Monday, February 12, 2007
I've decided to take advantage of the journal option on SparkPeople. I don't even know what Blog means, but I'll give it a shot...
I actively started SP in January 2007. I actually started much earlier, but really didn't explore the website and all the offerings until Jan '07. I'm another yo-yo dieter looking desperately to get off the weight rollercoaster from H***. My father-in-law died last Thanksgiving while my family visited him. He was suffering from emphysema and other lifestyle related illnesses. On our way home (it's a two day, twenty hour drive..lots of time to think), I called my doctor to make an appointment. I wanted to get checked out before starting an exercise program and to create a plan to get back to a healthy weight (I started at 235 and should be about 136...almost 100 lbs to lose).
I met with the doc on Dec 15th and discovered that my blood pressure was dangerously high. She sent me out to get my blood tested and put me on a diet...1000 cals, 100 carbs. Now, I'm a retired engineer (age 48 y/o). I like to do my research and what I've read indicated that a diet below 1200 cals/day may cause my metabolism to slow. So, I put myself on a 1200-1500 cals/day diet, cutting out unhealthy carbs, sticking to lean proteins, eating 5 or more servings of fruit/veggies (mostly veggies)/day and drinking 100oz of water per day.
When I went to see the doc in January, my blood pressure was back to 120/75 and I had lost almost 25 lbs. My blood work from when I was tested in December indicated a cholesterol level of 280 (the doc wants it below 180). The doc wanted me to be put on medication right away (family history, overweight, high cholesterol, getting older...lots of indicators to suggest meds). I begged to be given the opportunity to continue my nutrition and exercise changes, since I've shown such a marked improvement in blood pressure and weight. The doc OK'd the plan with the order that I get my blood retested early March and get back to the doc by mid-March to evaluate progress and make a final decision regarding meds..
So, I revisited SparkPeople for continued education in making healthier decisions, food/exercise planning and support. My weight loss continues and my exercise program includes 2-3 days of strength training/week, 5-6 days of cardio/week, and stretching daily. I've reduced the amount of alcohol I drink to almost nothing. Not that I drank much in the first place, but I found that my nightly glass of wine lowered my will power to stay on track, so it's now a glass of wine/week and only after the evening meal. I have a wonderful, supportive group of friends "Crazy Chicks" that are encouraging, funny, and so motivating.
I envision myself reaching my goal of being at a healthy weight, reducing my cholesterol to below 200 by my birthday in November. I set up rewards when I lose 10% of my weight (lose 23.5 lbs for the 1st goal/new work out clothes to fit my new body, 21 lbs for the 2nd/pedometer, 19 lbs for the 3rd/new workout clothes, 17 lbs the 4th/manicure & pedicure, 15 lbs the 5th/new workout clothes and final reward for reaching goal weight of 136/spa treatment, the works!) The 10% goals were instigated by an article I had read in SP about improving health by losing 10% of your weight (if overweight). I've reached the first goal (and rewarded myself with new workout clothes) and am working toward the 2nd goal. I think I'll be able to make that goal by end of March. I can't wait because I really want that pedometer!
Some of the changes I've made are now habits...such as drinking water every chance I get, especially first thing in the morning, after going to the bathroom, before/during/after exercising and with every meal. I thought I would have to struggle getting 100oz of water daily. Ha! My glass 'overfloweth' in SP every night. Makes me smile to see it, knowing I'm making better decisions about my health, my family's health and making improvements to the quality of my life.
A lot of the thanks I owe to SP. The website satisfies my need to educate myself, gives me an easy avenue to record my food choices and exercise, and gives me the opportunity to be surrounded by people wanting what I want...to make healthier choices, to improve our lives and have fun doing it. I get a kick out of the points system and find I do better on the days that I squeeze every point I possibly can from the program. My path isn't always straight. I've fallen off occasionally, but it's easy to get back on track. I look forward to reaching each of my goals (and getting the rewards!!) and maintaining a healthy weight for life. I'm 30% of the way there already!!