Back On Track.. With a Plan

October 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM (Exercise, LiveFit, Nutrition)

This was also posted to the LiveFit forums, so some of you may already have read this. I inspired myself, so thought I should blog it here as well.

The past couple of weeks have been busy at times and not so busy at other times. I’ve been doing alright on the nutrition plan, but my lapse comes in the workouts. Circumstances kept me from my workouts at the end of last week, though I got walking in, I didn’t do a cardio challenge on the weekend. When I heard there was no new video workout for Monday I was going to do last week’s day 3 workout. I ran out of time. Tuesday I was going to try again and do workouts Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, but then I was running errands ALL day. I left the house at noon, and didn’t get home til after 9pm. Since hubby doesn’t get home til 9:30 most nights, that was fine as far as making supper went, but I was too wore out to get a workout in. Yesterday I was going to do steps and watch Biggest Loser on the TiVo, and do my kettlebells when I was done with that, but the living room was then taken up with hubby putting together a cabinet we I bought. I’m not making excuses. I’m just explaining my lousy ability to plan properly. I now know I need to do my workout when he’s NOT home, and before I start my errands for the day. Today I woke up under the weather. I had a migraine, so stayed in bed. Got back up well after noon. I haven’t eaten yet today, and wasn’t even hungry til just now. So I need to get back on track with a plan.

Thursday – Biggest Loser/Steps .. Kettlebells before hubby gets home

Friday – Kettlebells in the morning

Saturday – Kettlebells in the morning, walking/cardio in the afternoon weather providing.

Sunday – Church, then walking, then steps at home on the step board.

Monday… back on track with the recorded video workouts.  Hopefully I haven’t messed up my weigh in by not exercising enough this week. I’ve been doing well with food this week, just not the exercise portion.

So, back on track. With a plan. 🙂

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Little Struggles vs Little Victories

October 6, 2010 at 10:06 PM (Motivation)

Anyone who is on a plan for major life improvement can tell you, every day is a series of struggles. The balance comes when you have just about as many victories. Life improvement can be trying to organize your home. A new parent trying to learn how to adjust to the changes that come with having a child. An alcoholic struggling to stay clean and sober. I use this example, because for those of us who struggle with food addiction, it’s as real as any other addiction can be. Food is my most common struggle, and it happens every single day, no matter what.

The little victories though, they make those struggles easier to bear. Easier to overcome and not give into and let them overcome you. How do you do that though? It’s certainly easier to say than to do. Making each day less of a struggle is harder than it sounds on paper. For me, the number one help in these struggles, is having a support system who can either understand, or who can at least respect and support me even if they don’t understand.  Or both.

I’m so fortunate in life. I have both. I have a husband who loves me, who wants to see me succeed in my every day battle to become a healthier human being. He tries so hard to walk this path with me, and while he can’t do it 100%, his support and love is exactly that. 100%.  I also have a group of people, both men and women, who are walking this journey with me. Who are suffering these same struggles every single day. Even those who have come so very far in their weight loss journey, have lost 50, 60 or 70 pounds, they STILL have the struggle every single day with food, motivation, exercise.

I’m grateful that even when they’ve reached such huge milestones, they are still there. They are still a part of the program, they still share their daily experiences, motivate with their daily successes and seek support by sharing their daily struggles. Everyone has to find this for themselves. Whether with LiveFit Revolution (My personal choice), Weight Watchers, a gym program, a medical weight loss center, or even some kind of bariatric surgery, you’re going to face struggles every single day. They may be super minor, and the victories may come to outweigh the struggles. It’s how we handle each struggle that determines if we’ll be successful in our journey.

I am in the middle of week 4 of the program I’m on. I’ve had considerable struggles. But today, I am so proud to say my victories are becoming more frequent. I hope those who are in support of me know how grateful I am to them, and for those who might be inspired or motivated by me, I’m so happy to be able to inspire. 🙂

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Ritualizing Weigh-In Day

October 5, 2010 at 10:50 AM (LiveFit, WeighIn)

Ever watch The Biggest Loser, and notice that they always do the same thing on Weigh-In day? The guys always wear their shorts, sandals and TBL t-shirts. The women are always in their black shorts, sandals and sports bra in the colour of their team. I imagine it’s always at the same time on the same day each week. This is similar to what I do at home. Always Monday morning, before I eat, after I answer nature’s call. I’m always in pajamas, no shoes. Not always the same pajamas, just what I happened to be wearing the night before to sleep in.

When I went to the doctor, I was in jeans, my sneakers, long sleeved sweater type shirt, I’d already eaten breakfast and snack by that time. So my weight on Wednesday afternoon showed a weight gain of almost 5 pounds, from what I had weighed in at on Monday. Sure enough, my scale at home reflected the same thing. This is why I dislike depending on the doctor’s scale. My appointments are not always at the same time on the same day, so my weight fluctuates. The ONLY number that matters, or should matter to me, is what I see Monday mornings and mail into Jason, the LiveFit Revolution coordinator. He keeps track of weight loss, does a Milestones board, on video every Wednesday, where he has people’s names on big stars and he puts those tags in the appropriate category displaying their total weight loss. (I love this part of the program, btw)

After my doctor’s appointment last week, I had this conversation with my husband about the difference from that day to my weigh in two days prior. He suggested I ritualize purposefully. Rather than just making sure I weigh in before breakfast and after I evacuate, he suggests I choose clothes that I put on JUST for the weigh in. Hang them on a hanger and on Monday morning, right before I step on the scale, change into my ‘special’ clothes. That way I see the clothes on a hanger on the back of the bathroom door throughout the week. I know they are for Monday morning only. and I never ever have the excuse “Maybe my clothes were heavier this week.”  Haha.

I think it’s a great idea, and I may just do that. Plus, maybe it’s an excuse to go shopping for something pretty. 🙂

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Coconut Lemon Tilapia or Chicken

October 5, 2010 at 1:16 AM (Nutrition, Recipes)

Coconut Lemon Tilapa Coconut-Lemon Chicken

Last week I tried a recipe. With the nutrition program I’m on, foods are limited, but creativity helps a great deal with the diet, and not becoming bored. Chicken, Fish, Turkey, Steak, Roast Beef.. I can have all of those things as long as I go by the portion size allowed. The image on the left is Coconut-Lemon Tilapia with Asparagus with a lemony seasoned sauce. The image on the right is Coconut-Lemon Chicken served with Sauteed Mushrooms and onions. The trick to lowering the fat content of sauteed Mushrooms and onions is to use only 1 tablespoon of butter (I used to use a whole stick), and use about 1/8 cup of tap water. use fresh crushed garlic, and cook covered on low.

Rice I pre-cook. I buy boil-in-a-bag brown rice and store it. A serving is 1/3 cup per meal, so I heat that up with a sprinkle of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. It’s a soy sauce substitute.

So here’s the recipe. If you decide to try it, I would love to have your feedback, if you make any changes and how well they worked out for you. Thanks so much!

Tilapia (I buy it frozen in bulk packages)   – I also measure it after cooking. Frozen food weighs more apparently. Or Chicken.  Tilapia after cooking is 4 oz for a serving, Chicken breast is 3.5 oz per serving.

2 tbsp Coconut Oil
2 tsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 packet Stevia (or whatever equiv of the liquid) (you could use a a teaspoon of sugar, or a teaspoon of Splenda if that’s your preference)
Mrs. Dash – Fiesta Lime Flavour

In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil til it’s clear, add the Tilapia filets. Cover, cook til thawed. Sprinkle Mrs. Dash over each filet (I used about a quarter to half teaspoon per filet, depending on size), drizzle a few drops of lemon juice (Lime if you’re past phase 1), sprinkle with coconut, sprinkle with Stevia. Cook uncovered at medium heat for a few minutes. Flip filets over, make sure the coconut is getting all wet with the oil and lemon, otherwise it will be way too dry and not taste good. Flip again, cover and simmer for a couple of minutes.  I cooked mine a bit longer, til it was not as watery. Frozen food can be watery if cooked covered.

Serve with rice or your favourite veggie. This recipe serves two, adjust as desired.

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Monday Weigh-In

October 4, 2010 at 2:32 PM (LiveFit, Nutrition, WeighIn)

I had a visit to the doctor last week, and my weight showed a gain from what my Monday Morning weigh in showed. But then I was wearing different clothes and had had breakfast and an afternoon snack by that time. At home, when I weigh in, I’m in pajamas, no shoes, and I’ve eaten nothing, and .. pardon the details .. gone to the bathroom to empty myself.  Seeing a gain on the doctor scale was discouraging, but I know better now that I’m weighing myself every Monday morning. I was remarkably pleased with this morning’s weigh-in. You see, I was prepared for the worst, because yesterday we took my father in law and brother in law to a steakhouse buffet for dinner. I figured I could handle it,  I would be fine and make the right choices.

The salad was boring, everything I chose was everything I could eat at home. So my determination waned. Now, I was ‘good’ in my splurge, I had two corn tortilla chips with taco meat, no sour cream. I had more than my 3 oz of steak allotment. And my seating was not ideal. I was directly facing the dessert bar. My gosh that chocolate cake looked so good.. and I’m not a chocolate lover. Needless to say, I did go to the dessert bar. I had the tiniest of chocolate brownie, a small scoop of the whipped mousse dessert, a sliver of that German chocolate cake, and about two tablespoons of vanilla ice cream.  Turns out that German chocolate cake did NOT taste as good as it looked. The brownie, on the other hand, did. So did the ice cream. I was ashamed of myself for those bad decisions. I was prepared for a weight GAIN this morning.

I lost 2.9 pounds this week. My first thought was NOT “See I can binge and still lose weight” like it might have been in the past.. nope. My first thought was “Gosh, how much MORE could I have lost if I hadn’t eaten all that sugar and fat?” To me, this is progress. Progress means my mindset is changing, which is really the key to good success in weight loss. There were better choices for me if I wanted dessert, and those better choices for me would have resulted in an even better number on the scale.

This week, my goal is to not splurge at all, not even the tiniest bit. This week, I aim to do every workout I’m supposed to with LiveFit Revolution.  Jason and Alysia have given us this gift, free of charge, at their own cost, I should be more respectful of that and give it my all. That’s what I will do this week. Give it my all.

I think I may try turning my Coconut-Lemon Tilapia recipe into a Chicken dish for some variety tonight. Or perhaps my Sesame recipe. Whichever, I’ll plan on posting the recipe soon.

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Eating Out and Dieting

October 2, 2010 at 9:57 PM (Nutrition)

First off, I don’t like the term ‘dieting’. It sounds like a negative thing, full of restrictions and taboos and no-no’s.  Essentially, it is, but if you’re truly trying to lose weight, lower cholesterol, improve health, your nutritional intake plays a major role in that. Thinking of it as a diet, as a restriction, a chore… makes it an unpleasant thing to do. However, for long-term success in any weight loss program requires a change of lifestyle, not just a short-term diet. You have to be realistic. Am I going to be able to maintain a weight loss if I stop the ‘diet’ once I reach my goal weight? Nope. Because all those things that have been a taboo, or a no-no, are suddenly available! I can now eat all I want!  Wrong. Completely wrong.

This has been part of my lifelong struggle with my weight. I’ll work and work and work and watch what I eat, try walking regularly, being less sedentary, but overall, I give up on it because I’m not achieving the results I want. Nor am I making lifelong changes to the way I live my life. This is what I’m learning on this journey to better myself.

Today my husband and I went to the mall. I wanted to get my hair done, he also needed a haircut, so we went. The plan was to do that, wander the mall a bit, and have lunch/late dinner there. We did a lot of shopping. We went to the book store, Yankee Candle and I always have to stop at Claire’s. We had a late lunch/early supper at Ruby Tuesday. Now, when you are on a ‘diet’ would you think about going to a restaurant such as this? Not many people think it’s ‘allowed’, but truly it is. It’s all about making the right choices while you’re there.

My current nutrition plan is very low carb, balanced protein and fat, and the carbs I get come from small portions of brown rice (No more than 2/3 a cup a day) and vegetables. Lots of vegetables. They are high in fiber, vitamins and nutrients and aid in keeping the body healthy and properly nourished. The trick to staying on such a plan when you go out to eat, is to make the right choices. I know, for instance, that a serving of chicken breast, no skin, grilled or broiled, is 3.5 ounces. I know what that looks like, since I’ve been using a scale to measure my own at home. I order the Chicken Fresco (I think that’s what it was called)  I got two veggies, plus the salad bar. I had steamed broccoli and grilled asparagus. The chicken had two slices of tomato on top of two small breasts (Each breast looked like a serving to me), and a drizzle of their yummy butter-garlic sauce. Yes, I can have butter! (limited, but I can have it). As soon as she put it on the table, I asked for a box. I divided the entire meal evenly. Half of each veggie, half the chicken, and I boxed it up. My salad was leafy greens (Eat as much of those as you want, they have maybe 15 calories in a large bowl), I added cucumbers, a little broccoli, a sprinkle of onion… now this is slightly off from the phase of my nutrition plan I’m on, it calls for three different veggies during dinner.. I had small doses of extra. I added about a tablespoon of sunflower seeds, and they did not have oil and vinegar. I used about a teaspoon of light ranch dressing (again, not on the current plan list of foods) but that tiny bit was enough to give a whole lot of flavour to this salad. The salad was filling, and tasty, it had protein with the nuts on it, lots of fiber.  The chicken was more protein, the veggies more fiber, all things that keep you full longer. Afterwards I drank an entire 12 ounce glass of water, and said no to dessert.

Did I feel deprived that I couldn’t add croutons or more dressing, or cheese to my salad? Not even a little bit. Did I feel hungry after? Gosh no, I was so full I wanted to curl up and have a nap. A person CAN go with smaller portions and still be satisfied.  Remember that it’s all about choices. Make smarter choices and it will be less of a struggle.

I am NOT saying that ‘dieting’ is easy. Not one little bit. At least once a day I want something decadent. Cheesecake, or a bag of potato chips. A bowl of ice cream, or a bowl of buttery popcorn. It’s not always possible for me to avoid them either, but I have to make smart choices even when I’m making dumb choices. A slipup is not the end of the plan. A slipup is just that. A momentary slip, a moment of poor judgment, and recovering from it is not always easy. However, it takes strength and determination to not let such a slip devolve into a downward spiral into binge eating. If a slipup does NOT become a binge, then I call that a win.\

I will close with this final thought. Someone over on the LiveFit Revolution forums posted this, which I hold in my mind every time a craving comes up.

A craving last 7 minutes.  So my thought is this. 7 minutes is enough time to go for a walk. Turn on the radio and sing and dance to the next two or three songs. Call a friend and have a chat. This is especially good if you have someone going through the same thing. Support systems are wonderful things.  7 minutes is enough time to run a hot bubble bath and pour a glass of iced or hot tea. 7 minutes is enough time to change into workout clothes and grab a kettlebell. 7 more minutes you can do a nice warmup and get your mind on something positive. I know there are hundreds of things you can use that 7 minutes for, just choose one, and walk away from the chocolate ice cream. 🙂

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What We Feel, What We Eat

October 1, 2010 at 3:58 PM (LiveFit, Nutrition)

First, let me preface this with an apology. For some reason the site is having issues with approving comments. I tried to make them auto approve, but it needs a previously approved comment, and every time I go to approve them it says it cannot update comment status. Hoping it’s a minor glitch that will be fixed soon, else I’ll send a note off to support.

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My father died, alone in his home, at the beginning of August. He was found there on August 12. I flew out there the following Monday and I was gone for three weeks. During this time, I helped my Aunt and Uncle (He was executor and had power of attorney), we cleaned the house out with the help of some dear friends of my fathers who lived across the street. This was the home I spent my late teenage years in, the mobile home on five acres of land in beautiful California countryside. I wanted to be there to help with the cleanup, as well as have my final goodbyes, to both my father, and the home we shared.

Grief is a powerful thing. When I was grieving over the death of my father, I didn’t care what I ate. I didn’t care about blood sugar, blood pressure, painful knees, bad back. Food was comfort and I needed comfort. The way I felt when I got home, however, made me realize that the moments of comfort I felt were not enough to outweigh the terrible bloating, physical aching that I felt after I got home. I regretted those moments of sugary, decadent treats, and fast food. That’s when I made the choice not to let grief push me into self-destructive choices. That’s when I started going back to the gym, and looking for ways to improve my health.

That’s when I found LiveFit. And this is where I’m going to sound like an infomercial, but the truth is, it changed my life.  LiveFit Revolution is one of those places that at first, sounds way too good to be true. Free of charge, a program that eliminates the obstacles that most people face. Everything one needs for the nutrition plan is available at the local grocer. No special foods/shakes/supplements, and the only piece of workout equipment is a kettlebell. Perhaps a pair of fingerless gloves too, to avoid calluses.  How can I go wrong when this is laid out in front of me like a shiny, sparkly Christmas present?  So I signed up. At first the nutrition plan looked daunting. Restrictive!  But then I started reading recipes and tips and suggestions, and thought, I can live with this.  I’m almost done with week three, and I’ve lost a total of 9 pounds. First week was just under 5, second week I gained a couple pounds (REALLY poor choices made one weekend when I couldn’t sleep), and this week I was back down 4 pounds.  The workouts are hard, the nutrition plan is restrictive for the first six weeks, but is it worth it? Yes. Is it hard? Totally. Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy in my experience.

The bad part is, I have a knee issue, and it’s flared up with some of the exercises. The sunny side of that is, Alysia Gadson, our trainer, is VERY good at offering suggestions for alternate exercises that give as much calorie burn with no stress on the knee. So while the daily workout may call for squats, I can do deadlifts instead. If a set requires squat/Deadlift/swing, then I change the squat to something else. A clean or extra lifts or extra swings, or even rows. It’s not hard, the soreness doesn’t last long, and determination is a sure sign of potential for success.

Now, originally I was going to talk about food, but I had to preface with a bit of info about LiveFit. One of the members who is in the gym this season posted a video that was a total eye opener. Ever hear the phrase “You Are What You Eat”?  Take a look at this:

Do you know how many times I’ve gone to McDonalds for two cheeseburgers (add mayo!) and a supersize fry? Too many to count. No wonder I weigh 300 pounds (296 as of this past Monday! WHEE) .. this food just doesn’t break down as real food should. Makes me think twice about hitting the drive-thru. Please don’t ever ask me to try this with food from Jack in the Box. I’m in love with the tacos there. Heh.

Truly though, food has become an exploration of creativity with me since starting this new plan. I am totally enjoying coming up with new recipes and trying recipes that folks share on the LiveFit site.

Now to figure out what to make for supper. I probably should post my recipe for Coconut-Lime Tilapia, but that can wait for another post.

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It Begins

October 1, 2010 at 3:22 AM (History)

A first post to a new blog, leaves a world of possibilities. What topics to address, what should a person talk about, should it be uber personal, somewhat political, in the form of stories, so many choices.

I considered, after receiving comments on Facebook concerning recipes, food pictures etc that I’ve posted, making this into a food blog. Then I thought about health and fitness. Then I thought about my Christian journey. There are so many struggles in life, it seems each day is filled with them. Choosing the theme of this blog is the most recent struggle for me.

Perhaps I should tell you, the reader.. or should I say, potential reader… as there’s nobody yet who even knows this page exists.. a little bit about myself.

I grew up in California. I’ve traveled all over the United States, though so seldom out of the country. I’ve seen much of this beautiful America that we have been blessed with. I’ve seen the not so beautiful sides of it, as well. I am 42 years old, I am married. I have no children. I have been overweight my entire adult life and most of my youth, with a constant struggle to find a way to be a healthier human being. I have struggled to find my way in my Christian faith. I have struggled finding my way through a painful divorce. I’ve struggled to learn to live with infertility, diabetes, weight-related physical issues, and most recently, the death of my dear father.

I lost my mother when I was just six years old. Cancer was her losing battle. I lost my step-mother to the same curse, a mere four years later. At which time, I lost my father within himself. He grieved terribly, and for a long time. I felt abandoned a great deal of my pre-adolescent days. When I became a teenager, I rebelled. He was a hard man. Me, being the only female of four children, and the youngest, I saw such drastic differences in my father’s temperament, from being terribly spoiled and showered with love and affection, to being scolded, spanked, or even beaten with a belt for the most minor of childhood crimes. My weight gain started when I was very young. My mother was so ill, she couldn’t teach me how to be healthy. Friends and family fed me. Food was always a comfort.  What could friends, neighbours and relatives do for my dying mother, and my grieving father, but look after his kids, especially his five year old daughter. Taking care of a child during a tragic time often results in food.

I had some happy years with my step-mother, except for when I committed some major or minor transgression. My step-mother would not hesitate to use a willow tree switch to administer what she deemed proper discipline. By this time, I learned the comfort of food. I was on my way to becoming an adult, and I had no ability to control my appetite, or my diet. Did I want to lose weight? Certainly. I was ridiculed in junior high, in high school, until I found a group of friends who accepted me for who I was, and not what I looked like. I remained overweight, but not grossly so. I was active as a teenager. I walked a lot. My friends and I took the bus everywhere, walked where the bus wouldn’t take us, and went out to the teen night club every weekend for hours upon hours of dancing. From which we usually walked home. We were invincible.

When I moved away from the life I grew up in, to be with my dad in a small town, I lost a lot. I lost that active lifestyle. I lost those friends who I did everything with. I made this choice, I could have stayed, but I think it would have been a terribly difficult choice to live with. I had very little work ethic, and without money, one can’t very well survive, especially in a growing city that got more crowded and more expensive to live in. Sadly, when Pop and I moved into the mobile home he and my step mother bought together, me with no drivers license, him with no patience to teach me to drive… that took away even more activity. There was so little to do in those days. That was before the Internet, before cell phones, before computers were a household item. I had television, books, nature.  And food.

The 175 I weighed when I left San Jose, grew into bigger numbers, until reality set in. In 2004, at the age of 36, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I weighed 311 pounds at that time. How I got to be that heavy, with those health issues, it was a shock to me. It shouldn’t have been. I spent so much time living on fast food, junk food, and stuff with so little nutritional value, it should not have been a surprise that I weighed THAT much.  Alison Sweeney said it best on The Biggest Loser. Obesity is an epidemic and we have to fight it.

That has been my struggle for the last six years. A struggle which has taken me through a series of health issues, many changes in medications, and finally I am here, at this point in my life where I need to make a choice to live a better life. There is no magic trick that will make it better. There is no quick fix. Diabetes IS reversible. Obesity IS curable. You just have to make the choice to work for it.

That is where this blog will begin. I choose to change my life, and it starts now. My 4o year struggle doesn’t end here, but it changes.

You will find many things in this blog. I am exploring my Christian faith. I am exploring a new exercise program. I am learning the proper ways to nourish my body and make myself healthy. There will be more struggles, more attempts to do new things, and hopefully others will learn from my life of struggle, and my decision to take control of my life.

Thank you for reading.

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