Well, hello again

It’s been a while since I wrote here.  I’ve been pretty busy elsewhere for the past nearly two years. (Yikes!)

So updates.

I completed the major exhibits project at work last May (2013) that I had been working on for nearly two years.

I completed my MA of History degree in May also.

And I finally got my ass in gear two days before turning 40 and joined Weight Watchers for accountability and support.  Since October 8, 2013 I have lost 48.6 lbs.  Tomorrow, I hope to log an additional 1.4 gone and make it an even 50 lbs.   I’m not even half-way to my ultimate goal, but I’m proud of how far I have come.  This is a pivotal point in my progress–in the past this is where I have fallen off track and started gaining it all back.  I’m averaging around 2.7 lbs per week right now and if I can maintain that average that will put me over 110 lbs gone and at my wedding weight by the time we head to my husband’s 20 year class reunion this summer.  And it would put me at about 138 lbs gone by the time my sister-in-law’s wedding rolls around in early October–and I will be at my lightest weight in my entire adult life–firmly in Onederland.  But even if I don’t maintain those numbers, it’s okay.  I fully expect to keep up the average of around 10 lbs per month and that is still significant progress.

Right now, I’m exercising a minimum of 2-3 times a week but aiming for 4-5 times each week.  This month, I started taking Karate with my three kids.   I’m loving that experience.  It’s something I have always wanted to try and I’ve always thought I was too fat to try it.  I’m not letting that stop me now.  There are things I can’t do right now, but there is plenty I can do and I’m loving my instructor’s encouragement and occasional surprise when I successfully catch on to something quicker than he anticipated.

I finally feel focused and I’m proud of the steady progress I am making towards my health and weight-loss goals.

I’ve been asked, what will make this time any different then all the other times that I have yo-yo-ed when I hit times of stress.  This time, I have cleared my schedule of any outside commitments besides work and my family, unless it is something that will get me closer to my goals (ie. Karate).  No more PTA.  No other volunteer commitments.  It’s time I take care of myself, because if I don’t, no one else will.

Here we go again…

I seriously need to get to the root of my consistency problems. I start out strong and I go along doing really well for several weeks and then I just stall. I slip back into old habits and eating the unhealthy foods simply because its “easier”.

Why?

Some say that its good that I never give up, I always come back–but in the meantime I’ve backpedaled on all my progress and its like starting over–over and over and over again.

Why do I do that?

Some would say its because I don’t value myself enough. I’m not sure if that’s it or not. Maybe its true. Maybe I don’t. How do I fix that?

This summer I’m headed back to grad school to finally finish my thesis and my MA of History. I have until next Spring to get it all done. So if I can get readmitted to graduate school in time I’ll take 2 credit hours this summer, 2 this fall and 2 in the spring. On the positive side of all this I’ll gain access to the athletic training facillities at the university I go to. I may be joining a friend’s “Physical Training” group too.

Putting my goals and needs first will have to happen for me to complete this academic goal. Maybe finally finishing this degree will help me finish other goals too?

Cost of eating healthy

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Eating healthy can cost a lot when you are on a tight budget. Tonight I loaded the cart with produce, some frozen veggies, whole wheat bread, greek yogurt, and sugar free cool whip (for my fruit salad–yummy, yummy!) and it cost me a little over $50.

That’s a lot of money for our family. It’snot easy to keep the cupboards stocked with healthy options when you have a family of five including my two fruit/veggie-loving-boys. But we do the best we can and stock up when we can, and pray that the lean times when the cupboards are bare of healthy options are few and far between.

Now, I’m headed to the kitchen to make myself a big fruit salad. (yummy, yummy!)

Baby Steps

Last last summer, I decided that I absolutely had to begin looking at this journey in terms of baby steps.  I’ve long known this is the key, but making it happen hasn’t been as easy as KNOWING what to do.  If it were, I would have reached my goal seven years ago.

So late last August, I finally took the first of several baby steps.  This was a big one.  I gave up diet coke–and all other soda-type beverages.  No more chemical drinks.  Now, I only drink water or flavored waters or occasionally a light/diet lemonade.  For 30 weeks I have been diet coke free.  You would think the craving would be totally eradicated, but it’s not.  Just this past week, while my family was on vacation for spring break I found myself craving a diet coke in the worst way.  And in the past, if I were to give in to temptation it would have been while traveling.  I have survived two major trips now and not broken.  Last November my husband finally took me to Las Vegas for the first time (he’s been many times) and I didn’t drink any soda/diet soda there either.

I feel like this is major progress for me.  And now it’s time to take the next baby step in this process.  No more processed carbs.  Specifically (and especially) I will stear clear of any kind of restaurant bread/grain/chips.  If I can give up diet coke (a serious addiction for me that it has taken multiple attempts to break loose from) I can and will give up processed carbs.  The only exception will be whole grains when I know for certain what the nutrition content is in them.

So, yesterday at Buffalo wild wings I had a grilled chicken salad for lunch and told them to go light (half of what they usually do) on the cheese.  Then at dinner the husband wanted to eat out at a local italian place for “kids night” and our daughter’s birthday dinner so she could get a free dessert.  I didn’t eat any of the bread and herbed oil.  I swear I could taste it though.  That was so hard to ignore.  I ordered the spinach and grilled chicken salad which came with feta cheese, strawberry slices, a few pecan crumbles and a light strawberry vinagrette.  However, I suffered a moment of weakness when I caved in to have a couple of bites of my daughter’s cheesecake but I’m still counting it a win.

My husband loves to eat out–and this is probably one of the biggest–if not THE biggest–obsticle I face in this process of trying to lose weight and get healthy.  Once again, today at lunch, the husband wanted to go to a local burger joint. I told him no thanks, because I knew there were NO good choices to be made at that place.  Shredded iceburg lettuce drenched in ranch dressing is not a good salad.  So he changed his selection to Wendy’s because he knew that was one of the few places I can get what I need and I got my full sized apple pecan chicken salad that I so love.  I can’t wait until strawberries are in season and they bring back the berry salad at wendy’s as well as the one at Panera Bread!

I’ve always loved bread to the point of claiming a carb-addiction.  But I was seriously addicted to diet coke too–so, I figure that if I can give up soda/diet coke for the past 30 weeks, surely I can give up processed carbs. The hardest part is the detox.  Hopefully, giving up processed carbs will be what does the trick and boosts my weightloss into gear and keeps me from backsliding or staying in the same 5-10 pound range I have been in for the past 4-5 months (285-295).  The cut down on carbs will also help me maintain blood sugar levels and head off that diabetic diagnosis I’ve been tumbling towards for a while–and hopefully it will translate to my husband’s eating habits as well, because he’s been backsliding way too much in the past year and his numbers are out of control.

I know that the carbs (specifically processed/refined!) are the key here–as well as making a stronger effort to make 30-60 minutes of real cardio and strength training a daily habit.  My kids are the motivation I need to make that daily appointment.  They need the activity just as much as I do and we are working together to make that happen.

Exercise!

I don’t know why it’s so hard to start to get moving.  I always feel soo good when I actually do it.  It’s the motivation to start that is really lacking–especially in the morning when there is nothing I’d rather be doing than sleeping.

Today I was so tired, I came home after taking the kids to school and went back to bed for three hours!  So as of this post I still haven’t managed to work it into the schedule.  But I’m going to.  I have a limited window to go take a walk down our country road and back.  Down and back three times is right at 2 miles and right now its taking me about 25 minutes to walk it.  It’s a rather steep hill coming back up the road, so while its slower going than I’d like I know my heart rate is definitely up there and I’m burning huge numbers of calories.  As long as I can get started before 7:30pm, I can get it done before it gets too dark.  The other night I waited til 8pm and it was pitch dark on that last lap up the gravel road.

I’ve been using my MapMyWalk iphone app to log the workouts so that I know for sure the distance is accurate.  That’s motivating and helpful when I try new routes out. I’ve also got to work in some strength training today too.

Plus we are trying to get our yard cleaned up so we can mow.  Its already so tall and we are expecting more rain by the end of the week!  Better get moving!

UPDATE: Missed my window, so instead me and my younger two kids did 2 miles of a walk away the pounds dvd.  It worked up quite the sweat and I was so sore when I went to bed. I got it done though!

Re-wiring my brain

I’ve been back from Vegas for a week and a half.  I did pretty well making decent choices, although I did indulge in the buffets (tried to keep the portions small!) but I wasn’t eating as clean and healthy as I was here at home.  I certainly didn’t get the veggies/fruits in there that I have been getting here and I had way too many sweets. I walked a lot in Vegas too, and when I came home I hadn’t gained and had actually lost a bit from before I left on the trip at the beginning of the week.

But, I’ve been struggling for the past 10 days getting back into the healthy routine I was in before I left for Vegas.  Until today, I hadn’t had any formal exercise since we left and I’ve found myself succumbing to the temptation of cookies.  Almost every single day.  Not one cookie.  Not two.  More like a dozen.  That’s 1200 calories I didn’t need!

Anyway, I haven’t gained (by the grace of God) but I haven’t lost either and worse than that, I’ve been feeling really crummy.  Tired.  Lethargic.  BLAH.

Today, I made myself get back into my routine.  I ate clean. I got lots of fruits and veggies.  I didn’t eat processed foods.  No eating out either and I came in under my calories.  More important than all that, I worked out.  I did 2 miles of my new 5 mile walk away the pounds dvd.  Tomorrow I plan to do it again–maybe even more.   I’m going to rebuild my routine–I’m not waiting another day.  I got myself back on track TODAY.

I had a bit of an epiphany while watching last week’s episode of Biggest Loser on our DVR.  Dr. Rob Huizenga had brought another medical expert in to talk about the brain and how its “wired” in obese vs. healthy people.  They talked about how we are re-wiring our brains for weeks and months to eat healthy and exercise and all it takes is one week (or less!) of going back to the old unhealthy habits for the brains wiring to revert back to the way it was before–with how it responds to cravings and food, etc.

And I was reminded how many times I’ve gone on vacation for a week and said I’d allow myself to go “off” plan for that time and then I struggled and struggled and struggled some more–sometimes for months and even years to get back to that healthy place I was before I went on the vacation.

I can’t let that happen again.

So I’m making conscious food and exercise choices and I will not allow myself to backslide again.  Time to rebuild what I worked so hard for the previous two months, BEFORE I gain back the 20+ lbs I lost.

Never again…  I will not allow myself to go down that road again.  It’s about educating myself and implementing those lessons.  This was another lesson, and I’m taking it to heart.

25 lbs gone!

I’ve lost a little over 25 pounds in nearly 8 weeks!  I continue to feel like my attitude has taken a major turn for the better.  I do have the occasional down day, but I’m not letting stress rule my food choices.

I get tired from time to time, and sometimes that is simply because I forgot to take my multi-vitamin and my Super B complex supplement.  Other times I know it’s because I’ve been doing a lot–a lot of exercise, a lot of work, a lot of extra curricular activities with my kids and their school–and I’ve chosen to handle those days by taking the day off from exercise (if I didn’t already manage to get it in early in the day) and going to bed early.  It’s helping.

This Saturday will mark 8 weeks of no diet soda/soda of any kind.  I only drink water and the occasional fruit/veggie smoothie.  I have truly come to think of soda as poison.  And I want it out of my life and my family’s life for good.  I haven’t managed to erradicate it from my family’s life, but I have definitely managed to get them to cut back on how much they are drinking.  Cutting the diet soda isn’t the only change I’ve made of course, but it is one of the most important in helping me to stick to a healthy eating plan.  Diet soda tends to make me crave sweets and refined carbs and it does a number on my moods too.

I feel really good about my progress.  Twenty-five pounds gone is nearly 1/6 of the total weight I want to lose to reach my goal.  And I’m just 5 pounds shy of my first 10% weightloss goal.  If I work hard over the next 11 days, I think I might be able to make it to that 10% mark before my husband and I leave for Las Vegas!  I’ve decided that the trip to Vegas is my first 10% goal Reward.  So I really need to try to make it to that 10% officially before we leave!

Found my spark again

Or as I’ve called it in the past–that elusive switch finally got flipped.  And I’m going to work to keep it on and sparking bright!

Thanks to everyone at Sparkpeople for the support.   emoticonemoticon emoticon  Sparkpeople has always been such a wonderful source of support and resources.  I always come back again and again.  This time, I’m not going to leave.  No matter what. I’m sticking with what Spark has to offer.

I weighed in this morning and I’m positively thrilled with my progress.  Five weeks ago, I stepped on the scale and was moritified by what I saw.  Once again I had allowed myself to drift back to bad eating habits and gained everything back that I had lost at the beginning of the year.  I resolved to do whatever it took to be consistent and work on my attitude and everything else that goes on in my head to stick with a healthy lifestyle.

As of this morning, I’ve lost a little over 20 lbs in five weeks. I’m so happy and so motivated to continue this journey.   Thank you Sparkpeople!

Goals

Goals should be realistic–achievable.  If they aren’t, we get discouraged and give up.  I have a hard time keeping my goals realistic sometimes.

In the past, when I was younger, I had a lot of luck with weightloss as long as I did what I was supposed to do.  That was when I was in my 20s.  Losing 75 lbs in 4-5 months is huge.  It’s quite fast at roughly 3.5-4 lbs a week avg loss.  It’s also not realistic.  It’s not even advisable.  I wasn’t cutting too many calories either, my body just responded really well to good nutrition and activity.  I rarely experienced a week with less than a 2 lb loss.  Ever.  That kind of thing raises expectations.

Now, as I’ve gotten further along in my 30s, my body isn’t quite as cooperative as it once was.  It’s definitely more sensitive to sodium levels and hormonal changes.  Some weeks, I stall and don’t lose or if I do lose it might be 1/2 a pound.  That’s hard for someone with my impatient nature to accept, especially when I have so very much to lose.

I’ve tried to think of it in different ways–to put my goals in a more realistic perspective.  2 lbs a week–average loss over time–is still over 100 lbs in a year!  That’s more than acceptable. And it certainly puts me further along to my goal in a year than I would be if I gave up, right?

10 lbs a month.  That would be awesome.  It’s even doable.  And it’s 120 lbs gone in a year’s time.  120 lbs gone by the end of August 2012 would place me under 200 lbs.  Territory I haven’t been in since 1997.  I’m on track to meet that goal with 11.4 lbs gone so far in the month of September and we are just now passed the half-way mark.  I could make it over 15 in this first month alone–a nice jump start on a goal of 10 lbs (0r more) per month.

Honestly, my goals shouldn’t even be about the numbers.  The numbers tie me up in knots.  They get into my head and derail me.  It should be about lifestyle.  Lifestyle change goals are what will make it stick this time.  I have to make my goal to live a healthier lifestyle and in the end that is what will get me further along in my journey, instead of stalled at the side of the road.

Lifestyle goals:

No pop, no diet-soda. Period.  We are made up of water and we are meant to replenish that fluid with more water.  Not chemicals.

Changing how I think about food.  It’s fuel.  And I need to give my body the best sources of energy and vitamins that I can.  That means complex carbs, colorful fruits and veggies, lean proteins.  Less unhealthy fat, less sugar.

More activity.  Building muscle and balance.  Strong and confident.  I want to live an active lifestyle. I want to travel and I can’t do that like I want to if I’m sedentary and so big I can’t fit in an airplane seat or can’t keep up with my family on our adventures.  I’m over those vacations.  No more.  I want to be the one dragging THEM until THEY drop, not the other way around.

It’s not about the numbers.  It’s about the life I want for myself.  My goal is a healthy, active lifestyle.  I can’t get that with fast food, diet-soda, and sitting on the couch.