My progress...

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


When you are working on losing weight and hit a bit of a plateau, you hear a lot of this: "Well, you will probably see a large weight loss at some point to make up for it!"  And when you are on that plateau and can't see to the edge of it, this is small comfort, especially if you are doing EVERYTHING right.  I have been honest in saying that I have been a bit more lax in my eating recently, and I attributed some of my plateau to that.  However, I am working out more consistently and for more time than I ever have, and I sort of thought that would make a difference.

Well, it turns out that those people who recommend patience are right.  This morning, I weighed in at 232.2 pounds, thereby being rewarded with a weight loss of 3.4 pounds this week!  I am now PAST the 40-pound mark in my weight loss (42.4 pounds to be exact), and I feel AMAZING!  After a couple of weeks of playing around with the same couple of pounds (some of which might have been water weight and some of which might have been my body adjusting to my workout regimen), I am moving down on the scale again.  I now weigh less than I have at any point since my husband and I got married about 3 1/2 years ago.  Previously, my lowest married weight was 235 pounds, which I achieved after several months using Weight Watchers.  I have also more than lost the 35 pounds that I gained while in nursing school, and that feels great as well!

A personal victory this week was that someone at work who I never expected to comment on my weight loss (one of the doctors I work with) asked if I had lost weight, complimented my progress, and told me I looked noticeably thinner.  He is very busy the entire time that he is at work, and the fact that he both noticed and thought to mention it to me made me feel really good.  My coworkers have all been very supportive of my efforts, and it's so great of them to encourage me so much.  My mom and sister have also been great sources of encouragement, as has my husband.  I am fortunate to have so much support!

Another personal victory this week is that I got rid of several pairs of jeans and other bottoms that I can no longer wear because they are just too big.  Most of them were size 20, although I had a couple of 22s mixed in there as well.  I am still wearing some of the stuff I have in size 20, either because it is cut smaller and still fits fine or because I haven't purchased a replacement yet, but I am quickly heading into 18s exclusively, which is a size I have not worn since being married.  Today I ordered a replacement for a pair of boyfriend jeans that I loved, and I actually ordered an 18 and a 16 because I am afraid that they will be discontinued before I get down another size.  I will stick those on a shelf and use them to gauge my progress toward size 16!

I am continuing to love the elliptical at the gym, and I am going to be on the lookout for a Rodney Yee DVD to supplement my yoga practice at home.  I have a beginner yoga video by him that has 20-minute workouts in it, but I would like something a little longer.  I don't often do yoga at home, but since I haven't been lifting at the gym, I would like to utilize yoga for some strengthening.  Our class last night was AWESOME and really worked both my arms and legs (our instructor was at a yoga conference over the weekend and brought back to us some new stuff she learned), and I would like to use that more.

Tonight, some friends and I are going to see the new Twlight movie at midnight, and we are going out to eat first.  I am really looking forward to it!  I never would have thought I would be going to see a movie like this at midnight on opening night, but after reading them (we were big fans of the books in the unit I work in) and seeing the first two movies (the first on-demand and the second also at midnight on its opening night), I am totally hooked.  And a girls' night out is never a bad thing!

Make it a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mitigating the damage...

This weekend was a study in excess.  I spent Friday at the Relay for Life, and there were lots of great foods available for purchase.  I enjoyed pizza, pulled pork, cookies, pastries, and some chips.  I also walked ten miles.  I figure it was a good trade-off, and I drank plenty of water.  We do the Relay for Life every year in memory of our friend Lisa, who was our manager at Bath & Body Works.  She passed away a little over three years ago, at the age of 30, from metastatic breast cancer.

I spent Saturday at work, and we ordered out for lunch.  I had an enormous and yummy taco salad.  And my sister was in town to celebrate Fathers' Day, so we had dinner at my parents'...steamers, YUMMY prime rib, mashed potatoes, and asparagus, all cooked by my dad, who is a great cook.  Weird that he had to cook his own Fathers' Day dinner, right?  It happens that way every year, so he's used to it by now.  We also had some cookies for dessert.  Sunday, I got back on track with my eating, for the most part, but I did enjoy both breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria at work, and it is so much harder to keep track of what I am eating that way.  All three days involved a lack of vegetables and fruits, which is something I have been doing much better on.

As often happens when I have a weekend like that, when I got on the scale yesterday, I was showing a weight gain!  The scale showed a four pound weight gain, but since I didn't eat 14,000 extra calories over the weekend, I was well aware that it wasn't true weight gain.  A weekend of excess often ends with a weight gain that is only temporary, as the body recovers from the treats that were given to it over the weekend.  I got right back on track yesterday with eating and spent 45 minutes on the elliptical and then went to yoga, and this morning I was back down to within 0.4 pounds of what I weighed on Friday morning.  And as much as I expected that to happen, I was really relieved!

I know that some people who are reading this are visiting my blog because my sister Alissa pointed you my way, and I want to thank you for stopping by!  I know that a lot of her readers are users of the P90X system, and my fitness pursuits certainly do not add up to that, but I hope that you enjoy hearing about my efforts.  Perhaps I will one day check out P90X as well, but for now, the gym and yoga are doing it for me!  I have set as a long-term goal on my "Bucket List" the running of a half marathon.  However, my goal is to do that by the time I am 40, and I turned 34 this year.  Therefore, I have some time to work on that.

My efforts in the coming weeks are going to be to get fully back up into the saddle.  I have once again hit a bit  of a plateau, in that I have been playing with the same two pounds for the past two weeks, but I know that some of that is because I have been a little lax in the eating department.  I also have ramped up my workouts considerably now that I have discovered my love of the elliptical, so I am expecting that my body is having to get used to the extra workouts.  I have plenty of great, fresh, clean, whole foods, a plan to hit the gym the four days each week that I am not working, and the resolve to get that scale heading back down.  I can't wait to celebrate the resuls!

I am thinking about adding some running back into my regimen in the next couple of weeks.  I have started exploring some of the programs available on the elliptical, and this week I have been doing an interval program on it that varies the intensity of the workout.  I noticed today that my heart rate was getting up to the same level as it was when I was jogging and that I was sustaining that heart rate, and while I was winded, I was able to do it.  Next week, I might hit the treadmill one day to see what kind of effect the elliptical workouts have had on my running ability.  As much as I am enjoying the elliptical, I do eventually want to work toward being a runner, so I will continue to test myself out on occasion to see what I can do.

Make it a great day, everyone!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another scale that is on its way down...

Before I eat a little breakfast and head out to the gym (All weekend I have been counting down the hours until I could get back on the elliptical.  It's like aliens have taken over my body.), I thought I would talk a little bit about what I discovered at the end of last week.  I was sharing some information on an on-line message board about basal metabolic rate and how to calculate your daily calorie needs.  In doing so, I started to think about my BMI.  When I started this journey, my BMI was 43.  That is in the "morbidly obese" category (over 40), and it was horrifying.  When I think of someone who is morbidly obese, I think of someone who can't get out of bed, who weighs so much that they can't walk up and down stairs, who can't hold their arms down at their sides because the fat gets in the way, who can't buy their clothes at normal stores.  I don't think of myself at all.  However, the numbers on that scale told me I was morbidly obese.  And quite honestly, I was a bit ashamed, and once I read that label, I never went back to a BMI calculator because I didn't want to feel that way again.

I recalculated my BMI last week, and it was gone down SIX points to 37.  Now, I am still obese (Class II), according to this measurement.  However, I am no longer morbidly obese, and I feel so great about this!  I shared some goals in an earlier post that I am working toward, so let's look at what my BMI will be when I reach those goals.  When I reach my goal of being the lowest weight I have ever been since getting married, I will still have a BMI of about 37.  This is only 1.6 pounds away, and it is so close that I can taste it!  I am hoping this happens this week or next week!  When I reach my goal of being the weight I was when I joined eDiets (221 pounds), my BMI will be 34.6, which will shave me down just into Obesity Class I.  And when I hit my goal of 200 pounds by my 35th birthday, I will still be in Obesity Class I with a BMI of 31.32.  But I will NEVER AGAIN be morbidly obese.  I refuse to let that label take back over my life.

I take all this BMI stuff with a grain of salt, really.  I know that the vast differences in body types means that a BMI calculation might not mean a lot.  I know I will never be a size 2.  But as I work toward being healthy (and losing weight in the process), the BMI measurement is a tool that I can use, along with the scale, to gauge my progress.  It isn't an indicator of my success, as I consider every day that I get up and eat less and move more and make good decisions for the majority of my day to be a success.  But progress is sweet to see, and I can't wait to see more of it.

Make it a great day, everyone!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hello, endorphins!

I had a Moment in my car today on my way home from the gym that involved a big smile breaking out on my face as I said out loud, "Dude, I am DOING THIS!!!"  I used the elliptical for FORTY-FIVE minutes at this gym today, along with a five minute cooldown, logging over three miles distance on the thing and burning over 400 calories.  The rush I felt from this accomplishment was amazing.  I feel like I can take on the world today.  When I think back to about eight weeks ago, when I started exercising, and I think about the fact that I could not even complete the W1D1 workout of the C25K program, climbing off that elliptical after 45 minutes of fairly intense physical exertion makes me so proud.  I am doing this.  After being defeated by food and a sedentary lifestyle for the past 20 years, I am taking on this challenge, and I am ROCKING it!

I stopped at Wegmans this morning for some groceries and am pretty excited about what I got.  I grabbed some organic, grass-fed steaks to make for me and my husband for dinner tonight.  I also got some organic white potatoes and sweet potatoes to enjoy, both of which will be cut into chunks and roasted tonight for dinner, as well as some organic, free-range chicken thighs, which were only $4.99 per pound, much better than the $8.99 per pound they were charging for chicken breast.  Honestly, we like dark meat better, so I will continue to buy this.  I also explored the Nature's Marketplace section a little more to see what they had to offer.  I was excited to see some organic Feta, organic raw milk cheese, and other organic dairy products.  I also picked up a container of siggi's Icelandic style skyr strained non-fat yogurt.  This is similar, I guess, to Greek yogurt, in that it is non-fat, high in protein, and thicker than regular yogurt.  After giving this a try, I have to say that it will not be taking the place of Greek yogurt (Chobani is my favorite.) in my diet.  It was quite a bit more expensive, and it was also quite a bit thicker.  And it was a lot more sour.  One of the things I like about Chobani is that it is a fruit-at-the-bottom yogurt.  The siggi's didn't have actual fruit pieces in it, and I felt like that took away from it for me.  But it was great to try something new, and I might eat it once in a while when I want to mix things up a bit!

Anyway, just wanted to check in and share my excitement.  Make it a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Continuing to explore my options...

So let's recap where I am on this journey.  I am a fat-girl-getting-slimmer who, until a few months ago, bought all the food she ate either from a traditional grocery store, a drive thru, or a restaurant (or the cafeteria where I work).  In January, I started out on a journey to lose weight and live a healthier life.  In April and May, I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and started to become more interested in where my food came from.  On my 34th birthday (April 29), I made my first trip to a relatively local (although large and year-round) farmers market to buysome organic eggs and local chicken.  In May, I watched Food, Inc., and the way I thought about the meat I was eating changed forever.  And June finds me doing a lot of research on local sources for the foods I like to eat, with every day bringing me more information that can bring me closer to my goal of ethical eating.

Of course, old habits die hard.  I am still drinking flavored, calorie-free, sparkling water sweetened with Splenda, along with some Crystal Lite.  I am still eating fast food on occasion, as well as buying lunch in the cafeteria at work.  Last night, I went out to dinner with my husband's family, and I didn't ask where the milk for the cheese on my pizza came from.  And once in a while, I still buy some processed foods, although I do pay more attention to the labels on the foods, and I don't buy some of the crap that I used to.  My go-to food is a flour tortilla or tostada shell with cheese melted on it.  Eventually, I may learn to make my own, but for now, the store-bought ones work just fine.

However, for the most part, I have really cleaned up my diet.  I am buying and eating local produce, and I am really enjoying it.  I am eating a lot less meat than I used to, mostly because I have not yet found a lot of meat sources that gel with my requirements for meat.  The closest I have gotten is the grass-fed beef and organic chicken at Wegmans and Weis, which is what I am using for now, as I further explore my options.  Thanks to the Eat Well Guide, I have a new farmers market to check out next week (and this one is a producer-only local market, unlike the larger farmers market I mentioned, which sells things out of season that obviously were shipped in from elsewhere).  And I have a couple more farms to check out that seem to sell dairy and some meat options.  My biggest local challenge, it seems, will be a pork source.  My husband and I eat a lot of pork chops, so finding them locally and humanely-raised would be great!

The biggest thing for me in the beginning was price.  When I can get regular boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.99 or $2.99 per pound at the grocery store, it is hard to stomach spending $10.75 per pound on local, organic, free-range options.  I just don't have the money in my budget to do that.  However, the reality is that chickens are born with bones in them, and maybe they need to come into my house in the same way.  Maybe I need to make whole roasted chickens more often.  Maybe I have to eat more chicken thighs.  Maybe I have to learn how to clean a whole chicken breast (which will require a lot of touching of raw meat, which is not my favorite thing to do) to stick to these principles.  I can do that!

We already don't eat beef that often, so I can certainly splurge once in a while on grass-fed, organic options.  And I don't even use ground beef that often, so switching that over will be easy as well.  So far, I am adding an extra $50 per pay to my grocery budget and seeing if that different picks up the slack.  If I have to jack that up a little more and make some cuts in other areas (say, my Old Navy and Target budgets), it will be worth it to feel good about the meat I am eating and knowing that the animals were respected throughout their lifespan.

Regarding exercise this week, I have not been going to the gym everyday.  Just keeping it real here.  I did go to the gym Monday and used the elliptical for the first time in YEARS.  When I joined this gym, the trainer had me try out the elliptical, and I lasted for mere minutes before being defeated by it.  I decided to try it again this week (I have belonged to this gym for about three years, and it has been about five years since I was last able to do the elliptical for any length of time), and I was able to use it for 30 minutes, plus a five-minute cooldown!  I felt amazing when I climbed off of that thing, although all my leg muscles were quivering!  We also had a great yoga class Monday night, so when I woke up yesterday, and my calf muscles were feeling like big, sore knots, I decided to take yesterday off from the gym.  When I woke up today, my left calf felt much better, but the right one was still pretty sore.  I have a busy day planned today, so I am giving it another day of rest and heading back to the gym tomorrow for a good workout before heading into work for three days.  My goal is 45 minutes on the elliptical tomorrow.  I know I can do it!

And at my last weigh-in (Monday), I found that I am down another 1.8 pounds, now weighing in at 237.8 pounds, for a grand total of 36.8 pounds lost!  I celebrated by putting all of my XXL scrub pants in the donation bag and going to buy several new pairs.  I now can go to work wearing pants that don't look like clown pants!  It's an amazing difference!  I believe that my lowest weight since getting married was somewhere in the neighborhood of 235 pounds, so I look forward to seeing that number on the scale.  And back when I got out of college and joined eDiets, I weighed 221 pounds, and I look forward to seeing that number on the scale as well, although I know it is a longer way off.  Most of all, I look forward to celebrating my 35th birthday next year at a weight of 200 pounds or less.  Sometime in the early 2000s (maybe 2001), I used Atkins to get down to a weight of 185ish pounds, but as soon as I started eating regular foods again, my weight shot back up.  I have been out of college for 11 years now, and that is the only time my weight was really under 200 pounds (maybe one other time after a bad break-up, but that was also fleeting).  Thinking about this stuff makes me wonder what I was thinking all those years.  I was probably thinking that beer and bar food tasted good!  But farm fresh produce tastes good too!

Make it a great day, everyone!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

More progress

I stepped on the scale today because the app from that I use to track my progress on my BlackBerry (link to site in sidebar) told me it was time to.  I expected that I would still weigh 242 pounds because that is where I have been hanging, and I have only hit the gym once this week, and we had off from yoga because of Memorial Day and my eating over the weekend was not ideal.  I did have an excellent day yesterday, and my water intake has remained good, but I didn't expect to see any loss.  In fact, I sort of expected to see a slight gain.

I guess I should expect more from myself.  My weight this morning was 239.6 pounds!  That is a loss of 2.4 pounds since last week, and it marks a grand total of exactly 35 pounds lost since January 4!  And it's a new "decade!"  It's been many years since I was in the 230s, and I was totally pumped to see this number on my scale today!  And my official weigh-in date for the challenge I take part in is Saturday, so maybe I can even tweak myself down a bit more before then!

I do have to admit that I didn't go to the gym today.  I don't have any real excuses for it, but I just didn't want to drag myself out the door.  I am working the next three days, but I have four days off in a row next week, and I plan to make them active ones.  I will have yoga on Monday, and then I plan to hit the gym every day that I have off.  It is so nice to see results on the scale, and even though I slacked off a bit this week, I know my gym habits have a lot to do with the numbers going down, so I will remain committed to it!

I did do some grocery shopping today, and it was interesting to really think about what I was buying.  First, I went to the grocery store, where I picked up some of our usual stuff (pretzels, granola,  lunch meat, and cheese, along with white bread for the Hubs, as well as organic baby carrots, Feta cheese, Chobani yogurt, and flour tortillas for me, not to mention some organic milk for the both of us).  I also perused the meat case to see what my choices were there.  Last night, I stopped at the grocery store to grab some stuff to make a pasta dish for dinner, and I sort of thought that Italian sausage would go well with what I wanted to make.  However, in looking at my choices in the Italian sausage area, I found that there were no options that I could feel good about buying.  After seeing Food, Inc., seeing the conditions some animals are kept in before they come to the dinner table (and especially due to one horrifyingly graphic image of a fully grown cow with a leg deformation being forced to move along even though he was obviously in pain) has made it so I can't just grab a package of Italian sausage and throw it in my cart.  I considered some of the turkey options, as they were lower in calories, but there were no options that mentioned free range meats, and I couldn't justify taking one of them home with me.  We went meatless last night instead, and it was yummy!  If anyone is interested in what we had, I will add the recipe to the bottom of this post.

Anyway, today, after leaving the grocery store, I went up to a local organic  farm that I have started buying from to get some farm-fresh eggs from pastured chickens, as well as some Rainier cherries.  The cherries are amazing!  I bought a quart of them and can't wait to eat them at work all weekend long!  I also really love her eggs, and I bought two dozen.  One dozen is to eat now, and the other dozen has gone into our garage refrigerator so that I can age them for at least a week (preferably closer to two) so that they can be hard boiled and be easier to peel.  After I left there, I was driving past another local farm and noticed that they had their own lettuce and strawberries available.  I don't know that this farm has strictly organic practices, but they are a smaller local operation that I like to support.  I bought a big head of romaine lettuce for this weekend's salads (to go with some organic spring mix lettuce that I picked up at Wegmans last week), as well as a quart of strawberries that will be enjoyed this weekend at work as well.  Next week is when the produce in Pennsylvania will explode, and I expect to be able to get broccoli, potatoes, more berries, and maybe even some peas!  And I can't wait!

Remember to make it a great day, everyone!


Pasta with fresh tomatoes

1 box pasta (I used Barilla Plus Farfalle, but any kind would work.)
1 pint grape tomatoes (I bought organic.), cut in half.
1 cup shredded Parmesan
Fresh basil to taste, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped (can also use scallions)
2 T butter or olive oil

Prepare the pasta according to package direction.  Drain and mix with butter or olive oil.  In separate bowl, combine halved tomatoes, chopped basil, and chopped onion.  Mix with pasta.  Add Parmesan cheese and mix together before serving.

This is a great summer meal, as it's pretty light but also satisfying.  And it can eaten cold the next day, or it can be heated a bit in the microwave.  You can also mix in shrimp or chicken to bulk it up a bit.  YUM!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


I haven't had much to say because I feel like I have plateaued a bit with the weight loss.  The honest truth is that your body is really only going to release so much weight before it puts the break on and holds on to some pounds for a bit.  The trick is not to get frustrated during this time, to keep doing what you are doing, and to trust that the results will come again soon.

For the past three or so weeks, I have been bouncing around in the same three-ish pound area, and I am working on not getting frustrated.  I am standing at a grand total of 32.6 pounds lost, and this is definitely something to be proud of!  However, with the frustration of a plateau comes a little slackening off of the good habits.  For example, I have hit the fast food drive thru a few times in the past two weeks for dinner options.  Now, I saved calories most of those days and stayed within my goal calorie-wise, but I didn't eat clean, healthy foods that were good fuel for my body.  I took days "off" on my healthy eating on Friday, Sunday, and Monday this weekend, as I let the holiday weekend and some planned social events get the better of me.

Now, the reality is that life is going to send these little challenges your way.  Not every day is going to be a textbook day of health eating.  However, it can be hard to move on after such transgressions.  So many of us let food make us feel guilty.  The Mexican fiesta I had on Sunday, followed by our Memorial Day potluck at work on Monday, could have sent me into a tailspin of self-loathing, as I punished myself for making "bad" choices by continuing to do so.

However, I got up today, had a little breakfast, and hit the gym for my best run yet.  I ran for 12 straight minutes today!  The last two minutes were kind of rough, but I was using my iPod's C25K app, and I was on a W4 workout, so I attempted (and managed) to jog through the first two run/walk segments.  W4 calls for three minutes of running, 1.5 minutes of walking, five minutes of running, 2.5 minutes of walking, three minutes running/1.5 minutes walking, and five minutes running, sandwiched between a five-minute warm-up and cool-down.  An issue I have with C25K is that once I get my heart rate up in a jogging segment, I hate to walk and bring it back down because I find I tire very easily in the next running segment.  Therefore, although I was about to jog for 12 straight minutes today, I don't know how I will do when I try to do the actual W4 workout on Thursday.  However, I want to do that workout a couple of time before I try moving on to the rest of this week and next week will be dedicated to attempts at the actual W4 workouts, with the knowledge in the back of my mind that I can jog 12 minutes in a row!  I felt fierce when I was done!  Oh, and I also jogged two minutes of the last run segment, so that was a total of 14 minutes of jogging today!  I am feeling pretty proud of myself!

I am heading out for lunch at Cosi with some friends from work and my mom, and then we are going to see Sex & the City 2 this afternoon!  I am such a fan of SATC and can't wait to see what's been up with Carrie and the girls since we last left them on Carrie's and Big's wedding day.  I especially can't wait to catch a glimpse of Aiden, who I always loved in SATC.  I know that Carrie and Big are soulmates, but she and Aiden were so good together too!  It must be hard to have to choose between these great men!

Anyway, make it a great day, everyone!