Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I have been thinking about this blog for the last few days and have started it at least 3 times before deciding it was lame and deleting it. I have had a lot of success in the 3 years I have been working at losing weight. I made a lot of changes in lifestyle prior to joining SP on June 28, 2011. I have read about diets in women's magazines for years. In fact I found Spark People by reading an article in Women's Day. I tried the South beach diet at one time and the first time I successfully lost weight I had used a discredited diet called the Stillman diet. A form of that diet lives on in the Atkins diet. The problem with diets is that there is a start, a middle and an end. In the end the weight comes back. The thing that sets Spark apart is that it is not a diet. It is a lifestyle change. The program provides a person with the tools necessary for that person to reinvent oneself. Each person can take as much or as little out of the plan as they want or need. For myself I embrace the nutrition and exercise trackers. They are key to my success. I track daily. I exercise daily. As I have gotten fit I have increased my exercise. In July of 2011 I exercised for 1120 minutes. This month I should exceed 3000 minutes if I continue as planned. I have already exceeded 2500 minutes. When I got started last year I already had an exercise program that I had been following for over two years with occasional lapses when I stopped exercising. I continued that program with Spark and gradually added to it. Back then my program was to walk 2-3 times a week on a treadmill for 30 minutes. Go to the gym on alternate days and do 2 sets of 15 reps on the 17 weight machines twice a week. This month(July) I have gone to the gym 3 times a week and done 2 sets on the 17 machines plus 30 minutes on the bike and 20 minutes on the elliptical. Rather than walk for 30 minutes I have been walking for over 40 minutes 3 to 4 times a week and covering 5K almost every time I walk. I also participated in a 5K race. Last year my goal was to walk a 16 minute mile someday. Today I regularly walk a 15 minute mile. It has taken consistency and persistence to get to the point I am today.
Some people I have talked to assume I was always in good shape. Well I was not. When I weighed 272 pounds, it was a chore to climb steps. By the time I got to the top I was huffing and puffing. If I needed to kneel on the floor to say scrub the bathtub, I would have to struggle to get up by grabbing the side of the tub and pushing as hard as I could to struggle up. It was a struggle. I had plantar fascitis and wore custom orthotics in my mens sneakers because womens sneakers were not wide enough for my feet. I have very big wide feet. My current running shoe is a mans size 10 1/2 wide. I have the same size foot as my 6 foot husband. I suffer from Hashimoto's, a hypothyroid condition. When I got started in January of 2009 I was not in good shape. If I was going down steps each step would get both feet. I could not go down steps by hitting each step with alternate feet. I had aches in my knees and ankles and was taking daily ibuprophen for pain. Basically I was a mess.
In June of 2011, when I started SP, I weighed 235 pounds. Since then I have lost 64 pounds and am now 171 pounds. My goal is to get down to 155 pounds. That is a BMI of 125 which is still overweight but just barely. It is also less than I have weighed since I was in elementary school. I am very muscular. I typically rank in the top 25 compared to both men and women of all ages for the amount of weight I lift in a month at my gym. For women my age I am usually either first or second. Therefore I don't think BMI works really well for me.
So what do I do for food. I eat a varied diet that leans heavily on fruit and vegetables. In a typical day I usually exceed 10 servings of fruit and vegetables. My favorite breakfast is a banana/strawberry/Greek yogurt smoothie. It has 300 calories and is about 4 cups. I will occasionally have shredded wheat with almond milk and banana. Very occasionally I have 2 fried eggs with 1 piece of dry rye bread.
Lunch tends to be 200 grams of romaine lettuce topped with 1/2 cup chickpeas and a variety of other veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, canned beets, jicama, radishes, scallions. This would be followed by 2 pieces of fruit.
Dinner is whatever I cook for my family. I have entered my recipes into the recipe calculator and determined what my portion sizes should be. I also have 1 or 2 pieces of fruit. I rarely fix potatoes. I have pasta maybe 2 or 3 times a month. Rarely eat bread. Will have rice a couple times a week with either a stir-fry type meal or a curry. I generally do not snack. My calorie range right now is 1400-1800 calories and I aim for 1600 calories.
What do I do when I have cravings?
I am human and do occasionally have cravings. Sometimes I give into them, especially if I have enough calories for them. No food is bad, it just needs to be accounted for. There are times that I exceed my calorie range. As long as it is only occasionally there is nothing wrong with that. If I exceed too often in a short period of time I rely on sugarless gum or hot tea as a deterrent to eating.
If you have suffered through this long tedious blog, you probably read my "I lost one hundred pounds" blog so you know what I got out of living this lifestyle.
I love the person I am now. I can't exactly say I love to exercise but I enjoy it. It is a part of my routine. I usually take Sunday off (haven't recently because of the 5% summer challenge). Otherwise my routine is to go to the gym on M/W/F for ST, elliptical and stationary bike. On Tu/Th/S I walk or walk/run 5K. I regularly work in my garden. My yard is large and I have a lot to tend. My calorie burn from exercise is in excess of 4000 calories per week.
It has been a great journey and I can see maintenance just down the road