Welcome to 'Keeping the Bulge at Bay'
This blog is designed to discuss the hardest part of losing weight...keeping it off! To understand my story and what my reasons are for creating this blog, please follow this link to my first post: "The REAL Beginning..." It's raw, real, and honest.
Hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please feel free to leave any feedback you may have!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Loved Ones...Whom Love Food...

There have been several times I have discussed how to handle parties and events filled with delectable delights that make you salivate from the second you enter the room; however, there is a whole other side to being around food that doesn’t always coincide with our healthy intensions. No I am not referring to restaurants, vacations (this will be my next post after I return from the Dominican Republic-leaving on Tuesday!), or even the small temptations that can exist at work. Rather, I am speaking of a situation we cannot escape from and are seemingly surrounded around constantly…the eating habits of our loved ones!

My fiancé and I live together and some of his eating habits/preferences can be drastically different than mine. Now you’re probably wondering, if he doesn't always eat healthy then maybe he has a bit of bulge to contend with…this could not be more incorrect! My fiancé, at his 6’4’’ handsomeness (I’m bias tho haha), currently holds a position that encompasses a great amount of physical labor so he could essentially eat an  elephant and not gain a god damn ounce-I’ll try to keep my jealousy to a minimum… ;)

Anywho, many times when we go grocery shopping I make sure that I get everything I need to continue on the healthy train but ensure that we get him his ‘treats’ as well. Now, his treats tend to include Cape Cod Chips (kill me now they’re so good), a gallon of the ice cream on sale (my poor sweet tooth is dying), pretzels (a salt lovers drug), Cheetos (cheesy yumminess ahhhh), etc.  Basically, take all of the things that I would love to have on a daily basis but can’t have daily because of maintenance and you have the 'treats' that he loves. Sure, an occasional splurge here or there isn’t going to harm me, but generally speaking, these foods can’t be eaten everyday (insert more jealousy here).

I know many of you can relate to this sentiment. We have to watch what we eat around people who don’t have the same problem-how can we effectively handle this? Well, there is not magic potion to solve this dilemma (otherwise I would weigh 125 and be eating chips like it was my job) but there are helpful tricks that can keep us on the right track without leaving our loved feeling like they're on a ‘diet’ or are being ‘deprived of the food they want’, yadda, yadda, yadda –he gets no sympathy from me haha!

People and the way they eat can be very different, but making sure you have support from your loved one is a necessary component to long term success! I'm very lucky, my fiancé is the most supportive person I could have ever asked for. When I tell him not to eat those crispy, kettle cooked, salt and vinegar chips in front of me (because I know I’ll want the entire bag if I even smell them), he always obliges my requests with a smile on his face. Also, if I want it, he will always give me a bite of anything he is eating so that I won’t feel like I’m depriving myself, but he doesn't always do this with a smile on his face haha! (a bite is enough to make me not feel deprived many times). Basically, if you don’t have the support, than maintaining or losing is going to be much more difficult-but not impossible!

Now, support is crucial, but I would say the two things that are most practical and helpful are… (drum roll please)…what he buys, and where he keeps it.

First, what he buys is key to both my success and his happiness, because lets be frank, all guys must have their beer, chips, and ice cream! When he gets ice cream, we make sure it is the kind I despise more than satan-chocolate! I HATE chocolate (but do love Oreos, Butterfingers, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ---insert the drool on my keyboard at these thoughts). Also, when he buys chips we buy him kinds like unsalted (gross!) so even if I have a bite of it, it won’t trigger me to want a whole bag (please look at the post called “Tantilizing Triggers” for more thoughts on trigger foods). It’s easy for us to do this because my fiancé will eat anything, but it’s also easy because he is so supportive that he is willing to help me anyway possible.

Second, we have arranged our pantry in a fashion where his food goes into three certain spots. When I look for snacks I don’t even think about taking my snacks from those ‘sections.’ Having them placed in certain areas helps me from thinking they are free and available for me to consume at my pleasure. It’s as if I mentally place those items in jail. Yes, I may occasionally take the effort to go through security to visit them once in a while-but generally speaking, the effort isn’t worth the pay off because whatever is behind there isn't good for you!

There are a million different ways we can solidly build our environments to make our lifestyle easier for us; but, we need to remember the people we live with don’t always share the same lifestyle. Adapting what you both need to assist one one another is the key for everyone to be happy and healthy!

Me and My Supportive (& Handsome) Hubby-To-Be! :)

What are some tips you use in order to ensure that everyone is happy and healthy under one roof?

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hop On... Hop Off...

One thing that is commonly found in everyone’s bathroom, whether they battle the bulge or are splendidly slender, is… a scale! (insert dramatic music here: DUN, DUN, DUN!) Yes, there are the select few individuals who say, “I don’t have a scale because I don’t need to be a slave to a number that could dictate the way I feel about myself; love yourself and create a loving environment...blah, blah, blah...” As tree-loving and granola as that sentiment is, the realistic scenario is that most Americans have a scale somewhere in their bathroom/house (even if it is a 1950’s banana yellow scale with a 10 lb margin of error stuffed in the back of your towel closet).

The thing about a scale is that it can be your best friend and your worst enemy at the same time. It has the power to make you feel like the skinniest girl next to Angelina Jolie (yes, right leg slit dress included), or it can make you feel as though you’re tapping on the door of needing the Biggest Loser trainers. Either way, during maintenance it is tough to know when to use the scale and when to ignore its tantalizing powers!

When I first began the real journey of weight loss, maintenance, I was on the scale as often as I was for weight loss (I hate to admit it, but sometimes it was probably close to every day/every other day). Though I didn’t worry too much about the times when the scale was reflecting numbers a bit more elevated than I may have preferred, I made sure to ‘check on’ my maintenance progress regularly.

After a while however, I found myself getting on the scale less and less. I didn’t need to ‘check on’ my weight as I became more in tune with my body. It’s kind of like being a weight loss psychic…I look into my magic crystal ball and feel like I’m going to weigh, say, 153…and-POOF-153 shows up on the scale! Admittedly there are times my crystal ball needs a little polishing because it is way off, but generally speaking, I’m a pretty good maintenance psychic. I have found that there really is no scale that is as accurate as being in tune with your body.

As I started to become more in tune with my body and my weight, maintenance became more ‘manageable’. This is also when one magical thing happened-my scale started to gather DUST! YES, dust I tell you! I was on the scale so little that it had time to gather dust between uses! Now, it’s at this point you’re probably thinking one of two things; either, A-this girl sounds crazy, or B-this girl is gross because she is PROUD of dust?!? Both of these sentiments are likely true, but allow me to elaborate on why I am so prideful of my grubby scale.

The dust that has gathered on my scale is indicative of many things in the dreaded maintenance stage. It shows that I am able to maintain my weight without leaning on the scale as a crutch. It shows that I know my body well enough that I know when I should be stricter with my eating, and when I can splurge and have Chinese food after a bad day (…insert my fridge with last night’s leftovers from $46.00 worth of Chinese food -I did make healthy Chinese food choices though…my fiancé’s tempting Chinese choices-that’s a topic for a whole other post). But most importantly, it shows that I have physical and mental control (at least for a short time) over my maintenance.

Though I am in tune with my body, there are those times when I use the scale for a bit of ….

This help comes in the form of two things, either a swift kick in the butt to say-OK Rachel, you’ve felt fluffy, flabby, and bulgy the past few days-use the number on the scale to get you back on track. Or, OK Rachel, you’ve felt like America’s Next Top Model, hop your slim little self onto that scale and see that itty-bitty number to keep you cruising on the healthy train [tickets for the healthy train can be purchased at your local grocery's produce section ;) ]

With this being said however, I try my freaken hardest to not to get on the scale if it is going to make me feel …

If I know getting on the scale is only going to make me feel worse-I avoid it at all costs! If you know the scale will make you feel like S#!* then you don’t need to get on it-you just need to get back on track! This is the key to maintenance. Allow the dust to gather on that beast for a bit and hop back on when you’re ready. You know your body better than a scale does…trust in yourself, not in a machine dictated by a spring controlled mechanism. (Check out the following link to see the silly little lever and spring inside a scale that we allow to control our lives...it's pretty eye opening A Scale's Innards)

So all in all, when you come over to my apartment and the rest of my bathroom is clean…please don’t mind the dust on my scale.
My Dusty Scale! (Can you feel my pride?!?)
What little things in life remind you that you can do this…with or without the scale? Mine is dust, what is yours?

Until next time…keeping the bulge at bay!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bites of Boredom!

Boredom. Or more like, boooooooredooooom! I am the first to admit that I want to eat when I’m bored; or more accurately said-I want to eat when I’m bored, tired, sad, nervous, happy, etc. etc. etc. However, boredom is the worst, and trying to not eat when you have absolutely nothing else to do can be excruciatingly difficult!

Some people may say, ‘just work out when you’re bored.’ This is good advice, however, for someone like me where working out is comparable to donating blood (the effects of the action are good but it can be oh so painful and agonizing to actually do), working out to keep myself from being bored is likely the last thing I would do…ever! Instead of keeping your hands busy with treadmill buttons or loose weights, we all have to find an activity that helps us keep our hands busy and our mouths shut!

My chosen "dietary task" if you will, that keep both my hands and mind occupied is: painting! (it's art-of course I have to emphasize it with color...) Acrylic painting is a passion of mine that I have long loved and worked extremely hard at. However, this passion has dual purposes. First, it lets me relax and express the budding artist I have inside me yearning to break free (did I make that sound artsy enough?), and second, it keeps me from mindlessly eating while watching my favorite primetime Bravo or Food Network show (side note: for any fellow foodie, not eating while watching the Food Network is nearly impossible-light popcorn is a great solution to this-healthy and filling).

As said above, painting is a passion of mine and therefore I could do it for hours at a time without ever needing a ‘snack break;’ but if you’re not ‘artsy fartsy’ in general or would rather rip your hair out than look at a painting for more than 2 seconds, fear not, there are activities out there for you too!

I know many fellow weight loss champions who have found their own busy beaver tasks which assist them in not being struck by the boredom bites. For example, I know people who write, read, knit, journal, scrapbook, even people who play computer games to keep their bites of boredom at bay! If knitting or scrapbooking isn’t manly enough for you true studs out there, there are guys who garden or mow the lawn, who clean their tools, detail their cars, build woodwork of various kinds, and even play poker (please note guys: poker doesn’t count as a healthy alternative activity if you’re smoking cigars, eating pretzels sticks, and drinking beer at the same time). It’s not about what the task is, it’s simply about doing it!

Now I know that admitting to yourself that you eat out of boredom is a hard pill to swallow. And I’m fairly sure many of you will say ‘I don’t eat out of boredom!’ But like they always say, ‘admitting is the first step.’ There are many times that I am eating and I find myself thinking ‘where did that half bag of crackers go’ or even ‘I’m not hungry, why the hell am I eating this?’ When I’m bored, my natural instinct is to keep my hands busy by doing anything, and sadly shoveling food into my vacuum-like mouth has won more times than I would like to admit.

With this being said however, there are times that I literally say, ‘I’m cozy and cuddled up on the couch, this tastes good, I’m eating it anyways’ and that is OK... Maintenance is about balancing times like those with the times where you need to be your own police officer and internally yell ‘You there with the crumbs on your shirt! Put the crackers down, hands up, and back away slowly!’ Even if it is healthy food, it’s still calories you don’t need!

The nights that I paint, I am more relaxed, and eat far less than I would if I was doing no extra activity at all. I love my evenings where I watch the Real Housewives argue, watch my fiancé snore on the couch next to me, all while I just float into my artsy world of painting…. If you find the activity that you LOVE which also keeps your hands busy and mouth shut, you will have further weight loss success without even realizing it.

Infact, as I have written this post I have bulldozed through my 'normal' snack time without even thinking about it...and I'm not hungry one bit!

Below you will see some of my paintings that have helped me to keep the bulge at bay! What are the tasks or activities that you do to keep the bites of boredom away? Please share your thoughts on tasks, pictures of  activities, or just your ideas in general!

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!


'Broken Bessy'