I Ate the Whole Cake and I Do Not Feel Guilty!

Yesterday was my birthday.

It was just one day.

And I wanted a homemade Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd in the middle and Swiss Meringue Frosting.  Yum!

So, I had it.  I did not try to lighten it up.  I did not find an alternative. 

I chose to enjoy what I really wanted on my birthday.

And I ate the entire cake!  WHAT??  That sounds terrible, right?  Well, it really wasn’t. 

You see, eating healthy and losing weight is NOT about DEPRIVATION.  And it is NOT about EXCESS either. 

Eating healthy and losing weight is about MODERATION.

And yesterday I practiced that moderation.

And today, there is no guilt.  Today I do not feel deprived.  Today I am NOT obsessing about what I missed out on.

My husband and I made the lemon cake, but instead of turning the batter into a 2-layer 8-inch cake, we made mini-cakes in my big muffin tins.  They were the perfect size. 

In the words of Goldilocks, they were “just right”!

We made 4 total mini cakes, (yes, I am having one more today!) and then we threw out the remaining batter!  WHAT?  Who does that?  Isn’t that wasteful?  As my mother and grandmother used to say, “You can’t waste that, there are starving children in the world!”

I threw it out anyway!

It was not hard.  It felt good.  Because I knew that I was not depriving myself of the treat I wanted.  And by tossing out the excess batter, I was not creating a temptation I knew I could not resist.

I have learned the past couple of months as I continue to traverse this journey, that deprivation sabotages my efforts.  It just does!  And for me deprivation doesn’t just mean NOT having the food I want, it means forcing myself to eat a less satisfying, less flavorful, lower calorie/lower point version of what I am wanting.  And that substitution often leads me to eat more of that substitution, not saving me calories or points, leaving me less satisfied and sabotaging my efforts.  (some substitutions, like spaghetti squash for pasta, work for me as they are still delicious, but for my treats, well….the real thing in a smaller portions is better!)

So, I had my lemon cake in moderation.  And that is what works for me.

I enjoyed my birthday.  I went for a long walk in the morning, I got a delicious breakfast sandwich from Panera after my walk and had a yummy dinner cooked by my husband, with my Lemon Cake for dessert.

And I ate the whole cake!  Saying that without feeling guilt really empowers me.  I CHOSE to have this treat.  I CHOSE to enjoy my day.  I CHOSE to toss out the unused batter.  And I CHOSE to eat the whole cake!  Mini cake that is!

What could be better?! 

This journey is far from perfect for me.  It is a journey of learning what really works and what doesn’t.  It is a journey of growth.  It is a journey of learning how my thoughts help and how they hinder my progress.  By choosing to have the treat, and choosing to have it in moderation, I put myself back in control, taking away the power that food and guilt have had and can still have over me. 

I am learning.  I am growing.

I can get health.  I can lose weight.   And I can have my cake too!


A Detour Can Lead To Success, Too

Three years ago, today, I completed my first 10k EVER!  And it was at Disney World.  I wrote about that experience and what I learned on a blog here.  That 10k showed me that I could accomplish so much more than I ever thought I could, just by pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone.  And finishing that race made me proud of myself, REALLY proud of myself. 

Funny how that memory popped up in my Facebook newsfeed today.  A day when I am looking back on the goal I set for myself January 1st, 2020.  The goal to complete the Run the Year challenge and to complete all 2,020 miles in that year.  It was a lofty goal for me, to say the least.

I set that goal with the same determination that got me through the 10k and with the knowledge learned from that race that I was capable of so much more than I gave myself credit for.  I was pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone, once again.  And this time I was encouraged and inspired by a wonderful group of ladies—friends I walk with and participate in 5k’s with.  These ladies inspire me to keep moving, even when I don’t want to.

The thing about goals is that they need to be realistic.  Was the goal of completing 2020 miles in one year realistic?  For some yes.  But for me?  At the time I set the goal I believed it was.  I believed it would be challenging.  REALLY challenging.  And I knew I would have to push myself a little harder, that I would have to make myself get out and walk those miles.  But I also knew I was going to be doing a number of 5ks over the year and that would mean lots of long walks in training for those races.  Yes, I BELIEVED it was reasonable.  More importantly, I BELIEVED it was doable for me!  I BELIEVED I could do it! 

THAT, of course, was before the year 2020 showed its true colors. 

I started off the challenge strong.  The first week of January 2020, which was only 5 days, I managed to get 28.89 miles!  Ahead of the 5 miles I knew I would need on average each day.  I GOT this! 

The second week of January was even stronger, 36.7 miles!!  I was on my way to success. 

And then I got sick the middle of the third week, and my miles slowed.  I was able to still accomplish 22 miles for the week, thanks to not being sick the first few days. 

The fourth and fifth weeks of January found me still sick, but I pushed a little each day (mainly just walking in my house) and finished the month with 105 miles.  THAT was success for being so sick. 

I was sick for a full 4 weeks.   And that slowed me down.  I missed my favorite 5k.  I was falling behind on my goal.  But it was only February and I had the rest of the year to finish.  I still believed I would accomplish my goal. 

Once I was feeling better I was able to finish February with 98 miles total!  YES!  I could and would do this!  I had NOT stopped believing!

And then…..

A serious back injury sidelined me.  For a long time.  I finished March with a total of 3.5 miles. 

3.5 miles for an ENTIRE month! 

I wanted to quit.  I stopped wearing my fitbit.  I would NEVER reach my goal and I stopped believing I would.  Why bother?

But the thing about goals is that they CAN be adjusted. 

I realized that 2,020 miles was too lofty of a goal, given my health issues.  And then add in the pandemic and more health issues and that goal was no longer realistic or achievable.  To continue to push toward the goal, to continue to tell myself that I HAD to reach that goal would be to set myself up for failure.  And that was NOT acceptable.

Sometimes the road on our journey is filled with potholes and closed roads.  Sometimes we take a detour.

But taking the detour does not mean we will not eventually reach our destination.

A detour can still get us to where we were going, it just may take a little longer and it may look a little different.  And sometimes the detour sends us to a different destination, that ends up being the destination we were meant to arrive at, at that moment in our lives.

Detours are an opportunity to learn and to build on those lessons.  It is an opportunity to make adjustments based on what is working and what is not.

2020 sent me on a detour far from my original goal of 2,020 miles.  And I was frustrated, defeated and even began to feel like I failed.  I wanted to quit! 

But I was NOT failing.  Life happens.  And sometimes we need to make adjustments.  We need to consider the circumstances in our lives, control what we can and not stress about what we cannot control.  We then re-evaluate and set a new goal and we take that detour to success. 

Changing an unrealistic goal to one that is more realistic is NOT giving up or a sign of failure.  Instead, adjusting goals set us up for success.  Adjusting goals gives us motivation. And THAT helps us to continue our journey.

The detour took me quite a bit off course, but I did not fail.  I pushed on.  I persevered despite my challenges.  

I adjusted my goal and set a new one.  One that was more realistic for me at that time in my life–500 miles.

And I achieved my goal of 500 miles.  In fact, I surpassed my goal, achieving a total of 689 miles for the year. 

I am very proud of myself for achieving my new goal and for not giving up on me! 

I did not quit and THAT is what makes me a success!

Whatever your challenges, whatever the detour, as long as you do not give up on YOU, then YOU are a success! 

Adjust those goals when you need to and keep going!

Here’s to 2021

Happy New Year!  I don’t know about you, but I am so thrilled to have 2020 behind me and am looking forward to 2021 and a return to some normalcy. 

A new year offers an opportunity for change.  An opportunity to recommit to our goals. 

New Years day often finds us making resolutions…. Promises to lose the weight, get healthier, workout more, and so much more. 

Did you make your resolution yet? 

I stopped making resolutions years ago.  Why?  Because, frankly, I never keep them.  I always had grand ideas of what I was going to accomplish, but often lost motivation a few weeks, sometimes a few days into the new year.  So, I stopped making resolutions.   Instead, I decide a theme for the year, something that helps me to grow into a better version of me, something that challenges me to step outside my comfort zone and to make real change.  Something that encompasses ALL of me, not just my weight or health. 2021 is the year I continue to live mindfully, present in the moments of each day and it is the year I focus on kindness, toward others and myself as well as focusing on daily gratitude.   

But not setting a New Years Resolution does NOT mean I don’t set weight/health goals when the new year arrives.  I set them all year, but the new year allows me to refocus. and gives me an opportunity to look back and see what worked and what didn’t work the previous year.  Then I can set my course toward the goals I have in mind—long term goals and short-term goals.  I can learn from the past and use those lessons to help me achieve the goals I have for myself in the new year. 

2020 was rough.  REALLY rough.  I struggled. I started 2020 by getting a virus in mid-January that turned into pneumonia, keeping me from participating in my favorite 5k race…. The race I look forward to ALL year.  I was sick for over a month.  And then, a couple of weeks after getting better, I injured my back, seriously.  I couldn’t walk.  I couldn’t do anything for a few weeks.  Slowly I got better.  Slowly my back began to heal….. but by then, we were in the midst of a stay-at-home order and I wasn’t going anywhere.  Life just stopped.  For everyone.  Our routines were upended.  Life as we knew it was at a complete halt.  Being sick was stressful.  Being in pain was stressful.  BUT a pandemic, and all its effects, THAT was even more stressful. 

Stress became the daily staple of my life.  And my weight was showing it.  I found myself 34 lbs above my goal weight and very close to a point I said I would NEVER go back to again.  NEVER!  I had to do something.

But we were in a pandemic.  And what worked for me in the past, well, it wasn’t there now.  I couldn’t meet with my friends for weekend walks.  There were no in person 5ks to sign up for or train for.  And Weight Watcher workshops were all online…..which just isn’t the same.  I couldn’t talk to friends online before the workshop or visit after.  It was NOT the same.  The world was different, and I was going to have to figure out how to do this differently.

All of this added to the struggles of 2020.  I am an emotional eater, so the stress, the worry, and the fear were taking a toll. I REALLY struggled.  (Oh, how I long for the day I can meet with friends and hug people again!) 

More health struggles popped up for me…. the end of May found me excessively tired and dealing with a bad cough.  This lasted for months.  I thought I was losing my mind….it had to be all in head, right? And then more symptoms, more pain, this time in every joint of my body….severe enough to prevent me from walking at times or prevent me from using my hands to pick up something…… making any thought of exercise out of the question!  And bronchitis….. Finally, in early December, a diagnosis of Valley Fever and the beginning of treatment.  THIS was and still is testing my patience, but that is for another post.

Yes, 2020 was a struggle. 

Yet, I found, through the challenges that I have inside me, what I need to get to where I want to go.  I have what I need to reach my goals, right there inside of me. 

I just have to believe in myself. 

I have to make me a priority. 

I have to remember what is really important to me. 

I have to remember to not give up what I want most for what I want in the moment.  

And I have to remember just how far I have come!

I took the first steps to getting back on track the beginning of November.  I stepped on the scale and told my husband right away what it said.  He is my weight accountability now.

What other steps have I taken to get me back on the path that will lead me to my goal?  This–

—A little movement is better than NO movement!  I found that if I wait until later in the day, the pain is not quite so severe and I can go for a walk, sometimes just around the block and sometimes a mile or two.  Just depends on how I am feeling.  I also discovered that the more I sit, the more pain I am in, so moving helps me heal.

—Tracking and portions!  I found that tracking is not so difficult on a phone app.  I am not perfect in my tracking, but I am tracking.  That awareness is so very important.  How can I know what I need to adjust if I don’t know what and how much I am really eating?  And that means, weighing and measuring my food too. 

—Accountability and motivation—I still use my WW app and read the stories, but I don’t follow the points for now.  I track calories and I pay attention to calorie-density of foods.  I look for the foods that will keep me full longer and keep me satisfied.  I have an accountability coach that checks in with me every week to see how I am doing and helps me to set a new weekly goal.  And I find motivation online, reading stories of others and in my talks with and messages with my friends. 

—I am taking time for me.  Time for meditating, using the CALM app and time to just read or listen to music.  With all the stress of these days, I need to take a step back and just breathe sometimes. 

—And starting today, I am adding yoga to my days, to help with the pain and to give me those moments where I can just breathe. Another way to take care of me.

These are just the first steps in taking back the control of my health and my weight.  And they are working.  I am down 9 lbs now in 2 months.  Would have been more, but Christmas goodies happened…….

I am jumping into 2021 full speed.  I have my long-term goal to get to my goal weight and then below it.  And I have my short-term goal—just 5 lbs.  5lbs at a time.  I CAN do that! 

Add to that my 2021 theme of being kinder to others and to myself, practicing daily gratitude and living mindfully and the year should be a much better one!

This journey, though, is far from perfect!  But it is so worth it!  I am worth it!  And so are you! 

What are your goals for 2021?  What are you doing to get yourself on that road toward your goals? 

Let’s do this together! 

Here’s to 2021!