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


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
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
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
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
Low Fat Cheddar Cheese Cubes
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.