Saturday, August 28, 2010

Never be Fat Again.

My weigh in this morning was exciting - down another few pounds - I weighed in at 219, which is 66 pounds down!  Woohoo!  I'm so excited.  I was at 220 in August 2006 when I began to get "sick" resulting in finally being diagnosed with the meningioma in my brain in April 2009.  It feels so good to be under that weight and my weight loss is not stopping!

So unfortunately I got a speeding ticket this week - on my way to the brain MRI.  Funny thing was the cop underestimated my weight by alot - he put 150 pounds!  I was almost happy to pay the fine when I saw that.  LOL.

So the really obvious epiphany I had earlier this week um, worked!  Funny how if you get moving more it makes a difference.  All I did this week was add in a walk on one of my off days.  I would have done more but ended up with a stress migraine yesterday which had me nauseated even through this morning.  But  I pushed through it this morning and had a great run, 20 mins, my longest in over a month.  It felt great and I feel great.

So I read this book a few years ago on lateness.  I used to really struggle with being late.  I was always way later than I anticipated and until I became a salaried employee it was an issue with clocking in at work!  Even as a salaried employee I know it frustrated my bosses and co-workers (sorry, love ya'll!).  This book was called "Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged."  The book helped me realize that I didn't have a good concept of time, so that is why I was always late.  I underestimated how long everything took, from drying my hair to my commute.  Once I learned how long those things really took (by tracking them for a week and writing it down) I became better at guestimating my time.  In fact, for awhile I just added 15 mins to everything until I became good at guessing what time it was.  :)

What does this have to do with changing my physical blueprint?

Well I think the weight loss journey has been alot like my lateness journey.  I had to figure out what I was doing wrong to get a result that was undesirable (excess weight and bad health).  I had to get underneath the "how did I get to be almost 300 pounds" question and determine how I would never go back there again.  And now that I have figured it out, the weight is continuing to fall off.

So many people don't believe me that I'm not on some "diet plan."  I know its hard to believe.  But if I called my healthy lifestyle a diet, I would eventually "cheat" then "fall of the wagon," at some point "hate myself," then "binge," and finally "give up" then gain all the weight back!  But I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, in the deepest fiber of my being, that I will never be fat again. This I truly know!  Because like my lateness issue, I've figured it out, I've worked out the kinks and then every few months when the weight loss stalls, I go back to the drawing board to figure out why.  I don't give up.  I've come too far to give up.  Even 5 or 10 pounds is too far to give up people!

This time it was needing to move it more...and I did...and I lost more.  This isn't even my big week to lose!  That is 2 weeks away still.  So I could potentially reach 214 in the next two weeks.  Wow.

I know this all sounds logical and if its boring, sorry.  I just feel like sometimes we over complicate our life struggles and it is too hard to be self-aware enough to see why things happen.  We diet, lose a chunk the first week (water weight) get discouraged when we only lose 1 in week 2, then give up.  Or we do it for 2 months, then go to a family reunion, someone in the family gets hospitalized and we give up and say we'll get back to what "works" for us soon.

A diet plan is not working when it stops working and you gain weight back.  Period.  If it didn't work before, it won't work now - it might "work" for awhile, but will it last?  do you really want to keep doing the same thing over and over again every few years and returning to the love/hate relationship that includes deprivation and depression?

Am I crazy?  Doesn't that make sense?

OK, enough ranting for the day.  For now I'm pretty happy with the fact that I am now more "chunky" than I am fat.  I'll be excited with the BMI chart doesn't call me obese anymore.  Even though the chart is antiquated it is still used so I have to respect it some...



Monday, August 23, 2010

Can it Still Be an Epiphany if it was Obvious and I Missed it???

Today I had an epiphany.  I haven't really been impatient with my weight loss but it is definitely coming off at a slower pace than I've ever experienced this entire year.  This last month or so its been slow.  Its still steady, which is good, but there had to be something.

As you know, I like to use SparkPeople ( to track my food - not because I like to be psycho about how much I eat, but more because it helps me make sure I'm balancing my carbs, fat, protein and calories well in the range I should be in each day. Its not crazy strict, and some days I'm on the low end of my range and then the days I run I'm pushing the top end easily.

But today I decided to look at my exercise trends over the last few weeks and I noticed something.  Sparkpeople says I should be burning 1900 calories exercising per week.  (that isn't too hard for a thick chick, believe me, and if you are thin and reading this not believing me, I burn twice as many calories as you do - hahaha).  :)  The last month or so I've only been averaging about 700-1000 calories there are a bunch of calories I'm unintentionally hoarding!  Yikes!

Then I thought back to my exercise patterns before I started running.  I did something active almost every day, taking usually just one day off a week to be lazy.  Now I run about 3 times a week and then lift weights once or twice if I think about it.  So several days a week go by without me doing anything active. That's just not enough for this mama who wants to shed the pounds.

So tomorrow is a run day, but then Wednesday, I'm going to try to take Elizabeth and Dixie for a walk when I get home from work.  A nice 2 miles can't hurt.  If it is too hot we'll exercise inside.  But I've decided...that I'm going to do something active every single day, and maybe rest when I'm tired or feel like I need to be lazy.  But a walk never hurt no excuses.

So for me, an epiphany on this fine day.  But truly, I'm a nerd who just didn't look at the data soon enough (shocking, I know).  Now that I've analyzed my  habits I'm making a change...look out, I'll be posting another loss next week for sure!


PS - had my annual brain MRI tonight - was funny to see them do a double take at how I'm 50 pounds down from the last time I had one!  And two weight related things I noticed - 1) I fit easier into the machine and none of my limbs fell asleep and 2) I could take my wedding ring off this time.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Progress, not Perfection

So I've had a great week!  My mother in law was here watching Elizabeth since Stephen started school again.  I'm beginning to experience what it is going to be like when Elizabeth starts school next week.  It will be nothing short of challenging to keep up with everything, but I know I can do it.  I think its because I have the "want" to.

I was sharing my health story with my boss yesterday afternoon.  I brought in my "before" pictures and put them on a bulletin board in my office.  It feels great to see them every day as a reminder that I won't ever be that person again.  As I was sharing my story, I was telling her about how much more goal oriented I am now than I was a year ago.  I don't walk around all day wondering how fat I look or hoping people don't look at me.  I get dressed in the morning, typically choosing one outfit and sticking with it.  That was never my MO. I always changed 5 or 6 times and usually ended up crying.  It was tough to look fat in everything.  Even now, I'm not a thin person, hello, I weigh 221 pounds for crying out loud.  But I don't look "bad," and I don't feel bad.  I look happy and like I'm working toward being healthy.  I hope I look that way anyway.  I did have someone really surprised last week that I am a runner.  I guess I don't really fit the profile - tall and lean?  I'll never be tall...but I'm working on being lean.  It will take me time.  In the meantime it is kind of fun to surprise people with my healthy habits and activity. 

At the end of the day it is all about not giving up even when it seems to be hopeless.  I've been on a thousand diets and failed a thousand times (sometimes more than once from the same diet plan).  The bottom line is this - if you can't do whatever you are doing to be healthy forever it won't work and it won't last.

I'm not interested in losing all of the weight tomorrow.  In fact, I'm enjoying the gradual changes.  It makes it more fun to take a month or two to lose a size than it happening tomorrow.  And I know because I'm not on a diet, that it will last.  I will continue to lose until I reach a healthy weight for my body and then I will keep eating and exercising like I am now.  I'll probably be able to exercise even more!  And even though that might be another year away it no longer feels like an impossible dream.  I'm halfway to my goal.  It has taken a year.  But it has been so worth it.  Would it have gone more quickly had I not injured my ankle in February?  Maybe.  But that caused me to have time for the deep introspection I needed to do to work on the emotional aspects of my unhealthy habits.  It gave me the time and the extra time necessitated the thinking.  I was determined not to gain weight back when I couldn't exercise for almost 2 months.  And I didn't!  I lost - some of it muscle, but then my body found its balance again when I was able to run and 2 months later I ran my first 5k without stopping.

Yep, I'll take the slow steady win over the fast but unsteady loss.  I've done fast but unsteady.  I've done no carb and I was the crankiest I've ever been.  I've counted the points and made myself crazy, not to mention hungry (I don't think the formulas should be so across the board).  No matter what I have done in the past I can't say enough that if it can't be done forever it won't work.  That's it!  You will never convince me otherwise, you know I was an expert at dieting.  Binging the night before, then rewarding weight loss with all the bad foods I had "given up."  Depriving my body of any food that had fat in it - and today I eat 60 grams a day at least.  My body needs fat - good fat that is - it needs fuel!  Especially for the exercise I like to do.  :)

I hear people say all the time "I'm going back to such and such diet or plan, it really worked for me."  How did it work if you have to go back to it?  That means it stopped working.  And if it can't sustain itself then it won't work.  And you will go back through the cycle of getting crazy worked up about counting, depriving and guilting and the next thing you know, you've given up again.

These small changes I made over the course of the last year have yielded huge results.  My friend Barb and I are working on putting the plan to paper so others can learn about it and be able to achieve the same.  It's so difficult to describe but the proof is me.  I have lost 63 pounds and haven't "dieted" once.  I eat chocolate almost every day.  I have just changed enough about what I eat and how I eat and become active enough for it to work.

Has the experience been perfect?  No.  But there was so much more to it than just eating better and exercising.  I had to work through the "why."  I had to understand how I ever reached 285 pounds and how I could never do that to myself again.  And get underneath the emotion behind my eating and the self-defeating cycle that ensued every time.

So no, not perfect.

But I'm looking for progress now, not perfection.  And every day I make good choices, I see progress...which is good enough for me!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Running it OFF!

It's been a good week.  My first week at my new job (which I love already!).  My first week with the new running/working/eating schedule.  I can already tell this is going to work out really well.  I only "whiffed" on dinner tonight, forgot to cook the chicken breast in the crock pot overnight to throw the tortilla soup together this morning.  Thankfully, all of the leaving my family I did back at my old job had me in the habit of putting leftovers in the freezer - we had an entire chicken and rice casserole I reheated tonight.  It tasted great! 

The early morning runs are getting harder but going well.  I'm trying to really reduce my 5k time - given my size and weight, that is quite the feat.  If you are at a healthy weight, imagine yourself running with an extra 40-60 pounds attached to you.  It is an interesting thing to consider, and makes me want all the more to continue to lose.  How much faster will I be a year from now when I'm at my healthy weight? I can only imagine.

Returning to the intervals has been good.  We're averaging 10-11 min miles where my long distance runs are around 14:30.  Way faster.  I'm sure as we proceed we may need to slow down some but I really want to see just how fast I can go.  Knowing my heart is healthy now makes it feel way more possible.  So even if I *feel* like dying, I know I likely won't.  :)  It's great having a running buddy again - I lost my first one to a broken toe in week 4 last time through, and finished the rest alone.  My friend Ashley is a new runner, but quite a bit taller and at a healthy weight, so she is keeping up really well.  It's much easier to get up at 5am when you know someone will be waiting for you soon!

So I do have news to report on the weight front...ready for it?  I'm down another few pounds, for a total of 63 pounds!  That feels great.  I definitely felt a certain pair of pants were looser on me this week and the scale confirmed it!  I love that feeling.  I am now only 37 pounds away from losing 100 pounds, my goal by December 31.  I cannot imagine how 75 will feel much less 100! 

I'm logging off now to get some rest to meet my running buddy before dawn.  Here's to sweet dreams about my new blueprint...and being that much closer to the next size down in pants!  I have some super cute clothes in my closet just waiting for the next 20 pounds to come off!  Think I can't do it?  WATCH ME!  :D


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Getting it Together...

I started my new job this week, and hence my new schedule for my life and all things included - keeping house, keeping active and just keeping on this healthy journey!

It has and will take a great deal of planning, but I am still Determined, and yes, I capitalized it, because I really mean it.  So how in the world will I keep up with the exercising, eating healthy, losing weight and do it within budget, keeping the house up all with a reasonable amount of sleep while working full time?  Here's my plan.

1) Exercising - I will be running Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.  Tuesdays & Thursdays I will do a quick weight routine in the morning.  If I have energy and time on the weekends I will add additional workouts in.  My work schedule allows me to come in at 8am on MWF, so I will be getting up at 5am to run on those days, and going in at 7am on Tuesday & Thursday so I can get home early on those days.

2) Eating healthy - I'm planning my menu for each week for dinners - complete with reminders to remove things from the freezer or time to get the crock pot in order in the morning.  For lunches, I will be bringing in stuff to make peanut butter and jelly (Skippy all natural PB and whatever jelly I like on whole wheat bread) as well as spinach salad stuff (with feta cheese, craisins, etc.).  I'll keep those in my office and can make my own lunch easily.  There is a cheap lunch option ($1 a day) at work but the fried fish on Friday gave me the inkling that the food isn't going to be healthy most of the time.  I'll also keep almonds and cheese sticks at work for my mid-afternoon hungries.  I plan to eat out once a week or once every other week at the most.

3) Losing weight - If #s 1 and 2 are in order that will naturally occur! 

4) Budget - When planning my meals, I am keeping a "freezer inventory" so I am not having to buy meat every week or two.  I spent $68 at the store the other day and that was enough for meals for 7 days including lunches.   I have created a monthly budget template that we've been sticking to for some years, and will be staying within those guidelines and using cash.  It really works for us.

5) Keeping house - So I am not one of those people who goes crazy cleaning (those of you that know me know this well) but I want things to be orderly and not dirty.  I spent about half of my "in between jobs" time (about 2 weeks) organizing and getting things really ready.  I will have set chores to do during the week so that my Saturdays aren't stuck with everything.  Laundry will likely be a Friday evening/Sat morning chore for us all. Elizabeth will be helping during the week - unpacking her lunch bag when she gets home from work and choosing her outfits for the week on Sunday evening.  Dishes will be done nightly, directly after dinner.  Then bath and bedtime for Elizabeth while Stephen holes up in the library.

PHEW!  I've done alot of planning as you can see.  But it is so important to me that my family not suffer with me being out of the house every single work day.  I want to do better than when I worked out of the house before.  It's amazing how work/life balance becomes such a priority to you later in life.  I used to think nothing of leaving work at 6 or 7. That will happen sometimes for me, but for the most part, it will be 3:30 or 4:30 for me on a regular basis. 

I had a great run this morning chasing my faster friend - she probably runs a 7 min mile so you can see why I was chasing her.  :)  It felt great - I'm getting faster and hoping it continues to get easier as time goes on and weight continues to drop.

Hoping to report more weight lost next week - my new goal is to be down 100 pounds by the end of 2010.  I've got some work to do to meet that goal!  Stay tuned!!!