|November 13, 2011||More good news!||no comments|
|November 08, 2011||The impossible is possible||no comments|
|November 03, 2011||I ate sugar! Or, How I lost weight on my trip to NOLA||no comments|
|October 26, 2011||Getting specific||no comments|
|October 24, 2011||Surviving Halloween||no comments|
|October 24, 2011||Sick of salads?||no comments|
|October 23, 2011||Tick tock||no comments|
|October 19, 2011||Tips from Ginna||no comments|
|October 16, 2011||My Two Bags||no comments|
|October 13, 2011||Let's play catch up, or "wake me up when September ends"||2 comments|
I received a letter in the mail last week that I'm seriously considering framing and hanging on my wall.
A couple of weeks ago, I went in for my first round of blood tests following my first diagnosis of being "borderline pre-diabetic." I'd been on some medicine for about two months, had been working out for about three, so it was time for a check-up.
The letter held all of my results, and I'm delighted, happy, excited, estatic, thrilled and jumping for joy to say: I passed with flying colors!
Sugar, cholesterol, and other things that I don't understand – all good!
The only problem area is my "good" cholesterol, but my doctor gave me tips to raise that number.
But the biggies – sugar and "bad" cholesterol – were good.
This makes me happy.
This makes all of the sweat, blisters, tired muscles, salads and saying, "no, I can't have that" worth it!
Also: I've lost 31 pounds, and at 37 pounds I'll have reached exactly half of my weight loss goal.
When I started this weight loss journey, I was in a size 16.
I've been a steady size 14 since I was in high school. Occasionally I could fit into a 12, if they were cut large and forgiving. Only after college have I had to venture into the land of 16's.
Well. Lately, my size 14's were getting large – and therefore annoying.
So last night I went (cheap) jeans shopping with one of my best friends, Spencer.
I was absently digging through jeans, pulling out a few that I thought would be the correct length (aren't most women about 5'4" or 5'5"? How is it so hard to fit me, then, since I'm about smack in the middle?).
Finally Spencer kind of yelled at me – "Why are you pulling out 14's?"
"Because it's my size!"
And he said, "NO IT'S NOT."
It kinda hit me then that I was really and truly a size 12. FINALLY!
As I told Spencer, I've just always grabbed for a 14. I've never had any business looking at smaller sizes, so I just automatically started looking for the number I knew. But, I'm a 12. Finally.
I can't even imagine being in a 10. That just seems... impossible.
But then again, ever being in a 12 seemed impossible too.
But it looks like it is possible. Just a change in the way I eat (and think about eating), and making sure I hit the gym every night...
Just gotta stay on track!
I'd finally reached this magical, less than 200 (!!!!!) number, right before I left for my annual Halloween trip to New Orleans with my best friends. Then, just a few days before we left, the scale bumped back up to 199... then 200.
I was heartbroken. I was working out so hard, eating well, so what was wrong? I had my suspicious, but I didn't want to believe them.
So, I went on the trip. I thought, I was going to have a good time and eat a little bit of sugar, and I'd just have to deal with whatever the scale said when I returned. I'd eat healthier and work out harder to shed whatever good times added to my belly and thighs.
On the trip, I ate as well as I could. I probably had too many diet sodas, things like that, but for the most part I stayed on track. One of my best friends, Lori, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about two years ago, so we helped keep each other in check on this trip.
I didn't really work out. But, on Halloween, we walked for hours around New Orleans' French Quarter, and danced. Our legs were so exhausted and sore the next day. That's gotta count for something!
On Halloween, it was weird to go to Target and not load up on candy, like I usually do with my friends. While most of them bought four-pound bags of candy (and, I won't lie, I was jealous!), I opted for one small bag of Jelly Bellys (hey, a little bit of sugar won't hurt, and they are my favorite candies) and some super-delicious pumpkin-spiced almonds. Lori bought some Skinny Cow candy bars.
That night, we went out on the town in New Orleans, and, as always, we ended the night with an order, each, of beignets from Cafe du Monde.
I've always been a huge beignets fan. This year, though... I liked the first one. It was hard to eat the second one – I, all of the sudden, couldn't figure out what was so good about them. I barely choked down the last one, leaving about a third of it on the plate.
I guess my tastes really have change. In years past, I'd gobble down my beignets and seriously consider ordering a second round. This year, I didn't even finish all three.
I came home with mixed feelings. I just knew, with the sugar I ate and the fried beignets drenched in powdered sugar, that I had to have gained. I was above 200, surely. Still, my clothes were feeling baggier than ever. What gives?
I weighed last night.
Here's the thing. I think the biggest reason I lost weight on my trip – besides eating relatively well and walking and dancing – was that I left my favorite food here in Tupelo: frozen grapes with salt.
I've been obsessed, in the last few weeks, with eating frozen grapes covered in salt. Trust me, y'all, this is yummy. But I know I've been eating too much salt, and grapes are basically pure sugar. This treat has been my late-night snack, but for three days, I didn't have them, and it seems the weight has fallen off. It just proves you can eat too much of foods that seem healthy.
Looks like I'll have to give this up. Too bad, but I'm ready to see more results. I am THISCLOSE to losing 30 pounds. Very excited!
I haven't weighed in a while, so I'm assuming I'm still about where I was: I've lost more than 25, ALMOST 30, since starting this in late July/earlyAugust.
I've had lots of people ask me, specifically, what I'm doing to lose weight. It's not a fun answer, but it's one anyone should expect: I'm eating better AND working out. Doing both is the key. You can't just do one and expect results.
Here are a few specifics on what I'm doing. Keep in mind, this is only what works for me, and I am NOT YOUR DOCTOR OR TRAINER!!!! I had some help: I went to my doctor and she gave me this eating plan, and I went to my gym and they showed me the machines I needed to know. That's how I got started.
My doctor said I'm heading toward diabetes, but that this diet would help stop that. It's basically the low-carb diet. Here are a few tips from that:
– Yeah, no bread, sorry. The only bread I have is whole wheat. Actually, any kind of bread/cracker/cookie/whatever I can have must be whole wheat and in very limited quantities (think 2 slices a day).
– No potatoes, carrots or beets – these are pure startches and will turn to sugar immediately. It's hard to do this, especially since it seems every restaurant wants to make your only side options some kind of potato (fries, baked potato, mashed potato, potato salad) but see if they'll work with you for another side.
– Meat should be lean cuts, and little or no pork or beef.
– Nothing fried!
– Anything artificially sweetened is OK, but don't go overboard with them. I can have two servings of diet sodas a day, for example.
Again, please check with your own doctor about what kinds of foods you should eat. It's so helpful.
As for exercise, my gym worked with me on a plan when I joined. They only showed me the machines that would help me lose weight, like the cardio machines and the circuit machines. When I first joined, I basically would use the bike or elliptical machine for about 15 minutes, and then would hit the circuit for about 30. Now, I'm doing 15 of elliptical, about 15 or so walking/running on the treadmill and about 15 on circuit. Kinda had to spice it up, ya know?
One trainer showed me a few strength machines last month, so I'm sure I'll continue to work those in.
The important thing is that, no matter what machine I'm on, I'm getting my heart rate up and going for a good long steady amount of time.
So far, I have the results I'm looking for. The weight is not just falling off, but it's coming off, slowly and surely.
Some days I'll weigh a few pounds more than I did the day before, and yeah, that's a heart-breaker. But it just makes me eat a little better and work out a little harder.
Oh, Halloween candy.
The sight of it used to make my heart leap with joy. Now, it fills me with dread.
I've been off refined sugar for so long now that I really don't want or like many treats sweetened with real sugar (trust me, I've taste-tested a few things. they taste weird now!). Still, it's hard to resist aisles and aisles of candy... especially when it seems like EVERYBODY else you know is digging in without a thought in the world. And here I am, being good, constantly shaking my head and saying, "No."
I just saw a blog post on a fitness blog I read, Undressed Skeleton, and she had these tips for eating Halloween candy. I think they sound pretty reasonable, so I thought I'd reblog them here.
See? Pretty reasonable.
If you click on the bolded title of the blog up there, you'll also see a list of popular Halloween candies and their calories. Makes you think!
One question I've been asked many times in the last three months is: "Don't you get tired of salads?"
Well, yeah. If you do something the same way, all the time, yeah, you'll get tired of it.
So, I had to think differently about salads.
First off, I changed my dressings. Typically I'm a thousand island, Italian or balsamic vinagrette kind of girl, but lately I've been trying all kinds that I'd never tried before. I'm really digging raspberry vinagrette these days – who knew? I just make sure to choose light, fat free or sugar free dressings. Alternatively, you can also use some kind of juice, like lemon, to freshen up the taste of your salad.
Secondly, I tried something that I learned from another weight loss blog (and I can't remember the name of it now, unfortunately – if I do I'll post a link).
Basically this person pre-made their salads for the week in one night in a huge plastic tub. That way, they don't have to take the time of making a salad from scratch – chopping the greens and other veggies that go into it – every day for lunch. The salad is premade so they can just grab a serving out of it and go.
I tried this last night, and the picture you see is the salad I made and I'll have it each day for lunch this week (along with some soup). I know I could've made it more colorful, but I went with what I was hungry for. I used a bag of premade salad lettuce and carrots (I'm not supposed to eat many carrots, so I didn't add in extra), and then I added in all kinds of veggie goodies I love, like mushrooms, bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower. I really wish I'd put in some tomatoes and maybe celery. I have some grilled chicken that I'm going to add in – later – for protein.
You can add anything to this that you like – onions, strawberries or other fruits, nuts, raisins, etc. Even if you think you won't like something on a salad, give it a try. You never know.
I'm totally OK with the idea of going very easy on the lettuce and going heavy on the goodies, like mushrooms and tomatoes and peppers and such.
Don't add in the dressing until you're ready to eat, otherwise your veggies will be soggy.
The blogger said her huge premade salad kept for five days. I'm only on day one, so we'll see.
What do you do to spice up your salads?
So, I'm just over 25 pounds, counting down ever so slowly to a full 30. I can't wait til I get there, and I'll be honest, I'm not sure I ever thought I'd say the words, "I've lost 30 pounds." Pretty cool.
I thought I'd pass along a tip that has helped me immensely at the gym.
I usually work out at least 15-30 minutes on some kind of machine – usually elliptical and treadmill, maybe a bike – before running/walking on the track or working on the circuit machines.
I am not the biggest fan of treadmills, ellipticals, etc. I'm not really sure why. Some days, my workouts on them seem so easy and energetic, and other days it seems like a fight just to get going. I guess it's that inconsistent feeling that brings me down.
Anyway. I strive for at least 15 minutes, and sometimes those minutes drag by oh-so-slowly. My solution to that slow-moving clock? I cover up the time on the machine, with my iPod, a magazine, something, anything, so I'm not constantly looking at it to see how much longer I have to go.
That way, I'm not torturing myself. I just try to get lost in whatever I'm listening to, like music or a podcast, and just work out.
Do you have any tips for working out on machines like treadmills and ellipticals?
In my weight loss journey, I’ve done a lot of talking with our food editor, Ginna Parsons.
She’s lost plenty of weight and has given me lots of tips.
I thought I’d pass on the three that have really hit home with me.
The First – Freeze your grapes.
I know, this isn’t revolutionary. But I told Ginna, I was eating too many grapes, a fruit that is super high in sugar. I love grapes, but I noticed even more than that, I loved the motion of eating grapes (YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT – it’s like eating chips, where your hand goes from bag to mouth, mouth to bag, over and over. That repetitive motion is addicting!).
Ginna suggested I freeze the grapes, that way they’ll take longer to eat and I won’t eat as many of them at a setting.
This obviously doesn’t work for every food, but think about how you can change up your foods so that they’re more difficult to eat.
For example – I’ve been craving snickerdoodle or molasses cookies (I’ll go into this more in a minute), but I just say to myself, if I’m going to have a cookie I’ll bake my own and make them sugarless. Trust me, I can be lazy when I want to be, and a lot of times knowing I’ll have to go through the trouble of baking sugarless cookies from scratch is enough to stop me from craving them. Ginna also suggested hiding your food, if possible. Wrap it up in several different bags or boxes, hide it on a top shelf or put it in your trunk (if it's the kind of food that can be stored that way) – that way, you won't feel compelled to go through all that trouble of getting it back out to eat it.
The Second – If you want a food you know is bad for you, go have one serving of it at a restaurant.
Don’t take it home with you, where you can go back to it again and again.
She suggested this to me when I told her about a food I’d been craving.
I’ve been refined sugarless for the last two months, but I told Ginna, I’ve been craving the last bit of sweet food that was really delicious: a molasses cookie from The Bakery in Tupelo (I’m sorry if I just made you crave those, but really, they are super-duper yummy). She told me, go ahead, go have one – just don’t take a half dozen home with you (something I would have done if I were not trying to lose weight).
That way, I’m nipping my craving in the bud, and I won’t have a box of cookies at home to tempt me.
I actually haven’t done this yet. It’s weird – I used to have the biggest sweet tooth, and I always thought I “had” to have something sweet at least once a day. Now, after going off of refined sugar, I don’t really crave sweets that often. If I do, I have a piece of fruit or maybe a piece of sugarfree candy.
The third, which is sort of related to the second – You only TRULY enjoy the first three bites of anything you eat. After those first three bites, you’re only eating it because it’s there (mindless eating).
Now, I’ve been bad – I had some fried rice, and I have to say, I TRULY ENJOYED EVERY SINGLE BITE OF THAT. Sorry for the all caps, but seriously, that was some good fried rice. But!! I have had this happen to me, where I think I’m enjoying something, but really I’m not, and I’ll realize it if I stop to think. We do that a lot, you know – eating without really thinking about how good or bad something tastes.
We just eat it because it’s there.
Unless, you know, it’s fried rice, or whatever dish is your kryptonite.
For the last three months, I’ve gone everywhere with my purse and two other bags: my gym bag and my knitting bag.
I never thought I’d say that, but then again, I’ve surprised myself a lot in the last few weeks.
Let me explain.
For the longest time, I always thought I was too busy to work out and get healthy.
My work schedule isn’t a radically weird or difficult one, like those of nurses or doctors or police officers. But it is a little weird, and it changes often – sometimes sources want to do interviews at like 7:30 a.m. (a horrible hour of the day, don’t you think?) or sometimes I’ll have to cover a concert that isn’t over til almost midnight.
So when could I fit in the gym? When could I fit in making a healthful lunch at home when, on some days, it feels like I only have time to hit a drive-thru?
But, as I said in my original weight loss column, I finally got serious about doing these things. I made being healthy a priority. No matter what my day looks like, no matter how late or early I’m at work and what responsibilities I have to do afterward, I make sure I go to the gym, for at least 45 minutes.
Now that I’m roughly three months into this, I can’t remember what used to take up my time.
I just know I don’t leave the house now without my gym bag, packed with my workout clothes, sneakers, hair bands, my iPod, and some spare change in case I want to buy a water from the vending machine.
From the middle of August to the middle of September (basically, right at the heart of figuring all this weight loss stuff out), I took a beginner’s knitting class. Since then I have knitted six scarves and three dishcloths. I’ve also managed to watch more Bette Davis movies in the past three months than I have in...well... a while. Now that my favorite TV shows are back on, I don't feel so bad watching them, because instead watching and eating, I'm keeping my hands busy making scarves that I plan to give away as Christmas gifts.
No matter where I go, I’m ready for either working out or pulling out a bit of knitting to do, thanks to my two bags. My point is: there’s time for working out, for eating better, for taking care of yourself – and even a bit of knitting – so long as you make it, and therefore yourself, a priority.
So I started this blog a few days after my column about losing weight ran in the Daily Journal – basically in the middle of September.
It took a while for this blog to see the light of day (be put on the Staff Blogs page, in other words), so now it's nearly a month later.
When I wrote my column, I'd lost about 15 pounds and I knew, just knew, I would cross the 20 pound mark at any minute. I did, eventually, but it took longer than I would've wanted.
So, a month later, I'm at a 25 pound weight loss.
I am not happy about this.
I've always heard you hit a plateau at some point in the weight loss journey, and I guess I'm at mine. I seemed to hit a small one at 20 pounds, and now I'm at another, at 25. My weight just won't budge, or at least it hasn't in the last week. With all the running and sweating I've done lately, you'd think the numbers would go down. Well, not yet.
Some of this is physical: I haven't felt that great in the last month, as I had a small cold and then my "bum" knee, as I call it, tends to give out at least once a month, and, right on schedule, it did.
But a lot of it has been mental.
September through early October was the hardest time I've had, professionally, ever. My arts and entertainment beat exploded. (don't even try to tell me there's nothing to do in Northeast Mississippi. There's PLENTY. Trust me.) I worked long, weird hours, I got a few things wrong, I got a lot of things right, and the rollercoaster of the month just left me exhausted and questioning if I was even in the right line of work. This entire depression/identity crisis left me physically, emotionally and mentally drained. It was hard to focus on getting healthier when all I could think about was work.
October is getting better, so I've been able to change my work outs (bless my heart, I'm trying to run now) and get back to focusing on my health.
So, where am I now?
According to the gym's scale (which has always weighed me a bit lower than every other scale), I've lost 20 pounds in two months (I've only had two weigh-ins there). According to the scale at my parents' house (which has always weighted me as a little higher), I've lost 25 pounds.
The folks at the gym are proud of me, but I won't lie, I'm a little disappointed. I'm ready to get out of the 20s and into the 30s. Who's with me?