Patience and Plateaus

Well, it’s been awhile since I posted! Sorry about that!  Sometimes weeks are hectic!  We’ve been hit by flu bugs, colds, ear infections, asthma flare ups and snow days! Don’t you just love February?!  Not much time to be anything but a Mom, but that’s okay.  I have plenty of time left to do what I need to when everyone is better! I think we’re finally on the mend!

So I wanted to talk about one of the hardest things you go through when you’re losing weight.  Plateaus. These are the worst!

If you are following your diet to a T and exercising, your weight falls off, you feel great, then about 6 months in, all of a sudden you lose a pound a week for 3 weeks, when you had been dropping about 3-5 pounds or more the previous month.  Sometimes you show a gain or no loss at all.  It can happen for several weeks in a row or just a couple weeks.  This can be extremely disheartening.   I remember my first plateau.  I had lost about 75-80 pounds (can’t remember the exact number), I was still doing the same workouts and keeping within about 1200-1300 calories a day.  I didn’t count calories per se, I just maintained 250 calories for breakfast, 300 for lunch, 500 for dinner and 2 snacks at 200 twice a day.  I know it’s doesn’t seem like a lot of calories but it worked for me.  I didn’t feel light headed or weak.  My body tolerated it.  I still stick to this plan everyday, except on weekends.  Anyway, I was upset because I thought that I was doing something wrong.  I started working harder in the gym, going in on Saturdays and Sundays.  There weren’t calories to cut because I knew I had to have enough for my body to function.  I remember getting mad at myself, why wasn’t I losing anymore weight? I couldn’t give up on myself because I didn’t want that weight back.

Well, what I learned was my body was used to the same regime.  I was eating Lean Cuisine dinners for lunch. They are loaded with bad carbs.  My favorites were Salisbury Steak, the pizzas and ravioli.   All decent tasting,  within my calories, but my body was so used to them it wasn’t letting go of those bad carbs anymore.   Same workout equaled same results, it was time to step up my game.  So that was the time I took my first class.  I switched to eating things with lots of iron.  White fish, salmon and brown rice for lunch daily.  My breakfast stayed the same and dinners I really watched the portions of carbs.  With doing these things my plateau disappeared.  Weight just started coming off.  I was finding that my metabolism was speeding up and I needed to eat things that my body could save to get through work outs.  Then weight flew off all of a sudden the next month I was down 20 more pounds (in a month!).  I kept losing for a while, I hit another plateau about 6 months later added more classes.  At somewhere around the 130 pound loss mark I started putting on muscle.  Not just toning, real muscle.  I then knew the reason for the plateau.  I added in cycling because one of the trainers said you burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.  It worked! It helps with toning your legs.  Just because the weight is gone doesn’t mean it doesn’t leave behind evidence!

I am not an expert, but this is my thought on why your body plateaus.  When you shock your body with forcing it to lose fat that has always been there, it confuses your system. Your body is looking for something to replace it with, sometimes it’s muscle.  Sometimes it’s water.  You have to go and figure out which it is and fix it.  Muscle is good, but make sure you are drinking enough water.  Water in, fat flushes out.  If you are eating the wrong foods, then the problem is obvious. Do.Not.Give.Up.    Have patience with yourself.  You will figure this out.

Just because you weigh the same doesn’t mean you aren’t changing your body.  I have been through many plateaus since the first one.  I am continuing on one right now.  I am at the end of my weight loss journey and moving on to my strength and toning journey.  I have not lost any weight in months.  But have I have been putting all my work into weights and cardio endurance. I am still “losing.”  I am losing inches.4f4ed55eba24a192fe1c35dae7231ce8 You don’t notice all of the changes every time.  It’s been awhile for me since I have noticed any physical changes.  It used to be what kept me going.   Yes, my clothes are smaller than I have ever worn, but when you are used to changing sizes every couple of months it’s hard tell yourself this is your size.

This past weekend my husband and I were shopping the clearance racks.  The clerks at the store told me one time if you see the bathing suits come out, that’s the time to hit the clearance racks for deals!  I saw a bathing suit top I really liked, it was bikini top.  I don’t wear bikinis, well not in public anyway.  They’ve never fit me in the past and well, I’ve three kids.   I have always had problems finding things to fit my well endowed chest.  Sorry TMI, but it’s the truth.  But I wanted to try it because it seemed like my size.  Long story short and less descriptive, the top fit.  Very endearing moment for me.  Last year I had to order from overseas for a swimsuit to fit.

I walked by this one dress in the main aisle (no it wasn’t on clearance), it was really pretty.  Grabbed it as well just to try on, because I felt like it! 🙂 It was too expensive to buy, but I stood next to my husband whom is the same height as me (he had on his cowboy boots so he was a little taller at the moment) I looked at us in the mirror and I said, “I am narrower than you!” I have always thought my husband was smaller than me!  In our wedding picture my big poofy dress made me look huge next to him.  It was funny, he just looked at me and said, “Yeah” like it was obvious this whole time.

I have blinders on people,lol.  Just because I went through all of this doesn’t mean there isn’t the same person inside me.  I still see things to change, still feel as strongly about being healthy as I did the day I started.  Again, I chose the lifestyle, not a quick fix.  I love these reminders, it makes me stronger and gives me confidence in what I am doing.  f91497ff3446e3b45fca72eda2619464

I really hope this gives people encouragement to hear my stories of experience and successes.  This is not a blog of self-righteousness.  I hope to help those people struggling because I know what it feels like.

Deal with plateaus with patience.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with whys.  Just keep going.  Your body will figure it out on it’s own or you will find something along the way you need to change.  Just don’t give up on it.  c8af6a79321bf8a250b8fcf9da404a21

 

Willpower

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Tattoo to commemorate my weight loss

You may have noticed the title to this blog “Don’t look back you’re not going that way.” I had noticed this saying awhile ago and it really symbolizes the way I have been able to accomplish losing this amount of weight.  I take each day as it comes.  I don’t look back to the ways of yesterday, last week, or years ago.  For myself, I enjoy little reminders of how hard things used to be, but I don’t want let the reasons I used in the past to stand in the way of my future.  Yes, I want to remember where I came from, but I don’t want to be scared to keep going.  I don’t want to feel like the weight is chasing me, closing in on my back, incessantly hanging over me.  I want to live each day as it is.  It’s not an easy thing to do, I am a constant worrier. I’m getting better though, at least I’m not feeding that emotion anymore.   I take care of today by eating healthy foods and keeping with my gym schedule.  On bad days, I just let it be a bad day.  I can’t change what’s in the past.  I can only make today a better day.

Willpower may refer to: Personal character. Self-discipline, training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, usually for personal improvement.  –Wikipedia

I think the above definition could be used for countless situations in life.  Life challenges us to constantly refrain from speaking inappropriately, over indulging and over reacting.  The same can be said with food.  I over indulged in food, because it was there.  Food was made to be eaten. Self control was non existent.  There would be days were I would just concentrate on what was the next meal.  There’s nothing wrong with thinking about your food, planning meals is a definite way to to keep on the right track.  All of my meals are planned before I go to the grocery store.  Right down to ingredients.  It takes me about an hour each week to search for recipes, write it down and go through the sale ads.

I look at my lifestyle as a job.  I set aside time to go to the gym and to make sure things I buy at the grocery for lunch can be made with 15 mins.  I stay at home, I am able to cook things for myself everyday.  Although there have been times where I need to be somewhere and can’t, on these days I pack a sandwich, bag of pretzels and fruit.  Some days if I don’t have lunch planned I cook an extra chicken breast or open a can of tuna for salad toppings the night before.  I always try to think ahead.  My purse always has snack options. Cereal bars, dried fruit, bag of almonds, cheese crackers (small amount of these!) or rice cakes.  If I am out running around and it’s too early for lunch or after lunch I make sure I have something to eat.  I have to do this or temptation to stop and get something is well, tempting!  If I wait too long to eat between meals I tend to grab things that aren’t good because I was so hungry my original snack isn’t enough.

As adults we are constantly thinking about our kids/spouses.  I know that I am the one responsible for preparing all of our meals, therefore, it’s easy for me to plan what we are eating.  It’s always about choices.  Do you have the willpower to say I am getting healthy foods this week instead of hot dogs and frozen pizza? Did I eat hot dogs and frozen pizza?  Sometimes.  But the hot dogs were turkey and the pizza was either pita pizzas or a frozen Lean Cuisine. I’ll admit, that was rare, I don’t particularly care for Lean Cuisine.  But if it’s easy for you to take to work, do it!  If I have time to plan for my family I definitely have time for me. Choice is what the main focus should be.

As a parent I have learned that willpower is a must.  Sometimes I think I have so much willpower for tolerance that at the end of the day it’s all run out.  Let me tell you, teenagers! Nothing will prepare you for it.  Everyone warns you, but you still think it’ll be okay.  Yeah, when they move out!  I don’t have enough left to keep with the routine. So I’d over react and eat out of haste or get frustrated with time and order pizza.  I have been there, since my meals are already planned this happens less often.  Plus, I have dealt with the guilt of eating wrong choices.  All I keep thinking about is the time I put in at the gym, could be undone right now, with this meal. After so many times I  recognized I wasn’t any better off, my problem wasn’t able to be solved by food or time.  It was the person/situation that I needed solved. I need to have self control to deal with the original problem.   Discipline my mind to focus on my reactions.  I teach my children to think before they speak, act and think.  If I am not doing it, they are not learning it.  How can I exblog photo 2pect them to apply it if they see me freaking out?

 

 

People that I have talked to tell me they just don’t have the willpower.  I disagree.  You just have to find it.  Pull the energy out of something else.  I found that in the time that I spent complaining about foods or exercising it would have already been done.  Willpower is self-inflicted.  People go to work everyday with it.  Weather they like their job or not they discipline themselves to go.  Few people actually enjoy every aspect of their job.  Put the same spin on eating healthy and getting in to the gym.  Discipline yourself to realize that there are things you’re not going to like about it, but you’ll get paid in feeling good!

Allowing time for yourself after you’ve given time to a job, kids and other demands is well deserved.  I always thought I was being selfish and taking time away from my kids.  I was always the mom that was defined by my kids.  Their activities were my activities.  Some still are, but I need to be me too.  My workout schedule doesn’t really affect them, except in the summer.   I’ve come realize that I’ve been around for almost everything my kids have ever done.  Which is very rewarding.  I wouldn’t change anything today or in the past.  But what I’ve learned is there is sometimes when I don’t need to be there.  They need to be independent or they maybe living in my house forever! Don’t get me wrong I am still there for the most important activities.  I more proud of them now because they are taking control in earning grades, choosing after school activities and socially making their own friends.

Life is adaptable.  It’s all in the self-discipline and figuring out how wiggle schedules around.  Sometimes you have to give in and sacrifice time away from the things you need, but not everyday.  The time that your willpower is tested is when you get right back to it when the activity that took you away is done.  Or go back to eating right after you screw up.

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I found that getting my mind frame in the right place helped the most. I have link on my blog of a book I read when I first started this journey.  It was hilarious and kept me in the mind frame that I needed to be in.  Now that I have gone through this journey I have found this woman’s story so close to my own.

One thing I want to say, kind of off the subject.  If you are person who has a weight issue or thinks you have a weight issue, I am not here judging people’s happiness.  This is strictly my thoughts, experiences and journey.  I don’t want to give the impression that everyone needs to lose weight or be healthy. I finally found my happiness with myself.  I am sharing this so people whom feel like I did can realize this is possible.

Have the willpower to find your happiness, in what ever form you need to.

My Support System

I’d like to start this entry off by saying, I am one blessed woman!

When I started this journey my husband was encouraging from day one.  Don’t get me wrong several other people where just as supportive.  He was with me everyday.  I couldn’t have done this with out him.  I would have quit because my mind was telling me I couldn’t do it.  He was there for me to express how bad my days were, how I hurt from workouts and just how hungry I was.  Basically, he was my complaint pillow.  He would keep telling me I was doing a great job, reinforcing just how much he was impressed I was doing this.   Taking an active interest in what I was doing at the gym.  No complaints on the dinners I chose to cook or places we had to eat at.  If I needed anything, he would find a way to make it happen! He still does!

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Wedding Photo 1995

We have been married for 19 years.  I was 19 when we were married.  So this year I will have been with him longer than I was with my own parents.  Surreal thought! As I have said I’ve struggled with weight since childhood.  When I met my husband I wasn’t a small person, but I wasn’t heavy either.  J has always told me that I am beautiful.  Size never mattered to him.  The only thing I think he would say was I had an attitude problem once in while.  Haha.  Don’t we all!  Our marriage wasn’t perfect, there’s no such thing as perfection! (In my opinion).  Weight had come on so fast for me after we had been married for a year.  I gained 50lbs in a year.  Of course my doctor was questioning what had happened.  Well, a few things birth control, not knowing how to cook and eating out.  My husband God love him, isn’t the greatest at cooking.  If it comes out of box he’s very successful, grilling no problem. So most of the foods we were eating were processed, frozen or fast food.  It was what we could afford and I could cook with out much knowledge.  So weight packed on.  On him, no.  Just me.  Men seemed to have a lot of things easier than women.  Sorry guys, but it’s true.  They can consume massive amounts of fat or high calories, they burp…1200 calories gone! Just kidding!  They have a faster metabolism, I haven’t quite done the research as to why that is, fair or not it’s something to recognize.  So of course I was aware of the weight I was putting on, but J never said anything.  He never told me to lose weight.  Looking back he now says, I just didn’t realize how big you were.  Neither did I.

Vacation 1998

We took a vacation to the Smokey Mountains.  Biking, hiking and camping.  We would have went horse back riding, but the weight limit on the horse was 250lbs.  I couldn’t ride, because my weight was at 280lbs. Hiking one of the smalls trails which was about 1.5 miles, was extremely hard.  I barely made it, it took us 4 hours. I couldn’t breathe.  It was a fun vacation, but physically I didn’t handle it well.

We decided to try to have a family after five years.  I never had any problems with weight being an obstacle to get pregnant.  However, with my first I was put on bed rest at 6 1/2 months with pre-term labor.  I am not sure if this was due to the weight or just my body not handling the stress pregnancy was taking.  I worked full time until my son was about 5 months old.  I decided to stay home and have been home since.  My weight continued to rise, sometimes I would try to watch what I was eating but it never seemed to last.  We had our second son about 22 months after our first.  We didn’t own a scale so I had no clue as to what I weighed.  I just know that the size pants I wore were a 26.

My mom and I decided to start working out at Curves.  She has always tried to help me lose weight.  We have been on weight watchers and Curves diets together.  A lot of the knowledge of choosing foods has come from her.  She was the best partner to have because she was my first best friend and my cheerleader. She too has struggled with weight issues her entire life.  I lasted a year and in that year I think I may have lost around 75 pounds.  I felt pretty good about that,  I got pregnant with my daughter. I did pretty well after she was born until my boys got involved in sports.  Running here, running there caused me to not take time to workout or worry about what we were eating.  My husband and all of my kids have fast metabolisms and never had to worry about what they were eating.  Our dinners have always been consistent, but lunches and breakfast were processed foods or sugary options.  Unfortunately my body type is not one that can do without making healthy choices.

Through all of this crazy life I have been given a man who loves me no matter what.  That is not an easy job to have! He puts up with a lot!  He picks me up at my lowest points.  Nothing is more comforting than when you are absolutely just lost or feeling like a failure, to have someone wrap their arms around you and tell you everything is going to be okay.  I believe in him, he believes in me.  No matter what my weight was, he was there.  It’s the way it’s supposed to be right? Well, I look back now and think just how much my weight had affected certain things, I wish I could go back and  change some.  But I don’t think our marriage would be as strong as it is today.  Sometimes those bad times you go through really make the bright spots shine brighter.  You learn to work together through tough moments and when you’re faced with even tougher moments you forge through.  Well, enough with marriage counseling.  I just want give you all an idea of how wonderful my husband is!

I am the home manager and he is the money provider.  If it concerns the home and kids it is my responsibility.  I have made sure to always take on the things that he couldn’t be there for.  It gets frustrating at times because of conflicts of trying to be in two different places at once, we work it out.  I can be pretty bossy, he puts up with it.  I don’t know how, but he does.  I don’t tell him enough how much I appreciate him.  But I hope I show him in the things that I do.  Staying home all this time I have made sure my family has clean home to live in, has a cheerleader in all of their activities, makes breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Clean clothes on their backs, nursed them back to health and  to make sure they all knew they were loved by me.  In all of this some how we’ve kept it together.

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Our 19th Anniversary Nov 2014

Through this journey we have really learned a lot about each other.  Even though we have been best friends for years, my husband has learned to read me very well.  He knows I get stressed about bills or money, he takes it on.  Finds a way to get us out of a pickle. He never lets me feel bad about myself.  Days when I would feel unattractive or just plain fat he would tell me, I was amazing.  Takes me to a mirror when ever we pass one and made me see the changes I was making.  He loves to take me shopping, picks things out I would never pick myself, convinces me to try them on.  I am always shocked at what I can pull off.  I was always the type to wear loose bagging clothing to hide the rolls.  He’s helped me see things that are no longer there.  Taking pictures from different angles so I could see the changes.  It’s not that I cared what other people saw, I cared what I would see something I didn’t like.  Of course he is enjoying the difference in the clothes as much as I am, but I don’t think he realizes just how much this has helped me feel more loved by him.  It’s not the materialistic side of different clothes. Have you ever had some look at you in a completely different way?  When he sees me in something he really likes his eyes shine and he’ll say, that, we’re getting that! It’s look of complete adornment.  It makes me happy that I make him feel this.  He makes me believe in myself.

He never comments on anything I eat.  As I’ve said in the past stress would make me eat.  Because of the work I have done on myself this is no longer the case.  I still have stress, it’s still the same things.  I have changed the way I have handled it.  He’s always there to tell me how we’ll deal with it and we go on.  I just had to believe it.  It must have been so frustrating for him to watch, when all I had to do was give up bad food and take care of myself.  He never said anything and just tried to make me happy.

I lost this weight for myself, but I really didn’t realize how much better life for others would be.  It’s not that my husband does more for me now, it’s that I see it clearly.  I didn’t love myself before, because I felt so bad about myself.  He has opened my mind to see what he’s been saying this whole time.  He loves me no matter what. Him showing me in mirrors, pictures and things from my past has been instrumental in my success. The more I experience, the more I like about myself.  Our life is positive, not perfect.  Our life is much easier when both of us keep looking for the positive in each other.

Feeling better about yourself makes you feel like you can do anything! In turn, that makes people gravitate towards you because they believe in you.  Be amazing because you can! Your family benefits from it just as much as you.  I never knew the support that I would receive from my husband.  I am sure all guys are like this, but sometimes they don’t even know how much little comments here and there can make so much of a difference.

I know most people out there are trying to lose weight.  A support system is key.  I relied on myself for most of this, but having someone to come to when things got to be overwhelming was just exactly what I needed.  You can’t always see the changes right away.  It takes a while! Especially when you are like me and only see the things you want to change.  Just know when you start seeing the changes, someone who is on the outside has seen them first.

If I could give advice to couples out there that have weight issues in their homes it would be this: Support them.  Don’t push them. We all love our spouses unconditionally, but if you push you’re telling them they aren’t loved unconditionally.  When your spouse is ready to do something about it, they will.  Support them by making it easy with schedules, being completely open to changing food habits or taking on a little more responsibility to give them time to deal with this.  No better gift that could be given would be to know someone has your back.  I was lucky, I don’t work outside my home so I could fit my gym time in every morning when the kids are in school.  It helped me know that everyone was taken care of and I could just concentrate on my workouts.  If your spouse works outside the home, figure out a time when you can back them up to get them to the gym and deal with kids, dinner or whatever.  If you both are concentrating on losing the weight, find a Y or gym that has a daycare.  Keep each other motivated to have some parents time.  Kids are flexible.  My daughter knows this is important to me, so she has adapted to going on holidays with me to the gym.

If you are single and trying to lose weight, get in classes.  You’ll find so many people who are fighting the same fight you are.  Everyone is in some sort of journey.  All are going to the same goal. You need to learn to love yourself so you can show someone else just how love-able you are!

Thank you for reading! Thank you to all my supporters!

Weight Loss Journey High Points!

Getting weight off isn’t the only thing good that comes out of a healthy lifestyle.  There are so many little things people forget about! In the beginning of my journey I would find little milestones that I accomplished.  Some were silly but they were important because I was changing! I could see the work that I was putting out was doing something.

The first milestone I remember was the first 50lbs. I already had to buy new clothes.  New work out clothes, a few shirts and my husband talked me into skirts.  It was summer and I still wasn’t comfortable in shorts.  We went to Florida to visit my husband’s parents.  We were able to go to a theme park and  I could walk around (although it was extremely hot), I lasted the whole day.  We got there when the park opened and we left an hour before it closed.  I was tired but stemming from only being able to last through grocery trips in the past I was surprised!  I walked my in-laws mobile home park in the mornings and kept within my foods. My in-laws

On the beach Aug 1 2013.

On the beach with my family Aug 1 2013.

were extremely supportive and made sure there were things I would like to eat.  They are healthy eaters anyway and did a great job, I really appreciated it.  We went to beach, I still didn’t feel good about being in public in a bathing suit, but I just enjoyed my vacation.

Then on to the season at Christmas, I was down about 85lbs.  I was again going to another party but this year I had no trouble finding something to wear! I wore a fitted skirt and a size large shirt. I was shopping in the misses section not the plus anymore.

That spring my niece was getting married.  I was so excited for her.  I am getting old though, she was a flower girl in my wedding!  She asked for my daughter to be one of her flower girls, we loved it.  Anyway, back to the story, I needed a dress! My wonderful husband (look for more on him later) took me dress shopping.  I ended up in dress-barn because I figured they would have the best sizes to select from.  I tried on about 6 dresses.  I was so shocked, I grabbed size

Niece’s wedding May 2014

12s and 10s.  Thinking they might fit.  They were too big! I ended up getting a size 8s.  Don’t be jealous, my husband bought me three dresses that day.  We couldn’t decide on which I should wear to the wedding.  He put them all side by side and put it on facebook to see what everyone thought.  It was really humbling of all the comments and compliments people left.  It was a surreal moment for because of reactions people had made me notice my progress.  Yes clothe sizes were an important change, but I was still somewhat the same on the inside.

This summer we purchased season passes to our local theme park.  It had been about 17 years since my husband and I went there.  This summer was one of the best!  We went almost every weekend.  I sat with both of my kids in a ride!  Rode bumper cars with my daughter!  I could not have done any of this before!

Where ever I go I just feel comfortable.  I’ve never had that before.  I guess when you’re young you worry about status. When you’re my age now, when I don’t have the weight problem to be embarrassed of, it’s just me.  I don’t care about status, never did.  I just want to enjoy everything!

Do I have stress? Yes. Definitely.  But I don’t have body stress.  With the weight, I had double stress.  Not only did I not feel good, not be able keep up, I couldn’t think straight to take control of stress.  I have the stress of bills, teenage kids, schedules and a messy house! Why add more to it by dragging weight around.  I can’t believe the mind clarity.  I think the brain takes on fat too and blocks all rational thinking, lol.  Just kidding.  I just know that now I can manage stress better than before because I am not having to struggle to get things done. The bills aren’t going away.  My kids will figure themselves out someday, I have energy to clean away the mess, schedules will be temporary.  I have learned if I am not healthy neither are my relationships or my life.

Pictures.  Anyone hate having pictures taken?  I only took pictures, I avoided being in them.  If the kids had a birthday, I would hide behind the camera.  I knew what I looked like, my focus was on the kids I wanted to remember them.  I look back now and think was that the reason?  Why didn’t I just be with the kids in the picture.  Well, my husband loves to take pictures! Now, I let him do it just a little bit more than before.  It was hard at first, he pushed me because he

Date Night Aug 2014

wanted me to see the changes to keep me going.  It really helped.  Have someone do this for you, you don’t have to look at the pictures right away.   Just save them for when you’re ready or you feel like you’re doing well.  Looking at all my pictures today from the past and current I remember exactly what I was feeling at the time they were taken.  It’s a night and day difference.  Each progression needs to be noticed.  I understand through each one why I did this.

Today physically, I am fit.  I can say that.  There is no way around it.  My kids are having to keep up with me.  They may be able to run faster than me but I last longer.  Sometimes I get Mom, you’re going to fast.  Or Mom can you just calm down, this one is usually about housework because I can do it with ease and they hate it.  Things that would take me an entire day, take a couple of hours.  I love to do lawn work because it’s great exercise and I like to make the house look nice. It used to be a burden for me.  I used cut corners.  With everything.  I don’t have to anymore.  In fact, I drive people nuts now with organizing and fixing things.  I have so much energy during the day!  (I do finally crash about 9:00 every night, but hey when your body needs rest it needs to rest.)

Progress photo, Jan 2015

Progress photo, Jan 2015

A high point I experience every single day, all my workouts/classes are a success.  In class I work hard, do what they show me I can do and get it done.  If I’m on my own that day, I push myself until it burns.  I sometimes take what I do in class and do the moves in the middle of the gym.  This is my time and it’s what I choose to do!

Emotional change high points are extremely hard to accomplish.  Some times they came from other people reminding me, sometimes I would find things that used to be important that I no longer put an emphasis on.  As I said before weight issues come with low self esteem issues.  People would tell me how great I looked, of course I said thank you.  It took me a while to really see it.  I am my worst critic.  If there was an area that I didn’t like, I found a way to work on it.  I now can feel if a part of my body is feeling weak and I put that in to that weeks workout.

At first when I went to my gym, I was self conscious.  I fought through it and realized just how competitive with myself I was.  I wanted to make my workouts worth something.  I was done with feeling defeated.  I put myself in a place of mind where I was going to get this workout done.  People would comment in my classes on muscles they could see in my arms and just weight coming off very fast.  Well, I didn’t think it was coming off fast, lol.  That self conscious feeling was stuffed away, I  didn’t think of everyone else.  It was just me I had to beat.  I was the villain, because for so long I told myself I couldn’t do this.  I beat her. She’s gone.  The gym is my happy place.  Everyone around me is happy and when I leave I feel good about what I did that day.

There are so many changes I went through to get here though.  I dealt with the plateaus, workout struggles, defeat, gains and utter confusion.  When I made this decision I knew it was going to be hard.  There were some easy days too.  But I had to make myself have patience.  I had some control, but sometimes your body isn’t getting what it needs or something is throwing you off.  I had figure it out. More on this later.

My husband was instrumental in picking me up when I was down.  He never let me feel bad about anything.  He just kept reminding me how far I had come.  I learned that I was doing this forever and not to limit myself to a time when this weight needed to be off.  Through all of this our relationship has strengthened immensely.  I will talk more about us later, I want to do an entire entry just on him. It’s okay J, you don’t have to be scared.

I have couple of funny stories I want share.  I guess they would be high points because I thought they were funny and I took them as compliments.

I was at the post office one day.  I was standing in line, this guy complemented me on my shoes.  I thought okay, that’s weird.  Why was he looking at my shoes?  He then told me that he used to be a shoe salesman and he would fit women with the right shoes. Okay. He was a military man that had just served 20 years with the marines.  I thanked him for his service to our country, he then asked if I was single.  Um. I told him no. I was extremely uncomfortable.  I was wearing a wedding set! I was polite and told him I had been married for some time.  He then told me my husband was a very lucky man, that I was beautiful.  Very awkward for me.  I look back and think that has never happened to me in my life!  Of course my husband loved it!

I took one of my kids to their friends house, so we could take them fishing.  We were standing at the door, I could hear people moving around inside but they weren’t coming to the door.  I hear someone say don’t open the door yet, I’m not ready. This lady peeks around she says hold on sec, I’ll be out.  I was like okay, no problem.  So we’re standing there waiting.  All of a sudden she busts out the door and says sorry about that I had to go change my clothes.  I am thinking okay, we’re just taking your son right?  She says oh I was in my tank top and shorts with my belly hanging out and you were out here with your arms looking all toned and you’re tall and narrow,  I was eating cheetos, folding laundry.  She said this all in one sentence with this look on her face that maybe she had been caught doing something she shouldn’t.  I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to make anyone feel bad about themselves.  I told her as such, I told her about my story.   She was shocked.

Most people that meet me now think I have always been this size.  I am not sure what to think on this yet.

I smile at everyone now, did I before? Not all the time, because I was afraid of judgement.  Well, judgement is still there.  I still smile, because I want people to see who I am.  I am proud of this person.  If you are happy with yourself, others will be happy with you.  You can’t change way people think.  But you can show them who you are and it’s exactly who you want to be.

Thank you everyone for reading! I know I type a lot, thanks for sticking with me.  It’s been a long journey for me and I’m still not to all the things I have learned!

I want to invite you let me know of your high points! Tell me what you are proud of!   Let me cheer you on.

 

 

My lowest points.

This entry will be my most difficult. No one likes to disclose their weakness. Especially when you have low self-esteem issues. I will start at my lowest points, because it wasn’t just one reason to make this lifestyle change. It was many. Some were very embarrassing and others were what everyone deals with. That being said I apologize if this gets TMI, but this my truth. This is a remembrance for me to never get this low again. If you are going through this right now, it may help to make your decision a little easier and choose the path I did. You are not alone. If you feel like my lowest points, you deserve so much more.

Here goes:

So with a lot weight to carry around you’re not human if you don’t have a constant ache or pain. I would go to bed with back pain. Wake up with back pain. One morning I turned to get out of bed to make the trip to the restroom. My back as usual was so very sore. It would lock up so I couldn’t stand up fully. Shooting pains running down the front and back of my legs. I could barely sit down. And then I couldn’t get my legs to lift me back up. I was stuck. My I thought how did I get here, I am 37 years old. This was the worst I had ever felt about myself. What have I done to my body?

I love food. I am addicted to it. I love cooking, baking and celebrating with food. I would have days, if I wanted something I ate it, no matter if not 10 mins before I had a full meal. I would eat out a lot when the kids were in school, making excuses while I was out. Everything was super-sized. Carbs, always. Family gatherings were always centered around food. It didn’t matter the occasion. It seemed I never got full. The more I had on my plate the more I wanted. Portions were out of control.

2012-12-15 191206 (FUJIFILM FinePix S2950)

My husband’s company was having a Christmas party. I had nothing to wear. I went shopping. I went to a few plus size stores but was sticker shocked at some. I ended up at Torrid. I tried on a bunch of shirts and pants. The girl there was extremely helpful. Well I walked out with biggest pair of pants they sold. 28/30. It was horrible. I was glad I found something I could wear, but thinking about the size was just depressing. They were just black dress pants with no shape to them and the biggest bell bottoms I have ever worn. The outfit is shown in the above picture. I should have kept them, but I sold them on eBay to buy small pants! The top was a 3X sleeveless and lacy. I had to get a sweater to cover my arms, they were just not attractive.

I volunteered twice a week at my son’s school. I loved that I could see him there and meet his friends. We were new here and I wanted to get involved to meet people and in turn my kids would meet more kids. The school was putting on a thanksgiving dinner and needed volunteers to serve. So I signed up. He came home that night and told me that one of his friends told him that I was fat. I asked him how that made him feel, he said “mad”. “He’s not my friend any more.” I told him that was his choice but appreciated him taking up for his mom. Couple of weeks later I was working in the school, my son brings this kid up to me to make him apologize to me for saying this! I felt for the kid, he probably didn’t think some one would stick up for their parents like my son did! Anyway, the kid apologized. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that my weight would impact my kids like this. I want my kids to respect me. I want to be a good role model, because like it or not they will know nothing else until they leave my house. I didn’t want them to be embarrassed of me or have to make excuses for me. I do realize this kid was just being a kid, some parents are not aware of their behavior when they are not around. Or perhaps they don’t care to educate their kids on etiquette. No matter it was a wake up for me.

I was an extreme introvert. I didn’t like going out, meeting new people or doing anything social. I always felt not good enough or that I wouldn’t be able to handle an activity. I mean, I was sore just standing for an hour. I was ignored by people in public. I am nice person, I greet store clerks or restaurant employees, they would barely glance or utter a word to me. Looking back now, I think I was imagining these things. I didn’t realize all of this unhappiness showed on my face. When I smiled, I am not sure it reached my eyes. With my posture did I slouch, could people tell I was uncomfortable? I so was. I rarely looked anyone in the eye when talking. This was a problem.

Guilt. Boy did I have guilt. Not doing enough for everyone else. I have never been one to do for myself like I do for others. This sounds like I think I am a wonderful person right? Not my point. My family has always come first no matter what. I would do without everything, including thinking about my health. I wouldn’t change anything by being able to give my husband and kids my undivided attention. My way of dealing with stress was to eat. Because it made me forget and chocolate made everything better.

I had no energy. Made excuses because of back and knee issues that I couldn’t exercise. I made the excuse that my world revolved around my kids and I had no time for me. All these things that could be fixed. I had no documented health issues. Only these excuses were holding me back.

My kids didn’t care about my size. They cared about my feelings. Good quality to have. But it’s a much better feeling when your kids experience your success. I have seen them experience the feeling of reaching for goals, being brave and fighting for something you want, because I fought to get this weight off.

Now you know my lowest points. Maybe some people are the same and some are not. Maybe those of you who are just reading this because you like my story and have never felt this way. I know there are a lot of people out there who have it a whole lot worse than I did. For those that can not relate, please use this as a tool to help someone you know. Let someone see you understand what they are feeling, sometimes that can be more comforting than going through it yourself. This world is so mean sometimes, the more understanding people can be, the less crutches everyone will hold on to. Food and unhealthy habits were my crutches. If you are nodding your head through all of these low points, I totally understand. Make a change, take on another lifestyle. You can do anything you want to, I did. Everything worked out. My excuses were never in my way. Today I believe I can do anything.

Thank you to each of you who are reading, leaving comments on my Facebook page, it truly means a lot. Getting this all typed out is really inspiring me feel good about what I have done. Sometimes I get so focused on doing more, that I forget it’s okay to take a break. Forgiving myself for eating something bad or not getting to a goal in a workout. This is reminding me why I began, where I came from to how far I have come.

I have switched my blog to this page, it’s a little more user-friendly and I’ll be able to customize things a little easier. I hope you follow along by subscribing.  Anytime I post it will just email the link!  I have many more ideas for blog posts on my journey! Take care!

Workouts…

My first day at the gym was exactly what I was expecting. Tiring, painful and depressing. I started on the elliptical. I noticed people around me bouncing around on them and they weren’t out of breath, I jump on and put it on a setting where my legs felt like they were going up hill and went until I couldn’t. I made sure my heart rate was between 155-160. Burning calories. I would only last about 20 minutes. From then I would hit the recumbent bike. It was easier on my knees and back. I don’t know about anyone else but from the weight I was pulling my joints were stressed! I would ride for miles usually 4. Sounds like a lot but it was more time than anything else. It was a starting point. Eventually I would do 3 miles on the elliptical and 4-5 on the recumbent. This worked well for me for about 4-5 months. I eventually worked in the row machine, it really helped with core and upper body strength. I didn’t know that then, I just did it because I could get my heart rate up and it told me how many calories I was burning. That’s all I cared about was the calorie burns. You have burn up some of of what you put in.

One day a lady stopped me, I had noticed her before, she had come over to introduce herself and told me her story. She had recently lost 100lbs. I was impressed. She said she had noticed me in everyday and watching how hard I was working. She said I would soon be able to accomplish what she had. That was my goal. She is an employee now, inspiring others. She is also the one who talked me into taking a group class. Which for me was very nerve racking. I can be a introvert in group settings. I am great one on one, but because of the self esteem weight issues bring, this wasn’t my cup. Anyway I sucked it up, I went to the class with her. The trainer that teaches the class was extremely motivating. It was tough to keep up, but I was determined because I just wanted to do it. The class was a cardio/weight class. A lot of core, weight lifting, abs and squats! I was sore for three days after. But I was amazed I made it through that class. The feeling was addicting! Really showed me how far I had come. At this point I believe I was down about 80-90lbs. I was plateauing and frustrated. I stuck with the class, had an amazing time and lost a lot more every week. I then worked in a second class, so I did the same class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Kept up with my gym workouts. At this point my schedule was:

Mondays- elliptical or stepper 3-4 miles, row machine weight in weight room. Total work out time 1 hour
Tuesday-Weight training class (my gym calls it Pump)
Wednesday- same as Monday though I worked different body parts with the weights
Thursday-pump
Friday-same as Mon/Tues
Saturday/Sunday-Some times I took time off, sometimes I went in and did whatever wasn’t sore, lol.

The more classes I took the more comfortable I felt and met more people. Keeping this schedule has been instrumental in the weight loss. A year and half it took to lose 150lbs. I have been working on strength training, spinning and running for the last 5 months roughly. I actually started running on our family vacation last summer because the hotel weight room only had a recumbent bike (which the seat on the back of it was broken) and a treadmill. So I decided well, lets try! I was in there by myself so if I fell or looked stupid only I would see. So I set off! It was not too bad! I tried to make it to a mile and I did it. I glanced over to the mirror on the side of me and realized I didn’t look stupid! I was actually running. So that started my running off. I run about 1 to 1.5 miles 3 times a week now. It isn’t much but it’s what I can do, I am slowly building up. I am not a great runner but it does great things for my body!

A friend of my liked to spin, so I decided I would try it. First class was so fun! I loved the music, it was loud and just like the other classes the trainer was extremely motivating. I was extremely tired, but looked down at my monitor, I biked 28 miles in an hour! I couldn’t believe it! I starting spinning once a week, now doing Monday and Fridays. When you first start out it is an adjustment, just like everything else it gets better. I am so glad I started. It’s tightened up my legs, it’s helped with running because it gives you endurance with breathing. You even get the muscles in your back and abs worked so you have better posture. Also, meeting more people and being motivated by the best trainers!

So my current gym schedule:
Monday-Spin
Tues- 1-1 1/2 mile run, stepper 3 miles, weights (my Y no longer does pump on tues, huge bummer)
Weds-Cardio Dance
Thurs- Pump
Friday-Spin

With all of things classes and meeting people has brought me here. This journey all started at my local YMCA. I did not get on a scale. In fact it was a good two months before I got on the scale. I was afraid that number would define the future for me. If it was high I would feel defeat before I started. Instead I just told myself we are just going to do this for one year. One year as many times a week as I could stand! I wouldn’t recommend this method, haha. I was afraid of failure I understand that but it would be nice to know where the heaviest I started at was instead of the having two months of weight loss missing.

So now you know how my workouts went. Let me tell you how I deal with the emotions in the gym.

Being a man or a women there are things we think about while we are at the gym. Everyone is guilty of I think, so far. Because every time I bring it up to someone their like “Yep.” We would be lieing if we didn’t say we didn’t notice what other people are thinking when we are running, jumping etc. People who are in the gym trying to get weight off look different that people who are fit. This is a touchy subject. The way I dealt with it, I just did what I wanted to do. I had to, I had a goal. If anyone was noticing me it was because I was working hard and they needed to keep up! I realized I am responsible for my results, I put this weight on all by myself. I had to get it off too! I can’t control other peoples reactions or feelings. That’s their responsibility. So there’s that excuse checked off. Don’t be embarrassed about being in the gym.
I was tired a lot of days, if I wasn’t nursing a pulled muscle or broken appendage my butt was going. I would schedule conferences, doctor appointments etc around my gym time! I know crazy, but I eventually worked up to not being able to deal with missing things. It started with the year promise, but it’s a lifeline now. I tried really hard to tell myself I could do everything. Did I have bad days? Yes. Many more good days than bad. I trained my brain to forget the negative and focus on what I was doing. I was a lot better off doing something in the gym that at home on the couch.
I worried about the present day, not tomorrow. Tomorrow would come tomorrow. I threw that daunting thought of never ending workouts/diet foods excuse out! I had to have this as a lifestyle change or it was too much stress to keep holding if worried about every minute on every single day.

Can’t afford gym memberships. Good excuse but don’t let it stop you finding a way to do it at home or out at park walking. Also there are gym popping up all over with ten dollar a month memberships. I exercised on vacation! I was never like that before! It was important to me, so did it.

I have not had the luxury of using work as excuse, because I so would have at some point, haha. Tons of gyms have after work hours. Even classes are held. Can’t make classes, hire a trainer at your gym or Y. Yes you are tired, but you’re going to be tired anyway. Just be a little more tired, not hard to do. Go workout. Excuse over.
You’re too sore. Depending on the class or what you did to make yourself sore, don’t do that day. Still go to the gym. Work a different muscle or walk. It loosens everything up. The soreness is temporary. The pain from the gym and the tiredness is temporary. Being hungry is temporary.

You can do this.

If I haven’t touched on excuse you’re using, sorry.

One thing I want to end this post with. I have mentioned people in this blog, not by name, because I didn’t know if they would approve. But these people have helped me so selflessly. They are there for me every week! Yes it’s their job, but they challenge, encourage and motivate. Not easy job when you’re not on everyday. I admire them and hope to pay it back someday, but I think it’s too heavy of a debt for me. Thank you ladies, I hope you know who you are! You’re always in my mind and now my heart because I won’t forget everything you’ve done!

Next post I am will be going through my lowest point and a little on my family because they are important! It’s an emotional one, not proud of it but it was what it was.

What foods to choose for a healthy lifestyle

For someone who is looking to lose weight food is very important.  I have always said I wish our bodies were designed to go with out food, because it would be much easier, save time and cheap!

Here are some ideas I have used to lose this amount of weight.

Everything in moderation is a key I have found.  Let’s be honest, that doesn’t mean your favorite 1200 calorie sandwich or a bag of potato chips once a week/day is acceptable.  You have to still find ways around getting the taste out of food that you want with smallest amount of calories/fat.

Fast food:

If you like a particular sandwich from a fast food place, try to decrease some of the ingredients.  For instance, mayo big calories! Ask for without.  Cheese another big calorie. Leave the veggies! If it’s fried chicken, get grilled.  If you don’t like that order something else, salads, wraps or chicken nuggets.  Fast food resturants have paid people to come up with the menu plans to give people healthy options.  Use them for your lifestyle.  Can you have fries? Maybe one or two single fries, not orders, in moderation. I would suggest the majority of the time pick a different side.  If they have fruit or a salad get that.  You don’t have to completely take things out of your eating habits, just adjust them. If you are not enjoying food, you’ll never find a way to stick to a plan.

Home Cooking:

Cooking at home is the best way to keep from overeating, save money and choose healthy options.  Pinterest has loads of healthy recipes to choose from.  You can even choose budget friendly, so you can’t use the excuse of not affording the healthy foods! I get most of my dinners off Pinterest. If you work outside the home there are plenty of options to pack things up to take with you. Here’s a list of some of my favorite foods that are a weekly staple for me.

Breakfast:
I love all the Special K cereals (use with fat free milk),
whole grain waffles, low sugar syrup
turkey bacon

Lunches:
white fish, salmon brown rice
salads
turkey on wheat with miracle whip and veggies
baked potato chips
sugar free chocolate pudding snacks

Snacks:
Apple with peanut butter
dried fruit
yogurt
pretzels/veggies and hummus

Dinners:
chili with ground turkey
grilled chicken/sweet potato
tacos (these I will use the 83% ground beef for)
I eat everything my family eats, but I just control the portions.

These are just some quick ideas off the top of my head. Every week is something different. Some questions people always ask me don’t you get hungry? Of course! In the beginning this was extremely hard. I am not going to lie. I was hungry, dead tired and irritable. I just kept telling myself, drink more water, your snack is (blank) amount of minutes. Keep it up or all the work in gym would have been for nothing. Chewing gum helps a lot. If you are absolutely just so hungry you are shaking, eat. Pick something with a lot of protein or natural sugar. Listen to your body, not your mind. Food can be addiction. Especially if you are used to eating while watching tv or working at your desk. I always find if I am rushing to finish a meal, I become hungry faster later. I never eat standing up or in the car. I want my mind to remember eating. So I can tell it we already ate, you are not hungry. Sometimes I mistake hunger pains for thirst. Drinking water will quiet the stomach.
Eating healthy foods gives you so much more in your portions. If you notice, there are serving sizes on everything. They are there for a reason, to use! It’s so helpful to know if you can have something or not. I have not used a measuring scale or any calorie count system. I simply replaced all the “regular” foods with the healthy options and watched the serving sizes! It’s worked for me. I am the biggest pain when we go out to eat because I ask the waitresses what is in the food or ask for things to be left off. If calories are not listed on the menu I will ask how they prepare it and if it’s not something they can change I order something else. My family is very supportive of deciding on a place I am able to get a my food at.

What did I do if I just wanted something so bad for me? Well, this has happened often believe it or not. My answer to it is: I ate it. Like I said, if I had a craving, I had it. To stay in control I would eat a couple bites and put it away. Or just go all out, eat it, go to the gym and forget it. Again, I don’t follow a diet, I take responsibility for the things I do, eat and don’t. Sometimes my workouts are rough because I know I had something bad. I am in control of it because I set my failures and my successes.
This is a lot to follow, but after doing it so long it’s become routine. Find healthy foods you like to eat and workout. Doctors have been saying it for years and make it sound so simple. It is and it isn’t. That’s why I have decided to share. Some things that take the most time will give you all the time you need later. And you will have your health also.

Who’s Responsible?

Unfortunately no one will like the answer to the above question. I know because I didn’t either.

YOU is the answer.

My first couple of months developing a healthy lifestyle was the most frustrating thing I have done. I wanted the weight to melt right off and right away. My opinion is we live in a very spoiled society. Things like food, attention and self gratification is so easily obtained. I was guilty of this feeling too. I look back now and wonder why I was in such a hurry. If this was now my lifestyle what did matter if I still had so long to go. Once I get to where my weight is off what will be waiting. Hostess? Does it mean I can just gorge myself on that too. Well, that’s where you have to decide. Is it a life style or just fix so you can say you tried? I decided to stick to the lifestyle. I made my decision.

I had to realize that I was ultimately responsible for everything I did or didn’t do. I was the one who fixed my meals, chose something else to do instead of the gym and plain just wanted to eat. Find the root of the problem and change it. Easier said than done. You can. Was I hungry, yes all the time. Do you know when you are hungry they purposely run those Burger King commercials with a dripping burger? Or McDonalds brings back the McRib? Or Halloween is in two weeks! Or maybe it’s your Birthday! Choose your vices. If it was my birthday, I would have cake. There was always an option. I would either make a healthy cake, have froyo or just have a small piece of pie or cake whatever. The rest of the week I would just go on. Eating should be healthy, but you have to allow for flexibility. I allowed myself to have certain things I wanted in place of what I should have, as long as I stayed true with gym workouts and foods other times. I found that if I did with out I didn’t want to continue. As far as that burger or McRib get someone to go with you, have a bite. See why you wanted it so much. Or just bite the bullet and tell yourself no. My taste buds have changed so much from the last couple of years, I don’t crave the same things. I look forward to my food, just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean you can’t like it.

I have discovered an obvious thought. I make my failures and successes. I am responsible for both. No one can make those decisions for me. Did I have days of failure. Absolutely. Everyday I had to tell myself that I could do this. I also have a confession to make, I am a creature of schedule, habits and certain OCD. My kids have a schedule and my days are the same. Which has helped immensely making a gym schedule. My daughters school is right next to my gym. I had a hard time coming up with reasons not to go. Today I have trainers, friends and people I look forward to seeing everyday. Classes are a great way to get exercise in when you can’t push yourself. I’ll talk more on this later.

I will do a complete blog about how I choose my meals next. I want make sure that I am inspiring the right frame of mind for someone who wants to do this like I did. I really just started with the right attitude and being responsible!

My Very First Blog Post

progressWell, where to start.  My name is Amber.  I have been married to my best friend for 19 years.  We have 3 kids ages 14, 12 and 8.  I have had weight issues most of my life steaming from puberty.  I have been on so many diets and eating plans, I just got frustrated and gave it all up.  I decided one day enough, I am going to just eat healthy food, control my portions and spend time at the gym.

With my husband’s encouragement I have decided to share my journey of weigh loss. Please remember I have no training, degree Continue reading