Tuesday, August 31, 2010

25 pounds down!!!!!!

I'VE LOST 25 POUNDS!!!!!!!!

I'm so proud of myself. I'm a quarter of the way to my goal! 

I can totally do this 3 more times!

To never be obese again.

Health, fitness, and skinny-ness (relatively).....here I come!

To me, that number says that this isn't just some fluctuation, or a spurt of determination that's just going to fade. 25 pounds is way more than that. It's one stepping stone of something way bigger. A full change.
But even more importantly than that, I recognize that though it is a monumental number, it's just that--one more stepping stone. I did the same thing this week to get to 25 as I did 3 weeks ago to get to 21. 

I lost two pounds last week, I lost one pound this week, I'll hopefully lose two pounds next week. But that's the thing, is the way I'm getting to these milestones is by doing in day in, day out, every week.

When I do get to 100 pounds, yes, that will absolutely be wonderful, but I think that the "insignificant" weeks of 17-19 pounds or 42-43 will be the bigger achievements. For it is in those weeks that I am pushing the hardest, going past my limits, enduring the grueling, tedious workouts and the sadness of saying no to yet another cookie.

I guess what I'm saying is, 25 is just one more pound than 24, just as 100 will be just one more pound than 99. And the real victory is in every single one of those "one pounds". 

It's the little things that define your commitment, strength, and determination.
Wherever you are in your journey, take pride and recognize your accomplishments and strength in the little things, for it's the consistency to reach the little victories that add up to the big milestones.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fast Food: Is there a healthy way?!??

We all know that fast food is notoriously awful for us. But that doesn't stop most of us from using the drive thru on a hectic day of errands. Aside from the occasional craving for a Wendy's Frosty or some Chick-Fil-A strips, most of the reason for stopping is for convenience.

It's on the way, it's quick, it's cheap, it tastes good (usually). For me, I find myself stopping when I'm picking hubby up from work and we're going straight to our evening small group.

Sure, it would be optimal to pack some tasty healthy snacks or a portable dinner and not feel like I need to resort to fast food, but in reality, that just doesn't always happen.

So is there no hope? Are those of us that don't plan ahead well enough to pack healthy food just doomed to be fat or unhealthy because of fast food?

No. Of course not.

Since starting my weight loss journey, I've taken to looking up the nutritional information of any restaurant we go to -- sit down or fast food. Now obviously, not all eateries have such helpful info online, but by using the ones that do, you can arm yourself with the *few* healthy choices at a fast food restaurant, and know what things to absolutely stay away from.

 Here's some of the little treasures of info I've found that have helped keep me safe from the evils of Ronald McDonald and the Burger King.

This isn't exhaustive by any means, it's just what I've found handy. Also, I don't just look at calories, but also how filling the food will be (fiber, protein, and actual amount of food), and if it seems "worth it" (as in, a kids fries may only be 290 calories, but that's a lousy waste of empty calories for you being hungry again 15 minutes later).

In general I stay away from fast food salads, because they usually aren't actually very low calorie, especially when you add dressing, and I'm picky about the quality of my veggies --and fast food hardly ever cuts it.


**Roast Chicken Ranch Sandwich --360 calories, 10 g fat, 26 g protein 
  • The amount of protein in this is going to keep you fuller longer, so you won't be starving again when you get home. This is the only Market Fresh sandwich I will order, unless I KNOW I'm only going to eat half of it. Though they are loaded with meat and veggies, the rest of them vary from 420-830 calories and 23-46 grams of fat!
 Regular Popcorn Chicken -- 360 calories, 16 g fat, 26 g protein
  • Though the fat is getting up there, the calories aren't awful here. However, you won't be getting much quantity of food, which thus won't satisfy you as well. Also, unless you're eating these puppies dry, forget ordering them. The sauces range from 45-140 calories --each packet!

Ranch or Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Grilled)-- 260 cal, 9 g fat, 18 g protein
  • Though these aren't large, nutritionally they're not bad. As long as you're not too hungry, either one will do in a pinch. Just stay away from them fried!
Vanilla Cone-- 150 calories, 3.5 g fat, 4 g protein
  • Since it's low-fat ice cream, this is the best soft-serve I've found. It actually has 10 less calories then the "healthier" parfait, only slightly more fat, and less sugar. And you'll feel like you're getting a treat. But make sure it's only that--a treat, not a regular purchase!

Chick-n-Mini's -- 280 calories, 10 g fat, 16 g protein
  • Again, not too filling, but for the "oh-so-good factor", a reasonable choice for a treat. The other main problem with these is that they are on white biscuits and have breading on them, both of which add to empty calories.
**Chargrilled or Spicy Chicken Cool Wrap -- 410 calories, 12 g fat, 33 g protein
  •  This is one of my favorites for an on-the-go meal (not a snack). It has great veggies, and the entire amount of protein I need in a meal, without over the top calories!
**Chicken Strips (4 count) --500 calories, 24 g fat, 47 g protein
  • Now don't jump on me yet. I realize these have 500 calories and 24 grams fat (which by the way, is still, outrageously, "reasonable" by fast food standards), but they are just so absolutely good, that if paired with a wrap (see above), and split with a friend, these are more acceptable. Again, I only do it on a splurge, but I refuse to 100% cut something I love from my diet. So by only having 2 and and having half a wrap with it, I have a delicious, balanced fast food meal. Note, this is NOT the same a having just a few fries or something. These have a TON of great protein. :)
Burger King:

Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich (w/o mayo)-- 360 calories, 7 g fat, 37 g protein
  • I gotta admit, I haven't actually tried this yet, (just found it when I was looking up stuff online), but after seeing this I'm definitely going to. It looks yummy, and I'm very impressed they stuffed all that protein into 360 calories! Remember though, this also needs to be a small meal replacement, not a whole added snack.

Here lies the King of healthy fast food. Though most places don't have drive-thru, their service is quite speedy. And the health factor of what you'll be getting is definitely worth it! The normal 6" sandwiches range from 230-380 calories, with less than 6 grams of fat and 8-26 grams of protein! Flavor up the healthy way by adding mustard or red wine vinegar, and avoiding oil or mayo. You can get some great fiber in by choosing a whole grain bread. Subway is a safe place for variety, where you're able to breathe easy about getting what you want instead of picking and choosing on the menu. And ask for extra veggie--piling them on will make it even more filling!

Well, that's how I navigate fast food. Like I said at the beginning--when I'm really with it, I pack almonds, carrots, yogurt, etc. But, life happens. Hope this helps you stay in control while on the road like it does for me!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


And this is yet another health reason why I have stopped eating fast food....

137 Day Old McDonalds Hamburger

It's the forever "edible" food! eeeh.....gross. Can you imagine all the preservatives and chemicals in there?!?!?!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Buddy System

This past week my big sister Melanie came to visit me. For the past 3 months I've been working out by myself, but I was excited to have her there with me and "show her what I could do." Melanie is a runner (training for her 2nd marathon), but doesn't get as much cross-training, so was excited to join me on my various vigorous activities.

We had fun in all my classes, going about my regular routine. She was surprised at how difficult yoga was. That was secretly (well, not so much now that I'm writing about it!) exciting for me to hear, because yoga has been one of my favorite classes, but one that really really challenges me. As in, after 3 months of yoga, I can finally hold most of the basic poses for nearly the whole time the instructor says too. Then again, there are still a handful of the weird contortions that I don't even come close to trying. ;)

Going to my session with my trainer Dave was exciting too. Dave runs me through a variety of weight stations alternating with things like cardio or abs. I alternate 2 activities doing a rep of 15 each time. With Melanie there, we just switched off activities. Dave has wanted me to burn 400 calories in our 30 minutes together the whole summer. The closest I've gotten is 350, usually it's closer to 300. It's hard to get that high since it's not strictly cardio. With Melanie there, I pushed myself harder, doing extra reps when she was being a slowpoke (in her defense, it was usually because Dave was having to explain the exercise...), kept my heartrate up better, and just pushed myself more. I wanted to "keep up" and show her how strong I was.

Well, I burned 390 calories in that 30 minutes! Thanks, buddy, for helping me break my record. :)

The best thing about having a workout buddy this week was that she helped me get back to the gym when I didn't want to go. I've done really well this summer not making excuses, but I have started to slack a bit as the summer comes to an end. With Melanie there, since we said we were going back in the afternoon, we went.  And I remembered that I actually do feel good when I follow through and work hard.

I'm proud of myself for doing all this hard work on my own, but it was a great change of pace to have my health buddy this week. Thanks for coming Mel!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am a.....

...............Fitness buff. No really, I've decided that with as much as I've read, researched, consulted, and learned in the past 5 months, I pretty much am a health nut with a whole bunch of knowledge.

It feels good. I feel in control. I feel empowered. I feel smart. I've realized that even though I am still 75 pounds overweight, and larger than most everyone I talk to about fitness, that I actually am more knowledgeable than them.

This is great for a few reasons:

1) It's easier to take criticism now. If you've ever tried to lose weight, you know that everyone and their mother has their own opinion about how you're going about it, and advice for how to do it better. Sometimes it's constructive, other times not so much. or at all. But regardless, it's usually pretty sensitive and hard to take well. Especially when it comes from skinny minnies who just don't get what you're going through. Now that I have done my homework (and then some), I'm able to evaluate if the info they give is actually right for my body (as opposed to just taking their word for it that it must be because it's what they do), and if need be, I can just sluff it off and be unscathed, confident that I know what I'm doing.
2) I know that I'm going to succeed because now I actually know what my body needs to have and what it needs to do to succeed. No more of this guessing game, or trying different fads for a while, or hearing some health advice from some unknown 2nd hand informant. I know my stuff. I know nutrition. I know calories. I know fitness.
3) I know that this knowledge will allow me to teach my own children (when I have them) about health and fitness, it a way that will enable them to lead healthier lives from the start. I can't wait to have a healthy, happy family.

Even though getting out and running, jumping, shaking, stepping, and just generally moving what you got is what will burn off the calories, arming yourself with information about the healthy ways to do it and how your body works will help you make smarter, healthier decisions, and help keep the weight off that you do lose. Join me in becoming a fitness buff! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

No Yo-Yo for me!

Today was my weigh-in day. 2 more pounds down!

That makes 24 pounds in 12 weeks!

I'm really proud of myself. I feel like when you are 100+ pounds overweight, everyone--including yourself-- just "knows" you are always going to be fat. Oh sure, you might loser 15 pounds, but it's coming right back. Because, after all, how did you get this way if you had the self-control and drive to be healthy? It's an expectation, that frankly, can aid in failure.

I KNOW that I am done being this way--lazy, lethargic, full of excuses, and gluttonous. I may still be 76 pounds from my goal weight, but in my mind, my heart, my very being, I have proved to myself this summer that I DO have the drive to continue this. I have shown that I am "good at weight loss".

As funny as that sounds, the best part about it is, that because it's true, in another several months or a year, I'll never have to be good at weight loss again.

Because there will be absolutely NO yo-yo-ing for me!
I'm doing this once and that is it.

Isn't it better, and easier for that matter, to develop habits and discipline that will get you to where you want to be, to be who you want to be, so that you can live your life from then on, instead of trying every new thing that comes out, just to lose and regain part of the weight?

I'm phasing out of my crazy, fanatical, summer workout schedule, and will be starting part time work soon again. I've learned that this summer was not to jump start my weight loss and get 40 pounds knocked out of the way. This summer was to jump start my mindset, to help me prove to myself that I can do this.

I may have not lost 4 pounds a week like I wanted to, but I developed healthy eating habits, cooking habits, exercise habits. I overcame (mostly) my extreme aversion to sweating, to breathing hard, to being the "big person" at the gym. Those are the things that made this summer worth it--teaching myself how to be disciplined and to develop healthy habits that will stick with me for the rest of this weight loss and even for the rest of my life of active maintenance.

So go do something healthy today--to prove to yourself that you can.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Best- and Worst - Summer

I quit my job for the summer. It wasn't really that big a deal, just some part time work to bring in some extra cash. John provides AMAZINGLY for us, so I am blessed to be able to focus on my health this way.

Speaking of John, he has been the most supportive husband I can possibly imagine through the summer. I am so blessed. From the start, he's said that whatever resources I need to succeed, we'll make the sacrifices necessary to get them. He's encouraged me, taken off of work to console me or hold me while I cried, gone to the gym with me, dealt with my experimental cooking as I completely re-learn to cook, accepted that he had no idea what I'm going through, and then tries his darndest to understand everything I'm feeling.

So, without telling too many people, I auditioned for The Biggest Loser in the spring. Who knows if it's because I barely had enough weight to lose for the show, or who knows what else, but I didn't even get a call back. Maybe it's because I lost some of my vivaciousness and confidence when I gained the weight, and they'd like my personality more once I'm slender. haha. So, I said..... "whatever, I'm going to do this on my own! I'll make my own 'Biggest Loser experience'!"

And thus it began.

I started reading. Researching. Checking out gyms. Running numbers and goals. Looking up nutritionists.

One thing to know about me is that a lot of my problem has been lack of knowledge. I frankly, had no idea how many calories I should be eating in a day, let alone how many grams of fat, protein, salt, etc. I've now turned into something of a health fanatic, though a still-overweight one at that.

Another thing that shaped how I chose to go about this summer was the fear of giving up. I've been very proud of myself for never buying into all the fad diets, or really any "diets" at all. I wanted to do this the healthy way. But that being said, all the other times I've tried to do it the healthy way, I find an eternal list of excuses for failure. You know the ones --

"I have too many things on my list today, guess I can't get to the gym--darn it!"

"I didn't sleep well, and well, being well-rested IS part of being healthy!"

"One scoop of icecream won't make a difference..."

"Nobody will know I actually had more than just 'one scoop of icecream'!"

But really the biggest one was my excuse on the scale. I've always felt like my weight fluctuates a lot, so if I would lose a pound one week, instead of seeing it as a victory based on choices I had made, I would see it as a fluctuation. This led to me not really getting anywhere, because any headway I would gain I wouldn't see as that so then I wouldn't think what I was doing was worth it.

This is why I wanted my summer to be as Biggest Loser-esque as I could get. So that I could work my little tail off and see drastic enough results that I couldn't excuse it away.

So that I could push super-duper hard, and then actually SEE that my work was paying off.

So that at the end of the week I could say "that was AWFUL, but worth it, and I can DO THAT AGAIN!"

So that's what I did. At the beginning of the summer, I emailed my family with my goals for the immediate few months. Here they were:

1) Stay within my daily calorie allottment (it will be changing approximately bi-weekly to reflect my weight loss)

2) Spend 4-6 hours, 5 days a week working out

3) Do something active with John 1-2 hours on Saturday

4) Record daily both my food and exercise

5) Lose (on average) 4 pounds a week

I am happy to say that I pretty much achieved all of those the whole summer except the last one! Instead of 4 pounds a week, I've lost 2, which is still pretty good. I'll get into that in another post, because though I'm happy with that, with everything I've done, my body hasn't responded as well as it should.

I joined the medical wellness center that's a mile from our house in the beginning of June. I bought new shoes, some workout clothes, and a heartrate monitor. I met with a nutritionist and set some goals and learned about realistic calories and such. I started training with a trainer. At the beginning it was 5 days a week, then 3 days a week, now it's just once a week.

I started going to every class the gym had to offer (except spinning and kickboxing--still WAY too intense for me!!)

I did Step classes. Yoga. Zumba. Pilates. Ab workouts. Cardio classes. And that was just my mornings. Then in the afternoons, after a 2 hour lunch break, I would go and meet with my trainer, then do my own work on the elliptical, bike, rowing machine, treadmill, etc.

And do you know what? It worked. This girl who had convinced herself it was impossible for her to lose weight, who had gone through every excuse in the book, lost 6 1/2 pounds in the first week.

In just under 3 months, I have lost 22 pounds. I can't explain that away as "fluctuation".

I've grown SO much this summer, starting to break that shell that I'm not supposed to have, becoming more confident and happy again, and starting to see my waist come back. I've had to readjust my expectations and goals, and I will have to keep doing that, but there's one thing that I've become even more resolute in--

I CAN do this. I WILL do this. I WILL finish this journey, and I WILL live the life I want to live. This is the point of my life where I take it back and don't let my body hold me hostage any more.

Okay, I promise that all my posts won't be this long. Though ask anyone in my family and they'll tell you I do tend to be long-winded. Kudos to you if you stuck it out this long. ;) But now that I've relatively caught you up to speed, I'll be able to just blog about my day to day stuff. Which will be more fun, cause the details are always more exciting.

And so it begins...three months later

My first attempt at blogging.....hmmmm. Welcome! :) If you haven't figured it out, this blog is about my journey to fitness--the long and hard way. Follow if you dare...I didn't know what I was getting myself in for before I committed!

I have never been slender--I love yummy food too much (you know, all the melt-in-your-mouth, heavenly-creamy, way-too-much-butter, rich foods?), and I've always been more interested in art and music than sports.

Then I went to college. Freshman 15.

And Sophmore 10...or so.

After graduation, I married the man of my dreams. That was May 2008. Hubby is naturally slender and fit, as well as being a cyclist and never having given up his love of the boy scout activities of backpacking, canoeing and the likes. What do you know, after we got married, I wasn't walking to classes and everything, I was learning to cook, and I wanted to be a good wife. So out come the good ol' standby's of the creamy, butter, fatty, delicious meals! Oh, sure, he looooved my cooking (except for the exploding meatloaf incident and the stir-fry mush....), but I was eating the same stuff, and I'm not built like he is, nor was I as active.

In the year after we got married, I gained 50 pounds.

Yeah.               Fifty pounds.                   *sigh*

I didn't even notice until 20 had come (in about 2 months), at which point I had far surpassed the 200 pound mark I had sworn I would never let myself go past. I joined Curves, but really, adding moderate excersise 30 minutes 3 times a week was only enough to slow the rapid gain.

By the time I finally adjusted my eating and activity level enough to maintain, I weighed 240 pounds. Even now, it's hard to say that number. I can count on one hand (more like 2 fingers) the number of people I have told that. BUT, I am committed to being totally and completely transparent on this blog, even if my family and friends do read it. It's ugly, but you know what, I will NEVER be 240 pounds again! In fact, I'm already WAY below! Which brings us to what drove me to this.

After gaining the weight, I started losing parts of myself. I have always been a vivacious, bubbly, never-shy, cheerful, helpful, people-person. With the weight also came a shell I had never had. I couldn't make friends in the new city we lived in. I was self-conscious. I was down-cast. I had to put on a "happy front" more often than not. Even hubby John noticed that the young, flirty, burst of sunshine he'd married was slipping away.

Fast forward a year or so to 2010. I started watching The Biggest Loser out of curiosity. Something stirred inside of me. Yes, I was totally one of those fat people that would watch the moving stories and observe the contestants working their butts off, while laying on the couch, crying and eating ice-cream. I still do that, except now I eat pickles instead of ice cream. Oh, and it's after I've worked my own butt off earlier in the day. ;)

I realized that I had lost who I was because of this weight. I have known for forever that the thing I am supposed to do with my life is be the best wife and mother I possibly can be. I wasn't being a very good wife, in some ways. I couldn't be go cycling, or canoeing, or hiking with John, we weren't acting like "newlyweds" anymore, and I had become self-consumed. Even more, it terrified the bejeebies out of me to think about being 240 pounds when I got pregnant, and then getting baby weight on top of that. Not to mention possible complications. I knew I'd be the parent who was sidelined in activities because I either couldn't or wouldn't participate. And then there's the more shallow reasons of just, by golly, I'm 23, and I want to be fun, flirty, and sexy!

So, after many tears, realizations, and conversations with John, I decided NOW was the time to change it. And so I've begun. I'm going to write another post about what I've actually done this summer since I've started my adventure. I wish I would've started this blog 3 months ago, but I guess I was making enough changes already.

This marks another success in my journey though--starting this blog and being more open--and there's no turning back! Watch out world, here I come!