I think, as stated in my original timeline,that I was supposed to be here last August...but obviously things didn't go according to plan. What is it about plans that so often go off track? Oh well. At least I made it, eventually...as of this morning's weigh-in, I have now lost 60 pounds! And hells yes, I'm happy! But, I still have a long way to go. Dang.
A comment left by Annette on my previous post got me thinking. She said "...As long as you have the energy at that calorie level....go for it!..." Interestingly, I read her comment while I was taking an iced tea break from cleaning my house today - one of those good, deep cleans, where the kitchen cabinets are wiped down, sink scrubbed with an old toothbrush along the edges, baseboards vacuumed using the hose and crevice tool, floor mopped, everything on the counters moved, wiped and dusted...in other words, something that I don't do nearly often enough, but appreciate so much when it's done! After the kitchen, I moved on to the laundry room, bedroom, living and family rooms...and that's when I realized that I do have the energy to tackle this amount of work in the same day. Previously, I might could (Texas phrase, please excuse me) do one room really well, but so many? In the same day? Wasn't happening. Which makes me realize that the combination of not carrying around so much weight, along with eating much, much healthier, gives me a lot more energy - more than I ever knew I was missing! So thanks, Annette - this is a nice reminder of another benefit of living a healthy lifestyle!
Recently, I read about calculating your BMR - Base Metabolic Rate - or what you need to eat, calorie-wise, to stay alive. I've noticed that for me, I have to stay at around 1,000 calories per day for most days of the week in order to lose weight. Since my weight loss has become noticeable, several people have asked me what I've done to get where I am, and when I mention "counting calories, keeping to 1,000 most days" I get the "that's not enough, you're starving yourself!" comments.
But it works for me. And, because I wanted to have something besides my own experience to back this up, I got out my calculator, pencil and paper, and actually took the time to calculate my BMR. Then I calculated my activity factor (I chose sedentary, since I haven't been consistent with my exercising), which gave me an additional 300 or so calories/day. Then I subtracted 1000 calories per day, because as we all know, one pound equals 3,500 calories, so to lose one pound a week you would have to eat 500 less calories/day...but I want to lose closer to two pounds a week...and I came up with around 950. Then I discovered that I could have done all this with a few clicks of my mouse on this website. Oh well, I guess my brain needed a little exercise!
But, to get back to my point (and I do have one), I have finally realized that with my ahem, short stature (I'm 5' 1 1/2"), I can't eat that much and still lose weight. And I'm (getting to be) OK with that. Happily for me, I've found that I can eat a couple of higher calorie meals throughout the week and most of the time still see a loss. I'm thinking that it must trick my body out of the starvation mode and therefore quit holding onto the fat. But even when I do that, my calorie count for the day might be in the 1600 - 1800 range, which is still reasonable. I've been pretty content with this. I can't believe I just wrote that...content with my eating? Maybe this new lifestyle/healthy eating is finally starting to sink in!
I love to read. I remember spending every recess (and back then we had morning and afternoon recess, plus we could play after lunch!) one year in elementary school in the library, reading all of the biographies of the U.S. Presidents and First Ladies (now that I think about it, it must have been third grade, because we had a group from my fourth grade class that would get together at recess under the pine trees on the field and discuss who liked who and when Jamie was going to marry John - as I recall, we did have a pretend wedding for them...but I digress).
As I got older, I would ride my bicycle to the public library (which must have been a couple of miles each way...no wonder I was thin as a child) and check out as many books as I could fit into my bike basket, go home and devour them, lather, rinse, repeat.
So it would stand to reason that when I started this weight-loss journey, my attention turned to diet books - specifically funny and inspirational books. I wanted to share just a bit from each of the books that I have listed on the right column of this blog...these books - memoirs, actually - have made me laugh and cringe and nod in agreement as I relate to what each author has written, and they've helped to keep me moving toward my weight-loss goals.
In no particular order, here we go:
From Jami Bernard's The Incredible Shrinking Critic: 75 Pounds and Counting comes this on page 136: When I overeat these days, it's a choice. Not a good one. But I'm not saying, "I can't help being fat," only that I have trouble managing my behavior around food. What a light bulb moment I had when I read that! I copied that quote and keep it on my desk - great reminder of who I am.
From Shauna Reid's The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl comes this on page 219: "The Mothership sent me birthday money, so I splashed out on some new workout gear from TK Maxx. Designer gym trousers for only £10! Size XL. I've never been so proud to fit into an overpriced, overhyped garment made by child slaves. I remember how happy I was when I finally fit into an XL - something that normal-sized people would probably shudder at, but we dieters can appreciate!
From Charlie Hills' Why Your Last Diet Failed You And How This Book Won't Help You on Your Next One, he writes on page 201 about taking his daughter trick-or-treating while dieting: Rachel, around seven or eight at the time, went up to a house, got her goods, and gleefully ran back down the driveway where I hovered, wondering what I might steal. "Whadja get?" I called out. "Onion rings!" she shouted back. "Onion rings!?" I repeated in disbelief. Who would give out onion rings for Halloween? "Let me see." I imagined her candy bucket filled with hot, greasy appetizers, fresh out of the fryer. This held promise. As it turned out, it was just a bag of Funyuns (which I seized anyway). I was literally laughing out loud at this tale. Charlie is a great storyteller, and the bonus with this book is that he reviews all the popular diets - and I don't think he'll mind if I reveal that he "highly recommends" them all.
From Jennette Fulda's Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir comes this truism on page 26: I went through old photos recently trying to figure out how fat I had been at different times in my life. I found one from middle school, back when I felt like a human dump truck. I looked so thin. I wanted to invent a time machine for the sole purpose of going back to smack some sense into myself. You are almost never as fat as you think you are. If I could teach the fat girls of the world one thing, that would be it. Yep, that was me in high school. I look at pictures from that time and guess what? My huge thighs are normal. I was thin and cute, but I felt fat and was on a diet for most of high school. So sad when I think of it.
From Valerie Frankel's Thin is the New Happy on page 14 comes this tidbit about dieting while her husband went out of town for three weeks: ...it coincided with the kids' spring break and a major deadline for me. When dinnertime rolled around (every frigging night), I was too tired and stressed to bake the flounder and steam the broccoli. Pizza came to the emotional rescue. She's right; it's tough to cook healthy meals every night! I don't know how my mother did it. And let's face it, pizza, Chinese and Mickey D's are all quick, easy, and best of all, no dishes!
And from my favorite, and first book I read when I started this journey last May, Jen Lancaster's Such a Pretty Fat comes this about finally stepping on the scale after she sold her book proposal (page166): The only way I can fix this is by accepting it as reality. I step on Fletch's scale. A different number comes up. It's two pounds more. I'm not sure if I want to throw up or buy a third scale. I can't believe this is true...although it would explain a lot. Possibly this is why I sweat when I eat. Perhaps this is why I don't care to bend. Maybe this is why I can't climb a flight of stairs without sucking wind and why I peter out so easily at the gym. Conceivably this is why my mother clucks about my health whenever she sees me. Is it possible my raging self-esteem has kept me from confronting the truth? I guess I'll find out in the next six months. The worst thing is that if this number is accurate - and I'm grudgingly beginning to believe it may be - even when I lost fifty pounds, I will still be fat. Shit. It's like she was inside my head...and that fifty pound thing. Yep. Right here. If you haven't read Jen's book, RUN, don't walk, and get it - and while you're at it, read her other two books as well. She is one funny woman.
OK, if you made it this far, congratulations - you've got more stamina than you probably realize! Thanks for indulging me by reading something that I have been wanting to post for quite a while now. One more thing - I linked all of the books to Amazon.com so you could see their pretty covers, but if you are planning on purchasing any of them, please support your local independent bookseller (if you have one in your town - I don't).
I went to Steinmart after work today - they were having a huge clearance, plus I had a coupon for an additional 20% off, so I thought I'd see if I needed anything ::cough, cough:: (of course I didn't *need* anything, but it's fun to look!). Anyway, it occurred to me as I was perusing the racks, that I was shopping in the regular-size section, just like I belonged there! Oh the times, they certainly have changed!
I tried on a cute pair of jeans, which were kind of long (have I mentioned that I'm altitudinally-challenged? Try 5' 1 1/2"), but I put on my black boots with them and bam! I had long legs! OK, long-for-me legs. And I looked good! Now, in the old days, if I tried something on and it actually looked decent on me, I would buy it. Because, sadly, that just didn't happen very often. But actually, everything I tried on today fit. And I didn't buy any of it. Why? Well, I'm hoping that in the next three months, after I've firmed, toned and yes, lost more weight, I'll be a smaller size and will truly need some new clothes. But for today, it was just fun to try stuff on.
All right, I did buy one thing...a huge red ceramic dog bowl for Paco the wonder dog - total cost after coupon: $4.44. Bargain! I've been wanting to get a bigger bowl for him for a long time now, as he self-feeds (meaning he eats when he is hungry and stops when he is full, and maintains a healthy weight - oh, the things I could learn from my dog!), and because we don't feed him every day, I forget to check the bowl and often find it empty and wonder how long he's been without food (bad dog mama!). So now I can rest easy, at least when it comes to my dog.
I finally weighed myself - haven't done that since around Thanksgiving - and I am at an all-time low! Oh happy day!!! I'm sure you must be wondering why on earth I've gone so long between weigh-ins. Well, I don't own a scale, so I weigh on my Wii Fit. Which is connected to the TV in my family room. Which, for the past month, has been taken over by my kids who are home from college. Yeah, there was no way I was going to get on that and have my weight broadcast for all to see - it's one thing for my family to see my fatness...no need for them to know the actual horrifying numbers!
Interesting tidbits about this whole "Eating Season" and how I did:
I had a spell of about 3 weeks where I was overeating most days;
I ate fudge, "Texas Trash" (think white chocolate-coated Chex Mix), pumpkin bread and Christmas cookies to excess - it seemed like the more I ate these sugary foods, the more I wanted them;
I actually got sick of how I felt every time I ate that much sugar, and stopped indulging - ok, it took a lot of "feeling sick" before I finally stopped, but the point is that I eventually listened to my body;
I was able to get back on track with my eating - obviously, as I know that I had gained a few, so I lost that and some "fresh pounds" as well.
It's time to move on to Plan "B." Recently, I entered a local contest to win a 12 week workout challenge, with a personalized plan for both cardio and strength training, workouts twice a week at a facility with a trainer, and nutrition guidelines...and found out today that I made it to the top ten, but wasn't chosen as the winner. I felt pretty good about my entry letter, and got a nice response from the trainer, but obviously they felt someone else was more deserving of the awesome free prize. Boo! However, the trainer did offer me a discount for the Feb - April session, and I've decided to take him up on it. I have never done anything like this...heck, I've never been on a treadmill or an elliptical, for that matter! I'm a little apprehensive, but I know I need to get to the next level with my fitness, and paying for this and having someone waiting for me to show up at a certain day and time will really hold me accountable, which I need at this point.
In a way, I'm glad I didn't win, because my name, weight and measurements, along with weekly updates, would have been posted on our local online community message board, and that would be scary! Shoot, I don't even do that here! I had resigned myself to that, were I to win, but it's a relief to not have to deal with it.
So. I will start February 9th, which means I have four weeks to get myself moving again with my bike and Wii Fit so that I will have a modicum of stamina when I begin the challenge. Nothing like a deadline to motivate me!
In other diet news, I have been waking up hungry the past few days, which means that I've been sticking to my plan. I did my NutriMed 420 shakes at work on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and I've been eating sensibly for my meals. I started tracking my food intake at myfitnesspal.com, which I heard about from Cookie. I have tried the daily plate, spark people and other online trackers in the past, with not much success - they have been hard for me to work. But this new tracker is very easy, and I even figured out how to customize it - for example, it automatically tracks calories, carbs, fat and proteins, but I also like to track my fiber intake, and I figured out how to change the settings and add that as well...may not sound like much to some people, but for me, it is a big deal. I am a very slow learner with this internet/html/computer stuff! So thanks, Cookie...and check it out!
I made Taco Soup yesterday using the recipe Deborah from A Mountain of Weight to Lose had posted...and I have to say it was soooo good! In fact, my husband and sons loved it and really complimented me on it, and I don't think they were doing that just because I was in a bad mood yesterday! Any case, the entire pot is gone (yes, I have piranhas living with me at the moment) but I plan on making another one next week, and I'll freeze some individual portions for an easy, filling meal. Speaking of filling, that soup really held me - I was not hungry at all later in the evening, as I sometimes can be after a soup dinner.
I'm back at work (which is why this is just a quickie), and I'm glad I made my "no baked goods" resolution. This morning there is a plethora of muffins, fruit and cheese on the table behind my desk...and the sweet ladies who put it there have been urging the food on me. And there is an open house here on Saturday, which means more goodies. I may have to start using the "I'm allergic to wheat" excuse that one of my commenters left me!
I'm staying strong - I would like to be done with the "weight loss" part of this by my birthday, which is June 2 - and get on to the "maintenance" part. Maybe I'll start shouting "No More Baked Goods!" ala Joan Crawford's "No More Wire Hangers!" rant. Or maybe I'll just keep my mouth shut, both literally and figuratively. We'll see...
Lately for breakfast, I have been eating non-fat Greek yogurt topped with a half tablespoon of strawberry jam, and a cup of Kashi Crunch cereal - either Honey Almond Flax or their original, which is cinnamon flavored. I dip the bigger cereal nuggets into the plain yogurt, and then, when I am down to the smaller bits, I stir the jam into the remaining yogurt and then mix in the cereal...YUM! It takes me a while to eat, and I really enjoy it! The whole thing ends up at around 325 calories, with a lot of protein and fiber.
So, what is the point of this post, other than to share my delicious breakfast with y'all? Well, yesterday around lunchtime, I wanted to have my yogurt concoction again - it just sounded good. And I told myself no, because I had already eaten it for breakfast. I ended up scavanging the fridge for lunch and ate two Ball Park white meat turkey hot dogs, which aren't horrible, as they are only 45 calories each...but they were in 130 calorie buns...so that ended up being a 350 calorie meal that wasn't nearly as satisfying as my breakfast, plus it was not nearly as healthy.
Why didn't I just listen to my inner voice? It's not like I was wanting something like pizza or a cheeseburger or an ice cream sundae (which are all fine to eat as long as I have planned for them in my diet) - for crying out loud, I was craving something wonderful and I denied myself! And after I had the hot dogs, I felt like I had blown my diet for the day, and it took a lot of mental struggling to convince myself otherwise. I think I could have avoided this had I just listened to myself. Lesson learned.
Exercise: I inadvertently got a bike ride in yesterday when Paco the wonder (or should I say wander) dog decided to go to the neighborhood park by himself. Sometimes he's just like a kid, fixated on fun and not the consequences of his actions. Of course, by the time I got to the park and called him, he came blasting out from some bushes with, I swear, a huge grin on his face...argh, it's hard to be mad at such a happy dog!
Diet: I'm eating more than I should be in order to lose weight (have I mentioned that it's hard to diet with kids in the house?), and even though we went to Wings n More for dinner tonight, I only had 5 hot wings, maybe 10 fries, and 1 1/2 chicken tenders...oh, and two celery sticks, haha. I gave the rest of the food that was in my basket to my human garbage disposal, er, husband. What makes this day a diet success for me is that later on, my kids went out to DQ for Blizzards, and came home with them, plus one for my husband. They had offered to get one for me, but I said no. And ate my nightly apple. So really, I'm ahead of the game, at least for today!
And now I'm off to watch "What Not To Wear" which always inspires me to keep on this track because I want to buy new, smaller clothes - soon!