Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's Good To Be Back!

Well, I'm back. Finally. I've been dealing with a painfully sick child for the past week, which has greatly reduced my computer time. Plus, I just didn't have the energy to sit down and think of something to write. But, after a full night of sleep, I'm feeling refreshed and ready to face the day!

What was really interesting, is that I paid more attention to how stress affected my eating habits. I ate less, slept less, drank less, exercised way less and overall felt exhausted! I found myself just grabbing something to eat on the run and not sitting down to eat. Luckily, I've started keeping more fresh fruit in the house, so it was usually a banana or something like that. But I found I didn't do as well with drinking water, which was strange to me. I'm usually pretty good at getting my 10 glasses of water a day. When I weighed myself on Wednesday, I didn't lose at all, and I'm positive it was because of the stress. In fact, before I stepped on the scale, I contemplated not doing it all - I was afraid of a gain and that would've been down-right depressing.

So, this week I'm starting with a fresh slate, a much happier-healthier daughter and I think my sanity is still here somewhere. I'm looking forward to enjoying the outdoors and hopefully more exercise! And maybe, just maybe I'll get a little closer to my goal of losing this double chin that's been haunting me for 10 years.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weight Down Wednesday

Wow! It's amazing how much a sick child can affect your computer time! Needless to say, it's been a stress-filled week and I was extremely apprehensive about stepping on the scale this morning. The good news is that I didn't gain a pound, but I didn't lose either. Stayed right at 217. That's ok! I'm going to chalk it up to a week of no sleep. Which brings up a very good topic - SLEEP.

Did you know that our bodies require sleep for a reason? In fact, here are 5 really good reasons to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night:

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory.
  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain!Ouch!
  3. Safety: Sleep loss contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the day.
  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Hmmm....
  5. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
A year ago, I walked several miles faithfully every day for a month. I lost an inch around my thighs, but not an ounce of weight. Why? I was getting about 4-5 hours of sleep a night. The lesson here is that it doesn't matter how much you exercise - if you aren't getting enough sleep, your body goes into preservation mode. We need sleep. Since that time, I try very hard to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Not only do I feel better during the day, I function so much better!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Eat. Think. Drink.

Eating without thinking about it. How many people do that? I've realized that I do it a LOT! For some reason, this week was especially bad. Maybe it was my weekly challenge to only eat 1 serving size without seconds, I don't know. In spite of all the temptations, I did really well. But like I said, I was made quite aware of my ability to just stick something in my mouth without even thinking about it.

So, I've come up with at least one way to avoid doing this and in turn over-eating. I keep a glass of water on the kitchen counter, when it gets emptied, I refill it. This way when I walk into the kitchen, the first thing I do is drink the water (and refill the glass) and then try to figure out why I walked into the kitchen in the first place. I must say, this has worked well for me this week. It's also helped me to drink plenty of water!

Now, the weekend is upon us. I used to approach the weekend as my "free weekend". Meaning that I could eat or drink whatever I wanted. However, I'm finding myself approaching it a bit differently now. I'm not on a diet, this is a change in my eating habits. So the weekend is no different from every other day of the week. Surprisingly, that doesn't make me feel bad at all. I know that if we go out to eat, I'll be good and not overeat. Plain and simple.

Enjoy the weekend. It's supposed to be warm and sunny here, so I'm thinking there won't be much time spent on the computer. Woohoo!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weight Down Wednesday

I'm christening today as "Weight Down Wednesday". What does that mean, you ask? Well, typically when you join a weight loss group such as TOPS, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig - you name it - you have a certain day of the week that is your weigh-in day. For me, that day is Wednesday, and my goal for this day is to have my weight go DOWN, at least until I've reached my goal. That is, no more double chin! *grin* Thus, the name "Weight Down".

So, you may now be wondering if I attained that Wednesday goal, to which I will most happily answer, "YES"!!!! This morning I weighed in at 217. Down from 218 last week. Woohoo!!!! Losing 1 pound is far better than gaining 1 pound. And I should know....

Now, to do it again next week, and the next, and the next. You get the idea. Yay! I'm so happy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why Eat Breakfast?

Let me start with a confession, I did not do any exercise yesterday. There. That's done. If I am to be successful in "losing my double chin", I have to get some physical activity into my day. So, since this is a new day - I'll start with a fresh slate. Never give up. Each day is a new opportunity to reach for your goals!

Now, on to my real topic for today - Breakfast. I struggle with breakfast. It's so easy for me to skip this most important meal, or to eat something that has me ravenous by 10am. I'm trying really hard to make breakfast a habit - and a healthy one at that. But, honestly, it's been difficult. So what do I do? First, I've found that a good oatbran muffin or a bowl of hot oatmeal satisfies me for several hours, even an egg and a piece of toast will do that. However, a blueberry muffin, bowl of cereal or a cinnamon roll has me starving in a couple hours. I'm not an expert, but I think the sugar content has something to do with that. (Side note: Pop Tarts are a horrendous "breakfast" food - they are made entirely of sugar!) It helps that I have to make breakfast for my daughter, however, I will admit that in the past she's gotten some pretty un-breakfasty foods...that's all I'll say about that. Except that I am changing my ways!

Why is breakfast so important? It's like your body's alarm clock - it wakes it up and gets it going for the day. If you eat a nutritious breakfast, you will be less likely to crave fattening snacks throughout the day. Also, did you know that if you skip a meal during the day - you will be much more likely to overeat at some point that day? That reason is enough for me! And I think it's played a major part in my weight gain the past 10 years.

What do you eat for breakfast? Do you struggle like me? I'd love to hear from you!

Here's my Oat Bran Muffin recipe:

4 cups oat bran
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup dry powdered milk
1/2 cup unrefined or raw sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 cups dried fruit (I love Craisins!)
1-1/2 cups milk or water

Fill the muffin cups, these do not rise very much at all. Makes 6 jumbo or 12 regular muffins.
Bake at 350
18-21 minutes for regular muffins or 25-30 minutes for jumbo
These keep best in the refrigerator.
Delicious for breakfast and very filling. Enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Challenge Monday

My new-found willpower was severely tested this weekend - - by Monster Cookies! I have the best recipe for these delicious treats and they are most certainly a weakness of mine. I made them because my hubby was complaining that there was nothing in the house to snack on. I had a bag of m&m's that needed to be used, and so the idea for monster cookies entered my brain. I don't know about you, but there aren't a lot of things that taste as good as fresh-from-the-oven cookies - they're warm and chewy and gooey and - well, I could go on and on, but I won't. Needless to say, I managed to cut myself off at 3... on Saturday... and that's all I'll say about it...

Even though the cookies were delicious, and I ate plenty the first day, my willpower kept me from devouring a dozen. I must say that I was surprised with my ability to cut myself off. How did I get to this point? And can I stay here? I'm certainly going to try! Being able to say "NO!" to food, especially too much food, is a huge step towards a healthier and skinnier me.

I was with some friends last week and we got to talking about weight loss. One of my friends is a fitness guru, and she gave us this tidbit, "It doesn't matter how much you exercise, if you don't adjust your eating habits, you will not lose weight. Sure, you may be healthier and in better shape physically, but your weight will not go down unless you cut back on the amount of food you eat."

Excellent advice. Let's use it!

Today is Challenge Monday. I like to give myself a goal each week, something I can attain, but will stretch my comfort a bit. So this week, (and this goes through Sunday!) the challenge is:

Eat only the recommended serving size of whatever you eat. NO SECONDS.

For example, if you have ice cream, eat only 1/2 cup.  If you cook or bake from scratch, like me, be reasonable in your portion sizes!

We can do it!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Exercise - Yeah, right...

I need to confess - I really don't like to exercise. Knowing that I have to do it, just makes it worse. So I keep trying to come up with creative ways to get exercise without really calling it exercise. Did that make any sense at all?

The bike in my living room has helped, because I can ride while watching tv. Here are some other things I do while watching tv (which, I must confess, I enjoy too much):
  • Leg Lifts - they're way more fun when you're watching your favorite tv show
  • Leg Presses - I lay on my back with my knees to my chest and have my daughter lay on my feet and lift her up - she loves it!
  • Pilates - once you learn the basics, you can do this anywhere!
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Walking/running in place
For some reason, I am much more faithful at doing these things when I'm not following a dvd. I'm sure it's all in my head, but hey! Whatever works, right?! You don't have to sit on your butt the entire time you're watching a show.

With spring here, I love being outdoors, and that means all kinds of exercise - mowing lawn, gardening, weeding, swimming (soon!), walking, riding bike and so much more. Sure, these things don't burn as many calories as a full-on one hour workout, but they get the job done! Especially if you keep your food intake sensible! That's the topic for tomorrow...

Enjoy your Friday!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Start Somewhere

We all know what it takes to lose weight. We hear it all the time:

"Eat healthy. Exercise. Drink Water. Get Sleep."

It sounds so easy. Then why isn't it? For me, it's actually taking that knowledge and using it - I haven't done that. Until now. For some reason, when I stepped on that scale and saw 230 pounds, something clicked in my brain. The fact that I actually let myself reach that weight scared me! And I did do this to myself. I can't blame anyone else. So what am I going to do about it?

I really don't like to exercise. I have a lot of dvds that are gathering dust because I just don't enjoy doing them. So I needed to find something that would work for me. And I did - I found an old exercise bike at a thrift store for $5 - and I'm using it every day. Sure, I could've gone out and bought one of those fancy new ones with all the bells and whistles, but I wanted to be sure that I would actually use it! I know too many people who have bikes and treadmills that they never use! I'm at 10 minutes a day right now.
I have seriously cut back on my portion sizes. This has always been the hardest thing for me, because I LOVE food and I LOVE to eat! Lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, I got really sick 2 weeks ago and basically didn't eat for 3 days. The result was that my stomach shrunk a LOT! I am determined not to stretch it back out. I am basically eating half of what I used to. For example, we went to Applebee's last weekend and I ordered my favorite, the Fiesta Lime Chicken. When my food came, I divided the entire dish in half - ate half and boxed the rest. I left feeling very satisfied. Before, I would've devoured the entire entree plus an appetizer and maybe even dessert. I'm a little stunned that it doesn't take nearly as much food to satisfy me as I once thought.

I drink lots of water and I'm trying really hard to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

I'm convinced that cutting back on how much food I eat will be the key to my success at losing weight. Yes, exercise is very important, but it doesn't have to be an hour a day at the local gym. It can start with a brisk 10 minute walk every day, or riding an exercise bike for 10 minutes - while watching your favorite tv show. Even chasing your kids around the yard counts. The key is to do something, anything.

I've been setting small goals for myself each week since the beginning of April. Something that's easily attainable, but will give me results if I stick to it. This week my goal is to ride my exercise bike for 15 minutes a day. 

So don't just sit there feeling bad about your extra weight. That's what I did for a long time, and look where it got me - nowhere! Start today. Don't give up when you mess up. Just start over. It's never too late!

Monday, May 10, 2010

And So It Begins....

Finally! My own official weight-loss blog! I've been thinking about this for a while and since today is rainy and my daughter is taking a nap - what better time to start, than right now.

Weight has not always been a struggle for me. I didn't even give it a second thought when I was in high school, and even when I gained the "freshman fifteen" in bible school, I still wasn't concerned. I was 5'9" 155 and a size 10. Then, I got married. I think it was the pill that started it. I gained 25 pounds in the first 3 years - yikes!! Then I went off the pill for various reasons, including the awful weight gain. I tried a natural diet pill with ephedra in it, and was able to lose it all within a year. But then, I went off that pill and let's just say, "The proof is in the pudding." And what a pudding it has been! 75 pounds have been gained in 11 years. It disgusts me to think that I've done this to myself. And for the past number of years I've let that disgust rule me. NO MORE!

That is why I'm starting this blog. I no longer want a discouraging voice in my head - I want an encouraging one!! These are my goals for this blog:
  1. To daily encourage myself and others to eat right and live healthy.
  2. To be real and honest about the struggles involved in doing the above!
  3. To have others share their struggles and victories, so we can all be encouraged.
  4. Honestly, I want to lose weight - and I'm hoping that this blog will help me find and keep my willpower to do just that.
  5. Weekly weigh-in.
  6. Contests. Who doesn't love a little incentive?

As I think of more goals, I'll add them. #4 really should be my #1, because that's really what I want! At the beginning of April, I weighed in at a hefty 230 lbs and a size 18/20. As of May 10, I'm at 218. That's been very encouraging to me, and makes me want to find my 155 again - AND I really want to lose my double chin!

Join me in this journey, because it's always easier with a friend!