Saturday, January 5, 2008

Blogging away calories!?


I tried something (sorta) new last week. Soy milk. I have tried soy milk before and never thought it was very good. I was in Trader Joe's and saw West Soy Plain Non Fat Soy Milk.

I decided to give it a try. Honestly, three things made me think it was going to be yucky. 1: My past experiences with Soy Milk, 2: the fact that it is Plain, and 3: the fact that it is Non Fat. The morning I decided to use it I poured it into my 1/2 cup measuring cup and added a fourth reason, the color. It doesn't look like non-fat milk. It was a sorta watery gray color, not appealing at all. I poured it on my cereal (my favorite right now? Special K Protein Plus - all that protein keeps me satisfied until lunch!). I braced myself and took a bite. hmm, ohh. Not that bad. Wait, not bad at all. I wouldn't say amazingly delicious or that I'd never use milk again, but it was so much better than I expected. My impression is that the health benefits are not all that different from milk but generally I think it's good to mix up my food choices. So, I finished off this container and will buy more in the future.

On to other things...I do my food and exercise tracking kinda weird. My food week is from Thur-Wed. My exercise week is Sun-Sat. How it got to be that way is my first weigh-in was on a Thur and I now weigh-in every Thursday. So, Thursday is the first day of the week as far as food tracking is concerned. But I've always counted Sunday as the first day of the week for exercising, and I like it that way. So, today is Saturday, the last day of my exercise week. I have a goal to exercise 5x per week, sort of.

In the past one of the reasons I have not been able to maintain weight loss is that I became too rigid with myself. So, one of my goals in this journey is to be flexible. Therefore, my goal is to exercise 5x per week, but 4 is okay too. Make sense? I hope so. With a flexible goal one might wonder, How will she know if she's met her goal? Well, it has to do with the reason I didn't go five times. If it's valid, then I made my goal, if it's not, then I didn't.

I've gone four times this week already with plans to go today to make five. My days off this week were Tuesday (recovering from New Year's Eve festivities) and yesterday. I'll write an entry later this week with what my workouts are looking like these days.

Whew! This blogging thing takes work! Who knew?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Rolling, rolling, rolling

I went to my weight watchers meeting on Thursday hoping to be down at least 1.2 pounds. This would push me over the 40 pounds lost mark. After going dancing on New Year's Eve and having a handful of drinks (after a meal at KFC's) I was cautiously optimistic.

Well at weigh in I was down 2.2 pounds!! Woo-hoo!! For a total loss of 41 pounds so far. I still can't believe I am where I am. I hope it sinks in eventually.

Anyway, now I'm convinced the 2 hours of dancing cancelled out the drinks and fast food. I need to go dancing more often. I love it, it's a great workout, and I love it. Do I hear Shakira calling??

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Keeping it Off.

Anyone who's been reading my blog entries knows I'm sort of fixated on maintenance. Even though I am 40+ pounds away from my goal weight I've learned enough to know that really, it's all about keeping it off. Like many here this isn't my first time losing the weight, though it is my first time on Weight Watchers.

Losing the weight is something I know how to do, it's not easy, but I know how to do it. What I don't know how to do is keep it off. I've lost the weight a couple of times. First in 1995 I lost 70 pounds and kept the weight off for about 3 years. In 2000 I lost about 50 pounds and kept it off for less than a year. This time last year I didn't think I had the fight to do it again. I dragged myself into a Weight Watchers meeting with only enough motivation to make it to the meeting. From that day on my first goal is to make it to the meetings. Forever. Period. I have to treat the weight like a disease in remission that could come back anytime if I'm not vigilant.

Another thing I have to do is find fitness activities that I enjoy. I read about a study showing that women who exercise with the goal to lose weight or look better work out about 40% less than those who do it mainly for enjoyment or stress-reduction. Women who hit the gym only to burn calories tend to choose high-intensity workouts they don't enjoy - and eventually, they end up skipping exercise altogether. Proof that I need to find fitness activities I enjoy, that I need to incorporate it as a part of my life that I do for fun, to ease stress, to feel good, not just to lose weight. If we're doing it just to lose weight than when we've lost the weight we'll be done, right? And then I'll soon find the weight I lost.

So I've been focused on learning how to maintain, and losing with maintenance in mind. I even cut my gym days from 5 to 4 knowing I was going at a pace I couldn't maintain. Please share any thoughts you have on maintenance. What's the secret to keeping it off? What kind of mind-frame do you have?

Where have I been...Where am I going?

I wrote a summary of my weight issues for another site and wanted to share it here too. I promise no more long posts for at least a year

It seems I have been battling weight issues my entire life. I remember being about 9 years old and having family members call me "Shelly Belly". They apparently thought I was fat, and so did I. As an adult I look back on the pictures of myself at that time and I was fine, certainly not fat. The questions, the why's and who's, are long past their time but I believe that was the beginning of my dissatisfaction with my body. There are plenty of other reasons why I have hidden behind about 100 pounds of fat almost my entire adult life, some more compelling, but my point is that it's always been an issue.

I have faced this weight loss battle before. At 24 I lived in Hawaii and had just graduated from college. I was feeling alive and grounded. I lost 70+ pounds and got into the most amazing shape of my life, bicycling, swimming, hiking..I loved it all! I kept the weight off for several years. Eventually I moved back to California and slowly my lifestyle changed and I became sedentary once again. Overeating and lack of activity led to the weight coming back.

At 29 I was engaged to be married. Motivated by the wedding I got back into it. I exercised, ate healthy, and lost a lot of weight again, nearly 50 pounds. I was in a size 12 and feeling great! We went on a honeymoon to Ireland and I hiked around enjoying myself and feeling fit, attractive and fabulous. I can't tell you how long after the wedding I stopped working out but within a year I was back at 190 pounds.

As many of you know, I made an attempt a few years ago, reading the Body for Life (BFL) book and following the three month plan. That book is very motivating. The information and techniques are excellent. I lost about 30 pounds, got down to 201 but shortly after the 12 week challenge was over I quit. I kept a journal during this period and, reading back over it recently, I realized I lacked balance. My diet was too structured, I was exercising too hard and not resting enough. By the end of the challenge I was exhausted and had little energy to continue.

In the years since the BFL challenge I've wrestled with whether or not I had it in me to give it another go. I feared I did not. I began to accept my fate. Except accepting my fate led to increasing feelings of depression and increasing isolation. I was in a cycle of work, couch, bed, work, couch, bed. I had no interest in anything and felt tired from the moment I woke up to the moment I went back to sleep.

I decided I needed to work on some psychological issues. I entered individual therapy and began talking. Weight, and how it served me, was often a topic. I started making small goals. First was to get out of the house. I made a goal to do something social, out of the house, once a week. I joined an activity group in my area and started making plans. I went on factory tours, wine tasting, games nights, pot luck dinners. It was hard at first, I didn't want to do it, I was both happy and unhappy in my rut. Eventually I started feeling a little better and my therapist (and doctor) suggested Weight Watchers.

In February I went to my first meeting. At my first weigh-in I learned I was 233.8 pounds. Wow. I had never weighed that much in my life. The task ahead was daunting. So daunting, that I couldn't commit to facing it outright. All I committed to was going to the meetings. I promised myself I would go to the meetings no matter what. I made no promise to follow the plan, to track my food, to exercise...only to go to meetings. And not to stop going.

For the first few months I was pretty motivated. I followed the food plan (Flex plan, "Points") and tracked my eating. By July I had lost a little over 20 pounds. I was feeling a bit better and doing more out of the house. Then the motivation stalled. I stopped following the plan, stopped tracking my food. But I never stopped going to the meetings. I kept that promise. I weighed in every week and went up and down by a pound or so every week. I lamented my lack of motivation but didn't challenge it. I was, after all, keeping my promise to myself.

In November my motivation returned. I went on vacation in late October and had some time to think. That time away re-started my engine and when I came home I was going again. I started tracking and following the plan again. I talked to my husband about TV watching and we ultimately decided to cancel Cable. Yep, no TV, none, zip, zilch. It felt great to silence that box. We used the money to join a perfect is that? We signed up on November 15th and I've been going ever since. Since starting the gym I've lost about 10 pounds.

Well, I'm on fire right now. I feel motivated and on a roll.

I have a lot of fear though. I know this road, I recognize the surroundings, I've been here before. Honestly, I have doubts that I can reach my goal weight of 145. More than that, I don't know if I can maintain. That is my biggest fear. If I barely had the umph to get into shape this time 'round, I really won't have it if I put the weight back on. So, I often say, "it's all about maintenance." I think more about how to maintain than I do about how to lose. I am trying to make habits that will serve me long after I've lost the weight. I am really invested in the concept of a lifestyle change and not a diet. When I eat chocolate, or cheesecake, or KFC...I know I am not "off" my's all part of the plan. It's all part of eating in a way that I can sustain for a lifetime.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Under the weather but still kicking

So I've got this lingering cold. Not bad really but just enough to add to the challenge. I have a little less energy than usual and have annoying symptoms like a stuffy nose. So far I've made it to the gym three times this week (including yesterday!) but need to go today to make it four. It's 12:30 and I just ate breakfast so I can't go for another hour or so. I have to go today. Something about missing my gym goal that just doesn't seem to be an option.

I made some yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast. You buy a 10 count pack of biscuits, I bought buttermilk that were 110 calories each. You know, the kind that pop when you open the can. Preheat the oven to 400°. Flatten them into 3" circles. Put 4 mini marshmallows in the center and sprinkle the marshmallows with a mixture of cinnamon and Splenda. Squeeze them shut, sort of shaping them into a ball. Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on top. Rolls may pop open during baking but they're still good. They are 5 points for two rolls and they are yummmy. Most of the calories come from the biscuits so if you find lower calorie ones the rolls will be lower points.

I took my body fat this morning on my Tanita scale. 39.5%. That means I'm 74 pounds of fat. I've been hovering around at this percentage for a few weeks. I just read that women in my age range should have between 15 - 23% body fat. That means that right now I'm 113 pounds of lean mass. So I can weigh 147 pounds and be at 23% body fat. That assumes I stay at 113 pounds lean mass, which I hope to increase through weight training. In any event, I now have to lose 16.5% body fat, which is about 31 pounds. When I lose 31 pounds I'll weigh about 157 pounds, not 147. So I'm confused. I need some math help I think. Oh well, I have some time to worry about these things

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year! @ Caliente

My legs are spent and my ears are ringing but Miguel and I had a blast at a Latin dance club in San Francisco last night. We boogied in the New Year until we dropped around 2am. I had a total of five drinks in the five-hour span of our evening out. I'm not feeling too shabby today, but not too sharp either. It's been a long time since we went out dancing and it was so much fun!! I love Reggaet├│n music and I even danced "Punta", a style of dance from my husband's home country of Honduras. Man, talk about a workout! I think we danced for at least 2 hours in total as we barely sat down the entire evening.

Another event that wouldn't have happened if I were still living the couch-blob lifestyle.

Did I mention I had him take me to a fancy dinner at KFC's? For some reason I'd been craving it for a few days so I figured it was time to go. I have the points (weight watchers) for it so off we went.

Today I'll be relaxing around the house. I thought about going for a walk but have a mild headache and have decided to take it easy and recover, rehydrate, replenish, re-etc.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I squat, therefore I am

Still have a lingering cold but I popped some DayQuil this morning and made it to the gym this afternoon.

About a month ago I had a session with the trainer. He showed me how to do squats and put them in my weight training routine. Problem was, I couldn't do one. Not even one. So he showed me a modified one where I squat to sit on a bench except don't actually sit on the bench but stand back up right before touching it.

Well, today I did a squat! I was shocked. I tried to do one and voila! I went on to do 3 sets of 8. Amazing! I was so proud of myself, secretly grinning inside the entire time I was doing them. To be honest I don't know where the strength came from because this is the first time I did a lower body weight training day since he showed me the bench compromise. It must be from the bike riding. Lord knows that bike makes my thighs burn.

By the way, you know what's a good song for getting you pumped up? "U+ur hand" by Pink. Ok, maybe it only gets women pumped up, but the music and course of the song had me rocking out today while on the stationary upright.

I am so glad my cold is going away, it was zapping my energy and my motivation. There have been so many times in the past when a cold would be enough to throw me off my whole routine and I thought about that constantly over the last few days. Each day I made the decision not to work out was a neurotic mess of, "Am I not working out because I'm sick or because I'm falling off the wagon?". I asked anyone who had even a remote amount of fitness/health knowledge what I should do (and of course got varied answers from YES, workout! to NO, rest!). Yesterday I was really on the fence but when I felt pooped in the afternoon I decided to skip it. So far, I'm glad I did. The gym was great fun today and I was so happy to be there. That's the kind of association I want my mind to have with the gym.

I go to the gym because I want to, because it feels good, because I enjoy having a healthy, strong, functional body that allows me to do the things I want to do.