Ignorance Will Steal Your Bliss

Happy St. Paddy’s Day one and all! I hope you’re all celebrating responsibly and feeling the luck o’ the Irish. If you are one of the many today over indulging, more power to you! Just remember the calories do count, and tomorrow will come, so make smart decisions.

On to today’s topic: Ignorance. Growing up, we were utterly and completely and blissfully unaware of the importance of food. We knew we had to finish what was on our plates because there were (and are) starving children in Africa. But that was about the start and finish of what we knew about food.

Unfortunately for some of us, our nutritional education ended there. I didn’t know eating bread would make me fat. I had no idea there were certain foods you should eat at certain times of the day. I certainly didn’t know eating an entire plate of mashed potatoes was considered unhealthy. I was completely clueless! I lived in a world of blissful ignorance… Until I hit my 20s. Then chaos ensued.

These count as a vegetable right?

These count as a vegetable right?

Today’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Ignorance Will Steal Your Bliss

Food only meant pleasure to me growing up. I like Coke. I want Coke. I drink Coke now. Little did I know it was rotting my teeth (which I wouldn’t discover until I went to the dentist at 26 after not going for 5 years and discovered I had my first SEVEN cavities) and it was changing my body in ways I would inevitably grow to regret. We always had sweets in our house. Cookies, cake, pop, crackers, chips, you name it we had it. We never thought anything of it. It was just food! We had no idea that eventually we would grow up, stop running around like maniacs, our metabolism would slow down, and we would get fat. It was an unavoidable truth of which we were blissfully ignorant.

Today: A ridiculously hard workout we would dread. Then: The bestest day ever!

Today: A ridiculously hard workout we would dread. Then: The bestest day ever!

My weight roller-coastered like crazy when my metabolism started slowing down. Honestly it started when I was still a kid, around grade 5 or 6 I started to pudge out. We moved into a new house with satellite TV and I would sit there for hours devouring all these cartoons I had never seen before. Then around the end of Jr. High I started walking more and I slimmed back down again. By the end of High School however my fate was sealed. I had developed the mother of all sweet tooths, and nothing could have stopped that train wreck. Except maybe some information, a glimpse into my future… But even then I doubt it. It’s like I said in a previous blog: Weight gain was some abstract notion of something that might happen in the future. But that pizza was sitting in front of me at that moment looking and smelling irresistible.

After that it was a gong show. I ballooned up to 170 pounds before I even knew what hit me. That’s when I started fighting back. I didn’t have the tools, but I had motivation. I started walking more, I attempted to watch what I was eating. I was broke, living with some friends in the city, so not having money for groceries most weeks really helped me drop some pounds. Plus walking everywhere since I couldn’t really afford transportation was a major bonus.

Sweet one more block and I'll have worked off that Cheeto I had for brunch.

Sweet one more block and I’ll have worked off that Cheeto I had for brunch.

It all turned around when I met the man I’m still with today. I was in good shape, thanks to the broke girl diet, and we would spend all of our time outside. Hiking, exploring, it was amazing! Before I knew it I was in great shape. Then I went on unemployment and basically became a bump on a log for a few months. The pounds started slowly stacking up more and more… Luckily, he wasn’t like everyone else I knew up until that point. He didn’t pat me on the head and hand me a brownie to make me feel better about gaining weight. He helped me. He started researching healthy eating and gently pointed me in the right direction. He would come over and take me out for walks, show me exercises I could do, basically he snapped me out of it. He showed me that I was the one in control. Weight gain wasn’t “just happening” to me, I was making it happen to me.

Our first summer together! We would run all over Peggy's Cove. I believe at this point in time I was trying to jump to that next rock and not feeling too confident... Hence the face.

Our first summer together! We would run all over Peggy’s Cove. I believe at this point in time I was trying to jump to that next rock and not feeling too confident… Hence the face.

And I was the only one who could turn it around.

So I started going to the gym, tracking my weight, really watching my diet. It was fantastic! For the first time in my life I felt like a winner. Then a year later I got pregnant and all hell broke loose again.

Boom! And this was before I thought I put on "too much" weight. Eep!

Boom! And this was before I thought I put on “too much” weight. Eep!

Gah! Life. It always manages to get in the way. At that point in the story, most women would give up. Hell, a lot of them have. It’s one thing to gain the “Freshman 15” and bounce back. It’s quite another to gain the “Pregnant Lady 70” and have your skin lose its ability to “bounce back.” But I have fought tooth and nail to get here. I wanted to quit. More times than I can count. But I knew I didn’t want to live the rest of my life like that. I didn’t want to die a little every time I looked in the mirror. I didn’t want to think my partner was lying to me every time he told me I was beautiful. I wanted to earn it. I wanted to be a MILF. Yep, I said it. Vanity is a funny thing. It can be the death of us, or it can be the perfect motivating factor to kick it into high gear.

Yep, that's the baby in my arms... So why do I look even bigger than in that last picture? I'll give you a hint... I wasn't just "swollen" from being pregnant. I didn't know how to eat properly. Hard lesson to learn.

Yep, that’s the baby in my arms… So why do I look even bigger than in that last picture? I’ll give you a hint… I wasn’t just “swollen” from being pregnant. I didn’t know how to eat properly. Hard lesson to learn.

So yes, ignorance has stolen my bliss time and time again. I’m sure many of you have very similar stories. It’s not fun to put it all on front street. To completely own up to our failures. But when you do, you take your power back.

I am the one who got me fat. It wasn’t the Oreo commercials. It wasn’t the inventors of the Caramilk bar (bastards.) And it certainly wasn’t Ben or Jerry. It was me. I alone put on all that weight.

And I alone took it off again.

Back in my pre-baby clothes!!! Best. Feeling. Ever.

Back in my pre-baby clothes!!! Best. Feeling. Ever.

I can now state with overwhelming pride that I weigh less than I did when I got pregnant. We started the Slow Carb Diet one year ago. I weighed in at a whopping 186 pounds. I am now down to 135. It is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. Second only to having a baby, obviously.

I know you can do it too! It’s never too late. It’s never impossible. The only thing standing in your way is YOU. Stop letting ignorance steal your bliss. Do some research, keep reading my blog, follow me on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds for tons of amazing recipes and motivation. You don’t have to do this alone. I’ve already made the path, you just need to follow it.

Losing Weight Won’t Fix The Problem… But It’s A Great Place To Start

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you’re all starting your week off right and feeling fabulous! But I know for some of you it’s only Monday and already you’re feeling like a failure. It’s okay. We all have those days, those weeks, those months. It happens.

The important thing is to not beat yourself up for it. Understand that you made a mistake somewhere, own it, and move on. Don’t let yourself stay down in the dark place.

But most importantly, don’t let yourself make the dark place more comfortable.

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Losing Weight Won’t Fix The Problem… But It’s A Great Place To Start

I’ve seen a few different articles and images on my Facebook feed over the last week that were all instant red flags. They all seemed really nice and supportive, helping people feel better, which is all fantastic. But when someone breaks their leg, do you want to make them feel better for having a broken leg while keeping the leg broken? Or make them feel better while helping them to fix the leg?

Hey girl, we're all here. You're really depressed you gained 5 pounds? Cool we'll be right there with a large pizza, let's talk.

Hey girl, we’re all here. You’re really depressed you gained 5 pounds? Cool we’ll be right there with a large pizza, let’s talk.

The general idea in these articles was that losing weight won’t make you happy.

This is such a dangerous statement and made me want to punch the author in the face.

All I saw was the headline. I didn’t have to read the article to know what it said. I’ve read it a thousand different times by a thousand different authors.

“There’s no such thing as happy skinny people.”

“Food is life!”

“Don’t deprive yourself, enjoy your life and be happy!”

Yadda yadda yadda.

It’s another Comfortable Lie. They make the reader feel better about giving up on losing weight. “Well it won’t make me happy! Bring on the cheesecake!” I speak from experience. I too have fallen prey to these misguided articles time and time again.

Losing weight won't make me happy?! God dammit where's my cheesecake?

Losing weight won’t make me happy?! God dammit where’s my cheesecake?

They are trying to do good, don’t get me wrong. But the point isn’t to make someone feel good about their failures. We should be helping people see where they failed and how they can do better.

Now, they did come pretty close to hitting a very, very important truth. A truth that absolutely does need to be known to everyone.

Being overweight isn’t the problem. It’s a symptom of the problem.

If you were to wake up tomorrow and be your dream weight, you wouldn’t be happy.

Well, obviously you’d be happy.

Thank you magical weight loss fairy!

Thank you magical weight loss fairy!

But that happiness would be fleeting.

Sure you could go out and try on all the bikinis, wear all your old clothes you haven’t seen in a decade, walk down the street and feel proud…

But after a while, this gnawing feeling would start to creep back in…

That hole, the one you were trying to fill with food, would start to ache again.

Someone get me a cookie, I'm feeling my feelings again...

Someone get me a cookie, I’m feeling my feelings again…

We don’t eat because we’re overweight.

We’re overweight because we eat.

And we eat because we’re unhappy.

Look at the times you’re most likely to binge. Now look at the base emotion of these times:

Really happy occasions that simultaneously depress us because we’re alone/overweight/getting older etc. For example: Birthdays, parties, holidays.

Really sad occasions; losses, someone close to you is hurting, sad movies even.

Stress and boredom I’m sure are all on the list as well.

When we don’t want to deal with our feelings, we bury them under a pound of ice cream.

It’s our feelings that need fixing.

But do you know what is actually fantastic for feeling better?

DOING SOMETHING!

Who needs diet pills and Prozac when you have a mop and a bucket?

Who needs diet pills and Prozac when you have a mop and a bucket?

Doing anything! When I start to feel a mean case of the munchies coming on I don’t sit and stew. I drink a glass of water or make some black coffee, and I clean! I’ll scrub the bathroom, mop the floors, dust all the windows; In other words, I extrovert.

What’s better than cleaning?

Working out! If I didn’t have a baby, you better believe I would be at the gym at least 5 days a week. As it is I plank and push-up and stretch whenever I have a free 60 seconds.

Wait... Why was I sad again?

Wait… What was I sad about?

As Elle Woods put it so beautifully in Legally Blond “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”

If you’re actively working on improving your health in one way or another, you’re going to feel better.

So no, waking up tomorrow and magically being your dream weight and body shape won’t fix the problem.

It’s the long road to that body; It’s the dedication and discipline and self discovery; That is what will make you feel better.

She just realized she hasn't even thought about a cookie in 6 months.

She just realized she hasn’t even thought about a cookie in 6 months.

What are some of the major realizations you’ve had on your road to success? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and Twitter @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips

Happy Monday! I’m here to help take away a little bit of the mystery this week. There’s one really unfortunate little mind game we don’t mean to play on ourselves that will forever keep us in our fat pants. Luckily I’ve been to the other side and back again (a couple times now) so I am speaking from experience and can help you to not make the same mistakes!

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips

If only this happened as soon as we ate the chocolate...

If only this happened as soon as we ate the chocolate…

Saying no to delicious food is hard. I know, I’ve been there. I didn’t gain 70 pounds while I was pregnant because of some junk food gnome who force fed me cake while I was sleeping. I gained 70 pounds while pregnant because saying no to the Caramilk bar that second was so much more painful than the inevitable weight gain.

No, wait, that’s not even a little bit true.

All that weight gain hurt oh so much more.

But at the moment the Caramilk bar was in front of me? Saying no hurt more.

Why?

Because as soon as I put that sweet, delicious (and EVIL!!!) Caramilk bar to my lips I didn’t instantly gain 5 pounds. But I did have chocolate. The weight gain was some abstract notion of something that might happen in the future. But that chocolate? That was happening that second.

My nemesis.

My nemesis.

Studies have actually been done on this. It’s instant gratification versus future reward. Some people are better than others at weighing the pros and cons. But most of us, especially when it comes to food, will take delicious food this second over an athletic body in the future. It’s instant gratification. Here’s a link to an article in The New Yorker on The Marshmallow Experiment:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=all

I will sum it up here for you: Children were brought into a room one at a time. There was a plate of marshmallows in front of them. They were told that they could have one marshmallow now. Or! If they waited a couple minutes while the man left the room, when he returned they could have two marshmallows. As with most social experiments, some subjects were able to sit patiently and wait (delayed gratification) others needed their marshmallow right away (instant gratification) and others after a few minutes realized they were alone with candy and started stuffing their face with all of it (evil master minded geniuses of the future)

Ah yes, I know that feeling all too well.

Ah yes, I know that feeling all too well.

Delayed gratification is what we really have a problem with. We aren’t oracles, we can’t see into the future, we can’t say for certain whether or not saying no to this delicious treat in front of us now will result in a beach-ready body by summer, so we opt for instant gratification.

And that is where we fail.

Willpower has received a bad rep as of late. We’re told we’re denying ourselves, we’re making ourselves miserable, we’re torturing ourselves, yadda yadda yadda. But do you know who’s saying that? Other fat people trying to make themselves feel better for also caving in to instant gratification.

Oh yeah, she looks really deprived... Deprived of a miserable life maybe.

Oh yeah, she looks really deprived… Deprived of a miserable life maybe.

Delayed gratification is the best feeling you will ever have. Even on junk food days I still put this into effect. Yeah sure I could devour that cookie before I’m even out of the Tim’s drive through. Or, I can take my time. Enjoy having it in my presence. Enjoy knowing that I could eat that cookie at any second, but I am choosing not to. I’m not letting the cookie dictate my actions. I am the one in control.

Control is good. Control is the difference between gaining 5 pounds or losing 30 by the end of the year. It’s easy to practice small bursts of self control, but it’s constant vigilance that will make you come out on top.

Stop thinking of it as depriving yourself. That’s letting the cookie rule you. You rule the cookie. You tell that cookie when and where you’ll eat it, not the other way around. I don’t know about you, but as a child I always had boxes of Oreos and Fudgee-os and bags upon bags of chips in the cupboards. But I wouldn’t sit around all day thinking “Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies.” Somewhere along the line, the control went from me to the food. In the last few years, if I knew there were cookies in the house, I was eating them until they were gone. No questions asked.

My other nemesis.

My other nemesis.

I still have trouble with it. That’s why I need to keep that food out of the house. I’m not depriving myself. I’m taking my power back. And you can too. Just remember:

 You rule the cookie. The cookie does not rule you.

Your turn! What are some ways you’re taking your power back and enjoying that sense of delayed gratification? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwetypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

Five Easy Tweaks To Jump Start Your Weight Loss

This week I thought I’d share with you five very small and easy tweaks I’ve made to my lifestyle and diet that have really helped me shed the pounds.

Often we bog ourselves down with huge changes. THIS RARELY WORKS. Don’t try to completely overhaul your life over night. When you take on too much at once, more often than not you’re setting yourself up to fail. As babies, we don’t go from barely able to hold our heads up to running around the block the next day. You take one small baby step at a time. Take a gradient approach to your goals; Small, calculated steps will get you there a lot faster than big, misdirected ones.

Stairs were invented for a reason. No one makes it to the top with one step. Unless you're Spiderman.

Stairs were invented for a reason. No one makes it to the top with one step. Unless you’re Spiderman.

Our next Uncomfortable Truth:

You Need To Start Slow

If you want to really start heading towards your weight loss goal, make a few small, simple changes to see some big results. Here are the five simple changes I’ve made to see some serious results.

Skip The Coffee Cream – I’ve touched on this one a few times now, but it’s worth repeating. What is cow’s milk? It’s milk made by a mama cow to feed a baby cow. A cow that needs to grow up to be a helluva lot bigger than us a helluva lot quicker. More bad? Cow’s today are pumped full of so many hormones and antibiotics it’s amazing their milk and meat is still edible. When you’re starting your day, do you want to consume something that will jack your blood sugar and make you gain weight? Or something that tastes good, will give you much more energy, and will in turn jack your metabolism? Black coffee for the win! And throw away the sugar.

Sweet delicious coffee beans. Why ruin them with insta-fat?

Sweet delicious coffee beans. Why ruin them with insta-fat?

Burn All Of Your Artificial Sweeteners – Somehow it got into society’s head that artificial sweeteners are actually better for you than sugar. It’s time to unlearn this lie. We’ve all heard that they’re connecting aspartame with cancer, but in today’s world what doesn’t give us cancer, right? Faulty logic. If you know it’s no good, and you can cut it out, then cut it out! Artificial sweeteners are worse for you. There’s no denying it. If you absolutely must sweeten something, use organic honey. It is so much more delicious.

Here’s an article I found on artificial sweeteners from CBC if you need further convincing.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/artificial-sweeteners-tied-to-obesity-type-2-diabetes-1.1352987

Cut The Carbs – Obviously I’ve already touched on this one, but if there is one thing I have found that has worked better than anything else I’ve done, it’s eliminating carbs from my diet. We consume enough carbohydrates in vegetables and meat that we should never need to turn to a bagel. Or pasta. Even if it’s whole grain, just avoid it. Nothing will you fill you up more, give you more energy, and make you feel like a million bucks better than a meal that is 75% vegetables and 25% meat. Last night for supper we had steaks with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and roasted brussels sprouts, and it was the best damn meal I’ve had in a while. Carbs don’t add flavor or variety, they add pounds and inches. You may not be able to cut all carbs from your diet right away, and that’s okay. Baby steps. Start by eliminating them from one meal a day, and expand from there. And I would like to think this goes without saying, but just to be clear…..

CAKE AND CHOCOLATE COUNT AS CARBS.

Just because they're round doesn't mean they equal a well rounded diet.

Just because they’re round doesn’t mean they equal a well rounded diet.

Stop Snacking On High Calorie Snacks – A couple months ago I realized it was my tiny little cup of raisins and almonds holding me back from losing weight. At first it baffled me, until I mentioned it to my man-friend who looked at me like I had ten heads. Of course it was holding me back. That tiny little snack didn’t fill me, it wasn’t satisfying. It spiked my blood sugar, making me crave more food, and it was packed with more fat and calories than the whole plate of celery and hummus I could’ve had instead. Which incidentally tastes better and would’ve left me satisfied. Go through your cupboards. Throw out every little “100 Calorie Snack” bag you have. They will only leave you wanting more and keep you farther and farther away from your goals.

Junk is junk is junk. No matter what pretty wrapping you put on it.

Junk is junk is junk. No matter what pretty wrapping you put on it.

Move More – Okay, this one seems too simple to be true, but man does it work! Today we’re so concerned with time. Get there quicker, get it done, on to the next thing, go go go!!! We’ve completed so much by day’s end we figure we must have burned a million calories. But although your car was going really fast, your computer was working really hard, your vacuum was in peak form… You never really moved all that much. It may take a couple extra minutes but next time walk to the corner store to grab your eggs. And on the way back, do bicep curls with the bag. Sweep instead of vacuuming. Stand while you’re on your computer, and maybe do some push-ups on the counter while you’re trolling through Facebook. Did you know that I stand while writing every blog? My computer doesn’t live at a desk or dining room table. It lives on my kitchen counter so I can multi-task like a boss (or stay at home mom) and do squats or push-ups while I’m reading and writing. Have 30 seconds to stand around while the microwave counts down? Do a 30 second plank! You have time to fit in a 30 minute work out every day. You just have to do it in 30 second intervals. By the end of the day you’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, and when you wake up in the morning and weigh yourself? No better way to start the day than with a great big smile and renewed enthusiasm.

One set of 20 as you walk to the car. Best work out I know.

One set of 20 as you walk to the car. Best work out I know.

Those are my five easy peasy lemon squeezy ways to lose weight with minimal effort. And like I said, they’ve worked for me! Just find little ways to start implementing them. Before you know it you’ll hate the taste of cream in your coffee, you’ll forget why you ever drove to get the mail, and you’ll laugh at those poor misguided fools buying diet pop and 100 calorie snacks for their lunch.

What are some of your favorite little tweaks and adjustments you’ve made to help lose weight? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds or Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/Last20Pounds and you can follow me on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

The Last Twenty Pounds: An Uncomfortable Truth

It's time to stop fearing the scale!

 

Welcome to my maiden voyage! Thank you all for embarking upon this journey with me, I am pretty darn excited! For those of you who don’t know me, here’s a brief background:

I am 28, mother of one, and am desperately struggling to finish taking off the baby weight. Before I lose you, this blog won’t be littered with baby anecdotes, baby pictures, or any other mom-specific information. First and foremost, I am a woman. A very average woman with a very average body. When I got pregnant I was 5’6ish and about 139 pounds. I gained roughly 70 pounds. Seriously. Not a typo. Seventy mother truckin’ pounds. It looks less painful when typed out in words instead of digits. 70 pounds. Cringe. This is not something your body quickly recovers from. I am about 10 pounds away from my pre-baby weight, and about 20 pounds away from being happy with my body again.

Now, this is where I lose most people. “How can you say you’re not happy with your body?!” “You had a baby, your body is supposed to change!” “You’re a tiger, your stretch marks are your stripes!” “You should love your body no matter what!” Well… I’m calling it. I’m calling bullsh!t, to quote a movie I fell in love with after I had William, What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Amazing movie, baby or no baby you’ll love it. And it beautifully demonstrates that every woman is different. Sure, for some women stretch marks and crazy weight gain are an unavoidable truth. But I’m not here to tell you unavoidable truths. I’m here to tell you uncomfortable truths.

That in a very small nutshell is what I aim to do with this blog. Basically as women today, we’re royally screwed. We’re either told “Eat nothing. Work out non stop. It’s the only way to be happy.” Or “Screw diets! You only live once! Eat EVERYTHING!!!!” Either way is a quick and horrifying road to self destruction. There is an easier way. And we’re going to get there together!

So for this first endeavour, we’ll start with one simple Uncomfortable Truth:

Sugar Will Always Make You Fat

This was one of the hardest ones for me to come to terms with. It doesn’t matter if it’s your birthday. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas. Easter. Hallowe’en. Friday. Sunday. But I’m celebrating! But I’m depressed! But How I Met Your Mother is ending and I don’t know how I’ll go on without my Maclaren’s family!!! Doesn’t matter. Because you know what? There will always be excuses. If you look for them, and believe me I have, you will find fifteen thousand of them in the run of a day. There is always a reason to cheat. Greatness is succeeding in spite of the reasons. The minute you look your cravings full in the face, swimming in a sea of cheeseburgers and hundred layer chocolate cake and say “I. Choose. Salad.” you’re a winner. You’re already one step closer to your ideal, whatever that ideal may be. For some of you, it may be losing five pounds to get back into that swimsuit. For some, it may be losing a fifth grader off your hips. For others, just figuring out how to eat healthier in a world of processed foods. This is an exciting journey! Once you stop looking at it as losing something, and start looking at it as gaining something, you’ll be amazed how exciting a journey it can be. And I can’t wait to take it with you!!

Please join my Facebook group www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and you can find me on Pinterest at The Last Twenty Pounds: An Uncomfortable Truth. Keep me updated on your progress, ask me questions, give me feedback, or just say hi! I would love to hear from all of you and hear your stories, your stumbles, your wins and your losses. We can all be each others inspiration on this sometimes discouraging journey. I wish it was easy. I wish we could just decide to start a diet, buy yogurt instead of ice cream and crackers instead of chips and within 2 days be ten pounds lighter. It’s not going to happen. And not just because yogurt and crackers are just as likely to be bad for you. But because it does take work. It does take effort. Anything worth having in life is going to be hard at times. But that feeling of fitting back into your skinny jeans… No chocolate cake will ever taste that good.