Saturday, November 09, 2013
My off-season weight goal was 124 and as of today I am 123.8! I have so far lost around 40-45lbs! THANKS ALL for your support!!!
Mine is a story about not giving up: I'd estimate that I've been trying to lose weight for about 12 YEARS!!! I was always on a diet and not reaching my goals. I guess I never found what worked “FOR ME” until recently!
After college I gained 5-10 pounds. And though I worked out all the time and ate healthfully I couldn't lose it. As a personal trainer, my advice worked for my clients, but not for me!
Then over the next few years my health suffered. I went from doctor to doctor. I was on many medications they said I’d be on for the rest of my life. My weight climbed. Nonetheless I didn't care what anyone said - I was determined to get my health back!!
Around this time I started a new job shortly after I was featured in the media for a series of marathons I ran. We had a team-building event, and this guy came up to me in front of everyone and said that he saw me in the newspaper, and that he told his wife upon seeing my picture, “DANG, that girl must eat A LOT, because marathon runners are normally THIN!!” He said this with a slice of pizza in his hand, as I was standing there with my small plate of plain vegetables. I went to my car and just cried.
Then in 2010 due to some life events I became very depressed. All I did was go to work and come home and go to bed. With that, my health improved and I started going off the medications! From this, I learned my Type-A lifestyle was destroying my health. The severe depression was actually a godsend as it made me STOP it all. With lifestyle changes, I have been off ALL medications since then! But, even though I gained most of the weight due to being sick, I had to lose it just like anyone else…
I tried eating more, less, various fitness tracking devices. I tried changing my workouts to no avail. But… it seemed whenever I stopped working out I would lose weight. I would tell people and they’d say it was in my head or because I was losing muscle or whatever. So recently I was feeling tired, burned out and had a foot injury, so decided to take a few days off from working out. I STARTED LOSING WEIGHT AGAIN. I decided to just go with it… and ended up losing almost 10 lbs in 3 weeks! According to my bodyfat scale I was losing fat... I lost an inch and a half in my waist, dropped a pants size and people were noticing my weight loss.
I recall in college, I had a tough semester and didn't have time to workout and my diet was probably low calorie for the same reason. I became thinner than I was normally, despite being an aerobics instructor and serious weight lifter. During a period of traveling with my Dad a couple years ago, I took a break from working out. Again I lost weight, noticeably by others as well. Last year when my father died, I stopped working again out due to the depression. I also couldn't eat that much (my reaction to stress). At that time, I became very thin as well. During these times, though I wasn't formally working out, I would probably be in the “moderately active” category. Here's a graph of my recent results:
So, I guess for whatever reason, my body likes lower calories (around my BMR) with low to moderate exercise for weight loss. I suspect there is some calorie imbalance when I’m working out a lot as to why I’m not losing and/or perhaps an influence from cortisol? I have also gained while training hard, and even with reducing calories to various amounts, the scale is slow to move.
!!NEVER GIVE UP!! If your goal is optimal health, fat loss, whatever!! I don't care if anyone tells you that you are too fat, too sick, too old, bad genetics... I do what's called "weeding out the noise": tune out the negative people and focus on what you need to do for your goals!! Find what works for YOU. YOU CAN DO IT!!!
It took me a long time to find what works for me, which goes against what many advise: I exercise very lightly, don't weight train, I don't cut carbs, I don't do HIIT, I don't eat like a caveman... LOL. I believe all foods are OK in moderation.
I still have a bit to go to make my in-season race-weight goal (my weight during training and racing season), so I’m going to keep on keepin’ on with what I’ve found works. When I get there, I will figure out the training calories part. Just over 7 lbs for that… a piece of cake! I GOT THIS!!!
GO FOR IT!!! HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE!!
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Wow you guys, I am now just over 4 lbs to my off-season weight goal of 124! I am going to make my goal VERY soon. In my mind, I am now already at my race weight goal of 116.
Before, I was mentally at 124 and wavered about 116. Was I being realistic? Was it achievable? Would I look too thin? But, I thought about it and knew I will look OK. It's not hard to visualize because my current profile picture is from 2007 when I was at my goal body weight and bodyfat. I woke up a few days ago and just like that, felt I was already there. Now I just think, and feel what my body feels like to be that... and I'm there!
What's more, I've been on a road trip to go back to Seattle to figure out what to do with my stuff there. I was a bit worried about the trip, because I was in a routine that was working pretty well. But sometimes, we just need to do what needs to be done and keep the faith that things will work out.
And actually, it's been easier on the road trip to stick to my calorie targets. I eat every 3 hours, 5 times a day, and average around 250 calories per mini-meal. Before the trip, I dehydrated fruit and then weighed them into 100 calorie portions and put them into snack-sized bags. I eat one of those, with a serving of jerky or nuts, or I'll have a Clif Bar, or a 6 inch Subway sandwich, and so on. The calorie apportioned bags are working out so well, I will probably continue that after my trip is over. After you've eaten the bag, that's it, you're done. You don't have the option to eat "just a few more" of whatever it is you're having at the time.
That being said, my Mom has been doing most of the driving, and has kept on her mini-van console next to me for the past 31 or so hours: a large bag of Lay's Wavy Hickory BBQ chips, an open bin of honey wheat pretzels, a large bag of Jelly-Belly jelly beans, a bag of lemon drops, a bag of assorted hard candies, a bag of M&M's, a bag of chocolate rocks... and so on. SO IF I CAN DO THIS ANYONE CAN!!! In the few times I have wavered, I focus on my goals and stay on track. And I chew gum, surf the web or read a book. LOL! But it works!
I'm still losing albeit being in the car most of the day. I walk around during our breaks, but I think my body appreciates this break. It hasn't had one in a while!
OK! How are you all doing with your goals! Have a great day!!
Thursday, October 17, 2013
... 129.8 as of today! Goal is 124 and my body is progressing nicely towards it. My goal is my "initial" or "maintenance" goal that I'll have in my off-season. Race weight I want 5ish pounds lower than that. According to height/weight/BMI tables I will still be well within the healthy guidelines for my height.
I decided to take an "off-season" before ski season starts to help with the weight loss. I was feeling very worn down, borderline overtrained and was not recovering with intense training while dieting. As I don't have any specific races lined up until next spring, and I had to start remodeling my Mom's kitchen, I cut out most of my training to ease the stress on my body from the weight loss. I decided that I agreed with a lot of sports performance books: trying to demand performance while at a calorie deficit are two opposing goals.
As a result... my weight loss has INCREASED. I've gone from struggling to average .4-1.1 lbs per week, to an easier 2 lbs per week. My bodyfat scale indicates the losses are from fat as well! So, it has been easier, but it still takes motivation and work.
I've been keeping active with the house remodeling, and wearing the FitBit. I still don't think the FitBit is too accurate, but at least it's a guide. Over the period I was training harder and losing 0.4-1.1 lbs per week, it said I was burning around 2,092 calories a day and eating 1,672 calories a day, a deficit of about 420 calories per day.
When I stopped intense training but started more house remodeling, it says I have been burning an average of 1733 calories per day and eating 1448 calories per day, a deficit of just 285 per day. And I've been averaging around 2 lbs per week of loss, which equals an actual deficit of about 1,000 calorie per day deficit...
I actually eat closer to 1250 calories a day. The average amount goes up because of my "free days". I generally take a free day when my weight loss starts stagnating or going up for a few days in a row.
Last January, I lost about 8 lbs in 5-6 weeks with just moderate exercise (that's also what I consider most of the remodeling to be) and cutting back what I ate. So it seems that combination works for me. I have noticed that several times before as well.
I'm now just a pound above what I weighed as a senior when I was an undergrad in college! Alright all... let's keep on keepin' on!!
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
"Cheat Day" or "Free Day" or "Day off from diet" or whatever you want to call it: it's a day where you either eat one meal off, or all day, but my version of the cheat day is I eat what I want and don't track. As long as my calories in are higher than out, to me it counts as a cheat day. I wanted to show you guys an example of what can happen after cheat days.
Below is a graph of the weight I've lost, starting with the first day of my latest "reboot" on August 23rd. I say "reboot" because I made up my mind that I am finally LOSING THIS LAST WEIGHT. Period. Finito. Done.
Each blue dot represents the pounds I've lost when I weigh myself on that day.
The red arrows are when I've taken cheat days. As expected, my weight goes up the day after with the extra calories, carbs, sodium and water bloat. But more importantly, notice what happens after that... this is one example where the phrase, "I've sunk to a new low", is a good thing.
The sideways green arrow is when my sister and her husband visited. We ate out literally every day, but I still tracked my calories as well as I could for restaurant food. The week before that was PMS so also weight neutral.
Some of these weren't officially planned cheat days. The first red arrow, I knew I was going back to dieting so I went to a Chinese buffet with my Mom.
The second red arrow, we had cake, pizza and donuts from a final party from when my sister and husband visited.
The third red arrow, I was feeling tired and burned out, so just took a free day. What's interesting is I worked out the next two days after that, but because of the fatigue, I decided to take five straight days off from working out (normally I workout 1-2 times a day, 6 days a week). Check out how my weight dropped with the free day and not working out! Weird??
The forth red arrow, is today. My weight has started bouncing around a bit, and I'm not having a good week mentally (1-yr anniversary of when my Dad passed away.) So, I'm cutting myself a break. So we'll see what happens next... !!
As I explained in a previous blog, not only do cheat days help mentally, but they have been shown to recharge hormone levels, including the fat-burning thyroid hormone, and leptin, the hunger hormone. Maybe it's all in my mind, but I also feel like my metabolism is charging up. I feel warmer/hotter and more energetic, among other things.
I'm not saying a cheat day is for everyone. For some, they make people binge TOO much, fall off the wagon from then on, etc. You just have to find what works for you. I don't have a set schedule for cheat days. I just watch the scale and what is going on with my body for now.
As a side note, on my last blog I said my weight dropped to the lowest point since 2001. I'm now 2 lbs lower. Even though I've got 7 lbs to lose, in my mind, I'm ALREADY at my goal weight. That is a key to success. Focus on your end result and how great that will be!!
Ok! All for now! Have a great day!!
Friday, October 04, 2013
I thought I'd share some things I've learned after finally getting over my long plateau. What have you learned that works?
Technically, I was lower back in 2007, but was on medications, so I am not counting that. Now, due to lifestyle changes/taking care of myself, I don't take any medicine, which is a success in itself! Six weeks into this reboot, I'm at 133 lbs. I think in the last 10 lbs every pound becomes a milestone!
You have to learn to deal with hunger. I now know what it means when I read about someone asking about being hungry on a diet and others responding, "You get used to it." When I see something that reads, "Effortless weightloss," or "Diet without hunger," I know for the most part, they are referring to people with a lot of weight to lose or just trying to sell a product. Let's face it, dieting is a calorie deficit. You're going to get hungry. Starving is not good. But a little hunger, well...
Here's an article from the Oprah magazine, "Think like a thin person." Basically the author talks about having to get over her fear of hunger. I had this fear but for different reasons. Many years ago I exercised to the max and hardly ate anything to try to lose weight. It was not healthy and led me to being on all sorts of medications from thyroid support to developing and taking medications for severe asthma/allergies and so on. So, I was scared of being hungry - at all. It made me think I'd slip back into that time.
But that's a fear we need to get over, especially because a lot of outside influences and emotions can "cause" hunger. Here is the article:
Another helpful comment I read is that it all depends on your attitude toward it (doesn't so many things in life?) The poster said they have learned to appreciate hunger, because it means their body is burning stored fat instead of excess eaten calories. So now, instead of thinking I am going through an agonizing, horrible experience because I've eaten and am not all_the_way_full or can't have truly all I can eat at the all-you-can-eat buffet (or I skip going altogether), I just realize that my body is signaling I'm on the right track. After literally years of being stalled on my diet by fitness devices telling me to eat more than I should have, I really appreciate the feeling that I am making progress!
Another thing that helps me, funny as it sounds, is chewing gum. They've actually done studies to show that this distracts you from the desire to eat, and people who chew gum lose more weight because of it! It actually burns 11 calories per hour, too! I've 'thought' I was hungry before and started to chew gum and a couple hours later realize that I wanted to eat before !
A note on fitness devices, etc. I don't care what fitness device you use, website that calculates your calorie burn or even nutritionist you go and see: You don't burn what they tell you you are burning. YOU BURN WHAT YOUR BODY TELLS YOU THAT YOU ARE BURNING. I had fits with this for literally years. I wore a Bodymedia device, which claimed 98% accuracy that had me eating much more than I should have been, I even gained weight with it. But at the same time I stood by it, thinking my metabolism had slowed because I wasn't eating enough... because IT said I was burning THAT MUCH. Again, too, I was scared to be hungry at all so going there was definitely BAD... LOL
I'd do calorie calculators online, meet with nutritionists, make spreadsheets, etc etc. But the fact is, if you're not making progress, the calories in vs out equation is just not working. I hate to generalize, but most likely you're eating too much. Even now, I realize that when my Mom cooks, she doesn't measure and her estimates on many things have been incorrect, including foods I frequently eat. And she is trying to help! So it might not be the calculators are incorrect, the measurements may be off as well. So take a close look at what you are doing.
It can take a while to find the right calorie level for you. My suggestion is to pick ONE method, and adjust it as you go. Don't use a Bodymedia armband, then move to the Spark calorie calculator when you don't see results, then move to a FitBit then MyFitnessPal and so on. They all use different scales to calculate things and you won't know what is going to work or not. Pick ONE, then stick with it, lowering or increasing calories from that ONE measuring stick, until you see results.
On that note, I would give a new diet 3-4 weeks to take hold and then re-evaluate. It really can take that long to see results, especially if your goal is slow weight loss.
You don't need to exercise like a mad-person to lose weight. Just enough to get your desired calorie deficit. In fact, I've pulled back on training because dieting is stressful on the body, and when you throw hard training into the mix, you are not in a good situation for recovery. Most books advise athletes to diet in the off-season due to this reason. Because I train in both winter and summer sports, I don't really have an "off-season." So... I'm creating one! My main goal right now is weight loss so I'm doing everything I can to reach my goal!
Now when I say just enough - as you get closer to goal you probably DO need to do daily exercise. Beyond the obvious benefits, you also are burning fewer calories in general. For example I am small so my BMR is around 1250 calories a day. If I am somewhat inactive, I will only burn around 1450-1500 calories a day. So if I even eat the minimum - just my BMR calories (which truly isn't a lot of food!), I would be losing under a half pound per week. Basically I need to do the equivalent of running at least 3 miles a day to lose a pound a week. Not a lot to a competitive runner, but to those who are more sedentary... something to think about.
BUY A FOOD SCALE. It's so easy to just say, "a bowl of cereal" and eyeball it. Or use a measuring cup and "loosely" say it's 1 cup. But the package will tell you how many calories are in the food, by weight, and 28 grams of something is always 28 grams. There's no going over. You may be surprised at what a cup of something actually is...
Stay Focused. If losing weight is a top goal and priority to you, realize you will probably have to give some other things up or put them second or on hold to achieving your goal. I'm not saying ignore your kids or anything like that. But it may mean getting up earlier to exercise. Limiting some of the foods you love. Whatever. Just keep your eye on the ball, so to speak, and don't let the chocolate cake get the best of you :).
Take responsibility. I can't emphasize this enough. I started reading the book, "The Success Principles," by Jack Canfield and recommend it. One of the first things he brings up is to take responsibility for your situation. Only then can you start to change it. For example, my Mom is a snack-a-holic and borderline food hoarder. I am staying with my Mom right now. So, I used to say, there's no way I can lose weight now, because SHE puts these snacks all over the place. Well the fact is, "I" was the one choosing to eat them. Yes, it makes it harder to have food/junk food all around, and if it gets too hard it would still be my responsibility to sit down and talk to her about what needs to be changed to help me accomplish my goal. Or, I'd need to find somewhere else to live even if it were that big of a deal. As it is, I've realized what I feed myself is ultimately MY responsibility. Yes, it's hard, but so are a lot of things, and I've learned to deal with it and lose the weight I need.
Routine is good. I personally dislike routine, but in my opinion, it's a good thing for weight loss. Having set times and places to workout, a food area stocked with foods that are healthy and you are familiar with, and so on really helps. Realize that if you are traveling a lot, going through a divorce or making a major career change, it will be more difficult for you to reach your goal. I'm not saying it is impossible, but sometimes it's more important to focus on trying to stay healthy and take care of yourself over weight loss until things are more stable. If you choose to pursue it during these times, be extra vigilant.
An occasional cheat day can break a plateau! Believe it or not... it does recharge the hormones... and mind!
Take extra care of yourself. Drink lots of water, take vitamins, and have a detox tea every so often. Losing fat can sometimes release toxins into the body. SLEEP ENOUGH!
Ok, enough blathering by me! I've got to get moving - I still have 9 lbs left to go!! From my top weight after I got off all the medications, I have now lost somewhere around 32 pounds!!
What tips have you learned that you can share???
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