Becoming single-minded

Hey! I sorta took a blogging vacation while I obsessed over political conventions. During that time I also found myself in a dentist chair three times because my temporary crown kept falling off. I've got the permanent crown glued on so all is good in the mouth arena.

Sitting in that chair with my mouth wide open while my while my dentist squeezed me in between scheduled patients allowed me time to stare at my feet and contemplate things. Like how people can say "Hey, I'm fat and I don't wanna be fat anymore. I think I'll commit to a healthy workout and eating plan and get this weight off."

And then they do it, and they're done, and they work on maintaining their healthy new life.

Matter of fact, my husband did that recently, but he wasn't fat. He wanted to lose some weight, so he just did. Forty-something pounds to be sorta exact. 

I, on the other hand, prattle on about my "weight loss journey." (Don't ya love the word prattle? I've totally been doing it.)

No lie -- I have been on or off some sort of plan since I was 10 years old. 

Let me repeat: 




That equals 46 Gail years. 

So, while sitting in that dentist chair last week, feeling gross and bloated from leftover birthday party food and not drinking enough water and not getting enough sleep (up too late watching cable news), I decided to be one of those rare people who say to themselves, "Hey, I'm fat and I don't wanna be fat anymore. I think I'll commit to a healthy workout and eating plan and get this weight off."

But here's the rub: To accomplish this I need to become single minded about my goal, and I have the brain of a that dog in the movie "Up."


I've been meaning to write this all weekend but something has distracted me -- like loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning out my closets, loading the dishwasher (Oh, did I mention that already? I didn't finish loading the dishwasher. The dog wanted to go out and ...)

I digress.

That's my problem. I digress a lot.


I tend to flit between eating and fitness programs like a hummingbird on Mountain Dew. Even when something is WORKING I'll think "But what if I tried this? What if I did this more? What if I cut this out?"

I started looking at weight loss success stories on various websites:

  • One woman downloaded My Fitness Pal and laced up her running shoes to lose 53 pounds.
  • Another woman took her dog on nightly walks and started eating smaller portions to lose 35 pounds.
  • And this woman didn't want to go on blood pressure meds so she gave up soda and processed carbs, and filled half her plate with veggies at every meal and started taking her son for walks.

I admit, it's HARD for me to laser focus on anything, but after 46 years of being on a "weight loss journey" I'd like to get off this ride.

I've already established the fact that I can maintain my weight like a champ, so I've got that hard part mastered. But I need to get to a healthy weight so I can maintain that. 

My self-titled Summer of Success is still going strong -- I dropped half of the 5 pounds that I gained over the past year -- and now I'm going to kick it up a notch and do a really difficult thing: Learn how to become single-minded.

I Googled the phrase "how to become single-minded" because, gurl, I need help, and I found this paragraph on a Chabad website, of all places:

Single-minded people are not much fun. But there is something about them that elicits our amazement, even admiration. They have devoted themselves to something unequivocally. Imagine what we could achieve if we could make such a commitment to the things we truly care about!

Fit happensHow am I going to add a little single-mindedness to my life?

What I think I'm going to do is devote an hour, just 60 minutes, to mapping out my task of losing weight. (It's not a "journey" anymore.) I'm going to sit down at a table with a pen, and open up my Fit Happens planner, which I haven't touched since before we went on vacation. In it I will document the good, bad and ugly of the day and map out my plan to conquer the next day, taking it one day at a time, as the saying goes. 

This is going to be difficult but well worth it.


I thought about a 'scale-free summer' for about a hot minute ...

I hadn't weighed myself since we got back from vacation. I lost nearly 3 pounds while in Southern California (probably baked it off in the heat) and hadn't stepped back on the scale since June 27. I briefly considered doing a "scale-free summer" but I know myself too well and I would have been completely neurotic all summer while I wondered whether this was the best idea ever or a huge mistake.

(This would have been me all summer.)

So I got on the scale this morning and discovered that another 2 pounds has left my body, never to return.

Women hugging scales
(This was me this morning.)

So I came up with a happy medium between ignoring the scale completely and obsessively weighing in every morning -- every couple weeks I'll check in and see how my plan is going.

What is my plan? My plan is exactly that -- MY plan. There's a little Superfood Swap (making healthier versions of indulgent foods), a little Always Hungry (more fat and less starchy carbs) and more plants (fresh produce, vegan smoothies and big salads).

There's also less stressing about exercise -- I go to the gym 3ish times a week and maybe throw in a DVD or some sort of home workout -- and I'm trying to get to bed earlier. 

So to sum up:

  • Weighing a couple times a month
  • Eating more healthy fats, more plants, fewer starches
  • Getting a decent amount of exercise and more sleep

That's MY plan -- nobody's plan but mine.


I left 3 pounds in California

San clemente
We just got back from 16 (!) days in Southern California, and the first thing I did this morning (after waking up way too late) was step on the scale.

I was down nearly 3 pounds from before we left.

Enjoy those extra 3 pounds, California, because they felt more like a ton off my backside, and my psyche.

Before we left I was feeling really discouraged about my weight-loss progress. It was basically going nowhere and I honestly didn't know what to do. Flying to California, I fired up the Kindle and finally finished reading the book Always Hungry, one of those books I really don't want to read because it's going to tell me I need to eat fewer carbs (remember, I am a petulant food baby). 

But I decided I was not going to be a petulant food baby anymore so I finished reading the book and was relieved that the book doesn't completely cut out carbs. The first couple weeks your macros are 25 percent carbs, 25 percent protein and 50 percent fat -- yes, half your diet is fat.

Lemme tell ya, getting to 50 percent fat is fun.

The hotel breakfast bar was a starchy carb nirvana, so I stuck with scrambled eggs and bacon with fruit until I couldn't take it any longer. Then we headed to a grocery store where I bought some whole-milk plain Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries, along with a bag of ground flax/chia. I made a "parfait" of sorts and had that for about half the breakfasts. Lunches and dinners were either some sort of big salad with lots of protein and healthy fat, or a protein main course with vegetables and a little starch. I made sure the meals were substantial enough so that I didn't need an afternoon snack and I stuck to water, unsweetened iced tea and coffee.

Don't get me wrong -- it wasn't all grilled chicken and plain yogurt. While we were there I enjoyed, among the goodies:

  • Lettuce wrapped cheeseburgerA chocolate-covered frozen banana
  • An In-N-Out burger and fries (lettuce wrapped the burger)
  • A glass of wine
  • A fancy mint-cucumber cocktail
  • A strawberry lemonade Arnold Palmer made with real lemonade, not that diet stuff
  • Tacos
  • Strawberry-lemonade cheesecake pie
  • A big ol' bowl of ramen (very trendy over there)

True food kale saladBut that wasn't every day. I really and truly enjoy eating healthy food, so I tried my darndest to find the healthiest things on the menu -- one of which was this fantastic kale salad at True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica. I am so psyched that one is coming to Sunrise next year.

(Here's the recipe for the salad, without the chicken.)

I didn't feel restricted or like I was "on a diet" at all. The food was great, we did a lot of walking and I came back 3 pounds lighter and stronger in my resolve to finish the job.

I know I'm focusing on weight loss and food, but that's not what I focused on while we were there. I just wanted you to know that you can enjoy yourself while on vacation and even indulge now and then without dreading the scale once you get home.



A funny thing happened on the way to the bariatric surgery forum

So y'know that post I wrote Monday where I had an epiphany in the dressing room at Avenue? The one where I went home and made some phone calls? I called my insurance provider about bariatric surgery coverage.

While looking up specific numbers, the customer service rep mentioned that our coverage includes a weight-loss coaching program, which is free. 

But that's not what I was calling for. 

I got the insurance information and then called the bariatric surgery department of Cleveland Clinic Florida. I found out that the hospital has informational sessions every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8 a.m. I was so there.

Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. I headed into the conference room with about 10 other people. I don't know what I was expecting to see, but most of the people there were women about my age and about my size -- not at all the 400-pounders I expected.

Here's where it got interesting. A few minutes into the session, the insurance authorization specialist had us look over the requirements for our individual insurance plans. As I looked over who qualifies and what you have to do to qualify, it hit me:

By the time I got done with the tests and the medically supervised diet, I'd be well under the minimum BMI to qualify. 

For the most part, you need a BMI of 40 or above, or 35 with two "co-morbidities," ie: diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc. Thankfully, I don't have any of those and I wasn't about to get one just to qualify. I also wasn't willing to not lose weight or even gain weight to stay qualified.

I started scribbling down the things that bariatric surgery patients would have to do to be successful:

  • 8 glasses of water
  • Exercise 6 days a week
  • 80 to 100g of protein a day
  • Good multivitamins
  • Adequate sleep
  • Behavior modification

"OK, I'd have to do these things anyway. Why not do them without the surgery?" I thought.

I was interested in finding out more about ghrelin. It's the "hungry" hormone, and in some people -- yours truly included -- it can go haywire, leaving you hungry all the time. In sleeve gastrectomy, the part of the stomach that produces ghrelin is removed. So I asked if there was anything else that could affect ghrelin production. The dietitian, who I worked with before in the Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program at Cleveland Clinic, said that a meal containing lots of protein and fiber helps quiet the ghrelin monster (my word) by hanging around your stomach longer than other foods. As long as your stretch receptors are activated, you're more likely to be satiated.

Driving home, I felt a renewed dedication to do the right things, especially the behavior modification. So I called back the insurance company and signed up for the weight-loss coaching. 

Fit happens
This was my day: journaling and blowing my nose.

I had my first session with the woman, a former Weight Watchers leader, yesterday, and I think it'll be a good complement to the Weight Watchers online program I'm doing. I'll check in with her every week and go over the short-term and long-term goals that we've set.

One of those goals is cutting out after-dinner eating and I kicked it off spectacularly last night -- mostly because I came down with a rotten head cold and all I wanted to do was lie in bed with a ton of tissues and watch baseball. 

This morning I got on the scale and -- poof! -- I dropped a pound and a half. I credit the extra sleep, cough drops and Sudafed.

I also bought myself a "Fit Happens" journal at Target. It's by Fitlosophy, the maker of my favorite Fitbook, but this one is a little less food-y and a lot more journal-y, something I need right now. 

So there ya have it. Too small for surgery. Now to work on getting that Nobel Prize for eradicating ghrelin.