Realistic Weight Loss

Image Before I even start, read this article: http://m.runnersworld.com/weight-loss/incredible-weight-loss-myths-exposed?page=single

This information is really good and really accurate. Keep it in mind as you read on.

Having been successful at weight loss in the past, and being an obsessive researcher, I thought I’d share with all you all New Years Resolutioners how to do this thing. Not through magic diet pills, detoxes or juice cleanse, just through old fashioned work.

I’m working on weight loss myself again. With my recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, came a lot of lack of motivation, fogginess in the brain, hard time remembering and sticking to things and lack of energy. I was put on a medication called Lithium, a natural substance that generally works very well at helping bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of this medication came in the form of TSH (Thyroid hormone) levels three times what they should have been, putting me in the unfortunate position of dealing with the effects of hypothyroid. These just added on to the effects of my bipolar disorder. In the end, it means I gained a bunch of weight and wanted to be a slug for the rest of my life.

Anyway, long story short, longer – I’m on thyroid medication now and on a different mood stabilizer and anti-depressant (Geodon and Wellbutrin, for those who care) and sugar makes me want to vomit(?!?). It seems to be a weird side effect of one of the meds, and I’m not complaining complaining a lot. My brain is finally starting to feel better. I can tell because I’m making something called Bouillabaisse for dinner this week, I’m writing a blog post, and I started writing my novel again. Yay for that!

I also learned this week that all forms of hormonal birth control turn me into a really aggressive person who wants to punch people. I don’t know why, since I’m pretty much a very passive person that hates yelling and violence and anger, but BC turns me into the Hulk, except for I’m not green and bulky. Sucky. My only other options, besides the old standby, are sterilization and Paragard, both of which cost way too much money. Thanks, Obama (sarcasm).

Ok, I swear, I’m done with the life story.

Before I start this, I must note that I am a cheap person. And this is why I use this as opposed to going to a crossfit box or whatever. I would love to do crossfit, but it is REALLY expensive.

So, on to HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR CHEAP ACCORDING TO ME AND SCIENCE:

Commitment

is the number one thing. You need to make a plan, then commit that you’ll do the steps no matter what the results. It’s the habit that matters, the weight loss sometimes takes quite a while. Don’t plan to lose 30 lbs; plan to run for 30 minutes 3 times a week and lift weights and count your calories. Specific habit goals. Set a reminder on your phone. I know you have one that will let you set alarms. I use an app called “Life Reminders” which is ugly and makes awful alarm noises (which, I suppose I could change, but the awful noises make me move faster and also I am lazy), but which reminds me on a schedule that I need to take my meds, set up appointments, go to the gym, whatever.

Smart Workouts Where You Push Yourself

I’ve recently discovered a thing called HIIT which when I started doing it was the worst thing ever, it seemed like, but now I realize that it’s actually really awesome. Instead of plodding along at an 11 minute mile pace for time immeasurable, I warm up for 10 minutes, jog slowly for 90 seconds and then run as fast as I can for 30 seconds. Then I repeat until 20 minutes is up. Then I cool down. I’ve done HIIT twice and I’m already seeing that my jog speed and my fastest run speed are going up. And it is WAY more interesting than endurance running, though it is tough to get used to. HIIT can be done with the cardio activity of your choice, not just running. Jump rope, cycling, etc all work too.

Treadmills at the gym usually have an option to do speed training, which is what HIIT is. It will let you put in your jog speed (you can even walk instead of jog, it’s still ok) and then your run speed (as fast as you think you can run for fifteen seconds when you’re starting out) and you just press the button to toggle. There are some HIIT apps that will tell you when to press the button (or run faster/slower if you’re outside) and now that I think about it, I should get one so I don’t have to stare at the time display while I’m trying to watch Firefly on my phone. Hmm.

ImageHere’s an article, geared toward guys, but still good info, about how HIIT helps you burn more calories than endurance running EVEN WHEN YOU’RE DONE EXERCISING FOR THE DAY. This is something that really does “kickstart your metabolism” (unlike a juice cleanse… yuck.) It also builds muscle, where endurance running does not. And also, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn walking around. It’s fantastic.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ultimate-8-week-hiit-for-fat-burning-program.html

The website has a nice program for beginners, intermediate, etc too. It’s geared toward men, but don’t let that put you off if you’re a woman. You’re not going to turn into a creepily muscular woman if you do HIIT. You will never produce enough testosterone to look like a man just because you ran too much or lifted too heavy.
If you choose to endurance run, which is fine, just make sure that every day you are pushing yourself and increasing your speed or distance, whatever suits your fancy. Otherwise your body stops burning as many calories as it was when you first started running and the fat burn stops.

This will help you lose more fat than running in the supposed “fat burn heart rate zone”. That does indeed use fat as fuel, but in higher intensities, your body burns the carbs you’ve eaten instead as fuel, then later moves on to the fat. You will lose more fat by burning more calories through the same amount of HIIT, than by running in the “Fat Burn Zone”. See this article for more info.

http://m.runnersworld.com/weight-loss/incredible-weight-loss-myths-exposed?page=single

THE MYTH:
EXERCISE IN THE FAT-BURNING ZONE

THE TRUTH:
The “fat-burning zone” lies between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. When you exercise at this low intensity, your body draws energy from fat. As your heart rate goes up, more energy comes from carbs. So it seems logical that to lose fat you should keep your heart rate low, says Jason Karp, Ph.D., owner of Runcoachjason.com. But that’s not the case.

“Running at higher intensities causes you to burn a lower percentage of fat calories in favor of carbs,” says Karp, “but you use more total calories.” And that’s the key to slimming down. Plus, since you torch more total calories, the absolute amount of fat burned actually increases, too. So it pays to pick up the pace.

Of course, lower intensity exercise still has its place. Long, slow runs build aerobic fitness and endurance. But to kickstart a pokey metabolism, you need intensity. Karp suggests interval training (condensed runs that mix in intense efforts with recovery) because studies have found these workouts burn more calories during and after exercise (see “Torch Calories” below for Karp’s interval workout). “It also cuts down on boredom,” he says, “which makes it more likely you’ll stick with your program.”

 

Weight Lifting

ImageIncorporate weight lifting into your routine. It strengthens and builds your muscles, which help you burn more fat and helps you look toned. Lift as much or as little as you want, you’ll never look like a manly woman by lifting weights. You have to take testosterone supplements to look like those people. It also strengthens your bones, which is good for when you are old and whatnot.

This website is my favorite for weight lifting info. You can read through all the information if you want to learn how weight lifting affects men and women and what benefits it has, or you can just look at this page that I’ve linked to for a good beginning routine. This is the routine I use and I like it a lot. He has intermediate and harder ones set up as well. You will want to look on Youtube to see how to properly lift and start with low weight while you’re learning proper form.

http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/the-beginner-weight-training-workout-routine/

Eating Right

ImageI have a huge amount of disdain for “diets”. They are generally fads that will, in ten years when we look back, be silly. Yes, even you, Paleo. People latch onto diets, juice cleanses, detoxes, etc because they are in vogue, not because there’s actual science behind them. I know, high protein diets are fashionable right now, but low-fat ones were fashionable ten years ago and now most science tells us that was stupid. And we all know what happened with the cabbage soup and grapefruit diets… (My mom made us do the grapefruit diet eating as a kid because it was “healthy” and I will never forget the horrificness of it)

This page again:

http://m.runnersworld.com/weight-loss/incredible-weight-loss-myths-exposed?page=single

THE MYTH:
TO LOSE WEIGHT, CUT CARBS OR FAT

THE TRUTH:
Most get-thin-fast plans revolve around the idea that restricting your intake of one particular nutrient, usually carbs or fat, is the best way to lose weight. But the results of a 2009 New England Journal of Medicine study suggest otherwise. For two years, participants followed one of four calorie-restricted diets with varying amounts of carbs, protein, and fat. After 24 months, all participants lost about the same amount of weight (just nine pounds). “This study proves that calories are the most important factor for weight loss,” says Tara Gidus, R.D., a Florida-based sports dietitian and marathoner. “To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn—regardless of what percentage of carbs, protein, or fat you’re eating.” Gimmicky diets just distract us from this simple truth. Here’s how runners can learn to reduce their total caloric intake to kick start weight loss—and still have energy to run their best.

1 FIND YOUR CALORIE BURN
To estimate the number of calories you use during daily living and exercise, go to nutritiondata.com/tools/caloriesburned. Plug in your sex, age, weight, height, lifestyle (meaning, you’re deskbound, or you’re always moving at work), and exercise regularity.

2 START SUBTRACTING
Trim 10 to 15 percent off of that calorie total—but don’t cut more than 500 calories per day. “This is conservative compared to most diets, but it’s realistic if you want to sustain training,” says Gidus. Record what you eat, and tally your calorie intake with the huge database at nutritiondata.com.

3 KEEP UP THE EXERCISE
A recent study reported that subjects who cut calories or cut calories and exercised lost the same amount of weight. But the diet-and-exercise group improved their aerobic capacity, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, and blood pressure—without having to go into starvation mode.

4 BE PATIENT
Gidus says a healthy weight-loss goal for overweight runners is one to two pounds a week. “Trying to drop more than this can eat away at muscle, leave you fatigued when you run, and slow your metabolism, making weight loss more challenging,” she says.

 

Cut calories. That’s IT. It’s a simple as that. Eat fewer calories than you are burning and your body will use fat as fuel. I use MyFitnessPal on my phone to keep track of my percentages and vitamins and calories. There are other good apps though, or pencil and paper if you don’t want to be fancy. Get a food scale to really help you learn how to measure calories in a portion.

And carbs are not your enemy. There’s a reason why the top athletes out there (Michael Phelps… boy, he’s sure a fatty) eat lots of pancakes on race day. Carbs are fuel for your muscles. It’s the calories that matter for weight loss.

If you want to cut calories by drinking juice or taking detox pills, I guess you can, just realize that juice/pills do not “detox” your body or “kickstart weight loss” (please, find me an actual scientific study that says it does. And no, an article on Natural News doesn’t count as a scientific study.), it deprives your body of important nutrients and makes you feel sick and makes you lose water weight, which they call detoxing, but is not. It’s a placebo. And no, that weight you lost was not sustainable. It’s also really bad for your insulin levels. Sugar from any source without fiber and fat to temper it will cause your insulin to spike.

Here’s a great op-ed on the whole detox thing:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-detox-scam-how-to-spot-it-and-how-to-avoid-it/

Now, this does mean you can conceivably lose weight by eating only a half a box of Oreos every day and nothing else. (I have done this.) But you won’t feel good.

Feeling good is a different thing entirely from weight loss and what you eat doesn’t help you lose weight, it’s really really how much you eat. IF you want to feel good AND lose weight, then follow this plan:

ImageYou generally want to try to cut out sugar entirely if you can, or to a reasonable amount every day (this is my biggest hurdle. It’s easier for me to cut sugar out and get it out of the house than to limit it, honestly. Sugar is really really a useless empty thing that just makes you gain weight and makes you feel happy temporarily. And it’s SO ADDICTIVE). Then, according to reliable sources (including, but not limited to, the government’s and any real nutritionist’s health guidelines as well as http://m.runnersworld.com/weight-loss/incredible-weight-loss-myths-exposed?page=single) , eat 50-55% of your calories in healthy carbs, homemade whole grains, beans, VEGETABLES, FRUIT, etc. (Unrelatedly, did you know apples have natural fluoride in them and keep your teeth healthy and the fiber cleans your teeth off? This interests me, so I thought I’d share. Apples are nature’s toothbrushes.)

25-30% of calories in fats. Nuts, extra virgin olive oil, some saturated fats like butter, egg yolks, whatever, as long as it’s within your calorie goal. No trans fats.

15 to 25% of calories in protein. Protein is good for you, but too much is not good for you. Keep it in range. Some people have good results with higher amounts of protein, but really, you don’t need to eat a whole ton of meat to be healthy. I’m a mostly non-tofu-eating vegetarian and am able to lose weight and build muscle just fine (you should try leg wrestling me some time. Also, I can lift a lot more than most of the women also lifting at the gym). I eat about 15% protein through occasional eggs and dairy, mostly beans and quinoa and stuff like that, without even trying. My levels of iron, b-12, etc, etc (‘cept my thryroid) are fine, even when I’m not on supplements.

If you are a meat eater, try venturing into the scary land of making bone broth (bone marrow is really good for you and if you don’t think about it too much, it tastes good) and eating occasional organ meats, which are also very good for you. Of course, eating fish (best for you) and chicken is good, and red meat is fine too. It doesn’t really matter because you shouldn’t be eating a lot of meat every day so it doesn’t make that much difference what type of meat you eat. I mean, really, cut down on your meat consumption. Especially if it’s fast food meat. Yuck.

And those are really my points, here. I hope this helps someone out there. 🙂 Good luck to you! Stick to your goals no matter what! You can do this!
Cheers,

Christina

 

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How did you lose the weight?

I’ve been getting this question a lot lately and I often don’t have the two hours that I feel is necessary to explain how I did it. Which is my motivation for this blog post. What I usually answer is:

I exercised three times a week by doing the couch to 5k program and I calorie counted.

This really is the bare-bones of what I did. I sometimes think people are looking for something magical, like “I did the liquid amino diet!” or “I just combined green tea and lemon juice and drank it every morning and the pounds magically melted off!” (Side note: I did try phentermine for about a month through my doctor, and it kind of helped… mostly because it gave me energy because losing weight is tiring. But it also gave me scary heart palpitations and it made me cold and I couldn’t sleep at night and stuff, so I went off of it. I lost just as much weight on it as I did off of it. If you can’t lose weight without it, you won’t lose long term weight with it. Also, it costs money and you have to go to your doctor once a month which also costs money and I hate spending money when I don’t have to on things I can do myself.)

But anyway, no, I am boring. I just did five hundred hours of research (as I always do before I start doing anything in my life) and discovered that the magical secret to losing weight is eating less calories than you are expending so that your body uses your fat to power itself instead. Exercise helps a lot because you don’t have to cut what you have been eating as drastically.

For example (made up numbers, I’m too lazy to look up real ones):

If I have been eating 3000 calories per day , and I am sitting on the couch all day and want to lose 2 lbs per week without exercising, I will eat 2000 calories a day instead. This is hard.

If I am exercising three times a week and burning 500 – 600 calories each time, I can eat 2300 calories a day instead. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but man, when you’re craving a 300 calorie chocolate bar, it’s enough to help. I find it much easier to calorie count if I exercise along with it because of this principle. I don’t feel nearly as deprived.

Thoughts regarding losing weight

Why calorie counting is awesome:

My favorite calorie counting places:

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ – The app I use now. Make friends with me! Nitetiger4 is my username.

http://caloriecount.about.com – What I started with before I had a smartphone.

Eat what you want and lose weight! YEAH. Just keep it under calories! Every once in a while (not every day) I eat something like three pieces of chocolate cake and then have a salad for dinner to keep under calories. This is what I consider a cheat day, and I do it when it comes up organically (like a holiday or a party or something), I don’t plan in advance to have one or else I somehow end up having them every day and I feel sick. If I let myself have a cheat day where I eat everything I want and have 3000 calories instead of the 1600 I’m supposed to be eating, I tend to derail for the next week. I do sometimes make exceptions for big holidays, but if I do it for like every birthday and Sunday dinner, then I stop losing weight so well.

So anyway, if you want to eat a cookie, eat a cookie. Just count the calories. Although I’ve learned not to eat it for breakfast or you will rollercoaster all day and give up. Save it for after dinner. I feel much less deprived on calorie counting because I don’t feel like I fail when I eat a cookie, unlike other diets where it’s like “OH NO I ATE A COOKIE AND DR. ATKINS WILL FIND ME AND KILL ME FOR EATING CARBS!”

Anyway, over time, hopefully you can modify to eating well along with eating less, but I feel like doing both at once is what sets people up to fail because you feel deprived of food you love and your body is deprived of calories and so your brain and your cells are all screaming at you to just eat that piece of cake please and then you eat a hundred because you failed to follow your diet and so you might as well.

Motivation:

What is your motivation?

– I want my body to look better.

This is a way to set yourself up to fail, imo.  I’ve gone from semi-whale-obese size at 5’9″ and 260 lbs to now 180 lbs (still another 10 to go to be in the healthy range and 20 so that I am in the middle of the healthy range). You know what though? I feel the same about my body. I still look at it and I don’t feel like I’m a sexy skinny thang, even though people come up and compliment me on how I look all the time (and by that I mean, people who know what I looked like before.) Their compliments are nice, but they’re not really motivating for me. I’ve gone from a size 20 down to a size 12… and yeah, I still see in the mirror how my hip to waist ratio is insanely larger than anyone else’s in the world rather than the fact that I have lost 4 inches around my chest and a bazillion from my waist and hips.

(Side note: It is kind of interesting to be able to see my cheekbones now, and I do notice my skinny fingers. Sometimes I stare at my fingers for 10 minutes because that’s the only place I can really tell that I lost weight and it’s kind of weird to see the difference. I had to move my wedding ring to my middle finger the other day because it kept falling off my ring finger. So that’s semi motivating, I guess, but not enough to keep me going.)

So yeah, I feel the same about my body as I did before, which is indifferent. I like myself as I am, and I always have been content with being me.  My body is now saggy and baggy where I lost all the fat, instead of being rolley polley. No one tells you that happens sometimes (not always… you’ve probably seen pictures of people that don’t have this problem. This is why there are no pictures of me in a bikini on this blog.) Supposedly, if I lose the last 20 lbs and gain more muscle I will be less saggy, but I’m not counting on it. And I don’t care. Because if I cared, I would give up and go back to being 260 lbs and eating like an elephant because I’ve realized that you’re only going to be as happy as you are where you are now. Getting a bigger house, more money, losing weight all seem like they would make you happier than you are now, but THEY DON’T. So be happy now and find a different motivator. 🙂 Smile and love yourself and kick the media in the shins and yell in their face “I DON’T CARE THAT I DON’T LOOK LIKE YOUR PHOTOSHOPPED MODELS AND NEVER WILL. I LOVE ME BECAUSE I AM FAR MORE THAN A DRESS SIZE!!!!!!”

Is your motivator to look better to the world? Consider this. Do you go up to women that you have always known to be skinny and say to them “You look so good!” and by good, you mean they are slender. No. Do you like being friends with slender women over larger women? Probably not. You might tell slender women they have a cute outfit, but you probably also say that to larger women with a sense of style. Random people don’t run up to me on the street and tell me that I am skinny and good looking either. It’s always people who know what I looked like before. Sometimes you might get lucky and someone random will tell you that “You could be a model!” but usually they have ulterior motives and they are men. Anyway, looking better so the world will notice? Yeah, you’re going to probably be disappointed, especially if you’re married. They only care if they knew you before, so when you move away from your friends and you’re skinny, no one will tell you about it anymore. Because that’s considered impolite. 🙂

This might be an ok motivator though for those who are still looking for an SO, I guess, but if you’re not confident with yourself now, you probably won’t be when you’ve lost weight. Also, won’t you always be frightened that your SO married you for looks and what will happen if you gain the weight back? (I would be.) Also, you probably won’t stay motivated, because it takes a long time to lose enough weight that guys/girls will notice you more than they did before anyway.

Do you want to lose weight for your significant other? Meh. Your husband probably doesn’t care (unless he’s a douche.) Let me tell you that my skinny, handsome husband looked at my pictures of me when I was 260 lbs and said “Well, I guess love really is blind.” meaning that looking back now, he can see how big I was, but then, he didn’t really notice. He loves and has loved me for who I am personality wise – not how I looked. And now that I’m smoking hot (lololol), he reaps the rewards of sticking with me when I was fat… I guess. But though he does compliment me on how good of a job I have done losing weight and sticking with exercising, he really doesn’t love me any more or less than before. Also, my stomach has an insane amount of bright red stretch marks from having three children and they will never go away (unless I get plastic surgery, but see my qualifier above… YOU WILL ONLY BE AS HAPPY WITH YOURSELF AS YOU ARE NOW, SO WHY BOTHER), so if he was sticking around for looks, those would have frightened him off long ago.

Anyway my point is, don’t be motivated by how you will look because you will be sad and give up when you don’t see the results as quickly as you wanted to.

– I want to be healthier. ( And I want to set a good example for my children.)

This is my motivator. I want to be less likely to die from a heart attack. I don’t want to get diabetes. I don’t want to be tired and not be able to play with my kids. I don’t want to have sleep apnea from being too big. I don’t want my body to fall apart as I get older and not be able to do things anymore. I don’t want to wait to take care of myself until my kids have moved away and it’s “”””easier”””” because I will have my habits set and I’ll be too old and tired and by then my body is past its prime anyway and your body is already hurt and tired from years of you not taking care of it and it will be much harder than you think. I want to exercise and eat well so I can help hopefully stave off the depression that runs in my family. I want my children to see me eat sensibly, so that they eat sensibly as well. I want my children to see me exercise and compete and then want to exercise and carry that habit into adulthood. I want my children to take care of themselves and love themselves. I need to do this now because the longer I wait, the harder it is. I don’t want to wait until something exterior (losing SO, bad health) forces me into it, I will take control now and do it because I want to.

Did you know that your children will grow up to pretty much be exactly like you? This is a scary thing, but statistically it’s likely. So take care of yourself and set the example, so that your kids don’t have to say “I don’t want to be like my mother/father” and then fight with their habits their whole lives. Also, meet some older people who have been heavy their whole lives and see exactly how their bodies are falling apart and how many surgeries they have to have and how easily they break and realize how you really, really, really, don’t want to do that to yourself.

There are other reasons, but these are the two main ones that have been in my head. There are probably some other good ones for you. Just analyze your reasoning and motivation to make sure your motivation is strong enough to carry you through the hard parts. 🙂

Finding a goal:

What’s your goal?

Mine was originally this: Get to 160 lbs.

Um, yeah, that is a good goal, but it’s hard when you have 60 lbs to lose to feel motivated after a month and you’ve lost 5 lbs.

Your first goal is this: I WILL FORM A HABIT OF EXERCISING THREE TIMES A WEEK AND COUNTING MY CALORIES EVERY DAY. You may not run far. You may eat way too many calories. That’s ok. The goal is the habit at first. Then move on to staying under your calorie goal and running further or faster every week.

After that, try something like:

Lose 3 lbs in two weeks. Lose 6 lbs in a month.

Be able to run for longer than 30 seconds. Run a mile. Run a 5k.

Short goals and a long term goal are a good combination to help keep motivated. Tell Facebook and your SO your progress and when you meet your goal. People will cheer you on and it helps. 🙂

Exercise:

Three times a week. Thirty minutes each time, at least. Whatever you choose, you’re probably going to hate it for the next month, if you keep doing it, so just be resigned to that and pick something. Find a program to help you progress in your exercise so you see progress there and so that your body doesn’t get bored and start making you burn less calories as it gets used to what you’re doing. I used Couch to 5k (http://www.coolrunning.com), but you could find another program for biking or elliptical or swimming or whatever, I’m sure. It’s really important that you push yourself so you see results (Jillian Michaels talks a lot about this. It’s hard because we promised you would see results… and honesetly to see results it has to be hard.)

Make sure whatever you choose is easy to get out and do. This is why I picked running, because all I needed was shoes and my shoes were not going to get a flat tire or be closed for the holidays and I could do it inside or outside during the various seasons and the gym and the road are right outside my door, which means I can get ready to run in ten minutes and be back in thirty and I don’t have a lot of time to get demotivated once I get started getting ready. Also I can take my dog running and she appreciates the exercise and will mostly not trip me or judge how I look when I’m running.

If you can find a buddy to go with you, this helps a lot because you don’t want to let them down and not come. This is most motivating if it’s just you and one other person and the other person is always consistent, so that you know that they will be left waiting if you don’t show. However, it’s not necessary. I ran by myself for four months with my dog and showed up for myself just fine because I was committed. Which leads me to…

Be committed and plan:

You must be committed to losing weight and you must plan how you will implement it. For me, it had to become the most important thing in my life. I found my motivation and figured out my plan, and then I said to my husband something like: “I am going to do couch to 5k. I am doing it three times a week for 30 minutes, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 o’clock. If the kids aren’t in bed, you’re just going to have to handle it and get them to bed.” (I also told him “Don’t bring candy home ever, unless I tell you to, because I will eat it all. You can eat all the candy you want, just not in the house please.”)

You have to make yourself go through with it NO MATTER WHAT. I liked telling my husband the above because he’d then say “Wait, aren’t you going running tonight? You better go get ready. I’ve got the kids. We’ll play Skyrim when you get back.”

Also, setting a time, the same time every time you go, is really helpful in making it a habit. It doesn’t matter what time of day you go, according to studies, just as long as it’s a good time for you and that you know you can commit to. (I am just now getting into morning running, because I HATE WAKING UP EARLY. So that’s I chose evenings when I first started)

It’s really really really hard to start exercising and stay consistent (especially if you’ve never exercised before), so you must tell yourself that it is the most important thing ever and you will do it even if you don’t want to and you’re so tired and the kids and blah blah blah. Do you skip Downton Abbey on Thursday night (I don’t know when it’s on, I’m just guessing) because you’re so tired and the kids bit you all day long? No. You cannot miss exercise either and it must be as important to you as your favorite TV show or book or whatever, even though you hate it. (Also, you can try telling yourself that you can’t watch Downton Abbey til you get that exercise done.) It must come first.

If you can get past the first three weeks of consistent exercise, it becomes a habit and it gets a lot easier to do. The first week of couch to 5k was pretty much hell for me. I could not run for 30 seconds without feeling like I was dying. But I pushed on. I was gasping and flopping down the road pretty much like a giant whale that grew legs. After three/four weeks, my body had adjusted and my habit had been formed and it was so much easier and I was burning way more calories every time I went out and I was finally seeing results. Push through.

(Also, after 10 months of running, I am JUST NOW starting to actually kind of enjoy it for itself. I kind of liked it before too, because I discovered that it really relieves my stress, but now I am starting to like running just because it’s kind of fun to reach the top of hills and see the vistas and push yourself and stuff)

You must be committed to calorie counting too. Again, it takes time to build the habit of entering everything you eat into your phone or computer or onto your piece of paper, but don’t give up. Keep trying. You’ll see results if you push through the initial hard part.

Now for me, I have to keep calorie counting. If I start thinking I can wing it, I go into maintenance mode (where I don’t lose weight, or I start to gain a little). Some people get the hang of calorie counting and then can just keep doing it without keeping track on paper, but I wouldn’t count on that person being you. So you might have to calorie count for a year or so and once you’ve lost the weight, every now and then to get back on track. Just deal with it.

Tips and Tricks

I hate these. I can never remember them when I read them on blogs. Here are a few though, just in case you can retain this information.

– You will not see results at first, most likely. You will hate every day when you wake up and it’s exercise day (if you’re exercising right, that is, where you push yourself) and you will probably hate inputting all of the food you eat and how at the end of the day you’re still kind of hungry but you can’t eat anything. And you will hate how your husband eats candy all the time and hasn’t gained any weight. And then you will weigh yourself and see no change or a small one, most likely and you will want to give up. Don’t. Keep going. One day you will get on the scale and you will have lost a pound. Be proud, even though it’s only 1/60th of your goal. You did something! And all those little 1/60ths will add up to 100% of your goal one day and you’ll have done it. Just keep going because it DOES work. And it DOES work for everyone, even you. It just takes time. The habit is your goal at first, really.

– You will be tired. People say that when they lost weight they got more energy, but I think this happens when you’re maintaining your goal weight. While you’re losing the weight and exercising you are tired. This is because your body is having to adjust to using fewer calories, so it tries to make you slow down so you burn fewer calories. It doesn’t like to burn your fat stores if it can help it. So you just have to realize that this will be a challenge that you’ll have to push through. You might be crabby like me while body realizes that it’s going to have to burn the fat stores, but again, you have to push through it. Eventually you do adjust and you’re not quite as tired.

–  I say weigh yourself every day first thing in the morning, after you use the bathroom and before you eat or drink. Be naked. I weigh myself every day because I can’t stay motivated otherwise. If I do it every day I immediately see that the whole cake I ate yesterday made me gain three pounds and I can more easily not eat cake today, rather than seeing it a week later.

– Eat (non-cream-based) soup for dinners as often as you can stand it. Eat the leftovers for lunch. This is lovely advice. Soup is low calorie and fills you up . It keeps you from having cravings too. Also, you can eat more ice cream at the end of the day if you eat more soup during it.

– Recalculate your calories downward every 15 lbs you lose. Your body requires less calories when you have less weight for your muscles to haul around, so to continue losing weight, you must eat fewer calories.

–  Drink water before you eat. This helps you feel more full and eat less.

– Don’t drink soda or gatorade or really, anything that’s not water (unless you need caffeine in tiny amounts for migraines). Wean yourself off (before you start calorie counting, preferably.) Even diet drinks are bad for you and your weight loss, according to studies. Protein shakes, ok. Green smoothies, pretty ok if you don’t drink too much or have too much fruit/milk in them. Maybe coconut water too, if it’s pure. Don’t drink juice. Soda, juice, gatorade, mostly sugar. Not good for you. Too many empty calories that just make you have cravings and make you hate life.

– Don’t give up. Never ever ever give up. You keep trying til you get it. One day you will. 🙂 Don’t be sad when you miss a day, just get up and try again.

Anyway, good luck! If you have any questions, feel free to post below since I’m sure I’m sure I missed something. I’ll try to respond. 🙂

Finding My Feet

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At the age of 12, I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. Every time I would try to run or play for extended periods of time, I would be left gasping for breath and feel tingly and panicky from the lack of oxygen. I was given a “rescue” inhaler, told to use it when needed and was left to figure out the details. From that point forward, it was a struggle for me to exercise and maintain my weight. At school, when we were required to run the mile, I would give up after 20 seconds because of the wheezing and it would take me the rest of the mile to get my breath back, even with my inhaler. My mile time was somewhere around 18 minutes.

In February 2012 (at age 26), I started having severe asthma attacks in response to my cottonwood allergies and I had to go see the doctor for help. He prescribed me a daily steroid inhaler and my attacks diminished. I was 60 lbs obese at the time and had just had my third child. Around this time, I heard about a program called “Couch to 5K”. Up to this point, I had made the excuse that I was too tired to exercise and my asthma just wouldn’t allow it. I was too exhausted mentally and physically after taking care of my three children, all age 4 and under, to waste my relaxation time on exercise. However, one day I realized that I didn’t want to wait until I was old and my children were gone to take charge of my health, as my parents had done. I had steroids to keep my asthma from flaring now, so that wasn’t an excuse anymore. I realized that my children were impressionable and the example that I set for them now is the one that they will follow. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t just for my health, but for my children’s health that I needed to lose weight and start exercising and that I needed to make time.

A few months later, in early June, I started the couch to 5k program. I told my husband that I would be leaving at 8 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights and I would be going running for half an hour, so if any children were still awake or if anything was left undone, it would be his responsibility to take care of them. I looked on the internet for a 5k that I could run in three months that would be my “goal” (a goal is so important, I really think!) and I chose the Racing with Passion 5k in September. My first session of training was tough. I was tired after running for the 60 second spurts and I was slow. I had a hard time breathing, even though I was using the steroids and my rescue inhaler. I just had to keep in mind that this was important and that I could do hard things. That if I gave up, nothing would change and I would end up being like other family members. And I perservered and I made it through that first time. And then I kept working.

The first time I had to run for a mile straight in the program, I was scared. I didn’t think I could do it. But I tried it and I did it. And then that mile became two miles and then three miles. I discovered that instead of being more tired and grouchy during the day, as I thought would be the case after adding running into my regimen, I was actually a lot happier and more kind to my children and somehow, I had more energy. (The only time I skipped running was one week with a health problem, I stuck to the training nights that I said I would and I knew that if I made an excuse for “just tonight, I will not run” that I would stop running and my hard work would be for naught. If I came home from something late on a night that I was supposed to run, I went running anyway.) I lost 30 pounds over those three months and I’m working on the other 30.

When September came and it was time for my “goal” 5k, I didn’t know what I was doing, so I lined up with the other people near the front, with my regular running clothes on – an old tshirt, a pair of red yoga pants from a thrift store, my dollar store “athletic” socks and my $20 Champion running shoes from Payless – and a camelbak on with my music player in it and my earbuds in my ears. It was cold and I hadn’t brought a jacket, but figured I would warm up after running for a bit. I felt discouraged as I took off running with the other front runners, because I didn’t know at the time that the faster people start in the front and if you’re slower you should be nearer the back. However, I figured I would just run at my regular pace and keep going, even if I was dead last (which is what I thought I was as so many other people passed me at the start.)

I ran and I ran and I ran and I didn’t stop. I ran the whole 5k without stopping. As I neared the finish line, my husband, my three children, my mom and my brother all stood waiting and cheering me on. My kids were so excited to see their mom running the race. I finished with a time of 35:34.8 (11:26 min/mile), a personal best for me and 39th out of the women which was somewhere in the middle and 6th in my age group. When I hugged my husband after finishing, my four-year-old daughter looked up at me with her big blue eyes and asked with excitement:

“Mom, did you win the race?”
I smiled and answered, “Yes. Everyone who finishes wins the race.”

It’s been a long long time…

Alright, so I kind of died 7 months ago and stopped posting. I know, I’m lame. But the reason why is because actually, I got pregnant again. And I was extremely morning sick, just like last time! But this time, I had a toddler running around and so it was much harder to blog. So, needless to say, I have not really been exercising and losing weight.

I’m 7 months along now, due December 21st with another little girl, whom we will be naming Willow! I’ve been kind of able to keep my weight down… only 15 (I’m at about 226, up from 211 prepregnancy) lbs gained last time I checked… though I might have balloooned… I’ve been afraid of weighing myself for the past two weeks, because I keep gorging on candy and ice cream and stuff. 😦

I’m planning on starting “dieting” this next week though (as in keeping track of how many calories I’m eating, not actually dieting dieting.) I don’t want to gain 30 lbs again, so that it isn’t so hard to lose it all after the new little one is born.

Someone asked if I’ve tried Wii Fit Plus yet, and no, I haven’t. I’m waiting for a good deal to come around before I buy it, because I’m a cheapskate like that. 🙂 I haven’t really been exercising… but I think I will try at least doing free step on Wii Fit for 15 minutes a day if I can, so that I can keep my blood pressure down and just be healthy. Tried doing My Fitness Coach a month ago consistently and got bad sciatica and so had to stop. So I’m guessing it’s best if I keep my exercising as low impact as possible.

I’ll keep you updated on what happens. Hopefully I can keep my weight down! Got a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, so we’ll see what the scale says. 🙂

Wii Fit Diet, and My Fitness Coach!

Ok, so I suck at updating, but I haven’t had much happen lately. I’ve been exercising still and eating well, so I’m now down to 213 lbs. That means I’ve lost almost 26 lbs overall now! I’m quite proud of myself. 🙂 Only 53 more lbs to go, so I’m 1/3 of the way there! Additionally, only 3 lbs to lose and I’m no longer Obese, I will just be Overweight! How wonderful!!

On another note, I bought My Fitness Coach, because I was honestly getting a little bored with the Wii Fit exercises. There is just not enough different aerobic exercises to do in Wii Fit and I hate having to pick out what I want to do. It takes like 45-50 minutes to do a 30 minute workout. But My Fitness Coach, which was only $30 new at Gamestop, is super cool. It doesn’t work with the Wii Balance Board (other than using it as a step) but it’s still nice. Kind of like an exercise video, only it’s different every time.

It has you take measurements of your body when you start your profile, asks what equipment you have on hand, figures out your fitness level, asks you what your goal is for yourself and then determines what exercises you should do to reach that goal. Then you commit to a certain amount of workouts each week.

I got the game yesterday, and I only played it yesterday (I try not to exercise on Sundays), but today I am SUPER sore. It had me focusing on my upper body and core muscles (with a little bit of cardio), and so now my back, abs, thighs, butt and arms all hurt. And it did it without using weights either. I exercised for 30 minutes total, split into two 15 minute sessions. You have to do a minimum of 15 minutes of working out when you play and it keeps you going and working the whole time! You can adjust how hard it is though if it’s too hard or too easy, which is nice. On the easiest level, it gives you a 15 second or so break in between exercises, which is a little too easy for me. 🙂

I do really like the game though, as it’s got a lot of variety (over 400 exercises, I hear) and it’s got some fun, variable music (which is one thing that seriously is lacking in Wii Fit). I really like that it also picks the exercises for me, depending on what areas of my body I want to target for the day. Also, it tells you how many calories you’ve burned at the end of your workout. That’s another thing I thought lacked in Wii Fit.

The only things I don’t like are a) that the woman has annoying voice and b) that she has to “find the rhythm” three times in your workout. It’s kind of nice to rest while she does it, I guess, but I’d prefer she didn’t. Not a big deal though. Her voice, however, is kind of nasally and just generally grating. She also repeats the same phrases over and over again, which is again, slightly annoying. But the workouts are great, and so I do like that. 🙂

Have a peaceful super bowl sunday!

Ooo, I forgot!!! PS! I managed to actually be perfectly balanced, 50.0% on both feet for my weigh in on the 26th of January. I even took a picture, I was so proud of myself!!

Perfectly centered center of balance on Wii Fit!

Perfectly centered center of balance on Wii Fit!