Thursday, March 31, 2011

Apocalypse now?

So a couple of weeks ago I saw the movie Zombieland. I thought it was hilarious. It is in the same vein as Shaun of the Dead. What struck me as funny was one of the observations the main character makes. When zombies take over the world the fatties die first. He is so right, because us unhealthy folks can't run away as quickly. Yet another motivator to get off the couch and get in shape. I mean what if the Mayans are right and I end up in a post apocalyptic scenario on December 21, 2012. I wouldn't last very long at this point. But that's okay I still have a few months. Besides, I don't have to be faster than the zombies, mutant raiders, or vigilantes on motorcycles, I just have to be faster than you....LOL. But all kidding aside, you never know when you will be in a situation where you will need stamina and endurance. Hopefully, it isn't a dangerous situation but something fun that requires some effort. Like hiking up a mountain (props to my friend Sarah for her recent trek up Mount Franklin!), swimming in a lake, running or walking for charity, ect. There are so many amazing experiences out there just waiting to be had if we would only make the effort to be able to do them. This means eating healthy, exercising and keeping a positive attitude. I can't wait to do some of things I haven't been able to do in awhile because of weight limits, or lack of stamina or both. This is just another thing to keep me going. So, until I can run faster than zombies, I am going to be packing an uzi...remember to aim for their heads.

On another note, thanks to all of you for your encouragement and congratulations. I appreciate it more than you know. I have seen alot of traffic to my blog and it is so neat to know that people are reading what I am writing and even being inspired. I helps to keep me honest and accountable to my goals. I couldn't do this without my readers, friends and family. God bless you guys!!!! Also, I would love to see some more comments on this blog. Even if it is just to say hi. Let me know what you like about my blog, what you dislike, if you have suggestions or questions and I would love to have some low fat low cal recipes. My goal is to raise awareness about what it is like to be obese, what it is like to lose the weight and most importantly, I want to let people know it is possible if you persevere. I also want to start a dialogue where people can talk about this epidemic and what we as a community, city, state and nation can do to start making a difference. For that we need comments. =)  I think one of the reasons so many people struggle with their weight is because no one really wants to talk about it in a real and compassionate way. So speak up you guys!!!

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Good night all! Remember that tomorrow is a new day!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wow, Big Surprise!

I just got done doing a particularly hard workout, for my out of shape butt at least, on the stationary bike. So I thought I would weigh myself and see if I have lost any weight so far. I felt like it would encourage me to try harder or be excited depending on what the scale said. The last time I went to the doctor I was a certain weight.  Then two month's ago I was the same as I had been at the doctor. A month and a half ago to a month ago, the last time I weighed myself, I had lost two pounds. I wasn't thrilled because I thought that it was so close to my original that there must be a margin of error. Well margin of error no more. In the last 2 months give or take I have lost a total of 16.3 pounds!!! I have had alot of things happen to me, I had some friends and family members pass away. I have been working hard at school and as  result I have been eating less. I wasn't actively trying to lose weight but I did. It is a great motivator, but I remain cautiously optimistic. I have to change my data on myfitnesspal and now my calorie intake is even less. Its going to be hard work but I am excited nonetheless. I was going to discuss something else but this is a shock to me and I just had to share. So I will touch on the other topic tomorrow.

As an aside I feel like a bit of an idiot for not realizing I should have weighed myself at the beginning of the blog writing to be entirely accurate. LOL! My apologies to my readers for my big blond moment. But still....YAY!!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The McDonald's Conspiracy

So yesterday, I caved. That's right, I failed in my calorie goals. Why? McDonald's, that's why. I am so disappointed in myself. Where the heck is my willpower? I went down the drain after a 2 hour long test for my assessment course at UTEP. It was late, I was hungry, and the golden arches were looming ahead of me. Talk about poor impulse control. Even worse I could have gotten a salad or a fruit smoothie, but no I had to have a big mac and large fries, and...two wraps. OMG! There is nothing I can do about yesterday, but there is something I can do about today and tomorrow and next week....NO FAST FOOD!!!. I swear that fast food restaurants have a conspiracy to create food addicts in order to turn a greater profit. They even make their straws bigger in circumference in comparison to straws you buy in the store. Why? So we can suck shakes and sugary sodas down our throats at an even faster rate and then we want a refill.

Did you guys know fat is addictive? It is...According to an article by Stephen Daniells (2010)

Over eating may be driven by the same neurobiological mechanism in the brain as drug addiction, says a new study from the US that adds clout to the theory of ‘food addiction’.

Data from a study with laboratory rats indicated that the development of obesity was accompanied by a break-down in brain chemistry linked to pleasure responses. According to findings published in Nature Neuroscience, the very same changes occur when rats over-consume heroin or cocaine.

"These findings confirm what we and many others have suspected that over-consumption of highly pleasurable food triggers addiction-like neuroadaptive responses in brain reward circuitry, driving the development of compulsive eating," said lead researcher Dr Paul Kenny, from The Scripps Research Institute in Florida.

"Common mechanisms may therefore underlie obesity and drug addiction,” he added.

The data appears to refocus attention on the formulation of foods, and the Western diet in particular – the researchers fed the rats easy-to-obtain high-calorie, high-fat foods like sausage, bacon, and cheesecake.

You see, there you have it....burgers are my heroine and McDonald's is my dealer. God help us all. I'm not giving up, but apparently this is a much harder battle that I thought. So let me start by saying, "Hello, my name is Sarah Woods and I am a foodaholic."

Here is the link to the rest of the article: Its a really interesting yet frightening read:

Don't forget to check out my food diary:

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Embarrassing but True

I think one of the hardest things to admit is that being fat is embarrassing on so many levels it sometimes hurts. At this point in my life I am as heavy as I have ever been and I have been noticing some things that shame me to my core. Again, it makes me wonder how it is that people don't get motivated sooner to lose that weight. So here it is, here are some of my embarrassing moments that have led me to this path and this journey. It is hard to share, but I am hoping that someone will read this blog and has had the same experiences. They need to know they are not alone.

1) I went to a water park and I was going to go on a ride with some friends when I saw a sign that had a weight limit. I didn't meet it and I immediately had visions of getting stuck in the tube or it breaking and me falling out twenty feet to the ground. Probably that would not have happened but still....So what did I do? I told my friends that I needed to go to the restroom very badly and jetted.

2) I recently went on a trip via airplane and I had to struggle with the seatbelts. I got them to snap but geez was it a challenge. I mean I had them pulled to their full length and I still had to fight with them. I was uncomfortable the whole flight, but I left my belt on even when the sign went off for fear someone would see me struggle and for fear I might not get it back on. It sucked and I almost started crying right there on a plane full of strangers. But I didn't...maybe I should have. I told myself at least my car seat belt fits comfortably, but that really isn't a comfort just an avoidance of the truth.

3) Sitting in desks...really really sucks. I fit in them, but barely and when I get up I am always afraid the desk will come up with me. Often, I use my avoidance strategy. "Oh there are no left handed desks in this room? Well, I guess I am going to need to flip the top of this desk up and turn another desk around to face me so I don't have to bend at a strange angle to write." A few times that I haven't done this the desk I am squished into has lifted off the ground and then clattered when I get up. This is probably the most embarrassing thing of all. People are watching you and they know why the desk made that clatter. You can see the look in their eyes and their expressions on their face. These looks say wow poor thing...she is so big she can't get out of her desk. I don't know if that is true but that is how it feels. I hate that look of pity and I never want to see it again. I won't if I can achieve my goals.

4) Doctors and nurses attacking me for my weight is also embarrassing on a much deeper level. They are often harsh and accusatory. I guess they are that way because they are trying to scare the fat off of me, which doesn't work and only serves to make me ashamed and angry. Some of the phrases they have used on me: "You would be so pretty if you just lost that weight", "I can tell you enjoy your enchiladas", "How in the world did you get like this", "Don't you care about yourself enough to eat healthy", "You know you are going to die from a stroke right?" and I could on...I think medical professionals need to focus on caring rather than condemning, it might work better. I know it must be frustrating dealing with this epidemic of obesity, but still a little compassion goes a long way. Then again, these have eventually made me angry enough to do something about it.

I could go on, but that is enough to highlight what I am trying to say. I know I am not the only one that may have experienced these things. I know that sometimes, I just won't fit or I just can't do something and I also know that if I keep working at it, it won't always be that way. This sense of shame will go away with hard work and being conscientious about my lifestyle choices. As embarrassing as these things are, they are part of the reason I keep on going. Maybe it is God's way of making me sit up and pay attention. So, I embrace the embarrassment and I am grateful for the emotion because it is a catalyst for change in my life. I am also glad I can say to people, you are not alone, you are not the only one and you can do this too!

Don't forget to check out my food and exercise diary at:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The resources are plentiful!!!!

The above URL will link you to my online food diary and exercise log. You can see what I eat and what exercise I do on a daily basis. I have it set up right now to lose 1 lb a week, by counting my calories and my exercise it should work. I might dial it up a bit in the future once I get slightly more active. Feel free to take a look. is an awesome resource and it's free!!! It will definitely help me keep on track. I hope someone else out there will find this useful. I think it would also be a great resource to help someone maintain thier current weight. You don't have to know the calories counts. You just type in what you ate and it will find it for you. Amazing!!! It even has a water counter so you can track the water you are drinking!

On another note, I have added a few interesting button to the bottom of my blog. I put up a weight loss tracker from my fitness pal. There is a workout planner, BMI measure, tips for healthy lifestyles, and a life expectancy test for smokers. Also, I put up some picture of puppies (couldn't resist) and some fish, which you can feed if you click on the picture. I also added a search engine and you can find your search results at the bottom of the blog as well.

I also added some weight loss blogs that I like to look at for inspiration.

I also wanted to thank my friends and family for being so supportive of my weight loss goals and this blog. You guys keep me going!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pay Attention!

So today I took my comprehensive exam for my Master's degree and we had an hour break between tests. So I went down to the little cafe in the education building at UTEP and made what I thought was a healthy choice for lunch. I got a grape and cheese cup. Some fresh green grapes and little cubes of different types of cheeses. It looked like a small portion of cheese so I figured I was in the clear. Then after eating my delicious lunch, I noticed the plastic cup actually had a sticker with nutritional information on it. Ouch! 500 calories for a handful of cheese and some stupid grapes! What was worse was that it was 110% of my daily saturated fat allowance ( and that's for people who aren't trying to lose weight) and a lot of sodium and carbs. That is one of the pitfalls I think many people trying to lead healthy lifestyles fall into. It looks healthy so why not eat it. It's imperative that we pay attention.

For me this means, if I don't know what's in something or what its nutritional value is then I am not going to eat it. Restaurants even fool us into paying the extra 2 bucks for a salad without telling us it actually has more calories in it than the chicken sandwich we actually wanted. This can be so confusing but it is also a pivotal step in making a lifestyle change.

Needless, to say I spent the rest of my lunch break wandering around in dismay. It seems like when we are stressed out we pay even less attention and can actually end up harming ourselves and breaking our goals. Lesson learned for me. Beware the wolves dressed up like sheeps! =)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Once you know...

Once you know something you really can't ignore it and yet we do everything in our power to hide from the truth. The question is why? I have a miniature schnauzer named Brooke and she is prone to getting pancreatitus. This means she has to eat a low fat diet and shouldn't be eating table food. Unfortunately, it is in a dog's nature to beg and she looks so darned cute doing it. So every once in awhile we slip her some "people" food. No harm no foul right? Wrong...she spent almost all of last week at the vet because her pancreatitus was acting up. Imagine that.

It wasn't her fault, she being a dog has no idea that what her masters give her, out of love, can presumably harm her. I empathize with her. The problem is that I know what can and can't harm me. Just like we knew that what we were giving to Brooke could harm her. Yet, for a large portion of my life I have chosen to do it anyway. At first, it is an active choice and then sooner or later it becomes a habit. It's so much easier to drive by a fast food place than cook a healthy meal. It's so much easier to sit on the couch and watch T.V. It's easier still to smoke a cigarette than actively try to deal with stressors in your life. And yet, like the great Albus Dumbledore tells Harry Potter, "Someday you will have to choose between what is right and what is easy." =)

How is it that people, including myself, knowing what we do today about healthy eating and the harmful effects of smoking, continue to do what they know is bad for them? The answer: because it is hard not to. A friend of mine once told me that no one ever said it would be easy, they only said it would be worth it. That is what keeps me motivated to change my unhealthy habits, even if it is hard, it will be worth it. It means more years on this earth, more activities and fun. It means running a mile without stopping due to shortness of breath. It means so many things that the difficulty is worth it.

It might seem overwhelming at first, but for me the way to combat that is to take small steps. Like cutting down on portion size. picking a salad over a burger, leaving cheese off the sandwich and so on. One small change can lead to another and then one day they will all be taken care of.

So today I focused on making healthy choices. Black coffee, yougurt and a whole wheat bagel with sugar free jam for breakfast. A mixed greens salad with turkey and fat free french dressing for lunch and an oven roasted chicen breast sandwhich on wheat, no cheese no mayo from subway for dinner. Its not perfect but its a start. I feel full and proud of myself for doing the best that I could do today. Then I took my dog for a walk and she was so excited she made me jog the whole half mile. Like I said, it's a start, and it wasn't easy but therein lies the worth.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting started

According to "300,000 is the number of people who die due to obesity related disease in the United States every single year - thus making obesity the second most serious preventable cause of death in the country after tobacco. This, and various other obesity in America facts and figures reveal that the problem has reached epidemic proportions in the country." Additionally, El Paso, where I live, is the third fattest city in Texas.

I don't want to become an unhealthy statistic. This is why I have decided to start my weight loss journey before it's too late. I know that I will need support and accountability to succeed, so I am reaching out to the blogging community for help. I hope that my journey can inspire others to start quitting their own bad habits and leading a more healthy lifestyle. I would love to hear from others about their own journeys and any suggestions.

Here are the cold hard facts about me:

I currently need to lose 150 pounds to reach my goal weight.

I am an emotional eater. I eat when I am stressed or sad or bored or happy.

I have tried multiple diets (Atkins, South Beach, Curves, Cabbage soup, Physicians diet, Slim Fast, Jenny Craig, ect.) None of them worked for longer than a year.

I have been a smoker for almost 15 years, at present I smoke a pack a day.

I have been afraid of failure and that's why I haven't made the necessary lifestyle changes I need to make in order to lose weight and keep it off for good.

Today, I begin my journey and I am hoping you will too!

Wish me luck and please let me know you are out there. Let's support each other to success!