rice, or maybe next time, try to fill your plate half full of vegetables…This is a good fit for me because I’ve already spent years researching diet and nutrition. I already know what my body likes. Lots of lean protein. Lots of vegetables. Lots of berries. Whole grain carbs in small servings. Some fat, but not a ton. That works for me. (When I am actually trying to be healthy that is!) And having to keep track of everything I eat has really helped me get back to what my body likes and wants. 

I think the number one reason this program is a good fit for me is because it tells me what to do every day and then keeps me accountable. I thrive on that kind of system. Just give me a list, I love checking things off, and the knowledge that someone is looking at what I’m doing with some encouragement thrown in, I’m all set. 

Well, I’ll let you know how it’s going next week. 

Here’s a link to their website www.trainwithkickoff.com if you just want some info.

If you’re really interested in signing up you can click on this one to get to my trainer and give me a discount on my plan. 🙂

https://www.trainwithkickoff.com/coaches/ChelseaDenlinger?ref=5vfjoplbefx

New Year’s Resolutions, Uncertainty, and God’s Sovereignty

Christmas is over. Yesterday marked my last day of festivities. This morning I took my daughter to get her ears pierced, one of her Christmas presents. As of 12:27pm today, I was officially done with celebrating Christmas. As far as taking down Christmas ornaments and cleaning up the debris from all the celebrating, well that falls more into New Year’s activities. And I am getting all geared up for New Years. 

Without fail, every year, I get excited about New Years. Every single year I think, this is the year. This is the year I will lose weight. This is the year I will become more disciplined. This is the year I will grow exponentially in my spiritual disciplines. This is the Year!!

I start making plans. This is the diet I’m going to try. This is the exercise plan I will attempt. These are the Good Habits I’m going to start. These are the Bad Habits I’m going to get rid of. 

RIght now, I’m pretty convinced that starting Jan 5th, I will be waking up at 6 am every day, getting on my elliptical with a sun lamp pointed at my face, working hard for thirty minutes while I listen to scripture being read out loud from my Bible App. Then I will go eat a small breakfast of vegetables and rice and maybe some fish thrown in. (And all these things will lead to inner peace, weight loss and lots of energy.) 

Hey, a woman can dream right? 

Interestingly, I was reading “The Atlantic” magazine today (a stocking-stuffer from my husband!) and the very first pages had an advertisement/article whose headline said, “Uncertain about the future?” and then at the end of the article, also in big letters, “Make a Plan”. The article of course had scientific evidence of how uncertainty stresses us out, and making a plan alleviates a lot of that stress. I think this is a coping skill I have been using for a long time. Making plans always makes me feel better. 

Uncertainty may be why we always face a new year with lots of New Year’s Resolutions. We have no idea what the New Year is going to bring, so we cope with that uncertainty by making all kinds of plans that should bring us health and prosperity. Almost like a good luck charm. If I just do A, B, and C, then I am guaranteed a good year. 

In the end, I know that I will not follow all my “plans” perfectly. I’m still hopeful. But, I know I will mess up. And even if I do succeed it will be a series of ups and downs. I also know that I have no way of predicting what is going to happen in this upcoming year. We still have election uncertainties, covid, vaccines, shaky economies, schools opening and shutting, lots of shifting in the world governments and systems. I have no guarantees that this upcoming year will be better than the one we just weathered. And yet, I am feeling hopeful. 

We had a very good Christmas. We ended up with a lot of snow, which for many people in our area ended up causing a lot of trouble, but for us, it was just pretty white stuff on the ground. Everything went smoothly. No sickness. (We’ve had several Christmases where we’ve been hit with the stomach bug.) The kids enjoyed each other’s company. My oldest daughter has been able to be with us. Everyone liked their presents. I have felt like this time has been a gift from God. A gift of Peace and Joy. And I really don’t know if I’m getting this gift because it will be a good memory to hang on to when things get rough again, or if it’s just the beginning of a better year. Only God knows. But, it made me feel seen. Made me feel like God was watching out for me. Made me remember that God is still in control. I’m in his hands. 

In the end, we live in uncertain times. All humanity has always lived in uncertain times. And we can make all the plans we want, but we have no guarantees that those plans will come to fruition. Psalm 20 verse 7 says, 

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” 

God has our future in his hands. The great drama of world history that is playing out before our eyes is also in his hands. And that is our true source of hope. For those who have put their trust in God, his hands are the safest place to be. 

Fat Fridays: Hope Renewed

Happy Friday everyone. I think this has been one of the longest weeks of my life. I am so glad that it is Friday! Earlier this week I wrote a short essay (not posted) on how hopeless I felt about weightloss. I talked about how Diet Programs, Weightloss systems, they all know about this hopelessness and they purposefully sell hope. Sure, you have never succeeded in the past, but that’s because you never knew about OUR BRAND NEW SYSTEM!! Just give us some money and we will give you a big dose of HOPE that You Too can conquer your weight problems! And you know, I’ve tried that too many times. I no longer fall for it. So, I was lamenting that our Hope is supposed to come from the Lord, but he didn’t seem to be dishing any out either. 

 

And then, after I wrote down all my angst, God flooded me with hope. 🙂 I suddenly felt like, Yes, I can do this. And I got a plan. I’m going to just tackle 10 pounds at a time. Anyone can lose 10 pounds right? And when I lose 10 pounds I’m going to reward myself with a Non-Food Reward. I started yesterday. I’m feeling excited. Cool weather is fast approaching and I need to get some new clothes. And I’m going to wait till I’ve lost this 10 pounds before I go shopping. And that sounds good to me and encouraging. I’ve made a deal with God. I realize that my weight problems stem from wrong ideas about food, it’s a heart issue. I am, unfortunately, unable to change my heart. So, I’m asking God to work on the heart side of it, and I will try to work on the physical -eat less, exercise more- side of it. Maybe I’ll fail again, but my little bit of hope is saying, yeah, but maybe you won’t fail this time. 

 

I’m kind of doing a relaxed version of Trim Healthy Mama which is all about low carb, high protein, and don’t mix your fats and carbs. Another words, if you eat fat then make sure you don’t eat any carbs at the same time. 

 

I started on October 3rd. So I’ll let you know how long it takes me to lose 10 pounds. And then we can all celebrate! And then I’ll move on to the next little goal. 

 

For anyone else feeling hopeless, may your hope be renewed! I’ll see you all later. 

 

 

Fat Fridays: You’ve Got to do Something

Hey everyone. I’m back. Kind of. This past Sunday at our church, our pastor gave a short video message from his home. He is currently recovering from a very serious medical ailment. In the video he was explaining what had happened to him, and lessons that God was teaching him through the experience. He related how he took a serious downturn, an ambulance was called, but he was still wavering on whether he should go to the hospital or not. He asked his grown daughter what he should do, and she said, “Well, you’ve got to do something!” 

 

That statement, along with a couple other things he said, really resonated with me. 

I’ve got to do something. 

 

I’m at a place where I no longer believe in my ability to overcome this weight once and for all. I no longer think that I can just find the right plan, get myself revved up enough, and then, Voila! I will lose all my weight. That fantasy has died. I have a horrible feeling that this is going to be a life-long struggle. 

 

But at the same time, I can’t give up. I’ve got some serious health problems. I’ve got to do something. 

 

And so, I try once again. One small step at a time. This week I have been working on cutting out sugar. I’m hoping to tackle eliminating wheat next week. One small step at a time. Heading towards a low-carb diet. I got on my elliptical a couple times too. It’s something. 

 

Approaching a diet without hope and energy is a different experience. I’m just feeling realistic. I need to make these changes for the sake of my health. I don’t know if it will produce dramatic weight loss. I’ll probably cheat on occasion. But, it’s something. Right now that’s all I can do.