2012 Yearly Wrap Up

2013 3Hello and Happy New Year!!!

After taking a short break to my “get crap back together” after the school thing, am very happy to be back and will be blogging again regularly. Missed everyone but have been busy learning new fitness, nutrition, and motivation tips and tricks to help us all!

But first a quick wrap of “2012 Goals Achieved“!

INCHES LOST: I lost 4 inches off my bust, went from 22 to size 16/18 in pants and from 1X to Xlarge and some Large/Medium as well. Sold or Donated 80% (or more) of my clothes and shoes and, except for one shopping trip, have gotten everything but sneakers from Goodwill.

FAT LOST: I lost 15 pounds this year and have kept it off. Went through a cycle of gaining and losing, then plateaued for about 5 months but kept going.

STRENGTH: I am doing much better. Can do 3 rounds of full range of exercises with trainer. Bench press 40 pounds and squatting 60 pounds. Much better endurance and able to run 2 miles easily.

MOTIVATION: I began working in July with an amazing trainer and hit the gym at least 3 times a week now, if not more. That includes fitness classes, strength training, C25K training, and yoga. Also tried P90X with a group.

RUNS ACCOMPLISHED: I completed 3 separate 5K’s this year, up from 1 last year. Also decreased time on the last one – Thanksgiving Day – by 15 minutes!

DIET: This year I struggled with sweets and junk food, especially pastry, but was able to get friends on board with my “healthy eating program”. Also did a great job with food choices during the holiday’s compared to last year, and did a 1 day water cleanse yesterday – even with going to a friend’s gathering a being surrounded with AMAZING FOOD.

BREAKFAST: Eat breakfast every day, use stevia not sugar, cook with cooking spray.

WATER: Drink it like it’s out of style (at least a gallon a day). That, coffee, and protein shakes are all I drink now.

ENDING THE BLAME / GUILT CYCLE: I am finished blaming my weight gain on my condition (1 med a bit of an issue but have overcome it), my mom for passing the condition down, and beating myself up when I slip off the wagon, hit a wall, or fail at something. Now I can accept life as it comes, deal with it, and move on to make healthier, smarter decisions next time. This is a HUGE step for me!

TAKING CARE OF MYSELF FIRST: After the whole “class thing” and backsliding, I have been extra vigilant about self care, meds, preparing healthy meals, eating on time, and getting to the gym. The healthier I am in all areas of my life, the better wife, friend, and overall person I will be. Can’t help others with half a tank!

OTHER GOALS ACHIEVED OF NOTE:

SOCIAL: Went from anxiety/depression central and trapped at home 2 years ago to planning and hosting 3 parties/gatherings this year: a “Harry Potter Movie Marathon and Authentic Menu” Party, “Cocktails/Mocktails” Party, and a “French Country Christmas”. Also captained the 2012 NamiWalk, great success! Am almost anxiety free now and ready to kick another med to the curb! And will be reconnecting and visiting with friends monthly.

EDUCATION: Signed up for and completed 90% of a college class.

FINANCIAL: Also studying and creating a financial plan for my family for next year to knock out our debts. Paid off car and refinanced house this year. Exciting plans for 2013.

Have another set already of goals for 2013, some carried over from 2012, but many new.

Pleased to report that achieved almost everything on our “2012 Vision Board“. So for those of you who don’t know what a vision board is or just haven’t used one – I HIGHLY recommend it! Seeing your goals in color every day and the “check marks” stuck to the one’s you’ve achieved is an incredible motivator. Gives such an amazing feeling of pride and accomplishment. Have a blog entry from January 2012 explaining how to make your own vision board but even if you just create a “2013 Goals List” and display it where you’ll see it every day, then check things off as you do them, you’ll still get those “warm fuzzy feelings”.

So, welcome back everyone! 2013 is a year of challenging myself like never before, beating the sugar monster, and getting in the best health I’ve been in since my late 20’s. And I challenge you to go after your goals and “knock them out of the park” as well! Would love to hear some of your plans and goals for the New Year and your accomplishments in 2012. This is going to be exciting and thrilled you’re along for the Ride!

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Train Like Your Stronger Fitter Evil-Twin is Plotting…

How hard do you train? More importantly, what are your real fitness goals? Are they written down? Have you even thought past just losing weight and being able to shop in cooler stores?

When I started this journey in April of 2011, my only goal was to lose weight, mainly because I was just so miserable and disgusted with myself. But actual fitness goals aside from what I needed to do to lose the weight, not really. There were a few ambiguous ones like being able to walk for 20 minutes, get through a whole yoga class, that sort of thing. Now, a bit over a year later, 80 pounds lighter, and spending more time at the gym than I ever dreamed I would, now I have goals. They are:

* Consistently do at least 30 minutes of sustained activity 30 minutes 6 days a week.

* Complete 2 5K’s by December 31, 2012. (Have 1 scheduled for October. And doing the C25K program.)

* Complete a Half Marathon in 2013. (Start training in January.)

* Reach my goal weight of 160 by December 31, 2012 – and be at 25% body fat percentage (the normal range).

* Biggest: At least double the amount of weight I can lift, strength training I can do, and incorporate a program like P90X to really push losing fat and building muscle.

* And of course, ditch the “white stuff” – sugar, white flour, salt, butter/margarine (ok they’re not white) and eat as cleanly as possible.

These are my goals – sure that yours may be different in many ways. However, the next most important piece is planning how to reach whatever your goals are. Planning how you’ll do it, creating a schedule, journalling/charting your progress, and celebrating milestones. All this seems pretty basic, right?

Basic until you ignore your eating regime to have oatmeal right before bed. Til you blow off gym class to do, well whatever. Letting your schedule slide because life is getting in the weigh (family, work, school). Unless you have a plan, look at it regularly, and have a method to hold yourself accountable, it’s so very easy to let life takeover one tiny piece at a time until you’re sliding backwards and even more stressed out.

If you don’t have a plan, consider making one. If you’re not journalling to keep your food under control and charting your fitness progress, there are tons of great sites and apps to make it quick and easy. A small notebook works, too!

Don’t do what I did last night – ignore my trainer’s advice to have a protein shake at night if I get hungry and instead carb load and let it turn to fat overnight. Especially after busting butt for over an hour with my trainer that afternoon. Stepping on your own success is only frustrating and discouraging. Let that “future you” you’ll become be your guide and advise you. I ask “what would future Lara want me to do right now to help her become the fit, toned, and healthy person she became?”. The answer is: move more, eat clean and smart, and keep going! This journey is truly a marathon not a sprint. Pace yourself, do your best, and you’ll get there. In the meantime, be firm but gentle with yourself “on the weigh”!

 

 

What Can You Do Now?

Depending on where you are with your personal weight loss journey, and at regular intervals, it’s a terrific idea to think back to where you started and take a few minutes to compare what you could do then versus what you can do now. Not the obvious things like being able to walk around the block, finish a gym class, are overall healthier and have more energy.

The less obvious ones:

* Being able to run to the car through the rain without being winded.

* Being able to bend over in the shower to shave your legs.

* Automatically reaching for an apple instead of a donut without realizing you’re doing it.

* Doing a yoga pose instinctively, perfectly, the first time, to your own amazement.

* Getting up from a low couch without leaning on something or needing help.

* Comfortably crossing your legs.

* Leaning over and wrapping your arms around your legs while seated on the floor, again without thinking about it.

* Moving past the conscious decision to do a healthier activity because so many are now second nature. Like taking the stairs and parking farther away to get a little extra activity.

* And the very little things like going to sleep at a decent hour because you’re honesty tired, not because you’re eyes are fried from too much tv or video gaming, but because your body has reset itself.

* Finally, the feeling developing deep in yourself that you’re a thin person, a healthy person, temporarily wearing a fat suit. That happened to me a few days ago and it’s been instrumental in strengthening my commitment to reaching my fitness and weight goals.

As you keep a food journal, an exercise journal, maybe think of starting a list of “new developments” list of thoughts and actions that you look back and realize how long it’s been since you were able to do them, if at all. More than a number on a scale or the amount of weight you’re able to lift or miles you can now run, it’s the little things that we now take for granted that truly make all the difference.

Start that list – you’ll be glad you did. Plus you can use it for a confidence boost when your commitment wanes or you hit a plateau!

There is NO “I Can’t”

There truly is no “I Can’t” and the only limits we have are those we impose upon ourselves. No one exemplifies this more than South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, a quadriplegic who is competing head to head with the rest of the those running in this summer’s 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“Oscar Pistorius, running on prosthetic legs, finishes last in race, first in hearts”

(South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius pops out of the starting block in the men’s 400m semifinals during the Summer Olympic Games on Sunday, August 5, 2012 in London, England.)

At the tiny gym I go to now (not sure it’s really a gym, more like a place where serious athletes and body builders train), one of the owners – my trainer Liz – is going to put a huge poster of Oscar on the wall so anytime anyone says “I can’t” or wants to quit when they still have something in them, she’ll point him out as an example. Not only did he make it to the Olympics, and even with all the padding, those prosthetics HURT! He’s in pain and he’s still running! And maybe he came in last in his first race but he still has the 400 to go. Talk about “never say die”!

I’ve posted the “Versus” motivational video numerous times because it is so powerful. Any goal we want to achieve – mental health, weight loss, getting in shape, relationship or career goals, school, whatever – can be daunting, especially if we don’t have a solid ground of support and/or achievement. There comes a time when it’s necessary to become our own cheerleaders. To discover the strength we have RIGHT NOW inside us to start down a new path. If it helps, print out Oscar’s picture and put it where you’ll see it the most. Use his example to remind yourself that anything is possible, anything that can be dreamed can be achieved.

I believe in you. Now it’s your turn. If you’re already there, I’m working my a** off to catch up!

This is Just A Phase

Been inspired reading “Epidemic of An Illness” about the frightening rise of diagnosed mental illness in the last 50 years. For those of you with BP or any type of mood disorder / mental illness, the book is quite enlightening.

BUT – what I found incredibly inspiring was the story of one woman, who after being diagnosed and dealing with over 20 years of hospitals, med changes, nasty side effects, etc. is putting her life together. Although she has been on SSDI for quite a few years, her perspective is “being on welfare (disability) is just a phase in my life, not the end”.

Not only is this important for all of us on disability who desperately want our lives back and to get back to work and being productive, it also applies beautifully to all of us on this weight loss journey.

Maybe you’ve been heavy since childhood, maybe tried diet after diet with limited success. That doesn’t mean you have to accept obesity as a way of life. Why not consider it a “phase of your life, not the end”. Flip that perception and start changing 1 habit at a time.

I was concerned yesterday that my weight loss has slowed down so much. Thankfully my wife reminded me that this is not a race. We don’t get a medal for who loses the most weight the fastest. We do get the personal pride of accomplishing our goals, the flexibility to change them as our lives change, and the knowledge that we are strong enough to get to the finish line and maintain afterward.

Don’t worry: your family and friends will be at that line cheering whether you’re there first or last. Order doesn’t matter. Developing healthy habits you can maintain for a lifetime and feeling good when you see your reflection in a mirror are the true rewards that are truly priceless. 

Have a happy and healthy Weekend!!

It’s All a Matter of Perspective…

No, duh right?!

Seriously, isn’t it easy to lose that priceless thought process when life throws it’s slings and arrows our way/weigh? When the scale pulls it “evil overlord” prank, we have an argument with someone we care about, the dog gets sick and we’re hit with a big medical bill and we scour the furniture for change to help pay for it, etc.

The Buddha isn’t the first to say that life is suffering. It’s painful to be born, all the most important lessons in life are usually learned the hard way, and I can’t count the times I’ve swallowed lemon juice instead of lemonade. You, too right? But there is a way out of suffering and it’s not some amazing spiritual awakening or giant light bulb over our heads.

I’ve found that no matter how bad the depression is, how hopeless I feel about ____, how worried I am about money, the future, the cost of tea in China, as long as I remember my wife’s advice about perspective, I know I can get through anything. It’s a simple question: Did anyone die or lose a limb? If not, go ahead and cry and get upset, then sit down and breathe. Then either get out pen and paper or call a friend and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re able to get at least the basics of a game plan. This is absolutely not to minimize how tough things can get, just to help put it in perspective.

That includes a slower than planned weight loss, awhol motivation, and getting sick and tired of working out so hard and not seeing hoped for results.

And, as someone who’s been through the “yes” to the perspective question – it’s the hardest to get through, it takes for many a lot of time, and a lot of help and support, but each of us is stronger than we could possibly believe. The kernel of the superhuman capacity to overcome literally anything life throws our way is within all of us.

At this point you may be wondering the point of all this: easy, if you, like me, took the holiday weekend off from our particular weight loss / activity journeys, no one lost a limb. No beating up ourselves for that 2nd hotdog or excessive use of puff pastry! Once again, get back up and on the elliptical! I’m behind you 100%!

17 Day Diet, Day 3 – YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YES, This is the Number the Scale God Showed Me This Morning!!!

2 Pounds to Go Until the Next “Chunk” is Done –

and I can finally get NEW SNEAKERS!! YAY!!!!

– So far I’ve lost almost 78 pounds! Only 41 to go! –

For those who have been following this “life in the weigh” weight loss journey, my loss has slowed down considerably and instead of 4 -10 pound loss a month, it’s been 1 or 2 or even not at all. I thought last month’s “Fit Club” workouts would kick-start but I sabatoged my efforts by too many cheat meals/snacks. Oh, and there’s that sugar addiction / emotional eating thing I’ve been battling unsuccessfully.

But my body must have been ready to get back on the horse because I’ve lost about 4 pounds in 2 days! Possibly water weight but also went to Hatha yoga last night and think that helped. Will be doing Bikram tonight (very hard and HOT!) to continue the momentum.

I’ve been seeing posts, and posting myself, about struggling with continuing the losing process, especially after losing a significant amount of weight but still having quite a bit to go. It’s like part of us wants to quit and say “Wow, look what I did accomplish!”. But we owe it to ourselves, our loved ones, and our health to go the distance and then maintain our healthier lifestyle and regular activity.

Why? We’re truly WORTH IT!! So don’t give up. Post and let us support you. Log on to Sparkpeople and other inspirational sites. I’m so proud to have met such incredible people on your own journeys. Together we can do this!!!

7 Things that Separate Weight-Loss Article

Tried New Product, Have Lost Almost 2 Pounds Since Monday:

First, some great news – breaking through a weight loss “up and down” cycle! Decided to try a Green Vibrance drink powder that I saw on Dr. Oz for 30 days to see if it would make a difference. Not buying in completely to the Dr. Oz thing, but I’ve lost almost 2 pounds in 3 days! I’ve been eating healthy the rest of the day and no sweets after 5. Not recommending you rush out to buy this stuff. Will wait to see how things go during this timeframe and after. Warning: have felt super crappy the last two days as part of the detox side of this process.

And now back to our regularly scheduled post:

Thanks again to Sparkpeople.com. Have to share this with you all as they point out some of what we new and a bit of new as well. Enjoy and would love comments!

7 Things that Separate Weight-Loss Winners & Losers

– from SparkPeople.com, Megan Coatley, Behavior Expert

As you’ve probably figured out, winning at weight loss is about making long-lasting, life-altering change. Just like any sport or skill, you might start out a little rocky. Choosing healthy foods, trying different workouts, and finding the strategies that work for you will take a little practice.  As you find your stride, those habits will get easier and you’ll start knocking down more barriers that try to get in your way. Your momentum will start to build and you’ll be ticking away at your weight loss goals one by one. Soon enough, you’ll reach a fantastic tipping point when you feel a shift in the energy and really enter “the zone”—the stadium starts to flutter, the crowd starts to cheer! And you are winning at weight loss!

Whether you’re focusing on your diet or hitting the gym, the commitment to long-term weight loss takes the mindset and mental stamina of a champion. You’ve got to have a supportive team and a great playbook to get on a winning streak. In this head-to-head match that lasts a lifetime, it’s all about preparation. Your success will be determined by how well you set your strategy and play the game.

We’re opening the playbook on the weight-loss game. Here are the winning strategies you’ll need!

Winners Set Small Goals
It seems so straightforward: Your main goal is to lose weight. So, now you can just decide how much to lose and power through to the finish line, right? Unfortunately, simply knowing how many pounds you want to drop may not be enough to help you win this game. Rather than only focusing on the end zone, a better strategy is to set lots of small milestones on your weight-loss journey. Perhaps you want to run a 5K, curl 20-pound dumbbells, squeeze more veggies into your diet, or fit into a smaller pair of jeans. All of these are great goals and tackling each one can keep you motivated to keep fighting the good fight. Plus, meeting these smaller benchmarks gives you the opportunity for more frequent pats on the back. If you only focus weight loss as your main achievement, you’ll miss out on celebrating all of the other small victories!

Winners Take Breaks and Timeouts
When you first set out to shed pounds, it is easy to overdo it. We all know that the best way to lose weight is by eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity. But, if you set too many harsh rules and regulations at the start, you’re likely to get overwhelmed by a too-strict diet and a tough-to-follow workout schedule. When you’re developing your weight-loss game plan, make sure that you pencil in time for breaks. Take a diet timeout to enjoy a slice of cake at friend’s birthday party. Schedule a relaxing soak in the tub on your day off from the gym. Be sure that your weight-loss rules include moderation and flexibility for you to spend some time (and calories) on the things you love in life. This will help you stay on track longer and reach lasting weight-loss success.

Winners Are Proud of Themselves
Publicly stating your goals and achievements has been proven to help people make steady progress. Everyone needs some support and accountability, so it’s important to let people around you know that you’re working on your weight loss and fitness. Plus, the more pride you show in your new skills, the more likely you’ll be to keep practicing them over time. Bring healthy snacks to family gatherings and share the recipe. Challenge your gym buddy to step up to a higher pace on the treadmill. Dare a co-worker to stay away from desserts for one whole week along with you. Letting others in on your goals will make you feel like a champion and can help you take your game to the next level.

Winners Take On New Challenges
Starting out with small, achievable goals is important for boosting your ego and scoring you some points early in the game. But be ever-mindful of the dreaded boredom that can set in as you adapt to your exercise and diet routines. Challenge creates change! So, when your yoga lessons seem stale, your salads are in a slump, or your local bike trail stops calling your name, you know it’s time to mix things up. As you start winning at weight loss, it will be crucial to keep assessing your emotional state and mental focus.  Make a habit of stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping up to new challenges.

Winners Keep Score
How do you know how well you’re doing if you’re not keeping score? While “pounds lost” isn’t the only important digit to tally, it’s important to track your progress in as many ways as possible. Start recording each move in the right direction: how much water you drink each day, how many servings of veggies you eat in a week, how many minutes of exercise you log, and more. Keeping track of more than just the numbers on the scale will help you realize progress when it happens, and this will motivate you to stay on course.

Winners Are Part of a Team
There is no “I” in “success.” We often think of weight loss in terms of individual goals and meal plans. But many others currently share in your same struggle.  If we really want to reverse the obesity epidemic, we need to start thinking of weight loss and healthy living as a team sport. And with all the resources available today, from in-person support groups to online forums to workplace wellness committees, no dieter or fitness newbie should feel they have to go it alone. One winning strategy is to reach out within your office, your school, your family, your community and get others psyched up to slim down. The more team members you can recruit to join your weight-loss challenge, the more likely you and your team will rise to victory!

Winners Make It Fun
What do parents tell their kids the first time they try a new game or sport? “It isn’t about whether you win or lose. Just have fun playing the game!” The same advice applies to weight loss. Worrying too much about your waistline can actually cause you to engage in stress eating or become too depressed to work out.  When you’re trying hard to stick to your game plan, it is easy to underestimate the joy of the process. Do whatever you can to make healthy choices more fun. Whether you’ve discovered a new dog park near home, convinced a neighbor to start a vegetable garden, or counseled a walking buddy through a tough time, getting healthy has likely brought some great experiences your way. Step back every so often and remind yourself to enjoy the game and appreciate the important lessons you’re learning along the way!

– This sums up what we’ve been talking for months but thought it would be helpful to see it all in one place. Comments welcome and thanks for reading!!

Celebration Time, C’mon!

You’re Invited to the “Virtual 1 Year Celebration” of my Weight Loss Journey!

Please join me for a bit to enjoy virtual cake, virtual ice cream, virtual balloons and party favors, and, my favorite, virtual martinis and cosmos, to celebrate my 1 Year Weight Loss/Life Transformation Anniversary!

First, thank all of you for your support during this amazing, challenging, and oh so rewarding time. You have helped me so much with your following, comments, and encouragement “on the weigh”. And if I can do this, and keep working toward the main goal of losing the rest and then maintaining/thriving for a lifetime, then so can you!

A Quick Recap:

Here’s a very quick recap of the positive changes from the start point to today.

1 Year Ago – April 14, 2011

  • Weight: 278.8 pounds
  • Classification: Morbidly Obese
  • Clothing Size: 28 Women’s, 3X Women’s
  • Activity Level: Sedentary (butt glued to couch!)
  • Social Life: Almost non-existent, rarely left the house, isolated
  • Diet: Awful – high in sugar, fat, salt, fast food, bad carbs, very little fruits/veggies
  • Cholesterol: High in all the Bad Ones
  • Blood Sugar: Pre-Diabetic (in the danger zone)
  • Mood: 3-4 full episodes a month, depressed most of the time – A MESS
  • Sleep: 12-16 hours / night

A picture is worth a thousand words:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY – April 14, 2012

  • Weight: 205.2 pounds (74 almost 75 Pound Loss!!!)
  • Classification: Moderately Overweight
  • Clothing Size: 16-18 Women’s, XL/1X Women’s
  • Activity Level: ACTIVE (4 sessions at Gym, 1 Hatha Yoga Class, 1 Exercise Meet-Up – every week!)
  • Social Life: out at the gym, friends at yoga, weekly motivational/exercise/social meet-up, out and about almost daily, blog/email/even talk on phone – Huge!
  • Diet: 160 degree change – mostly lean meats, chicken, fish, veggies, fruit, good carbs/grains, still struggle with fast food and sugar/fat bombs but major change
  • Cholesterol: All in Normal Range
  • Blood Sugar: Normal Range
  • Mood: 1-2 episodes a month, managing depression, snap out much more quickly
  • Sleep: 8-10 hours / night

A picture is worth a thousand words:

(And that’s from 2 months ago! But the changes are about 10 pounds down so it’s close enough.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I can do it, coming from being barely able to walk a block or climb a flight of stairs, sick and tired all the time, and chronically depressed – So Can You!

So let’s Celebrate wherever we are in our own “Weight Loss Journey’s” and be proud of our accomplishments, every big and every little, one of them. I would love to hear your stories in “Comments” and to see pics of your “before” and “now”s. Celebrating is more fun when we do it together!

Here’s to staying on track, meeting our goals, and thriving, a little bit every day “along the weigh”!

One Sure Fire Way to Lose Weight…Have A Party!

Unless your house is spotless, and even then, having a party or event (we’re having a “Pampered Chef” Brunch) is a terrific excuse to go on a calorie blasting deep clean!

Doing the extras like Murphy Oiling furniture/cabinets, dusting everything not nailed down, scrubbing your bathroom and kitchen like there’s no tomorrow (and that includes picking up and moving things and inside as well as outside of appliances), vacuuming, mopping, and windexing every mirror and pane of glass not only works up a sweat but there’s a good chance it will show up on the scale as well. And don’t forget to count all the walking doing errands, cooking, decorating, and setting up.

I cleaned for 3 hours yesterday and lost .2 but that was with carbs at 2 meals – a fruit protein shake for breakfast and hungarian chicken over whole wheat pasta for dinner. I cleaned for 6 , yes 6 hours today and so we’re treating ourselves to pizza tonight. Since I cleaned off I don’t know how many zillion calories, that’s just fine.

The trick is not to sabotage yourself AT the event. Plan what you’ll be eating (and drinking) ahead of time and slip in lower calorie items where they won’t be noticed like in dips with a heavy side of veggies, some lower fat cheese cubes, sparkling water with lime/lemon, the ideas are endless. There are a ton of terrific food sites online with lower cal/carb appetizer, drink, and buffet recipes. And if you spend more time chatting, mingling, checking food / drinks, and maybe some dancing depending on what type of gathering you’re having, you’ll have less chance to be tempted by the “spread”. (Will try to take my own advice here!)

So I’ll let you know how our event went – and my weight as well. And you know you don’t need a party excuse to do a “deep clean calorie blast”, but it is a whole lot more fun!