It has been more than two months since I’ve posted.
Part of the reason is because I’ve been super busy with a new addition to our family – our adorable puppy Kirby (you can follow his instagram at kirbalicious1219).
And part of the reason is that reducedfatbutter and weight loss just haven’t been in the forefront of my mind recently. In fact, I had pretty much resigned myself to giving up with trying to lose the weight altogether.
Because I came to a realization. That yes, it is possible for me to lose weight. When I track everything I eat. When I exercise daily. When I plan my meals in advance, prepare detailed shopping lists, take the time to cook – even if it means different meals for me versus the rest of my family. Yes, when I do all that, it is possible to lose the weight.
But it becomes nearly impossible to do anything else.
And there are so many things in life I’d rather be doing. The time it takes to do all the things necessary to get any weight loss results is huge.
And even more than that, the mental mind space it takes is even bigger. Focusing on healthy eating, exercise and weight loss to the degree that is necessary to see any measurable results is just mentally exhausting and doesn’t leave space to feed my mind with any thing else. Any of the other things I love.
I left my job at American Express nearly five years ago. This year I have committed to four different volunteer efforts, all of which I am really excited about. I have been asked to lead up a new program call Fill the Van with Love for a local charity Kids’ Kloset. Given our goals and vision for this new program, this in and of itself could be someone’s full-time job. I’m also working on a new initiative at my synagogue around how we as a community help those who have fallen ill. I’ll be a PTO vice president next school year. And my personal favorite, at a neighboring city’s public elementary school I serve as a reading mentor to two young children whose literacy skills are below grade level. Their teacher commented that my weekly visits might be the only one-on-one reading time they have with an adult all year.
And let’s not forget the other things in life – taking care of and spending time with my kids and my husband, connecting with friends and family and even enjoying a little “me” time to just relax.
So I decided, screw it. Maybe other people can do everything. But I know myself. I can lose weight or I can do all these other things. And right now all these other things just seems like such a more attractive option.
I wasn’t thrilled about it. I mean, I’d love to be skinnier. Look cuter in clothes. Be in better shape. But I wasn’t willing to make the trade-offs. At least not at this time.
And, then as it always does, something happened so reinvigorate and inspire me.
A friend from college shared on Facebook that he is beginning a yearlong journey to lose 100 pounds. He’s invited friends and family to watch, cheer him on, support him through the challenges he will undoubtedly face and witness his transformation.
His excitement about this project is contagious. And motivating. And even though I have no idea how I will make the mental space to focus on weight loss and healthy living without giving up on all the other things I prefer to think about and concentrate on, I know I can’t totally give up yet.
Wish me luck.
And, if you'd like to follow and support my friend in his yearlong journey, check out his Facebook group Recovering: My Health and ask to join. He will welcome you gladly.
Here is New York, it is a snow day. With the kids at home and me still in my pajamas at 3:17pm, it would have been so easy to let my recent good eating habits slip.
For the past three weeks, I have been following my own – well, for lack of a better term – diet. My goal is to eat at least one meal each day that is carb-free. Obviously, I am not cutting out all carbs in that meal, which would be virtually impossible for me, so or the sake of this “diet” I am considering what my grandmother calls “white colored food” as my taboo carbs. Bread, pasta, rice, cereal, potatoes.
What is amazing that just using this simple rule has gotten me so much more conscientious about my food take overall. Right at the start of my day, I need to think about what I will be eating for all three of my meals in order to ensure that at least one of them will be carb-free. It is easiest to try to get my catb-free meal done at breakfast so the days when I have apples in the house, my goto meal is almond butters & apple. Delicious, carb-free (again, my definition of carb-free) and good protein. When we are appleless, I think ahead to what my lunch and dinner plans are. Will I be able to have a salad for lunch? An omelet? Am I making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner? If so, can I substitute the broccoli and cauliflower rice I purchased pre-cut at the supermarket for the pasta and have that as my carb-free meal? So far, I have been able to succeed on this plan without cheating even one day. That, combined with going to the gym 4 days per week (my goal is 3-4 days per week but so far I’ve hit 4x ech of the last three weeks) and being better my after-dinner snakcs (as in NOT having them!), has enabled me to lose about 5lbs. Woo hoo!
And, as I said, this not-diet has gotten me more mindful about food overall. So I no longer pretend the chocolate covered granola bar is a healthy snack. Instead, if I need a pick me up, I eat a low carb, low sugar protein bar (finally found a kosher one that actually tastes pretty good)… or sometimes even carrots or snap pea pods. And, I also have had several days when two of my meals are carb-free. I haven’t committed to two carb-free meals a day – yet. But now that I see I can go one meal without them, two isn’t always so hard.
I’m not perfect. Sure, I had a carb-free lunch yesterday, but I also not only had pizza for dinner last night but also two slices of the yummy Italian bread that came with the salad we ordered. Delicious? Yes. Necessary? Probably not.
And this morning I had plans for my almond butter and apple breakfast but when my younger son requested chocolate chip pancakes, I make them for him and I indulged too. I was a little annoyed with myself for doing it and almost gave myself a “pass” to skip a carb-free meal today. It would have been so easy. But instead when lunchtime came, I made my self a delicious and healthy egg, peppers and onion scramble. Go me!!
Happy New Year!
I have made one – and only one – new year’s resolution.
Given the subject of my blog, you’d think you know what it would be. But you’d be wrong.
My one resolution is NOT about losing weight.
You see, our living room has become a de facto storage unit, albeit a very large one, and truthfully at this point I am expecting the production team from Hoarders to come storming in at any moment. So I promised my husband that if we host New Year’s Eve again next year, I promise, PROMISE, the living room will be back in usable order instead of my having to warn our guests “you can’t go in there.”
But truthfully, this resolution will be just as challenging for me as it any weight or diet related resolution would be. As I like to say, I’m clean but not neat. I’d rather scrub a pot or pan, or even a toilet, than try to tidy up a room or organize files or go through the piles of paper that just keep piling and piling and piling up. And I have always been this way. Keeping a neat room has never been my strong suit. In fact, before they’d permit me to get my ears pierced in elementary school, my parents made me keep my room clean for a week. My unmade bed, clothes-covered floor and messy room was the cause of many, many, many fights with my mother throughout my life including my teenage years until I finally retorted, “Some parents are dealing with kids who drink or are drug addicts… you should be thrilled that the biggest complaint you have about me is a messy room.”
Which is all to say that lifelong habits are hard to break. Or as my grandmother says “people don’t change, they just get more so.”
So when my parents came to dinner tonight with birthday card I had made for a friend when I was maybe age 5 or 6 (and returned to them yesterday by the birthday girl’s father), I realized something. My sweet tooth, my love of chocolate nd cookies and all sorts of treats goes back a long ways and it should come as NO surprise how challenging it has been and continues to be for me to eat healthier and to lose weight.
How do I know this? Because the card – this card that I wrote sometime in the mid 1970s – reads, “I wish you a cake for your birthday.”
I mean, really…. Come on….
How do I stand a fighting chance against a love that has clearly been part of my life since I was just a kid? So yes, I will keep TRYING to eat better, to be more conscious about my food choices, to exercise regularly and, of course, to blog about it for all of you.
But no, losing weight will NOT be my new year’s resolution.
Best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy, 2017. May it be filled with love, laughter and a few delicious treats!
The holiday season has officially begun, kicked off by that food day of all food days, Thanksgiving. I know everyone jokes about wearing their fat pants to Thanksgiving dinner but I kid you not when I say my husband wore $10 Target sweats, along with a $5 hoodie and a t-shirt, to my in-law’s that night. I say if you’re going to do that, let’s go all-in next year: Pajamagiving…. PJs for all. He does claim he has never been more comfortable and I am sure that is true.
As for me, comparatively dressed up in jeans and a cardigan, I was actually proud of my eating behavior this year. When we arrived, cheese, crackers and crudité were set up. In the hour+ before we actually sat to dinner I only ate 1 cracker and a piece of celery. I’m anti-cheese, so that wasn’t even tempting and I don’t think I get any extra points for NOT eating it. At six, the full meal was served including: turkey, sweet and sour meatballs, salad, sweet potato (with marshmallows, of course!), string bean casserole, roasted brussels sprouts (thanks spell check and Google – now I know the correct word is brussels, plural) and my personal absolute favorite – chestnut stuffing. I’ll admit, in prior years I have gone to town on that stuffing. Seconds, thirds, fourths - whatever I could get away with without everyone noticing (or maybe they did?). But this year, I filled my plate just the one time – with appropriate portion sizes BTW - and didn’t take any seconds. Now, it didn’t hurt that I had a terrible cold and my appetite was pretty non-existent but whatever. I still ate like a normal person and didn’t gorge myself out at the year’s biggest food fest. Go me. I was even good at dessert. One thin slice of pecan pie and two mini chocolate covered pretzels. Yes, I passed on the pastries, the ice cream and even the apple pie. Me. I know! I still can’t believe it!
Being sick over the weekend, I missed out on the family trip to Baskin Robbins. Again, good news for my waistline. Saturday night my husband and I did go out for dinner with friends, and we each picked a different flavor of ice cream to share but that still seems healthy relative to the other dessert options – huge milk shakes or ice cream sundaes. Sunday night, I passed on the s'mores offered as dessert at our local Japanese BBQ joint. I’ll place both those nights in the win column too.
By Monday morning I was down to X-0.3 and was pretty psyched…. After all, who LOSES weight on Thanksgiving weekend?? Wanting to keep up the good work (or should I say “down”?), when I took my kids to lunch on Monday afternoon, I passed on dessert and watched them eat their ice cream sundae and their fudge brownie – and didn’t even share since I didn’t want to spread my cold to them. Woo hoo! I’m back on track I thought! Maybe I can still end 2016 at a weight below where I started it.
But then Monday night I ate a Skor bar and when I went to weigh myself Tuesday morning I was back up to X+0.2. Really?!? I gained ½ a pound from a freaking Skor bar?!?! Not cool.
Happy to say, I didn’t let that get me off track. Went to the gym Tuesday. Took the kids out for dinner at a salad place last night. Weighed myself this morning.
Weight update: X-0.9. I’ll take it!
I’ve never been into Yoga. It always seemed a little hippie-dippy to me, what with feeling your chi and centering your soul (I’m making these terms up… how do they sound?). Strike a pose and meditate didn’t sound like real exercise to me. Given the choice between a Pilates class and a yoga class, I’d always go for the one that promised to work my core over the one that promised to work my mind or spirit.
But then I was speaking to my friend J. She and I have often compared notes on our diets and efforts to lose weight. Except unlike me, who has been mostly writing about losing weight, J. has actually been losing weight these past few years. From tracking her daily food intake and eating healthier meals and snacks to exercising nearly every day, J.'s efforts have been really successful and she looks and feels great. So, when she mentioned that yoga had really helped curb her cravings, I decided to give it a chance.
Luckily, this decision came along right at the time my local gym started offering at Yoga Basics class. In fact, today was it’s first class and I was there to give it a go. There were about ten of us in the class, and from the looks of it, all but one of us was a newbie. I strategically placed my mat next to the sixtyish (seventyish?) man with bad knees because if I’ve learned anything from three trips to Canyon Ranch with my mother, it’s that exercising next to people who are older and in worse shape than me always gives me that boost of confidence I need.
Our first step was to sit criss-cross-applesauce (my term, not the teacher’s) with our arms to our sides and breathe. No problem. From there we did a series of postures that took us from sitting to lying down to standing to balancing on one leg, and then going from planks to downward dog and back again before finally lying down eyes closed and just breathing again. Some movements and poses were easier than others. My bridges definitely were better than Mr. Sixty’s but I think I was the only one in class who couldn’t hold his or her balance on one leg…. no surprise to me since I’ve been practicing (but not perfecting) this with my trainer each week.
Overall, I liked it more than I expected. Big on breathing and body movements; short on preaching about the wisdom of the yogi or connecting with our spirit animal. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the last few minutes I was lying down, eyes closed, slowly breathing and so relaxed that I practically fell asleep. I’m not ready to invest in my own yoga mat quite yet but I would definitely try another Yoga Basics class again.
As for curbing my cravings? Well, after class I headed over to CVS to pick up a prescription and may or may not have bought and eaten a king sized Kit Kat bar.
Weight update: X
In my last post, I wrote that I had lost my motivation to lose weight and improve my health and I needed to find it ASAP.
Sometimes you can find motivation in the most unexpected ways.
I woke up Wednesday morning shocked, sad, scared and just completely gutted by the results of the election. I wanted to stay in bed, curled up in the fetal position and pretend like the election hadn’t happened. But I had two kids to get ready for school and a new volunteer position to start that morning. I made it through the day. Still sad and scared, but functioning.
Thursday morning I had an appointment with the trainer at the gym and though I usually dread my hour with him (not because he’s not great, because he is, but because exercise – ugh!), I looked at him and said, “I have a lot of stress and anger because of the election – let’s get it out right now.” For a change, I didn’t complain to him. I did 15 reps when he asked for 12. I used the heavier weights when I’d normally ask him to swap them out for something lighter. I gave it my all.
And it felt really good.
Sure, I’ve got a long way to go and many changes to make (and to make them consistently) if I am going to slim down, eat better, build up my strength.
But I am going to need to do it. Because there are a lot of things I am riled up about now. A LOT.
And I want to be a positive, contributing force to improving our communities, our country and our world. To make sure we remain a place for tolerance, equality and kindness.
And it is going to take determination, endurance, and dedication to do it.
Whether I contribute in big ways or small -- from my new volunteer role reading with children whose skills are below grade level to contributing my dollars and my time to charities and organizations that support my values to looking for ways I can help change the political makeup of our government in the 2018 and 2020 elections, and more - - it is going to take motivation and energy.
So I need to get myself into shape, and be healthy and strong and ready to go.
A few people have asked if I have stopped blogging. While it may seem like I have, that certainly is not my intention so tonight is just a quick post to let you all know I am still here.
I wish I had more of an update.
I am still meeting with the personal trainer once a week.
Last week I did the 3-mile One Walk for JDRF.
And that about sums up all of the things I have done to improve my health over the past month.
Unfortunately, I just have not been that motivated. As I told a friend tonight, when I have an event I do wish I was thinner and looked better in my dress (it looks so cute online, why not on me??), but the rest of the time I just don’t care.
The model Kate Moss famously said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” but I think that’s complete bullsh*t. Did she never have an Oreo? A Ring Ding? A Kit Kat? A Carvel ice cream cake with the crunchies in the middle (all things I have eaten this week alone, by the way)? This chick must have been eating the wrong foods because there are soooo many things that taste better than skinny.
Tomorrow is Halloween. The good news is that I have yet to break open any of the many bags of treats I purchased. I am sure I’ll be sampling a few chocolate bars tomorrow night. But then any leftover candy not given out to trick or treaters will either go with my husband to the hospital or to my kids’ school where they are collecting candy to give to the US troops. Ok, I may keep a few hidden for myself at home. I’m not perfect.
Our kitchen remodel is coming along and the cabinets were installed last week. I am hoping it’ll be finished by the end of November. I never thought I’d miss cooking and I am sure my kids never thought they’d miss my cooking but we are getting sick of take out, pizza and eating out. We’re ready for some real home cooked meals – even the ones I make but especially the ones my husband cooks. And, as you probably know, one tends to eat much more healthy food at home than at a restaurant so the whole family will see some benefits once the kitchen is back in working condition.
In the meantime, I am hoping my motivation and determination and will power start to kick in. I lost them all somehow so I need to find them ASAP. If you have any advice on how to get them back, please let me know in the comments. Thanks.
For Jews around the world, it is a new year. A good time to start fresh. A clean slate.
And, boy, can I use one.
I’ll just come out and say it. I’m back to where I started in January. Along with summer’s ice cream, s’mores, BBQs and beers, came all the weight I had lost.
I’m not getting upset. I knew at the time the decisions I was making. I had a fantastic summer that included a weekend in Maine, one in Boston and a two week vacation in Alaska and Seattle. I visited with lots of family and hung out with many friends over the past few months. I kayaked, I sea-planed, I cruised, I dog-mushed and I went to the gym on a fairly consistent basis.
So, yeah, it sucks that I put back on the weight and have to start all over.
But getting angry, upset or frustrated won’t change anything. So instead, I’ll just have to get back my resolve (not sure I have it yet!) and my will power (definitely don’t have that yet!) and get back to basics.
Sure, the fact that I don’t have a kitchen right now (and probably won’t for the next couple of months) makes it even more of a challenge but such is life. But no complaints. I’m lucky enough to be redoing my kitchen and I’ll just look forward to breaking out the spiralizer and cooking up healthier foods when it’s ready.
Until then, I’ll do my best to make better eating decisions, to keep exercising regularly and to even post on the blog once in a while.
I haven’t gotten on the scale recently but let’s assume we are back at X.
First, I owe a big apology. To all the bloggers about whom I thought “how hard is it to just post once a week?” I’d get annoyed if I am following someone’s story and look forward to reading about her life and then she just disappears for a week, a month, a year. I’d think to myself, if someone is going to start a blog and lure you in, the least they can do is keep posting regularly, right?
Well, somehow the first half of summer got away from me and it’s been over a month since my last post. I do not presume to imagine that anyone here was waiting with bated breath for a Reduced Fat Butter post, but still, I feel bad. My goal with the blog was to write about once a week, at a minimum and I’ve been remiss, so apologies to anyone who had in fact been wondering when I’d post again and apologies to all those bloggers I’d been muttering to myself about.
Anyways…. What’s been going on?
Well, I’ve been trying to lose weight and get healthy for over six months now. My weight is nowhere near where I’d like it to be. It is frustrating. I am beginning to wonder if I am a lost cause and if my efforts are all in vain. Maybe this is the best I can do. Maybe I will always hover around 35-40 lbs. more than I’d like to weigh. Maybe I will never be able to wear certain (many) styles of clothes flatteringly. Maybe it is just easier and more realistic for me to live with this than for me to live without chocolate. Maybe this is it.
So I started thinking about all the successes I’ve had over the past month.
So I thought about all the things my body – this overweight, under-toned, scarred body - has accomplished over a lifetime and I while I usually hate all those articles about “how I love my body just the way it is” here I am…. about to write one. Here goes:
And just last month, this body proved it was improving in health.
While I have no problem walking on flat paths, I usually get out of breath pretty quickly on uphills. On July 4th, I went with to watch fireworks at a park that was at edge of the Hudson River, down a steep hill and half a mile away from where I was able to park my car. I almost didn’t go because I was nervous about whether I’d be able to get back up the hill from the park without getting short of breath. My brother–in-law offered to go get my car and pick me up but we quickly realized that with the crowds and blocked off streets, it just wasn’t possible. So, I made my way up the hill and back to the car by foot and I am thrilled to tell you all that not only was I able to do it, it actually wasn’t that hard and I did not get short of breath at all.
So maybe the scale isn’t showing the number I want. But I like to believe that maybe these past 6 months haven’t been in vain. And while I definitely could and should make more changes to my eating habits, I like to think the efforts I’ve made in exercising regularly have paid off and my heart function is improving.
And that is the most important win of all.
Weight update: X-10.4
I know my last blog post was titled “Vacation’s Over” referring to the break I had taken from my healthy eating/more exercise program – but I’ll be honest, it wasn’t over. In fact I got to the point where I wondered could I even do it. Is losing 50 pounds just a pipe dream? A goal that I just can’t achieve? Am I just not up to it?
I met with my WW coach and had an honest discussion with her about my doubts, my obstacles, my truth. With no judgment and a lot of encouragement, Coach listened and advised. She told me to just take a few baby steps this week – not try to get right back on track all at once. But just to commit to a few actions that would steer me back onto the WW program.
Her first recommendation was to think back to what made me want to start this process in the first place – what made me say I am going to try to lose 50 lbs. She made it the #1 item on this week’s action plan to write down the very specific reasons why I want to lose weight, and even said “you don’t need to do it for your blog, just for yourself”…. But who are we kidding?!? Of course I’m going to blog it!!
The SPECIFIC reasons:
I am debating whether I should include any reasons related to my looks – wanting to look better at the beach, wanting my engagement ring to fit, wanting clothes shopping to be fun again. But the truth is I think I had honestly made peace with myself about my looks. I knew I was overweight. I knew the many non-health/more vanity related disadvantages and was at the point where I was okay with them. While I am certainly more than happy to look better, be skinnier, fit into a smaller size – I do not think those were the reasons that got me wanting to lose weight back in January.
So, now that I’ve made this list, will I again be motivated? Will I start tracking my points, measuring my portions, saying no to the Kit Kats, Oreos and Baskin Robbins? I’m not sure. But I have done all 3 action items for this week, and that’s a start.
Weight update: X-12.4