Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Friendship Story

These past few weeks I've thought a lot about my friends. I've noticed that sadly most of my closest friends are peppered all around the country and I miss them so much! I've also noticed that the friends I have that do live in Orlando plan to or hope to, move as soon as possible. *Ugly crying*

A few weeks ago my friend Sara visited from New Mexico. Her grandmother, who I once visited with Sara in South Florida, passed away. Her grandmother on her mom's side was a Jewish lady from Brooklyn while her grandmother on her dad's side was a Southern Baptist from Texas....and this combination of families apparently results in a super, awesome Sara. I was very happy to get a few hours with Sarah but not happy that she had to fly in for her dear grandmother's funeral.

I met Sara through my ex-boyfriend in high school. We're talkin circa 2002 here. Both of them were on their separate schools' quiz bowl teams (although Sara's was called "Brain Bowl"). I immediately hit it off with Sara. She was one of the most confident, intelligent, open-minded, and silliest people I've ever met. Sara has always had a strong love for math and science (my weaker subjects) and she is mad good at both subjects. We both wanted to go to the University of Florida, but were both rejected our senior year. She decided to take gen ed requirements for her physics major at a community college while I decided to attend UCF and attempt to transfer to UF. I went on a tour of the University of Florida my senior year of high school and got my first Gator T-shirt. After several unsuccessful attempts to transfer I got mad at Florida and decided to give my shirt to Sara since she was able to transfer before I did. I completely forgot about that shirt until I saw it on her bed when I visited! Boy, I have grown out of that shirt big time.

After Sarah double majored in math and physics at UF (whew!), she decided that she wanted to be a patent lawyer and applied to several law schools in California where she had moved to be closer to her boyfriend at the time. Just like me, she didn't get into graduate school the first time she applied and instead applied to a nearby program  for Materials Engineering. Like me, she felt that her second choice career was a little more practical in today's world than her first option...and also that it would be a better fit for her. Now she is kicking butt and taking names, doing research and taking elective classes like "General Relativity" just because she thought it sounded interesting. Since we've been friends she's lived in Gainesville, Florida, California, and New Mexico and she's also been through several relationships in that time...many of which we spent a lot of time on  the phone dissecting. We have the type of friendship where no matter where we are in our lives or how long it's been since we've last spoken, we can pick up right where we once left off. And there have been tons of ups and downs in both our lives. It's a huge blessing to have someone who has known you forever as a constant.

Now, for the silliness that bides us. Sara's parents have these 2 huge golden retrievers with gigantic heads. I wish I knew what breed they are but their heads are the size of a horse. Whenever see those dogs I just can't. stop. staring. at. their. heads!! After taking a few pictures we decided it would be fun to emulate the dogs play-fighting in an action shot.

Don't judge. We're biting and hitting each other in mid-air. We're weird and proud.

I drove home quite a ways in the dark the night I went to see her, but it was totally worth it. She never ceases to inspire and amaze me with her hard work and confidence. That, and I feel totally comfortable around her.

This week, I decided I may devote each day to a small summary of one of my closest friends (as long as they allow it). For some reason, all of my friends are completely different... I fear if I were to put them all in the same room at once anarchy might break out and they might kill each other. This could present some friction at my wedding....but hopefully not because they love me and want me to have an awesome wedding. I get along with all of them on an individual basis and value their different character traits.

After I spend the proper amount of time singing the praises of my friends, I think I will have to do a post on my biggest difficulty right now. Because most of my friends are moving away or do not live here and because B and I will be buying I house here in Orlando, I need to expand my social circle to remain sane and happy. It's been hard for B and I to meet new people here and we are both busy with work a lot of the time. So far, I plan on attending the Reddit Orlando meetup group. I hope to meet all kinds of interesting people there. Other than that, I'm still brainstorming. Any suggestions? Prospects are looking a bit grim at the moment.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Finally Found Something That Works!

On the show "Intervention", they say that cocaine addicts relapse seven times before they quit using completely. I feel the same way about losing weight. Except it's harder to quit, because you can never stop "using" completely. In the past I've tried the Adkins diet, exercising six days a week, the Triangle Diet, and South Beach diet. The only one that I've actually had success with in the past was South Beach diet. But....there were several problems with how I was doing it at the time. First, I was in post-bac and way too stressed with schoolwork to focus on a diet. Actually, it would have been easier to focus on, if I had known about the quick and easy foods you can eat. Recently, my patient's wife, who is a huge South Beacher gave me lots of tips and showed me how to make it easy and realistic. So far, I've lot 15 pounds and while I feel like I still have several challenging aspects to work on, I feel totally confident that I can reach my goals!

Honestly,if you ever plan on doing the South Beach diet, it would behoove you to buy the South Beach diet book so that you can learn about carbohydrates and fiber and how your body breaks down food. But, if you have a basic understanding of the South Beach Diet the next best, quick and easy thing I would recommend doing is buying this small, around-5-bucks-book called, The South Beach Diet Good Carbs Bad Carbs Guide. It's basically a list of different types of food with the glycemic index and whether each food is "good", "bad", or "use sparingly".  For instance, I hardly ever touch white flour bread anymore but I still eat delicious rye bread because of the lower glycemic index. I love this book because it's a quick and easy reference.

In the first phase of South Beach, you only eat vegetables, meat, cheese, and eggs. No fruit, alcohol, or bread. I did this with a few slight modifications. I had one piece of Arnold Real Jewish Seedless Thin Sliced Rye Bread a day. It only has 10 carbohydrates per piece and 55 calories. Also,  a couples times I accidentally ate Old Fashioned Oatmeal which is not allowed until phase 2 because only a half cup of it has 27 grams of carbohydrates! Opps. I had coffee and diet drinks...hey, a girl's got to live! I had to remember to read nutrition facts for carbs on everything. The great thing about phase one is that it only lasts two weeks and you eat until you are no longer hungry. No carb or calorie counting just aiming for low carb. What it does is even out your blood sugar and fixes your insulin levels until you no longer crave things anymore. I don't crave chocolate like I used to or pasta, bread, or sweet treats. Here are some of the easy and quick foods that I ate:

Every morning for breakfast in phase 1, I would have some type of eggs. Eggbeaters with some cheddar cheese grated on top if I was in a hurry or an elaborate omelet on weekends. I'd have 2 slices of turkey bacon, Spicy hot V8, and if I had time coffee with 2 splendas and no cream (not a cream fan anyways). Yes, eggs are high in cholesterol but they also have the good kind of protein and lots of amino acids...and they fill you up. I know what you are thinking about cheese...high in fat. South Beach recommends that you eat low-fat cheese. However, the South Beach book also tells you that if you eat "low-fat" foods the number of carbohydrates go up. So, I ate regular cheese. After 2 weeks, I was definitely sick of eggs but I lost 10 pounds so it was worth it.

For a morning snack I would have a string cheese if I was hungry. For lunch, I would have a piece of the melba bread toasted with tuna salad on top. I put regular Hellman's mayonnaise, white onions, a little sweet relish, and mustard into the tuna salad. I learned to have lots of fun with condiments but stayed away from ketchup because of the high glycemic index. I sometimes had a small grilled cheese with one slice of bread or a chef salad with veggies, meats, and cheeses. If I could stand to have another egg I'd have an egg salad sandwich. Everyday for "lunch dessert" I would have sugarfree jello with a couple tablespoons of Lite Cool Whip on top because it filled me up and cured my sweet tooth.

After I got home from work I would drink Crystal Bay because it's carbonated, sweet, and yummy. If I was hungry I might have celery with Smuckers Natural Peanut butter, which has less sugar than regular peanut butter.

For dinner, I would have whatever meat we were having and load up on the veggies on the side. I love salads, baked asparagus with olive oil, and sauteed veggies. For dessert, I would have breakstone's low fat cottage cheese with 1 splenda and then either put cut up grapes or a few sliced almonds on top. You can also add vanilla extract and it tastes like vanilla ice cream (sorta). I liked to sprinkle cinnamon on it as well. If I was desperate for a chocolate fix I would have a fudgsicle with no sugar added.

I love focusing on what I can eat and not what I can't eat and simplifying what I eat...because I  work and don't have any time to cook up an elaborate meal everyday.

Now that I'm in phase 2 breakfast is much more interesting. I'll have smuckers peanut butter on melba bread with an apple, a thin sliced 100% whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, old fashioned oatmeal with splenda and cinnamon, or back to my regular eggs. I started sucking on coffee and chocolate favored Nips to cure my sweet tooth. Everything else is sort of the same except I count calories  on livestrong now since I have more liberties in my diet ,"cheat" more often, and try to get to the gym more. I'll have a glass of Merlot or a light beer occasionally. Weightloss is much slower in this phase and I find that you are constantly tweaking your diet to see what works.  If 3 slices of bread a day make you gain a pound over a week, you cut it down to 2 slices the next week.

Although I've lost 15 pounds, I still have 35 pounds left to go. I'm still overweight, but I feel like I can stick with this because I'm satisfied and not hungry. There are still a few challenging things that I am working on. When I'm hormonal, emotional, or overly tired I tend to stray from my diet. Recently, it was that time of the month...the next week was Easter, I worked an overnight shift, and then I got into a huge argument with a friend. So, I decided I have to always have satisfying, easy access things in my refrigerator for those occasions. Next time of the month, I will definitely be prepared and have a stocked kitchen.

I absolutely love this blog Slimming Down for the Gown, because she documents her weight on the blog and  shows pictures of what her body looks like after every ten pounds of weightloss. She is also engaged and trying to look fab on her wedding day just like me. I decided I will not post pictures of my body on my blog. I'm a pretty transparent person and would do the same thing as her but I'm worried I will end up as the "before" picture on a diet website somewhere. So I decided that I will post pictures of the next best thing. My chin. My chin is one of the best indicators of how fat I am.

Before: Check out that quadruple chin, baby yeah!After: More of a double chin now....less scary!
I'm a tall girl, 5'8, and I've never been a small person.I have large, German thighs and a curvy figure. In middle school, this boy in my math class used to call me an Amazonian. In undergraduate school, I gained about 20-25 pound. I was no longer in sports like cross country and swimming like I was in high school and I spent most a lot of time studying and not moving. In post-bac, I partied a little too hard on the weekends and gained another 25 pounds. I'm now engaged and I'm ready to be happy with my body again and look amazing on my wedding day. I'm so close to going down one dress size! Even though I lost 15 pounds, I'm a pear and most of the weight is on my lower half (badunka dunk..) so I still can't squeeze my butt into a lower-sized jean. I should be able to after I lose another 5-10 pounds. I'm so ready and I can't wait to make it to the gym tomorrow morning!

Writing this entry has allowed me to reflect on my progress and look forward to more weight loss. I feel like I just set the reset button.