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South Beach Phase 1 Lessons Learned

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I am three meals away from finishing the South Beach Phase 1 Diet. The plan is straightforward and does not have complicated rules, but it takes discipline to be consistent over two weeks. During this time, I lost an astounding 7 pounds.

Here's what I learned:

1. It's motivating to lose this much weight so quickly. Granted, much of it is water, but after months of little to no weight loss, it's a welcome change.

2. Sometimes a diet within a diet really works. In other words, I have my a regular food plan, which is 1,500 to 1,7000 calories a day and includes moderate portions with no forbidden foods. Then, there's short-term jump start diets like SB Phase 1, which is about 1,000 to 1,200 calories. I think that if I have a really wild food day, following this diet for a day or two will help me get back on track.

3. Crash diets make you cranky. Around day 9 or 10, I started resenting this diet and was ready to throw in the towel. It's crystallized for me how unsustainable crash diets are, but I do concede they have their place every once in awhile--especially after two weeks of overeating during the holidays!

4. Being 12 pounds from my goal weight feels amazing! Some of my size 12 pants are getting baggy. There's even one pair I can't wear without a belt. Once I lose more chub around my middle, I'll be a solid size 10 pants. I'm still a size 14 on top, thanks to the boobage, dang it.

5. Workouts are tougher while crash dieting. I've been doing okay with the exercise in the last week, but I noticed while lifting weights that my muscles were getting tired faster.

6. This diet forced me to be vigilant about what I was eating. After a year, the daily tracking of my food, etc. was turning into a grind and I was slacking off on my food choices, eating more calories, etc. I'm sure that's why I plateaued so much in late 2012.

7. I didn't plan to take a two-week break from everything during the holidays, but I think it shocked my system and revved up my metabolism. I was probably eating 2,500 calories+ a day while visiting my folks during the last week. Then, when I suddenly cut my calories to the bone, it restarted my weight loss. I think this is similar to what's called "refeeding" but I'm not sure. It's the logic behind why fitness experts are now recommending cheat meals every week or so.

Well, after breakfast tomorrow, I'll be back on my regular eating plan, but I'm going to work hard to keep the calories between 1,200 and 1,500 a day and incorporate healthier whole grains. I do have a cheat meal of BBQ ribs planned for Saturday, which I'm looking forward to.

Onward and downward! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JACKIE542 1/15/2013 9:32PM

    I think the holidays were hard on everyone, that is the one time I eat what I want, and I lose weight. People have told me to have a protein shake when I am doing more exercise, I have not tried that yet, maybe that would help when lifting weights.
Congratulations on those loose pants. Keep up the good work. emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 1/15/2013 5:29PM

    "Workouts are tougher while crash dieting." Yup. You have to eat enough to fuel the work you're going to do, and there's a reason it's called a "crash" diet.

I do better on a steady diet, where I feel hungry on some days and like I have to eat more than I want on others, but that's just me. I live by tracking and measuring. Intellectually, I think humans were designed for periods of plenty and scarcity; I just can't replicate that for a stable weight.

You've given me an idea of how replicating a mixture of scarcity and plenty might be simulated in an environment that always has plenty of food. I don't think I'll try it, but I'm happy it seems to be working for you.

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TWNOMWE 1/15/2013 3:30PM

    emoticon enjoy the ribs !!

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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/15/2013 2:27PM

    I'm glad this restarted you for the year. I'll bet many of us "fell off" during the end of the year. Fortunately we can always restart and get it going again. Enjoy your bbq ribs this weekend!

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So sad...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Today, I learned that the woman who babysat my daughter from aged 6 months to 5 years died from cancer. Since I have moved, I had no idea she had even been sick. She was only 54 years old. My daughter is almost 21.

She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a business woman, a talented decorator with a knack for turning cheap and ordinary things into fabulous works of art. She was extremely intelligent with a boatload of common sense; kind, warm, funny and a great cook.

I had seen her in the store when I was visiting from out of town last spring. She had lost about 100 pounds, but her face had looked so drawn and weary, I withheld commenting. Instinctively, I must have known, but did not feel it was my business to ask how she had lost the weight.

Right now, I feel depressed, but am managing to keep a stiff upper lip, since I'm at work. I'm monitoring myself carefully to refrain from eating my emotions. Regardless, it's a rough day, I'm tired and I have a headache.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thank you for your comforting words, I do appreciate them!

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BETTERHEALTH123 1/15/2013 10:05AM

    Remember the happy times. Your child was lucky to have such a caring babysitter.

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LADYGSC 1/14/2013 5:50PM

    emoticon sending prayers your way - may God comfort and wrap you in his spiritual arms! Be blessed!!

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BABY_GIRL69 1/14/2013 5:06PM

    The unexpected death is always the hardest but losing someone is overall unbearable.

God bless,


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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/14/2013 4:23PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. emoticon

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ANNEMAC5 1/14/2013 2:36PM

    Sorry to hear the sad news emoticon

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VANICIS 1/14/2013 2:22PM


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COMEONMA 1/14/2013 2:19PM

    my thoughts go out to you in this sad time. I will pray for you and both your families. What a young, tragic loss.
emoticon emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 1/14/2013 2:18PM

    I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your family friend. That's a shame. a few weeks ago, I found out that the man who hired me (at another job) had passed away suddenly. He was only 54 years old too. I believe they said it was a heart attack. too young, far too young.


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JACKIE542 1/14/2013 1:48PM

    So sorry! emoticon

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LINDA! 1/14/2013 1:35PM

    Very sad. She was still a "young" woman. emoticon

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Choosing a goal weight

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How much should I weigh? I'm 13 pounds from my current goal, which is 155 and a BMI of 24. Although I'm close to goal, my waist is still 36", dang it. I'm a classic apple shape, so I'm not surprised that my belly is still with me.

There are numerous guidelines for how much a 5'7" woman should weigh based on age, frame size and activity level. I want a weight that won't be too difficult to maintain with moderate activity and eating habits. I also want to lose 4" to 6" from my waist, which will be better for my health, since I'm prediabetic.

A healthy BMI in general is 118 to 159. I have a medium frame, so although 159 is "healthy" it's not going to be low enough to lose the belly fat. When I weigh 155, I am "not fat and not skinny." It's a weight I maintained for many years. The problem is, I will still have belly fat.

One time, at 18, I dropped from 155 to 140. At 140, I was slim but not skinny and had no fat around my middle. Today, I'm older and 140 seems so unattainable. I remember struggling for years in early adulthood to get back to that weight and never could.

Today, though I had an epiphany; what exactly was I doing back then to lose those 15 pounds? I realized I was using fad diets, crash diets and other attempts that would last 2-3 weeks before I gave up. Then, I'd return to a diet of junk food and an inactive lifestyle. Now, I am better educated and understand that weight loss doesn't happen overnight and that healthy habits must be sustained over months--not weeks before you can see results.

I have a thick psychological mindset that believes that I can't get under 150. I don't know whether or not this is really true. Even if it is, I look pretty doggone good at 150. So right now, I think my ideal weight is somewhere between 145 and 155. This range is about a 23 or 24 BMI and accounts for this belly I still need to lose. I will also be happy and satisfied with my appearance in this range. Anything above 155 I still perceive as overweight, so I may use 155 as my "flashing dashboard light" weight that indicates it's time to start eating less and moving more.

We will see!

Onward and downward.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIBANANA 1/13/2013 2:01PM

  This is tough. you have thought it out and I think you are at a good mindset. One that understands you and your body. I'm sure you will come to the right conclusion.

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MOBYCARP 1/13/2013 6:53AM

    Picking an appropriate goal weight was the hardest part of transitioning from loss mode to maintenance mode for me. Yeah, it was a no-brainer that I wanted to get down into healthy BMI range; but that range is pretty broad. The lower end is very low, and the upper end is probably too high. Where do I belong?

The stuff I found online was not much help. Different sources came up with different answers for where my ideal weight should be. My initial goal was on the high end of those answers; where I ended up is toward the low end of that range. Along the way, I discovered that even though I had been thinking of myself as having a medium frame, I'm probably really a small frame or right at the boundary between small frame and medium frame, depending on whose definitions I use.

Good luck figuring out what weight is healthiest for you!

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VANICIS 1/12/2013 12:48PM

    Hmmm. emoticon

Here is what you can do. Once you reach your goal of 155, stop trying to loose weight and begin to maintain. With the weightloss out of the way you can start to target the body area you are trying to get to be "Perfect", Also you can try yoga! It can help you with that belly!

I hope this helps!! emoticon

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SUGARSMOM2 1/12/2013 12:27PM

  gee you sound perfect to me . but i am not you .

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BLKLILY 1/12/2013 11:57AM

    Do you have a particular size of clothes you want to wear?

For example, I want to weight 145lbs since I have had two children over the last 5 years and am in my 30's. I do not want to wear anything smaller than a size 6. If I start to notice that I wear a size 6 and weight 145lbs, cool and if not, cool; size 6 is the goal.

Also, the BMI is a great tool but please keep in mind that it does not take into account your shape and other factors that would otherwise say you are NOT healthy. I say use it as a guide but do not let it BE your guide...does that make sense?
emoticon emoticon

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Random musings

Friday, January 11, 2013

Like an episode of Jerry Seinfeld, today's blog is about nothing.

1) After weeks of thought, I joined a new gym. My current gym membership expires on Valentine's day and it's going to cost me $160 for three months or $450 for a year. The membership includes towel service, but not any classes. I like the facility, but its slightly out of my way, now that I've moved. My new gym is walking distance from my home. I'm not much of a negotiator, but I took advantage of the January specials and a corporate discount. My monthly rate is $25 for access to a huge facility with lots of cardio machines, free weights, weight machines and free classes. No towel service, though--dang it.

2) It's day nine of South Beach Phase 1 and it's starting to get to me. I feel tired and somewhat cranky and resenting that I still have five freaking days left on this plan. Still, I've lasted this long, so hopefully I can make it to Tuesday without abandoning this plan in favor of a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

3) My stomach is still flabby, although my goal weight is 13 pounds away. The rule of thumb for setting a goal weight is to identify a weight you maintained for over a year as a young adult. Okay, from ages 15 to 27 I weighed between 155 and 170. I weigh 168 now and want to return to 155. Trouble is, when I weighed 155 as a teen, I just KNEW my ideal weight was 140. I reached it for five minutes when I was 18 and looked fabulous. That's a BMI of 22, which sounds like a pipe dream to me. At 5'7" I think I will be happiest between 145 and 155. We will see where my weight settles in the next six months.

4) I have been working on my weight since January 2, 2012. I'm proud of myself for toughing it out for over a year. When I consider that, I feel confident that I've learned some new, healthier habits that will help me maintain my weight. During Xmas, I missed a week of exercising and felt terrible about myself. The only way to cure the guilt was to go work out. This week, I made it to the gym 3x, so I've gotten my 150 minutes in. If I workout on Saturday, I'll make my goal of working out at least 4x a week.

5) I've been so focused on the cosmetic aspects of my weight loss, I almost forgot that I'm prediabetic, which is the main reason I lost the weight to begin with. I can't lose sight of that, so on the days when I'm draggin' I need to remind myself why I'm eating clean(er) and exercising regularly.

6) When I finish South Beach phase 1, I'm going to re-introduce oatmeal to my breakfasts and find a good tortilla wrap recipe for lunch. Next weekend, I'm going to get my monthly barbecue fix--something that keeps me from feeling deprived.

7) Today I ate: eggs, turkey bacon, coffee with cream and stevia, pistachio nuts (30), 3 oz chicken breast, green beans, celery & laughing cow cheese, tilapia, collard greens, diet coke and a fudgesickle. Pretty dang good!

8) Today I did: 30 minutes of weight training on my legs, 15 minutes on the elliptical machine and 15 minutes on the recumbent bike. Yay for me!

9) I plan to weigh in tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect.

10) It's really late and I'm delirious. Time for bed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BABY_GIRL69 1/11/2013 7:18PM

    Congrats on your success....you will have to find your happy medium.

God bless,


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XANGELSTEARZX 1/11/2013 10:07AM

    emoticon Sounds like you're making good progress. Being able to walk to the gym is just an extra incentive to go.

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KRISZTA11 1/11/2013 5:33AM

    I hope you'll like the new gym.
The price is great, and the fact it is within walking distance is a huge advantage.
At least for me, getting into the car for something is a psychological barrier : )

It is awesome you are only 13 pounds away from your young adult weight!

My current goal weight is about 10 pounds over my 18-year old weight,
but when I got within 6 pounds, I started to get the "you are getting too skinny" comments from everyone including my husband.

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ZRIE014 1/11/2013 12:48AM

  keep it up emoticon

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13 pounds to goal and counting!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

I lost 6 pounds during my first week on the South Beach Phase 1 diet! I chose this diet because my weight had been plateaued for months and I had gained two pounds over the holidays. I was 19 pounds from my goal weight and wanted to jumpstart my weight loss plus reignite my motivation. Phase 1 is tough; for the last week my diet has consisted of lean meats, vegetables, cheese, nuts and 100 calorie desserts. No fruit, bread, or processed foods.

Needless to say, I am very pleased with these results but already concerned about how I will transition from this diet back to my regular eating plan after I finish week 2. I think if I follow the general principles of South Beach Phase 2 which reintroduces complex carbohydrates and whole grains, I will be okay. The only thing about South Beach I don’t like is feeling discouraged from eating certain fruits and vegetables because of their glycemic index. For example, I like carrots. Why feel bad about eating carrots? Are the morning fruit smoothies that I enjoyed in the warmer months a problem? They helped me lose more than 20 pounds last year.

So after my two weeks are up, I’m going to focus on the general principles found on the Harvard School of Public Health’s Nutrition Source at www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource. It’s based on the federal government’s my plate guidelines, with a few tweaks. Here’s the plan in a nutshell:

• Use healthy oils like olive and canola for cooking, on salad and at the table. Limit butter. Avoid trans-fat.

• The more veggies—and the greater variety—the better. Potatoes and French fries don’t count.

• Eat plenty of fruits of all colors.

• Drink water, tea, or coffee with little or no sugar). Limit milk/dairy (1-2 servings/day) and juice (1 small glass/day). Avoid sugary drinks.

• Eat whole grains (like brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole grain pasta). Limit refined grains (like white rice and white bread).

• Choose fish, poultry, beans and nuts; limit red meat; avoid bacon, cold cuts and other processed meats.


Stick to this plan 90% of the time. Since there are 21 meals and 14 snacks a week, this means that each week, I can have two “junky” meals and one “junky” snack. I can save them for the weekend or disperse throughout the week. This will help me avoid feeling deprived.

I am now 13 pounds from goal. If I can stick to this plan, I should be able to get to goal in about 90-100 days.

Onward and downward! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLE1908 1/12/2013 4:37PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BLKLILY 1/11/2013 1:13PM

    emoticon emoticon

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JAZZEJR 1/11/2013 7:00AM

    Great! Keep us posted. emoticon

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KITT52 1/9/2013 12:15PM

    I say if it works for you...go for it....sounds like it's working

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LYNSEY723 1/9/2013 12:04PM


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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/9/2013 11:00AM

    Sounds like you have a good plan. I'm not sure what's up with the carrot thing, if you eat them, then go back to eating them again when you're done with this jumpstart diet. They're still part of the vegetable group.

That's a great loss! I'm glad you're going back in the direction you want!

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