Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Plan

Okay so I said I was going to generate a plan for my eating and exercise and I definitely need to. I am going to post it on here under diet plan and exercise plan and I will edit them as needed.  I have decided that I will work out and hour each day six days a week and take one day off from any strenuous exercise, maybe just do some yoga. I have been so all over the place these past couple of weeks. I have school I am dealing with, the class isn't at all difficult but there is a ton of busy work. The fact that this busy work is meaningless makes it even harder to actually have to sit down and do. I am also trying frantically to fill out as many job applications for teaching positions as I can. Prospects in El Paso for English teachers are not looking good at all. Looks like I will have to relocate soon if I want a job. If I can get a job I will probably be moving in late July to wherever I end up. So I am a little concerned about that as well. I have lived on my own before but never out of El Paso. It is kinda scary, even for a soon to be thirty something. It concerns me because in all honesty I will miss my parents. I love them both to pieces and it is really nice being able to pop in and stay with them for a few days and just spend time together. I like to help my mom out as much as I can and I hate the idea of not being there for her. For those of you who don't know, my mom is a cancer survivor and legally blind, she is an amazing person and an inspiration for me in everything I do.

So needless to say there is alot of things going on in my life right now both actual events and inside my head. This is why I need a plan, because if I don't make one then something will get dropped and it will probably be the diet, which would not be good. So if you want to see the general plan then feel free to take a look on the pages I mentioned above.

Now on to a bit of a book review. My good friend Maribeth, who I have known for a long time, but had lost track of until recently, has been reading my blog and made a recommendation for a book i should read. That book, which I am about halfway through and already in love with is Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet Recharged.

Never judge a book by its cover....
Now I know the cover might look a bit cheesy but it is what is inside that counts. What's inside? The key to a healthier lifestyle. Its all about how to boost your metabolism by eating a protein and complex carb six times a day. You really can't get healthier than that. I will be cutting out sugar, processed foods and what Ms. Reno calls "anti food" (food with high calories and no nutritional value). I will post more about this and how my meals will look soon. If you are interested in maintaining your weight, losing weight or just feeling more energized I recommend you read this book. I am starting slowly with her techniques and I will hopefully be eating clean on a regular basis by the end of May.

So I am diligently working on several different things and should have my diet and exercise plan updated by Friday. In other news, I have been seriously slacking on working out. I need to work out, not just to speed my weight loss and build muscle but because it really does make me feel better. So come hell or high water it is back in the pool tomorrow for me. Hope everyone thinks about making a solid plan for themselves for whatever they need to focus on. It really does help.

Friday, April 22, 2011

She's in there somewhere.

So was reading up on what Dr. Oz says about emotional eating and one of the things they suggested to deal with cravings is to use visualization. So I figured why not I have a good imagination, I can visualize something that will help me out of this craving rut. I thought I would visualize myself shrinking... It didn't work. perhaps its because I am not really sure what I would look like if I were at my goal weight. Or perhaps my imagination isn't strong enough to melt away 170 lbs. That's okay though because I still learned something. I learned that she is in there somewhere. The skinny me; the one that can climb mountains, run a marathon, swim 2000 miles, shop at the gap, be happy with herself when she looks in the mirror. The problem is that she is skinny and healthy and runs really fast, at the moment I can't catch her. That is why I have to keep going, so that I can finally catch her and hold on tight. I just hope along the way I become her.

On a less poetic note, I was able to visualize myself getting up and eating something healthy after my power walk with Bob and the rest of last years biggest loser cast and then I got up and did it. Visualization is a good tool. I hope one day I will no longer need it, but until then it is just another weapon in this battle of the bulge.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back On The Wagon and Making A Plan

Hey all....sorry I haven't been posting daily. In fact, I think I might not actually post every day. The biggest reason is definitely writers block! I just couldn't think of anything to say. This goes hand in hand with my serious need to procrastinate with EVERYTHING I do. Seriously, I have always done everything at the last minute. I mean I finished my taxes yesterday which was the last day to do them by the way. I write my papers for school the night before because I feel like the serious pressure of a deadline makes me write better. I have almost gotten to the point where if I don't have a deadline, I have nothing to say. It is like I have trained myself to only write at the last minute. Which I am sure makes it difficult for me to post daily on my blog. It's definitely a major flaw that I need to work on.

Also, I have been sort of busy with school and other things. I just can't make this blog my whole life but it still needs to be a really big part of it in order to keep me motivated and accountable to my weight loss goals.  So I am going to give myself a minimum of two posts a week and take it from there. Besides too much of a good thing is bad and I don't want to spoil my readers =)

Then there is a third reason...the one I don't really want to talk about but will. I didn't exercise almost the whole week. I just didn't feel like it at all. My muscles were hurting me and I was exhausted because frankly losing weight is hard work. I am going to get back on the wagon today and do my power walk DVD. Not to mention, Bob Harper was on Rachel Ray this morning and I think it was a sign that its time to get back to moving. I am going to go swimming tomorrow and maybe do some walking. I just don't want to break my body down too much or I won't succeed. So after having taken a too long break its time to be up and at em again.

I also noticed this week that if you make a few bad choices then it is really difficult to make good choices. So I guess the best way to combat against that is to start every day with a good choice. I think my procrastinating butt needs a more serious plan than the one I have been going with so far. Its time for me to sit down and really think about what exercise I am going to do every day and when I am going to do it. I need to start using that planner my mom gave me. I have always been a sort of fly by the seat of your pants person and I just go with the flow but lately it seems like that attitude is not beneficial to the way I want my life to be. Long story short, I need to plan my life and just deal with it when it doesn't go exactly right sometimes rather than just hoping everything falls into place. I am not one of those lucky people who just has good things land in my lap (most of the time any ways) I have had to work for what I want and having a plan is paramount to that. So in my next post, which will be coming soon, I am going to post up my schedule for the week. Including what food I intend to eat and what exercise I am going to do. I hope this will help others who have the same issues as I do with sticking to a plan. Thanks for being patient with me as I learn to be patient with myself.  I need to be like that blow up clown that you punch and it just pops right back up every time. So this week I got knocked back but it is not an excuse to give up or quit trying.

Bozo the Clown says: "You are not who you are because of the number of times you fall down but because of the number of times you get back up."

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Friday, April 15, 2011

A Whole New Exercise

Thanks to my mom's love and support of my goals for weight loss and staying healthy I have acquired a new set of exercise DVD's from my two favorite weight loss gurus. Jillian Micheals and Bob Harper from Biggest Loser are possibly the most inspiring T.V. personalities I have ever come across. Every Tuesday night from 7-9 I am parked in front of a television watching my favorite show.

In fact, Biggest Loser was one of the reasons I decided to start exercising and eating healthy. I thought if these people can do this then so can I. I even had this fantasy that I would one day become a contestant on the Biggest Loser. Then Bob and Jillian could scream the fat right off of me. I think it would run away squealing. But then I came to the realization that getting to be a contestant on a show like that was equivalent to winning the lottery and I am not a lucky person.  So, it was either get off my butt and get down to business or continue to sit in my easy chair and eat while watching my show. The later choice was obviously to ironic for me to abide by. So I decided to make myself the star of my own Biggest Loser show, cast of one.

I know I said swimming was the way to go and I still think it is. However, my brother and my dad both reminded me that it is better to alternate my workouts so that my muscle groups have time to repair themselves. I have decided to do two days of swimming and then one day of other exercise and then repeat that. I figured what better way to mix it up and keep it interesting than trying to complete some workout DVD's. They are portable and don't take up too much time. So I have started one of them today: Biggest Loser Powerwalk
Bob is so inspiring...
It is actually not a bad video and it was only 9 bucks at WalMart. (By the way all exercise video are not in the video section but are instead located in the sporting goods section). The premise of this one is that if you follow the included checklist you can walk 27 miles in three weeks. That's a marathon folks. So I am excited to say that it really made me sweat. Walk One (there are four different ones) was alot of aerobic moves and then sprinting. Bob is actually really encouraging so I kept at it. I also liked how it doesn't push you to go beyond what you are physically capable of but instead provides modifications if they are needed. I would suggest that anyone could do this workout if they have the use of their legs.
With things like this readily available there is really no excuse for people not to get up and get moving. In fact at Walmart on the west side right now there are tons of DVD's for sale for four bucks. That's definitely cheaper than the price of a gym membership and I think you might be more likely to feel comfortable exercising in your home than out in public. I know it really depends on the person, but I hope some of you will be inspired to give this one a try. Or some of the other ones I got:

Gets your rear in gear for only 4 dollars

Tones and lifts the frontal view for only 4 bucks!

Designed to boost metabolism and increase caloric burn

I'm saving this one for last...I am sure the name helps explain why...
So, I am steadily building up my arsenal and keeping myself from being able to make excuses. If the pool is closed or the weather is bad or I'm broke I can still exercise. This is just another level of accountability for me and its one I think I might actually enjoy! I know I have changed my mind a few times about the exercise but it is important to me to make sure I stick with it. If that means backing off of swimming a bit and trying new things then that is OK with me. As long as I am moving I will not fail in the end. No two people are alike and it is really and truly about making things work for yourself because in the end it is you that you must be accountable for. I wish everyone luck in picking their own workout routines that will help them stay motivated and entertained...it isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I guess when it comes to exercise I can exercise my right to choose how I move.

If you have tried any of these or you have other work out videos to recommend please feel free to comment about them here. Remember you don't have to be a member and you can even be anonymous if you wish.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Always Be Prepared

I had the pleasure of going to lunch with one of my good friends today. However, because of that I did something I have never done before. I made here decide where we were going the day before. Why? So I could look up the nutritional information for the restaurant, decide what I wanted the night before and log it into my food diary for the next day. She gave me the choice of Applebee's, sushi or a sandwich and tea shop. I picked Applebee's, which was not actually my first choice, but it was the easiest for me to find information for.  What is great is that they recently started including a section of the menu that is entrees under 550 calories. I had the grilled Dijon chicken and portobellos. YUMMY!

Bet you wish you ate this today! It was superb!
Here's the great news though...it was only 450 calories and delicious. It was also very filling and I almost couldn't finish it. But I had to because that is how my diet works. I gotta meet my goals. 

Anyways, the moral of the story is that while it may be embarrassing the best way to ensure that you stick to your healthy lifestyle is to plan ahead. Be prepared for anything. I have also taken to carrying around snacks with me so if I get super hungry and I am not somewhere I can eat I have a back up plan.

Of course I am not perfect and if you have been viewing my food diary you will know I am a big fan of fast food (subway, turkey burgers from Carl's Jr., salads from sonic) I just try and make healthy choices about the fast food I eat. What I really need to start doing and will do once I have a budget and a steady income is buy my food for the week and prepare my meals beforehand so they are heat and eat or require very little preparation at all. I hope to one day only eat the food I cook and save the food made by others for special occasions not an everyday occurrence. One step at a time....

In the meantime, I would love to know some of your healthy fast food finds. Please share what you have found to be healthy at your fav fast food place for me and the other readers in the comments section.

BTW: We also went to see the remake of  "Arthur", starring Russell Brand. I actually liked it and I thought it was sweet and funny.  I found myself laughing and even crying a wee bit and I did not walk away with any sense of disappointment.  Not the best movie ever made but still fun to watch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Positivity Goes A Long Way On the Battlefield

I think one of the things that causes people to fail is a certain habit people have of thinking of themselves and others negatively. Like if I didn't lose weight this week then I am a failure. To me it really isn't about the weight, because in all honesty weight fluctuates on a daily basis. If you drink two glasses of water you gain. If you eat lunch you gain. If its that time of the month you gain. If you look at someone wrong you gain (j/k). However, I think there are times when the scale does not show our greatest successes. Many people, the positive ones, or at least the ones trying to stay positive, focus on what they call Non Scale Victories or NSV's.

An NSV can be something as simple as: "When my friend offered me that cheesecake, I said no thank you!" or it can be something a big as: "I didn't lose any weight this week but I lost 2 inches around my waist." NSV's are clearly a continuum but they are something I intend to focus on in order to replace my negativity with some positivity. If I am berating myself and calling myself a failure then I am letting the old, fat, sedentary me win.

Weight loss is a war; every day is a battle and it all comes down to what you have in your arsenal to win it. Healthy food and exercise are great "big guns" but what about your grenades and land mines? What can you do to prepare yourself to fight the biggest mental battle there is; the one against yourself? I say positivity goes a long way! Affirming every success no matter how small can help you outlast the old you that wants to turn to food and sitting on the couch for comfort. Focus on those NSV's and you will defeat the fat! I believe this is true and it is what I am focusing on to ensure I win this war.

So I would like to share some of my NSV's with you all:

1) I am eating healthy food and not too much of it on a daily basis! My body is thanking me by providing me with more energy and less pain.

2) My clothes are getting loser. Things that were tight that I literally had to pull on in order to stretch the fabric so it would fit are sliding on with ease.

3) I am swimming again. This is something my 315lb self told me I could never do. Boy was she wrong!

4) I find myself understanding why I do what I do more and more. I am getting to know the real me. The strong one that was obscured by all the negativity.

5) For the first time, in a REALLY long time, I am happy with the course of my life. This tells me I am doing the right thing.

What are some of your NSV's? I want to know all about my readers successes, so please share. Remember it is not always about what the scale says!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Take a break

Okay, so I didn't post on Friday or Saturday. It wasn't intentional, but it got me to thinking about how important it is to take a step back sometimes and breathe a little. Since I am not working I may not have as many stressors as some other people do, but I am going to school and changing your lifestyle is like a full-time job. Especially, if you intend to blog every day. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen. It doesn't turn out the way you want it to.

So while unintentionally taking a break from blogging, I also took a break from exercising. I didn't go swimming yesterday. I had planned to walk, but it was so nasty outside (55 mph winds and blowing dust) that I didn't do anything even remotely exercise related. At first, I was mortified with myself. However, I did stay under my calorie goal, barely. I didn't over eat, so it wasn't a total loss. As a result, I feel better today. I am well-rested and my muscles don't hurt and I am ready to hit the pool. It doesn't open until ten. Then I might take my dog for a walk, to make up for yesterday, if I feel I am able.

Exercise and dieting take alot out of you in some ways. You have to give your body a day to recover. Now that doesn't mean no exercise, just less strenuous exercise. So I have learned my lesson. Hitting the pool for 2 hours a day every day will wear me out. So from now on I will be doing three days on and one day of less strenuous exercise. It is all about finding a routine that works for you. Its also about continuing to love what you are doing for yourself and your body. I am however, going to keep up with my mileage count for swimming. It is going to take me awhile to complete but most worthwhile things do.

I have read so many posts about people becoming addicted to weighing in (like three times a day) and obsessive about what they eat or how much exercise they do. All of these things should be a part of your weight loss journey but none of them should be the master of your life. Life should also be about having a great time and doing the things that make you joyful. So take a break from the scale and the gym for one day and go for a walk in your neighborhood instead. Its okay, if you really must have that piece of cake or that burger. Just have the courage to be honest with yourself and remember that this is a marathon not a sprint. Most importantly, remember that every day cannot be a break, you have to be consistent in your goals. In other words, "Stop and smell the roses but not forever."

So its back to the grind for me. =)

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eat to Live

Sorry for the short post yesterday. I am sure this one will be long enough to bore you all to tears =)

My brother's fiance Katherine (Congratulations to you both by the way!) reminded me a few days ago of a very important element to how we should view eating and health. She said she reminds herself that she must eat to live. I love that! I am sure most of you have probably heard the phrase before, but have you ever really considered it and what it means? It  is something I have been meditating on ever since she reminded me of it.

What does it mean to "eat to live"? To me it means when you are hungry, you should eat. When you are sad, bored, happy, lonely, angry, frustrated and so on this does not equate to a need to eat. It would be better when you are overcome with some emotion to find a healthy solution, without eating, for the need to lament or celebrate. If you are sad, take a walk (burns calories too) and it will give you time to think and sort things out or mourn away from food. If you are bored, find something to do, there is always something to do if you look hard enough. If you are happy, call a friend and share the joy or go out and celebrate (maybe some dancing?). If you are lonely be with some friends or make some new ones. If you are angry or frustrated take it out on a punching bag, or a keyboard but not on yourself. That's the thing about emotions, they are transitory,they don't last, but the food you might indulge in will last. Even worse, food doesn't get rid of the pain you are feeling nor does it make a happy moment better.

In this world of busyness and technological buzzing I find that our emotions are resting on the back burner. We have forgotten how to listen to our souls. I think the best thing to do about this, is whenever you feel an emotion you should step back an analyze what the emotion is and where it came from. Give the emotion its moment and then let it go. If when you are emotional and you feel the urge to eat, stop and think about how hard you have worked and how over eating will only make you feel worse in the long-run. This is what I have been trying to do. It is not a perfect strategy, or perhaps I am an imperfect compliant, but it definitely helps me to avoid abusing food. I also think learning to listen to our emotions and dealing with them head on helps us to understand who we are and how we cope with life. Knowing this leads to stopping the emotional eating and learning to love yourself for who you are. It is a process not an immediate fix.

Along with this common inability to handle and understand our emotional self comes the inability to understand our physical self. How many of us actually listen to our body on a daily basis? I know I haven't been doing that for a long time. I got so used to emotionally eating that I feel like the thing in my brain that tells me I'm full or I'm hungry shut off because I let my emotional self take control all the time. Not a good thing. Since I have been watching what I eat, logging it consistently, and exercising on a daily basis; I have found that I can hear my body again. It is just a whisper right now but it is there. I am starting to remember what it feels like to be hungry and what it feels like to be satisfied. When I am teetering on the edge of making a big mistake with my eating, I have found myself stopping to take an inventory of my body and questioning if I am really hungry. Much of time I find that I am just bored. I find myself moving from mindless munching to mindful eating and my body and my soul appreciate it. Our body, once we drop the emotion and the desires, really is designed to keep itself alive. It will tell you when you need to eat. The important thing is learning not to ignore it.  Eat when you are hungry and put down the fork when you are satisfied. Usually, if you are at the table and you set down your fork to talk with your friends or family you are satisfied; otherwise, you would still be eating right?

If we can learn to listen, truly listen to ourselves both emotionally and physically, then the world might be a much healthier place. I have heard so many people say that true weight loss, not yo-yo dieting, is not a diet plan or exercise, it is a total transformation. I believe that to be true. I believe that if I continue down this path I will one day stop being a chubby caterpillar and become something else entirely. A butterfly...I just need to remember to eat to live.

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Don't forget to watch what I eat at my food diary:


My thanks to Katherine for reminding me of this simple yet powerful rule to living well.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The 2,000 mile challenge

I am going to do my best to swim 2,000 miles. I have a feeling it might take me awhile but I am going to do my best to complete it as quickly as possible. I have ticker set up at the bottom of my blog so you can check it out and follow along. I will post more about this one I have a better plan in place. No particular reason I am doing this either. I just feel like it. I think if I plan out my swimming every day as far as laps go I can swim approximately 3 miles in a day. Maybe more. It is important to note that a mile in swimming is not exactly the same as a mile in walking. A swimming mile is 1650 yds or 33 laps in a 25 yd pool. So that is at least 99 laps a day.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

25lbs gone...here's how I did it.

Well, I weighed myself today, although tomorrow is my actual weigh-in day, and I have lost a total of 25 pounds. Its gone away, far far away! I couldn't be more thrilled. This swimming thing certainly seems to be paying off big time! Just for the math geeks: I have lost 7.94% of my original body weight. So, I am slowly creeping toward being a B student in weight loss!!

I have been swimming four days in a row now and each time have swum a little longer. I ended up doing about 2 hours and fifteen minutes today. Burned approximately 1800 calories. I have decided to take the lowest estimate of calorie burn I could find out there on the web. Although, I am tempted to get a heart rate monitor and see exactly how many calories I do burn. I am not sure if there is one designed specifically for swimming but if there is I will find it.

So just to give an idea of what I have been doing to lose this weight.

1) You have to know your basal metabolic rate or BMR. This is essentially how many calories you would burn just to stay alive if you were lying in bed all day. Mine is currently 2530 based on my height and weight.

2) Secondly, you have to set a calorie consumption limit for yourself that is below your BMR. Mine is currently 1580 calories. Now, it is important to make healthy choices in regards to what you eat. Low fat and low sugar is excellent. There are also many people who proselytize the low sodium diet as king. I am not sure about this since I drink plenty of water, go over my suggested limit alot and am still dropping the LB's.

3) This brings me to my next point. Water, you have to drink water everyday. Eight 8 oz. glasses at least. More if you exercise.

4) I guess I have to say that exercise is truly the key here. You don't even have to do a whole lot of exercise to make it work. 30 minutes a day 5 days a week should cut it. The more you exercise the more it works.

5) Now here is where the magic happens. If I have a BMR of 2530 and I eat 1580 calories then I have burned a total of   950 calories doing nothing. Then if I exercise I burn even more. So today I burned 1820 calories swimming which leaves me at a calorie deficit of  2770 burned today.

Three important notes: You cannot let your body starve. If you do not eat enough calories then your body will go into what they call starvation mode. This means everything you eat that your body doesn't use to stay alive will try to turn into fat. The reason is because it thinks it is starving and doesn't know when you will get to eat again so it stores energy as fat. You have to eat to lose weight. Secondly, none of the numbers here are exact. You and I could be the same height and weight and still might have different BMR's. Also, metabolism is different for everyone. Calorie burn is different depending on the person as well. So all of these numbers are only estimates. However, it is better to have some numbers to work with than not at all. Finally, never eat below 1200 calories a day as this will automatically send you into starvation mode. It just isn't healthy and frankly its stupid.

Oh yeah and one more thing, I am not an expert on weight loss. This is just what has worked for me and I figured I would share.

Remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new beginning. Take it one day at a time and don't give up on whatever your goal may be.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Ride that Ostrich!!

So on the website I use to track my food and exercise, there is also a forum/message board. I stumbled across one that asked "What are your weird goals?" Meaning that most of our goals deal with weight loss or fitting into new clothes, ect. All very serious. Surely though, those who have needed to lose weight know that there are things that fit, healthy people would find weird, that would give us a sense of accomplishment and acknowledgment that what we did was worth it.  There were several that I found interesting that were posted by various MFP users that shall remain nameless. This is so you get a better idea of what I mean:

1) I want to lose another 15 lbs and tone up a bit so that I can look good in my Pittsburgh Penguins bikini by June 22nd. Why then you ask? Because that's the date of the NHL Awards at the Palms casino in Vegas and on the off chance that I'm there I want to to look hot in that suit by the poolside so that Marc-Andre Fleury checks me out.

2) I want to lose the weight so that the day my divorce is final my husband looks at me and thinks maybe he acted too hastily in ending our marriage. Lame, huh?

3) Okay, this is gonna sound stupid, but, I'm supposed to wear glasses but quit wearing them when I got fat because, well, i didn't want anymore attn drawn to my face then necessary. But I did love my glasses, so I'm looking forward to loosing this weight, getting new glasses and rocking the sexy librarian thing lol happy

4) I want to be able to wrap a normal bath towell around myself...and not feel like my face is huge in a short haircut :)

 So anyways, you get the idea. These are goals fit, thin people really may never consider. But it gives me the idea that weight loss doesn't always have to be serious. There is some fun involved. Especially when we start to think about our weird goals. The strange things that motivate us or make us tick. It's these silly, weird or even vengeful goals that are so connected to who we are that can really drive us to make a change in our lives for the good.

Okay so of course I posted on the forum with my own weird goal:

I would like to be able to ride an ostrich. The weight limit is 160lbs.  I've got a way to go but I will do it. In the meantime I would like to be able to ride a horse again. The weight limit for that is 250 lbs.

Let me explain about the ostrich. I was watching this show called Globe Trekkers and it was about visiting some country in Africa. I can't recall which one. The girl host decided to ride an ostrich. She said very concisely, "The weight limit to ride an ostrich is 160 pounds. Thankfully, I am  below that." Then she proceeded to ride for about ten seconds and wanted off right away because she was scared. What a wuss. Just goes to show that skinny doesn't mean brave. I thought to myself that if I could ride that Ostrich I would really give it a go. I'd hang on as long as possible. I would do such a great job that everyone would be yelling "GO SARAH! GO! RIDE THAT OSTRICH!"  I would show that snooty girl whats what. LOL Weird, I know, and yet strangely motivating.

What are your weird goals? I think we all have them whether we have ten pounds to lose or 170lbs. Please share.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Just keep swimming

For the first time in almost ten years, I am back in the water. Yesterday, I decided to go swim some laps. So I headed over to the Marty Robbins public pool off of George Dieter and Vista Del Sol. I swam for an hour, taking minimal breaks to adjust my cap and goggles. Boy was it tough. I mean I still have the strokes down but the endurance is almost gone. I found the easiest stroke for me to do was breast stroke because it didn't hurt my shoulders as much and because I had a difficult time breathing otherwise. I am sure this is due to the smoking. When I went home I was hungry, tired and hurting all over but it was great! I haven't felt like that in years. Getting back in the pool was like coming home again. Just me and the water.

It felt so great that I went back today. This time I went back to my old pool where I swam in high  school and swam for an hour again. This time practically non-stop. It wasn't so bad this time. I think I will go tomorrow too. I will keep on going every day for as long as I can. According to several websites I checked I burned 
3586.841142 calories today swimming laps of breaststroke continually. I basically swum off a pound. =) If you know how to swim it is really the best exercise out there. It's cardio, strength training and stretching all in one, not to mention its low impact. So at any rate, I think I have found my exercise. I can burn calories and meditate at the same time. So happy today!

When I was in high school I could swim a 50 freestyle, that's two laps, in under thirty seconds. So when I can do that again, I will know I have regained my former skill as a swimmer. So that is my long term goal. My short term goal is to swim a 500 freestyle non-stop. Who cares how long it takes! So for now I will just keep swimming. Feel free to post suggested workouts for swimming that I can use. I swim at a moderate to leisurely pace at this point.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Slaying the Nicotine Giant

So I received this comment yesterday :

"Wow, Sarah! Great work! Now how is quitting smoking going? I'm curious about how difficult it is to "quit" everything at once!"

Talk about a blog keeping me accountable! So I haven't really talked about my efforts to slay the nicotine giant. I am glad this comment was made though because I think it is high time I did discuss it. My quit date is August 14th, 2011. Currently, I smoke a pack a day (that's 20 cigarettes) which averages roughly to two an hour. So every thirty minutes that I am awake I am smoking a cigarette. WOW! I used to be a 2 pack a day smoker, but recent efforts have brought me down to one pack. This, for me, is a great improvement. I have noticed that starting this weight loss journey has really helped me to cut down as well. In the past I would have to leave the room where all my friends were so I could have a smoke. I missed out on so much over the years because of my addiction. Lately, I have been focusing on waiting. So every time I want a cigarette, I wait for half an hour. Sometimes, I forget I wanted one to begin with. I am also keeping track of how many I smoke in a day and lowering that dramatically. I am not foolish enough to believe that I can do this with no help, so on June 1st, 2011 I am going on the patch and quitting smoking entirely. Being on the patch is a ten week process, so by my birthday I should not be on patches at all and I should be smoke free.

This is when the real struggle will begin, because I will not have the nicotine in my system at all. It will be up to me and my willpower to quell any cravings that might rear their ugly heads. This will be the time when I will need the most support from my friends and family. This is the time I will be most vulnerable in regards to my diet as well.

If you have read my other posts you will know that I am an emotional eater. So I fear that a craving for nicotine might be something I try to placate with food. Likely, the sugary or salty variety. Ostensibly, it activates the same pleasure inducing hormones as nicotine, so it would make sense that I would go for something like that.  It is my sincerest hope that by that time, I will have created enough willpower in myself to abstain from overeating and smoking. It sure won't be easy though. Currently, I am on a 1500 calorie diet and I think I might be able to work in some healthy snacks to help me combat the cravings I will have. I will enter them in to my food log at the beginning of the day and then I will do my best to eat them only if I am craving a cigarette. I think it will work. I hope it will anyways.

But, in answer to the question, quitting smoking is going okay right now but I am certain that it will be a difficult process. It will likely be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. I will do my best.

On another note: I am already beginning to notice I have more strength to say no to overeating. Last night my friend was eating broccoli cheese soup (one of my favorites) and didn't finish it. He then held the piping hot soup under my nose and asked me if I wanted the rest. Boy, did it smell good! I almost caved. I knew that I had already eaten all of my food for the day and I worked out so hard. I didn't want to ruin all of my hard work so I said no. If I can do that with food then I can do it with anything!! That's what this whole journey is about. One small victory after another. Right now I'm winning.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

The elephant in the room.

So, here goes. I have been afraid to tell people how much I weighed to begin with and how much I weigh now and so on. I have this fantasy of losing all the weight and then telling people how much I weighed to begin with. To see the shock on their faces and be congratulated. Mostly, I had this idea that at some point I would be comfortable telling people the truth. But that is not going to work. Being this size and weight is not comfortable and I have this feeling that I may always be uncomfortable with how much I let myself go. That being said, I feel I have no choice but to spill. Here's why I haven't yet and why I need to:

There is all this stigma, especially for women, about telling how much you weigh. I think there is also a bit of fear on my part. I don't want people to know how far I've fallen. I have this fear of judgement. I am not even entirely sure it is an irrational fear. But I have been doing some soul searching and some heavy thinking (no pun intended), and in the spirit of honesty that I hope I have fostered on this blog, I have decided I will be honest about my weight and dress/pant size. I want people who are reading this to experience my full transformation with me. I want people who weigh around what I do, that may come across this blog, to know without a doubt that they can succeed. Besides, its much easier to write in this blog without having to obscure the truth with my words. Like a few blogs ago, I said something like, "At one point I weighed a certain amount and now I weigh sixteen pounds less than that." Fat lot of good that does someone who is seeking inspiration to lose the weight themselves. Perhaps, most importantly, while I may be embarrassed about how much I weigh, I refuse to be embarrassed by my progress or my goals. So....enough of my rambling, let's stop ignoring the elephant in the room (and no I am not talking about me) and see the truth.

So here goes:
Starting weight: 315 lbs
Current weight: 293 lbs
Goal weight: 145 lbs.

Starting pant size: 28/26
Current pant size: 24/22
Goal pant size: 8

A couple of things to note:
I am not giving myself an unrealistic goal. The goal weight and size are reasonable and healthy for someone who is my height. If I end up losing more than that then so be it but, that is what I am aiming for and what I will do my best to maintain. I haven't weighed that much since I was 12. I can't wait to get there, but I know it will happen with hard work and perseverance.

Some good news: I have lost another 5.3 pounds since Wednesday, making my total weight loss 22lbs!!! That is 6.98% of me gone. If I could give myself a grade on a paper based on that percentage I would have 93 out of a 100, an A-. For the first time in my life I can say I am not happy with an A. I would rather have a D.  In fact, I would be thrilled to be a D student in weight loss.

For now, one day at a time and one foot in front of the other.

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