Friday, March 16, 2007
Yesterday SparkPeople promoted me to Stage 3 - Lifestyle Change. I am excited about this because in this stage I'm going to learn how to keep it up (or DOWN in the case of my weight) for life. I have never done a program before that I didn't eventually quit. How pathetic is that. Sorry, that was negative. I didn't have all the tools I needed to succeed before.
I do now.
One of the strategies of this stage is finding my main motivation. Why am I going to keep doing this? Good question, especially because eventually my goal is going to be to maintain, not drop weight, but that doesn't mean my motivation can/should be any less.
I have several motivating factors:
*Health! From the ages of 27-early 29 I went through a rough period. At 27 an incidental find in a medical test caused me HUGE worry. It turned out to be absolutely nothing, but my anxiety was real. I started thinking doom and gloom and often wondered whether I had some horrible ailment. You'd think this would set the wheels in motion for me to get healthier, but it didn't for a while. My motivation was fleeting at best. I wasn't always feeling so good...I had chest pains (which I still don't know the cause of), I used my inhaler several nights a week, my heart rate was too high, my complexion was terrible, and I'd have various other aches and pains and things to worry about, health-wise.
What brought on the 180 degree turn in the right direction, starting in late January, 2007? Thinking back, I have to say it was an email. A teacher in my district was arranging to start a Weight Watchers At Work program. I didn't need any time to decide whether I was participating - I signed right up. I was worried about my ability to stick to the program because I have always been so bad at that before. I'd also been a member of SparkPeople for a long time but never used it. I'd read the articles they'd email me and sometimes get a burst of motivation, but usually just get annoyed with their overflowing "healthiness" that I wasn't a part of.
But when I signed up for Weight Watchers, I suddenly "mentally" signed up for SparkPeople too. I had the brilliant idea to check and see if there was a Weight Watchers team on SparkPeople - there was! Weight Watchers Friends to this day is my only SparkPeople team and a huge part of my success. When I have a SV or a NSV (I didn't even know what those letters stood for until recently), I can't wait to share it with my Weight Watchers Friends. (For the record, that's Scale Victory and Non-Scale Victory - of which I have had MANY!) I also started using many of SparkPeople's other features, of which the nutrition tracker has been most instrumental to my success. I still shudder to think how difficult it would be to calculate my WW points each day without the nutrition tracker telling me about the calorie, fat, and fiber information of my foods.
Fast forward almost two months to the present day, and MAN am I healthier!
*My BMI is comfortably within the healthy weight range - I currently weigh 6 pounds LESS than the maximum weight for my height (I weigh 148). This means I am no longer at-risk for weight-related health problems. This weight has come off so fast - an average of 3 pounds per week! It's hard to truly believe that I am no longer a person with a weight problem. I WAS one just about my entire adult life, and much of my younger life too. Sometimes I actually surprise myself when I run my hands down my torso and don't feel the flab I'm used to feeling, or when I see a hint of hip bone, or when I bend my arm and there's less soft squishy skin popping out. Look at you, Susan. Look at the accomplishment you've achieved. You actually weigh in the 140s now comfortably. Not only is this something you can maintain, you can do even better. Look at you.
*No more aches and pains, and no more worrying about them! It's a positive cycle - I feel better, so I worry less, so my mood is better, so I keep making healthy choices, so I feel better.......and on and on. You would not believe what a change this is for me. I feel young again.
*I just know that every single aspect of preventative health is happening within me. I'm giving myself the correct nutrition in every way (portion size AND nutrients), I am getting plenty of all the right kinds of exercise, and I'm getting enough sleep. Because of this, the good things that are happening to me are so numerous I'm sure I don't even know them all. My resting heart rate is about 48 BPM at night in bed before I fall asleep. I'm sure my blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar level, body fat percentage, etc. are much better, though I haven't had them tested to be sure. I bet even my mind is stronger. And I have a better body for making babies, which is something I'll probably do in the next few years.
*My mental/psychological health are better too. The anxiety and obsessing about medical issues is gone.
*PRIDE. I CREATED this body. I had to work hard for it. I am now amongst the ranks of people who "take good care of themselves." I deserve the best possible treatment I can give myself and I accomplish what I set out to do. I'm not someone who "can't" or someone who makes excuses. I fully deserve to enjoy this fantastic body I now have (well, in progress to being even more fantastic).
*Okay, let's face it, EVERYTHING looks better on you when you're thin. My face looks younger, skin clearer, eyes look bigger. I look adorable in my boyfriend's long-sleeved Abercrombie jersey. I look athletic in a racer-back gym top and windbreaker pants. Clothes that I couldn't squeeze into are now getting baggy. I don't bulge out in the wrong places. I don't have to worry about adjusting myself or my clothes to hide some embarrassing or inappropriate fat bulge. Shirts look cuter on me. I look gooooood.
*I fit in now. Jess LOVES my new look and I'm going to look amazing when we get married. We look right together now - two fit and thin people together. People won't say things. It's also a thrill knowing that I have a body that others find attractive.
As other ideas come to me, I'll add new entries...but I definitely have enough reasons to keep this going for life. Why would I ever give up on something that's so right for me?!?!? I wouldn't.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
There is NO WAY I can stick to this program if I'm sleep deprived. Today at the gym I was really dragging. I also think I might be overtraining. Yesterday, of course, was my six-mile run. Today, I needed to do strength training for the first time all week so I did, even though I was tired. I did just one set of everything, lowered the weight, and did as many reps as I could (anywhere from 12 to 30). I really wanted to earn some extra APs because I ALREADY needed 5 just to break even...this didn't include dinner. I ended up being just exhausted and only doing a half hour of cardio...which was going to be running but had to stop after 18 minutes. It wasn't feeling very good, though running never really does...but more importantly, I was thinking, what am I doing to myself? I ran six miles outdoor yesterday. My body is asking me for rest.
So in all I only earned 4 APs but I still went ahead and ate dinner - yogurt and cereal - and needed to use 5 FPs. I used to not be so concerned about needing to use those FPs...I dunno what happened there. So it's almost 8:30 p.m. and I think the best thing I can do right now is to just go to sleep. Weigh-in tomorrow. I'm shooting for about a pound, a pound and a half.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
It's amazing - I keep discovering that the things I've always read about diet and exercise are true. I always had the information in theory - I'd read ALL the magazine articles and lots of the diet books. I knew it had to be all about a lifestyle change.
But I just never had SparkPeople. Seriously. (And Weight Watchers too...to a lesser degree.)
THANK YOU SparkPeople for letting me know how many calories I'm eating and how I'm doing with all my nutrients so that I can make positive choices. You just can't do it right without that knowledge.
Thank you Weight Watchers for giving me the knowledge that I need to exercise more to eat more, and that the less I weigh, the less I can eat. Thank you for a flexible enough program that I can easily stick to it without ever "needing" to cheat. Thank you for my Thursday afternoon weigh-ins and for having made me pay for 12 weeks in advance so that there is no question that I will stick with it all.
I think I will become a Community Team member tonight so I can give back. I LOVE the idea of encouraging "newbies" and seeing them make the lifestyle changes one needs to make to become and stay healthy.
Now I'll finally get to the main topic of this blog entry: Habits!
Healthy people have healthy habits. Unhealthy people have unhealthy habits. Thank goodness, we can choose our own habits.
Have you ever noticed that whenever you see someone running outdoors, they're always fit and healthy looking? And how about the people you see in fast food restaurants...well, a lot of them are teenagers with high metabolisms, so they're not overweight yet, but they're on their way there.
Okay, my point is not to insult people who go to Burger King. :) My point is, up until very recently, I was constantly engaged in a struggle that I now realize was completely unnecessary. I was battling with my unhealthy habits. At the exact same moment that I'd be eating some huge portion of junk, I'd be thinking, "I shouldn't be doing this."
For the rest of my life, I am committed to choosing healthy habits over unhealthy ones. It's that simple. I want to be fit and healthy, so I simply have to follow fit and healthy habits.
As an example, I was tired today. When I'm tired I want to eat and skip exercise. In the past I probably would have done both of those things on a day like this. But not today. Today, as I mentioned in my other blog entry of the day, I ran SIX MILES OUTDOORS. (Yes, I am still shocked by my own accomplishment.) It was a gorgeous day and I figured the warmth and sunshine would wake me up. Boy was I right.
And there's no more, "Well I exercised, so now I can eat whatever I want." Absolutely not! I was really excited about eating more than usual today, but I'm still under 1,500 calories for the day, and my "big" dinner was a delicious shake. It was very healthy and I loved eating it knowing that it was helping me nourish my body and get even closer to my goals.
I love the excitement of getting on the scale every morning. More often than not, I'm down 0.2 pounds from the day before.
In sum, life is good!!!!!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Today I ran six miles. Outdoors. Town library down 135 to Speen, left on Speen to Coolidge, at the end of Coolidge left on 27, back to downtown.
This was, by far, the biggest, baddest run I've EVER done! GO ME!!!!! :) :) :)
Here are some stats:
*Overall it took 1 hour, 14 minutes and was exactly 5.9 miles. That is not including the short walk from my car to the intersection of 135 and 27, which I used as a warmup and stretching spot.
*That works out to 4.78 miles per hour and 12.54 minutes per mile. I'd like to increase my speed by the time my marathon friend Jason comes to visit and we go for a 3 mile run together on April 15. Just over a month away. (I can run faster than that on the treadmill, but outdoors is harder.)
*I earned THIRTEEN activity points.
*My first 15 minutes, I went 1.5 miles. That's 6 mph.
*I know about the mileage because I drove it afterwards.
*At the spot where I'd been running exactly one hour, my mileage was 4.7/4.8. So that was my average mph.
*Starting after the first 25 minutes or so I started walking a little. I'd walk a song, then run a song. Toward the end, though, I got a second wind (and it was flatter and there was a sidewalk again), so I started doing mostly running again.
*I'm pretty sure I saw Mr. and Mrs. Plott - teachers at my old high school - walking down the street, but I didn't stop to say hello. I almost turned around, but didn't want to mess up my time.
I am SO FREAKING PROUD OF MYSELF.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Well, I've recently noticed a pattern in my weightloss graph. The first few weeks I started the WW/SP program(s) (late January to mid-February), my weightloss was inconsistent. The overall trend was certainly downward, but there were plenty of anxiety-producing upward spikes thrown in. Well I am extremely pleased to say that since late February my weight loss has been smooth and consistent.
Overall, I have been at it for 6 weeks and have lost an average of just over 3 pounds per week, and am not slowing down despite now weighing in the 140s. The fact that my weight loss isn't slowing down tells me that my body is perfectly happy continuing to lose.
I checked my nutrition graphs to see if I could figure out why I used to get weight spikes. I did notice several patterns:
*my calories were often slightly above my current recommended range of 1,200-1,550. Specifically, they were sometimes as high as 1,600 to 1,800.
*my daily fat totals were sometimes too low.
*my sodium levels were sometimes too high.
*my calcium and folate levels were more likely to be in the correct range. ** These confuse me and seem to contradict with what you'd expect, but since I was eating more overall I had more of a chance to get in more nutrients. Also, especially with folate, I'm pretty sure I eat foods now that aren't given the correct "credit" when it comes to folate.
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