Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just Do It!

Yesterday I had an appointment with my nutritionist.  While getting ready to go I realized that I had not been missing my scale anymore.  I went from weighing myself 3 times a day to once a day to once a week and now to once every two-three weeks!  I don't have a scale in my home and I am happy/fine with out it.  I have lost a total of 10 lbs. and am 3 lbs. away from my personal goal weight of 135.  (I have not stepped foot in a gym!)  The doctor would like me to loose 5-8 lbs. more but we have discussed that I have been at 135 in the past and watched my diet and exercised 5 times a week and can never budge past 135.  He's agreed with me that 135 and healthy is better then 130 and not.  We will not be going through any extreme measures to get me to a certain number.

At the weigh in yesterday I found that I had not lost any weight the past two weeks.  However, I also did not gain any!  I feel fabulous and beautiful!  Still...to deter diabetes I need to lose this last little bit. 

"You don't seem surprised that there was no weight loss," my nutritionist prodded.

"Well let's see...I had fast food twice and ate out once in the past two weeks.  There was a Halloween party and I had Starbucks coffee about 3 times this week.  I only walked about 4 times in two weeks.  So I ate less healthy and had less exercise then I have been doing in the past."

"Well, that happens.  We start to feel good and comfortable, plus life is busy and so short cuts are made.  I know with the snow and cold walking your 3 mile loop may not seem as appealing right now.  What are some other ways you can up the ante on your exercise routine?"

"I just started taking tap dance classes."

"Oh that's great!  How often will that be?"

"Only one hour a week.  Of course I could tap at home too..."

"Don't you have a gym membership?"

"I do...it's one of those 24 hour type places.  I'm not a fan."

"Three times a week of exercise is great for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Studies show that in order to see a change in weight loss you need to exercise 4 times a week.  Also resistance training helps burn more calories."

"I love weight training.  I used to do that all the time."

"See if you can't find a way to work that into your weekly routine."

I'm going to lay it out for you guys in case you want to join me in this.  Remember that none of it works until you conquer your own mind.  Once you get your head in the game it all falls into place.  (Rather, it all falls off!)

First I kept a food log for my nutritionist which revealed to me how often and what exactly I eat.  Passing a plate of cookies and having just one is fine but when you pass the plate 4-5 times a day...it adds up.  So awareness of your diet is key.  I became aware that sweets were actually not my weakness, as I thought.  I don't keep sweet snacks in my house because I thought that was my go-to and I did not want to be tempted.  What was really getting me was the salty things!  So another round of pantry purging had to be done.  Also, I need to add more vegetables.  Still.

Next was continuing the food log but using a calorie counter.  I used www.sparkpeople.com.  I could enter my food and it counted each calorie.  Note: you don't just enter: Turkey Sandwich.  Enter the type of bread you used.  Whole or half sandwich, type of turkey, cheese and condiments.  Try to keep your calories within 1500-1700 a day.  You'd be surprised by how much you can eat.  Don't forget to include beverages.  They have calories too.  (Also, the amount of calories allotted to me was chosen by my nutritionist based on my weight loss goal and current size.  This may not be the same for you but if you are about 5 feet tall and way 148 lbs. this would work.  I don't know, because I am not a nutritionist, but I think 1500-1700 would be healthy for most people.)  Nothing was restricted from my diet.  I ate/eat whatever I want so long as it stays within my caloric intake.

Exercise!  Grrr....nobody likes this and if you are overweight, chances are you really don't enjoy it nor do you see time for it in your daily routine.  Here is where the battle with your mind begins.  You have to decide that you want it enough.  Boy did I want it!  I cried every appointment with my nutritionist.  I cried every time I got dressed, showered, saw my reflection.  I was disgusted with myself and yet I could still not change my habits.  Ridiculous!  At some point you have to grow up, take responsibility and JUST DO IT!  Thanks Nike.  Burning calories is more effective then cutting them, though both are key.  However, if you need to start somewhere let it be in the BURN.

My nutritionist said that the most effective way to lose weight is to move your biggest muscles, i.e. your legs.  Most all of us can walk.  So make time to walk.  I have a beautiful and hilly 3 mile hike in my neighborhood that I can walk.  Three miles is a lot if you are just starting.  One mile is excellent!  I was not in bad shape though and knew I could walk that loop and climb the hills and I knew I would get awesome results by doing so.  I had hoped to do it 5 times a week.  In reality I walked 2-3 times a week.  Sometimes I would do other hikes.  I would invite friends along or take my dog. 

I was also fortunate enough to be dancing in Evita and that helped, I'm sure!  One of my cast mates had a pedometer and she counted that we walked a mile every performance.  We performed 3 times a week so that was an extra 3 miles I was getting in.  A pedometer is a great way to help you keep track of moving even if you can't walk a trail or on a treadmill.  You can set a goal and try to beat it every day.  A good goal is to not go to bed with less then 10,000 steps taken.  (3,000 is a mile....if I remember correctly.) 

Moving is key.  Find ways to move.  I do squats in my shower.  30 squats.  Whenever I think about my weight/health/body I would drop and do 30 push ups.  Another time I would do 30 crunches.  Just move!  It does not have to be a one hour set of working out.  You can find a minute here and there to do a little something extra.  Take the stairs.  Walk to the mailbox instead of drive up to it.  Park farther away from the store.  These things really add up.

Sometimes life is crazy...OK, most times life is crazy...and we don't have time for a nice wholesome meal.  One night I had to take both boys to scouts at two different times and then drive to the airport to pick up my sister.  Quick meal solution this night was Wendy's drive through.  Not a gold star on my nutritionists chart BUT you can not beat yourself up and feel bad about it and you can STILL make smarter choices. 

"Could you get a salad from a fast food place?" my nutritionist would ask me.

"No.  The salads are usually made with gross sad lettuce and if I'm going to buy a salad it needs to be delicious!  I'm getting a burger and fries."

Some places, like Wendy's, give you a small, med, large option.  I don't know how big med and large are because I always ask for small and it seems like quite a bit of food and drink to me.  The small cup is the old large!  Anyways, get smaller orders when you can.  Maybe even go for the kids meal so you get less fries.  In another bind I ordered a Chick-fil-a meal to SPLIT with my sister.  It's plenty.  So avoid the drive through but when you can't be smart about it. 

Same with restaurants.  You can ask for the to-go box at the beginning of your meal.  Put half of your meal away and out of sight.  Eat smaller portions of everything.  At home, use a salad plate to serve your meal on.  Portion out the same amount you would give to your child (a young child).  Eat slow and savor every bite.  Enjoy your food!  Assess your body's needs mid way through the meal.  Are you satisfied/full?  Then stop.  Plan ahead.  Is there dessert?  Eat less of the main meal so you have room for it.  That's right!  Don't deny yourself dessert.  Are you crazy?!

Another important habit to get into is to change your vocabulary.  Food is not "bad" or "naughty" or "wrong" (unless you are talking about McDonald's.)  There is a good, better, best thing going on for sure but don't call your temptations naughty.  Somehow, that makes them even more tempting!  Also, be careful how you talk about yourself.  You are not trying to get skinny or look prettier, you are getting healthy.  Believe me, I would not be stopping at 135/130 if I was wanting to get skinny.  but that is a healthy weight for me and I will keep diabetes at bay. 

"I feel fat," I often say.

"Fat is not a feeling," Caren will tell me.  "You can feel happy or sad but not fat."

Watch your vocabulary!!!  It's a huge part in conquering your mind and getting yourself in a place where you can start to lose weight and get healthy.  Also, let go of the numbers.  You are not a number.  How do you feel (health wise)?  My clothes are baggier, I feel happier and stronger.  Healthy living makes a happy person.

The goal is to lose one pound a week.  This is a reasonable and healthy goal.  I know there are ways to lose 3-6 lbs. a week.  I've done them.  They don't last.  Lasting weight loss goes away slowly.  Also, the most frustrating thing about the Battle Of The Bulge is that it takes a whole week to lose one pound but it only takes one meal to gain it back.

This has/is helping me and I hope it helps you.  My nutritionist has done little but hold me accountable and reiterate what we all already know about health and nutrition.  If you need accountability I'd be happy to help you with it but find someone to check in with on your state of mind, food log, and weight loss.

I'm in a MUCH better place physically and mentally.  I still have a ways to go and I know this last 3-5 is going to be the hardest (and the holidays are approaching...) but I feel  much  more confident and I know it can be done.  You can do it too!!

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