Thursday, August 27, 2009

Meltdown Rules for Dummies (and by dummies I mean us)

Now that we have 10 days under our buttery belts, we have a pretty good idea about what our rules of the road should be in order to stay on track. These are guidelines for us and not necessarily for all Melters, and it's just a bunch of no-brainer, common sense stuff. Trust me, nothing terribly enlightening here, people ... and certainly nothing we haven't all heard a ka-zillion times before. But these are rules we've been ignoring the past few years, like dummies. It's time to wake up and lose the butter.

1. Eat every hour or so: Being too busy and waiting too long to eat has probably been one of my biggest problems in the past. Now I'm eating little snacks throughout the day ... walnuts, some strawberries, maybe a hard boiled egg. Previous experience tells me that allowing myself to get too hungry, especially when out running errands, could possibly result in a drive through McDonald's.

2. Exercise: Mike belongs to a gym and goes there, uh ... sometimes, when he has the time. (Poor guy, it's work and travel and work and travel for him.) Me? Naaah. I know myself and honestly, I won't drive 10 miles to a gym, which is how far away it is. So I try to walk 2 miles a day and use my free weights at home for some resistance training. End of story.

Water: I already drink oceans of water and Mike is pretty good about his water intake as well. I think the amount of water that I drink has actually kept my weight down over the years, considering my gi-normous appetite. Hey, there's one thing we've been doing right!

4. Portion Control: What's portion control??? I know not these strange words. Lean steak the size of a deck of cards? No juicy 10 oz. ribeye? Oh dear, this could be trouble.

5. Whoa on the carbs: Mike can cut out carbs completely without flinching but this is a tough one for me, as it is for many women. Every couple of days I'm allowing myself a crunchy piece of grainy toast (liiiightly buttered), maybe some baked sweet potato fries, or a little pumpkin & flax granola sprinkled over strawberries. But gone are the bushels of potatoes and Costco double loaves of bread. Never been a big fan of pasta so that's one saving grace.

6. Deprivation in Moderation: I subscribe to the theory that if you deprive yourself toooo much of foods you like, you will sabotage your weight loss plan. For me, total deprivation means resentment and frustration take over and I'm more likely to give into cravings. I would rather lose the weight slowly and allow myself, say ... a taco now and then. And I do mean now and then. Mike, on the other hand, is more of a purist and will probably not consume as much as a tortilla chip during this meltdown process. Dueling theories.

7. Sleep: I keep the hours of a nightclub owner, sans the sleep-til-noon part. Somehow I've convinced myself that I don't need more than 6 hours of sleep. And that's just wrong. Dangerously wrong. But I get soooo much more work done late at night when there are no distractions, she whines. Too bad, now go to bed!

8. Sugar: Those who know me well know that I could eat my weight in cookies, pies and bread pudding. (Mike can take it or leave it, dammit.) This is mandatory deprivation for sure, and challenging indeed. Not even one itty-bitty cookie? Nope, not at this early stage.

9. Last but not least, Raise the Stakes to increase accountability: For us, that means putting ourselves online like dorks. I'm convinced that this blog is the thing that will tip the scales for us this time ... in the right direction, that is. It promotes the commitment part because, well ... all of you are watching! One could argue that we should be doing this for just ourselves, and that it shouldn't matter if there is an audience. But it does matter. Because it provides support, encouragement, incentive and accountability. All key stuff, imho.

So thank you, followers, for reading and supporting! Together we're 35 sticks lighter for it! Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lost and Found

Okay, apparently on Thursday night I gained 2 lbs. while I was sleeping! What is that about? I'd lost 2 lbs. throughout week, which is good, but when I stepped onto the scale Friday morning there it was again, despite all efforts to stick with the plan. The good news? It's gone again. Lost and found ... and lost again. All is well.

Mike is doing great, btw, and lost almost 3 lbs. last week. (Lest you think this blog is all about me. No, no.) He's sticking with his salads, avoiding the ever-present donuts at work, and eating his Japanese Natto, a sticky, gooey fermented soybean concoction he seems to enjoy, oddly enough. But we'll feature Natto in another blog entry. Now, back to me.

So on Friday I was put to the restaurant test. I went out to lunch with friends Barb & Debbie to celebrate Debbie's birthday at Sandra Bullock's wonderful little place called Bess Bistro. This is where I fought my first battle with the menu. I went in armed with the idea that I would order a salad, which is quite unlike me. Salad is a nice side dish but does not qualify as an entree, in my opinion. A hamburger is an entree. Hey, I'm just sayin' ....

So I study the various salads on the left hand side of the menu and I think the Chopped Cobb Salad seems acceptable. Bacon, avocado, bleu cheese ... not too diet-y. But my eye wanders to the right hand side of the menu where the real entrees reside. Just looking, just looking. "Hmm," I say nonchalantly, "an interesting selection." Crepes, a panini, and oh dear ... a Bess Burger. But no, the salad it is and I close the menu.

We chat and wait for the waiter but soon I find that my menu is open again. And there are those crepes again, a fancy chicken pot pie, and oh my .. even a gourmet grilled cheese. But no, the salad. That's what I'll have and the menu closes and I slide it away. Moments later, again with the menu! The girls are talking and I'm nodding and responding but what I'm really thinking is ... holy crap, this menu is sparring with me!

And as a little side note here, it may have been at this point when, much to my surprise, I burp right in the middle of a sentence, as if it were a syllable in a word. It just escapes without warning, like ... "I should have a salad but the hambur-BURP-ger sounds heavenly." I think I finish the sentence hoping the ladies don't notice, but no. We have a good giggle over it.

Finally the waiter appears and I still don't have any idea what's going to come out of my mouth when it's my turn to order.

"And for you, ma'am?"
"I'll have the Cobb Salad," I blurt.
This is a tiny victory.

Over the years I've lost control and have fed my lumberjack appetite and teenager cravings. Dining out always means I "treat" myself to tacos, burgers, big juicy steaks and loaded baked potatoes. Especially since we moved out to the country 4 years ago, miles away from restaurants, going into town to eat is like a big deal. (Wooo-hooo, Paw ... hitch up the team, we're a-goin' ta town fer fancy vittles!) But this first week of the butter plan, and particularly my first dining out experience has shown me that the hamburper doesn't have to call the shots. I can do that. Yep, it's just a tiny victory but I felt oddly empowered with those few words, so foreign to my tongue: "I'll have the salad." Now that I have this win under my belt, maybe next time I'll be able to skip the menu battle altogether.

I may have lost power and control over the years, but I think I might, just might be on the brink of (burp)... finding it again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Swamp Water; Yucky & Yummy

Day 3 and we're 10 sticks lighter! Not bad for starters. Hey, we'll take it!

Ahhh, I love the taste of swamp water in the morning.
Odwalla Superfood, that is. That thick, olive green, really icky looking juice that we call swamp water around here. It actually tastes apple-y and yummy and is so good for you. Lots of fruits and veggies in there ... apple, peach, mango, strawberry, wheat grass, even artichoke. Like salad in a glass, and most handy for those of us who don't eat a lot of rabbit food. Although, I speak for myself because Mike is really good about eating salads, even 2 a day now. Yeah-no-thanks.

So because I know it's not too smart to drink coffee for 2 hours before having breakfast (as has been my practice), and because I know that eating something right away (no, not a Krispy Kreme) will jump-start your metabolism and make it work faster for the rest of the day, I'm now drinking about 4 or 5 ounces of swamp water (that's about 65-80 calories) right off the bat. Then a cup of coffee while I noodle around for awhile before eating some real breakfast, like eggs. I'm just not that hungry when I get up, but now I like knowing that my metabolism is happily humming along because I took 30 seconds to toss back some swamp water first thing. Tip: drink it on the rocks ... it cuts the murky sludginess.

Many thanks to the supportive friends who have already emailed and posted encouraging comments ... even several neighbors who honked and woo-hooed me when I was on my walk last night! (It's 103 degrees here, non-Austin people. Must walk at night when it's only 90.) But ain't it just amazing how this fancy internet thing works, spreading the word like wildfire that we are crazily putting our pudgy selves and buttery plan online ... "before" pictures and all, gasp??? It generates a great support system! So thank you, and please keep following us as we meltdown!

If my hunch is correct, this blog will be the key ingredient to successfully melting off our 128 sticks of butter, because it raises the stakes and makes us committed to the plan. And by committed, I mean insane.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Meltdown: Day One

This is the story of a couple of pudgy mid-lifers, both about 16 pounds overweight and relatively out of shape ... who are about to melt 128 sticks of butter off of those inflated bodies. Meet my husband Mike and moi, Michelle. We are native Californians, transplanted to Austin, Texas 12 years ago, where we quickly learned that the state entree, chicken fried steak, was worthy of a search for the best in town. The rest is history.

Increasingly frustrated with countless failed attempts over the past few years to not only take the weight off, but worse, to watch the pounds pile on and on ... we've decided to have another serious go at it but THIS time, we're making ourselves publicly accountable (and most likely, regrettably humiliated) by blogging about it. Sort of like turning up the heat. Which will hopefully melt the butter.

Coincidentally, Mike and I both
need to lose 16 lbs. to get to an ideal weight. Reality check: that being an ideal weight for this age, not that of our 25 year old, long-gone bodies. So we're thinking maybe this is the perfect time for both of us to get on board, support each other, eat the same, and yep ... add a dash of competition to get to the finish line. And stay there.

And you may be thinking ...hey, 16 lbs. doesn't sound like a lot to lose, what's the big deal? Just do it. After all, there are so many people who have so admirably lost loads more ...75, 100, 150 lbs. even! I can't imagine the courage and determination it must take to lose a tremendous amount of weight and my hat goes off to these folks. I wish I knew why it's been so hard to lose this weight, but I don't. What I do know is that at some point along the way this mere 16 lbs. has somehow morphed me from fairly-normal-looking-lady to linebacker.

It's got to go.

So ... 16 lbs. to lose = 64 sticks of butter. Or, 32 lbs. collectively = 128 sticks of butter. Imagine strapping on 64 sticks of butter. You got your duct tape and you got your 64 sticks and you start taping. Where would they go? Me, I got 39 sticks around the belly, 20 on the linebacker shoulders and neck, 2 on each cheek and one under the chin.

We all know that "diet" is a 4 letter word, meaning "temporary eating plan." I-stay-on-the-diet-until-I-reach-my-goal-and-then-I-can-chow-down sort of thing. Fuhgeddaboutit. Our weight loss plan will not be specifically Weight Watchers, South Beach or Atkins plan (all great ones, for sure) but of the Common Sense variety. Not just your basic cheeseburger + bread pudding = regret. But stuff we already know works and have continually chosen to ignore. Stuff tailored specifically to Mike and me with a little wiggle room so that we don't give up due to absolute deprivation and frustration.
Oh, and that exercise part too. Mmmph.

128 sticks of
melted butter deadline? December 31, 2009.

I'll be posting our progress every few days along with silly photos and smart-alecky remarks. I hope you'll follow us as we begin our meltdown ... be our cheerleaders, share your insights and maybe even find our journey somewhat useful to your own. Because it's not just about the 128 sticks of butter. It's about this transition that all mid-lifers are faced with; that confusing place between young and old. Suddenly there's the extra girth, the double chin, the blond gone gray, and we're reeling from the shock that we're no longer our young familiar selves. Acceptance of aging is important but it's also a slippery slope. Butter makes it even more slippery. Let's figure it out, people.