Monday, October 29, 2012
Have you ever made an assumption that turned out to be untrue? Have you ever lied to yourself to avoid responsibility for your behavior? I sure have and as my goal weight is in sight, I've realized that a lot of things I had routinely assumed are no longer true. Here is the self-talk I used to replace my old assumptions with new truths:
Assumption: It's impossible to lose weight after 40.
Truth: The weight comes off more slowly, but it's not impossible.
Assumption: I'm too old to jog or run.
Truth: If you're in good health and train properly, you can transition from walking to running.
Assumption: I'm too busy to exercise.
Truth: This is another way of saying "Exercise is not a priority." Make it an appointment on your calendar and honor the commitment.
Assumption: I can't stay on a diet long enough to lose weight.
Truth: If you deny yourself your favorite foods, you will fail. Find a way to include them as part of a calorie-reduced eating plan. Make shifts in your eating habits, not overhauls.
Assumption: I've tried 1,000's of diets and have failed every time.
Truth: Fall six times get up seven. If you "fail" it means you tried to do too much, too soon. Baby steps, baby steps. Food shifts, 10 minutes of exercise. Start where you are.
Assumption: I am an emotional eater. When I'm bored/stressed/depressed/angry, I eat.
Truth: Remember your plan: 1) call a friend; 2) get counseling; 3) go to the gym; 4) do housework.
Assumption: I have no willpower.
Truth: 90% of the time, you can control your food environment. 10% of the time, you can't. Plan accordingly. If you're going to a friend's house for dinner, figure out what you are willing to do. Go ahead and have their world-famous lasagna, but skip the store-bought dessert. Eat a piece of fruit ahead of time.
Assumption: I'm good at dieting/exercise, but can't do both consistently.
Truth: It's tough to be consistent on two fronts. Start where you are and slowly build up better habits.
Assumption: I lose weight too slowly.
Truth: Depends on how you define slowly. One pound a week is average.
Assumption: I'm too impatient to lose weight.
Truth: Find something else to do with your time besides obsess about the scale. Waiting to lose weight is like watching paint dry. Distract yourself.
Assumption: I don't like to eat fruits or vegetables.
Truth: Make a list of the ones you DO like and eat those. Be open to trying new foods and new recipes.
Assumption: Diets are boring.
Truth: Only if you don't plan.
Assumption: I don't like writing down what I eat
Truth: You have to decide if losing weight is a priority. If it is, then you'll track your eating.
Assumption: I can never get below ___ pounds.
Truth: You never know until you try.
And now, my most recent:
Assumption: I can't run 5K.
Truth: You just finished a virtual 5K. You CAN run 5K.
It's all good!
Onward and downward.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
It's official now. I have lost 50 pounds. I started in January and weighed in this weekend 50 pounds lighter. Here is my journey in pictures.
This is a photo of me from 2007. I love my hair in this picture, but I weigh more than 200 pounds.
In 2009, my weight was starting to bother me. I decided to start a "diet". Here is a "before" picture from that year. I was near my all time high.
I found a rare full body shot of me at more than 200 pounds. My daughter had just graduated from high school so there were cameras everywhere. I couldn't believe how heavy I looked in the pictures. I was certain the camera was adding 30-40 pounds to my image because I didn't "feel" fat.
2010 and 2011 were stressful years. During this time, I gained an additional 10 pounds, putting me well over 200 pounds. When I saw this November 2011 photo of me with my adorable grandson, I was shocked at how heavy I'd gotten. Then, in January 2012 I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Now, my weight was affecting my health. With a class reunion on the horizon in 2013, I had all the motivation I needed to make a change.
I'm about 25 pounds down in this photo.
My grandson and me. I'm down about 35 pounds here. My face is visibly thinner.
Here's my before/after photo which I took just before I dropped that last pound to make it officially 50 pounds. I weigh less than I've weighed in over 10 years. I've dropped from a size 16W to a 12. Now, I'm only 17 pounds from goal!
Onward and downward.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Focus--that's what I have to keep reminding myself these days. Staying focused.
I posted some updated pix on my facebook account and am basking in the congratulations and accolades. Some of my friends are trying to find out how I lost nearly 50 pounds and how I did it so "fast." (Fast??--as IF, LOL). Anyway. I admit I'm enjoying the attention.
Now comes the hard part. Keeping my eye on the prize--a healthy BMI. I'm at a 27 now and I need to get to under 25 (14 pounds away), and my goal weight (18 pounds away). Also, I still have chub around my apple-shaped middle, which is a proven risk factor for diabetes.
I got my body fat tested at a local health fair and it determined that at 5'7" my lean body mass is 115 pounds. For me to be at 18 to 25% fat, I need to weigh between 142 and 156. I've set my goal weight within this range and am giving myself six months to get there.
Why six months? Well, starting with Halloween is a gauntlet of holidays and mini vacations. I struggle to stay on track when my days lack structure, so I'm realistic about my ability to restrict my eating under such circumstances. Plus, after 10 months, I'm not sure how motivated I am to eat 1,200 calories a day so I can lose at a faster rate. Obviously, plateaus drive me crazy so I reserve the right to change my mind on this one.
I have four pounds left to lose this calendar year. Then, I go into maintenance mode until 2013. January will mark one full year of consistency on SP. One year of logging in 90% of the time, tracking my food and exercise and blogging. Hopefully by then, I'll be motivated to lose the last 14 pounds and reach my goal.
In the meantime, I'm fighting to keep myself from slacking off simply because the pain of overweight is largely gone. Maybe I should go somewhere and buy a bikini swimsuit to bring the pain back?? Maybe I should look at those lab tests from January that revealed my pre-diabetic condition?? Something, anything to help me stay focused.
I do plan to run my virtual 5K race this weekend. Maybe if I continue to set fitness goals, I can keep pushing forward.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Here I go again. After a plateau that lasted weeks, I am now losing weight again. In the last two weeks, I have dropped 3.5 pounds which is fast for me. This morning's loss means I'm now 18 pounds from goal and 14 pounds from a BMI under 25!
What is key? Actually there are two keys--persistence and patience. I restarted SP in early January as part of a new year's resolution. Now, it is almost Halloween. It hasn't been easy and if you read any of my other blog entries you will know how impatient and whiny I can be and how many public pity parties I've held. Yet, somehow through it all, I kept logging in and doing what I'm supposed to do 80-90% of the time.
For me, what I think has been different this time has been the storms I've survived in the last two years. Job loss, family crisis, and so forth. When the storm waters calmed, I wanted to do something for once and be successful at it.
Believe me, I haven't been on program perfectly. I've missed workouts, skipped a few days of tracking my food intake (mostly early in the year), and experienced every level of frustration and disappointment when the scale didn't move for three, four or five weeks. I had plenty of moments where I thought, "Well, I wasn't meant to have a BMI under 25 or weigh less than this that or the other."
There are also two major factors. 1) I'm a single, empty nester; 2) I have a low-stress job with flexible hours and tons of vacation time.
So I'm not dealing with a husband that brings home junk or kids that I have to drive to soccer practice. It's all about me, me, me. I have the luxury of being able to focus.
Also, I'm older and wiser. I finally understand that you don't go "on" or "off" a diet. Somehow, I've managed to blur the line between how I eat when I'm on a "diet" and how I eat anyway. That is also key. Going "on a diet" and making extreme sweeping changes where I'm no longer indulging my sweet tooth or eating barbecued ribs sounds punishing. Yet, that's what I would do when I'd "go on a diet." It didn't work for me because it's not sustainable.
What I did do was pay attention to the good habits I already had and started building those up. For example, I seldom eat after 8pm. That's just me. I also am not crazy about chocolate cake. I know it's weird, but for some reason I can resist it so it's easy to give up. But I love ribs and chocolate chip cookies. I gave up eating lots of processed foods. Not all, but most. I still buy those dang frozen meals for busy days. I focused on vegetables I like--salads with cucumber, carrots, red onion and a hint of cheese with lite dressing. Broccoli, cabbage, green beans, spinach, greens. I also eat lots of chicken and lean cuts of beef. I try to stay on track during the work week and indulge a little more on weekends. I'm also somewhat of a food snob, if it's calorie dense but only "okay" I stop eating it. Yesterday I only had a few bites of an ice cream float because it didn't taste that great. Mediocrity is not worth the calories.
Exercise? 4-5x a week for an hour. Some weeks I do better, other weeks are worse. I've morphed into somewhat of a gym rat. I try out different classes and am constantly tweaking my routine. When the weather is nice, I walk outdoors. Now that it's getting cold, I'll probably mall walk (since I'm now a grandma, lol) or something.
I have not been at this weight in about 10 years and it feels great to be back.
It's all good. Keep pushing!
Onward and downward.
Friday, October 12, 2012
This morning when I weighed in I discovered I had lost an additional 1.5 pounds. Considering I had not dropped a single pound since September 15th, this was momentous. So how did I banish the plateau? There are so many factors that I can't attribute it to one particular thing that I did. I'll just list some of the changes I made.
1. With my doctor's permission, I stopped taking my thyroid medicine. Doctors like to deny that a medication could cause weight gain or plateaus. If they admitted it, no one would want to take it. The lesson I've learned is that I have to be vigilant about what goes in my body--even if it's prescribed medication. A doctor is not going to always know how YOU will respond to a certain medication. If you complain and they don't listen--for heaven's sake get a new doctor.
2. Calorie cycling. Jillian Michaels is right. Calorie cycling works. Last weekend, I spent THREE days eating around 2,400 calories a day, then THREE days this work week eating about 1,200 calories a day. What's particularly interesting to me is that I ate all kinds of stuff over that weekend and STILL lost. This calls into question a lot of what I've learned about calorie intake. I think the calorie cycling idea has merit. If you've been eating at 1,200 to 1,500 calories and have not lost weight in a month, I recommend INCREASING your intake so you are eating about 100 to 200 calories above your maintenance level, then dropping your calorie intake down to 1,200.
3. Intense exercise. I took a kickboxing class, did zumba, threw in a couple of bootcamp classes. I started jogging instead of walking, continued to lift weights. I've worked out 5 of the last 7 days and each workout is an hour. Four of the sessions I devoted thirty minutes each to strength training and cardio. My lesson? It's not just about the cardio. Strength training counts. Fortunately, I enjoy lifting weights. I really do. I've also just discovered that I like the rowing machine, too.
4. Focus--I tried to act like I was back to day 1 of the program. I made sure I recorded my intake, drank my water, measured my food, got more sleep.
In a nutshell, what I've learned is to STAY PERSISTENT and WORK HARD. A stroll around the park is not a workout. Pumping your arms and walking so fast that you're about to break out into a run IS a workout, because it's WORK. Especially if you're over 40.
I am blessed because I know two women my age who have just gotten knee replacements. Not because they're athletic, but because they are 80-100 pounds overweight and have been carrying all this weight around for years. And here I am in the gym doing jumping jacks, wind sprints, modified push ups and jumping rope. I'm carrying loads of groceries with ease, doing the silly gangnam style dance, lifting and twirling my grandson and bouncing up and down flights of stairs. Me. The most unathletic snail that was left in the dust during my school years. A fit woman.
Now my motivation is back! I'm psyched and hopeful that I'll enjoy another round of steady weight loss.
Onward and downward!
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