Monday, October 01, 2012

Calorie counting gone wild

When I get overwhelmed, I appreciate getting information in a simple and no-nonsense way.  These two resources above got me through that overwhelming feeling when I started to really think about food and what I should be eating to lose weight.

I went label-reading, calorie-counting wild for a few weeks.  It was madness.  I obsessed over every fat gram and calorie in, every calorie I burned working out, and if the scale didn't reflect changes from day to day, I toiled over the reasons why.

Once I realized I was being silly, I took a step back and just decided to record what I was eating and record progress from week to week, not day to day.  I opened a new Excel spreadsheet on my work computer and made columns.

First column was food name.  Then the measurement, because sometimes I have more and sometimes less.  Then calories.  Then carbs.  Then protein.  I'd fill out my plan for the day, and then use the Sum function in Excel so that the calorie, carb and protein columns were totaled at the bottom.

I figured out how many calories to start with per day by using this calculator:

Again, no nonsense which I like.

So I'd strive to stay 500 calories lower than my basal metabolic rate, have 150 grams of carbs or less, and as much protein as I could stand.  It was a start to learning more about what foods are better, what are worse.  In general, I shy away from non-natural foods.  No 100 calorie snack pack type things and limited low-fat items because if you really pay attention, the "bad" stuff is still there, just in a different form like elevated sodium levels.

To figure out how many calories I was burning while working out, I got a heart-rate monitor from Polar:

I had a job with Polar many years ago, and really admire them as a company.  They walked the walk, with a gym they built in their own building, all of their salespeople were athletes, and they attended and sponsored a lot of fitness events for charity.  The band you wear around your chest is not weird.  I thought it would be, and couldn't believe it when people would say they didn't even feel it, but it's true.

I plan on sharing the foods I eat and what is good and isn't, but wanted to just share that it's normal to get obsessed or overwhelmed for a little while.  It's better than not caring or not learning though, and if you do it well, it will eventually become second nature.

Thanks for reading  :)


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Owning it, all of it

I really like this one.

I don't believe everything happens for a reason, but that's not why I like it.  I like it because it says, pretty bluntly, what a lot of people are too polite to say.

I'm the one who got fat.  I could blame an emotional addiction to food, trans fats, loved ones enabling me, serving sizes, psychological mind control by fast food advertising, glandular problems.  But I'd be making excuses for the simple fact that I allowed myself to become so overweight that I was considered obese.

Don't get me wrong, I feel flattered when people commend me for the weight I've lost.  Who wouldn't?  But it's tainted because I was the cause of the problem in the first place.  I'm just fixing it.

Owning the blame is only part of the process though.  I also own the solution.  Although it might be easier if I had a gym buddy, someone to encourage me, I don't.  It's ok, I'm not lonely.  It makes me feel independent that I go to that gym so consistently, that I look forward to jogs around my neighborhood or in the park on weekends.  That I am the solution.  It's all me.

My husband needs some credit.  He is also getting healthy, also picked up jogging, also is eating well and sharing the good food that we buy every week.  He has been my cheerleader.  He doesn't give out empty compliments so when he says "You know, your waist looks thinner this week" or "Your ass is getting smaller", I believe him.  He would know, right? 

After this long, I've learned that having pride in myself is not conceited.  It's not a bad thing.  I can own my mistakes and tip the scales so my successes have more weight.  And if I don't forget who was the cause of my obesity or put the blinders back on, I can maintain a healthier lifestyle and outlook.

Thanks for reading  :)


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Let me introduce myself...

Hi, I'm Trish.

I'm 40 years old.  Over the past 2 years, I've found fitness and it has changed my life in so many ways.  I no longer get winded walking up a flight of stairs or avoid looking at myself in the mirror.  I am happier, healthier and have more pride in what I look like or have accomplished than I ever thought possible.

But, first things first.  In 2010, I looked like this:

That's me on the left, with my sister.  I was 250 pounds, the heaviest I had ever been.  In situations where I knew pictures would be taken like family gatherings, I would bring my own camera.  What better way to avoid being in any photos than to be the one taking them?

I didn't wear makeup because I felt that all anyone would ever see is my size, so why bother putting any effort in?  I shopped solely in the plus sized section or stores like Lane Bryant.  I got no exercise and routinely ate whatever I wanted, in large quantities.

In August of 2010, my husband Rusty and I decided to take our dogs to a class.  It was supposed to be for us to teach them how to do a dog agility course.  Think obstacle course, but for dogs.  I had Ginger, my more agile Labrador Retriever, and Rusty had Brinkley, our lazy Lab.  It never occurred to me that I couldn't do it.

Brinkley soon tired in the 94 degree heat, direct sunlight and no breeze.  Rusty stood in the shade taking videos of me running the course with Ginger.  When we got in the car after it was done, he was alarmed and told me to look at my face.  My face and neck were red, really red.  My head was pounding, my fingers were tingling, my heart was racing.  It took me the entire 40 minute ride home to recover and return to my normal shade.

When we got home, I looked at the video.  The two screenshots that stuck with me the most:

That is what 250 pounds looks like on someone who is 5'9".

I don't know what kind of mental trickery I used, but I didn't realize I was that big.  All the normal signs were pointing that way, my clothes being tight or ill-fitting, routine things getting me out of breath...  But you learn to avoid.  You avoid full length mirrors and really "seeing" yourself.

I avoided this problem for another few months as well.  It wasn't until January of 2011 that I started my journey to health.  I had quite a few reasons, one of which was that one of my best friends announced her engagement and asked me to be in her wedding.  I had until May 2012 to strive to not be the big one in the wedding pictures.  The one that the bridesmaid dress wasn't meant to stretch that much for.  The token fat friend ruining her photos and memories.

She, of course, did not feel this way.  But I did.  I had the lowest opinion of myself so no one else could make me feel worse by loathing me as much as I loathed myself.

I didn't do research or go out and buy workout clothes or learn anything new.  I knew that if I didn't just do it, I'd find excuses to delay.  I got on the treadmill in the gym in my office building and started to walk.  I figured that I walk my dogs anyway, it's not the kind of exercise I avoided or hated, so it was a good place to start. 

Over the next year and a half, I lost 75 pounds.  I learned about calories in and calories out.  I learned about label reading and what each ingredient did to my body.  I learned portion control and how to divvy up a meal to get what I needed, nothing more.  I learned to detach myself from the emotional tie I had to food.  I learned about what exercise does to your heart, your fat stores, your muscles.  I found inspiration in many different places, some of them unexpected.  I was cheered on by those who love me until I had enough pride to cheer myself on.  I learned to do things my own way and make healthy choices a part of my habits so I changed my life permanently, not just until I reached my goals.

And, I didn't look like the token fat girl in my friend's wedding either.  :)

This blog is about my journey and sharing what I've learned along the way, in the hopes that someone out there will identify with it, and perhaps give them some inspiration.

I'm not done with weight loss just yet.  I have about 20 to 25 pounds to reach the medium weight range for my height and body type.  I hope to get there in six months and then concentrate on maintaining my weight.

Thanks for reading this.