Tag Archives: Losing Weight

Getting Back on Track: Boot Camp

I went back to the gym last week.  That’s after gaining back thirty of the ninety-five pounds I lost last year!  It was time.  You can only go for so long saying to yourself things like, “It’s a stressful time: I should eat.”  Or “I’m feeling really happy today: I should eat.” Or, “I have a wedding coming up where I’m going to eat anyway, so I might as well eat.”

So, I signed up for a two-week session at my local YWCA that has the lovely name of “Boot Camp.”  And,  for the past eight days (the camp goes for ten), I’ve been showing up at the Y and doing an intense combination of cardio, weights and just general misery (lunges, planks, etc.) that has made me feel completely exhausted and muscle-achy–but very proud of myself.  I’m feeling muscles I didn’t know existed!  I have more energy at work.  My outlook on life has improved.  I’m even feeling more hopeful about eventually getting back to where I was.  My friend Catherine, who is the Director of Programs at the Y, told me about the camp, so, all I can say is, “Thank you, C.P.!”

I would like to say that I’ve also seriously curtailed my eating this week—to really take advantage of all those burned calories—but I’m afraid I’ve just boosted my eating enough to make sure I don’t lose weight.  But that’s okay.  The main thing is that I bit the bullet; I took the bull by the horns; I put a stop to the downward slide I was on.  I haven’t lost weight this week, but I also haven’t gained.  And I’ve gotten back over the terrible hurdle that I always face: FEAR/DREAD OF EXERCISE.  So, there’s hope.


Here’s how I figure it:  at the end of these two weeks, my body will be in slightly better shape than it was two weeks ago, and I will have two important things to motivate me to keep exercising (and, eventually, perhaps, even to cut back on my eating):  1) I will not want the misery—and the cost—of Boot Camp to have been for naught; 2) my body will actually feel the need for exercise again—it will be in a groove and not want to get out of it.  Most of all, I hope I can remember not to be a perfectionist.  My plan at least, is to forgive myself if I don’t go to  the gym every day but reward myself for any exercise I can squeeze into my life.  I will say to myself things like, “Any day you go is progress!”  or “If you walk around the block right now in the hot sun, even though it’s not a ton of exercise, it’s better than sitting on the couch.”

We’ll see.  Before I get to that point, however, I’ve got two more days of boot camp to get through.  Wish me luck!






Driving Myself Crazy by Worrying Too Much


I’ve been worrying too much lately.  It’s not good for me.  I do most of it at night, when the lights are out, and I wake up at 3 am, unable to sleep.  My worries run the gamut, but they always start with my 4 children: from my daughter in Africa (Will she catch some horrible disease from an errant mosquito?) to my son on a farm in New York (Will he survive another 105 degree day of digging up garlic plants?) to my other daughter at a blue grass concert in Connecticut (Will she be caught in a stampeding crowd of drunken concert-goers?) to my daughter here, safe under my roof (Will she be able to handle this upcoming year in high school,  with her 3 sports teams and band and outside-of-school activities?) to my job (Will I get everything done that is sitting on my desk?) to our finances (Never mind) to my health (Will I keep gaining weight or become an obese elderly woman that people pity and scorn?) to politics (Will Obama survive this nightmare? Will our economy? Will the world?) to religion (Is there a God out there listening?) back to my children (Why didn’t I brush their teeth more often?  Damn those stupid fruit roll-ups that I thought were healthy!  We won’t be able to afford the next 8 years of college!  Do they have what they need to make it in the world after college? which leasds to:  Did I give them any kind of spiritual basis to help them deal with their futures?)  You get my drift.  This is where things tend to go rapidly down hill into complete negativity.  I’m sure I don’t need to put examples here.  I’m sure most women over 50 know the kind of negative thinking you can do at 3 a.m., given a little energy and inclination!



I’ve heard from a very reputable source that you can create negative channels of thinking in your brain if you keep thinking the same negative thoughts—that you actually wear paths so that your negative thoughts become the easy trail through the woods that has the most markers!  They say that your job is to stop those negative thoughts by wearing new paths.

I’m working on it.  I’m trying to make myself say positive things to myself whenever I can: “The kids are healthy, and they have great teeth that they inherited from their grandmother!” or  “It doesn’t matter that your house is a pigpen!  You’re  too busy getting your priorities straight to clean that back room!” or  “You have willpower of iron!  You are getting thinner every day!” or “The world is not falling into a heap of total and complete ruin, no matter how much the signs point to that scenario!”

As I said, I’m working on it.  But it’s hard. Continue reading Driving Myself Crazy by Worrying Too Much

Americans Are Obsessed With Challenges

I'm so challenged

I spent the last two weeks at home with a terrible case of bronchitis.   Too sick and contagious to work, I vegged out on the couch and spent my time watching daytime T.V.  Now that’s an experience, especially for us baby boomers.


I watched the last episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show, lots of Dr. Oz (both shows are great for women over 50); morning talk shows; afternoon talk shows; The Lifetime Channel; The Classic Movie Channel; and of course all the commercials – and there are many.  All this shows led me to the discovery that our country is obsessed with challenges.  Why? I ask.  Isn’t living life itself challenging enough?  Why do we have to break it down?  Give it a name? The media is so good at seducing us with “challenges” and the products we need to overcome them.  Here are some of the tempting challenges even I contemplated while lying on the couch.

  • The weight loss challenge (by far the most numerous) I was particularly drawn to the Dr. Oz challenge to reboot your body in just two weeks!  He also has the ultimate anti-ageing challenge, and the sleep challenge, too.
  • Jillian Michaels fitness challenge
  • Dr.Phil’s family weight loss challenge
  • Here’s one I like, it’s twofold: anti-ageing and it will give you a new career while going to Botox school:
  • Suze Orman has the ultimate financial challenge, plus  mini ones where you can save $100/mo:
  • The teeth whitening challenge sponsored by Arm and Hammer:

Well, here’s my response to all this.  Really people?  Just take an anti-depressant and get on with it.


Here's a Dare!


Reflections of a Loser

Now that I’ve been in the “medal” program for a few weeks (that’s for people who have made it through the whole Optifast program and are trying to “maintain”), I have some final thoughts on this whole process.  (A friend of mine thought it was spelled “mettle,” since that’s what is required to keep doing well once you are allowed to eat food again.)

First of all, it’s a lot harder to stay on track when you don’t have someone laying out exactly what you get to eat and when–and you have to make your own choices.  Secondly, it’s also a lot easier, in some ways, than I feared.  I’m not, for example, real eager to give up the past four months of work in favor of a chocolate sundae, so temptation is not the problem. What’s hard is the amount of careful planning that is required in order to stay on program. 

Thirdly, I feel as if, at 70 pounds down, I am gradually emerging from a cocoon that I’ve had around me for the past several years–a protective layer of fat that I didn’t even know I had.  A friend said she noticed that even my hand gestures are different now–that I’m more openly expressive.  I don’t know how true that is–or if I was just strutting my stuff in front of her because she hadn’t seen me since the beginning of the program–but I do know that I was shy in certain circumstances before, such as trying on clothes, being in a bathing suit, wearing pants–where I’m less shy now. 

I’ve had a lot of positive reinforcement lately, and that’s wonderful–but also disconcerting, since I feel like the same old me inside this 50- something body, just with a different presentation to the outside world.

 All this has made me realize how much people notice our outside appearance, on the one hand, but also, on the other, how little they really notice it.  What I have found, even if I didn’t really need confirmation, is that the people who truly love you, love you through thick and thin (literally).  It’s good to know that.  It sure does help to keep me from putting the weight back on! Why would you when there is nothing to prove and no one to rebel against?  That’s a good feeling.

Week 17: Learning to Eat Again

We had a great session last night, which I feel compelled to write about, even if at the risk of boring everyone to death with my weight program!  We’re in “transition” now (like having a baby!), so we are transitioning back to “normal” eating (which, of course, has no relation to what we used to call “normal.”).  A lot of us had fears that we might go completely off the wagon in this stage and suddenly rush out and wolf down an ice cream sundae, now that food is available to us.  (It’s scary to give up the ease and security of opening a powdered drink every two to three hours!) But the instructor, the nutritionist for the program, had some great hints about how to manage this next phase.  First of all, you plan ahead, so that you do conscious, thought-out eating, instead of impulse eating.  So, for instance, you go to the grocery store on Sunday and purchase your mozarella sticks and lean chicken breasts, instead of hoping there will be something appropriate in the fridge for you to eat come Monday. Each day, you plan what meals you will need to prepare ahead of time and carry with you, what your snack will be, where you will get your 64 ounces of water, etc.

Secondly, and this is the part I like the best, you approach each meal  (and each snack) with the 1-2-3 system, checking off three things to make sure you’re getting the balanced nutrition you need:  1) protein 2) carbs and 3) fat.  If you start by asking yourself, “Where in this meal/snack will I get my 4 ounces of protein, 1-2 cups of good, unstarchy carbs, and 1 serving of fat?”, you’ll be able to handle whatever comes at you.  I like the approach:  it simplifies my life.  It also keeps food solidly in its place as balanced nutrition instead of all the other dangerous things it can turn into, such as romance, fun, glamour, comfort, therapy, etc.  It’s also beautifully uncomplicated, so I don’t have to be carrying around a calorie counter everywhere I go.  The final part of the plan:  remember portion control!  I just need to remember to use a small plate and make sure that 2/3 of that plate is made up of fruits/veggies/whole grains and 1/3 is lean protein.  I like it! 

We also talked about low-calorie alternatives for delicious treats, such as mashed cauliflower with garlic and Greek yoghurt in place of mashed potatoes–but that’s a whole other subject.