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.


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.  ;)