Monday, August 31, 2009

Here Comes Week 2

Well, I survived my first week of this weight loss journey, and as of this morning, I have lost 8 pounds. Not bad for one week's worth of work! I feel like a lot of little things have changed in my day-to-day routine, but mostly it feels like a lot has changed because I'm not eating ALL THE TIME. I'm what you would call an emotional eater, and I eat my stress away, so whenever I was upset, angry, stressed, exuberant, happy or just plain bored, I would eat. I'm not doing that anymore, and that is the biggest difference.

I've taken to telling Mike (my fiance) what I weigh each day and how I feel. Not like a formal check-in, but more of a conversation in passing that usually goes something like this, "hey hunny, I'm up a few ounces today," or "today I stayed the same," or "yay, I lost a pound!" Like the good husband-to-be that he is, he always responds in the stereotypical appropriate way. If I lost weight he congratulates me. If I stayed the same he also congratulates me and says it's part of the process, and if I gain weight he offers words of encouragement and compliments my overall hard work. Good man.

On Sunday, however, I realized that he must be treading lightly to make sure he doesn't insult the situation. We were both concentrating on other things when I told him that I stayed the same weight as Saturday. He then responded with, "That's great!" Getting distracting by other things, I didn't respond at all to his comment and that confused him; it made him think that I didn't think staying the same weight was a good thing. I was the one who goofed up that situation and had to back-peddle. It was then that I realized for myself, and explained to him that it's a great day when I stay the same weight, it's an okay day when I gain an ounce or two, and it's the best day of all when I lose some weight.

Gaining a few ounces is part of this process. There is nothing, I mean nothing, I can do in order to avoid gaining a few ounces here and there because the body fluctuates with what you eat, it changes based on stress levels and there's also good-ole water weight. For instance, I gained four ounces from yesterday to today, but I'm not upset over it in the least. I weigh myself everyday so I have even more motivation to keep going! I may have gained four ounces for whatever reason, but now I'm pumped to get to the gym after work and have a good workout! It's a part of this cycle.

So, how did the weekend go? The weekend went fantastic! I was able to relax, spend time with Mike, hang out with some of my closest friends, and keep my diet in check. And, by the way, I was able to fit into a pair of capri pants (jeans that aren't stretch!) that I haven't been able to wear since last fall! What more can I ask for?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Today's a Challenge

Today may be the hardest day I'm going to face thus far in this challenge to lose weight. At 3 p.m. I'm expecting 15-20 close friends over to our house for a barbecue, and I know with good company comes good food and tasty drinks. My goal is to still keep my eye on the prize, and if I do indulge in a tasty treat to do so in moderation.

I don't have a lot of time to write today, since I have more than my fair share of things to get done before this afternoon, but I wanted to write something. I feel good today, but I haven't made it to the gym yet. Hopefully I'll get there before our visitors arrive!

Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it went tomorrow!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Growing Confidence

I was lying in bed last night trying to fall asleep when I realized that for the first time in about five years, the confidence I have in myself is actually growing instead of dwindling. I know the pounds haven't fallen off enough to show a physical difference, or even really to feel a difference in weight, but my mindset has definitely changed.

I came to the realization that this journey or adventure I embarked on more than a week ago and will be on for hopefully the duration of my life is actually more about my mind than my body. Yes, I am trying to lose weight so I look better, but really I'm trying to lose weight so I feel like I look better. Like I said a second ago, for the first time in more than five years, I feel like I have control over my own body, over my weight, over my food consumption and over my general health. I had let myself get so far gone that I had lost all control over myself. I ate when I wanted to eat and what I wanted to eat with total disregard of what it was not only doing to my physical appearance, but to my actual health.

At what point should I have woken up in the morning and said, "I feel like crap, and I feel like crap every morning so maybe I should change that." Or when I climb to the top of the stairs at work and I'm panting to myself as quietly as possibly, shouldn't I have realized earlier that I'm the only one that can do something about that? There have been so many indicators, mostly all physical, for a couple of years that should have been bright, flashing lights warning me to shape up or be prepared to face the consequences. What was next? Diabetes? Heart Attack? Cholesterol Medication? I don't want to have to go through any of that, and it took me this long, until I was almost 26 and steadily gaining weight since I was 18 to realize that I need to take the appropriate steps now in order to bypass those avoidable consequences later.

I just woke up and had a Slim Fast shake for breakfast. I think I'll also enjoy some fruit before I get ready for the day, hit the gym and run some errands. It's just like any other Saturday morning for me, but in truth, it isn't. Today is a little bit different. This morning I woke up with a little more confidence than yesterday. I AM CHANGING.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Active in the Bedroom

DISCLAIMER: Sorry to anyone related to me or who's close to me who'd rather not read about bedroom activities! Stop reading now if that's you.

For a long time I've struggled with the in-the-bedroom activities because I'm overweight and my fiance is as thin as ever. He has never once said anything negative about my body, on the contrary, he lavishes me with compliments and tells me I'm beautiful and sexy any chance he gets. I always feel that I'm beautiful in his eyes. Although appreciated, that only goes so far when the view I have of myself is so awful. I feel ugly, and more so, I hate being naked.

When I shower or when I'm naked for whatever reason, I tend to nitpick about the way I look and over analyze about this fat roll or that love handle. It's unhealthy and really causes a horrific state of mind. It certainly does nothing but make me feel worse. It isn't constructive in the least.

So, it is up to me to suck it up and move forward, and what I'm realizing that the more active I am in the bedroom, with my fiance who loves me more than anything, the more beautiful I feel. My body really hasn't changed at all yet, but with my new positive outlook on weightloss, and taking my fiance's compliments to heart, I feel better about myself, and better about being naked. Instead of worrying about what my body looks like from this angle or that angle, I'm just enjoying whatever's happening. I know I know, this is a weird topic, but if you're overweight and "sexually active" you can't say you've never thought about it. I would be willing to guess that more women and men out there who are overweight avoid the bedroom so as not to be naked than go running between the sheets whenever they can.

Not only is sexual activity great for losing calories (and can be added as exercise to any calorie tracker), but it's good for your self esteem and your relationship. During a pre-marriage session with our Catholic priest this past week, he even said to us "now make sure you stay active and keep intimacy alive. It's essential to have a physical relationship along with a mental, verbal and spiritual relationship." I was a bit taken aback that he was talking about this and acknowledging that we live in sin and have already had premarital sex, but he makes a good point. Just because I'm self conscious and hate my body doesn't mean I have to make my partner suffer.

So I know talking about all this right out in the open is different and certainly not exactly P.C., but neither is airing exactly how much I weigh every single day. If anyone else has anything to say on this topic, please comment. I love getting the discussion going!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Biggest Fear

Tomorrow will be one full week of my new outlook on life. It was breakfast last Friday that I started keeping track of what I was eating and being careful, and as I approach that day I'm realizing how easy this whole process has come to me. I'm making it to the gym daily, I'm drinking severely less Diet Coke and I'm making great decisions at restaurants and the grocery store. So, it is only natural that the next thing that pops into my head is: what now?

In this entire process, I'm not afraid of stepping on the scale and seeing an increase in weight or seeing how much I weigh in general. I'm not even afraid of sharing my entire story with anyone interested in reading because, for me, that's motivation. The one thing I am terrified of, however, is failing. I feel like right now things are going very easy and things are moving smoothly. Despite no weight loss and minor weight gains, the healthy decisions that I NEED to make on an hourly basis are coming very naturally to me. Shouldn't I be struggling? Shouldn't I grab for that box of candy, or crave those cheesy mashed potatoes? Is this all a big build up of success just to end with a crashing fall? That is my biggest fear, that I'm taking it all in stride, but I will crash and burn in the near future.

Here are the things I remind myself of daily to keep on track:
1. Make healthy eating decisions.
2. The long-term goal is far greater than the day-to-day steps.
3. People are there to support me, and Amanda is a great inspiration.
4. Exercise!
5. I will fit back into that bikini!

What do you think? Is it really this easy? Am I setting myself up for failure? I'm not saying that overall losing 75 pounds is a cinch, but the process of making healthy decisions, eating right, eating less and exercising is coming easy to me. This scares me a bit. I hope I can keep it up!

Eating Out Done Right

Morning everyone! This post isn't going to be profound in any way, shape or form, but I thought I'd tell you all what I ate yesterday in order to give an idea of how I'm sticking with my goals. I want to do this at least weekly to share the secrets I've learned and to hopefully learn new tips from you by the comments left! So ... this is my day, yesterday, in a nutshell. Remember, I dropped 1.4 lbs!

I keep track of everything on my Lose It! application on my iPhone so I know how many calories I'm consuming, how many calories I burn off with exercise, etc. Yesterday I also used the Restaurants application on more than one occasion since I ate out for lunch and dinner. It really helped me make wise decisions!

Breakfast: I made breakfast at home with some ingredients around the kitchen.
A whole wheat tortilla (the brand I purchase is only 121 calories) with 3 egg whites (50), half a grilled chicken breast (71) and a slice of low-fat Monterrey/Colby jack cheese (90). My protein-heavy, and very filling breakfast took only five minutes to whip up and took only 332 calories off my daily total!

Lunch: I often eat lunch with my coworkers, as I did yesterday, and we went to Chipotle. I used the application to put together a "burrito bowl" or as I call it, a glorified salad, for 727 calories. I love having a splash of cheese and sour cream in there to hold it all together and that made the calories add up quickly. Without those two ingredients it would have been about 500 calories instead.

Exercise: After work, I headed to the gym for a workout. I wasn't able to exercise for very long since my fiance and I had evening plans, but I put in a good half hour on the treadmill burning about 150 calories and 15 minutes on the elliptical machine for about 180 calories. Good thing I did that, too because I went to BJs for dinner!

Dinner: We went to BJs brewery and grill for dinner. I had the Balsamic Glazed Chicken, but had them leave the cheesy mashed potatoes and deep fried onion straws off the plate. I did, however, have about a quarter of a plain baked potato with my chicken. It was about 600 calories in all.

For the day, I stayed under budget, and considering I ate out at restaurants twice, I think I did pretty well. I tried to make wise decisions without limiting myself to just eating rabbit food! I hope this helps a bit. Tonight I plan on getting another short workout in before another night out with my fiance and his aunt who's visiting from out of town. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get the chance to see a bit of progress too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"It's About Not Hating Yourself"

Yesterday I wrote this on Twitter: @losingmythighs everyone who is trying to lose weight hates their scale. It's about not hating yourself!

This morning I stepped on the scale and found that instead of the numbers decreasing, they increased a little bit. I gained .6 pounds to reach 222 again, a number I had hoped I had left behind already. I'm not going to lie, I was discouraged and even angry a little bit, especially since I'm only 5 days or so into this new journey. It was after a little bit of self-pity and evaluation (I ate less than my allotted calories yesterday, but didn't make it to the gym) that I remembered what I said to a Twitter friend after she posted "I hate my scale."

I told her and completely believe that it's not so much about worrying about the numbers on the scale, but about feeling better and being happy with yourself. I can easily say that I "hate" myself due to my weight and the way I look. I fight the depressed feelings daily over my aesthetic insecurities. I'm lucky enough to have family, friends and a fiance who don't make looks a priority and constantly remind me how much they love me regardless of my fluctuating weight.

I think in this journey it's extremely important to remember that it's an up and down progress, literally. Amanda, my inspiration, texted me this morning to remind me about water weight and that sometimes I'm going to retain it more than others. Tomorrow I could step on the scale after following my allotted calories and exercise regime and have dropped a whole pound which would more than make up for my .6 lb gain. It's a back and forth progress that takes time. I have time, we all have time, and that's why I'm facing this weight loss challenge with a healthy vision. I'm not getting liposuction, going on harsh fad diets or starving myself. For me, it's not only about losing weight so I feel like I look better, but it's about actually BEING better. My goal may be to reach 150 lbs, but my real goal is to be happy with myself. I think that is far more important.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Changing for a Lifetime

Last night I was talking with a friend of mine and I almost started crying. It was in that moment that I realized that the changes I'm attempting to make aren't just for a goal I'm trying to reach, but they are for a lifetime. I talked to her about eating different, choosing menu items I never explored before because I didn't care about how many calories they contained or how much fat i was consuming. We also talked about me and how I feel and about the worst part of being fat -- the overwhelming insecurities.

In high school I weighed somewhere around 140 lbs, right in a very healthy range for me and pulled on a size 6 or a size 8 depending on the item of clothing. I was athletic and active, and most of all, I was happy. I distinctly remember standing in the bathroom at my parents house naked, before taking a shower and staring in the mirror. There was a little bulge on my tummy, barely noticeable unless looking for it, and to myself I thought, "well, I knew I was going to be fat at some point." If only I would have been able to see almost 10 years into the future and known that that little bulge was the least of my problems.

I became less active in college and then got a desk job after graduating and packed on the pounds. I am definitely an emotional eater who rides the ups and downs of my emotional rollercoaster with a bag of chips in one hand and a soda in the other (sometimes even a delectable thin mint martini). I never realized how many calories I was consuming until Amanda actually had me stop and take a look at the calorie counts before selecting my meals at restaurants and even at my house. I was outraged.

So now, I've made one of the best decisions I could have possibly made, and I don't think it's too soon or too late. I think I needed to experience that "aha!" moment before making the decision to cut the fat. I've decided that it's my time to be an inspiration story, and why not? As long as I stay focused, motivated and on track, I'm as good of a candidate for success as anyone else.

I won't always have a tip for everyone else when I blog, but I do today. Share your story, your entire story with someone else. Tell them how you used to look, what pushed you over the edge, and show them that one photo that inspires you to lose weight. My photo was taken in 2003 and I'm wearing a bikini while vacationing in Jamaica with my family. I haven't worn a bikini since that trip, then again, I was only a size 8-10 then. Lastly, find someone else to motivate you, almost harass you to keep you motivated. Amanda showed me the way and she's still my motivator, texting me around meals to see how I'm doing and encouraging me to exercise. I couldn't do it without support, and I don't think you can either. So, if you don't have someone like that then ask me. I'll gladly call you or text you or email you just to keep you motivated. What other opportunities are there?

Monday, August 24, 2009

What I'm Doing

I know I know, two blogs in one day is a lot, but the first was my introduction, and I thought it would only be fair to say a little something about what I'm actually DOING on this weight loss journey.

For me, it all starts with my iPhone. I realize that sounds ridiculous, but my inspiration, Amanda, showed me an application on my iPhone called Lose It! that allows me to enter in my weight, goals, food eaten, exercise, etc. and shows graphs of my progress. Much like a checking account, it gives me a daily balance of allowed calories based on my current weight and my goal weight, and how much I want to lose per week (doesn't allow for more than 2 lbs per week because that's healthy).

As I lose weight, the amount of calories I will be "allowed" to eat change to fit the goal. Since I'm fairly overweight and would like to reach 150 or 155 lbs, I'm allowed quite a few calories, 1,565. If I get to the gym this afternoon or even do a lot of walking, I get to add that into Lose It! as well and I get a few calories back. It's really an easy system and so far it's kept me from overeating and has made me really think about what I'm consuming before I just eat anything within reach.

If you have an iPhone, get the application, it's Free! If you don't, find a similar online program or Blackberry application. Literally, it takes five minutes every meal for me to enter in what I'm eating and make sure I'm on track!

Today I've had a clementine for only 35 calories and a Slim Fast shake for 190 calories. My "splurge" will be at lunch when I get something around the 700 calorie range like a wrap or sandwich.

I'll keep giving tips as I learn them, use them and get them from Amanda! She's my guide!

A Dummy Who Needs to Lose Weight

I truly believe that in order to go from fat to trim a person needs to reach their breaking point. Much like an addict, there is a rock bottom that must be hit before realizing that drastic changes need to be made in order to not only change the way you look, but to change your lifestyle.

I hit that rock bottom awhile ago when I couldn't bare to look in the mirror unclothed and when I refrained from doing a lot of things that I enjoy. My problem wasn't that I didn't WANT to change, but that I didn't know the best way and I didn't see any proof that any of the methods worked. I've been on Nutrisystem, WeightWatchers, cleansing plans, diet drinks, etc. and nothing showed real results and all of them cost way too much money. So now, I'm trying something new.

I have a poker blog called Poker for a Dummy and that's where I realized that the word dummy can stand for a lot of things. For that blog, it simply means a human-like figure that sits in the place of someone real. Since I'm not a poker pro by any means, I'm a dummy, that pretends to be one of the greats. For Losing Weight for a Dummy I think the term is much more literal. I am a dummy when it comes to dropping the fat because after countless attempts, I simply haven't done it yet!

So this is my new blog, something that I'm sure caters to more individuals than poker because approximately 300,000 adult deaths in America each year are attributable to unhealthy dietary habits and physical inactivity. This is all due to the fact that nearly two-thirds of all American adults are overweight and have a body mass index of more than 25. One-third of adults have a BMI over 30 (Centers for Disease Control). A healthy BMI, depending on age and height and some other factors is between 17 and 24. BMIs over 30 are considered not just overweight, but obese.

I am obese. That may be the HARDEST short sentence I have ever written, but I am obese. When I started this new regime (which I'll get into more later), I weighed 228 lbs which is a ton for my 5'6" frame. After three days (Friday-Sunday) I now way 221 lbs and my BMI has dropped from 36.8 to 35.7. I have a very very very long way to go, but those changes in only three days are proof to me that not only can I do it, but it's as easy as eating better (not necessarily eating "right" according to books and experts) and adding movement (not necessarily hours and hours of exercise at the gym) into your life make all the difference.

I am a dummy and I need to lose weight. Up until last week I had no idea how and I thought that losing weight was something only people with a lot of money who could afford trainers and programs, etc. could do. I owe a lot to my friend who was in town visiting me this weekend and who recently lost more than 50 lbs herself. She taught me that watching calories and the types of food I eat, and adding walking, or even high steps when going up the stairs can make that little bit of difference that helps me lose a pound or two a week.

I'm going to keep track of my weight-loss journey and share what I'm learning, both what works and what doesn't. Anyone who has something to share, please post comments as well. I hope this journey works for me and that if I'm successful I can inspire someone else because my friend certainly inspired me.