Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stats...a Year or 2 in Review

One of the determining factors for me to travel down this journey to a healthier and longer life was my bloodwork 2 summers ago.

In August 2009, my lipid panel results were as follows:

Total Cholesterol: 235 (s/b less than 200)
HDL: 67 (s/b 40 or greater)
Triglycerides: 228 (s/b less than 150)
LDL: 122 (s/b less than 100)

So my HDLs, or good cholesterol, were pretty good.  But it didn't balance out my off the charts triglycerides or LDLs.  And the total number was enough to have me one 6 month check-in away from being on cholesterol medication.

At 30 years old.  Not my proudest moment.

I had my once a year bloodwork done this past week.

August 2011 Results:

Total Cholesterol: 185 (down 50 points)
HDL: 52 (down 15 points)
Triglycerides: 106 (down 122 points)
LDL: 112 (down 2 points)

Do you SEE that?  My Triglycerides have gone down 122 points.  That is the most staggering thing to me about this new blood panel.  I am elated at the progress.

This piece of paper with an encouraging note from my doctor has made my day!  She thinks my LDL elevation may be hereditary since my eating/exercise are on target.  I can live with that - I can also try harder. :)

No medication, no crazy dieting, I don't even take any natural cholesterol reducers.  I just eat well - most of the time.  And get plenty of good cardiovascular exercise.

Just 2 short years ago, when my doctor told me eating right and exercising could solve my cholesterol problem without medication, I did not believe her.

Not because I didn't think it could work.

But because I didn't think I could do it.  ME.

I did it.

Now, I still have not "arrived."  I still want to get my HDLs, or good cholesterol, to go up.  And I'd like to get my LDLs, or bad cholesterol, down.  I'm waaay happy with my triglycerides, I must admit.

And yes, I'm bragging about bloodwork.  You wouldn't be reading this if you didn't want to hear it, right?

So happy Saturday to all.  Just wanted to share that this isn't just an outside physical change - my insides are transforming as well.  And while you can't see them - they count hugely toward your health.  Do you know your numbers?

I have said it before - I will say it again.  If I can do it - anyone can do it.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Perseverance and a Plan...Both Pay Off!

I have returned!  8 planes, 7 properties, 6 days, 3 rental cars and 15 meals on the road.  I'm alive.  I'm somewhat rested.

And I lost weight through it all last week.

Yep.  Proud to announce that as of this morning I weighed in at 186.6.  Just 1.6 pounds away from my 100 pound goal!  I was nervous about the scale to be honest - who wouldn't be when my food options were limited to the Atlanta airport and whatever I could find near my hotel?  15 times!

But I persevered.  Because I had a plan.

First off, I ran Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday and Friday.  I don't typically run 4 days in a row, but I knew I wouldn't be able to run Saturday like usual due to being on the road.  So I purposefully changed up my workout each day so it wasn't too much of the same.  Did weights twice.  Also forgot my Ipod - so here I was at the mercy of hotel gym TVs.  One had the power go out the night before so no tv at all.  I literally listened to the sound of my feet pounding the treadmill for 4 miles.  One guy came in to do weights while I was there and I was internally begging him to start a conversation with me to distract me.  He did not - probably got out of there quickly to avoid my sweat flying all over the place.  At least I had a gorgeous mountain view.  :)

My eating was kept well in check.  I carefully studied menus in advance, making the best choices I can.  I did have a few "oops" moments.  My travels were taken off course on Monday and I was 5 hours behind and completely rushed.  I had to work late into the night in order to get myself back on my timeline as I had 4 properties to handle in 36 hours.  I purchased a box of dark chocolate raisinets.  My rule normally is to eat half and put the other half away.  Well I kept eating them while I was working to help me stay awake...and ate the entire box.  390 calories later...FAIL!  BUT.  I checked myself, and agreed that I was not strong enough to buy them again.  So I did not.  I also ate a bag of chips they put in my room as a gift.  Just a small bag of plain Lays.  To the tune of 240 calories.  I quickly recalibrated myself and vowed to do better.

And that I did!

I watched portions (which one gourmet restaurant I visited made that easy - I ordered scallops and got 2!  Just 2 scallops! lol).  Had them remove unnecessary things from salad (cheese and bacon - don't miss them one bit) and put my dressing on the side, only using half.  Thursday night I ate by myself at an Outback Steakhouse - I researched my meal online in advance, they have a meal calculator there.  Did you know NONE of their dressings are even remotely healthy?  Just an fyi.  Anyway - I had a 6 oz sirloin, grilled asparagus and steamed broccoli with half of the pumpernickel bread they bring you (2 pieces).  It was amazing and under 500 calories.  That's what I'm talking about!  Also, one of the properties I visited had a gift bag of healthy snacks waiting for me - what a blessing!  All fruit bars, trail mix and water.  That helped alot.

I made sure if I really wanted something to budget for it.  Starbucks has a mango smoothie that is super yum.  Wish it wasn't a syrup thing but other than that, it tastes really good.  I budgeted for the 250 calories.  AND you can get a frappuccino for just 140 calories - did you know that?  Caramel - grande sized, and skim milk.  I'll even get the smaller one next time I need some sort of caffeine kick.

Starbucks also has oatmeal now.  I ate oatmeal twice this week.  I'm not normally an oatmeal person but I just might become one.  At Starbucks it has 140 calories, but when you add the "mixins" which are mixed nuts (100 cals) raisins/craisins (100 cals) and brown sugar (50 cals) then you've made something healthy into an almost 400 calories cup.  SO I chose the raisins/craisins and the brown sugar.  It was heavenly!  And really sticks to your ribs.  I might just have to try oatmeal more often.  I have some good recipes for pumpkin oatmeal and the like - time to experiment!

So foodwise did well. Exercise did well.  Tried to get as much sleep/rest as I could.  Took a 4 hour nap when I got home yesterday and then slept an easy 9 hours last night.

And lost weight.  That's how its done yo.

It is less than a pound from last week (.8 to be exact) but I'm perfectly ok with that.  I may wait to count my weekly weight until Tuesday morning anyway as I like to weigh on Tuesdays and the body bugg website is currently getting serviced.

Quick picture to leave you with.  If you've followed my blog for awhile you know that at my heaviest, 285 pounds, I was unable to buckle the seatbelt in most airplane seats.  On my last commercial flight in 2009, I covered my lap with my sweater, praying that the stewardess wouldn't ask to see my seatbelt.  I was horrified and would have just died right there if I had to ask for an extender.

I slid into the seat on Monday morning and buckled.  And promptly took this picture for you.

It's taken myself from above (black is my shirt, black/cream is my skirt).  Look at all that slack!  I must say...that felt great.  I'm sure the guy next to me wondered what I was doing.

That, my friends, is what success looks like.  Slack in a seatbelt I couldn't even buckle two years ago.  You know, the act of buckling an airplane seatbelt sounds silly, and simple to some of you.  But for me - I cannot really describe to you what that easy click and ability to tighten meant to me.  Overwhelming.

I'll be writing a post later this week anyway about perspective.  Read a great book recently and it made me think even more clearly about where I am and where I have come from, rather than focusing on the last frustrating 20-25 pounds I have to lose.  Or focusing on the parts of my body I want to hurry up and shed fat from.  I am still obese according to the BMI chart (which is laughable really as I know I don't look obese!).  Then I'll be "overweight" for awhile.  Really, my goal weight is still technically in the overweight range for my height. 

Do I care?

As long as I'm healthy, fit, running faster and feeling good, I may always fight with the experts on that number.  And I'm OK with that.

Because I can buckle the airplane seatbelt now.

Because I am no longer at risk of being diabetic.

Because I will never be on cholesterol medication.

Because I can run 5 miles without stopping.

Because I've gone from a size 24 to a size 12 in two years.

The numbers are just tools we made up to track it all.  I'm completely happy with my progress, and excited to hit my 100 pound goal in the next 2 weeks!!!

Who's excited with me???


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hit the Road Jack...but NOT Without My Plan!

Hey!  So a week late on the update I promised, but who is counting anyway?

I had a good week overall.  Busy but good.  Managed to finally lose a few more pounds - 187.4 yesterday morning.  Body Bugg is still awesome.  Making me REALLY honest with food.  Painfully so at times.  If I don't lose what I had planned to lose based on my calorie intake/output, it changes how much I must have eaten.  ouch!  It is true though...and that makes sense as to why my weight loss has slowed.  I've gotten out of touch with tracking my food - properly.  I've tracked consistently, but if you do something consistently wrong, you won't get good results.  Duh.  :)

It feels great to have lost a little again.  I'm ready to make this a consistent thing.

Had a food revelation this week.  Zaxby's is advertising some sort of sweet smokey sandwich thing.  Fried chicken strips on their texas toast.  It looks amazing.  When I see something like that, many times I say, "I just want to try it - if I just try it then I won't be curious."  I was pondering this the other day.   I actually think that in some of these cases, I should not try it.  Because what if I really like it?  Then I will add something to my "no fry" list (like no fly - get it?).  I don't need to keep adding foods there.  I want to be able to enjoy whatever I love, in moderation.  No need to be adventurous with crappy-for-me food, right?

What a revelation!  Sorry if that was obvious to all you rock stars, but I'm thinking the new foods I try now should be ones that will be best for me...I already "like" enough not so good for me food that I take in moderation.  Some things should just never make the no fry list.  I'm good with that now.  No amount of curiosity will beat that decision.

In a few minutes I'm going to bed so I can get up suuuper early and catch a ridiculously early flight in the morning. 5:45am to be exact.

I'll be traveling ALL week - returning home on Saturday.  SO.  I need a plan, right?

Food:  Make the best choice possible, the entire week.  This doesn't mean I won't enjoy anything I eat.  I love the food I eat - the healthy food actually tastes good when you start tasting food again.  My challenge will be that no matter what you eat, when you eat out you take in more sodium than normal.  So if I decide to make the best choice possible at every meal, even if I slip up a little here or there, it will be ok overall.

Water:  Keep it up!  I don't plan on stopping my water intake.  I think my water bottle will need to be empty coming into the gate, then I can refill it.  I'm praying that I'm able to take it with me or I'll be bummed!  I have plans for it to work out.  OR I'll be buying lots of bottled water.

Exercise:  DO IT - Every day.  Realistically I will not be able to run every single day.  Probably every other day at most - the days I'm not flying somewhere else.  This trip will be challenging as I'll be flying to a new place Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  AHH!  So, I will likely not run tomorrow unless its later in the afternoon.  I can run Tuesday morning, then Wednesday as my flight isn't too early.  Then I can run Thursday morning and maybe Friday afternoon?  The good part is I'll be walking alot in airports too - that never hurt a calorie burn!

So there is my plan.  Sometimes just defining it is all you need to do to make sure you stay on track.  So there it is.  Defined, simplified, and ingrained in the brain.

As I go to bed dreaming of the spinach smoothies I'll miss this week...maybe I've made you wonder, do you have your own plan for the week?

Because if I can lose weight the week of Thanksgiving (2 years in a row), weigh less on Jan 1 then I did the previous Jan 1 (2 years in a row) all while having nursed an ankle injury back to health, changed jobs twice, and traveled like a crazy person.....what's your excuse?


Just sayin.



Friday, August 5, 2011


I cannot believe I haven't blogged since July 23!  I am alive, I promise!

Things have been very crazy, but good.

I'm getting more used to my Body Bugg!  The first week weigh in ended up being the same as my ueber exciting weight the previous Saturday - which is OK as it definitely equaled what I should have lost based on my deficit.

We have been traveling since this past Sunday - which means eating out alot, being tired, off track, etc.  I'm pleased to say I've kept my activity waaay up - which is good because my calories have also been up! I have maintained a good deficit in spite of all the desserts - but am still nervous about getting back on my scale on Sunday.  I can't even cheat and do a preventative "oh crap will it be bad" weigh in tomorrow as we won't be home until later (and you all know my rule - I only weigh early in the morning right after a good sweaty run). 

The moon is also where I am set to "gain" a few pounds of water weight so that might also just be it...I don't know.  I have definitely felt "puffy" today and I hate that feeling.  But I ran at lunchtime on the treadmill at the hotel gym so I am battling it well.

I will probably get up early and run again in the morning before we get in the car for the 6 hour drive home - that is alot of running for me this week but I've missed my Zumba and didn't think to bring any of my DVDs with me (silly goof) so I needed to do something.  I hate the elliptical so I didn't even bother for that kind of variety.  Went swimming once this week as well and we took a long family walk Wednesday night. 

But like I said.  I ate dessert.  Every. Single. Day.

And not just the 3 dark chocolate hershey kisses I typically allow myself. 

So I am looking forward to weighing in.  I am interested to see what will come of it.  If this whole deficit thing is for real, I should still be down a pound or two...unless my water weight makes up the difference which is quite possible.

Funny how I am looking forward to weighing in.  My how the last 2 years have changed me.

I really think anticipation is a wonderful thing, and something we often miss when we are trying to be healthier.  We get caught up in the other feelings, like stress, pressure, guilt, unhappiness, and even anger when we aren't "good" and don't make the best food choices, or get the workout in that we planned. 

But I try to look at everything with anticipation.  Does it mean I expect an incredible 4 pound loss on Sunday when I get on the scale?  No.  While that would be great, I'm well aware of the times I didn't make great choices this week and let my eating slip into more of a "vacation" mode.  I'm also well aware of my body, where the moon is (lol) and so I anticipate a result.  Maybe not great, but probably not horrible.  The weigh in will be what it is.  I cannot change anything now to sway it.  And honestly I don't know that I would.  Slow weight loss is permanent weight loss in my opinion.  That is working for me.

Regardless of the result, I will not be thrown off track. 

The lesson in this is not to put so much stock in the result and to enjoy the anticipation.  Realizing that every good decision you make for your health will make the journey that much more exciting and rewarding. 

I've indulged more than I probably should have.  But I've also sweated my tail off as well hoping to mitigate some of that potential damage.

And so I happily anticipate my weigh in on Sunday.  And I know, regardless of what happens, I anticipate acceptance of said result and having a great week of getting back into my routine.

It's all in how you choose to look at it.  Remember, choices my friends!

Will post on Sunday afternoon after we're safely home, unpacked and rested.