Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 69 - Peace

This is my new FB banner... my challenges have definitely changed me. For the better.

I had another "epiphany" in the shower this morning.

Then last two days have been rough. I am tired. I have no energy. I am unhappy. And all I can think about is my diet.

So far, I HATE being sugar-free.

It's not about withdrawals anymore. I am over that. I just hate the lack of variety in the food I am eating. I don't have time to cook or shop since I'm back at work, so it's basically eggs and salads. Night before last, I had a meltdown. Cried myself to sleep again.

Yesterday, I just felt resigned to my fate. Is this what a lifetime of yo-yo dieting gets you? A body that rejects healthy food and exercise?

The truth is, when it comes to diets and weight loss, EVERYONE has an opinion. The other night (when I had the meltdown), I came across so many opinions and so much advice for whatEVER kind of diet plan that's out there it was just OVERWHELMING! Is there a RIGHT WAY? REALLY?

The answer is no. Sugar-free/low-carb isn't for everyone. Neither is low fat. Neither is Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or even Body by Vi. What works for some WILL NOT work for everyone. Everyone is unique in that way. And people change over time. What works when you're in your 30's might not work in your 40's.

Back to my epiphany... In the shower this morning, I made the decision to STOP THE MADNESS. I can't stress over this any longer. Just because my numbers do not reflect all my hard work this summer, that does not make me a failure. I've gained great habits regarding food. My fitness level is growing in ways that make me feel so much stronger. I am better than I was 69 days ago. Because I am trying.

If I never lose another pound, I KNOW that I am trying. And for that reason, I will not quit. I will keep moving forward with a healthy diet and exercise plan. I will eat healthy food that I love (including my protein shakes and fruit) in moderation, and I will continue to stay low-carb. But if I mess up, I will NOT hate myself for it. In fact, I will schedule in "cheat" meals at least once per week. I will keep going to the gym, and I will know my body is changing, if only on the inside! The important thing is to stay on the journey, no matter what.

I was happy to just count calories and eat anything I wanted in moderation... but going no sugar for the past week has also helped me realize that I need to really get the majority of carbs out of my diet, too. And I will. But it may be more of a process than something that happens overnight. I need to build my list of go-to foods so that I'm not just eating eggs and lettuce.

I have asked Clyde to take my scale away (since I obviously can't control my urges, lol). He is to only let me weigh in on Fridays. If I lose... that is GREAT. If not, I will look at how well I did for the week and take it from there. Even if I know that I totally rocked it with diet and exercise, I will NOT let that number discourage me.

What is the point of being stressed out and miserable about my diet? Is that going to get me to my goal sooner than later?

I don't think so!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 67 - Sugar-free Me

I am praying that a sugar-free diet is the last key for me. Saturday was day 1 for me... No added sugar, low carbs, no white. So far, the only sugar I have had is the sugar from one piece of fruit daily.

I have also decided to stop all shakes for right now. I am afraid that even though they are low in sugar and carbs that the sweet taste might be a trigger.

This weekend was rough. I had terrible withdrawals Saturday and Sunday. Leg cramps, headaches, no energy, depression... Bad times. This week has been better. I even went to the gym on Monday.

I am also back at work. No students this week, just professional development. And lots of food. So far, I have avoided all of it!

This weekend was an eye opener for me on how much of a drug that sugar is for me. I know that no-matter what, I need to let it go. Not just for weight loss, but for health.

And as a TOOL (lol), I have brought ONE scale back in the house and have been weighing daily. The scale has been moving down a little at a time. As of yesterday I was down 1.4 lbs for the week, but this morning was back up .8. I am sure this was from too much sodium and a little whole wheat for dinner. The sugar/carbs were ok, just not the other ingredients. I'm not upset... my body told me immediately that I shouldn't have ate it.

My goals for this week is to continue to be low carb/low sugar. I will have to continue to resist temptation at work, and also find time for the gym. Not only am I back to work this week, but my oldest daughter is at an acting camp 30 miles away. So as soon as I leave work I have to sit in evening traffic for about an hour each way to get her. There goes my gym time, so I will have to just go late.

I am really trying to stay positive here. I am reading a new book, Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat, and the book talks a lot about framing your thoughts about yourself in a proper way so that you are not always so negative about yourself and your journey (which I have to admit I need to work on). Very insightful so far... but more on that later.

Thanks again for all the comments and suggestions. I have received some very good advice and resources thanks to you all!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 61 - Throwing in the Towel

Yesterday was a bad day... one of those days where you cry so much that you have to take your contacts out because your eyes are so swollen and puffy.

It started at 6 a.m.

I actually jumped up out of bed, pretty excited. It was day 60 of my challenge... time to weigh in and take measurements. I have also been taking progress pictures with just bra and panties... My daughter helped me take the pictures, which I quickly downloaded and compared to last months, and the ones I took on my start day.

Once again, I could tell NO difference. So, thinking my eyes had deceived me, I measured. SURELY I had lost some inches, right?

Nope. No change in my chest or waist. I lost one inch in my thigh area...

But by then I'd already lost it.


I know that I'm not perfect, but I also know that I haven't been this consistent in years. I count every calorie.I drink my shakes. I go to the gym 3 - 5 times per week. I lift weights.

I have been doing everything I am supposed to do, with no results.

The scale showed a TWO POUND loss, which is really great since it hasn't moved in a month, but I was too upset to celebrate.


It totally ruined my day. What else can I do?

I got so much encouragement on Facebook, and from my BFF's that I texted, but I still feel felt like a complete failure.

Am I just destined to be fat? Is it time to just throw in the towel and admit defeat?

Hell, no. As mad as I was am, I am still not going to quit. I am doing something wrong, and I am just mad enough right now to keep trying to find it.

I did some really hard reflection. I eat out too much. I could be more strict with my calories. I re-calculated my calories based on NROL, and they recommend the same amount that MFP does, so that's right (I think).

So my next step... eliminating/reducing refined sugar. I REALLY was trying to avoid it, but it just seems inevitable. I just don't think my body can function with it anymore and lose weight at the same time. Diabetes runs in my family... maybe that's it? Not really sure, and since I'm uninsured, I can't go to the doctor and get anything checked. I just know that I at least need to try.

Not really sure what to do about the Vi-shakes, either. Is it a coincidence that the ONE TIME in a month that the scale moves is after I stop the shakes? That is the only thing I changed about my diet last week... But I miss them so much. I bought other protein powder... two different kinds... and neither does it for me like the Vi-shakes. I don't know what to do about that...

But I do know that starting tomorrow, I have sugar rules. For 30 days...

1. no added sugar
2. fruit is allowed
3. protein powder is allowed (the Vi-shakes and the protein powder I have on hand has very little sugar)
3. no white stuff (sugar, bread, rice, potatoes)

After 30 days (enough time to detox, hopefully), I will add back whole grains and allow myself the occasional sweet treat (if I still want it by then).

Just like my friend, Crys, told me yesterday... if it's the sugar that is keeping my from losing weight, I will know right away after I eliminate it. I should start losing fairly quickly, especially if I keep up my exercise routine.

Even though I know it's going to be hard, and even though I have tricked myself into believing that I would not have to eliminate anything in my diet to lose weight... I am praying this works.

Something has to give over the next 30 days. I can't take another experience like yesterday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 54 - Just a few things...

Thank you for all the feedback from my last post. I am okay now... still a little down, but ok. I am holding on to the fact that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and making healthy habits. It will all come together... eventually. Like one person said, I have to have patience.

But there were a few comments that I would like to address.

Just to make it clear, I do not eat my exercise calories. The only time I dip into that number is if I go over unintentionally. Since I am never sure of exactly how many calories I am burning, I just leave them alone.

One other person said that I am eating too many calories, and that I should cut down to around 1200.

Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

I weigh 312 lbs. From most if not all of the research I've done, low calorie diets are no good. First of all, I can't eat 1200 calories per day for the rest of my life. Second, for someone of my weight who is exercising like I am, 1200 calories just isn't enough to keep me going. I've tried low-calorie diets before, but I am HUNGRY. I don't like being hungry. If I'm hungry, I won't stick to the plan, no matter what it is.

And I need something I can stick to for life. That is why I also try to stay away from diet plans that restrict whole food groups. Although I know I need to cut down on sugar and processed foods (and I do), I don't ban them from my diet. When I tell myself I can't have something, it just makes me want it more.

Another thing that several people mentioned were that I need to stop drinking the Vi-shakes. The thing about shakes... either you love them or you don't. I happen to be a shake lover... not just the Vi-shakes, but Slim-Fast and other types, too. I love me a good smoothie! I am just as satisfied by drinking a meal as I am eating one. And it really helps me with portion control and overall convenience. Will I drink Vi-shakes for the rest of my life? Based on cost alone, probably not. But I do know that I can always incorporate some sort of smoothie/shake into my lifestyle. As long as I have a blender.

The way I look at it, the shakes have really helped me get into a routine of making good choices for at least two meals daily. I love the way they taste, and I love the variety. I know they are processed, and not "real food", but for now, I think the benefits out weigh the risks...

But speaking of the Vi-Shakes...

My ex-husband brought up a very good point the other day. He has been really helping me since I started the 90-day challenge, and also reviews my meals each day on MFP. He is close enough to know that I'm making good food choices, exercising my ass off, and being accountable. But he pointed out that the only thing he can see that I am doing different this time as compared to the last times that I have buckled down and lost weight is that I am drinking the Vi-shakes instead of Slim-Fast or another type of protein for my smoothie.

What REALLY got me thinking is a few articles he found on the internet about the soy in these shakes, and how they can actually have a negative effect on some people.

Hmmm... made me think.

I did more research on my own, and there is way more research pointing to the GOOD stuff in these shakes, but I just have to make sure. Because he is right... even when I did my 30-day challenge back in February/March, I was not working as hard as I am now and the weight was coming off at a good rate. I was drinking Slim-Fast then, though. Even with the addition of weight training, I should have lost more than 7 lbs in the past 7 weeks...

So for ONE WEEK I am not using the Vi powder for my shakes. I will use another type of protein (which I haven't found yet). Today has really been hard so far because my go-to breakfast and lunch are gone. I don't have another source of protein for a shake, and that's really all I want! So I will have to go to the grocery and find something.

I am really thinking that the Vi-shakes are not what is causing my 5-week plateau, but I have to make sure. So I weighed this morning and will weigh again on next Thursday morning. We shall see.

If the scale moves significantly, I know what the problem is. If I am still stalled out, I will go back to my Vi-shakes (because I really do love them!) and keep trying to change other things until I find what I'm doing wrong.

I took these pics yesterday and they really helped me see that I have made some progress...

I was actually able to see a calf muscle this morning in the shower. Talk about non-scale victory! This will have to do for now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 52 - Not Giving Up

Feeling a little discourage today. I am still not feeling any visible progress. And after peeking at the scale at the gym yesterday, the scale hasn't moved, either.

What the HELL am I doing wrong? Is my body just this cruel?

Since I started back to using MFP on June 18 (22 days ago), I have logged in every single day to count calories. I have logged in exercise for 15 of those days. I started out at 1900 calories, and lowered it to 1700 just the other day thinking maybe 1900 was too many. I tried doing an 1+ hrs of cardio daily, then dropped down to 30+ minutes plus weights. Heavy weights that challenge me. Harder cardio... now I am doing intervals that kick my butt.

I feel so much better - physically. But why isn't my body changing?

My diet has NOT been perfect, but I have counted every single calorie and haven't gone over by much - even on days when I've been out of town. I am still drinking my Vi-shakes. I am eating fruit and veggies like crazy. Almost no processed food anymore.

But I am doing something wrong. I am still so unsure of how many calories I am supposed to eat with all the exercise I'm doing. Do I eat my calories? Or not? Or some? MFP calculates it, but I don't know whether to put in "light activity" or "sedentary". I started with "light activity" which gave me around 1900 k-cal, but I changed it to "sedentary" the other day to lower it to almost 1700 k-cal. Right now, I am going to stick with it and try my best not to go over. I am also not going to eat any of my exercise calories.

The 2nd month of my challenge is almost over and it makes me so frustrated that I'm not getting the progress I expected.

The only thing that I am glad about is that I feel like I am forming good habits. Counting calories and exercising are seeming very routine to me right now. And that is good.

I have a bow order that I HAVE to finish this morning, so I need to get busy.

I'm going to keep moving forward! Something HAS to give.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 46 - What I learned in Memphis...

On Monday I went on a last-minute road trip with my bff (Brooke). We drove down to Memphis because her sister-in-law was there on business and we wanted to get some "girl time" before we both turn into teachers again later this month!

Although I didn't have a lot of time, I made sure I packed healthy snacks, water, Vi-shakes, and my mini blender for the trip. I wanted to stay on track, even though I knew there would probably be a few meals out. 

I even packed a yummy salad for lunch on the way down there!

Going out of town is tough, but roadtrips are even harder for me. I am drawn to sodas and chips and sweets from convenient stores and gas stations. I also tend to eat a lot of fast food on road trips, especially when my kiddos are not along. But this time I am proud to say that I resisted temptation!

Brooke is also on this journey with me, so it was great to have that extra accountability. She is doing the Paleo diet, and she also had her snacks and food with her on the trip. Yesterday we both got up and hit the gym at the hotel and had a great workout!

We ate out and had cocktails both nights, but neither of us felt bad about it because it was planned. I learned that when you eat well all day and actually plan a "cheat meal", there is not the same level of guilt that you usually feel. I knew both times that I would pick back up at the next meal and start doing well again. And I really don't felt like I overate... both times I stopped when I was full. It wasn't the beginning of a binge, and it wasn't the end of the world. It was special occasion and just that.

I also learned a few other things in Memphis that were pretty deep. On Monday night we drove down to Tunica, MS to the casino. I don't really gamble, so a lot of the time I sat and just "observed" the people around me. I was overwhelmed by the number of overweight, unhealthy-looking people that were there. I was also saddened by the number of elderly people that were drawing 100's of dollars out of the atm to gamble away. In no way do I mean to judge these people, or claim to know what is REALLY going on in their lives. But I still felt bad for a lot of them after I left. 

But I also felt good about making good choices while I was there. I know I am getting stronger... mentally and physically. This is finally FEELING like a lifestyle change. 46 days into this challenge and I know that good habits are forming. This is my FOURTH consecutive week of regular exercise. I have logged into MyFitnessPal to journal my food and exercise for 18 days in a row! I have tossed out my scales (finally) and have started to focus on the journey and not the numbers.

I am doing pretty darned good!

Speaking of the numbers... I have decided to start strength training using weights. Now that I am not afraid of the scale fluctuation that comes with weights, and due to the fact that tons of cardio doesn't seem to be working, I think that weights might be a good option right now. I am reading so much about "fat burning" as opposed to just "losing weight" and I think that sounds like a good idea. I picked up this book the other day and I love it!


Several people left great comments after my post about eating my calories. I am really starting to get on board with the fact that really restricting calories is not the way to go. I am not 100% sure that I should eat as many calories as some groups/sites recommend, but I will definitely not be going under my 1900/day right now. I have also cut my cardio to 30-40 minutes instead of 60-75 now that I am weight training. Hopefully I will see some results soon.

If not, then I will re-evaluate again. Right now, I am more focused on BEING CONSISTENT! If I am working out and eating right, everything will eventually fall into place. I have to believe that!