Monday, July 30, 2012

The Nitty Gritty

So how do you do it?  That is always the question I get.  The answer rarely satisfies. 

No one wants to hear: there's no formula, just good old fashioned healthy eating and physical activity.  And honestly, what works for one person doesn't always work for another. 

But for what it's worth, here is my list.  What has worked for me.  I have tried other things before and even during.  And I find that the following is my "formula" if you will.  Most of is probably common sense for you.  For me, it took me a bit to put these things together until I had my epiphany:

  • Have a Plan.  Take the time to set some guidelines.  Be specific. Are you cutting out processed foods? Are you going to eat "X" calories each day.  Are you eating 2 cups of vegetables every day? Having a basic plan helps stay on track when the unexpected occurs.
  • Get Physical.   Be brave. Walk into that gym.  I was so afraid that I would stick out, the lone out of shape and overweight person in a room of extreme fitnessista's.   Truth? Not even close!  No one cared about me! And there were all shapes and sizes in those classes.  I have tried so many new things: Zumba, Cardio Kickboxing, Piloxing, Bootcamp and returned to a few favorites like Hiking and Cycling.  Variety has been key to keeping me on track.
  • Get in the Know.  I keep health and fitness forefront.  The more you know the harder it is to go back to unhealthy living.  Blogs, books, documentaries, they've all helped me to learn that not all food is created equal.  In fact, some food can barely be called food!  I turned to labels, nutrition stats and ingredient lists and decided that I needed to know what was in my food before I blindly inhaled it.  Establishing some food morals helped me to get my priorities straight.
  • LOVE your food.  I use to think despising food was the key to losing weight.  I LOVE food.  I love eating food.  But all the skinny chicks seem to snub food.  "I'm not hungry" was a phrase I rarely have said.  But now I've learned I can LOVE my food.  I just don't waste my time with food that I don't LOVE!  Food that gives me the most bang for my calories - tastes great, high in nutrients, fresh, pleasing to the eye and palate - THAT'S food worth loving!  If it's going to cross my lips it better reeeally be worth it.   Clean your plate? Not if it doesn't taste good. Listen to me:  It's OKAY to push away a plate of crappy food.  I KNOW what your momma said.  Do it anyway!
  • EAT MORE!  I can't finish this post without a shout out to the book that catapulted my weight loss.  Eat to live!  After trying calorie counting, weight watchers, Atkins, cabbage soup diet - you name it -  I didn't have any real lasting success until I read this book.  Primarily a plant-based diet, with no calorie counting, good food, and consistent weight loss without feeling deprived.  Here's the secret:  When you eat nutrient dense food, you can eat MORE! And who doesn't want to do that AND lose weight?  Seriously! It literally changed my life. 
So that's it.  That's the practical part of my journey - the nitty gritty, the old how to.  No, not quick, not easy.  It's taken some real investment in time, effort and commitment.

But today? It's just my normal.

What new normals have you worked into your health/fitness journey?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weight on the brain

There's so much more to losing weight than calories and pounds.  I didn't lose 50 lbs by going on a diet.  I have been on MANY diets. Many that did not work, and many that would have worked had I been prepared MENTALLY. 

My success only started when I decided to deal with the all the extra weight in my HEAD.

Coincidentally as this post was forming, the Fitmixer bootcamp ladies topic for the week was "GARBAGE".  Oh so timely, and true!  Much of my weight loss occurred as I started to release the garbage, the negative and defeated thoughts in my brain.

There are things I just had to admit, accept and resolve inside myself before I could even begin my journey.

  • I'M OBESE. 
    • It wasn't a secret to anyone but me! There was no use hiding away from the world. There was no quick fix for it.  It just was my reality.  Once I stopped fighting that admission in my head, I was free to start to evolve, learn and move past it.
    • I couldn't keep waiting for that "X" to happen to live my life.  You know that dialogue:  When I graduate college.  When we get a nice house. When the kids grow up.  When I lose this weight. There was NO pause button.  My life was marching on with or without my participation. I could continue to sit idly on the sidelines and watch it go by, OR I could get up and start directing my own life!
  • I DID THIS. 
    • There was no one to blame.  There may have been underlying issues that fueled my eating - stress, guilt, anger.  I could tell you the tales of my hurdles, obstacles, hardships. But the WHY's didn't matter.  The extra pounds on my body, didn't care.  I had to take responsibility. Only I could do something to change it.
    • I could hate my situation and be miserable.  I could beat myself up for letting it get so bad.   I could fall into an abyss of  depression for overeating again, OR I could put my big girl pants on and enjoy the indulgence, be grateful that I DID realize I have a problem and was doing my best to change it, and live every moment to the fullest. 
The fitmixer gals made the best point in that webcast:  Don't resist what is to find your peace.

I didn't start to have success until I accepted my reality, realized that it had all brought me to the place where I was ready to grow, was thankful for it ALL, and used that knowledge to empower me to change my present.

I could get all worked up, stressed, angry and upset to get myself motivated.  But beating myself up only created an environment for failure. Yes, every time I beat myself up, I had an excuse to cheat, quit, or plain give up.

Case in point?  Along with the celebration of getting to the 50 mark, my brain immediately started the negative thought storm.  Why?  I have another 50 to go! 
  • How are you going to do this?
  • The pounds are not coming off so easily!
  • You still can't keep your eating clean consistently!
  • You are NO WHERE near your bootcamp goals!
  • Look how hard you have been working out, and for what?!!
FACT:  Negative thoughts = Negative outcomes. 

While I should be telling you that I have finally kicked my obese bmi - I am desperately hovering over the same numbers.  The self-abuse is kicking up, and my eating has been atrocious.  Like worse than ever in all of my 50 pound journey thus far.


enjoying the journey

As I embark on the second half of this journey.  I am going back to the beginning to set up an atmosphere for further success!  I will  BE MY OWN BEST SUPPORT, and will start by acknowledging:

  • I AM HAPPY!!

Is it time to reset your mental dialogue?  Hang in there, you've got this!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

50 little things


It's been a busy week, but I couldn't let it pass without a shout out to....ME! On Monday the scale was kind and told me that I had finally achieved a 50 LB weight loss!!!

My weight loss hasn't come easy. It has come by addressing the things that caused the weight loss - physical, mental, emotional and practical issues that have taken trial and error, learning and focusing and re-focusing.

As the old hymn says, I wouldn't give 'nothing for my journey. It has made my transformation thus far one that is permanent. It's definitely the lifestyle change versus diet that you hear and read so much about now.

I'll reflect on all of those areas in the days to come. My hope is that it helps that person who is contemplating their own journey and wondering if they can.

To you I say: YOU can.

But today, 50 little things that have changed since I first started my weight loss journey that aren't so much about the pounds, and give me plenty to celebrate this week.

1. My shadow! My silhouette has changed. I have a WAIST again! It's a whole new me. And I'm loving it.

2. I look in mirrors now! Which means I have been able to address other neglected things. Like, when did I get grey hair?? :) I had a talent. I could look at my face in a full length mirror and not see the rest of me, and I could also glance at a mirror without letting my brain see that I was seriously overweight.

3. I can cross my legs! At both the ankle and the knee!

4. I use to have insulin resistance marks on the sides of my neck (dark stains in the skin) GONE!

5. I can wrap a towel around me without the annoying/embarrassing gap I use to have when I tried.

6. Better? Hubby can wrap his arms around me and touch his elbows! He hasn't been able to do that since, oh ....maybe our honeymoon?

7. I don't feel embarrassed or guilty eating in public.

8. I take pictures again! There are whole years where you canNOT find a single picture of me in our family albums. So sad!

9. I use to be HOT all the time, even in a Wisconsin winter I could head out with flip flops and a sweater. A layer of insulation does that for you. Now? Not so much. For the first time I get cold in an air conditioned room in the summer! Wha?!

10. I go outside as much as possible. I use to spend WAY to much time indoors!

11. I'm more social. When I gained weight I avoided old friends out of embarrassment, and I wouldn't go to my hubby's work or kids school field trips. I felt like I would embarrass them. NOT any more!

12. Free hugs! I enjoy hugging people again. I use to avoid it because I didn't want any one to feel my fat rolls. Even from hubby!

13. I enjoy shopping again! I don't have to shop based on what will fit. Instead I get to pick clothes based on what I think is cute!

14. I can wear shoes with heels again! My feet actually shrunk too! Add 50 pounds to this 5'3" frame and my only choice was flats with good support. Yes, think orthopedic wear. No longer necessary!

15. My sciatica pain is gone! Too much weight on my short frame meant I blew out two discs, lost feeling in my right leg and foot, and was basically in constant pain. Not anymore! Its amazing how GREAT living pain free can be.

16. I eat breakfast. EVERY day. And enjoy it! AND feel good! Before losing weight. I skipped it. EVERY day. And every day I paid for it by getting over hungry and eating things that I just felt bad about afterward. Done!

17. I also eat YUMMY VEGGIES. EVERY day!! And I like them. 50 lbs ago - nope, no way, never. Only veggie I ever ate was corn - and it was loaded with butter and sometimes mayo - yes, mayo.

18. I can borrow friends clothes? There were times we would have an impromptu stay over with friends, and I always had to run out to buy clothes. I knew I didn't fit into anything they offered to lend to me. Even getting chilly at a bonfire meant I just stayed cold, I couldn't even borrow a sweater without stretching it out!

19. My frequent chest pain and indigestion is gone.

20. I weigh LESS than my hubby! That happened a while ago, but it just gets better and better now :0))

21. I drink water. I'm still not great at it. But it's pretty awful that I went weeks and weeks without consuming a single glass of water in the past. Talk about damages!

22. My hair and skin is in its best condition since high school.

23. I am setting new goals every day. Things I never would have contemplating carrying 50 extra pounds.

24. I wake up happy and excited about my days, instead of tired and dreading them.

25. I can feel a 2-3 lb change in my weight! Amazingly I would lose/gain 10 lbs and not even know it. I was SO out of touch with my own body!

26. I can buy cute workout clothes versus big baggy sweats!

27. I have developed food morals and a cleaner palate.

28. I inspire people! That is SO awesome!

29. Co-workers, friends and family ask my advice on food and fitness. Who AM I now? :)

30. I save SO much money eating at home, and enjoy it!

31. I use to be the family baker. Any potluck and I was known for some ooey gooey, SUPER SWEET, awesome dessert. I would get requests. Now? I am known for my awesome SALADS!

32. I can see the start of ab muscles! (thanks bootcamp!)

33. My legs have MUSCLES again!

34. I buy cute pajamas now! (bye bye gigantic flannel pj's - sniff sniff - this by the way has made hubby VERY happy)

35. My AIC is perfect (and am working to get OFF my meds!)

36. My cholesterol is down!

37. My hand and feet use to go numb randomly. Don't know why. Slimmer arms and legs seems to be the answer. No longer have numbness!

38. I CRAVE greens! Like I HAVE to have it EVERY day or I get crazy anxious. I will run out for a salad now like I use to run out for fast food 50 lbs ago.

39. My BMI is on a serious decline.

40. Chaffing. Done - that is all.

41. Internal plumbing - A-OK! That is all.

42. I use to wear frumpy skirts all the time. In my mind it hid a multitude of evils. Mainly my belly and thighs. Now I have some stylish shorts and capris in my closet. Jeans have yet to make it.

43. My treadmill is no longer a clothes hanger!

44. I am much more adventurous. We plan road trips around physical activities and not eating destinations.

45. I can carry my 4 year old son! Hubby always had to carry the kids once they were close to 1 year. I couldn't do it! Last week we went hiking and I carried my little guy on my back for the last half of our hike when he got tired!

46. I was always tired! I never ran around with my kids, played with them outside or did ANYTHING active with them. We are now on the GO all the time. I actually have to slow down for THEM now! My daughter actually asked me why we don't do crafts and baking at the table like we use to do ALL the time. Cause we are active now! We do family zumba, biking, hiking, swimming. LOVE being active with my kids.

47. There is a lot more room between me and the steering wheel of the car. I was always afraid of what would happen if my air bag ever went off because the steering wheel at one point was maybe an inch from my belly.

48. Chairs are no longer a source of anxiety, especially airline seats! I was sure I would break a chair or outgrow an airline seat one day and I hated it! NOT a problem anymore.

49. I don't need the BIG gown at the doctors office anymore!

50. I don't WALK THAT WAY anymore. You know it, the waddle, with the arms at an awkward unnatural dangle at the sides. I not only walk 'normal' again, I can RUN. Woot!!

Have you lost a lot of weight recently? What was your favorite milestone?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Color me blue!

So if eating lots of carrots can change the color of your skin tone to a orange-yellow glow.  What will eating lots of blueberries do?

Don't worry, the answer is NOT make you a smurf.

When I first starting eating fruits and vegetables to replenish my nutrient store, I did notice a definite difference.  In looking back at before pictures, I can see that I was a grey, sickly color.  Studies have shown that after increasing produce intake for 6 weeks, there was a notable difference in skin color. Due to the beta-carotene (yellow) and lycopene (red) in fruits and vegetables that give them their color, they also had a similiar effect on skin tone, which further supports the old claim - you are what you eat! 

Blueberries are full of antioxidants which fight free-radicals that damage cells.  So though they don't contribute to the color of your skin (phew!)  they do speed up skin cell production, which can contribute to that healthy glow we all look to have.  Blueberries also have phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory which increase your bodies ability to self heal and boost your immunity.  Net result? If your insides are healthy, your skin is healthy as a result.

I call these babies my skinny berries.  I knew that I felt better when I was eating them regularly.  But now I understand why!  A reduction in inflammation makes for an overall good feeling!

There are other fruits and veggies hailed for their anti-inflammatory properties, but blueberry is considered king. Some of my favorites from the list?
  • Broccoli
  • Green Tea
  • Sweet Potato
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Kelp
But today is about the king.  Since I had 10 lbs to work through to celebrate blueberry month, I have been busy cooking with and eating blueberries.  Some of this past week's lovelies:

Mama Pea's Blueberry Crisp was a great treat we enjoyed out on the deck one evening with a cup of coffee, oh ... and there may have been some vanilla bean ice cream involved too.

Fat Free Vegan's Blueberry Vinaigrette inspired this blend.

And Not Quite Martha's Blueberry and Feta Salad inspired my own Summer Chop Salad with Avocado - yum!

Oh She Glows Berry Bliss Oat Squares were a delicious guilt free treat!

Of course, the simplest way to enjoy blueberries in season is to top some of your favorite items with them - fresh.  No recipe needed!

Hmm...all this blue is inspiring in me in other areas.  Oh, and this little guy:

How do you not melt with those baby blues looking up at you?  I will call him Elton, and he will be my inspiration for our master bath which is desperately in need of some character.


Have a great weekend! Hope you are enjoying blueberry season as much as I am.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bringing it all together

This is the 9th week in the 12 week Fitmixer bootcamp. Time for a quick recap time as we enter the last leg of this challenge:
  • I am amazed at what I have been able to accomplish physically in these 9 weeks.  
  • Weeks 7 and 8 were definitely slump weeks - vacation and a holiday just does that to me.
  • I am a rebel when it comes to food. Shocker, right?  You don't get to be obese unless you're a rebel about food.  I want to do what I want to do.  Always seem to be making exceptions, because there always seems to be some event or reason to make an exception!
  • On the positive, I am down about 8 lbs.  But have bounced around the same numbers the last two weeks.
What if - I actually ate right AND followed the workout sessions? 

I confess, I have only been able to concentrate on one at a time.  If I'm eating well, spending the time to plan, shop, cook, ward off temptations, well then I am not exercising.  And in this time of the most committed workout plan of my LIFE, I have been failing in the eating department.  A little of this, a little of that - BLT's are undermining all my hard, SWEATY, work.

If I am working out consistently, then that is where my time has gone.  Most sessions take me 50-100% more than the estimated time to complete.  It's new to me!  It is homework for me to figure out these exercises that I have never laid eyes on in my life!  It is effort to get this body into the correct posture, positions it has never been asked to do, so that I don't hurt myself.  It takes time to get my house, and the little people in it, in order so that I CAN get the time and space to workout. 

But it's worth it.  Absolutely.

I am so glad that I have put the time in.  Just like when I had to overhaul my pantry, my recipes, my way of looking and thinking about food in the first leg of my journey, this effort has been necessary and I know it will pay off.

What if - I actually ate right AND followed the workout sessions? 

We are rolling back into our regular schedule on the home front this week.  AND hubby is working a solid July (poor hubby), but that DOES mean, that I am fully in control of the house menu.  I really love hubby, but he is a detriment to my diet.  He is absolutely encouraging, but he absolutely LOVES the foods he grew up eating - the starchiest, meatiest, not healthiest foods.  So now is my chance to get our meals back in order.

And since he is working, we will be spending more time at home which means I can set the homefront schedule too.  YES, set it around my workouts!

What if I commit to FINALLY pulling it all together?  Eat well AND move well.

Because I feel great when I eat clean. And the poundage DOES fall.
Because for 6 weeks straight I hit every single workout session, and never missed one! PR! )

I am a blink away from escaping an obese BMI.

What if I not only cross that line, but SMASH IT, by the end of this?

What if I can finally stop saying WHAT IF?!

Source: via Uyen on Pinterest

Friday, July 6, 2012

Skinny berries!

Hope you all enjoyed a great 4th of July!  Besides fireworks, what gets me excited at this time of the year is blueberries!  It's National Blueberry Month!!

Each year I pre-order blueberries from a local farm that actually grows strawberries.  They exchange strawberries with a Michigan blueberry grower so that we can enjoy the best of both worlds.  These blueberries are hands down the best I have ever had.  Once I had these plump and juicy berries, blueberries from the grocery store are a big disappointment.

Blueberries are a recent love for me.  About 3 years ago I started drinking smoothies when I ran into my health problems.  With depleted vitamin stores and the negative consequences on my body,  I needed some restoring!

I read that blueberries had superstar antioxidants which combat free radicals that damage the structure of your cells.  Blueberries, along with iron rich spinach, bananas for potassium and almond milk became my staple smoothie for months. 

Check out these nutrition stats!: 

Nutrients in
1.00 cup (148.00 grams)
%Daily Value

vitamin K35.7%
vitamin C23.9%
Calories (84)4%
They did the job.  The benefits of the blue/green smoothie - amazing.  Low cal and filling, they are my skinny berries! When I am drinking smoothies, and snacking on these lovelies regularly I am losing weight.  Fact!

There are a lot of other ways to enjoy blueberries of course, and seeing how I am currently surrounded by 40 lbs of berries (did I go too far?), I will be scouring foodie blogs to find some fun new ways to experiment! 

So in the tradition of Benjamin Buford Blue, some blueberry recipes on my radar:

The possibilities are endless!  In the meantime, I am keeping it simple and clean! Blueberries, CHO and granola - yum!

Have a phenomenal blueberry recipe? Share! Tell me about it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Now I'm a believer

Hello! I'm back. 

Well getting there anyway.  A drive from Wisconsin to Florida, non-stop, with three littles, takes a lot out of a girl. 

Who knew?

The big news is that while we were there and the rest of the country was sunny, and starving for some rain, we were in the midst of Tropical Storm Debby.  And we had front row seats!  Guess I can cross that of my bucket list.  Um...oh yeah, I'll add it first, then cross it off.


It eventually cleared up and the vacation was great.  Unfortunately our wi-fi was out at the resort after the storm, so I was completely cut off from my fitmixer workouts!

I did workout sessions fitmixer style (and all from memory) the first few days.  Then we were go, go, go taking advantage of the clearing skies the remaining days.  We walked MILES I am sure at the parks.  From about 9a to 12p we were on our feet.  My feet were shredded at the end of each day.  I would have paid anyone ready with a bucket to soak my feet in each night.

So you would have thought I would have avoided the extra vacation lbs - nope! Not yet! Food options are not stellar, and I know that when I am busy or tired, both of which occurred on our trip, my eating morals go down the drain.  Carb disasters!  Ah well, as dear Candice said, I can sweat it off.  And with the HIGH temps here this week, that shouldn't be a problem.

Being back home and back on schedule has been so welcome!  How I missed my GREENS!  There were few places that I could find greens that weren't pre-drenched in dressing.  And veggie burgers are yummy, but who can resist that side of fries.  Smart-me would have asked that they not bring them out.  But tired me, who was not doing a good job at sticking to eating 6x a day, was not so savvy.

I started Monday with a Full House workout (working through the entire deck of cards doing 4 exercises). Tuesday was strength moves.  Wednesday was a Tabata session (my favorite!).

My brain must still be on vacation because I completely forgot to drink my fitmixer aminos during the workouts, just had plain water.


Silly, silly me.

Through the last 7 weeks I have taken it religiously and while I have been sore most of those days, it wasn't awful or debilitating?

On Monday after nearly 100 jack squats combined with about 100 burpees, my inner thighs were totally shredded.  Jillian has nothing on those fitmixer ladies!

As the week has gone on my soreness has gotten progressively worse! And yesterday it finally occurred to me after my workout.  I forgot to drink my aminos!!! I am desperately regretting that oversight today.  I am walking around very awkwardly and if I am still for any length of time (desk job!), it is tougher to get moving normally.

Do I start gulping it down by the bucket today?  Maybe.  Am thinking it's going to have me extremely wired (it has caffeine), but my muscles are demanding it!

Wow, I am such a believer in those aminos now.  And I just noticed they are getting low!  Time for a re-order, stat!!