Battle Plans: Arming Yourself for the Holidays

This will be my first year entering the holidays with weight management in mind. The previous years were spent in gluttonous agony, eating, not a care in the world and feeling miserably stuffed trying to fit every single dish on one plate with multiple plates at one setting. Then I had the nerve to wonder why my clothes didn’t fit. With Thanksgiving next week, kicking off a season of eating from one holiday to the next, I am drawing up my battle plans, exit strategies and getting armed now. Insert the sound of military drumming here. This is a familiar opponent and I know my weak spots. I cannot just do this with sheer will alone, no, I have to prepare to go under intense attack. I can decimate cakes, pies and sweets with no problem, those are not my weak spots. Battle Plan A: know your weak spots. If it’s sweets, prepare yourself. For me, it will be portion control and fattening foods. I have to plan specifically for Mom’s mac n cheese, Dad’s homemade hot sausage stuffing, my sister’s peas and pastry and barbeque from the local spot. Battle Plan B: stick to the schedule. I have scheduled my days with breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and a very small snack only if it doesn’t put me over calories for the day. Otherwise, tough cookie…more calories than I should during the day, I go to bed after a large glass of water. I tell myself, honey that is on you, you’re the one that wanted to eat out for lunch, no snacks for you, GO TO BED! But then again, that’s how I have to talk to myself. Battle Plan C: don’t let exercise go. Good portion control should allow you to take a stroll after eating, not roll around in misery on the chair with your mouth greasy and stains on your shirt, too full to get up. After I eat a sensible, portioned plate, slowly and mindfully I am getting up and running out the house like someone is behind me with an axe. We generally socialize around the table, I am getting up so I am not tempted to “nickel and dime” a dollop of potatoes here, a spoonful of cranberry sauce there and just a little more barbecue…on a yeast roll…with a pinch of ham…oh and some sweet potatoes, while talking about the latest family news. Get up and move out of the war zone. If you had guns pointed at you with no cover, would you just sit there. No way, I am listening from the next room or standing. Battle Plan D: make a plate with left overs early. I would always eat because I thought if I don’t get my favorite now, it will be gone or I don’t get it often. I intend to eat my sensible portion and after I am done, go ahead and portion off my leftovers. I can have some now and some later. I will eat a small breakfast and my snack so I don’t feel like I am starving when the big dinner is served. I have more planning to do, but I am going in eyes wide open. At 296.9 after losing 43.1 pounds, sweating, muscles burning, working through cramps, watching every bite, eating those bites slowly, bones aching, fitting into clothes again and receiving compliments that I had lost weight, I’m not gonna let food pushers, peer pressure or a few dishes set me back. What are your tips for staying the course during the holidays? This is my first one to survive, troops, I need your help. 10-4, over and out.

Written by PurplePearls

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Caught Myself Slippin’

I am going to be honored with a national award at my job. It is a big deal and I am honored that they are rewarding my hard work and efforts. I recently blogged about my goal to consistently stay under 300 pounds. In times past, celebrations always included food…always. Weight management is about changing your mind and your actions right? I just had the MOST out of the way idea for me to date. The ceremony is in about 3 weeks. I would like to reward myself by losing 5 pounds…as a gift to myself for achieving this award. The moment this thought came in my mind, it put me in a strange place as to why in the world would that be a reward?! That will mean tightening up on my eating, extra, more vigorous workouts and being intent with that goal in mind. It would definitely give me a jump start in staying as far away from 300 as possible. After all, me and 300 have broken up as I explained in the blog “I’m Leaving You…It’s Me Not You”. I’m not a girl to go back after I am done, so I don’t want 300 back in my life ever again. Now, that’s not to say 300 didn’t call or stop by a few times in the week. I am so close to the line that on a day to day bases I did see him creep in and show up on my bathroom scale. Do you find that it is easy to get off track? At times, I do. At 296.8, I am down a total of 43.2 pounds. This is great, I mean great. While I definitely give myself credit for continuing to go down, I am only down 0.4 pounds in the last month, which means basically I am maintaining. I became comfortable and started to let a few things slip. One thing that became less consistent was tracking my calories and working out when at home. The weight loss became less and poor eating started to creep back in. Man, you gotta stay on top of this thing…every day. It is no secret that one of my favorite skills is to get back on track right away. I know I don’t want to gain back the weight I lost so I need to tighten up! I do have to disclose that the state fair is coming up during the next 3 weeks. Typically, the fair is all about the food. I am going, but I will have my calorie app in hand, my sneakers securely tied and have a meeting with my skills before I go. In the last month, I have been holding steady which is far better than the former me packing on the pounds. My goals are to track calories better and find new ways to get in more unplanned exercise. So let the rewarding begin, I am trying a new exercise class this week. What did you do to get back on track when you found yourself slipping? Feel free to follow my progress.

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Believe in Your Own Unbelievable

Have you ever accomplished a goal or done something you didn’t think you could then thought that is unbelievable? Mannnnn, I just worked out 5 times in one week! I have NEVER done that. I went to a Monday 5:30 personal training and 7:15 Mixxed Fit class…on the same day people…AND after working 9 hours! I went to a newly offered Mixxed Fit class on Tuesday at 7:45, back to personal training with Mindful Bodies on Wednesday at 5:30, and a Thursday class at 6:30 where a friend was substituting for a Zumba instructor. I just thought about something. My Monday routine of two classes was a challenge from a few months ago. I first wrote about it in the blog titled “What You Talkin Bout Willis?” At the time, I couldn’t believe I worked out twice in one day. It seemed so hard and far-fetched to do that and keep it up for a month. Then again, 9 months ago, it seemed far-fetched to join the 12 week Fit Mind Fit Body group and set a goal to lose 1 pound each week and 50 pounds by the end of the year. After the challenge was complete to work out twice on Mondays for a month, I continued the two classes to push myself and I enjoyed both fitness experiences. Personal training with Mindful Bodies gives me cardio and strength training. The other day, I picked up two 20 pound weights and thought about how heavy they were. When I first started in January, I thought, goodness, these 7 pound weights are heavy. And today, lifting two 20 pound weights makes me feel strong and in control. As I was huffing and puffing after some reps, I thought, whew THAT is 40 pounds and immediately it dawned on me that I just lifted what I lost! I lifted what I lost! 40 pounds! I felt so weighed down and winded, hmm, strangely exactly like I did when I was 40 pounds heavier. My current goal is to consistently stay under 300 pounds. At 297.4, I am down a total of 42.6 pounds in 9 months. This is my unbelievable. I have worked hard, I have strived to follow the concepts and skills I learned and it is paying off. Sure, it has not been easy but that is the beauty in working hard for the pay off. What is that thing that is unbelievable for you? Go after it. Catch it. Run it down. Overcome it. Endure it. Release it. Renew it. And most of all, when you do it, BELIEVE it! Feel free to follow my progress and comment on what you have done that was unbelievable.

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I’m Leaving You for Someone Else!

Weight management is becoming a real part of my daily life. I flipped the script on old habits and everything that used to be so important now evolves around weight management. I have exercise classes and personal training built into my calendar and they take precedence. If I do have to miss a class, I really miss it. Sure I don’t “love” the sore muscles, winded work outs and pushing my body but I do love the results so far. And I love the journey. This journey is showing me I am stronger than I thought I was and that I can start and accomplish new goals, even at 40. To help maintain, I attend a weekly Forever Fit group meeting. This is a free group comprised of previous Fit Mind Fit Body graduates and gives us an opportunity to get together to discuss where we are and seek support with our goals if we need it. We set goals each week and then come together to discuss how well we did the week before. One of the members stated an exercise goal and I piped in to accept that goal with her in addition to my own. Each time I did the exercises, I text her. That felt great that helping her was really helping me. The people I am meeting while losing weight are becoming friends. Birds of a feather flock together and we are flocking towards better and better weight management. True, my feathers are ruffled, tattered and flying everywhere but the flight is starting to smooth out. It is becoming second nature. Who said that?! Oh, I said that! Weight management is becoming second nature. I am down a total of 40.8 pounds! I am slightly ahead of the goals I set for myself more than 8 months ago. By now, I made a goal that I would be 303 and I am 299.2. Back then, I thought, how am I going to lose almost 40 pounds? For the first time in more years than I can remember, I am under 300 pounds! My current goal is to consistently see that scale stay under 300 on a daily basis. Goodbye 300, see ya never, it was nice knowing you, we spent a lot of years together, it’s not even breaking my heart to leave you, it’s me – not you. 300 asked me if it was someone else? Yes, I did find someone new, I’m dating 200 for the next few years. Feel free to follow my progress and comment on what you left behind in the name of better health.

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Why Hello Wardrobe

In the blog “The Day I Crossed My Legs Again”, I was reflecting on things I could do that I didn’t know were lost or missing because I had gained weight. I alluded to the fact that crossing my legs would be one of many things I would experience as I continued on this weight management journey. In times past, I would shop quite a bit always buying an item or two to build my closet. I have a decent amount of clothes. My closet is a good size but not big enough to hold them all, so I keep the current season in my closet and the opposite season with special occasion wear in a spare bedroom closet. Over the years, half or more of the items started to get left behind in the spare closet. I couldn’t wear them. Clothes are so fickle. The nerve of them getting smaller season after season! In the 12 week Fit Mind Fit Body program, it wasn’t until we really dug into what gaining weight may have cost us that I realized my buying habits had changed. I went from purchasing clothes to shoes, jewelry and perfume…because those will fit. As my clothing choices shrank, I held on to a few items I could stuff myself into with the seams and buttons holding on for dear life. The spare closet was riddled with multiple last season’s pieces with tags. The idea was to get them on sale at the end of the season, stay the same size or lose a few pounds to get in them when the season rolled around again. This system worked well for over 15 years. I would go up and down but basically stayed in a 22/24. I had gotten to the point where I gained past the clothes I owned. In part, that was one of the reasons to start a journey towards losing 160 pounds. When I couldn’t get in but a few stretch waist, tummy hiding garments and needed a larger size, that was the straw that broke my back. I refused to buy the next size up. At 301.4, I am now down 38.6 pounds. You know how you see someone that lost weight standing inside their old clothes? I am looking forward to that day. I have a 2 piece pant set and a pair of jeans I tried on when I first started the program. I couldn’t get the jeans past my thighs. I couldn’t fasten the pants or button the blouse in the pant set. I took a picture. Every few months, I go back, try them on and take another picture. Do document the journey. Comparing before and after will give you a great sense of accomplishment. I didn’t see it at first but the “then and now” are starting to show all the hard work paying off. I am not to the point that I can wear these outfits outside the house but I can now button up both pair of pants and the blouse. The zippers are screaming and the buttons threatened to put my eyes out, but they are fastened which is a far cry from eight months ago. Everything in my closet wasn’t that far away so I have been able to get back into things I haven’t for years. That’s when I said why hello wardrobe, how I have missed thee. If you have lost weight, what was your I-know-I-have-lost-weight-now outfit? If you are starting or in the journey, what is hanging in your closet you want to get back into? P.S. That is not my closet, I wish it was that big and that neat.

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Special Edition: Hurricane Party

Have you ever heard the term “hurricane party”? Well, I grew up in Eastern NC where I have seen and rode out my fair share of hurricanes. For us, it was the preparation of having batteries, supplies, water and securing outdoor items to weather the storm. In addition to all of that, there was always the food. No, we don’t celebrate the storm or destruction it could potentially bring but we called it a hurricane party to get through the days cooped up in the house. Sure we had all the electronics fully charged, puzzles, games and plenty of movies. But we had food, party food, fattening food, snacks and desserts. I guess the food provided a certain amount of comfort as we laughed, nibbled and lazed about the house. After I moved more toward central NC, my family uses my house as their hurricane shelter. This year was no different. As Hurricane Matthew approached, we watched the weather closely and made the call to have them come to my house to weather the storm. It was exciting to have my family visit and know for myself that they would be safe. However, I knew food would be a part of the days they were here. I have established a great routine watching my portions, working out, attending support meetings, making better choices and losing weight along the way. There was little time to prepare so I scurried about the house making beds, cleaning bathrooms and baby proofing the house for my 18 month old niece. The wind had already picked up and the rain was pouring. I was still readying the quarters when the first 3 guests arrived to include my 13 year old, football playing, high metabolism nephew. I made a grocery list and thought about healthy snacks and meals. I was due for a grocery run and had nothing to feed 6 additional people for what may be 2 or 3 days. Because they had already purchased some food to ride out the storm, they put it in a cooler and brought it to my house. As they brought their food in the house, final preparations were made just as the second set of 3 guests arrived. All hungry and tense from driving 3 hours in the blowing pouring rain. I called for wants. Shouts started coming from all directions. Chips. Doughnuts. Cookies…2 different kinds. Oil to fry chicken. A pack of bacon, no make that 2. Soda. Juice. None of these items have been on my grocery list in months. Not that I can’t have it occasionally if I plan for it, but because I am making better choices overall. I am not pushing my lifestyle on anyone so I obliged their request. They know I am losing weight and I can stay on track. They have seen me in action several times, denying second portions, drinking water and working out. What I failed to do this time was have an EMERGENCY escape plan. I needed something I could break the glass on and get to on the fly. I loaded up my cart with a teenage football playing high metabolism boy in tow. I was more mindful than 7 months ago but my resistance muscles weren’t completely built up. I laughed and ate. I cooked and ate. I indulged in unplanned, unlogged calories and I am sure the scale will tell me so when I see it again. I moved. I was constantly up and down the steps. I even announced there would be a workout…but it never happened. They all have left and I can still smell the sweet scent of cookies, pancake syrup and fried chicken in the air. Lucky for me, all of the healthy items I purchased are there for me to recover from the hurricane. I will go back to my room where I can get back to weighing myself regularly. It is my college homecoming week and there are 5 workouts scheduled. I will need them all just to get back to where I was before the hurricane hit. Remember “get back on track right away”. I have that lesson in my arsenal and, unlike times past, won’t have to continue down this road. If you have gotten off track, turn right back around when you don’t have that far to go. I know I didn’t do everything I could to avoid my own storm, but I do know the sun is shining again and I am in a far better place today than I was in years past. For that, I give myself credit. Today’s hurricane recovery includes 2 workouts and I am stoked that it is a part of my current routine. Feel free to follow my progress as I continue on this weight management journey and comment on healthy things you do to make it through the storm. Winter is coming and I will need to put some things in a glass case to remember if I find myself in another storm.

Written by Purple Pearls

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So Close I Can Almost Taste It

You know the old saying that something is “so close I can almost taste it”? That is how I feel about getting under 300 pounds. I am right there. I am at 302.7. I am still going nice and slow. From my highest of 340 pounds, I am now 37.3 pounds down. That is awesome! I continue to use my tool kit. I continue to find the motivation I needed to start this program. I have not done everything perfect but that is the beauty of this weight management journey. I have a great support system. A while back, I equated losing weight to being a building. The foundation has been poured so that my building is sure and sturdy. A great part of this structure is the support of others around me. I am still in touch with some of the people from my Fit Mind Fit Body group. We continue to work out together and find ourselves in each others’ company outside of the group. So not only has this program allowed me to get the tools necessary to manage and maintain weight, it has created what I believe will be life long bonds. We are all in this together. I am very proud of the successes so far. I am still ahead of my original goals but have many more years before I reach my ultimate goal of 180 pounds. I am not discouraged by that at all. I look at how fast time has moved over the years and know that time moves very quickly. I didn’t think I would be looking back this fast at the efforts and strides I have made over the past 6 and a half months. It seemed like the mountain was so high back then, but it is never as bad as we think. I encourage you to keep a good support system around you. I am thankful for friends and family that cheer me on, keep me encouraged and help. I am also thankful for the lessons I learned to keep me on track and motivated all by myself. Sometimes what you need cannot be found in others but has to come from within. What is so close you can taste it? Whatever that is, keep pushing to achieve it. Feel free to follow my progress and continue to stay hopeful in your decision to follow or start your own weight management journey.

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The Day I Crossed My Legs Again

I don’t know how many women have been the “big girl” and “thick” in many places. I have been that thick girl for years and years. The outside has never made me, although my outside is fabulous and fluffy. I have always defined myself as what lies on the inside. After making up my mind to follow a weight management journey, not all days have been easy. One thing about gaining weight over time that I have come to realize is there are certain things that can be lost in the process. I mean, I had given up booths for comfty tables, gave up heels for flats, gave up form fitting clothes for stretch-and-hide garments and I gave up crossing my legs. As my thighs expanded, it was hard to get them across each other. I never really thought about anything I lost when I gained weight. I actually didn’t feel I had lost anything until I started peeling back the onion and the layers in the 12 week Fit Mind Fit Body program. There was an exercise that asked us to delve a little deeper into our reasons for wanting to lose weight. The pounds came on so gradually that I didn’t miss certain little things. So for years, I sat neatly on the chair with my legs crossed at the ankle, holding my thighs together so as to not seem un-lady like. Nothing wrong with that. There was not a day that went by where I wondered about being able to cross my legs. Nope, I never thought about it or missed it. Now, about two and half months after the end of the program and almost 6 months after starting this weight management journey, I am feeling pretty good. I woke up one Sunday and did a little cardio to start my day. Believe me, this is still new to me. I am still surprising myself with the things I do these days. I went out about my day, came in to a nice, big salad I had prepped, and sat down to enjoy some TV. As I sat there, I crossed my legs. I crossed my legs! Mind you, I wasn’t thinking of anything special when it occurred to me to cross my legs. It had surely been a decade or more since the last time I crossed my legs. Now, hold on, it wasn’t a full, unobstructed cross, or one ready for public consumption, but it was a cross nonetheless. Remember, give yourself credit? I give myself credit for working hard and slimming these thighs down! I wanted to share this experience because as weight continues to drop, slowly but surely, I am finding a few things that I can do differently that I never knew I couldn’t do. So, today, I crossed my legs again and tomorrow it will be something else. What have you done differently or what would you like to do again that you haven’t done in a while? Feel free to follow my progress.

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Party Like It’s 1999

My blog name PurplePearls came, in part, from my love of all things purple. I have always loved it, even as a child. One of my great life finds was my first set of purple colored pearls. Being a southern girl, when something risqué, out of the way or shocking was said, a lady would grab her necklace, look shocked and in the best southern drawl say “why clutch my pearls”. I love the saying, so I would have to say “why clutch my purple pearls”. Around this time in my journey, the singer, Prince, passed away. I loved his music and I like to think we were kindred spirits because of the love we shared of purple. “Party Like It’s 1999” is one of his more famous songs, but also the theme of a cookout party I attended. It has been almost two months since completing the 12 week Fit Mind Fit Body program. All summer there has been plenty of food, cookouts, sweet treats and gatherings to celebrate graduations, weddings and births. At this cookout, I was tasked with finding games to entertain the guest. There was food, fattening food and more food! To stay on track, I stayed busy doing things not food related. This is a tool from the arsenal – distract yourself. Distractions can help take your mind off of food. I think back to this topic often and have a list of things I have used to help in the last few months. I have been found painting fingernails, which I never had time to do before. Hmm, guess I was eating. I get on the phone and talk which has helped me catch up with people I don’t get to reach out to often. Hmm, guess I was eating. I put together a puzzle, which I haven’t done in years. Man, was I eating then too?! Some distractions also include physical fitness. I clean up around the house which is a workout in itself to bend, squat, sweep, mop, vacuum, reach and move items around. Before this program, I would get all of that done, but it was over several days and was exhausting. Now, I put on my cute workout clothes, (yes, while cleaning) go up the stairs several times, do squats, really get into scrubbing the tub, bend in a stretch to clean the baseboards, march in place in between tasks and when I move my weights to clean, I do a few reps. I am really working up a good sweat. Being that I am not eating, I build in time for a treat afterwards. My treat is a nice soak with candles, a glass of wine and bubble bath in my super clean tub! Overall, at 306, I am down 34 pounds. Look! Look! Do you see it?! There it is! 300. I am so close! I have not been under 300 pounds in any records I can find for the last 13 years. When I set goals 5 months ago, my next upcoming weight goal is 318 and I am 306! Not too bad honey, not too bad. Do a little shimmy, do a little dance, with that I’m going to party like it’s 1999! Feel free to follow my progress and give me some tips on other great distractions when you are tempted to eat more than you should.

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Going Away Breakfast, Going Away Lunches AND Welcome Snacks

What a sticky course to navigate! You cannot take a person that has eaten everything sweet, sticky, fattening and greasy, then give them a free ticket to eat on someone else’s dime. I used to think that. As I transitioned from my old job of 18 years, I had offer on top of offer to go out to celebrate. All offers involved eating. Because people started to notice I was losing weight but wasn’t exactly sure what I did, I don’t think they were paying attention that these offers would challenge the very skills I had learned. I wasn’t shouting from the roof tops that I was starting a weight management journey. Why didn’t I tell? I wanted to see if I could do it. I don’t like to start and fail. This is a personal journey so I only really let my family and closest friends know. I pulled out my Fit Mind Fit Body manual, yes, I did. This was serious business. 2-3 weeks-worth of breakfast, lunches and dinners could thwart all of my hard work. Sidebar- I love the word thwart. So, I brushed up on my skills and got together a plan of attack. This weight management is war. I attended the office breakfast with donuts, juice, bagels and sweet sticky things. I planned the week with loop holes to help me enjoy the items without blowing my goals. I had my favorite, a jelly filled doughnut but instead of eating a few back to back or throughout the day, I had more conversation than doughnut, more water than juice and a prepared snack instead of a bagel. Battle of the breakfast – fought and won. I attended one luncheon at the Mexican restaurant and had my favorite, a fajita burrito. I split it with a girlfriend that is also maintaining weight so instead of having the whole thing along with a bowl of chips and salsa, I had a few chips and a sensible portion. Battle at Cinco de Mayo – fought and won. When I arrived at my new job, one of the ladies surprised me with a welcome meeting and brownies. Brownies with my favorite, crunchy toffee bar and fudge icing. Oh my goodness! This was not in my plan for the day. I gulped on my water, made small talk with my new co-workers while taking tiny bites of a half of brownie. I have often described my ability to resist as standing up on the brakes while my tires burn a hole in the pavement. I have eaten recklessly for 40 years. I have been managing my weight for 5 months. You would think the scales would be stacked against me, but there is a twist. I have an arsenal of weapons now. I have some success under my belt and I don’t want to lose it. I have the factors that motivate me in my mind daily. I made it through each of the breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks. My resistance muscles are getting stronger. I am down another 1.2 pounds, 25 pounds total. Perhaps those pounds were lost sweating and gripping my hands to keep from reverting to my old ways like swollen hair in the humidity but pounds lost nonetheless. Boy was it a challenge, but I did it. I stayed the course, fought the war and won…victory sprinkler dance…running man…snake to the left…snake to the right…freeze. Feel free to follow my progress and comment on how you have been able to maintain your weight despite being put in treacherous food situations.

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