Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It finally happened...

This week marks the first week that I have GAINED weight since I started all this. 4 pounds. Ugh. I was expecting it though, in all honesty. Last week was atrocious. I was HUNGRY all the time, had no energy to hula hoop and just no self control. It was bad. It's hormonal though, I am convinced of it now. I was PMSing in the worst possible way. (I know it is so because I have the CRAMPS to prove it!)

This is not good, but it is not the end of the world. Also- I am still in the negative. If I hadn't weighed in last week I would have just thought it was a slow couple of weeks of only 1 pound of loss instead of a 5 pound loss and a 4 pound gain... Ignorance could have been bliss, but I think this was bound to happen sometime, it was inevitable in a way.

So, what now? Well, back on track obviously! Time to buckle down, find some other forms of exercise now that the weather is turning cooler and take control back yet again!

I'm going to start food journaling again tomorrow, and in a shocking twist I MAY start posting my food journal over on Celeste Eats Healthy. Perhaps some incentive to keep me honest with myself and get back to where I need to be? What do you think? Good idea? Bad idea? Who cares idea?

Either way, I am done with doldrums! Hope the sun is shining in the morning so I can grab my hoop for a bit! I am also going to go looking for begginer upper body weight training routines. I was at the store testing weights and I'm going to get some 5 pounders. I feel like such a weakling. I tried to curl 15 pounds and after 2 reps I couldn't lift the darned thing again. Pathetic!

Wish me luck, pray for me, something. I've been sliding by on small changes until now. Here's where things get tough.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Celeste Cooks Healthy

Be sure to check in on my other blog, Celeste Cooks Healthy, for recipes, meal ideas, product reviews, tips and tricks and all things food and nutrition related.

There's a link over there on my side bar ------>

There's a new post today, you should check it out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Short bloglet- What would you like to see?

I am making efforts to be more consistent with my posting- my goal is to post at least once a week- but I am having idea issues. So lemons from lemonade- if you are reading this what would you like to see? Are there any aspects of health and weight loss that you think I should look into? Would you like to see recipes or menus, exercise routines, links, reviews?

The sky is the limit, and hey if this post accomplishes nothing else I've given myself a few ideas :D

Take care until next time!

Whys, wherefores and having a bad week...

Ok, last week I talked about the "how do you do it?" question that I get all the time, this week I'd like to talk a little about why. I'm sure it's in some of my original posts, but this is to focus on that question. It's kind of a selfish thing because I need a serious kick in the butt to jump start me again as I am having a momentary difficulty maintaining. (fancy way of saying i am ravenously hungry all of a sudden and don't know why)

So, WHY am I loosing weight. The short answer is to feel better, be healthier and perhaps look a bit better as a side effect. This is not a vanity thing, I was (am?) morbidly obese and headed for a LOT of trouble. Diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease, sleep apnea, and more were staring me in the face. I know we all die sometime, but I want a chance to be a grandma first someday (a LONG time from now. My son's only 7, lol!) It was also affecting how I felt- both physically and emotionally. I was always tired, slow, sluggish, lacking libido, depressed, anxious, frustrated. Sick and tired of it all. I couldn't run around with my son, I couldn't keep up at work- my back and feet were ALWAYS in such pain. They'd start to feel better the night before I went back to work and started all over again. I just had no energy to do anything other than work, eat and sleep.

The biggest reason though is one that it's taken me a long time to admit to myself- my son. I am starting to see him following in my footsteps and it makes me want to cry. I want such good things for his life and I worry that he's developing bad habits now that will haunt him for the rest of his life. I had tried talking about it with him- about health and nutritious foods and exercise etc... but I wasn't practicing what I preached. I was his big fat loving mamma telling him to be careful or he'd end up having similar issues to me. I told him that he was and always will be beautiful to me no matter what, but I want him to be healthy enough to do anything he sets his mind to. SO a big part of this is putting my money where my mouth is. I'm working towards better health to show him that it's not hopeless and I want to take him with me. Here's hoping it works!!

After all that here's the update on how I'm doing:

Ugh, rough week. After a fantastic week with 5 pounds lost I've fallen into a ravenous state. Everything looks good, nothing satisfies. So I am afraid that I may have gained some back. Boo. I'm still better off than when I started, but I have GOT to get a handle on the hungries! Thinking I may have to journal for a while and get strict again until I get it under control. Even worse, I've been so busy and/or tired that I've neglected my hoop. All is not lost, it's just a blip in the grand scheme of things but it's discouraging, and I have no idea where it's coming from

Could be hormones (about once a month don'cha know :P)
Could be stress (family issues, don't ask, lol!)
Could be working around tons of tasty non healthy food all the time
Could be not eating enough fruits and veg
Could be any number of things, I just don't know.

Good news- I see the doctor tomorrow (I think? gotta call first thing in the morning, can't remember when my appt is, lol!) and so I'll find out for sure if I've lost or gained and by how much. Also, I'll talk to her about this and get her take.

I've had rough spots before, and it's not the end of it all- just have to do what I've done before- pick myself up, dust myself off and soldier on. I'll be thinking on the best ways to do that over the next couple of days.

Till then take care!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Goals, loose skin and "how did you do it?"

So, first off to start on a happy note- I discovered this morning that I am only ONE pound away from my first goal of loosing 50 pounds. That's right, I have lost 49 pounds since May!!! Woot! So, later this week I will surely have made it. It's exciting and it's inspiring. My next goal? Another 50 pounds. And after the past several months I am sure I can do it. So, just wanted to share. Setting a goal is so important- it gives you something concrete to work towards and it's a gauge for progress. Plus it's less intimidating to do anything if there's an attainable end in sight. If you want to do anything set goals!!

Moving on- loose skin. Ew. I mean really ew. I'm doing all this work to get healthy, but kind of hoping for the side effect of looking better too right? Well, look out world cause here comes loose skin. Ugh. My boobs are deflating, my tummy is hanging and I am disgusted with the whole thing. I mean- it's almost tempting to gain weight again just so my skin will fit. Don't worry though, I said almost. I've worked too hard to go back now!

So what to do? Am I going to have to resort to surgery later when i reach my goal? That's the LAST thing I want!!! After much reading on the subject the consensus seems to be that with time my skin should at least snap back a little bit, but it's kind of sort of a maybe. The main thing seems to be patience and getting one's bmi quite low (single digits for men and teens for women). I'm not all that sure I was really wanting to go that far with all this, but I may have to because I don't want to flap whenever I walk for the rest of my life and I HATE the idea of surgery!

And for my final act- fielding the question/comment "Wow, 50 pounds! How did you do it? What did you give up?" I get this question a lot lately (I guess it's all starting to show in a big way) and while on one hand I don't mind it on the other it's annoying because I seriously doubt anyone wants to hear what I have to say... Because it's not "Oh, I eat nothing but lettuce and run 10 miles a day" It's not "I take this pill, eat what I want and do nothing" it's somewhere in between. I eat less and I move more. Period. I cut back on portions and calories until I was eating a lot less- in fact I can't even contemplate finishing some of the portions I used to eat before! I do some sort of exercise 4 or 5 times a week at least. (Yay hooping!) and that's the main idea.

If I want something I have it. If I am hungry I eat. I don't give myself an excuse to binge because I don't say "Oh I can't eat that!" I just portion it smaller or look for something to substitute. I love chocolate, so I eat it as dark as I can find it- with really dark chocolate a little goes a long way- less calories and complete satisfaction. I eat pizza at least twice a week- but I have a slice or two not 3 or 6. I eat fries once in a blue moon (mostly when I want a ketchup delivery device. I don't crave the fries so much as the ketchup and I can't bring myself to drink it straight! lol), I've even been known to eat the occasional cookie...

I will say that there are some outside influences that probably contributed to my weight loss: I moved into an upstairs apartment, I didn't have a car, I finally got my Bi-Pap machine for my sleep apnea etc... But who knows how much they contribute. I guess if you wanted to learn from them I'd say take the stairs whenever you can, get enough rest (check for sleeping disorders if you're always tired) and walk walk walk!

I think that's all I have to say this week, what about you? What are some downfalls to weight loss? What common sense approaches work for you in working towards a healthy lifestyle? How has setting a goal helped you to accomplish something?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Must stop slacking!

It's been a little while since my last post, sorry!

Today I am going to talk about why I love summer- fresh produce and farm stands, beautiful weather to exercise in, the ability to wear flip flops and not look like an idiot...

So first off, I LOVE veggies. Seriously. Try to name a veggie I don't like. I bet you can't do it. I'll be honest too, if you manage to name a veggie I dislike I will bow my head in defeat. So when I say that summer produce makes me happy I mean it!

So, what to do with all this delicious produce? I've been roasting them in the oven. Oh. My. Goodness. Are veggies ever tasty when you roast them! Squash, mushrooms, broccoli, eggplant, onions, peppers.... *Drool* It's a beautiful thing! Easy as pie too- wash and dice some veggies of your choice (try to stick with fairly soft or small stuff) into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes, toss with some olive oil, garlic and seasoning and spread out on a cookie sheet. Bake in a hot oven till it starts to blister and brown. Remove from oven, refrain from eating straight off of the cookie sheet, and enjoy. Did this tonight with some eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, and onion. Served it with pan sauteed tillapia breaded with crushed Triscuits. AWESOME dinner. :D

Now, weather. Here in south eastern Colorado we have been blessed with a LOT of gorgeous days, and I am finding that unlike Florida (where I've lived most of my life) I really REALLY like being outdoors here. It's just gorgeous, the sky is so blue and big, the air is soft, the sun feels like heaven on my skin, and it's PERFECT to get out and get active in! Only thing I have to be careful of is to make sure to stay hydrated and spend a lot of time in the shade. I've been hooping every day this week so far, and getting to the point that I am starting to push myself a little harder. Trying harder to work up a sweat and really use some large muscle groups. So I've incorporated some squats, sped things up a bit and have been working on moving the hoop to different levels on my body (you have to work a bit harder to bring the hoop up from your knees to your waist for example). Really pushed myself hard today and loved every minute of it! I'm getting concerned though- what am I gonna do when the weather gets icky? I have to start thinking about this now before I get stuck and out of practice... Wonder if I can find a gymnasium near by? Anyone with ideas feel free to share. I do NOT want to relapse over the winter!

So, not a lot of substance in this post, and I apologize for that, I promise to come up with a really good idea for the next one!

Oh, by the way, another 2 pounds since my last doctor visit, for a grand total of 44 since May. ONLY 6 MORE TO GO TILL MY FIRST GOAL!!! WHOOO!!!

I'm just a little bit excited :D As it is I've already lost more weight than I ever have before so I feel accomplished! I got into my "skinny" jeans (hey, size 20 may not be "skinny" but it's definitely smaller than the 26 I was at 4 months ago!) the other day, so things are looking good all around!

Till next time,


Monday, August 24, 2009

I've been a bad girl...

Ok, get your mind out of the gutter! (Just kidding!) And no I didn't go on a binge or stop exercising. What I mean is that I have neglected my blog! Oh woe, woe, woe is me! And there are things to update so here it is, a fly by the seat of my pants, hope I get it right, not good enough but it'll do for now blog, lol!

First, had a doctor appointment a few days ago. I lost 7 pounds in the past 4 weeks for a grand total of 42 pounds lost since May. I only have 8 pounds to go till I reach my first goal! I'm so excited! To put it into perspective for me I thought about it in sticks of butter. If a stick of butter is 1/4 of a pound then, get this- I did the math, I've lost 164 sticks of butter... Wow. That's big. To put it even more in perspective- I can just about lift 50 pounds, for a very short amount of time... So, I've lost more than I can comfortably pick up. It's mind boggling. I was carrying it around already, and now I can't even pick it up.

Some things I have noticed: I can jog (very short distances) now without feeling like I am gonna fall apart. My back hurts a lot less (good bye girls, It's been fun, I'll miss you but my back sure as heck won't!). My feet no longer ache for days after I am done working. I can walk up my flight of stairs swiftly without getting out of breath. I actually ENJOY walking places. Etc... (On a different note, I am getting hit on at work too, not sure how to take that as I am quite happy with my hunny, but it IS flattering, lol!) I am happier and more confident too. Amazing things are happening for me.

Which leads me to the next part of my update- I got a car! This is a good thing in a lot of ways, but oh, the temptation to just drive everywhere instead of using my tootsies! I am going to try to be strong. The car is only supposed to be used for times that walking is not a good idea (grocery shopping, having to be somewhere quickly or after dark or in inclement weather, having to travel out of our little town, having to transport something too unwieldy to walk with etc...) I am going to try to stick to that because I KNOW that walking has been at least part of my transformative process. (I love getting to use big words, bear with me!) I just hope that my willpower will carry over to the transportation issue. Complete unrelated except that it happened in the same week- I got a kitty! Has nothing to do with anything, neither here nor there, but I wanted to share :D He's a sweet little stray that we've been feeding at work for a while that took to me so I took him home. Rufus is orange and SWEET as candy! Ok, done with that.

On to the next tidbit:
My hoop tape is on it's way!!! Whee!!! I've been needing to recover my hoops in the WORST possible way as some very mischievous children decided it would be a good idea to back spin my hoops on rough asphalt. Oh the horror! But, I get to recover them all pretty and sparkly, and I have enough tape to make more! Which means that miss Celeste is gonna be making some hoops and trying to get the community involved! Yay!

And finally, some concerns. Autumn is just around the corner and winter is at it's heels. I love these seasons but I am concerned. Most of my physical activity takes place outdoors, and while I can continue to walk on even some not so great days, layers and layers of bulky warm clothes are NOT conducive to hula hooping. So I have to figure out if there is anywhere indoors near by that I can hoop, or devise another form of activity. Any suggestions? I need your help people!! Also, I went through my clothes. I decided that I ABSOLUTELY refuse to wear anything that doesn't fit right any more, that makes me look dumpy or frumpy, or that gives me baggy butt syndrome. Refuse. Went through my clothes and proceeded to throw away about 85% of it... Yikes! All of my clothes now fit into one normal sized laundry basket, and there is not a stitch of it that is pants or shorts or even a skirt. Thank GOD that I wear the same size pants as my husband (for now) so that I have a little leeway on having to buy them! It's worth it to get all that out of my house, but it's kind of sad. Some of those clothes were sentimental to me. But it's in the past. Behind me. Over. Time to suck it up, take my licks and GO SHOPPING! The only problem with this scenario is lack of funding, but that's ok. I'm sure I'll figure something out. I think I know where to find a few thrift shops.

And with that I come to a close. It is of course way too late, as I put this off way too long, and I am way to tired. So I am off to bed. Tomorrow brings tire patching, auto insurance, car washing and perhaps clothes shopping. All followed by work! On the bright side, there are 2 days off behind that day of work, so I think I can survive!

Good night everybody!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dusting off and getting back up!

Ah the joys of changing ones lifestyle for the better. There are highs and lows (endorphins and cravings anyone? lol!), but the thing to remember, no matter how bad of a day, week or even month that you have is that it's never too late to dust yourself off and get back up again. The sooner the better of course, but anything is better than staying down.

So, that's what I'm doing :D Had a bad couple of weeks which I now realize was at least partially due to the fact that I desperately needed to go shopping. When there's nothing in the house that looks good than all the bad stuff out there is irresistible. So, I stocked up on all my healthy eating faves and some shortcuts to help keep me on track. Fat free light yogurt? Check. Fat free cheese and sour cream? Check. Whole grain pasta? Check. Fresh salad veggies? Check. Low calorie snacks? Check. Better attitude? Big check! I even got myself a bar of 90% cocoa chocolate (heaven!!!) to treat myself throughout the week. Good thing about high cocoa content chocolate? LOTS less sugar and more of the antioxidants and such that are so good for you. It's also tasty as all get out, if you like dark chocolate and I do, so it's win-win!

So, aside from not eating very well I hadn't been as active. Not COMPLETELY my fault, but I didn't try very hard either. Basically the fair was in town so we had an INSANE weekend at work, followed by a tummy bug that kept me down and just being run down in general (gee, wonder why not eating right made me so tired, lol :P). So, today I got some new music off the internet and rocked out with my hoop for about 45 minutes. And I'll probably go to the park in a bit and do it some more. :D If you're interested in what I'm listening to at the moment for working out then I can recommend www.themixfiles.com as a source for long high tempo mixes that have definately had ME moving at least. It's techno/electronica/dance that is just too bouncy for words. Makes me wanna dance, and that's saying something!

Something that I've noticed? Even though I wasn't doing so hot, I didn't actually gain back an appreciable amount of weight. I just stopped loosing as fast. Not sure if it's because I am just working with a higher metabolism or if I am sticking to smaller portions than I was eating, even if it was the wrong choices? Either way, everything still fits, and I just bought some new bras and underwear cause the other stuff was getting saggy and baggy. So progress continues and I am encouraged! Gonna find a pair of skinny jeans and work towards getting into them. It's a very tangible way to see how I'm doing, and it's even more encouraging than the scale numbers when I can comfortably get into something that didn't fit before. It's even more encouraging when that something gets too big, lol!

So, how are some of you (possible but unknown) readers doing? Have you ever fallen off the health wagon and had to catch up and get back on again? How do you catch yourself and what are some tools that keep you going strong?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another hooping video :D

Some progress I think, what about you?

I'm sorry!!!

Wow, it's been so long since I posted...

I'm sorry about that- life gets away with us sometimes! I'm still working towards bettering my health and life, I've just been so busy doing it that I forgot to write about it. So what's new?

Still hooping, and getting better if I do say so myself. Learning new tricks and getting ready to make some new hoops as I am trying to get others here in my tiny town interested and more fit! So I may be starting a hoop group in the near future. I should say trying to start a hoop group. A lot of the people I've mentioned it to have an attitude of "oh it's so great that you do that and you look awesome but I could never do it". Sigh. Time will tell. Also wanting to figure out a music solution. Namely- I use my mp3 player for music when I hoop- I want more external music, lol.

Ok, in other news- the "you've lost so much weight!" comments are starting to pour in, the clothes are falling off and I am worried about my finances as I need to get some that won't. There is a thrift store I can go to so hopefully that will help until I get where I want to be size wise and health wise. I've had a rough week or so as far as food is concerned, cravings and lower self control than usual. I am thinking it's one of 3 things, although I suspect it's a combination of all 3. I may just be pms-ing, I may be building more muscle and NEEDING more calories or I may be getting to the "I'm tired of trying so hard" phase and loosing sight of my goal. So I plan on starting a food journal again to get myself back on track, reassessing my goals, and focusing more on my body to determine if I am hungry or just being a greedy guts.

Some other plans in the near future are to step up to a walking plan (ok, that was bad, sorry!) and find other ways to be active. I still need some weight training to build upper body strength and muscle and I am considering something yoga-like for more flexibility, to help my back and to relax. Plus it'll give me something I can do on days that I just can't get out with my hoop. I also REALLY need to get back on the fruit wagon. (sorry again!) I've been lax in this department. Veggies too. Not that I've stopped eating them, I've just been making not so good choices...

Needless to say my weight loss has stalled momentarily, but I haven't gained so that's good at least. I am certain that I can get back on track now that I've realized what has been happening. I think a constant monitoring of self and reassessing is so important when one is working towards a goal. I am SO CLOSE to my first 50 pound goal- only 16 pounds to go! I can do it. I have a friend that has promised to take me horseback riding when I meet that goal and I am looking forward to it. I haven't been horseback riding in years, partially because I've been afraid to hurt the poor things... I am already looking ahead to my reward for my next goal. I am thinking perhaps a trip to an amusement park so I can ride roller coasters? I LOVE roller coasters, but the last time I went anywhere to ride them it was such a tight squeeze to get into the harness restraint thingies and I was worried that I might not be able to ride them again. I am being careful not to use food as rewards although I still have moments of "If I'm good all day I can have a cookie" or "If I'm good all week I can have a small order of chili cheese curly fries on Friday". I really need to stop that. Food is food, not a reward. I have to remind myself that if I want something I can have it, I just have to decide if it's worth the calories and plan on adjusting for them the rest of the day...

So that's the news. In a nutshell- still hooping, had bad week, not perfect, want to add different exercises, horseback riding, roller coasters and chili cheese fries. Doesn't sound all that much like a health blog does it? lol!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Belated post, My reply to the question "why do people eat too much?" on another blog.

I'm late, I try to get my post up by Wednesday every week but things got out of hand. I was reading blogs today and came across this one. It was a good question and one that I've thought about a lot recently as I've worked towards overcoming this tendency in myself. Here's what I answered:

You know, this is something on my mind a lot lately as I am under strict orders from the doc to loose at least 50 pounds, and perhaps even 100 or so, for health reasons including high blood pressure and potential diabetes.

I think you are right- people over think food sometimes, get obsessed with what they can and can't have. I also think that most people have forgotten how to listen to their bodies. If you listen it will tell you when it's had enough and you can learn what the rest of your body wants- not just your taste buds. They've confused appetite for hunger, fullness for satisfaction and comfort for energy and well being. At least that's what was happening with me for the past 18 years. I was a healthy weight until around the time I turned 12 or 13, and then the weight gain slowly began. It was probably partially hormonal, but I know for a fact that I had skewed ideas and attitudes about food and exercise. By the time I graduated High School I was a size 22, and I've gotten as high as a 26 in recent years.

So, when the doc said loose weight or I'd continue slowly killing myself I sat down and thought about what my usual pitfalls had been, and how to fix them. Here's what I came up with:

Any time I've tried to "diet" it's involved avoiding certain foods all together and it just made me wildly crave them and binge on them when I couldn't take it any more. And you're right- it did make me over think my food. I was obsessed with what I could and couldn't have. I didn't really enjoy my food any more and I felt guilty if I ate something I "shouldn't" which lead to more eating to soothe the guilt. Plus I couldn't maintain it for more than a few months at a time. At which point I would relapse and gain it all back and then some. More guilt, more food, more weight. Basically I thought of certain foods as "bad" and that was a big mistake.

I've never really added a decent amount of physical activity to my routine either. I've just been too lazy or tired or whatever. I thought if I "wasted" all my energy doing exercise I would get worn out and run down and not have the energy to do anything else. I thought of exercise as hard, and no fun and too much work.

I also set my goals either unrealistically high, or ridiculously low. So I would either fall short and feel defeated or not get anywhere at all.

The reality is- the only way to loose weight is to take in fewer calories than you burn. This is accomplished by eating less and/or exercising more. I'm doing both. To keep from having to think about food too much in the future I am relearning some things, like how to listen to my body, what portions really look like, and about how many calories that most foods have. I'm also relearning the difference between appetite and hunger and satisfied and full. I read somewhere that you should only ever eat to about 80% of your capacity. Basically, you should feel satisfied but like you could eat more if you wanted to. Once these are ingrained in me I won't have to think so much about it, eating prudently will become a habit.

Here's my plan- since the forbidden fruit is always more attractive nothing is forbidden. If I want chocolate I have some. Chips? Chili cheese fries? Hot wings? No problem. I've just learned that I can enjoy a small square of chocolate, a couple of chips, a bite or two of fries, or a couple of wings just as much as the large portions I used to eat. I choose to fill up on fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein and keep my treats as simply small little morsels to enjoy. No guilt as I loosely monitor my calories and try to keep them between 1200 and 1400 (for now) and I get as much physical activity in as I can. If I have 90 calories of chocolate (about 2 dove squares) then I just eat 90 fewer calories somewhere else. And I often decide that the chocolate isn't worth it. If I'm hungry I'm more likely to go for the 90 calories worth of salad or protein with dinner instead of a tiny treat.

The second part of the plan involved finding a physical activity that I LOVED. Something I would keep doing even if it got physically uncomfortable just because it was so much fun, and I remembered hula hooping. So now I hoop a half hour 4 to 5 times a week or more and I walk every where that I go in town since my town is small, I like the outdoors, and I don't have a car. (Thank goodness for the small town part!) The best part? Not only does it NOT sap my energy- it gives me MORE! Not to mention the effect it has had on my mood. I am remarkably happy as opposed to mildly depressed for the first time in years. I love my life and that's been a wonderful thing.

Knowledge is power and knowing more about food allows me to make informed decisions. Is it working? You betcha! My weight has gone down by about 25 pounds in 5 weeks and my blood pressure is normal for the first time in my adult life. And I'm doing it the right way and for keeps. I'm not on a "diet" I am changing my attitudes and habits towards food and exercise to create a life long pattern of health. At the moment I do have to think about food quite a bit, but it's getting less and less all the time as I relearn how to eat. Eventually I will be to the point where I can trust my body enough to not have to think about it at all. I'll automatically make better decisions, have smaller portions, not eat simply out of appetite (as in, boy that slice of pie looks good instead of man my stomach is rumbling) and stop when I am satisfied instead of so full I am uncomfortable.

I look forward to a longer happier healthier life :D

I know that some of this repeats some things that I have already said, but it's all stuff that bears repeating, and besides, I think better on screen or paper or out loud than I do in my head, so this helps me solidify things that I am thinking about and learning and realizing.

Good health and god bless to all!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Move your body!

I've spent the last month examining and working to change my eating habits and attitudes. I think I have made huge strides in that area, so now it is time to focus on the next thing- exercise.

Yes, exercise. Many people cringe at the word and imagine tight leotards, sweating profusely, pain and suffering. The thought of walking several miles is daunting. Excuses are made. I am guilty of all of the above. I have never been fond of sweating or getting short of breath. I haven't really RUN since I was a small child, and even that wasn't terribly common. Exercise is one of the best things that you can do for your body, and a key part of loosing weight effectively while increasing strength and stamina. It must be done.

What is a tired, hard working fat girl to do?

Well, that's exactly what I have been pondering all week. I promised an article on exercise, and I intend to deliver. I know that I need to do better in this area myself, so perhaps I will be motivated to improve by writing about it.

So, What to do? I've already started with small steps. Things like walking anywhere I go that's a mile or less away, but I really feel that it's time to up the intensity a bit. I want to build up some muscle for strength and increased calorie burning. I want to work my heart and help my cardiovascular system. I need aerobics and strength training. Problem is, I've never been the type to go to the gym for a class or to lift weights. It bores the living daylights out of me. Some people do well with that sort of thing, and more power to them, but I want to have FUN! I want to do something that I look forward to, that I can't wait to do, and I think I've found it.

My activity of choice? Hula hooping!! I LOVE my hoop. It's so much fun and it's aerobic AND strength building because it's weighted. I work my core muscles hooping, I work my lower body dancing around while I do it, and I work my arms by swinging the hoop around when I need a breather from the hooping. I first got started hooping a couple of years ago and was hooping for about 2 hours once a week at the park with some other hooping enthusiasts. That lasted until I severely twisted my ankle (not hooping, I was running in the rain and slipped) and had to stop. Recently I dragged my hoops out for the first time in almost a year and while I'm a bit rusty it's still hugely fun. Now I just have to up the frequency from more than a couple of times a month to maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Combined with the walking that I already do and perhaps some bike riding or swimming I think it's a good start.

I think the best advice I can give in this area, considering that I have a long way to go yet, is find something you enjoy, find people to share it with and get to it. The hardest part is just getting started. Momentum is a hard thing to fight- objects at rest stay at rest and all that. The opposite is true as well though- objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Get going, build some inertia. The smallest step forward is enough to start the ball rolling. Hopefully with time I'll have a better idea of the whole subject, but for now that's it!

So, what's your activity of choice and what inspires you to keep moving?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Food attitudes, tips, "tricks" and thoughts

Today I am going to talk about food. Specifically some of the difficulties that I had with changing my eating habits and the ways that I found to cope with them.

My main challenges are:

-I work with food all day. It is often very tempting to snack when I am cooking, and I often gave into that temptation. I would snag a pepperoni, some fries or an ice cream cone without even thinking about it. It was just there so I blindly ate.

-I had an unreasonable idea of what portion sizes should be. I would heap my dinner plate with spaghetti and meatballs and garlic bread. I would go back to a buffet 4 or 5 times before I was finished, then have dessert. I wouldn't blink at eating 1/4 of a cheese cake. It was absolutely worse than I ever believed it was. It was denial, pure and simple. It was me saying over and over "But I really don't eat that much"

-I had to relearn what actual hunger and satisfaction feel like. I'd been operating on cravings and appetite and needing to feel "full" for so long that I had actually forgotten how to tell the difference between appetite, that "boy that looks/sounds/smells good! I want some" thought process, and actual physical hunger. I also had to learn the difference between full, that "I'm getting uncomfortable so I'd better stop eating" feeling, and satisfied which is more of an "I'm not hungry any more so I don't need to keep eating" feeling. I was shooting WAY past satisfied and stuffing myself to discomfort. It was ridiculous.

I was already fat, tired and miserable, but I never did anything about it. Then I saw my doctor. It was an appointment to discuss my sleep apnea issues that turned into a discussion about my weight and general well being. She took some blood and had me come back the next week for the results. I pretty much expected the high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Comes with the fat territory. What I wasn't prepared for was how close I was to being diabetic. I was one tenth of a point away from being diagnosed that day. It scared and shocked me terribly. She told me that if I didn't make some drastic changes and loose a fairly large amount of weight I was headed for heart disease and quite possibly diabetes, among other problems. She gave me a prescription to help curb my hunger and increase my metabolism, kind of a little nudge to get things going, and told me to try to start by cutting out sugary drinks and not snacking at work. She said to just remind myself that I wasn't really hungry and stop myself. So I listened, and worked hard at it, and managed to loose 7 pounds my first week. That was it, I was totally motivated and encouraged and on my way.

Pretty much a typical day now goes like this:

Breakfast: a fruit, a fat free dairy or a protein and a whole grain. Example- fat free plain yogurt with Truvia and vanilla or almond extract with Kashi Go Lean cereal and frozen blueberries. Or an omelet made with liquid egg substitute and fat free cheese with a slice of toast and an apple. Cereal with skim milk and strawberries or an egg with toast and an orange etc...

Lunch: usually either something frozen (Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice etc.) with a sliced tomato or a salad, or a Special K protein bar with a fruit, or a salad with grilled chicken etc... Sometimes leftover dinner from the night before. Usually a convenience meal since I am tend to be at work when I eat lunch.

Dinner: I am trying to have dinner with my family as often as I can, just having what they have but maybe bulkier on the veggies and lighter on the meat and carbs. So if they have spaghetti I have some too, but I mix my pasta with a veg like broccoli or zucchini to get more veg and less pasta. Also, portions are crucial. I eat off of a small lunch plate now. If they're having something I really don't want to attempt (like biscuits and gravy or something else completely fat and carbs) then I revert to the type of food I would eat for lunch, or leftovers from another night or perhaps a low calorie soup with some fruit or a veggie.

Snacks: I try to make most of my snacks a fruit or veggie, but sometimes snacking is where I give myself a little leeway- if I really want chips I'll have some, but I only have 3 or 4 just to get the taste. Or I might have a little soft serve, again, not much, just enough so that I don't go hog wild with cravings later. Sometimes I do beef jerky- it's a good way to get protein into my diet without a lot of fat, I've found beef jerky with less than 100 calories an ounce. (sounds like a lot of calories for an ounce, but with it being mostly protein it's very satisfying and keeps me filled up for quite a while)

Now, here are some of the tips and "tricks" that have helped me to maintain these eating habits:

-Drink drink drink! Sometimes when you think you are hungry you are actually dehydrated, you should always drink something before you eat, but don't drink calories. The only calories I drink are from my coffee in the morning, and that's because I simply can't give up the creamer. I am using sugar free and trying to use less so that helps. I tend to drink a lot of diet sodas or other diet soft drinks. I know they're terrible with artificial sweeteners, but at this point they are helping me avoid other temptations, and I am always on the lookout for drinks sweetened with stevia instead of aspartame or saccharin. The stevia based sweeteners that I have heard of are Truvia, PureVia and Sweet Leaf. At the moment I can only find the Truvia in packets at the store, but the new zero calorie SoBe Life Water drinks are made with PureVia, and are quite good. I don't have any experience with Sweet Leaf, but I have heard good things about it.

-Add flavor not fat. It is such a bad habit to add butter to things that don't really need it. I have bought light margarine, but I still don't want to use it if I can figure something out that works just as well. Some of my favorites are lemon juice, garlic and onion powder and even olive oil. I know that olive oil is still a fat and has lots of calories, but used sparingly it's much better for you than butter or margarine. One of my favorites is to add some lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper to spinach, tastes so good. Works well on other veggies and on pasta and rice too.

-Fill up on fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are usually low in calories, high in fiber and water and loaded with nutrients. They're nice and bulky so they fill you up and are perfect for filling up if you feel like your dinner or whatever is too small. Example: the lower calorie frozen dinners are all fairly tiny compared to what most people are used to eating, so I'll eat a whole tomato or a side salad or an apple or something with it. Viola, I am full!I try to make sure that half of my plate is veggies and 1/4 each is protein and whole grain carbs. My husband complains that he often feels hungry too soon after eating a lot of just veggies. This leads to my next tip:

-Fiber and protein are your friends. They are the things that will stick around in your tummy the longest, protein because it just takes longer to digest and fiber cause it doesn't really get digested at all (at least that's what i think is the case, feel free to correct me if I am wrong!) And having something staying in your tummy means that you feel fuller longer. If you have a bit of protein with your veggies and fruits you won't get hungry again as quickly. Foods high in protein and fiber will not only keep you fuller longer, but they are also very important to your bodily function. Protein will keep you from loosing muscle mass and fiber helps keep you regular and maintains a healthy digestive system. So add some peanut butter to your apples, or some fat free cheese to your veggies, eat fat free cottage cheese with your strawberries, add a bit of chicken to your salad, or some lean beef to your stir fry etc...

-Make as much of your carb intake as possible whole grain and/or unrefined. Whole grains have more fiber and nutrients than white, processed and refined versions. So whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, whole grain cous-cous, brown rice, steel cut oats etc will keep you fuller longer and are all around better for you.

-Chew gum. Seriously, this has been a godsend for me. I work around food all day and the temptation to taste things is tremendous. Chewing gum makes tasting nearly impossible, who wants to stick a pepperoni in their mouth when they already have a mouth full of minty or fruity goodness? Even if you don't work around food, this is handy when cooking meals at home as well. It also gives a little bit of sweet taste if you are having a sweet craving. One caveat- too much of the sugar alcohols in sugar free gum can cause digestive issues like gas and diarrhea, so be careful!

-Don't deny yourself anything, but don't keep temptation in the house either! Basically if you want something badly enough, have some! Just keep the amount small and savor every bite. I get cravings for chocolate or potato chips fairly often. For chocolate I have a couple of squares of Dove chocolate, or a couple of Hershy's kisses. If I am craving chips I have 4 or 5 chips. The trick is, I make it an occasion.I don't let anything else distract me, I take small bites, savor them slowly, really experience the flavor and texture of it, enjoy the heck out of it, then stop. I don't have to eat a whole bag of chips or chocolate to enjoy the experience of it, and that's all I really need. I have learned not to keep it in the house though, if it's there it's too easy to grab out of habit and just nosh away. If you MUST keep some around, pre-portion it into reasonable portions and stick to them. I have beef jerky bagged in 1 ounce portions and it really does make a difference, there is less temptation to take more than I should if it's a matter of grabbing a small bag rather than trying to grab some out of a large bag.

-In relation to the above tip- savor your food and don't do other things while you eat (like say, watch television?). Take your time, put your fork down between bites. Really get into it. Make each meal an occasion. If you eat slower you give your brain and stomach enough time to communicate with each other and you realize that you are satisfied a lot sooner than if you are wolfing down your food as fast as you can in front of the T.V. It's also a good idea to eat together as a family or with a friend. You'll eat slower and enjoy the experience more if you are talking with someone you love.

-Be aware of the calories in what you eat. Not the exact number all the time, but at least a general ball park. Then you can reason with yourself. Do I really want to eat that 150 calorie tiny bag of potato chips? Is it worth 150 calories? Maybe a one serving bag of light popcorn sounds better at 100 calories? Sometimes the chips will be worth it, most of the times not. It also helps of you're like me and at least trying to keep calories to a general number.

-Related to the above- be aware of what portions really look like. Use a scale or measuring cups for a while until you are used to seeing what portions really look like, it's all about relearning what's reasonable. You won't have to measure like this forever, just till you retrain yourself.

-Use smaller plates. It's a simple trick but a good one. There's a saying that we also eat with our eyes, and it's true. If you take the same amount of food that swims around on a large dinner plate and put it onto a smaller lunch plate it just looks more satisfying and filling, and it will feel that way too. Your eyes will tell your brain that you are eating a full plate, and your brain will believe it.

-Finally, have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish and why. I am not doing this to be thinner or skinnier and thus more attractive, although that will probably be a side effect. I am doing this because my health, even my life, is in danger if I keep on the way I am going. My blood pressure is too high, I am borderline diabetic, my heart is working too hard, I can't breathe properly at night without a machine and oxygen, I don't even want to contemplate the state of my cardiovascular system. I can't keep up with my son when he is running around and playing at the park. So for me, that's what it is. I am trying to save and improve the quality of my life.

I know it's weird to take eating advice from a fat girl, but bear in mind that I am loosing weight, and that everyone has to start somewhere! I don't claim to be any kind of expert, most of these tips and "tricks" are just things I've known about but was too lazy and careless to put into practice. I'm still figuring it out as I go along as I work towards finally taking back my body from myself, making an effort to be healthy and happy. I want to be able to run and play with my son while he is still interested in running and playing, I want to see my son grow up, fall in love, get married. I want to see my grandchildren and watch them grow up too. I am in danger of not accomplishing that at the moment unless I drastically change my lifestyle.

Just remember, like I said above, I'm not any kind of expert. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, I am simply a woman on a mission. I am sharing my thoughts, ideas, progress and techniques in the hopes that it may inspire someone else to take back their lives. Any major changes in diet or activity should be discussed with your doctor to be sure that it is in your best interests.

Until next time, when I will talk about the physical activity side of things (an area that I definitely need improvement in!)

In the beginning....

Here it is, my first post in my brand new squeaky clean blog!

In it I am going to share my journey on the road to better health.

One reason that I am doing this is that I think better on paper, or the screen, or out loud. Anything to get my thoughts outside of my head and look at them a bit. I am hoping that this will help me in the making of decisions, and also in motivating me to follow through. If I am writing about what I am doing where anyone can read about it I had better make darned sure I am following through!!

Another reason is that I am hoping that my journey is successful and perhaps even beneficial to others. I want a chronicle of what it took for me to get to where I hope to end up- healthier and with a better quality of life. If I make it I don't want to EVER forget how much work it was. If I forget then I might allow myself to fall into it all over again. I am striving for a life long change in how I look at food and exercise, something that will stay with me no matter what.

I have a few plans for the near future, but for now I'll keep things simple. I need to learn my way around blogger and figure out what I can and can't do before I get complicated. Eventually I want have separate areas to share recipes that I enjoy, write reviews (unsolicited) of products that I find useful, and answer questions from those that will hopefully read this. For now it will simply be a general record of my progress and what I am doing to work towards my goals. Feedback will always be welcome and appreciated. I want the opportunity to learn from others, and the accountability to learn and share the truth.

So for now, I will leave you with the thought process that started it all off for me-

I have one body to live this life in. I can make decisions that are destructive and harmful or I can make choices that lead to vitality, health and a better quality of living. It's up to me to take control of what I put into my body and what I do with it. I can continue to let it all go, or I can take back control over my life.