Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Full Speed Ahead in January, but Need Some Changes in the Meantime!

Ok, so now that I'm settling into a full-time work routine and the money worries will gradually ease as the paychecks flow in, I'm going to turn my focus back inward. I have some urgent health needs which need to return to the top of the priority pile, because I'd like to hang around a while, and my kid deserves a mom. As I've discussed in this blog before, I am 37 years old, I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol (for which I am medicated and somewhat lazy about taking it consistently,) I am 5 feet 8 inches tall, and I weigh 204 pounds. Now, I do have a solid, muscular frame and large bones, so visually I am not in the realm of looking like a round, fat person (yet!), but that is still a substantial 54 pounds overweight, and I am quite a bit thicker than looks good, wearing size 16 clothes. On Biggest Loser they sometimes make the contestants carry the amount of weight they've lost to see how much it was, and despite being in better shape it is always difficult for them to carry for long. I know for a fact that 54 pounds is DAMN HEAVY, and I would probably feel like I was floating on a springy feather if that came off of me. How can that not be enough motivation?!

Unfortunately, it took me until now to resolve some of the nagging stresses and problems that were tugging my focus away, and here we are in December, in the midst of the holiday season. Now, it is TOTALLY possible to have an enjoyable, healthy holiday season during a weight loss or maintenance program, but it is extremely unrealistic to expect to start one. Instead, I'm going to attempt to address some of the things that are the biggest problem for me, and those are: junk food intake, sleep habits, and inconsistent exercise. Sleep is just a matter of going to bed earlier, and it's only been a week and a half since I started my new work schedule. I am starting to get more tired which should force me to go to bed sooner as I want myself to, so hopefully that'll come. As that falls into place, I hope to be able to get up early enough to exercise, not just make it out of the house. My good friend is kicking some butt with the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout, and I've only dabbled in it but it is brutal (in a good way, kind of.) I've also said it a lot of times, but I need to become allergic to the elevator, since I work on the 8th floor and it is 150 steps up to my office. If I leave for lunch every day that would be up 300 stairs a day, 5 days a week, surely that can't do anything but miracles!

Lastly, my biggest vice is sugary junk food, especially my dear nemesis and cryptonite, chocolate. (I see light and hear singing angels when I say the word. No, really.) :) I eat large quantities of really bad things, and find myself sucking on pieces of chocolate and letting it melt in my mouth ALL DAY LONG. It's staggering how many calories I must eat when I'm "letting myself go." So, I need to make some gradual adjustments to really break the habits and succeed in the long run. Without having to count calorie intake yet, I still think I would benefit greatly in the meantime from: drastic reduction in sugar and chocolate consumption, avoidance of high fructose corn syrup, and avoidance of hydrogenated oils (i.e. trans fats). Eating a lot of chocolate and sugar has an addictive effect for me- if I have a little bit I can't stop, but if I can avoid for a few days it I lose the taste for it quite as strongly, and regular food starts tasting better. Sugar and chocolate also leave me feeling a little cloudy and sleepier, sometimes, as it is wearing off. (Sound like a drug addict? It's really not that different if you think about it!) High fructose corn syrup, which is in EVERYTHING, has been documented to cause increased appetite. I tried cutting it out once (easier said than done) and I noticed a difference.

Last but not least: hydrogenated oil, aka trans fat. Now, a quick complaint about the trans fats issue- the laws were changed to require disclosure of them on food labels, but I think they goofed the standards. Supposedly anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fat, but if you look at the labels on these foods, inevitably they have "0 grams" of trans fat listed. It is my understanding that this is NOT equivalent to none, so that is veeeery misleading. Cool Whip, which to my horror I have been eating with a spoon since it was leftover from a dessert I made, is pure hydrogenated oil, yet it still contains zero grams of trans fat. I need to read more to learn more about it, but I think you can have at least a half a gram of trans fat and still list zero on the label, but supposedly some small amount like 3 grams in a day is quite hazardous to the ticker. So, all day long you could be eating stuff with zero grams of trans fat, but have eaten several grams total by day's end. And yes, I do eat horrifying things like Cool Whip, Oreos, and other hydrogenated wonders on a regular basis. It's a marvel I have lived this long at the rate I'm going!

So, my plan is to try to do better for now, and then after the holidays I am going to kick some January ass!

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