Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Overwhelmed from yesterday

Yesterday and today I spent a lot of time reflecting. Thinking about this journey. Where I have been, where I am now and where I hope to be.

So many people were commenting on my photos. I look beautiful. I look radiant. I look happy. I look proud. And it's a weird feeling. Reality is, I should have looked all of those things all along. I shouldn't have needed to transform. It shouldn't be such a surprise or shock for people who know me now to see where I have been and for people who knew me then to see me now.

But, it happened. And I have to come to terms with the fact that I didn't care enough about myself to take care of myself better. And as I stated in a post to someone earlier, even this journey began not for myself, but for my children, especially my then 5 year old autistic son. I thought, "Oh my god, I may not live long enough to raise my son if I don't do something about my health. He needs me more than anyone else in the world." This journey was started for him... not for myself. Not for my own fear for my own mortality.

And then, almost immediately, I started to feel life breathe back into me. And people around me noticed. They said I radiated. They said I was exuberant and enthusiastic and full of life. And I am, I guess. I don't know... I'm just "me".

I don't know if it was how I was raised, or if there is something internal to me, or what. I know I've always been a very nurturing kind of person, but I have always, always, always put everyone else before me. And now, through this journey, I have made myself a higher priority.

I first told my husband I wasn't going to do the morning wake up in the morning if I didn't get a full night's sleep - they had to choose - me up late with them, or up early with them - not both ends of the day. I couldn't do it any more.  I started carving out time for exercise. I started buying nicer, well fitting clothes, doing my hair, wearing some makeup, wearing perfume.

And guess what? I felt better and then I took better care of my family. I had more energy for my children and for my husband. I felt less alone. I felt less trapped in this world of always giving, giving, giving.

Now, I still give a lot. That is just in my nature, but I'm not denying myself in the process. I spent my entire life up until a year ago doing that.

So, then I sometimes feel selfish, but OK, sometimes you need to be selfish. I have needs too.

But it is strange to get so much attention for getting healthier. As a friend said, "don't get too used to it as people will stop commenting once the weight is off for awhile." But I'm OK with that. I don't crave this attention. Remember, I'm the girl who used to cry whenever anyone took out a camera to take a picture of me. I am uncomfortable having the physical me being a focus. I don't know why that is. And maybe it's part of the reason I got fat - I don't know - hiding behind my fat.

Anyway, thank you all. Over 250 people read yesterday's blog post (or it was read 250 times - maybe by only one person? LOL). On average days, it's more like 40-50 people read my blog, so it was a huge spike. Thank you for celebrating this journey with me.

Stats for 1/31/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 175

Monday, January 30, 2012

Photos!!! - 80 pounds lost this journey, 100 pounds total!

Ok, finally, I got to this point in December and then gained weight over the holidays, so wanted to wait until I got to that weight (again). And here I am... How ironic, that I actually gained weight the last two days to put me exactly at 80 pounds lost for this journey and 100 pounds in total. Photos were taken at 81 pounds/101 pounds total lost. As always, to see the photos larger, click on them.

First, my true before photo at 275. (Only ones I have at this weight that aren't blurry):

I was there for about 1.5 years in weight. I was wearing a tight 20 pants/shorts and size 2X shirts. Then I dropped for half a year with a move and stress, but was back up to 265 very quickly. At 263 I got pregnant, lost a bit after having a baby, but gained right back up to 265 very quickly. I was 265 for a total of about 5 years. Here is a photo at 265. I was wearing a comfortable size 20 shorts and 2X t-shirt.

Then we moved again, and I lost weight during that move down to 255. I was that weight for a year before starting this purposeful journey now. Here are a few at 255. I'm wearing a very loose 20 jeans and 2x shirt in this photo. Just after this I bought a few tighter size 18s. I have saved this pair of size 20 jeans for comparison shots when I get down to goal of 160:

The above two are when I was feeling very bad. I had been having nonstop headaches and finally cut my hair. This is exactly 1 month before I started this journey.

And here I am now. Tada!!!! At 174. I have about 15 more pounds until I hit my goal end weight. Right now I wear anywhere from a size 8 to size 12 depending on the cut and designer. I figure in 15 more pounds I'm be wearing a 6-10 depending on the designer and cut.

First the better photos as I'm 'dressed up' a bit, and then the photos with mommy clothes. In these photos I'm wearing a size large top and size 10 pants. The black ones the waist are too big and keep sliding down. I need an 8 in that designer now. The 10 jeans are beginning to be a bit baggy in the last photos as well:

 I wasn't happy with the mommy sweater clothes because it looked like I had a roll of fat with the sweater, but I don't, it's just how the sweater folds over in the middle.

I noted yesterday that my face looks so strange to me now. I haven't seen it that thin since before high school graduation and I think my mouth and nose look so big because they aren't being dwarfed by double chins and huge, puffy cheeks. I can also see how my hair has really thinned out. Which I hope will reverse itself as my thyroid finally gets back to normal. At least it seems the hair loss has stopped.

And, of course, I've aged over the time. First photos were over a decade ago! I think I can safely say, I look a lot different, but you can see it's me!

Stats for 1/30/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 175

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wore my new boots!

Wore the new boots and I didn't feel like me. They fit fine. I wore them all day and my feet don't hurt. I am such a classics kind of gal, that it didn't feel like the skirt and pumps or the slacks and dress shoes that I'm used to.

My husband said that I looked a bit like a biker chick. Ha! Ha! I think they would be fun to wear for going out, whenever that might happen again. I also had my husband take new photos of me again today in these different clothes (sorry, no pictures of the boots, maybe next time), but I am happier with these pictures and I will post them tomorrow.

I had to laugh at the pictures though. As my face is thinning out, my nose and mouth are looking big to me. They are no longer being overpowered by the fat in my face I guess and it's making them stand out more and in maybe not such a nice way to me.

Anyway, it's funny how I'm rediscovering my face too! Busy day today, but a good one. No exercise on Sundays, but I'm all ready for spinning tomorrow morning and then, I have to start painting at home, ugh!

Stats for 1/29/12:
Highest weight: 275. Now: 174.6

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Took new photos but not posting them yet

I had my husband take new photos of me today as I have reached and gone beyond the 80 pounds lost of this current journey (again). However, I'm not very happy with them. They are fine in quality, but I don't think I wore an outfit that shows any progress from 20 pounds ago until now. I just can't see it. So, of course, now I wonder, is it that I am just bigger than I think I am? Or is it really that the outfit was a poor choice for taking a picture so you can't see the difference as well as you might in other clothes? Or, is it that I can't see past the imperefections and focus on all the things I still see are remnants of my obesity? I was just wearing jeans and a wool hoodie sweater for the picture, nothing fancy, but they do fit well - not tight and not baggy. It's my usually mom clothes for winter. The jeans are a size 10 from DKNY and the sweater is a Smart Wool sweater in a size large. Down from a size 20 Pants and size 2X sweater and in the last photos I took I was wearing a size 14 bottoms, I think... Yes, I'm pretty sure. So I should be able to see a differerence! I'll go look at the pictures again once we get them off the camera. Maybe they are better than I think they are, but we will see. Or maybe I have a lot more weight to lose than I think I do and I don't want to think about how much longer this journey is going to be. While I'm not losing my determination, finding an end is appealing too. I want to get onto the maintaining phase where I'm not constantly thinking about when will I see the next pound drop on the scale. Stats for 1/28/12: Heighest weight: 275. Now: 174.0 Total hours worked out in 2012: 19/250

Friday, January 27, 2012

Me, Ms. Straight-Laced is thinking about a tattoo

I have always been one to think that tattoos are not something you will want to have on your body forever. How can you know that you will like the same design? And don't even get me started on the trend of inking lover's names on your body. Just as a quick reminder - Roseanne Arnold Barr and Pamela Anderson Lee.

But... there have been some tattoos I thought were great. In college, a fellow RA got a Woody Woodpecker Tattoo on his groin. I thought that was pretty hilarious and who would see it besides someone he was intimate with? And I've heard of people coming up with some great ideas to memorialize loved ones who have passed on. When they are small and discrete, I can get that.

So, while I've been thinking of ways to celebrate getting to goal and maintaining  weight loss, I've thought about perhaps getting a tattoo to celebrate this journey. Of course, a year after maintaining, I might not see the point like I do now while in the thick of the journey, but I know this journey will never really be over and I will need to continue to celebrating maintenance as I know how easy it is to gain uncontrollably.

But what to get and where to put it? If I put it somewhere completely private - like a boob (no I wouldn't go there, just saying), then what's the point of getting it? But I don't want a tattoo glaring out when I'm all dolled up for a ballet either.

So, I have no idea what part of my body I would put it, and I'm just as undecided about what to ink. The only think that has come to me so far are the words, "Never again." Not sure why that pops into my head, but it does. It's kind of how I've felt as I've gone down each size in clothing - never again will I be a 20, 18, 16, 14. Never again will I be so unfit that I huff and puff while crossing a parking lot (unless some terrible injury happens of course).

I have time to think about it and maybe someone will have some grand idea about it, but I like the idea of it being permanent because this weight loss needs to be permanent. My health is way important to me and now that I am healthy, I'm not going to give it up without a fight! So, a permanent reminder prize of where I have been and never want to be again might make me smile every time I see the tattoo. The loose skin and stretch marks aren't the prize for the weight loss, but the punishment for getting fat in the first place. But, I'll take those lumps. I've earned them and they are a lesson to me too. Never again.

Stats for 1/27/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 174.2
Total hours exercised in 2012: 18/250

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Getting used to this body of mine

It is definitely an adjustment from going from 275 pounds to 174 pounds, 81 of those pounds in the last year. I am still amazed at how small my clothes look before putting them on and I'm still amazed they fit without a struggle to put them on. And I'm amazed when I got to a fitness class that I'm not the fattest one in class any more.

When I went to yoga the other day, the instructor knew I was newer (and struggling) but she said, "I can tell you do other exercise. Are you a runner?" She could see by looking at me (or maybe it was my fitness clothes) that I am not a novice to fitness any more... though my head still tends to go to the "it must be the clothes, not that my body looks fit".

And, I notice the second looks in the store from men - even with my hair in a pony tail and no make-up on. I'm not all dolled up - but in my normal mom attire, but I guess I look better, more attractive, even au natural and at 42 years old.

It's amazing, and it's making me more determined to keep going for more. At this point even, it's not even about the weight loss. That will be a consequence of getting more fit. I just want to be more fit. I want to power through a workout at the same intensity as I see those fitness mavens in class. For once in my life, I want to feel strong and fit and healthy.

But I am beginning to get used to some of it. I went shopping yesterday - mostly just trying on clothes as I don't really need anything. It's a test of sorts to see how I'm doing. I can eyeball a pair of pants and know if they will fit or not. Same with dresses. Yesterday I took back to the dressing room, 3 pairs of pants and 3 dresses. One dress was a size 8 and the other two were 10s (one being the same as the 8). The pants were two 8s and one 10. The size 8 dress fit perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that I bought it. It's a good spring dress that will look good even 15 pounds down as it's a jersey knit dress. I could tell by looking that I should try the 8 first... Yep. I didn't even need to try the 10. And with the pants, the two 8s fit and the 10 fit.

I've gotten to the point now that I think that 14s look big. Oh, how I remember when I would longingly look at a 14 and dream of being able to fit into it. So, I'm glad I'm beginning to see the thinner me - that my mind is beginning to catch up with the body, but it's still shocking at times. I probably will be continued to be shocked as I lose the last bit of weight. 14 more pounds to go until I reassess.

Stats for 1/26/12:

Highest weight: 275 Current weight: 174.0
Total hours worked out in 2012: 16.5/250

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Learning more about my body

I have always been by tight in the muscles. I've never been able to touch my toes. Never able to reach around my back with my arms in those contorted ways so many people can do. Absolutely never.

One time, a decade ago with lots of exercise and stretching I got to the point of finally being able to touch my toes like, just scraping by a teeny bit, but that was with a lot of work and persistence. Why is it so difficult for me? Well, I have now taken four yoga classes and i ink i have figured it out. And I've decided I like yoga and it will be a good additional my fitness regimen. I now do a combo of cardio, stretch/yoga and strength training. It's well rounded and will make me a healthier me. In strength training and cardio, I can pretty much do what the instructor shows me to do. But yoga, that will take a lot of time and practice.

What I am learning is that for as far as beginners go, I'm in pretty good shape for most poses. I can do the tree pose and the warrior poses and poses that involve stretching the back and arms and torso about as well as all the other beginners. We are all equally bad. But then we get to things with the legs, specifically the hamstrings and that is where I really see how unbelievably tight I am compared to all the other beginners.

Since I'm new to yoga, I don't know all the names of things yet, but there are a few exercises we have done I simply cannot do without modifications or I do them at a super baby level. The first is when you take a strap and put it under the sole of a foot and while lying on your back, extend that foot up with the knee straightened. The instructor has her foot all the way up at 90 degrees to her torso. Most people in class get their legs from 60-90 degrees. Me? I'm not sure I'm getting to 30 degrees off the ground.

Another pose we do is where you put your butt against the wall and hold your legs straight against the wall. This is supposed to be a comfortable pose. Huh! To keep my legs straight, my butt has to be about a foot away from the wall. I'm the only person in the entire beginners class who had to scoot out to do this pose. So, I got to wondering why? Why am I so darn tight in the hamstrings (and ankles).

I can see now that with most things I'm pretty typical for a beginner yoga person, but then with hamstring stretches (and some ankle dexterity moves), I'm way tighter than anyone else. And I think i know the answer as it is the same problem I get with my shins, so why wouldn't it be a problem with my other muscles in the legs?

It's those darn short toes again and it makes sense. I look at the other people in the classroom in their bare feet. And their toes can grab and spread out. They are functional. My foot can't do any of that because all my toes except my big toe are half the size of most people's toes. I used to have a waddle type walk because of this foot problem. I corrected it somewhat to look better, but the function of my feet are always off. If I can't roll off my foot onto my toes like everyone else can, I have to compensate everywhere else. And because if my walking motion for 42 years has been sub optimal, my ankle can't bend up well and my hamstrings have tightened. they are never asked to move in the full range of motion because my foot doesn't move in the full range of motion.

So, like a woman who wears high heels all the time, over time she shortens the ligaments in some parts of her leg, I get that too with my body because of my toes malformations. It doesn't mean I can't loosen these muscles or shouldn't bother to loosen these muscles and ligaments. To the contrary, I think it is imperative that I work on them because the problem probably gets worse and worse over time putting more strain on my body.

So, if nothing else, yoga is helping me learn more about my body, but I know it will help me get to a better place with range of movement in my legs too. It's like my own personal physical therapy.

Stats for 1/25/12:
Highest weight: 275. Now: 174.2 (3 more pounds to get to my pre-holiday weight)
Total hours worked out in 2012: 15/250

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The feelings when someone loses faster than you

I am sure anyone who is losing weight, has lost weight or even plans to lose weight can relate to this. And I don't know if it's our competitive nature or our own self-critical minds, but it bugs a lot of us when we have to face the fact that someone (many someones perhaps) have lost weight faster and better than we did or are doing.

I belong to a weight loss forum and have been there about a year. Hmmm.... I should look up that anniversary date! Anyway, since I've been there for awhile, I have seen people come and go. I have seen some people reach goal and a lot more some bodies give up and lots of people like me still chugging along. With almost everyone, myself included, the beginning weight comes off the fastest. Remember when I was losing 14 pounds a month? And the last weight comes off more slowly. By that time though, you have momentum and progress on your side, so you can usually dig in and find the determination to keep going for it, but the mental game gets harder and that is when a lot of people quit.

But a lot of us don't quit. So, we keep doing our best and soon you see that you a passing by other people who have been losing weight longer than you and you feel great. You might have thoughts in your head like, "Wow, I didnt think I would ever be as small as 'Mary' and now look, I weight less than she does!" (notice I'm not feeling like I'm better, but that I'm amazed at my own progress) and then there will be people who started after you and weighed more than you and then they pass you by. You remember weighing weigh less than they did and now they weight less than you and you think, "Gee, maybe I'm not doing enough if someone caught up with me and surpassed me?" or "I guess I'm not doing so hot if people are losing better than I am. What am I doing wrong?"

We get caught up in our thoughts and since this long term weight loss journey is mostly a head game, it can undo you. I was just reading about someone reaching goal yesterday and I am completely thrilled for this person. She did it by calorie counting and exercising, just like I am doing. In 1.5 years she lost over 180 pounds. That floored me. It's taken me a year to lose 80 pounds and I've been trying for the last month just to get back to that 80 pounds after just a few days of indulgences made me gain a ton of weight. She ran circles around me in how fast the weight came off and it deflated me for a second. I felt it diminished what I have been doing.

But, it doesn't. There is no race to the finish. There is no "she is better" "I am better" business with weight loss. So many things come into play. Age, health, determination, diet, etc. Some people take off only a pound or two a month, losing ever so slowly, but guess what? They are getting there all the same! Just like some of us gained quickly, some of us gained slowly. The loss will be the same.

That woman who lost over 180 pounds in a sensible way had more determination than me. Had more stick-to-it-iveness that I did and good for her! But that doesn't mean that I should frown on my weight loss speed or method. Or at anyone who is moving more slowly than I am moving. It is an individual battle and some people's battles are mo difficult than others and have more obstacles.

So, I am saying this for myself and for others who might feel discouraged now or again about their speed of weight loss. Just do YOUR best. Don't compare. Don't get caught up in the mind game, because if you a losing or maintaining a loss, you are already doing better than the average!

And I say is on a day I gained .8 pounds overnight. Sigh. We went out to lunch yesterday and even though I was under for calories in total yesterday, sodium or something must have been sky high. It happens.

Stats for 1/24/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 175.8

Monday, January 23, 2012

Let me tell you about this great product! PB2 and Protein Plus Peanut Flour

For many people who read 3FC, you already know about it, but maybe not. What is so special about this stuff? It is real peanut butter that has been defatted and made into a powder. I love, love, love peanut butter on apple slices with cinnamon for lunch, but 3 tablespoons of Jif peanut butter (my favorite) is 285 calories and a ton of fat. The fat I'm not too worried about as it's the healthy fats which provide you with a natural source of vitamin E. What I didn't like was the amount of calories it has because of the fat. But, could defatted peanut butter be filling enough and still taste yummy?


I found it at Whole Foods which was nice as it gave me a chance to try it without having to order it in a bigger order or pay shipping and handling. The first time I got just the regular PB2, but next time I got the chocolcate flavor. It is yummo. The first couple times I tried it I mixed it with water as it said, but the next times, I just sprinkled it on my apple as a powder. I found that one serving, 2 tablespoons for 45 calories, is not equivalent in size, hunger filing capacity as one serving of regular peanut butter. When I make it with water, I need 4 tablespoons, but when I use it dry, 3 tablespoons works fine. And for a meal, 68 for 3 tablespoons or 90 calories for tablespoons of peanut butter is way better in caloric intake than 285!

And is it as filling? Yes, if you increase the serving size like I did. And the PB2 with chocolate? Wow is that yummy! It's like a Reese's Peaunut butter cup, or reminiscent of Nutella (which may taste divine, but is total junk food). Several people on 3FC say they stir it into cottage cheese or into yogurt and they love it that way. It's so versatile!

How does it differ from peanut butter? Well, its texture is different. It has a slightly hummus like texture. You can play with the water amounts to see if you find a better texture for you. Or, as I read somewhere else, do half peanut butter and half protein powder to get a truer feeling of peanut butter in the mouth. When I use it though, I find it FINE. 

But, it is pricey. $5.49 for a jar at Whole Foods ($5.99 at Dave's Natural Market down the street from me) which says it has 15 servings, but really, only 10 how I use it. I mean, it's not bad, but quite a bit pricier than regular peanut butter. And, it's sweetened a bit (like Jif is). But since I liked it, I decided to look to see if there are other ways to buy it cheaper. And, of course, if you buy it bulk it is cheaper, but then I found out more!

Seems until last year Trader Jo's sold a defatted powdered peanut butter, but as they are known to do, they discontinued it. With a bit more searching I found there are other companies that make it and sell it online including the company who made the Trader Jo's label. Here is the link that company. Google it and several sites sell it in smaller quantities. http://proteinplusflour.com/ Hmmm... Sounds very interesting! And, these aren't presweetened, so it would taste more like natural peanut butter or you could sweeten it yourself with sugar or no calorie sweeteners.

Another tip I read is that you can make the peanut butter chocolate version simply by adding a bit of cocoa powder and a bit of whatever ever kind of sweeteneer you want. This was beginning to sound fantastic! I'm imagining all the things I can make with it, truffles, peanut butter balls, and so on. And even better? These other peanut butter powders are way, way cheaper. Like $10 for 2 pounds instead of $8 for one pound of PB2 (online price). Score!

I've heard of people exchanging peanut butter powder for part of the peanut butter in peanut butter cookies, for the peanut butter in Thai sauces and so on. How fun! (Seems there are recipes on the Protein Plus website I will need to check out).

And you get the protein, but not the calories from fat (but again I will say, nut fats are way better for you, so if you are going to go low fat, do it be ridding your diet of animal fats, not vegetable fats). I love that this is natural, and not some chemical concoction. And it is filling, so it seriously works as a good alternative without leaving me hungry. So, of course, I have some on order and I will update what I discovered about it. I don't usually talk about food products, but I thought others might find this useful info as well.

Stats for 1/23/12:

Highest weight 275 Now: 175.0

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is it about hormones?

I am feeling blah today and I have no reason to be other than my hormones. I had a good night of sleep. I am not stressed. I gave a talk today among my friends and it went well, so why am I feeling blah? I understand the hormones role for my fertility, but why does it mess with my emotions? Anyone who believes in intelligent design hasn't looked too carefully at all the design bugs we humans have!

The crazy thing about this month is that I didn't gain weight before it hit (which was yesterday) which has me wondering how much water weight I am still holding and what it will mean in the next few days. Every time I think I have my body figured out it throws me for a loop and this past month my body has thrown me for one gigantic loop! First gaining all that weight so fast and then the slow and steady loss right up to the start of my monthly cycle.

Always keeping me on my toes. I wish I had something fun and witty today, but I truly feel blah today. Tomorrow I'll be talking about defatted peanut butter though!

Stats for 1/22/12:
highest weight 275.0. Now: 175.6

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Finally back to 80 pounds lost with this weight loss journey

I started last January at 255.6. Today (again) I hit 175.6. A full 80 pounds done (again). Six more ounces and I'll be a full 100 pounds down from my start weight of highest weight ever. Again. I keep wondering what I want my reward to be for getting to my initial goal and I'm not sure! I need to replace my stolen heart rate monitor (grrr) but now I'm also intrigued by things like the bodybugg or body media device which is exactly the same as the bodybugg. I want it to be something that celebrates my new healthy lifestyle. So, going out for dinner or getting a big bowl of ice cream seems counter productive. Right? I really have a hard time spending money on myself. I mean, when I need to, I do. Like I got myself new clothes when my clothes started to get too big for me, but that was out of necessity. But buying something just for me, that benefits no one but me is something I just can't do easily. Hmmm... Maybe that is why I have so many kitchen gadgets. I can justify buying something or cooking as it benefits the entire family? It's the only thing time I don't feel "too" guilty about it. Hmmm... Even with this summer challenge of getting to 160, my reward is a nice swimming suit. It's something I need anyway. I'll just get a better fitting one. I'm rambling, as my thoughts are all over the place. It's the second time of reaching 80 pounded lot and I'm still unsure of how to celebrate it! I've only had a year plus a few weeks to think about it! Gee whiz!

Stats for 1/21/12:
Highest weight ever: 275. Now: 175.6
Total hours exercised in 2011: 12.5/250

Friday, January 20, 2012

This fear of loose skin

Last night while I was getting ready for bed, I did a body inspection. My body is not a pretty sight in the nude. My stomach is a railroad of stretch marks as are my butt, thighs and back of my underarms and knees. But really, only the stomach ones are noticeable unless someone looks with a discerning eye (only someone like my mother in law would point at the faded white lines on my calves like she did last summer). Those stretch marks are there, but the skin looks like normal skin with streaks. For some reason stretch marks on the stomach are completely different. They are deeper. They sink in and leave the skin feeling full of peaks and valleys.

Then there is the loose skin. Places it seems to be a problem are the under arms, inner thigh, stomach and around the elbow area and under my chin. Since I'm not at goal yet, I don't know how much is fat and how much is loose skin. It is hard to tell, because skin isn't a thin tissue. It's multi-layered and with it is attached fat. It's hard to describe.

I guess the best way to describe my stomach right now is pretty darn close to how a woman feels and looks just after having a baby. The stomach is all squishy and feels like jello. You can grab it wiggle it around and make funny shapes with it. That is loose skin. Loose skin is not like a piece of turkey flesh you can peel off the breast and I think that is what most people think about when they think about loose skin.

I'm not brave enough to show my own body in this state, but this is what loose skin on the tummy looks like and the thighs and so on. (Taken from a plastic surgeon's site):

Mine looks a bit worse than this (and more stretch marks). But, it's close.

What I'm noticing though, is that it is shrinking up. I don't have much hanging folded skin and that gives me hope that with a bit more time, it will still shrink up so that I don't have problems with folds of skin where I get rashes from sweating, especially in the summer. Something people tend to forget or don't even realize, is that skin is slow to shrink up. It can take years for it to bounce back up. So, deciding on a tummy tuck, or lower body lift, etc. 6 months or a year after weight loss is too soon. Give it time. Give it two to three years and give yourself two to three years to really heal and recuperate from the weight loss and to be sure you are going to maintain your weight loss too.

I know I can't erase the damage done to my body because of the decades of being overweight, but I'm also not giving up hope or feeling disgusted about my body because of it. I look a lot better clothed and naked thinner than heavier. AND I'm definitely healthier (the most important thing of all!). And unless I run into chaffing skin, I won't be doing any surgery.

I see so many women on weight loss sites fretting about the loose skin, but really, it's life. We all have imperfections. We all have life scars and it's OK. Really. And if a sexual partner has a problem with your life scars, they aren't worth having around. Any man or woman I know wants a healthy partner. Life scars seem irrelevant. We all grow older. We all will get saggy skin and we all will hopefully die when we are all saggy and baggy - life scars eventually happens to everyone if they live long enough. And wouldn't you rather live long enough?

Stats for 1/20/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 176.0

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The holiday weight gain in our family

At this point, back to plan for over a week, we can all look at the damage the holidays caused. My husband gained four pounds. My mother in law is counting from when she was sick and couldn't eat, so is counting seven pounds. It's probably more like three to four for her. And for me, it was about six pounds. During the holidays we all ate freely. I was still cautious with alcohol and consuming calories I didn't enjoy. We didn't exercise during the holidays. Well, I did a couple times, but that is it. And for my mother in law and husband, they weren't active in any way. I was standing on my feet for hours in the kitchen, versus sitting on my duff, but not actively working out. So, why did I gain the most? Because my body feels it needs to gain the most.

With losing weight, my body doesn't know that it's not starving. It doesn't know that I have a stocked pantry and refrigerator and that I'm just choosing to eat less than I burn every day. So, when it got all that food, it wanted to store it all. First, in glycogen stores (remember I gained 14.5 pounds in 17 days) and then some as fat, about 6 pounds worth. The glycogen stores are being depleted again and I hope I'm working on the fat by this point. I'm exercising rigorously nearly every day and eating below maintenance calories (thought still not as low as I was before the holidays hit).

From this little experiment of eating more freely for a short period of time, I can see how it would lead to many people just giving up. Seeing a 14 plus pound increase in 17 days by just eating more, but not at binge eating levels could be very, very discouraging if you don't understand it. And even knowing that you need to relose six pounds of previous lost weight is frustrating. Getting down to 171.2 the first time was thrilling. Going for that number again a month or two later is discouraging. It is easy to feel  you have reached a start point again, not that you have accomplished a new goal. It's a mind game.

People who are naturally thin probably do this all the time as normal life. They see their pants are tight, so they eat a bit less for awhile. And cycle through the same 5 pounds every few months - up and down. After the holidays, after Super Bowl Sunday, after Easter, after the Memorial Day weekend and so on. They find that balancing act. Whereas I have only known gaining and losing. This whole maintaining thing will be new. Well, that is not exactly true, but I'm sure maintaining at 160 will be a lot different than maintaining at 255 or 265 like I did for awhile and it was never really a conscious decision. It just happened.

So, I'm trying not to be discouraged by the weight gain over the holidays and I'm trying to learn from it. This is probably more like how eating and living should be when you live in a place and time where food is abundant. My body didn't evolved in the modern technological age. So it can't know to hold steady. It's programmed to gain. I just need to learn how to deal with that long term.

Stats for 1/19/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 176.4
Total hours worked out in 2012: 11.5/250

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Found some before photos of 275 and 265

I was searching for  before photos of me at a water park about three years ago, but I couldn't find them, but I did find some others. And actually, I found them shocking. I truly had fooled myself about how heavy I had gotten. While I knew I was fat, I didn't really see or feel as fat as I was. At least not until more recently when I was starting to get sick from the weight, bad diet, and inactivity.

So, here are several photos. The first four were taken the same time in 2003 when I was at my highest of 275. The next was taken in 2004 and the last in 2006. The first four I weighed 275. Then last two, 265. Which is twenty and ten pounds, respectively more than I weighed when I started for real with this weight loss this past January. And as always, you can click on the picture to enlarge it.

In Croatia at a castle with my husband, my father in law and my older son when he was six. (looks a lot like my younger son now!) I will never forget that day. We had to walk up a ton of stairs to get to the castle and I was dying from the exertion. The rest went on up and I huffed and puffed my way up. I was so terribly out of shape. I also remember really trying to look as skinny as possible for the photo which I utterly failed at.

In Croatia on a hot day.

In Croatia on another hot day.

At a banquet for work. This was me looking at my best (unfortunately, the picture quality is bad).

New Year's Eve (midnight) 2004

 Fall 2006, regained all the weight after having my youngest.

As far as newer photos, I do plan to take the 80 pounds lost from 255 to 175 when I get back down to 175 again. A bit less than two pounds to go! But seeing these true before photos was shocking. I avoided the camera as much as I could, so there aren't many of me, but here they are in their full glory. Yikes!

Never again!

Stats for 1/18/12:

Highest weight: 275 Now: 176.8
Total hours worked out in 2012: 10/250

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fighting the hunger

The last couple days I have been so hungry between meals which is not typical for me. I have had to give in and had a snack which has led to eating about 200 to 250 more calories per day than I would like. I'm making good choices (high protein, healthy snacks) but I have to wonder, why am I more hungry now?

Is it that my body is still readjusting to eating less after eating more over the holidays? Very likely. Is it that with starting up with exercise again it is increasing my hunger? Perhaps. Is it that it's winter and my natural tendency is to want to eat more? Perhaps. I simply don't know, but it's much more difficult to keep at it with being vigilant when I am feeling so much more hunger.

Maybe I need to keep myself more busy. I've been very "at home" the past couple weeks and so with that, I have more time to think about food too. I tend to think less about food when I'm out and about, but what the heck can I do? Especially without spending money? That is the catch isn't it? Most things cost money. You can only window shop for so long. And with it being a cold, rainy day today" who wants to walk outside? Cooking at home leads to no good either. Hmmm...

Well, today I'm hoping not to cave to the hunger pangs and I hope I get past them soon! Doing yoga this evening with my husband. I was supposed to do it this morning, but I can't drag myself to yoga with some moral support, so this evening it will be.

Stats for 1/17/12:

Heighest weight: 275.0 Now: 177.0 (no changed since yesterday)
Total hours exercised in 2012: 9/250

Monday, January 16, 2012

At the point where I can see 5 pounds

Now that I have dropped 8.6 pounds of the 14.4 pounds I gained over the holidays, I can really see it. I could see my gut getting bigger when I gained, and I can see the gut getting smaller as I drop the weight. Of course, much of the weight I've lost so far has been water, but it's interesting where it was stored... Almost exclusively in the gut. I had more of a muffin top. When I looked in the mirror, I just saw an innertube middle, but as fast as it appeared, I see it disappearing. And I notice the 5 lbs now much more than when I was at higher weights. When I had gotten down to 171.2, the amount of extra was minimal and I just knew the next ten would come mostly from the gut as that is really the only place I have anything left. I think it will make my bathing suit challenge quite interesting.

I finally told my husband that I had lowered my weightloss goal from 165 to 160. He seemed a bit worried, but when I explained that I had gotten to 171 so fast and easily, he agreed that it seemed likely that I could get to 160, but he hopes that I will not get worried if things slow down. And I won't. Actually I fully expect the last ten pounds will be a slow process and if they aren't I will wonder should I go even lower if eating as I do and working out as I do I keep dropping. All I am sure about is that each 5 pounds from here on out will be noticeable whereas in th beginning, with so much fat, it took me 15 pounds and my husband over 20 pounds to notice a differencein my body. But even my husband notices the 5 pound changes now too.

And of course, as I get fitter, I might still get smaller without even dropping pounds as fat continues to be replaced by muscle and the loose skin slowly keeps tightening up (can take 3 years) and of course, that skin has weight to it too!

Not much else today, did spinning this morning and I'm set to do yoga tomorrow at a different gym with a different instructor. We'll see how it goes!

Stats for 1/16/12:

Heighest weight: 275. Now: 177.0
Total hours excercised in 2012: 9/250

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wore a 17 year old skirt today for the very first time.

Seventeen long years ago my mother in law and I both ordered lined wool pleased skirts from LLBean. Just about that time I had lost quite a bit of weight without trying (had been more active) and I was wearing a size 16. I ordered the skirt in a size 16 and it was too tight. LLBean, then and now, tends to run a bit smaller in sizes and, I had started gaining weight.

The skirt was expensive. I remember then, all those years ago it was $80. And I never had it in my heart to get rid of it. It's such a classic skirt, that I figured one day, maybe, I would be able to wear it.

When I lost all that weight in 1997/1998, I got to very close to being able to wear it, but it was the wrong season and I needed to lose a bit more. And again I gained and it became a dream skirt again and no longer a realistic possibility.

So, just before the holidays as I was taking stock of my winter wardrobe, I saw this skirt. Size 16. So funny to wonder if it would fit when I was wearing size 10s and 12s in other brands from today's sizes. And...It fit. Fit perfectly. Not too snug, not too loose. For the very first time, it fits. And it is a size 16 from 1995. I fit similarly in LLBean's size 12 now (and can squeeze uncomfortably in their 10s). Vanity sizing is real people!

The others funny thing to that story is that I wore a green wool sweater with that skirt that my mother in law gave me as a handmedown. That sweateer is 20 years old and it matches perfectly with the skirt. Classics are great!

This picture is not of me, but it is the exact same style/color of skirt. I even wore it with black stockings and vey similar shoes today.... Just a green wool sweater, not a black one. Classic blackwatch plaid.

Stats 1/15/12:

Heightest weight: 275. Now: 177.4
Total hours exercised in 2012: 8/250

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Yep, I finally tried yoga

I tried it Thursday evening. And up until we really got going, I was still nervous about it. It didn't help that there were people in the class stretching before we started and they could stretch way more than I ever could. Would this class be an epic fail moment in my life? At least my husband was with me to help me be brave!

So, we start. First difference is that the room is dark. The only light is coming through the glass block wall from the gym entryway. Second, I was unprepared for 10 minutes of sitting in the lotus position. It didn't help that the instructor had to come and improve my sitting posture, then I was sitting uncomfortably for the remaining 6 or so minutes. And then we start. In the beginning, nearly ever pose he had to help me with - downward dog and others I have no idea what they were called. Later, I did get better when we were doing standing poses. And, I could see the woman next to me was struggling as much as I was and needing correction as often. So, ok, I tied for worst in class!

I ran into trouble when we go to sitting on our sitting bones and did poses like that. I broke my tailbone while delivering a nearly 12 pound baby and there are a few positions I simply cannot sit in, yoga found such positions. Friends later told me about extra pads and a yoga pillow, so I'll look into that.

The class is long, 75 minutes, but only 55 of them arer doing poses. The last ten minutes we were lying comfortably on the floor and throughout the end, the instructor came and laid a lavender scented towel across our faces. And again, I started to get impatient (less so after the towel was placed on my face) as I had things to do yet this evening.

I can see how the meditation part of yoga could be very helpful, but I don't feel it is for me if it means 5 minutes later I'm out dealing with traffic and dealing with kids and so on. If I were doing yoga at home and could then work in a serene environment after class, then yes. Yoga would be awesome for relaxation, but I don't stay relaxed for long. I get wound up fast it seems!

It was great though for stretching my muscles. I was definitely the least limber in class, but that is not a competition. I just nee to work from where I am and try to improve my flexibility. Yoga seems great for that. But it does make you sore too. I was hurting from strength training, now I'm sore in new areas and that is from yoga.

All in all though, it was a positive and not scary experience. And I will do it again. So that I can say I'll do it again is a success. My husband liked it a lot, so another thing we can do together which is always a plus.

Stats for 1/14/12:

Heighest weight: 275. Now: 177.6

Friday, January 13, 2012

My thoughts on this kerfluffle about plus size models

I have now seen this article and photos linked on a weight loss forum and from several people on facebook. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2085226/PLUS-Model-Magazines-Katya-Zharkova-cover-highlights-body-image-fashion-industry.html Here are my thoughts.

I will go photo by photo or point by point. The first being that most models fit the BMI criteria for anorexia. While I will not deny that many models have anorexia and that eating disorders are rampant. I will also say that BMI is meant as a range for where most people for a given height will fall within and be considered at a good/ideal weight. Like all such ranges, there will be outliers. We tend to think about just the heavier outliers, but there will be lighter outliers too. And in the case of models, I would venture there're are many more finer boned women who are models than in the general public and just because a woman is very thin, and perhaps even lower than the lowest BMI weight listed for a weigh, it does not mean that person is anorexic. I will give an example of my mother in law. She was always considered too thin by her family and peers (but guess what? She modeled swimsuits one summer as having the ideal body for modeling). Her grandma kept trying to put her on a "gain weight" diet. People used to say she didn't look like a woman because she was too thin. Believe me, she ate. And she ate more to try to gain, but she is naturally very thin. That is just the way she was built. She never had any of the health symptoms of anorexia either. And guess what? Here grandson is built just like she was. My older son is a bit over 6'1" tall and he could eat a horse some days, but he's a shade overe 135 pounds. And he's healthy. He is just thin and he's always been that way. So, don't think all models are too thin or anorexic. They aren't.

Photo 2: The average model weighed 8% less 20 years ago than the average woman. Today the average model weighs 23% less. I hope everyone realizes that it means that we as a people have gotten fatter, not that models have gotten thinner. They haven't. And why is that a problem that there is a larger difference between the general public and models? Now... While I would love it if runway shows showed a variety of body shapes, a healthy body is what I want to see. There has to be more than one ideal body shape and size and the fashion industry should do more with that, but honestly.... Even as a heavy woman, I don't want to see overweight models modeling clothes unless they are truly plus sized clothes (like for Lane Bryant, Lauren for women, etc). Nothing is more infuriating to me than thin figures modeling clothes that they can't even wear. If a clothing line goes 14w-24w then, I want a 14w model (or bigger) modeling those clothes. Not a size 6 model wearing a specially made size 6 dress for the 14w and up collection. Catch my drift? Why don't I want to see a chubby woman modeling in a size 10 when I wear a size 10? Because I want the clothes to look the best they can look and not get all stuck in the "oh, look at how her stomach pooches out in that dress." because not rvery woman wearing a size 10 is chubby and not every overweight woman will wear the clothes the same way. Some of us gain in the gut. Others gain in the butt. Others gain all over. Show us it fitting well and then we can figure out if it will fit our particular body or not.

Photo 3: plus sized models 10 years ago used to wear sizes between 12-16. Today they wear between a size 6-14. Ok, this one really irks me. They are really and truly leaving out a lot of information here and being deceitful. Vanity sizing is huge, huge, huge right now. The last time I weighed 178 was when I graduated high school 24 years ago. I wore a loose 16. 14s were too tight. It was the very top size of the regular size clothes and finding 16s in clothes not in the plus size section was difficult. Then a few years later the first wave of vanity sizing happened. So, the next time I lost weight, I got down to 185. I could comfortably wear a size 14. This time at 178 I can wear a mix of 10s and 12s and can even squeeze into a few size 8s depending on the designer. So, now... At 178 I can wear between an 8-12 where I was wearing a size 16 nearly 25 years ago. Ten years ago I could wear a 14. What that means is that plus size models are about the same size now as before, with a slight trend of slightly smaller plus size models. All this vanity sizing is bad in my opinion. Women don't really realize they have a weight problem if they can buy regular size clothes and not need plus size clothes. They don't get that wake up call of "maybe I'm too heavy?". Now, I also want to state, that not all people (back in the day before vanity sizing) who needed to wear plus sized clothing were overweight. I had a friend in college who was 6 foot tall and she wore a 16. She was super thin and fit, but with her height and frame, she needed the plus size. Just for her it meant plus for here height.

Photo 4: let's embrace all body types and love our bodies - thick or thin. Now, I can get on with this one. We don't need to loathe our bodies if we a overweight, underweight, wrinkled, or scarred. Hating yourself can only lead to more harm than good. But I also don't agree with fat acceptance. Just as i dont accept anorexia acceptance, Being fat is not good for anyone nor is being too thin. We just need to realize that if people are thin or heavy, this is who they are and it doesn't make them more than or less than as a person. We don't know their stories or their demons. I don't hold with fat is beautiful or that super thin is beautiful, but i abhor discrimination and hostility toward the overweight and underweight. It just increases health risks if things go too far in either direction.

Now, another thing I want to point out about this photo shoot is back up to photo 1. I saw in many places comments like, "that is disgustingly thin". And "she is not a real woman" and so on in regard to the thinner model on the left. Now hold on a second. This article was not supposed to be about bashing the thinner figure. Look at the photo again. This woman is thin, yes, but she looks to be a pretty darn healthy weight to me. She doesn't have bone jutting out. She doesn't look starved. She's just a thinner woman with a smaller body frame. Why the negative comments then? Can she help that she is finer boned and doesnt carry extra weight? Why is it bad that she is thin? What I see is two women photographed. One is thin. One is as bit heavy, but not anything dangerously heavy. I did a little research of the plus size model and Katya is 5'8" tall and here measurements are 38C-31-43. She wears a size 12. For the record, her measurements aren't too far from mine. I'm just chestier with a 41f chest, and have a midlife waist of 33 and my hips are 42. I wear a US 10/12. Katya is 1.5 inches taller than me too. And I don't consider myself at a good, ideal weight. She looks closer to one.

We could all nitpick these two women shown in photo one. I mean, they are models. Aren't they supposed to be perfect? That only happens in photos and what is perfect anyway? The thinner woman on the left could be seen as having too small boobs and has freckles and lacks muscle definition and some would say she looks too thin. But others could say the freckes are cute and they prefer small boobs and they like a fine boned, thin woman. Now the model on the right can be said to have some fat on her stomach, butt and thighs. She has a very pointed nose and some would say she is too heavy and she doesn't look to be fit. Others would say she has a beautiful nose, a nice round shape and looks like a real woman (like the other woman isn't real?)

Now if we step back and really look. These are two beautiful young women who have very different body shapes. Shouldn't they both be celebrated? We don't have two extremes here. We have two variations of healthy and real young women unblemished by age, childbirth and life.

Stats for 1/13/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 178.4
Total hours worked out in 2012: 6.75/250

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Realizing how lucky I am to have such a supportive spouse and family

When I met my husband, I was already overweight. More than I am now. I didn't exercise and my eating was ok, but not great.

He already had mostly good habits. He ate exceptionally well, so when we got together, I adapted my style of eating more to his. Not that it changed much as I liked all healthy foods, but I could have been swayed probably to be more of a meat and potatoes kind of gal with a different partner. And he has always had a healthy weight (save for one year in his phd studies). He has never been an avid exerciser, but he goes in stages - sometimes yes, sometimes no. And he has always tried to encourage me to move more, but he didn't criticize me for not doing more (though I could see the worried look in his eyes).

So, when I started this last year and he saw it was for real, it started to motivate him to do more. He started swimming. Later, he joined me in body pump. And he joined a weight loss challenge at work to drop the 15-20 pounds he wanted to shed.

He has never questioned the timing of my workouts or made me feel like they were inconveniencing him or our kids in any way and sometimes they do. He truly is 100% supportive of my journey.

Even with food. He doesn't question what I eat, when I eat or how much I eat. He understands that sometimes I will want a treat and sometimes I will want to skip a treat. He makes it so much easier than it could be.

Now, it's true, I haven't turned their world upside down with my eating. I still make them bread and pasta and rice with their meals. I don't make them hide their pretzels or goldfish crackers and such, but all in all, they had to adjust to my changes and they haven't complained about it.

I read on A couple weight loss forums about how some partners try to sabotage diets or tell them that they don't need to lose any more weight or criticize them for taking time to exercise and so on and then I realize, I have the perfect support system and I didn't even really take note of it. My spouse is accepting of my body's flaws and is realistic in what I can and should aim for. I am so very, very lucky. So thank you husband and family! Thank you for allowing me to become a better and healthier me.

Stats for 1/12/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 179.0 (hopefully out of the 180s forever)
Total hours worked out in 2011: 5.5/250

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Feeling really back on track

And the scale moving rapidly in the right direction for a change is helping. Hopefully, tomorrow morning I will be outnof the 180s forever this time.

I was supposed to go to yoga yesterday, but I chickened out coupled with I had so much to do midday that I didn't want to disrupt my middle of the day with a class across town. Probably a whimsy decision, but after already feeling rushed for the day, it wasn't going to add to my mood if I was forcing myself to do something I really didn't want to do.

Instead, I took my car in for an oil change and a repair estimate (I think someone knocked my car in a parking lot as now one of my headlights is pushed in on the side and the beam is off to the side, not out front). I also mopped my kitchen and entryway floors twice (vacuuming them first). That took over an hour as that is about 350-400 square feet all together. and then I volunteered at my son's school, played taxi for my older son and then made dinner and then the ever battle with homework began.

Today, however, I'm doing two classes - both 45 minutes long. Back to back. I'm starting with body pump and then will continue with body step. Hope I can make it through! And then tomorrow, with my husband, I'm doing yoga in the evening. Totally back in the swing of things - and keeping up with housework at home.

It feels good to be eating right again and to be over the cravings. It was a rough month, but it's over and I know now that it is possible to get back on track without too much discomfort.

And you know what else? It is much easier to start this year knowing i only had 25 pounds to get to goal than it was to start the year with needing 80 pounds to get to a goal that wasn't even my final goal!

And here I am, almost 5 pounds down in 2 days so I'm that much closer. 2O pounds doesn't sound like a big deal at all! And then it's learning how to maintain!

Stats for 1/11/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 180.4

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Weight loss is easier when money isn't super tight

Well, everything is easier when money isn't super tight. Now. We are not rich. And we do have to be careful. Notice you don't hear me saying we are going out to eat all the time or going to the movies. Or going out period. We simply don't have the money for that kind of thing. But... We do have money for a great gym membership. Money for any of the foods I want or need and money for some gizmos (within reason).

Of course, you don't need all those things to lose weight, but it is making my life easier because I don't need to watch every single penny.

I thought about it with buying PB2 defatted peanut butter powder at Whole Foods a couple days ago. It's $5.49 a jar and it will last me for about 9 days I figure. A jar of Jif would last at least double that amount of time for a bit less than that.

I think about it with my gym membership. Our family pays about $90 a month. That includes most classes at 3 gyms, all the community indoor and outdoor pools, all the gym equipment, tennis courts and includes babysitting services up to 2 hours a day while I work out. Having that option is so awesome. Again, I could do this without gym membership, but how much easier is it with it?

I can find alternative foods instead of skipping meals. I can buy better shoes when I need them and so on. All because we have enough money to do so.

This year, yahoo did a report that it appears that more people made New Year's resolutions about financial matters than about health matters - which is unusual. And I get it. If you are struggling financially, it's really hard to put your effort into taking care of health issues too. And if you are wondering where your next month's rent payment is coming from, you aren't going to be thinking as much about buying a fat free peanut butter versus the regular peanut butter you can get with a coupon.

I grew up with having nothing. Food stamps, welfare, food banks. I knew what it really meant to say you didn't have any money. No money really meant no money - not even spare change. The other day a college aged kid dropped a quarter at the grocery counter, saw he dropped it, but decided to leave it. I picked it up. And was amazed at how anyone could "not be bothered" to pick up a quarter. I don't think I'll ever take it for granted that we "have" when so many do not and I used to be among the "have nots". And it's another reason not to squander away my health. I have every advantage to do it. So I need to do it!

Stats for 1/10/12:

Highest weight: 255.6. Now: 182.4

Monday, January 9, 2012

The role of sleep

I am constantly amazed how lack of sleep and enough sleep affects me. The last few days I have been running on fumes. And making good food decisions has been really hard. Getting harder as the day goes on. I started out great yesterday, but by days end I caved on a dessert and on snacks. The carbs were screaming at me. With lack of sleep and carbs coursing through my veins already, I just didn't have the willpower to say no.

So, I got a good night of sleep. I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to face today's challenges. I know I'm still running short on sleep, so I won't be completely free of cravings today I'm afraid, but it's starting out better than it would have if I hadn't had a good sleep. I ate a good, low carb breakfast, did some housework and I'm planning walking to volunteer today. It's not difficult to think this way either. I want to do these things. That in itself is different than yesterday and the day befor when I didn't want to do good things and the differeence is the amount of sleep I had. This makes me hopeful that getting back on track will be easier than it appeared yesterday.

Other news is that I signed up for a yoga class tomorrow. I will not lie. I'm a bit scared of this decision. Trying BodyStep and BodyPump and Zumba and even spinning was scary enough. That I have gotten to a point that I'm willing to try yoga is beyond scary. I'm afraid I'll look like a huge fool and will definitely push the comfort envelope for me. But, if I don't try, I can't know. With everything else, I've been pleasantly surprised how much I liked it, so.... I have to try. I know I need to work on flexibility and it's a great break between aerobics and strength training, but egad... A big scary leap for me!

Stats for 1/9/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 185.6
Total hours worked out in 2012: 4/250

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The day after, but still a rough one!

I still found it hard to stick to plan today. I did well at the winter festival and meals at home, but I've been snacky today. Way too snacky and grabbing carb snacks. Which has got to stop. Getting sleep tonight will help. I'm way sleep deprived.

But, it's all for now. No more parties or birthday or holidays for a loooooooong time. Next birthday isn't until the end of April. That's fantastic! We do have a big deal on Valentine's day usually as its a big anniversary date for my husband and me, but it's not a big food holiday. Just trying to fit a date in there around there somewhere.

Not much for exercise today, but did get a walk in. I'll try to keep walking too while the weather holds up, though winter has got to set in eventually and a look at the forecast just now makes me think it's on it's way, but mildly.

Well, not much to say except that I'm exhausted and can't wait to go to bed. Weekends are the least restful days for me, can't wait for a more restful week!

Stats for 1/8/12:

Highest weight: 255.6. Now: 183.8
Total exercise in 2012: 4/250

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The last high calorie day in the forseeable future

Most people look forward to days of good food and wine and such, but right now I'm over it. I have so much damage to undo. Problem is, I love how the food tastes. Like this morning, my mother in law made cesnitca (pronounced chestneetsa with the stress on the first syllable). It is unleavened dough rolled out and folded over with oil between the layers (a coin is hidden in the bread and whoeverr finds it will have luck in the new year). You then dip it in a combo of warmed butter and honey. I absolutely love this thing, but it is soooooooo bad for me with all those carbs, but did I limit myself with it? No I didn't as I know it's a once a year treat.

Tonight for dinner we will have a reasonable dinner of pork loin, with spaetzle and a nice green salad, but for dessert, as it's my husband's birthday, we will have sachertorte - a dark chocolate cake with whipped cream on the side. This day will be a 2000 plus calorie day probably close to 2400 and I know the scale will be up again tomorrow after coming down every day recently, but... It's a double whammy day and saying no to the goodies is beyond what my willpower can do, I'm proud of myself for not devouring half the chocolate ganache and the cake batter last night while making it.

So... I will be so glad when these holidays are over when all the goodies disappear and I can just go back to my boring routine. Right now a boring food routine sounds so appealing - getting the temptations away from me. Breathing a big sigh of relief realizing that today is the last day.

Stats for 1/7/12:

Highest weight: 255.6. Now: 181.4
Total hours exercised in 2012: 3.75/250

Friday, January 6, 2012

Finding exercise elsewhere

Today is just one of those days that would be really nice if there was a do over possibility, but since that is impossible, I just had to make do.

I was signed up for a class today, step class. I was looking forward to it too despite it being a really busy day today. Plans had to change though and I thought, "Well, there goes exercise for today." And since I know I won't be able to go to an exercise class on Saturday as its orthodox Christmas and we have stuff at home, that is two days off where I wasn't planning on it.

But then I started to think more on it and excise doesn't just have to be while bouncing around a gym. The best exercise is making movement part of life. So, since it was a gorgeous day, I walked to my son's school where I volunteer every day, then I later walked to pick him up from school and afterward, we walked around the lake (well, I walked, he scootered) and there you have 3 miles or 45 minutes of exercise. I timed myself for two of the three miles and yes, 15 minute miles.

I can maybe fit something similar in tomorrow. Not being able to fit in the gym is no excuse to skip movement. I have to get that drilled into my skull!

Stats for 1/6/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 181.8
Total hours exercised in 2012: 3.75/250

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Funny how some things I can do every day and other things I simply can't

I'm looking at my life this past year and I find some interesting patterns. And then I realize I have had these patterns before, but with "bad habits".

First, food. I am totally fine with eating the same breakfast and the same lunch and similar snacks every single day.

Typically for breakfast I have a piece of fruit and a nutrition/protein bar. My current favorite fruit is grapefruit. For lunch, almost every single day I eat an apple doused with cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of peanut butter. I miss it when I don't have it. Once in a great moon I will fix eggs and bacon or sausage, but that is rare. And then for snacks I either grab a couple cheese sticks or another protein bar. The same, day after day. Befor I started eating healthier, I would eat bread with peanut butter and a fruit spread for breakfast and something like Cheetos every day for lunch and for snacks either ice cream or a candy bar or the like. So, for two meals a day and for snacks, before and now, I was very consistent with what I ate and chose the same foods day after day,

Now, if were to do that with dinner, I would go batty. Eating something more than two to three days in a row for dinner is beyond enough. I rotate meats and beans and grains and veggies. I try to eat seasonally too, but always with variety. So why can I tolerate the same thing every day with all other eating, but not dinner? Is it cultural? Or something more?

And then there is exercise. There is no way I could do the same exercise every day. Absolutely no way. I get bored very quickly. I even get bored going to the gym every day even if it's different classes. I need to mix it up with bike riding outside, or walking, or gardening or heavy duty cleaning. One of the reasons I don't think I could ever become an exclusive runner. It would start to bore me.

So, with that in mind, I set up alarms on my iPhone last night to remind me to sign up for classes. This is what I have scheduled: (with the alarm going off 25 hours in advance to sign up):

Monday - spinning
Tuesday - yoga 1
Wednesday - express BodyPump followed by express BodyStep (45 min each instead of 60 each)
Thursday - yoga 1
Friday - BodyStep
Saturday - BodyPump
Sunday - spinning

Plan is to get to 5 days a week. Most likely day to skip is Sunday as that class is early and I have obligations the rest of Sunday morning and early afternoon. If I skip another day, it will probably be another spinning class or one of the yoga classes. I'll try to keep the rest as its a good mix of classes. And yoga is a big if as of yet as I've never taken a yoga class beforee, but i figure it would be good for me to add it in.

But I look at this and wonder, "when will I get bored of this?" because I know I will. And then what? Do I throw in some walking around the neighborhood? More bike riding? When the weather gets better, gardening? Some workout videos in the basement?

Why can't I stay satisfied with one exercise? It would make it easier to stick to it I think, but even that boredom isn't that strange, I suppose. I know a lot of people who vary what they do and I don't think it's so much because they think it's better for them, but because they need that variety.

Anyway... Recognizing my patterns was interesting today. Tonight's exercise is spinning as I failed to get into the yoga class because I didn't sign up early enough (which led to the suggestion of setting of alarms to remind myself to sign up for classes).

Stats for 1/5/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 182.6
Total hours exercised in 2012: 2/250

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Feeling oh so much better

What better way to come off a "crap, why did I do that?" moment than to having days where you just do things right. Yesterday I ate 1480 calories and took a spinning class. Scale dropped 2.8 pounds of water weight. This morning I did the sep class and eating again is on target. There's ad goodies everywhere in the house, but I'm able to ignore them. I think I'm good now. And I feel motivated.

Part of that is sleeping. The last two nights I got close to 8 hours of sleep. And even better is that I had two workout days in a row. That is such a mood lifter - a huge mood lifter. Not only do I feel stronger, I feel I walk taller and even look slimmer in the mirror. I'm not, but when my head is in a better place, it's easi to see the positives.

So, January 4th and I've got 2 hours of exercise in. Feels like they add up slower with adding one hour at a time versus 3-4 miles at a time, but I'll adjust.

Now off to go volunteer at my son's school and then grocery shopping. We need more veggies!

Stats for 1/4/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 183.0
Total hours exercised in 2012: 2/250

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Really scared myself last night

I have had very, very few days or hours of feeling out of control, but I did last night and man, I hate that!

I spent the day yesteday with my mentee, she got here about noon (I thought she might get here sooner). We made a couple Pom-Pom snowmen, we made spritzer cookies and then we made some ribbon candy ornaments out of ribbon. I had one tiny cook to see if they turned out ok and I had my normal lunch of an apple and peanut butter, but then had four pieces of bajadera (a Croatian confection) I then went to take her home. While in Virginia, we went to Chipotle and I made good choices there. I got it in a bowl, no flour tortilla. I got brown rice instead of white, I got black beans, no sour cream and kept it simple - about 640 calories which is pretty good for an out to eat dinner.

But then, after I dropped her off, I just needed something sweet. I went to get some gas for the car and next to the gas station was a McDonald's. I went and ordered a large peppermint mocha coffee and two holiday pies. Why did I do that?? I had just eaten dinner and I wasn't hungry!

Then I went shopping. I so rarely get to Virginia without kids, so I went to Tyson's Galleria which is an upscale mall. First I went to Sur La Table. Then Williams Sonoma and then Anthropologie. I found a couple things at Williams Sonoma I have been wanting on a big sale, nothing in Sur La Table but then I went to drool at Anthropologie. I can't afford that store, but I love it. I looked through their clearance/sale racks and they didn't have much in my size. I grabbed a couple size 8s and I will never fit into that size at tht store unless I didn't have breasts. We're talking 5-6" too tight around the chest. But when I was standing there in the dressing room in my skivvies, I just felt enormous. My gut is truly huge... I must have gained 4" yesterday in my abdomen. And I was so disgusted with myself. I have come so far and I know this is a life long journey, so why???

I ended up not getting any clothes from there, but got this super cute cookie server for $20! (later saw it retailed for $158. It wasn't labeled and I think the sale's associate just saw it was dirty and been on the floor forever, so she just basically gave it away - helps that it was nearly closing time I think.)

So, that is how I ended my day. Not good. But... I didn't feel defeated for long. This is my choice and if I want to do better, I need to do things to make it easier to make it better. Like get better sleep. So, I went to bed and got a full night of sleep. And, this morning I got myself signed up for another fitness class. I have one class tonight and one tomorrow morning. And I made sure to make good breakfast choices this morning. And I feel much better and more in control. I just have to remember my triggers - lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and too much sugar all lead to bad decisions. Fixing those things leads to better decisions.

So... There you are. No more further damage on the scale at least.

Stats for 1/3/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 185.6
Total hours exercised in 2012: 0/250

P.S. seems fitting that last year I didn't get to starting excise until the 3rd of January and this year is the same. Looking forward to it tonight though!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2 of the new year, scale is sky high

I don't know if I can ever do a "but it's the holidays" mentality break again because coming off it is hard. I now have 14 pounds to get to where I was on December 15th. That 2.5 weeks ago and I've gained all of that weight in the meantime. I don't care if it's 100% water weight. It's hard for the head to wrap around that.

Yesterday we went to a New Year's Day party. And it was full of goodies and I ate some. Not binging, just sampling and oh my goodness. You would think I sat and stuffed my face for hours instead. Up almost 3 pounds on the scale this morning. My gut feels huge. Like HUGE. Unbelievable!

Hope my husband doesn't mind, but I think I'll be skipping his birthday cake. I'll make it but not eat it. Can't do any more of this holiday eating and still keep my head in the right place.

It doesn't help that I went to sign up for a fitness class for tomorrow and the class is already full. 23 hours in advance and it's full because of all the new year resolutions to get fit and lose weight everyone else is making. Ugh!

Today my mentee is coming (should be here any minute) and exercise for today is out except for working out in the basement which I will really try to squeeze in. I need to feel I'm doing something to get back on track!

Stats for 1/2/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 185.6

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My goals for the new year

Yep, new year, new goals. I mostly met last years goals and I need to give myself new challenges to keep going. Getting into the mindset of "everything is perfect" can lead to laziness... I know myself. I plan to hit a weight maintenance range this year sometime mid year, but I will be constantly working on improving my fitness.

I'm not going to say I'll run a marathon or anything like that, but I'm setting an ambitious goal of exercising 5 hours a week for 50 weeks of the year. So, 250 hours of exercise. That exercise can be working out at the gym or with tapes/DVDs at home, walking, biking, gardening or major, heavy cleaning at home (not day to day stuff - but like cleaning out the garage or basement or a top to bottom cleaning of the whole house).

I also want to lose more weight. I initially thought of 165, but I went from 180 to 170 so quickly (and then back up from 171 to 183 in a blink!), I could see that 160 was attainable and possible. So, I will shoot for 160 by this summer. That is 23 pounds from now. Totally doable.

We are also probably going to Croatia this summer in August. I need, neeeeeeed to feel good about being in a swimming suit. While in my dreams I would be able to flaunt my body in a 2 piece. I'm being realistic in knowing I'll probably look and feel better in a one piece. I will work really hard on my fitness so that I'll look the best I have looked in a swimsuit since high school with my 42 years of damage, of course.

To keep track of my progress, I will continue to take body measurements once a mont. And for the swim suit challenge, I had my husband take photos of me in my workout bra and a fitness skirt from the front and the side. I will have him take new photos once a month so I can see the progress. Pictures do speak volumes for me. I had half a mind of sharing the January 1st swimsuit challenge photos, but egad. I can't do that to myself. You will just have to take my word for it that I have a January 1st photo and I'll be taking new photos as I go along. Maybe, maybe when I get to August 1st and maybe if I've somehow managed to somehow transform this body into something I'm proud of, maybe then I'll share the photos. Right now, however,I don't have the guts to do it. I should look at my truly before photo of me in a swimsuit too. I know we have a few of me at a sprinkler park when I was close to my highest - 265. (don't think I have anything of me in a swimsuit at 275). Maybe that will help me realize how far I've come as right now, when I saw those photos of me, I felt pretty horrible about how I look currently.

And from now on in my signature line I will put my highest weight ever as my starting weight, not just where I started one year ago. All of those pounds are successes. I wish I could even say that my highest weights were when I was pregnant, but that is not true. I was heaviest when not pregnant. Sad, but true.

Lastly for this new year, I hope to find that all of this is normal. That eating the way I eat is normal eating. That exercise is something I do because I want to instead of I have to. And I hope to find acceptance of my new body instead of finding all its faults and hyper focusing on those faults.

I have high expectations for 2012. 2011 proved that near miracles could be achieved with hard work and persistence. Now I have to prove that I can keep it up and hit maintenance.

Stats for 1/1/12:

Highest weight ever: 275. Now: 183.2
Total hours worked out in 2012: 0/250

Monthly measurements:

Starting chest: 47"  Now: 41" (change since last month: down 0" for a total loss of 6")
Starting Waist: 43" Now: 33" (change since last month: up 1" for a total loss of 10")
Starting Hips: 50" Now: 42" (change since last month:duo1" for a total loss of 8")
Starting Arm: 18" Now: 14.5" (change since last month: up .5" for a total loss of 3.5")
Starting Thigh: 30" Now: 23.75"(change since last month: up .5" for a total loss of 6.25")