Thursday, May 02, 2013
We're not big beer drinkers. My husband's preferred cocktail is a gin and tonic, while I generally opt for a glass of red wine or a vodka tonic. Of course, alcohol consumption at our house has plummeted since we've become SparkPeople (we rarely want to spend our calories on a drink), but I digress....
There's a lonely bottle of Dos Equis beer that has been in the refrigerator since sometime in March, before we became Sparkers. Its brothers consumed long ago, it sits there waiting for its turn, then waits some more as the days and weeks pass. Meanwhile, the rest of its neighbors on the refrigerator shelf are pulled out one by one and eaten, only to be replaced by a new box of strawberries, a new tub of Chobani yogurt, or another sensible food item that one is proud to list on her Nutrition Tracker.
With Cinco de Mayo coming up in a few days, the lonely little Dos Equis may finally get its chance to be opened and enjoyed. But the odds are good that my husband and I will split the beer over dinner and not buy any more for a long time.
All in all, I see it as a win-win. The Dos Equis will get its moment of glory, and I get a little more refrigerator space back.
Stay sparking, my friends!
Monday, April 29, 2013
Five weeks ago today, my husband and I started on SparkPeople for real (I made an earlier short-lived attempt in January by myself, but I was overscheduled at the time and didn't really have the mental bandwidth to learn what I needed to do and then do it).
I think it may have been the best thing we've done for ourselves and our family in a long, long time. I'm a big believer in what we're doing, and I hope that everyone who wants to become healthy and live a more fulfilling life can find out about this amazing resource.
I feel like I have been living in the pickle jar (as in, I had gotten myself into a pickle, healthwise) for the past couple of decades. Things were not going in the right direction, and my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers have crept upward, along with my weight. I felt lousy, with low energy, and I wasn't getting enough sleep. We ate good, homecooked meals most of the time, but I cooked with too much red meat and our portions were WAY out of whack.
Now, five weeks into sparking, I feel such a sense of commitment to what we're doing. We're tracking our food and exercising, and the weight is going down generally between a pound or two per week. My energy level is much better, and I'm more intentional about getting sleep. Our meals have become more varied, and I'm cooking with less oil, less beef, and more fruits and vegetables. I'm trying new ingredients, too, and our snacks of cheese and crackers have been replaced by tasty, yet lower-caloried choices. We're hardly ever drinking alcohol, and we measure it and track it when we do.
I guess that I'm just really happy with the way it's going. Would I love for the weight to come off instantly? Sure, but I feel the confidence that this time - with slow and steady work - it will come off and STAY OFF. If that takes a year, or even a year and a half, so be it. At least I'm making progress! I also want to get off the blood pressure and cholesterol pills forever.
So while I have a long way to go to fully climb out of my personal pickle jar, I will make it. I'm absolutely confident that I'm on my way out!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
In days before March, Saturday mornings found me
Indulging in one of my favorite vices:
I’d fry up some bacon along with my eggs,
And savor a couple of glorious slices.
But since I’ve been Sparking and reading food labels
For nutritional perils that aren’t very nice,
I’m still eating bacon, with one egg for company,
But now I am quick to say, “Thanks, just one slice.”*
*It may seem silly to love bacon so much, but we are big fans of Burger’s bacon, which is produced in California, Missouri and available here in the Midwest. It is so flavorful! I can get my “bacon fix” with one slice of bacon for a cost of 45 calories, 3.5 g of total fat, 7.5 mg of cholesterol, and 175 mg. of sodium. To me, it’s worth it! And it has been a wonderful discovery to learn that I can be satisfied with just one piece.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
After my team and I were "downsized" as part of a corporate reorganization, I ended up on my husband's bare-bones insurance plan. It's one of those high deductible plans that forces you to pay through the nose until you've spent thousands of dollars on healthcare. Really, it's just there in case you have a catastrophic medical condition.
Recently, I ordered a maintenance medication through Medco, the preferred prescription provider chosen by this lousy health care plan. It's a generic maintenance medication that I take for cholesterol issues.
The little clerk at Medco cheerfully told me that my generic medicine would cost $109 for a 90-day supply. I questioned this cost, reminding her that it IS a generic and that I'd previously bought it elsewhere for about $15. She said, as if I should be happy about this (still in that chipper voice that was grating on my nerves by this point in the conversation), "But it goes against your deductible!"
I didn't appreciate being gouged just because it puts me $109 closer towards meeting my deductible. And I learned that pharmacies are very different. Next time, I'm going to shop around and go to the low-cost provider (Target? Costco? Anyone?) WELL before I'm low on my supply of pills.
But this all gets me to Reason #1,419 why I'm grateful to SparkPeople. I am DETERMINED to get this weight off. My doctor says there's a good chance that I won't have to take medication if I do, and I can't wait to see if that's true. Now, though, I have an EXTRA incentive, Reason #1,420: I can't wait to keep my money and not send another penny to Medco! I want to tell them to go jump in a lake (actually, my initial wish for them was a bit stronger than that, but I don't want to offend anyone...).
Here's to a good day, fellow Sparkers. We can do this!
Thursday, April 11, 2013
I just got done walking this morning (only 30 minutes rather than my goal of 45, but I overdid it a bit by increasing my speed AND raising the incline on the treadmill the same day - NOT a good way to do it!).
But I'm thinking a lot about this program and anticipating what the scale will say tomorrow when I weigh in.
I know what you're thinking: The number on the scale isn't the only thing that matters. And you're right about that! I'm aware of other changes that are starting to take place. I feel more energy. I feel better about the food that I'm putting into my body. I'm learning a gazillion new facts from the articles, quizzes, message boards, and trivia questions.
Of course, I'm hoping that the number WILL go down. And - for the first time that I can remember in my attempts to lose weight - I haven't snuck in an extra hop on the scale for a sneak peek to see whether it's "working". So the number tomorrow really will be a surprise.
But here's where my thinking comes in, and I think that this is a good thing. If the number goes down, I'll be thrilled. Even if it's just a pound, I'll be happy. But if it doesn't go down, or - God forbid - if it goes up, I am NOT giving up on SparkPeople or this journey. Failure is NOT an option. Because here's the deal: I'm eating less, I'm eating better, and I'm exercising. It will work, it's just a matter of time. And whether it's eight months or a year doesn't matter in the long run. I just want my old body back. I'm finding that this steely resolve is helpful, because I hope that it will help me to be less impatient and self-critical when the plateaus come or I make some bad choices.
Anyway, thanks for listening. And stay strong, fellow Sparkers! We can do this!
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