Thursday, June 16, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I put up a picture weight loss blog that raised a large number of responses.
Out of those responses arose number of questions that I am going to try to answer!!
Most were serious – I guess (hope) a couple were asked in jest.
1 – How did you start?
I was 170kg (374lb) when I started – and I started by modifying my diet – but reducing calories and changing toward “healthy” I had not discovered Sparkpeople at this stage – but I had been on many diets in my life to that point – so I used my knowledge and put a few together and tweaked and changed and ended up losing weight!!
It was very ”hit and miss” but seemed to work-and was very low calorie at that point too, because I was working on the old idea that the less you eat the more weight you lose!!
Then in 2009 I was pointed towards the Sparkpeople site- I took a while just looking about –decided I needed to at least think about exercise, and then posted on a message board – about difficulty exercising, being then 135kg (297lb) with osteoarthritis in my knees. A kind person told me about Chair Exercise (its not known in Oz) .I got some DVDs from USA – and literally staggered through 1 exercise –but I kept going every day because I thought-this is the last chance – let it at least be a good one so I can say that I tried!!!! I found that it gets easier!! But also I saw inches falling off me
2 – How do you maintain motivation?
I’m in my 10th year of very slow losing!! But I found that the actual losing was motivation – although it wasn’t really obvious until exercise came into the equation. But from the first year of just diet control my blood work improved and this was also motivation. As well – we (DH and I) were enjoying the “healthy” food, though it wasn’t as “healthy “ as it is now!!
I also enjoy cooking and after I got into SP I really tweaked my food program and have enjoyed inventing healthy foods that we enjoy and cooking them – this is a form of motivation too!!
And then there is the responsibility to my Spark friends, some of whom have been cheering me on since I started at SP and to them I am grateful – but there are also the teams I lead!! The fact of accepting a leadership position has put me in a position of power but with that power comes enormous responsibility to the team members – whom I couldn’t think of letting down!! I lead by example – I try to be the best I can for them This is motivation too!!
3 – Were the photos doctored by “Photoshop”??
Some – I cut the background down a bit – or cut out people with me. A couple I lightened a bit as they were very dark.
4 – How do you cope when you have a lot to lose and the task seems insurmountable?
In my case – I really only looked at the weights as figures – they seemed almost meaningless – but then I saw the photo – and thought maybe one more go – also the fact that I love to travel and buying 2 seats in the plane and carting Herbie and my DH who is older than me, everywhere to handle him was getting hard
Since I had had so much difficulty losing in the start – I really thought – “maybe I can get just a little weight off” – so I have never looked at it as a complete thing – just at one step at a time!! And because the changes are ones we are happy with they are our way of life –
I never set goals of weight loss – because I never keep them – I am happy when I lose – and I make sure I don’t gain!!
But to me its not a finite thing – it’s a “whole of life change” - People say I have so much patience to continue so long – but I really don’t know what else I would do!! I am living a healthy life, exercising and eating well – my body is happy and I am enjoying life, and as an incidental I am very slowly losing weight – so why would I change?? Therefore where does patience come into it??
5 – How do you cope when the scales don’t cooperate ??
This depends- Since it is a lifetime program – I just ignore it if I go over on calories which, for me is rare as I plan my meals for the next day on the day before and keep to my plan – but if the scale starts to go the wrong way- and this has happened only twice in the 10 years – then I clamp down hard and weigh and measure everything very carefully, keep to portions and drink more water and exercise more and harder!!
However – I often have times when the scales sit!! For months – but this is immaterial – I honestly don’t bother – why ? because this is a lifetime undertaking, I am grateful for any weight loss but it isn’t my primary concern – I don’t have to lose by…!! I just get on with my healthy eating plan, and my exercise and know that one day it WILL happen again if my body wants it to – I have long ago discovered that my body has its own addenda, which has no connection with what I want and that when its ready it will show me changes but that I can’t speed it up!!
Often these changes can be unexpected, and very small too – but nether the less they are important – they show me I am doing the right thing- maybe my blood work will be that little bit better, maybe my resting heart rate has dropped, , maybe my jeans fall off, maybe I find that I am more able to cope with a hassle, maybe I get less colds or infections, maybe I have more stamina, can do more, can bend better!! The changes can be many and varied – you just have to see and recognise them!!
6 – Why didn’t you have weight loss surgery or try weight loss/appetite suppressant drugs?
Many years ago I spent 2wks in hospital being assessed for weight loss surgery – stomach stapling it was then – Both physical and mental assessment – as it was a very complex and dangerous operation – I was rejected!! The reason being that they only did it on people that ate too much – I didn’t!! It was actually offered again by my doctor about a year ago – my reaction then was – “If I can lose this much so why can’t I lose the rest?” The other thing was I’d have to pay for it – too much for me!!
AS far as drugs – they have never been offered by my Doctor and honestly I have never felt the need
7 – Has your transformation made any difference to the other medication you take?
Yes – I was diagnosed Type 2 diabetes in 1999 but they thought I had actually had it for a substantial time before that. I was put on drugs for that and for high blood pressure. Both my sugar level and blood pressure have returned to normal during my eating and exercise plan – my A1C is holding without any medication at 5.2 and my blood pressure, also with no medication at 125/75. I am taking Celebrex tabs for my knees still but that is all. Except for a Multi-vitamin and a Vit B and Vit C tab!!
8 – What do you do with your “big” clothes??
I wear clothes as long as possible – as you saw from the jeans – and those that are fairly good I then send to an American friend or give to the local Op shop!!
9– What is your final goal weight and how did you decide on it?
This is a question I am often asked – how far will you go – what is your goal?? I have no idea how far I will go – I have gone a lot further than any of the specialists ever thought was possible – and far, far further than I ever believed possible. I am still going – weight loss is very slow – but my balance, strength, flexibility are improving all the time – I feel healthy and am enjoying the journey. My only goal is to continue until I reach a weight at which I am confortable and with which I am comfortable!!
10 – Do you have any regrets?
Of course – who doesn’t?
Of what I have done in my life – NO –I had wonderful parents who never tried to restrain me and encouraged me to “fly free” I have been able to do things that would be impossible today, I had so many opportunities and seen so many places, met so many people of all nationalities and it is this that has shaped the person I am today. However – I regret not losing weight when I was younger, though I did make some quite drastic, though unsuccessful efforts – and I regret not knowing the benefits of adding exercise before I did!! However – it was never suggested, and the effect of exercise never reported. SP didn’t exist when I was younger, if it had – I wouldn’t have had access because it was before home computers. That is the way of life – there will always be further research that discovers new things!!
Now – no regrets – I am in a good place and .fairly satisfied with my lifestyle at present, though of course I am often tweaking and changing things to keep it fresh and to keep my body guessing!!
11- Has your weight loss made any difference to your family relationships?
As far as close family – there is only my DH and I – and he is proud and supportive of me – and even drives me to Curves, and waits patiently in the car while I workout and chat to friends – as my eyes are getting that its better for me not to drive, though I still hold a driving licence!!
As far as rellies – I have a couple in UK and they seem proud and happy for me!!
I am sad that my Parents will never see my weight loss – they were always very supportive of me but would have loved a “normal” daughter, and I’m sure my Mother would have loved to be able to buy clothes for me instead of having to make them all the time as there was nothing that fit!!
I hope that this has answered some of the questions that you want to know!!
Remember little steps, and its not patience, or will power –its motivation that keeps you going
Look at it . as a lifetime change – not as a short time change. and as such weight loss is a secondary consideration – A healthy body, that will allow you to live a good life for as long as possible –that is the aim..
And to finish – a quote from my Father:
As you go through life, always hold your head up high and walk tall, be proud of yourself, of what you have accomplished and what you have yet to accomplish!!
I found this in a notebook my Father left for me - it was the way he lived his life and the way he taught me!! It seems so right here!!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I have had a lot of questions asked – and I am sorting a Q & A blog out to answer them – but one comment needs addressing!!
Why do people think that weight loss has a “use by date”?
I have had many comments in the same vein – and you did it at your age!! Am I so old at 67 ?? Is there a reason why older people are not allowed to lose weight? Is there this door – that at say 50 closes with a notice – No! you can’t lose weight now you are too old!!
I know several people who would say that is wrong – but I will mention one – a wonderful friend of mine – and an American!! She has recently lost several sizes in weight – she lives an active life – so active she would run me into the ground-- she does a lot of voluntary work for her community and Lions Club, she does the ”meals on wheels” delivery once a week, she goes to water aerobics several times a week – she gives talks to people on her hobby, she works her garden and she lives a very healthy lifestyle – and she is 80yrs old – and she is in permanent pain from degenerative back and neck problems!!
Its actually a real "thing" with me (as if you hadn’t guessed!!) - why does weight loss have to have a "use by" date!!?? I have had it mentioned many times that the “older generation” particularly the less mobile ones on this site, are fed up with the condescension and comments they get from the “younger set” – because we don’t necessarily run 5km!! Remember that – one day you will be old – you may be handicapped – and then you will be in the same position that we are now!! Isn’t the saying “but for the will of God, there go I". Remember too – that for a person in pain, who is mobility limited, it takes far more courage and effort to even try to do basic exercise, than for the young fit person!!
Of course you can lose weight at any age - but when you are older you are more set in your ways - not to mention your hubbie!! - and therefore lifestyle changes take longer and often need to be taken in very small steps!! Its also harder to lose weight - but its not impossible - it just needs patience!! Lots of patience
Food changes can take time to accept within the family – and sometimes they can take time for the body to accept them too!!
Water – extra liquid intake can be a problem for older bladders – but there are ways round this – I stop drinking after 4.00pm!! But the water intake is essential to weight loss – and to the correct working of the body.
Extra fibre intake needs to be introduced slowly – to prevent indigestion – but again – it is important to ensure that you have enough of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Exercise – this can be a real problem for older people!! If they are fairly fit and have no mobility issues – then its really just a case of taking a deep breath and doing it!!
But when we get older often there are mobility issues that can vary from light to significant. Then it can be harder – but it really is essential to MOVE – in some way Remember that even several small short bursts of movement add up during the day. The more you move the more you will be able to move!! -
It is important that you- don't lose sight of your goal -and have confidence in yourself that you WILL get there provided you keep to your program!!
This quote from ~Indygirl says it perfectly!!
Baby steps. Leaping in wears you out. Then you quit. ~Indygirl
Saturday, June 04, 2011
I have always been a “big” person – from when I was a baby!!
I tried a lot of diets and ways to lose weight – none really worked and although I might lose the occasional couple of pounds – I just got bigger and bigger
1877(ooops!!) 1977 – at my wedding – just to show that our wedding dresses aren’t always our smallest size!! Maybe one day I’ll try it on again for fun!!
1998 – in UK on holiday
2002 – this was taken in Adelaide on Holiday – and was the photo where I decided I had had enough – time for yet another attempt to lose weight!! I was 170kg here (374lb) and taking size 34 clothes!! This is the first reasonably correct recorded weight I have. I may well have been heavier before but its not on record.
2004 – going veeeerrrryyy slowly!!
2005 – off on vacation – by now I was buying 2 seats on the plane and using a walking stick and walking frame!! I was losing weight very slowly but my health was deteriorating – obesity was taking its toll – on my knees.
2007 – holiday in West Australia – and scooter came too!! By now I had given up walking much – too much pain and very unstable knees – so I had a scooter – but taking it on holiday is rather like taking everything and the kitchen sink!!
2008 – 35kg gone (77lb) however – still living a totally sedentary life – and still wearing size 34 clothes!! This was a couple of months before I joined Sparkpeople.
In Feb 2009 I joined Sparkpeople – and discovered a hitherto banned word – exercise!! I was already eating a fairly healthy diet – but exercise was the one thing I had never tried!! I started staggering through 1 exercise in a Chair exercise DVD – but kept going – every day – often ending up sobbing with pain and effort – but eventually – .........
In 2010 – I started seeing changes – the length and intensity of exercise was increasing and I was getting stronger – a bit – my knees still gave some troubles and I was still getting delayed onset muscle pain after starting new exercises or increasing intensity. This was a real motivational picture too – my first ever pair of zip front jeans – goal reached!! They had all been elastic waist band up to now(yes all my life) !! and it was the first time I dared wear a belt and tuck in the shirt!!
I still used a scooter for most things out side – like shopping – and honestly was being told by the Doctor I always would until I had 2 knee replacements!! Well why wouldn’t I believe him??
By September 2009 I was really proud of how far I had come – and thought I looked great!! LOL!!
In June 2010 I joined Curves – feeling I wanted and needed to step things up a bit – this was the nearest I came at that time to “gym clothes” I chose Curves because I could sit and exercise at a lot of the machines – taking the stress off my knees!! Also the conventional gyms round here all need one to use a walking machine – an electric walking machine that will persist in throwing me off the back!! They also expect one to get down on the floor to exercise – but they don’t have a crane to lift me up!!
By August 2010 the extra work was paying dividends!
I rewarded myself with some gym clothes and started Zumba!! Not bad forsomeone who was using a scooter a lot of the time - though I do say it myself!!
And this is today – 4th June 2011 – a few days from my 67th Birthday – and 106kg (233lb) Its on ongoing thing, this weight loss – and there have been tears and laughter – and it certainly hasn’t been easy – but I wouldn’t go back to my old self for anything – not all the money in the world!!
For one thing I rarely have pain in my knees, and they are stable now. I occasionally use my poor faithful scooter that is sitting lonely in the garage, for long walks over uneven ground – but maybe one day……!! And my Doctor has stopped talking of knee replacements – now he just wants to know what the latest achievement is!!
And today – I had another “moment” – I undid the leather belt holding my jeans – and the jeans fell down – the snap and zip were still done up!! I thought they had been feeling loose!! Then I put this blog together and discovered why – they are the same jeans I was so proud of in the 2010 picture – my first pair of zip jeans – good heavens!! I must have been poured into them then – but they are so comfortable I just keep wearing them – they are a size 24 though and I am in size 20 now!!
Next reward – new jeans!! Meanwhile – a good strong tight leather belt!!
A work in progress – Aug 2002 – June 2011 – 63kg (141lb) difference and clothes difference from size 34- size 18/20!!
Do you know what I am most proud of?? ..... That I did it without surgical intervention, without medical intervention and without crash diets!! Just good healthy eating in the right portions and a lot of hard, but fun work, exercising!!
I am often asked – how far will you go – what is your goal?? I have no idea how far I will go – I have gone a lot further than any of the specialists ever thought was possible – and far far further than I ever believed possible. I am still going – weight loss is very slow – but my balance, strength, flexibility are improving all the time – I feel healthy and am enjoying the journey. My only goal is to continue until I reach a weight at which I am confortable and with which I am comfortable!!
The other question I am often asked is – its taken so long – don’t you get fed up ?? No I don’t because it’s a way of life – now I couldn’t go back to unhealthy eating – and I am enjoying exercise so I honestly would expect this to be a way of life until I die!! Therefore the time taken is irrelevant!!
Is it worth it ??? I’ll leave that for you to decide!!
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