Category Archives: Health

Losing It Together

I shared in my last couple posts about my healthy lifestyle changes. I told you my Hubby joined the gym with me. He has been using the same journaling app that I have and has been just as committed as me at making changes. I thought it might be fun to share some of the ups and downs of losing weight as a couple – good bad and sometimes ugly.

I can’t imagine trying to do this without the support of my spouse. I hear of people who prepare separate meals for their family while they are “dieting” or trying to lose weight. I have to ask myself, why isn’t what you are eating appropriate for your family? I just couldn’t do that so I’m thankful I don’t have to.

Having someone to workout with really helped me get started and be consistent! I really felt like that first month was critical to long-term success. For me, creating that “habit” of daily workout was so important. We started during Christmas break when I wasn’t working. This made it easy to fit in and I could be super flexible. This meant there was no reason not to go every day. And then when I did go back to work after that first week, we didn’t have much in the way of evening activities. That meant I worked out 27 days in January. Definitely set a precedent for myself. I don’t know if I would have pulled that off without him!

I also have friends who belong to the same gym and love meeting up with them to mix up my workout. It’s great to try a new class with a buddy or teach each other new strength techniques.

We do hold each other accountable…in a good way. After 20+ years we have a pretty good idea of when to push and when to get out of the way:). We both have the expectation of working out 5-6 times a week, it’s just a matter of when. Sometimes together and sometimes not.

But there is a downside as well. Hubby is 6′ tall. I am 5’5″. When we started, he weighed .6 pound more than me. Hard pill for me to swallow.

Then there’s the part where men seem to lose weight more quickly than women. Or as I describe it, “He can look at a salad and lose 5 pounds! Not gonna lie, this was really frustrating in the beginning. By my dear Hubby knew that. He didn’t talk much about where he is or what he has lost. When I was struggling to bump past a plateau at 12 pounds, Youngest Son asked if I knew how much Hubby has lost. I had no idea. He was at 16 pounds down and didn’t share it with me because he knew I was struggling. Isn’t that kind?! I thought so. Right after a punched him a little:).

There’s a bit of healthy competition as well. How many minutes on the elliptical? What incline on the treadmill? How many reps? I think it all keeps us pushing ourselves to give it our all.

We also approach the results of our weight loss differently. He hasn’t bought one new piece of clothing. When he was down 21 pounds he was still wearing the same clothes. Can you say baggy pants?! I, on the other hand, am enjoying trying on new sizes. And I’ve pulled a couple of items out of my doesn’t-fit-me-anymore bin. I have given myself incentives/rewards at 10 and 15 pounds lost, then just started buying clothes…a lot. That doesn’t motivate him.

Over the last 2 months some things have become more challenging. End of school year activities have ramped up making it harder to fit in exercise. We’ve had more celebrations with food that require planning ahead and making good choices. We have realized that choosing to be healthy and incorporate regular exercise requires being a bit selfish. I have to make time to go to the gym when I can and sometimes that means not going to an event or not being home for dinner until later. You really have to choose to make time for it and that means not using that time for something else.

We are exercising separately much more often not. It’s been rare for us to go to the gym together lately. Middle Son is home from college and goes with one of us part of the time. It helps having someone else there.

Hubby is still ahead of me on the weight loss. He still hasn’t bought clothes (I’ve bought him a few things and he’s pulled some out of the old doesn’t fit anymore boxes.) I’m a little more OK with it than I was in the beginning. I know I’m in this for the long haul. I have a lot more weight to lose, but feel good about the permanent changes I’ve made.

Recently, I had about a 2 week hiatus from recording what I ate. Between travel and busy schedules, I just chose to take a break. I exercised less, but tried to make sure I snuck in a little more activity when I could. It resulted in a 1.6 lb loss. That tells me I’ve made some permanent lifestyle changes! I’m back in the swing and mixing things up a bit – some running, more core work and trying hard to get my arms ready for sleeveless shirts:).

Here is a 5 month pic comparison of us. When I saw these two together – wow! I can see the difference. Feels good!

5 month progress

5 month progress

As it says, I am down 29.4 (there is another massage waiting for me at 30- come on 30!!) and he is down 37! My BMI is down 4.4 (still in the obese category). I’ve lost 7.5″ off my bust, 6.25″ off my waist, 5″ off my hips, 1.5″ off my neck and 3″ off my quads. Making progress.

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Healthy – Part 2

December 29, 2014 is the day I decided to make changes. And just to clarify, that means it was not a New Year’s Resolution! Cause we all know how often those stick. That’s just the day the switch flipped. I don’t know why. Nothing traumatic happened, no revelations, no holy crap moments. I just decided I was ready. And fortunately, Hubby decided to join me on the journey.

We joined a gym and I started logging or journaling food. I’m burning more calories than I’m eating (nearly) every day. I workout about 5 times a week and I log everything I eat. No food is off-limits. I just have to work that much harder if I want something high calorie that day. It’s a balancing act.

There have been some weird and random side effects to this approach.

  • I actually enjoy going to the gym. I feel strong. I feel powerful and in control.
  • The trainer actually suggested I take a day off. Words I never thought I’d hear anyone have to say to me. When we started I was going to the gym 6-7 days a week. Now I go 4-5.
  • I feel strange and out of sorts if I don’t get in a good workout. Like I’m missing something.
  • I’m craving healthier foods. (Except Bates french fries. I will always love Bates fries! They are my kryptonite.)

I have stuck with this simple plan for 3 months. And I haven’t felt the frustration I have in past attempts. That point where you want to say, “Screw it, I’m going to Krispy Kreme!” Maybe because Krispy Kreme isn’t off-limits, it just means I have to spend 13 minutes on the elliptical per donut.

Balance. I think I’m finding balance.

I feel healthy. Am I at my destination? Not by a long shot. But I feel good about my body. I feel strong.

When it comes to my weight, I still have a really long ways to go. Really long. But I’m choosing (most days) to focus on the good steps I’ve taken and the changes I’ve made. A good friend pointed out, I’ve really changed my habits. Hopefully a change that will last. It’s about baby steps, incremental changes, moderation, intention and balance.

I’ve only lost 21 pounds in 3 months. It should be more (I know, I know, muscle weighs more than fat!) and that part it frustrating.It’s not glamorous having sexy arteries!

But there are some fun numbers too!

I’ve lost 8.8% of my body weight. It’s not a Biggest Loser sized number, but I’ll take it!

I’ve dropped my BMI by 3.53. For whatever that’s worth. I’m not even sure what it means other than I’m obese, but it’s going down and I know that is supposed to be a good thing.

I’ve lost 4 1/2 inches off my hips and 5 1/2 off my waist. Plus 1 1/2 off my neck and 2 1/2 off each quad.

And I’ve rewarded myself with some new clothes. Not a lot, since I have a really long way to go, but a girl needs a reward! And I don’t mean food! I’m seeing some new sizes and clothes are fitting differently. That’s all good.

I know people like to see before and after (or during) photos when people blog about weight loss, I do anyway. But I don’t think the changes are that noticeable. I hesitate to include them because my focus is really on changing my lifestyle and feeling good. Essentially, doing the right things. It’s for me, not for the drama. (However, I can’t tell you how excited I was to buy a top this week that was just a plain old XL, not a plus size 1X. There’s a difference, believe me. I look forward to shopping in a department other than plus size. It’s just limiting.) And, I didn’t really take before pictures. I have very few full length pictures of myself. I’m usually hiding behind something. That’s what I do. Don’t put me in front. I used to hold my kids in front of me. That doesn’t work so well when they are all taller than you:(. Oh well, here’s what I could come up with. Be gentle.

Temp

So what’s my point? I’m not sure. I don’t know why I felt the need to put this in words. Maybe it’s seeking affirmation, maybe it’s going “public” for accountability, maybe it will motivate someone else who is waiting for the switch to flip. I don’t really know, just felt the need to write.

Thanks for listening.

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Healthy – Part 1

I feel healthy.

Really.

And I don’t think I’ve ever said that before. Part of me wants to go back and change that to I’m feeling better than I used to. It’s a little less bold. A little safer and maybe not putting myself out there quite so much.

But here’s the back story.

I have never been thin. Or even average. I’ve typically been the heaviest among my friends. On the BMI scale, well I am beyond the obese threshold. I’m not at a loss to explain it, I know why. There are myriad reasons; I love (some) food, I come from hearty stock, I hate running, I have a super busy life, I’ve had my share of stress. You see, there are reasons.

Honestly, I’ve known I needed to make changes for a long time. It was obvious. I also know me pretty well. After all I’ve lived with me for a lot of years! I knew my heart just wasn’t in it. I just couldn’t commit to any plan. It wasn’t about knowing how to do it. It was about being committed to doing it. I lost a significant amount of weight 10+ years ago. And gradually, I gained it all back…and more. I refuse to do that again. It’s disheartening. Devaluing. It’s failure you wear for all the world to see. And to judge. Weight is one of those things we all have an opinion about. We all know how to lose weight; burn more calories than you eat. Simple.

Except it’s not. Food is such a huge part of our culture. We use food as rewards for everything. We celebrate every milestone…with food. We mark every right of passage with a “special” meal. We gather for a relaxing evening with friends…over dinner. And let’s face it, you can’t live without it. I’m not “addicted to food”, I personally don’t subscribe to that thinking. I don’t think it’s an addiction. It’s a choice. But either way you look at it, that vice is something every one of us has to face every day to stay alive.

And exercise takes time. I’m like millions of Americans in that I sit at a desk all day. I borrowed a fitbit from a friend for a few weeks. It was discouraging. On a typical day, without changing my habits, I think the max I ever reached was 6,000 steps. The average was probably closer to 3500-4000. I don’t move at work. 8 hours of every day I’m sitting. And another hour in my car commuting. Getting 30+ minutes a day of exercise takes effort. It takes making a plan and following it. Every day. For forever. That’s a commitment. And to a couch potato…daunting.

Most of you can probably relate on some level. Living healthy takes desire, commitment, follow through and time. I don’t think you can be successful without all four. At least I know I can’t.

I’d like to say I prayed about this for a long time. But by “prayed about it” I mean thought about it often, wished it so and hoped God knew my heart. It was just on my mind a lot. I remember even telling a friend, “I’m waiting for the switch to flip.” That’s really what I needed. That tipping point where your desire overshadows the inconvenience and fear.

My tipping point came on December 29, 2014.

But this post is already very long, so I’ll share the first 3 months of my journey tomorrow.

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Renewing Me

I’m in one of those seasons where all the planets align, the things stack up and despite my best efforts I’m totally over committed. It’s frustrating since I’ve been very intentional this year (it is my word for the  year after all) about where I choose to spend my time and energy. I’ve been selective about what I commit to and turned away opportunities. And yet, I find myself, right now, in an icky place. It seems everywhere I turn someone wants a piece of me.

I think some of it is a convergence activities ramping up in anticipation of school starting, end of summer rush, work commitments and a thriving photography business. Right now I am coordinating a family reunion, lead on two major programs at work, preparing for the back to school rush and editing thousands of photos from recent shoots. It’s all good stuff and I’m glad for each of them. It’s just unfortunate that they all come to a head in a months time. There isn’t much breathing room.

Which leads to the feeling of everyone wanting a piece of me. I can manage it for a while, taking things in stride, making decisions on the fly and putting out fires (although I would really rather they not erupt to begin with). But then I reach the tipping point. When I know I need to step away or I might be incredibly, obnoxiously, inappropriate to the next person who asks me for something. Thank goodness I can usually feel this total loss of filter coming on!

I felt it last week. Dreaming of a vacation I can’t take – because I don’t have the cash {2 words: Disney vacation and College tuition. Ok that was 4, but you get it.} or the time. There simply isn’t a time to get away.

So I booked my own mental vacation.

Yesterday I spent the entire day working in my yard. Like from 8 am to 8 pm. And boy can I feel it today! I’m walking like a 90-year-old woman with arthritis; pain with every step. And it feels amazing! There is something about working til your bones are weary. About focusing on one thing and one thing only. Tuning out the rhetoric, the demands, the requests and to do lists. Just doing physical labor. Today I can tackle my projects with a renewed energy and a much better attitude. I’m ready to give things the attention and care they need.

Taking a little time for me, a break from all the demands, even if it was for hard physical labor, renewed me. And my yard looks amazing! It should after 19 bags of mulch, 8 new plants, 12 hours and 1880 pounds of rock moved. Enjoy some pictures of the fruits of my labor.

DSC_0505-002

Those rocks are so much heavier than they appear!DSC_0525-001

They may look random, but it’s really hard to make things look random!DSC_0534-001

Really it is. DSC_0507-002

I now have wild raspberry. I think that’s a good thing.DSC_0510-002

Why, yes we are ISU fans!DSC_0530-001

A combo of nursery plants and splits from others – my favorite way to get and give plants!DSC_0512-002

The wall is still holding up a year later. Guess we did that right so far. DSC_0516-002

Finally got the front beds mulched. Looks so much more finished this way. DSC_0518-002

Coral Belles are my friend!DSC_0520-002

And a couple shots of some great foliage. Love the intensity of the colors. DSC_0521-002

I am definitely partial to the deep purple, but love the contrast of the bright green.DSC_0524-002   And I ended the day with a fire in the pit. Peace.

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Looking Out From Atop the Plateau

I took a break from “dieting” from Thanksgiving to Christmas. By that I mean I didn’t count calories and I didn’t sweat over having some holiday goodies. I just tried to be reasonable. And apparently that worked. Within a week after Christmas, I was back to my pre-Thanksgiving weight. Actually Thanksgiving day pre- dinner weight:). I’m proud of how I handled what could be a really challenging time of year. And I think it goes back to that 80/20 rule. For me, it’s about changing my mindset. That it is ok to not be perfect every day. And a little misstep doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. It is about making choices every day. Do I want the extra helping? Maybe I do, but if I decide to it will be because I thought it through and made a conscious choice. It will be intentional.

So I recovered from the holidays pretty quickly, but since then….ufda! I don’t seem to be able to get any traction. I’m doing what I did before, with no results.  I’ve actually added in some exercise now and then. Grrr… I know this happens. It will work again, it’s just frustrating waiting. I decided to track a few other things that I want to accomplish so the number on the scale isn’t my only motivation.

I made a colorful chart to track my progress. Because I like colorful charts:)! I’m trying to build a chain of  good habits. I have goals for weight, water, calories, activity minutes, reduced soda, servings of fruits and vegetables, and hours of sleep. I have progressive targets for each. Trying to step myself up a little at a time in each of those areas. It helps. The pounds still aren’t where I would like them, but I feel good about the other pieces. I’m drinking much more water and less soda. I’ve started doing some consistent minutes of activity and actually eating fruits and veggies. The sleeping part is tough. I can get really distracted at night and lose track of time. Suddenly it’s midnight and I get up before 6. I think getting a good night’s sleep will help my overall health too.

I have plateaued, but I’m still plugging away. I have an 8 week goal and I need the scale to move! I’m sure it will…all in good time:).

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A Few of My Favorite Things – for weight loss

I’m still going! Bet you thought I fell off the wagon didn’t you? Nope. Just been crazy busy and haven’t had a lot of new info to post. I’m waiting for a milestone and it is quite elusive right now. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite things. You know, the things that get me through!

Greek Yogurt – it’s a fabulous substitute for sour cream and boy do I love sour cream! Greek yogurt has about the same number of calories in a CUP that sour cream has in a TABLESPOON! That’s crazy!

These tortillas – I use them for breakfast nearly every day with either fried or scrambled eggs. Nummy and the lowest calorie I can find that doesn’t taste like cardboard.

Apples – just sweet enough with lots of substance. I’m a fan of Fuji, but Honey Crisps are good too {I just think they are way overpriced}. An apple can satisfy my sweet tooth and get me through the day!

Tuna Creations Herb & Garlic – so tasty and doesn’t even need mayo! {I didn’t believe it either – try it!} I love this with a little Asiago cheese on toasted beefsteak rye. In fact that’s what I’m having for lunch today! Mmmm…

My Scale – never thought I’d say that! But I love having a good digital scale that tells me way more info than I need. I try not to weigh every day, but most of the time I can’t help myself. It does keep me in check. When it moves up a few tenths it’s a good reminder to behave tomorrow:).

Lose It! the app – I mentioned this before, but it is really a staple of this process for me. Even when I don’t log every day, I can use it to track my weight, look back at what foods I’ve eaten before for ideas, and look at the nutritional make up of what I’m eating. This screen shot is from yesterday – told you I love the tortillas and greek yogurt:). Highly recommend the app!

I’m still plugging away; in it for the long haul. It’s not glamorous or exciting. Just plain old, plain old. But it’s working and that matters. I’m encouraged when I catch myself making good choices without thinking about them! I think I should get myself some gold stars shouldn’t I?! 🙂

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Good News, Bad News

The bad news first.

I hit a wall. I have been working on eating healthier and losing weight. It went extremely well for 5 weeks!

Then, it went OK for the 6th week.

But, then things changed. Not sure what, but they changed. I think I lost a bit of my inertia. Like with anything, I get bored after a while. And I really like to see results. I saw a lot of results the first 5 weeks. The 6th week, not so much. I was flat and not very motivated. I guess if I think about it, this could be part of my 80/20 rule. Or maybe 83/17. Five weeks of good loss/1 week of flat. Maybe I need to cut myself some slack.

There is also the issue of staying motivated. I knew this would come, in fact I wrote in one of my previous posts about needing to have a plan for when it did. {Yeah, I know myself pretty well!} So my plan was to start some exercise and remember why I was doing it. And honestly, maybe putting my efforts out here in the blog world was part of that. I really can’t imagine having to do a post titled, “I Quit!” or “I Gave Up” or worse yet, “The person I love very much who motivated me to make changes doesn’t actually matter that much to me after all.” {So the last one might have been the world’s longest title!}

The Good News

Putting it out there in the blog world has led to lots of encouragement! People want me to succeed. That feels good. Like I can use your positive energy to get me through when my own is waning. Like a bridge to get me to the other side of a low point. So many of you have encouraging words, ideas and suggestions! Keep them coming, they really help!

The other motivator? The weather was warm today and I needed Capri’s to wear after work. I had a pile of clothes that had been buried in my closet to give away; all too small. I didn’t wear them this summer and some of them didn’t fit me the summer before that either. {Yes, I know, I should have gotten rid of them in that time! And I know which friends will be appalled that I didn’t:)!} On a whim, I grabbed a pair to try on thinking they would still be tight, but I might be able to button them.

They fit! They actually fit.

So I tried on another pair. Cause the first one was probably a fluke, you know.

They fit too! In fact I wore them to the soccer game. And when I saw them in the mirror afterwards? They looked silly! They gave me a saggy butt!

That made me happy. That was motivating!

Tonight I have a renewed energy! Week 7 will be a good one. I can feel it.

Note: This post was written 2 weeks ago.

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