Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The holidays truly are tough on weightloss

Almost 2 months ago, my Weight Watchers leader Alyce gave us all post cards and told us to write a goal of where we'd be at on the 1st week of January. At the time, this was 10 weeks away. She told us that holiday time was challenging, and that setting a short term goal was helpful. She said we could make them non-weight goals too, such as exercising more or eating more veggies. Or even to not lose anything, or even gain 2lbs!

At the time I was thinking to myself: "what? How can people choose a goal of not losing anything..." ever the goal oriented person, and being in a good momentum in my weight loss, I chose to lose 1.5lbs a week over those next 10 weeks. That put my goal at 172lbs in Jan wk1. It seemed achievable considering my rate of weight loss had been averaging about 2lbs a week through that time.

Unsurprisingly, my weight loss speed slowed down a bit: I'm lighter now. My body is more efficient and doesn't burn as many calories as it used to just to move around. It's also been getting colder and the carbs just call to me, especially at night! It took me a while to get through the 180s. My sister came for Thanksgiving and I ended up eating a lot.

Then I got back on track and had a good 2 weeks of substantial losses (-1.8 2 weeks ago, -2.4 last week). For once I thought, maybe it will be possible to get to that 172 by january week 1... After all, that's just 4.6lbs away. Then my dad came to visit, we ate out most of last weekend, and I didn't exercise as much. I also had a holiday party at work where I ate a loosely estimated 33 PointsPlus! (could have been more)

Conveniently, I skipped my daily weigh in this past weekend: Monday morning I was up 3.5lbs! Say it isn't so, Wii fit plus! So now I'm not so worried about my goal anymore. I'm worried about going to my weigh in tomorrow and not showing a gain! I haven't had a gain on the weekly WW weigh ins yet, and I really don't want this to be the first time.

It's probably fluid, my friend says... I hope she's right, although I always weigh in 1st thing in the morning, after going to the bathroom, so maybe not.

Since monday, I went down 2.2lbs, and I'm hoping to shed the remaining 1.3 today and tomorrow. If it shows flat when I go tomorrow evening, I will consider it a holiday victory! :)

The challenge: I'm taking my kids and my dad to an indoor water park resort today and we'll be returning tomorrow. This means we're basically going to be eating the next 4 meals out, maybe more.
I also won't be exercising, so let's hope the hot waters of the hot tub help me melt away a little fat.

If not, there's always next week!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 176.6lbs
Pounds lost: 45.4lbs 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Over the half-point!

Yesterday at my weigh in, the lucky scale in the back of the WW center finally stopped wiggling up and down at the number of 179. This means I'm over the half point between 222 and 137. This feels like a great accomplishment, as now I have less to lose than I've already lost! I celebrated by going to PiYo afterwards and working my butt off  (literally! LOL). Lesson of the night, if you don't want other people to see your beige sports bra, don't wear a loose shirt to PiYo! (That shirt used to be tight on me, by the way...)

I put an updated pic in my picture page.

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 179lbs
Pounds lost: 43lbs

Monday, December 6, 2010

Size 12, Hello 170s!

Today is kind of a special day for me in this weight loss journey because I am currenlty wearing a pair of size 12 jeans that fit me without being too tight! On top of that, my scale graced me with a 179.8 this morning. This made me feel happy and hopeful that I won't be seeing the 180s again. These most recently lost 10lbs were a bit stubborn, and took a bit longer to burn through. Hopefully they'll let go completely and the 170s won't be as stubborn.

I've been doing the new PointsPlus plan for a week now, and It's been a bit different. I can't say I've found my groove yet, but the 0 point fruits have been nice. It's also harder with the winter weather. I feel it makes me want to eat more "comfort" foods like bread or baked goods.

I've also been back on the grind, working out everyday. The highlight of the past week is that I took a muscle sculpting class with my zumba teacher Gloria. She was substituting for the usual bosu sculpt teacher. Gloria's workout was short but very effective, because my arms were sore for the next 2 days.

Boring blog post, but just thought I'd share my mini milestone. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A slow 2 weeks...

It's been a relatively slow 2 weeks for weight loss: down 0.8 the week before thanksgiving and -0.6 this week. Though I'm anxious my weight loss rate may have slowed down, I am also glad I didn't gain this week. My sister was here from Brazil and we ate out a lot. I know I over-ate my points & didn't exercise as much, so a loss is better than nothing.

This week has also been the first partial week in the new PointsPlus program by Weight Watchers. It was a bit shocking at first, when I realized all the carb foods went up in points, but I realize I'll just have to change my eating habits once again, and look for foods that are low in carbs and fat.

I wonder how long it will take Healthy Choice and Lean cuisine to change their products to better fit the WW plan. I know they're different companies, but they all cater to the same customer, and it's in HC's best interest to produce low point meals.

I'm disappointed my deli flats, healthy life breads and sugar free pudding are now 2 points instead of 1. But I couldn't be happier about bananas being 0 points now!!! LOVE that!

So in the end, proteins stayed the same, processed carbs went up, and fruits went down.

I am already doing it. Pounds, melt away!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 180.8lbs
Pounds lost: 41.2lbs

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Coffee & Yoga

About a month or so ago, I took the class called "PiYo" for the first time and fell instantly in love. At first I felt my body unsteady, and had a lot of difficulty doing all the poses. Still, the class was so dynamic that it kept me challenged. I felt amazing afterward.

When I really like something, I become slightly obsessed and want more of it. I looked for PiYo videos online but couldn't find anything like my class.  So I decided to do a mini Yoga routine on the wii fit plus every morning, taking occasional sips from my cup of coffee, right after my morning weigh in. This has become part of my routine now. I do it everyday to strenghen my core and to improve my balance. The best part of this is that I feel more in control and have longer lines in PiYo class. I still cannot do most of the advanced poses, but I'll get there someday.

Another great consequence is that the Wii Fit Plus body test has given me a "fitness age" of 31! This makes me so happy because the first time I tested, I was so unbalanced and weak, it had given me a fitness age of 46.... I'm 32 years old. I know the test is based on how well you can control your body, and now I feel validated for my efforts.

I know overall, the wii fit plus is not enough to maintain a challenging exercise program, but for these little things like morning yoga workouts and daily weight tracking it is excellent!

So this week I lost another 2.2lbs and I'm so happy. I can fit into a size 14 now, and the other day I donated my 2 plus size coats to charity, and bought myself a new coat that's size L!!!!! Size L! I can't believe it! I had been shopping on the plus size department for so long... I feel like a whole new world has been made available to me.

I hate to say this, because I live in the Chicago area, but I can't wait for it to get colder so I can wear my new coat!!! (It's been unseasonably warm for November).

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 182.8lbs
Pounds lost: 39.2lbs

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Is my weight loss is too fast?

I was happy to have lost another 2.2 lbs at my weekly weigh in this week. When I got home to log it into the Weight Watchers etools weight tracker, it told me I was losing too fast. It says my average weekly weightloss has been of 2.1 lbs a week, and that the average should stay under 2 lbs otherwise it could be risky to my health.

I'm actually ecstatic it has been coming off at this pace, and it would be awesome if it continues in the same speed, but I'm realistic, and know that at some point I will reach a plateau and it will slow down.

Also, shouldn't the first however many pounds come off faster when you have a lot to lose, as opposed to someone who's only 10 to 20 pounds overweight? I started at 85 above my goal weight, after all.

The etools site also told me to slow down my weightloss. How in the world would I do that??? I've been exercising everyday and eating my points!

Oh well... I really think this is a non-issue and will continue doing what I've been doing. So far, my body has been rewarding me for my efforts and I am committed to rewarding it with more healthy living.

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 185lbs
Pounds lost: 37lbs

Thursday, October 28, 2010


After a week of staying on plan and fully following my exercise program, the WW scale has graced me with the good news that I lost another 2.6lbs. The new thing I did this week is that I've added 15 minutes of yoga to my morning routine. That PiYo class (Pilates & Yoga) I take on thursdays has inspired me to work on my posture, core control, and balance.
I always feel fantastic after my PiYo workout. I feel elongated, taller, and my back feels naturally straight. I also love the fact that it's fast. I don't have to hold the poses for very long because we keep moving onto other poses. This truly was a great idea.
The funny thing is that tonight, after the class was done, I mistakenly took somebody else's yoga mat with me! When I went back to look for mine it was gone, so I'm hoping that person will come back next week with my mat and we can exchange. I feel like this might have made a good "Seinfield" or "Curb your enthusiasm" episode.

Anyway, today I set my goal on WW (officially). I've had this goal since I started and it hasn't changed: 137. That means a total loss of 85 lbs.

137 because it's the highest threshold for a healthy BMI for my height, and because it's around the weight I was in college, before I got pregnant. I figure when I get there, I'll have erased a decade of being obese. My son is 9 years old now, and after his pregnancy I was at 185. The weight crept up from there and increased with my daughter's pregnancy.

Right now I'm almost at the weight I was immediately post delivery. Once I start going down past that, it will be like losing the "pregnancy weight" ..... hehehe... only almost 10 years later!!!

Better late than never!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 187.2lbs
Pounds lost: 34.8lbs

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hello, 180s! It's been a while..

Today I had my weigh in and I made it just below 190 with a weight of 189.8! :) this is very exciting, and it validates my efforts this week.
Last week I was disappointed I had only lost 0.4lbs, but I knew exactly what I'd done differently that week: I had lightened up my breakfast and skimped on the mid day snacks. This had given me more points at night, which I used to get more snacks in.

Turns out those extra snacks at night were not my friend, so I went back to a more substantial breakfast with higher point snacks (greek yogurt in the afternoon really helps). I also drank lots of water and kept up my exercise program.

Even with a major french food (fattening) eating event on saturday night, I was able to come down 2.2 lbs.
My suspicions about my change in habits being the culprit are confirmed and I am not resolved to continue my program as I have this week.

I'll be saying hello to the 170s soon.

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 189.8lbs
Pounds lost: 32.2lbs

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Non-scale victories

Well, this is a big one: I had a cholesterol/glucose screening today and all my numbers are within healthy levels! I'm so excited my weight loss program is proving effective on every front!

Last week I was a bit disappointed with my 0.4 loss, but I'm focusing on the positive: I've lost inches, my cholesterol numbers went down, and I feel greater than I have in years. 

The rest of the weight will drop off eventually.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

0.4,,,, I'll take it!

So the scale at my Weight Watchers meeting showed me down 0.4lbs compared to last week.
This after me obsessing about the discrepancies between my WW home scale and the Wii fit plus. I was disapointed I didn't lose more. But it did round up the 30 lbs lost (20 in WW). I got another 5lb sticker! I'm also 1 lb away from making my 10% in WW, so maybe next week?

What happened this week? I wonder if it was something I changed in my routine that didn't allow me to burn as many calories as the previous week. The two things I noticed is that my breakfasts have been lighter, and I've been having more veggies/fruits as snacks instead of yogurt. Intuitively, this would mean less calories, right?
But then this also makes my points lower, and I end up having more slack at night for snacks. Maybe it's those evening snacks!

This week I'm going to try to go back to my previous routine. We'll see what happens.

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 192lbs
Pounds lost: 30lbs

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conflicting scale stories... really a symptom of somehting else

Since my second blog post, "To Weigh or not to Weigh" I've decided that weighing myself every day is effective for me.
It helps me keep on top of my daily progress, and makes me accountable for making better choices.

Usually this ritual involves me waking up, brushing my teeth and hair, getting dressed, starting coffee, and turning on my wii fit plus. I like to weigh myself there because it keeps track on a neat little graph, and it tells me whether I've gone up or down from the last time I weighed myself. If I do it everyday at the same time, the likelihood of variations being minimal is high.

Since I started tracking, I usually go down. I sometimes see a spike up, and those are a due to weird circumstances like after flying on an airplane, or on the days before my period. Then they go down again.

It's such a wonderful feeling to see today's BMI show a lower number than yesterday, and then switch to "weight" to see the negative number! Also, when the Wii lady says "That's Obese", it gives me hope that someday she'll say "That's Overweight!" and then when I get under that... I wonder what she says?

Nevertheless, this week has been a bit weird...

You see, I also bought a WW Scale that measures body fat. So naturally I weigh myself on that one too right after or before the Wii fit plus scale. I'm not interested in the number itself. The official number is what I get at the weigh in at the WW meeting. What I'm interested in are the fluctuations from day to day.

This week, my WW scale has stubornly stuck itself on  191.2. Wii fit plus has been going down, then up. No day has said 0 difference. How can that be??? I'm so confused.

The truth is that I'm afraid this week might not show as much of a loss as I wanted. I've been maintaining my workout routine, eating more fruits/veggies... I guess some weeks are just a bit harder than others.

Regardless, I'm in this for the long haul, so whatever the WW scale may show me tomorrow, I'm still feeling better than I have in years!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Despite the blondie, I still lost 2lbs!

Sometimes I wonder if the scale at WW is set to show a lower number than other scales.... I admit, I have been obsessing about my daily weight. I feel it's the only way for me to know whether what I'm doing is working or not. Besides, I bought this awesome WW scale that tells you your % of body fat, BMI, Water % and bone density! How cool is that???

I just love seeing my % of body fat decreasing ever so slowly over time. I started at 44% and now I'm in the 38%s. This means all the muscle work I've been doing is paying off. On Wednesday I spent 90 minutes in classes at the gym:
45 minutes in "sculpting" which was excruciatingly hard.
15 minutes in "six pack attack" ... do we need 15 minutes to work on abs? If we have my abs, we do.
30 minutes of aerobics.

(I really felt my arms the next day. Maybe one day I'll have Madonna arms!!! :) )

I also went swimming yesterday, which always feels amazing.

Tonight? I'm trying a Bosu Sculpt workout class.

I'm so happy I'm doing this for myself! Nothing beats the feeling of finally conquering something that seemed un-conquerable, not even the taste of yummy bad-for-me foods.

So last night at WW, the scale showed me 2lbs lighter. I'm 0.4lbs away from having lost 30lbs, and it  feels like I just started my weight loss program 1 month ago (it's really been 10 weeks).

Size 14, here I come!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 192.4lbs
Pounds lost: 29.6lbs

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rude awakening - the points in eating out

So last night my friend and I went out to dinner at Applebee's. I wanted to go there because I knew they had WW menu options (I love the steak portobello).
All was going well until my friend said she wanted to order the "Maple Butter Blondie" as dessert, and that she wanted me to share it with her.

What should I have done? In hindsight, I should have said no, or convinced her to order one of the dessert shooters (the tiny ones that cost less).

Instead, I said it would be fine, and decided, since I had been good all day, that I could eat half and use some of my everyday points. I thought, how bad can this be??? Well... the dessert was delicious. There was a hot buttery sauce over icecream, pecans, and a cake.

When I got home I pulled up the Applebee's Nutritional Info to calculate my points. As I scrolled down  to find this decadent dessert, I was surprised as my eyes glanced over some of the callorie counts over some of the other menu items,(Crispy Orange chicken =2030, Quesadilla burger = 1420, Oriental chicken salad =1310...), and realized when i found the Maple butter blondie, it would not be good.

Are you ready for this? The Maple butter blondie had 52 grams of fat and 990 calories!!!! That's 23 points! I knew it would be bad, but I was not ready for just how bad it turned out to be.

Time to go burn half of it out in Zumba!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weigh in day!!! :)

I lost another 2.6lbs this week. I am so happy to keep my weight loss momentum. 190 feels so close! Maybe another 2 or 3 weeks and I'll be there.

This past weekend I sorted through my clothes and separated all my size 18 stuff to take to the goodwill store. I am comfortably fitting into all my old size 16 pants, and incredibly enough, I did fit into one size 14 non-stretch jeans! It was still a bit too snug, though, so I'm waiting on that one.

Today I went swimming at my gym. Add that to the list of things I've been doing lately that I hadn't done in forever:
Swimming, jumping rope, jogging, cartwheels, jumping jacks... 

I love it! I love being active and feeling like my body can do anything! Zumba and "So you think you can dance" have really inspired me to keep finding new ways to dance. One of my dreams is to be good at swing dancing, so I'll start looking into that soon. I also want to get to a point where I can jog/run comfortably.

My heart rate monitor helps me keep on top of the fat burning zone and keeps me accountable for mazimizing my workout, so now I've started to do short bursts of jogging interspersed with my lunch time walk. That helps keep my heart rate in the 130s.

I feel like I'm just rambling on and on about fitness now, and I can hardly recognize myself. Time to end this post. Good night everyone! Stay healthy!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 194.4lbs
Pounds lost: 27.6lbs

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Feeling Great - keep leaving me, pounds!

Last night I felt sore all over! The GOOD kind of sore: Abs tight and slightly aching, legs hurting a bit as I went up the stairs, upper back and triceps making themselves known every now and then...  It turns out this class I took Monday night did the trick: "Power Hour" (or more like "Power 45 minutes"!).

The teacher is new to the gym and she seems to be from a slavic country (judging from ther accent). The class consists in a series of rotation exercises, some cardio and some weights. She had us spend 1:30m in each exercise, and during the last 30 seconds she'd have us speed it up. Then it was time to move onto the next one. During the class I got tired and kind of breathless a few times (jumping rope, anyone?).

I also was very much challenged by the push-ups on the ball, and the steps on the bosu ball. After 11 different stations (there were 11 of us), she had us pair up and do some squats while squeezing the big ball and throwing it to each other. To top it all off, she had us finish with a tough partner ab exercise where I had to lift my legs from the ground, while my partner pushed them down! A few weren't bad, but try doing it for a minute and a half! That was killer!!

One of her tricks is during the final count-down of every exercise, the teacher would go "5, 4, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1"! Nice...

During the class I felt challenged and wasn't sure whether I was liking it or not. The next evening I felt "the good kind of sore" I mentioned above, and now I'm convinced I have to take this class again. After all, "change is the right combination of discomfort and hope" :) 

Happy exercising!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Cowboy Hip Hop

This made me laugh so hard today at work, I had to re-post it here. Priceless!

I just love the psychotic look on her face when she says "Cowboy Hip Hop"!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I love those old-school scales!

What a satisfying feeling! I actually got to move the big weight down from 200 to 150 this week. I know the little weight had to go all the way up to 48, but that's still better than being above 200! Now it's only down from here!
To celebrate, I'm posting the picture of my weight at the Gym tonight:

Wooohoooo! :D

Today was also my Weight Watchers meeting/weigh in: 2lbs down from last week (despite my weekend escapade!) 197 it is. Goodbye 200s!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 197lbs
Pounds lost: 25lbs

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back on Track - new challenges

Thanks to my light eating, exercising and drinking tons of water, my Wii Fit plus showed me back where I was on Friday again. Now it's a matter of 25.5 hrs to see what my weigh in will say. And that is enough obsessing about a number on the scale for this week.

Yesterday I went to Zumba class after having missed the last 3 classes and it felt amazing. Zumba has truly become the best aerobic exercise for me. It's so much fun, and I hardly notice 1 hour passing. I'm too busy keeping up with the steps!!!

Also, I wore my heart rate monitor watch for the 2nd time on that class, and this time I burned 494 calories in 1 hour (last time it marked 534calories). This is great! If I had zumba 7 days a week I'd be burning off 1 lb a week (3500 = 1lb). Sadly, Zumba is  not offered 5 days a week at my gym, so on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I end up doing elliptical and weights. I have heard Turbo Kick is good, so I'll try that someday. Does anyone have recommendations for good cardio classes?

Another challenge I've been faced with recently is how to adjust my planned meals and snacks down by 1 point. As you may know, when you lose weight and go down to the next lowest 10 pound threshold, WW recalcs your points and you usually end up going down a point.

When you start, part of the big change is eating within your points, but what happens when your points keep shrinking? I'm down to 25 now, and starting to face the challenge of minimizing the "pointage" on my snacks. Usually my snacks are 2 points, but that eats up my points for the day very quickly due to the fact that lunch and dinner are about 6 to 7 points each, and breakfast is about 5. Without snacks, that's 18 points. This means I either take my snacks down, or take my main meals down. What do you think I should do?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Being Sick Sucks!

So my last post was about my lack of energy. Guess what? It turns out I really was sick. I had a cold that lingered all week long. Thursday I took a sick day from work and spent all day horizontal.
I had been so happy that evening, when I went to my WW meeting and weighed in at 199lbs! I had finally made it below 200. My plan was to take a picture of the scale at the gym, with the little weight thing sliding down to the 150 mark (of course the other one would be at the 49 lb mark, but whatever... ) The problem is that there were several factors dampening the progress:
1) I was sick
2) I had not been able to work out all week due to # 1.
3) I went on a weekend trip from Friday night to Sunday night where I ate out more than I should.

On point # 3, it's so hard to stay on plan when you're out on a trip. Even if you try to make good choices, it's still not the same as cooking low fat meals at home.

This morning I was rudely reminded of the consequences of eating too much and not working out when I weighed myself on the Wii Fit Plus (I decided to use that as a gage for my daily progress because it shows the difference from the last time I weighed in). It told me I was UP 4lbs from Thursday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That means if my weigh in was today, I'd be at 203. Yikes! How do you recover from that? I was so hopeful that I had left the 200s for good, but I have a little bit of damage control to do in order to make that happen.

It's ok, though. I'll get back on track: I'll go to the gym tonight, since I'm feeling better, and I'm back on my low points routine.

It will all work out.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where did my energy go?

After last Thursday's weigh in, I continued to strongly pursue a higher level of fitness and to challenge myself. Both Thursday and Friday nights I did 1 hr on the elliptical followed by weights. Saturday morning: Zumba.

After that, I went to a pic-nic with my kids. We had a great time in a larger group of friends. We played badminton, danced, I even flipped a few cartwheels with some little girls (guess how many years it'd been since I'd done a cartwheel!). Later that afternoon a group of us went on a walk to go see Elk in the nature preserve we were in. That was a good walk, but not super long. Another hour of dancing and I was exhausted by the evening.

I went home and listened to music while reading my book on my couch. My feet never felt so relieved!

Sunday morning I went to Zumba again. I love that class so much and can't miss it. I wore my new heartrate monitoring watch and saw that I burned 530 calories in one hour of that class!

After returning home I was completely drained! I spent most of the rest of my day in the couch doing nothing! I couldn't believe my exhaustion and blamed it on my adventures of the previous day. I'd concluded all my crazy working out had finally caught up with me. Little did I know, I was starting a cold and didn't know about it. This morning I woke up with a sore throat and feeling generally crappy.

So now I'm wondering: was my exhaustion caused by all the activities I've been doing lately or was it caused by my impending cold? I'm leaning towards the cold answer. I really believe if I didn't have this cold, I might have been tired but not completely drained like I was yesterday.

Tonight I'll either not work out at all, or maybe go to the hot tub at the gym. I'm having some muscle soreness on my back which could use some hot water relaxation.

Does anyone have any suggestions to get my energy level back up?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another 3 bite the dust!

200.2!! If all goes well this next week, I'll be under 200lbs next week. I'm so happy.

I've even put up pictures in this blog  to show my progress. Almost 22lbs lost and I feel healthier than I have in a long time. I feel generally more fit and energetic. This alone is already incentive to keep me going. Today I actually sprinted through the hallway at work! When was the last time I did that???

I've been doing good with working out: Zumba 3 times a week, elliptical & weights the other days. I've also been reading this awesome series on my ipod touch while I'm on the elliptical so I don't get bored.

Foodwise, it's been mostly easy to stay on plan. The hard times are usually at night, after all is said and done. I end up craving chips, or cheese, or butter! NOT GOOD! So for chips, I have popchips (2pts). For cheese, I have low fat string cheese. For butter.. I have one of those no cholesteral spreads...

Now, if only they could invent a low fat low cal Nutella, I'd be all set! :)

Good things that are helping me along the way:
- my pedometer
- low fat cottage cheese
- greek yogurt
- my Avi-motion shoes
- new sports bra
- ipod touch
- deli flats
- egg whites
- brown rice
- fiber one yogurt
- salmon
- low fat popcorn
- email motivators: newsletters from Jillian Michaels, Hungry Girl and Weight watchers.
- my Wii fit plus, for daily accountability.

On to another 20 lbs!!! See you soon 180! :)

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 200.2lbs
Pounds lost: 21.8lbs

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting closer...

I had another weigh in today and I'm getting closer and closer to 200lbs! I can't wait to get into the 190s!!!! :)
I feel great! I had my doubts about whether I would lose this week because I feel I indulged myself a bit more than ususal with beer and a couple of low-point desserts (I also had the pre-cursor to "that time of the month" which only complicates things on the weight loss trail.). And yet, I still managed to lose another 1.4lbs! Wooohooo!

The meeting was about exercising, and I was surprised to find out there were still a few people who didn't exercise on a regular basis even though they're on weight watchers. Then everyone was giving this one guy ideas on why he should exercise and helpful things they can do, until this one older guy started rambling about his family member who had a stroke due to diabetes.

That's when I had to leave to go to zumba class, but I ask myself: Is a scare tactic like that likely to work? Don't most of us become obese despite the general knowledge that being so is bad for our health (much like smokers, who are sick and tired of knowing the ill effects of cigarretes and yet still do it anyway)? I hope this guy starts exercising for his own good, not because someone scared him into doing so.

Onto lighter subjects, this past weekend I went shopping and bought myself a pair of "aspirational jeans"! They're a nice pair of size 10 boot cuts. I'm going to be taking pictures of my progress with the jeans, until the day I can fit into them. I have no idea what exact size is my goal of 137 lbs, so If I get there and I'm a size 10, fantastic! If not, I'll just get a smaller size! ;)

My size 18 jeans are really lose on me, and I'm fitting into a 16.  Soon it will be 14, then 12, then 10!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 203.2lbs
Pounds lost: 18.8lbs

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why are weekends so tough?

This past weekend, though busy, was truly challenging towards my staying on points. A couple of beers and late night muchies probably set me back more than I'd like to admit. On the other hand, I did spend most of my waking hours on my feet and not on the couch, so that's a win.

So far this week I've been able to get back on track with my points and routine.  Going to the gym for at least 1 hr every night is really changing my habits. I've been coming home to feed my kids, do homework, and then off to the gym for 1 hour. By the time I get back (I often stop somewhere afterwards for a quick errand), it's 8:30 or almost 9. I shower and only then sit down to "do the internet" while watching TV. Since I'm tired from the day, I soon go to sleep sometimes before 10:30. Just like that, my evening routine has gone from 3:30 hours on the couch to 1:30 hours on the couch (if that!).

This is making me consider dropping HBO and reducing my cable package. For a TV junkie like me, this is truly remarkable!

Change is good, if it will make me stop being a couch potato and actually have a healthy lean body. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why was I so full?

So last night I felt full and uncomfortable. I'd had an regular almost regular day: low point breakfast, snacks, and lunch. My evening, however, was due to be a busy one with school picnic, personal training, and then dancing with my friends.

When I picked up the kids from daycare I took them to our local hot dog place to get them a couple of kids meals for the picnic and myself a mini chicken pita with no mayo. This is usually an ok meal that allows me to stay within my daily point budget. The only difference this time around is that I was thirsty and instead of getting myself a water, I got myself a diet coke.

Now, I used to describe myself as a "Diet Coke Addict". I used to have 1 or 2 a day, and if there was a particular day when I didn't have a diet coke, i'd get irritable until I had one.

In this weight loss program I decided to no longer buy diet coke, in the interest of being healthy. I figured if I'd gotten to 222lbs drinking diet coke along with my unhealthy sedentary lifestyle, obviously the "diet" part wasn't working.

Yesterday I had the diet coke with my mini pita and I felt uncomfortable, with a bloated belly for at least 2 hours after. I finally felt better after I did my 1 hour of personal training (my trainer Vicky is deceptively sweet... but really makes me work harder each time).

It's amazing that with only one month into this new, healthy lifestyle, my body has grown adverse to soda like that. In a way, I'm glad, because we drink soda a lot  of times in substitution of water, and that's not good for hydration. I also realize now how much I dislike feeling too full or bloated. These feelings were commonplace before I started on this weight loss journey. Eating my points and exercising has put my body in a constant state of  "not too ful, not too hungry... just right" which gives me more energy and puts me in a good mood.

Onto a different but related subject, this week I lost 1.6lbs at my weigh-in. Deep inside I'd wished it had been more, like the previous week, but that's just fine. At least I'm losing weight and feeling better every day. That's what matters! Onto another 1.6lbs!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 204.6lbs
Pounds lost: 17.4lbs 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Burn, Baby Burn!!! (My calories are on FIRE!)

When I go for a walk at lunch time, my pedometer says I only burned 85 calories. Then when I use the elliptical for 30 min at night it says I burned 250 or so. If you consider a tub of yogurt can be about 110 calories, these little numbers can be discouraging.

However, it's not about how much you burn right then and there, but how much extra calories you burn in a week to the amount you'd have burned by not exercising:

They call it your "resting metabolic rate": in this site you can estimate yours:
Mine is 1590 (that's how many calories I burn in a day without exercising).

They say it takes 3500 calories burned to lose 1lb of fat. Look at it on a weekly basis, and it's down to math:

Resting Met. Rate: 1590 x 7 = 11130
Walking 20 min @ lunch: 85 x 5 = 425
30 Min on Elliptical: 250 x 4 = 1000
30 Min Strength training: 100 x 4 = 400
60 Min Zumba class: 3 x 589 = 1767
Total burned in a week: 14722
(about 3500 extra to my resting metabolic rate)

If I eat about 1600 calories a day, I'm guaranteed to lose 1 lb of fat a week by this equation.

Don't you wish life were that simple?
How can my weight loss efforts come down to a math equation? I'm a numbers person, so when I see things this way, it takes the mystery out of burning fat. My goal is not just to lose weight: it is also to burn more calories than I ingest and in turn, burn fat while building muscle (did I mention muscle burns more fat?)

I feel like I've been spreading  a lot of calorie burning wisdom (most of this I learned from the people at my gym), so here is another one:
Just like cars, we burn more fuel in "stop and go traffic" than at a constant speed. That's why the interval function on machines is so popular (and more effective!)

Next time you're at the treadmill or elliptical, try the interval mode. It's way more challenging and burns more calories for the time you spend there.

Happy Burning!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good Weigh In Days: One of many to come.

Woohoo! I lot 4.4lbs since the last weigh in! I feel great. Those zumba classes are really helping. (I'm going to remember this feeling for an inevitable weigh in in the future when i might not lose as much).

It's very encouraging to feel validated for my efforts since I started my weight loss program. Before I joined WW, I had started exercising and eating healthy for about 2 weeks. So all in all, since the day I started, I've lost 15.8lbs (5.8 on WW). I also measured myself 10 days ago. I've lost 2 inches off my waist, 1 off my hips, and 3 off my bust ! (I've been noticing my bras feeling looser). Funny how my hip area is minimizing at a slower pace.

That's ok, Hips! You'll have to give up all that extra padding eventually!

On to another week  of healthy choices!

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 206.2lbs
Pounds lost: 15.8lbs

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gluttony Day

When I was 18, I put myself through a weight loss program that lasted about 6 months and was actually successful. It consisted of eating a low fat/low cal diet, combined with lots of walking and mental discipline.

The way I kept up the discipline was to tell myself that if I wanted a fattening food, I could have all I wanted one day a month. So I would be on my best behaviour all days of that month but one: the 16th. Why the 16th? Because that's my birthday (in April).

Why did it work? Because I hate feeling deprived, and thinking I can't ever have something yummy like cheesy pizza or chocolate is a surefire way to undermine my resolve to lose weight. So it worked really well. I was able to avoid all sorts of temptations because I knew I had that one day in the month when I could eat whatever I felt like eating.

I would plan for the day, going grocery shopping the day before to buy those special items. It was great. Those days I was a student and had a lot more free time, so I would relish in the glory of being free to be glutonous for one day. I ended up losing 22lbs, which at the time was what I needed to lose to get back to a healthy weight. (I wish I could post before and after pics, but the ones I have are not digital. Maybe I'll scan them and put them here when I can).

So I decided to do this 1-day a month system now as well. I officially started my weight loss program 7/28/2010, so the 16th came faster than I expected. I didn't really plan for it, but I knew there were certain things I'd been craving which had too much fat for my points, like pizza, sushi, chocolate and my all time favorite: Chicken Korma from an Indian place in my town.

Out of habit (woohoo! eating healhy is becoming a habit!), I spent the work hours of my day eating low fat low cal meals and snacks (low points), but when I picked up my kids I bought them pizza and bought myself my often craved Chicken Korma.

In the spirit of freedom, I helped myself to 1 slice of my kids' pizza, and then proceeded to divide up the chicken korma into 2 servings. I also kept most of the sauce in the original container. I figured the sauce is the worst offender due to high oil, cream and sugar content.

In the past, I would eat the entire entre, down to the last drop of sauce. This time, I had half with much less sauce, but after I ate it I felt stuffed! This was a good surprise. It means I'm getting my stomach used to eating light. Heavy cream sauce, though yummy, doesn't sit well anymore. I also had a bit of my favorite kind of chocolate, which I used to have all the time. It contiributed  to my stomach feeling stuffed. After that I felt heavy, tired, and I just wanted to lay down and veg out.

But,  I had a date with my work-out routine at the gym, so I made myself go despite that tired stuffed up feeling.

Working out after that meal was the best thing I could have done. I felt 100% better after my hour at the gym. That heavy feeling was gone, and my stomach felt fine.

I'm glad I had my day to "pig out", but I did it responsibly and actually tracked every point! It put me 7 points above my daily allowance, so I was able to borrow from the weekly points (which I usually don't touch).

Now I'll happily do another month of low fat healty eating, until the next 16th!!!  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How I spend my time: now and before

In  the journey to a healthier body and a healthy life, it has become very apparent to me that I need to change the way I spend my waking hours. Prior to my big decision, it's safe to say I spent the vast majority of my time in a sedentary position.

It's easy to do that when you value intellectual stimulation above all other kinds: movies, TV, books. I love fiction. I love the way it transports me to another time, another world, someone else's body. Typically, my favorite people to be transported into are strong, smart, athletic women. These women hold the power of intelligence and beauty simultaneously, and can overcome any challenge.

Now that I'm trying to examine myself and my motivations more closely, I'm realizing these fictional women are who I'd like to be: a strong, beautiful, smart woman who can do anything. Well, guess what: I'm strong, beautiful, and smart! I CAN do anything, and I'm going to prove that by losing the extra weight and becoming healthier.

Going back to the subject of how I spend my time, being a fiction junkie means I would spend a ton of my free time relaxing, reading or watching. Obviously, that is not conducive to weight loss. Since I'm a geek and a numbers person, I'm going to now quantify how my hours were spent in a week, and how I'm now trying to allocate them:

- Sleep: 52.5 hrs/week or 31.2% of the week.
- Work (including commute): 50 hrs/week or 29.8% of the week.
- TV/Computer/Couch (est. from 7pm to 10:30 on weekdays, and 12 hrs on weekends): 41.5 hrs/week or 24.7% of the week.
- Rest (as in remainder): 24 hrs/week or 14.3% of the week
Total hours in a week: 168

Of course I was doing all sorts of things during remaining 24, like grocery shopping, cleaning, going to the movies, dinner with friends, sometimes even dancing, but there was no activity that I did regularly that I can quantify.

- Sleep: 52.5 hrs/week or 31.2% of the week.
- Work (including commute & 20 min walk at lunch): 50 hrs/week or 29.8% of the week.
- Gym Exercise (1 hr/day): 7 hrs/week or 4.2% of the week
- TV/Computer/Couch (est. from 8:30pm to 10:30 on weekdays, and 6 hrs on weekends): 22 hrs/week or 13.1% of the week.
- Rest (as in remainder): 36.5 hrs/week or 21.7% of the week
Total hours in a week: 168

I'm so glad I'm doing this. I knew I spent way too much time on my couch, but 25% of my time? That's too much! Now, introducing exercise and reducing couch time, I seem to have more time in the "rest" bucket.

I think I should set a goal to exercise more in the weekends in order to avoid letting the hours from "rest" go into "couch".

So, aside from being a geek, a numbers person, and a fiction junkie, I'm also fond of brainstorming.
Ideas to convert mental stimulation time into active time:
- Get the channel lineup from the gym, and plan my cardio machine workouts during TV shows or movies I want to see.
- Download Audio books into my ipod and go walking while I listen.
- Do step exercises on my Wii balance board while watching TV.
- Ab crunches on the floor while watching TV.
- Watch movies/tv while cleaning the house.

As for social time, I also need to find ways of getting exercise in with socializing. I'm thinking of asking my friend to go swing dancing with me.

Any effort is better than no effort, right?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Week 1 of WW - Done!

So I got weighed officially this week at my WW meeting. Obsessing about my ups and downs on the scale everyday did not help me at all.

Appropriately enough, the meeting was about being flexible with our goals and not obsessing about every little thing in the program! I took it to heart, although I have to admit I'm not ready to let go of my discipline yet. It's always been my biggest problem: being too laid back and not having mental discipline to develop and maintain good habits. It's taken a lot of mental energy to get to where I'm at today: a functioning adult who's able to keep her house (mostly) clean, and keep all the kids' affairs in order.
I need the mental discipline to plan my meals, track my points, and find time to exercise.

Don't they say it takes 2 weeks to implement a new habit? Or was it 4 weeks? It might take me longer than that until the point thing becomes second nature and I'm not so rigid with my food choices.

My weight loss this week wasn't as high as I had hoped: 1.4 lbs. At least I didn't gain after all my trips to the gym and staying just under my daily point allowance every day without using the extra 35.

Regardless of what the number says, though, I feel great! Better than I had in a long time. I feel slimmer, and my clothes are fitting a bit looser. Even my bra this morning could close at a closer hook position than usual!

Here's to hoping I'll drop more by next weeks' weigh in.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To weigh or not to weigh?

So I've been weighing myself daily, sometimes multiple times a day in different scales. Am I obsessively geeky about scale accuracy, or just obsessed? To be honest, it's great when all the numbers are pointing down, but when they go up from one day to another (by 1 pound!) it can be kind of discouraging.

So I'm trying to decide whether it would be best to just get weighed once a week at Weight Watchers, or whether I should continue to track my weight daily at home and at the gym.

The positive aspect of tracking daily are that I won't let myself stray too far from the path since I'll know where I'm at all the time. The negative is that if my weight goes up in a particular day when I know I've tried hard, it causes unnecessary anxiety.

If I continue to practice good healthy habits and stay within my points, eventually I'll make progress, so there's no reason why I should be freaking out about going up 1lb from one day to another, but my obsessive nature makes me go there... Chill out Fernanda!

I think for now I will continue to track daily, and hopefully soon I'll feel more secure in my weight loss program that I won't need to anymore.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This time I'm serious

Status Quo:
My story will likely sound like a cliche, so I'll spare you the details and melodrama... in a nutshell, I've been over-weight most of my adult life and it's been mostly fueled by an unhealthy relationship with food that started in adolescence. The problem grew with me as I had kids and struggled with the challenges of being a responsible adult.

The catalyst:
I recently took a vacation to Brazil, where I spent time with my family and ate. This trip brought back a lot of feelings of inadequacy caused by my skinny sisters and diet-obsessed mother. Everywhere I went in Rio, I was the fattest person there. Even people from my past who used to be over-weight looked great and smaller than me. One particular friend of mine has become a runner! She looks great! She can be found in pictures with me in which he had similar body types and I am so inspired by her.

I'm also inspired by my daycare lady, who has become half of what she used to be before my very eyes (She's on weight watchers) .

During my vacation, several family members asked me to take better care of myself. They all brought up my health risks in being obese, and said they wanted me to be well, and healthy, and here for my children. Being a critical thinker above all, I thought it was odd that they all gave me similar speeches. They all brought up the same points, and in some cases used almost the same words! I imagined them meeting behind my back for an intervention, memorizing speeches and singing cumbaya... More likely though, they just looked at me and decided to say something. This came from my deaf grandma, my aunt, my mom's best friend, and finally my mom and older sister.

It was uncomfortable for me to sit there and listen to this. I thought, and in some cases said: "Do you think I don't know this? Don't you know I'm the one who has to live with this weight?" I also played the victim: "If you lived my life you wouldn't have time to cook or exercise either". Mostly I knew they were right, and gave them a uncommitted "I'll try my best".

But something happened in this trip. While I defended myself from family members' concerns, I was eating like I was on vacation. Soon my body started protesting. Having had Gestational Diabetes, I'm considered high risk for diabetes. The last time I was formally checked was may 2007 and I'm due for another checkup. Maybe it was the humidity, maybe I wasn't drinking enough water, but most likely I was having too much sugar and my feet started swelling. Toward the end of the day, they hurt and I just wanted to lay down all the time.

The decision:
Once my trip was over, I had to endure 9 hrs in a tight airplane seat. The seat's arms didn't go up, and I was so bloated, the seat belt almost didn't reach to buckle! This experience felt very real. I decided, then and there, that I would get serious about my health.

I'm 32 and I live a busy life with 2 elementary-school-age kids, working full time, an irresponsible and financially slimy ex-husband, and enough stress to take most people down. My time is precious, and I haven't been using it the most productive way possible. I used to say I didn't have time to diet or exercise, but that's not necessarily true: I used to spend way too much time on the internet and watching movies/tv.

Somethings needed to change.

Steps to change:
It seemed over-whelming at first, but taking one step at a time helps. With me, I was so excited to get going on my path to change that I started doing these one right after the other, or at times simultaneously:

  1. Grocery shopping for healthier items (with the goal of bringing my lunch and snacks to work everyday and to have healthy snacks at home) --Check!
  2. Start walking with my coworker every day at lunch --Check!
  3. Try to do 20 mins of cardio every morning before having breakfast -- Hmmm.... hard to wake up sometimes. Working on it.
  4. Join a Gym --Check! (my gym has a daycare = very important)
  5. Join Weight Watchers --Check! Had my first meeting last Thursday.
  6. Track my food and exercise -- Checking... I downloaded apps onto my ipod touch that help me with that.
Instant results:
I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but I started feeling better as soon as I started implementing these changes. I started all this the day I got back: Monday July 26th. I was officially weighed at my gym on Tuesday the 27th at 222 lbs. By the time I joined Weight Watchers on Thursday August 5th, my weight was down to 212lbs. My feet and legs are no longer swollen, and my foot pain has reduced. I feel better, more energetic and comfortable. I'm also sleeping better and not having back pain.

I know those initial pounds are usually easy to lose (mostly water), so I'm also monitoring my body fat % at the gym. I've lost 2% body fat and my goal is to lose another 2% within a month, which brings me to...

Being 5'2", my BMI was around 40% at my gym weigh-in. According to the BMI chart, a 25% BMI (the highest point before being considered "overweight" for me would be 137lbs.
That would mean a total weight-loss of 85lbs. "85?" I ask myself, "Consider it done!"

The thing about these goals is that it seems really arbitrary: focusing on a number of total pounds to lose. If i focust too much on the greatness of the number, I might get discouraged, so I'm going to go 20 by 20:
- From 220, I'm going to 200.
- From 200, I'm going to 180.
- From 180, I'm going to 160.
- and finally, I'm going to 140.

And I'm not going back up.

I'm also going to measure my success by tracking clothing size (I'm curently an 18), Body Fat %, and BMI.

I've always thought, as well as heard from others, that a weightloss program would not work unless I was ready to change. Well, guess what? Something clicked (no pun intended, airplane seatbelt) and I'm ready. In fact, I'm already changing.

I'm hopeful, optimistic for the future, and loving myself more and more as I go. I can and will get healthier. I can and will lose this extra weight and get to a point where I've eliminated my risk of diabetes, lowered my bad cholesterol and am living a healthy active lifestyle.

Encouragement, tips and feedback:
If you're reading this, I can use your help. Feel free to say whatever you want, and I will read it with respect and an open mind.

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 209lbs
Pounds lost: 13lbs