Sunday, December 8, 2013

Food addiction

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a food addict

cue the chorus of "hello Colleen"

These past two weeks have been....awful.  I have really struggled to finish this post because it is a very raw and painful topic for me, but I think it's healthy sometimes to talk about things that are challenging.   For the first time in over a year I have been really struggled with my addiction.

It's.....frustrating.  I hate the fact that I am a recovering addict, which means I'm bound to have relapses, and sometimes I really can't control them.  It's a disease.  One that I try my hardest to control.  I have learned the hard way this week is that I have to communicate better with people about what I can and cannot handle.  I can't expect them to read my mind, especially when I don't even know what I can handle.... We had some house guests these past couple weeks and since they were going to be staying for a while they brought in their own food.  I think you can guess where this went.....

I really thought I could handle the snack food, peanuts, peanut butter, etc because it was their food, in their part of the cabinet.   Ultimately I learned that there is a very distinct reason why I have been successful in my journey.  My husband has supported me completely in keeping our house clean for me.  Throughout my weight loss, our house has always been a safe place where I still have to constantly make choices on what foods to eat, but it is easier because there aren't any of my trigger foods that set me into a binge.  For example.....there are a bunch of foods we never have in the house like: chips, jelly beans, loose nuts, candy, and so on.  Which over the past year has been as simple as peanut butter.  Call it crazy, but I can handle peanut butter in individual serving containers, but not in a big container- which goes the same with nuts. So throughout these 4 years when I start having issues with different foods, because I constantly have to re-identify my trigger foods, he has supported me completely in keeping them out of our house.

I sometimes still have slip ups at parties, meetings, rarely at home- but I could at least control what it was I was eating at my own house.  Suddenly I had this perfect storm for creating binging behaviors...I was stressed,  I was anxious, I was exhausted from having too much on my plate, and.......the food was there.  That last variable was the tipping point.

So what did I do? I binged.  And it was ugly.  It's a terrible feeling when you sneak into somebody else's space to take their food.  And you feel so full of shame and hatred for yourself when you are doing it....yet you just can't keep yourself from it.  Because it's a disease.

I've realized now that addiction is not something you are ever done with, after all I am a recovering addict.  But the tough thing about my addiction?  I have to still have it every single day.  I can't give up food.  Yes, I can identify my triggers, my weaknesses and avoid that but I have to eat every day.

Imagine a recovering alcoholic being told- you have to have only 1 drink three times a day for the rest of your life. No more or less.  That's why food addictions- on either end of the spectrum whether it be overeating or anorexia is so tough.   Now please understand I am not discounting other addict's recovery efforts at all- I truly understand how hard it is and have so much respect for anyone battling addiction of any format.

Do you struggle with addiction?  How do you cope with it? Share your tips

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Interesting flight

I had one of the most fascinating and thought provoking conversation with a stranger tonight on the plane ride home from Atlanta, GA.... To sum up quickly how I am feeling right now:

This person reminded me of the importance of this.  If I had let the fear of striking out take over there is no way I would have lost 50 lbs, let alone 250.  Losing weight is a difficult and scary thing no matter how much need to lose.   Starting a weight loss journey knowing you have to lose 200+'s terrifying,  overwhelming, intimidating, intense, and at times seems just plain impossible.  As I was talking about my blog, I was reminded of the theme of my blog: No more excuses.  Ever since my foot injury in July, I've been letting a lot of excuses get in the way of fitting in more activity....I'm feet hurt...I miss running....and on and on.  I've let them bog me down and affect my mood instead of standing up and figuring out what I could have been doing instead of sulking.

But, I passed that hump 2 weeks ago, and now I know one thing for a fact:

To be continued...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Yes, I am alive!

Holy cow...somehow I missed posting the entire month of October! In all the time I've had this blog, I don't think I've gone post-less in that long of an amount of time...


I've had a roller coaster of a month, however mostly good- and VERY BUSY....and I'm going to sum it up with a bunch of pictures.  We all love pictures ;)

Celebrating my husband's birthday! 9/28 (his bday is 10/1)
At Adrian's cousin's wedding 9/29
 Major Presentation so gotta wear a major outfit! 10/1
Here is a great fb status on 10/8 that really signaled a turning point for me mentally: "I am taking a stand that I am done feeling sorry for myself because I can't run.  There are a lot of other things I can do until my feet are better and my elbow is improving daily. 2 days ina row with good workouts, it's a start."

I've been walking a lot more since this and have been more consistent about my workouts.  You can check daily mile to see! :)

Photo: Ding showing his regal feline grace at Banfield
Ding approves! Not so much going to the vet though....10/8
That is the mess of cleaning up and dealing with a leak in our roof...stress! 10/11
Helping at Fair Hill International on Dressage day with my mom! 10/18
Out-riding at FHI on Cross country day- 8 hrs on Dancer! 10/19
Spent a week at the USA Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY for work. Might have been a bit excited ;) 10/21
Torino 2006 Olympic Torch! 10/22
Time to bobsled! O YEAH! 10/23
And Skeleton! That small sled behind me- that's what I went down an icy tunnel through, on my stomach, head first.
And we learned how to curl! Love this in motion shot! 10/24
Pearl Jam show in Baltimore!!! With Adrian and Tanya in this picture 10/27
Halloween fun in Baltimore! 10/31
And this weekend, Jen Huang has been in town from New York City!  It's been awesome hanging out with her, and her cousin Yao!!

Hiking at Gunpowder Falls State Park 11/2
Horses! 11/3

Busy busy month!!  One other thing that happened this month... I became a Silpada Rep! A few months ago I hosted a jewelry party with Silpada and had a blast- and ended up with $350 of free jewelry! Totally awesome! After attending other parties and looking for another way to help fund our new house projects, I decided to become a rep. Combining my love of jewelry and fashion with partying with awesome ladies- easy choice.  Well, not totally easy....I debated of course because that's what I do before making a big decision, but I'm glad I decided to say yes!  The jewelry is beautiful and the support I've gotten from my "Silpada Sisters" has been awesome!

Such pretty jewelry!
 Check out the pretty sparkly here!  Please reach out if you are interested in ordering some pretty jewelry, hosting a party ( you can do online, catalog parties, too and still get all the awesome free jewerly!), or become a rep- it's fun!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


This week I've been in and out of Northern Virginia, in Fairfax, to help with a new hospital opening.  I've been facilitating and co-facilitating with a coworker since Monday.

And every single day there have been a plethora of these in the room:

Mars Chocolate Obviously 

And a bunch of other snacky junk.... It's been sheer torture.  I indulged a little on Monday with a delicious donut and some skittles.  Then a lot on Tuesday with brownie bites, mini cinnamon rolls, and chips....yeah. Bad Colleen.  

But this morning...I woke up and got 20 minutes on the recumbent bike before my feet started to bother me and I had to stop. And then I totally dominated the day with a very clean, completely meatless day.  Zero donuts, brownies, cookies, chips or candy.  And the temptations just kept hitting me in the face...and I kept saying no.  Success!!

After getting done about 5ish I made it through some nasty DC area traffic to a local Weight Watchers meeting.  That really helped me finish out a good day.  It was a pretty small meeting, and they were asking people to share where they felt they were on their weight loss journey.  One option was a success story.  She so happened to ask me where I fell and I said that I was very proud to be a success story.  When I shared my weight loss everyone was shocked and amazed.  It's been months since I felt that wave of embarrassment and then excitement to being asked to come up to the front and share my story.  It was...incredible.  All day I have been teaching about feeding your engagement bucket.  I had no clue how low my weight watchers engagement bucket was. It was exactly what I need to remind myself that this is just a small setback on my ongoing, lifelong journey to be healthy.  I am confident that once I am over these injuries, I will get these extra few pounds off and feel that much better.

So, how full is your happiness bucket?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekend rollercoaster

I had a great Saturday, with some absolutely beautiful weather!  I went for a hike with Tanya at Fair Hill and then she came over to the farm and met the horses and we played with my dad's trains.  It's funny how something I used to hate so much as a kid, I find so fun now.  It was great to just hang out, catch up and be able to do it all outside at one of my favorite places in the world.

Here are some pictures from the day, courtesy of Tanya's camera phone.  You can check out more of her awesome photo skills here!  She did a photo shoot of my husband and I a year ago and actually made me feel comfortable throughout which was impressive.

So, a great start to the weekend!  After the hike I did a boss job of relaxing with my feet up and watching a couple movies while Adrian was off at his friend's party.

So then I woke up this morning at 6am in sheer terror that I was late to a race.....Which of course would have been the case had I not been forced to pull out of this year's target race- the Philadelphia Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.  So after realizing I wasn't indeed late because I could NOT run I felt that sense of disappointment and loss again.  No more tears were shed but I just felt....down.  It's been 73 days without a run.  That  I am obviously no stranger to injuries, my twin elbow surgeries can attest to that.   I feel like for the most part I can deal with it, but sometimes it just gets to me.  I had quite a few friends run the race today, which was part of what I was really excited about- running with friends.

At least I know that I am moving in the right, healing direction.  I'm back to strength training, biking, and starting to walk longer distances again as I work on building up time on my feet.  In a couple weeks I hope to start building in some running and working through a couch to 5k program to build my mileage back up.

Sometimes I just want to stomp my feet, throw a temper tantrum and just get out and run!  Instead, I will remember this:

Running is worth it. I am worth it!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Good week getting back in the swing

So my week easing back into working out has been's what it looked like:

Saturday: 30 minutes on the stationary bike at LA Fitness, followed by 10 minutes of basic ab routine on a balance ball.  Kept the resistance low and yet still got a mini sweat on.  Yeah...humbling moment.

Sunday: 25 minutes at LA Fitness on the stationary bike before church.  Same low resistance of a 2-3 and feet felt good.

Monday: repeat! lol another 30 minutes on the stationary bike at LA Fitness- this time the hills program at a 4 resistance.  A little boring, I know.  But Colleen needs to ease in....

Tuesday: Rest day.  See, I can ease in!

Wednesday: lower body strength training!  After a great podiatry apt on Tuesday followed by a good talk with Barb about next steps, I felt ready for some strength training.  I had to force myself to take it easy and only do one set.  I was glad because even with just one set I was a bit sore by Friday!

Here's my routine, with some pictures thrown in for fun.  This workout requires very little equipment: a balance ball, and circular resistance bands.  Cheap and I can do it at home ;)

- Balance Ball wall squats- 15 reps

- Traveling lunges- about 10-12 each side, I wasn't counting well

- Side Steps with hard band- about 20 steps each side

- Clamshells- 2 progressions with the light band around knees, 15 reps on each side

- Reverse Leg Curl on Balance Ball - 12 reps

- Calf Raises- 10 reps slow, 10 reps fast of 3 different foot positions: straight, toes in, toes out.  This was WAY too much!  My calves were tight like rocks Thursday and Friday.

- Abs: all on balance ball- 25 straight crunches, 25 left oblique, 25 right oblique, 25 straight crunches

And then I ended with a nice long stretch!

Thursday:  60 minutes on the stationary bike at LA Fitness! Yeah....a big jump.  Adrian was there for an hour for a boot camp class (Go Adrian!!) and I just took it each minute at a time and felt comfortable doing the whole hour, so I did!  Hills routine ranging from a 5-6 resistance.  Very light in comparison to my old typical of nothing under a 10 resistance.  I have to remember to ease in, though.

Friday: 30 minutes of walking outside around LA Fitness, then I did the lower body strength training routine from Wednesday, with a few more reps on some.  Traveling lunges I increased to 15 on each side (and I counted).  Side steps with the hard band, I did 30 steps on each side.  Clamshells I did the same 2 progressions and 15 reps, but with the medium resistance band.  The light bands just felt too easy on Wednesday. I didn't do the reverse leg curl at all, I did a little different ab moves but the same number, and I cut way down on calf raises- just 15 straight slow and controlled.  I don't want my calves to feel like rocks tomorrow on my hike.  And of course a good stretch to round it out.

I felt really good leaving the gym today.  I'm proud of myself after this week!

So, I don't usually post my workouts for everyday- is this something you guys would like to see or you couldn't care less? lol.  Let me know!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Elbow and foot update

Lots went down today....

I have a rental car right now because of a minor fender bender almost 2 months ago.  It was the other driver's fault and his insurance is covering the damages.  So, I finally dropped off my beloved Chase (aka my Honda Civic) this morning to get it all pretty again and have a functional trunk back.  I have a silver Kia something or other that luckily has satellite radio.  I love the alt nation station!

I had my first OT (occupational therapy) appointment after my left elbow surgery today.  I have this weird love/hate feeling towards therapy because since I've been to NRH so much they are like family, however being there means I'm injured.  It went well,and it also kinda hurt like a monster....which was what I was expecting.  It will be interesting to see how the measurements will differ from my right elbow, if they will, as the swelling goes down and as my range of motion improves.  It was so exciting when my right arm hit that zero angle (aka straight!) for the first time, and I am hopefully that will happen as well with my left elbow.

Last but certainly not per Dr. Kindschi's (my sports med doctor) I went to a podiatrist that specializes in sports related injuries- specifically running.   He was humbling...a tiny bit of sugar coated on the brutal truth....and I'm so grateful.  These items were a bit hard to swallow yet necessary:

1.  This injury is because I switched to a minimalist shoe....

Hello Merrell Dash Glove

2.  That is because I weigh too much to wear a minimalist shoe without resulting in the exact foot injury I am plagued with, and that he sees all the time.  Apparently the average weight that would be appropriate for a woman to wear these shoes is 110-120 lbs. Really?

my thoughts exactly that was a bit of a harsh pill to swallow, however it's a little reassuring that there aren't many women that would even fit that category

3.  So I need to stick with these shoes that I was wearing before that give me stability.  According to him these are mid-range shoes, as he doesn't think I need motion support shoe, just a stability shoe.   O yeah, with these cool super feet inserts in them.

Welcome back Asics 2170

4.  And I will be gradually building up over a ridiculously long time to get to long mileage again.... Also I will be doing ample stretching, strength training, and yoga.  With a good dose of cross training thrown in.

My mission is to be extremely slow with building back up my fitness, hone a good strength training program with lots of focus on core, stretch a lot, and throw some yoga in there for good measure.  Luckily I have support to help me, and some time to find the perfect shoe.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tips for a Healthier Work Day- Guest Post!

Thanks Caitlin for reaching out and asking to guest post!  Here's a great post from her about a healthy work day.  Enjoy! :)

Hi all, I'm Caitlin Hudson, a full-time SAHM, nature lover, writer, and health nut! I am in the process of starting my own blog, but in the meantime, Colleen has been generous enough to have me as a guest on her wonderful blog. Today, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite tips for keeping the work day healthy! If you have any questions feel free to email me!

Tips for a Healthier Work Day

We all have the best intentions when it comes to diet and exercise. We’re going to only eat healthy, homemade food and get moving several times throughout the day. Unfortunately, working full-time can derail those plans. But with some forethought and planning, the office environment can encourage better overall health.

Eat Right

There is possibly nothing more draining to a healthy diet than the office vending machine. You can probably hear the Snickers calling to you right now. No! Do not listen. Pack your own lunch; it is far tastier and better than anything that Mars or NestlĂ© have to offer. Preparing food on the weekends can be a saving grace. I usually do my grocery shopping on Saturday. At that time, I cut up fruits and vegetables and separate them into portions. Then, they can be easily accessed throughout the week. On Sunday, I prepare at least three entrĂ©es. For the ones that you want to take to work, you can put them into reusable containers in the portion sizes desired. When you’re choosing between something as delicious and aromatic as homemade lemon-herbchicken and a KitKat, there really is no debate.

lemon-herb chicken

Desk for Success

Ah, the desk: killer of backs, huncher of shoulders. Isn’t there a better way? Yes, there is. That balanceball I bought from Beachbody when I was pregnant has so many uses. These days, experts say that sitting on a stability ball instead of a chair encourages better posture and can decrease back pain. When I sit on it, I automatically start to bounce up and down. That works my hamstrings and gluteal muscles almost without my knowing it. 

Balance ball
And there are other ways to stay in shape and burn calories while sitting at a desk. When there’s no time for a workout, keep a small setof dumbbells in your desk drawer. It allows you to take a quick break and do some bicep curls. The best part is that because it isn’t cardio, you won’t build up a sweat while you do it.

Get Up

When at work, try to move. Don’t look for the closest parking spots, and try to take the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible. One of the best ways to avoid desk burnout is to get up and move. Don’t ever sit somewhere in the same position for more than about an hour. Every hour or so, get up to get a drink of water or just do a quick lap around the office. If you have time and the weather is nice, try to take a mid-morning or afternoon break and go outside for a walk. When working on a particularly thorny issue and trying to figure out how to approach it, taking that extra time while walking allows time to think and meditate. You can often find solutions more readily while walking than while staring directly at the problem (or a computer screen).

Don’t do this alone. Whenever possible, encourage having meetings outside or on a walk, instead of being trapped in a conference room. That way, everyone gets a little workout and feels better when they get back. And it makes it easier to avoid the temptation to eat the donuts that somebody brought.

Maintaining a healthy life can be hard in this sedentary world. But when you take the time to prepare meals, maximize desk time, and keep active, the work day can give you energy and motivation, ending on a high note.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Top 10 tips of how to combat boredom eating

After 2 weeks of dealing with post- elbow surgery recovery.... boredom eating is an all too recent and frustrating struggle.  For me, it's harder for me to handle than emotional eating at times.

I managed to get myself to a weight watchers meeting on Wednesday (yes driving by myself with my cast.  I was desperate...and very careful) and I brought up boredom eating as a challenge and asked for their help on some different ways to combat boredom eating.  They had some great ideas that I incorporated into my own.

1.  Exercise!  This is my favorite go-to boredom buster, as I'm sure you all can attend to.  With my foot issues the past 2 months, it's been tough not having this release for me.  One thing I have been able to do: abs! Y'all know I am a big P90X fan, so I've been pulling out Ab ripper X and also doing crunch variations on a balance ball.  Just find something you like that will get your heart pumping and you won't want to eat junk afterwards!

my favorite- P90X Ab Ripper

2. Get creative! Whatever this looks like for you that will put your brain to creative thoughts.   I like writing, crocheting, and years ago I played the flute (crazy, huh?).  I would actually love to pick up the flute again, I was quite good and enjoyed it. :)  Somebody at weight watchers suggested painting or drawing, which I thought was a fantastic idea for those who have more drawing talents than myself (zero in case you were wondering).  Basically, do something to stimulate your mind, and your hands ;)

Cute penguin! And no, I'm not this good

3. Read a book! Right now I'm reading through The Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R. R. Martin.  I gotta admit that the series can be slow at times, but when it picks up, I love it!  Reading is a great mental distraction and I just love getting lost in a good book for a couple hours. You forget about food, it's fantastic.

Current read- awesome book!

4. Call a loved one.  Call a friend or family member and catch up!  Not only an opportunity to distract yourself and get your mouth working in other ways, but also an opportunity to connect. :)  After all, who doesn't like to talk? ;)

5.  Play with your pet!  There is no greater food inhibitor than having an adorable fur-ball sprawled across your lap fast asleep or purring.  Or if you have a dog take them for a walk or play with them.  Instant gratitude!

You would never dare to disturb me!!
6. Have a snack if you are hungry- just make it a healthy one!  Carrots, either plain or with a little hummus are an awesome crunchy and filling snack.  Another great one is grapes- cold or frozen (takes longer to eat) are great poppable and also never fail to fill me up quickly.   Grapes to the rescue

grapes! yummy!

7. Listen to music. Fire up your favorite album or itunes playlist and enjoy!  You could even get a little crazy and dance around ;)

8.  Do chores.  This isn't always fun, but when you put on some good music and start moving around your house will soon look better, you were active which is always good, and all of a sudden it's been 2 hours and you didn't even get a food craving.  Impressive, huh?

There may even be some fringe benefits ;) cute cartoon!

9. Join a recreational sports league!  I'll give full credit to my darling husband, Adrian, with this one.  This is a fun and active way to meet new friends and have some outdoor fun.  He has done softball and now kickball leagues and has met some fun and friendly people while exercising- great combination!

10. Volunteer in your community.  This was a great idea from a weight watcher member, thanks!  Perhaps you have an elderly neighbor you could help around the house or a soup kitchen you can volunteer your time at.  Plus giving back to others has fringe benefits- you feel good, too!

United Way is one of many great ways to get connected :)

What is your boredom eating bust?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The healing power of Dr. Ding!

Yes, animals are powerful healing agents!  Thanks to Amanda for the great post idea, I very often turn to animals for company, comfort, fun, friendship, and their love.  In high school, all of my creative outlets (other than my music) had to do with animals.  Especially when it came to writing.  Looking through some old high school stuff last month I found this creative publication from high school called Dysplexia.  What do you think the majority of my submissions were about?  Here's my favorite one.  And remember this was written in high school so be kind.... lol

Me and Bobby, High School
I tell everything to Bobby,
He's a sounding board for me,
He's comforting, quiet,
And he always agrees with me.

He is also thankful to me,
For taking care of him,
For feeding him,
For putting a roof over him,
For helping him,
And for understanding him,
Just as he understands me.

We take walks in the woods, 
And we go jogging in the fields,
We laugh quietly to ourselves,
As we have fun jumping,
Over obstacles,
All kinds of them, too

I shiver with delight,
As we go off riding into the sunset,
I think of how I can tell everything to him,
I think of how a great friend he is,
And I think,
What a great horse he is.

Bobby was my first horse love, and when I was having tough times (which we all know are plentiful in High School) he was my most trusted confidant.  We had so much fun together, and I learned so much about partnership and humility from him.

Well, Ding has been so wonderfully entertaining and clingy at times which has been great for my bored and temporarily limited self.  There have been studies done to show the healing power of animals and some great videos to show examples.  I've seen it with my own mom after her multiple different cancer treatments and the profound impact her dogs Bella and Candy have on her happiness.  Not to mention Sunshine, an adorable orange tabby, who will cuddle right to her chest as she naps.  Bella herds the horses to help my mom and warns her with barks when they are acting up.  In truth, animals are amazing!

Just check out how much Ding loves to keep me company :)

Making sure I am icing during my first 2 days
Curling up in bizarre positions to make sure he's close 
See what I mean about bizarre positions?
Super cuddly today!
When there is no lap room, I'll just curl up here!
He really can sleep anywhere!

Dr. Ding comes to the rescue again for me! With no social visits for 2 days, I could have strayed into familiar feelings of loneliness and depression that seem closer when you are alone all day and stuck in your house with limited mobility.  Between Ding and watching the series "Sherlock", I certainly stayed entertained and happy!  Thanks, Ding!

Do you think animals have healing effects?