Well, I should begin on the child hood years. As a child I was not over weight. I was pretty active as a child, my weight didn’t go up till I hit puberty. I guess all that candy and soda caught up with me. However when I hit about 15, the weight came back off, I was a cheerleader in the fall, and I played softball in the spring,and did a lot of other activities in between. Then when I hit 18 I really started to work out. I kind of got obsessed, I was working out to Carol Alt’s VCR tapes (remember VHS tapes?) and I got into the best shape ever. I am 5’11 and made it to 135 lbs, not too shabby. However, I didn’t eat that much and felt horribly guilty when I did eat. Not good! Honestly I don’t know what happened after that, to why I stopped working out that is. I guess that’s when I hit age 20. The discovery of pizza, beer, bars, guys and friends.
So at age 20 my weight started to climb, but I didn’t notice or care because I was having fun. At about age 24, I still didn’t workout at all and just partied and enjoyed my time with my friends. I had an asthma attack, and went to the Doctors and that is when he told me, if I keep going this route I would die! (Thanks Dr. Becker) Pretty abrupt, but it’s true. I was hitting near 200lbs and heading down the road of disaster. I don’t think I ever made it to 200lbs, but I came pretty close. (That’s me with the brown hair and bag in the picture, gross huh?)
At that point, I stopped with the drinking and going to bars, but still didn’t exercise and I didn’t cut back on the eating. I ended up going down to about 172lbs. That seems to be where my weight stayed for years, and I excepted that. If you punch in my height and weight, I was at the top of my average range. People in my family made comments here and there but nothing to make me think differently. I didn’t know I had a weight issue. I remember my Grandmother saying to me “your Mother at your age was skinny”. I remember that hurt my feelings, but it still didn’t do anything. I thought this is where I was suppose to stay. I didn’t know how to lose weight.
As my middle 30′s were here, I ate better, more home cooked meals, but again didn’t do any exercise. I was tracking calories, but I wasn’t eating enough. I didn’t know how many calories I needed in a day, I just thought I wasn’t suppose to eat. At work the other day, I was cleaning my desk drawer out and came across papers that had my calorie intake for the day on it and it said I was eating 800, 900 and 1000 calories on a high day! I was shocked, well no wonder I wasn’t losing any weight, I wasn’t eating enough. You can’t go from eating way over 2000 calories a day to practically nothing. But back then I didn’t care, I did that for a few months and gave up. The scale didn’t move, so I figured again, this is the weight my body is comfortable with. (image of my calorie count from January 2009)
In the summer of 2009, I was stressed out with life! So after dinner, every night, no matter what I went for a short walk around the block, and within 1 month I lost 10lbs. My body must of went into shock with actually moving around. That was the push I needed. I was so excited to lose the weight that I actually started to watch what I ate. I didn’t calorie count, I started out with portion control. By November I dropped another 10lbs. I was sitting around 150lbs. That’s when I took notice of calories in food. I was shocked to find out how many calories there were in my favorite foods. I thought ordering a salad from Baja Fresh was a good idea! Nope! Having reduced fat desserts from Starbucks was ok,nope. So I started to track calories on a website, my Virtual Trainer. I was sticking to around 1200 calories a day, because that is what the magazines would tell me.
In January of 2010, I was home from work, and I was flipping through the On Demand channels and I saw a circuit training workout “Boost Your Metabolism” from Jillian Micheals. I hadn’t a clue who she was, but I did the workout and I thought I was going to die! I couldn’t walk for 3 days and I was sore as hell. That’s when I knew I was out of shape and needed to up my exercise, because walking wasn’t enough anymore. At that time I also started my Getting in Shape 2010 group on Facebook. I needed a place to share healthy living, get support because I wasn’t getting that at home and to learn from others.
I would work out to On Demand/Exercise TV for months and months, and you know what, nothing happened. My weight was hanging out at about 145 pounds. I was frustrated but I never gave up. I was counting calories and exercising. I felt great! My asthma went away,after having it since I was a child, I sleep better, I have more energy and I had self-esteem! But I still had a goal to meet, but wasn’t getting there. I heard that losing those last 10lbs are the hardest! It’s true! Wondering why no weight loss? What was I doing wrong? I was on what you call a plateau for 8 months, yes 8 months! Ridiculous!!!
In August of 2010, one of my members of Getting in Shape 2010 group recommended I joined Sparks People. I thought what the heck, since my virtual trainer was giving me issues. Well I set up my profile, entered how much exercise I do a week, and what my goal was and guess what? It calculated how many calories I needed to lose 1.5 lbs a week. Don’t forget I was eating only 1200 calories a day. Sparks told me I needed to eat 1550 at the low end and 1700 on the high end. I was so happy, I could eat!!!! It was like a new world opened up for me.
I tracked everything from fat, carbs and protein. I was eating what I was suppose to and within 5 months, I dropped the remaining 10lbs. I did it, I met my goal! As of today, I am trying to maintain my weight, which in my opinion is harder then losing it. I get so afraid of putting the weight back on, since it’s so easy to lose motivation. Just because you meet your goal doesn’t mean you can go back to the way it was. That’s when I decided I needed to make this my lifestyle. I started reading up on healthy foods, different exercises, and I kept calculating my calories. I was a true calorie counter, every bite I ate, I tracked it. If I didn’t know the calories, I wouldn’t eat it. I was having allot of fun. I was exercising and maintaining my weight! Then it happened. Something was brought to my attention from my friends and family, I was obsessed they told me! Obsessed with what? Eating right and exercising? It was the calorie counting! People told me I’m not enjoying life if I calculate every bite. Can I do this forever? Well, maybe,I am pretty dedicated after all, but who wants to? I have learned so much over the past couple of years, about eating, exercising and most importantly myself. I have a lot of will power and I know how to be healthy, so I should be able to do this!!!!
Well as of today, I have been exactly two weeks with not counting calories. I am taking a new approach to things, I am listening to my stomach! Yes listening to my stomach! It was hard the first week, and I did cheat a little, but I managed not to gain weight, kept up on exercise and ate mostly healthy. I feel free! It’s nice not to have to calculate every meal, every bite! I know if I eat a piece of cake I won’t gain 10lbs over night! Moderation is the key! I now have the all around perfect healthy life style. You’ll just have to stay tuned to my blog to make sure I stay on the right path!
Here are some tips from me that I learned through my journey: Please note I am not a doctor or dietitian, just a regular person like you. This is my own personal experience.
#1 – Eat enough food! Your body can’t function without it’s fuel! You need a MINIMUM of 1200 calories a day for woman, but I personally recommend at least 1500, but you should consult your doctor for a better amount. Just remember if you don’t eat enough, your body goes into starvation mode and will store everything as fat. Also if you eat to much, you’ll gain! Remember 1lbs is 3500 calories! Your body burns calories when we do nothing so dont’ think you’ll gain 3500 calories if you eat that in a week. Here’s more information about that. It’s to hard for me to explain. http://www.caloriesperhour.com/tutorial_BMR.php
#2 – Count your calories, at least for the first week or two. You’d be amazed in what you think is healthy and is not. I was drinking a skinny vanilla latte and a reduced fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake for breakfast every day, and that was over 500 calories. Not smart, not to mention I was hungry a short while after breakfast, which brings me to #3.
#3 – Eat breakfast! As Mom always said it’s the most important meal of the day and it is. Your body needs fuel to speed up your metabolism and to get you going. I like to eat yogurt with fruit and granola, or oatmeal with Greek Yogurt, and sometimes eggs and pancakes. I like to eat about 300 calories for breakfast. Having full hearty meals, with protein, a pinch of fat and carbs will keep me filled for 3 or 4 hours.
#4 – Snacks! Snacks are important to keep the metabolism flowing. I eat a mid morning snack such as hummus and veggies, or a piece of fruit, hard boiled egg, granola or even yogurt. Just stay away from bad foods, like chocolate, fried stuff and nothing higher then 100 – 150 calories.
#5 – Read Labels! If you choose processed foods to eat, read your labels, not everything is bad for you, but some stuff is. I look at the calories, serving size, carbs, protein, fiber and sugar. If it’s low on protein and fiber, I don’t get it. If it’s high in fat and sodium I put it right back onto the shelf. Be a smart consumer and read those labels. If you can’t pronounce and ingrediant, it’s probably not good for you. Don’t buy something because the package says low fat or no sugar added, that doesn’t mean crap! Sugar Alcohol is still sugar!!! Not to mention if it’s low in fat, it’s high somewhere else, they need to add something to perserve and add flavor.
#6 – Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. If you do this, you can’t go wrong!
#7 – Drink lots of water. I have at least 8 glasses of water a day and if I workout, I drink more because I need to replenish my body because I sweat it out and sweating is good for you!!
#8 – Exercise! I try to Cardio at least 30 minutes a day, if not more! I do 30 minutes of cardio 6-7 days a week, even if it is a short walk. I feel better when I do, and it gets me off my butt! But try for at least 5 days a week if you can’t make 6 or 7. But start off slow if your just beginning.
Strength Training is very important part of your workouts. Try for 15 – 30 minutes of strength training. Don’t be afraid of strength training. You burn more calories all together. You’ll tone your muscles and you get stronger. I like that my arms are strong, that way I can carry more bags at the mall. :) I like to do circuit training which is full body workouts. I only do them 3 times a week, every other day. Never do strength training on back to back days, unless you work one muscle group at a time. Such as Monday Upper Body, Tuesday Lower Body, Wednesday Core, Thursday Upper Body, Friday Lower Body, you get the picture.
#9 – Make your own meals from scratch and plan ahead. If you make your own meals, you know what your eating, you know what goes into a meal and you can control the sugar, fat and sodium. This is a big one for me. I enjoy cooking, it’s like an art to me! Plus I like to share my creations with my friends, family and you!
#10 – Don’t deprive yourself. You don’t have to give up the foods you love, just have them in moderation, like once a week or everyday if you fit it into your weight loss program. If you deprive yourself, you will most likely fail.
#11 – Most importantly, set a goal and try to achieve it! Don’t give up, even if you mess up for a day or two. Just get back on that horse and keep going. Along that note, you need to reward yourself! If you reach a mini goal, then treat yourself to a pair of jeans, or something you desire. I bought clothes at every 5lbs loss. A little crazy, but it worked and I felt great!!
#12 – I almost forgot! Educate yourself and get support from friends and family. Tell people what your goals are and be very proud of yourself! Your doing a good thing for you and your family!
Well that’s it for me, I am sure I will have more and I’ll add it in this post when I do. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated when I do. Oh and I’ll add pictures soon, so you can see my progress.