Weigh-in Wednesday 10: The Thin Ideal

In honor of NEDAwareness Week, I am not weighing in with a number. Instead I am weighing in with my thoughts on the scale: it’s power, the thin ideal and why you shouldn’t let a number determine a worth.

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You know the rules of the scale: first thing in the morning, after your first, ahem, bowel movement, no clothes, and tada! The lowest number should appear. But wait, why do we think we need to follow a certain pattern to weigh ourselves? And why does the scale at the doctor’s office always result in a higher number?

Simple. Our weight fluxuates daily. Sometimes two to four pounds, sometimes up to eight or ten. You know how I had food poisoning last week? I lost six pounds in six hours. Six measly hours. Of course it all came back after I guzzled enough gatorade, rehydrating my body. The old me would have jumped for joy, riding the quick weight loss happy train until I weighed in again, only to discover I had “gained the weight back,” and I would have spiraled downward into a depressed funk until the scale revealed that magic number again.

You would think I could be more logical. I’m a fairly intelligent person, I promise. But for some reason this small piece of equipment with batteries for a brain held control over me for many years. And I’m not alone. Americans, in particular, have a strange obsession with the scale. A simple google search of “fluxuate weight” results in 19,500,000 results. The majority of the first few pages were from diet and weight-loss chat boards, where women and men were freaking out because they’re weight changed from day to day, or even mere hours apart.

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So why is a number so important to us? It represents happiness, after all, thin is in, right? Advertising execs would sure like you to think so. My least favorite quote is one Oprah promotes, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” As Oprah is pretty much the most influential person in American society, it is no wonder she parrots the same sentiment the rest of the media throws in our faces.

Some researchers believe that advertisers purposely normalize unrealistically thin bodies, in order to create an unattainable desire that can drive product consumption.(1998,Hamburg, P.) The media markets desire. And by reproducing ideals that are absurdly out of line with what real bodies really do look like…the media perpetuates a market for frustration and disappointment.

Body Image and Advertising

What you see is not what you get with the media. Not even the models are safe.

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Sorry Kelly.

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Apparently Faith is too big now?!

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And when a model, weighing 120, is airbrushed to freakishly tiny proportions and then gets fired for being too fat,

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what are we, the normal people, supposed to think about our weight? No wonder we obsess over an insignificant number that pops up after one to five seconds.

What we desperately need is more of this.

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And this.

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And this.

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Because real women don’t live in an airbrushed world. We have jobs, children, money issues, car issues, bad hair days, stress, etc. And what the media presents to us isn’t normal. It isn’t even close.

So the scale, which gets more prayer than a parish on Sunday, is taking our sanity. Sure it can be a good gauge for weight loss and weight management when used correctly, but the way your clothes fit can do the same thing.

Yes, I’ll admit, I weigh in once a week. But I have mentioned that I am thinking of taking a break from the scale, and focusing more on how my clothes fit instead. As a former slave to the scale, I know how difficult it can be to step away and see yourself as more than a number. It can so easily consume every thought of every day.

Only you can change the way you relate to yourself. And only you can determine your self worth. Why let the media, with all of its unrealistic representations of the female role in our society, tell you how you should think, feel and act?

A few years ago I was weighing myself, on average, eight times a day. Now I am down to once a week. As of today I am giving up the scale for one month.

I challenge you to step away from the scale for one week/month/year. You are MORE than just a number.

Want to read more? clickity-click below!

Women ‘suffer poor self-esteem due to airbrushing in advertising’

Airbrushed adverts of “thin ideal” models pose a “significant risk” to the health of young women.

On the CL: The Picture You Can’t Stop Talking About

Love your body campaign

About-Face

Weigh-in Wednesday 9: U R Amazing

My co-worker, (who didn’t want her face on the blog, sorry bout the chest shot), was wearing this awesome shirt today. I want one.

Anyway…

I still haven’t replaced my scale’s battery, but it gave me an equal amount six times in a row, so maybe last week it was having a bad day. Whatever the case, I was pretty pleased with the number.

Starting weight: +21

Goal weight: -21

Last week: -8

This week: -9.5

While at the gym, putzing along on the elliptical, I read another article in Women’s Health about why women need to incorporate weight lifting into their gym routine. A study at some university in California, I think*, followed two weight loss groups. One group only got their sweat on via cardiovascular exercise in the form of running, biking, ellipticalling, etc. The second group switched it up, lifting weights three times a week as well as getting some cardio action in. At the end of the study all participants lost roughly twenty-one pounds, (familiar number, eh?). The difference? The group that incorporated strength training into their routine lost an average of six inches more than the cardio-only group.

*I’m too lazy to go dig the magazine out of my gym bag to give you specifics.

I have to say, I am a total cardio junkie. For no other reason than I can zone out completely with CNN and a magazine. Sometimes my music will amplify my intensity as I keep pace with the beat, but really, I’m not pushing myself all that hard.

Strength training, however, is something I enjoy much, much more than cardio. I love the feeling of increasing how much I can lift, how many reps I can push myself to do and how much better I feel after my work out. So why do I let it fall to the wayside so often?

I have many excuses:

  1. I get to the gym late and want to burn as many calories as I can in a short period of time, cardio does that efficiently.
  2. The strength training area in my gym is small and not organized well.
  3. I used to know what I was doing, with the aid of watching Shapefit exercise guides, and I don’t anymore. (these used to be two to three pictures that rotated quickly so you could get the gist of what you were supposed to do. Now they are videos!). I only like to use free weights and really hate using the assisted machines, so I need to re-learn how to strength train properly.
  4. There are always large, meat-headish men taking over the weights area, which sadly intimidates me.

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But I know that I am just being lazy. I want to get back into strength training, and not just because of the study showing that I can lose an additional six inches. I really miss the euphoric feeling and endorphin rush it provides. Plus I know my body burns more calories after completing a strength training sesh than a cardio one, so the bologna about burning as many calories in a short workout is really non-issue.

The weights area in my gym isn’t going to change. The building isn’t going to expand. I am going to have to put on my big girl panties and deal with that fact and the meat-heads that take over the area. I pay the same amount they do to use the space, (ok, so I have a corporate discount, but I only pay a fraction less than the standard rate), and I shouldn’t let their obnoxious egos get in my way.

And that issue of needing to learn how to strength train properly? Pshh, easy peasy. When I switched gyms from OZ to the YMCA in October I received two free sessions with a trainer. I’ve yet to use them. The hubs also received these, and he hasn’t used his. He doesn’t want to use them either, so I am going to ask the Y if I can use his. I’ve got a 4-day weekend coming up (woot woot!) and I am going to see if I can squeeze at least one of the sessions in there. I don’t know if it’s too late notice though. Setting up my first session is on tomorrow’s agenda.

I’m excited!

But back to the rest of my day…

Brekkie was some violet buckwheat.

My mix included Bob’s Red Mill creamy buckwheat, thawed blueberries, pepitas, cinnamon, chia seeds and a little sugar.

Note to self, add blueberries after cooking.

Lunch was a turkey-avocado-laughing cow sammie on a whole wheat english muffin.

Plus a side salad with craisins, tomatoes, onion and avocado.

After work I swung by TJ MAXX because this happened yesterday.

Another rant to add to yesterday…I am literally falling apart at the seams.

I replaced that craptastic bag with this awesome one.

These straps will not be coming undone any time soon.

After returning home I had a late afternoon snack of white chocolate strawberry yogurt fulfilled my urge to eat candy, (much better than an apple to cut cravings).

Then it was dinner prep time.

Well hello my long lost autumn friend.

The hubs grilled some chicken and I whipped up a mean quinoa bowl with roasted butternut squash, sweet onion and shrooms with a light sauce of stone ground mustard, sea salt, key lime juice and olive oil.

Oh yes.

My stummy is very content right now.

Do you like lifting weights? What is your cardio/strength training ratio?

Weigh in Wednesday 6: Sickie

There is a nasty bug going around and my boys, (hubs and Libb), caught it before I did. Due to spending the majority of my waking hours with kiddos it is a rarity that I am the last in this house to get sick. I figured that I had finally built up my immune system, since they were sick and I was feeling great, but I thought wrong.

Here I am at home, sick, watching Groundhog’s Day…over and over and over again. But ol Punxsutaney Phil says spring is coming, so that does lift my spirits a tad.

I did make an attempt to get up and going this morning, but my body faught back and insisted I call a sub and stay in bed.

Upon waking I braved the scale…

Start weight: +21

Goal weight: -21

Last week: -7

This week: -9.5

Pounds left to go: only 11.5!

Say whaaaaa? I’m not that kind of sick, nor did I chop off enough hair to warrant the 2.5 pound loss between last week and this week. I jumped on and off the scale about 8 times, rearranged it on the floor, stood on different spots and each time the same number was produced. I still don’t know if I trust it, but I’ll take it!

Monday and Tuesday were much more productive work outs too – I’ve been eating half a nanner and chugging some day old (don’t judge, I chill it in the fridge the night before) coffee/almond milk before I brave the cold to hit the gym in the mornings. I can really feel the difference! I’ve also cut the extra sugar in my oats in the morning – and I can’t even really tell the difference. These two things alone are making me feel better and more productive in the morning 🙂 I’m really bummed out that I’m sick and couldn’t work out this morning. Not in the guilty way that I used to feel when I missed a workout, but in the I really could use the endorphin rush kinda way. Sigh.

Even though I succumbed to the temptation of cupcakes this weekend, I have been cleaning up my eating, (and the cupcakes were all natural, so they were clean, albeit high in sugar). I’ve shared how I simplify my life at home, but I haven’t really talked much about how I ward off temptation and stay on track at work.

I have a fridge in my office stocked with healthy eats.

Homemade hummus, veggies, lunch (from Monday: salad and sammie), babybels, laughing cow wedges, roasted chickpeas, and some nasty coffee creamer (which I will be replacing with some half and half).

Greek yogurt, apple, homemade salad dressing, water, sparkling water and Diet Dr. Pepper.

And a snack drawer full of fun treats.

Luna, Kashi and granola bars, oatmeal…

If I forget my pre-assembled oats at home this stuff is great.

The package acts as a measuring cup!

Perfect!

I also have some dried fruit, sugar packets, propel (for when water is just too bland) and napkins.

And lactaid too, of course!

A few more items grace my book shelf.

Canned Soup (in case I forget my lunch), popcorn, granola and peanut butta.

Plus decaff and caffine free tea for afternoon pick me ups.

Since I have all of these healthy and tasty items in my office I have no excuse to run to Jack ‘n’ the box down the street or attack the vending machine down the hall when hunger hits.

But back to today…

Meds provided some comfort after I stumbled from my slumber.

But not enough to really feel up to par.

The hubs had to show his ID to purchase this. I am fairly positive the government is now tracking us.

I thought an at home manicure might help.

It didn’t.

So super foods were consumed.

Spinach pancakes + Greek yogurt & applesauce (which I froze per Erin’s obession…tasty, but I didn’t freeze the concoction long enough.)

Are Greek yogurt and applesauce super foods? I don’t know, but I figure they are pretty darn healthy so they should help my immune system.

Liquids, liquids and more liquids have been, and will continue to be, consumed.

Tomato soup + sourdough bread was also a must.

Since the hubs is still sickie he put in a few hours in the office and then came home, bringing orange juice and some fixin’s for chicken noodle soup with him. Always a good cure. Although no one should have to cook when they’re sick 😦 Cooking Light should just send me samples of their dishes on request.

What is your favorite comfort food while sick?

What do you keep on hand at work for go-to snacks?

Weigh in Wednesday 5: I’m a chickpea.

Holy potholes, Spokane!

The worst intersection I encounter on my route home is Monroe/Garland. I can’t swerve and miss ‘em anymore and I am not going to be thrilled if my car needs to be realigned come spring.

Another thing that might need realigning is my eating. I let Saturday’s festivities slide into a rather unhealthy Sunday and possibly yesterday as well. Nothing overboard (portion wise), just not the best choices.

Back on track today though. A little stat attack for ya:

Start weight: +21

Goal weight: -21

Last week: -6

This week: back at -7

next week’s goal: -8

But…next week I am going to start tracking my measurements. I may switch my goals from weights to measurements, but I’m not really sure what to aim for on a weekly basis. Since weight fluxuates hourly I don’t think it is the best indicator of what’s going on in the ol body. So I’m going to do a little research…what do you think? How many centimeters per week is a good goal?

On to my daily routine…I definitely left my camera in my desk at work…again. Sigh, that is what afternoon meetings do to me.

The gym was a bland 40 minutes on the adaptive motion trainer. I need to give the treadmill a go tomorrow. I keep putting it off because I am so tired in the morning, but I know once I get going it will actually be okay.

And, I need to at least attempt it even if I prefer outdoor running because I am going to run Bloomsday for the first time ever this year! Bloomsday is a 12K, and rumor has it it is the largest (total runners) road race in the United States. I don’t know if that is true, but it will really test my claustrophobia limits!

Two of my besties from college, Ali and Reese, are going to make the trip to Spokane to run it with me. And by run I mean slowly jog 🙂

Reese, me, and Ali summer 2009.


pssst if you register by February 13th you will be entered to win an Apple iPad.

Today’s oats were delish: old fashioned oats, almond milk/water, 2 TBS blueberry craisins, 1 TBS pepitas and 1/2 TBS chia seeds.

Lunch was also amazing: spinach salad w/cherry craisins, goat cheese, red onion, tomato and homemade dressing. Whole wheat english muffin w/laughing cow wedge.

Snack-a-roos were a jazz apple and some lemon oregano roasted chickpeas. Mmmmm, chickpeas make me smile. See below for recipe.

And dinner….mmmm wraps. Steak, avocado, tomato, sweet onion, light sour cream all inside tortillaland flour tortillas. So content right now.

And here is the recipe that turned me into a chickpea this afternoon…

Lemon Oregano Roasted Chickpeas.


Ingredients

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed & drained


1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 TBS lemon juice

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse/drain chickpeas. In medium sized bowl combine extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic powder and cumin. Add chickpeas to bowl and stir well, coating the chickpeas. Spray jelly roll pan with cooking spray or mist with olive oil spray. Spread chickpeas on jelly roll pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy! I offered some up to my co-workers during our meeting (in place of the pretzels/ritz/candy) and they just laughed at me and told me I eat too healthy. They don’t know what they’re missing!

Weigh in Wednesday 4: oh crap.

My day started crappy.

Literally.

Crap on my floor, courtesy of my cat.

When the dog has an accident we say, oh, poor Rilo! She must be sick. But the cat? No, she gets, stupid cat!

I spent 20 minutes cleaning the floor and wound up not getting to the gym and on a machine until 6:20. So I had a crappy 40 minute work out.

And, crap, I forgot my undies at home.

At least I am wearing a dress today, which means I had a pair of tights in my bag. Crisis averted, but I still am not a fan of going commando.

Not crappy parts of my day? I had a HOT shower this morning! Apparently enough of the morning workout crew members wrote comment cards and the Y listened. I didn’t say anything on Friday, because I was afraid I was going to jinx it. But then I got a hot shower yesterday and today and I am hoping they will continue. So I wrote them a thank you comment card 🙂

And the weigh in today? Holding steady at -6. I generally plateau here every time I gain or lose weight. This usually lasts 4-7 weeks. At this point my body likes to either gain muscle/lose fat or gain fat/lose muscle. Let’s hope this is the former, (I did start weight training 3 weeks ago).

Today’s menu is rather boring.

Brekkie of oats, almond milk/water, pepitas, peanut butta, brown sugga and chia seeds + coffee w/half&half and raw sugar.

With Stanly the snail. Isn’t he cute?

Lunch of another hard boiled egg* sammie on laughing cow wedge, dijon tard and a whole wheat english muffin and a peach chobani.

And a little caffeine boost.

*I perfected the hard boiled egg: Put eggs in pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 15 minutes. Drain water and cover with luke-warm water, 5 minutes. Drain, cover with slightly cooler water, 5 minute. Drain, cover with cool water, 10 minutes. Drain and store. Best.Hard boiled egg. Ever.

Snackies included hummus/carrots, a babybel, cup-o-comfort chai tea and a nanner.

Dinner was some leftover burlattas.

They may not be pretty, but they are tasty.

Libb had his birthday cupcake

I will soon follow suit. But first a dip in the hot tub (time machine).

I’m hoping I don’t get a crappy night’s sleep.

Weigh in Wednesday 3: looser, not a loser.

I was fully prepared not to lose this week. I’m not really sure why. I’ve been feeling a tad sluggish and am trying to pinpoint the root cause. I think it may be sleep related. (Those extra 9 minutes after hitting snooze don’t actually count as extra sleep either, shucks).

In an effort to see improvements beyond the scale this week I decided I needed to find my trusty measuring tape.

Sometimes you don’t lose one week, even if you do “everything right.” You know: eat the desired amount of calories each day, get enough exercise in, create the calorie deficit needed to lose the desired poundage for the week.

And guess what? It is OK. Our bodies fluctuate every day, and even if you weigh at the same time you did the week before it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the whole story. I needed to give myself this little pep talk this morning because while I know this to be true, I still put a lot of value on the number on the scale.

But, in an effort to be consistant:

Start weight: +21

Goal weight: -21

Last week: -7

This week: -6

Goal for next week: -7 (rather than -8, which was my original goal)

So some non weight-related victories?

My pants are loose! And not the I’ve-worn-them-a-few-times-and-they-need-to-be-washed loose. Actual out-of-the-clean-laundry loose. Very exciting.

And my stomach has gone down an inch since I last measured. I actually have no reference for when that was, I just know it was after Halloween sometime. But I took out my favorite belt from high school and I am 2 3/4 inches from it fitting on the same notch it fit in back then.

Pretty exciting stuff, and just the motivation I need to get me out of my initial slump this morning.

Plus I saw this on the shelf at the library, and it reminded me to smile because I am working to improve myself 🙂

Thanks Caitlin, you rock!

Getting to the gym this morning was no easy task. It did in fact snow last night, and between 3 and 4 inches were on the ground at 5:30 when I left. I didn’t get on a (dread)treadmill until 6 (it usually takes 15 minutes to get there/throw crap in a locker/get on a machine). So I logged another 20 minutes of walking/running and 30 on the Adaptive Motion Trainer. I cut the work out short to ensure I would get to work on time.

I also realized I left my cell phone at home and my wonderful hubs brought it to me 🙂 I hate driving in poor weather without my cell.

Brekkie was unintentionally served cold. It took a half hour to get to work from the gym (normally 11 minutes), so by the time I got all my computers on and was ready to rock-n-roll my first class was too. My poor hot oatmeal sat neglected in my office.

Today I had a mix of oats, almond milk/water, chia seeds, brown sugga and peanut butta. And of course coffee/raw sugar/ff half&half.

Lunch was blah-d-blah leftover ravioli/arrabbiata sauce and a bland fuji.

I was browsing the newspaper today and noticed this article.

And these coupons were tucked inside.

I don’t know about you, but the pizza sounds much tastier to me.

Weigh-in Wednesday 2: cheers and jeers!

Cheers to me for achieving this week’s weight loss goal!

To refresh your memory…

Start weight: +21

Long term goal: -21

Last week: -6 (+15 – reaching my “scary number”)

This week: – 7 (+14) This is proof that you can enjoy the holidays, and the treats they bring as long as it is in moderation and you can still lose weight!

Next week’s goal: -8 (+13)

Jeers to the YMCA for their broken shower this morning leaving only 2 available with a long line of women waiting.

That is one of the only things I miss about my old gym: good showers. The Y only has 3 private ones (plus a private disabled one, which I may or may not have snuck into this morning). They have about 10 shower heads in a communal area that no one ever uses. Would it kill them to provide a few courtsey curtains?

Cheers to my co-worker who fixed my computer extension cord this morning. The plug was totally bent and mangled from years of abuse and he bent it back in place so I could charge my COW, (aka cart of 30 computers).

Jeers to myself for forgetting my camera in my desk at work, (don’t worry, it is locked). Sorry for no pictures of today’s menu, but I figure you can use your imagination.

Brekkie: oatmeal with almond milk/water, raisins, pepitas, brown sugga, chia seeds and pumpkin spice. And of course coffee with raw sugar and 1%,

Lunch: Sammie on Dave’s Killer Bread. If you haven’t tried this bread get your butt to Costco and get yourself some. Nom nom nom. Sammie contained deli turkey, avocado, horseradish and a laughing cow wedge. And a salad with romaine, tomato, cuke, pom seeds and homemade dressing.

Surprisingly this held me all afternoon and I never made it to my snackies (nanner and chobani). Of course by the time I got home I was a starvin’ marvin and dove into the killer bread again. And a cup-o-comfort 🙂

Now I’m trying to determine what I have in the kitchen to create a meal. The plan was a soup that we didn’t realize would take 3 hours to cook…bean soup is not worth that wait to me.