It’s working!

But it is working really slowly.

Weight watchers has helped me to break my 215lb plateau and I am slowly creeping towards 199lbs.  I’m not going to meet my goal of reaching Onederland before my Disney vacation (in 1 week! Eep!), but I came pretty darn close and I am proud of myself.  I’m hoping to not have a gain on the scale after this weekend because we are eating out for almost every meal, but I plan to order on plan and drink plenty of water.

I have learned that, unless I am doing a really restrictive plan, I lose weight slowly.  Other people start WW and drop 25 lbs in 3 months.  Whereas I have lost 11.5lbs in 10 weeks.  Maybe I will hit 15 lbs lost at my 3 month mark, but I am ok with the slow weight loss.

I have also learned that my body feels better when eat a more filling breakfast.  Normally I have a fruit smoothie with my coveted green foods powder (3PP).  I am usually feeling pretty hungry by 9am after having my smoothie at 7am. Yesterday, I was ’starving’ in morning because I had skipped breakfast as I was running late. I grabbed a WW friendly breakfast sandwich from my office cafe (Egg beaters and turkey on whole wheat toast, 5PP) and I felt so full and content for the rest of the day.  I was happy with a half salad for lunch and I didn’t crave a snack in the afternoon.  I was hungry by dinner, but that is normal.  It felt so strange to not spend my entire day waiting until I could eat my allotted snacks and meals.  I also wasn’t busy at work and that is usually when my urges to snack are the highest.  I’m going to take this knowledge and plan to bring a filling and healthy breakfast with me to work more often.  As a side note, I had my normal breakfast smoothie this morning, I ate a 90 cal fiber one bar at 9am and I am already super hungry and it isn’t even noon yet.

Hello Weight Watchers

I am determined not to turn this into an undated once a year type blog! 

I have stayed around 215 lbs for almost a year.  I was doing a relaxed form of calorie counting which consisted of counting for some days and not counting for others.  And as any serious Calorie Counter will say, you have to account for everything that goes into your mouth, every day!  A few people at my workplace have had great success on the new Weight Watchers Points Plus plan and I have decided to give it a try. 

Honestly, I really like it so far.  I am eating more fruits and veggies then I did while calorie counting and I want to do some sort of exercise everyday in order to earn that extra activity point. It is appealing to my completionist side.  I feel a drive to drink all of my water, eat all of my fruits/veggies, and get in some exercise each day in order to earn my daily achievement ribbon.  A friend of mine compared tracking with Weight Watchers like tracking stats on a D&D character sheet.  Being the giant nerd that I am, this made me feel all bubbly inside~

I lost 3.5lbs my first week and a half.  I’m hoping to have some sort of loss for this week, but I am eating out 2 days before my weigh in, so I ‘m not sure if my sodium intake will cause water retention and contribute to a small gain or maintain.  It’s ok though, as long as the scale is gradually moving in the downward direction, I am happy!

P.S. 15lbs until Onederland.  I haven’t seen a 1 in front of my weight in 7 years.  When I was serious about working out in college, my lowest weight was 187.  It scary to think that I gained 58 lbs over the course of 7 years.  Hopefully it wont take me 7 years to lose those 58 pounds…

Calorie Counting

I started calorie counting on 4/10/10.  I have been following a whole foods lifestyle for a little over a year and while the scale wasn’t creeping back up dramatically, it wasn’t creeping down either.  So after having a conversation with my doctor, I decided that I needed to seriously start monitoring my food intake and accounting for almost everything that I put into my mouth.  I’m using the Livestrong Daily Plate tool.  I find it very convient to be able to access my account from any computer.  Plus I love being able to save my favorite meals and use them later for a quicker way to count my daily calories.  According to the Daily Plate calculator, I should be eating around 1600 calories a day to lose 2 lbs a week.  I have already dropped about 15 lbs since I started counting my calories.  It feel good seeing the scale finally budge after being plateaued for so long.

Now for the downside of counting….I being hyper aware of everything I am putting into my mouth.  I still really want to follow my whole foods lifestyle, but I am finding myself less willing to eat higher calories item like nuts and good oils.  I realize that fats are essential for your body, but when I start placing a value on every calorie I eat, I start eating less of the things I should be eating.  My goal over the next month is to start ‘forcing’ myself to incorporate the good fats back into my diet.  If I start accounting for a serving of almonds 3x a week, then I will have to eat them.  The key is remember that quality is better than quantity.  Just because I can eat a huge bag of popcorn for the same caloric value as 2 oz of raw almonds, doesn’t mean that I should always choose the popcorn.

I guess that it is a lesson that every calorie counter has to learn at first.  Now I need to comb back through my superfoods book and combine that with my calorie counting efforts.

The Cost of Eating Well?

I was poking around the 3FC forums and came across an old NY Times article about how nutrient rich foods cost more per gram than processed junk foods.  While I understand the general premises behind the article, I feel that they overlooked a large portion of the data.  Whole foods like fruits, veggies, and unprocessed meats, may cost more at the supermarket checkout at that moment, but the lifelong data shows a reduction in individual food cost and health costs.  When you eat foods that are more fiber dense, you tend to eat less and you snack less between meals because you are satisfied. In turn, this means that you are buying less at the market because you aren’t wasting money on the ‘empty calories’ of junk foods.  Plus, it is generally assumed that if a person cares about their diet, then they also try to take care of their bodies through exercise and water consumption.  Taking care of our bodies usually means less trips to the doctor and fewer chronic problems.  And as I have learned, a healthy diet makes it much easier to manage pre-existing health issues.  So, to put things in very generalized terms, a person who chooses healthier options at the market will spend less over the course of their lifetime than a person who survives mainly on junk/overly processed foods.

*phew* ok, I’m off of my soapbox now. :-)

ETA:  Here is the article I mention:A High Price for Healthy Food

So many months lost…

I guess that it happens to the best of us… We start off full of vigor and we eventually fall back into our old lives and forget about our previous resolutions.  However, I cannot let that happen this time.  It has been almost one full year since I started my weight loss journey and although my initial steps were fueled by fears about my health, the changes that I made to my diet have become real life changes for me.

So, although I don’t have time to provide a full update before I go to bed, I do have a small victory to share. Around May of last year I stopped exercising on a regular basis.  I would still occasionally take walks or sporadically visit the gym, but I was pretty sedentary for the most part.  Most of this was because of my personal laziness, but a small part was because I found a new job and I now had a reason to get out of the house during the day.  This made me happy, but I was starting to feel pretty depressed when I stopped seeing the scale go down on a weekly basis.

This past weekend I decided to pick back up on my WiiFit because I wanted to start exercising and WiiFit provides excellent low impact cardio and strength training for beginners.  I haven’t stepped onto the WiiFit scale in many months and I am happy to report that I only gained back 3 lbs since last May!!  I am estatic about this because it shows that my dietary changes are working and that I didn’t yoyo back up to 240 again!

So, from Feb-May of last year I lost 25 lbs and I managed to keep 22 of those lbs off of my body for almost an entire year!  My goal now is to start over again in Feb and lost another 25 lbs over the course of this year.  That would put me right at 200lbs and so freaking close to Onederland that I can taste it!

Food Log 04/30/09

I’m still not doing the best with my daily food intake. I’m having mad cravings for sweets and I am blaming that on my TOM being just around the corner.

Breakfast: I slept in, so I decided to eat my normal breakfast for lunch. I did have a glass of water and 1/2 cup of orange juice when I woke up.

Lunch:
*Whole Grain Hot Cereal made with 1% organic milk. This is made by quaker and is a combination of oats, barley, and many other ‘good for you’ grains. I added a tablespoon each of dried cranberries, slivered almonds, brown sugar, and cinnamon to it as it cooked. It was tasty, but i think that I still prefer normal steel cut oatmeal to the whole grain mixture.
*Small bowl of fresh mixed fruit: watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, honeydew, and pineapple. I picked up a large sized container at the market and I’m dividing it up for the next few days.
*One piece of deli sliced peppered turkey breast and 1 piece of havarti cheese.
*Glass of water

Snack (or lunch part 2 because I was feeling hungry about 2 hours later):
*A tablespoon of Roasted Garlic Hummus with a very small handful of baked pita chips. I finished off the bag and it was mainly crumbs, hence the very small handful serving size.
*A Fiber One oats and chocolate bar.
*A few chunks of mixed fruit.

Later Afternoon Snack:
*Another Fiber One Oats and Chocolate bar. I said I was having a massive sweet tooth attack. But I am paying for it with the amount of gas I am having right now..lol.
*Small cup of Island Coconut Coffee with Almond Breeze and 1 teaspoon of sugar. I haven’t had regular coffee in weeks, so this was nice treat!

Dinner:
We went to Moe’s. But I was very good and had:
*Joey Bag of Doughtnuts Burrito with no tortilla served in a bowl. I ordered it with Rice, black beans, and tofu. No cheese or sourcream. I topped it with lettuce, salsa, onion, black olives, ciltanto, cucumber, fresh japs, sqeeze of lime, and salsa verde. It was so yummy. I also resisted the chips and only had 2 before stopping myself. yay.
*Glass of water to drink.

I am still one glass of water away from my daily target of 64 ounces. But I should get that in before I go to sleep. So not a bad day, but I can tell now that I need to get back into eating more veggies with every meal.

My food log for 4/28/09

I decided to start keeping track of my food intake. I’m not calorie counting, but I feel that this will help me see where I am lacking and what I need to add to amp up my weightloss.

I didn’t do as well today as I have done previously, but I still feel good about myself.

I skipped breakfast..I big no no. I need to work on getting up earlier so I can have a definite time to eat breakfast and then eat lunch.

Lunch:
*1 Boca chic’n patty on a whole wheat bun with vegan mayo, dijon mustard, lettuce and tomato.
*1/2 c of white cheddar popcorn
*small side salad
*low sodium v8
*sugar free chocolate jello pudding
*glass of sweet tea plus a glass of water

Snack:
*Venti unsweetened iced green tea with lemonade (that is huge for me. I love the sweetened ones..lol)
*Starbucks “perfect” oatmeal made with skim milk. Included dried fruit, nuts, and brown sugar.

Dinner:
*Chinese Food: Small order Steamed Chicken and broccoli with white rice and sauce on the side. I used very little of the sauce.
*2 steamed dumplings.
*water to drink

Snack:
*Apple

I didn’t get in my usual amount of water or veggies and I am craving chocolate and carbs like mad. I blame it being close to my TOM. Hopefully this will pass and I will be back on my eating plan soon..lol.

Doctor’s Visit

I went back to the doctor today and their scale showed a definite 12lbs loss from when I was their previously a month ago. So, go me! My blood pressure was also almost back to normal. It registered at 120/70. Last month is was at about 140/something..I can’t remember the last number because I was so shocked that it was high. But that is two victories. However, my visit was about the persistent pain in my left breast that I have had for 3+ months. Last time the doctor said that it was muscular and to try heat + ibuprofen. I was very careful to not stress the region and was not getting any relief after a month, so I went back to the doctor to check for the possibility of inflammation or cysts. The nurse said that my breasts feel fine, but she was concerned with my high resting pulse rate. It was at 102 and it should be between 60-80 beats per minute. So she put me on Atenolol to see if that helps with my pain and lowers my heart rate. Atenolol is also used to lower blood pressure. But, since my blood pressure is lowering on it’s own, I really hope that I wont have to stay on the pills once my heart rate is normal. I took one this afternoon and I do feel much better, although I feel pretty damn sleepy. Hopefully that will pass once my body adjusts to the medication. However, taking this medicine and feeling better does scare me. That means that the pain I was feeling was caused by my heart and now I am concerned about why my heart was beating so quickly.

I guess I shouldn’t be too concerned right now and focus on continually making my body healthier so I may one day be off of these meds. I will just have to take it one day at a time.

A small victory.

Today I went to a family function. *insert dramatic music here*

In my family, functions almost always mean food…and lots of food. This worried me because I have been doing really well in the comfort zone of my house and favorite restaurants. I’ve stayed on track by eating whole grains, plenty of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, more fish, and drinking over 64 ounces of water each day. I’ve also controlled my intake of butter and oils by using olive oil in place of butter when sautéing and being knowledgeable about what oils and sauces are used to cook my food when I eat out. So, I’ve stayed in control of what goes in my mouth.

However, today I knew that I would be presented with food options that probably were not the best for me or my new food philosophy. And boy was I right.

When we left the house, Josh stopped at our favorite local coffee house to pick up a coffee for the road. I stuck to my guns and ordered a small iced chai made with soy milk and no whip. This is a treat for me since I’ve been limiting my caffeine and drinking water in the morning with breakfast, instead of coffee. So I enjoyed my soy iced chai for breakfast and had an apple with it for an added serving of fruit.

When we arrived at the function, everyone was having lunch of sandwiches and chips. I avoided the bbq shredded chicken on the stove and had a banana sandwich with peanut butter and a small handful of chips. I drank water instead of soda. So that makes another serving of fruit, protein from the peanut butter, and some whole grains from the bread. I was feeling pretty proud of myself at this point!

But my resolve almost wavered a few hours later when I noticed the glazed doughnuts on the table. At my house I have plenty of low fat/organic/healthier options for those random sweet cravings. And I haven’t had a doughnut in my house in ages! In fact, I hadn’t even thought about them, but here they were staring me in the face and practically saying “eat me”. I think the real problem started when I told myself that I couldn’t have one because they were full of nothing but empty calories. **I should also note here that I have been making myself have a healthy snack between 3 and 4 in the afternoon to avoid the late afternoon crash and curb potential binges** However, once I made the doughnuts a forbidden food, my mind could not focus on anything else. I could tell that this was leading into a dangerous zone of me having an irrational craving for glazed doughnuts, so I told myself that I could have one and that was it. I pulled one out of the box and at that moment decided to have 1/2 of it and eat it slowly and actually savor it. And that is what I did. I started to eat and and it didn’t taste all that good anymore. I finished my half of a doughnut, gave my fiancee the other half so I wouldn’t eat it, and went outside away from the food. And I just forgot about it. Now that I think about it, the doughnut didn’t taste nearly as good as I remember them tasting and I am happy for that. I sure that if I ate a fast food hamburger that it wouldn’t taste good to me anymore either. Small victories are awesome!

Also, I controlled myself at dinner. I filled half of my plate with a mixed greens salad and steamed broccoli. I ate half of a baked potato instead of a whole one, a serving sized potion of grilled steak, and 4 shrimp. And I was stuffed.

So I managed to keep to my way of eating despite being out of my comfort zone. I’m sure that it wont happen at every family function, but if I can manage to keep my potions under control then it wont spell disaster for me.

Why am I obese?

I have been chubby for most of my life. I have one picture of me as a skinny child when I was about three or four years old. From that point forward, I have always had reasons for why my weight skyrocketed to the point of me being ‘obese’ in my 20s.

My Various Reasons (in semi chronological order):

  • Poor diet growing up. My family is southern in every sense of the word. Most meals include various forms of meat, starches, butter, and cornbread. Plus sweet tea…and usually dessert.
    Being an only child. In my head, I was convinced that if I had a constant playmate, I would spend countless hours doing physical activities outside and would therefor be skinny.
  • I wear my weight well. Through most of my teens I convinced myself that I didn’t not look close to what I actually weighed. This gave me false confidence and facilitated my denial about my weight gain. This mindset also set me up for failure on any diet program that I tried to stick to. Hell, if I didn’t look 200 lbs, then why not eat whatever temptation item that I wanted to?
  • I was meant to be a BBW. I wholeheartedly approve of the fat acceptance movement, but for me it became another form of denial about the pit that I was sinking into. I know that you can be big and healthy, but you have to still work at keeping yourself healthy. I carry weight around my waist in a spare tire. That is not healthy weight at all. In fact, it is one of the worse kinds of fat you can carry. This mindset of being a BBW and not having to work at my health allowed my to be lax in my dieting restrictions. This was shattered for my when my blood pressure went from being normal to high and my cholesterol was at 227 (normal is below 200). At 25, I should not have to worry about high blood pressure and cholesterol!

Life influences on my weight:

When I was a kid, I just didn’t think about it. It didn’t occur to me that I was heavier than friends. The problems started in my teenage years. I remember being hungry all of the time. That is common with teenagers, but I wasn’t offsetting my binge eating with physical activity like I should have done. The pounds came on quickly and I become more and more depressed about my weight, so I would eat less at school and fill up with snacks when I came home.

My sudden weight gain did not go unnoticed by my family members. My mom tried to push portion control and will power, but all I was concern about was making sure that I got a big serving at dinner. It makes me laugh now, but I used to be seriously concerned about splitting up portions because I thought that I might not get enough to fill me up.

My grandma, who has been obese for my entire life, signed me up for everything fad diet that she saw. I spent my summers at her house, so I could expect a new diet every summer. I recall doing the ‘High Energy’ diet, Nutrisystem, the Heart Healthy lose 10 lbs in 7 days diet, a no salt in any form diet, and countless other. No matter what the diet, it would always end the same way. We would embark on our journey full of hopes about being thin, lose 10-15 lbs, and then succumb to our various vices and forget about it for the rest of the summer.

I knew that I was gaining weight, but I convinced myself that if I could stay in my size 9 jeans, then I would morph into a beautiful, thin woman. I was about 13 at this point. Seriously, how many people wear the same size pants they wore at 13? I know that I don’t. My eating habits and lack of exercise did not allow my to keep a size 9 waist through middle school. I think that I was in a size 12 or 14 by 8th grade.

This is about the time that I started the denial stages of my weight gain. When I was weighed at the doctor’s office, the nurses would comment that I didn’t look like I weighed over 150…then 175…then 200 lbs…etc. And well, if you don’t look overweight, then why worry about losing weight?

So I fell into a cycle of yo yo dieting. I would lose 10-15lbs, feel good about myself and promptly gain it all back x2. This has ended with me being 25 years old, 5′2” and about 240lbs.

So why is this time different?

A recent trip to the doctor for chest pain was my wake up call. They found nothing wrong with my heart, but my cholesterol and my blood pressure was high. Plus my thyroid was completely out of whack. That made me realize that I need to lose weight for my health and quality of life. My thyroid could be part of the problem with my weight, but I know that I wasn’t always eating as well as I do now. I am terrified of ending up on blood pressure meds and a highly restrictive diet by the time I am 30, so I am making the changes now to hopefully improve my quality of life in the future.