GINGER_LOSTALOT   19,856
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Which Do You Choose?

One of two things WILL happen when you wake up tomorrow. You will either

1.) regret the fact you strayed from your food and exercise plan; or,

2.) rejoice in the fact that you stuck to your food and exercise plan

So, right now, before you stray, close your eyes and picture yourself waking up tomorrow morning. Now, ask yourself: Which do I want? The regret of having indulged myself yesterday, or the victory I will carry with me throughout today? If you ask ...
One of two things WILL happen when you wake up tomorrow. You will either

1.) regret the fact you strayed from your food and exercise plan; or,

2.) rejoice in the fact that you stuck to your food and exercise plan

So, right now, before you stray, close your eyes and picture yourself waking up tomorrow morning. Now, ask yourself: Which do I want? The regret of having indulged myself yesterday, or the victory I will carry with me throughout today? If you ask me how I knew this time would be it for me, I'd say: "The day I decided that victory made me happier than momentary bliss."

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME

I'm Ginger and I live in Chicago. I live with my 21 year old son Justin, my husband Bob, my mother in law Myrna and a bunch of dogs. The dogs change every day as we are a doggie day care and home boarding business. I used to be a middle and high school teacher, but I quit teaching because it was too stressful and it was interfering with my quest to get healthy. It was really hard to leave teaching but In the past 5 years, I achieved three major goals, including buying a house!

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MY WEIGHT PROBLEM

I must have started and stopped this process a hundred times over the past 30 years.

I was thin until I was 9. But I dealt with abuse and neglect by overeating. I fluctuated between size 14 and size 18 until I was 21. Then, in November 1990, I had a baby boy, but he died. My weight climbed to 302 within a year.

In 1996, I lost 100 lbs with Phen-Fen. But I faced several tragedies, including the death of my grandmother from cancer, the suicide of my mother, and the placement of my baby for adoption. I gained all the weight back plus some. I fluctuated between 280-350 for a decade. I've tried everything: WW, OA, JC, Atkins, Deal a Meal. The list goes on and on.

In November of 2009, I turned 40. I weighed 350 pounds. My legs went numb if I stood for more than 10 minutes. My doctor told me I had a herniating disk. My knee was also bothering me. That's when I discovered I had given myself arthritis from the years of morbid obesity. The trifecta of health concerns occurred when my ob/gyn told me I had a rectocele (it's worse than it sounds). But even my health problems did not motivate me to lose weight.

HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED

A friend told me about auditions for a new weight loss reality show. In December 2009, I filled out a long application and videotaped myself for 20 minutes. I Fedexed the materials... and waited. And waited. But nothing happened.

I was so angry that my application was (apparently) rejected that I pledged to Do it All By Myself! I set out to prove to those Hollywood people I didn't need their help. I was stronger and more powerful than they could imagine. I wanted to make them regret having not chosen me for their show!

So I sat down and thought about all of the weight loss books I'd read and all the nutritionists and doctors I'd seen. I reviewed my college course materials on nutrition. Armed with this knowledge, I designed my own nutrition and exercise program, based on my needs, my desires, my goals. This program, called Project Me, includes spreadsheets that record my weekly projections, physical activities, food consumption, and nutrient analysis. I probably sound compulsive obsessive, but I prefer to spend my time reading and writing than feeling guilty and ashamed.

THE FIRST FEW WEEKS

I knew that I needed to see quick and impressive results almost immediately if I was going to stick to my program. This means

A.) a lot more exercise, or
B.) a lot less food, or
C.) both

A.) a lot more exercise. I couldn’t walk a block without needing to sit down. Add to that that walking is unbearably boring, walking was out. Under no circumstances would I wear a bathing suit, so swimming was out. I didn’t want to spend the money on joining a gym because I knew I wouldn’t go, so pretty much every cardiovascular machine and exercise class was out. In sum, exercise was out. For now.

B.) a lot less food. I resented and resisted the dictate of many diets to radically restrict the intake of food during the first two weeks. Now I understand why this restriction is important. If my physics class taught me anything, it's that

1.) An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless a force acts upon it.

2.) An object that is in motion will not change its velocity unless a force acts upon it.

This translates easily to weight loss: the hardest part is taking the first step. Once I got the momentum going, it wouldn't take as much effort to keep it going. So the only question was How much less food could I reasonably live with?

Most of us who have over 100 pounds to lose need at least 2500 calories a day to maintain our weight. I weighed 350, and according to several calculators, I needed about 2,800 calories to maintain my weight:

http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index_bur
n.php (click on BMR & RMR calculator)

http://www.nutritiondata.com/tools/calor
ies-burned

http://www.csgnetwork.com/caloriesfemale
calc.html

http://www.dietitian.com/calcbody.php

If I wanted to lose 2 pounds a week, then, I needed to cut 1,000 calories a day, leaving me with a measly 1,800 calories allotment. This meant that I had to sacrifice my joy of eating my usual dinner: fries, Coke, shake, double bacon cheeseburger, onion rings, and a piece of pie. If I was going to give THAT up, I BETTER see more than a little 2-pound weekly loss! So, at least in the beginning, a 3-4 pound weekly weight loss would keep the momentum going. Therefore, for the first 8 weeks, I was on and off the Alternate Day Diet. This diet allowed me to eat 1800 calories one day and 600 calories the next. That averages to 1200 calories a day. I bought a digital kitchen scale that weighed and measured everything I ate to the gram. I bought a digital scale that weighs people up to 400 pounds. I weighed myself every day. And I still do.

After subsisting off an average of 1200 cals/day for those 8 weeks, I decided to increase my calories to an average of 1800/day. I did this because I was afraid that my lean body mass had already taken a big hit and would continue to do so. I wanted to preserve my musculature for two reasons: 1.) more muscle burns more fat; and 2.) to minimize sag and flab. Therefore, for the past year, I have steadily altered my daily caloric intake while increasing my daily exercise and have been happy with an average 2-pound weekly loss.

KEEPING MOTIVATED

I was terribly hungry during the first few weeks and I got awful headaches. I was so angry at having to let go of the sugary, fatty, and salty foods that I LOVED that many nights I pounded my pillow and cried. I held tightly to the faith that the hunger and headaches would subside, and they did (with a tiny bit of help from Excedrin). I relied heavily on the tools and resources on SP, and when the times got tough, my SPfriends kept me going. To kill time, I read, wrote, logged onto SP, and tried to sleep as much as possible. Every day, I woke up feeling more powerful than the day before.

Triggers obliterate motivation, so I was forced to reduce and remove them. Before I started this program, I ate and escaped every night with my best friend, TV. I quickly discovered I could not watch TV without food by my side, so my best friend had to go. We hoisted him on top of my fridge and there he remains to this day.

Setting up small successes builds to bigger ones. Before I started this program, I was in the habit of eating desserts every night. Yes, desserts, plural! So, I restricted myself to just one dessert a night. I was FIENDING for more, so I turned to my tools and resources on SP to get me through. Eventually, I cut out even that one sweet (gasp!). To keep sane, I had to find a suitable replacement. Scanning through the hundreds of yogurt choices in the supermarket, my eyes fell upon a most enticing phrase: White Chocolate Raspberry! I was surprised to discover I liked the yogurt more than the dessert! Victories, then, even small ones, keep me motivated. I don't need adhere to my plan 100% of the time, so, I actually expect to fail 10-15% of the time. That is, if I give in and have a dessert one night, I look at how I've done overall during the past week and month, and I smile.

Leadership also keeps me motivated. As they say in Overeaters Anonymous, "Service is Slimming." Becoming a leader was kind of like becoming a parent. All of a sudden, I had to grow up. I found that I often broke promises to myself but that I easily kept my promises to others. I am still learning how to keep my promises to me. I joined a SP Biggest Loser challenge in April 2010 and was eventually asked to co-lead its Lime Team. I have just recently become a co-leader for the Need to Lose 200+ Team.

WHAT I EAT

I used SP's nutrition and exercise trackers to help me set and analyze my goals. Every week, I downloaded from SP the Excel spreadsheet of the food I'd eaten. What I learned confirmed what I already knew: weight loss is all about calories in and calories out.

I am struggling right now to record everything I eat. I haven't lost much weight lately, and I attribute that to not recording. We so easily delude ourselves about portions and calories. I aim to average 1500 cals/day over the course of a week, making sure I get 25 g fiber and 60 g protein. I take a multivitamin, fish oil, and a calcium supplement. I aim to eat yogurt, oatmeal, walnuts, spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, garlic, blue green algae, green tea, and a piece of very dark chocolate every day.

When I started this program, I hated vegetables and even fruits. But when I got really hungry, and didn't have many calories to spend, I was desperate, so I caved in and sought some freggies I could stand. I started with boiled sugar snap peas, baked cauliflower, grilled mushrooms, lightly cooked fresh spinach, and steamed asparagus. My favorite fruits were bananas, berries, honey crisp apples, and tangerines. I allowed myself the luxury of these freggies just some of the time, though, because they are a bit expensive. So, every Sunday, I bought carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, and onions. I washed and cut everything into small pieces. I prepared a water solution of filtered water, ginger root, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon and keep all these fresh, cut veggies in there. Whenever I got the munchies (usually late at night), I dug some veggies out and dipped them in a little hummus, salsa, baba ganoush, and yogurt. Sometimes, I took a couple handfuls of these veggies, threw them in some low sodium chicken broth, garlic, and lemon and cooked them for a few minutes.

I kept my frige filled with quick sources of protein in my frige: cheese, boiled eggs, cold chicken, cold beef. I throw these on a bunch of salad greens for a quick, easy, delicious dinner. Sometimes I roll it all up in a big green onion and cilantro tortilla. Yum!

I still allow myself cream and sugar in my coffee. But I don't eat much rice, potatoes, bread, or pasta. This is because they hog up a huge portion of my daily calorie allotment, and, if I even have just a little bit of them, I find myself rooting around for more and more. But don't you NEED grains in your diet, Ginger? Well, that's hotly debated. What I found from my research is that we are encouraged to eat grains mainly because they provide energy, fiber, iron, and vitamins. I get at least 25 g a day of fiber through fruits, vegetables, and a high-fiber non-sweetened dry cereal. I take a daily vitamin. And, according to the SP nutrition counter, I am getting plenty of carbohydrates without eating many grains. So, it seems I have all my bases covered.


WRANGLING WITH MY NEMESIS: EXERCISE

After I lost about 50 pounds, I decided I was ready to move my body more. If you read what I wrote about exercise, you know the struggle I was up against. Since it was spring time, I thought that I might convince myself to ride a bike a few days a week. But I am terrified of falling off bikes and I can’t stand the pain in my groin from sitting on an upright bike. So I decided to look at special bikes. My first thought was: I want a Big Wheel! I went to a couple of bike shops and found one! Well, it’s called a Sidewinder Z recumbent tricycle, and it specially designed for people up to 400 pounds. I drove to Ohio to get the thing used on Craigslist. My dog was extremely happy I did! We took two daily walks or shall I say he trotted while I cycled! I liked my trike so much that I began to cycle half-way to work.

Since cycling was fun, and I knew that exercise would help me lose weight even faster, I began to consider other kinds of exercise. Summer was approaching, so I decided I wanted to roller skate outside. I wanted to make sure the skates could handle a 300 pound person and that the skates would lend strong support to my weak ankles. I rooted around the Internet for a while until I found a site in Canada that could custom-make the skates for me. It was a bit more money that I wanted to spend, but since I have used them a lot, it was money well spent.

Almost every day, I either cycled or skated or both! However, I knew that fall and winter were just around the corner, so I thought about purchasing a piece of cardiovascular equipment for my home. I have bought many pieces of junk over the years, so I did some research and found a kind of elliptical machine that is designed for people up to 400 pounds and/or for people with bad knees. I worked up the nerve to part with the money to buy a used Cybex Arc Trainer from a gym. But I knew I wouldn't get on the thing unless I could let my ex-best friend back into my life, or at least turn him on when I exercised.

I still ride my trike. I still roller skate. And my Cybex Arc Trainer is still in my kitchen. I recently joined the gym to use the Step Mill and to add strength training to my regimen. Three weeks ago, I put on a bathing suit for the first time in five years.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION

I could not have taken a single step, lost a single pound, without the strength, courage, and love that God endowed within me and the people He dispatched into my life. People like Shannon (Shanshe), Susie (Live_To_Love), Kelly (Looking_Up), Georgia (Georgia_Kay), Nona (HealthyMama4), Cat (Catiatm), and Kathy (JettaNala) are just a few of His incredible creations. Outside of SP, I have a small family: my son Justin and my sister Christie (Satellite5). I have just a handful of friends; but they - especially Steve and Janie - have come through for me many times.

YOU CAN - AND WILL! - DO IT

So, I will close for now with two motivational bits I love:

"All your life you are told the things you cannot be and do. All your life they will say you’re not good enough, strong enough, talented enough. They’ll say you’re the wrong height, weight, and wrong type to play this and achieve that. They will tell you No a thousand times, No until all the No’s become meaningless. They will tell you No quickly and firmly AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES." ~ a Nike advertisement


"Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny."
~ Gandhi ~


SOME TIPS ON HOW TO ANNOUNCE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS IN YOUR SP PHOTO GALLERY

To add the "LOST __ POUNDS WITH SPARKPEOPLE" picture to your page : Click "Edit My Spark Page" on the upper right side of your screen. Then, click on one of your three pictures on the left side of your screen. A pop up box will appear. Finally, you have to click on the link at the top right hand side of the page that says, in small letters, "Also choose from our success gallery."

If you want to make your own picture like I did that says, "I lost 150 pounds and over 75 inches with SP," open Powerpoint. After you create your slide, save the presentation as JPEG. You should probably save the presentation as a presentation, too, so it will be easy to edit it.
Read More About GINGER_LOSTALOT (Updated January 22)




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Member Since: 6/18/2007

SparkPoints: 19,856

Fitness Minutes: 13,688

My Goals:
STG:
Stay away from sugar
Exercise 15 min 4x/day
Spend 1 hr on SP/day
Smile! Smile! Smile!

I want to be carried across a threshold.
I want to go water skiing.
I want to go sky diving.
I want to finish writing a motivational book.
I want to be on TV.

My Program:
If you click "Read More About Jinjerly" on the left side of this page, you will get more information than you probably want - about 5 pages single space worth!



Personal Information:
Born: Dothan, Alabama
Live: Chicago, IL
Turned 41 on 11-11


Other Information:
"The less mass you're carrying, the higher you can leave the ground."

"One is one too many. One more is never enough" Kenny Chesney

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." --George Eliot

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." --F. Scott Fitzgerald

"No one ever plowed a field by turning it over in her mind." -- Irish proverb

"Fortune favors the brave." --Publius Terence

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall." --Confucius

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." -- Aristotle

"Do not wait to strike until the iron is hot. Make it hot by striking it"

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Member Comments:
GEORGIA_KAY
1/24/2014 6:58:13 PM

Hi Ginger--thanks for dropping by :) I'm glad to be back too!. So glad to know you are here and are doing well. Stay warm over there in your neck of the woods. Lots of love to you, my friend!
emoticon



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.DUSTY.
1/23/2014 10:55:29 PM

emoticon Hi Ginger! Saw your post on our Team 300 lbs. Plus. Hope to see you posting more in the future:)



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CATIATM
1/22/2014 10:50:34 AM

Hey! So good to hear form you! Thanks very much for stopping by my blog and for my lovely flowers. Much appreciated!

How's 2014 treating you? emoticon



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CATIATM
11/11/2013 12:41:10 AM

emoticon emoticon emoticon Happy birthday! emoticon emoticon emoticon



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SNOW-WHITE
6/26/2013 11:10:37 PM

Ginger, are you doing okay?
I switched to a vegan lifestyle and this may be the answer for me. It is not fast weight loss, but slow and steady and you can actually eat without feeling deprived. So far, so good! I'm trying to walk everyday and work up a good sweat. I hope you are doing well. I miss you! : )



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