Monday, December 27, 2010

Week 27 - Weigh In

Yesterday I was feeling under the weather with a cold so chose to stay home and rest rather than go to my meeting. However, I did not want that miss to result in a week of being off track. So, before working out tonight I went to my Weight Watchers Center and weighed in. I'm glad I faced the scale.

I gained 2.8lbs. This gain pretty much makes it impossible to hit my 50lb goal by the new year but THAT IS OK! Sometimes we will meet our goals in the time frame we make for ourselves and sometimes we won't. The goal is important, nonetheless.

So, this week it's back on track. Honestly, I'm just glad that the gain was under 5lbs. On average, people gain 8lbs through the holidays - 2.8lbs doesn't look so bad. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 26 - Weigh In

My morning started off with being startled awake, looking at the alarm clock, seeing those red digits showing 8:30 and saying, "Oh, shit!"

Yep, overslept.

That didn't matter. I made a mad dash, got ready and jumped in my car to get to my Weight Watcher's center. I weighed in. I hate missing my meetings but at least I was able to get my weight. The week of final exams, less exercise, a Christmas lunch and more spontanious eating wasn't too bad. I lost 1.8lbs! Yes!

Quick Stats:
Loss this week: 1.8lbs
Total Lost: 45.2lbs
Only 4.8lbs away from my next goal!!!!  Yes!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What to do on a rainy Saturday? How about a 5k?

I completed my second 5k this morning. It was the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. This was the first 5k that I really put my heart and soul into fundraising for - I was able to raise $740 for the cause. As I've written about before, my husband has Rheumatoid Arthritis, so this one was extremely important to me.

Last night, I was struggling with the thought of doing this today. I was exhausted coming off final exams week. I injured my hip a few weeks ago on the treadmill and it still isn't healed. The weather report called for rain. With all of these reasons, I was tempted to excuse myself from doing the walk. BUT! I wasn't doing this just for me. I wasn't walking with my own gain of physical fitness in mind - I was doing this for my husband and several of my close friends that also have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Many of my friends, family and co-workers had faith enough in me to donate to the cause. I could not let any of those people down! I decided I would walk as far as I could and be proud even if I couldn't complete the entire 5k.

I arrived around 7:30 after making a quick stop for a Santa hat at a local CVS. I'm rarely fully prepared for most things and often wait until last minute to wrap up - this was no exception. This is one of those traits I really must work on.

The morning was overcast and fog was still lifting. With my trusty Starbuck's Venti Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte in hand, I made my way to the registration table to get my number - 360. After weaving through a crowd of people and dogs donning Santa hats, reindeer antlers, funky socks and even tutus, I made a quick trip back to my car to lock my goody bag in the trunk. I was ready - my head feeling nearly as foggy as the morning sky.

As the walk started I made some goals. My first goal was just to make it the first mile and then I'd make the decision on if I was going further or not. I walked, waiting for a spot to clear where I could be alone. I really prefer to walk outside of the main crowd, I enjoy the time for reflection, without distraction. I slowed my pace and allowed people to pass me so I could find my spot. Eventually, I got just what I was looking for and was approaching the first mile marker. I made the decision then that I could not let myself, my husband or any of those generous people down. "I WILL complete this 5k."

Shortly thereafter the rain started. First it was just sprinkles, then a steady rain. Temptation hit again but this time it wasn't just the distance that kept me going (I was about 1 1/2 miles into the walk and turning back would only mean I didn't get to walk through the finish line), but my thoughts turned to my husband. Even in the rain, I CAN walk this 5k. He can't. No matter how much rain poured down, how cold I became, how uncomfortable my sloshy shoes were or how much my hip ached - it still didn't come close to the pain and discomfort simply walking causes him. Tears welled up in my eyes and I held back actual sobs.

I went into the walk saying I wasn't walking this today - my husband was - he was just borrowing my legs. Before I knew it I was well past the second mile marker. As I felt the pain with each step, I whispered his name. I looked across the lake and saw the peace and tranquility and could only feel hope that he too will feel comfort soon, perhaps by a development made possible by the Arthritis Foundation.

I pushed on, rain beating down and felt a renewed admiration and love for my husband. He is a good man, fighting a battle that most people could not endure. He lives his life with pain but holds his head high. My heart swelled as I saw the finish line and whispered, "we're almost there, baby."

While I was nearly the last to walk through - I had to throw up my arms
as we crossed the finish line. We did it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Before and After - 43.4lbs gone

Tonight my husband found a picture of me that was taken before I started Weight Watchers. It was painful to even look at. I immediately ran and put on the same shirt that I was wearing in the picture and asked him to take a photo. When he was showing me the picture on the camera I told him I was going to more than likely back out of doing the before and after - that I just didn't see that much difference.

Then I put them side by side.

Tears.

So, this is a huge step for me - here goes my anonymity but I have to share this.

I'll continue posting before and after pictures as I progress further. This has really provided me even more motivation to keep going!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Forget me not

Driving to school tonight I heard a song on the radio and it really made me think, about where I've been, about where I'm going; about the catalyst that launched me into choosing a new lifestyle for myself. These changes are so much more than just a change in lifestyle. We toss around this word "lifestyle" but I really feel the word doesn't provide enough depth. When I think about the word, I hear Robin Leach giving the intro to the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Lifestyle is how we live, what we purchase, what we eat, it's all based upon our actions and what we DO. This change in my life carries with it far more than what I purchase at the grocery store or where I shop for clothing. I'm changing, me.

For years I liked to walk around and say my weight didn't define me. It's not WHO I am. But actually, I was wrong, my weight made me who I am. Without enduring the trials of bodily imprisonment as an overweight person - living with this cross - I never would have developed into who I am today. My convictions for injustice would not be nearly as strong. I would not have the level of empathy which makes my chest feel as though it's exploding when I see or hear of an other's pain. The ability to internalize that strife would simply not be as strong. It was those defining moments in childhood, the tears shed from schoolyard tormentors, that created the woman I am today. Through pain, we grow.

The song had a quote "the hardest part of ending is starting again." (Linkin Park - Wating for the End) I am ending a chapter BOOK and starting the sequel. This change is exciting but I cannot forget how thankful I am for all I've experienced. Most people are not blessed with the opportunity to glean the benefits of carrying a cross, choosing to rid themselves of that cross and walk away with the knowledge, life experience and character from those years of tribulation.

I'm having my own personal Renaissance, right here and now. I've placed so much emphasis on this journey, on what I want to be - on the thin, healthy new me - I have yet to pause and truly be thankful for the road I've already traveled. The road that has brought me here to begin with. I've learned some very important life lessons and it's time to move on. My professor is retiring and I bid "him" farewell - but not without sincere gratitude for all I've been taught.

 For the first time in my life I can say, "I'm thankful for being a fat girl."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Plan C

Weigh in was this morning. Up until last night I was extremely excited about weigh in this week. I worked my tail off at the gym this week. Friday I logged over 15,000 steps on the pedometer. I'm sore. I'm achy. I'm tired. Until last night I had stuck with mostly whole foods all week, lots of fresh fruit, fresh veggies, fish, chicken breast, nice lean proteins. . .

And then came yesterday. Oh lovely December 11th. The Saturday before finals week. The day that I sit at a desk for hours on end cramming knowledge in my head about kidneys, nephrons, capillary beds, arteries, pH balance of the body, electrolyte balance, enzymes - yeah I sat. I did go to the gym prior to the sitting and thinking marathon and walked 2 miles - also did 2 miles on the bike; but the sitting marathon left little time for preparing a meal. Our first plan was to order Sushi from a new local sushi restaurant. Sushi is healthy and it was going to be great! I was excited! Mmmm, spicy tuna rolls, veggie rolls, California rolls - I had enough points to track it, have a nice portion of the Japanese goodness and save a few points for snack later. I called and called our new local place and they simply weren't open. My husband's belly is pretty growly at this point, the children are grumps, it's nearly 6pm - so he mentions Steak n Shake. I scan their menu and determine that this Plan B is not an option. Too many points! So, we chose Chinese take-out, plan C. It was affordable, quick and delivered. I was able to continue studying while our trusty Chinese delivery guy prepared the meal of sabotage.

I planned to only eat 1 cup of fried rice. I had enough points, it was full of veggies - it was an unhealthy, healty-ish treat. Once the food arrived (now nearing 7pm) I was starving! I ended up consuming FAR TOO MUCH in a very short period of time to the point I was uncomfortable. I didn't stick to the plan of only consuming fried rice and moved on to crab rangoons, an egg roll, lo mein and a piece of my husband's orange chicken. I haven't felt that feeling for months! OMG it was horrible. I knew what I had just done, I had pretty much fixed it where the scale was not going to reflect all the hard work I had poured into the week.

In a matter of a few short minutes - I delayed my paycheck. I say delayed because I will see the efforts I made this week. I'm certain the effect was mostly water weight and not an actual gain.

Walking out of my meeting this morning my plan was to really blast myself in this blog. I was peeved that I did this. I was madder than hell that I allowed myself to get that out of control, not only with portion control but food selection the night before a weigh in. The high sodium content is enough to make me hold water like a damp sponge. Unreal!!

But then, I went to Mass. Not to get spiritual or religious here, as I don't typically talk about religion with people I don't know. It's just uncomfortable and I would not want to be perceived as pushing any of my beliefs on to anyone else. The message at Mass, in all honesty, could have come in a form from any place - I just happened to receive it from a very good friend (God) at church.  The message was patience.

I heard it loud and clear. BE PATIENT!!  Not only with seeing the fruits of my labor on the scale, but with EVERYTHING. I'm not naturally a patient person. I struggle with this on a daily basis. However, for the purposes of this blog we will focus on the food/weight loss aspect.

When I eat, I need to be patient with my body. I need to be patient while consuming the food, so my mind can catch the message from my stomach saying it has had enough. I need to be patient while exercising, knowing I'm not ALWAYS going to get that 20 minute mile in or be able to go as fast as the people that are far more fit around me. I will eventually, but not yet. I need to be patient with the fact that it took years to put on the 230 extra pounds and it's going to take a few years to get it off!  I need to be patient with the scale. My losses will show, I mustn't let the idle numbers be discouraging.

Patience is a tough, tough practice but one that is certainly necessary for this type of long term weight loss journey.

So, I wait.

The good news is, I didn't gain. The "bad" news is I didn't lose either. I stayed the same. I know it sounds silly that I got worked up over a week that I didn't gain and normally I don't think I would have - I just worked really hard to make such a foolish decision so close to weigh in. If it had been any other day of the week, it wouldn't have been great, but the scale would have still shown my loss.

Lesson learned. Moving forward. This is going to be a fantastic week and the scale next Sunday is going to show a loss!

Quick stats:
Loss this week - 0lbs
Total loss - 43.4lbs

Friday, December 10, 2010

Food Fridays - Tips on Making Healthy Restaurant Choices

We are in the throws of the holiday season. Many of us will eat out far more during the holiday season than what we normally do, with office lunches, special dinner celebrations and holiday parties. It's difficult to maintain weight loss with all of this dining out. But, it CAN be done and it CAN be delicious!

Here are a few tips I've come up with from my experience over the last few months.

1. Select a lean protein. This sounds simple but once looking at a menu it can feel a bit overwhelming. Grilled or broiled fish or chicken are safe bets. I also always request that no butter or oil be used in preparation, but ask if they will please use any other non-fat based seasonings.

2. Keep your sides to fresh fruit and/or veggie selections. Most restaurants have some type of fresh produce selection. It may be a salad but just beware of added items on the salad like cheese, meats, eggs, dressings as these can really add up to being a lot of fat. If the salad is the meal, great but if the salad is a SIDE, try to keep it as such.  Better yet, venture out of your "normal" zone and order some fresh grilled vegetables (again, ask for no oil or butter), have a sweet potato, baked potato or stick with a selection of fresh fruit. If the fruit is a "fruit salad" ask if it was prepared fresh or if it was delivered frozen. Many of the "frozen fresh" fruits often have added sugar.

3. Let the water flow like a river. Drink plenty of water before and during your meal. It really helps when you are trying to maintain portion control. 

4. Stay away from fried foods and appetizers. Your worst enemy at these dinners are the apps that come out before the meal. Breads and deep fried foods have a way of making it to the table in large quantities at these functions. These foods can often equal more calories than the meal itself! Some even equal more calories than the recommended daily input! This is where mingling, chatting and socializing can help - the more you chat it up the less likely you will be to consume all those goodies prior to the main course.

5. Maintain portion control. If you are at location that is known for large portions, ask for a to go box when your meal comes to the table. Decide how much your serving will be and then box up the rest BEFORE you start eating. Selective memory can change the history of your meal quickly. Two or three extra bites can take you down a path of consuming the entire plate of food before you realize it. Avoid this. If you don't want to take the remaining food with you, "accidentally" forget it at the table when you leave. I often take it with me. Sadly, there are many that are less fortunate that are hard to miss while traveling through town. I usually give my to go boxes to those that I see standing at the intersections.  They get a decent meal and I don't feel obligated to eat the left overs.

I've been practicing this for a while now and honestly, it works. I have been seeing losses on the scale, even on weeks when eating out was more frequent than usual.

Do you have any tips you can share on what you do while out to lunch or dinner?  What are some of your favorite healthy selections?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 24 - Weigh In

The results are in for the first week on the new Weight Watcher's PointsPlus plan and I like it! I lost 2lbs this week. Now, the amazing part about that 2lb loss is I had fast food two nights for dinner and pizza on another night. I'm not advocating that eating fast food is the way to go, because it is not! However, I had a few evenings that were just really off. One night I felt ill and just didn't feel like preparing a meal. The other two evenings I was busy cleaning and decorating the house for Christmas. When dinner time rolled around I was ill prepared and we just grabbed something fast.

I also exercised A LOT this week. I'm absolutely LOVING my new gym membership and my workout buddies.

My loss this week would have been much more but I'm extremely happy with the 2lbs!  Yes!

Goals for this week - go to the gym every morning at 5am, stick to the plan and eat ZERO fast food. I can't wait until next Sunday's weigh in!

Quick Stats:
Loss this week: 2lbs
Total Loss: 43.4lbs
6.6lbs to reach my year end goal!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The dangers of fad diets

As we draw near to the close of this year and the start of another, many people will be making new year's resolutions. "Diet" season begins! Unfortunately, many will seek self improvement using tools that will not create sustainable weight loss but also place their health in great danger.

We've all heard of these diets. We've all had friends and family use these diets to get their weight off and they often succeed, only to be back to their starting weight within a few months of going off the diet, the pills or the supplements. Why? Because they only changed their behavior temporarily, to a behavior that wasn't something they could do every day, the rest of their lives.  These diets don't work. They aren't healthy.

Below are a few tips when seeking a weight loss solution:

1. If the plan bans one of the necessary food groups, it's not healthy. Protein, carbohydrates and fat are all necessary macromolecules in our diet. Our bodies use protein for cellular processes that require active transport. Additionally, our bodies can convert proteins to glucose (our body's fuel) but it takes much more energy to do so. Speaking of energy, carbohydrates are essential for our body's energy. Without carbohydrates our brain cannot function. Fats are necessary to maintain cushion around major organs. Did you know the heart is encased in a thick layer of fat? Without that layer of fat the heart can actually be injured from hitting the walls of the chest. This is fatal. (Think about those that suffer anorexia and bulimia, once their percentage of body fat is too low they often die of heart failure.)  Certainly, the American diet consists of too much of ALL THREE macromolecules. If one goes on a diet that deprives the body of one of the three - yes, weight will be lost, but is it sustainable? Can you live the rest of your life without ever eating carbohydrates (the main fad right now)? The answer is probably not and if you do, you may suffer long term malnutrition as a result.  Balance really is the best route - a well balanced diet full of good carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats.

2. Diet pills are a red flag! If you have to take a pill to suppress your appetite, you may be causing long term damage to your heart, liver, kidneys and other vital organs. Is that really healthier? We have seen over the last decade diet pills come and go. We've seen people die of heart attacks from stimulants. We've seen people die of liver failure, kidney failure, all for the quest to be thinner. It can be done without pills. It actually goes back to #1. If the diet is balanced and healthy, you can change your lifestyle to healthy eating and NOT be hungry.

3. Supplements. If the diet you are looking at requires a handful of vitamins and "natural supplements" - it's not a healthy diet. I know this is all the rage right now, all those vitamins and nutrients packed into one little capsule, swallowed down with a nice glass of water.  The fact is our body's do not absorb these vitamins as well if they are processed and in a pill form. Certainly, a good multivitamin is recommended. There are some health conditions that require additional vitamin supplements. However, the average person can glean all their essential vitamins and nutrients from FOOD in a (yes, broken record time) well balanced diet.

4. Shakes. We've all seen these diets, they've been around for years. Drink a shake for a couple meals per day and you'll lose weight. Certainly, some weight is lost. However, again, can you really live the rest of your life drinking your meals?  I know I can't!  These nutritional shakes are great for those that are unable to swallow, have a feeding tube or some other health condition (typically GI related) that require already processed nutrients. However, shakes are not ideal for health. 

5. Fasts. Now I'm not speaking of religious fasting, but that which requires an individual to cleanse their body for weight loss or health. Cleansing/fasting really only causes a lot of bathroom time and dehydration. Sure, weight is lost, but it's water weight! Every cell in our body is not only bathed in water, but full of water. When pills or other fluids are taken to cause a "cleansing" effect on the colon, all it does is cause your body to dump much of the water bathing and filling the body's cells. This depletes the body of essential electrolytes, nutrients and fluids.  The best way to cleanse the colon is to eat a high fiber diet. The ruffage going through the lower GI tract actually scrubs the walls of the intestines taking with it cholesterol, bacteria and other residue. However, with the "low carb/no carb" craze, fiber is often overlooked - it's found on the food label under Carbohydrates.

When seeking a weight loss solution, consider those that maintain balance. It really is a more livable plan.  Also, don't look at it as a temporary fix - to maintain a healthy weight one must maintain a healthy diet - period. Dieting for a set period of time to take off the weight and then going back to old habits is not only detrimental to weight loss but also healthy. Seek a healthy solution, change your life and be healthy!

The point is not to have the smallest waist, but to have the best running machine.  A car can have a fabulous paint job but the engine can still run like crap.  ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

5am is my time with the girls

Many people that know me well, know I'm an introvert. I love technology. I love writing. I love sitting, thinking and having deep conversations with one or two people. I'm not so great with the superficial, light relationships so it takes much time to really build trust and friendship.

Through the years I've been asked by many friends to workout with them. (Some may actually be reading this blog.) I always politely declined. I was never comfortable going to a gym or exercising with ANYONE, never dreaming of actually doing so with someone I knew. No way, no how! Even the thought of it caused flashbacks to seventh grade gym class, being the fat girl in the girls locker room and having to endure 45 minutes of PE.  Ick!! No thanks.

Then, a very new, very good Weight Watchers friend from my meetings very gently persuaded me to join her at the gym. The first time I was supposed to meet her things came up and I wasn't able to. Honestly, that morning when it happened I felt badly for standing her up but felt a sense of relief. I was still happily in my comfort zone. My world wasn't changed and all was well.

But then, this dear friend, not giving up on me, asked again. I accepted and joined she and another friend. The experience, which I blogged about, was fantastic. Since then we have only missed one day of going to the gym together. We are each other's motivation when our own may be lacking. It feels good to have the support while at the gym and cheering each other on as we set goals and push through personal records.

I get it now!  I understand why it's nice to workout in small groups, have friends surrounding you while you pour all your blood, sweat and tears into that hour in the gym. 

I look forward to my early morning time with the girls. We have fun, we push ourselves HARD and we walk out of the gym, the sky still dark, with our heads held high.

If you have a friend to workout with, do it! It makes a world of difference. If you don't, invite someone to go for a walk, join you at a pool, go half's on a membership, anything, just get active and if you can, have a friend join you. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weight Watchers PointsPlus is Here!

For those that are doing the Weight Watchers plan, you know all too well the anxiety that has followed the announcement that the plan was changing. This anxiety of the unknown is compounded by the fact that we've been doing the regular Points plan for what seems to be forever. We know the point values of most of our foods. We stick with it. It's habit. . .and then we are told it's all changing! OMG!!!

Well, I'm happy to say that the new plan looks FANTASTIC! Ease your minds, those that are waiting for a meeting later in the week, it is going to be great!

I was surprised slightly by the increased daily and weekly pointsplus point allowances - but it all balances out as some of the pointsplus point values on foods increased also. From what I'm seeing, the old "1 point" foods are the new "3 point foods" - but when your daily points allowance has increased nearly 20 points per day - that works out just fine!

The greatest, most wonderful, fantabulous surprise of this morning . . . FRESH FRUITS ARE FREE!!!  Yep, just like our fresh veggies, our fresh fruits now have a pointsplus value of ZERO!  Isn't that exciting?

The biggest difference is how the points are calculated.  Gone are the days where only Calories, Fats and Fiber are used to calculate the value. Now emphasis is on all the macromolecules which make up our food.  Lean proteins get more bang for their buck on the new plan. High fiber, whole grains carry less pointsplus values than their refined, bleached cousins and well fat is pretty much the same - fat!

My advice to fellow weight watchers is don't get sticker shock when you see some of your favorite foods have a point value of 3 rather than 1 - remember - YOUR POINTS BUDGET HAS GROWN and you're no longer charged for your fruits and your lean proteins "cost" less.

If you haven't been to a meeting in a while - what are you waiting for? This week is the week! If you haven't tried Weight Watchers, you may want to - I can't sing enough praises about their program.

I absolutely love it!!!  I can't wait until next week to see how well my body likes the changes!

Week 23 - Weigh In

I did it! I made it through Thanksgiving without a gain! I lost .2, yes that's right, POINT 2 POUNDS and I'm celebrating it!! I think it's fantastic that I made it though and didn't gain.

Even more exciting is this week starts the new plan on Weight Watchers called PointsPlus! I'll blog about that shortly.

I got a great workout immediately following the meeting and plan to go to the gym every day this week.  Next week's weigh in is going to rock!


Easy stats:
Loss this week: 0.2lbs
Total loss: 41.4lbs GONE!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My First Thanksgiving Success

I've stressed greatly about the Thanksgiving meal. This day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the food, I love the traditions my family has always shared, recipes that have been passed down over the years and working side by side with my mother as we prepare the holiday feast. Today, I did not spend Thanksgiving with my family, as we are having our meal on Saturday. We spent our holiday meal with my husband's family.

While I do LOVE Thanksgiving food, I vowed last week that I did NOT want to gain weight. I have done well and I want to continue doing well. I am not going to allow the holiday season to slow this pace.

The first thing I did was track everything I planned to eat. This helped greatly, as when we arrived I already had a mental list of everything I would have.  The second thing I did was put away the large dinner plate and use a salad plate. It was crammed full with the little spoonfuls of mashed potatoes, stuffing and goodies, but it wasn't over the portions I had already planned to have.

I am relieved that the first Thanksgiving meal is over. I fretted over this day. I honestly believe with the additional exercise I had this morning and the extreme portion control I practiced during the meal - I'll still see a loss this week on the scale. I also did not go over my point values, my weekly point values are still intact and am planning a little snack as we speak. 

Saturday's Thanksgiving dinner is lighter fare my mother and I planned together. We will still have mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, turkey - but all will be made with low fat and high fiber ingredients - we edited all those family favorite recipes.

I feel like today was really a success. I faced a lot of temptation and I made it through it.  That gives me so much motivation that I can and WILL do this for life!

Planet Fitness = Awesome!

I've made some really great friends since joining Weight Watcher's and attending meetings. I can't even begin to express how fantastic this is. People speak about how important support is but when you have a group of people, experiencing similar struggles and you're part of that group of giving and receiving support - it really makes you realize how wonderful it truly is.

Today is Thanksgiving, which I've been stressing about for a while. While it is a day that we gather with our families, loved ones and friends to be thankful - it's also a day filled with gluttony and over indulgence. With that in mind, one of the best things to do the morning of is to get that exercise in. I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation last night to join my friends at Planet Fitness.

I've mentioned before about my anxiety about working out in a gym. I was nervous! I get my sweat on in the privacy of my own home and have feared how I would "look" when doing it around other people. But, I did it! It was fantastic! In fact, I really think I pushed myself harder because while I was there my only focus was to work out.

When I'm on my treadmill at home I can't help but get distracted with thoughts of what I need to do. I often cut my workout short because I feel like I'm taking time away from other things. However, at the gym my focus was just on the workout and it felt great! I walked at a faster pace than at home, I enjoyed being surrounded by other people doing the exact same thing I was. I didn't feel judgment, I didn't feel like I stuck out or didn't fit it - I was just another person striving to be healthier.

I loved it so much that I'm going to purchase a membership and try to push myself to go to the gym at least five days per week. This is exactly what I needed to push my weightloss further and hit my 50lb goal by January 1st!

I'm so thankful for my new friends.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Confessions of a Food Addict

Chatting with a friend this evening, I realized something. There is a piece of my past, a piece of this addiction that I have not really addressed. I've tip-toed around it. I've eluded to it even, but I've never completely come out and said it. I think we know by now I'm working towards honesty. That honesty is a very personal, al beit necessary, thing. It's often difficult to put things in words here that I have never shared with anyone but my closest and dearest friends - but it IS therapudic and serves a purpose on this journey of healing.

So, here I go.

I am a binger. I'm not JUST an overeater. Many times in my life I have gone on binges, consuming huge amounts of calories in the matter of a few minutes. I still wear these calories, all over my body, converted to fat. Energy never used, stored for another time. This was often why, when talking with friends, family, my husband, they couldn't believe I hold the pounds, as my meals were always of normal portions. I can't begin to tell you how many times I heard (and said to myself), "You don't eat any more than any other person - your body just holds on to it."

"You have a slow metabolism."

"I bet you have thyroid problems, you should go get that checked."

No, none of the above. I just hid when I binged! A quick stop through a drive-thru on the way to work to pick up a few breakfast sandwiches, large hashbrowns, breakfast burritos or perhaps it was a lunch run out to grab a couple burgers, chicken nuggets, fries - everything to be consumed quickly in the privacy of my vehicle and trash discarded at the nearest gas station to cover up the evidence. Maybe it was a vending machine run, purchasing several dollars worth of candy bars and hiding at my desk as I ate all of them or purchasing a bag of chocolates and not letting even one survive the evening into the next day.

As painful as it is to admit this behavior, it is even more painful to ever think of going back to that! I can't say that I don't have times when I'm tempted to binge - I do! Everyday is a challenge, everyday is a struggle, some far worse than others. But, I no longer have the fear of getting caught. I no longer live with the shame of knowing how much I consumed in one day, only to go home and eat my regular meals to keep up the appearances. I have learned an entirely new level of accountability and honesty in the last six months than I have ever experienced in my entire life.

Even now, to be able to even type out this blog, admit to MYSELF that I binged and then admit to all of you that I did this - it is an accomplishment. I thank you for reading this and supporting me as I fight my way back from an addiction of a lifetime.

And thank you, friend, for making me realize that I am not alone with these skeletons of binges in my closet. I'm sure there are others out there, who have experienced these binges and feel ashamed, alone and afraid to admit that this behavior was once part of their lives. It's ok. I can't even begin to tell you how liberating it feels to admit it, put these words in black and white and MOVE ON!

I'm moving on. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one bite of a time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cha-cha-change!

Today I've realized that I've been on Weight Watchers for over a half of a year. Twenty-two weeks have passed and there have been amazing changes.

One of these changes is something I noticed in the mirror the other day. I felt like jumping up and down when I saw them, and I think I may have done just that. I'd like to introduce you to something kind of new, well not really new but. I haven't seen them for years. They have been well hidden.  MY CLAVICLES! (Pardon the sweaty tank top, I took the picture just as I had finished my walk.)

I'm noticing more changes than just my physical appearance. For one, I find my tastes are changing. For example, I have never liked raw carrots. Never! But, this week I took some baby carrots in my lunch and I actually didn't mind eating them. I appreciated the fresh taste and enjoyed it. I'm also gaining a liking towards grilled or broiled fish. I grew up that fish was eaten one way and one way only - batter dipped and FRIED. However, now I can't imagine eating it grease soaked and feel like I would be missing out on some great flavors deep fried. Now, this isn't to say that when Lent comes that I will avoid all fish fries - I think I'll have to partake at least one week. But, I'm thankful that I have grown to LOVE my healthy foods.

For those that aren't following Weight Watcher's, you may not know but there are big changes coming next Sunday. I'm super excited about this! There has been some talk in our meetings about the changes, and I understand the apprehension for some. Change can be scary. Some of us have had some great success on the Momentum plan (Points Plan on Weight Watcher's). However, I really think this change will only be positive!

Years ago I did Weight Watcher's, back when it wasn't points, but exchanges. I had tremendous success and lost 90lbs. I would say I've had equal success this time around with points. The nice thing is, points are not going away, they have just made changes to how the points are structured. I think it's fabulous and can't wait until next Sunday's meeting!

I'm ready for more changes!  Bring it on!

Week 22 - Weigh In

Wow! I did it! My Week of Accountability paid off and I lost FIVE POUNDS!

I really feel great. I'm so glad to have lost another 5lbs right before Turkey Day. My goal this week is to really push the exercise, track, track, track and make it through Thanksgiving without gaining weight. If I lose, that's a bonus, but the goal is to just not gain!

So how did you do? What was your week like?


Quick states:
This week's loss: 5lbs
Total loss: 41.2lbs
Mini-goal - 50lbs by December 31st (I think I'll make it!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Week of Accountability - Days 6 & 7

I missed blogging about my food journal yesterday, so figure I'll just summarize tonight. (Life is a bit hectic as I've been trying to study for a major exam I have coming up on Tuesday.)

I did it!  I made my goals, with the exception of exercising EVERY day.  I missed a couple days with my walk - but I did double up on several of my walk days - so I did get a total of three hours of exercise in this week - that's the equivalent of 30 minutes/6 days, so I'll take it.

I also did not dip into my weekly points nor did I use any of the activity points earned.  Most days I had just a couple points left for the day.  I did not eat a single Smart One's entree all week and I stayed away from Diet Coke - only having a couple this week.

I went out for lunch with a co-worker yesterday. It was a sports bar type joint that serves mostly gigantic burgers, baskets of french fries and deep fried appetizers. I did not allow those menu items to tempt me. I ordered a grilled mahi mahi sandwich (dry) and steamed broccoli. I actually removed the fish from the extremely over-sized bun and ate it without the bread.  

I feel proud of myself. No matter what the scale says in the morning, I know I did well this week.

Thank you for following me on this week of accountability. It felt good to come and share the food items I consumed and is nice to look back at all those "good" days.

We will now resume to regularly scheduled programming. . . ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Week of Accountability - Day 5

I'm late posting this, as I had school last night and had a major scare - I thought I lost my wedding rings in the shower. I noticed driving to school, called my husband and he looked around. He did not find them. I stressed and stressed until I got home where I found them on the dresser. They had fallen off my hand while I was brushing my hair!

The funny thing about this scare is it made me realize how much my hunger triggers are associated with stress. As soon as I started stressing I started CRAVING! I didn't cave into the craving. I kept telling myself "no, you don't need to eat, this is just the stress! Don't seek comfort in the food, it WON'T make you feel any better."

Believe it or not, my acknowledgment of the behavior actually helped me work through it.

Anyway, on to the day.

I think I had a pretty good day. I continued to stay away from the Smart One's (which is a goal I set this week). I didn't get as many veggies in as I would have liked, so today I'm going to push that and take lots of veggies in my lunch. I was getting a little too sore, so I took a break from exercise.

Yummies for the Day
1 egg beater's egg sandwich
1c black grapes
Turkey on whole wheat arnold sandwich thin
1/2 cup pears (no sugar added)
cottage cheese
4oz pork chop
baked potato with fat free cheddar
1c turnip greens
1 vitatop chocolate muffin
1 TBSP peanut butter
1c milk
Weight Watcher's cookies and cream ice cream bar
Kellogg's Fiber Bar

I stayed within points, with just a couple left for the day. I'd say that was a success, even without the extra veggies.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Week of Accountability - Day 4

Whew, we are over the hump folks!  Four days in and I haven't dipped into weekly points.  That feels GREAT!

Wednesdays are a bit more challenging as we always visit my husband's parents' home for dinner. This evening we didn't visit as he is ill, but his mother was kind enough to still prepare our dinner. It's always such a nice treat! However, it isn't always a low fat type of meal. (Delicious, but certainly not low fat). LOL

I did well but I will be going to bed early tonight - I have zero points left and I am sticking with my plan of not dipping into the weekly points.

So, here goes - my menu wasn't as great today as the last few but it's all good!

Yummies for the day
1/4 c Egg Beaters
Bagel Thin
WW Fat Free Cream Cheese
Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Honeydew
Turkey sandwich
Apple
Cheese cubes
Pasties (pie crust with beef, pork, potatoes and carrots) with gravy
Broccoli (larger amount, so I ate less of the pasties)
A pizza roll (was a treat for the children but I was tempted)
Small, small, small piece of cake

That's it folks. That filled my daily points. I'm actually glad this happened today (it is actually typical of Wednesday's) as it just shows how high calorie, high fat foods can really add up. The morning and afternoon, while I could have had more veggies, weren't too bad - but my dinner this evening really sealed the deal for the day.

The good news is, Weight Watchers IS flexible and while I wouldn't want this to happen on a daily basis - today will not hurt a thing since I'm still within my daily point target.

I have not had my walk yet today. I plan to get a 1/2 hour in this evening, study and then go to bed early! I may hang a "closed" sign on the kitchen. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Week of Accountability - Day 3

Today was a slightly different day as I've been home with my husband (he's having a bad day with his rheumatoid arthritis). Days at home always seem to be far more challenging than days when I'm at work. However, I've done well.

Yummies for the day
3/4c Whole Grain Total, 1/2c Blueberries, 1/2c skim milk
Turkey and cheese sandwich on Arnold Sandwich Thin
1c Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Honeydew
Yoplait Lite Yogurt
2oz 2% Cheese cubes
Apple
1c Turkey and White Bean Chili with Cheese
Vitatop Corn Muffin
Peanut butter sandwich on Arnold Sandwich Thin

Snacks later
Kellogg's Fiber Bar
1c Skim Milk
Weight Watcher's Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Bar

I still have a few points left, so I may have some 100 calorie popcorn later, we will see.

I did get 1.2 miles in on the treadmill today.  It was strange though, I worked as hard, walked my typical speed - but I didn't sweat nearly as much.  Does the "ease" happen that quickly? Is it time to up the intensity already?  Has anyone experienced this on only the fourth day of "regular" exercise?  Perhaps it's a fluke.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Week of Accountability - Day 2

Wow! I feel fantastic! The combination of increased exercise and increased veggies is making a difference in how I feel.  Part of my goals for this week is to avoid the frozen Smart One’s, which are so easy to grab, and really focus on fresh foods.  Today, I did it.

Yummies for the Day:
Total Cereal with Blueberries and Skim Milk
Bagel Thin with Weight Watchers Cream Cheese
Yoplait Yogurt
Turkey and Low Fat Swiss Sandwich
Bib Lettuce Salad with Fat Free Cheese, Croutons and Yogurt Dressing
Cucumbers
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
Grapes
Low Fat Cheddar Cheese Cubes
Apple
Kellogg’s Fiber Bar
Baby Carrots (raw)
Turkey and White Bean Chili
Vitatop Corn Muffin with Brummel & Brown Yogurt Margarine
Salad with FF Cheese & Yogurt Dressing

My snack will be
Vitatop Deep Chocolate
1 TBSP Peanut Butter
1 Cup Skim Milk

I was able to get all my water in for the day – and then some!

As far as exercise goes, my plan was to be up by 6am to exercise. I didn’t hit the 6am time but I did get it in at 7am!  Yes!  I plan to sneak in another half hour when I get home from class.

All and all, really great “on points” day!  Now, off to school.

What kind of day are you having? Please share as much or as little! I love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Week of Accountability - Day 1

After having a gain this morning on the scale, I'm holding myself to a week of transparent accountability.

Today really was a great day! I worked out twice - both for half an hour. The first I walked 1.3 miles burning  234 calories, the second I walked 1.2 miles burning 216 calories. I honestly don't pay much attention to the calories burned, as I'm really not sure how accurate those are - but it's nice to have a baseline, so I'll include it. 


Yummies for the Day:
(I did not include measurements below, but did measure today - I used the standard serving size)
3 cups of Coffee with Coffee Mate and Splenda - 3 pts (throughout the day)
Total Cereal w/skim milk - 2pts
Banana - 2pts
Turkey & Swiss Sandwich - 4pts
Apple - 1pt
1c Skim Milk - 2pts
Kellogg's Fiber Bar - 2pts
Yoplait Light Yogurt - 2pts
Bib Lettuce Salad w/ cheese, croutons and yogurt dressing - 4pts
Portobello and veggie sandwich w/ cheese - 4pts
Steamed Sugar Snap Peas - 0pts
Grapes - 1pt
Vitamuffin Vitatop Chocolate - 1pt
Peanut butter - 5pts
1c Skim Milk - 2pts

I still have 5pts to spare.

According to my points tracker, I earned 10 activity points today for my treadmill efforts. I never spend my AP's, so it doesn't matter how accurate it really is - but I'm excited to see that balance grow!

Speaking of activity, I'm taking a leap!  A fellow WW asked me to join her at a local gym this week and I took her up on it. I haven't been in a fitness club for years and I'm a bit nervous. So Wednesday, I stick my toe into the "public exercise" water. I'm really excited!

Week 21 - Weigh In - Week of Accountability

Ugg, so I gained. I honestly can't say it was a total surprise, I was a bit more lax with my tracking/measuring. I haven't been getting my exercise in like I need to and well, the scale is always honest. BUT! It's all good. I think seeing that gain is the kick in the behind I need to really push it.

So, here we go. This week is my week of accountability. Each day I am going to blog a summary of the foods I ate - complete transparency. I'm also going to commit myself to getting up every morning and running on the treadmill for a minimum of 30 minutes. I'm also hoping a few nights I can throw in an extra 30 minutes.

Time to measure, track and move. . .next Sunday's weigh in is going to rock!

Would anyone like to join me?  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Biggest Loser - Meh, No Thanks

This is probably not going to be the most popular of my blog entries, but everything isn't always going to get rave reviews from my readers. It may come as a shock but, I have mixed feelings about NBC's show, The Biggest Loser. I do see the positives, I do. I know contestants are losing weight, eating healthier, etc. That's great! They are battling emotional problems which drive them to seek comfort in food and I'm thrilled they are tackling those - great! But (and it's a pretty big but - pun intended) I find more negatives to the show than positives which have forced me to "unsubscribe" on my DVR schedule.

So what could possibly be negative in a television show that is promoting lifestyle changes for the morbidly obese? 

I think it sets unreasonable expectations for those battling a weight issue without the luxury of going to a ranch and having someone prepare all your foods and force you to work out.  People don't understand that a gang buster week with a 5lb weight loss is HUGE!  Losing 2lbs is FANTASTIC! The losses of 10lbs, 12lbs, 15lbs per week are not only unrealistic but also UNHEALTHY!  That rate of weight loss causes extreme stress to the heart and other organ systems. If the goal is to be healthy, while their diet may be better and they are dropping pounds - the rapid weight loss IS NOT.

Our society is geared towards instant gratification. If we want something, for the most part we can instantly get it. That's how many of us ended up having 50, 100, 200 or in my case 230lbs to lose. However, weight loss is not instant. Part of this journey is learning patience, celebrating a 0.2lb weight loss on a week that you thought was a really great week, building habits that will last the long haul - that is hardly the message sent by The Biggest Loser.

Additionally, the promotion of these high intensity workouts is dangerous, as we have seen in a few episodes when some of the contestants have had to seek medical attention. While there is a warning prior to watching the show that one should seek the advice of a doctor before attempting any of the workouts; it's still a promotion of high intensity workouts for those that may not have the good health to endure such a routine. I prefer the message of "just get moving."  Even a half hour walk a day makes a HUGE difference. Shoot, when I started six months ago I had to push it to make it just 15 minutes on my treadmill!  Now I can go for an hour, jogging, and feel good after!

I also cringe when I hear belittling on the television show. It seems to only feed into the exploitation of people that are very sick, battling an illness that is an addiction. I realize the show is for entertainment purposes, the people that signed up knew what they were getting into and they must have ratings to continue to get sponsors. However, I could have a little less negative speak, a little less degradation and a little more "reality." It is "reality" TV, right?  I'm able to lose my weight without having someone yelling in my ear, making a boot camp sergeant look like a lamb. I'm able to give myself doses of reality without completing tearing myself down.  Of course, that wouldn't make good TV entertainment.

I understand the popularity. I love the celebrations at the end when they flash the before and after photos. It's amazing to see what people look like after they've lost the equivalent of a whole person in body weight! I'm just not sure promoting rapid weight loss is the way to go for long term good health and I don't like the mind game that goes along with it. I just hope that most that are watching don't feel demotivated because they aren't seeing extreme losses, putting in hours at the gym or occasionally splurge for that ice cream sundae.

The Biggest Loser promotes a sprint - I'll stick to my walk, thank you. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Food Fridays - The Skinny on Carbs

As many that follow me know, I am currently going to school to become a Registered Nurse. One of the classes necessary to even be considered for a nursing program is Clinical Nutrition for Medical Professionals. I took the class over a year ago and I must say, it has been one of the most valuable classes I have ever taken.  If you have a few extra bucks and a little bit of time, I encourage you to enroll in your local community college and take this class.  In a matter of months you will have a whole new understanding about how we fuel our bodies!

One of the most important things you can do for your health is to properly fuel your body. Consider what happens if you put gasoline into a car that is too rich; deposits form in the engine and over time, build up. Once a threshold has been exceeded - the car stops running.  Consider what happens if you fail to fuel it at all - or you replace the gasoline with some other compound - again, the car stops running. For optimal performance the vehicle needs the correct fuel with the correct composition.

Our bodies aren't much different than that. We, like the rest of the organisms on earth, use glucose as our basic energy source. We cannot live without it.

When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down to glucose which in turn fuels our bodies. Any glucose that is not used is then stored as glycogen in our liver and our muscles as an energy reserve.  However, that energy must be used, otherwise, where is it stored?  EVERYWHERE!  It is converted to fat and stored all around the body. So when we say that cupcake is going straight to our ass - we are more than likely correct!

So this is where the type of carbohydrate that is consumed comes in - as it really is of utmost importance.  We all hear the talk about how great whole grains, high fiber, whole wheat is (all complex carbohydrates), but do we really know why?  A complex carbohydrate is a long chain of glucose molecules. Our bodies must work, using energy, to break the bonds of the compound to make it in the form our bodies can use.  Fiber is basically wood.  Since our bodies cannot break it down, the ruffage is used as a "scrubber" to clean our intestinal walls taking with it bacteria, toxins and cholesterol. It also acts as a filler and we don't get hungry as quickly.  A simple carbohydrate is like having an injection of straight glucose - we don't need to work to put it into a usable form and in turn, use it (or store it) faster. 

If we run into a situation where our bodies are not receiving enough carbohydrates to fuel the body, it then begins to use the glycogen reserves; however, these usable reserves are not plentiful. Once depleted, the body then goes into a cycle of turning protein and lipids (fat) to glucose.  Ideally, we need to minimize the amount of protein converted - as protein is our muscle. Muscle waste, while does show large weight losses, is not healthy weight loss. 

When we convert fat to glucose byproducts (ketones) are produced.  This is why slower weight loss is advised.  High levels of ketones for an extended period of time can be dangerous.  The more fat converted to glucose and burned, the more ketones produced.

While there is a lot of information out there about "low carbohydrate diets" or "no carbohydrate diets" and even some diets recommending a constant state of ketosis - I can honestly say I know better than to buy into the hype after receiving formal education on the topic.

The reason I write this is there is a lot of hype about carbs. It is thought that carbs are "bad for you."  That simply isn't the case!  We NEED carbs in our diet to survive.  However, it is not an all or nothing deal.  Complex carbs, high fiber, lean proteins and lower fat intake is absolutely the way to go.  Balance is key.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That is how many points? Really???

Isn't it funny how we can go on for a long time, doing the same thing, making it routine and then in a split second we can make one choice that is completely out of the blue?

Yep, that was my morning. As I was packing my lunch, I noticed that I was out of bagel thins.  I normally always have a bagel thin, cream cheese and a piece of fruit for breakfast - it's 3 points and a great way for me to start my day. Well, no bagel thins, it's grocery store week. So I decide that I have weekly points, it would be ok to run through a drive-thru for breakfast.  I haven't done that for months.

So on the way to work I go through Burger King. I hadn't had time to prepare by looking up point values but I assumed the breakfast would be about 15 points and I would just put it in my tracker when I went to work. So, I grabbed breakfast and ate it on the way in.  As soon as I got to work entered my breakfast into the tracker.  OMG! It wasn't 15 points.  It wasn't 18 points. It was 22 points!!  For breakfast!!!  Holy crap!

Thankfully, I packed pretty light, some extra veggies and an extra fruit.  Tonight, I just changed my dinner to eat very light - a turkey sandwich and some fresh fruit salad.  I'm satisfied and I haven't gone over daily points, so no fear of even dipping into those weeklies, but my goodness, if I had known it was 22 points I would not have had it.  It honestly wasn't worth spending that many points on.  LOL!  Anyway, lesson that I already knew but ignored - don't put it in your mouth until it's been tracked!

What are some foods you were shocked when discovering the caloric value, fat grams or points?

On the bright side, I received my test results back and I do NOT have diabetes!  Yes!

Curious on what a 22 point breakfast looks like?  Try menu selection #1, medium sized, with a Diet Coke.  Just a plain old Sausage, Egg and Cheese croissanwich and medium hash browns.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week 20 - Weigh In - 1st Goal Achieved!

I did it! I made it to my first goal of 37lbs which was 10% of my starting weight.  Today's weight in was a loss of 2.2lbs, making my total lost 38.6lbs since May 25th, the day I started Weight Watchers.

As a result, I received my 10% key chain which now holds all of my milestone charms received thus far (25lbs, 16 weeks and 1st 5K). I love the fact that they give these charms!  My next charm should be at the 50lbs lost mark - which just may be my next goal.  It will be a pretty quick one to reach and since it has a charm attached to it, it might be nice to have just a little "mini-goal" to have in front of my through the holiday season.

My next major goal is 299lbs. It only makes sense as that will be a huge accomplishment for me - I honestly haven't seen the 200's since high school and I'm really excited to revisit them!

Below is a copy of my tracker from my Weight Watchers etools.  I really love looking at the trending line over the last 20 weeks.  Here's to another 20 more great weeks to a healthy new me!!

Quick Stats:
Starting Weight: 376.8lbs
1st Goal Weight: 339lbs
Current Weight: 338.2lbs
This Week's Loss: 2.2lbs
Total Weight Loss: 38.6lbs


Friday, November 5, 2010

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

For years, the big bad wolf has been huffing and puffing but couldn't blow the house in. The warning signs have been there and up until this year, I really just ignored them. I've walked around for years with at least four risk factors for Type II diabetes.  My father is a Type II diabetic. I had insulin dependent gestational diabetes with all three of my pregnancies; with the last two it started in the first trimester. Obviously, carrying the weight I've carried over the years has increased my risk of diabetes.

Last week I went to the doctor for my yearly physical. I walked in confident and excited to share my weight loss since the last time I was seen. We went through the typical blood work, blood pressure checking, etc. I walked out feeling great.  I couldn't wait to get my lab results to see if my HDL (good cholesterol) had increased. I've never had an issue with my LDL (bad cholesterol) however, my HDL was low six months ago.  The doctor wanted to give me medication for that, but I decided I'd prefer to try to "fix" it with diet and exercise rather than medication.  Honestly, during the visit the diabetes fear never even hit me as I had made changes in my lifestyle, surely I had dodged the bullet? Right?

A week later I received the phone call.  The good news is my HDL increased!  I'm out of the "low" range and into the "normal" range - done only through diet and exercise over the last six months.  Yes! The bad news is my fasting glucose was high and I would have to go in for a glucose tolerance test.  I did that earlier this week and now I'm just waiting for the results.


Rather than waiting for the test results I opted to get my glucose meter out, buy some test strips and start taking my blood sugar, just for a little self education about what's going on. What I've discovered is interesting. My fasting glucose is above normal, indicating that I probably am diabetic; however, the current diet I'm eating throughout the day is maintaining my blood sugar in normal ranges!

I'm fairly certain I will get the phone call next week with a diagnosis of diabetes. I think that is inevitable when my fasting blood sugars have been above normal. However, this is totally manageable and will only assist me in continuing to live my new healthy lifestyle.

If I get the diagnosis, I plan to meet with a Registered Dietitian to go through my meal plans. If possible, I'd like to control the disease through diet and exercise, if not possible, then medication will be necessary. I'm not opposed to the medication but it would be great to keep moving forward without it.

This could honestly be a blessing in disguise. It only strengthens the commitment I've already made to eat healthy, exercise and continue this lifestyle change. While it is disheartening that I'm getting the diagnosis after I have already made these changes, I can only imagine the damage that would have been done over the last six months if I hadn't adopted these changes in my life.

Weight loss isn't just about fitting in to those jeans that are a few sizes smaller, although that is a great bonus. For me, this weight loss is a life-saving, life-changing event. Without it, I am taking years off my life. Without it, I am diminishing the quality of life I will have in years to come. Diabetes is not a disease to mess around with and just having it increases things like blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to severe health consequences, including limb amputations and premature death.

I'm gaining so much, while I lose.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 19 - Weigh In

I finally got back to my meetings this morning. It's been three weeks since I weighed in and I was really expecting a gain.  I was hoping not, but I was expecting it.

To my surprise, I lost!  I lost 4.8lbs!  Yes!

This is NOT saying I can do this on my own, as I know I need the support of the meetings. In fact, I know if I had been attending meetings, I would have had a greater loss. However, I'm thrilled with being  nearly 5lbs less!

This is going to be a fantastic week!

Easy stats:
This week's loss:  4.8lbs
Total loss: 36.4lbs

Friday, October 29, 2010

Food Fridays: Substitutes!

With the increasing popularity of the book series, Eat This Not That, I thought it might be a nice time to share some of the substitutions for key ingredients in recipes. 

Bacon.  If your grandmother was anything like my grandmother, most vegetables were smothered with a rich, smokey bacon taste. Green beans, bacon!  Spinach, bacon!  Cabbage, bacon!  Greens, bacon!  Now, I can't say I feel I need that bacon taste on all these veggies and most of the time I am perfectly fine without adding anything at all - I like most of my veggies steamed, no salt, no butter, no nothing.  It's taken a little while to develop the appreciation of naked brussels sprouts, but they really are delicious in a lonely state.  However, this weekend I'm making a big pot of green beans and potatoes.  I want to make it in the way my grandmother did, with bacon or a ham hock but without the fat that goes along.  So, I'll be using canadian bacon.  The key with canadian bacon is to chunk it up and add it close to the end of the cooking process.  I've used this in potato soup and it had that same smokey rich flavor but without the added fat! 

Mayonnaise.  Potato salad, macaroni salad, tuna salad - all of these yummy dishes are laced with fat from the mayonnaise.  There are a few different options for a mayo substitute in salads.  One is an olive oil mayo which has far less fat than the conventional mayo (and the fat from the olive oil is a healthier fat) or YOGURT!  Plain, non-fat yogurt can be a fantastic substitute for regular mayo in salads. I even give it a couple shakes of the hidden valley ranch mix (not a lot) which gives it a more seasoned taste.  Delicious for macaroni salad!  You could even try some greek yogurt as a special treat.  

On a sandwich, I've made a point to purchase some high quality seedy mustard.  By using just a touch of this mustard in place of the mayonnaise, I have tons of flavor and I don't miss the mayo at all.

Flavor for fat. As cooler weather approaches, I yearn for some of those fall favorite crock pot dishes; beans, stews and soups. Often these dinners are prepared with high fat meats that cook all day long. Rather than adding stew meat or ham hocks, I choose a lean cut of meat, fat free chicken broth and then finish it off with fresh rosemary and thyme for a stew or fresh cilantro for beans. In addition to the healthy benefits, I find I prefer the flavor of the fresh herbs over the high fat options and the added bonus is no more heartburn!

What are some substitutions you have adopted into your everyday cooking? 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All He Wants for Christmas is Two New Knees

This blog post is something a little different - but something a little the same. I honestly believe very few make it through this life without having a cross to bear.  I've always thought of my cross being my weight.  It has caused me physical pain and emotional torment but it has also provided me a source of character building.  I am who I am today, partially because of all that I've endured.

My husband bears another cross - his is rheumatoid arthritis.  At twelve years of age he received a diagnosis that would change his life forever.  For years he was able to do normal activities.  He played soccer.  He was a avid surfer. Even today, his stories of surfing entertain the children and put a smile on his face.

He went to school for mechanical designing and has designed parts of some of the biggest rides with some of the biggest amusement parks in the country. He is a smart, creative, educated man, a fantastic father and a wonderful husband.

Although permanent damage to his joints had been sustained, a new drug called Remicade, an infusion therapy and a handful of other daily medications helped put his rheumatoid arthritis into remission.  Certainly, he still had stiffness and pain but it was bearable. He experienced joint deformities fairly early on, but he learned to adapt. He was able to lead a pretty normal thirty-something's life; whatever normal is for us, anyway.  We went to Las Vegas for my 30th birthday. We took the children to Disney World to enjoy the Osborne Family Lights. We could go to the mall and just shop around.

Then, all at once, our world started changing.  The drug therapy he has been on for several years, stopped working.  This is fairly typical of biological medications.  Eventually, our amazing immune system create antibodies which then fight against the biologic.  That's exactly what happened to my husband.  He's been on a plethora of biologics since then, none which have worked as well as Remicade - the drug was almost a miracle drug for him.

Each Christmas, the same thing is on his list - new knees. Because he is so young, the doctor really wants him to hold off on total knee replacements for a few more years; as having them done now will mean subsequent transplants in later years, which do not hold near the success rates. So, he waits. I cannot wait until his Christmas wish for knees can be granted. While it is only the replacement of two joints in his body, it will be two less that ache and swell.

 Walking is becoming more of a challenge as his feet hurt all the time. Some of his toes are now frozen in place, as are many of his joints in his body. I think this is one thing that scares both of us the most - the prospect of his body attacking the joints of his feet to the point of him having to give up the ability to walk.  Already, we limit how much walking he does as even a walk around the mall can cause him days of agony afterward.

It's difficult seeing your 36 year old husband in such pain, some days needing more assistance with daily living activities than others.  It's stressful knowing the damage his body inflicts on him everyday.  I wish I could take his pain away. I wish there was a cure. I wish not a single person ever had to experience this disease, ever again!  But, they do.

What does this have to do with weight loss and a fat girl fighting back?  Well, for one, I want to honor my husband and try to share some information about rheumatoid arthritis. Secondly, I want to use this as a reminder for all of us that can get rid of the cross we bear - as many, cannot. When I feel like I can't put in that 1/2 hour of exercise, I need to remind myself how blessed I am that I have the ability to do it! When I feel low, throwing a self pity party about being overweight; I need to remind myself that I can change this! In fact,  not changing it, remaining miserable in my body, is not honoring my husband and others like him that have afflictions that cannot be changed.

In a little less than eight weeks I will participate in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.  Obviously, this cause is very near to my heart and I would like to ask all my supporters to consider making a contribution on my husbands behalf. My fundraising goal is $500. Can I raise $500 in less than eight weeks?  I hope so!

I would also like to encourage everyone to find a 5k in your area that benefits a charity - and get active.  You can do this and not only make a difference in your life, but the lives of many others - like my husband.

I will continue to pray for a cure for rheumatoid arthritis.

Click here to support me on the Jingle Bell Run!

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Is It - I WILL Do It This Week

I've been in a slump.  Not necessarily because I'm demotivated, it's too difficult or I'm not purchasing the right foods; but because I've allowed my busy weekends the last two weeks to really upset my routine.

I'm GREAT in a routine.  I'm great with knowing exactly what to do when, following my instructions, eating on a structured schedule and just basically doing what I'm supposed to do.  I'm NOT great when I'm out of schedule, at special events and on days where I didn't take time to plan.

I KNOW this, so why do I allow myself to get in this sticky situations?  Because sometimes in life we crave a little less of status quo and a little more chocolate chip cookies.

Ahhh, that's life.

After my post last week I really thought this week would be better, and in some ways it really was.  Most days I stayed right on plan.  I ate within points, I was active, I'm sure I lost a little bit of weight that I'm certain I gained the week prior.  In that way, this week was absolutely a success.

However, this week I still had a few too many "out of points range" type meals.  I counted them for as much as I could, but sometimes it's really difficult to eyeball something that has no nutritional information and figure out how many points it will be.  I try to guess on the high end but I have no idea how accurate my estimates were.  I guess the scale will tell me on Sunday.

So, this week, I WILL be on plan 100%.  I will drink my water.  I will get my exercise in AND I will blog to update how my days are going.

Hopefully, the scale won't show too much damage and this week will be a fantastic one!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Renewal of Vows

The last few weeks have been extremely busy. I'm used to hectic schedules and whirlwind days, but between work, college, church, the children, illnesses, doctor appointments, and on and on, the month of October has been flying by.

The good news is, through this extremely quick month I have not gained weight. Last week I lost 4.5lbs. This week, well, I'm fairly certain it would be a stay the same, if not gain week, but I wasn't able to go weigh in to know. Now typically I can slide into another meeting to weigh in but that doesn't look like it will be possible this week. But that's ok.

Friday evening, even though I'm fighting the cold the children have had, I ran to the grocery store so I could be prepared this week. It's going to be a re-commitment week! I'm renewing my vows to myself. I will measure and weigh all my foods, stick to points and drink my water. I haven't been wavering too far off plan, but as things get more hectic, it is harder to track every bite, create the weekly meal plan, stick to the meal plan and even go to the grocery store to stock up on all the foods that keep me on track.

So, this week is it. It's the first week, all over again. I actually find that if I do this every couple months it really re-energizes me. I get motivated, I see a dramatic loss and I can then sustain it for a few weeks. When I feel myself slipping - I do it all over again.

So here's to a new first week, all over again. I'm extremely close to my 10% weight loss and this is just what I need to get over that hump.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Food Fridays - You Have to Eat to Lose

To lose weight, you must EAT.  I've put together a "day in the life" type presentation to share one of my average days.  I did not include points or measurements, but this gives a basic idea.  Enjoy!

Please note, after clicking the play button, click more and autoplay for the presentation to advance automatically.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The "T" Word - Tempted? Think About It!

We are faced with temptations all the time.  Maybe you're tempted after waking up late, rushing to work and passing by the golden arches (although, I can honestly say this is no longer a temptation for me).  Maybe you feel hunger pains with the flashing "Hot Donuts" sign when passing by Krispy Kreme.  Perhaps your employer provides a Papa John's Pizza lunch for all the employees and Papa John's just happens to be your favorite pizza, not that I have any experience in this department.  LOL  (Yes, today my employer provided Papa John's Pizza for all the employees in the building - was a very nice gesture.)

Temptations are going to be there, daily.  We have to make a conscious decision on what we want more, those five or ten minutes of instant gratification on a substance that will be gone in a matter of a few hours OR the health, well-being and ENERGY provided by making wise choices; eating healthy and exercising.  Some days, these decisions are much more difficult than others.

I've had a few tactics that have really helped me not cave in to these temptations.  One that seems to really help me is visualizing the composition of the foods I'm eating.  If the food is something like pizza, I visualize the glucose making up the simple carbohydrates of the crust and sauce, the amino acids in the proteins and high amount of lipids in the cheese.  I imagine how my body will process the macromolecules and imagine how much of it will immediately be stored as glycogen in my liver, muscles and yes, body fat.  Believe it or not, this really works.  I don't think it's necessarily the science that works for me, but just the fact that I'm THINKING about it. 

For years I allowed food to control me.  I did not practice self control, I did not consciously think about what I was putting in my body.  Rather, much mindless eating took place, many meals were nearly inhaled without ever giving a second thought to what what I was eating, what it was doing to my body and what other options were available.  I did it because it's what I knew, it was easy, it was comforting, it was just. . .there.

Fast forward to now - I'M IN CONTROL!  I can choose to take something, or leave it.  Oh what a liberating feeling! 

By the way, I did not give in to the temptation of the Papa.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Good Gains

If you've been following me, you know I had a challenging food week - I was at long meetings for several days where meals were provided.  They were delicious but not low fat/healthy options.  Even with all the exercise and my 5k this week, I still saw a gain of 3.2lbs.  I was expecting it.  I'm OK with it.  I had a lot of non-scale victories and next week the scale will be much different.

There are positives to temporary gains.  Gains can be motivational, as I know I want to stay on track this week, exercise at least five days and really rock the scale next Sunday.

But gains can also be insightful.  Honestly, my eating habits this week weren't that much different than those of my old lifestyle.  Which means, prior to doing Weight Watchers I was steadily gaining weight.  While it probably wasn't at the speed of 3.2 lbs per week, it most certainly could have been at least 10lbs per month.  What the heck was I doing to myself? This only reinforces the necessity of the change I'm making - for myself, for my husband and for my children. 

I'm thankful I get these gentle reminders every now and then. It truly helps me remember where I've been and where I want to go.  I also look forward to my "blip buster" weeks !  (Click here to read about blip buster weeks.)  This week, by staying on points 100%, boosting the activity and increasing my water intake I will be able to have a loss similar to a first week's loss.  That feels GOOD!

Not every gain is a bad gain.   Gains are part of this journey and if you look at it as a positive reinforcement to what has been working - the gain can really work in your favor.

So bring it on!  I can't wait for weigh in next Sunday!