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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Weigh-In

Time for another Saturday morning weigh-in. Today's weight: 286.0 lbs. Woo hoo! It's always nice to hit a new decade. That is a four pound loss for the week. I've been on my mission to regain my health for exactly eight weeks today, and have taken off 37 lbs. so far. I have a long way to go, but feel like I have a firm start under my belt. I am so thankful that I have been able to muster up the strength to start this journey. Starting is so darn difficult, but there is no way around it. Got to do the work.

Today's goal, and I say this to myself with the utmost love and respect..."Angie, don't be a dumb ass." Meaning, a loosen the reins day isn't an excuse to go bat sh#$! My Saturday's have been pretty darn reasonable so far, especially last Saturday.  I'm still not ready to let my them go. At this point I know it is a crutch, but the thought of going without it makes me want to pack the whole thing in. I'm working on this.

I have Boar's Head turkey, a little cheddar, cottage cheese, and maybe an apple planned.

Happy Saturday to all. :0)


Friday, September 24, 2010

Eat Your Veggies!!!

This picture depicts the current contents of my freezer (bags and bags of Steamfresh frozen veggies), along with Tyson Grilled and Ready chicken breast fillets.   When I finally decided to retake control of my health, using brute force if necessary, I knew I would need a meal plan that fit four extremely important criteria...

  1. convenience: All of my food is microwavable. The vegetables steam right in the bag. I have a toddler. Said toddler threw her favorite self propelled electronic vtech ball in the toilet yesterday, and then promptly fell in the bathtub...head first. Thank goodness she was fine, not even phased. I was freaked out. I had only turned my back for a sec. The bathroom door hadn't been shut. I'm still shaken. This is a typical day for me. I am on constant baby patrol. Cooking is beyond a chore right now. Carryout and take-in's are easy. So, I think I've found a wonderful alternative to see me through my weight loss.
  2. Taste: I actually *like* chicken and veggies. I guess chicken and vegetables are considered to be a cliche diet meal. I enjoy my three meals/per day. The chicken has a nice grilled flavor, and the vegetables are really high quality...not all frozen veggies are created equal. I sometimes season the vegetables with a little Tabasco sauce, or sodium free salsa by Frogranch.
  3. Health: The chicken breasts have 110 cals, 24 grams of protein, 230mg sodium, and 1.5g fat. The sodium content is what sold me on them. Most premade chicken products are chocked full of salt. All of my veggies have no added sodium as well. I eat three bags of frozen vegetables daily. That's a whopping 2 1/4 lbs.! I also eat three chicken breasts daily, and a tablespoon of flax oil to bump up my fat. All told, my daily intake is...100g protein, 92-100carbs, 17g fat. I keep the sodium low as well. This totals 1,000 cals per day. So far, I feel very healthy.
  4. Cost: I shop at Target. If you don't, I suggest giving it a try. I looked around, and Target has by far the cheapest prices on these items. The vegetables would cost upwards of $3.00/bag in the grocery store. I pay between 1.40-1.99 for most of mine. The chicken costs $7.99 for 6-7 pieces...way more at the grocery store.

There you have it. I was/am very interested in the medifast plan, but I have found that supplements tend to leave me feeling lacking in energy and a little sick. So, I decided on an entirely lean and green approach. I'm not sick of it yet. On really good days I almost forget to eat...sometimes it's still tough as heck though, but I can feel my food addiction fading. I just wanted to share this plan with anyone who happens by. :0) 

P.S. If either Steamfresh or Tyson wants a new spokeswoman, I'm available!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do Whatever It Takes

I wonder what kind of lifestyle changes other people are making in order to get healthy, and stay the course? I have made some pretty big changes in my life in order to get back on track towards better health. About eight weeks ago I had a conversation with my husband that went something like this...

Husband: You mean just turning the television off won't be enough to keep you from watching it?

Me: Nope. I think we need to cancel the Netflix as well.

Husband: So, that should do it?

Me: Better remove the television cables as well....and hide them while your at it.

Husband: Ok baby doll, I love you.

This was a huge first step for me. I had gotten into the horrible habit of watching a movie every night after putting my child to bed. Something about television makes me want to eat. I was the kid who always ate in front of the tv. In fact, I think every binge I have ever had was while watching the *fat box* as I like to call it (no offense to any tv lovers out there). I could easily pack away 2,000-3,000 cals during a movie. So, I have a 62" blank screen dominating my living room. I barely even notice it anymore.

My husband, daughter, and I live in a small condo. Right next to the 62" blank screen sits my giant, hulking beast of an elliptical. I love my elliptical, and it is affectionately named Optimus Prime because it folds and looks like a Transformer. The elliptical occupies the space where I *would* put my Christmas tree. I love Christmas, but I love life even more.

Also, I have stopped going to restaurants, drive-thrus, or getting carry out of any kind. At this stage in my recovery I find all prepared food to be overly stimulating. I think being able to eat one taco or something, and then stop is an advanced skill. I will probably work on this at some point well into the maintenance stage, but I feel it is so much more important to protect the progress I have made so far.

One final big change I have made is in my environment. There isn't a spec of unhealthy food in my house. I'm trying to create fail safe surroundings. This was no easy task. My husband is very supportive, but would still sometimes bring tempting food into the house (mostly on the weekends). I had to swallow my guilt and ask/explain to him several times that being around the tempting foods was jeopardizing my progress. I told him that I was sorry that having a pint of Ben and Jerry's in the freezer was just too much for me at this stage, but it just is. Could he give me some time to get healthier and stronger? He agreed.

I know a lot of couples struggle with that last one. My hubby still slips with this sometimes, and I keep asking/explaining. I think we have gotten to a point where we are on the same page. I'm grateful for this. It really helps.

There's a whole lot more, but the above are just a few examples of the ways I have tweaked my lifestyle in order to keep shedding the weight. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Versatile Blogger x 2

I would like to say a big thanks to both Michele and Polar's Mom for the award nomination. This is a big motivational boost for a new blogger like myself.

The rules of this award are...

1.  Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Nominate 15 newly discovered blogs.

4. Let your nominees know about the award.

Since I already said my thank-you to Polar's Mom and Michele I'll go on to the seven things about myself part...

1. I moved to the Seattle area from Detroit, MI only a little over two years ago. Same country and all, but I still experienced a huge culture shock. Truth be told, I love my new home, but I am still adjusting. I miss automatically knowing my area like the back of my hand.

2. I began my previous weight loss journey on May 1st, 2007. I lost 150 lbs., but regained 123 of those pounds (after) the birth of my daughter. Some of you already know that, but it's a big part of who I am today, and my current approach to getting, and staying healthy.

3. My husband and I met online. Yes, it really can happen. I love technology!

4.  Fall is my very favorite season. This time of year feels like a rebirth to me. Crunchy leaves, baked apples (healthy version), Halloween, and the fast approaching Christmas season just do it for me. I practically turn my home into a haunted house each fall. Maybe I should charge admission?

5. I was bitten by the travelling bug when I was eighteen-years-old. On my first big trek I decided to pack a bag and travel the country with practically nothing in my pocket (except lint). I've seen a big chunk of our beautiful country this way, and can't wait to take more road trips once my daughter is a bit older.

6. I do my best thinking, and come to most of life's big decisions in the shower! I can't begin to count how many thesis statement's I've thought up while showering. I think it is sort of like a sensory deprivation tank for me, and allows me to really concentrate on one thing at a time.

7. When I need to recharge my physical/emotional batteries I get to the woods. I'm a big nature girl, although I don't like bugs.

Ok..."11" newly discovered blogs...This was a challenge, since I haven't been blogging long. Some of these I have been reading, and some I just found, but look interesting, current, and like I may be able to relate to their journey.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Extreme Weight Loss...the second time around

Above is a video I made at the lowest weight of my adult life. I was over 150 lbs. down, and about to start regaining. I was in such denial in this video, talking about guilt free Saturday's, and my ability to bounce right back.

I am down 4.4 lbs. this week. I still cannot believe I am taking control of my life, again. I feel a bit healthier everyday. Pretty much every single night for the past year I woke with a start, heart pounding, and hands shaking. My first thought would be: "Oh my God I'm gaining the weight back!" It wasn't some kind of nightmare. It was really happening. It only took about a year.

I did not think I would regain almost all of the 150 lbs. I had worked so hard to lose, but I did. I made so many changes during my weight loss. I learned valuable information about nutrition, I worked very hard to change my psychology for the better, and I found a support system for myself. I actually documented almost all of my weight loss on YouTube... I had been hiding from life for more than a decade, so this was an extremely out of character move for me. It was an amazing experience. I actually met my husband through the weight loss support group, and ended up moving from Michigan to Washington State.

I guess the point of all this is that I continually find myself comparing the way I am losing weight now, to the way I did it before. Like I wrote in my first post, I exercised for nearly three hours each day. I was walking six miles/day at over 300 lbs. I spent extensive amounts of time interacting with my weight loss support group, both giving and receiving daily support. I had copius amounts of time to spend on myself, and had joints that were still healthy enough to take pretty much anything I threw at them.

It is all different now. I have a 15 month old daughter. The saying is true: "A baby changes EVERYTHING." I love caring for her, but I literally never get a break. I should be in bed right now, but getting these thoughts down is important for my recovery. My joints are wrecked. I have been doing 15 minutes on my elliptical, five days per week. My knees are twinging like crazy, my ankles are swollen, and my hip is on fire.

I'm not complaining here...I am acknowledging that I have to do things differently this time around. I cannot count on exercise and the subsequent endorphin rush to squelch any food cravings. Instead, I literally think my way out of eating. In a way this is better, and I think will lead to lasting weight loss because my brain isn't constantly flooded with chemicals....good or bad. I am also trying to decide on a venue for giving and receiving support. That's why I started this blog, and am trying to work it into my daily routine. Finally, I am trying to be real with myself at all times, and never slip back into denial. That is exactly how/why relapse is possible.

It's all a work in progress.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Six Weeks, and learning to enjoy all of the positive changes

I have more than 6 1/2 weeks of "mostly" on plan eating under my belt at this point. I have had off plan eating on three separate days. That is a huge accomplishment, but has been enough to stall my weight loss. Despite this, it is starting to feel more and more like regular life. Last Saturday morning (end of week 6) I weighed in at 294.4 lbs. That was what I weighed the Saturday before (wk 5). I was disappointed...I just was. Honestly, I took a shower after weighing in and cried. Then, I felt angry and frustrated with myself for feeling disappointed.

On Friday night I was going on and on to my husband about how different I feel. I am starting to think clearly again...I'm not constantly walking around in a stupor from overeating. Also, I had lost seven pounds the week before that (wk 4)! Weight loss or not, I am changing for the better. My rational brain knows this, but sometimes it takes longer for me to really feel what I already know. Make sense?

I don't need to lose seven pounds a week. I don't know why I did, but I won't apologize for it either. It felt good. I guess I am a little touchy because the last time I lost a significant amount of weight (the 150 lbs.) I faced a lot of criticism for doing it quickly. I was fast becoming an athlete at that point in my life. That, and a low calorie meal plan resulted in rapid weight loss. That was how I was able to do it at the time. Exercise, extreme as it was, kept me motivated.  

My approach to a healthy mind and body is proving to be considerably different this time around. I think I'll save that for another post.

Bottom line, I am feeling so much happier and at peace. When I feel frustrated I literally say out loud: "Stop!" and I actually visualize a large red stop sign. It's kind of a cognitive therapy technique. I then (sometimes forcefully) redirect my thoughts to all the positive, non scale progress that I am making. My whole lifestyle is changing.  :0)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Free Days...A Dilemma

Things have been moving right along. Last Saturday I weighed in at 294.4 lbs., down from 323.0 lbs.! That's almost 29 lbs. gone. I feel as though I am now moving out of what I call the "intense withdrawal" phase. It feels good, but I can't help but feel cautious, like I'm warily peeking my poor little head out of Aunty M's storm cellar after the tornado. I don't want to get smacked by any flying houses!

It will take some time before I finally grasp that I am finally living healthy once again. I've been in a downward spiral for nearly two years. I feel as though I am shielding a tiny flame.

Saturday marked five solid weeks of being on plan. The weight loss has been pretty rapid so far, but that's to be expected in the beginning (especially at my weight). My pattern has been six days on/one day off.

Here lies the dilemma...On the one hand, taking Saturdays off has provided me with great psychological relief. It gives me something to look forward to, an end point. I created some guidelines for my off day.

1. A day off does NOT mean a binge
2. I take the day off from formal exercise. I actually take Saturday and Sunday off, and my joints thank me for it. I would like to make this a day for recreational exercise, like going to the Seattle Zoo or aquarium, taking my daughter to the park, or going for a walk.
3. I limit myself to one small sweet on this day. A good example is a vanilla ice cream cone from McDonald's. It has 150 calories.
4. Here's the biggie...If I can't stick with these guidelines, or I start to obsess about what I will eat on a Saturday, then I have to rethink the whole thing.   

I have been doing well on Saturday in terms of getting right back on track Sunday morning, but it takes a tremendous amount of will and energy to do so. On Thursday night's I find myself starting to obsess a little about what I will choose to eat on Saturday. What can I enjoy without setting myself off (not a whole lot at this point). On Friday I make a special trip to the store so that I will be prepared and not make a worse choice in a moment of weakness. This is actually pretty difficult with a toddler in tow. It's hard for me to get to sleep on Friday nights. Truth be told, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. Saturday is spent trying to indulge a little without going nuts. This is very HARD for me. I also have difficulty sleeping on Saturday night because I know all indulgences are about to stop. Finally, on Sunday I am inevitably cranky because I am right back on plan and withdrawing all over again.

Written out like this, a Saturday hardly seems worth it, but it's not all black and white. As I have said before, I believe weight loss is mostly a psychological endeavor. The thought of not taking a day off makes me feel panicky and overwhelmed. When I feel frustrated during the week I tell myself "only x amount of days until Saturday" and it helps. Also, my body can use a little extra on that day seeing that my calorie intake is pretty low the other six days of the week.

Still, entirely too much energy is being devoted to this one day. I decided to tweak my off day last week. Since I usually eat around 100 carbs Sunday through Thursday I tend to feel sick if I eat too many carbs on Saturday. So, I am going to eat in the direction of Atkins on this day, without restricting my calories. I'll aim for eating at a maintenance level on my day off.

I am a bonafide carb addict, so hopefully this will allow me to rest without creating so much psychological pain in the process.

The point is...I just don't have the answer quite yet. I could go on and on debating this issue, and I know everyone has their own very strong opinion on the matter. There is no one size fits all answer. Weight loss is intensely personal, so what works for one person won't necessarily work for another.

All that being said. I am beginning to feel much healthier, less lethargic, a tiny bit more confident, and more alive.