Progress Update – as of July 6, 2015

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 302.6 lbs
Gain: 0.8 lbs
Current BMI: 47.4
Gain: 0.1
Bust: 51 inches
Waist: 57 inches
Hips: 56 inches

So I gained a little this week. Oh well. I kind of expected it, simply because I have been losing consistently for the past 3 or so weeks. I’m not concerned, 0.8 is nothing in the grand scheme of things. And, because I weighed myself on Monday evening, not morning like I usually do, it could honestly be as simple as water weight.

I feel like I look slimmer. I know that losing 14 or whatever lbs I have lost in the past 3 weeks won’t make a difference in how I look like it would if I weighed 120 lbs BUT I feel slimmer. It seems to me like my pants are a little looser. I haven’t seen a huge difference on the scale this week, it’s true, but I’ve been working out consistently (at least 30 minutes a day) and really trying hard to eat well and I feel like it’s making a difference, even if the scale doesn’t necessarily reflect that.

What I Did Well This Week:
1) Workouts! I have been working out every single day for at least 30 minutes (sometimes more) and I find that I’m almost addicted. There have definitely been days when I think “No, I’m too tired, I don’t want to” but I put my clothes on and my shoes on anyway, because I know that after I do, I will feel better. I used to walk on the treadmill all the time, but mine is getting really old and the belt needs replacing so I figured, heck, it’s summer, I’ll walk outside. It’s too hot here to walk during the day normally (I personally overheat very easily and I get terrible headaches) but in the evenings it’s absolutely gorgeous, so I have really been enjoying getting outside and walking.

I’ve also noticed that I’m getting a lot fitter and stronger. It’s only been three weeks, so I’m not ready to run a marathon anytime soon, but I have noticed that things like squats and lunges and pushups are getting a lot easier. They still do burn, but I can do a lot more of them (and with better form) because I start to really feel the burn. I’ve been doing some of those 30 Day Challenges (find them online here). I combined the crunches, lunges, squats and pushups ones, because I feel like those exercises are easy to do anywhere and then I have no excuses. I’m about halfway through the 30 days and let me tell you, I am getting better. Today, I did 150 squats. The first day, it killed me to do just 25. I can’t do all 150 at once, I have to break them up, but it still feels pretty awesome that I can do 50 squats with good form in a row without heaving like a winded rhinoceros.

What I Can Improve On:
1) I have been eating pretty well BUT there is definitely room for improvement. I find that I am often starving when I get home from work, so sometimes I find myself snacking absentmindedly on whatever is in the cupboard while I get supper ready. I really need to either have a snack at work before I leave or on the drive home, or I need to have some snacks (like veggies) ready to go while I am cooking so that I’m not chowing down on whatever. I don’t have a lot of that stuff in the house anyway for that reason, but it’s still a bit of a problem so I’ll have to work harder.

2) Sleep! I never get enough sleep. It seems like I leave my workouts until late in the evening, so by the time I’ve finished and showered and am in bed, it’s midnight. I get up at 6:00 am to get ready for work. When I was a young university student, I could get by on 4 hours sleep but now I am finding that I really, really drag during the afternoons. I need to make sleep more of a priority. This, of course, is the reason for my horrible espresso addiction. I have since broken that, but BOY some days it is damn hard not to trek down to Starbucks and get a triple-shot latte, let me tell you. I think exercising has given me a bit more energy, but I am still severely sleep-deprived so I’m working on that.

How I Feel: 
Pretty freaking great, to be honest. It’s still somewhat discouraging to look in the mirror and think “HOW am I still fat?!” because I feel like I’ve been working out enough to shed about 50 lbs by now. But, every time I think that, I have to remember that I am literally changing my life. I am taking small steps and making positive changes so that I never go down this path again, so that I can “retrain” my brain to adapt to a new way of life. As much as we want to see results immediately, dropping weight at a rapid pace is a) unhealthy and b) unrealistic to maintain, so I’m grateful that at a place where I am going slowly enough that I know that I can maintain this healthier lifestyle forever.

Cheers folks, happy losing!

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Progress Update – as of January 19, 2015

So, I did something really dumb. I weighed myself on Monday and I forgot to write it down, like a ninny. So I’ll just do what I normally do and list what I did well etc.

What I Did Well This Week:
1) I have started creating a bedtime routine for myself: turning off electronics, washing my face and brushing my teeth, then sitting with a cup of chamomile tea and reading a book until it’s time for bed. I am getting more sleep, and better sleep at that, which is great.

What I Can Improve On:
1) It was my birthday last week (huzzah) and I have to say that I…enjoyed myself, to say the least. You all know what that means…birthday dinner with family, drinks with friends, drinks and dinner with other friends, and plenty of cake. I did try to make good choices when possible, but there are few healthy options at pubs, I have observed.
2) I need to exercise more. I did a little bit with a friend, but I still have been unsuccessful at establishing a routine for myself.

How I Feel:
Well, I enjoyed my birthday anyway, that was nice! But I need to get my stuff together if I want to get serious about weight loss, I know that. Hopefully I will fare better in the future…

New Year’s Resolutions – “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life…”

Have you ever heard “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone? It’s one of my favourite songs when I’m feeling down or discouraged, because it reminds me that every day can be fresh and new and wonderful.

My last blog post was titled “End of a Long Hiatus” but it should have been called “Beginning of an Even Longer Hiatus” because I have been absent for so long. I apologize, but there are reasons (good and bad) for that.

The bad reasons are what I mentioned in my last post – that I wasn’t really exercising or eating well and I was embarrassed to chart my progress because I had gained weight. That continued, I am sorry to say.

The other reasons were that both of my parents had serious health scares within the course of a month of each other (they are both perfectly fine now though, thank goodness!), starting shortly after I published my last post, so naturally my concerns were with them. I also got a new, rather demanding job, and got involved with a bunch of extracurriculars that have sucked up my time immensely. And then, suddenly, Christmas was upon us, and I found myself swept up in a buying/wrapping/decorating/cooking/baking etc. frenzy. You all know how it goes.

Anyway, I am back, for good this time. And I wanted to talk about New Year’s Resolutions.

I have learned a lot about myself over the years, good and bad things, and I have come to the realization that, despite what I had thought previously, I am not so good at multi-tasking. I also have an “all or nothing” attitude about a lot of things. These two things combined create disaster.

What often happens with my resolutions is that I try to change too many things at once. I’ll find myself with a list of 40 resolutions and I try to start ALL of them on January 1. Naturally, there is not enough time in a day for me to learn Japanese and play guitar and read 30 minutes and crochet a blanket and learn to juggle, so of course the whole thing flops. I get overwhelmed and then I say “screw it” and stop doing everything. (Which is often what happens when I miss too many workouts in a row or eat poorly for a little while, I just say “forget it, who cares” and continue with my bad habits.)

This year, I changed my strategy. I have a few New Year’s Resolutions, but I broke the year down into projects as well, so that I can complete some of the things that I want to, but I don’t feel pressured to do everything at once. For example, my project for January is to crochet a blanket instead of “crochet 30 minutes every day” which, given my schedule, is rather unrealistic. I am hoping that wording these things differently allow me to take the pressure off myself and just enjoy what I’m doing, instead of trying to cram everything into an already-busy day.

I also made very specific goals this year. Instead of just things like “get fit” or “eat healthier” my resolutions are things like “do 30 minutes of exercise 4 days a week” and “eat less sugar and less processed food”. I tend to get overwhelmed quite easily when I look at the “big picture”, so I think that by breaking generic goals down into smaller ones, I will be more able to keep up with them and to just take things day by day.

I am going to do a new progress update on Sunday (which will be my new weigh and measure day) to start this year’s journey, I hope many of you will join me!

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Progress Update – as of August 2, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 292.2
Gain: 1.9 lbs
Current BMI: 45.8
Gain: 0.3

I almost put “current height”. As if my height fluctuates these days. Haha.

I have also switched my weigh-in day to Saturday, as that is now the day that I attend my Weight Watchers meetings. (Didn’t I say it would change?) It might change again, but for now Saturday is easier for me with my work schedule.

I gained again this week. BUT I think it’s possible that it’s water retention. I have significantly increased my exercise in the past couple of weeks and this past week I was noticing that I felt really dizzy a lot of the time, even when I was sitting down. It seems to have gone away (but of course I’ll watch it to ensure it isn’t a symptom of something more sinister) but I think that I probably wasn’t increasing my water intake to match my exercise. And, as you probably all know, not drinking water can actually cause you to “gain” weight – or at least the number on the scale increases – because your body holds onto the water you do have to try and retain it.

I am hoping that’s what it is. However, I need to get better control of my eating. Exercise has never been a problem for me. I mean, I definitely haven’t done it regularly since I was a kid (excepting the last few months, of course) but I’ve never been someone who hates sports and exercise. I love to dance, swim, bike, rollerblade, horseback ride, run, ski, skate, and play soccer, basketball, volleyball, teenis etc. However, because I have lost flexibility and am carrying more weight, I have found that doing some of these activities (particularly those involving jumping) put a lot more pressure on my joints than they used to and, as a result, I am very prone to injury. (For example, in the past 10 years I have  sprained both ankles several times each, sprained my wrist, crushed my meniscus [a little disk in your knee], sprained toes and broken off a piece of my ankle bone (twice!). Gross.)

So, long story short, I love exercise. But my main problem is, and always has been, eating. I find that when I exercise I sometimes give myself too much of a free pass with my eating. For example, I’ll think “Oh, I can have this donut because I went for a bike ride today”. And while I strongly believe that it’s important to indulge once in awhile, I give myself too much freedom to indulge and thus, fall into a “one step forward, two steps back” kind of pattern. So, I’ve got the exercise thing down (and I’m really enjoying myself!) but it’s time to really focus on the eating.

What I Did Well This Week:
1) Well, I have been exercising almost every day. I used to go about exercise quite the wrong way. I would do the same routine every single day and I think half the reason that I would often fall off that wagon is because I got bored. This time around, I am trying new things. I have been swimming a lot lately, something I love, and I have been riding my bike, something I haven’t done in ages. (Although, to be honest, it is getting a little uncomfortable. I tend to carry the majority of my weight in my mid-section and I actually have a really bony butt for being a big gal, so riding for too long gets a bit uncomfortable!) I dusted off my old rollerblades (although I haven’t used them yet, oops) and I got myself a pair of walking poles so that I can do Nordic walking (similar to cross-country skiing, but walking, but you use the poles to push yourself along and walk your arms). In short, I am enjoying the summer weather immensely (it’s going by far too quickly!!!) and exercising as much as possible outside, enjoying the fresh air.

What I Can Improve On:
1) Eating better, as I said previously, is my main priority. I just need to make smarter choices and to allow myself to indulge less than I’m doing now. I’m trying to cut back on sugar in general, since I eat way too much of it, but I’m finding it very, very difficult. That stuff is addictive. However, one little bit at a time and I will get there.
2) I also need to get more sleep. I average about 6 hours a night. For some people that is probably plenty, but for me it’s just not. I feel really tired a lot of time and the fact that my job is basically completely sedentary doesn’t help my fatigue. The big thing for me is to turn off the screens. I don’t really watch TV (uh, well, except Netflix) but I am a sucker for the internet (Buzzfeed articles, anyone? Addictive.) and so I spend far too much time on here, often at the expense of my sleep. So I’m trying to cut down on my screen time, especially before bed, and do something else like read a book.

How I Feel:
Positive, in general. I am discouraged about the numbers on the scale, but at least I know where it’s coming from, it’s not as though I’ve been perfect and am not seeing any progress. I know that I am making really good steps with my exercise and I know where I have to go from here.

Cheers, happy losing!

(Also, I have just finished Breaking Bad [oh man, so good] and now I’ve moved onto Orange is the New Black and I’m obsessed. Anyone else?)

Progress Update – as of July 17, 2014 and July 24, 2014

Height: 5’7″

July 17:
Current Weight: 287.8 lbs
Loss: 1.4 lbs
Current BMI: 45.1
Loss: 0.2

July 24:
Current Weight: 290.3 lbs
Gain: 2.5 lbs
Current BMI: 45.5
Gain: 0.4

Ugh. So. Another gain. Not going to lie, I am feeling frustrated. I’m not really that surprised though, I have been having a really difficult time juggling work and exercise, as I’m always exhausted when I get home from work and I haven’t yet been able to get up early enough in the morning to fit in a workout before I have to leave. When my exercise routine goes kaput, I sometimes find that my eating follows suit. I am trying very hard to keep going and not just throw in the towel like I have done in the past, but it’s hard. Anyway…

What I Did Well This Week:
1) Uh, not a lot. Everything kind of went cuckoo – not enough sleep, eating less fruits and veggies, not exercising. Just an all around bad week.

What I Can Improve On:
1) Everything. Getting more sleep, eating better, exercising more. All of it. That’s the plan this week.

How I Feel:
Discouraged, but not ready to quit. I know that I just need to keep putting one foot forward. I think that I need to just start thinking of things in shorter terms, just taking it for one day at a time. The idea of exercising everyday and eating really well forever can be really daunting, but I am going to try to think of it in shorter terms. Just for today, I can.

Also, I have started swimming with one of my best friends, Moog (check out her blog mamamoogie.wordpress.com) and I sincerely hope that this can be a weekly occurence. We have done it 3 times now and we’re really hoping to make it a weekly habit. I usually workout by myself, but I am finding that I really enjoy having company, it’s been really nice.

Cheers and happy losing!

Progress Update – as of June 2, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Bust: 49 in.
Waist: 54 in.
Hips: 50 in.

No change in measurements from last month, but I am okay with that. I haven’t been able to weigh myself, but I suspect that I have put on a bit of weight (mostly due to overindulging in ice cream as of late) so no change is good news, as far as I’m concerned!

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) I think I made good choices when it came to eating, most of the time. I did overindulge on ice cream BUT I made good choices for the rest of my meals: whole wheat toast and poached eggs for breakfast and then generally fish or chicken for lunch and dinner, usually with rice and vegetables. I also ate a lot of sushi because it’s cheap and it’s everywhere. (My favourite sushi is salmon and avocado rolls. One time this week, I ate a huge glob of wasabi paste because I thought it was a piece of avocado. My sinuses felt like they were on fire, my goodness! Good way to clear out your nasal passages if you’re stuffy though!)

What I Can Improve On:

1) Exercise! I did some walking, but I didn’t do it daily, so that’s something I need to change, for sure. I want to make it a habit for weight-loss purposes, yes, BUT also for fitness reasons. It is embarrassing to get winded so easily. 

2) Eating less sugar, drinking more water. I have been eating WAY too much sugar as of late (sugar is my ultimate weakness, I am addicted) and I haven’t been drinking nearly enough water, so both of those are things that I am hoping to improve on this week. 

How I Feel:

Pretty good, in general. I know that I might have slipped a little, but I am so happy with the progress I have made so far and I’m really positive about the future! 

How I Stay Motivated

Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.

I don’t know who wrote the above quote, but I really like it. I think that thinking about the end goal is something that is really important when committing yourself to healthy eating and exercise.

I thought I would share my tips for staying motivated to exercise and work out. I’m no expert in this field (otherwise I would have my weight under control already) but I have learned some strategies over time that I thought might be helpful.

1) Recognize your mistakes, but forgive yourself

I think that this is the most important one of all. Recognize that you are not perfect. Recognize that if you go a day without exercising or you accidentally inhale a bag of chips without thinking, it is not the end of the world. Of course, you want to make good choices and to exercise and to watch your portions. But we are all human. We are allowed to slip up and make mistakes. The important thing is to realize that there is always tomorrow.

2) Don’t let failure define you

The absolute worst thing that you can do when you slip up in your routine is to throw in the towel. It is okay to fail. We all do it. So just take it as a learning experience and keep going. It reminds me of another quote that I love: “Just because you miss a step doesn’t mean that you should throw yourself down the whole flight.”

I used to make this mistake a LOT. I would put myself on a ridiculously restrictive diet and an intense exercise routine and when I (inevitably) went off the diet or missed a workout, I thought to myself “Well, I guess that’s that, I might as well just accept that I’ll be fat forever” and I would go right back to my unhealthy habits. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just keep going and learn.

3) Love the positive, don’t dwell on the negative

There will no doubt be weeks where you eat something you “shouldn’t” or you miss a workout or you don’t lose as much weight as you thought you would. That is okay. It happens to us all. But instead of thinking “I shouldn’t have had that piece of cake” or “I really wish I had lost more weight this week”, think about the positive. What did you do this week that was great? Maybe you learned to cook an awesome new healthy recipe, maybe you tried a new delicious food, maybe you finally mastered a really hard yoga pose. Find something great that you did this week and be proud of that!

4) Reach out for help and support

It can be really hard, sometimes, to admit that you need help. I consider myself to be a very independent person and it is really hard for me to admit that something is too hard and that I need help. But it’s okay to ask for help and support.

It can be embarrassing to admit that you have a weight problem, but the people who love you aren’t going to care. Trust me. Anytime that I have ever mentioned my weight to anyone or talked about how I’m on Weight Watchers and I’m trying to lose weight, everybody has been extremely supportive and encouraging. The more people you have around you that are rooting for you, the easier it is to continue with your goals, especially if some of your friends have similar goals. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like exercise, sign up for a class at the gym with a friend or go for walks. Having a support system around you is invaluable.

5) Be Realistic

Many people find themselves getting discouraged because they’re not losing as much weight as they think they should or because they eat “bad” food. But I think that a lot of that discouragement could be avoided by making more realistic goals.

I honestly do not have a specific weight goal, nor do I have a weekly weight goal. My aim is to be healthy above all else. I want my meals to consist of nutritious food, I want to feel better, I want to get myself to a healthy BMI and I want to increase my fitness level. I will decide when I get there what my “ideal weight” is, it depends on how I feel. It could be 130 or 150 or 180 lbs, who knows?

My point is that though it is great to have goals, they are not the be all, end all. If you don’t reach a goal in the time you wanted, that’s okay. Just keep trying. And don’t make your goals too far out of reach. It’s one thing to try to lose 10 lbs by March 1st, it’s quite another to want to lose 50 lbs. To be healthy and to ensure that you are losing fat, not muscle, your weight loss should max out at an average of 2lbs per week, so 50 lbs in such a short time is not a healthy goal.

I also caution against “all or nothing” diets. In my personal experience, they do not work. I need balance in my life and I need the freedom to be able to have a piece of cake or some chocolate or a margarita without feeling like I have ruined my plan. Moderation, at least for me, is the key to making realistic goals.

6) Reward Yourself

I have a workout calendar on my wall and every time that I work out, I get a sticker. Maybe it’s my inner child talking, but I love seeing those stickers. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to look at the calendar and see that it’s completely full of those little stars, it makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

I also have a list of things that I want that I made recently and I am going to draw up a reward system for myself, based on those. For example: a month of workouts means that I can get a pedicure, 25 lbs means new shoes, 75 lbs means a leather jacket etc. etc.

If you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself, maybe having something to work towards will be the kick in the pants you need.

7) Shop Smart

Firstly, don’t shop hungry. I’m serious. This one seems silly, but I find that I give in to temptation at the grocery store so much more when I am hungry and then I come back with tons of junk. If I am full or I have just exercised, I think that I make much better choices.

Secondly, make your shopping list by section and stick to the perimeter. The perimeter of most stores are where the staples are: bread, milk, meat, cheese, produce. I find it easier to shop when I make my list according to where items in the store so that I can go through the store quickly, without having to traipse back and forth through the tempting aisles.

Thirdly, it is easier to say no in the store than to say no 100 times at home. I encourage people to make the best choices they can and to stay away from nutritionally-deficient junk food, but sometimes you just need to have it, you know? I understand that, I have Doritos and Oreos in my house as we speak. But, sometimes there are foods that are best to avoid. If you know that if you are going to have serious problems controlling yourself around a certain food, then it might be a good idea to put that item back on the shelf. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have it ever again, but if you’re worried that you’ll binge on it, then putting it back or finding a smaller serving size might be a better option. If you buy it and you eat it all in one sitting, don’t beat yourself up about it, but be at least be aware that it is a problem food for you.

8) Do it for you

Weight loss and getting healthy should be for you and you alone. Yes, it might be nice to show off a new body to your partner or spouse, but at the end of the day you are the one that is putting in the effort. Do it because you deserve to be fit and healthy and happy, not because anyone told you to.  The motivation is easier to find when you’re the one that is going to reap the happy, healthy benefits at the end of the day.

Whenever I am feeling frustrated or tired or overwhelmed, I just take a moment to remember these points and reflect about why I embarked on this journey. I realize that I am not perfect and that no matter that I try to make good choices and to eat the most nutritious foods that I can, some days I am going to want ice cream or potato chips and that is okay. I plan on doing this for the rest of my life and I need to know that I have some wiggle room. My goal is to be fit and healthy, but also to enjoy my life and to find a balance between healthy living and indulging on occasion. I think that recognizing patterns and bad habits, learning from mistakes and forgiving oneself are just as important on this journey as healthy eating and exercise.

If you are looking for motivation, I hope that these tips might have helped you. Cheers!