Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 41 - Weigh-in Results: 284.5 lbs.

I am down 4 lbs from last week! How about that, exercise really DOES make a difference. :D

This puts me just 7.5 lbs from my first mini-goal, and achieving a 10% loss in my initial weight. I'd like to lose that before my October doctor visit, but I'll have to work hard to make that happen.

This also brings me to 6.5 lbs of the 60 lb challenge with Kathy. Goodness, that is 10% of the way there (already). The blue countdown clock in the right side bar is counting down to that challenge's goal date, August 20, 2011.

I am officially down a full clothing size. The weight loss feels terrific, but the real news this week is in the waist size. I dropped more than an inch this week. Incredible. I am also very pleased to see my BMI drop into the 45 range. Last December, I could reverse those numbers (literally).

Looking forward, I'd like to hit 277 lbs (my 10% mini-goal) and then reset my next mini-goal for 247 - another 30 lb loss/goal. 247 lbs (by the chart at the lower right of my blog) will bring me out of the morbidly obese category. Won't that be something?!! This is a journey to improved health, and I'm getting there, one good decision at a time.

Day 41, heading into September a full 22.5 lbs lighter than I was on July 20th ...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 40 - Where's the Rainbow?

The ocean has its own rhythm. I'm not talking about waves. I'm talking about swells, and tides - a general ebb and flow.

Well, I've noticed a swell, lately, among the weight loss bloggers. So many of us, it seems, are dealing with the doldrums. I don't know if this is just an end-of-summer thing, or more a function of how long some have been on their journey to improved health. But, it is funny (odd) how a general malaise has hit, and caused a struggle for so many to remain dedicated to the task at hand.

Perhaps, it is important for us to stop every so often (appropriate for me, being this is day 40) and ask ourselves, "Where's the rainbow?"

We need to revisit the highlights of achievements we've made so far. And we need to remind ourselves of where we want to be - it is, in essence, a promise to ourselves. And I think it is important to hook up with a (currently) enthusiastic person. Enthusiasm is catchy! If ours runs low, we need to borrow that energy from someone else, until our own is reignited.

And, if nothing else, we need to give ourselves "just one more day" ... do that often enough, and we may just find our paths again.

Right now, I'm still in that golden time period that every new diet has - enthusiasm is high, and the weight is coming off steadily. But I know (too well), that things will slow down soon. And when plateaus hit, as they always do, it will be time to ask, "Where's the rainbow?"

So, to all my weight loss blogger buddies, who are suffering through the doldrums - hang in there! You don't reach your target if you give up. Walk if you can't run, even crawl if you must, but never give up! Visit bloggers who've made their goals, and recapture your enthusiasm - renew your strength!! You can do this ... we can ALL do this.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 39 - Positive Thinking

I've been working hard in the yard these last several days. I'm counting that as my exercise - and it IS exercise, based on the complaining my muscles are doing today. Actually, I'm surprised I could do as much as I did, given the heat especially.

After church this morning, I had planned to go swimming. I donned my trusty old swimsuit, which fit me perfectly fine just 2-3 weeks ago (in fact, better than its fit in years), only to find it is too big! If I wore that in water, I'd be arrested for what would be exposed.

I'm glad I discovered this now, before all the swimwear disappears from the stores/catalogs for the season. (Fall items are already starting to show up.) So, this afternoon, I am going shopping for a new swimsuit, while they are on sale, which is a bonus! And I think I will get two - one that fits, and one the next size down, since we will go midwinter to Florida on vacation ... just in case.

How is that for positive thinking?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finding Motivation

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. -- Zig Ziglar

Allan doesn't care much for lists, so he may need to look away for this one! (Hi Allan.)

Today, I found motivation in:

My loose-fitting jeans

The challenge of another

The skinny neighbor lady who looks 22 (she's my age)

My struggle with a cardio workout (aka, my near-death experience)

and even

The old pair of shoes I wear around the house (The first mini-goal reward will be a new pair of shoes to replace these)

I find motivation (daily) in something, and often times in more than one thing. Some are positive, some are negative, some are challenging and some are a breeze. Motivation comes in many different forms, and often in surprising ways.

One motivation I can always count on is an NSV or Weigh-in Day of my fellow bloggers! Thanks, one and all, for that. I do better when I focus on the motivations and ignore the hurdles. Keeping my eye on the prize makes the distractions easier to manage.

Humor also helps.

Still alive, ten hours after my first cardio workout, but barely ...

Death and The Sixty-Pound Challenge

I've blogged about my current mini-goal (see the ticker at the top of my blog page), and of course the ticker at the very bottom of my page shows my long-term goal. But, I needed a mid-range goal too. Kathy provided that for me in the form of a challenge about a week ago.

The blue one-year countdown clock is ticking, and Kathy and I are working to lose 60 lbs by the time that clock ticks down to zero.

This is the end of our first week of the challenge. Kathy has lost 3 lbs to my 2.5 lbs - we're both doing well, but I think her exercising routine is far superior to my meager efforts to date, and it shows! That extra half pound a week would come to an extra 26 lbs lost, by the time the countdown clock zeroes out! (Way to go, Kathy!!)

This has motivated me to move a little more. I'm using my Pilates Ring, but need to start increasing the length of time I use it. And I need to change up what I'm doing more. To that end, I did my very first 30 minute cardio workout.

I won't lie - I thought I was going to die.

My poor heart had no idea WHAT was going on. My arms and legs couldn't keep up. My brain kept saying, "REALLY? You volunteered to do this? REALLY?" I think my feet wanted to kick my own a**, if only the knees could bend that far.

Autumn weather can't come soon enough. When it cools to less-than-oven-temperatures outside, I'm switching to walking. If I'm going to die, I don't want to be surrounded by size 2 people wearing sweat bands and leotards, unless they are MDs or at least certified in CPR.

So, while Kathy blazes trails with her awesome exercising regimen, I'm still finding a path to what will work for me - and that I'll maintain, without death lurking in the background. The eating side of the equation is so much easier for me (not easy, just easier).

So, Day 37 and doing well ... sore, but doing well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Almost Toppled by a Mocha Frappe

Well, it is another hot and humid day out there. I have been running like a crazy woman all day, and I passed two McD restaurants. The mocha frappe (no whipped topping or chocolate drizzle) was calling to me. Actually, by the time I approached the second McD's, the mocha frappe was shouting to me. Its cool, chocolately goodness - refreshing and invigorating - beckoned to me. McDonald's calls it "one frosty cup of love" and it is, as far as flavor is concerned! The car wanted so desperately to make that left turn at the light ...

But, I turned right.

It wasn't the 470 calories, 11 g of saturated fat, or 72 g of carbs that made me ignore the Call of the Frappe. It's yumminess could even make me ignore that the first five ingredients are: water, cream, sugar, milk and high fructose corn syrup.

What made me turn away from this strong temptation was one simple question:

Do I want this Mocha Frappe MORE than I want to lose weight this week - because this could be something that would derail that process?

My answer, of course, was no. I wanted to lose the weight more than I wanted this delicioius refreshment.

I recognize, sometimes, my answer may be YES, but today was not one of those days. I came home to my iced water instead.

I'm just 11 lbs away from achieving my first mini-goal (of 10% loss, or 277 lbs), and I'm already dreaming of the next goal. I'm not even in the 270s yet, but I'm planning. Perhaps keeping my eye on the goal helped me. Or perhaps it was that I've gone 36 days (as of today) with really good - though not perfect - fueling of my body.

Whatever the reason, I stopped long enough to ask myself that all-important question, and shoved my old knee-jerk I-want-it reaction to the curb.

That is how this battle is won, one good decision at a time.

Today, I made a good decision. I survived a very strong craving. And I'm a step closer to achieving a true change in lifestyle, a step closer to improved health.

So, I'm looking forward now. I was going to make my next mini-goal another 10% drop (which would put mini-goal # 2 at 250 lbs), but I think I'm going to shoot for 247 - another 30 lbs drop. That number pulls me out of the morbid obesity category! Oh, I'll still be obese, but "just" severely so. And you know, I think I can do it. If I can whip a Mocha Frappe, I can knock out an extra three pounds in the next mini-goal - no problem.

Day 36 and still going strong ...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 35 - Some Body

I've quite successfully ignored my growing upper arms over the years. But, it is now pretty hard NOT to notice the flaps developing, as I lose weight.

Therefore, I've taken up using weights to work on toning my upper arms - primarily the back of my upper arms.

I have developed quite some body, but it is mine and I'm used to it. That is probably part of the problem. I don't see it for what it has become. It is one of the mysteries of life - like why we can't smell our own breath when we talk or just breathe. Okay, maybe not quite a mystery, but it is a great-sounding excuse anyway.

Day 35 and sticking with the plan ...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Body Mass Index: BMI

I should note, my BMI has dropped three entire points, since starting this process.

For my height, 46.6 BMI means I'm carrying just over 111 lbs of excess fat with me, 24/7. That is like lugging around my old freshman body, everywhere, with a heart that is only designed to handle one person.

How long can I realistically do that, and expect my heart to keep up with such a demand?

I tell you, I am LUCKY so far ... just lucky. And the older I get, the more worn with age the heart gets, and the harder it works to handle this unreasonable demand.

So, I pay attention (now, finally) to my BMI. And I am working hard to get it down into healthier ranges. I've listed the BMI categories (for my height) at the very bottom of my blog. I have lost 3 pts so far, but have to do that twice more, before dropping out of the morbidly obese category. I'll still be obese, but statistically, I'll have helped my heart tremendously, by going down to the next lower level. I'm ultimately aiming for the healthy range (under 25). I'll get there, one step at a time.

What is your BMI? The Internet is full of free calculators to help you determine that number.

Day 34 - Weigh-in Results: 288.5 lbs.

I may have to be up and out of the house fairly early tomorrow morning, so I decided to make today my official weigh-in day this week, figuring if my result was higher than would otherwise be, oh well. I'm not sure how much difference one day makes.

So, how great is this?!! My scale read 288.5 lbs! And yes, I'm counting half pounds, every ounce counts. I have made it into the 280s!! I am closing in on my first goal, to reach 277. That makes the loss for this past week 2.5 lbs.

I set no timeframe for achieving my first mini-goal of 10% loss, except to say I'd ideally like to reach it by the time of my October doctor appointment (and my scheduled next set of labs). If I keep this up, I'll have no worries about achieving 277 lbs by then.

I am almost down 20 lbs - or one entire clothing size.

I am not even worried about my old nemesis - the dreaded and ancient plateau of 283-284 lbs. - which is not that far off. I have loads of confidence, and if positive thinking can make that a non-issue, I'm not even going to pause there! hehehe

I hope Kathy notes, this would be 2.5 lbs toward our 60-lb-goal mid-range challenge! So, 2.5 lbs gone, and 57.5 lbs to go (by August 20, 2011). :D

Monday, August 23, 2010

Found: Lost Energy

My all-time favorite NSV has to be found energy.

Today, while walking into the grocery store, I was hit with a burst of energy like I haven't had in YEARS. Literally.

I think what is so remarkable, is that I almost forgot what having energy felt like. That dragging, drained feeling sneaks up on one so gradually, you don't realize what you've lost, until (like today) it returns out of the blue.

Wow, it just felt so GREAT. Honestly, if I had to take stairs today, it would have been two at a time - yes, that kind of energy.

I'd almost forgotten ...

Day 33 - Life's Little Surprises

Well, I had an unexpected weekend, filled with unanticipated food challenges. Luckily, the last thing I did before running out the door on Friday evening was to weigh myself.

I made the best choices available to me over the weekend, but it wasn't always the ideal I'd have eaten at home.

Even so, I was resigned to do my best with what was available to me, and not get hung up on anything. Sometimes, we have to pick the least unhealthy item, if that is our only option.

I weighed myself today (NOT an official weigh-in day). I wanted to see what damage was done, if any, to my forward progress.

Guess what? Doing the best I can, with the options available to me, CAN work in a pinch! I am unofficially one pound lighter today, than I was on Friday.

I've read a lot of blogs (catching up today on things I missed since Friday). It seems a lot of fellow-bloggers have had less-than-perfect meals/days recently. And most, happily, are not beating themselves up over it.

That is proper perspective. Life throws us curve balls all the time. Sometimes we are equipped to handle them, other times less so, but all we can do is the best we can.

The sign of a true change in lifestyle is that we don't just toss up our hands and use these circumstances as our excuse to just chuck the entire thing and take a "vacation" from it all. Our health goes with us, regardless, and we need to be mindful of that.

I've also learned, one or two less-than-ideal meals won't derail a month's worth of positive efforts.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 30 - One Month

Today marks one month of healthier eating for me. I've lost almost 5.2% of my body weight (16 lbs). I wonder what that means in terms of improved health.

Fellow blogger, Kathy, and I are challenging each other. I think our goal will be to lose 60 lbs by August 20, 2011. That is doable! One year from today, I should be 60 lbs lighter. I can almost picture the smile on my doctor's face ...

My realizations, after one month of healthier choices:

Eating healthier has been (so far) easier than I thought it would be.

I miss cheese, but not enough to be tempted.

I still need to eat more vegetable servings.

I do not have to run to the bathroom as often. I wonder if that is a function of improved glucose levels, or simply there isn't quite as much of me pushing against my bladder, or both.

I have more energy.

I am much more in tune with how my body is feeling. I pay it more attention.

I still don't want to be in front of a camera lens.

I love being in a smaller shirt already.

When you start the journey to improved health at 300+ lbs, no one notices a 16-pound drop. Amazing ...


I was in a local department store yesterday. I happened to pass by an aisle that had various boxed scales for sale. One box said something like "body mass and weight indicator," which got my attention. So, I spent time satisfying my curiosity, and looked at the scales for sale.

For the body mass scale, it looks like you program in your height and it calculates all sorts of things for you. I haven't looked at scales in at least 15 years, and they have come a long way. What also struck me was that so many (they even had a "Biggest Loser" scale) were higher capacity, allowing for weights well over 400 lbs.

I was surprised. I had to search very, very hard to find my current scale, which was literally the only one out there that weighed people over 300 lbs (the scale goes up to 350). And THAT scale had to be ordered via Internet. There simply were no high-capacity scales at retail chains. And, for over-300-lb-capacity, there were no other choices - it was this scale (I now own), or nothing. And it was NOT reasonably priced for its day.

On one hand, I am glad the industry finally recognized the need to service those of us who are heavier. On the other hand, I thought it was sad that there was finally a large enough market to warrant that industry shift. Mostly, however, I was pleased. Who needs a scale more than we do? If you haven't looked at scales lately, take a look at what is now available out there. You may be surprised.

As for me, I'm sticking to my current scale - "Old Faithful" - which has seen me through ups and downs (mostly ups), puts up with me, and yet tells it like it is.

Hmmm ... it is starting to sound like an old friend. Maybe I should have listed that under my realizations list above. I realize my scale has become my friend, finally, after all these years.


Thursday, August 19, 2010


Look at my profile picture (that would be my profile profile).

See those black pants I am wearing? Those are actually my very favorite pair of jeans. They are my favorite, because they are so comfortable.

Plus, being black, they are "slimming." Yea, yea, go ahead, giggle ... I know.

Well, I can't wear them anymore. I accidentally splashed bleach on them. WHAT was I thinking, pouring bleach while wearing black pants? I am so mad at myself. Honestly, that was just not very bright.

I washed them right away, hoping for the best. The spots are visible, but the true telling is when I put them on. If my shirt hangs over it far enough, I might be able to still wear them in public. (My shirts ALWAYS hang out. I gave up tucking in about 100 pounds ago.)

So, I tried them on.

Look at my profile profile again. That is the last day I'll ever be able to wear my all-time favorite black jeans in public.

The bleach splash isn't the reason though. The pants are, literally, too big on me. I am not getting rid of them just yet, however, because I am going to put them on for my next picture, to show my progress.

I've decided to post a progress picture at the three-month mark, which would be October 20th (or thereabouts).

I will use that progress photo as my incentive to demonstrate self-control over the Thanksgiving holiday. Come on, you know what I'm talking about! I swear, stuffing talks to me and gravy sings ... just not this year. haha !!

Day 29 - Goals and Challenges

If you scroll all the way to the very bottom of my blog page, you will see a list of the categories of obesity, and a different ticker graphic that indicates how far I am from my overall destination, as measured by the scale.

The ticker at the top of my page follows my mini-goals. This first mini-goal is to lose 10% of my initial body weight, which would be 30 lbs.

I haven't set a timeframe for reaching that 30-pound loss, but I would like ideally to reach that number (277 lbs) by my October doctor's appointment. That is my short-term goal. My long-range goal is to get down to 145 lbs.

Some people say that isn't doable, but of course they are wrong. If I can gain the weight, I can lose the weight. I've made up my mind to make it so.

I'm not hoping to get there. I know I will get there.

I have no set timeframe to make that happen, but it will take care of itself, as long as I am consistent and mindful.

I am lacking a mid-range goal, and have been talking with fellow-blogger, Kathy, about setting one. She actually had a great idea, to challenge each other to a target, to be reached a year from now. I am so ready! Once we agree on the target, I'll post it, in case anyone wants to follow along.

A goal needs to be reasonably obtainable, and putting a timeframe to it just brings the challenge up to another level.

Changing topics - I notice my arms are looking a little puffy. Okay, the upper arm flaps go beyond puffy. I'm talking about the forearms here, people. We ate out last night, and I'm wondering if I had a bit too much salt in my dish. (It did taste a bit salty to me.) My water intake should flush that out today, if that is the case.

Hmmmm ... I wonder if I can pass 291 lbs off as water retention ...

Naw, I'd probably look ridiculous trying that.

Speaking of ridiculous, and water, I went to the pool last weekend. No one was around, which is a good thing. There is nothing worse than being obese among the bikini-clad. Well, that isn't quite true, but let's just agree it isn't much fun (for either group). I loved being in the water, but I was shocked at how little I could do, compared to the last time I went actual swimming. There is wisdom in regular exercising. It doesn't take long to lose cardiovascular stamina, does it?

My current BMI is 47. That is a high, high number. Literally, 47% of me is fat. That is almost 137 lbs. Ouch! I don't normally think in those terms, but I need to. Is it no wonder I've been suffering with the heat of this summer? I'm literally carrying around another person with me, every single second of the day. I can't imagine what this is doing to my bones, joints and heart muscle. Who stops to think of that? Well, actually, I do (apparently) a little bit. I've been sleeping on my right side (JUST my right side) for several years now. I think I am subconsciously afraid to put the left (heart-side) down, under the weight of the rest of me, while I sleep. Gosh, that sounds goofy, doesn't it?

Enough rambling for now. Time for me to go out into Blogland and read what others have been up to today! I gain a lot of insight and inspiration from my fellow-bloggers.

Resolve To Do Better

I need to remember - sometimes NOT taking an action is an action too.

And I have to own that. It is a choice, though not necessarily a good choice.

I didn't fit in any exercise on Wednesday, not even the 10 minutes I promised myself for the August-only challenge. I failed myself.

There are really no valid excuses for not putting my health first on the priority list. I can give a lot of reasons, but they'd only be justifications or rationalizations.

If one of my blog goals is to make myself accountable, then I have to face equally the negative and the positive. I don't need to beat myself up over this, but I do need to own it. And negative experiences are a waste if we don't at least learn from them. They can, in fact, be the greatest of teachers.

So, what have I learned? This is my responsibility, and I let myself down (and those who love me and count on me being here a good, long time). I learned I haven't - yet - truly made myself a priority. No one can do this for me. It is all up to me.

The world is full of options, and my life is about the choices I make.

Today, I made a dozen really good choices for my health, to be sure, but I let myself down on something I really needed to do.

It isn't about perfection, but rather the resolve to do better.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 28 - Weigh-in Results: 291 lbs.

It is now Wednesday, being just after midnight (Eastern), and I decided to weigh myself. Later this morning is going to be quite busy for me.

The official weigh-in for today is 291 lbs - a loss of 4 more pounds - for a grand total of 16 lbs lost! Holy smokes, I had to step on the scale TWICE, just to be sure I read it correctly.

I've also posted my newest measurements on the right sidebar. Any number that changes from the week before gets a little (comment) after the number.

I can see now why I "suddenly" fit into a size 2x shirt comfortably. That was a big number to drop, four weeks into the diet.

I have been eating a lot (in volume), but mostly low-fat stuff (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, etc.). I think I'll need to re-examine the food I'm selecting - maybe add more of it, to slow the loss down. That is a bit too fast to be truly healthy - over time. I would expect that loss in the first two weeks, but after that, it should be 2-3 lbs (max) for someone my weight.

Still, I am thrilled I am just a few pounds from breaking into the 280s! My dreaded set-point number is 283-284. I haven't been below that in over a decade, mostly because I plateau there, and after several weeks, I have (in the past) simply given up. Not this time! I am armed with a plan, as mentioned in a previous post on plateaus. So, if I can get through the next 8 lbs, I will be crossing into territory I haven't seen in ages. I'll be pretty excited on that day, let me tell you.

I am surprised at how fast the BMI drops (in this weight range). Pretty neat to see!

Well, it is the wee hours of the morning now, and I need to get an early start in the morning. Thanks for checking in -- I am going to sleep with a smile on my face!

291 lbs and dropping ...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Okay, this was unexpected

I wear a 3x (pants), but prefer the more comfortable 4x for my shirts. That is because I am a busty gal (I mean, even when I was normal weight or thin, I was top-heavy. We'll leave it at that.)

So, this afternoon, I am in the store. They have a sale on shirts. I pull out my usual 4x and hit the dressing room.

What the heck? This thing is like a tent on me. Must be the cut.

I return to the rack, and pull out a 3x. Did I mention I love this cut, whatever it is? Anything that makes me feel smaller is okay by my book. I hit the dressing room.

What the heck? This thing is a bit too baggy (though not a tent). Come on, seriously, I've only (officially) lost 12 pounds here. Okay, probably a little more this week, because I am noticing some changes, but still. I know the weight is leaving from the top much faster (and unfairly) than from the bottom, but come on ...

The shirt must be mismarked. I try on another 3x. Nope, it is too baggy. Okay, I grab a 2x - just for something to laugh about.

What the heck? It fits. Not too loose, not too tight, but just right. Now I know it is DEFINITELY the manufacturer's cut. I grab an entirely different line, different manufacturer, different style shirt, etc. I go for the 3x. IT is too baggy! I try a 2x. It fits too.

So, I know (already) I definitely lost some more weight, but it must be all from the top. OR, the arm/shoulder exercises I've been doing are toning me enough to actually change how the clothes are fitting.

I'm happy. Mind you, I wish the world was a bit more fair about these things. I vote that fat should be required to leave starting from the bum or thighs, rather than the twins.

I can already see, during this weight loss journey, the bottom half will lag the top half by a size or two. That's okay, as long as the fat LEAVES. Bring it on ...

BTW, 2x coveres 26w & 28w. So, apparently, my top half has made it into the 28w arena, at least for some manufacturers' cuts. I wasn't expecting that for weeks yet!

I bought the 2x shirt, and I am going to wear it this weekend. I may have a long way to go, but I loved this afternoon's NSV.

Is it weird, that I am excited to already be in a 28w/2x shirt? If the shirts were mismarked, I don't want to know at this point. I prefer to live with the delusion!

My measurement updates will tell me whether it is actually me, or the shirt cuts. Keeping my fingers crossed ...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 27 - Inspiration

Things that inspire me to stay on track:

My 10-year-old pair of size 24 jeans. I've worn them just once. They are in my closet, taunting me - daring me - to fit into them again. Right now, I can get them up to my knees, sort of.

The oppressive and never-ending heat of this summer. I have been in some kind of misery, and I don't want to head into next summer with anywhere near this weight again. The heat is bad enough, but who wants to carry around an additional 150 lbs (+) in it?

My fellow weight-loss bloggers. I don't want to be the only one to give up, so I don't. And I visit, and revisit, and revisit (again) those who've achieved success in their efforts - not necessarily their goals (yet), though some of those too!!

My own growing comfort. The steering wheel doesn't touch my tummy anymore. My current pants are LOOSE. A regular stall has suddenly gotten a little less claustrophobic. And my shirt sleeves don't act like tourniquets on my upper arms.

Next year's family reunion. Actually, the pending PHOTO from next year's family reunion. I really REALLY don't like to be on the lens side of a camera, and for sure don't want to be captured for eternity at this weight, in the family reunion photo of 2011. I want to be in the picture, but taking up a little less room on the image.

My lab numbers. I know that may seem weird, but I do feel motivated by that too. I want my October labs to be better than the last (posted on the right sidebar). It tells me how well I am doing internally, how stressed or how well my body's systems are doing.

There are other things too, which inspire me, but this is the quick list. It is good to revisit our motivations - the primary one being improved health for me. And it is equally important to revisit our inspirations. So here it is for me to revisit when times get tough. I've noticed that a lot of my fellow bloggers have been hitting rough patches this month - in remaining dedicated to the task at hand. I am too new into this process to hit that wall yet, but I know it will come. And, when it does, I can revisit this page and remind myself of my inspirations.

What inspirations do you have?

Monday's Challenge Report

I joined Loretta's challenge (see badge at bottom of the page), and have tried to do a minimum of 10 minutes of some form of exercise every day. So far, I am doing a good job of it! Today, I used hand weights to exercise the upper arms.

I decided to target that area. Flying squirrels have nothing on the flaps I'm developing up there. Wonder if I could glide? But I digress ...

So, I spend about 15 minutes doing several weight routines to try to develop some muscles in my upper arms. The more muscle I build, the more my metabolism should rev up.

Yesterday, I actually went swimming, trying to go a solid 10 minutes of aerobic activity. I managed to do it longer, but cardiovascularly, I am a wee bit out of shape. (And by wee bit, I mean enormously out of shape.) Is gliding considered exercise? i wonder ...

Tomorrow, I return to the Pilates Ring that I won from Kathy just before leaving on vacation. It may be small, but it is a workout. I am so glad I won it!

I'm right on track for my August-Only Challenge!

Tonight's dinner: whole wheat pasta w/marinara, fresh tomato and artichoke hearts, with a nectarine for dessert. (Water with dinner) Tonight's snack will be a light chocolate soy milk & banana smoothie (made with crushed ice).

Day 26 (already?) - Dream In Perfection

One of my blog buddies (and a great motivator) is Patrick (blog: Responsibility 199). He posted his mixed feelings (gladness and disappointment) at the "mere" half-pound loss of last week. YES, he is happy he recorded a loss in weight and all that, but he was hoping for more.

We all know that feeling, don't we?

His post talked about motivation, motivation to remain dedicated to the task at hand. (Patrick is not wobbling in his commitment, so no worries there.) This was actually a great post. It started me thinking about our need for perfection, how we realistically, intelligently, know better - but we dream in perfection, and we seek it in a lot of different ways, don't we? I know I do. And who actually achieves perfection? (Crickets are chirping - so that answer would be NO ONE.)

If I set my sights on losing a pound a week, and come up short on that, I would be similarly disappointed.

Losing weight is hard work. It was much more easy, and fun, putting it on. Somehow, that seems unfair now, but there it is. This hard work requires so much more than mere discipline and the mechanics of knowing what to do - and applying it. It requires consistency (often) over great lengths of time. That is not an easy thing for human beings. The struggle is as much mental as it is physical. We have to change behaviors, long-standing habits, and the hardest of all - expectations.

So, for this Monday, I am going to add "less perfection" as one of the things I need to strive to accept. I have to be careful not to let my need to succeed set me up for failure. (How many of us, in the past, have fallen off the plan, only to quit entirely?) Perfection won't get me to my goals, but consistency will - with less perfection, perhaps, but in the end my health wins, so it is all good.

I will hit my one-month mark on Friday - hard to believe! These four weeks have really gone by quickly so far. I'm excited to see where one month will bring me ...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 25 - Pushing Past Plateaus

Does anyone else have a set-point? I started thinking about this today. I'm within 11 lbs of mine. That is the weight at which I usually see a stall in forward progress (measured by the scale) - the point I usually give 1-2 weeks and then quit.

No, no, no ... I have no intention of doing that THIS time, but I'm afraid of that number. It is lurking before me, and has proven in the past to be stronger than I am - was.

So, I am devising a plan to push past that dreaded plateau. I'm going to tighten up my portion sizes when it hits. If that doesn't move me past it, I will add more movement (though I don't much relish walking in the heat of late summer).

I think mostly, however, it is a mind-over-matter issue. I've lost the battle mentally, in the past. I know intellectually to expect plateaus and to wait them out, but when it comes to actually doing that - well, I don't. I suppose that is true of most people, otherwise their diets would be a success and the industry wouldn't be making billions a year.

Scarlet, on her blog today, expressed her frustration with "just" maintaining. She'd like to see movement down the scale again. That got me to thinking about my own set-point. I know what I have to do, so I just need to prepare myself and follow through.

I am going to prepare myself to FINALLY push past that dreaded set-point, whenever it arrives. I am thinking I will meet my foe around late September.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happiness Overload

Out of the mouths of babes ... or how I accidentally fell off my sister-in-law's "good" list:

Sitting around my much-younger brother & sister-in-law's dinner table, my preschool-aged nephew chimed in with his own bit of wisdom.

He announced to no one in particular, "I know why Aunty Annie is fat ..."

Is that EVER a good phrase to hear?

My sister-in-law nearly choked on the inhale, but before she could admonish him, he continued, "she has so much happy feelings and smiles, it needed more room."

Now I ask you, how can you not love that? BUT, he continued (do boys EVER stop while they are ahead?) ...

for it was then he turned toward his mother (and where I fell off her "good" list) and said in his very next breath, "And that is why you are so skinny, Mommy. You are grouchy and yell all the time."

She went from mortified to angrily embarrassed, in about a nanosecond, but she appreciated the skinny comment nevertheless. (She is very image conscious, my sister-in-law.)

So, unofficially, I'm using THAT as my excuse for being so heavy - happiness overload. hahaha

My Current Favorite Snacks or Quick-Foods

My current favorite snacks or easy/quick foods (keeping in mind I'm avoiding unnecessary fats as part of my diet):

Guiltless Gourmet Blue Corn Chips w/Tostito Salsa (the chips are baked, so low in fat)

Old Fashioned Oatmeal with a drizzle of Raspberry Agave Nectar (has low glycemic index for a sweetener, so gentle on blood sugar spikes - a little goes a LONG way)

Taco Bell's bean burrito - HOLD THE CHEESE, PLEASE - topped with a mound of Tostito Salsa (mild or medium)

Fresh fruit - sometimes simple apple slices are enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, but any fresh fruit in season. Peaches and strawberries are abundant right now - yum!

And for something a little more special, I tried a strawberry pie that Christina Pirello made on a recent show. Who knew it could be so good?! (Crust = pureed figs w/a little water, and added ground almonds ... that's it ... no baking at all, just refrigeration.) I liked the strawberry/fig/almond combo. It felt sinful, simply because it was almost too good-tasting to be healthy!

And my favorite to satisfy any random chocolate craving that may try to derail me ...

A banana-chocolate smoothie, made from (light) chocolate soy milk, ice, and a fresh banana. It takes two minutes, and tastes like a decadent chocolate shake. It is wonderful!

Do YOU have favorites (for your particular eating plan)? Share!!

Day 24 - All About Sizes

The last time I had anything near a significant weight loss effort, I got "all the way down" to a size 24 (pants). I remember how GOOD that felt. This was about 10 years ago, and I only stayed in that zone for about two months before I started to regain again (plus an extra 10 lbs. added for good measure).

I kept two of my size 24 jeans, because I hardly wore them, and how much does jean style realistically change? (They aren't bell-bottoms.) I think I will make fitting back into them one of my mini-goals. I should be able to do that, if I stay on track, by the end of January. That is a big "if" there, given I need to successfully negotiate through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Right now, I think I'll be able to do that - positive attitude and all that.

My pants were a snug 4x in June (or about a size 30W). Today, in mid-August, my pants are now comfortable. In fact, they will probably be loose in another 2-3 lbs.

Change may be slow, but it is happening. I'm large enough that no one has noticed - at all - a whopping 12 lb weight loss. I wonder how much I'll lose before someone actually notices the change. I imagine it would be harder to detect in winter, with bulky clothing and all that. Won't friends and relatives be surprised next spring? Well, hopefully so ...

The general rule of thumb is 1 size = 20 lbs, therefore, as I reach 20 lbs in weight loss, I should be ready for a 28W. I'm more than halfway there!

Sizes are another way to measure successful implementation of a healthy eating regimen.

30W on my way to 28W ...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 23 - Weigh-in Results: 295 lbs.

I was very nervous to weigh myself today. This is my first day back, after guests visiting, followed immediately by vacation. Vacation is the thing I worried about most, because I'm at the mercy of restaurants and temptations of all sorts of local foods. Nevertheless, I tried very hard to eat with purpose and to make intelligent decisions.

I admit, I was very tempted a few times to go off-plan "just once" or "just a little bit." Then, I recalled all the previous times I've used those excuses, and where it got me.

I think, if only just while I am trying to lose weight, I owe it to myself to exercise a little more self-control. And, if I eat off-plan, it is because I have planned to do so.

Well, the results of my efforts are in, with today's step up onto the scale. I am very happy (delighted, actually) to report I lost three more pounds over the last 10 days! This is the first time in my memory I actually lost weight while on vacation! I was hoping - ideally - to not gain. It never dawned on me that I would actually lose more.

So, today, sitting at home (my vacation doesn't officially end until Sunday), I am 100-times over glad I did not allow myself to slip back into my old excuses and my old "vacation" eating pattern! I don't even remember what exactly I passed up, that I was drooling over at the time, which also shows me how unimportant that momentary indulgence would've been in the grand scheme of things. There isn't a thing I could eat that would equal the delight I felt when I saw the scale register a healthier number.

Surprisingly, it wasn't all that hard to eat well. There are more and more healthy selections out there, even in tourist destinations. And I was prepared with back-up items (a cooler with carrot and celery sticks, apples, etc.), so if I literally could find nothing - I always had something I could nibble on until I could find better fare.

One thing I have learned for next time: Take along a bottle of my preferred fat-free salad dressing.

So, day 23 and I am still doing well, making good decisions and staying strong ...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 13 - Weigh-in Results: 298 lbs.

It is official, I lost 5 lbs last week!

I am now down to 298, and my BMI has fallen into the 48-range.

Yes, it is probably the last of the "water weight," but if it gets me below the century mark, I'll not question it. haha

I am expecting things to slow waaaaay down now. A human being can only lose about 1% of weight in fat a week, after the initial week or two of body adjustment to a new diet, without losing muscle tissue. That means I should be slowing now to 2-3 lbs/week. No worries!

Every ounce counts! (My new theme?!)

It will be two weeks before the next official weigh-in, because I'm going on vacation next week. I'm going with the best of intentions to stay fairly sane in my food choices, but the scale will tell all upon my return.

I have a house full of people coming in for a long weekend, so tomorrow and Thursday morning are going to be "white-glove" cleaning time for me. Does anyone else have a relative who checks EVERYTHING? The last time she was in, she even checked my dryer lint trap (which was clean, by the way). So, I don't know how much, if at all, I'll be online - the closer their Thursday afternoon arrival time approaches.

I expect to be back on my blog a week from Monday ... I'll look forward to catching up on all I've missed with everyone.

Now, does intensive (detailed) housework count as exercise?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Confession is Good for the Soul

Okay, I totally cheated, and peeked at the scale this afternoon. All the wonderful NSVs were hinting at wonderful things to come, and I just had to take a quick look. Curiosity got the better of me (plus, I was washing the bathroom floor, and the scale just happened to be in need of handling). Excuses, excuses, I know!

I'm TRYING not to get too excited, because the formal number could be completely different tomorrow.

However, may I just say ...

Yeeee-haaawwwww !!!!

Oh, I am SO doing a happy dance, jiggly parts are flapping everywhere - watch out!

Good-bye 300s!!

There is my perfect extra incentive for next week's vacation - I do NOT want to revisit that number, ever, ever again!

It is so TWO-tiful on this side of the number ... I'd almost forgotten ...

Okay, my silly demonstration is over. I have to save something for my official weigh-in tomorrow. Wanna see a preview? Check out the newly added progress ticker at the very bottom of my blog page! I'll make adjustments to it tomorrow, if the number changes between now and then.

Day 12 - Tip

My weigh-in will be tomorrow, but this week has been filled with NSVs. I'm excited with anticipation of tomorrow's scale read.

Wow, didn't think I'd ever hear myself say that - being excited to get on the scale?! What's next? Wanting to get my picture taken, without hiding behind someone, or a pillow in front of me?!

I discovered a healthy faux "dessert" for me - or at least I'm using it as a dessert. So far, it has satisfied me ... so far.

I pour myself a glass of really cold chocolate soy milk or almond milk, and I peel a banana. Sip of chocolate, bite of banana (alternate) - it is wonderful!

There is something about the chocolate-banana flavor combination - YUM! Hey, I said it was "faux" ... it has kept me away from the temptation of other (sweeter, less healthy) things, so far.

I suppose that could be considered a tip. But, I've decided to add a "Tip" to the Day today, formally.

Tip Of The Day:

Get some really good audio books, and listen to them as you exercise. You'll be encouraged to get in the next exercise session, just to hear the next installment in the story!

If anyone has a tip they'd like to share, please do! I have a long journey in front of me, and can use all the help I can get.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 11 - August

I'm back from church, a healthy lunch is in my tummy, and I am planning my preparations for the guests that are coming in later this week. I wonder if they'll notice there isn't an unhealthy snack in the place ...

I have one more weigh-in, which is this week, before my vacation the following week. Thanks for all the suggestions on how to best handle things while on vacation. I'll go with much more confidence in my abillity to stay focused on my goals.

This week, while I am NOT on vacation, I'll be hosting a house full of guests, so I'm anticipating not getting on the computer much - if at all - once they arrive. And then, of course, I leave right after they do, to go on my vacation. I'm going to have blog withdrawal! Not from writing, but from reading all those other inspirational, motivational and just plan enjoyable blogs out there!

I'm borrowing Sharon's "Awesome August" attitude this month! So, in keeping with that ... here is my HUGE NSV (non-scale victory) for today, August 1st:

I can now touch (though barely) my thumb to my longest finger, around my right wrist! YES, I can now close my hand entirely around my right wrist! Gosh, I haven't been able to do that in YEARS and years. How cool was that?! Plus, without getting on the scale prematurely, it is telling me I've lost more weight since my last weigh-in. August IS awesome already!


Loretta (blog: Loretta's Journey) - Day 357 - issued a wonderful August-only challenge! I'm joining. The challenge is called"

"Just 1 Thing: Consistency Challenge"

You are challenged to focus on one thing (and it can be anything at all), for the month of August. The thought behind this is "even a small thing, done consistently over time, can explode with results!" There is only one rule Loretta is requiring of this challenge, that participants please choose a goal that's NOT [directly] related to the number on the scale.

I added the "directly," because indirectly, a LOT of things ultimately relate to the number on the scale.

If I can figure out how the badges work, you'll see this challenge badge at the bottom of my blog page. If not, visit Loretta's blog and you'll see it in all its glory!

Loretta is challenging herself to consistently work on improving her time on the mini-trampoline. I've decided I will challenge myself to some form of exercise every day, even if just for a minimum of 10 minutes. Since I do ZERO exercise right now, that is no small challenge. I hope, by month's end, I can say I met this challenge successfully.

Loretta says, "And it would be great if you could do me a favor, and get the word out on your own blog, if you have one. Let's rock August!"

I'm rocking, Loretta, I'm rocking! (Does that count as exercise? I didn't think so.)