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Log it or Leave It...If it's not worth writing, it's not worth biting

Hmmmm... noticed a common thread among posters tonight in the forum who have trouble coming to grips with their so-called "Cheat Days" and then coming back to regularly scheduled meals.

I'm NOT judging the whole cheat day concept.... except for a couple of points worth mentioning:

1).... WHY is it a CHEAT day? Who are you CHEATING? Remember, the one who benefits most from being healthy is YOU!!!!!

So if you want an INDULGENCE day, darn it, TAK E ONE. But don't call it cheating. That's like when my 2nd grader came home in tears because he thought he cheated on his first "spelling test".... quote of the day was "BUT MOM... w hen I closed my eyes I could just see the words so I knew how to spell them"... Well, kiddo, THAT's NOT CHEATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2) Having finally gained accountability for our intake and portion sizes, why throw that to the wind? Again, where is the benefit and who are you doing this for?

My  suggestion is that the calories that you eat EVERY day count. Regardless of whether you indulge or not. And EVERY 3500 calories that you eat equals a pound. PERIOD. Equating "Cheat" Day calories with the philosophy that the broken cookies have no calories... makes no sense to me.

3) What are you doing to yourself on a regular basis that you feel the need to cheat on anyway??? 

If you have a budget of calories EVERY day, and you use them wisely and healthily and sometimes to treat yourself, and you stay NEAR or UNDER your calorie goal, eventually.... you WILL lose weight. Not all at once. Not overnight. Remember you didn't go to bed as skinny as a rail and wake up the size of the train.

MFP doesn't have a list of foods you can't eat or restrictions on what you HAVE to eat... all it says is.. you can lose weight eating X calories per day. Want to eat more than that? Fine!!!! You are just effecting that week's weight loss.

NO ONE GETS KICKED OUT OF MFP FOR EATING ABOVE THEIR DAILY GOAL.

4) Imagine if you will that you are a shopper. And you have some debt. And you decide that you are going to get your debt under control. If you go out once a week and splurge all your savings on a new whatchamagadget, why yes... you have a whatchamagadget.... BUT YOU GAVE UP YOUR SAVINGS FOR IT.

If you really WANT a whatchamagdget, by all means... save up for it. But don't change the interest you're paying by adding to the debt. Make a separate account for yourself and put spare change in it.  Same thing with calories.

5) PRETENDING THAT YOU DIDN"T EAT IT DOESN"T MAKE IT LESS LIKELY THAT YOU ATE IT.

Now I admit, this one is a stretch for me... I'm kind of trying to expand my thinking to wrap my head around the concept that "not logging it" is somehow a reward. I guess I'm either too new at this or too convinced that it works to accept that. See... from my perspective, if it's worth eating, it's worth KNOWING WHAT I ATE. That way I can make an intelligent decision. And since I'm pretty sure my brain is smarter than my stomach (or I wouldn't be IN this mess), I'd rather turn the controls over to my brain.

So does all this mean I never eat junk or go over my calories? Not in the slightest. I have enjoyed sweets and salty treats. But I've done it with my eyes open and fully aware of the consequences because I'm not an ostrich.

So if you're going to indulge,  by all means, enjoy. But log it. So later you can look back on it and decide... was it worth it? And would I do it again?

Anyway, my 2 cents. I'm NOT suggesting you never change up your calorie intake. I have read both pro and con articles about keeping your metabolism guessing which makes sense to me.... BUT I'm pretty sure my  brain and my mouth won't tell my metabolism what we're doing.

 

Whine and Cheese - another annoyingly cheery pep talk

So, I've had this post written for the last couple days but couldn't come up with a decent title til just now... but it suits the situation perfectly.

We all whine. Admit it. On occasion, when things aren't going our way or the road is steep or the work is hard... we whine. And whining, in and of itself, is not the problem.

Take the farmer with a huge rock in the middle of his grapevine garden. He knows he can make more WINE without that boulder. So he gets his shovel out and starts digging.... and digging and digging and digging. At first, it seems hard, but doable... but the longer he works, the more he realizes that that stupid rock is WAY bigger than he realized and all he can see everywhere is dirt and rock. And his shoulder starts to hurt. And his muscles are aching. AND THAT STUPID ROCK ISN"T MOVING.

Now, if as he's whining AS he's working, I have no objection (picture if you will a comment cloud above his head where he's yelling to the universe that this whole stupid situation stinks and how did this rock get here in the first place). But... if he throws his shovel in disgust, climbs out of the hole, and gives up.... then the whining serves no purpose. It's just complaining.

A smart farmer, recognizing that they can't do it alone, might go online and search for a free farming website where he talks to other farmers about what theyhave done and maybe gets some suggestions from others' experiences. And sure, he probably whines a little bit about how big his boulder seems to be and how hard it is to get it out of the ground. But those other farmers, instead of just listening to that whine, give him tools to use to help.

Maybe he even makes some  friends on there...and they tell him about a plan they used or a service he can call. And sure, the rock is still there. And sure, the effort to remove it is still going to be tremendous.

But maybe instead of trying to move the WHOLE rock, what that farmer needs to learn is he has to break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. And then one by one (ahem... ounce by ounce), get them gone. And MAYBE, just maybe, what he realizes is that even if the smallest piece comes off in a day or a week, that that is still one less piece for him to worry about.

And that, my friends, is where the cheese comes in. Because after a nice Whine, what you really need is a nice piece of cheese.

Taming our "Cookie Monster" Fears (also known as my C is for WHAT? Rant)

Dear Sesame Street:

I know you have good intentions. I get it. You are concerned with the wellbeing of our kids. And that's all kinds of awesome. And you want them to learn healthy eating, despite all of the temptations that exist. And that's awesome stuff too...

But I have a bone to pick with you. You have crossed a line. And it must stop. And I'm NOT talking about the whole Bert/Ernie debate. This is far more important than anything involving the 2 of them. Or their "lifestyle choices".

We all know what "C" stands for. And it's not carrots. Or cabbage. Or, for heaven's sake, cauliflower. And it's time to give Cookie Monster his good name back.

I get that you are responding to the obesity epidemic with an effort to make veggies "approachable" like they are high-fallutin' ladies at a bar that you need to build a connection to before you ask them out. But, trust me, veggies aren't like that. You can't make a veggie a pal if you're not a fan. And you can't trade sweets for veggies.

Now don't get me wrong... I LOVE me my cookies. In fact I bought a  whole giant tub of Nonni's Mini Biscotti (salted caramel... yum) at Costco just yesterday. Now before 50 days ago, I woulda sat down with that tub and ate my way full... but NOW? Now, I sit down and am FULLY aware of exactly how many calories (70) and how much sodium (230) each of these little suckers has. And I am accountable for them, so I count them. And I can promise you that there is no mountain of carrots big enough for me to trade for one of these sweet delights.

Instead of trying to convince little kids that carrots are an adequate replacement for cookies, how about we teach them about nutrition instead? How about we tell kids that cookies, in limited amounts, are OKAY to eat as part of a balanced diet??? How about we teach them accountability and healthy awareness of the food and nutritional needs instead?

So here's my suggestion. How about the Count do a little intervention with Cookie Monster and help him understand that if he wants to lose a little of his blue blobness, all he has to do is eat FEWER cookies? And since he's the COUNT, for crying out loud, maybe he could help him.... well... COUNT. Count his cookies, his caloric intake, and his food choices.

Then, Cookie gets to stay Cookie, but he's a healthier monster. A better role model. And the Count actually gets to matter (he will... ahem ... Count for something more).

And kids will get the message that you don't have to give up cookies for carrots but that there's room in life for both. And they'll learn an even more valuable lesson--- that what they choose to put in their mouths matters.

I'm not advocating diets for kids or that we make a mini-MFP for munchkins. That's going overboard. But introducing the concept of the food pyramid (or whatever shape it is now) while recognizing the benefits of eating all different kinds of foods... now that's a message worth sharing.

Teaching kids that a treat is just that... a treat. Now that's an important lesson. Maybe cookie monster's big revelation is not that he GIVES UP his name and identity and cookies, but that he relishes them. He savors them. Because he's learned he can only have 2 every day. So he eats all his healthyfoods and gets exercise so he can enjoy them. And then he has earned them.

Wouldn't that be awesome?

Sincerely,

Mom of 2 kids who didn't think of this when they were actually watching Sesame Street

P.S. Next week, can we please talk about Oscar the Grouch? I'm really thinking if you wanted a grouch you could have chosen a grumpy Mom whose kids are home on a snow day instead....

Your MOST important MFP pal------ YOU! A Challenge....

I'm  amazed at how awesome so  many people on this site are. The support, the warm welcome, the incredible cheerleading from so many corners of the world. They are amazing.

That's the beautiful thing about this site. You can support someone without ever having to judge them. And yet, when I read the forum posts or sometimes even people's statuses, the thing that strikes me is how few people are cheering THEMSELVES along. I seee people minimizing their achievements and maximizing their mistakes. I see people getting down on themselves for having exceeded their limits on a single day or throwing their hands up because they feel like they "blew it".

And yet, if I posted something negative (which by the way, if I EVER do that, you  have my full out permission to post nyah nyah I told you so on my profile).... these people would all come to my rescue and make me feel better. They would say if I lost only an ounce (hey, it's an ounce that's gone), not "wow... you suck if you only lost an ounce... why bother trying". And yet, from their posts, that's what they are saying to themselves. Or if I went over my calorie count for a day,  they'd be the first to say "keep your perspective" not... "might as well eat whatever's in t he house then...."

Please don't get me wrong. I APPRECIATE YOU!!!!!! But... I also appreciate me. I KNOW when I've gone off track and when I've done so, for the most part, I have taken full responsibility because it was a CHOICE on my part. I LOVE the support I have gotten from all of you for my blog, my silly thoughts, and sharing with you. I LOVE the hoorays and yippees as you celebrate my accomplishments with me. YOU ARE ALL WONDERFUL FRIENDS.And I will always do my best to be a friend to you too.

But let's be honest, here, folks... while you may not have thought of it before, the first friend you had when you signed up wasn't even the person who told you about the site... it was YOU. YOU are your first and most important friend here. That's why it's important to shout your accomplishments out loud... so we can celebrate WITH you... not for you. That's why it's okay to fall off the wagon sometimes... because while we cheer you on, YOU do the hard work to get back in check. And without you, you couldn't do it in the first place.

So today, I challenge you to find 3 things about yourself that you can appreciate. 3 reasons why you are your own best friend. 3 reasons that make you as amazing and awesome to you as you all are to me.

I'll start. My three things are:

1. I LOVE to laugh and always look on the brightside of things.

2. I think I have a healthy perspective on life and love.

3. I am honest. To a fault sometimes, but still, there it is.

Go ahead. Post your 3 things. And then for just a moment, appreciate how great YOU are too!

 

Friend Soup - A Fitness Fairy Tale with a Happy Ongoing Storyline (nowhere near the ending)

Once upon a time, in the Castle of the King of Fries, there lived an overweight but extremely optimistic princess. The princess enjoyed her life and her outlook was always positive, but she had latelybegun feeling that the extra weight around her middle was slowing her down from doing all the things she wanted to be doing. So she called the Royal Fitness Advisor who recommended a wonderful website called MFP.

The princess logged onto MFP, came up with a catchy username, and began logging her food. She had a couple of "friends" to encourage her, namely the Royal Fitness Advisor and the Royal Fitness Advisor's workout buddy. So she enjoyed that friendship. And she kept logging. And then she discovered she could write a blog. And so she did.

After writing her first blog, the princess sat back and waited for the weight to fall off her. But since the only exercise she had gained was typing, the weight did not simply slide off her like a stick of butter in a heated pan. Nay, despite her logging her food, more needed to be done.

And then, the princess started reading posts in the forums and sent messages to some people who seemed particularly inspirational (or funny, because the princess LOVES funny). And they responded positively... and the princess made more friends. And having made more friends made the princess even more happy. And ONE friend in particular announced to all of HER friends that THEY should add the Princess and holy cow did that go well.

So the Princess went back to the Land of Fries and proclaimed near and far to all her Facebook friends that they too, should join the people of MFP and improve the quality of their health and their lives. And because they loved themselves, and because they listened to the princess (which just seems silly but there you have it), THEY joined MFP. And the Princess's  friend list grew.

And every day, because the Princess had made many friends on MFP, she was highly motivated to log in and support them and accept their support with gratitude to all of them. And she continued to weigh in and lose weight and become healthier and exercise more and enjoy the company of all the friends she had made.

Each of her friends brought a new and different perspective to the Princess's virtual social life, much like her real friends do back in Fries. Each of them added a motivation and a sense of accountability and support that is of tremendous value. Each of them gave her a reason to cheer and "wooohoooo" them every day, whether or not they had gone over or under their calorie counts, JUST because they were there and they were with her.

And so the Princess continued to share her (admittedly sometimes annoying) optimism in her blog and lo and behold, on the 48th day of MFP, her blog rose to the 3rd most popular of the week. And the Princess got even more friend requests. And welcomes them all. Because having more friends on MFP made it easier for the Princess to "just keep swimming", like Dory said.

This kind of fairy tale usually has a happy ending, but since we're only in the middle of the story, I will just tell you that the Princess says "We're in this together and it's a pleasure to have you by my side". Looking forward to walking this path with you all a long long time.

To Good Health... And Beyond!

Sorry, Your emotional baggage is over our weight limit. What do you do now?

Imagine if you will that the next time you have to get on a plane, in addition to weighing your bags, that you had to put your emotional baggage on a scale. Would you have to pay extra to bring that with you? Are you willing to pay extra for that??? I know I'm not. It's not like I can wear it, lose weight by eating it, or do anything useful with it.

I have never lost weight by complaining, whining, moaning, or in any way being negative.  I have never made friends that way. I have never felt better or become a better person by holding on to negativity or anger. I have never made myself feel better by dumping on others or wishing life was different. I have never improved the quality or my life or my relationships with others by injecting them with anger or resentment. Have you?

I didn't think so.

But we all have feelings, we all have moments of self-doubt, sadness, frustration, and even anger. It's what we do with them that define us. If you allow those feelings to take over your heart and soul, and create a blanket of darkness and anger, that's all you'll ever see. If on the other hand, you keep your perspective and say "I'm not sure I meant to get where I am.... but this is where I am NOW... so what do to change it?"

If your solution is to fill your  mouth with unhealthy food, or unkind words, or fill your brain with unhealthy thoughts, then you're not doing yourself any good.

You can't change the past. It's done. You can't wish it away or do it over. You can't erase it....

But you CAN move past it. You can start over. You can pick yourself up and dust yourself off and tell yourself  "I can do better" and then you can do it. You can focus on the positive, embrace opportunities, make friends, and become the kind of person you want to be friends with. You can be a friend to you. YOU DESERVE IT!  And others who also thrive on positivity will surround you. And then pretty soon whatever it was that put you in the hole of despair will be a painful memory but not part of your present.

I'm not negating the very real tragedies that happen, or the pain of loss. All I'm saying  is that loss and sadness and anger and grief don't have to become our identity. We humans have the ability to heal ourselves. We can't replace what's gone, but we can persevere and struggle and make our way out of the blackness of despair. And if we can't get out ourselves, then we can take the step of asking for help if it's needed.

Good health isn't just about what we eat.... it's about loving ourselves enough to care for ourselves, mentally and physically. Being here is just the first step. Logging your food and getting exercise is the 2nd, losing physical weight is the 3rd..... but in my book, losing that emotional baggage is an essential element of the whole process. Maybe we need to focus on "Exorcising" our emotional demons in addition to exercising. Wish there was a place to log that one on here!

So, folks, it's boarding time. Either leave your emotional baggage and toxic relationships behind, or start coughing up the toll it will take to bring them with you.

There will be plenty of room on the plane if you need to bring yours along because all I have today is a carry-on full of sunshine. ;)

It's all about the little stuff...

So, my Sister by another Mister, let's call her "BullDog" loves Valentine's Day. I mean really loves it. And every year up til this one, it's been an excuse to indulge in chocolate and treats. But she's supportive and this year, knowing how committed I've been to MFP, she went out and got me two fo the most thoughtful gifts ever... a water bottle with a filter in it and 2 single serve sized packages of sweetheart candies. She did that so hopefully I'd like water a little bit more (FAT CHANCE) and because she knows I really really really LOVE those stupid little sweetheart candies. And because they are a crapton less calories than anything chocolate-y. She's all that kind of awesome.

And my DH, well, unbeknownst to him, my new Heart Rate Monitor which will protect myheart was HIS Valentine's Day present to me. Cause I want to spend as much of life as I can get with him. And being good to me and my heart seems like the right thing to do. And, this morning, he brought me coffee and my phone. Which was all sorts of awesome as well.

I know some women are dripping with diamonds today, others  are getting fancy meals and exquisite flowers. But for me, I'm a simple girl. I'm just thrilled that he did the dishes and helped with the house. Best gifts ever. And they're free. Hoping they both read this blog and enjoy it.

Hope your wishes came true today and that you can keep your perspective on life, love, and happiness. Valentine's Day isn't really about what Hallmark tells you... it's  about loving yourself and the people around you enough to be able to give without expecting anything in return. It's about making the choices that will allow you to spend time with those you love for as long as you can. It's about taking care of YOUR heart.

Whatever your choices today, I hope you enjoyed them. Happy VD, all!

The Real Heart on Valentine's Day... is yours

Here's the thing... Valentine's Day, at least in the Hallmark created version of the holiday, is all about heart. About showing and sharing love with those you care about most deeply. We give each other gifts, trade treats, and try to show others how we feel about them. We accept chocolate as a symbol for love (apparently Russell Stover was in on it with Hallmark from the beginning) and use the excuse that "It's a Holiday" to walk away from our conscious awareness of what we're eating.

But... and hear me out here. Isn't the most important heart to take care of your own? How can a box of chocolate replace a healthy lifestyle? Don't we want to protect and take care of our hearts so we will be there for the long haul for ourloved ones? Don't we love ourselves enough to say"instead of dessert, let's go play" because that's better for us? Don't we want health more than that?

So this Valentine's Day, don't just tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Show them. With taking a stand against the notion that baked goods or sweets or chocolates are the only way for them to show us they love us. Tell them to paint you  a picture, play a game with you, learn a new skill, or just look over your shoulder and see what you've been up to on MFP.

And I'm really hoping MY DH of 18 years reads this post. Because the best gift he can give me is his help and support. :) And he does.

Food puns (I'm really almost sorry for this post. ALMOST)

Welcome to the Honeydew Drop Inn. Please, lettuce entertain you. We relish the thought of it. Just for the halibut, we'll be having some specials today:

1) Missed Steak - for vegetarians who haven't fully committed yet

2) Strained mussels - we alternate serving hot or iced.

3) Nothing Butt Rump Roast

4) Meat Surprise- for those with a short attention spam.

5) Psychic Grill Surprise- for those who like their steak a little medium

6) Gruel  - for our naughtier customers. It's an unusual punishment.

7) Ribs- for the skeletal crowd.

8) A Whole Latte Calories- for the coffee drinkers

9) Raisin Celery Celebration - for those who did well in their performance evaluations at work.

Good to ketchup with you all. Enjoy your dinner.

 

 

With apologies to real poets... and trees.... everywhere.

 

Don't think that you shall never see a chip as greasy as can be

a chocolate or sweet delight upon a cold and dreary night

or popcorn or hot dogs or another greasy food... once in a while when you're in the mood.

The beauty of this lifelong plan is being able to say "Why YES I CAN"

I can eat this or that or those... but not all the time and my body KNOWS

just how much it needs and not just what it likes... when I think about what I used to eat...  YIKES

what should be a treat instead was a meal. What was I thinking... what was my deal?

If it goes in the mouth, it goes on my log... keeps me honest and I'm not such a hog!

If I eat it, I own it and so all I can say is a treat MIGHT be worth it...but not today!

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