Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"Cheat Days" are an interesting topic among the weight loss community, and the feelings on them are varied and go from one extreme to another. I'm not so naive as to think that the way I do things is the only way or the best way, but it's what works for me.

So, do I cheat? Yes.

One way I cheat, is I allow myself a very small (less than 75 calorie) serving of something sweet. Every. Single. Day. Why? Because I have a HUGE sweet tooth. Most nights after dinner I absolutely crave something sweet. If I don't allow myself a small amount of sweet on a regular basis, then it's inevitable that I will eventually break and I will binge on something ridiculous, and it will be UGLY. So instead, each day I have a starburst, or a Dove Chocolate, or any other "small bite" candy we have hidden in the house (because remember, I have to have those hidden away so I won't binge).

The other way I cheat is I allow myself to eat one guilt-free meal a week. Translation: One meal a week I absolutely don't consider calories. Now, I do set a few limitations with this. For example, if I eat pizza, I have 1 large or 2 small slices and then I have some veggies or a salad to fill me up. Or I'll drink a full glass of water before eating to help facilitate potion control. I also offset a little from days that I have my cheat meal by getting in some extra activity or a second workout. It typically doesn't offset ALL the additional calories, but it does help.

I have dieted off and on for 10 years of my life, and this time I don't want to "diet" but find ways to change my lifestyle. There is no way that I will be able to for the rest of my life never eat pizza or Zaxby's again. So the best way for me to make this permanent is treat it the way I would long term. What it boils down to is an 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time, I eat healthy choices, whole foods, etc. And twenty percent of the time, I splurge. And that's what is working for me right now.

Now for the disclaimer (you had to know there was going to be one). This is the way that I am able to most successfully lose weight to date. It is what is working for me. There are those people who literally can't have a little of something or a cheat meal, because it's a gateway to bad decisions...they just can't quit. What makes weight loss so difficult, is you have to search to find what works best for you, because what works for me, or the masses, may not work for you. It's a trial and error process, and what makes that difficult is you can't give up during the errors. You have to accept failure as part of the process and learn from it to determine what your program should look like. In a phrase, just because cheating like this works for me, doesn't mean it will work for you. And now we know why the opinions vary widely on this subject.

The most important thing I can say about cheating, and anything having to do with weight loss, is it's extremely personal. You have to work to personalize a program that works for you. Be willing to try different things, and be willing to fail; because in the end, you will win with a program that helps you reach all of your goals.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Phase 1/Round 1 Weigh In and Measurements

PHASE 1: DONE! Here are all my weigh in and measurements:

Phase One and Monday Weigh In Stats:
P90X Start Weight: 280.0
Last Weight: 271.4
Current Weight: 269.5

Weekly Loss: -1.9
Total P90X Loss: -10.5

Start BMI: 42.3
Current BMI: 41.1

Measurement Stats:
Start: 49.25
Current: 43.5
Loss: -5.75
Start: 59
Current: 54
Loss: -5
Start: 49
Current: 46
Loss: -3
Right and Left Arms:
Start: 16
Current: 15.5
Loss (combined): -1
Right and Left Thighs:
Start: 28
Current: 25.5
Loss (combined): -5

Total Inches Lost Phase 1: -19.75

I know that's a lot of information to take in, but it's all pertinent information to show the progress of my journey. I couldn't ask for more exciting news than the progress that is shown not only on my scale but in my measurements. I can't wait to begin Phase 2 of P90X today and see what the next 30 days holds for me! I'm doing it! I'm doing it! I'M DOING IT!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

...Like Taking Candy From A Baby

Sometimes this journey is hard, and I have definitely done my fair share of being transparent about those tough moments. However, if my entire jouney was tough moments, stumbling, and downfalls, I would ultimately get discouraged and give up. Weight loss definitely has its ebb and flow, and I have officially landed in an ebb!

At this particular moment in my journey, things are easily falling into place. I'm eating lean proteins and whole foods. I'm choosing whole grains over flour. I'm steaming vegetables. I'm using portion control. My workouts are coming easily. I'm accomplishing things that I haven't been able to accomplish before. I'm seeing improved flexibility and stamina. My motivation is through the roof - and so is my energy. I look forward to getting my sweat on every day. I'm pushing harder and farther. Everything is AWESOME!

Granted, at some point in time, the other shoe will drop, and I will inevitably find myself in the flow, and struggling to push forward. But at this point in time, I am so enjoying the ebb!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not Feelin' The Love, Mr. Cable Man.

So, my internet service is supposed to be 16 megs...and for the past week or so, it's been running at 0.6, or 0.4. Which has meant, of course, that it was slower than dial up, and EVERYTHING timed out. Talk about frustrating.

I've had posts, some of which I'll save for a later date, but I will condense all the pertenant information into one blog post here.

Monday Weigh In Stats:
P90X Start Weight: 280.0
Last Weight: 272.4
Current Weight: 271.4

Weekly Loss: -1
Total P90X Loss: -8.6

Concerning my loss, I have officially crossed over 40 pounds down since I first started working to lose 4 months ago! I am so excited and proud at the progress that I am making, and it's awesome to know that I'm doing it - I'm REALLY doing it! Sure the journey has been a battle, and yes, I have had ups and downs. But I am making the overall progress that I have been working toward, and who can complain about that?!

This week is my fourth week of P90X, and therefore, recovery week. I'm really enjoying this week, and I'm VERY excited for my weigh in, measurements, and photos on Monday. I know that I will be able to see changes in my body, because I can feel the changes taking place in my body. I am getting stronger. I have more energy. I'm hungrier (but making better choices!). But the biggest change? I'm making time for myself, which is huge. I definitely have always been one of those Mommies who put everyone in the family and everything else first. I am making a conscious effort every day to work out and SHOWER (Oh my GOSH! A daily shower!! No small feat with a tween, a preschooler and an infant!) and just take a few moments for my health and sanity amongst the chaos.

This journey is bringing about a whole new mindset, and that is why I am going to ultimately be successful. I don't feel guilty for putting myself in my line of priorities. I don't feel guilty for "overlooking" the kids for an hour each day to do my workouts. I don't feel guilty for telling my family and friends that I'm losing weight, and need to be conscious of what I'm eating. I'm embracing the changes that this new lifestyle is bringing with it.

Onward and Upward, and continuing to press play. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dear Enthusiasm, Please Come Back....

So, I wouldn't describe myself as lacking in motivation, because I'm definitely not ready to give up. However, I would say that I'm going through my first loss of enthusiasm stage.

A weight loss journey, especially a long term one, definitely has phases. You go through moments that you're really inspired and ready to take on the world. You go through moments that it seems to come really naturally to follow your plan and make healthy choices. You have moments that you can still make the choices, but it's a difficult and constantly conscious effort. You have moments that you make mostly good choices, but there are moments that you just can't seem to get it together. And there are moments that you completely fall off the wagon.

While I haven't quite fallen off the wagon, I'm definitely having to work at this right now. Every food I'm not supposed to have seems to be screaming, "You haven't had me in SOOOO long!" and my workouts are more like chores.

Basically, I need an attitude adjustment. I've got to find it within myself to not be so "blah" about this journey and regain my enthusiasm. Here's to hoping I can figure that out SOON!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Sleep is evading me, or I'm evading it. I'm not sure which is the case, but either way, I am not sleeping enough.

I have a few outside circumstances that are keeping me from sleeping. I have a four year old, who is having some trouble sleeping lately. He has gotten into a really wonky sleep cycle due to nightmares. We're working with his pediatrician with a couple of different trial and error based scenarios, but in the mean time, it means things are difficult. I also have an almost 4 month old, who wakes up usually once, and sometimes twice, during the night.

In addition to the things I can't control, I am having trouble winding down every night, and I'm finding myself staying up until I'm falling over, which is typically around midnight or 1:00am. Combine that with being woken up at least four times, and the alarm going off at 6:30, and you get one exhausted me.

I'm acutely aware of how important sleep is to a healthy lifestyle, and specifically a weight loss journey. This can be confirmed in many places and articles available on the internet. One such article from states research from The National Sleep Foundation has found that inadequate sleep:

•interferes with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates and causes high blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body-fat storage.

•drives down leptin levels, which causes the body to crave carbohydrates.

•reduces levels of growth hormone--a protein that helps regulate the body's proportions of fat and muscle.

•can lead to insulin resistance and contribute to increased risk of diabetes

•can increase blood pressure

•can increase the risk of heart disease

Even in young, healthy people, a sleep deficit of three to four hours a night over the course of a week has a triple-whammy effect on the body.

I am working to find ways to make up for my lack of sleep each night. I am going to start working to get to bed at a decent hour, because at the very least I have control over that aspect of my sleep. I really feel as though this is affecting my journey. Granted, I'm losing weight; but I'm definitely looking to maximize my results, and losing sleep will definitely prevent that.

So, I'm working toward another goal, of at least 7 hours of sleep a night. It's a difficult goal, but my health is worth it. I am worth it. I'm worth this.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Weigh In

Monday Weigh In Stats
Start Weight: 280.0
Last Weight: 274.3
Current Weight: 272.4

Weekly Loss: -1.9
Total Loss: -7.6

Here's how last week breaks down:

My diet this week was inconsistent. I had a lot of decent choices, but all-in-all, I would say the choices were good, but not great. There were some circumstances where I didn't have a whole lot of choices, and I did the best I could with what I had. I had one entire day that I almost completely derailed. I had traditional cookout food, and MAJOR sugar overload. The next day, I had almost zero energy until well into the afternoon. I couldn't believe what a difference the food from the day before had on the way I felt. It was pretty amazing.

My activity level this week was also slightly inconsistent. I did miss two days of my P90X, but I had one day that I doubled up (unrelated to the missed day) in an attempt to deal with stress. I had some trouble with energy levels in a couple of the workouts, so I'm working to experiment with what I eat beforehand to find the right combo to have enough to fuel the workouts. I did find that I was able to stretch farther, and accomplished more of the workouts than I was able to last week, so that's a WIN!

General Week and Journey Overview:
On a scale of 1-10, I would give this past week a 6. I still made some great decisions for my body and my health, in spite of a few pitfalls along the way. I feel like I got a decent amount of weight loss considering all that has gone right and all that has gone wrong.

I am now two weeks completed in my journey to health and weight loss, and I can feel and see some results already. I took my two week progress photo last night, and can see a few subtle changes. Overall, I'm pretty impressed with how things are going thus far, and I can't WAIT to see what the future has in store for me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Cost of Weight Loss

A common conversation heard among the weight loss community is how much more expensive it is to eat healthy than to eat unhealthy. Processed foods, boxed dinner kits, sugary cereals, and yes, even fast food, are all much, much less expensive than whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean cuts of meat.

It's true. The cost of weight loss is high. Finding the extra money in a tight budget to afford the healthier foods is sometimes very difficult. There are the costs of workout systems, exercise equipment, jogging strollers, yoga mats, vitamins and supplements, running shoes....

There is a huge financial burden associated with weight loss, but there is more. Food is not just fuel, in spite of what we would like to imagine. Let's face it: food is also social. And finding a balance between weight loss and a social life can be difficult and at times impossible.

There are those in our lives that are almost ridiculously supportive. When they have cookouts or gatherings, they are prepared for us to come, and they have healthy alternatives available just for us. They've prepared grilled chicken and have steamed or sauteed vegetables in addition to the burgers, hot dogs, and potato salad.

There are those in our lives that are supportive. When they have cookouts or gatherings, they prepare for their guests as a whole, but they are fully expecting that we will be showing up, chicken and vegetables in hand, and will help us get our food prepared.

And then, there are those in our lives who say they are supportive, but what they really mean is they're supportive as long as we don't change around them. They have their cookouts and get- togethers, and they expect us to be there, but they expect us to eat what they have prepared. They get genuinely offended if we look at the food available and decide that it isn't food we need to be eating for our journey. They say things like, "There's no dieting for my party!" and "One meal isn't going to hurt you."

I am so incredibly grateful for those wonderful people in my life who are in the first two groups. I'm completely unsure of how to handle my loved ones who fall in the third group. I adore these wonderful, amazing people, and as a person who loves to cook and loves to entertain, I can understand why they are proud of the things they have prepared and would like everyone to partake in them. But, as a person who is trying to lose weight and trying to get myself to a healthy lifestyle, I am completely perplexed by their attitudes. It is because I have always taken a "just this one thing won't hurt" attitude towards life that I am where I am with my weight, and if I don't change, I will continue getting the same result. It is unclear to me why that isn't an understood concept across the board.

I'm still trying to find the best way to handle these kinds of situations. The best solution I have come to so far is having a small amount of what is offered, so as not to offend, and trying to work around as much as possible by eating before and after the gathering. I will continue to work toward my goals and I will continue to look for ways to make this all work together with my life.