Friday, August 22, 2014
I don't track my food.
I don't work out.
I don't always eat breakfast.
I don't go to bed at the same time every night.
I don't get up at the same time every morning.
I don't avoid soda.
I don't avoid carbs.
I don't DIET.
I don't follow any of the "Rules".
AND I LOST 40 POUNDS.
AND GOT HEALTHY ANYWAY !
My weight has dropped from 205 to 165. And all my blood work is PERFECT ! Even my blood pressure has dropped from 140/90 to 120/80 without medication !
So how did that happen ? ! ?
I only did TWO THINGS !
I logged onto SparkPeople EVERYDAY - -
I cut down on drinking alcohol.
I admit it. For the previous nine years, I had consumed alcohol almost every evening and had quickly put on and then carried those 40 extra pounds. I was in the "obese" BMI category - around 200 pounds for nine years. (Sept. 2003 - Sept 2012 when I joined SP). I was "always" trying to lose weight and I sometimes would succeed for about 10 pounds and then put it back on. You know. Yo-Yo Dieting.
No I wasn't your "classic" alcoholic. I didn't drink when I was young. (I'm 56 now). I've never had a drink before work. I never drank in the morning. I've never had a DUI. But I must confess - - I have an "alcohol use disorder" as the medical community is now calling it. It is recommended that women only consume ONE alcoholic drink per day or SEVEN per week (and NO, you can't save them up and have them all in one night !). I definitely FAR EXCEEDED that limit.
And an "alcohol use disorder" is a negative pattern of alcohol use involving:
Tolerance (being able to consume more and more alcohol with the same effect)
Withdrawal (having negative symptoms when you quit drinking - think "hangover")
Consuming more alcohol OR for longer periods of time than was intended
Other negative life problems (such as DUI, violence, job loss, relationship loss, etc.)
So YES, I DO have an "alcohol use disorder". I realize that. But I REFUSE to say like Step ONE in AA, "Hi, my name is Valerie and I'm an alcoholic. I am powerless over alcohol and my life has become unmanageable !"
I will NOT claim the label "alcoholic" to my name. The ONLY label I'll claim is that "I'm a CHILD OF GOD". I listen to Joel Osteen every Sunday and he always reminds us to NEVER claim negative labels to our name. I'd rather say: "I am STRONG. I make Good Choices. I am FREE of this addiction.
And I will NEVER say I am POWERLESS over alcohol. I am NOT powerless. Yes, I WAS before I found GOD. But NOW I have the POWER of the Holy Spirit of our Almighty God inside of me. "I CAN do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me" (Phillipians 4:13) I have a bracelet with that inscription on it that reminds me of that fact. I never take it off.
I CAN (with the help of my God) resist buying that bottle of booze or wine or beer.
I CAN be around other people drinking alcohol and not have any myself.
I CAN have a good time and be happy without alcohol.
So I'm a success story. Logging on to SparkPeople every day kept me accountable and gave me the help and support and motivation I needed to "cut down on alcohol". And I lost 40 pounds and got healthy.
I never went to AA as I don't agree with their "12-Step Program" although it works for some people. Yes, I do agree that you need a "Higher Power" to conquer your addiction. But that's as far as I go. I'm not going to "feel guilty" and try to make amends to everyone I have "hurt" in my life. The mistakes I made were not usually alcohol-related. I much prefer the philosophy of either of the following websites:
Most Americans consume some alcohol and I think that is an area that is often overlooked when people try to lose weight. Not only are there LOTS of unnecessary and downright UNHEALTHY calories, but alcohol slows down your metabolism as well, leading to weight gain in most people. And how many women that you know that drink can STOP after just ONE DRINK ? ! Face it. ONE leads to TWO, which leads to "just one more" which leads to the whole bottle. Admit it. Can YOU have only ONE drink once you open that bottle ? (Sure, some women CAN - but that is RARE. Can YOU ? Be honest.)
So I have had many alcohol-free streaks; the longest one being 107 days which was over the holidays from November 7, 2013 to February 22, 2014. Yes, I actually didn't drink over Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Valentines Day. I even amazed myself. I thank God for the willpower. I lost 14 pounds over that 3 1/2 months. Woo-Hoo !
Basically, when I joined SP, I identified what the problem was for ME. I hadn't been an overeater. But I DID drink alcohol on almost a daily basis. I then addressed MY problem. I did some research online. I read several good books on "how to quit drinking" such as
"The Easy Way to Stop Drinking" by Allen Carr
"Kick the Drink . . . Easily!" by Jason Vale
"Why You Drink . . . And How to Stop" by Veronica Valli
And I kept motivated with SparkPeople.
And I prayed.
And it WORKED !
I'm alcohol-free for TODAY. (One day at a time) And I'm thinner and healthier and happier.
I broke the rules. (Well most of them, anyway) And I lost 40 Pounds.
Join me in "TOAST" to SparkPeople with a non-alcoholic drink of your choice. CHEERS !
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I'm 56 years old and even though my mother is 83, she's still my mom and the mother/daughter dynamic still continues. I guess our relationship will never change until the day one of us dies, probably her before me. I am grateful, however, that she is still "sharp as a tack" without any signs of Alzheimer's. That is a true blessing. But here is what transpired recently, and keeps on re-playing over and over in my mind, really driving me crazy:
I call my mom up north in Wisconsin every Sunday afternoon. I've been living in Florida for over 30 years. I've been very faithful in keeping in touch with her, but I do feel badly that I can't do more to help her now that my dad is gone and she is gettng old.
I've been telling her how The Lion's Club paid for me to have an eye exam and get a new pair of bifocal glasses. I told her how grateful I was to them and how much I just LOVED my new glasses. She doesn't have a computer and asked that I send her a picture. I had never had one of my digital photos printed before but I got online to Walgreens and found out it was really easy and inexpensive to have a print made and mailed to me within a couple days. Then I sent her a beautiful "Thinking of you" card with my photo wearing my new glasses.
My mom didn't answer the phone twice on Sunday. She still has an old fashioned rotary dial big black phone on the kitchen wall since 1957 with the same phone number for over 57 years ! I called her again on Monday evening and she didn't answer again. I admit I was getting a little worried. I finally got in touch with her last night, Tuesday evening, and when she didn't mention the photo, I asked her if she liked my picture.
She replied, "Well, I don't know about those GLASSES !"
I was taken aback. "Really !?", I asked, "You don't like my new glasses ? I LOVE them !"
She said she's not used to me wearing glasses. Granted I did wear contact lenses for 30 years from age 18 to age 48, but I've been wearing glasses for 8 years now, and when my mom came for a visit 3 years ago, I was wearing glasses at all times. I have severe myopia (nearsightedness).
Then I reminded her that I've lost 40 pounds since she had seen me last.
She said, "Well, you can't tell that in the picture !"
I said, "Yes, you can ! My face is a LOT thinner !"
My mom went on to brag about my sister, who she clearly favors, going on a 3 week photo safari in South Africa. I commented that "I'm not into that type of thing. I'm happy to just bake muffins in my kitchen."
She told me, "I'll tell your sister that you're thinking of her !"
I gave her an unenthusiatic, "Yea, sure", and ended the conversation.
I was left so upset that my mother didn't thank me for the picture and couldn't make even ONE positive comment about it ! Was it too much for her to say, "You look nice" ? Was that too much to ask? She has NEVER given me a compliment my entire life. Will she ever say anything nice to me before she dies? Will I ever stop caring ? I'm 56 years old. What difference does it make whether she likes the picture or not ? Will I EVER stop craving her approval? Will I ever grow up ?
But she will always be my "mom" and I will always be her "daughter" no matter how old we get, I guess. Funny.
I KNOW I look better than I did two years ago when I joined SparkPeople. I've lost 40 pounds! I've gotten healthy by quitting drinking alcohol and walking. My blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, hemoglobin, all my blood work, is now perfect ! I've come a LONG WAY. I FEEL better about myself. I don't NEED my mother's approval. I KNOW it and FEEL it that I am MUCH healthier and more attractive.
Dr Phil is often known to say, "When you can't get what you need from someone else, sometimes you just have to give it to yourself. " That's what I've had to do all my life when it comes to "praise" from my mother.
And I have all you wonderful, Sparkers !
I LOVE SP !
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I've been watching Joel Osteen every Sunday for 8 years now. I always find him inspirational and uplifting. He is always so "positive".
Today Joel talked about focusing on God's "Promises" rather than on your "Problem".
During the first 6 years of listening to Joel, I always prayed that I would "lose weight". I was around 200 pounds at the time. My doctor had told me to get down between 160 and 170. It seemed impossible. I tried unsuccessfully over and over. I would lose up to 10 pounds but then regain it quickly. I had God's Promise in my heart that one day I would be "thin" but I didn't really believe that it would ever happen.
Two years ago in September of 2012, I discovered SparkPeople.
I got SERIOUS. I got MOTIVATED. I set up a simple program for myself of
l. Eating a lot of veggies
3. Cutting back on alcohol
I STUCK WITH IT. I had set backs - BUT I DIDN'T GIVE UP !
I had "streaks" of being alcohol-free in which I would lose weight. My longest one being 107 days, over the holidays, no less, from November 8th 2013 to February 22, 2014, in which I lost 14 pounds from 177 down to 163.
God's Promise had come true. (Even though I never really believed it would happen, I have to admit). I was in the 160's like my doctor had recommended. I had lost 40 pounds ! I was AMAZED ! Not at MYSELF, but rather that GOD had made my DREAM come TRUE ! HE had brought SparkPeople come into my life. HE had helped me to realize that alcohol was my main problem and that alcohol is what had made me gain the 40 pounds in the first place and what I needed to eliminate from my diet in order to LOSE that weight. GOD had helped me resist that glass of wine or mixed drink. GOD had kept me strong. GOD had kept me MOTIVATED to NEVER GIVE UP. If I "messed up", I would have to recommit to being alcohol - free. The very next day. I would have to "quit drinking" again.
Now God has given me the promise of losing more weight and getting down into the 150's.
I need to focus on God's promise - not on how insurmountable the problem may seem.
I WILL lose another 10 pounds ! They say the last 10 pounds is the hardest, but I WILL DO IT !
Because God has promised. And God's promises always come true. Maybe not in "our" time but in "God's" time. I WILL weigh in the 150's. I WILL reach my GOAL Weight.
And then I WILL maintain in the 150's.
I WILL be STRONG, HEALTHY, THIN, and ACTIVE !
I CAN DO IT !
Because God has put the PROMISE in my heart.
And God's PROMISES always come true ! I've seen it in my life over and over. I've been so blessed. I just need to BELIEVE - and focus on HIS PROMISE !
God has promised me in my heart that I will reach my Goal weight of 155.
And NOW I BELIEVE !
Thursday, August 14, 2014
I've got a thousand excuses to drink alcohol:
I want to relax.
I want to celebrate.
I want to socialize.
It tastes good.
The list goes on.
This week I used the death of the amazing Robin Williams as an excuse to buy a bottle of wine and drown my sorrows. He deserved better than that. We did however, play some special songs as our little tribute to the great actor and comedian.
"Send in the Clowns" by Judy Collins
"Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson
"Rockin' Robin" done by The Jackson Five
"The Rose" done by Bette Midler
"Long Black Train" by Josh Turner
One of my favorite movies of all time was a Robin Williams movie about Heaven and the after-life called "What Dreams May Come" If you've never seen it, I'd recommend it highly, especially in these circumstances. This beautiful man will be sorely missed.
That bottle of wine ended a great 35 day alcohol-free streak from July 8th to August 11th. In that month my weight dropped from 177 to 167 -- 10 Big Fat Pounds ! Woo-Hoo ! I was thrilled. Now after my blubbering binge, I have gained 2 pounds. Hopefully it is just water weight and will come off again quickly.
I'm in the middle of my 3-Month Challenge ending on my 2nd Sparkiversary on September 10th, 2014. I wanted to be down into the 150's by then. With one month to go, and another 10 pounds, it is going to be difficult. Definitely a REAL Challenge !
I'm back to being alcohol-free and on day #2 of this streak. I had a streak of 107 days last year. 41 days in the Spring, and now this 35 day streak this summer, so I know I CAN do it ! I'm very determined. It's certainly NOT rocket science with my weight loss. When I avoid alcohol and generally eat healthy, I LOSE weight. Simple. I always get a lot of walking in my daily life since I live without a vehicle. Everyday I need to walk to one store or another, or to the bank, or to the post office, etc. So avoiding alcohol has always been the KEY for ME ! I'm not tempted to binge on food. But, boy oh boy, does that alcohol tempt me ! Fortunately, the urges to have a drink lessen after a few days and I can drink ice water (by the gallon). Then after about a month, I start to miss it a lot, and think that I can have "just a little". WRONG ! Once I open that bottle of wine, I'm not going to quit until that bottle is empty. I should know that by now. So I HAVE to remember this: "Don't START !" Don't get a sip of alcohol - because for me, that is a "slippery slope".
I've come a long way in 2 years - starting out at over 200 pounds and now down in the 160's. I've learned so much with SparkPeople - especially about my relationship with alcohol. This has been a journey - one that is far from over. I'm going to "keep on going" and "never give up". I'm thinner, healthier, stronger. My blood pressure has come down to normal. My Cholesterol is well below 200 and my other lipids (HDL, LDL, Triglycerides) are optimal as well. In fact all my blood work is perfect.
So no more excuses. I need to be alcohol-free to reach my goal of 159 by September 10th. (29 days to go.)
And Farewell Robin Williams, may you find the "peace" that you couldn't find in life.
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