Weight Loss Tracker

Friday, January 29, 2010

Measurements to start off 2010

I know this is almost February already, but I finally took measurements to use to gauge my 2010 weight- and inch loss.  I hadn't done as well as I had hoped since my November measurements, but hey, I'll take the 1/2 inch.  :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Memba that XL Costco jacket?

Well, I think I mentioned when I got it that, though it technically fit, it was a bit snug through the rear and belly section (it's slightly long, with the zipper beginning around hip level).  I could raise it up over my hips and zip it and then pull it down over my hips and belly.  It FIT, but I wouldn't have sat down in it while zipped!  lol

Well, last night I kind of noticed -- though tonight I made note -- that when I slid it down over my hips, there wasn't any resistance like before!  It's not the type of material to stretch, so I know it's not that.  So even though the scale hasn't moved, there IS a shift.  YAY!

Which reminds me, I NEED to take new measurements to start out this year (even though we're almost in February).  Since classes started two weeks ago, I also resumed the gym.  I need to use ALL my resources to keep me from freaking out when the scale keeps showing me from 221 to 225.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Personal Trainer Picks: 10 Best Exercises to Do Today

Any type of exercise is good. But we wanted to know which at-home exercises were most likely to give you the results you want—in the least amount of time. To find out, we went to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a nonprofit organization that certifies personal trainers. We surveyed more than 3,000 ACE certified trainers by e-mail, and we got more than 500 responses. Based on their experience, here's what personal trainers rate as tops.

Best Total Body Workout: Swimming

To target all your muscles, hop in the pool. Both your upper and lower body will be working, and to maintain proper alignment, your abs and back will get in on it too. Another key reason that trainers choose swimming: It's low impact, so you're less likely to get injured. In addition to an aerobic workout, the water adds resistance, giving your muscles another challenge.

Note: If you're going to make swimming your primary form of exercise, complement it with weight bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, tennis, or weight lifting. This will help keep your bones strong.

Best Ab Workout: Crunches on an Exercise Ball

This won top honors because it's an intense workout that allows you a greater range of motion. "Balancing on the ball requires the core stabilizer muscles in your back to contract, in addition to the abdominal muscles," said one personal trainer. It takes less time to fatigue, so you don't have to do as many of these as you would traditional floor crunches.

"It's also the hardest exercise to cheat on," said another trainer. Since this is an exercise that ranks high on difficulty, beginners may want to start with crunches on the floor.

How to do Crunches: Position the ball so that it's supporting your back. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Start with your arms extended in front of you, then slowly curl up. Hold, then lower. For more of a challenge, place your hands behind your head.

Best Butt Workout: Lunges and Squats (tie)

These moves were chosen for many of the same reasons: You can do several variations, you can do them anywhere, and they work your leg muscles in addition to your gluteal muscles.

Here's what one trainer had to say: "Lunges help develop balance and posture." While another chose squats because they "simulate everyday functions such as getting up from your chair. As we age, strong legs become a necessity for balance, hip stabilization, and coordination."

How to do Lunges: Place your right foot about 2 to 3 feet in front of you. Keeping your right knee directly over the ankle, bend that knee, at the same time dropping your left knee toward the floor. Your left heel will come off the floor. Don't lean forward. Hold, then press into your right foot to push yourself back up. Repeat with your left leg in front.

For a more advanced move, start with your feet together and step forward or backward into the lunge. Then push yourself back up to the starting position. Note: If you have knee problems, you may want to skip this exercise and do partial squats only.

How to do Squats: Stand with your back to a chair and your feet about shoulder width apart. Bending at the hips and knees, lower your butt until it's almost touching the chair. Looking down, you should be able to see your toes as you bend. If all you see are knees, you're bending too far forward; keep your knees behind your toes. Then slowly stand up.

For a greater challenge, hold dumbbells at your sides. If you have knee problems, stick with partial squats-lower yourself only halfway to the chair.

Boost your metabolism and fight over 40 fat with this training plan.

Best Arm Exercise: Pushups

Still a favorite of professionals! "If you were to do only one arm exercise, this would be the best for toning and firming," one trainer said. Pushups target mainly the chest muscles and the triceps in the back of your arms.

As another trainer put it, "When the triceps are developed, they add a nice look to the arms." In addition, the core muscles-the abs and back-are stabilizing you, so they're getting stronger as well.More praise: "Pushups are also a fabulous confidence booster. Many women don't think they can do them until they try, and then they see progress-fast!" If you can't do pushups on the floor, try doing them against a wall or leaning on a table or railing.

How to do Pushups: Lie facedown on the floor, hands by your shoulders and knees bent. Press your palms into the floor, straightening your arms. Keep your head, neck, back, and hips in line as you lift your body off the floor. When your arms are almost fully extended, hold. Now slowly lower, but before you touch the floor, push back up.

Advanced move: Do pushups on your toes instead of your knees.

Best Calf Exercise: Heel Raises

"Ten million dancers can't be wrong," said one trainer. For shapely calves, 75 percent of the trainers voted for heel raises.

The advantages of heel raises is that they concentrate specifically on the calves, they're easy to learn, and results are rapid.

How to do Heel Raises: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. In the beginning, hold onto a chair or wall for balance. Rise up onto your toes. Hold, then slowly lower. To make this move more difficult, try doing it one leg at a time or holding dumbbells.

Best Short-on-Time Exercise: Walking Stairs

Can't fit in a workout? Trainers recommend that you hit the stairs. "Without taking any extra time, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator—which usually takes just as long to arrive anyway," suggested one trainer. Plus you can do it at work, home, shopping, even when you're traveling.

Walking stairs gets your heart rate up, strengthens your lower body, improves posture, helps prevent osteoporosis (it's a weight bearing exercise, so it helps build bone), and improves stamina. You'll also burn about 45 calories walking up and down stairs for 5 minutes.

You won't gain a pound this season with this easy, do anywhere stair climbing routine.

Best Workout When You Don't Want To: Dancing

The simple reason, according to many trainers: It's fun! "In my house, we have 'dance time' while preparing dinner or washing the dishes," said one. "We all bop around to our favorite CDs. It's a great way to incorporate exercise and quality time into our everyday routine."

"Good music will make your toes start tapping. Soon you'll be dancing-and not even thinking that it's exercise. Dancing lifts your spirits and burns calories," said another trainer.

Lose weight while you work by putting some muscle into your household chores.

Best Exercise When You're Pooped: Stretching

If you're going to plop down in front of the TV instead of exercising, at least do some stretches. Said one trainer, "Stretching increases bloodflow without being too taxing, giving you that little boost you may need to get going." Even if you only stretch, it will help you rest better, so your body will be ready to go for your next workout. And most trainers believe that we all need to stretch more anyway.

Best Exercise for Better Posture: Pinching Your Shoulder Blades

This move reverses the daylong effects of slouching around and hunching over the computer or steering wheel. "Doing this helps maintain the spine in its erect and neutral position. It opens up the chest area and prevents the rounded shoulders syndrome," said one trainer.

"It activates the trapezius and rhomboids, the muscle groups responsible for holding you in alignment," explained another. Equally important, it's easy-so you'll be more likely to do it.

Best Exercise for Walkers: Hamstring Stretches

Trainers are hot on the importance of stretching, but they feel that people aren't getting the message. For walkers specifically, trainers encourage this move because hamstrings are likely to be tight, which can lead to injuries and back pain. Being flexible also improves walking posture.

How to do Hamstring Stretches: Standing, place your right heel about 6 to 12 inches in front of you, with your toes pointing up. Put your hands on your left thigh for support. Bending your left knee and leaning forward from the hips, shift your weight back, sticking your butt out, until you feel a stretch in the back of your right leg. (It'll look as if you're half-sitting.) Keep your back straight. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Do two or three stretches with each leg.

Walk of the weight in 6 weeks with fitness guru Chris Freytag's walking boot camp.

How to Find a Personal Trainer

For more information on finding an ACE-certified personal trainer, call (800) 825-3636, or visit their website, acefitness.org.

Back at a good place

Yesterday's partial unfill seemed to work.  I slept.  And slept.  And slept some more.  All with no reflux.  YAY!  So far I have very minimal hunger, though I don't know if it's really hunger as opposed to just the knowledge that I have eaten very little since Sunday.  I can't even call it head hunger.  Is mouth hunger a legitimate issue?

I plan on having some dinner tonight.  Yesterday my doc recommended that I stay on liquids no less than 24 hours and as much as 48 hours if I could handle it.  We already had reservations with friends to go to Morton's for dinner tonight, so I've stayed pretty true to the liquids yesterday and today so that I can enjoy dinner tonight.  Well, with the exception of a little bit of gouda cheese.  But other than that, I've stayed true to the liquids.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Weight loss surgery increases the fear of failure

I've been feeling a tad stressed about this yo-yo'ing of my band fill and compounding it with the fact that I've only lost 20 pounds (or slightly less, depending on when you catch me) since MARCH.  The bulk of the nearly 70 pounds I've lost were in the first four months.  That's not a good feeling, first and foremost.

So, even though we're not in a weight loss race, it still feels discouraging when you ARE doing the right things and you don't see the results on the scale.  Okay, yes, I know we use other measurements (how clothes fit, measurements, how you feel), but still... I WANNA SEE THE SCALE MOVE, DAMNIT!  Is that too much to ask?

Part of my stress over this is the fact that I've had three bad fills (one where I was filled way over what my doc thought, and now two where my "fill" actually turned into a partial unfill).  I know I lost an entire month from late December until now where I felt I could eat almost anything.  That was the most recent time there was a screw-up where instead of going from 4.2 to 4.6, I was actually taken down to 4.

I was talking to some other bandsters about it today, and I got an epiphany.  Here is what I said to them:
I think we ALL feel, going into this, that dread of, "What if this doesn't work?" To lose 20 pounds since March is doing just that. Granted, it's not all due to the band, and I concede that. But for the last number of months, I've been rockin' it and doing what I should most of the time. To not see the results on the scale (even though inches may be affected, but let's be real -- we want to see the SCALE move) AND to also be dealing with this yo-yo'ing of my band, well... it's just feeding into that, "I've failed with SURGERY." I know in my heart that's not true, but when you've dieted all or most of your life and you've lost and gained and lost and gained and tried and failed, you can't get out of that mindset very easily.

It's a double whammy.  It's discouraging.  It makes you wonder why you're working out 3, 4, 5 days a week and not seeing anything.  Okay, in all fairness I've lost 9.5 pounds just since Monday, but still... That was only because I could hardly even get down a protein drink and was likely only taking in a few hundred calories each day since then.

One thing I'm going to do, along with logging my meals once I'm on regular food (doc put me on liquids for another 24-48 hours) is take measurements.  I might take them tonight, and then keep tabs on them either monthly or bi-monthly.  I'll do all I can to gauge my progress.  And if I don't see the numbers change there, I will pull my band out with a spork.  o_O

I feel like a freakin' yo-yo

It's back to the fill doc today.  The issues I've been having all week have not gotten better no matter what I've tried.

On Monday my doc filled me from 4cc to 5cc which, though it sounded good at the time, worried me that it was a lot at one time (even though I had been at 5.2 for a number of months).  I believe if he had eased me up like I THOUGHT was happening (i.e. if I was at 4.6 like he thought when I went in last instead of at 4), it wouldn't have been an issue.  But almost from the start, I could feel the swelling from a full cc fill this high up the cc scale.

So all week I've been taking children's liquid ibuprofen for the swelling, and I broke out the Protonix and Nexium for the evening reflux.  Unfortunately, last night I PBed on bean soup for over two hours, and last night's reflux was worse than it had been all week and I literally had to sleep sitting up.

Which means it's back to the doc today for a partial unfill (which I HOPE won't be too much so that we can get this thing back on track).  The good news is I haven't been hungry, but since I'm a self-pay, I'm a bit tired of not having the fill we think I do.  I appreciate him trying to help out and do so much at once, but obviously it was TOO much.  And thankfully I don't get charged for unfills.  I'm just ready to level out so I don't have to deal with this crap.  :(

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I must have thrown away over $500

I was looking around for my Nexium to help me through the night with my reflux, and I went into the cabinet where I had all my supplements and diet aids from back when.  Hubby tonight was asking me when I was going to get rid of them, and I told him I would -- I just hadn't thought about it.  Well, the search for my Nexium got me started, and I pulled out all the expired and bad stuff.  There was a compilation of every type of diet aid, miracle pill, supplement, and potion you could imagine.  And usually more than one bottle of each one.  Of course all their dates were bad (but I wouldn't use them now anyway) so they went into the garbage.  It was kind of a release to know I don't have to be "that person" anymore, but at the same time it was SO disheartening to try to wrap my mind around how much that stuff represented in sheer dollar value.  Ugh, all the supplements and miracle pills I've bought over the years could probably have paid for my surgery.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I cheated...

I did a C25K practice on a day I was supposed to rest.  :)  I just can't see doing this only three times a week and progressing each week.  I'm back at school full time again, which means I'm back at the gym as of today.  I went ahead and did my practice on the treadmill, and wow, it sure seemed easier!  Granted, it's a flat surface, but having a tv right there to watch and read the subtitles on didn't hurt.  It actually helped keep my mind off what I was doing.

Today was a trip to the store, though, to get some glucosamine-chondroitin to help me with my aching knees.  That's the only thing that might mess me up.

And now about yesterday's fill...  I'm STILL pretty tight.  Drinking my protein shake was almost torture.  I was burping all through class as it seemed to drip-drip-drip from my stoma into my stomach.  It was misery.  My water went down a bit better, but wow... this is tight.  OH, and my reflux came back last night.  Nice.  About 5:30 this morning I was waking up coughing and sputtering.  Not large amounts of acid, but still...

So another bandster who is also a nurse recommended taking liquid ibuprofen for the swelling; and I think tonight I will take one of my antacids before going to bed.  The liquid Mylanta didn't do a damn thing for me last night.  :(

If there's a silver lining in all of this, it's that I'm not hungry again.  YAY!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 2, day 1 of Couch-to-5K

Well I can certainly feel the difference in the runs -- but I did it.  I kept up (at my pace, of course) and didn't stop running even when I thought I couldn't do it anymore.

This week's runs consist of a five-minute warm-up, followed by six 90-second runs, each followed by 2-minute brisk walks and a cool-down.

I wonder if I'll notice a difference when I do it on Wednesday at school on a treadmill, which will obviously be flat.  The areas I'm running aren't necessarily hilly, but they're not flat either.

I decided to check the cool-running site to see what is coming up and I'm doing a freak-out here.  I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but I just can't see being able to do this in nine weeks in the shape I'm in.  Here is how it's broken down:

Week 1

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Workout 3:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 2

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Workout 3:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 3

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following: 
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Workout 3:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Week 4

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Workout 3:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Week 5

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Workout 3:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

Week 6

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Workout 3:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 25 minutes) with no walking.

Week 7

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes)

Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes)

Workout 3:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes)

Week 8

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes)

Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes)

Workout 3:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes)

Week 9

Workout 1:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes)

Workout 2:  Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes)

Workout 3:  The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes)


Now I know why it felt like I could eat a Vespa

I went in for my fill today and was complaining that I had been hungry since my last fill on December 22.  My doc said we'd take care of that today.  Okay, great, but did I loosen up that much or is something going on?

He proceeded to tell me that he had some training recently in which it was said that it's best to fill based on gauging how the patient responds to the fill as opposed to literally knowing numbers.  As in how much is inside our band.  As in it's completely unknown.  The theory was taht to remove all the fluid and then refill the band again causes some pressure changes that can create problems.  Technically it sounds like it makes sense, but WTH??

So... when I went in on December 22 I was at 4.2, down from 5.2 a couple weeks prior when he removed some due to my reflux.  On the 22nd he said he put IN .4cc, which would bring me up to 4.6.  Apparently that wasn't the case.  When he removed what I had in my band today to see where I was at, I was at 4!!  As in DOWN .2cc from my last visit!!  Not cool.  Not only was I hungry all month (and had the weight gain to show for it), but I'm a self-pay since my insurance changed early last year -- which means that all this dawdling not only wastes weightloss time for me, but it costs me.  I think from now on, when I go in for a fill and say I'm at a comfortable spot, I'm going to make him re-check to see that we did what we actually think we did.

So today's fill was a full cc, bringing me up to 5cc... I think...  It's hard to know for sure anymore o_O.  Without a doubt, 5.2cc was a sweet spot for me, because I went for such a long time without hunger.  I think 5cc ought to do well by me without causing me the troubles it did at the end of last semester.  Now here's hoping giving me a full cc full doesn't cause me problems on the front end.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Doctors and teachers and fills, OH MY!

I am finally getting another fill in the morning, and none too soon.  You know you need a fill when the dog is lookin' good.

I don't know -- either I really loosened up after finals finished (and I got my .4cc fill) or he misjudged again and maybe took more out.  It's hard to tell.  However, I can say that going from NEVER being hungry for four months to feeling hunger again -- I no heart that.  Though not "starving," the hunger has really driven me crazy this month.  I'm not sure what he'll be doing tomorrow, but a fill is DEFINITELY in order.

And though it's hard to believe, classes start again on Tuesday.  Is it a bad sign when you talk to one of your new professors and, upon telling him you're taking 18 credit hours, he laughs at you?  o_O  Not quite sure how to take that, lol!  But yes, boys and girls, it's back to the grind.  Last semester I took 17 credit hours and got two A's and three B's (came thisclose to making the Dean's list again, but I only made a 3.42) -- but that was with only five classes.  This semester it's one extra credit hour, but it's SIX classes.  I think I'm certifiable.  No, no... I'm certain of it.  I'm one fry short of a Happy Meal.  WTH am I thinking?  Oh well...

Okay, so this means that as of Tuesday, my exercise starts back up in earnest.  Though I didn't exercise in the traditional sense during my time off, I was busy and active nearly every day, often logging more than my 2250 calories-exerted goal.  I can't believe how much stuff I got done during my break!  It makes it seem like way more than 33 days went by.  But it feels good and I feel like I accomplished something, especially considering in the "old days" I would have simply stayed online playing Mafia Wars and other video games all freakin' day while watching trash tv.  Instead, I got rooms cleaned, closets cleared and organized, stuff donated, flooring laid, trip taken to see the folks, and I'm sure some other stuff I missed.

The one good thing about having so many classes this semester is that I will be on campus four days a week.  Not that that in itself is good, but that's one extra gym day for me if I choose to work it like that -- Mondays I start at 10:30am, and I like to exercise before school, which means an early morning for me unless I exercise in the basement. 

Ideally I'd like to step up my exercise to five days a week.  Also for 2010 is my commitment to myself to start logging meals and really keeping track of what I'm doing rather than just "playing" at it.  When I was exercising my ass off, I wasn't seeing the scale budge.  Maybe the inches were improving, but I wasn't really keeping a good tab on that.  The result:  Upset and much swearing that the scale wasn't budging.

So for 2010, my plan is to enhance what I started in 2009, improve upon some things I let slack, and exercise a bit more -- especially in my "new" basement.  I really need to be accountable to myself and track what works and what doesn't, and make sure I'm recognizing all my progress -- which will mean not JUST focusing on the scale.

Here's to a new year and an improved me.  I want this year to be the year I do a 5K AND get to goal.  That's all I want.  Well, that and my mom and dad's new dog:


Saturday, January 16, 2010

When Your Self-Worth is Wrapped Around Your Weight (and 7 Ways to Unwrap It)

Oh wow, did this ever speak to me today!  My eating disorder therapist has been trying at times to help me figure out why I allow self-esteem to dictate my worth in life -- and obviously that self-esteem is wrapped very tightly with my weight at this stage in my life (though not always -- I was thin and very self-conscious too).

Does how you look make you feel unworthy of love, satisfying relationships, a good job or true happiness?

Most of us can list at least five things that would change for the “better” if we were trim and toned. For instance:
  1. I’d be happier
  2. I’d be prettier
  3. I’d be popular 
  4. I’d be more confident 
  5. I’d finally like myself
For most of my life, I wanted to look different, and that different included being thin. Even when I got there my sophomore year of college, I was so afraid of losing my almost stick-thin status that I restricted and then overate and tried to exercise not for health’s sake but because I wanted to shed more pounds. I’d wake up to a pitch-black morning, drag myself out of my warm bed, and run from my apartment to the one-room gym a few minutes away. I was miserable. And, not surprisingly, that lasted all of one week.

Yet, I was terrified of gaining weight, because that meant that I’d be back to wishing that I looked different and I’d be less attractive, less desirable and all the happiness I supposedly gained would go away. I had created a slew of positive assumptions about being thin, similar to the above. And I’d lose all that, I thought, as the pounds returned.

You see my physical appearance ruled how I felt about myself as a person, how confident I was and what I believed I deserved in relationships, among other things. My self-worth and my silhouette had become intertwined. And that self-worth was oh-so fickle, and my self-confidence conditional, based on others’ compliments and whether an attractive, thinner girl walked through the door.

Being thin meant I was happy with myself and my self-worth was A-OK for the most part. Gaining weight meant I was a failure and accomplishments like great grades were only briefly acknowledged. I’d feel proud but it did’t do much for creating a stable and positive self-worth. More accurately, my self-worth would easily bend and fold to the wind and shake like a leaf.

Does your’s shake violently with the changing tide of your weight? Does it shudder slightly as you step off the scale, hear a negative remark, see an image in a magazine? When your self-worth is dependent mostly or solely on your shape, it can be stressful and upsetting. It can bring on a variety of negative emotions and affect other parts of your life.

But you can work on your self-worth, whether it’s constantly changing its stripes or has been hardened to the bone with your appearance and self-worth as one entity.

Improving Your Self-Worth

There’s no quick-fix for a broken self-image, for self-worth that feels like it’s plummeted. But you can take small steps to improve your self-worth. Things that take time to change are usually more meaningful, anyway.

1. Unshackle your self from your body. So if your self-worth and weight are shackled to each other (sorta like you might be shackled to your scale), release yourself from these bonds. Even if you don’t feel fabulous about your body (here are some tips that may help), there’s no reason you shouldn’t recognize your non-physical attributes and accomplishments.

What do you love most about your character, personality and principles? Are you generous, smart, witty, sweet, thoughtful? Are you a friend that everyone can count on? Do you volunteer? What about yourself makes you happy?

If you’re still iffy or need a jump-start, create a daily credit list. Write down about five things you’ve done today that you can give yourself credit for. Then think about how these actions relate to the type of person you are.

2. Consider the root of your connection. When was it that you started connecting your self-worth to how you look, your weight, your size, your shape? Was it a snarky remark at school? Something a relative said? A particular message in the media? What made you think that your self-worth is shaped by external factors, by some socially constructed image?

It might help you to pinpoint this moment and then figure out how to move on. Seeing your self-worth and shape as one is deeply ingrained within our society, so it might not be easy as pie to separate the two. But finding that moment when the link was made can help you in breaking it.

3. What makes you unique? It’s a tough question but it’s worth some reflection! As I write this, I’m racking my brain trying to think of what makes me unique. So no worries; you don’t have to think about it right away, but do give it some thought. Each of us is different and special in our own way (sounds too kum-ba-ya-ish? well, it’s true!). No two people are alike. Even twins have different personalities, ideas, senses of style.

4. What is your purpose? Derive your self-worth from doing good, from inspiring someone, from living your dreams, not from your clothing size or the number on the scale. Sure, it’s easy to say that. But once you realize what your goals are and what you’d like to accomplish, you’ll start to focus more on this and less on your thighs. Not sure of your purpose? Try these exercises to boost your brainstorming process. According to one self-esteem researcher:
“We really think that if people could adopt goals not focused on their own self-esteem but on something larger than their self–such as what they can create or contribute to others–than they would be less susceptible” to some of the negative effects of pursuing self-esteem, Crocker says. “It’s about having a goal that is bigger than the self.”
What can you create? What can you contribute to the world?

5. Fake it. Live tomorrow or the next day like you’re a highly confident person, a person whose self-worth is stable and, in fact, soaring. How does it feel? Were you in a better mood? Were you nicer, happier, less anxious? Were you able to accomplish more? Now, consider why that self-confidence, that soaring self-worth can’t become a reality. What’s standing in your way?

6. Work on your self-acceptance. Become more accepting of yourself, your qualities, your mistakes. Build your self-acceptance by being more compassionate toward yourself and focusing on the positives versus the negatives, suggests psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D.

7. Give yourself the power. It’s been said over and over again, but I love this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” For starters, try not to let others dictate your self-worth. Someone say something negative to you? Before just accepting it, consider whether it’s genuine constructive criticism or an offhand remark? Don’t automatically assume that anyone is an expert on you.

Another way to give yourself the power is with self-care and a healthy lifestyle. When you take care of yourself, you start feeling good every day or most days. You feel in control of your life and have a better idea of what you need. You’re able to think more clearly.

It wasn’t till a few years ago that I discovered and started appreciating the amazing benefits of working out, eating healthfully, getting enough sleep and taking good care of myself. I started feeling strong and powerful. My mood lifted, and I was able to view my self-worth more clearly. Sure, cultivating a genuinely positive and stable self-worth may seem like a struggle at times but it’s a worthwhile one and you’ll get there!

Is your self-worth dependent on how you look? What has been helpful for you in building a more positive, and less fickle, self-worth? How have you become more accepting of yourself?

Podcast info

For those who might also be interested in the Couch-to-5K program, there are some individuals out there who have created some cool podcasts to help ease you into it.  They have you doing intervals of walking and running, steadily increasing the runs each week until it blends together.

I've just started week one of Robert Ullrey's podcasts, but when I went to go look it up to share the link here, I found another that might help shake it up a bit if one gets to be a bit too boring.  Ullrey's is pretty techno; but so far the other one -- DJ Beatsmith -- sounds a bit retro.  I guess it's all about what you want to listen to.  Beatsmith's, though, has two to three separate mixes for some of the upper weeks, so I guess you can mix it up a bit.

I originally thought the Ullrey set was designed to get you to 5K in 12 weeks, but somehow I got the information wrong -- it's actually nine weeks!  I'm just going to see how each week goes before I determine if I can really do this in nine weeks, especially since I am still over 200 pounds.  The first 5K I was looking at wasn't until April 18 (with the second in early May), so I have some time to extend some weeks if they don't go too well where I don't feel comfortable or I feel like I'm just hanging on by the skin of my teeth.  It's hard to believe that only doing this three times a week for nine weeks (27 times total) is going to be enough for me to "get there."  I may surprise myself, but at least I have some wiggle room.

For those who may be interested, here are the links to the two podcasts:



The second one also has podcasts for 8K and 10K runs as well, if anyone is so inclined.  ;)

Additionally, there is a link to Cool Running who is behind the Couch-to-5K program.  You can also follow them on Facebook:


Friday, January 15, 2010

Week 1 of Cto5K DONE!

That's all.  :)

Next week it's three days that consist of six 90-second runs instead of eight 60-second runs, with two-minute rests (well, fast walks, if that's resting) in between.  I'll begin this on Monday.  WOOT!

10 Easy Portion Control Tricks

I know for many of us, this may not be an issue. However, when I'm at my sweet spot, I don't really get that full sensation (nor a hungry one) -- so I really have to rely on keeping to my portions.

Portion control is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet. Here are 10 easy ways to limit what you eat.

When most of us sit down to eat, the last thing we want to think about is portion control. But for anyone on a diet or just looking to maintain their current figure, that’s exactly what they should be doing.

Gone are the days of eating a bagel or muffin and feeling safe about its calories. In fact, researchers measured typical servings from takeout restaurants, fast food chains, and family-style eateries and found that bagels were 195 percent larger than the standard set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), muffins were 333 percent bigger and cooked pasta exceeded the standard by 480 percent. Scariest of all were cookies, which were a whopping seven times the USDA recommended serving size.

Portion Control and Diet: How It Works

The first step in successful portion control is learning the correct serving size — the amount of food recommended by government agencies, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services, and the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. The serving size can usually be found by reading nutritional labels. But the portion is the amount of food or drink a person chooses to consume. In many cases, the portion eaten is larger than the serving size simply because we don’t know any better.

“Portion control is limiting what you eat,” says Mary M. Flynn, RD, PhD, chief research dietitian and assistant professor of medicine at the Miriam Hospital and Brown University in Providence, R.I. “It is being aware of how much food you are actually eating and what calories are in that serving.”

Portion Control and Diet: 10 Easy Tips for Smaller Servings

The good news is that with a little practice, portion control is easy to do and can help people be successful in reaching and then maintaining a proper weight.

Here are 10 simple ways to keep your portions a healthy size:

1. Measure accurately. For foods and beverages, use gadgets like a measuring cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, or food scale.

2. Learn how to estimate serving sizes. “‘Ballpark’ food portion sizes by estimating serving sizes in comparison to known objects,” says Rose Clifford, RD, clinical dietitian in the department of pharmacy services at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. “For example, three ounces of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards.” Other easy measurements to eyeball include: 
  • ½ cup is the size of an ice cream scoop
  • 1 cup is the size of a tennis ball
  • 1 ounce of cheese is the size of a domino  
3. Use portion control dishware. Pick out smaller plates, bowls, cups, and glassware in your kitchen and measure what they hold. You might find that a bowl you thought held 8 ounces of soup actually holds 16, meaning you’ve been eating twice what you planned.

4. Dish out your servings separately. Serve food from the stove onto plates rather than family-style at the table, which encourages seconds.

5. Make your own single-serving packs. “Re-portion bulk quantities of favorite foods such as pasta, rice, and cereal into individual portions in zipper bags so that when you’re in the mood for some food you’ll instantly see the number of portions you’re preparing,” says Jennifer Nasser, RD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

6. Add the milk before the coffee. When possible, put your (fat-free) milk into the cup before adding the hot beverage to better gauge the amount used.

7. Measure oil carefully. This is especially important because oil (even the healthful kinds like olive and safflower) have so many calories; don’t pour it directly into your cooking pan or over food.

8. Control portions when eating out. Eat half or share the meal with a friend. If eating a salad, ask for dressing on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad.

9. Add vegetables. Eat a cup of low-calorie vegetable soup prior to eating a meal, or add vegetables to casseroles and sandwiches to add volume without a lot of calories.

10. Listen to your hunger cues. Eat when hungry and stop when satisfied or comfortably full. “Try to gauge when you are 80 percent full and stop there,” says Clifford. “There will be more food at the next meal or snack!”


Do You Know Your Active Metabolic Rate?

The number of calories you burn in a day is known as your active metabolic rate (AMR). Rates vary from person to person, so it is cruical that you take the time to figure yours out — if you don't, you run the risk of consuming too many calories or even consuming too few.

A part of determining how many calories you burn in a day, you need to know is your physical activity level. Determine which one of these descriptions best fits your day-to-day routine, then give yourself the appropriate score.

a. Sedentary Physical Activity Level
Do you have a desk job or do some other kind of work that keeps you in your chair for most of the day? If the answer is yes, your score is 1.1.

b. Light Physical Activity Level
Are you on your feet and walking around for at least half the day? Stay-at-home moms, salespeople, and doctors fall into this category. If this is you, your score is 1.2.

c. Moderate Physical Activity Level
If you're on the move pretty much all day, with a few limited periods of being sedentary, this is the level for you. People in this category include gardeners, carpenters, and mail carriers. If you're in this category, your score is 1.3.

d. High Physical Activity Level
Does your job require being constantly on the move, and does it entail significant amounts of manual labor? Construction workers, farm workers, and movers are among those who land in this category. If you're in this group, your score is 1.4.

Another element you need to calculate your AMR is the number of calories you burn from exercise on an average day. The number of calories you burn during any exercise session depends on a few things, primarily your body weight.

Use this chart to help you determine the number of calories you burn from exercise on an average day according to your weight, the type of exercise you do, and its duration. You can also use a heart rate monitor to get an accurate number. Write the number down.

Now comes the math. If you don't know your BMR, it's influenced by a number of factors, including age, weight, height, gender, environmental temperature, and diet and exercise habits. Because of these varying factors, it's hard to pin down your BMR to the precise calorie, but we can get pretty close. Here are some formulas for figuring out your BMR. Get out your calculator and plug your numbers into whichever formula applies to you.

MALE: 66 + (6.3 × body weight in pounds) + (12.9 × height in inches) − (6.8 × age in years)

FEMALE: 655 + (4.3 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) − (4.7 × age in years)

Now you have all three numbers: your BMR, daily activity score, and exercise expenditure. Simply multiply your BMR by your daily activity score, and then add your exercise expenditure. Whatever you get from this final calculation is your magic number.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Couch to 5K, week 1 day 2

Okay, well I did it again.  This one took a bit more on my part because I was in a total slacker mode all day.  I'm visiting the folks for the week, and mom and I had jammie day all day.  It was so bad we even took a nap around 2:00 or so, and I didn't get up until nearly 4:30.  My mom asked if I was going to go do my routine, and I started to say no... but I thought about it.  It only takes 30 minutes if that's all I do, and I wouldn't be running into nightfall yet.  I immediately put on my shoes and went out the door.

So... week 1, day 2 is done.  AND I added more and did a 50-minute routine.  Friday I will finish off the end of my first week!  :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week 1, day 1 of the Couch to 5K

I finally started, and I did pretty good considering I haven't really "worked out" in the month I've been off from school.  I'm visiting the folks and brought my MP3 player that has the podcasts on it and decided today I was starting.  Granted, it's only 30 minutes long, but I did additional walking and got in just over an hour total.

Anyway, I wanted to start logging this to keep myself motivated (and accountable) for my 5K later this year.

Overcoming Mental Blocks to Weight Loss

This was in my inbox at the perfect time.

Your mind can play tricks on you, but it can also play a role in your ultimate diet success. Here's how to beat the mental obstacles that can keep you from losing weight.

By Diana Rodriguez
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Sometimes being on a diet just seems overwhelming. You might feel as though you don't have the heart to stay in the weight-loss fight. Well, it's not always your heart that keeps you from diet success — sometimes it's all in your head.

Weight Loss: Think Before You Eat

One of the main reasons that diets fail is because people approach weight loss the wrong way. "Targeting that diet mentality is really the key," says Martin Binks, PhD, director of behavioral health research at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center and assistant professor at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "If I had to pick one thing I could fix to stop diets from failing, it would be all-or-nothing thinking and all-or-nothing acting."

Binks works to get individuals to set small, realistic goals instead of big, sweeping ones. "If you went into every situation without thinking it's all or nothing, you're much more likely to moderate what you eat," he explains. "Start thinking about the hundreds and hundreds of mini-decisions we make in a day."

Small decisions and exchanges — like eating only half of a cookie instead of a whole one or adding a few short, quick walks to your overall exercise program — are what ultimate lead to weight loss. "If I could get people to think a little differently day to day, it would make a huge difference," he says.

Weight Loss: Overcoming Mental Obstacles

Another mental obstacle dieters face is giving up on themselves, says Anne Wolf, RD, a registered dietitian and researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. "They don't believe they really can do it," says Wolf. "But once they see that other people have lost weight, they realize, 'I can do that, too.'"

She also sees individuals begin a weight-loss plan out of anger or take a "no pain, no gain" mentality when it comes to weight loss. "Anger is not [the same as] a commitment," notes Wolf. "If you can stay on a program that causes no pain and you gradually lose weight over the year, that's great."

Weight Loss: Finding a Healthy Mindset

"I tried to lose weight twice before I made the permanent lifestyle changes necessary to accomplish my goals," says John from Fairfax, Va. When he made the decision to get serious about weight loss, it was because he realized that not only was his weight unhealthy, but so was the way he thought about his weight and his health.

"I remember going shopping for bigger pants again, and sitting in the store and looking at the 44W rack, thinking I could probably save money if I just got the 46W and grew into them — talk about surreal," says John.

That moment made him realize that his thought process had to change and led to a 70-pound weight loss. "Luckily, I had a moment of clarity and realized how self-destructive my logic was," says John.

The trigger that makes you realize you don't lose weight through a diet, but through a lifestyle change, is different for everyone. Drastic dieting can be a vicious cycle that leaves people angry, depressed, frustrated, and finally just giving up. But if you learn a healthy way to approach weight loss, both mentally and physically, you can ultimately find success.


Getting back on track for 2010

Well, I will start off by saying somthing good and something bad about 2009 in relation to my weight loss.  The good is that I am down between 65 and 68 pounds (depending on the day you catch me on).  The bad news is I am only down between 65 and 68 pounds (depending on the day you catch me on).  Don't get me wrong, I'm not upset to be down that much weight; it's just that the bulk of the weight was lost from the date of surgery until early in 2009.  After that, it bobbled, zig-zagged, stalled, and just did all sorts of weird crap for months on end.  Some of it was self-inflicted.  Much of it was not.  ALL of it was totally frustrating, especially at the end of the year where I was working out three days a week, often 1 1/2 to as many as 3 hours each session -- and the scale. didn't. budge.

It's a combination of needing to just do what needs to be done and not focus on the scale so much, but it's so hard because it's what we do -- those of us who have dieted and gained weight over and over and over again.  It's hard not to get discouraged when you're busting your ass at the gym and you don't realize the results you want which shows you, "Yeah, you busted your ass this month.  Here's a 10-pound weight loss."

I need to focus on the positive this year and not focus on the negative.  I need to remember that if I keep doing the right things, the right things will happen.  Though stuff isn't in place yet, the flooring is laid in the basement, so I can do some of the stuff down there that I want to do now.  Not only that, I am taking 18 credit hours this semester, which will have me on campus four days a week now instead of three.  That gives me one more day in the gym.  I also still plan on doing a 5k this spring.  There's one in April and another in May.  If I do each weekly podcast over two weeks, the original 9 week program would take me 18 weeks, which would take me to May.  There may also be others I haven't found yet that would be around that time or June-ish to give me a bit more time.

This year must be the year of focusing on the positive aspects of this journey and not focusing on where I screwed up or why the scale isn't saying what I want it to.  I need to be happy with what's gone and now focus on small victories and quit looking at the big elephant.  It's all about eating it bite by bite, right?  :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

6 Steps to Making New Year’s Resolutions That Work

Again, we all know what we are doing is not a "diet," but we also know we can cheat and do things that thwart our progress.  I thought this had some good suggestions:

It’s that time of year again when people plan to attend a New Year’s Eve party with friends and family, and then resolve to do something better or different next year.

It’s also the time of the year many people make resolutions that are bound to fail.

But they don’t have to. People sometimes make resolutions that will be impossible to keep. Making realistic, simple resolutions can lead to a greater chance of success in the upcoming year.

According to previous research, we know that nearly 40 percent of people set the goal of starting to exercise, while 13 percent want to eat better. Nearly 7 percent say they want to reduce their consumption of alcohol, drugs, caffeine or to quit smoking. These are all reasonable goals. So how does a person find success with them?

1. Be realistic in your goals.

Choose one goal, then break it down into smaller, more manageable bits. For example, if you want to save $1,000, think about it in terms of saving $20 per paycheck. That makes your goal less intimidating. Every time you save some money, praise yourself. Rewarding yourself for every positive step will help you have the confidence you need to hang in there.

2. Start with a plan and stick to it

Studies show that people who make impulsive resolutions are less likely to stick to them. Think about what is most important to you and create strategies to deal with the problems and setbacks that will come up as you move towards your goal. Tracking your progress will help as well; the more you monitor and praise yourself, the more likely you are to succeed.

3. Team up with a friend or loved one

Make a list of your goals and share them with a friend or loved one. You are now accountable to two people: yourself and the other person. You will also get a sense of satisfaction from helping your friend accomplish his or her goals, too. Such an informal pact can help hold your feet to the fire when you feel discouraged or want to give up — they can offer you some encouragement and support (and you can do likewise).

4. Look at the bright side and allow yourself mistakes

Focusing on the positive side of things will give you more energy and enthusiasm to pursue your goals. People who believe that they can succeed are more likely to do so. For example, praise yourself for losing five pounds, but don’t punish yourself for gaining one back. You will reach your goal more easily if you accentuate the positive. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t accomplish the small goals you set for yourself, or if one day you “fall off the wagon” or mess up. Remind yourself that every day is a new day and an opportunity to try again.

5. Think of resolutions as opportunities to try new things

Resolutions are a time of the year not only to try and “fix” the problems in your life, but also to try out a new way of being, a new activity or hobby, or a new attitude. Resolutions should not seem like punishments; if you try to make them fun, you will be more likely to stick with them. If your goal is to be healthier, try going for a 10-minute walk before work and enjoying your neighborhood. Think of January first as a chance to adopt a healthier lifestyle, not as the start of a period of denial

6. Try, try again

If you don’t succeed at first, don’t be discouraged. Not many people are able to reach their goals on the first try. Try again! There’s no shame in not succeeding on our first try and although it may be a little discouraging, it doesn’t have to be an excuse to stop.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Another New Year is here

Well, I'm down about 68ish pounds (depending on when I weigh in), and that's good.  However, I'm not quite halfway to where I wanted to be.

This is the year to get to goal -- or at least within a healthy reach of goal.

My basement should get done, I'll be going to classes four days a week (which means the GYM four days a week), and I got my new toy, and I'm determined to run a 5K this year... so it's time to ramp it up a notch.

Here's to seeing my new self and all my friends on the other side.