Non-Scale Victory

Tomorrow morning is my weigh-in day.  And I am ready.  My mindset is changing (more on that another day) and I am focusing on taking care of me and doing what I need to do in order to move myself just a little bit closer to my goal. 

One of those things I am doing, is paying attention to those little changes I am making… the small everyday victories that build my self-confidence, remind me I CAN do it and inspire me to keep going.  I am paying attention to all those non-scale victories!

This week I had two days that were VERY stressful.  The kind of days that makes someone want to drink.  The kind of day that makes me want to eat-anything and everything. 

I had to do my weekly grocery shopping in the midst of some heavy stress that first day and that had my mind saying “go ahead and get the cookies, candy and chips.  It’s early in your week and you will have time to get that back off!  I went to the store, determined that I would eat this stress.  No one would know.  No one except me, of course. 

I came home from the store that first day, with NONE of the things I had wanted in order to eat my stress.  HOW did I NOT give in?  HOW did the cookies NOT make their way to my cart? 

Well, the cookies (chocolate sugar cookies with marshmallow frosting and bits of graham crackers on them) did get picked up.  I stood there in the bakery and held the package of 10 cookies in my hand.  And it was then that I remembered the card in my purse.  I had written my “whys” and the advantages of losing weight for me on that card.  And I read it right then.  And then I put the cookies down.  

Losing weight and being healthy is far more important to me than that package of cookies. I am worth far more than that package of cookies.

So, instead of eating my stress, I went home, put away the healthy groceries and I patted myself on the back!

I was so proud of myself!  I AM so proud of myself! 

If I had given in to the stress eating, I would have felt guilty, which would have sent me down a hole for a bit.  Instead, I was proud.  And I didn’t feel deprived, because those cookies were a WANT born of the stress of the day and not for any other reason.  Instead of feeling deprived I felt that I was finally taking care of me.  And THAT feels awesome!

The next day was just as stressful.  And the thought crossed my mind again, because I needed to make a run to the store for a non-food item I had forgotten the previous day.  And I knew the temptation might be stronger this time, so instead of going to the grocery store, I went to the pharmacy.  Less temptations there.  I found what I needed and then walked straight to the zingers…. I picked up the chocolate and vanilla ones and then remembered.  And I put them down and left (after paying for the one item of course). 

So, when I step on the scale tomorrow, it does not matter to me what it says.  I am proud of my week.  I am proud of myself.  And this week proved to me that I CAN and I WILL reach my goal! 


Anchor of Shame





How I felt sitting there listening. 

The shame was immediate.  Intense.  An anchor around my neck pulling me under.  FAST!

Shame has a way of doing that.

Where was I that was making me feel so worthless and ashamed?  I was at the doctor’s office.  I was being examined by a PA, instead of my primary care doctor.  I was there for a specific issue that would need antibiotics. 

The PA walked into the exam room with her laptop open to my medical record.  She asked me how long I had been dealing with this sore throat and painful sinuses.  Her response to my answer was a sucker punch to the gut that came straight out of left field!

“Before we get to that, let’s talk about your exercise and weight.  Did you know there are new medications to help with weight loss?…..”


In that moment I held my breath so that I could stop the tears welling up inside me.  

In my silence I was boiling inside- a cauldron of shame, disappointment, shock, fear, worthlessness all threatening to bubble over and erupt at any moment.

She continued. 

I sat in silent disbelief.

She continued.  Trying to convince me that I needed medication, a little pill, that would curb my hunger and make me lose weight.  A pill that would balance the metabolic hormones that were obviously (to her) out of whack in my body.  A “miracle” pill.

I remained silent.

When she was done and finally ready to examine me, all I could manage was- “I went back to Weight Watchers.” And “I need to do my research before I agree to take a pill” (knowing full well I was NOT going to take the “magic” pill).

I was so ASHAMED in that moment.

She didn’t know me.  She didn’t know my history.  She didn’t know how Weight Watchers has worked for me.  She didn’t want to hear me. 

This was HER issue.  HER value.  HER kickback forefront in her mind.

But I was the one wearing the anchor of shame. 

I KNOW I need to lose weight (thank God I have only gained back 35 of my original 85 lb loss). 

I KNOW what I need to do.

I KNOW it can be done.

I DO NOT need a pill.

I DO NOT need to be shamed.

I DO NOT need to be judged by anyone.  I judge myself quite harshly.

What I NEED is to feel less shame.  To feel supported.  To take care of myself. 

I left the doctor’s office with a prescription for antibiotics and that anchor of shame, disappointment and self-loathing wrapped around my neck.  And I did what I know to do, as a food addict, to make me feel better….to stuff the emotions that were threatening to erupt….. I ate.

I went home from the pharmacy and found the jar of peanut butter.  I made 2 pieces of peanut butter toast and while the bread was in the toaster, I also made a half sandwich.  I ate those.  And then I ate, not 1, but 2 (TWO) Hershey candy bars.  I went to what I know. 

And I felt better for a little bit.  Until I didn’t. 

I am a food addict.  Being hungry isn’t my issue, so a “magic” pill to curb my appetite is not going to fix me.  Finding a new way to deal with the emotions, without food, is the only way to fix me. 

I wish more people, especially medical professionals, understood food addicts.  It isn’t a lack of will power.  It isn’t being hungry all the time.  It isn’t a moral failing.

Food addiction is real.  Difficult.  Shameful.  Demeaning.  Navigating food addiction is about finding MY worth when I am feeling worthless.  And it is also about learning new ways to deal with emotions and life without food.  Hard to do when we HAVE to eat to live.  And food is EVERYWHERE!

I wish more understood.  I wish there was less judgement.

Yes, I ate to stuff my emotions today.  BUT I will NOT let this moment define me as it has in my past.  I will NOT let the anchor of shame weigh me down any longer.

I WILL move on, grateful for ALL that I have learned on my long journey.

I will remind myself that I AM worth it.

I CAN and WILL do this- in my imperfect way.  WITHOUT a little pill!

Do One Thing Different

“If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you always got”

That mantra has been rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks now.  I first heard it when I was in the middle of my 5th journey with Weight Watchers, the journey that finally resulted in my reaching my weight goal and achieving Lifetime status.  That was a long time ago, now.

This quote is so accurate.  And it is one of the keys to success.  Doing something different….making changes, the kind of changes that become habit, is key to success.  And necessary.

I have been on a rollercoaster journey the past few years… up… down…. topsy-turvey……. It has been a difficult journey at times. 

A couple of months ago, a group of ladies and I started meeting virtually each week and in person once a month, to support each other on this journey and to discuss various topics.  Our own support group and accountability group.  Boy have I missed them and meeting as a group.

Through this group and our discussions I realized my why, and how to keep it close (more on that soon) and I revisited “the basics” that help on this journey.  You know, ALL those things I used to do and the things I KNOW work for me.

But I was still stuck.  Up and down and all around…… I just wasn’t getting anywhere.

And then my husband and I went on vacation.  A 3 week roadtrip…. 4100 miles driven….. 6 states…… lots of family and long-time friends visited….. and GREAT food (especially in San Francisco!). 

Yes, on vacation.  I told myself that I was NOT going to gain.  I had a plan.  I packed healthy snacks.  I prepped the cooler and loaded drinks and fruit.  I was ready.  But I had been on vacation before.  And I knew what happens…. 

Vacation mode.

Well…. something was different this time.  The long hours on the road led to long discussions with my husband.  And my desire to reach my goals and my reminder of my why were strong…. Very strong.  So….

I did not deprive myself because saying no and deprivation would only backfire.  So, I had a few cookies over the days in San Francisco…. Amazing cookies my son made for us.  I had sourdough bread, and pastries and pasta and croissants and so much more.  I had dessert in WA.  I had burgers, fish and chips, wine and beer. 

And I maintained.


I go back to the quote at the beginning of this post— I did not do what I always did.  I stopped telling myself that tomorrow was another day, so what I was eating today wouldn’t matter (because tomorrow NEVER comes and it DOES matter).  I shared meals with my husband.  I ate half of my meal.  I listened to my body instead of my head and that made a HUGE difference.  When I was full I turned down dessert.  After dinner I stopped eating.  I didn’t buy soda and chips and candy bars for nighttime snacking in the hotel rooms. 

I DID something DIFFERENT. 

In order to get a different outcome, we have to stop doing the same things we have always done.  And that is HARD!!  Very HARD!! 

Doing what we have always done, doing the same thing is comfortable.  It keeps us in our comfort zone and then we end up with the same result. 

In order to get that different result we HAVE to do something different- just ONE thing will make a difference.  Something outside that comfort zone. 

That is what helped me maintain on my trip and what has helped me to lose 3.4 lbs in the week after returning home.  I am just doing things different.  Getting out of my comfort zone. 

What are you doing that you have always done, but it is holding you back and keeping you stuck?  What is one thing you could do different today?  Just one thing! 

Weekly Accountability- April 1st

I stepped on the scale this morning and it moved…. Down!

I lost 1 lb!

This week was better.  NOT perfect.  Better.

What made the difference this week?




I spent this week focused on my strengths and how they can help me.  THAT made the difference- in how I approached this week and in my mindset.

I used my strengths, my Superpowers—Kindness and Forgiveness toward myself when my plans went awry or I made a choice that wasn’t my best choice….. Creativity for coming up with meals last minute that were healthy for me….. Perseverance to keep pushing on when I took a detour or the candy bar landed in my grocery bag at the checkout…… And so many more of my strengths.

Harnessing the power of my strengths made the difference in my imperfect week! 

What made the difference for you? 

My Strengths…My Superpowers!

Last week at my virtual workshop, my coach asked us what our strengths were and when we struggled to come up with one, she asked what others would say our strengths were.  I have thought about this a lot since last Thursday.  And I have thought quite a bit about how these strengths can aid me on my journey.

If I can turn these strengths into Superpowers, well then I will be unstoppable!! 

We all have strengths.  They are part of who we are.  Sometimes it is hard to see our own strong attributes, but others see them. 

What are your strengths?  Are you compassionate?  Funny?  A survivor?  Quiet?  Kind?…….

My coach asked us to just pick one to focus on.  What one strength do you have?  I chose kindness. 

How can I use kindness on this journey?  It doesn’t really relate to food or exercise…. Or does it? 

I am kind to others. But am I kind to myself?  How would being kind to me, change this journey?  Would it have any impact?

What do you think?

Yes, being kind would have an impact.  A HUGE impact! 

 Our thoughts are so powerful on this journey.  My mindset is a HUGE part of becoming the healthiest and best version of me that I can be.  So, how can I become the best version of me if I am negative, critical, and mean to myself?  Wouldn’t I get farther and become a better version of me by being positive, by being kind to myself? 

Think about it.  What happens to our mindset when we are negative and focus on our faults or our failings?  What impact would the negative have?  How would you feel?  I know that I would give up.  I would feel defeated.  I would stop believing that I could achieve any goal I set for myself.  Being negative, unkind and only focusing on my faults sets me up to fail.  Every. Single. Time.

But if I turn that around and focus on my strengths, on the lesson I can learn and on the positive steps I have made, then I would feel far different.  I would feel empowered!  I would believe I could do anything!  Being kind to myself and focusing on the positives sets me up to succeed, even when I have a slip or take a detour!

Amazing what focusing on the positives, focusing on our strengths can do for each of us!   

Kindness is one of my strengths and the one I chose during my workshop.  And I realized I need to make being kind to myself a priority.  Being kind to me helps my mindset stay positive.  Kindness helps me continue when I have a slip.  Kindness helps me to forgive (another of my strengths) and move on, learning as I go. 

As I thought about my strengths this week, I came up with a list (not complete yet, as I keep adding to it)—

These are some of my strengths!  My Superpowers.  And the power of each of these strengths can be harnessed and used as a tool on my journey.  These strengths have gotten me this far and will keep me going!  Especially if I apply them to myself! (okay, realistically, I won’t use them ALL of the time, BUT I know they are there and I KNOW the power can be used to help me on my journey!)

Examples of how some of these strengths can help me on this journey–

Forgiveness, Kindness, Compassion, Love, Gratefulness, Empathy—When the power of these is harnessed I take the power away from my guilt and give it back to me.  Slips no longer mean failure.  I am more positive, and happier. I am more understanding of what I am doing and where my choices are originating from. I make better choices for me. I feel better, emotionally and physically, when I harness the power of these strengths.   

Thoughtful, Creative, Curious, Passionate—When the power of these is harnessed, I can keep the boredom and staleness at bay.  I try new foods, new recipes.  I find fun ways to move.  These strengths are powerful tools to keep things fresh and new.

Bravery, being a Survivor, Perseverance, Hope—When the power of these is harnessed, I am empowered to push through, to continue, to believe that I am capable of far more than I give myself credit for.  Slips no longer mean failure, instead those slips become stepping stones on my road to success.  When I harness the power of these, I am unstoppable!  Nothing is out of reach or impossible!  Everything is possible!  I CAN and I WILL!

Zest—When this power is harnessed, I am being present in the moment. I have a zest for life.  I enjoy the little things along with the bigger things.  I find joy in the moment– in a new recipe, in the quiet of nature, in the beauty of a hike, in the joy of a new food find.  This zest for life keeps me mindful, present and joyful.  All things that help me travel this crazy journey.

Organized— How better to be in control of me, than to be organized? Harnessing this power stops the chaos in my life and in my mind. THIS is how I plan, how I prepare, how I keep calm.

What are your strengths?  How can you harness the power of each of your strengths to turn them into tools that will help you move closer to your goals, closer to the version of you that YOU are striving for?  How can you turn your strengths into your SUPERPOWERS?

Ask yourself “what are my strengths?”  “what would my family and friends say are my strengths?”  “How can these strengths aid my journey to becoming the healthiest and best version of me that I can be?”

Our strengths, our Superpowers, once we recognize them, become powerful aids on our journey….. this perfectly imperfect journey we are all on.    

Weekly Accountability- March 25th

No, I didn’t post last week.  And I am a day late this week.  But here I am, sharing for accountability. 

The last 2 weeks have been okay.  Not perfect.  Not a failure either.  Just okay.

When I stepped on the scale yesterday morning, the scale didn’t change.  I have maintained the past 2 weeks. 

Before I started writing these accountability posts, maintaining AFTER a gain would have sent me down the hole…. But this time it didn’t.  And it won’t.

I maintained.  This week there were really good days that had me making healthy choices and even getting out and walking.  And then there were days that were super stressful that had me making a few less healthy choices. 

That’s life, right?

It isn’t perfect.  Or easy.  Despite how much we wish it were.

So we learn and we continue, while making adjustments as we go.

Each of us are different.  And we each need to find what works for us.  Because, as I said so many times in the workshops I coached—”what works for one may not work for another, we each need to find what works for us.”

And that is what I have been working on since recommitting to myself, my journey, and my accountability.  Finding and doing what works for me.

How ironic, then, that the theme for WW Workshops this month has been “Do What Works”. 

This theme has hit home with me.  WW has asked us each week to find what works for us, because we all are individuals with different strengths, lives and needs. 

It is so important to find what works for ME.  To make this journey fit my life, my personality, my needs. 

Because really, will I continue on this journey if I HAVE to do it in a way that doesn’t work for me or in a way that doesn’t take into consideration my needs?  NO!  I would NOT do this if I had to do it another person’s way!!

So, what worked for me these last 2 weeks—many things!  And I learned much.

What didn’t—a few things.  And I learned much from those slips as well.

BUT there is one thing, ONE, that I now know, without any doubt, I need on this journey.  ONE thing that without a doubt helps me on this journey!  My workshop.  MY workshop.

So, this week what worked is- (there were many but I am going to focus on one)

               —MY workshop.  (finding the right workshop is important and keeps us attending)

I have been attending a virtual workshop every Thursday mornings.  It is really early for me as the workshop is in another time zone, across the country in another state.  This workshop is the workshop I attended in person from 2006-2009, where I lost my weight and achieved my lifetime goal.  My leader (cuz back then coaches were referred to as Leaders) has retired and no longer coaches, but I still attend.  My friend, the one I went to my first Leader Training with, is now the coach and she is very motivating! 

I started attending this virtual workshop regularly about a month ago.  At that time there was only a 2 hour time difference.  But now it is 3 hours.  I have to be up at 5 am to get ready to attend my workshop (I want to be on video so….)  It is NOT easy to get up and get ready that early every Thursday morning. I could make a lot of excuses NOT to attend.  But this is important.  Because attending a workshop works for me. 

I have not been regular in my workshop attendance since I left Virginia in 2009.  Lots of reasons why.   Lots of excuses NOT to attend. 

No more excuses! 

Workshops work for me.  Period! 

The Workshop is the ONE place where I KNOW I am not alone in my struggles!  Everyone else has been there at one time or another too.  THEY get it!  And there is NO judgement!  Only acceptance!  Workshops are that ONE safe place where I can share my struggles and my triumphs, my aha moments and ask questions and my celebrations. 

Workshops are where I find motivation!  As a coach, I was motivated by those who attended my workshops each week!   As a member, I am motivated by the others attending the workshop and by the Coach and Guide.  So much motivation!

Workshops work for me!  And since they work for me, I am going to keep attending.  (I am hoping WW will keep this virtual workshop going so I can continue to attend from across the country every week and one day I will also go back to in person workshops, when things are a little safer for my health).

What is working for you?  Do you have that ONE thing that you have found that works for you?  What steps are you taking to make sure you do that ONE thing?  How are you making that one thing and YOU a priority?

This journey is hard.  Excuses are easy.  Excuses hold us back and keep us from doing what works for us. 

Here is a quote that a member shared in the workshop I attended this week that really struck home for  me—“Be Stronger Than Your Excuses!”

This week don’t let your excuses get in the way of doing that ONE thing that works for YOU!  

Vision Board Anchor

This is one of THOSE weeks.  The imperfect in this journey.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what set this off.  But it is just one of THOSE weeks.  And THOSE weeks happen (more about the week tomorrow in my weekly accountability post). 

Yesterday afternoon I had finally had it.  My stomach hurt.  I didn’t feel well, physically.  And I was angry with myself and embarrassed. 

Me?  How could I eat all that?  What happened to the valve that “turns off” eating?  Mine was definitely broken.

It was then, in the midst of beating myself up, that I remembered the photo collage I had created years ago, to motivate me to stay at my goal and to keep working on being the healthiest me I could be.  The photo used to hang on my refrigerator…. But hadn’t been there in over a year.  Where was it?

I searched through all my things until I found it- the photo collage of my before and after pics along with a question/statement that helps me to stay focused. One of my anchors.

As I sat at the table, putting the photo onto another paper to frame it, I remembered the vision board I had created years ago and realized it was in the back of the closet.  Well, if this photo will help motivate me then surely my vision board would too!

So, I found the board.  It needed updating.  (the last activity goal on there was for January 2020….. )  I sat at my kitchen table, with bright colored paper and my marker and created a board that would motivate me. 

–The collage photo with the question “Which YOU do you want to be?  Only YOU can choose!” prominently displayed on my vision board.

–Two strings tacked along the top with small clothespins, each representing one pound.  The top string for the pounds I had left to lose.  The bottom string for the pounds I had lost.  Visual motivation! 

–Quotes to motivate me!

–A list of the things that WORK for me!

–Twos questions I ended every workshop I coached with- “Can I?  Will I?”  Powerful questions to ask.  Yes, I CAN.  But the real question is always WILL I?  WILL I do what I need to do?  And if not, then what WILL I do to help move me forward? 

–My activity goal, updated to reflect my goal for January 2022—when I complete the She Power 5k.  My goal is for it to be my fastest 5k EVER. 

This vision board is motivating for me.  The board sits on my counter, where I see it multiple times a day.  An anchor, to ground me to my journey and remind me what I am doing. 

And the photo is back on my refrigerator and now also in my pantry, hanging from the shelf in front of the snacks.  Anchors to remind me to check with myself BEFORE I grab food to eat—which one am I choosing?  Anchors to remind me to choose ME!

Anchors keep us moving forward.  They remind us why we are doing what we are doing, why we want to keep going, and what we are working toward.  If you want to know a little more about anchors, I wrote about them on another blog in 2017 and you can read about them here and see what my anchors have been on my journey. 

How do you motivate yourself?  How do you keep going when you have had an imperfect day?  What are your anchors? 

This week (heck the past year) has truly shown me that this journey is an imperfect one, a perfectly imperfect journey!

Weekly Accountability- February 25th

It’s Thursday.  The day I choose as my weigh-in day.  The day I choose to restart my week. 

I thought for extra accountability, that I would share here, each Thursday, how the week went and how my weigh-in went.  I also will share what I have learned, what worked and what didn’t.

Here goes for this week-

I stepped on the scale this morning before attending a virtual workshop and I was down 1.4 lbs! 

Happy Dance!!  Woohoo!!

I have to admit that I do like seeing the scale go down, yet I know it won’t always go down.  The scale just doesn’t always match the whole picture.  But this week, I was down!!  I will take that!

So, what was different this week?  What did I do differently?  What did I learn? 

–This week I tracked!  Yes, I tracked!  EVERY DAY!  EVERYTHING I ate!  Last weeks workshop inspired me to track.  And that is what I did different this week!  7 days!  (and today is day 8 of my streak!  How long can I keep this going?)

–I learned that I do NOT have to be perfect in my food choices.  As long as I am aware and I am mindful, there is no deprivation.  If I track it, then I am aware.  This week was not a perfect week—but I did not feel deprived, and I made choices for myself (vs the Saboteur on my shoulder pushing my choices).  THAT is empowering.  I tracked the low point and 0 point items and I tracked the high point choices like the Apple Fritter (well worth the 23 points!), pizza night (2 slices and a bread stick) and Raising Canes (2 chicken fingers, ½ serving of fries and a piece of bread).  I got to choose!  I was in control! 

–I learned there is no guilt when I track the food and own the choice.  How empowering is that?

–Tracking keeps me aware and awareness keeps me on track.  It also makes me eat more mindfully.  Mindless eating is my downfall.

–The Saboteur on my shoulder whispers every day, multiple times and I don’t have to listen.  Much easier to make the choices I want to make for me when the Saboteur on my shoulder is not so loud.

My scale success this week encourages me and gives me a boost.  It feels good to be back in control!  Will I always be in control?  No.  (that is just the reality of things)  But that is okay, because I can get right back to it, with the support and inspiration I get through workshops, my friends, my tribe and my family.  I got this! 

But even if the scale had not gone down, I would still be proud of myself and proud of the week I had.  I tracked this week!  And that is something to be very proud of and to celebrate.  This journey isn’t just about the scale, it is also about establishing healthy habits that will be there for the rest of my life. It is about changing my mindset and my thoughts to more helpful and healthy ones.  It is about living my life my way and making this healthier lifestyle fit into my life, rather than me fitting into some program. 

I may not be perfect.  And that is okay.  A journey that is perfectly imperfect is the right one for me! 

What are you celebrating this week?  What are you proud of?  What did you learn? 

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! 

What do I Get From Lemon Oreo Cookies?

It has been a while since I have written. 

The last time I wrote I was struggling with defining what success looked like to me, for this pandemic.  And I set a goal—to track most days, to be mindful in my eating, to focus on things I could control rather than those I couldn’t….. well……

My focus has not been there.  Motivation is hard to find when the “routine” things I rely on are not routine any longer. 

Things are still not back to normal.  I am still staying home.  I am still doing online shopping.  I am not getting together for lunch with my friends.  I don’t get to go to my workshop.  I am not meeting with my friends to walk and talk.  I am not running errands.  I am staying home almost all of the time.

Life used to be chaotic.  Life used to be busy.  Life used to be routine.  My world was bigger than it is now.  My world now, is here, at home. 

I miss routine.  I miss hugs.  I miss meeting friends and visiting with them.  I miss having people over to my house.  I miss walking into a store.  I miss…… a lot. 

So, with these days still in the twilight zone, motivation is hard to find.

I am finding ways to deal with things.  Instead of in person gatherings, there are messages, emails, phone calls and video chats.  Not the same, but better than total isolation.  I am writing, maybe not here on my blog or on my other blog, but I am writing.  I am watching lots of movies and binge-watching Netflix.  I am scrapbooking, traveling the world through my memories and pictures.  And I am practicing mindfulness through meditation and walks in my pool. 

But…. I miss my life!

When routines are out the window, motivation is hard to find.  The world feels chaotic.  Stressful.  Uncertain.  And that is when old habits pop back up!

Emotional eating has always been my Achilles heel.  And right now, that habit has come roaring back.  It is familiar.  It is routine.  It is “normal” in a world that does not feel so normal.  Habits bring comfort.  Even habits that are not healthy.

Habits make it so that we do not have to think.  It just happens automatically.  Without thought.  Sometimes that is a really good thing.  Imagine if you had to think about it each time you brushed your teeth, took a shower, tied your shoes…. You get it, right?  I just do those things, no thinking about how to do it, the steps involved, nothing….just do it.  Those habits free my mind to think about other things. 

But some habits are not so helpful.  They are still automatic, and I don’t think about them, but in the long run they just don’t help.

In many WW workshops we have talked about habits.  And I am currently reading (for the 5th time) the book “Target 100”, written by Liz Josefsberg (a former WW Leader and now motivational speaker and weight loss coach) and I am listening to a masterclass on the CALM app called “Breaking Bad Habits”.  All three reinforce the same thing—a habit consists of a trigger, followed by a behavior, followed by a reward.  The trigger causes the behavior and the reward reinforces that behavior and then we repeat the habit.  We get something from the habit, or we would not keep repeating it.

But what do we get?  What is the reward?

Those are the questions I asked myself when this happened—Lemon Double Stuffed Oreos! and I ate most of them in less than 24 hours.  There were only 3 left when I asked my husband to PLEASE throw them away, in the big garbage can so I couldn’t get to them.  Only 3 left.  That is when I KNEW I was emotionally eating.  Until that moment, yesterday, I hadn’t really been paying attention.  The chips didn’t signal me to stop.  The cookies.  The crackers.  The bagels.  The brownies.  The cake.  No, none of those made me think that maybe, just maybe I was eating more from emotion than true physical hunger. 

I was tired.  So, I ate. 

I was stressed.  So, I ate.

I was lonely.  So, I ate.

I was sad.  So, I ate.

I was angry.  So, I ate.

I was bored.  So, I ate.

I was……. (fill in any emotion).  So, I ate.

Then those Lemon Oreos happened.  And this morning I listened to more of the masterclass on CALM.  Yes, you guessed it.  Todays lesson on breaking bad habits hit on eating—non-physical hunger eating.  And I heard the question— “What do I get from this?  Is there something better?”

What do I get from eating when I am not hungry?  What reward does food provide me? 

Comfort.  Relief.  Numbness.  Avoidance.  Distraction. 

Food provides those things for me.  But only temporarily.  For a moment.  Then the guilt steps in and I eat again.  It is a cycle.  A habit that is not helpful.  A habit that I know I can change, I have done it before…… but life is different now and going back to old habits brought about a comfort I need when the world is as uncertain as it is right now.

But awareness is the first step to changing a habit.  And now I am aware (again).  So, how to change it?  How do I stop eating when I am tired?  Bored?  Stressed?  Lonely?  Sad?  Etc.? 

I have to work with the habit loop.  The emotion is my trigger.  And instead of it triggering me to eat,  I need another action—call a friend, write, go for a walk, scrapbook, read, take a nap, swim, just sit outside, listen to music, dance…. There are so many things I could do instead.  So many things that would give me what I need, reward me in ways that won’t make me feel guilty.    So many things that will provide me a reward that is the same or better than what food provided me… and the reward from a non-food behavior will be much more long-term instead of temporary.

But there are a lot of emotions that drive me to eat and changing them all at one time, will be too overwhelming.  So, this week, I am going to focus on one.  And I am going to be specific about the new behavior.  Being specific means, it will be doable.  And I am going to be accountable, right here, because accountability means I am more likely to do it.

So here is my plan, my habit change and how I am going to do it this week–

Stress is the hardest emotion for me to not eat.  Instead of eating, when I am stressed, I am going to go outside—in the pool, in the hammock or walk.  How will I remind myself to do that instead of eating?  My sandals will be by the door and on my fridge and pantry will be a picture of my backyard with the words– Feeling stressed?  Go outside!  You won’t feel guilty after! 

And my reward will be the calm I will feel. 

Stress (trigger)— Go outside (behavior/action)— Calm (reward)

What’s your plan to battle the emotional eating habit?  What are you going to do instead and how are you going to remind yourself to do it?