Sunday, February 10, 2013
First off, I got my first paycheck from my first job in this state yesterday YAAAY! I love love my job. I adore it. And eating healthy and working out has just become routine again which I am very happy for. There is a very sweet girl from New Mexico that was in my orientation. The other day while computer training with her she sighed and complained about having gained 50 lbs since her having her baby a year ago (she looks to weigh about 150). She said that she had cried about that morning. She laughed and said maybe she should go get surgery. Part of my brain wondered if I should be offended that she thought she was so big when she is so small compared to me. To me she looks healthy and fit but everyone has their own personal fitness goal and I am sure there are a lot of women out there that aren't very happy about their weight after a baby. I wish I had taken that opportunity to tell her about Spark people.
This morning my sister sent me an email asking me how I was able to lose weight and if she would be able to lose her baby weight fast. My response to her turned out to be an essay! I realized that I have a lot to say on this subject matter-- especially when it comes to how awesome Spark is. Just thought I would post it on here as yet another part of my journey and maybe some of this information will be useful to someone.
What I learned from my 4 months on Spark:
Establishing a good diet and exercising doesn't work fast and it is continuous especially for me because I am making this my life change. I want to eat healthy and be active for the rest of my life and hopefully live a lot longer because of it . You lose pretty quickly at first but they recommend you lose 4 lbs a week at the most. If you try to starve yourself or burn too many calories while not eating enough (1,200-1,500 is what they recommend for me) your body will store your fat and hold onto it instead of burning it and you won't lose any weight. But it you stay without a calorie range and burn a certain amount of calories each week (spark people calculates all of that for you depending on your height weight and so on) you will lose weight. It takes a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories a week to lose one pound. For example if a person normally eats 3,000 calories and instead eats 1,500 calories a day. For seven days you are saving 8,400 calories which means you will lose 2 1/2 lbs that week. Now say you burn 500 calories a day. You will lose another 1 1/2 pounds a week from that for a total loss of 4 lbs a week. If you burn a lot more calories you will need to eat more calories as well. Losing weight is like balancing a big ball on a little stick. Too much of one thing and not enough of another and the fat will be stubborn and stick to you. All of my inspirations women that have lost 50 to hundreds of pounds look totally different healthy and happy but for those that lost the biggest numbers it took them a year or two to lose it but compare that to how many people I know that have lost that much weight quickly? None. Because it doesn't work that way and it is only healthy to lose 4 lbs a week (it may average out to that because when you start Spark you will probably lose a lot the first 6 months) If you do the nutrition tracker and write down what you eat cause it keeps track of calories and fat and lets you know how many calories you have left after each meal and if you follow the exercise too alternating cardio with toning and strength training days, the weight is gonna come off maybe pretty fast at first. I do strength and toning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays like they recommend and cardio Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturday, and Sunday. Sometimes I do some extra cardio after I do my strength training so I can burn that 500 calories a day. They fitness tracker counts how many calories you burn with each exercise based on your weight. They recommend to do the strength training every other day so your muscles have a chance to heal and rest. You can exercise any way you want-- they have a fitness tracker that can calculate any exercise you do and they have tons of exercise videos that I love.I can tell you which ones are the most fun and work the best. If you start your strength training workouts with the yogilates and pilates every week, you will notice your core strengthening fast. I couldn't even do a sit up but after a month of yogilates and pilates I was able to do all the ab workout videos I was so surprised. Even more awesome after a couple months of using those videos I was able to jog. I didn't think I could because of my knee but the workouts must have strengthened it a bit. I started with jogging for one minute then marching for one minute. Did that for ten minutes. Then next cardio day jogging for 2 marching for one. I did 3 minutes the next time and the week after I jogged for 5 minutes march for one. The week after that I would jog up to 15 minutes at a time one day after I hit 15 minutes I discovered that after I hit that 15 minute mark, it gets easier to jog. So I kept jogging and pushed myself to jog for 30 minutes straight. I couldn't believe I was capable of that! Jogging, running, jump roping, and swimming burns the most cardio calories. The is a girl on Spark who started the Couch to 5K challenge and was quickly running miles a day. She lost her 100 pounds really fast in about 8 months instead of a year or two. The only thing is since she lost it fast instead of slow she had a lot of loose skin and she had to have surgery to cut it off. You could have loose skin either way after losing that much weight but they say if you lose it more slowly, build muscle, and moisturize with a lot of Shea and Vitamin E and brush your skin- you can stimulate it to bounce back a little better. The best part about Spark is they have real stories written by people that joined Spark and lost weight. So many inspirational stories that show that a little lifestyle change and some key nutritional knowledge can make such a big difference in a life. The have TONS of recipes (Greg and I have a bunch of healhty but delicious recipes too) and you won't feel deprived of anything. If you are craving a dish, they have a healthier version of it. And you also learn that moderation is the key to enjoying an occasional treat. If you want to eat something you know has a lot of calories and fat just eat a little bit of it cause 1/4, 1/6, or 1/8 of that is better than eating all of the calories. For example a can of Pringles says that 9 chips are a serving so just eat 3 chips every once in awhile. Stretch that can out and see how many months you can make it last. Make it a game and try to make it last more months than the last time. You don't get any good nutrition from it but at least you got a taste of that craving and now you can put it away for another day. Greg is a big FAN of pizza. He can't go a whole month without a pizza night. If you would normally eat 4 slices of pizza on a pizza night, just eat 2 and a small salad or even better eat 1 slice and a big salad and you can even do the same with a leftover slice the next week. Order a smaller pizza so you won't be tempted by all the leftovers. If you eat healthy 80-90 percent of the time and are smart about curbing junk food cravings and portion control, you will lose weight! If you are having a moment when you need to cheat, look up nutritional information of restaurants and fast food or whatever junk it is you are craving and look at the numbers. Are those calories, fat, and sugars worth it? Are you going to burn more calories in your workout? You will be surprised by what you read and chances are you are since you will be making an "informed" decision you will pick a healthier option most of the time. I found out that a McDonald's ten piece chicken nuggets has almost 500 calories and 29.5 grams of fat. That is my entire fat allowance for the while day! I have a range of 30-60 grams of fat per day but I try to keep it close to 30. So for 10 nuggets to be 30 grams of fat is crazy! I haven't had McDonald's for a few years now but if I were to eat nuggets I would probably get the 4 piece or split that 10 piece with someone or save some for another day. Another crazy thing about nutrition information is that some places have something that might sound healthy like Panda Express's eggplant and tofu but if you look up the nutrition, it has the highest amount of fat and calories of all their dishes. They must really soak it in a lot of oil when they cook. Basically, unless you look up nutrition info and pick healthy choices ahead of time when you go out to eat-- it can be pretty hard to pick a healthy dish. You will always be able to cook healthier food at home that tastes better than healthy food in a restaurant (Vietnamese and Mediterranean restaurants are pretty healthy) so try to cook at home at least 80 percent of the time. In fact that is a mantra I kept in mind in the beginning "80-20, 80-20". Pretty soon without realizing it you will be doing 90-10 and eventually 98 to 100 percent healthy without even trying. Make healthy choices when you go out or eat something unhealthy in a very small portion and pair it with something healthy like a salad or smoothie, and exercise! That's it that's all it take to lose weight and it works! Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fiber (veggies and whole grains especially quick oats) because that flushes the fat out of your body as it melts off of you. The first 2 months I started I lost 30 lbs and 12 inches. I took a break between the end of November and the first of January so I am waiting until the end of this month to see how much I've lost. I think I might measure how many inches today though. I was doing the measurements every two weeks but I am going to start weighing every two weeks and measuring once a month I think. If you want to lose after the baby-- join Spark people it's free and I love it. They have all kinds of help. Articles, recipes, teams and challenges if you want to join one I was in the January Jump start challenge. You can join as many teams as you want. I joined the California team, 20 somethings team, fitness in motion team, Done being the fat girl team and more. They have local teams too. I've met up with a couple people from my local team to do walks. Sorry as you can see I really love Spark people and could just go on and on about it. Try it for yourself and see if you like it. Here are just one of the motivational members www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivat
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Grandmother Says... Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee; "Which are you?"
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me what do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.She then asked her to take an egg and break it.
After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. "What's the point,grandmother?"
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter.
"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?
Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Well, I have been doing a series of interviews since Tuesday. Greg's mom went into the hospital with the virus that's been going around and had to stay due to pneumonia. Greg's sister had it originally and is still sick and Greg and his mom got it after her. He's almost better- it's day nine for him. I am on Day 5. I came down with it the night after my first interview. My second interview 2 days later-- I was surprised to find there were 20 people already waiting in line ahead of me and 10 more came after. I had to wait an hour before they could see me. By that time I was pretty delirious and worried about getting back to my car before the 90 minute parking limit expired. The questions and answers were a total blur and I thought I blew it for sure. But maybe because I had waited so long in that cold hallway and because of my sweet spirit (Greg's phrase) they offered me a 3rd interview the next morning. I went to bed early and managed to be more clear headed and energetic. I got the job drug tests and paperwork pending. Very very happy and excited.!! Meanwhile I have gotten much sicker. My workouts have been weak and very sad. I go through the motions and take breaks in between. I know I am definitely not going as strong as I wanted. I keep going because of the commitment I made to myself as part of the January Jump start team. I wrote my nutritional info on a piece of paper and log it into Spark when I have a moment of energy which is very rare these past few days. I still need to log Thursday's meals in as well as today-- the last day of my second week of the challenge. 2 more weeks to go of this first month. This first month of the year isn't going how I expected it. It's a lot tougher than I wanted it to be but there have been very pleasant surprises and wonderful support from people-- especially here. I have been doing very well on my diet-- haven't been able to cook much but I have plenty of quick oats, soups both healthy Progresso and frozen homemade, and grapefruits, pears, and bananas. The house has fallen into mess and disarray but what is that in the scheme of things. A coffee table littered with cough drop wrappers and tissues (I can never seem to pick it all up before they multiply like secret little bunnies) and the sink is full of dishes. Worst of all-- my Xmas decorations are still up--- taunting me and shaming me. Bleh, I stick my tongue out to all of that. All that matters is health, happiness, love, and taking care of ourselves. Greg has started his diet and he has already lost 8 pounds! He wants us all to take better care of ourselves his mom and his sister too. We will resolve to be more active and treat ourselves better. We all deserve it. Life is too short it goes by too fast. Grab that spark with both hands and hold on no matter what.
Friday, January 04, 2013
I am having an emotional moment right now. I can't pinpoint the exact cause. I feel a bit angry, a bit annoyed, a lot overwhelmed, a little intimidated, worried, and sad. I remember last time around I got overwhelmed and irrational angry a couple times but I don't remember getting emotional like this except for when I finished jogging 30 minutes. I have been doing well with my workouts this month and keeping track of my nutrition staying within my calories and the last couple days were very easy. Greg has been complaining he is at his highest weight and when he found out about my new weight loss goal he was very adamant that he wanted to be a part of it this time. I know he worries a lot about getting older and wants to be healthier. The problem is he the last 10 years the hasn't been very good with motivation or self control. I know that must be a personal struggle for him. Lord knows I have a few of my own including that one. I am controlling and monitoring myself in minute details right now. I've got charts and calendars, timelines, goals, restrictions, and I am armed with all the tools I could need here at Spark. I have to keep a tight reign on myself because I am wary to slip up or slack this time around. So far Greg hasn't wanted to do any workouts with me. He claimed once he was feeling sick, his throat was sore, or he was tired. Today he came home and saw me working out and announced he was absolutely stuffed or he would join me. I asked why he would want to stuff himself and he just shrugged. He had eaten some kind of junky fast food. I had suspected for a while that this is the majority of what their lunches consist of. Suddenly I felt bitter and angry. There was an inexplicable feeling pounding along with the beat of my heart. I couldn't help but feel let down, "he's gonna let me struggle through this by myself again. It won't be any easier than last time because he's not going to be doing this with me". I feel so awful for even having that feeling. I feel selfish and mean. It's his choice and whatever choice he makes, as long as he is happy. I want him to be healthy too but that should never be forced on anyone. I wouldn't want it forced on me. He is very very supportive and amazing in every way. I only hope I give him as much love and support as he shares with me. Thankfully I quickly realized I was bitter and annoyed with myself. I have to struggle. For now, this is my path. I am at the bottom of the mountain and as much as I want to be on the top, I have to hoof it up there. Every sticking inch. I cried for a moment. Overwhelmed. But the reality is I should be using that anger not to feel sorry for myself or feel depressed about what choices I made in life to have me end up at the bottom of this mountain. I need to use this, harness every piece of my humanity to dig my heels in and keep climbing. Every time I stop, look back, or take focus away from my own journey just takes me that much longer to get there.
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