Thursday, January 31, 2013

That's a Side Effect I Didn't Expect

So, you 'member how I was bragging the other day about how I awesome I was doing on Atkins...and how I wasn't experiencing any of the "side effects" such as carb withdrawals, headaches, fatigue, etc?

Yeah.  Well, I apparently jinxed myself.

Except it was for none of those thing....except for a headache that started on Sunday and didn't go away until yesterday.

For a few days, I've started having this horrible itching on my feet, arms, neck, and under my boobs.

It has been so bad that I thought my house was infested by fleas from my cats - and put them through the ringer with flea treatments, furniture sprays, etc.

We do all of that, and I'm sitting on the couch last night scratching my skin off because I'm so itchy, and I truly believe that I'm infested with fleas....YUCK!!

Except, no one else in my house is having any problems.  I check my cats - no signs of problems on them either.  So, I go straight to the obvious cause of my itching.  Every flea that was in my house that we've tried to get rid of has now apparently moved on to me - and are eating me alive to get back at me.

The obvious.  Right?


While doing a little search on the Atkins forums I now frequent, I come across several threads all talking about an itching that occurred a couple weeks after starting Atkins.  Urm.  What?

No joke.

It seems as though many people, after starting Atkins or any low carb diet, start to develop a very itchy, uncomfortable rash over different parts of their body - most commonly their legs, arms, neck, stomach, and breasts.  This was NOT a side effect listed when I first signed up...and I had no idea that something like this was even possible.  Am I allergic to Atkins?

Well, no...I'm not.  But, I could possible be reacting to the stage of Ketosis (the burning of fat instead of carbs for energy) that's causing my body to develop a rash.  On one hand, it's a good indicator that my body is doing what it's supposed to be doing - burning fat.  On the other?  It sucks big rat balls!  I feel like I've taken some hallucinogenic drug that's causing me to feel like my whole body has been invaded with parasites that are eating me alive.

Several people also say it's a reaction to artificial sweeteners - but I'm not eating or drinking any....and I've drank diet soda for EVA and never had a problem.  It sounds a whole lot more likely that it's the reaction to the ketosis - even though I'm not a doctor and can't really diagnose myself.

What I do know is that as much as it sucks to be itching like crazy - it's not enough to make me jump ship and give up on what I've accomplished so far.  Yesterday, I received several compliments from people about how great I'm starting to look.  My feelings are matching those compliments - minus the itching.

The rash isn't supposed to last forever...and as long as I stick it out for another week or so - once my body gets used to the adjustment - it should go away.  I can live with that.  It's also another great reason to not sway one little bit... because if I take my body out of ketosis and then have to start all over again...the rash will start all over again.  No Thank You!

For the first time, I'm on a diet plan that I love.  Not so much the plan, but having to force myself to eat because I don't suffer from constant cravings and hunger.  Feeling my clothes get looser after only 2 weeks on the program.  And if I have to scratch and itch for a couple of weeks in order to increase those feelings?  So be it.

That's true determination, right there.

Oh, and sorry Kitties for making your last few days pure hell.  HA!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Biggest Loser...Urm, Monthly Recap?

So, do you remember back to last season of The Biggest Loser where I would get on here each and every week and whine and moan about what a horrible season it was and how I was so sick of TBL and how, unless they made some serious changes to the next season, I wouldn't ever watch again?

Yeah, me too.

I blogged about that show EVERY week - even though I hated every minute of what was going on.

And then, I get what I wanted...a new season, a better season, and I've made one post about it in the 4 weeks it's been on.

It's not because I'm not watching.. because I am.  It's just that I DVR it and sometimes I don't get to watch it until the weekend or later in the week.

So far, I'm back to loving the show.  It's full of that team spirit, go-get-em attitudes, and emotional "grab a box of Kleenexes" breakthroughs I love so much.

In a matter of 4 weeks, most of the contestants have lost more weight than Anaconda did throughout the entire show...already hitting the 40lbs lost mark.  And that's the women!  The men, who are pretty big, are having great weight losses too.

I'm not going to sit here and recap the past four weeks.  I will say, that I'm sad about some of the people that have had to go home - but I'm so happy to see the progress they made once they left the show.

I watched this week's episode last night.

Each trainer, Bob, Jillian, and Dolvett started off with 5 players each.  All singles.  Before last night, Bob still had all 5 of his, Dolvett was down to 4, and poor Jillian only had 1 person left on her team.

The focus for the week was eating healthy on a budget.  Each contestant was given 10 dollars a day to buy a week's worth of groceries.  So, the blue team had $350 to spend on a week's worth of groceries, the red team had $280, and poor Danni - the white team - had a whopping $70.

Each team was able to buy their groceries all coming in under budget and were extremely surprised at how much they could buy with the money they had.

Huh!  They should think themselves lucky.  In our house, we budget $600 for groceries...and that's for an entire MONTH.  That's only $150 a week.  And we always come in under budget each month, and for the most part we stick with fresh foods...hardly ever do we buy prepacked meals.  Hubby insists on making homemade meals - and who am I to complain about that?

Even now that I'm eating much healthier, we haven't had to really change our buying that much.  I'm spending some money on Atkins products, which bumps our spending up a little - but being that I wasn't really eating breakfast and I was buying school lunches every day - there really isn't much difference in our spending.

Anywho, all of the contestants were given a little demonstration on how to prepare a home cooked meal for an entire family on a budget.  And it always makes me laugh how much product placement is now in the show.  If you don't know that Jennie-O is a sponsor of the show, you have to be missing half the episode.  I hear her name just about as much as I hear Bob, Jillian, and Dolvett's names.  Same is to be said for Planet Fitness and BodyMedia...which is just the maker of BodyBugg.

The challenge for the this week was that each team member had to collect ten 5lb "coins" from a pond and place them in designated fountains.  The red team and Danni (white team) gave it a great shot.  The same can't be said for the blue team, who didn't really put in that much effort at all to win.  Danni ended up coming out victorious and won a 2lb advantage on the scale for weigh-in.

I will admit, the blue team irked me a little this week.  There was a lot of whining, and some game playing going on... but Bob picked up on it and made them push it out of their systems.  I'm also not a fan of one of the blue team members - and that would be Alex.  There's just something about him that rubs me the wrong way.  Not anything like how Anaconda got to me - but he still bothers me just a little.

At weigh-in, the red team all pulled pretty good numbers losing 31lbs as a team.  The blue team got up there and BLASTED the competition with each player losing a lot.  The blue team had to lose more than 42lbs to be safe and managed to pull 51lbs lost as a team.  And then poor ol' Danni got up there needing to lose more than 4lbs with the 2lb advantage.  She did it by a landslide and knocked out a 9lb loss.  She didn't even need the advantage.

So, it was the red team up for elimination.

I will say, it was kinda nice to sit at home and not want any of the red team to be voted off.  They all worked so hard - and have worked hard since day one.  They are all so supportive of each other, and there hasn't been on ounce of game play from the team...that we've seen, anyhow.  In the end, it was Lisa - the mother of four - that was sent home.

I was sad to see her go, but Oh Em Gee... I couldn't have been happier to see her end of the show update.  The woman didn't even look like the same woman who started the show.  She had managed to lose 70lbs since starting the show - and looked FANTASTIC.  Don't remember those kind of transformations last season.

I'm just so happy to have the regular BL back.  Every supportive, emotional, heart-warming moment of it.

So, who else is watching?  What do you think this season?  Are you as happy as I am?


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

True Confessions Tuesday

To be honest... I totally jinxed myself yesterday when I bragged about not feeling any withdrawal symptoms. I've been rocking a headache since driving to work yesterday morning.  And I woke up with it again this morning.  I don't think it has anything to do with withdrawals, though.  Just think it's a post TOM headache... just lasting a little longer than I'm used to.  Which is probably expected, being that I used to cure my TOM headaches with chips and chocolate and cookies.  I'll deal with the long headache instead of going back down that path thankyouverymuch!

To be honest... I did the craziest little happy dance in front of my mirror in my bathroom yesterday morning.  It happened right after I put on a pair of my Old Navy pants that I couldn't even button up before Christmas.  Not only did they button.. I had some WIGGLE ROOM.  There is only one way to celebrate wiggle room... by wiggling around in what I call HAPPY DANCE!

To be honest... I'm a little jealous of the school districts around me that are closing because of sickness.  I know that's a horrible thing to say.  I shouldn't be jealous, I should feel totally bad for them.  And I do.  But, any time school districts get a day or two off - whether it be because of snow, the flu, or some other reason - I get the pangs of jealousy.  And only because I'm dealing with this headache, and because it's almost a second full-time job keeping up with making sure all of my sick kiddos get their homework that they've missed.  I would love a day to just lay in bed and sleep away this headache....or just sleep.

To be honest... I'm so looking forward to my annual birthday trip to bingo with my mom this weekend.  It's become a tradition for me to go and play bingo on my birthday...or around my birthday.  Mom and I haven't been for a while, so it will be really nice to spend an evening alone with her.

To be honest... One of my kids at school asked if I was going to bring them cupcakes for my birthday.  I was surprised when I responded "Why would I bring you cupcakes, when I don't eat cupcakes?"  Not that I can't eat them... that I don't!  They all looked at me like I had gone bat crap crazy.  They have seen me eat cupcakes before.  It was even weirder that after I got home, I found a comment from one of my blogging friends (Jenn) who mentioned she used to do the same thing when talking about something she wasn't allowed to eat.  

To be honest... I'm one of those weird people who can't wait to file taxes this year.  Yes, I'm getting some money back - but I'm also going to have to owe the state of Missouri.  Oh, the joys of living in one state and working in another.  I'm excited because I'm pretty sure this is the first year EVER where we can put a large chunk of the money away without it going to paying off bills.  New house saving fund, here we come!  As long as I can keep Hubby out of the "it sure would be nice to have...." mode.  It sure would be nice to have a new house - and I'm pretty sure there isn't anything he can want that would top that!

To be honest...I'm totally loving how upbeat my True Confessions have been this year, so far.  What used to be a day where I could whine and moan and complain has now turned in to a day where I can share, be happy, and celebrate.  Maybe this year really is going to be the best year, yet!

And now it's time for me to go and get ready for work....AND, my headache has eased up!  Looks like all I needed was to remind myself how happy I am right now and BAM, no more headache.


Monday, January 28, 2013

What Does the Scale Say Today?

I can't believe it's Monday again, already.  Once again, another weekend flew by and in a couple of hours I'll be walking back in to my classroom for another busy week.

Along with it being Monday, again, it's also weigh in day..again.  Which, I should more appropriately name "Official Weigh In Day"...because I step on the scale WAY too much.  I keep telling myself to stay off the thing during the week - but I like to have a little looksy at how I'm doing.  It's a mind game, no doubt about it.  If the scale goes down, I tell myself I'm on track and to keep doing what I'm doing.  If it goes up, I try to monitor and adjust - and take in consideration for water, and other areas of the stomach that could be holding on to some weight.

Take this weekend, for example.  I stood on the scale on Friday and hadn't lost a single ounce all week.  Stood on the scale yesterday, and saw a BIG loss - over a pound more lost than what I saw this morning.  But, I keep to my word and am only keeping my actual progress to what the scale tells me on Monday mornings.

So, wanna know what it is?

I'm down 1.6lbs.

Not a fantastic loss for an entire week, but a loss nonetheless.  That means, in two weeks, I've lost 7.4lbs.

Yesterday, I had lost close to 3lbs - which would have given me a loss of almost 10lbs... but, like I said... gotta go with what it says today.  It might mean that I have a bigger loss next week.... but I'm not going to get ahead of myself.

One thing I've learned this week is how important it is to track EVERYTHING.  I'll admit, I didn't track as much this week.  I'm not going to lie - I HATE logging my food.  But I've also learned how easy it is to think I'm staying on track, and then have absolutely no flippin' clue how many carbs I'm actually eating.  Those little buggers are in EVERYTHING! Almost.

So, if I want to have as much progress as I did in my first week - I'm going to have to keep track of what I'm eating.  Whether I like it or not.

One thing I do know is that I can't complain.  I've lost more in two weeks than I have in months.  When I was losing weight "back in the day" (HA!) it was common for me to lose about 1.6lbs in a week...and that was after spending a couple of hours in the gym and doing some running.  I don't even remember if I ever lost almost 8lbs in two weeks when I was doing all of that.

I've lost this weight by just eating.  I haven't exercised one bit.

Not to say that's a good thing... but it kinda is.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that I gave up on my weight loss progress in the past because I felt like I was working so hard - yet it was taking forever to see some good results.  Now, I'm hardly working and seeing great results.  No wonder I'm still giddy and excited to be on this plan.

Like my buddy, Drazil, told me yesterday.  I might...just might... be one of those people that low carb works for.  There are so many people out there that are living their lives - after having lost some serious amounts of weight - still on the Atkins diet.  Except, it's not a diet program for them's just how they eat.  Period.  Through following all of the phases, they have been able to add complex carbs back in to their diet - but they know their bodies, now.  They know how many grams of carbs they can eat each day to maintain their weight.  Something inside of me tells me that I can be one of those people.

I know it's not going to happen overnight....but I already feel that it's happening fast enough.  And why would I not want that?

So, here I go with Week 3.  Tracking everything...doing what I'm supposed to do...and ready to see that scale go down even more.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Goodbye Carb Cravings!

So, I've been doing this Atkins thing for two weeks now.  I call the first two weeks of any new diet plan the "honeymoon stage", because that's about how long I try to convince myself that I like the program and that I can stick with it.  But, from experience, we all know how it really goes much past the two week mark.  I start to get crabby and fussy that I'm not allowed to eat this and that, start being a little rebellious, and it's Game Over.

And to be honest, two weeks ago, I didn't think it would take very long before carbs were softly calling my name back in to their lure...because, come on, who can really live without bread, pasta, chips, etc?

It's no secret that three weeks ago, I was a MAJOR carb addict.  Like, I couldn't go a couple of hours without wanting to stick my hand in to some bag of potato made something or other.  It wasn't possible for me to eat a meal without a side of pasta or rice and a half a loaf of whatever bread was being served.  Cupcakes, cookies, or donuts up for grabs?  Oh, yes please!

As much as I wanted to believe that I could take a swing at trying to live on nothing but meat, cheese, and vegetables - there was always this little alarm going off in the back of my brain wailing "YOU CAN'T DO IT! YOU CAN'T DO IT!"

But you know what?  I have done it.  Not only have I done it... but I'm not trying to convince myself anymore that I like it.  I actually really like it.  Seriously.  Stop laughing.  I'm not joking!

Don't get me wrong, I haven't been 100% perfect throughout these two weeks.  I ate a tiny piece of cake and a few crackers at a baby shower my first week.  On Thursday, I ate mini angel food cupcake.  And after eating both, I regretted it and wished I hadn't.

What has blown me out of the water with this whole experience, though, is the lack of carb cravings.

Everything I've read about Atkins has prepared me to wage war on my carb addiction.  I'd have to be strong, fight hard, possibly deal with nasty side effects from carb withdrawal.  I've been waiting for the headaches, the lack of energy, the crabbiness.  Waiting...waiting...waiting....and?  Still waiting.  They just haven't come.

I've sat back for two weeks watching those around me consume the foods I previously adored, and not a twinge of jealousy or rage has swept over me.  It's been very easy to replace the mashed potatoes with cauliflower florets or mac & cheese with broccoli and cheese.  I haven't felt like I'm missing out or being deprived.

Something else that has totally blown me away?  I actually LOVE the Atkins products.  The shakes, the bars, the frozen meals...all of them.

Now, as a self appointed diet plan professional, I have tried them all.  Slim Fast, South Beach, Lean Cuisine, Smart Balance, Healthy Choice, Special K....seriously, tried them all.  Every weight loss shake that has entered my mouth is like drinking milk mixed with sand.  Every bar is like eating granola dipped in protein powder.  Every frozen meal is like eating two bites of an OK meal and being done...because that's about how much food I was given.

But not with Atkins products.

The shakes are delicious, and don't have the slightest texture of sand or the after taste that I've grown so accustomed to with other diet shakes.  The bars are like eating my most favorite candy bars without the urge to eat 6 more when I'm done.  The frozen meals?  Oh Em Gee... Real food!  Great portion size!  Full when I'm finished!  Can this be?

And no, unfortunately there is no money coming my way to say what I'm saying.  I actually mean it!

So, tomorrow I step out of my honeymoon period.  I will be starting week three.  I've made it longer on other diet plans, but with some forcing.  The third and fourth weeks are usually the big test....will I still be as happy and content then?

I sure hope so.  Because the truth is, I'm enjoying the foods I'm eating, I'm enjoying not being coerced by carbs, and I'm enjoying this refreshing feeling that I'm not being restricted or restrained...even though I totally am.

I think it all comes down to my mind games that I'm playing with myself.  Rather than picturing myself eating a muffin and being told "STOP! PUT DOWN THE MUFFIN! EAT A PIECE OF CELERY INSTEAD!" I'm hearing "STOP! YOU DON'T WANT A MUFFIN BECAUSE YOU CAN EAT A PIECE OF BACON OR A HARD BOILED EGG!"  So much nicer to picture.  I'd never give up a muffin for a piece of celery... but I'll gladly give back the muffin for a piece of meat, a stick of cheese, or even a protein bar that's covered in chocolate and filled with coconut and actually tastes great and is good for me.

Every diet plan I've tried in the past hasn't necessarily taken whole food groups out of my diet, but the restrictions have always been there.  Cut down on the meat, cheese, and dairy.  Eat less complex carbs focusing only on whole grains.  Say no to sugar.

But, the problem is words like "cut down" and "eat less" just don't work for me.  I can eat only one piece of bread - but then I want more.  I can eat only 1/2 cup of whole grain pasta - but then I want more.  I can eat only one of something... but the fight comes from not wanting to eat more.  And it's a fight I always end up losing.  When the food doesn't enter my mouth AT ALL, somehow it's easier for me to stay away from it.

Call me weak or naive or whatever else you can think of.. but it works for me.  I have somehow managed to convince my naysaying brain that I can do without complex carbs - for the time being.  Of course, it's still so early in the game that I can't predict that I'll feel this way a month from now or even a week from now... but the honeymoon stage is over, and I'm still going strong with a sense of accomplishment and no sense of deprivation.  That's a win!

I can't wait to see what the scale says tomorrow morning.  If it's gone down? Great!  If it hasn't?  OK, time to monitor and adjust.  For the first time ever, I'm not depending on the scale to determine if I stay on this plan or not.  I'm actually enjoying it - and will stay with it as long as I keep enjoying it.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Just Imagine Something Deep Written Right Here

This time next week, I will be sitting here as a 31 year old woman.  As opposed to the 30 year old woman that's sitting here right now.  Yep.  Next Friday is my birthday...and I'll be a whole year older in the matter of one day.

I plan on writing some celebratory, awesome post about my birthday... but thinking about it has brought me to write about it today.

Not my birthday, persay... but the time that has gone by.

When I really stop to think about it, I can't fathom the fact that I've been on Earth for 31 years - minus a week.  It seems like not so long ago I was going to my grandparents' house on the weekend, playing outside on my bike, hanging out with friends after school, driving to my first job at a fast-food restaurant, finding out I was pregnant with my first child....and on and on I could go.

So much has happened in 30 years, it just blows my mind.

I've had my shares of ups and downs through the time.  Each moment adding to the turn-out of who I am at this very minute...and each moment adding to who I will be another 30 years from now.  Not a single moment of regret, because I know that a single change to any of the moments may have led me on a different course.  And that's something I'd never wish upon myself.

Because, at the end of the day, I am exactly who I want to be.  Right now.  Right here.  I'm a happy person, with everything I need... everything I want.

It's sometime easy for me to forget that, though.

How easy it is for me to poke at my imperfections and my flaws.  I want to lose weight.  I want to live in a nicer house.  I want to feel better about how I look and feel.  I want to be better at my job.  I want to not worry about stuff.  

But really?  When it comes down to it... I'm perfectly happy... I just sometime choose not to think about it.

How many people are out there that will make the claim that there's absolutely nothing they want to change about themselves or their lives?  I can imagine that even the rich and famous have their desires of change or something else to add to their ever expanding list of possessions.

It just seems like we live in a world where no one is ever happy.  Even though they are happy.

I'm one of those doubt about it.  But, I'm thankful that when I really stop to think about it (like right now), I can except that when push comes to shove I am a very lucky person.  There are millions worse off than I am.  I am grateful for the blessings that have been given to me.

One thing that I can add to that list is the fact that nothing came handed to me.  I worked for everything that I accomplished in life - and that makes my life that much sweeter.  To truly value the benefits of a hard earned dollar, to put in a hard day's work, to follow dreams through the gates and fields of nightmares.  I think that's what I truly love the most about my life.

In my 30 years I've been through more than many, nothing compared to some.

One thing I am blessed to have learned through my life is that happiness and success can never be measured by the wants and desires.  The house I live in, the car I drive, the clothes I wear, the people I have as friends - they don't score or rank the life I have created for myself.

The success of my life is shown to me in the twinkle of a 5 year old that wakes up every morning, and can't start her day without giving me a hug and a kiss.  It's shown by the 11 year old who, despite fighting tooth and nail with me sometimes, thanks me for caring enough to push him hard.  It's shown by the 12 year old who comes to me with "boy" problems and enjoys spending time with me, but also appreciates the fact that I give her space and privacy.  It's measured by the phone call with my own mother to catch up on our lives and just shoot the breeze.  It's shown by the man that lives in my house, cares for two children that may not be of his blood - but no one would ever know.  The same man that doesn't think twice about sitting up with a sick 5 year old all night or spending the day taking care of her while I go to work.  It's shown by the students that walk in to my classroom each morning with a smile on their face, and leave with the same smile each day.

None of those things cost any money.   Yet, they are the things that matter the most.

So, in a week I turn 31.  A whole year older...a whole year wiser... a whole year richer.  And I don't mean by the money that's in my bank account.

And you know what?  I don't ever plan on being one of those people that dread their birthdays.  Because, turning another year older means that I've had the chance to live another year surrounded by the luxuries that life has given me.

There's something deep for ya.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing?

I weighed myself this morning, and I wasn't very happy with what I saw.  I haven't lost a single ounce this week.  NOT ONE!

Do you know frustrating that is?  Eating nothing but protein and veggies and to see that I'm just maintaining the weight I lost last week.  It's just not right.

But then...I start to think about what I've eaten this week.  What's different from last week?

To start, I've eaten from the school salad bar every day.  I have a small serving of whatever meat is being served, and then load up on a salad...with no dressing.  And when I say "load up", I mean it.

I should have heard the warning when the school coach made the statement "you're doing Atkins, and you're allowed to eat that many vegetables?"

A statement like that is like an oxy-moron.  That many vegetables?  As in I'm eating too many?  Ridiculous!

But, then I think about my dinners I'm eating at night.  Small piece of meat - huge pile of veggies.

Just last night I ate 6ozs of chicken breast and a whole bag of steamed cauliflower.  The bag says it has 3 I ate 3 servings.  And I know that sounds a lot - but it's really not.  It's 1 1/2 cups of steamed cauliflower, being that a serving size is 1/2 a cup.

When I put the food in to my tracker, I realize that 3 servings of steamed cauliflower holds 12g of carbs.  That's below my 20-25g allowable amount, but not when it's paired with the veggies I ate at lunch and my breakfast and the carbs from the dairy products I eat (cheese).

I could chalk up my not losing any weight to the protein I'm eating.  But, that's not right... it can't be.  I've been so good at measuring my protein portions and keeping the fat content down to a minimum.

Could it be I'm really eating too many veggies?

I have to admit, this week has been somewhat of an eye opener.

My brain has been programmed to tell me that veggies are good, wholesome, and "free"...meaning I can eat as many as I want.  But, last week I portioned and controlled and lost 5lbs.  This week, I'm being more "free" with my veggie intake - and not losing anything.

Something to think about, right?

Especially when I'm supposed to be limiting my carb intake...and all my carbs at this point are coming from veggies.  Well, almost all of them.  You know it's impossible to find foods that aren't just meat that don't contain carbs, right?

I was so happy and excited, last week, when I was watching the weight disappear before my eyes.  And now I'm starting to feel a little deflated.  Not anywhere close to throwing in the towel, but definitely reevaluating my food choices.

Last week, I lost weight because I followed the program to the T.  This week, I got a little lax and figured there was no harm in eating more veggies if I was still hungry.  Hmmm... not really hard to see where I might of messed up.

Of course, there really isn't a belief with Atkins that you can eat "too many veggies".  Atkins promotes eating veggies as the main source of carbs.  After a quick read through some of the forums helped me discover that many people didn't lose weight the second week because that's when the body was adjusting to the changes.   I'm trying to train my body to burn fat instead of carbs, so some people on the plan found that the second week in, their bodies started to stall... because the body was waiting for carbs to burn.  Once the body realizes that the complex carbs aren't coming - it will start fast tracking to burning fat.

Maybe I should read more of the forums before getting worried.  

Oh well... all stuff to think about and keep in mind.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

100 Things Thursday!!!

I kid! I kid!

Seriously, I have enough trouble coming up with a list of ten things when I do Ten Things Thursday... do you really think I'm ambitious enough - or have enough time - to try and come up with 100 things?  Not hardly.

But 100 does have an important role today.... it's the 100th day of school!

In the few schools that I've had the pleasure of being in while on my educational path, the 100th day of school was always something celebrated in the lower elementary grades... K-2nd.  But, not in our school!

Oh no.  The 100th day of school is going to be celebrated from 3rd through 8th grade today.

And how did my principal decide would be a great way for us to celebrate?  By asking us to dress up like we are 100 years old.

I swear.  That woman never ceases to amaze me with the creativity she comes up with in order for us to celebrate days.  I FREAKIN' LOVE IT!!  Spirit days and dressing up and getting silly is my "thing".  It's one of the many, many, MANY perks I have being a teacher.

Of course, finding out yesterday that today I have to dress up didn't leave me with much time to plan - so I'm going to have to make do with what I have to work with.  Of course, if you ask my Peanut (which I did) she would tell me to dress like I always dress.  Nice, huh?

I'm not going to be able to go as crazy as I normally would... but I'm pretty sure I've got some stuff to work with.  I know I have a flowery bandanna that could work as a scarf for my head.  I have some sweaters.  I have some slacks.  I have some ugly, crock looking shoes.  I have some bright red blush and blue eye shadow.  I think I can make it happen.

Of course, I'm sure that sounded really offensive to "older women".

There will be other fun things taking place.  I can finally open up the 100th Day Worries gift set I bought a few years back, that has never been opened.  It's just a funny book that I can read to the kids... but I always like having a book I can break out.

Well, I better get to trying to dress like I'm 100 years old.  I'm sure it's going to take a while.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More is Less and Less is More

No, it's not opposite day.  I'm not about to explain an episode of SpongeBob or a prank that I plan on pulling off.  I'm just going to explain those two concepts.

More is Less.

Less is more.

We hear the second one quite a bit.  Especially if you've been in the weight loss circuit for a while.  People are always mentioning how you can indeed have too much of a good thing...and that less is more.

But, do you really stop to think about what that means.

Those two phrases have been bouncing around in my head for the past couple of days.  Both with my weight loss efforts and in my classroom.

Last week, I was pretty cranky with my kiddos in my classroom.  They seemed "off".  They weren't really that focused or motivated to do anything.  I had to explain myself over and over and over.  I found myself lecturing them almost every day about the importance of their education, their futures, and just how frustrating it was to see them so nonchalant with everything.

There was, however, one class last week that did really well.  That was my math class.  We're tackling 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication.  That's a tough concept for any 4th grader.  For the kids in my math class, it was a very daunting task.  Yet, they were real troopers.  Every day they were involved with the class discussions, enjoyed coming up to the board to work examples, did their few homework problems I gave them (for the most part).

Then, on Monday, they had their test.  It wasn't good.  Not by a long shot.  I was so frustrated and upset when I saw the results of the test.  I just couldn't believe that they had done so well the week before, but seemed to have forgotten everything over the weekend.

Then, it hit me.  Last week, I wasn't assigning them tons of problems to work.  We just discussed, practiced, and then they had a few problems to work on their own.

Last week... Less was More because I gave them less work, but got a lot more brain power and dedication out of them.

Monday, their test contained 30 problems.  That may not sound like much, but half of them were word problems.  They hadn't done that many problems at once throughout the entire topic.

Monday, More was Less because I gave them more problems and got less out of them.  Because they were overwhelmed and frazzled.

I had to take a step back, yesterday, and reevaluate my game plan.  If they did so well last week, but so poorly on Monday... then I have to scale back.  I'd much rather have more brain power working on less problems than less brain power being used on more problems.  Right?

And that lesson I learned has to be carried across all areas of my classroom...and my life outside of it.

I don't mean make life easier.  Less problems, less work, less responsibility.  That's not the point.  But, in order to get more motivation and dedication - I have to push less.  Any parent or caregiver knows that the more you push a kid to do something you want them to do, the more they'll push back.  The less I push, the more they give back.

Look at Butter.  For years, he pushed me.  The less he cared the more angry I got.  When I flipped that around and gave him less attention during one of his moods, the more likely it was that it would pass a lot sooner.

Look at my weight loss.  The less I eat, the more weight I lose.  The more excuses I have and the more I eat, the less I lose.

I'm pretty sure that if I took some time to conduct some major study, I'd find this to be the case with just about anything going on in the lives of people.

The more overwhelmed you become, you start to care less.

The less stressed you are, the more you care.

So, what am I saying with this long banter?

Regardless of what the situation is, if you start to get to a break point and feel like you just can't take anymore... then you have to start cutting back.  In order to get more out of life, you have to focus on less.  Or something like that.  There's a great point in there somewhere, if I could just come up with the right words.

That's my deep thought for the week, and something I'm going to try and start practicing.

The more I say, the less I make sense.  So, I'm going to leave it at that.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Truthful Tuesday

To be honest... I was so glad, last night, when I found out that I didn't have to work the concession stand at the ball game.  Not because I didn't want to, but because I was exhausted.  Full day of teaching, followed by an hour long in-service, followed by an hour long baby shower.... yeah, I was spent.

To be honest... I caved and ate some carbs at the baby shower.

To be honest... I am so stinkin' proud of how much restraint and control I had while choosing the carbs I ate - and how much I ate.  When the only choices are chips, chips, pita chips, chips, and crackers... I had just a couple of the Wheat Thins and the pita chips.  I had a couple slices of cheese and a small scoop of cheese dip to go with it.  BUT, that was my dinner.  The other option was a chili dog - so putting carbs and calories against each other... I think I did pretty darn well.

To be honest... I also ate a small scoop of fresh fruit, which is another no-no during the first phase of Atkins. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the fruit over the chips and crackers.  It's only been a week since I've eaten any fruit.. but to savor some fresh strawberries, grapes, and pineapple was heavenly.  If this is what is meant by "rediscovering my taste buds", then I'm going to be in for such a shock once I go a much longer length of time without eating stuff.

To be honest... Even though I ate a very small serving of carbs, my tummy didn't like it to much.  Not sure if it was, indeed, the crackers and chips - or other body issues I'm dealing with right now - but I felt a little bloated and uncomfortable after eating.  Enough so, that it calmed any desires I may have had for eating once I got home.

To be honest... I'm thinking about doing away with multiple choice questions from all work in my classroom until I can actually get them to do questions correctly. For some strange weird reason, many of my kids translate multiple choice to mean don't actually do any work, just pick the one that looks right.  No matter how much I explain or model or beg them not to do it - I just can't get my kids to actually figure out a problem or find an answer to a multiple choice question.  So.  Frustrating.

To be honest... I saw this video in a professional development training, and it goes right along with the multiple choice thing I was just talking about.  You have to watch's hilarious.

To be honest... To go along with the "Ban Multiple Choice" attitude I've got, I think I'm also going to pass that along to the mounds of paper that collects in my room each week.  I can't stand sitting down at my desk and being surrounded by piles of papers.  It's never ending.  I grade, grade, and grade some more...and there's always a stack waiting for me by the time I'm done.  I am NOT a worksheet teacher - but I can't believe how much paper my kids go through in a day.  I'm going to try and come up with ways where I can eliminate so much paper.  Wishful thinking, I'm sure... but I'm going to at least try.

To be honest... I think that's all I have to share today.  I need to try and read a couple of blogs before it's time to get dressed.  So, enjoy your Tuesday, everyone!


Monday, January 21, 2013

First Official Progress Weigh-In of 2013!

Yeah, I know I've weighed myself LOTS of times since 2013 started... but didn't you notice that I said first OFFICIAL PROGRESS weigh-in?  That means that it doesn't matter how many times I've stood on the scale, I'm only plugging today's numbers in to my progress tracker on my Atkins app.  That's MUCH different.

And I'm trying something different this time around with reporting it on here.  I'm not disclosing my actual weight.. I'm just going to report how much I lose each week.  That's it.  I know, that's not as fun... but it's what I want to do.

I don't know why I'm changing it, I've been this weight before... but, it's just how I want to do things this time.

So....this week, I lost.....drum roll please....


That's pretty awesome.  I'm so happy with that number, even with my minor panic attack from yesterday when there was a fluctuation on the scale I didn't like.

I also discovered why there was a fluctuation yesterday...and it had nothing to do with eating too much or anything silly like that.  Just a certain monthly visitor that I totally forgot was coming.  She arrived this morning.  So, I'm chalking it up to bloating.

To lose 5 1/2 pounds in a week just blows my mind.  It hasn't been near as hard as I thought it would be.  I haven't had to spend hours working out or eating portions comparable to that of my five year old.  It's amazing that just cutting out bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. can have such a massive effect on my weight loss.

I have several obstacles waiting for me this week.

Tonight, I'm working the concession stand at the basketball game.  Which means I'll be surrounded by popcorn.  It will also mean that I won't get to eat until late... because right after school I have a meeting, followed by a baby shower, followed by the game.  Oh, and there's the baby shower.  You know there will be nibbles and cake at that.

Then there's the fact of my monthly visitor.  She always makes me want to eat...especially chocolate and carbs.

But you know what?  Seeing that I've lost over 5lbs in a week keeps me strong.  It makes me not want to sabotage my hard work.  It makes me want to keep going strong, to see how much I can lose by next week.

No matter how much I look at it, there's always going to be obstacles and temptations.  ALWAYS.  In fact, every single day last week I faced some form of temptation.  Every night my family ate some form of pasta or potato or carb side with their dinner.  I had the power to avoid that... why on earth couldn't I avoid stuff like popcorn and baby shower cake?

And a week in, I realize that it's pretty difficult to cut out carbs from everything but vegetables.  Difficult but not impossible.  I'm learning to rely more on the Atkins products, and partnering a protein with veggies that I really love for dinner.  And I also keep reminding myself that it's not forever.  The stronger I am with this phase, the quicker I'll lose the weight, and the quicker I'll be able to move in to the next phase - which opens up the door, slightly, for additional foods.

One thing I do know is that I'm not over my carb addiction.  Not by a long shot.  Even though I've found the strength to avoid them, I haven't stopped craving them.  I know that just a tiny bite will head me down a fast, slippery slope.  And I can't take that risk.  I'm not ready.  I might not be ready for weeks or even months.  But, I'm OK with that.  It will be a huge victory to overcome one of my biggest downfalls to my weight problems.

I just have to stay strong.  Keep my eyes on the prize.  And keep repeating every week like this last week.

Bring it on, Week 2!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Only Goal This Next Week? Stay Strong!

So, after today, I would have officially made it through my first week of Atkins.  I will admit, I've stepped on the scale several times this week - and have seen some great progress.  That was, until this morning.  I was a little disheartened to see a bigger number than I saw on Friday.

There can be lots of reasons for that.  Even though I didn't "over eat" yesterday, I didn't eat dinner until much later than I'm used to eating.  I didn't track my food until this morning and realized that I did go over my carb goal by 3 grams.  I ate bratwurst for dinner, which are LOADED with too much fat...and I ate more than one.

I also walked quite a bit yesterday, haven't "cleaned out my pipes" (yeah, yeah, TMI), and my body could just be adjusting.

Whatever the reason, it was a little disheartening to see the number had gone up from Friday.

It was moments like this morning that made me remember why I'm only supposed to weigh myself once a week.... to avoid riding the roller coaster of daily weight fluctuations.

So, I'm not sure what the scale is going to tell me tomorrow morning - but one thing I'm going to keep telling myself is to just STAY STRONG and go with it.  I'm not going to lose everything in the first's a process, and I just have to have patience, keep doing what I'm doing, and have faith that it will all work it's self out.

Staying strong with Atkins isn't the only thing I have to focus on this next week.

Last week was really tough at work.  I was grumpy almost every day with my kiddos.  In fact, all of the 4th grade teachers were grumpy and frustrated.  And it all stemmed from the fact that it seemed like all the kids had just switched off their care buttons and didn't give a flying patooty what we had to say or what we wanted them to do.

All week long we were sharing stories about how many times we'd gone over something or explained something or asked something - for it to never get done.  How we would give directions, and sit there and watch as most of the class just wandered off in to daydream land...and then do what they wanted to do rather than what they were supposed to be doing.  How I would give 2 multiplication problems to work for homework, and hear a list of excuses the next day about how they just didn't have time to work two problems between watching TV, playing their video games, or playing outside.

We finally decided, as a team, that getting frustrated, lecturing, and taking privileges away just wasn't really cutting it.  It was time we took a different approach, and start rewarding those few kids that were doing what they were supposed to be doing while the three of us teachers focused all of our attention on being frustrated at the majority who weren't.

So, we devised a plan to help instill some responsibility, reward those who do what they are supposed to do, and hopefully release us from some serious stress.  Hello - FUN FRIDAY!  Each kid is going to start the week with 5 tickets.  Those kids that still have 2 tickets left at the end of the week will get to participate in a fun activity like getting extra recess, watching a movie with popcorn, or playing games.  Something.  Those kids that don't have enough tickets will go on, business as usual, and work on whatever it is they didn't do that week - or an assignment that would have been given during that time.

We are all hoping that knowing that those kids who just did what they were supposed to do are getting to have some fun will spark something in those kids that are playing by their own rules.

I just want to STAY STRONG this week and not get all frustrated and upset and stressed over the lack of commitment and effort being given on their part.

Right now, however, I really need to STAY STRONG and get all of my work finished before I have to go and pick up kids from their various weekend adventures.  Oh, and do some laundry.  Oh, and clean and vacuum the living room.


I can do this.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Enjoying an Almost Kid Free Weekend

As I'm sitting here at my computer, I'm basking in the fact that I don't hear a sound.  No yelling for someone to get off the computer because it's their turn.  No screaming for the channel to be changed back, because they were watching that.  No bomp, bomp, bomp of five year old feet running through the house in my direction to tell me that Bubby is being mean, or Sissy won't let her watch her cartoons.

Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

There is still a child in the house, but take away the oldest two, throw in a Christmas movie, and BAM... complete and utter silent bliss.

Peanut is spending the weekend with a friend, Butter is spending the weekend at my parent's, and Jelly is the one still watching Christmas movies towards the end of January.  Over, and over, and over again.

Silent moments like the one I'm enjoying right now happen only during my twilight moments when I make myself get up at 4:30am, so that I can enjoy a cup of coffee in quiet before the chaos starts.

While I would normally enjoy days like this on the couch, watching hours of TV and doing something like playing on my iPad or crocheting - I'm going to opt to get out of the house for a while and end up where the car takes us.  The weather is beautiful outside, and there's no reason to sit and miss out on it.

Although, later this evening, I do need to get my crocheting back up and running so that I can finish making the gifts I have for two pregnant co-workers in time for the baby shower on Monday.

I was a little nervous coming in to this weekend with the thoughts of my eating.  Weekends are always the hardest time, because I'm either laying around the house looking for grazing food or I'm out and about and decide to grab something at a fast food restaurant.

Good thing I planned ahead.

I bought some meal shakes and bars to tackle those situations.

Being that we're going with getting out of the house for the day, I have a shake to take for lunch, and I know what snacks or stuff I can have if I need to pick up something while we're out.  HELLO BEEF JERKY!! LOL

I don't really have much more to say.  I'm going strong.  Can't wait till Monday so I can see if all this really is too good to be true.  And I'm going to enjoy some time working tomorrow.

That's about it.

Enjoy you're Saturday, everyone!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Restrictions, Beschmictions

In case anyone is sitting there trying to figure out what the second word in my title is supposed to be... it's supposed to be be-sch-mik-tions.  You know, a totally nonsense word to rhyme with restrictions.  Not sure the sarcastic gesture carries as well through a computer screen as it does when it's coming out of my mouth.

So, I've been on Atkins for 4 days... starting day 5 today.  And even though my biggest challenge is yet to come (the weekend), I feel really good about how my week has gone...and how surprised I am about how easy it's been for me to avoid "restricted" foods.

Every day, I've watched those around me chow down on carbs.  Fries, mashed potatoes, pasta, pizza, cobbler, bread... you know, the really tempting ones.  I've sat, I've watched them eat it, it didn't get to me.  Not one single, teensy, tiny, bit.

This wasn't what I expected.

I expected horrible cravings, headaches, withdrawals, lack of energy, severe crankiness, hiding in my closet in a fetal position.  But?  Not a single one of those feelings have come over me.  Well, except some minor crankiness - that doesn't stem from my lack of eating carbs whatsoever.

Then, it kinda dawned on me why I might not be feeling those feelings.  Because I'm actually enjoying the foods that I'm eating - and I don't feel deprived of anything.  I've felt full every time I've eaten.  I've enjoyed the food I've eaten.  I haven't had to eat tiny portions that are gone in three bites.

The last part is what has stumped me the most.  My meals haven't been the size of a baby's fist.  They've been "normal" size... meaning they don't look lost on a normal sized dinner plate.

And what's even better is the fact that even though I'm not counting calories, my Atkins tracker does and I've been eating way less calories that I thought I was.  WAY less.  Craziness, right?

I've been tracking everything I eat.  Atkins makes it pretty simple.  I just have to scan my food, do a quick search, or choose from the list of allowed foods and then it calculates my carb intake, calories, and percentages.... you know all that stuff I hate to deal with.  It then charts it all for me so I can see the progress I'm making.

Monday, I consumed 25g of carbs (my target is to be within 20-25g).  I had 1585 calories.
Tuesday, I consumed 23.2g of carbs and 1731 calories.
Wednesday, 15g of carbs (a low day for me) with 1400 calories.
Yesterday, 22.8g of carbs and 1525 calories.

Looking at those numbers, I feel really proud of myself.  My caloric intake is actually a little low - according to all those number tests I did in the beginning that calculates height and weight and stuff.... but I'm not one to throw my full trust in to a small tracker... so I take it as a little "wiggle room".  Or margin of error.  Or whatever.  I just refuse to eat more just to please the computer.  The way I look at it, I'm satisfied, full, not craving anything... so I must be doing something right.

Last night I had one of my first eye opening experience to how "OK" Atkins is going to be for me.

I had to stop at the store on my way home to grab some frozen pizzas for the kids and Hubby to eat for dinner.  I wondered what on earth I was going to do because I definitely couldn't eat the pizza... but just had this horrible feeling that if I ate one of my frozen meals - I wouldn't feel happy about it, and would end up swiping a piece of the pizza.

So, as I walked past the dairy case in the store, I got an idea.

I grabbed what I needed and we headed home.  Got home, Hubby cooked the pizzas for all of them...and I started preparing my dinner.  While at the store, I had picked up turkey sausage crumbles, turkey bacon, and broccoli in cheese sauce.  I grabbed two eggs from the fridge, scrambled them up, added the turkey sausage crumbles, cooked a couple slices of the bacon, and had a cup of the broccoli in cheese sauce with it.

Totally the negative, stereotypical Atkins meal - prepared much healthier.

And you know what?  It was absolutely delicious!  In fact, my kids were jealous that I was eating what I was eating compared to their pizza.  I don't blame them... my plate looked fantastic.  I savored every, single bite of it...and was full and satisfied when I was done.

While at the store, I also picked up a box of Atkins Endulges (Atkins friendly candy bars).  Not that I've really had any cravings for chocolate.. but they looked good and I wanted to try them.  I picked up the coconut in dark chocolate variety...and you know what?  They taste JUST like Mound bars.

I fully expected to eat one and then be dying for another.  But, nope.  They were just the right size to nip my sweet tooth in the butt and leave me...once again... feeling totally satisfied.

Of course, I know that I'm only in to my first week.  I could just be experiencing that "new diet smell" and feeling so great because I'm trying so hard... but I have to admit, I feel pretty darn happy with the foods that I can eat.  I'm eating more vegetables than I have in a long time, I'm eating the proteins I love, and due to the fact that I pretty much always feel full - I don't feel like I'm being restricted from anything.

I just hope I'm feeling this great next week.

I'm also VERY curious to see what the scale says on Monday morning.

But, until then... I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's a Harsh World Out There...

Being a teacher is the most rewarding, fulfilling, motivational job on the planet.  In my mind, anyways.  There just isn't anything else I could do that could be so important than to prepare the kids of today for their future. Well, maybe except being a parent...and I'm one of those too.

I've only been doing this for 6 months, but there's not a day that goes by where I don't love my job - and care about the job that I'm doing.

But, there are days where I wonder if I'm getting the right message through.  If I'm maybe trying too hard...pushing too hard...expecting too much.  There are days that go by that make me wonder if I'm doing something wrong...not pushing hard enough...being too lenient on my expectations.

This week, I've found myself to be pretty darn cranky with my kids.  Not because I'm in a cranky mood, but simply because it feels like I'm a broken record saying the same thing over, and over, and over...and still not getting through.  Or when I explain an assignment several times, write it on the board, and still wander around the room to discover that half of the kids are doing what they want...and not following the directions at all.  Or when we grade an assignment, and a kiddo has made something like a 33%...which is an F...and they just shrug like it's no big deal without a care in the world.

It's frustrating.  Simply because I wonder what I'm doing that's making these kids not seem to care.

I've found myself lecturing these kids on how this type of behavior won't cut it in the "real world".  I've used the example "If I showed up to work, and had to be told 15 times what to do only to not do it or only get 33% of my paperwork correct... I wouldn't have a job for very long" way too many times.

The problem is, my 4th grade students don't make the connection to what they're doing today to how it will affect them in the future.  And I'm starting to think that maybe they shouldn't be.  Or, maybe they should but only when it's for the future they want for themselves....if that makes sense.

I was one of those very few kids that had her future career plans made up by the time I was in first grade.  I knew that one day I wanted to be a teacher.  So, it was a natural process for me to soak up everything my teachers said to me, do everything that was expected of me, make good grades.  The whole time being motivated by the idea that I couldn't be a teacher if I didn't.  But several kids have no idea what they want to be until they've started college.  So, why on earth would they be motivated and excited about fulfilling their career dreams in 4th grade?

They wouldn't.

Which means I have to find another way to spark motivation in to these kids.  Give them a purpose.  Show them that their hard work means something.

How do I do that?  Well, if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn't be sitting here asking it.  HA!

What I do know is that no matter how tough things get... I won't give up.  I won't give up on the fact that I will find whatever it is that will switch that spark inside of them.  No matter how much they don't like school, or don't like the work, or just don't care what their grades look like.  I will find a way to make them care.

Because that's why I became a teacher.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Well, Hello Jell-O!

Say hello to my new best friend.

Oh yes.  Sugar Free Jell-O.

Up until yesterday, I hadn't eaten jell-o in quite some time.  So long, in fact, that I don't even remember the last time I put some of the squishy, semi liquid/ semi solid food in to my mouth.  It just never really appealed to me when I could just have a candy bar or cake or cookies to satisfy my sweet tooth.

This morning marks the beginning of Day 3 of Aktins.  I'm happy to report that I'm still going strong, and I haven't had the slightest craving for breads, pastas, or any other carb.  And I was tested, yesterday, believe me.

At lunch, I sat and ate my bowl of raw cauliflower, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and green peppers along with my 4ozs of roast beef.  All the while those around me were chowing down on on an array of yummy, carb loaded foods.  I even sat and watched as my favorite fruit salad was eaten by a member of my teaching team.  It's a fruit salad made with grapes, pineapple, apple, cottage cheese, pecans, and heavy whipping cream.  The ladies in the cafeteria make it for the teachers occasionally - and it's my most favorite thing that they make.  Yet, I didn't even drool as I sat there watching it disappear before my eyes.

Although, after I'd finished eating my lunch and seeing that fruit salad, I did get a little craving for something sweet.  Thankfully, I'd packed the one sweet treat I can have that's totally guilt free:  Sugar free jell-o.

I was stunned by how sweet and satisfying a small package of jell-o can be.

I was in a similar situation last night while I watched my family eat baked chicken and fries...followed by banana cake that Hubby had made on Sunday.  I got to have the chicken, but my side was garlic cauliflower.  The fries didn't bother was the banana cake.  So, I reached for a jell-o pack.  Once again, sweet tooth satisfied.

I know that I've only been going at this for two days... but I kinda expected it to be a lot harder than it is.  I kinda expected to look at "forbidden foods" and want them more than anything...and would have to have an internal blow-up with myself in order to overcome the temptation.  Nothing like that so far - but I also haven't gotten through the first WEEK, which is supposed to be the hardest part.

I did break a cardinal rule this morning and stood on the scale.  I know better than to weigh in just two days after starting... but I'm kinda glad I did.  Just two days in and already down 3lbs.  The funny thing is, I was weighing myself every day last week - just to remind myself every morning that I needed to stop eating junk food.  My weight fluctuated within less than a pound each day... so seeing a change of 3lbs in two days is a big deal.  Definitely recharged my motivation level...even though it didn't really need recharging.

I've also decided to just accept that I'm going to run in to naysayers while being on Atkins.  And that it's OK and isn't going to affect me at all.

As my good friend, Jenn, said yesterday in her comment:
I think Atkins, when done the right way (the way you are planning on doing it), is just as good as any other diet option out there. I've dabbled in it before and found that people's criticism of it got old QUICK. I just told people I was low carbin' and they were much more accepting of that answer...
That's absolutely right.  It does get old quick... but I think any and all diet programs have their successes and their failures - it all depends on how it's done.

I've lost weight before by sticking to eating healthy, controlling my portion sizes, low-fat diets, "clean" diets.... but it all came down to my follow through.  I lost weight, went back to eating how I always had before, gained it right back.  I'm pretty sure that any diet plan is going to have the same effect.  The same will happen with Atkins - if I don't follow it through.

Yesterday, I was able to read several success stories who had been on Atkins for at least 5 years...and had kept all of their weight off.  They enjoy a piece of pizza now and then, have cake for their birthdays, and go out and eat meals with their family and friends.  But, because they've been through all 4 phases, and have trained their body and minds for the amount of carbs they can consume - it doesn't lead to a out of control spiral that ends up with them gaining all the weight back.

So, I know that it is possible to have great, long-lasting results with Atkins.  I just have to stick with it and give it the chance it deserves.  And, even though I'm only two days in, I see it being something I can totally do.  As long as there's Jell-O for me to enjoy.  HA!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Truthful Tuesday

To be honest... I was able to successfully make it through my first day of Atkins eating everything I'm supposed to and getting in the right number of carbs.

To be honest... When caught in a tough situation - like being served lasagna for lunch during my professional development training yesterday - I didn't falter.  I got a piece of lasagna and took out every layer of pasta - leaving only the meat, cheese, and spinach.  I also avoided the garlic bread and the peach cobbler and went with a salad as my side.

To be honest... It's not going to be an easy process wading through all the foods I can and can't eat, but I really feel up to the challenge.  For the first time in a very long time, I didn't binge eat or feel hungry yesterday.  I even avoided the chocolate chip cookies being served at my PTP meeting after school.  WIN!!

To be honest... I don't like being away from my kiddos for professional development.  Not that I don't love learning new strategies and tools I can use in the classroom, but I just don't like being gone for the first day of the week.  I suppose it will make my week seem shorter, though.

To be honest... I was surprised and appreciative of the messages I got on Twitter yesterday.  I haven't used Twitter in a long time, but after publishing yesterday's post.. I seemed to have sparked something inside some of my Twitter followers.  All were supportive comments, and several were those of sharing their success of being on Atkins.  Made me feel good.

To be honest... I really feel like this is going to be yet another winter where we don't get any real, accumulating snow.  I know that's kinda random - but something I've been thinking about.  Two years ago, we had snow that lasted for two weeks... since then?  Nothing but rain and minor flurries.  It's just not right to have a winter without, at least, a day or two off because of snow.

To be honest... I have a feeling I'm going to be talking about my weight loss efforts a lot more, again.  While sitting here, trying to come up with other stuff to talk about, my mind is just racing about stuff that I want to say about my weight loss plans.  While I know that I'll still be able to share stuff that's going on in my life - outside of trying to lose weight - I have a strong feeling that most days I'll be spending talking about how I'm feeling, my successes, struggles, etc. with trying to lose weight...again.

To be honest... My whole, pure motivation for making the split second call to try something as strict as Atkins is all based on my feelings that stemmed from shopping.  Is it bad that I just want to be able to wear smaller clothes again?  I know that my health and well being should be my top priority for wanting to shed the pounds...they're really not.  It's all about fitting in to the bags of cute clothes I bought for myself two years ago that are nestled away in the bottom of my closet...begging to be set free.

To be honest... I know that I've made all these plans and claims and decisions many, many, MANY times over.  I know that everyone's probably tired of hearing me rinse and repeat... or say something one day and then say something completely different the next.  I'm not going to sit here and declare...once again... that THIS is it.  This is going to be the time that the weight goes and I stick with it forever and that nothing will ever stand in my way again.  I'm not going to say that, because the truth is - I've made those claims one too many times before, and I just can't throw myself out there like that anymore.  What I can say is that I want to try, I'm motivated to at least see how it goes, and just take it from there.

To be honest... I think that's about it.  Except, I really would like to hear what you guys think.  The good and the bad... but please try to refrain from the ugly.  I know that there are many supporters of Atkins out there... just as there are many strong opponents to Atkins.  I'd like to hear both sides.  Except, not just about what you've heard from a friend of a friend of a friend... maybe share some stories about people you know that have tried it, maybe you've tried it... I don't know... just some general feedback.  Thanks!


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Misconceptions I Uncovered About Atkins

So, here I am on Day One of trying Atkins.  I mentioned yesterday that I was going to try it.  For years and years I have known about Atkins - but never dared go anywhere near it because of all the stuff I'd heard about it.

Then, I noticed on Facebook that someone I knew had been on it since January 1st and already lost 10lbs.  I chuckled to myself as I mumbled some of the comments I had about Atkins... but then it dawned on me that I had NEVER taken the time to look in to Atkins, I had always gone by what people had told me or what I'd heard about it.

Using yesterday as a very quick example - I made the comment that I was going to try Atkins, and my friend posted a comment that said "Atkins: lose weight fast gain right back, because you can't stay on that diet forever".  Nothing against Cathy...just 48 hours ago, I thought the very same thing.

I figured it best that I reveal some of the misconceptions I discovered while doing some research on Atkins, and what made me decide to try it.

Misconception #1:  Lose weight fast, gain it right back, because you can't stay on it forever.

Come to find out, that's not true AT ALL.  Atkins is broken up in to four phases.  The first phase is the phase used to break the addiction over carbs, train the body how to burn fat instead of carbs, and where you stay to lose the majority of the weight.  Phase 2 you move in to when you're ready to start slowly adding carbs back in to your diet - about 30lbs from goal weight.  Key word SLOWLY.  Phase 3 is when you're very close to goal weight - within 10lbs - and you need to learn how to introduce more carbs without over doing it.  Phase 4 is actually called Lifetime Phase.  Because it's the phase you can use for the rest of your life to help maintain the weight loss by identifying how many grams of carbs are needed to maintain - and from what sources.

The reason this misconception exists out there is apparently because a lot of people that try Atkins only ever stay in the first phase.  Once they lose all of their weight, they go back to regular eating...and then gain all the weight back.  The website informs you of that.  If you don't stay the course of the program, you will indeed gain all of the weight back because it's designed to help you control your carb intake...slowly weening you back to them.  If you skip steps, problems are going to occur.  As with all diet and healthy eating plans.

Misconception #2:  All you eat is bacon, steak, cheese, and eggs.

This was probably the reason I avoided Atkins like the plague, because I always thought that it was about eating nothing but meat and cheese.  I wondered how on earth anyone could lose weight by eating so much junk..and that a person's cholesterol level would sky rocket through the roof.

Come to find out, once again, that's not true.  The first phase of Atkins does cut out all complex carbs from your diet:  Grains, pasta, rice, etc.  You focus on eating 4-6 ozs of LEAN protein with each meal and get 20 grams of carbs from vegetables and dairy.  More vegetables than dairy.  I have to cut out any processed sugars, also.  Then, once I move in to phase 2, I start to slowly introduce come complex carbs like whole grains.  Phase 3 introduces more carbs, and so on.  It's to help train the body to burn fat instead of carbs...and also, again, to break the addiction that many people (ME) have with carbs.

Misconception #3:  It's dangerous to cut carbs from your diet.

I've been around the block a few times with diet plans and programs.  I've been told by many personal trainers that it's very dangerous to cut anything from your diet.  Heck, we all grew up with a food pyramid that held complex carbs as the lowest phase of the pyramid - meaning that complex carbs should make up the majority of our daily intake.  So, it's no surprise that I was very hesitant about the thought of cutting complex carbs out completely.

What I found out? Athletes and people that have high metabolisms burn complex carbs for energy.  Those people that are mostly sedentary end up consuming more carbs than their body burns - thus leading to the carbs being stored, eventually turning in to sugars, eventually turning into more weight gain.  It's true that the body DOES need carbs - but they don't have to come from complex carbs that turn in to sugar.  The body can process and use simple carbs - vegetables - for the purpose of hydration and energy... but they don't end up being stored.  The body, instead, starts to burn the fat that's already there for energy.

Once the fat supply starts to dwindle away, the body will need complex carbs for energy once again... but the body has to be trained on how much it needs to eat in order to that you don't gain weight again.  Once again, the reason for phases 2, 3, and 4 of the program.  You can't cut out carbs for a while and then just start eating them again without the proper steps.  I just have to make sure I follow the steps - and I should be OK.

Misconception #4:  Once I cut out complex carbs, I'll start craving them more and end up giving in.

Actually, this one isn't so much of a misconception.  It is true that once you cut out something from your diet - especially something you're addicted to - it will be hard to stay away.  This will all come from staying on plan, trusting it, and being strong.  The best thing I learned, though, is that protein fills you up and keeps you full longer.  Complex carbs fill you up and make you hungrier faster.  If I eat the right amount of protein with each meal, and the right amounts of simple carbs, I shouldn't have to worry about being hungry.  The cravings will be there for the first few days - but with any addiction... I'll just have to try and overcome the desire.

Misconception #5:  Like all diet plans, I'll have to buy a bunch of books, an online subscription, and spend all kinds of money to be on the program.

WRONG-O!  I was so surprised when I went to the Atkins website and found the plethora of information on the phases, food lists, mobile apps, etc. ALL FOR FREE!  Sure, there are books out there if you need them... but everything in those books are on their website - no subscription required.

Just for signing up on the website - for free - I am receiving a free welcome kit that includes sample bars, coupons, and a book about the program.  And, yes, I just said samples and coupons.  If I don't need to spend anything why do I need coupons and samples?  Well, Atkins has their own food line - but it's not required AT ALL in order to see results. Their meal bars, shakes, frozen meals, etc. are just there as another tool, if you want to use them.  I will be using some because all of the meals, bars, and shakes contain the protein I need without the carbs - and it's all nicely measured out for me.  They are great for a busy person like myself who tends to skip breakfast and eats cafeteria food for lunch.

Their mobile app comes with a food journal, weight loss progress tool, scanner to scan foods to check to make sure the foods are "Atkins friendly", and even a restaurant locator that will tell me of restaurants close to me that offer Atkins friendly meals.

For some reason, a program that doesn't require tons of money up front sits well with me.  I figure that I get to try it out without being out any money...what's the harm in that?

So, there you have it.  The five major misconceptions I had about Atkins, and the truth once I actually spent some time to research it.

And, just so you know, I didn't just research Atkins on their website.  I perused blogs, medical websites, and other websites to get my answers.  Just Google "Atkins Misconceptions" and you'll be so surprised at the amounts of personal blogs that share success stories and doctors that actually support Atkins.

At the end of the day, it comes down to the fact that I have to put in what I get out.  I've tried diet plan after diet plan after diet plan and never had any luck keeping the weight off.  I've also tried the no diet plan approach of eating healthier, moving more....and I still gained back all of the weight.  It's going to happen if I don't change my behaviors for good.

The last time I lost weight - a large amount - I was eating clean, healthy, and working out like a crazy person.  But, then I just stopped.  And, of course, the weight crept back in no time.  The same thing will happen with Atkins unless I commit to staying the course and moving through all of the phases.  The proof will really rely in the pudding.  Do I have what it takes to stay the course?  I like to think I do... but time will tell, I suppose.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Day Chocked Full of Good Stuff

Yesterday was one of those days where so much great stuff happened, I'm still sitting here absorbing the residual goodness feelings.

It started with having lunch with my two besties in the whole world:  Hope and Sanity.

For you newbies - Hope and Sanity are my two best friends I went to college with.  We developed a strong friendship in college, are now all teachers, and try to get together at least once a month or so to catch up, share our lives, and support each other.

Anywho, we opted to meet at Panera Bread for coffee, lunch, and a couple of hours of chatting.  It always amazes me how long we can sit in a coffee house and just talk.  We met at 1pm and didn't leave until almost 4pm.

It's so nice to meet with friends - especially teacher friends that work in a different school district.  It's great to see what stuff they are teaching, how it's being taught, etc.

After we said our goodbyes, I decided to make a quick run to Charming Charlie's - an amazing store that sells mostly purses and shoes and accessories.  I needed a new lanyard for school, so I figured that would be the store to find a good one.

Now, there are two things in this world that I love almost as much as my kids.  Shoes and purses.  Oh yes.  I am a severe shoe and purse collector.  I have so many pairs of shoes and purses - many that have never been worn or used - that I could open up my own shoe and purse boutique.  It's so bad that I had to bag up many of my purses just so Hubby could get in to our walk-in closet.  I have a shoe rack on my closet door and one hanging in my closet.  Both are full - and there are STILL shoes all over the floor of the closet, the floor of my bedroom, and a few pairs in my bathroom.

It's a sickness.  I just can't help myself.

So, I make my quick run in to Charming Charlies to see a sign I'm pretty sure I'll see on the gate of Heaven.  All SHOES AND PURSES BUY ONE GET TWO FREE.  What the freakin' what???  Are you kidding me?

My quick trip turned in to an hour long shopping spree while I selected three purses, three pairs of shoes, three pairs of slippers, and of course - my lanyard.

I ended up walking out of the store with three HUGE bags of stuff.  I spent a whole $45 and came home with three pairs of boots (two for me and one for Peanut, because they didn't have another pair I liked in my size), three purses, three pairs of fuzzy slippers (one for me, one for Peanut, and one for Jelly), and a purple, blingy lanyard.

The first pair of boots I bought were originally priced at $49.99 - marked down to $16.  So, I bought three pairs of boots for less than what one pair originally cost...along with everything else I snagged.  Basically, I bought a pair of boots and got the purses, slippers, and the lanyard for free.  That's the way my head does the math, anyway.

It occurred to me last night, after getting home and sharing my buys with the family, how long it had been since I felt this much excitement from shopping.  For myself.  The last time I had so much fun was back when I had lost a ton of weight, and I could actually go in to the "normal" sized areas of the store to select clothes. I forgot what that feeling felt like.  Since gaining back all of the weight, I have lost my appeal for shopping - once again.

So, yet another thing occurred to me.  If I missed the rush of going out for a shopping spree, and wanted nothing more than to feel those feelings again - more often - the weight just HAS to go.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I can try all I want to live in this nonchalant life of not caring too much about my weight loss, making tiny adjustments here and there with the hope that eventually I'll start to lose a couple of pounds...but the harsh reality is, if I want to see the changes sooner rather than later I'm going to have to do more.

I still think that if I just make slight changes here and there to my food decisions and my exercising that eventually I'll start to see some changes.  But how long will eventually be?

Just one week in to the new year, and I'm already ready to make a change to one of my resolutions.  I say change because I'm not ditching it - I'm enhancing it.

I've decided to try Atkins.

For three hours last night, I researched, I read reviews, I read articles and studies and all kinds of stuff... because you all know how I feel about "diet plans".

When push comes to shove, I can openly admit that I'm a carb addict.  Big time.  And after reading what I read, and answering questions, and seeing what other people had to say - the best part about Atkins was the fact that so many people were able to overcome their carb addictions - which led to quick weight loss that actually stayed off.

The other part I love is the fact that Atkins provides all of their weight loss tools for free.  I've already downloaded the app that will help me keep track of my carb intake, provide me with food suggestions, and keep me on top of my progress.  I will also be receiving a welcome kit in the mail that will provide me with some samples of their meal bars, some coupons, and a couple of books that will help answer any more questions that I might have along the way.

I'll go more in to the Atkins plan tomorrow.  This is already turning in to a very long post...and my family is sitting around waiting on me to get ready to go grocery shopping.

So, yesterday was chocked full of good stuff.  And today?  A new journey begins.