Sunday, January 30, 2011

100th Post!

Wow, so today when I logged in to blog, I realized that this will be my 100th post!  How awesome!  I started blogging last February when I sustained a bad sprain/avulsion fracture to my left ankle.  I started blogging so I would not gain back the 30 pounds I had lost at that point even though all activity had to stop.  I needed to stay accountable and really get underneath how I let myself reach 285 pounds in the first place.

And boy, did I ever.

I'm so satisfied with where I am right now.  Not that I think I've arrived in any way, don't get me wrong.  I still see plenty of chiseling left to do off of my figure.  To the tune of about 40 pounds actually.  Nevertheless, I am very excited about how far I have come.

And how not only did I not gain back the 30 pounds when I got injured.

But I lost another 50 pounds.

And not only did I go on to run one 5k race in 2010 as I had planned.

But I ran 4 races.

So 2011 is going to have a similar theme here.  I don't think I've put my goals out there specifically for everyone to see, so this will be the first time on the world wide web. Brace yourself. 

Here are the goals I set in August 2009 when I began my journey:

1) The 50 pounds lost mark = 235 pounds = achieved
2) My Pre-pregnancy weight = 214 pounds = achieved
3) Under 200 = 199 pounds
4) Wedding Weight = 180 pounds
5) GOAL Weight = 165 pounds

As you can see, I've achieved 2 of the 5 weight loss goals on here.  I'm oh so close to achieving Goal #3 as well...should happen sometime in early February.

You may be looking at my #5 thinking, man, 165 is still alot, pretty heavy actually.  Well, guess what?  Some Belgian dude between the years 1830 and 1850 made the BMI chart up.  And he is not going to determine my ending weight.  One thing I refuse to do is sacrifice athleticism or muscle to be "skinny."  I'm interested in being fit.  And healthy.  And a great athlete and runner.  Not skinny. 

Really, the main issue I have is that the BMI chart does not take into consideration frame size and muscularity (per Wikipedia). 

I did find a chart that says for my height, with a large frame, I should weigh between 140-159.  That's the closest anyone will get to what I plan to weigh.  I'm 5'6" tall and have a heavy/large frame. 

I have discussed this with my dietitian (who happens to be my best friend since we were babies) and told her my thoughts on it.  She's definitely thin or skinny herself and I know she'd be honest with me if she felt differently about what a healthy weight would be for me.  We agreed on 165 and will reassess once I get there.  It might be that my body settles at 170 and I feel good and my body fat percentage is in the normal range.  Or, my body may go down to 155 and settle there.  Who knows?

The last time I weighed under 180 I was starving myself, in high school.  I was at 163 during that time.  I have no idea what an athletic, fit and healthy 163 might look like. 

So that rant to explain why I have a goal weight that might be the starting weight for some of you or even above it.  ha!  The point is that we are all individuals and God made our bodies shaped differently.  It's up to us to make ourselves as healthy as possible, but realizing that we can't set our goals unrealistically.

Like its not realistic for me to want to weigh 120.  I'd be setting myself up for failure (and health problems) if I even attempted that.

That was one of the problems I had with Weight Watchers back in the day.  They use those antiquated charts and according to them I would *never* be a lifetime member unless I got down to 153.  Why am I going to work hard if I would never go for free?  Geez. 

So there it is, my rant about my goals and where I want to be.  I'm excited to head in that direction and achieve and possibly even exceed those weight loss goals this year.

I have a few other goals I've set for myself too - (remember these are just snippets, not fully written out goals that are SMART at this point.)

1) Improve 5k time - to under 35 minutes
2) Run a 10k sometime this year
3) Exercise 5-6 days/week
4) Continue healthy eating daily and continue to learn about nutrition and refine eating habits
5) Fit into a size 12!

What are your goals?  How are you doing now that we are a month into the year?   

Me?  I'm doing great.  I'm feeling good.  And yesterday one of my friends gave me 4 pairs of pants - 2 size 14s (that I can wear but are a bit tight) and 2 size 12s that should fit when I reach goal #4.  These were her post-partum clothes, but I don't care.  She's a tall skinny friend and it made me feel good to get clothes from her. :)

Weigh in day tomorrow - will try to post the results tomorrow night!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

One-derland Bound...

Happy Saturday!  I hope everyone has had a good week.  I've had a crazy active one!

I realized on Thursday that I had been getting tired all week.  Wasn't sure why as I had been sleeping well...until I looked back and realized I had exercised for 8 days straight.  My body really needed a rest day!  So I took one, on Friday.  And when I woke up to hear rain, I was glad it fell that way.

Oh - meant to share that I am now down 77.8 pounds!  SOOO close to 80 pounds down...then another 6 and I'll be in ONE-DERLAND!  I don't remember weighing under 200 pounds.  It was long before I had Elizabeth, probably when I first got married even.  Looking forward to seeing that 1 in the front again!

It did feel a tad weird not working out yesterday since I was on such a roll.  But also good.  And I had an AWESOME run this morning as a result.  3.39 miles, furthest since I was sick!  With the warmup and cool down walk we did 4.25 miles.  I'll take the 602 calorie burn, thank you very much.  I felt awesome!  Wonder if I can hit 4 next weekend?  Hmmm... I did pick another race, at the end of February I found one in DFS of all places (the town I work in).  I'm excited about having a race to look forward to.  I am also slowly working my way back up to my 10k training (remember I stopped due to achilles tendon pain - now I stretch more regularly which is imperative!).  My goal is to run a 10k sometime this year...I'd better hurry up and pick one and sign up for it.  I'll do that this afternoon.

I feel so much better on the days I exercise.  Like I have tons of energy.  I've done several loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, organized the dining room table (the catch all in my house) and plan to do more.  I just have energy.  Exercise is cyclical like that.  Once you get past the "UGH" and get started, the energy you get from it gives you the energy to do it.  Good use of your time.

I've had alot of questions lately from people who want to get started on a healthier lifestyle (or they tell me they want to go on a diet and I quickly talk them out of it - lol).  In response to that, I wanted to go the top 10 things to put on your to-do list if you want to get started.

1) Don't call it a diet!  As soon as you do there are all kinds of restrictions, remorse and just general unhappiness tied to it.  Remember, you'll get grumpy, kick the dog, yell at your spouse and cast wolf like stares at your kids lunches.  Call it a healthy lifestyle change.  Weight loss will follow!

2) Make a list of healthy lifestyle changes.  Make a list of what you want to change - like giving up soda, drinking enough water, cutting back on fried foods, etc. Then sort the list by priority.

3) Don't make all the changes at once!  If you told me how I would eat now, back in August of 2009 when I started I would have told you "um, no thanks!"  The changes had to be gradual. Then it is less of a diety mentality for you and your family.

4) Set SMART goals.  Look back on my post of smart goals by clicking here.  That post has everything you need to think about when setting goals.  Decide which changes you want to make first, and go for it!

5) Find an accountability partner.  Now I have many of them - but when I started out I had one person, my friend Barb, that I talked to every week.  Barb was already living a healthy lifestyle and really helped me stay on track, tweak my goals and cheer me on.  This person cannot be the one you share a cubicle with at work that eats twinkies 3 times a day, ok?  It needs to be someone either living a healthier lifestyle than you, or putting as much effort forth as you...and someone that if they fall off the wagon and digress, it won't pull you down.  I don't get to talk to Barb as much as I used to, so I have several friends I talk to, a few who are working toward a healthier lifestyle but haven't been at it as long as me - but it helps me just as much to talk to them and at this point I'm not as much of a wagon-jumping risk as I was at first.  It's all about support.

6) Find a way to track calories, exercise, etc.   I use SparkPeople and absolutely LOVE it!  It has options to put in your goal weight, how long you want it to take (be realistic here) and then places to track your food daily as well as exercise.  They will also hook you up with an eating plan if you like being told what to eat (I don't - but it works for some!).  There are also TONs of awesome recipes on the site, as well as a recipe calculator, where you can enter the foods you make at home and it calculates the nutrition facts for you so it makes it super simple to track your favorite things to eat.  There are also great support groups there - I belong to "The Weight is Over" and we do monthly Biggest Loser challenges which is encouraging and fun.  OH - and its all FREE! 

7) DECIDE you are going to be successful.  Some of my more regular readers may be so over me talking about how important it is to decide.  Check out the blog I did at the beginning of this month about the difference between decisions and resolutions by clicking here.  Set yourself up for success by making a plan for your food, not just your lunches in or outside the home, but also your dinners!  Purchase healthy foods from the grocery store, and have a plan for every bit of food you buy.  You waste less money on tossing out rotten food, and you don't have unnecessary temptation in the house.  If you don't know if you'll eat it or not, don't buy it!

8) Enjoy certain indulgences.  It is so important not to say "today I'm starting to eat better so I'll never have x or y again."  Um, that will last 5 minutes if you are strong willed like me.  :)  I found that I didn't really like some of the things I used to like.  Like french fries.  I don't at all prefer them.  If that is all that is there, I might have a few, but I don't really like them at all.  I do really like sweet potato fries so I indulge in those every now and then - they are a super food (sweet potato) but they are fried, so again, I consider them an indulgence.  I also eat chocolate every single day - DARK chocolate.  If you don't like it, consider trying to like it - because it is also a superfood.  VERY important here - remember with any indulgence is to limit yourself to a certain amount.  I don't eat an entire candy bar each day.  But I do keep a large one in my cabinet and I break off a piece each night.  Or, I take a bag of dark chocolate hershey kisses and put them in the freezer - so I eat 3 at a time (1/3 of a serving = 60 calories).  I try to keep it under 100 calories a day for indulgences. 

9) Eat as many super foods as possible.  Super foods are great not just for losing weight, but also for potentially preventing cancer, lowering cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. For a good list of some super foods, click here.  Pretty much any richly colored fruit or vegetable will fall on the list for one reason or another.  The more of these foods you eat, the less "junk" or "non-food" you can eat.  You'll be too full from the super foods! 

10) Get Active.  Find something you might like to do.  It might surprise you.  I started just by walking.  I never thought I would be a runner but today I am!  I liked Tae Bo - now I do Zumba which I swore I would never do (one glimpse of myself doing jumping jacks one time told me I did not want to subject anyone else to that visual - but 30 pounds later and no mirrors in the place we Zumba, and I'm good with it).  I met a girl recently who has lost 200 pounds just by walking.  So don't set a crazy goal like you're going to start cycling 20 miles a day if you haven't been on a bike in 10 years.  Do what you can - do what is reasonable - but do something.  Just get moving.  At least 4 days a week, but 5 is preferable.  Now I'm not saying to do weight training every day - or even to run every day.  But anyone can walk 5 times a week and it will not hurt you (and here's the disclaimer - see your doctor before beginning any plan of any sort, ok?)

In my next post I'll share with you some of the foods I eat regularly - as long as you promise not to cold turkey change everything you eat to match what I eat, ok?  It needs to be gradual.  But for now, its OK to back away from the french fries.  :)  Really.

Be well!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What Motivates Me? And other related questions...

So I had a very active weekend!  Friday I did a good power sculpt (biggest loser) workout, and then Friday afternoon took a 2 mile walk with my little girl and puppy.  Then Saturday morning had an incredible run, just over 3 miles and it felt AWESOME.  First time I have hit that distance since I got sick in December!  Sunday morning I woke up and did a Last Chance Workout (holy tater-eye it was tough) and then in the afternoon took another 2 mile walk with my family.  Then tonight, Zumba, and man it beat me up - in a good way.  So, I'm officially on a crazy workout roll and it feels GREAT.  Pumped for a great run in the morning.  I usually try to do speedwork the morning after Zumba since my legs are sore.  Unless I feel fantastic during my first 10 mins...then I might keep going!

Someone said to me today, "I wish I was as motivated as you."  You know, I don't think I'm all that motivated.  Am I?  Well, ok, maybe I am.  But what is it that is keeping me going?  Why have I figured it out and other people can't get there?  I have the answers to the first question right off.

What motivates me?

1) My health.  I have completely changed my physical blueprint.  When I started this journey, my "real age" was 42 (I was 29).  Now my "real age" is 29 (I'm 31) based on my eating, exercise habits and current bloodwork.  I feel like a healthy person.  Feeling this good motivates me.

2) My family.  I am a better wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker, you name it, since I've changed my habits.  My family motivates me by cheering me on. My 7 year old gets excited when I lose weight.  {side note, I'm being careful about not letting her start weighing daily or get too interested in losing weight - those issues start early! We focus on being healthy and "just right."}. 

3) YOU.  That's right, I said it.  If you are reading this blog, you motivate me.  Whether you realize it or not.  Since I'm still *on* the journey, I need to know that others are learning from my challenges and triumphs.  For every email, facebook message, or phone call I get where someone is telling me they added vegetables to their tacos, started running or set some SMART goals, I have confirmation that sharing my journey is worth it.  This is quite possibly the biggest motivator for me.

So that is why I'm so motivated, the quick version.  It's not because the scale moves as quickly as I would like.  No way.  If the scale was my only motivation I would never have made it this far.  The scale is a result of the lifestyle changes.  And sometimes (like right now darnit) it decides not to move.  For awhile.

And these are the times you have to stay focused and motivated.  It would be so easy to turn back, even now.  I will always have an addiction to food.  There will always be certain foods that can undo a great week (like chocolate chip cookies, not the crunchy kind, the fresh baked kind).  But I like so many more healthy foods now than I ever did that I could also say it would be equally as hard to turn back completely.

So the other question was "why have I figured it out and others can't get there?"

The answer is one word.  Decision.

Making the decision to change your lifestyle is all that stands between you and where I am.  Deciding is the hardest part.  But once you are fed up with feeling bad, nothing in your closet fitting, your feet getting too fat for your shoes, not being able to buckle your airplane seatbelt, sweating just by standing can get to that point of decision.

And once you are there, turning back is not an option.

A few times, sure, I've been frustrated.  Tired of "watching" what I eat.  Its those times that I back off of being diety, up my activity and let the pounds come off on their own.  Then I tighten back up and start keeping track of everything again until I am losing regularly.  That is what works for me.

But it all started with a decision.

So are you there yet?  Have you decided?  If you aren't sure, read back a few posts.  And let me know if I can help you get there.

In the meantime, I'm going to bed.  Sleep is vital if I'm going to rock a good run in the morning.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Importance of Reflection

I'm starting to realize that sometimes the best way to move forward is to look back.  Once you see how far you are from where you started, turning back is not an option.

Hence today's post.

So I'm a huge fan of the Biggest Loser show.  When I weighed 285 pounds I longed to be a contestant, and I started watching it during season 8.  My dad DVR'd a bunch of episodes for me for when I would come to town for work. We don't have cable at our house (gasp) and haven't for about 6 years, so I watch it on usually a week after the episodes air.  I try not to pay attention to the talk in the media about the results in the meantime so I can be surprised but I never get to see the winner unfold without having heard who won. :)

It's not your average reality tv show.  Sure, there are prizes, and there is some immaturity here and there, but for the most part, everyone on there has a vested interest in changing their blueprint and man do they work hard.  I dig that.  And I have so been there.

Tonight I watched what I think was last week's episode - though it may have been this week's and hulu is just putting them out there sooner - not sure.  Anyway, I was moved to tears several times.  Not just because of their plights but because of the comparison to my own.

When I first started watching that show I could have been a contestant.

Today, it would be harder to qualify since I only have around 40 pounds left to lose. I used to weigh more than most of the female contestants.  Now I weigh less than all of them (for now - I'd better get cracking cuz they are gonna catch up!). 

I can so empathize with the contestants and how it feels to be morbidly obese.  Some of them have longer roads ahead of them than I had...but they have so much determination.  This is going to be some season.

I noticed during the first weigh in that all the contestants were sweating...just from standing there waiting to weigh in.  I so remember that.  Sweat pouring down my back while I was in line at the grocery store, or pumping gas, or walking between buildings at work and we aren't talking about the middle of July. 

This winter I'm the coldest I've ever felt.  Sort of miss some of that padding.  For about 5 seconds. Then I remember that I'd rather be cold and feel as alive as I do today, than be warm and dying.

Oh and the strange anatomical anomalies you face when you become morbidly obese.  I remember the day I discovered the "hump."  It was a sad day.  I visited my doctor with a severe cold and ear infection in January of 2009.  She was examining me and said, "look at what you've done to yourself."  She pointed out the stretch marks on my arms and the fatty hump lodged on the back of my neck, top of my back.  I asked her what it was.  "The fat is running out of places to deposit.  So it has created a hump here."  She poked it.  I couldn't really be upset with her.  She was completely telling me the truth.  So there I was, 29 years old, morbidly obese with a hump on my back. I didn't wear my hair in a ponytail for a long time. (which is tough in Florida) I was immediately mortified and embarrassed.

Then there was the last flight I had on an airplane in 2009.  The connection flights are often smaller airplanes.  Smaller airplanes means smaller seatbelts.  There was an obese woman a few rows ahead of me who asked for a "seatbelt extender."  This is an extra piece of seatbelt you fasten to yours so that you can actually buckle your seatbelt.  I was mortified.  I could not, no way buckle the seatbelt.  So I hid it under my shirt and prayed we didn't crash.

Life or death, folks.

Pretty sure I could buckle that seatbelt today.  13 inches off your waist and 13 inches off your hips will do that...

My hands are thinner.  My feet are thinner (some shoes are too big now).  The fatty hump on the back of my neck is a distant, albeit horrifying memory.

Can you understand why this moves me to tears?

Are you reading it and saying, "I want that to be me!"  It totally can be.

I had a friend in my office today pondering over my "before" picture and she said she couldn't get over how that was really me in those pictures.  She said it isn't just your body that's changed, you look like a completely different person.  She told me, you have huge brown eyes and in those before pictures, you just don't see them.  I'm finally seeing me again.  And so are you.

It's like carving something out of stone.  I started out as a big hunk of morbidly obese stone and I am slowly sculpting my way to what my body shape will be.

My posts have all been pretty focused so far this year so I was due for a pondering, random post.  I think it shows the importance of reflection.  Taking time to see where you have been and all you have accomplished.  Reminding yourself even when you are having a kind of blah week how far you have come and that the journey will keep on going.

I've lived the pain that those contestants felt before joining the cast of the Biggest Loser.  I think that is why I can help.  And why I feel so compelled to as I sit here with tears in my eyes.

Let me know if I can help you. OK?  ok.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Goals, Goals, Goals!

Sorry for the delay in posting...been a long and busy weekend!  I've been doing alot of reading actually.

So I am pretty passionate about goals and goal setting.  I'm not an expert in goal setting for every facet of my life, but I am pretty good at setting healthy goals, and then balancing the "life boat" and realizing its going to rock my goals a little bit every now and then.

Lesson #1 about Weight Loss Goals:  Be Flexible.  You have to realize that stuff is going to happen.  Plans are going to change.  Crisis will emerge.  There are only certain circumstances you can control in regard to meeting your weight loss goals. 

A) Planning your food, not just your daytime food and snacks but your dinners so you can cook instead of pick up the cheap and fattening chinese food (that eventually will make you sick btw - its a little sad but I can't eat the general tso's chicken anymore without being seriously ill). 

B) Purchasing healthy options at the store.  If it doesn't make your list and isn't healthy, don't buy it!  This will also help your grocery budget as well.  You can buy extra if there are fruits or veggies on sale and you know you will use them (vs throwing them away a week later when they are rotten).  That's why the plan is so important.  Have a plan for every morsel, just like you should for every dollar.

C) Make healthy choices when you eat out.  Now there is some limitation here based on where you choose to eat - but there you go - the word choose.  Choose places you know have healthy options to start off, ok?  And if they have grilled chicken and veggie choices at whatever restaurant you visit, and you still choose fries, I don't want to hear your belly aching when you get on the scale and it isn't a happy number.  You don't have to eat what everyone else is eating.  After awhile you get used to being different and you also get used to finding healthy options.  I can do that pretty much anywhere.  Some of the more country places are a little more we just don't visit there as much.  OK?  ok.

So now that you know what you can control, lets talk about things you can't control.

A) Crisis.  When you are called to the hospital for a friend or family member I doubt you will grab your greek yogurt and bag of almonds.  If you even eat regularly during a crisis, it is likely mindless and just to satiate those around you.  In circumstances like this, what I do is become hyper-sensitive about food choices.  That's right, I become more concerned about them.  Is it great timing?  No.  But is it really important not to fall off the wagon for more than 1 day?  Absolutely.  I can think of specific instances in my life when I stopped eating healthy - it was one day that turned into one week that turned into one month that turned into years and gaining a bunch of pounds. 

{It's also really important to get underneath why you eat unhealthy food.  Is it convenience?  Is it when you are happy and sad?  So if you lose your job will that derail you?  Since I know that I'm an "any excuse will do" kind of person (well I used to be anyway), this is another time when I would become hyper-sensitive about my intake and output.  Because I know my will power is weakened in times of stress (or happiness - or really anytime - lol).  And since I know that about myself I know I can curb it to some degree.}

B) Budget.  This I can only sort of agree could be out of your control.  I have a family of 3 and this past weekend spent $68 purchasing our groceries and household stuff for the week (and I don't coupon like I wish I could - partly time, partly they don't have coupons for the food I eat).  Some weeks it is closer to $100 based on restocking laundry detergent or other higher dollar items.  But seriously, I spend less or about the same purchasing my groceries than I did before.  Because I plan.  I also rarely throw food away anymore.  That helps.  If you have a green thumb, consider planting your favorite veggies in a garden.  I would do that if I had more time.  :)  No matter what, it can be done on a budget. 

C) Your Routine Changes.  Seriously, this happens, but Big Deal!  When my parents come to town, I don't use that as an excuse to eat crappy.  I don't stop exercising so we can spend one extra hour together.  Excuses are so convenient but they also help you get in your own way of achieving your goals!  When your routine is change, it will just require more pre-planning.  Once you get the hang of it, you will be glad you spent the time to plan so you could respond - instead of reacting in an unhealthy way and potentially unraveling all of your hard work!

D) The People Around You Have Unhealthy Habits.  Listen up.  You are only responsible for your own choices.  (well that and those of your minor children).  But really.  You are a grown up.  Being different gets you picked on sometimes.  I got picked on when I was maintaining my healthy habits in November and December.  People were so bold as to tell me to give it up and pick it back up after January 1st.  No thank you.  I stayed strong and lost weight during the holidays.  Those people are the ones all interested in asking me how its done now that they've made a resolution.  And yes, I'm being helpful (and no this isn't you JB so quit snarking).  :)  You need to rally support from your spouse, your kids, your extended family.  I still struggle with some family members who are wildly unhealthy and just haven't figured out that I'm not on a diet (my MIL thinks I can't eat potatoes no matter how many times I tell her I can).  People that aren't walking in your shoes aren't going to understand your plight and your journey.  Either they support you or don't discuss it with them. But really, its important that they know the healthier you are, the better spouse, parent, friend, and co-worker you will be in the long run.  Trust me.

Lesson #2 about Weight Loss Goals:  Do NOT get overzealous when goal setting and start off with, "I'm going to lose 3 pounds a week and exercise 7 days a week and and and..."  Seriously.  Be realistic.  Look at your calendar.  Without losing necessary sleep and ignoring your family, can you do 3 days a week to start?  Maybe that will increase to 4?  I exercise in some way about 5 days a week.  Sometimes more.  I started by walking just 3 days a week.  I needed extra rest days for the chaffing and bleeding feet.  :)  Start somewhere.  But make it realistic.  It might be more realistic to set a goal that says "I'm going to lose between 1-2 pounds per week and exercise at least 3 days per week."  So you can start there.  You will lose a bunch your first week.  That is typically water weight so don't think "Ooh, I can lose 6 pounds a week!"  OK?  Ok. 

Lesson #3 about Weight Loss Goals:  Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.  Anyone working in the business world should know this acronym well, but in case you don't I'll break it down for you.

S - Specific:  Goals need to be specific.  So instead of "I'm going to lose weight this year" you will want to say something more like, "I'm going to lose 40 pounds by December 31st by eating healthier and exercising." 

M - Measurable: Goals need to be measurable.  How will you measure the goal?  I would break your goal up into smaller pieces.  When I had over 100 pounds to lose, it was really daunting to think about it that way.  So I set smaller goals.  Lose 25 pounds by this date.  Then 50 pounds by this date.  I would also recommend you take your body measurements and create a little homemade excel spreadsheet and measure yourself monthly.  Its amazing to watch the inches drop and another great, measurable aspect of your goal setting. 

A - Action-oriented:  What action will you be taking to meet your goal?  This is where you can detail your plans to eat healthier and exercise. When you talk about what you will need to do in order to reach your goal, you might actually do it.  Weight loss isn't going to happen to you.  You are going to make it happen.  With action.

R - Realistic: This is where the overzealous goal you were going to write was shot down a few paragraphs back.  You have to set goals that make sense.  And you have to be realistic about how you are going to do it.  And eliminating a food group, or counting points for the rest of your life, may not really be realistic.  OK?  ok.

T - Time-bound: This goes back to not setting goals that are too lofty.  Putting a time limit on it is helpful - as long as you leave some wiggle room for life to happen.  Because it will.  Again, this is where breaking up your weight loss into chunks (sorry couldn't resist saying chunks here - hehe) is so important. 

Don't plan to do this all cold turkey and overnight.  Get your mind wrapped around the changes you are going to make for a healthier lifestyle.  You might not even want to write your first goal around losing weight.  Maybe you want to first start drinking water.  So how much water do you want to be drinking a day, by when?  Then move on to the next small change. 

I promise you these changes will add up.  They did for me.

Have I met every goal perfectly that I have set for myself?  No.  Because life happened.  But I was flexible, remember?  And I have lost almost 80 pounds.  So there (hah).  I still don't have a degree in nutrition or health science.  I'm just a fat chick who has figured it out and wants to share it.  OK?  ok.

That's all for now...feel free to post questions or let me know about other topics that might help you!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why Work So Hard?

So I promised a list of things I've learned on my 17 month, 75 pound loss journey.  I have no idea how long this list will be as I still refuse to outline things (I hated outlines when writing papers) so I'm gonna just go with the flow and see what genius (lol) comes out.  You with me?

1) Being fat hurts.  I had pain every single day and could not give my little girl a bath when I weighed almost 300 pounds.  Even the 45 I have left on me now causes me some aches and pains.  If nothing else, the extra 10-15 you may be carrying makes your pants uncomfortable.  Oh, and the chaffing!  I don't miss that...

2) Twinkies are not food.  There is a ton of "food" for sale at the store that is not really food.  If you look at a label and there are more than 3 ingredients you would need assistance pronouncing (or how about, couldn't use in a sentence outside of a biology class) then it is not really food.  We make things into food by eating them...but they aren't REAL food.

3) You don't have to be 5'8 and 125 pounds to be a runner.  I know this because I'm 5'6, 210 pounds and I ran 4 miles a few weeks ago.  Am I fast?  No.  Can I outrun some 125 pound people I know?  Absolutely.  If nothing else, endurance will win out.

4) We all have the ability to make good decisions.  We just don't all DECIDE to do so.  It's important to realize how conscious weight loss is.  I have weeks where my body doesn't cooperate, but for the majority of weeks I've been on this journey, I have consistently lost more the weeks I was more conscious of what I'm eating, how much exercise I'm doing and the amount of rest I'm getting.   (there I go on decisions again...)

5) Everyone has time to exercise.  For the majority of my journey, I had a job that required alot of travel.  I had to eat out alot, eat on the road and sleep away from home for a week at a time.  The one good thing is that I stayed with my parents or my husband's parents when I traveled so I was in a familiar place.  But I still burned crazy hours on the road, then made good choices in the drive-thrus (there are some decent choices to be had) and then get up in the dark to exercise before work.  I was also finishing my Bachelor's degree and training to be a runner.  If I have time to exercise, I promise you do too.  You just need to MAKE the time.  (PS - there are two major things I claim not to have time for that I could be doing instead of blogging right now - I'm not perfect in the area of time management, but have put my health first).  Also, even now I still drive 2 hours per day but work out 5 days per week.  It's tiring, but worth it.  And I finished that dang degree last summer too.  Woo!

6) Goals are a good guideline and motivator - but don't give up if you don't reach them exactly.  When it comes to something that isn't an exact science (your real life + weight loss) even if you don't hit the mark exactly, if you move in that general direction, you will be closer than you were to start when you get to the end.  Doesn't that sound logical?  So if you decide to lose 2 pounds a week for a weight loss of 20 pounds in 10 weeks, but you only lose 15, shoot, why be upset about that?  Its even better to say you will lose 1 pound a week, and then lose the 15.  I have averaged about a pound to a pound and a half per week weight loss through this journey.  Have not hit every goal set but I set them hoping to reach them, but planning for things to happen, life to happen.  And I'm still moving in the right direction so apparently that is working for me.  I'm going to do a post just about goal setting later this week as I could write on that topic forever. :)

7) Nothing tastes as good as the next size down feels.  SERIOUSLY.  I know you've heard this.  But really, man, nothing compares to how great it feels to fit into things in your closet you didn't think you would wear again.  I have about 7 pairs of pants waiting for size 14s to be comfortable.  I refuse to wear uncomfortably tight clothing, so I'm waiting until I can comfortably zip up that zipper.  I'm thinking around 195 that will be the case.

8) Being between underwear sizes is one of the hardest things about losing weight.  Enough said.

9) If it's wider than it is long, it's wrong.  I coined this phrase myself and I apply it to shorts and skirts religiously.  Here's the deal, its going to be awhile before I look amazing in shorts at all.  Period.  But I think no matter how good I look when I reach my goal I will likely always use this rule.  I wish everyone else did!  (lol).

OK - finally was able to finish this post...on to the next!

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Finished WELL!

So I know my favorite blog-stalkers have been checking in here for days wondering how I finished my 60 day challenge to finish WELL.

Well, in my opinion I did just that.  I finished well!

Did I hit 80 pounds down?  Unfortunately not.  But I did end the year 50 pounds lighter than I began it for a total of 76 pounds down.  That's nothing to turn my nose up at.

The thing I've learned, probably more than any other lesson in this journey is this - like any journey there are things that don't go according to plan, adjustments to be made and the more with the flow you go, the more likely you are to succeed and reach your destination.  If I gave up at the first setback, I would still be 285 pounds, folks.  But I'm not.  I'm 209, on my way to 165.  More than halfway to my goal.  And more motivated than ever.

I still lost weight during the holidays.  Only two pounds in December, but we all know it would have been more if 2 weeks of the month I had not been sick.  It happens, so again, I'm moving past it.  I feel really great that I lost weight during one of the hardest times of the year to do it.  Not many people can say that.

So I promised some motivational posts to start the new year off right.  Lets start by talking about New Years Resolutions.

{insert groan here}

This is where I go on a serious rant, so please depart if you can't handle the truth (lol).

Because the word resolution takes on such a flippant meaning in our culture.

The dictionary defines resolution as:
"the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc."
We define it as:
"something we do every January 1st with all intentions of breaking it by Valentine's day, if we make it that far and then we'll all laugh about how badly scraped we are from falling off the wagon and letting it drag us 300 yards."

To me, diets are like resolutions.  Diets from the start, are doomed to fail.  For every person that says "but this diet really worked for me" I have to ask a hundred times "if it worked, why oh why are you having to do it again?"  If something works, it works forever.  Does it need new batteries sometimes?  Yes.  But it still works.  Diets have no warranty.  You can't get your money back.  But they are for sale everywhere.  And they all claim to be "it."  Trust me, take it from a girl who has lost 76 pounds.  I sort of know what I'm talking about here.  When you get ueber restrictive, you will automatically resent it from the start.  The diet is all that stands between you and ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and french fries. The diet is why you are miserable at the buffet.  The diet causes you to hate yourself when you slip up.  The diet makes you physically uncomfortable when someone (or everyone) brings in birthday cake. The diet makes you snippy with your family and makes you kick your dog.  
How unfair to everyone around you...and how unfair to YOU.
Diets just give you a short term good feeling before your resentment wins out and then they leave you with self-loathing, anger and sometimes more weight than you came into the diet with!  How in a million years is that worth it?  Not to mention most of the popular ones cost money!  Forget it!   

So I challenge you to ditch resolutions in the American sense and ditch your silly diet plans...and make DECISIONS instead.  

The dictionary definition of Decision is:
"the act of or need for making up one's mind."
I love that.  Making up your mind.  That is what a healthy lifestyle is all about.  I had to decide, like really truly honestly decide that my life and health was worth a little bit of hard work (ok a lot of hard work) and some sacrifice.  And I didn't change everything overnight.  This business of starting to be crazy restrictive on January 1st is ludicrous. And unlikely to last.
Instead, once you've decided, really decided (and seriously, I mean decided, not just wished, hoped and thought about it) then you can begin to make changes.  
Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to determine if you're really ready to make this decision:
1) Am I willing to change the way I eat?  Try new foods?  Track my input (food) and output (exercise) until I've maintained my healthy weight for 6 months?

2) Am I willing to MAKE time to exercise, doing something active at least 3-5 days/week?

3) Am I sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Do I want to feel good?  Do I want to live again?

If you can say "yes" to all of these questions, then you might just be ready.  But it doesn't stop there.  Now the logistics.
Here is a to-do list once you've made your decision:
1) Talk to your family.  They have GOT to decide to support you.  If they are going to be eating fried twinkies while you eat as many super foods as you can cram on your plate, I can tell you this is not going to last.  Ask your family if they are willing to go on this journey with you.  Don't cut all their favorite foods out of the house (this is where self-control really comes in).  But ask them to support you and cheer you on.

2) Talk to your doctor.  Don't ever start an eating or exercise program without talking to your doctor about what would be best for you.  I'm not a doctor, I'm just a fat girl who knows what worked for me...there is my disclaimer.

3) Research and find some activity/exercise that you might enjoy.  Be willing to try different things!  Not everyone will want to be a runner like me! Maybe you will like cycling?  Maybe swimming?  Shoot, I started just by walking!  Do what you can... just MOVE.

4) Make a list of healthy lifestyle changes you want to make.  Here is an excerpt from my list August 2009:

*reduce caffeine
*drink water - go for 64 ounces.
*eat less fried food
*move more - do something active 5 days/week
*eat more vegetables
*makeover favorite fattening recipe into a healthier one

I didn't make all of these changes at once.   But here is what I did do in the last 16 months:

*reduce caffeine - gave it up completely!
*drink water - go for 64 ounces. - I drink 100+ ounces a day.
*eat less fried food -rare that I eat anything fried - makes me sick now!
*move more - do something active 5 days/week - I run 3 days/week, do Zumba 1 day a week and cross-train with cardio/weights 1-2 more days/week.
*eat more vegetables - I eat all kinds of veggies now!

5) Research Super Foods.  Go ahead, google it.  Or take a look at this article on Web md:
Either way - try to incorporate super foods into every single day.  You won't regret it - and I guarantee you will find you like more foods than you gave a chance ever in your life.  I can totally say that.  I love asparagus, broccoli and fresh spinach more than I ever thought I could.  And I'm being completely serious here.

So are you in yet?  Think this over...and DECIDE.  Really decide to make a change.  I know if I can do it, you totally can.  My 10 years in HR and my Marketing degree have absolutely not prepared me for this journey.  I have made it my own.  And you can do the same.



More on goals for 2011 tomorrow while you chew on all that.