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Eating Like a “Normal” Person?

During my journey of losing 168 pounds, I often found myself wishing I could just eat like a “normal” person. That thought consumed me at times as I was sitting on my couch either eating more than I thought I should or *wishing* I was eating something I thought I couldn’t.

This is now a conversation I have often with clients. They wish they could eat like “normal” people. As this conversation follows a very similar path with every client, I ask them to picture this “normal” person and their eating habits. Tell me about it:

I always get a variation of, “Well, I have this friend. She can eat anything she wants and never gains weight.” Those words are always laced with (as they were for me as well) envy and a little irritation.

I say, “So, they eat the same foods as you do, but they never gain any weight? Why do you think that is?” They always answer with some form of “their metabolism is better than mine,” or “they are just lucky,” or “I have no idea!” More often than not, those answers are not actually true (barring actual medical conditions impacting metabolic rate).

Here’s the “AH HA” moment:

The biggest difference between how you eat currently and how “normal” people eat (IE. your friend) is that they do not stress and worry about food.  They are not obsessed with food 24/7.

At this point I just get quiet and wait for that to sink in. I can see their face as they really start thinking about this friend of theirs and how they never do seem to worry about what they are eating. They never seem to talk about food with guilt-laden sadness. They never seem to obsess about the scale or their weight.

You see, obsessing about food…
Whether it’s “good” or “bad” for us, whether you’re eating for celebration or comfort, whether you’re wondering how long you’re going to have to stay on the treadmill to burn it off, whether you’re already worried about the next time you step on the scale…

That obsessing stresses your mind out! Your brain then sends all kinds of signals to your body and starts elevating some hormones, depressing others.

That cycle is one of the biggest differences about “normal” people and their eating habits… It. Doesn’t. Happen. Every time they eat, they aren’t sending their brains and bodies into this stress-induced hormone roller coaster. Avoiding that cycle means their bodies do different things with the food they eat (IE. probably not storing much of it).

When you are stressed your body cannot discern between “I’m about to be eaten by a tiger” stress and “I’m worried about gaining weight” stress. The most interesting thing about this phenomenon (in my opinion) is that your body can also not discern the difference between “I’m feeling stressed and guilty about eating this brownie” and “I hate eating salad when I really want to eat a brownie.”

That means, my friends, if you are stressing about NOT eating a brownie while you are eating a salad instead (and you’re not happy about it), your body will still behave as though you are EATING THE BROWNIE. It will store the salad…from stress.

“Normal” people eat the brownie (guilt-free) when they want it…and eat salad (happily) when they don’t. No. Stress.

That is one (very important) difference.

Have you heard this before? Is this all new info? I would *love* to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you may have…
Comment below!

Six Whole Months?!

ConfusedHas it *really* been six *whole* months since I posted?!  Sheesh…it has.  I should be embarrassed about that!  Actually, I kinda am.  So, what in the world have I been up for the last six months?  Various things…but here they are in a nutshell:

1.  My weight is pretty steady (unfortunately…kinda).  I hit my all-time low of 176 back in April (166 pounds lost), but since then have been fluctuating between that and about 183.  I have not successfully “lost” any more weight since then.  Boo.

2. My knees are still an issue…and always will be.  My left is worse than my right (per usual).  I have continued getting OrthoVisc in both of my knees every six months (I have gotten three sets of shots at this point).  They do seem to help…not quite as much as weight loss, but help none-the-less.

3. I am officially a Certified Personal Trainer through NFPT (National Federation of Professional Trainers) as of May 29, 2013.  This was *super* exciting for me! 😀

4. I fell off the food journal bandwagon (which would, no doubt, explain why I have not lost any weight since April)…but I started back today.  This is something I struggle with (and always have), but something I *must* tackle to continue in the direction I want (which is still *down* from here).

5. I am still in school earning my BS in Health & Wellness, and I am thoroughly enjoying my classes (although they keep me *extremely* busy).  I have learned a great deal and look forward to being able to adequately help others in my future.

6. The fabulous Aaron is still my trainer, and I am so thankful he puts up with me.  He is *so* knowledgeable and always helps puts things in perspective for me.  Appreciate him more than he could know.

So, that about sums it up, I suppose.  I would like to begin blogging regularly again (although I believe I did promise to do that back in January and we see how that turned out), but I am sure it will still be hit and miss for a while.

I leave you with some fairly recent pictures of me, though:

The top left pictures were taken close to my heaviest weight...the bottom left was taken in January.  The right picture was taken in March (about a month before I hit my lowest weight of 176).

The top left pictures were taken close to my heaviest weight…the bottom left was taken in January. The right picture was taken in March (about a month before I hit my lowest weight of 176).

Taken 3/9/2013

Taken 3/9/2013

See you soon (hopefully)!
-Erica

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Starting the Year off Right!

GOAL MADEI thought it could not be done.  I truly believed (in the beginning) I would never reach my goal of 185 pounds.  It had been *such* a long time since I had seen those numbers on the scale, it truly seemed an impossibility.  Well, I am here to tell you…it was not impossible!

I MADE GOAL OVER THE HOLIDAYS!!!!

This morning I weighed in at 183.2 pounds!  This is the least I have weighed since I can even remember…teenage years included!  Since July 10, 2011 I have lost a total of 131.8 pounds.  From my heaviest recorded weight (according to my doctor’s office), though, I have lost a total of 158.8 pounds (since January 2011).  I find this absolutely mind-blowing!  Insanity.

My prediction for this year is *very* optimistic.  I am starting this year the healthiest I have been probably in my whole life.  I am also starting this year the happiest I have been as well.  I have amazing people in my life right now who love and support me, which is an awesome feeling.

Of course, I have goals left to meet (and new goals will continue to come, believe me).  So, the work is not finished…we are just beginning.  This is when things start to heat up, not cool down.  I am working toward my certification still, and my BS in Health & Wellness.  My photo shoot is coming up with Kat (awesome photographer) and Aaron (phenomenal trainer), so I am both looking forward to it and being anxious about it.  Good things, though, good things.

How did your year start off?  What goals are striving for this year?

-Erica

So, I’ve Been Meaning To…

catch-up…catch up with all of you.  Apparently I have been meaning to do that for 75 days at this point.  Seventy-five days.  That is just insane.

My life has been pretty busy.  I feel like it is busier than normal even.  My abridged version:

1. My knees (more so my left) are killing me.  I mean serious pain…constant pain…the kind of pain that makes you walk up the stairs like a two-year-old griping the rail for dear life.

2. My weight continues to hold steady…around 190 to 193 pounds.  I saw one glimpse of 189.8 on the scale…then the very next day I was back to 192.  Infuriating.

3. I am training with Aaron steadily these days.  Things did not “end” well with Denise, unfortunately, and I am missing her like crazy.  I will always be grateful to her for getting my through some of the toughest months in my journey and being ridiculously supportive even when I was whining like a baby.

4. I went back to college.  I had graduated in January with an Associate degree.  Currently I am working toward a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences (Health & Wellness).  This is pretty exciting…and also makes me very busy.  Should I actually be able to make myself blog on any kind of regular basis, I will have all kinds of good/fascinating information to share with you all!

5. I am getting stronger.  A lot stronger.  A military push-up (one in which you keep your elbows tucked neatly next to your torso instead of flaring them out at a 45-degree angle) was something that eluded me…and annoyed me.  However, I am happy to say I can do them!  Not a ton of them, but still I can…and in perfect form!  This was a major victory for me…strange, I know.

6. My right elbow cannot behave for any length of time.  I was diagnosed with tendonitis in it a couple months ago.  I iced it, rested it, and took Ibuprofen.  It felt better, so I did upper body with Aaron and then it was mad at me again.  Then, repeat…and again…and again.  Every time I give it a week or two off, it feels great.  However, as soon as I do any pushing or pulling…WHAM-O! It is killing me all over again.  Also frustrating.

7. Friday marked my third Ortho-Visc injection (second set) in both knees.  Friday and Saturday were *rough* (to say the least), but today they seem to be feeling a little better.  Hopefully this means I will have some time to work on them.

8. I have decided to write a book…after *lots* of urging from friends, family, and acquaintances.  Personally, I think the idea of writing a book all about me is egotistical.  Other people; however, seem to think it would be beneficial and inspirational to those who would want to read a book all about me.  So, as part of my submission, I will be doing a photo shoot on Jan 5 & 6th.  Aaron, Dorsey, Chris, and others from Fitworks will be joining me for the shoot.  Honestly, I doubt I could pull it off without them (as I plan to hide behind them as much as possible – tee hee).

9. I still struggle with body image…and loving myself.  That has not changed much, if at all.  I have a difficult time seeing how far I have come more than how much further I have left to travel.  I think not seeing the scale move for a couple months compounds this issue…at least for me anyway.  I am actively working on this, though.  Some texts I have to read for school may help: Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert is one I am reading right now.

10. I still struggle with making good food choices.  Not every single day, but in times of great stress I still find myself considering things I should not.  I will spare you the details, but let me just admit that I had an internal debate with myself for about an hour over Junior Mints (whether or not to buy them).  I will also say that on that day in particular, no Junior Mints came home with me.  On that day.

11. Cardio is hard…with these knees…which has a lot to do with the scale not moving, I am sure.  It should get easier once this Ortho-Visc “kicks in” to help alleviate some of the discomfort in my joints.

12. I need to count calories, but find it too damn annoying…and slightly depressing.  I hate counting calories.  I really do.  Aaron keeps telling me I need to (since I am not losing weight easily anymore), and I know he is right.  However, counting calories either makes me feel super fat or starving.  No happy medium.  Crazy, I know.

Well, I am sure I missed some things, but that is a general update of how things have been going, and what I am up to right now.  It is my honest intention to keep on blogging…regularly…so, hopefully I will be “seeing” you again later this week.

How have you been holding up?
-Erica

I Am Still Alive

This ridiculously sad looking fella could not be more accurate on how I have been feeling over the last month.  Let me first say I cannot believe it has been a month since I have blogged.  How sad is that?!  I am really disappointed that I let it go that long.

The last month has been insanely challenging.  Unfortunately, the road immediately ahead does not seem to be much brighter…

My older daughter (just turned eight on Tuesday) was tentatively diagnosed with absence epilepsy.  We are scheduled to be admitted to Children’s Hospital on the 10th for a 5-day observation (video EEG).  So, we will be released on the 15th (hopefully).  They have decided that they are putting her Depakote regardless of what the testing shows in the hospital.  This medication has serious (as in life-threatening) liver implications, so I am a nervous wreck just about the medication itself.  Challenge #1.

I visited my sports med doctor on the 14th of September…just as a follow up.  However, I mentioned how much my left knee has been hurting again (despite the OrthoVisc injections done in late May)…and that my right knee had started to bother me.  Challenge #2: I was officially diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right knee, too.  I also learned that my left knee apparently needs to be replaced.  It took me at least a week to even digest that information, honestly.  They are not going to replace it right away (I am 30 years old), so they will be giving me another round of the OrthoVisc (in both knees this time) when I am due in November.  I have no idea how much time I have until they will/must replace this knee, but it makes me extremely anxious.

To add insult to injury…they have placed me back on extreme restriction.  That means no lunging, squatting, jumping, or running.  Even the spin bike kills my left knee right now.  I am barely able to get on the Neil for even 15 minutes.  That, of course, has made cardio nearly impossible. Challenge #3.

To follow all that whining and complaining, though…I have not gained weight.  I also have not lost any.  I still go to the gym four or five days a week.  Some days I do not break a sweat, though.  I am there.  I am working.  But, I feel like I am not really accomplishing anything.  However, I came across a post on Facebook from Shonnie.  It was a picture that said, “the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.”  That *really* made me think about how I have not given up.  Despite all the complications and distractions, I have never stopped going to the gym.  That counts for something, right?

Shonnie helped to renew my spirit today, and she did not even mean to.  Go figure.  Inspiration comes from the most random of places…especially when you are not expecting it.

No obstacle is too great when you have the right attitude…and the right people certainly make it easier.  Thanks, Shonnie!

-Erica

Cleanse Days 5 & 6 {check}

Sunday was my fifth day on the cleanse.  The mild headache in the early afternoon was present, and my tummy was certainly more active than normal.

Monday was my sixth day (second to last) on the cleanse.  No headache, but the tummy remained active.  In fact, Sunday and Monday I would say I made more bathroom trips than in a normal day.  Nothing too terrible or unbearable, but certainly more often.

My sleep pattern still seems to be improved.  I woke up again today around 7:30 (without an alarm) and had no trouble getting out of bed.  I can only hope this stays even after I complete the last day of the cleanse (today).

I was not down anymore today…still 192.2.  However, I have not been in the gym since Thursday.  The gym was closed yesterday in observance of Labor Day, so that meant no Monday night Zumba for me.  I will certainly check in tomorrow morning and let you all know how my last day of cleanse went, and if I am down anymore after the final day.

-Erica

Weigh Day (week sixty)

Sixty weeks.  Sheesh.  Where has the time gone, really?  I have not posted an official weigh in since week 57 (Aug 12) – shame on me.

Today is day five of my cleanse.  Two days left, and I am hoping for another couple pounds to be gone before I am finished.  Although, I am not quite sure about that.

192.2

That is certainly nothing to be upset about.  I have finally left the 195 to 197 range I was stuck in for weeks.  I am *so* thankful for that – it was becoming *very* frustrating for me.  This brings my total lost to 122.8 in 60 weeks…an average of about two pounds a week.  Not too shabby.  Only 7.2 pounds to go until I hit GOAL!

I will check in with you all later and let you know how day five of the cleanse goes.

-Erica

Cleanse Days 3 & 4 {check}

Out of the four days I have been doing this cleanse, I would have to say yesterday I struggled the most (so far).  I felt cloudy all day.  Not miserable.  Not sick.  Not weak.  Not tired.  Just cloudy, like I could not quite focus or do anything particularly productive.  I found myself “zoning” out several times throughout the day for no good reason.  I also noted that the mild headache I had early in day one and two lasted much longer on day three.  Even after lunch I still had a headache.  Not terribly bad, but enough that it was noticable.  I did not workout yesterday either.  Partly because of the cloudy “funk,” and partly because my daughters were treated to a special evening following some trauma and drama earlier in the week.

I was not down this morning.  I was not up either.  Today has been fine.  No cloudy funk hanging over my head, and I still feel as though I am sleeping better these days.  I have been up and out of bed every single morning no later than 7:30 AM since beginning the cleanse.  That is pretty unusual for me.

I did not get a headache this morning, though.  This is the first morning I did not experience a mild headache at all since beginning the cleanse.  Maybe that means some of those toxins are gone?

I have felt slightly more bloated throughout today, though.  The tummy is definitely active, but not painful or emergent.  Maybe tomorrow will prove more “exciting” in that way?  We shall see.

Overall (at this point), I would say this has been far less “intense” than I originally expected.  That, of course, is just fine by me…and I still have three more days to go anyway.

-Erica

Cleanse Day 2 {check}

Well, day two went off without a hitch!  The mild headache went away by lunchtime, and I felt great throughout the rest of the day.

I worked with Aaron last night, and then I did an hour of Zumba.  My energy level was fine even through 90+ minutes of pretty intense exercise.  I did sweat like *crazy* again, so I really do believe that is the cleanse/detox at work.  This time, though, I made sure to carry a paper towel with me so I could clean myself off as I sweat (instead of letting it stain my neck).

A lot of people who do cleanses often complain about the nausea and numerous trips to the bathroom.  I have not experienced either of those things just yet.  My cousin, Maggie, thinks it may be because my body probably has fewer toxins than those who suffer horribly from those things during a detox.  Maybe she is right, or maybe it is just the luck of the draw?

Today (day three) is going well so far.  I am already sweating a little (not a lot, just enough to make me barely start to glisten) and it is not really that hot today.  So, maybe today is the day things will start to get a little more intense for me.  We shall see.

I was down again this morning, though!

192.2

That is *so* exciting, I must admit.  My original goal (set months and months ago) is to hit 185, and now I am getting so close to that!  My hope is to hit 185 by my daughter’s birthday party (on October 6th), so we will see how that goes.

-Erica