Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Attitude Changes Everything

Pattie has invited us to write a post about why and how attitude has made a difference in our weight loss journeys. Here goes, Pattie...

This is certainly not my first thrill ride when it comes to losing weight. In fact, I've ridden the weight loss roller coaster ever since seventh grade. I still remember the day my dad first commented on my weight, which by then, had already crept up to 145 - the same number my P.E. teacher pronounced loudly enough for the entire class to hear when I stepped on the scale.

Ironically, the only place I felt comfortable during those years was at the local YMCA, where my athletic build wasn't out of place. In fact, I practically lived in a swimsuit, working as a life guard and swimming instructor all the way through high school.

I'm not sure what happened after college when I got married and birthed a baby, except that aerobic exercise of any kind fell completely off my radar. Whenever I needed to lose weight for a special event, I simply picked from the current menu of gimmick diets and practically starved myself back into a random size.

Looking back over the past 30 years, I realize that even when I got my weight back down to seventh-grade level, I still FELT FAT. Consequently, my thoughts always sounded like this: You look fat. Your thighs are huge. You don't even have a waist. You'll always be fat.

In response, my body simply manifested my thoughts. It worked hard to make me fat, to make my thighs large, to increase my waist size and to keep me overweight. Eventually, I reached a point last year when I finally threw in the towel and said, "What the heck? I'm fat and I know it. I might as well enjoy eating."

To get started, I took everything off my "prohibited foods list." I stuffed myself over and over, eating foods I had avoided most of my life - pizza, doughnuts, desserts, pastas, etc. As I packed on the pounds, I became more depressed and more miserable than ever...afraid I would never be able to stop the vicious cycle of destruction that consumed my waking moments and disturbed my sleep at night.

Somewhere toward the end of last year, I read Wayne Dyer's book, "Being in Balance." I was challenged by Dr. Dyer's assertion that I am not WHAT I eat so much as I am what I BELIEVE about what I eat.

Finally, on January 15, 2008, at home with the flu, I watched Oprah's show for the first time in my life. I heard Bob Greene describe what he termed "The BestLife." I cried as Oprah said loving yourself means honoring yourself and your own feelings first.

I agreed with Bob: "Losing weight is not that complicated. You simply have to eat fewer calories than you burn." But I also knew that logic alone would not get me off the killer coaster ride. I knew I had to change my thinking. I knew had to change my attitude. For that, I turned to Oprah's other buddy, Dr. Phil McGraw, and his book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom."

Having already signed the BestLife contract with myself, I worked through Dr. Phil's book like an alcoholic works the 12 steps. Six months later, I still keep the book within arm's reach at my desk because I've been at this weight before - although I'm in better physical condition than I've been in 30 years - and I don't want to slide back to where I started.

During the last six years, I've learned that the only way for me not to get drunk is never to take the first drink. I'm learning that the only way for me not to regain the 50 pounds I've lost is to monitor my eating and exercise habits as consciously as I avoid alcohol.

The difference this time is I'm no longer afraid. I'm willing to be honest with myself. I'm willing to step on the scale once a week. I'm willing to 'write what I bite.' I'm willing to maintain a no-fail environment. I'm willing to exercise regularly. I'm willing to be accountable to a support team.

Has my attitude changed? You bet. How has it changed? I'm no longer moaning over the past. I'm not anxious about the future. Today - right now - is what's important. And the right decisions I make right now are the ones that will add up to right thinking and right habits. And when it's all said and done, everything will be all right.

Being In Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires

The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Wow! June has FLOWN by, and although blog posts have been scarce during these last few weeks of travel, I've held fast to the BestLife program guidelines to "eat less and move more." This picture was taken dockside in Jacksonville, N.C., just before boarding a charter eco-tour with Capt. Chris Sewell, pictured to my left. (I'm in the red shorts. Did I say 'shorts?!')

Perhaps the best news this week is my new bling...the big 5-0!! Coupled with a loss of 41 inches, I'm a happy camper, now only 15 pounds from goal weight.

Thanks to everybody who has continued to stop by while I've been away. Now, I'll begin to catch up on YOUR news...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sweet Sunshine News

Last week, while much of the Midwest endured tornadoes and flooding, the weather in Michigan's thumb provided a string of mild, sunny days. Friday morning, we enjoyed these early morning rays while eating a healthy breakfast on the back porch of Inn the Garden Bed & Breakfast in Lexington, Mich.

Surprisingly, "The People's Chemist" Shane Ellison crosses the grain of prevailing medical advice, saying that
sunshine is actually good for you.

Furthermore, he poo-poos popular sunscreens , calling them
cancer-causing agents:

1. Sunscreen blocks the production of melanin (pigment causing a protective tan to form) resulting in higher risk of skin cancer.

2. Sunscreen blocks the production of vitamin D. A deficiency of vitamin D weakens the immune system and increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. In children especially, vitamin D deficiency is also correlated with tooth decay and crooked teeth.

3. Many of the chemicals found in sunscreens are actually carcinogenic (cancer causing) and estrogenic. If you see any of the following ingredients, steer clear: Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone), PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA), Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl methoxycinnamate), Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate), Digalloyl trioleate, Menthyl anthranilate, and Avobenzone.

Contrary to what sunscreen manufacturers wish you to believe, sunshine is not a death ray. It is a healing ray.

Ellison cites four main benefits of sun exposure:

1. It boosts neuropeptides that boost our mood and regulate appetite.

2. It reduces risk of the deadly skin cancer melanoma and 16 other types of cancer.

3. It reduces the risk of osteoporosis and increases bone density courtesy of enhanced "mineralization."

4. It increases sex drive. Not that I want my kids libido to be rockin’ but this is good info for the Dad who needs to get his bedroom energy back.

Note that he's not suggesting that you or your kids should ever get sunburned. You can definitely get too much of a good thing. Use clothing to block the sun or go indoors if your skin is getting pink.

His advice is to use a natural sunscreen like UV Naturals. Not only does it protect your skin from excess sun exposure, it also helps your skin look and feel younger with "youthanizers." They include green tea extract, bees wax, vitamin E and grape seed oil.

My plans later this week include deep-sea fishing and kayaking trips in Jacksonville, N.C. I'll be looking for UV Naturals before I leave Tuesday.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Food, Glorious Food

To our surprise, Flint, Michigan's ABC television affiliate showed up to interview some of us who were visiting the world headquarters of The Coffee Beanery, where I bought Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans. But if any one of you tells my husband I spent $70 on two pounds of coffee, I'll ban you from this site.
(Just kidding. Honestly, I had NO IDEA it would be that much, but with 30 other journalists watching, what could I do but smile and hand over the card?)

This has absolutely been the most challenging week of any press trip this year, as far as staying on course with healthy eating.

Check out this breakfast yesterday morning. FYI, a HALF order of bacon is a half pound!!

One guy in our group went out on a limb and ordered a banana split for breakfast just because he had heard how outlandishly huge they were.

Or how about this delightful duck soup, mentioned in the restaurant menu as having been created "from an Old World recipe in the tradition of our family." What is NOT mentioned is that in addition to vinegar, plums, raisins, noodles and duck meat, the primary ingredient is duck's BLOOD. Yummo.

Exercise equipment has been sorely lacking since Monday, and our schedule has been so crammed, I've scarcely had time to blog, much less work out. On the other hand, every day has been filled with endless walking, enthusiastic hosts and engaging attractions. And I've made the best choices possible from food that's been available. We'll see how successful (or not!) I've been when I return home tomorrow.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


My apologies to everybody for the scanty posts lately. The summer travel season has begun, and an average day on our itinerary easily comprises 15 hours of scheduled activities. When the choice is whether to sleep five hours and blog or sleep six hours but not blog, I have opted for the extra sleep - especially since I'm typically an eight-hour-a-night snoozer.

I grew up vacationing at my grandparents’ home in Dalton, Georgia. Every night just before bedtime, my grandfather – a banker by trade, but a farmer by instinct – sat me down at the kitchen table to share a bowl of peaches. Not just any peaches, mind you; his peaches. Juicy, just-peeled peaches. The kind that explode in your mouth when you bite down on the fleshy pulp.

Pop liked his peaches swimming in cold whole milk. Me, too.

Although he’s been gone a long time now, I still love Pop’s kind of peaches. You can keep those stony, bland-tasting look-alikes. My taste buds have been tainted by the real thing.

Thank goodness we don’t have to drive to north Georgia to find “real” peaches anymore. This time of year, we head straight to Mitcham Farms, three turns off Interstate 20 about two miles north of Ruston, La.

“People start asking about the peaches in January, but now the phone rings all day every day,” says Joe Mitcham, second-generation owner of the 130-acre farm. “Everybody wants to know if the peaches are in. We picked our first batch around May 20 and will likely continue through the end of July.”

Joe’s father was a little like my part-farmer Pop. Mr. Mitcham had a day job as a high school music teacher, but he bought land in 1946 and planted his first trees the following year.

“Dad retired from the classroom in ’63,” says Joe, “but he served as principal for 10 more years. Now 91, he was still active in the fields until two years ago.”

The peach fields originally planted by J.E. Mitcham, Sr., have gradually become woven into the fabric of Ruston’s economy. The Squire Creek Louisiana Peach Festival, held the fourth weekend in June, has been a local tradition for 57 years.

Today, we took my grandson to Mitcham's to taste his first "real" peaches and to sample their homemade peach ice cream.

Part of the beauty of our summers is enjoying the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available at area farms and markets!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Magic Bullet

Maybe I just don't watch enough television, but when my brother asked if I used a magic bullet, I thought he was making a sarcastic comment about how I've lost weight.

Come to find out, the Magic Bullet is a souped up "personal counter top blender," that'll do just about everything except cook your food.

Blair's favorite recipe sounds yummy.

"First, you freeze skim milk in an ice tray.
To make a peach shake, put one 8-ounce container of Yoplait low-fat peach-flavored yogurt into the Bullet. Add a couple of frozen milk cubes with just enough additional skim milk to blend. Voila! You've got a peach shake that'll make you think you're eating peach ice cream."

Blair says you can also slice bananas and/or strawberries before freezing, then mix frozen fruit with vanilla yogurt for a different flavored treat.

Can't WAIT!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Getting Enough Veggies?

The advice is old as cooking: Eat your veggies.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition says a diet with eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables representing 18 plant families is more effective in preventing DNA damage than a diet with an equal number of servings from only eight plant families.

I don't know about you, but some days, it ain't gonna happen -
at least not on my plate. Especially when I'm on the road, I often don't have the privilege to order my own food. What's offered to me is more frequently designed to showcase local culinary specialties than it is to meet my daily nutritional requirements. Still, I understand the importance of eating the right
combination of colorful foods.

My ace in the hole is Nutralite Concentrated Fruits and Vegetables.

Two easy-to-swallow tablets a day gives me enough crucial phytonutrients from natural fruits, vegetables, and plants to equal the amount found in over ten servings. And it's a lot easier to pack a few tablets than it is to put a bushel of veggies in my suitcase!

The key to this power-packed formula is Nutrilite harvests fruits and vegetables ripe with the right phytonutrients fresh from their fields and then concentrates them for maximum potency. With patents for many of their discoveries, Nutralite has been doing nutrition right for over 70 years.

I should know. I even got my OB-GYN to prescribe Nutralite
Double X
as my prenatal vitamin - 26 years ago!!

Now, go eat some veggies!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday Weigh-In: A Mixed Bag

Yesterday afternoon, I made it a point to watch Oprah's interview with six people who accepted the 2008 BestLife Challenge.

"Everyone had different results from a weight loss standpoint. But I think across the board, everyone here had a revelation inside and made some changes," trainer Bob Greene said. "It's more about inside. If you start to [think], 'Oh, I'll be happy when I'm this weight,' that's when problems start because one of two outcomes: You never reach that weight and you're not happy, or you reach that weight and realize it had nothing to do with your happiness." Good advice.

Well, my own computer trainer is red-faced this morning because I didn’t meet my exercise goals for the week. I admit: bad planning on my part.

Although I walked the neighborhood regularly, I shaved extra minutes from my schedule by not going to the gym every day. Not a very good excuse, actually, when I promised to make exercise a daily priority. And after doing a little clothes shopping earlier this week, I can see why I need to keep exercise a daily priority!

The good news is we’re still celebrating a three-pound and 1.75-inch loss this week (go figure!) bringing the Healthy You Challenge totals since January 15 to 47 pounds and 39.75 inches.
BMI: Start 33.9 /Current 26.3 /Goal 23.4 or less
(D-a-n-g, this thing goes down slowly!)

Waist-to-hip ratio: Start .94 /Current .83 /Goal .80 or less
(At least we’re still making progress!)
Beginning Friday, I’ll be on the road again - for nearly two months! Back to the hotel fitness centers!

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's Got a Ring to It!

Okay, am I the only one who, on any given day, walks an extra thousand steps because I can't find my cell phone?

My DH sometimes shakes his head and calls me Poor Thing because I also tend to leave drawers open, forget where I parked my, you get the point.

That may be the reason I'm part geek - always on the prowl for a good tip how to make my life easier, faster or more efficient. Give me a new gadget, and I'm a happy girl!

(Drumroll, please!) Welcome to, a new free internet service that will call your number so that you can find your phone...assuming you didn't leave it on Vibrate.
In that case, you'll have to listen really carefully for the quiet hum! This is a lifesaver for folks like me with a kazillion cell phone minutes, but no land line.

And while we're talking cell phones, check out Billshrink.
Tech blogger Lifehacker says the service allows you to compare cell phone plans and find the perfect plan to fit your usage needs. (Sorry, U.S. only, and no pre-paid plans.)

Just enter some information about how you use your phone, along with your current monthly bills, and BillShrink will offer you an alternative plan that could save you a ton of cash. Currently BillShrink is focused on cell plans only, but they appear to be working towards offering more comparisons for cable and internet bills in the future. BillShrink doesn't take phone availability into account, so if you want an iPhone, for example, you're stuck with AT&T (unless you unlock it).

I'm checking it out now. What about you?