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July 2014

Lick ... lick ... BOOM.

Dirty spoon

I used to joke that if I was ever a weight-loss success story on the "Today" show, instead of wheeling out wagons full of doughnuts or cheeseburgers, Joy Bauer would place a single teaspoon on the table as the reason why I once struggled with losing weight for decades.

A single cream cheese-and-jelly smeared teaspoon.

This week I am trying with all my spoon-licking might to make food and toss the implements in the dishwasher.

("What's the big deal? Isn't that what normal people do?" you may say. You are not me -- you have no idea how much Vidalia onion relish I ate straight out of the jar.)

This brings me to one of my favorite blog posts ever. Like ever-ever-ever. It's over at The Healthy Hausfrau, and it's titled "A Bite Here and There: What's the Big Deal?"

I'm sure I've mentioned it before (oh, wait, I have) but I referred back to it this week as I work to break my spoon addiction.

She tallies up those little calories throughout the day, which, in her list come to a staggering 770 calories of invisible food.


When my teenager was a toddler, he'd often leave food on his plate, as toddlers are wont to do. And I would eat it, as moms are wont to do.

(Come to think of it, he still leaves food on his plate because his hunger mechanism is not totally screwed up like some people I inhabit.)

But over time, he learned not to push the plate toward me -- probably because I have embraced the mantra and repeated to him, "I AM NOT A GARBAGE DISPOSAL."

I've gotten much, much better at this (see my 2010 post "The road to hell is paved with barbecue sauce") but I still slip up.

But today, I tossed that jam and cream cheese smeared spoon straight into the utensil basket.

Can I go 'scale silent' for 21 days?

My weight-loss guru pal Robert Ferguson sent me the most updated version of his Diet Free Life system. I've long been a fan of his extremely common-sense approach to losing weight, first with the original Food Lovers' Fat Loss system, then with his Diet Free Life system. 

The upshot of Robert's plan is to eat nutritionally balanced meals and portion-controlled snacks every few hours to keep your insulin and other hormone levels stable throughout the day. 

Boom -- that's it. No restrictions, no eliminating entire food groups. 

The only caveat to that is the 3-Week Clean Start plan, which cleans up your eating and cuts out a few things like alcohol, added sugars, fried and breaded foods, sodium and white flour.

I'm already a pretty clean eater so this part of the plan won't be a big stretch for me, plus I've been test-driving a meal-delivery plan the past few days,which makes meals super easy -- they're waiting for me in the fridge and they're very clean (more on that Friday).

But the thing that really has me nervous is this -- you weigh yourself on Day 1 (which was Monday) and you don't weigh yourself again until Day 22.

Can I do it? 

This would mean having to "trust the process," which is a favorite phrase of mine. Heck -- I even have a coffee mug that says it!

Trust the process mug

(OK, coffee mug, I will trust the process.)

It's hard out there for a control freak. 

So I'm going to put my faith (and weight) in Robert's hands and log my clean meals and snacks for 21 days.

So far so good but I still tend to go overboard on my afternoon snacks -- I need to keep that 100-200 calorie range in mind and not go all "endless buffett" (A banana, and some Greek yogurt to balance that out, with perhaps some nuts on top, and some green juice ... you get the idea). 

Diet Free Life is radical in its "unradicalness" (don't think that's a word), but that's the point. I felt myself getting too wrapped up in devices and apps and books and widgets and gimmicks, and I needed to "unplug" from all that -- or at least most of that -- and just eat healthy foods that I enjoy and that what my body needs. I need to unlearn all the "crazy making" habits that have done absolutely nothing to make the scale move. 

I need to lose weight but I also need to live diet free, and I think the two needs can coexist.

Yoga Saturday: PiYo, with Chalene Johnson

PiyoOur 24 Hour Fitness has had PiYo classes forever but I never got around to taking one, so I was psyched to see that Beachbody was releasing a DVD system for the home. PiYo was developed by Chalene Johnson as a high-energy Pilates-yoga hybrid workout, so there are no weights or gizmos involved.

I just got the set in the mail yesterday so I barely have had any time to check it out, but I did pop in and do the Align: The Fundamentals DVD. 

It's around 40 minutes and like the title says, it's all about alignment, which I really appreciate. Chalene, with her background exercisers, shows the right way to hold poses and also points out people's different levels of flexibility -- so if you can't bend like the person on screen, it's OK. Just bend like the other person or bend to the best of your ability. Since my upper spine is a little on the straight and unbendy side, I have to deliberately put my head in the correct place to line everything up head to toe.

I'm a little intimidated by some of the moves in the other DVDs -- I don't know whether I'll get my body parts near where the exercisers have theirs (you want me to put my arm around what and where?) but I like that the system encourages people go progress at their own pace. 

Maybe if I get up the nerve, I'll take one of those live classes one day.


Tunes for Tuesday: Love Shack, by the B-52's

I chose this song for a couple of reasons: We spent last week in Georgia, home of the B-52's, and I heard the band a couple of times while we were there. But the main reason I chose "Love Shack" is because as you read this, I am dancing my ass off at Jazzercise. I bought a Groupon for Jazzercise while we were on vacation, and I can't wait to go. I've done Jazzercise on and off since forever the early 1980s, and back then, this song was my Jazzercise JAM. I haven't been back to a Jazzercise class since my kid was in elementary school.


image from
Stalwart. I love that word, so I thought I'd write an ode to it today.

It popped into my head because, as I was thinking about last week's FitBloggin' conference, I looked back at the people who attend. The first group are the newbies -- people who just started blogging or are thinking about starting a healthy living blog. Some of them return to next year's conference but many are "one and done." 

I worry about the "one and dones" -- they have the best of intentions to blog, to make healthier habits, to get in better shape. Then something happens, they hit a speed bump, and they're gone. 

But as I decided in this year's "tough love" post, it's not for me to worry about other people's weight loss -- I need to focus on my own.

Then there's the other group of FitBloggin' friends -- the stalwarts.

We're there year after year, reconnecting with our "blends" (blog friends), singing karaoke, supporting each other in our sessions and even leading those sessions.

So why are we there year after year? Why are we so loyal? (Especially those of us who don't return as a stunning success story.)

Because, in the words of Winston Churchill, we never, never, never give up.

Even when the scale doesn't budge, or goes up, or (like me) goes down in itty bitty increments.

Even when we're sidelined by an injury or illness or an overwhelming desire to binge watch "Orange is the New Black."

Even when the road to hell is paved with fried green tomatoes.

image from claimthevictory.orgWe eat those tomatoes and jump back on the horse. (OK, maybe not that horse -- he looks crazy.)

(Which is to say I actually lost a pound while out of town and yes I did eat fried green tomatoes, and fried okra and other things that I don't usually eat.)


Because I am resolute in my efforts to finish losing weight and I have friends who are equally stalwart (I linked to some of their "tough love" blog posts in my post.)

stalwart (ˈstɔːlwət)

1. strong and sturdy; robust
2. solid, dependable, and courageous: stalwart citizens.
3. resolute and firm
4. a stalwart person, esp a supporter

It takes those qualities to not throw in the towel and give up. We don't give up, even when it seems ridiculous or frustrating or really, really REALLY slow.

And if you're thinking of giving up, all I have to say is don't.

It's going to happen -- Winnie says so.

image from

Yoga Saturday: Yoga for Inflexible People

Yoga for inflexible people"Relax your gums."

Hearing that command, I burst into a fit of laughter.

I finally got around to doing one of the practices on the DVD "Yoga for Inflexible People" (Bodywisdom Media). I've had it for a couple of years, but actually, the DVD has been around since 2002. Because of that, it may not be the prettiest DVD you've ever done but when you think about it, you're not All really watching the TV much when doing yoga. Either your eyes are closed or you're twisted away from the TV.

All that said, I really liked the 15-minute energizing practice. I had a lot to do today and not a lot of time, so I needed quick and energizing. The voiceover guidance is clear and friendly and not too woo-woo. 

There are 20 different practices on the DVD -- some focus on body parts, like shoulders, while others are energizing or relaxing. The one I did had a lot of down dogs and had me standing and lying down. The practice called for yoga blocks, a chair and a strap, although I never saw the person on screen use the strap. The blocks came in handy for side poses but I didn't need the chair (I'm more flexible in some places, not so much in others). 

That "relax your gums" command came at the end, when I was on the floor in corpse pose. There were also other relaxing commands I had never thought of before, like letting your eyeballs rest at the back of your sockets. OK, I chuckled a bit at that, too, but it was also a good reminder to let EVERYTHING release tension -- even your eyeballs.

The tough-love letter, revisited

Oh, geez, the finger-wagging woman is back.

I've been swirling this post around in my head for days now. The first draft had me sounding like a raging bitch -- here's now it started:

Don't blame a planet. Don't blame a bagel or the sugar in your coffee. Don't blame jetlag.

Problem was, I wasn't talking to myself. I was wagging my finger at others.

The assignment that we were given at FitBloggin' 14 was to call ourselves out for our own nonsense (and yeah, I do believe that Mercury in retrograde stuff is nonsense).


What does that snarky #justtrollin hashtag mean? That's one of the "love taps" our Tough Love for Fitbloggers group came up with, the other being the much more snuggly #tribelove. Trolls are part and parcel of blogging and especially nasty if you write a weight-loss blog, cuz what's more hilarious than a "Hey, Fatty!" comment, huh?

But we liked the #justtrollin tag as a tongue-in-cheek way of saying "let's not be all full of head pats and sympathy." Sometimes we need to be called out on our cupcake dinners food choices.

But back to that assignment. I mentioned a post I did a couple years ago, which I called A Strongly Worded Letter to My Metabolic Processes and Hormones. I reread the last sentence to my friends in the FitBloggin' session:

I will be checking in with you on a weekly basis to see how you’re doing, and I hope you take this criticism the right way because I love and respect you and want you to do better. I’d also like to keep you around as long as humanly possible.

That's how the "self call-out" assignment came about.

So I decided to revisit my first call-out.

Back in 2012, I totally put the onus on my body's chemistry lab. Total excuse making right there. Sure I have a slow metabolism -- always have. I've been popping a daily Synthroid since 1988. Why did I not call out my love of late-night ham slices? The errant handfuls of nuts? 

But there are upsides to the last post. I did break that plateau -- now I'm on a brand-new, lower plateau! I'm definitely working out more -- at least 5 days a week -- and I have added strength training three times a week. I'm tracking like a BOSS, using My Fitness Pal and the Pact app.

As for the late-night eating and eating less, they go hand in hand. And while I am MUCH better at cutting out the late-night food trawling, I still have work to do because that's the only "eating less" that I need to do. I have learned since that last post that constantly cutting your calories lower and lower will only slow your metabolism even lower and leave you a hungry, cranky monster. 

So I'm calling myself out again. Get out of your comfort zone, and by comfort zone I mean the kitchen.

  • Read a book.
  • Organize your workspace.
  • Write a DVD review.
  • Go to sleep.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Brush the dog.
  • Plan the next day's menu.
  • Meditate on how awesome you are. 

I'll end this post the same way I did the first one:

I hope you take this criticism the right way because I love and respect you and want you to do better. I’d also like to keep you around as long as humanly possible.


The Management

Want to read other tough-love call-outs? Here are some from:


Please, click over and check out these posts because we're not afraid to dish out the tough love.