40LBS Lost & A Totally New Perspective…

Yikes!

It’s been ages.

My goal for 2014 is to revive the blog, the podcast, and my videos.

So, here I am.

Half of me is angry with myself for not keeping up with the blog. The other part of me looks back at the last few months and thinks it was probably for the best that I didn’t write. Writing would have meant always thinking about my weight. I needed a break from thinking about my weight.

And what happened when I stopped obsessing about my weight? I lost 40lbs.

There was a time when I believed I wasn’t capable of losing weight—that there was something wrong with my body and I could gain easily, but once on, the weight was not coming off. Somewhere along the way, I just let go of those thoughts (and the ones about how I was a failure…and the ones about how I could die at any moment). I focused on feeling better. In doing so, the weight just dropped off.

I’ve read/heard people use that term “the weight just dropped off”. I didn’t believe it was possible. But honestly, the less I stressed about the weight, the better I felt, and the better I felt, the less crap I ate.

Don’t get me wrong, my food intake was 50% fruits and veggies and 50% crap.

Looking back, the two main things I did differently were:

-stopped ordering takeout (something I was doing almost every day)

-started taking various herbs in the form of teas, infusions, and tonics

The weight was coming off and I was happy. Then, over the holidays, I went through this phase of thinking I could eat lots of crap and, maybe the weight would still, magically, come off.

It didn’t. My weight plateaued.

So, these days, I’m being more mindful. I’m cutting back on the addictive stuff—sugar, salty foods, bread—and getting serious about exercise.

Exercise is a whole lot more enjoyable being 40lbs lighter.

It’s a weird thing. A part of me is thrilled to be closer to 300lbs than 400lb, but then I have to stop and remind myself, I’m still really, really, really heavy.

I’m also documenting my experience with forming an exercise habit with the hope of turning it into a book.

Actually, it’s more than just about daily exercise. I vowed to myself this would be the year when I would get unified. I would stop ignoring my body and have my mind and my body work together from now on. The book is going to be about forming that connection.

I want to start blogging again and share stuff I come across. I want to begin interviewing people again for the podcast. I also want to write about herbs and how they can heal and keep you healthy as you lose weight. And, I really do believe that there’s too much emphasis put on what we should/shouldn’t eat and how we should exercise, but not a lot of emphasis on feeling good. Or maybe there is a lot of information about feeling good out there, but I never paid attention to because I was obsessing over finding a way of eating that would help me get the weight off fast.

I hope you’re all doing well with your health. I look forward to reconnecting with everyone and offering some blog posts that you will find helpful.

Starting Weight: 372

Current Weight: 332

Comments { 2 }

100lb Weight Loss in 8 Months Eating 4,000 Calories A Day?

A few days ago, I was looking at the comments of a YouTube I was watching and saw that someone mentioned a woman who had lost 100lbs in eight months. I went to this woman’s YouTube channel to check her out.

Her name is Melissa. She adopted a 80/10/10 way of eating that helped her lose the weight.

Whenever I come across videos made by people who lost weight eating high carb, I find myself instantly drawn to their passion. In the raw food community, it seems like the people who follow 80/10/10 get a lot of crap thrown their way. But how can you fault someone for loving fruit?

For me, one of the bigger reasons why losing weight has been difficult is because I just don’t know what to believe in. I also don’t give myself a chance to stick with anything long enough to know if it really works for my body. I’ll start something, but then in the midst of it, I’ll read something or watch a video that makes me question whether or not what I’m doing is the right thing.

In the video below, Melissa gives three weight loss tips based on her experience:

-Stop working out. Instead, focus on strengthening your posture.

-Eat 4,000 calories/day in the form of mostly fruits and vegetables.

-Stop weighing yourself with a scale and, instead, take monthly progress photos.

A part of me really wants to try her method. Who wouldn’t want to lose 100lbs in eight months? Beyond that, the idea of all those fruits and veggies healing the body sounds awesome.

But 4,000 calories a day? It’s hard to wrap my brain around that when you think of how we’re always taught, if you want to lose weight, “eat less and move more” or that if you want to lose weight rapidly you should eat 1200-1500 calories a day.

I also wonder, in terms of quantity, how much food that would be. It seems like so much. Then again, I’m sure at various times I’ve eaten 4,000 calories while binging on junk food without being aware of it.

Her advice reminds me of a consultation I had earlier this year with Susan Powter (I’ll have to write about that soon. It was a crazy experience.) She also adamantly said that I should be eating, at least, 3,000 calories a day of carbs and that 1,200 calories/day was, essentially, starving myself.

In her videos, I’ve heard Melissa say more than once, “You’re going to eat like it’s your job.” The ironic thing, for me, is that one of the reasons I’ve gained so much weight is because I get so caught with work and other things that I don’t eat for long periods of time. Then when I do, I eat large quantities of high-fat, high-sodium foods.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been doing the Six Week Body Makeover “diet” and that’s helped me get into the habit of eating every two and a half hours. It’s been a difficult habit to get into. When I’m in the flow of doing something, I don’t want to stop to eat.

I don’t know if I agree with Melissa’s advice to not work out. Cardio does so much good for the heart. What about strength training?

It just so happens that I bought groceries two days ago and my fridge and kitchen is fully stocked with fruits and greens. I’m going to give this a try for the next two weeks.

I reached out to Melissa to ask if I could interview her. She hasn’t gotten back to me, but I hope she will. I think there’s a lot to be learned from what she’s accomplished.

Comments { 4 }

Refuse to Choose: How I’m Going to Fit It All In…

Sometime during the 1990’s, I came across a book about how to figure out what to do with your life called Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher. In various ways, that book changed my life.

Ten years ago, I spent a lot of time posting on Barbara’s message board. I connected with a lot of people who were like me. They had many, many interests, wanted to do so many things, yet constantly questioned whether or not they should choose one thing and devote their life to it. Barbara called us “Scanners”.

Fast forward to last week. I finally read Barbara’s book, Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams… Once again, her words made a huge impact on me.

refuseMost importantly, thanks to a suggestion she makes in the book, I’ve decided to segment my days like they are “school days” and work on various things for 30-60 minute blocks of time. So far, it’s been going well.

Ever since I started this blog, I’ve wanted to devote more time to it, but my attention kept getting pulled toward my newer interests. Same thing with weight loss. At times, I’ve been so focused and dedicated and then will completely ignore my body when I begin working on a new project.

I’m determined to fit everything in—a bit at a time.

I’ve also been thinking about applying my Scanner-ness to weight loss. I was thinking it might be cool to try many different diets for 1-2 weeks at a time and write about it.

It has been done before. A guy named Jonathan Kroupa wrote a book called 52 Diets in which he tried every popular diet plan you can imagine.52 Diets

On the one hand, for someone who has such a hard time sticking to one thing, it seems ideal. On the other hand, I’m not sure if bouncing from eating plan to another is going to help me get a sense of what my body responses best to.

Anyway…

Now that I’m devoted to giving this blog my attention 5 days a week, I have some plans in mind. I’m going to start podcasting again. I just bought a Canon T3i as an early birthday present for myself and plan on doing some awesome videos. I also want to do a series about herbs and weight loss.

Also, I have a ton of things to review including the BodyMedia LINK Armband I’ve been using for the past two weeks.

I’ve also got to write a new update. Let’s just say, things are going well, slow and steady, but well for me when it comes to weight loss.

Comments { 2 }

Accountability Experiment…

I know. I know. It’s been ages.

In my defense, I’ve been busy and my schedule has been out of sorts.

For the past two months, various crews of guys have been working on the patio attached to my apartment. First they tore it all up and then they rebuilt it. With each day, I didn’t know if they were going to be here or not, if there would be a lot of noise or not, if they’d have to enter my apartment…on and on.

Finally, it’s all over. Now, I can get back to being able to sleep, exercise, and work when I want to without feeling like there is constant intrusion.

I took a children’s picture book writing class and am now refining the first draft. I’ve also start a young adult novel class and am beginning to write a novel. Most importantly, I’ve started a new business—writing, recording, and selling guided meditations.

Throughout all of this, my weight has held steady.

Food:

I went back to the Six Week Body Makeover Plan. When it comes to eating, here’s how most days look:

Breakfast:
2oz protein, 1/2c carb
Snack:
1oz protein, 1 pint green smoothie
Lunch:
2oz protein, 1/2c carb, 1 cup veggie
Snack:
1oz protein, 1 pint green smoothie
Dinner:
2oz protein, 1/2c carb, 1 cup veggie
Snack:
1oz protein, 1 pint green smoothie

On this plan you get “free food” which consists of greens and various veggies. I find myself making most of my main meals out of half a bag of salad greens, protein (usually chicken), half a cup rice, veggies and two tablespoons of Paul Newman’s Italian dressing.

I’ve always had a strong belief that this eating plan works for me. It’s the one I’ve ever had success with.

I’ve also gotten into the habit of using an app called Timeless that I set to go off every two and a half hours to remind me to eat. (I also set it to remind me to get up and move my body every 90 minutes.)

The only issue I’m having is when I grocery shop. I have this habit of ALWAYS buying something for a “treat”. Since I’ve now come to the conclusion that I’m addicted to sodium, I stay away from heavily salted foods and go for something sugary. The problem is, when it comes to sugar, if I eat too much, it sets off cravings for salt and then fat. Soon enough that “treat” leads me to getting way off track with my eating plan.

Honestly, I don’t want to give up the “treat” habit. My next plan of action is to lower portion of size of the “treat” and figure out how much I can eat while not setting off cravings. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have no choice but to cut out the treat habit.

Workouts:

Workouts have been sporadic rather than consistent. I don’t even want to write it because I’m so frustrated with myself.

Other Changes:

After eight months of doing weekly sessions with my weight loss coach, I’ve decided to take a break. It just didn’t feel right anymore. It was good to have someone to talk to that understood exactly what I’m going through, but, because I didn’t make much progress, I thought maybe it was time to try something else. She was awesome though. I’m thankful for her patience.

That “something else” is going to experiment with accountability. I’m participating on the Six Week Body Makeover message board (which isn’t all that active because this diet plan hasn’t been popular since 2002). I’ve also joined a few groups on the MyFitnessPal Web site.

A part of me wishes I didn’t have to think about this weight thing all the time. Participating online, making videos, even writing these blog posts forces me to be aware and I fight it constantly. Right now, there’s a million other more exciting and gratifying things I’d rather focus on.

Maybe, eventually, that will change.

Starting Weight: 372

Current Weight: 358

Comments { 5 }

It’s Not All About Calories In/Calories Out

There’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to weight loss. It seems like the trick is to keep everything moving succinctly.

Come to think of it, weight loss reminds me of one of the first games I got for my iPhone, Burger Queen.

burger_queen_1Within the game, you’re in charge of multitasking to ensure multiple customers get their meal orders. You have to quickly get into a rhythm to keep everything moving or fries will burn, burgers won’t be made correctly, and customers won’t get their food on time.

I feel like I haven’t found my own multitasking groove yet.

Workouts:

For weeks now, my patio has been under construction. Last week was unbearable. Whatever equipment they were using out there was incredibly noisy. I stayed up all night working while it’s quiet and then tried to sleep during the day (and most couldn’t). I was tired all the time.

I only worked out twice.

I feel conflicted. When I get that tired, I don’t feel motivated to do anything. At the same time, I think, the workouts were only 18 minutes long. How can I justify not getting on a treadmill for 18 minutes each day?

I will say though, during those two workouts, I could feel my endurance improving. I started out walking at 1.3. Now, I’m at 1.8.

I’m reminded of how little it takes to wake up the body. It makes me feel so good.

My goal is to get on the treadmill, no matter what, every day for the rest of the month.

punchSomewhere along the way, I read about a Weight Watchers workout DVD called Punch. (Check out this awesome review of the DVD.)

I love kickboxing workouts and was looking for one that was very basic. I was lucky enough to find a copy on eBay. One of my goals for this week is to try out the beginner workout.

I’m vowing to approach a workout DVD in a way I never have before—without expectation or ego. I’m going to pop in the DVD. If I can only do a few minutes, so be it. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I’m just going to try it again the next day and see if I can go a minute or two longer.

In the past, I would have these lofty workout goals and design elaborate six-week workout plans. And when I was ten minutes into the Day 1 workout and felt like I was going to pass out from exhaustion, I’d stop, be disappointed with myself, and then not work out again for weeks (or months).

These days, I’m ok with starting at the most basic level and seeing where it takes me.

Food:

I don’t know if I can fully describe what is going on with me and food right now.

If I haven’t written it before, I really believe my herbal daily tonics are shifting something inside of me.

Previously, my mind was in control. I could talk myself into eating anything even though I knew my body was not going to feel well afterward. Now, it’s like my body’s voice is the dominant one and it does not want me to eat crap—a.k.a most of the food I habitually eat.

Now, I’m tuning into my body and getting a sense of what it wants and trying to accommodate it. It’s a strange thing to be eating a bowl of strawberries because my body is craving them while my mind is trying to understand why I’m not ordering out for pizza.

This change going on within me helped with my moderation experiment.  I was actually able to make a bag of chips last three days.

I find myself continuing to resist counting calories. I feel like I’m protecting myself from really knowing just how badly I eat. I have to get over it though. Counting calories, and really seeing how much sugar and sodium I’m taking in, is the next important step for me.

Emotions:

Someone recently told me that it’s time for me to really face the hurt I’ve been stuffing down for years. I’m one of those people who doesn’t allow herself to feel things. I have to start doing that—starting with dealing with my past.

I started thinking about my past in five year increments. When I remembered something painful, I’d write it down. From age 0-15, certain feelings became part of me:

-powerless

-scared

-abandoned

-rejected

-disobedient

-worthless

From age 15 onward, I created situations in my life to perpetuate those feelings.

I feel like I can’t truly lose weight until I work through those feelings.

For too long, I fixated on the intellectual parts of weight loss. I’ve read so much and researched for so many hours that I could easily be a dietitian. I think many of us are like this—we fill our head with all the facts and reasoning yet we avoid delving into the emotional stuff.

I think, once I lose all this weight, if I ever choose to work with people to help them lose weight, it’s the emotional/spiritual aspect I would focus on.

In my quest to figure out how to feel feelings, I came across a book called Taming Your Outer Child: A Revolutionary Program to Overcome Self-Defeating Patterns by Susan Anderson. After I bought the book, I found this interview with her that got me hopeful that the exercises in her book will be helpful:

Beyond the lack of workouts, I’m still slowly losing weight. My hope is to be in the 350′s by July 1st. That’s a weight I haven’t been in about a year.

Starting Weight: 372

Current Weight: 362

Comments { 6 }

Moderation and Self-Appreciation…

The days between my last update and this one have been really good, I have to admit.

Workouts:

In the month of May, I worked out 20 out of 31 days. That’s a drastic improvement. I can’t remember the last time I worked out that much.

I’m on the verge of bumping my treadmill time to 18 minutes.

I thought, when I get to the 20 minute milestone, I should start bumping my workouts up by five minute increments rather than just two minutes. Part of me feels like it’s ridiculous that I’m not working out 30 minutes a day when I know I can.

But I go back to my vow to trust the process. Even though it will take me another six weeks to reach 30 minutes and until late October to reach one hour, I keep reminding myself that by that time my endurance will have increased slow and steady. Also, by that time, working out will be a staple in my life.

Thanks to the workouts in May, I can feel my body waking up. I can feel it changing shape a bit. The other day, I had to take the three flights of stairs up to my apartment because the elevators were being used by people moving out. To my amazement, I bound up the stairs with ease and was barely out of breath afterward.

The only thing driving me crazy is that I’m still trying to get in strength training workouts. Ideally, I should be doing them after I get off the treadmill. The thing is, when I’m done my treadmill workout, I just want to be done working out, period.

My weight loss coach, Ruth, suggested I do seated strength training workouts while at my computer (which is ironic considering I posted three seated workouts days ago). I’ll do them, but I want to do serious strength training. I just don’t know how to fit it in.

Part of the problem is that there are workers tearing up and rebuilding my patio right outside my living room (where all my dumbbells are). I don’t have curtains over the windows, so I stay out of the living room all day. At night, I get on the treadmill and then retreat to my office.

I’ll do seated workouts for awhile and then, I think, I’m going to have to start getting up early to get in a strength training workout before the workers arrive.

Food:

I have two things I’m focusing on right now: lowering my sodium intake and learning moderation.

My biggest setback is on the day when I buy groceries. I always buy 2-3 “treats” and binge on them. Last week, it was a big bag of Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion chips, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, and a small black forest cake. I ate all of it the day I brought it home.

Not only did I feel sick for about a day and a half afterward, I couldn’t bring myself to work out either.

This has been a decades-long pattern with me. I don’t keep that kind of food around all the time. Instead, I buy it once a week, binge, recover from the binge, eat relatively well for a few days, feel good for awhile, and then buy groceries again. The cycle repeats all the time.

Ruth suggested I do one of two things: either consciously practice moderation or don’t buy any of that kind of food until I have a better relationship with food. This week, I’m going to try moderation.

I can’t even fathom keeping a bag of chips around for days. I’m really curious to see if I can do it.

Mindset:

I feel like April and May were turning points for me. I feel like I’ve made some progress. The thing is, it’s hard for me to give myself credit for what I’ve done. I’m always thinking about how I should be doing more or doing better or that I should have had this weight thing conquered by now.

When I scan my brain trying to think of ways I can learn self-appreciation, for some reason, the Louise Hay audiobook, Self-Esteem Affirmations: Motivational Affirmations for Building Confidence and Recognizing Self-Worth comes to mind.

For years, I’ve always thought affirmations were worthless because, while I could always go through the motion of saying or writing down positive things, I never believed them. Now, I’m looking at them from a different perspective and being more open to turning an affirmation into a belief. Maybe it’s because, for the first time, I’m really yearning to believe better things about myself.

Starting Weight: 372

Current Weight: 365

Comments { 4 }

Vegetable Soup and Strength Training

Last week was another pretty good week for me.

Workouts:

I continued on the treadmill. When I was doing 10-12 minutes I found myself not needing to listen to music or anything because the time duration was too short to lead to boredom. I enjoyed those moments of repetitive motion and just looking out my window.

A lot of the time, I have something playing—music, a video, a podcast, an audiobook, etc, etc. It felt good to take a mental break and just focus on the workout.

When I bumped it up to 14 minutes, I noticed I was starting to get bored about half way through.

The mental part of this is going to be an interesting exercise within itself. I want to be able to connect with my body while I exercise without distraction. I wonder how challenging it will be to get my mind to a state of not craving stimulation while I increase my workout time.

Because I’m starting to feel my upper arms turn to mush, I realized, I have to start doing strength training. I tried doing some upper body moves with 3lb dumbbells while on the treadmill. That didn’t work out so well. I kept losing my balance. It was really had to focus on making a mental connection with my muscles (something I picked up on a workout DVD years ago that stuck with me) while walking.

So, I’m going to go back, once again, to my favorite strength training workout—Power 90 Sculpt—and do that three times a week.

Food:

I had the strangest experience last week.

Ever since I’ve been drinking the herbal tonic I’ve mentioned in past posts, I find that I don’t have much of an appetite. I’ve also found that I can really taste the different between bland food and flavorful food and that bland food really, kind of, bothers me whereas previously I didn’t care.

So, last Thursday, I hadn’t eaten all day and I thought of ordering takeout. (Something I hadn’t done so all week…another victory.) I went to the site where I usually order from and looked through the various menus. Just reading about the food made me uncomfortable. It’s like mind my was saying, “This will be good!” but my body was screaming, “NO!”.

It was the first time I had ever felt dread (over knowing most of those food choices was going to make me feel like crap afterward) rather than excitement or pleasure.

Speaking of the tonics, I’ve added a few more herbs. I’m up to six now.

http://www.drinksilk.ca/images/products/imgProductTrueAlmondChoc.pngI had been making them with plain store-bought almond milk. When I bought groceries I saw a carton of chocolate almond milk. OMG. I knew it was going to taste so good.

Of course, I didn’t look at the nutritional info until later when I discovered a cup of chocolate almond milk contains 22g of sugar. Ugh.

So, for this week, it’ll be a treat. I know I can easily make my own almond milk. I’ve watched a million videos on how to do it. It’s just that, I did it once, years ago, and hated the taste. I will give it another shot though.

This week’s challenge is to make a decent batch of vegetable soup.

A couple of days ago, I put in a ton of veggies, some quinoa, and some chicken broth in a big pot. And then I left in on the stove to cook for hours. Who knew you could overcook soup? It was a big blob of mush when I ate some.

I also determined I don’t like quinoa.

Today, I’m making a new batch and am going to follow the recipe in this video:

Starting Weight: 372

Current Weight: 366

Comments { 0 }