Saturday, January 26, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, I was...
 Afraid to step on the scale.
Afraid to fail...again.
Contemplating whether I was truly ready to lose weight.
Wondering how my life would be if I didn't lose weight.
Dreaming of how awesome my life would be if I DID lose weight.
Determined to get my life back.

Fear. Contemplation. Wonder. Dreaming. Determination.

So I stepped on the scale.  I stepped on the elliptical.  I started a blog.

One year later, I am...
Not so focused on the scale.
Not afraid of failure.
In awe of what my body is able to do.
Refusing to say "I can't do it."
Willing to try.
Not making excuses.
I've had the chance to go back and read some of my entries over the last year.  Some of them are actually cringe worthy.  Did I actually share that?  Yes, I did.  I'm glad I did.  I needed this outlet in order to remain accountable for my actions and heal, and I've learned to love myself again.  Sure, it's drastic, but it worked for me. 
So, to commemorate my one year anniversary of my new life,  I've decided to share even more.  First up... I did a comparison of what I used to eat (on a bad day) and what I eat now.  I also did some rough calorie counting, and I'm was completely astounded.

I did not include dinner since it was pretty healthy and eaten in front of my family, so it was sensible. Still, the damage had been done.  Adding a 500 calorie dinner would put me in the 4,000 calorie range.  One pound = 3,500 calories.  Weighing 360 pounds, my metabolism was burning approximately 2,780 calories a day by doing absolutely nothing.  So, you can easily see how quickly I gained weight.  I was eating an extra 1,400 calories a day.

Quite a difference a year makes.  My approach to eating and nutrition has changed.  Food is not my crutch.  It's fuel.  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy eating yummy things.  I truly believe you should eat and enjoy the things you like...just in moderation.  I still eat vanilla wafers.  Now, I just eat one serving versus 1/2 a box.

Let's do another comparison.  I want to thank my sister for creating this for me.  Sometimes, you just need a visual comparison.
This is hard for me to look at because I see two totally different women.  One is smiling on the outside and miserable on the inside.  The other is fierce and determined.  On one, the eyes seem dead to me.  The other, the eyes seem vibrant... ALIVE. 
I've experienced such a physical transformation that hard to describe, but I see it in the mirror everyday.  It's a great feeling to see a good portion of my body melt away.  However, I do feel my spiritual/mental transformation far outweighs anything that's changed physically.  My mind is clear. I'm focused.  I feel more confident.  I'm genuinely happy.  Not fake happy with a cheesy grin and vacant eyes.  I'm happy where you can see it in my face, hear it in my voice, and see it in my actions.  I'm ALIVE.
I'm running.  I'm jumping.  I'm joyful. I'm travelling (I've been to 2 different states and a foreign country in the last two months).  I'm lifting.  I'm learning.  I'm laughing.  I'm loving.  I'm living.  I'm ALIVE.
Thank you.  Thank. You.  All of you.  You've been my inspiration.  You encourage and you don't judge.  You say I inspire you... But you also INSPIRE me.  I want to succeed not only for me, but for you too.  I want people to know that it CAN be done.  

I spent the last 12 months learning so much and doing so much, and I accomplished a great deal.  I met not only one weight loss goal..but TWO.  I now have some new goals for 2013.
  • Gain muscle.  Lots of muscle.  I'm not one of those women that run from weights.  I run to them.  Cardio will help you lose body fat.  That's true. Weights will give you the body shape you crave. 
  • Run 1/2 marathon. That's right. 13.2 miles on May 19th. I start training in Feb. I'll keep you posted.  I recently took a fitness assessment at work and was pleased with the results. We will do another comparison after the training is complete to see how I've improved.
  • Get rid of my diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol medications.
  • Lose these last 60 pounds.
I did place these goals in order of importance to me, and you do see that weight loss is last.  That blasted scale.  I will always weight myself each week, but I'm not going to let the numbers not moving bother me.  I was able to travel over these last few weeks, not track my food every day, eat sensibly, enjoy some treats, NOT WORK OUT FOR FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT, and I didn't gain an ounce.  I did gain some perspective and realize that I can do this without being so regimented and strict. 

So I propose a toast... Here's to 2013.  The Year of NO EXCUSES.  It can be done.  It will be done. 
I Am living my life to the fullest.  You can too.  No excuses.  Let's go it together.

New pics are available on the weight loss photo album and my photo album pages!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A True Test

Hey Readers!  It seems I've started a Healthy Life Revolution.  For those of you that don't follow me on Facebook, I've started a Facebook group for those of us looking for some inspiration/support in their healthy life style.  If you are interested, please leave a message on this blog entry, and I'll add you.  It's a great community of people who are really focused on making positive changes in their lives, and we all are very supportive and encouraging... No judgement allowed.  So, please join us.  We'd love to have you.  The more, the merrier.

I'm just getting back from Niagara Falls, Canada, and I had a wonderful time.  I was even able to get in some really good workouts while I was away.  The hotel fitness center was amazing, and I had my best run to date.  4.4 miles in 60 minutes.  My friend and I also walked over three miles on Saturday and Sunday.  So, I walked/ran over 10 miles in a two day period.  Plus, add the elliptical I did this morning before we left.  I'd say I had great workouts during a weekend getaway.

Before I left on Saturday, I did my regular routine.  Saturday is weigh in day, and I rolled out of bed feeling pretty optimistic.  I had an amazing week.  I really turned on the afterburners this week.  I'm so focused on improving my muscle conditioning and overall coordination. I had my best Metabolic Conditioning class where I did the following:
  • 72 squats
  • 66 hand release push ups
  • 48 walking lunges
  • 48 burpees
  • 10 swings with a 70 lb kettlebell
Yep, a 70 pound kettlebell. I couldn't believe either.  I followed that up on Wednesday with my new level two Kettlebell class. I did a lot of work with the 50 pound kettlebell - squats, walking figure 8's, jump swings, and two-handed swings.  Let me tell you... I was killing it, and feeling great.  This was by far the best workout week I've ever had.  I really felt like I made a breakthrough, and my body is ready for more challenging exercises.

So back to Saturday morning.  Weigh in time!  And guess what I saw... Absolutely nothing.
So, this was my shocked face?
NOPE.  Not even. 
Now, I'll admit a month ago, I would have been devastated that I put in all that hard work, and had absolutely nothing to show for it.  I've even has posts before where I struggled getting my brain to understand that the scale is NOT the ultimate measure.  It's easier said that done.  We are trained as a nation to LIVE AND DIE by what that number says.  I even track my weight on a weekly basis and have it available for the whole world to see.  But on Saturday, all I did was shrug, put on my workout clothes, and continued with my routine... this time it was Kettlebells and 47 minutes of Zumba.
Why the change?  Well, even if the scale didn't move, my belt did.  My stomach did.  My arms did.  I know I'm gaining muscle because I can see it in the mirror.  There are some amazing changes happening inside of me - I'm trading fat for lean muscle.  I weigh the same, but I sure don't look the same.  It's amazing when you can physically see a difference in yourself...and the scale didn't move a tenth of a pound.
So, what's the lesson here?  It's a true test of mental strength and determination.  Many people become discouraged when the scale stops moving.  They, in turn, stop moving as well.  Give up.  I feel completely different.  This is my TEST.  Will I give up or keep moving, keep swinging those kettlebells, keep running faster and longer?  I'm not giving up.  I feel more inspired, confident, and determined than ever.  I won't let the scale rule me.  I RULE THE SCALE.
To all my followers and Keep Calm Facebookers, We B. Doin It!  We will do this together! 
Lastly, there won't be an update this weekend, but look for a very interesting post on 1/26/2013...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

So Now What?

Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a happy safe New Year.  I had a great time enjoying some great food.  I didn't feel guilty either.  I realize that I've come a long way from almost a year ago where I was sometimes afraid to eat anything that may have a larger calorie content.  I was concerned that anything that feel in that category would send me spiraling back to gaining weight, being unhealthy, and living a miserable life.  Now, I fully understand that food can be enjoyable, but when it's all said and done, food is fuel.  And that fuel must be used.  Check out my dress!  It was pretty cool dressing up and going out.  I hope I have more opportunities for dressing up in the future.

Now that 2013 is here, I've been quite pensive.  I have lots on my mind.  I also know that my official one year anniversary is only two weeks away, and that is weighting on me too - but not in a negative way.  Just being thoughtful about how far I've come, and what I still have yet to do.
The truth of the matter is that these last 60 will take me the entire year if not longer to remove.  As I become smaller, the weight gets harder to lose.  I wasn't expecting the rapid weight loss I experienced this year, but as you know, the weight has started to come off slower in the last three to four months, and honestly, that may be a blessing.  It's giving my body... and my psyche... time to adjust to this change.  It's hard reconciling that the lady in the mirror is me sometimes.  I hope no one things I'm vain because sometimesI really do just stare at myself sometimes.  It's still miraculous to me.

So, now what?  What will I do knowing these last 60 pounds will probably be really stubborn?  I going to change up my routine.  I have a 10K coming up in May so I'm going to take some personal training lessons starting in February.  I hope to continue with the Kettlebells at work and at home.  I hope to focus on strength training to gain endurance.  I have to keep it fresh and keep my body guessing.  That's how I keep my metabolism running at full speed.

Something else happened this week as well.  I had a very interesting conversation with my parents on New Year's Day.  I was dressed and ready to work out so I was just shooting the breeze with my folks.  My dad was talking about my success so far, and my mom said to me, "I understand the huge changes you've gone through to get where you are.  But, have you considered how your weight struggled affected me and your dad?"  I looked at her kind of confused.  I didn't know what she meant by that.  This was my journey (which was quite a selfish thought now that I think about it).   How did my being large impact her?

They both stated several things to me that was enlightening and horrifying at the same time... my weight struggle for the parent's point of view.
  • Watching your daughter struggle with her weight all her life and wondering what did I do to cause her to be this way.
  • Knowing that they couldn't have done anything to cause any trauma yet the had not idea how to help me.
  • Watching me lose weight and then gain it back quickly - know that I had to be getting food somewhere since the meals served at home weren't unhealthy.
  • Knowing that I'm binging right in front of their nose and not knowing what to do.
  • Considering staging an intervention to get help and knowing that I would be resentful for it.
  • Lastly, knowing that at some point in my life, they will be my caretakers because I will be too unhealthy to move. 
  • Coming to grips with the fact that their youngest child may die before they do.
Wow!  I always thought about what my weight did to me.  I never considered what it did to my loved ones.  I also realize that with any addiction, it was completely selfish.  I was completely selfish.  I could have cared less what my eating was doing to others.  I thought I was so smooth sneaking food into the house and eating where no one could see... But HELLO!  You don't gain 100+ pounds back by eating air.

I apologized to them.  I really felt wretched.  It was also another healing moment for me and my family.  My parents are very happy and proud.  They are smiling because I'm smiling.  It's just makes me realize I'll never go back.  I can't.   It's not just about me anymore. 

So, that was quite a lesson I learned.  I'm glad it happened.  It's amazing the perspective you gain when you actually LISTEN instead of talking. 

Special Note: Not quite sure how to work in my song for this week.  So, just check out Carry Out.  It's FIERCE!

Also, I posted my own personal thoughts on the Biggest Loser reality show.  Take a gander if you wish. 

Lastly, my post next week will be delayed due to a weekend getaway. I'll fill you in when I return next Monday or Tuesday.

My Feelings on the Biggest Loser

A new season of the biggest loser is starting, and I guess some would believe that I'd be very excited about it. I mean this is a show about folks losing extreme amounts of weight under extreme measures, and we as the TV viewing public get to watch it. Those transformations are pretty amazing when you think about it.

I remember watching a season several years ago. This was right after I had gained all my weight back after the Low Carb debacle. So I watched the season, and it was inspiring? I don't know. If anything, I got feelings of extreme jealously. I mean... why couldn't that be me? Could I be on the show? Could they help me? At the time, if I'd had been on that show, I probably would have been the largest female contestant in the show's history.

It was also disheartening and disgusting. Watching people workout to the point of vomiting. Crying. Snorting and spitting. Watching challenges where they tempt you with donuts, chips, cakes, and loads of other garbage. I remember seeing one of these challenges and thinking, why are they doing this? Would a group therapy session tempt an alcoholic with a room full of alcohol. Or tempt a drug addict with a room full of cocaine? That's the hardest thing about food addiction. You don't have to drink alcohol or take drugs for your body to sustain itself, but you have to eat food. You can't quit food cold turkey. So, why the temptation if the show is meant to teach and learn.

I thought it was embarrassing and degrading. We get to watch these people who are struggling to lose weight be tempted by a challenge with all of these foods that some of them started to binging on. I can't really remember what the challenge was about, but I do remember how I felt watching it. I felt like shit afterwards. It was like watching myself in one of my binging episodes. Not inspiring. Not motivating.

I also saw some contestants tanking up lots of water who were immune for getting kicked off so they were guaranteed to lose the largest percentage at the next weigh in. Sounds like gamesmanship... not learning how to live again. I guess the money was most important - and not the weight loss? I don't know.

Lastly, are these results realistic? Has there really been a where are they know Biggest Loser show? We always hear about the successes and love connections...the happy stuff. But, I wonder if all those contestants keep the weight off and used their learning from the show to truly transform their life once they returned to reality. Living on BL ranch on a 1,200 calorie working out 6 hours a day isn't reality. We have jobs, families, and responsibilities. You can't work out 6 hours a day and pay your mortgage and take care of your family (unless you are really fortunate). So what happened to those folks? Why don't we hear about them?

The hardest thing about weight loss isn't losing it... it's keeping it off. And most likely, a lot of the contestants gained the weight back. I know. I've done it myself. And, that's my biggest concern right now, keeping my weight loss off. I realize that I will have to track my calories for the rest of my life. I realize I will always work out in some fashion. It won't have to be as hard as I am not since I'm in weight loss mode. Maintenance mode exercise isn't as hardcore, but it must be done.
So, is BL inspiring for me? No. Quite the opposite actually. Coming from my personal experiences, any drastic weight loss plan isn't sustainable for most of us, which is why you don't see BL parading the large number of previous contestants to show all of their success. It's a TV show meant to create drama for our own entertainment. I guess I just don't find it entertaining.