Author Archives: theplatinummuse

The Weight Loss Plateau

The inevitable weight loss plateau. It happens to all of us. You are spot on tracking your food and activity like a boss for days or even weeks on end. Maybe you have even noticed your rings getting looser and your jacket zipping up with room to spare. You hop on the scale with high expectations. You maybe even try to self- levitate as best you can. The number on the scale has stopped flashing blue in the early morning light. You glance down at the number. You stare. Exhale. You feel your facial expression drop and you step off of the scale. Hands on your hips you push the scale back up against the wall. Maybe a little name calling commences. You stand there in your birthday suite in the quiet dimly lit bathroom in the early morning hours. The cold morning air is beginning to sap your body heat. You start to chill. The number on the scale was not what you expected at all. Off to the shower to try and regroup under the warm steamy spray. You close your eyes. Argh! Why can’t I bust through this plateau?

We all know that there are a multitude of reasons your weight bounces around. Sodium intake, stress hormones, increasing exercise and building muscle, not drinking enough water. Or, sometimes your body is just plain being fickle for reasons we don’t yet understand. And, we all know that if you stick to the plan, as I have previously blogged about, your body will come around and bend and morph itself in to what you are working towards. I’m going to go ahead and share my before and after photos from my own 100# weight loss journey here for better perspective:

Just reflect for a moment on what I asked my body to do here over the course of 2 years. Reflection helps me gain a better perspective, and outright appreciation for my body, when I go back and look at these before and after pictures. I mean, my body has grown strong and continues to grow stronger even at the age of 64. It has given me 2 perfect children which have given rise to 4 perfect grandchildren. My body gets up every morning and continues to move me around and provide enough mental clarity for me to continue to work full and busy days as a Home Telehealth RN Care Coordinator at a major hospital. I feel good every darn day.

So, be patient with yourself and whatever it is that your body is working on that may not be visible to you at the moment. Your body is on track. It is innately set up for success even if you can’t see the change in the fleeting moment of your scale weigh in. Press on Platinum Muse readers. Stick to the plan and let the momentum begin to carry you. You CAN reach your 2021 goal!

Chase Down Your Weight Loss Rewards

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Let me ask you this. When you reach your goal, do you actually follow through with your reward? Or, do you put it off again because maybe you met your goal but feel that you still need some tweaking. Or, maybe you have deemed yourself unworthy.

Intrinsic rewards, like, losing weight to feel better, move better, look better, improved health, fitting in to a smaller size, will only work for you in the beginning of a weight loss journey. Actually, intrinsic rewards can also be your motivation. Like fitting in to that dress you want to wear to a special event. Eventually, the intrinsic rewards you have set yourself up with will no longer spark your journey for you. That is when you better set yourself up with extrinsic rewards to carry you through the rough days ahead.

Extrinsic rewards are like actually buying that dress you want to fit into, buying yourself that pair of Frye boots that you didn’t feel you deserved before, It can be as simple as allowing yourself time for a soak in a bubble bath, taking a nice walk by yourself, charms, stickers, or as extravagant and purchasing a new car, or taking a trip to Hawaii. It all works the same in your brain and the reward should be whatever it is that floats your boat. It’s this carrot and stick approach of an extrinsic reward that will keep you on track during those difficult days when you are tired out and ready to give up on the admirable goal which you have already set for yourself.

And now, the most important part of all. The part no one ever talks about. Follow through! You absolutely are worth it! You put in the hard work. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself. If you are like me, that is where you stumble. Then, it’s a slippery slope back to the bottom and that negative way of seeing yourself when you were at the beginning of your weight loss journey. Hold your head up high every day. Smile at yourself in the mirror and compliment yourself! You are deserving of every kind and complimentary word.

Thanks for reading the Platinum Muse. This blog is meant to inspire you on your weight loss journey. I have lost 100# and am both a registered nurse and a nutritionist. I hope you find this helpful. For more like this visit platinummusecom.wordpress.com

Write It Down On Paper And Leave It There

In January I will acknowledge the start date of my 3 year personal weight loss and wellness journey with WW. This is not meant to be an endorsement of WW as I believe every weight loss and wellness journey is very personal, but, WW was and is my choice and what works for me.

I came from a dark place back in 2018. About 100# heavier than I am now, physically uncomfortable, and struggling to stay positive. I joined WW on my birthday and bought an auto-renew monthly pass as a birthday present to myself. I have a supportive husband who quickly hopped onboard and has given me his full support every step of the way. He even drove me out to Oprah’s 2020 Tour event in Minneapolis and attended it with me.

One tool that I used to launch the beginning of my new journey was journaling. My first entry is hard for me to go back and read. A writing tool I learned back in nursing school was to take a blank sheet of paper, a pen, and for 1 minute write whatever words flow. The trick is to just keep writing, whatever comes out. Words, short 2-3 word phrases poured out. Even a sketch. Sometimes pictures say it all. I have never showed my first journal entry to anyone and intended to burn it because I never wanted anyone to see it. Almost 3 years later I still have it tucked away. I have pulled it out and read it twice along with the couple of entries that followed. Each subsequent entry was a bit brighter and it seems that once I wrote that initial entry my demons were somehow released and I was on the path to a better version of me.

My point is, put it down on paper and leave it there. Maybe it is a journal entry. Maybe it is writing down everything you ate on a day when you were totally derailed. Or for me, writing down my weight every morning followed by a + or – of how it relates to my WW goal weight. Writing things down empowers me and I use a paper planner/journal every single day. I take my planner everywhere and use my WW app daily (even if on some days I am missing some of the entries.) If I have stayed at your house overnight, I know where your scale is, and have used it!

2020 brought me to my WW goal in the midst of the pandemic. I remember crying during a virtual WW meeting along with my WW Coach, Pam, when it happened. I also remember her arriving at my door during the pandemic with a beautiful plant and a butterfly flag for me to celebrate. I was in my pajamas of course, not expecting anyone. We hugged and cried (again.) My WW crew has been a Godsend and they have carried my through the times when I was not able to stand on my own in this journey.

I am a different person now than I was on 1/23/18. My health is at the forefront. I am more focused and optimistic. Most importantly, I have learned how to let go of things which I cannot contol and acccept that some things just are what they are. I have learned how to avoid picking up a problem that is not mine. I have learned how to experience something bad in the world but not stand on it. I am changed and I have no regrets about any part of my journey. It’s all part of my story.

Thank you for reading the Platinum Muse. For more like this go to: http://www.platinummusecom.wordpress.com

Sticky Words From A Personal Trainer

Have you ever tried a Personal Trainer? It has been several years since my last session with a trainer but I would love to share a few memories from sessions with my favorite trainer who I will just refer to as Amber in this post.

Amber was the second of three Personal Trainers that I have had the pleasure of working with through local gyms. She was very pretty and very nice but would literally bring you to your knees on about your third or fourth session with her. She taught me the importance of pushing my physical limits which is something I find very difficult to do on my own. You know, I like to ease in to things. It would start during warm ups on a treadmill. Walking by, increasing the incline and speed on me just when I was getting comfortable. I hated that at the time. Then, even though I would try to make some interesting conversation or tell a funny story I would find myself faced with some new and daunting piece of equipment or a drill that I was unfamiliar with. She would push me to my limit. As a matter of fact, I knew I had to eat a light breakfast on my training days and not drink my usual two cups of coffee in order to keep from throwing up. Without fail, the lucky folks that were training with her would find themselves flat on their backs on the gym floor after their first few sessions as did I. She would leave you on the floor, staring at the ceiling like nothing happened. It was your chance to dig down deep inside yourself and summon your inner warrior. Then, there were the sprints up the hill. I had never done much running before but there I was, sprinting up “Heart Attack Hill” with my lungs burning as I reached the top. Oh man, there, I made it. I would walk back to the bottom with her and as I was starting to relax and catch my breath I would hear “Let’s do that again!” My heart would drop and off we would go sprinting back up the hill. After a few sessions like this I started to comment as I was walking into the gym that I thought it was really clouding up outside and felt like rain. This ploy was never successful.

It wasn’t long before I noticed a change in my body. I was stronger and more trim. I had lost weight. My body hurt but I definitely felt that “runner’s high” that you hear people talk about. I learned that my right IT band was very tight and learned how to stretch in ways that really benefited my body. The words she said to me one day are still with me: “I can tell you excelled in high school sports at one time.” OK, old high school classmates, you can stop laughing now. The thing is, on that day I believed it and I still believe it to this day. I am an athlete. I am strong and I am capable. Those sticky words have carried me forward into new adventures and have given me courage to try new things. And you know what? I’m good at those new things. Thank you Amber. I will be back!

10 Ways To Get Yourself Back On Track To Meet Your Weight Loss Goals

Here in the US we are now up and over the 2020 Election hump. As we climb the steepest incline of the COVID Pandemic curve to date, I am hopeful that we will be able to make some changes which will change the trajectory of this thing and bend the curve down. It is difficult to stay positive and goal oriented in times like these. So much has been, and continues to be, totally out of our control. The one thing you and I can control is our own behavior, actions, and mindset.

Here are the top 10 tips from the Platinum Muse to spark your motivation and get yourself back on track with your weight loss and activity goals:

1 If you are struggling, focus on getting through one day at time. You can stick to your plan for the next 24 hours whatever your plan is. If you need to, focus on just getting through one hour at a time. You will succeed. Your brain needs this positive feedback.

2 Go to your happy place when counterproductive thoughts or people come by. Negative people can be like strips of sticky fly paper. It is easy to get wrapped up in them. Don’t fight them. The more you struggle the more wrapped up you become. Take a deep breath, back off to your happy place, and let the problem walk away.

3 Move your body! Even better, move your body outside!

4 Write a short “To Do” list and cross things off as you go. Again, your brain needs this positive feedback. I have a short list of 3 things on my daily calendar that I complete and cross off at the end of each day. It’s such a small thing compared to the other things I do but it drives me forward towards reaching my goals. Crossing things off a list is also very therapeutic and satisfying for me. I am definitely a list person.

5 Reflect on why you chose your goal in the first place. Write it down. Remember how you were feeling deep down inside on the day that you set your goal.

6 Write down at least 1 SMART goal for this week and set yourself up with a reward. When you achieve it reward yourself and the “happy circuits” in your brain will light up better than a sugar buzz. Once again, positive reinforcement.

7 Be present in the moment. This is huge. Stop, breath, be present. Smile. Center yourself.

8 Start each day with a few minutes of reflection before you pick up your phone. Figure out where you are headed today. Find something to be grateful for.

9 86 the nay-sayers around you. It’s OK to say “Don’t make me leave my happy place.” Go to your happy place, take a breath, play your music through your ear pods if you have to. Shut ’em down.

10 Carry an emergency plan in your back pocket for when you get on shaky ground. Pre-plan a snack, have a big glass of water, have the door propped open to your happy place for a quick escape.

You can do this! One day at a time, one step at a time, or one breath at a time move towards doing the next right thing for yourself and others. Set an example because you never know who is watching or who you can inspire. Let’s lift each other up and cheer each other’s successes this week. Cherish this moment in time.

Thank you for reading the Platinum Muse this week. I hope you find at least one good take away from this week’s blog posting. Carry it forward in to your week and rock on!

The Beauty Of Pre Planning Your Meals and Exercise

I was recently asked if it was better to have an end goal in mind or to just try to make one good health choice after another throughout the day with no particular goal in mind. My response was that although making good health choices throughout the day is a great idea, having an end goal is an even better idea. I mean, when we are on the other side of the 2020 Election process and the COVID 19 Pandemic, where do you want to be? So, you can drift through the day with no objective other than to get through it, or, you can move in the direction of your goals. In other words, you can swirl safely in an eddy or be out swimming in the stream moving towards whatever it is you want to achieve. Either way, it is going to change the way your mind is swirling. I would encourage you to be proactive in choosing your own direction. Of course, setting up those small SMART goals and rewards as we discussed in an earlier blog (https://platinummusecom.wordpress.com/2020/02/16/weight-loss-smart-goals-and-rewards/) will mess with your mind in a good way.

If you have not already tried pre planning your meals and exercise in advance, give it a whirl! It’s a great way to make tomorrow or even the whole next week flow pretty effortlessly for you. It is helpful in getting over a hunger hump or curb stress eating if you already know the plan for the day. It will help you knock off your daily walk, run, or workout that you want to do too! Write your plan down, schedule it in your planner, and cross things off your “to do” list as you go. It’s a great tool and super effective in nailing down new healthy habits!

Thank you for reading the Platinum Muse and for those of you in the U.S. we will meet up again on the otherside of the 2020 Elections–well, at least on the other side of Election Day. Please vote! And remember it is not our place to judge. We are all in this together and diversity and differing opinions are our strength. Stay strong and focused!

Are You Buying A 2021 Planner?

I apologize for being MIA from blogging for the past 3 weeks. I have been feeling the weight of this COVID thing more and more as our COVID cases climb. I work in health care so there is no escaping it. COVID is pretty much in my face for 8 hours a day.

With that being said, I did stop to browse in the planner section the other day for a 2021 Planner. I went to my favorite store, usual section, only to find 5 bland pocket planners. Nothing even remotely close to my fabulous 2020 Planner which I bought last fall. Are people not buying 2021 Planners? I glanced up at when I got outside. The sky looked gray and I could feel its heavy weight again.

I returned home and began scrolling on FacebooK which is never a good idea. Did you know it’s actually called “doom scrolling” and is kind of an obsessive-compulsive thing? I have to stop doing that but that’s another topic. This time though I stumbled across a gem that gave me a glimmer of hope for my life returning to normal. It was a video clip from the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics (I love that place) about up and coming COVID vaccines: https://www.facebook.com/uihealthcare/videos/264438048227416

I took the time to watch the video in its entirety and came around to see a glimmer of a new reality. One is that, yes, it is looking like several COVID vaccines will be coming up for approval by the FDA in a month or two. Once the vaccine studies are thoroughly combed through again by the FDA scientists, they will be ready for release–maybe winter/early spring for frontline workers and “at risk” folks. Maybe, fingers crossed, by late spring/early summer they will be ready for the general public.

The vaccine trial which the University of Iowa is involved in is looking good. It generates a great immune response from the body, even in the elderly. It is hands down a better immune response than you would get from having the disease itself. Studies have not yet been done on COVID vaccines in kids that I am aware of. The University of Iowa vaccine will give you a sore arm after receiving the vaccine and it will likely have you feeling a bit under the weather–kind of like after you get a shingrix (shingles) vaccine but a bit worse. (Um, please tell me you know that the shingrix vaccine can pretty much prevent shingles and that if you are over 50 years old you have had the shingrix 2 dose vaccine?) This particular vaccine requires two doses given about a month apart.

A word about “herd immunity.” Not a good plan as you need to get 60-70% of the population to have been infected (or vaccinated) and we are at about 10% currently. Having COVID does not generate a very good immune response so you could be reinfected. I personally think trying to achieve herd immunity would be insane and would not look good for the home team if you know what I mean.

So, yes! I am shopping online for fabulous 2021 Planner. I have not signed up for vacation at work until late spring and then (I may have to eat my words later but…) I plan to get my life groove back. Snuggle with my kids and grandkids, travel around a bit, hug my friends, and, eventually unmask. We are 7 months into this thing and we can do another 7 months.

Thanks for reading the Platinum Muse! Keep rolling forward folks. Set goals, and yes, buy a 2021 Planner!

Emotional Eating

COMING DOWN THE OFF RAMP OF A STRESSFUL EVENT

We have all been there. You know, heading into the storm of one of life’s stressors. The kind where you can’t see through to the other side and you know you are going to get tossed around like a rag doll in the dryer till life decides you give you up and spit you out. A life event. A stressor.

Sometimes we emotionally eat due to boredom. Sometime due to loneliness. Sometimes due to stress. There are all kinds of reasons. What really trips me up though is coming down off a stressful event. I can function well during the actual catastrophe, but, once on the other side of it my defenses fall prematurely. Then I fall into a period of relief from whatever stressor it was, predictably binge eat on my favorite comfort foods, and then have to recover from that behavior and steady and upright myself again. It’s predictable for me and taken me years to identify the pattern. I have not yet gotten on top of it though and it’s a repeated trap for me. I think I get so focused on control while going through a stressful event that I am never quite ready for it to be over. It’s like swimming the backstroke in a pool and then bumping your head on the concrete edge of the pool because you did not see it coming.

I can’t help but wonder how we will all do when we get to the end of the 2020 Elections and then hopefully COVID. Or, will it be such a gradual wind down with problematic ballots and COVID vaccine issues that we will just ease into a state of resolution. Will my stress build and then decline and trip me up again? Can I manage to put a new behavior into practice to ease me back into my new normal without missing a beat? Who knows? But I do know that I will come out on the other side of this one way or another. We all will.

I want to pass along 2 of my favorite low cal sweet treats that you can use this fall to treat yourself. They are kind of comfort foody. Modify as you would like!

Sauteed Apple Treat: Just like the name implies, sautee a few of your favorite cored and sliced apples in some butter flavored cooking spray until soft. Spritz with a little spray butter while sauteing. Remove from heat and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sweetener of your choice. Place Fiber One Bar (lemon or cinnamon or birthday cake flavor) on plate. Top with sauteed apples and spritz with fat free Ready Whip!

Cheater Banana Split: Slice a banana lengthwise and place on plate. Spread peanut butter or PB2 on the bananas if you like. You can even add in a low cal frozen fudge bar here too if you want. Then, drizzle with sugar free Hershey’s Syrup and top with fat free Ready Whip. (It’s the Ready Whip in the blue bottle.) Again, yum.

That’s it for me for today. Have a most awesome end of the week and thanks for reading! Stay centered and keep taking it to the next level!

Breakfast, I Salute You!

For years and years (yes, I am that old) I skipped breakfast or started the day with black coffee. I just wasn’t hungry in the morning and this was likely due to late night snacking. In my overweight life, I started every morning with the best of intentions by severely limiting my morning and early afternoon calorie intake. Of course, by 3 or 4 in the afternoon I was stressed, tired, and hungry. This pattern typically ended up with me munching on whatever was at hand while cooking supper for my family. The pattern continued after dinner, during clean up, and then extended well in to the evening hours.

When I started my last (and successful) weight loss journey of 100# almost 3 years ago now, I started each morning with some kind of a breakfast. I didn’t yet really buy into the whole breakfast idea but decided to give it a go. It went against the grain for me to start my morning eating when I had identified that as a problem behavior.

Over the course of my weight loss journey and maintenance I have become a breakfast advocate. I don’t eat a large breakfast, but, I do eat breakfast–every single day. It holds me steady through a productive morning at work and keeps me balanced through the whole day. I don’t skip lunch anymore either. Yes, I’m ready for supper at the end of the day, for sure. If I can’t seem to hang on ’till supper is ready I grab a piece of fruit or some fat free yogurt to tide me over. After supper I know I’m good until morning. I sleep better, no more late night heartburn, and, the best part, I’ve sustained weight at my goal since the end of May.

My breakfasts are on the lighter side with one of the following: 1 serving of Cream of Wheat (my latest favorite,) fruit with yogurt, 1-2 boiled eggs, 2 shredded wheat biscuits with skim milk, or sometimes oatmeal. I head out the door for work fairly early so i’m not big into meal prep for breakfast. Of course, black coffee is still a must. I want to share one of the recipes I use in my crockpot that I make for breakfast or sometimes even take for my lunch during the work week. It’s easy, quick, and healthy. It’s great for fall and company likes it too!

SLOW COOKER APPLE CINNAMON STEEL-CUT OATMEAL

Servings: 7–3/4 cup servings (found at http://www.theyummylife.com back in 2013)

2 apples, peeled (optional) and cored, cut into 1/2 pieces

1-1/2 cups skim milk

1-1/2 cups water

1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats

2 T brown sugar (or brown sugar substitute)

1-1/2 T butter cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)

1/2 t cinnamon

1 T ground flax seed

1/4 t salt

Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter.

Spray inside of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for about 7 hours.

Nutritional information per 3/4 cup serving): 149 calories, 4 g fat, 27 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein.