Internal Dialogues Feed

It doesn't work that way anymore

Rewire my brain-PixTeller-1319743
I don't know why I think I'll be back over 200 pounds when I get on the scale every week because it doesn't work that way anymore.  

I don't know why I think my jeans won't fit when I put them on, even though they fit a couple weeks ago. 

I don't know why I thought all those extra-large tankini tops would fit me when I brought them in the dressing room when I just got rid of a bunch of swimsuits in that size.

It doesn't work that way anymore.

But my brain still works that way, and it's going to take time to remold it to my new normal. That's the cool thing about brains -- you can rewire them but it takes time.

It's not really body dysmorphia because I DO see the changes when I look in the mirror. It's more like my brain having to play catch-up with my body. When I'm folding laundry I'll hold up a pair of my jeans and think "How do these possibly fit me???"

But they do. 



'Don't even start.'

"Don't EVEN start." 

That's what I told myself last night around 10 p.m.

And it sorta worked. 

HoneydewI had a few honeydew chunks and then skedaddled out of the kitchen. Better than sitting on the sofa with a box of cereal or jar of nut butter, I figured. A lot better.

But what part of "Don't EVEN" do I not understand?

Was I hungry? No. I really wasn't. I ate a big ol' grilled chicken salad with black beans and corn at Bokamper's, plus three french fries from my kid's plate.

But I was still following my old nighttime pattern, one I really want to break.

After a few weeks of avoiding the scale and surrounding myself with diet books, I came to the realization that it's not WHAT I eat, it's WHEN, and the big WHEN problem is after dinner.

When I found myself in the kitchen, staring into the refrigerator, I gave myself the choice: "Pick whatever produce you want," so I went for the fruit. 

But not even starting should make things even easier. When I say "Nope -- done eating for the day," I won't have to make deals with myself.

I'm going to see whether simply not eating after dinner makes a difference on the scale.

(Spoiler alert: It will.)

Another thing that will help is me going to bed earlier, something that I have great trouble doing because I am a petulant baby. I WANNA WATCH THE TEEVEE!

Last night I went to bed at midnight, which is much better than I have been doing all summer. I plan on winding that back to around 11:30 tonight, and perhaps I'll keep going 'til I hit 11.

And exercise? Don't ask. 

My left heel is a freaking mess. I've had a cranky achilles for awhile now, and lately it's been really bugging me so I saw the doc and got an X-ray. My left ankle/heel area is a garbage dump of inflammation, heel spurs, and thickened tendons, all converging in a big house of pain at the insertion point. It's called insertional achilles tendinitis, and the good news is I start physical therapy on Wednesday. 

This better work.

Choose your Points well, Grasshopper

Summer of success 2016_edited-1Totally muffed the first week back on Weight Watchers. I gained a pound and was hungry all the time.

For those unfamiliar with the new SmartPoints program, the key determinants to how many Points a food has are calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein. Carbs don't figure and neither does fiber or total fat. 

And I am apparently making the wrong food choices. A Chobani Flip is a frequent afternoon or evening snack, and those little suckers are racking up at least 8 Points. I just had an ounce of cashews after the gym and was dismayed to see that the tiny handful was 5 Points.

Man, I need to rethink my snacks because they're eating up all my Points. That's why I was hungry all week. I blew through those 42 bonus Points before the week was up. 

If you'd like to read about someone who is just killing it on the new Weight Watchers plan, check out my pal Monica, who explains how she lost 25 pounds in 100 days.

Exercise-wise, I ditched the DVDs and went back to the gym this morning and did 20 minutes on the arc trainer and some upper-body machines. Now my upper back is reminding me that we haven't done that in awhile, have we? 

In other news ...

I had an epiphany in the dressing room of Avenue today while trying on shorts. I'd call it a hissy fit but really it was more of an "angels singing" kinda thing as I tried to yank the shorts over my saddlebags. A smile spread over my face as I tossed the too-small shorts on the bench.

"Yep, that's it. Buy a bigger size and go home and make a phone call."

And that I did.

Who did I call ... ?


Live blogging my urge to run to the kitchen

I've been thoroughly fed up with my late-night snacking, so when I felt the urge to eat come over me, I grabbed my phone instead and decided to live blog this feeling, which is...


I can't tell whether I am truly hungry or my brain is just going all Pavlovian on me. Either way, there's a gnawing in the pit of my stomach.

But the more I ignore it, the more it dissipates. It really is hard to break a lifetime habit, but I decided to embrace the "springtime renewal" of the season and really, really work on it. I broke out the Fitbook again, but I'm simply writing down what I eat. No calories, no macros. Just the food.

So did I stay out of the kitchen? No. I filled a bowl with spring mix and had a salad. 

Baby steps. 

Crushing a craving in real time

image from
It's 11:57 p.m. Sunday. I'm combing through a bunch of emails and I keep resisting the urge to go to the kitchen. 

I want a piece of leftover chicken.

But I'm not physically hungry. I just ate a little snack cup of peaches packed in juice, like 5 minutes ago.

All I can think of is the chicken.

But then I watch a clip from an exercise DVD and I see people doing moves that I want to do.

"You could probably do them if you were thinner," I think to myself.

I talk myself out of eating anything more and grab for the water bottle next to my computer.

And, scene.

(... and bed.)

If you lived here, you'd be home now

I just got back from Target, where I bought a Flash superhero T-shirt for the teenager (tomorrow is some sort of superhero spirit day), a dollar's worth of Dr. Seuss erasers, some fancy striped drinking straws (props for photo shoots) and a 2.5-pound bag of skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

I added up all the protein in that bag and thought to myself "No way in hell am I supposed to eat this much protein in one day!"


I had a check-in with a trainer who was giving me eating pointers and she threw out this figure -- eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Eat all the chicken
For me, that comes out to a little more than 200 grams of protein per day, which seems a bit nuts. Now she's not a registered dietitian and said that she was not an authority on eating, so I did some Googling and apparently the 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is something that was recommended to musclehead bodybuilders way back in the day, but for the most part no one is recommending that anymore. 

It's more like 1 gram per kilo of body weight (about half of what I was trying to shove down yesterday) or 1 gram per pound of lean body mass (also around the same number).

Chickens can rest safely now -- I am not coming to get you.

Needless to say, eating yesterday was stressful, thinking that I needed to slaughter entire fields of chickens to get through the week. 


(Stressful eating makes me, ummmm, eat, and not hard-boiled egg whites. More like fistfuls of Cheerios.)

But I did get a good takeway from the trainer meeting, and it's something I already knew from Robert Ferguson's Diet Free Life program. It's all about keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day, because those rollercoaster peaks and valleys encourage fat storage and cravings.

The trainer's recommendation is not to go carb crazy at breakfast, which is what a lot of people do. Instead of a superfruity smoothie or a bagel, I should reach for protein, fat and non-starchy carbs to kick the day off with a smoother start, blood-sugar wise. Her recommendation is to leave the starches and fruit to mid-day, and get back on the low sugar/starch bandwagon at dinner again so you don't wake the craving monster. 

(I have a craving monster and she is a polar bear.)

It's funny when I look back over posts I did a couple years ago (like that polar bear one). While I'm glad I got over that plateau, I always wonder why I don't follow that great advice I dished out in 2012 for more than a minute.

If you lived here

(Aww, man. I set out to write a post about protein and this life lesson dumped itself on my keyboard.)

This is one of my constant regrets (is it a regret or a frustration? regret sounds so sad and I ain't sad), something that itches back in the recesses of my psyche. 

  • Why is this taking so long? 
  • Why don't I pick something and stick to it?
  • Why do I sabotage myself?
  • Why do I start some thing and see the scale go up instead of down?
  • How do those people lose all their weight in a year or two?

Pardon our brain dumpMy exercise is spot on, I eat super healthy food, my water drinking is way better than it's been in years, I'm going to bed at a reasonable hour now and getting around 8 hours of sleep a night, I log nearly all my food ...

... nearly all my food ...

(Cue the INXS-themed blog post from two years ago...)


So, in summation:

  • More protein but not MOAR PROTIEEEEEEN.
  • Superhero T-shirt.
  • No blood-sugar rollercoasters.
  • INXS songs and angry polar bears.
  • Drinking a blackberry smoothie as I finish this BECAUSE IT'S LUNCH AND IT'S FRUIT TIME.
  • Real estate analogies to weight loss.

Thank you, carry on.

Garden Party

I haven't posted anything since last Tuesday, mostly because I was cranky and stewing over a bunch of stuff.

I stopped stewing today on the rowing machine, when the lyrics to an old song popped into my head:

"It's all right now,

I've learned my lesson well.

You see you can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself."

To be quite honest, I am not a fan of oldies music. Gotta keep moving forward, no looking in the rear-view mirror -- that's kinda how I feel about music.

Oldies radio stations remind me of old dudes with ponytails and earrings, wearing Tommy Bahama shirts and riding around in PT Cruisers, thinking they're cool. (Apologies to anyone who may resemble that.)

But the song "Garden Party," released in 1972 (I was 10) by former teen-idol (possibly the first teen idol) Rick Nelson, has a cool, timeless vibe to it and the chorus always pops into my head when I need it.

I cranked up the wayback machine and listened to a couple versions of it on YouTube -- the original and a verson from nine years ago, sung by Rick Nelson's sons:

 If you're a regular reader of the blog, you might have been expecting a blog post from my sister today, reviewing the meal-delivery food I made for her last week. But it's not here. I had called and left messages and texted her all weekend to pick up this week's food but she said she wasn't near her phone.

Maybe she'll get back to me about it, maybe she won't -- I just can't stew about it. I need to deal with my own business.

"It's all right now,

I've learned my lesson well.

You see you can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself."

Another "stew ingredient" -- I wrote a post a few weeks ago titled "Before I can inspire anyone else, I need to inspire myself." Shortly after I wrote that I received a well-meaning email from a relative, and frankly, I didn't know how to respond.

They suggested that I don't stick with a diet long enough to have one work, and, yeah, I have done that in the past, WHICH IS WHY I'M NOT ON A QUOTE-UNQUOTE DIET anymore. They also suggested that maybe I give Weight Watchers a try.

I've been giving Weight Watchers a try for (no lie) 42 YEARS -- that's when my mom signed me up, at age 10, right before my sister's Brownie fly-up ceremony, where I remember I wasn't allowed to eat a cookie because it was "illegal." (Yes, back in the day, foods on Weight Watchers were legal and illegal.) I do know many people who have been successful with Weight Watchers, but I am pretty sure they joined on their own terms and at a later age, when they were able to grasp the methods as adults and weren't "losing weight for Mommy."

"It's all right now,

I've learned my lesson well.

You see you can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself."

But I'm not just winging it, willy-nilly, though. I'm following the principles of Robert Ferguson and his Diet Free Life. One of Robert's favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Here's the full quote:

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

The principles of Robert's system are simple -- eat every 2 to 3 hours, balance your meals and keep within a certain caloric range for meals and snacks. Boom, that's it. Trouble is, I wasn't really embracing those principles. I kept fudging around with the timing (eating too frequently and hence MORE) and the amount of food and what I was eating and ... I was making it too complicated and neurotic. I tend to make myself crazy with internal "food rules," and they have never worked. So, as the faux-Australian restaurant chain says "No rules, just right."

So today I reset my intentions and made it easier for me to grasp the principles and to do that I drew a few boundaries so I can make them habits (sometimes you have to draw a few easy boundaries). I'm PRE-planning my meals and snacks, not just half-assed planning them. And eating them in the kitchen, at the table. Not in the den, not in the living room, and not at the kitchen counter out of the bag or box or bowl. And I'm stretching the time between meals and snacks to 3 hours instead of 2. This helps to release glucagon, which promotes the release of stored energy, ie, the extra stuff on your thighs. (That's another little thing I learned from Robert. He's also into maximizing hormones for weight loss.)

ere are my two snacks for later in the day:

Todays snacks

The bowl has some cut-up fruit -- cantaloupe, watermelon and a few grapes -- and that green thing is a Babybel mozzarella. That bowl contains 160 calories of real food.

My evening snack is a chocolate salted caramel Pure Protein bar, which is perfect for when I start haunting the kitchen looking for something resembling chocolate. It's also high in protein so that and a bottle of water should keep me for the night.

I'm already really good at planning my meals -- I have a husband and a teenager, and having all three of us sit down to dinner is important to me. It's MY in-between times, especially at night, not theirs, where things go haywire. So every day, at the beginning of the day, I'll squirrel away my snacks.

I wrestled a little with writing this today because it involves people in my family, and I pretty much never "go there." I also know that they read this blog ("Hi everyone! No need for concerned phone calls or emails! This is why I blog! I'm not suicidal! I'm actually really, really good! It's not about you! It's about me! Love ya!") but this stuff was important for ME to get off MY chest. For me, blogging is an exercise in uncovering layers, and this layer felt like it was Velcroed to me. 

Yes, I know what to do and what not to do.

Yes, I appreciate any and all concern.

Yes, I know that I can't make people do things they might not be ready to do just right now.

(Yes, this unburdening makes me feel fantastic.)

Time for a decorative quote!


image from

"It's all right now,

I've learned my lesson well.

You see you can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself."


Do I not trust myself?

Good food thought with a warning

I haven't weighed myself since before Mother's Day, during which I had a lovely brunch with my family at a vegan restaurant.

Also during that time was my nephew's high school graduation celebration and BlogHer Food, which I have dubbed my "healthy snack food vision quest." I am also in the middle of an "extended PMS holding pattern slow jam" -- women of my age will know what that means. (Is it coming? Is it not?)

I feared stepping on the scale like I do stepping on a cockroach. (Eeek! Eeek! Jump off!)

This morning I did it anyway and I was down 2 pounds.

To be honest, I wasn't really surprised. My clothes weren't getting tight. I didn't feel especially bloated. But there was extra food, and snacking and samples and "Don't mind if I do's!"

That's why I put that graphic up there. I like the sentiment but you can definitely overdo it on "good food."

Almonds, avocados, edamame, cherries, almond milk lattes -- all good and all some of my favorites.

And if I'm not careful and conscious with my eating, all capable of stalling weight loss.

So back to the scale: While I didn't track a lot of those samples and snacks, I did track all my meals, and I got in five days of exercise every week. I didn't booze it up, save for a couple of gin and tonics.

Why did I think I'd have a scale disaster? Do I not trust myself?

I guess, from all the years of having a dieting mentality, I still don't.

I'm not sure what I would have felt if the number on the scale had gone up instead of down. I guess I also wouldn't have been surprised.

True, the number on the scale doesn't define ME, but it does give me a good indication of whether what I'm doing is working. 

I kinda feel relieved that I finally got on the scale -- now I can move on and keep the success rolling.

I finally cracked open the book "State of Slim" (Rodale Books, 2013) -- the book's goal is to fix a broken metabolism. I'm barely through the first chapter but I know my metabolism is broken from decades of dieting/not dieting/thinking Im dieting. I like that the book is grounded in years and years of science and studies and testing. It's definitely not a fad diet book. If you want to find out a little more about the book and the science behind it, you can check out my pals Kymberly and Alexandra, who recorded a podcast with Dr. James O. Hill, one of the "State of Slim" authors. (You may even hear a question from me!).

I took a peek at the menu for the first two weeks and it's pretty limited, but that's the point. We're fixing what's broken, and apparently chocolate ice cream doesn't fix a broken metabolism.

 Oh, BTW, I've been working on cleaning up my blog's email feed so if you'd like to subscribe and get blog updates (and that's all, no spam), click on the sign-up box on the right. (It's one of the things I learned at BlogHer Food.)

'Do you think this is your fate?': A brain dump in 1 act

I had someone ask me the other day, after telling them my weight-loss life story:

"So do you think this is your fate?"

To which I replied:

Aw hell no

I mean, while heredity, age, thyroid function, tortilla chips, metabolism, prior dieting all figure into the equation, making things harder, there is no "This is my fate" towel throwing.

Although I am going to make an appointment with an endocrinologist because ...

This ish is ridic.

brb ...

Dang! Just tried to make an appointment with an endocrinologist but they only see HYPERthyroid people, not HYPO. What's up with that?

Anyhizzle ... (I'm listening to Snoop Dogg on Pandora.)

Losing weight isn't impossible, but for some of us, the weight doesn't just fall off, like it does in teevee commercials.

Who are these people who decide one day to lose weight, buy some broccoli and running shoes and -- boom! Fifty pounds gone.

(Sorry this is turning into a brain dump.)

So, getting back to the question at hand:

Fat is not my fate.

But, geez! I'm mad at the scale right now because I was going guns ablazin' then I stepped on the scale this week and GAINED 4 POUNDS, which must be in my toes or something because my clothes fit exactly the same. 

I delved deeper into my Withings scale stats to make sense of it and my fat mass dropped a bunch while my lean mass increased a lot, so maybe it's that, but still ... grrrr.

I'm just throwing this out to the universe:

I would like just for once to see some consistent weight loss for a few months. 

I am driving a bus to Hawaii

Get ready, because I am going to ...

Use all the metaphors

It's what happens when I go for a walk while trying to figure out how to make things work better. 

The scale is stuck, like ...

I am stuck

These 3 pounds feel like a hundred. 

What 3 pounds you ask? The ones that came back after I had beaten them off of me back in October. That's when I had the Unfortunate Generic Synthroid Incident and gained about 6 pounds. Three of those pounds are gone but another 3 refuse to leave.

They're my unwanted holiday houseguests.

I was listening to Robert Ferguson's Diet Free Life podcast on my walk today, as I often do. He's really motivating and encourages a diet-free life, which means you aren't "off" or "on" anything. But you do need to have a plan. And lately my plan is "WHEEEE, NO PLANS!"

On the particular podcast I was listening to today, he likened it to driving a bus to Hawaii. What does that have to do with losing weight? This is how he explained it:

"The bus driver said you're going to Hawaii, but you can't drive from Los Angeles to Hawaii. The only way I know to get to Hawaii from Los Angeles is by boat or plane -- you can't drive. So no matter how great this plan appeared, that bus cannot drive you to Hawaii. ... Just because there's a plan doesn't mean it's going to get you to the destination that you want to be."

Gail drives a bus to hawaii

 So I need to have some sort of plan -- something that will get me to "Hawaii" without drowning off Catalina.

 I'm doing much better with late-night eating but I'm still terrible with drinking water. I made a pledge to my Retrofit advisor that I'd get in 4 glasses of water (not coffee, not tea, not "watery substance" but water) and I actually did it yesterday. I have some serious catching up to do this afternoon. While I don't believe water has magical properties, I do believe it'll help with water retention, fatigue and hunger cravings. 

I'm also focusing on eating more fresh fruit and vegetables to replace some starchy carbs. Yesterday, for example, I had a pear with my yogurt instead of my usual Corazonas oat square. Don't get me wrong, I love those things, but I'll just have them less often. And today's afternoon snack is a pile of celery with some hummus mixed with sriracha sauce (Why haven't I tried this until now? It's faboo!). Usually, my afternoon snack is something sweet but I'm trying to steer myself away from that a bit -- it's less craving inducing, to me at least.

That's my plan this week -- more produce and more water.

Oh, and here's that podcast from Robert. You can subscribe to him on iTunes, which is what I do:

More Weight Loss Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Robert Ferguson on BlogTalkRadio