Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Helpful iPhone Applications

When I first started Losing Weight for a Dummy, I offered readers some of the iPhone applications and tools I was using to help keep me on track. To this day, more than two months after starting my program, I use Lose It!, Restaurants, Nutrition and Good Food on a weekly, if not daily basis. I literally do not go a day without entering in my weight and calorie count on Lose It! It really helps keep me on track.

There are quite a few calorie counters out there, and Lose it! is just one of the bunch. I've also taken a look at Livestrong, DailyBurn and Tap & Track - Calorie, Weight & Exercise Tracker, but none of those offer me anything more or different than the application I started with.

So, as I have continued checking for application updates and newly created products, I thought I would share a few of the ones I have come across with you.
Locavore -- This application is good for those of you who like to cook. It allows you to search for items that fresh and in season according to your location. It also offers local fare which is good especially if you're in a seafood place! This app costs $2.99 and was listed as one of the top 10 apps for cooks by Apple.

  • Distance Meter (Pro) -- This application is offered for free and also as a "Pro" edition for $2.99. As with other applications that offer different price points, you get more for your money. Distance Meter (Pro) acts as a really good pedometer/distance calculator and caters to walkers and hikers. It helps people track how long a trail is as well as the path's difficulty. Lastly, it translates the route walked in length and difficulty into calories burned. The app can be found in the app store under Healthcare and Fitness.

  • FoodScanner -- The FoodScanner application is great if you want to keep track of the calories you're eating, but don't always have time to enter in a lot of information and data into a program. Utilizing the camera on your iPhone, the application allows the user to take a photo of the barcode on a food item and uses the stored information from the barcode to keep track of calories and nutrients. This is great if you consume lots of packaged goods throughout the day like Lean Cuisine meals, 100 calories snack packs or even a serving of frozen vegetables! FoodScanner costs $2.99 and can also be found under Healthcare and Fitness in the app store.

  • Weight Watchers Mobile -- From what I hear, the Weight Watchers Mobile application is fantastic, but the one down side is that you have to be a Weight Watchers member with a login ID to use it. I'm not a WW members so I don't get to use it, but it's really helpful for tracking calories and nutrition information, calculating WW Points and offering great information to stay on your WW program. It is free under the top 10 free apps in Healthcare and Fitness.

  • iTreadmill -- iTreadmill is a really helpful exercise app, and for me it's really convenient because I can turn it on and use my phone to listen to music so it's not like carrying and extra piece of equipment around the gym with me! The application is basically the ultimate pedometer for treadmill users. It tracks step count and steps per minute, along with your target speed, current speed, speed average, calories burned, distance, time and it lists a history so you can calculate your progress. The application also has a built in timer. It's only $0.99 at the app store, but an update is on the horizon so it may become $1.99 or $2.99 in the near future.

  • Your Ideal Weight -- I've talked a lot about body mass index and individual ideal weight in my blog, and this is an application that caters to that. Entering age, current weight, height, activity level, etc., the application calculates not only the doctor recommended weight for you, but also what the average weight people want and also the weight recommended by your body mass index. It's a free application offered under the Healthcare and Nutrition category. The downside to this app is that once you use it, why keep it?

  • Virtual Trainer -- Virtual Trainer is another free application that can be found in the Healthcare and Fitness category (see a trend?). This application offers the user more than 250 exercises (with 3D video animation) and 120 work out programs in order to vary their exercise routines. You can choose from cardio or specific to a body region, etc., and the lengths ranger from 6 to 60 minutes. There's also a built-in timer and a stats section so you can gauge your improvement.

I'm not going to lie, I don't use each of these applications everyday. A lot of the applications that are offered for cooks or weight-conscious individuals have overlapping features that you have to figure out for yourself. Find the apps that work best for you, and for those people who have Blackberries, take a look at your app store and see if there are equivalent programs.

If anyone reading this has a great application for nutrition or exercise or that's simply interesting, please post a comment here so everyone can take a look!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Best Weekend Ever

Thank goodness today was a new day because I needed a fresh start with calorie counting. I just had an amazing weekend, and with that, I threw caution to the wind and enjoyed everything that came my way. And by everything, I mean the Rio buffet, the Paris champagne brunch buffet, frozen yogurt and Pho Saigon 8. Believe me when I tell you, I haven't eaten that much, or that poorly since Summer, and I'm definitely paying for it now.

Although I didn't gain tons of pounds, I can feel the physical difference in my body. Foods like bacon and cheesy scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes and candy haven't been a staple in my diet since I started watching what I'm consuming, but I indulged to the 10th degree this weekend. And let me just add, the indulgences were divine.

I wouldn't recommend a weekend of indulging for anyone trying to lose weight and stay on track because it really does throw you off the wagon, but sometimes it happens. I know, however, that I really don't want it to happen again anytime soon because my body simply can't handle it. I have a headache, my eyes hurt a little and my stomach has been in a constant state of unrest since Friday. How did I do this day in and day out for years?

Every single calorie and gram of fat I consumed was beyond worth it. I got the best birthday gift a girl could ask for this weekend. After months of going through a difficult patch, and being away from my closest friends and family for a really long time, I got a great surprise at dinner on Saturday night. I thought I was meeting some really close family friends who happened to be in town for the weekend, but they brought along a little surprise for me: my best friend, Stephanie. We've known each other since the day I was born, and I literally started crying when I saw her. It was just what the doctor ordered, even if I didn't realize it until that exact moment.

Mike was in on it, my parents and sister knew Steph was coming, and her parents played along even confirming our plans. On Saturday afternoon Stephanie even kept up the charade that she was still in Minnesota even though she was in a hotel room on the strip by telling me she was at one of our favorite restaurants in Minnesota having lunch. I believed all of it! I still can't get over the fact that she was here. I just brought her to the airport, and I feel better than I've felt in months. I feel like I can now just breeze through November until my visit back to Minnesota. A mini re-birth if you will. Now I just have to hit the ground running with exercise and dieting again. I'm looking forward to it actually. Bring it on!
The photo above is of Stephanie and me on Saturday night, right after I saw her at dinner. Sorry it's a bit blurry, but again it was taken on my iPhone.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Stumbled, but Didn't Fall

I'm not going to lie. This past week has been difficult in terms of eating and sticking to my diet. With my birthday coming and going, and other opportunities including dinner at Olive Garden and Sensi at the Bellagio, it's been very difficult to stick to my program.

Since starting my diet, I have reached a low of 205.6 lbs. Today I weigh two pounds more than that. Although that's difficult to absorb, since the two-pound gain is entirely my own fault, I know that the ups and downs are also part of the progress.

Some days are more difficult than others, but I need to be able to make sure that those days not only happen few and far between, but that they are also spread out far enough to not make a permanent impact.

This week I allowed myself to only have one shake instead of two per day which means I ate out more and consumed more calories. I also only used my calorie counting program in a slacking manner instead of diligently like I had been doing up until this week. It's time to get back on the wagon completely instead of teetering on the edge of oblivion. Tomorrow is a new day and a new week and that means I'm recommitting to my program 100 percent .

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

26 For My 26th

In light of my 26th Birthday, I thought I would offer 26 facts about me. Don't worry, these aren't weight loss related because that would be fairly boring, but they're just random things that make me, me.

  1. I love London, England more than any other place in the world. I have also never felt more at home anywhere than I did in London.
  2. I could eat mashed potatoes for every meal and never tire of them (of course, I don't allow this to happen).
  3. When I first met my fiance, Mike, I thought he was the most annoying person in the universe because he was too sarcastic and never stopped talking. My distaste for him didn't even last two weeks.
  4. I once went an entire week in college without wearing anything other than pajamas -- this was allowed to happen because our university had underground tunnels that connected all the buildings and sheltered us from the blistery northern Minnesotan winters.
  5. Mike and I have four pets, two cocker spaniels named London and Aribella and two cats named Madison (a boy) and Autumn. Mike was never allowed to have pets growing up so I think he's getting his fill for his entire childhood right now.
  6. I come from a family of strong marriages and I hope mine will resemble what I've grown to view as the norm. My parents have been married for more than 30 years, my dad's parents have been married for more than 50 years and my mom's dad was married to her mom until she passed away, and has now been remarried for more than 25 years. Also, my sister has been happily married to her husband since 2005.
  7. I have been best friends with one person my entire life, literally since the day our mom's introduced us on Oct. 21, 1983, the day I was born. I call her George, a nickname that started back in junior high, and she calls me Bob.
  8. George and I have never gone to the same school, and were in fact one year apart grade-wise.
  9. I live in Las Vegas, Nev. with Mike and our pets. We came for a job and stayed for our jobs, but if the circumstances allowed I would give my left leg to move back to the Midwest. (Someone once asked a famous comedian, "Isn't the desert beautiful?" Her response? "Mmmm, maybe when they finish it." I feel the same way.)
  10. Mike and I have no real anniversary and don't really know when we started dating. We figure we'll have the rest of our lives after June 26, 2010 to celebrate anniversaries so why worry about it now?
  11. Although I haven't lived in London since 2005, I still check the weather, news and tube system updates almost daily like I did when I was a resident.
  12. I attended three different universities between 2002 and 2007: Bemidji State University, Richmond University -- The American International University in London and University of Wisconsin - River Falls.
  13. On the worst day with the most horrible circumstances, watching my cats and dogs play can still make my laugh til I cry and feel elated.
  14. Cold Stone Creamery ice cream is my favorite, but I'd much rather have a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. In fact, I have a Dairy Queen ice cream cake every year for my birthday without fail, including this year even though it's horrible for my diet.
  15. I work in media relations (public relations). I jumped ship from journalism/reporting after I saw the newspaper industry, the proverbial Titanic, hit an ice berg and start sinking.
  16. I was a three-sport athlete in high school, but you'd never know that from looking at me now. I played softball, basketball and volleyball. And for the record, yes, I was the choir president.
  17. I have a tattoo that says London on my back and is an artistic version of the underground tube symbol. I can say this publicly now because my mom saw it when I was wedding dress shopping.
  18. Speaking of wedding dresses, I found my perfect dress, literally one I had dreamt about after trying on only five or six at the first shop we went to. We went to other shops afterward just to be safe, but I went back that afternoon to buy it.
  19. I love photography and used to be pretty good at it. Sometimes I wish I would have pursued a degree in fine arts with an emphasis in photography, but I know how hard it is to make a living that way.
  20. I despise Las Vegas for one simple reason, and it's the same thing I dislike about the Twin Cities in Minnesota: public transportation isn't good enough. In Las Vegas, public transportation exists, but it mine as well not since it's useless.
  21. I am almost more excited about the before and after of my wedding than the actual event. This is because I get to have my hair and makeup done with my girls and mom beforehand and go to London with my new husband afterward. Of course this isn't a true placement of my excitement, but it gives me even more to look forward to.
  22. I have an iPhone and treat it like a permanent extension of my right hand. Life may cease to exist if I lose it or it breaks.
  23. I used to drive a 2000 Ford Focus, but Mike loves me and so we traded it in for a 2006 BMW 325i four-door sedan. I love it and now understand why mom jokes about being buried in her BMW.
  24. I was in two very serious relationships before dating Mike, but I've never been more comfortable with myself or with another person than with Mike. It took all of one month of dating to be undeniably sure that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.
  25. I love my sister and consider her a close friend, but it took all of childhood and the start of college for us to treat each other like friends and not like battling sisters. I only wish we lived closer now that we've reached this point.
  26. My favorite place in the world is Postman's Park in London followed closely by the Killarney National Forest in Killarney, Ireland.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There's No "I" in Team

Do you remember when you were a kid and your teacher in gym class or coach on your school's athletic team would say, "There's no 'I' in team?" It's taken me 26 years, but I'm beginning to realize that, yes, there happens to not be an "i" in the word team, but that without a team of individuals around you, life would be virtually impossible.

Think of it this way: A business almost always takes more than one person to make it successful, even if it's just the operator and the customer. Likewise, a family takes at least two people otherwise it's just a single individual. Similar to families, teams, companies, communities and organizations, reaching goals takes an army of individuals in order to make them happen.

I took my inspiration for losing weight from a friend of mine, automatically taking the "I" out of my situation and creating a "we," but there are many more people involved in my journey. Everyone from my family and fiance, to friends, coworkers, random readers, tweet peeps and strangers have created a team for me to rely on while going through the ups and downs of this lifelong adventure. As I was struggling to decide whether to have ice cream last night or a 100 calorie snack of popcorn, I happened to jump online on Facebook and see someone post something nice to me on one of my blog links. It was those few words of encouragement that pushed me in the right direction -- the way toward having popcorn instead of ice cream.

I think I often times try and do everything myself without allowing others to help, or without allowing myself to rely on someone else. Whether it's with simple tasks like doing laundry or taking care of the dishes, or larger tasks like planning our wedding or coordinating the honeymoon, I keep trying to do things myself. It takes a little reminding from my conscious that those people that are offering suggestions and helping hands aren't trying to "intrude" on my life, but instead are trying to make it easier. I've even read a few comments on my blogs that irked me and I had to remind myself that those comments aren't meant to be insulting or to shine a negative light on my words, but instead are trying to enlighten me and offer a new way of thinking or a new suggestion to follow. Every little bit helps, even if I don't realize it at the exact moment. Sometimes I also forget to say thank you.

Here's my word of advice today. This is something I'm reminding myself to do today as well since I've forgotten in recent days. Tell people "thank you" and remind those special people in your life that you love them. It may be completely random, but it's 100% worth it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Changing Perspective

"I want to see myself as beautiful at the wedding."

Almost a year ago, Mike snuck a diamond ring into his luggage when we flew from Nevada to Minnesota. While I was showering on Christmas morning he woke up, wrapped the present, addressed it from Santa Claus and placed it under the tree with all of the other gifts from my parents, sister, family members and of course Santa. When I hopped out of the shower and returned to our room to wake him up, he acted as though he had slept the entire time, and I had no clue that he was actually awake.

Not two hours later, Mike got down on one knee in front of my mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law and said, "Beth, I love you more than anything and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?" To my mother's shock and excitement, her youngest daughter was engaged to be married, the trick was, my dad was in on it the whole time. To be honest, it was perfect. Family is so important for both of us and being able to share that moment with my family, then immediately with my extended family, and then the next day with Mike's family was perfect. The wedding planning started immediately, and as Mike left Minnesota, I stayed behind to book the church and the reception location. I finally had some time to myself and that's when my mind ran wild. I distinctly remember saying to myself while lying in bed one night when I was still in Minnesota, "Now if only I could change. I want to see myself as beautiful at the wedding."

From that moment, I was on a mission. I started a new skin treatment, looked for the perfect diet and swore up and down that I would be my ideal weight, have sparkling white teeth and a glowing tan on June 26, 2010 when I walk down the aisle in my gorgeous white dress and join hands with Mike. That was how it was going to work.

As of right now, we have 8 months until our wedding. My skin isn't perfect and my teeth aren't sparkling. Hell, I'm no where near that "ideal weight" I swore I'd reach eight months ago, but something is different. I had a few moments to myself yesterday and I spent them thinking about our impending nuptials. I have the most beautiful dress, an amazing groom and the perfect wedding party. We've picked a great location, and we've completed almost all of the requirements to get married in the Catholic Church. My wedding planner even says that we're ahead of the game, and that for a bride I have quite the level head. As I tried to picture our wedding day eight months from now, the same thoughts I had last December returned to my head, but this time I said, "I just wanted to see my self as beautiful on my wedding day."

I'm no longer worrying about how I will perceive myself on June 26, 2010. It may have taken me seven months to truly get on the right track for losing weight and gaining confidence, but I got there. More and more I look in the mirror and actually tell myself that I look good in that outfit, or today I look slim. I'm not worried that on my wedding day I'm going to feel like I look fat, or I'm going to be upset if I weigh 175 lbs instead of 150 lbs. because none of this has actually been the point. The entire point of my attempt at a transformation has actually been to change my perspective of myself. I didn't realize this until yesterday. I'm trying to change my body, yes, but I'm trying to change it because I need to change the way I view myself. What a strange thing to realize. I guess it's true what they say about just about everything, 75% mental, 25% physical.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Compliments Not Always Welcome, but Necessary

You can ask anyone that knows me, I struggle when it comes to accepting a compliment. I know I've brought this up before, but I really find it difficult to just smile and say thank you when someone tells me I look great, asks if I've lost weight or compliments what I'm wearing. I have no idea why it's so hard, but sometimes I even find a simple positive statement unbearable to receive cordially.

Even though I have no idea how to properly accept a compliment, I've discovered that part of my losing weight/gaining confidence process is receiving them. I don't think I'd actually be doing as well as I am if I didn't have people telling me that I look good, or that they can see the difference every once in awhile. Hopefully my attitude toward compliments is changing as well, but really, only other individuals could tell me that for sure.

Within the past month or so, since I've dropped about 20 pounds or more, I've been trying a lot harder to appear the way I feel. I feel really good about the weight I've lost and the direction I'm heading so I've been attempting to portray that through the clothes I've been wearing. This whole thing is entirely new to me because I've never given much care to what I wore before now. And with that, I've noticed that I've been more confident in what I'm wearing and therefor more confident in myself as well. It really is a change for me, a new me in some ways.

I would not call myself a confident person, and I know I have a long way to go before I look the way I want to look, but it's a start, right? Now despite what this blog appears to be saying, I'm not asking everyone to tell me I'm beautiful or look great or anything like that, but I'm merely pointing out that hearing things like that further solidify that what I'm doing is working. I may not be very good at accepting a nice comment, but I know that those positive words of encouragement are certainly helping me achieve my long-term goals.

I guess the best thing to say right now is thank you! Thank you to everyone who has commented about the way I look and encouraged my weight loss journey. The blog-writing is lethargic; the words of encouragement are motivational.

I've added a photo of me today. These jeans were just bought this past weekend, size 16!!! That's a huge accomplishment for me. I think I've worn the sweater in a photo before, but you get the point.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trick of the Trade

Last week due to a change in my schedule, I started drinking Slim Fast shakes for dinner. For about the last four of seven days, I've had a Slim Fast shake for breakfast, a regular lunch and a shake for dinner. Although at first I felt like I wasn't consuming enough in the evening, I later realized that it's doing wonders for my diet!

A lot of shake-based diets tell you to consume two shakes per day and one standard meal. By having that full meal in the middle of the day, a lot of the calories, fat, sugars, salts, etc. are worked off throughout the day due to the natural movements of the body and the fact that people move more during the day than in the evening. When you consume that standard meal in the evening, most people then tend to settle on the couch to catch up on the shows they DVRed or curl up in bed with a book, etc., and that doesn't give the body ample time to digest and work through the nutrients.

Since I started consuming the shakes at each end of my day, not only have I felt better going to bed because my stomach isn't filled with rich foods, but the scale has been absolutely amazing to me! I'm still consuming my necessary amount of nutrients, and I still watch what I eat for that one main meal, but my diet has had a little resurgence.

If you have the ability to change your eating patterns in some way, I recommend you try doing it. Try consuming your largest meal in the middle of the day instead of in the evening. Even if all you do is climb stairs, walk to your car or run errands, that amount of movement/exercise helps work off the nutrients from the meal.

I know a concern is focused on eating with family, and I wouldn't trade that for a simple Slim Fast shake. Mike and I eat different things most of the time as it is due to me dieting and his ability to eat and never gain an ounce, so me changing when I have meals and shakes doesn't affect the habits we've already established. If you have family meals most nights, try sitting down with your shake with your family. It'll be hard, but I bet you'll see a difference!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Short-Term Goal Deadline

A friend of mine who is also on her own weight loss journey set her goal weight deadline as her birthday. Losingmythighs goal is 130 (lbs) by 30 (age). I didn't realize it until just recently, but I am doing practically the same thing with my first mini goal. I set my deadline for reaching 200 lbs as my 26th birthday, approximately two months and one week after starting my weight loss adventure.

When I weighed myself the first day the scale tipped at just over 228 lbs. I had previously reached 230 lbs on a different occasion, but for all practical purposes, on the day of my epiphany, that is what I weighed. Now today, nine days shy of my 26th birthday, my scale is 21 lbs lighter at 207.8 lbs. That in and of itself is an enormous accomplishment for me. When you're able to watch the numbers decrease slowly and steadily, not to mention, watch your clothes grow on you as your body shrinks, it's a mini miracle that helps catapult you forward. Or at least, that's what it's been like for me.

In order to reach my goal, 200 lbs by 26, I have to lose 7.8 more pounds in nine days. That's actually a lot of pounds for a short period of time, since four pounds in two weeks is the healthy norm, but we'll see how this next week and a half goes. Whether I reach the actual goal or not, I still feel great about myself. If I could step on the scale on Oct. 22 and see 199 lbs, I think I may have to take a day off work just to celebrate my accomplishment! (Just Kidding).

What I've learned through this entire process is that my attempts at using diets or fads or starvation or just exercise, etc. were all the absolute wrong methods of going about trying to lose weight. Some of those methods work for other people, but I really did need to find something that not only worked for the actual weight loss, but that also fit into my lifestyle seamlessly.

I stopped and asked myself, "what if I do reach that first mini goal by Oct. 21? Then what?" and to be honest I have no idea. The best thing I can do is set another mini goal for myself and try to reach that too. Maybe I'll say 180 by Christmas or 175 by New Year's. I don't know. What I really want is to be able to keep watching the scale slide further and further away from that 228 mark. I want to be forced to go to the store and buy a pair of size 16 then 14 then 12 then 10 jeans and I want that shirt that I used to wear because it was flattering on a bigger body to look huge and unflattering instead. It's all of these little accomplishments that truly make this experience worth going through. I know that someday I will reach 150 lbs, and that that day will be incredible, but for now, the new jeans and the baggy shirts, the dropping scale and the nice compliments are all the gratifying nods I need to keep me moving in the right direction.

The photo added to the blog is of me today. I know, I know, the bootie craze is a bit weird, but I thought I'd test it out. Enjoy!

And Baby Makes Three

On Saturday morning I texted Mike's sister to ask how her pregnancy was going, knowing that she was just days away from her due date. When she responded she told us that she's been really tired lately, hadn't been feeling the greatest and hoped the baby waited another week or so until they were ready for it's arrival. Not an hour later, Erica's water broke and she went to the hospital to endure a day-plus labor.

This morning, at 4 a.m. central time, Mike's sister, Erica, gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Mike's first nephew and his god son. Although the baby boy doesn't have a name yet, or at least the name hasn't been shared with us, we're ecstatic to welcome the addition to the family.

I realized this weekend as Mike and I anxiously awaited updates about the labor and birth of the new baby that I was almost instantaneously snapped out of the funk I've been in the past few weeks. I know I'm not completely out of it and a lot of the personal stuff that's been getting me down is still around, but there's so much more to what's happening in my life, in our lives, that letting all the crap keep me down is ridiculous.

I have a lot to be thankful for and a ton to look forward to within the next few months. I turn 26 next Wednesday, and I get to celebrate with a few friends this coming weekend. Mike's sister had her baby! We get to go back to Minnesota for five days in November! We're getting married in 8 months. Although everything's not perfect, when it comes right down to it, life is good. Oh, and since this blog is tracking my weight loss progress: This morning the scale showed me 207.8. I'm down more than 20 lbs in two months, and my clothes are practically falling off.

As Robert Frost said, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on," and on I shall go as well.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Don't Eat My Emotions

I have never had to remind myself not to eat my emotions as often as I did yesterday. Mike and I had our all-day Pre Cana, pre-marriage course at our church yesterday. Instead of being an interactive type forum where we get to meet the other couples and strengthen our relationships, it ended up being a 9-hour lecture where various married couples lectured at us. Although some parts were informative, when it comes right down to it, it was awful and rather ineffective.

I knew the day was going to be difficult, as any day would be that required sitting in a room from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. listening to talks. I brought with me a Diet Coke, bottle of water and two 100-calorie snack packs just in case. It took all of my will power not to devour the snack packs within the first two hours, just out of boredom. Luckily, I only ate one of them, but that second one taunted me from my purse.

When it came to lunchtime, we were served pizza and cookies. It was like a shower of sunlight from heaven; a mini blessing, and it had nothing to do with the food. I was thankful to have something to break up the day. I indulged in a cookie and two slices of pizza knowing full well that I'd have to curb my food intake the rest of the day.

When the all-day event wrapped up, Mike and I headed home and prepared for a relaxing evening. Unfortunately, it didn't quite happen that way, and as we ran out of the house to run some last-minute errands I found myself repeating "do not eat my emotions" over and over again. I wanted to swing through McDonalds for a Big Mac, large fries and delicious Coca-Cola, not Diet Coke. Don't worry, everyone, I didn't give in to my own temptations. I had a Slim Fast shake for dinner and a 100 calorie pack of popcorn.

I went to bed with my stomach feeling less-than-satisfied, but I woke up to a new day, and a happy scale. I guess yesterday ended up being more emotional for me than I thought it would be. Although it wasn't emotions of overwhelming happiness due to our impending nuptials, I was stressed and frustrated at the all-day course and I really disliked being talked at instead of being a part of the conversation. I did it though, I stayed away from eating food to cover the emotions that were eating away at me, and I guess that's the lesson I needed to learn.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Please Motivate Me

As I opened the refrigerator door I scanned the shelves for something that peaked my interest. I stared at Slim Fast shakes, low-calorie Jell-O and pudding, fruit, vegetables and eggs, yet nothing that made me want to pull it off the shelf and consume it before I could shut the door. Last night, I needed something to fill my craving, but I couldn't even figure out what the craving was for!

I ended up drinking a Slim Fast shake and eating a 60-calorie pudding cup for dinner. It filled me up as I expected it to do, and was well within my calorie limit, but it didn't fill that craving. This morning when I woke up, I still had an empty spot in my stomach, and right now, almost a full day later, I have no idea what I'm looking for.

This seems to be a pattern with me right now. I'm having cravings for somethings, yet I'm not as hungry as I used to be so I'm in this constant state of limbo. I also have been lacking complete motivation to hit the gym. Will someone please motivate me?!?!? The scale dropped below that 210 mark this morning when I weighed in at 209.6. I was ecstatic, literally. I jumped off the scale, threw my hands in the air and did a little naked shimmy scaring my cat to death in the process. I felt like I reached my first milestone. However, I still don't fell like going to the gym.

I know, I know, if I hit the treadmill or the elliptical it will help drop the pounds, but my mind isn't in it. Where did it go? I honestly have no clue. I've been on this weight loss journey for 7.5 weeks, and I haven't fallen off the wagon, but I need something to rejuvenate my spirit, that spunk I had toward reaching my goals in the very beginning. So today, this is much less of a blog sharing an experience as it is a call to arms or request for help. Do any of you, my fellow weight loss buddies have any words of wisdom for this lost soul?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Higher Calorie Fruits & Veggies

Since I'm focusing my diet on counting calories, I asked the question to anyone who wanted to answer: What is your favorite low-calorie snack? Last week I had quite a few people vote, and these are the results:
-popcorn - 13%
-Any 100 calorie snack pack - 18%
-Fruits/Veggies - 63%
-Other - 4%

Not to my surprise, most people selected fruits and vegetables. I have to admit, I love fruit, and I'm a fan of many vegetables, but my favorite low-cal snack is popcorn. It's my favorite treat!

So as I've come along on this journey, I've paid close attention to which fruits and veggies are high in calories and which ones are lower. Not taking into consideration fiber or sugar or any other nutritional information, I thought I'd share a little bit of what I've learned.

The fruits with the highest calorie count include: dates, raisins, blueberries, raspberries and prunes. Apricots, lemon, apples and most melons, however, are really low in calorie. Another thing to keep in mind when buying fruit is to make sure they are unsweetened (if frozen) and unconcentrated. This helps keep the calorie count lower as well.

The vegetables with the highest calorie count include: spinach, collard greens, peppers, carrots and mushrooms. Low to no-calorie vegetables include: chives, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower. The only warning I have about purchasing veggies is to be careful when selecting canned vegetables. It's the added salt, liquids, etc. that add the calories.

When it comes right down to it, though, grabbing for a handful of baby carrots or raspberries is a much better decision than a handful of chips or cookies. Despite the calories in the items, whether fresh, frozen or canned, eating fruits and vegetables is a much better habit to get into than to avoid!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Didn't Hate Shopping -- This Time!

For the first time I can remember, I didn't hate going shopping yesterday. I've pretty much relied on two pairs of jeans for the last few months. Both have the same cut, but one pair has the distressed look (yes I paid for pants with holes sewn into them) and the other are plain. However, since I've had them so long and my body has changed while wearing them, they both got baggy and just didn't look right. So, I decided yesterday was the day to buy a new pair of jeans.

I went to the Galleria at Sunset, a mall in Henderson, Nev. and searched for a pair of jeans, and anything else that struck my fancy. At New York & Co. I found a pair of jeans, a blouse and a skirt! As I was trying on clothes, I didn't hate myself, and even found that I was embracing the way I looked in the mirror. Instead of having a negative mind-frame and concluding that EVERYTHING looked horrible on my fat body, I was actually analyzing each piece of clothing determining whether it looked good or bad, tight or loose, etc. I think that it was the first positive shopping experience I've had in a very long time.

While walking through the mall, I also managed to find a tunic sweater at Macy's (which I'm wearing today). I also stopped at Victoria's Secret and realized that instead of just getting in and getting out with the bare essentials, I found myself thinking about the various types of undergarments. Usually I just think, ok, plain bra, plain panties, nothing special because my body looks horrible in all of it, but this time I looked at lace and colors and patterns. I may not be ready to strut around the house in some tiny negligee, but this is the first time I can remember spending more than 2.5 minutes shopping in a lingerie store. In my eyes, that's progress.

***Funny Revelation*** I just had a friend take a photo of me with my phone and while I was looking at it, prepared to upload it for the blog, I realized that the jeans I just bought are actually a little too big as well. I know the waistline is really comfortable, and maybe on the large size, but I didn't want to buy pants too snug -- I'm still too paranoid about my weight for that. Looks like I should have gone a size smaller! ***

Ok, well this blog was fairly random, sorry for the revelation in the middle, but it's another part of this process. It's funny that clothes become such a big part of peoples lives because that's what everyone else sees. I should probably just learn to embrace shopping, if I keep losing weight I'm going to end up spending a lot of time at the mall!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Self-esteem is on the Rise!

Something's happening, and it's not something I'm quite used to, but my self-esteem is on the rise. I've had low confidence and practically no self-esteem for quite sometime. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that I don't take compliments well, I put myself down regularly and I even admit that I don't think very highly of myself.

All of those aspects of low self-esteem stem from the way I look and the way my looks have deteriorated from high school to present. In reality, I probably shouldn't think so negatively of myself; I'm college educated, I have a career, I'm engaged to be married, but I can never get over how awful I feel about the way I look.

However, what I've realized just this week, is that my confidence level is rising and I'm starting to see myself in a new light. I mentioned in an earlier blog how I'm feeling better in items of clothing and that, in turn, is showing more confidence, and it couldn't be more true. This morning I threw on an outfit and I've been complimented several times. Wow, twice in one week, what more could a girl ask for?!?! I know that my body hasn't changed too dramatically yet, but my mind has made the necessary shift from seeing myself negatively to seeing myself in a semi-positive light. Hopefully, as I continue to lose weight, get healthy and change my way of life, my confidence will grow even more and I will see myself as a beautiful person.

The photo I added to this blog today was taken by a friend using my iPhone. This is what I'm wearing right now. I feel good today!