Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just Tell Me What to Eat... Book giveaway!


Just Tell Me What to Eat!: The Delicious 6-Week Weight Loss Plan for the Real World
Most everyone who knows me knows that I am addicted to Weight Loss/Fitness books... it's an obsession. I buy them, read them, and shelf them. I also get a lot of books for FREE from publishers who want me to review.

Well, I just purchased a new book today that am anxious to read, and it reminded me of a vow I'd made a few weeks ago to start purging my bookshelf at home. But instead of packing them up and giving them to Goodwill, I'm going to give them away on my blog!

The first book up for grabs is Just Tell Me What to Eat! by Timothy S. Harlan, MD.

Want this book? All you have to do is leave a comment on THIS POST. You have until the end of this year (December 31, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.) I will choose a comment at RANDOM on January 1, 2013! I will also post another book at that time.

This is going to be fun!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Measuring Progress


I've really had to remind myself of this over the past two days. After being ELATED bout seeing 299+ on Tuesday, the scale jumped right back up on Wed. About 2 lbs up! Which was very discouraging being that I ate well on Christmas (no sugar or refined carbs and within my calories) and did a LOT of exercise. But TOM came later that morning, and I was very sore from the exercise, so I figured that was it. I let it go.

The scale was still up a little this morning (300.2), and that didn't bother me as much. But it still made me question whether or not it was the right time to start exercising again.

I got a lot of feedback from Facebook friends, and went ahead and hit the gym today. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and some upper body weights.


I know me, and I know that exercise is essential to my journey for health. Even though I LOVE seeing the scale get lower and lower, I also love to look good in clothes, and FEEL good when I move. Exercise does that for me. And I know it helps me lose inches, too. I snapped these pics today, and I look bigger in these pictures than I did at about 10 lbs. heavier this summer. But this summer I was in the gym A LOT. I see the difference.

So if I can just strike that balance between a great diet and a great exercise plan... I WILL BE SO HAPPY! I just don't see where I can lose! (or gain, lol). I felt really great after my workout today. And I can tell a difference with just 19 lbs gone. 

And about that scale... I promised that I would go to weekly weigh-ins after I hit 299, but this fluctuation makes me want to keep watch daily for now. I really do think I'm just using it as a tool at this point... or I might just be lying to myself. I'm just not ready to put it away. Stepping on that scale at 6:30 every morning is accountability to myself. It's an indicator of how well I did the day before, or it might tell me that I'm doing something wrong. 

Or I might be making excuses to keep it, lol. Mr. Leonard has assured me, though, that if he sees me getting scale-obsessed again like last time that he'll hide it from me again. And I believe him.

On another subject... I accidentally deleted a lot of my blogs from the Google Friend connect yesterday. If you see that I'm gone, or would just like me to add you, please leave a link in the comments. And if you have a Facebook page you use for motivation, let me know that, too! I'm trying to stay connected!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Merry (late) Christmas! I hope everyone had a day filled with love, laughter, and good times. I know that I had an excellent day. My Christmas was very different this year, but in a good way. My family elected not to do a tree or gifts this year, and we just celebrated by spending quality family time together. It was awesome. Our holiday also did NOT revolve around food this year. Yes... I baked cookies and pumpkin bread on Christmas eve, but I did not have ANY. I also made our traditional breakfast on Christmas morning, and only enjoyed the foods that I pre-planned for myself (turkey hashbrown casserole, sweet potatoes, and deviled eggs... all scaled down/healthier versions than usual). I made a pie and gorilla bread (another tradition), but didn't have any. But this number on the scale yesterday morning made all my holiday discipline worth it...


Yes... it was a Christmas gift to me from me to get right under the 300 lb mark for Christmas! I have been sugar free for about three weeks now, and have lost 19.4 lbs since 11/15.

This past week of vacation has been awesome so far. On Thursday, I took my kids to tour Cheekwood in Nashville. It's an art museum in a historical home, but it also has acres and acres of botanical gardens surrounding the property. It's really close to where I go to hike, and I've been wanting to take the kids for a while. We used to field trip there when I was a child, but I know it's been at least 25 years since I've been. We had an awesome time touring the home, but the best part was a sculpture hike we took around the property. It was basically a hiking trail, where different sculptures of different mediums were scattered about for our viewing pleasure.


This was my favorite one.


The kids and I enjoyed Cheekwood so much that I purchased a one-year membership. The sculpture hike is a short one, but there are other longer hikes available around the property. There are also the botanical gardens that we were unable to explore because it started raining. Now we can go back and really enjoy this place over the next year.

On Friday, we did a little shopping, then went to a family fun center to spend the day. The place we went to has bungee trampolines, skating, bumper cars, laser tag, bowling, and lots of other games, etc. Each child got an armband for only $10.50 each, so that was really a deal for all the kids to have hours of fun.

Saturday was a lazy, around the house day. Well deserved if you ask me! But on Sunday, Mr. Leonard surprised me with a day trip to Missouri to see my mom! He drove the entire eight hour round trip! It was so good to see my mom for the holiday, if even for the short time. It seems she has really started to adjust to the nursing home. She has made friends, and even has a "boyfriend" (even though she won't admit it, lol). Her Alzheimer's is progressing, but she still remembers all her loved ones, and was so glad to see us.


Christmas eve was pretty uneventful, besides spending the afternoon baking and getting movies/games rented. I surprised the kids with a "Family Game Night" basket that I'd won at an auction at our school. It had several board games, popcorn, candy, etc. that they really enjoyed breaking into on Monday evening. It really made my night to see everyone so happy and content.

On Christmas morning after breakfast was over, Mr. Leonard and I went on a walk/jog at the park to burn some of those breakfast calories. Even though I pre-planned my meal, that casserole (even with reduced-fat ingredients) was still kind of high in calories. But after that trip to the park, I burned most of them off, and even felt good enough to take my baby girl out to break in her new skates.


I realized that doing ACTIVE things like this with my children is so important to me right now. I am getting healthy for my family as well as for myself.

My sisters from Nashville stopped by and hung out for a while in the afternoon. They played games with us, and there were plenty of laughs. It was a great day!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking at the bright side...

Thanks to the lovely technology of apps, I am now able to read the blogs I follow almost daily. I know that several bloggers took a day or so off from blogging to pay respect to the horrible murders that took place in CT on Friday. I, too, held off from posting for that reason. Honestly, I have avoided any press on that situation. I haven't turned on the tv coverage and haven't read a single thing about it. As soon as I heard that children were killed in an elementary school, and that many of those children were first graders... I immediately plugged my ears. As a mother of a first grader, who also is a teacher in an elementary school... It just hits too close to home. Right or wrong, I just can't process that type of tragedy.

I am choosing to look at the brighter things right now. I am 2+ weeks sugar/white flour free! I have finally reached a turning point where when faced with sugary treats, I do NOT have a meltdown. I had three different events last week where I was faced with either a work potluck or a buffet and I held strong and made good choices. I turned down Mexican with co-workers yesterday because it didn't make sense to play with fire. And I am prepared to stay strong at BUNCO tonight.

So far, I'm down 16 lbs since 11/15... 13 lbs gone since I lowered carbs on 12/4. That's an amazing drop, and I know it will slow down. But right now, it's very motivating.

I'm eating lots of lean chicken and fish and turkey. Veggies, including broccoli and spinach and salad greens. I eat fruit most days, but not as much as I did the first week. Lots of water. Cashews and almonds occasionally. And a few times I've had a Luna bar or an Isagenix Isalean meal bar when my carbs are low and I need something filling on the go. If I'm low on veggies, ill do a green smoothie with a low-sugar protein powder. I've cut down on soda to 1-2 per week.

I've been tracking using the Lose-it app, but may switch back to MFP since they also have a barcode scanner. The first week, I averaged about 102 carbs daily, and last week was closer to 70 carbs daily. I get between 90-100 grams of protein daily, too.

Another thing that has been an important step is only eating when I feel hungry. Honestly, that was such a foreign feeling for me. But now it's so amazing to actually FEEL that cue that everyone talks about that tells you that you need to eat. It's no longer an urge or a craving that I listen to. I'm listening to my body.

I am so thankful for all the support I am getting along the way, too. Friends that I'm constantly calling and texting with meltdowns and triumphs. I'm also very encouraged by my SkinnyHollie Facebook friends.

It's been a great few weeks. Now if I can only get through Christmas I will be set up for success in the New Year. I am officially on vacation until January 2, so I have a few more goals to work on while I've got free time. I want to continue to be sugar-free/low carb. And I want to start exercising again. I don't really have a plan for the exercise yet... Not sure if I should do cardio, strength training, or both. But I do know that exercise makes me hungry, so ill have to monitor those feelings carefully.

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A different reaction...

Today was STRESSFUL. Crappy. I've had to reel myself in from a terribly bad mood.

After a crappy day, I left work with my youngest and went straight to the high school where my nephew had a wrestling meet. It was my job to set up the concession stand for their home meet. My oldest daughter stayed after school to help me. We got everything set up, when they broke out the fresh baked cookies and pizza. Both smelled so good, and both are trigger (binge) foods for me.

For 7 days I've been low-carb, and am finally to a point where I'm feeling good. But those cookies and that pizza almost sent me over the edge. So as soon as another mom showed up, I left. I had to go home to get my youngest ready for her basketball game.

When I got home, I was greeted by my 12-yr old son, who was FREAKING OUT. I was so scared that the house was on fire, but then saw the broken glass all over the kitchen floor and noticed that the glass in the back door had been broken out. I asked him if someone was in the house, and he said there wasn't. But that he couldn't get his key to work and broke the glass to get inside. After being locked outside for 2+ hours. Thing is... his key worked just fine. On the front AND back door. Not sure what the hell was going on in his head, but it just added to my crappy mood.

I made a quick dinner for myself (more fish and broccoli since I've been craving fish lately). So I head out to
my little girl's basketball game. It was a good game, and I had a little time to calm down and assess my day. One thing stuck out...

I did not turn to food... not once. If anything, I had this strange sensation of NOT being hungry.

Over the past few days, I've adopted a strategy of only eating when I'm hungry, and stopping when I'm full. And it seems to be working pretty well. But I have to say that it's a strange sensation to "feel" hungry, and to "feel" full. And to know that it's not emotions or habit fueling my desire to eat. That's a really different feeling for me. I am not only seeing progress on the scale, but also seeing progress with the mental part of the battle. I'm setting myself up for long-term success!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

For the rest of my life...


When I decided last Sunday to start restricting carbs as a way to "jump start" my weight loss, I had no idea what I was in for. I really struggled on Sunday and Monday. Just eliminating sweet stuff wasn't working because I was still eating potatoes, bread and other foods with refined carbs. It wasn't sweet, but it was allowing my body to hang onto those carb cravings.

After some advice from friends, I went totally low carb on Tuesday. No sugar or refined carbs, but I allowed myself fruit to get through the cravings. I also started tracking with the Lose-it app - I switched from My Fitness Pal because Lose-it has a great barcode scanner and its very user friendly. The first few days was rough! I was cranky and miserable. My cravings were fierce. But by Friday, I was beginning to feel better.

Last night I had a planned girls night out with several of my best friends that included a house party and one friends birthday party. I was really nervous about it. Would I drink alcohol? How was I going to handle party food and birthday cake?

Before I left I made a good dinner so I wouldn't be hungry... Pan seared tilapia and roasted broccoli. And I made sure to drink plenty of water all day.

I am proud to report that I remained in control all night. 2 cups of diet coke, 2 chicken wings, a cheese stick, and some fresh broccoli with a dab of some type of dressing. Oh, and lots of bottled water. No alcohol at all. And it was good! I still had a great time and partied all night. I was even feeling pretty good about the way I looked. (please excuse the pile of towels behind me, lol).

And my reward... I weighed in this morning and was 7.4 lbs down since Monday morning. That felt pretty awesome.

Each day I'm finding that this struggle has so much more to do with my mind than just my body. I am addicted to food, and my food of choice is anything filled with bad carbs. Now that I am taking away those bad carbs, it seems like the fog is going away and I am starting to think more about the root of this problem I have.

And I am also facing the fact that the same foods that have comforted me for all these years are the same ones causing me so much pain. And they are the same ones that I may have to give up for the rest of my life. Silly as it sounds, that makes me sad. No more cake or donuts? No more candy bars and pie?

Some people are able to eat a little of these foods and move on. I'm not one of those people. Those foods have the power to consume me and are usually the trigger foods that kill my diet every time I'm moving in the right direction.

This coming week is going to be hard. Several work-related potlucks and dinners. But I have a plan for each and am very motivated and determined to stay on track.

I'm setting up my success for the rest of my life. There is no room for failure, and I'm sick and tired of regret.





Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thankful for friends...

Throughout this journey, I have made some amazing friends. I have really build a phenomenal support system over the years through this online community of bloggers.

But over the past few days, I have received snippets of wisdom and encouragement from people that are close to me in real life. Man, it feels good to know that so many people are pushing me along and are here for me during times like these.

I'm home today with a sick child - nasty virus going around my neck of the woods. So I'm taking some time to catch up on couponing and blog reading. I'm also taking some time to really wrap my mind around the fact that I'm going to have to detox from all refined carbs, not just sweet stuff.

After I made my announcement the other day that I was giving up "sweet stuff", so many people inboxed me or texted me words of wisdom of how hard it was going to be. Because carbs crave carbs. Its so hard to single out a single type of "bad" carb when you're eating other bad carbs. So after struggling BIG TIME with cravings on Monday, I decided to just "try" cutting all bad carbs on yesterday. All of my carbs on yesterday came from fruits and veggies.

And even though it was still hard, it wasn't nearly as bad as Monday. I still wanted pizza, and candy, and nachos, but I wasn't miserable. I ate a lot of protein so that I wouldn't be hungry. I also drank a lot of water.

I also reminded myself that I have an addiction. And the only way I will truly overcome it is if I stop trying to fool myself into thinking I can have my drug of choice in moderation. I just can't have it.

I know I've tried to give up carbs in the past. And have had no long-term success. But I have to try again. I know it's the key.

But it's scary. Can I really live without my favorite foods for the rest of my life? I don't know, but for now, they have to go. What I DO know is that I can't live like this anymore. I'm in pain... foot pain, back pain, knee pain. My weight is uncomfortable. I feel gross in my skin. I'm avoiding mirrors again. I am unhappy with myself. I have to change something... now. So if that means giving up the drug that's possibly making me this miserable, so be it.

When I'm at goal weight, I'll see if that piece of cake is worth it. But I'm thinking that I won't care about it at all...



Sunday, December 2, 2012

CrazyHollie




I have went crazy. Nuts. Bonkers.

I have decided to give up sugar during the Christmas holiday season.

Well, sugar is a strong term to use. My concentration is mostly on sweet stuff. Donuts, cake, pastries, pie, syrups and sweet tea... stuff that I REALLY like.

And know, deep down, that I'm addicted to.

Something hit me the other day after a text with my friend, Crys. She was telling me about another blogger friend who is opting to have gastric bypass. A part of me felt jealous... still not sure why. I think it has something to do with me seeing Cry's amazing success with it, and knowing that yet another person that I know of will be getting that same success while I'm stuck in the same morbidly obese body. So, while I'm chastising myself for feeling this way, I remind myself that even with WLS, you have to work your butt off. It's not easy (like some people think). There are all kinds of restrictions, sugar being one of the top ones. 

That got me to thinking, that if I had WLS today, I'd still have a hard time with giving up sugar. Because I'm an addict. So why not just give up sugar... now?

If I'm honest with myself, I KNOW that going sugar free seems impossible because I am so dependent on it. My love affair with sugar started before I was even in control of it. My baby teeth were rotten from sugar and soda by the time I was two. I remember sweet treats as far back as my memory goes. Sweets when you're happy, sweets when you're sad. Even as an adult, my mom and I used to love to shop the day-old cakes, pies and pastry shelf at Kroger or Walmart. I love anything sweet.

But if I'm ever going to lose weight and keep it off for good, I'm going to have to let it go. Now.

I don't want to wait until New Years. I want to start now. Well, yesterday was my "official" start date. But I didn't think it through very well, since I had a birthday party and an open house yesterday. And I ate cake at the birthday party, and while I was still "high", I at marshmallows dipped in chocolate fondue at the open house. Of course I felt ashamed an hour later because I'd failed on my first day, but I didn't give my day away and promise to start "tomorrow". I stayed clean for the rest of the day.

And so far today the only sweet indulgence I had was a Luna bar that I found in the bottom of my purse. That was after I passed up cupcakes at the grocery store in exchange for a honey crisp apple that cost me $2. It was worth it.

I think each day will get better. The cravings are there, and I know the temptation will be great. And I know I'm crazy for trying again, but I really think it's the key. If I can kick the sweets, I think the rest of the refined carbs will follow. I don't love bread, rice, and potatoes. Just all things made with flour and sugar! It's a start, one that I hope I can maintain!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Right Way to Lose Weight

I'm sure I've posted this pic before, but I saw it today and it really fits how I feel right now. I'm sore. My legs are screaming in pain from hiking on Sunday, and also going to the gym Monday night. I did 30 slow minutes on the elliptical... I wanted to quit after 10. But I pushed through. I couldn't be a quitter. Today was day 1 of Jillian's 30-day Shred with co-workers after school. I hurt.

I've done much better with eating. Not perfect... But what is perfect? I've tried for years to find the perfect eating plan and I'm just not sure it exists anymore. I've been fat free, carb free, low calories, high calorie... I've drank about every meal replacement I'm the market. I've taken countless pills. I've done no sugar. I've done Paleo. Weight Watchers. Medifast. Body by Vi. Isagenix... Probably more than that. None of these plans have been perfect for me. Some have worked better than others, though.

I've found that lower sugar and lower carbs work best for me to lose weight. But I am addicted to sugar. If I restrict too much at once, I'm not going to follow the plan. No matter what it is.

So what's my happy medium? Can I be happy during weight loss? Yeah... I think I can. I'm pretty happy when I see the results of my hard work. I'm pretty happy when I see the scale move in the right direction, and when I buy smaller clothes. Right now I'm happy because I feel like I'm doing something again.

But weight loss (for me) is not always shiny and happy. Sometimes it sucks. Like this summer, when I was stuck at a plateau and felt like it was impossible to lose weight. Or when I'm starving, or having a craving. Or when I'm weak because my body is craving carbs and I won't give in. Or when even after I've lost 50 lbs, I still look at my body and feel like it's a train wreck.

Ugh. What's the right way to lose weight? Hell if I know. All I know right now is that I have to. Being 300+ lbs sucks a whole lot right now. Almost as much as turning 40 in a couple of years. Being sick and in constant pain isn't easy. I have to lose weight. Hopefully, somehow I will figure it out. But until then, I'm just going to stick with small changes in my diet along with exercise. I'm watching carbs in an attempt to one day get as sugar-free as possible. I'm going to move in the right direction. Because I just can't afford to go backwards at this point.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fighting Fear




It's been a great week. I started out the week full of resolve to just IMPROVE my diet and to drink more water. I think I did pretty darned good, considering in the past I would have just waited until the holiday was over.

My school week was short... only Monday and Tuesday. We left for Missouri on Tuesday night because my family had planned to celebrate Thanksgiving on Wednesday since my sisters and niece all work in retail and had to work Thursday night. This worked out great. My mom was able to leave the nursing home for the day, so I got so much good time with her and everyone else. The food was amazing, but I didn't stuff myself. I had two slices of pie... there were five pies, though. But this was my ONE DAY not to worry, but just enjoy myself.


I love this pic of my mom and kids. I truly treasure the times I have with her now. But the Alzheimer's is getting worse every time I visit.

Here is a pic of me and my mom and two of my sisters. Some major cropping happened to most of the pics with me in it, but this one is unedited. I'm determined not to let a picture define how I feel about myself. It's so hard, though.


We left Missouri Wed night, drove 4.5 hours back to TN, then left again at 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning for the 7 hour trek to southern GA to celebrate the holiday with Mr. L's father and family. Fun times are guaranteed with Mr. L's family. We left there Thursday night and drive 2 more hours to Tallahassee, FL to see his mom and step-dad. We spend the night there, then headed back Friday afternoon. It was a whirlwind trip but we got to spend quality time with everyone and we all had so much fun.

Yesterday, I had a little me time. After spending close to 30 hours in a car with my four kids over three days, I think I deserved it! During that time (and also during the 9 hr drive back from FL) I did a lot of reflecting about where my weight loss goals are going, and NEED to be going. I set a few goals that I'm excited about.

By January 2014, I want to lose 100 lbs. for my 20-year high school reunion. I set this same goal 10 years ago for my 10-year reunion, and met it! I know I can do it again, and I have 13 months to get there.

Also, most people close to me know that I plan on moving to Florida in the next few years. I've always wanted to live there, and after my oldest two graduate in 2015, I think it will be a good time to make that transition. SO my 2nd goal is to get to and maintain my goal weight before I move. I have about 150 lbs to lose all together, so if I reach my 1st goal, I'll be well on my way to the 2nd.

Just having these goals makes me feel really good. I feel so motivated right now. I even went on a 1.5 hour hike with Brooke today to hopefully push myself back into fitness. I almost backed out several times this morning, but I went and I'm glad I did. I realized that a lot of my problem is just fear. I'm afraid to fail AGAIN. But somewhere during that walk I realized that the only way to move forward is to fight that fear every day. As much as I want it, actually succeeding at weight loss is still scary to me. It's out of my comfort zone, in a way. As UNCOMFORTABLE as I am right now, I think I'm so used to being this weight that it's scary to think about life outside this zone.

I'm really trying to work on me right now--- mind and body. Like I said earlier... this was a good first week back in the game despite the holiday. I'm ready to ROCK next week!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Starting Over


It seems as if I've quit again, so as a result, I'm starting over again.

Back to the basics. Face on the floor. Begging my body for forgiveness.

Again.

On Thursday, I got an amazing text from my friend Crys. She had reached onederland. I actually shed a tear or two, because I was so happy for her. But at the same time, I was totally disgusted with the fact that I was eating my 10th piece of candy for the day as I was envying my friends progress. It was a slap in the face.

Have you ever seen one of those Lifetime movies about someone with multiple personalities? One where the lady (or man) slips from one personality to another, then runs to the mirror only to find that they've committed some horrible act while they were that other person. And then they are just sick because they have to fix whatever problem fast before anyone notices? Or they wonder WHO has already noticed?

Yeah... that's how I felt. I looked in the mirror and was horrified at the person who looked back at me.

Why have I let myself do this AGAIN? Why do I trick myself into thinking I'm in control, when obviously I'm not. My pants are tight, my leg is swollen, my feet, back and legs hurt all the time. And my indigestion is horrible. But I still eat the candy. And drink the sweet tea. And eat that second helping.

Thursday night was rough. Not only did I have to face the facts about spiraling out of control about my diet, I had to re-live and evaluate other personal areas of my life, too. It's not hard to put two and two together... My personal issues are directly related to my weight gain and lack of control. I'm emotional eating like crazy and I know it.

So what's the solution? I have to fix me. From the inside out. I have to stop ignoring the obvious. I have to take control of all aspects of my life. And it's going to be hard. So hard that I doubted at first if I am strong enough to do it. Thank GOD for friends who remind me that I'm strong enough to do anything I put my mind to. And I'm worth it.

As much as I would like a magic wand to erase the mistakes I've made over the past few months, I know it's going to to be a slow process with lots of hard work. I can deal with that. I'm ready to do something. I can't just eat myself to death because I don't want to face the hard issues in my life.

It's time to do something.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gluten Free for Me


My something... I am going gluten free in an attempt to push myself back into a Paleo/Primal lifestyle. No matter how crazy and out of control my emotional eating has been lately, I know several things without a doubt. Reading books like The Paleo Diet and Wheat Belly has really opened my eyes. Mark's Daily Apple is also a great resource. I think that most the food that I eat is not only making me fat... it is also making me sick.

Over the past couple of months of just eating "whatever" and ignoring good nutrition rules, I have to admit that I don't feel well. I have no energy. My heartburn/indigestion is completely out of control. My feet hurt again. I feel FAT.

The only good thing going for me is that I am having regular bowel movements thanks to a concoction (all natural) that a good friend of mine gave me. I have been drinking it every morning for almost three weeks and it's made an amazing difference. I think that was my "start". If I could do that one thing and stick to it, I could move on to something else. Going gluten free is step 2.

Today is my second day. I can feel withdrawals, but not too bad since I'm not totally carb-free. I'm hoping that not diving 100% into low-carb will help the transition. Just one thing. No gluten. But I've found that wheat/gluten is in everything! It's very sneaky.

Something else that is different is looking at this strictly from a health perspective. I haven't stepped on a scale, nor do I plan to. I don't care about that number right now. I care about how I feel. I care about making better choices that are healthier and that will lead me in the right direction. I just have to do something. I can't keep ignoring the facts.

I have to try.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Down, but not out

I'm still here! Down, but certainly not out!

To be honest... I've just taken a break from diet, exercise, and blogging. Too overwhelmed. Too discouraged. Too lazy.

But I'm coming back. Enough is enough, and I can't keep ignoring the obvious. I've got to start making changes AGAIN. Even if it's for the millionth time...

I can't just quit.

And I won't.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Like my life depends on it...

Sorry for the long stretch again... It's so hard to blog when I want to. Between lesson planning, sports, and actually trying to get to bed at a decent hour... it's hard. There are DAYS when I don't even open my laptop. That used to be unheard of!

To give you an update... Paleo is great. My body really responded by cutting out processed food, bread, and sugar. I also cut out most dairy (I used a little cheese and some cream for my coffee). My energy was through the roof, my hunger was gone. I didn't even have cravings. I even lost 5 lbs my first week...

But then I stopped. Why? Umm... I don't know. I have a million excuses. But that's all they are. Family drama, work stress, laziness... Last week was horrible. I ate terribly. I didn't drink water. I didn't exercise. I just didn't get it together.

I really tried to do some mental "cleaning" this weekend to figure out WHY I do this to myself. For God's sake... STOP BUYING ICE CREAM. IT DOES NOT MAKE THINGS BETTER.

But I already know I'm my own worst enemy.

I need discipline. I seem to have it in almost any other area of my life when it counts. But not with eating. Not long-term.

I need to make changes and stick to them. I need to stop giving myself so many choices and excuses. If my life depended on it, would I still be eating ice cream? Would I still allow myself to eat pizza? If it was a matter of life or death, would I drink enough water or make it to the gym three times per week?

Yes, I would.

So that's my goal this week. Stop making excuses. Push myself to be disciplined in all areas of my life that matter. Stop being lazy.

I've done so well despite all the odds being stacked against me. Now that I've finally found something that's working, I am not going to let ME get in the way!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Paleo

I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since my last post. I knew it had been a while... but not that long.

Life has been hectic. The school year always brings on craziness and busy schedules. I have one child doing wrestling conditioning after school, two kids in soccer, one kid in cheer, and one kid getting reading for her first performance in her theater troop. Luckily, I've been able to juggle all of this with little to no stress, and still be able to fit in (semi) healthy dinners and working out. I guess that's where the blogging falls short. I am thankful to have help and a support system this year. Mr. L is really stepping up to the plate. I am grateful, and thankful to not have so much on my shoulders. Life is good.

But I have NOT been losing weight. Probably, because I am NOT really following any eating plan or counting calories. Weight Watcher's was a waste of money. Their database sucks, and even thought I heard that you could scan items in with the app, I don't have that option. So what ended up happening was that I wouldn't track, then just stopped tracking all together. I will probably go back to MFP. I was pretty happy their.

I am still keeping up with regular exercise, though. Still loving my bike. And my new gym is growing on me, but I've only been a few times since my afternoons are so full. So the other morning I had the idea to start getting up earlier (I've been getting up at 5:00 - 5:15 since this summer) and go at 4:30 when they open. I did this on Thursday and it worked out just fine! My nephew even went with me. Now that I have trained my body to get up early (I even get up early on weekends), it's not hard to get up, and I think it will be a good solution for getting gym time in.

I made up my mind about a week ago to use this 3-day weekend to research and plan another course of action for weight loss. I am not giving up, and vow over and over again to keep trying something until it works. Well, I think I've pinpointed a few things that are pointing me to the Paleo diet.

1. I do NOT eat enough fruit/veggies. Even though I try to stay away from processed food, I still end up there.
2. I do NOT eat enough protein (unless you count protein powder, which is processed, and I have not been using that lately).
3. Since I am doing well with menu planning and cooking dinner since school started, it shouldn't be hard to cook Paleo-friendly foods.
4. Even if I can't be 100% Paleo, it will help me eat clean and cut out carbs/sugar... which I still think is part of the puzzle for me. My goal is to be 85% Paleo (since I know I might sneak some cheese in there sometime).
5. I really need to learn to eat veggies. I only like a few vegetables, and don't know how to cook them, either. So today, I decided to go veggie shopping at the farmer's market so I can practice!



My friend, Brooke, has been doing Paleo for a couple of months and loves it. What's not to love, really? It's healthy food. No process. And it's supposed to help with all types of ailments. So who knows? It might help cure something that is keeping me from losing weight. I know I need to eat healthier foods. This is going to be a start. I don't think giving up dairy or grains will kill me. And I need to give up sugar anyway. Seems like a win-win. Wish me luck.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Riding high...


10.21 miles. 1:13 hours. 942 calories. My 6 a.m. bike ride yesterday morning. I didn't think I was going to make it. Last Sunday Mr. L and I rode just over an hour and went about 8 miles. We didn't set out to go further this week, it just happened. We had to stop at a Mapco for Mr. L to pee, and honestly, I didn't think I would be able to make it the almost 2 miles home. I was DONE. But he pushed me, and I made it.

During the ride I went up this huge, winding hill that Mr. L has always referred to as Alpe d'Huez because it's a hard climb like the one in the Tour de France. It almost killed me, but I made it. I knew he was proud of me, because it took him a while to be able to make that hill, and I made it on my first try. At 300+ lbs.

I still refuse to weigh myself, and I am still ok with that. My life is so much happier without the stress of the scale. I am going to sign up for health insurance during open enrollment, so I should be able to see a doctor after January 1. I get a (slight) raise in September that should help cover some of the $500/month that it costs.  I need it. I am 99% sure that my issues stem from something medical now, so until I get to see a doctor, I will keep doing what I'm doing!

No matter what the scale says, I know and can now see the changes I've made since the end of May. I am stronger. My physical endurance is at an all time awesome. I mean, 6 months ago there is no way I could have survived a 10 mile bike ride! My food choices are so much better and my portions are good, too. I am just so happy to know that I am trying. Not losing/gaining weight SUCKS when you know deep down that you aren't doing anything to stop the madness. I know I am trying, so at least I have that victory. I will keep going, despite feeling a little down at times. I am confident that all this is setting me up for greatness in the end.

I am liking my new gym and got to meet with a trainer twice last week. He pushed me so hard on Thursday that it's still hard to raise my arms. It's crazy how all this time I really thought I was doing my best when it came to weights... I guess not! I took several rest days because I knew that it would be pointless to try to life again when I was so sore. But I am going back today.

**side note about my new gym: Although everyone is very nice and it's a very good facility... I feel so out of place! I am the only fat overweight plus-sized obese person I've seen there. I feel so self-conscious. At my old gym, there were all shapes and sizes. At this gym, there are lots of Ken's and Barbie's. I guess that's what more money will get you. It's ok... I still like it and will continue to go.

I also want to mention that I do NOT like Weight Watcher's online. Their database sucks, and their app is NOT user friendly. I miss MFP. My local WW is supposed to get the monthly pass option on Sept 1, so I might see if they will give me the credit left over from the 2 months left online to go to meetings. Either way, I will not renew. I don't have a problem with the points, or staying in them, it's just such a pain to track. And we all know that if it's not convenient I won't do it.

Well, I am off to the DMV with my daughter so she can get her permit, and then she has a doctor's appointment scheduled. I took off from work, so hopefully I can get all this stuff done today. She turned 15 on Saturday... oh how time flies!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Inspiring


Some days when I wake up, I feel a little more determined than others. Today, as I was talking to my daughter, I realized that I have CONSISTENTLY been on track with diet and exercise since my birthday on May 26. There, of course, have been days that I have eaten terribly. There have been days that I didn't work out when I should have. But overall, I have been on track.

I can't say that there have been more than two days straight where I haven't been focused on the right path. Whatever that is at the time. Visalus, counting calories, eating clean, low carb, Weight Watcher's... I have been having a hard time finding the "perfect" plan, but I can say with honestly that I've been trying.

Consistently.

God, how I have just been striving for consistency.

I've even been fairly consistent in workouts. The first two weeks back to work were rough, but I was back on track with exercise this week thanks to my new bike. I LOVE riding. Besides going swimming, I haven't even been to the new gym yet. My afternoons this week have been spent riding my bike around my neighborhood.

This morning Mr. L and I went EIGHT MILES in just over an hour. We rode in a big circle around our town. Toward the end I was really tired, but I never once wanted to stop. I felt so accomplished after I was done. In one week I've went from riding up and down my street for 5 minutes at a time to riding an 8-mile course that took an hour. Wow. I am pretty proud of myself.

And apparently I have many friends out there that are proud of me, too. A couple of times I've been told that I am an inspiration. That's hard to believe. Me, inspiring? The girl who has dieted all summer with no real weight loss? Me? I just have to shake my head and smile. Wow... that's an amazing compliment.

I am finally in a good place where I am feeling a little less urgent about what the scale says and more in tune to how I feel. My bike rides yesterday afternoon and this morning left me feeling so strong. For someone 300+ lbs, I feel so blessed to have a body that can still work and function like it should. I am beginning to love to exercise, and crave it when I'm not doing it.

The food... well, I am still at war with what I eat but Weight Watcher's is helping me. Last week was rough as far as tracking and staying within my points, but I did like the freedom. I didn't feel like I was stressed out about my choices, or restricted in any way. I have figured out (again) that the days that I have a good lunch packed and lots of fruit that I have no problem staying within my points. I did a lot of grocery shopping this weekend to make sure I have plenty of choices and easy options to grab and go for work. I am expecting a good week.

I am also going to stay away from the scale for a while longer. I don't want that thing to mess with this good feeling I've got going. WHEN I start losing weight again, my clothes will tell me. Until then, I am just going to keep going. Eventually, I will get there.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Three great things...

Since I last posted three great things happened that will hopefully have a major impact on my weight loss journey:

1. I joined Weight Watcher's online.
2. I joined the fancy gym near my house.
3. I bought a bike!

I didn't just set out to do all these things, but everything just fell into place! I joined WW online on Friday and started the plan on Saturday. This weekend was a BUST, though... It was tax-free weekend in TN and I basically shopped all evening Friday, all day Saturday, and half the day on Sunday. It was just too crazy to really sit down and try to learn the plan and track points. But today has gone really well so far. I actually am going to make salad for dinner tonight. Last night my family enjoyed roasted broccoli. I also stocked up on fruit and veggies, and have my lunches planned. No excuses.

My ex-hubby, who is now my boyfriend manfriend partner babydaddy (not really sure what to call him, lol, but we are happy and working out our issues), paid the pricey fee on Friday for the new gym, because he really wants to get in shape, too. I am excited to go there this evening for the first time. I get four free consults with a personal trainer, so I am excited about that, too. The convenience is going to be great.

Then on Saturday, he was browsing through Craigslist and found a great deal on a bike. $75 for a bike that retails at $499! All it needed was to be cleaned up and some air in the tires. Since Mr. L (I'll give him a name) is and has always been a bike NUT and cycling addict, he was more than happy to get my bike in sparkling condition yesterday morning. I was so excited to take it for a spin!


Let me tell you... the first couple of trips up and down my street were HARD. I've only been out of the gym for a week, so it's not that I am so far out of shape. I just feel like riding the bike was working muscles I haven't been working. My legs are super sore today, but thankfully the bike seat is cushy and my butt doesn't hurt!

Mr. L took several videos of me riding. Once again I almost let the way I looked ruin the moment. In my mind, I look and feel so much thinner than I am, and there is nothing like a picture or video to bring me down. But I quickly changed my attitude and really tried to keep the high I had from riding. From yesterday morning to yesterday evening, I had to ride several times just to get the hang of riding a bike! It's been since high school since I've rode a bike any real distance. But good thing practice makes perfect!

I have never posted a video on this blog, and I really debated about posting this one. Not trying to be negative, but I hate the way I look. But I know that in that moment I was so happy. I've always envied Mr. L when he goes out on 30 mile bike rides, and this is the first time we've ever rode together. One day I will look back and my change will be remarkable.

video

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What day is it?

I knew that all hell would break loose when school started, and I was right! It's been so busy for the last 3 days. Yes... we are already back to school. Our school year started on July 30!

Although I've packed my gym clothes all three days I've yet to make it. I really WANT to get back into a routine, but its so hard right now. I didn't leave my classroom until 6:15 today, then had to rush home and feed my kids. Craziness.

Well, through all the madness, I've pretty much decided to join Weight Watcher's. Again. I know it's a shift in gears, but hey... what else would you expect from me!?!? Seriously, I've tossed the thought around for about a month, and after about five people close to me encouraged me to try it again, I started to think about it. It has worked for me in the past. I have NEVER felt like I'm on a diet with WW... which could be good or bad. But I need a plan.

I have fell off the wagon big time. The no-sugar plan backfired in my face... again. I hated it, I tried, and I hated it even more. I didn't have energy to work out. I was sad and unhappy. My mood was terrible. Yes, I know these are all withdrawal symptoms... but I just can't deal with depression right now. Too much going on.

So I thought that I could relax just a little bit. What a joke. I was in a full-out binge by Sunday night that had me up all night sick as a dog. Without time to think for the past three days, it's been hard to recover. But today was a good day, and I plan on trying to keep on that path.

I know I am sick. My brain is just so screwed up when it comes to weight loss. This summer's failed attempt at fitness and weight loss REALLY hit me hard. I tried so hard, and still couldn't make it happen. Just typing it has me almost in tears. I wanted so badly for the Body by Vi to work because I really love the product. I wanted so badly to see results from so much time spent in the gym. I'm so let down.

But since quitting is not an option, I have to keep going. But I NEED A STRUCTURED PROGRAM. People with the best intentions tell me that it's just about eating clean and staying process-food-free. But it's so much more than that. So much more. I am disordered when it comes to eating. And I think my body has just gave up, too.

I am going to try to pick up insurance during open enrollment in October so I can go see a doctor. I really think I have something medical going on with my thyroid or metabolism. My efforts this summer should have worked. But they didn't.

Until then, I need to get out of this diet mindset or I am going to lose my damned mind. I am tired of deprivation. Yes, I am addicted to sugar, but I need a 12-step program... I can't just quit cold turkey! Not now, at least. I have to be able to function.

I think Weight Watcher's couldn't hurt. I haven't tried the new plan, but when I put it out on FB that I was considering starting, I got a lot of positive feedback. I've tried everything else... I might as well try something that's worked in the past.

The only thing I am still hung up on is whether or not to do online or meetings. I do not like meetings, but they may provide more support? Will I get accountability online? Online is definitely cheaper...

I am also going to join my new gym this week, so hopefully that will be a good move, too. It's super close to my house, so I think I'll be more likely to run back out for a quick workout than I am now. My current gym is close to my job, but far enough from home that I am usually not willing to drive back across town once I'm already at home. Plus, the hours at the new gym are MUCH better. Open earlier and close later. Gotta love that.

Sorry for the ramble, but I am so brain-dead I'm surprised I even posted. I will hopefully have better news the next time I check in.

For now, I am going to close with this pic my friend Elizabeth shared on my FB wall today. Love it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 69 - Peace


This is my new FB banner... my challenges have definitely changed me. For the better.

I had another "epiphany" in the shower this morning.

Then last two days have been rough. I am tired. I have no energy. I am unhappy. And all I can think about is my diet.

So far, I HATE being sugar-free.

It's not about withdrawals anymore. I am over that. I just hate the lack of variety in the food I am eating. I don't have time to cook or shop since I'm back at work, so it's basically eggs and salads. Night before last, I had a meltdown. Cried myself to sleep again.

Yesterday, I just felt resigned to my fate. Is this what a lifetime of yo-yo dieting gets you? A body that rejects healthy food and exercise?

The truth is, when it comes to diets and weight loss, EVERYONE has an opinion. The other night (when I had the meltdown), I came across so many opinions and so much advice for whatEVER kind of diet plan that's out there it was just OVERWHELMING! Is there a RIGHT WAY? REALLY?

The answer is no. Sugar-free/low-carb isn't for everyone. Neither is low fat. Neither is Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or even Body by Vi. What works for some WILL NOT work for everyone. Everyone is unique in that way. And people change over time. What works when you're in your 30's might not work in your 40's.

Back to my epiphany... In the shower this morning, I made the decision to STOP THE MADNESS. I can't stress over this any longer. Just because my numbers do not reflect all my hard work this summer, that does not make me a failure. I've gained great habits regarding food. My fitness level is growing in ways that make me feel so much stronger. I am better than I was 69 days ago. Because I am trying.

If I never lose another pound, I KNOW that I am trying. And for that reason, I will not quit. I will keep moving forward with a healthy diet and exercise plan. I will eat healthy food that I love (including my protein shakes and fruit) in moderation, and I will continue to stay low-carb. But if I mess up, I will NOT hate myself for it. In fact, I will schedule in "cheat" meals at least once per week. I will keep going to the gym, and I will know my body is changing, if only on the inside! The important thing is to stay on the journey, no matter what.

I was happy to just count calories and eat anything I wanted in moderation... but going no sugar for the past week has also helped me realize that I need to really get the majority of carbs out of my diet, too. And I will. But it may be more of a process than something that happens overnight. I need to build my list of go-to foods so that I'm not just eating eggs and lettuce.

I have asked Clyde to take my scale away (since I obviously can't control my urges, lol). He is to only let me weigh in on Fridays. If I lose... that is GREAT. If not, I will look at how well I did for the week and take it from there. Even if I know that I totally rocked it with diet and exercise, I will NOT let that number discourage me.

What is the point of being stressed out and miserable about my diet? Is that going to get me to my goal sooner than later?

I don't think so!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 67 - Sugar-free Me


I am praying that a sugar-free diet is the last key for me. Saturday was day 1 for me... No added sugar, low carbs, no white. So far, the only sugar I have had is the sugar from one piece of fruit daily.

I have also decided to stop all shakes for right now. I am afraid that even though they are low in sugar and carbs that the sweet taste might be a trigger.

This weekend was rough. I had terrible withdrawals Saturday and Sunday. Leg cramps, headaches, no energy, depression... Bad times. This week has been better. I even went to the gym on Monday.

I am also back at work. No students this week, just professional development. And lots of food. So far, I have avoided all of it!

This weekend was an eye opener for me on how much of a drug that sugar is for me. I know that no-matter what, I need to let it go. Not just for weight loss, but for health.

And as a TOOL (lol), I have brought ONE scale back in the house and have been weighing daily. The scale has been moving down a little at a time. As of yesterday I was down 1.4 lbs for the week, but this morning was back up .8. I am sure this was from too much sodium and a little whole wheat for dinner. The sugar/carbs were ok, just not the other ingredients. I'm not upset... my body told me immediately that I shouldn't have ate it.

My goals for this week is to continue to be low carb/low sugar. I will have to continue to resist temptation at work, and also find time for the gym. Not only am I back to work this week, but my oldest daughter is at an acting camp 30 miles away. So as soon as I leave work I have to sit in evening traffic for about an hour each way to get her. There goes my gym time, so I will have to just go late.

I am really trying to stay positive here. I am reading a new book, Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat, and the book talks a lot about framing your thoughts about yourself in a proper way so that you are not always so negative about yourself and your journey (which I have to admit I need to work on). Very insightful so far... but more on that later.

Thanks again for all the comments and suggestions. I have received some very good advice and resources thanks to you all!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 61 - Throwing in the Towel

Yesterday was a bad day... one of those days where you cry so much that you have to take your contacts out because your eyes are so swollen and puffy.

It started at 6 a.m.

I actually jumped up out of bed, pretty excited. It was day 60 of my challenge... time to weigh in and take measurements. I have also been taking progress pictures with just bra and panties... My daughter helped me take the pictures, which I quickly downloaded and compared to last months, and the ones I took on my start day.

Once again, I could tell NO difference. So, thinking my eyes had deceived me, I measured. SURELY I had lost some inches, right?

Nope. No change in my chest or waist. I lost one inch in my thigh area...

But by then I'd already lost it.

SIXTY DAMNED DAYS OF DIET AND EXERCISE FOR WHAT? NOTHING?

I know that I'm not perfect, but I also know that I haven't been this consistent in years. I count every calorie.I drink my shakes. I go to the gym 3 - 5 times per week. I lift weights.

I have been doing everything I am supposed to do, with no results.

The scale showed a TWO POUND loss, which is really great since it hasn't moved in a month, but I was too upset to celebrate.

Disgusted.
Discouraged.
Disappointed.
Damaged.
Damned?

It totally ruined my day. What else can I do?

I got so much encouragement on Facebook, and from my BFF's that I texted, but I still feel felt like a complete failure.

Am I just destined to be fat? Is it time to just throw in the towel and admit defeat?

Hell, no. As mad as I was am, I am still not going to quit. I am doing something wrong, and I am just mad enough right now to keep trying to find it.

I did some really hard reflection. I eat out too much. I could be more strict with my calories. I re-calculated my calories based on NROL, and they recommend the same amount that MFP does, so that's right (I think).

So my next step... eliminating/reducing refined sugar. I REALLY was trying to avoid it, but it just seems inevitable. I just don't think my body can function with it anymore and lose weight at the same time. Diabetes runs in my family... maybe that's it? Not really sure, and since I'm uninsured, I can't go to the doctor and get anything checked. I just know that I at least need to try.

Not really sure what to do about the Vi-shakes, either. Is it a coincidence that the ONE TIME in a month that the scale moves is after I stop the shakes? That is the only thing I changed about my diet last week... But I miss them so much. I bought other protein powder... two different kinds... and neither does it for me like the Vi-shakes. I don't know what to do about that...

But I do know that starting tomorrow, I have sugar rules. For 30 days...

1. no added sugar
2. fruit is allowed
3. protein powder is allowed (the Vi-shakes and the protein powder I have on hand has very little sugar)
3. no white stuff (sugar, bread, rice, potatoes)

After 30 days (enough time to detox, hopefully), I will add back whole grains and allow myself the occasional sweet treat (if I still want it by then).

Just like my friend, Crys, told me yesterday... if it's the sugar that is keeping my from losing weight, I will know right away after I eliminate it. I should start losing fairly quickly, especially if I keep up my exercise routine.

Even though I know it's going to be hard, and even though I have tricked myself into believing that I would not have to eliminate anything in my diet to lose weight... I am praying this works.

Something has to give over the next 30 days. I can't take another experience like yesterday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 54 - Just a few things...

Thank you for all the feedback from my last post. I am okay now... still a little down, but ok. I am holding on to the fact that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and making healthy habits. It will all come together... eventually. Like one person said, I have to have patience.

But there were a few comments that I would like to address.

Just to make it clear, I do not eat my exercise calories. The only time I dip into that number is if I go over unintentionally. Since I am never sure of exactly how many calories I am burning, I just leave them alone.

One other person said that I am eating too many calories, and that I should cut down to around 1200.

Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

I weigh 312 lbs. From most if not all of the research I've done, low calorie diets are no good. First of all, I can't eat 1200 calories per day for the rest of my life. Second, for someone of my weight who is exercising like I am, 1200 calories just isn't enough to keep me going. I've tried low-calorie diets before, but I am HUNGRY. I don't like being hungry. If I'm hungry, I won't stick to the plan, no matter what it is.

And I need something I can stick to for life. That is why I also try to stay away from diet plans that restrict whole food groups. Although I know I need to cut down on sugar and processed foods (and I do), I don't ban them from my diet. When I tell myself I can't have something, it just makes me want it more.

Another thing that several people mentioned were that I need to stop drinking the Vi-shakes. The thing about shakes... either you love them or you don't. I happen to be a shake lover... not just the Vi-shakes, but Slim-Fast and other types, too. I love me a good smoothie! I am just as satisfied by drinking a meal as I am eating one. And it really helps me with portion control and overall convenience. Will I drink Vi-shakes for the rest of my life? Based on cost alone, probably not. But I do know that I can always incorporate some sort of smoothie/shake into my lifestyle. As long as I have a blender.

The way I look at it, the shakes have really helped me get into a routine of making good choices for at least two meals daily. I love the way they taste, and I love the variety. I know they are processed, and not "real food", but for now, I think the benefits out weigh the risks...

But speaking of the Vi-Shakes...

My ex-husband brought up a very good point the other day. He has been really helping me since I started the 90-day challenge, and also reviews my meals each day on MFP. He is close enough to know that I'm making good food choices, exercising my ass off, and being accountable. But he pointed out that the only thing he can see that I am doing different this time as compared to the last times that I have buckled down and lost weight is that I am drinking the Vi-shakes instead of Slim-Fast or another type of protein for my smoothie.

What REALLY got me thinking is a few articles he found on the internet about the soy in these shakes, and how they can actually have a negative effect on some people.

Hmmm... made me think.

I did more research on my own, and there is way more research pointing to the GOOD stuff in these shakes, but I just have to make sure. Because he is right... even when I did my 30-day challenge back in February/March, I was not working as hard as I am now and the weight was coming off at a good rate. I was drinking Slim-Fast then, though. Even with the addition of weight training, I should have lost more than 7 lbs in the past 7 weeks...

So for ONE WEEK I am not using the Vi powder for my shakes. I will use another type of protein (which I haven't found yet). Today has really been hard so far because my go-to breakfast and lunch are gone. I don't have another source of protein for a shake, and that's really all I want! So I will have to go to the grocery and find something.

I am really thinking that the Vi-shakes are not what is causing my 5-week plateau, but I have to make sure. So I weighed this morning and will weigh again on next Thursday morning. We shall see.

If the scale moves significantly, I know what the problem is. If I am still stalled out, I will go back to my Vi-shakes (because I really do love them!) and keep trying to change other things until I find what I'm doing wrong.

I took these pics yesterday and they really helped me see that I have made some progress...


I was actually able to see a calf muscle this morning in the shower. Talk about non-scale victory! This will have to do for now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 52 - Not Giving Up



Feeling a little discourage today. I am still not feeling any visible progress. And after peeking at the scale at the gym yesterday, the scale hasn't moved, either.

What the HELL am I doing wrong? Is my body just this cruel?

Since I started back to using MFP on June 18 (22 days ago), I have logged in every single day to count calories. I have logged in exercise for 15 of those days. I started out at 1900 calories, and lowered it to 1700 just the other day thinking maybe 1900 was too many. I tried doing an 1+ hrs of cardio daily, then dropped down to 30+ minutes plus weights. Heavy weights that challenge me. Harder cardio... now I am doing intervals that kick my butt.

I feel so much better - physically. But why isn't my body changing?

My diet has NOT been perfect, but I have counted every single calorie and haven't gone over by much - even on days when I've been out of town. I am still drinking my Vi-shakes. I am eating fruit and veggies like crazy. Almost no processed food anymore.

But I am doing something wrong. I am still so unsure of how many calories I am supposed to eat with all the exercise I'm doing. Do I eat my calories? Or not? Or some? MFP calculates it, but I don't know whether to put in "light activity" or "sedentary". I started with "light activity" which gave me around 1900 k-cal, but I changed it to "sedentary" the other day to lower it to almost 1700 k-cal. Right now, I am going to stick with it and try my best not to go over. I am also not going to eat any of my exercise calories.

The 2nd month of my challenge is almost over and it makes me so frustrated that I'm not getting the progress I expected.

The only thing that I am glad about is that I feel like I am forming good habits. Counting calories and exercising are seeming very routine to me right now. And that is good.

I have a bow order that I HAVE to finish this morning, so I need to get busy.

I'm going to keep moving forward! Something HAS to give.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 46 - What I learned in Memphis...

On Monday I went on a last-minute road trip with my bff (Brooke). We drove down to Memphis because her sister-in-law was there on business and we wanted to get some "girl time" before we both turn into teachers again later this month!

Although I didn't have a lot of time, I made sure I packed healthy snacks, water, Vi-shakes, and my mini blender for the trip. I wanted to stay on track, even though I knew there would probably be a few meals out. 


I even packed a yummy salad for lunch on the way down there!


Going out of town is tough, but roadtrips are even harder for me. I am drawn to sodas and chips and sweets from convenient stores and gas stations. I also tend to eat a lot of fast food on road trips, especially when my kiddos are not along. But this time I am proud to say that I resisted temptation!

Brooke is also on this journey with me, so it was great to have that extra accountability. She is doing the Paleo diet, and she also had her snacks and food with her on the trip. Yesterday we both got up and hit the gym at the hotel and had a great workout!


We ate out and had cocktails both nights, but neither of us felt bad about it because it was planned. I learned that when you eat well all day and actually plan a "cheat meal", there is not the same level of guilt that you usually feel. I knew both times that I would pick back up at the next meal and start doing well again. And I really don't felt like I overate... both times I stopped when I was full. It wasn't the beginning of a binge, and it wasn't the end of the world. It was special occasion and just that.

I also learned a few other things in Memphis that were pretty deep. On Monday night we drove down to Tunica, MS to the casino. I don't really gamble, so a lot of the time I sat and just "observed" the people around me. I was overwhelmed by the number of overweight, unhealthy-looking people that were there. I was also saddened by the number of elderly people that were drawing 100's of dollars out of the atm to gamble away. In no way do I mean to judge these people, or claim to know what is REALLY going on in their lives. But I still felt bad for a lot of them after I left. 

But I also felt good about making good choices while I was there. I know I am getting stronger... mentally and physically. This is finally FEELING like a lifestyle change. 46 days into this challenge and I know that good habits are forming. This is my FOURTH consecutive week of regular exercise. I have logged into MyFitnessPal to journal my food and exercise for 18 days in a row! I have tossed out my scales (finally) and have started to focus on the journey and not the numbers.

I am doing pretty darned good!

Speaking of the numbers... I have decided to start strength training using weights. Now that I am not afraid of the scale fluctuation that comes with weights, and due to the fact that tons of cardio doesn't seem to be working, I think that weights might be a good option right now. I am reading so much about "fat burning" as opposed to just "losing weight" and I think that sounds like a good idea. I picked up this book the other day and I love it!

 

Several people left great comments after my post about eating my calories. I am really starting to get on board with the fact that really restricting calories is not the way to go. I am not 100% sure that I should eat as many calories as some groups/sites recommend, but I will definitely not be going under my 1900/day right now. I have also cut my cardio to 30-40 minutes instead of 60-75 now that I am weight training. Hopefully I will see some results soon.

If not, then I will re-evaluate again. Right now, I am more focused on BEING CONSISTENT! If I am working out and eating right, everything will eventually fall into place. I have to believe that!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 40 - Not always JUST A NUMBER...


This is what I wake up to each and every morning... right beside my bed. Even when I'm not on plan and eating terribly, I still wake up to these scales. They have this crazy power over me...

Usually when I'm "on plan" and eating well, the scales are nice to me. They delight me every morning with a lower number. I step on all three... ALL THREE. Just to make sure the numbers are accurate.

But when I'm not doing so well, I avoid them. I walk right on past them. But I can feel their glare. Telling me that I know I'm in the wrong. That I need to get back on track.

Since the beginning of the year, my scales have pretty much been my enemy. Years of abusing my body with yo-yo dieting and extreme ups and downs have really hurt my effort to lose. My body just won't cooperate anymore. It's been tricked too many times. And the numbers on the scale just won't cooperate.

Yesterday I was really upset. Discouraged. Let down.

For 39 days I had been so good for 80% of the time. For the past 3 weeks or so, I have been on my game. I am averaging 75 minutes/day of cardio, 5 out of 7 days. I am pushing myself. I am eating right. Even started counting calories to make sure!

But I am NOT. Losing. WEIGHT.

Am I losing fat? Probably. Have I lost inches? Yep. Do I feel great? Absolutely!

But those damn numbers haunt me. The dictate my day. They make me feel worthless. They make me want to throw my hands up and quit.

But I'm not a quitter. Far from it.


The scales just have to go. I boxed them up, and my daughter took them out to the shed outside.

I will weigh myself again on August 17... the last day of my 90-day challenge.

Until then, I will figure out the best way to move forward.

But as long as I am TRYING, I can't see where I can go wrong. I will figure out the right combination of cardio, strength training, and calories. But until I do, I won't let a number on a scale knock me off track MENTALLY. 

As long as I am drinking my shakes, staying within a set amount of calories, and exercising at least 30 minutes 4 to 5 times per week, how can I go WRONG? I might not lose the weight in record time, but I will eventually lose it. But I will definitely be gaining HEALTH along the way there. 

That's what's important.