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The addiction I didn’t know I had…

I used to brag and laugh about my addiction. It is socially accepted and considered “cute” to have a “sweet tooth” but other than the taste itself, there’s nothing sweet about it. Sugar made me compulsive and unable to hold my will power, caused me to gain weight, contributed to my headaches, caused me to be bloated, and feel generally lousy. While I’m no expert, and don’t have evidence to back it, I also believe it weakened my immune system and caused inflammation throughout my body.

I’ve been successful with eating “clean” through several periods in my life before, but when I get stressed or overwhelmed with life circumstances, I find myself going right back to the same habit of sugar binging. Ice Cream is my guilty pleasure and one scoop can send me back into a downward spiral of way more than just ice cream… my days are soon filled with soda, cookies, chocolate, flavored coffee creamer, and ice cream, just to name a few. Drive throughs quickly become a routine part of my errand list…daily.

So after a trip to Nashville last weekend, I came home and knew that once again, I was going to need to cut the sugar addiction…cold turkey.

My hubby just shook his head. He asked me why I don’t just taper off slowly.

The answer is quite simply…that is too hard for me to do.

Every time I quit cold turkey, the first 7 days are agony, but if I can stay the course, that breaks the sugar cravings and clears my system completely. In plain English, I bite the bullet and the rewards are almost immediate…

weight starts coming off

my joints no longer hurt

headaches are 50% less frequent

my food actually tastes better

I don’t need to snack between meals

my mind is clear and I can remember things

I know I’m just like an alcoholic who cannot have even one drink. One bite of anything sweet and I WILL fall right off the healthy wagon, head first. So how have I done it in the past and what am I doing this week to break the addiction and start benefitting from my body operating the way it was designed?

This book: Bright Line Eating (I am not getting anything for this recommendation…I’m literally just sharing something that works for me)

Before you run out and buy it there are a few things you should know…

if you’re not “all in”, you will not succeed…you can’t “sort of” use this plan because your brain will still be affected in a negative way even when you just cheat “a little bit”

the book goes into great detail about the brain and how it is affected by what we eat; for me, understanding why I wasn’t successful in the past was so helpful…no more beating myself up!

Yes there is meal planning and weighing food, but this actually is freeing in that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to cook or eat…the decision is already made for me.

So today, I’m on day 2. Yesterday was rough (not gonna lie)…I was CRAVING sweets. I had emptied out the pantry and kitchen of anything with sugar, so there was no way I could cheat at home, but the real test came when I had to run to the post office and the grocery store. I drive by Dunkin Donuts (maple frosted and vanilla bean coolatta…mmmmm), Wendy’s (chocolate frosty), Panera (brownies or chocolate chip cookie), McDonald’s (large Dr. Pepper)…grinding teeth kept my foot on the gas.

Then on the way home, I had to stop at Winn Dixie to pick up my hubby’s medication…the bakery is right next to the pharmacy…WHYYYYY?!!!! More grinding teeth as I forced myself not to glance in that direction.

The final test was the checkout line where I was surrounded by sugar on all sides and of course a basket of monster chocolate chip cookies right next to the register…individually wrapped and only $1, they used to be my “treat” for the 5 minute ride home. It’s a miracle I have any teeth left at this point!

I am so proud to say, I DID NOT GIVE IN!

Today is slightly better…no errands to run, so I won’t have to resist the temptations in town.

But I did whine while I drank my coffee with plain milk, no sweetener.

Tomorrow it will taste better…

I can do this…

I need to do it for me and I need to help my hubby keep his heart healthy, too.

Are you struggling to stay on track with a health plan you know will work for you? Subscribe to my blog and we can cheer each other on! Accountability is a huge factor in the success of any difficult task…just sayin’

If I can do it, I KNOW you can do it!

Onward and upward,

Laurie

For more scientific info and explanation of the sugar/brain connection/addiction see THIS ARTICLE

weight loss buddy

Weight Loss Buddy: Circle driving

This is one of my favorite exercises on the ground. Once you and your horse get good at it, it’s truly beautiful to watch as it becomes almost a dance as the partners weave around each other. It’s also a great one for a little cardio action because you are moving the entire time.

My Bright Line Eating has not been as consistent this time around. When I did it last year, I steadily lost for the entire month in which I diligently followed the weight loss portion of the program. This time, I’ve not been as determined to stick 100% to the plan and the results are very telling. I’ve only lost a few pounds. So I’m here to tell you…a) stick to the plan for best results, and b) you can get back on track at any moment, including this one right this second. When I finish writing this…I’m headed for the kitchen to plan and measure to make sure I’m golden the rest of today and tomorrow! And I’m not beating myself up about it either!

Wishing you the best if you’re on a similar journey! Tell me what you struggle with and we can work on it together!

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weight loss buddy: running for days

So far I have lost 4 pounds which should be cause for celebration, however,

This is the week I realize…

a) just how out of shape I really am, and

b) I seriously would never choose to be a runner!

It’s also the week I reflect and discover that I am really enjoying “my” workouts. I definitely do not dread going to the barn the way I dreaded going to the gym. Doc is a living, breathing partner (obviously), so he’s somewhat unpredictable. Sometimes he is clearly not excited about our “workouts” and half heartedly tries to figure out ways to cheat. I don’t let him get away with it, but then he doesn’t let me slack off either LOL!

Here are a few short clips of us working on another ground work exercise…the goal is that both of us continue moving in a steady rhythm. We clearly have some work to do!!!

when Doc trots, I get to power walk
when Doc lopes, I have to run

While I fell off the Bright Line eating wagon a couple of times this week, our line driving is getting a little better (see below). Doc even thinks he gets to grab a snack during this session…no wonder he has some inches to lose!!!

progress!

The beauty of tomorrow is that it’s a fresh new day. I have my meals planned out for the day, so no falling off the wagon and no excuses!!! But I will admit…quitting flour and sugar cold turkey is HARD!!! I’m trying to replace those things with a piece of fruit when I get a craving for something sweet. Here’s to another week and another pound lost!

When you’re eating right, what’s the hardest thing for you to give up?

Enjoy this post? Subscribe to this blog to make sure you don’t miss what’s up next!

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weight loss buddy: driving

So by now you know my horse is my weight loss buddy…we both need to lose a few pounds. Since I hate the gym, he’s a great partner and keeps me from getting bored with my workout routine.

This week we worked on line driving. And no, I’m not letting him play with my car LOL! This is actually a ground work exercise that teaches the horse how to respond to the reins used to pull a cart or wagon. Once again, I’m on the ground as well and trying to keep up with Doc. For this one, I think I’m definitely losing more weight than my buddy, but he’ll get to shed a few more pounds when he’s under saddle (coming up in a later post)

Here’s a clip of line driving in action…

What kept you interested in your weight loss goals this week?

Subscribe to this blog for more updates on my progress with Doc!

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weight loss buddy: am I dead yet?

Exercise is hard…there, I said it…sorta out loud

Everything hurts, well ok, all my muscles hurt. I’m sore in places that I didn’t think needed to be involved in training my horse. I mean really…the tops of my feet? I guess I was somehow flexing them when I was plowing through the sand earlier this week. (and I do mean plowing!!!)

As a side note, did you know that you are most sore 2-3 days AFTER you exercise. So you can be working at a good pace and be thinking the entire time “well this isn’t that bad”….you’ll probably even think that the day after, but by 2 days after, reality sets in and your thoughts change to “what the heck was I thinking??? I am clearly too old for this and I don’t think I really need to lose that weight if all I want to do is read a book and drink a glass of wine, right???? I mean really…at this moment, I can’t even get up off the couch!)

We started our groundwork on Dec 31. (I know it’s a day early, but Doc is an overachiever and was dying to get started!) My daughter and I hauled our horses up to a friend’s place where there’s a lot of deep sand to work in. We spent 5 hours there and here’s a tiny clip of one of the things we worked on…

***Caution! Exercising in 18 inches of sand could cause you to hate the beach!

Do your exercise goals leave you begging for mercy and certain you’re about to die? Hang in there…they say it gets easier. Uh huh…who’s “THEY” anyway???

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weight loss buddy: grounded in exercise

In my last post I talked about “the book” and the food plan for my weight loss program, but everyone knows diet and exercise have to work together to achieve maximum results. I HATE the gym, so I had to find something else to get my cardio in. I’m going to start with groundworking my horse. This simply means I will not be riding while we are working together and he will be attached to me with a lead rope. This also means I will often need to cover the same amount of ground as he does and, you guessed it, that’s where the cardio comes in.

The first exercise on the ground will be teaching Doc to stay right next to me, not ahead or behind but his head right by my shoulder. Sounds easy, right? But there’s a catch…we’ll start at a walk, but then start working on the trot, which means, you guessed it…I’ll be jogging and there will probably be some moments when I won’t be sure who is keeping up with whom! We will definitely both be out of breath for the first several days, especially when I go to my friend’s arena which has a deep sand floor…yeah…running on the beach is not nearly as glorious as it looks on Baywatch…just sayin’!

I usually work on one exercise with my horse for 4-6 days until he’s really good at it and then we’ll move on to something else. My horses have always had good ground manners…meaning they respect my space and that I’m smaller than them (which means they have to be careful around me so I don’t get hurt). I can get them to do all sorts of things, but I’ve never worked on getting them to do those things “at liberty” or “off line”. Doc will be my first experiment in that realm and I have a feeling he’s going to be a bit of challenge because he doesn’t always agree that we should be working and/or losing weight! You can be sure I’ll share the frustrations and the entertaining moments along the way LOL!

Have you started an exercise program in the New Year? What keeps you motivated?

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weight loss buddy: first things first

“It takes some willpower to set up, but requires little to no willpower after that.” Susan Peirce Thompson

Gotta read the book! Or in my case, re-read the book. Bright line eating helped me understand how food affects our brain… how this relationship destroys our willpower and eliminates the brain’s ability to recognize when it’s full. That removes the guilt factor which is a HUGE reason a lot of people start a “diet” and give up shortly thereafter. Rather than a “diet”, this method is about retraining our brain and body to function the way they were intended to…love this!

The second reason I love this book is that it maps it all out for me. I am very much a rule follower/list follower. If it’s in black and white (step a, step b, step, c) I can do it. If the procedure is vague and I have to figure it all out for myself…ain’t gonna happen! I don’t have the time or patience for that nonsense!

I know it’s going to sound crazy to have to weigh out your food for every meal, but it’s really quick and easy to do and made it simple for me to know exactly how much I needed to eat. And I promise you won’t starve! There were actually a lot of evening meals that I had to force myself to finish the portions…whaaat????!

And thirdly, I love this book because my body felt good and I felt good about myself while I was following the instructions in it. Life happened and my Bright Line Eating train derailed, but it’s time to get back on the track!

So this is the method I’ll be using starting January 1 (Let’s get real…I’ve got a lot of Christmas leftovers to finish first LOL) Over the next few days, I’m going to reread the book, clear out my pantry (of the “bad” stuff) and fill my fridge and pantry (with the “good” stuff). As we all know, “out of sight, out of mind” is at least a good start!

A link to the book on Amazon is below and I added a link to the cookbook, also in case you’d like to check that out. (The cookbook is totally optional and I was successful without it)

Let me know if you get the book and/or start on this adventure with me…I’d love to have you join in the fun!

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weight loss buddy

OK, I admit it…things aren’t quite the same as they used to be. I’m 50, my metabolism is slowing down and I can no longer eat whatever I want without suffering the consequences…UGH!

2020 is going to be a year of focus for me and the word I’ve chosen for the year is “steady” (you’ll see more about that in an upcoming post for New Years Day) One of the things I plan to be steady about is taking care of myself and currently, that’s going to have to include losing about 15 pounds. I’ve done it successfully before with a book that was recommended to me by a dear friend. I read it in 2 days and then lost 6 pounds in the first 8 days of following the regimen in the book (don’t worry, I’ll share about that in my next weight loss post)

Eating right is going to be half the battle, but the other half is going to be exercise…steady, consistent exercise. I am NOT a “go to the gym” girl…I’ve always hated how self conscious I am when I’m there. I seriously can’t wait to get out of there as fast as possible which means I often leave well before I’ve burned enough calories to make a difference. Serious waste of my monthly dues!

So I started thinking about A) what kind of exercise would be enjoyable enough to keep me motivated and B) who could be my accountability partner and weight loss buddy. I know this is going to sound weird, but Doc was the first one to pop into my brain and I literally laughed out loud!

Doesn’t he look excited???!!!

But wait! Upon further review, this could actually work for both of us! We both need to lose some weight, gain some muscle tone, and eat right. And if you don’t know much about horses, working with a horse at liberty and in the saddle can both be really good cardio exercise for both horse and human…especially if you need to lose a few pounds!

So yes, Doc is officially my weight loss buddy and yes, you’ll be hearing more about our pitfalls and our progress in the coming months!

Do you have a crazy idea you’re going to test out in 2020? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!