Monday, April 21, 2008
Well, more like six. I own a Saturn.
Today I had to take it in for service, which is, you know, whatever, except that it's also Patriots' Day. Hence while I could get there just fine, getting home was a chore. Not fun, not fun at all. Ended up with a trip back that took twice as long as normal. Oh and a $400+ bill for various repairs (I had been saving up a bunch and of course had the time to deal with it ...). Got home to find the masonry guys working on the house. I don't think I've mentioned them.
The masonry stuff is due to damage from rain, gutters and assorted sources of dampness. It will be, heh, a serious chunka change to get it all done (they're ripping out the old stonework stuff and replacing it with stucco). Dunno how long they'll be busy but right now my car's parked on the street. Fortunately I don't have to actually drive it anywhere until next weekend (food shopping). It's after five already so eventually they'll take their truck and skedaddle and then I'll be able to move my car into the garage. I hope.
And, on top of this, on top of tomorrow's interview and on top of everything else there is the family member medical test tomorrow.
Life is busy. An old curse is, May you live in interesting times.
Yeah, I can definitely see that as a curse. Things are too interesting right now.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
And that pill is alli, and I'm here to tell you that I'm living proof that it really does work.
Now, let's get one thing out of the way from the get-go. I don't work for alli and I get zero profits from them. I am also neither a doctor nor a pharmacist. I'm getting my info from my own personal experience plus from what I've read and heard, both here and on alli's own boards.
I'm writing this entry mainly because I've had several people now send me Sparkmails, asking about alli. Hence I wanted an all-inclusive place where I could just send them a link. My apologies for not personalizing every single response but my time is just too short these days.
I have been on alli since 1/19/08. Today is 1/20/08 so it's been about 90 days AKA three months. But I should also mention that I had started portion control 10 days before that, and has started exercising 10 days prior to that.
Here are my own experiences.
*INCH AND WEIGHT DIFFERENCES FROM DAY ONE TO NOW*
Current weight: 302.4. DOWN 43.6 LBS (Monday is my official weigh-in day so I should be close to this)
Bicep: 17.25" DOWN 1 3/14"
Bust: 52.5" DOWN 2 1/4"
Band: 46" DOWN 1 1/2"
Waist: 43.25" DOWN 5 1/4"
Belly: 59.25" DOWN 1/4"
Hips: 50.25" DOWN 3/4"
Rear: 53.75" DOWN 8 1/4"
Thigh: 30.25" DOWN 2"
As you can see, my inch loss is not wholly uniform but what seems to be happening is that I'm going from an apple-type shape to more of a pear- or avocado-type shape. My natural shape is close to the avocado. Hence what is happening is that while my bust might not be shrinking as quickly as I'd like, I am definitely losing visceral fat which is considerably more important than the cosmetic stuff.
I started at a 26/28. Now, all of my 28s are gone. I wear size 26 jeans with cotton long underwear underneath and without discomfort or any muffin top. I have worn some 1 x and 2x shirts which fit me, and a size 24 top isn't too short. Bras fit better and are first (tightest) hook for the most part. I fit into the white jacquard bra easily. My size 28s have all been given to Goodwill, as have some of my 26s. Right now the main reason for not wearing too many 24s yet is that my hips are still large. Hence I can get on a blazer (for example) but it doesn't lie right on my hips. That will come with time.
I went from maybe 2 or 3 reps in a day to 50. My resistance bands went from 0 reps to 100. Walking went from 2.5 mph to 3.5 mph. Weekend walking is getting to be more of a habit. We generally do one day/weekend; should do two. Walking is also more than just the one block; we now do more like six blocks, Extra weekday walking exists and is done about three days per week.including some uphill. Calf bounces are up to 100 - 200/day from 0.
My arms are mainly toned except for the triceps. Thighs are getting toned. Belly (on the sides) is showing signs of the beginning of toning. Calves are starting to look good. Face is getting thinner.
*FOOD AND HUNGER*
The weekday routine is pretty easy. Water intake is 64 oz/day every day. Weekend and restaurant eating are harder but manageable. All junk is out of the house.
Hunger is okay except for PMS week. Otherwise, I can roll with it. This month I am going to do an experiment and attempt to really keep things under control during PMS week, which should be this coming week, as I have learned that the added progesterone produced before and during menstruation can really burn fat. Since the weather is good, I'll walk more, basically keep myself away from food and salt in particular.
I have had exactly one, and that was in February. It was good to have it and get it out of the way. Knowing what it is and how it made me feel, I have vowed to never have it happen again. It came from not watching portions on otherwise healthy chicken. Being careful has prevented the TE from returning.
alli works by removing about 1/4 of the fat you're eating, so essentially you get what's almost the boost that exercise brings but with a guarantee that it's fat that you're burning rather than losing hard-earned muscle fiber. It also keeps you honest -- if you go above about 19 grams of fat in one sitting, look out! Also, alli offers its own message boards, nutrition log and fitness log. Those are all far less sophisticated than here on Spark, but they are still easy to use and the message boards have the added bonus of being extremely private and vigilantly moderated, so members can feel safe posting. alli's main upside, far as I'm concerned, is it gave me a good kickstart. It got me working and thinking and getting into the right mindset. It was, without a doubt, what I needed to get off my butt and start.
The first one is cost. alli ain't cheap! But there are a few things that can be done. First, it can be claimed under Unpaid Medical Reimbursement as it used to be a prescription medication (Xenical). Plus, the cheapest place I have found it is on Amazon (I don't work for Amazon, either). Amazon not only has it inexpensive (versus CVS, Walmart, etc.) but it also offers the 15% off subscription plan. If you have a little cash to invest in starting out, Amazon saves considerable cash later.
alli also offers coupons and deals, plus I was recently given a coupon for a 90-pill supply (one month's worth) for free, just for being a community leader on their message boards (yes, I'm as chatty there as I am here and elsewhere online).
Another downside is treatment effects, but anyone carefully watching their intake should not experience them. And, anyone who has had one who has honestly observed and understood what happened and why, should not have a recurrence. I have seen people on the alli boards who admit that they have had more than one treatment effect -- those are people, so far as I am concerned, who are not seizing learning opportunities.
Another downside is, how much is it really doing? My activities since the beginning of the year have translated into almost 63,000 calories being burned. That's 18 lbs. Now, let's say I've exagerrated my fitness accomplishments. Even by a factor of 10%, that's still about 16 lbs that have peeled off because of walking, weights, resistance bands, stability ball, the exercise bike, etc.
The diet itself is 1800 calories and 60 grams of fat. My resting metabolism dictates that I should be feeding myself something like 3000 calories in order to maintain myself in over 300-lb. splendor. Hence I'm eating a caloric deficit of 1200 calories/day. This should translate into 2 lbs./week. Again, if I've understated calories by a factor of, say, 10%, then let's say it's really 1.8 lb./week. It's been about 14 weeks. So give 25 lbs. over to just caloric restrictions.
That's 41 so far. Where have the other 2.6 come from? alli.
As I stated above, alli pulls off 1/4 of the fat. But I'm only intaking 60 grams of fat in a day. Hence alli is peeling off 15 grams of fat. Every gram of fat is 9 calories, so 15 grams of fat represents 135 calories. It takes 3500 calories out to drop a pound, so that means every 26 days or so, off goes a pound. Hence -- three pounds off with alli.
Still, three pounds may not seem like a lot, considering the expense, the treatment effect and the vigilance. Hence it's not necessarily the right decision for everyone.
The final downside is that I've been told that, after maybe six months, it won't be as effective for me. Whether that's due to me becoming somehow resistive, or being below a certain weight threshold, or due to sunspots, I have no idea. So in the meantime I work out like a fiend (I've missed only one day since the start of the year, and that's because I had a touch of influenza), eat right and continue to build better and better habits, for the inevitable day when alli just doesn't give me the kick that I've been getting from it so far.
When I started this journey, I honestly thought that I would lose 60 lbs. in the first year, and the entire 200 lbs. would take about 3 1/2 years to come off. Then I changed that 60 lb. goal to my nephew's Bar Mitzvah date in late September. Now it's looking like I'll make it to 60 lbs. off by July 4th or so.
When I started, I thought it would be hard. I thought I'd be in constant pain from exercise. I thought I'd be running to the bathroom every five minutes with alli. I thought I'd be starving all the time. I thought I'd get depressed and discouraged quickly.
Instead, the opposite has happened. It's almost been easy. Pain is minimal and I even like to exercise. I miss it when it doesn't happen or it's not as intense as I prefer. I run to the bathroom as often as any other normal person. I'm not starving. I'm not depressed and discouraged. If anything, I'm upbeat and hopeful.
Whether that is all or partly or even a tiny bit attributable to alli, I thank the developers of it for making it. And I thank Spark and my friends here, for being so supportive and sweet and unwaveringly kind. I thank my husband for embracing our lifestyle and celebrating it, for learning to love fish, for learning to live without chips. He's lost 18 lbs. himself, by the way.
So thank you all and onward to a life where I never see 300 on the scale ever again.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Confusing. That's what it all is. I just read a Spark Article on the draining effects of too many choices and I am totally, 100%, in agreement with that. It's tiring. It's ... weird.
Now, I recognize that it's a good problem to have. And I also know that I need to have patience and I don't always have as much as I should. But in the meantime, my mind continues to swirl with the possibilities. Where you start thinking of how the money is going to be spent (apparently, on masonry work on my house, heh). Or about how your commute will go. Or what clothes you will wear.
But in the meantime I have to get an offer, from either Choice1 or Choice2 (or both, oy) and then the fun will really start. Fortunately, I've been pushing the additional energy and giddiness into exercise. Last night I was exhausted and did not work out, but today I've already made up for that plus I've done today's. Since this is the second time I've done this, it does make me wonder if eventually I can start supersizing the weekend workouts on a more regular basis. Either with more reps or more weight or more different types of exercise, whatever floats my boat.
One thing that isn't confusing is that losing weight has, without a doubt, helped me in this journey. Between being more attractive and fitting into my clothes better, to feeling more comfortable in my own skin, to better body language to being better able to hike from office to office, it all helps. Plus working out to relieve the stress, rather than eating, is doing wonders for me. In the middle of all of this is the boost to self-esteem.
Yesterday, a recruiter tried to scare me, to tell me it could be months before I heard from Choice1 and I'd be unemployed so I'd better take the offer she had for me.
Ha! I don't think so.
Friday, April 18, 2008
It's about love. Or at least platonic, interview-y-type love. And today I felt it. It was one of those magical days when you just say and do all the right things. I should bottle that.
It's a wonderful job, the one I interviewed for today. And I am certainly suited for it. Plus the people seem genuinely sweet -- one of them really reminded me of my mentor from a few jobs ago -- the commute is excellent, the money is unreal, you get the idea.
There are exactly two downsides to this job. One is that it's a temp position, and with a drastically shorter (three months) term than Choice #1 (2 1/2 years). The other one is that the benefits, including vacation time, are not as surreally amazing as those at Choice #1 (where they give you 4 weeks to start, plus the week of Xmas-New Year's is provided -- and paid for). But those quibbles only make Choice #1 better. They don't make Choice #2 bad. Nope, not one iota.
Next week, I should get some feedback. And I'll find out if the love is shared or if it's all one-sided on my part. Plus I have the Choice #1 interview. So it's not all done yet and the not-yet-on-Spark-People Lady has not yet sung. But she's warming up in the orchestra pit.
Oh and about the Tuesday interview -- where they're offering me crazy money but I don't really want the job? I called up this morning, told them I'm sorry, no, but I have to wait on Choice #1, so I've got to say no.
Well. The recruiter told me she was authorized to offer me an additional $3/hour. And asked me what it would take to get me to change my mind. So I said, of course, "Enough time so that I can interview with Choice #1 and find out if they want me." Sheesh, isn't that obvious, lady?
So she'll check. And the fun continues -- that one may very well still be on the table.
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