Saturday, September 15, 2012
First a question...will there be a blog called September 2012 #2?
I have a feeling I may be hanging out here a bit more. Why? I mean after all I haven't been here all summer. And it's really been AGES since I've come here regularly.
Well....I am going to have 6 weeks where I will not really be allowed to do much. I am getting an abdominal hysterectomy. There is nothing dangerous. I have fibroids which are painful, and a polyp which bleeds, and I am sick of them. So I'm getting my uterus and tubes out, but leaving my ovaries alone.
What's new with me?
Today, 3 firetrucks drove down our street to the group home at the end of our block. And suddenly all the residents of my street were either peering out windows, or had wandered out to the end of their driveways. One teenager rode his bike down to snoop, then came back to give the report: No smoke. Someone must have gotten hurt. But c'mon -- three trucks? With a bunch of firemen sitting in the trucks too?
What's new with my weight?
Hmm...well I weighed 173.5 at yesterdays TOPS meeting. I'm going there still. I missed quite a lot of summer meetings due to one thing or another. But I will be more faithful now. I joined TOPS on Dec 9, 2011 at 178.5 lbs, so you can see that I haven't done much! Over Christmas, I gained 4 lbs. At one point in the Spring, something clicked and I lost for about 7 weeks straight - got down to 170 in March, but gained many lbs back while I was worrying about my uterus and the testing they were doing to look at the fibroids. Now I totally feel fatter than ever. UGH! Mush and muffin top like I haven't felt in years! A hysterectomy might take a couple of pounds of me internally, but it is not going to make me feel thinner. Nor will sitting around without being allowed to break a sweat for 6 weeks! OH NO!!!! I suppose I will have to really FOCUS on my diet for those 6 weeks. Not eating if I am not hungry would be a good place to start. Not starting to eat if it is not meal time. That might work, because lately I taste something yummy between meals and suddenly I've ingested about 700-800 calories!
My son is so much fun these days - he's now 7. He caught a whopper of a fish when we were at my brother's marina over Labour Day. -- 4 lbs-- large-mouth bass. My husband said it damn-near pulled him in. Actually he caught two whoppers - the first one was about 3 lbs and so of course we took photos etc., but 10 minutes later he caught the big one. We made him watch later that evening while my brother showed me how to fillet the fish. It was pretty brutal as we are rather naive in these things, but it was important for him to see it. We fried up the fish the next day at home. Son was so proud he took the photos to school in his first week of grade 2.
Going out for supper tonight with my parents.
Hope you are enjoying my lovely favourite season. I'll try to write again sooner, maybe even before my surgery.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
I have not been here in soooo long.
Today, I wanted to write a blog about the TOPS organization.
In December of this past year, my new family doctor, to whom I had lamented about re-gaining 15+ lbs of my 52 lb weight loss, suggested that I join TOPS or Weight Watchers. She also mentioned that TOPS was a cheaper option than most other weight loss programs.
I'm a very cheap person. I had been a WW member, but I hated paying WW money every week in 2009, while being stuck two pounds above my target weight and feeling great and not really wanting to lose those last two pounds.
Immediately after my doctor`s appointment, I looked into TOPS. I found plenty of local chapters to join, but most met in the evening. I`m already out 2 and often 3 evenings a week doing choral singing, and since I don`t work during the day, I wanted a daytime meeting. There was only one meeting during the day - Friday mornings. I usually used Friday mornings for my long runs, but thought, oh well, this might be worth it, if I can get back to losing weight. Luckily the meeting was only a 7 km drive away, and was even located next to our regular cross--country skiing park. I thought I could go for a ski sometimes after a meeting (I only did that twice, but that`s better than none!).
To join TOPS, at least here in Canada, you pay $30 a year membership fee. Then you pay $5 a month in dues. But that money is actually used for the chapter itself, to pay the rent of the location and then to send you their newsletter, to provide prizes, charms and incentives that go directly back to the members. It is truly a non-profit organization. It is amazing that in this day and age there is an organization that has not been corrupted by the drive for profit. They are not interested in getting your money, only interested in helping the members achieve their weight loss goals.
For your membership money, they send you a monthly TOPS newsletter (like a magazine) with useful articles. And you have acess to a website and can buy TOPS merchandise. Like a very amazing book called "The Choice is Mine" which I didn`t immediately read, but have started reading every morning. I have found so many useful bits of information in there....more later.
Members voluntarily bring in wrapped "gifts" (usually just purchases from the dollar store hastily wrapped up). Gifts are given away each week as follows: 1) the best loser gets to pick one
2) members are encouraged to bring in their menu for the week and it goes in a draw - the winner gets a gift.
3) I think there are other ways to win a gift, but right now I can`t remember.
There is also an incentive prize of a $15 dollar gift card for any person who can be the best loser for two weeks in a row. This is tough to win as you can imagine because most people can`t sustain two weeks of weight loss that are better than everyone else, but I won this prize for the first time this past Friday and won a $15 gift card.
They also run contests for varying lengths of time (4-8 weeks usually) and the prizes are 1st place: $15 card, 2nd place $10 card, 3rd place $5 and 4th place - charm or pendant. We are doing one now, and I`m in 2nd place mainly due to my weight loss.
In addition the members wear a scarf to the meetings. On the scarf people attach various pins, pendants or charms which they`ve earned as a member. One common way to earn a charm is to have a no-gain month. You have to weigh-in and attend the meeting on the first of the month, and if the first of the next month you have not gained weight, you earn a charm. I`ve only done this once, but when I did I was so thrilled that I was very motivated to do it again! I didn`t realize that if you missed the first meeting of the month, you`d lose your chance to win this charm, not just for the month just past, but also for the month coming up! Rats - I missed the first meeting in March and now have to wait until the first of May to earn that charm again!
You also earn a charm for bringing in a doctors note stating a goal weight. I visited my family doctor this week and she unfortunately would not budge on giving me a goal weight under a BMI of 25. Even though I fought to have a slightly higher one - I told her that when I got my weight under 165 my body fat percentage was at an optimal level and my waist circumference indicated that I was very healthy. NOPE! She said a higher BMI is only acceptable for big muscular body-builder types. Drat, so despite my efforts to sway her, my goal weight is now something I`ve never achieved before in a clothed weigh-in- 73 kgs or 160lbs! If I make it, I`ll be thrilled as never before too.
Members also earn a charm when they are half-way to goal - for me that will be when I hit 169 in a weigh-in. You can also earn a "Miss Consistency" charm (funny old-fashioned names, eh?) if you go for 6 weeks of straigh losing - you are allowed only one week with no loss (what they call a "turtle"), or missed meeting So I am GOING FOR that charm. I have lost 3 out of the last 4 weeks, being away for one weigh-in. I have been doing very well and gathering momentum, so for the past two weeks, I have been weighing in wearing very heavy clothing - I am hoping to ensure a weight loss for the next couple of weeks too so I can get that Miss Consistency charm! Two days ago, I was 172.25, wearing jeans, a belt which had a heavy metal medallion, and a sweater over my t-shirt.
Once a members reaches goal weight they become a KOPS which stands for Keep off Pounds Sensibly. I am sure that if I had lost my weight with this organization, I would have kept the weight off better, because the KOPS are a big part of the club.
My chapter has about 25 members, but about 15 or so attend meetings regularly, about 5 of whom are KOPS. Most members are seniors. One woman has been a KOPS for 39 years and still attends almost every meeting! There is only one young woman in our group - a newly pregnant 30 year old. There are only a couple of woman around my age of close to 50. And the rest are all older - a few in their 60s, 70s and even 80s! A lot of the TOPS (instead of KOPS), are quite a lot overweight and from what I`ve heard have not been making great progress, but kind of go up and down a lot. There may be a lack of motivation in some of the members, but I`m trying not to pay attention to those ones! This is not a "hip" organization, but I don`t mind....I think it is going to work for me.
The TOPS program which is strongly recommended is the old exchange system. People are encouraged to eat 1500 calories a day (or a 500 calorie a day deficit for most people, including myself) by sticking to a certain number of exchanges of each food group. I changed my exchanges slightly, changes explained below, and this is what I am using daily:
6 starches (of 80 calories per);
4 fruits (of 60 cals each - it was supposed to be 5 fruits, but I felt 4 would be enough, so I switched a fruit out for 2 extra fats;
5 meats (or substitutes - the meat exchanges are allowed to vary wildly in the number of calories from 35 cals per ounce up to over 100 for high-fat meats, but we are encouraged to choose lower-fat options)
4 fats (45 calories each - I`m supposed to choose 2, but I`ve switched out a fruit for more fat)
2 milk (of about 100 calories each - we are to choose skim, 1 or 2% milk)
4 veg (approx 35 cals)
PLUS up to 3 cups of raw veggies to curb hunger which are considered "free"
3 free exchanges (like one piece of hard candy, or a serving of sugar-free jello)
At first when I joined in December, I wasn`t quite ready to work at it. I even gained 4lbs one week around Christmas. I blamed it on wearing three layers of ski clothing, but the next week, I had only lost 2 of those pounds, so I guess I was kidding myself! I also told myself that I didn`t need to go as low as 1500 to lose weight and so I was allowing myself to eat 1800 cals a day, and was cheating quite a bit, so I wasn`t losing. Then I started to read the TOPS book - "The choice is mine". There was so much good info in there, such as why I, like most other people, eat when I am happy. I had never read an explanation for that anywhere before - the book explained that it is because I am using food to try to sustain, and maintain my feelings of happiness for a longer time period. And the book gave ideas on what to say to myself when the going gets rough ("I know this works, so I am going to keep doing it").
I have created a 100 day challenge (I am on day 16) - to hit my exchanges right on. I haven`t done this all that well - I have probably only succeeded 10 of the 15 days. But even though I am off by a bit, the effort to hit the targets is working. I have now lost 6.5 lbs in the past two weeks, and 10 lbs since the beginning of January. I know it will be tough to get to KOPS, but my goal is to get there before the end of the summer!
Good luck on your journeys to better health!
I know this works, so I am going to keep doing it!
Saturday, October 01, 2011
I'd like to sum up how I did in September.
Sept 1st: 176.6
Oct 1st: 176.0
Miles Ran (or hiked): 86.1
I started the first week of September with a goal to run 3 miles (almost) every day. Every week, I attempted to build up that daily number by a quarter mile. This past week I was running 4 miles a day! I followed the pattern for my weekly long runs; The first week of Sept I ran 6.0 miles, and increased by a quarter mile a week.
Strength Training: 7 times this month (My ST workout is a body weight workout which includes 50 military-style push-ups; 100 squats, 100 lunges; 3 minutes of either planking or prone cobra; and 100 v-sits)
Yoga: 3 times
Long runs: 5; My longest one was 90 minutes, done yesterday (7.25 miles)
Tempo Runs: 4; The most I did was this week - 13 minutes at 6.0 mph
Intervals Runs: 2 (not enough); On the harder day, I ran 6 X 2 minute intervals at 7.0 mph
Overall I think the month went pretty well. I would have liked to have lost some weight for a better number result, BUT, I actually FEEL thinner and I FEEL like I am losing fat and re-gaining my muscle. If I were to guess I'd say I lost about one pound of pure fat this month, and re-gained some muscle. So I feel better than the scale tells me I did. I also feel like I've re-gained some of the cardiovascular fitness that I lost due to the reduction in my workouts after my concussion. I ran more miles this month than in any other month this year - I was dedicated to getting in my runs.
In the second week of September, I had a bad eating week. I didn't track at all ate a LOT! I pulled it together for the last part of the month. And now I've started tracking again and have had a deficit for a number of days in a row: total deficit in the past 5 days was 1380 calories. If only I'd controlled myself better throughout the whole month! But, In general I'm happy, considering the recent changes to my life!
My goals for October are:
1. Run more miles! Increase daily runs and weekly long run by a quarter miles per run.
2. Complete ST twice a week, and avoid ditching it for lame reasons.
3. Do a Yoga DVD once a week.
4. Track my food and use the FOCUS system.
F stands for five hundred calorie meals;
O means One hundred and fifty calorie snacks;
C means cocoon at night and stay away from the kitchen!;
U means try to stay Under my calorie limit;
S means STOP negative thinking!
5. I want to continually analyze and change what is not working. I sometimes let myself slip on the eating if I workout really hard. I have to forgive myself; I can easily fall into all or nothing thinking and forgiveness is important to avoid that. My goal is, if I'm going to eat a big meal, I should not go over 750 calories, no matter how hard I just workout out!
6. I have to focus on fixing my eating the later it gets in the day. It gets harder for me to avoid mistakes and stay focused from about 4 pm onwards. I have to really try hard not to eat at night, no matter what errors I've made during the day. If I avoid eating after supper, I generally will not gain weight.
7. I'd like to plan my menus out in advance and then try to stick to them. It is especially important that I control my snacks and choose healthy ones so as not to not trigger a binge. My goal is choose ONLY pre-planned snacks.
8. I'd like to lose weight this month! I am very pleased with how it felt not weighing in daily. I took my scale out of my bathroom and set it beside my treadmill. I was used to weigh mornings after my pee, sometimes every day. But this was not really helping me - at least not lately; Here is some info about how my weight has fluctuated this year:
Weight Ranges for 2011: low and high weight for the month is listed
Jan: 169.6 - 176.4
Feb: 171 - 174.4
Mar: 169.8 - 176.6
Apr: 170.8 173.6
May: 172 - 173.2
June: I didn't weigh once in June and I think you'll see that turned out to be not so great!
July: 174.4 - 178.2
Aug: 174.8 - 176.6
Sept 1st, my only weigh-in 176.6
Although I'd dearly love to get back to the 160s, I think it is so much easier focusing on fixing my lifestyle and getting fitter than it is to obsess about a stupid number. I FEEL BETTER! And that's important. I'd love to lose the jelly, and I'm thinking to post a picture of myself bursting out of my favourite pants to perhaps track my progress towards fitting back into them (which I should be able to do if I can get back to weighing around 167)
Anyway, happy sparking everyone. I'll try to check back in with another report next month!
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