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My Weight Loss~One Year Later

Today is the one year anniversary of my weight loss triumph. I can’t believe it’s been a year…it feels like 10 years ago! I’m happy to say that I’ve kept it all off…fluctuating down a few…and up a few…but pretty much staying at about an average of 132, which is technically 2 pounds less than I was a year ago.

weight loss one year later

{I tried to stand at the exact same angle as best I could!}

I took the middle picture above during the 2nd phase of the 6 week cleanse, of which ended March 21st of 2012.

 

It always seems that GETTING the weight off is the biggest part of the battle, with so much focus on how people do it, but KEEPING it off is equally difficult and rewarding all at the same time.
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My {quick} weight loss: 6 months later

I get lots of emails and questions asking about my weight loss, and a big question is how have I maintained.  I thought I’d share my journey–6 months later–as I hit that landmark just last week.

My biggest worry about my quick weight loss was the ability to keep off the weight long term. I was concerned that even if I did “all the right things” it would slowly come back on, and also worried that I wouldn’t be able to control my food urges. I am happy to report that after 6 months of living “on my own” I’ve not only maintained, but lost a few extra pounds along the way. I’m happy to say that I still enjoy all foods, but also working hard with a few personal rules so that I can enjoy them at varying times.

If you aren’t aware of my weight loss journey, you can read all about it here.  It wasn’t my intent to continue losing after it. I was happy with what I lost. Mostly I’ve wanted to tone up the extra tummy skin that stretched with 4 babies. After completely restricting starches and sugars for 6 weeks, it made me VERY conscious of the food items that contained those, and I started reading labels looking for that. I like treats–a lot–but it made me very conscious and very aware of what I was eating, and I became more calculated with the foods I put into my mouth.

{My general rule is to only eat homemade treats (my faves here). They are the best anyway–don’t waste your calories on something store bought.}

It’s really sad the mental battle we must play on a daily basis for the food we put into our mouth. Food is SO delicious! We crave sweets, we eat half of the cookie dough batter (guilty), we want to bake for our family and friends, and it’s almost easier to not even try the treat than to take a sample because then we’ll want more!  I had sugar complete restrictions through Valentine’s Day and a trip to  New York City, and I had just decided not to eat sugars, so it wasn’t as much of a temptation. But when it was over–just taking ONE treat was a whole knew battle. One that I still strive to master.

My philosophy on weight loss/weight gain/maintaining weight is that if you exercise regularly and only sortof watch what you eat (me) then you will stay the same. That’s what has happened to me. I figured I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted and NOT exercise, so I had to pick one to do WELL, and the other, I’d try my best, but knowing I wanted to still enjoy food.

EXERCISE

With exercise, I have worked hard to be dedicated. In the past 6 months, I have only missed maybe 5 days without exercising. My rule is 6 days a week–no exceptions. I am pretty liberal when it comes to exercise–I just want my heart rate elevated for a minimum of 30 minutes. I’ve made it a priority, I have an exercise PLAN, and if something gets in the way–time-wise–I adjust my plan. I’ve promised myself to work out Monday-Saturday with a goal of 40 minutes minimum, ideally 60 minutes. Sunday is my day of rest.  With each life transition:  school ending, summertime, vacations, school starting, I’ve had to readjust my exercise schedule.

Here is my exercise schedule now:

Monday: am Kickboxing (body combat) class at the gym (50 minutes)

Tuesday: pm bike ride with my toddler in the carriage behind me (40 minutes) sometimes I do this after dinner with my older daughter cycling next to me while all boys are at soccer

Wednesday: am Intense Step Aerobics class at the gym (30 minutes) Core conditioning class (30 minutes)

Thursday: pm Run with my boys (40 minutes)

Friday: am speed walk with a friend (60 minutes)

Saturday: Grab bag! I either run first thing in the morning (40 min) bike ride in the afternoon (40 min) or go to the gym to do the eliptical (40) while watching cable!

In the event that I can’t make one of these times, I have options, and I like options. My difficulties to work around were that I  only wanted to take my daughter to the gym day care twice a week. She doesn’t love it, and even though I try to arrange with a friend to be there at the same time (so she has a friend) and snacks and a coloring book in her “gym bag” she doesn’t get excited when I say we are going. That breaks my heart and makes me feel guilty. So just twice a week. Luckily, she doesn’t cry when I drop her, that would kill me (though it did happen a few times at the beginning).

On T/Th when she is in pre-school, I see that as my blogging time where I try to crank out as much as I can in posts for the week because I don’t like to be on the computer much when my kids are home. I really toiled with using just one hour to exercise/shower, but then it would only leave me with two hours, and that wasn’t enough. I thought I could go running early early, but figured I could do a few afternoon workouts, though they aren’t my fave. Tuesdays with the girls, Thursdays with the boys.

A few times I had to by default do an evening run, and my  boys asked to come along. We had so much fun (and they totally pushed me) that they’ve kept asking to come, and I thought this would be great bonding time for us once a week. So it’s now the plan. It’s not the ideal time for me to workout, but just before dinner, it’s been fine. We have to wait  until my husband gets home from work to be with the girls though.

Before my weight loss, I’d exercise 3-4 times a week, but I was so worried about gaining back, that I wanted to over compensate by just exercising daily, and really–I feel SO much stronger and able to do things that I never did before. I feel healthy and energetic.

FOOD

My friend recently sent me a very interesting article entitled Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. “It’s what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off” is the main theme of the article. It mentions how people often want to “reward” themselves with a treat after working out, but that won’t help you lose weight. Changing your eating habits will.

Since I’m not in the “losing weight” phase, I give myself leeway, and so far I’ve been fine. The first month or so after my loss, I was VERY VERY careful. I’d have a small treat maybe once a week. I dipped my toe in a little more and had one twice. I was calorie counting very well, and for my height/weight I ate 1800 calories at day and burned 300-500 calories. So treats were ok every once in a while. In June, we drove to Utah and back, and I indulged a touch more, and still maintained just fine (ran nearly daily, too). In July, I went to Alaska and was a little too confident and ate 3 full meals with pastries every day. I literally remember saying to my hubby “I want to find a new pastry shop today” and he looked at me like, “girl, you gotta settle down.” I came home up a good 5  pounds and I was worried!  I didn’t want that to be my new normal! I simmered down a few notches, and went back to my original weight.

My general daily diet:

7am Small bowl of oatmeal filled with fresh blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries (I like the preportioned packets below, and this brand has the fewest calories–along with almond milk)

9am 100 calorie packet of almonds or if working out, chocolate low carb high protein post workout shake

12 lunch at home is half an avocado, hard boiled egg, almond slivers with a low carb dressing

3pm Afternoon apple or banana

5:30 Dinner. I don’t think too hard about dinner ingredients, but I try to go easy on the rice/pasta for myself

7pm fruit for dessert or 1 scoop of ice cream–every 3 nights or so

*If I go out to lunch with friend and eat heavier, I have a very light dinner. I used to choose only salads at restaraunts, but now I just try to choose wisely most of the time and every once in a while get whatever the heck I want.

*I try not to eat after 7pm. I am not a big fan of ice cream, prefer baked goods, but my goal is that if I’m going to eat sweets to do in during the day. I got used to having fruit at my “dessert” on my weight loss that I’ve rewired my brain a little.

*lots of ice water throughout the day

*Gum when I crave something that I wish I weren’t.

NUMBERS

I began my 6 week quick weight loss at 155  pounds.  After 6 weeks, I was down 21 pounds and had 134 as my new normal. The weight I wanted to stay. My happy place. As long as once a week I was at 134, I was happy. In July, I think one evening I weight 139 and I was worried. I didn’t want to see it keep creeping up. I kept up my exercise, and focused better on eating well. Never do I skip meals. Never. That’s not how you lose. Every 2-3 hours of eating boosts your metabolism and keeps you satisfied. I cut back on my treats and got back down to 134…some days at 132. It was just last month in August that I saw 130 for the first time, and was so stinkin’ excited. Then earlier this month, I saw 128, and that’s the lowest I’ve seen. SO exciting, I took a cell phone pic! My new morning weight the past few weeks is 130 and my high is 132 or 133.

CHALLENGE

I have given tips and “coached” a few friends as they took this journey, and I will say that for most, it was much easier to eat 500 calories on very specific foods than it was to have 1500 calories of anything but sugar/starches. Our bodies just CRAVE the sugars so much, and it IS hard to deny something we love so much. It’s actually easier to have a list of set things we can eat, tougher to be on our own, making good decisions. If you decide to go the same route as I did, don’t stop early–see it through the entire 6 weeks.

FRUSTRATION

I by no means think this is the end all be all for losing weight, it worked for me and I’m very happy with it. I don’t push it on anyone, but if asked I’m happy to share.  When I was about 3 months out, I had a yearly OB checkup, and I decided to ask my doctor what he thought about it. I felt confident enough about how it worked for me, I was genuinely curious. He didn’t seem to mind about the particular plan I that I used, but he did get  “in a huff” about how one can’t just lost weight and not change their lifestyle (which I agreed) and expect to keep the weight off. I felt I had changed my lifestyle at that point.

Another frustration is that I hear from people who must have been talking to other people or read about my weight loss here.  When they ask things like “are you still eating 500 calories a day” with a concerned look on their face, I say, “No, that was 6 months ago for only 3 weeks.”  People have opinions, that’s fine. I just wish others would be more respectful, and at least try to hide their facial expressions with their “noses turned up.” I haven’t had a lot of that–but a few.

My last frustration that I just discovered is that my newer thinner face looks older now. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but last week after my mud run, I took a few self portraits to get a good glance at the mud on my face. I mentioned to my sil, Alayna, that I can’t seem to get a pic of myself that my skin doesn’t look wrinkled, bummer getting older. She said (she is very knowledgeable about everything–don’t play Trivial Pursuit with her) that with the fat out of my face, it makes one look older–that’s what Botox is–fat injects to smooth out the skin. Ack! Did. not. occur. to. me. that losing weight would do that. BUT I’m happy to have a thinner face, and have no plans for Botox, so I’ll take it!

To wrap up another monster post, I felt I had tried so hard with exercise and eating before my quick weight loss, and got so easily discouraged. I saw my plan as a kick start to a new lifestyle, and that’s what it was. Bottom line is that I have worked hard, but still enjoying food and life along the way. It can be done!

Are you struggling to lose? Any exercise/eating tips you’d like to share? Questions?

Healthy Lifestyle~My Exercise & Eating Goals

Today, I’m going to share with you how I have recently made a personal goal to exercise daily and eat more healthy. I got an AMAZING response from you dearies in sharing my weight loss story last week, thank you all for your sweet words, questions, and encouragement. I went through all of the comments and answered all of the questions, so if you didn’t see it, go check it out here.

To sum up my weight loss post:  I set aside 6 weeks to “de-tox” if you will, 3 weeks quite extreme with very low calories, and the next 3 weeks maintaining what I lost while eating more calories, but still cutting out sugars and starches.  Guess what that taught me?  I’m now very conscious of the sugars and starches I consume. If I’m going to eat them, they are going to be DANG good, and not the bulk of my meal. My bread, pasta, rice is not what fluffs up my plate with a little meat and veggies, but the other way around.

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FOOD

It’s all around us–delicious food tempting us on every corner. “They” say, Effective weight loss is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. I’m not sure where that percentage is measured, but what we eat has a LOT to do with our fitness–not just working out like crazy. I love food blogs, pictures of food are what I “pin” most on pinterest.  It is a constant battle of will power and self control that I still haven’t mastered and probably never will.  I actually found it was easier to stay away from sweets when it was “off limits” than having a little and not having more. Once I try it…I want more.

The key for me is to MAKE A PLAN for my eating. I used to be all willy nilly, “I’ll just eat whatever and try not to eat too much.”  Well, that isn’t much of a plan. Now, I mentally map out my week/day according to what is on the calendar. If I know I want to enjoy treats at book club on Thursday night, I’m going  to keep that in mind as I go throughout the week because I want to sample it all.

My friend recommended an interesting book called Food Rules {the eater’s manual} by Michael Pollan. You can even read an exerpt on Amazon here. It’s a short and easy read with funny pictures.

I’m not an extremist, but there were some very good tidbits that helped me mentally understand the rules we should all live by. He’s made 83 “rules”  and though I am luke warm with some of them, here are a few that stuck out to me:

#45 Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself.  That may have gotten me into trouble yesterday as I snuck WAAY too much of the cookie dough for the cookies I was baking for teacher appreciation week. His point is that there is just too much accessability to sweets and treats that are packaged, and if you’re going to have a treat, MAKE IT GOOD!  Is there any question that a baked cookie is much better than something from the candy aisle? It’s a lot of work to bake treats, and we don’t do it every day, so when we do it–enjoy!

#40 Make water your beverage of choice. Do you want to drink your calories or eat your calories? I prefer to eat them. Also, if you drink a tall glass of water before a meal, youwill eat less.

#9 Avoid food products with the word “lit” or “low-fat” or “nonfat” in their names. He says that in the 40 years that labels have had those phrases on them, our nation as a whole has gotten fatter. In many cases, when the fat is removed, more sugar is added or more carbs. He says that often non fat yogurts contain more sugar per ounce than soda. We’re better off eating the real thing in moderation than binging on “lite” food packed with sugars and salt.

#70 Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a prince, Dine like a pauper.  I WISH that our American culture took a que from other countries and had the big long long break for the big meal of the day. Because dinner time is such a part of family togetherness, I’m not sure how to alter this to our culture. I have decided to have  one big meal during the day and then a salad or something lighter for another. Generally it’s a light lunch and dinner with the family.  The earlier, the better. That rule of  not eating after 7 or 8pm is because we aren’t getting a chance to work it off and burn some of those calories we just ate.

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Lots of others, but you get the idea.

My daily eating plan generally goes like this:

7:30 apple or banana

9:30 protein shake (I buy mine at Sams Club, 0 sugar, low carb, high protein)

11:30 almonds (I like the pre portioned 100 calorie packs because I don’t have to guess or measure–Target sells these in reg., cinnamon, and cocoa)

12:30-1 Salad with hard boiled egg, half avocado, tomoatoes, spinach, romaine, cucumber, almond slivers

2:30 string cheese or Laughing cow (sun dried tomato and basil my fave) cheese dipping them with handful of pretzels

4:30 handful of raspberries or blueberries

6:30 family dinner with meat & veggies as the bulk with rice or pasta on the side

8:30 sometimes fruit

Having a plan, helps me figure out when I can also have a treat. It allows me to.  I like to eat something every 1-2 hours, and by having a list of healthy snacks already planned, I don’t have to guess what I’m going to have. I keep a bunch of the almond packs in my purse to eat while I’m out, too. I also am trying to drink more water. My goal is 4 water bottles a day, and I may not always get there, but I’m working on it.

I’ve made lots of lists, searched pinterest for healthy snack ideas, here is a big list:

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{Six Sisters Stuff}

You’ve heard lots of these tips before, but here are some that I am trying to work on:

 

EXERCISE

Now that I’ve lost the weight, and I’m happy with where I am, I want to maintain it through eating better and exercise. I have personally committed to exercising  every day except Sunday, my Sabbath and day of rest. My ideal goal is to be moving for one solid hour, and for me that works best between 8-10am.

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 Since I’ve got a toddler, I’ve got to include her in all of that.  I love the gym, but I don’t personally want her to go to the gym daycare every day.  So we do the gym 2 or 3 times a week. This is what I’ve been doing

M/W/F: To the gym (step aerobics, kickboxing, spin class, or eliptical machine along with resistance weights)

T/Th: speed walk pushing stroller while chatting with a friend for 60 minutes

Saturday: home circuit workout with run

I’ve got a few circuit workouts pinned on my Exercise Pinboard, but here is one that I’ve done several times that I enjoy:

 

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Once is 30 min., twice is an hour.  It feels good to work hard. Now that I’ve lost weight, it isn’t as hard to go and exercise, because the weight loss is motivation. I’ve done it, I want to keep it, so it is part of my daily thinking. I don’t think “am I going to work out” I think, “how quickly can I get there.” As the day goes on, it gets harder. I like to get it done and check it off.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions, or tips that have helped you!

Other Healthy Living Posts:

My quick weight loss

6 months after my quick weight loss

Thoughtful Thursday~I really don’t like exercising & I love to eat whatever I want

It’s true. I really don’t like exercising.

I’m not the person that exercises because I enjoy it.  I wish I was that person that when I got “stressed out” I needed a run to decompress….to clear my head.  Nope, that’s not me.

I do it pure and simple to lose weight. In the vicious cycle of weight gain/loss from 4 babies, it’s a roller coaster of back and forth with my body.

(Vermont, October 2009–6 months after last baby)

I have generally been fine with the fact that I’m an “average” size.  I don’t feel overweight, recognize I’m not super slender, but every  once in a while I get to thinking that slimming down  would be nice.

I picture in my head an ultra athletic physique and get determined to change.  Change how I eat and change how I work my body.  But it goes in cycles.  Then I get annoyed when I don’t see change and revolt against the whole regimen and eat whatever I want and not exercise at all just to “show those slender athletic thoughts” that I can be just fine how I am.

I’ve decided that generally, it’s not a good idea to talk about your weight in groups…especially when you are out to eat. I’ve been annoyed when I’m digging into the creamy jalapeno dip with my endless basket of tortilla chips at a restaurant when someone else has the will power to abstain (and vocalizes it), I wanted to be the devils advocate.   Remembering that when the tables were turned and I was “watching more carefully,”  I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about it.  I was just going to sip my water…until JUST before my meal when I would allow myself a handful of heaven. It just makes people feel bad about their choices to have announced yours.

I have found that having one or two close friends to confide in (that are on a similar level with similar goals) is helpful.  You help each other out, don’t feel judged, have someone to be somewhat accountable to.

{France, July 2006–1 year after 3rd child}

  This past year has been a breakthrough for me.  In the past 10 years my exercise would kick into high gear from about 2-8 months post baby.  I’d slim down enough to a happy place…then plateau. When I trained for my half marathon last year, I thought FOR SURE that the pounds would shed off with the sweat for each mile that I trained.  In my mind, I thought I’d be a happy size 4–that athletic ideal in my head, when I crossed the finish line. When it was all said and done, my clothes were slightly looser, but the number on the scale didn’t change.

Let me also add that I actually don’t own a scale.   I’ve never cared about that number.  I know about what I weigh, but never put much stock into it. I don’t think it’s a good idea to weigh every day, and stress about it.

My husband is convinced that in order for me to exercise, I have to make it a social event. It’s SO true!  I loved getting together with my friends to run…early morning…late at  night….several hours of chatting about life.  And not just surface conversation, real-ness.   We talked about our kids, our husbands, our parents, our siblings, our highs, our lows, everything. I SO needed that last year.  Having moved to a new place and  having so much surface conversation for so long, I craved what the exercise was giving me in the form of conversation.  I thought it was the socializing, but I started enjoying running.  My husband was impressed with me (he is SUPER athletic:  runner/cyclist) and though I didn’t look forward to the exercise part of the runs, I felt happy after it.   It felt GREAT to run the half marathon, but after…I was pretty let down that my body hadn’t changed much.  I expected more.

So, I gave up.  I went from running a ton–4 or 5 times a week to NOTHING. Revolt, I tell ya. After a summer of that, it didn’t make me feel any better. I knew when school started for my kids….I had to do something else. I had joined a few gyms off and on throughout the years, and had trouble with either childcare or not wanting to pay a monthly or just feeling lazy, no great motivation.

Last fall, after I realized a handful of my friend were at one particular gym, I joined, and I’ve gone pretty regularly since September. M/W/F I go to an hour long class at the gym (kick box, step aerobics, weights).  Starting in November I began running again on T/Th mornings.  I’m sortof resentful exercising at all because a) I like to be lazy and lounge in my p.j.’s all morning b) I still haven’t seen much of a change.  It wasn’t until the week after Halloween when I had shoved way too many mini butterfingers down my throat that for the first time…I made a BIG change.  A change that I never wanted to tie myself down to…but I have found quite liberating. You wanna know?

I started counting calories.  I know!  Annoying, right?  Never, never, never did I want to do that. WAY too much effort, how do you figure it all out? Measure, scales, ugh! I just got a smart phone a few months ago, and a friend told me about the app, Lose it. I was so annoyed with myself (remember the butterfingers) that I had to try something else, because my regular exercise alone was not making a difference.  So mid November, just before Thanksgiving, it began. My mental dedication to eating better and sticking with the exercise.

THIS is what I found liberating:  I told the app that I wanted to lose 20 pounds (I’d be SO happy with 15) by a certain date and was alloted 1000 calories a day to reach that goal. BUT my workouts being an hour long and sweating pretty hard core, I am alotted about 500 more calories.  I type it all in, the app can scan bar codes (awesome, right) and I am now accountable for everything (food and exercise).  So even though it is tedious, it generally works out every day that I have a few hundred calories left over and I can have little treats, and its enough to satisfy (not gorge) myself.

When I first looked up my favorite Dominoes pizza, I was quite dis-heartened to realize it was 1000 calories a slice.   I was SO  happy when a few weeks later, I realized it was only about 350 a slice (oopsy on that one)!  I guzzled a bunch of water, had an apple before and then slowly enjoyed one slice, then another.

All through December, I was SO good. Then vacation, family, eating out, less control, wanting to enjoy good food…got in the way over Christmas.  I am now finding it difficult to get back in that routine. I revolted last week and dragged my feet into the gym on Monday this week.  A sweet friend of mine said at the beginning of our class:  Don’t you just love how you feel during/at the end of this?  And my trying to have a good attitude, but wanting to be truthful said, “I feel good that I’ve done it.”

{San Diego, August 2008–thinnest I’ve been since having children}

I don’t love it, I wish I did…but I don’t. I don’t LIKE eating well, I don’t LIKE exercising, but I want to feel better, I want to have a single digit pants size, I don’t want the muffin top.

One of my current favorite quotes to my kids when they tell me, “I can’t help it, it’s how I am” is this: “The natural man is an enemy to God.” We can learn to control those natural tendencies that are not good for us.  We may not want to, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t. SO, maybe blurting all this will give me some sort of accountability to report back, not sure.

I am inspired by stories like Amanda’s and enjoying little tidbits pop up on Pinterest about healthy snack ideas. And these 100 Healthy snack ideas along with 15 small changes to weight loss.  A few years ago, I got a book (that I need to pull out again) that had 365 tips to healthy living that I really really enjoyed. Found here.

It’s a mental battle, that I wish were short term, but it’s not. I have never liked the idea of a diet.  It’s lifestyle changes.

{I know this is really long and wouldn’t be surprised if most people ditched reading a quarter of the way through. Remember how you said you wanted to hear my thoughts…well, I have a lot to say.  Thoughtful Thursday has a nice ring to it…not every Thursday, just when I have something to say.}

Do you have any great healthy tips to share?  Have you struggled with this, too? Talk to me.