Monday, June 27, 2011

Lessons From My Weight Loss

When we lose twenty pounds... we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have!  We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty. 
~Woody Allen
My Before & After pictures:  The picture on the left was taken in November 2010. The picture on the right was taken last weekend

I am not a big fan of Woody Allen, but I do love that quote! 

This weekend, I anticipate celebrating a huge milestone.  I am on the brink of having lost a total of 50 lbs!
I am not sure how I will celebrate yet - but I can tell you I will not be having cake or pizza or a cheeseburger.  I was thinking a nice bouquet of flowers and a massage, maybe a manicure and pedicure would be nice.    I am still actively losing weight and adhering to the strict HCG food plan for another 3 weeks..  I will not be swayed by celebratory cheeseburgers!!  No way!  No how!
But I do have a few weight loss tips to share.  Just a few tid-bits that were important in helping me get going and stay the course:

1) Just do it.   I made excuse after excuse-and quite frankly I felt that my crazy globe-trotting job was a pretty good one! (Its hard to diet when you travel!)  I was waiting for the right time to begin to get healthier until my fabulous cardiologist gave it to me straight "You know, you have been coming here for over 2 years now...I remember you were in grad wasn't a good time for you to make lifestyle changes...then you had a big project you were starting at work....when I saw you again you were headed off to Italy...and then Australia....and then Japan...I think you might want to consider that the time might never be just "right" to start making might be time to just decide to make them anyway."   He paused and waited for my response.  Which I didn't have.   What could I possible say?   He was absolutely right.

2) Talk to your Doc.   I went in specifically to talk about my weight.   I had been walking miles each night after 2 months I only lost 2lbs.   I ate really healthy food 95% of the time.  She referred me to one of her colleagues, who helped me find the right plan for me.   One benefit of the HCG diet is that you get good results fast.  Continuous progress served to reinforce my commitment to the diet each day.  

3) Set a Goal.   My first goal was to impress my cardiologist by getting off of the blood pressure medication.  My second goal was to reach 199.   My current goal is 175.   Celebrate milestones.

4) Plan ahead and set routines.   I would have failed hundreds of times if I didn't have a plan.   Having a good routine helps too- the less thinking you have to do, the better.  I buy groceries once a week with my plan in mind.   Whatever I make for dinner I have for lunch the next day.  My day starts with a cup of coffee and ends with a cup of tea.   I eat an apple or fruit throughout the day to stave off hunger.   There will be lots of temptations: Pizza Day was held in my office last week.  Smelled fabulous! I brought in my ground beef in a tomato sauce on lettuce leaves- it was seriously good (didn't miss the pizza at all!)

5) Get creative.   Spice things up - try some herbs and seasonings  that you haven't had before.   Modify a new recipe to make it  more diet friendly.   I have made an HCG version of pizza, burgers and tacos just by changing the seasoning and using lettuce instead of bread.  The possibilities are endless.

6) Focus on flavor.   Sweet strawberries,  my morning coffee,  Crisp apples.   These have become real treats for me as I appreciate their simplicity.

7) If you fall off the diet, immediately start again.   You don't have to do it perfectly.  Forgive yourself and get back on it.   Set backs don't have to be failures.   Just begin again from where you left off.

8) Clear away temptations.   It is a good idea to get the bad for you foods out of your house.   And stay away from bakeries!  (Bakeries are diet kryptonite!)

9) Celebrate your milestones and achievements.   Reward yourself with non-food items.   A bouquet of flowers, a manicure...

10) Social occasions are about connecting with people...not stuffing your face.   I have survived a handful of parties and gatherings and avoiding temptation is tough.  Go to these with a commitment to focus on the people there.  Eat before you go.  Drink water, tea or other healthy beverage while you are there.

11) Get a good night's sleep!  There is a correlation between how much you sleep and how much you can lose.   Your body needs time to recover from your busy life.  That recovery process burns calories.

12) Belts are your friends...I wore a pair of pants today that was way too big,around the waist.   A good belt made it possible to get one more good day out of those favorite pants!

13)  When you grow out of clothes, donate them

14) If you are actively losing weight, consider buying clothes from your local thrift shop.   I've got two really nice pairs of pants this way and they were $2.99 each.

15) Recognize that you are beautiful and valuable and lovable no matter what your size.   Losing weight should be about getting healthy so that you can share your gifts with the rest of the world for as long as possible.  Love yourself!

Take Good Care!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

25 Things That Really Suck...

"Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud; Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, And loathsome canker lies in sweetest bud.  All men make faults" - William Shakespeare

Contrary to what you may think, this is not a negative post. 

Knowing what you don't like is just as important as knowing what you do like.  In fact it is very good self care, because once you've identified what what makes you tick and what ticks you off, you can start to change or avoid those things quite successfully.

Sometimes when you are not sure what you want, identifying what you DON'T want can help you navigate through the endless list of options.  (ie:  I don't want criticism! =  I want support!) 
There is nothing more self-reinforcing than knowing what you want and refusing to settle for less! It is just a very good self care habit to get into.

So without further ado....lets get to my list (in no particular order) of 25 things that really suck :

1) Closed minded thinking.  (I am guilty of this sometimes too- but we limit ourselves so much when we do this)

2) Comments on my Blog that link to porn sites (rare, but vile)

3) Cantaloupe (I keep trying it...I keep not liking it)

4) Being told what to do.  (If I don't ask, I don't want to know...share your ideas, make suggestions, but telling me that I have to do something in a particular way is the surest way to make me rebel)

5) Those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner they give you in hotel rooms (on a few rare occasions I have been surprised by a good brand, but rarely are these acceptable to me)

6) Bureaucracy - I prefer simple solutions to simple problems.

7) Party Politics - If you step back and take a neutral view you will see that neither side is better (or better behaved) than the other.  How can so many people possibly fit in two different parties anyway?

8) Bank of America, Citibank (insert other large heartless banking institution here).  - Too big and impersonal; pray you never have to deal with these in an estate situation.

9) United Airlines - The flight experience was bad...the customer service experience was the worst I have ever encountered.  Just see how they treat people who have complaints on the United Airlines facebook page.  It is ridiculous.

10) Processed food.  Nothing tastes better- or is better for you -than homemade. Everything processed contains either corn, soy or wheat in addition to salt, sugar, chemical flavorings & colorings, preservatives and other unnatural ingredients.  Eat REAL FOOD as much as possible!

11)  Emotional Vampires.   (Twilight vampires, excluded)

12)  Being apart from my Husband.

13) Not being able to access my Netflix or Pandora accounts in Australia

14) Jealous, non-supportive people.   (There is no reason to not be happy and celebrate the successes of others)

15) Cell phone use in public bathrooms

16) Arrogant doctors.  Answer my questions- I am paying YOU!

17) Power trips

18) Company politics

19) TSA  and the airline security theater - Travel the world for a moment and understand that no where else in the world would security have confiscated my small, unopened container of yogurt.  (Customs is a different story, but security?)    Also had one agent on input side of scanner tell me to leave IPAD in my bag..then agent on output side of scanner chastised me for leaving it in.  (They REALLY suck)

20) Cancer.   (I hate it)

21) Plastic soup-style spoons- the ones that are slightly deeper and rounder than regular plastic spoons.   They cut the corner of my mouth.

22) School lunches - how can anyone think that feeding our kids this crap is acceptable?

23) Child abuse.

24) Artificial Sugar substitutes.   First of all- they taste nasty.  Second of all there are plenty of natural sweet alternatives that will satisfy your sweet tooth and are way better for you.  

25) Not practicing regular self care!

One more note about things you don't like..It is okay and essential to have opinions about things.  Your opinions- even the negative ones- are an expression of you and your unique experiences and perspective.   My dislike for cantaloupe does not mean that cantaloupe is terrible.  It simply means that my experience with it has never been positive.   Putting together a list of things you can't stand is kind of fun.  I had a difficult time thinking of 25, although I am certain that I have a lot more I will think of later!  See how many you can come up with.  Then from that list identify an alternative. 

Your comments about things that suck are very welcome below!

Take Good Care!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Official Self Care Girl Guide To Being Queen

“It's all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you're properly trained.” - Queen Elizabeth

This weekend is the celebration of Queen Elizabeth's birthday.

Her actual birthday is in April, but a June date was selected centuries ago for this regal affair, supposedly, to increase the likelihood of blue skies, sunshine and bird's singing.    All should be right with the world on such a momentous occasion, afterall.

This is the birth date held by whomever the reigning English monarch is.   Commonwealth citizens around the world will get a three day weekend (although I learned yesterday that different Australian states celebrate the birthday on different dates.  And I cannot confirm this...but I highly suspect that the Queen - wanting to be celebrated multiple times throughout the year, may have had a hand in this).

At any rate, pomp and circumstance will reign in London and 3 day weekends will abound and certainly, the Queen will be enjoying a full agenda of celebration, a nice meal, a new outfit, a present or two…and maybe even a nap. 

To commemorate this important day- the birth of a monarch- we are declaring that all Self Care Girlfriends everywhere should also be celebrated as Queen's on this day as well.   Being treated like the royal being you are is just very good self care!

Now, to ensure that this declaration is easily carried out (We "Queens" shun all things tedious, afterall)   Self Care Girl (your Fairy Godmother Extraordinaire) has put together this simple Queen guide to ensure a seamless transition as you are transformed from "awesome everyday woman" to "most regal and revered Birthday Queen."

The Official Self Care Girl Guide to Being Queen:

The Very Secret "Transformation To Queen" Step:

The first step in being Queen, is to believe -with all your heart-that you are capable and deserving of that title.   (and YOU ARE because being Queen IS a birthright!)  Look in the mirror, raise your head high, adopt a proud demeanor and give yourself a regal and approving nod!

There you go.....You are Queen!  And now you are ready to go about planning your royal day....

One Very Important Rule for being Queen for A Day:

1) There are no rules...well, none that aren't put forth by her majesty anyway.

That being said….You may prefer to celebrate in any way you choose.  You may choose, and then exercise your Queenly perogative to change your mind half way through if a particular decision no longer suit you...and then- without a fuss- choose something completely different.

If you don't know quite where to begin...well, we have a guide for that too! 

10 Very Queen-Like Activities for Queen's Who Don't Quite Know Where to Begin

Making royal decisions all day can be exhausting work, so I have ordered a compilation of 10 very Queen-like activities to ensure that YOU are properly equipped to celebrate your important day.
  •  Buy yourself a cupcake…buy one for yourself and one for your best friend (or daughter…or sister...or mom).  Let them know that you are celebrating you and them and Queen's everywhere.  
  • Procure a tiara.   Nothing says "Queen" like the right piece of headdress bling.     
  • Practice your wave…then wave away all domestic duties goodbye  (That sink full of dishes…that pile of laundry.  Unfortunately these WILL all be here tomorrow, but there's no need to allow these trivial things to mess up OUR royal day.)
  • Refer to yourself in the plural.  "We" and "Us" are appropriate pronouns today.  These convey consensus; agreement;  full backing of your decisions; (Believe me, no one will even question that your minions of supporters are imagined).  Practice this and see how effective it is. (to anyone in your home who will listen:) "WE will not be doing (insert mundane household task here) today!",   (to your spouse:) "No dinner is being prepared tonight, but WE do hope you will join US for dinner at (insert fancy restaurant here)",  (to your manicurist:)  "WE will be having a French Manicure today…and perhaps a very regal shade of purple on OUR toes"  (to your child) "Today WE are only going refer to mommy as 'Our Queen Mum'"   
  • Buy that bouquet of flowers…the pretty ones
  • Wear your best jewels.
  • Bring out and utilize any special china, flatware, crystal glasses etc...that you have stashed away with an edict to use only for special occasions.   (If this is NOT a special occasion, then I don't know what is!)
  • Do not allow anyone to treat you poorly today (even that little negative voice inside your head should be SILENCED!) 
  • Take a nap if the urge strikes you.
  •  Recognize your "Awesomeness" throughout the day.  This can be a simple statement to yourself quietly, but it is most effective if you proclaim it loudly when you do something marvelous. (and be sure to use that plural pronoun!)  "WE are marvelous today, aren't WE?",  "WE did that well, didn't WE?", "WE are so proud of US" etc...
If you have any additional ideas in support of celebrating in a royal fashion, please add to the comments.

WE hope that YOUR day goes marvelously!