Follow these food rules to lose weight

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Summer of 2012 Food Plan:

1)3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit.

*why?–studies have shown that those people who make sure they eat these every day are more than likely to make better choices overall with their food plan. It also assures you that you are getting essential vitamins and minerals.

2) minimum of 64 oz of plain non-caloric water.

*why?–studies have shown that often times we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. Also, by making sure you have drank a minimum of 64 oz, you will also flush out any hidden sodium in foods you have eaten and it will aid in digestion and elimination. It also helps you deal with the summer temps since quite often we feel more hot simply because we are dehydrated.

3)3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day.

*why? Studies have shown that when we eat smaller meals we accomplish three things: we are exercising portion control which is critical in not only losing weight but also in maintaining the weight we have lost; we keep our body’s metabolism more actively using the fuel we have given it since it takes fuel to keep that fire burning; and it also keeps our blood glucose on an even keel which also aids in preventing binges due to erratic eating schedules and meal sizes.

4) eat within 2 hours upon awakening.

*why? studies have shown that those people who ate something for breakfast and did not miss this important meal did not overeat when it came time for the remaining meals of the day.

5) eat every 3-4 hours thereafter.

*why? again, studies have shown that eating smaller and more frequent meals stablizes our appetites and blood glucose. We are not ravenously hungry and therefore are less prone to binge.

6) no eating after 9 p.m.

*why? studies have shown that eating the majority of our calories during our waking hours allows us the opportunity to use that food as fuel for our everyday activities. Eating before we go to bed, unless it is doctor-advised, simply means that it will be only aiding in developing a late night need to nosh and added weight gain.[NB: exceptions are those people who are working a second or night shift. If you are, then you have to take this advice of meal spacing and do it in reverse. Need help, ask!]

7) no added sugar at all!

*why? added sugar in foods ends up creating the dreaded belly fat we all seem to get as we age. However, look around and you will notice that children and pre-teens are now showing more rounded middles than we did as kids. Where will added sugar be lurking? Cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, colas, condiments like ketchup and salad dressings, some yogurts and some microwave popcorn. Again, reading the food label in the store before you put it in your grocery cart will eliminate bringing it home and then having to stare it down where you are more prone to give in.

8) stay within the alloted calorie range for your weight, height, age and physical activity level.

*why? It is recommended that you do not go below 1200 calories unless by doctor’s orders. You need food for fuel and fuel is what keeps our metabolism running at its peak performance. The quality of calories count as well.

9) measure your food.

*why? studies have shown that if we are left to our own way of serving up portions we will always “underestimate” the amount of calories we are eating and the portion size. Since nutritionists and dieticians fought hard for the FDA to label clearly what we are ingesting, it is only smart to start utilizing this important piece of the weight loss puzzle. Follow the guidelines on the label as to what one portion size is. The way you will benefit will be on the scales. Most people who say they don’t eat that much are either unaware of how much they eat or they are eating high calorie foods (which usually come in smaller portions ironically.

10) record what you eat–everything!

*why? studies have shown that when people take the time to record what they eat they will become more aware of exactly how much they eat, what they are really eating but also how they eat. Overeating is a behavior and it is one that can change if we are willing to put in the time. Write down the time of day/night you are eating as well. Ideally, pre-plan your meals and write down what you will eat before you have eaten it. This will also serve to stop you from overeating once you begin to enjoy your meal/snack.

So, there is what you will be reporting on this 99 day challenge. Follow these points and you will see weight loss.

GUARANTEED!

Caveat: Count Your Words Carefully….

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Calorie Counting, Dealing with Obstacles | 20 Comments

“SPEECH IS A MIRROR OF THE SOUL: AS A PERSON SPEAKS, SO IS HE/SHE”. PUBLILIUS SYRUS.

In our talks one on one, within a group like here, and especially to ourselves, our speech does a great job of identifying who we are, what we aspire to, what our fears, our hopes and our dreams are. Once I had this “revelation” decades ago, I literally stopped cold turkey ever talking to myself again in a negative, put-down or self-dergatory manner. I can attest to the fact that the direction that my life was going began to change after that as well.

Then, whenever I heard another person use negative talk towards themselves or others, depending on the circumstances, I “corrected” them gently but firmly. One of my favorite sayings to my husband, P, is “why put yourself down when you know the rest of the world is more than happy to?” If anything, it did make him pause a few minutes before continuing. Well, now P doesn’t put himself down quite as much but now he has resorted to hitting things so now I have to remind him that his hands are his “work” so if he breaks his hands, he won’t be working and well, you know the rest… this is a work in progress.

My sister has felt that the rest of the “crew” she works with (all men since she works in a very male-dominated field) thinks she is a “joke”. I have to wonder, what exactly is she doing or telling them for them to think or believe this? I am reminded of several different “sayings” that I tell myself and others.

**WE TEACH OTHERS HOW TO TREAT US!** (Now think for a minute or two on that one)

**NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR EXCEPT YOURSELF** (Eleanor Roosevelt said that one)

**WE BECOME WHAT WE BELIEVE**

I believe so strongly in the power of self-talk that I make sure that I am very careful about what I say to myself and also to others. I wasn’t always this way but as I became more aware of the power of “words” (Shakespeare said “THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD”)I have since learned to choose my words wisely (even in the heat of the moment).

So, today instead of counting calories, counting steps or miles, counting reps, etc…. how about beginning to count your words?? They carry a lot more weight and are definitely worth losing the wrong ones.

Weigh less=eating less as well

Filed Under Calorie Counting | 39 Comments

Week of August 30, 2011:

I am really glad that August is almost over. In fact, both P. and I are glad that the summer months are drawing to an end. Mostly because of the excessive heat that we have had this past summer (as well as most of the country) but also because this has been an achingly slow summer for P’s work. This past weekend, a full time employee of C’s, B, fell off a ladder and injured his back. P  is getting his tunings for this coming week. Nothing has been said about anything beyond this week. I am assuming they are waiting to hear how B is doing and how soon he will be able to return to work. It is an unfortunate thing for B but a “lucky break” for P and I. P was thrilled to death. I know he likes being busy but I also think he feels “needed” and his first loyalty still lies with CM.

We will do our best to “save” as much of this extra income as we can. As life would have it, additional expenses seem to “pop up”. P has a doctor’s appointment at the end of this month which will be another added expense. I would like to sign up for the tax preparation course (since I allowed a lapse of a year from taking continuing ed courses and now have to take it over again) if I am able to.  I would also like to go to a Tuesday morning Bible Study course. I am now thinking that might be possible! P and I have discussed it. He seems less willing to give up use of the car on Tuesday mornings because he is concerned about how he would get to CM but, maybe, it would be time for me to learn how to drive on the interstate system here. I could drop him off if the bus system doesn’t take me all the way there. I promised him I would check the  transit schedule to see what is available over that way.

On a side note: It has been three weeks since I began this BLC “Buddy Challenge”. I am very glad that I did. I have received as much from it as I given back. I needed to push myself a little harder and really make a more serious commitment to my weight lose efforts. It doesn’t take much for me to push myself regarding exercising since I really do like to do just that–push myself physically. What I do have a much more difficult time is pushing myself regarding my food plan. For one thing, I love to eat out and it doesn’t take much persuasion on my part for P. to follow my lead. It is our chance to break free of our daily routine and do something “socially and as a couple”. When I was much heavier, eating out was one of the few social activities I could do because it was just too hard for me to get around physically. I am still struggling to walk much for distance but I am feeling better about how I look and that has increased my confidence in venturing out socially.

I am not avoiding getting out in public like I once did. First of all, not only do I have clothes that both fit and look good on me, but I don’t experience as much physical discomfort in smaller spaces, like our car, or just moving in general. I can move with more ease and less pain. I am also sleeping better as a result of having less pain. That also gives me additional energy but also a better frame of mind. All of this has been a direct result of me consistently working out day in and day out for this past summer. I am now seeing the connection between my eventual maintenance of the weight I have lost and being more active. If I can choose more options other than eating out, then I won’t feel the need to fall back on that as my only “social activity”. In regards to my relationship with Paul, I try to remind myself not to substitute this experience as our only chance to be “intimate or close emotionally”. This was the trap that C., my former husband, and I fell into and all it did was make us both fat and it may have contributed to me feeling more and more isolated in that marriage.

Starting in September,  I/we will have more opportunities for us to do other social activities together as a couple without food being at the center of those activities. Again, that will disengage the connection I had from the past when eating out was the one of the few social activities we did together. I am very intent on breaking free of old eating habits because I see this “lifestyle change” as something that involves a whole lot more than just what I eat or don’t eat. I am now seeing the “significance” of me joining that Tuesday morning Bible study, for example, as yet another way to relate to other people besides “food”. This NH career counselor said that church would be an excellent “network” source and that she encouraged me to “utilize” that since someone might know someone who might know someone that is hiring.

Although it is hard to say whether the 10:30 Mass traditional choir will change their members or not depending on who is hired for this new Music Director position but I have almost made up my mind that if /when it is all settled, I would like to re-join the choir. I told P. this morning that I would prefer these newer hymnals simply because all they do have is the melody and for me that would be easier for me to follow; at least, initially. I think that the existing choir members have their own preference but without a music director that will comply with that, what will they do?  P said he would remain with the choir but he wouldn’t be as happy and there have been a few people who said that they might not remain. Although I do appreciate the sacred music, it is much more complex musically and to the uninitiated (of which I am one) it is intimidating to master. I am sure that someday when I am able to learn a musical instrument, I will prefer to sing it but, for the purpose of getting back into that, I would prefer the “easier route”.

In fact, in just the past couple of days, I have decided that I am going to make a “comeback” socially. I am very determined to break free of some of the ingrained food-centric habits I have developed in the past years. I am also not going to “sign up” for things that I really don’t have some kind of interest in as well. This is about doing things I enjoy doing and that I will be doing with them with others.

Well, I have decided to make this my “Day of Rest” instead of it being Wednesday as previously planned. I just don’t “feel like” doing the RS DVD today. Since, yesterday’s activities sort of dwarfed my work out plans, I decided that I would bump my lower body workout to my D.O.R. (day of rest) so I will do that today. Instead, I “feel like” working in our closet. Now, that I have considerably thinned out my side of the closet, I have turned to P’s side. Since I am home all day, I feel kind of bad when his side has been such a mess and I haven’t even bothered to organize it. Well, I stopped for about an hour to do just that. I also both washed and dried a peasant skirt in hot water/heat with the hope of shrinking it somewhat. Then, I trimmed one tier to make it less “draggy” and more “flouncy”.  The nice thing is that I don’t have to hem that since the lace border is “bound off”. Now, the hemline grazes my upper calf and I do think some of the “bulk” seems less. It is a cute print and definitely trans-seasonal. In fact, it might be what I will wear either this coming Sunday or to our first Friday night Bible study, which is a pot luck. I need to go to a fabric store and get some notions asap.

I have decided that I am going to label P’s side of the closet so that it might get him to put things back in an orderly manner. One distinct advantage to that is he will know where things are. It was just so messy that I would have a hard time finding anything to wear, if it were me. Also, we need to go clothes shopping for him; especially for work clothes. He needs a new pair of athletic shoes as well. In fact, he seriously needs a new pair. Note: on a fluke, when we stopped at a local mall, I saw an athletic shoe store and pulled him in there. We bought a really nice pair right there on the spot. He was beaming when he left the store.

In the meantime, I have some things around here that I can and need to do. I am hoping though that I will make the best use of my time; better than I have done so in the past. I am really trying though to create a balance in my daily routine, ideally, not spending an inordinate amount of time on any one activity. Again, the end goal is creating a balance in my life that will hopefully spill over into my food plan and my approach to the lifetime change of both weight lose but weight lose maintenance. I think that one of the reasons why most people do not either lose the weight or keep it off is that they don’t see the role of excess food plays in their life. The only way that I will know that is to see where there are “voids” in my life. What is missing in my life? What am I filling with excess food? Well, I may not be going about all of this in a clear linear way but I am making in-roads in closing the gaps in my life overall.

Well, once again I managed to go over on the sodium today. I stopped eating my meal from D.’s for that very reason. I wasn’t very hungry at the time either but I divided it in half and then I froze the other half. I did have spaghetti with meat sauce and, of course, the meat sauce is what carries all the sodium. I have decided that from now on I am going to make my own tomato sauce so I can save from eating a huge amount of sodium. Anything canned or jarred always has a lot of sodium! If I am really going to see a real steady drop in weight then I am really going to have to get a handle on the amount of sodium that I ingest on a daily basis. I went through this with canned vegetables and now I need to follow through on some of these other “convenience” foods.

Speaking of sodium, I believe that I am retaining another possible 5 lbs due to all of the restaurant meals that I have been having last week. So, I decided that based on that “hunch”, I moved my ticker down on 3FC and I changed my weight on the online scales on BLC. Well, tonight when I was logging my evening meal, I so happened to glance up and notice that my caloric range has been dropped down to 1400-1800 calories!! BLC changes your caloric range when you have reached either a certain weight or a certain BMI percentage. I can’t remember which it is.  Well, if my “hunch” wasn’t correct, by the time I begin sticking to these lower calories, it will be. At first, I was stunned but as I have thought about it, I do recall last summer when I “thought” (according to that old spring scale I used) that I was indeed at 255 lbs (or around that same number) and sure enough the caloric range was dropped.

Last summer,  I really did try to stick to the lower range and I was “rewarded” with more weight lose. However, I also remember  watching t.v. and feeling very hungry for most of the evening. At times, it really felt like I was white knuckling it.  I found that more often than not I did end up going over. I did tell P. about this and I said “Now, it is going to look like I am dieting because I will be basically eating half of what I have been eating and I will be making some tough choices when I go out to restaurants.” Now, I am going to know what it feels like to diet like most of the BDG does. I have often read how they have really struggled with making some really tough choices while eating out. In the meantime, here I am eating just about whatever I want. Well, those days are behind me. However, I should also look at the “silver lining” in this. I am at a weight now where I am consuming less calories because my body weighs less. It’s a trade-off.  Even in the BDS, Dr. Beck says that most people eat an average of 1500 calories a day in order to lose weight.

Well, it is a good thing that I caught it when I did. Sheer luck actually. Now, I am really going to have to watch portion sizes more stringently than ever before. It would be very wise if I didn’t have empty calories very often. I am also going to have to re-introduce myself to the salad bar. I didn’t get any answers from anyone in the BDG about whether anyone had deducted a specific amount of calories eaten for a specific amount of calories burned. Either they didn’t see my question, they don’t know or they aren’t willing to say whether they do or not. There are many in the group who have lost over 70 lbs. You don’t do something like that without some sacrifices along the way.

Well, I am going to have to tighten up my efforts a bit from now on. Fortunately, I caught this while I was doing my evening meal.Then, when P. told me that we only had one bag of our favorite microwave popcorn left, the reality of having to reduce my portions by half had to begin right then and there. Probably the toughest choices will be when we go out to eat. At least, initially until I can determine how much I can eat while keeping the calories low. Since no one answered my question, I am going to answer it myself. If my pedometer says I have burned “x-amount” of calories that day then I am going to deduct that from my overall food plan. I will remove the item that is the closest in calories to that amount that is burned. In spite of being relatively sedentary today, I still managed to burn off the equivalent of an apple. I am eager to see how many calories a typical RS workout burns. I am hoping that my pedometer picks up on that “movement”.

Once again, I will probably go through a couple of days where my stomach will have to adjust to having less food in it. As I was telling P., I have read (listened) to the BDG members talk about how they “work around” social events all the time with their food plan. Many are very successful at doing so. I hate to admit that for the most part I just eat and then try to eat less when I return home. That strategy is going to have to be scrapped. It wasn’t really working all that great anyway. I was eating way over 2100 calories most of the time. I am surprised that I lost what I have lost. I attribute that more to eating less than I was and that I have been increasing the amount of exercising that I do.

Well, on the bright side, I should definitely see those numbers start to go down again instead of this back and forth that I have been experiencing. Initially, I was hoping that I might break the 250s and be in the 240s by the end of this “Buddy Challenge” but now, I am wondering if I could possibly break the 240s and be 239 lbs by October 8th. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I haven’t weighed that since fall of 1983!!  Well, all I can say is, I will do my best to stay within these caloric limits, exercise, get back into the habit of drinking more water and, of course, eating the vegetables and fruits.

In fact, I had the realization this evening that what I have been doing is more “dabbling” at dieting. How can I even call eating 2400 calories+ anything but going off my food plan, if nothing more than eating too much? How easy it is to fool myself! I am not burning enough calories to reduce my caloric count down to 2100 calories. Not even!! I would have to be doing the entire hour of RS giving it everything I had to come close to that. Well, it is a good thing then that my daily caloric range was reduced, even if I pushed it prematurely. It jolted me into knuckling down when it comes to my food plan.

I think there is a part of me that wants to make it look like what I do is “effortless” but that isn’t so. Plus, I am doing a discredit to myself if I allow others to think about it that way. I have set my mind to this and for the most part I am following through well. However, I haven’t done as well with my food plan. It is my one weakness. I like to eat a lot more than is allowed to lose weight. If I were a marathon runner or really active athlete I might be able to eat like I do but I’m not. I have limitations because of my knees and that is also going to limit how many calories I can effectively burn through exercise alone. I read some of these people’s posts where they say they burn over 3000 calories per day. If that were the case they wouldn’t need to be losing weight. There would be no extra weight to lose. Maybe, I read that wrong because she does do a physical job as a certified nursing assistant but I think she might mean steps which is not the same as calories. None of us in this group is as active as we need to be. The only person whom I think is really being active is T. and she walks marathons and yet she still struggles to lose weight. I also thought that was “weird” but then she doesn’t post how many calories she eats in a given day or whether she is eating fruits/vegetables, etc.

I did a 15 minute mile and walked 3 miles a day, 5 days week for nearly 7 years and I never lost one pound! I often wondered why but I never did anything about the calories that I was eating. My muscles were toned and I had no cellulite whatsoever in my body but I was still medically obese at 245 lbs.

Well, before I start “scrutinizing” what others are doing, I’d better see how I handle some challenges that will be coming up from now on. The first one will be tomorrow. If I choose to make my homemade pizza, which still can be done in a healthy way, I will have to limit myself to less portions. I have whiting fillets thawed out that we can also have for our dinner tomorrow night. We do have both plenty of fruits/vegetables so all of this is doable. I did tell P. though that within the next couple of days we are going to need to go to the grocery store. How much we will be able to spend will depend on what he gets from S.. He is expecting a really nice size check but let’s hope that they are forthcoming with that.

Boy, this has been a couple of really “emotionally powerful” days!  I am both “ready” for it but also sort of “stunned” at the same time.  However, I just can’t sit on this. I have to take all of this and see what I can do with it.

8/31/11:

Well, the “big news” for my day is that since my recommended caloric range is now 1400-1800 calories, I need to get up to speed on just how I “number  crunch”. I decided that I would post as honestly as I can about this transition on both of the groups I report to. I also presented an idea for a “pairs” Buddy Challenge that would run through the “food holidays”. I also asked the BLC group if I could join them after this Buddy Challenge is over. This may sound rather “arrogant” but I can honestly see that I have a lot to give there and maybe if I were a daily presence, I could end up being a “present” to them. If anything, I will admit that I have tried harder since signing up for this BC so it definitely has benefited me as well. It has made me rethink about what I am doing right but what I can also do “better”: for instance, I really “should” make more of an effort to drink more H2O, I “should” really try to not eat sugar (I am usually pretty good but I have had my indiscretions like the whole bag of chocolate-cover almonds last weekend), and, the biggest, I just plain haven’t stayed within my calorie range but a few rare times. I love to exercise but I hate to “diet”. I just do.

I mentioned this to my BDG since they have known my personal habits the most intimately over a period of six months. I know that many of them have struggled to make healthy choices in the most trying of situations where I have just eaten a lot of some healthy foods and some “questionable” foods. Well, now I have a new motivator: staying within my calorie range for real, for serious and, ideally, for every day!

I decided that I just have felt like I’ve been dragging for the past couple of days so I would take another “Day of Rest” from any strength or cardio exercising. I will need to come back strong though tomorrow. Part of the reason was I really had hoped I would finish our bedroom. I am making in-roads but it seems like 45-60 minutes and I am “done”. I feel good though that I got P.’s side a lot more thinned out and organized. I also switched around my warm weather sandals for the cooler weather shoes. If I would do this at the beginning of each change of season: cold to warm and warm to cold, I think I would actually wear a lot more of the things I do own. In fact, I know that I would. I really do have some nice choices to pick from too. I simply forget that I have them if they are stored away in a plastic bin. Let’s hope “moving forward” that doesn’t happen anymore. I can actually “visualize” more outfit combinations now that I can actually see them in front of me.

Well, I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped but maybe tomorrow and Friday I can finish it up so that I can say “Finally, I am done in here with all of that”. Then, I can actually resume my work here in this room. I would really like to get all of this done by the end of September, if at all possible. I have a feeling things might start getting busy by then and it would simply be nice to know that this stuff is done and I can devote my attention to other things instead.

P. will busy for the next couple of days but I am hoping that by Friday night we can return to our garden and plant the seeds for our winter garden. It seems silly to call it that when we are still having upper 80s-low 90s high temps during the day. I mean, that would be considered ideal growing weather in MN. I still want to buy another big bag of organic soil provided Lowe’s is still carrying it. In a way it seems like there is a lot going on right now but yet when I look at what I accomplished during the day I think I really didn’t do that much either. A lot of it is odds n ends too. Hang a picture, continue painting the stuff on the porch, organize and give away the unneeded clothing, etc. Some day I hope all of this will be finished though.

I ended up making a really good meal for dinner tonight. I breaded and sauteed some whiting fillets and sauteed some chopped spinach. Yes, I used margarine to cook the fish in and added it to the spinach. First of all, I am out of canola oil and I was concerned that the olive oil might be too strong of a flavor for the more delicate taste of the fish. Paul loved it and so did I. Yes, there was some trans fat in the margarine but I figured that the amount that I used spread over the entire spinach dish really made it negligible.  Splitting hairs, maybe, but I don’t do this very often and it was quite tasty. Once again, I was able to eat under 1800 calories although it was close. For me, this is a big deal since I am more accustomed to eating around 2300-2400 calories every day.

I am worried about when I am eating out since that is so easy to overeat. Also, when I am hungry for long enough time I also have to really be careful not to want to grab the first thing so I am not hungry. “Hunger may not be an emergency”, according to Dr. Beck but it can be a very compelling reason to want to eat. I have an idea of what I probably will eat tomorrow. Since I have both a fresh tomato and some cooked spinach, I am going to make the scrambled eggs with those, topped with some feta cheese. It is yummy! What a flavorful dish. I also hope that I can make some whole wheat muffins. Since our bananas are already starting to turn, I do think that I will add one of those to my muffin recipe. I also have a can of pinto beans out for the same reason. Depending on if P. wants eggs tomorrow for breakfast, I might also make those oatmeal scones but use chopped prunes in those instead of raisins since I have the prunes. I will probably make my favorite “from scratch” homemade pizza. I think, this time I am going to reduce the sodium usually present in the tomato sauce by slicing my fresh tomatoes thinly and adding that to the pizza. I can also add the spinach to that as well. I have some ground turkey “patties” that I will probably crumble up and put on the pizzas. This time though I am only going to have one of the personal pans instead of both like I did last week.

Ideally, I would also like to see how well I could do a RS workout. Mostly, I want to see how many calories I can burn while doing one. If it is more than a couple of hundred than it becomes a really valuable “tool” for me to use in terms of having more flexibility with my food plan, especially if I plan it a day before, during or after going out to eat. It means that I can actually enjoy eating more knowing that it will be worked off. I know that working out is so key to burning off the extra calories so it is something that I have to keep continuing to push to do no matter how I feel. In the past, I have seen its impact on both increasing my metabolism but also it “covers a lot of sins”.

Well, I am very hungry right now. I am eating an apple simply because I burned 52 calories yesterday and this is 74 calories. I will have a cup of milk with my Ex Tylenol PM soon and then I will go to bed. I am sure that I will wake up tomorrow hungry so I know exactly what I will be making right away. Maybe, I can also do the baking right away as well. We really need to go grocery shopping but I actually think we could wait until Friday sometime.

I realize that Dr. Beck says that “hunger is not an emergency” but boy it is also tough to sweat it out too. I have been hungry for close to five hours and this apple is helping somewhat but I am sure that I will be up quite early simply because an empty stomach will awaken me!  Hopefully, my stomach will adapt to the fewer calories within a day or so. Again, it will be quite a feat of self-discipline to work my way through the different mazes that eating out has. If I can get up enough courage, I might ask for a take-out container right away when I order and divide the meal in half  like I do when I have P. bring me D.’s. In fact, it would even be a great way to build some tasty meals straight from the freezer. I have half of a D.’s meal in the freezer right now. I have done that with my homemade muffins and I love that I can take one out, it is already cooked and reheat it in the microwave. Besides, saving a lot of time, it just is nice to be able to have the immediate convenience of that as well.

9/1/11:

Although I have eaten just under 1800 calories for the past three days, I haven’t budged on the scales at all. In fact, I gained .6 lbs!! I haven’t had a BM yet today so that might explain that but I was so hungry last night that it really surprises me. I was listening to the banter regarding allowing yourself to indulge sometime in the middle of the week and then eat less the last day  or so before our Monday weigh-in. Well, last Sunday I wanted to eat Chinese so badly, I didn’t care about the weigh-in on Monday. I was quite hungry as well Sunday evening but I figured that if I didn’t eat that would counteract the earlier MSG meal. Not so! I gained! I figured that it was sodium-induced so I just shrugged it off. Well, although my sodium intake is still much higher (hovering around 3000 mg) than I would like it to be, eating less should “register” a lose eventually. I weigh everyday and I record it. My “persistent” pattern has been “higher calories/higher sodium”. From now on, I hope to seriously change that. [NOTE: I have also noticed  by keeping the sodium under 2000 mg that I can actually eat between 1800-2000 calories and see a drop in weight! Interesting?]

Well, I have decided that since BLC has reduced my recommended daily calories from now on, I am really going to try hard to stay under 1800 calories. I am going to have to think about other lunch alternatives so I can avoid the “sodium trap” that processed lunch meat and other typical lunch type foods have. I am going to start buying fresh tomatoes with the sole purpose of making sauce from them. I haven’t done that in decades but that was all I used to do when I lived in St. Paul. I probably bought my first jarred spaghetti sauce in the late 90s. I could buy deli meat but then I am not sure what the caloric breakdown is. I am not sure if the person behind the counter has that kind of information or not. I am getting to the point where I don’t like to take risks on certain foods that you have to guess-estimate the calories and nutrient breakdown. It is possible but it is a lot of extra work. Again, probably the best bet is to cook it up myself and then we just take pieces from a whole roast, chicken, etc. I am also going to need to start eating more raw vegetables and salads for lunch too.

I think today I will end up going over my 1800 calories. I had a higher caloric breakfast than I intended. I had a two egg omelet with spinach and tomatoes, 2 slices of whole wheat cinnamon toast, one turkey patty (seasoned to taste like pork sausage), skim milk and red grapes. Before that would have been substantial but it also would have fallen nicely into my former caloric range. Not any more. I could have had half of everything and it would have fallen better into my present caloric range. Well, there will involve a learning curve regarding this. There is no other way to say that. The good thing is that I will be at this level probably right on down to my goal weight. It might drop down to 1100-1400 as I get closer but by then I will be active enough where I can still eat at the top of the range. Speaking of which, I have been wanting to try RS workout. I remembered it being demanding but my left knee was what really gave me a lot of trouble. I burned around 66 calories for 20 minutes. If I did the complete 60 minutes, I would end up burning 198 calories, which is what BLC recommends.

I think, what I will do is go back and forth between walking on the treadmill and doing that workout. Both hurt my knees but, at least, on the treadmill I can hang onto the hand rails for balance and when I get really tired. When I get too tired doing a workout, I have a tendency to sit down for a few minutes. Not exactly the best thing to do. Still, so I can build up my stamina, I am going to go back and forth between the two. It is also good for your body to do that since it doesn’t get used to the same use of the same muscles.

P. came home around 4:00 p.m. I was just so tired from not sleeping very well last night (wondering if I would lose any weight) and then I just felt like I was dragging all today. I did manage to vacuum most of the apartment, put a load in the washer, load the dishwasher and make myself some meals but after doing that RS workout, I was really tired. I laid down for about 90 minutes and I really didn’t want to get up either. I am going to bed earlier than 3 a.m. tonight. I have been doing that the past couple of nights and although it wasn’t bothering me before it has seemed to the past couple of days. I have been thinking about this whole diet and exercise thing and I actually had a revelation that I think will serve me well. It is not what a lot of people would want to have but I think it is probably the most realistic thought I have had about this whole thing.

I think when a lot of us are faced with the idea that this will take a long time and will take a lot of change and effort on our part; we lose our initial flush of enthusiasm. I think from one perspective that is understandable but  what is the alternative? Stay unhealthily heavy? So, I think, somehow, I am going to have to find that reserve that will continue to propel me on no matter what. Right now, I just wish my knees were in better shape so that the exercising part would be easier. However, it wasn’t my knees today that were holding me back. I simply didn’t have the stamina to really give it everything. I got pooped fast. Not quite as fast as in the past but I was quite tired within 10-15 minutes. I also felt really clumsy. The nice thing about walking on the treadmill is that I can hang onto the hand rails when I get tired but I can still keep walking so I am still able to continue but then my knees really start to hurt. I think, all of this is telling me that no matter how much I would like to push myself, my body is saying it has limits and it is going to let me know what those are. So, whether I would like to be a “superstar” when it comes to working out, my body is telling me that this is going to be the “speed” at which I do this, whether I like it or not. For the time being, I am just going to have to be satisfied with what I can do. It won’t stop me from continuing to increase the intensity but I might not be increasing it as much or as often.

I am also going to go back to my original idea: doing 3-10 minute sessions on the treadmill. As much as I find RS fun to do, I am just not able to move around as quickly as they can although I noticed that some of the people who are doing the workout are not throwing themselves into it as easily as those people closer to an ideal weight. In other words, I am moving 100+ lbs more than they are. I have to accept that fact and realize that I am not going to be able to do things as vigorously as they do, no matter how much I love the upbeat music and overall fun nature of his workouts. Still, it gets back to what I have said to others and need to remind myself: focus on what I can do because I have been quite successful with building muscle which does burn more calories. The added benefit is that muscle takes up less space and you also look more fit since your muscles are toned which is a more attractive appearance overall.  Again, I will just have to keep working at losing the weight and staying within the recommended calorie range that BLC suggests. I went on another site and it confirms that with my present weight, 1800 calories is about what I need to eat each day to lose weight. Of course, as I lose weight that will have to decrease either through my calories I consume or the activity I am able to do. However, I will pull out RS once a week and do that as an alternative. It does get to be boring to walk on the treadmill although 10 minutes at a time is a lot more doable than 30 minutes; at least for the time being it is. I also think doing RS might be a good gauge to see how I am improving my stamina. I have to remember that I have been inactive for quite a long time and it will take time for me to build up my aerobic capacity again.

So, what I am saying is that to keep doing what I am doing in terms of my building muscle and getting some walking on the treadmill so I am burning calories as well. The food plan is just something that I am going to have to deal with day in and day out. It might take me one year to lose all of this weight or two years but considering that I have been obese since 1983 (28 years ago), what is a few more years to get back to my normal weight?? It is nothing and I need to learn to be patient with the process.

I still have a lot of social anxiety when it comes to events with food as part of the “event”. Dr. Beck goes into some detail on how to handle situations like this but I will admit that it does take a very disciplined, well thought out and careful plan in order to navigate the buffet line. There are so many different possibilities a person can and often does take. I can eat a lot less that day and/or exercise more so that I can enjoy whatever others are bringing to share. I know what P. would like! I could make some baked chicken parts—like drumsticks or small thighs. Then, I could bring a large tossed salad, some fresh fruit maybe and maybe some of my muffins. At least, that way P. gets something he likes to eat and I can fill up on healthier foods and probably indulge a little in some sweets. (see, I never stop thinking entirely about what is for dessert). I often wonder if this will always be the case. If I were a weight loss student, these “clinical” situations would probably garner me a D+. Others do this a lot better than I do.

Now, that I have lost enough weight where BLC has lowered my recommended calorie range, I have to be even more careful than I would have been in the past when I had an extra 300 calories to “spend”. When I hear about some people who are eating less than 1400 calories a day, I think someday I will be there as well (hopefully) and how will I do that? Do I “nurse” a bottle of water all night? I am really feeling the sense of deprivation these days. Is it more psychological than physical? Probably.

Well, I did my lower body strength exercises late but they got done. I decided that since I hadn’t  done them in several days that this would be a good time to increase the intensity. So, I added 1 more set of 15 reps. I am now doing 3 sets of 15 reps. It was doable although I felt like I had really worked out afterwards. Tomorrow I will do the same with the upper body strength exercises. I will add 1 set of 15 reps so I will be doing 3 sets of 15 reps. By the time that becomes comfortable, then I will increase my hand weights to 5 lbs, which I think my silver ones are. So, I should be set for weights for another month or so. Then, I will move up to 8 lbs and probably stop there. At least, that is what the author of “Abs n Arms” suggested. However, “we’ll see”; maybe, I will want to increase the weights further. I guess, it will depend on the progress I am making in terms of toning up and developing real strength.

I did take some time out before P. got home to go through some more clothes of mine. I tried on several outfits. He came home just about the time I was trying on one particular outfit. He looked me over and said “Boy, you are losing weight”. Well, sometimes it is hard for me to tell. I mostly can see it when I try on something that is smaller than the size I used to wear. If it “makes me” look smaller visually by either the style of the piece or the cut of the fabric, then I think, yeah, I am losing weight. I am really so glad that I have decided to get rid of all those huge sizes. So far, we have donated 14 large Hefty bags mostly full of my clothes. Interestingly, as I have both lost over 40 lbs now and I have dropped 1 1/2 dress sizes, my body image has changed to the point where I don’t want to “cover up” any more. I am more drawn to clothes that fit better. I swear I didn’t even do this consciously. It seemed to “evolve”.

I will say that I will try to alter as many of my favorites as I can but if it looks like I can’t, I will have to say “goodby”. I hated to give away my favorite denim jacket. Not only did it keep me warm but I really like how the fabric felt against my skin and it was so comfortable but even after putting it in both a hot washer and dryer, it was still loose on me. Then, I knew it was time to “let it go”.  I felt sad. It had become my “friend”. Now, when I look back, I never realized just how big I was nor how I looked to others. I “thought” that jacket made me look the way I “wanted” to look not the way I “really” looked. I just had a thought: what do most really large women wear as their “all purpose” back-up outfits: sweats and big loose t-shirts. I am working hard at getting as far away from that “look” as possible. Yes, trim athletic women do wear “active wear” but it is more tight-fitting and they have the figure to “carry it off”. So, the edict is: loose and baggy have got to go!! The next question is: so, what do I wear then?

Well, I have been looking at both the catalogs and different photos of the public appearances of different “celebrities” to just see what kinds of style-setters there are. I can say this: most Hollywood actresses only know how to dress for the Oscars. Other than that, they are really clueless during their “personal lives”. I do like though the fashion sense of the two Middleton sisters. It is lady-like, conservative but still there is some style to their choices. I was fortunate that I could C/P a lot of their photos so I could get some ideas. Now, for their age group, most people would consider their styles to be a little “aged” but for me, who will be 60 in two years, it is perfect! The length of their skirts might be too short for me to pull off and, in some instances, the height of their high heels, but other than that I do plan on “modeling” my newly emerging body image and appearance after their choices. I was surprised that the younger sister, Pippa, wears a lot of flats. Kate is definitely the prettier of the two but both have such a nice style to “imitate”. It makes my “job” that much easier. I had a good sense of fashion before I became so big but after you hit a certain weight it is just plain hard to really pull it together and feel good about it. Now, I believe I will once again. I really do look forward to that as well.

So, I am really taking all of this newly emerging body image quite seriously. I am not waiting until I am my goal weight either like most people do. I have “listened” to too many people on the 3FC’s threads to know that most of them don’t “invest” a lot in the sizes as they are reducing. Yes, it is and can be expensive but I have a lot more to lose and I may be in one particular size for a lot longer than one month, as some of them have mentioned. I will need to be replacing some of my pants simply because I don’t want to attempt to alter them on my own because of the construction involved in the pockets. On the other hand, I could just remove them or sew them shut and then take them in. I guess I will see how much money I have as I am losing weight.

9/2/11:

Well, finally, the scales showed the lower calories I have been ingesting for the past several days. I am back at 258.8 lbs. 43 lbs lost since June 4, 2010. [NOTE: In the fall and winter of 2010 I did not attempt to diet but simply to maintain by choice] If I don’t lose any more weight this weekend I will still keep my numbers on BLC “as is”. I have decided that I don’t want my “competitive” side of me to get in the way of what I really need to do: lose weight in a healthy manner.  After all, I don’t want to lose the weight and then re-gain it because I “relaxed” my efforts. I will do my best though to show the real lose and not “suppose” that there is a different weight lurking underneath the sodium “boat”, “stalled” BMs or too high of calories and put down a weight that hasn’t “come to pass”. I suspect that it was the higher calories/higher sodium that was to blame more than anything else.

Hopefully, from now on, “moving forward”, I will adhere to my food plan and my exercising and this won’t happen again—until I will need to reduce my daily caloric intake again. I am still hoping that I will be able to increase my activity level to the point where I can “subtract” those  “burned calories” so I can still eat a little higher than the lowest calories of my recommended range. I think, I could eventually handle 1400 calories but I really hope that I don’t have to go any lower. One of the BLC experts said he wouldn’t recommend not going any lower. I think, if I am burning the recommended 200 calories per day, which is the equivalent of walking on the treadmill for one hour, I should still be able to either eat 1600 calories or eat 1400 calories but “show” that I have only eaten 1200 after doing the workout. The key, of course, is doing the physical activity so I can eat the additional calories, which I am willing to do.

On the other hand, if it seems like I am getting too tired and I am not rebounding, taking a few days off won’t hurt either. I was a little nervous about doing that this past week but last night I did a very strong and hard lower body strength work-out and I felt good afterwards. Today, I feel more like I can push myself and that is what I have done; carefully. I have already walked twice for 10 minutes at a time. The first time, I took Ex-Tylenol before and then I iced my left knee for a full 30 minutes afterwards. I also iced it after the second time as well. In fact, I think I actually prefer doing this with the treadmill than the RS workout. I just feel like I am able to do more aerobically since I try to mix up the speed at which I am walking. I’ll come back to his workout at a later date when I either get tired of doing this or it seems like I need “a change”.

Well, I managed to do 3-10 minute sessions on the treadmill. The second and third ones actually weren’t “half bad” either. I had the idea of possibly working up to 6-10 minute sessions. It would amount to me needing to do one about every two hours but I think, at some point, it would be doable. Think of the overall health benefits I would get from doing that!! Well, that will take up a bit of time too and I am not sure if I will have the kind of schedule that will allow that 6x a week but I will move in that direction and see where it takes me. Since this feels really comfortable to do 3-10 minute sessions, I might switch to 4-10 minute sessions mid-week next week. We’ll see. I would be very surprised if I were able to lose more than a couple of pounds over the weekend but you never know. Ideally, it would be nice if I were the number that I have recorded-255 lbs–but that might come later in the week. Again, we’ll just have to see how things go. I would love to break through to the 240s by the end of September-first part of October. That would mean that I would be at a weight I haven’t seen since the mid-80s—thirty years ago!!   When I hit the 230s, I will be at a weight I haven’t been since fall 1991 (briefly when I was on NS) and then again when I started college at the University of MN in 1983.  When I hit 200 lbs and a little less, I can say that I haven’t been that since early summer 1983.

Sitting here, I have no idea what I will have to do to get to those numbers either. I think that I will lose some weight for awhile at the level I am at but there will come a time when the weight lose will stall and then I will have to consider what I can do next. I am fairly confident that if I do these smaller increments of walking on the treadmill I will be able to increase the amount of times I do the walking. It all adds up and, from what I have read, it still counts; whether I do it in smaller segments or all at once. As for the lower calories; well, I guess, I will just see what will be demanded of me.

9/3/11:

I was able to lose another .6 lbs. I might be able to lose another .6 lbs by Monday’s weight in but I doubt whether I will get to 255 lbs to match what I currently have posted as my “official” weigh in. Well, I will just hold tight and leave it at that and eventually it will drop below that even. I would like to have my picture taken when I have lost 50 lbs which would be 251.8 lbs. That could be another month!! Oh, well, if it is, it is. I will say this, all the working out that I do will definitely show more by then. I think what I will have my picture taken in is: the really short knit Danskin Now active wear shorts and one of their form fitting t-shirts. There is some spandex in the material and so they hug the body more. I’ll wear my athletic shoes too. One person in the BLC group asked me to post a photo of me. I am hoping that I can find my USB cord to my camera so I can do just that. When I do post my picture, I think I will surprise a few people too!! Except for my blasted pot belly, I am really showing a lot of toned muscles. Maybe, I can do more lower ab work so that it gets flatter by then. I could see if I can get through one of those Pilates workouts!! That might really shape up that area faster.

Today, we went to GC for lunch and then grocery shopping. We hadn’t been to the store in almost two weeks. Although, I knew that I wanted to spend “more”, I was also aware that we still had limited money. However, it ended up being $158!! We did buy a lot of meat: chicken, turkey and fish. I think, we spent around $25 of that on non-grocery items. I wanted to spend even more but I knew that what we had bought was “enough” for now.  My left  knee was bothering me so I decided to use the electric cart. I really prefer that since it makes getting around so much easier and more relaxing. When I got home, I both iced my knee and took some Ex-Tylenol. That has become my standard “procedure” for dealing with this. I was able to get in 2-10 minutes “walks” on the treadmill. I took a nap after we prayed our novena rosary just because I didn’t really fall asleep last night until nearly 4 a.m. I have been having some trouble falling asleep this past week.  I’m not really sure why. I have only taken a nap once or twice too and that was only for an hour at most.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

By George, I think I can do this!

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Calorie Counting | 2 Comments

Week of August 16, 2011:

I am amazed but I weighed in today at 260.6 lbs. All I need to do is lose one more pound and I will have broke the 260s! I was wondering if I would be able to do that for this next week’s weigh-in. I would be thrilled to death if I could. Although last summer, I “thought” I was in the 250s, since the scale seemed to bounce all over the place, I really don’t know for sure. This new scale does not budge easily so when I see results like this, I know that they are accurate. Yesterday I decided that on my non-strength building days I would add a second session on the treadmill. I did 15 minutes in the afternoon and then did 10 minutes in the evening. I am going to try and do that every other day for the time being. If it becomes “too easy” then I will do that also on the days that I do my strength building exercises.  Again, it just gets back to keeping the body stressed enough so it will force it to burn calories just a little bit more and harder.

Also, I can say that I have “officially” passed the 40 lbs lose mark. I am going back to when I was my heaviest which I believe was just over 300 lbs. I can’t believe that I got to that place but I did in the past couple of years. There was a time about two years ago where I was definitely filling out size 26/28s. I remember how I looked when I sat down. All of the weight that I carried in the front of me just pushed out. I felt very unattractive no matter how many clothes that I bought. Well, I have gotten rid of a lot of those clothes and I am now going through the size 24s to see which ones fit me. I have some 22s that I believe I should be able to fit into later this fall as long as I continue doing what I have been doing.

I had another idea about how to alter some of these larger sizes. I would like to hang onto the clothes that are well made, both in construction and in the material that was used. I have also decided that I am either going to learn how to alter clothes on my own or seek out a class to learn how to do that. I also  had the idea that I could actually use some of these larger-sized clothes as fabric to cut from to make a new skirt or dress out of. Whether I will actually go to that length will depend on how much money I have to spend on new clothes and whether I am still motivated to do so. I do know that as I reduce my size I am definitely going to begin wearing more clothes that are form fitting. I am already in the process of doing some minor adjustments with what I have right now.

In fact, the more that I am toning my body, the more I realize how this is as important as losing the weight itself. I have been covering up my body for a very long time. That gets to be a certain mindset and one that needs changing as much as the numbers on the scales. It is important that I begin to change my body image while I am losing so that when I do arrive at my goal weight, it will seem like I was there “all along”. I have listened to enough people talk about having some difficulties in adjusting to their new weights and/or body image. I want to work on those residual problems as I am going down the scales. I guess, I want to take on all the aspects of returning to a former body size and not wait until then.

One of the biggest obstacles that I need to work on is overcoming the almost reflex action of avoiding social situations. I have social anxiety. It was really exacerbated by gaining so much weight and really feeling self-conscious about it. I also think that it didn’t help when I began using a cane. Whether that was the right decision to do or not, I did, and now I am wondering when I should stop using it. P came up with the suggestion of bringing my cane along “just in case”. Since I am going to start switching to bigger purses, that is what I am going to start doing. I can fold my black one up and I think it should fit in my purse. If I feel that I am getting too tired to walk without it, I can always pull it out. I am not sure why I am so skittish about anything social. I recently missed going to a memorial and also Mass. Granted, I didn’t sleep well because my back was hurting me but I do know that in the back of my mind I was nervous about both.

It would be awesome if I could break into the 240s by the end of this BLC Buddy Challenge but we will just have to see how my body responds to what I am doing.

8/18/11:

Well, I broke into the 250s this morning! I weighed in at 259.4 lbs. So, I have lost 9 1/2 lbs since beginning this Buddy Challenge 10 days ago. Granted, the first 3 lbs were ‘water” but the rest has been “honest-to-goodness” real weight lose. I still can’t believe it but obviously my body is in a good place and starting to respond to what I am doing. It shows that when I decrease my calories and increase my activity, I lose weight. I knew this but I just wasn’t doing it. What makes this even more poignant is that when I keep my sodium around 2000 mg it also helps a lot. I also think that the slow and steady increase in the stress of the kind of workouts that I am doing is beginning to pay off.  Another benefit of increasing the intensity of my work-outs is that it curbs my appetite. I just haven’t been as hungry in the past week or so. What I have been is very tired, almost to the point of exhaustion.

Well, my plan is to just keeping on doing what I have been doing. As I said above, I would love to break into the 240s by the end of this Buddy Challenge. That would be another 10 lbs in 6 weeks. All I can say is that I will do all I can between now and then to make it more likely to happen. In fact, I am in such a good place with all of this it would be awesome if I could keep up this pace right on “down the line”. At this point, I have lost almost 41.5 lbs. I have lost half of what Bill lost to get to his maintenance. I am quickly encroaching on where B and J are. J lost 70 lbs to reach her maintenance.

I still have a long way to go though. I want to be 135 lbs so that is 125 lbs to go. Wow! That is still a lot of weight to lose. I have gotten to where I don’t focus on that as much as having a good day and doing what I know I need to do for today. Then, that prospect doesn’t overwhelm me or intimidate me as it once did. That is one of the more surprising “developments” recently. There was a time when the very thought of tackling this weight issue was just too overwhelming for me. I couldn’t stay on a reduced diet for longer than a few days before giving up or giving in, whichever way you want to look at it. Now, I find myself just plodding along.

I didn’t go to bed and/or sleep until 6 a.m. yesterday so I was so tired the whole day. I decided not to push myself so I didn’t exercise. I waited to see if having some food would help. It didn’t so I just ate within my calorie range and stayed lower on my sodium (which I can see is KEY) and then watched some t.v. last night. I still didn’t go to bed last night until 2 a.m. I didn’t intend on that. It was more because I was responding to some e-mails including ones where P has lined up some personal “jobs” for tomorrow, which is instant cash for us. I got an e-mail from the Career Counselor at NH. I sort of rolled my eyes when I saw it because it just flooded me with some feelings of inadequacy regarding the one area in my life which feels so “crummy”. I did revise my resume and sent that to her. She wanted to see me in person as well so I told her early afternoons next week sometime would work. As I told P, I am not putting a lot of stock into this because I know that they might have to do this so they can say that they “worked with me” regarding finding employment. According to their contact person last fall, he said that they “track” our job search efforts, they don’t offer job placement, which WIA insisted they had to do in order to receive funds from WIA. Well, we’ll see what comes of it but I will go just in case she does have something she can offer me that I could check into.

I have really struggled (and resisted) the idea of going to college for four years. It just seems like such a long time for a person of my age. However, I do see from time to time “spots” on the national news or even on the Internet where older people are either starting a different/second career and/or returning to college for the same reason. They all seem “very happy” working in their “golden years”. I guess, my work experience has been mostly unfulfilled, both in the inter-work relationships I have had and, of course, the pay was “below standard” (and certainly for me holding a college degree). Maybe, it is my past experience that is coloring my view about doing this and prejudicing me. I think so.

Anyway, there is another part of me that thinks about what would happen to me if Pl were to die or even become unable to work? It is one thing not to be helping to provide “something” now but it would be crucial if he couldn’t work due to disability or an accident and although I would have quite a bit of money if he died because of his life insurance (provided they wouldn’t contest it), I am well aware that I also need to foster some contact with other people as well. So, I am holding my breath on this one but I am going to go to their D campus and check things out. Maybe, if I am “lucky” I will qualify for some kind of financial aid so I can pay for the schooling. I also really do like the fact that it is so close and we/I wouldn’t be going through the horrible mid-town traffic. It certainly has given me something to “hope for” anyway.

Well, I got my 15 minutes in on the treadmill. It actually went a lot easier although my right knee started to lock up a lot the last 90 seconds or so. Maybe, that was a good idea to fore go exercising yesterday. I will have to remember that. Now, all I need to do is my strength exercises. Again, I am “working on” clearing out the leftovers in the refrigerator. I came up with a pretty good way of  getting my vegetables in and eating up some leftovers. I had quite a bit of cooked cabbage leftover from one of my D’s take-out meals so I sliced up two fat free kosher beef franks and heated that up together (the sodium in the two skinny wieners are 1040 mg!!) along with some baby carrots. I’m having red grapes for “dessert”. It really makes me feel good that I can both eat healthy and really enjoy it at the same time. In fact, I am really feeling proud of a lot of the choices that I have been making lately. Obviously, they are good ones because the weight is finally going down.

As I told P last night at this point the weight I am is “pre-P”. I am almost certain that I weighed around 265 lbs (and didn’t waver much either) the first few years we met. I was always trying to diet but I sabotaged my efforts more often than not. I really didn’t know what healthy eating was back then. The only thing that I could think of was having a salad and foregoing dessert. I have since learned that it is a lot more than that. I don’t recall being “between” 265 and 245 lbs. It seems like when I gained weight back then it was in 20 lb increments. So, I am now finally charting a new path for me as I write this. The last time I was 245 lbs was in the mid-1990s, if I remember correctly. So, we are talking about 15 years at the least. I began college at the University of MN in 1983 and I weighed 232-235 lbs then. I felt huge back then because that was the most I had ever weighed. Now, I would be thrilled to death to weigh that. As for Onederland, I haven’t been there since early 1980s. Again, my weight jumped from 190s to 200s to 220s to 235 within a matter of one season–from April 1983 to September 1983.

So, I am now on the verge of returning to what I weighed decades ago. I feel that mentally and emotionally I am finally ready for the change. So, now, it is just “putting my hand to the plow” and not looking back. I think the real key right now is “not looking back”. It is not about dwelling on the fact that I once weighed 301.8 lbs., which now seems staggering to me, but to look forward to a more “normal weight” within a year. I am really glad that I am taking the time to really scrutinize the clothes that are remaining in my closet. Ideally, when I finish with all of this (which seems to be taking forever) I will be able to confidently say that whatever is in my closet flatters me (at that point in time) and I truly do have clothes that I can take off the hanger and not worry (too much) about how they look on me.

Well, I have done all of my strength exercises for the day. I am still finding the mid-abs the most difficult to do. That is also where a lot of my weight is right now too. I have accepted that it will probably take me losing a good 60 more lbs before I can actually consider curling up enough to touch my knees with my elbows. In fact, I might not be able to do that until I am within 20-30 lbs of my goal weight. Well, that is the reality of losing weight. You really have to get the extra weight before you start seeing the muscle definition emerge. Although I could do this every day and I was doing that in the beginning, I think I will just leave my ab work-out “as is”(doing it when I do my strength training every other day–that is still 4x a week) for the time being.The results won’t be as obvious until I do lose some more weight and the main thing is to continue to strengthen them.

When I do get more weight off I might consider at that time begin doing some of the more challenging dvds that I own, like the Pilates. Now, that will be challenging. By the time I am able to do that I should actually be seeing a “normal figure”. Maybe, when I hit Onederland I can seriously begin doing the Pilates workouts that I have. Again, I have been around enough fitness centers, seen enough programs, read enough books and so on, to know the “drill” on getting into shape. It takes time and persistence. To get those enviable bodies like the ones we all see on t.v. and in the magazines, you got to put the time in. Well, fortunately, I have the motivation. I also remember what it felt like to feel “strong” and limber. I would like to regain that if possible.

Right now, I think that doing 2 sets of 15 reps with the 3 lb hand weights is enough for my upper body. I find that my neck tenses up so that is saying that I am not quite at a place where I have the strength through my neck to move with a heavier weight. The main thing is to have “good form” and just continue. I can always go up to 3 sets of 15 reps as well. The author of “Abs n Arms” also said that you should switch off and on between a lighter and heavier weight just so you stress the muscle differently; so, I will consider doing that as well. Again, the middle of my upper back towards the right side, where I bruised it last winter when I fell in the shower, acts up after I have done the abs.

I took the opportunity to try on a dress that I wore once (maybe twice) when I first met P. I remember wearing it to Ph’s baptism which I think was 10 years ago. Although it is polyester, it feels like a thick silk and it is a bright teal and purple print. It is in the sheath style which I also like. It is a size 24W and it is “almost”loose on me!!! I am thrilled beyond words. This style is “in” right now and it will wear well throughout the fall and winter months for me. I would like to see if I could find a matching shrug to wear with it when the weather gets cooler. [In fact, I did find one in Jessica London online: either in royal blue or purple---I actually think the purple might be better with it--make the colors pop!] Again, I only want to keep the clothes that truly fit me (or I can alter later to fit me then) so when I go in my closet, I will feel like anything I choose will look good on me. What a change that will be from the past.

I am continuing to eat up leftovers and I still have more to go. That is great since that definitely keeps us from going to the grocery store every other day. Plus, I seem to really have hit my stride when it comes to home-cooked meals. Right now, I am having pork and vegetable stir fry plus a whole wheat strawberry muffin. Well, I made my daily goal of getting a lot of different vegetables in.

So, we ended up going out after all to GC for an anniversary meal. I am really feeling a comfort level with eating out and still staying close to my food plan. I did go over on the sodium, which is almost a “given” when eating out, but it was only 2 lbs and I don’t “officially” weigh-in until Monday morning. Both of us were just so tired that we came home. I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes and then logged my food.  I stayed up late to watch one of my favorite “reality” shows: House Hunters International. As I was sharing with P, the trend has changed quite a bit this past year with these new episodes. Now people are moving globally for new jobs. Before it was for adventure or to retire early. Even our local news mentioned that the majority of the jobs being offered right now at job fairs are abroad. I think, it caught the person reporting by surprise as well. It just means that this recession and this unemployment has really changed the landscape in a way that truly only the “strongest will survive”; in what ever way works for them. We just have to figure out how we are going to be able to survive. Beyond week to week and month to month. That’s all.

Well, although I went way over my daily sodium, I only gained 2 lbs so I think that if I really watch the sodium in the next two days, I should lose that by Monday morning. I don’t know if it is realistic for me to expect to lose any more after having already lost 9.4 lbs in two weeks. I would like to lose another pound. This sounds like a selfish and competitive reason but right now I am ahead one other person by a few pounds and it is possible that she could have a really good weekend and “overcome” my current “first place” position. If I can push myself tomorrow, I am going to try and even do a RS work-out at some point. We’ll see if I can get P away from his ghost shows long enough for me to do that. It would be awesome to say that I have lost 10+ lbs in two weeks.  Well, if I don’t, it is still a very respectful “show”. I am strongly motivated to keeping this up too.

This is what I have decided to do for this coming week to “intensify” my efforts: I am going to attempt to remove (1) 100 calorie item from my daily calorie intake. The most obvious one for me is my use of margarine on toast or muffins. I do think the fat adds something to the warm bread but I do have butter spray which has no calories at all so I am going to get in the habit of using that. I will share this with the rest of the group because it might incite someone to consider doing it themselves. I shared today how I began working out again. All I can do is share and if they want to pick up on some of your ideas, fine, but on the same hand, if they don’t want to, I have to just respect that too. It is definitely their lose.

8/21/11:

Once again, I had leftovers for lunch and then we had a “fresh” meal for dinner: baked pork steaks, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.Surprisingly, I was still able to stay within my high range for calories and even stay well under my sodium range with eating a bag of fat free microwave popcorn and a light beer. All of the numbers were withing the recommended range as well. In other words, this ended up being a really good day overall with my food plan. I suggested that we watch a couple of our own movies instead of just surfing the t.v. channels and really not “engaging” in anything particular. I think, we find that relaxing so we both ended up mellowing out by the end of the night.

8/22/11:

Tomorrow is the third weigh-in for our Buddy Challenge and the second where we are measuring weight loss and subsequently the body percentage lost as well. I am about 2+ lbs ahead of one person but she knows how to drop weight quickly so it might be interesting to see how she will fare tomorrow. I have really worked hard this past week. I have really tried to keep my sodium down as best as I could. However, I have noticed that my appetite has really increased as I have increased the intensity of my activity. I feel like it doesn’t take more than an hour or so before I am hungry again. Unfortunately, I hope I haven’t been fueling that since the past couple of days I have really eaten a lot (now all) of homemade whole wheat muffins I made earlier this week. Sometimes, I just run out of ideas of what to eat. I was also constipated yesterday which is unusual for me since I usually go to the bathroom almost right away when I get up.

I also walked 20 minutes in one session on the treadmill and I did most of my strength exercises as well. CT, who is in second place this past week, may pass me this week. She seems eager to “compete”. She mentioned right off the bat how I would be a “contender”. It would be “fun” to win this Challenge although “victory is fleeting”. I won one last year and who remembers that? I doubt any of them do. I guess, it would depend on whether I would stay with this group after this challenge or not. I probably will. I feel like I have fallen in although it is interesting how the conversation flows. In some respects, I feel like I am almost virtually ignored. However, when it comes to posting in these groups, timing is everything. If you post too early or too late then people may miss it and assume that you aren’t posting. I posted for this past weekend because I didn’t get on until close to midnight. Now, tomorrow all I have to do is weigh in.

I have tried to increase some part of my exercises’ intensity on Sunday night; sort of an informal “Last Chance Workout”. Tonight, after it quit storming, I walked for 20 minutes straight. I varied the speed between 1.6-1.8 mph. I actually think that 1.7 mph seemed comfortable enough to me that I might begin by doing that as my “base speed”. If I can, I would like to do 1 20 minute session earlier in the day and then 1 10 minute session later in the evening. I tried that last week with 1 15 then 1 10 minute “session” last week  but I think I only did it once. As I said, I have really felt like I have been consuming more energy than I am accustomed to. I have been sleeping an average of 9-10 hours a night, which is great after all of that missed sleep this past spring. Today my appetite just seemed hard to tame. I wasn’t happy about that at all. I think some of the choices that I made might have contributed to fueling it too.

Well, tomorrow and this week is a whole new week and that is how I want to look at it. I would like to aim for eating no more than 2000 calories. Considering that I ate 2500 today means I may have my work cut out for me. It is evident that I need to eat more vegetables and fruits. I still have some red grapes and pineapple so I have no excuse not to. I just didn’t eat them. As for vegetables, I was sort of hit and miss on that this past week. I had some really good days but I was also trying to eat up a lot of leftovers which left me sometimes eating a lot of grains. What I have decided to do is try to reduce each day by 100 calories. Now, for me, all that would mean is to reduce or stop using margarine. Then, I will go down my food plan and look for other places to cut. I am already eyeing the skim milk that I drink when I take my evening Tylenol PM. I either have to stop drinking milk the rest of the day, have half as much or try to find another way to take those pills. Other ways I can reduce my calories is by eating half of something: one slice of bread rather than two, one slice of lunch meat, one-half of a muffin, etc. I won’t do that though until I start needing to get below 1800 calories.

I can see that if I am going to crank the activity level, I am going to have to be eating a lot smarter than I have been. I really have to eat quality nutrients in my food because my body needs the superior fuel. I went without vitamins for almost two weeks and it makes a difference for me especially since I was also bleeding during that whole time as well. My “outside” goal is to just get all of this down to a “system”. If I can get a well-established habit of exercising without fail six days a week, eating a really healthy and well-balanced food plan, then I am hoping that my body will respond well and I will lose weight. Granted, it would be nice to be in the 240s by the end of this challenge. That would mean 10 more lbs in about 6-7 weeks, depending on how you count the calendar weeks. That is about 1.6 lbs per week. It sure seems doable, especially what I am trying to do now. Well, we will just have to see how things work out.

Well, I hope to find out something about whether I can count on going to school this fall or winter by mid-week or so. If that is a door that is completely closed to me then I will just have to really hunker down and do a real blitzkrieg for job searching. Perhaps, this career counselor can shed some much-needed light on my “situation”. It doesn’t help that hundred of thousands of well-deserving and qualified applicants are out there looking for work as well. In fact, both P and I are becoming increasingly worried about how we will continue to “survive” just based on what has/hasn’t happened in the past two months. It is very real and it is very scary.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Calorie Counting: More Pros than Cons IMO

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Calorie Counting | 2 Comments

I address this issue on a separate post here in my diet blog but this is a recap of what I have found out to be true for me:

I read the actual labels on the actual food that I am eating. Here is the one caveat on that though. For example, I have noticed that although the labels may say that there are 8 servings in the whole package, often more than not, there are only 6(for example). So, what I do is this formula:

Let’s say the frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts are 100 calories each.
The package says there are approximately 8 servings enclosed. If there are only 6 pieces then I multiply 8(what the label says)x100=800 and then divide by 6 (what actually is in the package)=133 calories per piece instead of the 100 calories listed as the calories for each piece. 33 calories may not be a big deal but depending on how many items you eat during the day, it could add up to several hundred extra calories that could make a difference in your weight lose results.

Also, there is the issue of uniformity; as in, it doesn’t always happen. So, if those same 6 pieces of chicken breast are not the same size then you will need to know what 3-4 oz looks like ( the size of a deck of playing cards) and determine just how much you are eating as a serving.

You can even take it further and weigh each piece with a digital scales. They cost around $65-80. I have an older WW balance scales I use but I find it kind of messy and it does involve keeping it clean from added bacteria so I don’t really use it much. I used to work in a deli many years ago and in order to accurately weigh food, you also have to first weigh the paper wrapping or container first (called the tare) and then subtract that from the additional food item so that you get an accurate pricing. I’ve digressed here some but the point that I am making is that unless you understand weights and measurements in at least a basic way, you can easily miscalculate calories.

I also use an online calorie counter and a standard calorie counter book as cross references usually when I am eating something from scratch, a whole food that normally doesn’t come with a nutritional label or when I am eating out. Some restaurants now have nutritional information posted within the restaurant, some even have it on their websites but also some restaurants do not.

When I eat out, I make a mental note of how the food tasted for how it was prepared. For example, if it seems to have an oily texture I automatically add 120 calories(the approximate calories for 1 TB vegetable oil) for the portion that I have eaten. I also take into consideration that the food might have been prepared with MSG and/or added sodium so often I will try to find comparable foods in those above mentioned resources and then add the sodium content as well. Between added oils and sodium, an innocent seemingly healthy meal can be shocking in added calories and sodium, which will definitely impact your next day weigh in, if nothing else.

I do weigh and measure my food that I eat at home. I start out with standard measuring cups and spoons. When I transfer them to a specific glass, dish or bowl then from that point on I use those as my measurement guide. I know that a lot of people use smaller plates but unless the restaurant you are dining at has those you won’t have your visual cues to help you judge how much you are eating so that is the reason why I stick to a standard dinner plate.

Lastly, if I am uncertain about the actual calories I will estimate on the high side. It takes a little practice but it really doesn’t take a lot of time out of my day. I waste time doing a lot of other things that have less impact on my weight lose than this.

Last summer, I began following the Biggest Loser food plan. It was the first time that I also took into account the macronutrients breakdown as well. It was the first time that I ever considered the impact of sodium on my weight lose efforts. What an eye opener that was for me.

By making an added effort to eat a balanced macronutrient food plan; ie, a specific amount of carbs, fats, protein, fiber and sodium each day within my allotted calorie range, I have significantly improved my health while I am losing weight. On previous food plans my hair was thinning for example. Since following this food plan, my hair has gotten thicker. My complexion is clearer.

I want to also add that I have discovered that if I increase my daily fiber intake to 35-45 grams coupled with an increase in plain water consumption and lower sodium intake, I can work through a plateau, budge myself to lose a little more weight each week and in general feel more full on “less food”. Put simply, I feel I have more control over the outcome. The “mystery” (or so it felt to me before) is no longer there for me.I feel that now when I see my weekly results I can follow the thread back to the beginning of the week and see what I did (or didn’t do) to get the results I got. In other words, there is less surprise involved. I pretty much know what the scales are going to say, if I’ve done my homework.

I always hated calorie counting in the past. It is the one thing that makes my food plan seem like a diet because if I weren’t counting calories I essentially eat healthy. Period. 80/20 is the ratio. 80% healthy whole foods/20% pizza, chocolate and Coke. I ain’t complaining.

By counting calories I am assured that I am also training myself to recognize and practice portion control, which is an important tool I will need not only to lose weight but to keep it off. So, I vote “Yes” for calorie counting within the perimeters that I just outlined.

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