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Eyes OFF the scale

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I do a semi weekly weigh-in. Sometimes I weigh myself more than once a week. Sometimes I'll go nearly two weeks without a weigh-in. More times than not, however, I find myself disappointed that I have not yet moved from the weight I reached in late April.

I have to remember that take my focus OFF the scale. I may not have lost weight since April, but my size has most certainly changed. I had to buy all new jeans recently. My pre-April jeans were so baggy as to be uncomfortable. I took a chance on buying a waist size that was an inch smaller. They fit in April. They don't now. Yet, I'm still 135 lbs.

Weight training. It finally occurred to me that even though I haven't been as diligent as I would like with weight training, my performance in it has improved. I had to have gained muscle for that to happen.

So, once again, as I did for the first THREE months (or more) of this journey, I have to set fitness goals instead of weight loss goals. I will focus solely on i) extending my jogging speed and duration and ii) increasing my weight resistance.

It took 3 months before I saw any loss at all in the beginning. It took six months for me to break a long held plateau. Last year, I told myself that I would not get discouraged until a YEAR had passed with no or little results. But I also told myself that if I got to my current weight that I would be content with a plateau - should one happen again - for six months at that weight. (It seemed to me that my body would likely need time to adjust to my "new" weight before it shed any more.)

Welp, I'm there; at the elusive 135 lbs that I said would make me happy (when I was 155). I've been there for only 2 months now.

Yet another long term goal must be set.


Grinding to Glacial Speed

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Following my surgery on April 10, I had a 3 week long recovery and was stopped from exercise for 6 weeks. That was murder on my energy level and overall well-being. It was great to realize that going without exercise was making me feel so bad.

I had painkillers to take, which killed my appetite. In the first week, I dropped to under 138 lbs and have stayed there ever since. By April 23rd, I was at 135. Today, I'm 133. I hit a low of 132 not long ago.

But I've plateaued since then. Adjusting my calorie intake to this lower weight has been a challenge. I'm feeling most comfortable with 1400+ calories. That's a weight maintenance intake for me, and even a gain intake.

I had to focus on getting my stamina back in running and focus on establishing a weight training routine. Switching my focus there saw a drop in inches on my abdomen. It took two months, but it happened.

But now I want to see weight loss again. I've been increasing my protein shake intake and trying to limit my snacking. After a brief weight increase, I was able to get back to the low 130s this week. I intend to keep going.

The best news of it all was that I was able to take a set back without getting so distraught. That's likely because I've come so far already.


A Year's Progress (Almost)

Saturday, April 05, 2014

On April 29, 2013, I began a regime of interval jogging. With an iPhone app called "C25K", I took on the challenge of increasing my jogging speed and endurance with the diverted goal of keeping it at intervals instead of training for a 5K. Though I would eventually test myself to see if I could keep up a jogging pace for 20 minutes or more (I could by July of that year), I returned to interval jogging for the maximum benefit of fat burning.

I reached a peak speed of an 8 minute mile in July. Then I eliminated grains from my diet and my speed plunged. So far my peak speed on no grains (with intervals) has been about 13 min/mile.

I told myself at that time that, at my age, I had to give weight loss TIME to work. I'd spent YEARS dieting, going hungry for weeks or even months at a time only to lose minimal amounts of weight that would return over the course of months again. I'd give up at the 3 month point, frustrated at the lack of weight loss or upon hitting another plateau. This time, I told myself that I would give it a YEAR before I gave up. I decided to set different goals for myself through things like taking on a jogging regime or strength training. I was jogging for three months before I saw any real loss of weight. I'd lost only about an inch from my abdomen too. If it hadn't been for the commitment of a year, I would have normally abandoned it at that point too - writing it off as yet another route that "didn't work".

My year point will be on April 29, 2014. However, I'm having surgery on April 10th. (Elective. Nothing serious). It's been my experience that surgery can bring lots and lots of water retention. With it comes a temporary weight gain and bloating. So, I'm going to have to get my physical stats this week just in case I'm still bloated by April 29th.

And I was pleased with the stats results so far. They are as follows:

Weight loss: 19.4 lbs (From 159 to 139.6)
Inches lost: 19.35 (all over)
Hip/Waist ratio loss: 7% (from .84 to .77)
Jogging Duration gained: 21 minutes (at jogging speed)
Jogging speed gain: 7 min/mile (Nearly cut in half)
Weight training gain: 7 lbs (arms/upper)/20 lbs (legs/lower)
Hunger management: 400-500 cal/day cut (protein shake and fiber use)

My weight training didn't begin until last month. It's my new challenge for the upcoming year. I didn't begin using the protein shakes until January. I plan to continue them for the next year as well.

This is momentous. I never thought any of this was truly possible, although I had always hoped it could be. I'd always heard of how difficult weight loss is when you're older, especially as a woman approaches menopause. It turned out that it IS difficult, but with patience and finding the right hunger management approach, it CAN be done.

In my case, I had to eliminate grains, which wasn't easy to do. I still haven't eliminated ALL grains entirely. I have a Triscuit or popcorn every now and then, but even whole grains will stall my weight loss. I intend to keep using the protein shakes to keep me feeling full for another year.

My new goals now include dedicating myself to weight training and body building (after having read articles about Ernestine Shepherd, who began bodybuilding in her mid-50s). I have a new weight goal that I once thought unrealistic. It's now to lose another 15 lbs over the course of the next year. I also have a new size goal. I want to lose another size or two over the course of the next year.

Just like I did with jogging (which I intend to keep up) and setting goals within that activity, I will now be distracting myself with bodybuilding, setting goals within that activity for the next year.

I want to look like Ernestine Shepherd. I want to be the size I was in my 30s. I want my vitality at peak form to the best of my ability. And I also L-O-V-E the other benefits that come from building more lean muscle. It not only burns more fat at a constant rate, but it also increases your testosterone level. Yessssssss.

Here's to April 29, 2015. I will be 45 years old next year. Bring.It.On.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLAMING263 4/5/2014 12:19PM

    I hope to follow in your footsteps.

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Shifting Focus Again

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My weight loss has stalled at this point. Two weeks ago, I hit a goal of being under 139 lbs. Then, after my son wanted to switch our Weds night dinner venues to a local Chinese restaurant, my weight jumped back up about 4-5 lbs and stayed there. (I know it was the sodium leading to water retention, but it was also some actual gain.)

Last Weds, I ordered a vegetable dish and had only a little bit of meat. My weight stayed the same. So, I kicked back into my meal replacements (2 a day) and my celery snacks. I've dropped half a pound in about 2 days.

In the meantime, I now know how to get past these minor setbacks and past what seems to be forming up for another plateau. I know now that I have to set DIFFERENT goals to distract me.

Last spring, I focused on getting better at running, despite the fact that I lost no weight and experienced only an inch lost in my abdomen. What was improving the most back then were my speed and my stamina. That's what carried me through a beginning plateau that would have otherwise destroyed my initial motivation in 2 months time.

Now I'm at another plateau. I went to the gym yesterday and wrote down each machine setting and free weight setting I did. Mostly on the machines, I'm moving 35 lbs with my legs and in free weights, I'm moving 8 lbs with my arms. That' at 8 reps each set. There are so many ways can set new goals with these stats. I'll just focus on those until my weight moves again.

My body size continues to decrease, but at very slow pace. I knew it would slow down as I approached a standard weight, so I was prepared for this.

Wellness. I has it.


The Most Important Factor in Weight Loss

Friday, March 07, 2014

Last May, I made a commitment to myself that I would allow for a YEAR to pass for weight loss. I told myself that I needed to set small fitness goals and be content with body shape changes, if any, instead of focusing on the scale.

I was tired of starting on a weight loss journey only to stop it in 3 months time because I saw no results, but had been going hungry for all of that time. I never fully gave up because I hated the way I looked and I knew that giving up would only lead to more weight gain. I knew I had to keep trying.

I focused first on getting back into shape, no matter what happened with my weight or shape. I started interval jogging and took my progress reinforcement from seeing improvements in my running. Throughout May and June, I jogged/walked in my local park 5-7 days a week. My performance steadily improved from not being able to jog as much as 20 seconds the first day to being able to jog for 20 minutes by mid-July. This was a fantastic distraction for me.

I barely lost any weight those months. Maybe 3-5 lbs, but those were the same 3-5 lbs I'd been losing all the time, only to hit some obstacle or sidetrack that would put them right back on. I lost only an inch off my troublesome abdomen, which had been out of shape since I'd had Alex. But I was bolstered by my physical fitness progress and my commitment to myself a few months before. This had to be a YEAR of trying with no lapses.

A few more months went by; I learned I had to cut down the number of days I was running due to ankle and shin pain. I learned that I had to invest in good shoes for this training. I learned how to improve my speed. I learned the best sort of intervals for myself. (5 min jog/2 min walk) I learned to hydrate well. I hit my fastest speed in July; an 8 minute mile.

In mid-July, I started to address my hunger issues. I learned how much grains were messing me up. I slowly eliminated them from my diet. My weight dipped. I had to deal with the speed decrease in my running, but it became a new challenge to build it all back up without simple carbs. By October, I'd lost another inch from my abdomen and my weight had stayed below the long-held barrier of 148 lbs. I kept on going because I knew I had to keep at it until next April before I told myself that "it can't be done" and how "nothing seems to work".

By November, I told myself that if I could just get to 142 by the new year, I'd consider it all a success. I grew bored with jogging in my local park and took to exploring my neighborhood. This led to some enjoyable mornings down near the water and spotting deer and such in local wildlife preserves. By mid-December, the snow and ice came and it forced a move into a gym. I took to the treadmill and learned how to keep my incline low for maximum speed improvement.

By January, I was jogging for 5 minutes at a time, losing steam only on the third such interval. I'd lost another inch in my abdomen by November and another half-inch by January. It was slowing down, but it was still progress.

In early January, I was inspired by a video I'd seen on the internet. I took on a new challenge for myself. It involved taking some supplements and getting my caloric intake down even further through the use of protein shake meal replacements. My class started. The snows got worse. I continued to get to the gym each evening walking through dark, icy streets. I started a new strength training regimen. I saw results from that in as little as two weeks.

From January through February, I took on long neglected doctor's appointments, especially the dentist. My class started in late January. I've been going to appointments and follow up appointments on the days I have off.

Now, by March, I'm halfway through a dental treatment that I need for the real periodontal work. I got through my regular OB/GYN appointment at which I learned that the DHEA supplement I'd been taking was acceptable for my doctor, despite the slight rise in blood pressure I've seen from it. (From 90/60 to 110/70). The DHEA itself has started to really work well in so many ways. I've been keeping up with my protein shakes and seeing good long lasting results from them, meaning I can go a long time without feeling hunger. It's made it possible to reduce my calories even more. My energy has returned to a certain extent too. I haven't been back to the gym for a week because of my midterm and cycle. I can't wait to continue next week.

And just last week, I saw a weight I had not seen since I had suffered from pneumonia in the Winter of 2010: I was below 140. 139.6.

Through a long, dark, hard winter, I persevered (with lots of supplement help) and I finally saw weight loss results. After all of these years of getting nowhere, I finally learned what it takes for weight loss over 40.

TIME. Lots and lots more TIME than it ever took before.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KOFFEENUT 3/7/2014 10:38PM

    What a GREAT story of sticking with a healthy lifestyle journey!!! I have to remind myself all the time that it doesn't matter how fast we travel - what matters is that we're heading in the right direction. Thank you for sharing your successful journey with us!


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