Tag Archives: Natalie Preston

Mind Games

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by Natalie Preston

First off, I’d like to apologize for missing my post last week. I’ve been interviewing like crazy these last two weeks to find a job here in Pittsburgh. And, finally, I found one. My first day was today, and I’m glad to be working again. Woo Hoo!

So, back to the regularly scheduled blog … At last week’s weigh-in, I’d lost only a pound. But this week, it was much better and I’d lost five pounds. That makes a total of ten pounds in four weeks. Not a bad beginning!

But, I’m at the point where in the past I always started to play mind games. Games like “If I eat a doughnut this morning, then I’ll eat only salads for the rest of the week to make up for it.” Or, “I can have that pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Chunk Fudge ice cream because I’ve been so good. I deserve it, dammit!” Games that essentially sabotage any food/exercise plan or lifestyle change I tried to make. And ultimately, I always ended up back where I started; fat, out of shape and unhappy.

This time around, though, I’m trying to do it differently. The mind games are still there. I’m only human, after all. But, the rules are changing. I’m playing the games to benefit, not sabotage, my plan. For instance, it was odd but it always seemed that my total weekly weight loss was less on Monday mornings than on Sunday mornings. So now I weigh in on Sundays. It’s a psychological boost that really seems to help get me through the week. Another game is that I never tell myself I “can’t” have anything. I just can’t have it right now. That pint of Ben & Jerry’s is not off limits, only delayed to some future date. It all seems to help me carry on instead of giving up.

I played a mind game just today. This morning, my recruiter met my new boss and I at the office bearing a dozen doughnuts. Later this afternoon, I noticed where he left the box, in the desk where the department keeps their supplies. I was so tempted … You know the game … “One doughnut won’t hurt. And I can stop at just one …. And I’ll eat a light lunch the rest of the week to make up for it. So it’ll be alright.” I so wanted that doughnut! But, I played a game instead. My boss, Angie, was there with me and I told her about the blog and what Deb and I are attempting. And I even said, “That’s why I don’t want a doughnut.” And that caused my pride to kick in. There was no way I would take a doughnut after telling someone I didn’t want it and why. It would be too big of a ding to my pride!

So, am I learning anything from all these games I’m playing? I dunno. In the past, they were my downfall. But, if played right, they are helping me to succeed.

My challenge for this week? How to get my exercise in while I’m working eight hours a day, and it’s raining outside!

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Second Week Blues

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by Natalie Preston

Monday was the dreaded weigh-in. I pulled out the scale and stepped on, anxious but hopeful that the number would have changed in the right direction.

It didn’t.

I’d gained a pound and a half. Deep breath. Sigh. Lots of “where did I go wrong” thoughts. Lots of analyzing the past week in minute detail. But what’s different this time from all the times before is that I didn’t beat myself up for gaining weight and I didn’t give up. I’m still here, dammit!

So … after all that over-analyzing, what were my successes last week? What were my failures? Well, they’re kinda jumbled up together. Basically, I ate all my meals and snacks consciously (success!), but I didn’t write everything down and relied on my memory of what I ate and when (failure). I walked three times last week, once even on sore foot (success!), but I let the rain keep me from my fourth workout (failure). So, it seems that I need to work on follow-through. To keep everything going, food diary and exercise, through to the end of the week. So far, I’ve been much better this week on follow-through … keeping my promises made to myself and to others. Keeping my food diary up to date. And, doing my exercise without excuses.

But … I am very proud of one success in particular. Deb and I had a busy week last week; we had a lunch date with her mom, did our bi-weekly shopping, and we saw a Jackson Browne concert. (It was wonderful, by the way!) So, we ended up eating out four times last week. My success? I made good choices instead of bad ones while eating out. For instance, when we were at the Mexican restaurant, I had just enough chips (total: 6) to enjoy the salsa they served. In the past, I would have eaten the whole basket then asked for more, all before the entrée was served! I also chose healthier entrees rather than the bacon cheeseburger or the pasta in heavy cream/cheese sauce. It’s all baby steps, and I’m finally learning to walk!

The outcome? Overall, even though I gained a bit of weight, I’m proud of last week and my accomplishments. And I’m doing even better this week.

Speaking about eating out … I’d like to give a shout out to Panera Bread. In the past, I rarely made it past their pastry display, but lately, I’ve discovered their “Café” menu. There’s a Panera near the park where Deb and I walk and we’ve had lunch there a couple of times since we began this lifestyle change. Once we got past the cinnamon rolls and cheese soufflés, we discovered a whole new side of Panera … sandwiches, salads and soups that fit within our diet plan. Not only that, but the calorie count of each item is listed right on the menu board, so it’s easy to order item(s) that fit in my food budget. For example, my lunch today was a tomato-mozzarella Panini, one half (385 cal.), a cup of lemon-chicken-orzo soup (130 cal), and an apple (80 cal). The total was 595 calories, a tad on the high side, but not bad for restaurant lunch.

Okay … back to our regularly scheduled blogging …

My goals this week:

1. Write everything down! It’s important!

2. Drink all my water (six 12-oz glasses a day)

3. Exercise four times this week. (As of today, I’ve walked three times.)

That’s all for this week! See you next time!

Week Two – Woo Hoo!

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By Natalie Preston

Woo Hoo! I think this thing works! At my weigh in this week, I lost five pounds. Last week was tough in places and hard in others. I didn’t seem to have a problem keeping within my daily calorie total, although on a couple of occasions I did get hungry late in the evening. I think my
greatest challenge was doing the walks. Deb and I walked in South Park four days, and on a couple of those mornings I’d rather have been in bed sleeping. But, with Deb’s encouragement, I got up and did the walks.

As some of you might know, I recently moved to Pittsburgh from Los Angeles. I was raised in L.A; most of my friends and my family are still there and I’ve been missing them a lot lately. The other night, I had a marathon telephone conversation with my friend Lisa. We talked about a lot of stuff and I shared what Deb and I are attempting and this blog. She understood completely and recommended this book: Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman. He proposes that people don’t need weight loss plans, etc. to get healthy. It will come naturally by making small, conscious changes in their eating habits and lifestyle. At this point, I’m only in the first chapter. He’s spent some time talking about the livestock industry and the cost to the environment of raising more and more livestock to be consumed. I’ll keep you
posted on the rest of the book.

I guess that’s it for this post. I’ll keep plugging away and will be back next week with an update.

Where did this Start?

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By Natalie Preston

Hi Everyone. My name is Natalie Preston, and I am taking a stand. To paraphrase Howard Beale from “Network,” I’m fed up and I’m not going to take it anymore. Let me explain. From a very young age, I’ve had a weight problem. Some of my earliest memories from elementary school were of taunts from my classmates. “Fatso!” “Ugly!” You know the drill. And the taunts were not only from school. My father also called me fat, lazy and said he was ashamed to be seen with me. Even now that hurts … that the one man who should have thought I was the prettiest little girl in the world didn’t want to be seen with me. Since my size was obviously so offensive to everyone, I learned to hate myself and struggle to be “normal.”

My life became one long string of failed diets, exercise plans, and wacky weight loss schemes. At fourteen, I had needles put into my ears because my medical doctor, who was also an acupuncturist on the side, convinced my parents that this was the way to lose weight.

Didn’t work.

At sixteen or seventeen, my new medical doctor diagnosed me with hypo-glycemia and gave my mom a low fat, high protein meal plan that included not skipping meals. A couple of years later, this same doctor put me on a protein fast diet. After drinking nasty-pseudo-orange tasting drinks for two weeks, I rebelled and stopped going to that doctor.

Over the last thirty or so years, I’ve tried two different fasting plans overseen by doctors, Weight Watchers, the Diet Center, and joined countless gyms and spent probably thousands of dollars in this quest to have a body like Cindy Crawford. All to no avail. I’d lose twenty or thirty pounds, then quit due to boredom, discouragement, financial worries, etc. And here I am in my early fifties, still overweight and still not looking a bit like Cindy Crawford. Sigh.

So … what do I do? Give up? Just accept that I’m fat, have type II diabetes and will probably die an early, unhappy death? No. I decided to stop the craziness. Every diet plan, physical trainer, and doctor has taught me a simple truth: If I eat less calories than I am burning in a given day, I will lose weight.

With this humble truth in mind, roommate Deb and I came to a brilliant plan: We will combine our knowledge of weight management, nutrition, and physical exercise and do this on our own. We will support each other, encourage each other, and celebrate each other as we watch our calorie intake, plan nutritious meals, and get off our butts and walk. And, as part of our plan to keep us on track and honest, we will blog about our adventures and successes.

So here it goes … We began this journey on Monday and so far so good. We’ve gone out to walk in South Park (those of you familiar with Pittsburgh will know what I’m talking about), and we’ve done really well shopping and preparing our meals. My next weigh in is this coming Monday, and I’m convinced I’ll be a very happy girl that morning. And I’ll keep going all the way to my goal weight. Could be a bumpy ride and I’m glad you all are with me on this one. Woo Hoo!

Welcome to Our World

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First off, if you are skinny, have a hard time gaining weight or maintaining enough weight … baby, YOU ARE SO AT THE WRONG PLACE! Cleanup in Aisle Six is about being overweight and finding a new way to not be overweight anymore.

I’ll give you Twiggies a moment to move on and then our little meeting will begin.

Okay, they’re gone. Where shall I start?

No, you don’t need to step on a scale. No you don’t need to follow a program we give you. No you don’t have to even admit you’re overweight. If you stuck around, you’ll totally understand where we’re coming from.

I’m Deborah Riley-Magnus and my best friend, Natalie Preston and I have decided to stop the crazy diet crap we’ve been dealing with our whole lives.

From having a few extra pounds to coping with major health issues, we both find ourselves in our fifties and frustrated beyond reason! No, we’re not lazy or non-committed. We’re not satisfied with being overweight and we’re not willing to imagine that we’ll never wear those great clothes in the fashion department stores. We’re just sick and tired of the plans, expense, acrobatic strategies, insanity and foolishness of weight loss programs from the super well known ones to those little fad diets that still manage to find their way into my email inbox.

Between us we’ve tried Weight Watchers, South Beach, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, the Stillman diet, the grapefruit diet, the rice diet, an expensive, medically-monitored liquid diet, and a few we’ve either forgotten or refuse to admit to. Funny it took until Nat had an argumentative cancellation of our current online efforts with WeightWatchers to realize that guess what … diets don’t work.

Not being a woman to let something this big just slide by (and really sick and tired of a closet full of clothes that don’t fit anymore), I simply planted my fists into my oversized waist, stomped my swollen foot and stated, “Well then, we have to do something about this!”

I was a professional chef for 10 years and I did take at least one nutrition course at culinary school. Together Nat and I have studied and managed to be temporarily successful at a number of different diets, and frankly, if we don’t have a basic clue about how to do this by now, we never will! I refuse to believe we’re not smart enough to figure this out.

So, yesterday we sat at dinner and made some notes. We listed what we know works and what we know doesn’t work. We listed the triggers that knock us off a diet and we imagined the triggers or rewards that would help us get back onto the right track.

Above all, we chose NOT to call this a weight loss plan or diet program. This is the rest of our lives, it’s a new chance to be happy and healthy and it’s a WHOLE DIFFERENT LIFESTYLE. At least that’s what we’re hoping it will be.

So, welcome to our world. We’re giving our new way of life one year to be successful and the remainder of our days to prove we were right.

Well hell, if we can be codependent when we’re not dieting, why can’t we be codependent to help us succeed? Stick around, we’ll be blogging twice a week, me on Mondays and Natalie on Thursdays. We’ll share experiences, we’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, opinions and especially your encouragement!

Here’s to making peace with the cupcakes and friends with the fresh veggies! Let’s get this new lifestyle started!