Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 10 - Couch Potato, exercising?!!

I am doing a happy dance. Kathy (blog: Fatty Kathy's Weight Loss Journal) just announced the winner of her Pilates Ring giveaway - and I won!

Thank you so very much, Kathy!!

Of course, this means I have to now commit to exercising - me - the original couch potato!

I've read enough to realize a successful weight loss story always includes some form of exercise, so I've already wrapped my mind around this fact, and I have made up my mind to be enthusiastic about exercise. I'm actually looking forward to receiving the ring and USING it!

I have a lot of weight to lose, and it will be important to start toning, even at this early stage, to minimize the loose-skin that is sure to come. Besides, toned muscles help burn fat, and increase the metabolism - a win-win for anyone on a weight loss journey.

What muscle groups the Pilates Ring won't work, I'll add some exercises that do those groups too.

I've been told we actually have ab muscles, though I don't think I've detected mine in about 20-25 years now. The poor darlings won't know what to think, when I first start out.

I'm into the diet groove, so now the exercising portion needs to be added. This was just the push I needed to get started.

Thanks again, Kathy, for offering a great giveaway - and just the thing I needed (truly)!

Day 10, and right on plan ...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation Help !!

I'm putting a shout out into the blogosphere, for suggestions and ideas on how to remain on plan (or how to avoid temptations) while on vacation!

What has worked/not worked for you?

This would be a driving vacation, and almost entirely restaurant eating. Oh boy ...

I will say, I AM packing carrot and celery sticks (for the hotel) for snacking, etc. And I have no problem with the beverage side of things (water, water, water).

Ideas? Suggestions? Experiences you'd like to share?

Day 9 - Let's Trash Fat People

No self pity-parties here, but I am amazed how cruel some people can be. Sometimes, there must be an "open season on fat people" sign out there.

I'm not talking about loving concern for someone's health here. I'm talking about rude and critical commentary - let's call it what it is - just plain mean.

Keep in mind, I weighed 327 last fall. I weighed 303 this week on the scale ...

At issue? I overheard [shortened version: an unkind comment about my weight]

Well, as I said, no pity-parties here. I am just sad because I don't think I'll look at that person quite the same way again. She won't know that, but I will.

Still, it is sad that society in general seems okay with trashing those who weigh too much. The overweight are (now) a full third of our country. I think it says something about the people who would do this.

I made up my mind to use this overheard conversation as an additional motivator, though I admit it isn't a particularly strong one (for me). My priority remains focused on improved health.

I don't often run into the "let's trash fat people" mentality (overtly, anyway). It was an eye-opener.

On a happier note: Day 9 and I'm still doing well. I only get on the scale to record my official weight once a week, but today (for instance), I am noticing my bracelet is loose! Other things I am noticing:

I need to go bra shopping, probably within the next few weeks - mine are becoming less ... supportive, shall we say? I will soon need to get a smaller size, or break open some duct tape.

(And how cruel is that? My chest shrinks faster than my behind? NOT fair!)

My ring turns freely now - just last week I commented how it wasn't cutting off my circulation anymore, and now it is actually free-spinning. I'm forever righting the ring ... and I love that!

I'm losing a chin (an extra one).

My favorite chair has suddenly become a little more roomy ...

All signs (while not getting on the scale), showing me changes are at work.

How sweet is that?!! I read someone's blog, who called this sort of thing a "Non-Scale Victory" ... NSV ... what a wonderful idea, to give those fun things a name.

So, here is to my NSVs today!! (Raising my iced water ...)

I have officially "just" lost four pounds, but the changes since that scale visit are already telling me that I can expect more good news next week.

In the meanwhile, I'm forever improving my vegetable consumption, and have been so far successful in avoiding the less healthy things. This was in no small part because I completely emptied the refrigerator and pantry of every stitch of unhealthy food in the place! It was just a little extra insurance.

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 8 - Feelin' Strong & Resolved

Do you ever feel like you've just had enough? This summer is miserable for heat and humidity, and being double the size I should be doesn't make for a comfortable time of it. I just do NOT want to go into another summer this unhealthy.

Is it reasonable to want to go into the summer of 2011, about 60 lbs lighter? I wonder if that is doable, in a mere year. That wouldn't get me into a healthy range - but I would sure be a LOT more comfortable.

I emptied the pantry of all the unhealthy things in there. (I cleaned out the refrigerator last week.) Wow, I filled two brown grocery bags with stuff. I mean, I couldn't cram another thing into either bag.

It was a real eye-opener, to see it all gathered together, my poor (past) choices laid out before me. I actually marvel that my body has survived as well as it did, for as long as it did, given the type of "fuel" I was using. What was I thinking?

So, here is my partial list of things I will look forward to, as my weight goes down:

Fitting more comfortably into those ridiculously small airline coach seats.
Crossing my legs like a lady again.
Clothes shopping in a regular store. Heck, just clothes shopping period.
Being able to sit in a booth - any booth - without having to first scope out if there is truly enough room.
Having more flexibility, energy and stamina.
Actually going to a public beach or pool for a swim.

and the most important ...

A longer life, of much higher quality, to spend with the people I love.

That alone is worth tossing out all that garbage "food" from my pantry. I mentioned in an earlier post that I kept putting off taking control until "tomorrow" - but that tomorrow turned into the next, then the next, and the next again ... one day, we run out of tomorrows. We don't know when that will happen, so we have to make the most of TODAY.

Feelin' strong and resolved ...

Cholesterol Numbers

I forgot to mention, I've posted my cholesterol numbers in the right sidebar area, such as they were at my last doctor appointment. I don't know what the numbers are today, but I'll post an update (rather than "?") after my next exam/results.

Like I've mentioned before, sometimes our success isn't indicated on the scale. When those scale non-movement days hit (and they are bound to, at some point), I hope my measurements, or test results, etc. will show my progress.

Besides, it will be interesting to see what changes the body goes through, and how exactly it responds, when my diet has been improved.

I had another good day (Wednesday), which completes a full week of healthy eating. Veggie volume continues to need improvement, but I'm getting better. Today, I enjoyed a kale salad, dressed with a combo of vinegar and lemon juice. It was quite yummy, plus, I got in a dark leafy green!! Hey, that is exciting news for me. I can't believe I ate kale, and actually discovered I liked it. I used to think that was just a plate garnish.

And yes, I tried the Almond Breeze chocolate milk. The flavor was good, but I think I need to get used to the oily feeling it leaves in my mouth. It must have a higher fat content than I am used to, but I think it is just a matter of getting used to it. Flavor-wise, it was really good! I have to thank those who recommended I try it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 7 - Weigh-in Results: 303 lbs.

My first week's efforts have paid off, and I'm on my way, with 4 lbs banished!

I dropped 1/4" off my waist too.

It is wonderful to see the numbers heading in the right direction for a change. I'm trying to pay closer attention to how I feel, and look for the more subtle signs that things are improving, but it is certainly a good morale boost to see the scale going in the opposite direction. It isn't used to counting backwards!!

Perhaps, next week, I can leave the 3's behind.

So, I am four pounds closer to reaching my first mini-goal, with 26 more pounds to go!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 6 - Speeding Up Metabolism

I've been doing a lot of reading of various sources about the mechanism of metabolism. Here are a few of the "hints" I've learned and hope to apply, to help me speed up my metabolism (which, ultimately, helps me lose weight):

A German study concluded that slowly sipping iced water can increase the metabolic rate by about 30%, for the next ninety minutes! Wow, THAT is all the incentive I need to keep myself hydrated with ice water ... Conversely, metabolism slows down without enough hydration. Dehydration also increases appetite. (Taking sip of water RIGHT NOW.) haha

Morning exercise is best for revving up metabolism. The earlier the metabolism gets going (aka, with exercise), the more calories I burn all day long. Who knew? That settles it, I'm walking the grocery aisles this morning! (Almost time to go shopping.)

Similarly, apparently one of the easiest ways to boost metabolism is to take a 5-minute walk within 30 minutes after a meal or snack. This can temporarily double the metabolism. The explanation behind this is exercise after eating pulls more oxygen into the body, which then helps burn off the newly-consumed food, so fewer calories are available for fat storage. Makes sense ...

All seem doable (and certainly can't hurt): sip ice water, move a little in the morning, and again after each meal. How hard is that? Anyway, I'll take any extra help I can in that department. I don't want to necessarily work harder, just smarter, where possible.

I had an okay meal day yesterday, though I don't feel I had quite enough vegetables. Okay, I KNOW I didn't have enough vegetables. The variety is good, the volume I am still working on increasing. I (at least) didn't include any unhealthy things yesterday, but good health also depends on properly fueling the body - so I need to do better with those veggies!

Why can't we crave vegetables the same way we do chocolate or other things? Nature can be so cruel ...

I'm in the "morbidly obese" category. I need to get all the way down to 247 lbs, just to leave that behind and get into "severly obese." Yes, there are degrees of obesity - how ... quaint. :P

Well, time to go grocery shopping for this week. I need to add some more dark leafy greens. I'm off to see what the produce department has to offer today.

It is going to be a good day!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 5 - Potty Talk

Over the weekend, I came to the realization that we really CAN affect our bodies through diet changes, and with relative ease.

The outward manifestation of this means some potty talk. Not to be indelicate, but "regular" to me was about once every two or three days. I was never uncomfortable (that I'd notice). That was just the norm for me.

HOWEVER, since increasing my daily fiber intake, and after just a few days, I go daily now, sometimes twice.

So, if that is just an obvious outward sign of how my new diet is creating change, can you imagine how things must be changing inside?! It really doesn't take long. In my reading, I've learned that even a relatively small amount of weight loss can make improvements to the internal mechanisms of the human body. And, I've come to believe that.

Potty talk aside, I am also noticing (already) my ring isn't cutting off my circulation anymore. And, either my elastic-waist pants are getting longer, or my waist has gone down a litte bit, so the pants are hanging differently. No complaints there!

Best of all, I am finding I have a bit more energy than I had last week. These are all subtle changes, but all are changes in the right direction. It is encouraging!

I wonder what non-scale improvements others have noticed. I think these are things we need to pay attention to, not "just" the scale numbers.

Speaking of scale numbers, I heard that a safe rate to lose weight (weekly) is about 1% at a time. This represents the approximate maximum fat a human can lose in a given week, before tapping into muscle mass, etc. This is, of course, aside from the initial big drops that some people have due to water weight, etc. I guess this means I can safely expect to lose about 3 lbs a week in fat, maximum (aside from the first week or two, which may include water retention loss). I'll step on the scale on Wednesday or Thursday and will find out then. Slow and steady wins this race ...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 4 - Ugh, Vegetables

You know, it occurred to me this morning that perhaps I should say something about what I'm actually eating.

I honestly don't know which is the bigger struggle for me - giving up the unhealthy things I enjoy eating, or incorporating enough vegetables into my routine eating habits.

Don't get me wrong, I actually like (some) vegetables, but the daily recommended servings amount seems awfully high to me, which says something about how often I ate things with color to them. I wonder if I'm alone in that thinking.

So, my battle is now to add enough vegetables to my daily diet. (Sigh) If only potatoes were green ...

Yesterday, I managed to eat: beets, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, onion and mushrooms. That was pretty good. Actually, it was better than I realized. Now, amounts are another thing. But hey, I am working on that.

I discovered a fat-free dressing I actually like:

Maple Grove Farms of Vermont's Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette

It is really flavorful and I don't miss the bad stuff at all. (Thank you, Maple Grove Farms!) I didn't think that was possible - to truly enjoy a fat free dressing - and with no funny after-taste.

I wasn't much of a salad eater before, but this makes it completely doable for me.

Back to vegetables ... I think my strategy for this upcoming week will be to make a big pot of homemade vegetable soup. That could easily be a few servings of veggies each day. And my strategy for eating carrots and celery for snacks is working out well - and adds another serving or two. I am aiming for a minimum of four vegetable servings a day (to start). That is a lot for me.

I enjoy fruit more, but I realize I wasn't really incorporating fruit into my diet on a daily basis. Or, I might have juice now and again. That isn't good enough. I'm trying to eat three servings of fruit a day - not juice. However, I plan to use juice for those times I just can't get in enough fresh fruit. Yesterday, I ate a serving of strawberries (yum!), an apple, and a banana. My body was probably wondering what paradise I fell into - fresh fruit! haha Actually, I find adding fruit is SO much easier than adding vegetables ... surprise, surprise.

Back to vegetables ... I discovered "Steamers" - frozen veggies you can put in the microwave to cook. They are actually very good. I stocked a few of those in my freezer, for days when I just don't have time (or the inclination) to prepare fresh veggies. However, fresh is always the standard I shoot for.

I am trying to get into the habit of working with a variety of foods, because I think this will eliminate any concerns about boredom. This is especially true of vegetables, although I never seemed to get bored with potatoes in ANY form. (Why is that?) I am not including white potatoes into my diet, because it would be too easy to fall into old habits, plus, they would no doubt replace green vegetables in my world. So, I am banishing my old friend the potato (for now). I like sweet potatoes, though not nearly as much, so when I am just craving a potato, I'll think sweet.

All I know is that new routines take a lot of work. I know this new way of eating will eventually get easier, but it sure takes great effort, initially. I keep reminding myself that this is for my health and well-being. It is about properly fueling what my body needs. Goodness, I take more care in what goes into my car's gas tank, than in what goes into my body. That is just wrong! And things are going to change ...

Day 4 and doing well.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Starting Measurements

Deb (blog: Shedding My Fatsuit) gave me this idea - posting my measurements! I thought that was a brilliant idea, because often the scale doesn't move, but the inches do. So, while Deb still hasn't drummed up the nerve to go for a swim in public (I'm SO there with you, Deb!!!), she had all the bravery in the world to post those measurements. Here are mine:

Neck: 18.5"

Chest: 53"

Waist: 50"

Hips: 58.5"

BMI: 49.5

The truth can be very harsh, my friend. I may not think I look 307 lbs when I look in the mirror, but these measurements, and the camera (see my profile picture), don't lie.

Thanks to Deb, working hard down there in Texas, for posting her measurements. It inspired me to do the same, and I think - as the weight comes off - I'll be so glad I did !!! Hugs, Deb.


Day 3 - Goals & Non-Edible Treats

I read somewhere that it is a good idea to set up a reward system for oneself, for each goal obtained. That is a good idea, for an extra boost to motivation. So, it got me to thinking ...

What would be a good reward to myself, for reaching 277 lbs (when the time comes)?

Generally, we go down a clothing size for every 20 lbs., and since that weight represents a 30-pound loss for me, I could treat myself to a new pair of pants. Then again, I'd be just 10 lbs from needing to down size, so that might not be very economical.

Hmmmm ... maybe a new pair of shoes! That would work. So, easy enough ...

When I reach my first mini-goal, to lose 10% of my body weight, or achieve 277 lbs, I will buy myself a new pair of shoes!

Speaking of goals, here is my mini-goal list (mostly shooting for 10% reduction in weight):

Goal 1 - 30 lbs or 277 lbs.
Goal 2 - 27 lbs or 250 lbs. (haven't seen that number in about 12-13 years)
Goal 3 - 25 lbs or 225 lbs.
Goal 4 - 22 lbs or 202 lbs.
Goal 5 - 3 lbs or 199 lbs. (hey, it is a major goal to get below the 200-pound milestone)
Goal 6 - 19 lbs or 180 lbs. (I last weighed this back around 1988)

I'll have more mini-goals to list, but this is plenty for now, which represent 126 lbs! Broken down, it doesn't seem so far to go, but of course that is precisely why we break things down into smaller (achievable) targets in the first place. Goal # 6 would bring me into the "overweight" category, and that would have me leave the "obese" label for the first time in about 20 years. Ideally, I hope to reach that goal by the end of 2011, but we'll see. I'm not in any sort of race to lose, and am quite happy with slow and steady progress. For right now, my eyes are trained on my first goal.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 2 - Got (Soy) Milk? Cleaning Out The Kitchen

I recognize everyone, myself included, is super-enthusiastic about their diets when they first begin, but that initial burst of energy is often tested by our old habits knocking on the door. So, while my conviction is at its peak, I took to the task today of emptying my refrigerator of all the not-so-wonderful things I keep in there.

It almost pained me to toss out the three cheeses I had in there. Yes, even the parmesan. I tossed out the sour cream and the chocolate dessert ... all sorts of little unhealthy (but yummy) things.

Then I hit the freezer. I found a few popsicles in there, and loads of other items that weren't health-friendly. They all went out to the curb. I was ruthless.

I need to hit the pantry next, but I'll save that for next week's collection. My garbage can (literally) has no more room this week!

I also stocked a few more healthy choices today. I bought a bag of golden apples (lots of fiber and other good things), I thought they would make great snacks and/or desserts. I bought salad fixings, and a big bag of baby carrots (another good snack food, not just for cooking), and a bag of celery hearts too. I'll cut those into sticks. I think a little advance planning and preparation can help avoid some pitfalls, and my weekend evenings are often "snack attack" times. This weekend, I'm prepared with apples and carrots and celery.

This is Friday. Instead of the usual - and super easy - pizza (and cheeeeeeese ...), I'm going to do something easily as quick ... I'm driving through Taco Bell for some bean burritos - NO CHEESE. When I get them home, I'll top them with some low fat, fresh Tostido salsa. That will make a quick and satisfying meal without all the bad stuff, and I won't have to chop a vegetable.

I'm swapping unhealthy choices for better ones today. No counting calories or weighing food. I don't realistically maintain that over time, as I've discovered while on diets past.

I'm also making it a point to try something new every week. This week, I am going to try soy milk. I admit, I'm scared. I'm not sure what to expect from bean juice. Therefore, I am going to go with chocolate flavor - because EVERYTHING tastes better with chocolate. I'll opt for the "lite" version. This decision will do double-duty. First, if I get hit with a craving for something sweet, chocolate is always a good choice, and chocolate soy milk has to be better for me than a chocolate candy bar or cupcake. Second, soy milk has some benefits over good old skim milk, the least of which is I am somewhat lactose intolerant, so I won't be tied to the house for an hour to see if milk has worked its usual magic. Enough said on that subject ... And, I think, chocolate flavor would perhaps mask any weird taste that soy may have.

Aside from getting rid of the familiar, and adding the new, I am also doing a lot of reading. I'm hunting down healthy recipes. My initial plan is to eat out less, cook at home more, but I'm realistic about it. (i.e., Taco Bell stop tonight) Right now, I'm reading the American Heart Association book "No-Fad Diet," which includes a section of pretty good looking recipes. This is a library book, so it keeps me motivated to try many different recipes, before the book is due back.

I did well on my first day, so far! My plan is in place, and I'm working toward success.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 1 & 307 lbs. - A New Start

Wow. My doctor congratulated me at my last appointment. I "only" weighed 307 lbs.

Apparently, and I say this because I obviously blocked out my previous appointment's weigh-in, I was 327 in December. (Really? 327 lbs?!!) Well, it was nice to see I was able to shed 20 lbs - no doubt from my (now failed) New Year Resolution efforts of January and February.

I see myself every single day, and I don't think I look 307 lbs. However, I'm always shocked when I see a photograph of myself - especially when other people are in the shot. Consequently, I am usually the picture taker, not the subject (if I can at all help it).

I've come to the realization that my youth can no longer protect me from the consequences of my poor eating habits and lack of exercise. This is mostly because I'm not young anymore, not even close, at 47. Just in the last few years, my doctor has added a blood pressure pill, followed by a cholesterol pill, and now - Glucophage. That is for diabetes. I just hit that all-important A1C mark of 7.0. Well, I actually passed it. The blood-work came back saying I was at 7.4 ...

I did this to myself, of course, always promising I'll make better choices "tomorrow," only that gets pushed off to the next tomorrow, and then the next ...

I have been obese for 20 years now. That is a LONG time. I "treated myself" right out of my good health. That has got to stop. I want to spend the next 20 years being healthy, so today is the day I start that process!

Like so many other obese people, I've tried various diets and weight loss plans. I've spent a small fortune over the years, with varying degrees of success, while never reaching my goals of sustained good health. I also bought exercise equipment with the best of intentions, which became rather expensive clothes hangars, before eventually being given away at rummage sales or to charities. I know what I need to do. (I think lots of obese people do, we've learned a lot about diets and nutrition over the years.) It is a matter of applying what I know now, consistently, and then sticking to it. I simply cannot afford to keep giving myself a free pass to eat in unhealthy ways.

So, I'm going to do the best I can, taking it one day at a time, and see what changes I can affect before my next doctor appointment (and my next blood work-up). My primary goal there is to simply have better numbers when my next blood work-up is done.

My first actual weight loss goal will be to lose 10% of my weight. That target is 30 lbs., or to bring my weight down to 277 lbs. Wow, that is heavier than some professional football players! Anyway, I am not setting any dates for weight loss targets at this point. I just want to see the number going down. I don't care how slowly it goes, as long as it is heading in the right direction. I didn't gain this overnight, so I have to be realistic in my expectations. I think I am. I'm not looking for any big weekly loss here, just consistency in choosing healthier options for myself. I am going to focus first on diet. I'll add exercise (ugh) later, concentrating first on getting myself onto a healthier diet. Vegetables need to become my friend. And I need to see a LOT less of my buddy, cheese.

So, Day # 1 = 307 lbs. I don't expect to see that number again!