Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recipe: Chunky Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cup white all purpose flour divided
  • 4 oz medium apples, peeled and chopped (Granny Smith or Gala)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with papers or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour and the apple in a small bowl, tossing to coat; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; make a well in the center of the mixture.

4. In a small bowl, combine the milk, oil, and egg whites; stir well. Add the milk mixture, apple mixture, and pecans to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistening. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling two-thirds full.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in pan.

Per Muffin:
Calories: 162
Fat: 6
Carbs: 23.9
Protein: 4

Recipe: Roasted Chicken and Dumplings

  • 1 cup fresh chopped celery
  • 1 cup fresh chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 56 oz low fat unsalted chicken broth (4 cans broth)
  • 2 cup Bisquick
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 3/4 cup fat free milk
  • 24 oz chicken meat (bought a rotisserie chicken and stripped the meat from it)

1. Mix together the celery, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, and broth in a pot. Bring to a boil then decrease the heat to medium. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes.

2. Mix together Bisquick and parsley. Stir in the milk.

3. Bring the broth back to a boil. Put spoonfuls of dough into the boiling liquid. Decrease heat to medium. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes.

Per 1 Cup:
Calories: 234
Fat: 7.6
Carbs: 23.1
Protein: 17.2

Note: The dumplings cooked down to nothing at all, but it still tasted really yummy.

A Shift of Perspective

Eating right is hard. There are constantly commercials for delicious-looking food. There is an entire network (now, two I believe) dedicated to the most decadent dishes. The end-caps of grocery stores have the most tasty treats on sale for the impulse buyers among us. Don't even get me started about how the bakery is set up right next to the Organic section at my local grocery.

It's not easy. Eating for health requires planning and time. It requires checking out the nutrition information for a restaurant before going out or asking for the information when you sit down. Knowing what is going into your body is very important. You can't keep track of anything if you don't know. Buying a salad and assuming that it's healthy simply due to it being a salad will get you into more trouble than it's worth.

Even while working out I have struggled with eating right. There were always days when I'd "cheat" because I could. "Just one cookie" or "Just one apple fritter" got me to where I was working my ass off, but not dropping a pound.

Once diagnosed with Diabetes that cheating bit had to give. It was the furthest thing from an option anymore. But how could I get past the desire for sweets that has always been with me? I love baked goods so very much. I even worked in a bakery for a summer when I was 16 and couldn't get enough of the stuff.

After a lot of thinking, I realized all I needed was a shift in perspective. My body does not like sugar and isn't too fond of simple, processed carbs. Essentially, I am allergic to it. Putting that spin on things made a huge difference in my brain. I can look at things now and not see the sweet soft deliciousness of it, but the fact that if I eat that my body will respond in kind.

My "allergic" reaction to sugar is this: First, the headache. Then I get so sleepy that nothing I can do will keep my eyes open. Then once the crash wears off, I am a raging bitch with a temper shorter than hairs on an alligator. (That is really short, in case you wondering...) Those reactions are not fun in any way. The crash is the scariest. It could happen, and has happened, while I've been driving. Or while I've been at work. Or while I'm trying to study for school. It's seriously inconvenient.

So now I don't look at sweets with a longing, "Ooh, I wish I could eat that." But knowing what it will do to me. It is so much easier to skip the treats.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Recipe: Blueberry-Sour Cream Corn Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray 12 medium-sized muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners, set aside.

2. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Add combined egg, sour cream, and apple juice concentrate; mix just until dray ingredients are moistened. Gently stir in blueberries.

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool slightly.

Serves 12

Per Muffin
Calories: 111
Fat: 1
Carb: 23
Protein: 3

Note: These aren't as sweet as regular blueberry muffins, but they are really tasty and do well for at least a week in a sealed container.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Surprising Lack of Vices

In my late teen years, I smoked pot and cigarettes and drank. In my 20s I drank heavily and up until the month before I turned 30, was the number one fan of Tequila. Little did I know that the sugars from alcohol were blowing my blood sugars out of the water and I went from fun-loving and giggly, to a mean and horrible woman in a split second.

I have always been an emotional eater. Food was my escape from pain or boredom or just something that I could use to brighten an otherwise terrible day. I was a woman with plenty of bad habits and vices. I used alcohol and food to help me make it through hard and confusing times in my life... times that everyone has. But instead of coping in a healthy way, I put band-aids on them. Band-aids that would rob me of my perfect health.

I stopped smoking pot when I was 19 because I saw what it did to me. It made me stupid as hell. At 20, when I met the man who was going to be my future husband I quit smoking. The drinking stopped back in September because of what it turned me into. I am not that nasty angry woman. And now the over-eating has stopped entirely. My body has made that choice for me.

Even all the time I was working out and trying to eat healthy, there were days when I threw my hands up and ate whatever I wanted. December was full of those days. I ate fudge, cookies, gingerbread houses, and chocolates. I was careless with my diet. I could always go back to eating healthy again, but I was enjoying the holidays far too much.

I do not have that luxury any more. My very last vice has been pulled off the table and I am left with no more band-aids. I have no more bad habits to hide behind when the road gets rocky.

Being healthy isn't always just about eating the "right things" or working out until you fall down. Sometimes it's mental health as well. Finding healthy ways to cope with life (because we all know that every days isn't sunshine and unicorns) is just as important as the number of calories you burn in a day.

Recipe: Chunky Chicken Stew

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 tsp chicken boullion (mixed with 1 cup water)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice, undrained
  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
  • 3 cups sliced spinach leaves

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir about 5 minutes until golden brown. Stir in carrots, then broth; bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice; simmer 5 minutes until carrots are tender. Add chicken; heat through. Add spinach, stirring until it is wilted. Simmer 1 minute.

Makes 2 Servings

Per Serving:
Calories: 237
Fat: 4
Carb: 21.1
Protein: 30

Note: This and half a cup of brown rice rounds out a meal. Just under 45g of carbs.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recipe: Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1.5 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium parsnips (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup evaporated skimmed milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of buter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Combine sweet potatoes and parsnips in a large pot. Cover with cold water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Drain vegetables; return to pan. Add milk, butter, salt, and nutmeg. Mash potato mixture over low heat to desired consistency. 

Per 1/2 cup:
Calories: 144
Fat: 3.1
Carb: 27
Protein: 2.8

Note: This was not my favorite thing. But that's mostly because sweet potatoes aren't my thing. Those in the house who really dig the sweet potato really liked them. 

Taking Control

Given the amount of medical information that has been thrown at me in the past weeks, I have been less than enthusiastic about working out. I do, however, plan to get back to it after my surgery next month. I have a cyst the size of a grapefruit (no lie, 9.5cm) on my left ovary that is getting removed on February 17th. Between that and trying to eat properly to control my blood sugar, working out has fallen to the wayside.

My life, recently, has felt like this spiral of one heartbreaking bit of news after the other. I'm not entirely sure which to be more afraid of, outpatient surgery or having Diabetes. The news of both has brought me down to my knees, emotionally, and I'm finding it harder and harder to get back to my feet.

However, there is one thing I will say that has helped me dramatically. Taking control of something. Right now it's dinner and weekend meals. My roommates have a ton of Diabetic Recipe books and I've found a website (DLife) that has a slew of awesome recipes that are Diabetic friendly.

This small inkling of control has helped me to focus my worry-centric energy on something else. It allows me to eat delicious foods so that I don't miss out on anything. And it helps my family and my roommates. Everyone is eating healthier and more rounded meals now. It's a win-win for everyone really. Not to mention I'm finally learning how to cook! (Only took 30 years!)

When something is spinning out of control in life finding just one thing to latch onto that is within your power to manipulate is amazing. I never thought that cooking meals would be my salvation to a more calm state of mind.

I am probably going to start posting recipes with pictures here so that I can refer back to them when need be, and so that anyone reading can use the recipes as well if they'd like. So far everything I've tried has been truly tasty. I am excited for anyone who reads my blog to try them and let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Between Denial and Acceptance

Being newly diagnosed with Diabetes is scary. There is a laundry list of things I can't eat anymore. Or if I do eat them they are in such minimal quantities that it's almost not worth it. I have to watch my blood sugar for the rest of my life. That, I hope, will be a long long time.

Some days are good and I can joke about it. I can look forward to cooking and the challenge that I'm faced with. Other days aren't so good. Those are the days I spend in bathrooms sobbing uncontrollably.

There are fears that I will never get to the weight I want to be. That I will be stuck in this fat body forever. That I will never be able to enjoy food again. That I will go blind... or lose my toes... or... well, all the nightmarish things that come along with having Diabetes when it's out of control.

But what I will say is that I'm insanely lucky. One of my roommates is diabetic as well. He and his wife have 5 different books on controlling the disease and they are chock full of amazing recipes. Tonight's dinner was out of one of them and it was a huge success. Seriously delicious. I have them to help me through this because they've done it all before.

Also, another website that I pulled last night's dinner from is Diabetes Life (DLife). It was suggested to me by my nutritionist, and I think it's amazing. All you have to do is plug in an ingredient you want to use and it will pull out pages of recipes that use that one ingredient.

Today is a good day. Dinner was wonderful and I have muffins I made for tomorrow morning. Not so bad.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Moving Forward

This week I have had a lot of medical information and ailments thrown my direction. Not only have I been diagnosed with Diabetes, but in three weeks I am going to have surgery to remove a 9.5cm cyst from my left ovary.

Being told all of this in such a short span of time has wrecked my brain from doing anything mildly functional. I have fallen out of the habit of working out because I have been so lost in my head. I can't stop worrying about what will happen during surgery... what the risks are... what the worst case scenario is.... and on and on. Surgery terrifies me to no end. But I need the cyst removed. The risk of rupture gets higher the bigger it gets, and its impeding on my ability to conceive.

I will, from here on out, have to keep track of everything I eat. There can be no slacking off, or forgetting, or binging on cookies before bed anymore. I am going to be put on meds in just over a week and I want to stay on them for the shortest amount of time possible. I am not the type of person that is okay with being on meds my entire life. I hate taking pills. I hate putting things in my body that are not food or water. But I realize I need to do this in order to live a longer, healthier life.

Fitness and healthy eating aren't fads for me. I am happy that I have been taught how to eat, and what to eat, by the people around me. I know the right things to do, and now the only struggle is learning to consistently apply them. I expect nothing to be easy, but I do expect myself to be able to do this regardless of the struggle. I refuse to let any of this beat me.

After recovering from surgery I plan to get back to P90X. I enjoyed the short time I was doing it and I really want to keep it going. I am already in a size 18W and I want to continue to move down in sizes and weight.

This blog may become more of a medical journey for the time being, instead of a working out and weight loss one. But I think it's appropriate. Concerning the Diabetes, I hope it serves as a warning for others. If you don't take care of yourself and your nutrition, this could happen to you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Risks of Obesity

I have been considered "obese" from the time I was 9 years old. Or, at least that's as far back as I remember. I had my appendix out at 9 and remember my parents' hushed tones with the doctor as he voiced his concerns over the amount of fat that he had to cut through to get to where he needed to be.

My life from that point on has been a roller coaster of fad diets, calorie counting, anorexia, working out, bulimia, and diet pills. I am now 30 and still obese. Morbidly so if you want to go by BMI.

And what has at least 21 years of obesity done to my body? That question got answered today. I was diagnosed with Diabetes. Nature's way of punishing the gluttonous way I've lived my life thus far? Possibly. But no amount of speculating can rinse away the fact that I did this to myself...

..and I am ashamed of that.

I know that Diabetes runs on both sides of my family. I know that being overweight is unhealthy for me and I knew there was a risk of it happening to me. But I still let myself balloon up to 315 pounds. I still ate sugary things and I still splurged when I really shouldn't have.

Yea, I've lost 50 of those pounds. But it feels like I still have so damned far to go. It's a daunting task. I'm fucking terrified. But I got myself into this mess and now I have to deal with the consequences.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Dory Effect

"Just keep swimming... just keep swimming.. just keep swimming..."

There are some days that this is the only thing you can do.  On these days you just have to get up, get moving, and do whatever you can. If you just keep moving, then you will continue towards your weight loss goal.

After hurting my back on Saturday I have been really nervous about getting back to P90X.  My back was still sore and I was still walking cautiously. But I got up last night, put my workout clothes on, set out my gear and pressed play.

I wasn't able to do everything that I wanted to do. I skipped out on two moves altogether because I knew they were exacerbate my lower back. I didn't do my Ab Ripper X either because it always makes my back ache, even on the best of days.

But I still did it. I "just kept swimming" even though I was afraid. Even though I had no real desire to work out yesterday, I didn't fully give up. Not giving up is important.

Even if today is not your best, doing something is far better than doing nothing at all. Listen to the little blue fish, and just keep swimming.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Knowing your Limits

There is a difference in working out, between pushing yourself for the burn and pushing yourself to injury. Knowing this difference is crucial to continuing with your workout routines. If you push yourself to the burn and can't finish all the reps you want, you can move onto the next move and still be able to work out tomorrow. If you push yourself to the injury, you may have to not only stop the reps you are on, but also miss a few more days of workouts.

Last night I tried to be a hot-shot. I was doing push-ups on my knees like I do every workout, but I decided I wanted to try to do them up on my toes... just to see if I could. When moving from your knees to toes, you need to engage your core and your glutes. Your abs have to help stabilize your back or you will injure yourself. This is especially important if you are overweight with a belly, or if you have back problems. And me? I have both of those things.

I was diagnosed at 28 with Degenerative Disc Disease. While this is something that lot of people are diagnosed with, it usually doesn't happen until they are in old age. Part of my problem is hereditary because my mother has spinal issues. But a big chunk of the problem is that I am overweight. My spine has to help balance out my stomach and the years upon years of compression in one place has degraded my vertebrae. I know I have this problem. Most days it is just fine with workouts, but last night I got careless.

Instead of taking my time with the push-up, I just went right to my toes. The weight of my stomach pulled on my spine and I was down for the count. The upside is that I have been working on my strength. My back muscles took the brunt of the screw-up. Instead of injuring my spine further, my muscles are sore and tight, but no permanent injury was sustained.

Form is important. Take the time to make sure you are okay in the position you are in before trying anything new or challenging. Know your limits as well. Push yourself to the burn, but remember that no one is a hero for injuring themselves during their workout.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

And the Battle Rages On

Today was my first weigh-in and measure day since starting P90X on January 1st. It was, quite literally, like Christmas. I woke up at 5am and talked myself into going back to sleep. Then I woke up at 6:45 and couldn't stay asleep any longer. I slipped my house-dress on and went to the bathroom.

When I stepped on that scale my excitement level was that of Birthday Party levels! Then the numbers started. I was pissed. What do you mean I GAINED a half a pound? SERIOUSLY? Yes. Half a pound gained in 2 weeks of having my ass handed to me by Tony Horton? Needless to say, my balloon deflated pretty damned fast. But once I looked at my numbers and saw that I'd actually lost 1.5 pounds of fat and gained 2 entire pounds of muscle... the disappointment wasn't nearly as bitter.

And then I took my blood sugar. Down to 106 from the 196 just a week and a half before, and the 206 from the 3rd of January. That is wonderful. That means that even if I am diabetic (which is a possibility, had blood work today) I should be able to control it with diet. Okay, not so bad.

After that, I took my measurements. My hips went down 2 whole inches in 2 weeks! That is amazing. I lost a few inches elsewhere too, but nothing as significant as those 2. So, on a whim I tried on a pair of 16W jeans of my roommate's. And I could get them on! And they ZIPPED! Well... they did zip. But it was that "hey, I can't breathe at all if I move" kind of zipped. But they got on! It's probably been 16-18 years since I have been even close to a 16. I can't wait until I can actually wear them in public!

Needless to say, the scale and I don't get along very well. This is why it's hidden out of sight for two weeks at a time and only taken out on every other Saturday. I'm glad I've broken the every day weigh-in habit, because I don't think I would be able to focus on the workouts as intensely knowing that my weight is fluctuating so very much.

So if you are ONLY weighing in? Stoppit! Seriously. Take your measurements. Go to Goodwill and buy a pair of jeans one size smaller than you are now. Try them on once and a while to see what your progress is. Weigh in every other week... or once a month even. Don't stress about your weight as much as your health and how you feel. Those are the most important things, hold onto them.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Enjoying Food

I think one of the big secrets to eating healthy and making healthy choices in food is finding things that you like. No one is going to want to eat a diet full of nothing but lettuce and celery sticks. It's boring. It's tasteless. And when you put both of those together.... completely joyless eating. I believe that you really have to love what you eat to be successful in weight management.

Maybe it's a cop-out, I don't know. But I have found foods... healthy foods... to replace the junk that I would reach for most of the time. For example, instead of having the 16 ounce hot latte in the morning that was just over 100 calories (nonfat, no-whip, sugar free) and that used to create havoc in my stomach, I have moved onto hot tea with one packet of sweetener (either Equal or Splenda). I still get the warm tummy feeling, but without the calories. One cup of hot tea is about 2 calories.

Instead of the cookies and chocolate, I allow myself fruit. I love fruit. Bananas, oranges, apples and raisins are my thing these days. Are they still sugary? Well, yes. But they also have fiber, vitamins, and nutrients that junk sweets don't have. I am still a huge sucker for pastries and baked goods, but I find now that I don't crave them like I once did. If I want something sweet, fruit does the job and I don't feel horrible after I've eaten it.

I still get cravings for the crap. Don't get me wrong. I'm no diet saint here, folks. But I am learning to find healthy alternatives when I am either emotionally eating, eating from boredom, or craving something that wouldn't be good for me. I am learning to enjoy the healthy stuff because when I eat healthier, I feel so much better.

If you are eating things you don't enjoy, you probably won't stick to the new balanced diet you a striving for. Try new things. New combinations of food can be exciting and surprising. Whole foods will not only give you the satisfaction and fullness you are looking for, but they will keep you full longer as well... which means eating less. And eating less means weight loss.*

Enjoy the foods you eat. Weight management and healthy diet should never be boring or something faced with dread. When you find the things that excite your palate, you will succeed in the journey you are on.

*Eating less as in going from a 4000 calorie a day diet to a 2000 calorie a day diet. I am in no way, shape, or form advocating for starvation or strict caloric intakes. I eat anywhere from 1500-1900 calories every day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Coming out of Hiding

I have a picture of myself from June 09 that was taken at the zoo when my family was visiting Seattle next to a picture taken the day before I turned 30 in October 2010:

This was a year and a half of work, and this photo is the reason I keep moving. This photo has solidified in my mind that I can do this. I have lost more inches since the second picture was taken, but I still refer back to these photos from time to time. 

I was close to 300 pounds and a size 28 in the picture on the left. I was a large girl. And with that being said, I was in hiding. I tried to make myself as small as possible, take up as little space as I could and try to disappear. I didn't want anyone to see me at this weight. I didn't want anyone to notice me at all.

What I realized as I lost the weight was that I wasn't fooling anyone. Everyone that lays eyes on me knows I'm obese. That woman in the pink shirt was really big. No amount of hiding or trying to be small really did anything but make me feel terrible about myself. 

So, I decided quite definitively that I would no longer stay in hiding. So many people don't want anyone to know how much they weigh, or what size clothes they are in. I understand that. I was ashamed for so long. But when I tell someone when I was at my largest I was 315 pounds, no one is surprised. No one who knew me at my biggest bats an eyelash. 

Don't hide behind your weight. Everyone knows you're fat. And while I understand that it sounds cruel and crude, embracing who you are right now will help you move forward into being who you want to be. "Fat" is not a dirty word. I am not fluffy, big-boned, plump, pudgy, chunky or curvy. I am fat. And that's okay. It's only a temporary condition.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Basic Tools of Weight Control

Tools of the trade. These are the things I use in my weight loss journey. This is not to say that any of you will absolutely need these things, but they are incredibly helpful to me. These are just the basics. Nothing fancy or terribly expensive. This list of tools will make losing weight an easier task to set out on.

Food Scale: I think this is the most imperative of all the weight loss tools than anyone could buy. Until you know for sure what you are eating how can you know if you're eating too much... or not enough? They aren't expensive at all. There are some that are digital, and some that are lower tech. It really doesn't matter which one you get. Just get one!

Scale: While I think this is a necessity, I want to give warnings about it too. Do not become obsessed with the scale. I say this from a place of experience. I was weighing myself every single day and getting discouraged because of the slight fluctuations. Weigh yourself once a week, TOPS! Currently I am weighing in every other week just to break the habit of the every day addiction. Also, pay attention to how much water you are drinking. The less you drink the more you retain. This will make the scale go up anywhere from 1-5 pounds.

Reusable Water Bottle: Speaking of the stuff.... get one you can take anywhere. Shop around to find one that suits you, this is important. Buying disposable water bottles is not only pricey, but bad for the environment. Just get one you can wash out. Drinking water instead of soda, juice, coffee or tea as your primary beverage will do wonders for your weight loss journey.

Measuring Tape: This tool is far more important than the scale ever will be. Your inches could jump down smaller and smaller, and the scale could not budge an inch. During the last workout I did I lost ZERO pounds, but went down 16 inches over my entire body. The measuring tape will be your friend when you are damning the scale to hell.

Camera: Disposable. Digital. Film. It doesn't matter! Take pictures of yourself from the beginning. Space them out 2-4 weeks. You will be pleasantly surprised at the difference.

Proper Clothing: You don't have to spend a lot of cash here. Ladies, get a sports bra that REALLY holds the girls in. Trust the voice of experience, you will need it. Also, if you are self-conscious about your legs, get cotton capris. They move with you, cover most of your legs and you don't have to worry so much. Men, a t-shirt and loose fitting shorts will do. Try not to go overly baggy in either case. The extra fabric will make you overheat and gets really uncomfortable after a few minutes of sweating.

Good Shoes: This is where the money goes. A good pair of workout shoes can run $100 plus. Look for sales. See what you can find at Sports Authority. This is an investment you will not regret.

These are just the basics. Do you absolutely need them in order to lose weight? No. No you don't. All you need to lose weight is determination and commitment. These tools will just aide you in your journey to health and well-being.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fat Girls Don't Jump

If there were ever a blog post on this site that needed a disclaimer, this one would be it. So this is your warning. Turn back now before it's too late!

Still reading? Alright, it's your life. Do what you want.

There is a phenomenon that happens when a person is obese and attempts any type of jumping during a workout routine. This phenomenon that occurs is the sound of fat being moved in ways it doesn't normally. The sound of one belly clapping, maybe?

Okay, maybe that's a bit crude. But it's true. When you have all this fat hanging off of your body and then you jump, it doesn't exactly move along with you in the way you'd expect. It sort of develops a mind of its very own and wants to go at its own speed. And no... it doesn't care what you want.

It is, most certainly, on my top 5 list of embarrassing things that my body does when I'm working out. Sundays are the worst for me because it's Plyometrics (a bunch of jumping) day. It might even be #1 on that list. Only followed by passing gas, smelling horrible (from sweat), burping and vomiting during working out.

Face it people, we obese folks have a lot of body to move around. No doubt that most of us got to the point of obesity due to our own bad habits, so this is the furthest thing from an excuse. Just a dose of reality... there is a lot to move around. And all that fat doesn't always appreciate the movement.

Working out alone is one way to reduce the embarrassment factor. But the downside there is that having a partner helps to motivate you to finish the workout. Maybe a topic for discussion prior to the workout to minimize the humiliation factor? Another is to wear tighter underwear. You know ladies, you have that one or two pair of granny panties that comes up to your bra-line... wear those. They hold things in far better than the cutesy ones that you tend to wear every other day. Guys? I don't know what to tell you other than try to keep the belly as contained as possible.

I wear many layers when working out simply due to being overly self-conscious. Sometimes that works, sometimes not so much. There isn't a sure-fire way to keep this phenomenon of sound happening. Well, except for one thing... keep working out and lose the fat altogether. :)

Until then... realize it's something that happens to all of us who have damaged our bodies with food and sedentary lifestyles. We all struggle to keep the extra pounds in line until we shed them. Our bodies will do strange and unexpected things until then. You are not alone!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Crisis of Confidence

There are days when I feel that I cannot keep moving forward. Days when I look at my body and cannot truly believe that I can ever reverse the damage I've done to myself. Today was one of those days.

As I undressed this afternoon to get into the shower I caught my naked reflection in the mirror. This led to the half an hour of pulling, pushing, lifting and searching of my body that I go through from time to time. My inner thighs are starting to wrinkle and sag. I lifted my arms and and noticed that they are getting tight and strong on the top.... but I still have the flab that hangs down from them. It's getting wrinkly and sagging too. I ran my hands over my stomach and sucked it in. Turning a little from side to side I was trying to predict how I will look once my belly started to shrink. Somehow I had more rolls instead of less.

These are the days I wonder what I'm doing to myself.... or what have I done to myself. I wonder if I have done damage so irreparable that no amount of working out and lifting weights will ever give me a "normal" body. Will the rolls and the hanging skin ever really go away? Or will I look like a weird and twisted woman with elephant skin?

At this point I start to question if I should even keep going. I am busting my ass... for what? If I am going to look like more of a freak when I'm done than when I did when I was 315 pounds, then what is the point of it all? Aren't I trying to feel better about myself with this, not worse? If I get to my goal weight and still have this massive amount of skin hanging from my body, will it all have been worth it?

When this happens... I take a deep breath and remember that I am doing this for my health above all else. I need to be around for my family. They will love me, loose skin or none. I don't want to have to take handfuls of medication just to survive. And if I keep going down the road I was on that would be a reality sooner rather than later.

A crisis of confidence, I believe, is normal. It's simply a matter of dealing with the emotions as they come on and accepting that not every day is going to be all unicorns and rainbows. There will be days that are hard to get through. Days when you want to quit it all. Days where you want to eat whatever the hell you want, health be damned! On these days, allow yourself your humanity. But just keep on moving.

I don't know what I will look like when this is all over. All my fears could be realized... or they may not. I could either live my life unhealthy, in fear of the possibilities, and die too young. Or I can work at this and see what happens. I think I will choose the latter. What will you choose?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Over-Eating

I am an emotional eater. To anyone who has ever met me and hung around for more than a week or so, this is little to no surprise.

Promotion or good grades? Let's go get some ice cream!
Romantic date with the hubby? Let's go out to dinner!
Bad day? I need Ben & Jerry's.... STAT!
Depressed and self-loathing? Give me something with sugar that I can put in my face.

All of this led to my ass being too fat to fit into most chairs and the scale to turn in it's two week notice. It led to me hating myself even more, and eating even more. It's a vicious cycle that needed to be broken.

I'm not sure if it's my southern roots that led me to seek food as both an award and a bandage, because it  was always equated with love as I was going up. Or if it was just the safest, least threatening way to feel better about myself. As an award it was safe because I wasn't being extravagant on something I didn't truly need. We all need to eat to live, right? And as a bandage it was easier than saying that I was hurting. Food was much safer than crying. It was safer than making myself vulnerable by expressing my pain.

While I have broken the cycle for the most part (and I will get to that here in a moment) I am not entirely free from it. There are days that are just so bad that I need something. I need that comfort or that pick-me-up. The difference now is that I get something small. A bite of chocolate. A mini-cup of Ben & Jerry's. One cookie. Keeping it in moderation. And not beating myself up for it afterward. I may be working towards being a healthier person, but I am still a person. I am human from head to toe.

How did I break the habit, you're wondering, yes? Surprisingly it was easier than I had expected. All I had to do was to start eating healthier and record everything that I put in my mouth. The first few days are rough. VERY rough. But the longer I went without the junk that I so craved on both an emotional and physical level, the easier it was to turn away from it. It's not a struggle anymore to pass on the donuts after a meeting at work, or to leave the marshmallows alone that were left over from Christmas. Simply because I know now that I can eat just one, if I want it. All I need to do is record it along with everything else I've eaten that day and make room for it. It's not a sin or a black mark on my healthy diet record. It's just something else to account for.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Fat Perfectionist

How many times have you started a workout routine, either at home, in the gym, or outside, and given up on it? How many diets have you started, fad or healthy, and stopped the minute something "unhealthy" crossed your lips? In my case I have lost count on both occassions.

The thought process of a lot people I've know who have struggled with weight control is that if they slip up, if they can't do a certain move or certain kind of exercise, then everything is a waste. When that cookie binge, or bag of chips are eaten, their entire diet has been shot. When a day of workout schedule is missed, then the entire workout regimen is toast.

When you dig under the bad eating habits and the lackluster exercise routines, the root of my weight issues lies in Perfectionism. I've always been an "all-or-nothing" kind of girl and it is what ballooned the scale up above 300 pounds.

So, how did I break out of the habit? Truth is, I haven't entirely. That voice in the back of my head that ridicules me for not doing something exactly as the trainers do, or that tells me that the piece of chocolate I just ate has ruined all of my healthy eating efforts is still present. And it's really loud sometimes. The trick is to learn to ignore it. Tell it to shut up and keep on moving.

Everyone, even the most fit of us, have days where trying to get healthy and stay there is a struggle. But think about it: If it were easy, would any of us be overweight, unhealthy and out of shape? I don't think so. On those days when you slip, when you miss a workout, or you eat too much, do not under any circumstances give up. Don't wallow in the self-loathing and the guilt.

On those days, do whatever you can to recify the situation. Missed a workout? Cut down on your calories that day. Ate too much? Either throw another workout in, go for a walk or taper the rest of your calories for the day. And if there is nothing you can do to make things better on that day? Let it go.

Yea, I said it. Just let it go. Tomorrow is another day to do what is right for your body. Chalk it up to a bad day and keep moving forward. You have ruined nothing. Tomorrow is another chance to work out, eat right, and stay on that healthy track."Fall seven times, stand up eight." Just because you have made a mistake, it doesn't mean you have failed. Keep going and you will be better for it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Limitations of Fat Rolls

There is something that I have been unable to move past as of yet. That is that being fat limits you, and your body, when it comes to working out. This is an inevitable fact. There is more to move around, more to balance, more to scrunch and pull and lift. Being overweight makes fitness really difficult.

The secret here is to not let it stop you. There are modifications you may have to make to accommodate the extra fleshy parts, but that doesn't require you to stop moving altogether.

This is where I was on Day 1 of P90X:

I have more rolls than the local bakery, especially on my back. But I'm not letting that stop me.

My entire life I have spent making excuses because I'm fat. I can't do that because I'm fat. I can't wear that because I'm fat. I can't go that fast, jump that high, or put myself out there to draw attention... because I'm fat. But the more I thought about it, it wasn't the fat that was the problem. It was my mentality.

I had gotten to a point where I was using my obesity as a handicap. Excuses not to go places or do things. No one would like me because I'm fat. No one would love me because I'm fat. And no one would ever choose to stay with me if someone thinner came along.

The truth of the matter is, I became my weight. I was no longer a woman, or mother, or wife. I was just FAT. No more than a giant lump of jiggly slimy blubber that anyone in their right mind would avoid. I never took into account anything else about myself. I'm intelligent, creative, loving, and funny. Fat trumped it all.

It wasn't until I changed my mind that things started to get easier. It wasn't until I decided that being fat wasn't going to stop me from doing things that I truly and deeply wanted to do. I wanted to work out and be active. I wanted to lose weight and get healthy. So I started. I changed my thinking, and my body began to follow.

Can I do all the moves that the thin and fit can? Not even close! But I go as far as I can with the solid belief that the more I do now, the more I will be able to do when the fat goes away. I am discovering, in this process, that there are so many things that I have never done simply due to my weight. And the possibility of being able to do those things excites and motivates me.

Is there anything you have always wanted to do, that being obese has kept you from? When I ask myself that question a laundry list of activities pop into my head. Inline skating, biking, kickboxing, running, going out dancing, hiking..... and the list goes on. All of these things were impossible to me prior to my journey to get fit. And now they are possible because I believe that they are within me reach. 

Being fat may limit one's range of motion. But the more you move now, the more you can move next week, and next month... and next year. The only true limitations of being fat live in your brain. Change them there, and once you start moving, being fat will slowly become no limitation at all.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why This Blog?

Good question, huh? Why now? What makes this blog different from the Jackson Pollack array of blogs out there on the internet?

The truth is: Probably nothing. There is probably some other woman out there just like me typing the same things I am. But you didn't find her first... you found me!

So, the real answer to the question: Because I haven't found that other woman yet either. I am an obese 30 year old wife and mother. I am currently 266 pounds and 5'9". At my heaviest I was 315 pounds and that was just over 3 years ago. In the past 3 years I have done 3 different workout programs... never getting past 6 weeks on any one of them. However, they have helped me to move from a size 28 to a size 18. Now my roommate and I are starting on P90X and I am determined to finish all 90 days.

Don't know what P90X is, you say? Check this out:

Yea. Let's just say I look NOTHING like any of those people doing it. I sweat more. Grunt more. Take more breaks. Make a lot more noise. And puke a lot more. You read that right... puke.

And that brings me to why this blog is different (hopefully) than other fitness blogs. I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm not here to tell you that what I am doing will work for you. It might. But then again, it might not. What I am here to do is to let you know that you are not alone in this. I am out here every single day. Getting up, putting on my workout clothes, pushing play, and making a bloody fool of myself.

On this blog I plan to document what happens when you're going from fat-to-fit. There are so many things my body has done that I was either embarrassed or concerned about that, it turns out, are completely normal for someone of my size. Some things will be uncomfortable to talk about. Some things will be downright disgusting. But they are things that if I had known were normal, I wouldn't have worried so much over.

If any of this interests you, stick around. I plan on opening this place up to not only document my journey, but hopefully help someone else out there that may just be starting. Or just needs that pat on the back saying, "Everything is okay. You can do this!"