Tag Archives: goddess in training

Not Served by Servings

So back to the Goddess in training weight management stuff, let me just say that I don’t think we’re at all served by servings. I mean, when we go to a restaurant, we can see that the portions are ridiculously large, and hopefully we can ask for a box and not have to eat it all. But here’s the thing that makes me kind of crazy, and my mom reminded me of this recently.

See, Mom’s doctor told her she should try to stay around 1200 calories. Which is what I try to do. We’re 5’2″–or at least, I am and she used to be. She’s a bit shorter these days. So my mom says that she’s trying, but by the time she adds up everything she’s supposed to have, it’s hard to keep it under 1200. Meaning that by the time she adds up the calories from all the servings of dairy, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and cereals she’s allegedly supposed to have, sometimes she’s over, and there’s certainly not anything left over for something she wants.

Okay, so here’s what makes me crazy. We’re on 1200 calories, right? A big, 6’2″ guy like my husband can easily take in 2000 calories. That’s what all the nutrition information is based on. His needs. So…why would I assume that a serving size for him is the same as a serving size for me? I’m absolutely not a nutritionist, but I’m just going, if we have different calorie needs, why should I assume we need the same nutrition? If he needs a cup of something to make a serving, maybe MY serving should be a little more than half of that.

Which is basically what I said to my mom and she was like, oh, I never thought of that.

So I’m just feeling like this whole nutrition info on the package that was supposed to be helpful could be a little more helpful. I mean, could they include another column for a 1200 or 1500 calorie diet? I don’t even really care which one, I just think it would be a huge service to all of us short women out here who deserve quick package reference as much as the men (who often don’t bother to look) do. I mean, 2000 calories? Really? In what world is that a reasonable average?

So here I am on 1200 calories. Anything I’m going to snack on I’m going to want to break down into 100 calorie portions. If all I ate all day was 100 calorie snack things, I could have 12 day. Ever notice how many things are 140-160 calories per serving? 12 x 150 = 1800.

Eating the whole portion on individually packaged items or going by the serving size printed on a larger package would have me over by 4200 calories at the end of the week. Which would gain me over a pound a week. Six pounds in 5 weeks. How easy would it be to put on an extra 10-15 pounds each year just by eating from a portion standard made for people several inches taller with much higher metabolisms? How many of us have done it?

Now, if you’re doing all your math, you can figure this out and not go over. The thing is, we don’t want to do the math. For many of us, measuring, journalling, and mathmatizing the food has us thinking about food all the time, which is not a recipe for not eating as much. What has worked for me has been learning to eyeball things better, learning to be satisfied with 100 calorie servings. Saving up what seems like just little bits of calories here and there matters when you’ve only got 1200 to start. (Note: I set a goal of 1200 so I have plenty of room for error and actually consume between 1200-1500 calories.)

Since this is hardly a dieting site, I’ll take this time when I’m already babbling about weight loss stuff to add something else that’s helped me. I used to eat until I was “full” and call it “satisfied.” I retrained my brained to define satisfied as no longer hungry. If I’ve finished what I pretty much know I’m supposed to eat, I can take a moment to actually think and ask myself, am I hungry? Not, am I full? The answer is probably no, because I’ve already eaten what my body needs and what it can process. So I tell myself that I’m satisfied and can stop. That doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process. But it’s how I can be satisfied, genuinely, with less while I sit with others as they continue to eat more, like my husband who needs to eat more because he’s a big man who physically labors.

Meanwhile, “full” means something else to me now. In my head, the concept of being full is like being stuffed. Overeating has much more negative connotations in my head. It’s not something that’s like, Oops! I overate and now I’m ugh. It’s more like a, why would I do that to myself? Why would I put food in my mouth to the point where it causes me physical discomfort? Isn’t that kind of like getting falling down drunk in public? That’s not cool.

I mean, no, really. Because when people keep eating just because something is delicious, how is that really different from continuing to drink because you like the way it makes you feel? How is that bloated, overstuffed feeling you get from eating too much so different from the way you get sick from drinking too much? So when I’m out and there’s delicious food on my plate, it’s not really so hard for me to convince myself that I don’t want to engage in public food drunkenness.

So I hope I don’t have to say that none of this is intended to make anyone feel bad about the way they eat. I say this stuff because I used to eat as much as my much larger husband. Because I used to eat until I couldn’t hold anymore and think THAT was the signal to stop. I trained myself, in a lot of ways, to NEED way more food than I actually needed. So what I’m trying to share with you is changes I made in my thinking that helped me train myself back out of that.

I don’t consider myself a dieter. Like many people, I came out of my high metabolism teens and just kept eating, going into college with a lot more social eating, got married young and allowed my eating to habits grow more like my husband’s. This is the first time in my life I’ve stopped to really think about what I’ve been doing and to learn what I really need.

It is damned nice to be able to run across my house to attend to a disaster without danger of tripping over my own thighs rubbing together.

 

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Not so much with the rockin’

Okay, so I’m a downer. Sue me.

Things in my GIT life are better. I’ve been doing better with the housekeeping thing which is mostly a matter of keeping the dishes washed. That’s really the main stumbling block in my life. There have been times in the last two weeks where I’ve had unexpected stuff come up and come home late with no dinner plan and still whipped up something quick out of my pantry. Good to be veering away from that “let’s just get take-out” path I was headed down. (I really like take-out. A lot.)

My weight/size continues to be the same. So far I’m not having trouble keeping off what I’ve lost. Of course now that we’re going into the colder part of the year that will be more of a challenge as a) I like to eat when I’m cold, and b) it’s cool enough in my house that I can actually use the oven without roasting us. This may result in cookies.

To cope with that I’ve started Zumba. Let me just say that I’m glad it’s just me and the pets and that they can’t talk. I couldn’t be more stiff and out of step. These hip just don’t move like that, okay? Let’s face it: I am waaay too uptight to salsa.

Is Zumba the all that and a bag of chips that everyone says it is? So far it’s not. It honestly doesn’t seem different from any other aerobics video I’ve done in the past. I mean, yeah, I can see where the dance aspect is there, and maybe how the production is different, but those are things that don’t seem to affect my experience of it. I’m not saying I hate it or that I’m quitting, I’m just saying I’m not going to be going to Amazon and writing one of those reviews gushing about how it’s the funnest exercise evar and I’m, like, super-addicted.

I will say, though, that I’m not sore, and I’ve moved enough that I maybe should be. And maybe it’s somewhat motivating that I have this secret, Zumba-inspired fantasy that I will finally learn to loosen up and dance, and also attain the label “hot mom.”

So I guess my final verdict on that is that if you like to dance, you will probably like this, and if dancing makes you feel like a dork, then you may not like it as much as the Zumba-crazed reviewers imply you will.

ROW80

So today’s the big #ROW80 Twitter party. I’m gonna be standing over here in my corner watching, if you don’t mind.

I’m having a lot of trouble with Heroes Under Siege. And I remember going through this with the last book. I can’t seem to find a place to get started. I can’t craft the right scene for the beginning to show what I want to show.

It doesn’t help that, if I could change something about Heroes ‘Til Curfew, I would change the beginning. I’m not sure what I would change it to, I just feel like the beginning was pretty weak with not enough happening and too much exposition. I was in that thing where I was trying to write something that could be easily understood by someone new to the series, and hopefully interesting enough to draw readers of the last book along. But I probably went like 1500 words before anything interesting actually happens. Which is not good.

So, learning experience for me. I’m very much with the thing that this book is done and over and I’m going to apply what I’ve learned to the next book. I’m not going to change what’s already out there (that would be weird and it’s not THAT bad).

Meanwhile, the whole experience doesn’t fill me with confidence about getting started on book 3. But I’ll figure it out eventually. It would be awesome to be able to get started in time for NaNoWriMo.

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Some Musings on Motivation and #ROW80

And when I say musings, I mean that I’m looking at some things that I’ve done right, and trying to figure out how the hell that happened.

There are three big things I’ve done in the last several years that I can easily point to and say: these are things which required a lot of motivation and I made them happen.

  1. Got my house together– When my daughter was finally done nursing and I was once again free to move about the cabin, I really did a lot of work to get my home in order. It was the first time in our marriage (about 15 years at that time, I guess) that we lived without any cardboard boxes in view. I decluttered, I cleaned up, I got routines together, and when disasters happened (as they did daily as I had a toddler around) I was able to take care of them and get things back to order.
  2. Wrote a book– Meaning I finished it. I started at the beginning and I wrote until the end. And it was even good. I made an outline, I had a list of scenes, and I tried to write at least one every day. I didn’t write every day, but I averaged more than one and I finished 30 days after I started. No putting it aside 2/3 in and starting something else, no putting writing aside to pick up another activity.
  3. Lost weight– I got married while I was still in college. Between the weight everyone gains in college and the weight everyone gains when first married, I was kinda screwed. My senior year I made a big effort at diet and exercise and lost half of what I’d gained those four years. But after that it was a slow but steady increase until I got pregnant almost a decade later. After losing enough of the baby weight to get out of maternity clothes and back to a size 14, I pretty much maintained 160-165 for a number of years. Today I weighed in at 127.5, a weight I haven’t seen this century.

So if I went through this period where I was good a keeping up my house, why is my house a wreck? Why am I always struggling with this? What am I doing wrong?

Why did it take me a month to write the first draft of Hush Money and close to ten months for Heroes ‘Til Curfew?

If I have the self-discipline to just say no to binges, over-eating, stress-eating, etc., why can’t I seem to apply that in other areas?

This is stuff I’ve been thinking. Reading about motivation can be confusing. A lot of it seems to come down to this concept: You just have to really want it. I can’t make you want it.

Well, um, I think I do want it. That’s why I’m here. I don’t know how to make myself want it anymore than this. I’m not even sure I’m comfortable with the notion of a greater level of want. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to help with my crazy level.

I mean, did I not want to write Heroes ‘Til Curfew? Of course I did. Did I want it enough? I think so.

It’s hard to talk about this stuff because nothing happens in a vacuum. I was better at housekeeping when I wasn’t also trying to run an Etsy shop or a writing career. I was better and just writing when I wasn’t in the throes of second book syndrome. There are definitely other factors at work.

But other people manage do more than one thing at a time, and I’d like to as well, so I’m looking at these three successes and trying to figure out what they had in common.

  1. When I was good at housekeeping, my goal was not to have a perfect or even beautiful home. I did not own the house I lived in, I knew I couldn’t afford to make the improvements it needed. It was never going to beautiful, but I was going maintain it and keep it as clean and comfortable as I could. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of making it better and maintaining the progress.
  2. When I was good at getting a book written, my goal was not to produce the greatest book ever. I had no standard I was going for, except for it to be finished and as good as I could make it. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of writing a book from beginning to end.
  3. When I was good at losing weight, I never had a goal weight. I might have said, I’d like to lose x amount, or I’d like to be x by the end of the summer, but those were just things I would throw out in conversation, like wishes. They were never subgoals of some greater endgame I was trying to achieve. In fact, when I did really start to lose weight, it wasn’t about losing weight, it was about changing my eating habit. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of learning to be mindful about eating and making better choices.

The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process.

That’s what I’ve pulled out of this. I’m not sure what it means, what to do with it, how to apply it. Not yet. Plenty of people do great by focusing on an end result and breaking that down into smaller tasks. I don’t think I’m that person. Some people make the decision to change their actions and they follow through. I don’t. When I tell myself to do stuff, most of the time I just don’t.

Maybe because it’s always easier to just stay where I am.

I’ve already determined that I need to change my thoughts before I can change my actions. Now I’ve determined that thinking about my goals as big end result things, or even smaller, successive results, doesn’t really work for me either.

What is going to work for me? Still don’t know. But if I figure it out, I’ll pass it on.

#ROW80: I have 10 threads for Heroes Under Siege. My goal for the week is to make sure I understand what happens in each one from beginning to end and how they interweave. That’s going well so far as I’m at 7/10 mostly done. I’d like to start brainstorming specific events and jotting down scenes next week.

Meanwhile, I should have a guest post up over at Book Lovers, Inc. today. The post is about taking something often considered boyish–superheroes–and taking it for Team Girl. And there’s a giveaway. Go, read, comment, make it look like people like me.

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I have too much crap

It’s GIT Tuesday. Things are going okay. School starts tomorrow and while I haven’t gotten everything done I wanted to do, things are better.

You know how you get Netflix in the little red envelopes and then you put them back in there and send them back. But you can also send two back in the same mailer. So the other day my husband asked me about all the Netflix mailers I have in the basket. And I explained how every once in a while I send two back in the same one, blah blah. “So you’re just saving the extra ones for emergencies?”

Um, I guess so. I mean, that’s dumb, right? Why am I holding on to these things?

Holding on to things is a problem. I hold on to so much stuff just in case I’m going to need it again. I have a drawer with jeans in every size from 4 to 16. What the hell?

Letting go of things is good. I’ve done it before and I know this. It’s just one of those things that doesn’t come naturally. But when I declutter, when I have less stuff, things are much better. There’s more space to, you know, live and stuff. I don’t know why the decision to give up stuff is so hard when the actually giving it up and living without it really isn’t.

So back to the weight loss thing, here are some things I gave up:

  • Drinking calories. The only exception is that I try to drink a glass of milk at dinner most days. Otherwise it’s water and diet stuff.
  • Diet Coke. I didn’t give it up, but late this winter I kicked at 5-6 per day habit down to a 0-2 per day habit. I think the loss of all that sodium from my diet has made my weight more stable, not ever-changing due to water retention.
  • Ordering french fries. We go out to eat every Sunday with my parents, plus my mom and I go out a few times a month, plus I have a child who likes the fast food playgrounds. I have plenty of fries with that opportunities in my life. At fast food I just say no. At a sit-down restaurant I ask to substitute something green. It’s never a problem. If someone else has fries and they look particularly good, I’ll snag one, but I don’t need fries with that. I think this has actually made a big difference. I’m a big fan of the carbs and fries are definitely one of the good things in life. But good enough to carry around on my person for years to come? No.
  • Being full. I never eat until I can’t eat anymore. I mean, I used to, and now I can’t even figure out why I used to. For some people, that feeling equates in their mind to “satisfied.” I decided to think of it as “stuffed.” And I don’t want to stuff. I eat because I’m hungry. To get unhungry. So when I find myself thinking about a second helping at home or eating much more than half of what’s on my plate at a restaurant, I try to pause and think about whether or not I’m still hungry. Since my goal is just unhungry, if I don’t feel hungry anymore, it’s time to put the fork down.

I tell you this because, as I said before, changing the way I think and actually being mindful about the eating has really helped me get back to healthy weight. Don’t know if it’ll be helpful for anyone else. Hope so. Meanwhile, I should go declutter and let go of some stuff.

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GIT Tuesday

I decided to move Goddess in Training to Tuesday since I’m often running around on Thursday. Of course, it shouldn’t matter. One of my many GIT goals is to write blog posts at least one day in advance and schedule them. That’s a baby step as my original plan was to have things scheduled a week in advance. So I’m writing to you from Monday, I wrote today’s post yesterday, and Sunday’s post on Saturday. So far, so good, on that one, anyway.

Other than trying to keep up with the blog, Kait made me make massive lists this weekend. I’m having company in about six weeks. Very important company. I’m having multiple houseguests over multiple nights. I NEVER have anyone over at my house, so this is a Big Deal. I’m not freaking out because the people coming know who I am and it probably won’t a surprise to them if everything’s a shambles, and they’ll still love me. Still, I’d like to make an effort to not have my guests live in squalor. So I’ve got this massive list of housekeeping tasks that need to be done anyway and would get me solidly on track if I could maintain it.

Other lists are maintenance tasks, some health and fitness stuff (like going back to meal planning and doing yoga every day), and the steps I need to take to get back into the social media stuff like I’m supposed to.

I’m actually kind of excited about it. Maybe that’s a strong word. But I put a bunch of stuff in Cozi yesterday, and it’s looking doable.

Already I hit a snag where my husband called and got my out of bed, sending me on a series of errands that took up the whole morning. During the errands I ran into another mom and since we’re supposed to have a heat index of 110 today, we made tentative plans to meet up at the pool this afternoon. So I haven’t done anything on my list today, except laundry and this post I’m typing. But I think that’s okay.

Weight Loss Tip

Big heading! Rather than just babble at you about how I’m trying to get my shit together, I thought I’d try to come up with some of the things that helped me lose weight this year.

My tip of the week is a thought process. Recurring thoughts are habits. Habits don’t automatically start happening just because we decide we should do something differently. Once you start something, it takes time to catch on. But once you’ve repeated the behavior enough times, it becomes something you do rather naturally.

I mean, you all know that right? And that the concept works with things you say to yourself in the same way it works with making you bed when you get out of it or putting your keys in the same place when you walk in the door. (I marvel that there are people in the world with made beds who always know where they keys are. Baby steps.)

So here’s the concept: Extra crap you put into your body becomes extra crap that lives on your body. Yeah, it takes a lot of extra calories to make a whole pound, but a) a pound is nothing to sneeze at, and b) it’s not like it only happens if you eat that many calories in one sitting–it’s cumulative. So when you walk by the cookie jar and grab one–or three–cookies just because they look good, not because you’re even hungry…how much extra you does that add up to in a whole year? Everything that goes in counts.

What I learned to ask myself is: Do I really want to carry that around?

I mean, seriously. If I’m looking at dessert, knowing I’ve already hit the limit of what I need to eat, that stuff is going right to my butt. And forget what it looks like, I have to carry that. Maybe for years! Yeah, maybe it’s looks delicious, but delicious enough to carry for years? On my ass where it no longer looks quite so enticing?

No. Way. I am way too lazy for that.

Yeah, it’s not always easy, but this habit of stopping to think about whether or not I want to make a lifetime commitment with this brownie is sort of a cold shower for me.

I’m not on a diet. I don’t write down what I eat and I only sort of generally estimate calorie intake. It’s not a horrible, regimented thing. This habit is part of a change I went through that means I don’t HAVE to do the hardcore diet thing.

So that’s my tip. Hope it helps.

PS. Today’s my brother’s birthday. If you happen to read, Happy Birthday, Dave!

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